She took the tray away from the bed. He had eaten his scrambled eggs and toast without protest. He was still drinking his orange juice; she had refused him coffee.
She sat the tray on the dresser and turned to look at him. He slowly put the glass down on her bedside table. He tried to steel himself for whatever she was going to say. She could see his defenses go up.
Instead of returning to the bed, she stood at the dresser. “I . . . first I need to apologize.”
He looked confused then, but kept quiet.
“I handled things badly. I . . . I panicked.”
“Panicked? That’s not your style.” He had no inflection in his voice, just stating facts.
“No, it’s not.” She stopped then. Nothing she could think of to say sounded right.
“This is new.”
“What?” She forced herself to look at him.
“Special Agent Dana Scully at a loss for words. Let me help. You’re at my place; you’re exhausted and fall asleep on my couch. I lean over you to cover you up and . . . and take my shot. I kiss you. I think you enjoy it and take it farther than I should have. After you think about it - “
“No. No, that is not what happened. Yes, you kissed me and I did enjoy it. It was the right time for us. You did not force me, in case that ever crossed your mind.”
He looked away, then back. “It couldn’t have been that good for you.” The tone was sardonic.
She met his eyes then. “It was the best night of my life.”
He blinked, unable to take that in.
“I guess you have no reason to believe that, but it happens to be true. I had every intention of going to my place, showering and meeting you at work.”
“So why didn’t you?” But his voice was less strained.
Tears formed in her eyes, but she didn’t back down. No matter what happened now, he had to know what had caused her to leave. “When I got to my place he was there. Inside the apartment. He was waiting for me. He . . . he told me that he knew we had . . . been together. He said that they . . .” No prelude, just the facts ma’am. A report of an incident. Mulder didn’t ask who. The answer was obvious.
“How - “
His face fell. He stared down at his legs, shaking his head.
“He told me they would, would kill you if we . . . “
“Kill me? Why?”
“Because I was pregnant.”
He looked up at her, his suspicions confirmed. “It’s mine.” There was no question in his voice.
Her eyebrow rose even as tears filled her eyes at the look on his face. “I believe the technical term is ‘ours’.” Her voice shook on the last word.
She thought he might pass out at those words. So there had been a question after all. “H-how?”
“The birds and the bees and the monkey babies?” He didn’t smile. After a moment she continued. “He told me ‘they’ knew, or would soon, and they would kill you for it. He gave me the option of going away to save you or . . . or getting rid of the baby. You aren’t supposed to have children, Mulder.”
His head flew up then and a look of horror she didn’t understand came over his face.
“He, he gave me cash and said he’d try to protect you, but that we couldn’t be together even without the baby. Maybe he was lying, but how could I take that chance?”
He forced a nod. “I know how much you wanted a baby.”
“Not a baby, Mulder.” She stopped there. “That’s enough for now. You’re exhausted. You had no business coming out here in your condition.”
There was more to talk about, so much more, but she was right. He was at the end of his rope. Hearing this had sapped his resolve in ways he hadn’t anticipated.
Without a word, he slid down in the bed and turned his back to her. Tears finally slipped from her eyes when she closed them. She let herself out of the bedroom and pulled the door closed.
He rolled over and looked at the door once he heard it close. It was all his fault, like he had always thought. He was the reason for everything that had happened to her from the beginning. He wasn’t supposed to have children, him not her. It wasn’t only the FBI that had a pool going apparently.
God, what he had done to her life. Why hadn’t this latest shooting just killed him? Then he couldn’t hurt her anymore. After a long time, he fell asleep.
She grabbed the phone in mid-ring. “Hello?”
“Are you okay?” Greg’s voice was concerned. “I shouldn’t have left you.”
“I’m fine, Greg. Mu-he’s asleep. He’s too weak to be a danger to me.”
“Now you that have the gun, maybe. Is he your ex?”
“No, he . . . it’s complicated.”
“No shit, Kat.”
“Please, just give me a little time.”
“How much time? I still think we need to report that gunshot.”
“No! Please, Greg. He is the father, but he didn’t know. I left before he could find out.”
“Is he married?”
“No. We were . . . I can’t explain this right now. Please give me some time.”
“I don’t feel right about this.”
“The man you saw this morning is under tremendous stress and he’s injured. But what he was doing was protecting me. Don’t you see that? He threatened you because you had hold of me. Please, think about it.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone as Greg recreated the scene in his head. Finally she heard him sigh. “I’m stopping by on my way home.”
“That’s fine. How’s work?”
“We’re holding our own. It’s not that bad.”
“Call me if you run into anything you can’t - “
“Will do. You take care of yourself.” He hung up the phone and after a moment so did she.
“That your protector?”
She jumped at the sound of his voice. “I’m sorry. I tried to get the phone before it woke you.”
