Someone's Wife

by Donna

Title - Someone's Wife
Author - Donna
Email address - donnah@donnas-stories.com URL - http://www.donnas-stories.com/
Rating - NC-17
Category - MSR, angst, AU
Spoilers - None
Keywords - MSR, angst, AU, S/O
Summary - What if she'd married someone before she met him?
Feedback - Please
Archive - Anywhere, just let me know so that I can visit

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

Someone's Wife

Dana rubbed the space above her nose, trying to relieve the tension headache that had taken up residence there. She'd seen six patients today, four of them his, plus rounds, gotten in about an hour on the paper he wanted her to 'help' him write and there was a dinner tonight.

If she didn't leave right now, she wasn't going to be able to get there on time. Daniel hated it when she was late, but he'd told her to meet him there.

Hell, she couldn't even reach him to try to beg off. Would it be worth his annoyance to just not show up?

She sighed, no; she was the good, dutiful wife. She'd go and smile and help raise money for the cardiac unit, but when they got home, she'd be damned if she was going to touch the paper again tonight.

Dana closed her desk drawer and left the office. "Sheila, I'm heading home to change. If he calls, I'm on my way."

Sheila gave her a sympathetic smile and nodded. "Try to enjoy yourself tonight."

Dana chuckled, "Thanks Mom, but I don't think so." She waved and let herself out the back of the office where her sporty red Miata was parked.

She drove quickly and expertly to her house, pulling into the curved driveway. The gardener had been there. The yard was expertly edged and the grass a velvety green. Philippe had mowed on an angle today and she smiled at the slight pattern it had left. Occasionally her fingers itched to work in the flowers, but Daniel didn't like it. It was a waste of her time and talent in his mind, besides Philippe was an expert. She pressed the button to open her side of the three car garage and slipped her little car in with ease. She hurried into the kitchen. "Pilar?" She called as she paused to glance through the stack of mail arranged on the counter.

"Yes ma'am?" The older Hispanic woman stepped into the kitchen from the laundry room.

"Oh, there you are. I don't suppose he's here?"

"No ma'am. He took his tuxedo with him this morning."

Dana tried to hide her sigh, "I guess he's planning to change and meet me. I'd better hurry."

"Yes Ma'am." Pilar inclined her head slightly.

Dana moved on to the front of the house and stairs. She didn't feel so much disapproved of by Pilar, as unnecessary, a mere accessory. Well, Pilar had been here longer than she had, and she ran the house extremely well. A task Dana had neither the time nor desire to do.

She hurried to the master suite and into the large walk-in closet. Even the beautiful room didn't soothe her tonight. Usually the pale sage of the walls and the warmth of the floral bedspread that covered the four poster bed drew a smile from her. The comforter was plush and the desire to sink into its depths pulled at her.

She had decorated this room herself, others had decorated the rest of the house, but this was hers. Her ladies' desk in the corner was messy with her notes, and there were a couple of books on the small sofa in the sitting area, but Daniel had finally quit bitching about it. If the House Beautiful people wanted another picture spread, she'd shove things in the closet. Until then this was a room to be used.

She spared a glance at the sofa; it matched the deep burgundy in the comforter and was molded to her body. She's spent many evenings lounging there with books and journals.

Damn, she wanted to throw on her pajamas and maybe relax with a glass of wine. At least put on a comfortable pair of slacks or her sweats, but no way. He'd expect leg and cleavage for this dinner.

Again she sighed, but pulled out a little black dress that would go well with the new necklace he had bought her out of the blue last week. Diamonds with two beautiful sapphires. They looked cold to her, but he said regal. Whatever. Did she have time to put her hair up?

By the time she was ready, she knew she needed traffic to be on her side to make cocktails. She took one last longing look at the bed, then moved out of the room and to the stairs.

Pilar was in the entrance, freshening an arrangement. "How do I look?" Dana asked, surprising herself a little.

Obviously she'd surprised Pilar as well, though the woman did smile. "Madam looks lovely tonight."

"Thank you." She tucked a curl behind her ear. No time for more than a quick comb through, but her natural curl would have to pick up the slack. She stopped and really looked at the woman. The compliment seemed sincere. Dana smiled at her. "I hope we won't be late."

"Be careful."

Dana's smile grew. "I will be. I have an excellent excuse not to drink tonight."

Pilar nodded and trailed her mistress back to the kitchen, to lock the door to the garage behind her.

She took the most direct route, but as she neared the city, traffic began to back up. Her little car was good at this kind of thing and she loved it. She'd bought it herself after they'd gotten married though he had laughed at her. She hadn't cared, it was sporty and fast and just all of the things she couldn't be. She took a quick turn and tried to make up the time. Just a few blocks up, she saw even more congestion and construction barriers and sighed. She came to a stop and looked around, then down at her watch again.

She might make dinner, but no way cocktails. She reached for her purse, she could call home and ask Pilar to try to get a message to Daniel. Before she could reach her phone, the car door was jerked open.

"Out!"

"Wha - " she turned into the barrel of what, at eye level, looked like a very big gun.

"Out!" A short wiry man grabbed her arm and yanked her from the car. She stumbled to her knees.

Panic made her clumsy as she tried to scramble away. She didn't realize she was screaming until the voice of the man now in possession of her car cut through her terror. "Shut up!" She glanced back and saw the gun again pointed at her. She froze.

She felt other hands grab her from behind and shove her out of the way, but she heard the gunshot at the same time and tensed, anticipating the pain. Instead, blood blossomed over this new man's left arm, staining the white fabric of his dress shirt. He didn't make a sound, turning and firing his gun at the man in her car.

The two shots sounded simultaneous. Dana saw the man in her car blown back and out of sight. Her rescuer fell into her and she saw the blood now coming from his head. She couldn't hold him, but softened his fall to the sidewalk.

Then they were surrounded by people, yelling, talking, running around with their heads cut off, or so it seemed.

"Call 911!" she demanded as she moved to begin her own examination.

"They're on the way, ma'am. If you'll - "

"I'm a doctor. Get my bag from the car. Hurry!"

The man that had spoken earlier only hesitated an instant, then reacted to the commanding tone in her voice.

Her fingers were carefully exploring his scalp. She breathed again when she realized his wound was only a scrape. The bullet had been that close, but this wound wasn't his problem. His arm was bleeding badly by now, the artery might be nicked.

In the back of her mind, she heard the siren approaching, but now her bag was open in front of her. She continued ministering to him.

When the paramedics were beside her, she had them assist, eventually turning her patient over to them. She didn't leave his side.

"What's his name?" She demanded of the man who had retrieved her bag.

"Mulder, Special Agent Fox Mulder. I'm Special Agent Roy Wilkins."

FBI? What the hell had she stumbled into? She wanted him conscious, the head was only scraped, but she wanted to make sure he was okay.

"Mr. Mulder? Can you hear me? Open your eyes. Come on."

They flickered, then opened a crack, trying to focus on her face. She smiled. "That's good, Mr. Mulder. I'm Dana, the woman you saved. Do you remember?"

"Dana." He murmured, then his eyes closed again.

"We're ready to transport, Dr. Waterston."

"Okay, I'll ride with you." She rose and dusted off her knees, feeling the shreds of her stockings. For the first time she noted her clothing. No wonder the agent had hesitated when she'd announced she was a doctor. The dinner! Damn.

Well, it was definitely too late now. She had no car and she was no longer presentable for a party. She turned to Wilkins, "I'll be at the hospital."

"Is he . . . "

"I'm concerned about his arm. The head wound looks bad, but it's superficial."

"We're going to need a statement."

"Yes, after I'm sure he's not going to lose that arm."

Wilkins blanched at that, but nodded and got out of the way. She climbed into the ambulance first, taking the jump seat and helping guide the stretcher inside.


