She woke as he nuzzled into her belly. What the . . . ? Oh shit, they’d done it again. The file she’d been reading was scattered on the floor beside the bed, the light was on and she was slumped to one side, toward him. He had his head in her lap and was peacefully asleep.
She could see it was morning through the windows, but didn’t know the time. Her watch was in her room and she could see his lying on his dresser.
Once could be considered an accident, but twice? What was she supposed to think? What would he think? She had never acted like this around a man. She and Ethan hadn’t slept together for nearly six months after they’d started dating.
But of course that was totally different. She and Ethan had sex, she and Mulder had only ‘slept’ together, and offered comfort. So why the hell did she feel better waking up with Mulder?
Scully shoved that thought brutally aside. She wasn’t ‘waking up’ with Mulder. Well, yes she was, but not in the same context. And why hadn’t she moved yet?
She sat up straighter then, her neck a little stiff from the unusual position. He protested this, burrowing his face deeper into her abdomen.
“Mulder? Wake up.”
“Umm?” Then it penetrated what he was doing and where. He came awake in an instant and moved away from her.
“Morning.” She spoke dryly.
“Oh god. Nobody would ever believe this.”
“I was thinking the same thing, Mulder.” She shook her head but he didn’t hear anger in her voice. “Maybe we should try getting rooms in separate hotels next time.”
That surprised a chuckle out of him. “I’m not sure that would help. Two night’s restful sleep for me. I could get addicted.”
“Better not, the Bureau frowns on fraternization.”
“It also frowns on less than alert agents, but I’ll let that pass. Did you get any sleep?”
“Actually I did, but a hot shower sounds good.”
“Yeah, good idea. I’ll, uh, I’ll meet you in the hall?”
“Even better idea. I won’t be long.” She slipped out of bed and into her room, closing the door behind her. He didn’t realized until it didn’t come, that he was listening for the sound of the lock snicking into place.
Rather than dwell on this, which would definitely be counterproductive, he also rose and headed for the bath.
When he tapped on her door less than an hour later, she was ready. He didn’t ask how, but she looked fresh and awake. He felt a surge of gratitude that she was here with him.
She looked up and smiled, but his expression caught her off guard. He was gazing at her with something like awe.
“Mulder, you okay?”
“I’m good.” He heard what he’d said then, he was good. Good? He hadn’t been ‘good’ in ages, decades, but he was now. Who was this woman?
“Well, uh, we better get moving. The body’s not getting any fresher.”
“Right, what about breakfast?”
“The sign said there was a continental breakfast in the lobby. Will that hold you?”
“Sure.” No need to tell her he usually just had coffee after he got to the office. Instead, his hand on her back, he escorted her to the lobby. She choose a bagel, light cream cheese and some fruit. He picked up a bear claw, a sweet roll and some fruit filled thing.
She laughed lightly when he joined her at the table. “Should I have an insulin injection ready?”
He just grinned taking a large bite of the fruit pastry. It was nice to have an appetite.
In deference to the other guests, they refrained from discussing their next stop. He watched her as she ran a hand around her neck and stretched.
“A little. That’s not my normal sleeping position.”
“Here.” He rose and moved beside her, placing one of his large warm hands on her neck. He massaged gently, “since it’s my fault.”
“You better stop or we’ll never get out of here.” She saw the amused conflict in his eyes. “Yes, we have to get out of here.”
He looked as though he were pouting, like a little puppy dog, until she shook her head at him, then he sighed and released her.
“Come on then, slave driver.” He took their trash over and she refilled both of their coffees, fixing his just as he liked it.
As they were leaving the room, they overheard one of the women turn to her companion and say, “I love to watch honeymooners. They always look so happy.”
Scully hesitated, but Mulder’s hand steered her outside.
“Mulder, they thought - “
“I know. I heard. Scully, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to put you in such a position. I - “ He looked deeply concerned about her reaction.
“You didn’t do anything, I did - letting you massage my neck.” The color had deepened in her cheeks. “I think . . . I think maybe we’re a little too comfortable with each other.”
“We’re not behaving professionally enough.” It was a statement.
“I’ve not had a partner assigned to me, Mulder. We don’t really need them at Quantico. I don’t want to mess this up.”
He nodded, his mood plummeting. “Yeah, we should get to work.”
She nodded soberly, but didn’t say anything when his hand returned to her back as they headed for the car.
