Exploring Something New - (6/6) R


He just stared at her.  It had just appeared in her head?  “What do you mean?”


“I don’t know, I just heard her name in my head.”


“Heard her name.”  He was watching her.


“It was . . . It sounded like your voice.”


My voice?”  He asked


“Why are you upset?  I’m lying here in your arms while you think about another woman.”  He blinked at that.  “Well?  Are you thinking about someone named Phoebe?”  She demanded.


“Uh, that’s not the point.”


“So you are.”  She pulled away from him then.


“Look you just plucked a name out of the air and - “


“And you were thinking about her.” She broke in.


“No!  I wasn’t thinking about Phoebe.”


“So there is a Phoebe.”


He took a steadying breath.  “There was, a long time ago.”


She looked stunned and, and hurt.  “Really?”


“Hey, you brought her up.”


“Forget it.”  She rose from the bed, her hand to her side.


“Wait a minute!”  He scrambled after her.  “You’re upset with me?”


“I shouldn’t be?”  She shot back at him.


“No!  I didn’t do anything.”


“Who’s Phoebe?”  She demanded


Shit, this would be funny if he weren’t so stunned.


“Will you come back to bed?  Please?”


“No.”  She stood up straighter and grimaced.


“Damn it! You’re gonna hurt yourself.”


“Who’s Phoebe?”


“She’s someone I spent some time with when I was England, okay?”


“Spent some time with?”


He actually threw his hands up in disgust.  “I was seeing her, we . . . we were together.”


“You were sleeping with her.”


“Yeah, I slept with her.”


“And you wanted a commitment.”


He sank down on the bed, looking up at her.  “I thought I did, yeah.”


She nodded and turned away, moving toward the door.


“Hold it!”  He was close enough to touch her now, “You’re not . . . it was years ago.  Ethan was here this morning.”


That stopped her, and after a moment, she did turn back to him.  “Will you tell me about her?”


“Will you come back to bed?”


After a moment she nodded and moved back, but evaded the hand he held out to help her.  Once she was settled, he joined her again though she didn’t allow him to take her in his arms.


“I met Phoebe when I was at Oxford.  She seemed to be attracted to me, so I asked her out.” Scully huffed slightly at that.  “Turns out she, uh, pursuit was more her style than long-term relationships.”


“I don’t understand.”


He shrugged, “monogamy wasn’t her strong suit.”


“Oh.” She said it in a low voice.


“Like I said, it was a long time ago.”


“She hurt you.”  He shook his head, “I mention commitment and she pops into your head.”


“Actually she popped into your head and I’d like to know how.”


Scully blinked at that, “I . . . I don’t know.”


“Have you ever had that happen before?”


“I don’t . . . “


“I mean, do you usually . . . have you ever had flashes like that before?”  She shook her head, then stopped.  “What?”


“Well, it’s not really the same . . . “




“I was . . . it was a few weeks ago.  I had the day off and I was looking forward to it, but, but when I woke up that morning, I knew I needed to go into work.”


“Was something wrong?  Was it a case?”


“No, not at all.  It was, that was the day you came out to Quantico and we had lunch.”


Mulder’s mouth opened slightly.  He’d thought about that a lot, agonized over going out there, planned it, so he wouldn’t see her.  It had been foremost in his mind for days, like Phoebe had been when she’d talked about commitment.


He needed to think about this.  It didn’t feel like a coincidence.  He realized she was trying to stifle a yawn.  “Your medicine's kicking in.”


After a moment she nodded.  “Scully, we can talk about this in the morning.  Please.”  Her eyelids were drooping.


“You’re not getting out of this, like last time.”


“I promise.”  He reached for her and this time she allowed it.  She placed her cheek back against his chest.  He hadn’t thought about Phoebe in years.  He was right; Ethan had been here this morning.  She let her eyes drift closed.


He reclined, so that she would be more comfortable, but sleep, for him at least, was a long way off.


‘You’re not getting out of this, like last time.’  Last time.  He’d made an effort not to think about that afternoon or the terror he’d felt at her disappearance.  He hadn’t allowed her to tell him what she’d experienced.  Contrary to his normal practice, he didn’t want to face that afternoon again.  He didn’t want to know.  He shivered slightly; it would be like reliving that night when Samantha was taken.


