He let himself into his apartment and looked around. Diana wasn’t there, not that he had expected her to be. She’d never really moved in, preferring her own tiny apartment. He should have pushed to get a bigger place, but now he was glad he hadn’t.
Her transfer would go through at the end of the month, coinciding with their divorce. Why had he ever - he shook his head. Tonight wasn’t the time. Maybe there would never be a time. He needed to write up his notes on the Trotter case and get ready for work tomorrow, back to his ‘real’ work.
He carried his suitcase into the bedroom and unpacked quickly then turned to his computer. As he sat waiting for it to boot up, Dana’s face came to him. She’d been extraordinarily kind, listening to him, not laughing at his theory.
Answering his email took little time, then he pulled up his private files and added the information he had garnered on his trip to Virginia.
The next few days, work was, well the politically correct word would be unpleasant. He’d had permission to check out the Trotter case, and had taken personal time to do it, but any time away from Patterson and ‘the team’ was paid for with sarcasm and ridicule. He managed to keep quiet with memories of that small diner and the little redhead across from him running through his head.
He’d finally grabbed a chance to get his and Samantha’s medical records together and sent them to Dana overnight. He didn’t know if he’d really hear from her but it had been an avenue he hadn’t explored previously.
Now he was just tired, not even hungry. He shrugged his coat off and turned as he heard the knock on the door. Now what? He was in no hurry, so he tossed his briefcase on the desk and slipped the tie from around his neck. Finally at the second knock, he forced himself to answer the summons.
He opened the door to see his pissed off wife standing there. “Diana?”
“What took you so long?” She brushed past him.
“You have a key,” he responded unemotionally.
She rolled her eyes and took the key from her pocket, tossing it on the coffee table.
“What do you want, Diana?” He glanced at the key but decided not to get into it. Why bother?
“I need your signature.” She pulled some legal documents from her bag. She handed them to him wordlessly.
“What is it?”
“You know what it is, Fox.”
“Don’t we need a notary?” he said dryly.
“I’ve taken care of it. Just sign it.”
“Sleeping with the judge, Diana?” He’d taken a wild stab, her expression let him know he’d scored a hit. He looked away.
“Fox, just sign it. I’ll take it in tomorrow and everything will be complete before I leave.”
“Sure.” He moved to the desk and rummaged around for a pen. He dashed his signature on the line and handed it to her.
“I’ll make sure you get a copy.”
He nodded. Whatever, it was over. Hell, it should never have begun. He stood there watching her impassively, waiting for her to leave.
“Fox . . . “ she began and stopped. He didn’t help her. “Fox, let it go. Let her go. Your sister isn’t coming back. You’ve already lost what we could have had; now you seem set on destroying your career as well. It’s not worth it.”
He still said nothing, but the look in his eyes caused her to falter. She reached for his hand. His movement was miniscule but definitive. Diana drew her dignity around her and nodded. She moved to the door and opened it. “Have a good life, Fox.”
When he said nothing, she let herself out and shut the door.
He sighed and moved blindly to the couch. She was gone, just like everyone else in his life. Why did he even bother? No woman out there could stay with him. The sooner he accepted it the better.
So why was the face of Dana Scully in front of him? She was married, she had a family. When had he picked up the phone? It was Wednesday, if her husband answered, he’d say wrong number and hang up. God, he was an idiot.
She picked up on the second ring. “Hello?”
He shouldn’t have done this. But just the one word in her voice soothed him somehow.
“Hello? Is anyone . . . Mulder?”
Now he was struck dumb. How had she known? Had she been thinking about him? Did she feel that connection?
“Mulder, what’s wrong?”
“I shouldn’t have called. I’m sorry.”
I’m glad you called. What happened?”
“Is your family there?”
“No, Ethan and Robin went to a movie with some of her friends.”
He took that in, but why had he called?
“Did you get more information on Betsy . . . or Samantha?”
“Uh, no. No, I . . . “ Shit, he wanted to talk to her. “I signed my divorce papers tonight.”
“Oh Mulder, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize . . . You said she had a demanding career.”
He gave a mild snort. “Yeah, she works at the Bureau too.”
