"Scully, open your eyes. Come on." She could hear the voice again and it didnít sound as far away as it had before. Whoever it was had their hand on her face now. It felt good, so tender. Maybe she should open her eyes, but it just seemed like so much effort.
"Scully, listen to me. Iím right here and I need you to look at me. Please Scully." Well they werenít going to go away. She stirred, now trying harder to comply with the instructions. She was so tired.
She managed to open her eyes a crack. It was a man leaning over her, caressing her face. There was so much concern in his eyes. But as she watched him they began to lighten up. Something was making him happy.
"Scully. I knew you could do it. Are you in any pain?"
Pain? Now that he mentioned it she did have a headache somewhere in the background threatening to come closer. "Head." She managed to croak out and he nodded as though he understood her even though she had barely managed to speak.
He turned away and spoke to someone else in the room. Sheíd thought they were alone but didnít have the strength to look around. She felt something move near her arm and realized she was on an IV. They were giving her pain medication. What had happened? Where was she?
He obviously read that from her as well. "Youíre going to be okay. They only had you a couple of days. I was able to find you and do them a hell of a lot of damage. I think theyíll be leaving us alone for a while."
Find me? Damage? What was going on?
"Dana? Are you awake?" There was a disturbance on the other side of the room and his face was replaced by that of her motherís. Mom looked tired; how long had she been here?
"Mom?" She managed to get out.
"Yes baby. Just relax, theyíre taking very good care of you here. Fox and I are right here with you." Fox? It didnít matter and sleep was taking her over anyway. She let her eyes close and drifted away again.
The next time she woke the lights were low. Must be night, she was able to turn her head this time and look around the room a little. He was here again, asleep in the chair. It didnít look very comfortable, why was he still here? And where was Mom? And Dad, was he out on maneuvers? No, heíd retired; maybe heíd been by while she was asleep.
The man jerked awake, startling her. "Scully? Hi, you need anything?" He had hold of her hand now, fondling it. She didnít have the strength to resist and hell, it felt good.
"Is my Dad here?" Well, her voice was stronger at least.
His eyes grew wide for an instant before his face went carefully blank. "Your Dad? Uh, no Scully. Are you . . . should I get your Mom?"
"Thanks." He let go of her hand, reluctantly it seemed, and left the room. He seemed to be gone for a while before the door reopened and her mother walked in.
She was smiling, but her eyes seemed concerned. "Dana, how are you feeling?"
"Weak, tired. Is Ahab here?"
There seemed to be a long pause before her mother answered. "No Honey, heís not. But Fox and I are, so if you need anything . . . "
"Fox? You said that before didnít you? What fox? I donít understand." She saw the look of fright pass over her motherís face before she could hide it. "Mom?"
Her mother took what looked like a steadying breath, then said, "Fox is the man thatís been here with you. You know, Mulder?"
Scully shook her head slightly; "Heís not one of the doctors?"
"No Honey, heís your partner, your best friend."
"What are you talking about? The man that was in here? The one that went to get you? I never saw him before."
"Dana, youíve been very sick. You might be a little confused. Donít worry about it now. You just get your strength back and donít think about anything but getting well right now."
"Whatís wrong with me?"
"I donít really know. When youíre more yourself the doctors will have to explain it to you. Youíll understand better than I would anyway." She smiled and patted her daughterís hand. "Go on back to sleep Dana, donít fight it. Iíll be close by when you wake up."
Scully nodded, giving in to the overwhelming fatigue the conversation had caused and allowed her eyes to close.
When Mrs. Scully was certain she was asleep she stepped out into the hall. Mulder straightened up when he saw her come out of the room and approached her. "Is she okay?"
"Sheís getting stronger, but she still has a long way to go."
"Did she not remember that her father . . . "
"No and I didnít want to tell her now, not as weak as she is." Mulder nodded in agreement. "Fox," she took his hand, "besides her father, well . . . she didnít know you. Now I want you to stay calm about it. Sheís been unconscious for days and has to be confused. I donít want you to get upset. When sheís back on her feet Iím sure everything will be back to normal."
Mulder didnít respond, he wasnít even sure he was able to. Didnít know him? Sheíd known him last time. What had been done to her? What did she remember?
"Fox?" She touched his shoulder bringing him back to the present.
"Iím, Iím okay. Really." He added when her expression gave her away. "Do you think it would be all right to go back in?"
"Of course it would. The more she sees you the better. Why donít I get us a snack?"
"Iím not hungry Mrs. Scully. You get what you want. Iíll . . . Iíll stay with her." She squeezed the shoulder she was still touching and turned away, suddenly as concerned for him as she was for Dana.
Being home was strange. Some things were so familiar and others were completely different. She knew now that Ahab and Melissa were dead, but she hadnít really assimilated the information. She didnít know how to grieve; it just didnít seem real.
