“What in the world - “ Mrs. Scully’s voice woke him the next morning. It was light outside. Where . . . oh shit, he’d fallen asleep beside her in the narrow hospital bed. He wouldn’t have thought that was possible. Not sleeping for three months had caught up with him.
“Mrs. Scully, I, uh . . . “ He spotted Melissa behind the woman. Her expression was carefully neutral. Mulder disengaged himself from Scully’s embrace, despite her murmured protests. He stood silently in front of the two women.
“Fox, I don’t know what to say,” Mrs. Scully sounded cool, slightly distant.
“Yes ma’am. I came by last night and she, we talked. She, she wanted some reassurance, and - “
“She wanted to know what was done to her, what she can’t remember.”
“You upset her?” Mrs. Scully’s voice was bordering on cold now. Melissa was quiet behind her.
“He didn’t upset me,” Scully spoke from her bed, beginning to sit up.
Both Mulder and her mother moved to assist her automatically. At the look on Mrs. Scully’s face, he stepped back.
Once Scully was settled against her pillows, the bed slightly elevated, Scully faced her mother. “I’m feeling a lot better actually. Mulder made me feel safe.”
He glanced over startled at that statement, but kept quiet.
“Maybe he did, Dana, but he should not have been - “
“In my bed?” There was a slight smile on her face. “Maybe not, but I appreciate it. I needed the human contact.” Scully stopped at those words, as though remembering something, but it seemed to remain out of her grasp.
“Mulder, thank you. I’m sure you need to get to work. Could you, could you stop by this evening?” Scully looked at him, a semblance of the strength he was used to surfacing.
“Of course.” He squeezed the hand she held out to him, nodded at the other two women and beat a hasty retreat.
“Mulder,” he spoke into the receiver without looking away from the computer screen.
“Scully. How are you feeling?” The sound of her voice easing him in a way he couldn’t analyze.
“A little stronger. I wanted to apologize for - “
“No. No apology necessary. I don’t blame your mother for being upset.”
He heard her sniff, then clear her throat. “Then how about a thank you for last night?”
“I should be thanking you. It was my first night’s sleep since I lost you.”
“I need to remember you, Mulder.”
This time he hesitated. “I don’t know; a clean slate. It could only do my reputation good.”
“Mulder, I didn’t tell Mom or Missy about . . . “
“That’s probably a good idea.”
“There’s no reason. I don’t want anyone to know, except you.”
The lump in his throat prevented an immediate response. He had purposely put the pregnancy from his mind. Now it hit him full force between the eyes. They had created a child; she’d had a part of him with her. That had been taken from her as well. “Sc-Scully, I - “
“Could you come by?”
“Count on it. Uh, what has the doctor said?”
She accepted the change of subject with gratitude. “I’m going to start physical therapy tomorrow morning.”
“So soon?” he asked immediately.
“I need to get my stamina back. I want out of here, I want . . . I want to get my life back. I need to talk to you about that.”
“My job, being ex-partners.” There was silence on the phone. “Mulder?”
“I’ll be over after five. Will your mother be there?”
“I told her to get some rest. She’s been here at the hospital for days. I’ve sent her home,” Scully offered.
“Melissa?” he asked.
“She left earlier, to run some errands. I don’t know if she’ll be back, but you’re not worried about her seeing you, are you?”
“She didn’t look very friendly this morning either. I don’t want to upset your family.”
“The doctor’s here, I’ll see you later.” Scully disconnected the call and he sat looking at the receiver.
He needed to wrap his mind around what had happened, not the abduction, the pregnancy. That night they had used no protection. He knew she was on the pill and he knew he was clean. Celibacy made that fairly easy. He hadn’t given a thought to any of her former partners either. Okay, irresponsible, but it had just not crossed his mind that a child might be conceived that night. It should have.
Time seemed to crawl until he felt he could slip out without comment. At least he was back in the basement, back on the X-Files. And Scully was back, alive.
She was alone in her room when he looked through the glass in the door. She seemed to be sleeping, but he needed to be with her. He pushed the door open quietly, but she opened her eyes. “Mulder.”
“I didn’t mean to wake you.” He stepped to her side.
“You didn’t. I’ve been waiting. I have a lot of questions.”
“There’s no hurry, Scully. You should get your strength back first.”
“How strenuous is it, listening to you tell me about my life?” She watched him.
