Title - Sisters Remembered
Author - Donna
Email address - firstname.lastname@example.org URL - http://www.donnas-stories.com/
Rating - R
Category - AU
Spoilers - None
Keywords - AU
Summary - A continuation of the Sisters Remembered Universe Feedback - Please
Archive - Anywhere, just let me know so that I can visit0
Disclaimer - Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunmen and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended
Sisters Remembered - 3
"Hi," he said shyly. "I hope I'm not intruding." He glanced past her to her parents.
"I'm glad you're here." She squeezed his hand. "Please, come meet Mom and Ahab."
Before he could ask any questions, or even refuse, they were moving in that direction. "Mom, Ahab, I'd like you to meet Agent Mulder." Her father's eyes widened slightly at the name.
Mulder stuck his hand out, "I'm very sorry for your loss, Captain Scully, Mrs. Scully."
The older man took his hand in a firm grip. "Thank you. And thank you for keeping Starbuck safe during all of this."
Mulder nodded unsure what to say. Mrs. Scully took his hand then. She opened her mouth; then seemed unable to speak. Her husband put his arm around her. A tall man with ginger hair broke from the group around the priest and hurried over.
Mrs. Scully forced composure and took the man's hand. "Bill, this is Agent Mulder, the man who protected Dana."
"Agent Mulder." He nodded to Mulder; then turned back to Mrs. Scully. "Let's go
back to the house, Mom. You haven't eaten all day."
Mrs. Scully managed a wan smile. "Who's the parent here?"
"He's right, Mom. We should go." Dana looked over at her father for back-up.
Her mother was looking at Mulder. "Would you come back to the house with us, please. There's plenty of food and I'd like for you to be with us."
Startled didn't cover it, but seeing Scully's nod of encouragement, he relaxed slightly. "Thank you. I'd be honored."
Dana smiled then and looked up at her father. "Why don't I ride home with Agent Mulder? It's easier than giving directions." Ahab looked back at the young man and nodded, mostly to himself.
"We'll see you at the house." He took Maggie's arm more firmly then, as Bill took
her other arm and led her to the car. The rest of the family followed, nodding to
"Is your mother okay?" he asked once the family was out of hearing.
"She will be. Today was especially hard. Thank you for coming."
He shrugged. "I wasn't sure . . . "
She squeezed the hand she realized she was holding again. "I need to get her ashes."
After a brief word with Father McCue, they were on their way to the Scully home.
At the house there were other family and friends. Mulder was introduced, then tried to remain in the background, though he kept Scully in his sights. He saw her younger brother, Charlie, pass him headed toward the stairs. He had his younger son in his arms and was trying to get the older one to come along. Dana hurried toward him and looked over at Mulder. He joined them.
"Need any help?" Dana asked the younger man.
"I want to get Sam down for a nap. Will, too, but I'm having a little trouble." He
looked harried and the younger boy was starting to cry.
"I don't need a nap! I'm not a baby," the older one whined.
"Of course you're not," Mulder spoke, causing them all to look at him. "Why don't
you and I go see if there's a game on?"
Will accepted the reprieve instantly, taking Mulder's hand. "Come on. There's a
TV back here." He tugged on the man's hand.
Mulder nodded, winking at Dana. "We'll see you guys later."
Charlie shrugged and took the squirming baby up the stairs. Mulder and Will disappeared into the study.
In less than ten minutes Dana tiptoed into the room to find Will asleep on the couch, his head against Mulder's leg. Dana grinned.
Mulder shrugged. "I told you I was boring," he whispered.
"Hardly. Was there a game?"
"No, he just needed to be quiet for a minute."
"You have many kids?" Her eyebrow went up.
He shook his head, laughing quietly. "I worked with them at Oxford. These two are your younger brother's, right?"
She nodded. "He and Mary were married their freshman year in college. Charlie just got tenure at OSU in English Literature. Mary's up for tenure in Nutrition there now."
"What about Bill?"
"He and Tara have only been married a little over a year, no kids yet. Do you think we can move him?"
Mulder nodded. "He crashed completely." He lifted the boy into his arms and followed Dana out and to the stairs. Charlie met them at the top of the stairs, his
"How'd you do that? And can you teach me?" Charlie grinned and led them to the bedroom. Mulder lay the boy on the bed and he curled up as Charlie draped an afghan over him.
Dana turned as she heard her name called. "See you in a minute." Mulder's eyes followed her out, and Charlie watched him.
"You saved her," Charlie said quietly.
Mulder looked over startled. "I . . . "
"It's been hard on her, losing Missy. She only smiles when she looks at you."
Mulder just blinked at that. Charlie nodded. The younger boy stirred, so Charlie
and Mulder tiptoed out into the hall.
"I just want to thank you. I hadn't seen Missy in years. She never even saw Sam. I tried, but she didn't want to be part of the family. Dana wouldn't quit, she
never gave up on her. Do you have a sister?"
"Wha-uh, yeah, I did."
"Did?" Charlie looked up at him, concerned.
"She went missing a long time ago."
"I'm sorry. I didn't . . . "
Mulder shook his head.
"Does Danes know?"
"Yeah." He didn't offer anything more.
"Well, we better get back downstairs. I'm sure Mom needs us to eat again. She seems to think it's the thing to do."
Mulder managed a small smile then. "She's right on some level. Comfort food and all that.
Charlie nodded. "Anyway, thank you. You're good for Dana." Again Mulder just looked at him. Charlie clapped his shoulder. "Come on."
Dana had saved a place for him at the table by her side. He slipped into it and took the dish she passed him. "Everything okay?"
"Sure. Just getting to know Charlie a little." He smiled then.
She knew he was less than comfortable with this large family group, but the fact that he was willing to be there at all warmed her somehow.
There were several conversations going on. He didn't even try to keep up, not knowing the names or connections; it was enough that she wanted him here. His attention returned when he heard her tell her mother that she was going back to her apartment.
"Dana, are you sure. Why don't you stay here? We'd love to - "
"Mom, I need to go back to my place, and there's just no room. I'll be fine."
The look on Maggie's face showed exactly what she believed about that statement. "Your car isn't even here, Honey. You could . . . "
"I could give her a ride," Mulder heard himself say.
"That would be great." Dana smiled over at him. "See, Mom. It'll be fine."
Her father's hand patted her mother's and he spoke low in her ear. She closed her eyes and allowed his arm to go around her. Mulder saw the tears that formed in Dana's eyes and tentatively touched her hand. Her fingers closed around his though she didn't look at him.
After a few minutes, Mary rose and started clearing the table. Dana helped her; then found Mulder where he was trying to be invisible in the living room.
"Were you serious about giving me a ride?"
"Absolutely." He smiled down at her.
"Thank you. Let me tell the boys bye, and assure Mom and Ahab that I'll see them tomorrow." She squeezed his hand and moved away.
He waited for her by the door and shook Charlie's hand when he walked her out. "Appreciate the help with the kids, Mulder. I hope we see you again soon."
"Thanks, I'd like that." His hand rested on Dana's lower back to walk her to the
car and Charlie noted it looked damn natural. He nodded again and slipped back inside to spend a few minutes with Mary before the kids woke up.
He let her into the car, then got in and pulled away. "I really appreciate the ride,
"You know I don't mind."
"And it gave you a great excuse to leave." Her eyebrow was high as he sputtered a response.
"Okay, you have a lot of family," he conceded. "To get them all at once was a little overwhelming."
"So Will wasn't the only one that needed a little time alone to relax."
He cut his eyes at her but didn't answer. She changed the subject then and they talked of inconsequential things until they were closer to her apartment. He noted she became more and more quiet. When he pulled into a parking space he realized her hands were clasped in her lap and her knuckles were white.
When his hand covered hers she jerked. "Scully?"
She shook her head.
"Have you been back here since . . . "
"I didn't realize. Scully, you shouldn't . . . Let me take you - "
"Mom had the place cleaned. It, it'll be okay."
"Scully, really - " She opened her door and exited. He rushed around the car to meet her.
She stopped and looked up at him. "I have to."
He searched her eyes, then took her arm and walked with her inside. He took her keys from her when she couldn't get them in the lock, but he kept quiet.
He stepped inside first, looking around. The place had been cleaned. There was a faint scent of disinfectant in the air. He allowed her inside and she too looked
around. She didn't seem all that relieved.
"I'm okay," she said, not meeting his eyes.
"Well, I'm convinced." He looked down at her. "Look, it's been a very long day.
Why don't you go change into something more comfortable?"
She looked up at him, her eyebrow high.
"You know what I mean. Go get comfortable."
"I have to pack."
"Pack?" he asked quickly.
"I'm going to San Francisco in the morning to . . . "
He nodded. "I'd forgotten. Are you going alone?"
"Yes. The boys have to get back and, and Mom wasn't that pleased with Missy's cremation. She wanted to bury her here. Ahab and I convinced her that Missy wouldn't be happy in one place for all . . . "
"I think you're right." He squeezed her hand in support. "When is your flight?"
"I fly out at 12:30. I wanted to tell the boys goodbye," she sighed. "Do, do you
have to leave?"
"No. I'll hang around until you throw me out. Go on."
She didn't move. "What if I don't throw you out?"
"You might find the seat up occasionally," he said lightly, not wanting to allow himself any false hopes.
"Small price . . . " She turned then and moved into her bedroom. His mouth had fallen open, but he kept quiet.
He'd been here before of course, but not as a guest. After a couple of minutes, he walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. There was half a bottle of
wine, so he pulled it out and opened a couple of cabinets to find her wine glasses. Maybe she could relax a little. He poured them both some wine.
He turned immediately and raced back into the living room. She had changed into light flannel drawstring pants and a t-shirt with Pebbles Flintstone on the front. He didn't even notice as he saw her pale face and trembling body.
"Scully, I'm here. I'm right here." She threw herself into his arms and they closed around her. "It's okay. It's okay."
"I thought, I thought you'd left."
He brushed her hair back and pressed his lips against her brow. "I told you I'd be
here. I promised."
"I know. I just . . . I'm sorry." She started to pull away, but he didn't release her.
Instead he led her to the couch and seated her in the corner.
"Wait right here." He squeezed her hand and returned to the kitchen. When he returned with the glasses of wine, her face colored beautifully. "Here, take a sip.
Just to relax you."
"You're not trying to get me drunk?"
"Not tonight." He winked at her. "Are you all packed?"
She nodded and took a sip, then looked over at the spot on the floor where she had seen Missy that evening. "I . . . I didn't expect . . . I work with - "
"Scully, this is personal. I'm not sure staying here tonight is a good idea."
"I've been staying over at Mom's since . . . since I got back. This is my apartment, my home. I need to be able to live here. I need to be able to sleep again. I can't . . . "
"Give yourself a break. You've never had to deal with anything like this. Go on,
drink your wine."
She settled in against his side, making herself comfortable. He glanced down at her and saw that her t-shirt had a v-neck and she wasn't wearing . . . He forced himself to look away. He was here to support her, not as a pervert.
"How do you deal with it?" she asked into his chest.
"Sometimes you can't. If the case is about kids, I have problems. But I try to distance myself. It's like you doing an autopsy. You can't let yourself get too
close. It's why you don't work on family or friends."
She nodded and took another sip. He took a drink as well. They sat in silence then. He could feel her relaxing; at least the tension in her shoulders was easing. He took the glass from her hand when it tipped. He smiled down at her as she cuddled in.
"Scully, Baby you should go to bed."
"Right." He grinned. He stood and slipped his arm under her knees and behind her back, then carried her into the bedroom. She hadn't been sleeping, so the wine had hit her harder than he had expected.
He got her tucked in. She burrowed into her pillow, murmuring something about iced tea. He grinned, and slipped out of her room, leaving the door open.
He tidied up the wine and glasses. She seemed to be sleeping well now. Maybe he'd hang out for a little while, make sure she was out for the count. He returned
to the living room and turned the TV on low. It wasn't that late. He could stay
here for an hour or so, then head home.
She had the Sci Fi channel so he tuned into some cheesy monster flick half way through and settled back. He jerked wide awake when he heard her scream and was at her door before he realized he had moved.
She was sitting up in bed, clutching the sheets with white knuckles. Tears streamed down her face.
"Scully, Scully it's okay. It was just a dream. You're safe."
"She was, she was there on the floor. She wanted to know why I let her . . . She
was bleeding and - "
"Don't. It was a dream. Melissa wouldn't blame you. You know that. She knew you loved her."
She shook her head.
"It's true. You were the one that kept in touch; that forced her to remember she
had a family. She came to you - "
"And it got her killed."
He hesitated at that. "But you didn't kill her, Scully. And there was nothing you
could have done differently."
"I can see her, see the blood . . . "
He pulled her against him then. "I know. Does this happen every night?"
She started to pull away, but his arms tightened. "Please - "
"Yes, please. Please let me help you." His fingers under her chin tipped her face
toward him. She tried to evade him. "What?"
"I'm a damn pathologist. I can't even . . . "
"Cut yourself some slack. This is not pathology; this is your life, your family.
When's the last time you slept through the night? Come on, Scully, talk to me."
She slumped against him and murmured something he couldn't understand.
"At your lake house."
He blinked at that. "What, what was different there?"
"Nothing. Don't - "
"Okay, this is gonna sound really arrogant but, was it me?"
"Mulder, you - "
"May I stay here tonight?" he interrupted her gently.
"I can't ask . . . "
"Then just answer. May I stay here?"
She looked down at her hands, but gave the tiniest of nods.
