TITLE: Almost Home (7/?)
AUTHOR: Shoshana
EMAIL ADDRESS: shoshana1013@excite.com
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Gossamer, Spookys site, Xemplary,
etc.
SPOILER WARNING: Seventh season episodes through Requiem.
RATING: NC-17 (Most of the story is rated R, NC-17 parts will be
clearly marked)
CONTENT STATEMENT: MSR
CLASSIFICATION: SRA
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully Romance
SUMMARY: Post ep for Requiem. Mulder comes back... but he's
missing something.
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me.
NOTE: Thanks to my great beta readers Keleka, Lisa, and Teresa!

Almost Home (7/?)
By Shoshana

February 21st, 2001
Wednesday
3:00 p.m.

There were voices coming from his apartment. Mulder stopped short
of the door, gently shoving Scully behind him.

"Scully," he whispered, "when are the guys supposed to be here?"

"I have no idea. I thought they were going to Rhode Island today."

"Well, then who the hell is this?" he questioned.

He unholstered his gun and inched toward the door.

"Mulder! You aren't in any shape to be confronting intruders.
Let's just call the cops on my cellular!"

"I'm okay. I feel fine now."

"At least let me back you up. I have a weapon in my bag," she
offered.

"Ooh, Scully. Always prepared, are we? Okay, get the gun out, but
don't even think of doing any of that tae kwon do stuff," he joked.

"Very funny. I'm pregnant, not helpless. And I didn't just faint
in the doctor's office," she reminded him.

"I'm one hundred per cent better, Scully. The longer we stand here
and argue, the more my apartment is probably getting trashed. Now,
I'm going to see if the door is unlocked," he said, easing the
doorknob to the right.

It opened easily, and they edged around the corner cautiously.
Several voices continued to emanate from his bedroom. Mulder swept
the living room, scanning the space for intruders, while Scully
headed for the kitchen area. They found no one, so they both
proceeded down the hallway to the bedroom area.

All sound in the room suddenly ceased, save for the noise of a
mechanical drill. Mulder and Scully gave each other questioning
glances, then flattened themselves against the walls outside the
room. Mulder kicked the door open with a flourish, gun at the ready.

Three astonished sets of hands flew to the ceiling when they spied
Mulder and Scully in the doorway. Frohike was kneeling next to the
wall, his high tech drill quickly discarded when he'd heard the door
slam open. Langly trembled on the lone chair while Byers surrendered
across the bed.

"Holy shit!!! Who the hell do you guys think you are? Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?!?" Frohike shouted. He was still
wide-eyed with shock, truly startled by their dramatic entrance.

"Who the hell do you think you are, sneaking around my apartment?"
Mulder said, lowering his gun and starting to laugh.

He was delighted to see their familiar faces. They all looked older
and better than he remembered them being in 1993. Well, maybe
Langly's hairstyle hadn't changed much, but he certainly looked clean
and well-groomed. He even had a non-subversive tee shirt on,
advertising a local Marathon for charity.

Byers and Langly rose quickly from their seats. At first, it seemed
like they were rushing over to give Mulder a hearty handshake or bear
hug hello, but their real target was just behind him. They skirted
Mulder, who stared at them with openmouthed surprise.

"Scully, come sit down. You should get off your feet!" Langly said,
taking her arm and leading her to the bed.

Scully flushed several shades of pink at all the attention directed
toward her. These guys had been doting on her for months, but she'd
never been more embarrassed by their regard until this moment. They
should be welcoming Mulder back. He was the one who deserved the
grand homecoming. Then again, she thought to herself, they were
clueless about Mulder's amnesia-- and he'd already been back several
days. Her delicate condition obviously took precedence over
returning abductees.

"Oh, Langly, stop! I'm fine. It's Mulder who should sit down. He
fainted at the doctor's office," she blurted out.

Two seconds later, she realized her faux pas. Men hate being
reminded of physical weakness in front of other men, particularly
friends who would probably never let them forget it.

"Hey, Mulder. You didn't come back impregnated by an alien, did
you?" Frohike teased.