Things had finally calmed down. Her rescuer was being moved from recovery. Her fast work at the site had saved his arm, and she had personally observed the surgery. The man had saved her life, and she was going to make sure he had the best care.

She'd been unable to reach Pilar. The housekeeper had probably gone out for the evening since everyone else was away. She'd left a message with very little detail and pushed it from her mind.

Now they were wheeling him into a room on the surgical floor and she was beside his bed. Her dress was hanging in a locker, ruined from his blood, but she didn't care. It was just a thing, this man had saved her and she had, in turn saved him. That stupid dress was unimportant.

When they transferred him from the gurney, he roused slightly. She leaned over him, "Mr. Mulder? Can you hear me?"

He blinked up at her, "Dana?" Her bright smile seemed to warm him throughout his entire body.

"That's right. I guess I don't have to ask you how many fingers."

He managed a small smile, "Where am I?"

"Georgetown. You're going to be fine, and that arm is going to be as good as new."

For the first time he glanced toward his arm, swathed in bandages.

"Shot?"

She nodded, "Saving my life. Thank you." Her voice dropped to a whisper.

"My pleasure."

She blinked, but nodded. "You get some rest. I'll check on you in the morning."

"Have to go?" His eyes were closing again.

"Soon." She took his right hand in hers and he squeezed it lightly, before falling back to sleep. Instead of leaving, she found herself settling into the chair beside his bed.

Maybe she'd stay until his family arrived.


The nurse woke her at 6 a.m. when she came to take his vitals. Dana found herself embarrassed to still be there, but it just showed how tired she was. She really did need to check in at home. This wasn't the first time she'd slept at the hospital, but Daniel was no doubt upset with her.

She'd take a quick shower and put on fresh greens, then head over to her office. By then Daniel would be awake. Before she could move, the man in the bed squeezed her hand. She hadn't realized he was still holding it.

"Dana? You're still here?"

She couldn't help but smile at him. He had the sleepy tousled look of a lover with those bedroom eyes. She pulled herself up straight. Where the hell had that thought come from? His smile dimmed at the look on her face.

"Are you okay?" He asked quickly.

"That's my line." She said, purposefully not answering his question. "Are you in any pain?"

"No. I'm good. I can't believe you stayed here all night."

She lightly shook her head, "Not a problem."

"Well I appreciate it."

Her smile grew then. "Look, I need to get to work, but I'll check back later."

"I'm not going anywhere, for awhile anyway."

She laughed lightly and moved toward the door.

"Oh Dr. Waterston, there you are." He heard a nurse in the hall, "Your husband called up looking for you. He needs you to meet him at . . . "

The voice trailed off as they moved away from his door.

The smile faded from his face as the words sank in. 'Your husband'. Of course she was married, look at her. He hadn't noted a ring, but . . . He felt like the day had suddenly become overcast.


She tapped on the door and entered. Her smile disappeared when he just looked at her. "Mr. Mulder? Is there something . . . are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

She blinked, "You don't sound it. Is there a problem?" She looked around the room, there was no evidence that anyone had been here, no flowers, nothing. Where was the man's wife, family, friends?

"Why would you think that? Did your husband find you okay?"

She absorbed that, "Are you angry with me?"

"No. You know you might want to wear a ring or something, just to make sure that people don't get the wrong impression."

"They get in the way when I perform surgery." She spoke with no emotion. "I'm sorry if you feel I misrepresented myself." Her anger was growing and her voice grew icy.

He drew back, not sure how to react to her anger. She turned away from him, back toward the door. "Dana, wait, I . . . I'm - "

The door opened, "Dana? There you are. We're going to be late for the meeting."

Dana looked up at the older man. "Daniel, this is Special Agent Fox Mulder, the man that saved my life." She turned to look at Mulder, "Dr. Daniel Waterston, my husband."

Daniel moved forward, his hand out. He shook Mulder's hand, "My deepest gratitude Mr. Mulder. I was planning to look you up later today. Of course, if Dana had been on time, none of this would have happened and you wouldn't be lying here injured. I am sorry about that."

This was her husband? Father maybe, was he actually scolding her? "Uh, it's not that big a deal. I'm happy things turned out like they did."

"That's very generous of you Mr. Mulder. I'm sorry, but we need to run. Thank you again. Dana?" He took her elbow and moved her toward the door.

She hadn't even looked at Mulder since beginning the introduction. He found it necessary to see her eyes. "Dana?"

She hesitated and glanced at him.

"I . . . "

"We need to get to our meeting, Mr. Mulder. I wouldn't want the others to get a wrong impression." Daniel looked down at her, his brow furrowed at her words, but then he dismissed them as he had dismissed her trauma earlier.

Mulder closed his eyes. He'd screwed up big time.


The orderly stopped to open the door, and turned to roll Mulder back inside. "I've got it man." Mulder said and rose from the chair. "Thanks for the ride, but I'm fine."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm good." The orderly nodded and rolled the chair from the room.

Mulder turned toward the bed and stopped at the sight of her, sitting in the corner. "Dana?" He moved to her side. "Dana, look, I'm sorry about earlier. I was out of line and I . . . Are you, are you okay?"

"I don't know why I'm here." She seemed to come back to the present and started to rise from the chair.

"Please don't leave. I, I behaved badly earlier. I was caught off guard that you were married."

"What does it matter?" she looked at him coldly.

"It just does." He sank on to the bed.

She looked away, and took a deep breath. "Where were you?"

"Physical therapy. I should be out of here tomorrow." He couldn't interpret the look that crossed her face. "I'm doing really well."

"That's wonderful."

He wasn't sure what to say, but he wanted her to stay. Okay, she was married, but . . . for some reason he felt drawn to her.

She sat there a few minutes, though they both felt awkward. Finally she rose. "I need to get home."

"Do you have to go?"

"I shouldn't have even come by. It gives the wrong - "

He jumped in then, "I'm glad you did. Will I see you tomorrow?"

"No. I have surgery in the morning. I'm sure you'll be released before I get out."

He was quiet then for a long moment. "So this is goodbye?"

"Thank you again, Mr. Mulder."

"It's just Mulder, please. I . . . I should be thanking you." He watched as she let herself out of his room, and managed not to call her back. Why the hell did he suddenly feel abandoned?


She took her tray over to the table and pulled out the journal. She really needed to read this article. She couldn't seem to get anything done lately, not since that night. It had been two weeks since he'd been discharged. Daniel was becoming annoyed at her continued discomposure. She took a deep breath, picked up the little plastic spoon and turned to the article. Suddenly she felt a presence beside her and looked up.

"Hi. Is this seat taken?"

"Mulder?"

"You remembered. May I?" He pointed to the empty chair.

"Of, of course. What are you doing here?"

"Physical therapy."

"This late?" She glanced at her watch.

"They took me after work. Don't have to come back for two weeks."

She smiled, "I'm glad. You're already back at work?"

"Desk duty. Why are you here so late?" No need to mention that he'd hunted for her before finding her here. He wasn't sure why he'd done that, but he wanted, no, he felt like he needed to see her.

"Oh, Daniel's out of town, so I gave Pilar the evening off. I thought I'd grab dinner here. It's just easier."

"That's dinner?" He pointed to the cup of yogurt on her tray.

"And what's wrong with that?" She met his eyes.

"It's not dinner. Come on."

"Come on?" She was unaware, but her eyes brightened.

"Yeah. Come on. I know a great place to have dinner. You're foot loose and fancy free tonight."

"Why?" She asked quietly. Mulder understood the question.

He leaned back in the chair and looked at her for a minute. Then he scooted his chair closer to her to speak quietly. "You know, there are some tribes that believe that if you save a person's life you own part of them. Well, I saved yours and you saved mine, so if they're right, I can't let you eat like that."

Dana leaned closer to him. "Neither of us belongs to any of those tribes."