“She’s an agent?”
“Yep. She’s transferring to Germany, counter-terrorism later this month.”
“That does sound demanding.”
“So is what you do, you save children’s lives, but you have a family. I . . . “ He sighed. “Why didn’t you go with them to the movies?”
She understood his need to switch subjects. “I’ve tried that. Robin makes it difficult.”
“Does she want her parents together, and you’re the other woman?”
“You’re partly correct, I’m the other woman. Just for the record, I met Ethan after he’d been divorced over a year. No, Robin doesn’t want her parents together, she wants Ethan for herself.”
“That, that’s got to be hard on you.” He could feel her shrug. “How long have you been married?”
“Nearly two years.”
“That’s three times what I achieved. I’d ask for tips, but I don’t think I’ll need them.”
“Mulder, you can’t give up like that.”
“I should let you go.”
“Please, let’s change the subject, but don’t hang up yet. Before you called, I was sitting here thinking how much better last Wednesday night was.”
He was stunned silent then.
“Yeah, I-I’m here.”
She hesitated for a moment, then changed the subject. “I got your package; the medical records?”
“Oh yeah. Did, uh, did you find anything?”
“Well, you were both extraordinarily healthy kids. Did you know that your shots records weren’t included?”
“That’s right. There’s no record of you or Samantha having your regular childhood inoculations.”
“That’s strange. I’m sure we had them. I don’t remember any shots, but you have them when you’re a baby, right?”
“Some of them. You also have to have booster shots when you start school. Actually the schools aren’t supposed to admit you if you haven’t had the shots.”
“They must just be missing. I’ll check. What about . . .”
“I, what about you? Are you extraordinarily healthy?”
There was a pause then. He could feel her contemplating that question. “As a matter of fact, I am. I hadn’t really thought about it. I knew I didn’t suffer from white coat disease in medical school, but yes, even in practice with all of the children, I don’t catch anything. What do you think it means?”
“I don’t know. What about your sister?”
“I’m not privy to her
health issues. She’s not in touch with the family. I haven’t heard about any
problems, but I don’t know that I would.”
“I’m sorry. It must be hard to know she’s distancing herself purposely.”
“I know it hurts my parents.”
They were both quiet then. “I, I should go.”
“Do you need to?” she quickly.
“No. I just don’t want to take up your evening.”
“You’re not. You’re saving me from reading some very dry articles in back issues of JAMA, and you’re keeping me company.”
They talked until she heard Ethan pull into the garage.
She stretched and rose from her seat. It wasn’t that the seminar had been boring, but the chair had been increasingly uncomfortable as Dr. Richards droned on. Maybe a little dinner would help wake her up.
The audience was beginning to thin out by the time she made it to the door. Pam would probably want to grab a bite too, if she could find her. “My God, will you look at that?” The woman in front of her turned to her companion. “That’s what I want for dinner, and breakfast!”
Dana looked in the direction they were looking and blinked. His long, lean body was encased in Armani. The women in front of her weren’t the only ones caressing him with their eyes. He looked . . . she mentally threw up her hands; he looked like a walking wall of fuck.
He spotted her and straightened up, watching for her reaction to his presence. Her expression was taken over by pure joy. She saw his posture relax and his smile grew. He moved toward her.
“Mulder? What are you doing here?”
“I found out my favorite pediatrician was in town and thought she might be hungry.”
“Found out, huh?”
He shrugged. “I’m a trained FBI agent. I saw that this medical conference was being held and took a chance. Do you mind?”
“Mind?” she laughed. “I was going to call you before I left. I have some more information for you and a couple more tests that I wanted to add to your list.”
He pressed his hand to his heart. “Don’t toy with me, Dr. Scully.”
She laughed again. “Never.”
“Are you free for a little while? Maybe we could grab a bite, or is Ethan with you?”
“It’s his weekend with Robin. I have another session this evening. Why don’t we go over the stuff I brought first and if there’s time . . . “
“Lead the way.” His hand on her lower back felt warm and familiar.
She let him into her hotel room and tossed the access card on the bed. “Why don’t we order room service? I just realized how hungry I am. Then we could go over the information more leisurely.”
