Title: The Other Two
Summary: When Mulder returns, he's not empty-handed.
The Other Two
It has now been exactly thirteen days since I have last seen Fox Mulder.
It has now been exactly thirteen days since anyone has last seen Fox Mulder.
Thirteen days and one hour.
I roll over and take a deep breath. I can not sleep. His voice haunts me. "I will find your proof, Scully." That was the last thing I heard from him before he left. I am not surprised that he didn't tell me where he was going. I am not surprised that he didn't tell me that he was going. I am surprised that it has been thirteen days and one hour.
I curl into my pillow. I will not let him haunt me. He is not a ghost. He can not be a ghost. I would know if something happened to him...wouldn't I? I begin to count the raindrops that beat against my window. There is a storm outside. It distracts me for a moment. An occasional flash of lightning flickers through the shutters, followed by the low and distant rumble of thunder.
I hear a car outside. The wheels are kicking up the puddles on the street, splashing it around on the pavement and curb. I become more relaxed as I listen to the rain. The warmth of my electric blanket and comforter are becoming soothing. I am not so restless.
I let my imagination take a hold of my mind and start to dream. I am in a cabin in the forest. I'm on a soft couch, no make that a sofa bed in the middle of a room. And it's not one of those hard thin mattresses, it's my fantasy, it's soft and thick and comfortable. The room seems to glow orange and yellow and red. Probably because I am staring into a fireplace alive with hot flames. The tips are high and lap at the edges of the brick wall surrounding the blazing logs inside.
The viewpoint of my dream changes now. I am no longer looking out with my eyes, but looking into my eyes. I can see myself gazing into hearth before me. I am naked. At least I think I am. My body is covered with a thick down comforter like the one I saw at the linen shop last month. The expensive one that cost over two-hundred dollars. I liked that one. But anyway, I can see my bare shoulder sticking out from the comforter.
I see movement underneath the sheets. It's an arm. Not my own. It emerges from the covers above my shoulder and crosses my body around my collarbone. My eyes slip shut and my hands come up to hold the arm against my chest. All I can see behind me are shadows. My neck bends further into the pillow and a head appears from the dark, kissing my neck lightly. I don't wait long for the owners' face to come into view. He rests his cheek against mine above me for a moment and then retreats back into the shadows.
It's always Mulder.
The shadows begin to fade away and I turn onto my back The sheets and comforter move down slightly as Mulder props himself up on his elbow, holding his head in his hand. He smiles down at me and caresses my cheek softly before bending and placing a long kiss on my lips. I pull him toward me and...BANG!
The crack of thunder shatters my dream and I startle awake. The rain has gotten more intense than before and I'm slightly shaken from the noise. I allow my nerves to settle and try to relax once again, but I hear it.
Over the clap of thunder I hear it. A muffled click and a squeak. My immediate instinct is to reach for my gun but it's taken me so long to get comfortable I hate to ruin the serenity. I wait a moment and I hear it again. Without hesitation I slide back the covers and swing my feet out to meet the cold floor. I shiver and reach for my gun on the nightstand. As quietly as possible I make my way to the bedroom door which is open just a crack.
I hear quiet breathing. It's not my own. Someone is in my apartment. I take a few deep breaths and take the safety off the gun. I wait a moment but detect no movement yet. I can still hear the soft breathing. I open the door quietly, leading the way into the hall with my gun. And I smell something.
I know who is here.
I would recognize his scent immediately. After six years, I know. I love that smell. I can't even describe it. There are times when I will get into one of our rental cars and can still smell it lingering in the air. I think to myself the next person to get this car will be damn lucky. I wore one of his sweatshirts once after mine became ruined on a case. It smelled so wonderful I slept in it and never gave it back. By now it's lost it's power, but I can still imagine it if I wear it.
It is intoxicating. I don't even know what it is he wears. I was shopping one day and came across an expensive perfume and cologne store yet I couldn't find anything that matched it. It is a mixture of Mulder and soap and sweat and that cologne.
I can now make out a silhouette in the darkness.
"Scully, don't turn on the light," Mulder whispers.
I lower my arm and take the safety off. "Where the fuck have you been you bastard?" My voice is low and I realize it is laden with deep emotion. God, I sound like I've been worried about him. Well, I *have* been worried about him, but that's not the point.
"Shh..." He takes a few cautious steps towards me and I can see he's holding something. Make that two somethings.
"Oh my god...Mulder!" I immediately move to put my gun down and cross to him quickly.
"Shh...they're sleeping." Mulder turns his shoulder to one side and leans down to my arms. I take the small child into my own arms and look up at him in confusion and...I don't even know what to say, I'm totally appalled. He uses his free arm to gently lead me for a moment in the direction he's going. I understand he wants me to follow him. He goes to my bedroom and pulls back the sheets a little, depositing the other child onto the mattress and covering her up again. I do the same with the one I'm holding. He takes something from his pocket and bends down. A small lightbulb bathes the room in dim light. "Nightlight," he whispers. "They're afraid of the dark." He rises and motions for me to leave the room with him.
As soon as he shuts the door behind him I can once again speak. "Mulder, where the hell have you been and who are those children? What are you doing with them? I'm afraid to even ask where you've gotten them from. Dammit Mulder, what did you get yourself involved in?" I keep my voice at a husk whisper, but the intensity is still there.
"Scully, sit down, I'll explain everything. Just give me a minute." He leads me to the couch and I sit down, waiting for a good explanation. Before coming to the couch he hangs up his trenchcoat on the coat rack. He turns on the lamp next to the couch and illuminates the room. He sits next to me and leans forward on his knees. "I need to apologize for leaving the way I did," he starts. "And I'm sorry I couldn't contact you for these past two weeks."
"Just get to the explanation Mulder. I want to know what's going on."
He rubs his hand over his mouth and chin and stands up, pacing before me. "About a month ago I received a phone call. And I didn't tell you about it because it didn't seem that important at the time. The person told me that I was looking in the wrong direction. Then said 'save them', and hung up. I have no idea who it was, but I received a package the next day at work with a single sheet of paper." He gets up and goes over to his trench coat, fishing around in the pocket.
I take the paper from him and open it.
