She hadn’t been out in nearly a week. She didn’t want to be around anyone, and what if she missed a call? Very few people had her cell number. But now she was going stir crazy. It was stupid, but she headed for his apartment. He wasn’t there, but she felt closer to him somehow.
She parked outside the building and just looked up at his windows. The super knew her, maybe he would let her in again. She just wanted to sit on the couch and be near his things. Decision made, she opened the door and headed for the front of the building.
She hadn’t reached the front door when he stepped out of the shadows. More startled than scared she faced him. “Return him, return them. Please.”
“And you’re so sure I can do that?” he took a deep draw on his cigarette.
“Yes,” she said simply.
“Such faith in me. I’m flattered.”
“Don’t be. What is it you want from me? Silence? You’ve got it. Just give me back Mulder and Charlie. You don’t need them.”
“You remember everything now, don’t you?”
After a moment she nodded. “They’ve always underestimated you. I never have.”
“Oh, you’re directionless, but not unintelligent. With your IQ, how could - “
“My IQ? What are you talking about?”
“Ah, I guess your father kept that from you too.”
“What do you think your IQ is, Dana?”
“I don’t . . . in the 160 range I believe. Why are you - “
“The last time your IQ was measured it was 210. That’s been several years ago. I’m sure it’s higher now.”
“Ask your father, Dana.”
She shook her head, trying to clear it. “That’s not - please. Please bring them back. You don’t need them. Please.”
He took another draw on his cigarette, then turned and walked away.
Shaking she watched him leave, then returned to her car.
Dana raced into the hospital and made her way straight to the ICU. She was inside before they could stop her. She spotted Mulder lying on the bed, tubes and monitors all over him; the respirator causing his chest to rise and fall. She felt like the breath had been kicked out of her. She grabbed the foot of the bed to steady herself.
She noticed the older woman then, sitting at his side. His mother? “Mrs. . . Mrs. Mulder?”
The woman finally turned to look at her. “Yes?”
“What have they told you?”
“I’m sorry, you are . . . “
“Oh, I’m sorry. My name is Dana Scully. I’m a, a friend of Mu-Fox’s.”
“Dana? Yes, he’s mentioned you to me. We don’t know anything yet.”
“Do you know where he was found? How he got here?”
“No, I’m sorry. They called to let us know he was here. Samantha’s on her way.”
“Good. Do you mind if I stay with you, just until she gets here?”
“No, I’d appreciate the company.”
Dana sank into the plastic chair on the other side of the bed and touched his hand. He was warm, alive. She closed her eyes in relief.
They sat together in silence until a nurse asked them to leave for a few minutes while he was examined. Dana followed Mrs. Mulder to the small waiting room, unsure what to say. It was Teena that broke the silence. “Have you been seeing Fox for long?”
“I’m, I’m not sure we’re ‘seeing’ each other, but we’re friends.”
“He’s mentioned you to me several times. He seems to think you’re seeing each other,” Teena smiled gently.
Dana’s eyes unexpectedly filled with tears but she blinked them back. “Thank you.”
Teena reached out her hand and Dana took it gratefully. They continued to sit quietly until the doctor joined them. Dana started to rise, but the doctor motioned for her to keep her seat. He pulled a chair closer to them and sat down.
“This is a friend of my son’s, Dana.” Teena introduced her when the doctor hesitated. “You can speak in front of her.”
Dana blinked at that, then smiled.
He nodded. “I don’t have a definitive diagnosis for you, Mrs. Mulder. We don’t know what caused this coma. We’re still running tests.”
“What’s his prognosis?” Teena asked quickly.
“I don’t have one at this time. We’re having trouble keeping him stable. His vitals are weakening. Mrs. Mulder, we’re not giving up, I don’t want you to think that. We’ve taken blood again because the first tests were mishandled in the lab - “
“The tests were botched?” Dana interrupted.
“Well, I’m not sure I’d use those words,” the doctor smiled ruefully.
