Title - Other Things
Author - Donna
Email address - email@example.com URL - http://www.donnas-stories.com/
Rating - R
Category - MSR, Angst, AU
Spoilers - All Things
Keywords - MSR, Angst, AU
Summary - What if that first time had been just a little different 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
Scully smiled once more at Mulder sprawled asleep in his bed. He was so beautiful. She'd always seen him as physically attractive, but his face, as he had loved her last night, had brought tears to her eyes.
She tried to slip out of the bed without waking him, but he protested, pulling her closer.
"Mulder, I need to go home before work, so I can change clothes."
"We could stay here forever." He offered, still mostly asleep.
"I don't think so." She kissed him and he nuzzled her. "Mulder, go back to sleep. I'll see you later."
He made a grumbling noise and she smiled tenderly at him. She gave him one more kiss and slipped out of the bed. She dressed in his bathroom and stopped once more at the door, to look at him.
She stiffened her spine. The desire to crawl back in beside him was so strong, but she had to get away, just for a little while.
It had been a shock to her that they had ended up in his bed. She had known it was inevitable, but the timing was still a surprise. He had been stunned, and a little put out, that she had had an epiphany in a Buddhist temple while he was out of town, but it had freed her. It had been right. Nothing had ever been more right.
She had experience, not lately of course, but she wasn't a virgin. However there had been a moment last night when everything had merged. They had . . . melded. She had honestly not known where she ended and he began. It wasn't just her, she had looked up into eyes as wide and stunned as hers. She felt warm again just remembering that. It was something she would always remember.
Scully mentally shook herself after almost running a red light. She'd see him in a couple of hours. She eased up on the accelerator. No need to prolong the separation by being stopped for speeding either.
Having to act normally, keep her distance in the office, would be . . . stimulating.
At home, she tossed her purse on the couch and was unbuttoning her blouse as she headed toward her bedroom when the voice stopped her.
"I trust you slept well Agent Scully."
She froze for an instant and the blood left her face. How? How had he gotten inside? She had thought he was gone. They hadn't seen him since . . . since she had almost destroyed her relationship with Mulder.
"How did you get in here?"
Spender took a drag on his cigarette, "No pleasantries Agent Scully? Even after our nice trip to the country?"
"Get out of here."
"I thought we understood each other - "
"You lied to me and used me. It didn't work, he forgave me."
The older man shook his head, "I wasn't trying to interfere in your relationship with Agent Mulder. I needed that CD."
"It was blank." She cursed herself for responding. She wanted no conversation with this man.
He looked at her, then inclined his head slightly.
"Get out." She moved toward the door to open it.
"I came here to warn you."
She looked disgusted when she faced him. "I don't want your warnings, your help or your advice. Just go."
"'They' know what?" She hated herself for asking, but she had to know.
"They know you were with Agent Mulder last night." He watched as her face burned bright red with a mixture of fury and embarrassment.
"Get out." She barely managed to make the words audible through her clenched teeth.
"They also know you're pregnant."
She blinked, that statement stunning her into silence for an instant.
"You're crazy. I'm not . . . I can't . . . "
He smiled, seemingly compassionately, at her. "You are. Only a few hours obviously, but never the less, it is true."
She stared at him then, unable to move. Finally she took a step toward him. "Even if it were true, how would anyone know?"
"The chip." He said easily, taking another draw on his cigarette.
Her hand went to her neck involuntarily.
"It wasn't supposed to happen." He continued, "Mulder was not to have children."
She shook her head, as much to avoid him as to say no. "Go away."
"I told you, I'm here to warn you. They don't want this baby to be born and they're going to be very unhappy with Mulder."
"With . . . with Mulder?"
"They're going to get rid of him this time. I'm not sure I can protect him once they all know."
"Yes." He tapped an ash into her plant. "They will kill Mulder over this unless you get rid of the child."
Her hand went to her stomach, instinctively protecting the few cells that might turn into her child, Mulder's child.
Spender noted it and she saw the slight smile on his face. She stood up straighter, letting her hand fall back to her side.
"You do want it." Her eyes narrowed at his words. "Forgive a grandfather's indulgence."
She ignored that. "I've asked you to leave."
"I want to help you. If you leave, disappear, I believe I can keep him safe."
"Safe? How? How if they already know?"
He shrugged. "I have some friends. Not all of them know, yet. If you're gone, they won't have to find out."
"Disappear. You want me to just leave, without a word to anyone?"
"Yes. Or I can help you make arrangements to get rid of the child."
She backed up then. "Why should I believe a word out of your mouth?"
"Okay, fair enough." He nodded at her, still so serene she wanted to scratch his eyes out. "Go away for a few weeks. You're a doctor; you know how soon you can confirm a pregnancy. If I'm lying, come back, apologize. I'm sure all would be forgiven . . . again."
He waited but she didn't speak. She had gone inside of herself. He nodded slightly and moved toward her.
That startled her and she stepped back. "Here." He withdrew an envelope from his inside coat pocket. "You won't want to use your credit cards."
"I didn't say I was going - "
"Then use it for the procedure, or start a college fund from a loving grand - "
"Stop! Get out of here." Her voice rose, bordering on hysteria now.
He dropped the envelope on the couch and moved to the door. "You need to decide Dana, save my son or try to save my grandchild. You have a number where you can always reach me."
She looked at him puzzled.
"In the envelope. Call me, I have . . . connections. Dana, you do understand, you can't be with him either way. They wouldn't allow any more slip-ups."
She said nothing, so he let himself out.
She heard the door close, but she couldn't move. She stood for uncounted minutes before the sound of a door closing down the hall brought her back to the present.
She looked around wildly for a second. He was gone, the white envelope stood in stark contrast to the darker blue stripe of her couch. They would kill him; they would kill Mulder, because of her. She believed that much anyway.
She jerked toward the bedroom and pulled her large suitcase from the closet. She packed her clothes quickly after so much practice, then moved to the bathroom and packed a second bag.
Back in the bedroom she dug under her remaining underwear and pulled out the envelope Frohike had given her a while ago. At the last moment, she took the picture of Mulder she kept in her bedside table. It was framed, but she had never displayed it. He was unaware of it, another gift from Frohike. Then she removed the small gold cross from around her neck and left it on her dresser.
She carried the bags to her car, then returned for a few last minute items. Would she ever see this place again? She took her cell phone from her purse and set it in the charger, and after a moment's hesitation, stuffed the thick envelope in its place in her purse.
She didn't realize there were tears running down her face.
She drove to a coffee shop not far from her apartment and entered. It was busy this time of day, busier than she had thought it would be until she realized they were all just going to work. It was the time she would normally . . . No, there was no normal, not for a little while anyway.
She moved to the back of the shop, near the bathrooms and found the pay phone. She dropped some coins into the slot and dialed a number. She closed her eyes, hoping that Frohike would answer. She couldn't talk to the others.
For once her luck held. "Lone Gunmen."
"Frohike, don't say my name."
"Okay. What can I do for you?" He sat up in the chair. Her tone was wrong.
"Can you meet me? Alone?"
She didn't want to stay here and it was too early for the tourist places. "The package store where you buy your bourbon."
"Now. As soon as you can get there."
"I'm on my way." He hung up the phone. Something was wrong, monumentally wrong, and for whatever reason, she didn't want Byers or Langly to know. That bothered him badly.