“I was already awake.”
She nodded, then an uneasy silence descended between them. Finally she turned to face him, “Would you like some lunch?”
“Have you eaten?”
“Uh, no. I didn’t . . . “
“You should be looking after yourself.” He scanned her body again. He couldn’t seem to stop.
She nodded, “I’ll fix us something. You should get off your feet.”
He gave a sad sort of chuckle and followed her into the kitchen. He took a seat at the table. That startled her. “I - “
“I’m sorry, Scully.”
“What?” She turned to him, confused.
“All those things they did to you, the abductions, the tests, the can-cancer, it was my fault, all of it.”
“Not this again. Mulder - “
“They didn’t want me to have kids. You said it yourself. Why they didn’t take care of it by . . . working on me, I don’t know.”
Her eyes widened. “You can’t take that on. Mulder, it’s - “
She’d seen that stubborn set of his jaw before. She sighed, “I don’t want to fight about this now. It doesn’t matter; I am pregnant despite all of that.”
He swallowed hard and his eyes returned to her waist again. “Do you . . . what do you want to do about that?”
“What do you mean, do about it?"
He started back at her tone. “I mean, I know you wanted a baby but, but mine?”
He didn’t see the slap coming and his ears rang, though he did hear her words as she slammed into her bedroom. “Obtuse son of a bitch . . .” There was more but that’s what he heard most clearly.
When he could, he rose to his feet and headed slowly for her room. He tapped but didn’t wait for her invitation, fairly sure it wouldn’t come. She was sitting on the edge of the bed and didn’t acknowledge him.
“I’m . . . I don’t know what to say.” He fumbled for words at the sight of her.
“Then don’t say anything. Just give me a few minutes.”
Never one for caution, he continued. “You want to have my baby.”
“Why would think that, Mulder? I mean I’m sleeping with so many men, and my social life is just - “
“Don’t hit me again, please.” He interrupted her and took a seat beside her on the bed. “I was just . . . I didn’t . . . hell, Scully I’m still back at we made love one night and you left town. The reason you did it hasn’t sunk in yet. To save my life, to save our . . . our child’s life is a new concept for me.”
“It’s not exactly something I’m all that familiar with myself.” Her voice wasn’t very friendly.
“You . . . Scully, do you care for me?”
Her eyes flashed with fire. “Why would you think that? Maybe I was just looking to get laid - “
“Well how can you ask me that? It’s taken me, us, years to get to that point. I thought we were together on our timing, finally.”
He sat there speechless. She had thought there was a time when he didn’t want her?
She seemed to wilt beside him. Finally he reached out and put his arm around her, pulling her to him. She resisted for a moment, then sighed and let herself lean into him. He closed his eyes, his Adam’s apple bobbed in relief.
“What are we going to do?” She finally asked.
“Do we have to do anything right now?”
“No, but . . . Mulder, you can’t stay here. It’s not safe and you obviously weren’t planning to. You only brought a couple of changes of clothes.” His sudden stiffness made her look up and she caught his expression before he could hide it.
She pulled away slightly, her mouth dropped open. “You weren’t going back, were you? But you brought your gun.” It wasn’t a question and the outrage in her face frightened him. “Were you going to kill me first, before you shot - “
“No! Scully, I would never - “
“You thought I could live after you’d done something like that?”
“I didn’t know what I would find, Scully. I knew Spender had been in your apartment. I didn’t - “
“How - ”
“I smelled him.” He said softly. “How long do you think I could wait that morning to go looking for you?” He felt her relent slightly. “I didn’t know what he’d done to you. And I couldn’t believe you’d just go off with him again, not after last time. I searched for you . . . until the email to Skinner. Then I had to face that you’d left because of me, because of what I’d done.”
”You hadn’t done anything, Mulder.”
“Obviously not enough.” He grimaced.
“You didn’t get me pregnant alone.”
“Oh god.” He closed his eyes for an instant. “You really are pregnant.” He reached for her, and hissed as he pulled on his stitches.
“Mulder, you need to lie down.”
“I’m okay.” He groused, but he allowed her to help him recline. She felt his head for fever. “Don’t go doctor on me now, Scully.”
“I am a doctor, Mulder. And you feel a little warm.”
“Well sure, you’re in my arms.”
She rolled her eyes, but made no comment. He seemed to be weakening. His stamina was gone. “Get some rest, Mulder.” She started to rise.
“Do you have to go anywhere?”
“No, I was going to get us some lunch, and get you some aspirin. Why?”
“Rest.” She did rise then and left the room; leaving the door open this time. He watched her leave. His emotions were all over the place. She hadn’t left him; she’d left to protect him. She hadn’t betrayed him with Cancerman. And, and she was carrying his child.
He was quiet when she returned, though his eyes followed her. “Mulder?”
