She woke to find herself on his side of the bed and him nowhere in reach. She glanced over, but the bathroom door was open and the light out. There was no noise from the main room, but she rose anyway, stretching carefully. She opened the door but he wasn't there. That caused her to quickly look outside, but the car was gone. For an instant she felt total panic.
She fled back to the bedroom, but then just sank onto the bed, completely clueless as to what to do.
Dana had no idea how long she had sat there when she heard the door open. She rose and stepped back into the main room. He looked over and smiled but at her expression emptied his hands on the first flat surface and rushed to her side.
"You were gone."
"No, I, I just went to get us some coffee and breakfast and the Washington Post. I thought I'd be back before you woke up."
She glanced over at his hastily discarded items, seeing the bag and the carrier with two steaming coffees. She closed her eyes and felt his arms go around her. "I wouldn't leave you."
"I couldn't feel you," she whispered leaning against him.
"Feel me," he repeated, then led her to the table. He opened her coffee, and she inhaled the fragrance and her hand went around it. He sat opposite her and pulled a pastry from the bag along with several napkins.
He waited until she had finished roughly half of her coffee and managed to nibble a little at the sweet fruit thing in front of her.
"You felt me yesterday morning, when I was in trouble."
She nodded, not looking up at him.
"You knew to call 911. The police got there just as things started to happen. I thought I was alone. I opened my apartment door and stepped inside. Before I could close the door those two men were inside with me. Apparently they had orders not to kill me, they never pulled guns, but - " He stopped at her shudder. "You knew."
"I felt it," she said simply, not attempting to explain.
"I never told you what happened outside the bank." She looked up puzzled. "I was there, the negotiator was trying to get him to pick up and we all heard the sound of his gun going off. Dana," he touched her chin to bring her eyes up to his. "I fell back at the impact."
Her mouth fell open. "Wha - "
"I felt you shot, then I was running to you. My supervisor saw it, he'll probably never mention it, but he definitely saw it. And that first night I was at your parents' house, just before you cried out from your nightmare, I tensed, I knew it was coming. Your father saw that, I caught him watching me afterward. I knew it was going to happen."
"I don't know, unless we're linked somehow. I noticed you at the Bureau that day, I found you very attractive, but when I realized you were one of the hostages, I was crazed for a minute. I didn't know you, hell we'd spent four and a half minutes together, but I was terrified for you. Seeing Randy come out of that bank . . ." He stopped and closed his eyes.
Her hand came to rest over his. "I know. That's how I felt yesterday morning." They were both silent for a moment. "Why?"
He met her eyes then, understanding her question and shook his head. "I don't know. You said you couldn't 'feel' me this morning. I wasn't in danger, and I was happy."
"Yeah, holding you all night made me happy." She blushed then and looked away. Happy, yes that could describe how she had felt in his arms last night. "When you're all healed, I think I could be even happier." He gave her a sappy grin and laughed. She pulled her hands away.
"I am still married."
"Technically maybe, but you fulfill the conditions for an annulment."
"How do you know that?"
"My geek friends can look up all kinds of things."
"How are you, we, how are we able to feel these things?" Dana went back to their original conversation.
"I'm thinking it has to have something to do with what we both went through. I wasn't taken, but I was there when they took Samantha. I don't remember everything that happened, I wasn't a test subject, there wasn't time. Something happened to me though. I've never woken up in a strange place, not knowing what happened - even in college," he chuckled, the sobered again. "When I got out of the hospital, went back to school, I was different."
"Before that night, I was at best a B student in math. I did okay in English, history but math was not my thing. When I got back, it was . . . clear. I understood what I hadn't before. And I became more intuitive. That's not exactly a good thing at that age, but I was able to read people's faces, I knew what they were going to do before they did it. That kinda freaked me out. I still played basketball, but it was weird because I knew the moves the other players were going to make, their expression, the move of a shoulder or knee . . . "
She was watching him. "That's a great thing in a profiler."
"Yeah, but a 'spooky' thing in middle and high school. I moved to the more solitary sports, track and swimming. That's when I turned into more of a loner."
"My memory. It got scary good. I didn't have an eidetic memory before that night."