"But you never know when we might have to run off and join one." He grinned. "Come on."

Shaking her head, she let him take her hand. He picked up her tray and dumped it, then led her to his car. He opened the door to let her in. "Don't worry, I'll bring you back for your car." He said, then he seated himself.

"I don't have my car back yet. They held it for the investigation, then Daniel wanted to have it detailed."

"Probably not a bad idea. I messed it up pretty bad inside." He pulled into traffic and glanced over at her. "You don't really mind me kidnapping you, do you?"

"No. They didn't have my favorite flavor of yogurt anyway."

He chuckled. "And what would that be?"

"Blueberry. All they had tonight was strawberry."

"So that's the real reason you came with me." He tried to look forlorn.

"Now you know." But her eyes were smiling. He nodded, watching her. For just an instant she wondered if this was a good idea, but he looked away and pulled out into traffic.

A few minutes later he pulled into what looked like a hole in the wall pizza parlor. "Here?" She looked around.

"Yep. Don't let appearances deceive you, this is the best pizza in town. Trust me." He moved around the car to open her door.

He led her inside and on to a booth near the back. The older red leatherette seats were split and Mulder took the side of the booth with the most duct tape. The vinyl top of the table was scarred and initials overlapped each other.

She looked around the walls at the neon beer signs and yellowing notices of past events. She found herself liking the hominess of the place, so different from what she'd become used to the last couple of years.

She let him order, even the beer. "I'm off medication, doctor. Don't worry." She settled back, comfortable here.

Once they were alone again, she looked over at him. "Can you tell me what really happened that night? I mean, I went in to make a statement, but I didn't know much. Agent Wilkins didn't want to answer any of my questions."

"Well, the case is over now. The man I shot died." He looked around to make sure no one was paying them any attention. "You stumbled into a ransom drop that went bad. He spotted us and ran. He'd taken a ten year old girl."

"Did you get her back?"

"Yes." He didn't look at her then.

"What?"

"He hurt her. She'll be in therapy a long time. I don't know if she'll ever . . ."

"If she's only ten, and already getting help, maybe she'll . . . " She stopped at the look on his face.

"This guy hurt her. I doubt she'll ever have kids."

"Oh." She found her hand over his on the table. "I'm sorry."

"The cases with kids get to me." He shrugged.

"I can understand that."

"Hey, let's talk about something else."

"Sure." She smiled at him and started to take her hand back. He squeezed it instead and held it.

They kept it light after that, sticking to what they'd been up too since he'd been released. He had her laughing at his attempts to dress and do housework.

He'd been right, it was some of the best pizza she'd ever had, and though he out ate her two pieces to one, she was full. She was laughing when she caught sight of her watch. "It is not nine o'clock. Mulder, it can't be that late."

He checked his own watch. "Yes, it is. Did you have to be somewhere?"

"No, but I planned to be home before now."

"Okay. I'll get you back to the hospital. I appreciate the company for dinner."

"It was good. I enjoyed the company too. Thank you."

"I, uh, I was concerned about you at our last - "

"Mulder. I'm okay."

"Good." He took her hand to help her from the booth.

When they returned to the hospital, he drove her to where her rental car was parked, then walked her to the car. "Thank you, Mulder."

"I enjoyed it." He opened the door to the blue Ford Taurus for her. "Be careful."

She nodded and slipped her key in the ignition. When she turned it, the car sputtered and then died. She tried again and the same thing happened. Mulder opened the door. "Has it been giving you problems?"

"It did this morning, but I finally got it started." She tried a third time and it turned over. "There, it's okay."

"I don't like the sound of it. I'm going to follow you home, just in case."

"Mulder, I appreciate it, but I'm sure it'll be fine."

"Me too, but if it does cut out on you, I don't want you stuck beside the road."

He looked adamant, so she nodded. No need to tell him she was relieved by his offer.

He followed her out of town and eventually into an older neighborhood with manicured lawns and very large houses. She turned into a circular driveway and he turned in after her. The garage door opened and she pulled in. He stopped in the driveway just behind her.

She got out of the car and walked back to him. He got out to meet her. "You should get that car checked out tomorrow; have them give you another one."

"I'll do that. Listen, you've come all the way out here. Why don't you come in for some coffee?"

"You don't mind?"

"I'd appreciate it." She smiled and opened the door for him. He took his keys and followed her into the house. They entered into the kitchen and he looked around. "Big isn't it?" She was watching him.

"Well, 'wow' is what I was thinking."

She nodded. "I don't get much chance to cook, but I can make coffee. Then I'll give you the tour."

"Will I need bread crumbs?"

"Practically, but I'll try not to get you lost." She found some pie in the refrigerator and they shared the rest of it over the coffee. When they were through, he followed her out into the house.

"Uh, 'wow' didn't cover it."

"I know." She looked around herself. "It's been photographed for several magazines."

"You did a good job."

"I take no credit for this. Beatrice, Daniel's first wife had this done."

He smiled then, "Good."

"You don't like it?" Her lips twitched.

"Well, it's not you." He glanced around at the ultra formal setting. The feeling of museum was strong and he could visualize velvet ropes.

"Thank you."

"Are you going to make any changes?"

She shook her head, "Not down here. I made changes to my bedroom, but I don't spend much time in the rest of the house. I'm at the hospital a lot." She shrugged, "and it's more important to Daniel than it is to me." She turned to look at the room herself. "I guess I don't see it anymore. It's so stiff and formal to me. And the colors are . . . uncomfortable."

Mulder nodded, "I couldn't have said what I didn't like, but the red doesn't look right for you. I see you with, with softer colors."

She blinked at that, suddenly realizing she was alone in her house with essentially a stranger. He felt the change immediately. "Well, I need to get going. Thanks for the coffee and pie."

"Small payment for seeing me home."

He stared at her intently for a moment. She didn't fit here, but it was what she had chosen. Why was he even thinking that? He barely knew her, but it was a feeling, a strong one. He'd learned not to ignore that.

She walked him to the garage, but he insisted she stay inside. "I hope we run into each other again, under circumstances like these, not like our first meeting."

"Me too." She smiled up at him.

Later he would wonder at the impulse, but he didn't hesitate, leaning down and brushing a kiss across her lips. She didn't pull away or slap him. She just looked stunned.

"Good night." He moved to his car and got in, looking over at her one more time. Her fingers were lightly touching her lips. He felt his groin tighten at the gesture. He better get the hell out of here.


Dana stretched her neck as she hurried back to the office. She was so grateful that the meeting had been canceled. Maybe Daniel hadn't left yet and they could have dinner. She was feeling guilty. They hadn't spent any time together in ages and she hadn't tried to remedy the situation.

Good, the light was still on in his office. She opened the door and stepped inside. It took a couple of heartbeats for the sight in front of her to sink into her brain. Chloe, their newest resident, was there. She was on his lap, straddling him in his chair and his hands cupped her bare breasts.

As the door opened, Daniel lifted his head from her throat. "Dana?"

The sound of her name unfroze her and she turned, letting the door shut behind her. Her steps picked up the pace until she was running by the time she hit the back door.

She fumbled with her keys, finally letting herself into her small red car. She sped out into the street, not bothering to check for traffic. She lucked out, no car was coming. She took the first left and drove.

She had no idea how far she had driven when she finally stopped at a light. She was shaking. She needed some place to stay. Her purse was in her hand and she pulled out her wallet. How much cash did she have? She pulled out her money and a card dropped into her lap.

Special Agent Fox Mulder. The number on the back was his home number, he'd told her that. Without thought she dialed. It rang twice before she realized what she was doing. She pressed end and let the phone drop into the passenger's seat.

Dana looked around then, but didn't recognize the neighborhood. She jerked when the phone rang. She answered it before she could stop herself. "He-hello?"

