The phone rang and he protested the sound, but it didn't stop so he groaned and rolled over. “Yeah?”
“Mu-Mulder?” The shaky voice caused him to sit upright immediately, adrenaline dumping into his bloodstream.
“Scully? Scully, what's wrong? Where are you?”
“I don't, I don't know.”
Fear washed over him. “You're not in your apartment.”
“No.” Her voice was small, scared.
“Okay, Scully. I'm with you now, look around. Do you see anything familiar?”
There was a pause, “It looks like a motel room.” She sounded slightly steadier.
“Good. Scully, is there a key, or a number on the phone?” He didn't realize he was holding his breath, waiting for an answer, any answer.
“It . . . it says Travelodge on the phone.”
“Give me the number Scully.”
“336, you're in North Carolina, Scully. Do you remember anything?”
“Okay, do not hang up the phone Scully. I'm grabbing my cell phone now, but do not hang up.”
“I won't. Mulder, hurry.”
“I will, Baby. I'll be right back.”
Why the hell had he not gotten a cordless for the bedroom too? Shit. He raced into the living room and snatched his cell phone out of the recharger. He punched three and picked up the cordless from his coffee table. “I'm still here, okay? I just need to check something out.”
“Okay.” He thought she sighed when he picked back up, relief?
“Who the hell's callin' this early on a - “
“Frohike, I need to know where 336-555-2020 is and I need it now.” The command in his voice blew away the sleep from Frohike's brain.
“Yeah, yeah, just a second.” Mulder heard a keyboard, then, “Greensboro, North Carolina, the street address is 135 Summit Avenue. It's a motel. You need a map?”
“Yeah, how long a trip?”
“Uh, just a second.” More typing, then “Five hours, twenty minutes according to MapQuest. I'm faxing it over to you now Mulder.”
“Thanks, I'll be in touch.”
“Mulder, wait! What's - “
“Not now, I'll explain later.” He broke the connection and turned his attention back to the cordless in his left hand. “Scully?”
“Frohike takes orders better than I do, huh?”
He grinned then, she was doing better. “You heard that? Yeah, but the perks just aren't the same. I'd never have adjoining rooms if I was out in the field with him.”
He heard the tentative chuckle.
“I've got directions. It'll take me a little while to get there Scully. Don't leave, don't go anywhere. I'll come get you. Promise me Scully.”
“I promise. Mulder, hurry.”
“I will. I just have to get dressed and figure out if I can get there faster flying or driving. You're not going to leave.”
“No. Mulder . . . did you call me 'Baby'?”
He froze halfway back to his bedroom. Yes, he had, it had been a slip but, “Uh, yeah. You're not going to shoot me are you?”
She gave a shaky laugh. “Just come get me, we'll talk about it then.”
“I'm on my way Scully. I hate to hang up, but I'll be there as fast as I can, I swear. I'll have my cell on.”
“I know. Th-thank you.”
The plane was faster, but only because his badge got him to the front of the line. The flight itself was only a little over an hour. He used his shield again for the rental car and explicit directions to her hotel.
He lost no time getting there. On the way to the office, he spotted a maid and stopped her. He quickly described Scully.
“Yeah, she's in 119. She didn't want me to make up the room.”
“That's okay. Where - “
“Oh, back here.” She left the cart and led him back toward the room.
He didn't wait for her to leave, knocking quickly on the door. “Scully? Scully, it's me. Open the door.” He hesitated, then knocked again. “Scully?”
The older woman had started back to her cart, but stopped, watching. Mulder turned back to her. “Can you let me in?”
“Now wait a minute. Are you - “
Again he pulled out his badge. “The woman in there is my partner. She may be injured. I have to check on her.”
The woman's eyes widened at the FBI shield. “Don't . . . you won't tell my boss?”
“You have my word. Please.” He gestured to the door and she stepped forward, pulling her ring of keys from her pocket.
She opened the door and stepped back, watching. He pushed the door open cautiously. “Scully?” He spotted her then, curled up in the corner of the room. He stepped inside quickly.
“Hey, Mister Mulder, do you want me to call - “
“No. I'll take care of it. Thank you.” He shut the door in her face and started toward his redhead. Scully looked up then and recognized him. She scrambled out, actually crawling on hands and knees from behind the chair and then threw herself into his arms.
They closed around her and he wasn't sure he would ever be able to release her. She was trembling, clutching at him. He buried his face in her hair. They stood that way for several minutes.
When he could, he moved her to the bed and seated her, sitting beside her, one arm firmly around her shoulders. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Three.” She replied shakily and closed her hand around them.
“Good. Are you in any pain? Dizzy?”
“No.” She looked up at him then. “Aren't these my questions?”
“Yeah. You're better at them, but I need to know what happened. You were better when we talked on the phone. Did something happen? I got here as fast - “
“My gun is gone.”
“What?” He looked around the room, though his arm stayed around her. “It might be back in DC.”
“Did you go by my place?”
He shook his head, “Too anxious to get here. Why don't I ask the guys to go over and give the place a look see?”
“They don't have a key.” She wasn't really protesting.
“Like that would keep Frohike out of your apartment.” He grinned down at her, still trying to put her at ease.
“Gee thanks.” She leaned into him a little more.
“Why don't you . . . uh, soak in a hot tub. It'll relax you.”
“I don't have any other clothes.”
