Mulder woke and stretched, opening his eyes. He stopped in mid-stretch. Where the hell . . .? He looked around the room. Not at all familiar and all too familiar - standard cheap motel. He had woken up in hundreds of them. The difference was, this time, he had no memory of checking into one.
He hadn’t gone out last night. After he left the office he’d stopped for a quick dinner at his favorite diner, then gone home. He’d worked on the computer for a while, played a little while on a video game, and then started one of his videos. He turned it off shortly - he didn’t enjoy them as much as he once had. Then he’d gone to bed, alone.
He glanced around the room again. No sign of a woman. Good, at least he wasn’t completely crazy. No sign of a hangover either. Okay, so what had happened? He had on boxers; did he have any clothes here? Yeah, there was his suitcase. It was as though he’d packed to go on a case. Why couldn’t he remember? He’d never forgotten anything like this before. He slipped on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt.
He looked over at the door. The bolt was thrown. He turned then toward the connecting door. It was slightly ajar. He approached it cautiously and pushed it open.
Scully! His relief made him weak. She’d know what was going on and she’d figure out what was wrong with him.
“Scully. Scully, wake up.” He approached the bed.
Her eyes opened as she woke with a start. “Mulder? What are you doing in my - “ She stopped as she took in her surroundings. "Mulder, where are we?”
She watched his shoulders slump slightly. “I was hoping you could tell me. Maybe you better get dressed. We need to figure this out.”
Scully nodded and rose from the bed. She was wearing flannel men’s pajamas, but he was still grateful for the trust she showed him. She gathered some clothes in her arms and started for the bathroom. She stopped as she noticed him pick up the phone in her room. He dialed the familiar number as she watched.
“Yes, sir. It’s - “
“I’m sorry, you have a wrong number.” And the line went dead. His expression caused her to move closer to him.
“He knew it was me. He recognized my voice, but he got off the phone before I could identify myself. We gotta find out what’s going on - and where we are.”
She nodded and continued on into the bathroom. He watched her disappear and once the door was closed he rose and returned to his own room. He went through his suitcase - no cell phone, but his guns were here, wallet but no ID. He packed quickly and took his things into her room.
She was already packing as well. “Do you have a cell phone?”
He shook his head. “No. No ID either.” She looked up quickly and reached for her own wallet. She flipped it open, then nodded at him. “How much cash do you have?”
“$80. Wait a minute,” she checked further, “$180. You?”
“$212. I don’t know if these rooms are paid for, but I think we need to leave and send money later.”
She nodded and lifted her suitcase off the bed. He didn’t reach for it; he’d learned his lesson. “Do we have transportation?”
“I hope so. I have a key to a rental car. Have you seen anything yet to tell us where we are?”
She shook her head and followed him outside. He glanced over at her and headed for the white Taurus outside of his door. The key fit the door and he grinned at her moving to open the trunk. They stowed their gear and got in the car.
Mulder started the engine as she went through the glove compartment. “Nebraska. Mulder, we rented this car in Omaha.”
“Nebraska?” He stopped at a shopping mall and pulled in to look for a pay phone. They stood beside each other and each called their own apartments. “The number you have called is no longer a working number. If you feel - “ He looked over at her. He could tell from her expression that she was hearing the same message. When she hung up he looked around, then leaned in closer to her. “I think I need to call the guys.” She nodded and he dialed quickly.
“Langly, What’s - “
“Line three, fifteen minutes.” And the phone went dead.
“What?” She had hold of his arm.
“Let’s get a cup of coffee.” He led her to a table in the nearby food court and seated her. He was back quickly with the coffee and two bagels. “I think we’ve got a problem.”
“What did Langly say?”
“To call back in fifteen minutes on line three. That means they’re setting up every gadget they’ve got to protect us both.”
“Mulder, have we been missing?” He looked around and spotted a newspaper on a nearby table. He brought it to their table and seated himself. He looked back up at her, “Yeah. According to this it’s the fourth. We’ve been gone two weeks.”
She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them wide. “Mom! Oh my god, what is she thinking and Bill, Charlie!”
“We’ll get this straightened out. Try not to worry.” He took hold of her hand. At least he had her with him. “Come on, let’s make that call.” They rose and returned to the phones.
“It’s me.” He didn’t want to
say his own name, holding the receiver so that she could also hear.
“Damn! They said you were dead. Is she . . .?”
“She’s here with me.”
“Praise be.” They heard Frohike’s voice chime in. Scully managed a slight smile.
“You were both found murdered in your apartments, shot in the head. The DNA proved it was you, but - “
“DNA? How the hell could that happen?”
“We’ll get right on it. Can you give us twenty-four?”
“Don’t see a choice. Hey, did our boss know about this?”
“We saw him at the funeral. He was torn up and I know he’s the one that demanded the DNA testing. He believes you’re dead.”
“Not anymore. I called him first. You might want to contact him, but be careful. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to make everyone believe we’re dead.”
“What do you need?”
“A laptop, fully loaded.” He glanced at Scully who nodded. “Just a second.” He covered the phone with his hand. “Do you want them to call your mother?”
She shook her head. “Not yet. It could be dangerous. Let’s find out what’s going on first.” He just looked at her; that was a difficult call for her. With his own mother gone, he knew no one would miss him except this woman standing so close beside him. Finally he took a deep breath and nodded.
“Okay, that’s it for now. Send it to . . . “ he looked up, “to the Mail Box at Valley Mall in Omaha. We’ll pick it up. Thanks guys.”
“Keep your head down. Whatever you need, let us know.”
“Thanks. Later.” He hung up and took a deep breath. “Scully?”
“Let’s get out of here.” He nodded and took her arm. They didn’t speak until they were back in the car. “Damn it Mulder! What are they doing to us now? How the hell did they get our DNA from those bodies?”
“Maybe . . . maybe they were clones.” She just looked at him, not bothering to comment. “Look, we don’t know how long the bodies lay in our apartments. And if the bodies were shot in the face they might have been unrecognizable - why else would Skinner demand DNA? They didn’t have to be fully human then, just bipedal. Look, they’ve already cloned sheep and pigs. Bodies to be killed might not be a big problem.”
He watched her massage her forehead in an obvious attempt to relieve a headache. “We need to stay hidden, we probably need to ditch this car.”
She was right but he didn’t have a clue what to say to her. “I’m sorry Scully.” She didn’t respond, looking out the window. “Scully, I’ll do whatever it takes - “
“Mulder.” She turned back to look at him. “I’m . . . I’m glad it wasn’t me ordering the DNA testing. Let’s get this cleared up. We’ll have the computer in the morning. We need to find a place, a cheap place, to stay.”
Mulder returned to the car and let himself in on the passenger’s side. Scully pulled away still watching for anyone suspicious. He opened the box and pulled out the laptop. He flipped it open and an envelope fell out. He opened it and pulled out some papers, photos and cash. He counted it quickly, $500.
“Mulder, the guys don’t have that kind of money.”
“I know. I’ll get it back to them somehow. I should have left them something in my will.” She shook her head but she managed to smile, since she didn’t think he could see. “Actually, you’re going to have to pay them back. You’re the wealthy one.”
“Well, you now own two houses on the Vineyard and a cabin and all that land at Quonochontaug.”
“I own what?”
“You were the sole beneficiary of my will. I had good life insurance too. Too bad I won’t get to benefit from it.”
“Wait a minute - you left all of that to me?” She had pulled into a parking space at the far end of the lot.
“Who else would I leave anything to? Mom’s gone and Samantha’s not coming back. You’re the only family I have.” She sat looking at him, mouth open. “Come on, you can’t be that shocked.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything. It doesn’t look like you’re going to get to spend it either. I shouldn’t have said anything. Just forget it.”
“Forget it? How can I do that?” He sat there, no longer looking at her and growing more uncomfortable by the minute. She didn’t want to know this. She didn’t want to know how he felt about her and now, out here, alone and cut off like they were that was probably for the best.
“Do you want me to drive?” He wanted to change subjects and the quicker the better.
“Uh, no.” She looked around, remembering their circumstances and pulled out. This was something that needed to be discussed, but not now. Not while they were exposed.
Once back in their room, he powered up the laptop and using the contact that the guys had set up, sent out a message to them.
"He wants you to keep your heads down, but he’s with us on the investigation."
“Skinner? He sent the $500? It had to be for you, he doesn’t care $500 worth about me.” Mulder leaned back in the chair. Scully swatted his arm and then leaned over him to type in a message.
"Can you send the files about the bodies?"
<ATTACHED."We’ll keep you up to date. Later"
Their lives settled into a routine of non-routine patterns. They were underground now and running. Whoever had ‘killed’ them surely hadn’t planned to let them go. Someone had released them.
