Mulder looked over at the door as she entered and rose to his feet. Bill’s eyes followed him, then he saw her as well. “Red? Did you get enough sleep?”
“You want some hot tea?” Bill offered.
“Thanks.” She spoke softly, shyly.
“Look, I . . . I’m sorry. I never meant to scare you.”
”I know. I . . .” She glanced over at Mulder. “Why don’t we talk or something.”
Well, she obviously wasn’t scared when this Mulder guy was around. “I’d like that.” Bill took the mug of hot water out of the microwave and moved toward the table. She and Mulder sat beside each other, with Bill at the head of the table. Bill noted immediately how she leaned toward the man. He wondered if Mulder was aware that his arm was protectively draped over her shoulder.
They talked, with Bill answering questions, keeping it light. After a few minutes, Mulder and Bill both realized that she wasn’t listening, she’d spaced out or something.
“Red?” Mulder’s arm tightened around her, but she looked at Bill.
Bill’s face brightened with a huge smile. “Dad. That’s what you call Dad. You’re remembering.”
She turned immediately to face Mulder, a look of hope on her face.
“Dana? Do you remember what Dad calls you?” Bill asked gently.
She searched for it, but then shook her head.
“Starbuck. That’s from Moby Dick too. I’m not surprised that’s the first thing you remembered.”
“You and Dad are close. You’re his favorite.”
“Favorite? I’m sure - “ She immediately demurred.
“Yeah, he loves us all, but you’ve always been special.”
“It’s not a secret or anything, but Mom . . . she had a baby that died after Missy was born. I was four but I remember it. Then when I was six, you were born and, and it was good again. Then Charlie was born. I told them they should have stopped while they were ahead.” He grimaced comically.
“Wha . . . what?” She laughed nervously.
“Charlie’s a smart ass. No doubt his classes are very well attended.”
“Co-eds?” Mulder asked.
“No, not Charlie. He’s the only one of us that is married. He’s so in love with Mary his eyes cross when he looks at her. They got married when they were still undergraduates and put each other through graduate school. They’re expecting their first baby next month, which is why he’s not here right now. I . . . I envy them, which is another reason to go ahead and quit wasting time.”
“What? I don’t - “ Dana looked confused
“Mulder and I were talking earlier. I think I’ll be asking Tara to marry me as soon as I see her again.”
“You don’t remember her? I’ve been seeing her for about two years. You’ve meet a couple of times. She’s great.”
A movement made Bill look up, “Someone’s here.” He stood and looked out the window of the back door. He glanced back at them to see that Dana had tensed up again. “Dana, I think it’s the police. Mom called them this morning to let them know you were home.”
Mulder squeezed her shoulders, then joined Bill at the door. “Please don’t identify me as FBI. I can explain later.”
Bill looked over at Dana, who’s expression was begging him to agree. He nodded and moved toward the front door.
After a moment, Dana and Mulder followed him. Bill was looking at the man’s badge. He nodded for the two of them to join him. “This is Detective Lewis. My sister, Dana.”
Lewis held out his hand and after the briefest hesitation, Dana shook it. “I’m very pleased to meet you Dr. Scully.” Then the detective looked over at Mulder and waited.
“This is a friend of mine from school - “ Bill motioned toward Mulder.
Mulder extended his hand then, “Marty Fox. Pleased to meet you.”
“Yeah, I heard Dana was home and wanted to offer my congratulations. I can wait in the kitchen.”
“No, that’s okay. I just wanted to ask Dr. Scully a few questions.”
Bill motioned toward the living room. “Why don’t we have a seat in here? Do you want me to get my mother? She’s resting upstairs.”
“No, that won’t be necessary. Thanks.” He took the seat offered and watched as the two men flanked Dana on the couch.
Detective Lewis closed his notebook and stood. He was clearly not satisfied with what he’d heard, but it seemed to be all he was going to get. “Dr. Scully, I am very happy to have you home safe. I hope your memory returns soon and I’d like to talk to you again.”
“Are you seeing anyone about . . . “
Dana glanced at Mulder. “Marty is a psychologist. I’m comfortable with him, so maybe . . . “
Lewis looked over at the young man and visibly relaxed. “Well good. I’m glad you’re getting some help. Please let me know how you’re doing.”
Dana rose then, as did Mulder and Bill. “I will and thank you for coming over . . . and for searching for me.”