He only beat her there by a few minutes. She looked terrible. He took her arm and led her to the back of the store. "What's wrong? Is it Mulder? Is he hurt?"
"I have to . . . I have to leave town. I'm, I'm going to use the ID you made me."
"Katherine Hale?" He blinked at her.
She nodded. "Mulder doesn't know about that ID, does he?"
He shook his head. "No one does."
"You're sure." She demanded, her voice shaking.
"Yes. Dana, what is this about?"
"Don't tell him. He can't find me. You can't tell him you've talked to me."
"I don't understand." He had hold of both of her arms. "What happened? Did Mulder hurt you?"
"N-no. Please, don't track me. I know you can, but please. I have to disappear. You're the only one who knows about Katherine Hale. Don't . . . please don't tell anyone."
"Dana, tell me what's happened. You can't go off like this. You're not yourself. Come home with me, let us look after you for a little while, at least until you can calm down."
"Will you keep my secret?" Her eyes were desperate. "I have to go away. They'll . . . he would never be safe." Frohike was even more shaken now that he'd talked to her.
"Who? Who wouldn't be safe?"
She just looked at him, tears forming in her eyes. She didn't respond.
"Where are you going?"
She shook her head. "I . . . I may not be gone long."
He tried to look into her eyes, but she avoided him. "You don't believe that."
She closed her eyes then, "Promise me you won't track me. You won't tell . . . anyone where I am."
"I . . . I won't tell anyone, but I will track you."
"Melvin - "
"You might need me."
She didn't smile. This little man cared for her and he had a point. Someone should know, just in case. "You promise, just between us."
He nodded solemnly. "What do you need?"
"References. You made Katherine a physician's assistant. That works well. I'll go somewhere they need a doctor, but don't have enough access. Maybe they'll need me enough not to check too deeply."
"You have some place in mind." It wasn't a question.
Reluctantly she nodded.
"Tell me." He said it gently, but he was serious.
She hesitated a long time, but he waited. She wasn't leaving until he knew something. Finally she gave in to his patience. "Remember Albert Holstein?" He nodded, "Their reservation needed doctors. He . . . no one would look for me there."
"Dana, what happened?"
She shook her head. "I have to go. How can I get the references from you?"
"I'll set up an email just for you." He scribbled an address on a receipt from his pocket, and handed it to her. "Send me a one-liner, 'ready' and you'll have them."
"Tha. . . thank you."
"I want to do more."
She shook her head then, unable to speak and hurried out the door. He started to call out after her, but didn't want to call attention to either of them. This was bad.
She drove to Richmond, unwilling to take a flight out of D.C. She was too easy to trace and Mulder was an expert. She flew to Chicago, then left the airport. A taxi took her to a motel so like the ones she had frequented with him. She purchased some things from a nearby drug store and returned to the room.
For the first time she was glad to have been too busy to schedule a haircut. Now, dyed blonde and styled differently, she felt more secure. She needed to buy a used car, that way she could be more mobile, not at the mercy of an airline's schedule.
She stopped suddenly in the middle of the room. Why did she believe this? Spender had lied so many times to them over the years. Why should she trust him now? Why should she believe his word that she was pregnant?
Scully looked at the pregnancy test she'd bought. Too early, much too early, but she hadn't been able to leave the drug store without it. In a few days . . .
Now for the chip. She couldn't remove it. It had never been scientifically proven that it had anything to do with her remission from cancer, but Mulder believed it. Therefore she did as well. Would anything block the signal? If only it were kryptonite. She actually smiled for an instant. Lead? She would have no way of knowing, but why not try it.
She returned to the store and wandered around. What had lead in it? Then she spotted the small bags at the film display. Lead lined sacks for protecting film from airport x-rays. What the hell. She grabbed it up and a pair of wire cutters. At least it was something to try.
She pulled up to the house. She was completely exhausted, physically and emotionally. It had taken her nearly three weeks to get here after she had left Chicago. She still wasn't showing, wouldn't be for a while. No one could tell . . . at five weeks she was mostly just exhausted. The route she'd taken probably couldn't be duplicated, even by her. There was no way to know if the small sliver of lead she wore under the bandage on her neck was helping, but it was all she had.
She took a deep breath and opened the car door. The heat slammed her in the face and seemed to take what little energy she had left. The door to the house opened and a Native American man walked toward her. She recognized Albert's son, Tomas.
"Agent Scully. You are welcome."
"You . . . did you know I was coming?"
He smiled slightly, "My father told me you were on your way. He said to tell you, 'the desert and the rocks will protect you'."
Tears came to her eyes as she nodded. He took her arm and led her into the relative coolness of his home. "This is my wife, Naomi." A Native American woman with a broad face and laughing eyes brushed her long braid over her shoulder to her back.
Scully gave the taller woman a tentative smile. Naomi came over to her as she dried her hands on a dishtowel. "I'm glad you're here safe." She took Dana into her arms and held her. That was all it took, Scully broke down in her arms, sobbing.
Naomi just held her, patting her back and humming to her. When Scully began regaining her composure, she started to apologize. "It was what you needed, Dana. Don't think of it again. Your room is ready. Come with me." Keeping her arm around Scully, she led her back to a familiar room. This was where she had tended Mulder when he was recovering from his drugging and her gunshot wound.
As she was looking around, remembering, Tomas joined them carrying her bags.
"Dinner's not going to be ready for a while. Why don't you lie down. I'll come get you."
Naomi gave her shoulder another squeeze and let herself out of the room. Scully turned to look at the bed again. She could see Mulder lying there.
She turned away and found the bathroom, then returned to the room quietly.
Finally she sat on the bed and toed off her shoes. She hadn't slept, really slept in days and didn't expect to now. Finally she lay back and rested her head on the pillow, her hand on her stomach. She was asleep before her eyes closed fully.
Mulder woke slowly and stretched sore muscles. Then he smiled. It had been real, it had happened. Scully had come to his bed, she had allowed him to love her. He pulled her pillow toward him and breathed in her scent again. He almost laughed at himself, he felt like a kid at Christmas.
He hurried through his shower and dressing. Part of him wanted to call her, just to hear her voice again, but he held off. They'd be together shortly. Another smile took over his face, 'together'.
He stopped for coffee and bought her one of those sinful cinnamon buns she craved but refused to indulge in. They'd worked off enough calories last night to justify it. The woman behind the counter returned his smile and after he turned away nodded to herself. Well, he was in a good mood this morning and she had a pretty good idea why.
Scully wasn't there when he arrived, so he placed his morning offering on the small table she used. He would get her that desk. Battleship wasn't all they could play on a larger surface.
He booted up his computer and started reading his email. His glances at his watch became more frequent. Scully was never late, that was his thing. But where was she? He finally gave in and dialed her apartment. Her machine picked up, and while the sound of her voice soothed him a little as always, he needed more. When he got voice mail on her cell, he felt the first frisson of unease. She didn't turn off her cell.
He forced himself to wait another fifteen minutes, then called up to Skinner's office. "Kim? Mulder. Is Scully up there?" He hoped he sounded casual.
"I haven't seen her, Agent Mulder. She didn't have an appointment."
"Yeah, thought she might have called or . . . "
"AD Skinner is in his regular staff meeting. He hasn't gotten any calls."
"Okay. I'll talk to you later."
"Is everything all right?" Kim's voice now held a note of concern. Shit, he hadn't meant to set off any alarms.
