Sleepless - 3/3 (PG-13)

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She checked the peephole and immediately threw the door open.  “I’ll take that.”  Byers stepped inside and she took a couple of the plastic bags hanging from his fingers.  His arms were full of large paper grocery bags.


“Thanks.  I wanted to make one trip,” he breathed and they both hurried to the table.  Mulder had made it to his feet by that point, and closed the door behind them.  Byers looked over at him and smiled.  “You’re looking better.”


“Are you alone?” Mulder asked.


“Yeah, we thought it would be less noticeable with just me.”


“The others are a little obvious,” Mulder agreed.


“I got everything on your list, and a few things we thought of.”


“What about the tox screen?” Scully asked.


Byers looked between the two and back at Scully.  “Good and bad news there.  We’ve finished the analysis, we’ve run it several times in fact, but we don’t understand it.  There's nothing there.”  He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the paper.  He handed it to Scully and she scanned it quickly.


"Nothing?"  That from Mulder though Scully echoed him faintly.


"It's just blood," Byers insisted.


"I'm sorry, John, but could you have - "


"Frohike got creative when we couldn't find anything obvious.  We tested for things . . . " He shrugged.  "There's nothing else the three of us could think of."


Scully looked over at Mulder, who nodded.  "I believe him."


She sighed.  "So do I."  She looked back down at the paper.


Byers moved over to Mulder.  “How are you feeling?”


“Confused, weak.”


“You were really out of it yesterday.  Scully obviously took great care of you.”


“She always does,” he said quietly.  Scully looked up at him, then back at the paper.


Byers caught the tension and decided not to mention it.  “I’ll put away the groceries.”


Mulder followed him into the kitchen.  They unloaded the bags and Mulder smiled slightly to find the package of boxers at the bottom.


“I didn’t get you a lot of clothes.  We didn’t want to go by your place, so I brought you some of my things.  They should fit well enough if you’re going to be staying in for awhile.  And here,” he handed Mulder a couple of cell phones.  “These are throw aways.  You can use them a couple of times, but not long.  We’ve been in touch with Skinner.  He knows you’re safe, but not your location.  He thought it would be better that way.”




Byers looked uncomfortable but nodded.  “She’s definitely involved.  You weren’t able to walk on your own when she took you out of the building.  She was definitely supporting you.”


“How long was I gone?”


Byers looked over at Scully; who was busy with the paper he’d given her.  “From nine Saturday morning until seven Monday morning.”


“She knew Scully was out of town.”


“How?” Byers asked.


Mulder shook his head.  “I don’t know, but she did.  It was planned.  What does that paper tell you?”


“Uh, I don’t - "


“Tell me what you think.”


“You were drugged, you had to be, to get you out of the office.  But anything else . . .”


“They had to have done something.”


Byers shook his head.  “That’s why Frohike had Scully check the back of your neck.”


Mulder looked up startled.  “When?”


“Yesterday.  She said she didn’t find . . . “  Mulder’s hand had gone to the back of his neck.  The look of panic made Byers reach for him.  “Mulder, she didn’t find anything.  This is Scully, if you had a new scar . . . “


Mulder managed to give him a sick grin then.  “I guess you’re right there.”


“She hasn’t left your side.  We’ll figure out what happened.”


“Scully knows that Diana - "


Byers nodded.


“Did she . . . “


“She wasn’t happy. We had to show her that you were already drugged before you left with her.”




“She knows there’s nothing between you, but - "


“But Diana rings her chimes.  So, what did they do to me?”


“We’ll find out, Mulder.  You take it easy and let us, let Scully, figure this out.”  Byers clapped him on the shoulder and returned to Scully.  "What do you want us to do?"


"I need to think about this.  Can I contact you?"


"Yeah, I gave Mulder the phones.  When you need more, let us know.  I, uh, I'll get out of your way.  Be in touch."


"We will and thanks, John."  Scully walked him to the door and Mulder watched as his friend put his arm around her shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze, then he was gone.


She turned back to see him watching.  "Chummy, aren't you."


