RATING: PG-13 for language, mild violence.
DISCLAIMER: Characters from The X-Files are property of FOX and 1013, I just borrowed them to fulfill a fantasy. No infringement intended…besides they don’t seem to have any use for them anymore.
SPOILERS: None that we know of.
SUMMARY: A dream is an answer to a question we haven’t learned to ask…How would Mulder look in a fedora?
At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
CRADDOCK MARINE BANK
Scully remembered the last time the two of them had been in a branch of this bank. The
desperate young man decked out in explosives and the young woman who had somehow
found herself between a bullet and Mulder. This was Craddock’s main office here in
D.C., a huge stately building built back in the thirties, its façade and pillars covered in
aged pink granite. As she followed him across the polished floor, her eyes took in the
huge marble columns and beautiful woodwork of the interior of the banking
establishment. It reminded her of something in an old movie. “Doesn’t this place remind
you of something out of a noir detective story, Mulder?” Scully asked as he stopped at the
unoccupied front desk. “You could play the part of Philip Marlow
“Philip Marlow?” he asked, turning to look at her with that quirky grin on his face.
Scully gave him a swoon, “You know the movie last night, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren
Mulder chuckled, he didn’t remember much of the movie last night, “You watch too
many of those old movies, Scully.”
“They’re the best ones.” She was glad for the uneasy truce they had reached since last
evening. For the time being Mulder seemed to have put their heated discussion behind
him. She still wasn’t sure why he had insisted they come here today. It was something
he’d obviously planned but in his usual manner hadn’t provided much of the details. There
was something about the place that made her feel uneasy. As if at any minute a band of
trench-coated, fedora-wearing thugs carrying sub-machine guns would invade the place.
She chuckled to herself, maybe Mulder was right, she had been watching too many old
“Fox Mulder,” a well-educated voice said to her right. She glanced over to catch Mulder
accepting the hand of an expensively tailored gentleman with slightly graying hair.
“John McKinley, guardian of the Mulder estate,” Mulder greeted him, shaking his hand
vigorously with a grin.
“Glad to see you finally got that cast off your arm. Now maybe you’ll let me try and beat
you at some round ball.”
“I hate to admit it,” he turned to catch Scully’s eye. “But right now, you probably could.”
“Well, come on back to my office, I’ve got everything all ready for you,” John said,
turning to lead the way with a grin that made him look younger than his graying hair.
Mulder motioned for Scully to precede him as they followed John through a passageway
behind a partial glass divider and into a large cubical. “This must be Dana,” he said
reaching over the desk to extend his hand to her as well. “Mulder’s told me all about you.
It’s about time someone got through to that heart of his.”
“Ssscully,” she caught the hesitation in Mulder’s voice as he winced at her. “John is my
financial advisor.” She shook John’s hand firmly. “John, Dana Scully, my…partner.”
Mulder made the introductions as if it pained him and then took a seat. Scully glanced
between the two men. John bit his lip as if momentarily judging what Mulder’s definition
of ‘partner’ might be and then ran his tongue across his lower lip as he motioned for
Scully to take the other seat. “I just need your signature on a few things here Dana and
then I hope this gentleman is going to buy you lunch,” he looked pointedly at Mulder.
“Maybe someone could tell me just what it is I’m putting my signature on…?” Scully
said, turning to Mulder.
Mulder looked to John and then turned to his partner. “John brought it to my attention
that some accounts I have here should have counter signatures on them.” When Scully
looked at him questioningly, he continued. “In case something should happen to me—
someone should have access to the funds.” Scully felt that uneasiness again as she took
the pen John offered her.
“EVERYBODY DOWN! DOWN ON THE FLOOR! NOW!”
The voice was loud enough to make all three of them jump. A few screams erupted from
customers, a child started to cry. “YOU ALL GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR AND NO
ONE GETS HURT!” The sound of booted footsteps echoed around the cavernous bank
building, a semi automatic was cocked. “I WANT THE DRAWERS EMPTIED.
THESE GENTLEMEN WILL ASSIST YOU. NO ALARMS OR EVERYONE DIES.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND!”
John got to his feet but Mulder, rising with him, instantly reached to grab his arm.
“Wait,” he insisted turning to Scully. “Get down! Under the desk!”
“Mulder, no,” she started to get up, reaching behind her for her Sig.
“Damn it, Scully, get down, use your cell, get the police in here now!” He practically
shoved her down behind the desk. By now both John and Mulder were visible over the
“YOU TWO, OUT HERE NOW! HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!”
As Mulder and John emerged from behind the partition, hands in the air, Mulder could
see at least a dozen people lying on the floor. A young mother held her daughter against
her side trying to quiet her. The man doing all the yelling was standing center stage
wearing a President Bush mask, holding a semi-automatic rifle. Three other Bush
imposters had vaulted over the counters and were collecting cash from the drawers.
There were sounds coming from the vault as well. It was all too eerily familiar to
“UP AGAINST THE WALL, HANDS ON THE GLASS!”
Mulder turned around to his right to face the glass partition, keeping his arms close to his
body so as not to expose his service weapon. John followed his lead and they both placed
their palms on the glass. The sweaty marks John’s palms made on the glass alerted
Mulder that the man was scared to death. “Just do what they say. Take it slow,” he said
in a low voice, trying to reassure his friend.
“SHUT UP! FACE THE WALL NOW!”
From where he stood, Mulder was looking right at Scully as she placed her cell on the
desk, obviously leaving the line open. He tried to mouth a “No” as he watched her
remove her gun and check the clip; finally resorting to a furious shake of his head when
she finally met his eyes. He refused to let her be the hero here.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”
The booming voice made Mulder jump. He hadn’t heard the group leader come up
behind him and now he too was looking right at Scully. She never hesitated, rushing
along the partition to plant herself in the doorway, gun raised in defiance. “F.B.I., drop
your weapon now!”
From the corner of his eye, Mulder saw the man raise his weapon; he had no choice now
but to act. Instinctively pushing John out of the way he made a leap for Scully. She
heard the man’s weapon discharge and felt an impact, felt herself hit the wall and then the
floor came up and everything went black.
MARGARET SCULLY’S RESIDENCE
24 HOURS EARLIER
Mulder walked into the kitchen in search of a beverage only to find Tara trying to stir
something on the stove and balance Claire on her hip at the same time. An act, he had
decided long ago only a mother could do. He stepped over to her and reached his hands
out to the toddler. “Here, I’ll take her.” Surprised at his offer Tara smiled and let Mulder
pull her daughter into his arms. She giggled when he made a silly face and the two of
them stepped over to the screen door to check out the back yard.
It was a melancholy memory for Tara, Bill doing much the same thing. For some reason
he had been closer to their daughter than to Matthew, making her think that maybe there
was something to that father-daughter, mother-son relationship thing after all. Mulder,
somewhat to her surprise, had taken on the “uncle” status of his own accord. Over the
summer he had become Matthew’s sports coach and Claire’s own personal pony.
Mulder’s connection to the Scully family for the most part hadn’t been a good one though
in all honesty, even she could acknowledge that was not entirely his fault. He and his life
were hard to understand but what she did know what that he loved Dana, and cared very
deeply for all of them. As she watched him making faces with Claire she couldn’t help
but think that somewhere inside this man of mystery, there lived a father trying to find his
way out. She finished up and put the lid back on the pot, crossing the kitchen to where
Mulder was standing playing some kind of guessing game with her daughter.
“A baby looks good on you, Mulder,” she said when she reached the pair.
“Excuse me?” Mulder looked somewhat astonished by her comment, setting Claire down
on the floor.
She smiled at him. “You’re really good with the kids, especially Matthew. I’ve never
gotten the chance to thank you.”
Mulder looked down and then out into the backyard. “You don’t have to thank me for
anything, Tara, they’re great kids.”
“You always find a way to make time to do things with them. You wouldn’t do that if it
didn’t mean something to you. Maybe you and Dana should think about having some of
Growing increasingly uneasy with the conversation Mulder chuckled under his breath.
“I’m forty-four Tara; it was never in the cards.” He looked at her now somewhat
confused. “You know Dana can’t have children.”
“Well, don’t give up on the idea.” Tara said, reaching out to touch his arm. “You never
know what life may offer you. There are other options, Fox.”
Claire was starting to tug on Mulder’s leg. “Come with me…”
“But first you have to make an honorable woman out of her.” When Mulder met her eyes
she continued. “How many years did it take you to admit to her you loved her? Don’t
take that long to ask her to marry you.” She reached down to take Claire’s hand.
“Claire, what are you doing to your Uncle Fox?” Scully’s voice filled the kitchen
startling them both. Claire let go of Mulder and ran across the kitchen into her arms.
“Come on, lets find you a seat at the table,” Dana picked the child up giving them both at
pointed look as she turned and walked out of the room.
Tara met Mulder’s eyes again, “Besides, you’d make Maggie very happy, and she needs a
little happiness in her life now.”
MULDER & SCULLY’S RESIDENCE
LATER THAT EVENING
Maggie’s dinner had been a quick affair. She and Tara and Scully had talked over what
the kids were up to and Mulder had sat and contemplated his conversation with Tara in
silence. They had stayed for coffee and pie and then headed for home for a quiet evening
“What are we watching?” Mulder asked as he settled in beside her on the couch and
handed her the bowl of popcorn.
“The Big Sleep,” she replied.
“Guaranteed to put me to sleep, that’s all there is?”
“Bogie and Bacall, Mulder, classic film Noir, I love these old detective stories; tall dark
handsome men in trench coats and fedora’s lurking about in dark alleys or driving classic
“Is that what it takes to win you over, a trench coat and a fedora?”
“You’re assuming you’re already handsome?” The impish grin on her face made him
smile, “You’d look great in one of those you know.”
“Yeah, I’d look like Indiana Jones’ younger brother.”
They sat in compatible silence watching the film and munching on the dry popcorn. She
found it odd for him to be so silent; he usually ran commentary through just about every
movie they watched together. Something else was evidently on his mind and had been
for the better part of the day, ever since she’d found him talking to Tara in her mother’s
“So what were you and Tara talking about this afternoon?” It sounded nosey and she
knew it. He didn’t say anything at first, reaching over and taking a swig of his beer. She
watched as he seemed to contemplate the bottle before setting it down. “The kids, she
told me I looked good with a kid on my hip.”
The comment threw her for a loop; it certainly wasn’t what she’d been expecting him to
say. They had long ago dropped any conversations of regrets and lost children, moving
on with the life they shared together. Mulder caught her distress. “She — was just
thanking me for spending time with the kids. I told her I enjoyed it.”
Putting the popcorn bowl aside she studied his profile for a moment as he turned back to
the movie. She knew it was there, deep in her own subconscious; a fear that her
infertility was keeping him from something he wanted but would never admit. “I know
you do. I can see it every time we’re with them.” She leaned a little tighter against him.
“Mulder, you’ve never really told me if you wanted children of your own.”