"Thank you." He tilted her head back up toward him again. "Thank you." He settled her back in the bed. "I'll be right back." He kissed her forehead and headed to the bathroom. She watched him until he was out of sight, then she closed her eyes.
He returned shortly, wearing his t-shirt and boxers. "You're on my side." He grinned at her.
"This isn't right. I shouldn't use you like this." She seemed to be studying the far
corner of the room.
"It's time for me to confess something, Scully. I haven't slept through the night
since then either."
She looked up at him startled. He shrugged. "I . . . I have nightmares most nights. It's why I understand what's happening with you. When we were in Quonochontaug, you were there, in my arms."
"You don't have to - "
"Scully, it's the truth."
She finally met his eyes and believed him. She scooted over to make room and he joined her in the bed. "Turn over."
She obeyed him, turning her back to him as he spooned around her. Between the wine and the comfort of his body, she fell asleep quickly.
It was surprisingly easy to get ready around each other the next morning. She made coffee while he showered and he cleaned up while she dressed. It was as though they had lived together for years.
He didn't leave until she did, loading her roll-around into the trunk of her car. She
carefully placed the urn holding Missy's ashes on the floor of the front seat.
"Will you call me when you get there?" he asked softly. "I need to know you made it safely."
She looked surprised, but pleased. "I will. And thank you for . . . "
"I needed a good night's sleep too, Scully. Thank you."
She nodded, her throat suddenly tight, and got in her car. He stood watching as she drove off.
Sisters Remembered - 4
She stood in line waiting to board. It had been tearful at the house. Who knew when she'd see her brothers and their families again, and this particular trip was
already sapping her strength. Thank goodness she'd slept last night. That thought brought color to her cheeks.
"Why are you blushing?" A sexy and familiar voice whispered in her ear.
Her head jerked up to see Mulder leaning over her.
"What, what are you doing here?"
He shrugged, "I haven't been to San Francisco in years. I thought I'd like to see
it again." His face was serious, not a hint of a smile. "Do you mind?"
The tears that formed in her eyes embarrassed her and she looked down.
"Dana, if you don't - "
"Thank you," she barely breathed, and he took her hand, relief leaving him temporarily speechless.
On the plane, he slipped their bags and Missy's ashes into the overhead compartment, then took his seat beside her. She had regained her composure by then. "How did you do this?"
"Being an FBI agent has some perks, and if they think I need to get somewhere for an investigation . . . " He grinned.
She shook her head, but she was smiling for the first time since they'd left her apartment.
"Do you have reservations?" he asked as she buckled her seatbelt.
"Yes, there's a Holiday Inn near the Golden Gate."
"Are you familiar with the city at all?"
"No." She shook her head. "I figured I could get a cab to the beach."
"Is that what you want to do?"
She shook her head again. "I'm really glad you're with me."
He smiled then. "I've been here a couple of times. There's a nice place, not the
most expensive, but classy, the Adante near Union Square. I know this isn't a pleasure trip, but I want you to have some good memories of the city. Your sister
did, if she wanted to be there. I'd like you to see some of what she saw."
Tears formed in her eyes. "I'd like that too. Think we could get in to this place?"
"We're already in," he said softly.
"How many rooms?"
"Uh, well, one. I thought sleeping would be, uh, a good idea while we were out of
"Sleeping." Her eyebrow was rising slightly.
"I, uh, you trust me, don't you?"
"Yes. I trust you." She lay her head on his shoulder and his arm went around her.
He checked them in and let the bellhop lead them to their room. The king sized bed caught her eye, but she didn't mention it. Once they were alone he approached her. She was looking out the window at the activity below. "This is your trip, Dana. What do you want to do?"
"I'm going to feel unfinished until I . . . Are you starving?"
"No. Why don't we head out to the ocean? See what feels right."
She gave him a small grateful smile and picked up the ashes. He drove them to the ocean and they walked out to the end of a pier. There was no fog and he pointed out the constellations to her.
"Mulder, the tide's going out." He nodded. "I want to do this now, she can be free."
"That's a good idea." The wind was pushing out to sea as well. "Do you want to be alone?"
He stood quietly as she opened the container. She bowed her head and murmured something he couldn't hear. Then she tilted the box, letting the breeze catch the ashes and take them away toward the horizon. It didn't take long. When the container was empty, Dana fit the lid back on and finally turned to look up at him.
"Thank you," she said softly.
He shook his head slightly. "Thank you for letting me be here."
She took his hand and allowed him to take the empty container. They walked slowly back to the car. He seated her and moved around the car to let himself in.
"You know, I have an appetite for the first time in days," she said with just a note
"Then we should take care of that."
He drove without hesitation to a smallish restaurant not far from the pier. "The
last time I was here, they had the best seafood I'd ever had. Want to try it?"
She nodded and took his hand when he helped her from the car.
She was under the covers when he came out of the bathroom. They'd slept in the same bed several times now, but instead of getting easier it seemed to be getting harder each time. No pun intended, right?
Okay, she shouldn't be thinking these thoughts; that's not why she'd come to San Francisco. Of course she'd had no idea that she would have company on this trip. He'd been a perfect gentleman since the first moment she'd seen him. She knew she had no worries about . . .
He got under the covers, wearing his boxers and a t-shirt again. He rolled toward
"Um hum." She wouldn't meet his eyes.
"Dana? Listen if this is making you uncom - "
"No." She looked up then. "I'm very glad you're here, but I feel like I'm taking
advantage of you."
"Great minds, Dana. I'm feeling the same way. But I wanted to come here with you; I didn't want you to be alone. I didn't want to be alone."
She met his eyes, and smiled. "You know we are adults. I mean Missy would think we were being insane. I am attracted to you, that's no secret and I'm fairly
confident that you're - "
"Be completely confident. But that's not why I'm here. I have no intention of rushing you. I know that's not what this trip is about."
"True. But you said I should have some good memories of San Francisco to take home with me." She watched his eyes widen as her leg pressed against him. Well, that was pretty confidence building. "I know Missy would approve. In fact,
she'd scold me for not making a move quicker."
"I think I like this sister of yours." He carefully didn't use any past tense and she
She let her hand caress his cheek, noting he had shaved again. Considerate too. She moved closer and let her lips nip at his. He met her with enthusiasm and in a very short time she realized that she was covered with him like a blanket
and it felt good.
"Am I crushing you?" he whispered in her ear as he sucked slowly on her lobe.
"You feel just right."
His smile grew and he ducked his head to continue exploring her. It had been a while since a man had investigated her assets to this extent, but she found she was excited about it rather than embarrassed. Whatever he was doing, it certainly felt right.
Then to her disappointment, he pulled away from her. "Dana, I . . . I don't have
"Like I said, I didn't want to rush anything."
"It's a good thing I'm a doctor." She winked at him and rose from the bed. Barefoot, she padded over to her purse and pulled out a short string of condoms. She looked back to see a wide grin on his face.
What the hell, she touched the hem on her nightgown and saw his breathing change and his eyes dilate. As she'd said, they were adults. She could almost hear Missy urging her on.
She let the nightgown drift over the chair and she returned to the bed. His hand
reached for her and she thought she heard a slight moan when she knelt on the bed over him.
She woke to find him entwined around her. It felt good, damn good. She felt at peace for the first time since . . .
She eased away from him and he followed. "Umm, no."
"I'll be right back." She smiled.
He made a grumbling noise but allowed her to leave the bed. She moved toward the bathroom. She brushed her teeth before returning and slipping back into the bed.
"Not fair." He nuzzled her neck.
"What's not fair?"
"You brushed your teeth. Now I have to get up."
"I'm not complaining." She kissed him.
"Nope, not enough. Keep my side of the bed warm." He padded into the bathroom. She grinned at the sight of his naked butt disappearing into the bathroom.
He returned and moved her body aside with his own. "Do you know what time it is?"
She shook her head. "The sun's up."
"Way up. We've missed the breakfast downstairs."
"Somehow I don't feel terrible about that." She let her hand brush through the hair on his chest.
"Are you saying that there's something you'd rather do than eat breakfast?"
"Well, a couple of things come to mind."
The sun was nearly straight up when they finally left the room. They only had the
one day, but Mulder had a short list of places she had to see. He actually had a
list, written down.
"I know we don't have time for all of this, so pick a couple and we'll save the others for next time."
Next time, she smiled at that. "Okay, what's the list?" She reached for it. "Okay,
I've heard of the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars, and even the wax museum, but the Chinatown Ghost Walking Tour and the Winchester Mystery House?"
He grinned then. "Those last two are just on my wish list. We don't have to - "
"I don't know; they kind of intrigue me."
"Don't lead me on, woman."
"Come on, we can see the Golden Gate any time."
He carried her suitcase to the door of her apartment and followed her inside. He
was watching her for any reaction and she knew it. She stopped and took a deep breath, then turned to look at him.
She nodded. "Yes. But not so wonderful that I might not need some company."
His lips twitched then. "So I'm still needed."
"Needed, yes, that sounds right."
He pulled her against him and gave her little kiss. "Sounds right to me too. I'll
have to set the alarm. I have to run by my place for a quick shower and clothes."
"Okay," she agreed, and took her suitcase toward her bedroom, "And if you wanted to keep a few things here, so you don't have to get up early . . . "
His grin widened. "You know that would be a smart idea. And I'm sure we could work out a reciprocal agreement for my apartment, should the opportunity arise."
She nodded, trying to keep a straight face.
He was looming over her again, and pulled her against him. "I'd like for the opportunity to arise."
"I think it already is." She pressed herself even closer.
"And don't you forget it. Now I have to unpack and let Mom know I'm home."
"We don't want the phone to ring when we're busy, do we?" she whispered in his ear.
"You're a very wise woman." His hands were making her forget what they'd been talking about. When he stepped away, he kept a hand at her waist to help her balance. "Make your phone call."
She nodded, not sure she could speak.
He let himself into his apartment. They still didn't have the SOB. They might be
closer, but he was physically sick from being inside the pervert's head. He wanted to lose himself in Dana's arms, but how could he be around her now? He wasn't even fit company for himself.
He trudged to his phone. She wouldn't be home from work yet. He could leave a message. When the beep sounded, he spoke, trying to sound better than he was. "I'm home, Dana. Just got in. I'm going to clean up and I'll give you a call
He hung up and closed his eyes, then forced himself into the shower. Two or three hours should do it.
When he was dressed again, in his oldest navy sweats and a gray t-shirt, he flopped down on the couch. He flicked on the TV, in no mood to eat.
He sat in a stupor, unaware when the program in front of him changed. The knock on his door finally roused him. He had no idea how long it had been going on before it got his attention. He rose from the couch, his body stiff, annoyed by
the continued knocking.
He jerked the door open, ready to blast the intruder when he saw her standing there.
"I need to ask you a question." Scully looked up at him. He could only blink. "Do
you want to be alone, or do you think I don't want to be with you?"
Without hesitation his arm went around her waist, pulling her to him and crushing
her lips with his own. She was smiling when he let her catch her breath. He reached for the door to close it, but she stepped away.
"Just a minute." She stepped out into the hall.
"Wha - "
She handed him a grocery size brown bag. "I brought dinner." In her other hand was a small brown bag.
"What's that one?" He was smiling.
"This? I didn't know if I'd need a change of clothes."
His eyes widened and he did push the door closed this time. "By all means, I want you to be comfortable."
She dished up the meal, despite his protests that she shouldn't wait on him; he ate with more appetite than he'd had since he'd left her.
When they were finished and she'd put away the leftovers, she turned and leaned against the refrigerator. "You didn't answer my question."
"Do you want to be alone?"
He pulled her to him again, nuzzling her neck. "Never."
"Honestly? I mean that call didn't sound like you. I did just invite myself over and
kind of force my way in."
"It was exactly what I needed. I just didn't know it."
She smiled, and pressed her lips against his shoulder.
She helped him make the bed the next morning. He ribbed her about the meticulous hospital corners that they had completely undone with their lovemaking the night before.
His mood had obviously improved, but she was aware that they hadn't really discussed that message he had left. She could wait, but it was something they needed to explore.
They started for the door, but he stopped suddenly. "I need to get something, just a sec - ". And he headed back for the bedroom. She heard a drawer open and close, then he returned.
"What did you forget? I saw you put on the boxers." She winked at him.
Instead of answering he kissed the tip of her nose. "Come on, we'll be late."
He was out of town again, but due back tomorrow night. She'd talked to him a couple of times from the field. He was profiling, but the calls seemed to lighten
his mood. She had switched shifts so that she could pick him up from the airport.
Also there were some perks to working the 'graveyard' shift in the morgue. There
were usually fewer interruptions, and the tech had a great sense of humor.
It was nearly 4 a.m. when she stepped away from the body to allow Lennie to move the gurney. Pain flashed through her left leg and she had to grab hold of the table to remain upright.
"Dr. Scully? You okay?"
The pain was already dissipating. She looked down to see if she had cut herself with one of the instruments by accident. There was nothing. "I'm . . . I'm fine.
Just a muscle cramp I guess." She shook it off, unable to come up with any other explanation. "Anyone else?"
"Nope. You were in fine form slicing and dicing tonight." Lennie grinned at her.
"I've got this. Go ahead and get dressed."
"Thanks." She let herself into the locker room and took a quick shower. She'd take a more leisurely bath before Mulder came in. She could only hope he hadn't sunk too far in, or that they had caught the monster.
She was running a comb through her hair when her new cell phone rang. She grabbed it, nervous suddenly. Who would call before six in the morning? "Hello?"
"Yes, I'm trying to locate a Dr. Dana Scully."