The facilities were adequate, maybe slightly more, but Scully had the impression that gunshot wounds from intoxicated hunters made up more of their work than what they were faced with now. She requested the tests that Mulder had mentioned, then began her visual exam of the victim.
There wasn’t a scratch or a bruise on him. If it weren’t for the fact he had no vitals, Scully would have told him to get up and stop with the jokes.
She took her time, and Mulder watched without interrupting; his mind still partially on the woman’s offhand comment upon observing them. Had they really looked like honeymooners? She had just come from his bed, but not in the way he’d like. Whoa! Hold on Mulder, this was an intelligent, educated, sophisticated woman, not like the type he’d actually spent time with over the years. Since returning from England he’d been too busy, or too reluctant, to work at meeting a woman. He certainly wasn’t in her league.
He watched her pull over the tray to begin the incision. She was all business now, this may have been where she’s gotten the name “Ice Queen”. How else would she be able to get through what she did. But now he knew better. “Scully, you don’t need me here. What if I head over to the site where they found him; see if there’s anything there.”
“Sure, take your time. This is going to be thorough.”
He managed a small grin and let himself out. She watched him leave, a little concerned. He’d been quiet since that woman had made that comment about them. He was probably mortified that she would think he was interested in someone like her. He probably went for tall women, blondes with . . . she sighed. She wasn’t here for that, this was work. Yes, they were comfortable with each other, but that could be the problem. Why wasn’t she treating him as professionally as she usually did her male colleagues?
Because she’d woken up twice in his arms. The thought stung her. Just how unprofessional could she be? No, not now. She had work to do.
It was irrational to be angry at the victim, pissed at a corpse, but she was. The boy should get up now and walk out of the morgue. She’d checked everything - his heart was healthy, the same with his lungs, liver, kidneys, everything, damn it!
She glanced over at the test results that had been delivered just a short while ago. They’d rushed them. There were some perks to working for the Bureau. It’s just that the results weren’t helping; at least they weren’t helping her. Mulder was going to be pleased.
As though on cue her cell phone rang. “Scully.”
He hesitated at her tone. “Scully? Are you okay?”
She could feel him blink at that. “What . . . what happened?”
“He’s not sick, Mulder. He’s not injured. He should just stand up and walk out except for the Y-incision I put in his chest.” She shook her head. “What about you?”
“Nothing on the ground.” He looked around him, “There’s a strange burn pattern in the trees.”
”Yeah, I’ll show you. Did you, did you run those tests?”
He felt the hesitation on her part, and waited.
“I got the results, but I don’t understand them.”
“Listen, I’ll be right there.”
“Take your time; I’m not ready to give up yet.”
That statement didn’t surprise him. “Okay, see you in a little bit.”
He didn’t take his time. He felt the need to connect with her. It was an unfamiliar feeling, but not unwelcome.
She looked up when he entered. “Two things Mulder.”
“What?” He hurried to her side.
“I hadn’t looked at the X-rays.”
“There was a small piece of metal in his sinus cavity. There’s no scar, I don’t know how it got there, or what it is.”
“What it is?”
“Look.” She indicated the microscope, and waited.
“Do you, Scully, do you know what this is?”
“It looks like a computer chip, but Mulder, it can’t be.”
“Is there any medical reason for any piece of metal to be lodged or placed into someone’s sinus?”
“None that I know of.”
He took a deep breath, “You said two things.”
She turned back toward the body. “His brain. There’s what appears to be . . . new growth.”
“New? I thought the brain didn’t grow, couldn’t even heal.”
“There are some studies that are questioning that, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“So let me get this straight, this boy has no wounds, no disease that could kill him, but there’s what looks like a damn sophisticated computer chip up his nose, there’s new growth in his brain. Even though you haven’t said, his glucocorticords are off and there’s a reduction in the lymphocyte population. Did I miss anything?”
She looked at him for a long moment, then dropped her eyes.
She didn’t look up, concentrating instead on removing her gloves. “No, I think that covers it.” She knew she sounded hostile, and she could feel him withdraw from her even though he hadn’t moved physically.
Scully took a deep breath, “I’m sorry. I’m not angry - “
She did look up then and he watched her face soften into an ironic smile. “Yes, but not at you.”
He didn’t return her smile. “I shouldn’t have asked you to come on this case. Working with me will only . . . only hurt your reputation at the Bureau. I don’t know what I was thinking. You should fly back to DC this afternoon. You can turn in your report and wash your hands of this . . . and me.”
“Mulder? Do you, do you want me to leave?”
