Title: Just Doing My Job
Author: beduini
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Sk POV, MSR
Archiving: Keep the Faith, Hidden Gems. Others please ask
Disclaimer: Copyright Fox. These characters are not mine, I'm merely borrowing them.
Warning: THIS MAY OR MAY NOT CONTAIN Spoilers (depending on who you believe)

The call came at ten thirteen. How appropriate, and how perfectly timed. Ten thirteen, Mulder's birthday.

Mulder's friends had been monitoring the satellites and they picked up a significant amount of activity in the Pacific Northwest, not surprisingly in the same place where I'd lost him months ago. If I'd done my job, he might be here still.

If I'd done my job.

One of the lost has been recovered. Teresa Hoese had been silently returned to a hospital in Helena, Montana, and we were in Helena investigating her return. Doggett, Scully and I. Her prognosis is not good.

Scully is hopeful that Mulder will be the next to return. She shouldn't be here in her condition, but try to tell her that. Mulder traveled halfway around the world to find her, and she would do no less for him, even through a high-risk pregnancy. She's done as much for me in the past, but this is different.

This is about Mulder.

Doggett is shaken by what he's seen in Teresa Hoese's charts. He's had a fast and furious few months on the X Files, having seen some pretty gruesome cases. He's tough, but I know from experience how fast your knees can hit the ground. I've had years to deal with it and it still gives me nightmares. Mulder and Scully have suffered more than anyone, but they've had each other to lean on. Doggett's essentially on his own.

We've been waiting for over an hour, Scully, Doggett and I along with Mulder's three friends and an emergency medical team in the woods outside Bellefleur. It is bitter cold but not snowing, the damp air burning my lungs and the smell of rotting leaves causing my stomach to cramp. I want to vomit, to purge the stale sandwich and the gnawing ache from my system. There is a heavy mist through the trees, and if my ass wasn't frozen and the fear that we aren't going to find him alive wasn't rendering me nearly motionless, I'd almost say it was beautiful.

Finally, after it seems that my extremities have become numb, ahead in the mist a lone figure appears. Walking slowly, hesitant, he seems disoriented, or perhaps uncertain. Everyone is focused on this one man, but no one moves. Scully's face is stoic, her sharp eyes tracking the figure like a panther. Doggett is deceptively at ease, his hands on his hips, the muscle in his jaw twitching. The man approaching is wearing average street clothes, but no jacket or outerwear. As he moves closer, one of Mulder's friends lets out a sigh, the three sharing a look.

"It isn't him."

Even I can see from my vantage point that it's not Mulder. The EMT's check the man, wrapping him in a blanket as another figure appears in the mist, and then another. Soon, there are at least a dozen, men and women, all in the same condition as the first. Disoriented, shivering, some leaning on each other for support, but all able to walk without assistance. They join the first man, the EMT's rushing to wrap them in blankets to ward off hypothermia.

And then there are no more.

Scully remains fixed, staring into the mist. It doesn't take a psychic to know what she's thinking.

He has to be here. He has to be.

Doggett looks at her, then at me, his concern evident. But he knows her well enough now not to approach her just yet. Instead, he walks over to the group to ask questions.

"Can you talk?"

"How many of you were there?"

"Are there any others?"

Some nod, others shake their heads or stare blankly at him, their eyes downcast fearfully. Mulder's three friends watch Scully with concern, then turn to me, their worry and disappointment evident.

I realize my hands are clenched into tight fists, and I want to hit something so badly, I can taste blood. It's my own blood – I've bitten the inside of my cheek, the metallic taste of defeat and disappointment marking my own failure.

I lost him. I didn't do my job.

I close my eyes, fighting back tears inappropriate for a man in my position. Through the chill and the silence a cry rings out, rough and impassioned.


When I open my eyes, she is running into the mist, a flash of brilliant red and black amongst the muted oranges and browns, her hands on her rounded belly in support. Doggett and I both start after her. It will take both of us to bring her back.

We are about to overtake her when I notice the vague outline of a lone figure limping toward us, the sight making me stop dead in my tracks. Doggett stops beside me, both of us gasping for breath and surprise. The figure stops briefly, then breaks into a run. They do no collide, but stop just feet from each other, both of them visibly trembling.

It's him. Mulder.

Doggett starts to move forward, but I stop him with a hand on his arm. He looks at me defiantly, but I shake my head. No. This time, it's really Mulder.

Scully and Mulder stare at each other, everything in the forest perfectly silent. They are speaking in their own cultivated way, as I've seen time and again. I hear her sob, her hand coming up to cover her mouth, and he steps forward, drawing her into his arms. She responds by wrapping her arms around his torso. Then moments later she buries her face into his chest, tightening her embrace. He lowers his face to her hair, and I know that I should allow them their privacy but I'll be damned if I'm gonna walk away now. This search, this pregnancy – I own a part of it myself. I've got tears in my eyes as sure as they do...I never imagined the sight of Fox Mulder would move me to tears, or ever make me feel this goddamn happy.

They draw apart slightly, and just when I think they will join us they come together in a searing kiss, his hands on her face and in her hair, relieving any small doubts I had about the paternity of her unborn child. Doggett takes that as his cue to leave and he turns, walking away without sparing me another glance.

It's not over. There will be medical exams, psych exams, reports to be filed and Kersh to contend with. Whatever this is that took Mulder is still out there, somewhere, just as sure as there are men who know about it and work to conceal it. I can not and will not turn my back on what I know. On what I've seen. But right now, with Scully holding Mulder's hand against the warm flesh housing their unborn child, I know that these two will still get through it the way they always have.


I turn and walk back to the others, Mulder's friends huddled together and smiling as they watch the reunion from afar. Frohike offers me a grin and a nod, and I return it, hoping they don't notice the tears in my eyes.

I'm just doing my job.


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