They woke in the small motel in Roswell the next morning and began what became a series of runs, sprints to other places until he felt more secure. Some were places Mulder had been before to pick up necessary funds, equipment. Paranoia was a given for him and it didn’t take her long to catch up.
In an instant they had gone from near isolation to 24/7 companionship. That brought its own problems.
The sex was good, though he had overridden her objections to protection. He would not give on that point, insisting on wearing a condom. She understood his objection and appreciated his protection of her but . . .
He looked over at her, asleep again. She was sleeping a lot now, too much. He knew it was a symptom of depression and that made sense. He’d ripped her from everything she knew, without even the opportunity to tell her mother goodbye.
They hadn’t been able to find out anything about Skinner so far, though they had left messages and emails at several prearranged addresses. Mulder hadn’t given up hope, having learned the hard way that patience was a necessary evil.
Had she given up hope? She was quieter now, not withdrawn exactly, but then she’d never been very good at letting him in about her feelings. Maybe he’d hoped that would change now, when all they had was each other.
Correction, when all she had was him. She was the only one he’d ever had. Should he give her more time? Should he insist that she open up to him? Oh yeah, that would work real well. He felt his own depression grow another notch. Was this going to work? Would they work? In all the time he had been alone, chasing down the information, he had dreamed of being with her, with their son, as a family.
That dream had sustained him on more than one occasion when he’d wanted to just sit down and let them have him, give up. But he hadn’t been able to; he couldn’t give up on seeing her, seeing them again.
He knew the boy was safe, though he’d had no dreams about him since they’d been together. She’d seemed to accept that the boy had been in touch with him but it was hard for her to talk about William. No, make that impossible. In fact they hadn’t spoken of him since that first night. He hadn’t pushed, fear kept him from it. Now it floated in the air between them, separating them. Maybe that was the key . . .
It was fairly early, but he started looking for a place to stay the night. It seemed no matter how much she slept in the car, she still managed to sleep all night. In a way he envied her that. What would a full night’s sleep do for him? Even in her arms he no longer felt safe.
He checked in and carried their bags inside, then opened her door and knelt beside her. “Scully?” He whispered, they didn’t use their names often. He still had to touch her arm to rouse her.
“Umm, Mul . . . Did I fall asleep again?”
He managed a tight smile, “Yeah. Come on in.”
She stepped from the car without even stretching. He took her arm to steady her and walked her inside. She gave him a tiny smile once the door was closed behind them.
“Mulder, I’m sorry. I don’t - “
“I didn’t realize how boring I really was.” He tried for a light tone, and failed.
Her smile faded, “You’re not boring.”
He shrugged and turned to move the bags to the small table. Her hand reached out and touched his arm. “Mulder, look at me."
He reluctantly complied.
"I'm where I want to be. I'm with the person I want to be with. You have to know that."
He shook his head, “I saw a chance to escape lethal injection and I grabbed it. I didn’t ask you if you wanted to come with me. I just ran and brought you along. I just never can stop ruining your life.”
“Ruining my - Mulder, I wanted to come. I had to come. If you had left me . . . if you had left me I would have died.”
He shuddered at that, “No, you would have found someone.“
“How hard did you look Scully?”
“Not very hard, when you find perfection - “
The guffaw of laughter that burst from him surprised them both. “Perfection? I’ve been called a lot of things but never that.”
“That’s because you’re only perfect for me. Remember I’m your one in five billion.”
The tears in his eyes startled her even more than the laughter. "Oh Mulder, please. I don't know why I'm so tired, but it's not because I want to be away from you. I'm not escaping into sleep." He looked away; she had been around him a long time. "Let me prove it."
"No, Scully, if you're not feeling well - "
"I feel fine, Mulder. I want to take advantage of it." She smiled at him and his heart clutched at the sight. God, she was beautiful. As he stood there, she took hold of his t-shirt and pulled it over his head. She tossed it on the bed and her fingers traced his ribs, the outline of his pecs. They had both lost weight, living on the road. She was anxious to settle somewhere, even for just a short while, but she had to make him understand that where he was, wherever that was, was home.
When you find yourself lying helpless in her arms . . . wasn't that a line from a song or a movie? It was true, she could pull out a knife and plunge it into his heart and he couldn't stop her. Of course, this woman could do that at any time and didn't really need a weapon.
Did she honestly want to be with him? He’d allowed her to distract him, but he didn't ask again. He couldn't take the chance that she might have changed her mind. Okay, he was a selfish bastard, but he needed her more than he needed oxygen, food. Just Scully, this past year had proven that to him.
He realized she was watching him, probably reading every thought. When she caught his eye, her smile took his breath away. "Me too, Mulder, me too."
They arrived at the small suburb of Santa Fe a couple of days later. They were back in New Mexico. She did seem slightly better, not sleeping quite as much, more interested in what was happening to them again.
The small house that Mulder owned there seemed just right for the two of them. There was a large main room, with an adequate kitchen and sitting area. The bedroom was cozy and the bed took up most of the floor space, which was fine with both of them.
