Sherrie turned the screen so that they could see the child. “See, here’s the head, the spine.” She ran her finger down the backbone. “Since you’re sure about the conception date, I’d say this little one is right on schedule; textbook really. We can’t see the sex right now, but we’ll have other opportunities.” She smiled at her friend, then looked over at Mulder. His mouth was fallen open and his grip on Dana’s hand was tight.
Without another word Sherrie slipped the wand back into the machine and hit the eject button from the VCR. She handed the tape to him. Dana had to look away from the look in his eyes, blinking back tears herself. The strong rapid heartbeat had soothed most of her fears.
“There’s just one little thing I want to mention and since you’re a doctor, you’ll understand the implications. Your blood pressure is on the high side. We’re going to want to keep an eye on that. It’s not dangerously so, but I wanted to give you a heads up.”
Mulder had frozen at her words, then looked immediately over at Dana for clarification or reassurance. She merely nodded. “I’ll keep an eye on that.”
“Okay, let me know if you have any questions, Dana. We can set up regular appointments tomorrow when Carol’s here.”
“Thanks again, for coming in like this.”
“I was already coming in, paperwork. This is a lot more fun.” Sherrie watched as this man helped Dana to her feet. It didn’t look like she’d have to worry about her new friend, with him in the picture.
Mulder led her to the car and seated her, then got in himself. She reached for the tape and he released it to her. “Mulder?”
He looked down at his hands. “I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away.”
She gave him a trembling smile. “Me too.”
“Are you okay? I mean, that blood pressure thing.”
“It’s something I need to keep an eye on. It’s not dangerous at this point. Don’t worry. I will look after myself.”
“And I’ll be making sure that you do,” he leaned over and kissed her
He let himself into the apartment. He was running a little late, and glad to be there. He spotted her purse on the table, but he didn’t see her. He headed into the bedroom and met her coming out of the bathroom.
“Hi Honey, I’m home,” he quipped.
She gave him a small smile but it didn’t reach her eyes.
“What?” he asked quickly.
She looked up at him, blinking.
“What’s wrong?” he tried again.
She sighed and looked down at her hands. “I have to go down to Dillwyn, Virginia tomorrow.”
“Buckingham Prison? Why?”
“I have to see Ethan. There are some papers that still need signing. His attorney called my office today. Saturday’s are visiting days, so he put my name on the list.”
“I don’t want you to go.”
“That makes two of us. But if this will speed things up . . . “ She shrugged.
“It’ll take us at least a couple of hours to get down there.”
“Us,” he said firmly, drawing her into his embrace. She came willingly, leaning on him.
They were signed in and Mulder’s gun was confiscated. Then they were escorted to the visitor’s room. It was painted institutional green, with well worn linoleum on the floor. No windows and the fluorescent lights glared. The tables were small, most of them only for two and well spaced both for privacy and to ensure the guards had a clear path in case of emergency.
Mulder led her to a table and seated her, but then retreated to the other side of the room, near the door. She turned to assure herself he was there, even though she could feel him, as the door opened.
One by one the inmates were led in and taken to the small tables where visitors waited. Ethan was the fourth to be led in. He spotted Dana and smiled at her as he slipped into the seat opposite her. Mulder tensed, but remained at his post near the door.
“Thanks for coming, Dana. I really needed to see you, to explain why I need you to take care of my business.”
She marveled at his attitude. It was as though he thought they had parted as friends. He really expected her to help him?
“Things are getting messed up, my orders aren’t being followed. The house is for sale and my car. I didn’t authorize any of that.” He continued.
“I did,” she said calmly.
The smile evaporated from his face. “You did? Why the hell are you - “
“They were in my name too, Ethan.”
“I didn’t realize you were that greedy,” his voice was frosty now. “I thought you at least would - “
“All of the money is being placed in trust for Robin, for her therapy,” she continued as though he hadn’t spoken.
“Therapy? Why? Robin is fine,” he protested immediately.
“Fine? You’ve raped her since she was ten years old. I can only hope that some day she really will be - “
“I didn’t rape her!” He whispered forcefully, then looked around, but the guards weren’t paying attention. He grabbed her wrist pulling her toward him. Before she could even struggle, Mulder was moving. He was blur, moving before the guards were even aware there was a problem.
Mulder’s hand clamped down on his shoulder. There would be bruise marks there tomorrow. “Let her go or lose the hand.” His voice too was low, but the intensity convinced Ethan it would be in his best interest to obey. Three guards had now converged on the table and cuffs were slapped around Ethan’s wrists.
Mulder had his arm around Dana then and led her toward the door. “Dana, I’m sorry! I just need - “ Ethan shut up at the look Mulder shot him. Dana didn’t turn at the sound of his voice, allowing Mulder to get her out of there.
Mulder seated her near the guard’s desk and quickly retrieved his weapon. Then he led her to the car and opened the door for her. Instead of taking her seat, she leaned against him. “Are you okay?” he asked, taking her in his arms.