This man Mulder was so attentive. She might not remember him, but he obviously knew her, cared about her. Heíd been to the hospital every day and had even come to drive she and her mother home. Sheíd finally convinced them that she was strong enough to leave the hospital, but not that she could live alone.
She knew he was reluctant to leave her, even with her mother. In the life she couldnít remember he seemed to feel as though he should be her protector or else responsible for what had happened to her. No one had given her a straight story on that yet, she was weak and, though she would only admit it when she was alone, more than a little afraid. Sheíd become an FBI agent; sheíd left medicine. No one wanted to talk about that either.
They kept saying her memory could return at any time. She wanted it sooner rather than later. It could have been worse, at least she remembered her mother, this house, and thank goodness, her medical training. It was as though a six-year slice had been taken from her life and the two ends merged.
"You should rest now Scully." Heíd helped her up the stairs and to her room. "I need you to get your strength back so you can keep me in line at work." He grinned at her. Heíd refused to listen to any possibility that she might not return to the FBI or him.
She nodded, "Thanks again for driving us Ė "
"I wanted to do it, Scully. Whatever you need. Listen, if you donít mind Iíll stop by tomorrow. Just to check . . . just to see if you need anything."
She tried to hide her smile, she wouldnít mind seeing him. He was certainly easy to look at and he did seem to be the key to her memories. "It would be nice to see you tomorrow." Well, sheíd said the right thing.
She was still asleep when her mother tapped on her door the next morning. "Youíve got company, Dana."
Scully roused herself. No! She didnít want Mulder to see her looking like this; it was bad enough at the hospital. But it wasnít Mulder that came in the door. "Bill!"
"Hi Dana." He sat beside her on the bed and put his arms around her. "You look like youíre doing okay."
"I am. Iím stronger every day. Just a little memory lapse to get over."
"But you know me?"
"Of course I do. You donít forget someone who torments you for pleasure for years."
"I thought you had forgotten Mulder."
"Bill!" Her motherís voice was sharp and he ignored her. Scully looked over at her mother questioningly.
Bill moved on smoothly, changing the subject. "You didnít spring yourself too quick did you Dana? I know doctors make the worst patients."
"Iím feeling fine, maybe a little weak in the knees from being in the bed too much. Whatís going on with you, what are you doing in DC?"
"Mom called to tell me of your latest Ė " He looked at their mother and hesitated, "anyway I had a trip to DC coming up so I just moved it forward so I could check on you. Tara and the baby send their love."
"Tara. Dana, Iím married now, I have a little boy, Matthew."
"Oh." She said it in a very small voice and he found himself wishing heíd taken the time to find out exactly what she did remember from Mom.
"Iím sorry Dana. What has that damn bastard done to you now?"
Bill glanced over at the door, Mom had left but still . . . "Nevermind, Dana. Iím just glad youíre safe now."
After a couple of minutes she asked Bill to help her to her feet and she went to freshen up, then returned and sat in the chair beside the bed visiting with her brother.
She heard his footsteps and had already begun to smile, missing whatever Bill had said last. "The door was unlocked, may I come in?" Mulder stuck his head in the door and smiled to see her out of bed.
"What the fuck are you doing in my motherís house!" Bill was on his feet. Mulder hadnít spotted him; Scully sat stunned, mouth open and eyes wide. "Youíre not welcome here! Havenít you hurt her enough? Youíve ruined her life in every way possible! The only reason sheís tolerating you now is that she canít remember what a hell youíve made of her life."
"Bill!" Scully had made it to her feet now and had clutched his arm. "Stop it! Whatís going on, what are you talking about?"
Mulderís face was white and hard but he didnít respond or try to defend himself in any way. Maggie, hearing the commotion, ran upstairs to the room and stood in front of Bill as though to protect Mulder from him.
"Bill, I want you to come with me." Maggieís voice didnít allow for arguments; the fact that Bill towered over her not diminishing her status as his mother. Billís mouth clamped shut and he followed her from the room, shooting one last killing glance at Mulder.
After an awkward silence Mulder turned to her, "Well, I guess I better get out of here. Iím sorry about . . . I didnít know Bill had come in."
"Mulder, why does Bill hate you so?" She was still reeling from her brotherís unprovoked attack.
He sighed, "Thatís a long story Scully."
"Six years long?" She asked gently, he was obviously as shaken as she was.
He looked up and gave her a sad sort of smile. "Yeah. About that."
"I need to hear it."
Now he was searching her eyes again, standing too close. Why didnít it bother her? "You know Scully, now that I think about it, youíre probably better off not remembering. You take care of yourself." He turned and without another word left the house.
In a few minutes her mother returned to the room. "Whereís Fox?"
"Iím sorry Bill acted that way. Maybe I should give Fox a call. Or is he coming back later?"
"I donít think heís coming back."
