Title: Souvenirs of a Day Gone By Author: Paige Caldwell Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Classification: DSR, Post-Colonization, Angst Mention of character death Spoilers: Season 8 and beyond Rating: NC-17 Disclaimers: The characters belong to 1013. No infringment intended. Summary: "In a world where only serial numbers distinguish life from death, John Doggett has become my one in five billion...." Author's Notes: Thanks to the members of IWTB for knowing how to inspire my muse by challenging it. Dedication: To all the DSR writers. I luv ya! It has been five years since I've seen him, although the tales of his missions are legendary. John Doggett... reluctant believer turned freedom fighter. The irony is not lost upon me. The skeptic of the past has become the soldier of the future. The Colonists have branded him an insurrectionist. The Resistance call him a hero, a man renowned for his avant-garde ideas and war tactics. As he limps into my triage, I greet him as I would all others. Doggett may have captured the attention of our nation, but I am an island. "Name, rank and serial number," I say in a crisp voice. My attention remains focused on my clipboard which contains a list of numeric identities. "Don't you recognize me?" he asks. "Ordinarily, I would use a retinal scan," I reply, still not meeting his gaze. "However, the last of your great military assaults prompted a counter attack of this facility. Half of it has been destroyed." "And half of it's still standin'," Doggett remarks, grunting in pain as he lowers his semi-automatic to the exam table. "Just like the world we live in, Scully." The pen in my hand bleeds ink onto tissue-like paper. "Name, rank and serial number," I repeat, unwilling to share in his post-apocalyptic enthusiasm. "Do a retinal scan," he insists. "I told you, it's broken." "Are you?" With a sudden jerk, he forces my chin up so my eyes are level with his. I'm unable to shield myself from his penetrating stare. Electric blue... the color of his eyes is scintillating familiar. It shocks my consciousness like a bolt of lightning. I drop my clipboard and clasp both hands around my ears, waiting for the thunder... "Don't do this to me...." My cry is no louder than a whisper, but forceful enough for him to lower his gaze to the floor. "John Doggett, Captain, Special Forces," he mumbles. "Serial number is...." "Never mind," I interrupt. Released from his stare, my heart beat returns to normal. "Your version of a retinal scan obviously worked." "I'm sorry, Scully," he apologizes. "I didn't know." "Know what?" I reach for a pair of latex gloves on a nearby shelf. "That you're a little... um... shell shocked." "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," I correct him, snapping the gloves on. "A common enough diagnosis these days...." He watches my fingers to see if they shake. They don't. Stress doesn't trigger my symptoms. Familiarity does. As long as I remain detached from the faces of my past, I'm functional, even efficient. "Was it the alien invasion?" he asks in a gentle tone. I say nothing. It was more like a sudden human departure. "What happened to Mulder?" I motion him to the exam table. "He was killed the first year." "I wish I'd known." "Why?" I ask. "Could you have prevented it?" "No," he says, glancing around the triage. "But I could have prevented this. You don't belong here, Scully. You should be with your son." "He's in a safe place." The lights overhead flicker. I use the opportunity to change the subject before the subject changes me. "Captain Doggett, our backup generators no longer appreciate emergency situations. We better take a look at you before the lights go out." "I caught a piece of shrapnel," he advises. His wounds stain his camouflage a noticeable black, both above the shoulder and below the knee. "Looks like you're a good catch." "Listen, I don't have much time," he alerts me. "My unit is waiting for me to return. Just dig 'em out and stitch me back up." I peel away his bloodied t-shirt. Scars corrugate his chest. "You've been wounded before?" "More times than I care to count." He shrugs as I reach for an injection of lidocaine. "Is that a local anesthetic?" "Why?" I swab his shoulder with alcohol. "Going somewhere?" "I told you," he says. "I need to return to my unit." "Not today," I inform him. "I'm putting you on medical leave." "The hell you are." He winces as the syringe pierces his skin. I almost laugh. The man is a shrapnel depo, but cringes at the pinch of a needle. "You're in no condition to return to the field," I tell him. "You're in no condition to make that judgment." The insult hits the target with the accuracy of a guided missile. "Fine," I retort, putting the syringe back on the tray. "I'll find another doctor to treat you." "I don't want another doctor," Doggett protests. "I want you." I strip off my gloves and throw them on his lap. "Try settling for a wartime souvenir." As I close the curtain, I witness the unimaginable. Captain John Doggett, with his spiked hair and muddy combat boots, lifts one glove to his check. He rubs it back and forth like a lover's caress. Talcum powder mixes with sweat and grime. A drop of saline makes me look away. ********** The staff room is empty and the coffee is thick as sludge. I don't drink from the cup but hold it to warm my fingers. This chance encounter has shaken me. For years, I've been able to avoid contact with my past. But now my past has contacted me. "Scully... you're my one in five billion." "Not anymore, Mulder," I murmur to the cup. "The numbers have significantly dropped." So has my level of sanity. I'm talking to styrofoam. "Dr. Scully?" A nurse appears in the doorway. "Yeah, I'm