He held her hand tightly as they waited for someone to open the door. He knew they were on camera and he could hear the locks being disengaged. When the door finally opened, she was greeted by the sight of a small man with two day’s growth of beard and thinning hair. He swept his arm to welcome them in and she saw he was wearing gloves with the fingers cut off.
Mulder’s arm went around her and he escorted her inside.
“Welcome to my home lovely lady.” The strange little man took her hand and kissed it.
Mulder pulled her closer to him. “Back off Frohike.”
The older man grinned at him as the two other men joined them.
“Red, this is John Byers, Ringo Langly and that is Melvin Frohike.”
“Well guys, did I pick it or did I pick it?” Langly looked over at his friends.
Byers nodded and Langly snorted.
“What?” Mulder asked.
“You decide.” Frohike moved toward the desk. He shuffled through some papers quickly and picked up a picture, then handed it to Mulder. “That’s her, isn’t it?”
The others didn’t seem to notice, but she could tell he had gone slightly pale. She moved closer, and held out her hand. The gesture seemed to surprise him, but he managed a rueful grin. He handed her the photograph.
It was her. Her hair was shorter, but it was her.
“Her name is Dana Scully.” Frohike offered.
“Dana.” He tried out the sound of it.
She sank into the nearest chair and his hand came out to catch her. “I’m . . . I’m fine.”
He squatted beside her. “Really?”
She took a deep breath, then looked over at Frohike. “Who am I?”
He smiled at her, kindly it seemed, and she relaxed a notch. “You’re a doctor, a good one apparently.”
She blinked at that and glanced over at Mulder. He smiled and nodded. She relaxed a little more.
“What about the personal?” Mulder asked this, trying to sound casual.
Langly chuckled, until Mulder’s look stopped him.
“You’re single, your parents live in Georgetown. Your father is Navy, a Captain, and your mother was a stay at home mom. You have . . . “ Byers let his voice trail off when he realized they weren’t listening. In fact, he couldn’t be sure they’d heard anything after the word ‘single’. He met Frohike’s eyes and nodded.
She wasn’t sure whether she’d taken his hand or he’d taken hers, but they were holding onto each other. There was no husband, no family to feel guilty in front of. There was no other man to mar their relationship. She felt positively light headed.
“Yes,” she drew herself back to the present. “What else?”
Byers glanced over at Mulder, then continued. “You have two brothers, we think, and a sister named Melissa. That’s about all we know. We weren’t sure which one to check.”
“My, my parents live here?”
Frohike nodded, “You worked at Georgetown.”
“I’m a doctor. What kind?”
Byers shrugged, “we can find out in a few minutes.”
She nodded and leaned into Mulder.
“Hey guys, you have brandy, don’t you?” He was watching her and she seemed to be sinking slightly now.
“Uh, sure. Just a second.” Byers was on his feet, as Mulder lifted her and carried her to the sofa. Byers returned immediately with a glass. “Is she okay?”
“Yeah. Just give her a minute. This is a lot to absorb.”
She took the glass he held out, but it trembled in her hands, so his hands closed around hers and brought the glass to her lips. She sipped from it, then leaned into him.
“We’ll, uh, we’ll give you a few minutes. There’s some things we can look up.”
Mulder nodded, his attention on her fully now. “Red?”
“I’m not married.” She looked up into his eyes.
His smile was dazzling. “No, you aren’t, yet.”
She blushed then. “I’m not, I mean - “
“I’ll take you to your parent’s home tomorrow. I can only imagine how seeing you is going to affect them.”
“What about tonight?”
His face fell slightly. “You should stay here tonight. I need to contact Diana, let her know I’m in town. My place might be watched.”
Her eyes grew troubled, “You’ll be in danger?”
“No. I mean, I’m not supposed to be in the office until Monday. We have tomorrow.”
“Couldn’t you stay here too and contact her tomorrow?”
“Think I can stay near you and not . . . “
“You did the other nights.”
“That was before I knew what I was missing.” But her expression of fear was getting to him. “I . . . I suppose I could call her and let her think we’re still on the road.”
He nodded, “Okay. Let’s see what the guys have dug up. Are you feeling better?”
“Yes, especially if you stay here.” She watched his eyes dilate and relaxed even more.
They joined the others and Frohike immediately rose to give her his chair. He was beginning to grow on her; he really was kind of sweet.
“Guys, you have a phone I can use? Untraceable.”
Langly shot his eyes at him. “You’re kidding right? You couldn’t be in a safer place. Come on.” Mulder grinned then squeezed her hand and followed the pony-tailed blond out of the room. Langly handed him a phone and made a few adjustments, then left him alone.
He dialed the familiar number. “Hello?”
