The phone startled Scully, she hadnít realized how engrossed sheíd been in her work. "Hello?"
"Is Fox there?"
"Yes. Dana is that you?"
"Yes. Mulderís not here."
"So, you two are still together? How cozy."
"Can I take a message?" God, Phoebe could push her buttons so easily. No wonder Mulder avoided even mentioning her.
"Could you tell Fox I returned his call and Iím panting to talk to him."
"Iíll give him the message."
"Thanks, Ducky. TaÖ" and the phone went dead.
Scully had an overwhelming desire to go wash her hands. But why was Mulder calling Phoebe? She better not dwell on that, getting angry wouldnít do any good. She tried to get back to her report, but her concentration was broken. Damn, where was Mulder anyway?
As if on cue he entered the office, balancing two coffees and two bagels.
"Thanks, Mulder. But I just lost my appetite. You missed a phone call."
She waited for some reaction, surely there would be one if he were waiting for a call from Phoebe. Nothing.
"Yeah, who called?"
"Phoebe returned your call."
PhÖ..Phoebe? My call?"
"Itís okay, Mulder. You donít have to explain anything."
"But I didnít call her. Is that what she said?"
"Typical Phoebe. She does love the games." He distributed the coffee and bagels and turned on his computer.
"Arenít you going to call? Or are you waiting for me to leave?"
"You can stay, Iím just not sure I want to talk with her."
"I think you should call."
"There was somethingÖ..when she asked if we were still together. I think you ought to call. Let me know when itís safe."
"Donít leave, Scully. Please."
She looked deeply into his eyes, then nodded and took her seat again.
He picked up the phone and dialed. She forced herself to remember his photographic memory when he didnít have to look up the number.
"Phoebe Green please." He couldnít seem to keep his hands still.
"Mulder, Love! Good of you to be so prompt."
"No problem, especially since I was suppose to be the one initiating the call."
"Did I say that?"
"You know you did. Nevermind. What did you need? Another case you need help with?"
"No Mulder. Nothing like that. It turns out this is on the personal side."
"Mulder, I need to tell you something. IÖ..damn, this is harder than I thought it would be."
"Just say it, Phoebe. Whatís going on?"
"It seems I have AIDS, Mulder."
"What?" Scully looked up to see the blood drain from his face.
"Mulder?" She stood to move closer to him. He shook his head at her.
"Say that again."
"Oh, I think you heard me correctly, Mulder Love. Doctor insists I should inform my past Ďrelationshipsí and you top that list."
"AreÖare you okay?"
"Of course, Love. I wonít let a little thing like this get me down. But it is important you get tested, and your chipÖ"
"Listen, Mulder. Would you call and tell meÖ..please."
"Yeah, yeah, IíllÖ..Iíll do that."
"Are you going to be okay?"
"Sure. Iíll be in touch. Goodbye Phoebe."
He missed the phone on the first try to replace the handset, but managed the second time. Scully reached over to touch his hand, but he evaded her.
"I need to, uhÖ..IÖ..Iíll see you later."
"Mulder, no. Mulder donít leave. Mulder!" But he was already out the door, nearly running. Her fear rose several notches.
What had that witch done now?
He hadnít slowed by the time he left the building. He didnít even bother with his car, he needed to walk, think, something. His cell phone trilled and he shut it off. He couldnít talk to her now. For the first time ever he was glad he and Scully had never made love. But look what it took for him to feel that way.
He found himself at the reflecting pool, his anger finally overtaking his fear. Would Phoebe never stop destroying his life? He needed to get tested, but he wasnít even sure where to go. Scully would know. No! How could he go to her with this? Surely he was okay. At least he hadnít repeated any stupid mistakes when Phoebe had been in the states. Thatís right, it had been years. What was the gestation of HIV? Scully wouldÖ..damn it.
It was getting dark when he finally stood. He trudged back to the office and avoiding everyone went straight to his car. Once home he could find out what he needed on the web. There had to be thousands of sites with the information he needed.
He entered the apartment and flipped on the light. He was removing his coat when he realized she was there.
She spoke before he could.
