Sleepless - 1/3 (PG-13)


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She was a little surprised to see the door opened and the lights on.  She usually beat him in on Monday mornings.  Oh lord, had he stumbled onto something bizarre?  In spite of herself, she felt a quickening of her pulse at the prospect - not that she would ever admit that to him.

 

Then she saw him.  He was staring the computer and hadn’t seemed to notice her, but his appearance was what caught her eye.  His glasses were on the desk, and he was wearing one of his multitudes of gray t-shirts.  She assumed jeans, though she couldn’t see from where she stood.  His hair was spiked from countless swipes by his hands, he had more than a day’s growth of beard and his eyes were red.

 

“Mulder?  What’s going on?”

 

He startled at the sound of her voice.  “Scully?  What are you doing here?”

 

“I work here,” she said dryly.

 

He pretended to laugh. “No, why today?  I didn’t expect you back yet.”

 

Now her brow creased with worry.  “Mulder, it’s Monday morning.”

 

His eyes widened and he glanced down at his watch.

 

“How long have you been here?”  She stepped closer then and her hand came out to rest lightly on his shoulder.  He seemed to lean into it a little.

 

“I, I came in Saturday morning.”

 

“Saturday?  What in the world did you find?”  Her hand tightened and she glanced over at the screen.

 

“Nothing.  I mean, I just couldn’t sleep so I came in.”

 

“Couldn’t sleep?”  Scully turned back to him and he could see Dr. Scully begin to emerge.  “Do you have a headache?”  She was taking his pulse now.  He wished she’d just hold his hand for a moment.  It would be of more help to him, but he kept quiet.

 

“Your pulse is fast.  I’m sure your blood pressure is up.  Have you taken anything?”

 

“No, I just . . . time got away from me.”

 

Her eyebrow rose and he felt better just seeing that.  It was so normal. 

 

“Track my finger.”  He did, enjoying her undivided attention.  “When did you last eat?”

 

“Uh, if it’s Monday, Friday night.”

 

“Mulder!”  She tugged on his hand.  “You can’t stay here.  Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.”

 

“I could - “ Even as he spoke, she was moving around the office gathering files she might need.  He sat quietly, not arguing.  He didn’t feel sick, or especially drugged, just tired and maybe a little fuzzy.  This wasn’t like the other time, but it was nice having her take charge.  Had he really been here for 51 hours?

 

“Mulder?”  He realized she was standing in front of him, her hand out.

 

“I’m okay.”  He rose from the chair and immediately grabbed the desk to stay on his feet.  Her arms came around him as well and he sat back heavily in the chair.

 

She was giving him a thorough exam now.  Her hands touched his scalp, then moved down to his neck and throat.  “I don’t like this.  I know you don’t have ‘normal’ sleep habits, but this isn’t like you.  Tell me what you remember.”

 

She was standing between his legs now and his concentration was distracted.

 

“Nothing much.  I couldn’t sleep Friday night, so I thought I’d come in here and rummage through the files.”

 

“What time did you get here?”

 

“Around midnight.”

 

She didn’t comment on that.  If she’d been in town, he would have called her and they would have talked for a while.  Okay, more than awhile probably, but then he would have been able to sleep and not come all the way back down here.  She had nothing to feel guilty about, she had a life outside of the office and Mom had wanted company for the drive up to see Aunt Betsy.  That didn’t seem to assuage the guilt that she did feel at all.

 

“Did you see anyone?”

 

“At that time on a Friday night?  Only kooks or spooky nerds would be at work then.” He forced a grin, but he was having trouble concentrating.

 

She didn’t return it.  Something else was going on.  “Do you think you can walk?”

 

“Yeah.  I’m probably just hungry.”

 

“Dehydrated too,” she murmured.

 

“So we can stop and get a sandwich or something when you take me home.”

 

She shook her head.  “I’m taking you to my place.”  His eyebrow rose and a gleam came into his eyes.  She glared at him for a second.  “I can take your blood there and - “

 

“My blood!” he grimaced.  “Come on, Scully, I just got involved and - “

 

He stopped when she looked down at him, her eyebrow now in play.

