He approached the door not sure which emotion was foremost in his mind. Fear, anxiety, of course joy at actually seeing her again. Damn if his palms weren't moist. He knocked on the door, and shortly heard her voice finally, asking who was there. His pleasure rose just hearing her. They hadn't spoken since that disastrous meeting several days after her wedding. That hadn't gone well at all. He hoped it had been long enough so that she wasn't still angry. Even if she was, he couldn't wait to see her.
"It's Mulder." That brought a lengthy silence from the other side of the door and his anxiety increased.
Finally the door opened a crack and she looked out. "Why are you here?" His heart sank, she hated him. But he had a reason to be here, he could fall back on that.
"Your mother called. She said you needed my help."
"Mom called you?" What was she thinking? She was going to get him killed. She should never have involved him, no matter what her suspicions were.
"Scully, I've just flown half way across the country. Can't you offer me a cup of coffee?" She looked so troubled. Maggie was right, whether she was going to admit it or not, she needed his help.
She closed the door and he heard the chain being removed. She opened the door and he entered, turning to look at her. He went pale and his lips moved though no sound emerged.
"Mom didn't tell you I was pregnant?"
He swallowed hard, "It must have slipped her mind." She shut the door and turned toward the living room. "You, uh, you look like you're due soon."
She nodded, not answering his obvious question. "Mom shouldn't have bothered you, and I shouldn't have let you in. Sam will be home any minute. He wouldn't be happy to see you here."
"I didn't come to see him."
"Mulder, everything is fine. I don't know what she could have been thinking to have you come all the way out here." Well, at least she hadn't learned to lie over the past year. Not to him anyway.
"Why don't I believe you Scully?"
They both heard the key in the lock at the same time. Scully started violently and Mulder's eyes narrowed. What was going on here?
"Dana?" Sam called, "There's a car in the driveway. You didn't tell me you were expecting company." He turned and spotted Mulder. He went rigid; his fury was palpable even across the room.
"She wasn't expecting me." He took a step toward Sam, his hand extended.
"Then why are you here?"
Mulder let his hand drop. "I was in town on an investigation and just thought I'd stop by to say hello."
"Well, you've done that. My wife and I would like for you to leave now."
Mulder turned to look at her and saw the pleading look in her face. She wanted him out of here. He questioned her with his eyes, but she looked away.
"Yeah, I guess I should be on my way. Uh, congratulations on the new arrival."
"Thanks. Dana and I are very happy about it." He didnít sound very happy. Sam turned and walked to the door, holding it open for him. Mulder turned to Scully but she flinched back from him so he didn't approach her.
"Well, it was good seeing you again. And good luck."
"Thanks. Goodbye." She wouldn't look at him. He left the house, aware that Sam was watching him. He pulled out and drove around the block, where he parked and headed back to the house on foot.
"What the hell was Mulder doing here?" He demanded when he turned to her.
"He told you, he just stopped by. I didn't even know he was in town."
"You expect me to believe that? You know the rules." She placed her hands on her stomach as though to shield the child. "He's not suppose to contact you. We had an agreement!" Sam's rage was mounting.
"Sam, please." Her voice was soothing. "He was only here a few minutes. You can ask Mrs. Wilson. He had just gotten here when you arrived."
"Are you accusing me of having the neighbors spy on you?"
"No, no Sam. Please. . . " He grabbed her arms, his anger taking control. He jerked her around facing him and backhanded her across the face. She stepped back away from him and he advanced, striking her again. She fell back on the sofa, her mouth bleeding.
Mulder had made it back to the house in time to hear Sam's voice raised in anger, though he couldn't quite make out the words. He found a window and carefully looked in. He saw the first blow and was stunned into immobility. The second blow, the one causing her to fall sent a murderous rage though him. He was through the front door with one kick, gun drawn.
"Back away from her. Now!"
Sam turned, "What the hell are you doing in my home?" He took a step toward Mulder.
"Come at me Anderson. Please!" He steadied his gun. Sam's eyes narrowed and he actually shook with rage but he managed to retreat a step. "Are you okay, Scully?"
"Anderson! Her name is Anderson. She's my wife and you have no business here." He was practically shrieking.
"Domestic violence. Any officer of the law has jurisdiction. Step back." When Sam complied, he stepped to the sofa and with his free hand helped her to her feet. Without taking his eyes off Sam he held her. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine Mulder."
"We're getting out of here."