He managed to keep his face impassive, but his eyes gleamed at this turn of events.
They ate at the small table, sharing their meals so that he got a few vegetables in spite of himself. When they were finished eating and catching up, she moved to the bed and spread out the information she had brought.
He joined her on the bed to follow the medical information she was giving him. He pulled out the pillows and sat back against them after toeing off his shoes. She sat facing him Indian style, explaining the results she would expect from the test when she realized he wasn’t listening to her.
“Muld . . . “ His expression caught hers. Later neither would ever be able to say who made the first move. It was as simultaneous as two people could be. Their lips met and everything else vanished.
When they drew back, panting, they were both stunned by their reactions to one another. Mulder recovered first. “D-Dana, I’m sorry, I - “
She took his bottom lip between hers. Their clothing seemed to disappear on its own as hands and tongues and lips explored one another. When it was very nearly too late, he managed to pull back. “Dana, I, I don’t have any protection for you.” His voice was pure velvet gravel and it took her a moment to process the words.
She wanted to protest that she was on the pill, but he wanted to protect her more than that. “None?”
“I didn’t dare dream I’d make it to first base.”
She smiled then and slid from the bed. He managed not to weep as she slipped from his grasp, but then he realized she wasn’t grabbing up her clothing or running for the bathroom. She reached into the exhibitor’s bag she had carried upstairs and came up with something in her hand. She tossed it toward him and six condoms rained down around him on the bed. He took one up in his hand and looked around. “You have a lot of faith in me.”
She grinned then and rejoined him in the bed, taking the small golden packet from his hand. She opened it with her teeth while he lay there, struck dumb.
When she woke the next morning, she was cradled in his arms, his eyes watching her, his tension obvious. She stretched and let her hand rub lightly against the stubble on his cheek. “Thank you for staying.”
“I didn’t want to leave.”
“I know.” They just looked at one another for a long moment.
“You’re a married woman.”
“Yes, I am. I know I wasn’t fair to you last night, but I wanted you.”
He managed a small smile. “Didn’t want to follow the rules for a change?”
She shook her head. “You do that to me. I don’t understand it.”
“We can’t see each other any more,” he said softly.
She nodded. “I’m married. Last night didn’t change that.”
“Can I say that I wish it had?”
She kissed him and rose from the bed. “I missed my meeting last night; I need to get ready for this morning’s session.”
“And this . . . “
“This will be a cherished memory.”
He nodded, not arguing. She sounded sure, confident. She didn’t realize he could see that her hands were shaking slightly. He left the bed as well and saw her eyes scan his nude body. He picked up his boxers and slipped them on. She seemed to relax a little at that.
“Go take your shower, Dana. I need to get home.”
She nodded, unable to speak. He moved closer and took her into his arms. “It’ll be okay, Dana. Get ready.” The tears in her eyes nearly melted him. “Go on. If you ever need me, you know you can call me.”
She brushed a kiss against his cheek and turned away. When the bathroom door closed, he finished dressing and was gone when she emerged. She forced her tears back and headed toward her seminar.
This was a one time thing; one she couldn’t think about again despite her words to Mulder. She’d make it up to Ethan.
Ethan came into the kitchen, smiling. “I thought we were going out.”
“We were, but it just felt like a long time since I had cooked you a meal, so I thought I’d see if I could remember how.”
“Smells like you did. When will it be ready?”
“Okay, I’ll gonna take a quick shower and change.” He gave her a kiss and headed for the bedroom. She watched him go and a small smile of anticipation came over her face.
She lit the candles on the table and brought in the food. He stopped when he got to the door. “Wow.” He surveyed the table, then he put his arms around her. “What’s the occasion?”
She met his lips. “Have a seat.”
He chuckled and took his seat across from her. He helped himself to the roast and passed the platter to her. They ate in companionable silence for a few moments. “This is good, Dana, but you haven’t told me the occasion.”
“I guess it has been a long time since I cooked.”
“Hey, I’m not complaining. We both work, but this is nice.” He reached for her hand and squeezed it.
She looked down at their hands and smiled. “I do have some news.”