He couldn’t think clearly about this, not with her in his arms.  He should go in the living room, think.  That’s what he did best - switch off his emotions and puzzle things out.  Instead he held her against him as though she were a shield against reality.


Something had happened that afternoon and he knew, like he knew so many other things, that the thoughts she’d picked up were from him.  Something had been done to her.  She was right; when she woke up they needed to talk about it.  It was a leap, but that’s what he was infamous for.  Spooky.


She was more restless that night than other nights, but then so was he.  At one point he did leave her, just to walk around, try to clear his mind.  He was barely out of the room when she cried out and he moved back to her.


“It’s okay, I’m right here Scully.”


She didn’t wake and only calmed a little.  He forced his own thoughts away, concentrating on his conversation with Captain Scully and she relaxed.  He closed his eyes and forced himself not to think about that either.


When he did leave her side in the morning, he started coffee then took a quick shower.  When he came into the room to get some clothes, she sat up and watched him.


“Morning.  How you feeling?”


“Okay, a little better every morning.”


“Good.  The coffee’s ready.  Want me to bring you some?”


“I can walk.”  She rose from the bed.


“You’re still upset with me.”  He stated it flatly.


“No.  You had a life before we met; we both did.  I’m just . . . how did I know her name?”


“Why don’t you get dressed, then we can talk.”


“You’re not putting it off.”


He managed a grin, “I think clearer when you’re dressed.”


She blushed, and chuckled slightly.  “I’ll meet you in the kitchen.”


He nodded and watched her leave the room.  He hurriedly dressed and put some bagels in the toaster.


He looked up when she joined him, and she plucked at her t-shirt.  “Better?”


“I didn’t say that, I said I thought clearer.”


“Thanks.”  She might have been talking about the bagels, but he didn’t think so.  He seated her and brought everything to the table.  They ate in near silence and after he put the dishes in the sink, he rejoined her at the table.


“Scully, tell me what happened that day, the day in the forest.”


She blinked, that wasn’t what she’d thought he’d bring up.  After a moment she took a deep breath.




“So you saw no one, nothing.”  He was in full agent mode, listening to every nuance of her tale.  She shook her head and he leaned back, watching her, but also going over every word.


“I thought we were going to talk about the ‘flash’ I had.”


“I think we are.”


“What?  I don’t understand.”


“That forest, it’s where all those kids were taken.  Each time the opposite sex.  A man had just died, so they were looking for a female.  You were there.”


“But it hadn’t been six months.”


“No, but . . . but maybe they’d figured something out.  Maybe they fixed what they were doing wrong.”


“What they were doing . . .?”


“I don’t know, but that new growth, the new growth in his brain.  It was, it had to be for a purpose.”


“What kind of purpose?”  Her voice shook slightly and he took her hand.


“I’m not sure.  What I do know is that when you were . . . returned, I was the first person you saw.”  She was watching him, waiting but not speaking.  Her hand turned to grasp his.  “Maybe . . . maybe you imprinted on me, my brain waves or something.”


She watched his eyes.  “Okay, I picked up Phoebe, but . . . “


“The other time, when you went to work on your day off, I was . . . I was thinking about you, trying to avoid seeing you.”






“Why avoid?”  He could hear the hurt in her voice.


“I’ve told you the reasons, but mainly so I wouldn’t have to go through withdrawal when I left you again.”


Her eyes softened at that and her look was puzzled now.  He didn’t dare look too long; he’d drown in that look.  Come back to business.


“Is there a test, some way we could check . . . “


“An autopsy.”


He jerked and his grip tightened painfully.  “That’s not funny.”  His voice was harsh and dangerous sounding somehow.  It caused a shiver to run up her spine.


“I . . . I wasn’t suggesting one.  That’s just the only test to see if my brain has ‘new’ growth.  Or I could guess what number you’re thinking about.”


He tried to look stern; she obviously wasn’t taking this seriously, but the twitch of her lips was distracting.




“Not even close.” But he relaxed a little.


“So I’m not able to read your mind.”


He looked up at the ceiling.  “Not about little things like that.  It has to be something strong, not just a number.”


“So concentrate on something.”


“Scully, I -  “  the phone interrupted them.  “I’ll get it.”


“Let me.  It’s probably Mom.”  His forehead creased, “Mulder, you’re going back to work tomorrow, I need to get up and down.  I can look after myself.”  She rose, using her hands to help her.  Mulder’s hands twitched, but her eyebrow stopped him.


