“Mom, please. I just can’t right now. Listen, this isn’t a good time. I’m at work. I promise to call you tonight. Yes, I need to go. Bye.” She hung up and sighed.
She hadn’t noticed Mulder standing at the door. He knew he shouldn’t be listening, but obviously something was wrong between Scully and her Mom. That was unusual. Once she had hung up, he came on into the room.
Scully jumped slightly when she realized he was there. “Uh, been there long?”
“Long enough. You and your mom having a problem?”
He took his seat and leaned back, watching her.
“Really, it’s not a big deal.”
He still didn’t speak, not taking his eyes from her.
“Talk to me, Scully.”
She sighed and looked away. He waited. She knew that he would, she knew he’d stick his nose in.
“She wants me to . . . Charlie’s taking his family out to California, to Disneyland and Bill’s in port, so she wants me to go and have the whole family together.”
“And you’re not enthusiastic.”
“Mulder, I just, we’re busy now and - “
“I can’t just take off for a week and - “
“A week?” Now he was beginning to regret his meddling.
She didn’t seem to notice his reaction. “I’d be the fifth wheel. Charlie and Mary, Bill and Tara. I’m just not ready for that.”
“Your, uh, your mother would be there.”
“Yes, reveling in her three grandsons. I could be maiden auntie Dana, but . . . “
“You could . . . I don’t know, couldn’t one of your friends - “
“Friends.” She made a noise that might have been a laugh if he hadn’t been watching her closely. “I haven’t spent any time with my friends in ages. Besides they’re all married. They have husbands and kids. They can’t just take off.”
“Oh.” He hadn’t thought about that. He knew being on the X-Files with him had pretty much wrecked her personal time, but he didn’t like to dwell on it.
“Too much couple time and family time is just more than I want to handle for a week.”
“What would make it work for you?”
“I don’t know, nothing.”
“Nothing?” He pressed.
“A . . . a husband of my own, and we both know that’s never going to happen.”
“Never?” He leaned forward in his chair then.
“Well what would be the point?”
He gaped at her for an instant, “The point?”
She turned away then, “Mulder, I want to get this report done. Could we get back to work?”
“Oh, uh, yeah. Sure.” He turned from her then pushed the mouse on his computer to get rid of the screen saver.
She watched him, regretting that she had been so abrupt. He’d been listening, wanting to help. Well, it didn’t matter; she had no intention of spending a week’s vacation like that.
They didn’t speak, working on their respective sections of the report. Mulder finished first and leaned back in his chair as his part printed out.
“Scully, if you change your mind - “
“I’m not going to change my mind about spending a week with Bill.”
That startled him a little. He rose then and pulled his suit coat off of the back of his chair. He picked up the printout and put it on her desk. “Listen Scully, don’t get me wrong, Bill’s not exactly my favorite person, but he is your brother. I’d give a lot to spend a week with my little sister. See you Monday.”
He let himself out of the office before she recovered enough to speak. She felt herself deflate as his words reverberated through her head.
He let himself into the apartment and glanced at his refrigerator. Maybe later, he wasn’t really hungry. He’d allowed guilt to creep up on him after he left the office.
When he’d mentioned taking a friend to California, she had honestly been unable to think of anyone. And what had that comment meant, ‘what’s the point?’?
He changed out of his suit into cut off sweats and a t-shirt. Maybe he’d go for a run, get his mind on other things. He pulled open the door and nearly bowled over Scully, who had raised her hand to knock.
“I, uh, after you left, I called Mom. I told her I’d come.”
“Yeah?” So he’d talked her into it. Well, he’d be without her for a week. Great.
“But I took your advice. I told her I wanted to bring a friend.”
“Good, you’ll have someone to hang out with.”
“I hope so.”
“I haven’t exactly asked my friend yet.”
“You better get on it, if she’s going to have to make arrangements . . . “ It was a she, right? He realized they were standing in the doorway, so he moved back to let her in, then closed the door behind her.
“That’s what I thought. That’s why I’m here.”
“What?” He looked at her puzzled.
“Can you arrange to get off next week and come to California with me?”
“I thought you said you had a friend - “
“You’re my best friend. You’re right, I need to spend time with my family, but I’ll need backup. Does that make sense?”
He nodded, “Yeah, I guess it does, but are you sure I’m the one you want to back you up on this? I mean, well . . . “
“I’ll be able to handle him better if you’re there.”
“Will you need to ‘handle’ him if I’m not there?”
She laughed then, “Oh yes. If he isn’t giving me grief about you, he’ll be giving me grief about leaving medicine or something I haven’t thought of.”
Mulder smiled, enjoying watching her laugh. He realized he had already made up his mind. The idea of having her gone for a week had already depressed him, now she’d given him a reason to look forward to the week.
“Mulder, I’ve already talked to Skinner about getting the week off - “
“Did you ask for me?”
“No, I wasn’t going to presume like that.”
“You know I can’t refuse you anything.” He appreciated the color that stole into her cheeks.
“Well, I did make your flight reservation.”
He laughed out loud then, “I’m too easy.”
She turned toward the door, “Easy is the last thing you are, Mulder. Our flight leaves at 7:15 tomorrow morning.”