"Yeah, everything's fine. Thanks." He hung up, now having to face the truth. Something wasn't 'fine' and he needed to know what. Was she avoiding him? She hadn't seemed upset when she left; kissing him and saying she'd see him at work. Had she changed her mind? Had something caused her to rethink what had happened? To hell with this. He slipped on his suit coat and after glancing at the cooling coffee and bun, retraced his steps to the garage.
He'd taken her regular route home, but hadn't spotted her. Her car was gone. Still he hurried to her apartment, letting himself in with little effort.
He stopped just inside the door, something was . . . wrong. He sniffed the air and stiffened. Smoke, cigarette smoke. No! That SOB hadn't talked her into leaving with him again. No! They'd talked about that, she knew better. "Scully?"
She didn't answer, the place was empty. He spotted her cell phone in the charger by her desktop computer. That frightened him on a level he couldn't define. She never forgot things like that, not when she left on her own. Had he, had Spender taken her? He entered her bedroom, way past uneasy now. The bed was made, but indented. He opened the closet. Her large suitcase was missing as well as her overnight bag. He ducked into the bathroom. When they traveled she always carried those small sample size bottles of shampoo and stuff. Now as he looked around, he saw that her full size bottles were gone. He hurried back to the bedroom and jerked open some drawers. They were nearly empty. She had packed as though . . . as though she was going to be gone for a long time.
He sank onto the foot of her bed, unable to formulate a coherent thought. This room had always soothed him; he'd snuck in here often when she wasn't paying attention. Now he felt cold. He glanced back at her dresser and caught the small gleam of the chain. He rose again and stood over it. Her cross. She had removed it, left it. For him? Or because the sin she had committed was too large.
He found it in his hand, unable to resist. Where was she? And why had she left? She had enjoyed last night. Had it been so long that he couldn't tell if a woman was faking it? No, not Scully. She wouldn't do that. So where the fuck was she?
He jerked violently when his cell phone rang in his pocket. He yanked it out, "Scully?"
"No. What's going on?" Skinner's voice boomed through the phone.
"Is Agent Scully in trouble?"
"I, uh, she didn't come to work this morning. I decided to check on her."
"Where are you now?"
"She's not here. Her luggage is missing, all of it."
There was silence for a moment. "She packed. Do you think she left on her own?"
"I don't know. I think . . . I think Spender was here."
"Spender?" Skinner muttered an oath. "What do you want to do?"
Mulder's eyes closed for an instant in relief. "Her car's missing. We need to track it, put a trace on her credit cards."
"We'll have to list her as missing. It's not been twenty-four hours."
"If you're planning to go by the book with Spender involved - "
"No, you're right. Get back down here. I'll have everything in place." Skinner broke the connection.
"Mulder, get up here." Skinner's voice sounded in his ear. He dropped the receiver back in the cradle and took off up the stairs. Word? Finally? God, it had to be. None of his leads had panned out. This had been the longest three weeks of his life.
Spender was no where to be found. He's checked every rat hole personally. He'd called in favors, smoozed with air line reservationists, and managed not to slug any of his fellow employees who watched him every time he stuck his head out of his basement. That last was getting harder to do.
There was no evidence that she was injured. She had made her own way to Richmond.
That had taken time to discover, but she had been alone as far as anyone knew. Her car had yielded no evidence that anyone had been with her.
But she hadn't contacted him.
That scared him the most. No contact. If she were able . . . No, he couldn't go there. That fear was coming very close to shutting him down and he couldn't afford not to be on top of his form. No investigation was more important.
The door was open and Kim waved him on inside. She looked at him closely as he hurried past. The man looked like hell. He hadn't shaved again this morning and she thought maybe he had slept in his suit, if he had slept. He pushed the door closed behind him. "Sir?"
"I just received an email from Scully."
Mulder moved around the desk. Skinner kept quiet, allowing him to read the message over his shoulder.
"Assistant Director Skinner - I apologize for the delay in sending this email, but I am tendering my resignation, for personal reasons, from the Bureau. My resignation is effective immediately. A hard copy, with my signature, is being sent overnight to you. I have given my decision a great deal of thought and it is final.
Please tell Agent Mulder that we both made mistakes and I do not blame him for anything in our partnership.
Also in the envelope is a money order. Please give it to my mother when she returns and ask her to have my furniture and personal items placed in storage.
I thank you for your leadership and support during my tenure at the FBI.
Sincerely - Dana Scully"
Mulder swallowed hard, his breathing seemed harsh suddenly. "Did you," he swallowed again; "Did you reply?"
Skinner nodded. "It bounced back. I'm forwarding it you. Do you think it's really her?" But Mulder had turned and was leaving his office. "Mulder?" There was no response.
Mulder headed for the basement. He stopped just inside the door and looked around. He wasn't seeing the office; he was seeing her, remembering her as she moved around their space. This was where they argued over cases, over theories - his wild ones, her scientific ones. Where he'd fallen in love with her.
The email, it had sounded like her. Was he missing a clue? It didn't feel like it. It felt like the ultimate rejection. 'I do not blame him for anything in our partnership'. Partnership, not relationship. Wasn't that magnanimous of her.
What a fool. What a god-damn fool he was. He'd kept after her until he'd gotten her. He laughed out loud. Even to his ears he sounded insane. He forced his mouth closed, then shut and locked the door.
He looked like shit when he got to the Gunmen's door. "Mulder? What? Did you hear from her?" Byers opened the door wider, drawing him inside.
"Skinner got an email from her today, resigning. I forwarded it to your computer. The address is gone now. I need you to trace it."
Byers nodded and led him to the computer when Langly sat. "Show me what you got, Mulder." Langly cracked his knuckles.
Mulder handed him the printout of the email Skinner had received as well. He had it memorized anyway.
A little while later, Langly leaned back, obviously frustrated.
"Well?" Mulder demanded.
"We taught her well. It's amateurish, but it's been bounced around a lot."
"Amateurish? Not Spender?"
Langly looked over at Byers, then back at Mulder. "Uh, I don't think so. He wouldn't need to do this with what he has at his disposal."
Mulder looked around, searching for something to hold on to. He had hoped that they would find something to cause him to rethink his intuition. He hadn't gotten it. She had left him, she had thought about what had happened between them and decided to get away from him. That didn't explain the cigarette smoke in her apartment. He'd automatically assumed it was Spender, but could she have smoked as she contemplated her decision? God, what had she been thinking?
He turned then and left their apartment without another word. It was over; she was gone, apparently of her own free will. He should be surprised it had taken her this long to leave him.
Mulder threw himself into his new assignments. His theories were as out there as before, but no one dared refer to him as 'Spooky' any more. He was too willing to dive into the filth of the cases he had tried so hard to avoid before.
His instincts were honed; he asked questions he never had before. She had taught him well and he used that to keep others away. No one had to question his 'science' any longer because he played on their field now. The more depraved the mind, the quicker he dug in.
The problem was the chances he was willing to take. There was talk about a death wish. No one heard a word out of his mouth that didn't concern the case he was working. Only once had Scully been mentioned. The mistake had not been repeated.
"You listen to me and you listen good." Skinner growled at him. "I don't know what happened between you and Scully." The look Mulder shot him felt like an ice spear, but he continued. He couldn't let this go on; not this time, it had been too close. "But you report to me, that makes you my responsibility. I'm not going to let you commit suicide on my watch. If you stay on this path, when you're released, I will nail you to a desk so hard that you'll need to be catheterized. Don't test me. I'll do it. You came too close this time." Skinner set the IV bag connected to Mulder's arm swinging.
