She was more aware now, as though she’d been in a daze since waking up in the hospital. The chemicals were wearing off, possibly gone by now. They were in Texas and Mulder hadn’t seen anyone following them. She was able to watch now too, but she was disappointed that her memories still had not returned.
She looked up as he came from the bathroom, ready for bed. “Your choice of movies is pretty limited tonight.”
He sighed, “Not another chick flick.”
Her eyebrow rose and he couldn’t suppress his grin at the familiar gesture. Surely she’d remember him soon. That would be good, wouldn’t it?
“Watch whatever you want, Mulder. I’m going on to sleep.”
“The TV won’t keep you awake?”
“Not tonight.” She yawned and snuggled down into the bed.
“Um, yeah. Just sleepy.”
“Think it’s the medication?”
“It could be.” She yawned again, then looked up at him. “I feel okay, really.”
“You’ll tell me, if you don’t?”
“I promise Mulder.” She smiled at him and her eyes drifted close.
She’d been right, there was nothing on TV. He finally turned it off, then flipped off the light and slipped down into the sheets. Her even breathing was relaxing and stimulating at the same time. They had never spent this kind of time together before and to his mild surprise, living with her had been good, even fun. Maybe when she remembered what a jerk he was that would change, but for now, hopefully, he could make points with her.
He was finally starting to drift off when he felt her tense up. Her breathing grew rapid and she stirred in her bed. He rose from his own bed and took the step to take him to hers. “Scully?”
She wasn’t crying out, just restless and . . . and maybe scared. “Scully, wake up.”
“Mulder!” She jerked awake to find him leaning over her and relaxed back against the pillows.
“Well, strange anyway.” She scooted over to give him room to sit beside her.
“I think I was Snow White.” She gave him a half smile.
“A bunch of little men vying for your attention? I’ve told you too much about Frohike.”
She laughed then and relaxed another notch. “No, I wasn’t dreaming about dwarfs. I was in a glass coffin, but it was standing up instead of lying down and it was so cold.” She felt him stiffen beside her.
He sighed, “That wasn’t a dream. It was a resurfacing memory.”
“A memory? I was in a glass coffin?”
He sighed and leaned back against the headboard, pulling her close to him. He didn’t have on a t-shirt, but she was fully covered in her pajamas and besides, she didn’t seem to mind like his old Scully would have.
“Scully, this isn’t the first time they’ve taken you from me. In fact, I’m beginning to lose count. If I had known how good you had it in LA, and your mother wasn’t so worried, I might have tried to let you go this time.”
“No, I’m kidding. I can’t let you go.” He cleared his throat and looked away. “You were infected with a virus and taken to a facility in the Antarctic. I found you there, in a glass . . . okay coffin fits, with tubes and instruments sticking out of you. I gave you an injection that killed the virus and then we had to escape.”
“Didn’t Prince Charming just open up the coffin and give her a kiss?”
“I was afraid you’d slap me if I tried that.”
She gave him a small smile and shook her head. “I have a lot to remember, don’t I?”
He nodded, afraid to speak. After a minute he started to rise, “Maybe you can sleep now.”
“Could you stay here?”
Scully, I’m not - “
“I won’t hurt you. Just . . . just be close for a little while?”
“Yeah, sure.” I can do that, it’s Scully and if she needs . . . He reclined in the bed and settled her against him.
“You’ll keep the bogey man away?”
“I’ll try.” He said it lightly, but in his mind was wondering if he was the bogey man in her case.
She was quiet so long he thought she’d drift back off, then she spoke, “Mulder, tell me a story.”
“A story?” He gave a nervous laugh.
“Yes. Tell me how we met.”
He hesitated for a moment, then, “You were a gift.”
“What? Did I pop out of a cake?”
He chuckled then, “No. You were assigned to me. Actually you were assigned to spy on me and shut me down.”
“Excuse me?” She looked up to see his face, but he pressed her back into the crook of his shoulder.
“It was the biggest mistake they ever made. They didn’t count on your intelligence or your integrity. You made the work legitimate.”
“Yes. You didn’t let me get away with anything. You documented and substantiated and sucked every clue dry. I really had to work for it, but that was good. I could make the crazy leaps and you could - and sometimes couldn’t - prove what happened. But they had to listen to you. They hated it, but you proved it.”
“You make it sound like ‘they’ are in the FBI too.”
“It’s a big conspiracy.”
“Are you serious?” She felt him nod, but he didn’t speak. She snuggled up to him, her hand resting on his chest and he closed his eyes. This was a bad idea.
“Mulder, how many times have they taken me?”
