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My Protector

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My Protector

 

Chapter 1

 

“No!”, Mulder shouted, as the gun fired and the bullet inevitably pierced the chest of his partner, Dana Scully. Her lips formed a shocked ‘O’, as she fell to the ground. Right before losing consciousness, she could hear another shot fired, and a distant thud as her shooter’s body hit the pavement.

***

Fox Mulder sat immobile on the hospital chair. His back was tense and his fists clenched. He was sat on the edge of the chair, as close to his partner as he could get, without actually crawling into bed with her. She was still unconscious, her body small and pale against the hospital sheets. His eyes closed and his mind played back the events that lead to this.

 

A week ago, Monday morning.

“Morning Scully, you’re late today?”, Mulder acknowledged as his red-headed partner entered their basement office. Dana Scully smiled her typical mysterious Mona Lisa smile and walked over to her desk. “Sorry Mulder, I have this new next door neighbour and he desperately wanted to socialize”, she said. Mulder’s eyebrows shot up and his attention was immediately peaked at the mention of another man in Scully’s life. “Oh”, he said, aware that he had been quiet for an unusually long time. “Soooo, what’s he like?” he asked, not-so-subtly. Scully sighed. “You know, nice, I guess”, she answered non-committedly. Mulder nodded. He sensed she didn’t really want to talk about it, so he dropped the subject, storing the topic in his mind for future exploring. “Want to hear about our new case?” he asked. Scully smiled and walked over, her face switching to business mode. “Tell me”, she answered. 

Mulder fired up the slideshow as he told her all about the new case Skinner had given them. Three men were brutally murdered, all single and in their forties, all good, hard-working men. However, the murder-part was speculation, as it wasn’t really clear how these men had died. Cause of death was no mystery, each man had multiple injuries, a massive blow to the head being the most obvious one. The odd thing was, they were all found dead in a public place, surrounded by witnesses, who apparently had seen nothing. It was all happening under their noses in Washington, which made it a priority for the FBI. 

Scully carefully listened to her partner’s explanation, ready to find a flaw in his theories, which usually featured aliens, monsters or some form of telepathy. She was therefore very surprised when Mulder ended his presentation without mentioning any of these. Instead, he looked at her and asked: “So, what do you think, Scully?”.

Scully raised one eyebrow at Mulder, the surprise still written on her face. “What, no theories, Mulder? An invisible perpetrator, maybe?”. Mulder grinned, “You’ve been hanging out with me for too long Scully!”. Scully smiled, ‘God knows that was true’, she thought. “Besides,” Mulder continued, “you forgot rule number 1!”. Scully gave him a questioning look. “Trust no one, Scully! Come on, let’s have another conversation with the witnesses”. Scully nodded her approval and the pair left the office.

***

Mulder and Scully entered her apartment building, both tired and frustrated. They had talked to every witness of all the crime scenes, and had come up with nothing. Of course, they had read the statements in the police report, but Mulder was convinced they had missed something and insisted on tracking down every single person present at the time of the deaths. Mulder still felt very suspicious of the witnesses’ account, but Scully couldn’t understand how all of these people could be lying, especially as it involved different victims and different crime scenes. 

They were still arguing about it when they entered Scully’s hallway.

“Well, maybe it was hypnosis?” Mulder said. Scully sighed, she knew Mulder would come up with a supernatural explanation eventually. “Hypnosis?”, she asked skeptically. “Yeah, the killer hypnotized the witnesses in some way, willing them to forget what happened”, he explained. “Mulder,” Scully began, when the door next to hers opened and her new neighbour came out. 

He looked surprised to see her with another man, and looked Mulder up and down before speaking. “Oh, hi Dana”, he said, “are you okay?”. His eyes shifted to Mulder again. “Hi Matt”, Scully greeted, “I’m fine, sorry for the noise, this is my partner, Fox Mulder”, she introduced him. “Nice to meet you”, Mulder said. “Yeah, you too”, Matt replied. He paused on Mulder again, then said a friendly goodnight and closed his door. 

