Sara's Reading Nook

Marry in Haste Repent in Leisure

Home | About Sara B. | The Library | Comments | Sara B.'s Blog

Title: Marry in Haste – Repent in Leisure

Author: Sara B.

E-mail: sabo727@tampabay.rr.com

URL: http://sabo727.tripod.com/

Rating: Over sixteen – WARNING: Spousal abuse

Category: MT, ST, M/Angst, S/Angst, M/O, MSR

Spoilers: None

Summary: Mulder deals with the consequences of marrying a woman he hardly knows.  Does it take nearly losing everything important to him to get his life back?

Feedback:  This is a good trade.  I give you a story, you send me feedback.  Now I ask you, what could be fairer?

Archive: I would be honored, just let me know.

Disclaimer:  The recognized characters are used Without Prejudice and are the property of C. Carter, Fox and the wonderful actors who breathed life into written words, most notably G. Anderson and D. Duchovny who were able to make us believe in the improbable.  No Infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.  The story and before unknown characters belongs to me.  Shannon and her Mom are my creations, unfortunately, and I’m not very proud to have created them.

Gratitude: To Kim Knight, my friend and confidant, you are the best, thank you.  To my Dennis, with enormous amounts of love.  To CC and Company, who created the X-Files.  Lastly, but my no means least, to the readers, you make this hobby of mine have meaning.

Author’s Notes:  I don’t know where this story came from; too much ‘Lifetime’ TV possibly. 

 

 

 

Marry in Haste – Repent in Leisure

Sara B. 09/06

 

Prologue:   

Mulder opened his office door and was overwhelmed with the smell of disuse.  A haze developed in the room as he moved about disturbing the dust.  A quick look around proved that nothing in the office had been touched since he’d left three weeks earlier.  He checked the floor and saw that the only footprints in the fine layer were his.  He heard himself say, “Scully!”  Where the hell was Scully?

He turned and looked to her area and found the things that were hers were missing.  Something serious was wrong; something he wasn’t sure he wanted to face. 

He saw a paper on his desk and as he read it he wanted to break down and cry.  Special Agent Dana K. Scully’s request for transfer was accepted.  The form was signed by AD Walter S. Skinner and dated the day before his marriage.

“Oh, Scully.”

~

Seven Months Later:

Mulder approached the door with trepidation.  He hadn’t been here since before his marriage and he hadn’t spoken to Scully since his wedding day.  Her last words to him were about wishing him good luck and how much he would need it; he hated to think how prophetic it had been.  Scully had been right.

He tried to call her but she’d changed her number and she wouldn’t take his calls at work.  Mulder found himself outside her apartment building on a number of occasions; usually after a fight with Shannon.  Somehow he’d been able to keep himself from running to her apartment and pushing his way in.

He had seen her several times, that’s really the only reason he knew she hadn’t moved.  Every time times he wanted to run to her but and pull her to him but he didn’t; it wouldn’t have been right.  He’d given up the right to hold her and have her absolve him of his sins.

This time he didn’t have a choice; he needed her and he wouldn’t, no, he couldn’t stay away.  Scully had always been his soft place to land when life spiraled out of control.  He only hoped he hadn’t screwed up so bad that she wouldn’t be there to help put him back together.

Mulder knocked but got no answer.  Checking his watch he saw it was only a little after four so she probably wasn’t home from work yet.  Normally he would still be working, but he’d taken the day off, or more correctly, Skinner forced him to take the day off, and the next five or ten too.

He began to walk away to return to his car and wait for her when he remembered he still had her key.  He’d often thought he should remove the key from his key-ring but that small link to Scully frequently was his only bond to sanity.  It was doubtful the key would work but it was worth a shot; he was pleasantly surprised when the key turned and the lock disengaged. 

Mulder opened the door cautiously and moved inside.  He closed his eyes and took a deep breath: Scully.  The air was filled with her scent.  It was heady and he nearly passed out from the blissful dizziness.

He began to look around and saw that she’d made many changes, mostly small and subtle, but one big one; the couch.  He silently mourned the loss of her old one.  He’d spent many nights on that couch, preferring it to her guest room. 

Mulder ran his finger along the couch’s fabric.  It was nice, soft to his touch.  He pushed on it, cushy, nice and cushy.  Finally, he sat.  It felt as though the cushions cupped his butt; he liked it.  He bounced a little and loved the response; he could see himself being very comfortable here. 

Mulder pulled his boots off and leaned back.  His eyes closed and he sighed audibly.  How could he have let things go so horribly wrong?  Two years ago if someone had told him he’d do anything that would push Scully from his life, he would have told them he could never let that happen.  Unfortunately, he’d done just that and the powers of the universe made him pay.

Things had been strained between them for a while before she left, five months to be exact; since he met Shannon and they started dating. 

