It took awhile for anyone to answer the door. He knew he was on their surveillance camera, what was the problem? Did they not recognize him? Yes, he tried to disguise himself in this city, but surely . . .Finally he heard the locks being disengaged.
“What do you want?”
“Frohike? What - “
“Come in Mulder.” Byers moved in front of the smaller man and opened the door wider.
Mulder entered and turned once inside, allowing them to relock the door. He didn’t feel very welcome. He didn’t try to enter the apartment. “What’s wrong?”
“What are you doing here?” Frohike’s hostility was obvious.
He hesitated slightly, then looked at the other two men. “I have some new information. I wanted to get your take on it.” He tucked a strand of hair behind his ear.Frohike stomped off, muttering to himself.
“What’s wrong?” He tried to read their expression, but neither man would meet his eye. “Is it Doc? Is something wrong?” His voice shook slightly on the last word.
“Mulder . . . “
“You knock her up and then vanish. A real sweetheart, you are.” Frohike made sure he heard that.
His mouth fell open and he looked at Byers, but couldn’t get the man to look him in the eye. It took him a long moment to find his voice. “Doc’s pregnant?”
“Yeah.” Finally Byers spoke.
“I told you he didn’t know.” Langly turned to Frohike.
Mulder ignored them. “Can you get her over here? I need to talk to her.”
“I don’t know Mulder. She’s been avoiding us lately.” Byers could see what this was doing to him.
“I have to talk to her. Please.”
Byers glanced at the other two and nodded. He moved to the phone and took a deep breath. “Dr. Dana Scully please.” After what seemed like an extremely long wait to Mulder, “Dana? It’s John Byers. Could you come by?”
“John - “
“Please. We have some information.”
John heard her sigh. “Just for a minute, okay? I get off at three. I’ll see you then.”
“Thanks Dana.” He heard her hang up and returned his own phone to the base. “She'll be here after three.”
Mulder nodded but said nothing.
”Mulder, you want us to go over your information?” Langly finally broke the silence.
He reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a couple of computer disks and some printed sheets. Langly took them and sat in front of the computer.
The other three men quickly became fascinated with the information, but Mulder himself was unable to concentrate. After several attempts, they left him alone. Even Frohike was mellowing at his obvious discomposure.
It was 3:35 before the buzzer sounded. Mulder had pulled his hair back into a neat ponytail. He didn’t want to look scruffy for her. He was on his feet instantly and moved out of sight, then nodded to Byers who opened the door.
“John, let’s make this short. I’m tired and I have things to do.”
Byers looked over toward Mulder with no comment. She turned to see what had his attention and her face went white.
Mulder was already moving and had his arm around her, supporting her. “I’m . . . I’m fine.” He didn’t bother to argue with her, bending over to place one arm under her knees and lifting her into his arms.
Byers motioned toward his bedroom and Mulder carried her in, and shut the door behind them. He lowered her gently onto Byers’ bed. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m . . . I was surprised.”
“Doc, I didn’t - “ He knelt in front of her.
“Aren’t you going to ask if it’s yours?”
“I know it’s mine.” He placed one hand on her rounded belly. “You’re six months.” She nodded, her eyes moist at his words. “If I’d known . . . “
She shook her head and smoothed down the hair he had obviously been running through with his fingers for some time.
“How are you? Don’t say fine, I need to know. How are you really?”
“I’m doing great. It’s been a picture perfect pregnancy so far, if a little unexpected.”
“Unexpected?” He didn’t know how to react to that word.
“Well, I was on the pill. I don’t - “
“This baby was meant to be.” A tear escaped her eye then and he caught it as it trailed down her cheek. “Do you believe that?”
She nodded, unable to speak. He sat beside her on the bed then and took her into his arms. After a few moments he put his finger under her chin and turned her face up to him. “How are you otherwise?”
She understood his question and took a deep breath. “My family isn’t exactly thrilled. Especially my father. It’s kind of hard for him to face the fact that his medical doctor daughter got in trouble from a one night stand.”
“Not a one night stand.”
“Okay, three nights, but - “
“Doc.” She sighed. “I need to talk to them.”
