She swallowed hard, he was either a very good actor or . . . or he did love her. She wasnít sure which scared her more.
"Iíll come to your place. Missy had other plans anyway. This would free her to do that. Iíll get a few things together." She rose from the couch and disappeared into her bedroom. He just stood there, too relieved and stunned to comment.
Melissa knocked quite loudly on the door when she returned and Mulder opened it with a sheepish grin. "I suppose I should be glad youíre this protective of my sister, right?"
"Absolutely." He watched her take the bag on into Danaís bedroom. Her expression when she emerged was more than a little bemused but she made no comment until she reached the door.
"Donít hurt her." And she was out the door before he could comment. He was still figuring out what he should say to that when Dana returned to the living room.
She was carrying an overnight bag; ready to go off with him despite how he had treated her. He felt humbled by her; she wasnít the type of woman he was accustomed to. "Iím ready."
"We have to do a few things first." Her voice bringing him back to the present. "I want to leave the lights on and find an all-talk radio station." She obediently went to her stereo and manipulated the dials while he adjusted the lights in the apartment to his satisfaction. He returned to the living room and bent down, removing his second gun from his ankle holster.
"Have you ever shot a gun?"
"No, not like this. I used a BB gun as a child."
"Well, this oneís simple." He released the safety and ratcheted a bullet into the chamber. Then he handed it to her.
She stepped back. "Why?"
"I have to leave you alone for a few minutes. I donít want you going out the front door. Theyíll know youíre gone then. I want to move my car like Iím leaving. Iíll make sure Iím not followed and pull into the service alley. If youíll let me have a key to your back door, Iíll let myself in and get you out of here."
"Mulder, I Ė "
"Listen, this is the best way. Your sisterís gone for the evening and I wonít be coming back to the front door. Donít answer it, no matter who comes to the door. Donít even be in line of fire from it."
"Are you trying to scare me?"
"If it will keep you alive, yes. Can I have the key?" He held out his hand. She reached into her purse, took out her ring of keys and handed it to him. "No, just the key to the back door. You keep your car key. If anything happens to me, you take off, go to this address." He handed her a scrap of paper. "They can protect you."
Her hand was shaking as she reached for the paper. "Do you think somethingís going to happen to you?"
"No. But I want you safe regardless. These guys are more paranoid than I am. Theyíll find a place to hide you for as long as necessary. I trust them."
She nodded slowly and he motioned her away from the door, then let himself out. She tensed, expecting gunfire. How the hell had she gotten herself into something like this?
Since she wasnít allowed to get near the windows or doors, she finally settled at the kitchen table. She felt the paper crackle in her coat pocket and pulled it back out, memorizing the address. How long had he wanted her to wait for him? Probably not all night, he hadnít wanted her to be alone. Who were these guys he was entrusting her to if anything . . . no, donít even think it.
The next eighteen minutes were the longest of her life. When she heard the key in the door she jerked to her feet, the gun in her hand, pointed at the backdoor. He let himself in and stopped at the sight of her, holding his hands out from his sides. "Dana?"
She let her arm fall back to her side. The gun slipped out of her hand and onto the table. Then she threw her arms around him. His hesitation was minimal, and his arms encircled her as well. When she got her breathing back under control she stepped back and he allowed it.
"Iím sorry, I Ė " She didnít look up at him.
"Donít ever be sorry for that." He was already struggling not to pull her back against him. "We need to get out of here. You have everything?" She nodded. "Okay, put the gun in your pocket, but keep your hand on it. When we get to the car, youíre getting in the back and lying down, out of sight. Iím the only one I want anyone to see in the car." She nodded again and he took her arm with his free hand, his gun drawn.
He sped away even as she was closing her door and it was several minutes before he spoke. "Are you okay?" Even now he didnít turn to look.
"Iím fine. Do you see anyone?"
"No, but Iím not willing to trust myself alone."
She decided not to respond to that, just remaining silent. The trip wasnít that long, at least it didnít seem that way after the wait back at her apartment.
They slipped into his building again through the back and he escorted her to the apartment. He let her in and locked the door behind them. She stood in the entry looking around.
"Not much to look at, is it?" He stood behind her, observing her.
"Well, itís not what I expected."
She realized he was looking down at her now, standing much too close, but she didnít move away. "What were you expecting? A mirrored ball in the living room, leather and chains?"
"Yeah, I guess something like that."
He gave a mirthless chuckle, "No. In fact, I believe youíre the first woman Iíve ever brought here."
At that she looked up at him, startled. He shrugged and moved past her to take her suitcase into the bedroom. She followed in time to see him gathering clothes up from the chair and floor. "Sorry, I wasnít exactly expecting company."
"If itís too much trouble having me here Ė "
"No! I mean, no, its not too much trouble. I should keep the place up better anyway. I just donít spend a lot of time here." He leaned over and began stripping the bed.
"I can do that."
"Itís okay. Theyíre probably clean, just dusty. I usually sleep on the couch."
"Why?" She was watching him now. Here was the only man sheíd ever slept with and she was learning more about him standing here than making love with him.
Again he shrugged, "Itís just easier and I usually fall asleep to the TV if I sleep at all."