The slight smile slipped off her face, and he immediately regretted the words.  She turned and moved toward the kitchen, where she proceeded to rearrange what they had just put away.


"Scully, I'm sorry."  She ignored him until he took her arm.  "Scully, please."


"What do you want me to say, Mulder?  It's okay?  Is that what you want me to say about you being draped around Diana?"


He stared at her for a second.  "I wasn't.  Scully, I know you don't like Diana, but - "


"No!"  He jerked back then.  "Don't."  She stalked away from him again, and after a moment he followed, this time into the bedroom.   He stopped just inside, looking at the bed they had shared, while she jerked the sheets into place.  For an instant he was glad he wasn't those sheets, though he had no doubt she was strangling them in proxy to him.


Hoping that she wouldn't physically assault him due to his weakened condition, he finally approached her again.  "Scully, talk to me.  Tell me what happened."


She looked up and saw the conflict in his face.  She closed her eyes for an instant and sighed.  "Fine."  


She turned abruptly and returned to the living room.  He followed, and gratefully sank onto the couch.  That caught her attention.  "I'm going to get you something to drink.  You're still not okay."


He didn't argue, but his eyes didn't leave her as she poured the drink and returned to him.  He accepted the glass and she took her seat beside him.


"What we know definitely, is that around 12:30 Saturday morning you returned to the office.  You're on the surveillance tape of the parking deck.  Do you remember why you went in?"


He looked embarrassed at that.  "Uh, just bored and I couldn't sleep."


She nodded absently at that, she'd already figured that out.  "What do you remember?"


He shrugged.  "Nothing.  I mean, I remember going to the office, I remember being there for awhile, then I woke up in bed with you."


Color crept into her face, but she continued.  "Did you call Diana?"


"No," he stated it with no hesitation.  "No, Scully, I don't know what's going on, but I did not call Diana.  I know you don't trust her."


"But you do."


"I, I don't know what I think about it, Scully.  I know you won't believe this, but sometimes I do listen to you.  You see something I don't.  Your opinion matters to me."


He saw some of the tension leave her shoulders at those words.  He had woken up in her arms; she had cared for him, regardless of her suspicions. 


"You weren't working on - "


"I wasn't working on anything.  I was just killing time."


She heard the truth in that statement and nodded.  "You left Saturday morning around 9 a.m.  You were apparently already drugged.  You were having trouble walking; she was helping you."


He shook his head.  "I don't remember."


"So we don't know if the original drug was ingested or injected.  I need to check you for an injection site."


"Byers said you checked for an implant."


"I did, but I need to look more closely now.  Do you mind?"


"No."  He didn't even make it an innuendo, meeting her eyes.


She moved closer and began with his scalp.  From there she moved down to his shoulders and back.  Finding nothing, she faced him.  "Why don't you check - "


"Should I be insulted you didn't scope me out last night, when I was at your mercy?"


She glared at him, but he grinned.  After a moment he sobered.  "Scully, thank you for trusting me enough to keep me safe last night."


"You were drugged.  I was pretty sure I could take you," she offered.


"I'm pretty sure you could take me at my best."  He rose then, leaving her speechless, and headed for the bedroom.  When he returned he was wearing a robe supplied by the apartment.  "Nothing that I could see.  You willing to check out my bum?"


"I guess someone has to.  I could call Frohike."


"No, thank you.  Do I get a blue light?"


Her look caused a grin, but he turned his back to her.  He dropped the robe and waited.  She forced herself into doctor mode, and approached him.  He jumped slightly at the feel of her hand on his bare buttocks, but managed not to tense up.  She said nothing just handing him back his robe when she was through.




"Nothing new," she responded causing him to turn partially toward her even as he was pulling the robe closed.  Her grin caused his eyes to narrow.  "I still need to check your legs and feet."


He obediently took a seat on the couch and she knelt in front of him.  The visual locked his gaze on her, even as it struck him dumb.  He moved to tuck the robe in between his legs more tightly and silently urged her to hurry.




Her words startled him; he'd forgotten what she was really doing.  "What?"


"Here, at your ankle.  It's tiny, small gauge, probably through your sock.  This has to be how they got you to leave with her."  She looked up to see how he was taking this latest accusation against Diana.