He looked up expectantly. “Well?”
She smiled, suddenly feeling a little shy. “It looks like Robin’s going to have a little brother or sister soon.”
All trace of a smile vanished from his face; he jerked his hand back from hers. “Whose is it?”
“I asked whose bastard are you carrying?” His voice was hard, harsh and menacing.
She was stunned at the hostility emanating from him. “It’s yours! How can you -“
“It’s not mine. I had a vasectomy when Robin was ten.”
Dana’s mouth fell open. “You did what? How could you . . . how could you not tell me something like that before we got married?”
“This isn’t about me. You’ve been - “
“Of course it’s about you and me! We talked about children. You knew you couldn’t . . . “
“When we talked about children, I told you I already had my daughter.”
“But you never said that you didn’t want a child with me! It has to be yours. Maybe it reversed, that happens.”
“No, I’ve been checked, as recently as six months ago. It’s not mine.”
“Why would you do . . . “ Her voice failed, trailing off.
“This is about you, Dana. Who is he?” His eyes narrowed and he rose from his chair. He rounded the table and grabbed her arm, yanking her to her feet. “Who have you been with?”
She shook her head, nausea growing. “Ethan, I’m sick.”
Disgusted he released her and she raced for the bathroom, locking herself in. After she was sick, she washed her face and sat on the side of the tub.
The baby was Mulder’s; she knew it. It felt like she had already known it on some level. Despite her pill and the condoms, she’d gotten pregnant that night. You’d almost think it was meant to be.
Ethan had had a vasectomy and hadn’t bothered to mention it. Why? And why would he have himself checked again so long after the procedure? No, she couldn’t think these thoughts. She was married to the man; but he had let her take the pill, knowing there was no need.
Robin had been ten? No, God no. He wouldn’t . . . but he and Robin were so close and she had always been the outsider. Robin was only fourteen. Dana was shaking like a leaf. Was she seeing this clearly?
She couldn’t hear him out there. Had he left? Was he waiting for her? What was she going to do? She had someone else to protect now, her child, Mulder’s child. She’d analyze that later, right now she had to force herself from the bathroom.
He wasn’t waiting for her immediately outside the bathroom anyway. She cautiously moved out into the house. His keys weren’t on the dresser. She moved to the window and saw that his car was gone. She sagged against the wall in relief.
Was he coming back? She didn’t want to see him, she couldn’t face him. She had been unfaithful to him. The fact that it was only once didn’t matter. But what he had done, what she suspected he had done, oh god . . .
She grabbed her suitcase from the closet and packed quickly. The cash she kept in her bedside table totaled over $500. She stuffed it in her purse and all but ran for her car.
She turned north but drove less than an hour. She wouldn’t admit to herself why she had chosen this direction. Once she was checked in, she sat staring into space. She couldn’t think about herself, not right now. There was no one she could call, except . . . If her suspicions were correct she had to put a stop to it. She took a deep breath and picked up the phone.
“Kathee, it’s Dana.”
“Dana? What, what do you want?” There was only mild hostility, laced with curiosity in her tone.
“I need to ask, I have to ask you something.”
“I . . . okay,” she sounded wary, but she hadn’t hung up.
“Were you aware that Ethan had a vasectomy four years ago?”
“Of course. Why?” The woman sounded puzzled.
“God, I can’t do this over the phone. Could we meet somewhere?”
“Uh, I guess. When?”
“Tomorrow morning, early.”
“I have to get to work.”
“I know, but this is urgent. Please. I can come over there after Robin’s on the bus.”
Kathee sighed. “I . . . okay. Is Ethan coming?”
“No. I need to talk to you alone.”
”Fine, whatever. I’ll see tomorrow morning.” She hung up and Dana slowly put the receiver back in the cradle.
After a sleepless night and morning sickness from hell, she dressed and drove swiftly back to Kathee’s house. She stayed in her car until the bus drove away with Robin. Then she forced herself out of the car. She knew she looked like hell, but that fit easily with the way she felt.
She knocked on the door and Kathee opened it quickly. “I’m in a hurry, Dana. What is this?”
