She woke disoriented and realized that something was holding her down. Something across her leg. As she tried to move, she realized it was another leg over hers. Before she could panic, she realized it was his leg, Mulder’s leg. At the same time she realized they both were nude.
Memory flooded back and she froze. Oh god, what had she done? She had to get out of here, but she didn’t
want to see him, didn’t want him to catch her.
She moved slowly and carefully. He stirred, but fortunately didn’t wake, just getting comfortable in a new position. She slipped from the bed and looked around the room. Both of their clothes were scattered around the room. She could feel the heat in her face and forcefully made her mind blank.
She gathered her clothes up and ducked in the bathroom. She dressed quickly and then checked on him again. Mulder was still asleep so she silently slipped out of the door and hurried to her own room.
She had to get out of here, she had to get away. The car keys, damn! She’d left them in his room. Well, she couldn’t strand him, but she had to hurry. She had to get out before he woke up. She couldn’t face him.
Her packing took no time; at least it gave her hands something to do. She was nearly running when she left the room. There was a cab just outside the office and she flagged it down, showing her ID and urging him to get to the airport at top speed.
He complied of course. The FBI! Now he’d have a story to tell his wife tonight.
At the airport she managed to control her panic and her fear that he was right behind her. She couldn’t see him, couldn’t face him right now. When the doors to the plane were closed she breathed her first deep breath since waking and closed her eyes in relief.
That was a mistake. He was all she could see - his body above her, his lips all over her, his words in her ear. She didn’t realize she was trembling until the stewardess stopped beside her. “Miss? Are you all right?”
“Wha . . . yes. Yes, I’m fine. Thank you.”
The stewardess moved away, reluctantly it seemed, and she was alone again.
Opening her eyes hadn’t helped. It was all back, all fresh in her mind.
She had managed to find an exit and stumbled out, coughing. The smoke had nearly blinded her. She had to find Mulder, make sure he was out as well.
She staggered toward the front of the building and spotted him, struggling with two policemen, who were trying to keep him out of the building. Oh god, he believed she was in there! Before she could move, his fist connected with one of the cop’s faces and his elbow in the gut caused the other to double over.
“Mulder!” He couldn’t hear her and he was racing back inside! That’s when it blew. The explosion picked her up throwing her backwards and she slammed into the ground stunned.
Mulder! He’d gone back for her - the explosion - he was dead. He . . . she struggled to her feet and forced herself into a run.
What she hadn’t been able to see, because of the angle of the building, was the third cop, who tackled him, bringing him to the ground and thus saving his life. She couldn’t hear his frantic scream. “Scullllly!”
He managed to make it to his feet, but the flames from the entrance held him at bay. He bent over, his hands on his knees, only the third cop could see the horror and devastation on his face.
When she’d reached him, he hadn’t reacted. He obviously didn’t believe she was real. Then she had said his name and he had jerked as though shot.
He had her in his arms before she could see him move, crushing her to him, her feet off the ground as she clung to him as well. Both were oblivious to the others around them, as they tasted each other, trying to absorb the fact that the other was indeed still alive.
She didn’t remember returning to his hotel room. They had to have left the scene of a crime, but neither seemed especially troubled by it, barely getting the door to his room closed before ripping each other’s clothes off.
Then she had awakened in his bed this morning and the full impact of their, of her, actions slammed her between the eyes.
She needed some time. She needed to be away from him so that she could think. What had happened last night was just a reaction to the near disaster they had survived. They couldn’t have that kind of relationship. That was understood and for years she had steeled herself against the pull of the man. Then, in one night, she had ruined everything.
She couldn’t go to her apartment. That would be where he would look for her, unless he was as appalled with her as she was with herself. No, she needed to be somewhere else, but where?
She glanced at her watch. Her mother wouldn’t be home now. Today was her day for volunteering at the church. Scully could leave a message without having to talk to her. She slipped the airline phone from its cradle and swiped her card.
“Mom? The case is over and just in case there was publicity, I wanted you to know I’m okay. I’m just going to take a couple of personal days and I didn’t want you to worry. I’ll call you when I get home. Love you.”
She hung up quickly, not sure her voice would hold out much longer. Then the stewardess was back at her side. “Would you like a drink?”