“Diana, it’s me.”
“Fox! Why didn’t you call?”
“There was another tie up on the highway, we spent some time hiding.”
“So where are you?”
“Tennessee. We should be in DC tomorrow. Have you been able to find out who she is?”
“No, but after we have fingerprints we can search.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s what it’ll take.”
He sounded disappointed, but she couldn’t give him any information, not yet. “What time should you be here?”
“Afternoon. I’m not sure.”
“Okay. Do you want me to meet you at your place?”
“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.”
“Is she talking yet?”
“A little. She doesn’t remember who she is. I can tell that’s beginning to frighten her.”
“It’ll probably just be a matter of time. If we find her family, husband, kids, I’m sure seeing them will help.”
He closed his eyes; that was what he’d been worried about. She was single, there was no husband. “Look Diana, I’m tired. This has been a long trip. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Okay. Be careful Fox.” But he’d already hung up. Well, he’d said he was tired. At least she hadn’t remembered anything. How had he evaded the teams? Of course he shouldn’t be in Tennessee on the route they had planned. There were only so many routes into DC from the south. She’d pass along the information. If they weren’t picked up, it wouldn’t be her fault. She just needed to remain cool so that he wouldn’t see her role in this.
Mulder hurried back to the main room. Red, Dana, was sitting in front of a computer reading the screen. She didn’t seem to notice that he’d returned.
Then she turned to smile at him and he relaxed. She was aware of him like he was her, on a cellular level or something.
“So are you a pediatrician or something? Could you support me in my old age?”
She blushed and he moved closer. “I’m a . . . a pathologist.”
“A path . . . well, no pesky house calls I guess.”
“I did an extensive residency in cardiology too, which might explain some things.”
“Yeah.” He nodded, “but you chose pathology. Someday I’d like the rest of that story.”
“Someday I’d like to tell you.” She said softly.
The three men moved away, finding other parts of the room suddenly fascinating. Mulder chuckled. “It’s okay guys. We’ll try to control ourselves. I’m thinking I’ll take her to her parent’s tomorrow morning. Can we both bunk here tonight?”
“Uh, sure.” Byers responded.
“Mulder, I don’t think we should just show up. I don’t want to shock them.”
“Good idea. We need to come up with a cover story on where you’ve been as well. I want publicity, so the military won’t be comfortable ‘bothering’ you.”
“Do you think they’ll try to take me, for testing?”
“You’re a physician. We need to preempt them, make a big deal of how healthy you are. Offer your medical records. These people don’t like working in the light. The more famous you are, the more they’ll want to distance themselves. It doesn’t hurt that your family’s military.”
She sighed. “I don’t want to mess up.”
“You won’t. And as for publicity, we’re here in the heart of ‘The Magic Bullet’ - a newsletter written by these guys. We can use their expertise on publicity.”
She looked at the other men, slightly surprised. “Will you help us on that too?”
Byers smiled and Frohike looked surprised she had even asked. “Of course we will Lovely Lady. Damsels in distress are my specialty.”
“That’s ‘cause he usually puts them in distress.” Langly offered, then huffed as Frohike backhanded a fist into his chest.
He pulled the car to the curb in front of her parent’s house. He had called ahead, but Red hadn’t talked to her mother. The woman had no doubt been on the phone ever since, gathering her family.
Mulder looked over at the pale woman sitting beside him, her hands clasped together in her lap. “It’ll be okay.”
She tried to smile and he took her hands. They were icy cold. He took them in his and rubbed them, to stimulate circulation. She did manage a small smile and nodded.
He exited the car and came around to open her door, then took her hand to help her from the car. She seemed to lean into him and his arm went around her with a familiarity that startled him a little.
Before they could knock, the door opened and a dark haired woman hurried out toward them. She threw her arms around Red, hugging her tightly. “Oh Dana, my baby.” Those were the only words he could make out, though she continued speaking into Red’s ear. She drew them inside, finally turning to him.
“Yes.” He smiled at her, as she dashed the tears of joy from her eyes.
Before he could say anything else, she threw her arms around him as well, hugging him tightly. That sight finally brought a smile to Red’s face and he grinned at her.
Then she turned back to her daughter. “Come in, come in. Would you like some hot tea?”
That brought a lightening to Dana’s eyes. “I like hot tea?”
Maggie looked slightly confused then, “Yes, you love it.” She turned to Mulder, “I didn’t realize when you . . . Dana, do you recognize me?”
Dana’s face fell then, and she shook her head. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh my lord, don’t be sorry. You’re alive!
The memories will return, don’t worry about that at all. How do you feel? Have
you been checked out - “
“Dana seems to be very healthy. The memory loss is most likely from trauma and once she feels safe again, I’m sure things will begin to return. Some things are already returning.”