He opened his mouth to speak, but then shook his head. Concern took over her face and she felt his forehead again. “Come on, take this, then I want you to eat and take a nap.”
“You too.” She blinked at that, but after a moment, nodded. “In here.”
“You’re not going to throw me out again?”
His face flushed at that. “I was upset.”
She cleared her throat, “Eat. I don’t want you to take the medicine on an empty stomach.”
He was still asleep when she woke. His breathing seemed heavy, but he wasn’t restless. She touched his face and, with a frown, slipped from the bed. He was warm, too warm. Wasn’t there a thermometer in her bathroom?
She found it and rather than wake him, slipped it under his arm. Her eyes widened when she checked it. 102.2, plus a degree.
She gathered up his medication and moved to the kitchen and checked it out once more. It was what she would have prescribed. But had he taken it? Obviously not, why would he with what he’d been planning? She shivered at the thought, then squared her shoulders. She didn’t know if he had forgiven her, if he could completely forgive her or trust her, but she could treat him.
Immediately she called the clinic. “Greg, I need some help.”
“Did he hurt you?” Greg’s voice was low, urgent.
“No. He’s ill. He’s running a fever. I need you to bring me some penicillin. I’m not going to be able to get medicine down him. How busy are you?”
“It’s not that bad. Be glad it’s not a full moon. I’ll run this over now. Anything else?”
“Some cooling pads. I think I have everything else I need here.”
“Oh my way.” He hung up and she unlocked the front door, then returned to the bedroom.
In just a couple of minutes she heard the tap on her door, then Greg opened it, “Kat?”
She moved to the door and motioned him on in. “Brought you one of the electronic thermometers.” He spoke low, “Is he having any problems breathing?”
She shook her head as she prepared the injection. “Help me roll him.”
Greg shifted him slightly and he protested mildly, but didn’t wake. He grunted when she injected him, then Greg helped settle him onto his back. Greg was the one who put the thermometer in his ear.
“Kat, he’s at 103.1.”
“I know.” She broke open one of the cooling pads. Greg removed the t-shirt from him, so that she could have better access.
She froze at the sight. Her cross was around his neck. She hadn't spotted it before.
“He needs to be in a hospital on IV drugs. You can’t keep him - ”
“I can look after him here.” She needed to be alone with him.
Greg took her arms, standing her upright. “You can’t. He’s sick, Kat. He needs more than you have here.”
She shook her head, not backing down. What would happen if they realized he was here, with her?
“I can call Dr. Summerlin and - “
“No." She protested immediately. "There’s no reason to get him involved.”
“And no need, right? You’re no PA, you’re a full MD, aren’t you?”
“Greg - “
“I know, ‘it’s complicated’. I’ve known it for awhile. You obviously have the creds, Kat. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything. Look, keep him here this afternoon. I’ll check back after the clinic closes. If he’s still like this, we’ll have to make other arrangements.”
She stared up at the large man. “Greg, I - “
He shook his head, “You’ve done a world of good around here. There’s a reason you’re here and we’re benefiting from it.” He squeezed her shoulders, then looked back at the man sleeping in the bed. “If anyone can do it, I’m betting on you. Call me.”
Greg let himself out, leaving her alone with him. She sank into the bed beside him.
He was wearing her cross. Had he planned to keep it on when he killed himself? Had he even wanted her to see that he had it? Her eyes burned with unshed tears. Now wasn't the time. She had to get him well, that was all that mattered. She turned over the cooling pad.
By the time Greg returned, she had to concede he was correct. Mulder needed more. He was too weak; he’d not been interested in healing. At Greg’s insistence, they maneuvered him out to his rental car and transported him to the clinic. He was completely non-responsive now and his breathing was definitely labored.
With Greg’s help, she got the IVs set up and began oxygen to supplement his breathing. His fever was hovering around 104 now.
She refused to leave his room. Greg finally left her long enough to get her some dinner and report home. She ate at his side.
After three days, he was worse. Greg was ready to drug her to get her some rest. No argument seemed to phase her, even invoking the child she carried didn't seem to help. The IVs were still carrying medicine and nourishment into his body, but they could see no response.
Naomi opened the door and looked over at the patient. She turned to look behind her and Albert followed her in. Mulder was quiet and pale, his breathing labored, but it was the woman beside him Naomi was more worried about.
Scully looked up and saw the woman that had looked after her when she had first arrived. “N-Naomi, Albert, help him.” Her eyes showed her fear. “I can’t get his fever down. I’m not sure he’s strong enough to be moved.”
“When did you last rest?” Naomi took her arm as Albert moved closer to the bed.
“Rest! I can’t leave him. I - “
“You need to look after the little one too, Dana.”
She shook her head. “I can’t leave him.”