“I’ll pick you up, okay? I better get in touch with Skinner.” He walked her to the door, and opened it. “Hey, Scully.” She turned to look up at him. “Thanks.”
“Thank you Mulder. I don’t think I would do this without you.”
“Well I can guarantee that I wouldn’t do this without you. Bonding time with Bill just isn’t a top priority for me.”
“I know, and I really appreciate it.”
He watched her walk down the hall toward the elevator, feeling confused but damned pleased. The run forgotten, he shut the apartment door. He grabbed the phone and dialed Skinner’s home number.
“Uh, Sir. Agent - “
“Mulder, I was expecting your call. I can’t believe I’m not going to have to threaten you into taking some time off.”
“You, uh - “
“I don’t want any details. I’ll see you a week from Monday.”
“Be sure you’re back on Monday.” Mulder heard the humor in his voice and decided not to respond. Instead he hung up and began packing.
He knocked on her door and grinned at her peephole. She was laughing when she opened the door. “Have I made a mistake?”
“Probably Scully, volunteering to spend off duty time with me, but it’s too late now. You’re stuck with me.”
“I think I realized that a couple of years ago Mulder. Come on, we need to leave if we’re going to make the flight.”
He was standing there with his mouth slightly open at her remark. She turned away partly to hide her smile and partly to pick up her suitcase.
Once they were seated on the plane, and she couldn’t avoid the question, he turned to her. “Have you, by any chance, told anyone what ‘friend’ you’re bringing with you?”
Her expression gave him his answer.
“Great, not only am I walking into the lion’s den, I’m going to surprise the lions when I get there.”
“You’ve been talking about finally meeting Charlie for ages.”
“Yeah, but is he as anxious to meet me as Bill was?” He grimaced.
“We’ll find out, won’t we?” She sniffed at him and he rolled his eyes.
Actually the flight was fun. Without a case to consume them, he pumped her for information about Charlie and family, as well as what Bill and his family had been up to since he’d seen them.
By the time they had arrived at LAX, he felt at least informed, if not comfortable about the meeting.
“I told Mom not to bother meeting me, us.”
“I need to get a room.”
“Me too. With Charlie’s family and Mom at the house, there’s not room for us. I made sure Mom and Bill understood I needed to get a hotel room nearby.”
“Bill agreed to that?”
“He wasn’t happy, but I made it a condition of coming.”
“He wasn’t happy when he thought you were bringing a girlfriend. This is getting to be more fun by the minute.”
“You can handle it, Mulder. When have you ever not been at odds with someone about something?”
“You make it sound like I do it on purpose.”
“And you don’t?”
He grunted and opened the bin above their seats to hand her the carry on.
There was a hotel just off base, nicer than what they usually found and checked into adjoining rooms. She opened the connecting doors at his knock.
“Hey, I’ve got a great idea. You go let them know you’re here and don’t mention me and I’ll - “
“No way, G-man. You’re supposed to have my back.”
He grimaced, but it won him no sympathy.
“Remember, you’re the one that guilted me into coming Mulder. You have to do your part now.”
He rolled his eyes, but followed her out to the car without any more complaining.
They were both nervous by the time he pulled up in front of Bill’s house. “Tell me again that this isn’t a really bad idea, Scully.”
“Shut up Mulder.”
He grinned and got out, moving to her side of the car and to her surprise, opened her door as well. She took a deep breath, and got out. When he placed his hand on the small of her back, she leaned into it.
She knocked on the door and almost immediately Mrs. Scully yanked it open. “I thought I heard a car drive up. Dana it’s so good to - Fox? I didn’t realize you were the friend she was bringing with her.” She smiled a smile that looked for all the world like the cat that had swallowed the canary. “Come in, come in. The family is all here now.”
Mulder saw that Scully had relaxed a little at those words. Having Mrs. Scully on his side did feel good, but he still felt like he was heading out onto the playground to meet the school bully.
The three of them turned into the living room and a red headed man rose and pulled Dana into a bear hug.
“It’s been too long Dana.”
She nodded and returned the hug. Charlie looked up and gave an even bigger grin. “Mulder?” He released Scully and moved toward Mulder. “Is it really you? Finally! I have been looking forward to meeting you.” He approached Mulder with his hand outstretched.
“Looking forward - “
“Hey, I’m not Bill. I’ve been wanting to meet you and thank you for saving my sister’s ass a couple of times.”
Mulder’s eyes involuntarily darted toward said ass and immediately away. If possible, Charlie’s grin was even bigger when Mulder looked back.
“How about a beer?” Charlie turned toward the kitchen.
“Uh, yeah, thanks.” Mulder glanced down at Scully. She smiled and nodded.
“Mom and I will visit for a minute.”
Mrs. Scully answered that, “He’s upstairs trying to set up a video game for the boys.”
Mulder nodded and followed Charlie. The smaller man pushed open the swinging door into the kitchen and turned toward the refrigerator.
like you to meet - “
“Mulder. You’ve got to be Mulder.” She wiped her hands on a kitchen towel and moved toward him. “I have heard so much about you.”
“And you’re speaking to me?” He returned her hug, but looked over at Charlie.