“Don’t. Scully, please.”
“Maybe it doesn’t matter. Apparently you always find me.”
He took a deep breath, and felt her hand move against his skin. “But this was the last time.”
“You . . . you’re not going to look for me anymore?”
“There’s not going to be a need. I’m not giving them a reason to take you again.”
“When we get back to DC, you’re transferring away from me.”
Her hand gripped his chest for an instant. “You don’t want me? Mulder, my memories might still come back.”
“That’s not necessarily a good thing Scully.”
She pulled away from him then and he instinctively pulled her back, then realized what he had done and released her. “Sorry.”
“Scully - “
“It’s okay. I shouldn’t have thrown myself at you. Why don’t you go on back to your bed.”
He swallowed and after looking at her for a long moment, rose from the bed. “I’m sorry Scully.”
She nodded and rolled over, her back toward him. He closed his eyes, pain overtaking him. He crawled back into his own bed and lay there. He lay there all night, eyes closed but nowhere near sleep. He wasn’t sure she got much sleep either, but they didn’t speak again that night.
At dawn, he finally rose from the bed and headed for the shower. She had made a pot of coffee when he emerged, dressed. She took her own cup into the bathroom, moving around him silently.
He sank into the chair, defeated. Maybe it would have been better if he hadn’t found her. No! He shook his head, they had her, they’d taken her again. The man she’d thought was her husband was part of the conspiracy. He’d have raped her - eventually. No man was going to hurt her, not if he could prevent it.
He crushed the styrofoam cup in his hand, the rest of his coffee scalding his hand and spilling on the table. He leapt to his feet, shaking the hot liquid from his hand, stifling an oath. Okay, she was in the shower; he could slip in and pour cold water on this hand. She hadn’t locked the door, so he opened it cautiously. Yeah, the shower curtain was drawn. He moved toward the sink and turned on the cold water.
Dumb move. The water in the shower turned scalding and Scully jerked the shower curtain open and jumped from the tub. Mulder looked up into the mirror and saw her nude body.
He turned quickly. “Scully, I’m sorry! I . . . I burnt my hand, and . . . “
Mulder realized that neither of them had reached for a towel to cover her. She just stood there staring at him. His eyes dropped and he moved out of the bathroom. She still hadn’t spoken.
He sank down onto his bed and closed his eyes. Bad idea, her nude, wet body was before him. He heard the bathroom door open and turned toward her. She was dressed, her hair slicked back.
“Scully, I’m sorry.”
“You’ve never seen me nude before?”
“It’s not . . . that’s not it.”
“So you have seen me nude before.”
“Yes, in the Antarctic.”
“In my glass coffin.”
“Scully, they’ll never stop coming after you if you stay with me. Bill was right.”
“Bill? My brother?”
Mulder nodded. “He came to see me when he found out you were gone. He explained things, very succinctly.”
“What did he say?”
“It was more of a right to the jaw. I thought he’d broken it for a minute.”
“He hit you?”
Mulder shrugged. She sank into the chair he’d vacated when he’d spilt the coffee. “I need to remember.”
“We should get going.”
Scully nodded wearily and pushed herself out of the chair. He started to speak again, but stopped. What could he say? Instead he picked up his suitcase and followed her out to the car.
The ride was made in tense silence but he didn’t know how to repair it. He’d hurt her and she didn’t even know why. Finally he did speak, though he didn’t look at her. “How about some breakfast?”
“I’m not hungry. You can get some if you want.”
“I’m . . . I’m not really hungry either.” Silence descended again. Twice he reached for the radio, but stopped himself. Mostly he kept slowing down to compensate for his foot growing heavier with the tension.
Finally he pulled off of the highway and into a fast food place.
“Why are we . . . “ Then she stopped, whatever he wanted.
“We didn’t have breakfast, we should eat something.”
She hesitated for a moment, “Just get me a salad.”
He rolled his eyes, but did as she bade and ordered himself the triple burger with large fries.
He pulled back out onto the highway after unwrapping his food. They ate in silence; well he did, she picked at the salad in the little plastic box but he couldn’t see that any of it was missing. Then he watched her close the box and look out the window again.
He crumpled up the paper from his meal and forced himself to look forward, she didn’t want him looking at her.
He actually kept himself from looking over toward her for almost five minutes. When he did, he spotted a tear escape her eye. She brushed it away and didn’t seem to notice him.
That made up his mind, he pulled over at the next motel they came to. She grabbed the armrest as he made his abrupt turn and looked over at him.
“What are you doing?”
“We’ve traveled far enough today.”