She let him hold her for a minute. “I’m fine, Mulder. Could we just - “
“Yeah, let’s get out of here.” He seated her and shut the door, then rounded to his side and pulled out heading north. After a few moments he glanced over at her and took hold of her hand. He kept his eyes on the road, but brought her hand to his lips, then rested it on his thigh, covering her hand with his own. “I need something from you, Dana.”
She looked over at him, letting her hand squeeze his thigh. “What?”
“The truth. How are you?”
She looked away and he caught her hand as she started to withdraw it. “I’m . . . I don’t know. Just looking at him . . . when he touched me I felt dirty.” Mulder felt her shiver, then felt her body tense.
“I, it was a cramp. I’m okay.” She sounded breathless to him.
“Just a little.”
“I’ll find a hospital - “
“No. Let’s just go home, away from here.”
He hesitated. They could be home by lunch time, but . . . “Recline your seat.”
She did without protest, then took back his hand. He was aware of her grip tightening around his hand and though he kept quiet, he kept his eye on the time intervals. He pressed his foot more firmly against the accelerator.
They arrived home in minimal time. Her cramping hadn’t stopped but it hadn’t increased either. His arm was firmly around her as he helped her into the building. He took her straight into the bedroom and made her comfortable, removing her jacket and her shoes.
“I’m going to call Sherrie.”
“Please, just lay here a few minutes with me.”
He nodded and lost no time toeing off his own shoes as he shed his coat. He curled around her with his hand resting gently on her stomach. The position was familiar now from waking up next to her each morning. He felt her relax against him. “How are you feeling?”
“Better now. I’m glad we’re home.”
“I still think we need to call Sherrie.”
“I know. In a little while, if the cramping continues.”
He didn’t argue with her, just holding her close. He relaxed as well when she fell asleep. She hadn’t tensed up since he’d taken her into his arms.
When she was fully asleep, he carefully rose from the bed and watched her for a moment. When she didn’t wake, he stepped quietly into the living room, leaving the door open. He dialed the number for Sherrie from memory.
“Sherrie, it’s Fox Mulder. I’m sorry to bother you at home, but - “
“Is it Dana? Is there a problem?”
“She was cramping. We were down in Virginia. She had us drive home and she’s lying down now, asleep.”
He hesitated. “She didn’t mention any.”
“Okay. I’m sure she would have. What were you doing?”
“Uh, it was stressful,” he evaded.
“That’s not what she needs, Mulder.”
“I know. It won’t happen again.”
“Okay, let her rest for now. Keep an eye on her. When she wakes up have her call me.”
“Shouldn’t she be in a hospital?”
“If it continues, or increases that’s a possibility. For now, just let her rest. And don’t hesitate to call me back, Mulder.”
“Thanks, Sherrie.” He didn’t sound reassured. For something to do he finally put some tea on to steep and put together some lunch for when she woke up. Then he logged onto his computer. He couldn’t keep his mind on any of his cases, and finally returned to the bedroom. She was still sound asleep and had rolled over, burrowing her face into his pillow. He stood there just watching her, marveling once more that she was here with him.
He had to keep her safe, keep both of them safe. That meant keeping Ethan out of her life. An idea came to him and turned back to make some phone calls.
He was gone less than an hour. He’d made sure she ate when she woke, then settled her on the couch and brought her everything he thought she might need.
She smiled indulgently at him, but promised she would stay there while he ran his errand.
“Hi, how are you feeling?” He dropped his coat, keeping some papers in his hand. She was sitting on the couch with her feet up, reading. He approached her quickly and took a seat next to her.
“Good. Did you get your errand done?”
“Yeah. No more cramping?”
“None. I just needed to relax. You take very good care of me.”
“I hope so. I, uh, I did something. I hope you, I hope I didn’t overstep.”
“What did you do?” She looked at him. He didn’t smile, but handed her a file. She took it but didn’t open it. “Mulder?”
“It’s your divorce papers, signed.”
She just stared at him. “Signed? It’s Saturday, how did you - “
“The judge owed me a favor.”
She was silent for a moment. “Favor?”
He did smile then. “He’s the judge that signed my divorce papers. Believe me, he owed me.”
She opened her mouth, but then closed it. Maybe this was something she didn’t want to know right now. “Is it legal?” He nodded. “I’m free of him?”
“You’re free. After this morning . . . “
She nodded then, that didn’t need any more explanation. “You did that for me?”
“For you and for me. You don’t have to ever see or talk to him again. Screw his lawyer and his ‘papers’.”
Her smile grew. Then her eyes widened and her hand came up to her stomach. He froze for an instant. “Dana? Did it start - “
She shook her head.
“Dana?” his voice rose slightly.
“Ssh, just a minute.” She had gone inside herself and his spirits sank like a stone. Then she looked up at him and her smile grew. “I think I’m feeling him move.”
He gaped at her, then his hand covered hers. He didn’t speak.
“It’s within the parameters, maybe a little early, but any child of yours in going to be premium size.” She smiled at his expression, then turned her hand to hold his. “Breathe.”
He looked a little embarrassed at that, drawing her to him. “He?”
“Well, ‘it’ sounds a little rude to me. Do you want a boy?”
