She was awake when Anne tapped on the door late that afternoon. She stuck her head in and Scully motioned for her to stay quiet, then threw off the covers to rise. Anne’s eyes widened and she rushed to Scully’s side to offer her a hand.
Scully smiled her thanks and let Anne help her out to the living room. Anne still kept her voice low, but as soon as she had closed the bedroom door, she turned back to Scully. “Are you supposed to be up? Mulder won’t kill me, will he?”
“Right now you can outrun him. No really, I’ve been up several times. My strength is coming back and I need to help it along. Don’t worry about me. There is something I need to talk to you about.”
“Of course.” But Scully could tell the young woman was nervous. She had gained a lot of self-confidence since living in their community, but being alone with one of the leaders was still unnerving to her.
“I just wanted to ask about your living arrangements. You and Brittany share a house, don’t you?”
“Oh yes. She had plenty of room and when Maggie married Walter . . . “
Scully smiled, “Do you get along okay?”
Anne nodded, “We don’t spend a lot of time together, though we probably will spend more now that the gardens are played out. She’s incredible at growing things. Of course, there is Todd.” She smiled shyly and Scully watched the color pink up her cheeks.
“He seems like a very nice man.”
“He is. I can’t believe . . . He’s very good to me.”
“You deserve it Anne. Don’t forget that. I was wondering though, do you think there might be room for another person in your house?”
“Well, I’d have to check with Brittany, but I think the house is big enough. Who needs a place? Or did someone new come in?”
“Actually, Kelly might need a . . . “ Scully looked at the young woman in front of her and watched her obvious discomfort grow. “Anne?”
“Will, uh, will Kelly be staying here?”
So the rumor mill had gotten this far already. “Why wouldn’t she stay?”
“Everyone knows . . . I mean . . . “
“Anne, Kelly and Mulder were trapped overnight in the tool shed. Nothing happened, I trust Mulder. She helped keep him alive with a severe leg injury. She helped keep him from going into shock and together they survived possible hypothermia. I’m grateful to her.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t be. She . . . “ Anne looked away, wishing desperately someone else was here to have this conversation.
“Go ahead, Anne.” Scully touched the nervous woman’s hand.
“She’s made ‘comments’ before. She’s attracted to Mulder, she’s more than willing to offer herself to him, just like she has all the others since she came here.”
Scully felt the ice forming around her spine. Her fears that night were accurate. But Mulder hadn’t betrayed her – she was confident of that. Still, knowing that Kelly desired Mulder, had even discussed it, made her incredibly uncomfortable.
The sound of Mulder’s voice jerked her back to the present. “I need to get back to him.” Before she could rise, Katy’s cries rang out. “Great.” She chuckled.
“Why don’t you calm your husband, and I’ll try to calm your baby.” Anne helped her to her feet.
“I’m right here, Mulder.” He was watching her closely and she saw the relief on his face when he spotted her. No, this man could be trusted. His shoulders eased and she realized he had tried to get out of the bed. “Oh Mulder, did you pull your stitches?”
“No. Where were you?” He sounded petulant. He probably still had a fever.
“Just in the next room.” She sat beside him on the bed as Anne slipped out with Katy. They both watched her leave. “You need some more penicillin Mulder. Don’t try to get up again.”
“That’s my line.” But his eyes were closing. He grasped the hand she held against his cheek and pulled her down into his arms again. Well, she was tired. Hearing Anne’s hesitant words had been wearing. They would have been to any woman, but it had been so long since . . . No, she was his wife and he loved her. She let her eyes closed. She’d deal with Kelly later.
Scully was dressed and seated in the living room when Walter opened the door and let Kelly proceed him inside. The defiant look on her face didn’t quite cover her fear. She hadn’t expected Scully to be up and it flustered her a little.
“Kelly, won’t you sit down? Would you like some coffee or hot tea?”
“No thanks.” She unzipped her jacket but didn’t remove it.
“Is Katy asleep?” Walter glanced toward the bedroom.
“Yes, she just went down.” Scully smiled up at him.
“Then I’ll be back in a little while.” Walter didn’t look back at Kelly, instead heading back outside.
