He woke disoriented, her hand on his shoulder. "Walter?" Oh shit, heíd fallen asleep on Scullyís couch.
"Scully, Iím sorry. I didnít mean to uh . . . "
"Itís okay. I appreciate it."
He glanced at his watch, nearly 3 a.m. "Why are you up? Are you okay?"
She rolled her eyes. "Itís such a clichť. I had to go to the bathroom. I realized the lights were still on and checked."
He couldnít quite hide the grin. "I need to get on out of here." He started to rise.
"Do you . . . do you have to leave?"
"No." He settled back into his seat. "Arenít you tired?"
"Not really. Iíve been in bed for days. I really donít want to sleep any more. Could we, could I ask you . . . " She turned away from him.
"What do you want to ask me, Dana?" He lightly touched her shoulder, causing her to look back at him.
"Have you found out anything? I know you want to protect me, but Walter, I need to know whatís happening. Please."
He sighed, "Iím not keeping anything from you Dana. I wouldnít do that. The guys and I have not stopped since this happened. But so far . . . Dana I promise to keep you apprised of our progress, even . . . " He didnít bother to finish the sentence.
She nodded, "What about Krycek? Does he know anything?"
"Heís not . . . He and Marita seem to have vanished temporarily. Weíre looking for them as well. Let us handle this."
"No. Walter, I canít sit on the sidelines. I have to be part of this, I have to work or Iíll lose my mind."
He watched her for a moment in silence. She meant what she said. He would just have to ensure that she didnít go too far with it. Yes, she was a doctor, but she couldnít step back and see this. Finding Mulder would outweigh her common sense. No, he mentally corrected himself Ė she would never intentionally put her child in danger. Heíd have to trust her, but he would be keeping a close eye on her.
Finally he nodded. "Youíll be in on this, but from the office Ė at least for now," he added as she started to protest.
Her eyes narrowed and her brow rose, but he didnít back down. After a moment she looked down. Okay, he was right Ė for now. "Thereís one other thing." He nodded, waiting. "Did you mean what you said?"
He froze, what had she heard? "Do you really . . . are you and the guys really going to be my family now?"
Sheíd heard it all, even the accusation. He took a deep breath, "Absolutely."
"Iím . . . Iím sorry about Bill."
"Donít worry about him. Iíve handled worse." He was smiling again.
"Iíve never really understood his hatred of Mulder. I mean, Mulder didnít kill Melissa. Iím the one that took the assignment on the X-Files; Iím the one that stayed through it all. I guess he canít make himself blame me for her death. But the way he treated Mulder when he found the chip that . . . that cured my cancer Ė "
"I thought you werenít convinced about the value of the chip."
She looked away, then back, "Well I guess I am. If you ask me to go on the record, Iím not sure what hard evidence I could bring to the table other than myself, but . . . "
"You donít have to convince me, Dana."
"That was the first time Mulder actually met Bill. He tried to hide how hurt he was by Billís attitude. I was too sick at the time to try to make things easier. Maybe if I had tried to intercede . . . "
"Dana, its history. Mulder is a totally different kind of man than Bill. I understand Bill better than I do Mulder, Iím more like him, or I was. Mulder converted me." He chuckled, "He led me to the dark side, you too. Thatís what bothers Bill Ė he canít allow himself to believe the things you and I have seen, the things Mulder has known about all along. So he has to fight it. He cares about you Dana, heís your brother, but he canít . . . he canít handle all of this."
She sighed and leaned back on the couch.
"You getting tired?"
"A little, but Iím not sleepy." She leaned more comfortably into the pillows.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Of course." She turned to him.
"Bill did raise one question that I had as well. Wouldnít you be more comfortable staying with your mother right now?" He didnít expect that reaction. Her eyes grew moist and her color rose in her cheeks. "Dana?"
"I . . . I canít . . . Mom isnít exactly thrilled about the situation Iím in."
"I am having a child out of wedlock. Thatís not exactly a motherís dream for her daughter. I mean part of her is happy for me. She knows how much I want a child, ever since . . . but still . . ."
"Youíre a grown woman Dana. Surely she understands your relationship with Mulder."
She shook her head slightly, then looked up at him and smiled sadly. "I think I really do need you, Byers, Langly and Frohike to be my family for now."
"Well, youíve got us. Donít worry about that." She turned away and pulled a tissue from the box. "You okay?"
She nodded, "Hormones. Just ignore me." She blew her nose and took a shuddery breath.
"You should go back to bed. Iíll get out of here." The look of fear that flashed across her face startled him. "Or, I could stay, if you want."
"No, itís okay. You should go on home."
Now he regretted his statement. She would never admit she didnít want to be alone, but she also would never allow him to coddle her.
She rose and moved toward the door. "Dana, why donít I stay the rest of the night. Itís almost morning anyway Ė " Her look stopped him.
"Walter, donít. We both know Bill is not going to come over this late. I appreciate what youíre doing Ė what youíre all doing, but Iím not going to let you smother me. I have to be an equal member of the team."
"I canít promise that Dana. Intellectually yes, but physically . . . we have to be practical here. Thereís one and a half of you right now. When Mulder gets back I have to turn you over to him in perfect health. I refuse to do less."
She tilted her head back to keep the tears from escaping her eyes. "Iíll be glad to get this under control again."
"Donít worry about it. Iíll give you a call in the morning. Try to get a little sleep, okay?" She nodded and opened the door for him. He waited outside until he heard the bolt engage. Then he sighed and turned toward his car. Maybe he could get a couple of hours in before he had to get up and go to work. He did have other responsibilities than this case, this woman. It was just that none of them mattered as much to him. He sighed and pulled out his keys.Almost Family 3
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