He returned carrying a pizza box and a paper bag. "You look like the veggie pizza type."
She smiled, "Yes, but you arenít."
"Iíll survive. My system should be able to withstand the shock. This is for you too." At her questioning look he added, "I figure you donít have a toothbrush with you."
She took the bag from him and opened it. "Or a pregnancy test?"
"You need to know. It affects what you do, how you proceed with whatever happens next."
"Iím not pregnant Mulder."
"Fine. Are you afraid to prove it?"
She stiffened at that and rose from the couch, the bag in her hand. "Sometimes I forget about that Ph.D. in psychology."
"You know about that too?"
"Oxford? Sure." She started across the room, then stopped. "Was Phoebe there?"
"God, you even know about Phoebe?"
"Great. You have no memory of me, but that bitch still gets a response." She turned on her heel then and stalked into the bathroom. He sat there with no possible retort, only a bemused look on his face.
He roused himself and found clean plates for the pizza. He had to search, but finally located some tea bags for her.
"Can I help?" He hadnít heard her come up behind him.
"Well?" Maybe it was none of his business, but he was curious as hell.
"I donít know yet."
"Okay. You want tea?"
"Sure. I. . . I gave you this, so youíd have some when I came over."
"Actually, I think this was here when I moved in. Come on, you need to eat."
Even with the vegetables, he out ate her three slices to one. "You need more than that."
"Itís plenty for now. Maybe Iíll have more later, if you leave me any."
He stuck his tongue out at her without thinking. She grinned and rose to put the plates in the kitchen.
How could he possibly be this comfortable with a strange woman - letís face it, a very strange woman - in one day? She wasnít right, he knew exactly where heíd been for the last five years - he remembered every horrendous moment of it. But he couldnít help but know that his life would have been better if she really had been there. He shook that thought off, she was obviously delusional, but not, he thought, dangerous.
He looked up to see her watching him from the doorway, apparently reading him like an open book. He could feel the color rising on his face. She turned back drying her hands. When she returned he asked, "Whatís with the computer?"
"I, uh, I was checking on some cases we didnít handle in this reality."
"It looks like our partnership wasnít all bad, Mulder. We did do some good. Tooms got his fifth victim, the mother of three and vanished. A strange being that was nicknamed Ďflukemaní killed over a dozen people in Newark before he was captured and killed. You and I caught him after only two deaths. Young black men are still disappearing in Philadelphia and the bodies that have been found are leeched of all pigment. Thereís no mention anywhere of Samuel Aboah.
"In Cleveland, seven women are on the list of missing and three have been found in such an advanced state of decay that it has to be Virgil Incanto. Here in Washington, Nurse Innes finally committed suicide after killing four more women after we had been called in, but since we were never called in. . . And most recently is the outbreak of an extremely virulent form of smallpox in Payson, South Carolina. Iím sure thereís more, but I found these almost immediately."
"I donít understand."
"Itís cases we solved, lives we saved because we were together. Not everything was taken from us. . . " Her voice trailed off. He knew he had to broach the subject again.
"Arenít you going to check?" He nodded toward the bathroom.
"I already know the answer."
"Mind if I check then?"
She shrugged. "Go ahead."
He wasnít gone long, then rejoined her on the couch. "See I told you. . ." she started, then looked at his face and stopped as the breath left her body. He held out the small plastic stick to her. "No. . . no. . ." It was barely a whisper.
Rather than analyze his movement, he gathered her to his chest. He was afraid she was slipping into shock. "Scully? Breathe."
"I canít. . . I donít know him! Mulder, I donít know that man! I donít want his baby, I only want. . ." she froze, she couldnít say that. She couldnít admit that, even to herself. Now what was she going to do?
His finger under her chin lifted her eyes to his. No! She closed her own eyes, she couldnít face him. "Scully." His arm tightened around her. "Scully, I donít know whatís going on, but whatever it is, Iím so glad you came looking for me today. Whatever happens, I believe this is the best day of my life."
She opened her eyes then and saw the truth of his words in his own. Nothing could keep them apart, whatever was done to them, theyíd find a way back to each other.
"You look tired. You should go on to bed."
"I need to call Jim. I donít want him calling the police." He nodded and started to stand to leave her some privacy. "No, please donít go." He settled back on the couch while she called information to get what was supposed to be her own home number.
The phone was answered before the first ring was completed. "Hello!"
"Dana, are you okay?" He sounded frantic.
"Iím fine. I just wanted you to know I was okay and not to worry."
"Not to worry!" Now he was obviously angry and exasperated. "Where are you Dana? Let me come get you and bring you home."
"Not yet. I still need some time."
"How much time? Dana, youíre not well. Let me look after you, please." She could hear some commotion in the background. "Bill wants to talk to you."
Before she could refuse, the voice of a young boy said, "Mommy? When are you coming home?"
"Bi. . . Bill? Iím not sure. Did you have a good time last night?"
"Yeah! Grandma let us stay up late, but Tammyís bossy."
"Lit. . . little girls can be like that. Iíll try to get home soon, Bill. Let me talk to your Daddy please."
"Okay, love you."
"I love you too, Honey." Her nails were digging into his hand but he didnít try to loosen her grip, she seemed to be in so much pain. "Jim?"
"Iím here. Did you mean what you said to him?"
"Jim, please give me this time. Iím very confused."
"I havenít said anything to your mother or Melissa. They think youíre consulting on a case."
"Do you have any idea. . .?"
"No. But Iíll be in touch, Iíll call you tomorrow."
"I love you Dana. I need you, we need you, to come home."
"Good bye." Mulder took the phone from her shaking hand and replaced it.
After a couple of minutes he spoke, "You need to lie down. Come on, let me help you to bed."