"This is Dr. Scully."
"I'm Walter Skinner. I'm an Assistant Director at the FBI. Dr. Scully, I apologize
for calling so early. Are you a friend of Fox Mulder?"
She had caught hold of the locker at his introduction. Now she lowered herself onto a bench. "Is he all right?"
"He was injured earlier this morning, during an arrest. He's been transported to a
hospital and he's in surgery."
"Medical College in Philadelphia on Henry Avenue."
"What's his condition?" She was yanking on her coat and checking her pockets for keys.
"The, uh, the bullet nicked an artery in his thigh."
She closed her eyes, absorbing that. "I'll be there on the next shuttle. Mr. Skinner?"
"How did you know to call me?"
"You're listed as next of kin in his records."
Her mouth dropped open, but there wasn't time for that. Not now. "Thank you." She broke the connection and raced to find Lennie.
Sisters Remembered - 5
The cab dropped her off at the entrance to the hospital and she hurried to the door. It had occurred to her once she was on the plane, that she didn't have anything with her, not a toothbrush, not a change of underwear, but it hadn't mattered.
She moved to the visitor's desk and asked for his room number. It took a moment to locate his name, then she was told he was in recovery.
Her credentials got her a chair inside the recovery room. She was there when he began waking and shortly thereafter she was allowed to accompany him to his room. When he woke for real, she was holding his hand.
He turned his head and his eyes widened. "You're not a dream," he rasped at her.
She shook her head, her throat tight.
"Are we in Philly?"
"Yes, and you're going to be fine."
"I know that now." He squeezed her hand lightly, his eyes already closing again.
"Will you be here?"
"Right here. Rest."
He was already asleep.
When he woke again, she was asleep in the chair. "Hey, Scully," he said softly.
"Mm, Mulder. Sorry."
"Don't be. What time is it?"
She glanced at her watch. "After lunch. You missed your Jell-O."
"Damn. When did you get here?"
"Around seven. You were in recovery."
"Didn't you work all night?"
"Mr. Skinner called me just as I was getting off."
Mulder's face colored slightly. "I should have - "
"Thank you." She rose then and gave him a light kiss on the lips. "I need a favor."
"Don't get shot again."
"Yes ma'am." He smiled at her, pulling her down for another kiss. "Have you really been here all along?"
She nodded. "As quick as I could get here."
He looked into her eyes for a long moment. "You should go get something to eat. When they do bring my Jell-O, I'm not gonna want to share."
"Yeah. I'll wait right here."
"You better. I won't be long. I want to be here when your surgeon comes by." She gave him one more quick kiss, squeezed his hand and let herself out of the room.
When she returned, she met the nurse leaving the room. "Is he okay?"
"He was experiencing a lot of discomfort. I gave him some of his pain medications. He'll sleep for awhile now."
Stricken, she hurried on into the room. She immediately took his hand. "Mulder, why didn't you tell me you were in pain?"
He opened his eyes and blinked at her. "Wasn't . . . when you were . . . here." He was asleep then.
She stared down at him for a moment. The memory of the sudden stab of pain in her leg returned. She hadn't seen his wound yet, and since he was out, now was as good a time as any. She carefully removed the bandage from the surgery site. Color was good, the scarring should be minimal, and it was exactly where her pain had occurred.
She looked up startled when the door opened. A distinguished looking older man entered. He paused when he saw her. "Checking out my work, or his?" He asked with a leering smile. It looked predatory to her.
"I've been appreciating his work for some time." She looked him straight in the eye, her voice frosty.
He nodded and moved closer. "He was lucky. They had an ambulance on sight. He could have easily bled out. I'm predicting a full recovery. He'll need to be
here for several days, and he'll need crutches for a short while. Are you his wife?"
He held out his hand then. "Dr. Samuel Dwoskin."
"Dr. Dana Scully."
His eyebrow rose. "Doctor?"
"I'm at Georgetown Memorial in DC."
"Surgery?" He glanced down at his work again.
"Pathology." She admired the surprised look on his face. She saw it a lot.
After an instant he nodded and turned to his chart. He gave Mulder a quick examination, then nodded to her and left without another word. She found herself amused by the attitude, but relieved that he'd found nothing troublesome.
She settled back into her chair.
When he woke again it was to find her smiling at him. "How're you feeling?"
"Really good now."
"You will tell me if you're in pain."
He blinked at that. "Sure. Why?"
"You didn't before."
He looked puzzled at that. "I don't remember any pain when you were here."
She squeezed his hand and didn't pursue it.
"So, when are you breaking me out of here?"
That startled a laugh from her; her first in several hours. "Don't even think about
it. You need some recovery time."
"I'm not good in hospitals, Scully. My couch is the best place for me to recover."
"Your couch? Mulder, don't be ridiculous. When you get out, you'll come to my place. I can keep an eye on you while you recover."
"Okay, now I really want out of here." He leered at her and she sank into the chair she'd used earlier; relief sapping her strength for a moment.
She swallowed, the smile negating the tears that had fallen from her eyes. "I was
so scared," she whispered.
"It's not your fault," she laughed shakily.
"But I should have warned you about using your name, for my emergency call."
"I'm glad you did that."
He gave a small sigh of relief. "I still should have asked."
"The results would have been the same." She took a calming breath. "The surgeon came by while you were sleeping."
"Did you approve of him, or her?"
"Him. Yes, it looked like he did a good job and you should have very little scaring."
Mulder's hand touched the bandage at his groin. "You, uh, you checked?"
She made her face serious as she could, though her eyes were twinkling. "I noticed everything I needed to."
He mock glared at her, but seemed to relax a little. "I really do want out of here."
"I know," she said softly. "Just get well, promise me."
She held the door open as he maneuvered into her apartment. He had obviously used crutches before. That was something she wanted to ask about some time. He hopped the last couple of steps to the couch.
"Mulder, you should go on to the bedroom. You've been up a long time."
"Come on Scully, just a little while. All I've done for days is lie in bed without you.
You haven't done a lot of resting either. Please, come sit beside me." He gave her that puppy dog pout and she melted.
"Stop doing that, Mulder. I haven't built up an immunity to it yet."
He nuzzled her neck. "I hope you never do."
She allowed him to sit there for a little while after she left his side, taking the time
to change the sheets and turn down the bed. She also laid out a towel and washcloth for him.
She insisted then that he go to bed after a stop in the bathroom. He stopped just
inside her bedroom and surveyed her preparation for him. "Sorry there's no chocolate on the pillow. I didn't think of it in time."
"Not a problem, Scully. I'd rather have red hair any day."
She was smiling as she helped him maneuver into the bed. "I need to change your dressing."
He looked up startled. "It's, it's fine, Scully."
Her eyebrow rose and his face colored. Without a word she left to get her supplies. He sank back against the pillow. He hadn't thought about this. That wasn't the kind of doctor he wanted her to play in that particular area of his body.
He opened his mouth to protest one more time when she returned, but her expression shut him up quickly. She changed his bandage efficiently with a detachment he envied. Then his eyes were startled open when she lightly caressed his balls. His cock sprang to attention and he watched her smile grow.
"Good, no problems in that area." She pulled the sheet up over him as he gaped in disbelief.
"You're going to leave me, like this?" he managed to croak out.
"You can't move that leg around too much."
"That ain't my leg, Scully."
She grinned then. "I think I'll get ready for bed . . ." He watched her slip from the
room, smiling himself now.
Having him in the apartment was surprisingly easy. Having him in her bed was incredible, even with his injury. They worked out a good schedule. She was still
on the graveyard shift, which did work nicely. At night while he slept, she worked, coming home to crawl into bed with him for a few hours before he got up.
He couldn't drive himself to physical therapy, but didn't want to inconvenience her. He made arrangements for some friends of his to pick him up.
"Come on, Mulder. No one who lives in a classy place like this is gonna hang out
"I beg to differ, Fro. I know how to be charming."
"He certainly does," Scully spoke from the bedroom door. The three men turned at the sound of her voice. She was tying the sash around her waist.
"Scully, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."
She smiled. "You didn't."
"Mulder, she's hot," the short one said, eyeing her without restraint.
Mulder took hold of his shoulder. "Back off, Frohike. I want to make a good impression. Now she's going to realize I know you."
Scully chuckled but with Mulder there she felt comfortable enough to approach them.
"The respectable looking one is John Byers, the troll is Melvin Frohike."
"Pleased to meet you." She shook both of their hands.
"There's another one, but he couldn't come. That's probably to my benefit." Mulder maneuvered over to the couch with his crutches. "You'd throw me out and I'd have to stay with them."
"Don't worry; I'm not throwing you out. Would you like some breakfast?" Her smile made it clear that she included all three of the men.
"Thanks, but we need to get moving if we're going to make his appointment," the respectable looking one said.
Mulder sighed and levered himself back up off the couch. "Go back to bed, Scully. You didn't get enough sleep last night." He leaned over and gave her a kiss.
"If I'm not awake when you get back, wake me up. We'll eat together."
He smiled and cupped her cheek. "You got it."
"It was very good to meet you," she said as Mulder headed for the door. Frohike moved over closer, but Byers' hand clamped down on his shoulder.
"It was nice to meet you, too. We'll get out of your way now."
"Dana, I'm just saying if you really are committed to one another - "
"We're together, Mom. Please try to understand."
"He calls you by your last name."
"I call him by his last name too. It's, it feels right."
"You're an adult; I know that. I don't have to tell you about 'buying the cow' - "
"All right, but I felt like I needed to say something to you about this."
Mulder quietly stepped back out into the hall before she could answer. He leaned heavily on his cane for a moment, eyes closed. He took a steadying breath and knocked loudly on the door as he opened it. "Scully, you here?"
"In the kitchen," she answered and he moved in that direction.
"Maggie, I didn't realize you were here." He hugged her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "My two favorite women, in the kitchen - " He waggled his eyebrows at them.
Maggie chuffed. "I don't know who's the bigger flirt, you or Charlie."
"Charlie, by a mile," Mulder assured her.
One of her eyebrows rose, but she didn't dispute it. "Do you two have big plans for this evening?"
"That depends, where would you like to go?"
"Oh, not me. I need to get home. The captain has probably put out warning flags already. You two have fun." She gave him a quick peck on the cheek, then turned to Dana. "Think about what I said."
"Yes, mother," Dana replied dutifully and walked her mother to the door. Mulder sank against the counter once they were out of sight. When the door closed, he straightened up.
"So, it's just us, where would you like to go?" He pulled her against him, taking
his welcome home kiss.
"No where I have to wear shoes," she sighed.
"Three autopsies. I need to be barefoot."
"Your wish is my command. Go put your feet up. I'll order in."
"You don't mind?"
He chuckled. "They're probably ready to put out an APB on me from Chao's. That or they think I've starved to death somewhere. Go on."
He placed a quick order. She smiled when he ordered her favorite without asking. Then he joined her in the living room and pulled her feet up into his lap.
He untied the sneakers she wore to and from work, and peeled off her socks.
"What are you doing?"
"Pay attention." He began massaging her right foot. His eyes crinkled at the tiny
moan she allowed to escape. He brought her foot up and kissed her instep.
"Now I know you really like me," she quipped, then met his eyes. The smoldering look took her breath away.
"Yeah, I do," his voice was husky, low and the shiver that went up her back wasn't quite hidden from him. They were quiet then as he soothed the ache in her feet and ankles.
The lids of her eyes were low, but she was watching him. He didn't go into great
detail about his work, just as she didn't, but something was bothering him. Her lips parted to ask when the doorbell rang.
"Ahh, dinner is served." He lay her feet on the couch and rose. She started to stand, but he wagged his finger at her. "I'm in charge of dinner tonight. Stay."
"But - "
"Stay." He moved to the door then, not bothering with the cane. He carried their
dinner to the kitchen and dished it up, bringing a plate to her.
"What in the world have I done to deserve this?"
"Put up with me," he said quietly, then returned to the kitchen for his plate and
She was sitting up, but her food hadn't been touched when he took his seat beside her and handed her a napkin.
"What does that mean?" she asked finally.
"Eat. It'll make your feet feel better." He took a bite and grinned at her. It took a
second or two to realize it hadn't reached his eyes.
She began to eat, but her appetite had diminished. They ate in silence for several minutes before she put her fork down. He looked over startled.
"Talk to me, Mulder."
He sighed, placing his own fork down. "I am committed to you, Sc-Dana."
Her face flamed. "Oh god. You did hear . . . "
"I'm sorry. Mulder, I'm so sorry. She had no right - "
"She has every right. She's your mother, she loves you and she's worried about you."
"I'm an adult. I can make my own decisions."
"But you're wondering why I haven't - "
"No. No, I'm not. I know you care about me. I hope you realize how much I care
for you, but on the evolutionary scale, we've known each other mere seconds."
He shook his head. "We've been through things together. I've told you more about me than anyone, ever." He looked down at his hands then, "Which is why I'm always a little surprised you let me in your place."
"Mulder - "
"I want to be with you, but . . . "
"But what, Mulder?"
"I think you deserve a safety valve."
"I . . . I never forget for a minute that I'm 'Spooky' Mulder. I know what I'm like
when I'm wrapped up in a case. No one should be required to put up with me when - "
"You think I couldn't handle the worse in 'for better or worse'?" She tried to keep
her tone light.
"I'm thinking you shouldn't have to."
"I always assumed that would be my choice, if someone asked me."
He gave her a crooked grin then. "Maybe that's why I've been afraid to ask."
