His phone rang at 4:30 the next morning. He answered it blearily. “Yeah?”
“Mulder? Wake up.”
“Yeah. Get dressed; we’ve located that Roche fellow. Patterson wants you and me to question him. We’ve got to get to Boston. They can’t hold him long.”
“I can meet you at the airport.”
“Hurry.” Reggie hung up and Mulder hurried to the shower.
Once on the plane Reggie brought Mulder up to date. “They have him for questioning, but we’ve got nothing to charge him with right now. I’m not sure where to go from here.”
“We need a search warrant for his truck. That’s were he hides the evidence.”
“Mulder - "
“I know. I know my ‘information’ can’t be the basis of a warrant, but I do know where the evidence is. We have to approach him as a person of interest. We’ve got to tie to him to something concrete.” They opened the files Reggie had brought and began to study them.
Mulder watched the cool, self possessed man be led into the interrogation room. Roche seemed mildly amused and not the least worried.
“So,” Mulder waited until he was seated. “You’re the mad hatter.”
To say the man was startled was an understatement. His eyes narrowed as he jerked toward Mulder.
This might be fun . . .
He barely had his suit coat off when the he heard the knock. He and Reggie had nailed Roche; there wouldn’t even be a trial. The SOB had confessed after the completely legal search of his truck had unearthed Alice in Wonderland, along with his prize hearts.
He opened the door and saw the pale frightened face of Dana Scully. All thoughts of the case were gone and his arm went around her, drawing her into the apartment. “What’s wrong? Scully, what happened?”
“How did you know?”
“What, Scully? Let me get you some water.” He led her to the couch and seated her, then retreated to the kitchen and poured her a glass of water, remembering at the last instant to throw in a couple of cubes of ice. Damn she was shaken. He hadn’t been in touch while he was out of town. He’d actually been wondering how to initiate contact when he returned. No longer a problem, he hurried back to the living room and took a seat beside her.
“Talk to me, Scully.”
“You knew. How did you know?”
“Ahab. He’s having open heart surgery in the morning. A triple bypass.”
“How did you know!”
He shook his head. “You don’t believe me.”
“You can’t know the future!” He waited. She finally dropped her face into her hands. “You saved him.”
“I - “
“I need to know who you are. You say we meet in 1993; when?”
“I don’t know what will happen if I tell - “
“You saved my father. I don’t know how, I don’t know if I believe any of this, but please, tell me.” The look in her eyes made him look away. When she took his hand, drawing him back he wanted to groan. “Please.”
He’d never been very good at telling this woman ‘no’. Even not knowing him she could do this to him. “Three years from now . . . ”
“Right. Why did I join the FBI?”
“You were recruited out of school.”
“That didn’t happen.”
“That doesn’t mean it won’t. You’re an incredible forensic pathologist; the best I’ve ever seen.”
“But I - “
“Have you ever seen ‘Sliders’? A friend of mine says that might be what’s happening here.”
“No. Is it a movie?”
“TV show. Don’t worry about it.”
“I am worried. Okay, we start working together in 1993. When do we become lovers?”
She stared at him, unable to form a comment. He shrugged, “We took it slow.”
“No shit,” she muttered. He couldn’t help the grin, quickly suppressed and didn’t comment. “What happened to Ahab?”
“Scully - “
“I have to know!”
“But it might not happen now. With the surgery - “
“He didn’t have it, before?”
“I don’t know. You never mentioned that he had any health problems.”
“He’s never had any.”
“Then this didn’t happen. It’s new. I’ve . . . I’ve changed something. I don’t know that he won’t get hit by a truck, but - “
“When? When did he d-die?”
Mulder shook his head. “No. You don’t need that. If I haven’t changed it, it can’t be changed. I know you’ll appreciate him more fully now. And, since you’re not at the Bureau . . . “
“There was some tension between you because of your decision to leave medicine. He didn’t understand how much you were still using it, just more of a forensic bent.”
“Did you tell him that?”
Mulder shook his head. “I never got to meet him.”
She absorbed that for a long moment. “Okay, what did we do at the FBI?”
“That’s not easy.” Her eyebrow persuaded him to continue. “We’re in a small division, just the two of us. We work on unsolved or unexplained cases.”
