|Title: Welcome to my nightmare
Author: Valérie (Poormulder)
Rated: Strong R for some bad words, strong imagery and
Category: MT, Mulder Angst, Scully comfort.
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and the other characters
belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen, and Fox Studios. Mo
money made; no
Author's Note: Rising to Mulder's Refuge Challenge for October, Welcome to my nightmare.
WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE
Mulder awoke with a start, his head in a vice. He looked at his alarm clock with sleepy eyes. Good Lord, it was only half past four am. He dragged a shaky hand through his hair, then over his face. He was soaked with sweat as he tried to get control of his erratic breathing. The nightmare, which had awakened him, had been particularly vivid; the images still like bursting novas in his brain. He knew that he wouldnt fall asleep again before morning. Not after having revived such atrocities in his mind.
The psychologist in him knew the reason for this nightmare. Their last case had been particularly painful and harrowing, a series of Child murders, small girls. They had been violated before dying in terrible suffering. He and Scully had ended up capturing the murderer, but they had been both deeply affected by this dreadful case. Scully had chosen to take a few days of rest; she had left to go trekking in the Rockies with her brother Charlie. Mulder had been upset that she had not wished to speak with him about the past few days, and they separated two days earlier, hearts still too heavy to face such atrocities. Shed wished for a real break from the FBI, the murders and the rapes, with him even. Just for a few days, she said. Shed even left her cell phone at home.
Normally, he would have called in the middle of the night, and she could have spoken to him with her sweet voice, rational tones and calmed his fears about his nightmare. But he was alone today, with his anguish, this feeling of abject loneliness, which weighed down on him so much.
Hed had a fever the day before and his aching head had make him suffer all day. The migraine was so strong that he had left the office before five, staggering under the pain, which stabbed him behind the eyes like an evil force. He returned strait home to his apartment, staggering and dumping himself onto his old couch, before awaking a few hours later, shivering and nauseous. The remainder of the evening had been spent between his bed and the bathroom, where hed sporadically vomited up the meager lunch hed managed to get down a few hours earlier.
He had ended up sinking into a heavy sleep, which left him even more exhausted. He rose with difficulty, with stiff hesitant steps, and fetched himself a large glass of water in the kitchen. He glanced squinting towards the street still plunged in the half-light. In spite of his state, he knew that the only means of finding peace was sporting his trainers and running a few miles. The endorphins hopefully would enable him to clarify his spirit disturbed by the nightmare and prevent him falling asleep again a few hours. At least that was his plan. It was going to be a long weekend.
The first minutes were painful, but his toned legs soon fell into their usual rhythm, and he progressed easily through the deserted and dark city. His breath was shorter than normal, sweat rolled down his face and soaked in a vee on his tee shirt but he was relaxing already. The still hot air of the summer night burned his lungs, distilling oxygen and pumping it like caffeine through his tired muscles.
He entered the park, which bordered the avenue and the
dew-wet grass, and the woodsy scent of predawn washed
over his senses in a beneficial way. He slowed down his
pace but suddenly black flies appeared in front of his
glazed eyes and sweaty eyelids. A powerful dizzy spell
made him fall to his knees and he could hear nothing
except the raging roar of blood crashing against his
eardrums. He breathed too quickly in an attempt to drive
away the giddiness, which pinned him to the ground, but
he felt himself loose his battle for consciences, his jaw
scraped the ground with a dull thud and he went limp in
the fresh grass
When he regained consciousness, the sun had made its appearance, the heat blasting his face did little to curb the wave of dizziness and pain as he groaned and shifted his head. The world in front of him was predominantly green. And damp. He cautiously looked around, and then felt for and glanced at his watch where the figures danced in front of his eyes. Pulling himself up experimentally slowly, he managed to rise up on wobbly legs. A wave of nausea assailed him like summer storm. Swallowing against the taste of bile in his mouth, he made a new attempt to stand fully, forcing himself to take some steps. The park was still deserted at this early hour, and he knew that he would be unlikely to find a Good Samaritan to help him should he collapse again.