"Fuck you, Frohike. Nothing's wrong with me that reporting your
stolen DMV database won't fix." Mulder grinned at him, enjoying
their friendly sniping match. "What the hell are you doing here
anyway?" he said, gesturing around him.

"You asked us to install more security," Byers pitched in. "Or at
least I thought that was the plan. We went to Rhode Island last
night and drove right back. None of us has slept for twenty-four
hours, but we wanted to get this done as soon as possible."

"Mulder. Sit. Now," Scully ordered, trying to control the level of
chaos in Mulder's ordinarily tranquil bedroom.

Mulder rolled his eyes, and finally put his gun back in its holster,
then sat next to Scully on the bed. He couldn't resist putting his
arm around her possessively. He wasn't sure how demonstrative he'd
been with Scully before his abduction, but he was extremely proud to
be a father and didn't mind showing off in front of his friends.

"Bit of a shock for you, huh?" Langly commented, a knowing smile
plastered all over his face.

Mulder smiled back, shaking his head in wonderment. He gave Scully
an affectionate sidelong glance, communicating more than words could
say.

"I'll say," he replied, settling his hand around her waist.

"You didn't have a clue, did you Mulder?" Frohike asked.

"Well... no, and not for reasons you might imagine... I
think I may have suspected something before I left for Bellefleur
the second time. If I could only remember what happened before I
left--"

"What? What did they do to you? Did they do the old mindswipe
trick on you?" Langly replied, not sure if this was one of Mulder's
practical jokes.

"He's not kidding around, guys. He has amnesia."

Scully couldn't sit and listen to them crack wise about this. It
wasn't a humorous topic for her. She could only imagine how Mulder
felt, though she knew he'd disguise his apprehension for vanity's
sake. He was willing to disclose his emotions to her but he'd always
been a lot less open among male friends.

"Whoa," was all Frohike could manage to say.

Langly sat back down on the chair, too dumbfounded to speak.

"Wait, it's all a matter of degree. If Mulder goes for hypnotherapy
maybe the lost time will return," Byers said helpfully.

"That's where we just were, guys. And the prognosis isn't very
good. And as for the amount of time lost--" Mulder replied glumly.

Scully squeezed Mulder's hand tightly with her small, but strong
fingers. She surveyed the room with a concerned gaze, catching all
three men's eyes.

"He can't recall a thing before January 1993," she exclaimed soberly.

"But that's-- that's when he met you, Scully," Frohike wondered
aloud, trying to remember the exact month she'd joined him on the X-
Files.

Scully shook her head. "Nope. I came on board in February."

"Then how did he know... how did Mulder recog--" Byers was tongue-
tied, but at least he could speak. Langly and Frohike's mouths gaped
wide open at this revelation.

"I didn't know who the hell she was when I came back to my
apartment. I pulled a gun on her, then demanded to know what she was
doing there. It should have been pretty obvious, but I'd been
travelling all day from Bellefleur and didn't expect a pregnant woman
in my bed. Especially when the last place I thought I'd been was New
Jersey-- eight years ago," Mulder added.

"That's fucking amazing," Frohike blundered out.

"Frohike, stick a sock puppet in it, will ya?" Langly scolded.

"It's okay, guys. We're okay." Mulder tightened his hold around
Scully, demonstrating their bond. "I felt connected to Scully almost
immediately. And not just because she's having my child. I guess
we've spent so many years as partners, I recognized her on some
subconscious level."

"That's totally rad!" exclaimed Langly.

Everyone laughed at Ringo's display of enthusiasm. Mulder was
relieved his friend looked and acted the same as always. He'd always
gotten a kick out of Langly's hippie persona.

"Okay, guys. Now that you've heard the good news--" Scully said
wryly.

"*Amnesia* was the good news?" Frohike exclaimed.

"No, Frohike, Mulder's ability to deal with all that's happened to
him in the last five months and not go stir crazy is the good news.
I'll let Mulder tell you what else we learned at Dr. Werber's office
before we move on to the bad news," she replied.

"Huh? What?" asked Langly, always articulate.

