Name: Shadows of the Past
Rated: PG - Few bad words
Summary: What if Scully couldn't find Mulder? What if Bill decided to step in? That's all I'm going to say.
Special thanks to Cheryl DeLuca for editing this story. I dedicate this to Mary and Domenica who have been so patient for me to finish COM.
I keep reminding her its not entirely safe sitting out in the open since the battle with the aliens even with the patrols that keep the town safe. She retorts that the force field surrounding the compound is security enough and she watches the shadows. I usually shake my head and remind her lights out are at midnight, and don't get caught after that time. She just nods her head then turns her attention back to the stars.
I hope she never finds what she's looking for in a million years. If she remembers, she might never forgive me for what I've done to her. Even though I thought I was saving her life.
I've searched for her for two years. She haunts my dreams, and I find myself hunting for her, the search bleeding me dry and forcing me to crawl the last mile my tired body will allow me to endure. I've told my commander about the dreams, he seems to think they could be from before the battle.
I'm one of the few who's minds have been altered in order to search for the aliens that try to hide as humans. I can read their minds, and sense that they are different.
That's what makes me so effective.
I remember I had this ability once before, it almost killed me. But she saved me. Always the beautiful redhead that invades my mind night after night. They tell me I worked for the government. I remember portions of my previous life. I remember my broken family. I know they aren't alive, so I don't search for them.
But her, it's that beautiful smile that I remember so vaguely. It makes me wake with a need so strong it's painful. I look in every compound, every burned out town we come to in the endless search for the rebels that have invaded our precious earth. After two years I'm beginning to think I just made her up to cover the loneliness I feel every night.
My superior has sympathy for me. He's tried to break the dreams with other women. He's paraded more than one in front of me when we are in a town for more than one or two days. I have to confess, I have taken refuge with a few, redheads only. But still, there's something missing. What was she to me? Why does finding her seem more important than what I'm doing to save this planet? I wish I knew the answer.
Not that my work isn't important. We've aided our military in eliminating the invaders. I've worked an endless number of days and nights that have extended into a lonely parade of years. My commander tells me its coming to an end, but I see no peace in sight.
Just another ravaged town. And another. And another.
We began on the East Coast after the invasion. We've progressed to the southwest. We cross into California tomorrow. They tell me there is a large compound in San Diego we need to protect. My commander fears it will be the next target for the remaining alien rebels.
"Mulder." I hear my commander's deep voice.
"Yeah?" I answer, choosing not to turn, from where I sit scouring maps of our destination.
"Dammit Mulder, you have to rest." His angry voice is laced with concern.
"I know." I rub my eyes and stretch. "I will as soon as..." A hand clamps down on my shoulder. I'm startled, but I know who's invaded my tent.
"No ifs, ands, or buts soldier, turn that light out and get some shuteye." His voice is more concern than angry.
I know I need the rest. I just avoid sleeping as long as possible. I've never been a sound sleeper, not since I was in college. "I guess old habits are hard to break." I try a weak chuckle as I take my glasses off and move away from the planning table.
"Son, I think there's a doctor in the compound near here. Is it the voices that keep you awake?"
I shrug laying down on my bunk. "I don't need a doctor, just an end to this damn war." I yawn, suddenly feeling very tired. My body has run out of energy.
"That's something we all need, Son." He turns to leave. "I'll wake you at first light."
I watch him walk toward the entrance of my tent. "We break camp tomorrow and cross into California." His voice lightens slightly. "I've been in contact with Washington. We're winning." This news brings out a cautious smile. "We're finally winning."
I nod my head and close my eyes waiting for her to appear. My last thoughts are hoping it will end soon. Then I can go back to my home and find what I've lost.
"Good morning Dana." I don't have to look up, I know who's entering my quarters. I put the newspaper down and smile at the little girl accompanying my daughter. "Good morning sweetheart." I open my arms, as the child rushes to me and hugs me tightly. I look up to see Dana smiling as she makes her way to the coffee pot. This is a routine we've established for the last three years. I feel fortunate that we are together in this troubling time.
"Mom, I 'm going to be a little later today, do you mind?"
"It's okay dear, we'll be fine." I hug my little cherub again. "What do you want to do today sweetie?" I ask as I brush the light brown hair out of Shelley's face.
"Grammy can we go outside?" Her bright eyes always warms my heart. She is so much like her mother and father combined. Sometimes I wonder if it was wise what Bill let them do to Dana. But then again, she's here, and we weren't forced to watch her die slowly, grieving over the loss of her love.
"Mom?" Dana's voice brings me out of my quiet contemplation. She looks concerned. "Is everything okay?"
I smile putting the thoughts safely away in the back of my mind. "I'm fine." I assure her and turn my attention back to Shelley. "I think we can go out for a while today, I'll check with Uncle Bill. Okay?" The little girl smiles and nods her head. "Come on Sweetie, let's fix you some breakfast."
I allow Shelley to slide down to the floor before I stand and move to find her favorite cereal. She's gotten large and while I am not necessarily old, the weariness in my bones speaks of the difficult times through which I've lived. I turn my thoughts to happier things. We received a small shipment of supplies and were lucky enough to have cereal this time.
"Here you go darling."
Shelley climbs into the chair next to mine, as the milk splashes over her fruit loops.
"Thanks Mom. I need to go." Taking her precious child into her arms, Dana hugs her tightly. "You be a good girl today." she reminds her and then kisses her gently on the cheek.
"I will Mommy." Shelley smiles, as her mom ruffles her hair lightly.
"I'll be back by dusk Mom."
"Okay darling, we'll be fine." I watch as my daughter turns to go. "You be careful." I remind her as she disappears into the hallway.
I smile at the precious face of my beloved daughter, as the footsteps I take begin to separate us. Her smiles and hugs have filled the empty part of my soul over these past few years, and have kept me sane through emptiness I've felt since I lost my husband in the war.
Who'd ever thought that there were aliens who would attack our earth? You'd think that with all the money we spent on NASA someone would have seen this coming. I've been told that they didn't. Yet, someone must have known, must have been aware. Too much advanced technology has come into being too quickly. This kind of work takes years of planning and preparation, and the protective shield surrounding the compound is a prime example. This has all happened without the usual trial and error, there is something about it that is not right.
When my curiosity gets the better of me, Bill tells me it's Top Secret, and that I don't need to know. He still thinks I can't handle my own life. I can't help the sigh of resignation that escapes my lips at this thought. "He's just like Dad." I hear myself speak as I open the heavy metal door and step out into the overcast daylight.
Pushing these thoughts aside, I retrace steps that I have taken almost daily for the past few years. Up ahead an armored vehicle awaits me, its driver poised to take me to the military hospital that has become my second home.
Today, much as I do everyday, I will be tending to the people cut down by the alien virus. At the beginning of the war there was little we could do. My colleagues and I watched many die in our care. Despite helping to administer the vaccine, and despite it saving many, the hastily developed inoculation was still too weak to save everyone. And to be honest our understanding of what we were dealing with was nil.
I smile grimly to myself. My work here has progressed in stages. Each helping us regain a little of the ground that we lost when the aliens first attacked. We were devastated when the war began. And after the administration of initial vaccine, I spent a fair number of my days researching a cure to eradicate the effects of alien bee swarms that had spread through out the world. This was very much a time of trepidation, fear and uncertainty. Now I work towards a brighter future. There is finally hope. The new cases are fewer, and we can now treat them with a solid foundation build on research and knowledge. Not everyone will live but many do, and in this I take solace.
"Good morning Dana." the ever cheerful Commander greets me warmly. It brings a smile to my face as I climb in.
"Good morning Commander Bradley." I look at him for a moment. He is kind and sweet, and I know he's attracted to me. Most of the time I feel flattered, but sometimes I feel guilty. Of this I am unsure why. Is it my dead husband I feel I'm betraying? Or is it because this man wants something from me that I can never give? He is attractive yet our relationship is strictly platonic. I'm not looking for anything permanent. I don't feel the school girl rush to marry because I have a child with no husband. But I have been alone since we were herded into the safety of this compound. And this is by choice.
I grin speculatively, I must have I had a healthy sex life at some point in the past. Sometimes in my dreams at night, I remember being loved by a man. The sensuality and depth of our shared emotion washes over me and fills me in a way I know no other can. In my dreams we partake in the dance of love our bodies entwined and our souls enmeshed. Yet in the morning I awake to an empty bed.
"Earth to Dana?"
I jump when the Commander touches my arm.
"You must be thinking of something incredibly good considering the look you had on your face." he teases slightly.
I feel a blush rise in my cheeks, and I nod shyly.
"I hope whatever it is, it included me..." The boldness of his comment is not lost on me. But his words fade as I turn my head towards the open window and drift back to the solitude of my own thoughts.
At first he was shy about his pursuits. But as the months turned into years, he became a distraction from the war, and depression I suffered after Shelley's birth. I wish I could say I love him, even a little, but I don't. Although I do find his company calming. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to avoid the subject. Lately he has been pushing outright.