“Uh, paranormal, and . . . alien abductions.”
She sat there waiting for the punch line. It didn’t come. “There’s a division at the FBI that works on alien . . . “
He nodded. “Well, not now. Apparently I haven’t created it yet.”
“You created it.”
“Have you eaten?”
“What?” The change of subject caught her off guard. “Uh, no. I didn’t mean to interrupt - “
“You’re not interrupting. I just got back in town an hour ago.”
She nodded. That’s why she hadn’t been able to reach him. They both looked over at his answering machine and saw the light blinking. “I, I was upset. You don’t need to listen to it.”
He nodded and returned to the other subject. “There’s nothing here. Apparently the me now doesn’t cook anymore than me then. I was going to order in. Join me?”
Bemused she realized she didn’t want to leave yet. There was so much to learn, or at least hear, from this man.
He nodded. “Now let’s see if I’m smart enough to keep menus here.” He reached for the shelf under the fish tank and came up with a handful of take out menus. He grinned and handed them to her. “You order, I’ll eat most anything. I’ll take a quick shower and change.”
“O-okay.” She accepted the menus and he grabbed up his suit coat and started loosening his tie as he headed for the bathroom.
She looked at the menus. The most obviously worn one was Chinese, so she used it, placing an order, then since he was occupied, looked around the apartment.
He hadn’t been kidding about a lack of food. His refrigerator held an assortment of condiment packets and some out of date orange juice. She located his dishes and pulled two out. They’d have to drink water.
Still alone she returned to the living room. His videos drew a raised eyebrow, but she had no basis for comment. The only picture in the room was a young dark haired girl in pigtails in a frame on his desk. There was a resemblance, his daughter? Had he be married? Was he married?
She was moving back toward the couch when he emerged. His hair was slicked back; he was wearing a gray t-shirt again and jeans. And . . . good lord, he was commando under those jeans. She had to look away; she knew her blush would give her away. Damn. She took a seat and he joined her.
“No food yet?”
“No, but it shouldn’t be long. Did, uh, did you say you had been out of town?”
His eyes lightened. “It was Roche, Scully. We got Roche, and we got him early. He got ten, but we saved six, Scully. Six little girls weren’t taken, weren’t killed. We saved Addie Sparks.”
His expression was yearning. “This is a case we worked on? Who was Addie Sparks?”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“You saved six little girls. That matters a lot. You care about children.”
“These little girls, you helped me try to get pregnant. Is the girl in the picture your daughter?”
He glanced over at the picture. Oh god, she didn’t . . . Samantha. She didn’t know about Samantha. He let his face fall into his hands, suddenly overwhelmed by what he faced.
“Mulder? Mulder, what did I say?”
He just shook his head.
Before she could say anything, she heard the knock at the door. He didn’t seem to hear it, so she started to rise. His hand grasped her wrist. “The food’s here, Mulder. I’m not leaving.”
He nodded, not looking at her. “My wallet - “
“You got it last time.” She rose then and answered the door. He watched as she took the food into the kitchen. He started to rise but she was returning with two plates. She sat them on the coffee table, then returned with two glasses of water. She took the seat beside him again. “Go ahead.”
“I have plates?”
”It’s okay, I dusted them well,” she said dryly. “Go on, you need to eat something.”
“So do you.”
She nodded and they ate their meal. With her beside him, his hunger kindled and he ate quickly. When they were finished she rose again and took the dishes into the kitchen. When he heard the water cut on, he joined her. “You don’t have to do that.”
“I know. I thought I’d give you some more time. There’s obviously a lot I need to know.”
“What about your parents?”
“They wanted some time to themselves this evening. I certainly don’t blame them. I’m to meet them at the hospital at 6 a.m.”
He nodded and dried the dishes she had washed, putting them back in the cabinet. She refilled their glasses with ice and water and headed back to the couch. He noted she was looking at Samantha’s picture again, but before he could speak, she started. “You couldn’t save her. She’s the one that got you started, isn’t she?”
Truly speechless he just stared at her for an instant. Finally he nodded. “She’s my sister, Samantha.”
“Oh Mulder, I’m so sorry. How old were you?”