She used the computer to research everything she could get her hands on through the web concerning cloning. Bodies had been found in their apartments. Bodies with DNA that matched hers and Mulder’s exactly. They weren’t dead; therefore something else had happened. There had to be an explanation. Once a week at preset times they exchanged information with the Gunmen. She was rapidly becoming an expert on the new technology - at least virtually. She was beginning to believe that such a possibility existed.
Mulder spent his time working on their murders. Skinner had managed to get the information he had uncovered regarding the case to the Gunmen as well, so Mulder had access to all the evidence that had been gathered. He’d passed along some suggestions of his own, but his frustration with the case was growing. Someone had killed them and was getting away with it.
If there was a positive for him, it was the time he was spending with her. He had worried that too much togetherness would push them apart. He was used to solitude. That was not to say he always enjoyed it, but after all these years it had become comfortable. It hadn’t happened. He’d learned to put the toilet seat down and eat things besides pizza and Chinese.
What surprised him the most though, was that he hadn’t run out of things to talk to her about. She could hold her own with him on nearly every topic and she was good company. He couldn't say whether or not she felt the same, but she seemed okay with living with him. They had their own space; they weren’t joined at the hip or anything, unfortunately. But if he had to go underground with someone, she was definitely his top three choices. Now that deserted island fantasy didn’t seem nearly as far-fetched.
It all changed overnight. All joy seemed to go out of her world and his attempts at conversation were met with silence or thinly veiled hostility. He tried to get around it or jolly her out of it. He even tried to tell himself it was just hormonal and would pass, though he felt like a real Neanderthal even thinking like that.
He woke to see her sitting in a chair by the window, staring out, but not seeing anything.
“Scully?” She didn’t answer. He was certain she didn’t hear him. What the hell was wrong with her? He rose from his bed and approached her. “Scully?”
She didn’t even turn towards him. “Go back to bed Mulder.”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
“Bullshit.” He said it quietly and put his hand on her shoulder. She jerked away violently. He was stunned and more than a little hurt by her action. “Damn it Scully - we can’t do this to each other. Right now we’re all we’ve got. Talk to me!”
“Leave me alone, Mulder!” She stood from her chair and moved farther from him. He saw all the warning signs but chose to ignore them, moving in on her and taking her arms in his hands. It was like throwing gas on a fire - she was fighting him, scratching, kicking. Anything to get away. For a moment he resisted, until he realized how serious she was about getting away from him. How would she feel if he overpowered her with sheer strength? He managed to force himself to back away from her.
She stumbled back and turned toward the door. She jerked it open and before he realized her intention, she was out, running. He took off after her but he hadn’t paid attention to the fact that she was dressed. He wasn’t - he was only wearing the sweat pants, no shirt, no shoes. And it was starting to rain.
He stood in the parking lot looking after where she had disappeared. What the hell was this all about? Why wasn’t she coming back? It was really starting to come down. He limped back into the room and shook his hair out. Where had she gone?
Mulder alternated between fear and anger. Why the hell couldn’t she open up to him? Okay, they were spending more time together than ever, in each other’s pockets for the last four weeks. But why should that only be stressful to her? They both lived alone in real life, but he hadn’t gone off on her.
Where was she? It was pouring out there. Did she have any cash? Would she . . . god, would she leave him? She wouldn’t be safe. Oh yeah, and she was so much safer with him. Where the hell was she! Why had she done this? He had really thought things were going pretty well between them. They’d had some rough spots but they’d learned to give each other space. It wasn’t like they were strangers before this. They’d been close for years - maybe not this close, but she was his best friend.
She was going to get sick if she stayed out in this. That wasn’t it was it? She wasn’t ill? She hadn’t had any nosebleeds. She couldn’t hide something like that from him - could she? Shit!
She was gone for over an hour. He had cycled back to fear by the time he spotted her through the window. He met her at the door, a towel in his hands. He wrapped her in the towel and sat her on the bed, kneeling in front of her.
“Scully, please.” He took
her hands in his. “Talk to me. Have I done - “?
His mouth opened and closed a couple of times, but he made no sound. She didn’t look up, staring instead at their hands intertwined in her lap.
“Are you sure? We . . . we haven’t . . .” She didn’t seem to hear him. “Were you . . . were you seeing anyone, before?” She glanced up at him then.
“No.” It was more breath than word. He saw the tears spill out of her eyes and rose, sitting beside her now on the bed. He drew her close, then on into his lap ignoring the fact that she was soaked to the skin.
“I’m here Scully.” She clutched at his arm then and he folded her into him, trying to protect her, keep the rest of the world at bay. He realized she was shivering, probably had been all along. “You need to get out of those wet things.” He spoke into her hair, his lips brushing her scalp.
After a long moment she nodded, but still didn’t attempt to leave his arms. He didn’t push, she was warmer against him but these shudders probably had nothing to do with being wet or cold.
He felt her begin to relax a little, “You need to get some sleep Scully. It’s the middle of the night. Can you stand?” She nodded and he placed her on her feet, not taking his hands from her. “Come on.” He walked her to the bath alcove and blotted her hair with a second towel as she stood looking up at him.
“Thanks.” She might have been talking about her hair, but he knew better. He picked up her pajamas from where she’d dropped them when she’d dressed and handed them to her.
“I’ll be right here.” She nodded and turned away from him to go in the small room to change. He almost turned her back toward him, but managed to stop himself. She wasn’t going anywhere.
When she emerged he was right there waiting and though he knew that she didn’t enjoy being coddled, at least by him, she was going to get some coddling now. He led her to the bed and helped her lay down, pulling the covers up over her.
“Try to get some sleep Scully. We’ll talk when it’s light.” She nodded and rolled over away from him. He backed the one step to his own bed and sat watching her. No, that would probably make her uncomfortable. He lay down but couldn’t turn away from her.
Shortly he realized from her breathing that she had actually fallen asleep. He wished he could. He had to keep physically forcing his mind away from analyzing this. Not now! She hadn’t been seeing anyone; they certainly hadn’t . . . which left those two weeks that they were missing.
Damn those bastards to an everlasting hell! They had no right to violate this woman! She was his and he was going to kill the next person to touch her. If she’d never met him . . . don’t think about it, you’ll go as crazy as everyone already assumes you are.
He realized her sleep was becoming more restless, she’d turned toward him now and he saw that tears were running down her face though she wasn’t awake. His heart broke for her, for all of the pain she’d endured because she had been given to him to destroy.
She seemed to be fighting something now, “Muld . . . “ Him? Was she fighting him or calling to him for help? Hell. He rose from his bed and crawled into hers, pulling her to him. It seemed to be what she wanted, she burrowed into his chest and he could feel her muscles relax. He couldn’t even begin to fathom what she was going through. And it wasn’t a nightmare; she was living it. He had no doubt she was correct in her diagnosis, now that he thought about it. Hell, they were living together, he should have noticed.
He didn’t think he would, but he finally drifted off. He woke the next morning to find her awake and watching him. His immediate response was to pull away from her because she didn’t want him that close; he managed to curb that. The next was to ask how she was feeling, but he didn’t want to hear her say ‘fine’ and know it to be a lie. She wasn’t fine. She’d been violated again.
Ah hell, he hugged her to him. It was what he wanted even if she didn’t. “Scully, what do you want?”
“To wake up in my own bed and find out this is all a nightmare.”
He pulled back from her then. He didn’t want to make things worse, but she followed putting her arms around him now. “I’d do that for you if I could.”
“I know.” She whispered that. He kissed her forehead, no longer even pretending he didn’t want her in his arms. They held each other in silence for a while, then she pulled away from him and stood.
“Where . . .?”
“I’ll be right back.” She ducked into the bathroom and he pulled a pillow into his arms - no substitute but he needed to hold onto something. She paused when she emerged, just looking at him.
After a few seconds he couldn’t take it any more. “Scully?” He rose and came to her, taking her back in his arms.
“What am I going to do?” She murmured into his chest, her arms tightening around him. He closed his eyes, savoring the feel of her, realizing that, for now anyway, she was letting him in.
“We’ll figure something out, Scully. Why don’t I go get us something to eat? We can talk.” After a moment she nodded and stepped back.
“Thanks for . . . for being here last night.” She was looking down, not facing him when she said that. He didn’t say anything, just kissed the top of her head. He dressed quickly - he wanted to get the food and get back. He hated leaving her alone for even that long.
She was staring into space again when he returned, but it didn’t look as though she’d been crying. She took the cup of coffee and gave him a tired smile in thanks. After she’d had time to enjoy some of it, he put his hand over hers. “Scully, can you talk to me?”