It doesn't help that Bill is continuously trying to match me up with soldiers in the compound. There's not a lot of entertainment to partake of here. Socializing consists of eating together and watching reruns of movies made over well over a few years ago.
Hollywood was all but destroyed, which truthfully is no great loss, but it does create a gap where entertainment is concerned. No new movies have been made or planned for a few years now. Though, I'm sure there will be a rash of alien movies when the war is over.
Almost everything was halted after the invasion. Raw materials were at a minimum. Water supplies were contaminated and had to be purified. Thank goodness for the bottled water craze that had hit the country years earlier. The first months were critical without decent water. Then came Marshall-law which has been enforced for few years now. It kept the looting, panic, casualties to a minimum.
I reign in my thoughts. They have been wandering again today. I don't know what it is but my brain has been jumpy lately, and my thoughts unmanageable. I clearly need to focus.
I take my eyes off the road and open the folder the Commander had given me when I first sat down. It is he who breaks our silence.
"We have a new group of military coming onto the base today." He explains.
"Who are they?" I ask, my curiosity only mildly peaked, we see a lot of new military faces on a fairly regular basis.
"They are part of a special group of fighters" his voice drops and becomes low secretive in a way that brings a smile to my lips. "I've heard, and this is strictly confidential, that apparently some of the men have a unique ability in identifying aliens. They have been travelling throughout the US picking out and eliminating aliens who are able to disguise themselves as humans.
They call them shapeshifters." He sounds somewhat amazed and skeptical. "I tell you Dana, I'm holding my judgement. Shapeshifting.." He laughs. "What will they come up with next?"
His skepticism is valid since much of the information we get is based gossip and innuendo, but for some reason it strikes a chord with me. Something tells me that this one fact could is very possible, and terrifyingly so.
Yet, I look at the Commander and we both start laughing. Still grinning I calm myself. "I'm sure these people are going to be interesting to say the least."
Our silence resumes as we pull up to the guarded and gated entrance to the hospital. Flashing our ID's, we continue through to the large white building where the briefing will take place. There are notably several additional vehicles this morning.
"I suppose our visitors are here already Commander." I offer as we excited the vehicle.
"Dana, I do wish you'd call me by my first name." He has asked me this a few times in the last year. I give him a slight smile.
I watch my granddaughter play in the sandbox with a few kids that lived in the compound. I'm distracted by movement coming toward me. His strong male voice alerts me. "Hello Mom." Bill sits next to me turning his attention to Shelley and the older boy joining her in the sandbox.
"She's growing so fast. Matthew doesn't seem so big next to her. She's going to be tall like--" His voice fades.
"Like her father? Is that what you were going to say?" I ask. Bill sighed as he continued looking at the two children.
"No I was thinking Melissa. She was taller than Dana." He retorted. I shake my head. He's so stubborn sometimes. We sit in silence for a long time just watching the kids playing in the sand.
"Do you still think you were right altering her memories of Fox?" My conscience speaking out loud again.
Bill rubbed his hand over his face before speaking. "Dammit Mom, she was dying of grief. I couldn't watch her fade away. It was the only choice I felt I had in the matter."
"I've been wondering if Fox is looking for her. What if he came back to find her gone? What if he thinks she's dead?" I ask in a soft voice.
"That Son of a Bitch deserves whatever happens. He abandoned her with his endless dangerous, half-brained ideas." I won't stand by having him disparage Fox anymore. I've heard it too long.
"He was right about the aliens Bill. Wasn't he?" I challenge my over confident son.
Bill heaved a heavy sigh and stood. "I have to get back to work Mom. I don't have time to talk about someone who's gone from her life and good riddance. They are sending my ship out for maneuvers for the next few days." Bill didn't wait for a reply, he walked toward the kids covered with sand. He kneeled down and spoke to them, ruffled his son's hair then stood and walked away.
I watched silently thinking again about contacting Walter Skinner back in Washington. The communications were being repaired for the thousandth time since the war began. The aliens kept communication to a minimum hoping to divide the forces. They hadn't succeeded.
'Walter Skinner would know what's happened to Fox.' I assured myself. Most of the Washington area had endured the onslaught of attacks by the evil in the sky. Surely he is still the AD at the FBI. I'll have to be careful though, Bill will be furious. I just feel I owe it to Dana and Shelley to find out the truth.
I can't help but remember the days when we first arrived. Bill had insisted I accompany Dana out here for the birth of Shelley. He always wants to protect Scully women. I don't know how Tara has lived with him all these years. I smile, yes I do. I lived with his father.
Dana was so depressed by then, she agreed with little argument. I can't help but remember Dana's state of mind when we arrived. Eight months pregnant and feeling she'd failed Fox by not finding him before the war began. We were lucky to have made it to San Diego before the invasion. The compounds were setup to keep military families safe. All ships were called in from sea duty. The whole world had been in chaos, there was no fighting between the countries. The hostilities were concentrated on fighting an enemy threatening to destroy the whole earth.
I could see Bill's frustration when he saw how withdrawn Dana had become. She wasn't suicidal, she just looked defeated. Acting like the head of the family, he tried to talk to her about Fox, reason with her that it wasn't her fault she hadn't found him. That maybe she was better off without him. He tried not to use his favorite phrase when it came to Fox. Dana, being the stubborn woman she is, wouldn't hear of it.
Days went by and the whole family tried to comfort her with a small gestures for the baby. She would give a small smile and say her thanks, but she would sit alone most nights gazing at the stars. That was until the sky went black.
When the first attacks happened, we were sent to the compound near Bill's home. I was amazed how the military had prepared for the emergency. We were hold up in a research facility. Bill explained to us when the first bee attack on children happened on a playground they had been working on an antidote. The symptoms seemed to be smallpox, but under extensive testing, it showed other characteristics they hadn't seen before. The small cadavers had more or less decomposed in front of their eyes. Like a virus ate away at the bone and skin.
Bill explained this to us as we sat dumbfounded. Dana became quite agitated. "The same thing happened in Dallas, but no one would believe us." Bill went on to explain that those bodies were brought here also. Dana left the room.
When we found her staring outside as missiles burst in the sky fighting the ships that came close to earth. She was hugging herself seemingly protecting her unborn child. Dana spoke without breaking her gaze.
"We tried to tell OPR about those bodies, the virus, the bees, but they wouldn't believe us." Her voice was low and even.
"But they did Dana. They couldn't allow anyone to know they moved the bodies here. There was a faction in the government that wasn't trust worthy." Bill offered.
Dana turned around her mouth gapped open and brow furrowed. "No shit Sherlock. Mulder tried, for years, to warn the FBI about that very problem." She shook her head in disgust pushing past us. Bill caught her arm.
"Dana, I didn't know about this until about a month ago when my ship was called into port. There had been reports for months of an invasion. At first I thought they were as crazy as-.." Dana's head snapped up as her blue eyes locked with Bill. I've never seen her with so much anger. It scared me. "Dana, I'm sorry, I didn't mean you were crazy--.." Bill pleaded with his sister. Dana pulled out of his grasp blinking back tears.
"Save it Bill. I lost him. He warned the world about this and I lost him. He was right. I wish he were here so you would have to admit that to him." Dana turned and walked away wiping her eyes.
Bill sighed as he looked outside. "I hate to admit it mother, but she's right. But that doesn't change the way I feel about him. Its killing Dana. And I have to stand by and watch her self-destruct." Bill hit a button that slid a thick metal shield over the glass. "Mom, we've got to do something to help her. I'm afraid for her giving birth in this state of mind." Bill's voice was low as he looked around. "There is a procedure that would erase Mulder from her memory." I interrupted him.
"No Bill, you aren't going to do anything to her physically--" I warned.
"Mother, I wouldn't risk her or the baby's lives. I just want her to get past her mourning of that Son--." Bill didn't finish.
"Stop Bill, don't speak of Fox like that again." I had enough of his disparaging the young man Dana loved more than her life.
"It's just a procedure of blocking out that particular memory of Mulder. Until she gains her strength back and gets over this depression." Bill offered. I thought for a moment before I spoke again.
"What is the procedure Bill?" I was too at my wits end trying to help Dana out of the depression she'd fallen into as her search for Fox dragged on month after month.
"A hypnotic procedure developed by the military. It will block out his memory. We will plant alternate memories." Bill explained.
"But how do you restore her memories?" I watched to see if he would lie to me. I know my son, he's a fierce protector when it comes to his family. He'd sell his soul to keep us safe.
He cleared his throat. "There is a method of restoration, uhm, if it is necessary." His gazed had turned to his shoes.
"What do you mean, if necessary?" I questioned.
"He's probably dead Mom--"
"But what if he's not?" I cut him off. He thought for a moment.
"Do you honestly think he's alive?" Bill's eyes were sorrowful as they rose to mine. I searched his eyes for truth. Bill was expert at hiding things from me. All I could see was loving concern for his sister. I felt my heart skip a beat. What if he were really dead. Oh God, please don't do that to her little girl and granddaughter. My eyes dropped in sorrow to the floor.