“I think it would be for the best.”
“Best for whom?”
“Best for you Agent Scully. If you continue to work with me, it will ruin you at the Bureau and I would hate to have that on my conscience.”
“You have that kind of power?”
He just stared at her, after a long moment, he nodded.
“I don’t believe that.”
“Agent Scully, I’m the lead agent on this investigation. I requested your assistance. You’ve given it. I’d like your notes, but your phase of this case is over and I - “
He blinked at that. Most people didn’t have the guts to speak to him like that, to defy him.
“You can’t throw me off the case like this. AD Skinner assigned me, not you. We had a deal, if I found a mundane cause of death, you wanted to know it.”
“But you didn’t.”
“I’m not through. I haven’t seen where his body was found or this strange burn pattern you mentioned.”
“That’s external. You have his body here - “
“Yes, but its only part of the evidence. I am a part of this investigation and until it ends, I’m one of the agents of record. I can’t force you to work with me, but I’m not leaving.”
That took him aback. She didn’t even come up to his shoulder without her heels, she was a green agent, yet she was defying him. That was a first. She didn’t seem to be the least bit intimidated by him or his reputation.
“I’ll need the car. I can drop you somewhere.”
“Why do you need the car?”
“I want to see the site.”
“If that’s the only way I can.”
“You’re not listening to me. I’m trying to save your career.”
“I believe that’s my job Agent Mulder.” Her tone had a touch of ice now and he was reminded of her own nickname.
“I’ll take you out there.”
“You don’t have to put yourself out.”
“I’m not . . . Damn it, Scully!” He backhanded the instruments on the tray and she jumped at the sound, the violence. “Fine, let’s go.” He turned away from her.
“I have to, I have to clean up.”
“I’ll wait in the car.”
“Mulder - “ but the door was closing behind him. She closed her eyes. What the hell had just happened? They had been working well together, but . . .
She hurried to get out of her scrubs and outside. She spotted him in the car, his head lowered, brow resting on the steering wheel. He sat up quickly when she opened the door, as though embarrassed to be caught in such a position.
He watched her buckle in, then reached for the key already in the ignition. Her hand rested on his and he nearly pulled away from her. “Mulder, please.”
He didn’t look at her, but he waited. “Are you upset with me because I’m not convinced of the existence - “
“No. Hell no, Scully. That’s . . . it hit me what I’ve asked of you. I realized what this is going to look like for you.”
“I’m a joke Scully, you know it. Spooky Mulder. I shouldn’t have requested your help. You could go places at the Bureau.”
“I plan to, but I see no reason I can’t go to those places with you.”
He did look at her then, mouth slightly agape. “With me?”
“Mulder, you’re brilliant, you can teach me things I don’t even know I need to learn. You’re good at what you do, I feel safe with you as my partner, and Mulder, I trust you.”
Now his mouth was open and his eyes locked on her.
“Wh . . . why?”
Not exactly the question she was expecting, nevertheless she answered. “The way you treated me on our first case. You didn’t condescend to the female agent, you didn’t avoid me because I was green. You listened to my theories and shared yours. And . . . and when I fell apart, you put me back together and kept it confidential.”
She was staring at her hands now. “I assumed that had blown everything, but then just a few weeks later, you asked for me, for me, to assist you again. I wasn’t first in my class in medical school - “
“You were at Quantico. And being third isn’t bad. In fact, if you were male, I bet you would have been first.”
Her head shot up.
He shrugged, “I read your file too.”
“Mulder, I want to be here. I want to work with you. If we disagree about certain aspects, at least I feel like you’ve heard me.”
“I just don’t want you to regret this Scully.”
“I promise, if you’ll do the same.”
He nodded and she realized she was still touching his hand. Her cheeks colored and she released him.
“I’ll show you what I found.” He started the car and pulled out.
The site was still marked, though nature didn’t show a lot of respect for the taped barrier. He pointed to the trees. They were burnt near the top, maybe the top third of the trees, but no deeper. There was no evidence of fire on the ground.
He watched her as she looked around. He’d already seen everything he needed to, but he could enjoy watching her and what she felt was worthy of her notice. He wouldn’t be asking for her again, he couldn’t indulge in such selfishness.
He could just count on his memory for the feel of waking with his head cradled in her belly. He shook his head to dislodge those thoughts and looked where he had last seen her. She wasn’t there.