"Gibson Praise: Adoption Records," he continues.
"Gibson was adopted?"
"Apparently. So, I checked into it. According to his records the birth mother of Gibson is a woman named Helen Liegen. I couldn't...I did a search on her and the only Helen Liegen I found was an eighty year old woman who died five months ago of heart failure. Something compelled me to look up the name Liegen." Mulder pauses and then stands. He starts to pace in front of me.
"And it's German for 'lie.' After that I had the Lone Gunmen do a search and apparently Liegen gave birth to two other children besides Gibson. And...none of the children she actually gave birth to were her own. She was acting as a surrogate."
*Emily.* The thought crossed my mind and I bit my lip. I was beginning to put two and two together. I must've whispered her name and not even known it because Mulder sits down again and taps his fingers together a couple times.
"Yes. And no. Emily...was a different type of creation."
"What does that mean?"
"Gibson and these two other children are the only ones of their kind. Genetic perfections of what they were designed for, information. I was beginning to understand something about him. He's a crossbreed of human and alien. The first one they got right. And the other two, are in there." Mulder nods his head towards the direction of my bedroom.
I sit quietly just thinking about it. It seems ridiculous yet at the same time makes sense. At least it's a rational explanation. But it still doesn't explain a lot. I start to say something but he speaks first.
"There's more, Scully." It is spoken quietly, and I can tell it isn't good.
"I didn't explain where I was for two weeks or how I got those children."
"No, no you didn't." I nod and then hold my breath.
"The night I left, when we had that argument..."
My mind goes back to two weeks ago.
<<Mulder and I were in the basement going over some expense records for Skinner and he kept getting up and pacing. I finally asked him if he would be doing that all night and he sat back down. "No," he said. But, then he stared and me and I threw down the papers. "What?! Mulder, either help me finish this report or go home. You still haven't even given me an explanation for this three-hundred and twenty-seven dollar plane ticket to Colorado and I'm about running out of patience with you."
"I told you, Scully, I can't tell you right now."
"Mulder," I sighed. "You're being ridiculous. Not to mention frustrating the hell out of me."
"Scully..." He stopped and stood up. "I'm sorry. And I can't explain it,
yet. I'm searching for something Scully. Proof of something." He pulled on
his jacket. "Tell Skinner I was visiting a relative and forgot to put it on my
account. I'm sorry Scully." He opened the door. "I will find your proof.">>
Flash forward to the present and Mulder is back, handing me a file.
"Well, I was on the verge of getting a handle on them. I found out where they were through medical records, that part wasn't hard. Neither one were adopted out or placed in foster care, but put in small orphanages. I...I guess I should make a long story short and skip the investigative processes."
"I am well aware of how an investigation works, yes."
He cleared his throat. "They're yours," he whispers.
"What?!" I stand up quickly and realize my voice is louder than I intend it to be.
"What do you mean?" I say it softer this time but stay standing.
"I had DNA tests done and..."
"Stop." I don't want to hear anymore. I think I'm about to be sick. Suddenly I hear a noise and I turn around.
The sleepy child walks out and over to Mulder rubbing her eyes. I can't move. Oh god, my daughter. She's...oh my god she's beautiful. I swallow the lump in my throat but the bottoms of my eyes become heavy with moisture. Oh god, don't let me cry.
Mulder picks her up and looks at me. I just stare at him, not able to say anything. He rubs her back a little and then whispers something to her. She pulls back and then he sets her back on the ground and she faces me.
"Eleanor, I want you to meet someone."
Oh god, my daughter.
"Her name is Dana."
Oh god, my daughter.
"Mom..." Eleanor looks up at him and then back at me. "She's my mommie...?"
There's a long pause and she's looking at him again. "Okay, I will."
She starts to walk back to the bedroom and I watch her leave. She turns around at the door and looks back before shutting it. I feel weak, like I'm going to pass out. Mulder puts an arm on my shoulder and I look up at him.
"She reads minds...like I said, she's exactly like Gibson."
I close my eyes and let the tears drip from my lids. Mulder puts his arms tentatively around me and I cling to him. Suddenly I don't care if I appear strong or not, I'm tired of pretending I don't need anyone.
"Eleanor is five and Mallory is almost two," he whispers in my ear. I think I'm going to go into shock. Mulder's lips brush against the top of my head and he sits me down on the couch. "Scully, you should try to get some sleep."
"What are you planning to do now Mulder?" I ask even though I'm still crying.
"I'll tell you in the morning." He makes me lie down and grabs a blanket from the chair. "I promise, I'll tell you in the morning." He makes sure the blanket is covering me and then gives my forehead a lingering kiss.
"You're not leaving are you?"
I close my eyes and I can still feel him looking at me. The last thing I hear is a soft "I'm sorry Scully," and he brushes his lips against mine as I fall asleep.
"Mulder said you gotta be quiet or we can't wait out here!"
I become aware of two small voices as I regain consciousness.
"Look, she's waked up now. I'm gonna tell."
I open my eyes just slightly and can hear scampering about and movement in the kitchen. Something smells wonderful. I think it's bacon.
"Mulder, Mulder, she's waked up!"
"Shh...okay. Sit down right here. Do you want pancakes."
I stretch on the couch and sigh. Time to get up. I sit up and push myself off the couch. It's warm in here. Mulder must've turned the heat on when he got up...if he even went to sleep. Where would he have slept? I lean into the kitchen and catch sight of Mulder with his back to me by the stove. Eleanor is standing by him holding a stuffed dog in one hand. Mallory, the little one is sitting on the counter. Red hair. I bite my lip. She has a light shade of red hair that curls around her face.
Eleanor glances my way and knits her eyebrows, hiding in front of Mulder.
Mulder looks down at her and then faces me.
"Morning Scully, I hope they didn't wake you up."
"No...no, not at all." I feel slightly uncomfortable. It's an awkward moment. The kids are staring at me and I have no idea what to say. Mallory kicks her feet against the cupboards, making the only noise in the room.
"Mal don't." Mulder grabs her foot and then tickles the bottom of it, making her giggle. He swings her off the counter and steps towards me. "Remember I said we were going to my very good friends house for a visit? This is Dana." She looks at me with her head on Mulders shoulder and scrunches her face.