“What are you talking about? It’s barely lunch time.”
“I didn’t get much sleep last night, I don’t think you did either. Let’s just write this day off.”
She didn’t say anything, so he pulled into the parking lot and got out. He came back shortly with a key, and she got out as well. She lifted her suitcase out when he opened the trunk and waited to follow him to a room.
His heart sank at her distance, but he didn’t have a clue how to fix it.
She placed her suitcase beside the nearest bed, then headed for the bathroom. When she emerged she moved toward the bed she had chosen and sank down on it. “So, what, we nap?”
“Well, yeah. Maybe we’ll feel better.”
“I feel fine.”
His eyes closed at those words and she saw his shoulders slump. She felt a frisson of guilt but didn’t say anything, turning away from him and reclining on the bed.
She heard him take over the bathroom and his bedsprings squeak as he stretched out.
He had been right about her not sleeping last night. She closed her eyes and let herself drift off.
It took him longer, though he was dead tired. Her even breathing finally lulled him off.
When she screamed his name, he came awake instantly and was moving toward her as she reached for him. He held her tightly as she fought her way back to consciousness.
“Scully, Scully wake up. It’s just a dream. Come on, Mulder’s here.” He brushed the hair from her face and kissed her forehead.
“Mu . . . Mulder?” She was clutching at him, still shaking from whatever had disturbed her sleep.
“It was just a dream, Scully. You’re okay. Can you tell me what happened?”
Her grip tightened. “It . . . there was a drill. It was coming toward my . . . my stomach. I couldn’t move, something was holding me in place. Is that . . . is that a memory too?”
He caressed her hair and she burrowed into his neck. “It might be. The first time . . . the first time they took you, there were tests.”
“Scully, why don’t you try to sleep now.”
She pulled away from him then.
“Scully, no. Please let me hold you. Just try to sleep for a little while and . . . and I promise when you wake up, when you wake up I’ll tell you everything. Then, if you want I’ll find you some other way home.”
“You might not want me around. Hell, you probably won’t want me around. So for now, let me hold you. Just try to sleep.”
“You’ll tell me everything?”
He nodded but the look on his face almost brought tears to her eyes. He turned her away from him and spooned around her. She wanted to ask more questions, but he was in no shape to answer any.
She pressed herself back into his chest and his arms tightened involuntarily around her. Even knowing how upset he was, she felt safer just being this close to him.
Maria had said he loved her. She hadn’t had the nerve to bring that up, but she could feel it in the way he was holding her now.
She found herself relaxing back into sleep and he felt her give in to it. He pressed his lips into her hair as though telling her goodbye, then allowed his own eyes to close again.
When he woke several hours later, she had turned in his arms and was watching him sleep, but had made no move away from him.
“You seemed to sleep well.”
“I did. You must have too, I didn’t hear any more screams.”
Her face colored slightly, but she smiled. “I had . . . good dreams.”
He looked at her slightly startled. “Good, huh?”
“You said you’d talk to me.”
“Yeah, I did.” He moved slightly away from her.
“Mulder, please. I need to know.”
“You do. I know.” He seemed to be memorizing her face.
“I’m going to miss you.”
“You were the one that wanted me gone.”
He sighed, “You want to hear the whole thing.”
“Whatever you can remember.” She tried to smile at that.
“I’ve never forgotten a moment I’ve spent with you.”
Her smile faded at that. “Maria said . . . nothing, go ahead, tell me my life story.”
She was still on the bed, propped up against the headboard. Mulder was sprawled across the foot of the bed. He was slightly hoarse; he’d been talking for over two hours, practically non-stop.
She had cried at times, her look of disbelief at others had stabbed at him, but he continued. At least she knew the truth now, and she’d understand why she needed to be away from him.
He ran down finally and shrugged. “Want me to call you a cab?”
She ignored the attempt at humor.
“Why me? If all of this is true, why me?”
“It started out, the first abduction, to punish me. They had separated us, tried to keep us from working together so that the work would go back to what it had been before you. But I wouldn’t let you go. I . . . I kept calling you for help with information or to get your input. Maybe if I had left you out of things . . . I didn’t.” He shrugged.
“I was told you were returned as a . . . as a kind of reward. The problem was that, while you were gone, they used you. You became part of the conspiracy. They put the implant in you, they harvested your ova, then when the cancer nearly killed you, you used the second implant.” He sighed.
“Mulder, why do you think that leaving you would keep me safe now?”
He blinked at that, “Well . . . “
“It sounds to me like these ‘people’ whoever they are, are after me. At this point it doesn’t seem to matter how it started, what’s important is that you care enough about me to try to protect me.”