Staggering out of the park and onto the still empty street, he dug around in the pocket of his pants, uncomfortably dampened by his snooze on the park lawn and sought his wallet. His fingers came up empty and he groaned. Convinced he must have lost it in the park, he retraced his course back where he had regained consciousness, but there was no trace of his wallet. He swore loudly, startling some early morning birds pecking at the ground. Exhausted, he called a taxi, and after some finagling and using his FBI credentials to prove he was good for payment, he gratefully found himself back at Hegel place. He vanished into his building to get some money, and then came back down to reimburse the taxi driver.
Back in his apartment, the bathroom's mirror mocked him with the face of an exhausted man; bloodshot eyes encircled by large gray rings, a strangers face marked by fever and fatigue. His tee shirt was soaked with sweat, and locks of hair stuck limply to his wet face. What a stud. He shook his head, stripped quickly and slipped under the shower. The tepid water released his tired muscles and he remained there under the pounding spray a long time, hoping that the shower and his exhaustion from running would finally enable him to find the rest he needed so much and fight off whatever bug had laid him this low. The water quickly grew cold and he left the shower still shivering. It was still only 7am in the morning.
The rude intrusion of fist blows bashing repeatedly against his front door finally had him emerging from his near comatose sleep. He roused quickly, groping for clothing despite the shitty way he still felt, adrenaline momentarily quashing the pain as he threw on his pants and ambled towards the door. He ran a shaky hand through his hair, and automatically glanced at the red display on his VCR. Hed slept almost five hours.
He peered through the spy hole on the door. Hed learned the hard way it was better safe than sorry. He frowned. Not remembering what he had done with his gun. He opened the door just enough to catch the latch.
Two senior police officers were in front of his door, and the elder looking one showed his badge.
Mulder blinked stupidly at them, still half in a stupor from his sickness.
" Hi, officers. What you do want?"
" Fox William Mulder?"
" Yes, it's me. I think. Or though it doesnt feel like me. Whats the problem?"
"Please get dressed quickly, Sir. We must take you to the Alexandria Police station."
"Excuse me? I don't understand."
"Sir, please do what I ask you. Dress please and follow us. Now."
The almost threatening faces of the two police officers made him give up trying to understand the reason of their presence. He was in no fit state or argue or offer any challenge. His shoulders slumped in acquiescence and he trudged off to find fresh clothes. He dressed in a mechanical way, collected his badge and began to follow them when one the cops produced a pair of cuffs and suddenly slipped them on his wrists before even he can protest. They lead him to their car, which awaited them out front.
Mulder felt the weight of his neighbors astonished glances bearing down on him as they nosily poked their heads out around their doors to witness the nutter from 42, again being frog marched from the building. They never have a dull moment with me around, he thought as he lowered his head and ducked into the car.
He wanted to shout that they should take a picture; it would last longer but he just felt too sick and harassed to bother. He wanted his bed -- he dearly wanted his partner.
The goon squad escorted him to a interview room at the precinct and they got straight down to business. Their faces were grim and all bored into him.
"We found one Elisabeth Mclaren, 12 years old, dead from strangulation in Canopy Park this morning at 7am. Preliminary exam seems to indicate that her death occurred between 3 and 5 this morning. It also seems that the victim underwent a very gruesome sexual assault before her death.
"What that does have to see with me?"
"We found your wallet not far from the body."
"I lost it this morning. Id been jogging."
"We also have a witness who just saw you after 6.30 in front of this same park. He confirms that you were covered with sweat, dirty like you had struggled with someone on the ground and that you seem disturbed."
"I went for a run this morning, ended up in this park. I wasnt feeling well and must have fainted from exhaustion. I was out cold for some time and when I woke up..it was hours later. I couldnt find my wallet and felt really sick so I called a taxi to get me home. It's a tragic combination of circumstances. I have nothing to do with this murder. Im an FBI agent. I work cases like this. I could never in a million years perpetrate doing this to a little girl.."