“Mini-Mulders? Now there’s a scary thought,” he answered in jest. “We’ve had this
conversation before, Scully,” his voice a soft baritone in her ear. He wrapped his arm
around her back, resting it on the cushion behind her, his hand coming to rest on her
shoulder. “All I want is you.”
She wouldn’t look at him, her eyes drawn to the black and white images in their TV
screen. He breathed out, the gentle puff billowing strands of her hair. His left hand came
up to cup her chin and he gently turned her face towards his, “Scully, look at me.”
His eyes when she met them were dark in the dim light of their living room. She watched
him swallow. His hand still cupped her chin. “Marry me.”
Her lips parted. Of all the things she would have expected him to say to her at that
moment, that was the furthest from her mind. He’d said it to her before in innuendo, in
making other comments like picking out china patterns over the years but at that moment,
from the look he was giving her, she knew for the first time he was absolutely serious.
Taken aback by the suddenness of the proposal she had no idea how to respond to him.
He dropped his hand and smiled at her. “I’m asking you to marry me. You know, be
Mrs. Fox Mulder,” his eyes danced with mirth. “Of course you could still be Dana
Scully, which would probably be better since it would be a little inconvenient if we called
each other ‘Mulder’. Come on, what do you say, make an honest man out of me?”
It hit her then in that last sentence what the conversation with Tara had been about. It
was a comment her mother had occasionally thrown at her but never held against her.
And for all the wrong reasons it hit a nerve. “Is that what this is about? Making me an
honest woman? Just what are you implying, Mulder?”
She watched the smile disappear from his face. “I’m not IMPLYING anything. I have no
doubt about your integrity. I just don’t want anyone else to think otherwise.”
Scooting back from him on the couch, she was now out of arm’s reach. “What brought
this on? We have a marriage in every sense of the word but the piece of paper that makes
it legal. Why is that suddenly so important to you? Why now?”
“What do you mean, why now? Why NOT now?” His defenses were going up and so
was his blood pressure. How had a simple question turned into a heated debate? “We’ve
been living together for two years; this courtship has lasted for what, twelve?” Gunfire
erupted on the television; he picked up the remote and turned the television off tossing it
onto the table with a satisfying whack. “I see how people look at us. For years we’ve
lived with the rumors and innuendos. We’ve been mistaken for a couple ten times over.
In the personal and professional sense I don’t know how to introduce you to anyone
anymore — partner, friend, lover, roommate…”
“We ARE all those things. The only thing ‘wife’ will change is that you won’t need
‘partner’ anymore Mulder. The F.B. I. doesn’t allow married couples to work together,
think about that. You of all people should understand the uniqueness of our situation.
Somehow we’re flying under the F.B.I. radar right now because even though we live
together we’re still working together. Don’t you see? As it is now, we have the best of
He glared at her then, “I don’t intend to spend the rest of my life in the F.B. I., Scully.”
Truth was neither did she but this was the first time she’d heard him admit it about
himself. She scooted back toward him, trying to put together the words that would make
him understand that their partnership went much deeper than any marriage possibly
could. “Mulder, listen to me for a moment.” Reaching to touch him she watched as he
turned away and launched himself off the couch. “I’m not saying no.”
“Well that’s funny,” he sneered as he turned back to face her. “Cause I sure haven’t heard
you say yes either.”
She closed her eyes and let out a breath of frustration. Opening them again she begged
him with her eyes, “How do I make you see that what we have here together is enough?
Somehow out of the ashes of our lives we’ve built a home here together. It’s made me
very happy. Are you telling me that you don’t feel the same way? How is our
relationship different from a marriage?”
“There’s no Mister or Misses in this relationship Scully, that’s what makes it different.
Legally we’re nothing more to each other than good friends.”
“That’s it? Good friends?”
He closed his eyes, let the sigh escape and then opened them again. “No — look, I’m
sorry,” he rubbed his hand across his forehead, for a moment she thought she saw it
shaking. “Forget I even started this conversation. I’m tired and I have a splitting
headache, I’m going to bed.”
With his recent history, she worried every time he complained of a headache. She was
suddenly struck with the thought that something else had prompted this conversation.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” their eyes met over his curt reply.
“Not that you would tell me otherwise,” she got up from the couch herself, the movie
long forgotten. Bending over to pick up the popcorn bowl and their two empty bottles,
she addressed him again. “I worry about you, about what’s happened to you since we
acquired that other artifact. I don’t want to lose you, Mulder.”
“You don’t want to lose me but you don’t want to marry me either is that it?”
“Dammit, Mulder, don’t put words in my mouth. It’s just that sometimes your obstinacy
frightens me. This has gone way beyond the fanatical. You’re so obsessed with the idea
that you’ve been given some gift — some window to the future that will somehow allow
you to prevent this Armageddon you believe is coming that you won’t even consider the
possibility that health wise, something could be terribly wrong. You worry about every
life but your own,” she let out another sigh as her shoulders slumped. Her eyes scanned
the room as if for divine guidance. It was a test of his patience but Mulder just stood
there waiting her out. “I used to think it was just your careless single-minded pursuit of
the truth. Now, I’m not so sure. These trips you take off the deep end…sometimes you
don’t seem like yourself. I wonder how far you’ll go with this.”
“You think I’m crazy, that I’m off my nut?” he questioned her with astonishment. “Are
you afraid of me Scully, is that it?”
“I’m afraid FOR you, Mulder. The toll this is taking on you physically. You just got
cleared for active duty from the last case. You cover it well but I know your leg still
bothers you. You don’t sleep well, these headaches…”
“How the hell did we get on this subject?” Mulder erupted, his arms flying out to either
side as he glared at her.
“Because, this subject affects the other subject! I’m tired of you taking the risks you do.
Can you promise me that if we were married that would change?”
They had been standing several feet apart in the living room; her arms full of dishes and
his head throbbing. Suddenly feeling the need to do something, he clenched his fists in
frustration and took the several steps towards her and grabbed the dishes from her hands.
“No, I can not promise you that so let’s just forget this conversation ever happened,” his
voice was flat as he turned away from her and headed for the kitchen clenching the dishes
in a death grip.
“I’m not forgetting you asked Mulder,” she said as he reached the doorway.
He stopped and turned to face her, “I know this isn’t the conversation we started but I
need you to understand something. I won’t lie to you, Scully. I take the risks I do
because I believe their outcome will be worth it. I believe the truth is out there, waiting
to be known, nothing has changed that. And if this ‘gift’ as you call it, will lead me to it
why would I not use it? You’re the one who told me God has his reasons — then there’s
got to be a reason for this.”
“Are you saying you believe this is a gift from God, Mulder?”
His head turned a little, in not quite a ‘no’, “What do you believe, Scully?” When she
didn’t answer he turned back towards the kitchen. “I need to see this thing through to the
end whatever its purpose, wherever it takes me. I just want to be certain that you’ll be
okay when it’s all over.”
Her brow furrowed as he spoke, “Us, Mulder, wherever it takes us. When will you
realize you’re not alone in this? Please don’t forget how much our partnership means to
both of us. It’s really all we need.”
She watched him stand there, mulling over her words. When he finally turned back to
face her it was for a totally different reason. “Don’t forget I need you to come to the bank
with me tomorrow, around noon, there’s something we need to take care of. Is that okay
She wasn’t sure he had accepted her resolution instead reminding her of an appointment
he’d only mentioned the day before. “Yes, I remember, that’s fine,” she answered as she
watched him disappear into the kitchen.
D.C. GENERAL HOSPITAL
She knew before she opened her eyes where she was. The scratchy sheets, the smell of
disinfectant, the echoes of voices in the hallway, the only question that remained was
which hospital she now found herself in. Her head swam and a brief bout of nausea
swept over her as she surveyed the room. The empty room she noticed with alarm.
“Well, look who’s awake,” the all too sweet voice of a nurse suddenly appearing in her
doorway drew her gaze in that direction; the sudden movement causing her vision to blur.
“A little dizzy,” she whispered.
“I’m not surprised honey,” the nurse came into the room, resting her hand on the bedrail.
“You have a nasty bump on the head, severe concussion, you’ve been in and out for quite
The scene from the bank came back to her, Mulder coming at her, the sound of gunshots.
“Where’s my partner? Mulder?” She looked up at the nurse with alarm.
“I don’t know honey. I just came on the floor. There hasn’t been anyone up here to see
you that I know of. You need to rest. Your doctor’s prescribed some Compazine for the
nausea.” She could feel the nurse adjusting her IV and then her eyes drifted shut again.
The second time she opened her eyes was a little easier. The room didn’t seem to swim
as much and the nausea was gone. This time the room wasn’t empty either. She sized up
the figure sitting in the chair next to her bed. He dozed on, his head cocked at an
awkward angle against his left shoulder, his right arm in a sling. She hesitated to wake
him but the mere fact that Mulder was sitting beside her looking relatively intact made
her feel one hundred percent better.
As if on cue, he stirred, his eyes opening as he straightened his neck with an audible
crack. Catching her eye, he leaned over and pecked a kiss against her cheek. “Hey
sleepy,” he smiled gently, adjusting her blankets and taking her hand in his. She eyed
him carefully. He was dressed in his dress slacks and a green hospital scrub. The heavy
shadow across his cheeks made him looked haggard. He had a nasty bruise on his right
cheekbone. Tape from bandage dressing was visible under the neck of the shirt.
“What happened?” she finally asked letting go of his hand to caress the bruise.
“My face sort of got in the way of George Bush’s boot,” he replied, picking nervously at
his sling. “Right after you tried to pull one of my hair-brained stunts.”
She reached to grab his hand again, “And you stepped in front of the bullet.”
“It’s just a flesh wound, no major damage.” He tugged on the sling and looked up at her
again. “Actually, it was more like I leapt in front of it,” he said with a wince. “But yeah,
I tackled you; you hit the floor before I did. I’m sorry, Scully. They want to keep you
here overnight for observation.”
“Sorry for what? For saving my life?”
“I told you last night I could never make that promise to you.” He met her eyes again and
sighed, “Besides, it was more like you saved ours. The cavalry showed up just in time to
save the day.”
“And I had no right to ask that of you,” it was a fact she had realized last night even as
she was making the request. “What about John? Was anyone else hurt?”
“No, everyone is fine, a little shaken up,” he looked away from her. “They’ll probably all
be looking to bank elsewhere, somewhere Fox Mulder isn’t a customer.”
“What am I going to do with you, Mulder?” She tried to take his hand again but he
“I don’t know, but I wish you’d figure it out,” his voice now suddenly full of frustration.
“Cause right now I’m at a loss trying to figure you out,” he finished abruptly and rose
from the chair stepping to the foot of her bed. “Look, I need to think some things over,”
she watched him look about the room, everywhere but at her. “I’ll call in the morning;
make sure you’re going to be released before I come back to get you.”
She was taken aback by his sudden act of departure, “Mulder?”
