Unknown Lives - Part 10

 


She wasn't in the bed when he woke, and the baby was gone.  He leaped from the bed and threw on the slacks he had discarded the night before.  He vaulted down the stairs and skidded to a halt in the kitchen when Mrs. Scully and Doc looked up startled. 

Dana realized her mistake instantly and was on her feet.  "Mulder, I'm sorry.  I didn't think . . . I just, I heard Mom down here and . . . " 

"It's okay.  I just, I should go take a shower."  He pointed back upstairs.

Before he could turn she was beside him.  "I am sorry."  She rose up on tiptoe and kissed him.  He glanced over at his mother-in-law and nodded, then made his way back upstairs.

When Dana looked over at her mother she was startled to see her laughing quietly.  "I'm beginning to think you might be in good hands with this man.  I'm surprised he didn't pull a gun on me."

Dana dropped her eyes, he would have.  "Maybe I should go check on him.  You keep an eye on Will?"

"Be happy to."  Mrs. Mulder glanced over at her grandson.

She found him in the bedroom.  "You okay?"

"Yeah.  A little embarrassed, racing downstairs like Batman or something."

"I appreciated it.  Mom thought it was sweet."

"Sweet?  Oh god, am I ever making a great impression on your family.  I get you pregnant, I abandon you, I come back and kidnap you . . . “ He snorted. 

"Wanna share a shower, Batman?"

"You're evil, this is your mother's house."

"And you're my husband and we have a built in babysitter."

"Doc, it's too soon."

"Yeah, for everything, but we could have a nice shower."

"With your brothers outside the bathroom door?"

"Chicken?"

His eyes widened and a smile started growing on his face.  "You really are evil."  But he followed her into the bathroom.

*****

She watched him get dressed, as she lounged on the bed.  "You certainly look more relaxed."

"Don't go there Doc.  I cannot believe...Well, I can't."  He responded to her grin.

“Come on, I’m hungry.  And I think I heard the boys.”  He followed her downstairs.  This was the longest they had gone without being with their son.

Breakfast was ready and everyone else was already at the table.

“Mom, I’ll go with you to get Dad.  Bill and Dana can stay here.  That way Mulder can stay under wraps and Dad can be here and comfortable when he finds out everyone’s okay.” 

His mother nodded.  “Yes, I think that’s best.”

Bill had started to speak, but subsided at her words.

“We’ll clean up.”  Dana rose, “Go get him.  I can’t wait any longer.”

Mrs. Scully smiled and looked over at Charlie.  “I’m ready.”

Dana all but shooed them out the door.  “Mulder, why don’t you bathe the kid?  Bill can help me down here.”

“Okay.”  He knew she needed time with her brother, even if this particular brother made him much less comfortable than the other one.

*****

When Dana heard the garage open she looked over at Mulder.  The mixture of delight and anxiety were clearly visible on her face.  “I love you.”  He mouthed to her.

“I know.  Why don’t you go get the baby?”

He nodded and headed upstairs.  It was better that he not be present right now.

“I feel fine.  If you’re going to hover, I’m going to send you home now.”  Dana smiled at the sound of his voice.  She stood in the living room, Bill on the far side of the room.

As they entered, Dana moved forward.  “Hi, Ahab.”

“D . . . Dana?  Starbuck!”

He moved toward her and she met him, their arms tight around each other.  When they stepped back, his hand trembled slightly as he touched her face.

“Ahab, sit down.  If you get too excited I’m going to put you to bed.”  Dana cautioned him.

“I’m fine, just damn glad to see you.”  He pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped quickly at his eyes.  Mrs. Scully moved him toward the couch and rather than argue, he sat and looked up at Dana.  His eyes widened and he reached out his hand to her, pulling her down beside him.

“That bastard.  He caused you to lose your baby, my grandchild.”

“Ahab, no.  You’ve been fed a boatload of lies.  The baby’s fine.”  She turned then to look toward the stairs.

Her father turned as well and stiffened.  “Ahab, Dad, I’d like you to meet Fox Mulder, my husband, and Will, our son.”

“Husband?”