She did, she very much wanted a drink, but it wasn’t a good idea, not yet. She smiled, or tried to, and shook her head, then was left alone again.
He let himself into his apartment. He was barely functional. He knew they had taken her. Taken her like Samantha, only this time they had taken her from his arms. They’d been together, finally, truly together and they had taken her. He ran a trembling hand through his hair again. He could feel the madness pressing hard.
The night manager had said he had seen her, but he had to be mistaken. Scully wouldn’t leave him, not like that. She hadn’t gone to her apartment. He’d been there and it was empty, completely empty. He couldn’t even feel her presence.
He had to call her mother. He’d put it off too long, but how could he tell her that once again her daughter had been abducted and he hadn’t been able to protect her?
No, he couldn’t call her; he had to tell her this face to face. He had to do it now, before he fell apart. He turned to leave; he hadn’t even closed the door to his apartment.
He pulled up in front of Mrs. Scully’s home; the car was there. He sat there, looking toward the house, but not seeing it. He hadn’t found her last time, she’d been returned near death. What if they didn’t return her this time? What if he spent the rest of his life looking for her like he had Samantha?
He slammed his hand against the steering wheel. How was he going to . . . later, he needed to talk to Mrs. Scully. Once he got that done, then he’d decide what to do with the rest of his life.
He forced himself out of the car and walked heavily to the front door and after a slight hesitation, knocked. Mrs. Scully opened the door and smiled at him. “Fox. It’s good to see you, come in.”
“Mrs. Scully.” He didn’t attempt to enter her home.
“Fox? Fox, what’s wrong?” She took hold of his arm. “Has Dana been in an accident?”
“No, Mrs. Scully.” He allowed her to tug him inside. “We were . . . we were investigating a . . . a clinic and there was an explosion.”
“Yes, I heard about that. She called and - “
“She called?” He froze.
“Yes. She was afraid I’d heard about it and she wanted to make sure I knew she was okay. She said she was taking a couple of personal days.”
“You talked to her.”
“Well, no. She left a message on my machine, but it was her Fox. I know it was her voice. Fox, what’s happened?”
“I, uh, may I hear the message?”
“I’ve already erased it. She sounded like her normal self, Fox. And . . . and I’ve had no nightmares.”
He nodded and took a step back toward the door. “Fox?”
“I, uh, I need to check some things out.”
“Are you okay?”
He nodded though he didn’t try to speak.
“Fox, I don’t think you should leave. I’m sure Dana will be calling soon. You should - “
“Thanks, Mrs. Scully. I need to . . . thanks.” He was backing toward the door and he didn’t look good.
“Fox, I’ll call you when I hear from her. Will you call me if you need anything, or . . . or if she calls you?”
“Uh, sure. I’m sorry I bothered you.” He turned then and though he didn’t actually break into a run, he lost no time getting to his car.
He concentrated solely on driving, and when he got to his place, took the time to unpack his stuff from the car. He carried it in, fully intending to do laundry. But stepping into his apartment brought his carefully constructed detachment crashing down.
The clerk had seen her leave in a cab, the woman on the plane was her and she had called her mother.
Which meant that she was fine. She hadn’t been abducted. She had run. They had made love and she had run.
His hands went numb then, and his clothes fell to the floor. She had run. She had awakened in his bed and run. Had he, had he misunderstood everything that had happened between them?
Had she come willingly to his bed or had he . . . he had to find her. He still had to find her to make sure she was okay, to get her forgiveness if it was possible.
Where would she go to recover from this? She would want to be alone. How far away would she go? She’d want privacy; she contacted her mother, so she wouldn’t want to be with family. And her mother hadn’t been concerned, didn’t have ‘feelings’ like the last time. Friends? Who would she want to be with after a trauma like this?
Hell, who were her friends? Since they’d begun working together she’d spent less and less time with her friends. It had been ages since she’d mentioned seeing anyone - even her old roommates.
This wasn’t helping. So, she obviously wanted to be alone. From a psychologist’s point of view that was the worst thing. Rape victims should talk about their experiences, get help from . . . he had to find her.
Where would she go? He sank onto the couch. This is what he did. He profiled people, got inside their heads, and who in hell did he know better than Scully? Think, you asshole! Where would she go?