He turned around, “I’m tired Scully, I just want to go home.”
There was something in his manner that told her he wasn’t talking about being physically
tired. They’d been here before, she knew, asking themselves that question of whether or
not it was all worth it. But this was different, this wasn’t a question about the X-Files
future, it was a question regarding their own.
He smiled a weak smile and tugged on her toe beneath the blanket and then gave her a
gentle wave as he headed out the door. She lay there for a moment in the empty room
tugging the covers tighter as she drifted off again wishing for his warmth.
I awake to the sound of voices in the hall, male voices. I keep hearing my name
mentioned so I know they are talking about me. It irritates the hell out of me that they
don’t feel I should be privy to their conversation. One is my father; I don’t recognize the
“I just don’t think we should go through the Bureau on this. You start spreading her name
around any governmental organization and questions start to get asked about why some
Navy captain’s daughter needs government protection.”
“But you work for a governmental organization yourself Captain, you sound like you
don’t trust them yourself.”
“It’s not our government I don’t trust, it’s who might be listening to what our government
is doing that I don’t trust. You know as well as I do there are spies everywhere these
“Germany already knows we’re working on an A-bomb, Sir. What I don’t understand is
why she’s here and not at Oak Ridge with everyone else.”
“You don’t need to know why she’s here. All I’m asking from you is that you find me
someone to protect her, a bodyguard, someone you trust.”
“Someone that doesn’t work for the government.”
This is the second time today I’ve fallen asleep slumped over the lab table. We’ve been
working almost round the clock on this project and I am exhausted. But when I hear the
word “bodyguard” from my father I’m up off my chair and headed for the door, pulling
my hair back into a sensible pony tail and making an attempt to straighten my rumpled
clothes. I don’t need a damn bodyguard, what I need is a hot soak and a change of
clothes. They both jump when I open the door.
My father is standing there all proper in his Navy blues; this other man is tall and balding
with heavy glasses and a dark trench coat, obviously a Fed. I look at my father first,
“Don’t Dad, just don’t. I don’t need anybody watching over me, nobody has a clue what
we’re working on here anyway.”
“The Navy does and we don’t want the Germans finding out. It could mean the difference
between the success and failure of project!”
Out of the corner of my eye I notice this Fed put his hat back on and make an attempt to
walk away from this little family squabble. My father catches it too, “Where do you
think you’re going? I’m not through with you yet!” Then he turns back to me. “Dana,
honey,” he reaches out to caress my cheek and as much as I’m angry for his over-
protectiveness, I lean into his touch. “You look exhausted. Why don’t you go back to the
house, get some rest? Let me work this out.”
I am tired, and I want nothing more than a bed and those things I mentioned to myself
before. Go ahead Dad, work it out, just don’t expect me to go along with it. I nod and
turn to pull the door to the lab shut. My father and this Fed start to walk off down the
hall but not out of earshot. “Look Captain, I really think you’d be better off working with
the government on this but I might know someone, private dick, good guy despite your
first impressions. Is this going to be on your dime?”
“Will he be expensive?”
“Marty?” the Fed says, turning back in my direction. “Despite first impressions, he’s a
man of good character. I’m sure whatever you offer him will be fine.”
It takes me a while to find a driver to take me up to the estate. The Navy has put most of
its tactical personnel up in this Victorian estate just outside of Baltimore. My father must
have more clout than I imagined. When I finally get to my room I don’t even bother to
undress. I just pull the drapes and flop into bed.
I don’t know how long I slept; it felt so good to be lying in a bed again. Anna, our
housekeeper must have heard me stirring because she came into to inform me that we
would be having a guest for dinner and that maybe I should make myself look
presentable for once, I just hope it isn’t this Marty character.
I comb my hair and roll it into a chignon and then paw through the closet for a suit I
haven’t worn in ages. I need some heels. I hate looking up to people. I actually take the
time to put on a little makeup, Dad will be shocked.
When I get downstairs I’m disappointed to learn Dad, excuse me, the Captain, hasn’t
arrived yet. Seems there’s a big strategy meeting in the operations center so I get to do
the entertaining. Anna winks at me and then opens the door to the sitting room, “The
gentleman is waiting in here.”
“The gentleman,” as Anna referred to him is standing by the window admiring the
scenery. Smoke curling about his head. He turns when the door opens taking one last
drag before stubbing his cigarette out in the ashtray on the table. He’s about the same
height as the Fed who was here earlier only considerably younger. He’s dressed like the
Fed too in a trench coat. I watch him fumble with the well-worn fedora he’s been
holding. “The Captain is going to be a little late; can I have Anna take your hat and coat?”
He divests himself of the coat and hands them both to Anna who promptly bustles out of
the room. He’s dressed extremely well for his profession in a double-breasted suit and I
find myself unexpectedly drawn to his lanky form. Most of your private detectives look
like they shop at the thrift store. As much as his dark hair and smoky eyes intrigue me I
still don’t want him following me around. “You look like a much better dinner
companion than the Captain anyway, Doll.” I bristle at the salutation but the baritone
timbre of his voice makes me tingle, I know his type and I’m not going to let myself be
“Yes, well, I’m not the one who asked you here Mr.?”
“Marty, the name’s Marty,” he replies rather distractedly sliding his hands into his
I need something to do so I offer him a drink and walk over to the library table to see
what the men have left there. There’s only one choice so I pick up the bottle and show it
to him, “How do you like your scotch?”
“In a glass,” he replies rather sarcastically.
I choose to ignore his poor joke and drop some ice in the glasses. As I’m pouring us both
a scotch he digs in his breast pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. “Smoke?”
“No, thank you, I don’t smoke.”
“Well, neither do I, it just goes with the look,” a boyish grin crosses his lips as he lights
up. I walk over and hand him his drink. His fingers are cold.
I sip my scotch hoping it will steady my nerves. “Look — Marty, I’m not sure just what
you’ve been told but I’ve already made it clear to the Captain that I don’t need your
He swigs the scotch and sets the glass down, taking a drag on his cigarette, he meets my
eyes. “Just so we’re clear, I ain’t too thrilled about the prospect either. I don’t know what
your old man’s game is, Miss. But it seems that since he’s out there fighting a war the
least I can do is protect the home front.”
Obviously he’s been told the Captain is my father. He sizes me up and down and I find it
disconcerting until he meets my eyes, taking another drag on the cigarette. “Look Red, as
far as I’m concerned you’re just another job. Not that keepin’ my eyes on a dame is my
usual practice but I could use the cash.”
I’d like to smack him for using the word ‘dame’ but then I figure it’s just part of his
vocabulary. The ‘Red” on the other hand is another story. “My name is not Red.”
I watch him wander over and help himself to a second scotch, “What would you prefer I
call you then?”
I don’t even want him here, “Dana will be fine.”
He swigs most of the scotch again, “Yes, ma’am.”
I hate being called that too.
Dad finally shows up and we manage to get through dinner. Every time I look up from
my plate Marty, as he’s told us to call him is looking at me. He’s handsome in a roguish
sort of way and somewhere in his mysterious past he must have had a good up-bringing.
The pleasantries over, dad ultimately turns the conversation to the war. “Tell me Marty,
how is it that you’re not over on the front lines.”
Marty looks at me and then turns back to my father, “Somebody has to keep an eye on the
home front, sir.”
I don’t think my father likes his answer but you can’t argue with it. “Yes, well, if we don’t
win this war there may not be anything for you to keep an eye on. We all need to do our
“Isn’t that why I’m here?”
“Yes, and let’s get down to that.” Dad motions Anna to clear the table. “I’m sure you’re
aware of the Manhattan Project?”
“Yeah, it’s some science fiction project based on Einstein’s theory of relativity our
governments’ involved in to build an atomic weapon.”
“This SCIENCE FICTION project, mister, could wipe Germany off the globe!” My
father pounds the table with his fist and I watch Marty flinch at the vehemence.
“So you’re involved in this research?” Marty asks looking directly at me. Without a
cigarette he has nothing to do with his hands so I watch him play with his spoon left from
“NO,” Dad’s voice booms in the room. “While the U.S. is busy working away at places
like Oak River and Los Alamos; intelligence reports have informed us that the Germans
may also be trying to develop atomic weapons. I’m sure you’ll agree we can’t let that
“Yeah, I agree, go on.”
“Over the past several years our allies have been watching the activity at the Norsk Hydro
plant in Vemork, Norway. It’s been under Nazi control since 1940. The plant produces
Anna brings coffee for all of us and leaves the room. I watch Marty stir his even though
he hasn’t put anything into it. “So what exactly is this heavy water?”
Finally I can get a word in on the conversation, “D2O, it’s the key to one type of reactor
in which you can breed plutonium from natural uranium.”
I watch Marty as he sips his coffee and considers this. He looks back and forth between
my father and I and finally addressed my father, “So, why haven’t the allies destroyed the
“Two raids on the facility so far have failed.”
Marty sets his cup down a little more forcefully than he should. “I’m afraid I’m a little
confused here. If your daughter isn’t involved with the U.S. atomic research what makes
her a threat to German intelligence?”
“And why are you here?”
“Yeah, I was gettin’ to that.”
Let me explain this Dad I think to myself, “The importance of heavy water to atomic
production is that it provides one more way to produce plutonium for use in weapons,
completely bypassing uranium enrichment and all the other technological infrastructure
usually needed.” Marty must be smarter than he looks because he seems to be following
me so far.
“If Germany is able to perfect this process and produce enough plutonium to create
atomic weapons before the allies do, the results could lead to a global catastrophe.”
“Unfortunately, you’re probably right.”
“I know I’m right. What you don’t know is the effects these weapons will have on the
population. Aside from the destructive power and casualties of the initial blast, radiation
from them causes the onset of radiation sickness that could wipe out entire populations
and more importantly wipe out an army.”
“Radiation sickness?” he asks with a wince.
“Yes, our researchers have been sworn to secrecy but many of the civilians and project
workers involved are being subjected to lethal doses of radiation and becoming deathly
ill,” Marty looks like he’s going to turn green. “With the help of my father I have been
secretly involved in a research project to develop and test a drug that will combat
radiation sickness. Can you understand the value of that drug to an army whose sole
purpose is to take over the globe?”
“So, you’re not a threat to Germany, what they’d really like is to get their hands on you.”
“Which is why, Marty, you are here.”
“And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange
even to the men who used them,” Marty looks at me with something like regret in his
I watch his lip quirks up a little, “H.G. Wells, smart man.”
My father gets up from the table, “War of the Worlds?”
“No, um, The World Set Free,” Marty answers as he too gets up from the table.
My father looks at the both of us, “Lets all hope so.”
Dad hustled Marty back off to the library shortly after dinner. He and my father talked in
private for a while. I suspect Dad was just sizing him up, but he must have decided he
approved of what he saw because I heard him tell Marty he would be in touch with him
soon. I hate all this secrecy, especially when I’m the subject of it.