Mulder approached him then.  “I’m very pleased to meet you, Captain Scully.  Would, would you like to hold your grandson?”

Her father’s eyes narrowed, but when he looked at the infant in this man’s arms he nodded.  Mulder laid the baby in the older man’s arms and stepped back.  Dana moved to stand in front on him and his arm went around her, just below her breasts. 

William Scully looked up from his grandson’s face and took in the easy posture of these two people.  “I want to know what’s going on.”  In deference to the infant in his arms he spoke softly, but the command came though loud and clear.

“Dad, don’t you think you should rest a little?”   Bill took Dana’s seat beside his father.

“All I’ve done for the past few days in rest.  Now I want answers.”

Bill looked up at Dana.  She was the doctor.  She nodded and took Mulder’s hand to sit with her.  Mulder drew a chair up closer for her to be able to sit facing her father.

“He’s your husband?”

“Dad, it started a long time ago.”  She took a deep breath and felt Mulder’s hand on her back.   “Remember when I was missing a few years back?  You know I don’t have clear memories of that time, but Mulder does.  He was there.  He looked after me, kept me safe.  Then, when we were released, neither of us remembered anything.  His memories returned, but he didn’t know my name, who or where I was.   He made the mistake of letting them know he remembered, so they took him again.

“This time they wiped all of his memories.  He didn’t even know his own name.  They released him, or dumped him, or someone set him free.  We don’t know.”  She turned to look at him and her father watched the interchange.  “He spotted me in a store and approached me when I left.”   She smiled at the memory.  “He was very careful to keep his distance.  He was obviously homeless and probably mentally disturbed.  He asked if I knew him and when I didn’t, he left me alone.   What I didn’t know was that he followed me home and started camping out in my alley.”

“He stalked you?”  Her father was watching him now as he listened to Dana.

“I was the only thing that seemed familiar.  And it was a good thing he was there, Ahab.  I was mugged a couple of nights later, right there in front of my apartment.  The man had a knife.  If Mulder hadn’t been there . . . “ She leaned back against him and he ran his hand over her hair.   “He was injured in the process, and I am a doctor.  I took him inside and bandaged him up.  We talked, I fed him, let him get cleaned up.  I offered to take him to a neurologist, but he was too paranoid to go.  Instead I took a sample of his blood in, and that’s what set everything in motion.”

“You haven’t said much.”  Her father turned to Mulder then.

“She tells it well, and you’ve got no reason to believe me.”

“Are you a threat to National Security?”

“No Sir, I am not.  And I have never, nor would I ever, harm your daughter.”

“It’s true Ahab.  He’s never hurt me.  When he found out the military were after him, he left.  He left to keep me safe.”

“Why didn’t you turn him in?”

“I didn’t trust Colonel Baldwin.  I knew he was lying from the beginning.  Even not knowing Mulder’s name I trusted him.  I don’t remember when we first met, not in the way people usually remember, but I knew him.  I trusted him Ahab.   I don’t know how to explain it.  I introduced him to some friends of mine I thought could help him.  They did, and he was able to get away safely.  He didn’t know about the baby.”

Her father looked down again at his now sleeping grandson.  “Go on.”

Mulder spoke then, “I came back, just to bring some information, and I found out.   There was no way I could leave her here.  The good colonel knew she had seen me, and we realized he was monitoring the pregnancy.  I had to get her out of town.  She wasn’t safe, and if you knew where she was, he would have found out.  I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused you, but she is too important.  I couldn’t take the chance.”

“Why do they want you?  Why is your blood so strange?”

“It’s not any more.  They’re worried I’m going to remember.”

“Do you?”

Mulder nodded. 

“What is it you remember?”

Mulder shook his head; “I’m not putting you in danger.  No one knows that we’re here, that Doc is here.  It has to stay that way.”

“How can it stay that way?  Never leave the house?”  Her father sat up straighter then and the baby stirred slightly.  “You’re not staying.  You’re taking Starbuck away again.”

“I have to.  I’m sorry, but it’s the only way to keep them safe.”

“Dana, no.”  Her mother spoke then.  This hadn’t been discussed last night.

