Because…I Love You?

TITLE: ‘Because…I Love You?’

AUTHOR: XSketch

Art by Mercimulder

EMAIL: XSketch@hotmail.com

WEBSITE: http://

thesketchfiles.bravehost.com/ SPOILERS: Up to Je Souhaite and then AU. There’s a brief allusion to my VS11 ‘Love’s A Beach’, and Waddles52’s VS10 ‘A Night To Remember’ Valentine’s Specials

RATING: PG-13, I guess

CATEGORY: X, S, MSR, MT, A

SUMMARY:

FEEDBACK: FEED ME! Make a sick, lowly gal happy 🙂

DISCLAIMER: CC, 1013, Fox etc own ’em 0 I just like to play with ’em…and maybe torture them a little bit <EG>

ARCHIVE: Exclusive to IMTP’s VS12 for two week’s, and then the kid can be yours for adoption as long as you drop me a line to let me know where 🙂

DEDICATION: To all the lovely folks at Mulder’s Refuge, who I’m missing greatly at the mo while I’m still ill 😦 Praying to be back ASAP! HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY, MR!!!

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Because… I Love You?

The roses had been a sweet surprise – the large, poorly scrawled on card even more so – and yet the surroundings she had literally been forced to ensconce herself in on this cold but beautifully sunny Valentine’s Day came as no surprise at all – far from…

Yep, they were back at D.C General Hospital, and just as

unsurprisingly she was sat at the bedside of her injured, sleeping partner…

“Only you, Mulder…Why is it always only you?” she sighed

solemnly, outstretching a hand to rest on his arm.

“B-b–…Because…y-you l-lo-ve me?” came the dry, drug-addled voice from the bed.

Dana Scully’s head snapped up to lock eyes with him, and – despite how tired and angry she was – a small smile lifted the corners of her mouth. “It’s not funny, Mulder!”

“Made y-you smi–…smile, though, d-d-didn’t it?”

Fair play.

After swallowing hard several times to try clear his throat did

very little – if anything at all – Mulder uneasily turned his head a fraction to glance at the glass of water on the nightstand… which was too far out of reach. “Scu–”

She saved his voice by quickly picking up the glass and holding it to his lips so that he could sip from it. “You shouldn’t– *we* shouldn’t be here – we were supposed to be going out for a meal!

Skinner could’ve gotten the situation under control without any–”

A hand raised to indicate he’d finished with the water, and she took a quick, deep breath as she put the glass down. “There would have been no casualties!” Cue raised eyebrow and pointed glances at the bandage round his head, and his strapped right shoulder.

“Instead, you had to put your big feet in and now another

Valentine’s Day has been laid to waste.”

“You didn’t l-like the f-flow-ers?”

Silence.

“And, hey, we had a good time last y-year at that beach c-c-club, didn’t we? I-I know I’d ditched you earlier that mor-ning, but I made up f-for it, just as I will this time – I promise.” He made a painful attempt to reach for her, but the movement of his right arm was a little too restricted for his liking, and outstretching his left any further only threatened to disconnect the IV and monitor lines.

“The year before we were – surprise, surprise – in a hospital with you incapacitated…I thought it’d be different this time…”

Scully trailed off and shook her head. She knew he didn’t get

injured on purpose, and that he had been desperate to make everything special for this day (praying hard that it would work out, considering it never did when he tried every normal day), but, God, she was angry at him for his anal-retentive need to keep his nose in where it was hardly ever needed, let alone wanted…

Basically: stepping blindly into a situation that would, without a doubt, always result in his being badly hurt. Yesterday’s stupidity had almost claimed his life, and she was too tired and emotional to joke about any of it. “With the house…I just dreamt it would be different…I-I know I shouldn’t, but…I dreamt about us going out for the candle-lit dinner at the restaurant, and then coming home, sitting in front of the fire and sharing a glass or two or three of champagne, and then…Well, retiring to the bedroom…”

Mulder watched her for a moment and then let his eyes slip shut as he pictured the things she was describing in his head (thankfully the pain meds still swimming around in his body stopped him becoming too aroused, though only just). He understood that her anger matched his frustration at the whole injustice, but he’d had to do what he’d done – he’d just had to; for the little girl, for Scully…for the safety of them all…

XxXxXxXxX

24 HOURS EARLIER

FBI HEADQUARTERS

WASHINGTON, D.C

Scully was preparing their reports for the meeting with Skinner when Mulder hung up the phone and moved to snag his coat from the stand by the basement office’s exit.