Again his mouth opened but no words came. Instead he tucked her up against him and rested his chin on her head. “I don’t care whether it’s a boy or a girl.” His hands caressed her arms. “Dana, I never thought about children; at least not my children. They were an abstract concept, and not something that had anything to do with me. I’m not . . . I know nothing about families, or parenting. The first time I ever considered it was when I saw you in that diner.” She caught his hands and squeezed them.
“I still don’t know how I knew you were pregnant, but I knew it was mine.” She could hear the humor in his voice. “For the first time, I wanted a child. I wanted the child to be mine. It blew me away. It was a totally new . . . concept for me.” He kissed the top of her head. He felt the tear drop onto his hand.
“You were furious with me.”
“No, not at you. I was . . . “ he sighed. “I had spent weeks thinking about you. I never quit wanting you, hell I ached for you. Then you were there and you hadn’t called. I understand now, but seeing you and then realizing you were carrying my child, I was rocked.”
“I wasn’t coming to that diner that day. I walked from the clinic, but I actually started out in the other direction. Something made me turn around and go there.”
She couldn’t see his face from her position, but she felt his arm tighten around her. She smiled when she felt him nibble on her ear and shivered slightly when he started placing tiny kisses down her neck.
Things had progressed further when the phone ringing startled them. He groaned, but reached for it. “Hello?”
“Mr. Mulder? Is she okay?”
“Yeah. Is she okay?”
Mulder looked down at Dana, sprawled atop him.. “Yes. She’s feeling better. Uh, how did you - “
“I just, what was wrong? Was it the baby? Is it okay?”
“Yeah, it seems to be. She hasn’t been to the doctor, but the cramping has stopped.”
“Mulder? Who is that?” her voice showed her fear.
“It’s Rob. He was worried about you.” Her eyes widened and she reached for the phone. He handed it to her and sat up a little straighter beside her, needing to be close to her.
“Are you really okay?”
“Yes. Thank you for calling.”
“I would have called sooner, but I wanted to wait until I was alone.”
“Thank you,” she said softly. She handed the phone back to Mulder. She couldn’t handle the questions that came to her.
Mulder took the phone but he was watching her. It was like he could feel her blood pressure rise from the additional stress. Damn it, they had both been well on their way to real relaxation. “Rob, I need to - “
“I know you have to go, but I’ve found three others. Well four.”
“Four what?” Mulder asked quickly. He wanted to hang up but the boy’s excitement held him.
“Guys like you and me. Ones whose brothers or sisters were taken.”
Mulder was stunned silent for a moment. Four others? It had never occurred to him to even look for other siblings. “How, how did you find them?” His attention was back on Rob now. He felt Dana’s hand on his arm and turned to her. His arm went back around her and he pulled her close.
“I was, uh, searching on the computer.”
“Hacking?” Mulder sounded as surprised as he felt.
“Well, yeah. I figured we needed the information.”
Mulder looked back over at Dana, she met his eyes. Her look was pleading; she needed stability, not more of this strangeness. “I’ll call you back.”
“I didn’t mean to upset her.”
How had Rob picked up on that? “I just need to check on her. I’ll call - “
“Mulder, I’m okay,” she reassured him, cuddling in. “Go ahead. You, we need this information.”
He gave her a long look, then kissed her brow. He brought the phone back to his ear. “Tell me what you found. Did you say four?”
“Do you have names?”
“Sure do. Roger Austin, he’s in prison in Virginia. Stephen Stoner, he’s at Yale, and Chuck Wallace. He’s in high school in Boston.”
“You said four.”
“Carson Nelson. He’s dead.”
“Dead? How did he die?”
Mulder was silent for a long moment. “It sounds like they go down in age from me to you.”
“Where did Carson fit in?”
“Between Roger and Stephen.”
Mulder looked back over at Dana, but she seemed okay for now. “Could you send me an email with all your information?”
“Sure. Are you going to check them out?”
“I don’t know yet. I need to see the information.”
“It’ll be there in a few minutes. Let me know what else you need, and look after Dr. Scully.”
“I promise. Rob, thank you.”
“Gotta go. Later!” Rob was gone then and Mulder placed the phone on the table.
They sat silently for a few minutes, then she pulled away from him, straightening up. “Go check your email.”
He started to protest, but she was right. He rose and lifted her feet back to the coffee table. He grinned at her expression, then moved over to his computer. By the time the computer logged on, the email was there. He opened it quickly and began reading.
At her indrawn breath he looked up. He hadn’t realized she had joined him, reading over his shoulder. “Roger Austin’s in Buckingham? We could have seen him today. We have to - “
“No,” his voice was firm. “You are not going near any prisons for the foreseeable future.”
She opened her mouth to protest, but he shook his head.
“Dana, you have other priorities. You don’t know how caveman I can be,” he warned, reaching up and caressing her cheek.
“I need to know what you find.”
He nodded. “You do, but from a distance. What happened earlier, the cramping, could have been much worse. Please, you need to take it easy. You know Sherrie agrees with me.”
“Mulder, I have to -” He pulled her down on his lap and his lips found hers again.
Links to other sites on the Web
Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.