Mulder saw the tears in Doc’s eyes then.  He fell silent, what could he say?

“Dad, you’re not buying this I hope.  You know the military doesn’t kidnap people, run tests on innocent civilians.”  Bill put his hand on his father’s arm.

William turned to look at his son then, “I remember being that young and naïve.”

Bill pulled back as though burned.

“Is your father William Mulder, worked at the State Department?”

That caught Mulder off guard, “Yes Sir.  Did you know my father?”

“I met him once, years ago.  I remember a story, your sister.  Didn’t she disappear?”

Mulder nodded, unsure what to say.

“Did they ever find her?”

“No Sir.  She was never returned.”

William shook his head, “I remember thinking how that would affect me.”  He looked at his youngest daughter again.  He took a deep breath.  “I think my grandson has the right idea.  I’m going to lay down for a little while.”

“Are you okay?”  Mrs. Scully leaned toward him.

“Yes.  I just have a lot to think about.  Fox, I’d like to speak to you later.”

“Yes Sir.”

Dana took the baby from her father’s arms and handed him to Mulder.   “Let’s get you settled first.”

“Don’t fuss.  I’m okay.”

“I know, but let the boys walk you upstairs.  Do you want anything to help you sleep?”

“No.  I probably won’t sleep.  I just need to . . . to think for a little while.”

There was no response to that.  Bill and Charlie stood to flank their father as they headed upstairs.  Dana and her mother trailed them.  Mulder watched from downstairs.

“You doing okay?”

He turned; unaware there was anyone else in the house.  “Missy, I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I know.  It was pretty intense in here.  I’ll see Dad a little later.  But I wanted to be here.”  She started to turn toward the kitchen, then stopped.  “Is there anyway you could move back here?”

He didn’t respond, but she saw the conflict on his face.  There was no way he was going to put her sister and that baby in danger.  She should have kept her mouth shut.  He was already in a terrible position and she hadn’t wanted to make it worse.

He headed upstairs then, with the baby.  Will would be wanting Doc soon.  Concentrate on now, it was the only thing he had any control over anyway.  He looked up when Doc entered the room.  “Is he okay?”

“Yes.  He’s a little tired, but he’s glad we’re here.”

“We?”

“Yes.  All three of us.”

He didn’t want to disagree with her.  He wanted to . . . to just remember their shower this morning.  He didn’t realize she had moved so close to him.

“Kiss me.”

“Yes ma’am.”  He gave her a light kiss on the lips.

“No, kiss me.”  She wove her arms around him.

He complied with more enthusiasm this time and they found themselves on the bed, his finger outlining her nipple.  “Be careful, I’ll leak.”

“I don’t mind.”

“What’s wrong?”

He pulled her to him, resting his chin on her hair.  “All of this, the fact that I never had it and now I’m taking you away from it.  I hate what I’ve done to your family.”

*****

Mulder straightened his spine and tapped on the door.  Captain Scully had requested to speak with him. 

“Come.”

He opened the door.  Captain Scully was seated in a chair.  He didn’t offer a seat to Mulder, so he stood, facing him.

“I’m not happy that you got my daughter pregnant before you married her.”

“No Sir.  I regret the timing of the pregnancy, but not the pregnancy itself.  I love my son.”

“And my daughter?”

“More than I could ever say.”

The older man took a deep breath.  “Have you ever had a father-in-law before?”

A strange way to ask if he was divorced, but this man was in charge.   “No Sir.”

“Well, our job is to be as intimidating as hell.  How am I doing?”

Mulder blinked then and felt a smile twitch at his lips.  “Very well, Sir.”

“Good.  Why don’t you have a seat?”  He motioned to the bed.

Mulder nodded and sat facing him.  “Thank you.”

“I’d like to talk to you about your father.”

“My father?”  That caught Mulder completely off guard.

“I never actually worked with him.  I only met him the one time, but I heard quite a bit about him.  I was stationed at the Pentagon for a couple of years.   I wasn’t assigned to any of his projects - I didn’t have that level of security clearance.  Your father had a reputation for integrity.  He had the courage to stick to his convictions and didn’t mind ruffling feathers.  I never knew the exact nature of his work, but I heard rumors.  I dismissed a lot of it, I laughed at some of it.”