" Admit it asshole. Have the decency to acknowledge that you violated this poor child before killing her, son of a bitch."
Mulder felt dizzy all over again and held his head in his hands against the pounding there and the growing ache in his heart. It didnt matter that he knew he had nothing to do with it. A child had died nonetheless. Someones daughter--sister.
"No. I could never do anything like this. I collapsed in the park. I never saw anyone else. I was too busy fighting a dizzy spell. "
"According to your neighbors, you left your apartment around 5.am this morning. Strange time to go running, don't you think?" (His nosy neighbors get up way too early too. )
"I am an insomniac. I just came off a bad case. I felt that if I went for a run, I could burn off enough energy to help me sleep. But I got sick, some kind of bug. Just made it worse and I passed out. "
"Yes, of course. And you had some sick ideas when you saw this girl?" The chief goon yelled in his face.
"I am an FBI agent, for gods sake! How can you believe such I could commit this crime ? I have spent most of my career catching slime like this and clearing them off the streets."
"You have a dirty reputation, Mister FBI Agent. The cop managed to yell even over the pounding in Mulders head, Weve been having a nice cozy chat with your colleagues. They were more than happy to enlighten us to what a nut case you are. Spooky Mulder, the flake that lurks in the basement."
Mulder shook his head, heart and head pounding like a synchronized timpani and he was deafened by the charges. He needed to contact Scully, she could vouch for him and they would soon know that he wasnt capable of such horror and it had all been a mistake an unfortunate case of timing. In the meantime, what worried Mulder the most was that the real killer was still at large. And maybe getting ready to swoop on another poor child with murderous and sick intent.
A fist belted the desk in front of him and he flinched as the noise made a flash of pain go right through his head. "Answer me when I speak to you!" Then a hot stinging pain across his cheek had him glaring at the burly cop looming over him.
The slap almost made him fall from his chair. He carried his shackled hands to his cheek and fixed the man with an impassive glare, despite the pain and burn.
"You like to rape small girls, Mulder? Is it that? The bastard got in his face again. Maybe it's you who killed your sweet- pigtailed- sister? You may even have raped her. But she wouldnt shut up when you jumped on her for your fun so you shut her up. Got a bit rough, maybe not meant to kill her but you had to hide what you did from mommy and daddy. Perhaps shed been in your stuff, and you know how little sisters can be annoying, we all do. You kill her and then you get all the attention again. Top dog once again. And I bet my pension that you hid her body so well that nobody could find her? And you invented a beautiful UFO's story and small green men to avert suspicion? Cmon Mulder, spill, its long overdue for confession time.
The last was spat in his face and Mulder stared for all of a heartbeat like a deer caught in headlights, mind trying to process a zillion emotions pounding through him.
Mulder's fury erupted tenfold despite his fevered shock-weekend resources and lack of sleep. He was on his feet and launching himself at the startled officer like a wild animal. Before even as the other men had time to react, Mulder was trying to strangle him with his bare hands, the flesh beneath his fingers and croaking of his tormentors throat feeling good to his abused soul. He wouldnt release him even under the repeated blows of the other officers who tried to control him and it was only after having received a final violent blow to the side of his head that the enraged agent slipped to the ground, unconscious.
He regained consciousness in a dark cell. He opened his eyes with difficulty; they felt bruised and dry like sand had been poured into them and the taste of blood in his swollen mouth made him nauseous. He was lying on a bare wood bench and his hands and feet were cuffed this time. He rose gently, trying to contain his moan of pain. His head threatened to explode and each breath created a groundswell of tight suffering in his chest. From bitter experience he knew his left shoulder was probably dislocated, the pain was intense and persistent enough to make his breath come out in gasps. He lifted his hands to his face only to find them covered with dried blood.
