He wanted to call her; he woke up wanting it, but refused the indulgence. At work, he buried himself in the case Patterson was exploring, making notes, looking at evidence. It did distract him, at least until lunch. The break was unwelcome today. Immediately his mind returned to Dana. He reached for the phone to call his friends, to ask if they had anything for him, but they knew how to reach him and they would, when they had something.
He grabbed a semi-stale sandwich from the cart and slipped downstairs. No one had disturbed the door; the hair he had laid across the doorknob was still there. He couldn't say why he was there. He had the files that mattered to him memorized, but this was where he needed to be, since he couldn't be where he wanted to be - there was no way he could explain just showing up at her place now. He'd wanted to go to the park and join them for the small birthday party. He couldn't explain why really, but he was drawn to them. Maybe he really had bonded with them during the hostage situation. He shook his head and retreated from the room, replacing the hair.
His lunch hour wasn't over, but he returned to his official desk and picked back up the information he'd been working with. At least Patterson would be pleased, though he'd never admit it.
It was after four when he felt the hand on his shoulder. "Are we getting together tonight, Fox?"
Mulder looked up and spotted Diana. "Uh, I'm not sure what kind of company I'd be tonight."
"Bad case?" Diana looked over his shoulder at the information scattered around his cubicle.
He shrugged. That was as good an explanation as any. He wasn't going to explain what was really on his mind. In the first place, he didn't think she'd be that pleased that he had another woman on his mind, and he knew how she felt about his theories. Again he felt regret that he'd ever mentioned any of it to her, but it was too late to take it back.
"Come on over to my place, Fox. We can have a relaxing dinner and put it out of your mind."
Well, that was probably the best offer he was going to get today and the guys hadn't called. He gave her a lopsided grin. "Sure, sounds good."
She nodded. "I'll see you around six?"
"I'll be there."
He was, but he was feeling even more uncomfortable about it now. He hadn't even bothered to go home to change, spending that hour down in his place in the basement, looking for other files that matched the two he now held safe in his office and his mind.
She had picked up dinner, but instead of Styrofoam, there were plates on the table. She'd pulled iced mugs from the freezer and, after opening the door for him, began pouring beer into one for him. "Come on; let's eat while it's warm."
He took the mug and slipped into 'his' chair at her table. She sat across from him and they made small talk, rather, she made small talk while they ate. He tried, but his mind kept returning to his files. When they were finished, Diana rose from the table.
"Go have a seat in the living room. I'll be right there."
He obeyed without much thought, and took a seat on the couch. She joined him in just a minute with another beer. She handed it to him and sat beside him. "You haven't relaxed much."
He shrugged and tried to smile.
"Drink your beer," she whispered and he took a sip. She loosened his tie; he hadn't even thought to do that and unbuttoned the top two buttons on his shirt. He looked down, watching her hands, but not commenting. She leaned in closer and kissed his ear, his neck. Her hand caressed his chest and began unbuttoning his shirt there too. When her hand found flesh, he leaned forward and put his mug on the table.
"Diana, I'm sorry. I need to go."
"Fox - "
"Really. I'm sorry, but I'm not able to do this tonight. I appreciate dinner, but I need to go."
She watched him for moment. He was right; she hadn't been able to reach him tonight. She decided to cut her losses. "Okay, Fox, try to get a good night's sleep. Maybe lunch tomorrow?"
"Sure. I'll call you when I get a break and we'll meet up."
She did smile then, it was just the case he was working on, no doubt. Patterson could be a real prick. She leaned in and kissed him once more, and he managed to respond. Then he was up and headed for the door.
He headed home, not allowing himself to return to the office. There was no need; there was no more information in the files for him to stare at now anyway.
After a less than restful sleep, populated with dreams of the past, intermingled with Dana playing the starring role, he took a quick shower. He was brushing his teeth when the phone rang. He spit and hurried to his bedroom. "Mulder."
"You have time to stop by before work?" It was Byers' voice.
He felt his heart rate increase. "Yeah. Did you - "
"Not over the phone. See you soon." The phone went dead and Mulder had to smile.
He was pulling into a space at their building in less than twenty minutes. He really needed to start leaving earlier. The traffic was great this time of day. They were already unlocking the door when he approached.
"You found the info?"
Byers nodded. "Come on."
Frohike met them at the door with a mug of coffee in his hand. He handed it to Mulder, who took it gratefully. He hadn't taken the time to stop and get any, so this was especially welcomed.
