Shadows have eyes By Foxglove
Rating Strong R
Adult situations , violence
Category MT Angst
Spoilers Brand X
Disclaimer. Do we
really need these. We know and love Cc for Inventing the
X files and giving us hours of fun and fanfic
addictions. Fox also gets royalties. No harm No foul.
Feedback. I thrive
on the kindness of others.
Dana Scully tucked
a loose strand of hair behind her ear and stared
unseeingly through the windshield of her car. Her hands
clenched on the steering wheel as her thoughts chased
each other incessantly.
exasperating, opinionated, aggravating; her brain
supplied a non-stop list of adjectives that described
her partner. Infuriating, relentless, impatient,
complicated. She recalled clearly the look on his face
as he tried to convince her of the authenticity of a new
case. His sleek silky hair with the single lock that
kept falling over his forehead, which made him look so
much like a little boy. His expressive eyes gleaming
with a barely contained enthusiasm, the way the very
corners of his pouty mouth turned upward in an attempt
to win her over. A pair of charcoal pants riding low on
his hips, his tie already askew this early in the
morning, shirtsleeves rolled to just above his elbows
with the fine hair on his arms quivering from the strong
breeze of the air conditioner.
suddenly and shook her head, her focus shifting abruptly
from her inner musings and back to the realization that
she was sitting behind the wheel of her idling car,
which was parked directly outside her apartment
building. She didn't consciously remember the majority
of the drive from the Hoover building and wondered at
the level of her distraction. She turned off the key in
the ignition and removed it, holding it loosely in her
Wearily, she exited
her car, pausing to collect her briefcase, luggage and
laptop from the backseat. As she shut the rear door, her
eyes alighted on the left rear panel of the vehicle,
which was now minus a taillight and the bearer of an
She sighed deeply,
mentally calculating how long repairs were liable to
take and the inconvenience of being without her vehicle
for however long it took. Her mind took her back three
days previously, when she had walked into the office to
be confronted by her partner clutching a folder in his
whatcha know about Bigfoot?"
She had shrugged
off her coat and placed her briefcase on a chair before
answering. "About as much as you can find out on
the Discovery channel Mulder, why?" She cringed
inwardly at the final word of her reply as soon as it
was spoken, recognizing in her partner an almost
childlike enthusiasm, that she just knew was going to be
focused in a lengthy explanation of all the information
that his incredible intellect had gathered on the
She was not
disappointed, nearly fifteen minutes later, he was still
going strong, stalking back and forth across their
cramped office, regaling her with a myriad of the most
obscure details that she had ever heard. Finally she
interrupted. "I know I'm asking the obvious here
Mulder, but I take it this overabundance of information
pertains to a case?" She regarded him from her
perch against his extraordinarily cluttered desk.
eagerly. "Several sightings over the last few weeks
have the good people around Rainbow Falls State Park in
Washington somewhat worried. A few bodies have been
found in a dilapidated and er... chewed state." He slapped the file
against his thigh. "Skinner signed off on the 302
and I've booked us two tickets on this afternoon's
flight to Chehalis."
it's the nearest airport to the Gifford-Pinchot National
Forest, actually it's called the Chehalis-Centralia
Her head tipped to
one side, Scully regarded her partner. "How in the
world did you convince Skinner to let you investigate a
case about a mythical creature?"
mythical Scully." Mulder strode over to a filing
cabinet and yanked a drawer open. Rummaging though
several files, he pulled out a bulging folder.
"Documented evidence, eyewitness reports, analysis
of hair samples, photographs of footprints."
Scully felt her
eyebrow climbing with every word her partner offered.
"Mulder, Bigfoot is nothing more than an urban
legend, I have no doubt that if every piece of evidence
you have presented was examined in a scientific manner,
a rational explanation would be found for each one that
would have nothing to do with a mythical creature, and
more to do with varied individuals desire for notoriety
and their five minutes in the spotlight."
Mulder stood stock
still, two spots of color high on his cheeks, one hand
splayed out across the top of the folder and the other
hanging loosely at his side. For several seconds as the
excitement in his eyes slowly dulled, he said nothing.
Then clearing his throat, he pursed his sinfully full
lips. "Do you want me to cancel your ticket
Pushing away from
her perch against his desk, Scully flicked her eyes away
from his face, as she turned her glance settled on the
poster on the wall. 'I WANT TO BELIEVE' it proclaimed in
capital letters. Slowly she breathed in and out several
times before squaring her shoulders. "No
Mulder." She replied. "Let's go chase your
wild goose...uh I mean Bigfoot."
Mulder's smile lit
up his face and Scully wondered yet again, why it was
that she could never say no to this man.
They decided to
meet each other at the airport, a decision that Scully
heartily regretted as she stood in the middle of the
short-term parking lot, exchanging names and insurance
details with the driver of the car that had ploughed
into the rear of her vehicle. "I'm sorry, Mr...er
Markham, I have a flight to catch. I'm sure my insurance
company will be in contact with you regarding the
bespectacled man standing in front of her nodded his
agreement. "Yes, yes, I'm sure that will be
alright, I feel however that I should offer my apologies
for my lack of attention. Such an unfortunate way to
meet, don't you think?" A pudgy hand was thrust out
in Scully's direction and she had no choice but to grasp
it, he wrapped his fingers tightly around hers, keeping
hold of her hand long past the point of being polite.
Subtly, Scully extracted her hand wishing she could wipe
away the clammy sweat now coating her palm.
tightly clutched the paper with Scully's details in his
other hand as his eyes roamed over her dainty features,
and he had to consciously pull himself back from licking
his lips. "Dana, may I call you that?"
Scully regarded the
man warily, his bland face giving no hint of his
motives. Feeling decidedly uncomfortable, she edged
away. "Mr. Markham, I must go before I miss my
"You must let
me make it up to you, maybe I could call you when you
not necessary, the insurance will take care of
everything." Scully reached into her vehicle and
pulled out her bags.
"Let me take
those for you Dana."
Angered that the
weasely man had taken the liberty of using her first
name, Scully forced a polite smile as she tightened her
grip on her belongings. "Thank you for offering Mr.
Markham but I can manage." She said through gritted
teeth. Sparing one last look at her newly damaged car,
she turned her back on the annoying man.
A proprietary smile
on his face, Markham called out as she moved quickly
away. "Maybe we'll meet again Dana."
Not if I have
anything to do with it. Scully muttered under her
Markham watched as
she walked out of sight; he fingered the paper she had
given him. Fate had given him a sign and he knew that
she was meant to be his. "Dana Scully, a pretty
name to match a pretty woman." He mused. "Oh
yes, I just know that we are going to meet again."
Hoisting the strap
of her overnight bag onto her shoulder, Scully trudged
wearily towards her buildings entrance. A nice long soak
in a warm bath was just what the doctor ordered, she
thought. It might also put her in a more forgiving frame
of mind for when her partner rang. She snorted in a most
unladylike manner as she came to the realization that
she was expecting her partner to call her.
Wondering just when she had got to know the man so well
that she could predict his actions, she didn't notice
there was something leaning up against her apartment
door until she kicked it with the toe of her shoe.
exclamation of surprise when she saw a bouquet of
flowers propped up against her door, Scully bent to pick
them up, smiling as the wrapping revealed pink
carnations, one of her favorite flowers.
She entered her
apartment, dropping her bags on the couch; she pulled
the small envelope off the wrapping and opened it,
curious as to who had sent her flowers. The unsigned
missive contained two words. Scully blinked as she read
the simple 'I'm Sorry' printed on the card.
The first person to
come to mind that would be apologizing was Mulder. After
the last forty-eight hours, Scully thought he should
also pay her dry cleaning bills, and throw in a new pair
of shoes to replace the ones she'd been forced to throw
away in Chehalis.
fingering the dainty pink petals, she moved to the
kitchen and took down the cut crystal vase from the
cabinet. She arranged the flowers to her liking and then
looked around her apartment for the best place to
display them. The low coffee table in the living room
caught her eye and moving a couple of magazines aside,
she placed the vase prominently in the center. Heaving a
sigh as she sank onto the couch, Scully eyed her luggage
with some misgiving. Normally unpacking would not take
very long, her careful attention to how the clothes went
into the suitcase made it easier once she returned home.
Her gaze moved back
to the flowers on the table, hopefully someone had a
guilty conscience, she mused as she began emptying her
bags. Gingerly she removed a plastic bag that contained
several items of clothing and put it to one side,
wondering how much extra she was going to have to pay
her long suffering dry cleaner just to get them to open
the bag, let alone try and remove the odor and the
stains from the contents.
A Day Earlier.
God." Scully blanched as she pressed a
glove-covered hand against her nose.
Mulder agreed circling around behind his partner in the
small grassy clearing.
"Yeah, is that
all you've got to say." Disbelief colored Scully's
is disgustingly gross."
Scully, I'm sure you've smelt worse things during an
rate higher than anything I've come across."
telling me you have a scale of grossness Scully?"
Mulder's eyes gleamed.
She gave her
partner a look, which was resolutely ignored. "I
don't normally end up ankle deep in...in whatever this
stuff is, when I'm doing an autopsy."
"Say it after
"This is not
Bigfoot sh...!" Scully took a cautious breath to
calm herself. "There is no way that you are going
to convince me that this is the droppings of an
imaginary creature. Mulder."
have a busload of elderly tourists who all agree they
saw something on the side of the road in the dark, we
have a couple of hikers who probably indulged in more
alcohol than they did in hiking. We have an eighty-four
year old man who has had his trash can knocked over and
we have a pile of..."
shit." Mulder supplied with a cheesy smile.
from an unspecified creature." Scully turned from
where she was gamely rubbing her shoes against a clump
of grass. "Nothing definitive, the only evidence
you have has holes big enough to sail a navy destroyer
through." She peered wanly at her nearly new
footwear and wrinkled her nose before crouching down in
front of the offending mass. "Besides, look at
this." Grabbing a long twig, Scully poked at the
'proof'. I can see two distinct types of faeces here.
Did you bring any evidence bags?"
"Uh yeah, but
I'm not putting that in my backpack." Mulder
have to, I'll let you carry it."
how thoughtful of you."
"Isn't it, I
must admit I thought the same thing when you let me
stumble into it in the first place."
"Hey you can't
blame me because you weren't watching where you were
Mulder and hold the bag open."
It had rained the
night before and a brittle frost had frozen the
raindrops to the grass and leaves. Kneeling on the cold
ground, Scully felt the dampness seep through the
material of her jeans and took slight comfort in the
fact that her partner was faring the same. With samples
taken and the bag being cautiously held at arms length
by Mulder, the two agents retraced their steps back
through the thick evergreen forest, this time both
keeping a wary eye out for more deposits.
From her spot on
the corner of one of the lumpiest beds it had ever been
her misfortune to come across, Scully looked up at the
despondent tone to Mulder's voice.
no not exactly...yeah, I understand...okay, thanks for
"Not good news
I take it." She enquired as she watched him snap
his phone shut with more force than strictly necessary.
"You could say
that, it seems that our 'sample' was an amalgam of
several species of animal doodoo. Further more the two
guys dead in the woods were chewed by the common brown
bear. An overzealous fan of mine apparently had
intimated it might be Bigfoot type teeth marks, when all
the while he missed the bite radius common to the bear.
Like me he wanted to 'believe.' Whoever went to the
trouble of setting up this charade was resourceful
enough to use only herbivores shit, but Dan or Stan or
whatever his name is from the lab said it's not the
first time he's come across this sort of prank."
Mulder sank dejectedly into the chair behind him.
The urge to say 'I
told you so' died a speedy death as Scully watched him
bite down on his lower lip. An irrational impulse to
comfort him rose within her. "So what now, you want
to go and interview the witnesses again?"
A snort echoed
throughout the tiny room. "What's the point, it's
clear I was taken in by a hoax, why would I want to go
and make a bigger fool of myself than I already
"You're not a
the vote of confidence, but there's a hell of a lot of
people who'd disagree with you."
"Just drop it
please." He rose to his feet and ran his fingers
roughly through his hair. "I'll ring the airport
and find out when the next flight home is."
could do a bit of digging and find out who is
responsible for setting up this whole ruse."
Mulder stopped in
mid-dial and glanced at his partner. "I know what
you're trying to do Scully and while I commend you for
your thoughtfulness, I'd appreciate it if you left it
Scully felt a hot
blush of mortification stain her cheeks as she realized that Mulder had patently seen through her attempt to
lift his spirits. Her shoulders tensed as she stood and
made her way to the door. "Let me know when the
flight is Mulder, I'll be packing." Resisting the
inclination to slam the door on his condescending
attitude, she instead left it slightly ajar and stalked
the short distance to her own room trying hard to figure
out why she felt so upset.
En-route back to
Mulder took his
eyes from the road and glance across at his silent
partner, her face was in profile but he could see that
the emotionless expression that she'd answered the door
with was still present. He had relayed the details of
the phone call from Deputy Roland of the Sheriff's
Department. Apparently a couple of locals had been
picked up cavorting around near the entrance to the
national park. One had been wearing a poorly made fur
suit while the other acted as lookout. Upon questioning,
they admitted the hoax had been their idea and were
doing it solely to stir up the tourists.
had not been what he expected. A roll of her eyes and an
aggrieved sigh that she had been proven right would have
made him happy; instead all he received was a
non-committal shrug and the door closed in his face.
Keen to make amends, he had even offered to let her
drive to the airport but she turned him down with a
shake of her head and slid silently into the passenger
self-imposed silence was getting on his nerves. He knew
he had done something wrong but for the life of him
didn't know what it was or how to fix it. All attempts
to make conversation were met with one-word answers and
a continuation of the silence. Even after he'd
deliberately tuned the radio to the most annoying
station he could find, had not produced a reaction other
than a slight tightening of her lips. He was getting
crestfallen now, not because of the case but because of
Scully's indifference to him.
Mulder drummed his
fingers against the steering wheel and decided to bite
the bullet. "Scully are you angry with me about
what?" She turned slightly towards him, her face a
mask of impassiveness. "I'm fine Mulder."
what I asked." He said tightly.
"Oh I'm sorry,
I was thinking. What was your question?"
"I asked if
you were angry with me."
Her eyes widened in
surprise. "Angry with you, why do you think I would
be angry with you?"