“Hello?”  She smiled, “That’ll be fine.  Yes, anytime.  We’re up.”  She hung up and turned to him.


“Your mom?”


She nodded.


“Are they on their way?”


“Yes.  Mom went to early mass.  I guess we need to shelve this discussion for now.”


“Please.  I’ll set the table.”  He turned and she watched him go.  This was upsetting him, but it was crazy.  She couldn’t read minds.  She rose carefully and made her way to the bedroom to finish getting ready for the day.  Enough with robes and pjs.


Mulder answered the knock on the door and took the basket of food from Maggie.  “William’s parking the car.  How is she?”


“Better, I think.  She seems stronger.”


Maggie smiled, “Good.  Let me get lunch ready.”  She moved into the kitchen and he followed her with the food.  Shortly William knocked on the door and Mulder started in that direction.  He spotted Scully coming from the bedroom.


“Your Mom is in the kitchen.  I’ll get the door.”  She smiled and moved toward the kitchen.  “Good morning Sir.”  He opened the door wide to admit the man.


“Morning, son.  Everyone okay here?”


“Yes sir.”  He glanced toward the kitchen.


“They both in there?  Then my place is out here.”  He took a seat on the couch and picked up the remote.  He flicked on the TV and flipped a couple of channels.  “Ever watched Ethan’s show?”


Mulder shook his head and joined the older man in front of the set. The show had already started, and they were discussing the shoot out.  Neither noticed that Scully was watching as well, from the door.


Mulder’s brow furrowed at the information being discussed.  He’d heard a little about the case; this didn’t sound right.


“No.”  He turned to see Scully in the door.  “That’s not . . . Ethan’s got it wrong.  He’s going to be upset.”  She shook her head, “That’s why he came here yesterday and I wouldn’t talk about it.  He decided to run with it, because it’s what he wanted to believe.  He has no respect for the Bureau; he thinks my working there is a joke.  This way he thinks he has an exclusive.”  She shook her head again.


“You were right not to discuss it Scully.”


She nodded, “He’s not going to be happy.”


Maggie came up behind her, “Is it over yet?  I’ve got everything ready.”


“Close enough.  We’ll hear about the retraction tomorrow no doubt.”  William rose and turned off the set.


Lunch was excellent and the company pleasant.  The captain and Mulder discussed places they had each visited in England and Scully enjoyed learning this new side of the man.  There was nothing Spooky about him now.


They all insisted that she not help with clean up, so Mulder and her mother did the dishes.  She visited with her father and answered his questions about her job and plans.  For the first time she didn’t feel the disapproval from him.  Maybe Bill showing his butt had done her a favor.


When the leftovers had been put away and the dishes repacked into the basket, her parents insisted they needed to head home and let her rest.


William took the basket out to the car and Maggie went to the bathroom.  Mulder retreated to the kitchen to get her medication.


When she heard the knock on the door, she assumed it was her father and opened the door.  Ethan, clearly irate, forced the door open wider, and grabbed her by her upper arms.  “How could you have let me go on the air with inaccurate information!”


“Ethan, I didn’t know what information you had, we never -  “  He had obviously blocked this from his mind in his current state.  Hell, in this mood he might even have told the people he worked with that she had lied to him.  She’d never seen him like this.


“I came over here to get confirmation!  You, you -  “  He shook her then and she cried out.


“Get your hands off of her.”  The voice was low, but the menace was unmistakable.


Ethan looked up to see the dark man towering over them.  He released Scully’s arms, trying not to look intimidated.


“Why are you here again?”  He demanded of the taller man.


“I think you need to leave.”


Ethan’s anger flared again.  “This is none of your business.  I need to talk to Dana.”


She’s my business. I want you to leave.”


“Just who the fuck do you think you are?”


“He’s the man that lives here, with me.”  Scully spoke before Mulder could.


Ethan’s eyes widened at that.  They’d been together for months and she’d gotten upset when he brought a toothbrush over.  He took a step back toward her.


“Don’t ever touch her again.”


Maggie, who’d been listening to it all, felt a chill at his words.  She saw that Ethan had paled.  Mulder stepped around him and opened the door.  “Out.”