Her eyes had teared up at the sight of the crib in the corner of the main room. Mulder had made arrangements for a family of three. She had turned away quickly, but he had seen. He started to give her space as he usually did, but stopped. Maybe now was a good time - if there was such a thing.
Mulder wanted to take a deep breath, but the pain of what he was about to do seemed physical now. “Scully?” His arms went around her from behind and she allowed herself to lean into him, but kept her face averted. “I miss him too.” She jerked as though to get away from him, but his arms tightened. “Please don’t go away.”
“I mean emotionally.”
She did pull away then and he forced himself to let her go. Her eyes were wide with pain. He wanted to kick himself, but if they couldn’t do this, how would they survive? Easy answer, they couldn’t.
“Scully, go home. They won’t prosecute you. I kidnapped you as a possible hostage when I made my escape.”
She finally looked at him and shook her head.
“It would work, Scully. You can be back with your family, your friends. It would be for the best.”
“Don’t do this.” She shook her head sadly.
“You’re not happy, Scully. This is not a life for you. You should - “
“I miss him, Mulder. And it’s my fault.”
“Your - “
“My fault, Mulder. I gave him up, I let our son go. I made that decision.”
He moved closer, not touching her, but close enough to feel her. She didn’t exactly cringe from him, but he knew she was struggling.
“Scully - “
“Don’t send me away.”
He gaped at that, but before he could speak she continued. “I didn’t know what to do. I loved our son. I love him, but . . . but I was also afraid. He could, he could do things.” Tears trickled down her face, but she couldn’t look at him.
“Do things?” God he wanted to hold her, cradle her against him, but she had her arms around her middle, holding herself tightly and seemed . . . afraid of him.
“He could move things, with his mind.” She was whispering, as though saying those words quietly would make them less strange. “His mobile over the crib, and . . . and the artifact that nearly killed you. I saw it. Monica saw it. You weren’t there to make it less strange and I . . . Don’t send me away.”
She was shivering now and tears escaped her eyes. He didn’t try to hold back any longer. His arms encircled her. She was shaking and his embrace tightened. “Never. I can’t send you away, even if I should for your sake. It’s only words. I could never really let you leave.” His face was buried in her hair. He was hopeless. He couldn’t live without her even knowing the damage it caused to her.
He felt her arms go around his waist as she released her own body and allowed his comfort.
“You don’t hate me?” Her voice sounded small.
“Hate you? Scully, it’s not possible. It’s not possible.” His hand caressed her cheek. “Tell me about him. Tell me everything, what you loved about him, what frightened you. Please, let me share it.” He leaned back slightly to see her, then placed a kiss on her forehead. “I don’t know that I can make anything less strange, but I have to share this with you, Scully I want to share everything with you.”
She didn’t speak, meeting his eyes finally. The longing to hear about their son was palpable as it came off him in waves. How had she missed that? Or had she avoided seeing it?
“Come on. I know you’re tired.” He led her back toward the bedroom. “Take a shower, get comfortable. I’ll try to find us something to eat.”
“Mulder, I’m not hungry.”
“Go take the shower.” He kissed her forehead and turned her in that direction.
She entered the bathroom without looking back at him. He watched until the door hid her from his sight, then he moved toward the kitchen. Neither of them were going to be able to eat much.
Finally he settled on hot chocolate, not exactly nutritious but warm and chocolate and hopefully comforting. He took it into the bedroom and got undressed. She came out of the bathroom as he was taking off his t-shirt.
She stopped for a minute to admire the view. He loved her, he needed her. He said he didn’t blame her for giving away their son. She believed what he said, but did he really know how he felt?
“I left you some hot water.” She tried to smile.
He nodded, “Get in bed. It’s still chilly in here.” He handed her the mug. “I’ll hurry.”
She obeyed, crawling into the bed. He was quick with his own shower and joined her in the bed, picking up his own mug.
“That’s probably not very hot, Mulder.”
“Doesn’t matter. Are you warm?” He put his mug back down, watching her.
“I will be now.”
He pulled her against him and they were quiet. He didn’t want to push, but he needed her to talk to him. He couldn’t let her retreat into herself again.
“Scully - “
“I know.” She cuddled into him, needing his strength as well as his warmth.
Abruptly she started talking, about her terror when he’d left her apartment that morning, leaving the two of them alone.
She spoke in little bursts, but he didn’t interrupt. It seemed to be stream of consciousness, outfits the baby had worn; that hat he’d picked up as a joke. William had actually worn it? Trusting the guys with William’s care, that brought a pang to him, but he let her continue. He watched things through her eyes; the sleepless nights, the fear, and the joy. William had been a calm baby, already wise and waiting to grow up. Those were her words, but they resonated with him.
She spoke of Maggie’s fear for the boy and her distance following the decision to let him go. Maggie had witnessed some of the incidents, but had either ignored them or dismissed them from her mind. Scully had given him a bitter laugh over that, for some reason seeing herself at the beginning of their partnership.
Mulder asked no questions, letting her move back and forth in William’s short life with her at her own pace. He had no idea how long she had talked when she finally fell silent. His arms encircled her, giving her support and warmth and love.
“Mulder?” Her voice trembled on the word.