"I don't know Bill." Tears formed in my eyes. "I just can't stand to see Dana suffer. She's so full of anger and defeat. I don't know how it's effecting the baby." My voice was trembling.
"Then you'll help?" Bill asked.
I wiped the tears away and raised my head determined to do what's best for Dana. "Yes. But you know she'll never hear of it."
"I know, but I have a plan." He put his arm around my shoulders and guided me toward my quarters.
Bill explained his plan, but I didn't know if it would work. Dana is no fool. I kept telling myself I wasn't betraying Dana. I just couldn't think of any other way to help her. I knew how she felt having half of your soul taken away. When Bill died I didn't know if I could survive. I hid my pain from my children, but I spent many nights crying over the man I'd loved for a long time. Dana pined for her love too. I understood that, but what if he's dead too. She needed help to get through the delivery of their child. At least that's what I kept telling myself so I could ease my conscience.
The plan seemed simple enough. I would accompany Dana to a Lamaze class Bill arranged. The doctor would take her to a relaxed state and implant the memories and while out, she would be stripped of her memory of Fox Mulder. Temporarily. That's what I warned Bill. Only temporarily. He agreed, as did the doctor and promised there would be a release phrase to give the memory back if Fox were found alive. I'd be there for the procedure. I'd make sure it was done. I only trusted my well intentioned son so far with my baby girl.
The day came. We had finally convinced Dana she needed to relax and take the class. She'd fought against it almost violently at first. Walked out of the room a couple of times, but finally I convinced her. I felt like Judas when she finally consented.
We enter the room and I prepare Dana with the pillows. When the doctor appeared I made an excuse that I had to use the ladies room before we started and left Dana settled on the pillows. I returned shortly and the doctor had her relaxed and her eyes closed. "Is she under?" I mouthed? Bill nodded silently. I stood in the doorway listening to the lies being implanted into my daughter's mind. It took less than 10 minutes to change her past. The doctor began to end his session, I held up my hand. He looked at me then Bill. Bill shrugged okay. I let out the breath I was holding. He gave us words, spoken by Bill or myself that would restore her memories. Before she woke up, he told her to rest until the baby was born and that her appetite would be restored. I hoped it would work.
When Dana woke up, she looked puzzled. I came up behind her. "Dana are you okay?" I asked.
"Yeh--.I'm--..I'm fine." She raised her hand to her head. "I must have fallen asleep. I feel light headed." Dana closed her eyes for a moment. "Mom can we cut this short today? I feel tired all of a sudden." I helped her to her feet. As we left the room I glanced back at Bill shaking the doctors hand.
That evening Dana woke up with a smile and an appetite that surprised even me. She ate more than I'd seen her eat in months. I felt relieved when she looked at me and smiled after finishing her second helping asking for dessert.
The month came to a close and she was showing signs of labor beginning. Dana was huge, but healthy. She'd eaten three good meals a day, exercised and acted like the Dana we'd all but lost. My conscience became less guilty as the weeks brought positive change.
I began to find her staring at the stars every night before she would retire to her room for peaceful sleep. I asked her why she did this. She said it was like she'd lost something and hoped she'd find it in the stars.
"Mom." I woke with Dana shaking me. "Mom, I think its time." I was fully awake with her words. I opened my eyes wide to see her grinning and holding her large belly. "My water broke." She explained as a contraction assaulted her small frame. She grasped my bedcovers until they subsided.
I jumped out of bed and threw on some decent clothes. "Dana can you walk to the infirmary?" I helped her stand. She nodded her head as I helped her into the hallway. We walked slowly to the birthing room, having to stop a couple of time for contractions that seemed to be very close.
"Dana, you have to push one more time and it will be over." The doctor encouraged my sweat drenched exhausted daughter. "When I count to three, you push one last time. Make it a good one dear." His voice was soft and reassuring. Dana nodded without speaking. She was just too tired.
"Come on honey, she's almost here. Your beautiful baby girl." I whispered in her ear as the doctor counted. "Here we go Dana." I helped her sit up and she gritted her teeth and pushed with everything she had left. I wished Fox could be here for this wonderful event. My heart ached for the young man who'd become so dear to her.
"That's it Dana, keep pushing she's crowning." The doctor moved his hands as he was rotating the baby. I feel Dana rapidly losing her strength. "Don't give up Dana, we're almost there." With a last ditch effort, Dana gave a loud grunt and pushed until she turned beet red. "That's it, you can stop now Dana. The doctor lifted the squirming, bloody child up for us to see. Dana watched carefully as he cut the cord and she began to cry. Dana relaxed against me and began to cry too.
"Dana, she's fine. Listen to those lungs, she's a true Scully." I laughed through my tears as I hugged her tightly.
The doctor laid the baby in Dana's waiting arms. She opened the blanket and counted toes and fingers. "Oh mom, she's beautiful." Her voice filled with wonder at the miracle held in her arms. Too soon the baby had to be taken and cleaned up. Dana reluctantly let them take her across the room for her first bath.
"Grammy." I heard through my deep thoughts. "Grammy." My attention is brought back to a sandy little girl shaking my arm.
"I'm hungry, Matt is too." My sand covered grandson is nodding his head looking hopeful. I can't help but laugh. They always make me smile.
"Then I guess we need to brush the sand off both of you so we can go inside." They begin brushing sand off each other.
We arrived at the base early this morning. I'm dog tired after the trip. I've consumed a gallon of coffee, downing headache medicine with it. I hope the meeting is brief, I'd like to rest until tomorrow when another seek and destroy mission begins. I'll be damn glad when this is over. My ability to read minds is taxing on my body many days. It takes hours to recover from the stress it puts on my brain after a long assignment.
I sit with my eyes closed willing the pounding in my head to ease when I hear footsteps. I slowly open my eyes. I blink a few times, rub my eyes. It must be the stress catching up with me because I swear I see the woman in my dreams standing before me dressed in a dark suit.
Her pale skin, bright red hair falling in waves on her shoulders. My God, she looks like a vision. She looks at me with the same interest. Do we know each other? Before I can stand my Commanding officer enters the room with several other Generals.
He introduces me to everyone he's brought with him. She steps forward with her hand stretched to me. I take it gingerly feeling her strong grip. "My name is Dr. Dana Scully." I hold her hand longer than I intended as our eyes meet.
"Do I know you Dr. Scully?" I ask still holding her hand. The man next to her clears this throat and I let her hand go. I try to focus on her thoughts. But there are too many in the room.
"No Commander, I don't think we do. It's a pleasure to meet you." She steps back and the man next to her extends his hand. I only half hear his name. Bradley was it? I make myself take my eyes off her. We all sit around the table.
I find it hard to concentrate on the details of the mission. I'm lucky concentration isn't necessary. Same mission, different area. I know it by heart. I will be glad when this war is over.
I focus my mind as I bring my eyes to Dr. Scully's again. "Why does he keep looking at me?" I hear her mind's question. "Its like we know each other. I feel I know you. Who are you Commander? Where have we met before?" I notice her eyes widening. "Are you reading my mind Sir?" My eyes widened. "That's not very gentlemen is it?" Her eyes questioned me as I cut the connection. I look away embarrassed that she had caught me invading her thoughts. I break eye contact with her and tried to focus anywhere but on her.
"Commander, if there is no more questions, I'll lead you to your quarters." The Generals and officers stand, I automatically rise with them. I catch Dana's eye as everyone files out of the room. She smiles demurely at me. I feel my heart beat faster. An exhilarating feeling passes through my tired body. I move after her, but am caught by Commander Bradley, yeah that's his name. I sigh. I'll have to look for her later. My attention is turned back to the man who looks less than pleased I'm paying so much attention to the lovely redhead that just left the room.
"Commander, if you please, I'll show you to your quarters." He preceded me out of the room. We climb in a military jeep and ride to a set of quarters. We stop and both exit the vehicle. I walk behind him in silence for a few moments. I try to read his thoughts searching for clues about the lovely doctor. He's not happy with my attention to Dana. Oh they are friends. How close? Before I can continue, my guide breaks the silence.
"How do you read minds?" I'm asked this question many times.
"I'm not quite sure how I do it Bradley. I disappeared two years ago in Oregon. When I returned the ability was there. I'm not sure where I was or what was done to me. I only know I was given a commanding position when the war broke out shortly after my return. I've been on seek and destroy mission ever since.
"It must be fascinating being able to read minds." His voice the same as everyone else. Amazement at the ability. Blah blah blah.
"Sometimes. It can be a curse also." I explain. "Very taxing on the brain." I'm glad we reach my quarters, I'm feeling light headed.
"Here's where you can rest Sir." He opens the door for me. I stumble in not caring what it looks like as long as I have a bed. "I'll arrange for your things to be brought in." He closes the door behind him as he leaves. Thank God for blessed silence. I strip my clothes and crawl into bed. I'll have to search for her later.