"Mulder, I - "
"I'm not leaving you here. Come on." He kept his arm around her and backed toward the door. She fell silent, allowing Mulder to stay in control of the situation. Once out of the house he rushed her to his car and seated her carefully, then got in and took off.
She didnít speak, so he held his own words until he had her safely in his hotel room. He sat her on the bed and knelt in front of her.
"Are you really okay? Do you need a doctor?"
She shook her head. "I shouldn't be here."
"Where should you be? Back there with him? Letting him hit you?" He rose and sat beside her. "Scully, this isn't you. You'd never let a man do that to you. Talk to me. Your mother was right, you do need my help."
"She should never have called you."
"How long has he been hitting you?"
She didnít answer, heaving herself off the bed, ignoring his proffered hand. She went into his bath alcove and washed the blood from her lip and chin. After a moment he followed her.
"Scully, you have to tell me what's going on here."
"I shouldn't have left the house. I need to go home."
"No! I'm not letting you go back there."
"He's my husband, Mulder."
"He's a wife beater, scum of the earth, Scully! You will not return to that house."
"How does that make you better than him?"
"Scully?" She was scared. What the hell could scare Scully? It wasn't just the physical abuse - it was more than that. "Maybe I'm not any better than him, maybe I'll go macho caveman on you too, but I swear I would never hurt you. Never! Let me help you."
She couldn't stop the tear that escaped and ran down her face. Mulder caught it with his finger and held her eyes. "You can't Mulder. No one can help me. I need you to go back home and forget everything you've seen."
"You can't be serious. He could kill you. Does he not even care about his child?"
She looked away then and tried to get around him.
"What?" His eyes were probing her, seeing too much. "Is it his baby?" She looked up, startled. "It's not, is it? That's why he's so angry? You had an affair? No, he thinks it's mine. That's it, isn't it Scully?" She'd looked away and wouldn't answer him. "Scully?" He put his hands on her shoulders and realized she was shaking.
He pulled her into his arms and held her gently, relief flooding his body when her arms went around him. He felt the child stir between them and she buried her face in his chest. "Talk to me Scully."
"Why did you come here? They'll kill you."
"Kill me? What are you talking about? Your mother said you needed help, it's obvious she was right."
"She doesn't know the whole story."
"Apparently neither do I. And I want to, now."
"I can't. They'll kill you." She was shaking again. He led her back to the bed and sat beside her.
"You need to calm down, or I'm taking you to the hospital."
She gave a shaky laugh. "That's not necessary yet. I've missed you so much."
"Why didn't you call. I'd have been here for you. You must know that."
"Yes. That's why I didn't call." Her smile faded. "It was part of the deal."
"So they wouldn't kill you."
"Who? Who do you think wants to kill me?"
She shook her head. "I made the deal Mulder. I married their psycho and they've left you alone."
Now he grabbed her shoulders. "You married Sam to save me?" She refused to meet his eyes. "You married the wrong man, got pregnant by the wrong man for my sake!"
"No! I would never have his. . . " Her voice trailed off.
"Never have his baby. Is that what you were going to say?" She buried her face in her hands.
"Whose baby are you carrying Scully?" She didn't remove her hands, shaking her head. "Okay, okay you've been though enough for now. I want you to lie down and try to get some rest. I'm going to make some calls."
She nodded and rose from the bed. "Where are you. . . ?"
"The bathroom. And don't worry, I'm not going out the window."
He grinned, she was trying. While she was out of the room he pulled the covers back and found an extra blanket in the closet. She stood at the door a moment before returning to the room, watching him work to make her comfortable. Tears welled up again, but she dashed them away and came back to him.
She sat back on the bed, leaning back on her arms, stretching her back. He couldn't keep his eyes from the movement within her. She saw his hand twitch and smiled. "It's okay, you can feel it." He still hesitated so she took his hand and placed it on her stomach. Both of their eyes widened as the baby surged into his hand.
"He doesn't do that much any more."
"Why not?" He couldn't tear his eyes away from her stomach.
"No more room."
"You never told me when you were due."
"According to the doctor, Tuesday."
"Tuesday?" He looked up at her, "you mean as in five days from now Tuesday?"
She nodded, "But it's a first baby, so there's really no way of knowing."
"Why isn't that any more reassuring?"
She smiled and shook her head. "Go ahead, lie down." He knelt and removed her shoes. He couldn't see any way for her to reach them herself, and then eased her back against the pillows. He saw tears gather in her eyes again. "Scully?"
