He gave a final grunt and rolled off of her to the side. She said nothing, looking at the door. After a couple of minutes, she started to rise. "Dana? Where are you going?"
"I need to get home."
"I thought you were going to stay here tonight."
"I really can’t, I have a lot to do."
"You’re still angry with me about that remark. Dana, it’s well known - pathology is a dead end field."
"Daniel, I don’t want to get into it now. I need to go home."
"Dana, please." He took her hand as she rose from the bed. This was getting tiresome.
She gently extracted her hand from his. "I’m sorry, Daniel."
He pulled back away from her. On anyone else’s face she would have called his expression a pout, but he was a world-renowned thoracic surgeon. She moved into the bath and dressed quickly.
It had been a mistake getting involved with him, but he’d been so strong for her after her breakup. When had he turned into this sniveling . . . ? She shook her head; she was having sex with the man. What did that say about her? He wasn’t that good; he didn’t try to please her. He was much too selfish for that. Hell, she’d been spoiled, sex with -
She drew herself up right and brutally shoved that half-formed thought away. Comparing sex partners was stupid anyway. She checked her hair and returned to the bedroom. He had pulled the sheet up over his lap and was waiting for her.
"Dana? Will I see you tomorrow?"
"I don’t think so. We have two autopsies scheduled and who knows - "
"You’re doing this to punish me aren’t you? You’re much too good a doctor to throw it away on pathology. You’re angry and want to take it out on me."
She turned without a word and moved out of the bedroom and toward the door.
"No wonder they’re calling you the Ice Queen around the hospital." He called after her as she shut the door.
She closed her eyes and leaned against the door once it had shut behind her. ‘Ice Queen’ huh? Not always, she could remember being wanton and . . . but that was in the past, over.
So was this. She was going to terminate her relationship with Daniel. It was something she should have done ages ago. No, it was something that never should have begun. She’d been vulnerable and he’d swooped in and . . .
She forced herself back up and headed toward her car. She had no real reason to go home, she’d just wanted to get away. Her new apartment was nice, she was beginning to add a few personal touches finally, but it didn’t feel like a home.
The next day as she scrubbed following the first autopsy, she was surprised at a page to come to the resident’s lounge. Daniel had better not be playing some kind of game. She hurried to change and made it to the lounge in a little less than ten minutes.
Two men in suits awaited her. They were strangers and both stood as she entered the room. "Dr. Scully?"
The taller of the two men held out his hand, "I’m Special Agent Morris, this is Agent Harmon. May we have a word with you?"
She was stunned into immobility for an instant. Had something happened to . . . no, they were smiling. Dana forced herself to move and sat, motioning for them to join her.
"Is there a problem?" Her voice was steady, damn maybe she did deserve the title of Ice Queen.
"No, Dr. Scully. Not a problem at all, in fact I hope this will be good news for you."
"Dr. Kuhn has been in touch with us about your residency and has praised your work highly. He’s very impressed with you and gave us your name. We understand that you are coming to the end of your residency and have expressed an interest in forensic pathology. That’s why we’re here. The Bureau has need of talent such as yours at the academy."
"We would like to discuss the possibility of recruiting you into the FBI to teach forensics at Quantico." He smiled at her obvious surprise. "We only ask the best."
"I . . . I don’t know what to say. That was very kind of Dr. Kuhn."
"He wasn’t just kind, he was highly enthusiastic. We’ve worked with him for years and I believe his exact words were, ‘Get your ass over here before you lose your opportunity’." He grinned.
Work for the FBI? She couldn’t; he was there. But it was a huge organization. A slight smile formed on her face as she remembered the tour that she had taken with . . . that Christmas holiday. She’d been fascinated. If she were honest, that’s probably why she had been drawn to this field. Not to tick Daniel off, as he so eloquently phrased it.
"I . . . I need some more information of course. I have another autopsy in just a few minutes. Could we set up an appointment?"
"Certainly. You pick the day and time and we’ll meet you or, if you like, you can come over to Quantico and see the facilities. They are state of the art and we think you’ll be impressed."
"I . . . I’m sure I would be. My day off this week is Thursday. Would that work for you?"
"It certainly would. Could you be out there around 9? We could set up a tour and then answer all of your questions."