"Gee Scully I
don't know." He ground his teeth together before
replying. "Could it be that you haven't said more
than three consecutive words to me since we left the
motel. Or maybe because you're always saying I don't let
you drive and yet when I offered before you just shut me
out." He shifted slightly adjusting his position in
the seat. "You tell me that this case has to be a
hoax and I drag you out here anyway, when it turns out
that you were right, there's no reaction, anybody else
would be gloating to all and sundry about how they were
right and 'ol spooky was wrong. Again. But you don't say
anything." Mulder shrugged and his shoulders seemed
to fold in on themselves. "You tell me what I'm
supposed to think."
had run the gamut of several emotions while Mulder was
speaking. She reached out and laid her hand gently on
his arm. "I'm sorry Mulder, I didn't mean to give
that impression, I don't...I mean, I've got something on
my mind and I'm just trying to work through it."
softened as he looked down at her small hand resting on
his sleeve. "Is there anything I can help you
She withdrew her
hand, placing it back in her lap. "You'll be the
first one I come to." She smiled softly.
Scully squinted at the clock beside her bed and sighed
that, no-one else would ring at this time of
night." She replied dryly pushing herself upright.
time, oh jeez I'm sorry Scully, I didn't realize it was
so late. I'll talk to you in the morning."
awake now, what did you want?"
"I was just
typing up my report and I couldn't find the lab results,
did I give them to you?"
aren't you sleeping?"
"Well I just
came back from a run and I was wide awake so I thought
I'd get a head start on tomorrow."
Scully's eyes slid
shut as she listened to her hyperactive partner chatter
on. Surprisingly for all his manic intensity, his voice
was quite soothing to listen to.
She jerked awake
and fumbled for the phone as it dropped away from her
ear. "What...I'm sorry Mulder, what were you
A chuckle sounded
through the connection. "I'll leave it for the
morning, you go back to sleep okay."
that's a good idea, you get some sleep too won't
It wasn't a
question and he smiled at her caring tone. For the
thousandth time the thought that he didn't deserve her
crossed his mind. "Sure thing partner, I'll see you
in the morning."
Scully dropped the
receiver back on the cradle as the disconnection tone
sounded. Yawning loudly, she turned over on her side and
closed her eyes.
flopped over onto her back and stared through the
darkness at the ceiling. It was all right for some
people, they could drop off to sleep without any trouble
at all, and she had witnessed Mulder doing that numerous
times. One moment he would be talking up a storm, the
next thing he was deeply asleep. How she wished after
tossing and turning for nearly two hours that she had
the same capability. Maybe she should get a recording of
him talking, it wouldn't be the first time that the
comforting cadence of his voice had lulled her to sleep.
brain kept going a mile a minute, ticking over on
different tangents, worry about the state of her car and
the hassle of having to use public transport was at the
forefront, but she also kept thinking about the flowers
that Mulder had sent her. For all his shortcomings he
was extremely well mannered and almost old fashioned in
his courtesy. She sighed as she pictured the plentiful
times when he had opened doors for her, pulled out her
chair on the odd occasion when they'd eaten lunch in the
cafeteria. The habit he had of holding his hand near her
back, hovering there just below waist level.
An image of his
hands flashed across her mind, strong and agreeably
shaped with nicely trimmed, always clean fingernails.
His arms when not covered by his shirtsleeves or jacket
were tanned from his many hours of running.
She knew a lot of the secretaries found him
devastatingly good-looking. Snatches of conversations
she had overheard in the amenities confirmed that. She
remembered blushing vividly the day she overheard one of
them refer to him as 'sex on legs'.
His thick brown
hair was always glossy; thank goodness he didn't go in
for the artificial gelled look. His striking hazel eyes
whether framed behind his glasses or not, were always a
harbinger of whatever emotion he was experiencing.
His nose was the most noticeable feature of his face,
some would say it was too big and she had often heard
Mulder himself refer to it that way, but as far as she
was concerned, it suited him superbly.
She let another
sigh slip past as she pictured the subtle mole on his
jaw and then focused on what she believed was his best
feature, his beautiful sensual mouth with those
scandalously full lips. Whether pursed in a childish
pout or open in one of his wonderfully infrequent
smiles, they were perfect.
With a contented smile on her face, Scully slipped into
sweet dreams that heavily featured her partner in
various states of undress.
Haldane and Jonas.
now." The quiet tapping on his keyboard ceased as
Floyd Markham's eyes eagerly scanned the monitor.
"Oh, this is interesting." A few more
keystrokes and a wide smile broke across his face as a
restricted access warning flashed on the screen. Another
short burst of typing ensued before the information
being sought appeared before him. "My, my, my, I
never thought I would have found you in here." He
scanned the dossier on the screen. "Hmm, picture
doesn't do you justice sweet Dana, 'bout time they
updated your photo I think." He scrolled further
down the page. "FBI agent and a Doctor of
Pathology, clever girl aren't you." Inserting a
disc, he saved the information on the screen just as a
heavy hand landed on his shoulder.
whatcha doin'?" A low whistle emanated from the man
behind him as he viewed the photo still displayed on the
monitor. "Pretty girl, doesn't look like she
belongs on the 'desperate and dateless' site
though." The man chuckled spitefully.
slightly as he reached to shut off the screen.
"Leave me alone Nash."
"Now why the
hell would I do that?" The nosy co-worker leaned
against the desk, crossed his arms and regarded Markham
with a grin. "You're way too much fun to
annoy." With a smirk on his face he motioned
towards the now dark computer. "So who's the
Markham bit out his reply.
there Floyd 'ol boy, that means she must be
someone." Nash straightened and looked over the top
of the partition. "Hey Williamson, Floyd's got
himself a girlfriend." His voice was pitched at a
level loud enough for most of the other occupants of the
office to hear.
sauntered over, leaned against the partition and
sniggered. "Really, what's she look like
redhead, by the look of things." Nash replied.
Floyd, show us her photo." Nash reached across
Markham to activate the monitor.
Batting his arm
away, Markham hissed out a warning. "Leave me
Floyd, too shy?" Nash winked at his fellow
boys." A cool voice joined in from behind them.
"Oh come on
Julia, we're just having a bit of fun." Williamson
announced in a put upon voice.
"It's a pity
that you have to do it at someone else's expense, isn't
The two jokers
slouched off back to their respective workstations as
Julia laid a gentle hand on Markham's back. "I hope
it all goes well for you Floyd, I'm sure she's very
An enormous smile
brightened the small man's face. "Oh she is Julia,
I met her at the airport a few weeks ago, she's got the
bluest eyes and her hair is such a beautiful shade of
mentioned her before."
"She has to
travel a lot for her job and we haven't really had much
chance to get together. She's away at the moment and I
thought I would arrange for some flowers, just to say
lovely thought Floyd, just make sure you make your
personal phone calls on your own time okay."
Markham nodded his
compliance and turned back to his work.
His chin resting in
his hand, Mulder stared dejectedly at the item in front
of him. Had he vacillated too long and lost the
opportunity forever, he wondered. The strength of his
feelings had surprised him when Bernadette from
reception had presented him with the delivery. His
fingers itched to open the small white envelope and find
out who possessed the courage that he so obviously
away from his self-pitying thoughts, he stood quickly
and began to pace back and forth, one hand running
through his hair. He soon found that the physical
exertion did not take his mind off his problems, because
with every turn he caught sight of the cause of his
distress out of the corner of his eye. He stalked back
to his desk and grabbed the offending item, moving
swiftly to the small anteroom and depositing it out of
Slumping back into
his chair, he searched his mind for a clue as to when
Scully had started seeing someone. Suddenly he latched
onto how subdued she had been on their last case, how he
almost had to badger her into coming along on a trip
that he knew if he had been honest with himself, was
guaranteed to have been a colossal waste of time. Had
she made other plans with someone, had his insatiable
thirst for the strange and unexplainable cut even more
into her personal life than he realised. He remembered
her words in the car on the way back to the airport.
'I've got something
on my mind and I'm just trying to work through it.'
He recalled how
he'd offered to help her with the problem, only to be
given a small smile and an assurance that he would be
the first person she would come to.
But what for; the
first to find out that she was involved with someone,
the first to be introduced to the new man in her life,
the first one to be informed that she wanted a life away
from the X-Files.
As many times as he
had told her that she would be better off away from him,
he knew that he would be missing a vital part of his
soul if she left.
He would miss the
little looks she gave him, the particular quirk of her
eyebrow when she was exasperated, the sigh of bliss when
he handed her that first cup of coffee in the morning.
Her contained rationalism dampening down his rampant
blue eyes, her strength hidden behind the slight stature
that always made him feel so protective. Her smile.
Oh, how he would
miss her smile.
He lowered his head
and clenched his hands in his hair. Stop it! He screamed
perceived the ding of the elevator and steeled himself
for her arrival.
Mulder lifted his
head as the door opened admitting a thoroughly
displeased Agent Scully. "Good morning." He
Her briefcase was almost thrown at an empty chair as she
struggled out of her coat. "Don't ever attempt to
catch a taxi at eight am on a weekday morning Mulder, it
just can't be done."
"What are you
catching a taxi for?" He enquired in puzzlement.
"I told you
Mulder, some idiot ran into me at the airport the other
day, I had to arrange to have my car picked up, then I
had to get to work."
Geez Scully, you
should have reminded me, I would have picked you
His partner glanced
at him. "Mulder you'd have to travel right past
work and half an hour out of your way, it makes more
sense for me to use public transport."
Elbows on his desk,
Mulder tapped his fingertips together. "Your place
tomorrow morning, seven am."
Scully, it's not as if I'll have to make a conscious
effort to get up any earlier. Besides as your
supervisor, it's in my best interest for you to arrive
at work without being stressed."
A smile graced
Scully's face at her partner's logic. "Okay, you're
the boss." She pulled her briefcase off the chair
and sat down. "Now what's on the agenda for
Mulder gritted his
teeth as he stood and walked to the other room.
"Uh, something came for you."
Surprise etched Scully's voice and was duplicated on her
face as Mulder returned with the bunch of red roses.
"I don't who,
it's not as if I'm seeing anyone."
jumped. "You're not?"
"Of course I'm
not Mulder, don't you think I'd tell you if I
"What's on the
Scully reached in
amongst the velvety blossoms and extracted the small
envelope. She opened it and found a small verse.
'The rose is the
most beautiful flower in the world,
The most beautiful woman deserves nothing less.'
heightened in her cheeks as she read the words written
on the card, she raised her eyes up and met Mulder's
inquisitive gaze. Maybe her speculation over the first
bunch of flowers had been wrong she thought. There was
no artifice in the look Mulder was giving her, just
"So who is
your shy Romeo?"
name." She held the card up for his inspection.
"He must be
really bashful." Mulder stated after flicking his
gaze over the writing. "Although, those words
aren't really something you'd expect a shy person would
Scully turned the
envelope over looking for the name of the florist.
"Mainly Roses Florist. It's different."
"I received a
bouquet last night, actually it was sitting outside my
front door when I arrived home, different flowers,
supplied by a different florist."
this guy is, he seems serious." Mulder observed.
"Two bunches in two days and from my flower giving
experience, pathetically woeful that it is, this lot
don't look like they come cheap."
"But I don't
know who would be sending me flowers, are you sure they
were meant for me?"
Mulder shrugged his
shoulder. "All I know is Bernadette from reception
appeared first thing this morning and said they were for
you. Why don't you ring the florist and find out?"
Scully proceeded to
do so. "Yes, my name is Dana Scully, I just
received a bouquet of roses from your shop,
unfortunately the card is unsigned and I was wondering
if you could tell me who sent them...oh I see...yes I
understand that's your policy, it's just that I was
curious...you can...I'm sorry could you repeat
that...yes, no you've been a great help." She
replaced the phone and stood in silent contemplation.
make me guess Scully, I'm not very good at that."
"Why would you
need to guess?" She replied with a hint of
Mulder stared at
his partner for a moment, noting the tightness around
her mouth. "Um, have I done something wrong
wouldn't give me a name, against their privacy
"A florist has
"Let me finish
Mulder, they did say that the order was done over the
internet and paid for by credit card, I think the woman
felt sorry for me because she told me the initials of
the person who ordered them."
initials are F.M."
Mulder's eyes grew
wide. "You think I'm the one who sent them?"
"I don't know
what to think."
wasn't me, God knows it should have been, I wish I had
sent you flowers, I should have sent you flowers years
ago, but honestly, cross my heart, this has nothing to
do with me apart from the fact that the initials are the
bottom of my heart, I would never lead you on like that,
Scully looked into
his eyes, if it were true that eyes were the window to
the soul, then she was looking deep into the fundamental
nature of Fox Mulder. I believe you." She
He gathered her
into his arms, holding her tightly. "Thank you for
your trust." He replied softly. After a few moments
he released her slender frame. "Do you want to ring
the other florist?"
bereft after his brief embrace, Scully took a couple of
steps away. "I don't recall the name."
"We can look
it up, there can't be that many florists in DC can
surprised Mulder, flowers are a big business."
"Told you my
flower giving experience was woeful."
Pulling the phone
directory across the desk, they studied the several
pages of listings. Suddenly Scully stabbed a finger at a
name. "That's it, Pamper Her Florist."
her, what about the guys?"
His attempt at
levity was met with an eyebrow and a request to pass the
phone. Once connected with the business, Scully went
through the same story, only this time she met with more
success. "No there was no name on the card...yes,
if it's not too much trouble." She held her hand
over the mouthpiece. "They're just looking it
up...yes I'm here. Uh huh, and did he order the flowers
in person...over the internet...on visa...no that's all,
thank you so much for your trouble."
The phone went back
into the cradle, her hands went on her hips and the
eyebrow hovered dangerously close to her hairline.
"You've been a busy boy Mulder."
His jaw dropped.
Spinning on his
heel, Mulder grabbed the phone and punched in a number,
he waited for several rings before speaking. "Hey
it's me, is Frohike there?"
Mulder sat down at
his desk and ran his fingers through his hair in
agitation before putting the phone onto speaker.
"Hey Fro, can you do something for me?"
"I need you to
look up what transactions have been made on my credit
"Hoo boy, got
yourself in a bit of financial strife have you?"
"No I haven't,
I just want to check on something."
"Okay can do,
let's see here." Faint tapping could be heard over
the open line before Frohike spoke again. "Hey man,
what phone are you calling from?"
Hey, you've been busy, we've got electricity on the
twenty-ninth May, subscription to..."
about that one." Mulder hastily interrupted.
Good morning Agent Scully." Amusement tinged the
Frohike." She replied, giving Mulder a questioning
more until fourth June, then there's one for Pamper Her
Florist, gas on the fifth and Mainly Roses Florist on
the same day. What's with the flower shops, some
occasion you didn't tell me about?"
liking what I'm hearing here Mulder, who you buyin'
flowers for, if they're not for Agent Scully?"
buying flowers for anybody, well I am I guess, only it's
not me, at least not intentionally, although I should
have..." Mulder dropped his head into his hands and
trailed off into unintelligible muttering.
Scully, you still there?"
goin' on about?"