He sat up then and stared at her. She laughed a little nervously, “Am I missing something?”
“You . . . you always come at me from a direction I don’t see coming.”
“Is that good?”
He sighed, “Yeah, that’s good.”
“But you don’t want me for a partner, even if all of my memories do return?”
He shook his head.
Her face fell. “I see. Maybe you should call me that cab.”
“That’s not . . . I need to think about what you said. I need . . . I want to finish this trip together. You’re, damn it Scully, you’re important, you’re fucking essential to me.”
He nodded. “I think that’s the reason Maria was watching me so closely. She . . . she picked up on - “
“She told me you were in love with me.”
That rendered him speechless for a moment. “How did she . . . how did she know?”
“I think she heard it in your voice.”
“Maybe we should get separate rooms the rest of the trip.”
He closed his eyes then; “You’re killing me here.”
“Sounds like it’s your turn to be tortured.”
His eyes flew open then, to see the grin on her face. “You’re evil.”
She gave him a sly smile and watched his eyes dilate; though she didn’t comment on it. When she started to rise from the bed, his hand shot out to touch her leg.
“Mulder, we’ve had our nap, and our talk, there’s still time to put some more miles behind us.”
He shook his head; “We deserve a day off. What would you like to do?”
“You mean, just hang out?”
“Don’t we deserve it? We could go to the movies or . . . “
“We see movies every night. What about a picnic, outside, not in the car.”
A smile grew on his face. “Yeah, that’s a great idea.”
She sat enjoying his smile, knowing instinctively that such a smile was rare.
They found a park and ate chicken and potato salad on a blanket, then sat talking of inconsequential things until dusk brought the bugs out. It was the most enjoyable day he could remember. If she did leave him, at least he had this to hold on to. It was better than old times, there was no trace of the ice queen in her, she was loving and sexy and warm. It was killing him.
When they made their way back to the motel room she seemed relaxed and completely comfortable with him. He, however, felt like he was the one who hadn’t read the script. For now they were partners, and he had to hold onto that. Yes, she had thrown a wrench into his thinking with her comment. Would they leave her alone if she weren’t with him now? Or had she become the focus because of all the tests? Would she be safer with him or without him?
Her hand on his arm startled him. “Mulder? What are you thinking?”
He shook his head. She sighed, “Okay, I feel like I have grass in my hair, I’m going to take a quick shower.” Her hand trailed down his arm and she moved away from him. He had the strongest urge to pull her back to him but curbed it.
He heard the water cut on and that caused him to come back to the present. He slipped off his shoes and pulled the t-shirt over his head. He pulled his suitcase onto his bed and opened it.
He hadn’t realized the shower had cut off, but he heard the bathroom door open and turned toward it. Scully stood in front of him, clad only in a towel.
“You said ‘when’ we do this you wanted me to know who you are. I know you now. You’re the man in my life; you’re the man I’ve spent the last seven years with, the man that’s gone through hell and back with me, and for me, several times. Mulder, make love with me.”
His eyes were wide and for a second there, he wasn’t sure he even remembered how.
“Scully, I - “ His voice cut off as the towel dropped to the floor.
“You said you’d seen me nude before.” She stepped closer to him. She noted the change in his breathing and the fact that his eyes were now totally green. Her hand rested lightly on his bare chest and he shuddered.
She glanced down and bit her lips at his obvious arousal.
“Mulder, do you want me?”
“Oh god.” It was a groan.
“I want you Mulder, I need you.”
He pulled her against him then and whatever he murmured into her hair was lost. He moved them toward her bed and lay her down gently, stretching out beside her.
His hands were caressing her, exploring her, but his eyes never left her face as though waiting for her to pull back this undeserved prize.
“Mulder, I’m not going anywhere.”
“I want to believe.”
“You can, Mulder. I’m right here.” Her hands pulled his face down to her and she captured his lips with her own.
What little resistance he had imagined he still had was gone. He was tasting her, his Scully and she wanted him, she’d instigated this.
He could feel her hands at his waistband and shifted to give her full access. She smiled her thanks and his jeans landed by the bed, followed immediately by his boxers.
“Scully - “
“Don’t you dare ask me if I’m sure.”
His eyes smiled at that, his lips too busy.
He collapsed partially atop her. Never, he had never experienced anything like this, like her. Seven years of foreplay had honed his senses, and apparently she liked what he had learned. She was still quivering against him from her last orgasm, too spent to do more than clutch at his chest.
He managed to pull the covers up over them and pull her tight against him as they both drifted into oblivion.