"Dana?" Her mother looked at her closely.
"He seems to think Iím better off not remembering him." Mrs. Scully kept silent waiting for Dana to continue. She finally looked up at her mother and tried to smile, "Is he right?"
"I donít think so Dana, but I understand why he feels that way. Give yourself a little time, Honey. Him too. Your memory could return in an hour, a couple of days, we donít know."
"And it could be never, Mom." She took a deep breath. "Iím kind of tired. Do you mind?"
"Of course not. Call me if you need anything." Dana nodded and made herself more comfortable in the bed, turning away from her mother. Mrs. Scully watched her for another moment, then let herself out of the room.
She waited three days. That was enough, more than enough. "Fox? Itís Mrs. Scully."
"Hi." No more, no less. He waited for her to continue.
"How long are you planning to avoid her Fox?"
He winced at that. "Iím not avoiding her Mrs. Scully."
"What would you call it?" There was silence on his end. "She needs you Fox."
"I doubt that Mrs. Scully."
"Do you doubt that you need her?" If she had to play dirty she would, for Dana.
"No." Again he fell silent.
"Well at least youíre honest there."
"How is she?" He couldnít help himself; heíd been dying piece by piece since heíd seen her.
"What?" That came out harshly and he started to apologize but she cut him off.
"She feels abandoned Fox. You just walk away and expect her to get along without you?"
"She doesnít know who I am and thatís a good thing. The farther she stays from me the less chance of this happening to her again. Isnít that what we all want?"
"No, itís not what she wants. Fox, she may not remember you like we all think we remember people, but inside she knows you belong close by. She wonít come out of her room and is barely speaking any more. She needs you, whatever you think." She sighed, this might have gone better in person but she was too worried about Dana to leave her alone right now. Dana herself had asked Bill to leave after refusing to listen to anything else he had to say.
"I only cause her pain. Bill was right." Wouldnít leave her room? Not speaking? Scully? God, this was worse than heíd ever imagined. Scully never would react this way, not if she were herself. But he couldnít . . .
"Bill was not right!" Maggie spoke urgently now, "Bill was Bill, he has no idea what the relationship is between you and Dana. And itís none of his business anyway. Please Fox, couldnít you stop by to see her today?"
Did this woman even know what she was asking? Could she ever know? It had taken everything in him not to go over there, Bill or no Bill. Now he was being asked over? Because she needed him? How was he supposed to get over her this way Ė not that it was a possibility in this lifetime, but he was trying.
"Fox please. Iím worried about her."
He closed his eyes, not a good idea. What if she did remember? Sheíd be in danger again and sheíd know what heíd done to her. Heíd damaged the bastards, though he didnít for a minute believe they wouldnít be back. But could he refuse Mrs. Scully? She wanted him to come?
Mrs. Scully heard him sigh and knew sheíd won. "Come for dinner Fox, maybe we can persuade her to come down to the table. Youíll help her with the stairs, wonít you?"
"Sure." God, she wanted him to come over and touch her? She was trying to kill him, Mrs. Scully had probably joined the consortium while he wasnít looking and this was their latest scheme to get him out of their hair Ė kill him outright. Well, it was a better plan than harming her to get rid of him. "What time?"
"Now, the sooner the better. Fox, you havenít seen her."
"Youíre scaring me Mrs. Scully."
"Iím trying to and trying to prepare you. Please hurry."
"Iím on my way." He hung up without saying goodbye. He couldnít talk to her anymore. He sat for a moment before rising from the desk. How could you want something and not want something this much at the same time?
Mrs. Scully met him at the door and hugged him tightly. "I forgot to tell you, Bill went home. You donít have to worry about seeing him."
He nodded and returned her hug. "Thanks."
"Iím finishing dinner, why donít you go on up. Try to talk her into coming downstairs. She needs to come out of her room."
"Why doesnít she want to?"
"Talk to her Fox. Iíll be in the kitchen." She turned and left him in the foyer, knowing he would find Dana wherever she was.
He hesitated just outside her door. He shouldnít be here. She was better off without him. He leaned his head against the door and closed his eyes. He had to see her though, Mrs. Scully said she wasnít doing well. If he was honest with himself neither was he. Oh hell. He tapped on the door and opened it, not waiting for a response.
She was lying in the bed but even there he could tell she had lost weight and there was so little color in her face. She looked up as he entered the room and couldnít quite hide the pleasure the sight of him caused her.
"How you doing Scully?" He was proud of himself, his voice was steady.
"I didnít expect to see you. My mother forced you to come, didnít she?"
"Forced? Sheís just worried about you Scully. We all are. Why are you staying up here? Wouldnít you be more comfortable downstairs?"
"Itís too hard downstairs. Too many things remind me of Ahab and Melissa. I donít remember grieving for them and I have to do it again. Iím not ready for that."