“That’s not necessary.”
“Yes. It is. But I’m not sure it would be wise right now.”
She nodded. “What are your plans?”
“They’ve changed.” His hand went back to her swollen abdomen.
“What were they?” Her hand covered his.
“I was going to drop off the information I’d accumulated with the guys and leave. Only be in town a couple of hours.”
“You weren’t going to call me?”
He looked down, then back up at her face. “I thought I was protecting you.”
“I can’t leave you. I won’t leave you.”
She leaned against his strong body and for a moment let him comfort her. “You can’t stay here. The military hasn’t given up on finding you. The colonel comes by the hospital randomly, checking to see if you’ve come back.”
He stiffened, “has he bothered you?”
“Annoyed maybe. He can’t prove anything.”
“He knows you’re pregnant?”
She smiled slightly. “On me it’s a little hard to miss.”
“I want you to leave with me.”
Mulder’s eyes widened at the movement within her. He swallowed but didn’t know what to say, didn’t know if he could speak. She smiled at his reaction and placed a soft kiss on his cheek.
“Are you . . . “ He stopped to center himself. “I don’t want you to even go by your apartment. We need to get out of town, now.”
“Mulder, I can’t just leave. My job, my family. I can’t.”
“Doc - “
“My doctor’s here - "
“Do you trust him?” His eyes were intense now. “What tests has he run?”
“I’ve been going to him for years. We don’t socialize or anything.”
“And the tests?” His grip had tightened but he didn’t seem to notice.
“Nothing unusual. He asked if I wanted an amino and I said no. I’m under the age where they’re considered necessary. Mulder, what?”
“Was he okay with that?”
She thought about that for a moment. “He seemed to be, now you’ve got me wondering.”
“Anything else, anything unusual about how he’s treating you?” He was so tense. She wanted to caress his face, try to calm him down, but her own mind had clicked into gear and he saw her hesitate. “What?”
“It’s silly. My doctor is in a practice with two other OB-GYNs. Usually when you have your monthly visits you rotate among the doctors so that you are familiar with everyone. You never know who might be on duty when you go into labor. But all of my visits have been with Dr. Hambright. I even teased him about it last time and he made some comment about doctor’s privilege.”
“He’s monitoring you. Doc, can you draw your own blood? Would it be safe?”
“Yes. What are you thinking?”
“I want these guys to make sure everything’s okay. What about an ultrasound?”
“Dr. Hambright scheduled one, but I had to miss the appointment. He rescheduled it but I haven’t gone yet. I know the date of conception, so we didn’t need it for that. Mulder, what are you thinking?”
“That I’m going to do whatever I have to do to keep you safe.” She relaxed slightly and managed to smile. “We need to get out of town tonight.”
“Mulder, I can’t. If I don’t show up at work tomorrow everyone will notice. They would start looking for me, for us.” She kissed him quickly. “Think about it, vanishing would raise every flag. I should go to work like normal tomorrow. I’m working three days on, four days off right now - moving toward my maternity leave. If I work tomorrow - like normal - we could have a four day head start.”
“Did I fall in love with your brains or your beauty?”
“I hope it wasn’t my body.” She looked down at the largest part of her and chuckled.
“I can’t imagine you more beautiful that you are right now.”
She looked away, a blush heating her face. After a moment he kissed her forehead and rose. “Let’s get your blood, then we need to get you home. You said you were tired.”
“I’m not anymore.” He took her hand and lifted her to her feet.
While Langly and Frohike helped her with the blood sample, Mulder took Byers aside. “Her apartment, her car?”
“We check them both twice a week at random times. Her car’s been clean; we only found one bug at her place. As far as we know it’s still functioning fine in the apartment directly above hers.”
Mulder nodded, he’d been right to ask them to keep an eye on her. But it should have been him. He looked up when she entered the room. “I want you to go home, pack a few things.”
“Where will you be?”
“If I can get one of these guys to give me a ride, I’ll be meeting you at the backdoor very shortly.”
She smiled broadly and looked over at Byers. “No problem. Go home Dana, we’ll be right behind you.”