His eyes took in the room again, true, but he avoided the innuendo. He wanted her to relax now. No need for her to know he hadn't even taken the time to grab a change of underwear for himself in his dash to get to her. “That's okay. I'd offer to get you some, but I'm not leaving.”
She looked up then and after a moment nodded. He helped her to her feet and led her to the small bathroom. “You, you won't leave?” She asked quietly.
“Nope.” He leaned down and pressed his lips to her forehead. “I'll be right here.”
She turned then and entered the small room, closing, but not locking the door behind her. Mulder leaned against the wall for a moment, listening to the water until she cut it off, then straightened up and dialed the familiar number.
“Is everything okay? Frohike said - “ Byers was interrupted immediately.
“Yeah. I'm down there, where we discussed. Could you guys go over to her place and nose around. See if . . . if it's clean.”
“Should we call an exterminator if it's not.” Byers asked quickly.
“Yeah, that'd be a good idea. Let me know what you find.”
“It's done. Do you need anything else?”
“I don't know yet. Just check around, some of her equipment isn't with her. If it's not there, that could mean a problem.”
“Okay.” Byers was nodding to himself. “We won't be long.”
“Thanks. I'll give you a call in an hour.”
“Sounds about right. Later.” Byers hung up, turning to his companions.
Mulder slipped his cell phone back into his pocket and took a deep breath.
He jerked back to the present and moved toward the door to the bath. “I'm right here Scully. What's wrong?”
“Noth-nothing. I just couldn't hear you.”
He closed his eyes then, and leaned his forehead against the door. “I'm not going anywhere. I promised, remember?”
“Yeah. I remember.” She seemed to sound steadier with just those few words. “Talk to me okay?”
“Sure. What about?” He was glad she couldn't see his face.
“You . . .
you said you called me Baby?”
He grimaced, was this topic any better than . . . “Uh, well, you're sure you're not armed in there.”
She gave a nervous chuckle. “Pretty sure.”
“Okay. Your call woke me up and, and I was dreaming.”
“Well, sure.” Shit, why had he said that?
“Why do you think I wanted to make sure you were unarmed Scully?”
There was a long silence, while Mulder fidgeted at the door. “You call me Baby in your dreams?”
“Does that bother you Scully?”
“I . . . I don't know. What kind of dreams?”
“Come on Scully, I can't tell you everything.” He heard the nervous chuckle then. “You're not upset with me, are you?”
“No, I'm not upset with you.” There was a pause and he waited, “Mulder, what do you think happened? Why am I here?”
“I don't know, but I'm going to find out. I'm not going to let it happen again.”
“How . . . how could you stop it?” She asked in a small voice.
“I'll move you into my place, you can have the bed and we'll spend 24/7 together. I'll always know where you are.”
“24/7 huh?” He heard the water splash and shook his head slightly at the visual that brought up.
“Can you take that much of me Scully?”
“I thought I already was.”
“Have I been insulted?” His voice sounded light, but his face didn't match his words. Hey, he was trying here, but what had happened? How had she gotten here? What had they done to her?
“No. I'm not complaining.”
That startled him into silence for a minute.
“Right here. I'm, I'm gonna check the room out Scully.”
“Okay.” She eased back, but listened for the sound of him moving around in the main room.
Very shortly he was back at the door. “Scully, there's no key to the room or a car key here. You don't know how you got here?”
“I woke up here Mulder.”
“Okay, don't worry about it.” He looked around one more time. She'd been dumped here. He jumped as his cell phone rang.
“It's okay, probably just the guys.” He answered the phone carefully, “Yes?”
“It's me.” Byers voice was in his ear. “Thought you should know we had to call in the exterminators.”
“Shit. Be careful.”
“You know we will be. Her 'equipment' wasn't there either.”
“Okay. Can you get into the computer here and find out who's registered in 119?”
“Sure can. I'm getting off. Let us know what you need.”
He turned back to the bath and realized he couldn't hear her. “Scully?”
“I'm here.” Her voice was much closer to the door. “I'll be out in a minute.”
“I thought you were going to soak for awhile.”
“It was cooling off. Who was on the phone?”
“Byers.” She didn't respond to that. “Scully?”
“Just a . . . just a minute.” She sounded shaky again.
“Scully?” The door opened suddenly. “What?”
“These, these aren't my clothes. I didn't even realize, I was . . . “
He swallowed then as he looked her over. He took a deep breath, “Scully, I want a doctor to examine you.”
“Muld - “
“No, Scully we need to know if, if you were . . . hurt.” Shit! He shouldn't have suggested a bath, but he wasn't exactly professional when it came to her.
Blood rose in her face, “Mulder, I'm okay. I wasn't . . . there was no indication - ”
“No, not good enough. We should also get some blood samples that we can take back to the guys. Scully, please.”
She seemed to deflate in front of him. But finally nodded. He took her hand and she looked up at him. He gave her a reassuring smile. “Let's get out of here. I want to find someplace else to stay.”
“We're not going home?”
“No.” He picked up the phonebook and began looking for urgent care treatment centers. She eased down onto the bed and watched him. He looked up to make sure she was okay. “I'm not sure if any of these places are open on Sundays.” He flipped another page.
“It's . . . it's Sunday?”
He looked up immediately. “Scully, what's the last thing you remember?”