"Then I guess we should spend some more time getting to know each other," she said softly. "I don't see any need to rush."
The coughing woke him and he sat up. "Scully? You okay?"
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," she managed to get out between coughs.
"Are you okay?" Mulder flipped on the light. "Scully?" He reached for her, touched the crimson stream on her face. "You're bleeding."
"What?" She wiped at her face and looked at the blood on her fingers.
"I'll get you a cloth." He was out of the bed before she could stop him. He returned with a warm damp cloth and dabbed at her face.
"Here, let me." She took the cloth and cleaned herself, then wiped at the pillowcase. She looked up at his concerned face. "It's probably just too dry in
here. I'm fine, really."
After a moment he nodded. She was a doctor and that made sense. "Come here." He took her back against him and they eventually slept again.
The next night when he came home he found her in the kitchen. She tried to hide the bottle in her hand, but he moved around her. "What's this?"
"Just aspirin. I've had a headache most of the day."
His brow furrowed. "You don't have to hide things from me, Scully. Why don't you go lie down, I'll fix dinner."
"You don't - " She stopped when his lips pressed against her forehead.
"I want to. Go on. It might not be gourmet, but I won't poison you." He grinned
and turned her toward the bedroom. She gave him a tiny smile and left him.
He assembled the meal that she had laid out and dished it up. He started down the hall to check on her when he heard her coughing. He hesitated, then opened the door. She was sitting on the side of the bed, a tissue at her nose.
He sat beside her. "I think you need to see a doctor."
She cut her eyes at him. "Do I point out the obvious?"
"Don't even try. Doctors are the only patients worse than me. You have a friend
or two in the business, right? Just have them check you out. Maybe you're allergic to me or something, and you need shots."
"Shots? Rather than have you move out?"
"Shots," he said definitively.
She nodded. "Okay. I'll see if Karen can prescribe something tomorrow. It's probably just a sinus infection."
"Good. I don't like my woman being under the weather."
"'Your woman', huh?"
He grinned. "Feel like eating?"
"Yeah, I think that'll help."
He helped her to her feet and took her in his arms, surprising her a little. "You
don't really mind being 'my woman' do you?"
"No. Not at all."
Sisters Remembered - 6
He removed his glasses, rose from the desk and stretched. He'd been going over photos too long. The little growl from his stomach reminded him he needed to eat something, something light. They had big plans for dinner, bigger than she
knew. He smiled to himself and felt his pocket again, almost superstitiously. He
was almost to the door when his cell phone rang. "Mulder."
"It's me. Could you come over?"
"Scully? Are you at home?" Her tone was wrong somehow. He felt his heart rate increase.
"No, the hospital."
"Are you okay?"
"I . . . I need to see you."
"I'm on my way. Your office?"
"Uh, no. Ask for me at the ER." He heard other voices in the background. "I need to go."
"Scully!" But the connection had been broken. All thoughts of food gone from his
head, he hurried to his car.
He parked illegally, but didn't give it any thought as he hastened inside. "Dr. Scully?" he asked at the desk.
"Yes, sir. Down the hall, second door on the right." The nurse had obviously been watching for him.
He glanced at the sign on the ceiling but didn't take time to let it register. He
reached for the handle to the door and pushed it open. She was standing there, in one of those pink flowered hospital gowns. Her back was to him as she gazed at the lighted panel on the wall.
"Scully?" he said quietly. She reached for him, but didn't turn to face him. He
eagerly took the hand she held out. "What's going on?"
"I saw Karen this morning."
He moved closer, watching her though her eyes remained on the lighted panel. Suddenly the word he had read as he entered this hall made the connection in his brain - Oncology.
His hand tightened around hers. "Scully."
"Here." She touched the light spot on the film in front of them. "It's a small growth between the superior conchea and the sinoidal sinus."
He felt the spear of fear penetrate his spine. His breath was gone. "I, uh, what
do we do?"
She turned to look at him for the first time then, a small smile gracing her face.
"Nothing. I just needed . . . I haven't called anyone else. I needed - "
"What do you mean, nothing?" His hand around hers tightened, anchoring her to him.
"Let's get out of here. I, I don't want to be in a hospital today. Oh, you're supposed to be at work."
"No I'm not. Get dressed. I'll make a call." He pulled her against him for a moment, then stepped out into the hall. He made a quick phone call and was waiting when she opened the door, now dressed in her street clothes.
His arm went around her immediately and he led her back through the ER and to his car. Her eyebrow rose at his parking place, but she made no comment. He pulled out a little quickly, but then settled down in traffic.
"Are you hungry?" he finally asked.
She gave a sad laugh and shook her head. "No."
"Okay." He pulled onto the highway and headed north.
"So, where are we going?"
"I don't know yet, just out of the city." He headed for the shore. They were quiet.
She watched the scenery and he drove, although he did glance at her occasionally. She was aware of it, but neither spoke.
He pulled into a parking lot and she was out of the car immediately, headed for the small beach area. He followed, giving her space even though he ached to hold her. She stood with her back to him, looking out at the ocean. Her arms were wrapped around her ribs, hugging herself tightly.
When he saw her shiver he knew it wasn't from temperature and moved to stand beside her. He pulled her into his arms, her back pressed against his chest. Her
hands pulled his arms even more tightly around her. He buried his face in her hair for a moment. "What can I do?"
"You're doing it." She leaned against him.
He kept quiet then, letting her gaze out toward the horizon. After a few long minutes, she turned and let her cheek rest against his chest.
"Scully, what do we do now?"
"You know, surgery, chemotherapy. What's the next step?"
She looked up at him then. "I . . . you don't understand. There is no next step.
Because of the location of this tumor, there's nothing . . . " her voice trailed off at
"No! There has to be - "
She turned to him finally. "Thank you."
Her hand came up then to caress his cheek, her thumb stroking his bottom lip. He forced himself to silence again.
He swallowed hard. "You need to eat something."
She started to protest, but then just nodded and allowed him to lead her back toward the car. He drove them to a seafood restaurant nearby and parked. They were a little early for the dinner crowd.
They ordered, but when the meal came, Scully mostly pushed her food around on her plate. He watched to make sure that some food was eaten, but didn't force anything. When she lay her fork down, he pushed back his chair and moved around to hold her chair as she stood. She leaned against him and his arm went around her. His eyes closed, then he took a deep breath and they returned to the car.
"Why don't we get a room? It would be late when we got home."
"Sure." She stared at her hands.
He watched her for a minute, then put the car in gear and headed down the strip. He pulled into one of the slightly nicer looking motels and parked. "You want to
She nodded and he let himself out. When he returned, he moved the car closer to the stairwell leading to their room and got out, pulling his overnight kit from the
trunk. He helped her out of the car, placed his hand on her back and led her to the room.
Once inside she looked around at the aqua and beige dcor but didn't seem to see it. "We, we don't have anything with us."
"Everything I need is here," he said gently.
"Don't." She swallowed and looked away. He moved to the small bathroom to set his kit down and to give her some time.
"You want to get comfortable? Would you like me to run you a bath?"
"No, that's . . . no."
He unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it over a chair, then removed his t-shirt and handed it to her. "Can you sleep in this?"
She took it and crushed it to her. "Yes," she said quietly.
"I'm, uh, I'm gonna take a quick shower." She nodded and he let himself into the
small bathroom and turned on the water. He managed to hold it together until he was in the warm enclosure, then clasping a washcloth to his face, he sobbed until he had to lean against the wet walls for support. When he was cried out, he
flipped off the water and, taking a deep breath, stepped out of the tub.
He slipped on his cutoff sweats and a sleeveless t-shirt from his bag, checked the mirror for signs of his breakdown, then returned to her.
She was sitting Indian-style on the bed. The TV was on, but she wasn't watching. When she spotted him, she used the remote to turn it off. He joined her on the bed, pulling out a pillow to brace against.
She faced him then and tried to smile. Immediately it slipped away and her eyes widened. "Oh Mulder, the reservations! I forgot."
He glanced toward his suit coat. He'd forgotten as well. "No biggie, Scully. I can
make reservations again."
"Those took a while."
"It's not a problem. There is one thing I'd still like to . . ."
"What?" She watched him stand and move toward his coat. He reached into the inside pocket and withdrew the ring box. He looked over at her. Her face was pale and her eyes huge. She was shaking her head.
"Scully - "
"No. You can't do this, just because I got . . . sick."
"Scully, do you remember me stopping to buy a ring on the way up here?" he asked gently.
She paused then, of course not. "Be-because of what Mom said. No, Mulder, that's - "
"No. Not because of your mother. I didn't exactly buy this ring, Scully. It was my
Grandmother Mulder's. She left it to Samantha, then I got it."
"But why now?"
"You said you wanted to be with me. I'd waited, but when you said that . . . "
"Look at the receipt, Scully. I had it sized for you."
Silently she took the slip of paper. "This, this is . . . "
"The morning after you came to my place to find out if I wanted to be alone," he said quietly. "I don't." He opened the small box and she stared down at the large
emerald with diamonds on either side. "I know it's not a solitaire or - "
"Mulder, it's beautiful, it's perfect, but I can't . . . "
"Are you saying you don't want to be with me?"
"No! I mean . . . Mulder, I can't marry you, not now. I don't know how long - "
"Stop. Stop right there. I'm not letting you go, and I'm not letting you give up. I
want to be with you for the next thousand years."
"Mulder - " she was shaking her head.
He sat back on the bed then and pulled her against him. "You're already my next of kin. Let me be yours."
Tears welled up in her eyes then and she buried her face in his chest. "I wanted
this so much."
He felt a pang at that, but just caressed her hair. "You have it, Scully. Just say
"You haven't thought this through. It's not fair to you. I'll become a burden and - "
"Shh." He kissed her gently. "It's only unfair to me if you say no."
"Mulder - " His lips cut her off then.
She watched this man as he caressed her, loving her. She had never felt this close to a man, never gone through experiences like she had with this one. He had taken charge and protected her from the moment she had met him, not only in her apartment, but at the hotel and especially at his lake house. She still was
in awe of how they had moved toward one another after that experience.
He loved her. Even now he made her feel alive and safe. For as long as she could, she wanted to be with him.
He began making love to her, slowly, thoroughly. She didn't remember losing the t-shirt, but she was nude as he hovered over her, using his knowledge of her to move her toward ecstasy.
He'd made certain she was completely satisfied before he allowed his own pleasure and they fell asleep clutching each other fiercely.
When she woke the next morning, he was on one elbow watching her. She lifted her hand to caress his cheek and saw that he had slipped the ring on her finger. "It looks good there," he commented, his voice rough from sleep. It caused a shiver up her spine. "I want you to wear it, it's yours whether you marry me or not, Scully. I just hope . . . "
"I love you, you know that. That's why I don't want to - "
"Marry me," he interrupted, his eyes locked on hers.
"You know you're crazy."
He nodded solemnly. "About you."
"Isn't living together - "
"No. I want; I need to be legally in your life for all the world to see."
Those words stopped her - legally. He'd have a voice in her care, in whatever future she might have. The tension in her body eased. "You can change your mind."
"I won't." But his eyes betrayed his nerves. "Is that a 'yes'?"
She leaned up and kissed him gently. "Yes."
He was stunned, paralyzed for an instant.
"I . . . I never - " His whole face lit up. "You're serious; you really just agreed to
"Did I make a mistake?" She grinned.
"No way." He tucked her up against him. "So, how big a wedding are we going to have? Ten bridesmaids? Because I have to tell you, I don't have ten friends to be ushers."
She chuckled then. "No, not a big wedding."
"I was kidding. You can have any kind of wedding you want. I can afford it."
"That's not . . . you can afford what? Am I marrying a rich man?"
"Well, kinda, yeah."
She turned toward him. "You have money?"
He shrugged. "A trust fund. Grandmother Mulder didn't only have jewelry."
She faced away from him again putting that knowledge aside and snuggling into the curve of his body. "I need to talk to Mom and Ahab."
"What are you going to tell them?"
"There's a lot they should know, but I'd like to give them the good news first. After the year they've had, losing Missy like that . . . I really think they deserve to
enjoy this for a little while before . . . "
"I can go along with that; whatever you say."
"Can I get that in writing?" she said with a light laugh.
He knocked on the door and then impatiently knocked again. "Hold your horses, I'm coming," Frohike called out. He pulled the door open. "What's the hurry, man?"
"I need some help." His tone drew the attention of the other two, and Byers approached them.
"What is it, Mulder?"
"What do you know about nasopharyngeal mass?"
The three men exchanged glances, finally Byers spoke. "It's a cancer of the sinus that eventually goes into the brain."
"What's the treatment?"
"I, uh, there isn't one. It's too close to the brain for - "
"There has to be!" Mulder's fist pounded the metal cabinet next to the desk.
Byers jerked back a step and Langly stared at him. Frohike's hand came to rest on his arm. "Scully?"
Mulder's eyes closed and he sagged against the desk.
"Oh god, Mulder, I'm sorry." Byers moved toward him. "I didn't . . . "
Mulder shook his head and straightened up. "I need you to check into it. See if
anyone has any treatment, anything."
"It's our top priority, Mulder," Byers said softly and looked over at Langly, who
"Thanks." He turned toward the door. "Oh, and I want to invite you to our wedding."
"Wedding?" Frohike was the first able to speak. "You and Scully?"
"Yes." Mulder looked down at him, a look of defiance in his eyes.
Frohike looked him straight in the eye. "Congratulations. You couldn't have picked a better woman."
Mulder turned away, blinking. "I'll get back to you with details." He let himself
out without another word. The three men exchanged glances again, then Langly sat forward and his fingers started dancing over the keyboard.