He seemed to be just accepting of her words.  Was he finally seeing what she saw with Diana?


"What did they do to me, Scully?"

She rose then and took her seat beside him.  "I don't know, but we're going to find out.  There's no implant, they didn't take any blood that I can find."


"Which means they did, what?  Some sort of gas, radiation?"


After a moment she nodded.  "There are no scars, Mulder.  They didn't perform surgery on you."


"How did I get back?"


She hesitated a second.  "Diana brought you back, not long before I got there Monday morning."


He closed his eyes.


"I'm sorry, Mulder."


"She is involved.  She's working with 'them.'"


Her hand squeezed his forearm, but she kept quiet.  After a moment, she started to rise.  He reached for her.  "You need to eat again.  I'm going to fix us some lunch."


He nodded and watched her leave his side.


After a few minutes, he found he needed to be closer to her and joined her in the kitchen.  She looked up to ask what he wanted, but the look on his face silenced her.  She just accepted his presence.


He carried the food to the table, and she brought their drinks.  They ate in silence, though she noticed he started to speak several times.  Each time he seemed to move closer to her.


When they were finished, she reached for his plate.  "You should try to take a nap."


He smirked at her.  "I'm not sure I can turn it off that long."


"Try.  You need some catch up sleep."


"Without you as security blanket?"  He tried to smile.


"I'll come check on you in a little while."


"What are you going to do?  Are you going out?"


"No.  I'll get online and do some research."


He scanned her face, but nodded.  She watched him leave her again, her eyes involuntarily going back to his ass for an instant before she could catch herself.  His body had felt so right against hers last night. 


She turned away and pulled out her laptop.  She cleaned up the kitchen while it booted up, then she signed on as one of the aliases the guys had given her.


The problem was, she didn't have anything to research.  No drugs in his system didn't give her a starting point.  There was no evidence of radiation; she'd seen his body.  No hint of a burn or rash.


A sound from the bedroom drew her attention.  Was he awake?  He didn't emerge, so she moved in that direction.  The next sound was easily recognizable, he was moaning.  She hurried to his side.


"Mulder?  Mulder, wake up.  Can you hear me?"  She touched his cheek and he pressed into it.  "Wake up.  Are you in pain?"


His arm snaked around her, pulling her closer and he burrowed his face into her neck as he pulled her down beside him.  "Too many.  Help me, there's too many."


"Wake up, Mulder, listen to me."


"Sc . . . help me," he breathed as he moved up her neck.  Before she could speak, his lips had met hers, melded with hers.  The thought of protesting this flittered through her mind, but didn't stick.


When he woke, he realized his body was half covering hers and his tongue was deeply exploring her mouth.  He caressed her side and pulled back.  "Scully?"


She blinked, coming back to herself.  "Mulder.  You, you were, it sounded like you were in pain."


He thought about that for a minute.  "Pain." He nodded.  "I think it was a memory."




"I don't know.  Maybe it was a dream."


"What do you remember?"


"My head."  She questioned him with a look, but he took a moment.  "Did I say anything?"


"You said 'too many.'  Does that mean anything?"


He nodded.  "I, my head was . . . I could hear . . . I don't know what it was.  There were people talking to me, too many people.  Some of it didn't matter, some of it was urgent, but they wouldn't stop.  I thought my head would burst.  This couldn't be any kind of leftover from that fungus?"


Her brow furrowed.  "I'm not having any kind of problem.  I don't think you would have flashbacks to that, and no one else was involved then."  She gently ran her hand through his hair again.


"I didn't let anyone drill any more holes in my head, Scully."


"You remember now?"


"Well, no, but I wouldn't."


"You weren't in charge.  You were drugged."


He watched her eyes as she did a thorough examination of his skull and neck again.  "Anything?"


She shook her head.


"So it was a dream."


"I, I don't think so.  Something was done to you, something that didn't allow you to sleep.  I admit that doesn't make a lot of sense.  Maybe they were using sound waves or some sort of . . ." She shrugged.




"What are you thinking?"