I don’t know what to make of Marty myself. He seems out of place in his profession.
Aside from dressing poorly most of these private detectives are past their prime. I’m
ashamed to admit I noticed, but he seems to be right in the middle of his adding an air of
mystery about him. No wonder my father asked, he should be on the front lines with the
rest of the countries young men. I also got the impression he’s had an education. Perhaps
I’ll get more out of a conversation with him than I will the rest of the old stuffed shirts
around here. He’s certainly a lot more pleasing to look at.
Anna catches me daydreaming while she finishes cleaning up. “Dana, honey, you stay
away from that one. I saw your eyes dance when you got a look at him; he’s trouble with
a capital T!”
“Why Anna, whatever do you mean?” I ask her with mock astonishment that she would
even think such a thing.
“Men like him only have one thing on their minds. I don’t know what your father’s
I walk over to tap her arm as I head off again to my room, “Don’t worry, I have no
intention of getting anywhere near him.”
Once again I’m woken from a sound sleep by Anna only this time she’s frantic, “Dana,
Dana, you have to get up! The Captain called, you need to throw some things together,
get your research and be ready to leave in half an hour!” She’s hovering over me in just
her nightclothes and then she heads for the closet to dig out a suitcase for me.
I crawl out of bed and she grabs my arm, “Get moving, there’s been a leak, the Germans
know everything. They know where you are!”
Once I’m dressed she hurries me out of the room, “Get your research, I’ll pack for you!” I
head downstairs and find one of the lab assistants in the library holding a case. “I think I
have everything they asked me to bring you,” he says nervously handing the case over to
me. I set it on the table and open it. My journals, lab notes and several vials of test
serum are packed inside. When the young man reaches over to touch my arm I look up
into his worried expression. “Good luck,” he says to me before I head back out into the
To my surprise, Marty is standing there just inside the door talking to Anna and holding
my suitcase. His coat and hat are spotted from the rain and his shoes have tracked water
across the polished floor. He turns to me almost immediately, “Come on doll, we gotta
So I’ve gone from “Doll” to “Red” to “Ma’am” and back to “Doll” in the course of one
evening. Marty and I have got to get something straight. Anna is handing me my coat
and I realize that I’ve just tumbled out of bed, I must be a sight. I bypass the coat and put
my hand on the banister, “Give me a minute to put on my face.”
Someone grabs my arm and turns me around; “You look just fine,” Marty says with an
intensity that I understand to mean we’re leaving now. Anna hands me my coat and we’re
out the door and into the rain.
He doesn’t say anything to me as he throws me and my luggage into the big Packard and
we head off down the drive. The car smells like cigarettes and our clothes smell like the
rain and I watch with some mirth as the brim of his hat drips water onto his lap but he
still doesn’t say anything as his eyes scan the road ahead of us. I’m a bit shocked by all
this and suddenly feel the consuming need to find out what’s going on. “What the hell is
He flashes a glance my way, “I don’t know. I got a call tellin’ me to come pick you up.
So here I am.”
“You usually just drop everything in the middle of the night for a call like that?”
I pull my coat tighter around me as I’m suddenly wracked by a chill. He must be
watching me out of the corner of his eye because he reaches out to turn up the heat.
“Didn’t have anything to drop.”
“No woman at home?”
“Home is where you hang your hat.” As if to emphasize his point, he looks right at me.
“I’m usually working most of the time.”
I don’t buy it. “I would figure you as a sucker for dames, Marty.”
“Well, you’re wrong, Sister.”
Wonderful, he’s added another name to the vocabulary. “Since we’re evidently going to
be stuck in the car together, I really wish you would just call me Dana.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he says without taking his eyes off the road.
We’ve been driving for almost an hour now in complete silence, save for the constant
thumping of the windshield wipers. It’s raining harder and his eyes are too busy
watching the road and the rear view mirror to notice as I give him the once over. He
needs a shave but between his clothes and the big car, detective work must pay better
than I thought. I decide it’s time to find out what makes him tick. “So, what’s your story,
Marty?” I watch him as his dark eyes flash to the rear view mirror again.
“What do you mean my story?”
“I mean I get the impression you haven’t always been strapped for cash.”
He looks at me again as if trying to determine how many of his secrets to give up. “I
used to work for the F.B.I., got fired for insubordination.”
I know there must be more and he must realize this. I watch his lip curl before he
elaborates, “Lived off the family dime for a while but eventually even that ran out.”
I can put two and two together and remember the man who was talking to my father
yesterday. “There was an agent at the estate yesterday, did he hire you?”
“In a matter of speaking yeah, he’s my old boss.”
When he doesn’t elaborate I continue to pry. “Interesting business you have now.”
“You wouldn’t like my business, doesn’t pay very well.”
We pull into an old gas station and he cuts the engine. “I need to make a phone call,” he
says looking over at me. “Don’t get out of the car unless you have to.” It’s hard to see in
the driving rain but I watch as he runs inside and then the attendant comes out to fill up
the tank while he makes the phone call. A few moments later there’s a tap on my window
and I roll it down. “Don’t do that again unless you know who it is,” he cautions me as he
hands me a bottle of soda and then walks around the car. I hold the bottle for a few
minutes wishing it were a cup of warm coffee instead and then take a sip.
He gets in and takes a heavy slug from his own soda. Droplets of rain drip off the brim
of his fedora again and I start to chuckle. He looks at me, “What?”
“Don’t you ever take that thing off?”
“Not if I don’t have to.” He finishes the bottle and tosses it in the backseat. The car roars
back to life as he starts the engine and pulls through the station; the car bouncing through
the ruts in the unpaved surface.
“Where are we going?”
“You don’t need to know,” he doesn’t look at me when he replies and I’m instantly
irritated by his cockiness again.
“I think I have the right to know.”
He glances at me only momentarily, deciding that maybe I do, “Away from the coast.”
I must doze off because it’s almost noon before we stop again. This time at a dumpy
roadside diner called Molly’s. We’re somewhere in Pennsylvania now and he still refuses
to tell me where we’re actually going. Maybe he doesn’t really know himself. I head for
the bathroom while he picks out a booth near one of the windows; hanging up his coat
and surprisingly his hat on the rack next to the table. He turns around to catch my eye
and runs his hand through his hair before he sits down.
When I get back to the table he is already nursing a cup of coffee and a smoke. I can feel
his eyes on me as I glance through the menu selections. “Well Red, what’ll you have?” I
think he knows I hate that because when I look up his lip curls into a half smile. “I hear
the ‘possum is especially tasty this time of year.”
God, he is so infuriating but at the same time I’m beginning to feel myself fall for him
and I hate myself for it. It was almost as if he’d legally kidnapped me and I’d let him.
The busty waitress seems a little disappointed when she comes back to take our order and
finds that Marty isn’t alone. She refills his coffee and saunters away. Our meal comes
and I watched him attack his food like he hasn’t eaten in a week. He ordered breakfast
while I settled for a bowl of vegetable soup and a sandwich. I still couldn’t shake the
“So tell me about this research you’re working on? How is what you’re doing different
from what they say is going on in the death camps?”
He’d caught me with a mouth full of food and I almost choke, “How can you even ask me
He puts down his fork and takes another sip of coffee, “Because I want to know if you’re
I throw the sandwich on my plate, “What do you mean, worth it?”
“If what you’re doing is worth me risking my life to protect you; it’s that simple Doll.”
“You’re not here because I asked for your protection,” I sneer at him.
“You’re right. I’m here because your father asked for it.”
I study him for a moment. This man isn’t the meticulously dressed gentleman who’d
come to the estate last night. This man looks tired. His five o’clock shadow has darkened
and his hair is unkempt and cascading over his forehead. He’s changed into a different
suit but I recognize the tie that now hangs askew from his unbuttoned collar. There’s
sadness in his eyes I haven’t noticed before. He holds my gaze for a moment as if
inviting me in before going back to picking at his breakfast.
“What do you think is going on in the death camps?”
“Things we shouldn’t talk about over a meal,” he acknowledges looking back up at me.
“Things that human beings shouldn’t be doing to other human beings. You’re not doing
things to other human beings are you?”
“Is that what you think?”
He puts the fork down with some finality. “No, I wouldn’t be here if I did. But I really
don’t know what to think because nobody’s tellin’ me much of anything, including you.”
The floozy waitress comes back to refill our coffee and when she leaves I proceed to tell
Marty what I’ve been doing in the bowels of that Victorian mansion. What the bombs
don’t destroy the radiation will take care of unless there is some way to combat it. This
applies to just about every living organism on the planet. What had begun as a war in the
trenches has now become a war in the laboratory. While scientists play with atoms it will
be the doctors who will eventually save the world.
“Do you have any idea will happen when atomic weapons are used in a war?”
I watch him pick up his spoon again and stir nothing into the black coffee. “Unfortunately
working for the government has its advantages. You learn a lot of things you’d rather not
know. But to answer your question — no, not exactly.”
“I thought you didn’t work for the government anymore.”
“That’s why I don’t.” Our eyes meet across the table, “What they had me doing didn’t
exactly live up to my high moral standards,” he says with a smirk but I can see the truth
of what he says in his eyes. “I get the impression you have morals of your own. What is
it you do that allows you to look the other way? How do you live with the lies?”
I take a sip of my coffee to ward off the chill he has given me. “I’m not looking the other
way. I’m looking straight ahead.”
I really don’t feel the need to defend myself to this man. I don’t know under what
circumstances he agreed to participate in this ‘undercover’ assignment and not know the
particulars and yet he obviously knows more about our situation than he is letting on —
being the ever protective male. I find it hard to understand him. I can’t figure out his
game either but he deserves to know mine. I set my coffee cup down with a satisfying
thump. “Hitler’s idea of creating a master race is nothing short of genocide. He wants his
Germany to rule the planet which means anyone he feels is a threat to that prospect or
inferior to his plan is expendable. And as I told you before if they’re successful in
developing atomic weapons before we do, we won’t be able to stop them. You know that
as well as I do otherwise you wouldn’t be ‘protecting the home front’.”
“Well, alright,” he says as he glances around the diner to see who might be within
earshot. “It’s just you and me here so explain this all to me.”
“I can’t explain everything. I don’t really know that much about atomic fission but what I
can tell you is that if we can’t figure out a way to keep the people involved in the project
alive; find a way to combat the radiation sickness or prevent it altogether…” I shiver,
the need to feel something warm envelopes me and I reach over and touch his hand. “I
can’t even think about it, Marty. It’s not just a war anymore, it’s a race.”
He looks down at my hand on top of his and gently extracts his from underneath it,
“Radiation sickness? Our own researchers are dying from it?”
“The exposure is not deliberate. One of the byproducts of atomic research is radiation.
As a doctor I can tell you that we’ve learned that depending on the proximity to the
exposure it can cause burns, cellular and vascular damage; fluid loss into the
gastrointestinal tract, terminal infection, hemorrhaging and eventually death. Scientists
had no idea of the extent of damage exposure would cause when they started this project.