“So…, that’s the new neighbour?” Mulder asked, the case temporarily blown out of his mind. “Yes, that’s Matt”, Scully said. “Look Mulder, I’m really tired, can we continue this tomorrow? Come over and we’ll look at the reports again together, I’m sure we can come up with an explanation that excludes hypnosis”. Mulder laughed and raised his hands in a gesture of mock surrender. “Fine, I give up. I’ll see you tomorrow, Scully”, he smiled. “Good night, Mulder”, Scully said, her eyes smiling back in gratitude. “Night ma’am”, he answered and turned back around to the elevator.

Next door, Matt Duncan moved his ear from the door, satisfied to know that the dark tall man hadn’t spent the night next door. He turned around and headed to bed.

***

The next morning, Mulder showed up at Scully’s apartment bright and early, armed with coffee and bagels. He had just knocked on her door, when the door next to her apartment opened and Matt’s head stuck out. “Good morning”, Mulder said cheerily. “Oh,” Matt said, “it’s you again”. Mulder paused, not expecting the rude answer, but then smoothly replied: “Yes, it’s me, again.” He grinned, “I’m here quite a lot”, he admitted. Matt half-exited his apartment and nodded. “So, you’re her partner? What does that mean, exactly?” Mulder wondered what was taking Scully so long. “Um, we work together, at the FBI. Didn’t Scully, I mean, Dana tell you?”. He wondered what they had talked about that morning she was late for work. “Yeah, she told me she’s an FBI agent”, Matt acknowledged. “So you just work together then?” the man continued. Mulder was getting pretty annoyed with their conversation, but he was sure that knocking on the door and begging Scully to open up would be considered to be very impolite. “Well, we are friends”, he answered shortly. Matt nodded and was about to ask another question when Scully finally opened the door, a towel wrapped around her hair and her shirt half-buttoned. “Hey Mulder”, she greeted him, “sorry I was still in the shower.” “That’s okay Scully, I was just chatting to your neighbour here”, Mulder said. He threw a polite nod at Matt and entered Scully’s apartment, thankful for the escape. 

***

Scully closed the door behind him, and only then did he properly look at her, and noticed that she wasn’t completely dressed yet. He tore his eyes away from her chest and cleared his throat. Scully seemed totally unaware of his distraction and rubbed the towel over her hair while she directed him to her couch. “So um, this Matt guy?” he started, trying to focus on something else than the lacy edge of her bra that was still visible, “he’s kind of…” he trailed off, not sure what to make of the man next door. “Nosy?” Scully supplied. Mulder smiled at that, clearly she didn’t like the guy either. “Yeah, very in your face I guess..” Mulder agreed. “Does he bother you?”, he asked, now worried. “No,” Scully sighed, “he’s fine, he just always seems to be there when I come home or when I leave… It’s like living with my parents”, she joked. “Well… maybe he has a crush on you?” Mulder asked, suddenly feeling worried again, and a bit nervous. Scully chuckled. “Let’s focus on the case, shall we?” she told him.

 

A few hours later, the FBI’s most unwanted had a couple of suspects listed, and plans to stakeout their houses the coming week. Mulder had discovered that the victims had some ex-girlfriends in common, which seemed pretty suspicious in a big city like Washington. 

 

The following week went by pretty slowly, their stakeouts unfruitful and frustrating. There had been no new victims, which was good of course, but it didn’t help them solve their case any quicker. At night, Scully kept running into her neighbour, who annoyed her more and more. Matt seemed unable to take no for an answer, and kept up his attempts at small-talk and what she could only assume was flirting. She would have to agree with Mulder that he did have a crush on her. When another uneventful week had passed, Scully was quite ready to give up on the case, or rule it as an inexplicable X-File, when Mulder came to her apartment late at night. He banged on her door, probably alarming the whole building, and pulled her out of the door as soon as she had opened it, all the while rattling on about a movie the men had been to. She was just able to pull her door shut, and tried to follow Mulder’s explanation while being led out of her building. In the corner of her eye, she could see Matt’s door opening, but didn’t give it another thought. 

 

When they arrived at the cinema, Mulder finally calmed down enough to explain that the victims had seen a certain horror movie the night before they died. Mulder was convinced this was a lead, and had booked them some tickets for tonight’s show. Seeing as she herself had failed to come up with any explanation, she decided to go along with Mulder’s theory. They were standing in line, when Matt suddenly appeared. Scully frowned, and her mouth dropped open as she saw that he was holding a gun. “Mulder”, she said quietly, and turned fully towards her neighbour. He seemed to be looking around, searching for someone, and when his eyes found her, he aimed…

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 

Previously:

 

“No!”, Mulder shouted, as the gun fired and the bullet inevitably pierced the chest of his partner, Dana Scully. Her lips formed a shocked ‘O’, as she fell to the ground. Right before losing consciousness, she could hear another shot fired, and a distant thud as her shooter’s body hit the pavement.

