Title: Safety and Security
Author: M. Edison
Written: July 2001
Rating: PG
Archive: To Ephemeral, and Gossamer
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of the X-Files.
Spoilers: Minor ones for the end of Season 8
Timeline: Post Essence/Existence
Dedication: To the wonderful DB cause she's a doll and to Azar who got me into DSR to begin with. ;-)

Summary: Dana Scully's got a bad flu, Mom Scully's going out of town, Mulder's MIA - guess who gets the call.

Thanks to Azar for the beta

Author's Note/Disclaimer: I honestly and truly like Mulder (Which reminds me I gotta get cracking on that Mulder AU) but I don't wear blinders when I look at the character. I like him flaws and all. So, when Scully has similar thoughts in this fic, don't freak. She still cares about the guy, she's just being honest with herself for once. Personally, I don't think the comments are that inflammatory but given some of the flamers I've encountered since beginning to write XF fanfiction, I thought I'd give them a warning up front so they can avoid it.

But, given their attitudes, that's almost impossible. *sighs*

Anyway, on with the fic.

This was written as a sickfic for the List Mom of ShoDDs. Glad you're feeling better DB!

He'd just stepped into the house after his Saturday morning ride when the phone rang. Not one to dawdle, he left his bicycle in the doorway and hurried to grab up the phone.

"John Doggett."

"Agent Doggett? We haven't met but my daughter Dana is a close friend of yours."

Surprised, John took the cordless in hand and went back to the door to completely pull his bike into the house - all the while wondering why on earth would Dana Scully's mother be calling him?

For the briefest of moments he entertained the rather farfetched notion that Mrs. Scully was calling to ask his intentions toward her daughter. At the thought, John bit back a chuckle. Yeah right.

Though, given the number of times he'd found himself over at Dana's apartment lately, he could understand why she'd wonder. It seemed he was continually finding reasons to be over there but in truth, half of them were ones Dana'd come up with. In fact, she'd started the habitual visits when she'd asked him to drop by and help set up William's crib.

Mulder had planned to help but the Lone Gunmen had called with a hot tip on the alien replicant people who'd chased Scully and Monica halfway across the country. Finding out why they'd left Scully's baby alone was the subject of Mulder's most recent intense hunt.

Thus, with the tip too hot to pass up, the crib had become a secondary concern.

However, since Dana was a little uneasy at the thought of letting William sleep in her bed with her - having heard one too many stories about babies getting rolled on or *out* of bed - she didn't want to wait. Remembering that John had offered to help whenever she needed, Dana'd called him and, ever since, he'd been averaging three to four visits weekly. Sometimes, she called him, others he just dropped by. It was an easy friendship and both were enjoying it.

"Pleasure to hear your voice, Mrs. Scully," The FBI agent said warmly, closing the door.

"Call me Maggie," she corrected. "Mrs. Scully was my mother-in-law."

"Only if you call me John," Doggett countered immediately.

"All right, John...." Maggie agreed then paused before saying, "I know you' re probably wondering why I called you."

"Question had crossed my mind."

"I thought as much." There was another pause. "John, are you busy this afternoon?"

"No, ma'am." he drawled respectively pulling a bottle of water out of the refrigerator. "Nothin' of any consequence planned."

"Well, Dana isn't feeling well today and frankly, "I don't want her to have to be alone with the baby - I'd stay with her but I'm supposed to visit my son, Charlie, this week and Dana refuses to let me cancel." The frustration in her voice brought a bemused smile to Doggett's lips as he pictured the scene of Dana squaring off with her mother. Impressive and typical of the pint-sized agent.

Nevertheless, he had to ask. "If you don't mine me askin' - why didn't you call Mulder?"

"To be truthful, I couldn't reach him. Then I remembered Dana did say if she needed anything, she'd call you. I'm just making sure you knew about it. I have no doubt you know just how stubborn Dana can be when she puts her mind to it."

"Do I ever..."

The immediate response brought a merry laugh from the elder Scully. "I assure you, she gets it from her father."