Shannon Denton had just started with the bureau in Violent Crimes.  She was partnered with Garry Wilton and they were looking into one of his old cases to find similarities with a current case.  T. Riddley Morton, the perpetrator of the earlier incidents, had escaped prosecution by reason of insanity and had been sent to a state run mental facility for the criminally insane.  Three months earlier some psychologist declared Morton cured and he was released.  A month later elderly women in Virginia began disappearing, just as they had during the earlier crimes.  No bodies were ever found.  Garry called Mulder in to discuss the cases. 

One look at Shannon and Mulder was captivated.  She was everything he’d ever looked for in a woman, and more.  Shannon was tall, beautiful, smart, witty and, as he soon found out, a bit of a sex fiend.  That last piece of information he gleaned on their third date.  It didn’t take long after they’d married for him to realize the dream he thought she was really turned out to be a nightmare.

Scully’s aloofness escaped him at first.  In hindsight he could see the subtle changes in her actions.  But, he supposed, she was only responding to his own actions.  He pulled away first.

It wasn’t until he realized that she no longer dropped by unannounced that he knew things were different between them.  When Scully did show up at his apartment, she always called first and she would only stay long enough to drop off something or discuss a case. 

One night she’d brought over some test results he’d hounded her all day about.  She was getting ready to leave and he cajoled her to have dinner with him.  Shannon was out of town so he was on his own for the evening and, he realized, he missed being around Scully. 

He was just about to order some Chinese delivery when the phone rang.  It was Shannon calling from wherever the heck she was.  He talked to her for a while but when he hung up Scully was gone.  It was no wonder, since a check of the clock showed that he’d been on the phone for over an hour.  He tried to call Scully to apologize, but she didn’t answer and she didn’t call him back.

The next morning Scully wasn’t in the office when he arrived; nor did he see her until he went to find her to take her to lunch as a way of making up for the night before.  She wasn’t in her office, that little cubbyhole on the third floor.  He asked a couple of people and someone told him he saw her in the cafeteria. 

She was sitting alone at a table for two, eating a salad and reading.  Mulder walked over and sat down.  “Scully, I’m sorry about last night, the time just got away from me.”

“Not a problem, Mulder.”  She hadn’t even looked up.  Further conversation was interrupted when his cell chimed; it was Shannon.  When he looked up he saw Scully’s retreating back. 

Tears welled in his eyes as he thought about how he’d treated his best friend.  How could he have been so callus and shut her out of his life.  If he hadn’t allowed himself to be blinded by Shannon’s superficial attributes, he could have avoided a lot of pain.

Seven hours after Scully walked away from him in that cafeteria, Shannon proposed to him.  It was after one extremely energetic long night of passion.  He’d hesitated at first.  They really hadn’t known each other that long.  They knew more about each other’s sexual preferences than what foods they liked, favorite color or even which sports teams they supported. 

Shannon knew how to use her body to persuade and when she whispered, ‘when the sex is this good everything else just falls into place,’ it wasn’t his brain doing his thinking for him.

The ceremony was small, Shannon made all of the arrangements, Mulder only had to supply a list of people he wanted to invite.  That was easy; Scully, Mrs. Scully, the guys, Skinner, who was also his best man, and his Mom.  Mulder was also in charge of planning the honeymoon, something he regretted shortly after the wedding.

Mulder was standing on the stairs of the chapel, nervous as hell.  His Mom arrived and greeted him with her usual reserve.  He escorted her to her seat and she commented that she was surprised he wasn’t marrying ‘that lovely partner of yours, that Scully girl.’  That had thrown him a bit.  Then he realized Scully hadn’t arrived. 

At first he was a little angry with her.  His wedding was minutes away and his best friend had yet to arrive.  Anger turned to concern as he wondered why she wasn’t there.

Mulder went to Frohike, Byers and Langly and asked if they’d seen her.  He knew something was wrong when they just stared at him for a moment.  Byers finally told him that Scully hadn’t been invited.  He was furious and ran to check with Shannon.  Through the door she explained that Scully’s invite must have gotten lost in the mail and with all the planning she hadn’t had the time to call her. 

Mulder knew there was something wrong about Shannon’s explanation but rather than dwell on it he decided to call Scully and fix the problem.  Mulder pulled out his cell, and she answered on the first ring, “hello?”

“Scully, it’s me.”  The phone went dead quiet for a moment and he wondered if the call had been dropped.

“Shouldn’t you be getting married right now, Mulder?”  He was startled by the iciness of her tone but figured she deserved to be angry thinking he hadn’t invited her to his wedding.

“Can’t do that without my best friend.  You have to get here fast, Scully.”  He tried to sound teasing but even he heard the pleading in his voice.

“No, Mulder, this is one crisis you get to face alone.  I wasn’t invited.”

“Scully, that was a mistake.  Shannon said your invite got lost in the mail.  Come on, Scully, I really need you here.”