She stopped just before they got to the door. He turned to check on her. "You alright?"
"Do I look okay?"
He had to chuckle a little at that. "I think you look beautiful, but I don't think you'll
get a completely objective opinion from me on that." She blushed lightly and took
the hand he offered. "I'm the one that's supposed to be nervous, not you."
"I know; I've just never come to them with this kind of news before." He pulled her to him and kissed her brow lightly. "You're right. Come on." She rang the bell and very quickly her mother was before them, welcoming them in.
"I'm so glad you could come with Dana to lunch today, Fox. We don't see enough of you."
"I'll have to make a point of coming by more often, Maggie." He smiled as she gave him a hug.
"William is in the den, some game is on if you want to join him. Dana, why don't
you help me in the kitchen?"
"Sure, Mom." She managed not to roll her eyes at his grin and followed her mother to the right as Mulder turned left.
He followed the sound of the television and saw her father in his favorite chair,
watching football until he was summoned for lunch. The older man looked up as Mulder stopped in the doorway.
"Come on in. I'm not pulling for either team in this game, so if you have a preference . . ."
Mulder shook his head. "I'm more into basketball myself." He took a seat on the sofa fidgeting slightly.
William noted Mulder's nervousness. "What is it?" William sat up straighter and
hit mute on the remote control.
"Excuse me?" Mulder looked back at him startled.
"Something's on your mind. You're wound tight as a tick. What is it?"
"Uh, I . . ." The older man's eyes never left him. He took a deep breath, this wasn't exactly what he'd planned, but - "Sir, I would like to marry your daughter."
There, the words were out.
William didn't even blink. "Thought so. Does Maggie know?"
"No sir, I, I don't think so."
"She does," he nodded sagely. "That's why we're having the rib eye roast. You should be impressed; she doesn't do that for just anybody."
Mulder stared at the man for a moment, then his lips started to twitch. "Does that
mean I should relax?"
"Yes, but not too much. Can you support her? I know, she's a doctor, but if she
wanted to take time off with kids or something . . . " William had looked away and
missed the pain that came to Mulder's eyes.
"You don't have to worry about that, William." If his voice sounded husky, her father didn't seem to notice.
"Be good to her, she loves you a lot." William harrumphed at that and looked back to the TV. "The wife will still have to grill you a little, but I think it's a fine
idea." He rose and stuck out his hand and Mulder took it gratefully. After a moment the older man turned up the volume on the TV and they sat in silence thinking their own thoughts.
Maggie opened a bottle of champagne and they toasted over lunch. Mulder didn't have to say much, for that matter neither did Scully. Maggie had taken over. Mulder watched that Scully only sipped the wine; she was only on overthe -counter drugs for headaches so far, but that wasn't a topic for today.
"I need to get in touch with Father McCue, see when his schedule is free. And we need to talk about catering and flowers, and - "
"Mom, Mom please; just a minute. We're talking about a very small wedding here, just the families and a few close friends."
Maggie looked at her daughter, then over at Mulder. "Why? It's your only wedding. You should have a wonderful, big ceremony. Don't worry about the cost."
"That's not it and we're going to be paying for the wedding ourselves, Mom, Ahab. It's just that we don't want to wait. We're talking about a couple of weeks,
"The fourteenth!" Maggie set her glass back down on the table. "You can't be serious. I, you're not - "
"No!" Dana blushed at that and shook her head. "Mom, we both have careers and our time off is limited. We want to be married, not all the hoopla."
"Are you talking about a justice of the peace?"
"No, Maggie." Mulder stepped in there, "If Father McCue would agree to do the ceremony, we'd be fine with that. You know I'm not Catholic."
"Dana's never mentioned your religion."
"Well, I don't really . . . my mother is Jewish, but we never practiced. My father
"What about, what about children? Will you want to raise them as Jewish?"
"Mom - "
"No, Maggie. Any children that Dana and I have I want to be raised like her, not
me. You don't have to worry about that."
Maggie looked deep into his eyes. A look of concern came over her face. "Sometime I'd like to talk to you about that."
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Scully press a finger to her forehead. "I'd like
that Maggie, but today unfortunately we're going to have to get out of here. I hate to eat and run, but I have a major meeting tomorrow morning, and I am not prepared."
"Oh, so soon? We have so much more to talk about."
"I know, and I know time is shorter than you'd like, but we really have to go now."
"Dana could stay. I can run you home later, Honey."
Mulder shook his head. "She is my report. If I'm going to sound like I know what
I'm talking about, she's got to coach me on the language."
Maggie sat back then. "Oh, well do you mind if I make some calls, get started?"
"That would be nice Mom. I'd really appreciate it, but please remember, small, intimate."
Maggie squeezed Dana's hand. "I promise; no taffeta and tulle. But I do think some flowers, music, don't worry."
"Thanks Mom. I'll take care of all the clean up next time." Maggie waved that off
and watched Mulder lightly touch Scully's shoulder. She looked up at Mulder as he held her chair. He took her hand as she stood. "I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay?"
William rose as well and both of her parents walked them to the door. Hugs and congratulations were exchanged again and Mulder's hand led her out to the car. Mulder opened the door for her and seated her, then waved back at the house and got in himself.
Maggie looked over at William. "Something else is going on."
"I don't know, but something."
"You're happy for them, aren't you?"
"Oh yes. They're good together, but something doesn't feel . . . Come help me with the dishes."
Mulder looked over at Scully. Her pain was obvious now. "Headache?"
"Put the seat back and close your eyes. I'm taking you home." She did as he bade silently. He knew she would only take so much coddling, but she had gone along with his story to get out of there.
Sisters Remembered - 7
He was a little surprised that he had beaten her home, but she was out shopping for a dress with her mother. He checked the refrigerator but decided to wait. Maybe she'd like to go out to eat tonight and just relax.
He smiled when he heard the key in the lock and moved in that direction quickly. He opened the door and his eyes widened. "Shit." He lifted her into his arms and kicked the door closed, then carried her into the bedroom.
He lay her gently on the bed and brushed her hair back. "What happened?"
She shook her head slightly. "I'm just tired."
"Did you work all day before you met your mom?" He started to scold her, but she looked too beat already.
"I had a nosebleed while we were shopping."
"A bad one?"
She shrugged slightly.
"Do you have a headache?"
She closed her eyes rather than answer.
"I'll get you some medicine. Just relax." He returned with her pills, a glass of
water and a piece of toast, lightly buttered.
"I'm not hungry, Mulder."
"You shouldn't take the pills on an empty stomach." She cut her eyes at him, but
didn't dispute it. "Now lie back." She did, letting her eyes close. He cupped her
face and brought his lips lightly to hers, then quietly slipped out of the room.
He headed for the kitchen, but the phone stopped him. He grabbed it up to keep her from being disturbed. "Hello?"
"Mulder, we've got something. Can you come by?"
He glanced toward the bedroom door. "I can't leave now. What about lunch tomorrow?"
"We'll be here. Is she okay?"
"She's really tired."
"Yeah, okay. Let her know we're thinking about her." Byers hung up, and Mulder turned. He realized she was standing in the door.
"What are you doing up? Did the phone wake you?"
She ignored that. "This is why I was hesitant to accept your proposal."
"What?" He moved toward her, obviously disturbed by her words.
"You have somewhere you need to be, some evidence you need to check on, but I'm holding you back."
"That's not - "
"Mulder, I'm going to bed. You don't need to watch me sleep."
"Maybe not watch, but I'd like to hold you." That got a tiny smile.
"Get out of here, Mulder."
He sighed. "Let me tuck you in, then I'll go." She held out her hand to him and he
grasped it gently.
Langly answered his knock. "I thought you couldn't come tonight."
"She tossed me out. I can't stay long. What did you find?"
Byers had joined them and led the way to the desk. "There's not a lot of data, Mulder, and the treatments seem to mostly make the patient miserable without prolonging . . . Anyway, this is what we found." He motioned for Mulder to take the seat.
Frohike joined them. "Did you tell him about the anomaly?"
"Allentown, Pennsylvania. There's a cluster of patients there. No correlations like work, but they're all women and they all belong to the same Mufon group."
Mulder gaped at them, "Mufon? Are you serious?"
"That's why we didn't want to talk over the phone."
"You have names? Addresses?"
Byers handed him the sheet. Mulder scanned it quickly. "I need to get up there."
"These women all claim to be abductees. Has Dana . . . " Byers' voice trailed off
at his look. "Let us know what else you need."
Mulder took the list and a printout of websites, and tucked them into his jacket pocket. "The wedding's on the 14th at St. Gregory's, 4 p.m."
"We'll be there."
Mulder nodded his thanks and let himself out. They watched him silently.
With the dress out of the way, Mulder deemed nothing else should be secret from him. Scully's meetings with her mother included him. Rather than subject her to
the ordeal of meeting his parents, he orchestrated a dinner in a public place and
made certain her parents also attended. Everyone was imminently civilized if her
parent's warmth was lacking from his own.
He really thought he was holding it together, and in front of her he did.
When he learned that Charlie and his family would be coming in a little early for
the wedding, he readily agreed to a family dinner.
Mulder was moving toward the dining room when he heard a tap on the door and then it opened without waiting. A young boy that Mulder recognized blew in, followed by Mary holding the younger one. Will and Sam. Mary hugged Mulder, then chased after Will toward the kitchen.
Charlie dropped the suitcases just inside the door and took a deep breath, then shook Mulder's hand. "Never travel with two kids under five."
"I'll make a note." Mulder grinned.
"You move fast," Charlie commented.
"The wedding? Yeah, I guess I do. I found the perfect woman." His smile dimmed a little, but Charlie didn't seem to notice.
"Perfect woman? Gotta remember, she's my sister, I can tell you stories."
"But you won't." Both men turned at the sound of her voice.
She took the ginger haired man into her arms and he returned the hug. Mulder saw the slight frown appear on his face. Charlie looked up at Mulder as he held her and started to make a comment. The slight shake of Mulder's head stopped him. He stepped back and took a long look at his sister. "You look happy."
"I am." She smiled. "Come on, say hi to Mom."
"I'll take the luggage up," Mulder offered.
"Wait for me. We've got a ton of it with the kids' equipment."
Mulder nodded and followed him toward the kitchen. After hugs were shared, Mulder and Charlie returned to the front of the house and made a first trip up to
take the bags. Once in the guest room, Charlie turned to Mulder. "Is she okay?"
"What do you mean," Mulder evaded, moving one of the suitcases from the floor to the bed.
Charlie looked at him for a long moment. "She's never looked happier, but hasn't
she lost weight? I mean, she's tiny to begin with, she doesn't need to lose any and I saw the circles under her eyes. The makeup wasn't that good."
To his shock, Mulder sank onto the bed and let his shoulders slump. After an instant, Charlie pulled on his arm. "We need to get out of here for a few minutes."
He led the taller man downstairs and grabbed up the car keys he'd tossed onto the foyer table.
"Mary!" he called toward the kitchen. "I'm going to pick up a couple of things. I'm
stealing Mulder." He didn't wait for an answer, pulling open the door and nearly
dragging Mulder outside.
"I can't, I can't leave."
"Mary's here. There's nothing she can't handle. She married me, didn't she?" He grinned and Mulder followed him, taking the passenger's seat in their minivan. Charlie pulled out of the driveway and headed west. He didn't drive far,
spotting a small park with playground equipment. He pulled over and parked. Charlie got out first and Mulder followed. They headed toward the equipment and took a seat on a bench near the swings.
After a moment, Charlie looked over at Mulder. "What's going on?"
Mulder shrugged. "I . . . "
"Is something wrong with Dana?"
Reluctantly Mulder nodded.
"Is she sick?"
Mulder leaned back, looking up at the emerging stars. After a moment he responded. "Yeah. She, she has a tumor."
"A tumor? Where?"
Mulder closed his eye and shifted on the bench. He let his face fall into his hands. "Near her brain."
Charlie gaped at him then. "Are you . . . are you saying she's got cancer?" He realized that Mulder was crying. Without hesitation Charlie took him into his arms as he would one of his sons.
They sat there a long time, until both men had regained their composure. "She doesn't want anyone to know, at least until after the wedding."
"That sounds like my sister," Charlie sighed. "She can't protect us like that."
"She's worried about how Mom . . . "
"I know; especially now, with Missy gone. Look, I won't say anything, but I need
more information. What's her treatment? I mean, chemo, radiation?"
Mulder shook his head. "She isn't . . . She says there isn't an effective treatment.
She's not taking anything right now. Maybe after the wedding, but the treatments
I've investigated aren't . . . "
Charlie stared toward the playground equipment, not seeing it. "She would know; she would have investigated this. You can't bullshit a doctor on this kind
"She's had nightmares that she'll have a nose bleed in her wedding gown and ruin it before I can see it."
"Jesus," Charlie muttered.
Finally Mulder sat up. "I need to get back to her. Can you make sure she doesn't realize you know?"
"Yeah. I can do that for her. Mulder, you're not alone. You can call me. We can
talk." The look on Mulder's face nearly caused Charlie to cry again, but he rose
to his feet and held out his hand. "Come on. We need to pick up some beer or something. We need an excuse to be gone."
Mulder nodded mutely and headed toward the car. He didn't feel nearly as alone as he had.
Her brothers and Skinner joined the Gunmen for a bachelor party. Watching Bill and Skinner with his friends was the best part of the evening for him and Charlie,
though he kept quiet about that.