The smaller man was obviously calculating his chances, and came to the same conclusion that Maggie had reached.  He sent a hate-filled look at Scully, but wisely kept his mouth shut, storming out without looking at Mulder.


Mulder shut the door and put his arm around her.  “Are you okay?”


She nodded, but her hand was clutching his t-shirt.  “You need to sit down.”  She nodded and Maggie rushed to her.




“I’m . . . I’m okay Mom.” Maggie looked up at Mulder.


He shrugged, “maybe you should lie down.”


“Mulder, please.”  She turned back to her mother.  “Go on home, Mom.  I’m fine and Mulder is here.”


Maggie looked up at him.  “I will be here, Maggie.”


After a moment Maggie nodded, and rose to her feet.  Mulder walked her to the door.  “I’ll keep an eye on her.  Try not to worry.”


She physically relaxed her shoulders.  “With you here.  Tomorrow when you go to work, I’ll stay with her.”


“I don’t think he’ll be bothering her.  You should be okay here.  I don’t want you to worry.”


Maggie smiled,  “I’ll call later.”


He closed the door and turned to find her watching him.  “How are you really?”


She met his eyes, “Shaken.”


“Did he hurt you?”


“At the time, he hurt me, but I’m okay now.  You wanted to kill him.”


He sat next to her.  “It crossed my mind.”


“It did more than that.  I saw you aiming between his eyes.”


He took a deep breath.  “It was an intense thought.”


“And I read it.”


He nodded once, “You haven’t taken your medication.  Why don’t you do that now and lie down for a little while.


She made no move to do as he said.




“I am picking up your thoughts.”


He held out the medicine and she finally accepted it and the water.  “Come on.”  When she had swallowed the pills, he lifted her to her feet.  She looked deeply into his eyes, then allowed him to lead her into the bedroom.  She made herself comfortable on the bed and he pulled the afghan over her.


“Could they have done other things to me?”


“Scully -  “


“I need to know.”


“Yes, we do.  But not today.”


She gave a small nod and patted the bed beside her.  At that he smiled and slipped off his shoes.




He woke to find her watching him.  He hadn't expected to fall asleep.  Last night had left him without rest as well.  She hadn't spoken, just watching him.


"What?  Was I snoring?"


She shook her head.  "I want to make love with you."


He blinked, he must still be asleep, that was the only explanation.  Her hand came to rest on his chest.  She could feel his heart pound.  She didn't need to read his mind to know his thoughts now.  His eyes had dilated and his body was reacting in more obvious ways as well.




"Uh, Scully - "


Her thigh moved to make closer contact and his eyes closed.  She watched his Adam's apple bob, then he moved slightly away from her.


"When you're stronger."


"Is your love making that strenuous?"


"Scully - "


"Is that the problem?"


"I just want to give you every opportunity to back out."


She nodded slightly, "And if I don't back out?"


Again his throat contracted, "Then, then we'll see."


Her eyebrow rose, "Yes, we will."  Then she moved off of the bed and toward her bathroom.  He collapsed back against the pillow.


Nothing more was said, though she was aware of his eyes on her wherever she was in the room.


"Mom will be here in time for you to go to your apartment to dress in the morning.  You might want to fix it so she doesn't have to come so early Tuesday."


"Fix it?"


"Bring some things over here, so you won't have to make that stop."


"You wouldn't mind?"


"I wouldn't mind."  She barely smiled and moved away, enjoying his expression.




He tried to keep more to 'his' side of the bed that night, but she seemed oblivious to his discomfort, taking her side down the middle, pressed against him.  He didn't sleep nearly as well as she did.


Maggie eyed him when she arrived the next morning but wisely kept her mouth shut.  She couldn't say she completely approved of what was happening or the pace these two were moving, but that was a conversation with Dana, not Fox, and William liked him.




He pretty much coasted through the day, finally finding a receipt that travel insisted on and talking to Scully a couple of times.  He didn't go 'home' for lunch, giving the two of them time, but he did sneak out about thirty minutes early to try to avoid some traffic.


He was grinning when he pulled up to her building.  Coming home to her, to her mother's cooking - it was a fantasy.  He wished he could relax and enjoy it.  He'd have to knock to get in tonight, but -  "He's the man that lives here with me." - they lived together?  That increased his grin to the ridiculous level.  And she wanted to escalate things.  Well so did he, but she'd brought it up.  He'd never had anything like this in his life.  Her parents even seemed to like him.  He'd never met Phoebe's parents.  It was amazing that this tiny planet could house such incredibly different women . . .