After a couple of sips, he nodded. "What'd you find?"
Frohike smiled. "The records. Come on." He led them to the workroom, where Langly was scrolling through information on his screen. His coffee was sitting untouched in front of him.
"Mulder, great hack. This was major cool."
"You weren't caught?"
"We've done all this work for you, and you insult us?"
"Sorry." Mulder grinned. "What was I thinking?"
"I tell you, they ran every test in the book on her."
"She was told she'd been drugged the whole time she was gone." Mulder commented, leaning forward to see the screen.
"Not with anything we recognize," Frohike said.
Mulder smiled. "Then it couldn't have been made by man."
Langly grinned and Frohike chuckled.
"Go ahead, spell it out for me."
"She wasn't restrained; there were no marks on her. No sign of sexual assault."
Mulder flinched but kept quiet.
"Mulder, they ran some truly funky tests on her."
"Like full body scans, blood tests on things even we've never thought to do. They were checking her lymphocyte population, her damn gluco-cordacoids. Those are not tests you run on someone that shows up unattended in an ER. We don't even know what they're for."
"To test for weightless sickness," Mulder said without emotion.
"Weightless? You're kidding, right?" Byers looked at Mulder.
Mulder looked up and shook his head. "Was she pregnant?"
Langly blinked at that. "Uh, yeah. They confirmed a pregnancy."
Mulder leaned back then. The baby, he wasn't this Allen guy's kid after all. No sexual 'assault,' however they could easily have done an in-vitro procedure. But why?
"Mulder, you okay?" Byers put his hand on the man's shoulder.
"Just thinking. I, uh, I need to get to work. This is good; this is exactly what I needed. Thanks, guys. Can I have a copy?" He placed his mug on the table and took the printouts, then headed for the door. Frohike trailed him and opened the door.
"Man, you okay?"
Mulder seemed surprised to find Frohike beside him. "Yeah, I'm good. Thank you for this."
"It was our pleasure. Is there anything else we can do?"
"I'll be in touch." Mulder nodded and headed for his car.
He managed to submerge himself into Patterson's case when he got to the office, and actually came up with an idea that Patterson decided needed to be checked out.
Mulder felt unexpected relief when Patterson assigned that task to someone else. Unusual, but he found he didn't want to be out of town right now.
He didn't admit his intentions to himself, but when he left work that night he headed to Dana's apartment instead of home. He sat just outside for a few minutes, but couldn't make himself leave. Finally, he opened his door and stepped out.
Mulder took the elevator up and stood outside of her door. Again he hesitated, but it was probably the last time he'd see her and he wanted, no he needed, a little time with her. He knocked on the door.
She opened it with a surprised smile on her face. "Mulder? Come in, it's good to see you."
Her smile faded. "Is everything okay?"
He forced a lopsided grin. "Been a long day. I hope you don't mind."
"Of course not. Please, come in." She stepped aside and he entered. "May I have your coat?"
He nodded and slipped it off, letting her hang it in her coat closet.
"Will's already asleep?"
She nodded. "You need to see something." She put her finger to her lips and led him down the hall. She pushed open the door to Will's nursery and they entered quietly. She pointed to the crib and he moved in that direction. In the light of the nightlight, he saw the boy, asleep with his head resting on the shoulder of his 'Mudder Air', his hand resting on the bear's arm he had obviously been holding until he fell asleep.
Mulder felt unexpected tears, which he blinked back. This kid had gotten to him, him and his mother. Yes, there was a connection - that was the real reason he was here.
He turned and smiled at her. She spotted the tears. Her look of concern told him that. He silently followed her from the room.
"Mulder," she turned to him once they were back in the living room. "What's wrong?"
"Do you mind?" He pointed to the couch.
"Of course not. Would you like something? Wine?"
"You know, that might be a good idea."
"I'll be right back." He took a seat, and she hurried into the kitchen. He could see through the archway that a cup from a fast food restaurant and a sippy cup sat on the counter. She poured them each a glass of wine and returned. He took his glass from her and watched her take a seat beside him.
"Are you okay?" she asked after he took a sip.
"I, I need to tell you a story, and I'm afraid I'll never see you again afterward."
She blinked and reached for his hand. "I hope that's not true. Will and I enjoy your company very much."
"That's before you decide I'm insane. I need you to listen."