Mulder only looked up at the ceiling.
Byers and Langly entered the room, followed by Frohike. They had heard Skinner, but he wasn't through. "You've been reckless; you've put yourself in danger and because of that, other agents as well. I should have you committed to a psych ward, but for now I'm going to put you on administrative leave." He turned to Mulder's friends, "You keep an eye on him."
Skinner left the room, shaking his head.
"Mulder, what was that about?" Byers moved closer to the hospital bed.
"Nothing." Mulder moved to sit up and Byers' hand reached out to stop him. "I'm leaving."
"The hell you are." Frohike spoke up then, moving to the other side of the bed. "You were shot, twice. You'll be here for a couple more days anyway."
Mulder looked over at him impassively, "Why?"
"Hey man," Langly spoke up, "was Skinner kidding? Are you trying to commit suicide by cop?"
"I just want to go home." He wouldn't meet the blonde's eyes.
"You can't." Byers said firmly. "You're not well enough to leave. Mulder, give it a little longer. You don't want to hurt yourself permanently."
Mulder looked at him for a long moment and finally shrugged slightly. His three friends exchanged looks then.
"Do you want to hurt yourself?" Frohike asked the question out loud finally.
"Does it matter?"
"Yes, Mulder. It does to us." Byers responded immediately.
"Thanks. Listen, don't worry about me. I appreciate you stopping by. I'm doing fine."
"Are you planning to leave?" Frohike wouldn't back down.
"No, not right now. I guess I'll get a little rest." He reclined the bed back to flat.
"We can stay - " Byers started, but Mulder shook his head.
"We want you to call us when they release you. We'll give you a ride home; make sure you have whatever supplies you need."
Mulder opened his mouth, but then just nodded looking only at the ceiling. After exchanging yet another look, the three men moved toward the door. Frohike touched Mulder's arm, then followed Byers out of the room.
They waited at the elevator. "I didn't realize he was that bad." Byers spoke to no one in particular.
"That's because we never see him. He's been avoiding us for weeks." Frohike shook his head.
"He's rudderless since Scully left. I've never understood what happened." Langly glanced back toward Mulder's room.
Byers nodded, "Something happened between those two. Maybe if he'd talk about it . . . "
"I don't think he can." Frohike stepped onto the elevator.
It was late, nearly midnight when he heard the knock on the door. "I don't want any."
"Good, cause I'm not selling any." Frohike responded.
Mulder sighed, but knew the little man wouldn't leave. He levered himself up from the couch painfully and, using the cane, made his slow way to the door. He opened it and let Frohike inside.
"I'm not able to get around too quickly." Mulder offered.
"Yeah, that's why we suggested that you stay in the damn hospital. How long after we left did you bolt?"
Mulder shrugged, then winced. Frohike took his arm and helped him back to the couch.
"Why are you out here on the couch? You've got that bed now."
Mulder shook his head, "I don't sleep in there anymore."
"What do you mean?" Mulder turned his attention back to the television.
"What happened between you and Sc - "
Mulder's eyes were hard when he immediately turned back to Frohike. "Don't."
"She called me."
Mulder went rigid, then grimaced, hissing at the pain. "When?" His voice was harsh, painful.
"That morning. The morning she left."
Mulder's eyes narrowed and Frohike fought the urge to back away from him. He knew he needed to keep talking or the man would rip his heart out, injuries or not.
"I met her. She wanted to talk to me."
Mulder didn't speak, but Frohike felt sweat bead on his forehead. He knew his life was in the balance here. "She was scared. I'd never seen her like that. She . . . she needed my help."
Frohike swallowed and wished he were seated, but didn't want to move that close to the man. "I gave her a present last Christmas. It was kind of a joke." He sighed, "I gave her a set of fake ID."
Mulder gaped at him.
"It was for fun, but she took them, gave me a little bit of a hard time." Frohike shrugged.
Mulder's eyes widened.
Frohike nodded, "To go with George. She wanted to plead with me not to trace her. She knew once I found out she was gone, I'd remember."
"And she didn't want me to find her." Mulder spoke flatly.
"Mulder, it wasn't like that. I don't remember her exact words, something about 'he wouldn't be safe'. She was talking about you, man. I don't know what happened, but something freaked her out. She was completely terrified. I'd never seen her like that. I gotta tell you, she scared me too."
"'He wouldn't be safe'. Are you sure that's what she said?"
"Yeah, I asked her about it."
Mulder searched the older man's face for a long moment. "Where did she go?" He was already struggling up from the couch.
Frohike moved closer then, his hand on Mulder's shoulder forestalling the injured man's movements. "I don't know."
"Frohike." Mulder's eyes were narrowed, hard.
"I swear. I was able to track her to Chicago, but she slipped off my radar there. I sent her some things she requested - "
"What things." He broke in harshly.
"Faked references, work papers. After that everything I sent bounced back. There's been nothing - no credit applied for, no travel . . . " He ran down, watching the pain his new information was causing his friend.
"Mulder, listen to me, she was trying to protect you. She . . . " The look on Mulder's face stopped him. "Let me try some more places. You need some time to heal. I won't keep anything else from you, but you can't go off looking for her. Not now."
"What kind of job?" Mulder ignored the rest.
Frohike sighed, "Physician's assistant. Not a full doctor." He did take the seat beside Mulder finally. How was he going to be able to keep the man here now?
"Kat, I'm going home now. Do you want me to lock up?"
"Thanks Greg, yes please. I'll be here for a little while."
"You should go on home yourself." The nurse scolded her mildly. "You've already put in more than a full day, again."
She flushed, but didn't try to deny it. "I won't be long. If I don't finish this tonight, I'll just have to face it in the morning."
He couldn't dispute that. "Okay, I'm locking you in. Not late, promise me. If you don't look after yourself, I'll have to."
"I promise. Tell Pilar good night for me."
The young man gave her a nod though he did shake his finger at her, then left her office. She heard the dead bolt turn on the back door, then returned to her paperwork.
A few minutes later her eyes wandered back to the door. She could see him, framed in the door, so tall and strong and beloved. If only.
Then he moved. "Scully?"
She jerked, eyes wide in disbelief. For an instant he had the impression of someone waking.
"Mulder, Mulder, no. You can't - "
"I thought we needed to talk." He interrupted her, his voice hard, harsh.
"You can't be here, Mulder. Please, go home. We can't . . . "
"Can't what, Scully? Be together? You've made that abundantly clear. I just want to know one thing." He finally moved into the room. It barely registered to her that he was limping. "What did I do wrong?"
Tears blurred her vision, but she dashed them away when he more collapsed than sat in the chair across from her desk. His face was tight with pain.
"Mulder!" She was on her feet then, rounding the desk to get to him. She was seeing him for the first time now - not her fantasy of the man she loved, but him, now. He was gaunt, his face had deep lines in it and there was more than a sprinkle of gray at his temples. She remembered the limp then and knelt beside him. "He said you'd be safe."
His hand grasped her wrist in a painful grip. "Who? Who said I'd be safe?"
She looked at his hand around her arm. She couldn't face him. "Spender." It was less than a whisper.
His grip tightened. "And you believed him? Again?"
"You're hurting me."
He released her instantly and turned away, looking down at his hands. He went silent.