I feel there's a storm brewing. I don't know if it's the war or what, but I'm sure there is something on the horizon. Something threatening our family.
"Hello." Dana calls as she enters my quarters. I'm playing with Matthew and Shelley on the floor.
"Here Dana." I call to her. When she comes into my view there is an odd look on her face.
"What is it Dana? Has something happened?" My blood pressure rises several levels. I worry about my children fighting in this war. Charlie is God knows where and Bill is due to ship out soon. "Dana?" Don't keep me in suspense. I beg with my mind.
She shakes her head and smiles. "No Mom there's nothing wrong. I just met---" She paused. "Mom have you ever met someone you think you've known before, but can't remember?" She asks me as if she's thinking out loud. My heart stops. It couldn't be. I catch my breath before speaking.
"I-..uhm--did something happen today?" I stumble my words. Dana sits on the couch behind us. Shelley automatically jumps up.
"Mommy." She gleefully throws herself in Dana's arms. Dana's smile grows from the affection her daughter liberally bestows on her. They are so cute I almost forget Dana's question.
"Dana?" I question her. She looks at Shelley for a moment, then turns her attention back to me.
"I met a man today that seemed familiar, but I can't remember meeting him before." She moved Shelley's bangs out of her face.
"We're going to have to trim those bangs young lady." As usual, Dana's main focus is on Shelley.
"What---.who is he?" I try to breathe normally. Before I can say anymore she turns to me.
"He's a commander for the special-forces. They seek and destroy the aliens. He reads minds Mom. Can you believe that?"
She turns her attention to me. "Mom are you okay? You're very pale." She moves from the couch to my side searching my face for answers since my mouth doesn't seem to work at the moment. I finally am able to speak. I clear my throat.
"What's this commander's name?" I ask innocently.
"Commander--..." She says with a furrowed brow. "I don't know." Her face changed from confusion of not knowing his name to a relaxed smile. "I caught him reading my mind. He seemed embarrassed that I was aware of his intrusion." She chuckled. "Good thing I caught him when I did. He's quite handsome." I gasped at the brightness in her eyes I hadn't seen in a long time.
"He read your mind?" I questioned. It couldn't be him. Fox didn't read minds. "Dana, you say you've never met him before? Did he recognize you? Did he say anything to you?" I tried to steady my voice, but I felt my stomach in my toes. "What did he look like?" I kept my voice light.
"Tall, dark hair, nice lips, oversized nose, brooding eyes that seem capable of looking into my soul." Dana looked almost dreamy. I gasped.
"Why would he know me if we've never met Mom?" She asks me.
I've got to get out of here. I feel the walls closing in on me.
"I don't know Dana, I just asked if maybe he remembered you from before the war." My voice is growing weaker. "Uhm Dana, can you watch the kids?" I rise from the floor. "I need to go to the commissary for our dinner." I manage to make it to the table in the dining room without falling. I'm excited and sacred to death.
"Sure Mom." Dana joined the children on the floor. They begin to play the game again. I walk out the door and down the hall.
Can he be back? I've got to find Bill. We've got to fix this. I begin to run toward Bill's building. I knew my intuition was correct. A huge storm is brewing. Hurricane Dana, if this is Fox, and if she finds out what we've allowed to be done to her.
I arrive at Bill's door and catch my breath before knocking. Tara greets me at the door. "Mom? Is something wrong?" She puts her arm around my shoulders and guides me into their living room.
"No, everything is fine. Is Bill here?" I calm my breathing. I don't want to scare her.
"Bill, come out here." Tara calls out not willing to leave my side as we move to the couch. He doesn't waste anytime hearing the concern in her voice. He sees my flustered face.
"He's back Bill. Fox---. I believe he's back. Dana saw him today. We've got to fix this--" I'm rambling. Tara's eyes widen. Bill stops me.
"How do you know it's really him? Have you seen him? Did she recognize him?" He sits next to me I can feel his frustration building. I shake my head no, looking at my hands.
"Then there's nothing to worry about then." I can't help the astonished look as my mouth gapes open.
"If it's him Bill, you will give back her memory of him." I narrow my eyes at him. He puts his hands on my shoulders.
"Is he with the new fighters that arrived today?" I nod my head. "I'll try to check it out before I leave in the morning. Don't panic or overreact." He squeezes my shoulders. "Dana has been so happy, let's not jump to any conclusions. Okay?" I felt like his father was speaking to me as he stared me down.
"Okay." I agreed. "But, and I'm deadly serious about this son." I narrow my eyes like I use to when he was a child. "If it is Fox, I will personally give the words and confess everything to Dana." Bill doesn't move. "Am I clear about that?" My voice projects the anger I feel toward my eldest. He waits, I don't know if he's going to agree or not then he reluctantly nods his head.
"Fine. But Mom, please wait until I return, I'll be back in a few days. Promise me you'll wait." I don't know why I give into this concession, but I do. I hope I don't regret this promise. "Good." He moves away from me and picks up his bag. "I'll be back in a few days. I'll check this out. Don't worry Mom, everything will be fine. Trust me." I huff a sarcastic laugh. Trusting him is what got me in this situation in the first place. I think this as he kisses his wife good bye and disappears out the door.
"Mom, do you want to stay for a while?" Tara asks me. I look at her concerned face she's been such a comfort to me and Dana these last years.
"Thanks honey, but I told Dana I was going to the commissary for dinner." I turn to leave. "Do you want to join us? Matt is there and Bill is gone." She accepts my offer and I leave feeling no better than I did when I arrived.
My mind won't allow me to relax enough to sleep more than a couple of hours. I rise from my new bed feeling hungry. I fumble toward the door where the light switch is located. My eyes squint as they adjust to the bright light. I look at my watch and sigh. Only 8:30pm. I run my hands through my hair then pull on my shirt and pants. 'Might as well look for something to eat since I'm awake.' I think to myself. If I can't sleep might as well feed my empty stomach.
I move into the quiet hallway remembering the number of the room. Another strange room, another compound. I'll be glad when can reclaim my life.
"Commander?" I look up to see Bradley coming towards me carrying my duffel bag over his shoulder. "Is there something wrong Sir?"
"I woke up hungry Commander, do you know where I might find something to eat?" He motioned me to follow him. We walked through a couple of doors to a large dinning hall. Typical barracks mess hall. Long tables, shinning floor, uncomfortable metal chairs. I hope the food is better than other facilities I've been forced to experience.
"Come with me Commander." He leads me to the kitchen, deserted after the evening meal has been served and cleaned up. Bradley switches on a light as he pulls keys out of his pocket and unlocks the refrigerator. "We have to keep all these locked with the food rations." He explained. "What are you in the mood for Commander?" I look for myself before answering.
"Baked chicken, meatloaf?" My stomach feels like that wouldn't digest too well, no telling what type of mystery meat is in it. "I'll take the chicken and some of the vegetables." I motioned to the bowls of mussy green and orange mixed together. I'm not too choosy any more the food the last couple of years has been scarce at times. I'm just glad I don't have to eat anything I don't recognize. We move the food onto the shining metal top cabinets. Bradley reaches for a plate.
"I'll warm this up for you. He heaps large portions of the meat and colorful vegetables onto the plate and places it in the microwave. It comes to life humming as the food slowly spins around. "What would you like to drink?" He opens another refrigerator door. "We have milk, purified water, tea, beer."
"Beer?" I ask hopefully. God I haven't had a beer in years. He tosses me one and takes one for himself. I pop the top and take a gulp closing my eyes as the cold liquid flows down my throat. It taste like heaven. I forgot how much I missed beer. "I forgot how good this taste." I hear myself speak out loud.
"We don't have much, it's a special treat when we receive it from the supply truck. Some of the men have been attempting to make their own beer, but the raw materials are rare finds." We both take another drink in silence. The microwave announces with a "ding" that my food is warmed. I move to take it out of the oven and follow Bradley back into the dinning hall.
As we settle into our chairs Bradley's radio sounds loudly. He pulls it out of its holder. "Bradley." He listens. "I'll be right there." He rises from the table taking the last drink of his beer. "Sorry I have to leave. Feel free to eat whatever you'd like and lock up before you leave." I nod my head since my mouth is full of chicken.
Full stomach and slight buzz from a few beers I make my way back to my barracks hoping for a few more hours of sleep. My meager belongings are extremely heavy tonight. I pass through the hallways and look out at the night. It is very starry tonight so I think to myself it might help relax my overtaxed brain to sit outside for a while. I drop my bag in front of my door and walk toward the door at the end of the hall. I open the door and move into the darkness.
I look up at the stars. It doesn't seem possible on this star-filled night that the world is in such a desperate state.
"Beautiful isn't it?" A soft voice invades the silence. I turn quickly to find a figure sitting alone in the dark. I can't see her features, but I feel drawn to her. I move slowly toward the dark figure, I would read her mind, but if it is her I don't want to embarrass myself again.
"Dr. Scully?" I say out loud. The shadows won't allow me to see her face clearly. "What are you doing out here alone?" I ask.
