A Wonderful Life (R)


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She jerked awake, breathing heavily. A nightmare? She didnít remember a dream but it must have been bad. She tried to calm herself.

"Dana? Are you okay?"

She scrambled from the bed. Who the hell was he and why was he in her bed? What had happened?

"Dana? Relax, you had a bad dream. Itís okay." He too had left the bed and was approaching her slowly, arms spread - to reassure her or grab her? She broke for her bedside table and jerked the drawer open - her gun was gone.

"Please wake up, Dana. Youíre scaring me. Iím not going to hurt you, Sweetheart. Please." He backed away from her giving her room.

She straightened up and faced him. Whatever was going on she needed to regain control. She should be able to hold her own against him. She took in his appearance. This man was 5í9", maybe 5í10", blond hair long enough to curl at his ears and concerned blue eyes. He wasnít armed, that was fairly obvious since he was wearing only shorts. He must work out, his shoulders and chest were pretty well defined and he had a thick thatch of light hair on his chest.

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" She hadnít gone out and even if she had it wouldnít have been to a bar or anyplace she might pick up. . . no!

"Dana, itís me. Itís Jim Ė your husband, Dana."

She jerked back at that startled. "What are you talking about? I donít know who you are."

He sat carefully on the edge of the bed. "I donít know whatís happening Dana. Iím your husband, Jim Landers." Her eyes narrowed but she didnít interrupt him. "Weíve been married five years. Iím not sure what to say, Honey. You havenít had a nightmare like this since you were carrying Bill."

What had he said? And who was Bill? He read the confusion in her eyes.

"Our son, Dana. Heís almost three." She shook her head at that. Now she knew he was lying.

"Thatís not possible." It was a whisper.

"Maybe thatís it, Dana? The nightmare, the confusion - maybe youíre finally pregnant again."

He couldnít disguise the joy in his eyes or the despair that grew there as he recognized the pain and horror in her own eyes.

"Dana, please. Try to get some rest, maybe youíll feel better, more yourself, in the morning. Iíll. . . Iíll sleep in Billís room. Please try to sleep. Please Dana, Iím scared for you. I wonít bother you. If youíre not feeling better in the morning weíll call Larry."

"Larry?"

"Heís your friend and co-worker. . .a doctor."

"Iím a doctor?" Thank god they hadnít taken that from her too.

"The best pathologist at Georgetown."

There was a pause as they watched each other. Finally he sighed, "Iíll be just down the hall if you need me. Please Dana, call me if you need anything. Iíd never hurt you."

He turned then and went out the door, leaving it open. She hurried to it, shutting and locking it behind him.

Whoever was orchestrating this knew her. That shot about a son and a possible pregnancy - whoever it was knew her vulnerable points. Where was Mulder? Was he looking for her? She had to find him.

There was a phone here, it might be tapped but if it gave Mulder the chance to trace the call it didnít matter. Dialtone! She quickly dialed his number. It rang twice, then "The number you have dialed is not a working number. If you feel you have reached this number in error. . . " She hung up on the mechanical voice.

Not a working number. What had they done with Mulder? Where was he? What had happened to him? There wasnít a lot she could do from here tonight. Sheíd have to wait until morning. She might as well try to rest; she had no idea what would happen next.

She dressed to prepare herself for whatever came, then lay on the bed and tried to relax. She did sleep a little, but was awake when the man calling himself Jim knocked on her door.

"Dana? Are you awake? I have coffee for you. Please open the door." His eyes lightened as she opened the door. "Itís decaf, in case you are pregnant. I remember how careful you were before."

When she refused the cup his face fell again. "Itís safe, Dana." He took a drink himself. "Dana?"

She took the cup from him and he heard her almost inaudible, "thanks." He gave her a faint smile.

"You. . . you say we have a son?" Jim nodded. "Where is he?"

"At your motherís house. Melissa and Carl are in town with Tammy and Greg. He wanted to spend the night with his cousins and your mother thought that was a great idea."

"Melissa? Melissaís alive?" She managed to get the coffee cup to the dresser without spilling any.

"Alive? What do you mean? Sheís fine. We saw her yesterday."

Stay in control, Dana. He could say anything. You know heís done his homework, but itís just words. Thereís no three-year-old boy here; youíve only his word that Melissa is alive. You know thatís a lie. Heís only planted the idea you might be pregnant - thereís no obvious proof of it. Donít let him do this to you. Get out now and find Mulder. She stepped around him and glanced around for her purse.

"Dana, please. Youíre in no shape to go to work. Let me call Larry, tell him youíre not coming in and. . . and that he should come see you."