She hadn’t paid this much attention to ensuring she wasn’t followed for weeks. Suddenly it was important again and she was doubly careful. Her hands were trembling slightly with anticipation as she let herself into the apartment.
Pack, she needed to pack. She was going to run away with him. She hadn’t even hesitated. Even as he was putting forth the idea she was formulating plans on how to get out of town safely. That surprised her a little; she wasn’t an impulsive person, not usually. But when he was around - she caressed her protruding stomach. She laughed softly to herself, okay maybe she was impulsive. She belonged with him, and if he thought they weren’t safe here, she believed him.
She had her suitcase laid out on her bed when she heard the tap at her backdoor. She hurried to open it and let him in. Before she could speak he had her in his arms, his lips on hers. She didn’t even see Byers move past them into the apartment.
When she could speak, he stopped her again and bent closer to whisper into her ear. “Let him check it out first.”
She nodded puzzled, but whatever he thought . . . Shortly Byers rejoined them in the kitchen. “All clean. See you guys later.” Then he let himself out the door.
“What was he talking about?”
“He was checking your apartment for bugs, listening devices. I’ve had them check periodically since I left.”
“They’ve been in here? Checking my apartment?”
“And your car.”
“I wanted to make sure you were left alone, that they really didn’t think you knew where I was.”
That took her a moment to absorb that. “You were looking after me even after you . . . But they never found anything, right?”
“Once. Here in the apartment.” Her eyes widened and his grip on her tightened. “Don’t worry. The guys didn’t destroy it, they only moved it, to the apartment upstairs.”
She still didn’t speak, trying to take it in. He had been right, they were following her, watching her. How much danger was she in? Was her child safe?
“I told you, I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I’m getting you out of here. Remember when you fed me that first day and I said I couldn’t reciprocate. Well I can now. I have a place, a different identity in another part of the country. I want you with me. Please think about it. Doc, I want you with me.”
“They . . . they were in here?” He realized he was supporting her and moved her toward the living room to seat her gently on the couch. He squeezed her hand gently then went into the kitchen and returned quickly with a glass of water.
“Doc, here. Take a sip. Come on, stay with me.” She obeyed him silently, giving herself over to him. “Doc? You okay?”
“I . . . they really want you, don’t they?”
He nodded solemnly. “That’s why I want you out of here. I want you where I know they aren’t looking. And I want you with me. I need to confess something to you. I could easily have sent the information I brought . . . I needed to know you were safe. I didn’t plan to see you, I didn’t think I could handle that and then just leave again, but I wanted to be in the same city for a little while.”
Her hand came up to his face. It was shaking slightly but when she touched him she steadied and drew his face down to hers.
"I want you Doc. I know I don't have the right -"
"Mulder, stop. Stop right there. You have the right, I gave you the right six months ago and I have no intention of taking it back. Besides, I want you too. I . . . I look a little different."
He smiled then as his eyes raked her again. "Maybe a little, but I can't wait to see more."
"That's the problem, there's so much more to see." He chuckled then and her eyes drifted close as his hands began an exploration of her body.
He'd forgotten none of the things that she enjoyed. What he wasn't prepared for was her enthusiasm. His concern about her ‘condition’ diminished quickly. He was the one in danger here and he was enjoying every minute of it.
She had only been gone a few minutes and he already missed her so much he ached from it. She was coming with him, she trusted him that much even after what he had done to her. He had no memories, but somehow he knew that he had never had a child. This one, this child that they had created was very nearly the most important thing in the world - following only her.
He was startled from his reverie by the sound of someone trying to unlock the front door. Shit! He had to get out, something had alerted them. He quickly moved to the back door and slipped out, grateful that everything he had brought was on his back. He pulled the door silently closed and made sure it was locked from the inside. He hid himself in the alley and watched to see if he was followed from the apartment.
After a moment he moved farther into the alley and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. He quickly dialed the number at the apartment of her friends.
“Go check on Doc. Now!” He broke the connection to ensure there would be no trace.
“Mulder? Hey guys! There’s a problem!”
Frohike and Byers were in the room instantly. “What? What else did you find?”