"I come out here nightly. I find peace staring at the stars." Her eyes turn toward the sky.
"Mind if I sit with you?" I ask motioning to the chair next to her.
"No, be my guest Commander." Her eyes are still focused upward. We sit for a few minutes in comfortable silence. Like we'd done it before. I break the silence.
"I'm sorry I invaded your mind earlier. I'm not usually that forward with strangers. I just--" I try to think of a way to not sound clich. "I just thought I recognized you from somewhere." My voice tapers off. I clear my throat. "Anyway, I apologize." She pulls her attention from the stars to face me.
"I feel I know you too." My eyes have adjusted to the darkness and I can make out her smile. "That's what's so weird." She turns her body toward me. "Where do you come from Commander?"
"Please call me Mulder." I say. She nods in agreement. "I believe I'm from the northeast. I use to live in Washington DC before the war. My memories are a bit sketchy." I usually don't reveal too much of my personal life, but I feel comfortable around this seemingly familiar woman. "I worked for the government."
"That must be it. I worked in DC also for the government. She touches my arm, I feel my heart rate increase. "I was/am a pathologist. But I've done mostly research here for the anti-virus." She removes her hand. "Sorry." She mutters.
"No, it is nice to be touched by such an attractive lady." I assure her. She smiles and bends her bend down. If it were light I bet her cheeks are blushed. "I haven't--.I mean touching isn't something done in the field a lot." I don't know where I'm going with this thread of thought. We are silent for a few minutes. I don't mind I could sit here all night with her. She calms my rattled brain.
I can't believe I just touched this stranger. Geez Dana, he will get the wrong impression. Or he'll get the right impression. I smile in the darkness at my school girl thoughts. We've been sitting here quietly for a few minutes. I know I should go in, but I'm enjoying his company. It has been so long since I've felt this comfortable around a man.
"What did you do for the government?" I asked.
"I was an investigator. About two years ago I was abducted and given this ability to read minds." He let's out a small laugh. "Don't ask me how, I don't really know." He fidgets like he's embarrassed. "I was investigating a case in Oregon. The next thing If know I'm back in DC, the war has begun and I have this uncanny ability to read minds. Then I realized I could identify aliens disguised as humans. I was commissioned and here I am." He waved his arms in the air. He laughed. "I know you must think I'm a lunatic." I shake my head.
Before we can say anything else, the flashing lights signify time to for lights out. "We need to go back inside." I tell him as I rise from my chair. I precede him to the door. His hand lightly touches my lower back. I smile at the feeling it gives me. He opens the door. A gentlemen too. We both squint our eyes as the light in the hallway washes over us.
"I am this way." I say. "I'll see you tomorrow?" I try not to sound too eager.
"I hope so." He hesitates. I feel like a girl on her first date. I feel myself leaning toward him. I can't believe I'm doing this. I don't even know this man. He takes my invitation and bends down for a light kiss on my lips. We pull back and look at each other. I smile at him. "Tomorrow Dr. Scully." He whispers. I move my head in acknowledgement. Oh God, its all I can do to grab him for another kiss. I can tell he's debating, but moves away from me.
"Oh Mulder? Please call me Dana." He smiles and nods his head as we part.
"Tomorrow." I say to myself as he walks down the hall. I see him disappear into his room several doors down. I turn toward my own quarters.
"Tomorrow indeed." I say to my grinning self.
"Commander." I am awaken by continuous knocking on my door as my name is called loudly. "Commander, wake up."
I stumble to the door. My eyes automatically close to slits when the light invades my room as I open the door. "What's so damn important that you wake me from the first sound sleep I've had in months?" I know why this soldier has awakened me. It isn't his fault.
"Sir," he clears this throat, I've made him nervous. "Uhm I was ordered by the CO to have you come as quickly as possible. There is enemy movement--" I wave him off. He must think I don't care, but in fact I care more than he knows. I'm just tired. Bone weary of all the dreary day to day fighting. I know I shouldn't feel sorry for myself. Everyone is being displaced by the aliens. I just-.I just. Oh hell.
"I'll meet you outside in five minutes." I mumbled as I closed the door in his face. My hand finds the light and I dig through my duffel bag for something to wear and stuff the remainder of the clothes and other items back into the bag. No telling when I'll be back. As I pull on my fatigues, the thought of leaving my redhead a note to let her know I'll be back as soon as I can. But why? We've only met yesterday. Even though she favors my dream fantasy woman from her head to her small feet enclosed in white sneakers she had on last night.
For a moment I sit on my bunk wishing I could get to know her better. Maybe she's right about working in the same agency. I'll have to ask Skinner when I speak to him again if he knows her. I look at my watch. Damn 3:30am. Too early to wake her. I'll have to ask Commander Bradley to give her a message. I rise with my bag and sling it over my shoulder taking one last look around to see if I'm missed anything then head out the door.
"It's time to wake the aliens." I laugh remembering the old doughnut commercial from years ago. I feel like that man who use to have to wake up too early to make favorite pastries for anxious patrons needing their daily fix of sugar and fat. "What I'd give for one a Dunkin Doughnut about now." I say to no one as I slowly make my way to the door glancing back at the door at the end of the hallway. "Bye Doc. See you soon. I hope."
I rise early anxious to start a new day. `Yes, new day. New day to see a certain Commander again? Maybe I will be neighborly and invite him to breakfast.' I'm thinking as I step into the bathroom for my morning ritual. I take special care today with my hair and minimal makeup. I've grown to accept the few beauty products available these past couple of years. I only really use moisturizer and a dab of concealer when I don't sleep well. Bill does the best he can with our womanly products. The supply master doesn't care one way or the other if they find products for us. He says its not worth his time because not used for survival. Bill has given him favors so he reciprocates grudgingly.
I look at my reflection. "Why am I thinking about makeup first thing in the morning?" I shake my head thinking I've reverted back to a silly girl trying to impress the new guy she has a crush on. "I think you've been alone too long Dana. You're losing your composure over a mysterious man, who chases aliens and can read your every thought." I can't help but smile at the strange feeling of de ja vue as I make my way to the bedroom to dress for the day.
I knock on the door. "Commander?" I speak softly to the door. Maybe he's not awake yet. I knock a couple more times shifting from one foot to the other. I feel stupid invading this man's privacy so early in the morning.
"He's not there Dana." I turn to see Commander Bradley walking towards me. He's frowning. I'm glad he can't read my mind.
"Oh. I -.uhm-.." I can't even come up with an explanation for my forward behavior. I don't try. "Where is he?" Bradley's eye brow rises as his frown deepens.
"He was called out last night. There was enemy movement." He stopped. It must be the disappointing look on my face. Bradley hands me an envelop before turning and walking away without a word. I look at the envelop then at his retreating back. I know I've hurt him. He's been so patient with me hoping we could become more than friends. I so wish I could allow that, but as much as I've talked myself into it I've thought of reasons why not too.
Sighing as I turn back to my room. I open the envelop and pull out a piece of paper.
"I have to go. More aliens to find. I hope to see you soon." Mulder
My mood lightens, Bradley almost forgotten. He left me a note. Why do I feel so damn giddy? I read it again. My smile grows wider as I close the door behind me.
Yes, soon. I'll have to find out more about Mulder. I hope Bill will help me.
We've settled about a mile from the compound. There is information that the alien forces are trying to invade the compound as a last ditch effort to break communications. My mission is to catch them before they have chance to breech our front. At least I got a few goods hours of sleep. I tell myself as we wait and search the night for the invaders.
They follow a similar pattern. I guess that's another advantage to my training with serial killers. They always follow patterns. You'd think beings that are suppose to be so much more intelligent than we are would be smarter. Good for us, bad for them. I think as I look back toward the lights of the compound wondering what the good doctor is doing at this moment. I hope she's careful going outside tonight. I know there's a protective shield, but I don't know if it will stop them completely. I'd hate to lose someone I want to get close to for the first time since--.since I can't remember. I still am not sure she's the one in my dreams, but damn close.
I allow my mind to relax. If there is danger I must be open to intercept their communication which is more often silent than audible. I do not speak their language, but have the ability to know what they are communicating to each other. Must be the part of the freak factor that was implanted in my brain when I was abducted. I lay on my make-shift bunk undisturbed by the men that accompany me. They know my job and protect me as I seek to flush out the defilers of our mother earth. If we break this last rebel force an end is in sight. Then maybe I'll be able to find the life I lost. I close my eyes and concentrate.
I stand on the main deck staring at the dark sea and lift my eyes to the heavens like Dana does night after night. What if it is Fox Mulder back from his encounter with little gray men? Although from what I've heard they are anything but little or gray. More like animals with long claws that rip men in half. I've heard stories. Thank God I haven't witnessed it myself.
Just my luck to have him reappear after Dana has been two years without even knowing he existed. I guess it was inevitable that this would come back to haunt me. If I'd somehow known how to steal her away from him years ago when she was so ill maybe I'd spared her the anguish she went through for the months of her pregnancy. I have to chuckle to myself even thinking I could make my stubborn little sister do anything against her will.