still here." "A soldier asked me to give you this," she says, extending her hand. "He wants you to keep it as a souvenir." Resting in her palm is a medallion. I pick it up, my thumb circling the insignia. "What does it mean?" I ask, glancing up at her in confusion. The nurse shrugs. "You can always re-gift it." "Where is he?" "Who?" "The soldier who gave me his medal?" "It's a key chain, Dr. Scully," the nurse reminds me. "Where is he?" "He's been discharged back to his unit." Clutching the medallion, I race back to triage. I'm running, but my body is in slow motion. Hospital curtains line my peripheral vision, each drawn to focus my attention on the light at the end of the tunnel. Only it's a door, one that separates me from life and death. There is blood on the knob. I know it is his.... Outside, I'm assaulted by light, sand and sound. The eagle hasn't landed, it's flying away. And all I have left is a souvenir.... "Don't do this to me," I whisper, pressing it against my wet cheek. I stumble towards the helicopter, raising my hand to stop the whirling blades. Arms surround me like a pair of iron-like wings. They drag me back to the alley that separates the medical facility from the barracks. My boots leave deep trails in the sand. I camouflage desire with resistance. It's a most effective weapon. This soldier is a man of honor. He won't take what I refuse to give. I find myself pressed up against a wall, not by him but my own weakness. His arms have fallen to his side and his gesture of defeat suddenly empowers me. I reach up and clasp his face, allowing the medallion to brand his skin as my lips conquer his mouth. He pushes me away. "You want me?" he asks. "First, you personalize me." "You taste like blood and sweat." "That's not what I'm talkin' about." He counters my sneer with one of his own. "You look me in the eyes and say my name." The shadows in the alley make it too easy. I meet his dark gaze and begin to repeat his serial numbers. "To hell with this," he swears, turning to leave. "Give a little, get a little, Agent Doggett." "What did you say?" He advances like the marines on Iwo Jima. But this island is fortified. He's not the only one capable of stabbing with bayonets. "What's wrong?" I ask. "A little shell-shocked?" He laughs and lowers his gun to the ground. "Yeah," he says, "from the minute you walked into the FBI bullpen." Realization hits me like artillery fire. Blood drips from every exit wound as I begin to slide down the wall. He catches me by the shoulders and pins me against the concrete. "Say my name," he pleads, his mouth inches from mine. "Just say it." "Doggett..." I part my lips in expectation. He traces the outline of my mouth with the tip of his finger. "My first name...." "You smell like grease." "Say it, damn you...." "John...." For a living legend, he kisses me with the desperation of a dying man. The brunt of his tongue thrills me. It's thick, intrusive and needy. The underside tastes like peppermint. I suck on it like a Lifesavor. As saliva pools inside my mouth, I feel his fingers in my hair. He yanks my head back, encouraging me to swallow. When I do, his lips follow the path down my throat. "Sweet," he murmurs. "So sweet...." The compliment means nothing, but I'm tempted by the promise of sweeter things to come. I guide him through the barracks to my basement quarters. Doggett seems right at home. He rests his semi-automatic by the closed door and starts stripping off his fatigues. "I need a shower," he says as he pulls off his filthy t-shirt. I offer him a washcloth. He grabs my hand, instead. "Soft," He runs my palm down his scarred chest. "So soft...." I join him in the shower, justifying that he might tear his stitches. But it's a lie. I'm afraid that if I let him out of my sight, he'll disappear just like the rest. Even my son. It's been two years since I've seen William. I traded my services as a doctor to earn him a secure place. The only problem is that safety means nondisclosure. I have no idea where he is. I'm only able to confirm his existence by comparing his serial numbers against those who are dead. "You're crying," Doggett whispers as he passes me the soap. I step in front of him so that the shower sprays my face. Tears are a waste of moisture. I've learned to conserve them like water. "It's on a timer," I tell Doggett, pointing to the nozzle. "You have two minutes to get this grime off your skin." "I thought you were gonna help me," he says as I step out of the shower. "You thought wrong," I reply, reaching for a bath towel. I sit down on my bed to dry my hair. Beside me is Doggett's backpack and I don't feel guilty rummaging through it. If I'm going to fuck him, I deserve another peppermint. But the candy is gone. All I find is an odd assortment of personal effects... his FBI badge... his service revolver... a crumpled picture of his dead son.... "That's all I have left," he remarks from the bathroom doorway. "Souvenirs of a day gone by." I smooth the creases from the photograph. As I return it to the backpack, I change my mind. I'm not going to fuck him. I'm going to make love to him. Mulder will have to understand. In a world where only serial numbers distinguish life from death, John Doggett has become my one in five billion.... "You're dripping water on my floor, Captain." "Sorry," he says, limping over to my bed. "There wasn't another towel." "Let me dry you," I say as he lies down. He really is a soldier, lean, rugged and compact. As my eyes admire his body, my hands explore unfamiliar terrain. I'm careful not to touch his stitches. In those areas, I use my lips to absorb the wetness from his skin. My ministrations both relax and arouse him. I abandon the