Returning to an empty apartment that evening was almost more than he could handle. Maggie had insisted that they not see each other prior to the ceremony and Mulder wanted to kick himself for not insisting on an 8 a.m. ceremony. After
a bad night, with a multitude of bad dreams, he found he had to entertain his parents, who inexplicitly seemed to want to spend time together with him. That didn't make the time pass any faster. He was delighted when Charlie came to rescue him, taking him to the church to get dressed.
"How's she doing?" he asked Charlie as soon as they were alone.
"Good. She had her hair done and she's excited. She seems to have a lot of energy."
"No. It'll be okay, Mulder."
The taller man nodded. They both dressed, then Charlie watched as Mulder paced. When Mulder realized what he was doing, he looked over at Charlie, smiling ruefully.
"You know you're supposed to be nervous," Charlie said grinning.
Mulder looked startled. "I'm not nervous about getting married. I just want to see
"I know." Charlie looked down at his watch. "It won't be long now."
Very shortly Father McCue joined them and led them to the small chapel. When the doors opened and Captain Scully led his Scully into the aisle, Mulder felt his
jaw drop slightly. She looked incredible. Her mother had talked her into a wedding gown rather than the suit that she had originally thought about. The gown had a short train and the veil did not cover her face. The empire waist accentuated her bust line and lace covered the bodice. The long sleeves had lace at the V-point that covered the back of her hands, very traditional, very elegant. Her father's dress whites matched beautifully.
When they reached Mulder, the Captain gave Dana a kiss, then placed her hand in Mulder's. The ceremony was short, Charlie didn't lose the rings and Mulder finally heard the priest say the words he'd waited for. "You may kiss your bride."
He didn't wait for a second invitation.
The reception was short, following what felt like a massive photographic session.
Mulder had vetoed a dinner, wanting to get her away and alone with him as soon as possible.
They cut the cake, fed each other, and toasted with champagne, then they slipped away to change clothes.
After traversing a gauntlet of rice, they made it to the car, which had been decorated by his 'dear' friends. Scully laughed out loud when she realized there
actually were tin cans tied to the bumper.
She settled back in the seat finally, sighing. He looked over to see her smile.
"A penny for your thoughts, Mrs. Mulder."
Her smile grew. "You can't afford these thoughts, Mr. Mulder." She placed her hand on his thigh and he covered it with his own. They were quiet then, remembering the day.
She sat up a little. "Mulder, you missed the turn."
"What turn?" He didn't look at her, but she could see his grin.
"The turn to the apartment."
"Oh, well, I only missed it if I had planned to turn there."
"And where else had you planned to turn?" Suspicion was growing in her voice.
"Toward our honeymoon."
"Honeymoon? I thought we were staying home, locking ourselves in, and not answering the phone."
"We're doing that too, just not at the apartment."
"You're serious." She turned to him then. "Mulder, I didn't pack."
"I know," he grinned as his voice dropped. "I did it for you. It was a real education rummaging through your underwear drawer."
"You pervert." But she was smiling then and he marveled at her trust in him. "Do
I get to know where we're going?"
"I guess I could let you in on it."
"Gee, thanks." But her eyes were gleaming.
"Cape Cod. It may be too cool to swim, but I think we can find other things to do."
"You think? Do we have reservations?"
"I know we didn't talk about this." For the first time he seemed insecure.
"You know I trust you."
"That's good to know. I got us the Chauffeur's Cottage at Alyce's Dunscroft by the Sea."
Her eyes widened and she seemed speechless.
"I, I've heard about it, but I never thought I'd . . . How? How did you do that with
such little notice?"
"Oh, that. I can be charming. It's a stretch - "
"I think you're pretty terrific," she said quietly.
He lifted her hand to his lips, then turned toward the airport.
They found their seats in first class and settled in. He held her hand as the plane
taxied and took off. She was looking out the window, but he was watching her and moved closer when he saw her wince in pain. "Scully? What is it?"
"Just a little headache."
Immediate concern colored his face. "The air pressure. I didn't think - "
"It's okay. I have some medication."
He pushed the button to summon the stewardess and got her some water. When the woman returned she handed the bottle to Mulder, then her head came up. "Oh honey, I'll get you a warm cloth."
Mulder's head swiveled toward Scully and he saw the blood coming from her nose. "God, I'm sorry. I should have - "
"Mulder, relax. It's okay, I'm okay."
"But I should have realized. We'll drive home."
"Mulder, eight hours in a car versus two hours in a plane? You made the right decision."
He didn't respond; taking the warm, wet cloth from the stewardess. Scully thanked her, but Mulder's attention was only on his bride.
After she had cleaned up and downed her medicine, she settled back and took Mulder's hand. "Please don't let this spoil things."
"I'm not. I just need to think things through."
"I'd prefer you didn't," she retorted. "I don't want my illness to be the first consideration of everything we say or do. At least not yet."
He nodded, lifting the armrest that separated them and holding her close. She sighed and relaxed against him, falling asleep shortly. He didn't release her until
the wheels being lowered woke her.
She sat up, straightening her clothes. "I didn't mean to fall asleep, but I guess it's
a good thing."
"I plan to be up late tonight." Her eyebrow rose and his smile looked more genuine.
The medicine seemed to work, at least she didn't seem to be in pain any longer and there were no more nose bleeds by the time they landed.
When they pulled up in front of the inn, Scully's eyes were huge. She exited the
car and stood looking out at the private beach. "Mulder, this is incredible."
"Wait until you see the room." He handed the keys to the valet and led her inside
to register. By the time they reached the cottage, their bags had been delivered
and the king-size bed turned down. She stood in the main room, her hand caressing the fabric of the loveseat, facing the fireplace.
"Do you think it will be cool enough for a fire?"
"Count on it," he murmured in her ear. "Why don't you get comfortable, maybe a bubble bath and I'll order us some dinner."
"I like the way you think. Don't suppose you could join me in the tub after you order?" His smile took her breath away.
While she let herself into the spacious bathroom, he placed a quick call to confirm their meal, laid a fire ready to be lit while they ate, then hurried to join
her. The bath was steamy and the lights were low, but candles gleamed from several surfaces around the room. She was in the double garden tub, her head resting on a small pillow with her eyes closed. Her hands were drifting in the warm water, making tiny waves that crested on her breasts. He had to stop and just look at her for a long moment.
She opened her eyes and smiled at him. "Get undressed, Mulder," she murmured and he lost no time complying.
They sat in their robes in front of the fire, feeding each other the seafood that
was brought to the room in between kisses and caresses. Mulder rolled the cart outside when they were through and hung the 'do not disturb' sign on the door.
They made love most of the night, savoring each other slowly and thoroughly. The sun was high when she woke to find him watching her.
"What? Was I snoring?" She stretched, smiling.
He shook his head. "No. I just love to watch you sleep. You look so innocent."
"Are you implying that I'm not really innocent?"
The gleam in his eye sent her eyebrow rising. "After last night, I don't think 'innocent' is a word that really applies."
"Have I been insulted?" She started to rise, but his body pressed hers down into the mattress and breakfast was immediately forgotten.
When they finally managed to leave the room, they walked on the private beach holding hands. He brought her up to date on the plans he'd made for their week - whale watching, a tour of Hyannisport, a trip to the Raynham Flea Market to find
a couple of pieces for the apartment that would be theirs, and the Wellflet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
By mutual consent what they were facing wasn't mentioned. This was their oasis of time and they made it memorable. When they returned to real life, they would have to discuss options and plans. For now, they were together.
Sisters Remembered 8
He pulled up in front of the house and parked. This was the first time he'd been
out of town since their honeymoon. He missed her, even though they both would have been at work even if he were in town. This was just a day trip anyway.
Skinner now knew about Scully's illness. When he'd asked for clearance to investigate these women, Mulder had to tell him something. He thought he'd handled it pretty well until Skinner had motioned for him to take a seat.
"Cut the bullshit, Mulder. What's going on?"
Once again he'd found himself sitting in front of the desk as though being reprimanded on his lack of protocol, but after a few minutes of stammering he sighed. "I have to interview these women."
"Women with cancer. I don't have any record of a case."
Mulder closed his eyes. "Records or not, I have to . . . to . . . It's Scully. She . . .
Skinner's eyes widened. "Mulder, I'm . . . I don't know what to say. How long have you known?"
"Six, seven weeks."
"You knew," Skinner said in a soft voice
"Let me know what you find out in Allentown." He handed the paperwork back to Mulder without another word.
Mulder took it just as silently, unsure he knew anything else to say.
The woman that answered his knock on the door looked quizzically at him. "Good afternoon. I'm looking for Betsy Agopian. Is that you?" He gave her his most charming smile.
"I'm sorry, she's not in. Can I help you? I'm Penny Northern."
"Ms. Northern." He shook her hand. "I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI." He had his shield out and watched her eyes widen slightly. "Could you tell me when you expect her back?"
"I don't know what's going on, Mr. Mulder, but I don't believe Betsy will be coming
"I don't understand."
"Betsy's in the hospital. She has advanced brain cancer. We're just taking turns
- Mr. Mulder? Are you all right?" Her hand closed around his arm and she guided him inside. He had lost all color in his face. She led him to an overstuffed chair and he sank into it. "I'm going to get you some water. Maybe you should put your head down."
With a last worried look, she hurried to the kitchen and returned with a glass of
ice water. "Here you go." She took a seat beside him and watched him anxiously as he took a few sips. "Are you a friend of Betsy's? Did you not know
she was ill?"
"I'm sorry. You caught me off guard. I had heard there was an anomaly of nasopharyngeal cancer in this area and - "
"Yes. Because of the alien abductions," she spoke matter of factly, looking him directly in the eye. He gaped at her for an instant.
She sat up a little straighter, leaning slightly away from him. "I know, you're with
the FBI and you don't believe in such things."
"You, you'd be surprised. Why do you think the two things are related?"
"Because we all have it, Mr. Mulder. Everyone in our group, every woman that is, has developed this cancer."
"You have it?"
She nodded and he saw the distance now in her eyes. "I do. They've taken me fewer times than they took Betsy. She's been taken since she was a child."
His knuckles were white on the rolled arms of the chair. "Please, talk to me."
He was still in the same chair, but now he was surrounded by women, the other members of the Mufon group. They had told him their stories and were now watching him.
"You don't believe us, do you?" The youngest woman was staring at him, frankly annoyed.
"Actually I do," he said quietly. "I have some personal experience with this. That's why I'm here. My wife has developed . . . she was abducted a couple of years ago in Virginia."
"Skyland Mountain," one of the women breathed.
"Yes." He turned toward her. The others were nodding. "As far as we know she . . . she was only taken once."
"Does she have the mark?" Penny asked finally.
He saw their hands come up, all of them, to touch the back of their necks. He closed his eyes for a moment. He took a deep breath and faced Penny, nodding. "A small chip."
Without a word the women reached into their pockets and purses and withdrew small bottles, vials, all kinds of containers. Each held an identical tiny spot like
the one he had personally removed from Scully's neck.
He leaned forward, actually rocking slightly to try to ease the pain which was physical now. "Are you under treatment?" He was looking at Penny but the question was for everyone.
"Yes. It hasn't helped Betsy, but there's nothing else available. Does your wife's
doctor have any recommendations?"
"My, my wife is a doctor."
Mulder watched her get ready, applying a bit more color to her cheeks and checking for circles under her eyes. "We can do this another night," he reminded
"We haven't seen them since we got back; just a couple of phone calls. Mom wants us to come over and I want to see them."
"I do too, Scully."
"I know. I'm fine, Mulder. We don't have to stay late."
He nodded, making no further comment.
He opened the car door and took her hand to help her out. "I thought that would stop now that we're an old married couple." She smiled slightly at him, trying to
get him to relax.
"Who you callin' 'old', woman?" He took her hand and led her to the house. The door opened before they could reach it, and Maggie stepped outside to greet them.
After hugs they were pulled inside and she called for William. He joined them from the back of the house, hugging Scully and shaking hands with Mulder.
Maggie turned Scully toward the kitchen to help her get dinner on the table and shooed the men toward William's den. "Dinner's almost ready," she tossed over her shoulder as she led her daughter away.
Mulder had barely gotten settled in 'his' seat when he heard Maggie's voice from the kitchen. "Dana!"
William would have said his reflexes were pretty good from a life in the military,
but Mulder was out of the room before William even processed the sound. Mulder burst into the kitchen to find Maggie supporting Scully, leading her toward
Maggie turned to Mulder. "I thought she was going to faint."
Mulder settled her in a kitchen chair and gently pressed her head down. "Scully?" he whispered in her ear; the question plain.
"I'm okay. I was just a little dizzy." She sat up, not quite meeting his eyes. Before she could reassure her parents, blood began pouring from her nose.
"Oh my god." Maggie snatched up a towel and Mulder took it from her. He held it against her face, forcing her to look at him.
"Here's some ice." William put the plastic bag from the freezer in his hand as well. Mulder nodded his thanks, then lifted Scully into his arms and carried her to
the den. He lay her gently on the couch, then sat beside her. He faced his inlaws holding her hand.
"What's going on?" Maggie's voice shook slightly, her eyes on her daughter.
"Mom, I'm - "
"Scully," he interrupted her gently. She seemed to deflate slightly, but she nodded to him.
He turned to face her parents. "Scully, uh, Dana, is ill."
"Ill how?" her father asked immediately.
"She has a tumor in her sinus cavity."
"Cancer," Maggie barely breathed the word. No one said anything for a long moment, then William took a seat beside the couch.