“I’m just so glad Dana brought you. We really wanted her to come on this vacation, but she wouldn’t have had much fun. Now it will be a vacation for her too.”
Mulder gaped at her, but they were interrupted when Tara came back into the kitchen from the garage. She stopped dead when she saw him. “Mulder?”
“Hi, Tara. I hope you don’t mind - “
“Mind? I’m so happy to see you. I was concerned about Dana being here again. She hasn’t come to see us since . . . since . . . I was worried about her going to the cemetery alone, but I didn’t think she’d want us to go with her.”
Mulder sobered. Emily, he hadn’t given her the thought he should have. He’d been concentrating on himself and Bill. Of course she’d want to go to the cemetery, even though he and Scully knew the child’s body wasn’t there.
“With you here, she’ll be okay.”
Mulder blinked at that and decided against comment.
“Hey, Mulder, why don’t we finish our beers outside?”
“Yeah, sure.” He followed Charlie out to the patio and took a seat.
“I’m not really sure. I wasn’t exactly expecting this kind of reception.”
“Look, Bill’s a pain in the ass, that’s a given, but you’re important to Dana. The majority of the family knows it. I don’t blame her for not wanting to spend a lot of time with Bill. If having you here makes her feel better, you’ve got my support as well as Mary and Mom. So, relax, drink your beer and tell me something about yourself that Dana wouldn’t.”
Mulder smiled at him in wonder, then took a long drink of his beer.
Shortly Bill came downstairs. “I think I got it working. Remind me never to buy one of those for Matt.” He stopped just inside the living room when he spotted Scully.
“Well you did come!” Scully rose from the couch and they hugged. “I was afraid you’d find some new excuse to stay away. Where’s this friend of yours?”
Before she could speak, the door from the patio opened. Charlie entered, following by Mulder. It took Bill a couple of beats to realize what he was seeing.
“You! No, Dana tell me this is not . . . no way. I don’t want him here.”
“Good news Bill,” Scully spoke dryly, “We’re not staying here, we have rooms at a hotel on 68.”
“Bill, please.” Mrs. Scully put her hand on her older son’s arm.
Charlie stepped closer to Mulder and put his hand on the taller man’s shoulder. “Like I said, the majority knows better.” He spoke in a low voice, Bill couldn’t quite hear him, but his eyes narrowed.
“Figures you’d be on his side.”
“Actually, I’m on Dana’s side, bro. I like seeing her happy and she looked very happy when she got here, before you came downstairs.”
Bill glared at him and started to speak when the three boys galloped down the stairs.
“Hi, Aunt Dana!” The tallest one hurried toward her, followed by the other two.
“Will, you’re almost as tall as me!” Scully hugged her nephew, then Sam and Matt. “It’s so good to see you guys.”
Mulder realized that the oldest one, Will was looking at him. “Hey, are you . . . are you Mulder?”
“Hot dog! Dad didn’t say you’d be here!”
Mulder looked up at Dana, confused, but she was looking at Charlie.
Charlie shrugged, “Bedtime stories are harder when they get older.”
“You’ve been telling them bedtime stories about Mulder?” Scully stared at him.
“And you. Hey, they’re all based on what you’ve told me.”
Scully rolled her eyes and shook her head. Bill sputtered and brushed past all of them into the kitchen. Mary immediately retreated from the kitchen to join them in the living room.
Charlie put his arm around his wife, “Everything okay?”
Mary glanced over at Mulder, “He’s been happier.”
“Look, I’m not here to cause problems. Maybe I should grab a bite somewhere and I can pick Scully up later.”
“No.” Scully’s response was immediate.
“I agree, Fox.” Mrs. Scully spoke up. “We’re just having cold cuts tonight, since we weren’t sure what time you two would get in. Then we probably all need to turn in early if we’re going you know where tomorrow.”
“That’s the truth.” Mary agreed, “Why don’t I get Tara and put the food out.”
“Rescue Tara, you mean.” Charlie whispered and Mary grinned at him.
“I get to sit next to Mulder!” Will shouted and Sam chimed in immediately.
Scully laughed out loud at his bemused expression, relaxing again. Yes, Bill was going to be a pain, but with Mulder here, and the rest of the family on their side . . . it might be a fun week after all.
Scully sank back into her seat and rotated her ankles. Mulder smiled, “You okay?”
“Who would have thought that keeping up with three boys at Disneyland would be more work than chasing bad guys for the FBI?”
He chuckled. “Well just relax. We’re going to be awhile getting out of this parking lot.”
They were behind Bill and Tara. Charlie, Mary and Mrs. Scully were ahead of them somewhere. In this traffic it might be some time before they made it back to Bill’s house.
He glanced back over at Scully, her eyes were closed and she looked very relaxed. Traffic was finally easing up, a few cars had gotten between him and Bill, but he knew the way, so it was no big deal.
From his vantage point, four cars back, he saw what was going to happen before it did. The feeling of helplessness caused him to cry out and Scully’s eyes flew open.
The car plowed through the intersection and caught Bill’s car square on the passenger’s side.
“Bill!” Scully cried out as the car spun around, then was struck again by the next car. The third car was able to stop, as was Mulder. He pulled slightly to the side and was out of the car, running toward the crash. Scully was only two steps behind him. He was already pulling out his cell phone and punching in 911.