“Go get married, Mulder, I won’t be there but I did send a gift.  So did my Mom, I’m assuming her invite got lost too.  Maybe the US Postal Service has a conspiracy against Scully’s.  Sounds like an X-File.  Good Luck, Mulder. I think you’re going to need it.”  She disconnected.  He’d started to call back but Skinner told him the ceremony was ready to start. 

The first cracks in his marriage appeared only hours after the service ended.  They’d said their ‘I Do’s,’ cut the cake and toasted with champagne.  It was when they were changing into their travel clothes when Shannon said, “God, I can’t wait to be away from those annoying friends of yours.”  The hollow pip that had taken residence in his stomach began to grow.

Shannon’s mother, April, drove them to the airport.  He hadn’t thought of it before but it hit him that her father hadn’t been at the wedding.  Mulder knew Shannon’s parents were divorced but surely that wouldn’t keep him from being at his daughter’s wedding.  When he asked about it both Shannon and her Mom shared bitter faces so he let it drop.

 

Mulder hadn’t told Shannon anything about the Honeymoon plans.  He’d rented a cottage in a secluded beach area of Florida.  The rental agent arranged to have the place fully stocked and sent Mulder a set of keys.  The cottage was out-of-the-way enough so they could be alone and the beach was secluded so they could sunbathe nude if they wanted.  This was his idea of a romantic getaway.

Shannon took one look at the place and her face openly registered her disgust.  She didn’t even attempt to hide her anger and her demeanor didn’t improve when they crossed the threshold. 

The cottage was charming; small but well appointed with all the conveniences you could want.  Or so he thought.  “This is my Honeymoon and you expect me to cook and clean? What kind of fool are you?”  That was when she slapped him for the first time.  It hurt his pride more than anything but it was a prelude to future attractions.

He quickly made arrangements to move to a large resort about an hours drive away. 

When they returned from their Honeymoon he had already begun to worry.  The escalation of her attacks progressed rapidly.  Stinging slaps grew in intensity and progressed to punches and by the end of the trip there were occasional kicks.  Shannon was also very adept at verbal and emotional abuse. 

Mulder then knew that Shannon had purposely excluded Scully and her Mom from their wedding as her first step in isolating him.

He needed to talk with someone and he wanted that to be his best friend, Scully.  He could always rely on her cool head and judgment.  When he’d found her transfer form that morning he nearly crumbled.

Mulder spoke with Skinner and found out that Scully temporarily transferred to Frauds and in a few months she was returning to Quantico. 

She was on a case in Kansas so he called her cell.  “Scully,” her voice felt like a balm over his frazzled soul and he felt an instant calming.

“Scully, it’s me.”  Mulder smiled to himself at the familiarity.

“Mulder, I don’t have time for this.”

“Scully, I need to talk to you.  Why have you transferred?”

“I’m surprised you even noticed.”  He knew there was more she wanted to say but she wouldn’t let herself.  Scully would never want to appear catty. 

“Scully,” he pleaded.

“Look, I had some time to really see my life and I wasn’t happy with the picture.  I’ve been alone, something I never realized until your recent events.”  The implication of her words stung Mulder.  “I decided I need to move on, like you did.  It’s time I faced the fact that I want a life too.  I want to be loved, certainly you can understand that?”  Her voice had a bitter edge Mulder had never heard before. 

~

Mulder got up and explored the apartment he used to know nearly as well as he did his own.  He missed that cramped dump. 

The dining and kitchen were pretty much the same as he remembered.  He opened the fridge and saw that Scully’s organization and eating habits hadn’t changed.  That somehow comforted him.

He made a quick examination of her guest room and found she’d changed the comforter and curtains.  She’d moved her old shelving unit from the living room in there and it now housed her collection of books.  The small TV she’d bought for him to use during one of his recuperations still sat on the dresser.  The memory of it gave him a pang of guilt.  Had he ever thanked her for all the care she’d given him over the years?  He doubted it.

He moved to the bathroom and his examination turned up that Scully still used the same bath salts and candles she always had.  Not that the discovery was unexpected since his nose had detected the scents when he first entered her home.  In honesty, he’d only admit to himself, he was more than a little happy to see that there hadn’t been any masculine additions and he released his breath as his fears lessened.

Mulder walked to the door of her bedroom, this room would be the hardest for him to face. He’d been in there a number of times but he usually respected her privacy and didn’t intrude on her sanctuary.  With tentative steps he entered and looked around.  Slightly changed from what he remembered but it was still typical Scully, understated and refined.  The last vestiges of fear left as he noticed that, like the bathroom, it was devoid of masculine influence. 

Mulder returned to the living room and debated whether to turn on the TV; he decided not to.  He reclaimed the couch and thought how comfortable he felt in this space; unlike that testament to modern design Shannon moved them into.  Austere walls of cement, glass and metal decorated for looks an function rather than comfort.  Everything was angular and severe, devoid of all charm and quirkiness that made a home.  Rather like his marriage.