"I'm sorry. I thought . . . " She closed her mouth when he shook his head, not looking up from his hands.
After a long moment, she helped herself up, holding onto her desk. She was staggered by this, by his pain.
She didn't realize he had looked up and was watching her. He had focused on her body. She watched a shaking hand come out as though to touch the soft swell of her abdomen. He would see her breasts were bigger. She closed her eyes for an instant. Of course he would notice, but would he ask?
"We need to talk. Come on; I live near here."
He seemed to nod and after a moment started struggling to his feet. She reached to help him and he pulled away. It felt like a slap. He didn't notice, just turned toward the door.
She watched as he retrieved a cane from down the hall but didn't comment. It would have to wait. When they arrived at the door she found that it was still dead bolted.
"How did you get in?"
"I was here earlier. I waited until everyone left." He said simply.
She merely opened the door. "Where's your car?"
"A couple of blocks down." His voice was flat. "Yours?"
"I've been walking to work. It's close." She turned toward her home and started walking. For a change his steps didn't outpace hers but she could see that he wasn't prepared for the drop in temperature in the desert. He was beginning to shiver. The problem was she couldn't tell if it was the coolness of the night or the strain of the walk.
He didn't have his hand on her back.
Half way down the second block, she turned into a driveway.
"Here? You live here?" He stopped despite his growing discomfort.
He gestured toward the car parked in front of her house. "That's mine."
She looked up at him. Coincidence? No, not with them. She moved on to the door and pulled out her keys. He followed more slowly. When he entered the house she knew he was on the verge of collapse.
"Here. Sit here." She motioned toward the couch. When he swayed, she moved to his side and though he protested, helped him to the couch. She pulled the afghan down and placed it around his shoulders. He looked like he wanted to argue, but didn't have the energy.
"I'm going to make some dinner. Why don't you rest for a few minutes? You can use my room."
"No thanks. I know I'm not welcome in your bed." He closed his eyes then, letting his head fall back to rest on the couch. He couldn't look at her, couldn't face the look in her eyes.
She heated up some of the soup that she had made over the weekend. When she looked back into the room, she realized he had drifted off, at the end of his rope. The lines in his face had not eased out.
She picked up the phone and moved to the bedroom in order not to disturb him. Frohike's card was where she had hidden it. She dialed quickly. "It's late." The voice snapped, not happy to be awakened.
"Scu - " There was a long pause. "Katherine?"
"Yes." She was surprised at the tears that formed in her eyes.
"Are you okay?"
"How did he know where to find me?"
"He's there? How the hell - "
"What did you tell him?"
Another long pause, then "Not where you were. Just the name. I had to tell him something."
The heavy sigh disturbed her. "To save his life."
"What happened?" They both heard the quaver in her voice.
"He was shot." He heard her gasp, but she didn't interrupt. "Baldy put him on leave. He said he wasn't going to let him commit suicide on the job."
"S-suicide?" She felt cold.
"That's the word Baldy used. We were there, in the hospital. Baldy was shaken. Our boy has not been . . . okay. Apparently he started taking some real chances at work. Dumb ones. He doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies. This was just the latest and most boneheaded. We didn't know how bad he was. He's been avoiding us lately, hell, he's been avoiding everyone."
"Sc- You know why."
"Because I left." She said flatly.
Frohike was silent then. There was nothing he could say anyway.
"I need to get back to him."
"Is there anything you need?"
"I . . . I'll be in touch." She broke the connection and just stood looking out into the night.
Finally she gathered her courage around her, touching the stone that hung around her neck, a gift from Albert. Scully sat gently beside him on the couch. He looked . . . defeated and lost. He was supposed to be safe with her gone. What the hell had happened?
Gently she touched his arm. "Mulder, dinner is ready."
"Wha - Scully?" His memory returned instantly and he pulled away from her. "I don't need - "
"Please, eat with me, Mulder. I need to eat and I'd like the company." He didn't respond, but she watched him glance back down at her waist and quickly away. Still there were no questions.
His eyes narrowed, but she was already on her feet. She brought the bowls into the living room. He hated it, but he wasn't sure he could make it to the table anyway.
After the first spoonful, he realized how hungry he was and finished the bowl in silence.
He shook his head and set the bowl back on the tray. He lifted the glass of ice tea to his lips then. When he returned it to the tray, he sat back and looked at nothing in particular until she set her own bowl down.
She hesitated a moment, then asked quietly, "How are you feeling?"
"What do you care?" He couldn't keep his anger from his voice.
"Mulder, I never meant - "
His look stopped her. But after a moment, he looked away, "I was shot."
"The one in my hip went through cleanly. The one in my side was worse. They had to go in to get the bullet."
Twice? Frohike hadn't said that. "Mulder, when?"
"Last week, Thursday."
"Last . . . " She seemed to lose her voice at that, she swallowed hard. "What are you doing out of the hospital?"
He shrugged and winced. Her hands twitched to touch him. "It doesn't matter."
"Doesn't matter! You could get an infection, or - "
"I don't really care."
He looked away then. "You never answered me."
"What I did wrong. I never claimed to be some great lover, but that was a new low, even for me - driving you out of town." He forced himself to look at her again, and saw the stricken look on her face. "That was it, wasn't it? You couldn't even bear to face me."
"No." It was only a breath. She seemed to shrink in on herself. All of her plans to send him away, angry if necessary, blown away by his words.
He ached to reach for her even as he wanted to shake her and scream obscenities in her face.
She rose without another word and moved toward the back of the house. He didn't attempt to follow her. In a minute or two he heard the toilet flush and the water run. When she returned, her eyes were red but she'd obviously washed her face and to some extent centered herself.
Scully stood in front of him. "It's not a short story and I'm exhausted. Could we please get into this tomorrow?" She was telling the truth about herself, but she could see he was barely able to function.
He nodded after a moment and levered himself off the couch, ignoring her offer of help.
When he reentered the living room, the tray and dishes were gone and she was seated at one end of the small sofa with her legs tucked under her. She was obviously lost in thought.
Again he fought the wave of desire to hold her against him, but he forced himself to the other end of the sofa and eased himself back down. He'd deliberately left enough room so that they wouldn't brush against one another.
He glanced at her, then away. "May I borrow a blanket?"
"You're not sleeping out here, Mulder. Come on, you can have the bed."
He glanced down at her body again, "You need your rest too."
"I'll be fine. Go on and get ready." She rose and moved out of his way. "Where are your keys?"
"Keys. To the car. I'll get your things."
"You can't - "
"I can. Go on." He remembered that expression, besides it was going to be a struggle to get to the next room. He nodded finally and fished the keys from the front pocket of his jeans.
He was in the bathroom when she returned with his bag. It was light; apparently he only brought a couple of changes of clothes. He had known where to look for her. He'd used Frohike's information well, and of course there was that intuition of his.
She put his bag on a chair in her bedroom. She dug out his medicine and checked the dosage, then shook the pills into her hand and left them on the bedside table. She brought a glass of water in. He wasn't out of the bathroom yet, so she left him alone. She cleaned the kitchen, washing the dishes and putting away the rest of the soup. When she finally checked, he was in her bed and seemed to be asleep already. She didn't test it, just pulled the door nearly closed and retreated to the living room. He hadn't bothered to tell her good night.
She tried to stay away, but she couldn't settle down. Frohike's words kept coming back to her. Suicide. A sound made her turn toward her room.