She took a deep
breath. "Someone has sent me two floral bouquets,
no name on the card, but they have made it look like
Mulder has paid for them."
swear it wasn't me." Mulder protested.
the truth." Frohike assured.
"You just said
it was him, now you're saying it's not."
"What I meant
is, although Mulder paid for them, he didn't send
"How do you
know?" Scully questioned.
"Cause I know
Mulder and sending flowers isn't his thing, it wouldn't
even occur to him. Take a good look at him Scully, does
he actually strike you as the type of guy who would buy
Scully nodded her
head. "I'd have to agree with you there."
Fro, you are so good for my self esteem."
"Hey, got you
out of trouble with the missus didn't I." An amused
chuckle sounded over the line.
Listen Mulder; evidently someone's managed to get into
your account, strange sort of trick to play on you
though. Do you want me to fix it for you?"
"Can you find
out who it was?"
I'll give it a go, but if he's clued up enough to get
in, it's a sure fire bet that he didn't leave any
"Okay, do what
you can, am I going to need to apply for a new
"Hey this is
me you're talking to, just remember I'm good at what I
"Not as good
as me." Langly's muffled voice called.
grinned at each other as the rivalry escalated verbally.
"Bye Fro and thanks." Mulder hung up the
phone; he came up out of his chair and around to
Scully's side of the desk and took her hand. "Thank
for?" She was bewildered.
me." He said simply.
her fingers in his grasp before pulling free. "It
wasn't a hard thing to do." Stepping back, she
settled in her chair and looked at him expectantly.
"So what else have you got scheduled for
Laughter dancing in
his eyes, Mulder grinned widely and held out a file.
"Have you ever heard of the Virginian
Scully, I swear, this is a legitimate case, VCS sent it
down to us."
Scully rolled her
eyes. "Oh brother."
your thoughts." Mulder settled his eyes back on the
road after a quick glance at his partner, who'd been
silent for most of the trip.
At that particular
moment, Scully was pondering the vagaries of life and
how things had come to pass. She had always considered
Mulder an intriguing person but apart from the initial
fascination she'd felt at their first meeting, there had
been no appeal whatsoever.
Or so she had tried
to convince herself.
Now she was trying
to figure out just when it was she had moved from
regarding Mulder merely as a co-worker and friend, to
someone she was deeply attracted to.
She realized that
for some time now whenever they were together, she had
been getting into the habit of taking sly little
sideways glances at her partner, filling her mind with
his profile. Catching a glimpse as he unconsciously
licked his lips, imagining the body under the fine suit.
The amused timbre
of his voice reached into her whirling thoughts. She
blinked and looked up at him. "Huh?"
you been?" He waved his hand theatrically in front
of her face, close enough for her to feel a slight
breeze waft across her skin.
puzzled her for a moment until Mulder elaborated.
"I've been talking to myself for the past few
minutes and as much as I enjoy the sound of my own
voice, it was beginning to get lonely in here."
"Hey, no need
to apologize, the conversation although a little
one-sided was riveting."
Scully stared at
him, not knowing exactly how to reply.
"You know, if
I didn't know better, I would think you were checking me
Her heart skipped a
beat and her cheeks stung with humiliation. "Wh...what?"
She blurted inanely. An intense panic filled her. Oh my
God, he's noticed me watching him, she thought with
turned serious as he realized how his words had affected
her. "Geez Scully, I was only joking, I didn't mean
to upset you."
Gamely trying to
cover her mortification, Scully smiled weakly. "No
you...um...didn't upset me Mulder, surprised me
Mulder took a quick
glance at the rear-view mirror as he signaled the turn
onto Scully's street, seconds later he pulled over in
front of her building. "Oh, you had me worried
there for a moment, I thought I'd really put my foot in
control of her thoughts, Scully narrowed her eyes; a
little teasing was in order she thought. "Why would
I want to check you out anyway Mulder, I would have
thought you'd have had your fill at work."
"What do you
mean?" There was genuine puzzlement in his tone.
"Oh come on,
don't tell me that you haven't noticed how you get ogled
by all the women from the secretarial pool?"
Although ogled may be the wrong word, I think undressing
you with their eyes would be more appropriate."
you're kidding me aren't you, you're just getting back
at me for that remark I made." Mulder pleaded.
Most red-blooded men would kill to be the center of
attention like that." Scully opened the car door
and stepped out into the night.
She leaned down,
trying not to notice how the interior light picked out
the subtle colors in his hair. "They're not your
there's only one person whose attention I want to be the
center of, unfortunately I'm not their type."
An expression of
surprise etched its way onto Scully's face as he turned
to her with a desperately vulnerable look. "See you
speechless, she stepped back to the pavement as he
pulled out onto the street. Only as she watched the
taillights disappear into the darkness did she recover
her senses enough to comprehend that tomorrow was
Scully mulled over
his enigmatic words as she made her way to her
apartment. Who was he talking about? If not one of the
secretaries, then someone from his past whom she hadn't
met. She pulled up short as she caught sight of yet
another bunch of flowers lying outside her door.
Reaching down, she carefully picked up the bouquet;
unerringly her fingers went straight to the small card
nestled amongst the blossoms.
'White for purity,
like my love for you'
As soon as she
entered her apartment, Scully dropped the flowers on the
table and grabbed her phone. It was answered immediately
by a recorded message.
"You can make
a selection from the following in order to leave your
message, as the person you are phoning is currently
Scully listened to
the automated voice with more than a hint of
exasperation, obviously Mulder did not have his phone
switched on, either that or the battery was flat again.
She let the receiver drop back into the cradle and
picked up the bouquet, noting that again it was from yet
another florist. She would have to wait until tomorrow
them to see if the person sending them had used Mulder's
She unwrapped the
flowers; thrusting them with little care into another
vase she left them in the middle of the table. Whoever
was sending the flowers was beginning to annoy her, she
wasn't interested in starting a relationship with
someone who kept their identity secret, and in fact she
wasn't interested in a relationship with anyone other
Now all she needed
to do was build up the courage to tell him.
As her mind began
to run through a litany of 'what ifs' she decided that a
nice relaxing soak in the bath was just what the doctor
ordered, she chose some bath oil and added a fragrant
candle before starting to fill the tub. As the steaming
scented water passed the halfway point, she decided to
try ringing Mulder at home. Pulling her robe snugly
around herself she carried the phone into the bathroom
and dialed his number.
"Hi, it's me.
Where's your cell phone?"
around somewhere. Why?
tried to call you and I got an unavailable
message." Scully heard the slight creak of leather
as Mulder moved.
"Umm just a
minute." A few seconds of silence ensued before
Mulder spoke again. "Huh, battery's flat."
strange, when was the last time you charged it."
asking, I don't know."
"Well fix it
"You'd make a
good A.D. Scully, start scowling like Skinner does and
you'll have all us mere special agents shaking in our
"I won't need
to scowl Mulder, I'll just carry a big stick."
Mulder's snort of laughter brought a smile to her face.
you ringing about, I'm sure it wasn't just to regale me
with your fantasies about being a disciplinarian."
Scully reached over
to halt the flow of water. "I got another bunch of
"Mm hmm, left
outside the door. Different florist again."
"Yes, this one
gave me a creepy feeling though."
"Why what did
Scully relayed the
message and waited for Mulder's opinion.
"Too bad, if
he sends me another bunch, they are going straight in
you're serious too." Mulder observed.
Scully put one bare
foot up on the edge of the tub, dipping her toes in the
bubbles. "I can handle being sent flowers, but it
peeves me off when the sender doesn't have the gumption
to reveal who they are. I hope I'm not supposed to be
impressed because I'm certainly not." She snapped
the last few words out bitterly.
calm down." Mulder urged.
I'm not calm, I'm pissed, is that better?"
honest at least."
Scully took a deep
breath. "I'm sorry Mulder, I shouldn't use you to
vent my aggravation."
"Hey what are
partners for, I'm sure I've done my fair share of
venting. You want me to come over, you can show me how
you'd wield that stick."
It was Scully's
turn to laugh. "Thanks for the offer, but I think
"Good now go
and relax, read a book or something and forget about
it." He instructed.
"Mmm, I'm just
about to get into a nice warm bath."
Scully heard a
muffled sound before Mulder spoke again. "That's
the ticket, I'll pick you up tomorrow morning
"Uh it is?
Yeah of course, I knew that, well give me a call if you
need a lift anywhere, otherwise I'll see you Monday
let you know." Scully placed the phone on the
vanity thinking how much better she felt after talking
with Mulder. She hung up her robe and sank into the
deliciously hot water, letting her worries evaporate
with the steam.
signal buzzed in his ear for several moments before
Mulder realized he was still holding his phone. He ran a
hand across his mouth and leaned back on the couch. Such
an innocent remark and it almost had been his undoing.
He picked up the TV
remote and scanned through the channels, stopping on
some news programme. He stared vacantly at the screen,
while his mind threw up image after image of Scully. He
grunted and shifted on the couch. She's not interested,
you haven't got a hope, you're not her type. He kept
repeating the words in an effort to convince himself and
concentrated on the TV instead. Commercials had replaced
the news and he found himself inordinately interested in
the advertisement for Dove bath gel. He knew he was in
deep when his mind substituted a naked Scully reclining
in the bath lathering herself in the creamy foam.
Groaning aloud, he adjusted himself more comfortably and
thumbed the TV into silence. He decided to go for a run
hoping the exercise would clear his mind and ease his
Floyd Markham ran
his fingers over the photo in his hand. God, she was
beautiful, he knew he had to have her. He wondered what
she thought of the flowers he had been sending. He had
decided to use her partner's name when he had found the
news photo of the two of them. Why he had to stand that
close to Dana was a mystery, he was only a co-worker,
not her lover for goodness sake. Markham had made up his
mind to make the man pay for his impertinence. Hacking
into his bank account was just the beginning.
What a pathetic
name, he thought. Really, Fox Mulder, who in their right
mind would name their kid Fox, he snorted in
disparagement. He certainly wasn't Foxy to look at; so
damn tall that Dana would have to crane her neck to look
at him, and he possessed a face with that huge stupid
nose that only a mother could love.
Markham was busy
heaping vilification upon the man when a vehicle pulled
up in front of Dana's apartment. He was delighted when
Dana stepped out of the passenger side, but a frown
crossed his face when she leaned back down to speak to
the driver. Their conversation was short and Dana had a
strange look on her face when she stood away from the
car. He watched as the car drove away and Dana made her
way into her apartment building. Mentally, he pictured
her expression when she found the bouquet he'd ordered
earlier in the day. He had specifically requested highly
perfumed blooms for this bouquet so that Dana could
enjoy their beauty and fragrance.
He closed his eyes
and visualized her carefully arranging the fragile
flowers to best show them off and placing them in her
bedroom. He liked that thought, his flowers in Dana's
bedroom; every time she passed them she would stop and
smell them and wished she knew who it was who had sent
them. Markham smiled, she would find out soon enough,
when the time was right, when she was ready, he would
The room wasn't big
enough for the amount of pacing he needed to do; Mulder
decided on his sixth, or was it seventh trip around his
apartment. He stopped again as he passed the phone, his
hand hovering above it before he dropped it back to his
side and resumed his relentless motion. He didn't have
the nerve, pure and simple; he didn't want to open
himself up to being hurt. Once more as he made another
circuit, he stopped next to the phone; his brain was
telling him to go for it, but his rapidly pounding heart
was holding him back.
He'd spent the best
part of the morning trying to decide if he was making
the biggest mistake of his life, or missing out on the
best thing that could ever happen to him. Rubbing his
sweat slick palms on his jeans, he finally took hold of
his courage and tapped in Scully's number. He listened
to it ring and was just about to hang up when there was
me." He smiled.
"Hi me, what
can I do for you?"
"Um, I was
just thinking...I mean I was wondering...if ah...seeing
as how it's...um a nice day...maybe we could..."
Scully broke into his rambling.
Mulder's brow creased in a frown.
"Yes, it's a
nice day and I would love to."
"But you don't
even know what I was going to ask you." Mulder was
"I know, but
if I waited for you to finish, then this nice day would
be almost over and I'd never find out would I?" The
smile in her voice was obvious.
"Good, I'll be
ready in forty minutes."
"Yes Mulder, I
presume you are going to pick me up aren't you?"
"I am? I mean,
yes I am." He tried for an assertive tone but had
the feeling he'd failed miserably.
see you then."
Mulder stared at the phone in bemusement wondering what
had just happened. His intention had been to ask Scully
if she would like to go on a picnic, he had botched it
completely, not even getting the words out but somehow
she'd agreed. Suddenly he remembered her words, he
dropped the phone and sprinted into his bedroom, pulling
his shirt off as he moved. God, he'd never be ready in
time, he needed a shower and a shave. His t-shirt
wouldn't pass muster, and neither would his jeans with
the remains of last night's pizza splattered across one
He ducked into the
bathroom, barely waiting for the water to get warm
before he stepped under the spray. Three minutes later
he'd completed the fastest shower in history, decided to
forgo a shave; hoping that he looked more suave than
scruffy. In another five minutes he had donned fresh
jeans and a moss green Henley, combed his hair in some
semblance of tidiness and was on his way out the door.
minutes after ending his phone call he pulled up outside
Scully's building. He curbed his compulsion to jog up to
the entrance choosing instead to saunter casually,
hopefully giving his heart enough time to stop its manic
beating. Within seconds of him knocking on the door,
Scully stood before him, dressed similarly in a peach
colored sweater, jeans and sneakers.
smiled, gesturing for him to enter.
Mulder walked into
the room and turned, his heart had begun to palpitate
rapidly as soon as he had laid eyes on his diminutive
partner and he had to consciously control his breathing.
we going?" Scully asked brightly.
noisily. "Um, I thought a picnic."
"Ooh lovely, I
haven't been on a picnic in ages. Do you have enough
food?" She moved past him to pick up a jacket
draped over the back of the couch.
Scully turned and
looked at her bewildered partner. "Yeah you know,
it's what you eat when you go on a picnic."
"Oh of course,
the food, actually I thought we'd grab something while
we're out. My pantry isn't up to supplying even the bare
essentials for a picnic." Mulder adopted a sheepish
expression. "That's of course if it's all right
fine." Scully grabbed the travel rug that she'd
placed on the couch earlier and headed for the door.
The two agents
approached Mulder's car unaware that they were being
closely observed, their watcher paying very strong
attention to every move. He sneered as Mulder held the
door open for Scully, biting out a crass remark as the
agent walked around the rear of the car to the driver's
"Now where are
you off to pretty Dana?" He mused as he pulled out
into traffic after them. There wasn't a great deal of
vehicles on the road and Markham had no trouble keeping
Mulder's car in sight. When they drove into Woodley
Park, he dropped back so as not to raise any suspicion.
"I heard they
have a weekend market around here somewhere."