He was aware when she stirred against him. “Scully?”
“Mulder, I . . . “ Her hand came up to her head.
He sat up then, “Scully? Are you . . . Scully what’s wrong?”
“You’re . . . you’re supposed to say that before - “ Her moan wiped all traces of mirth from his body.
She was clutching at her head now with both hands, her eyes tightly closed.
“Okay, Scully, I’m taking you to the emergency room. Can you hear me?” He took the small motion of her head as a nod and was out of bed, yanking on his jeans. He pulled on his discarded t-shirt and tossed her clothes aside to find her robe. He wrapped her in it and had her in his arms.
They’d passed a hospital while looking for the park this afternoon. He lay her gently in the backseat and took off for it.
Her moans grew weaker as they got closer and his speed increased. He more stopped the car than parked, but he didn’t care. He had her in his arms again and raced inside. “I need some help! Her head, a migraine or a stroke or something - ”
They had her on a gurney and moved her into a cubicle quickly. The nurse tried to lead him to the desk. “I have to be with her.”
“Let them examine her, you can’t do anything right now and you don’t want to get in their way.”
He glanced toward the cubicle and while she knew he wasn’t convinced, he managed to stay where he stood.
“Sir, do you think you could fill out these forms? Just to keep busy until they call you in.”
She was trying to be nice and sensitive, so he pulled out the ID that the guys had sent them to see if they had thought to give them insurance. They had, and he began filling out the paperwork, glancing over at the curtain every couple of moments.
He was on his feet when he saw some additional equipment rolled into her area.
“Sir! Please.” But she couldn’t catch him. He was in the cubicle in seconds and the doctors looked up.
“We need you to wait outside sir.”
“What are you doing?”
The man closest to her head looked over at a younger man. The younger man nodded and put his hand on Mulder’s shoulder.
“Please, tell me what you’re doing to her.”
“Yes sir, let’s just step out here, out of the way.” Mulder took a long look at her lying on the gurney. There was an IV now and oxygen.
He followed the man finally, after another tug on his arm. “Are you a doctor?”
“Intern. You’ve got the chief resident in there looking at her now. The piece of equipment that was just brought in is a portable CAT scan. We need to rule out a stroke or an aneurysm. With her vitals, that doesn’t seem to be the problem, but we can’t take any chances.”
Mulder nodded. “When can I see her?”
“Give us a little more time.”
“Is she awake?”
“No, she was unconscious when I arrived.”
“She was in a lot of pain.”
The intern nodded. “What else? We need to know everything we can about her medical history and what was happening just before this episode.”
“We, uh, we were in bed. We . . . she was fine. We’re on vacation and we had spent the day resting, we had a picnic at a park near here. We ate the same thing.”
Mulder could see the young man thinking. “No history of migraines?”
“No, never. She, uh . . . “ His face went dead white and the intern grabbed his arm.
“Sir? Are you okay?”
“She had . . . she had cancer. She’s been in remission for a couple of years.”
“Where, what kind of cancer?”
“It was a . . . a nasopharyngeal mass.”
“It went into remission?” He sounded more than a little surprised. The intern looked toward the cubicle. “I need to give this information to the doctor in charge. Please, just have a seat. I promise you that as soon as we know anything, we’ll talk to you. Just stay here, where we can find you. Okay?” The anguish in this man’s eyes was impossible for the young doctor to miss and he found his hand on the man’s shoulder again. He squeezed it reassuringly and turned back to the patient.
Mulder lost all track of time, staring at the curtains that hid her from his view. When they did finally move aside, it took him a moment to react, not quite believing it.
Then he was on his feet, moving toward them. “Mr. Hale.” The older of the two doctors extended his hand to shake. “Why don’t we step over here?”
“She’s not . . . she’s - “
“She’s unconscious, but her vitals are steady. We’re going to admit her and keep a close eye on her.”
“Is it the cancer?”
“We haven’t been able to find any evidence of it with the tests we’ve run so far. That’s one of the reasons we want to keep her here. There are other tests that we’d like to run. I’ve called our chief neurologist and he’s on his way. As soon as we get her settled in a room, you can see her.”
He nodded. His relief that she was still alive had taken his voice. He saw her being wheeled from the area and followed immediately. He watched them settle her into a bed on the third floor and sank into the chair at her side.
He didn’t move away from her side until an older man came in with the two doctors he had met in the ER. “Mr. Hale, this is Dr. Weston, he’s head of neurology.”
Mulder shook his hand. “She hasn’t woken up.”