Maggie nodded, “Are you a doctor?”
“No, I’m a psychologist, but not practicing. I work for the FBI.”
“So you’re the one that rescued her.”
“Not exactly. She was released. We really can’t talk about it right now, there is an ongoing investigation.”
“I want the people that did this punished Mr. Mulder. They should be thrown under the jail and kept there forever.”
“I understand, but currently we can’t discuss this.”
Maggie looked deeply into his eyes, so this was where Red had learned it, and finally nodded. “But please, promise me that you will pursue these men.”
“I have every intention of finding out everything I can about Red’s disappearance.”
“Red?” Maggie smiled then, her joy overcoming her anger at whoever had taken her precious baby girl.
“We didn’t know her name, that’s what I called her until . . .” He shrugged.
“It fits; her older brother called her that when she was little.”
“He did?” Dana spoke then.
“Yes. Your older brother is Bill; he’s in the Navy like your father. Your younger brother is Charlie; he’s an English professor in Ohio. And you have a sister, Melissa. She’s between you and Bill, and . . . she’s a free spirit. I’ve talked to Bill and Charlie, but I haven’t been able to reach her yet.”
“And my father?”
“He’s on his way. I haven’t spoken to him directly, but they were able to contact him. He’ll be so thrilled. You and your father are very close. This past year has been so hard on him.”
“I wish I . . . “
Maggie shook her head, “You’re home now. That’s all that matters.”
Before she could say anything else, they heard the front door open. “Maggie? Is she here?” An older man stepped into the living room and his eyes fell on Dana.
Mulder rose from his chair and stepped forward, extending his hand. “Mr. Scully, I’m - “
“I’m Dr. Daniel Waterston, Dana’s fiancé.”
Mulder froze as this man took Red’s hands and pulled her up and into his arms. He kissed her passionately. In his shock, Mulder didn’t realize that she did not respond; her arms limp at her side.
“I couldn’t believe it when Maggie called me Dana. I was so afraid that I would never see you again. I don’t want to wait. I want us to get married as soon as possible. Time is too precious, we - “
Daniel finally noticed her lack of response and loosened his hold on her. “Dana?”
She had gone deathly pale, her eyes wide and frightened. When his grip slackened, she stepped back into Mulder’s chest and his arm automatically went around her, anchoring her to him.
“What - “ Daniel’s eyes narrowed as he finally gave his attention to the man standing before him.
“Daniel, Dana just arrived. Give her a minute, please.” Maggie tried to sooth things over, but it was obvious whose arms Dana wanted to be in. “I tried to tell you.” She put her hand on Daniel’s arm drawing his attention to her.
“Dana doesn’t remember us, me, you, her family. She just got free from her captors. You need to give her some time.”
After a moment he nodded slowly and took Dana’s hand, drawing her back toward him. Mulder almost didn’t release her, but this man seemed to have such confidence of his place in her life, more than Mulder had ever felt. Mulder let his arm fall to his side.
She looked up at him, but allowed Daniel to tug her closer. “I . . . I’m sorry, I don’t - “
“It’s okay. You’ll remember me soon. I want to go ahead and make the arrangements. We’ve lost a year Dana. I don’t want to lose any more time.”
“I can’t, please - “ He took her lips again and she struggled this time, pulling away. “Please, don’t, I need . . . “ she glanced back at Mulder but he had turned away when Daniel kissed her. Tears filled her eyes but she didn’t speak.
Maggie summed up the situation quickly. “That’s it. Dana needs some time to adjust. I’d like both of you to leave.”
“Maggie, we’ve been over this. I’m part of Dana’s life - “
“You may be part of her life, but not right now. She’s been through a horrible experience. She doesn’t know her family or even who she is. I’m telling you that she needs some time. You can call and check on her this evening, but do not come over.” She turned to Mulder then, “I want to thank you, more than I could ever express for what you’ve given me. I think Dana needs to lie down for a little while now, she’s obviously tired and upset. We’ll be in touch regarding the investigation.” She began moving both men toward the door.
The two of them were each a head taller than her but she was in charge and didn’t let them forget it. Mulder glanced over at Red and saw the look of fear but what was he supposed to say?
Both men seemed lost when she shut the door behind them and turned back to her daughter, who was trembling by this time, but didn’t speak. “Come upstairs, Dana. You rest for a little while, then we can talk or whatever you want.” Maggie put her arm around her and led her upstairs.
Outside the door, Daniel drew himself up. He was angry that he had allowed the woman to throw him out, but he wasn’t about to let this man see that. He didn’t bother to look over at the younger man, walking with dignity to his Mercedes and driving off without a backward glance.