She decided not to push, they werenít involved any longer and it was none of her business. She took her side of the sheet and helped remake the bed.
When they were finished he straightened up, "Well, I guess youíre tired. The bathroom is through there. Iíll . . . IĎll see you in the morning. Keep the gun by the bed, okay?"
She nodded and waited for him to leave the room before easing herself down on the bed. What an incredible twenty-four hours. She was still reeling from the fact that she had actually fought off her attackers, thanks mostly to the paranoia he had placed in her mind and now she had left her home under cover of darkness and was hiding out Ė with him.
Dana pulled out her nightgown. Sheíd wanted to bring pajamas but they were in the dirty clothes and she couldnít take them out and bring them here. Well, it wasnít really a provocative gown; not that he would see it anyway. Stan had liked the provocative lingerie, not that it mattered in the long run, but heíd bought her enough of it. She shook her head to rid herself of thoughts of him. She was tired, at least emotionally; bed was probably the best thing.
She jerked awake at the sound. What? Where was she? Before panic could take a firm hold she remembered, Mulderís apartment. But what was the noise? She reached for the gun on the bedside table and rose. Was he in trouble? Had they come for her?
She eased the door open, the gun in her hand. He was on the couch but she didnít see anyone else. The TV was on, she could see the light flickering, but that wasnít the sound that had woken her. That was only white noise. Then she heard it again, it was him, moaning, fighting something.
Just to make sure she glanced over at the door. The chain was still on and it was the only door. They were four flights up. Dana laid her gun on the table and moved closer to him, "No, no!"
"Mulder wake up." He didnít hear her; he was listening to something else. She moved closer still. He was becoming more agitated. The afghan covering him had slipped to the floor. He was wearing boxers and a t-shirt, but she was remembering him nude. She shook her head, that was over. Hadnít she been duped by him, slept with him and then he had bolted with that stupid story that being with him put her in danger.
But heíd been right, she had been in danger. Was in danger. Theyíd tried to take her like they had Stan and he was dead. Stan had crossed them, sold information about them. She had done neither.
"No . . . Dana . . . donít . . . no."
That decided her, whatever it was she was part of his nightmare. "Mulder." She placed her hand on his chest. He jerked awake lunging for his gun. "Mulder, itís me. You were dreaming."
He fell back, his hands over his eyes. "I could have killed you. Donít Ė "
"You were calling out my name."
He didnít comment, looking away from her now. His eyes were forced back to her when she sat down on the edge of the couch and rested her hand on his stomach. His physical response was beyond his control though she seemed to take no notice.
"I wasnít just a conquest, a one-night stand."
"No!" He managed to get out, though it sounded more like a growl.
"What surprised me the most," she continued as though he hadnít spoken, "is that even through my anger and humiliation, I still craved your body. Iíd say right now that the same is true of you."
"Dana Ė "
"You said you loved me."
"But you donít want to be with me."
"I want to be with you, but I didnít want to put you in danger. Thatís a moot point now. Youíre already in danger and itís my fault. They found out we were together, and they got me out of town to make their move. Iím back and Iím going to keep you safe. Iím going to teach you how to look after yourself too. Youíre going to learn to shoot, learn hand to hand combat, learn to drive aggressively. Youíve got to be ready. If anything happens to me Ė " her hand seemed to clutch at his skin at those words. "Dana?"
"I donít want anything to happen to you. Is being with me putting you in the same danger you say Iím in?"
"Iíve been in danger a long time, I guess Iím used to it. When you donít care about anyone it doesnít really matter."
"Are we going to be killed?"
"Iím not going to let them have you, I told you. Iíll do whatever it takes to keep you safe."
"Iíd feel safe in here with you."
"What?" He could not have heard those words, not those.
"That night, in your arms, I never felt safer." He just looked at her; too stunned, too hopeful to make a sound. "Mulder?"
"I . . . I hurt you."
"I know what you did. I understand it now. I want you to teach me those things, like you taught me a couple of nights ago. I want to learn more about that too."
"Dana Ė " She leaned forward, her breasts pressing against his chest as her lips pressed against his. "What are you . . . "
"I have no experience seducing a man, if Iím doing this wrongĖ "
"Not wrong, never wrong. Dana are you sure about this? I canít push you; I canít even ask you . . . " Her lips took the rest of his words. Her hand moved down from his stomach and he moaned as he caught it, stopping her. "I donít deserve you."
"We seem kind of intertwined now, donít you think?
"I want you Dana, you know I want you, but how can I even Ė "
"Shut up and kiss me Agent Mulder. Itís my decision and Iíve made it." Her hand closed around his inner thigh and all of his good intentions vanished. His hand now on the back of her head, pressing her lips closer to his.
He broke away a few minutes later. "The bed would be more comfortable."
"No. I want to stay here, where you sleep. Itís what you really want." He blinked, how did she know that fantasy? Heíd wanted to be here with her since they . . . he groaned again, she didnít need any further tutoring as far as he was concerned.
They were both in the kitchen, attempting to prepare something to eat from the supplies on hand. It was becoming comical. He heard his cell phone and retreated gratefully from the fray, dusting his hands.
"Get out Mulder, get out now!"Assignment 2
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.