“No, I’m sorry, of course not.” She pulled open her bag and pulled out her wallet. She extracted a slip of paper and looked down at it. ‘Attendant reduction in the lymphocyte population’, ‘release of gluco-cordacoid’. “Does this mean anything to you?”
He took the paper and his eyes widened. “Where did you get this?”
“I was in an unexplained coma many years ago. The tests they ran on me were considered ‘botched’, but this is what they turned up.”
“What was your treatment?”
“I don’t know, I was just a child, ten years old. My doctor is Paul Moss. You’re welcome to contact him and ask about my treatment.”
“Thank you, I, I will.” He looked down at the paper once more.
“What does that tell you? What causes whatever those tests showed?” Teena asked, looking between Dana and the doctor.
“Prolonged weightlessness,” Dana said quietly.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I know,” Dana smiled feebly. “It makes little sense; even less with me, because I wasn’t missing. The housekeeper found me lying on the playroom floor. It was my brother who was gone.”
Teena’s eyes widened, she had forgotten about the missing brother. It had been all over the news so many years ago, but no information like this had been reported as far as she could remember. Before she could say anything else, the door opened and Samantha entered.
Teena rose immediately and they hugged. “Where’s John?”
“He’s parking the car.” Samantha spotted Dana then and nodded. Dana rose and approached her, hand out. Samantha squeezed it, then turned to the doctor. “What’s wrong with him?”
Dana stepped back and kept quiet. She had no right to be here, but since no one was throwing her out, she was going to stand her ground. The doctor repeated the information he had given to Mrs. Mulder and was finishing up when John joined them.
“How did he get here? Was he brought by ambulance? Dropped off? He’s been missing for weeks.”
“I can’t answer that. No one seems to know, he was found in one of the ER cubicles already hooked up to a respirator. Security is checking and the FBI has been alerted now that we’re aware of the circumstances. I’m sorry, but I need to get back to my patient. I will be calling Dr. Moss.”
“Please do,” Dana urged him and he left.
“Who’s Dr. Moss?” Samantha asked.
“He’s my doctor, since I was a child. When Charlie was taken, I was in an unexplained coma for a few days. They apparently did all of these tests and Mu-Fox is showing some of the same symptoms.”
“What symptoms are those?” John joined the conversation.
“I don’t really know; something about lymphocyte population and gluco-cordacoids; whatever those are.”
John’s eyes grew wide. “It was you,” he whispered.
“Excuse me? What?”
“Uh, nothing. Where’s Bill?” John turned toward his mother-in-law.
“Wandering. You know he can’t sit still. He won’t admit it, but he’s probably sneaking a smoke. With this stress . . . “
“Why don’t I go look for him? Dana, want to join me?” John stepped toward the door. Dana was confused, but it seemed right to let Samantha and Mrs. Mulder have some time.
“Yes, thank you. Samantha, you have my number if you need us.”
She nodded and took the seat beside her mother.
Once out of the waiting room, John took Dana’s arm and led her to the elevator. “We need to talk.”
“What’s wrong?” she asked immediately.
He shook his head, remaining silent as others joined them in the elevator. She held her tongue as they exited on the ground floor and followed as he led her to a section of the parking area that was deserted. “First, I want you to know that Fox never betrayed your confidence.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Remember I told you about those friends of mine?”
“The ones that have the picture and cigarette?”
He nodded. “I mentioned that Fox had consulted them about something before his disappearance.”
“He wanted information about alien abductions. He didn’t believe in the phenomena and wanted some information.”
Dana’s eyes grew wide. “They’re the ones that convinced him?”
“Yes, but until a few minutes ago I had no idea he had been talking about you. We didn’t even know the sex of his patient.”
She had a slight smile on her face. “I know. Mulder would never betray me.”
“This is getting really freaky, especially if he has the same symptoms . . . “
At that Dana’s shoulders slumped and she looked down, studying the plain gray concrete floor of the parking garage. “It’s my fault he was taken.” Stating it seemed to take all of her strength. “I haven’t been able to say that aloud. It’s because of me, because I confronted my father about that night. They knew I was seeing someone about my memories. They didn’t want me to remember and when we became . . . involved, they had to see it as a golden opportunity to shut me up. This is all my fault.”