 

“Come on.  After I take your blood, I’ll fix you something to eat.”  She took his arm and he managed to stay on his feet this time.

 

“This is overkill, Scully,” he muttered, but it was a little strange that so much time had gotten away from him.  And now that she had brought it to his attention, things seemed to be . . . jerky.  She had ignored him anyway, locking the door behind them while still keeping her hand on him. 

 

He was really no steadier as they made their way to her car, but he managed.  She seated him on the passenger’s side, then rounded the car and headed for her place.

 

He zoned out on the way and needed her help to exit the car.  He was leaning on her heavily by the time they reached her door.  They made it to her couch, then he collapsed, obviously exhausted.  She lifted his feet to the cushions and removed his shoes and socks.

 

“Just relax a minute, Mulder.  I’ll get my bag.”  She was gone before he could protest, but he didn’t really feel like protesting.  In fact, he felt like shit.

 

Maybe he dozed, but she was back, standing beside him without him seeing the movement.  Her brow was furrowed and he wondered if he’d missed another question, but didn’t ask.

 

She was tying on a tourniquet and slapping the inside of his elbow.  He shouldn’t complain, she was the best he knew at this and never really hurt him, but it was his job to give her grief.

 

Had he dozed again?  She had three vials of his blood lying on the coffee table.  Well, at least it hadn’t hurt.  What was she saying?

 

“Mulder?”  She was lightly tapping his cheek.  She had a glass in her hand and lifted it to his lips.  Water, cool and soothing, kind of like her.  He thought of saying that, but the words didn’t come.  The furrow of her brow was more pronounced now, but he seemed to be drifting.  It was nice to have her here to watch over him . . .

 

*****

 

“Sir? Scully here.  We have a problem.”

 

“Problem?  Do you want to come up?”

 

“I’m not at the office, sir.  Could you get me copies of the surveillance tapes of the parking garage from 11 p.m. on Friday night until this morning?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“I’m sorry, but . . . something’s happened to Mulder.”

 

“Is he missing?”

 

“No, no he’s here with me.  Sir, when I came in this morning he was already there.  He’d apparently been there since around midnight on Friday.  He didn’t know it was Monday morning.”

 

“Drugged?”

 

“I assume so.  I’ve taken some blood, but he’s not . . . okay.  I need to know if he left during that time and doesn’t remember it.”

 

There was a slight hesitation.  She started to speak again, when Skinner interrupted.  “I’ll get back to you.  Where are you?”

 

“My apartment.”

 

“Do you need any help?”

 

“He seems to be okay right now.  He’s dehydrated and hasn’t eaten, but I’m watching him.”  She could feel Skinner nod at that.

 

“I’ll be in touch.”  The connection went dead then and she sat the receiver back in the charger.  Mulder hadn’t moved.

 

She got some orange juice from the refrigerator and scrounged up a straw then returned to his side.  “Mulder?” she said softly.

 

“Um?”

 

“I need you to drink some juice.”

 

“What?” He blinked at her.

 

“Come on, you need fluids more than you need sleep right now.”

 

“I don’t - “

 

“If you don’t drink it I’m going to have to take you to the hospital and get you an IV.”

 

He grimaced but didn’t say anything.  Looking at her, he took a pull on the straw.

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

“Confused.”

 

“We’ll find out what’s going on.”

 

He smiled at her and his eyes closed.

 

*****

 

She worked at her computer, doing some paperwork in between glancing over at Mulder on her couch.  When the phone rang she grabbed it immediately, but he didn’t seem to hear it.

 

“Hello?”

 

“I have copies of the tapes.  I haven’t seen them, but I’m bringing them over now.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Is he doing okay?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“I’ll be there in a little while.”

 

“Thank you,” she repeated softly.  He hesitated, then broke the connection.

 

She took a deep breath and started to hang up, then changed her mind and pressed five on her speed dial.

 

“Yeah, talk to me.”