He approached the door, and lifted his hand to knock.  Then he realized the door wasn't completely closed.  He pushed slightly on it and it swung inward.  All trace of a smile was gone.  This wasn't right, his Spooky sense was tingling, and he found his gun in his hand.  Later it would occur to him that his paranoia hadn't allowed him, even for an instant, to think she had left the door open for him.  He stepped cautiously into the room and spotted Maggie on the floor, unconscious or . . . He was beside her, kneeling immediately.  When he felt for a pulse, she moved and moaned.  He wanted to close his eyes for an instant in gratitude, but he was too busy right now.  Back on his feet, both hands now on the gun, he moved toward the bedroom.


"Be there, Scully."  He mouthed to himself, without much hope.  And he was right, the bed was empty, the covers and sheet torn nearly off and lying partially on the floor.   "Scully."


A quick search of the rest of the apartment told him what he already knew.  His cell phone was in his hand, demanding assistance from 911.  Then he was kneeling beside Maggie again as she stirred.

She opened her eyes, wincing, and then focused on the man leaning over her.  "Fox?  What . . . Dana!"  She tried to rise, but his hand stopped her.


"She's not here, Maggie. Just stay still.  The ambulance is on the way."


"No, I don't need - "  but the headache cut her off as she tried to rise.

"You may have a concussion.  Let's wait until they check you out.  Can you talk?"


"It was Ethan."


Mulder's face paled at those words.  He'd disliked, distrusted the man at first sight, but he'd repressed it, thinking it was due to jealousy.  Why hadn't he trusted his instincts?  Hell, he'd even told Maggie they were in no danger.


"Keep talking Maggie.  What did he say?"  Mulder pulled the afghan from the back of Scully's couch and laid it over the woman.


"He was crazy, Fox.  Out of his mind, raving that it was her fault."


"What was her fault?"


"They fired him, because of the story yesterday.  He had it wrong and he tried to blame her.  It was like he'd snapped."


Mulder's hand scrubbed at his mouth.  Fired? Over one screw up?  Maybe it worked that way in such a high-pressure job.  It didn't feel right, and he'd screwed up enough to know.


"Fox, she's not okay.  She should still be in the hospital.  He was hurting her."


Now his eyes did close for a moment.  "I'm going to find her Maggie.  She's going to be okay.  Do you hear me?"


She just watched him, her eyes full of compassion and pain. She looked toward the window as she heard the ambulance shriek to a halt.


"Maggie, you just let these guys look after you."


"You'll find her."  It wasn't quite a question.


"I will."  He rose as the EMTs and a policeman entered the apartment.  He moved to the side and pulled out his cell phone.  "Danny, Mulder.  I need a home address on an Ethan Minette.  He's a producer over at Channel 47.  Danny, I need it an hour ago.  Thanks."  He disconnected and turned to the EMT approached him.


"We're going to transport Mrs. Scully over to Georgetown."


"Is she - "


"It's just a precaution, since she was unconscious.  Her vitals are good, her blood pressure is a little high, but not dangerously.  We'd just like to make sure."


Mulder nodded and moved over to her as they lifted the stretcher to roll it out.


"Fox, call William for me.  Make sure he knows I'm okay."


"Oh Maggie, I'm sorry.  I should have already . . . I'll get him over there.  Don't worry about any of this.  None of it, okay?"


She tried to smile and squeezed his hand.  "You've got other priorities."  The EMTs nodded to Mulder and wheeled her out.


He picked up Scully's phone and called Captain Scully.  After reassuring each other, Mulder hung up.  Before he could place another call, his cell phone rang.  "Mulder.  Yeah Danny."  He scribbled the information on her pad.  "Thanks Danny, I owe you."  He hung up and dialed quickly from her phone.




"Sir, Agent Mulder - "


"How did you get this number?"


"Sir, Agent Scully has been abducted from her home - "


"Agent Scully?  I thought she was still in the hospital in Buffalo."


"No sir, she checked herself out.  Listen, Ethan Minette broke into her home and took her.  He's the producer of that news show that blew the story about the shooting yesterday.  He was fired and he blames her."