She stood in the doorway, watching him sleep. He was in a fetal position as though cold, or scared, occasionally he trembled. He shifted slightly and she saw that he had tears running down his face.
Her heart broke at the sight. She had abandoned him. It was his worst fear and she had made it real. She'd made it real after they had finally loved each other. It was the thought she hadn't allowed herself to contemplate. She had left him so abruptly with no thought except to keep him safe. Keep all of them safe.
Finally she turned away and got ready for bed herself. She had planned to sleep on the sofa, but she couldn't now. She wouldn't put more distance between them. She pulled on a nightgown and carefully slipped into the bed beside him.
He didn't wake, but moved closer to her, absorbing her warmth. She knew his reserves were completely depleted. He'd lost over 20 pounds, and he had no business being out of the hospital, much less traveling across country.
She watched him sleep until her eyes closed.
She woke alone in the bed sometime later and sat up. She spotted him seated in the chair by the window. The anger on his face was obvious, even in this poor light, but there was also something else . . . fear?
His eyes narrowed. "Why?" When she only looked confused, he managed to grind out, "Why are you in here?"
"You seemed cold."
His lips parted, but he changed his mind, rising slowly and making his way out of the room. She heard the bathroom door close. A few minutes later she heard him move toward the living room. She rose from the bed and hurried out there.
"Come back to the bed, Mulder."
He shook his head.
"I said I'd sleep out here. I will. I won't bother you, but please take the bed. You need some recovery time. Do this for me, please." She could see him fighting her plea and she kept her distance, not sure what would anger him more.
Finally his shoulders slumped and he nodded. He turned away from her and returned to her bedroom without looking at her.
She did stretch out on the couch and napped some, but didn't really sleep until dawn.
The knock woke her and she hurried to answer it.
"Are you okay? When you weren't at the clinic - " Greg stepped inside, taking her arm.
"Oh Greg, I'm sorry. I overslept, it's - "
"Let go of her."
They both turned to see Mulder in the doorway of her bedroom. His arms were extended, holding his gun steady on Greg.
"What the hell - " Greg let go of her instantly as she stepped in front of him, shielding him with her body.
"Mulder, give me the gun." She held out her hand and moved slowly toward him. "Please, Greg wasn't hurting me."
Mulder's eyes darted to her, then back to Greg.
"Mulder, please." She was in front of him now, close enough to touch him. She placed her hand over the gun and he let her take it from him, then he sagged against the door frame. "Greg, help me."
She pulled Mulder's arm around her shoulder. Greg moved then and half lifted Mulder, supporting him to the bed. Mulder's eyes closed after giving Greg the once over and lay still on the bed. Before Scully could stop him, Greg removed the bandage covering his hip. It was the first time she'd seen the angry, red wound. His eyes widened and he straightened up. "This is a gunshot wound. What the hell is going on here?"
"It's, it's okay, Greg. I can handle - "
"Handle? This needs treatment and you know the rules. We have to report this. It's the law."
She straightened up and tightened the sash of her robe. "Greg, I can't get into this right now, but you need to know it's already been reported. And he was already treated, when he was injured in the line of duty."
"Line of . . . he's a cop?"
"He's in law enforcement. There's no need to report it again. Please, Greg, go on to work. Cover for me."
"You expect me to leave you alone with him? He pulled a gun on us."
"He would never hurt me."
"That's not what I saw. It seemed to be a damn difficult decision. Come on, Kat. You - "
"She'll be all right." Mulder spoke then, from behind closed eyelids. Greg's eyes narrowed.
"He won't hurt me. Please." Scully's hand on Greg's arm drew him toward the door. Mulder's eyes opened then, searching for her. She met his eyes, then tugged Greg out of the room. He allowed her to lead him to the front door, but stopped.
"He's the father." It wasn't really a question. Scully didn't respond, looking at the floor beside him. Greg sighed. "I don't like this. I'm gonna check on you at lunch."
She nodded. "I promise to explain this when I can." She opened the door and waited.
After a long moment, he spoke, "I'm going to hold you to that." He took a deep breath, looking back at the bedroom door before he left. She turned immediately back to her bedroom. She had the impression Mulder had just reclined, but he was watching the door.
"Is that who you're seeing?" He asked in a dull voice.
"No. Greg is a nurse at the clinic. He's happily married with three kids. He's just sometimes overprotective of me."
Mulder's eyes flicked down to her waist, then quickly away. She made no comment on it. "I'm going to make you some breakfast."
"You said we would talk." His hand shot out grabbing her wrist.
"And we will, after you eat. Do not get out of this bed again."
His eyes narrowed, but she merely looked down at his hand, gripping her. His face flushed and he let go of her, looking away.
She took the tray away from the bed. He had eaten his scrambled eggs and toast without protest. He was still drinking his orange juice; she had refused him coffee.
She sat the tray on the dresser and turned to look at him. He slowly put the glass down on her bedside table. He tried to steel himself for whatever she was going to say. She could see his defenses go up.
Instead of returning to the bed, she stood at the dresser. "I . . . first I need to apologize."
He looked confused then, but kept quiet.
"I handled things badly. I . . . I panicked."
"Panicked? That's not your style." He had no inflection in his voice, just stating facts.
"No, it's not." She stopped then. Nothing she could think of to say sounded right.
"This is new."
"What?" She forced herself to look at him.
"Agent Dana Scully at a loss for words. Let me help. You're at my place; you're exhausted and fall asleep on my couch. I lean over you to cover you up and . . . and take my shot. I kiss you. I think you enjoy it and take it farther than I should have. After you think about it - "
"No. No, that is not what happened. Yes, you kissed me and I did enjoy it. It was the right time for us. You did not force me, in case that ever crossed your mind."
He looked away, then back. "It couldn't have been that good for you." The tone was sardonic.
She met his eyes then. "It was the best night of my life."
He blinked, unable to take that in.
"I guess you have no reason to believe that, but it happens to be true. I had every intention of going to my place, showering and meeting you at work."
"So why didn't you?" But his voice was less strained.
Tears formed in her eyes, but she didn't back down. No matter what happened now, he had to know what had caused her to leave. "When I got to my place he was there. Inside the apartment. He was waiting for me. He . . . he told me that he knew we had . . . been together. He said that they . . ." No prelude, just the facts ma'am. A report of an incident. Mulder didn't ask who. The answer was obvious.
"How - "
His face fell. He stared down at his legs, shaking his head.
"He told me they would, would kill you if we . . . "
"Kill me? Why?"
"Because I was pregnant."
He looked up at her, his suspicions confirmed. "It's mine." There was no question in his voice.
Her eyebrow rose even as tears filled her eyes at the look on his face. "I believe the technical term is 'ours'." Her voice shook on the last word.
She thought he might pass out at those words. So there had been a question after all. "H-how?"
"The birds and the bees and the monkey babies?" He didn't smile. After a moment she continued. "He told me 'they' knew, or would soon, and they would kill you for it. He gave me the option of going away to save you or . . . or getting rid of the baby. You aren't supposed to have children, Mulder."
His head flew up then and a look of horror she didn't understand came over his face.
"He, he gave me cash and said he'd try to protect you, but that we couldn't be together even without the baby. Maybe he was lying, but how could I take that chance?"
He forced a nod. "I know how much you wanted a baby."
"Not a baby, Mulder." She stopped there. "That's enough for now. You're exhausted. You had no business coming out here in your condition."