"The aliens didn't intend to steal eight years of my memories, only
five or six months worth. It didn't work out the way they wanted it
to-- that's my initial theory. There's no proof, no logic, to what's
happened to me... other than what I remembered at the doctor's
office. I've had to deal with the memory loss by reading my journal
and asking Scully a zillion questions over the last couple of days.
When I woke up in a forest on Monday I could remember being assigned
to the X-Files, and knowledge of the paranormal helped me deal
with my sudden dislocation to the great state of Oregon. Of course,
after I hitched a ride to Portland and saw all the newspapers were
dated 2001--"

"You, of all people, would be able to deal with time travel,
Mulder," Byers weighed in.

"Ironic, isn't it? I've become a living X-File," Mulder replied.

"So what's the bad news?" Frohike inquired anxiously.

Mulder looked askance at Scully's worried face and decided to break
the weighty silence for her, "Krycek paid us a social call
yesterday."

"Ah, shit. That bastard," Frohike cursed.

"Well, I'm not too sure about his parentage, Frohike," Mulder said,
"but he claims our baby is in jeopardy--"

"So, that's why you wanted all this security..." Byers mulled.

"Yeah, it was. We haven't told Skinner about this, guys. You have
to keep it confidential," Mulder pleaded.

"We really need your help," Scully added, her blue eyes darting from
face to face.

"You have it. You know how we feel about being godfathers," Frohike
quipped, trying to break the tension in the room.

"We don't know if Krycek was full of it or not, but we're not taking
any chances. The only reason we haven't told Skinner about the
memory loss is Krycek's previous association with him. Skinner may
still be at risk-- we'll wait and see what develops. Skinner's been
so depressed about losing Mulder in Oregon-- I've never had the heart
to bring up the subject of Krycek," Scully explained.

"Are you guys staying here tonight?" Frohike queried.

"Yeah, it's been an exhausting day. We'll leave for Rhode Island
early tomorrow morning. Thanks for your help with the summer house.
Skinner gave us a couple of weeks off from work, and we'll be gone
until Sunday. I think Scully mentioned an appointment on Monday--"

Scully nodded affirmatively to her collective audience, clutching
Mulder's hand again for support.

"Well, we're almost done here. This is the last room we had to
debug. We didn't tear out the old security system, just enhanced it.
We put it in just after you disappeared, so Scully would feel safe
here. Same thing at her apartment," said Byers.

Mulder looked over at Scully and asked, "You stayed here most of the
time?"

"Yeah. I thought you'd be like a homing pigeon, coming back to
roost. I was right, wasn't I?" she said, giving him a huge smile.

"Yeah, you were right," he agreed with a grin.

He leaned over and kissed her impulsively, oblivious to their
audience. The smooch lasted a little longer than they expected it
to; they sprang apart when they heard groans and catcalls all around
them.

"Get a room!" Langly jested.

"This happens to be my bedroom, guys!" Mulder retorted.

Frohike snickered, returning to the job he'd been doing before
Mulder and Scully barged in, their guns drawn and aimed at the three
of them. "Go watch cartoons for a half hour so I can finish,
damn it!"

"Okay, okay. We're outta here," announced Mulder.

"Thanks, guys. We really appreciate all the trouble you've gone
to," Scully said earnestly.

"No problemo. Our pleasure," answered Byers.

Mulder and Scully left the bedroom, his hand balanced on her lower
back, like so many thousands of times before. Scully appreciated
this gesture more than Mulder would ever know-- or at least until
he regained his memory, and was able to recollect just how
significantly his gentle touch had sustained her throughout the years.

Scully was beginning to doubt whether Mulder would ever remember
anything more than inexplicable, sensual memories of her. She'd been
his closest friend these past eight years; it made sense he'd
remember her differently than anybody else in his day-to-day
existence.

She'd never divulge such a theory to him without proof, and she was
dubious they'd ever get it. She wanted to believe what he'd seen and
heard at the doctor's office had been real, but it could all
be a delusion, a hoax spoon-fed Mulder by an insidious, earthly
source. He might have been brainwashed into thinking he was on a
spaceship, then experimented upon by Consortium scientists at some
remote site.

She wasn't about to bring this to Mulder's attention until he'd had
more time to adjust to being back home. He'd been cruelly used by
someone, even if he hadn't suffered any obvious physical harm. She
was certain Mulder would consider any and all extreme possibilities,
then share his thoughts when he was prepared to do so.