This is why they’ve been sworn to secrecy. Until we’re able to come up with a cure the
public can’t know about the cause.”
“And you think this is morally right?”
“No, Marty, I don’t think it’s right,” I pick up my coffee cup, wrapping my hands around
it in another attempt to warm my soul. “But I think what I’m doing is right. Once these
weapons become available for use on battlefields the casualties, both civilian and military
will be catastrophic. So you see? The research I am involved in is two-fold. We need to
find a way to protect our own people. The project personnel and the rest of us in case the
Germans win. What I have in this case here is a key to that…”
“I wouldn’t have figured you for a doctor.” he says before I can finish.
“Does that surprise you?”
“No, but you surprise me,” he lights up another cigarette and takes a long drag on it.
“That you let me drag you out of that fancy house and out into the dark of night without
much of an explanation. You must trust me more than you let on.”
“My father trusts you.”
“As long as that’s good enough for you, Doll,” he says stubbing out his cigarette before he
slides from the booth.
By nightfall we’re crossing the Indiana state line. Marty has been driving for almost
twenty-four hours, he keeps rubbing his eyes and I can tell the coffee is no longer
keeping him awake. As we roll into Richmond he pulls up in front of the first cheap
hotel he can find and looks over at me as he kills the engine. “I gotta get some sleep.”
We get out of the car and he pulls a couple bags from the trunk while I grab my briefcase.
Inside the hotel he sets the bags down and heads for the pay phone he’s spied back in the
corner. Even with his back turned toward me I can still make out some of his
conversation. He’s asking about a tail and how many of them they think there are. He
turns around to glare at me and then slams down the receiver and stubs out the cigarette
he’d lit before heading back to where I’m standing. Grabbing my arm he steers me over
to the counter, “We need a room, front exposure,” he demands from the dumpy man
behind the counter as he scribbles something into the ledger and throws a ten-dollar bill
on the counter. The man looks at the ledger and then winks at me, “Sure thing.” I look
down to see Marty has scribbled Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the book before we follow this
loser up to our room.
The hotel sits on a corner and the room has windows that face both streets; two in the
front and one on the side. There’s a small table and two chairs; an old lounge chair near
one of the windows and one bed. Wonderful. “Bathroom’s across the hall,” the clerk
informs us as he points to the towels on the back of the door.
“Don’t you think we should get two rooms?” I ask Marty after our escort has left. He
makes the rounds of the room, checking the closet and then looking out all three windows
while I take off my coat and rummage through my bag.
“I thought you said your father trusts me,” he says pulling off his coat and jacket and
throwing them across the back of the old chair. He takes off his hat and sets it almost
reverently on top of them. It doesn’t surprise me to find he’s wearing a shoulder harness
with a good-size revolver tucked inside of it. His wrinkled shirt makes him look even
I’m curious to know whom this contact is he keeps calling. Is he trying to find out who
might be following us or could he possibly be telling them where we are instead? “To
whom were you talking to on the phone downstairs?”
“The Navy’s been monitoring some overseas transmissions. They know you’ve left
“The German hounds that are following us.”
“Why am I suddenly such a hot commodity?” I find myself asking. “I’m not the only
doctor involved in this project. What about the others?”
Marty is standing by one of the windows, I watch as he looks up and down the street
before he answers, “I don’t know about any other doctors. You’re the only one I’m
I don’t believe him but I take some things from my bag and grab a towel from the door.
“Leave the door open,” he says to me as I leave the room.
In the bathroom I scrub my face and reconsider putting on the nightgown I’d brought
with me. Dad might trust him but I won’t take the chance. Besides if we have to make a
run for it I don’t want to be running in my nightgown.
When I get back to the room Marty has turned the lights off. He’s standing in the
shadows by one of the windows smoking again and I catch the glimmer of the flask he
has in his hand. As I shut the door and lock it he motions an offer of a drink. “It’ll warm
“No thank you.”
I feel him watch me as I walk around the bed to put my nightgown back in the suitcase
and then reluctantly sit down on the opposite side of the bed. He turns back to the
window and I fluff the sad excuse for a pillow against the headboard and settle against it
closing my eyes. When the bed dips to my right I stop breathing. I hear him set the flask
on the night table and stub out the cigarette. He grabs the other pillow and turns to me,
“You’re not gonna use both of these are you?”
It’s all I can do to say no to him. For a moment I can feel the tension between us and then
he gets up from the bed taking the pillow with him. “Good night, Angel.”
He walks over to the old chair and sits down in it. Propping his feet up on the register
and tucking the pillow behind his head. His long lanky form looks horribly
uncomfortable but he’s exhausted and it doesn’t take him long to drift off. I sit for a while
and watch him sleep and then finally drift off myself.
It’s still dark when I awaken. I’m a little alarmed to find I’m alone in the room. I don’t
know him well, but I know Marty wouldn’t leave without me. The ragged spread from
the bed is draped over me, and I find myself snuggling into it with worry before I notice
the door is cracked open slightly and I can hear the sound of water running from the bath
across the hall. Needing to know it’s him so I climb out of bed and gather up a few things
for myself and step into the hallway. The bathroom door is open and I can see his
reflection in the mirror before he sees me. He isn’t a big man but he fills out an
undershirt nicely and I find myself watching him as he scrapes the last of his shaving
cream from his face. The bullet scar on his left shoulder intrigues me. I watch him
splash some water on his face and then his eyes catch me in the mirror as he towels
himself off. I can feel the blush rising in my cheeks and I know he sees it when he turns
around. “You lookin’ for me Red?”
Maybe in another lifetime, but I don’t say that, I just tell him I need to use the bathroom
and he smiles and walks past me. “Don’t take too long, we need to get out of here before
I close the door and do my best to clean myself up in the sink and change into a clean
blouse and a pair of slacks. Before I know it someone is pounding on the door and I
nearly jump out of my skin, “Damn it, Red, lets go!”
He doesn’t even give me time to open the door before he’s throwing it open himself and
grabbing my arm, “We got company — we gotta move now!”
I try and grab my things as he’s pulling me from the room and across the hall. He’s
already dressed and he jogs to the front window while I throw my things into my
suitcase. “What’s going on?” I demand walking over to have a look myself. There are
three big black cars downstairs and I hear voices in the lobby below us.
Before I can even get an answer the window glass shatters around us and we both dive to
the floor in a heap. “Dammit, Red, what are you trying to do, get us both killed!” I roll
over and look up at him as he climbs off and then straddles my legs. A moment of eye
contact passes between us and then he yanks me to my feet. He’s got my case in his hand
and me by the arm and he’s dragging me across to the other side of the room. “The
hounds have caught up with us, that’s what’s going on!”
I watch as he throws up the sash and tosses both our suitcases out the window before
grabbing for the bag with my samples and notes. “You can’t throw that!” I grab it from
him and then watch as he starts to climb out the window himself. “What are you doing,
we’re two stories up!”
“I’m gonna fly,” he says with some irritation as he grabs my arm again. “There’s a fire
escape out here, now move!” He makes an attempt to help me out the window but I
shake him off and by the time I get myself out he’s already one story below me on the fire
escape. We get to the bottom of the stairs and I realize that they end about twelve feet
from the ground. I watch Marty turn around and lower himself down and then jump to
the ground. He’s tall; he doesn’t have as far to jump as I do.
He stumbles a bit when he hits the pavement and I watch him collect that damn hat and
put it back on before he walks around the bottom of the ladder to look up at me. It’s a
good thing I’m wearing slacks. If I were wearing a skirt he’d have a great view from his
vantage point. “Toss me your case!” He yells up to me and I have no choice to do so. I
watch him set it on the ground and then turn and extend his arms up to me, “Come on,
Red, I’ll catch ya!” I look down at him, despite our dire situation I watch this shit-eating
grin spread across his face from under the brim of that damn hat. I want to just smack
him but I don’t, I jump.
His hands catch me around the waist and my momentum allows them to slide up until
they’re almost cupping my breasts. The bastard holds me, my face inches from his and
for a moment I’m caught by the same desire I saw in his eyes only a few moments ago. I
feel him sigh and then he sets me down grabbing our two bags and turning up the street
away from our car. “Hey, what about the car!” I yell as I grab my case and take off after
“Forget the damn car! Run!”
We run down the street in the rain. The droplets sting my face and it’s not long before
my hair and my feet are soaked. When gunshots ricochet off the wall to our right we dart
into an alley. Marty drops the bags and pulls out his gun looking back up the street.
We’re both panting hard; the cool damp air causing our breath to come out in bursts of
white fog. When I try and peer around the corner myself he grabs my arm and yanks me
behind him, “Not again, are you insane?” he yells. “What do I have to do, tie you up and
Just try it bastard, “I can take care of myself!”
Another shot ricochets off the brick above his head and our attention is drawn to a man
across the street. Marty fires twice and I watch the man drop. Jesus, he just shot a man!
The doctor in me wants to run out there to see what I can do but Marty has already turned
and grabbed our bags again with one hand. “Come on!” he yells at me again.
“But you just shot that man!”
“Yeah and lets hope I killed him, now come on!” There’s desperation in his eyes as he
motions me down the alley. I take one more look back at the man slumped on the
sidewalk and start to run. Marty takes one more look over his shoulder and starts to run
after me. “Where are we going?” I yell back.
“Just keep runnin’!”
The alley must cut between two streets because I can see the end up ahead. What if these
men are waiting up there ready to gun him down the moment we exit the alley? It’s me
they’re after we both know it. I splash to a stop and Marty almost careens into me,
“Christ, don’t stop!” he pants into my face.
“What if they’re waiting at the end of the alley?”
“They’re not, now move!”
More gunshots, they’re coming from behind us again. He looks right at me and says only
one word, “Run!”
I don’t know what to do when I get the end of the alley. I’m afraid to go out into the street.
When I turn around I see Marty stumble a little on the uneven pavement. He turns and
fires four more shots back up the alley until we both hear the empty chamber click. His
eyes flash to mine and he pockets the gun.
There are several cars parked here and I watch Marty frantically search them; stopping by
one to yank open the back door and throwing our bags into it. “Get in!” he yells at me as
he ducks into the front seat himself.
“You’re stealing a car!”
“Get in the damn car!” Some idiot must have left the key in it because I hear him start it
“Are you crazy?” I can’t believe this but I get into the car with him anyway. “You just
can’t steal someone’s car!” I don’t get a chance to say anything else before his lips are on
mine effectively shutting me up. It’s not a peck, it’s a hot desperate kiss and I find myself
responding to it before I pull back and smack him the way I’d wanted to just a few
minutes earlier when he was feeling me up. He closes his eyes, his face must sting, I
know my hand does.
“You feel better now?” he asks as he opens his eyes and stares back at me in the darkness.