“No, not this. Mulder just called. He said go check on Dana. He was as close to frantic as I’ve ever heard the man.”
“Okay,” Byers took immediately charge. “You two head down to the hospital, find her, keep an eye on her. I’ll head over to her place and see if I can find him.”
Langly and Frohike nodded and all three of them headed out for their various destinations.
Once at the hospital Frohike grabbed some maintenance coveralls and Langly slipped surgical greens over his clothes. They separated, both heading for the ER and kept their eyes open for her. Frohike spotted the military first and increased his pace. When he saw Colonel Baldwin he realized he was towering over Dana and his manner was less than pleasant.
Frohike grabbed some gauze from an unlocked cabinet and wound it around his hand. Then he hurried over towards them, spotting Langly over to the side. “Hey Doc, Doc can you help me?”
She looked over at the familiar voice and knew immediately that he was there to help her. And he’d never called her Doc, Mulder had sent him. What had happened at her apartment?
“Can’t you see she’s busy? Find someone else.” The colonel dismissed the smaller man.
Scully bristled at that and turned her back to the officious toad. “Here sir, come in here and let me look at that.” Frohike followed her, putting himself between her and the colonel. Langly moved in quickly, to act as her aide.
“What’s going on?” She whispered, her body shielding his lack of injury from view.
“We don’t know. He called us and said to find you and make sure you were safe.” She almost smiled at that; he was still looking after her.
Langly looked toward the entrance of their cubicle. “We’ve got to get rid of him.”
“And how we gonna do that?” Frohike hissed at him.
“I’ll see if Byers has our friend, one of them might have a plan.”
Byers had lost no time getting over to Dana’s apartment. He headed immediately for the alley behind her place and pulled in. He got out, looking around and left the door open to keep from making a sound.
Mulder startled him by appearing beside him. “Have you got her?”
“Frohike and Langly went to the hospital to check on her. I thought you might need some help too.”
“Yeah, we’ve got to get over there. Someone came into her apartment after she left. I went out the back. I didn’t see them.”
“Come on, let’s get you out of here. I’m sure they have her.” Mulder nodded and entered the car. He didn’t protest when Byers headed back toward their apartment. Somehow he hoped she would be there waiting for him. Fear nearly overwhelmed him when she wasn’t.
He turned to Byers to demand that they get over to the hospital when the phone rang. “Yeah?” Byers grabbed it on the first ring.
“The big guy’s here and he’s harassing our friend. We’re with her now but he’s hot on us. Can you get rid of him?”
Byers looked over at Mulder, “Yeah. We’ll handle that from here. Don’t leave her side.” He broke the connection and turned to Mulder. “The colonel is there. The guys have her separated for now but they want us to get him out of there.”
Mulder stood silent, thinking frantically. “Do you . . . do you know his commanding officer?”
“Yeah, General Foreman. What are you thinking?”
“We need to get him on the phone. Which of these damn phones is the hardest to trace?”
Byers tossed him a phone, then went to the bank of instruments and began making some adjustments. Finally he turned back to Mulder, “Okay, now what?”
"Do you know the general's aide's name?"
"Lt. Colonel Nixon." He grinned.
"Not Richard." Mulder looked up at him.
Mulder frowned then, "I don't think I ever forgot that."
"Oh, well anyway he's Philip Nixon. What's your plan?"
"To get the good colonel away from the hospital. Think you can sound like a hard ass Lt. Colonel?"
Byers shook his head. "Not as well as you can."
Mulder took a deep breath. "Let's get her out of there. You know the number of the ER?" At the other man's nod he gripped the phone tighter. "Let's do this." Even Byers sat up straighter at the tone of voice he used to get Colonel Baldwin to the phone.
"Sir. This is Lt. Colonel Nixon. General Foreman wants you and your team in his office ASAP."
"Has he found . . . “ The colonel hesitated then, he was in public.
"He wants you over here. The general will brief you when you arrive." Then he broke the connection. It would seem more like an order that way.
"You sound like you're used to command." Byers ventured.