Reluctantly Scully met his eyes and nodded. The older man closed his eyes for an instant, then reached for her hand. Mulder released it to him and moved so that Maggie could take his seat at her side.
"How long have you known?" Maggie asked finally.
"Just a few weeks," Scully demurred.
Maggie turned to Mulder. "You knew. You knew before the wedding." It wasn't quite an accusation, but close.
"Why didn't you say anything, either of you? We have the right to - "
"Mom," Scully interrupted gently. "I wouldn't let him. I tried to turn down his
proposal, but - "
"You weren't even engaged?" William asked quietly, looking at Mulder.
William squeezed her hand. "Excuse me just a minute." He left the room as Mulder studied his shoes.
"Dana, talk to me," her mother insisted, pulling Scully's attention back. "Tell me
"Maggie - "
"No, Fox. I need to hear this from Dana," Maggie interrupted.
"Mom, I am taking care of myself. I'm seeing Dr. Adams; Karen recommended him and he seems very knowledgeable."
"And you kept this from us? Dana - "
"Mom, please. When I found out, when I found out I was in shock."
"And you called Mulder," her father said quietly as he returned to the room. His
nose was a little red, but he was steady again. "As you should have. I understand."
Maggie opened her mouth to protest, but William took her hand.
"I'm sorry. I should have said something sooner, but I didn't want to spoil the wedding, and with Missy . . . " Dana's voice broke then.
Maggie took her in her arms. "You're not supposed to protect us. That's our job;
but that's not important now. Tell me what this Dr. Adams is doing for you."
"I'm not actually taking any treatment at this time. We're still investigating options, Dr. Adams and I, and when we - "
"You can't wait, Dana. It's important to get started right away. What kind of thing
is he talking about?" Maggie was struggling to sound reasonable.
Scully glanced over at Mulder. "Mom . . . "
"What? What aren't you saying?"
"I'll talk to Dr. Adams again on Tuesday - "
"I want to go with you," Maggie insisted immediately.
"Mom, that's not necessary," Scully said gently.
"Of course it's necessary. You're my daughter. Fox, tell her that I need to go."
"Maggie . . . Let, let's have some dinner." Mulder took her hand and helped her to
her feet. She opened her mouth to protest, but William rose as well.
"Mulder's right. Let's put this aside for a little while. We have a lot to talk about
and we can't cover it all tonight. Come on, I'll help you in the kitchen." William
nodded to Mulder and took Maggie's arm.
When they were alone again, Mulder took Scully back into his arms. "I'm sorry," he said gently.
She let her head rest against his chest. "They had to know."
"Are you going to take her with you to see Dr. Adams?"
She sighed, wearily.
"Come on. Think you can eat anything?"
"I'll try." She managed a small smile, but it didn't last. He helped her to feet and
his arm went around her.
What little food was eaten was done in silence. Maggie and William would occasionally glance at Scully, but she remained focused on her plate. Mulder thought she hadn't noticed until she spoke quietly. "My appointment's at nine."
Maggie glance over at William then back at her. "Thank you. Would you like me to pick you up?"
"Uh, I'll, I'll be a work. I'll just meet you upstairs."
"You're still working?" her incredulous question caused Mulder to wince.
"Maggie - " William shook his head.
"Fine. I'll meet you there."
Mulder saw both women give the same nod and looked down to hide the small smile at the movement.
When dinner ended, Mulder and Scully took over the dishes; Mulder washing and Scully drying. Maggie kept quiet and put away the leftovers. Even William stayed and took the dried dishes from his daughter and put them away with a minimum of searching. No one mentioned that it was a little crowded and things did lighten up a little with her father's obvious cluelessness. Mulder was again
struck with how a real family drew closer when they needed each other instead of falling apart.
If the hugs were a little longer and tighter when they left, if wasn't mentioned.
William did take Mulder aside for just an instant, putting his arm around his son-
in-law's shoulder. "If you need anything, to talk, whatever, call me."
Mulder could only nod. William understood, holding Maggie as they watched the younger couple head for their car.
Once at their apartment, Mulder insisted she get ready for bed. He joined her there and pulled her into his arms. "You okay?"
"At least they know."
"Yes." He pulled her tighter against him and her eyes slipped close.
The phone call from Skinner had sent him racing for the airport. He had resisted
taking out of town cases, but this one had been impossible to avoid. When the hospital hadn't been able to find him, they had asked for his supervisor. Where the hell were Maggie and William?
He had used his badge to force his way onto the first flight available and upon landing, had raced to the hospital.
Maggie had accompanied Scully to her last appointment. Even Mulder could see how subdued Maggie was following that. He hadn't pushed himself on her parents, feeling the guilt of keeping this information from them. Okay, that had
been her idea, but he hadn't argued.
Had he really tried to get her to go to them? Had he just been selfish? No, he had gone along to protect her and to some extent her parents. They had accepted him and he hated that they were in pain. Hell, he was babbling even to himself.
The news that she was in the ICU caused him to falter, then he was on his way up the stairs. Skinner was in the waiting room and rose when he heard Mulder's voice at the nurse's station.
The younger man turned at the sound, but didn't seem to recognize his boss. "Mulder?" Skinner took his arm and led him into the small waiting room.
He resisted automatically. "I need to see her."
Skinner looked up at the clock. "Ten minutes. Have a seat and get your breath."
Skinner shook his head. "I'm not sure. Apparently she collapsed earlier. It was
a good thing she was here. They rushed her to the ER, then transferred her up here.
"Co-collapsed. I shouldn't have taken that case."
"Mulder, you have a job. Don't feel guilty about doing it. That said, if you need to
take a leave, I'll okay it."
Mulder nodded, he wouldn't be leaving town any time soon.
They sat in silence then until the nurse stepped into the small area. "Mr. Mulder?
You can see your wife now."
As much as he wanted, needed, to see her, he froze at those words. Skinner rose to his feet and took hold of Mulder's arm. That galvanized the younger man and he nodded to Skinner and followed the nurse through the automatic doors.
He followed the woman to the cubicle and finally saw her. He had to stop at the sight. He bent over, his hands on his knees. His mouth was open, trying to get air into his lungs.
". . . lder? Sir?" He finally became aware that the nurse was speaking to him. He forced himself back upright and ignoring the nurse, moved to her bedside. There were tubes in both arms; blood in her left and a clear fluid in her right. There was an oxygen cannula in her nose and wires leading to monitors that beeped and drew lines and basically scared him to death.
He leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Scully, I'm here. I won't leave you. Please,
open your eyes."
"Mr. Mulder, you can stay here for ten minutes. I'll . . . " She realized he couldn't
hear her and backed away.
He sank into the chair beside the bed and carefully took her hand. He couldn't remember ever being this scared. Maybe when Samantha was taken, but he didn't think so. It was too soon, it was happening too quickly. He had to find something to help her. He had to.
One of the nurses started to move toward him when his ten minutes were over. The nurse that had led him back stopped her. She shook her head and the second nurse looked over at the man, then nodded.
It was later when a nurse finally approached him. He looked up and immediately shook his head. "Has it been ten minutes?"
She smiled softly. "Its been thirty-five, sir."
His eyes widened and he looked down at his watch.
"We have to run a few tests. You can come back at the top of the hour." He started to protest but she just shook her head. "I'm sure there are phone calls you need to make."
He nodded his assent then and reluctantly rose. He gave Scully another kiss, squeezed her hand and forced himself to leave the cubicle.
To his surprise, Skinner was waiting for him. "How is she?"
Mulder shook his head. "I don't know. I haven't seen a doctor yet." He sank onto the small couch. "I need to find her parents."
"There's still no answer at their home. I haven't left any more messages."
Mulder nodded. "I'll call Charlie. Maybe he knows something." He rose again, unable to sit still. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number.
"Professor Scully please."
"He's in class. May I take a message?"
"This is urgent. Ask him to call Mulder. 201-555-8540."
"8540, I'll find him, sir."
Mulder broke the connection after a quick thank you and looked over at Skinner. "She's going to find him."
"You want any coffee?" Skinner asked.
"Uh, yeah. That'd be good."
"I'll be right back."
The elevator doors were just closing when the cell phone in his hand rang. "Mulder."
"It's Charlie. What happened?" The concerned voice of his brother-in-law sounded in Mulder's ear.
"Scu-Dana's in the hospital. I can't find your parents. I was out of town; Skinner
"I know Mom and Dad were talking about going to see Mom's sister, Connie, for her birthday, but they wouldn't leave town when you were gone unless - "
"She didn't tell them," they said together. "Damn," Mulder breathed. "How can I
"How bad is she?"
"She's in intensive care. I just got here and I haven't seen a doctor."
"Okay, you concentrate on her. I'll call Aunt Connie. I'm sure they're on their
way back by now, but I'll make sure. If they're on the road . . . "
"Tomorrow they'll both have cell phones," Mulder said decisively.
"Amen. Mulder, do I need to come?"
There was a pause, then Mulder spoke, sounding exhausted. "I don't know. Let me talk to the doctor. I'll call you back."
"Okay. I'll let you know about the folks." Both seemed reluctant to actually break
the connection, but Mulder saw Scully's oncologist step off the elevator.
"Gotta go. I'll call." He hung up and hurried to the doctor's side. "Dr. Tucker?"
"Mr. Mulder, I'm glad they found you."
"Dana had a bad hemorrhage, but she was here and they got her to the ER very quickly. She's had two pints of blood and is working on the third."
Mulder winced. "Why isn't she waking up?"
"I'm sure she'll be waking up soon. Her vitals were much better when I checked her a few minutes ago. She went into shock, losing blood as quickly as she did, but she's strong, Mr. Mulder. I've known Dana for a while, she's going to fight this as long as she can."
Mulder looked past him then. "I need to see her."
"Sure, go on in. They said you were with her when her vitals strengthened. I don't mind using you some more." The doctor smiled at him and moved out of his way. Mulder stared at him for a moment, then shook his head.
"Th-thanks." He hurried back to her bedside.
When his phone rang, he grabbed it before the nurse had time to scowl at him. He wasn't supposed to have it on here. "Mulder," he was whispering.
"It's Charlie. I talked to Connie. Mom and Dad left about three hours ago, so they should be home in a couple of hours. I didn't tell her anything; I didn't know
if she knew Dana was sick. How's she doing?"
"They say her vitals are stronger. She hasn't woken up, but Dr. Tucker seems pleased."
They were both silent for a moment. "You, uh, you with her?"
"Yeah. They're letting me stay."
"Good. That'll do her the most good. I'll let you get back to her. Mulder, Mulder
"I will, and I'll call your parents in a couple of hours." When they hung up, he
turned back to Scully, taking her hand. Almost immediately he felt her fingers curl slightly around his hand.
"Scully? Scully, can you hear me? It's Mulder."
Her eyes fluttered but didn't open. He was already pressing the call button.
A nurse came on the run. "She's waking up," he said urgently.
"I'll get Dr. Tucker." She smiled at him and hurried away.
"Just take it easy, Baby. You're in the hospital and your friends are taking good
care of you. I'm gonna be right here beside you."
Her lips curved upwards slightly at that. He leaned down and kissed her brow. Dr. Tucker's arrival caused him to look away for an instant. When he looked back, her eyes were open and focused on him.
"Hi," he said softly. Her hand tightened slightly around his fingers.
"Mr. Mulder, we need to check Dana out."
"I won't get in your way," he responded instantly.
"Mulder, it's okay," her voice was low but she nodded to him.
His brow furrowed, but there really wasn't much room. He brought her fingers to his lips. "I'll be just outside. If they get rough with you, just yell. I'll hear you."
She did smile then. "I know."
Reluctantly he stepped away and her fingers slipped from his hand. He backed out and when she was out of sight, he turned and moved toward the waiting room.
A nurse stopped him at the desk. "Mr. Mulder? The other gentleman left a note for you." She handed him a folded slip of paper and he nodded his thanks. He made his way back to the small waiting area and took a seat. He opened the note.
"Mulder, I will be in my office if you need me. You also have my cell phone. Please let me know how she's doing. Skinner."
Mulder nodded to himself. He should call him and Charlie, but right now he felt paralyzed. He'd know more when Dr. Tucker came out, and when he could look into her eyes again.
He was on his feet instantly when Dr. Tucker appeared at the door. "How . . . "
The doctor gave him a slight smile. "Her vitals are much stronger. We want to keep an eye on her here in ICU for a couple of hours. If she doesn't have any more nosebleeds, we'll move her to a regular room."
"The, the cancer . . . "
"I'll schedule a PET scan for tomorrow morning."
"It's worse, though, isn't it?"
"Mr. Mulder, I don't want to speculate. Why don't you go back and be with her. I
know she feels better when you're close by."
"You know . . .?"
"She's mentioned it to me several times." At the stunned look on Mulder's face, Dr. Tucker squeezed Mulder's shoulder. "Go on."
Mulder lost no time complying.
When they moved her to a regular room in a couple of hours, Mulder placed a call to her parents home. He closed his eyes in relief when he heard William's voice answer.
"Dad, it's Mulder."
"Mulder, what's wrong?"
"Sc-Dana's in the hospital. She's doing a lot better. They're moving her to a regular room right now."
"She had a really bad nosebleed, and uh, she's better now. She's at Georgetown."
"We'll be right there."
"Take your time, really, she's a lot better. Be careful. I'll be here."
"Son, are you okay?"
"Yeah," he said nearly steadily.
"Okay. We'll be there shortly."
When Mulder hung up, he dialed Charlie. The phone was picked up on the first ring. "Mulder?"