He finally shrugged and took the seat next to her. She held out her hand and he took it, caressing the back of it with his thumb.
“That feels familiar.” She watched him.
“I held your hand while you were unconscious. I, I talked to you, trying to get you to come back to me.”
“I did.” She managed a small smile.
“Are you okay?”
“I’ve thought a lot about what the doctor told me yesterday.” Her hand came up to caress her abdomen. “I need to know you. I need to remember.”
Anguish engulfed him again.
“We’re ‘ex-partners’. Is that because I was kidnapped, or did something happen before?”
“Abducted,” he automatically corrected.
“I don’t understand.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s a long story. Scully, take your time.”
“Why is everyone doing this?” Her voice was raised, her obvious frustration startling him. “The doctor won’t let me see my records, Mom doesn’t want to talk about how I was taken, you won’t tell me about our work. What’s going on? What won’t anyone tell me?” Her agitation frightened him.
“Scully, don’t. I will tell you what you want to know. You just need to get stronger. I nearly lost you. I won’t wear you out; I won’t put you in, in danger.” He stumbled over the word, the implication of her remembering suddenly hitting him.
“You’re here again?” They both turned, startled, at Melissa’s voice.
“I asked him to come.” Scully looked over at her sister.
“Maybe I should come back later. Or are you planning to sleep here again tonight?”
Scully looked over at her, her brow furrowing. Mulder’s face darkened, but he kept quiet.
“Melissa, do you have a problem?”
Missy opened her mouth to respond, but stopped and shook her head. “No. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I just saw your doctor; he’s talking about your miraculous recovery. He even said something about releasing you by the end of the week if things continue to improve.”
“The end of the week?” Mulder asked, surprised.
“Apparently.” Missy looked over at him. “Well, I’ll give you a little privacy.”
“Melissa, have I done something? I mean, waking up here doesn’t . . . “
“I guess I’m confused. You couldn’t be bothered to come see her when we all thought she was dying, but now you’re here all of the time.”
Mulder blinked, she didn’t know. Before he could respond, Scully spoke up. “He was here. He sat with me before I woke up. Nurse Owens told me that he had just left when I woke up. They tried to catch him. He brought me back.”
Missy glanced over at Scully, then back at Mulder. “I didn’t know. I apologize, and, and I thank you. I told you if she lived it would be because of you.” She nodded to the silent man. “Dana, I’ll see you later.” She kissed her sister’s cheek and left.
“Mom,” Scully glanced at her mother, then at Missy and finally Mulder. “The doctor is talking about releasing me. I’m recovering and - “
“Dana, that’s wonderful. I’ll get a room set up for you at the house.”
“I . . .I appreciate that, but I think I’d rather be at my apartment.”
“Dana, Honey, I had to,” her mother paused, obviously uncomfortable. “I had to let your apartment go. I’m sorry, I didn’t think . . . It was just too much for me, so I asked your landlord to have everything packed up and put in storage. It’s all - “
“I don’t have an apartment?” She was obviously stunned at the news. She looked over at Mulder automatically as though for strength.
“Uh,” he looked damned uncomfortable, but she was upset. “That’s not entirely accurate.”
All three women looked at him then, and he fought the desire to get away from all of them. “I, I couldn’t let the apartment go. I paid the rent, everything’s still there.”
A smile grew on Scully’s face even as Mrs. Scully looked outraged. After a moment, Mrs. Scully drew herself up. “Well, I guess you had more faith than I did.”
Mulder paled at that. “Mrs. Scully, I - “
“You were right, Fox.” She rose. “Thank you.” She turned toward her daughters. “I need to get some air.”
“Mrs. Scully, you don’t understand.” He stood as well. “I couldn’t . . . she’s all I have, all I’ve ever . . . “ Mrs. Scully didn’t look at him, she just left the room. Melissa looked over at him, then followed her mother out.
He wiped his hand across his face. “Scully, I didn’t mean to upset - “
“Mulder, don’t. Thank you, thank you for believing I would come home.”
He shook his head. “I couldn’t believe anything else.”
“I want to get out of here. I don’t want you to have any excuse not to talk to me, about everything.” Her eyes pinned his and after a moment he nodded.
Scully was in the bedroom when he heard the knock on the door. He glanced in that direction, then decided to go ahead and open the door. A large man stood in the door and seemed surprised to see him.
