He’d been quiet all day. She knew the events of the day before were weighing heavy on his mind. The woman had sacrificed herself to save him; it was as though she had known him, “this never happened before.” The statement had stuck with her. It must haunt him.
Skinner wanted more information, like ‘how’, but they didn’t know. At least she didn’t, and if Mulder did, it wasn’t likely to be something Skinner would want to hear.
Scully looked over at him as he stretched and tossed the pencil he’d been tapping down. “Scully, want to eat at my place tonight?”
That surprised her slightly, “its Tuesday.”
“So, we can be wild and crazy for once.”
“Nope, Chinese, with tons of vegetables.”
A smile grew on her face. “I guess that would be okay, even if it is a school night.”
He seemed to relax a little at that and she wondered idly if he didn’t want to be alone this evening. Well, in any case, it was better than going home to that empty apartment.
“I’ll go home first and change, then I’ll meet you. Okay.”
“Sounds good. You ready to call it quits?”
“Very.” She closed her laptop and stretched herself. He logged off and stood, taking the coat draped across the back of his chair in his hand. He quickly rolled down his sleeves and stood at the door waiting for her.
They walked in easy silence to their cars and he waited until hers started. “Don’t take too long. I’m hungry.”
He saw her laugh, though with the windows up he couldn’t hear. He stood there until she pulled out and finally opened his own door. His smile had evaporated. He couldn’t shake it; the woman had jumped in front of him to save his life. She had acted like she knew him, but he had no memory of her.
He sighed and started the car. At least he wouldn’t be alone all evening.
She tapped on the door and opened it when he called for her to enter. She smiled at the sight of him working in the kitchen. He was becoming domesticated, he now used plates instead of eating out of the boxes - at least when she came over.
“How much did you get, Mulder?” She asked as she approached him and saw the multitude of boxes.
“I had a coupon and as you pointed out, it’s Tuesday. I can eat leftovers all week.” She rolled her eyes and he focused on her for the first time.
She had changed out of the officious black suit - not a speck of black to be seen on her now. She’d changed into jeans - never let it be said he hadn’t had some positive influence on her, and a light blue sweater with a V deep enough for him to take a second glance. He kept his comment to himself and just appreciated in silence.
He handed her a plate, piled high with her favorites. “You don’t expect me to eat all of this?”
“Do your best.” He followed her to the couch and set his own plate down, then returned with two ice teas.
“What’s the movie?”
“It was my turn to choose.” He spoke mock defensively.
“Oh god, what am I in for?”
He glanced at her again, then pressed play. She tried not to grin, then settled back to watch Sherlock Holmes’ Terror By Night with Bail Rathbone.
She hadn’t made a disparaging remark in awhile, so he turned to see that her eyes were closed and she was comfortably reclined into the corner of the couch.
Should he be hurt that she didn’t find him stimulating company or be pleased that she was comfortable enough to do this. He opted for the latter and turned the TV down a couple of notches.
When the movie ended, he pressed rewind and picked up the dishes. She might have complained about the amount of food, but she’d cleaned her plate. Maybe that was why she had gone to sleep.
He cleaned up, rinsing the plates and putting them in the dishwasher, then returned to her. Watching her sleep and hearing her little Scully sounds never bored him.
But her breathing was no long even, and in REM sleep, her eyes were darting back and forth behind her lids. From her expression it wasn’t a good dream.
“Scully?” He took his seat beside her again and touched her shoulder lightly. “Scully, wake up.”
She woke with a start and immediately reached for him. “Are you . . .” Then she realized where she was and tried to calm down.
“What was it Scully?”
She shook her head, trying to dislodge the dream. He handed her the glass of tea and she murmured her thanks.
When she was through, he took the glass back. “Come on Scully, talk to me.”
She ran a slightly trembling hand across her lips. He waited.
“It was . . . we were in the bank. Cradock Marine and it was yesterday. Bernard had lost it. He . . . he had shot you and you were lying on the floor with your head in my lap. I was . . . I was applying pressure to the wound and trying to get him to listen to me, but the police stormed the door and he, he flipped the switch and . . . “
“It was just a dream.”
“I know, but it was so detailed, as if . . . as if that’s what really happened instead of - “
“It didn’t. I’m fine, he didn’t shoot me, thanks to Pam and there was no explosion.”
She nodded, “I didn’t think it had gotten to me that much.” She took another settling breath. “It’s getting late, I should be heading home.”
“Are you okay to drive?”
She smiled then, “Yes, I’m fine. Thanks for dinner.”