She shook her head; "It's hormones. I'm okay." He pulled the covers over her and retreated to the bathroom to make his calls, so as not to disturb her.
When he returned she was asleep, so he set up his computer on the small table and went to work. Occasionally he looked up to check on her. When she became restless he moved his chair closer to her and brushed the hair off of her forehead. He saw the bruise forming on her cheek and his hatred of Sam rose again.
"Mulder." He started to respond, then realized she was still asleep and had relaxed again. After a few minutes he moved his chair back and continued his search. It wasn't long before he pulled away, removing his glasses and burying his own face in his hands. What had they done to them?
When he sat back up he saw that she was awake and watching him. He rose and sat beside her on the bed.
"Where was the procedure done, Scully? Who performed the insemination?"
"Mulder. . . "
"Their plan was flawless. Close down the X-Files to break my spirit. Convince you they would kill me if you didn't cooperate, then finish me off by taking you away. Make me believe that you loved someone else. That is my baby isn't it? That was part of the deal. I bet they even made you believe it was your idea. Plots within plots Scully."
"What are you talking about?"
"I don't think I was ever in danger. It was just a device to get your cooperation. You know, I used to have a partner who kept telling me I couldn't make decisions based on her safety. You should have listened to her, I'm not worth it."
"Mulder. . . "
"I'm not. And I can't make all of this up to you, not in this lifetime."
"Mulder, we need to get out of here. Sam could find you."
"No, I called Byers. I've been removed from the computer here at the hotel and at the rental car company. I've gotten us an apartment here in town. One of those executive furnished places. We can move in tomorrow. I wanted them to think I was coming into town, not already here. I wanted to take you home, to your mother's, but it's not safe for you to travel now."
"Byers." She smiled, "How are the guys?"
"Fine. They send their love, especially Frohike." She chuckled and attempted to sit up. He had his arms around her, helping her. She found her hand on his cheek.
"How can we be this close again so fast?"
"I'm not sure we've really been apart." She placed her head on his shoulder.
"Maybe you're right." They sat that way for awhile, holding each other, his hand caressing the child.
Finally he drew back, "Hey, are you getting hungry?"
"No, I really don't feel like eating."
"You should, you know."
"One of those awful garbage pizzas you always order?"
"I'm not sure that's really nutritious enough for you right now." He couldn't get enough of looking into her eyes.
"It would be fine. And better than using room service here."
"True. Okay, I'll call." He held out his hand to help her up. "Bathroom, right?"
She pretended to swat him. "I'm never going to live this down, am I?"
He grinned, "I've got to admit, I can't quite visualize you chasing down a perp right now." She shook her head, but accepted the offer of his hand.
When the pizza arrived, they sat on the bed like old times, eating it, avoiding talking about what was happening opting instead to talk about the past. When he realized her back was bothering her, he rearranged the pillows and after settling her kept his hand on her back, rubbing it lightly where she would press into his hand.
It wasn't long before she was yawning again. "I cannot believe how much sleep I need now. There's a lot of things I didn't give credence to before, I owe some patients apologies from my residency days."
"There's nothing to do tonight anyway and no one knows where we are, thanks to the guys. Why don't you get comfortable? I'll sleep over there."
"Why? I mean, it's a king-size bed. Even I'm not that big. You might as well be comfortable too. Go ahead and watch TV, it won't bother me, nothing keeps me awake, except maybe porn." She grinned at him.
"Scully! I would never. . . "
"Yeah, right. Help me up one more time and then I will go on to bed."
She came back wearing the robe provided by the hotel. He had to smile when he realized it was trailing behind her on the floor. "If you make a crack about me being as wide as I am tall. . . "
He grinned, "Too easy a target, Scully. I'll wait." She narrowed her eyes, but couldn't continue even pretending to be angry with him. God, how she had needed this man. He already understood more about what was going on than she did; at least she thought he did. Being able to lean on him again was more than she'd dared hope for, even in her dreams.
She was right, the TV hadn't bothered her at all, though he had kept it low and turned it off when he finally became drowsy himself. They had gone to sleep on opposite sides of the bed, but he woke to find they had met in the middle, his body spooned around hers, his arm cradling the child inside her body.
How had he let so much time go by without seeing her? He'd known something was wrong with her marriage from the beginning. That's why they'd had that argument. But she had convinced him that she loved another man. With his insecurities that hadn't been so very hard to do. It was never going to happen again. She would not be taken from him ever again. Her or his child.