There was more to talk about, so much more, but she was right. He was at the end of his rope. Hearing this had sapped his resolve in ways he hadn't anticipated.
Without a word, he slid down in the bed and turned his back to her. Tears finally slipped from her eyes when she closed them. She let herself out of the bedroom and pulled the door closed.
He rolled over and looked at the door once he heard it close. It was all his fault, like he had always thought. He was the reason for everything that had happened to her from the beginning. He wasn't supposed to have children, him not her. It wasn't only the FBI that had a pool going apparently.
God, what he had done to her life. Why hadn't this latest shooting just killed him? Then he couldn't hurt her anymore. After a long time, he fell asleep.
She grabbed the phone in mid-ring. "Hello?"
"Are you okay?" Greg's voice was concerned. "I shouldn't have left you."
"I'm fine, Greg. Mu-he's asleep. He's too weak to be a danger to me."
"Now you that have the gun, maybe. Is he your ex?"
"No, he . . . it's complicated."
"No shit, Kat."
"Please, just give me a little time."
"How much time? I still think we need to report that gunshot."
"No! Please, Greg. He is the father, but he didn't know. I left before he could find out."
"Is he married?"
"No. We were . . . I can't explain this right now. Please give me some time."
"I don't feel right about this."
"The man you saw this morning is under tremendous stress and he's injured. But what he was doing was protecting me. Don't you see that? He threatened you because you had hold of me. Please, think about it."
There was silence on the other end of the phone as Greg recreated the scene in his head. Finally she heard him sigh. "I'm stopping by on my way home."
"That's fine. How's work?"
"We're holding our own. It's not that bad."
"Call me if you run into anything you can't - "
"Will do. You take care of yourself." He hung up the phone and after a moment so did she.
"That your protector?"
She jumped at the sound of his voice. "I'm sorry. I tried to get the phone before it woke you."
"I was already awake."
She nodded, then an uneasy silence descended between them. Finally she turned to face him, "Would you like some lunch?"
"Have you eaten?"
"Uh, no. I didn't . . . "
"You should be looking after yourself." He scanned her body again. He couldn't seem to stop.
She nodded, "I'll fix us something. You should get off your feet."
He gave a sad sort of chuckle and followed her into the kitchen. He took a seat at the table. That startled her. "I - "
"I'm sorry, Scully."
"What?" She turned to him, confused.
"All those things they did to you, the abductions, the tests, the can-cancer, it was my fault, all of it."
"Not this again. Mulder - "
"They didn't want me to have kids. You said it yourself. Why they didn't take care of it by . . . working on me, I don't know."
Her eyes widened. "You can't take that on. Mulder, it's - "
She'd seen that stubborn set of his jaw before. She sighed, "I don't want to fight about this now. It doesn't matter; I am pregnant despite all of that."
He swallowed hard and his eyes returned to her waist again. "Do you . . . what do you want to do about it?"
"What do you mean, do about it?
He started back at her tone. "I mean, I know you wanted a baby but, but mine?"
He didn't see the slap coming and his ears rang, though he did hear her words as she slammed into her bedroom. "Obtuse son of a bitch . . ." There was more but that's what he heard most clearly.
When he could, he rose to his feet and headed slowly for her room. He tapped but didn't wait for her invitation, fairly sure it wouldn't come. She was sitting on the edge of the bed and didn't acknowledge him.
"I'm . . . I don't know what to say." He fumbled for words at the sight of her.
"Then don't say anything. Just give me a few minutes."
Never one for caution, he continued. "You want to have my baby."
"Why would think that, Mulder? I mean I'm sleeping with so many men, and my social life is just - "
"Don't hit me again, please." He interrupted her and took a seat beside her on the bed. "I was just . . . I didn't . . . hell, Scully I'm still back at we made love one night and you left town. The reason you did it hasn't sunk in yet. To save my life, to save our . . . our child's life is a new concept for me."
"It's not exactly something I'm all that familiar with myself." Her voice wasn't very friendly.
"You . . . Scully, do you care for me?"
Her eyes flashed with fire. "Why would you think that? Maybe I was just looking to get laid - "
"Well how can you ask me that? It's taken me, us, years to get to that point. I thought we were together on our timing, finally."
He sat there speechless. She had thought there was a time when he didn't want her?
She seemed to wilt beside him. Finally he reached out and put his arm around her, pulling her to him. She resisted for a moment, then sighed and let herself lean into him. He closed his eyes, his Adam's apple bobbed in relief.
"What are we going to do?" She finally asked.
"Do we have to do anything right now?"
"No, but . . . Mulder, you can't stay here. It's not safe and you obviously weren't planning to. You only brought a couple of changes of clothes." His stiffness made her look up and she caught his expression before he could hide it.
She pulled away slightly, her mouth dropped open. "You weren't going back, were you? But you brought your gun." It wasn't a question and the outrage on her face frightened him. "Were you going to kill me first, before you shot - "
"No! Scully, I would never - "
"You thought I could live after you'd done something like that?"
"I didn't know what I would find, Scully. I knew Spender had been in your apartment. I didn't - "
"How - "
"I smelled him." He said softly. "How long do you think I could wait that morning to go looking for you?" He felt her relent slightly. "I didn't know what he'd done to you. And I couldn't believe you'd just go off with him again, not after last time. I searched for you . . . until the email to Skinner. Then I had to face that you'd left because of me, because of what I'd done."
"You hadn't done anything, Mulder."
"Obviously not enough." He grimaced.
"You didn't get me pregnant alone."
"Oh god." He closed his eyes for an instant. "You really are pregnant." He reached for her, and hissed as he pulled on his stitches.
"Mulder, you need to lie down."
"I'm okay." He groused, but he allowed her to help him recline. She felt his head for fever. "Don't go doctor on me now, Scully."
"I am a doctor, Mulder. And you feel a little warm."
"Well sure, you're in my arms."
She rolled her eyes, but made no comment. He seemed to be weakening. What little stamina he'd had was gone. "Get some rest, Mulder." She started to rise.
"Do you have to go anywhere?"
"No, I was going to get us some lunch, and get you some aspirin. Why?"
"Rest." She did rise then and left the room, leaving the door open this time. He watched her leave. His emotions were all over the place. She hadn't left him; she'd left to protect him. She hadn't betrayed him with Cancerman. And, and she was carrying his child.
He was quiet when she returned, though his eyes followed her. "Mulder?"
He opened his mouth to speak, but then shook his head. Concern took over her face and she felt his forehead again. "Come on, take this, then I want you to eat and take a nap."
"You too." She blinked at that, but after a moment, nodded. "In here."
"You're not going to throw me out again?"
His face flushed at that. "I was upset."
She cleared her throat, "Eat. I don't want you to take the medicine on an empty stomach."
He was still asleep when she woke. His breathing seemed heavy, but he wasn't restless. She touched his face and with a frown, slipped from the bed. He was warm, too warm. Wasn't there a thermometer in her bathroom?
She found it and rather than wake him, slipped it under his arm. Her eyes widened when she checked it. 102.2, plus a degree.
She gathered up his medication and moved to the kitchen to check it out once more. It was what she would have prescribed. But had he taken it? Obviously not, why would he with what he'd been planning? She shivered at the thought, then squared her shoulders. She didn't know if he had forgiven her, if he could completely forgive her or trust her, but she could treat him.
Immediately she called the clinic. "Greg, I need some help."
