Mulder let himself into the cabin, nothing looked disturbed but that was her car outside. He stepped on in and spotted her dozing on the couch. That stopped him and he stood looking at her, unable to move. She looked tired, even asleep, with dark circles under her eyes.
He moved over to her. "Scully?"
"Mulder?" She stirred and opened her eyes. It took her a moment to realize he was really there. When she did she jerked away from him and rose from the couch. He was close enough to catch her when her knees buckled.
"Scully!" He had hold of her now. "When did you eat last? Scully?"
"I . . . I donít . . . "
"Damn it Scully!" He lifted her into his arms then and carried her into the bedroom. He placed her on the bed and left the room. She didnít know if he would bother to return, but he was back immediately with a glass of water. "Here drink this. Slowly, just sip." His voice was harsh, angry; it didnít match the feel of his arms around her, his hands on her.
"Why are you . . . how did you find me?"
"A neighbor called to tell me someone was using the place. Breaking and entering now? What other boneheaded move are you planning?" She turned from him. "Iím going to see what there is to eat here. Just stay there."
He turned abruptly and she watched him leave the room with a sinking heart. He had come looking for her, but she knew sheíd destroyed whatever had been between them. If only sheíd known, but heíd always kept his distance. Sheíd felt more like his sister and sheíd thought keeping her own feelings disconnected and submerged was the right thing.
He returned shortly with a bowl of soup. He placed it on the bedside table and helped her to a sitting position. The silence was unnerving to her and when he lifted the spoon to her lips she finally couldnít take it any more.
"I can do that."
"Shut up." She flinched from the tone, it didnít fit. His voice was very clear Ė he hated her, but his gentleness about feeding her, looking after her was totally confusing.
"Mulder Ė "
"Later. Just eat." She wilted again and obediently ate the soup he offered. Neither attempted any conversation and when the bowl was finished he left the room again. He placed the dirty dishes in the sink and looked around for something to break. Part of him wanted to wring her neck; the rest of him kept remembering the feel of her in his arms when heíd carried her to the bedroom.
Sheíd slept with Skinner.
He didnít owe the son of a bitch anything, but Skinner was worried about her. He should just let him suffer but he realized he had his cell phone in his hand. Skinnerís private number was fresh in his mind and he dialed it quickly.
"Skinner." His voice was rough and tired. He sounded totally stressed.
"I found her. Sheís okay."
"Mulder? Where? Where is she?" But he was talking to a dead phone. Was the call supposed to reassure him? Well on one point it did, she was alive. But what would Mulder do to her?
He dialed Mulderís phone back, knowing it was futile. "The cell phone user you are trying to reach Ė " He stabbed the end button. Great, he was more worried than he had been.
Mulder washed up the dishes he had used and without actual intent found himself back at the bedroom door. She was staring off into space and seemed unaware of him.
"I donít know what to say to you Mulder." She still wasnít looking at him; she must have sensed his presence.
"What were you doing up here? Trying to kill yourself?" Even he could hear the anger in his voice and part of him was ashamed of his treatment of her, but look at what sheíd done to him.
Done to him? He turned away from the door, what had she done to him? Sheíd gone to bed with their boss; sheíd had an affair. They werenít involved, at least . . . would she have been upset if sheíd walked in on him with someone, Diana?
Why should she? She obviously didnít feel for him what he felt for her. She certainly hadnít wanted to get in his bed.
"Mulder?" He jumped. He hadnít heard her come up behind him.
"You shouldnít be up." She cringed at his voice and inwardly he did as well. "Go on back to bed."
"I am okay Mulder. Thank you for . . . for the soup."
"Itís too late to head out tonight. You shouldnít drive anyway."
"Are you ever going to look at me again?" He turned then and fastened his gaze on her.
"Sure. What am I supposed to see now?" She blushed then and turned away. "Listen, Iím sorry. I donít know what to say to you and Iím pretty sure whatever I decide will be wrong."
She didnít turn back, "I never meant to hurt you." He opened his mouth but didnít know how to respond. He watched her return to the bedroom.
Hell. Could things get worse between them? He sank down on the couch and sat staring off into space.
He didnít know how long he sat like that before he heard her. He turned toward the door. Was she crying? Thatís what it sounded like. After a moment he rose and moved to the door, she hadnít bothered to close it when she returned to the bed.
She was crying, but she was still asleep. He couldnít remember ever being so torn. He was furious with her for what sheíd done, what he couldnít help but see as a betrayal; but he had hurt her with his actions as well. Maybe not as badly . . .
Had she really not known how he felt? How much he wanted her? Okay, he hadnít been real forthcoming about that. She was his partner, he wasnít supposed to . . . but Skinner was her boss for godís sake. He felt himself tense again. No, he had to put it aside, at least for now. Heíd hurt her, and heíd done it on purpose whereas she had only . . . fucked Skinner. Shit!
His vision went red again and he was barely aware that she had opened her eyes to find him sitting beside her, leaning over her. "Why? Why Skinner?" He had his hands on her shoulders, gripping her tightly.
"Because he wanted me." She barely whispered it.
His grip tightened, "Every man wants you."
"Except you?" His grip was painful now but she didnít struggle. His lips moved, but no sound emerged. She leaned up and took his lower lip with hers, sucking on it. His response was immediate and painful. He could actually hear the snap as his brain shut off.
Then he had her down on the bed, stripping the clothes from her body as well as his own. His mouth and hands were all over her, he could feel her responding but at this point he was almost beyond caring. He slammed himself into her and heard her gasp but was too far gone to slow down. He rammed himself into her again and again. He felt her legs come up around him, her nails on his back.
He cried out her name as he came into her and felt her come in his arms. No! God what had he done? He pulled away, breaking her hold of him. As blood began returning to his brain he stared at her in horror. He could see the bruises already forming on her breasts.