She found herself nodding. This was stupid, why would she want to work where . . . No, she couldn’t plan her life around history. And it was a huge place, remember that.
After a few more minutes, she had to excuse herself. She shook hands with the two agents and made her way back downstairs.
She had to work to keep her mind on the second autopsy, but it was finally finished. After cleaning up, she went in search of Dr. Kuhn.
Dana found him in his office and entered when he responded to her tap. "Dr. Kuhn, I believe I need to thank you."
He looked up and then grinned, "Stan showed up?"
"Yes, that’s him. He’s a good guy."
"I’m stunned that - "
"Dana, you’re probably the best student I’ve had since I took over the department. I’d love to have you stay here and be my second in command, but under the circumstances, I think it would be better for you personally to move on." His smile dimmed a little at those words and she could only hope her cheeks weren’t flaming. Word of her ‘relationship’ with Daniel was common knowledge?
Dr. Kuhn stood and shut the door, motioning to the chair. Dana sat, too humiliated to respond verbally.
"Dana, I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. I want to look out for your best interests. Dan’s a wonderful surgeon, I have great respect for his skills; I can’t say that about the rest of him. You’re one smart woman and I know if you want to, you can distinguish yourself in your career and probably set the FBI on its ear. And I can say I knew you when." He smiled again. "I hope you give this offer a lot of thought. Our profession is not the most glamorous one in the medical field, but it is one of the most essential."
Dana nodded. "I think you’re right Dr. Kuhn and I appreciate your forthrightness. I . . . Thank you."
"You’re welcome. I hope it turns out to be something you’re interested in."
"I’ll be interviewing and touring on Thursday."
"Stan didn’t waste any time. Nice to know he listens to me sometimes. I’d like to hear what you think. Now, how did the Wither’s postmortem go?"
The tour was incredible. State of the art didn’t cover it. The equipment they had was better, newer, all together more. There were prototypes of equipment she’d never seen. They were obviously courting her and it felt good. The money, the benefits were better than she had expected, and it would be a new start for her.
That was the deciding factor. She wanted to be on her own, prove that she could do it. Prove it to herself as much as to the rest of the world. Like Dr. Kuhn had said, distinguish herself.
She made herself wait a week, sleeping on it. She found herself reluctant to talk about it with her parents and finally made the decision just to tell them after the fact.
Telling Daniel was different, even more difficult. She had finally accepted his invitation back to his apartment. He was surprised and angry when she refused his physical advances.
"I came here to talk Daniel. Either you listen to me or I leave, now."
His eyes narrowed, he wasn’t used to anyone talking to him that way.
"You’re still on your high horse aren’t you? Well, let me tell you - "
"Daniel, listen to me." She interrupted. "I wanted to tell you this in person, then I’ll be leaving."
"Leaving?" She could see the tension in his face and shoulders.
"When my residency ends next month, I will be joining the FBI. I’ve been recruited, and I will be teaching forensics at the Academy. I’ll also be taking training myself."
"You’re not serious." He was staring at her, mouth open.
"Daniel - "
"No. This is a threat, right? You’re trying to punish me." He was pacing now.
"Why does everything have to be about you?"
"There is no way you’re going to throw away a promising, profitable, career for something like this." He turned on her.
"I didn’t go into medicine for profit Daniel." She spoke calmly, quietly.
"You know what I mean, Dana. You’re angry, but I won’t let you throw your life away on this."
"Won’t let? Daniel, you have no say in this."
"Of course I do. We’re together Dana."
"We’re not together. We had an affair. You’re married. This was a huge mistake and . . . and people are aware of it."
Daniel blinked then, his face growing ashen. "You . . . you don’t know that."
"Yes. I do. Daniel, you have a family, and I have my life. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you, but I need this. I need to be on my own." She turned toward the door and he grabbed her arm.
"You aren’t . . . you can’t!"
She just looked at him with those clear blue eyes and he saw the truth even though he couldn’t accept it. She extracted her arm from his grip and walked toward the door.
"Dana!" She didn’t stop.
She had deluded herself that she was in pretty good shape. After several nights of ice packs and aspirin, she finally began to see what kind of shape she could be in and began to enjoy the process.
She also marveled at exactly how large an organization she had joined. There was every possibility that he would never even realize that she worked for the same people.