"Hi. You got fluffy blankies."
I smile. "I know, I like them too."
She gives me a smile back and Mulder hands her to me. She puts her thumb in her mouth and sighs. Eleanor is still by the stove and she hides by Mulders legs. "Can I have my pancakes please?" she whispers up to him.
"Sure thing. You want something to eat Scully? I got eggs, pancakes, bacon...um...cereal."
"Coffee I can do. Sit down."
I walk over to the coffee table and pull out a chair. Eleanor follows me over and I hold out another chair for her. She climbs up and sits on her knees to reach the table. I think I have a phone book somewhere she can sit on, I think.
"I'm okay." She says and looks up at me. Mallory squirms in my arms and I set her down, sitting down in the chair next to Eleanor.
"You can call me Nora. That's what Sister Elizabeth called me."
"Who's Sister Elizabeth?"
"One of the nuns at the orphanage."
"Is that where you were raised?"
She doesn't finish as Mulder brings over a plate of pancakes covered with syrup and a cup of coffee for me, orange juice for Eleanor.
"Thanks." I blow lightly into the cup to cool it down. Mulder sits down across from us and Mallory climbs up into his lap. I wonder where the orphanage was.
"Which one?" Nora asks me and takes a bite of her pancake.
I raise my eyes at Mulder and he nods pointing to his forehead. "How many were there?"
"Four, I think. The last one was nice. The Sisters were nice. They taught us how to play on the piano and we had a doggie."
I think of the Madeline books I read as a child.
"We read those books. Chloe used to say I could be Madeline cuz I had red hair. Chloe was my best friend. Her mommy and daddy died in a car accident when she was three. But she's gonna be seven in a month."
"When's your birthday?" I take a sip of my coffee and lean back in the chair.
"I borned on March 22nd," Mallory says and plays with her silverware. Mulder is sitting quietly studying me. Every once in awhile he'll help Mallory eat her pancakes or wipe her hands with a napkin.
"He wants to know if you're okay." Nora looks down at her plate and reaches for her orange juice. Her hand hits the side and it knocks over. I jump up and grab a napkin quickly dabbing it up.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" She jumps out of the chair and looks panicked for a moment and then runs down the hall.
"I'll go get her." Mulder prepares to stand up.
"No, I'll do it." I leave the napkins where they are and follow her into the bedroom. I can't seem to find her at first, but there's a foot sticking out from under the bed. So, I get down on my hands and knees and peer under the bed. She's laying under the bed with her face to the floor and hands on the sides of her head, crying. My heart breaks.
"I'm sorry," she whispers.
"Hey, it's okay. You didn't do anything. It was an accident."
"But I spilled all over and made a mess. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I promise I won't do it again. I didn't mean to."
"I know, honey. It's okay, you can come out. Nobody's mad at you." I reach out and squeeze her ankle softly and run my thumb over the back of it lightly. "I promise."
"You're really not mad at me?"
She sniffs and wipes her eyes. "Okay."
I get back up as she slides out from under the bed and stands, head down and fingers in her mouth. She wipes at her eyes again and I kneel down so I can be eye level with her.
"Eleanor, it was an accident. I promise it's okay. Do you want to come back out and finish your pancakes?" I wipe the tears away from her cheeks and she nods. "Okay." I give her a hug and stand up with her in my arms. She wraps her arms tightly around my neck and I walk slowly back into the dining area. Mulder has already cleaned up the orange juice and there's another glass full waiting by her plate.
"Okay?" He looks up and I nod to him.
I put Nora down and she returns to her pancakes. I motion for Mulder to follow me and he gets up from his seat. I lead him into the bedroom and shut the door most of the way, leaving it open just a crack.
"Mulder, what are you planning on doing now? I don't suppose I need to tell you, but your sudden disappearance has caused some investigation by the FBI," I keep my voice low.
"I know that Scully. I've been careful, and I do have a plan. The most important thing I have to do Scully is get them out of the country. As far as I know, the consortium doesn't know about them yet or they would'nt even be where they were. And I'd like to keep it that way. They may not be in danger now, but they very well could be if they stay here."
"How do you know they don't know about them? Mulder, they knew about Gibson, what makes you think they don't know about them. You got the information, how do you know they don't have it."
"They did have it. But Gibson exhibited signs much earlier than they did and they kept an eye on him. Eleanor is very smart, Scully. When I first got to her she said she knew I'd be coming and that I wasn't one of the bad ones. She's kept a tight lid on her abilities because for the first year of her life after she was born, all she was a lab rat." I suck in my breath. "She's okay, Scully. They thought Gibson was a fluke. Mallory was just another experiment. That's why they're in orphanages. No more need for testing..."
"How do you think you're gonna do it Mulder? Get them out of the country?" I was trying not to cry. *My* children were being used as lab rats after they were born. If I ever found out exactly who was a part of it I would murder each and every one of the bastards.
"I've already thought of it. When my father died I found a key to a safe deposit box in Rhode Island. Inside the safe deposit box were papers to a house in Colorado and a key to a safe in the house. I've been there. There's over five million dollars in the safe along with a fake passport and papers he had made. I don't know what he was planning, but he left a lot behind. Scully, I can get them out of the country with fake papers and set up an account under a fake name in almost any other place on the planet and They would be none the wiser."
"No, Mulder. I don't like it. It's too risky. And where do I figure into all this, Mulder? They're my children." I suck in my breath. That's right, they are MY children. Mine...
"Scully, I've thought of that too. It would be far too dangerous for you to even think about going right now. I could leave Scully and no one would care. In fact They'd like it if I left the X-Files and got out of Their way completely. They wouldn't come looking for me. I'm a thorn in Their side that is just waiting to be removed. You on the other hand are quite valuable to them. Almost like a mole. You don't believe in what They're doing therefore you're not much of a threat to Them."
"So that's it, that's all I ever was to you? A thorn in your side, never believing what you said. A 'spy' as you put it when I first met you? You think I'm on Their side?"
"No, Scully." He puts his hand on my shoulder. "That's not what I'm saying."
"Well then what are you saying, Mulder?"