“May I help you?” Mulder asked.
“Who are you?” the man with short ginger hair demanded belligerently.
“Fox Mulder, and you are - “ That was all he got out before the fist connected with his jaw. Mulder staggered backwards, knocking into the table and causing the lamp to fall onto the couch.
“What the - “ Mulder ducked as the man came toward him again. He jerked the larger man around and got him into a choke hold. By then Scully had hobbled into the room with her cane.
“Bill? What’s going on?” She spotted the blood trickling down Mulder’s chin.
Bill? Her brother? Oh shit. Mulder released him and stepped back. The glare Bill sent him would have felled a lesser man.
“Bill, what are you doing!” She grabbed his arm.
“This is the shithead that’s devastated Mom.” He jerked his arm away. “You should be at home with her. You nearly died because of this asshole. What the hell are you doing here with him?”
“Bill, calm down. Please, have a seat. We can talk.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. I’m here to take you to Mom’s house. She thinks you hate her for giving up on you.”
“No! Bill, that’s not what happened. She didn’t give up on me. I understand what she did. She needed to move on, for her that meant buying the headstone, letting this apartment go. I’m not upset with her. I’m here because I need to move on too. I want to get my life back, Bill. I want to remember.”
“Then why is he here?”
“Because I feel safer when he’s here,” she spoke quietly. Mulder kept his mouth closed, but he reeled at that statement.
“Safer! He’s the reason you were kidnapped in the first place!”
“No, Bill. He was devastated by what happened to me. He searched for me. He, he talked me into living when I wasn’t sure what to do.”
Bill’s eyes narrowed. “You sound like Melissa,” he spat.
“Bill, please sit down. We need to talk.”
He ignored that again. “Are you coming with me?”
“No, Bill. I need to - “
“Stay then." His eyes narrowed. "It’s a good thing Dad’s not here for you to break his heart again.”
Mulder’s eyes widened at the pain that blossomed on her face. He hadn’t been sure they had told her about her father’s death. How could this man hurt her this way?
The large man turned in one fluid motion and rammed his fist into Mulder’s stomach. Mulder doubled over then fell to his knees. “Mulder!” She dropped her cane and sank to the floor beside him as Bill sneered, then stomped out leaving the door open.
“Mulder?” She reached for him wanting to help.
He shook his head and tried to wave her away. She refused to go, helping him to his feet and supporting him to the couch, her own infirmities forgotten. He sat, but she encouraged him to recline.
“Mulder? Talk to me.”
He shook his head, his lips still pressed together, trying desperately not to lose his lunch. Her cool hand on his brow helped and he managed some deeper breaths.
“That’s right, deep breaths. Just relax. I’ll get some ice for your jaw.” He grabbed her hand and she relaxed, staying at his side.
When his breath had evened out and he felt more secure, he sat up slowly.
“Mulder, I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged. “How many more members of the family do I have to meet?”
She managed a chuckle. “Only one more; my little brother, Charlie. I think you can take him.”
“I don’t think I can even take Melissa at this point. And I know your mother can take me.” He looked mournful.
Scully nodded. “None of us can take Mom. Let me get that ice for you.” She retrieved her cane.
He allowed her to leave his side then. She shut the door to the apartment, then moved to the kitchen. When she returned, he sat the rest of the way up and patted the seat beside him. “I’m supposed to be looking after you.”
“You are. You’re helping me feel normal again.” She pressed the ice bag gently to his jaw.
“You remember patching me up is normal?” he tried for a light note. “You should call your mother.”
She sighed. “I know.”
“I’ll give you some privacy.”
“I don’t need - “
“I’ll be in the bathroom.”
“Are you okay?” she asked quickly.
“Yeah. Go ahead and make your call.” He squeezed her hand and rose from the couch.
It didn’t look like she had moved when he returned. “Scully?”
“I couldn’t . . . I can’t talk to her yet. ‘Break his heart again’. What does that mean? How did I hurt Ahab?”
He sat beside her and pulled her close. “You didn’t hurt - “
“What was he talking about? Why does he think you’re the reason I was taken? Mulder, I have to know.” She pulled away slightly.
He wanted to comfort her, but she needed answers. “I believe there was some . . . concern on your father’s part when you joined the FBI.”
“Did he tell you that?”
“I never got the chance to meet him. We’d only been partners a few weeks when he had his heart attack.”