Scully spoke up as Mulder turned into the parking bay
and they exited the car.
you want to have a look or shall we have lunch
towards the center of the park where several vendor
carts were set up. "I'm all for having lunch first,
I'm sure I can smell hot dogs."
Mulder sniffed the
air theatrically. "I do believe you're right, what
excellent investigation techniques you have Agent
Scully." He gestured for her to step in front of
him. "Lead the way, let's see if we can track down
Half an hour later
found Mulder sprawled on the blanket under a shady tree
watching Scully lick her fingers. The sight of her
tongue flicking in and out of her mouth was doing
amazing things to his body and without conscious thought
he blurted out her name.
Looking up from
where she was chasing a splash of sauce on her knuckle,
she was surprised by the emotion in his voice. Mulder
scrambled to his knees and crawled across the blanket to
where she sat.
got something I need to say." He said earnestly.
Scully tipped her
head to one side and gave him a curious look. "I'm
Mulder took a deep
breath, wishing his heart would stop trying to escape
his chest. "The last few years have been hard on
the both of us, you more so than me, your health, your
family, your future, they've all been irrevocably
affected because of your association with me."
Tenderly he tucked a strand of flame red hair behind one
ear before continuing. "I have considered you a
valued colleague for the length of our partnership and a
friend for the bulk of it. In fact I regard you as my
best friend." Mulder climbed to his feet and pulled
Scully up after him, placing his hands on her shoulders
he bent until he was looking directly into her eyes.
"I would like to explore the possibility of you and
Scully's eyes went
wide. "Mulder...I...do you...?"
He placed a finger gently against her lips. "Let me
say this before I lose my nerve." He ran his
fingers slowly down her arms and took her smaller hands
in his. "For the longest time I've been trying to
work up the courage to put into words how I feel about
you. I've always thought that I'd have no chance with
you, that you were so far out of my orbit I may as well
have been on a different planet." His weak attempt
at humor brought a soft smile to her lips.
Taking a deep
breath to calm the pounding of his heart, Mulder
gathered his resolve for one all out effort.
"Scully I love you, I think I loved you from the
moment that you walked into the office all those years
ago, I just didn't figure it out until recently. I want
to have a relationship with you above and beyond what we
have at work. I want to go to sleep with you in my arms
and wake up the same way. I want to be able to look into
your eyes and know that you're mine."
Scully lowered her
gaze to their joined hands. "Mulder, I
don't..." She was interrupted by him drawing in a
sharp breath; she could see what he was thinking by the
emotions swirling in his eyes. With a twinkle in her
eye, she gazed up at him. "You know it's a good
thing that you can't injure yourself by jumping to
conclusions." She said wryly. "Now let me
Scully ran the tip
of her tongue over her top lip before speaking again.
"I had no idea that you felt this way, you hid it
very well, I'm flattered that you think about me like
that and I want you to know that the feeling is mutual.
In fact your timing is incredible, I've been trying to
build up enough courage to tell you the same
Mulder stared at
her as she rubbed her fingers along the inside of his
wrist. It was sending tingles into all places south.
"Is that why, you know when...the other day."
He breathed in deeply. "You said you had something
on your mind, was...you were thinking about us?"
Mulder let his
breath go in an explosive exhalation and wrapped his
arms around his smaller partner; burying his face in her
hair he repeated her name over and over.
lifted his face away from her hair.
And he did, gently
at first, but within seconds their contact grew deeper,
more intense. Their eyes closed as their tongues dueled with each other. Mulder's hands came up and framed
Scully's face. Scully's hands went down and roamed in
exploration as far as she could reach.
A moan emanated
from deep within Mulder's chest. "God Scully, I...I
absolutely perfect to me." She broke through his
His finger traced a
path over her cheek as he looked deeply into her
flawless blue eyes, humbled by the love that he found
there. "You have just made me the happiest man in
the world." His expression turned somber. "But
there's still a part of me that's saying I don't deserve
this, I haven't earned this happiness."
It was Scully's
turn to place a finger against his lips. "Don't
listen to that part, it's wrong." She laid her hand
gently over his heart. "Listen to this part."
A tremulous smile
graced his face as he clasped Scully tightly again.
"I never thought I'd ever be in this exalted
position." He whispered with barely restrained
Scully settled into his embrace. "You're a good man
Mulder, I know at times I have been at a loss to
understand your passion, but your selflessness and your
empathy for others, the very things that attracted me in
the first place are traits that aren't often found in
people these days. I think that knowing you has made a
huge difference in my life and I'm thankful for it. I
feel rich. Being with you here in your arms."
Mulder leaned down
and brushed his lips across hers just as a faint shiver
rocked her small frame. "You okay Scully?"
fine, just getting a bit chilly in the shade." She
glanced longingly at the sun washed path a few feet
"Come and walk
in the sunlight with me then." Mulder leaned down
and scooped up the rug, shaking the loose leaves away
before folding it over his arm. "We've spent too
many years in the shadows, it's time we stepped out into
the light." He took her hand and they walked
together for the first time as a couple.
Unseen by the two
agents, a figure stood silently in the shadow of a large
tree, his body rigid and his fingers clenched into fists
of rage. He watched as they strolled away with an
untroubled air. How dare he, Markham fumed mutely. How
dare he touch Dana in such a familiar way. She was his
and no one else was going to lay a hand on her. His
anger knew no bounds, his blood sang with the desire for
revenge, the feeling so strong he could almost taste it.
He would make this man pay for his audacity, oh how Fox
Mulder was going to pay.
Mulder." Scully said as they walked. "You said
before 'for the longest time'." She looked up at
him inquiringly. "Just how long are you talking
his clasp on her hand. "Do you remember when you
first came down to the basement, you knocked on the
"Oh yes, and
what did I hear, 'nobody down here but the FBI's most
unwanted'. What a statement that was."
walked into the office, I looked up and you introduced
yourself. You had me at 'I'm Dana Scully'."
quite a while ago, what brought on this sudden
were the trigger." Mulder considered his words.
"After seeing those, I realized that if I didn't
say something, then there was a good chance that someone
else would and then I'd lose the best thing that could
ever possibly happen to me." His lower lip quivered
with barely held back emotion.
She looked up at
him, her brilliant blue eyes swimming with happiness.
Scully felt like
her spirit had been set free; she found it almost
impossible to believe that Mulder felt the same way that
she did. How much time had they wasted because they were
both so unsure of the other's feelings. She glanced down
at their intertwined fingers and then up at Mulder's
loving face. Anyone looking at him would see someone
with a calm and somewhat bemused expression; she knew
however, that the small boyish smile that graced his
face was the Mulder equivalent of a full-blown grin on
For the next couple
of hours they walked hand in hand, moving gradually
throughout the many varied stalls set up in the center of Woodley Park. Some of the wares displayed had Scully
interested, some of them they walked straight past until
they came to a colorful booth over by one side. Mulder
grinned widely as he picked up the item that had caught
his eye and showed it to Scully.
"It looks so
lifelike." She said as she ran a hand over it.
unusual choice." Mulder replied studying it
"The eyes have
the same air of curiousness and devilment about
almost as if it's looking for trouble." She
smirked, as she rubbed her face over the soft fur.
Mulder gestured the
stallholder over and asked the price, after a short
conversation about his goods he handed over some cash
and turned to Scully. "Well, you are now the proud
owner of your very own fox."
She giggled as she
held the stuffed animal up and compared it to her
partner. "I've already got my very own fox."
She smiled softly. "This little guy has nothing on
the original but he'll do in a pinch." Her words
had the desired affect and she closed her eyes as Mulder
tenderly brushed her lips with his own.
bring him into work." He said gruffly once they
"Oh no, foxy
here is going to have pride of place in my bed."
She teased. "In fact I don't think I'll ever let
him out of it." The hint of challenge was evident
in the eyebrow that she raised.
Regardless of the
fact that they were in public, in a crowded park with
swarms of people milling around them, Mulder pulled
Scully to him in a heartfelt embrace. "I've been
bewitched." He murmured into her ear hugging her
even closer to his chest. "By a flame-haired
blue-eyed beauty and I've never been more content in my
whole life." All of a sudden he registered that
there was a presence between them and he took a step
back eyeing the toy that Scully held. He gave it a poke
with his finger. "Do I have a rival for your
The love that she
felt for this man warmed her thoroughly and she slipped
in under his arm almost purring in happiness, as he
looped his arm about her shoulders. "Never."
She vowed. "I'm a one man woman."
The two agents
ambled on together through the warm afternoon sun, their
uncommunicative follower hanging back out of sight until
they had cleared the next stall. He approached the booth
where Mulder had made his purchase, his eyes alighting
on the same item. A cruel smile crossed his face as he
picked another of the soft toys up; quickly paying for
his acquisition he scanned the faces around him until he
spied his quarry. Satisfied that they hadn't become
aware of his presence he tucked the small animal under
his arm and headed out of the park to his car, his mind
filled with thoughts of how he was going to obtain his
all the market had to offer, Mulder and Scully had
continued walking taking in the sights and sounds of
people enjoying a Sunday afternoon in the park. Scully
reflecting with wonder how different her day had turned
out from what she was expecting when she woke up this
For his part,
Mulder was quietly enjoying the warmth of Scully's hand
tightly clasped in his musing over how much time had
passed them by while they had both been bumping up
against their own fears over what the other thought. He
looked down at the woman by his side, a soft smile
creeping over his features. She was holding 'foxy'
loosely in her free arm unconsciously rubbing one of his
ears between her finger and thumb.
Something in him
tingled at the notion of being the recipient of that
same almost erotic caressing motion. Not yet, he
thought, they needed to take this slow and steady, learn
how to be a couple before letting the passion sweep them
Scully felt his
gaze and looked up. "What?" She asked.
Mulder replied tucking her arm snugly through his.
they're deep and meaningful thoughts." She came to
a stop and turned until she was facing him, still
holding his hand. "Mulder, we need to talk."
He agreed puffing out a heavy breath. "Do you think
this is going to be a pizza talk or a Chinese
definitely, especially if it's from the Golden
someone's got an appetite." Mulder grinned.
"It must be love."
Scully curled her
finger at him gesturing until Mulder bent closer. She
reached up and kissed him soundly before whispering in
his ear. "I think you're right." She loved the
sight of him as he shivered when she let one fingernail
gently graze his earlobe. The astonished expression on
his face made her break into a grin, before she tucked
herself back under his arm and snuggled against his
strong warm body.
Ten Days Later.
The flight from
Salem North Carolina had been tiring for them both and
the short walk through the concourse of the airport had
almost been Mulder's undoing. The invasive procedures
the doctors had been forced to use to clear the tobacco
beetle larvae from his lungs had caused an equal amount
of damage to that of the infestation.
was labored, there was a rattle in his chest with each
breath, his movements were sluggish and he barely
noticed that Scully had driven them both straight to her
Scully pushed the
door shut behind her as she eyed her partner who had
stopped in the middle of the room, she moved up and
placed a hand in the center of his back, rubbing gently
as he started to sway slightly. "Tired?" She
Mulder nodded, before shrugging his coat off and
dropping it onto the couch. His body followed,
collapsing in a jumble of gangly limbs. Rolling his head
against the back of the couch, he closed his eyes in
want you in bed."
It was a physical
effort to open his eyes halfway, but he managed it and
even squeezed out a half-hearted leer. "Ooh Scully,
straight to the point." He croaked with what little
voice he had left.
"You can put
that out of your mind right now mister." Scully
shook her finger at him. "No hanky panky until your
breathing is better."
the corners of Mulder's eyes. "Scully said hanky
panky." He wheezed. He was beyond exhausted, He
knew too that Scully had gone through her own version of
hell, her constant bedside vigil and worry when it
looked at one stage like he wouldn't pull through,
taking it's toll on her loving features and he felt a
sharp pang of guilt that he had put those lines under
her eyes. Again.
"Yes I did and
now I'm going to say it's time you got some rest."
"I can rest
here." Truth be told, Mulder didn't think he had
the energy to get up, let alone make the seemingly
monumental trek to her spare room.
isn't long enough for you and you know it." She
held out a hand to offer him assistance.
Mulder struggled to
his feet. "I'm so tired of being in bed." He
grimaced against the soreness of his throat and the
tight fist lodged in his chest.
Scully sympathized. "But at the moment, it's the
best place for you." She led the way into her
bedroom and helped him to strip down to his boxers and
t-shirt. He had almost no strength to speak of still.
For a few moments she just held him, reveling in the
warmth and feel of a live Mulder wrapped around her
body, so grateful that he was here with her. Not quite
sound but time and her loving care would heal him.
However and whatever it took.
Mulder sank almost
immediately back against the pile of pillows Scully had
placed behind him. As much as he didn't want to go to
sleep, his body had other ideas. The gentle motion of
Scully's hand as it brushed through his hair sent him
further towards surrender. He felt the light touch of
her lips against his and he cracked his eyes open.
"Think of that
as a down payment." She winked. "With plenty
more to come." The thought of the two of them
together in the same bed wrapped in each other's arms
was enough to carry him over the edge, a tiny smile
gracing his features.
frowned in puzzlement as he watched Dana and Fox Mulder
move slowly towards the entry. He wondered just what had
been happening, Dana had been away from her apartment
for over a week, that alone had nearly made him climb
the walls with craziness and now it looked like that
partner of hers was ill.
As far as Markham
was concerned, it was probably no more than he deserved.
He glanced down at the brown paper package on the seat
next to him. He'd been busy while Dana was away and now
all he had to do was get it delivered to her apartment.
He was reasonably sure that the little surprise he had
created for Mr. Fox Mulder would make the man sit up and
take notice. Maybe then he would realize that he
couldn't just push his way into someone else's
relationship, without accepting that there would be some
sort of serious fallout.
Making a decision
on what his method of delivery would be, he gave Dana's
front window a longing look before driving off to
complete his plan.
"Yes sir, that
is my major concern...you know what he's like, if he's
in the general vicinity of the office, he will find a
way of getting there." Scully listened to Skinner's
suggestion and then gave a delighted laugh. "I
don't think he will appreciate being handcuffed to the
bed sir...yes, I have a place in mind...certainly, once
I have all the details I will let you know." After
thanking Skinner for his concern, she finished the phone
call and moved quietly back to her bedroom.
She stood in the
doorway and observed her sleeping partner; he lay
slightly over on his left side, his arm looped around
the plush soft animal, hand curled up by his chin, the
other stretched out across the bed as if in search of
something. How she wished she had film in her camera,
talk about a Kodak moment. Scully stifled a yawn, almost
giving into the desire to curl up next to him. Each time
she had woken him so he could take the various
medications that had been prescribed, she had lain awake
for some time after listening to his breathing, alert
for even the slightest hint that he was having trouble.