It was more than thirty-six hours before the thought occurred to him. He hadn’t moved from the couch during that time. The machine had taken all of his calls; there had been no hang-ups. She hadn’t called. Someplace private, out of the way and a place he wouldn’t expect her to go. For some reason the thought of her there, without him, infuriated him.
He burst in, gun drawn and she froze. He saw her and managed to point his weapon toward the ceiling. He straightened and looked at her then, taking her in, allowing himself to believe that she was okay, that she was truly alive.
When he spoke the sarcasm was acid. “No one’s ever been quite so succinct about my abilities as a lover before.”
“Mulder, that’s not - “
He waved his hand to stop her and lowered himself carefully into the chair closest to the door. He rested his hand with the gun in his lap and closed his eyes.
She was able to look at him then, though she didn’t move closer. He looked drawn, almost gaunt. That made no sense in her swirling thoughts.
“Mulder, are you okay?”
“I’m great. Why do you ask?” He hadn’t bothered to open his eyes.
“Mulder, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have - “
“You’re damned right you shouldn’t have!” His eyes were open now and ablaze with fury. “You vanish; you just disappear. I didn’t know if they’d taken you, I didn’t . . . “
Her eyes widened in shocked realization then. Oh god, what had she done! In her panic she hadn’t given thought to his demons, only her own. Like Samantha, she had vanished in the middle of the night.
“Mulder, I’m sorry. I didn’t think, I just panicked. I don’t know . . . “ She ran down though he didn’t try to interrupt, just boring holes into her with his eyes.
He lay his weapon on the table beside him, rising from the chair and moving toward the kitchen.
She watched in horror as he sank to his knees and then collapsed on
the floor. “Mulder!” She was beside him then
managed to roll him over. She could find no injury, but his pulse was weak. She ripped his shirt open and had her hand
over his heart.
Gaunt had been the right word. When had he last eaten? What had she done? She placed a pillow under his head and hurried to the kitchen herself. She poured a large glass of orange juice and returned to him, taking his head into her lap.
“Mulder, wake up. I
need you to drink some of this. Come
on.” She caressed his cheek and
after a moment he stirred
and opened his eyes. “Drink this.”
He didn’t take his eyes from her, but allowed the glass to be
brought to his lips. He took a couple
of sips and she took
it away to ensure he didn’t choke.
Neither tried to speak, but she brought the glass back to his lips. After the second drink, he tried to pull away from her. “Don’t Mulder. Please.”
He relented, too weak to make much of a protest anyway. “Keep drinking, just relax.” She was unaware of her tears but he was watching her eyes, completely aware of every expression.
She couldn’t read him; his eyes were shuttered, closed off from her. He was never going to forgive her for this. She felt cold inside and out.
He woke in the bed, not his bed though. Where? The movement on the other side of the room drew his attention. Scully! He’d found her.
Had he? Had she wanted to be found? He lay there not moving, watching her sleep in that uncomfortable chair. Why was she in here with him? Why had she bothered to watch over him? She had put him to bed, maybe he had been of some help, she couldn’t carry him, but he had no memory of it. He had been on the floor, his head in her lap, watching her.
She hadn’t looked welcoming, if anything she had looked scared. She hadn’t wanted to be found.
When he’d woken in the hotel room and she hadn’t been beside him, he had been puzzled, curious, then concerned and in an instant frantic.
They had taken her, the faceless ones, they hadn’t been able to kill her in the explosion, so they had tracked her down and taken her. He’d had no doubt. The car was there; no one was in her room.
He had raced back to the site of the clinic, desperate to find her, find some clue that would lead to her. He had no idea how many assault charges were waiting for him now. He hadn’t cared, finding her was the only thing that . . . He’d been forcibly escorted from the scene, so he had returned to the hotel and checked out her room. It had been ransacked and they had taken everything, she had vanished completely.
Then the clerk mentioned that he had seen her take a cab early that morning. A cab? When he’d checked, someone with her description had boarded a plane for DC. That had gotten him on a plane to DC himself. His first stop had been her apartment, but there was no indication that she had returned there. Then he’d gone to see Mrs. Scully.