"They're threatening Doc. I can sound like whatever I have to." Byers nodded. "Can you get hold of Langly? Find out if it worked?"
Byers turned immediately to another phone and punched in a number. "What's happening?" Then he smiled and nodded at Mulder. "Bring her here." He broke the connection and nodded. "GI Joe's already out the door, his storm troopers on his heel. Good work."
"Not without you guys. You know we're going to have to vanish."
Byers nodded, "That doesn't mean you're alone. We can set you up with some pretty sophisticated stuff." He could see the hesitation in this man's eyes. "We don't want her hurt either. If a problem develops we can make changes instantaneously, you wouldn't be completely alone."
"That would be better for her. Let me think about it." Byers nodded and turned back to his work. This man had a lot to think about.
Mulder was ready to chew fingernails by the time they appeared on the surveillance camera. Waiting out of sight was nearly his undoing, but Byers raced to unlock the door.
She was in his arms in moments and he wasn't sure he was ever going to be able to let go. When he allowed her to breathe again she gave him a tremulous. "What happened?"
"I don't know unless they spotted me. Right after you left the apartment someone came in. I got out the back and called the guys. God, I thought they had you." He pulled her back to him again.
"They almost did. Colonel Baldwin was pushier today than usual. If Frohike and Langly hadn't shown up . . . “ She shuddered slightly.
"We've got to get out of town. We're not going to be able to go by your apartment. I don't know why they were there, but we're not going to chance finding out."
She took a deep breath and nodded. "They'll know we're missing."
"They might have discovered you were packing."
"Yes, but I have four days coming up, remember? If I go by the apartment and get my stuff and call Mom to let her know where I'll be, we could still - "
"That would mean you going in alone. I can't - "
"Mulder, she has a point. If you could get out of town with them thinking she's coming back, it would be a big advantage."
Mulder wheeled on him. "I will not put her in danger! This is an unacceptable risk."
Langly actually stepped back, but Dana put her hand on his arm. "Mulder, please. They're right. If these people think I still don't suspect and am just going to visit with friends - we can give them a wrong direction, I can even check in with my parents to keep them from becoming suspicious. It's a good idea."
The look of conflict on his face nearly brought her to tears.
"Mulder, we can protect her. I swear, we won't let them have her. She can drive up to the front like always and go in. We'll be at the back, we can go in first, very quietly."
"I'll be the one to go in." He said it quietly this time but with even more intensity.
"You can't." They all turned to look at her. "You can't be anywhere near my apartment. If they are there, you're the prize they’re going for. If they still can't prove I know you, they might just keep watching."
"Might. Doc, I can't - "
"This is the way it's going to go. My car is close by, Frohike and Langly will take me to it. I'll let them go ahead of me. They'll have my key to the back door and let themselves in. Once they've checked out the place, if it's empty, I'll come in and call Mom. I'll tell her I'm on my way to Virginia to see my friend Zoe for a couple of days. She has a couple of kids and it would make sense for me to visit her. I'll pick up my suitcase and leave. They can follow me out; make sure I'm not followed. I'll drive to the train station and park - that way Mom won't be worried about me driving alone. I'll slip out the side and they can bring me back here."
They all stood there staring at her, their mouths open. "Well?" She said, "Let's get going."
Byers looked over at Mulder, "And to think I thought you sounded commanding."
She flashed him a smile and moved toward the door. "Come on!"
As though attached by rubber bands, Langly and Frohike followed her to the door.
"Wait a minute!" Mulder found his voice and was at her side in two steps. "Doc, I . . . “ He looked at the other two, "If you let anything happen to her . . . “ He left the threat hanging but they both nodded.
"Mulder, I'll see you in less than an hour. It's going to be okay. You have to believe it." His lips silenced her and her arms went around him as he pulled her close.
"Don't be late."
She smiled at him then. "It would help if I could get started." Her hand caressed his cheek and she moved toward the door again as he made sure he was out of sight.
Once they were gone, Byers looked over at Mulder as he returned to the room. "They'll look after her."
He nodded but didn't speak. There was nothing else to say on the matter. Now he had to wait, something he knew he did badly. It was going to be a long hour.