“Where are you going?” she frowned, resting back in her seat and folding both arms across her chest.

This ought to be good.

“That was Kim,” he mumbled rather distractedly and not meeting her eyes as one arm waved dismissively in the general direction of the phone on his desk, whilst the other fumbled through the pockets of his coat til he found his car keys. She waited patiently for him to continue, but he looked as if he was working something out in his over-active mind.

“Mulder?”

“Hmm? Oh, uh, she said our meeting with Skinner’s cancelled…The case he’s been involved with has hit a head, and he’s had to go out…”

“Mulder?” The cautionary tone worked, and he finally stared at her. “Is this the kidnapping case you’ve been using the computer to hack into and take a look at Skinner’s files on?” She’d had a stern word with him about it two weeks ago when she’d realised he was reading reports by Skinner, not them, over the network, but had said nothing more – at least he’d kept his distance, and that was always for the better when it came to child abductions – if he wasn’t reading about it, he’d have only been hounding the A.D to let him in on the investigation. “The Orlowski case?”

The story was that six-year-old Sarah Orlowski had been snatched from her mother’s grasp whilst they were out on a shopping trip in downtown D.C. A couple of notes had been sent to the parents, warning them that a high ransom would be wanted in exchange for their daughter back, but there’d been nothing else – no amount, no date of exchange – and the local law had no clues to work with.

Skinner had only been called in because the family were friends of the Director’s wife. And so the hunt had begun, with a lot of frustrated waiting involved. Three days ago, Forensics had managed to finally lift some of the kidnapper’s DNA from the second letter, and a match had been found in the shape of escaped mental patient Matt Gout…

…who’d been untraceable, until now.

“Yeah. Somebody reported seeing suspicious activity at a derelict, burnt out building…turns out it was Gout. Don’t know anything else, except that the situation became hostile, and Skinner’s gone to help.”

Still frowning, Scully continued to stare at her partner as he

relayed the facts Kimberly had passed on to him, and then

realisation dawned – no wonder he hadn’t wanted to make eye contact with her…

“Oh, no you don’t!” she exclaimed, quickly raising to her feet and moving to stand in front of the open doorway with hands firmly on hips. “You’re not going down there, Mulder – for a start it’s not anything to do with us, and secondly we have plans for tomorrow, remember? Special plans? Plans you promised wouldn’t be jeopardised this year?”

“I know, I know! Valentine’s Day…” He paused and smiled.

They’d been ‘lovers’ (Jeez, he hated that word) for several years now, but this year was very different due to the simple fact they were properly living together, in *their* own home. The thought of returning to that after a beautiful meal to continue the romance by the open fire made him warm inside – he couldn’t believe how far they’d come…or even how far *he’d* come along since those first days of their being partnered together.

There was a job to be done, though – a little girl was in danger – and although he knew it wasn’t his to do, he couldn’t let it go.

“I promised, and I’m gonna keep that,” he swore, cupping her chin in the hand he’d used to point at the desk. “How can I pass up on the opportunity to share a tub of ice cream with you by firelight?” Both of them smiled, but too quickly the seriousness returned to his face and voice. “But I gotta do this. Something just tells me I gotta be there…if not for the girl, then Skinner.”

She couldn’t believe she was actually listening to his excuse, and that tub of ice cream suddenly looked as if it was rolling away, further and further.