There was a slight hesitation. "Dana? Is that you?"

"Mulder?"

"You called me? Are you all right?"

"No."

"Where are you?" He asked quickly.

"I, I don't know."

"Okay. Are you in your car?"

"Ye-yes." She realized she was shaking.

"Look around, Dana. Do you see a street sign?"

She approached the next intersection and stopped. "Yes, I'm at Columbia Pike and . . . and Lincoln."

"Okay," he thought quickly. "There's a movie theater about three blocks down. I want you to drive there and park. Lock the doors and stay in your car. I'll be there in a few minutes. Dana? Do you hear me?"

"Yes."

"Go to that theater. Wait for me."

"I will." She broke the connection. He was already shoving on his shoes.


She was staring into space, but even with the colored lights of the marquee, he could see that her eyes were red. She didn't see him, so he carefully tapped on her window. She slowly turned, as though not really connecting the sound with the fact that someone stood there.

The sight of him seemed to penetrate the fog she was in and she jerked the door opened. Her arms went around him as she buried her face in his neck and sobbed. "I alienated my family, I rearranged my whole life."

His arms encircled her, though he had no idea what that meant or what was going on with her. After a few minutes, he led her around the car and seated her, buckling her in himself. Then he took the driver's side, shoving the seat all the way back.

They still hadn't really spoken, but he made the decision to take her to his place. It was close and he could keep an eye on her. Whatever was wrong had devastated her. His car could stay here; it was a lot less likely to be stolen than hers.

She was in her fog again. He didn't bother her. When he parked the car, she didn't even notice. Damn, what had put this woman into this kind of shock? She'd been shot at and been cool enough to save his life.

He opened the door to her side and put his palm lightly against her cheek. "Dana?"

She blinked at him and allowed him to help her out of the car. It was when she stepped inside of his apartment that she finally seemed aware. "Where are we?"

"My place. Come here." He sat her on the couch. "I'll be right back."

Her eyes followed him as he left her side and hurried into his kitchen. When he returned he sat on the coffee table in front of her and handed her a glass. "It's just water. Go ahead and drink it."

She did as he ordered, then returned the glass to him.

"How are you feeling?"

"I don't know. I . . . I shouldn't have called you. I don't know why I did."

"Because I own you and you own me. It was the right thing to do. What happened?"

She shook her head, pulling back from him.

"You need to talk about it, Dana. It's safe here. I'm not going to let anyone hurt you."

"It's too late."

His heart clutched at the defeat in her voice. "No, it's not." He moved to the couch, putting his arm around her. "Let me help."

Tears welled up in her eyes again. "I saw him."

"Saw who?"

"My . . . my husband. He . . . I came back early and he . . . "

"Is he okay?" His arm tightened around her.

"He's great. He's just great." Finally sarcasm graced her tone. "He was in his office and, and Chloe was in his lap."

Mulder's face hardened.

"She's our newest resident. Like . . . like I was." Her voice broke.

"Dana, you don't have to - "

"I didn't break up his marriage. They were already separated when . . . when I met him." Suddenly it was desperately important for him to know that. "I was raised Catholic; I never thought I'd be someone's second wife."

"Third."

"What?"

He glanced down, had he said that out loud? "Uh, third wife."

"No. He was married to Beatrice, then me."

"Before Beatrice. He was married to someone named Karen."

"Kar . . . how do you know that?" She pulled away slightly, watching him now.

He sighed, but met her eyes. "When I saw him, saw his, his age, I did a background check on him. I'm sorry, I had no right, but . . . " his shoulders slumped. "He just didn't look like what I envisioned for you."

"You and everyone else." She closed her eyes then and he was quiet. After a few minutes she straightened up. "I should get out of your way."

"You're not in my way. I think you should stay here tonight." She looked up at him. "I'm not coming on to you, you'll be safe here."

"I don't want to take your bed."

"You won't be, I mean, I usually sleep on the couch. I'm going to turn the bed down, get you some towels. Just for tonight, you need some time, get your head straight."

Tears welled up again, but she nodded. When he left her, she rose and wandered over to his fish tank, brushing the damp from her cheeks. She watched the fish move around for a minute, then turned to his desk. She picked up the framed picture of the girl. She resembled him, his daughter? She put it back down and looked at the stack of videos beside his TV. She had one in her hand when he returned.

"Uh, that's not mine." He tried for humor.

Her eyebrow was raised; the title of the video had caused her to think about Daniel again. He immediately regretted his flippant remark.

"Dana, I'm sorry."

"You're a man, you can watch anything - "

"Maybe, or maybe I'm just lonely. Why don't you go on to bed? You must be exhausted." He thought for a minute that she was going to argue, but instead she closed her mouth and turned toward his bedroom.

"Damn." He breathed when the bedroom door closed.


He woke and looked around the room. It was dark, but something . . . he spotted her in the desk chair. "Dana, are you okay? Do you need - "

She rose and for some reason he did as well. She had changed out of her suit. She was wearing a t-shirt of his. It came down nearly to her knees. He hadn't realized how small she was physically. When he'd been with her, she'd taken up so much space in his mind.

"Kiss me." She said quietly.

"Dana?"

"You did before. Kiss me." She moved to him and looked up.

He wanted this, despite the wrongness of it. He met her lips and her arms went around his neck. She pressed her body against his and his arousal grew. She ground herself against him and he groaned into her mouth. Wrong, very wrong. This was the last thing she needed.

He forced himself to move back and held her from him. "Dana." He gasped the word. When he got his breath back, he rested his forehead against hers. "If you're trying to find out if you're a desirable woman, you are."

"But?" Her voice shook slightly.

"But it's not my style to take advantage of a woman, especially one as vulnerable as you are right now."

"Why did you get divorced?"

"Me? I've never been married."

"Oh." She glanced over at the desk, "I thought . . . I thought she was your daughter."

He looked over where she was looking. "That, uh, that's my sister."

"Sister?"

"Yeah. That's her last school picture, it was taken a couple of months . . . "

"Mulder, I'm sorry."

He shook his head, "We were talking about you."

She sighed, "I'm a fool. Having it hit me in the face . . . "

"You're not a fool. You're in love with a man that may not deserve you, but that only makes him a fool, not you."

She looked at him, surprised. "Thank you."

"You should go on back to bed."

"You're tired. I'm sorry." She turned toward the bedroom.

"No. I'm not tired. I don't sleep a lot. I just thought you . . . Come here." He took her hand and led her to the couch. "How did you meet him?"

She stiffened slightly.

"If you talk about it, it won't be as big."

She looked at him, brow furrowed.

"I'm a, a psychologist."

"You are?" She looked startled.

"Gee, thanks."

"No, I mean . . . " She shifted on the couch, "I was his resident three years ago. He searched me out, selected me. I knew he and his wife were separated, but I didn't ask why. It was none of my business and, and I didn't realize where we were going in a relationship. We had coffee and worked late. We didn't date, not until after he got a divorce." She sighed. "A friend tried to tell me, my family, my brother was incensed."

She stared down at her hands.

"He told me he and Beatrice had grown apart. That she just didn't understand his work."

"You should talk to your family."

Her head jerked up, "No. I . . . I can't face them."

He nodded slightly.

"I wouldn't, I refused to . . . to sleep with him until he was divorced. Now it's me getting a divorce."

"Dana, you shouldn't make a decision like that tonight."

"He's lied to me, he's betrayed me. I can't be married to him." She slumped against the arm of the couch.

"That's your choice, I don't want to influence you, but . . . "

"What?" She met his eyes.

"I can tell you some of the stuff my mother did when she divorced Dad." He shrugged, "I was fourteen and I liked to eavesdrop."

For some reason that actually caused a slight smile to form on her face. "Okay, educate me."


