Getting alone with Lane wasnít easy, and remaining cool, that is, not throttling him to tip him off was even harder.
Mulder had him by the throat, but for the first time Lane seemed calm. "Where is she, Lane? Donít bother denying it."
"He was right. You really do love her donít you?"
"What?" His grip loosened for an instant, but then he had control again.
"I loved a woman once." Mulderís arm tightened but Lane ignored him. "We met at the academy, wanted to get married. We decided to wait, you know, get our careers going. I got her a ring though, we were committed to each other and wanted everyone to know it. She was killed by a drunk driver a week later. Gone, just like that. You donít think things like that are going to happen, not to you."
"Did you hurt Scully?" He wanted to get this conversation back on track. Talking about losing loved ones wasnít helping his tension level.
"Me? No." Mulderís arm tightened again.
"Okay, has anyone harmed her?"
"Not yet. Once they realize Iím gone. . .I donít know."
"Tell me whatís going on, Lane. Explain it to me." He had to calm down, get him talking. She was still alive, he was sure of that.
"Why? If youíre going to kill me anyway. . ."
"This woman you loved, she was FBI? How would she feel about what youíre doing?"
Lane flinched at that. "Sheíd hate it, and me too."
"What would she want you to do?"
"Smart move, Spooky. Get me on your side. It might have worked if you were committed to her, like I was to Linda."
"You think Iím not committed to Scully?"
"I would have died in Lindaís place, and been happy to do it. Can you say the same?"
"Yes." He said it simply, directly, and both of them knew he spoke the truth. Lane nodded once.
"She feels the same, Mulder."
"Donít let her, Lane." He spoke urgently now, "Donít let her die for me. Tell me whatís happening here. Help me rescue Scully, donít let it be like Linda."
Lane took a deep breath. "Itís not her they want anyway."
"What do they want?"
"You, you idiot. They want samples of the black cancer. They were stupid enough to think youíd be too distracted to notice looking for her and they could take you. Youíre in high demand and worth a lot of money."
"I donít have the black cancer."
"But you did. They want unlimited samples of your blood and tissue. Theyíre using her to get it."
"Fine, they can have what they want. Just help me get her out."
"You say the right words, Mulder."
Mulder released Lane completely and held out his gun to him. "Get her out Lane." They locked eyes and Lane slowly took the gun from Mulderís hand.
They entered the room where Scully was being held. Mulderís hands were cuffed behind him; Lane held his gun on him. Scully rose from the bed as they entered, retreating as far from Smith as she could get.
"Well done, Lane. Youíve exceeded my expectations."
"Are you okay, Scully?" She nodded at Mulder, trying to assess the situation. She didnít see many options, but Mulder had a plan. He was much too calm for this, though she doubted anyone else would notice.
"Well, I guess we donít really need all these people any more. Do we Agent Mulder?" Smith drew his gun, screwed on the silencer and aimed it at Scully.
"No! If itís me you want, youíve got me. Let her go."
"Now letís be realistic, Agent Mulder. She knows too much to just let her walk out. Besides her feelings for you wouldnít allow that anyway. You see, she knows what we have planned for you." He tightened his grip on the gun.
"No!" After that everything became a blur, or slow motion depending on your point of view. Mulder threw off the cuffs that Lane had not fastened and dived, grabbing his gun from his ankle holster. Smith pivoted and fired, striking Lane. Scully followed Mulderís lead instinctively and dived behind the bed. Mulder aimed and fired at Smith, who was turning back to aim at Scully. He turned into Mulderís shot, all three rounds entering his chest. The second splintering his clavicle, sending shards of bone into his lungs and heart.
"Iím here, Mulder." She rose and was immediately engulfed in his arms. "Mulder! Youíre hurt."
"No, Iím. . ."
"Youíre bleeding, Mulder. Sit down."
"It must be Laneís. . . ow! Scully, Iím fine, check Lane."
Scully leaned over Lane, while Mulder checked for Smithís pulse. He didnít find one and felt no remorse.
"Weíre losing Lane!" Mulder grabbed the cell phone and punched in 911, though he had little doubt the police were already on their way, with the noise theyíd made. He knelt beside Lane.
"Lane hold on. Weíve got help coming."
"Think Linda will forgive me now?" He sounded breathless to Mulder.
"You better believe it, and Skinner will have a commendation in your jacket by tonight."
"Donít forget your promise, Mulder."
"I wonít, you have my word. Now rest until the ambulance gets here." Mulder glanced up at Scully. She shook her head slightly. "Hang on, Lane."
"Linda?" Lane smiled and his eyes brightened, and he was gone.
After a moment Scully touched Mulderís face. "Let me look at your arm, Mulder."
They left Skinnerís office having been debriefed and handed in their written reports. "Lunch?"
"Sure, Mulder. Listen, Iíll pay if youíll come clean about a few things."
"What things?" He turned his innocent look loose on her.
"Cut it out Mulder. I want the full story of what happened to you in Russia. Everything. Not just whatís in that report to Skinner. And I want to know what you promised Lane." Was he blushing?
"Maybe I better pay, Scully. Itís likely to be a long lunch."