"Uh huh..." John replied dryly, enjoying the relaxed camaraderie. It was rare for him to be so comfortable with a woman he hadn't even met face to face yet. It was even rarer for him to be so sure he'd like her when he did. One thing he wasn't surprised at was the strength of character he could sense in this woman. But then, he'd seen it before. Every time he looked into her daughter's face. "Thanks for callin', Mrs....Maggie. I'll check in on her - you enjoy your trip and don't worry."

"Thank you, John...very much."

"My pleasure, ma'am."

Hanging up with a relieved smile, Maggie Scully picked up her carry-on bag and suitcase. She had to get moving or risk missing her plane.

As she hustled out the door, Maggie's smile widened as she thought of John Doggett.

She liked him. She liked him a lot.

When someone knocked on the door, Dana flinched at the sound which seemed to echo through her pounding head, and tried to ignore it. They'd go away. Please God...make them go away.

However, the knocking persisted and that's when William decided Mommy was being rude and loudly voiced his displeasure.

Her son's cry pierced through her head like a buzzsaw and Dana moaned loudly as she rolled out of bed to pick him up.

Singing softly, she shuffled out of her bedroom and headed for the front door. It was probably rude of her but she was fervently wishing it was someone she could get rid of in a hurry. The last thing she needed was one of her mother's friends dropping by to see the baby. It got on her last nerve.

Her mother hadn't been gone for two hours and already Dana regretted convincing her to go. That thought brought a wave of guilt. It had been a while since her mother had been able to visit Charlie and Dana didn't want to intrude on that visit. Sick or no.

Cuddling Will closer, while trying not to breathe on him - last thing she needed was a sick baby too - Dana peered through the peephole and almost sobbed in relief.

"John." Smiling wanly, the trip from the bedroom seeming to have exhausted her, the sick redhead opened the door to admit her friend. "Come in."

Seeing the fatigue in her blue eyes, John held out his arms in a silent request for the baby and, gratefully, Dana handed him over. "How're you feeling?"

"Miserable," Scully replied honestly. "How'd you-? Oh. Mom." With a rueful smile, she answered her own question somewhat abruptly.

Chuckling, John nodded; the gently rocking motion of his arms lulled little William into a peaceful quiet leaving him content to let himself be held while the adults talked. "Yeah, your mom called me this morning before she left. Wanted to make sure somebody was gonna be checkin' on you two." Looking up from the baby's gaze, her friend offered a smile and a half shrug. "So here I am."

They shared a smile and a quiet moment before the silence was broken by Dana doubling over as her slim body was wracked by a fit of harsh coughs.

A frown of concern appeared on John's face and, carefully balancing Will, he gestured toward her bedroom. "You go lie down. We'll be okay out here."

"You're sure?" Scully asked, her voice hoarse from the coughing.

"Completely," Was his confident response as he guided her into her bedroom.

After getting Dana settled in her bed, John took William with him into the kitchen.

"Now," The lean man said, his eyes searching around him. "I know your mom has a car seat for you around here somewhere...Don't suppose you know where it is?"

With that he looked down at the baby. William didn't make a sound, but did shake a small fist.

"I'll take that as a no," John responded with a chuckle. "Okay....let's see." Holding the baby close, he wandered around the apartment and finally found it in the closet.

"Okay buddy," he continued, looking down at the baby. "Let's get you settled in."

After carefully arranging the blankets in the seat, and moving with the experience of one who'd done it so many times before, John lowered the baby into it and draped a blanket over William's legs before standing back to survey his work.

"Comfy?" he asked as Will seemed to wiggle into a position he liked better.

The baby made a soft murmuring sound of apparent agreement, bringing a chuckle from Doggett.

"Glad to hear it." Picking up the seat, John carried it into the kitchen where he set it down on the kitchen table - in the middle so there would be no chance of it falling off. "Now, let's make a treat for your mom."

Thus said, John kept up a running, one-sided, conversation with the littlest Scully while he moved around the kitchen, preparing things. Though William couldn't answer, per se, he did watch the adult's movements somewhat intently, occasionally 'responding' by wiggling or making a soft noise or, in some cases, a yawn.

