It was a silent trip. She wouldn't even look over at him though he continually glanced over at her. He parked at his apartment and stood with hands twitching as she got out of the car without his assistance. He put his hand in its accustomed spot on her lower back to walk inside. He wanted to offer to carry her since she was barefoot, but decided not to push his luck.
She was still silent when he let her into the apartment. She headed for his couch and seated herself. He followed and watched her curl her legs around herself.
"Scully, are you hungry? It’s almost lunch time."
"No, thanks. You go ahead."
He shook his head, "I'm not really hungry either." He watched as she pulled the afghan off the back of the couch and drew it around her. "You cold?"
She tried to smile, "I don't think its physical." She looked away from him then and he felt a despair surround him. She was scared and he didn't know how to help.
He joined her on the couch then and pulled her closer to him. When she didn't protest, he began massaging her arms. After a moment he pulled her into his lap and she accepted that as well, placing one hand on his chest as though feeling of his heartbeat.
"I need a favor Mulder."
"You got it Scully." He didn't stop his massage, but she sat up a little straighter, not leaving his lap or removing her hand.
"If the cancer comes back - "
"Scully, stop. It's not going to - "
"Mulder." She took her hand from his chest then and put a finger over his lips. "If the cancer comes back, I don't want treatment."
His eyes widened and after a long moment he spoke again. "Scully, there was never any definitive evidence that the implant caused your remission."
She actually smiled at that. "You sound like someone I know, but not Mulder."
"Come on Scully. You don't have to think about this. The cancer's not coming back."
"I hope not. I certainly don't want it. But Mulder listen to me, if it does, I'm serious. I don't want treatment. I'll need you to help me with Mom and . . . and with Bill."
He closed his eyes at that. Help with Bill, help her convince her brother that she . . . He felt her hand brush against the stubble he hadn't taken the time to shave off today.
"Mulder, you're not feeling guilty are you? There's no need. Even if the . . . if it does come back, you've already given me years onto my life, years I wouldn't have had without you."
He groaned then and lifted her from his lap, rising and moving away from her. "Mulder."
"How can you ask me this? How can you ask me to sit back and just watch you . . . without trying to help you?"
"I don't want to go through it again Mulder. I've done a lot in my life; most of my dreams have become realities. I've certainly done a lot of things that most people only imagine."
"But not everything. Scully, there's still lots of things for you to do. We could . . . we could even do them together."
"What?" She was watching him now.
"Well, I'd offer to take you to some exotic location, but we've pretty much done that. I mean how do I compete with Antarctica?" He tried to smile then and she actually chuckled.
"That's okay Mulder. I'm not asking for a trip to Tahiti, just your support." His smile disappeared as though it had never existed. She sighed lightly and rose from the couch. "I'm kind of tired Mulder. Do you mind if I lie down?"
"Uh no, of course not. Why don't you take your medicine and go stretch out."
"You don't mind if I stay here?"
"No Scully, I don't mind if you stay." He approached her then and took her into an awkward hug. When her arms went around him he was able to take a breath and pull her against him.
After a long moment she pulled away. "Thanks Mulder." She headed for his bedroom. Once the door was shut he collapsed onto the couch. She wanted to die and she wanted him to allow it, hell, to help her. And she was scared, as scared as he was.
They'd never talked about the implant after the cancer went into remission. He hadn't wanted to think about that time, it had been too close. She'd come so close to dying; leaving him forever. He had assumed she didn't want to talk about it because it was unexplained. The scientific explanation just wasn't concrete enough. He hadn't cared - she had lived, that was enough for him.
What was he supposed to do now? He'd thought he could support her on anything. Now she didn't want to grieve in Tahiti. Damn!
He rose from the couch wearily, and headed for the kitchen. He didn't want to sit and think anymore.
After an hour or so, and a really clean kitchen, he went to the bedroom door and after a slight hesitation opened it to check on her. The sight broke his heart. She was curled into a fetal position around his pillow.