"Hold it, you don't - "


"I'm at her place.  I found her mother unconscious on the floor.  She's been taken by ambulance to Georgetown.  I need you to send a couple of agents to Minette's apartment, if he's there, make sure he stays there.  Agent Scully has not recovered from her injuries.  Her mother is frantic."


Skinner didn't bother to comment that Mulder sounded just as upset.  "Okay, I'll send someone over.  Where will you be?"


"I'm on my way, but you're closer."  He gave Skinner the address.


"I want to hear from you, an hour."


"Yes sir."  Mulder broke the connection.  “The Bureau is handling this” he spoke tersely to the policeman.  “I’ve got to go now, you have my name.”  The cop started to speak, but he was already racing to his car.  He pulled out into traffic, determined to get to the man's apartment in record time, so that he could beat the shit out of Ethan before anyone else could put him out of reach.


He'd gone a couple of miles before the nagging in his head got through to him.  Minette wouldn't take her to his apartment.  No, the man had just been fired.  He could legitimately be considered disgruntled.  He'd taken her to the studio.


*Scully, I got it.  I'm coming.*


Mulder abruptly slammed on brakes and performed a U-turn in the midst of blaring horns and squealing brakes. He pulled up in front of the studio shortly and threw his FBI sticker in the window.


A heavy-set older man stepped in front of him.  "I'm sorry.  We have a situation - "


Mulder flashed his badge.  "A hostage situation?"


"Uh, yeah.  How did you - "


"I want you to call the Bureau, speak only to Assistant Director Walter Skinner.  Tell him you're calling for Mulder, that's me.  Tell him what's happening and that I need backup now."  He handed the man his card with Skinner's number scribbled on the back.  The older man took it gratefully.  Mulder could see he was a security guard, mostly retired with little or no training in anything like this.  The man was obviously in over his head.  Mulder could see that his blood pressure was up from his florid cheeks and heavy breathing.


"You're doing great, Miller.'" Mulder read the nametag quickly.  "Just let the FBI and the police in.  When the police arrive have them summon a couple of ambulances, just in case."


"Yes sir."  The man was standing taller already.  "He's on the third floor."  Miller had already pressed the elevator button for him.


People were leaving the floor in droves.  Mulder didn't try to stop them, but one man in shirtsleeves did try to stop him.  Mulder's badge was out again.


"Good, we've got an employee out of control."


"Where?  I need to see the layout."


The man hesitated only an instant.  "Come on to the control room, you can see everything from there.  I'm Brian Adams."  He held out his hand.


Mulder shook it.  "Fox Mulder.  Can you bring me up to date?"


"Yeah, the guy with the gun is - "


"Gun?  He's armed."




"Do you know the make?"


"Sorry, the last gun I held was a Daisy."  Mulder nodded for him to continue.  He explained that Ethan had been fired that morning - one too many arrogant decisions that hadn't panned out, but of course, nothing was ever this guy's fault.  They'd arrived in the control room and Mulder was able to see out into the studio.


Ethan was on the dais, his arm tightly around Scully, using her as a shield in front of him.  A quick glance at the gun in his hand had Mulder convinced he'd stolen Scully's service revolver.  It was also obvious that the man knew nothing about guns from the way he held it and waved it around.  That made him doubly dangerous.


"Can I hear what he's saying?"


"Sure."  Brian flipped a switch and Ethan's voice flooded the control room.  "There's at least four people in there with them."  Brian was pointing.  "Two camera men, the makeup girl and a page.  As far as I can tell the others got out."


Mulder stood silent, taking in the scene.  Scully's face was drawn with pain and she was pale.  She was wearing sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt, something loose because of her bandages, but Minette's grip was making that moot.


A sound or movement that Mulder didn't catch caused the overwrought man to turn and Mulder heard Scully gasp and then moan in pain.


*I'm here Scully.  It's going to be okay.*


Mulder watched her head come up and her face clear slightly.  There was less fear in it now.


"I have to get down there.  Is there a door where he wouldn't see me right away?"


Brian quickly explained the layout of the room.  "Shouldn't you wait for someone - "


"She's already injured.  I have to get her help.  They're on their way, but I need to move."


Brian didn't dispute that.  "Yeah, I think she's bleeding."


"What?"  His head swiveled back to her.  Shit, Brian was right.  There was blood on her t-shirt and it was growing.  "Make sure the EMTs are here or in route."  He moved toward the door.  There was no time for Bureau procedures.