She was so thankful that he had survived this latest
assault on his health. Who would have thought that
looking into the suspicious death of a government
whistleblower would leave her partner near death
himself, from genetically modified tobacco beetles.
She felt as though
the last six months had been one crisis after another,
he had been bitten by rattlesnakes, his emotional health
had taken a battering when his mother had committed
suicide, then he'd been almost drowned in a bathtub by a
Jekyll and Hyde suburban housewife and now this.
Scully's resolve to
make sure Mulder regained his health was formidable, his
recovery back to his usual robust physical condition was
her major concern and she was determined to do whatever
was needed. Quietly, she pulled the bedroom door closed
until it was almost shut, ensuring that the phone calls
she had to make did not disturb Mulder's sleep.
Some two hours
later, she replaced the phone back into the charging
unit. Everything was set; she had managed to book an
entire two weeks at a cottage at Ocean Beach in
Maryland. The warm moist air should prove most
beneficial to Mulder's healing lungs and there was
plenty there to keep him occupied. She leaned back on
the couch, thoughts of romantic walks along the
shoreline and nights spent cuddled in each other's arms
drifting through her head. He needed this. They both
A sharp rapping on
her door caught her attention and she flicked a look
towards the bedroom hoping that the noise had not
disturbed Mulder. Scully peered through the peephole.
"Who is it?"
ma'am, I have a parcel for a Miss Dana Scully."
"Yes, just a
minute." Scully turned the lock and opened the
"I need your
signature here please." The courier held out a
Scully took the
parcel, noting the typewritten address and that there
was no return address. Thanking the man, she closed the
door and took the package into the kitchen. Just as she
was about to open it, she heard Mulder stirring.
She said softly, entering the bedroom and seating
herself next to him.
A pair of bleary
hazel eyes met hers followed by a weak smile and a
cough. "Hey." He breathed, hand pressed
against his chest in preparation for the discomfort that
always came when he woke.
Scully reached for
the glass of water on the bedside table holding it while
Mulder took a couple of eager swallows.
He croaked pushing himself upright against the pillows.
"What time is it?"
Scully reached out
and brushed the hair back off his forehead. "It's
not too late, do you feel up to having something to
what it is."
thinking a nice plain omelet should slide down without
too much trouble."
good, I want to get up to eat it though."
feeling up to it?" Scully enquired with a frown.
no." Mulder admitted. "But I have to get up
sooner or later and I'd prefer it to be sooner."
Scully nodded and
reached for the sweatpants on the dresser as Mulder
eased himself to the side of the bed. Once he was
dressed she led the way into the kitchen.
As he settled into
a chair, Mulder spied the parcel still sitting on the
table. "What's this?"
"Oh I forgot,
a courier dropped it off just as you woke up."
from?" He regarded it curiously.
"I don't know,
there's no return address." Scully pried the tape
away from the well-wrapped package.
your mysterious flower sender." Mulder suggested.
"I hoped that
whoever that was had given up."
don't have any idea."
Scully shook her
head as she lifted the lid of the box away and pulled at
the plastic inside. "Oh..." Her sharp
exclamation coupled with the sudden whitening of her
complexion had Mulder on his feet and at her side.
is it?" He rasped.
Turning her head
away, she pointed a shaky hand at what the box enclosed.
Carefully Mulder inspected the contents. His eyes
widened as he saw the same plush fox toy that he had
purchased over a week ago. It had been hacked to pieces
and liberally covered in what looked like blood. A small
piece of white paper was tucked behind the wrapping.
Gingerly with two fingers, he eased it out and dropped
it to the table. The message was smudged with the same
substance but still legible. 'IF YOU DON'T WANT TO END
UP LIKE THIS FOX MULDER, GIVE DANA BACK TO ME'
Scully could smell
the salt air, the driver's window was open and the fresh
tang was blowing throughout the car. She glanced across
at Mulder, his seat was reclined slightly, his arms were
crossed loosely over his body and his head lolled on the
backrest. His breathing was slow and deep and every now
and then he gave a small snore. Exhaustion had beset him
only a few minutes into their journey and as hard as he
had tried to stay awake, his body had made other plans.
This was not
exactly the way she had planned things, Scully thought;
the shock she'd received from the contents of the parcel
had been nothing compared to how it affected Mulder. She
recalled the stunned look on his face as he read the
note, the sudden intake of a startled breath which had
led to a serious bout of coughing, his hands splayed on
the table, his head hanging down as he desperately tried
to catch his breath. The pained look on his face as he
pressed a closed fist to the center of his chest trying
to alleviate the agony he was feeling and finally, how
his legs had simply collapsed underneath him. He had
missed the chair on the way down and ended up in a
dismal sprawl on her kitchen floor.
A couple of bursts
with an inhaler had helped immensely and he had managed
with her help to get back to his feet. Scully smiled as
she pictured the argument that had subsequently arisen
when she'd directed him back to bed. Stubbornly, Mulder
had refused and although unable to vocalize his protest,
his facial expression had left no doubt as to exactly
what he thought about her instruction. Common sense had
triumphed eventually and Mulder had spent most of the
day resting, surfacing again in the late afternoon just
before A.D. Skinner arrived.
Of course he had
not been accepting of their idea of getting out of town,
and verbal protests along with a whole lot of negative
head shaking had ensued, even the classic Mulder pout
not winning him any points.
Finally with plans
made and destinations discussed, Skinner had left
Scully's apartment, taking with him the parcel and note
enclosed in an evidence bag. Leaving instructions for
Mulder to rest and recuperate and to please not find
anything that needed investigating.
So that brought
them to here, some forty miles out of Ocean City, where
Scully intended to do nothing except indulge in some
serious relaxation for the next two weeks. She had
booked a self-contained cottage on the oceanfront and
the thought of long walks on the beach was greatly
appealing. Hopefully it would also appeal to Mulder, the
warm sea air would aid his healing lungs immensely and
exposure to the sun could only benefit his complexion,
which because he was so pale was looking downright
The sharp cry of a
seagull-wheeling overhead roused Mulder from his
unplanned nap and he sat up slowly, blinking against the
bright sunlight. Bringing the seat back upright, he
rubbed his hand across his eyes and took in their
Crooking the corner
of his mouth up, he turned to Scully and asked in an
entirely innocent, albeit raspy voice. "Are we
"Bet you were
fun on journeys when you were young." Scully
Mulder was silent
for several moments. "Looking back as an adult, it
makes me wonder what possessed my parents to take
Samantha and me on long car trips. Between playing
countless games of I Spy and letting her win at license plate alphabet, we must have driven them mad."
won I Spy, I never could figure out her logic; that
cloud began with d because it looked like a duck."
brightly before picking up some papers and handing them
to her partner. "Seeing you're awake, you can play
navigator." She gestured to the top sheet.
"We're on the Seashore highway now, what's
Reaching into an
inner pocket, Mulder pulled out his glasses and perched
them on his nose. Her heart rate rose at the sight and
she let loose a small sigh of satisfaction.
Mulder looked over
at her and raised an eyebrow. "You okay?"
Mulder." She replied, a little too quickly. He gave
her a knowing smirk.
He returned his
attention to the map. "According to these
instructions, we have to make a right onto Dupont
Boulevard and drive for twenty-four miles." Mulder
studied the next sheet of paper before looking up.
"Sorry twenty-four point three miles to be
before reaching over and stroking her finger along the
side of his face. "Have I ever told you how sexy
those glasses make you look?"
Stunned at the
complete change in topic Mulder stared at her, his mouth
open. "Uh, no can't say I recall you ever telling
A shy smile dimpled
her cheek. "Well they do, I always remember the
first time I saw you, bent over your slides and when you
looked up..." She trailed off, suddenly
self-conscious at her boldness.
Mulder took her
hand and stroked his fingers across the back. "No,
don't stop, tell me. I like discovering all these new
tidbits about you. It's like Christmas every day"
began speaking. "I didn't know you at all except
from rumors that I'd heard and suddenly there you were,
and all I could look at was your eyes and I couldn't
help but think that they spoke volumes about you; they
told me that you had integrity, that you believed in
your principles, and that I'd be devastated when you
took your glasses off."
hid your devastation well."
practice." She replied. "Years and years of
"Well now we
get to practice something else." Mulder grinned.
"And you know what they say."
He waved a hand
vaguely in the air. "They, them, whoever it is who
says the profound things that stick in your mind."
"Okay, what is
it that they say?"
makes perfect." He raised both eyebrows, titled his
head and gave her a pointed look. "And I for one am
looking forward to a whole lot of practicing."
Scully raised her
own eyebrow back at him. "Is that right?"
A cough that he had
been suppressing for the last few minutes burst forth.
"Oh yeah." He gasped breathlessly.
"As much as I
want to practice as well Mulder, I think we might have
to wait until your breathing has cleared up."
The wind went out
of Mulder's sails and he slumped dejectedly in the seat.
"Don't s'pose it'd do any good to tell you I feel
fine, would it."
just concerned. My ears are telling me you are not
Scully, but I also know how I feel."
This time the
Mulder pout worked. "Look I'm not ruling anything
out definitively, but we'll start slow and work our way
across his face. "I can do slow." He croaked.
"I can out slow a snail, Turtles have got nothing
laughter broke across his impassioned speech.
Outskirts of Ocean City.
The cottage was
small, secluded and perfect. At the end of a cul de sac,
the exterior freshly painted, it sat back a short
distance from the road. The two agents walked through
the cozy interior, polished wooden floors covered here
and there by colorful rugs, brightly upholstered wicker
furniture and long gauzy curtains hanging at the
full-length windows completed the living room.
luggage, Mulder hesitated outside the main bedroom; he
was torn between taking the initiative and assuming they
were going to share the one room, and not wanting to
appear to Scully to be overly eager. Deciding to err on
the side of caution, he moved to the second smaller
room, dropped his suitcase to the floor and sat down on
the side of the bed. The small amount of physical
exertion involved in walking from the car to the house
had him panting like a long distance runner.
Scully." He wheezed.
She entered the
room and took one look at him. Placing a cool hand on
his forehead, she leaned in closer as he slung an arm
around her waist. "Want to have a rest?"
"No, just let
me catch my breath."
Once she had
assured herself that Mulder was as fine as he said,
Scully went to finish her unpacking. Mulder decided to
leave his for later and followed her to the other
bedroom. He settled himself on the side of the bed and
watched her as she moved around hanging clothes in the
wardrobe and placing other items in the dresser. After
her suitcase was empty and stowed away Scully came and
sat beside him, she took his face in her hands and
gently pressed her lips to his. Willingly Mulder
responded, his soft full mouth opening under hers. This
was bliss she decided, as their kiss grew deeper. She
felt his hands; large, warm and heavy encircle her as he
pressed their bodies together. Heat enveloped her,
turning her almost dizzied and mindless. She could hear
Mulder's breathing become labored and remembering her
resolve to go slowly, Scully forced herself to pull
Mulder's eyes were
closed, his cheeks flushed with desire; as he felt the
cooler air replace the warmth of Scully's lips, his eyes
slowly opened. Before he could speak, she pressed her
fingertips gently against his mouth. She leaned forward,
pressed her mouth against his ear and whispered in a low
seductive voice. "Come with me."
She stood back and
Mulder looked up as she crooked a finger at him. He
levered himself off the bed and slowly moved towards
her. "I'll go anywhere with you." He breathed.
"Good, we have
to go grocery shopping." Scully turned and left the
room, a mischievous smile on her face as a strangled
"Sculleee!!" followed her down the hall.
Mulder, Scully decided was an experience that should
only be undertaken when one has had a good nights sleep.
His idea of groceries and hers differed widely, if it
wasn't frozen or took more than a few minutes to
prepare, he wasn't interested. He looked horrified when
she placed fresh fruit and yogurt in the cart, and she
knew her expression must have mirrored his when he began
selecting items from the snack food aisle. Pretzels and
corn chips, along with salsa dip and several bags of
sunflower seeds were chosen, until she gently reminded
him that maybe they weren't the best choice with his
throat in its current condition. The crestfallen
expression he unwittingly adopted when he removed his
beloved sunflower seeds had prompted her to add that he
could though, eat all the ice cream that he wished.
complete and stowed in the trunk, they slowly drove
through the center of the town. The area was famed as a
family friendly vacation spot and it certainly seemed
like it lived up to its reputation. Negotiating the last
intersection before heading back to their cottage,
Scully was startled when Mulder twisted around and
croaked out a cheerful exclamation.
cool!" His gaze was fixed over his shoulder.
"Scully, we gotta stop."
"Why, what did
you see?" She began looking for a place to pull
mini golf. Can we go play a game, please?"
He sounded so much
like an excited child that Scully couldn't help but
smile. "Mini golf Mulder?"
"Yeah, come on
Scully, it's fun."
"I don't doubt
it, but unless you want to eat your ice cream with a
straw, I think we'd better get the groceries put away
The trip back to
the cottage was done in less than fifteen minutes;
parking down by the side of the building, Scully opened
the trunk before exiting the car. She sorted through the
bags handing the two least heavy to her partner. Mulder
stood silently while she loaded several onto each arm.
are you doing?"
She looked up in
surprise at his question. "Bringing in the shopping
He lifted the two
bags she had handed him and fixed her with a look.
"I'm not a complete invalid." He grumbled.
stilled her movements, her complexion darkening with
shame as she realized that she had been treating him
exactly as if he was incapable of doing anything for
himself. Putting down the bags she held, she turned to
him. "I'm sorry Mulder, it wasn't
He shifted both
bags to the one hand and held the empty one out towards
her. "I know you're worried Scully, but I promise
not to break in two."
She nodded in
acquiescence and bent to gather the shopping. Before
picking up the bags she turned suddenly, reached up on
tiptoes and planted a kiss against Mulder's lips. For a
split second he was stunned by her boldness, then his
free hand found its way around her waist and he deepened
you!" The words were growled out followed by an
ugly curse as Floyd Markham watched the two agents in
their embrace. His car parked under an overhanging tree
was obscured, but allowed him an unimpeded view of the
cottage where his quarry had fled.
He had been
surprised early that morning when three people had left
Dana's building with suitcases. He smiled at first when
his eyes settled on the fiery tresses of his love, but a
scowl soon replaced it as he recognized the slighter of
the two men. Fox Mulder had placed his arm around Dana
as he shook the tall bald man's hand. Dana had then
shaken the man's hand before they watched him climb into
his car and drive away.
Markham had noted
that the bald man was the same one who had left there
yesterday, holding a large clear plastic bag containing
the little gift he had sent.
tactic of warning Mulder off had not worked quite as
he'd planned. His intention had been to scare Mulder off
and then once the way was clear, he would arrive to
offer aid and comfort to poor dear Dana. Instead it
looked like his gift had scared both of them enough to
make them leave. His spur of the moment decision to
follow them had taken him on a journey to this coastal
area and consequently, this semi-secluded cottage; their
love nest it seemed.