“Mr. Hale, I know how concerned you are, but if you could just give me a little time with my patient, I hope to have some answers for you.”
Mulder looked over at the intern, who nodded. He took a deep breath and stepped into the hall.
About twenty minutes later, the door opened. Mulder’s pacing took him back to the room in two steps. “Dr. Weston?”
“You go on back in son. We’re going to analyze this information and get back to you as soon as possible.”
“Don’t you know anything now?” Mulder hated this helpless feeling.
“She has not had a stoke; she does not have an aneurysm. She has slipped into a coma and we are attempting to determine the cause. Have you thought of anything else?”
The medication she’d been on - he needed to call the guys, see if they had analyzed the substance that Maria had taken to them.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing right now, Mr. Hale. If you’ll excuse me.” He nodded once more to Mulder and moved toward the elevator. Without another word, he returned to her side and took her hand in his.
The medication from her cast did not raise any red flags with the doctors here, although they were curious as to why such medication had been prescribed. He didn’t even attempt to give an explanation for it, stating only that he hadn’t been aware she was taking it until a few days ago. That much was true.
That they could find no trace of the cancer had been tremendously good news. The fact that the coma continued kept him from fully enjoying it though. He had barely left her side, only to grab a quick bite and stretch his legs. He hadn’t told the guys what was going on, just getting what information they could give him. He knew that Maria had arrived safely, but he’d gotten off the phone quickly.
He jerked awake in the chair next to her bed, knowing instantly where he was. He stood to work the kinks out of his neck and back. He couldn’t get any rest; he dozed occasionally, but it brought him no relief.
He didn’t mean to, but the memories of their . . . he groaned. One night, they had finally truly become lovers in every sense of the word and it had caused this. She’d slipped away from him, if not physically, then at least mentally. Once again her life was threatened and it was his fault.
He could have resisted her. He should have resisted her. He had for years, the pull of her was always there but he’d handled it. Then she’d seemed to want him and it had thrown him into a space he had never seen coming.
Well, this settled it. If she . . . if she lived, she was going to transfer out, if he had anything to do with it, she’d leave the Bureau. He was not going to allow her to stay. Her argument that they were after her now was flawed. He hadn’t taken the time to analyze it completely, but if she was away from him she’d be safer and he was going to give her that.
He stood over the bed then, and took her hand into his. “Scully, I know you can hear me. I’m not sure what’s happening to you, but I know it’s because we’re together. So listen to me, I’m setting you free. I won’t work with you anymore; I want you to go back to medicine. I’m sure as soon as I’m out of your life your memories will all return. Like I said before, when you do remember you won’t want to be with me anyway, so I’m just saving you a little time. You’re out, out of the X-Files, out of the Bureau . . . out of my life. Your . . . Bill will be so thrilled you won’t have any time to miss me.”
He let his finger trail down the side of her face. The rest of his life looked very dark and bleak, but he couldn’t let this happen to her again. He’d never forget their one night together; it would have to get him through however long he was forced to live.
“Come on, you need to wake up Scully, so that I can turn you over to your family and . . . and disappear.”
His eyes were jolted from her face when the alarms went off. The heart monitor behind her went flat line and he heard a commotion in the hall.
The trauma team burst in with a cart and Mulder was moved, politely but firmly toward the door. A demand from the nurse drew the attention of the man trying to get him out and he was able to evade him and move into the far corner.
His own body jerked as they sent electricity through her chest. The thin green line was still flat and his fear was beginning to overcome him. He could hear the orders they were shouting, but he didn’t fully understand them.
“We’re losing her!”
Those words he understood. They shocked her yet again and he cried out her name. Several members of the team turned at the pain in his voice. “I’ve got a pulse!”
Mulder had to grab hold of the chair to stay on his feet. “Scully.” He whispered it this time. This was the woman he had just told to get out of his life? Oh yeah, he could live with that.
Some of the team were moving out now. One of them turned to the other, “What did he yell? It sounded like ‘scully’. Isn’t her name Lora?”
The second woman shrugged. “Whatever it was, I thought we were going to be measuring her for a coffin.”
Mulder closed his eyes at those words.
“Mr. Hale? Your wife seems to be stable now. We’ll keep a very close eye of her. Why don’t you go get some coffee, or something to eat?”
“No. I’m not leaving her. Thank you anyway.” His eyes were riveted on her face again and after a moment, the two remaining nurses looked at each other, then left him alone with her.
Measure her for a coffin. The nurses thought . . . she’d dreamed she was in a glass coffin. What was it she had said, ‘Didn’t Prince Charming just open up the coffin and give her a kiss?’