He was aware of their plans to recruit her several days before the first contact. He’d given serious thought to sabotaging the whole thing, but eventually dismissed the idea. He’d screwed up her life enough. If she wanted this, she should have it. It was her choice.
So instead, he had his friends expunge every record of their marriage. It was fairly easy with an annulment. His friends had asked no questions though he could tell Frohike was dying to. The only change they could see was that the wedding ring he had worn disappeared from his hand. It was never commented upon.
He had kept up with everything about her. He knew every grade, every award . . . every relationship. He knew about her . . . her affair with Waterson. It had nearly killed him when he found out; now he just used the information to torture himself.
If she were keeping up with him, which he doubted, she wouldn’t find anything like that. There had been no relationships, none, since he had left her.
Diana had made it clear that she was ready, willing and able to keep him company. He shuddered even thinking of it. One of the last things he’d said to her was that he wasn’t having an affair with Diana - he couldn’t go back on that.
After a while he had wanted a woman, not a relationship, sex. It had become so overwhelming, that he had finally decided to purchase some fake affection. He’d actually driven down to the district and parked where he could check things out. It wasn’t until he’d made his decision that he realized he’d chosen a short redhead.
He’d gunned the car and gotten out of there. He’d never tried that again. Now he stuck to TV or videos - and never a redhead. They were all tall blondes with augmented breasts. It worked, so what if it didn’t make him happy. He didn’t deserve ‘happy’.
The Bureau was a big place. On the rare occasions he had to go to Quantico; he made sure it was when she would not be there. He had her schedule memorized, and he kept busy.
He’d made quite a name for himself in Violent Crimes. "Spooky". Oh, he’d gotten commendations, praise for a job well done, but it was his nickname that seemed to stick. Only Patterson never used it. She would have said it was out of jealousy, but then she’d spent a lot of time trying to make him feel better about himself. Too bad he had never learned to do that for her.
It worked, for almost two years it worked. He became more and more involved with the X-Files. His insight, his memory served him in good stead there as well. Diana was there, pushing at times - sometimes odd times, but he gave her the benefit of the doubt. She was a good agent, and she listened to his theories. Sometimes her own were even more ‘out there’. But sometimes he wished . . . he didn’t know what he wished, but he needed someone between Patterson, the fascist, and Diana, the believer.
He’d finally written up a proposal for a new department - a department for working old cases, unsolved cases. They had to look at it, he’d been too successful, and he’d made a couple of friends on the Hill, by clearing up some old stuff from their districts and in one case, something a little more personal.
The powers that be weren’t happy, but he had been successful on cases where other agents had given up. If he’d gloated, they could have come down on him - instead, the only reward he seemed to want was permission to check out another case.
He’d made no secret of the fact that he didn’t want to work with Patterson. The problem was, Mulder was too valuable a commodity to lose. Since the academy, they had recognized his abilities and had wanted to groom him to replace Patterson some day. That didn’t look likely now.
They grudgingly granted him provisional permission to work part time on the X-Files. And Diana was allowed to assist him. The latter came much easier than he had thought.
He wanted to laugh at that. Hanging around the guys was making him paranoid.
The truth was, the X-Files were revitalizing him. He was busy with cases that intrigued him; he was away from Patterson; he could investigate Samantha’s disappearance with full resources, and . . . and she was doing okay. She was making a name for herself as well. Her background in physics and, of course, her medical training had given her the reputation of a hard-core scientist and that was winning her respect, even from the good old boy network. That invoked a smile when he thought about it. He could follow that from afar and feel close to her, feel proud, even though he didn’t deserve to.
It took him some time to realize that he was moving away from Diana. His personal involvement in Samantha’s case made that his constant number one priority and she continued to shy away from the "UFO" cases, and tried her best to steer him away too.
He’d woken one night from some unremembered nightmare and the thought came to him that she was trying to thwart those investigations. He shook it off; Diana wouldn’t do that. She was invested in the X-Files too.
Nevertheless, she seemed to have less time to work with him and he really didn’t miss her as he became more and more engrossed.
The morning Diana approached him and told him that she had asked for a transfer to the European Terrorist Division, he had to fake his reaction. He wanted to feel sorry that he was losing her input and her assistance, but Diana just wasn’t important to him personally. No woman was, or ever would be again.