“Why did you run off last night?”
She looked up quickly. That wasn’t the question she had been expecting. “I . . .” She turned away. Maybe she couldn’t talk about this after all. He squeezed her hand.
“I’m here Scully. I’m not going anywhere. Whatever you need . . . “
“I wasn’t going to come back last night.” He felt his heart clutch at those words - his greatest fear coming from her lips.
“Where . . .” he had to swallow, “where were you going?”
“I don’t . . . I wasn’t thinking clearly.” She took a deep breath. “I thought about . . .”
“No.” His grip tightened until he saw her grimace. He loosened his grip, but didn’t release her.
“I’m not, I . . . I couldn’t.” She shrugged. “It’s a mortal sin, at least that’s what I learned as a child.”
“I don’t know about that, but it’s a real bad idea. Whatever changed your mind works for me.”
“Mulder, what am I going to do?”
“You’re gonna stay calm. We’ll think of something. You’re sure about . . . “ She nodded miserably. “You . . . you wanted - “
“No! Not like this! I don’t want . . . “
He brushed the hair out of her eyes. “Do you want to get rid of it?” She looked down at his hand that gripped hers and didn’t answer. “Can you live with that Scully?”
“I don’t know!” She jerked her hand away from his and rose abruptly putting space between them.
He stood as well, his hands out begging her to remain calm. “I’m sorry Scully. We don’t have to talk about this now. There’s time - there’s time to make decisions. No one’s forcing you to do anything.”
“Aren’t they? Aren’t they really? I was taken again! They took you this time too. They have control over us. Maybe they’re the reason I didn’t go through with it last night. Maybe they have that degree of control.” She looked away from him for a moment and then back. “Maybe I’ll miscarry. After what they’ve already done to my body, why should I even think I could carry a child anyway?” Her breathing was becoming labored as she fought for composure and lost.
“Scully.” He moved closer to her; she was on the verge of hysteria. He’d seen her in most of her moods; laughing, crying, even terrified, but never like this.
“Help me.” She reached for him, her hand moving down his thigh, moving toward an even more personal area. His physical reaction was immediate; it took a couple of heartbeats for his mind to catch up. “I know you don’t want me Mulder, especially now, but I need - “
“Scully. Not like this.” She was obviously losing her grip on reality. He gently moved away from her. “Scully, you need to - “
Her eyes widened as she realized the extent of her actions. She pulled away from him then, headed for the door again. “No! Scully don’t leave!”
She hesitated, her back still to him. Finally she turned, “I can’t believe that I . . . I’m sorry.” Before he could move she slumped to the floor in a dead faint.
“Oh god!” He was beside her instantly. Her pulse was too fast. He scooped her up in his arms and laid her on the bed they had shared the night before. What the hell was he supposed to do? He dampened a cloth and laid it across her forehead. Could he chance taking her to a hospital? Could he chance not?
She was already coming around. He sat beside her, his hand caressing her face. “Scully?”
She opened her eyes to his face and saw the carefully controlled panic he was trying to hide. Memory flooded her and she turned away, unable to look at him.
“Mulder, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe - “
“Scully, there is one thing we need to get cleared up.” He felt her stiffen beside him; tensing for the blow she knew was coming. “Where in all hell did you get the idea that I didn’t want you?”
She turned back, blinking at him and saw that he was smiling down at her now, his eyebrow raised, awaiting her answer.
“Seven years of history?” She managed to say.
He shook his head, “That was just self control. You would be amazed, or appalled, at how many nights I finally got to sleep thanks to you.”
He watched the blush grow on her face. “You don’t have to say - “
“I’m being honest Scully. It’s my deep dark secret that I’ve never shared with you. I can’t let you go on believing I don’t want you.”
She looked away again, “Even if that had been true at one time, now . . . “
“Now I want you more than ever. You really don’t know how hard it’s been for me to live with you and have to sleep over there? You’ve been more preoccupied than I thought.”
“Mulder, don’t - “
He loomed over her then, his hands pinning her shoulders to the mattress. “Don’t doubt this. I’ve wanted you in my bed for years. Because I’m ‘Spooky’ Mulder and your partner, I haven’t acted on it. Fear of driving you away is a powerful excuse for celibacy. I’ve told you some of this before - after the Bermuda Triangle, New Years Eve - but you didn’t seem to want me to pursue it, so I didn’t.”
She was staring at him now, mouth slightly open, eyes wide. “Oh come on Scully. This can’t be that big a shock.” He watched a tear escape and fear began growing in him again.
She shook her head; “It’s too late. I thought I was damaged before, but now . . . “
“Dana Scully, you are the least damaged person I know and the strongest. You’ve been through hell because of these . . . these people and because of me. Don’t - “ He stopped her protest, “but they haven’t destroyed you and you’re not destroyed now. We’re together on this Scully. Don’t shake your head at me; we’re more together than we’ve ever been, closer than we’ve ever been. I don’t want anything to stop that.”
He could see all kinds of thoughts go through her mind and he readied himself for the argument he knew was coming.
“You got to sleep thinking about me?”
His eyes smiled though he tried to keep it from his lips. “Well, not thinking exactly.” He watched her blush, maybe this was the best thing for now - keep it light. It didn’t change anything, but she needed to step away. “What about you? I don’t suppose you ever fantasized about me?”
The blush deepened. “Yeah.” He smiled then and realized he still had her pinned down on the bed. He released her and sat up.
She woke to a feeling of security. What would cause that, especially now? Then she realized she was cradled in Mulder’s arms. She could feel his warm breath on her shoulder and his hand was inside her pajamas, resting protectively against her abdomen. He was trying to care for her and, let’s face it, he was afraid of what she had thought about doing to herself. She wasn’t considering it now. Suicide wasn’t an answer for her, but it had touched him in some very deep wound and though he tried to hide it, he couldn’t shake it completely.
“Um, Scully, it’s early, go back to sleep.” So he’d been aware of her - and he hadn’t removed his hand. For some reason that made her feel better than anything had in a long time. She scrunched back against him and did drift off again.
Time to move again. How much longer could she keep this up? How much longer did she even want to? The very thought made her weary.
She reached for the handle of her suitcase to swing it off of the bed. There weren’t a lot of option. “I’ve got it.” He reached past her and lifted the bag.
“I can do it Mulder.”
He didn’t respond, at least verbally, but she could see he was hurt by her comment. He was trying to look after her and she couldn’t abide it. She wanted to scream or run or break something. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a possibility.
“Scully, are you okay?” The concern coloring his voice reached her through the fog. They had moved yet again today and she didn’t look right. A little pale, definitely not herself.
“I’m fine, just tired.” Tired didn’t even touch it, but she had no way to describe this incredible weariness.
“Why don’t you lie down for awhile? I can go get us something to eat later.” She looked like she was ready to drop. She hadn’t been herself for days but then neither one of them knew what she was supposed to be like right now. She nodded and he actually stood from the computer to put her to bed. She wasn’t always receptive when he acted like this, but this time she accepted.
He had the impression she was asleep before she completely reclined. His worry for her was growing faster than she was. She’d lost weight in her face, like when she’d battled the cancer, only her stomach was rounder.
Her sleep was restless. It always was now unless he was lying with her. It was one of the few things that made him feel better - that he was able to give her comfort, then at least. He looked up startled as he heard her moan. What the . . .
He was on his feet, “Scully? Scully wake up, can you hear me?” He couldn’t wake her. He placed his hand on her cheek, she was cool, clammy. He’d known she wasn’t feeling well, why did he let her put him off like that?
He needed to wake her; he pulled the covers back and froze in shock. Blood, blood everywhere! He wrapped the spread around her and had her in his arms and out the door.
At the hospital they took her from him and after a minimum of questions banished him to the waiting room. She was losing the baby, that much he was certain of, had she known? Had she kept something from him? He knew she didn’t want this baby, not the way things had happened, but she’d decided to go ahead anyway. Being Dana Scully, that was the only thing she could do. What was happening in there!
It felt like days had passed since the clock had moved but suddenly there was a doctor standing in front of him. He was on his feet instantly. “Is she . . .?”
“She’s stabilized. We had to do a D&C, the baby . . . “
Mulder nodded, unable to speak for a moment. He cleared his throat; “Can I see her?”
“She’s pretty out of it, let us move her to a room and - “ The doctor stopped as a crash cart raced past him and on into the cubicle from which he had just emerged. He squeezed Mulder’s shoulder and was gone, disappearing back into her room.