“Friday night. You invited me over to the guys' place, but I said no. I went home and got ready for bed early. I wanted to catch up on some journals I hadn't read.” She shrugged lightly. “We lead such exciting lives.”
He forced a grin, “Well, we do seem to have major extremes.” Why hadn't he insisted she hang out with him on Friday, and why the hell had he not realized she was missing? Why hadn't he called her Saturday? To give her space, he answered himself. To give her little snippets of a 'normal' life. It wasn't going to happen, why try damn it!
“Let's get out of here, Scully.” He took her arm.
“What about the room?”
“Nothing of yours is here, and we don't know that you even checked in. We'll let the guys sort this out. Come on.” She nodded, letting him take control.
He opened the door to let her in the car and she gave him an ironic smile.
Mulder found the walk-in clinic he had chosen with little trouble. It wasn't busy on a Sunday afternoon and he felt no guilt about using his badge to speed things up further.
They were shown to an examining room and he turned his back while she changed into a paper gown. She didn't protest, wanting him close.
A nurse came in and took her vitals, then drew the blood they requested, but it was obvious they didn't want any conversation. She made her notes and left as quickly as possible.
Shortly there was a tap on the door and it opened. “Hi.” The young man entered, “I'm Dr. Bennett. What's the problem today?” He was looking at Scully, but it was Mulder that answered. He pulled out his badge again.
“Ms. Scully was . . . taken. We need a . . . a rape kit.”
The doctor sobered, looking at the badge. “You mean kidnapped?”
“Okay. If you'll just step out - “
Mulder had turned toward Scully already. “Do you want me to leave?”
“I'll . . . I'll be okay.” Her voice was nearly steady.
He touched her chin, bringing her face up to his. He looked into her eyes, then turned his head to the doctor. “I need to stay.”
Dr. Bennett hesitated, then nodded. “I'll call the nurse.”
Mulder moved to the head of the table, out of the way. He leaned down and whispered in her ear. “Everything will be okay, Scully.”
She brought her hand up and he grasped it. Dr. Bennett and the nurse entered after another quick tap. Mulder kept quiet. This wasn't a procedure he was familiar with in person. He felt her hand tighten around his at the intrusion, but she kept quiet.
“I have good news, folks. There is no trauma such as would be caused by a sexual assault, and no evidence of sperm.”
Her eyes closed and he leaned back down, kissing away the tear that spilled from her eye and ran toward her hairline. “It's okay, Scully.”
She nodded. The doctor hesitated, then, “I need to finish the examination. Are you ready for me to do that?”
“Yes. Thank you.” Scully spoke quietly. Dr. Bennett looked up at Mulder, then opened her gown. He examined her carefully.
“There's no bruising. Are you in any pain?”
“No. I just, I don't remember anything.”
Dr. Bennett blinked at that. “Okay. Let's sit up.” Once she was sitting up, he let his fingers examine her scalp. “No bumps. Any headaches?”
She shook her head. His hands moved down to her neck and throat.
“What's this?” He moved his head to look at her neck. “You've got a little scratch here. It's probably nothing.”
Mulder and Scully both froze. Their eyes met and after a moment, Mulder looked at the doctor. “Can you do x-rays here?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“We need an x-ray of her neck.”
“Her neck? Can you tell me what you're looking for?”
Mulder shook his head.
“Agent Mulder - “
“Please.” Scully spoke softly.
The doctor looked down at her. “You really want this?”
“Yes.” Her eyes met his.
He took a deep breath. “Okay. I'll send Grace in.” He left the examining room.
Mulder took a seat beside her on the table. His hand came up and massaged the back of her neck. “It's probably just a scratch, like he said.”
She looked up at him but didn't speak. He pulled her against him, his arm around her wanting to protect her from everything.
“Ms. Scully? We're going to take a couple of x-rays.” Grace held the door open.
Mulder helped Scully down from the table. She seemed so tiny in bare feet, with the pink paper gown around her. He trailed behind the women to the x-ray room, after pocketing the vials of blood. He waited just outside where she could see him.
They returned to the examining room to wait, but he couldn't think of anything to say that he thought would comfort her. She jumped when Dr. Bennett tapped on the door, but didn't speak.
“I'm not sure what you were looking for,” Dr. Bennett slapped the film onto the light screen, “but I don't see a problem. There's no injury to the spine or neck.”
Mulder squeezed her shoulders, then moved over to view the x-rays himself. He actually touched the film, willing the picture to change. It was gone, there was no tiny piece of metal, no miniature computer disk. He felt cold.
“Mulder - “
He looked over at her. The shake of his head was imperceptible except to her. He turned back to the doctor. “Thank you. We need to take these x-rays with us.”
“Mr. Mulder, I don't understand.”
“Thank you for your help. We need to get going.”
The younger man opened his mouth, then closed it. This dark man wasn't going to tell him anything. It looked like Agent Mulder would do whatever he had to do to protect this woman. It might be a case for the FBI, but it seemed damn personal to him.
“We need your notes.”
“No record?” Dr. Bennett asked.
After a moment, Mulder nodded. The doctor picked up the chart and unclipped the papers. He handed everything to Mulder. “I take it you won't want us filing for insurance.”
For just a second, Dr. Bennett thought the agent almost smiled, then it was gone.
“I wish you luck and I hope you find whoever did this.” He shook Mulder's hand, then Scully's.