Without allowing his brain to talk him out of it, he kicked off his shoes and crawled into bed with her, spooning around her. She didn't wake, but she released the pillow and turned in his arms, burrowing into his chest.
The relief was almost overwhelming. At least he could give her this. Give her this . . . an idea began forming in his brain.
She woke alone the next morning, a note on the pillow beside her. She was more rested than she had expected to be. She'd slept through the night and her dreams hadn't disturbed her, she remembered no bad dreams at all.
She picked up the note and rubbed her eyes to bring the morning into focus. "Gone to get breakfast. Plenty of hot water." She was glad she'd stayed here last night; it was the right thing to do, even it if wasn't like her to ask for what she wanted. She smiled and stretched and headed for the shower.
He was back when she emerged from the bathroom. He had to smile. She was wearing one of his t-shirts and while it was certainly long enough for a dress on her, it was pretty obvious there was nothing underneath.
"I don't have a lot of clothes here." She was blushing at his obvious regard; maybe this had been a wrong choice.
"Uh, well yes you do." He pointed to her suitcase beside the door.
"Where did you get that?"
"I stopped by your place when I was getting breakfast."
"Stopped by? Where did you buy these bagels?"
He grinned then, "Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly stopping by, but we're going out of town and I figured you needed more than the one outfit and at least a couple of shoes - you know, one for each foot and all."
She chuckled at that, "You packed for me?" He nodded, "I can't wait to see the lingerie you chose." His smile broadened and his eyes gleamed at that. "Mulder!"
"Trust me Scully. I was a perfect gentleman."
"And I missed it? Damn." She reached for her bag and though his hand twitched to lift it for her, he knew better. "Wait a minute. What do you mean we're going out of town? Do we have a case?"
"No, we're going on a non-exotic vacation."
"Vacation?" Her eyebrow started up. “You cleared that with Skinner?”
"Yeah, don’t worry about that. Its what normal people do when they need some rest and relaxation." Her eyebrow continued its upward climb.
After a short while in the car she turned to him, "Are we going to the Vineyard?"
"Just sit back and enjoy the scenery. We're taking a vacation, no questions, relax."
She gave him a questioning look, but did as he said for a change, easing back into the seat and watching, both him and the passing landscape.
When they reached the Vineyard, he drove immediately to a house that she was unfamiliar with, rather than his father's home. "Whose place is this?"
"Well, mine now. Dad bought it as an investment property a few years ago."
"Wait a minute,” She turned toward him in the car, "You own two houses on the Vineyard, one in Connecticut, and the cabin in Quonochontaug."
He nodded a little sheepishly.
She turned to look again at the house in front of her. Older weathered gray wood, with white shutters and door, which matched the short white picket fence around the property. It was a two-story dwelling, and looked so inviting it . . . it almost frightened her to be here with him. This was a part of Mulder's life she never contemplated.
"I guess I never think about your money." She looked out toward the beach.
"What money? The income from these places covers upkeep and taxes, that's about it." He opened his door and exited the car, moving around to open her door before she could. She smiled and took the hand he offered to get out herself. "I thought maybe we could have a 'normal' vacation, you know house at the beach, white picket fence - I didn't know where to rent a dog."
She looked surprised but smiled up at him and he felt his heart quicken. Rather than betray himself he moved toward the trunk of the car and removed their bags. She reached for hers, but he had it. "It would be more normal if I carry it, don't you think?"
Her eyebrow went up but not dangerously so, so he kept her bag in his hand and moved toward the door. He found the key in the mailbox and opened the house. "Mulder, this is beautiful." She stopped in the foyer and looked around.
The motif was nautical, which didn't surprise her for a vacation home on the island. The stairs rose immediately to the right of the front door, to the left was the living room with a rock fireplace and large, comfortable looking overstuffed furniture.
"Yeah, the decorator had good taste." He headed up the stairs with the bags, but was downstairs again immediately. He followed her into the living room and on to the kitchen.
It was completely modern, all of the conveniences of home and more. She glanced appreciatively at the grill on the stove. Now that was luxury.