This apartment, this place, was pure Scully.  Filled with inconsistencies and incongruities that so reflected its inhabitant.

Mulder sat back and felt a relaxation that he hadn’t experienced in almost a year. 

~

Scully arrived home with a bundle of work and take out from Madam Chu’s.  The move to Quantico added an hour to her commute so even though she kept a fully stocked fridge and pantry, she often found herself eating take-out.  It was a vice she tried to make up for at the gym.

Two autopsies and a class of fresh recruits had done her in and she was looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  The autopsies were routine; professional hits with no surprises.  The class, well, that was another story.

The class was ordinary except for Reginald Wycliffe the third, hell, even his name was annoying.  Reginald, not Reggie or Reg but Reginald, was a royal pain in the ass.  He was smart, no doubt about that, and the problem was he knew it.  What he didn’t know is that she’d worked with smart and knew exactly how to knock him off his pegs.  Besides, she was no slouch in the brains department either. 

Reginald started his routine five minutes after she gave her introduction speech.  He tried to throw her off her pace and the more he failed the harder he tried.  By the end of the week, she was ready to use him for target practice.  She smiled because in the end she would have the last laugh as they booted his self important butt out of the academy.  She checked with the other instructors and good ole Reginald was on everyone’s list of first round washouts.

Add that with everything else that’s been going on, she was happy to be home and looking forward to the weekend.

She closed the door and walked to the dining room table. Something felt off and she looked around.  She got to the back of her couch and was greeted with a loud snort: Mulder.  What the hell?

Mulder was lying on her new couch, she caught herself as she checked to see that he’d taken off his shoes; he had.  Scully just stared at him for a moment.  He was mostly in shadow so she didn’t really see more than his form.  It was one so familiar to her that it jolted her memory back to happier times.  She hadn’t seen him since before his wedding.  He seemed the same but there was something different. 

Mulder must have woken himself.  “See anything you like, Scully?”

“Not really.  What are you doing here and how the hell did you get in?”

“Still had my key, Scully; you didn’t change the locks.”  He hadn’t moved but still looked at her.  She was lovely.  Why hadn’t he ever realized just how beautiful she was?

“Didn’t think I needed to, it wasn’t like you’d used it much before you and Shannon got married.  I wanted to save myself some money; I’ll rectify my error tomorrow.  How is good old Shannon?  Find those missing invitations yet?”

Any additional barbs stopped dead on her lips as Mulder moved into the light.  “God, Mulder, what happened to you?”  She’d gone into doctor mode.  Mulder’s face was severely bruised and there was a gash above his right eye.  His left arm was in a cast and she wondered what other injuries were hidden by his clothes. 

“Shannon,” Mulder said quietly.

“Are you telling me that Shannon beat you?”  She didn’t need an answer from him, just looking at his eyes told her the truth.  “This wasn’t the first time was it?” 

Mulder shook his head.  “First time started on our Honeymoon.”

“Jeez, Mulder, why didn’t you tell someone?”

“It isn’t something a man wants to admit.  It started small, almost like an accident.  I didn’t realize how much it escalated until someone pointed out a really nasty bruise on my arm about three months ago.  Even then, I didn’t want to face it and there was only one person I could have spoken to about it and she, well, she wasn’t speaking to me anymore.”  He looked up into her face.

“Mulder,” He cut her off with his finger to her lips.  She wasn’t sure when he’d moved so close to her.

“And she was right to get away.  I’d treated her like dirt and let my dick do my thinking for me.”

“Hush, Mulder.”  Scully sat next to him but at a distance.  “So, why are you here?”  She couldn’t let her emotions take over.  The last time she did that he’d trounced on them and she wouldn’t go through that again.

“I needed to see you, to talk to you.”  Mulder hesitated, “Scully, Shannon’s in jail.”

“What?  You had her arrested?”  Scully was shocked.  No matter what, she couldn’t see Mulder having Shannon arrested.

“Skinner did it; I think he saved my life.”  Mulder sounded ashamed; typical of an abused spouse.

In a gentle voice Scully asked, “what happened?”

“Three months ago I finally had enough, and while she was out of town on a case, I moved out.  I got a small furnished studio about a block from Skinner’s condo.  I also started divorce proceedings against her. 

I don’t think Skinner knew everything but I think he suspected some of what was going on; in fact, I know he did.  He and I started to work out together at the gym.  I was supposed to meet him last night and I didn’t show.  He came to my place and stopped Shannon from,” he was unable to finish. 

Mulder pushed himself into Scully and hesitantly her arms circled him.  His tears saturated her blouse and the warm wetness reached her skin,

Several moments passed when he was able to talk again.  “I was getting ready to go meet Skinner and Shannon was standing there when I opened the door.  She pushed passed me and said we were going to talk about it.  I told her there was nothing to talk about.  She needed to see someone about her problem and I wasn’t going to continue to be her private punching bag.  The next thing I knew she hit me with something really hard.  When I looked it was that Waterford vase you sent as a wedding present.  It was the only thing I’d taken besides my clothes when I moved out.  Shannon started screaming at me.  She said that you were the cause of all our problems.  That I kept you between us.  I hadn’t seen you since before we got married and she’s accusing me of having an affair with you.”  Scully sat back and nodded her head.  “What is it, Scully?”