Dana woke and looked around the room. Where was she? She heard the shower in the next room. Mulder. She was at his apartment, but she'd been on the couch with him . . . He'd been good to her, and a gentleman. She'd thrown herself at him and he had caught her and put her back on her feet.

She rose from the bed and moved into the kitchen. She found the coffee and started it brewing. She turned when she heard him enter. He was dressed for work. It was a new look as far as she was concerned and her eyes scanned him.

His lips twitched, "Do I pass?"

She blushed, "Yeah, I guess you clean up okay."

"Good. So what are your plans today?" He took the cup of coffee she handed him.

She straightened her shoulders, "I have a lot to do. I have to find a place to live, see what kind of money I have, the things we talked about last night."

"You don't have to do everything in one day."

"No, but I want to check on the money today. Daniel has always handled everything and now I want to know why."

Mulder nodded, "Okay, but don't worry about finding an apartment. I have to go out of town this afternoon on a case. You're welcome to stay here."

"I couldn't - "

"You'd be doing me a favor."

"A favor?" She questioned.

"Do you know how hard it is to find a reliable fish-sitter these days? No, really I'd feel better if you were here. With what I'll be doing, it will be a bright spot, thinking of you here."

"Mulder, what are you going to be doing?" Her concern was immediate.

He gave her a half-hearted grin, "It's just a case."

She nodded, then left to get dressed. She dropped him back at the theatre. He had her stay in the car, but she lowered her window. "Dana, you look after yourself. I'll check on you tonight."

"Thank you." She squeezed his hand and watched him walk away.


She walked into the bank and took a deep breath. She looked around, locating an older woman, as Mulder had recommended, and got to work.

By the end of the day, she was exhausted and stunned. There were checks in her purse for more money than she had ever imagined. She had been studious about taking only half of any account that had both of their names, closing only those in her name alone. All penalties had come out of the funds she had removed. She'd also canceled every credit card with her name on it. Mulder had been right to check by social security number rather than name.

She would see her attorney tomorrow, the appointment was made, but for now she wanted to find a bank Daniel didn't use and set up her own accounts.

She pushed into the final bank just before five, and had to enjoy the look on the woman's face when she pulled out the cashiers checks. With a new checking account and savings account set up, and a warning that she was extremely over the limit of what was insured, she could only think that her feet hurt. She wanted to go to Mulder's apartment and put them up.

She picked up some dinner and retreated to the comfort of his place. After she showered and ate, she made herself comfortable on his couch and reached for the phone.

"Sheila?"

"Dana! Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. I need a favor."

"Of course. Where are you?"

"That doesn't matter. I was wondering if, tomorrow while Daniel's in surgery, you could pack up my personal items from the office."

"Dana, you don't have to - "

"I do. I can call you tomorrow night and come get my things."

"Dana, was it Chloe?"

Dana was quiet then.

"I didn't know either, he blurted it out when he came in this morning. Dana, he's devastated. He wants you to come home. He was frantic."

After a long moment, Dana spoke quietly, "Was she the first, since we got married?"

Sheila didn't answer.

"Thank you. I'll call you tomorrow evening."

"Dana - " but the phone had been disconnected.

She found she wasn't surprised, maybe disappointed, but Sheila had been with him longer. Maybe she honestly thought it was okay for him to have other women. Dana sat on the couch, staring into space until the ring of the phone caused her to jump.

"Hello?"

"You are there."

"Mulder. It's good to hear your voice." There was a pause. "Mulder?"

"That, that was just nice to hear. Did things go okay today?"

"Yes. I can afford to pay you rent now."

"That's good to know. I'm afraid fish sitting isn't that lucrative, at least in DC. 'Course you do have that other skill to fall back on."

"You mean doctorin'?"

He could feel her smile. "Yeah, that one."

"I guess so. I'm going to go see Dr. Kuhn tomorrow." She hesitated, "I hope he can help me get back on track."

"You're not going to be leaving, I mean, you'll still be at the apartment?"

"Yes, I'm not going anywhere. Mulder, are you okay?"

"No, but it's better after talking to you. I need to get back, I just, I needed a break."

She wasn't sure how to respond to that. "Mulder? When will you be home?"

"Couple of days, I hope."

"Me too."

"Will you be there, at the apartment?"

"Yes. Can't let the poor little fishes starve."

"Good. I do need to get back to work. I'll try to call again tomorrow. Nite."

"Good night Mulder and thank you."

She was relaxed then, the grief of the day dissipated in the comfort of his voice.

She woke after a good night's sleep, again wearing his tshirt. She would have to buy some clothes today, but at least she could afford them.

Her meeting with her attorney, Patricia Bryant, was first thing that morning. She wanted nothing from Daniel but to be left alone. No alimony and any debt in her name to be covered by her percentage in the practice. Her only stipulation was that papers be filed immediately.

"Dana, I'll do what you say, but you're letting him off too easy."

"Patty, I just want out. I, I've learned things over the last few days that I didn't . . . Please, just do this my way."

"You're too calm, Dana."

"If you mean I've faced up to what an idiot I've been, yes. I don't know if you heard, but I was car jacked a few weeks ago. I was nearly killed. He was actually angry with me for missing a fund raiser. He said if I had been on time, I wouldn't have been involved."

"Have you thought that he might not have known how to react to something like that?"

"Yes. It was me, I didn't even want to call him. I didn't ask for his support and he didn't come to the hospital to check on me. We're not married. We live in the same house while he sees other women. And I didn't even know. I was so stupid that it didn't occur to me."

"You're not stupid, Dana."

"Okay, nave." Dana shifted in the chair. "It was okay, about the money?"

"You were more than generous. With this paperwork, I know his attorney won't kick up a fuss. Were you aware of all of the accounts?"

Dana shook her head. "There were two in my social security number only that I knew nothing about."

"There's probably more."

"I don't need more. I don't need what I took."

"You earned it." Patty said dryly. "Where are you going next?"

Dana took a deep breath, "I'm going to the house to get my clothes. He's in surgery. I checked."

Patty nodded, "There are some valuable pieces at the house."

"I don't want them, or the house. Listen to me, Patty, that stuff is his. I was only comfortable in my room. I really don't want anything from him but to be left alone."

Patty leaned back, "Okay. You're probably right and it will make things go faster."

"How much faster? When will I be free of him?"

"I need to meet with his attorney - " Patty started.

"Maybe I could fly to Las Vegas or, or somewhere and get a divorce."

"Dana, give me a couple of days. I'll make it happen. Don't go for some quickie divorce that could be contested later. Okay? Promise me?"

"I promise." Dana sighed.

"Is there, Dana, are you seeing anyone?"

Dana hesitated, she wasn't really, but Mulder's face had appeared in her mind. Patty took in the heightened color and her brow cocked. "Dana?"

"No, no Patty, I'm not. There is a man who came to my rescue when I fell apart, but I barely know him. There's nothing between us."

Patty opened her mouth to dispute that, but stopped. Daniel had betrayed and hurt this woman, more than once, if she had found someone, more power to her.


Dana pulled into the garage and sat for a moment. She had to do this, but she didn't want to. After a moment she opened the car door and stepped out. She drew herself up and walked to the door. Pilar turned to look at her when she stepped into the kitchen.

"Mrs. Waterson."

"It's just Dana." They eyed each other, but this time Dana didn't back down. After a moment, Pilar inclined her head in agreement. "I'm here to get my clothes. I won't be long."

"Would you like me to assist you . . . Dana?"

Dana looked at her, then nodded. "I'd appreciate that."

A slight smile appeared on Pilar's face and she followed Dana upstairs. Pilar was extremely efficient. Dana was frankly amazed.

"You must be very anxious to get me out of here." Dana heard herself speak.

"On the contrary. I . . . I admire you. I did not know you were this strong."

"Excuse me?" Dana stared at the older woman.