He raced to Tara’s side of the car, the most damaged by far. The door wouldn’t open, but the window had been knocked out. He reached in, Tara had a pulse but even he could tell she was in bad shape.
Bill was shaking his head, but insisted on getting out of the car. “I’m okay, Dana. Check on Tara and Matt.”
Matt was definitely alive; he was screaming his head off. “Matt? Matt it’s Mulder, I’ll get you out of the car. Just don’t cry anymore.”
The words didn’t help much. Mulder looked up at Scully; his expression brought her to his side. “Tara?”
“She’s going to need help, Scully.” He spoke low, glancing toward Bill. Scully swallowed as she looked through the window. She looked over at Bill, then began examining Tara. They could hear the sirens in the distance already.
Bill finally seemed to notice the expressions on his sister and Mulder’s face and shook his head, moving quickly toward them. Mulder moved out of his way and toward the other side of the car. He was able to force the back door open and reached in for Matt.
“Hey, Big Guy, you okay? Let me check you out.”
The boy seemed to calm down a little at the familiar face and soothing touch. “Do your legs hurt? Let me see you kick both feet. That’s good. How about your arms?”
Scully looked over at him through the window and managed a grim smile.
“Think I can move him?”
“Yeah, just be careful. Move him away.”
Mulder nodded. His eyes asked the question, but she didn’t speak, only shaking her head slightly.
“Come on Matt, let’s get out of the way here.” He unbuckled the boy and lifted him into his arms, then stepped back. Bill noticed, but didn’t bother to make a comment about Mulder being with the boy, he was too worried about Tara.
“Where’s my Momma!” Matt had been looking around at the people surrounding them. He’d seen Bill and Dana, but realized he couldn’t see Tara.
“Just relax Matt. She’s still in the car.”
“Why! I want my Momma!”
“I know Big Guy. Look, the police are here now and an ambulance. This ride isn’t as much fun as the ones we were on earlier is it?”
“A ride?” Mulder managed to smile at the interest in his voice.
“Sure. This wasn’t a fun one, why don’t you tell me what your favorite ride was today.”
Bill overheard him and looked up then. Mulder nodded and after a moment, Bill did as well. They both heard the cop radio in for the jaws of life and Mulder saw Bill’s eyes close.
Mulder moved Matt farther away and kept asking him questions about his day. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Bill’s home number. Charlie and his group should be there shortly and he needed to get them back here. He left a message on the machine to call him back immediately, and hoped that his tone of voice wouldn’t frighten them.
“Mudder, why is Momma still in the car?”
“Oh, well her foot seemed to be caught, so the policemen are going to have to cut the car a little bit to get it loose.”
“Can’t you just pull it out?”
“Not really, it might cut her foot and that would hurt. This is the better way.”
Mulder hadn’t realized that Bill had joined them until the man’s hand landed on his shoulder. He reached for his son.
“Matty, you okay?”
The boy nodded, and touched the bandage on his father’s forehead. “Does it hurt?”
“Not any more. You and Mulder doing okay?”
Matt smiled, “Mudder and I have been talking. Is Momma’s foot still caught?”
“Uh, yeah, but help is here now, so it shouldn’t be much longer. Look, I need to go help them again. You stay here with Mulder, okay?” He was looking at Mulder then.
Mulder nodded and took the boy back. “Bill, I called the house.”
Bill met his eyes then, “thanks.” He turned back to the car.
Mulder searched for Scully and spotted her, talking to the EMTs. Good, if anyone could help Tara . . . He moved Matt farther away from the commotion. It wasn’t looking good and he didn’t want the boy to have this as a memory.
They talked about their day, Mulder encouraging Matt to recount in detail everything he remembered about Tomorrowland until he saw Charlie’s car drive up and Charlie and Mrs. Scully race toward them.
“Fox! Fox, what - “
“Hi, Mrs. Scully. Matt and I were talking about Disneyland.”
She stopped and glanced toward the car, then took Matt into her arms. “I was going to ask about that myself.” She tilted her head toward Charlie and Mulder nodded.
The two men moved out of earshot and Mulder brought the younger man up to date on what was happening. Charlie ran a trembling hand over his face. “Is she going to live?”
“I don’t know. Scully’s been with her. They haven’t been able to get her out of the car. Bill’s . . . maybe you ought to let him know you’re here.”
Charlie nodded and moved toward the car where Bill and Dana were standing, Dana’s arms around her big brother. The expressions on their faces increased his speed and then he had his arms around Bill as well.
Mulder turned back to Mrs. Scully. “You know Mrs. Scully, I think Matt here is probably getting tired. Maybe you and Charlie should take him home.”
“Is Momma’s foot still caught?”
Mrs. Scully looked confused, but Mulder answered easily. “You know, it is. And these guys are being real careful so it might take a while longer. You could go on back home and tell Will and Sam all about this.”
“Yeah! They didn’t get to have a ride like that.”
“True. You need to be the one to tell them, since you were really here.”
Matt nodded and put out his arms to hug Mulder’s neck. That startled Mulder and brought tears to Mrs. Scully’s eyes.