Lewis nodded and turned toward the door. Bill let him out, then returned to them. “Okay, want to explain why you didn’t want him to know you’re FBI?”
Mulder looked down at Red, “Not really, not yet. This is an on-going investigation, but . . . “
“Bill, please. When I remember, and I will, we’ll tell you everything. Mulder’s just trying to protect me.”
“You need protection?” Bill tensed.
Mulder faced them, “Not as long as she doesn’t remember.”
“I don’t like the sound of that.”
”I don’t blame you, but I want to make sure she’s not taken again.”
“You . . . I thought the guy released her or, or died, and she got away.”
“She got away.” Mulder said solemnly.
Bill looked at him for a minute, “You’ll keep her safe?”
“Or die trying.” Mulder responded.
Dana’s eyes grew wide, “Mulder - “
“Red.” It was all he said but she subsided. Bill watched the two; it was almost as if they didn’t need words to communicate.
“Maybe I should look in on Mom.” Dana said.
“She’d like that.” Bill nodded. Once she was out of sight up the stairs, he turned to Mulder. “Exactly how long have you known her?”
“Uh, a week tomorrow.”
Bill blinked but made no comment.
Maggie came downstairs with Dana, slightly embarrassed she’d slept so long. “I understand I missed Detective Lewis.”
“It’s okay. Dana answered his questions. You needed your rest.”
She sighed lightly. “It’s nice to have both of you here. What about some lunch?” Her look included Mulder.
“Uh, I appreciate it, but there are a couple of things I need to do. I’ll drop by later, if you don’t mind.”
“Come for dinner Mr. Mulder. It’ll be just the four of us.”
He looked over at Dana, who nodded. He smiled then, “Thank you, I’d love to.”
Dana walked him to the door after he said his goodbyes to Maggie and Bill. “Mulder, you will come back, won’t you?” She sounded young and uncertain.
“Red, I’ll be here. I promise.”
He saw the tension leave her shoulders. “You’re the only one I know.” She whispered.
“Red, it’s going to come back, it already is. Ahab.”
She managed a tremulous smile and nodded. “She says we eat at seven.”
“I’ll be here before that. I’ll run by the office and - “
“No, not Diana. She does know you’re back and with your family.”
“I’m sure she was thrilled.” Dana sniffed.
“Don’t worry about Diana. You have no reason to worry about her at all. There’s something I need to check out, but I will be back. I’ll help you set the table.”
“You’re on.” She gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek and even then he looked to see if they had been observed.
He looked better when they let him in their apartment this time.
“Mulder? Something happen?”
“I don’t know, it’s a . . . a feeling. Bill says the family didn’t even know about the engagement before she disappeared. How long has this Dr. Waterston been divorced?”
“Uh, Mulder, we were looking into that. He’s not divorced.”
“What?” Mulder stopped in mid stride and looked at Byers.
Byers shook his head, “He’s not divorced, not even a legal separation.”
Frohike rotated his chair from in front of the computer. “I talked to a friend of mine that works at the hospital. He and his wife separated a couple of weeks before Dana disappeared, but he went back to her about three weeks after she . . . ”
“Three weeks?” The SOB had given up on Dana after three weeks? He’d been looking for Samantha for over twenty years. “Are you telling me that he went back to his wife without even - “
“Guess he didn’t want the scandal. He’s a very important man, one of the top cardiologists in the country. He was her mentor.”
“Her mentor. The bastard was her teacher?”
“A little more than that. He was guiding her into an important field.”
“But she left it and went into pathology.”
“Yeah. Makes you wonder how that went over, doesn’t it?”
“He’s not divorced.” Mulder said again, shaking his head. “Okay, what have you found?”
Diana was startled to see him in the office. She hadn’t been aware he’d returned. He certainly hadn’t bothered to look her up. He was so absorbed in the computer that he hadn’t noticed her. The man was certainly going the hell out of his way to make her feel like she was his partner.
She stepped around to see what had his attention so riveted. Her movement alerted him and he snapped off the screen, but not before she had seen it.
“Uh, Diana, I didn’t hear you.”
“And I didn’t realize you were back. Is everything okay?”
“I was able to help. Does Blevins need me?”
“No. I finished up.” She waited to see if he would offer any more.
He didn’t. It was almost as though he was waiting for her to leave. Instead she moved to the files and opened a drawer. She had nothing in mind, but wasn’t about to walk away. He watched her for a minute, then seemed to sigh and pulled open a file.