Mulder found himself in the room as well; he couldn’t stay away any longer. The words barely penetrated his panic, “Clear!” He watched her body jerk as though in slow motion, everything had gone to slow motion. He watched a swab drift from the table and take forever to reach the bloody puddle on the floor. She was dead - technically she was dead right now. Dead?
“Scully!” The word was ripped from him.
The team looked up, startled. “Get him out of here!”
“We have a rhythm!”
“Get another line in her, she’s bleeding out. And get him out of here!”
A nurse had his arm, forcing him from the room. She’d heard him; she’d come back to him when he’d called to her. He allowed the woman to lead him back to the waiting area. He didn’t have the strength to resist her anyway. A considerable time passed before the doctor reappeared.
He started to rise but the doctor placed his hand on his shoulder. “Keep your seat.” A shaft of ice-cold terror lanced through Mulder. The doctor sat beside him. “By the way, I’m Dr. Mabry. We’ve gotten the bleeding under control and we’re moving her to the ICU. Was she on any medication, drugs?”
Mulder had leaned back in the chair, eyes closed. She was alive. He took a deep breath. “No, no medication, but . . . I need to have tissue samples, the . . . the fetus sent to a lab back East.”
“Do you suspect something?”
“There were . . . concerns about the pregnancy - a genetic thing.”
“So it was a high risk pregnancy?”
Mulder nodded. “Could you ship the . . . the -“
“What’s the address?” This man in front of him wasn’t doing well at all. He needed to see his wife.
“It’s the L&G Labs.” He scribbled the address down and handed it to him.
“I’ll take care of this. We’re moving your wife up to the ICU now. We’ll keep a close eye on her.”
Mulder nodded and turned toward the elevators. The doctor watched him for a moment, then went to take care of his promise to him.
Mulder was in the waiting room immediately outside of the unit, as close as they would allow him to be for now. They’d been able to move her from Emergency, but obviously she was still in trouble.
Mulder was on his feet when he saw her doctor approaching the door. “Is she . . .?”
“Mr. Harrison, we can’t control her blood pressure. We’ve pretty much done everything we can. If there’s someone you need to call, you might want to go ahead and get them here.”
Mulder stared at him, not allowing the words to fully penetrate. She was dying? They couldn’t help her any more? How could he call her mother and tell her that, yes, she had been alive these past few weeks but now she was truly dying and . . . No.
“There’s no one. May I go in?”
The doctor nodded and stepped aside. Mulder made his way to her bed. She was so pale, so vulnerable. If he’d had any heart left to break it would have. As it was he felt numb.
He reached for her hand, caressing it with his thumb. He turned it over and brought it to his lips, kissing her palm. “Don’t leave me.” He whispered it into her hand unaware of anyone else in the room.
He finally looked up when the doctor entered and watched him make his way to the monitors. “What?” She wasn’t dead; the machines were still beeping. No one answered him, but he didn’t have enough adrenaline left to panic. She was dying and he already felt dead inside.
“Mr. Harrison.” The doctor approached him and he managed to look away from her. “You’ve been together a long time haven’t you?”
He nodded mutely. A long time? He couldn’t remember life before her. “I don’t know if you have any beliefs in paranormal phenomena, but . . . well I’ve seen some things happen over the years that are hard to explain with science.”
Part of Mulder wanted to laugh. What was the man trying to say? “When you came in here, touched her, her pressure stabilized. When you called for her in the ER, her heart started. We weren’t touching her. Listen I take a lot of heat for . . . She needs you, right now she needs you more than anything we can do. I’m going to get a chair in here and have you sit with her.”
Needed him? She was better because he had touched her? His mind couldn’t wrap around what was being said, but he was going to be allowed to stay here with her. She was still alive, that was all that mattered.
“What the hell is going on out there?” Frohike’s voice was more than a little outraged.
“What did you find?”
“A lot. Who the hell is the mother?”
Mulder sighed, so they had just used her again. It wasn’t even hers. “She was . . . we don’t know who the mother was genetically.”
“What’s her condition?” Byers was on the other line now.
“Critical. Can you help?”
“We can’t explain everything we’ve found. We’ve asked a couple of people to help us on this.” They sounded uncomfortable, damn uncomfortable but he didn’t have time to analyze it now, he wanted to be with her.
“I need to get back to her. I’ll call in a few hours. If you find anything . . . “
“We’re on it. Mulder . . .” He was startled, they hadn’t used names before. It was Byers speaking and he sounded very uncertain, disturbed. Mulder waited. “The fe . . . the baby, Mulder did you know it was yours?”
The world receded before him; all sound seemed to come from miles away. His? She’d been carrying his child; that’s what had come this close to killing her? Part of his mind understood Frohike’s outrage suddenly; they had thought he had betrayed Scully. “Mulder?”
“No, I didn’t know.” He broke the connection, there weren’t any words to say and even if there had been, they wouldn’t be said to the guys.
He found himself back at her bedside. The monitors reassured him that life still existed in her body. He sank into the chair the hospital had provided him and he allowed his head to sink onto the bed beside her. He was beyond tears, looming over a pit from which he knew he would never escape. If she died because of this, he had killed her.
“Mulder?” His head shot up, she was awake? Her eyes smiled at him and then closed again, her hand tightened around his.
Her improvement was rapid following her return to consciousness. Dr. Mabry, Ken, spent a lot of time with them, especially after she was moved into a regular room, even eating with them occasionally. Scully allowed the two men to talk about their beliefs and experiences, usually not bothering to offer her side of the argument, just relaxing and regaining her strength from the sound of his voice.
She knew the baby was gone and that Mulder was keeping something about that from her, but she wasn’t ready to talk about it anyway. She had been able to keep the depression at bay so far and though she knew she would have to grieve eventually, right now she needed to regain her strength and distance herself from this.
It was only a couple of days later when the doctor brought up the possibility of her release. “Your recovery is almost beyond belief Lara. You need to take it easy for a while, but as long as you stay in contact with me, I think I can spring you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” That from Mulder. “Isn’t that a little soon?”
Scully squeezed his hand. “Not for me.” Ken smiled, he liked this couple. They were different from most of the people he spent time with, and he liked watching them together. He almost hated to see her leave the hospital, his conversations with them had been fascinating and he didn’t want them to end.
He was there to see them off the next morning, watching Greg’s tender care of this woman he adored. He’d never had a relationship like the two of them had, and he envied it deeply. He shook hands with them both, reminding them to call with any questions or a change in her recovery.
Mulder headed straight for their apartment and bundled her back to bed despite her half-hearted protests. The assurances that she and Ken had given him hadn’t been enough; he didn’t think she should have been released - not as close as she’d come to dying.
“How do you feel?” He was tucking her in as she watched indulgently.
“I feel fine, Mulder. They wouldn’t have released me if they didn’t believe I was doing well. Did you check on the bill?”
He grinned at her; “Byers handled it for now. Our debt’s growing while we’re out here you know. You may have to sell one of those houses you own.”
She shook her head at him, but she was tiring. Her stamina was gone and now, back here in the room where she’d actually lost the baby; she could feel the depression pushing harder than it had before.
“If you’re really doing okay, I need to run out and get your prescription and some food.”
“We could have done that on the way here Mulder. You shouldn’t have to go out again. You can get it later.”
“I wanted to get you settled. Will you be all right while I’m gone?”
She pulled his face closer and pressed her lips against his forehead. “I’ll be fine. But thanks for worrying. Now stop it, okay?”
He grinned, no way, but she already knew that. He checked for his keys and headed out. She was just dozing off when the phone rang. She grabbed it, more asleep than awake. “Hello?”
“Is that . . . is that you? You’re out?” Frohike stuttered over the phone.
“Yes, I’m out. I can’t thank you guys enough for everything you’ve done.” She smiled indulgently at his voice.
“We wish it could have been more. Is he there?”
“Uh no, he ran out to get some things. What have you found?” She didn’t bother to sit up, rolling to her side and propping the phone on her shoulder.
“We’ve tested the . . . what he sent us every way we can think of. There’s no DNA from anyone but him.”
“What? What did you say?” Now she was sitting up, her knuckles white around the receiver.
“It’s got to be cloned tissue. It’s the only explanation for our findings.”
“It was Mulder’s baby?” Her voice sounded strangled, as though she couldn’t get her breath.
“Oh shit. He didn’t . . . Dana, I didn’t -“ The phone had gone dead in his ear. He turned a pale face to Langly. “I am dead meat.”