 

“Langly,” she answered.  “I need some help.”

 

She could hear his feet come off the desk as he sat up.  “Scully?”

 

“Yeah - “

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“Could you come over here?”

 

“Even Frohike?” There was the hint of a smile in his voice.

 

“Yeah, even Frohike.”

 

He caught her tone then.  “Scully, what is it?”

 

“I’m not sure.  Something’s been done to Mulder.”

 

“Is he with you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“On the way.”  Langly broke the connection without saying goodbye.  Scully smiled and put her own receiver down.

 

While she waited for her company, she started lunch.  Mulder would need broth, but she could make sandwiches for the others.  She heard the knock at her door and hurried in that direction.

 

She opened the door for Skinner and he took in the worry on her face silently.  She motioned for him to come on in and he did, looking around for Mulder.  He spotted him lying on the couch.

 

“Is he asleep?”

 

“No.  I thought he was, but he can’t seem to go all the way under.  It’s already been over fifty hours.”

 

“Shouldn’t he be in a hospital?”

 

She just looked at him for a long moment.

 

“Okay, he’ll get better care from you, but do you know what you’re working on?”

 

“Not yet,” she admitted.  She took a steadying breath.  “Would you like some lunch?”

 

“I don’t - “

 

“I’m already making it.  Why don’t you see if you can get Mulder to drink a little more juice?”

 

He nodded and watched her slip out of the room.  Skinner took a seat in the chair next to the couch.  “Mulder?”

 

After a long moment, Mulder turned to look at him.  “Skinner?”

 

“Yeah.  How do you feel?”

 

“Tired, slow.”

 

Skinner smiled a little at that.  “Here, have a little more juice.  I hear you’ve been awake for awhile.”

 

Mulder nodded.  “That’s what Scully tells me.”  He took a couple of sips, then his eyes closed again but he still didn’t sleep.  Skinner’s frown grew.  He stood to join Scully in the kitchen when he heard the knock.

 

“Could you get that?” Scully called from the kitchen.

 

“Sure.”  He headed for the door and checked the peephole.  He shook his head, but opened the door.

 

“Skinman!” Langly chortled as the trio entered past him.

 

Skinner looked disgusted, but just let them pass.  Scully joined them with a platter of sandwiches.  “Here, I’ll get some drinks, then we need to get started.”

 

Byers followed her into the kitchen.  He took the pitcher of tea and the tray of glasses.  She picked up the ice bucket. 

 

“We weren’t expecting lunch.”

 

“We need your help.  This is the least I could do.”

 

Langly was already eating, but Frohike was examining Mulder, checking the dilation of his eyes and taking his pulse.  “What’s going on with my man here?”

 

“I don’t know.  That’s why I’ve asked you here.”  She took a seat and poured herself a glass of tea.  “When I got to work this morning, Mulder was already there.  He told me he went in Friday night, early Saturday morning, and didn’t realize it was Monday.  As far as he knows, he was in the office all that time without eating or sleeping.  Skinner brought the security tapes from the garage.  I thought you could help us look at them.”

 

“We’ve got better equipment at our place,” Langly reminded her.

 

“Yes, but I can look after Mulder better here.”

 

Langly shrugged, but didn’t comment, just taking another bite of his sandwich.

 

Skinner put the tape in her machine and hit play.  He took up the remote and began fast forwarding through the scene.

 

Scully saw that Mulder’s eyes were open, attempting to follow the conversation and watch the TV.  She brought a cup of broth to his lips and he took a sip of the warm nourishment.  He smiled at her, then looked back at the screen.

 

“Okay, there he is.  Twelve twenty-seven a.m.  Now we fast forward.”

 

They all watched as Langly ran the copies that Skinner had brought.  Scully was really surprised at the amount of activity for a weekend.  Of course the Bureau was a 24/7 organization but it looked like a regular workday Saturday morning.  It was a little after 9 a.m. that Frohike spotted him.

 

“Look over there.  Isn’t that him with someone?  Who - ”

 

“Diana,” Scully said flatly.  She was frozen in place.