There was more dried blood around his hairline nose and mouth. He tried his best to brush his blood-matted hair from out of his eyes with his sleeve and winced at his painful cheekbone. Someone had had a field day using him for a punch bag while he was blissfully unaware. The assorted pains and abuse only returning now in increments of agony to remind him of what hed missed. He could not believe he was there, in this cell. Accused of the worst kind of crime. Rape and murder of a little girl. He thought of Sam then, her smile, her little voice calling after him. The shame and guilt of loosing her. He missed her so. The polices cruel distortion of her disappearance still rang in his ears and set fire to his heart. He gulped back tears. How dare they? How fucking dare they!
He had loved her and spent the best part of his sorry life looking for her. It was his worst nightmare, which became reality. He called out with a broken voice to the guard, the snoring of which told him he was only a few meters away from his cell.
A few minutes later, after having pleaded his case for correct rights to be observed, he was dragged unceremoniously in front of a telephone. The man he had attacked looked at him with an angry stare like a hyena staking out its prey.
"Phone call, Mulder. Only one. Better make it count you sick asshole."
Mulder breathed deeply, barely able to stand but somehow he did. He clung to the table for support, searched his memory through the haze of pain and composed the number.
"Fox? Fox? It's me." Soft fingers against his brow, and a calming presence permeated his foggy head.
With his swollen eyelids sticking like theyd been glued from the inside, it was difficult to open his eyes but he succeeded in distinguishing the soft concerned face which was hovering a few centimeters in front of him.
"Maggie. Thank God, you are there. I cant tell you how glad and grateful I am that you came."
He rose from his cot with difficulty and made a pained face. You are not exactly catching me at my best.
"I came as fast as possible, Fox. My god, what happened? What a state you are in! They told me that you had attacked the officer in charge... I cannot believe it..."
"Maggie... I have done nothing. I am not guilty. It's a terrible mistake. They didnt believe me and thought I needed help to confess my sins. Some poor kid is dead and the killer is out their waiting to pounce again and this bunch of comedians prefer to play bust a move with me."
Maggie frowned and then just looked angry as she took in the multicolored damaged face of her daughters partner. A man shed come to like her own son. Mulder suppressed a grin at her maternally outraged lioness expression.
"I know, Fox, I believe you. This is Frank Bonnett. Hes agreed to be your lawyer.
A pleasant friendly man, who appeared to be about his age, offered to shake Mulders cuffed hand. Awkwardly he took it, returning the gesture and gave him the best smile he could mange with a split lip.
"Fox, Dont worry. I will have you out there in no time."
"I prefer that you call me Mulder. I don't need a lawyer. I am innocent."
"As you will, Mulder. Who put you in this state? This looks excessive to me. You should really put the finger on the ones responsible for this abuse. You of all people should know how brutality cases within the force could get out of hand. This is wrong, no matter what they think you have done. Innocent until proven guilty. Your injuries look like they need immediate attention.
"I kinda lost my temper in the interrogating room. They were forced to restrain me."
"You are hurt, Fox. You need to get checked out at the hospital." Maggie Scully implored rubbing his arm.
Maggie reached out and placed a comforting hand against Mulder's face, mimicking the way her daughter always used to.
"God, Fox, youre burning up!"
Mulder winced at the discomfort of his injuries. His headache was back with revenge.
His eyes were huge with desolation as he looked at the kind face of Scullys mom. His voice didnt want to move past the lump in his throat as she squeezed his hand and gave him the familiar Scully smile; an older Scully perhaps but Maggie was still an enormous comfort in the absence of her daughter. "Please help me to get out of here."
Frank answered for her. "I will see what I can do, Mulder. Did they read you your Mirandas?"
"Yes. They did everything by the book. I know the procedure. Except for attitude adjustment therapy." His tongue poked at the bloody welt inside his mouth.
Frank smiled, with an honest face and an air of confidence Mulder was glad that someone had, because he sure as hell didnt-- Bonnett and Maggie leaving the cell after calling for the guard to open the door.
Maggie turned back to looked at him, sadly as she started to follow Frank out, closing her eyes, sighing. She stopped suddenly.
"I haven't been able to contact Dana yet, Fox. Where they are hiking is a bit remote. I have left a message for her to call urgently. I could join her this evening at the refuge. I know that when she hears, she will want to return as fast as possible."