She shook her head for a moment trying to figure out how to say what it was that she was thinking.  “I’ve been getting these phone calls and things have been delivered to me.”  She hesitated momentarily.  “The calls would just be someone screaming at me saying things I couldn’t understand or even make out.  I had them traced but they were made from pre-paid cell phones and were untraceable.”

“You said there were things too, what kinds of things?”  Mulder needed to know how far Shannon went.

“The first thing was a dozen dead long stemmed roses, they were delivered to my office.  I got those two and a half months ago on the seventeenth.”

“That was a week after I moved out.”

“Next was a festive wrapped package that arrived at Mom’s.  Inside was a bag of manure.  It was awful and poor Mom was beside herself with worry.  I checked the messenger service but nothing came of it.  The last thing came yesterday.  A box was sitting outside my door when I got home.  It had a bloody knife inside.  I turned it over to forensics.”

“Have them check it against Shannon’s blood; she had a wound on her left arm.”  Mulder’s head hung, he wondered how close Shannon had come to hurting Scully.

“So she hit you in the head last night,” Scully prodded.

“Uh huh, and, like I said, she was wielding these accusations and saying the most horrible things and hitting me with her fists.  I started to get up and she brought the vase back down on my head.  I might have lost consciousness for a moment, I’m pretty sure I did.  I looked up and she had the vase raised to hit me again and then Skinner tackled her and was wrestling her to get the vase. 

“He came looking for me and I guess the door never got closed.  He saw what was going on and stopped it before she killed me.  I wasn’t going to press charges but he told me it didn’t matter because he was, he saw what happened.  She’s been charged with attempted murder.” 

They sat there silently till Scully’s phone rang.  “Hello,” she answered.  “Yes, sir, he’s here.  No, don’t worry, he’s fine.”  Mulder didn’t listen to the rest; it was Skinner checking on him.

Scully hung up.  “That was Skinner.  He wants to know if you are going back to his place tonight.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t listen, what did you tell him?”

“I said I didn’t know but you’d call as soon as you made up your mind.  He seems to think you want to stay with me.”

“Could I, would you let me stay here for a few days?  Until they clear my apartment.”

“I’m sorry, Mulder, but I just don’t think I can do that.”  He could tell it almost killed her to reject his request.  “Mulder, I just started dating again.  There isn’t anyone serious but that doesn’t mean there won’t be.”

“What about a slightly broken, soon to be divorced, paranoid, paranormal freak?  Do you think you could have a spot on your dance card open?”

Scully looked away and he saw the tears forming, knowing she’d try not to let them fall.  “Last year you could have filled the entire card.  You didn’t want me then, you dated others and you found Shannon.  Now that you see the mistake you made you want me to open my arms and welcome you back?”  Scully stood and walked to the mantle.  “It doesn’t work that way.  I’m not going to be your consolation to go to when you think no one else wants you.  Heal your wounds and boost your ego.  Then, when you are whole again you’ll go out and find someone else and leave me behind again.  I can’t let you do that to me.  Shannon may have abused your body but you abused my emotions.  I can’t give you that power again.  And don’t insult either of us by saying you didn’t know.  You always knew, you just didn’t feel the same.  I accepted that then, you accept this now.  No, Mulder, you cannot stay with me, you cannot jump back into my life and you can’t make me love you again.  I can’t let that happen.”  Scully’s words were bold but her voice was almost a sob.

Mulder had seen Scully breakdown a few times before but those were nothing like this.  Scully’s spirit had been tested by Pfaster and Padgett but she persevered.  This was different, this was deeper.  What Mulder was seeing was Scully’s broken soul and he was the cause.  He felt like a monster to have tainted such purity.  Mulder’s only salvation was a reality that, only by living the hell that had become his life, he at last was able to accept. 

Mulder lifted Scully’s tear covered face and gently wiped the wetness away.  “Shhh, Scully, I understand and I don’t resent it.  I was wrong to ask.”  He pulled her into a protective hug and rocked them soothingly. 

It took several long moments but Scully was able to bring her emotions back into line.  Mulder saw her mouth open to speak and he stilled her words with his thumb over her lips.

“Scully,” he began softly, “I deserve your derision, I knew how you felt about us but I didn’t treasure it for the gift it was.  I only ask that you allow me the benefit of trying to make up for my sins.”

“Mulder, I can’t, I,” Scully was unable to continue.