 

Skinner had been peering at the couple on the screen.  Her movement caused him to look over at her.  Her face was set, her manner glacial.

 

“No,” Mulder managed to get out.  “Scu . . .No!”  But she was rising, reaching for the empty platter.

 

Skinner turned back to the screen.  Yes, it was Diana but he hadn’t been able to recognize her until she had turned profile to look at Mulder.  Scully had known her instinctively.  The woman on the tape turned to face Mulder.  His arm was around her shoulders and she leaned in whispering into his ear it seemed and laughing.

 

Scully took one last look and moved out of the room.

 

He realized Mulder was struggling to rise and Skinner took Scully’s place beside him on the couch.

 

“Mulder, do you remember this?”

 

He shook his head, but his eyes were focused on the kitchen where Scully had disappeared.  The four men exchanged glances and Langly rewound the tape for another look.  After a moment, Byers rose and joined Scully in the other room.

 

She kept her back to him, moving around her kitchen, straightening things that didn’t need straightening.

 

“Scully, you need to come back.”

 

“In a minute.”

 

“He’s not involved with Diana,” Byers said quietly.

 

“It didn’t look that way, did it?” she retorted, her back still to him.

 

“Hey, Scully!” Frohike called from the other room.  “You need to see this.”

 

Byers watched her shoulders slump, but she took a steadying breath and turned back.  Byers met her eyes with a look of sympathy and they returned to the living room.

 

“Look, they’ve not got their arms around each other.”  He looked up to see her eyebrow high, staring down at him.  “Well, okay, technically they have their arms around each other, but watch; it’s for support, not affection.”  He pointed to the screen and when she looked more closely, she saw it.  Mulder was already unsteady on his feet, not quite staggering but definitely in need of the woman’s help to walk.

 

“She drugged him, or whatever she did, before they left the office.”

 

Scully looked over and met Mulder’s eyes.  He reached for her and she realized his hand was trembling.  “Mulder?”  Even as she spoke, the trembling increased to shaking.  “Mulder!”  His eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed back on the couch.

 

“Shit!” She wasn’t sure who had said that, maybe it was her, but she was the one they all looked at now for instructions.

 

“Bring him in here.”  She was already on the move to her bedroom, pulling back the covers.  Skinner had his shoulders; the other three had his legs as they carried him into her bedroom.

 

“Should I call 911?” Skinner turned to her after placing him on the bed.

 

She hesitated.  “Have you taken any blood?” Byers asked.

 

Scully nodded.

 

“Why don’t we take the blood and the tapes over to our place?  Our lab isn’t backed up so you’ll get an answer quicker and Langly can analyze the tapes, find out when he returned.”

 

“He needs fluids,” she answered.

 

“You can do that here, can’t you?” Skinner spoke up.

 

“Can someone run to the pharmacy for me?”

 

“Yeah, make a list.”  Skinner was already reaching for his keys.  “Do you want one of us to stay with you?”

 

She shook her head and watched the trio leave.  Skinner hung back for a moment while she completed her list. 

 

“What if I’m wrong?  What if I can’t handle this here?”

 

“I trust your instincts with Mulder; so does he.  Something was done to him.  Those guys will be more invested in finding an answer than any hospital lab and we’ll be able to keep some control.”

 

“Why Diana?” She hadn’t realized she was going to ask that.

 

“Someone knows about their past connection and possibly knows how much it would hurt you.”

 

She looked up startled at those words, then quickly away.  He made no comment, just squeezing her shoulder and turning toward the door.

 

After she heard the door close, she turned back to her partner.  She sat gently on the side of the bed.  That’s when she realized his eyes were open - mere slits, but open.  “Mulder?”

 

“Trust you,” he managed to say.

 

“I trust you too, Mulder.”  She took his hand and his eyes opened a little more.  “I’m going to get your juice and broth, okay?”

 

He didn’t release her hand until she started to move away.  Even then, his eyes didn’t leave her.

 

*****

 

 

 

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.