“Scully?” No response. He raised his voice, turning to look around a little. “Scully?” Still nothing. A crease appeared in his forehead and he moved quickly to where he had last seen her. “Scully, damn it! Answer me!”
Nothing, no sound of birds, not a breeze. What the hell was going on? “Scully!”
He was right, there wasn’t really anything that was helping her out here, but she’d wanted to see it. She didn’t think the boy had been killed here. Of course, knowing how he died would help there. She shook that thought aside and turned to ask him a question.
He wasn’t there.
“Mulder?” She hadn’t heard him leave. But of course he hadn’t left her, he’d probably just seen something and . . . he was used to working alone. She turned back to where she’d last seen him. “Mulder, can you hear me? Where are you?”
There was no answer. He wouldn’t have left her. Things had been back to okay between them. Besides he wouldn’t just leave her, not Mulder. Where was he? She turned in a complete circle - something seemed . . . off somehow. Had it gotten darker? It wasn’t overcast, in fact there were no clouds. But it was darker. She glanced down at her watch, but realized it had stopped.
This was getting creepy. Where was he? Maybe she should head back to the car, at least the path they had followed was still there. Still there . . . the yellow crime tape was gone! That was impossible, but it was gone. She halted where she stood. What had happened? Was she hallucinating?
“Mulder? Mulder!” No don’t panic, she was armed and, and she had her cell phone! She was panicking. She took a deep breath and pulled the phone from her pocket.
Nothing, not even ‘no signal’. She couldn’t even get the thing to turn on. She realized her hands were shaking. She was going to check, but she knew somehow that the car was gone. Something had happened, something . . . supernatural. She’d never had a thought like that before. Mulder was affecting her.
She marked her route carefully and returned to where she knew they had left the car. There was no evidence that a car had ever been there.
“Mulder!” She tried again, a little hopelessly. What should she do? It was getting dark more rapidly than it should. Did she return to where he had left her, or try to hike out?
No, somehow she knew there was no ‘out’. She shivered at that thought. He’d found her before, could he do it again? The only thing she was sure of was that he was going to try.
She made her way back to where the body had been found. There was nothing there, but it was where he had left her, so it was where he could find her.
She was shivering again, not from the cold, from reaction. This was beyond weird and she couldn’t help but wonder if she was conscious or maybe in a nightmare. It was full night now, and she couldn’t have been alone an hour.
She backed up to the large tree that had had yellow tape around it and slid down to a sitting position, her arms locked around her knees. “Mulder.” But this time it was barely a whisper, more of a prayer.
She eventually let her eyes slide closed, there were no sounds, no rustle of leaves or chirps of birds. She couldn’t help the tear that escaped her eye.
He was beyond frantic. The one thread of sanity he was clinging to was unraveling. He’d checked the car, she hadn’t slipped past him, not that she would. She’d heard his story last night, he’d told her about Samantha - there was no way she would pull something like this, even if she could.
Where the hell was she! He ran his hand through his hair again. He needed reinforcements. He needed help. But he was out of range for the phone. He couldn’t force himself to leave. She was here, it was like he could sense her, but . . . the sounds had returned. Whatever had caused the birds to be silent was gone. Gone . . . and her with it. He stumbled and caught himself on the tree where he had last seen her. He’d been searching for her for over two hours now. If her . . . if her body were here he would have found it. She wasn’t here and he had to leave, for just a little while to get some help.
“Scully.” He whispered it, his eyes closed.
Then he forced himself upright again. He had no choice, he wasn’t going to find her alone. He might not find her at all. That nearly brought him to his knees. Like Samantha, was this going to be like that?
He’d barely remained sane when they took her. He knew his father had kept his breakdown out of the record. Would he be able to come back from this?
He’d taken a couple of steps from the tree when he realized that the birds were silent again. He felt his heart rate soar.
“Scully!” He roared the word this time, turning back in time to see her scramble to her feet from the foot of the very tree where he had been leaning.
“Mu . . . Mulder?” Then she was in his arms, being crushed against him as his lips tasted her. Her arms gripped him as well, unable to speak. She looked up at him and their lips met, melding together. Her eyes opened wide at the sensation, but as she opened her lips to him, her eyes slid closed unable to take in any more stimulation.
She met his kiss with equal passion, wanting to be completely encompassed by him, held in his arms safe forever. He was more than willing to accommodate her, unsure he could physically release her anyway.
When he could finally speak, it was into her hair. “Are you . . . are you alright?”
“I want to get out of here.”