“Kelly, I wanted to see you,” the woman tensed up immediately. She’d been a fool, surely the man hadn’t told her everything s he’d said to him. No man cared that much about a single woman. “To thank you for helping keep my husband safe last night. With his injury and the temperature, he could easily have gone into shock.” Scully paused then, to see if Kelly had any comment.
Kelly was too dumbfounded to respond. This woman was thanking her? Scully realized what was happening and continued smoothly, taking up the slack in the conversation.
“What concerns me the most about last night, is that no one reported you missing in that weather. This is a small place, not really even a town yet – your roommates should have alerted us that you hadn’t come home.”
Kelly finally found her voice, “They don’t have to look after me.”
“But they do, Kelly. Here, we all have to look after each other. We don’t want something like this happening again. If you would me to help you find another place to stay – “
“Are you throwing me out?”
Scully paused again, “No Kelly. But I want you to be comfortable and safe with your surroundings. Brittany and Anne have room in their house if you’re interested. You don’t have to make a decision right now.”
“Yeah, okay. I’ll, uh, I’ll think about that.” She glanced around the room, maybe she was less uncomfortable than she had been, but not much. “Well, I guess I should be heading home.” She rose from the couch.
Scully looked up at her, “Thank you again, Kelly.” The woman nodded and walked to the door, bundling up as she went. She glanced back once more at the serene woman on the couch and let herself out.
The ‘serene’ woman closed her eyes in relief and felt exhaustion take over as the adrenaline dissipated from her bloodstream. After a moment she forced herself to rise and return to the bedroom. Both of her beloveds were asleep, so she removed her clothes and slipped into bed beside Mulder.
Walter had stopped by to report his new information to Scully. She was sitting on the bed beside Mulder. Walter relaxed in the easy chair they’d brought in for nursing when Katy was born. “I checked with her ‘roommates’. None of them knew her before they came this way. Two of the men are from the same Mufon group; the third joined them on their way here. They had all heard about your work and came to help out in anyway that they could. None of them remember asking her to accompany them, but when I asked, none refused her favors either. Apparently she just tagged along. She didn’t come here looking for anything but a place to be. She’s cut quite a swart through the male population since getting here too. That’s why no one reported her gone last night. The men she lives with are used to her not coming home. Guys, there’s no one here who seems to care about this woman.” He sighed, “personally I feel guilty as hell. It’s not easy to get here, I guess I thought the one who worked so hard for it, felt drawn here, that we all Mulder in common.”
Mulder started to speak but Scully’s hand on his arm stopped him. She knew he hadn’t completely accepted his role, though he had talked to most everyone about coming here by now.
“She came because the three men she picked up were headed this way.” Scully sighed. “Makes me real glad Beth checks each newcomer for disease.” Mulder and Walter both flinched slightly at that but she didn’t seem to notice. “Should we pressure her to move in with Anne and Brittany?”
“Those guys feel terrible about what happened. They’ll probably keep a closer eye on her now.”
“But like you said, no one here cares about her. I don’t know what to do.” Scully sighed again.
“Can we do anything? I mean, yeah, we kind of run this place, but we’ve never tried to dictate morals.” Mulder looked at both of them. “We can’t turn her out, especially this time of year and if we force someone to keep tabs on her, that seems like – I don’t know, parole or something.”
“Mulder, we can’t let something happen to her.” Mulder didn’t respond, just watching her. She finally looked away. He had a point, damn him.
“Okay, let’s sleep on this.” Walter stretched and stood. “I need to get home anyway. Put this aside tonight and maybe when we’re fresh . . .” He shrugged and leaned over to kiss Scully. “I’ll send Kevin over in the morning if there’s anything you need to see.” Walter let himself out and Scully stood to get ready for bed.
“This doesn’t look right.”
She stopped and looked back at him. “What?”
“You up and me stuck in this bed.” She smiled at him then.
“I don’t know, I kind of like it. Having you in bed all the time, at my mercy.”
“Why, Mrs. Mulder – what are you implying?”
She let her robe fall to the floor then and he realized she had been sitting there the whole time Walter was here, nude under that robe. His eyes widened and a slow grin grew on his face.
