They settled him into the master bedroom for easiest access to the facilities. Scully had rented the hospital bed and equipment from several supply houses and under false names. She had the bedroom next to his. The guys were rotating in the third bedroom and the den. They insisted that one of them be with him during the night, freeing her to sleep and be with him during the day. She didnít argue, when sheíd actually seen his condition and realized how they had tried to protect her, she knew why they had insisted she couldnít care for him alone.
He hadnít responded to her at all on the trip up. She felt fear at what she had taken on for the first time. Relax Dana, you can handle this because you have to. Heíd do it for her and she did have help Ė she wasnít alone.
It was nearly morning already. Byers insisted that she rest while he sat with Mulder. The others agreed and since she saw the sense of it, finally agreed herself.
It was nearly noon when she woke. That surprised her, but knowing where he was, that he was with her again had given her the best sleep sheíd had since heíd disappeared. She wrapped her robe around her and hurried to his room.
Byers looked up and smiled at her. "Heís still asleep. Go take your shower. I think Langlyís in the kitchen fixing breakfast."
Scully caressed Mulderís face and nodded. She hurried to get ready for the day. She was pulling her hair into a ponytail as she entered the kitchen.
"Agent Scully, eggs?"
"That would be great." Frohike joined them shortly and they ate a quick breakfast before she relieved Byers.
He was still non-responsive to all external stimuli. She hung another bag of fluids. If he still couldnít be roused sheíd have to consider a feeding tube. At least he wasnít becoming dehydrated.
There had to be drugs in his system. Why else would he be unconscious for so long. According to their sources shock had not been administered so he shouldnít have suffered any damage from that.
She tried all day to get some reaction from him. She talked to him constantly, touching him, trying to get something. His blood pressure was pretty steady, his pulse rate rose slightly when she spoke, but he wouldnít open his eyes. Did he not want to see her? Where had that thought come from?
The guys tried to keep her spirits up, reminding her that it had only been a few hours. She even knew they were right, but it didnít help her guilt, which was growing steadily.
It was almost as though he had decided to retreat from life. He didnít seem to want to wake up. Any drugs that had been administered would be out of his system by now. Not want to wake? What could have happened that would cause him to retreat from life like this? What had been done to him? Had he been . . . abused? Sheíd performed an examination, several in fact, but this hadnít occurred to her earlier.
If someone had done things to him that he didnít want to recover from, what could she do? Especially since she couldnít communicate with him.
Okay, she couldnít communicate verbally and holding his hand wasnít cutting it. Sheíd have to step up her attempts. She pulled the covers from his chest. He was wearing only the boxers; it was easier to care for him. Well, it made it easier for her now.
"Mulder, itís me. Scully." She wasnít going to just hold his hand now. She placed her hand on his chest Ė she was nervous about this. It wasnít something they had ever done, but she was going to bring him out of this. Her hand was caressing him now and if she wasnít mistaken his breathing was slightly more shallow. "Mulder, open your eyes, its me and I need you." Without thinking her lips had joined her fingers Ė sheíd probably deny this if he remembered it, but . . .
His pulse rate was rising, his blood pressure too, according to the monitors. "Mulder you can hear me, I know you can. Itís me, itís Scully. I need you to open your eyes. I have to know what they did to you."
Nothing. Why wasnít he . . . Damn it! "Mulder wake up! I need you!" She had him by the shoulders, shaking him.
"Scully! Scully, stop it!" Frohike had her arms now. "This wonít help. Come on, take a break." He looked down at Mulder once more. "Scully? Look!"
His eyes were open and locked on Scully. "Mulder, can you hear me?" This from Frohike. Scully was frozen in shock a couple of steps behind him.
She shook herself and moved closer to him. "Mulder, thank goodness." Her hand caressed his cheek. He didnít speak though his eyes hadnít left her. She saw tears form in his eyes. "Mulder?" He closed his eyes again, as though escaping. "Mulder?"
"Scully." Frohike took her arm. "Why donít you go splash some water on your face. Let me try to talk to him." She looked at him incredulously. He wanted her to leave? "I think it would be a good idea, just for a minute." She glanced over at Mulder once again. "Go on Dana." He gently turned her and led her to the door.
"Frohike . . . "
"Just give me a couple of minutes." She seemed to deflate in front of him. "Itís going to be okay." Once the door was shut he returned to Mulderís side. His eyes were still closed, but tears continued to slip down his face.