He purses his lips and looks frustrated for a minute. "I'm saying I'm giving up the X-Files for you Dana. I'm giving up searching for something because I care more about your happiness and the happiness of those children. I'm tired of fighting and I'm tired of searching for something I'll never find. I never said you couldn't come Scully. I just said not now. Trust me, I'll find a place and contact you when it's safe and you can come and I'll leave and you'll never have to see me again." He drops his hand from my shoulder and steps back just slightly.
I look down. "I'm sorry. I misunderstood."
"No, Scully I'm sorry. God, I know this must be so hard, I should be more sensitive to that. I just...it was so hard. I wasn't sure I should even tell you because I didn't know how. And I'm doing it all wrong, I'm sorry. I really need to know I did the right thing."
Mulder is seeking reassurance. I realize that while this may be hard on me, it's hard on him also. I nod my approval and take him into my arms. He rests his chin on my shoulder and I stroke his back lightly. "Mulder, I'm glad you told me. I may not like this situation, but I don't blame you for it happening. You're not doing anything wrong. There is no right way to even go about this. I just wish there was another." I move my head down so that my forehead is against his chest and he moves his arms so they're under mine and around my waist.
"I wish there was too," he whispers. We are silent for a few moments. "We have to leave tonight."
I nod against his chest and my eyes fill with tears. "I want to go with you."
"You know that's not..."
"Mulder, I mean it. I want to go with you." I pull back from him and stare up at his face. "You're just going to Colorado first right? I want to go."
"All right. You can go."
"Mulder, if you plan on driving all night you should get some sleep. No arguments. I'll take care of the kids, you can take the bed."
"No buts, go to sleep."
"Yes ma'am." Mulder gives me a salute and I smile at him as I walk out the door, shutting it behind me.
As I walk out to the dining area Mallory greets me with a huge grin covered with syrup. "I got sticky!" She shrieks and shows me her hands.
"I told her not to," Nora says.
"Breakfast time is over, when was the last time you had a bath?"
"We went to a biiiiiiiiiiiig hotel! Mulder let us swim in the jacuzzi!" Nora slips from her chair and her eyes get big. "There was a frigerator in our room!"
"Wow! Lucky girls." I pick Mallory up and hold her hands up. "Don't touch anything." I tell her and lead them to the bathroom. I turn on the water and make sure the temperature is okay and get the girls undressed. Nora has on a pair of Barney pajamas while Mallory had on a fuzzy pink sleeper. I wonder where their regular clothes are.
"Mulder brought them in a bag. I saw it by the door."
How does she do that?
"I don't know. Sometimes it just happens and sometimes I think about it and it happens. But, I haven't told anyone. Mulder said I shouldn't."
"Well, let's just get you guys washed up."
After they are clean enough I let them splash around for a bit in the tub and get out two of my big fluffy towels to wrap them in when they are done. After bathtime is done and they'd exhausted the supply of coloring books I have for my god-son and nephews, they start to get a bit cranky so I officially announce naptime and we make a tent in the living room out of some blankets that they could sleep in.
After they fall asleep I have some time by myself to sit and think. I watch them sleep for a little bit, then I decide to check and see if Mulder is obeying my orders and getting some sleep. I open the door quietly and am relieved to find him sprawled out on the bed snoring softly. I stepp inside and close the door behind me. As quietly as I can I get out some sweats and a t-shirt from my dresser as have I realized I'm still in my sleepwear. I leave to get dressed quickly and then return to the bedroom and sit down on the bed beside Mulder.
He looks so calm. He's lying on his stomach in just a pair of jeans. His bare back rises and falls with each breath. I reach out and run my hand over his spine. He's so warm. I look towards the window. I realize it's still raining, but with less force than earlier. Mulder stirs slightly, taking in a deep breath and then exhaling loudly. My hand stills, but remains on his lower back.
I continue to stroke his back, tracing my fingers along the hem of his jeans. What's going to happen after tonight, I wonder? Less than twelve hours ago my life was dramatically altered. Well, not just my life, but Mulder's and Nora's and Mallory's also. I sigh, removing my hand from Mulder's back. As I start to get up, a tug on my wrist sends me back onto the bed.
"Were you trying to take advantage of a sleeping man, Agent Scully?" He murmurs and I can hear amusement in his voice.
"Mulder you know I would never take advantage of you unless you were awake." I quip and I'm rewarded with a smile. His eyes are still closed and his face is sideways on the mattress, but I can see his lips curling up on the side.
"Guess I better wake up then." He rolls over on to his side and pulls me down so that I'm lying next to him. "You look like you've been thinking. What's going on in that pretty little head of yours Scully." He taps his finger against my temple and cocks his head to the side.
"Mmm...this and that."
"Do I know them?"
"I was thinking about what you said earlier. About leaving once I'd gotten to wherever it was you were going." Mulder nods and turns his eyes from me slightly. "Mulder, what would you do? Where would you go?"
"I don't know. I haven't thought that far ahead. I'm sure I could think of something before it has to happen."
"What if...I don't want you to leave? Would you stay?" I turn my head towards him and he's quiet. "Mulder?"
He doesn't answer me. He just pulls me to him so that my back is against his chest and rests his forehead on my shoulder. "If it's what you wanted me to do I would, Scully."
"But what do you want to do Mulder?" I take his hand which is on my hip and give it a light squeeze, keeping it in my grasp.
"I want to be where you are," he whispers. We are both silent. "Seven years together, Scully. You know, in some states we'd be legally married."
"Common law requires you live together, Mulder."
"Well it sure would've saved us some telephone bills don't ya think?"
I'm about to reply with something witty, but the clap of thunder interrupts me. It was loud and startling and I jerked in response. Mulder squeezes me tighter and we hear the pitter patter of little feet down the hall. The door creeks open slowly and Mulder looks up from behind my head.
Mallory comes running into the room at full speed and crashes into the side of the bed nearest Mulder. Nora peeks her head and and waits timidly.
"You can come in, sweetie. Did the thunder wake you?" I move so that I'm sitting against the headboard and Mulder turns to lift Mallory up onto the bed. Nora climbs on and I move over so the girls can come sit between us.
"Was a big noise!" Mallory says and nods. "I sleeping and it goes BOOM and I waked up. Scary."