"I need her to find proof that I didnt do this. She will know how. She always knows what to do. I know she will come through for me.. find a way..."
Tears of pain, rage and shame burned his eyes all over again, remembering the officers angry and vile accusations, both for the current murder victim, and about his sister. He could no longer get the words out past his tears. Maggie pulled him against her suddenly and gently rocked him for comfort. The way she had always known soothed her hurt children.
One hour later, he found himself at Georgetown's hospital. Hands still locked up in the cuffs on both his wrists and ankles, wearing tasteful incarceration orange, he was eventually shown to a cubical and examined by a doctor. The diagnosis didnt come as much of a surprise, having been on the business end of countless beatings before. He had several fractured ribs, bruised and congested lungs, the latter due to a severe respiratory infection and a badly dislocated shoulder. The reduction of the dislocation was terribly painful and after some colorful cursing, he eventually lost consciousness for a few moments under the weight of agony. It had taken threats by his lawyer to get them to release his cuffs for the procedure to be carried out. Mulder was in a world of hurt. Disorientated, feverish and nauseous, he regained consciousness a few minutes later.
The doctor injected him with muscle relaxants, antibiotics and analgesic and told him to rest. The cops wanted him back in custody but the doctor was worried enough about his condition to want to admit him. He spoke a long time with the officer in charge of Mulders case, Tom Benson, who wanted nothing more than to haul the agents ass back to jail. A heated argument broke out and he waved a warrant at the doctor. Reluctantly Mulder found himself heading back toward the nest of vipers known as the 8th downtown precinct. The officer had all but shoved him back in the police van, bashing his ailing shoulder. Mulder bit back a curse as the blackness threatened to engulf him again, the van sped back to the police station. He thought he could make out his new lawyer Bonnet and the cops arguing but is all coalesced into a swirl of the overall nightmare.
Under the drugs effect, Mulder was suddenly
completely detached of his fate. In a haze of pain, he
understood that he was released with a bond, the manacles
were opened and a while later, although he couldnt
remember how he got there, found himself in Maggie's car,
exhausted. The moment his painful head hit the seat, he
was sound asleep.
Residence of Maggie Scully
"Theyve pressed murder and rape charges against him, Dana. It's really serious. Even if he is innocent, that case can compromise his career with the FBI. They are even threatening to open up Samanthas abduction again because they are trying to imply he killed her too. Oh God!..Poor Fox." Maggie was almost in tears as she imparted the last awful bit of infatuation. Maggie heard her daughter reel off a few salty curses under her breath that would have made her father blush. She looked at her mother in shock and then angrily, then turned the same gaze to Bonnett who was taking notes.
"He could never be capable of that, Mom. Mulder isn't a violent man. He would never do something so evil with a child. He adores kids, he could not harm a hair on a childs head."
"They searched at his place, Dana. Tore it apart and confiscated his laptop. Papers. They found evidence of porn sites stored on his computer, Dana, and his videos. They will be used against him."
"He is not guilty."
The young woman eyes were filled with tears as she turned her head towards the couch where Mulder had rested since her arrival. He looked so broken, the way he lay to avoid aggravating his many injuries, the deep sadness marring his whole sleeping face. It tore her up one way and down the other. He didn't even awaken when she had arrived at her mother's house a few hours earlier and she had let him sleep. He would suffer well enough while awaking. Best to let the drugs take him under for a few hours of ignorant bliss rather than face this dreadful accusation hanging over him. Hed have to face the music soon enough. She cursed herself for not seeing that hed been sick when she left, that he needed her. This whole mess would never have happened.
She had sat quietly by his side, carefully opening his shirt as not to disturb him too much. She had gasped and felt the tears welling up as stroked his ribs gently and had winced at the bruises, which covered most of his chest. She had stroked his reddened and swollen jaw and his sweat soaked hair. He could not have committed this crime. She knew him so well. He was incapable of violence towards an innocent. To accuse him of killing his sister was cruelty beyond believe and must have shredded him up inside. He looked like the flame had gone out in his heart. She alone knew how much he missed her, how he had looked for her. Each disappointment another nail hammered into his heart. He saw her face in every murdered child case they worked on, heard her scream for him in his worst and frequent nightmares. Something that ripped him apart with viciousness of broken glass being dragged through his organs Over and over. And now to imply that he was responsible .