Scully's skeptical attitude had always challenged him to poke holes
in his own theories. She was certainly ready to do that, whenever he
showed sufficient interest in questioning what had happened to him.
Until then, she decided to concentrate on enjoying the precious time
they had together.

The constant spectre of baby snatching criminals, lying in wait
around every street corner, would be combatted by their impassioned
promises to one another. They'd rather die than see harm
come to their growing child. His instinctive protective streak
wasn't just a fluke; they were bound together by much more than
simple biology.

Scully turned to Mulder before they reached the living room,
stopping him in his tracks.

"Why don't we feed these guys? I'd like to do something more
tangible than just say thank you."

"I've got no problem with that, Scully. I'll go ask them what they
want on their pizzas," he responded.

"You know your friends, Mulder. That's for sure."

She gave a quick kiss on the cheek, and hurried off to assess their
beer readiness. She had a gut feeling the guys would be sticking
around for more than pizza. They'd been her faithful companions on
many depressing nights in the past and she was overjoyed to share
Mulder with them.

They'd never given up on him-- nor on her. Their optimism and
sometimes excessive attentiveness had sustained her through
innumerable bad days. Scully had wanted to crawl into bed and cry
sometimes. She'd known she was made of stronger stuff than that,
that a lot of her despair was hormonally driven. Their attitudes
had given her the capability to go on, the energy to keep the
X-Files functioning as a division.

Mulder didn't know it yet, but they'd almost been shut them down
when it became apparent he wasn't coming back from Oregon. With
Skinner's help and her testimony, she'd kept their office open,
trimming back expenses by limiting the number of cases she and her
temporary partner investigated.

Initially, Scully hadn't been happy about the partner situation at
all. However, the agent had been handpicked by Skinner, and she'd
found him to be a topnotch investigator. It had been nothing like
working with Mulder, but Charlie Huber never tried to usurp her
partner's place. He'd become a real boon to the X-Files while she'd
struggled to balance her private and public responsibilities.

She needed to retain access to bureau resources in order to find
Mulder, and this compromise allowed her to do so. She'd spent
every minute of her off-bureau time looking for Mulder, calling
emergency rooms, monitoring reports of UFO sightings all around the
country. Charlie had offered his help on many occasions, but she'd
consistently refused it.

Scully had permitted him to put in as much overtime as he cared to,
on cases they were pursuing for appearances' sake. They weren't
spending anywhere near the amount of money they used to, when
Mulder was on the job. Perhaps she'd been overly cautious in
her choices; they'd always been within their budgeted amount of
expenses.

She'd chosen an unusually high amount of X-File cases having to do
with reports of alien spacecrafts or abductions. There'd been more
than a few adults, and even some children, who'd claimed to have
been taken, tortured, then returned to their homes or
neighborhoods.

Scully had tried not to become too personally involved when
investigating these instances. She'd wanted to retain a healthy dose
of skepticism. Popular books and movies had romanticized abduction
experiences, and they'd become part of our national folklore. She
couldn't depend on anyone to be completely honest with her, or to
withstand a simple test of sanity.

She'd felt compelled to check out their stories anyway. The one
abductee she passed off as a crank might be the one who'd seen a
hazel-eyed man in the cell next door. Although many of the incidents
related to her seemed laughable, she'd patiently interviewed each
and every person involved, hoping for a breakthrough.

Scully had realized in the past month how difficult it was
getting for her to function as a FBI agent. She was a small person
and the baby was getting large by the beginning of her sixth month.
She'd already cut back on their field work and had decided to take
early maternity leave.

Charlie would be transferred to VCU now, most likely permanently.
She'd given him a call on Tuesday, when Mulder was busy with medical
tests at the hospital. He'd been genuinely pleased to hear of
Mulder's return and offered them any help they needed to get
re-established.

She'd promised to visit him at his new workplace soon. However,
with the visit from Krycek, and new concerns about the safety of
their child, she doubted she'd be paying social calls. She'd trusted
Charlie for several months, without incident, but her new paranoia
about the Consortium would exclude most people from her confidence,
including Skinner.