The worry hadn’t quite left his face. “Will you call me when you get home? Or even better, you could sleep here. My new mattress was delivered, we could christen it.”
“Uh, no. That was a little more trouble than I needed. You’d really like this one.”
“I’ll hold that thought.” She rose to her feet now and slipped on her shoes.
He hadn’t expected her to take him up on the invitation, but walked her to the door and stopped her once more. “You will call.”
“Yes Mother, I will let you know I’m locked in for the night.”
“You better.” He did sound a little defensive then, so she relented and smiled up at him.
She brushed an unexpected kiss on his cheek. “Thanks for worrying.”
“It’s my best skill, Scully.” He let her out, then, feeling let down with her absence. He’d always told himself he enjoyed his solitude and on some level he did. But not nearly as much now that she was around. He finished cleaning up, storing his leftovers and getting ready for bed. He had to put on the sheets and had just finished when the phone rang. He sprawled across to answer. “Scully?”
“Yes, Mom. I’m home, the deadbolt has been slid and all the monsters have been shooed from under the bed.”
“You sure you got them all?”
“Every last one, Mulder. Go on to sleep.”
“You mean I don’t even get phone sex to break in my new bed?” He was on dangerous territory but she seemed in a good mood.
“Sorry, my 900 number hasn’t been set up, but I’ll get back to you with rates - ‘Marty’.”
His cheeks colored. He hadn’t realized she knew he used that name, though he should have. She’d picked up his messages often enough. “I’ll pay extra for an exclusive.”
She laughed then; a little relieved he wasn’t upset she’d used that name. “Good night Mulder.”
“'Nite Scully. See you in the morning.”
She moved to get ready for bed with a smile on her face.
He sighed and hung up, then crawled under the sheets. Yeah, he’d sleep better with her here in the bed - assuming they slept at all, but he forced his mind from that and settled into the fresh sheets.
He was on the floor, the floor of the bank, on his stomach along with all the other patrons. Bernard was waving the gun around and ranting. Something made him glance toward the door and his heart nearly stopped. Scully. Scully was approaching the door in all innocence - coming to check on him.
“Hey, you didn’t lock the door.” Hurry, do it you moron! Keep her out!
Instead of moving, Bernard glared at Mulder, trying to figure out how Mulder was tricking him. Scully opened the door.
Bernard whirled then startled, and grabbed Scully, shoving the gun painfully into her side. “Everybody shut up!” He yelled, tightening his hold on Scully. She met Mulder’s eyes, trusting him, awaiting his instructions.
He had no instructions. He felt paralyzed. He couldn’t reach for his weapon, not as twitchy as this guy was. Besides, his first round would probably go into the bitch beside him to shut her up. They both jerked when the sirens converged on the place. Bernard looked at the teller. The look of betrayal would have been comical under other circumstances. “You set off the alarm? Damn you!”
Seemingly without thought, he pulled the trigger and shoved Scully to the side.
“Nooooo!” Mulder scrambled to his feet, frantic to reach her, as Bernard stripped open his jacket and flipped the switch.
Mulder jerked awake, then sank back down into his pillow. A dream, she was fine, it was only a dream. He found the phone in his hand anyway, dialing the first number on his speed dial.
“Mulder?” Her voice was trembling.
“Scully, are you okay?”
“How did you know?” She might even be crying, that scared him as much as the dream.
“Scully, talk to me.”
“I . . . I had another dream.”
“Was it the same one?”
“No. You were, you were in front of me. When he shot you, you fell into me and . . . “
“It’s okay Scully.”
“Why . . . how did you . . .”
“I didn’t. I had one of my own.”
“Mulder, what’s happening? How can they be so real? And why!”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t want to sleep anymore.”
“I’m coming over Scully.”
There was a hesitation, then “I’ll put on some coffee.” He heard the phone disconnect.
He grabbed up some clothes for in the morning, pulled his jeans over his boxers and threw on a t-shirt, then lost no time getting to her place.
She answered on the first knock. She was wearing that big fluffy robe and she was composed again, in her Scully persona. “Mulder, I’m sorry I dragged you out. I. . . it was just a dream and - “
“They’re not just dreams, Scully.”
She blinked, why did it still surprise her when he read her mind?
“Scully, they’re too detailed. I could smell that stupid woman’s perfume, and it took all of my strength not to bash the bitch’s teeth in. She’d have been quiet then.”
Scully eyes were wide. “Yes, I don’t think he would have shot you if she’d shut up. She made him so nervous.”