The yawns would bring a laugh from John who'd stop before the seat and say something along the lines of, "Boring you, am I buddy?" His friendly eyes would dim slightly then and murmur, "My little guy used to do the same thing..."

William didn't know who the little guy was but he did know he liked it when Mommy had Uncle John over - He didn't make those stupid noises or wave toys in his face. Uncle John talked like he knew William could understand him and that was something the newest Scully appreciated.

But then, Uncle John did stuff like that all the time. William liked Uncle John.

Dana awakened to a warm hand touching her shoulder. Opening heavy eyes, which was no small feat, she found John sitting on the edge of her bed with a steaming mug in his free hand.

"What's that?" she asked thickly as he set it aside to help her into a sitting position.

"Somethin' Monica recommended to me last time I was sick - said it's supposed to be heaven on a sore throat." After he'd handed her the mug, John pressed his hand to her forehead and frowned in concentration.

Unlike last time, when he'd found it far too high for his liking, he nodded in approval. "You're not hot..."

"Gee thanks..." Dana teased and was rewarded by his cheeks reddening.

"Not what I meant," her partner said gruffly as he stood, not giving voice to the comment that flitted through his head at her tease. 'Sick or not, you 're a knock out...' "Drink up."

Tasting it tentatively, Scully eyed him skeptically. "Chocolate milk?"

Standing his ground, John nodded. "Warmed up on the stove - works like a charm."

A soft cry from William caught their attention then and with a murmured, "be right back," Doggett left the room.

Lying in bed, the mug held in her hands, Dana sipped at the steaming liquid while reflecting on the attire of the man who'd just left her bedroom: jeans and a white t-shirt that seemed to hug his chest.

'No one should look *that* good in those clothes....I'll never look at him in those suits the same way again...'

"Feeling any better?" John's voice was soft, pitched for her ears only, as it intruded into the darkened room.

Opening her eyes, Dana smiled faintly. "I'm a little nauseous and very tired..."

"Wanna move to the couch for a while?" he suggested. "You've been in here all day, change of scenery might do you good."

Sitting up slightly against her pillow, Dana ran a hand over her tousled hair and nodded. "It'd be nice, give me a chance to clean up a bit too. How' s Will?"

John adjusted his posture so she could see her son. "Had his bath and a bottle, 'bout ready to go down for a nap I think."

Reaching out to touch one tiny hand, her expression one of awe, the redhead nodded. "He looks it."

Having received her agreement, John stood up and carried the infant to his crib - settling him in with great care.

Turning on the baby monitor, he moved to the windows and made sure they were shut before returning to the bed and helping Dana out. "You want to go to the bathroom first?"

Nodding, she held his arm tightly as she tested out her rubbery legs. "Been a while since I've had a flu this bad," she commented ruefully, a small smile on her lips.

"Had it a few years back this bad." John chuckled. "Felt as weak as a kitten - could barely get out of bed."

Moving slowly, he led her toward the door, grabbing her bathrobe off the hook before helping her into the bathroom.

"Just yell when you're ready to come back out," he said with a warm smile before closing the door behind her.

Standing in the bathroom, clutching her robe in her hand, Dana looked into the mirror and winced at what she saw. Her hair was tousled and greasy, having come loose from the small clip she'd had it in, her face was wan and had little colour, and the pajamas she wore were rumpled.

"I didn't look this bad when I was pregnant," she murmured with a tired voice, setting down the robe and reaching for her hair brush.

Working it through her hair, the ill woman winced as it hit snags but she kept it up. She wasn't sure why on earth she was so annoyed with her appearance but she was. She couldn't help it.

Sighing, she decided it was simply the fact she didn't like looking out of sorts...and certainly not like the mess she currently found herself in.

'Admit it Dana...' her mind nagged with a voice that sounded remarkably like her mother. 'It has nothing to do with how you see yourself and everything to do with how that man out there sees you.'

Yanking the brush a little harder, Dana dismissed the voice irritably. "It is not." she informed the mirror in annoyance.

'Yes it is..' her mother's voice argued.