I don’t know whether to cry or scream. Instead I just yell at him, “Just get us the hell out
He pops the clutch into drive and hauls off down the alley. His hands clutch the wheel
tightly as we bounce along the rutted brick and then careen out into a street without
looking. Several shots ping off the back of the car. We both flinch with each one as he
steers the old car wildly down the street into the darkness. If those men behind us don’t
kill us, Marty will, I cross myself and say a little prayer for the both of us.
Somehow Marty manages to give the thugs the slip and after several hours of touring the
Indiana countryside we find another little diner and stop for a bite to eat. “What the hell
happened back there?” I finally ask after we have ordered our food. Marty stirs his coffee
and seems to contemplate just what he thinks he should tell me. “Those men weren’t
there to kidnap me; they were trying to kill me weren’t they?”
“The other two doctors you were working with have already been killed,” he confesses.
“Right now the Germans think you’re the only one capable of continuing the research.”
“Carl and Donald are dead?” I gasp, throwing my hand up to my mouth, I suddenly feel
like throwing up. “I don’t get it. I thought they wanted to kidnap us to continue the
research for their cause, now you’re saying they want us all dead? What else aren’t you
Marty takes a sip of his coffee and then sits back against the seat in our booth with a
visible wince, “I’m sorry, they told me not to tell you.” I watch him fuss like he can’t get
comfortable. He notices me eyeing him, “It happened the night we left Baltimore, when
they sent me to get you. Carl and his wife were found murdered in their apartment.
Donald was a hit and run victim”
“I don’t believe this, Carl and I went to Med School together, Donald was one of our
“Well, you better believe it, Doll. You said it yourself; the Germans aren’t interested in
saving lives. Hitler’s Germany is only concerned with building that master race. What
you’re working on would be detrimental to that process. So in answer to your question,
yes, they want you dead.”
As I sit and warm my hands around a cup of strong coffee I realize that Marty still has his
hat and coat on, he’s holding his left arm close to his side and when I meet his gaze I’ve
been a doctor long enough to see the pain there. “Marty? Are you okay?” I ask the
question before I look at his hands wrapped around his own cup and see the dried blood
on his fingers. Pulling his left hand away from his cup I turn it palm up, “You’re
“Not enough to die from, Doc.” There’s no humor in his answer.
I’m silenced momentarily as the waitress comes back to plunk our food down on the
table. “Eat your lunch,” he says stabbing at his steak and then wincing when he tries to
How does he expect me to eat while he sits here and bleeds? Hell, now that I think about
what happened back in Richmond, he’s probably been bleeding since we flew out of that
hotel room. “I’ll eat, but I’m not going anywhere else with you until you let me look at
He picks up his coffee again and in a mock toast says something I know he can’t resist,
“Here’s lookin’ at you kid.”
“I take it that’s a yes?”
We stop at an old gas station after we leave the diner and I drag him into the Ladies room
with me and lock the door. Under his coat and jacket I find the bullet that came through
our window had creased his shoulder. The same shoulder with the bullet scar. I few
inches to the right and he would have bled to death before we had gotten out of the room.
It’s messy but he’s right, not enough to die from. I don’t ask about the other scar but he
sees that I’ve noticed it. “Crime of passion,” he says with a mock smile. I clean and
patch him up and as we leave the restroom we get an eyeful from a couple waiting in
their car with their kids. I’m sure they think we were doing something else in that room.
The old Ford gets us to Chicago by nightfall. Marty finds us another hotel; fortunately
this one is a step above the last dump we had found ourselves in, only this time we’re Mr.
and Mrs. Jones. He asks the desk clerk about places to eat and then we head up to our
room. I open my suitcase and try to straighten up the clothes from this morning’s hasty
departure while he heads off down the hall to make another phone call. In a short while I
hear the door close behind me and I turn at the sound of his voice. “You got somethin’
nice in that bag?”
Thinking he has something else in mind I ask for an explanation. “What do you mean by
He slips out of his coat and jacket as he crosses the room and for the first time I feel
apprehensive of his intentions. “We need to go someplace with a lot of people,” he says
lying his coat on the foot of the bed and once again setting his hat on top of them. He
shoves his hands in his pockets, “A dance club maybe.”
“You want to take me dancing?” I almost laugh.
“I didn’t say we were gonna dance Doll, I was only askin’ if you got something you could
wear to a place like that? It’s less likely they’ll try something in a place full of people.”
I don’t get it. “I thought we lost them back there, aren’t we safer if we stay here?”
“I thought so too,” he looks up to catch my eye. “But the answer to both questions is
I don’t know how he knows this as I watch him amble about the room. He looks defeated
and it worries me. He needs to change out of that blood stained shirt himself if we’re
going out in public. I think about what I have packed in this suitcase that contains the
remains of my life. What does one wear to their own funeral? I could probably get by
with a suit I have and the blouse I’m wearing and some heels. “Can you give me some
time to get dressed?”
He hesitates for a moment, “Yeah — yeah, go ahead.” He digs a pack of cigarettes from
his jacket pocket and walks across the room to sit on the edge of the bed. I gather up my
things and head into the bathroom to freshen up and change.
The suit’s a light gray with a broad collar and I pop the collar of my blouse out to lie
against it. I wish I had some jewelry to dress it up but by the time I get my nylons on and
my heels it doesn’t look too bad. I sound like I’m going on a date I think to myself, what a
fool. A hair comb and some make up and I’m a different woman. I take one last
primping look in the mirror and then open the door. Marty’s right where I imagined he
would be, leaning against the window frame, watching the street below. He has on a
clean shirt and he glances at me a moment and then tosses his cigarette butt on the floor
and stubs it out next to the other two at his feet. He looks up again. “Will this do?” I ask.
His lip curls a little but I watch something like regret pass across his face. He nods every
so slightly, “Yeah, Red, that’ll do just fine.”
As we walk up the street towards the club the desk clerk told us about I get the eerie
feeling someone is following us. Marty must sense it too and he leans over to whisper in
my ear, “Just keep walking.” His hand comes to rest at the small of my back and I feel a
sudden sense of security rather than fear from his touch. When we cross the street in
front of the club our shadows follow us. If it weren’t for Marty I’d be running for my life
The club is called The Ivanhoe. It’s a restaurant and dance club like so many others that
dot the big cities these days. This one probably isn’t one of the more popular ones in
town but it’s nice to be dining in a place with tablecloths for a change. As Marty checks
his hat and our coats, I notice he’s wearing that same double-breasted suit he had on the
night he came to the house. Between the suit and his hat he looks right at home here, I
feel like I’m dating a mobster. But this is the closest thing to a date I’ve been on in
months and from the looks Marty is getting from some of the other women as we wind
our way though the restaurant, I’ve got myself a pretty good catch.
The maitre’ d finds us a nice table at the back of the room and we dine in companionable
silence. Being secluded way for the past several months makes me feel awkward in a
place like this. I don’t think our recent conversations would be appropriate. Marty has
been silent too. A little too silent and I can’t help but think there is another reason for us
being here. All through dinner he’s been watching the room when he doesn’t think I
notice. When I question Marty about it, he changes the subject. “You don’t believe I just
wanted to take a good lookin’ dame out to dinner?” he asks with a smirk.
I think that was a compliment but I’m not going to let the comment get by me. “You told
me before you weren’t a sucker for dames, remember? Besides, you already told me
why we were going out.” The smirk disappears from his face. Nice Dana, spoil his fun.
He’s ordered an after dinner scotch and he picks up the glass to clink the ice in it. “Yeah,
well, that wasn’t exactly true. Hot potato like you can get a guy in a lot of trouble if he’s
“And you always try to be careful?”
He takes a sip of his drink, “Doesn’t always work out that way.”
He acts like he’s speaking from experience. When I first met this man a few days ago I
didn’t want to know him, hell, I didn’t want to be seen with him. He seemed cocky and
arrogant back there at the estate. Now, I’m beginning to think it was all a front, a defense
mechanism to protect who he really is. Someone I find myself wanting to get to know.
“Are you speaking from experience?”
“Mostly bad ones,” he says with a sad smile. “Trust me, Red, there’s so much more you
need to do with your life than get mixed up with a guy like me.”
He’s left himself open and I take the opportunity, “And what kind of guy are you,
“The kind of guy you don’t want to get yourself mixed up with right now, Red. Trust
“I think we’ve already established that element of trust.”
“Well, maybe that was your first mistake. Someday Red, your science is going to save
the world. I’m just here to make sure that happens.” he looks up at me but I notice his
gaze go right past me. I want to turn around but that would be too obvious. I know
something is wrong.
“Marty, what’s wrong?”
He sighs again and sets his glass down. “Nothin’ you need to worry about, Red. You
want another drink?”
I don’t need reassurance, I need an answer. “We’re not going to make it out of here alive
He looks at me with mock astonishment, while he signals the waiter for a refill on his
scotch. “What do you mean by that?”
“The two men who followed us here from the hotel are sitting across the room; you’ve
been watching them all night.”
Busted. He looks me right in the eyes, “Actually there are four of them and I’m gonna do
my damnedest to get us out of this room alive.”
It occurs to me then how ironic in a sense our situation has become. “You know back in
1934 John Dillinger was led to a place like this by the infamous ‘Lady in Red’. Right
before he was gunned down by a bunch of F.B.I. agents.”
“And here I thought I was the one with the sick sense of humor,” he smiles but we both
know this is anything but funny.
The band has started up in the other room. They’re playing a set of Glen Miller tunes but
they’re nowhere near as good and yet I still feel myself drawn to the music. I hadn’t
realized I’d closed my eyes until someone is touching my hand. I trace the hand up to
meet Marty’s eyes. “You want to dance, Red?”
I’m shocked that he’s asked but in a world full of chaos and uncertainty there’s nothing
more I’d rather do. As we head for the dance floor his hand comes to rest at the small of
my back again. It feels like it belongs there and I cherish the warmth if only for the
moment. The band starts up a new tune and we step onto the dance floor. With my heels
our height difference isn’t as bad and I fall easily against him. The band goes through
String of Pearls and then into Glen’s theme song, Moonlight Serenade. Marty pulls me
tighter against him I hear him swallow hard.
“Did you ever see Glen Miller?” I whisper to him.
“No, never had time for something like this before,” he pulls back a little and looks down
at me. I don’t believe him. He’s a good dancer.
“And now you wish you had?”
He leans against me, “If we were two other people in a different world.” His throaty
voice almost chokes and I understand how he feels. But we’re not two other people. He’s
a two-bit private eye and I’m a doctor with a very important job and no time for romance.
I have a world to save. What the hell am I doing here?
The band has a vocalist and she starts in on the next tune, “At last — my love has come
along. My lonely days are over — And life is like a song. At last — the skies above are
blue and my heart was wrapped up in clover.”
Marty pulls me close again and rests his cheek against my head; I cup the back of his
neck as she continues her song, “The night I looked at you I found a dream that I can
speak to. A dream that I could call my own; I found a thrill to press my cheek to
a thrill that I have never known.”