She had dropped the phone back into the cradle. She stared at it as though it were a foreign object, unrecognizable. In reality she wasn’t seeing it at all. The child she’d been carrying, that she hadn’t wanted, that child was Mulder’s? The child of the only man she wanted to have children with? No, not Mulder’s child, Mulder himself if Frohike was correct. And she hadn’t wanted it - had seriously considered abortion. But she hadn’t known! She would have done anything to carry Mulder’s child. Was this what he’d been keeping from her? He’d known, Frohike thought she did as well. He knew she hadn’t wanted it. Had she done anything? Had she inadvertently caused this miscarriage? Was this what it felt like to go mad? She couldn’t even cry. She was so deep in her pain she couldn’t remember any other feelings, that there were other feelings.
She didn’t hear Mulder return. Her lack of response to his greeting brought him to her side. “Scully?” Her color wasn’t good and in a panic he jerked the covers from her - memory of the last time fresh in his mind. She wasn’t hemorrhaging and her eyes were open, but she wasn’t seeing him.
What the hell had happened? He’d only been gone about twenty minutes. She’d been teasing him when he left. “Scully? Scully, please!” He had his hands on her now - no fever, no trauma. At least no physical trauma.
In desperation he finally took her arms in his hands and shook her. She blinked at that and he drew a breath in relief. She wasn’t unconscious. “Talk to me Scully. What happened?”
She blinked again. Mulder? He was here, when? How could he look at her, knowing she hadn’t wanted his child. How long had he known? Did he hate her for this?
“Scully, please talk to me.” He pulled her into his arms. She didn’t resist but she didn’t seem to take any comfort from it either. He felt lost, helpless. He lay her gently down on her pillow - no resistance. She didn’t seem to know he was really there.
She was beginning to tremble. Her eyes were still open, why didn’t she see him? What had happened? Her shakes were increasing though she didn’t seem to notice. Was she cold?
He toed off his shoes and crawled into bed with her, wrapping her in his arms. It didn’t seem to be helping, nothing did. “I’m here Scully. I’ve got you, I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”
Was Mulder still here? Why couldn’t she feel him? Why couldn’t she feel anything? It had been her fault; she hadn’t wanted the baby. Her body must have known that. She’d purposely gotten rid of the only baby she would ever have. Mulder must hate her now, knowing she didn’t want his child.
She did want it. Part of her had wanted the child, even though she didn’t know it was his. Knowing it was his, oh god . . . tears were forming in her eyes. Mulder, I did want it - I can’t ever tell you that, why would you even want to listen?
She was beginning to cry now and Mulder’s hand began caressing her back. He was watching her closely, she was still too deep inside of herself, non-responsive, but at least she was crying. If he remembered his psychology correctly that was a good sign. “Scully I’m here. Tell me what happened. Talk to me.”
She was beginning to sob now, the power behind her tears growing with each passing minute. He realized she was completely out of control and tightened his grip on her so that she couldn’t hurt herself. He continued to murmur in her ear, though he wasn’t at all sure she heard him. Her tears were beginning to slow down, but the shaking did not abate.
Ken, he needed to get Ken over here. He only released her with one hand and quickly dialed the hospital. Ken answered his page quickly.
“It’s Mul . . . Greg. Lara’s in trouble. Can you come?”
“I don’t know. I left her for a few minutes to go to the drugstore, pick up a few things. When I came back she was almost catatonic. She can’t speak, but she was crying hysterically a few minutes ago. She’s back to lethargic now.”
“Listen, I’ll be off duty in about ten minutes. Where are you?”
Mulder gave him the address and hung up, pulling her closer against him.
It seemed like a very long time before he heard Ken’s knock on the door. He hated moving away from her, but he, she needed the help. He opened the door for the doctor and moved back quickly to her side.
Ken’s eyes widened at the sight of her. What the hell? She hadn’t been like this earlier. He would never release a patient in this condition. This wasn’t the kind of place he had envisioned them living either. These people weren’t homeless, but this place was barely one step up. “Greg, what happened?”
“I don’t know. She was fine when I left to get her medicine. She was laughing at me, now . . . “
They both turned as the phone rang. Mulder picked it up as Ken began his examination.
“Is she okay?” It was Byers’ voice and he sounded . . . almost frightened.
“Listen, Frohike didn’t mean to - “
“What? What did he do?” The hair on his neck was standing on end. He knew what was going to be said and wanted desperately to be wrong.
There was a long pause, then Mulder heard his friend take a deep breath. “We didn’t know you hadn’t told her about the . . . the parentage of the . . . Shit, Mulder, we’re sorry.”
“Frohike told her the baby was mine?” Ken looked up startled both at the tone and words.
“Not yours, you. It’s cloned tissue, only your DNA exists in it.”
“Oh my god.” In his shock he didn’t realize he had used her phrase, but it seemed to fit. “I can’t talk now. We’ll talk about this later. I need to get back to her.” He hung up the phone without another word, turning hopeless eyes to Ken.
“I think you need to talk to me Greg. She’s stable for now, physically. It’s her mental state I’m concerned about.” Ken looked up from his patient. “Is she your wife?”
Mulder sank onto the bed beside Scully, automatically taking her hand in his. “How far can I trust you?”
Ken hesitated at those words. “Who are you really?”
Mulder looked over at Scully and sighed. He had to have help. “My real name is Fox Mulder, I’m a, I was an agent with the FBI before I was murdered.” Ken’s eyes widened at that statement. “This is Dana Scully, my partner.”
“Partner!” The word exploded from him. “You two aren’t . . . “
“We’re together. We love each other. But she didn’t know that the child she was carrying was mine.” Ken sat silent, waiting for the other shoe to drop. “What can you do for her?”
“Here? I’m not sure, but I’m also not sure we should take her back to the hospital. I know what your presence does for her. Why don’t we let her rest while you tell me what the hell is going on.”
Mulder finally wound down; his gaze was on Scully, his fingers caressing her hand. “So the child that she lost was . . . “ Ken prompted.
“Was me. I didn’t want her to know that. I didn’t even want her to know it was mine before we discovered the rest of it. That lab you sent the stuff to . . . they’re friends of ours and right now our only contact for information. Not being able to have a child hurt her deeply. We weren’t ‘together’ then and the way this pregnancy happened . . . she’s blaming herself. I know she is. That’s why I didn’t want her to know.”
Ken removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I don’t know what to say.”
“You can get us killed. They went to a lot of trouble to ‘kill’ us and make sure the bodies were identifiable. I don’t know what happens now.”
“Are you safe here?”
Mulder shrugged. “We haven’t stayed anywhere this long, but her condition made traveling impossible. In other circumstances we would have moved on some time ago. We’re underground, we can’t risk . . . “ She stirred and his full attention was back on her. “Scully? Can you hear me?”
Instead of responding, she closed her eyes more firmly. Mulder turned toward Ken with a pleading look.
“I’m not a psychologist. If she is this traumatized by the loss of the child and the knowledge that contains, I’m not sure what to do. Except you need to stay with her. She’s not in physical danger, her blood pressure is good, her physical trauma from the miscarriage is healing. This is her mind we’re talking about.”
Mulder shuddered. He knew about trauma to the mind, he’d lived with it most of his life. He knew the feeling of guilt that couldn’t be overcome. For Scully to face that was unbearable.
He pulled her closer, trying to convey with his arms his support, his love for her. Ken wanted to look away, this was too personal, too intimate, but they had come to him for help.
“Let me make a couple of calls. Just hold her.” He rose from the bed and moved to the other side of the room, pulling out his cell phone.
After a few minutes of low voice conversation he was back. “I just talked to a friend of mine, OB-GYN. She recommended an injection of Elavil - it’s an antidepressant and sedative. She’s used it before for miscarriage cases. The injections work faster than the oral, and I don’t want to risk choking anyway. Have you ever given an injection? She’s going to need four a day.”
“Look at her Mulder.”
He nodded, “Can you teach me?”
Ken stood, “I’m going to go get the stuff you need, then I’ll show you. Don’t leave her, not yet.”
As if he could. Mulder just turned back to her, letting Ken find his own way out.
He released her only to let Ken back into the room. She was still unresponsive. He watched closely as Ken prepared her injection and administered it himself. “Think you can do it?”
Mulder gave a thin smile, “I’ve done it once. Whatever it takes . . . “ Ken nodded and moved back, giving them space.
He stayed for a little while, making sure that Mulder ate a little and that she had no adverse reaction to the drug. Eventually he stood. “She seems to be sleeping okay. You have my cell phone number. Don’t hesitate to call me Mulder. I’ll come by in the morning before rounds.”
Mulder stood and shook his hand. “Thanks.”
“Thank you, for trusting me. Remember, another injection in about an hour, whether she’s awake or not.”
Mulder nodded and held the door for the man. Ken hesitated, then patted Mulder on the shoulder and left without another word.