He hated being summoned to Blevin’s office. It was never good. He took a deep breath and tapped on the door, then entered.
"Agent Mulder, please have a seat."
Mulder nodded and took the seat across the desk from Blevins.
"Agent Mulder, I have your request to expand your time in the . . . the X-Files. This proposal says that you feel you could spend full-time on this . . . project."
Mulder managed not to wince at that description. Project? Is that was the man thought of the work? Never mind, he had to keep his cool. If he could just get this started, really going full time, he would prove how valuable it could be.
"I’ve discussed this with several people here at the Bureau, and the decision is that we will grant you department status, but we will be assigning a partner to you."
"A . . . a partner?"
"That’s really not necessary."
"Agent Mulder, it’s a condition of the offer."
Mulder sat silent for a moment, his mind racing. A partner, someone assigned by the brass, the people that didn’t want this to happen. What kind of ‘agent’ would they stick him with? Someone no doubt set to close him down as quickly as possible.
"Do you have someone in mind?" Putting up a protest wouldn’t help at this time.
"We have a short list."
"Will I be allowed to sit in on the interviews?"
"There will be no need for that Agent Mulder. The decision will be made at a higher level. We’ll get back to you." Blevins nodded in dismissal and Mulder rose.
When he exited the room, he noted that Blevin’s secretary was away from her desk. He didn’t quite close the door, and bent to tie his shoe. Sure enough, he heard Blevin’s pick up his phone.
"He just left. No, he took it surprisingly well. Are you sure about this? You think . . . yes I know. Okay, I’ll have Dr. Scully over here to talk with her tomorrow."
Mulder knew the blood had drained from his face. Dr. Scully? No, they wouldn’t . . . did they know? Not easily, there was no record. He was confident in the guy’s abilities on that count. He moved rapidly to the door before Blevin’s secretary could catch him, he didn’t especially want to see anyone anyway. He avoided the elevator and took the steps to the basement.
What was this about? Was Dana behind it? No, that was nonsense. Besides, she didn’t have enough seniority to even request something like this. She wasn’t a field agent, okay she’d had the training, but she was an instructor. They were going to put an untried agent with him, probably because of her scientific background. Would she play along? Would she do what they wanted? Would she try to shut him down? He didn’t deserve any better from her. Hell, she might see this as a good chance to get her revenge.
The other part - that’s what worried him the most - how would he handle seeing her? He hadn’t seen her, not in person, in nearly three years. Could he stand to see her now? He’d have to be on his guard. She had more power over him than anyone else in the world. He couldn’t let her know that. He’d have to keep his distance, until he could get her to transfer out. With his reputation that shouldn’t take long.
The wall around his emotions that he’d begun as a teenager was strong and well built now. She’d been the only one to ever breech it, but he’d been young and he’d still believed he could be loved. At least he’d wished it. Now he was older, more jaded and a hell of a lot more cynical. His sarcasm was legendary around here.
She wouldn’t last long, hell; she probably wouldn’t accept the assignment anyway. But if she did . . . if she did, he’d just keep his distance, keep it light. No, doing what he did for a living, she wouldn’t want to stay.
Dana made her way down to the basement. At least she was able to walk again. Blevins had shocked her nearly senseless with this new assignment. He didn’t seem to be aware of their past relationship, asking if she knew an ‘Agent Mulder’. She’d kept it light, saying she knew him by reputation. She had heard his new nickname while at the academy. "Spooky". It certainly fit.
She’d kept quiet about the marriage. To be technical there hadn’t been one. He’d gotten the annulment and she hadn’t seen him since. She knew that her mother had tried to keep in touch, at first, but his obvious discomfort at her calls had eventually caused her to stop them.
Her parents didn’t blame him for the breakup, but with his own parents as his only role model for far too long, he had never understood that.
The elevators opened on the basement level and she forced herself to step out of the car. She squared her shoulders and tapped on the door.
"Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted."
God he looked good - she took in the office. She’d heard about this room when they were together, but to actually see it . . .
"Agent Mulder, I’ve been assigned to work with you." She held out her hand and he shook it lightly.
"Isn’t it nice to suddenly be so highly regarded." God, he sounded cold. He turned away from her. "So, who did you tick off to get stuck with this detail, Scully?" Scully, not Dana, okay they were both professionals.