Markham's anger at
Mulder's continuing disregard of his demands boiled; the
man would pay, pure and simple, there was nothing more
to it than that. He hadn't taken heed of the first
warning, so there would be no second chance, he'd make
sure that Mulder was out of the way for good this time.
He watched as the couple separated and carried their
supplies inside. From the amount of bags they held it
looked like they intended their sickening rendezvous to
be a lengthy one.
He tightened his
grip on the steering wheel as he started his car; he had
plans to make and he needed supplies. He knew where they
were and the beauty of their location was the isolation;
no nosy neighbors to be concerned about, no chance
encounters by good Samaritans wondering whether his car
had broken down. A smile crept over his face as he
quietly reversed the car away from the cottage, soon he
thought, Dana would be in his arms soon.
Scully closed the
pantry door after placing the last of the groceries
inside and turned to Mulder who had been lounging
against the sink watching her move around the kitchen.
done." She brushed her hands together.
"Good, now can
we go play mini golf?"
"What is it
about this game that has you so keen?" She laughed
at his eager expression.
Mulder placed a
hand on his chest. "You are talking to the Mulder
family mini golf champion 1969 to 1972." He stated
Scully adopted a
look of astonishment. "Goodness, I never knew I was
in the presence of someone so legendary."
Mulder grinned before covering a sudden cough. He shook
his head as Scully approached him. "I'm okay, just
got to remember..." He took a breath. "Not to
say too much in one go." He crossed his arms and
raised an eyebrow. "So?"
"So, I was
thinking." Scully snuggled her arms around her
partner. "What about some lunch."
suppose I could eat something."
"Then, maybe a
nice slow walk along the beach."
after that, I thought I would show you one of the
reasons why I chose this particular cottage."
tuned curiosity was on the rise. "One of the
reasons, how many were there?"
"Quite a few
actually." Scully disengaged herself from his
embrace and turned away to start preparing lunch. She
called out over her shoulder as Mulder began to walk out
of the room. "Are you trying to ruin my
Guiltily he stopped
where he was before returning to sit at the table. When
he hadn't spoken a word for several minutes, she asked
what he was doing.
"Oh was that
the strange noise I heard." She brushed her hand
through his thick hair.
Mulder tipped his
head up and gave her a 'look'. "This frivolity is
unlike you, my dear Agent Scully." His eyes
crinkled with mirth. "But I like it."
herself on his lap, her hand still running through the
lush brown locks. "I should be worried about the
lunatic who sent that parcel, I should be concerned over
the fact that we've basically run away, but I'm not. I
feel safe, I feel secure." She nuzzled his cheek.
"I feel loved."
definitely are loved." Mulder found her lips with
his and commenced to show her just how much, letting his
hands roam up and down her back.
The beach was
almost deserted; way off in the distance barely visible
through the salt and sand, a couple of figures could be
seen. But right here and now it was as if Mulder and
Scully had the whole beach to themselves. Walking hand
in hand, they stopped occasionally when one or the other
bent down to examine a shell or a piece of beach
The sun was warm
and the water cool as they splashed barefoot through the
shallow waves. Mulder looked across at the woman he
adored, watching as the breeze blew her vibrant copper
tresses away from her face. She turned her face towards
him and smiled.
"Ready to go
"Do I find out
what your other reasons were if I say yes?"
Mulder placed his
hand gently under her chin, tipping it up so he could
place a light kiss on her lips. "Do any of these
reasons involve getting naked?" He whispered
huskily against her skin.
A flush crept up
Scully's neck and colored her cheeks. Dipping her head,
she breathed out her answer. "Mmm, possibly."
"And maybe the
exchange of bodily fluids?"
whether you're a good boy or not."
"I'm sure I
can manage something along those lines."
better be getting back then hadn't we?" Scully's
blue eyes shone as she gazed up into cool hazel.
retraced their steps, their arms entwined, as were their
Mulder's eyes raked
over the interior of the cottage as they walked in from
the beach, he noted a couple of items that he'd missed
earlier, a long comfortable looking couch and a cabinet
that held a moderate sized television. Scully following
him, noting his careful scrutiny of the room and smiled.
"My first reason is this way." She called as
she started down the hall nearest the bedrooms.
after her, brows furrowed in interest as she stopped
outside the bathroom. It was one room he hadn't entered
yet as his toiletries were still sitting in his unpacked
suitcase. Scully pushed the door open with a flourish
and gestured for him to enter. The room was
disproportionately large for the size of the cottage but
as he moved fully inside he saw the reason why.
Taking up one full
corner of the bathroom overlooked by a large pane of
clear glass was a state of the art whirlpool bathtub. If
he'd had the breath he'd have whistled, instead a wide
grin lit up his whole face.
He walked forward
slowly, taking in the blatant extravagance of the
contoured, padded head and armrests and the multitude of
jets. Turning, he folded his arms across his chest,
leaned back on the side of the tub and eyed his partner.
"This thing's huge, people who built this place
must have been into water sports." He said huskily.
was dreamlike. "I'm going to own one of these one
"You'll need a
whole new house to put it in."
"As I said,
with his thumb at the window behind him. "Are you
sure about this?"
glass." He was assured. "Can't see through
from the other side."
with a view." He stepped into the tub and gazed out
the window; all he could see was yards of sand and the
waves lapping lazily upon the shore. The romance was not
lost on him, in fact it bubbled giddily all through him
with the possibilities.
Scully giggled at
the sight of him standing barefoot in the tub with his
pants rolled up to just below his knees. She leaned on
the side and coyly asked. "Want to try it
"I think I
could be persuaded." He responded, inclining his
body slightly and brushing her lips.
Scully closed her
eyes and sank into the feeling of his mouth against
The sun had gone
down and several artfully placed low wattage globes
provided the only illumination in the room. Scully felt
warm and languid, her eyes barely slitted as she watched
tiny puffs of steam rise off the otherwise still water.
Mischievously she wriggled her fingers, breaking the
smooth surface and causing minute ripples to eddy
Sunk up to his
chin, Mulder felt the slight disturbance in the water
and cracked his eyes open. He noted that the ambient
warm steam, lightly fragranced with lavender had eased
his chest, his mind and his body were totally relaxed
and it was an effort to form words.
He swallowed and tried again. "Scully?"
One azure blue eye
opened and stared at him from across the other side of
the tub. "Yeah?"
you." His toes found hers in the water and he
rubbed them lazily against hers, his teasing
intentional. If only he knew what he was doing to her,
from the looks on his face he was well aware exactly the
effect he was having. She sensed major tingles from his
The other eye
opened and she tilted her head, causing a lock of hair
to tumble down from the loose knot she had tied earlier.
Scully gathered her feet under herself and gently
propelled herself across the water; she came to a rest
with the upper half of her body pressed deliciously
against Mulder's chest. "I love you too." Her
small pink tongue darted out and lapped at a bead of
perspiration as it slid slowly down his face.
Mulder lifted an
arm that felt boneless and tucked the strand of hair
back behind her ear. Cupping her cheek in his hand he
swept his thumb across her lips.
Scully lifted both
hands to the back of his neck, clenching her fingers in
his damp hair she brought her mouth down to his and
lapped gently at his lips. His mouth opened and a low
moan escaped. Endless seconds later, she pulled away and
rested her forehead against his.
"Time to get
out I think."
health's sake...yes we do."
nodded, standing up he helped Scully out first before
climbing out after her. Passing him one of the thick
towels, she secured the other around herself and watched
him as he dried off. He was still too thin for her
liking, his illness had taken a harsh toll, robbing him
of his usual healthy vitality and leaving him with
visibly prominent ribs and a slight gauntness in his
Taking his hand,
she led the way into the main bedroom, Mulder stopped in
surprise when he saw his suitcase sitting open on the
bottom of the bed.
"I moved it
before, you don't think I was going to let you sleep
alone do you?"
you told me a little while ago, I want to go to sleep in
your arms and wake up the same way."
Mulder nodded as he
recalled his words his hand stroking the soft skin of
I'm going to hold you to that." Lifting his hand,
she pressed small kisses on the tips of his fingers.
"You're mine Mulder and I have no intention of
letting you go." She turned away to the dresser and
lifted out a pair of soft mint green pajamas. Without
the least hint of modesty, she unwrapped her towel and
let it drop to the floor.
Mulder's mouth went
instantly dry, his eyes roamed over her perfect body
settling on the tattoo at the base of her spine. A line
of perspiration broke out on his top lip and he
hurriedly sat down on the side of the bed unable to stem
his body's automatic reaction not the least of which was
the raspy breathing that threatened to get out of
control. A touch on his shoulder and his name softly
spoken brought him out of his introspection.
Scully now dressed,
kneeled on the bed behind him, a pair of his pajama pants in her hand. "Everything okay?"
fine." He replied hoarsely. He took the clothing
from her and willing his body to behave, pulled the
pants on under the towel.
She pulled a
t-shirt from his suitcase holding it to her face and
inhaling deeply before passing it across. Mulder raised
an eyebrow at her actions and she shrugged. "Can I
help it if I love the way you smell."
A rough chuckle
burst from his mouth. "That would have to be one of
the most unusual things anybody has ever said to
It was Scully's
turn to raise her eyebrow. "Come on Mulder, in our
line of work."
then that a woman has said."
The eyebrow went
partner?" He offered weakly.
Scully shook her
Mulder took as deep
a breath as he was able and straightened his shoulders.
"Would you believe a lover?"
swelled as she heard the words. "Okay, I'll buy
that one." She held her hand out as she wriggled
off the bed. "All right, next reason." Leading
the way back out into the living room, she pointed
Mulder at the couch and walked over to an unremarkable
screen against the wall. Sliding it out of the way, she
revealed a fireplace.
Scully glanced back
at her partner who was taking quite an interest in her
gas." She explained. "But it has the look of a
real wood burning fireplace." She flicked a switch
on one side and watched as flames lit up a stack of
Mulder leaned back
on the couch, impressed. "I like all the reasons
you've come up with so far."
Scully leaned in
against him. "I just wish I could transplant this
whole place back to D.C."
"Would you be
looking for a roomie?" Mulder's words held a
suggestion of hope.
She gazed up at
him. "Without a doubt."
The cottage was
silent, only the faint repetitive sound of the surf
crashing onto the shore and the deep heavy breathing of
the man who lay with his head on her lap, as she slowly
combed his hair with her fingers. It was a measure of
his fatigue that there was not the slightest response
when she nuzzled his ear.
Evidence of their
evening meal was scattered over the table and the floor,
Scully gave serious consideration to tidying things up
for all of five seconds before she decided it wouldn't
hurt the dishes or her to leave them until morning.
Relaxation was the key word and getting bent out of
shape because of a few dirty dishes was clearly not the
answer. Snuggling with Mulder was more important.
She leaned over
Mulder's sound asleep body and patted him lightly on the
His face twitched
slightly at the contact so she tried again. This time a
little louder. "Mulder!"
Slowly his eyes
opened until a sliver of hazel showed under the heavy
Scully stroked his
face softly. "It's bed time."
hmm." He pulled his knees closer to his body then
His actions were so
like that of a tired little boy that Scully couldn't
help but smile. She patted his face again and moved her
knees under his head.
This time his eyes
opened further, he mumbled unintelligibly before raising
a hand to his face. "I'm awake."
time to go to bed."
Rolling over he
stared up at her, blinking slowly. "Huh?"
She placed a light
kiss on his sleepy lips. "Bed time."
okay." Mulder shifted off her lap and pulled
himself upright. He sat there for a moment blinking his
eyes while Scully stood up. "Didn't mean to fall
"Your body is
still healing, you'll probably do a lot more sleeping
suppose." He climbed slowly to his feet and put a
hand out towards Scully. As she moved in towards him, he
saw the plates left from their meal. "Oh the
they can wait till morning."
A slow smile
blossomed across Mulder's face. "I love it when you
break out and live dangerously."
Scully took his
hand and guided him to the bedroom. "Need a
"Okay, I'll be
back in a minute." She closed the door behind her.
Mulder pulled back
the covers on the bed and sat down rubbing a hand across
his face. His tired mind slowly grasped the fact that
tonight he and Scully were finally going to sleep
together; cautiously he took a deep breath and stretched
his arms above his head.
The water in the
bathroom stopped running and Scully stepped out into the
room. Moving to his side she brushed the hair away from
his eyes. "Everything okay?" She asked.
A yawn caught
Mulder by surprise and he nodded his head as an answer.
then." She went around to the other side of the
bed, sliding in on the fresh crisp sheets. Turning onto
her side she watched Mulder do the same.
He lifted an arm
and she moved over nestling in against his side. His arm
came down over her body and she reveled in the feeling
of his warmth. Mulder turned and pressed his face into
her hair. He breathed in her scent and sighed deeply.
"Wanna cuddle?" He asked in a drowsy voice.
"I thought we
nice." His breathing evened out as he dropped back
Scully lay still
delighting in the sensation of his body pressed against
hers, the knowledge of knowing that he was finally hers
had taken a while to sink in but it was undeniable now.
Her deepest desire had been realized and she wanted to
stay safe and secure in his arms forever. She could feel
his heart beating under her cheek and the slow and
steady vibration eventually lulled her to sleep.
Mulder shifted in
bed and sluggishly opened his eyes; the rhythmic sound
of the ocean was the first thing he noticed as he came
fully awake. He lay still for a few moments, trying to
ward off a cough, listening to the crash of the nearby
surf as it pounded endlessly on to the shore. The room
was lit by the faintest glow of early morning light that
slipped in around the edges of the window blinds. He
raised his arms above his head and indulged himself in a
luxurious stretch from his toes up to his fingertips.
Rolling on to his side he peered through the semi
darkness at the figure by his side.
Scully lay facing
away from him, her soft and steady breathing letting him
know she was still asleep. Propping himself up on an
elbow, leaned over and gazed at her features. Her
eyelashes lay thickly against her creamy skin, a loose
lock of hair draped across her face moved with each
exhale from her slightly parted full pink lips.
Tenderly, Mulder lifted the hair up and away, pressing a
light kiss upon her shoulder.
He sat up, rolled
out of the bed and headed for the bathroom, the view
from the window beckoning him. The sun was just
beginning to crest the horizon; in a few minutes it
would be a brand new day. Too bad his constitution
wasn't up to a run.
The orange and pink
hues of the rising sun were reflected off the ocean onto
the remnants of fluffy clouds. He could see seagulls
trotting up and down the shore, chasing whatever food
was being swept in with the rising tide. Mulder finished
up in the bathroom, changed into a pair of jeans and
headed for the kitchen to start some coffee, as he
passed through the living room, last nights dishes
caught his eye. He felt guilty for falling asleep so
early and decided to make amends by clearing them away.