Mulder used his credit card to pay for the visit, then led her to the car. They were silent as he pulled out and he made his way back to I-85.
She wouldn't look in his direction, watching the landscape roll by as though it were truly fascinating. Finally he couldn't take the silence, "Scully, it will be okay."
She still didn't turn. "What if it isn't? What if the cancer comes back?"
"It won't, and . . . and if it does, I'll find another chip."
"No." She did face him finally. "No. I don't want it. If it returns, then it returns. Promise me you won't go searching - "
"Scully, I can't promise you that. I have to do everything - "
"No." Her face was as determined as he'd ever seen it.
He went quiet then, though she could see his fingers were white as they gripped the steering wheel. She grabbed the handle of the door when he made an abrupt turn onto the next exit. "Mulder?"
He didn't speak, just turning right at the end of the exit, then into a Wal-Mart.
"Mulder, what are we doing here?"
"We need some things for tonight." His voice was tight, strained.
"It's not that late. We can make it home. I can drive if you - "
"No. We're not going back to DC tonight. Come on." He exited the car and moved around to her side. His hand on her back guided her into the store. He took a cart and steered her toward women's clothing.
“Mulder, what is it you want?”
“Right now, I want you to pick out an outfit and whatever else you would need for tonight. I'll get some things too. Let's just give the guys time to make sure your apartment and everything is clear.”
Scully nodded after a moment and took a deep breath. She moved toward the jeans and picked up a pair in her size. For the first time he smiled. “Jeans, Scully? Are you telling me I've finally had an influence on you?”
Her eyes narrowed as her eyebrow rose, but it didn't last. “Okay yes. You have had an influence on me. Are you sure you want to continue this conversation?”
“No, I guess not. At least not in public.” He looked over at the shirts available in her size. “Do I get to pick?”
“In your dreams.” She walked around him to see what was offered.
You have no idea, he thought, watching her. He knew better than to say that, so he kept quiet. After she made her selection, she led him to the men's section. He grabbed a package of t-shirts and one of boxers. She stopped at the jeans for him and picked up a pair.
“Like them?” He asked.
“They'd look okay on you.” She said with a shrug. He tossed them into the cart. She'd never picked out clothing for him before, but she hadn't hesitated over size. Interesting.
After toiletries, he headed toward lingerie. She trailed him reluctantly. “Come on, Scully, you need something to sleep in.”
“They don't carry the pajamas I like.” She groused. Then she looked up and caught the gleam in his eye. She shook her head and turned away, picking up a light weight nightgown in royal blue. Not too revealing, but certainly not a granny gown. She turned away from him and grabbed a bra and panties. He wisely made no comment.
She had played along with him during the outing, but now that they were through, her mind returned to reality. He turned to see her and his own fear returned full force. They couldn't do this here.
“Trying to decide?”
He gestured toward the paperbacks in front of her. “A romance novel?”
“Uh, no.” But she did manage to smile a little.
“You ready to check out?”
She nodded. He got in line and motioned for her to take a seat on the bench near the door. To his surprise and consternation she did.
She wasn't really paying attention, but noted when the young check out girl leaned forward to put the charge slip in front of Mulder. Her eyebrow rose again to see the blatant display of cleavage, but she was distracted by her words. “Thank you Mr. Hale.”
He picked up the bags, oblivious to her come on, and turned toward Scully. She rose as he approached. “Mr. Hale?”
He shrugged. “No need to advertise.”
She didn't comment, just walked with him to the car.
He loaded their things into the backseat, then pulled out and returned to the highway. She'd gone quiet again and he could feel his tension building. Not good, they needed to get out of the car.
He pulled off a few exits down, and turned into the Embassy Suites. She looked at him, her eyebrow raised. “George can afford it.” Was his only comment.
She hung back while he checked in. He returned to her and handed her a card. “One room?”
“Two beds, Scully.” He waggled his eyebrows.
She rolled her eyes, but kept quiet. They returned to the car to get their things. No luggage, but no one would notice.
They dropped their bags onto the small sofa in the sitting area, then she sank onto the bed closest to the bath.
“We should go get some dinner, Scully. Don't tell me you aren't hungry. You have to eat.”
She seemed to deflate slightly, but finally nodded.
“Good. We can eat downstairs. You won't have to go out.” He held out his hand and she took it, pulling herself up from her seat on the bed.
They knew each other well enough not to try to force conversation in the restaurant. They were in time for the free cocktails in the atrium and he ordered for her without asking.
“You think I need this?” She asked when he brought it to the table.
“You don't have to drink it. I just want you to relax.” He said quietly.
“Thanks.” She took a sip, then accepted the menu he handed her.
They didn't dawdle over the meal. She wanted to get back to their room. He understood that and didn't disagree.
Once back in the room, he touched her shoulder. “Why don't you go ahead and get ready for bed, Scully. If you want to take another bath . . . “
“No. I'll just get comfortable.”
“Are you tired?” He was watching her.
“Tired, not sleepy.”
He nodded, “Go ahead, I'll be out in the sitting area. Take your time.”
She turned toward the bedroom, then stopped. “Mulder, thank you, for coming to get me.”
“Thank you, for calling me.”
She blinked, then nodded. She didn't shut the door between the rooms, just taking her nightgown into the bathroom.