“You better not get injured, Mulder, because if you do I guarantee I’ll hurt you twice as much when you’re recovered,” she growled, snatching up her own coat. A placated Mulder was much easier to deal with than one that disappeared against her will, so the best answer was for her to go with him.

The opportunity to make a leery innuendo had stepped forward, but he let it slip as she turned away and he rested a hand against the small of her back. Pushing his luck was not a good idea, especially considering she hadn’t put up an argument.

XxXxXxXxX

H STREET

FEBRUARY 13th, 2005

2:13 PM

“GET AWAY FROM HERE, OR I WILL – I’LL KILL HER!”

Walter Skinner pinched his temples between thumb and forefinger.

The negotiator they’d sent in had only infuriated Gout even further and forced him to a higher floor in the unstable building. On the positive side, they knew the girl was still alive, but for how much lon–

He saw movement through the corner of his eye and turned to see Agents Mulder and Scully approaching.

“What the hell are you–” He frowned and glared at Scully –

silently reprimanding her for letting Mulder anywhere near here. “What is he doing here?!

“Playing a hunch,” Dana shrugged. Their boss knew as well as her about Mulder’s obsession with these kind of scenarios, so no further explanation was really necessary.

Mulder wiped a sweaty hand down his face as he looked up at the building surrounded by the local PD and SWAT teams.

“I GOT A GUN, SO JUST GIVE ME THE MONEY AND LET ME ALONE AND SHE’LL BE OKAY!”

There were gasps from the crowd that had congregated at the road block, and a few more officers quickly ran over to help the couple already guarding it.

“We have a visual on the suspect,” a voice crackled over the radio in a nearby police car. “Need– Wait! No, that’s a negative – repeat, *negative*…The suspect has moved and we have no clear shot.”

The annoyance began to bubble inside Mulder.

“What are his demands?” Scully queried the assistant director as she shot a concerned glance at her partner’s back.

“There’s been nothing definitive – he just keeps rambling on about getting money,” the police chief cut in from behind her. “Must have watched too many movies before they carted him off to the nuthouse.”

Mulder listened to it all until he couldn’t take it anymore and

decided he had to do something. He gave one quick glance at the two familiar figures behind him and then – drawing his weapon – ran toward the building’s entrance.

“At any rate, we’ve got snipers strategically placed, and they’ll move in as soon as the slightest opportunity arises.”

Scully nodded, and turned back to stare at Mulder…

…only to just catch a glimpse of his back before the tall, dark

looming tower swallowed him into its depths.

“*Mulder*!”

Skinner sharply turned in the direction she was facing and then stared at her. “You knew he’d do it – why did you let him come?

There was a reason I didn’t want him knowing anything abou this, Agent Scully!” He paused and a look of puzzlement creased his features. “For that matter, how *did* he know?”

Well, she couldn’t exactly say ‘he’s been reading your private

files’…could she? “Uh…” She continued to stare at the

entrance to the burnt out structure – her mind working to worry more about her partner’s safety than why they were here. “We got a call from your assistant to cancel the meeting we were supposed to have with you earlier.”

Technically, that didn’t really answer the question at all, and yet the assistant director pushed no further.

She let out a sigh and weighed up the options of following Mulder in or waiting.