“I know you’re afraid, you should be.  I haven’t exactly earned your good graces.  But, you see, Scully, I know something you don’t.”  Mulder pulled back slightly so he could look into her eyes.  “I saw hell, I lived in it and it wasn’t the abuse; it was not having you in my life.  That was hell.  When Shannon accused me of having an affair with you she was partly right.  Not physically but emotionally I was tied to you.  Even if everything hadn’t happened my marriage to Shannon was doomed because I was, I AM, in love with you.”

“Mulder,” she whispered but he shook his head.

“Don’t say anything now.  Our emotions are too open, I’m going to go to Skinner’s and wait for you to call me.  Scully, I’ll take whatever you can give me.”

There were no more words exchanged before he left.  Mulder’s wait began.

~

Scully didn’t know what to do.  Seeing Mulder brought back all the pleasure and pain her time with him caused.  Her tenure on the X-Files was the most frustrating, exhilarating, maddening, invigorating, exasperating and most satisfying time of her life.  She knew that she would never experience anything that could remotely compare.  She also knew it had less to do with the assignment than it did with Fox Mulder. 

He was the Pied Piper, Sherlock Holmes, Svengali and the bad boy her Mom always warned her about in one man.  Never before had she opened herself like she had with him.  Never before had she been so completely devastated by anything or anyone as when he left her for Shannon.

Shannon hadn’t been the first woman to catch Mulder’s eye and end up in his bed.  He never knew that she knew but she always did; she knew how to read the signs.  Strange as it was, he would act overly nice to her; like a cheating husband. 

Few of the women had repeat performances and it happened infrequently.  But, it did happen.  She couldn’t help but wonder if she did let him back into her life would it happen again?  Why wouldn’t it?  Mulder was like a child in that respect; he was always good while he tried to get what he wanted and once he had it he reverted back.

This time, though, he’d already experienced the consequences of his actions.  But she was scared; she never wanted to hurt like that again.  Scully doubted she’d survive it again.

Her head was hurting and her stomach was complaining that she hadn’t eaten since that bagel she ate for breakfast.  She went to heat up her forgotten dinner and one thought ran through her mind, ‘your life was complete before all this happened.’

 

~

Mulder arrived at Skinner’s, emotionally torn apart.  “You had to have expected it, Mulder.  Scully lived and breathed the X-Files and you.  Then you left her with nothing.”  Skinner said this not to hurt Mulder further but to make him face reality.

“I suppose if I were honest with myself, it went better than I deserved.  Seems I always ran to Scully when things went wrong.  And I don’t remember ever telling her that I was sorry.  I just expected that she forgave me and, surprisingly, she always did.”  The two men sat at the dining room table eating dinner.  Neither seemed to know what to say so they didn’t speak. 

Mulder broke the silence, “I got a message from the DA’s office.  They have the medical files from last night but I have to go down and give a statement tomorrow.  They’re supposed to issue a restraining order against her in case Shannon gets bail.  Would you go with me?”

“Sure, besides, I need to give a statement too.  Might as well do mine at the same time.”  Skinner picked up his dishes and headed toward the kitchen.  “Mulder, have you made any decisions?”

“Want me out of your hair?”  Mulder quipped, neither man laughed.  “I talked to Scott, my attorney, and he said that since everything was in my name I can move back to the loft.  I’ll just have to arrange for Shannon to pick up her personal items when I’m not there.  I thought maybe I’d hire an off duty cop to be there while she’s there.  Scott thinks she might try something.”

“Do you think they should petition for a restraining order to protect Scully?”  Skinner asked, concerned.  He’d heard the things Shannon screamed at Mulder about Scully. 

“I asked Scott about it and he was going to look into it.”  Mulder put his plate in the dishwasher.  “I hate that loft, I never wanted it, but Shannon fell in love with it.”

“Something tells me you didn’t want to cross her.”  Skinner leaned against the counter.  “When did it start?”

“First day of our Honeymoon, she slapped me.  It wasn’t hard so I dismissed it.  It escalated fast; I guess I didn’t want to see it.”

“I think a lot of abused spouses do that.  Then they think it’s their fault.  Shannon found the perfect patsy in you on that scale.  You always blamed yourself even when you had no control over what happened.”

Mulder nodded.  “Thinking about it, maybe that’s why she picked me.  Maybe she saw that self flagellation tendency and decided to use it?”

“Mulder, I know this is not something you would normally do, but I want you to think of getting some counseling.”  Mulder moved to protest but Skinner stopped him, “just think about it.  You never know, it might help you with Scully.”  Skinner knew he’d used his trump card.

“I never thought of that.  I’ll think about it.” 

The phone rang and Skinner answered it.  Mulder wasn’t listening so he was startled when Skinner placed his hand on his shoulder.  “Mulder, we have to get to the hospital.  Shannon made bail and she went after Scully tonight.”

“God,” Mulder couldn’t find the words to ask what he needed to know. 

“Scully’s being treated for stab wounds.  Mulder, Shannon is in critical condition.”