“Fox, I can take him home, if you think Charlie should stay.”
“That might be a good idea. Let me go check.” He moved in that direction, not hurrying because he knew Matt was watching. Charlie saw him approach and met him. “Your mother is going to take Matt home. Do you want to stay?”
“Yeah, I better. I’ll go talk to Mom.”
“Be careful, little pitchers.”
Charlie nodded and Mulder realized that Bill was watching him. He didn’t move closer. If Scully wanted him, he was here. Charlie returned quickly and Mulder saw the car pull out and away.
“How is she?”
“Still unconscious, which is probably good, but she is alive.”
“Looks like they’re going to take the roof off of the car.” Even as he said it, the police were moving Bill and Scully back so that they could begin cutting.
The two joined Charlie and Mulder. Scully came into Mulder’s arms and they closed around her. They said nothing; there was no need. Charlie put his arm around his big brother and they watched as sparks flew from the torch they were using to remove the roof of the car.
Scully moved closer to Bill and took his hand. He didn’t seem to notice, his eyes riveted on the car.
Once the roof was gone, they had Tara out of the car fairly quickly. They had her immobilized and several IVs were already in place.
Scully squeezed Mulder’s hand and hurried back to her side. “Where are you taking her?”
“I’m going with you.” Bill had materialized at her side.
“Sir - “
“You should let him.” Mulder spoke to the EMT who was about to refuse. After a second the man nodded and picked up his end of the stretcher.
As soon as she was inside and secure, Bill climbed inside and met Scully’s eyes.
“We’ll be right behind you.”
He nodded and the ambulance doors shut.
“I don’t know.” She answered his unspoken question. “We need to get over there.”
“What happened to the other driver? I was trying to keep Matt out of the way.”
She gave a wistful smile at that, she’d seen how good he was with the boy. “He didn’t make it. I’m pretty sure he was drunk.”
“The way he came out of that street, he had to be.” They had reached their car now, and Mulder opened her door without thinking. Charlie clambered into the backseat and they followed after the ambulance.
“Do you know where we’re going?” Charlie asked.
“I saw a sign yesterday.”
Scully didn’t bother to say they had no chance of getting lost with Mulder behind the wheel.
Mulder was alone in the waiting room when Bill wandered in. “Where are Dana and Charlie?”
“Charlie is using my phone to call home. The reception is better on the deck. Scully, Dana’s trying to get some information. Can I get you anything?”
Bill shook his head and lowered himself down onto the closest couch. He leaned forward and put his face in his hands. After a moment, he sat back up.
“You were good with Matt.”
Mulder blinked and didn’t speak.
“Thanks for keeping him out of the way and calm.”
“I didn’t want him to see his mother like that.”
“Yeah.” He glanced toward the doors to the operating theater. “Think they’ll tell her anything?”
“Scully’s got the best chance. She speaks their language.”
Bill looked up at him and almost smiled. “You know I didn’t want you here.”
“I thought Dana spends too much time with you already and then to have you horn in on her vacation with us . . . “
Mulder sat silent at his side. Bill had already made that plain.
“She . . . she told me she wouldn’t have come if you hadn’t.” Bill looked down at his shoes, anywhere but at Mulder. “I’m glad she’s here and . . . and I’m glad she has you here to . . . to be with her.”
“Bill, it’s - “
“She said you were the one that called 911. She said she froze.”
“Tara’s family. She’s been a rock when I’ve had family crises. I guess we just take turns.”
“You’re good together.”
Mulder’s head shot up at that and Bill did smile then.
“Yeah, I guess you didn’t expect me to ever say anything like that.”
“You were really good with Matt. You’d make a good father.”
Mulder’s eyes became hooded then and he glanced up to make sure that Scully wasn’t coming.
Bill looked in that direction too. “Uh, sorry. I didn’t . . . “ He went silent then, realizing what he’d said. They sat together, quietly then, until Scully joined them.
They both rose at the sight of her. She turned to Bill; “The surgery is going well. They’ve given her three liters of blood so far. That’s not excessive by any means. Her pelvis is broken, and her right arm. They’ll be set after they finish the surgery.”
“Is she going to be okay?”
Scully took a deep breath, “There doesn’t seem to be any head trauma. I . . . she’s getting the best care, Bill. You just have to believe.”
Bill closed his eyes and walked over to the window. Mulder reached out and took Scully’s arm. She looked up at him and her eyes filled with tears. He pulled her against him and she sighed, but didn’t allow herself to cry.
“Mulder, she’s . . . I don’t know if she’s going to make it. Matt’s so young.” She whispered to him.
“Like you said, we just have to believe.” He held her tighter and that’s how Charlie found them.
His eyes widened at the tableau. Mulder spotted him, “She’s still in surgery.”
The relief sent Charlie to the couch. He took several deep breaths, then rose to his feet again and walked over to Bill. Mulder watched the two of them; all differences had been set aside, just as they had been with Scully at the site of the accident.
This was what family was about. They fought, they disagreed, and they loved each other. At a time like this, all differences were set aside and they were there for each other.
Thank goodness she had come. She would never have been able to forgive herself if something like this had happened when she had refused to be with her family.
