He opened the door for her and followed her in. He immediately felt the heat of Bill's gaze, but ignored it. He already knew all of the things Bill blamed on him. He couldn't dispute any of them and even if he could, now wasn't the time. Scully had straightened up, stiffening her spine as they entered the house, so he had not attempted to touch her.
Maggie seated Scully on the couch, then returned to Mulder to make introductions. He spoke politely to the people that had come to pay their respects, accepted a cup of coffee and found a quiet place to stand near the stairs. It wasn't long before he realized that in order to see him, Scully had to turn around from her place on the couch. He immediately moved to the other side of the room in order to be in her line of sight. That side of the room was more crowded, but he knew they would leave him alone. He had no doubt that Bill's friends were well aware of Spooky Mulder.
Maggie noticed this byplay and found herself struggling against tears again. She didn't know if these two would ever be happy together, but at least they had each other.
After what felt like an eternity to Scully, Bill followed Tara into the kitchen to refresh some drinks. Scully immediately caught Mulder's eye, then looked upstairs.
He nodded and headed up to get her bags. Everything was ready, right inside of her bedroom door. He grabbed her things up, and hurried back to the first floor. He almost made it.
Bill returned to the room carrying two glasses and spotted Mulder reaching for the doorknob. “What the hell do you think you're doing?”
Maggie winced and Scully closed her eyes for a moment, but Mulder merely placed the suitcases down and turned to look at Bill.
"I asked you a question. What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Scully wants to go home. I'm taking her things out to the car."
"I'm not letting you take her out of here now. She needs her family, not to be in some apartment all alone in DC."
"Bill," Maggie placed her hand on her son's arm. "Don't. Dana is perfectly capable of deciding what she needs."
"He's influencing her." Bill hissed.
“No Bill, he's not. He's supporting me. I need to be home, with familiar things.”
“You need the support of your family now.”
Dana just looked at him for a long moment, not saying anything with words. He finally dropped his gaze and stepped back. At that Mulder picked up the suitcase and carry-on and headed outside. When he returned, he came only to the door and waited.
He watched Scully hug Tara and touch her infant nephew's face. Mulder had to look away then. He looked back when Maggie touched his shoulder.
“Look after her Fox.”
He nodded, “Always.”
She gave him a sad smile, then a quick hug. Scully was beside them then and the two women hugged before Mulder took her arm and escorted her to the car.
He opened her door and seated her, then got in himself and looked over at her. Her eyes were closed and she was deathly pale, as thought she had used the last of her reserves. He reached across her and buckled her in. She made no comment.
He pulled quickly away from the house. He should have gotten her out of there sooner, but it was her family. He glanced over at her again. She was on the verge of collapse, in no shape to take a cross-country flight.
He made his decision and turned out of the base.
It was at least twenty minutes before she opened her eyes. Her pallor was still pronounced but he didn't think she was going to faint any longer.
"This isn't the way to the airport."
“I know. I wanted to make a stop first.”
“Mulder, please. I want to go home.”
“Just trust me Scully.”
At those words she nodded wearily and closed her eyes again.
She didn't open them until the car came to a halt. “Mulder?” She looked out at the breaking waves of the Pacific.
“Scully, you need some time. How can I put you on a plane now? You're ready to fall apart.” He put his hand up to stop her protest. To his amazement, she closed her mouth, then opened the car door and turned toward the beach.
Mulder let his shoulders slump in relief, then followed her toward the surf.
He said nothing, he wasn't entirely sure what she needed, but whatever it was he would get it for her. He nearly walked into her when she stopped abruptly and whirled toward him.
“Why!” She was shaking now and he knew she was finally losing control. “Why would anyone do that to a child, to a little girl. She was innocent and they - And why me! What did I ever do to them to make them want to hurt me like this? Why!”
He had the answer to that last part. Him. She had taken his side against them in the conspiracy. They had hurt her because she wouldn't help them destroy him.
Whatever she saw in his eyes enraged her and she came at him then, pounding on his chest, hitting him wherever her hands fell. Her words became incoherent, but he could hear the pain. He made no move to defend himself, allowing the assault. His only moves were those to keep her from injuring herself.
He had no idea how long this had gone on when he realized she was collapsing against him. Her breathing grew steadier as her tears took on a more hopeless air.
She seemed to lose her footing in the sand and his arms tightened around her, then he slid one arm under her knees and lifted her into his arms, walking quickly to what was left of a stonewall that jutted toward the water.
He sat with her in his lap as she continued to cry, seemingly unaware of anything except his chest, which she clutched at now with trembling hands.
He let her cry herself out, making no attempt to hurry the process. He was willing to sit there and hold her all night if that was what it took.
Finally, when even the hitching in her breath had evened out, she looked up at him. “I want to go home.”
"It's late Scully. Why don't we get a couple of rooms and go in the morning?"
She shook her head; “I can sleep on the plane, if you're there.”
"I'll be there.”'
She lay her head back against his chest at that and sighed. She hadn't expected this, but it was exactly what she had needed - time to cry out her rage with only him to witness it and keep her safe. No one knew her as he did - spooky.
He wondered at the slight smile on her face, then lifted her from his lap and put her on her feet. He didn't let go of her, supporting her back to the car.
She was quiet on the way to the airport and once there he led her to the ladies room. "Go splash some water on your face and I'll get the tickets."
She nodded, allowing him to handle everything. He met her back at the ladies room and led her to the gate. "We should have plenty of room. Not many people want the red eye."
"Not a problem."
When the flight was called, he led her to their seats and pulled out a blanket and pillow.
"Am I going to need the pillow?"
He grinned, "I hope not."
She gave him a tired smile and allowed him to pull her against him, where it was safe.