*

Fox Mulder sat immobile on the hospital chair. His back was tense and his fists clenched. He was sat on the edge of the chair, as close to his partner as he could get, without actually crawling into bed with her. She was still unconscious, her body small and pale against the hospital sheets. His eyes closed and his mind played back the events that lead to this.


***

Mulder shook his head and rubbed his hands over his eyes, trying to force those horrible images from his mind. A small hitch in Scully’s breathing made him look up, and when he saw that her eyes were open, he jumped up from the chair. 

“Hey sleepy-head,” he said softly, “how are you feeling?”. Scully swallowed and looked around. “What happened?”, she asked, confused about her surroundings. “Well, it seems your neighbour, Matt, was a jealous psycho”, Mulder explained matter-of-factly. Scully raised her eyebrows. “What?”.

“They’ve searched his apartment, he had a wall full of pictures and drawings of you”. Scully looked away, a sick feeling burrowing up in her throat. 

“You warned me he had a crush”, she said bravely, trying to make light of the situation. Mulder smiled. He came closer and brushed her hair out of her face gently. “Yeah….” He said. Just then, the doctor came in. Mulder winked at her and left the room to give her some privacy. 

The doctor filled Scully in on her condition. The bullet had entered her shoulder, so she had been very lucky. She could go home, but she might need someone to help her out the first couple of days, as her right arm would be quite immobile. Scully nodded and thanked the doctor. 

*

Half an hour later, Scully exited her room, dressed in her jeans and her bloody sweater, her right arm wrapped in a sling. She found Mulder waiting for her, head down. He jumped when she approached and stood up. “Ready?”, he asked. Scully nodded.

“So um, Scully…” Mulder started. “I was thinking that you should stay with me for a couple of days.”

Scully smiled. “That’s really sweet Mulder, but I can take care of myself”. “Even with one arm?” he asked, sarcastically. He sighed. “Look Scully, you’re injured, we’ve got the week off-work, will you just let me help you?”

Scully stopped, the smile fading from her lips. “We’ve got the week off?”, she asked. Mulder nodded, “Skinner’s orders”, he said. 

Scully started walking again. “Well okay, but you don’t have to help me Mulder, really”, she said again. They had reached their car. Mulder forcefully opened the door, threw his jacket on the back seat and slammed the door shut again. Scully jumped at his sudden violent behaviour.

“I KNOW you can take care of yourself, Scully”, he said, “I know you’re fine and I know you don’t need me, for anything,” he continued, venom creeping into his voice, “but for once, will you just let me take care of you?” he ended passionately.

Scully was dumbfounded. She wasn’t sure where this reaction was coming from. Mulder could see the hesitation in her eyes and added softly: “I nearly lost you, Scully”. Tenderness won out and Scully stepped close to her partner, trying to hug him with one arm. He surprised her when he grabbed hold of her petite body, wrapping her securely in his arms. She could feel his body heat, and his breath against her neck made her shiver. He shifted slightly, and the whispered “Please?” in her ear would have made her say yes to anything right then. She stepped back and nodded, slightly embarrassed at her reaction.

“Can we pass by my apartment to get some clothes?”, she asked timidly, a blush still visible on her cheeks. “Of course”, Mulder said, and opened the door for her.

*

They had picked up some of Scully’s clothes and toiletries, and headed back to Mulder’s apartment. He had carried her bag, and she had let him, which Mulder considered a good sign. As it was nearly dinner time, Mulder suggested that she take a shower while he prepared them some food.

Scully stood under the hot spray of water, enjoying the feeling on her strained muscles. Her shoulder felt a bit sore, but a few painkillers would fix that.

She washed her hair and her body, avoiding the use of her right arm. When she got out, she had to admit that Mulder had been right. Doing things with one arm was going to be difficult.

She could dry herself off just fine, but how was she going to get into clothes? The nurse had helped her get dressed at the hospital, and taking her shirt off had been relatively easy.