“Twelve. She was eight.”
“Did you ever find out what happened to her?”
“She was abducted by aliens,” he stated it flatly, watching for her reaction.
“Can, can you prove that?”
“Not to your satisfaction. I’ve been trying for over six years.”
She leaned back and got comfortable, slipping her shoes off without thinking, and tucking her legs under her. “Try again.”
They were quiet, each thinking over the things he had said. He knew he sounded like a lunatic and after telling her all of it, felt like one as well. Even with what he had held back - her abduction, her cancer, Emily . . . Why she was still sitting there was something he wasn’t sure he wanted to contemplate. Six years, six years of their lives compacted like that. Why had she stayed with him?
“Are you going to have men in white coats burst in?”
She shook her head. “We can’t check too much either, because telling me really could have changed things.”
“For the better, I hope.”
“What do you hope to change?”
He grinned then. “Not to have to wait six or seven years to get you in my bed.”
She rolled her eyes, blushing, but didn’t comment. After a moment she looked down at her watch. “Oh my god, it’s after one.”
“What?” He glanced at his own watch. “I didn’t realize.”
“I’m sorry. I know we have other things to talk about. I know you held things back, but I need to get going. I have to be at the hospital at six.” She did know, she wasn’t sure how, but she did.
He ignored her comment. He’d never been good at holding out on this woman. “Scully, stay here.”
“What?” She looked more than a little startled at that.
“It’s late. By the time you get home and get ready for bed it’ll be after two then you’ll have to get up by five. You’ll be exhausted. You can grab an extra hour’s sleep by staying here. You’ve done it, you will do it a lot someday - before we started sharing a bed,” he added as her eyebrow started up.
She hesitated; it made sense in a weird way. She’d get no sleep if she traveled home, but would she be able to sleep here, with him? Why the hell did she feel so safe with this man? Everyone she knew would be convinced he was a lunatic, but she was honestly thinking of staying here; even after his revelations. “Where’s your bedroom?”
“Oh, uh I don’t . . . You can have the couch.”
That really caused the eyebrow to climb. “What?”
“I don’t . . . I don’t have a bed. I sleep on the couch, with the TV on most nights.”
“Watching those videos?”
He blushed. “You’re not with me yet.”
She shook her head. “If I have the couch, where will you - “
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll get you one of my t-shirts and you can get comfortable. I’m not going to bother you, Scully.” He waited for her response, afraid to move.
“I would get more rest - "
“Yes, you would.” He was on his feet then, ducking into his bedroom to get her some sort of sleepwear. He was back quickly with his NY Knick’s t-shirt. It was nearly new compared to the way it looked when he’d seen her in it before. “Bathroom’s yours.”
“Where are you - “
He merely shook his head and watched her disappear into the bath.
She woke to find herself cradled against him. What the hell? When had he joined her on the couch? And was that . . . Good god. That had to be painful. Ethan had nothing to be embarrassed about, but this man . . . He was fully clothed and she was covered with the afghan but how the hell had he crawled onto the couch, snuggled against her and she hadn’t woken. What had he said his nickname was, Spooky? It certainly fit.
She tried to slip out of his arms without waking him, but it didn’t work. As soon as she started to pull away his arms tightened, then he opened his eyes. His slow smile at seeing her there nearly stopped her heart. This man was in love with her.
“I need to go. I have to meet Mom.”
He nodded and reluctantly released her, watching her head for the bathroom in his shirt. She didn’t seem to be too upset that he’d joined her here on the couch.
She emerged fully clothed and accepted the coffee he had made her. “How long will the surgery take?”
“Most of the day. I’ll be checking in on Mom and at least trying to catch up on paperwork.”
“Will Bill or Missy be there?”
She looked up from her coffee startled. “Uh, no. Bill didn’t have time to get here and I don’t know if she was able to reach Missy. You didn’t ask about Charlie.” Her eyebrow was high.
“Haven’t met him yet, but I know the other two.”
“You and Bill are friends?”
“I need to hear more about that, but I have to run now.”
“I’ll check in, if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t. Thank you.”
He just smiled then and let her out of the apartment. After she was gone he leaned against the door for a moment, absorbing in all again, then headed for the shower.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.