Scully couldn't think of a good reason to trust Charlie implicitly.
He seemed to be on her side the last few months, but there'd been
times she'd felt like he was monitoring her, gathering information
for someone outside the bureau. They'd have to survive without his
help. For now.

"Scully?"

Mulder was standing next to her in the kitchen, his hand on her
shoulder. She'd been leaning against the dishwasher for God knows
how long while Mulder chatted it up with his friends. He bent down
to meet her eyes, amused by her dreamy reverie.

"You seemed a million miles away. What were you thinking about?"

Scully smiled at him mysteriously, determined to keep some of her
thoughts private. She'd always wondered how much had been revealed
to him at Georgetown Memorial that day-- the day she'd urged him to
hold on, to keep it together in his seemingly hopeless, catatonic
state. What had he known of her innermost thoughts? Had he been
convinced of her love that day? Had he been confident of her
devotion long before he'd become ill?

Their new state of affairs was less tragic, but problematic
nonetheless. Would they be able to maintain their relationship,
raise a child, eventually marry? Their bond seemed forged by
intuition, a sixth sense which drew Mulder to her in spite of his
lack of cogent memories.

"Nothing," she replied, assuming a Mona Lisa smile.

Mulder seemed to get the picture, allowing her secrecy. They'd
spent twenty-four hours a day together since his return. He knew she
wouldn't conceal anything of great importance, anything crucial to
their safety. He didn't know how he knew; he just knew.

He'd always trusted some people too easily, others not enough.
It had seemed right to have faith in her from the moment he'd touched
her hand Monday night. There was no rational explanation for this
magnetic force between them. Other than her inherent beauty, which
any man would admire.

Mulder couldn't remember her intellectually, not even now. The
session with Dr. Werber had jolted nothing loose in his psyche--
other than what had supposedly happened on the alien ship. He was
still trying to keep up with the everchanging swift flow of events;
he felt unusually tired for a man who had been pronounced medically
sound.

He was astounded when he glanced into a mirror, when he noted
the changes in his features over time. He wasn't entirely
displeased. He'd never enjoyed looking like a punk ass kid to match
his attitude.

Mulder had just started to lose his boyish looks at the age of
thirty-two, the last time he'd taken time to scrutinize his looks.
He would turn forty this year, and he couldn't complain about his
visual aspect-- as long as Scully approved. He knew she wasn't so
shallow as to take a lover based solely on their outward appearance,
but he did want to please her.

He couldn't separate the lure of her physical beauty from her
enticing, brilliant mind. He'd always been attracted to smart,
charismatic women and despite his obvious interest in pornography,
he'd always preferred women for their intellect, not their breast
size.

He was still chafing from Scully's discovery of his secret stash
under the bed. She was disquietingly familiar with all his habits.
He'd need time to get used to that. Advantage, Scully, was all he
could say.

"Oh, I bet there's a whole lot more than nothing going on in your
beautiful mind, Scully," he responded to her claim.

She broke into a grin, remembering the last time she'd used that
very phrase. He couldn't possibly have known about her journal. She
hadn't even shown it to him yet. She'd definitely have to do so now.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" she replied boldly, reaching up to
caress the pleasant roughness of his five o'clock shadow.

Mulder placed his hands on her shoulders, then leaned down a little
closer, so they were almost breathing the same air.

"No. I think I'll leave that to the enigmatic Dr. Scully's
discretion. As long as you're not daydreaming about Frohike," he
teased.

"Well, Melvin did coin the phrase 'enigmatic Dr. Scully,' Mulder.
You've been gossiping about me in the bedroom, haven't you?"

"Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I'm still amazed you're mine."

His last word had been little more than a whisper. He closed the
gap between them, his lips sliding across hers sensually. It was
possibly the most erotic kiss they'd shared since he'd come home and
she felt unbearably aroused. Scully flitted her tongue across his
lips, seeking entrance to his mouth and--

A loud rapping at his door announced the arrival of their pizzas.
They pulled away from one another slowly, and Mulder continued to
massage her shoulders affectionately, desire evident in his darkened
eyes.

"Raincheck?"

"Raincheck," she parroted back, gently pushing him in the direction
of the apartment door.

fin

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