"You have an actual bed?" She was trying to focus on here, on now. Not keep hearing the voice of a child that might be her son echoing in her ears.
"Sure I do, I just donít use it often." He wasnít at all sure sheíd be on her feet if he let go of her. Once he sat her on the bed he scroughed through his drawers and came up with a Knicks t-shirt for her to sleep in.
She gave a faint smile. "I think I slept in that the last time I was here."
"Did that happen often?"
"Never in that way." His face fell a little. "I think that was my fault too. Could you stay in here with me? Please, I donít want to be alone right now."
"Whatever you need, Scully." He was hooked and landed, it didnít matter who she was.
He left the room long enough for her to change and returned as soon as she called to him. He started to move a chair closer to the bed. "No, I need you closer than that tonight, Mulder." He actually looked a little frightened at that. "Donít worry, Iím not trying to seduce you. And you wonít get me pregnant. I just need you to hold me. Please?"
Eager didnít even cover it, but was it a trap? No, this woman wouldnít do that.
"Sure, let me change."
She nodded and he took some clothes in the bathroom. He returned shortly in t-shirt and sweatpants.
"Which, uh, which side do you want?"
"It doesnít matter."
"Okay, come here." He crawled into the bed and spooned her up against him. "Youíre shaking, are you cold?"
"No." He didnít pursue it. Eventually she did relax and her even breathing told him she was asleep. He never slept anyway and he was very comfortable - probably the most comfortable heíd ever been in this bed.
He let his thoughts drift back over the day. This woman knew things most people didnít. Things he couldnít imagine anyone even wanting to find out about him.
Why had he thought of her as short? She fit perfectly against him. Of course, the fact that she was another manís wife, carrying another man's child, should weigh heavily in his thoughts - why didnít it? This wasnít his style. Of course he hadnít had much of a style in years.
She jerked in her sleep and his arms automatically tightened around her.
"Mulder. . . please. . ." she was whimpering, but he realized she was still asleep. "Muld. . . no. No!" she woke, shaking again.
"Itís okay Scully. Iím right here. Are you okay?"
"Iím. . . Iím fine." She was staring into the darkness.
"That feels like the first lie youíve told me."
"I will be okay."
"Right now Iím worried about you physically." She didnít comment. "Scully, how are you feeling?"
"Iíve felt better."
"Is it the pregnancy?"
"I donít know. I have no memory of ever being pregnant before. Please donít worry about it." Her tone told him the subject was closed.
"Just remember, if I let anything happen to you I have to answer to this Jim Landers. Do you think I can take him?" He grinned down at her.
"I donít think you have to worry."
"Go back to sleep Scully. Iím right here."
She woke the next morning knowing immediately it was Mulderís arms cradling her so protectively. She tried to analyze her physical sensations - nausea? Not really, nor an upset stomach - just a mild cramping. But she was definitely going to wet the bed if she didnít get up. His arms tightened around her in his sleep. "Itís okay Mulder. Iíll be right back."
He mumbled, but released her. When she returned he was awake and watching her.
She started to say yes, but a wave of dizziness made her grab the door facing. He was beside her instantly.
"Itís okay, I was just a little dizzy."
"Iíll make you some tea."
"Thanks, that would be nice." He sat her on the bed. "I am okay."
"Good. Iíll be right back." He eyed her one more time before leaving the room. He knew in his mind he had never seen her before yesterday, but in his heart he knew she didnít look at all herself and definitely not well. At least sheíd gotten a little rest last night. He put the water on for her tea and looked around to see if there was anything here he could offer her to eat. No, heíd have to go pick up some things.
He hadnít heard her approach. "Mulder, I. . . ohhhh."
He turned in time to see her drop to her knees, her arms around her middle. He knelt beside her. "Scully?"
"I think. . . I think there's a problem." An understatement if he'd ever heard one.
"Just relax." He gathered her into his arms. "Iíll get you to the hospital. Just hang on Scully."
"Mulder. . . " She clutched at his t-shirt and the world went dark.
She woke to crisp sheets and the unmistakable aroma of hospital. What was she. . . ? Memory flooded her.
"Right here. Iím right here, Scully." She felt his hand close over hers and she took a shaky breath. She couldn't look at him yet.
"Did I lose the baby?"
She opened her eyes then and saw the confusion on his face. She saw something else there too, but even tired those deeply etched lines were gone from his face and she couldnít see any gray hair. His body was filled out with muscle and he just looked at least ten years younger. Was she. . . ?
"Do you know who I am?"
"Well I thought I did. What baby?"
"Donít. . . it was just part of a dream."
She looked into his eyes then and nodded slightly. "What happened to me?"
"I donít know. You didnít show up for work on Wednesday. I went to your apartment and found you unconscious on the floor. They said you were in a coma but your tox screen was negative and there was no sign of trauma."
"Is Melissa dead?"
He nodded slowly, at a loss to follow her train of thought. He watched tears form in her eyes. "I think what happened to me was a gift."
"A gift? I don't follow."
"To show me how things really are. I do have a life Mulder, a good life. The things I thought were missing don't mean what I thought they did. I've done a lot of good with you, more than I ever knew. If I hadn't joined the FBI, become your partner, I wouldn't be who I am today. And this is who I want to be."
"Scully, I've cost you so much."
"I know that's what you believe. Maybe I did too, a little. We were both wrong. This is what should be, you and I together. I'm positive of that now."
"What was your dream Scully?"
"I need to process it myself first Mulder. But I will share it with you. I'll share it all with you Mulder." His eyes widened in wonder as she brought his fingers to her lips. She kissed his fingers as he watched her but kept silent, his mind reeling at the possibilities ahead.>
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.