The older man sighed.  “I never made any connection with his work and Dana’s disappearance, your sister’s disappearance.  I admired your father, I think I see him in you.”

Mulder blinked, his eyes suddenly moist.  He looked away.

“Are you okay Fox?” 

“I, huh, I wasn’t close to my father.  He was a harsh man.  He didn’t show a lot of affection before Samantha was taken.  Afterwards . . . I always felt he blamed me.”

“Blamed you?”

“For her disappearance.”

“Why?  Why would he blame you?”

“I . . . I was babysitting.  She was my responsibility.”

“How old were you?”

“Twelve.  Samantha was eight.”

“Twelve?  You were just a child.  You’ve felt guilt about that all these years?”  He leaned back in his chair.  “Well, that makes your protectiveness of your own family more understandable.” 

Mulder faced him then, ‘his family’ yes.  Where ‘his family’ was concerned there was no such thing as overprotective.

“Are you working on a way to come home?” 

“I don’t know what would make it safe.”

His father-in-law nodded.  “I’d like to help with that.”

“Help?”

“I want my daughter to be able to come home.  She liked living here and her mother . . . We’d like her back.  I still know people.  People that worked with your father - people that agreed with him.  I’d like to help.”

“I’d appreciate that.  You have to regain your strength first.  I don’t want to be responsible for any more pain.”

For the first time William Scully smiled.  “You’re taking blame for that too.  Good man, my daughter never has to worry about doing anything wrong again.  Right?”

“Am I that bad?  She says I am.”

“Pretty close.  You might want to lighten up on yourself just a little.  You have made my daughter very happy.  You could savor that.”

“Thank you Sir.”

They both settled back and got to know each other.

*****

Dinner was over; it had just been the four of them tonight.  Bill and Charlie had returned to their homes in Ohio and California.  Bill had given his father a promise not to do anything without consulting him first.   Mulder was helping Dana carry the dishes to the kitchen when his cell phone rang.  They both froze and her parents looked at them, sensing the instant tension.

Mulder withdrew the phone he always wore.  “Yeah.”

“Baldwin’s on his way over.  Get out of sight!”

He looked up at Dana.  “Baldwin.  Take Will upstairs, hurry!”

“The house is under surveillance?”  Captain Scully sounded puzzled but not outraged, yet.

“For her protection, yes.  What are you going to say to him?”

“I’m not going to give you to him.  Don’t worry about that.  Get the dishes out of here Maggie.  We’re supposed to only have the two of us here now.” 

She was on her feet immediately and Dana scanned the downstairs for any signs that a baby was staying there. 

“Captain, I . . . “

“What?”

“Would you tape your conversation?  I need to hear what he asks, what he says.”

The older man nodded, “I think there’s a hand held recorder in my desk.  I’ll get it.”

“Thank you.”

“Go.  Get upstairs yourself.  I know how to protect my family too.”

Mulder nodded and headed up the stairs.  He’d have some explaining to do later, but for now they just had to remain quiet.  She was nursing Will as he entered; good he was usually at his best when his stomach was full.  He might even go to sleep.

*****

They had been right; he arrived in about ten minutes.   Mrs. Scully opened the door and let the man in.  If he noticed she was nervous, he made no comment.  She led him into the living room where Ahab sat on the couch in his robe.

“Captain Scully.”  Baldwin stuck out his hand.  The hesitation was minimal and could have been attributed to his illness.  They shook hands.  “I’m glad to see you looking so well.  I’d heard you were taken ill.”

“Thank you.”

He seated himself without being asked.  “I was wondering if your daughter might have contacted you, possibly while you were in the hospital.” 

“Dana?  If she’s being held against her will, and tortured, how would she be able to call me?”

That caught Baldwin off guard.  These people hadn’t questioned him often, except for any information he might have accumulated.