Then there is my mother who loves the Son of a Bitch almost as much as Dana. I'd have to take away her memories too. And that wouldn't happen because my wife would be defending them with hands on her hips staring me down. Shit, it's like a domino effect with Scully women. They stick together like a tribe. Protecting their own and fighting to the end. I had hoped Dana would be attracted to Bradley. That has failed miserably no matter how I tried. He's a good man and would take care of Dana and Shelley. No more putting them in danger, leaving them alone while he runs off into the heavens.
Much as I detest giving Dana back her memories, I couldn't deny her the love she deserves. I know I would die without the love of Tara to see me through lonely nights and days at sea. Her love and friendship keeps me grounded. Why I am so lucky, I have no idea. Maybe that's how Mulder feels too. He's lucky to have the love of such a remarkable woman that stays faithful no matter what happens. Love like that comes only once in a lifetime, if we're lucky.
"Attention on deck. The Captain requires all senior officers to report to the briefing room in five minutes."
I'll have to think about love and happiness later. Right now there's still a war on, and I still don't know if the man my sister has met is Mulder. Seems I completely forgot to search him out before I left. I smile to myself. Sometimes I'm such a bastard.
I push myself away from the railing and move toward the briefing room.
Life has changed for me in the last couple of years.
I think I'm losing my mind. Even though I haven't seen him for days he's in my head constantly. I can't help but wonder what this man has done to me. Do his powers include planting thoughts as well as reading them? My dreams have been invaded. They are both moving and explicit, and in them we share the same level of intimacy only previously shared by my husband and I. Come to think of it, I can't even remember the last time my husband and I were intimate. Clearly it as been too long. In all likelihood this is just my libido flexing a serious level of control. Yet the passionate scenes in my head seem so real, and all this over a man I've met only once. God help me, this is effecting my concentration at work. Even my mother has noticed. She is forever asking why I'm staring off into space when I am at home. The most bizarre and somewhat scary thing is that when I look at Shelley there is a familiarity I associate with the Commander.
Then there's Bill. He questioned me about him when he returned from his short mission. What's so strange was the look on his face when I told him the commander's name was Mulder. My Mom's eyes almost popped out of her head. Yet, both my mother and Bill maintained never having heard of him. They did however beat a hasty retreat from my quarters using the excuse that Bill needed her to watch Matthew. I swear they are hiding something from me.
I've asked him a couple of times to help me find out more about Mulder. He makes lame excuses and changes the subject. I'm going to get to the bottom of this. Maybe he's angry with me about Scott.
Commander Bradley, yes he's changed too. He's been cold towards me as of late. When he picks me up in the morning, there is very little in the way of conversation or even the familiarity we both shared. He is clearly hurt and no longer a friend. His new role is that of a scorned lover though he and I have never shared a bed. When I ask if he's heard from the task force his curt "no" is intentionally hurtful.
The only one who has remained unchanged is Shelley. She is still the center of my world, but now my world includes a burgeoning desire for a mind reading alien hunting man I barely know. God, I feel like an adolescent and I'm definitely losing my mind. Maybe I'll sit outside for a bit tonight. I need to bask in the stars, for some reason this helps clear my head and gather some focus. Bill has forbidden me from my nightly ritual for the past few weeks. He says it's too dangerous which is more true now than ever before. The war is almost to a close and the aliens are desperate and near by. However I need this, and I will be careful.
I've lost count of the weeks since we left the compound. We've killed three invaders which is generally a third of the number they usually travel in. There are more out there I can feel them lurking just at the boundaries of my telepathic reach. Their thoughts are muddled and alien yet violent in their intent. This mixes with the gamut of other emotions running through my head and I end up with a muddled mess.
My commander is at his wits end and I don't give a damn. I haven't seen her since we left the camp and the dreams I've been having are escalating both in their passion and need. The kiss we shared awoke something in me that I had thought once long dead and gone, and now it is pushing me to stray from my work and follow my desires.
The work is both painfully difficult and exhausting. I need an escape I feel I can find only in her arms, but I am severely bound by duty as well.
The aliens have come close to killing me more than a few times these past weeks. My twin alien buster was nearly fatally injured because I was distracted by thoughts from my past.
My concentration is fragmented by flashes of a life I don't even remember.
I am assaulted with more details every time I close my eyes. Vivid dreams of fear, happiness, hope and despair all starring the same woman. But it is the most bizarre thing. It is almost like watching snippets from a movie, more so than any dream I have ever had. There are no true progressions nor is there a story line. I see her in all manner of clothing, suits, jeans, dresses, and on occasion, simply her luminous skin. I see flashes of a smile, a look of worry or fear, tears and passion that put forth all manner of meanings. All this over a woman I met merely a month ago and kissed only once.
This speaks of an obsession. Perhaps I have been too long without someone to care for. I don't know. But I do know that I miss her. And every morning that I awake to the same task as the day before, I want less and less to be here. I've thought about sneaking out of camp when everyone is asleep when I think she'll be sitting out gazing at the stars. I know it's dangerous, but I'm desperate. I'm sure she's not thinking of me in that way. But maybe if I can just see her, even only for a moment, I'll be able to finish this task before me. Just once glance at her, close enough to read her thoughts....
I can feel the brisk night air pass through me as I sit here in the darkness. The canopy of stars over head calms me somewhat, making me a feel little less like I have lost something. I watch the shadows for danger constantly, my brother's warnings running through my mind like a mantra. I'll be glad when this damn war is over. Then we can all relax, go out without fear for our lives. Though in my time here, I have discovered just how truly adaptable humans can be. Maybe when this is all over I can have a Bar-be-que with friends, or get together with people long forgotten. It's something to strive for, a small tidbit of hope to cling to. I press the light on my digital watch and sigh realizing the time is drawing close. Soon I will have to take refuge inside away from possible danger in the darkness that surrounds me.
I start as I hear my name in my head, instead of my ears.
I scan the darkness.
"I've missed you." His thoughts push themselves into my brain.
I smile as my mind calms. I close my eyes allowing myself to relax.
"That was nice thought." He send back to me.
Blushing I open my eyes to see him. He is merely a dark shadow outside the energy field, but I can feel him inside me.
"Yes, danger is all around us."
'I don't like this one sided conversation.' I send back to him.
"Me neither." He caresses my mind with warm thoughts.
"No I can't come in. Too dangerous."
My hopes falter.
"I promise I'll think of something. I have to go back to camp before I'm missed." He tells me as the exterior lights flash off. "I'll come back tomorrow night. Maybe I can find a way in so we can talk."
I panic as his thoughts are torn from my mind.
"I have to go.? I feel his fear ?Go in now!" His mind yells.
?Mulder?? I find myself saying out loud.
?I?ll be okay.? I feel him slipping away from me.
Without hesitation I jump from my chair. I haven't known such fear as I felt with his last words. I desperately hope he's okay. I don't know if I'll sleep tonight worried he?s been harmed.
I know they are close as I run back to camp. My breathing is labored as I reach the first sentry. He draws his gun as I shout into his brain about the danger following close behind me. He falls back toward the camp as I run past him. They are closing in.
How could I have been so foolish as to go out alone? I may have put her in danger. God I hope I haven't. I pickup my pace with the solider close behind me. We reach the edge of the camp as screams break the cold night air. They are coming from another guard. Damn! I close my mind not wanting to feel his pain as one of the monsters tear him into him with claws and teeth. The screams alert the camp. I can see doors open and startled half-clad soldiers stumble out into the dimly lit common area.
My commander meets me in the center of camp as I stop abruptly and bend over trying to catch my breath. I know I've screwed up this time. I've caused a good man to die tonight. I should have been here I could have warned them earlier that the aliens were on the move. God help me I'm going to eradicate those bastards if it kills me.
"Mulder, where the hell have you been? And what the hell happened out there?" My CO is livid.
I stand straight. How much should I tell him? "I went out of camp." I say through my labored breathing. "They found me and followed me back. They must have been scouting the compound perimeter."
"Damn you Mulder, I ought.... What the hell possessed you to leave this camp alone?" His voice rises in intesity and pitch.
I gasp. "No time, they're coming Sir." I close my eyes. "There are three of them. No four." I feel them all around. There is such hate filling them. The taste of blood fresh from the kill they've already experienced, they are anticipating more.
I hold my head in my hands. They are trying to confuse me.
"Get, get the fire. Can't hold them long." I manage to say as the pain becomes more than I can stand. I point to my left. 'That way." I fall to my knees as the men scramble with the orders my commander shouts to them. The pain is unbearable. The blackness is welcomed as I collapse onto the ground. My last thought is of Scully.
My eyes close as I fight my way into a restless sleep. The fear I felt from the commander was familiar. It's a dark fear I've felt in my life, but can't pinpoint the time or place.
Flashes of terror seep into my mind. A man who resembles the devil is towering over me as he locks me in a dark place. My heart is pounding in horror. I can't escape... Mulder where are you? My eyes open. Oh my God, Mulder....