She blinked at that. "You're sure."
It wasn't really a question, but he answered anyway. "It's not the kind of thing you don't notice before."
"No, I guess not. Why didn't I get any of that?"
"What do you mean?"
"You 'feel' me now. Maybe you got it too, and because of Paul's drugs you haven't had the chance to realize it."
"You think . . . "
"We can look at it, test a little, if you want."
She straightened up at that. "Is there anything in the paper?"
"Haven't checked." He allowed the change in subject, and pulled it to him. He began searching while she finished her pastry and took another sip of coffee. After a minute or two he smiled. "Here's something - 'Research Scientist Questioned in Disappearance of Wife'." He quickly scanned the article. "Those guys are good. I think they hacked into the AP and posted this themselves. Oh, and here's something else. 'Rouche Pharmaceuticals Using Humans in Trials'." He laughed then. "I should have turned these guys lose on the public a long time ago."
He handed her the paper and she quickly read both articles. "Paul is going to be furious."
"You don't have to worry about him, Dana. It's in the light now, he can't get to you."
"Will Ahab be in trouble for giving a false report?"
"No. You ran because you discovered what your husband had been doing to you. You were afraid and hid. When you heard about the search, you contacted your parents. They won't be in trouble."
After scanning the report again, she nodded.
"Go get dressed. There're some nice trails around here. We're here to relax and there're some places I'd like you to see."
Dana smiled then and left him to clean up while she dressed.
They had a very nice, relaxing day. He showed her the tree where he and Samantha had carved their initials as children and where he had learned to swim and water ski. It was quiet, only the full timers here now as the weather grew cooler.
When he checked in that night, the guys were crowing about how many papers had picked up their story. The police had indeed questioned Paul at his office in Atlanta which, lo and behold, was not in a financial institute but in the offices of Rouche Pharmaceuticals. They had caught him off guard, and he had apparently been less than gracious. In fact, he had been taken away handcuffed after assaulting one of the officers.
The maternal grandparents of Randy Forrester had been located and were in touch with authorities. Lilith Forrester was deceased and her parents were now pushing for an investigation.
"We've only been gone two days," Mulder said stunned.
"You underestimate us, G-man," Langly laughed into the phone. "Her parents are worried about her."
"She's doing fine, relaxing, getting herself back together. Ask them not to worry."
"Will do, what else do you need?"
"Nothing for now. We'll still be here tomorrow. She needs to be strong to face whatever's there when we get back."
"We'll keep the flames going. Take care." They broke the connection and he leaned against the pay phone kiosk, shaking his head.
He looked around then and slipped back into the car. No one was paying him any attention and no one followed him back to the house. He'd given the car a much more thorough search for bugs that afternoon and was confident about that at least.
Dana was popping popcorn when he returned. He pulled out the tea pitcher and they settled on the couch while he brought her up to date.
When he had finished she sat there goggling at him. "They, they work fast."
He chuckled. "Don't know why I haven't been using them in investigations for years."
"Do you really think this is going to work? Do you think I'll be free of him?"
"I promise you that, Dana. Whatever else happens, I'm going to make sure of that. You, you haven't told me. What do you want to do when you're free?"
"I'd like to go back to school," she said immediately. "Before all this happened I was doing my internship at Georgetown."
"Do you know what kind of doctor you want to be?"
"No. There're some I can cross off now, but I have to do residencies in all of them before I finish. If I can get back in, that is. There are some I can go ahead and cross off in my head - pediatrics, gerontology, and psychiatry."
"After being a 'mother' to Randy . . ." she shrugged. "And you're the mind guy; I wouldn't want to compete there."
"But is there any way anyone would allow me back into a program anywhere?"
"The drugs," he questioned.
She nodded. "I forgot everything while I was missing."
"But you've gotten it back. You were still being drugged until a few days ago. Now look at you. You're totally different from the woman I saw in that hospital bed a week ago."
"Do I dare ask which you like better?" She was trying to tease, but he saw her fear.
"This one," he said firmly. "The other one was attractive and I was drawn to her, but this one is real and strong and, and what I've been looking for."
She blinked at that, unable to think of anything to say.