A few days later Kelly did move in with Brittany and Anne. It wasn’t a perfect solution and there was some tension, reported by Anne to Maggie, but both women were willing to accept her for now if it would help things.
Mulder’s leg was well enough that Scully agreed to his returning to work, at the office at least. Construction work had slowed to a crawl until the weather improved. Repairs only were the priority.
He emerged from the bathroom to find Scully dressing for outside. “Hold it, where do you think you’re going?”
“The clinic. I thought I’d start going over for a couple of hours each morning.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She just looked at him, she knew these arguments. “Scully, really. You’re doing a lot better, but - “
“But?” Her eyebrow was arched, as he’d come to expect when she thought he was being unreasonable.
“Well, what about Katy?”
“I thought I’d leave her here alone for a couple of hours. Let her fend for herself, don’t you think she’s old enough?” He couldn’t even sputter before he realized she was pissed at him. “Mulder, of course she’s going to the clinic with me. I can bundle her up; you can even walk us over to make sure everything is fine. How’s that?”
“Why can’t Beth handle it for a little longer?”
“She can. She’s just going to come in a little later. Mulder, it would help her if she could, maybe, sleep through the nausea in the mornings. It shouldn’t last that much longer.”
“Morning sick? I hadn’t . . . what did you do?”
“I slept late, like I’m advising her to do. Mulder, there weren’t that many of us here then. Just you, me, Todd, Brittany. Then she and Kevin arrived and Walter and the guys showed up. As I remember you threw a fit every time I went in because you thought I was doing too much. She was a huge help to us. I promise not to overdo, but I want to give her the same support she gave me. I remember how glad you were she here for the birth.”
He nodded, “You’re right. I hadn’t thought about . . . I’m immensely grateful to Beth for a lot of things, but you’re always my top priority.”
She smiled at that. “Good answer. I’ll be fine. Katy and I will probably just nap together. Not many people are out and about now anyway.”
He sighed, why did he never win one with this woman? “Okay, I’ll walk you over.”
“Not this time. I don’t want you on that leg more than just the walk to the office. When you’re better you can walk us.”
His eyes narrowed. “I know you’re my doctor, and my wife, and the mother of my daughter, but I am walking you to the clinic. I am carrying Katy and I will pick you up at lunch time to bring you back.”
She opened her mouth to respond, but stopped herself. As always his own well-being came after hers and the baby. It was part of the reason she adored him and was usually exasperated by him. Give in, this time.
The routine was established and even when Beth’s morning sickness passed, they continued the split shift, with Mulder helping her open the clinic if no one had stayed over. Frohike and Mulder had banded together and stood firm on overnights. If a patient had to stay, Langly slept there. The two husbands would not budge on that.
Mulder had already left when one of the older boys burst into the front of the clinic, startling Scully. She had to search for his name, “Phil?”
“Dr. Scully, they found a man, a stranger out in the snow. He may be frozen to death. They’re bringing him here.” Before she made it to the door, they were there. She recognized Todd leading the group, but they were all so bundled up she wasn’t sure who the rest were.
“In here. Phil there’s blankets next to the heater, grab them and replace them with new ones. Todd, can you get this stuff off of him?” Todd had shed his own coat by then and was working on him. The ice was already thawing in his beard and hair, so Scully turned to get a towel.
“Scully . . . “
His tone brought her head up immediately. “What?”
“He’s got an artificial arm.” He said it with no inflection, but t heir eyes locked. Then she was toweling the hair out of the man’s face. Shit! Todd leaned in closer so the others wouldn’t hear. “Want us to put him back?”
She gave him a tight smile. “Don’t tempt me. Maybe you better get Mulder and Walter over here.”
“I’ll send someone. You shouldn’t be alone with him even now.” With the messenger dispatched, they finished undressing the comatose man and covered him with the heated blankets.
It had been a while since they had seen Krycek - not long enough, but . . . He was thinner. She wondered if he’d been on the road for some time before getting caught in this. Maybe, he did look malnourished to her. Why had he been coming here? And where had he been coming from? He had some frostbite on his toes and fingers, but his internal temperature wasn’t dangerously low. He must have just collapsed when they found him.