Memories flood my mind like a movie in fast motion. The pain becomes excruciating I hold my head as the flashes continue. I'm feeling nauseated from the pain. I know it will be impossible to make it to the bathroom so I grab the wastebasket next to my bed. The contents of my stomach empty as the memories continue to assault my mind. My intimate feelings for Mulder are as natural as my breath.
In the distance I hear gunshots and blasts shatter the night time silence.
"Commander? Commander, can you hear me?" I faintly hear someone call to me as consciousness reclaims me. I groan wishing that they would just leave me alone and allow me to slip back to the peacefulness of the darkness.
"Sir, he's coming around." Someone calls out as I move my head back and forth. The cobwebs clouding my mind are beginning to clear. How did I get here? I search my memory and all I get is the overwhelming feeling of fear. I was running. They were all around. Why was I out alone? Scully... I open my eyes.
"Scully." I gasp sitting up. I have to find Scully. I remember now. I know her... We were partners... friends... lovers... Hands try to keep me from getting out of bed.
"Easy solider." I hear my Commander's even voice as he pushes me down. I'm so weak I can't fight him. Maybe he'll listen to reason.
"I have to find her. She might be in danger. If they-- Oh God, I led them to her..." I fight again to get up.
"Mulder, who? What are you talking about?"
I hear the confusion in his voice. He doesn't understand my desperation.
A moment of clarity flashes though his mind. "Dr. Scully? From the camp?"
"But what has she got to do with you and the aliens?" His voice is still confused.
I take a deep breath closing my eyes.
"I went out alone to see her. I couldn't get her out of my mind. It effected my work, sleep, everything." My voice fell to a whisper. "She's got to be okay. I just found her." I'm rambling and I can only imagine what my commander is thinking. The room is quiet for a few minutes so I open my eyes only to find him staring at me. The confused look on his face is almost comical.
"Mulder, I don't know what you're talking about." He sighs as he rises from my bed. "You ran in here the other night shouting that they were coming. Then you collapsed in the middle of the camp and all hell broke loose. There were a half dozen aliens coming at us from all sides. It was like Custard's last stand." He runs his hand through his thinning gray hair.
"We-. we lost four men before we got all the bastards. But we did it Mulder. We killed them all. Thanks to you. If you hadn't warned us we'd be dead right now." He reaches out and takes my hand in his pumping it gratefully "I don't care what you were doing, your hormones saved us." His laugh is hearty.
"We followed an injured being through the woods to the cloaked ship. As they uncloaked to allow it in, we blasted the crap out of it." He demonstrated waving his hands through the air. "The blast must have been heard for miles. Man it was great." His face lit up like a little boy at a bon fire.
I sit up slowly. My head feels like someone has tried to drive a metal stake through it. "The compound?" I ask my heart beating wildly. I can feel the familiar fear seeping through me. She has to be alright...
"The compound was unscathed. The military thinks it's over Mulder. This long fight is over and `we' finally won. There was a massive pull out of all alien craft after their last attempt on this compound. I guess the losses they've sustained over the last few years have become to high a number."
A smile split his face. "Thank God we won." Relief flows through me as I collapse back on the bed.
"Finally." I said feeling calm for the first time in years. I close my eyes for a moment. I open them again to find the commander still smiling.
"How long have I been unconscious?"
He shrugs. "Two days."
"Shit. I've got to find Scully." I am getting up this time and nothing is going to stop me. He seems willing to allow me to stand. I sway as a wave of dizziness rushes through me.
"Easy Mulder. Take it easy." He's immediately at my side grabbing my arm until my balance returns. I pause grateful for the steady hand that keeps me from falling. "Here sit for a moment and I'll go out and arrange for transportation back to the main compound."
I nod gratefully and take a seat on my bed allowing my thoughts to clear.
"Thanks." I utter and smile. For the first time in years I feel there is a future to look forward to.
I pace back and for the in the living room of my quarters. I have worried for two days now wondering what has happened to Mulder.
I have not been to work at the hospital since the night of the explosion. The main compound has been closed to all in and out transport, more as a precaution than anything. Recon teams have been combing the exterior shielding just to make sure that they got them all. There are rumors that the war is over. But I don't find any solace in this thought and I am sure won't until I know that he is alright.
I am still angry and hurt by my mother and Bills actions. Her explanations and excuses for messing with my mind though rooted in love hold little consolation. I think we almost woke everyone on our floor the night I remembered.
Still nauseated I made my way into her room and snapped the light on. "Did you do this to me? How could you?" I screamed.
My mother still groggy from the deep sleep she had been in merely moments before, sat up confused. Though to her benefit, it took only a moment for her to understand what I was talking about. I still can't believe she would do that to me.
"You stole my memories?" I fought back tears of betrayal, all the while hoping I wouldn't throw up again.
"It was the only way to save you Dana." I watched her rise from the bed and approach me. "I'd do again if I thought it would help you."
I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. I sat and sobbed as she held me. The mother inside me understood why she did what she did, while the child inside me is still struggling with the notion. I would do anything protect Shelley from any kind of pain or hurt but how could she betray my trust and love and still face me everyday.
"Dana, if he was found I was going to give you back your memories. You fell into such a severe depression during your pregnancy we..."
Her explanations didn't help. The look of love in her eyes as she knelt before me gave my head what it needed, but my heart still hurt.
"We?" I fixated. "Bill? Bill wanted to do this to me and you let him?" I rose and began to pace. "He always hated Mulder." I continued my rant. "You allowed him to decide my future? To mess with my mind and steal something so intimately precious to me. How could you Mom?"
There was fear in my mother's eyes. "It seemed like the only way to reach you honey." Her soft sincere voice didn't comfort me. I heard a noise behind me. Shelley was standing there in the hallway her tiny frame swaddled in her nighty. There was a look of fear on her face. Clearly my yelling woke her up. I open my arms to her, and she quickly comes to me. Oh honey you do have a daddy after all, my heart soars and I feel myself tearing up again.
"Mommy, what's wrong?" I pull back and look at her. She's so much her father's daughter with those deep expressive eyes.
"Nothing honey. Everything will be fine." I hug her again. Just fine. I assure myself. I can't wait to introduce her. My thoughts are distracted by the noise growing outside the building. I stand and abruptly move to the window, my hand instinctively hitting the button to raise the protective shield. "Oh my God."
"What is it Dana?" Mom asks me, joining me at the window. I hear her gasp. It looks like an apocalypse. There is fire all around, and I can hear the screams of men and something else clearly not human.
"Mulder." My mind freezes in fear. What if he's gone? Oh no, not when we've just found each other. I turn on my mother. "Mom, if he's killed tonight and never knows about me or Shelley, I'll never be able to forgive you and Bill." I push the button and the shield slides down over the glass. I pickup Shelley and go to my room closing the door. I can't bear to think of never seeing him again. I feel the familiar sinking feeling I felt all those years ago when he first disappeared.
Two days later I'm still a mess. We are incommunicato. The military leaders here aren't talking, despite the rumors. I know the war is over I can feel it. The heap of wreckage smoldering outside the compound is a confirmation of this fact. But it does not ease my mind.
I fear Bill and my relationship is permanently scarred. The next day after blasting him I got him to agree to help me find out about Mulder. At that point I felt Mulder was the only one I could trust, and still do. I've barely spoken to my mother or Tara. I can't face them knowing what they allowed Bill to steal from me. It's no wonder I couldn't bring myself to fall in love with Commander Bradley. He wasn't Mulder. No one could take his place. Despite the fact that my mind was no longer aware my heart still knew. Mulder is the only man I will ever love.
So now I sit and wait. I've tried to shield Shelley from the tension, but I know she feels it too. She's constantly hugging me and giving me kisses. I haven't slept since awaking with my memories back. And I know I won't sleep again until I know what happened to him.
The ride to the compound is excruciatingly slow. The military is still out in full force cleaning up double-checking. Some are busy celebrating. We've heard reports the alien ships have retreated to where ever the hell they came from. And I can feel that they are gone. My mind is at ease for once. A dark cloud of fear has been lifted. And hysterically enough my Commander tells me there will be a medal in this for me. I don't give a damn about his metal. All I care about is finding Scully.
We finally reach the gates the guards wave us through without stopping us, guess he recognized the Commander. The building is up ahead and I would jump out of the jeep and run if I thought it would get me there faster. I'm still feeling weak as the transport grinds to a halt. Climbing out I make my way towards the building up the front steps. Nothing can stop me as I reach for the door handle. It opens before I can turn the handle.
Oh shit fire, he's the last one I want to see.
"Mulder." Bill Scully blocks my entry. I look around for reinforcements in case I can't take him down myself. I see my Commander walking toward me. He knows I'm desperate to see her.
"Bill, if I were you I'd stay out of my way. I'm not thinking clearly and I swear to God I'll kill you with my bare hands if I have to."