"I, I assumed you were just one of them, one of his play things. I was surprised when he married you, but I knew you were not stupid. Now I see that you really cared for him and he used you. He does not deserve a woman like you and he doesn't appreciate you. You have done the right thing, looked after yourself."

Dana's jaw dropped at that.

Pilar looked around the room. "You love these things. They mean something to you, not just possessions to show off." She surveyed the room once more, then nodded to herself. "I will have these things picked up and stored for you. When you are settled, I'll have them delivered."

"Pilar, these are his - "

"No, this room is yours. I will take care of everything. I can give you the information, or, if you trust me, I can handle it all."

Dana blinked at her. "I . . . I trust you. I don't have a place, yet, but I will call you."

"Thank you. He will learn nothing from me." At that Pilar turned her back to Dana and got back to work. Dana just stared at her, then finally began packing again herself.


She heard the key in the lock and turned. He entered and immediately stopped, sniffing at the aroma. His head swiveled toward the kitchen, looking for her.

The weariness seemed to lighten from his face at the sight of her. "Welcome home."

"It's good to be here." She surprised them both by stepping into his arms. They closed around her. "Very good."

"Dinner won't be ready for a while, why don't you go take a shower and get comfortable."

He nodded. She looked at him, really looked. He was tired, that was obvious, but he looked so beaten. Her eyes followed him as he walked away.

He returned shortly, wearing sweats and a t-shirt, his hair was slicked back and wet. "So, what are we having?"

"Lasagna. I hope you like it." She removed it from the oven.

"Are we expecting company?" He looked at the large pan of pasta.

"Actually we're expecting leftovers." She grinned. "It needs to sit for just a minute. How about some wine?"

"Do I have any?" He glanced around the kitchen.

"You do. And a lot of other stuff too." She opened the refrigerator door.

"Damn, Dana. I owe you some money."

"No, I just found I couldn't fish sit without sustenance." She pulled the wine bottle out and expertly opened it. She poured them each a glass. "Come on, let's sit."

He followed her to the couch. Once they were seated, they touched glasses and he took a sip.

"Want to talk about it?" She asked quietly.

"No. I just want to sit here with you. I've imagined this for days." He gave her a sheepish smile, "It kept me sane."

She leaned toward him, surprising him. What was she . . . she reached out and caught a drop of water from his hair. "I'm glad you're home. I can listen when you're ready."

He tried to hide his disappointment at the lack of a kiss. "It was just a case."

"Kids again?"

"Young women, brutalized and murdered."

"Did you catch him?"

"No. I profiled him from the evidence available, but they're just realizing it's serial. I'll still be working the case, but we have to wait for him to resurface or . . . "

"I'm sorry."

"Hey, I'm home now. And you're here, and my apartment has never smelled so good."

She smiled then, "I hope I remembered how to cook."

"You did. Want to bring me up to date on your adventures?"

"I had more fun than you did. The papers were supposed to be served this afternoon. Fortunately, he doesn't know where I am."

"Are you worried about that? I mean, do you think he'd bother you?"

She shrugged. "Probably not. He has enough companionship."

"Dana, has anyone left him before? Or is he the one in control?" He asked, watching her reaction.

"What can he do? I'm sure he doesn't want the publicity. And I don't think anyone knows about Karen. His pride - "

"His pride might be the problem. You left him. If that's a first for him, he could react unexpectedly. I think you should plan to stay here a while longer."

"Mulder, I appreciate it, but I'm in the way. I'm taking your bed."

He glanced toward the bedroom, "You are not in the way, and I told you, I sleep on the couch."

"Why?"

"What?" He met her eyes, caught off guard by her question.

"Why do you sleep on the couch?" She sounded honestly curious.

"I . . . I don't sleep a lot. When I wake up it's easier to just flip on the TV if I'm already here."

"What wakes you?"

He deflected her then, "Playing doctor?"

"Maybe." But she smiled slightly. "Mulder, why don't you sleep? You've mentioned it a couple of times."

"I, I dream." He shrugged, obviously ready to change the subject.

"Bad dreams? About your cases?"

He nodded,"Yeah, sometimes cases, sometimes other things."

"Like?"

He shook his head then, "Will you stay? I don't want him to bother you."

She blinked; she'd forgotten the beginning of the conversation. "Okay, for a couple of days, if you really don't mind."

"I really don't mind." He took her hand and squeezed it.

"Dinner should be ready now. Come on." She rose and tugged him to his feet. He tossed the salad, while she dished up the lasagna, then they sat at his table.

"You know, I don't remember ever eating at this table."

"I'm not surprised." She said dryly. "And I didn't throw anything away. It's very neatly stacked beside the desk."

"Uh, did you read any of it?" He looked slightly concerned.

"No, I figured it was confidential Bureau stuff, so I just stacked it. It's probably in terrible order."

He gave her a small smile then, "The order doesn't matter. It's just some stuff I work on in my spare time." He took a large bite of lasagna. His smile widened. "You definitely remembered how to cook."

"Thanks." She ducked her head and took a bite herself, then nodded. "It's Mom's recipe. I'm glad I got it right."

"I'm not surprised." She glanced up, then returned to her meal. They ate in silence for a few minutes.


She used her key to let herself in, smiling slightly at the thought that she had this key. Her own key to his apartment.

He was already home; she could hear him in the kitchen, but apparently he hadn't heard her. She hung her coat on the coat rack and turned as she heard the knock on the door. Since she was right there, she answered it.

"Dana." Daniel looked down at her coldly. "I would have thought you could do better than this with all the money you took."

"What are you doing here, Daniel?" She was pleased that her voice didn't shake.

"We need to talk." He stepped around her and into the apartment, his back to the kitchen. Dana didn't see Mulder, but knew he was listening.

"You need to talk to my attorney, Pat Bryant. We don't - "

"I want the money back. How did you even know about - "

"If you didn't want me to know, you shouldn't have put the funds under my social security number." From the expression on his face, she knew she wasn't the first person to give him that advice.

Without warning his hand grabbed her arm in a painful grip. "Let go of - " she didn't finish the sentence as he backhanded her across the face with his other hand.

"Let. Her. Go." The voice carried all of the authority of the US Government and Daniel turned to see who had spoken. The gun pointed at him caused his face to blanch and he dropped her arm as though scalded.

Gun still trained on Daniel, Mulder circled him and drew Dana away from the man and behind him. "Are you okay?"

"Yes." She spoke low and it was obviously not true, but he didn't take his eyes from Daniel.

"Hands behind you."

"What? You can't - " Daniel blustered, until he saw the handcuffs in the younger man's hands. "Who are you?" But he obeyed as he spoke.

"Special Agent Fox Mulder. We've met before." Mulder snapped the cuffs around his wrists.

"Dana, stop this. Tell him - "

"Tell him what, Daniel?" She asked softly.

Daniel's eyes widened. "Surely you're not going to press charges. I've never hit you before. Tell him! I'm just under a lot of pressure. Tell him, tell him you're not going to press charges."

"She doesn't have to. I witnessed it." Mulder pulled Daniel over to the couch and pushed him down on it.

"Be careful of my hands. I'm a surgeon."

"Yeah, right." Mulder picked up the phone and dialed. He identified himself and asked for them to dispatch a car. If possible Daniel grew even more pale.

"I, I need to wash up." Dana realized there was blood on her hands from her nose and lip.

"Just a minute." Mulder moved with her to the far side of the room. "Dana, I'm sorry, but we might need this." He withdrew a Polaroid camera from his desk.

She met his eyes, then nodded. He took a couple of quick shots, of her face and her arm both of which were beginning to bruise with her fair skin.

"You can't do this. I'm well known. I just wanted the money back." Daniel's voice was taking on a whining property Dana hadn't heard before.