"Mulder? Mulder can you hear me?" He turned toward Frohikeís voice and opened his eyes. "Hi guy, good to have you back. Sheís been frantic with worry about you Dude."
"Are . . . are you dead too?"
That comment made Frohike stop for an instant. "Nobodyís dead Mulder."
"She is. I killed her."
"Who told you that Mulder? Where did you hear Scully was dead?" Mulder closed his eyes and turned away again. "Come on Mulder, talk to me."
"You know what happened. You know I shot her, murdered her, twelve years ago. They wonít let me die." Suddenly his hand shot out, "Help me Frohike. Help me die, please."
"Mulder, I donít know what . . . Why do you think you killed Scully?" Keep him talking, surely heíd come out of this nightmare. Heíd seen Scully, but he believed what he was saying. Twelve years? What the hell was going on?
"I saw the file, the articles. The doctor brought it all. Donít try to protect me Frohike, help me."
"You . . . you want me to help you kill yourself?" Mulder nodded, his eyes pleading. "You need to rest Mulder. Let me think about this."
"Frohike, please. Donít make me live."
"I . . . I gotta think about this Mulder. Just give me a few minutes." Frohike stepped back from the bed and Mulderís hand shot out again grabbing his arm. "Iíll just be a few minutes, I need a little time." He placed Mulderís hand back on the bed and patted it.
He shut the door behind him and found Scully waiting right outside. "Is he still awake?"
"Yeah, but heís been through something Scully. I donít understand it. Heís convinced youíre dead, that he murdered you . . . twelve years ago."
"What?" Frohike took her arm; she definitely looked like she needed to sit down. "No, I need to go to him, show him Iím not dead."
"Heís seen you Scully. He doesnít believe his eyes. Wherever heís been, they convinced him he murdered you. He said heíd seen the file and the articles."
"What file? Frohike, whatís going on?"
Byers was at the door then, "What is going on?" He brushed the hair out of his eyes, obviously still partly asleep.
"Mulderís awake, but thereís a problem." Frohike answered him. That woke him up the rest of the way.
"Awake? Is there, is there Ďdamageí?" He glanced over at Scully and quickly away.
"We donít know. He believes, heís been led to believe that he murdered Scully Ė twelve years ago." Byers sank into the chair closest to him. His mouth moved, but no sound emerged. "The kicker is," Frohike glanced over at Scully, "he wants me to help him kill himself. I think heís also been led to believe that heís attempted suicide and been stopped. He wants to die because of what he thinks heís done."
"Oh my god." Scully started to rise from the couch.
"Scully. Wait a minute, his mind has been tampered with, heís been through something we donít understand and itís obviously aged him Ė if not physically twelve years, at least emotionally. We need to ease him into this. Weíre not going to let him kill himself, you know that."
"I canít let him go on believing . . . " Her voice was shaking. What the hell had been done to him?
"Scully, try to calm down. Weíve got him now; weíre going to bring him back. We just need to take it slowly."
"How! How can we take it slowly if he wants to kill himself?" Byers moved over to her and put his arm around her.
"Take it easy Scully. Let us talk to him. He knows Frohike is still alive, let us handle this for a little while." Byers looked into the tear filled eyes of this traumatized woman. He squeezed her shoulders. "Sit here, try to get your thoughts together. You canít go in there like this. If he knows youíre upset Ė and he will know Ė heíll take on the blame. Hell, who knows what heís thinking now. Weíve got to go easy on this." He pulled back and looked at her. After a moment she took a deep breath and nodded.
They both sat and watched her for a moment, then Byers glanced over at Frohike and they rose together. She watched them leave the room and forced herself to stay behind.
He didnít open his eyes when he heard the door. "Mulder? Are you awake? Itís Byers."
"Byers?" He looked startled to see him. "Frohike didnít tell me you were . . . "
"Alive? Yeah. Iíve been looking for you Ė we all have. Why donít you tell me what happened, where youíve been." He settled himself beside the bed, giving Mulder his full attention.
Mulder closed his eyes and shook his head. He couldnít talk about it. It may have happened twelve years ago, but it was fresh with him. It would always be fresh with him. How did people recover from the deaths of loved ones? He would never have been whole again if she had succumbed to the cancer, but to have caused her death Ė to have shot this woman . . . They had told him he had sat by her side, watched her die. Heíd blocked that from his memory completely. That didnít surprise him, his mind had broken in the aftermath. Why had he woken?