~

They entered the ER and were greeted by a DC police Captain they both knew, Don Goldman.  “Calm down.  Mulder, Shannon is in surgery, it doesn’t look good.”

“What about Scully?”

“She’s in exam room one.  Three stab wounds, none life threatening, but one was real close and she lost a lot of blood.  They’re keeping her overnight.  I have to tell you, it scares me to think what could have happened if she hadn’t been able to get to her gun.”

A doctor walked out of the examination room and Skinner arranged for Mulder to go in.  Mulder opened the door and saw Scully sitting on a gurney.  Her left forearm was bandaged from elbow to wrist and there was a large bandage on her neck. 

“Hey,” Mulder said and tried to smile.  “Are you okay?”

“Could be worse.  Any news on Shannon?”

“She’s in surgery.  Scully, what happened?”

“A few minutes after you left there was a knock; I thought it was you so I just opened the door without checking.  Shannon shoved me and I fell to the ground.  She had a knife and cut me three times before she knocked the table over and my gun fell next to my hand.”  Scully’s breathing was coming in short pants.  “Mulder, you have to believe me, I didn’t have a choice, I had to shoot her.  Shannon was out of control.  I’m so sorry, I’m sorry.”

“Scully, I believe you.  I know she would have killed me if Skinner hadn’t stopped her and I know she would have killed you tonight.”

“She was insane, Mulder.”

The door opened and Skinner and a nurse walked in.  “Agent Mulder, Mrs. Mulder is out of surgery, the doctor would like to speak with you.”  The nurse told him.

Mulder looked at Scully then to Skinner.  “Go, Mulder, I’ll stay with Dana.”

“What do you think, sir?”  Scully asked while her eyes never strayed from the closing door Mulder just walked through.

“I think Mulder finally woke up and recognizes what he did to the two of you.”  Skinner removed his jacket and sat in the chair next to her.  “Scully, he’s lost without you.  Mulder knows that now.  The question is, what are you going to do?”

“That’s just it, I have no idea.  It terrifies me to think that, should I let him back in and start relying on him and allowing myself to love him again, that he could do this to me all over again.  I couldn’t do that twice.”  Skinner was shaken at her openness and candor.  It must have shown on his face because she added, “it isn’t like you didn’t know, it was only Mulder who was blind to it.”

“Scully, Dana, he’s going to need you.  If Shannon dies he’s going to carry the guilt of wondering what he could have done and if she lives she will be prosecuted for her attack on him and this one on you.  Now you have some decisions to make and you need to seriously consider what the impact will be on you.  Mulder is my friend.  We’ve gotten close since this ordeal started and we’ve had some sobering conversations.  Mulder loves you, he didn’t know how much until it was too late.  If you ask him he can’t even tell you why he did what he did, he knew he didn’t love her even before they were married.  He was fool enough to think that after he married her you would stick by him like you always did.  He was like a lost child when he returned and found you gone.  Confused, scared and angry but he didn’t know who he was angry with, you for leaving, me for letting you leave or himself for causing you to leave.  After a while he sorted it out and placed the blame where it belonged.”

“Himself,” she answered the unasked question.  “That isn’t really a revelation, he always blames himself.”

“But this time it was the right call.”  Scully nodded accepting the truth of Skinner’s words.

Skinner watched her as she thought.  “Having said all that, you have to put yourself first this time.  You always put Mulder’s needs ahead of your own but this time you need to take the time to weigh all the factors before you decide how to proceed.”  Skinner moved from the chair to the side of the bed.  “Dana, you cannot let Mulder’s overwhelming needs make the decision for you, this time it has to be all about you.”

“That sounds selfish, sir.”

“Isn’t it about time you were a little selfish?”  Skinner paused for a moment and added, “Mulder has been.”

Just then the doors opened, they were ready to transfer her to her room.  Skinner left to leave a message at the nurse’s station to let Mulder know where they’d taken Scully.

~

Mulder watched the doctor’s lips move but couldn’t understand what the woman was saying.  It was as if his brain forgot how to process English.  All he knew was that Shannon made it through surgery and she had a seventy percent chance to survive.  She was in recovery and he’d be able to see her once she was moved to a room.

See her?  Did he want to see Shannon?  Shannon tried to kill him, she almost killed Scully.  Why would he want to see her?

“Mr. Mulder, did you hear what I said?”  Someone was speaking so Mulder tried to focus.  It was the doctor.  “I told you that the police are posting a guard and securing the area where she will be.  Though to be honest, I can’t believe they think that she poses any threat in her condition.”

“I, I understand.  I need to get back.  I’ll check on Shannon later.”  Mulder’s jumbled speech mirrored his jumbled thoughts. 

~

Mulder walked into Scully’s room to find her mother had joined Scully and Skinner.  “They told me this was where the party was happening.”  He tried to joke but it fell flat.  “Mrs. Scully, it’s good to see you again.”