Mulder's eyes narrowed. "Yeah, I guess all that child support can add up."

The man's face flushed red, a major contrast from the pallor of seconds ago.

"Child support?" Dana looked up at Mulder. His face was hard and his eyes cold as he watched Waterston. "What child support?" She turned then to look at Daniel. "You were hiding money so that you . . . you bastard!"

"Dana, these things - "

"Don't talk to me Daniel. Have your attorney call mine. I don't want to see you again." She left the room. Mulder stood calmly, watching the man, but offering nothing.

Mulder barely managed to hide his satisfaction when the police took the older man away. He was anxious to check on Dana, so he gave a bare-bones statement and promised to fill out a report the next morning.


Dana was not privy to the conversation between Pat and Daniel's attorney, but at Pat's advice, she didn't press charges. The meeting to sign papers and make property arrangements was scheduled immediately at Pat's insistence.

Mulder was concerned at her listlessness. He didn't want to push, but he knew that the bomb he had dropped in his fury had hurt her. She felt even more betrayed by the man that she had called husband and he was responsible for that.

Careful makeup hid the last of her bruises, but Mulder could see that the thought of seeing this man, facing him, even with attorneys as a buffer, was wearing on her. The morning of the appointment he dressed in his best suit and waited for her.

Their relationship hadn't changed, not in ways that were easily defined anyway. He still slept on the couch, but they had become friends. He was puzzled that she had accepted his invitation to stay as well as why she wanted to. Yes, he wanted her company, and to be honest more, but it felt . . . deeper somehow.

"Mulder? I thought you'd left."

He shook his head, "I took the day. Don't worry; I have years worth of leave stored up. I'd rather use it this way than anything else I can think of."

"You don't have to - "

"Relax; I want to be there for you. I'll just wait out in the lobby and after the meeting, we'll get some lunch."

He was immediately concerned at the tears that formed in her eyes. "Dana?"

She shook her head quickly, "Thank you." She said softly and felt his hand gently touch her back to lead her to the car.

At the office she found her steps lagging and his hand felt warm on her back. In the lobby she squeezed his hand, surprising herself again at how quickly she'd come to rely on this man. She straightened her shoulders and let Pat lead her into the room.

It was obvious the attorneys had met before. The details that Dana had demanded were already outlined and drawn up. When Daniel started to protest once again, Pat opened a separate file and pushed it toward him. Dana leaned forward and saw the pictures of herself that Mulder had taken that fateful night.

She watched Daniel's mouth snap shut and his eyes narrow. He scribbled his signature on the page where indicated, then looked up at Dana with a malicious look on his face.

"I see you brought Mr. Mulder with you. I'd like him to join us. I think he'd be interested in this." Daniel rose and opened the door. He beckoned to Mulder, who stood and moved toward the door rapidly. Both attorneys looked puzzled; Pat was obviously annoyed.

"Daniel, what are you - " Dana spoke without thinking. It was the first time she had addressed him directly.

"Is everything - " Mulder looked over at Dana.

"Oh, I assure you, everything is fine. Please, join us." Daniel held the door for the man.

"Daniel, the papers are signed. There's no need - " His attorney spoke, but Daniel ignored him.

Dana looked completely puzzled. Mulder took a seat beside her, and kept quiet. He'd certainly had no intention of being part of this, except as support.

"Since Mr. Mulder seems to be so anxious to investigate me, I thought I would return the favor. Dana, this man that you have turned to has a few secrets of his own. Are you aware that he is considered a joke around the Bureau?" Daniel seemed to be enjoying himself. "Yes, he's called 'Spooky' Mulder by his peers. He can't seem to keep a partner, but maybe that's because they can't trust him. You see, he was never completely cleared in the disappearance of his sister years ago. But he had a wonderful explanation. He claims she was abducted by aliens." Daniel sent a cruel smile toward Dana, "Yes." He nodded. "Convenient for not finding a body, isn't it?"

Dana looked over at Mulder. His face was closed, totally devoid of emotion.

Pat stepped in at that point, "I don't see that this has anything to do with the proceedings today. I believe everything regarding the divorce and settlement has been agreed to and signed. I'm sorry, but I have other appointments." She rose from her seat, as did Daniel's attorney.

Daniel looked angered that he had been interrupted, especially by a mere woman, but his attorney took hold of his arm and led him toward the door. Only Dana and Mulder remained in the room. He wouldn't look over at her.

She reached for his hand. He didn't pull away, but he didn't respond either. "Mulder? Why didn't you defend yourself?"

After a moment he shrugged, "Hard to defend against the truth."

"What?"

"I am a joke; I am 'Spooky' Mulder." Finally he looked over at her. "Guess you'll be anxious to find that place of your own now."

"Let's get out of here." She didn't relinquish his hand.

The lobby was empty. Daniel and his attorney were gone; Pat was no where in sight. That was fine with Dana; she needed to be alone with Mulder. They needed to talk.

When they reached his car, he opened the door for her. "Mulder, do you want me to drive?"

He shook his head and seated her, then rounded the car and got in himself. "Where would you like me to take you?"

She looked over at him but he was staring out the windshield. "How about home?"

He glanced over at her and quickly away. "Where's that?"

"1013 Hegal, apartment 42."

"Dana, you don't - "

"Please."

She saw him close his eyes for an instant, then he slipped the key in the ignition and pulled into traffic. They were silent on the ride. She was overflowing with questions, but they needed to be somewhere stable, comfortable.

Dana missed the feel of his fingers guiding her inside, but didn't mention it. She stood quietly as he opened the door to the apartment and let her precede him inside.

He was avoiding her by going deep inside of himself and the intensity of the loneliness that caused shook her.

She stood in front of him finally, forcing him to acknowledge her presence. "Talk to me, Mulder. Please."

He shrugged and jumped slightly when she took and squeezed his hand. He allowed her to pull him to the couch and took a seat beside her, with enough careful distance that they wouldn't accidentally touch.

"Mulder?" Her thumb caressed the back of his hand as she held it and he found himself watching it, fascinated.

"I don't know what you want me to say, Dana."

"Tell me the truth. You're not a joke. Mulder, I've cleaned this apartment. I didn't purposely look through your papers, but I saw that drawer over there." She gestured toward the desk. "You have a drawer full of commendations. It looks like you're more of a star at the Bureau than a joke."

He gave an ironic laugh and looked away. "A star, right."

"Then tell me about your sister."

"Why? Why do you want to hear this?"

"Be-because you're important to me."

He looked over at her. "Important?"

"Becoming essential." His eyes widened and she realized what she had said. She brought her hands to her face to cool off her flaming cheeks.

He pulled them away and let his own hands cup her cheeks. His eyes searched her face. "I, I've never been important to anyone before."

She shook her head, she didn't believe that. "Talk to me."

He looked hopeless for a moment, then stood and removed his coat and tie, and unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt. Finally he returned to the couch and moved closer to her, tucking her against him, where she couldn't see his face. He rested his chin on her hair. He sighed and she pulled his arms around her.

He still hesitated. "Let me be here for you, Mulder."

He took a deep breath and started talking.


His voice finally trailed off. She had realized early in the tale that this wasn't something he talked about easily. She hadn't interrupted with questions or details of physics. He needed to talk and for some reason he was comfortable enough with her to let it pour from him. His voice was raspy now, hoarse and low.

Dana was aware she was inappropriately aroused by the sound of him, or maybe by the trust he was displaying. Whatever. His arms loosened their grip of her as though releasing her from him and she felt cold. Without realizing she wiped a tear from her cheek.

"Are you . . . are you crying?" He asked frightened.

She turned then and cuddled into his chest. After a moment she sat up. "Mulder, listen to me."

He stiffened as though expecting a blow, but doing nothing to ward it off.