“He needs you, Dana, but right now you can’t reach him. And you’ve exhausted yourself. We will stay with your Mulder, but you must lie down.” Albert pointed to the second bed in the room. “That would be the most help for you both right now.”
“You won’t leave him?”
“We won’t leave either of you. Rest, Dana. It is what you both need.” Naomi helped her to recline and covered her with the light blanket. When she turned back to her father-in-law, he was fastening a cord around Mulder’s neck. Now a stone that matched Scully’s rested on his chest beside her cross.
Scully stirred and sat up. Where was she? She had been at the clinic with Mulder. She’d been resting at Albert’s insistence. Now she was parked on the side of the road. The driver's side of the car was empty.
Was she asleep? She couldn’t be; she could feel the seatbelt around her. This was a rental car, like the hundreds she’d been in with Mulder. Was he here? She looked around but didn’t spot him. Finally she opened the door to the car and got out.
He had to be here; otherwise she would have been in the driver’s seat. Had he taken a bathroom break? It was going to get dark soon, where had he gotten to?
She took a few steps from the car and looked around again. She could feel the heat from the ground through her shoes. How the hell had she gotten here? She felt the need, the pull to look for him. She had to find him, but where was he? She found her hand around the stone Albert had given her. For some reason that made her feel more confident.
She headed out into the desert. She’d keep the car in sight, but she had to find him. The feeling was getting stronger - he needed her.
She walked longer than she thought she would, but she couldn’t stop. He was out here somewhere. The car was long out of sight before she finally spotted him. He had his back to her. For some reason she didn’t call out to him. She continued toward him, but he didn’t seem to notice.
Then she saw that he was crying, his shoulders were slumped and tears were making their way down his face. She turned to see what he was looking at and finally saw the others. There was a little girl, walking away from him. She wasn’t hurrying, just walking and not looking back. She had long dark hair that flowed down her back.
Behind her and to the right was an older woman with silver hair. She too was just walking away, without a backward glance.
Something made her look over to the left and walking away at a different angle from the other two was a dark haired woman. And there were others, drifting away, leaving him all alone.
Then she saw the slight red-headed woman. She was trailing behind the young girl and the older woman, but she too was leaving him without noticing him standing there. Wait a minute - that looked like her.
She opened her mouth to call out to him, but found she couldn’t speak. And she couldn’t seem to get closer to him, no matter how fast she walked.
Then it hit her, this was what he saw, the girl - that was Samantha and, and the woman was Teena. Scully turned toward the brunette. That was Diana. She had left him, in a different way, but Diana too had abandoned him.
But she hadn’t, at least she hadn’t meant to.
He wasn’t even trying to go after these women. He looked so . . . so defeated.
No! She was here; she wasn’t going to leave him. Not now. If she’d been thinking straight she would never have left in the first place, but she had been so shaken by Spender’s words. She looked down and realized she wasn’t pregnant.
No, no! She wouldn’t allow him to be abandoned by the family he had created. “Mulder!”
Startled, he turned slightly as though he had heard something. She found herself able to move then and quickly closed the distance between them. “Mulder.”
He shook his head, “You’re not here. You left, just like everyone else. I trusted you, I let myself, I let myself love you. Of course you left.”
“I’m back.” She said simply. “I was wrong. I should have talked to you.”
He looked again at the retreating backs of his sister and his mother. “Why? No one else has.”
“No one else has ever loved you like I do.” She said simply.
She watched him look down at her body then and realized she was large with his child. He looked at her body for a long moment. She reached out her hand to him and when he wouldn’t take it, grasped his fingers.
“We need you.”
His eyes had such yearning but he still didn’t speak.
“Please, let me earn your trust again.” She moved closer and rose on her toes to meet his lips. He didn’t close his eyes, watching her kiss him. “Mulder, I want to be with you. Please.”
She saw the hope grow in his eyes.
She blinked as she woke, disoriented. Oh, the clinic, Mulder! She looked toward him in the next bed to see Naomi smiling, Albert stood there nodding.
“His fever just broke.” Naomi said quietly. “I’ll get Greg to help me change the linens.”
Scully slipped from the adjacent bed and reached for him. His eyes were flickering. “Mulder, can you hear me?” She felt for his hand and he weakly took her fingers in his own.
“Sc . . . “
“Shh. I’m here. I’m right here and I’m not leaving you. We’re not leaving you.” She brought his hand to her lips.
His eyes locked on hers. She smiled through her tears. He relaxed and closed his eyes.
Author's Note - calm down <g>. I know you don't think this is finished. This is however where the muse left it. Don't worry, I have not lost the keys to this universe and do plan to continue, but not this week. Hey, they're together, right?? Thank you for sticking with me, and special thanks to Carol and Marianne for the incredible beta job!!
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.