He walked boldly into the room, purposely drawing Ethan's attention.  His gun was in his hand, but down at his side.  "Ethan, you need to let her go.  She's hurt, see?  We can get this straightened out without anyone else getting hurt.  Let her and these other people go, and I'll stay with you until we get it all sorted out."


Ethan's eyes narrowed.  "You again.  You said not to touch her, right?"  His arm tightened painfully around Scully and she gasped.


"That's right.  She hasn't done anything to you Ethan.  She didn't get the chance to talk to you about the case in Buffalo, but she could help you now.  Just let her go, and we'll get it all cleared up.  Come on, you're in charge here Ethan.  Don't hurt anyone."


Mulder couldn't look at the blood now staining her shirt.


"What if I just take care of it this way."  He brought Scully's gun up and aimed it at Mulder.


*Scully, drop!*


She obeyed him instantly, going limp in Ethan's arms and causing him to drop her.  Mulder's gun went off immediately catching the man in the upper right chest.  He realized that Ethan had pulled the trigger of the gun he was holding as well, unaware that the safety was still on.


He was over the man before he realized he'd moved and picked up her gun, tucking it into his waistband.  Then Ethan was forgotten as he knelt beside her.


"Scully."  His shaking hand touched her cheek.


She opened her eyes and he saw the tears sparkling in them.  "I thought, I thought he'd shot you."


"Shh.  Don't talk.  There's an ambulance here."


"Mulder - "


"I said shh.  Everything is under control.  I'm not going to let anything happen to you."


Her eyes were slipping closed and it seemed to him she was bleeding more heavily.  The EMTs were in the studio now.  He managed to draw his eyes from her to see the first medic heading toward Ethan.


"No.  Her first."


"This man's been - "


"Her first."   He didn't draw his gun again, but the implication was there. Mulder moved and the younger man saw the blood covering her t-shirt and beginning to pool under her.


"Yeah."  He turned to his partner.  "Get that other unit up here."  Then he was kneeling beside Scully himself.  Mulder was moved out of the way and for once he didn't protest.




He looked over at a very angry Assistant Director Skinner.  "Sir."


"You know procedure."  The larger man had him over to the side and was speaking low, through clenched teeth.  "You come in here without backup, without a hostage team - you could have gotten everyone killed."


"Yes sir, but he was . . .she could have bled to death while we - "


"Bled to - " Skinner turned then and saw the ambulance personnel working on her. "I thought . . . is she going to be okay?"


"She has to be."


Skinner focused on him at those words.  "Mulder, are you . . . "  He fell silent then.  Finally he sighed, "We'll talk tomorrow." He made his way over to the EMTs working on Ethan and had a low conversation, then moved back, taking charge of the investigation.


The first EMT looked up at Mulder, "We need to transport."


"Is she . . . "


"We need to move."


"I'm coming with you."


The medic opened his mouth to protest, but one look at Mulder's face silenced him.  "You'll have to stay out of the way."


Mulder nodded.  Skinner watched the younger agent leave with her stretcher and kept his mouth closed.




She stirred and reached for his hand, knowing he was beside her.  "Muld . . . "


"Right here, Baby."




"She's gonna be fine.  She has a concussion, but the doctors are pleased with her progress.  She's here for observation.  Your Dad's with her.  I'm supposed to let them know when you're awake."


"What about Ethan?"


"I didn't kill him."




"He's here too.  He's out of surgery and under guard in the psych ward.  He'll probably go on suicide watch when he wakes up."


She nodded.  "When can I leave?"


"Don't even start.  He pulled your stitches; he opened your wounds.  You're going to stay here until a doctor - other than you - says you're okay to leave."


She blinked at his tone.  He'd not 'commanded' her before and it did send a little thrill down her spine, but she could feel how serious he was.  She could also feel how frightened he'd been when he'd seen her bleeding on that floor.  After a moment she nodded.  "It's just that this bed is so damn narrow."


He relaxed at those words and a slight smile took his lips.


"We need to talk Scully, before you get out of here."


"Talk?" But she had already seen what he wanted to say to her.  He loved her, he was in love with her and wanted . . . wanted to be with her . . . forever.  She tightened her grip on his hand.  What an incredible exploration they had ahead of them.