“Well, huh, we’re hoping he retains enough humanity to - “

“You say this monster was an FBI agent.  Lying in the hospital, I thought about all of this, about him.  He’s a threat to national security, but he was a decorated agent, commendations out the wazoo, a solve rate of over 60%.  What the hell could he have found that would cause a man like that to become unhinged?”

“Well, I - “ 

“I mean this kind of man was used to learning unthinkable facts, seeing horrific clues.  I heard he worked on the side, on something called the X-Files.  Hunting for aliens I heard.”

“Who have you been talking to?”  The man had paled considerably at the word aliens.

“I know some people at the Bureau.  Are you telling me the man actually discovered aliens and they did something to him?”

“No . . . no, of course not.” The colonel sputtered.

“Well then, the government?  Because he got too close?”

“Now wait a minute - “

“It just seems to me that something very traumatic happened to this man to break him.  And the fact that you recognized him from some weird blood.  Something was done to him.  If you say it’s not aliens, then it just about has to be the government.  You know, national security.”

“Captain Scully, I wouldn’t repeat crazy theories like that.”

“Is that a threat?  I don’t plan to repeat anything to anyone.  I’m trying to figure out the mind of the man that took and may have murdered my daughter.  You understand that, don’t you?”

“I really wouldn’t pursue that, um, that line of thought.”

“You think the government might come after me?”

“Captain Scully, I would just advise you to let us handle this matter.”

“Like you have for the past few months?”

The colonel rose, his face red.  “I don’t want to keep you up for too long sir.  I’m glad you’re feeling better and I’ll be in touch if I learn any more information regarding your daughter’s whereabouts.”

”Thank you, Colonel.”  He stuck his hand out again to shake and this time it was Baldwin who hesitated.

“Sir.  Ma’am.”   He turned toward the door and Mrs. Scully followed him, shutting the door firmly behind him.

“Was that wise, Bill?”  Mrs. Scully returned to the room.

“He was rattled.”  Ahab smiled, “I enjoyed that.  If he’s gone, get Starbuck and Fox.  They’re going to want to hear this tape.”

When Mulder and Doc returned to the first floor, Will asleep in their room, Mulder spent a few minutes ensuring that in fact Colonel Baldwin was gone.

After listening to the tape several times, he turned to Doc.   "I think we need to call a plumber."

She smiled and nodded.  "Mom, come with me."  She led her to the kitchen and had her place the call to their friends.  In less than half an hour, the van pulled into the Scully's driveway.  Frohike came to the door, and Mrs. Scully let him in as Dana opened the garage door to let the others slip inside.

Both parents were taken aback at the trio.  Mulder stood quietly by as they hugged his wife.  He worked hard not to tense up at the sight.  "Captain, Mrs. Scully, these are John Byers, Ringo Langly and Melvin Frohike.  They've been very valuable help to Doc and me."

The captain shook their hands as well and Mrs. Scully left to put on some coffee.  "Thanks for the warning."

"Hey, we can't let anything happen to Dana or our godson."

Mulder grinned, but Captain Scully spoke up, "You're watching our house?"

"Not exactly.  We're more watching the colonel.  When he checks out a car he has to give a destination.  We have a friend . . . "

"Fine, that's enough.  More than enough."  Captain Scully spoke.  "I guess you want to hear this tape."

Byers nodded and took the machine from his hand.  The other two men moved closer and they listened carefully to the tape straight through.  Frohike looked up at Mulder, "We can use this.  With just a little bit of editing . . . "

"They can't be able to detect anything."

"Mulder, who do you think you're talking to?"  Langly grinned at him.

"My apologies to the masters."  Mulder bowed.

"That's better.  Let's hear it again."

The three of them drifted to one side of the room as Dana sat beside her father.  "How did you meet these men?"

"At the emergency room.  "Byers and Frohike brought Langly in with a badly infected cut.  I treated him and they decided I was trustworthy.  They found out somehow that I was single and just started looking after me.  It was really rather sweet."

"What do they do for living?"

"Well, they publish a newsletter."  Dana looked away.

"What newsletter?"

"Uh, the Lone Gunman."

"The Lone . . . you are kidding?"

"You've, uh, you've heard of it?"  She glanced over at the men.