To her honest amazement, he began working on his expense report. He never did that, not until she harassed him for days. Damn it, damn him! She pushed the drawer closed and left the office without a word. He didn’t bother to call after her.
She hurried to the cubicle she used on occasion and booted up the computer. He’d been looking at the website of Georgetown Memorial, some doctor named Watson or something. She began her search.
It didn’t take long, Waterston. Daniel Waterston. But why? Who was the man? A cardiologist, famous if the website was accurate. Maybe he had been on a personal errand, if his father had developed a heart condition Fox would relent and want to see him, wouldn’t he?
She wasn’t accomplishing anything here. Maybe she should check it out. If there was a health problem in his family, she needed to know. She grabbed her suit coat and headed out.
Her badge intimidated the receptionist in his office. She called the man’s assistant and again Diana flashed her badge.
“Is this something that I could help . . . “
“No. I need to speak with the doctor himself.”
The nurse sighed slightly, but the woman was FBI. “He should be finished with his patient in about fifteen minutes. Can you wait and see him between appointments?”
After a moment, Diana nodded. “Thank you.” She moved to a small sofa and picked up a magazine. It was only about ten minutes before the nurse called her back.
“He’s almost finished. Why don’t you wait in his private office.”
“Thank you; that would be fine.”
The doctor was hurrying when he came through the door. “FBI? Is this about Dana?”
Diana blinked, rethinking her approach rapidly. What did he have to do with Dana?
“Have you seen her since she - “ Diana started.
“I saw her Sunday afternoon, but her mother . . . I allowed the woman to send me away. I could tell Dana was upset, but that’s all the more reason to have stayed. I am her fiancée. I need to help her through this time.”
Diana struggled to keep her face impassive. This man was her fiancée? He had to be close to twice her age. And Mulder had been investigating the man. He had to know this doctor had nothing to do with her abduction, so it was personal.
“Of course you do. I just wanted to make certain that you knew about her rescue and had been in touch.”
He seemed a little surprised at that, then squared his shoulders. Of course the FBI would be in touch with him. He was a leader in his field. It made sense that they would send someone to inform him.
“Yes. I appreciate you stopping by. I should not have let Maggie send me away. I do have another patient. Is there anything else?”
“No. I’m sorry I took up your time, but we wanted to be sure that you had been informed.”
“Thank you.” He glanced at his watch and Diana took the hint. She had things to do anyway. She held out her hand to shake and after a moment he took it, then held the door open for her and moved away from her down the hall.
The nurse seemed relieved to see her leave, but no more than she was. Diana hurried to her car and sat there for several minutes. Mulder was checking up on her fiancée. He wasn’t going to walk away from her, which meant that he would be working on her memory. Shit.
Mulder helped set the table with Dana, while Bill helped their mother in the kitchen. It was fun; they laughed and Bill told embarrassing stories about her as a child, until she begged her mother for help.
Mulder was surprised at his appetite. He usually grabbed a burger or ordered a pizza, but here he was with a full dinner and rivaling Bill in cleaning his plate. The two women laughingly complained about not getting enough to eat.
Maggie watched her daughter, frankly amazed seeing the difference Mr. Mulder’s presence made. She had become a little distant when he had left that afternoon and watched for his return, but not to the extent of the night before.
It had been a mistake to send this man away last night. The problem had been Daniel. His presence had upset her, but Maggie hadn’t been aware of the bond between these two. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to her, and it should have.
“Why don’t we have dessert in the living room? We can look at those albums that I laid out.”
Dana blushed, “We’re not talking bearskin rug pictures, are we?”
“Well, there are a few in the tub.”
“Red, I’ll need to investigate everything.” Mulder grinned at her.
She rolled her eyes, but with him here, nothing was really upsetting her. She felt safe. Mulder made himself comfortable beside her on the couch and took the cup of coffee Maggie handed him. This was truly outside of his lifestyle, coffee and dessert, hell he didn’t even have a living room. But it felt good.
Mulder was smiling down at the little girl with the red curls, listening to her mother’s stories, but looked up when the doorbell rang, and caught Bill’s eye. Bill stood and moved toward the door, looking out the glass side panel. Mulder couldn’t see his face, but noted that his step faltered.
Mulder tensed immediately and cautiously unsnapped his gun.