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After Burn

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After Burn

Author: Sara B.

E-Mail: sabo727@tampabay.rr.com

Feedback: Author is desperately seeking feedback

Spoilers: Fire

Category: Angst M/S Friendship – Partnership building

Rating: Over Thirteen

Summary:  Mulder and Scully resolve the tensions created by what occurred during Fire.

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.

Gratitude: To Kim Knight, you are the best, thank you.  To my Dennis for just being who you are.  To CC and Company, who created the X-Files.  Lastly to the readers.

Archive: I’d be honored.  Please keep my name attached and let me know where it will be.  Thank you.

 

After Burn

Sara B.

 

Luckily no one other than L’Ivley suffered more than minor burns with Mulder sustaining the most.  Scully did her best to make L’Ivley comfortable and had everyone treated before the paramedics arrived but insisted that they all be taken to the local hospital to be checked out.  Mulder protested but Scully explained she wanted the medical records for their report.

 

Cecil L’Ivley was placed in the burn unit under police guard.  The rest were examined and when they finished with the hospital they headed to the police station to give statements, such as they were.  Mulder drove Lord and Lady Marsden and Phoebe; Scully took the two boys, Michael and Jimmie. 

 

By the time they reached the station the impact of the night’s events was taking a toll on them all.  Phoebe latched onto Mulder, never straying but a foot from his side.  The Marsdens clung to each other as if desperate to ensure the other was fine.  The boys chose Scully as their protector, as their champion, and glued themselves to her sides.   Their eyes looked hollow but yet were filled with the horrors the night showed them.  Scully’s quiet presence grounded them.

 

-x-

Michael and Jimmie’s statements were taken first.  Police Captain Mitchell Brinkman, a six foot six brick of a man in his fifties with graying hair and a no nonsense attitude, wanted to interview them separately but the boys raised a ruckus and only the assurance that Scully would be able to stay with them stilled their protestation. 

 

They didn’t have much to tell other than they’d been playing before bed and Bob, now known to be Cecil L’Ivley, led them into the bedroom where he locked them in.  That was where Agent Mulder found them.  They also told how Bob had shown them the cigarette trick a few days ago. 

 

Brinkman allowed Scully to give her statement at the same time so the boys could stay with her.  She detailed what lead up to the night’s ‘combustible’ conclusion from Phoebe Greene’s contacting Mulder to what happened at the house. She detailed how she’d narrowed down the suspect and the accelerant used.  She told him how they’d found the Marsden’ driver but left out the details saying only that Agent Mulder would fill him in.  She glanced at the boys and the Sheriff nodded, letting her know he understood.  The interview went on for nearly an hour and a half when Scully asked to end it.

 

“These boys are exhausted and they’ve been traumatized.  You’ve asked the same questions three times and they’ve answered them three times.  I’ve given my statement and I promise to send you a copy of the official report.  I think it is time to end this.”  Brinkman had to agree and when he saw the relief on the two boy’s faces as they watched Agent Scully, he smiled.  Scully handed the man her card and told him to call if he needed anything further. 

 

“Agent Scully, it will be some time before we have statements from the parents and the others.  Why don’t you take them into my office?  There’s a couch and they can lie down; even if they don’t sleep they might get some rest.”  He gave her a querying eye and added, “looks like you could do with some rest too.”  She knew he was right; she had been up the night before tending to Mulder at the hotel in Boston.

 

“Thank you, I think they need that, I think maybe we all do.”  Her appreciation shown on her lovely face and the Captain was smitten.

 

-x-

It was after one in the morning when Lord and Lady Marsden, Phoebe and Mulder finished giving their statements.  They walked into the Captain’s office to find the two boys lying across the couch in opposite directions.  Scully was in the middle with each

boy using one of her legs as a pillow, their faces toward her hips.  Her topcoat covered one and her suit coat the other.  Scully was stroking each of their heads and smiles played on their faces as she supplied the comfort they desperately needed.

 

Phoebe told two of the security guards to take the sleeping children to the car and to be careful not to rouse them.  Mulder got his case out of the trunk of his rental and gave Phoebe the car keys so she could take the Marsden’s to the Inn.  Mulder didn’t miss the d looks on both Phoebe’s and Scully’s faces about his decision to ride with Scully.  Scully quickly recovered but Phoebe’s face registered her surprise.

 

-x-

The drive to the Inn was quiet.  Mulder seemed lost in his own thoughts and Scully didn’t want to engage in any conversations that may unleash the things she wanted to say but knew it was better not to.  She was tired and that was never good for expressing her feelings.  Besides her own thoughts were swimming around so fast she wasn’t sure she ‘could’ even hold a conversation.