"Mulder, Iím sorry. I had to come." Concern colored her voice.
"Yeah, well Iím here now and you know Iím safe, so you can leave."
"Iím not going anywhere. Not until I know what Phoebe did to you." She hadnít meant to stress Phoebeís name like that, but she was so worried, and it was her fault. There was no doubt about that.
"You donít need to worry." His voice was flat.
"Thatís where youíre wrong Mulder. I do have to worry. Something has shaken you to the core and sheís behind it."
"I canít talk to you about this."
"Thatís what scares me the most. That thereís something you think we canít talk about."
"ScullyÖ.." He had to get her out of here, he couldnít face her now.
"No! Iím not leaving here until you tell me what sheís done."
"You donít want to know!" He turned away from her, but she grabbed him and pulled him back toward her.
"Yes, Mulder. I do." God, his eyes were so bleak. What the hell had she done?
He lowered himself onto the couch.
"She has AIDS. She had to call and warn me."
"Oh, Mulder." She put her arms around him. "Itís okay."
"You donít understand."
"I do, Mulder. You are not HIV positive."
"You canít be sure of that." But she heard the hope creep back into his voice.
"Yes I can. Iím tested regularly, Mulder. Itís part of my job."
"But weíve neverÖ.."
"No, but how many times have I been up to my elbows in your blood?"
"Oh god." He groaned and put his face in his hands. "I didnítÖ.."
"Youíre okay, Mulder. Weíll go get you tested, just to reassure you. But Iím sure youíre fine. As many times as youíve been injured, HIV would have shown up on one of your hospital visits. Iíve seen all of your charts, Mulder. As your private physician, I know you are fine. And youíre going to stay that way. I know, Mulder look at me, I know because if I ever catch you with another woman, Iím going to kill you."
"Scully?" His eyes widened, she never talked like this.
"Well, after I kill her, of course." She smiled at him. "What? You donít believe me?" She brushed the hair off his forehead.
"Scully." He whispered as she took him into her arms.
"Is thisÖis this how you felt when they diagnosed your cancer?"
"No, no I didnít have the added fear of losing you. I knew youíd always be there when I needed you. Thatís something I guess you need to learn about me. Even if you were to get some illness or grow old or whatever, youíre not getting rid of me.
He had finally started to calm down. They were on the couch, he had placed her between his legs, her back against his chest. He seemed more comfortable when she couldnít see his face. Whatever was best for him.
Now might not be the best time, but she needed to make him talk.
"Why Phoebe?" He tensed behind her.
"I thought I loved her."
"Thatís not love, Mulder." His arms tightened around her.
"I know that now." He took a deep breath. "The main cornerstone of our relationship was her infidelity and seeing how she could win me back. It was her favorite game."
Scully closed her eyes. AIDS or not she could cheerfully throttle that bitch right here and now. Couldnít she see how damaged he was before she met him, then to do this to him.
"Did you not use any protection?"
"You have to remember when this was. AIDS wasnít a heterosexual disease. Hell, Reagan had just gone two full terms without saying the word. And I was in England. Maybe if Iíd been in the states I would have paid more attention, but I doubt it. And she was on the pill. That was all the protection anyone thought you needed. Ms. Green did not want to be saddled with any children, at least not mine."
Scully snuggled her back in closer to his chest.
"That comment about killing any other women. That sounded a trifle possessive."
She turned then, and sat back on her knees, looking him straight in the eyes. "Damn right Iím possessive, and itís time you knew it. Thereíll be no more Phoebeís, or Bambiís, or Detective Whiteís. And if a Mulder Special wanders into one of our cases I expect you to turn tail andÖ"
"Whatís a Mulder Special?"
"Tall, blond and busty."
"When did that become a Mulder Special?"
"Iíve seen enough of your videos to knowÖ.."
"Nevermind." His face was turning pink. She reached over to caress the stubble.
"You better be careful, Scully. Iím going to start believing you care about me."
She rolled her eyes. "The light finally dawns. You know, for a smart man sometimes I worry about you finding your way home alone."
"Home. Would that be your place or mine?"
"Wherever we are Mulder. Wherever we are."