He opened the refrigerator and smiled. "Looks like they did a good job."
"While you were sleeping away the morning, I called the people that look after this place and asked them to get it ready for us. Hope you know how to cook a good steak."
She leaned over as he started to straighten up from the refrigerator and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "This is wonderful Mulder. Thank you."
His own eyes smiled at her obvious pleasure, "No problem. I should have thought of it sooner, but it's so, well . . . "
"Normal?" She didn't wait for an answer, moving to the back door and stepping out onto the deck. "Mulder, this is incredible." She was looking out over the ocean. "Did you ever live here?"
"No, Dad bought it after the divorce. I don't think he ever lived here either. He made good money and there wasn't anyone to spend it on. My education didn't cost him anything and since I was an only child for a long time, there were no lavish weddings to pay for or anything." He shrugged and turned. "The Kennedy's are over there, you can see the top of the houses in the compound."
"Ritzy neighborhood." She offered, pushing aside the sadness of his last comment.
"Yeah. Probably a good thing I didn't grow up like this, huh? Think of all the trouble I could have gotten into."
"Oh yes, think of it." She laughed and turned back into the house.
"Want to walk on the beach? It's a little cool for swimming."
"That would be lovely." Her smile made her even more so. "Let me go change, if you packed something that - "
"My choices were impeccable, go check. I'll bring some wood in for a fire tonight." Her smile grew even larger and she headed upstairs. He stood for a moment watching her move away from him, then shook himself and turned back to the deck.
She'd chosen the khaki's and a t-shirt, and had a sweater draped over her shoulders. It was exactly the outfit he had chosen with this activity in mind. He wisely kept quiet about it, just enjoying her walking beside him along the narrow strip of sand. She slipped her hand into his and he squeezed it, grateful she'd made the first move.
She picked up a few shells and he skipped some rocks, better than she did, which he pointed out immediately. Maybe 'normal' with her wasn't so very bad. He was enjoying himself and from her comments and easy smile, so was she.
They had eaten a light lunch on the way up, but he was ready for something more substantial now. He hadn't eaten that well when she was in the . . . but he was hungry now. He turned her back toward the house.
"Come on, I'm going to fix you a big dinner."
"Wouldn't it be more normal if I did it?" She grinned up at him.
"Umm, I like it. But I can help, I'm wonderful in a kitchen."
Her eyebrow rose, "In whose fantasy, Mulder?" He pretended outrage, and actually picked her up and spun her around, demanding an apology. When he put her down, he came damn close to kissing her but managed to hold back. He missed the look of disappointment that flitted across her face.
Friendly bickering punctuated the preparing of the meal and he finally bowed to her expertise in the area, acting as chief scout for whatever she was looking for, and tossing the salad. He did help with clean up and then turned her toward the den.
"What now Mulder?"
"A movie. I went by the movie rental place this morning and - "
"What time did you get up, to get all this done?"
"Early. Anyway I went to my favorite movie haunt and headed straight for the chick flick section." Her eyebrow rose rapidly at that statement.
"Yes." He looked mournful for a moment. "My reputation there is utterly destroyed." She laughed out loud then and looked into the bag he held out. "I'll make the popcorn, you decide." He headed back toward the kitchen.
She pulled several movies from the bag, made her decision and slipped the tape into the VCR. When he returned with the bowl of steaming popcorn she moved slightly on the couch to give him access to the corner, which allowed her to lean against him.
"What did you choose?"
"This one." She handed him the box. "Return to Me. As Frohike would say, he's hot."
"I don't think Frohike would say that, and this guy has a big nose."
"I like big noses, and you know what they say."
"Scully!" She grinned up at him and then settled back against him and pressed play.
Shortly into the movie she could feel him begin to tense up, at first she ignored it, but it seemed to grow worse. She finally turned to him, "You okay?"
"I think I know where this movie is going." He looked uncomfortable, but she took his hand and he tried to relax. When "Bob" in the movie stumbled into his home, covered in blood and sank, sobbing against the front door, Mulder let out a mumbled curse and pushed his way off of the couch and out of the room.