Once she was out of sight, he sank onto the small sofa and closed his eyes.
Too many thoughts bubbled to the surface of his mind. The chip was gone, taken by whoever had taken her. It had never been proven that the chip caused the remission. He wanted to find that thought funny, but seeing her face when she'd realized it was missing had shown him, better than words, that regardless of proof, she believed.
Why take it? Why? It made no sense to him. Was there someone else they wanted to cure and they were running low on chips?
And what was that crap about not replacing it if it was needed? She didn't honestly think he could sit back and watch her die without lifting a finger? He wasn't Bill for heaven's sake. That was just shock talking.
Besides, maybe it had cured her. Not a remission, a complete cure and wasn't necessary anymore. That's what he had to believe. He'd go with her to her oncologist, get the facts, then see what happened. In any case he'd be ready.
He looked up as the door opened and she came out in the gown. It hadn't been expensive and wasn't as nice as he'd like to buy her, but the color was good on her. He couldn't help but see her pallor though, and her carefully hidden fear.
“It's all yours Mulder.”
“M'kay.” He rose and found his own supplies.
“Mulder, you don't have to go to bed this early. If you want - “
“I can go to bed. A hot chick woke me early this morning, so I could use the Z's.”
“Hot chick, huh? Anyone I know?” Her voice was nearly steady.
“Jealous? I'll tell you all about her in a minute.” He disappeared into the bath and she crawled under the covers, more collapsing than reclining against the pillows.
She wasn't going to cry. He'd be able to tell, he always could. Her hand moved involuntarily to her neck, to the tiny band aid the doctor had placed there. Was it back already? Was the cancer already procreating itself in her head, thrilled to be let free to grow again? Would it move faster this time, angry that it had been stalled and eager to make up for lost time?
Scully shook her head, she was a doctor, she knew cancer for what it was, not an evil entity in her body, just a biological growth. It wasn't 'out to get her', it just was, or would be, growing merrily in her brain.
Tears came unbidden and she forced them away. Not in front of Mulder. Should she warn her mother that there was a possibility . . . no. If it happened, it happened. There was nothing her mother could do, so why spoil things now. Only Mulder knew. Would she have told him? Yes, she'd have to have warned Mulder. He needed her as much as she needed him, and as selfish as it was, she couldn't go through this without him, not again. She hadn't before and they were even more closely intertwined now. She could no more keep something like this from him than she could from herself, however good or bad that turned out to be.
She stiffened as the door opened and Mulder padded out in bare feet, wearing his favorite - a gray t-shirt and his boxers. She managed not to stare, but seeing him steadied her. Yes, much too close to keep this from him.
“Will the light bother you, Scully?”
“No, you have something to read?”
“Yeah, picked this up.” He held up a paperback and her eyes widened. A 'bodice-ripper'? That's what she and Melissa had called them. One of the romance novels from the display at the store. Oh shit. Her cheeks flushed a delightful pink and he managed not to grin.
“I've always been curious about this genre, Scully. Any insights you want to share?”
“Mulder . . . “ Her voice trailed off.
“Well, let's see.” He opened the book and began flipping through the pages until something caught his eye. She closed her eyes, shaking her head slightly. Oh no.
“Okay,” Mulder began. “His mouth moved over her shaking lips and parted them as his arms slid tightly around her, one hand settling on her back while the other sought her hip. With a half sob, Heather went limp against his chest, trembling violently within his grasp. His kisses went on it seemed to her without end. When his hand slid from her hip to her thigh and moved slowly upward along the inside, caressing it, she groaned under his kiss and strained against his chest. But the embrace could not be broken. His lips as they traveled from her throat to the rounded curves above her gown were moist, parted, drinking in the sweetness of her flesh. They caressed her breasts unhurriedly, moving from the deep valley between to the posted peaks which rose up beneath her gown. His breath came more rapidly and touched her skin like a hot iron. Aroused, he unfastened her bodice and pressed passionate kisses upon her naked flesh.” Mulder broke off at that point, though his eyes moved on down the page slightly.
His breathing seemed heavier. His honey rasp quiet after reading . . . that. Damn, her nipples were at attention, just from his voice. Good god. She shifted under the covers, trying to keep him from noticing her arousal.
He cleared his throat and she jumped slightly. “Well . . . I didn't realize these books were quite that . . . “
“Graphic?” She managed to offer.
“I was going to say 'hot'. But I'm afraid it'll diminish my masculinity in your eyes.”
She gave a startled chuckle, “I think your masculinity is safe Mulder.” She said dryly. “Think you can sleep now?”
“Hell no.” She heard him, but she was pretty sure he hadn't meant her to. He took a calming breath, wondering what she'd be able to hear from the shower and decided against it. He flipped off the lamp between them. “Goodnight, Scully.”
“Night, Mulder.” She rolled over, her back to him and closed her eyes. At least he was right here, to keep away the monsters.
He lay on his back, his anatomy beginning to respond to his demands to cut it out and not think about the damn book, or the fact that she lay practically within arms reach.
He lay there, eyes opened, trying not to listen to her breathing. It wasn't working, but then the sound changed. Her breathing sounded shaky, a little more rapid.
“Mulder.” They spoke simultaneously and he sat up, though the light was still off.
He realized she was shaking. “Are you cold?”