Floyd Markham woke
stiff and irritable, training his eyes on the cottage a
feeling of resentment flared within him as he envisaged
Fox Mulder relaxing in a comfortable bed. He climbed out
of the car and stretched his limbs; a desire to find out
whether it would be easy to get into their cottage
sparked the decision to have a look around. The sun was
barely up and remembering how late the light had been
turned out last night made him feel secure that it would
be some time yet before the occupants would be stirring.
Crossing the narrow
road, he moved stealthily down the side of the building,
keeping clear of any loose stones and gravel that might
broadcast his movements.
All the windows were covered with either curtains or
blinds and he was unable to see inside. Cautiously
circling around to the beach side of the small house, he
was taken by surprise by the sound of water gurgling
through the pipes. He froze in place flattening himself
against a wall.
occurred to him how absurd his furtiveness was, if the
person moving around inside was Dana, he was sure she
would be pleased to see him again. If however it were
Fox Mulder, he would have a little surprise for him.
Markham scanned his eyes over the ground smiling grimly
as he caught sight of a rock edged garden, choosing one
slightly bigger than fist-size, he continued on until he
was in sight of the back door.
The waves kept
drawing Mulder's attention as he tidied away the last of
the plates, glancing around the kitchen, he noted that
it was as presentable as he could make it and the coffee
machine was making suitable noises and nice aromas.
There was no sound or movement from the bedroom, so he
decided to take a quick walk down to the water. Just as
his hand touched the door handle, a surge of coughing
nearly doubled him over. Frantically trying to catch his
breath, he ended up leaning on the kitchen counter his
chest heaving from the convulsions.
Scully's questioning voice sounded. He crossed his arms
over his chest as the doctors had shown him and gasped
in a lungful of air. The paroxysm eased finally and he
straightened up as Scully came up behind him, full of
gentle concern. Placing a hand between his shoulder
blades, she rubbed gently waiting for his heaving
breathing to slow back to normal.
that on?" She asked.
Mulder shook his
head. "Don't know, wasn't doing anything."
cleaning the kitchen." Scully looked around.
"What cleaning agents did you use?"
what the Doctor said about chemicals, I just used hot
water and soap." He wheezed as he straightened up.
Scully placed her
arms around his waist and leaned her head on his chest.
His heart was beating faster than normal, but that was
to be expected.
"I woke up
alone." She murmured against his shirt.
called." He explained. "And then I could hear
the waves and I was just going to watch the sun come up
from the beach."
"Okay, give me
a minute, I'll just throw some clothes on." She
extricated herself and moved quickly back to the
"I'll just be
outside." He called hoarsely.
"Don't go near
the water, it'll be too cold."
Mulder rolled his
eyes and grasped the door handle again. As he pulled the
door open he heard Scully's voice.
you hear me?" She appeared back in the kitchen, a
long sleeved shirt in one hand.
"Yes, I heard
you, don't go near the water."
sheepishly. "I don't mean to nag, it's just that
He motioned for her to hurry up. "Come on, the
sun's not going to wait for you." Mulder watched as
she dashed back to the bedroom. He opened the door fully
and stepped outside.
listen do you?"
sound took Mulder by surprise and he whirled around just
as a sudden movement caught the edge of his vision. He
felt something solid connect with his temple and
stunned, he fell against the door knocking it back
against the wall with a loud thud. A wave of dizziness
washed over him as he groaned.
attention...is mine...told you..."
The words were
disjointed and meaningless to Mulder as he struggled to
pull himself upright. "Who...?" His voice
disintegrated into a cough, the force of which sent a
shockwave of pain through his head.
Scully paused with
one arm halfway inside a sweater as a thump sounded from
another part of the cottage. Curious as to what the
noise was, she called out from the bedroom door.
"Mulder, was that you?"
When no answer came
back she hurriedly finished pulling her jersey on,
forgoing changing out of her pajama pants she moved
swiftly back to the kitchen. "Mulder?"
Markham looked up
at the sound of Dana's voice. Furiously, he hauled the
unsteady agent to his feet and forced him out the door.
was...?" Scully's words died as she entered the
room. Taking in the scene, she instantly transformed
from worried companion to determined FBI agent.
"Stop where you are, Federal Agent!"
his grip around Mulder's limp form and pushed him
another few steps forward.
"He's not good
enough for you Dana." He called out unable to see
The use of her
given name stunned her. "What do you want?"
Markham kept up a
slow onward pace. "Just you, all I want is you
Scully grabbed at
the nearest item to hand and hurled it with all her
strength. The heavy marble bookend struck Markham a
glancing blow in the middle of his back compelling him
to lose his grip on Mulder. The almost insensible agent
slid to the sand as Markham groaned out loud, stumbled
and dropped to one knee.
Scully raced for
the bedroom, flinging open the closet door and
scrabbling for her weapon that she had left in her
overnight bag. She snapped the magazine into place and
tore back up the hallway. She lurched to a halt as she
saw the man drag Mulder back to his feet and hook an arm
tightly around his throat. "Stop where you are.
Markham spun around
dragging Mulder bodily with him and faced the enraged
woman. "Dana you don't understand."
Scully gasped as
she saw his face for the first time. "You!"
"I did it for
"You sent the
flowers." She took a step forward as Markham moved
back holding his hostage tightly against his chest.
"You were the depraved person who sent that
Mulder who had been
barely conscious chose that moment to regain his senses.
He began to struggle against Markham's grip forcing the
man to lose his grasp. They both tumbled to the sand,
Mulder on all fours, bleeding profusely now from his
head wound, Markham only to his knees.
"Can't you see
that we were meant to be together?" The crazed
stalker declared, his chest heaving with barely
Scully shouted as he leaned forward and grabbed a dazed
Mulder by the hair.
Markham growled, climbing to his feet and dragging
Mulder up with him like a rag doll.
you, if you don't let him go, I'll be compelled to use
deadly force." She raised her gun stepping forward
to match Markham's retreat.
"Not before I
do." His threat hung in the air as he reached a
hand into his pants pocket and pulled out a knife,
pressing it into Mulder's side.
Scully paled and
lowered her weapon as the man again hauled Mulder
further down the beach. "What do you want?"
She begged. "Please just leave him alone and I'll
do whatever you want."
"I don't think
so." Markham's eyes narrowed with cruelty. "I
can see in your eyes that you think he's more important
than me so that means I have to get him out of the
no." She pleaded.
Awareness began to
seep back to Mulder and he started to struggle against
the tight grip across his chest. "Scully?"
Markham cursed and
steadied himself, waving the knife in front of the
agent. "Keep still or you'll be sorry." They
had backed up almost to the water's edge.
The warning he was
given didn't register nor did the sudden tug on his
hair. The only thing that concerned Mulder was the
fright in Scully's voice. He jerked suddenly, loosening
the hold on his hair and turned. He got his first good
look at the man responsible and his immediate reaction
was to laugh. Inconveniently, the laugh turned into a
sharp series of hacking coughs that bent him almost
double and stole the little remaining strength in his
legs. He turned his collapse into a controlled fall
using it to sweep Markham's legs out from under him.
They both tumbled into the water, Mulder to one side and
slightly underneath the other man.
He heard Scully's high-pitched voice again. He thrust
his body upward in an attempt to throw the other man off
but all he got for his trouble was a harsh blow across
the face. The waves splashed over them both, the
increasing force rolling them over together. Mulder made
it to his knees but was knocked backward as Markham came
at him bodily. The force of the collision drove the
breath from his lungs and he opened his mouth to gasp in
much needed air just as another wave hit. Gagging on the
water, he barely managed to notice Markham coming at him
again with fire in his eyes, holding the knife out in
front of him.
Anger gave the
slighter man an advantage over a rapidly weakening
Mulder; he threw himself forward, barreling them both
into deeper water. Rising up on his knees, he
triumphantly looked his competitor for Dana's attention
in the eye before plunging the knife deeply in under the
Mulder convulsed as
a white-hot blaze of pain engulfed him. He brought his
hands up to his injury feeling the knife grate against
bone. As another wave splashed over him, he saw Markham
rear back. Seawater sprayed from his mouth as he gloated
exultantly. "She's mine now!"
Then suddenly the
sneer on his face changed to one of extreme astonishment
as he took a deep breath and opened his mouth in a cry
of anguish. Red spittle flecked his lips and he clutched
a hand against a rapidly blooming bloodstain on his
wide, he gurgled out a final word before falling forward
on top of Mulder and driving the knife further into the
With the waves
splashing up over her knees, Scully tucked her gun into
her waistband and moved swiftly to her partner's side.
Markham lay face down, his weight holding Mulder's body
under the water. She rolled the lifeless man away,
reaching down to put her arms under Mulder's shoulders
and lifting his face up and out of the water.
His body was a dead
weight and her arms trembled with the effort of pulling
him up into the shallows. Once she had him far enough
out of the water's reach, she dropped to her knees
pressing her fingers against his throat. She was able to
detect a faint pulse but there was no movement of his
"No, this is
not happening!" She cried as she pulled his mouth
open and tipped his head back. She placed her lips over
his mouth and pushed a breath into his lungs, another
one followed as she watched his chest rise and fall
again. Lifting her head, she felt for his pulse again,
it was still there but no stronger; again she lowered
her head and breathed for her partner. For a full minute
she kept it up, every four seconds forcing a breath into
lungs unwilling to breathe for themselves. Then without
warning, his body shuddered as he began to cough up salt
water. Quickly tipping him onto his side away from the
injury, Scully held him there until he stopped choking
and his breathing evened out.
you hear me?" She pleaded in a trembling voice. His
eyelids fluttered but other than that he stayed still.
Carefully, she positioned him again on his back and
checked his pupils, they both contracted when opened and
she breathed a sigh of relief. The jagged gash on his
temple was not bleeding as copiously, so she left it
alone and concentrated on the more serious wound.
The knife went
through his t-shirt and into his body up to its hilt;
carefully Scully tore his shirt away and examined the
point of entry. A small amount of blood seeped from
around the blade and now ran down his side. Scully
looked around her, not a single person was to be seen.
She needed to get back to the cottage and call the
paramedics and police but she didn't dare leave Mulder
alone in case he regained awareness and started moving
around. God forbid what extra damage he might do if that
She tried again to
rouse him, patting his cheek and calling his name;
finally she managed to get a reaction. The muscles in
his face began to twitch as he surfaced back to
consciousness. A low drawn out moan hailed his awakening
and Scully gently laid one hand on his forehead and the
other on his chest in an attempt to keep him from
His first endeavor to form words brought on another set
of hacking coughs. His body tried to curl up double from
the strain, inadvertently shifting the knife against his
ribs and he stiffened in agony. Clenching his eyes shut,
his teeth clamped down on his lower lip so hard he drew
blood. One hand flailed up, forcing Scully to abandon
the hold on his chest and press the limb back into the
Mulder!" She whispered breathlessly.
She smoothed her hand over his forehead. "Just lie
happened?" His voice was a mere gasp.
stabbed." She explained leaning over to catch his
unfocused gaze. "Mulder, I need you to pay
attention to me, can you do that?"
know it hurts but you have to listen to me."
"I have to get
my phone but to do that means I have to leave you, do
carefully now. You can't move, I don't know what sort of
damage the knife has done but if you move it could do
more. I have to leave it in for now, or you could lose
too much blood. The knife is keeping the blood loss to a
minimum right now."
expression crossed his face and his rate of breathing
began to increase. "Knife...?"
Mulder, please sweetheart."
"Come on, take
it easy, slow breaths." She moved her hand and
stroked the side of his face with gentle fingertips. As
his breathing dropped in intensity his eyes fixed on
hers and he frowned.
"I said a lot
of things Mulder, are you talking about your
called me..." His lips pursed but he was unable to
voice the word.
A soft smile lifted
the corners of her mouth. "Sweetheart."
He breathed and his eyes closed. "Again."
"You want me
to call you sweetheart again?"
A slow nod was her
sweetheart, but only if you lay perfectly still for me.
Can you do that?"
you." He whispered.
Scully dropped a
gentle kiss on his lips and stroked his forehead.
"All right my sweetheart, I'm going to get my phone
now, you're not going to move are you?"
Just lie still, think of all the time we have to explore
this new life we have. So much to look forward to. Hang
on love please." She pressed another kiss to his
forehead and then she was up and sprinting across the
From the time of
her phone call to when the paramedics arrived was less
than twenty minutes but to Scully it seemed like several
lifetimes. Mulder had lost consciousness shortly after
she returned. She sat next to him listening to his slow,
shallow breathing occasionally stealing a glance of
contempt at the body of the man who had caused all the
trouble, nearly completely submerged in the shallows,
the incoming tide tossing the limp form back and forth.
The paramedics had
evaluated Mulder's injuries, placed a dressing on his
head wound and attached him to oxygen but decided that
any other medical intervention was best left for the
doctors at the hospital. They covered the chest would
with the knife still embedded with a large dressing to
keep out the worst of the sand.
Halfway to the
hospital, Mulder began to come around. His eyes opened
and closed, each time roaming around the interior of the
ambulance until they settled on Scully. Then he would
give a little sigh and relax again. She could hear
indistinct mutterings from under the mask but any
request for him to repeat what he was saying went
As soon as he had
been whisked into emergency, Scully appropriated the
nearest pay phone and called Skinner to report what had
happened. Promising to follow up with the local police
over the shooting, he informed her he would be at the
hospital as soon as possible.
later she was still pacing up and down outside the area
where Mulder was being treated. When the door was pushed
open, she immediately accosted the person who exited.
can you tell me about the man inside?"
"Are you a
relative dear?" The middle-aged nurse asked with
kind eyes as she took in Scully's disheveled appearance.
"No, well yes,
sort of, he's my partner...um FBI partner and my…er
other partner as well. I also hold his medical power of
"Well, let me
see if Dr Jervis will step out for a moment." She
disappeared back inside the room and Scully recommenced
Five minutes passed
before the door reopened and a sturdy gray haired man in
blue scrubs with a white coat walked out.
"Hello." He smiled kindly, his brown eyes
crinkling at the corners. "I understand you've got
some information on our patient inside."
eagerly. "Yes, my name is Dana Scully, Mulder...uh
Fox Mulder is my FBI partner...um he and I are
Dr Jervis held up a
hand. "I understand, now I need to ask you a couple
of questions about Fox."
"I beg your
sorry." Scully gave the man an abashed look.
"It's a habit, he doesn't like his first name,
prefers everyone to just call him Mulder."
you?" Jervis looked surprised.
then, Fox...uh Mulder has previous significant damage to
his lungs. What can you tell me about that?"
need to know, I'm a medical doctor too."