"What's the opposite of sensory depravation? Maybe they bombarded me with . . . whatever."


"Maybe.  And they wouldn't let you sleep."


"But I would have, once I was away from them."


"You did, eventually.  They could have used lights, sound.  I just want to make sure there're no long-term effects.  Just take it easy today.  Remember, we're out of town on an X-File."  She gave him a small smile.


"Yeah.  Are we going to solve it?


"Good question.  I guess we better figure out something to report to Skinner on, for the record.  Any juicy X-File you've been sitting on, waiting for the 'right time' to spring it on me?"


He chuckled.  "I need to check.  Use your laptop?"  She nodded and followed him into the living room.


He opened up his real account and checked his email.  The look on his face caused her to move to his side.  Wordlessly he pointed to the email.  There was a message from Diana.


"Go ahead, read it."  She took a step away and his hand grasped her wrist.




He could tell she wanted to protest, but didn't.  After a slight hesitation, she took a seat beside him.  He clicked open the email.  "Fox, call me.  I need to talk to you."


He looked over at Scully.  Her face was carefully blank.


"What do you think?"


"I think she wants to know what the aftereffects of your disappearance are, whether or not you remember . . . anything."


"That's easy.  I don't."


"Good, then you can be honest with her.  She doesn't have to know anything has even been noticed.  We're out of town on a case.  Go ahead, call her."


"Scully - "


"It's okay.  You two are friends, I'm not - "




"What?  What do you want me to say?  I don't trust her, I didn't before this happened, and nothing has changed my mind."


"And you're right.  I don't know what she did, but Scully, remember, I only trust you." 


She looked up and their eyes caught.  She could feel the heat in her face but didn't look away.  "You should call her."




"Mulder - "


"Please stay."


She gave a sigh, but to his relief, didn't move away from him.  "Where's my cell phone?"


"My briefcase."  He watched her retrieve it and took it from her.  She resumed her seat at his side, and he put his finger to his lips.  She glared at him but nodded.


He dialed Diana's number, holding the receiver so that Scully could hear.




"Diana, it's me."


"Fox?  Thanks for calling.  Where are you?"


"The middle of nowhere," he managed to sound disgusted.  "I'll probably lose you any minute.  What's up?  Do you have a case?"


"Oh, no, I just wanted to check in with you.  We haven't talked lately."


His eyes were on Scully.  "Oh, sorry."


"I just wanted to make sure you were okay."


"I'm fine.  Do you know something I don't?"  He kept moving the receiver farther from his mouth.


She laughed and Scully looked away.  "Hardly.  It's just I never see you.  Dana doesn't let you far off the leash, does she?"


His face showed only disgust.  "I'm where I want to be, Diana."


There was a hesitation then on her part.  "But it's not like when we were together."


He met Scully's eyes.  "It's better," he mouthed.


"You're break- up.  I'll ca - home."


"Okay, take - " He broke the connection before she could finish the sentence, and dropped the phone on the table.


They sat in silence for a long time.  Finally he reached for her hand.  "She lied."


Scully nodded.


"She can't be trusted.  You can."


She was as surprised as he was by the blush she felt growing on her cheeks.  He brushed a knuckle across her warm cheek.  "Thank you."



She looked up at him as he spoke.  So much had happened since that day.  They had been alone and safe, spending time letting him recuperate, and being together in a more relaxed way.  Of course it hadn't lasted.  Skinner had gotten in touch with them in a couple of days, and they had begun researching Dr. Solomon Merkmallen's murder.  She knew now, even if she didn't understand, the artifact had caused what happened to Mulder.  No marks, no drugs, just the artifact.   It had been a test of some kind.  And they had known what to expect, 'they' had orchestrated it all.
"You... were my friend, and you told me the truth.  Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant... my touchstone."
For just an instant, she flashed back to watching him in that room, out of control but somehow sensing her there.  He had screamed for her, crying out for her help, knowing she was there and trusting her even then.  For just an instant, she had seen Diana's face, as the woman had realized the depth of the relationship between them, between Mulder and her.  That was it; that was when Diana decided to assist her -- for him.  She had cared for him.
"And you are mine."



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