Dana looked into his eyes. This explained so many things she hadn't realized needed explaining about their 'relationship'. He was an abused child and expected nothing better for himself. Did he even know what he had revealed to her?

"Mulder," she touched his cheek, drawing his face toward her, "Forgetting for a minute what I've always believed about UFOs and aliens, if that is what happened, and beings that traveled here from unknown reaches of space took Samantha . . . what could a twelve year old boy possibly do to stop them?"

He gaped at her. Those were words he had never expected.

"Be realistic. Twelve, Mulder. You were a child. There is no way you could have done more. The same is true of the divorce. Your parents did not leave each other because of you. The divorce was their decision, I know I haven't met them, but I have met you. You're a caring, loving man who feels things deeply. You're smarter than the others at the Bureau. They can't catch up with you, so they call you 'Spooky' to hide their fear of you. They know you can run rings around them and they resent it."

He was staring at her, mouth open. She could tell he didn't believe her, but she could see that her words were like water on a long parched plant that had long ago given up on receiving nourishment.

She realized she was staring - totally focused - on that lush lower lip. Oh hell, she'd been deprived a long time too. She leaned in and kissed it.

It wasn't their first kiss, though it had been some time. But they were both shaken by the jolt they felt. Tears welled up again in her eyes at the hopeless longing on his face. Instead he retreated again. "You, uh, you hungry?"

"We, uh, we missed lunch and it's nearly time for dinner, Mulder. I guess we should eat something."

He accepted her withdrawal without surprise. He'd been indulging in a fantasy here. She wasn't even officially divorced yet. But it had been good to talk to her. He hid his sigh, "What would you like?"

"How about our place?"

"We have a place?" He managed to say.

"There's this little pizza parlour . . . " She said quietly.

He actually found a small smile at that. "Yeah, let's go." It was a place he'd never thought of as 'theirs', but whenever he did go there for lunch now, he thought of her. Of course that could be said about just about everywhere he went now. Why the hell had he allowed himself to depend on her? People didn't stay in his life and now that she knew the truth about him . . . well he had some good memories.

He ate, but it had the tasteless quality of a last meal to him. Mostly he watched her. She didn't meet his eyes, but that didn't surprise him. He'd been honest with her, more honest than he'd been with anyone, ever. He was actually surprised she was still sitting in front of him.

They had both ordered a beer with their pizza but over half of his was still in the bottle. He wasn't in the mood for alcohol. There were too many nights when he'd seen the effects of it first hand.

He let her into the apartment, then watched as she made her way to the bedroom. She didn't offer to join him for TV or to continue talking and he wasn't really surprised. She probably wanted to pack.

Mulder sank onto the couch and let his head fall back against the back of the couch. He could hear the water running as she got ready for bed. He was going to miss having her here, but he hadn't really thought anything long term could develop. Now that she knew about him . . . he sighed and leaned forward. He buried his face in his hands and didn't hear the door open.

Dana stopped to observe him. He looked like she had felt that night she had caught Daniel. He had held her head above water that night and they had barely known each other. Now it was her turn.

"Mulder."

He looked up startled. His eyes grew wide, when he realized she was dressed in his t-shirt again. She'd been wearing her pajamas since that first night. His lips parted, but no sound emerged.

"I consider myself divorced. The time of day that the judge signs the papers is not important. I feel completely separated from that part of my life."

He just watched her and seemed surprised when she moved toward him.

She held out a hand to him and he took it without hesitation. "What?"

"I don't want to be alone tonight."

His eyes lightened, but he still made no move. She tugged him to his feet and slipped her arms around his waist. His breath caught and he buried his face in her hair. His hands molded her body to him.

She turned her face up to his and he took possession of her lips. "D-Dana."

She stepped away from him and smiled. "Bedroom, Mulder."

"Are you . . ." he swallowed, "Are you sure?"

"Completely."

She had hold of his hand again and moved them toward the bedroom. The bed had been turned down and candles flickered on several surfaces. He stood there as she turned to him and began unbuttoning the rest of his shirt. She pulled the shirt from his slacks and pushed it down from his shoulders. His breathing was shallow, but he didn't speak, just watching her.

His eyes widened when she unbuckled his belt and slipped it from it's loops. Then she unbuttoned his slacks and touched his zipper. She looked up, making sure that he wasn't resisting.

She almost smiled, resisting was obviously the last thing on his mind. She pushed his slacks down, exposing his black silk boxers and growing erection.

A mock shove had him seated on the bed now and she kneeled in front of him and removed his shoes and socks. The sight of her there between his legs caused a surge of desire that nearly blinded him.

She saw that, his arousal was beginning to look painful to her eyes. She rose and looked down at him. No words were spoken, but she reached for the hem of the t-shirt she wore. His hands covered hers and he looked deeply into her eyes. He saw what he needed and gently drew the shirt over her head.

His indrawn breath let her know he hadn't realized she was nude underneath. His hand was trembling slightly as he caressed her breast.

She reached up and took his lips with hers. "You're still wearing too much." She whispered into his mouth.

"Yes ma'am." He released her long enough to shove his shorts down then his arm snaked around her waist and he pulled her down on the bed on top of him. Startled, she laughed out loud and he found himself mesmerized by the sound.

He rolled to put her under him and met her eyes. "I don't believe this."

One hand caressed his face as her other grabbed his ass. "Start believing."

That finally brought a smile to his face and he dipped his head to pay homage to her breasts. His tongue laved her nipples, suckling lightly. His hands were tracing her curves, memorizing her body. He moved down her body bringing her to new heights of desire.

She gasped as he blew across her rust colored curls. That tongue she had so enjoyed on her breasts was proving it knew how to drive her even crazier. "Mu-Mulder, you don't - "

"Shh." He nipped her soft inner thigh, then returned to her sex, his fingers joining the play. Her orgasm was unexpected and took over her whole body. She found her fingers were digging into his shoulders to keep from spinning off into space. She'd never had sex like this, on some level she had known it existed, but god! Where had he learned to please a woman like this?

He held her against him as she shuddered back to herself. "My god, Mulder." She rested her head against his chest and looked up to see his smile.

In a moment she reached down and stroked his cock. "Dana, you don't - "

She smiled up at him. "I would never leave you in that state. It's my turn, Mulder." She pushed him gently down until he was lying on his back. She settled herself on his abdomen, above his cock, letting it rub between the cheeks of her ass. He closed his eyes, trying to maintain some control.

She leaned down and kissed his chest, her hand playing with one nipple as she sucked on the other. He bit his lip but a low groan escaped. She smiled and continued her assault on his body, moving down his chest, licking, nipping and kissing.

Dana paused, then rose and positioned herself over him. His eyes widened and began to fill herself with him. His hands came to her hips to steady her when she paused. She felt full, stretched, not at all what she was accustomed to. She savored the feeling, then began moving over him.

He kept the pace slow at first, realizing this was different for her but they began to move quicker, deeper. She was so tight and hot and so beautiful over him like this. He felt himself begin to slip, his climax building. Her eyes widened at the sensations and to her amazement, felt herself coming again.

She managed to collapse beside him and they lay entwined. "I never, that's never happened to me before." She sounded stunned.

"Dana." He pulled her closer with shaking arms.

"It's okay. Rest now." She caressed his face.

"I want - "

"Just rest." She kissed his eyelids as they closed. His arms tightened around her even as he slipped under.

She watched his face. He looked so young in repose and . . . and happy. They were moving very fast, but it felt right. He'd been thrown into her life at the right time. He'd saved her life in more ways than either of them had realized.

She didn't know what to think about all of the things he had told her. She didn't know what to believe, but he believed and that meant she would have to think about it. She wanted to be there for him as he had been for her. She couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so hopeful about the future.

He shifted in his sleep and she heard the word he breathed, "Dana." She closed her eyes and drifted off in the comfort of his arms.


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