He thought about turning on the computer, maybe get a little work done but thought was as far as he got. He couldn’t leave her side, fondling her hand and trying not to go mad at the pain she was in. He wasn’t angry with Frohike, but he was furious with himself. Why hadn’t he been the one to break this to her? Maybe he could have softened the blow, something. He had just wanted to wait until she was a little stronger. Seeing this reaction, it wouldn’t have helped.
When it was time for the injection, he opened a sterile syringe and drew the correct dosage. He spoke to her, telling her what he was doing and after rubbing alcohol on her arm, administered the medicine.
It must have roused her a little because she seemed to be waking. “Scully? Can you hear me?”
She obviously could, she closed her eyes even tighter at the sound of his voice. “Scully, please. Talk to me, you can’t keep all of this inside.”
“Why are you here?” Her voice sounded scratchy from all of the crying she had done earlier.
He was speechless for an instant in relief. “Why? Scully, I . . . I’m here because I love you.”
Her eyes flew open then and immediately she turned her head away. “You should hate me, I killed your child.”
“Killed? Scully, no! You did nothing. It wasn’t even a child Scully. It was a . . . an experiment. Scully, think about all of the research you’ve done. Think scientifically for a minute - has what they tried to do ever worked? Think for a minute, don’t feel. The technology isn’t there. Even if we’d known from the beginning what . . . you could not have carried this . . . it wouldn’t work Scully. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Face it Scully, if you look at the science, I’m the one that almost killed you.”
She looked back at him then for an instant. “It’s true Scully. I nearly killed you - me, my DNA. You did absolutely nothing wrong. You’ve got to believe that.”
“I didn’t want it.” She spoke in a very low voice. “I didn’t know it was yours.” A tear escaped her eye.
“It wasn’t mine Scully. It wasn’t anyone’s, except maybe my parents, too many years ago to count. There was nothing to want. I need you to see this as a scientist Scully, not a woman. Yes, you have to grieve, so do I, but we’ve got to do it from a different space. Can you hear me? Scully, please?”
She didn’t respond, but he thought she heard him. He’d have to settle for that for the present.
“Scully, I have some broth. I want you to have some.”
She shook her head, not speaking.
“Scully, you need it. Please, just a few sips.” He put it on the bedside table and lifted her to a sitting position. “Come on, do it for me.”
Again she glanced at him but quickly looked away. He held the cup to her lips, and rather than fight, she took a couple of sips. Then she moved away from him. “Please, no more.”
He relented and laid her back. “We’re going to do this again later.” She didn’t seem to hear him. He started to rise and felt the pressure of her hand squeezing his. “I’m right here.”
But he wanted to be closer. He helped her back up and crawled in behind her, pulling her back to recline against his chest, seated in the v of his legs. They didn’t talk; she just let him hold her. Occasionally she would cry quietly, but she didn’t pull away as he lightly rubbed her arms, just letting him hold her. He was aware she dozed and woke, though she didn’t turn to him. She seemed to grasp at him as she woke, reassuring herself of his presence, accepting it.
When it was time for her next injection, he kissed her head and started to move from behind her.
“I’m not leaving Scully. It’s time for your medication.”
“Yes, Ken got it for you.” He handed her the bottle as he opened the syringe.
“What is it?”
“It’s an antidepressant.”
She seemed to think about that for a moment as she watched him administer the injection, “Ken was here?”
“I needed some help.”
She actually looked him in the eye then, for the first time. “What does he know?”
“We need to get out of here. We’ve been here too long.”
“No Scully. We’re not going anywhere for now. Not until Ken releases you and . . . and you’re feeling better. And then we’re going home.”
“Mulder - “
“No, you need to go home, you need to see your mother. We’ve got hard evidence; Skinner sent things to labs all over the country using different names and the guys have everything. If we have to go public, we can. To be honest, I don’t care anymore, I just want them to leave you alone, leave us alone.”
“What . . . what would we do?”
She wasn’t looking at him but he smiled. We, she’d said we. It took him a moment to find his voice. “We could still work on the X-Files. Not all of our cases involve global conspiracies. There are a lot of people that need to know what’s happening to them. With your scientific slant and my incredibly brilliant theories, we could help them.”
“What kind of theories?”
She wasn’t exactly smiling, but she didn’t look like she was going to burst into tears again, at least not immediately. He climbed back in behind her and when he was settled, with her against him, spoke. “I think you heard me.”
She made herself comfortable against him then and sighed. “Did you mean what you said?”
It took him only a second to realize what she was talking about. “Yes, I love you. I probably said it wrong though. Scully, I’ve loved you for a long time, what I meant to say was that I was in love with you.”
She went very still in his arms; he couldn’t even feel her breathing. “Don’t.”
“Don’t say it, don’t mean it. Please.”
“Scully - “ She stiffened in his arms.
"Okay, okay for now. Please don't pull away."
After a hesitation she leaned back against him again. "Have . . . have you had any sleep?"
"I don't sleep Scully. Don't worry about me."
"No. You should get comfortable."
"Scully, I’m very comfortable." She moved away from him again. "Scully?"
"I need to go to the bathroom." He rose then and helped her to her feet. She wanted to pull away, but physically she was too weak. Neither spoke and he was waiting for her when she emerged.
He saw the fresh tears in her eyes and folded her against him. She didn't try to pull away and after a moment her arms went around his waist. They stood that way for a little while, then he kissed the top of her head and put her back to bed.
Mulder got ready for bed then and joined her, holding her against him. He could feel her relax in his arms and relaxed himself.
They were both still asleep when the knock on the door woke him. She stirred as he left her side. "Mulder?"
"It's okay. Ken's here to check on you." She looked away and didn't speak.
Ken didn't speak until the door was closed behind him. "How's she doing?" Mulder shrugged and moved back over to her side. Ken followed and watched Mulder help her to a sitting position, then sat beside her.
"How are you feeling, Dana?"
She glanced up startled at the use of her real name. "It's okay Scully, remember, I talked to him." She nodded slowly and looked up.
"Can you tell me how you feel?" Ken took her hand and checked for her pulse as he waited.
"Tired. I haven't done anything, but I'm so tired."
"That's to be expected Dana. You've suffered a major trauma, both physically and emotionally; I need to examine you. Do you want Mulder to leave?"
"No." Ken looked over at Mulder, who nodded.
His exam didn't take too long and Mulder managed to keep quiet even when her grip tightened painfully when Ken palpated her abdomen. "Are you still bleeding?"
"Some." Mulder closed his eyes, but nothing took away the memory of that panic.
"When is your next shot?"
"It's past time." Mulder answered, "We overslept."
"Okay, I'll give it to you now."
"I don't . . . I don't want it."
"I understand Dana, but right now you need it. At least for another couple of days. We're not talking long term, but for now." He administered the injection, then sat beside her on the bed again. "Can we talk a minute?"
She looked up and both men saw the fright in her eyes. Mulder joined her and put an arm around her shoulders. "Dana, I did some research last night. I know you're having a rough time, but you need to know what happened to you. You did nothing to cause what happened. Your body could not do what it had been asked to do. You never felt it move." That wasn’t really a question.
She shook her head and pushed her hair back with a trembling hand.
"It wasn't a baby, Dana. I know emotionally you can't feel that, but it is a fact and you need to hear it. I know you're feeling guilty - that somehow you've let Mulder down. You need to know what he did for you."
"Ken - "
"She needs to know Mulder." Scully looked between the two and straightened up in the bed.
"Dana, what happened to you . . . it should have killed you. To be technical, it did. We lost you in the ER, you're a doctor, you know how it works. We had shocked you twice and were getting ready to hit you a third time. Then Mulder cried out your name. I didn't know he was even in the room, if I had known I'd have thrown him out - and I would have lost you. Your heart started when he called for you, we weren't touching you."
She looked up surprised, but Mulder wasn't looking at her. "We got you stabilized enough to move you to the ICU, but then you started bottoming out. We couldn't get your blood pressure stabilized. I finally came out and told Mulder there was nothing else we could do and he needed to call your family. He said there wasn't anyone and came to be with you. He took hold of your hand and . . . and Dana, you stabilized. I've never seen anything like it, but I got him a chair and he didn't leave your side for two days."
This time when he wouldn't look at her, she placed her hand against his cheek and turned him to her. "Scully - "
"You meant it." He nodded. Ken didn’t interrupt. "Why?"
"How can you ask that?"
She looked away then. After a moment Ken rose, "Physically you're healing well Dana. Especially considering what your body was asked to do. I'll check back later." Mulder squeezed her hand and rose to let the doctor out.
He stepped outside the door with Ken. "When can she travel? She needs to see her mother."