He found himself leaning over her, his lips pressing into hers. “Scully.”
He couldn’t even move as her eyes flickered and opened for an instant. “Mulder.” She breathed, then relaxed, after finding his hand and taking hold of it.
He pressed the call button with his free hand and a nurse appeared almost immediately. “She’s . . . she’s waking up. You need to find Dr. Weston.”
The nurse looked down at her, at the grip she now had on his hand, and nodded.
Again he refused to leave, but stayed in the far corner of the room as they examined her. Dr. Weston spoke with her briefly and promised to check back in a little while, when she was more awake.
She looked over at Mulder when they were alone again. “Did he call me Lora?”
“Yes, Lora Hale, that’s how you’re listed here. Rest now.”
“What happened, Mulder? Why am I in the hospital?”
“What do you remember?”
She seemed to look inward then for a moment. “We were at the motel, we’d spent the day resting, then we went back and . . . “ her face softened just a bit, “and I found out what an incredible lover you are.”
He blinked at that. “You have a funny way of showing it, going into a coma afterward.” She heard the anguish in his voice, if not his words.
“Maybe I just came that hard.”
He gave an ironic grin. “Yeah, right.”
“Mulder,” she reached for his hand, “I remember.”
“What? What do you remember?”
“You, the X-Files, the work, us. I woke up in your arms and . . . and it was all coming back. It was too much all at once. But it would have been worse if you hadn’t warned me, if you hadn’t been holding me.”
“Like you always do.”
He couldn’t even stutter at that.
“I had my dream. You know the one, where you’re in the hall and you have your back to me? You turned finally. And . . . and you sent me away. You said you wouldn’t work with me any more. You looked so . . . so distant. Then I was moving away from you. Remember how hard it had been to move toward you, how I couldn’t seem to make my feet move forward? Well, when you rejected me I started moving away from you. It wasn’t on my own; I was being sucked away from you. I had no control but I was fighting it, I didn’t want to go.”
“Scully - “
“We’ve just found each other Mulder. After all these years, I feel like we’ve just begun. I know it was a dream, but you moved toward me finally and . . . and you kissed me. I . . . I felt like Snow White all over again.”
His eyes widened, when had she gotten into his mind? “Scully, Scully rest now. Dr. Weston will want to examine you in a little while.”
She nodded, “Will you be here?”
“No where else, Scully.”
She smiled and let her eyes drift closed.
“Mr. Hale, Mrs. Hale, I’m very pleased with your progress. I just wish I had a clear idea of what happened.”
“I’d really like to get out of here, Dr. Weston. What if you copy my records so that I can give them to my regular doctor? I’d also like the name of a specialist that you would recommend in the Chicago area. I know I’ll need further testing.”
“I can take care of that. I’m reluctant to release you with as few answers as we’ve found.”
“If she needs to stay - “ Mulder started.
“George, please. You know we need to get home.” Her eyes pinned him.
“I’ll get the paperwork started.”
“Doctor, do you think we should fly home, get her back under a doctor’s care as soon as possible.”
“Actually, I’d prefer that she not fly. The altitude and air pressure might be detrimental.”
Mulder nodded slowly.
“Well, I’ll see you shortly.” Dr. Weston left them alone.
“Mulder? Do you not want to be alone with me? Are you afraid I’ll seduce you again?”
“Scully - “
“Well, that’s what it feels like. I think you ought to go get our things, check out of the motel and pick me up here. We can put a little distance between us and this city, just in case, and then you should probably put me back to bed.”
He looked up quickly and saw the twinkle in her eye. She wasn’t like the Scully he’d known all these years.
“I’m not sure I know you.”
“Mulder, maybe the Ice Queen just needed a good - “
“What, that thought never occurred to you? Plenty of other people seemed to think it.”
“Other people didn’t know you.”
“And you did?”
“Ever since you did the strip tease in my room in Oregon.”
Her cheeks colored slightly at that. “You know that wasn’t my intention that night.”
“I know.” He grew serious then, “What you wanted was even more important to me. You wanted reassurance, comfort. No woman had ever asked me for those things before. Scully, how are we going to handle this?”
“We’ll figure it out, like we have everything else since we met.”
He gave a semi-amused huff then and kissed her. “Stay put. I’ll be back with our things in a little while.” He squeezed her hand and reluctantly left her side.
He packed quickly and returned, bringing her something to change into. While she changed, he got her release papers and checked again with the doctor about removing her from the hospital.
“George.” She came up behind them and laid a hand on Mulder’s arm. “Let’s go home.”