*I promise nothing’s gonna get in our way this year – it’s just

gonna be me and you.*

She had thought it better to wait until there was a sign or

something to say she should do otherwise, but with his words still echoing in her head the reality struck that he would be injured for tomorrow unless she intervened, and so quickly moved to follow.

~~~~~

Mulder carefully climbed the flight of stairs – being sure not to

step on any of the ones that looked ready to collapse and perhaps take the rest with them. He could hear Gout’s voice from somewhere above him, broken once by the sound of Scully calling from below, so onward he went, until he reached the top, fourth floor.

“Mulder?”

The familiar, hushed voice made him pause and turn briefly. Surely she hadn’t followed…

“Mulder?”

Yep, she had, and when her small figure came into view, he wasn’t sure if he should jump for joy or have a panic attack.

“You promised!” she whispered sharply, approaching quickly with her own drawn weapon held low.

He only had chance to reply with a shrug before Gout yelled out again from down the hall.

“COME ON! WHERE IS IT?”

The two agents glanced at each other and then slowly stalked toward possibly the only room still with four walls standing – as destroyed as they were.

They found him huddled in the corner in his asylum-issued pyjamas with one hand holding onto the small girl, and the other gripping onto a revolver as if it were a lifeline. He raised his head to stare at them as they entered, and sharply raised the gun.

“It’s okay, Matt, we’re here to help,” Mulder started, gently.

“I just want my money,” the other man whined like a ten-year old – the gun beginning to waver. “But they won’t give it to me!”

Scully nodded and took a step forward, hoping to help calm the crying child. But the floorboard creaked under her weight, Gout panicked, the revolver fired, Orlowski screamed, and with an “Oh, crap,” Mulder collapsed.

~~~~~

The sound of gunfire set everybody into action down on the street, and a woman bystander fainted. Skinner immediately pulled out his cell phone to dial 911, whilst the SWAT team ran into the building.