She heard the commotion as the others arrived and looked up to see Mulder, Walter and Kevin come in the door.
“Kevin, you can take Katy home, but no farther.” His face colored slightly but he grinned at her. “He’s still out. Looks like he’s been on the road longer than usual.”
“Why here?” Mulder asked, expecting no answer and he got none. I’ll stay here to guard him. Todd, could you show Walter where you found him?”
“Sure.” Walter nodded and followed Todd out.
“You want me to stay Mulder?” Kevin returned to the room with a delighted Katy in his arms.
He shook his head, “Take Katy on to the house.”
“Kevin, I don’t know how long I’ll be.” Scully warned him.
“No problem, we’re buds now. Right Katy?” She grabbed his nose and laughed as he pretended to eat up her fingers. Scully smiled, Mulder’s mind was elsewhere.
Mulder settled in beside the bed. “Maybe you should go home too.”
“No way. Besides you don’t know how to treat him.”
“I’m still trying to decide if we should.”
She didn’t comment, exchanging the blanket for a newly warmed one. “I’m going to heat some broth for him. Want anything?” Mulder shook his head, he only look away from Krycek to see her slip out of the room. How could he justify her using her strength to look after this bastard?
When she returned with the soup she had Mulder help her elevate the man’s head. “Alex? Can you hear me? I want you to drink some of this.” She held the cup to his lips and though his eyes didn’t open he managed to swallow some, and then a little more. Finally he laid back and opened his eyes.
“I didn’t think I’d make it here.”
“You almost didn’t.’ Scully responded.
“Dana, you always pull at me.” Mulder growled then, drawing his attention. “I don’t think we’re alone.”
“You want to be alone? I can get you back to where you were.”
“Mulder, you’ll make me feel unwelcome.”
Mulder was in no mood to play. "Why are you here?"
"Don’t I even get a chance to rest?"
"No. I want you out of here as soon as possible."
Krycek’s face became serious then. "Mulder, I . . . I need a place to stay."
Mulder’s eyes widened, he couldn’t seem to find his voice. Scully looked at Mulder, then back at Krycek. "You want to live here?"
"No! Absolutely not!" Mulder’s voice returned with a vengeance. He turned to Scully; "I won’t have him here."
"Mulder - "
"He murdered my father and Melissa, he’s been behind some of the . . . Scully, he helped with your abduction!" She didn’t speak, just moving to be inside of his embrace. Krycek watched, his own aloneness uppermost in his mind.
"Why here Alex?" She asked it quietly.
"I . . . I want to belong somewhere."
Scully stared at him, her turn to be speechless. He was telling the truth.
"Well, it’s not going to be here." Mulder’s voice was hard, cold. "My family
lives here, the people you’ve hurt the most are here."
"I know that. You’re also the only humans I . . . I’m close to. If you’ll excuse the expression."
"They’ve sent you here to spy on us." Mulder’s arms tightened around Scully, he knew they were both thinking of Katy.
"Not this time. This wasn’t where I was instructed to go. I’m AWOL and I’m not going back."
"And I should believe you because . . . "
"Because it’s the truth. I know I’ll have to prove it to you, but I need that chance. I don’t expect to be set free here, and I know there’s no reason to trust me. Give me the scut work, put a guard on me, but let me stay. I could come in handy."
Mulder snorted at t hat, but said nothing as Scully placed her hand on his chest. "What?" He looked down at her.
"We need to talk." His look turned incredulous. She nodded and stepped away from him toward the door. "I wouldn’t attempt to get up Alex."
"Yes ma’am." He said it without irony. Mulder didn’t even look at him, following Scully from the room.
Once they had privacy he turned to her, "No Scully. Don’t ask me to accept him here."
"He fits the criteria, a past with you."
"Scully - "
"He belongs here. When I saw him, I knew it, like I’ve known the other things. I’m sorry, but he’s here for a reason."
"What reason?" Mulder almost snarled at her. "What possible reason could he have for being here?"
"I don’t know Mulder, but we have to do it." She wrapped her arms around his waist. "I’m sorry."
He pressed his lips to her hair and closed his eyes.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.