He realized she was watching him. She nodded and pulled his head down toward her. To his surprise, she pressed her lips against his in a deep kiss. He couldn’t stop himself, kissing her back and holding her gently against him.
“Thank you. Thank you for being here with me.” She whispered.
“Any time Scully.”
She smiled, then turned toward her brothers. Both had seen the kiss, Bill looked stunned and Charlie was grinning.
“Listen, Mom and Mary have everything under control at the house. Matt’s asleep. Why don’t I go get us something to eat?”
“I can’t - “
“Bill, you should have something in your stomach besides coffee. Charlie, go get us some sandwiches, please.”
“Wanna come with me Mulder?”
“Yeah. We won’t be long.”
Charlie said nothing until they got on the elevator, then he turned to Mulder, “What was that about?”
“I’m not really sure, but I’m not complaining.”
Charlie chuckled, “Yeah, it didn’t look like it.” He sobered then, “It’s gonna be a long night.”
Mulder nodded, he already felt the need to get back to her in case something changed.
Bill had eaten, though Mulder was pretty sure he hadn’t tasted it. Then Scully had him take something to relax him. He was now stretched out on the couch. Charlie had gone to take a walk, and Mulder and Scully were on the smaller sofa. He was holding her close, but they weren’t talking.
Mulder noticed the doctor first as he approached them. Scully felt his tension and looked up, then was on her feet.
“Dr. Scully.” The surgeon acknowledged her.
“Is she . . . “
The doctor glanced over at Bill, who was still asleep though not peacefully.
“Did she make it?’ Mulder asked quietly.
“She survived the surgery.” The doctor managed a grim smile. “She’s critical. They’ve moved her to recovery. If she does okay there, we’ll move her to ICU.”
“What’s her prognosis?” Scully asked this time.
“It’s too soon. I’ll be staying here tonight.”
“Thank you.” Scully leaned against Mulder as her arm went back around her. “I’m going to let him sleep.” She glanced at Bill.
Mulder nodded, then shook the doctor’s hand and led Scully back to their seat. She curled into him.
“She’ll be okay, Scully.” He spoke quietly, not wanting to disturb Bill.
“We can’t know that.”
“Then we have to believe.” He looked up as Charlie approached them.
“Was that the doctor?” Charlie whispered to them.
Scully nodded, “She’s still alive.”
Charlie waited for a moment, “And?”
“That’s all we know for now.”
“Shit.” He scrubbed his face with his hand. “I have to call Mary.”
“Why don’t you go on to the house, Charlie? You can’t do anything here. Try to get some rest, then you can relieve us in the morning.”
“I could stay now.”
“We’re used to staying up on stake outs. Go on. Mom and Mary need you.”
Charlie hesitated, then nodded. “I’ll take a cab.”
“No, that could take ages.” Mulder handed him the keys.
Charlie sighed, then pocketed the keys and gave Scully a hug. “Call if there’s any change.”
“You know we will. Kiss the boys for me.”
Mulder watched Charlie leave, but Scully closed her eyes and burrowed into his chest. His arms held her tenderly.
It wasn’t long before the drugs could no longer keep Bill under, he sat up looking disoriented. He spotted the two of them and automatically frowned. Mulder had been watching and when Bill looked his way, eased Scully down on the sofa and rose. About that time he saw memory kick in on Bill’s face.
“God, is she still in surgery?”
Mulder shook his head, “She’s in recovery. Then they’ll move her to ICU.”
“I need to see her. Where . . .?”
“Come on.” Mulder glanced at Scully, but she was still out. He led Bill to the nurse’s station.
“I’m Bill Scully. I need to see my wife.”
“Mr. Scully.” The nurse spoke quietly. “Let me check.”
Bill turned to Mulder, “They have to let me see her.”
Mulder thought of all the times he had fought this same battle. “You’ll see her if I have to pull my gun.”
Bill almost smiled at this man he had always despised and nodded.
“Mr. Scully, your wife is still in recovery, we - “
“Ms. Tapper, Mr. Scully’s under a lot of stress. Don’t you think five minutes would do both of them a lot of good?”
The nurse tried to frown at them, but her eyes flicked over Mulder’s body and he could see her relent. “Five minutes, not one minute more.” She did scowl at Bill. “Follow me.”
Bill looked over at Mulder, his face carefully expressionless, then followed the nurse behind the desk.
Mulder returned to Scully’s side and took the chair closest to her.
When Bill returned, he looked shaken but composed. Mulder rose again and approached him. “She’s still out of it. She’s hooked up to everything but the kitchen sink.”
“Then they’re taking every precaution.”
Bill nodded, then “You’re not my type, but you must have something. Do women always fall all over you?”
Mulder looked startled, “What?”
“Tapper. I think if you’d asked her to step into the storage room she would have.”
Mulder glanced at Scully, “Uh, no, I don’t have any effect on women that I know of.”
Bill harrumphed at that and took a seat, motioning for Mulder to join him. “Thanks for getting me back there. My ‘way’ doesn’t work as well.”
Mulder shrugged, he’d been on the receiving end of Bill’s ‘way’ more than once.
Bill looked over at his sister, asleep on the small sofa. “Thanks for bringing her here.”