Ken thought for a minute, "Physically, at least a couple of days. Hell, maybe seeing her family can help her emotional state."
"That's what I was thinking, but I'm afraid to rush her."
"I want her on the injections for the next twenty-four hours, then we can cut back and see how things go. Are you thinking of driving or flying?"
"Which would be easier for her?" He glanced back at the door, already anxious to check on her.
"Let me think about it. Go on. Call me if you need me."
"Thanks." He headed back inside.
It was a much smaller airport but they both felt better here than flying into DC. They were a little surprised to find Skinner waiting instead of the other guys. They hurried to the car and once there Mulder had her take the back and stretch out. When he realized she was asleep, he turned to Skinner.
"I'm not complaining, it's good to see you, but we weren't expecting you."
"I know. They, uh, they're a little hesitant to see you."
"What?" He turned then to make sure he hadn’t disturbed her, and lowered his voice. "They're avoiding me, us?"
Skinner glanced in the mirror to make sure she wasn't stirring. "They didn't think either of you would want to see them."
"I told them I wasn't upset with them. I should have told her, I'm the reason she was blindsided. I thought I got through to them."
"Damn." Mulder sighed, "I'll . . . I'll talk to them, but I have to get her settled first."
Skinner nodded and he kept the rest of his questions to himself for now. She didn't rest long, despite her weariness.
When they arrived at her mother's house, rather than go to the front door, Skinner used the keypad, with her supplying the code, to let the car into the garage. Skinner entered the kitchen first and found Mrs. Scully hurrying into the room.
"Walter? What are you - "
"I'm sorry to startle you Maggie, but we need to keep a low profile." He moved over to her.
"We? Low profile?" She turned as she heard the door open again. Her breath caught in her throat. "Da . . . Dana? Oh my god! Dana!" She flew across the kitchen and threw her arms around her daughter. Mulder moved closer to make sure she wasn't bowled over by the enthusiasm. When she could release Dana, she turned to Fox and held him just as tightly.
When she finally stepped back, Walter took hold of Maggie's shoulders. "They're okay, Maggie. They're not going anywhere."
"But how? All those tests!"
Mulder looked over at Scully, who had closed her eyes and taken hold of the back of a kitchen chair. "You should be in bed. Come on."
"Mulder, no. I just need to sit down."
Mrs. Scully really looked at her daughter then. She turned and looked the question at Walter, who looked away. "Let's go to the living room." She watched Mulder seat her daughter on the couch and lift her legs to the coffee table. The look Dana gave him didn't even faze him. Mrs. Scully had several thousand questions but now obviously wasn't the time.
After a moment she rose again. "You should eat something, right Fox?"
He smiled up at her, "I could always eat from your kitchen."
"Can I help?" Skinner started to rise from his seat.
"No, Fox can help me." She moved toward the kitchen.
Mulder squeezed Scully's hand and rose. Skinner saw her eyes follow him out of the room. He wasn't sure what to say to her. He couldn't debrief her, not here. She turned to him. "I guess your life was a lot easier without us around."
Skinner grinned, "Yeah, dullness has its place. Of course, it can get old after a while."
Mrs. Scully knew she was babbling, but she couldn't stop. She had the refrigerator open and had the pickle jar in her hand when she realized how badly her hands were shaking. Mulder took the jar from her and seated her at the kitchen table. She dropped her face into her hands.
"Mrs. Scully?" He knelt beside her.
"I can't believe this. I thought she was dead, both of you were dead. I've mourned you for months."
"She's alive Mrs. Scully."
"She's been ill." He looked away then, "Okay. Not tonight, but I need to know, is it the cancer?"
"No, not the cancer." He stood. "Why don't you sit there and guide me though this food fixing process?"
"No. I need to do something." She stood as well and hugged Mulder again.
When he carried the tray of sandwiches into the living room, Scully was asleep on the couch, with Skinner watching over her.
"Should we wake her Fox?"
"She should eat, then I'll take her upstairs." He stood over her, watching her soft breathing.
"Fox, do you have a place to stay?" He looked up startled.
"I guess I don't have an apartment, do I?" He gave a half grin.
"Mulder, you're welcome to
stay at my place until you get settled." Skinner spoke up immediately.
"No, Walter. He needs to be here."
Skinner and Mulder exchanged glances and Mulder nodded, then leaned down to wake her. He helped her sit up and fixed a plate for her.
"Dana, I've asked Fox to stay here until things are settled, I didn't think you'd mind."
Scully chuckled at that. "No, I don't mind."
"I've thought of you two together all along." Tears formed in Mrs. Scully's eyes, but she didn't let them fall.
"Mom . . . "
"Sorry, I . . . I thought about . . . “ She glanced over at Walter. "What do we do about the graves?"
"I'll take care of that Maggie. Don't worry about it for a minute."
Mulder glanced over a Skinner, "I guess I should get up to the Vineyard."
"Uh, well no -” Skinner started, but Maggie interrupted.
"Fox, you don't need to go up there. I . . . I couldn't separate the two of you. Fox, you're . . . “ She shrugged, "I had the body we thought was yours buried beside Dana, in our family . . . "
Mulder was stunned speechless. He felt Scully's hand on her arm and managed to close his mouth. "Th . . . thank you, Mrs. Scully."
"Maggie. It's way past time you called me Maggie." He nodded, his voice gone again. This was not the homecoming he had imagined. To be honest, he hadn't thought of his own homecoming at all. He'd just known how much Scully needed it. With his own family gone, he hadn't thought about it on a personal level.
Scully felt her own eyes fill as she watched his reaction to this information. She reached out and took hold of her mother's hand and squeezed it.
After a moment, Skinner cleared his throat and stood. "I need to get out of your way. You guys take a couple of days - no one knows that you're back and I'd like to keep it that way right now. Mulder, I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Maggie walked Skinner to the garage, leaving them alone for the first time in hours. "Mulder are you okay?"
"Isn't that my line?"
"Too often. But are you?" She moved closer to him on the couch.
"I'm a little overwhelmed, you know? Your mother . . . "
"She's pretty great, huh?" She smiled up at him and his heart clutched. It was the first real smile he'd seen on her in too long for him to remember.
When Maggie returned to the room, he stood again. "She needs to get some real rest."
When Scully didn't protest, Maggie realized how exhausted the young woman was and nodded. "The front bedroom is made up."
Mulder helped her to her feet, "Do you want me to carry you?"
"No Mulder, I can walk." But he held her tenderly as she climbed the stairs. Maggie watched them and said another prayer of thanksgiving.
He returned downstairs after getting her settled. "I made up the other room for you Fox, just across from her room. We'll be able to hear her if she needs us."
He glanced back up the stairs and nodded. "Fox, you don't have to stay up with me. You're probably exhausted yourself. I'll be heading up myself shortly."
"You don't mind?"
"No, not at all." She moved over to him then, and hugged him again. "I know I don't have the details, but you saved my daughter again. I can't thank you enough for that."
"I don't know about that, but she certainly saved me again. I appreciate you letting me stay - "
"Fox, you're always welcome here." He nodded, not knowing what else to say and returned upstairs. He hesitated just outside of her door, but this was her mother's house and she'd fixed him another room.
She woke frightened and disoriented. Her first realization was that he wasn't there beside her in the bed. Her fear escalated until she recognized the room as the guest room in her mother's house. It only helped a little bit; she had grown used to having his hard body pressed up against hers, for comfort and safety.
Humiliation accompanied her tears as she faced the extent of her dependence on another person. She'd always been the strong one, the one who didn't need anyone else. She'd allowed him to get so close, he’d been so supportive of her during the preg . . . during her situation. Supportive? Was that the only word she could come up with? He'd been . . . he'd been loving and . . . No! She couldn't allow it, not any more.
She needed to get back to work, she needed . . . she needed to put this whole thing behind her, move on. She desperately wanted to forget any of this had ever happened. Yes, that was the only way to keep going.
After a long time she dozed off again, but all night she continued to wake and reach for him, long for him.
When morning finally came and she knew once again he wasn't beside her, she rose from the bed and pulled her robe on. She headed downstairs, slowly but on her own.
He turned when he heard her come into the kitchen. "Scully? I was hoping you'd sleep for a while longer. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine Mulder." She turned toward the refrigerator.
He stared at her for a minute, "Scully?" She hadn't used that tone with him since . . . since they'd found out about the preg . . . that she was ill.
She didn't respond, pouring herself a glass of juice.
"Scully, what's wrong?" He moved over closer and touched her arm. She stepped away and his eyes widened. "Scully?"
"Mulder, nothing's wrong. We're home now, my body has healed from the . . . the experiment. It's time we got back to work."