“No, I just can't . . . “
“Scoot over.” He rose and took the one step that took him to her bed. He lay beside her, and drew her into his arms. Too much, she'd been through too much. “It's okay, Baby. I've got you.”
At those words she buried her face in his chest and let the tears come. His embrace tightened as did hers and he kissed her hair, murmuring to her, calming her. When she seemed to relax a little, he spoke quietly. “I'm going to keep you safe Scully.”
“By moving me into your apartment?” She finally spoke as her trembling diminished.
“Won't work, Mulder. You have more suits than I do. I'll never fit.”
He snorted lightly. “Well, we'll look for a bigger place, a two-bedroom. We can use the second bedroom as an office and I'll keep my clothes in there.”
“So we're sharing a bedroom in this new place?” She asked and even managed to cock her eyebrow slightly.
“Sure.” He hugged her to him. “You don't take up that much room.”
She didn't even bother to respond verbally, her look saying it all. “Come on, Scully, it'd be fun.”
“Are we talking twin beds here, Mulder?”
“No, that's a little too Rock Hudson/Doris Day for me. Besides I like to sprawl out.”
“I know.” She said dryly.
“Why Agent Scully, do you watch me sleep?”
She didn't answer, just taking a deep breath. Without meeting his eyes, she said quietly, "Don't sign a long term lease."
His arms tightened involuntarily, as though grounding her to him. "Scully, you're going to be okay. You didn't need it anymore, that's why they took it."
"Recycle it for someone else?" She asked.
He was a little startled that she'd come up with the same thought as him, but that was happening more and more lately. "Why not? There's no other good reason to remove it."
"Unless they want me out of the way."
They were quiet then, he wasn’t going to argue with her, but no way in hell was he going to let her slip away. He pulled her closer. “What are you thinking?” He just wanted to hear her voice.
“About my list.”
“List?” He waited. After a moment she nodded.
“When . .
. when I was sick, before, I . . . I started a list of things I wanted to do
before I - “
“I don't mean to be morbid, Mulder, honestly. I was just realizing how many things I still haven't done, even with the second chance.”
“Want me to take you to Disney World?” His eyes had adjusted enough to see her with the little light that the curtains let in, lights from the parking lot. He saw her face soften and her eyes seemed to smile, just a little.
“I don't remember that being on the list actually, Mulder.”
“What was Number One, Scully?” He wasn't going to let her go, ever, but what were the things she thought important enough to list? She didn't answer, so he pulled slightly away to get a better look at her face. “Come on, we're alone. I won''t tell anyone.”
“I . . . I shouldn't have brought this up.”
“Who could you tell, if not me, Scully?” Okay, he sounded a little territorial there, but now he was intrigued. “You don't have to tell me the whole list, just Number One.”
“Just Number One.” She repeated. Even this close he barely heard her. His hand smoothed down her hair and she closed her eyes. She took a deep breath. “You're right. I need to . . . I need to do this.”
He looked puzzled then and realized he was becoming concerned. God, it wasn't leave the Bureau, or . . . or him? Shit, what had he started?
“Number One on my list, Mulder, was . . . “ She swallowed and he forced himself not to tell her to stop, keep it to herself after all. “Was to tell you that I love you.”
She was watching him with more than a little fear in her eyes, while he lay there frozen - torn between relief and, and total disbelief. “What, what did you say?”
“That I love you, Mulder.”
“Oh my god.” He was staring at her, his lips parted. She had said it. Hell, she'd repeated it.
“Mu . . . Mulder?” Her voice seemed shakier as he didn't say anymore.
“I, I think I had a stroke, Scully. I thought you said, said that you loved me. Am I dreaming?”
Finally a smile tweaked her lips. It was the most adorable thing he had ever seen. Scully, his Scully, insecure about him. Part of him was dying to crush her against him, take her into him. 24/7 would never be enough. Instead, their eyes locked. He slowly moved toward her lips and lightly kissed the top one, then the bottom. She seemed to catch on then and her hand went to the back of his head, pulling him down to her.
When they broke for air, he moved slightly away. His anatomy betraying where he wanted this to go. He saw the blush on her face as she processed the reason for his actions.
“I, uh, I don't suppose that,” he indicated the reason for his discomfort, “ever made the list.”
The flush that took her face spread down toward her breasts, disappearing into the nightgown. It knocked the breath from him.
Scully had imagined letting him love her? It had made her list. Oh god. His cock twitched to make up the distance that had been placed between them.
“I, uh, Scully, I know I said I'd only ask what Number One was . . . “
“Number Two, Mulder.”
He was reeling. He was one and two on her list of things she . . .
“Oh god,” His lips closed on her's again. When they broke apart, chests heaving, he did move away from her. “Scully, you've been through a lot, too much. I can't ask - “
“I think I'm the one asking here Mulder. It's not just fear. I am afraid, Mulder. I'm afraid I'm going to die, I admit it. But why shouldn't I allow myself to do the things I want to do.”
“You want this?”
“I want this, Mulder. I want you. I don't know that I would have been able to say that if this hadn't happened."
His finger caressed her cheek, but he couldn't speak.
"Make love to me, Mulder."
"I want to, Scully. I've wanted to for a long time, but not as a goodbye. You're going to live to a ripe old age and I don't want you to regret . . . anything."
She looked him directly in the eyes then, "I only regret wasting the time we've already wasted."