"You're hogging the popcorn," he said softly to break the mood and it worked. She chuckled and handed him the bowl.
"Are we going back tomorrow?"
"Let's check the paper first, see what's happening. Are you in a hurry to get home?"
She shook her head and leaned against him. His arm went around her and they sat in comfortable silence.
After a while, he looked down at her. "I don't think you're going to have nightmares tonight."
"You're comfortable with yourself again."
"What are you thinking?" she looked at him curiously.
"Well," he looked away for a moment. "I think I better sleep out here tonight."
"Why?" she demanded.
"You're married," he said simply.
"I was married last night too," she pointed out.
"I know that, but . . . Listen, no pun intended, but it's getting harder and harder to just hold you."
She blinked, then the most beautiful smile took over her face, knocking the breath from his chest. "Maybe we should stop fighting it."
"You had major surgery."
"You were stabbed," she countered.
"So maybe we should wait until we're both healthy?"
"Was that a question?"
He actually laughed then. "Yes, and no."
"To presume here," she said cautiously. "We have the rest of our lives."
His face was solemn then. "Yes, we do."
The next morning they went over the paper, Dana actually had her finger running down the page as she read and reread the information. The story about Rouche had moved to the front page, below the fold, but still on the front. The acquisition of funds, the lack of audits which had been requested through the freedom of information act and the accusation of human trials had made it one of the sexiest stories to break in ages.
"I can't believe how this had exploded," she finally looked up at him.
He nodded. "I believe it's taken on a life of its own, but the guys are going to keep the heat on. There's always something that can steal the interest and since this is government, I'm not going to be surprised if that happens. If it does, they'll keep it alive."
"Are they going to want me again?"
"You're pretty high profile now, you might even be asked to give interviews."
"Yes, and you need to make sure they know you don't remember anything that happened while you were missing. You were drugged for all of that, but they kept you and continued drugging you. That's what you can speak about. There's no need to talk about any returning memories other than your identity. In fact, you need to make sure that those are the only memories you mention."
She nodded. "I get that. Do you think they'll be punished? Go to jail?"
He shook his head. "I don't think so. I think they'll go underground and try to do this again. It doesn't end."
"So I won't be safe."
"I think you will. Like I said, you're high profile now. It's too dangerous to use you again."
"You really believe that?"
"I do, and I'm planning to make sure of it."
"How will you do that?"
"By being around."
The slight smile on her face was answered by one of his own.
"Are we going back today?" she asked.
"I don't want to," he replied. "I'm still going to be out, or on desk duty and I'm not anxious to get back to that. I guess you want to start looking at returning to school."
"I could wait one more day."
His smile broadened. "Yeah, we could wait one more day."
She actually laughed at his expression. As he moved closed, her smiled faded and when their lips met, they were both completely serious. "We need to be gentle," he said.
She nodded and he took her hand to lead her into the bedroom. He lifted the t-shirt over her head let his hand caress down her side. When his hand touched her bandage he felt her stiffen.
"No," she whispered and tried to pull away.
"Let me see it," he said softly.
She shook her head. He tilted her head up to meet his eyes. "Let me see it." He gently but firmly had her recline against the pillow. He carefully removed the bandage and looked at her wound. The skin around it was pink and healthy looking, it was healing well. He let his finger caress it, then he leaned down at kissed it. She jerked slightly at that.
"I'm sorry for the pain this caused you," he said quietly. "And I'm sorry you think this mars what I consider the perfect female body. But I'm glad this happened. Listen to me, if this hadn't happened, you would have gotten on that plane with Paul and Randy and flown back to Atlanta. I would have a vague memory of running into some woman and her stepson in the halls of work and, and as your memories continued to return, he would have increased your medication until it killed you." She felt him shudder slightly at those words. "Instead you've reconnected with your family and, and we're here together and I'm about to make love to you."
He saw the tears that shone in her eyes. "Dana, fate gave us this opportunity. I don't know if it would work to give us this again. We need to take it."
She didn't know if she had an eidetic memory now or not, but she knew she would remember these words for the rest of her life, their lives. She leaned up and took his lips with her own. Opportunity or fate, it didn't matter.