She pressed stop and followed him quickly, wiping her own tears caused by the movie away. She found him out on the deck, staring out towards the sea. "Mulder?"
"I can't watch that Scully."
"It's only a movie." She brushed her hand up his arm.
"Yeah, and in it, he probably moves on with his life and finds another love."
"Yes, Mulder. He probably does."
"Well I can't, I can't watch it. I'm sorry." He wouldn't face her, so she slipped her arms around him from behind and cuddled up to his back.
"Mulder, its okay."
"Okay? I've slept with you in my arms the past two nights and already that feels normal to me. I . . . "
"You slept in the bed with me last night?" She had stepped away then and he regretted his impulsive words. Before he could respond, she spoke again, almost to herself. "So that's why I woke so rested and peaceful."
"You're not . . . you're not mad?"
"Why would I be mad, Mulder? It's exactly what I needed, what I wanted but didn't know how to ask." He stared at her for a second, then drew her into his arms. "This is perfect Mulder, I love that you did this for me."
He didn't speak, his throat too tight to make a sound. She was pressed against him and he became aware that it might not be a good idea. He gently pulled back from her and turned toward the steps.
"I need to take a walk, work off some energy."
"Most of the people on the island would think it was normal to work off energy upstairs at this time of night."
His eyes opened wide and he stared at her, afraid to move or make a sound.
"Mulder?" She sounded a little frightened and that gave him back the ability to speak.
"What are you . . . are you suggesting . . .?" He couldn't finish the thought, the answer was too important.
"Well," she wouldn't look him in the eye. "It would be the normal thing to do."
"You would . . . Scully, would you . . . may I make love with you tonight?" Shit he sounded seventeen; he was surprised his damn voice hadn't cracked.
"I'd . . . I 'd . . . Yes." His hand ran down her arm, causing uncontrollable shivers throughout her body.
"Scully?" She looked up at him now, "I think I forgot how."
She actually laughed out loud then and relaxed. She moved back into his arms. "Maybe we should investigate it, see if between us, we can remember that far back."
He placed a kiss on the top of her head and they moved back inside.
The doctor glanced back down at the file on his desk. "There is no evidence of any problem at this time Dana. There is no sign of the cancer and you are as healthy a woman as I've examined in too many years. I do have a theory . . . “ He glanced up at the two of them, both still too afraid to take a deep breath. "I wouldn't want it to leave this room." Mulder nodded. "I think, maybe, that the chip had done its work and it was time to be removed. You are perfectly healthy; the scar on the back of your neck even seems to be going away. I'll continue to keep an eye on things, but Dana, I think this thing cured whatever was wrong with you."
For a moment the three of them sat is silence, the two men watching her. She didn't raise an immediate argument, which relieved Mulder.
Suddenly her eyes opened wider and her face went dead white. Mulder lurched for her and her face flushed a dark red. She turned to face him then and it took only a second for him to read her thoughts. His own mouth dropped open and then a smile began to grow on his face.
The doctor watched this by-play speechless. These two had had an entire conversation in front of him and hadn't said a word.
"Thank you, doctor." Mulder spoke as he rose and helped her to her feet. "We won't speak of this theory, I promise. There's . . . there's someone else we need to see. Thank you." He turned her toward the door and she allowed it. The doctor sat, unable to rise and watched them leave. What the hell?
Once out in the corridor he leaned her against the wall. "Scully?"
"No, it's not possible. Ova can't grow back."
"Right, and a little piece of metal imbedded in your neck can't cure cancer." He kept his hands on her arms, keeping her on her feet.
"But then I could already be . . . "
"Yes, you could." He grinned widely.
"But we never, I mean -"
"It would be normal, Scully. And if it didn't happen this time, I'm willing to continue the experiment. Normal didn't seem so bad, with you beside me." He leaned in and kissed her forehead. "Why don't we go somewhere and be normal again, for a little while."
She managed to look up then, saw his smile and felt her own growing. Normal, with Mulder. Well why the hell not!