"Did he hurt you?" Greg's voice was low, urgent.
"No. He's ill. He's running a fever. I need you to bring me some penicillin. I'm not going to be able to get medicine down him. How busy are you?"
"It's not that bad. Be glad it's not a full moon. I'll run this over now. Anything else?"
"Some cooling pads. I think I have everything else I need here."
"Oh my way." He hung up and she unlocked the front door, then returned to the bedroom.
In just a couple of minutes she heard the tap on her door, then Greg opened it, "Kat?"
She moved to the door and motioned him on in. "Brought you one of the electronic thermometers." He spoke low, "Is he having any problems breathing?"
She prepared the injection, avoiding the question. "Help me roll him."
Greg shifted him slightly and he protested mildly, but didn't wake. He grunted when she injected him, then Greg helped settle him onto his back. Greg was the one who put the thermometer in his ear.
"Kat, he's at 103.1."
"I know." She broke open one of the cooling pads.
"He needs to be in a hospital on IV drugs. You can't keep him - "
"I can look after him here."
Greg took her arms, standing her upright. "You can't. He's sick, Kat. He needs more than you have here."
She shook her head, not backing down.
"I can call Dr. Summerlin and - "
"No." She protested immediately. "There's no reason to get him involved."
"And no need, right? You're no PA, you're a full MD, aren't you?"
"Greg - "
"I know, 'it's complicated'. I've known it for awhile. You obviously have the creds, Kat. Don't worry, I'm not going to say anything. Look, keep him here this afternoon. I'll check back after the clinic closes. If he's still like this, we'll have to make other arrangements."
She stared up at the large man. "Greg, I - "
He shook his head, "You've done a world of good around here. There's a reason you're here and we're benefiting from it." He squeezed her shoulders, then looked back at the man sleeping in the bed. "If anyone can do it, I'm betting on you. Call me."
He let himself out, leaving her beside him. She sank onto the bed beside him, and turned over the cooling pad.
By the time Greg returned, she had to concede he was correct. Mulder needed more. He was too weak; he'd not been interested in healing. At Greg's insistence, they maneuvered him out to his rental car and transported him to the clinic. He was completely non-responsive now and his breathing was definitely labored.
With Greg's help, she got the IVs set up and began oxygen to supplement his breathing. His fever was hovering around 104 now.
She refused to leave his side. Greg finally left her long enough to get her some dinner and report home. She ate at his side.
After three days, he was worse. Greg was ready to drug her to get her some rest. The IVs were still carrying medicine and nourishment into his body, but it wasn't helping.
Naomi opened the door and looked over at the patient. She turned to look behind her and Albert followed her in. Mulder was quiet and pale, his breathing labored, but it was the woman beside him Naomi was more worried about.
Scully looked up and saw the woman that had looked after her when she had first arrived. "N-Naomi, Albert, help him." Her eyes showed her fear. "I can't get his fever down. I'm not sure he's strong enough to be moved."
"When did you last rest?" Naomi took her arm as Albert moved closer to the bed.
"Rest! I can't leave him. I - "
"You need to look after the little one too, Dana."
She shook her head. "I can't leave him."
"He needs you, Dana, but right now you can't reach him. And you've exhausted yourself. We will stay with your Mulder, but you must lie down." Albert pointed to the second bed in the room. "That would be the most help for you both right now."
"You won't leave him?"
"We won't leave either of you. Rest, Dana. It is what you both need." Naomi helped her to recline and covered her with the light blanket. When she turned back to her father-in-law, he was fastening a cord around Mulder's neck. Now a stone that matched Scully's rested on his chest beside her cross.
Scully stirred and sat up. Where was she? She had been at the clinic with Mulder. She'd been resting at Albert's insistence. Now she was parked on the side of the road. The driver's side of the car was empty.
Was she asleep? She couldn't be; she could feel the seatbelt around her. This was a rental car, like the hundreds she'd been in with Mulder. Was he here? She looked around but didn't spot him. Finally she opened the door to the car and got out.
He had to be here; otherwise she would have been in the driver's seat. Had he taken a bathroom break? It was going to get dark soon, where had he gotten to?
She took a few steps from the car and looked around again. She could feel the heat from the ground through her shoes. How the hell had she gotten here? She felt the need, the pull to look for him. She had to find him, but where was he? She found her hand around the stone Albert had given her. For some reason that made her feel more confident.
She headed out into the desert. She'd keep the car in sight, but she had to find him. The feeling was getting stronger - he needed her.
She walked longer than she thought she would, but she couldn't stop. He was out here somewhere. The car was long out of sight before she finally spotted him. He had his back to her. For some reason she didn't call out to him. She continued toward him, but he didn't seem to notice.
Then she saw that he was crying, his shoulders were slumped and tears were making their way down his face. She turned to see what he was looking at and finally saw the others. There was a little girl, walking away from him. She wasn't hurrying, just walking and not looking back. She had long dark hair that flowed down her back.
Behind her and to the right was an older woman with silver hair. She too was just walking away, without a backward glance.
Something made her look over to the left and walking away at a different angle from the other two was a dark haired woman. And there were others, drifting away, leaving him all alone.
Then she saw the slight red-headed woman. She was trailing behind the young girl and the older woman, but she too was leaving him without noticing him standing there. Wait a minute - that looked like her.
She opened her mouth to call out to him, but found she couldn't speak. And she couldn't seem to get closer to him, no matter how fast she walked.
Then it hit her, this was what he saw, the girl - that was Samantha and, and the woman was Teena. Scully turned toward the brunette. That was Diana. She had left him, in a different way, but Diana too had abandoned him.
But she hadn't, at least she hadn't meant to.
He wasn't even trying to go after these women. He looked so . . . so defeated.
No! She was here, she wasn't going to leave him. Not now. If she'd been thinking straight she would never have left in the first place, but she had been so shaken by Spender's words. She looked down and realized she wasn't pregnant.
No, no! She wouldn't allow him to be abandoned by the family he had created. "Mulder!"
Startled, he turned slightly as though he had heard something. She found herself able to move then and quickly closed the distance between them. "Mulder."
He shook his head, "You're not here. You left, just like everyone else. I trusted you, I let myself, I let myself love you. Of course you left."
"I'm back." She said simply. "I was wrong. I should have talked to you."
He looked again at the retreating backs of his sister and his mother. "Why? No one else has."
"No one else has ever loved you like I do." She said simply.
She watched him look down at her body then and realized she was large with his child. He looked at her body for a long moment. She reached out her hand to him and when he wouldn't take it, grasped his fingers.
"We need you."
His eyes had such yearning but he still didn't speak.
"Please, let me earn your trust again." She moved closer and rose on her toes to meet his lips. He didn't close his eyes, watching her kiss him. "Mulder, I want to be with you. Please."
She saw the hope grow in his eyes.
She blinked as she woke, disoriented. Oh, the clinic, Mulder! She looked toward him in the next bed to see Naomi smiling.
"His fever just broke." Naomi said quietly. "I'll get Greg to help me change the linens."
Scully slipped from the adjacent bed and reached for him. His eyes were flickering. "Mulder, can you hear me?" She felt for his hand and he weakly took her fingers in his own.
"Sc . . . "
"Shh. I'm here. I'm right here and I'm not leaving you. We're not leaving you." She brought his hand to her lips.
His eyes locked on hers. She smiled through her tears. He relaxed and closed his eyes
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Donna
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