"No. I have to check on something. Donít try to stop me."

"Dana." His eyes were filled with tears. Theyíd hired a good actor, but it wouldnít work. She knew the truth. She wasnít crazy or delusional; she was Dana Scully, Fox Mulderís partner. Sheíd never been married, she couldnít have children and Melissa had been murdered by mistake instead of her. These were truths, now she had to find Mulder and expose the people trying to drive her crazy.

She tried her key on the car parked directly in front of the townhouse and it fit. She drove around the corner and stopped, watching to see if anyone followed her. While waiting she went through her purse. No FBI ID, no gun. She had some cash and credit cards in the name of Dana Landers. The joint checking account for James and Dana Landers had a healthy balance. Oh god! A picture of a little boy with strawberry blond hair and big blue eyes. Was he hers? No, that was impossible. No more pictures, they were too easily doctored. She stuffed everything back in her purse. She had to find Mulder.

She drove to the FBI building and joined a tour to get inside. It was easy enough to slip away from them, as well as she knew the building. She stole a pad off of a desk, holding it to obscure her visitorís badge. She hurried to the basement, to their office. His name wasnít on the door and it wasnít locked. She opened the door cautiously - storage? This was no office and from the dust had never been one. Where the hell was Mulder? Was he in DC? Hell, was he alive? Her heart clutched at that thought. She stumbled back to the elevator. Now what?

An empty desk gave her access to a phone. The switchboard - theyíd know if he were supposed to be here. According to them he was on the fifth floor - Siberia. But he was here, thatís all that mattered. She slipped off the elevator on fifth. If you looked like you knew what you were doing, no one bothered you. She hesitated, orienting herself on this unfamiliar floor. There he was! Oh, he did not look good. Had he been sick? How had he gotten those lines in his face and he was a little hunched over - not standing erect. That was gray in his hair. What had happened to him? He spoke to no one as he made his way to his office; he didnít even look at anyone. Well, that hadnít changed.

She slipped into the office as he was closing the door. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Mulder, do you know me?"

"What?" His eyes were wary and more than a little pissed.

"Mulder, please. Tell me you know who I am!"

"Listen lady, I donít know whatís going on here, but if this is some kind of a joke, itís not funny." She clutched the side of the desk to stay on her feet. "Hey, are you okay?"

"No, no nothingís okay." She sank into his chair and he looked at her carefully for the first time. This was one lovely woman, obviously under a lot of stress, but still beautiful. Strange he wasnít usually attracted to redheads and she was too short, but those eyes seemed to hold him. They were full of tears, but she hadnít let any fall. Nice body, perfectly proportioned - great Mulder, at least you havenít done anything out of character, like grow up.

"Look, Miss. . . uh. . . "

"Scully. Just call me Scully. We need to go somewhere we can talk."

"Yeah, right. Your place or mine?" He was trying to lighten the mood.

"Yours. And we need to take your car." He gaped at her. "Come on."

"Wait a minute, Scu. . . Scully? Is that right?" She nodded. "I. . . I donít know what to say."

"We canít talk here anyway. Please Mulder, I need you to listen to me."

Why the hell was he still in here? This had to be another horrible practical joke from some of his more psychotic fellow agents. So why did he find himself nodding and taking her arm? "Iíll listen, but. . . "

"Thatís all Iím asking Mulder." She headed out the door. He noted she knew her way to the parking garage and picked out his car with no prompting from him. Had she been stalking him? And why did that thought not bother him too much?

Well, the phone number might be different, but the apartment was basically the same, a little messier but the couch was here. She never thought sheíd be so happy to see the damn thing. She headed immediately for the cabinet where he kept his videos. They were there. She closed the cabinet and turned to face his saucer-sized eyes, making no comment on them. "Have you had the apartment swept for bugs lately?"

"What? Itís not exactly been necessary. Can I get you anything?" If she wasnít going to mention the videos he certainly wasnít.

"No, Iím fine." She settled herself on the couch, relaxing slightly for the first time in hours.

"Okay." He joined her on the couch; "You want to tell me whatís going on?"

She took a deep breath. "Look at me, Mulder. Do you really not recognize me? Iím Scully, Dana Scully. Iím your partner - we work together on the X-Files. Tell me you remember me, Mulder."

His eyes had narrowed at the mention of the X-Files. He leaned toward her, "Who sent you here? What kind of joke is this? How did you hear about the X-Files?"

"No one sent me. The X-Files is what we do, Mulder. For five years now! Mulder, please!"