I almost laugh out loud. Mallory is already starting to remind me of my sister Melissa. So vocal.
"Yes, scary, very scary." Mulder nods and smiles. "I'm so glad I have Scully to protect me." Mulder reaches over and grabs my leg, trapping the kids between us.
"Nu-uh!" Mallory pushes his hand away from me and jumps into my lap. "You too big! She tecting me!"
"Yeah Mulder, you're too big," I agree. Mallory sighs and leans against me, sticking her thumb in her mouth and closing her eyes. It only takes about five minutes for her to fall back asleep. Nora has been sitting quietly since she got in there, just leaning against the headboard with her hands in her lap. "Nora, something bothering you?"
She knits her eyebrows together. "I don't know."
Mulder shifts to a sitting position and leans against the headboard as well. "Are you feeling okay?" He puts his arm around her and she leans into his side. She looks distressed.
"Nora, it's okay. If something's wrong you can tell us."
"I don't know..." Her chin starts to wobble and her face crumbles. Mulder picks her up and holds her to him.
"Sweetie, it's all right. What's wrong?" Mulder strokes her hair and rocks her gently.
"I miss my doggie," she whispers and hugs Mulder tighter. "I don't understand things. Things that are in your head. I know I have to leave. I know that she's my mommy." She looks at Mulder and then at me. "I don't know what it means." She leans back down and Mulder closes his eyes, turning his head towards the ceiling.
I bite one of my knuckles and will myself not to cry. How can we do this? How do you explain to a five year old that she's not like other children? As much as I want a life with these children, I feel myself cursing the bastards that made them happen.
Mulder pulls Nora away from him and holds her face in his hands. "Eleanor, there are things that you probably won't understand for a very long time. That's not your fault. You are a very special little girl. You're right, Dana is your mother, and it's so confusing for you. She loves you, Nora. Someday you'll understand what's happening in your life, but all you need to know now, is that we're going to protect you and take care of you. We don't want you to be sad, sweetheart. I promise you, one day, you'll understand."
At this moment in my life, I have come to the conclusion, that Fox Mulder is the most incredible person on the planet.
Five years old and already plagued by worries. Her tiny eyebrows are knit in concentration and I can tell she's trying very hard to digest what Mulder has said, but she's still unsure.
"I'm scared," she whispers, her bottom lip sliding forward slightly and trembling.
"So are we, Nora." I say and run my hand over the back of her head. She curls herself into Mulder's chest and shuts her eyes tightly.
I remember once, as a child, when my family tried to go on a road trip. It was the summer after I'd turned twelve. Bill Jr. was a pest like usual and would constantly try to rile either me or Melissa in the car. Melissa couldn't be bothered, she was too busy reading magazines or staring out the window to care, so I got the receiving end of most of his antics. At sixteen, you'd think he'd be mature enough to leave his little sister alone.
My father would threaten to stop the car and leave us to walk home from the middle of nowhere if we wouldn't knock it off. My mother, always the peacemaker, would remind Bill that he was a young man and to act like it and she would remind me that I had the power to ignore my brother like Melissa. Charlie was the only one I could get along with at that time. He was always so quiet. He would stare out the window and tug on my arm frequently.
"Dana, how come the clouds look like that?"
"Dana, where do all those telephones pole go? If we called Gramma from our phone would our voice go through those wires right there?"
An expectant face is conjuring up these memories. Nora is looking up at me expectantly to give her the answer to her question. "Dana, how come some stars are brighter than the rest?"
"Hmm...well I suppose it's because some stars have brighter lightbulbs in them."
Nora giggles. "Sister Janet used to tell us that the stars were the halos of angels, shining on us from heaven...but she never told us why some were brighter."
"Maybe some of the angels have better halos than others." Mulder offers.
We're silent again. We've been driving for two and a half hours now. Nora has insisted upon staying awake but her eyelids droop every now and then. We let her ride beside us in the front seat. Mallory is crashed out in the carseat in the back. Her thumbsucking becomes apparent in the silence.
"Dana?" Nora tugs at my arm again.
"Is it all right..." She hesitates and pulls at one of her fingers. "Well Mulder told me I didn't have to unless I wanted to and I thought I should ask you...but...well me and Mallory talked about it cuz she likes you lots and we wanted to know if it was all right if we could maybe...call you mom instead of Dana." She bit her lip.
I sucked in my breath. Okay Dana, you will not cry. Mulder reached over and put a hand on my shoulder and gave it a small squeeze in reassurance.
"Nora, that would be more than all right. I would love it."
She took a deep breath in relief. "Okay." She smiled to herself. "Okay."
We knew it would be a several day drive to get to Colorado. We stopped at a few hotels along the way so we could rest. I think the girls have done extraordinarily well for being so young. Mulder says we're about an hour away from our destination now. That's good. It's two a.m. and I'm tired from being in this car for so long.
Mallory is talking in her sleep. I turn my head around so I can see her. She's got one thumb in her mouth and the other hand is clutching her tiny stuffed dog. She's murmuring again. I laugh quietly.
"I didn't quite catch that last part." Mulder says.
"She said she wants to talk to the cow in the red pajamas."
Mulder chuckled. Nora shifts a little and her eyes open slightly. She sighed and then lay down with her head on my leg and her feet in Mulder's lap. I ran my fingers through her hair and across her cheek. Her skin is so soft, and warm from sleeping. I let my hand rest on her shoulder and lean my head back against my seat closing my eyes. I didn't realize how tired I was.
What seems like minutes later I jerk awake. The car has stopped. "Hey Sleeping Beauty, we're here." Mulder gives my shoulder a light squeeze as I blink my eyes a few times. "Be right back." Mulder gets out of the car and hurries to the front door, taking out a set of keys and opening it. He turns a few lights on and comes back a couple minutes later. "I'll take Thing One and you take Thing Two." Mulder unbuckles Nora's seatbelt and slides her towards the door to him. She doesn't stir as he lifts her into his arms and her head falls onto his shoulder.
I step out of the car and stretch my legs out. Mallory is a little unhappy about being removed from her nice, warm, makeshift bed of a carseat, but puts up little protest.