That was when the first doubts had entered his mind. He . . . he hadn’t raped her, following the . . . had he? She had seemed to be as passionate as he. Had he mistaken that? Had he forced himself on her? The question was, could he have stopped if she had said no? He honestly didn’t know. Finding her alive after the explosion had taken all of his higher functions from him. She had lived, lived to be with him and he hadn’t given thought to anything else.
She had ripped his clothes from him as well. At least, that was the way he remembered it. But his tortured mind could have misinterpreted everything. In his state, after seeing that she had survived, maybe he had . . .
He closed his eyes in pain. She had run from him. He knew that now, he had to face it. They had made love and she had run.
He had never felt so cold.
She felt his waking presence and opened her eyes. Yes, he was awake, just staring at her. She trembled slightly as she moved, stretching.
“Mulder? How do you feel?”
He didn’t respond, just turning his head away from her. Her heart clutched at the movement.
“You need to drink some more of this juice.” She managed to make it to her feet and moved toward the bed. The juice was there beside him and she lifted it to his lips. He didn’t refuse.
“Mulder.” Why couldn’t she stop saying his name? He was right here, the only one here with her, but still she . . . She swallowed and tried again. “How long since you’ve eaten?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.”
“It does matter! Look at you!” Her voice shook, her reactions out of proportion to her words.
There was no emotion in his eyes, which were dark brown, not a hint of green now. She put the glass back down, to hide her trembling hands, but his hand reached out to grab hers before he could stop himself.
He released her instantly as though burnt and she stepped back. “I’m sorry.” His voice was dead, flat and she shivered at the sound of it. What had she done?
“I’ll, uh, I’ll make you something to eat. How about some eggs?”
“Don’t bother.” He managed to rise and sit on the side of the bed.
She moved closer and placed her hand on his shoulder. “You’ll land on the floor again. Lie back down, Mulder.”
He hated to admit she was right; that it had taken all he had just to sit up. He couldn’t really remember how he had made it here in the first place. How he had found her, the thought processes weren’t clear, even to him. He had to have been running on fumes. The last of his adrenaline was gone now. But he’d been right, she had chosen a place he wouldn’t think of, at least not right away.
Quonochontaug. Why had she chosen this place? It was his family’s place. She’d had to break in . . . and the last time they had been here together, he had shot at her. Maybe that was why she’d chosen it - back to another place he had hurt her. Were there any places on earth he hadn’t hurt her?
He watched as she slipped from the room. He desperately wanted to call after her, make her
return to his side.
Instead he remained silent. If she never returned, he could just lay here until he died. At least that would take care
of the charges against him.
When she returned to him with a tray, he’d already sunk back into a stupor. The smell of the food roused him and he wondered briefly if he could keep it down.
She put the tray on the foot of the bed and moved to prop him up, arranging the pillows behind him. Once he was settled to her satisfaction, she picked up the tray. As she reached for the fork, he stopped her. “I can do it.”
Ah, the doctor had taken over. Rather than argue, and lose, he fell silent. She lifted a forkful of eggs to his mouth and he accepted, chewing slowly and swallowing carefully, as though he had forgotten the process.
She hadn’t made him much; still he had to work to finish it all.
“You should rest some more.”
He just shook his head and she dropped it. At least he had some nourishment in him now. Rather than talk, she took the tray away.
After cleaning up she checked back on him, slipping back into the chair beside him. He’d fallen asleep again, but the lines hadn’t left his face and his body would jerk occasionally.
How could she have hurt him like this? Had she been that scared of what a relationship with him meant? Obviously she had. She was devastated that she hadn’t considered what her disappearance would do to him. How could she have been so . . . why hadn’t she realized what she was doing to him?
“Why did you run?” She jerked violently. She hadn’t even realized his eyes were open. But she didn’t speak.
“Scully, did I . . . did I rape you?” His voice was low, the pain evident.
“No.” Her eyes were the size of saucers. “No! How can you ask me that?” She rose and moved toward the bed.
“You ran. Did I hurt you?”
“Damn it Mulder, I didn’t run because the sex was bad - I ran because it was so good.”
He froze at those words, his mouth opening slightly in disbelief. So good? She had disappeared into the void because the sex was good?