He nodded; it had been hard enough on her the first time. "Iíve been invited for dinner. Do you think you could eat with us, maybe in the kitchen, then you could come right back upstairs." Donít push her Mulder.
She suddenly looked very tired and more than a little frightened. "Iím not sure I could walk that far."
"I could carry you." Carry her? Heíd meant to say help you. Too late now, she nodded and reached for her robe. He had to steady her as she stood; it seemed as though she hadnít even been out of bed since heíd seen her.
She started for the door, prepared to walk to the top of the stairs, but he took her arm, turning her and scooped her into his arms. She stiffened for an instant, then relaxed against him. He couldnít stop his arms from tightening around her and she cuddled in a little, making herself comfortable. This was so far beyond a bad idea he couldnít believe it.
They entered the kitchen and if Mrs. Scully was surprised she hid it well. He gently let her feet touch the floor and helped her into her chair. Mrs. Scully kept the conversation going and they were able to persuade her to eat a little.
When dinner was through Mrs. Scully stood to clear the table. "Let me help you with that."
"No, Fox. Why donít you help Dana out to the living room and Iíll bring the coffee and dessert."
Mulder looked over at Scully, heíd promised she could go right back upstairs. But to his surprise she nodded, so he helped her to her feet and she walked the few steps to the other room.
They sat silently, though not awkwardly, waiting for her mother. He had a quick memory of one of his first dates, sitting on a sofa not unlike the one they were on now, waiting for the girlís father to come in so that they could be introduced. He looked over at Scully and realized she was having a similar memory and was smiling a little at him. He shrugged and they both relaxed back against the seat.
Mrs. Scully came in almost immediately, placing a tray on the low table in front of them and pouring them both a cup of coffee. "Donít worry, I just gave you a very small piece of cake, Dana. Eat some of it, okay?"
Scully nodded, smiling slightly and took the plate from her. It was more comfortable being down here than at any other time that she had tried it. She glanced over at Mulder, was it his presence? What was his role in her life? Why did just being near him make her feel better? She didnít remember him; she had no memories at all of this man before waking in the hospital. It made no sense.
Mrs. Scully rose and picked up the tray. "Mrs. Scully, I should help with the clean up, that dinner was the best Iíve had in a long time."
"I donít need any help in the kitchen. You just sit here and keep Dana company for a little while." And she was gone.
That first date feeling came over him again. What did you talk about to a woman who should know everything there was to know about you? "I, uh, I promised Iíd take you back up as soon as we ate. Are you . . . "
"Itís okay. Would you like to watch some TV?" At his nod they both reached for the remote, brushing hands. They both drew back quickly as though they had done something illicit.
After a moment she turned to him, her mind made up. "May I ask you a question?"
"Were we lovers?" The way his eyes dilated, the question had shocked him, why?
"Uh, no, no we werenít lovers."
"Because of our jobs?" This was so weird; sheíd never had to ask this kind of question before.
"Well, that was part of it."
"Part of it?" He was so uncomfortable talking about this, she shouldnít have asked. Look at him Dana, he obviously has all the women he wants. She looked away, embarrassed that sheíd brought up the subject.
"I donít aspire that high."
Her head jerked around to look at him again. What? What had he said? He gave her that dumb little half grin and shrugged. She looked away again, knowing that the redhead in her was blushing like mad. This was one hell of a confusing man; her own feelings werenít helping any.
"Maybe I better go on up."
His face immediately showed his concern. "We didnít keep you up too long did we? Are you okay?"
"I had a very good time, Iím just a little tired. This is the most Iíve done for a while."
He nodded, satisfied with that answer and rose. He had her in his arms before she could protest. He kept his hand on her as she took off her robe, making her feel like some kind of precious delicate glass, then helped her into the bed.
She sighed at the comfort of reclining again and then smiled at him. "Will it be weeks before I see you again?"
"No." No way, he wasnít that strong. He wanted to be, but how in all hell could he fight her, her mother and himself. He leaned over her and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her goodnight. Instead his lips gently brushed her brow. "Good night."
"Night Mulder." She rolled away from him, afraid for him to see her face. He knew her too well, better than she knew herself right now and she didnít know what her eyes would reveal to him.
He let himself out of the room and closed the door gently behind him, then just stood there trying not to think. He heard Mrs. Scully coming up the stairs and straightened up. "Sheís resting. I better go."
"Can I count on you for dinner tomorrow?" Mrs. Scully was watching him closely, reading him like her daughter always had.
"Mrs. Scully . . . "
"Letís make it Maggie and be here by seven."
He didnít have a chance with these women. Monty Props had been easier to figure out. After a very slight hesitation he nodded.
"Good. Weíll see you then. Can you let yourself out? Youíre practically family anyway and I want to check on her."
"Sure. Good night Mrs. . . . Maggie." Practically family?