The phone ringing startled her but she quickly rose from her computer and skirted the bed to reach it. It wouldn’t be Mulder, she was pretty sure he didn’t know the phone number here in the room and he’d call her cell phone anyway.
"Help me! Please help me. He’s here, he’s here right now!" The voice was urgent, low.
"Chrissy? Is that you?"
"He’s in the house! He’ll find me!" The whisper was frantic now.
"I’m on my way Chrissy. Stay hidden. I’ll be right there." She broke the connection with regret but she needed to get backup. She grabbed her gun as she dialed 911. The dispatcher took the information, but Scully wished she felt more confident that a small town sheriff’s office would respond as quickly as they needed to.
She snatched the car keys off the dresser and started toward the connecting door. No, Mulder had gone running. She wasn’t sure where. Well, no time to look for him, Chrissy could be dead shortly if she didn’t hurry.
She’d call him when she could. She was out the door, tires spinning to get purchase before she peeled out.
Mulder jogged back toward the motel, stopping at his own door with his hands on his knees taking in great gulps of air. He straightened up and reached for his room key. He hesitated glancing at her door. Maybe she was hungry. He’d check, then take a quick shower. He headed for her door and tapped on it. To his surprise it swung open at the pressure of his hand.
"Scully?" This wasn’t right. He stepped inside. "Scully?" The bathroom door was open, the light off. He looked around the room, her computer was on. Okay, unusual but not unheard of. What else? Her gun, her gun was missing and now as he looked back out into the parking lot, so was the car. The feeling of dread that had started when the door had opened was now full fledged. Something was definitely wrong. Why hadn’t he taken his phone when he went running? He snatched up the receiver of her phone now, dialing her cell phone.
No service? What the hell did that mean? Had she turned off her phone? No, she didn’t do that. Did this one-horse town even have a cab company? He was flipping through the phone book now; all twelve pages of it dedicated to Baton, Texas. Oh hell, he dialed the sheriff’s office.
How the hell could a law enforcement office have an answering machine instead of a live person? How small a town could you get?
Where was she? She should have left a note; she would have normally, so that meant there was either no time, or no way because she was in trouble. Neither scenario made him feel better. He tried her phone again and then the station. He was ready to throw the phone across the room. Had she gone back out to the house? Had the guy shown up here? He was dangerous, too dangerous for her alone and the law enforcement in this town wasn’t exactly confidence inspiring. What was that number? He found it quickly – busy. Where could he steal a car? She needed backup. She should never have gone off without him.
He was analyzing options rapidly. Her opening the door jarred him physically back to the present. He was moving toward her before she realized he was in the room. "Mulder?" He was in his sweaty running clothes. Surely he hadn’t been running all this time.
"Where have you been!" She looked okay, maybe a little disheveled.
"Chrissy called. He was there and we got him. You said he’d return and you were right. He wasn’t about to let her go regardless of what it might cost him."
"Are you okay?" He took her arms in his hands and saw the grimace of pain cross her face. He released her instantly. "What?"
"It’s just a scratch."
"Let me see." Her eyebrow went up, but he didn’t back down. Finally she removed her jacket and he saw the new bandage on her upper arm.
"The bullet barely grazed me. Just a little blood, all I really needed was a Band-Aid."
"Bullet? You were shot?" His whole body was flooded with adrenaline now.
"No! Mulder you can see for yourself." She pulled the bandage from her arm and his eyes saw the red crease. His brain saw the bullet entering her body six inches to the right and he sank down onto her bed. "Mulder?"
"You couldn’t reach me. You could have been killed while I was out jogging. I can’t . . ." He tried to take a deep breath.
"Mulder, I – "
"Is this what it’s like for you? When I ‘ditch’ you and go off alone? Is this what you go through?"
Should she seize this opportunity or let him off the hook? Well, when would she ever get a chance like this again? "Let’s see, you were nearly killed by the explosion on the train, you had holes drilled in your head, you were taken prisoner at the Yellow Base and came back without any memory of what happened while you were there . . ."
He sank lower onto her bed, shoulders slumping further with each word.
She couldn’t continue. She sat down beside him on the bed and took his hand. "I guess the short answer is yes. It always crosses my mind that I might never see you again." He shuddered at that and wouldn’t meet her eyes. "You know I’ll go with you. I might not agree or even understand, but I’d be there."
He squeezed her hand then. "I’m sorry."
"It’s part of what makes you you Mulder."
"So you’ll file the paperwork for a transfer when we get home?" He was only partially kidding.
"Not yet Mulder. I’ve invested a lot of time and effort in you. I can’t let it all just go to waste. You’d revert back to the way you were when I met you in a minute."
He managed to grin then, "Yeah, I probably would. Does that mean I can count on you to hang around awhile longer?"
"A while – if you don’t ditch me again soon." He put his hand to his heart and crossed it with his finger. "No Mulder, I need a pinky swear on this one." He chuckled at that, then sobered.
"Do I get the same? Do you swear not to ditch me again?"
"Let’s see, we’re at one versus six times three hundred sixty five. Pull in that lower lip Mulder. Okay, I’ll swear, but turnabout was certainly interesting. Maybe I can see the fascination, going off alone, not having to answer to anyone or have to explain to anyone."
"Scully." It sounded like a warning, and her eyebrow rose accordingly.
"Go take your shower Mulder, you reek. I’m here, everything is okay and maybe, just maybe you’ve learned something. We can always hope."
His eyes narrowed but she was right. And now that she mentioned it he was even beginning to offend himself. Turnabout was fair play? Not in his book, but they belonged together – neither going off alone. Maybe not putting her through what he’d just been through would have rewards. Yeah, it was worth thinking about.
Scully finished typing her report and leaned back, moving slightly when her arm brushed the chair. It had been just a scratch, but enough to throw Mulder into his best behavior. Maybe she should have ditched the man sooner, given him a taste of his own medicine. Of course nearly getting shot had taken most of the pleasure out of it for her. Maybe she should reward his positive behavior - well, she’d see how long it lasted.