 

She was angry with Mulder.  His dismissal when she first offered her help back in Washington didn’t stop her from looking into the case; from solving it.  She’d raced up here to present her findings only to find that Mulder was taking the opportunity to reacquaint his tongue with Phoebe Greene’s molars when they were supposed to be guarding Lord and Lady Marsden.  One guess what other parts of their anatomies would have gotten reacquainted if not for the whole fire thing happening.  What was it with the black silk boxers?  She’d seen his underwear before, she’d packed them on occasion; hell she’d washed them before, and never had she ever come across that particular pair.  To add another level of insult before Phoebe walked in he paraded around without bothering to cover up.  Enter Phoebe Greene, using her own key no less; he couldn’t close that robe fast enough.  Hey, Scully knew she wasn’t his type but he didn’t have to slap her in the face with the fact that he saw her as his sexless buddy.

 

Phoebe Greene!  Scully couldn’t believe the complete incompetence of Phoebe Greene.  Why didn’t Mulder see it?  Then maybe he didn’t want to?  When the fire broke out at the hotel it became apparent that the only person guarding the children was the man they now know was Cecil L’Ivley, but then thought to be the caretaker that they had only met days earlier.  A man who’s ID Phoebe didn’t even bother verifying.  Sure the real caretaker, Bob, had been checked out before the Marsden’s arrival but the British bitch didn’t even do a preliminary crosscheck. 

 

This whole case was a major screw up that never should have left England.  In one day she, Scully, had solved the mystery that had plagued Inspector Greene for months.  Scully would bet good money that Scotland Yard wouldn’t be really pleased that Phoebe Greene thought so highly of their arson experts that she needed to seek help from the FBI’s people.  That should go over really well!  She fervently hoped that Phoebe Greene didn’t represent Scotland Yard’s finest. 

 

Underneath, she suspected the case had less to do with finding the killer and more to do with Phoebe wanting to see Mulder.  That is the only explanation as to why she was in Washington in the first place.  Why go to DC when the Marsdens were going to Massachusetts?  Also how and why did Phoebe find them in the parking garage downtown?  Why not go to the Hoover in the first place?

 

Scully was grateful when the weather beaten sign of the Trinity Inn came into view.  When they checked in, Scully sent mental thanks to whomever Captain Brinkman had arrange their accommodations.  Somehow, either by chance or plan, she didn’t know and she didn’t care, Scully’s room was as far removed from the others as possible.  She just couldn’t handle being around Mulder and his British strumpet tonight.

 

-x-

Mulder’s mind was muddled.  He wanted to talk things through with Scully but he didn’t have the words.  He was hoping she would invite some conversation but one look at her told him that wouldn’t be happening.  She was busy with her own thoughts.  He opted to just stare out the window.  

 

Once they were checked in, Mulder watched as Scully walked in the opposite direction as the rest of the party.  Not a word had passed between them since she tended to his wounds back at the house.  He wanted her to look back, hell he wanted to follow her just to say goodnight.  He didn’t, he couldn’t.  There had been something in her eyes that made him back off.  A feeling of complete sadness overcame him; loss.  He had the distinct impression that he had fallen down a few pegs in Scully’s eyes, maybe in his own too. 

 

Mulder turned and went to his room; it was next to Phoebe’s with a connecting door.  A day ago he would have passed through that door.  That was before he found Phoebe Greene and Lord Marsden on the stairs.  A day ago he thought Phoebe had changed.  That she’d sown her oats and moved on; grown up. 

 

Phoebe walked into his office and he regressed back to that na´ve young yank who’d been mystified and bewitched by Phoebe Greene.  A woman two years his senior with an air of sophistication and superiority and for some reason chose to dally with the ungainly Massachusetts boy from a broken family.  He turned back into the youth who’d forgiven her too many transgressions.   Mulder had forgiven her for everything, her lies and her infidelities.  Until the autumn day he lifted the phone receiver and overheard her telling her girlfriend, Penny Donleavy, that she’d had an abortion over the summer holidays.  She also admitted that she wasn’t sure who the ‘sperm donor’ was, but she’d limited it  down to three possibilities. 

 

Mulder had run to the bath before he lost the contents of his stomach.  When there was nothing left to expel, he dry heaved for several long excruciating minutes.  He took some time to compose himself then packed his things and left without speaking to her.  It took her all of eight days to replace him.

 

Did Scully see him as that addled fool when she looked at him?  Is that why she pulled away?  Why she didn’t want to talk or even be in the same car with him?  He’d seen her face when he placed his case in her car back at the Police Barracks; her eyes were cold with anger directed at him.

 

His concentration was broken by a knock on the connecting door followed by Phoebe calling his name; he ignored it and turned out the light.

 

-x-

Dana Scully took a much needed shower before donning her nightgown.  Exhausted, Scully finished an abbreviated version of her nightly ministrations and tumbled into bed.   

Exhaustion not withstanding, her mind refused to shut down and let her sleep.  The events of the past several days played repeatedly in a continuous loop. Scully saw the futility of lying in bed and hoping sleep to overtake her so she decided to start on her report. 