Byers watched the agony cross his face and touched his shoulder. "Mulder, what year is it?"
"What year is it Mulder?"
"2010. They told me who was president, but I donít remember." His voice was bitter and the sarcasm strong.
"Who told you?"
"The doctor, doctors and nurses here. Did they call you?"
"Mulder, look around. Youíre not in a hospital now. Do you know this place?"
For the first time Mulder glanced at his surroundings. This looked like a bedroom. It reminded him of his fatherís room for some reason. "You had me moved?"
"Not exactly. We rescued you Mulder."
"Rescued? If you really want to help me, youíll do as I asked Frohike. Byers Ė John Ė I want to be with her. Get me something to take, hell leave me alone with a razor. Help me!"
"Canít do it Buddy. Youíve been gaslighted, led to believe a pile of crap a mile deep."
"I saw the photos, the autopsy reports. They brought it all to me."
Byersí hand tightened on Mulderís shoulder. "Mulder, youíve never been this willing to believe others before. Why now? What did they show you thatís convinced you so thoroughly?"
"The pictures of Scullyís body." He said it quietly, almost calm again.
"You know how easily pictures can be doctored Mulder. What else?" This from Frohike, who had stayed quiet until now watching.
"The mirror." That answer was only a whisper. Mulderís friends exchanged glances at that. He did look older Ė traumatically older.
"Someone did this to you Mulder. Youíve been brainwashed. Itís 1999. We donít know if they dyed your hair, or if the shit they told you caused it to turn white. You need to believe us, not them. Look, what if we got Skinner in to tell you the truth?"
"Skinner died two years ago."
"Damn it, Mulder! Why do you believe them and not us. You saw Scully in this room with you Ė "
"That wasnít Scully. Scully would never . . . Scully never touched me like that. She never wanted to and now, wherever she is, she has to hate me for what I finally did to her."
They all turned toward the door as it opened. "Langly?"
"Mulder, look at him. Would Langly still have that hair twelve years in the future?" That from Frohike again.
"Twelve years? What are you guys talking about?" Langly approached the bed. "And if Mulder here is finally awake, why did Scully just take off crying?"
"She left?" Byers was on his feet. "Why didnít you stop her?"
"Hey, I didnít know the man was awake. I thought she just needed some time. Mulder, sheís been frantic about you for weeks."
Mulder was staring at him, for the first time beginning to have a glimmer of hope that . . . that maybe his life wasnít over. "Langly, what year is it?"
"Huh?" He looked back over at Mulder, "1999. Why? How long did you think weíd been looking?"
Mulder was trembling now. "Is it true?" He turned to look at Byers. "Scully is alive? Donít lie to me Byers! God, I have to know."
Byers threw on some clothes and took off after Scully. She was on foot; surely she couldnít have gotten far. He was wrong. It took him over an hour to locate her. Sheíd made it to the beach, and was sitting alone in a rocky alcove. She wasnít easily spotted from any angle and he was almost past her before he caught a glimpse.
"Dana! Are you okay?" The evidence of tears was still on her face, though no fresh ones appeared to be falling. He sat beside her, catching his breath.
"Is he okay?" Her voice sounded dead, hopeless.
"Actually your timing stinks Dana. I think heís beginning to believe."
"Langly. Even our man Mulder realized those blond locks couldnít be around in twelve years."
"I need to get back!"
"Yes, but the guys are with him. Donít worry." He rose and pulled her to her feet.
"I shouldnít have left." She brushed the sand from her rear and turned toward the house.
"Slow down Dana. Get your act together. No oneís going to let anything happen to Mulder. Do you want him to see you like this?" She shook her head, finger combing her hair out of her face. "Itís gonna take him awhile to come back. Physically you know heís a wreck. Iím afraid mentally, heís worse. Whoever had him pulled a real number on his mind. He was sure heíd killed you. Weíre going to have to take this slow."
Scully nodded, moving purposely toward the house.
Frohike stuck his head out when he heard the front door open. "You need to get her in here. Heís freaking."
She moved past the men and on into the room. His eyes were filled with fear and she was at his side. He clasped her hand in a death grip and she barely managed to hide the wince.
"Mulder, Iím here. Itís okay, Iím right here."