He pursed his lips and nodded.  "You say they've been a big help to you and Fox?"

Mulder joined them on the couch.  "A very big help.  They were the ones that let us know you were ill."

"I see.  I guess I shouldn't judge people I don't know."

"Hey Mulder,” Frohike looked over at them.  "Is there anyone at the Bureau you can trust?"

"Why?"

"There's information we can't get to, things that aren't on line.   What about your boss?"

"Skinner?"

"Yeah." 

"Who's Skinner?" Doc joined the conversation.

"He's the Assistant Director I reported to when I was there." 

"Can we trust him?"

Mulder rose and pulled her up beside him.  Without speaking he led her to the dining room.  The three men exchanged glances.

"What is it Mulder?"  When he stopped, but still didn't speak.

"Skinner, on occasion, acted as though he was on my side.  I never heard him refer to me as 'Spooky'.  And he did give me the assignments, which I took to mean he believed in what I did, at least some of the time."

"I'm sure he believed in you and your work.  If he kept on giving you the assignments, think about it." 

"And if I'm wrong, you and Will are exposed.  I will have put you in danger."

She took his hand, "If we ever want to come home, we need help.   This Skinner is the first name that came to you when Frohike asked.  I think you need to try it."

Mulder closed his eyes.  All he wanted was their safety.  He felt her hand on his arm and he took her against him.  He nodded slowly.  "I love you Doc."

"Good.  Because I love you too.  Come on, let's have Ahab call your boss."

*****

Mrs. Scully opened the door to the official looking man.  "Mrs. Scully?"

"Yes."

"I'm Assistant Director Walter Skinner.  Your husband called and asked me to stop by."

"Yes.  It's nice to meet you.  Please come in." 

"Thank you."  He stepped inside and waited for her to shut the door behind him. 

"My husband is in the living room.  Would you like some coffee?"

"No thank you."  He followed her in and Captain Scully rose when he entered the living room.   "Sir, it's a honor to meet you."

"And you.  I hear you're ex-Marine."

"Yes sir, Nam."

"Have a seat."  Captain Scully took his easy chair, and Skinner sat on the couch. 

"Sir, I wish I could tell you that the investigation into your daughter's disappearance was going better."

“Thank you Mr. Skinner.  I suppose you realize I feel the need to look into this myself.  I’m curious as to your involvement in the case.”

“Yes sir.  It was considered a conflict of interest for my unit to handle the investigation, since a suspect reported to me.”

“Agent Mulder.”  Skinner nodded.  “Do you know the man well?  Is he harming my daughter?”

“Captain Scully, it has not been determined that Agent Mulder is involved in your daughter’s disappearance.”

William Scully stared at him for a long moment.  “Do you think he took her?”

“The man I know would not harm your daughter.”

Another pause and then, “Why is he called ‘Spooky’?”

The question obviously caught Skinner off guard.  He took a minute, then looked the captain straight in the eye.   “Because they’re afraid of him.   His intuition and insight are phenomenal.   The man sees connections where no one else does.  And he’s usually right.  We were talking about him when he was still at the academy.  His solve rate is the highest at the Bureau, but he’s not usually politically or bureaucratically correct.  He also doesn’t care about the credit, about having the notch in his belt.  He honestly wants to find out the truth and to hell with who gets the bust.  The climbers at the FBI find that suspicious.”

“You like the man.”

“Yes sir.  I do.   I don’t know if he would consider me a friend, we never socialized, but I respect the man.  I cannot see him harming Dr. Scully.”

“What if something were done to him?”  The elder Scully was watching him closely now.

"Like what?" 

"If he were brainwashed or . . . " 

Skinner looked at him closely for a long moment.  "What do you know?" 

But Captain Scully was looking past him now.  Skinner turned to see Dana Scully approaching him from the next room.  Before he had a change to assimilate the sight, he realized that the tall figure behind her was Agent Mulder.

He was on his feet without realizing it and moving toward them.  "Dr. Scully?  Are you, are you okay?"  Before she could answer he was watching Mulder again.  "What's going on?"