"Upstairs, Scully. This way." Mulder is waiting at the door with Eleanor and I follow him up the staircase across from the door and down a hall. He opens the first door we come to on the left and flips on the light. There's a beautiful canopy bed in the middle of the room. "The kids can sleep in here." We get them settled into the bed and leave the door open a crack with the hall light on.
"I'm gonna go get the bags Scully, you can choose any room you like. I'll be back in a minute." He rebuttoned up his coat and headed downstairs. I looked around the hallway. The house was quite large and somewhat modern, but with old-fashioned touches. I mean it was a newish house, probably built within the last ten years, but it was paneled with dark wood and antique-looking furniture.
The first bedroom I entered had a set of french doors across the room, I assumed, that opened onto a veranda. There was an oak vanity against one wall and a high, four-poster king sized bed across from it. A matching oak wardrobe was centered against the wall to my immediate left. I decided to choose this room immediately. Something about it made me feel at ease.
Mulder trampled up the stairs and stood behind me. "Ahhh, I see you've found the good room." He slipped past me and dropped my suitcase on the bed. "This is the room with the best view of the sunrise. "Well...I'm sure you'll want to sleep so...I'll be two doors down. Just knock if you need anything." Mulder went to leave the room and I grabbed his hand.
He stopped and looked down at me. I wasn't sure what I wanted to see. The light from the hall cast a shadow across the side of his face and illuminated his profile. I could see the short stubble across his jaw resulting from two days of not shaving. His lower lip protruded out beyond the other and curved out so that it was slightly fuller in the middle than at the sides.
"In case I forget to say this Mulder, thank you."
He let go of my hand and brushed the side of my cheek. "You're welcome. Oh and, I'll be downstairs on the patio for awhile. There's a jacuzzi outside calling my name." With that he left, and I was alone.
It's not exactly what I expected. When Mulder said he would be taking a jacuzzi I thought he was nuts. In this weather? It was probably twenty degrees outside. But then I got to thinking. Mulder is not an idiot. This must not be a regular jacuzzi. So I was intrigued. Fortunately, I packed a swimsuit. More because Nora had informed me that a pool was on her requirement list at any hotel we stayed at. We never went swimming, however.
It wasn't hard to find. There were sliding doors off the dining room that opened to what appeared to be a greenhouse, but it wasn't really. Just an enclosed entrance down a short flight of steps into a large room. There was an enclosed gazebo-like structure directly across from me. I slid open the wooden doors, and it just wasn't what I expected.
There was a sunken jacuzzi in the middle. The walls surrounding three sides were lined with shelving, jutting out about waist-high. Candles were stacked side-by-side along the entire row of shelves, all lit. It was quite spectacular, and nothing I'd ever expect Mulder to be associated with. I closed the doors behind me and allowed the steam coming from the jacuzzi to billow up and around me.
Mulder opened one eye. "Welcome to the party. It's skinny dip only night in Jacuzzi de Mulder." I slipped off my robe and hung it on a hook along the sliding doors behind me. Mulder watched as I tested the water with my foot and then sank down into the hot water. He smiled at me and then closed his eyes again, leaning his head back against the edge of the spa. I found a jet that I liked and tried to direct it on my upper back. My muscles were tense from the long drive and I was in desperate need of some relaxation.
My eyes slipped shut and I rolled my neck back and forth to alleviate some of the tension. I felt Mulder tug at my arm and my eyes popped open. "Hmm? Mulder, wha..."
"It's okay, Scully. You look like a woman in need of a massage. Come here." He pulled on my arm so that I slid across the plastic seating towards him. He moved his leg and then shifted so that I was sitting in from of him and between his legs. I had no time to protest because his hands began to squeeze my shoulders and his thumbs pressed into my back. God, it felt so good. His fingers danced up and down my spine and my head fell forward, heavy on my neck.
Mulders fingers splayed out on my head and pulled my head back up. "Did you know, Scully, that the head holds the most tension in the body." He rolled my scalp across my skull. Pushing the skin back and forth in small circles. I suddenly felt physically drained. I leaned back against his hands. His fingers moved from my head and back to my shoulders, slipping under the straps of my swimsuit. Mulder pulled me back until I was resting against his chest and his arms went around me. The water splashed and bubbled around us.
"Scully...there's something that I've wanted to talk to you about for a long time now."
"What's that, Mulder?" My eyes are closed and I'm enjoying this attention very much.
"Do you think, well I mean, if we were never partnered at the FBI, and our paths had crossed elsewhere..." His hands paused on my shoulders and lingered for a moment. "Do you think that there would've been a chance we'd be together right now?"
"Mulder, I have no idea. I think we were put together for a reason. I don't know whether or not I can believe in fate, or destiny, or kismet, whatever you want to call it, but if the laws of destiny are in control, then our paths would've most likely have crossed."
"I believe in fate, Scully."
"Why does that not surprise me?"
"Scully, I guess what I'm asking here is for your opinion regarding something...more. Than just this."
I take a deep breath. "Mulder you know I love you, don't you?" I feel him nod against my shoulder. "Given the circumstances that we're in now...or were in until recently, we'd never be able to work in something more." I can feel him pull back a little. "But," I add quickly. "This is now. A lot has changed in the past twenty-four hours."
"It most definitely has."
"And Mulder, more...is something I could definitely use right now."
My neck tilts back against his shoulder as he carefully slipped the straps down my arms and I pulled them the rest of the way off. His long fingers extended down, curved over my shoulders as his thumbs continued to massage the back of my shoulder blades. Gradually he moved higher with his hands and his fingers moved down. I struggled not to move against him and finally I had enough. I grasped his wrists and turned around as quickly as I could, straddling his thighs with one knee on either side of his body.
He watched me, a little unsure of what to do next. I took his hand in mine and then pressed it against my breast, closing my eyes. I released his hand then and sighed as he squeezed me lightly. He pulled on the collar of my swimsuit and then his mouth enclosed around one of my breasts. I gasped, god his mouth is wonderful. I so very much need this right now.
My fingers curl themselves around his neck and into the damp hair at the back of his head. It becomes apparent to me, as I am sitting on his lap, that his erection is straining against his swim trunks. He is engrossed in lavishing attention towards my breasts and throat and collarbones, so I take the opportunity to slip a hand down between us and cup him through the thin material between us. His body jerks forward into my hand and his head snaps back, connecting with the back of the spa.