His arms tightened involuntarily as her lips met his again. "Scully, Scully, I don't have any protection for you."
She smiled shyly, "Didn't think you'd get lucky?"
"This lucky? Never. And the one I carried since I was fourteen probably dry rotted a long time ago." He grinned.
"You know it's not necessary." She nipped at his throat.
"Just giving you every opportunity to change your mind." He nuzzled her ear.
"Duly noted. Now stop it and love me." Her hand was inside his t-shirt now, her fingers outlining the muscles of his back.
“Love you. Oh god, Scully, I do.” He buried his face in her neck.
She brushed his hair back and he looked up to see the tears in her eyes, eyes that showed her love for him. No, this wasn't goodbye; this was the beginning of their future.
He lifted the nightgown over her head and she reciprocated with his t-shirt. His eyes feasted on her breasts for a moment, before dipping his head to worship them with his lips.
Her eyes drifted shut to better concentrate on the sensations he was creating in her body. When he moved away, she opened her eyes as she reached for him. He was watching her.
“What?” She asked shakily.
“Still trying to believe this is real.”
“Feels real to me.”
He shook his head, “I haven't even gotten started.” He dipped his head again, moving down her body now as her eyes widened. His tongue laved ribbons of heat over her stomach. She gasped as he suckled her navel.
She watched him as he kissed her curls, then without warning buried his face in her sex. “Oh God.” She breathed, arching to bring him even closer if possible. He accepted, his tongue dipping into her, tasting her.
He felt her moan deep in his body. She loved him, like he had loved her for so long. He felt her tense and knew he'd found that spot to drive her wild. His eyes smiled, his lips were too busy.
“Mu-Muld- Oh God, I, oh God!” She shuddered as she gave her body, her control over to him. He held her close, letting her feel his arms, his love surrounding her.
“You think moving in a good idea now?”
“I'm, I'm beginning to see some advantages.” She traced his jaw line with her finger.
“Just wait, there are more.” He grinned at her.
Warmth suffused her body at the look in his eyes. She nodded. He moved away from her to remove his boxers. She reached for him, not wanting him even that far away. He hurried, wanting to feel her against all of him.
She reached for him, her hand encircling his cock and squeezing slightly. He watched her scoot down in the bed, heading south on his body. Her fingers tweaked his nipple and he hissed.
“Scully, you don't - “
That was all he got out before her lips closed around him. He had to be dreaming, he didn't really have Dana Scully going down on him. Not in reality.
Her tongue laved the head and his eyes devoured her. He groaned as she took him into her mouth and sucked lightly. She moved slowly, taking in as much of him as she could. His shaking hand lightly brushed her hair and she looked up to meet his eyes.
His expression caused her to falter. She'd never been loved like this, never. She nodded slightly, then cupped his balls and let her teeth lightly scrape his length. From the corner of her eye she saw his hands fist as he struggled not to thrust into her mouth.
“Sc-Scully, plea-please. I don't want to . . . “
She nodded and rose, kissing the tip of his cock. “What do you want, Mulder?”
His growl was pretty damn articulate as far as she was concerned. She gasped as he flipped her over. “I want you.”
“Good.” She whispered and reached for him again.
He let her guide him to her core. He met her eyes and slowly entered her. Slow, careful thrusts and he was fully sheathed in her body. They both paused, in synch as with so many things, then they were moving, thrusting and meeting as though they had been together their whole lives.
Long slow thrusts grew faster, harder. Her hands clutched his ass, urging him on. He couldn't last any longer, she was too tight, too Scully . . . They shared a shattering climax, as he gasped her name.
Their arms enclosed each other and they relaxed into the embrace.
The sun was high when they finally woke the next morning. They had earned their rest.
"We need to call in. We're definitely going to be late for work."
"Mulder." Her hand brushed across his chest as she started to leave the bed.
"Don't. Just stay here a minute."
"A long minute." His lips were on her neck again. She purred and his body responded immediately.
"I need a shower, Mulder. So do you, a cold one."
"Oh no you don't. You've already caused me too many cold showers, Baby."
She smiled and he saw that even after last night, he could still cause a blush. "We could shower together." She offered and then laughed at the eager look that took over his face. "Call Skinner and meet me in the bathroom."
He grimaced, but let her rise from the bed. He got past Kim to speak directly to Skinner. He wasn't forthcoming over the phone and had to promise to meet with Skinner later, but he'd handle that. For now, he had better things to do.
He stepped into the shower, taking in the rosy glow of her skin under the hot water. She certainly looked healthy.
"I told him we were on an investigation and I'd fill him in later."
"What are you going to tell him?"
"That's a conversation for later. Right now I need my back scrubbed."
She was quiet in the car, but no longer distant. She lay her hand on his thigh and he covered it with his own. "I love you, Scully."
"I know." She looked out the window. "I'm going to love you as long as I live, Mulder."
"Is that a proposal, Agent Scully?"
Her head jerked around, looking at him again. "Mulder, we can't -"
"Sure we can."
She watched him for several miles. Finally he looked back over at her. "Do I need to ask your mother for your hand?"
"Mulder - "
"I will. Or . . . hell, I'll even ask Bill if you want me to."
"Bill? Oh that would be fun. Mulder, I didn't sleep with you to get you to ask - "
She was quiet then. He knew that.