“Fox,” her voice was flat and emotionless.  Her eyes took in his bandages; she looked back to her daughter and understanding shown in her eyes.

“Mulder, how’s Shannon, what did the doctor say?”  Scully asked him.  That was typical Scully, worried about the person who almost killed her.

“She made it through surgery.  Her doctor gave her a seventy percent recovery rate.  She’s in recovery but they’re going to move her into a secured area later.”  Mulder stopped and took a ragged breath.  “She said I could see her later.  Scully, I, I don’t know if…”

“I’ll go with you, Mulder, we’ll see her together.”  Scully said with conviction. 

“I couldn’t ask…”

“You didn’t, besides, I want to see for myself how much damage I caused.”  She was embarrassed.

“Scully, if anyone caused this it was Shannon.  You did nothing wrong.”

Mrs. Scully assessed the situation and decided they needed some time together; it was like old times.  “Mr. Skinner, could I interest you in some coffee?”

Mulder watched them leave then sat on the side of Scully’s bed.  “I don’t know what to do.”

“You don’t have to decide anything right now.  You might not have to decide anything later.  The prosecutor called Skinner and told them that this is not the first incident Shannon has been involved in.”

“What are you saying, Scully?”

“Mulder, they looked into her background and she has a juvenile record.”

“That can’t be, Scully, how did she get into the FBI?”

“Mulder, Shannon and her mother assumed false identities when Shannon was twelve.  Their real names are Aris and Sandra Draper.  Aris Draper is wanted in connection to the brutal beating murder of husband Kenneth Draper.  Skinner has already contacted the authorities and has someone looking into how Shannon got into the FBI.”

Mulder was shaken by this information.  “You said there was a juvenile record…”

“She attacked one of her high school teachers because she was tutoring Shannon’s boyfriend.  The teacher was crippled during the attack and lost an eye.  Shannon was fourteen at the time and was sent to juvenile lock-up until her twenty-first birthday.”

“Scully, God, Scully, my Scully,” he leaned down and lay his head on her bosom and continued to chant her name.  Mulder felt her take a sharp breath and knew there was more. “What haven’t you told me?”

“Mulder, I don’t know how to tell you.”  Mulder sat back and watched the emotions play on her face.

Skinner and Mrs. Scully returned at that moment and it was Skinner who answered Mulder.  “There is evidence that Shannon was married before.  Mulder, he’s still alive and there was no divorce.  They faxed him a photo and it looks like his wife.  He’s coming in from Ohio to identify her.  She beat him too and she left him for dead when she ran out.  He only survived because a neighbor saw Shannon drive away in a hurry.” 

~

Six months later it was Scully’s first day back on the X-Files.  Skinner pulled in some favors and arranged to have her transferred. 

The months in between were filled with turmoil, heartache and a lot of pain.  Mulder began therapy and three months in he convinced Scully to start spending time together.  She was understandably cautious but their relationship was beginning to mend.  His psychiatrist had her join in on several sessions.

Scully did some long, hard thinking about Mulder, the X-Files and what they meant to her.  She determined that, everything considered, her life was better with Mulder in it, besides, she couldn’t deny that she loved him and there was nothing she could do about that. 

Mulder tried to have her transferred a week after the incident with Shannon but Scully said no.  She wanted to wait until she knew how things were going to work out.  Mulder was disappointed but, considering how he’d acted, he was just happy she didn’t kick him out on his ass.

Shannon was in prosecutorial hell.  She had charges longer than her arm in two states.  Because of her, the screening practices at the FBI were overhauled and several employees were demoted and a few were fired. 

They found out that Shannon was indeed still legally married and her marriage to Mulder was voided.

 

Epilogue:

Thirteen Months Later:

 

Mulder walked into the office and Scully was already working.  He greeted her with a kiss which, he was happy to say, had become part of their normal greeting.

“Missed you this weekend,” he told her.  “But I got almost all of the packing finished.  The realtor says he should be able to sell that mausoleum fast.  Now I have to find a place to live.”

“That’s great, Mulder.  I’ll help you look,” Scully told him.

“Oh, I almost forgot.”  Mulder pulled out an envelope from his inside jacket pocket and handed it to her.  It was a card addressed to her in beautiful script.  “I found this while I was cleaning.” 

Scully began to laugh.  “The missing invitation.”  

“Go ahead open it, Scully.”

She carefully pulled the delicate invitation from the envelope.  “It’s beautiful, Mulder.”  Her voice broke a little over the reminded of the pain the event lead to.

Mulder moved closer and said lowly, “read it, Scully.”

“… invite you to the marriage of Fox William Mulder to Dana Katherine Scully on _____, Day of ______.”

Scully looked up into his face.  Mulder answered her unasked question, “just fill in the day and month, Scully.”

Her smile started in her eyes and her whole face lit up.  She took the card and wrote on it then handed it to him.  “Perfect, sixth of March.”

 

End.

 

Comment

Llibrary