Dana stepped inside, but didn’t speak. Finally Kathee stopped and looked at her. “What’s wrong?”
Dana shook her head, then took a deep breath. “I need to know . . . Did you ever suspect that Ethan was, was unfaithful to you?”
“What is this? Are you and Ethan - “
“Please. I need to know.”
Kathee gave another put-upon sigh. “I knew he was seeing someone, but it doesn’t matter now.”
“Did you know who it was?”
“To be honest, it didn’t matter at that point.”
Dana closed her eyes, centering herself. “Have you ever thought that Ethan and Robin’s relationship was a little . . . “ How could she possible phrase this?
“What are you talking about?”
“Could, could Ethan be intimate with Robin?” She got it out quickly, but the words tasted bitter.
Kathee’s eyes widened and her face paled. “Are you . . . are you serious?” She sank into the wingback chair closest to her. Dana took a seat on the couch, close to her. “Why are you asking . . .”
“You think so, don’t you?” Dana said quietly. “I am so sorry that I didn’t . . . It’s my job to see these things. I’ve been too close. And I thought it was immature to feel jealousy towards a child. We have to do something.”
Kathee was in shock now. “Do you really think . . . “ Dana moved to sit on the arm of Kathee’s chair, her arm around the older woman. “You didn’t know about the vasectomy?” Kathee looked up at Dana.
Dana shook her head. “We need to find out if our suspicions are true. They are only suspicions right now. You need to take Robin to a doctor. Not my group. We can’t do anything without proof. She will fight you,” Dana said. “She and her father have a secret, he has convinced her that he loves her and that this, this thing they’re doing is all right.”
“She was ten,” Kathee said softly.
Kathee shook her head. “No, at least not consciously. I knew there was someone else but it never occurred to me . . . Oh god.”
Dana nodded. “He never told me about his surgery. I didn’t even think about Ethan seeing another woman.” Dana shook her head, “I gave him the opportunity for this. I allowed myself to . . . “
They sat in silence then.
After a long moment, Kathee looked over at Dana. “What do I do?”
Dana took a deep breath. “You need to have her checked by a gynecologist and have a rape kit taken. They may have been together night before last. If there is fluid, we would need to do DNA testing to confirm that Ethan is . . . He can’t know we’re doing this. You need to make the appointment and take her out of school before she can call him.”
“Do you think she’d protect him?”
Dana deflated slightly. “I don’t know. If this is as long lasting as I think, she has to have been involved.”
“Do you think she . . . seduced him?”
Dana looked away, her immediate response was yes. This woman-child had been after Ethan from the beginning. But she had been just a little girl when this had started, ten years old. Could a ten year old seduce a grown man? Not a healthy one. Oh god. She shook her head. “No, we can’t blame Robin for this. A ten year old doesn’t have the capacity to make those decisions. If she does flirt it’s innocent. An adult, a healthy adult, would never . . . You need to make that appointment today, now.” She withdrew a small envelope from her purse. “This is Ethan’s toothbrush. They can get the DNA they need from it.”
Kathee swallowed and forced herself to her feet. “I know you can’t . . . you should get to work.”
Dana stood as well. “Kathee, I’ve left him. He may not realize it yet. I know I don’t have proof, but I can’t stay. As soon as I get a new place, I’ll get you my number. In the meantime, may I call you?”
“If this is confirmed, as I expect it to be, Robin will need therapy. I have some names of child therapists if you want them.”
Dana pulled the list from her purse. “Do you want me to stay?”
Kathee shook her head. “Call me this evening, please.”
“I will. I promise. Kathee, I’m sorry.”
“I appreciate you coming to me.” She led Dana to the door.
Once back in her car, Dana pulled away from the curb. There were other things she needed to do. The banks would be open soon. She needed to get her money out, find a temporary place to live. It hit her suddenly; she was pregnant and didn’t have a place to call home.
Author’s notes - I know there were some disturbing themes here, they disturb me too. My husband works with these victims every day and in some fortunate cases has aided law enforcement in putting the perpetrators in prison - but there are far too many victims. Please, don’t be afraid to protect a child. Thank you.