He kissed her temple. “Yes?”
She drew a shuddering breath and wiped some tears from her face. “Thank you.”
“Thank . . . thank me? What for?”
She sighed and cuddled in a little closer. “I needed that. I needed to say those things, to remember him, acknowledge him out loud.”
“You understand I need to share him with you?” He asked quietly.
“I want you to sleep now. It’s late and you’re exhausted. Tomorrow we can talk more. Close your eyes.”
She obeyed him, seemingly asleep before he could lay her against the pillow. He watched her breathe for a few minutes, then left the bed and moved quietly into the main room. There was something he had to do. When he was through he made a last check of the house, finally turning off the lamp by the bed and joining her under the covers.
He expected to lie awake and think about what she had said, but he too drifted off immediately.
He woke slowly the next morning, rested. He felt rested. When was the last time he had slept that well? He reached for Scully, but the bed was empty. Scully? He rose from the bed and went in search of her.
She was in the kitchen, looking through the cabinets. She turned when she heard him and gave him a tentative smile.
“You okay, Scully?”
“Yes.” She nodded.
He moved closer then, looming over her. “Really?”
The look of concern on his face caused her eyes to moisten, but no tears escaped. She nodded again. “Really.” She let her hand run down his arm. He shivered slightly at her touch, then drew her against him.
Things were easier between them after that. The unspoken wall between them breeched finally. He was no longer afraid to mention their son; she no longer living in fear of his anger or rejection.
While he fixed breakfast she explored the place he had created. The crib had been taken down and stored before she was up. He had done this after she slept last night, to spare her. She made no comment; she knew he was trying to protect her.
The lab in the second bedroom intrigued her. Equipment had obviously been accumulated over a period of time, and she saw Byers’ hand in the collection. She shoved that thought away. Without them, no, and she wasn't going to think about Skinner or Doggett or Reyes either. She just had to believe.
She came out of the lab after doing a quick inventory. “Mulder, when did you do this?” The wave of her hand encompassed the lab and house.
“I started a while ago. There are four actually. You need to memorize the location of each of them. Know several ways to get to them. They should be safe.”
She just looked at him for a long moment. “Four places like this? Where did you get the money?”
He shrugged, “Thought it was time that Dad’s money was put to good use. I knew for a long time that we’d have to disappear eventually - “
“We, Scully. I’ve always imagined you beside me. I should have taken you with me before - “
“Mulder, don’t do that.” She moved into his arms. “You really wanted me to disappear with you?”
His arms tightened around her. “You doubt it?”
She sighed against him. “No. I’m the one that sent you away. I thought you’d be safer.”
“Maybe I was at the time. And it did give me time to finish setting these places up.” Neither mentioned that William might still be with them if she had left. It didn’t need to be said. He knew the guilt she lived with every day. He also knew that she had done what had to be done at a tremendous cost. Now that they could talk about it, maybe he could get her to see that he didn’t blame her, just as she seemed not to blame him for leaving them.
They settled into a life there. She smiled more, even laughed occasionally. He relished each one. Playing house with Scully was a dream come true.
“Scully, wake up. Get dressed, we have to leave.”
Mulder’s voice woke her instantly and she started to rise. He took her hand and kissed it.
“What? Mulder, are they here? Did they find us?”
“No. Something’s happened. We have to get to Wyoming. Now.”
“Wyoming? What’s in - “
Her face went dead white. “William.” She barely breathed the word. “Is he, is he okay?” Neither of them dwelled on the strangeness of the question.
After a moment Mulder nodded. “He is right now. We need to go.”
She nodded quickly and hurried into the bathroom. When she emerged dressed less than five minutes later, he had their emergency bag in his hand. He let her out and locked the door behind them. She got in as he tossed the bag into the back seat.
He glanced at the gas gauge. Good thing that Scully had driven last, she always remembered to fill the tank. Neither spoke until they reached the town limits. She looked over at him. He was aware of it, but waited.
“How do you know he’s in Wyoming?” She asked quietly, pleased that her voice wasn’t shaking.
“He, Scully, he came to me in a dream. Like before. Something’s happened or is going to happen. He needs our help.” He waited for her objection, her scientific argument that they were in the car at 3:30 in the morning because of a nightmare.
Instead she looked at her hands. “Let me know when you’re tired. I can drive.”
He glanced over and refrained from comment. She believed him, she was right here beside him. Was it any wonder he’d been only half alive away from her?
She took over the driving at daylight, and he slept for a little while. He woke when she stopped for gas and coffee.
“Mulder, what’s happening?” She asked him quietly after he sipped some coffee.
“I don’t know, details anyway. He was in my dream. He wasn’t scared, he just said we had to come.” He looked down at his coffee. “Something happened, he’s not alone, but he’s . . . “ Mulder shook his head, “I don’t know what I’m saying, but he needs us.”
“Then we go to him,” she said and pressed more firmly on the accelerator. He smiled at her determined expression.
They took turns driving, not stopping except for gas and bathroom breaks for the 800 miles. They made it in 11 hours. He was aware that when she drove it was just as fast as when he was at the wheel. Of course it was, they were going to get their son.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.