“Those your agents?” the police chief sniped, grabbing Skinner’s arm. At the assistant director’s nod, the other man finished, “You better pray that ain’t the little girl that’s been hit, otherwise your head’ll be had.”

~~~~~

As chaos assembled downstairs, Scully quickly knelt beside her partner to examine the wound to his shoulder.

“I…I’m sorry,” he choked through grit teeth, staring up at her with pleading eyes. “I prom–…promised…”

Lifting him slightly to search for an exit wound that it turned out wasn’t there, she shook her head. “You never keep them, Mulder Dammit, the bullet’s still in you…”

“Sculleeeee…”

“It’s gonna be okay. Relax and stay still – I’m sure an ambulance is on the way.”

“I’m sorr–”

“Shh…Just stay with me. That’s all I ask.” Feeling a tear roll

down her cheek, she reached out to brush a few errant strands of hair away from his face. “I need you with me every day, not only tomorrow.”

Gout watched with his head cocked slightly to the side – the girl sliding out of his grasp. She immediately ran toward Scully, who gathered her up in her arms, but then the pyjama-clad man realised what had happened and lunged for them both.

“Scu–”

Before she had chance to raise her gun, it was knocked from Dana’s grasp and she was being held against the kidnapper by a large arm.

“I got me two now!” Gout giggled, keeping a tight hold on the two struggling females as he turned to look out the window at the figures below. “YOU BETTER GIVE IT TO ME NOW!”

The sharp pain tearing through his shoulder, the nausea and light- headedness were all forgotten as Mulder lifted his head slightly to stare at the back of the man keeping his partner and the girl captive. Getting himself injured due to his own stupidity was one thing, but he couldn’t let anything happen to her – anybody but Scully… Shakily, he struggled to his feet – hissing at the pain that threatened to send him hurtling into darkness – and then moved toward Gout.

“Hey!” he started. When Gout turned, he struck out and hit him directly on the jaw. Scully and Sarah broke free and quickly moved out of arm’s reach. Mulder wavered on his feet – completely drained and unable to fight anymore. But it didn’t take long for Gout to regain his senses, and once again made for the two women.

*How can I pass up on the opportunity to share a tub of ice cream with you by firelight?*

Drawing on the power of his emotions, Mulder dived for Gout – not registering the loud creaking floorboards under his weight.

“*Mulder!* No!”

As the SWAT team burst into the room and Mulder’s arm wrapped around the madman, the floor finally gave way and the two men dropped down.

“Everybody out!” one of the uniformed men ordered, waving to his colleagues and moving to carefully guide Scully and the little girl out. Scully stood frozen on the spot, though, staring with horrified, wide eyes at the hole her partner had fallen through.

“Ma’am, we need to get out of here before the whole thing

collapses!” He grabbed her arm in one of his hands, but she

abruptly shook it off.

“That’s my partner!” she finally snapped, taking a tentative step forward to look into the hole and see how far he’d dropped.

There, on the second floor, she could see the two bodies lying motionless. She didn’t care about the injuries Gout had sustained, but the blood pouring from Mulder’s gunshot wound and what looked like an injury to his head was enough to make her fear the worst.

“Oh, my God….no…”

The team leader looked down also and shook his head. “We need immediate EMT help on the second floor,” he barked into his headset, reaching for her arm once again and succeeding this time in pulling her out of the room. “We have two men down.”

She refused to go any further than the second floor, though,

despite the warnings, and stayed by the unconscious-but-alive Mulder’s side until he was wheeled into the operating room at the hospital.

XxXxXxXxX

D.C GENERAL HOSPITAL

FEBRUARY 14th, 2005

4:22 PM

Mulder woke up and weakly looked round til he noticed his partner napping in the seat beside his bed – the memory of yesterday’s events continuing to haunt him. He’d asked for flowers to be delivered for her when he’d first regained consciousness early this morning, and had struggled to sign a Valentine’s card the Gunmen had brought in at his request, but he wished he could make it up properly. So much had been lost and destroyed this past year, he marvelled at her resolve whilst worrying how much more of a beating

it could take.

“Scully?” he whispered.

Immediately, she snapped awake and leaned forward to rest the back of her hand on his forehead. “Mulder, are you okay?”

He chuckled, coughed, and then smiled. “I feel like I lost my

happy thought and fe-ell quite a way, but you’re helping to b-bring it back. How about y-you?”

“I’m fine.” At his frown, she quickly added, “really. Not a

scratch on me. Sarah Orlowski was checked, cleared and returned to her parents, and Matt Gout was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Meanwhile, Skinner’s not sure if he should congratulate you or wring your neck.” Uneasy pause. “But you had me so worried, Mulder… I thought…I really thought–…Dammit, Mulder, you shouldn’t have done it! Why? You knew the risk…You knew the

cops would move in as soon as they heard the gunshot – why couldn’t you have waited those few more seconds?”

He stared into her eyes, hoping that she would see the answer reflected in his, but when the well-exercised eyebrow raised higher, he tenderly replied, “Because….I love you? Because I didn’t….I didn’t want to see a-anything happen to you? I screwed up and broke my promise, and I-I’m p-p-paying for that, but…” He paused to reach up and pull her hand away from his forehead so that he could place it over his heart. “I won’t ever let anything happen to you as long as there’s a single b-breath in my body – that I s-swear.”

The tears broke free and trickled down her cheeks as she stared at him a moment longer and then bent to place a kiss on his lips.

“The same vice versa,” she whispered, lingering there. “But I

don’t know how much more I can take of this, Mulder. I don’t know if I can take almost losing you again…I love you too much to–”

“Shhh.” The hand covering hers lifted to cup her cheek, and

somehow – using their silent communication – it was agreed nothing else needed to be said.

She nodded and lowered her head to lay on his chest. It didn’t take long for the sound of his steady heartbeat to help her drift back off to sleep.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, S-Scully. I’ll make it up to you as soon as I get out of here…and then we’ll see about your punishing me for g-getting in-jured,” he whispered with a smile, kissing the top of her head before he too gave into the exhaustion and medication.

“Mm.”

XXXXXXXXXX

THE END

Seems to me, seems to be

you’re the reason

Why I live, try to give

all I can.

Can’t you see, that for me,

life’s worth living.

When you’re near, I know you’ll

understand.’

~’You’re The Reason’ by Gene Pitney

AUTHOR’S NOTES: So, what’d’ya think? Not very romantic, I know, but this has to have been the fastest fic I’ve ever written LOL I saw Vickie Moseley’s request for VS stories by Wednesday on Monday, dismissed it, then got an idea in my head the following day and spent the next 24 hours writing to get it done on time! Whew *thud* Whatever you think, though, please drop me a line at XSketch@hotmail.com 🙂

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