The gun beneath his jacket reminds me that this is no ordinary date but I feel something
happening between us that I think both of us swore at the beginning of this charade never
would. It feels a lot like love but I sense that Marty feels he’s unworthy and I’m afraid to
act on it. His head comes up and he turns to look at me. My arms are still wrapped
around his neck. “Damn, you’re beautiful,” he whispers and then he’s kissing me again
desperately and I can do nothing but kiss him back there on the dance floor as the song
finishes behind us.
“You smiled, and then the spell was cast; and here we are in heaven; and you are mine at
When the music stops we both break the kiss and just stand there holding onto each other
as the crowd leaves the floor. The momentary bliss is broken as I feel him tense in my
arms. I look up to meet his concerned eyes and he whispers “I’m sorry,” before he pulls
away from me. He’s looking wildly around the room. I follow his gaze and see the men
who followed us standing in the doorway between the restaurant and the ballroom. I
think I catch the face of someone I recognize behind them but I’m not sure. When the
men catch us looking they scatter into the crowd. I’m suddenly terrified and grab Marty’s
hand, “Marty, what do we do?” As the band starts up Marty looks at me and begins to
pull me off the dance floor, “Come on!”
We wind our way through the crowd and end up in the lobby of the restaurant. He
scrambles into his coat and hat then helps me into mine pulling it tightly around me.
“You ready?” he asks.
I’m not sure what he’s asking me and can only nod in agreement before one of the men
finds us. While he’s looking around for the rest of his party Marty shoves me out the
door and once again we find ourselves in the cold rain. He grabs my hand and we run
back up the street to where we’d parked the old car. His legs are longer than mine and
he’s practically pulling me along as we run. I can hear the sound of running feet behind
us. I’m more certain than ever that we’re not going to make it.
When we reach the car I stumble on the curb but he catches me, opening the door and
practically throwing me inside. He slams the door and I can only make out shadows
through the wet windows as he rounds the car himself. Everything happens so fast, he’s
in the car and we’re pulling away from the curb immediately. Out of the corner of my
eye I catch another dark car pass us in the other direction. As we speed up the street the
sound of gunfire erupts behind us. He pushes me down in the seat.
It’s several minutes before the pressure of his hand relaxes on my back. I’m shaking,
from fear or the cold I’m not quite sure. It’s raining hard making it difficult to see where
we are going. I reach over to touch his hand on the wheel and realize instantly that it is
the hand of a much older man. My gasp catches his attention as I pull my hand away and
turn to look at the man seated beside me. It dawns on me then that this car had been
running when Marty had tossed me into it and what had occurred back there on the street
was one of the oldest tricks in the book, the old switcheroo. I look over to meet the eyes
of Agent Skinner, Marty’s old boss and realize what sacrifice has just been made.
He doesn’t say anything at first, fighting to see through the rain and the wipers as they
slap back and forth across the windshield. “Who was in the other car?” I demand fighting
my emotions even though I think I already know what his answer will be.
As I suspected he doesn’t answer. I look around the car and see my luggage and my
briefcase in the back seat. “Who planned this? You? Did he know about this? Dammit,
Skinner looks over at me, “He planned it Dana.”
As we drive on through the darkness I suddenly remember what my father had said about
not wanting the government to know where I was. This man works for the government.
God, it couldn’t be. “This was a set-up wasn’t it? You set him up — it was you he was
calling all the time wasn’t it? You let him believe he was getting me out of Baltimore
safely but the whole time you and the Germans were right behind us. You used the
information he gave you against us.” I wanted desperately to get out of the car. “Where
are you taking me?”
“The same place Marty wanted you to go.”
“Dammit, he never told me where we were going!”
“There was a lot he couldn’t tell you. We’re headed to The University of Chicago; which
you may or may not know is one of the countries top atomic research facilities. If what
you’re carrying in that case can aide in that project then you need to be where it will do
the most good. Marty was interested in saving just more than your ass, Sister.
You have it all backwards; use that pretty little head of yours to think. Someone in the
military leaked the information that you’d left Baltimore. You don’t think they monitor
our information in the same way that we do theirs? I did my best to keep you two steps
ahead of them but it didn’t work. Now they think you’re dead.”
I sit and fume in silence for a few minutes, trying to put things together in my head.
“You don’t get it do you?” he finally asks. “What you were to him?”
“What are you talking about? He hardly knew me. I was a job to him; just like I’m a job
“This was no job to him. I’ve know Marty a long time, Dana. I’ve seen him with dames
before but I’ve never known him to fall for one. Not like he fell for you. He loves this
country and he loved you,” he catches my eyes in the darkness of the car. “I heard it in
his voice every time he called me.”
I laugh, a bitter sarcastic laugh. Who is he kidding? Better yet, who am I kidding? I’d
seen the desire in him several times on our trip across the Midwest; he’d never acted on it.
Face it Dana you weren’t his type. “He didn’t want me; all he wanted was the cash.” I say
“You’re right, he didn’t want you,” Skinner takes his eyes off the road to pin them on me.
“He needed you.”
“And that’s supposed to be enough? There’s a war on in case you haven’t noticed. The
world’s going to hell in a hand basket. It’s going to take more than needing each other to
us through this.”
“Sometimes all you really need is each other.” I look over at this man who Marty
considers a friend and suddenly feel sick. He wasn’t doing this for the government; he
was doing it for a friend who’d done it for me; he’d never see the damn cash.
One of the last things Marty had said to me was ‘I’m sorry’, I’d misunderstood him.
Dammit it, I’m the one who should be sorry and I suddenly feel the overwhelming need to
tell him so and I don’t want to save the world without him. I look over at this imposter,
trying to draw his attention, “Who was in that other car? Where’s Marty?” When he
refuses to answer I try again, “Stop the car!”
Mr. Skinner ignores me so I jump across the seat and try to take the wheel from him, turn
the car around and go back and find Marty. We wrestle for control of the wheel in the
rain. “Stop it, Dana — Dana…
D.C. GENERAL HOSPITAL
Someone was calling her name, “Dana, Dana, hey — sleepy…” She felt the touch of a
hand along her cheek, “Come on, Scully, wake up.” Opening her eyes, she blinked at the
image above her; the dark hair and hazel eyes, the labels of his trench coat and that damn
hat. “Marty? Oh God — Marty,” she flung her arms around his neck, trying to pull him
down. “Oh God, you’re alright…” Though somewhat surprised he followed her into the
“Marty?” he said, breaking into a smile. “Scully, it’s me, Mulder.”
Mulder? The name hit her then and she pulled back to look at him again recognizing the
bruise that tinted his right cheek. “Who’s Marty?’ he asked as she settled back against the
pillows and covered her face with her fingers in embarrassment.
Dropping her hands, she shook her head in disbelief, “He’s–I…” she watched as his
brows furrowed.”Oh, Mulder, never mind, I must have been dreaming,” she looked up at
him a bit sheepishly.
“Wow, must have been some dream,” he kidded as he sat down on the edge of the bed,
leaning over to prop himself with his arm on the other side of her hips. “You ready to go
home? I heard the doctors already released you this morning.”
She pursed her lips and his gaze followed her hand as she reached up to snag the hat from
his head. “Where did you get this silly hat?”
“The other night you didn’t think it looked silly on Bogie,” he sounded a little
disappointed by her reaction.
“So you went out and bought one?”
He snatched it back and put it back on his head so it sat a little off to the left. “What do
you think?” he asked hopefully. “Am I turning you on?”
Her vision of tough guy Marty with the chains around his heart came back to her. He’d
left her without her even getting the chance to know it. Mulder’s heart on the other hand
had always been right there; raw and exposed for her taking. He’d offered it to her many
“Scully?” She focused on Mulder again.
“I said, what do you think?”
She ran her finger along the brim and he dipped his head, “I think you look — damn sexy,
Mulder.” He smiled then, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Maybe I should break into that Rod Stewart song, “Do you think I’m sexy…”
She laughed as he moved to the beat of his off-key singing. “Please,” she laughed
waving her right hand back and forth. “Of course I think you’re sexy. I’m just glad you
never figured it out yourself and I have you all to myself because I have no intention of
letting you go.” She reached for his right hand, “Ever.”
“I hope not,” he answered looking down at their joined hands.
It was then as she studied him more closely that she noticed the shadows under his eyes,
the lines that became more pronounced with fatigue. “Actually you look tired.”
She watched as his face turned serious, “Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep last night. The
headache I had the other night came back with a vengeance.”
She thought about all the other restless nights he’d had lately but would never admit to
her. That he was acknowledging it now began to worry her. His headaches in the recent
past had always been accompanied by periods of what he called visions and what she still
preferred to call hallucinations. “Mulder, is everything alright?”
She watched him hesitate; knowing full well that he was weighing what he should tell
her. Avoiding the confrontations that usually came with their discussions of his mental
health of late he’d been keeping things to himself. He needed to understand she was only
concerned about his well being but knowing he needed to realize it on his own. He
glanced away as he finally spoke, “Alright? Now there’s a loaded question. Yeah,
Scully, I’m fine.”
As soon as he’d said it he knew how wrong it was. He watched the concern spread across
“It’s starting again isn’t it? The hallucinations? Mulder, we really need to find you a
doctor and get you some help. We both can’t go on like this.”
Anger flared in him, “I really wish you’d stop saying that, Scully. I am not hallucinating.
The only thing a doctor is going to do is prescribe some anti-psychotics or worse yet, fit
me for a straight jacket.”
His denial only irritated her, “Then what do you call them Mulder? If these really are
precognitions of the future how do we convey them to anyone who won’t think you’re out
of your mind?”
“Sarcasm will get you nowhere. You think I’m enjoying this?” She could see the veins in
his neck as he fought to control his temper. No, she knew he wasn’t enjoying it. So why
was he so adamant about protecting it?
“Well I’m not enjoying it either, Mulder, so talk to me.”
“Why, so you can try and fucking rationalize what I tell you?”
“No,” she tried to stroke his hand, offering him reassurance in hopes of keeping this
conversation from escalating into something like they had been through the other night.
“So I can help you,” she answered, trying to keep her voice calm. “When we hide the
truth from each other it only works against us, you told me that. I just want to be sure
that when this is all over YOU’RE going to be alright.”
He had told her that and he remembered how he’d felt everytime she’d kept the truth
about her illness from him. He let out a shaky sigh, and began his confession.
“Honestly?” He watched as she nodded hopefully. “I can’t remember the last time I felt
ALRIGHT Scully, and it certainly wasn’t last night,” his eyes sought out hers for support.
“That explains why you look the way you do. What happened last night?”
“Bad dream, really bad dream,” her eyes begged him to continue. “I’ve been catching bits
and pieces of it for the past week, when I was alone last night it unfolded in all it’s glory.”
He shook his head, “I was in some sort of antiquated medical facility, strapped down on a
table and surrounded by a group of German doctors…”
She closed her eyes, the Germans from her dream; the moment she found Mulder
strapped to that table in the DOD several years ago all came rushing back to her.