When they were close to DC, he pulled out his cell phone and handed it to her. She looked the question at him. “Call Dr. Zuckerman. We'll head over to his office.”
“Mulder, we don't have an appointment.”
“He'll see you. You're his favorite patient.”
“Mulder - “
“He's number eight on my phone.”
He shrugged, “I don't have a lot of friends.”
She looked at him for a moment, then pressed the eight on his speed dial. After a short conversation she pressed 'end'. “He wants us to come on over.”
He smiled at her. “Told you so.”
“You haven't threatened him, have you Mulder?”
“Who, me?” He batted his eyelashes at her. “Actually, no. But we've had a few conversations. He never admitted he believed in the chip, but he didn't . . . disbelieve.”
She shook her head, but he saw she was smiling.
They sat side by side in Dr. Zuckerman's office, waiting. She didn't look at him, but he could feel her tension. He held out his hand and she took it immediately and didn't let go, even when Dr. Zuckerman entered the room.
If he noticed, he made no comment. “Dana, I'm surprised to see you. You were here,” he glanced at her file, “five weeks ago. Did something happen?”
“Yes.” She glanced over at Mulder. “The, um, the chip has been removed.”
Dr. Zuckerman immediately sat forward and looked over at Mulder, then back to her. “Why would you have it removed?”
“I didn't.” She looked down at her feet. “I . . . I was abducted, and when I woke up, in North Carolina, it was gone.”
Dr. Zuckerman looked over at Mulder as though waiting for the punch line. It didn't come. He leaned back, “Well, having you two in my office is never dull. When did this happen?” He asked Scully.
“Sometime Friday night or Saturday.”
“That's only a couple of days - “
“You could tell she was in remission less than 48 hours after the chip was implanted.” Mulder spoke quietly.
Dr. Zuckerman look at him for a moment, then finally nodded. “Okay, we can do an MRI. Remember, it may be too early to see anything.” He took a deep breath and stood. “I'll go get Arlene. Dana, don't worry, okay.” He squeezed her free hand and left the office.
“It's going to be okay, Scully.”
She nodded, but didn't release his hand. Arlene was there shortly and led Scully away. Having her out of his sight sent him spiraling down. She was okay and she was going to be okay. They were together now, like never before.
She was pale when she opened the door. He was on his feet immediately. “Did he - “
“We don't know anything yet, Mulder.”
“C'mere.” He took her into his arms. They didn't talk, just holding each other until the tap on the door caused her to step away.
“Dana, I looked the film over right away. There's no indication that the tumor has returned. You can see for yourself.” He put the film up for her to check. Mulder moved closer as well, but wasn't entirely sure what he was seeing.
Scully moved directly in front of the film, her fingers lightly traced the picture of her skull. “Nothing. Mulder, there's nothing there, yet.”
Mulder glanced over at the doctor, who turned to Scully. “Mulder's right. We could see the remission within hours. Let's schedule another MRI in two weeks, but this is very good news, Dana.”
She looked up and both men saw the tears in her eyes. “Thank you.”
Dr. Zuckerman nodded and squeezed her shoulder. “We're going to keep a close eye on you, Dana. Don't anticipate problems.”
She nodded. He shook Mulder's hand and quietly let himself out.
“Let's get out of here, Scully.”
She nodded and let him lead her to the car.
He started the engine and Scully touched his hand. “We should talk to Skinner.”
“I'll handle that later. You should rest. I didn't let you get a lot of sleep last night.”
“I got enough.” She smiled at the memory. “We need to decide what we're going to tell him.”
Mulder nodded, “Eventually. Hey, was Skinner on your list?”
She looked over startled and saw that he was attempting to make light of it. “Mulder, I . . . not in any way you need to worry about.”
“You sure? I worry a lot.” He waited.
Her hand caressed his cheek. “Come on let's get this over with.”
“Let's go by your place first. We'll pack you up and - “
“Mulder, I can't move into your apartment. You weren't really serious.“
“Yes, I am. Believe me; I'll make room in the closet. I'll even get rid of some suits if I have to.” He managed a weak smile, but he was obviously waiting for her next words.
After a long moment, she nodded, he didn't have to know that was number three. He was able to resume breathing. She was moving into his apartment. At her place he looked around her living room as she gathered up her clothes.
He moved to the phone and checked on the messages at the office. He was taking notes when she returned. “Anything important?” She asked.
“One call, a Mr. Jay Gilmore. He's heard about what we do and thinks he has a case we should look at. Sounds like he's got some sort of speech impediment.” He shrugged. “I'll make an appointment for tomorrow. Now,” He tried to suppress his grin, “what can I carry?”
Mulder and Scully are sitting on the sofa in their apartment. “I can't believe you don't want butter on your popcorn. It's un-American.” Mulder groused at her as he put a video in the VCR. Scully scanned the box.
“It's a classic American movie.”
“What's what every guy says,” she said, “It's a guy movie. Is this what I'm going to be living with now?”
“Hey when it's your turn, we can watch Steel Magnolias.”
They uncapped their beers and she took a sip. “So what's the occasion?”
“Just felt like the thing to do. Cheers,” Mulder took a swig. “I don't know if you noticed, but I never made the world a happier place.”
“Well, I'm fairly happy. That's something. So, what was your final wish anyway?”
He just turned toward the movie and cuddled her against him.