“She wanted to come.”
“Maybe. She made it pretty clear she would only come under certain conditions, you being the main condition.”
“Look - “
“It’s okay. I just need to face the fact that she loves you and quit - “
Bill looked Mulder in the eyes then. “Do I have to say it again?”
“You think she . . . “
“Loves you. Yeah, don’t you?”
“I, uh . . . “
Bill looked surprised at that. “You didn’t know? Shit, man, why do you think I’ve been so . . . such a shit? If she marries you, she’ll never go back to medicine, to a regular life.”
“You don’t want to marry her?” Bill’s eyes narrowed slightly.
“That’s not it. She’d never have me. I’m . . . she’s too good for me.”
“Now you’re catching on. See, you and I are in agreement.” But he grinned, the man actually grinned at Mulder. “Nyah, I’m beginning to see what she sees in you. You’re still not my type, but maybe some of those rumors are exaggerated.”
“That ‘spooky’ stuff.”
Mulder looked away.
Bill changed the subject then, and when Scully woke a little while later, it was to the sight of the two men having an honest to God friendly conversation. She actually shook her head to ensure she was awake.
Mulder saw her out of the corner of his eye and chuckled. “It’s okay. He hadn’t assaulted me.”
“Good.” She stretched. “Any word?”
Bill sobered immediately, “Mulder got me back to see her, and they’ve moved her to the ICU. Dana, she looks bad.”
Scully absorbed the ‘Mulder got me back to see her’ without comment, then rose, “Let me see what I can find out.”
She returned with little information, but Tara was still alive. Bill sat holding her hand, all talked out for now. Mulder left them to find some juice or something, anything but coffee at this point.
That’s the way Charlie and Mrs. Scully found them when they came to relieve them the next morning. It was Mrs. Scully who insisted that they leave. She couldn’t force Bill out, but the rest of the family would have to take shifts around him. That’s what family did.
Mulder followed her into her room. “Are you sure we - “
“Scully, you need some real rest. Why don’t you soak in the tub a little while. I’ll get us some food. Then you should stretch out and try to sleep.”
“I’ve had more sleep than you have.”
“Quit arguing and go draw your bath.”
“Thanks.” She smiled up at him and he couldn’t help but return it. Once she entered the bathroom, he opened the connecting door and entered his own room. He ordered room service then took a quick shower and slipped on the cut off sweats he slept in and a clean t-shirt.
He answered the knock on his door and let the boy bring in the food. Once he was alone again he glanced over at the connecting door. Before he could take a step, Scully moved into view. She obviously hadn’t realized that he had left the door wide open. She was wearing only the bath towel around her body. He froze.
She must have heard something because she turned toward him and stood for a moment in her towel, watching him. Then she stepped toward the door. He watched her approach it, waiting for it to be slammed in his face.
Why the hell had he left it open? He had just wanted to be able to hear her if she needed him. It hadn’t occurred to him that she would come out of the bathroom like that. He wouldn’t . . .
Instead of slamming the door, she came through it into his room.
“Scully, I . . . I’m sorry.”
“Would you hold me?”
He blinked, what had she asked? She moved to him and he froze. “Scully? I - “
She moved into his arms and they closed around her. Mistake, big mistake, and getting bigger by the minute as blood rushed south from his brain. “Scully, this - “
She moved against him and he lost whatever he had meant to say. “What are you . . . “He groaned then.
Please? He couldn’t form a coherent thought and she was asking him . . . she looked up at him and their eyes locked. “What are we - “
“Tara could have died, in just seconds she could have been gone. Bill would never be able to tell her that he loved her, never hold her in his arms again. I’ve not been held by you the way I want, the way I need.”
“Scully.” His voice sounded like sandpaper.
“I know I shouldn’t throw myself - “
“Scully.” He had her even tighter now, lifting her to his lips. It was as though they wanted to devour each other. He had no memory of carrying her to the bed, but the towel was on the floor and he was exploring, tasting every part of her.
god, if you want to stop this - “
“I don’t.” She tugged off his sweats, pushing them down and then, by god, removing them with her toes. She was hot, hot and wet and he was going to die if he didn’t get inside of her, now. She seemed to have the same feeling, because she reached for him, guiding him to her core.
She was in control; he didn’t care what she did to him as long as she didn’t stop. With her hand tight around him, she brushed him through her curls as her lips found his nipple. He hissed at the overload of sensation. She arched taking him inside of her and he grabbed her, holding her still for a moment.
“Scully, Scully please slow down. I want this to last, at . . . at least a little while.”
She seemed to hear him, slowing her onslaught slightly. He was caught off guard when she literally flipped him, then straddled him. He couldn’t even draw a breath. Scully?
No, she wasn’t going to drive him over the edge, not yet. His hands took hold of her waist, slowing her, drawing her even deeper.
Now she was the one gasping, her hands coming down to support herself on his chest. He was taking control now, no longer fearing a total loss of control. His eyes smiled as he watched her above him. Her eyes were fluttering, her own climax close. God, she was beautiful, wild like this. He’d never thought to truly see her like this.
“Mulder, please . . .” she was whimpering.
