Disgusted, he threw back the covers and sat up. He wasn’t going to sleep. He kept replaying the whole thing in his head. Just a few more minutes and he would have been too late. That would haunt him, how close it had been. But to be honest that wasn’t all that was haunting him.
She’d been battered, scrapes on her face and arms. She hadn’t wanted him to see, but he had tilted her face up to him and she . . . she had lost it. Dana Scully had lost it and her arms had gone around him, clinging to him for strength, stability . . . comfort. And yes, the feel of her body, even trembling like it had been, had felt right held tightly to his.
He hadn’t gotten there in time. Oh yeah, before Pfaster had actually . . . Oh god, before Pfaster had the chance to rape her, but not before he hurt her.
Was she able to sleep? It was the best thing for her, unless she had nightmares about it. He’d wanted to stay with her, but she’d put up that shield - she was fine. Well he wasn’t.
She’d turned to him again. He allowed himself to remember the first time. He didn’t replay the memory often, it was too precious, but she had come to him in Bellfleur too. He didn’t tease her about that. It had been too unexpected, and the memory still warmed him.
He heard the TV go on in the next room and the sound immediately cut back. So she wasn’t sleeping either. Oh to hell with it. He rose and slipped his sweats on over his boxers, then grabbed a t-shirt.
She took a long time to answer the tap on her door, and looked a little frightened when she did. “Hi, may I come in?”
“Did the TV wake you?” She wouldn’t look at him.
“No, I couldn’t sleep. Since you’re up, I thought I’d take advantage and have some company.”
She blinked at that but made no response other than tightening her robe. She shut the door behind him and when he took the chair, sat stiffly on the side of the bed.
He glanced at the bed. No, she hadn’t been able to sleep either. She’d obviously tossed and turned quite a bit before giving up herself. He met her eyes to see that she had seen what he had observed and the color rose slightly in her face.
“Want to talk about it?”
He nodded. That was the answer he had expected. “You know what I was thinking about?”
She seemed to sigh, though there was no sound.
“I was remembering Bellfleur. When you came to my room that night and - “
“I’m not teasing you, Scully. It’s too good a memory for that. I’d been a total asshole and you still turned to me when you were worried. We’ve never talked about that either. I guess it’s a little late to apologize, for the asshole thing, but I was pissed. I didn’t need a partner, at least that’s what I believed at the time. And I certainly didn’t like the way they had shoved you down my throat.”
“Really? I’d never have guessed,” she spoke dryly.
That caused a smile on his face. “Yeah, it’s true. I was already planning your next torture, if you stayed through the whole case. Then you went and ruined it.”
“I ruined it?”
He nodded. “You came to me when you were scared.”
“In my underwear?”
“Well, that was a pleasant bonus, but not the part I remember best.”
She looked startled at that revelation.
“It’s true. You surprised the hell out of me with that gesture. Face it, I was caught so off guard that I told you about Samantha. You couldn’t have known what a leap that was for me. It had been years . . . “
He shrugged. “You did it again you know.”
“Tonight. You turned to me again.”
She stiffened. “That was totally unprofessional. I’m - “
“Don’t, Scully don’t apologize for that. I, I needed it as much as you did. You are my partner now, not like in Bellfleur. You can lean on me. Hell, look at all the times I’ve leaned on you. I’m here for you.”
To his alarm, tears formed again in her eyes and one escaped before she could stop it. “Scully?”
“I know. It, it kept me going.”
“I knew you were looking for me. I knew if anyone could find me, it was you.”
He sat up straighter at those words.
“Don’t look so startled, Mulder. I am partnered with the best profiler in the history of the Bureau.”
“Yeah,” she said softly.
“What was it, Scully? What was it about this case - “
“It’s what I do.”
“I desecrate corpses.”
“You do not. You perform autopsies, you get to the truth.”
“But I desecrate them. I try to do it respectfully, but - “
“What you do is nothing like that. Scully, I’ve seen you work. You care about the people you work on. You see them as people and you’re there to help them. So many of them would never get satisfaction, be able to rest in peace, without you.”
“You really see it that way?”
He rose then and took a seat beside her on the bed. He put his arm around her, drawing her against him. To his relief she allowed it. “Yes, I really see it that way. So much so that it didn’t even enter my head that was part of the problem. What you do is light years removed from what that sicko did.” He felt the shiver that ran through her.
“I was scared.”
“I don’t blame you.”
“No, Mulder, I was terrified of him. If I hadn’t had the knowledge that you were searching for me . . . Is he human?”
His arm tightened involuntarily around her. “What?”
“Sorry. Please forget I asked that question.”
“I can’t do that. What do you mean?”
“It was just the fear,” she shook her head.
He shook her gently. “Give. Tell me what you’re talking about.”
She sighed; he’d never give up now. “I, I was in the closet, tied up, and he came to the door. I couldn’t see him clearly, the light, but . . . but I, it looked like his face changed. I saw . . . demons.” She looked up to see if he was laughing at her. She should have known better.
“Can you describe them?”
She shrugged. “I couldn’t see that well, and I may have been dreaming - “
“What did you see?”
“It was like his face was changing, changing into nightmare demons, the devil.”
“Maybe you were seeing him without his civilized façade? The true being that he is. That’s what I do, when I profile.”
“But I thought I saw it.”
“He is a monster, Scully. Don’t disbelieve what you saw.”
She relaxed a little against him for a moment, then sat up, away from him. He managed to keep his expression bland. “Think you can sleep now, Scully?”
“I’m not sure I want to try.” He nodded. “If you’re tired - “
He chuckled at that. “No. I think my sleeping is over for the night.” He looked around the room. “Want to watch a movie?”
She did smile then. “Yeah, I think so.”
He grabbed up the remote. “Not Steel Magnolias.”
“Heaven forbid.” She rose and when he followed her, straightened the bed, then pulled the pillows out to rest against the headboard. She got comfortable and patted the seat beside her. Grinning, he took the seat and started flipping through the channels. Casually his arm went around her, drawing her close and she cuddled in.
It was a start.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.