“He really is gone, isn’t he? I mean, I don’t think anyone would lie about that, but it doesn’t feel like he’s gone. I feel like I saw him, talked to him, just a couple of days ago.” She swiped a tear away. “What kind of concerns?”
“Well, it can be dangerous work and you had gone through medical school.”
“Wasn’t I using medicine?”
“Yes. With me, I usually needed patching up daily, but before me you were teaching pathology at the Academy and your science has been invaluable on our cases.”
“Our cases. Is that with the X-Files?”
He froze. “Who mentioned the X-Files to you?”
“He called you?”
“No, he came by to see me.”
“Came by, when?”
“Yesterday, while you were at work.”
“Oh.” He wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
“I take it he was our boss.”
“He shouldn’t have bothered you.”
“He didn’t bother me. It was nice to have the company. He wasn’t the only company I had.”
“Who else?” He was tense now, had anyone given her information?
“Three guys. One of them was normal, dressed in a suit, with a beard. One had long blond hair and the other one . . . “
“Yes, that was it. He said they were friends of ours, and that they helped us with our work.” She stopped then, watching his face. “Don’t panic, Mulder. They didn’t tell me anything about our work. No one has, but you’re going to fix that. Tonight, right?”
“Scully - “
“I have to know. Are you going to back out on me? Do I need to call that Frohike guy?” She was teasing him, but she saw the tension in his arms and his back at her words. The smile slipped off of her face and she seemed to wilt.
“Scully - “
“If it really is that bad, why am I so . . . drawn to you?”
He swallowed then. Drawn to him. She was and if he was honest, she had been even before, he hadn’t admitted it but after Arecibo . . . And he sure as hell was drawn to her. That should lead to honesty, sharing. But sharing, at least in this case, meant . . . what?
He reached for her and she took his hand. “They sent you to me, to destroy me, Scully. This wasn’t supposed to happen, we weren’t supposed to happen.”
“Who sent me?”
He gave an unamused laugh at that. “Good question.” He sighed and she moved closer.
“If that’s too hard, start earlier. Why do they call you “Spooky’? Is it because of these X-Files?”
He took a deep breath, “No, it was before that. I was recruited to be a profiler. We’re the ones that find out who by studying why and how.” She nodded. “It’s . . . nasty, getting into their heads, thinking like they do, reveling in their evil. Turns out I’m real good at it. Haven’t ever wanted to investigate what that says about me.” He gave her a weak smile and she cuddled into him. He closed his eyes and continued. “I hated it. I hated the way I was while I was doing it, I hated the time it took me to recover from it, but, like I said, I was good. The Bureau was very happy with me. I was making connections, solving cases that others just couldn’t see.
“That’s when they started with the Spooky comments. I was ‘too’ good at it. Meanwhile, I was looking for a padded cell. I started disappearing into the basement to just escape when I could, and I found all these old files, unsolved cases. For the hell of it, and to get my mind off of the filth I was used too, I started reading them. Scully, I couldn’t believe what they had just thrown away. My ‘spookiness’ worked there too and I asked permission to look into some of the cases. They didn’t want to refuse me; I was too valuable to them. I thought about quitting until I found the X-Files, then . . . I didn’t want to leave them. Rather than have me quit, they gave me some leeway and I looked at a few cases. Problem was, I solved them. Turns out they weren’t unsolved as much as ‘let’s not face this’ stuff. Finally they gave me permission for an experimental department with the proviso that they would saddle me with a partner of their choosing.”
“I think I’m about to enter the story,” she said softly.
“Yeah,” she could hear his smile. “You were chosen. You were everything they were looking for, major in Physics, a forensic pathologist, very by-the-book agent. The perfect foil for my idiocy. They were sure you’d shut me down in days. They only overlooked one thing.”
“Your integrity. You didn’t immediately dismiss everything I believed. You did make me work for it, and I couldn’t always come up with hard proof of my theories, but then you couldn’t always come up with proof that I was wrong and you admitted it. They were not happy about that. We got too close, Scully. I think we were right at getting the proof I, we needed, so they shut us down, separated us. What they never counted on was the bond we’d created, the personal bond.”
“They didn’t expect me to fall in love with you,” she said.
“Neither did I,” he whispered.
“Tell me about the X-Files.”
Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris, 10-13 and Fox – Bless them for it!! No infringement intended.