Her tears fell like rain down her face and she turned to Bonnett. Fixing him with a defiant gaze.
"I will find a proof which will prove his innocence, Frank. I swear it. I wont rest until we clear up this mess. In no time, he will be free of charges."
Frank just nodded.
Office of the A.D Skinner.
"I will not let you deal with this case, Agent Scully. You are too close to Mulder to be completely objective."
"Please, sir. I know that he isnt guilty. This wallet found near the body story is just a coincidence. Its purely circumstantial. He was sick and passed out for a spell. The taxi driver can attest to that. He had lost it quite simply, or it was stolen by the murderer at the crime site."
Skinner lowered his eyes and sighed. Mulder's arrest and the crimes, which weighed down on his agent had left him smelling a rat, uneasy. It sounded all too convenient, like some set up. He felt angry and saddened by what Mulder was going through and wanted to help. But he had top follow some kind of process as AD. He knew that his agent was not the kind of man to commit such a terrible crime. But did he really know him so well, deep down? Could there be demons lurking in the darker corners of Mulders life that could cause him to snap ? Enough to take a life? But as for Scully and her loyalty to her troubled partner? She was in the best position to really know him, everything about him, how far he could be pushed and what his real inner demons could manifest as, after all these years, after all they had both lived through. They trusted each other like no one else on the planet, with their lives, their hearts. She truly knew him and he would have to bow to her greater knowledge and acceptance of Mulder. It was good enough for her so it was good enough for him. He pinched the bridge of his nose and blew out a breath, raising his eyes to her determined face.
"You convinced me, Agent. You are in charge of this case. But don't rush or bypass any rules, Agent. None. We need to clear him strictly by the book and with guidelines of the bureau. I am clear?"
"Crystal clear, sir."
The first thing Mulder did when he was awake was to call Scully. He was under supervision of Maggie Scully, but bless her, she never made it feel like he was anything other than a cherished son staying with her.
"Scully? It's me."
"Mulder? How are feeling?"
"Like Ive have been hit by a truck. Did you find something?"
"Not yet, Mulder. I will be performing the autopsy at 11."
She heard him take a huge breath over the phone. She knew he wasnt thinking about his own fate then, just the poor dead girl she had waiting for her to cut up later. "I 'm not guilty, Scully. You believe me at least dont you? "
"Of course, Mulder...Ive never had any doubt. We will find a way to clear this up. Get to the truth. Theres a murderer still out there. More kids at risk. I had to hang up. I will see you after the autopsy. Keep faith, Mulder."
Thanks Scully. I owe you big time for coming back for me. Seeing me through this.
Mulder hang up, and with a sigh, murmured to the empty air.
"Welcome to my nightmare, Scully."
She knew that the days to come were going to be difficult, for them. Difficult for Mulder because he was hurting, sick and above all innocent, difficult for her because she had to prove this. She knew the officers accusation relating to Samantha had hurt him deeply and she also knew that the death of this child was for him a cruel replay of his anguishes.
A sudden thought made it quiver. What if he was guilty? And if the events of their last case had made him lose his beautiful mind? Could that and her time away from him when he needed badly to decompress and spend time with her, push him over the edge? She knew his leaning for pornography; she forgave him because it was the only way to releasing his libido, she even found it endearing, but she was practically sure that he didn't see prostitutes. He never seemed to date, always giving the impression he never wanted anyone but her. Worshipping her from afar. But after all she wasn't behind him 24/7.
