He had been comfortable, slouched on his couch and watching “A Wonderful Life.” He knew it by heart and could recite practically the whole movie, but he liked Bert and Ernie, so he was watching it once again.
He’d spoken with his mother earlier. She was down in Raleigh visiting her cousin and seemed to be enjoying herself. She’d be down there for at least another week.
He had resisted calling Scully. She was at Bill’s house and the thought that Bill would answer the phone had kept him at bay. As one sorry son of a bitch, he didn’t want to intrude on their time. But he missed her. That he could admit. The city seemed quieter, emptier without her in it, which he knew was stupid - how many thousands of people were within the radius of the area between their apartments? But she was the one that mattered out of all of those people. And she was healthy again. A smile had graced his face then, healthy.
He had crossed his arms and wiggled slightly to scratch his back and settled into the worn leather of the couch. Then the phone had rung.
Every hair on his body had jumped to attention at her voice. His glad reply had stuck in his throat. Had he heard a sob?
“Scully, what’s wrong?” He was sitting up now, straining to hear every nuance in her voice.
“I, uh, I need your help.”
“You’ve got it. What’s going on?” Talk to me Scully. It’s not the cancer, that’s in remission. That other phone call was beginning to ring in his ears.
“I kind of stumbled into a case out here . . . “
She was definitely not okay. “An X-file?” He tried to make his tone light, but knew, at least with this woman, he had failed.
That stopped him again. For her to admit something like that . . . his stomach hurt. “Yeah?”
“I got a phone call . . . from . . . “ he could hear her fighting for composure. What was she going to say? The oncologist? No, he wouldn’t call her on vacation, not at Christmas. “It sounded like Melissa.”
That had brought him back to the present with a thud. “M-Melissa?”
“She said ‘She needs your help. She needs you, Dana.’ I couldn’t . . . I had the call traced and went over there. When I got there the police were all over the house. The woman that lived there had apparently committed suicide. I thought I was too late, then I saw a little girl in the window.”
“My badge got me inside. Something was just . . . off. The father brought the little girl downstairs and she just looked at me for the longest moment, then they went into the kitchen and I wasn’t part of the interrogation. The call couldn’t have come from that house, but . . .”
Should he encourage her, or give her time?
“I couldn’t let it go and, and I uncovered evidence that the death was homicide and the father was arrested, and . . . and he was murdered in his cell. Emily, the little girl, was taken into protective services. I couldn’t shake her, she looked . . . familiar.”
“I found a picture of Melissa at that age and they were identical.”
“Melissa had a daughter?” His personal alarm sensors were going off like mad by that point.
“Not that we . . . I took some DNA and had it tested.”
There was a long silence then. “And?”
“She wasn’t Melissa’s daughter.” There was an even longer pause, “She’s mine.”
There it was, the other shoe. But instead of dropping it had kicked him in the gut. He had actually doubled over there on the couch. “Yours.” He knew he sounded strangled but it hadn’t been a question.
“The DNA doesn’t lie, Mulder. If, if she had been conceived while I was . . . gone . . .”
He’d closed his eyes then. He had felt the world collapse under him at those words. He had seen again that vial in his hand, her ova stolen and . . . and used.
At his continued silence, she finally spoke again. “I’ve filed for adoption.” Her voice had been steady again at those words.
He’d struggled to make a sound, he had to make a sound, say something. “Scully?”
“I need you to testify for me, as a character witness.”
He had swallowed hard. “Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel, Scully. Spooky Mulder as a character witness?” He had been reeling, but she needed him.
Her chuckle had been short. “Mulder, will you - “
“I’m already on my way, Scully. Guess I should pack the sincere gray suit.”
“Well then, you’ll need the blue striped tie.” She had managed to say lightly.
“That’s more sincere than the red one with those loopy things on it?”
Her light laugh then had been stronger, steadier. Why? Had she honestly thought for a second he wouldn’t be there to support her in whatever she wanted?
“There . . . there’s more.”
He had closed his eyes again at those words. More? “Yeah?”
“She’s ill. She has a special form of anemia, an auto immune hemolytic
anemia. She’s receiving experimental treatment here.”
“Scully, let me get out there. We can check everything out then.”
“Thank . . . thank you, Mulder.”
Thank you? He was the one that should be thanking her. She had called him, she had needed him. Now wasn’t the time to try to explain that to her.
“She’s at the San Diego County Children’s Center.”
“I’ll meet you there. Scully . . . “
“I know. See you then.” She had broken the connection, but he had held the phone for long moments before he could hang up.
Now he had landed in San Diego after a completely sleepless flight. He had spent the entire trip going over ways to convince her that this was something she needed to consider more slowly. She was obviously overwrought and emotional about everything. She needed to step back and look at this as rationally as she could. There were several hundred considerations he had come up with during the dark flight that he could bring up.
He pushed open the door and spotted her on the floor with a little blond girl. She looked up at him and smiled. All of those considerations flew from his mind. Scully.
Links to other sites on the Web
Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.