Now it was his turn, he had her on her back now, thrusting so deep he thought he would die of it. “Muld . . . “ He added pressure to that sensitive bundle of nerves and she jerked, then sensation exploded within her. “Mulder! God . . . “
He thrust once, twice then felt himself following her into the void as her body milked him of every drop.
He pulled her tightly against him. There was so much he wanted to say to her, but the combination of the sleepless night and the incredible orgasm they’d just shared was pulling him under. “I love you.”
She snuggled in and he realized she was . . . purring, then he was gone.
The feel of someone lying partially atop him woke him. He opened one eye and saw the red hair splayed across his chest. Memory flooded him and he froze.
He had made passionate, Scully-instigated love with his naked redhead and passed out? Oh god, would she ever speak to him again? Give him a chance to . . . he had to know. Yes, she needed her rest, but he had to know.
“Scu . . . Scully?”
She burrowed her head in, not ready to wake yet.
“Scully?” His voice was slightly unsteady. She forced her eyes open and realized where she was and how she’d gotten there. Scully looked up at him - that wasn’t his panic face, it was all the way to his sheer terror face. This man couldn’t be that insecure. But apparently he was. Rather than prolong his agony, she leaned up and kissed that luscious lower lip.
“Fifteen more minutes, Mulder, please.” Then let her head fall back onto his chest to hide the smile, as the tension flowed out of him. His hands began a slow massage of her back and she let her thigh caress his growing erection. His body responded with enthusiasm and she chuckled.
“I’m not getting my fifteen minutes, am I Mulder?”
“No ma’am, I’d say that was a negative.”
He’d lost track of how many times and ways they’d come together. It had been pretty much constant since they’d awakened. They’d eaten what they could salvage from the food delivered several hours ago.
He was appreciating her breasts when they heard the phone ring in her room. She sat up abruptly, “Tara!” and raced through the connecting door. Mulder followed even now appreciating the bob of her breasts and the sleekness of her thighs as she moved naked away from him.
“Hello?” She listened intently for a moment, then a smile began to grow on her face. “No, don’t worry. We’d, I’d slept enough. Yes, we’ll get dressed and be right over.” She hung up and smiled at Mulder. “That was Mary. Tara’s awake.”
“That’s wonderful, Scully.” He grinned.
“Go take a quick shower and get dressed. We need to get to the hospital.”
He looked down and realized he was as nude as she and comfortably standing here beside her in her room. His smile grew, “We could share.”
“Yeah, right. We’d never get out of here. Next time.”
“I’m going to hold you to that.”
“Mulder, you can hold me anywhere, but for now, go.”
He laughed out loud in his joy and finally did as she bade, leaving the door between their rooms wide open. She didn’t bother to close it either, and caught the towel he tossed her from his room.
They were at the hospital in a little over an hour. Charlie looked up when the elevator opened and started toward them, smiling. Then his steps slowed and stopped as he looked at them.
“What? Charlie, is everything okay?” Scully touched his arm.
“From your side I’d say things were fabulous.”
“What are you - oh.” Her face flamed and Mulder’s colored as well.
“Resting, huh? It’s a good thing Mom or Bill wasn’t out here.”
“Will you stop.” She hissed at her baby brother.
“Sure, it’s not like I’m going to have to say anything.”
“Oh god, what? What do I do?”
“You got me. I don’t think you could get that satisfied look off your face with sandpaper.”
She put her hands to her face to cool it down, but now Mulder was grinning as well. “Laugh, G-man, and you’ll be on the couch for the next ten years too.” She growled at him.
He tried, he really did, to assume a bland expression, until Charlie burst out laughing. Then he was lost. Scully stomped away to find a ladies room and try to gain some composure.
Bill emerged in time to see her slip into the rest room and turned to the men. He eyed them suspiciously but before he could speak, a very relaxed and smiling Mulder spoke. “Charlie was giving us the good news on Tara. Have you seen her?”
Deflected, Bill brought him up to date. She was awake, in pain, but alert. She’d asked about Matt immediately. Her father was flying in from Minnesota and Charlie had volunteered to pick him up at the airport.
“Maybe you ought to go with me, Mulder.” Charlie glanced at the door down the hall, where Scully had disappeared.
“Yeah, yeah no problem.” It was probably a good idea.
Mrs. Scully joined them then, hugging Mulder, which he returned. Bill kept looking over at Charlie who still seemed to be in exceptionally good spirits.
Scully returned then, looking as severe as she could without the black suit and gun, and immediately started asking technical questions, not looking at Mulder.
“Hey, we need to get going if you’re going to meet the plane.” Charlie looked over at Mulder.
“Yeah. Scully, I’m riding with Charlie to pick up Tara’s Dad. You’ll be okay?”
“Of course. I’ll be fine.”
Before she could turn away, Mulder was in front of her. “Miss me.” Then in front of God and everyone, he kissed her.
Bill’s mouth fell open and Mrs. Scully’s eyes danced with delight, though she held her tongue - for now.
He watched her try to look stern, but saw her lips twitching and breathed a small sigh of relief.
“Come on, bro.” Charlie moved toward the elevator and Mulder followed, her eyes not leaving him. Once the elevator doors closed, Charlie clapped Mulder on the back. “Welcome to the family.”