"Back to work? Scully, you are not healed, not physically, and -"
"I am Mulder. And I want to get back to work, now. I'm going to call Skinner and tell him I'm ready. As my partner you should be - "
"Partner? Is that what . . . partner?" His voice was rising and Maggie hurried into the kitchen to see that the outrage in his voice didn't come close to conveying the outrage he was suppressing.
"Fox, Dana, what's wrong?" Maggie looked anxiously from one to the other.
"Why don't you ask her? She's not making a whole lot of sense to me right now."
"Mulder, stop!" She called after him as he left the room.
"Dana, what is it?" Scully wouldn't face her, just shaking her head. She hadn't meant to hurt him, just make him see that things had to go back to the way they had been. She could probably have done it better. Maybe he was right that she wasn't completely herself.
She started for the door, but her mother stopped her. “Dana, please, what’s going on?”
“Mom, not right now.” They both looked up at the sound of the doorbell and Maggie let go of her arm.
Scully pushed open the door to the dining room and Maggie followed.
Mulder had been just at the door when the bell rung. He glanced back toward the kitchen, still so disturbed by Scully’s actions that his reactions were off. He shook his head and approached the door, pulling it open.
“You?” Mulder didn’t have time to react before the fist landed solidly on his jaw. He staggered back and caught his foot on the leg of the small table in the foyer. That took the rest of his balance and he crashed back onto the floor.
“Mulder!” Both women were racing toward him and it was Maggie who acknowledged the man at the door.
“What in the world do you think you’re doing, Bill? How could you?” She glanced down at Scully who was kneeling beside Mulder.
He was already sitting up, his hand on his jaw. “Mulder you’re bleeding.”
He tenderly wiped his lip and shying away from her help, got to his feet. “Well, I guess it’s unanimous.” He turned then and headed up the stairs without another word.
“Mulder!” Scully took a step toward the stairs, but Bill took her arm.
Mulder let himself into the room he had used the night before and pulled out his cell phone to call for a taxi. He threw his clothes into the bag, not bothering to fold anything. Then he grabbed his toiletries from the bath. He was ready to leave in less than ten minutes, then sat down on the bed to wait.
He purposely kept his mind blank. Thinking wouldn’t help right now. He tasted blood in his mouth again. It seemed appropriate somehow. He stared into nothingness until he heard the horn blow in the driveway. Then he roused himself and stood, taking hold of his suitcase.
Scully pulled away from Bill as she saw Mulder coming down the stairs. “Mulder, what are you doing?”
“It’s time, like you said, we’re home. We need to get back to our lives.”
“Mulder!” She stepped toward him, “You can’t just leave.”
“Let him go Dana, it’s the best thing that could happen to you.”
“Bill, stay out of this!”
“No, Scully. He’s right.”
She looked up at him stunned. “Where . . . where are you going?”
“I don’t really know, but hey, I’m a big boy. I’ll find some place.” He looked toward the door as the cab honked again. “I guess I’ll see you at work.”
Her mouth fell open at that, and she watched him move away from her. He missed the look of total panic as he actually opened the door. She lurched forward to stop him, but Bill put his arm around her and held her back. Maggie stood helpless, watching her daughter’s agony.
He picked up the private line, “Skinner.”
“Is that offer of a place to stay still open?”
“Uh, sure. Are you okay?” He didn’t have a clue what to say.
“Great. So, I can stay?”
“Oh, oh yeah. I’ll call the super to let you in.”
“I’m already in. Thanks.” Mulder broke the connection and Skinner sat looking at the receiver in his hand. When the dial tone returned he replaced it in the cradle, then immediately picked up again. He dialed quickly.
The male voice caught him off guard. “I . . is Maggie Scully there?”
“Yes, just a minute.”
Maggie was on almost immediately. “Hello?”
“Maggie, it’s Walter. Is everything okay?”
“Oh, Walter, thank God. No, nothing is okay. Fox and Dana had some sort of fight, then Bill showed up and assaulted Fox, so he left. Dana won’t speak. I don’t know what to do.”
“Calm down, Maggie. Mulder’s at my place, so don’t worry about him. He and Scully had a fight?” Skinner’s brow was furrowed; he wouldn’t fight with her, not with what she had been through. It didn’t make sense.
“Apparently. I walked in on the tail end of it.”
“Maggie, they argue all of the time, could it - “
“No Walter. This was a fight; this was personal. I had to put her to bed. Bill was no help whatsoever. I wish I could understand why he feels such a personal animosity toward Fox. Nothing that has happened has been his fault.”
Skinner sighed, he hadn’t really been aware of this complication in Mulder’s life; not that it was any of his business anyway. “Let me know what you need Maggie. I’ll keep an eye on Mulder.”
The man actually wasn’t a bad roommate Skinner realized. Not that he would want him around for the long term, but he was quiet, kept to himself. Part of that was depression, but he wasn’t ready to talk about it and even when he was, Skinner wasn’t at all sure he’d be the person Mulder would want to talk to.
As far as Skinner knew, he had not been in touch with Scully. Skinner himself was uncomfortable calling Maggie and acting as a go-between. These people were adults, sort of anyway, and this was personal, not business.
Skinner was moving toward the office he maintained at home when he heard the doorbell. Mulder looked up from the couch, but Skinner was already on his feet, so he headed in that direction.
“Maggie?” He opened the door wider and was aware that Mulder had come to his feet. “Come in.”
“I’m sorry to burst in like this, but I don’t have a lot of time. I don’t like leaving her alone.” Mulder’s eyes widened and he stepped closer. “I have to know what happened. She needs help and I can’t help her without knowing. She won’t talk about it, so I’ve come here. I’m not leaving until I have some answers.”
Skinner looked over at Mulder as he took the woman’s arm and led her to the couch. “Fox, please, you have to help me.”
“Do you know if she’s taking her medication?” He tried to sound calm, but Skinner could hear the tremor in his voice.
“I haven’t seen her take anything. What kind of medication Fox? Why does she need it?”
Mulder sent a helpless look over to Skinner. “She needs to know Mulder.”
Maggie watched Mulder’s shoulders slump and her fear for her daughter moved up a notch. “Fox, is it really that bad?”
Rather than answer he pulled a chair closer to the couch and sat facing her. Skinner sat beside her. Mulder took a deep breath and started talking.
Mulder leaned back as he watched Skinner place the brandy in Maggie’s hands. The furniture was littered with used tissues and her hands were shaking. Skinner helped her get the golden liquid to her lips.
After a couple of sips, Maggie took a deep breath. “What was the fight about that morning in my kitchen?”
More? She wanted more information? Mulder couldn’t face her on this one. “Scully wanted to go back to our previous relationship. She wanted to be my partner, nothing more. I . . . I took that badly.”
“You believed her?” That made him look up quickly. “Fox, after all these years and you don’t know her any better than that?”
“She - “
“Fox, look at her career choices - physician, FBI agent. Typically male professions. She’s had to prove herself over and over again in a man’s world. Needing someone would show weakness. She couldn’t allow that. She had to show she’s as strong as any man.”
“But I need her. Does she think that makes me weak?”
“Maybe she doesn’t know Fox. Maybe she won’t let herself believe that you can need her.”
He let himself into the house with Maggie’s key. He could hear someone in the kitchen and headed that way. “Mom? Is that you?”
He stepped into the room as she turned. She’d lost weight, she had to be down to the size she’d been when battling the cancer and her face was drawn. Was the pain physical or emotional? He couldn’t tell. She didn’t look like she’d been sleeping either; of course the same could probably be said of him. “Mulder.”
He stopped just inside the door, “Don’t talk for a minute, just listen.” He took a deep breath as she stared at him, “I know you don’t need me in your life. If you have any doubt of that, Bill can give you a thousand reasons why it’s true. You don’t. And you know I survived without you in my life for more years than I want to contemplate. So maybe, technically, I don’t need you in mine. But the reality is, I do need you. And if the only way I can have you in my life is as my partner, okay. I’ll take it. I just don’t want to be without you anymore.” He stopped talking then, just watching her. There was nothing else to say.
His heart sank as he saw the tears form in her eyes. He had to hold himself in place as one escaped and trailed down her cheek.
“It scares me how much I need you.” She said it quietly, but didn’t look away, held by his eyes.
“Do you think that’s something we could work on together? I could sure use a good night’s sleep.” He held out his hand, but didn’t move close enough to touch her.
That startled a laugh out of her and she moved toward him. “You need me?”
“You don’t listen very well. How many times do I have to tell you?”
“Okay.” He pulled her into his arms then and held her tightly to his chest. Her arms snaked around his waist and he felt her relax.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.