Jervis' face lit
up. "Well in that case, please come in, it'll save
running out here every time we need to know
warmly in gratitude and followed the doctor into the
room. Mulder had been moved to an examination table and
was covered to the waist by a thin sheet. A fresh
dressing graced the side of his head and a temporary
bandage covered the injury on his chest. A pulse
oximeter was clipped to one finger and an oxygen mask
covered half his face. He was conscious, in obvious pain
and as soon as he saw Scully enter the room, weakly
lifted a hand up to her.
She leaned down and
placed her hand on his forehead, his temperature felt
elevated and she looked up at the doctor questioningly.
definitely aspirated some water, we'll have to wait and
see whether any complications arise from that."
Jervis began to run through the list of injuries.
"He's got a mild concussion from the blow to his
head, his LOC is good currently and we don't expect any
problems to crop up from that." He carefully
adjusted the IV tubing running along Mulder's left arm.
"He's got a single stab wound to the left chest in
the mid-axillary line in the fourth intercostal space.
Ribs look intact and I can't hear any crepitus, no
bleeding but there is decreased breath sounds at the
His abdomen is
soft, non-tender and non-distended. Extremities are warm
with good present distal pulses."
Scully nodded with
each piece of information the doctor supplied.
"We've done an
upright chest x-ray, which F...Mulder wasn't too happy
about but he managed to get through, because the wound
is isolated, there wasn't any reason for doing a pelvis
and lateral C-spine. There's no pericardial
Scully breathed out
a sigh of relief and gave Mulder a weak smile and a
comforting hand on his shoulder.
huh?" Jervis' eyes twinkled as he continued.
"Okay, we've also done blood typing, a CBC,
arterial blood gas and a toxicology screen which I
suspected was not necessary but is hospital
under Scully's hand and moved his head back and forth.
"So tell me,
what is the story on his lungs?"
Scully relayed all
the information she had about the condition that had
afflicted Mulder and his subsequent treatment. As she
spoke she noticed Mulder getting more restless. Jervis
became aware of his agitation and his increased heart
what's the matter?" Scully asked, bending down to
hear his words.
pain Mulder?" Jervis asked.
All hell suddenly
broke loose; Mulder's heart rate and pulse plummeted,
the emergency team spun into action and before she knew
it, Scully found herself deposited outside the trauma
room again. Scant minutes later, Mulder's gurney banged
against the doors and he was whisked away down the hall.
Dr Jervis came hurrying out and headed in the same
direction. Scully ran to keep up with him.
"What is it,
what's wrong?" She asked breathlessly.
Mulder has a diaphragmatic injury, we're taking him up
to OR now for a diagnostic laparoscopy. If you want, you
can wait in the third floor waiting room, as soon as I
know something I'll send someone out to tell you."
He increased his pace and left Scully behind, her tears
not far away.
She slumped against
the wall, her head hanging in exhaustion and worry; it
felt like she had been on the go for days instead of
just hours. Her gaze settled on the floor and her bare
toes poking out of flat sandals. She abruptly realized that she was still wearing part of her
pajamas, and they
were wet and sand encrusted. She ran a hand through her
uncombed hair, feeling how stiff and brittle with salt
and sea water it felt. What she wouldn't give for an
hour in that beautiful tub back at the cottage she
thought. But there was no way she was leaving here until
she saw Mulder again. She chastised herself of thinking
of her own needs above the fact that the partner she
loved dearly could be in terrible trouble and might not
even survive. No it can't happen, not now, not when we
are just starting a more intimate relationship. Those
tears fell freely now as she slumped into the
Surgical Waiting Room
Skinner didn't like
hospitals; he especially didn't like hospitals when he
had to visit one of his agents. Regrettably, visiting
agents in hospitals was something he had to do all too
Oh, he knew it
wasn't always Mulder's fault; bad luck seemed to follow
him around like a little black cloud. It also didn't
help that Mulder's sense of self preservation seemed to
have been short-circuited on too many occasions.
Thank God he had
Dana Scully to watch his back.
Visiting Ocean City
had not been exactly high on his list of priorities, in
fact he most likely wouldn't have regretted never
visiting the place. To have to come here under these
sort of circumstances made it even harder.
He was alone for
the short trip in the elevator to the third floor;
enquiries at admissions had led him here to the surgical
floor. Scully's phone call had been short on details so
he had no idea what to expect. He looked up as the
elevator chimed its arrival and the doors slid open. He
looked around for a moment getting his bearings. A sign
proclaiming 'waiting room' and an arrow pointing down
the corridor greeted him as he exited. His shoes
squeaking on the linoleum seemed unnaturally loud in the
absolute stillness, and he found himself trying to walk
quietly through the deserted hallway.
The corridor ended
in a room typical of most hospital waiting rooms;
well-used furniture, framed pictures on the wall that no
one in their right mind would hang on the walls in their
own house, the obligatory magazines stacked on the too
At first he thought
the room was empty until he moved fully inside; seated
on an armchair the color of mud was a small figure, her
forehead resting on knees that were drawn up to her
chest, her usually vibrant hair, now dull and stringy.
Were those pajamas she was wearing?
He moved forward,
his hand out but arrested the movement, not wanting to
startle her. Intentionally he twisted his shoes on the
floor creating a hideous squeak. Slowly, the bent head
lifted, and a pair of eyes that were red rimmed tired
and lifeless stared up at him. Recognition took a moment
to emerge but as soon as it did, she was moving to
stand. Skinner's hand stayed her action as he took the
seat next to his agent.
news?" He asked quietly.
Scully had to clear
her throat before she could answer Skinner's question.
"He's in emergency surgery now, he's been there
for..." She looked to her wrist for a watch before realizing
she wasn't wearing one. "What's the
"Oh, um in
that case just over two hours."
told you how he's doing?"
She shook her head.
"I haven't seen anyone since they rushed him into
the OR." She blinked a couple of times before
lifting a hand to the tear that was making its way down
her cheek. "He was awake and lucid and
then..." Her chin trembled for a moment.
"There's a possibility that the knife did some
damage to his internal organs, they had to do an
exploratory procedure to see what they were dealing
Skinner fished a
folded handkerchief out of his pocket and offered it to
her. She nodded gratefully before wiping both eyes.
"Do you feel
up to giving me a verbal report?" He asked.
thankful to have something to do other than wait. Her
account was succinct and told Skinner everything he
needed to know. The man who now lay in the morgue had
purposefully followed his two agents to their present
location. The intention to cause harm proven by the
knife that had been removed from Agent Mulder's body.
"There will be
an enquiry of course, but in my opinion you have nothing
to worry about regarding the fatal shot. It's clear you
warned him and you were protecting your partner."
Just as she opened
her mouth to ask her boss a question, the doors to the
OR opened and a scrub covered nurse stepped out.
Scully scrambled to
her feet. "Yes."
will be out in a moment, he said not to worry, and
everything is fine."
visibly slumped with relief and she turned back to
Skinner, her eyes shining. "He's okay." The
tears began in earnest, running down her face, but
passing over lips that were turned up in a tremulous
Skinner came up out
of his seat, he put his hands lightly on her shoulders
for a moment before taking her in his arms and holding
her as her body shook with pent up relief.
The distant sound
of the ocean slowly pierced the fog around his
awareness. Little by little he became aware of something
touching his arm, a feather light caress of the skin. He
twitched his fingers and was instantly sorry that he had
done so when the soothing motion stopped.
Smells and sounds
gradually became clearer; he could hear a slow, steady
beep and the faint odor of antiseptic assailed his
senses. As the cloud of numbness lifted progressively
from his mind, details began to fall into place.
Hospital, he was in
a hospital. Again.
concentrated on trying to recall what had caused him to
be lying in intensive care again. Everything seemed
jumbled, disconnected, his mind seemed to skip from
memory to memory; the feel of sand under his feet,
flames flickering in a fireplace, waking up and seeing
his partner sleeping next to him. His partner...
He could see her,
she was holding a gun and then she was gone and there
was someone laughing.
over his head in his mouth, his nose he was under water
and he couldn't breathe.
His heart began a
panicked beating and his chest felt like there was
someone sitting on it. He tried to sit up, to get rid of
the pressure, but at his first movement, his head
exploded in a crescendo of agony that had his stomach
He was gasping for
air and trying to make sure the contents of his stomach
stayed right where they were. On the edge of his
awareness, he could hear someone calling to him.
A woman's voice.
several times, feeling a hand on his shoulder and then
something hard pressed to his face. He struggled against
the unknown object until he realized that whatever was
pressed over his mouth and nose was slowly easing the
tightness in his chest.
tension eased and his mind cleared enough for him to
make out individual words.
over him and he forced his eyes open, cursing the tears
that blurred his vision and stopped him from seeing her
Scully, she was
there, leaning over him, talking quietly, and petting
his face and hair with comforting fingers.
He felt grounded,
His vision cleared
enough so that he could make out her features. She was
smiling at him and he tried hard to find one for her. He
must have succeeded because all of a sudden her eyes
became almost luminous with emotion.
Mulder tried to
speak and found that his throat was so dry that he was
unable to get any words out.
Scully saw his
dilemma and lifted a glass from beside the bed. She
reached over, removed the mask covering his face and
held the straw to his lips for him to take a sip.
He felt the cool
liquid soothing his parched tissues and carefully nodded
his thanks. The mask was replaced and he drew in several
breaths of the moistened air.
now?" She asked.
The mask made his
husky voice even more muffled and Scully had to lean
closer to hear him. "What happened...why am I
A frown marred her
smooth forehead. "What do you remember
He closed his eyes,
letting the images stored in his memory wash over him.
"You were holding a gun." He took a couple of
breaths before continuing. "I remember the ocean. I
could hear the seagulls and..." A smile turned up
the corners of his mouth. "We were in a really big
bathtub." The smile fled and he opened his eyes,
frowning. "No, that's not right."
okay." Scully soothed, combing her fingers through
his hair. "Your memory is likely to be spotty in
places, oxygen deprivation has that affect."
deprivation?" His eyes held a hundred questions.
Scully sighed and
continued her gentle caress. "I'll start at the
beginning, stop me if there's something you're not sure
It was only when
she related the events of their first morning at the
cottage that Mulder indicated he couldn't recall what
she was talking about.
"So this was
the guy who sent you the flowers?"
answer that question, I spoke to him for maybe two
minutes after he hit my car at the airport."
fixated on you on the strength of a two minute
conversation." Mulder inhaled deeply and fixed his
gaze on his partner. "I gotta tell you Scully, you
attract the strangest people."
"Is that right
now?" She leaned over and pressed a kiss to his
forehead, her lips detected the faintest trace of
perspiration and she straightened, eyeing him
critically. "I think it's time you rested for a
His eyes pleaded
for a reprieve as he gulped in another breath. "No
please, I need to know."
Scully pressed a
hand to his brow, he was definitely warmer. "Only
on the condition that you lie back down." She
reached to the bed rail and pressed the control to lower
his bed. "Close your eyes." She instructed,
stroking his face softly.
talking." He rasped. "What happened
She continued her
narrative, right up to when Mulder had been injured.
murmured. "So I got stabbed and stopped breathing,
hell of a way to spend a vacation."
tightened. "Not how I imagined it would go
Mulder forced his
heavy eyelids open. "So, when do I get out of
The exasperation in
her voice pitched it higher than normal. "Mulder,
you've undergone surgery, you've spent the last thirty
hours or so on a respirator because of aspiration
pneumonia and you're as weak as a kitten, not to remind
you that you were not fully healed from the damage the
tobacco beetles caused. What makes you think you're
getting out of hospital anytime soon."
her diatribe. Leaning down to see if he was asleep, she
noticed a small smile on his face. She shook her head
and resumed her seat next to the bed. Taking his hand in
hers, she recommenced her soft petting along his arm.
"I love you so much Fox Mulder." She sighed.
Mulder's lips moved
and he squeezed her fingers. "Mmm...me too..."
Ocean City Mini
Two weeks later.
Mulder grinned as
the bright purple ball careened off the rim of the cup
and headed for the sidewall. It hit the baseboard with a
solid crack, slowing its speed down slightly as it
bounced back, gently it rolled to a stop poised on the
very edge of the hole in the faded green felt.
Pasting a mock look
of condolence on his face, Mulder turned to his partner
who had remained in position at the tee off mark. Just
as he opened his mouth to express his commiseration, a
gentle sound from behind him froze him in mid action.
Staring back over his shoulder, he noted that the ball
was no longer in sight. He grasped his club firmly,
stalked up the course and peered into the cup. Sure
enough, nestled in the bottom, looking as if it belonged
there was Scully's purple ball.
He gazed back
incredulously. Her lips pursed in a secret smile, Scully
was busy writing on their scorecard. Mulder retraced his
steps, reaching for the white card and running his eyes
over the tally.
It was not looking
good, the numbers in the squares alongside 'Tiger Woods'
Mulder were all over five, with a couple even in double
digits. In contrast, neat handwriting had filled in the
blanks next to 'Annika Sorenstam' Scully with several
two's and three's and an occasional one.
Huffing out a snort
of disbelief, Mulder eyed his partner. "You got
some hidden talent that you neglected to tell me
about." He drawled.
herself against him, her arms going around his blessedly
intact body. Laying her head against his chest, she
listened to his steady heartbeat. "Not
really." She murmured before lifting her head and
staring into amused hazel eyes. "Just one annoying
little brother and one overachieving bigger
brother." She closed her eyes in bliss as he
settled his lips against hers.
Mulder pulled away
after a moment. "Well, we've only got the
eighteenth hole left and somehow I don't think I'm going
to be able to redeem my reputation."
Scully let go of
her junior sized golf club, absently noting the clatter
as it hit the ground. She slid her hands downward and
clasped them tightly against his jean-clad butt.
"Therefore, the solution is to earn yourself a new
reputation." She breathed. "And I distinctly
remember someone who mentioned that practice makes
perfect." She glanced up at him and raised an
eyebrow in question. "Want to go do some
Mulder licked his
full lips and stared down at the woman in his arms.
"I'd say without any hesitation, that idea is
worthy of examination." He picked up her golf club
and they walked hand in hand to the counter to hand in
their equipment. "I think there's a possibility
that the whirlpool bath may need an in depth
Tiger." She purred seductively.
Mulder closed his
eyes as her passion filled voice washed over him.
"I am Tiger, hear me roar."
Scully turned a
sparkling gaze on him. "Oh, you will Mulder, before
this day is over, several times at the very least."
The implication in
her words was unmistakable, and as they headed to the
car, Mulder made a resolute decision that the roars
would be interspersed with sighs, whimpers and maybe
even a couple of screams.