“Scully.” He said slowly, “You weren’t there when she . . . not the last time.”
“The last time, Mulder?”
“Remember what she said? ‘This never happened before’. Before what, Scully?”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m not sure I do, but . . . but Scully, you’re right. These are too detailed. What if, what if all these things happened?”
“You’re not serious.”
“Just hear me out, you . . . you didn’t want to sleep did you?”
She shuddered slightly, “No, go ahead.” But she turned toward the kitchen and he followed her. After she poured the coffee, he took a sip and waited. Without a word she returned to the living room and took a seat on the couch. He followed and sat beside her.
Finally she looked over at him. “Go ahead, what’s the theory.” She was wary, but anything to keep from another dream of him dying in her arms. She shuddered again.
“Didn’t Pam and Bernard look familiar to you?”
“No.” She spoke a little sharply. “You know we hadn’t seen them before yesterday.”
“No Scully.” He shook his head. “When Bernard entered the bank, before he even started writing I knew what was happening. I knew he had a bomb under his jacket. How could I know that Scully?”
“Mulder, how could you know half the things you’ve ‘known’ all these years. They don’t call you ‘Spooky’ because you wear a bed sheet to work. Maybe he gave himself away when he walked in, you are an incredible profiler, Mulder. He did something that gave you a clue and that mind of yours just ran with it.”
“If there was a compliment in there somewhere, thanks; but Scully my back was to him. I was standing in line, bored and just looking around. He had his back to me and was at that desk where you fill out the deposit slips. He didn’t look suspicious. But when I saw him this line started playing in my head - ‘he’s got a bomb, he’s got a bomb’. And Scully it was in my voice, like I was trying to make myself remember it.”
“Mulder - “
“I know it sounds crazy, but . . . “ He shrugged at the look on her face.
But her eyes went unfocused then, thinking.
“Pam, when I went to the car . . . she, it was almost as though she knew me, recognized me, and was startled that I had spoken to her. She didn’t resist having an FBI agent haul her into the bank. She asked no questions at all, she just seemed . . . resigned.”
Mulder nodded, “I can’t prove it, Scully. We’ll never be able to prove it, but I really believe . . . “ He shrugged.
She didn’t try to argue with him this time, just settling back on the couch after putting her cup down.
“You’re tired. If you want to catch a few winks, I’ll be right here.”
He nodded, “Wanna watch some TV?”
He took the remote from her coffee table and flipped to the Sci Fi channel. He settled back himself.
It wasn’t long until he realized she had drifted off again. He should wake her and send her to the bedroom, or even carry her in there asleep, but he didn’t want to be alone and he knew she didn’t either. He eased her down against him and put his arm around her. She might not approve - it wasn’t exactly ‘partner-like’ but after the nightmares they’d both had, he didn’t think she’d be really angry.
“Scully.” It was Pam and she . . . she was radiant, beautiful. “Scully, Bernard did what he did because he loved me. He loved me with his whole soul, but he never understood that I loved him just as much. He always thought he wasn’t good enough, wasn’t worthy of me. He blamed himself for every bad thing that ever happened to me. I could never show him what he meant to me.” The shining woman sighed and seemed to dim a little.
“Now I know that you are in the same place. Mulder can’t live without you. He’s the reason for what happened. He could never accept your death, would never accept circumstances where you died. So we lived it over and over, until he found a way where you didn’t die.” Pam smiled.
“You . . . you mean Mulder . . . “ Scully stammered.
Pam’s smile grew. “His love for you transcends your world. You know this, you just need to accept it.”
“But I didn’t know! I . . . I don’t know.”
“And your love for him is the same.”
Pam was harder to see now, brighter but fading somehow.
“Pam! I don’t understand.”
“Of course you do.” Then she was gone.
Scully jerked awake and Mulder’s arms tightened around her. “It’s okay Scully. Wake up.”
“Mu . . . Mulder?”
“Yeah, you were so tired, I thought . . . I hoped you wouldn’t have another nightmare.”
“I didn’t.” She said it quietly, but he couldn’t interpret the look on her face. He’d never seen her look like that before.
“Scully? Is everything okay?”
“Yes.” She was looking deeply into his eyes. “Yes, everything is . . . is good, very good.” She smiled at him then and it brought a puzzled answering smile from him. Then to his astonishment, she snuggled in to him and let her eyes drift close, pulling his arm tighter around her.
He stared down at her red hair. He certainly wasn’t going to fight this, hell, she might not really be awake, but at least he’d have this to savor . . .