He hadn't really spoken about that with her, she knew he had feelings for her but like everything else they were bad at communicating the personal stuff between them, to undoubtedly obstruct his fear of rejection, or mask his shame that he couldnt barely function without her. It had taken her a long time to realize that but he made an art out of covering that up. Using humor and self-flagellation to stave off talking about it, facing it. For fear of scaring her away. She shook her head, and refused to continue her reasoning. He could not be guilty. She seen that utter despairing look he got when he worked on cases such as these to ever consider him capable of such atrocity. It was a totally alien concept. He felt each death of a child to the core, a little of the sorrow laying down plaque over his heart with each passing incidence.
The child's naked body was placed on the cold metal of the autopsy's slab.
Scully took a deep breath and got started on her sad task. Two hours later, exhausted and feeling stressed, she removed her apron and her glasses, her gloves discarded, and washed her hands carefully. A few minutes later, she was in front of her laptop typing in her report. The samples had been sent to the laboratory for further forensic testing. The results would be available in two days. Two interminable days. It was also in two days that Mulders preliminary hearing in front of the judge would take place. If the body fluid samples were a positive DNA match, his life was as good as finished. He would be tried for murder and sexual assault on minor. The sorrow for everyone would be maximum and immense. He would be imprisoned for the rest of his life, if he avoided capital punishment. Then the whole can of worms surrounding Samanthas death might be dragged out and reinvestigated. The tears welled up her eyes without mercy. He would never survive this if that happened. She didnt she could either. The enormity of what hung over them almost took her knees out.
"NO ! NO !"
Maggie hovered in the living room where Mulder had been asleep a few minutes after lunch, after having only barely eating a quarter of what had been on his plate. Shed observed him with growing worry while he had carried a few forkfuls to his still painful mouth, his eyes were bloodshot and full of fear, dark rings encircled them. His incipient beard accentuated the paleness of his gaunt face. She had assured him that she trusted him, her confidence in him complete although he hadnt been able to open up to her, resentment and fear were deeply anchored in his soul him, devouring him, heartbeat by heartbeat.
He fell from his chair, and she was beside him in seconds, wanting nothing more than to comfort him but his gasping stopped her and she looked at the stupor he was in. His eyes looked dead and his handsome face was contorted and distressed, his fists tightened and the joints of his fingers bleached white under the effort of holding himself together. She murmured soothing words in his ear, hands cherishing his sweat soaked face and he opened his eyes suddenly, fixing her with a hallucinatory gaze. He rose abruptly and launched himself towards the toilets, where she heard him vomit for a long time. She left him to a few moments of privacy, then gathered some wet cloths and a towel.
He staggered out a few moments later, with hesitant steps, wobblier than a new born colt and hanging onto the door jamb with purpose, his face gray, his hand clasped to his painful heaving chest. He sat down heavily on the couch and caught his face between his hands. Maggie was by him like worried mother, a comforting hand on his shoulder. One hand came back to encircle hers in thanks. How much more could this poor man endure ? Shed been scared he was having a heart attack when he first left the bathroom. Clutching at his chest like something was trying to break free of him.
"Fox... It will be all right. Dana will find the proof of your innocence. Rely on her."
Mulder's shoulders were shaken with painful sobs. His head always hidden in his hands, he murmured with a hushed voice, so weak that Maggie had all the sorrows of the world for hearing his faltering words.
"And what if its all true... If I have really killed this child? "
"Fox... sweetheart, why are you doing this to yourself? What on earth could make you believe that? "
"My nightmare... I saw myself doing . that... I have ..." he looked like he was about to vomit again and his face twisted with pain and self disgust. Maggie held onto him rubbing his back, willing that this pain would be over soon and hed be free of this latest cruel torment in his life. And her daughters, because what affected him, affected her.
"Shhh ... This is stress and shock talking... And this fever due to your lung infection is making you feel wretched. Stop tormenting yourself with this. Its not true and you know deep down, just as I do that you are innocent. Youve always been such a good kind man Fox, I believe in you. I know that you are incapable of doing this to a little child. The truth will be realized my dear and then you have let me take care of you until you feel better. You and Dana have been such a lot lately. Its no wonder youre getting so sick and stressed out. Now come and rest."