He looked slightly abashed at being caught, and the doctor smiled indulgently. “I think it’s a wise precaution to let a doctor near your home have your records, and of course I’d be happy to speak to whomever you choose. There are several names in the file, three that I have consulted with previously. I know how frightening this episode was for you, but I don’t think the drive will be harmful. Just don’t push yourself.”
“She won’t.” Was Mulder’s reply before Scully had a chance.
“Let’s go home.” She repeated and Mulder nodded.
The nursed arrived with a wheelchair, and Scully didn’t bother to comment that it was unnecessary.
He settled her in the car, buckling her in himself before getting in and starting the engine. She shook her head at him, but didn’t seem truly upset. He realized she had smiled a lot since she’d awakened. It was nice. He pulled out into traffic, and shortly onto the highway.
She pulled out a map. “Oklahoma?”
He shook his head, “I don’t want you to ride that far today.”
“Can’t wait to get me back in bed?”
He actually blushed at that, but didn’t speak, just taking her hand.
“You need both hands to drive.”
“I like touching you.”
“Both hands on the wheel, G-man.”
He reluctantly let go, but when her hand came to rest on his upper thigh, he nearly drove into a ditch.
“God, Scully, don’t - “
“I thought you liked touching.”
“Have I created a monster?”
“I tell you, the Ice Queen just needed - “
“Scully.” He took her hand and placed it in her own lap. “I’ll drive for a couple of hours, then find a place for tonight.”
“Only a couple of hours, okay?”
think that’s too much - “
“I guess I can wait that long.”
He looked back over at her, and watched as she licked her lower lip. Scully? Okay, in order to be safe on the road, no looking at her and no touching. He faced forward again and increased their speed. Scully smiled.
He was as good as his word, pulling into a motor court that looked brand new almost two hours to the minute. He parked near the lobby and cut the engine. Before he could move, her hand was on his thigh again, even higher than before and she squeezed slightly.
His reaction was predicable and immediate. “Scully.” She smiled as the word trailed off into a groan and she saw his reaction.
He took several deep breaths. “How am I supposed to go in there like this?”
“Good point. I don’t want the person behind the counter to jump you.”
“It might be a man.”
He grinned then. “Think you could keep your hands to yourself for just a little bit?”
“I could try, but I’ve had so many really great fantasies about this.”
He gaped at her then. “We may be sitting out here for hours.”
“Don’t you have a book bag or notebook or something?”
He actually laughed.
He wasn’t laughing now, looking at her through heavy eyes, sprawled bonelessly atop him, her legs wrapped around one of his.
“You okay Scully?”
“Anymore more okay and I’d spontaneously combust.”
He grinned then, “You did seem to enjoy yourself.”
“Damn Mulder, I’ve never come three times.”
“That you remember.”
“That’s something I wouldn’t have forgotten. So, where do we go from here?” She tightened her legs around his thigh.
He kissed her forehead, “Well, we could get married.”
Her head jerked up, "What?”
“I guess that wasn’t very romantic.”
“Don’t . . . that’s not . .. Mulder, what about our work?”
“They don’t have to know everything. I, I guess you’d want to tell your mother, but there’s no one for me to tell. Would it be a bad thing to be Mrs. Spooky for real?”
She lay her head on his chest, her cheek rubbing his chest hair lightly.
“Should I take that as a yes?”
She looked up again. “You’re serious.”
Her eyes widened. “Mulder, you don’t have to make an honest woman out of me.”
“Why not? You’ve made an honest man out of me.”
He watched tears form in her eyes. God, he’d blown it. What had he been thinking?
“Why do you want to marry me?”
“I . . . I want to belong to you and have you belong to me.”
“That’s already true.”
“Is it?” He was sitting up now, looking down at her. She searched his face. He was so . . . he needed her. What had he said, ‘fucking essential’? Did he understand that it was the same for her?
She smiled then and he felt his heart clutch. “We’re both crazy to even consider this.” He didn’t speak; he seemed to be holding his breath. “Of course, that’s not exactly new news.”
“We’re discussing this during post-coital bliss, not always a good time for serious discussions.”
He smiled at that. What a Scully statement. “Post-coital, yeah. Bliss, hell yes. For six years there’s been no one else. You said that last night. It’s true for me too, Scully.”
“For six years . . . I . . . yes.” She said it simply. “You’re supposed to kiss me now.”
The smile that broke out on his face took her breath away. He followed her advice then and took possession of her lips.
There was a hell of a lot to work out, not the least of which was her family, but this felt right. They were on the same page at the same time. Yeah, this was right - no more false scripts.