"Keep talking."

"Five years ago, Section Chief Blevins assigned me to you. You were working in the basement. I was assigned to debunk your work because of my background in the hard sciences and medicine. But it didnít work out their way. I couldnít debunk the X-Files or you. Together our solve rate is incredible. Iíve seen things I canít explain, but we, together we. . . "

"You think weíve working together for the past five years?"

"Well, not all the time. They closed the X-Files for awhile when we got too close to the truth. We still managed to work together covertly. Then I was abducted." He jerked back from her at that. "I was missing for several months, then returned to you in a coma. I nearly died, but your strength pulled me back." His face was more drawn now and more pale - was he listening or in fear because heíd allowed an insane woman in his apartment? She plunged on, desperate to make him understand.

"Shortly after that I found an implant in the back of my neck. I had it removed, but then I developed cancer. You save me again, Mulder. You found another implant and when you talked me into putting it in my neck, the cancer went into remission." She searched his face and her shoulders slumped. "You think Iím crazy." She buried her face in her hands.

"Wait. I didnít say you were crazy. I donít know whatís going on though. Letís see, five years ago. Yes, Iíd found the X-Files, but Iíve never had a chance to look into them. I worked in the VCS then, profiling."

"Monty Props." She looked up at him.

He gave a slight smile. "Yeah, that was a tough one." He didnít think about how she would know that. "Others followed. It was rough."

"You let yourself get too close. Thatís why I discourage it so."

"Then Iím extra sorry you werenít around. About four years ago I had a breakdown. I was out of work a couple of months. When I got back I plunged right back in."

"Oh Mulder." She was gripping his hand.

"The second breakdown convinced them I needed a different assignment. I was out nearly six months that time. Now I work domestic, wire taps, but hey, I didnít lose my pension." The bittersweet smile nearly brought her back to tears. If sheíd been here this wouldnít have happened - she could have protected him from this. What had they done?

"So, where have you really been all my life?"

That did elicit a shaky sob. He squeezed her hand and she drew a deep breath. "I woke up in the middle of the night last night, from a bad dream, or something. There was a strange man in my bed. He said his name was Jim Landers and that he was my husband. He said weíd been married for five years and have a son, and. . . and may be having another baby." His eyes tracked to her stomach but he kept quiet.

"I never saw him before Mulder. I donít even know if he really thinks heís telling the truth. I didnít see a child though there was evidence of one. Why canít I feel anything for a man Iím supposed to be sharing my life with? Am I going crazy?"

"I doubt it, but I donít have any answers for you. I need to think about this."

"Did you ever find Samantha?" That caused the blood to drain from his face.

"How do you know about Samantha?"

"You told me, Mulder. On our first case. I came to you afraid and you made it better. It was the beginning of our partnership, our trust in each other. Mulder, how do I forget that and live in this life? I donít know if I can."

She rose from the couch. "Wait!" He reached for her.

"Iím just going to your bathroom." She stopped and turned back towards him. "When your father was murdered. . ."

"My fatherís not dead." He interrupted.

She froze - his father hadnít been murdered, Melissa hadnít been murdered. So many deaths because they had been together. Because of them Melissa hadnít lived to bear two children, and sheíd had no children herself. Why couldnít they be together and still have. . . still have. . . He watched the blood drain from her face and reached her before her body hit the floor.

She came to with Mulder leaning over her. "Scully? Can you hear me?"

"Iím okay." His hand on her shoulder forestalled movement on her part.

"When did you last eat? I know you missed lunch."

"I donít know. I had half a cup of coffee for breakfast."

"Jesus, Scully! No matter whatís going on you have to look after yourself. You said yourself you may be pregnant."

"Iím not. I canít be Mulder. During the abduction, tests were conducted that . . . that left me barren."

"Murders, abduction, cancer, sterility - thatís the life you want to get back to?"

"Maybe I am insane, but Mulder, that was my real life, with you."

He wasnít sure what to say to that. Whoever this woman was, she was already under his skin. Heíd protect her to the best of his abilities. "Listen, I want you to stay here. Iím going to go get something for you to eat. Just stay here."

"Will you come back?"

"Hey, itís my place." She closed her eyes. "Will you be okay while Iím gone?"

"Sure." She wasnít able to say any more. He nodded and reached for his jacket. If she wasnít mistaken he was already standing straighter.

There had to have been some good from their partnership. She had to find some positives. Her eyes fell on his computer. Maybe she could find out something. She searched her memory for dates and locations of past cases. Eugene Tooms! She booted up his computer and began her search.

*****

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.


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