"Director Skinner, I'm very pleased to meet you and I appreciate the way you spoke about my husband."

"Your . . . “ His voice died away, but his eyes scanned her body.  "The child, you were pregnant."

Mulder finally spoke, "Our son is asleep upstairs." 

"Your son.  What the hell is going on here?"

"That's what we would all like to know, Director Skinner."   Captain Scully spoke from behind him.  "Why don't you sit back down, there's more you need to know."

Skinner sank back down onto the couch.  He couldn't think what other option would work at this point.

"We'd like to know what you know about Mulder's disappearances."  Dana spoke softly.   "Did you search for him?  Do you have any idea who took him or where?"

"I was pulled from that investigation."

"Both times?"

"Both?  I'm not sure what you're talking about."

Mulder didn't respond, turning instead to Doc, "He's not aware of the first time.  I didn't think it was that long."

Dana turned back to Skinner, "How well do you know Colonel Baldwin?"

Skinner's eyes narrowed and he pursed his lips.  "Not well."

"I'm guessing you don't have a lot of respect for him."   Captain Scully remarked.

"No sir, I don't.  Can someone bring me up to speed on what the hell, excuse me ma'am, is going on?"  He glanced over at Mrs. Scully but she only nodded, not offended.

"I can give you the short version now, you shouldn't hang around here long enough for the full blown version." 

"I need all the information - "

"We need information.   We need your help to get it.  I want my wife and son to be safe, that's my only goal.   And I need to know what you can find out that will make that happen."

"I don't understand."

"You will Director Skinner."  Dana spoke softly again and smiled gently at him.  He cared about her husband, he respected him and she felt instinctively that he would help them.  She felt Mulder's eyes on her and turned, nodding at him.

Mulder took a deep breath and sat in a chair opposite Skinner.

*****

“You’re right, I need to get out of here.  I’ll set up a new email at my apartment tonight.  Mulder, could I have a word?”

The two men moved to the far side of the room alone.

“These ‘samples’ of possible alien DNA that have shown up all over the world - are you involved in that?”

Mulder face was totally impassive and in less than the blink of an eye Skinner spoke again.  “No, don’t answer that.  Forget I asked it.   I don’t want to know.”  But a small smile came and went on his face.  There was almost vindication in it.  Mulder nodded once and Skinner turned back to Captain Scully.

When Captain Scully led Skinner to the front door, the younger man's face had turned grim.  "I think Mulder's right.  It's not a good idea for me to be seen around here again too soon.  I'll check in with these friends of theirs as soon as I know anything."

"Thank you Mr. Skinner.  Anything you can do to help protect my family, let my daughter and her family come home, will be appreciated."

"Yes sir."  He shook the older man's hand and headed toward his car.

Mulder watched the door close behind Skinner then headed upstairs, where Doc was nursing the baby.

"Is he gone?"

"Yeah."  He sat on the bed, watching his family - a sight he never tired of.  "Doc, we've been here long enough.  We need to lay low while our friends do their investigating.  Things could get complicated."

"And you think Will and I will be safer elsewhere."

"Yeah."  He grinned at her.

"You'll be with us?"

"I'll take you back, make sure you're settled." 

She sat up straight then, disturbing the baby, her mouth falling open.   "No.  Mulder, no.  You will not do any investigating on this without me.  If you're not planning to stay with us, we're not going."

"Doc, I'll need to check out what the guys find.”

She held her silence until Will fell asleep at her breast, then lay him gently in his bed.  She turned to Mulder then and despite her smaller size, he felt intimidated by her look.

She crooked her finger and he followed her out into the hall.  She closed the door silently behind them.  “You - will - not - leave - me - behind.”  It wasn’t loud, in deference to the sleeping baby, but he fought to hide the flinch

“Doc -“

“Don’t even try.”

"Doc, I won't leave unless we've discussed it.  How's that?"

After a long moment she nodded.  "I'll start packing.  I do understand the need to get away from here for now.  I've talked to Mom and she understands."

"I'll do everything I can to bring you back - safely."

"I know that, and I know what a great team we are - together."   He nodded a little sheepishly, conceding her point for now.

*****