Wrapped in the towel, she suddenly remembered that she had forgotten to bring any pajama’s to Mulder’s apartment. Tightening the towel around her body, she stepped out of the bathroom in the hopes of stealing something of Mulder’s to wear. 

She was drawn to the delicious smell in the kitchen, where her partner stood stirring what seemed like spaghetti sauce.

“Mulder?”, she started quietly.

Mulder looked up from his cooking, and noticed his partner standing in his kitchen, wearing nothing but the small towel he had given her.

He did a double-take as his hand betrayed him and did some sort of spastic gestured that made the spoon drop to the floor. The sound startled him and tore his gaze away from Scully’s scantily-clad body. 

“I was just wondering if you have a shirt I could sleep in?”, she continued, mystified by Mulder’s sudden clumsy behavior. He straightened, trying to act naturally and hoping that he wasn’t blushing like a schoolboy.

“Yeah, of course Scully, hold on”, he said.

He went over to his wardrobe and chose a long navy blue Yale-shirt.

“This okay?” he asked.

“Sure, thanks”, Scully smiled.

She stayed still, the T-shirt in her hand. “Something else?”, Mulder asked. Scully hesitated. This was going to be embarrassing. “Well,” she said, “I can’t really put it on with one arm…”

Mulder swallowed. He wasn’t sure what she was asking of him. “Do you want me to help you get dressed?”, he asked. “Yeah”, Scully said quietly.

Sensing her discomfort, Mulder approached her.

“It’s okay Scully, of course I’ll help.”

He took the shirt out of her hands and bunched it up. He was about to pull it over her head, when he realized that the towel would be in the way.

“Um, Scully? You’re gonna have to lose the towel”.

Scully looked at him, panic shining in her eyes. “Turn around”, Mulder suggested, “I wont look, I promise”. Scully swallowed and nodded. She turned her back to her partner and slowly undid the towel. She lowered her head as it fell to the ground, feeling the redness in her cheeks.

Mulder pulled the shirt over her head, gently pulling her immobilized arm through the sleeve. “All done”, he said quietly. 

He noticed she was still feeling uncomfortable, so he stepped back and said: “Why don’t you take a seat on the couch, Scully? Dinner is nearly done.”

Scully nodded, grabbed her sling and walked over to the couch, noticing the candles Mulder had put on the coffee table. She suddenly felt nervous, butterflies were fluttering in her belly.

The whole setting was almost romantic, the smell of a homemade dinner in the kitchen, the dimmed lights, the candles…

She dismissed the thoughts immediately, the idea of Mulder trying to seduce her with a romantic setting was ridiculous. 

“Why don’t you pick something to watch?” she heard him yell from the kitchen. Scully turned on the TV and flipped through the channels, settling on a romantic comedy that was playing. She leaned back into the cushions, her legs folded underneath her, when a plate of steaming spaghetti appeared.

Mulder stood proudly in front of her, and she accepted the plate with a grateful smile.

“What are we watching?”, he asked her. “It’s called ‘The Proposal’, it’s a comedy”, she said. 

The pair settled in the couch, steadily working away the pasta. Scully was pleasantly surprised at Mulder’s cooking skills.

About an hour into the movie, she realized that she had forgotten to take another painkiller after the shower, and could feel her arm starting to hurt. Her current position on the couch was getting uncomfortable, and she winced when trying to sit up.

Mulder noticed her discomfort immediately, and looked over worriedly. “You okay?”, he asked. “Yeah, I just think I need another painkiller”, she admitted. Mulder got up and got her the medicine she needed along with a glass of water. 

*

By the time the movie was over, Scully had snuggled into the couch, and was sleeping soundly. Mulder decided that she couldn’t sleep like that, and picked her up to carry her to his bedroom. Luckily, he had changed the sheets, so he tucked his partner into his freshly made bed.

She looked very peaceful asleep, and Mulder couldn't help but notice  how tiny she was. She hardly took up any space in his double bed. Of course, he knew Scully wasn’t very tall, but usually she more than made up for her height. She was a strong, capable and stubborn woman. ‘And beautiful’, he couldn’t help but think, when he pulled the covers over her legs.

He sighed, he shouldn’t be thinking like this. Scully was his partner, and he was lucky to even call her his friend.

The last thing he wanted to do was risk that friendship, no matter how he really felt about her...

***