“Close your mouth, Mulder.”
“Spectacular.” She said mournfully. “I must have come a dozen times.”
Okay, he was drowning here. He just stared at her, afraid to speak.
After a long moment she sighed and sat on the edge of the bed. “Mulder, I’m sorry. I didn’t think. I didn’t think about how my leaving would effect you. I just had to get away.”
“Because the sex was good.”
“Could we move past that for just a second, Mulder?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Of course you understand! We can’t have a relationship like this. Mulder, we can’t be together. Look at what happened - we left a crime scene in order to be together. We didn’t even think about it. We can’t work like that and I . . . I can’t let you get that close to me.”
Finally, something that sounded like the truth. “Why?”
“Why can’t you let me get that close to you?”
She shivered slightly then and he noted it, but didn’t comment. “You’re already closer than . . . Mulder, I can’t . . . Mulder.” He thought she would move away, but she didn’t, her shoulders sagging.
“No one’s ever been this close to you before.”
She nodded miserably. “I’ve come too close to losing myself in you before. I can’t do that, I won’t!” She did rise then and left the room.
“Scully.” She didn’t turn back and refused to look at him.
After a moment he levered himself out of the bed. He already felt better, either from the food, or the information she had just given him. He moved carefully into the living room and saw her, her face buried in her hands.
He sat beside her on the couch and she looked up startled. “You shouldn’t be out of bed.”
“Right. And I shouldn’t have driven up here, but I did. Why here Scully?”
That wasn’t a question she expected, “I . . . I needed some privacy.”
“Mulder, we should talk later. You need to rest.”
“I’m not sick Scully.”
“No, but - “
“You don’t want to talk yet.” He nodded, “I’ll rest for a little while, but we have to talk. Scully, we have to talk.”
After a long moment she nodded. He managed to pull himself back up from the couch and made his way back to the bed. She was right about him needing to rest.
She gave him time to get back to sleep, but couldn’t stay away. He was here and she couldn’t keep her distance. She just sat in that chair, watching him sleep, taking in his presence. It wasn’t long before he jerked awake again.
This time she was ready for it and rose, seating herself beside him once again on the bed. “Scully, help me. I don’t understand.”
She looked down at her hands. “I saw you. I saw you assault those two officers trying to get back inside, back to me. I thought you had succeeded. I thought you had died trying to save me.” She shivered and he wanted to touch her but forced himself to stay still.
“Then we were back in your room.” She sighed and looked over at the door. “Mulder, I wasn’t a virgin. I’ve had sex before; I’ve had a few relationships, but . . . but I’ve never been in love before.”
“In love?” He sounded so incredulous she started to rise from the bed. His hand shot out and grasped her arm. She wouldn’t look at him.
She was in love with him.
The sex had been good.
“I can’t love you, damn it! You’re my partner, my best friend, the person I count on for . . . for everything. Sex will only complicate - “
“You’re in love with me.”
“Mulder -“ She again tried to rise, but his hand tightened.
She was in love with him. With him!
The sex had been good, ‘spectacular’.
“Scully, I wasn’t fighting with those cops to get back
inside to my partner. I certainly
for Reggie or Jerry.
I was trying to get to the woman I love.”
Her eyes were huge. He loved her?
“And for the record, I wouldn’t have taken either of them back to my hotel room.”
That startled a laugh from her, but he heard the note of hysteria
behind it. He wasn’t surprised when
it turned into a sob.
He pulled her against his chest and she was crying uncontrollably.
He held her as she sobbed. When
she finally seemed to be cried out, he brushed the hair from her
face. “How long
since you slept?”
“I’ve . . . I’ve slept.”
“How long since you got some rest?”
She shook her head.
“Sleep, Scully. Sleep
here.” He scooted back down in the bed
and let her recline on his chest. She seemed to be listening
to his heartbeat.
Her hitching breaths finally slowed down and became even. He just held her, watching her breathe.
She was in love with him.
The sex had been good.
They’d both made mistakes, false assumptions about the other. Maybe they didn’t know everything they needed to about each other, but now they had more reason than ever to learn. He’d have to take things slowly with her - not another seven years worth of slow, but he couldn’t tear the clothes from her body again. Not yet anyway.
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