slack muscles of his shoulders for the stiffness of his erection. I fill my mouth with him, savoring the sweet taste of desire. His fingers are in my hair again. I can feel him combing the damp strands over my ears and smoothing the bangs from my eyes. He lifts his head from the pillow, his magnificent blue gaze charged with awe and excitement. "I want you to come in my mouth," I whisper. "Ladies first," he announces in a husky voice. Before I can object, he pulls me up so my knees straddle his neck. Hovering over a man's face embarrasses me. I don't want to drizzle from above. But as his mouth sucks my clit, I stop worrying. There's a wall in front of me and a talented tongue beneath me. I scratch, claw and gouge my way to freedom of expression. By the time I climax, my nails are gritty and I've unearthed plaster. "Jesus, that was something else." "Yeah, right," I choke out between gasps. "The Rembrandt of performance art." "You give new meaning to preservin' our national treasures." I frown and roll over onto my back. I never knew that Doggett had a sense of humor. I don't want him to have one now. "Check your humor at the door, Captain." "Only if you promise to check your attitude with it," he says, leaning over to stroke my cheek. "Great," I mutter to myself as tears sting my eyes. I've gone from a soul mate who made me laugh to a soldier who makes me cry. As his lips brush my lashes, I whisper, "Don't do this to me...." He pulls away. "Do what, Dana?" "Give me an excuse to ask you to leave." His blue eyes squint in confusion. "Is that what I'm doin'?" "I hope not," I murmur. Doggett lowers his head to nuzzle my breasts. It's my turn to fill my fingers with the coarseness of his hair. Cut short, it bristles with vitality. Age has peppered it, but the color is striking against his tan, weathered face. I tilt his head up so he can see the attraction in my eyes. I want to be a magnet to his steel. My thighs open to ensure it. He enters me with a solid thrust, but I don't expect anything less. His conquests are legendary. I want to be his defeat. When he tries to kiss me, I recite his serial number. His vivid eyes flash a warning. I ignore it. He captures both of my hands and pins them over my head. A scoff detonates inside of me. The great military strategist can't figure out how to shut me up. Too bad he didn't come armed with a gag. Doggett flips me over and takes me from behind. The pounding is relentless. I enjoy it so much that I reward him with a few souvenirs of my own. More dead serials numbers, except this time I personalize them. I give them names... Mulder... Skinner... Reyes... my mother... "You forgot one," he pants, reaching around to stroke my clit. His fingers are calloused. My pillow smells like mildew. I lift my head and glance back at him. "My son is still alive." "Are you sure?" He thrusts deeper. I buck against him. "Are you almost done?" He yanks my hair by the roots, forcing me to stare at the wall. "Tell me what you see," he demands. The pen in my hand bled ink onto tissue-like paper. That's when I decided to use paint. My wall is a mural of my son's serial numbers. Performance art was only an expression of pain. The roar in my ears is like thunder. I beg him to remember that which he has seen. I even use his first name. It triggers his orgasm and incites my own. Mulder will have to understand. In a world where only serial numbers distinguish hope from despair, John Doggett has become my one in five billion.... ********** It's been five months since I've seen him. His battles remain legendary and the coffee still sucks. I wear his medallion around my neck, but I no longer paint serial numbers. I collect Lifesavors, instead. He sends me various flavors. Every so often they arrive with his wounded. Last week, I amputated a gangrenous leg and found another one of his souvenirs tucked in the soldier's pocket. Today, I add candy to my coffee. As it dissolves in my styrofoam cup, I see Mulder laughing. He was always such a clown. I'll never stop missing him. "Dr. Scully?" A nurse appears in the doorway. "Yeah, I'm still here." "There's a soldier outside waiting to see you." I take a sip of coffee. "Tell me something new." "He claims to have brought you a souvenir." The cups slips from my fingers. I race back to triage. I'm running, but my body is in slow motion. Hospital curtains line my peripheral vision, each drawn to focus my attention on the light at the end of the tunnel. Only it's a door, one that separates me from my past and my future. There's blood on the knob. I know it's mine... Outside, a soldier's dark shadow blocks the glare of the sun. But the child that steps around him is bathed in an incandescent light. "Mommy...." He flies into my arms and I fall to my knees. I don't recite his serial number. I scream his name. "William!" The soldier lowers his gun to the ground. He takes off his helmet and wipes the sweat from his face. He crouches down beside us and envelops mother and son in his iron-like wings. I personalize him with a kiss. "You taste like butter rum," he says. I laugh before burying my face in my son's copper hair. I cry enough tears to rinse out the sand of the desert. "He can't stay here," I weep. "It's not safe." "It's okay," Doggett says. "I'm gonna smuggle you both out in my backpack." I lift my wet gaze. "Can you do that?" "According to my honorable discharge I can." "But the war's not over," I protest. "It is for us," he tells me. "My last great military assault earned me a cabin in the mountains. It's not much. The walls need refinishing. I'll leave that part to you." I've fallen in love with another wise ass. Somewhere in the distance, I know Mulder is grinning. The End.