His eyes bore into me with anger that matches mine. "Just a damn minute Mulder. I'm not going to keep you from Dana I just want to explain something to you."
I am barely tolerant, but my silence encourages him to continue.
"When you were gone Dana allowed despair to over take her. She was gripped by depression. We were afraid for the baby."
"Baby?" I gasp as a jolt of excitement tears through me. Then I feel myself begin to sway. My Commander was at my side immediately giving me a boost.
"You didn't know she was pregnant did you? You ran off half cocked chasing aliens and left my sister pregnant and in despair. You selfish son of a bitch."
"I don't care what you think of me Bill. Get the hell out of my way. NOW." The adrenaline in me is building, I will take him down if I have to. My Commander stands next to me.
"Captain Scully. I think you'd better stand aside." He warns Bill.
"Look I just wanted you to know what happened to Dana. Why she didn't know you." He rubs his face, and drops his hands to his waist.
My interest was peaked so I am willing to listen to his explanation as long as it is short, very short..
"She was deep in depression when she couldn't find you. Dana searched until it was almost time for the birth. That's when the war began. Mom brought her out here. We were desperate to help her. Nothing worked." His sigh is almost sad as his eyes drop from mine and focus on his shoes. "There was a doctor here. Specialized in hypnosis."
"You took her memories of me?" I feel weakness begin to seep in again. "She won't even know me?" I ask my voice barely above a whisper.
He looks up and smiles. Bill Scully is actually smiling. "That's just it Mulder, she remembered on her own. A couple of days ago." He shakes his head. "I still have her voice ringing in my ears." Stepping aside he lets me into the building and directs me down the hallway. "105 at the end." His voice sounds almost conciliatory as I reach the door handle, he stops me again. "I just wanted you to know we only tried to protect her." He follows closely behind me. "No matter what you think Mulder, I do love my sister."
I nod my head and move through the door as he opens it for me. He can keep his apologies. Right now I have pressing business.
"Scully." My voice breaks the quiet of the apartment. A moment later A small child exits one of the rooms and I look over to see the prettiest little girl I've ever beheld.
"Hi, is your mom here?" She approaches slowly, as I crouch down to her height. She looks like Scully. All but the mouth, that's definitely mine. I smile at her as she moves her head up and down unsure of me. I realize painfully that I'm a stranger to my own child. She runs back into the living room. I hear voices in the hallway, as I step further into the apartment and close the door behind me.
"My mom will be out in a minute. She's taking a bath." I smile picturing Scully in a bathtub brimming with bubbles. "You can sit down if you'd like." I move to the couch. She sits on the other end.
"Who are you?" She asks.
"I'm Mulder. What's your name?" I ask
"How old are you Shelley?" I ask, trying to keep the conversation with my daughter going. I want to reach out and touch her reddish blonde hair. It's as silky as Scully's.
"I'm going to be three next month." She says proudly holding up three small fingers. My attention was drawn away from her when I feel Scully enter the room. I stand as she rushes to me.
"Oh God Mulder." She's suddenly in my arms. "I didn't know. I've been trying to find out where you were for two days. I'd feared the worst."
"Shhhhhh." I try to calm her as she begins to cry. I tighten my grip on her, as I promise myself that I will never again let her go. Her familiar scent enfolds me. Her touch, the comfort of her presence all tell that I am finally home. My own tears well up as she bring her mouth to mine.
She pulls away slightly, beautiful blue eyes finding mine. "I was so worried."
"I just remembered the other night. When I thought I'd led them to you. I was so afraid for you Dana. I passed out from the pain in my head when they attacked the camp. I just woke up this morning. I came as fast as I could." I pull her to me again, needing to feel her close to me. I buried my face in her neck and hair. "I've missed you so much. I've dreamed about you every night. Not knowing who you were, but never able to forget you."
"I know Mulder. I couldn't find you. I looked everywhere. There were so many dead ends. Then Shelley." She pulls back and looked down at the puzzled little girl sitting tentatively on the sofa. She let go of me held her arms out to Shelley.
"This is Shelley. Isn't she beautiful Mulder?" I touch her hair. "She's perfect Scully. Can I hold her?" Shelley looks at me with apprehension, but allows me to pull her into my embrace. I feel the confusion in her small mind. I speak to her soothingly. "Hello sweetheart. I'm your Daddy."
Her eyes widen. "You're my Daddy?"
Epilogue to follow tomorrow
EPILOGUE Shadows of the Past
I can't believe tomorrow is Shelley's third birthday. Hell I can't even believe we're back at my mother's home in Maryland. After the initial attack there was surprisingly quite a bit of DC left, contrary to what we had heard. My apartment was pretty much intact, my losses minimal a bit of looting caused some problems for the surrounding building but apparently it was all small stuff. I think for the most everyone was so afraid for their lives that they left - even the petty thieves.
It's a good thing I'd cleaned out Mulder's apartment before we left for San Diego, it was demolished completely. Storage had been provided by the Gunmen, so thankfully Mulder's belongings were safe and secure. His leather couch looked like it had been used regularly. They actually stayed in the city after the attack. Hiding out and sending out regular surveillance information. They are real heroes, in an odd sort of way. Frohike dodged the comment about the couch mumbling they didn't have anywhere else to store it. We all had a good laugh and Mulder gave it to them permanently, which made Langly smile. He also threw in the video collection. That made me smile almost as wide as Frohike.
I still don't have electricity or plumbing that's why we're at Mom's. Plus we feel safer being together right now. Mom's home was pretty much safe thanks to Marshall Law, and I believe Skinner had something to do with protecting it too, much like my place.
Skinner met us at the airport last week. He looked tired from the long battle. I thought he was going to cry when we walked off the plane. Skinner was impressed by Mulder's honorable recognition from the military for helping above the call of duty to save the planet. He can write his own ticket now Skinner boasted. To which Mulder replied. "You mean they won't question my car rentals anymore?"
No matter how much some things change - others still remain the same.
Skinner laughed shaking his head. I'm sure he remembers the auditors pressing hard about our expenses before Mulder disappeared. They scoffed at agents spending too much of the government's money chasing little green men. He said we'd really shown them and we all laughed.
Skinner and the Gunmen are joining us for Shelley's birthday tomorrow. We're all just glad to be alive and together. So many families have been torn apart, as with any major war. Besides Shelley stole the heart of each of the men when they first laid eyes on her.
Naturally that's a Scully trait.
Mulder and Shelley have formed a tight bond in the short time they have been together. I think they communicate silently to my disadvantage. When ever I become frustrated, they smile at each other. Mulder is such a kid at heart. But we're together and happy, that's all that matters.
Bill was extremely reluctant to allow us to leave. I warned him to back off and he took me at my word. It will take a long time for me to completely forgive him. I could have remembered Skinner, the Gunmen, and could have kept looking for Mulder. They had lost contact with me after the invasion. I was told they kept looking for him though and that despite his return they were unaware because the military had decided they could best be served if he had no ties. He barely remembered Skinner. When I asked Skinner why he hadn't asked Mulder if he remembered me. He admitted his superiors had forced him to keep silent. They needed Mulder's abilities to fight in the war. I wonder if Bill had anything to do with that? He claimed he didn't know anything about Mulder until Mom appeared at his door one night and told him about the stranger I'd met, but not recognized. This doesn't make his betrayal any easier but life is too short and precious to allow bitterness to taint it. I might as well not worry, what's done is done.
I know he and Mom were just trying to help me. My head knows this, but my heart is still tender knowing that Mulder and I missed so much time together.
I mean for two years I lived my life as the widow of a man I'd never known, and whom I believed was the father of my daughter. It was difficult explaining to Shelley that the father I'd told her about wasn't her father, but this man, Fox Mulder was. She is very young, but quite intelligent and I know she will understand better when she gets older. Besides Mulder helped matters showering her with affection. Then there was that connection they developed. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that.
Speaking of my mind reading man. He's going to a specialist about his expanded brain activity, the military is setting this up for him. I guess whatever they did to him was a blessing in disguise. Since he confessed to me one night he'd been suffering from problems after the first surgery. I am still concerned about his health. A military doctor, one of the best in his field of neurology, conducted a CAT Scan and several tests giving Mulder a go ahead to leave. He cautioned Mulder to rest for a month or so before resuming his normal duties. Whatever that will be now.
I don't think the X-Files will be of much interest to him anymore. He's saved the world from aliens, experienced about every form of freakishness that can be imagined. Maybe he'll write a book about his experiences. He doesn't know. Right now we are just enjoying our renewed relationship. Talking about marriage.We're hoping for a repeat of Shelley's miracle. Mulder wants to be present at the next birth. We'll see. The world isn't stable right now and things could turn deadly again very quickly, and I'd like to wait a few years, but I'm not getting any younger either.
All in all, I believe we are truly blessed to have survived colonization and tomorrow we will share a celebration of life. A life we made together and love that will keep the shadows away for the rest of our lives.
I'm happy with that.
Mulder wishes the cable was back on though. Guess I'll have to entertain him myself.....
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it.