"Actually I’m looking forward to working with you. I’ve heard a lot about you."
"Oh really? I was under the impression that you were sent to spy on me."
"If you have any doubt about my qualifications or credentials - " She felt like she was in the middle of a play and hadn’t rehearsed.
"You’re a medical doctor, you teach at the academy, you did your undergraduate degree in physics. ‘Einstein’s Twin Paradox, a New Interpretation’, Dana Scully’s senior thesis. Now that’s a credential, rewriting Einstein."
What kind of game were they playing? "Did you bother to read it?" Stupid question, he’d edited it for her.
"I did. I liked it. It’s just that in much of my work, the laws of physics rarely seem to apply. Maybe I can get your medical opinion on this though . . . "
He flipped off the lights and continued talking. Okay, she could do this. He wasn’t going to push her away from her first field assignment.
"Do you believe in the existence of extra terrestrials?"
Was he kidding? Was he testing her? And why was he standing so close, hovering over her. She managed to stand her ground.
"The answers are there, you just have to know where to look."
"That’s why they put the ‘I’ in FBI. See you tomorrow morning Scully. Bright and early we leave for the very plausible state of Oregon."
She had to smile; it felt like she’d passed some sort of test. She wasn’t going to let him intimidate her. She’d faced enough of that in medical school. But she’d never seen him like this.
He’d thrown everything at her - an exhumation, a search in the woods after dark, that really weird flash of light when the car died and that crap about time disappearing. But she wouldn’t let him run her off, even with his sick jokes and comments. He’d obviously kept things from her, the X he’d painted on the road, the marks on Peggy’s back - he didn’t trust her. It crossed her mind that he didn’t trust anyone. Some of his vulnerability still shown through, though he stuffed it down quickly each time. "I’m not crazy Scully."
Did he realize the protective gestures he was making? No, she shouldn’t read anything into it. It was probably just manners, but when the coffin had broken free, it was her he had grabbed to pull out of the way.
And damn it, did he have to wear his hair that way? Her fingers twitched to brush it off his forehead as she had . . . damn it! No, she could do this. He was not going to run her off. How would that look on her record?
She turned back to her report. Concentrate Dana.
Not five minutes later, the power failed. Shit, might as well get ready for bed.
The jolt of adrenaline and fear that surged through her body when she felt the tiny bumps of her back overcame her better judgment and she found herself outside of his room.
"I want you to look at something."
"Come on in."
She untied her robe, took a deep breath, and let the robe drop. She could feel his eyes on her body, but when she glanced down at her lower back, he was professional again.
"What are they?"
He took his time; maybe he was enjoying this. "Mulder, what are they?"
Then he grinned, "Mosquito bites."
"Are you sure!"
"Yeah, I got eaten alive out there myself."
She couldn’t stop herself, pulling her robe up and moving into his arms. He hesitated, but his hand came up to hold her.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes." She wrapped her tattered composure around herself and stepped back.
"I need to sit down."
"Take your time."
He’d never told her he’d found Samantha’s file. So many things made so much more sense now. She’d had no idea he’d had the hypno-regression either, with this Dr. Werber. Mulder honestly thought he knew what had happened to her now. "Nothing else matters to me."
He’d shut down his emotions in every other area and he thought she had been assigned to debunk him. Well, to be honest, she’d come to the same conclusion, but it didn’t have to be that way. If she did use her knowledge . . . maybe they could solve this. No, she didn’t think he was crazy, she knew better.
Everyone was keeping things from her, but they wouldn’t for long. She was good at her job and she’d get even better. She could learn. She knew how important this was to him. More important than she’d ever been. But if she helped him . . . She’d thought the pull of him had diminished more. Maybe she was just vulnerable after breaking up with Jack. It didn’t matter, this was her assignment and she’d do the very best she could. Her past relationship should be a non-issue. If he could do this, so could she.
He’d survived. He’d spent several days with her and he’d survived. She hadn’t been cold or especially hostile. She’d treated him professionally - except when she’d come to his room. That had nearly undone him, having her lying of his bed, listening to him . . . he’d had to stay on the floor, but he hadn’t disgraced himself, he hadn’t thrown her down and ground himself into her. But he also hadn’t managed to scare her off. Well, there was always the next case. Surely she wouldn’t hang around for long . . .