"Jesus, Mulder, I'm sorry!" I remove my hand as quickly as possible from him and immediately feel the back of his head for a bump. I massage the area lightly and his hand covers mine.
"God, no Scully. It's not your fault. Please, continue with what you were doing." He grins at me and I remove my hand from his head, letting it slide down his chest slowly. He leans his head forward and kisses me. His mouth is hot and my lips are quivering. I push myself against him more and take him in my hand again, this time slipping through the elastic waistband and caressing the bare flesh of his engorged penis. He moans into my mouth and nibbles on my lower lip. I slip my tongue past his lips to run it over the edges of his teeth and around his own tongue.
He pushes me back a little and I'm panting heavily. He only wants to remove his trunks and they fall behind him with a wet smack as they hit the floor. His hands caress the sides of my arms and his thumbs graze the undersides of my breasts. I push myself off him and stay submerged chest high in the water as I pull off my swimsuit the rest of the way and toss it next to Mulder's trunks. He grins and pulls me back towards him so that I'm straddling him again.
I stare into his eyes and brush my hand along his cheek. I'm going to miss him, so much. "Mulder, you have become such an intricate part of my life in these past seven years," I whisper to him. "God, this is so hard. I don't know how long I can last with you being gone. You, and them."
"I know Scully, I know." He kisses the side of my hand and I'm pretty sure the wetness running down his cheeks are tears. I raise my hips up by pushing up from my knees and sink down onto his lap.
My heart is pounding and my body is shaking. I have never felt so sad and yet so happy at the same time. He slides into me with ease and I cry out sharply from the pleasure which burns through my body. I rock my hips against him and he thrusts deep inside me. My inner muscles clench around him, trying to keep him in place. My breasts rise and fall in and out of the water from our movement. My nipples tighten against the sudden changes in temperature and become extraordinarily sensitive. Mulder licks at the line between my breasts and sucks on one of my nipples.
I throw my head back against the water and moan. I can feel the pulsating begin in my abdomen and the throbbing of my lower body tells me I'm almost there. Simultaneously to taking my other nipple within his mouth, Mulder reaches down and presses against my clitoris in a circular motion. A strangled cry escapes my lips and I grab his hand, putting more pressure against myself. He thrusts faster and presses harder and my body stiffens and shudders. A heat spreads across my belly and I know he has found his release as he becomes relaxed in my arms.
Both of us are breathing hard and I'm sure his heart is pounding as rapidly as mine. My cheeks are hot and sweaty. Both from the steam from the jacuzzi and the exertion I've just gone through. I lean into him and kiss his shoulder, wiping a hand against my forehead. We have less than twenty-four hours left together. I will not cry.
Winter mornings never cease to amaze me. How overnight a blanket of snow can turn to wet puddles covering the ground or how streets and lawns go from shades of black and green to white, all while you're asleep.
The first thing I remember when I wake up is that I'm in Colorado. The second thing I remember is why I'm so warm. I'm covered by a warm, breathing, live blanket named Fox Mulder. His warm body is draped over me, one leg over mine, arm around my waist, and head resting against my shoulder and breast. I run a hand through his sleep-tousled hair and glance out towards the french doors. Snowflakes are beating silently against the window and deck, creating a thin carpet along the ground.
I lay awake and watch it for awhile, stroking Mulder's hair all the while. He sniffs once and moves his leg along mine. The muscles in his back tense for a moment and then relax again. I move my arm down to the edge of his grey thermal shirt and pull it up a bit to slip my hand under and rub his back a little. I like the feel of his skin under my hands.
I can feel Mulder's jaw opening against my chest as he yawns. "Little lower, G-Woman," he says as he finishes his yawn and snuggles against me a little further. I smile and my hand slides inside the barrier of his sweatpants, just enough for the tips of my fingers to graze the end of his tailbone and then I return to his mid-back.
"You feel nice, Scully."
I smile. Mulder sounds cute in the morning. His speech is slightly muffled and slow and he sounds younger. "You too, Mulder." It was early, I went back to sleep.
The second time I awoke I had a funny feeling. I opened my eyes slowly and was met by the smiling face of Mallory. She was sitting across my stomach with her hands on her knees.
"Hi. What're you doing here?" I pushed myself up to a sitting position and she slid down backwards towards my legs and giggled. I smiled back at her.
"Well, I was waiting and waiting and waiting and then you waked up!"
"Have you seen Mulder around?"
"Noooooo. I wakeded up in there, and Nora was gone and Mulder was gone and you were gone. All the people was gone. Then I looked out and I sawed you in here! And I climbed up on the bed and you was sleeping. So I waited and waited and waited."
"And then I woke up."
"Sounds like you've had a busy morning." Looks like I had a very imaginative child here. "Let's go find Mulder and Eleanor, shall we?"
We found them downstairs. Mulder was looking over some maps at the dining room table and Nora was eating cereal across from him.
"Good morning!" Mallory yelled out, announcing our presence. She wiggled out of my arms and scampered over to the table, pulling herself up onto the chair next to Nora.
Mulder smiled and pushed back his chair as I approached him. "What're you working on there Agent Mulder?" I had every intention of simply glancing at the map but he grabbed my waist and pulled me onto his lap.
"Can't tell ya, G-Woman." He winked at me.
"What's a hickey?" Nora cocked her head to the side and looked puzzled. Mulder laughed and I shot him my most threatening look. He better not be thinking about that in front of the little mindreaders.
"It's what happens when you kiss someone for a reeeeeeeally long time in one spot, like this." Mulder grabbed my arm and started sucking on my shoulder.
"Mulder!" I hit his chest and the girls laughed.
"Uh oh, Mom's gettin' mad." Mulder continued laughing and I stopped, realizing what he'd just said. He stood up suddenly, depositing me on my feet next to the table and went to the kitchen.
"Here Mal, waffles. Dana and I have to talk real quick, okay girls? We're going to be in that room over there." Mulder pointed to a door to the left and grabbed my hand. "We'll be back in a little bit."