It was late, the wine glasses were empty. She hadn't said very much, just listening, hearing the pain as well as the words. He leaned back, exhausted emotionally as well as physically. This was not a story he’d ever told before in this way. "Do you want to call the white coats, or should I?"
"I don't think you're crazy," she said quietly.
He gave a sad laugh. "Hell, I think I'm crazy. Did you hear what I just told you? My sister was - "
"I heard you," she interrupted.
"Well, I can see some similarities to what happened to me, but it’s, what do you call it - circumstantial evidence? Is that why you told me about this?"
"Dana, I . . . " He looked away, then straightened his shoulders. "I did something you're not going to be happy about."
"I had some friends of mine hack into the system at Walter Reed, and check on your records."
Her eyebrow rose then. "You did what?"
"I used you. I apologize, but I needed to know what a military hospital would, would look for, if this was what I suspected. You didn't just show up there. You were left there by the people in our government who work with these . . . beings."
She drew back a little at those words and his heart sank.
"You have my medical records?"
"No, just the tests that were done while you were there. I wasn't trying to . . . I guess I should get out of here."
"Wait, please. Do, do you have the information?"
He nodded and moved toward the closet. He withdrew a handful of folded papers from his jacket pocket. The pregnancy test had been carefully removed. He thought about the tiny boy lying in the crib in the next room. He was her son, wasn't he? There were no red curls, no button nose. The baby's eyes were darker than hers. No sexual assault? Shit, it was the ultimate rape.
"Sorry." He spotted the look of fear that flitted across her face, quickly hidden as she took the papers. Regret welled up in him. Should he have done this? Had he used her just to get information on Samantha?
While she was looking through the papers, he took the wine glasses into the kitchen and put them into her dishwasher. Then he took the sippy cup and removed the lid, the cup went into the dishwasher, but he slid the lid into his pocket, then he removed the straw from the fast food cup and took it as well.
When he returned, she was perusing the papers. "I don't know some of these tests." She held the paper up and pointed.
"That's a test they run on astronauts after they've been in space. They can get weightless sickness, lose bone mass."
"Why would they . . . I was tested for problems in outer space?"
"Well . . . "
"Oh my god!" She looked up at him then, for reassurance.
"We don't know that's what - "
Her arms went around herself and he saw she was shivering.
"Dana, I'm sorry." His arms went around her then and she didn't pull away. Instead her arms went around his waist and she rested her head against his chest.
They sat that way a long time and eventually her shivering slowed and stopped. She took a deep breath and finally sat up. "May I keep these papers?"
"Sure. One thing I think I should point out - " She stiffened, and his arm around her tightened. "You're in perfect health. I don't know if you had any problems before. Looking at you, I'd say you didn't, but your health was not harmed."
She blinked and a small smile began to appear. "I guess that is something. My pregnancy was perfect and all of Will's exams say he's above the curve."
"That's good, right?" Mulder asked.
She did smile then. "Yes, that's good. He's tall for his age, ahead in things like motor skills, verbalization."
"Shows you're a good mother."
Her eyes met his. "Thank you."
"You're feeling better."
She nodded. "I am. You need to go?"
"I should. Go on to bed. I'm sure the kid will have you up bright and early in the morning."
She chuckled at that. "You are so right. Mulder, thank you for coming tonight, for sharing what happened - "
"For scaring you to death?"
"You've given me plenty to think about."
"Not tonight. Go on to bed and I'll give you a call tomorrow."
"Yes, please." She stood and he followed, and let her lead him to the door. He took the coat from the closet and suddenly found his eyes focused on her lips. It wasn't appropriate, but then neither was coming over here to tell her she'd been abducted by aliens. He leaned over and met those lips. The contact was electric and their arms were back around each other. When they broke for air, he scanned her face. No condemnation, a little surprise but she seemed pleased.
"I better get out of here," he said quietly.
She nodded and opened the door. He left without another word. It was late, but he headed for his friends' place first.
It took some knocking, but Frohike finally appeared at the door. He was wearing full pajamas, but Mulder decided against comment. He pulled the sippy cup lid and the straw from his pocket. "Can you check the DNA on these?"
"What time is it?"
"It's late, I'm sorry. Could you get DNA from these and compare it?"
"Yeah, what are we looking for?"
"After what was done to her, I want to know if the kid really is hers."
"What would it matter?"
"I just need to know."
Frohike yawned. "Want to come in?"
"No, no I don't need this tonight. Go back to bed, but let me know."
"You got it." Frohike closed the door in his face and he turned back toward his car.