Without thinking he began nuzzling her neck, finally kissing it when she didnít protest. That woke her and she drew away.
"What are you. . .? Mulder." She relaxed back into his arms.
"Did your husband not kiss you good morning?"
"My Ďhusbandí and I donít share a room."
"What?" But he couldnít disguise the joy on his face.
"You heard me. Could you help me up please?"
"I donít know, Iím awfully comfortable."
"You wonít be if I wet the bed." He laughed out loud, his delight at having her with him, her revelation of her sleeping arrangements, feeling the child stir within her, had made him as happy as he ever remembered being.
He rose and lifted her into his arms, startling her. "I didnít think you could do that any more."
"You still donít weigh anything." He lowered her feet to the floor and made sure she was steady before he released her.
When she was dressed, he took over the facilities and packed his bag. "The first flights should be arriving, we can head over to the apartment. I donít want them to see you, Iíll go in alone, okay?"
She nodded, "I am pretty obvious right now. I think thatís a good idea."
"Good. Have we got everything? Iíll take the stuff out to the car and bring it around."
"I can walk, Mulder."
"I know, I just want less chance of you being seen. Please wait here for me."
She rolled her eyes, but nodded and he was out the door. He wasnít gone long. "Iím parked right down there. You ready?"
"Yep. Letís go." He had his arm around her and led her toward the car. At one point her step faltered and his arm tightened. "You okay?"
"Yeah, Iím fine." She sounded a little breathless to him.
"Donít worry, Scully. Iíve got you."
"Itís okay, I just canít see my feet anymore."
"Then youíll have to trust me to watch out for you."
"I do." He looked down at her, she sounded so serious suddenly. Theyíd reached the car, so he helped her inside.
"Where do you want to eat?"
"None for me, thanks. Get whatever you want."
"Scully. . . "
"Iím not eating anything. Maybe later." He was watching her, what had caused this change in attitude? It must be hormonal. He shrugged it off.
She had gone very quiet, so he left her to her thoughts, happy just to be with her and not really needing to talk. At the residence hotel he parked at the far end of the lot and handed her the newspaper he had brought.
"I wonít be long." She nodded and took the paper.
When he returned he stopped to observe her. She was staring into space, the paper still unopened. As he got closer he saw that she was caressing the baby. He opened the car door and slipped in.
"We all set?"
"Yes. Where were you?"
"Just thinking." He dropped it, sheíd withdrawn into herself. He had no way of knowing what sheíd been through this past year. He needed to give her time, like a prisoner who had just been released. Well, whatever she needed, he was here.
Once inside the apartment she began checking the furnishings and supplies. He assumed she was making a list of things they needed, so he set up his computer and continued working. She couldnít seem to settle down, checking and rechecking the various rooms.
Finally he rose and followed her into the bedroom. "Are you okay? Do you need anything?"
"Iím sorry, I didnít mean to scare you."
"You didnít, I just. . . "
"Look, I know this is hard on you. Please tell me what I can do to help."
She gave him a rueful smile. "You already are. Go on back to what you were doing."
He put his arms around her, "Iím glad Iím here." She ran a hand over his cheek and nodded, not really needing words. "You should be hungry by now. Want an early lunch?"
"Iíll let you know." She stepped away from him and went back into the kitchen. It sounded like she was making tea. Good idea, maybe it would relax her.
It was about an hour later when he realized he was getting hungry himself. He headed toward the bedroom and met her coming to him. She didnít look right; in fact she looked upset. She shouldnít be worrying about anything now. He opened his mouth to reassure her, but she beat him to it.
"I need to ask you a favor."
"Sure, anything." When she didnít respond, "Scully?"
"This is a big one Mulder."
He took her arm. "What?"
"Will you help me deliver my baby?"
"Who, me? I wouldnít think Iíd be your first choice. We donít really need to decide this now." He put his finger under her chin to bring her eyes up to him. What he saw there froze him. "Do we?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact we do."
"I was hoping it was Braxton-Hicks, false labor. But my water just broke." His hands tightened on her arms. As soon as he realized it, he loosened his grip.
"Scully youíre going to need a doctor."
She searched his eyes now. "I am a doctor. Mulder, theyíll be watching the hospitals, the clinics. I donít want them to get their hands on our Ė on my baby."
"Our baby. Scully I want you both to be safe. I donít have any experience."
"I can talk you though it. I trust you completely."
He went a little pale at that. "Maybe you shouldnít."