"Yeah. She's doing better. They're moving her to a regular room but they're going to keep her for a little while. And I got hold of your Dad. They're on the
way over now."
"Thank goodness. I'll let you get back to her, but please call me if there's any
"I will. Th-thank you for being there."
"Mulder, we're brothers. I'm here."
Mulder couldn't speak. A brother? His brother. "I, uh . . . "
"Go be with her, Mulder. I'll talk to you tonight."
Mulder nodded though he knew Charlie couldn't see and listened as Charlie broke the connection. He started moving toward her room then, picking up his pace the closer he got.
His exhaustion and relief that she was at least out of the ICU caught up with him
once he was back at her side. He lowered his head to her bed, not releasing her hand.
The sound of the door barely registered, but Maggie's stifled gasp woke him immediately. Mulder hurried to her side and gave her a hug, then motioned for her to take the chair he'd occupied.
He turned to William then, offering his hand. The hand was ignored as William hugged the younger man to him. Mulder returned the hug, struggling with his composure. Had his own father hugged him in the last thirty years?
"Tell us what happened." William led Mulder to the other visitor chair and motioned for him to take the seat.
"I wasn't here. I'm sorry. I was sent out of town on a case. AD Skinner called
me when the hospital couldn't find any of us. I didn't realize you were planning a
trip out of town. I know she didn't want any of us thinking she couldn't look after .
. . That was one of her biggest arguments against marrying me, that she would hold me back. She doesn't get that I want . . . "
"This is not your fault, son. We'll all have to talk to her about keeping secrets
from us when she's a little stronger. What caused her to be admitted?"
"Nose bleed, apparently a bad one. She was in intensive care until just before I
called you. They had to give her three pints of blood - "
"Three?" Maggie interrupted. William moved over to her and rubbed her shoulders. She didn't release Scully's hand.
"I'm sure Dr. Tucker will be in to see her soon. He can tell you more, but he was
pleased with her progress, and he did move her out of ICU."
Maggie nodded and turned back to her daughter. William moved back over to Mulder. "You look done in."
Mulder gave him a weary smile. "I was in Wisconsin when I got the call. I don't
have a clue where my luggage might be."
Before William could respond to that there was a tap on the door and it opened. Dr. Tucker entered. Mulder introduced her parents and the doctor shook hands with them both. "If you'll let me do a quick exam, then I'll talk with you."
Slowly Maggie rose from her chair and they all stepped out into the hall. "Can I
get you something, Mom? The coffee's not very good, but it is strong."
She shook her head and moved closer to William. "She'll be okay, won't she?"
William put his arm around her and held her close. No one answered her.
When the doctor joined them he was smiling. "She's doing much better. She's awake and asking for you Mr. Mulder."
"Thanks. Do you know when I can take her home?"
Maggie immediately started to protest, but the doctor beat her to it. "Not for at
least 24-hours. I want to do an MRI, see how things are progressing."
"Pr-progressing?" Maggie said quickly.
"You know she's refusing conventional treatment. I'm keeping an eye on her. I'll
probably release her tomorrow afternoon. Go on in, she needs to see you." Dr. Tucker touched her shoulder, nodded to the men and moved to the nurses' station.
Mulder and William followed Maggie inside.
"Mom? Ahab? I thought you went to see Aunt Connie."
"We'll discuss that later, young lady."
"Young, young lady?" Scully smiled at her mother. "I'm in trouble?"
Maggie shook her head and took Scully's hand. "How do you feel?"
"A little spacey, but I'm fine." She looked over at Mulder. "I am fine."
He nodded, but didn't speak. Her eyes filled with tears and he moved closer. "It's okay. Don't, please don't cry." He held her against him gently.
"Don't be angry with me."
He shook his head. "Never. But you're not getting me out of town again. Dr. Tucker is too good looking."
She gave a shaky chuckle then. "Okay. No more sneaking around with Chris. He can't compare anyway."
"Good to hear. I'd have to have to pull my gun."
"You look tired," she caressed his face.
"I'm good. I think your Mom needs some time with you."
"I know. Listen, why don't you go home and get a little rest."
"Leave? You've already made a date with this Chris?"
"Go on, Mulder. You look like the type to ignore visiting hours anyway."
"Who me?" He glanced back at his in-laws. They did need some time with her. He gave her a quick kiss and nodded. "I'll give you guys a little time. But I'm not
leaving you alone with this Chris guy any more." He kissed her again and moved away.
William followed Mulder out of the room. "Mulder, son, Maggie needs this. Go on home and take a shower, get a good night's sleep. You know I'll call you if there's any change."
The anguished look on the younger man's face caused the older man to look away. "I'm not throwing you out, son. You need some time away."
"I, I know. You will call."
"Of course I will. Take a little time; you know we're not trying to keep you away."
Mulder nodded and after another look in the direction of her room, he headed for the elevators.
Once in the car, he realized he couldn't return to their apartment. The very thought of being there without her made him sick. Instead he turned toward his friends' place.
Langly opened the door and looked his friend up and down. "You look like shit, man. Did you sleep in those clothes?"
Mulder ignored him and moved around the man, not waiting for an invitation. Byers joined them. "Mulder?"
"She's in the hospital."
Frohike hurried into the main room when he heard those words. "How bad?"
Mulder looked out the window rather than answer.
"Mulder," Byers drew his attention back. "You haven't told us about your trip to
Mulder met his eyes and took a deep breath.
Mulder had his head back on the back of the sofa, his eyes closed. There was a glass of iced tea on the table in front of him, the ice mostly melted. Langly sat
looking at his beer bottle. Frohike took another long drink of his whiskey. Byers
glanced at Frohike, but said nothing. He reached for his own iced tea but then decided against it and leaned back.
Frohike stared down into the whiskey as though it held all the answers. "So all of
these women developed the same . . . disease." No one responded, there was nothing to say. "And they all developed it after they removed their implants."
Mulder looked up then, staring at the little man. "Say that again."
"They got it after they . . . " Mulder turned to look at Byers.
Byers was already sitting up straighter. "Mulder?"
"They all took it out. If they hadn't, Byers, if they hadn't . . . "
"I don't know." Byers was thinking frantically. "Do you think that - "
"It can't be a coincidence," Frohike interrupted, catching up.
"Put it back in," Langly said emphatically.
"But if it's a tracking device," Byers mused looking over at Mulder.
"That M-O hasn't come up again in any case since she killed it. Believe me, I've
Byers nodded. That he believed. "Mulder, I don't want you to get your . . . I mean, it's a computer chip."
"It's something to try. That's more than we've had before. I've got to get to the
"Mulder, you need a nap and a shower. Yes, go home, but clean up, change. Take a short nap. We'll wake you in a few hours. You said yourself she'd been moved from the ICU."
"Byers is right," Frohike agreed, nodding. "You can't run yourself into the ground
and expect to be there for her."
"Yeah, okay. I just need to go the apartment. I'll be fine." He was already hurrying to the door. He didn't look back as the guys watched him leave.
"He's not gonna be taking any nap," Langly mused.
"Nope," Frohike agreed. "I just wish we could do something."
Mulder let himself into the apartment and for the first time wondered where his luggage might be. He'd have to check into that sometime. For now he had more important things to do. He hurried to their bedroom and yanked open her top dresser drawer. He searched around in it for a few seconds, completely destroying the nice orderly stacks of her lingerie. Toward the back of the drawer
his hand knocked a small prescription bottle. He snatched it up and looked at it.
Yes, the minuscule disk was inside. His hand closed protectively around the small orange bottle as he moved toward the door, leaving the drawer open and one of her bras trailing out.
When he arrived back at the hospital, he hurried to her room, but stopped just outside to look through the glass panel of the door. Her mother was beside her, in the seat he had used. She was holding Scully's hand and moving something with her other hand. It took him a moment to realize Maggie held a crucifix and was praying.
Scully seemed to be asleep and he didn't see William. Wait there he was in the corner, watching the two women. Mulder opened the door quietly and both of her parents looked over at him.
William put his hand on Mulder's arm. "You couldn't have gotten any rest."
"No, but I, I need to talk to you for just a minute."
William looked back at Maggie, then nodded. "Why don't we go to the cafeteria. Maggie, can I bring you anything?"
Maggie shook her head, so the two men left her alone with Scully. "Mulder - "
"I'm not asking Maggie to leave her side. I found something and, and I need to talk to you, privately."
William's brow furrowed, but he led the younger man to the elevators.
There was little activity in the cafeteria at that time of day, so they took their
coffee to a table in a quiet corner away from the few other patrons.
"What is it, son?"
Again that word, son, caused Mulder to hesitate for an instant, then he looked his
father-in-law in the eye. "I need to talk about Melissa's murder."
William blinked. "Excuse me?"
"You're not going to believe what I have to tell you. I can only hope that you won't have me committed, but you need to know some background."
William looked deep into his son-in-laws eyes and after a moment, nodded. He leaned back, taking his cup of coffee with him. "Okay, I'm listening."
William was no longer leaning back. Both men were silent and Mulder could feel the older man's eyes searching his face, trying to get into his mind. Hell, William
was probably trying to figure out how many men it would take to get him into a straight jacket. Mulder waited, he'd run out of anything to say. More would only
make it worse.
Finally William broke his gaze, looking down at his empty cup. "You're saying that my daughter killed an extraterrestrial that murdered her sister, saving both of
Mulder squared his shoulders. "Yes, sir."
"May I see the chip?" He held out his hand and Mulder reluctantly placed the vial
in William's hand. William squinted at it, holding the container up to the light.
"You think removing this caused her illness."
Mulder met his eyes and nodded.
"How did she know that the back of the neck - "
"She didn't. Neither of us did. It was a lucky break."
"But you knew that it was looking for her."
Mulder recognized William's statement was really a question. "Not at first. I was
brought in because of the serial nature of the killings. They were all over the country. The men and women had nothing in common in life that anyone had reported, yet they all had that signature wound in the back of the neck, postmortem. The other agents were . . . convinced it was nothing, but it was all I had."
"Melissa didn't have the chip."
"No, sir. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Her resemblance to Scully may have caused a momentary confusion, but he knew he had the wrong woman immediately," Mulder hesitated then, he was talking about this man's daughter.
"Go on," the older man said after a moment.
"There was no way a man could have followed us. Even if he had seen me take Scully to the hotel, we would have lost him at the airport. The rental car we took
hadn't even been cleaned; but he found us in Rhode Island in less than 24 hours."
William looked at the orange vial again. "If this is a tracking device, what would
stop something else from coming for her?"
"The murders stopped when Scully killed it. There hasn't been another one reported, and believe me, I've checked. The M-O is on every data base for police, both here and internationally."
"I never told you that I recognized your father when we met."
Mulder blinked at the change in topic. "Uh, no."
William nodded. "I'd heard of him when I was working at the Pentagon, years ago. He was working on a project there. It was completely hush-hush. In fact they moved him and his team out of the Pentagon not long after I got there. I had a security clearance, not top level but, anyway your father's was lightyears
above mine. There were rumors about that team, things people laughed about quietly; that they were part of Blue Book, MJ. I didn't believe it and kept my head
down, did as I was ordered. I'd forgotten about it completely until you introduced
me to your parents. He didn't remember me; there was no reason he should.
"I don't know. What I do know is that all of those women in Allentown removed theirs and they all got sick. All of them. I don't know if there are other people out
there, still healthy, who still have the chip in their necks. I wouldn't even know
how to start an investigation on that. But they got sick after it was removed. What if it was put back - that's all I want to know."
"Are you asking my permission to try this?"
"No, I, well yes, I guess I am. I want to talk to Scully about it of course, but . . .
William, I have to try something. I've just gotten her in my life. I can't lose . . ."
The look of anguish on the younger man's face made William look away. Finally he turned back. "I understand. I don't think we should mention this to Maggie. Not right away in any case. Let's do it and see what happens." He saw the look of hope that blossomed on Mulder's face and had to look away again.
"Yes, sir. I think that's a good idea," Mulder's voice was husky. This man, whose
respect he so wanted had listened, maybe even believed a little.
"I don't think we should get into a debate with the doctors either. I want you to
put it back. You know where it goes. And I know you would never intentionally hurt my daughter."
"No, sir," Mulder's voice was only a whisper.
William nodded. "Come on, I'm sure Maggie needs a break herself now."
"You, you believe me," Mulder sounded overwhelmed at the thought.
"I believe you believe; and I want to save my Starbuck. This will be just between
the two of us."
Mulder nodded solemnly. They rose together and started for Scully's room.
"Mulder, you and I have a lot to talk about, soon."
"I look forward to it."
"I'll get it," Mulder called back toward the back of the apartment when the doorbell rang. He opened the door and stopped, shocked. The woman stepped inside and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"I know my coming here is a surprise, but I wanted to see you and meet this Scully of yours."
"You look wonderful," he smiled back at her, welcoming her inside.
"Mulder, who - " They turned as Scully joined them from the bedroom. She stopped when she saw the strange woman.
"Scully, this is a good friend of mine, Penny Northern. Penny, my wife, Dana Mulder."
Scully stepped forward then and Penny saw her hand smooth the fabric over her protruding stomach, protectively caressing the child growing within her.
"I am so please to meet you, Dana. So very pleased to meet you."
If you enjoyed this story, please feed the author.
Title: Sisters Remembered
Details: 126k · R · Standalone · 12/20/05 · Email/Website
Gossamer Category(Keywords): Story [Romance, Angst] (Alternate universe)
SUMMARY: Continuation of the Sisters Remembered Universe
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