I followed him into the study and he shut the door. "Scully, I need to give you some things." He got down on his knees and lifted the edge of the floor-rug. He pulled at a couple of floor panels and removed them quite easily, setting them aside. Underneath was a combination safe. "In case you need to come back here, it's 27-19-38. Don't worry I'll write it down." He pulled on the lever and opened the door to the safe. "Come here." He motioned to me and I got down on my knees beside him.
He started taking out some papers and a couple of cloth bags and handing them to me, then he turned and sat cross-legged in front of me. "Mulder, what are these?" I had a few faded documents in my hand and he was unraveling some of the cloth bags.
"Those, are what you need to give to the Lone Gunmen to draw up your fake papers and get you out of the country. They know what to do with them."
"I don't doubt that."
"This, is how we're getting out." Mulder dumped a large stack of bills out of one cloth bag and there were still about six more.
"Yeah...Scully, this is okay with you right? You'll be giving up so much.
Your mom, your brothers, the FBI. This is what you want isn't it?"
"I should be asking you that question, Mulder."
"I have something else too..." Mulder fingered a tiny pouch on the floor.
"Tell me last night wasn't a dream, Scully."
I smiled softly at him. "If it was it was a pretty damn good one, don't you think?"
He chuckled. "Keep in mind Scully, you don't have to accept this." He pulled open the drawstring and shook something out into his hand. "This belonged to my grandma Mulder, and it was supposed to go to Samantha. I'd like you to have it." Mulder presented me a ring between his thumb and forefinger. It was a beautiful gold band with tiny diamonds set on two sides and three large carats in the middle.
"Mulder it's...is this..." I really didn't know what to say.
He rose to his knees and pulled me up to sit on the leather couch behind me. He took my hand in his and stroked my knuckles with his thumb. "Dana." He sighed and then smiled. "I want you to promise me that you'll be okay. Because there's no turning back, now."
I guess I understood his apprehension. Mulder was used to people deeming him a failure. And this was going to be the hardest road either one of us would ever have to travel. "I'll be okay, Mulder. And so will you."
"I made some calls this morning...I got you a flight. We have to be at the airport by 5:30 tonight."
"We have about six hours left, Mulder, let's make the most of it."
Looking back, the day seems like a blur. There were endless games of Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid and Memory. One last rendezvous in the jacuzzi again as the girls napped. And then the time came, and before I knew it I was standing in the middle of a crowded airport, waiting to board a flight to DC.
I kissed Mallory good-bye, and she buried her face in Mulder's neck. "No go..." She kept repeating. Nora kept her eyes down and kept a tight hold on Mulder's leg.
"I don't want you to go," she whispered, as two large tears rolled down her cheeks.
"I've never had a mother." She grasped me around the neck hard, and a tiny sob escaped her lips before she pulled away and hid behind Mulder's legs again. I stood up, blinking rapidly, trying to contain my emotions, at that moment anyway.
"Be careful, Mulder." I gave him a lingering kiss on the side of his mouth and picked up my bag, heading for the boarding ramp.
"Hey Scully!" He called after me and I turned to see him.
"I hate to see you go...but I love to watch you walk away." He was grinning broadly and I gave him a shake of my head and a smile.
"Don't be long." And then I walked away.
The plane was beginning it's descent now. I was glad to be getting off soon. Too much time in a cramped space puts me on edge. It had been one year. One year, and I was finally going to get to see them again.
I had done everything expected of me. The x-files were closed, for good. The investigation regarding the whereabouts of Agent Mulder had been long ago abandoned. With the Long Gunmen's help, we had planted some travel receipts to a central Californian city that had been wiped out by an earthquake around the same time of Mulder's disappearance. He was presumed dead, among the ruins and rubble.
Every once in awhile I'd receive a postcard via the Lone Gunmen or an encrypted e-mail with an update and hello. And a week ago I received the information I'd been waiting a year for. A short letter containing coordinates, an address and at the bottom 'When you're ready - M.'
I took a cab, being that I was in a strange country. It took awhile to get there. I had to admit though, Mulder picked a great area. I paid the taxi driver well and stood outside the house for a very long time. This is it. Welcome to Noosa, Australia.
What can I say about the house? It's beautiful. Fox Mulder has taste. Large and white, very modern. Huge windows. There are a lot of plants and flowers on the outside. I feel like I've stepped into a tropical rain forest.
I finally rang the doorbell, but no one answered. I left my bags on the porch, and walked around to a side gate, opening into the back yard. There was a large pool in the back. A playhouse beyond that. I shook my head. Spoiling them rotten. There was a fence around the back and a door was open, seperating the two sides. I walked around the pool to the wooden gate and pushed it open a bit further. A short series of steps leading directly to the beach.
I slipped my shoes off and held them in one hand as I walked out onto the warm sand. It may be winter back in DC, but it's summer here. Nice day, but the beach appeared to be deserted, save for a few people surfing or sunbathing. So, they weren't hard to find.
Mulder was kicked back in a lounge chair, reading a book. Mallory was next to the chair digging with a shovel, apparently trying to bury Mulder's feet in the sand. Her hair had gotten a lot longer and was pulled up in pigtails. The strawberry goldness shining in the sun. I could hear Eleanor chatting before I saw her.
"...and Caitlin said that her mum was going to work in a hospital and I said that my mum was a doctor. Isn't that right?"
"And then she asked where my mum was and I said she was on important business out of the country cuz that's what I'm supposed to say, right?" She stood up into my range of sight and dropped a handfull of shells on a pink beach towel. Her hair was shorter and away from her face in a black headband. The ends flipped up at her shoulders and I could see the freckled adorning her skin and the patches of redness from sunburning.
"Mm hmm." Mulder turned the page in his book, casually.
Mallory stopped shoveling and looked like she was listening for something and she turned her head towards me. "Mommy!" She jumped up and held her hands up as she came running towards me. Mulder turned around in his chair and Nora looked up.
"Hey..." Mulder stood and Nora grabbed his hand. He looked into my eyes for a long time, and I returned his gaze. He was a lot tanner than I'd ever seen him. He looked good. I had missed him so much. I took a step forward. He met me halfway and I leaned against him. As his arms went around me, I knew...
Today, was the first day, of the rest of my life.