 

Scully immersed herself in writing and the next thing she knew it was six am and she decided to get dressed and hit the road.  If she was lucky she’d be gone before Mulder found out.  Two days with no sleep, a pyrotechnic whatever the man was and Mulder sniffing around the British dipstick; or was Mulder the dipstick making Greene the dippee?  Man she had to get some sleep!  Her sense of humor was defiantly going someplace she did not want to pursue.  Whatever, the whole damned mess had her angry and confused and she needed to put some space between Mulder and her before she just let loose. 

 

Scully called and made a reservation on the next commuter flight to D.C.  She wrote a note telling Mulder she’d left and that she had written a preliminary report and left it at the desk to deliver to him later. 

 

-x-

Mulder woke with a start.  A check of the clock let him know that it was nine-thirty.  He had to untangle himself from the bedding which was testament to his disturbed slumber.  Sleep had eluded him for a long while.  He kept going over how the last four days had played out.  How he’d let his emotions and Phoebe interfere with doing his job.  How, instead of doing the homework back in Washington, he’d jumped feet first into a situation he knew nothing about.  How he and Phoebe endangered the Marsdens with their dalliance.  How Dana Scully was the one who actually solved the case and how he hadn’t even acknowledged that until now.  Did he say anything to Scully?  No, no he didn’t, he just rushed to dress and chased after Phoebe.  Crap!  Scully did all the work, even after he’d ditched her.  She solved the blasted case while he was chasing Phoebe’s tail, and he didn’t even tell her she did a good job. 

 

He needed to call her then he realized he didn’t even know her room number.  He tried her cell but it went to voice mail so he tried the front desk only to be told that she’d checked out but had left a note that they would deliver. 

 

Her note was short, to the point and angered him to no end.  She wrote that she was taking the shuttle back and that she would file the preliminary report to Skinner.  She told him to take his time ‘cleaning up any loose ends.’  He didn’t need to guess what ‘loose ends’ she referred to; Phoebe.  If she only knew that any residual loose ends he had with Phoebe were sufficiently tied up when he ran into that house and saw an all too familiar scene played out on a staircase. 

 

Mulder started to pack his things; he wanted to go home, lick his wounds and decide how to handle things with Scully.  It was Friday and most likely he wouldn’t see her until Monday, which gave him the weekend to figure it out.

 

-x-

Scully had taken the weekend to sort through the whole affair.  One thing she’d learned through her life was the sage advice from her mom and a good cup of tea always helped.  Just talking with her mom made her realize that Mulder didn’t owe her anything other than being her partner.  He had the right to expect her to do a good job and she shouldn’t expect him to comment on it.  The only thing he did that was really wrong, and it was a major error, was the way he dismissed her.  But considering the situation even that was understandable, she may have acted the same way if the situation were reversed.

 

Scully regretted the way she left Massachusetts but she was glad she did.  She needed this time away to rally her thoughts and feelings together.  If she had spoken to Mulder she may have said some things that they both would have regretted. 

 

Monday morning she got to the office early.  There was a message from Special Agent Mike Davies asking her to interpret some lab results first thing.  She left a note telling Mulder where she was and a copy of the report for Mulder to review.

 

-x-  

Mulder wanted to call Scully all weekend but he didn’t quite know what to say to her.  He still didn’t know what he was going to say when he walked into the office Monday morning.  It turned out he didn’t need to say anything..

 

Scully was no where around when Mulder arrived at work.  A copy of the preliminary report was waiting for him on his desk with a note telling him that she had some work in the lab but she’d be back in time for lunch.  Mulder examined the note for any clues to her mood; but it was typical Scully and gave nothing away.

 

Part of him was relieved that he had a little more time before he faced her, yet another part regretted it.  He needed to see her to make sure they were okay.  That his romp on the stupid side hadn’t alienated her completely. 

 

-x-

Mulder was reading her report and twirling the cassette Phoebe had messengered to him when he heard something that sent a chill through his entire being and nearly knocked him on his ass. 

 

“Care to take me to lunch?”  The question was said in an upper class British accent but from the dulcet tones of Scully’s voice not Phoebe’s, but it was still terrifying.

 

-x-

Mulder decided they’d earned a long, leisurely lunch and decided to take them to a small Tex-Mex place that Frohike introduced him to a few months earlier.  In the car he started to apologize to Scully about his actions and attitude but she stopped him.

 

“Mulder, if one of my old relationships came invading I don’t know how I’d act either.  After I asked myself ‘what the hell was I thinking,’ I may very well fall into the established patterns of our former relationship.  The only thing I really resented was how you ditched me.  It made me feel like my partnership was unnecessary and unwanted.  It felt like it was that first day all over again.”  

 

“Scully, I don’t even have a way to address that other than to say I’m sorry.”  Mulder shook his head.  “Here I ditch you and you end up solving the whole case pretty much by yourself.”

 

Scully’s face lit up at his acknowledging her contribution.  “Thanks Mulder but I didn’t solve it; we did.  I’m your partner we share the successes as well as the defeats.”

 

Mulder reached across the car seat and took her hand.

 

End

Sara B.

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