He nodded and they turned toward the car. There were no fingers lightly touching the small of her back this time. He had a gentle but firm grip on her arm. When they got to the car, he opened the drivers’ door. She got in and climbed across, apparently neither wanting the width of the car between them.
He reached across her to buckle her in himself. He needed to touch her. He couldn’t drive holding her hand, so after an instant, he placed her hand on his thigh. He glanced at her as though seeking her okay. She couldn’t smile, but squeezed his leg to reassure him.
He lost no time getting them out of there. As he neared the lodge, he finally spoke. “You need to eat something.”
“Something light. Come on.”
She closed her eyes, but he pulled into a diner nearby. He opened his door and hurried around to open hers. He helped her from the car and she allowed it. Hell, she needed it as much as he did.
He led her to a booth in the back and seated her, then instead of sitting facing her, slid in beside her, as though shielding her from the rest of the world. He didn’t comment on her shaking hands, but ordered both of them the homemade chicken soup.
When the waitress left them. He turned and softly asked, “Do you want a drink? A beer or something?”
“No. If you want one . . . “
“I don’t do much drinking. My father . . . my father has a problem, and I . . . “
She nodded and they fell silent again. When the waitress brought their soup, he picked up his spoon. “Scully, you need this. It’ll warm you.”
Again she nodded and managed to still her hands enough to take a few sips. “Mulder, I - “
“Not now. We can talk later.”
She met his eyes, then returned to her soup. She didn’t finish it, but he let her get away with it, finishing his own, then helping her back to her feet. She wasn’t as pale now, but touching her made him feel better.
He walked her to her room and took the key from her hand, opening her door. He followed her inside and she sank onto the foot of her bed.
“Mulder, I don’t know what - “
“Scully, no. Not tonight. You’ve been through enough, we both have. Why don’t you get ready for bed?”
“I’m not sure I can sleep.”
“I, uh, I have a suggestion.” The color was high in his face, but he continued. “Since, since we’re probably both destined for nightmares tonight, what if we just started out in the same bed.”
Her eyes widened, but she didn’t protest.
“I’m not, Scully, I’m not suggesting anything more than, than comfort. I just think - “
“I agree.” She interrupted. “I don’t think I’ll be sleeping either, but I don’t want to be alone.”
He gave her a grim smile, “Take one of those long bubble baths you like and I’ll meet you here in a little while, okay?”
She blinked, how did he know she liked to soak in a hot bath? That wasn’t in her file.
He winked at her and rose, holding out his hand. She took it and he pulled her to her feet. “Take your time.”
She disappeared into the bathroom, turning one last time to look at him.
He was back when she emerged, wearing her pajamas. Her robe was belted around her. He was lounging on her bed, wearing his sweats and a t-shirt. He had the TV on, turned so low she hadn’t heard it in the next room.
“Scully, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, if you - “
“You’re right. Neither of us will get any sleep tonight, I’d rather not be alone.”
He nodded and turned down the bed. She managed a quick smile and lay down. He got in on the other side and without words, seemingly without thought, they came into each other’s arms - not sexually, just holding each other.
After a few minutes, she spoke. “Aren’t you going to ask about what happened?”
“Not tonight. I don’t want to think about it and I’m sure you don’t.”
“I wish I could stop.”
“I do have one question.”
She pulled slightly away from him, waiting.
The question startled her. Ethan? That was the last thing on her mind, but she recognized the psychologist in him - leading her to other areas, taking her mind off of this afternoon.
“He’s the man I was seeing.”
She gave a small shrug, “I don’t know if we’re still seeing each other or not. He was pretty upset when I changed our plans.”
“Were they that important? Were you meeting his mother or something?”
She actually gave a light laugh at that. “I’m not sure Ethan has a mother, maybe he was hatched. No, it wasn’t that big a deal. We were supposed to have dinner with some of his co-workers.”
“Then I don’t understand.”
“Ethan is . . . controlling. He tolerates my job when it doesn’t ‘interfere’.”
“I guess I’m surprised you put up with that.”
“I don’t think I realized it before . . . before Seattle. It was easy just to go along, letting him have his way.”
“I don’t know, I just felt stronger. That sounds strange given what happened, maybe I felt alive again. While I was there, I knew you were looking for me, but I wondered if you’d get to me in time.”
He gave a small nod; he’d wondered the same thing. He’d gotten lucky, and he’d found her before the pervert had a chance to . . . to hurt her.
“Back to Ethan, what does he look like?”