"Mulder?" She sat up but he turned from her, pulling his slacks back up. He stumbled from the room needing to get as far from her as he could.
She scrambled from the bed and looked around for her clothes. Her underwear was in shreds; impatiently she jerked the sheet from the bed and wrapped it around her. She stopped just inside the door to watch him. He was on the couch, his face in his hands.
When he didnít acknowledge her she came on in and sat beside him. "Are you okay?"
He didnít remove his hands but she winced at the harsh laugh he gave. "Yeah, yeah Iím great."
"Are we even now?" He jerked away finally looking at her.
"Even? Do you think thatís what Ė "
"No. No I donít. I hurt you, I didnít mean to. I never thought . . . Mulder, you didnít rape me. You know that donít you?"
He stood then and moved further from her. "Go back to the other room Scully. I wonít bother you again."
"Then Iím not going."
"Come back to bed with me Mulder." He stood staring at her mutely. He had forced himself on her; he had wanted to hurt her like she had hurt him. She stood then and let the sheet drop from her body, holding it with only one hand. Breathe Mulder.
She held out her hand to him and when he was reluctant to take hold, took his hand and started back to the bedroom. She pushed him down on the bed and walked to the other side. She climbed in and spread the sheet out over them then curled into his chest. His arms automatically closed around her and she sighed with relief.
She woke slowly, stretching and feeling strong arms around her. She smiled then and opened her eyes. He was watching her, a trace of fear in his eyes.
"Good morning. Did you sleep well?"
He shook his head; "I didnít sleep."
"Why not?" Her hand came up to smooth his brow and she appreciated the stubble under her fingers. He shrugged, not sure what to say, not even sure his voice would be steady.
She decided not to push. "Think thereís anything here to fix for breakfast?" She rose from the bed and grimaced, her soreness upper most in her mind.
"Scully?" He was beside her, holding her arm. "Are you okay?"
"Fine. Maybe I should spend time with smaller men." The color rose in his face.
"Am I going to be arrested after all?"
"Not by me. Itís not a Bureau matter. In fact itís no business of anyone at the Bureau."
"Anyone?" She looked away then. "Scully? What happens now?"
"Iím not sure. What do you want to happen?" She saw the fear flare in his eyes again. She placed her hand on his chest and felt him draw a breath.
"Do I have a say?"
"Of course you do. We may have become lovers only last night, but youíve been my best friend for years. I canít imagine my life without you, I donít even want to."
"What about Skinner?"
"I need to talk to him." He nodded not saying anything, though he did place his hand over hers on his chest. She felt his heart rate increase. This man needed more reassurance of his place in her life. She gently pushed him back down on the bed and settled herself on his abdomen.
"Scully?" It sounded strangled coming from deep in his chest. "I donít want to hurt you."
"Good, a slightly slower pace might be nice." Breakfast forgotten, it was a long time before any meal was eaten and then he did the cooking.
They cleaned up the kitchen together then she turned to him. "I have to finish my work on the taskforce Mulder. Are you going to be able to handle that?"
He swallowed, he knew what she wanted to hear, but was it the truth? Could he get past the fact that she had been with Skinner? How long had that been going on anyway?
She waited patiently, seeing the conflict within him. "I can try. You should probably know weíve already assaulted each other."
"When he couldnít find you he came to my place to see if Iíd killed you and hidden the body. We both got in our shots but Iím the only one that ended up on the floor."
"Oh Mulder. I never wanted . . . I would never have done this to you."
He had his hands on her upper arms now, "You didnít know? You honestly didnít know?"
"If you want to know the truth, I even discussed it with Walter. He told me what a mistake it was. He told me you loved me."
"But he still . . . " he realized his hands had tightened and struggled to loosen them and remain calm.
"I needed someone Mulder. I needed a man to want me. Iíd nearly died, we were close but I needed . . . "
"And I thought I was giving you the space you wanted." He shook his head and looked away. "How big a fool am I?"
"No bigger than me. Maybe we should have gone to that communication workshop after all." She looked up at the ceiling not knowing what to say. He folded her into his arms and she rested her face against his chest. "I need to call Walter."
"I did. He knows youíre safe, not where you are, but that I found you."
"I owe it to him to call."
He held her tightly for a minute, then released her. "Iíll go take a shower." She nodded and watched him leave the room. She waited until she heard the water cut on then pulled her cell phone from her bag.
"Skinner." He sounded harsh, for a second she had sympathy for anyone whoíd had to work with him for the last few days.
"Itís me Walter."
"Dana! Are you all right?"
"Iím fine. Iím sorry I scared you, I wasnít thinking too clearly. I just needed to get away." There was a pause then.
"Are you with Mulder?"
That question had a lot of different levels to it, she decided to respond only to the surface one. "Iím at his cabin at Quonochontaug. A neighbor informed him that I was here." He was quiet, waiting to see if she had more to say.
When she didnít he finally spoke. "Well, Iím glad youíre okay Dana. If, uh, if you want to withdraw Ė "
"No. I want to finish my work."
"Is he, is he okay with that?"
"We need to talk when I get back to DC Walter."
"I guess we do. Turns out I was right, wasnít I?"
"Iíll talk to you tomorrow." She hung up then, not waiting for his goodbye. He had been right; she didnít know what that meant for the future, their jobs. Her only regret was the pain she had caused both of these men. They both cared about her and sheíd hurt them both more than sheíd thought she was capable.
It was up to her to repair this damage. And she would, somehow. She had deep feelings for Walter; she would never have slept with him otherwise, but Mulder . . . Mulder was the man sheíd been waiting for her whole life. She knew that now, sheíd known for a long time, but now Ė she had a lot to make up for with him, but sheíd do it however long it took. Sheíd make this happen.