"Oh shut up." She gave in finally, turning to removed her pajamas and turning the shower on.

"Hot, hot, hot." A smile quirked her face when she said it, remembering a comedy sketch she'd seen once. "Gotta be hot."

'Speaking of hot...' that little voice piped up. 'have you seen how that man looks in jeans? Nice....'

Now that one she wasn't going to argue. It had been a long time since she'd seen a man who wore jeans quite as well as John Doggett.

Stepping under the spray of the shower, Dana closed her eyes and let the water run over her head as she ran her hands through her hair.

'And that chest...those suits sure hide a lot huh?'

As if to add emphasis to the thought, Dana's mind conjured up two separate pictures of John Doggett. One in those suits he chose to wear and the other, the jeans and t-shirt she'd just seen him in.

An appreciative sigh escaped her and immediately, she frowned.

"Don't even...," she warned herself. "You will not start thinking about John Doggett in that manner!"

'Start?' that little voice, her mother's voice, countered with amusement. 'You've been thinking about him like *that* for a while now. Admit it dear...you're attracted to that man.'

"But I don't want to be!" Dana argued with a glare at the wall of the shower.

'Why? He's a wonderful man and you know it. Does he, or does he not, fit the description you've always had of the ideal man. Not perfect....Perfection's an illusion. But *real-.Well, Dana, does he?'

Sighing again, the redhead turned to face the spray, reaching for her shampoo bottle. "He does," she confessed. "And I like it..."

'See, that wasn't so hard was it?'

Massaging the shampoo into her hair, Dana sighed again.

"No..." She confessed aloud. "It wasn't."

There was a long pause then she sighed. "But..."

'Oh no you don't.' the voice argued. 'Don't you dare bring Mulder into this. He's made his choice, whether he realizes it or not. He's a good man but not ready for a family, or a real relationship. Every time something has come up about Will, he's always had a more pressing need to take care of. Yes, finding out what *they* have planned for that precious baby boy is important, but what's the point of being so diligent in his protection that he never stops to be a part of William's life? Or yours? Fox Mulder is a wonderful friend, and you both care about each other deeply, but sometimes that's not enough...'

"No," Dana agreed sadly. "It's not."

As he'd promised, John was waiting outside the bathroom door with fresh clothing for her when she got out of the shower.

He'd hooked an arm around the door to pass it to her, too gentlemanly to make her even feel the remotest bit uncomfortable.

Dana'd taken the clothing with a murmured thank you before shutting it again and leaning against it to dress. She was still very tired. Her body was recovering, it'd helped having someone take care of the baby all day, but she wasn't quite there yet.

When she opened the door, her hair brushed into place and her robe hooked over her sleeve.

"How are you feeling?" John queried immediately, taking the robe from her and carrying it to her room.


Nodding, he moved back to wrap an arm around her waist. At her surprised look, he quirked a smile. "Lean on me a little, I promise I have nothing but honorable intentions."

It was Dana's turn to flush with embarrassment and she nodded once as they resumed their path to the living room and the couch.

There, John helped her lie down and covered her with a blanket he had ready.

"You think you're up to eating something?"hHe questioned, resting his hands on the back of the couch and looking down at her.

Running a hand over the soft knit material of the blanket, Dana considered the question then finally nodded. "Something light."


"Yes, please." came the quiet response as she rested her head back against the pillow.

Smiling, John pushed away from the couch and headed into the kitchen. He'd gotten pretty familiar with where things were so he was able to keep the noise down while he worked.

Finally, when the toast was ready, he returned to the living room - plate in hand - and leaned over the couch to find his charge sound asleep.

With a small smile on his face, the quiet man turned and carried it back into the kitchen. Putting the toast in the oven on a low heat to keep it warm, he found a book amongst Dana's collection and sat down on a chair, keeping one ear focused on the baby monitor and the other on the breathing of the woman on the couch.

With their protector sitting watch over them both, the Scully family slept peaceful - secure in the knowledge John Doggett would keep them safe. From aliens or the flu...it didn't matter to him. It was just how he did business. And, in his mind, it was no less than what they deserved.



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