“Look like?” She smiled then, “Why?”
“I don’t know, I guess I’m interested in the kind of guy you go for.”
“Well, I’m not sure I have a ‘type’, at least physically. Ethan had light brown hair. He had the tips lightened.” She grinned at Mulder’s surprise.
“He works in TV, a producer. He does some of the news shows, you know, Sunday morning.”
‘Good looking, huh?”
“Well, not as much as he thinks.” And not nearly as good looking as you, she thought, then remembered where they were and blushed.
“Scully?” He was confused now. Did she think Ethan was attractive or not?
“He, uh, Ethan’s 5’9”, on the thin side.” At least compared to you she added to herself.
Mulder gave one nod, he didn’t understand what he was hearing. This was the guy she was dating. What was the deal?
“How long have you been dating?”
“Almost nine months.”
He absorbed that in silence. Nine months. He’d only been around her what, three, four days?
“I guess you’re pretty close.” I guess you’re really ‘sleeping’ with him, was what he was asking, though he couldn’t use the words.
She looked away then, “I guess.”
“Turn about is fair play. Who are you seeing?”
“I’m, uh, I’m not seeing anyone.”
“Mulder? Are you serious?”
“I don’t know, you don’t look like you’d have trouble getting dates.”
He blinked, “What?”
“Dates, going out with someone of the opposite sex usually.”
“I know what a date is.”
“You didn’t sound like it.”
“I don’t go out much. My job takes me out of town a lot, usually at the spur of the moment. And when I’m working, I’m not really good company.”
“You mean you’re better company when you’re not working? I’m not sure I could take it.”
He stared at her for a moment, not sure if she was kidding. “Are you, are you teasing me?”
She sighed, “Maybe a little.”
“Are you uncomfortable with me here?”
“The short answer, yes. But I want you here.”
His eyes searched hers.
“I don’t remember anyone ever saying that to me before.” He finally answered.
Her eyes held his, “Maybe you haven’t been listening.”
“I want us to leave tomorrow.”
“We haven’t solved this case.”
“It’s not a case that’s going to be solved. Even if I could prove that little green men killed them, someone would change the evidence, get rid of it. I’d look like a fool again, and this time so would you. Besides, I want you away from here.”
“You’ve seen this kind of thing before.” It wasn’t a question.
“The boy, yes. I knew what you were going to find with the tests - not the chip or the business with his brain tissue. Or what happened out there.”
She shivered at his words.
“Sorry, I said we weren’t going to talk about this tonight. Relax, we’re safe here.”
“Yeah.” He pulled her tighter, “get some rest.”
After a moment she nodded. “You won’t leave?”
“What?” He chuckled, “The opposite of what happens every time we get together? Rest Scully, I’m right here.”
He even managed a couple of hours sleep himself, with her there in his arms. He hadn’t changed his mind about leaving the next morning and she didn’t fight him.
She waited as he loaded the information online and email it, though he didn’t tell her to whom. He placed the chip and the slides of brain tissue in his pockets, then decoys of the same in his luggage. She asked no questions, not at this time. He had more experience in these areas - more than she had even imagined and for now she needed to follow his lead.
They were quiet on the flight, though he held her hand most of the way, remembering her remark about not being a good flyer.
She wasn’t entirely sure what he had told local authorities, probably that they were continuing the investigation and would be in touch. That might be true on his part, but she knew without being told, that he would not accept any more of her help. From the set of his shoulders, probably forever.
He still hadn’t asked what had happened, seeming to understand that she couldn’t talk about it yet. She didn’t know what to tell him anyway. Nothing had happened, she had just been . . . elsewhere. With no explanation.
She didn’t have a lot to say that she felt would help at this point. She was still shaken on a deeper level than she could analyze about what had happened the day before. She needed to process this, get her feet back under her and, as much as he made her feel safer, she needed to do this on her own.
He didn’t seem at all surprised that his luggage was missing when they landed, but refused to talk about it.
“Let’s find your car. I need to get the evidence somewhere safe.”
“I can - “
“Let me get you to your car, just in case. I am going to need your written report.”
“I’ll email it to you.”
She looked deeply into his eyes, but he didn’t back down. “I enjoyed working with you Agent Mulder.”
He nodded, “You too Agent Scully. Good luck at Quantico.”
She managed to smile and turned toward the parking lot. She didn’t see him close his eyes, or the deep breath he took before following her. And she didn’t realize how long it would be before they would have the conversation they needed to have.