“Dana, don’t. He’s back, that’s all that matters now.”
“They don’t know how to treat him. They don’t - “
“He just got here. Let the doctors, let your doctor, look into it. Don’t say anything to anyone about this. I don’t know if the information is dangerous, but there’s no need for anyone else to know.”
“If you need to talk - “
“I’m used to keeping things quiet.”
John grinned. “I believe you. Why don’t you go on back to Samantha? I’ll find Bill and head back.”
“He’ll be okay?”
“Fox is strong and he was in great shape before this happened.”
Dana squeezed his hand and nodded, then turned back to rejoin Samantha at Mulder’s bedside to sit and wait.
The doctor closed the door to the small meeting room. Samantha looked over at Dana, and the fear in their eyes matched.
“I wanted to meet with all of you and give you an update. Dr. Mulder is weakening and we have been unable to stabilize him. And . . . since Dr. Mulder has admitting privileges at this hospital, we have his living will on file.”
Dana froze and watched Samantha’s head fall.
“What does it say?” Bill asked quietly.
“He doesn’t want to be kept alive by respirator.” He waited as Samantha moved over to Teena and held her. “I know this is difficult, but Dr. Mulder made the decision for you.”
“Is he in any pain?”
“No, but his vital signs are steadily declining. I know you need a moment, but we need to decide when to remove the respirator.”
Dana closed her eyes. She had no standing, they were allowing her to be here, but she wasn’t family. She heard the doctor speak to John, then leave them alone. There was silence then. Samantha opened her eyes; no one was looking at anyone.
Dana rose from the couch. “I’ll go get us all something to drink.”
“Dana, you don’t have to - “ Teena started.
“No, I think you need some time. I’m here and I’ll be right back.” She squeezed Teena’s hand. “And thank you.”
She left the room and once the door was closed leaned against the wall. She closed her eyes again. They were going to let him die. How was she supposed to deal with that? She’d never been in love before and now . . . a tear leaked from her eye but she drew herself up. She couldn’t break down here, she couldn’t break down now.
“Samantha, your mom needs to get out of here. There’s no telling how long he’ll hold on. She can’t - “ John hesitated.
“Do, do you want me to take her home?” Dana asked.
“No, I should do it. You’re right, it could be d-days. I need to hold my babies.” Samantha let John help her to her feet. “What about you?”
“I . . . I’ll stay for a little while longer,” Dana looked back at the bed; things were quieter now, without the equipment breathing for him.
Samantha nodded. “You’ll . . . you’ll call . . . “
“Of course. Hug the babies for me.”
Samantha nodded, but her throat was too tight to speak. Bill helped Teena to her feet and John took Teena’s other arm. Dana watched them leave silently.
She couldn’t leave. She slipped back into Mulder’s room and sat beside him again. There was a DNR on his chart now, so there should be little interruption. She took hold of his hand again. “Mulder, it’s me, it’s Dana. Samantha and John took your parents back to my place so that they could get some rest. I’m not leaving you. I need to tell you something and I need you to hear me.” She squeezed his hand, waiting for an instant for some response. It didn’t come.
“Mulder, your sister said something to me when you were first taken, and I’ve thought about it almost constantly since she said it. My first thought was to deny it completely, but it turns out she was right. She, she said I was in love with you.” Dana took a breath, watching him sleep in front of her.
“Since I’d never been in love the very thought terrified me. Love meant dependency, losing my identity, allowing others to get . . . close. I didn’t know if I could handle that, if I could trust enough. But I got to know you, slowly, without pressure. You’re a very good psychiatrist, Dr. Mulder.” She gave a small smile. “But I’m glad you’re not mine any more. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I know the doctors say you’re weakening, but I feel your strength. I feel you here with me. Please, Mulder, stay with me, with us. I have so much more to learn and you . . . I need you to teach it to me. You’re the only one who can.” She leaned in then and kissed his lips.
She held onto his hand as, exhausted, she lay her head on the bed. Finally her eyes closed.
Links to other sites on the Web
Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.