"Youíre alive?" It was a whisper. She nodded and sat on the bed
beside him. She heard, but ignored the sound of their friends leaving the room. She
couldnít turn away from him. With his free hand he was caressing her face, following
the tracks of the tears she had not quite obliterated. "They told me you were dead,
that I . . . "
"No, Mulder. Iím very much alive. Iíve been searching for you for weeks. Tell me what you remember."
He took a deep breath and slightly loosened his grip on her hand. "I donít know. I woke up in a hospital. They told me it was a long-term care facility. I couldnít remember being injured, a case, nothing. I was weak, I couldnít even sit up and I kept asking for you. They finally sedated me and then told me that I had been moved to that place because I had been, I guess in a coma or catatonic, since my last suicide attempt."
Now her hand gripped his even tighter.
"Scully, I donít remember it."
"Because it didnít happen Mulder. You never attempted suicide; there was no reason. The things they told you never happened."
"I saw the newspaper reports in my file. They were yellow with age. And the autopsy report . . . "
"Faked Mulder. Iím right here."
"Is Skinner alive too?"
"Yes. Mulder, youíve been missing about six weeks."
"Thatís what Frohike and Langly said. How could I have aged this much in that amount of time?"
She gave him a sad smile then and ran her hand over his salt and pepper hair. "This might be a dye job, Mulder. Let it grow a little." The smile disappeared, "or it could have turned white from their lies. I can get you some Grecian Formula or something and youíll look like a kid again. You can see for yourself it hasnít thinned." She tugged lightly and he managed a weak smile of his own. "Youíre tired Mulder. You should rest now. We can talk later. Did the guys feed you?"
"Yeah. Will you be here?"
He looked around the room again. "Is this my fatherís house?"
"Yes. We needed a place we could Ė "
"Hey, no problem. I just thought I recognized it. And youíll be here?"
"Iím not going anywhere Mulder. Close your eyes." She put her hand on his forehead and closed them herself, then not releasing his hand, settled in the chair beside the bed.
Heíd been asleep a few minutes when Langly stuck his head in the door. "Hungry?" He mouthed to her so as not to disturb the sleeping man. She nodded and he entered with a tray.
"Howís he doing?"
"Better." They both spoke in low tones. "Heís got a lot to process."
Langly nodded. "You need to take a break soon yourself. You should sleep while he is."
She couldnít disagree with that. "Let me make sure heís sound asleep, then Iíll come out." Langly left and she finished her dinner. Since he appeared to be resting comfortably, she took her dishes back to the kitchen.
"How are you doing, Dana?"
"Tired. My mindís racing, but he seems to be sleeping peacefully. Iím think of soaking in a hot tub."
Frohikeís eyes gleamed but Byers shot him a look that shut him up. "Weíll keep on eye on him. Take as long as you want." She smiled at all three of them and headed for the bath. She soaked until she was drowsy then went to check on Mulder.
"Heís doing fine, hasnít even stirred. Go on to bed." Byers watched her for a moment.
She took a deep breath, "You guys are the best."
"Yeah, we are." He grinned, "Now go rest." She squeezed his shoulder and headed for her room.
"Scully! Scully! Sculllllly!!"
She burst into the room before Byers made it to his feet. She hadnít bothered with her robe.
"Mulder, Iím right here. Calm down."
He had her by the shoulders. "It wasnít a dream?"
"No Mulder. Iím here. Iím going to be here. Byers, go on to bed. Iíll stay."
"Dana . . . "
"Itís okay, go on." She heard Byers leave and explain the disturbance to the others. "I was in the next room Mulder. Iím sorry."
His trembling was beginning to subside. "I was . . . I thought . . . "
"Go back to sleep Mulder. Iíll be right here."
"Here, please." He touched the mattress next to him.
"Mulder, itís a hospital bed. Thereís no room."
"Iíll make room. I mean . . . Scully, let me hold you tonight. I wonít take advantage, I just need to know youíre real, that youíre really here."
"I trust you Mulder." He relaxed slightly and moved over, rolling onto his side. She wasnít sure this was the right thing, but if he felt safer with her close to him Ė fine.
She crawled into the bed and turned her back to him, lying on her side as well. She felt him mold his long body against hers and fought not to tense up. This felt too good Ė this definitely wasnít a wise idea. He draped one arm over her, letting it rest just below her breasts, drawing her even closer to him. She kept quiet Ė he needed this. Maybe they both did.Broken Lives 3
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.