"But I lost consciousness in that park. I cant remember much, just that my wallet was gone. I dont know..I dont know where What if I had snapped and was acting out in one moment of madness...? I'm a poster boy for unstable emotionality... I have high intelligence, a disturbed childhood, like serial killers. Ive always been one step away from the evil they do. I get in their heads and part of them resides in me, hidden, lying in wait. Oh god!!"
"Shut up, Fox. Please. I don't want to hear you do this to yourself. If ever you act this way, blurting all this stuff out in front of Frank or worse, in front of the judge, the suspicions on you will increase."
Mulder's sobs intensified. He was gasping in-between them now, strangled cries ripping from his throat as if hed never stop. Alarmed but aching for him this poor under loved man, she took him in her arms and he stayed rocking against her slight but so calming body, unable to contain his disturbed state of mind, his fear and his distress. He sagged against her and let fitful sleep claim him.
"Noooooooo ! Scu... Scu..." He choked back his scream as soon as it tore out of his throat. Gentle fingers wiped his sweat soaked eyebrows.
"It's ok, Mulder... You are safe. Youve been sick. I'm here to help you."
He came suddenly aware of his surrounding. He was lying on his couch, in his apartment. His head was in his partners lap and Scully was smiling gently at him. It felt like a very nice place to be and he was momentarily confused.
"Scully? What I'm doing here? Did you find something?"
"Oh yeah, Mulder. I found you when I stopped by yesterday to see how you were doing. You were burning up, and you had vomited all over yourself. You had a very high fever during the night and I was about to call 911. You were dehydrated and..."
"No, no. Did you find any proof?" Scully gave him a confused look and a custom raised eyebrow.
"Any proof of what, Mulder? What are you talking about?"
"The child 's murder, Scully... "
"It's over, Mulder. We already solved this case."
Mulder shook his head to clarify his mind. His mouth opened and closed but no speech came out. His head was killing him, his eyes burned; his lips were parched and dry. He tried to moisten them with his tongue. It was difficult to swallow. A glass of fizzing liquid suddenly appeared in front of his face.
"Try this. Little sips, Mulder. You can have a few Tylenol 3 with it. I don't want you to repeat last nights scenario."
She handed him a glass of Seven-up. He took it with shaking fingers. Gradually, all the events of his feverish nightmare began to fade. He began to shiver, his teeth chattering again the icy liquid. Scully pulled up the Navajo throw up over against his trembling bare chest. As soon as the warm sensation hit him, he felt a little more human. He let his body calm down and relax, letting his head hit the comfortable pillow like a brick. He was beginning to feel stupid now, but with no small relief all the same. Thank god. It had been just a terrible nightmare. A terrify, horrendous heart achingly real nightmare. He closed his sore eyes and whispered to his partner, a hand snaking out beneath the throw to latch on to hers life his only life line.
"I have never been so happy to just be sick, Scully. And tell your mother that I love her." Scully was puzzled at the sudden tears forming in his eyes and felt them threatening in her own then. Must have been some nightmare. This last dreadful case had really done a number on his psyche.
Scully gave him a surprised smile. She didn't think that he was really aware of the events of the previous night when shed rushed over here directly from the airport with her mother after her return from her trek. Mulder wasn't answering his phone, his cell phone was turn off and her Mulders-in-trouble alarm went on full panic mode in double quick time. They rushed into his apartment at 10 pm, only to discover him lying out cold on his old couch, sweating and thrashing with a raging fever. Her mother stayed for a few hours, bathing him with tepid water, while Scully went to the drugstore to buy antipyretic meds and Mulder healing essentials. Damn him, he never had these vital supplies in his cabinet. Well, he had some, but way past its use by date. Maggie left them at 4 a.m, kissing the ailing man tenderly like her own son.
"She loves you, Mulder. She loves you very much. And so do I", she added in a whisper when she was sure that he was deeply sleeping, one hand on his now much cooler cheek and the other over his heart.
A little smile appeared on the corner of Mulder's mouth.