“Hey,” Mulder reached up to brush her cheek. “Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this
“No, no, if you stop you’ll never tell me the rest of it.” His hand had suddenly grown cold
“They’d shaved my head and imbedded some sort of electrodes into my brain. One of
them injected me with something, God Scully, it burned through every part of my body.
There were others there, I could hear them screaming. The gulag at Tunguska had been a
health spa compared to this. I don’t remember anything else. I woke up to my own
screams drenched in sweat.”
Scully hesitated a moment before she spoke. She wanted to tell him there had been
Germans of a different kind in her own dream but he didn’t need to hear about that now.
There was something more important she was trying to get to. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there
“No, no,” he shook his head. “You’re listening now, that’s all I ask.”
It hit her then that maybe that’s all he had ever wanted; someone to listen and not
condemn. “Do you think it was a flashback or something to do with The Holocaust?”
“I don’t know,” he answered letting go of her hand. “From what I remember, nobody was
speaking German at the DOD,” he tried to pull a smile from her but she only looked more
concerned. “Don’t you see, these aren’t visions of the future, they’re moments from the
past? Moments we should have learned from. You said it yourself, we bury the dead
alive, that that’s what consciousness is. They’re trying to speak to us, Scully. Only
nobody is listening.”
“God, Scully, don’t you think somebody needs to?” His eyes pleaded with hers, “You
know years ago Cassandra told me that I was the one she believed could stop what was
happening. I brushed her off then. I was so frustrated and angry and tired of the bullshit
that I refused to listen to her. But what if she was right?”
She squeezed his hand, “You know, Mulder, maybe you don’t realize it, but I’ve always
been listening to you and what I do know is that these dreams you’re experiencing now
have only led us to some other horrific event. What if this dream is the same? Why can’t
you understand that you’re not in this alone? Mulder, I’m worried about you.”
A gentle smile crossed his lips, “I know you are but I don’t want you to be. If I thought I
was a danger to anyone, including myself I would let you know. I will promise you that.”
“I will keep you to that you know.”
He nodded ever so slightly and then met her eyes. “Listen, about yesterday, I didn’t mean
to run out of here like I did but I meant what I said — about needing some time to think.”
“Us, and about what you said the other night. It wasn’t very fair of me to spring that on
you like that Scully, I’m sor…”
Before he could say anything else she reached up to put her fingers to his lips. “Mulder,
don’t apologize, that’s not what I want. It was just a surprise, a wonderful surprise and
flattering and very sweet and I reacted badly. I should be the one to apologize.” She
couldn’t look at him with the hat on anymore and she reached up again to pull if off his
head. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I took a beautiful moment away from us and
I’m so, so sorry.”
“No, it’s not okay. All I could think about was our not being able to work together
anymore if we were married. That it would end our partnership. A legal marriage would
only keep us apart in a most important way and I don’t want that to happen. I got angry
because I couldn’t make you see it that way.”
He leaned over and kissed her gently, “Well I do now,” he pulled back a little and
watched as a soft smile graced her lips. “I am happy, Scully, that confession I made to
you in my hallway all those years ago — you still have no idea how much you’ve changed
my life. This relationship we share has made me whole again and for the first time in my
life, I am happy.”
He reached for her then, taking her head in his hands and using the pads of his thumbs to
caress her cheeks, “You’re right Scully, right now we do have the best of both worlds. A
marriage certificate is just a piece of paper and what you and I have goes much deeper
The intensity of his gaze unnerved her. When he spoke again his voice cracked with
emotion. “Having each other is all that’s really important.”
The phrase seemed eerily familiar, Skinner’s words as they’d driven though the dark night
without Marty echoed in her mind. The sacrifice he’d made for her in her dream. She
played with Mulder’s hat realizing how very much alike he and Marty were. She suddenly
worried about where he was going with this. “But you suddenly felt the need to ask for
He looked down at her hands that continued to play with his hat. “I asked because I got
to thinking about what Tara said to me about the time we have left; and what your family
has always thought of me and because I thought our relationship had become something
that maybe you wanted to sanctify in the eyes of God but didn’t think that I did,” he
looked up. “I want you to know what you mean to me. You’re all I have left Scully. I
can’t lose you either.”
She did know, how could he think she didn’t? Words had never seemed necessary where
her devotion to him was concerned. She’d proved it over and again and her family knew
it too. But when he’d asked her for the ultimate commitment, she’d turned him down. It
saddened her to think she hadn’t realized this, that maybe now for some reason, it was too
“Mulder, what do you mean, the time we have left? We have all kinds of time don’t we?”
When he didn’t answer her, she asked him again, “Don’t we?”
“They both know what it’s like to lose a partner, Scully. To have that bond and lose it.”
“And we wouldn’t because we’re not married? Mulder, why is this suddenly so
important? You said I was right, about our partnership.”
She watched him pick at her blanket. “You are,” he acknowledged, looking up. “As
much as I would like it to happen, if we got married, we’d very likely lose the partnership
and I’m not willing to risk that now either — despite what your family thinks of me.”
She reached out to still his hand, “They accept my lifestyle Mulder. Tara is grateful, and
mom loves you. Besides, it doesn’t matter what they think, I love you, for better or for
worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until — for
as long as we both shall live. I do.”
“Your mom accepts me, Scully. Don’t for once think that I’m the type of guy she
envisioned her baby girl spending the rest of her life with.”
He straightened up, the realization of what she’d just said finally sinking in. “What?” He
looked right at her, “What did you just say?” It warmed her heart to see the same smile
from the other night spread across his face.
“I said, I do,” surprised to find she’d rendered him speechless, she went on. “I’ve trusted
you with my life, Mulder, I always have. How could you not think that I trust you with
my heart as well?” She watched his eyes search hers, “Mulder, you are the most amazing
person I have ever met. You’re dark and mysterious, and yes, maybe you are a little
dangerous. But you’re also brilliant and wonderfully caring and though I hate to
encourage you, you make me laugh.” She watched as his lip curled but before he could
say anything, she continued. “You’re a dreamer, Mulder and I admire you for holding on
to those dreams with more courage than an army. You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had
and a hopeless romantic and though you can be infuriating at times, you’re irresistible,”
she reached up to caress his face, her fingers playing into his hair. “And I love you for all
those things.” She glanced down and picked up his hat to put it back on, “With or
without this silly hat. You have my heart, Mulder, always. As my work partner and in
every other meaning of the word, don’t ever doubt that. And I do, want to spend the rest
of my life with you.”
She watched as he studied her face, his eyes dilating with desire and then he swallowed,
hard. “Do we need to exchange rings on that or what?”
“God is watching, Mulder, he knows,” she reached up to brush her thumb across the
bruise on his cheek.
“I’m glad then,” she watched his eyes suddenly dance. “Because of all the gin-joints in
the world, I’m so very grateful you walked into mine, partner,” he whispered as he leaned
over to kiss her again.
A tap on the door broke them apart; she smiled at him in reference to his apropos use of
the movie quote. “Excuse me,” the floor nurse who Scully had met earlier was standing in
the doorway. “Sorry for the — interruption,” she nodded to Mulder when he turned to
look at Scully. “I’ve got Dana’s release papers ready. They’ll be at the desk,” she
motioned down the hall and then shyly pulled the door to.
“Please tell me you brought me a change of clothes?” Scully asked when he turned back
to her. She watched him get up and bend down to pick up a duffle bag.
“Picked them out personally,” he said as he set the bag on the bed and reached up to
straighten his hat. “I’ll go find your release papers.”
“Mulder wait,” once again she reached for his arm. “I need to apologize for something
else. The way I acted at the bank the other day.”
“What do you mean?
“I wasn’t very polite to your friend at the bank. It just all seemed so secretive on your
part you didn’t really explain why we were there.”
“I told you, I just needed your signature on some things. I talked to John this morning, he
said he’d come by the house when you’re feeling better, we can take care of it then.
“Have you been holding out on me?” she asked with mock seriousness.
He stepped back a few steps and her hand dropped from his arm. “They’re just
investment accounts Scully. Though there’s enough there for a healthy retirement,” he
said with a smile. “And maybe help Tara put the kids through school. I want you to have
access to them.”
The ‘in case something happens to me’ he didn’t say crossed quickly through her mind.
“Then invite him to dinner, I think I owe him one.”
“Thanks, he’d probably like that better than trying to beat me on the basketball court.”
After he’d left the room in search of her release papers she opened the duffle, shuddering
to think what he might have packed for her but relieved to find he’d packed her some of
her favorite casual clothes and a pair of flat shoes. Though the nurse had succeeded in
changing the subject of their conversation she was determined to take it up with him
again. Her Mulder alarm had gone from yellow to red. He’d been more forthcoming than
usual about his disturbing dreams but she still had a sense that he was hiding something
from her. She remembered the sacrifice Marty had made in her dream. She would not let
Mulder do the same. Maybe her science would save the world one day, but she needed
his beautiful mind to help her do it.
A few minutes later Mulder came back with an orderly in tow steering the customary
wheelchair for her ride to the door. “You ready Doll?” he joked, falling into the part.
When she nodded, he kept it up. “Good, then what do you say we blow this joint?” The
orderly rolled his eyes as he helped her into the wheelchair. Heading down the hall to the
elevator, she couldn’t help but notice the looks that were directed their way. Mulder had
no idea how he looked in that hat.
When Mulder pulled up with the car she reached in to pluck his hat from her seat and slid
in beside him. The orderly shut the door and tapped the window. Mulder put the car into
gear and pulled away. As they headed down the drive and out into traffic she played with
his hat. Creasing it just so and straightening the brim. She could see him watching her
from the corner of her eye.
“So, you gonna tell me about this Marty guy or what?”
AUTHOR’S NOTES: Webster’s definition of the word “Partner” is as follows:
1. a person who shares or is associated with another person in some action or endeavor;
associate 2. one of two persons who contribute capital to establish or maintain a
commercial venture and who usually share in the risks and profits 3. silent partners 4. a
husband, wife or lover 5. either of two persons who dance together 6. a player on the
same side or team as another
According to a website I found there really was a club in Chicago called The Ivanhoe
back in the 40’s. I’m a closet fan of Big Band music. Google Glen Miller and listen to
some of his music, it had a sound all its own. Thanks to my ebuddie Chris for the
information on John Dillinger and her endless poking. And thanks to Vickie and Chuck
for their beta work and to Martin for the wonderful artwork, you’ve satisfied my secret
desire to see Mulder in a fedora. The idea for this story came to me last summer on a
drive to South Carolina. My husband and I were listening to an early morning radio
program on of all things, fashion of the 1940’s. One of the tunes in the piece was AT
LAST a song composed by Mack Gordon for a 1942 film titled ORCHESTRA WIVES.
In my own little universe, it seemed to fit Mulder and Scully; the story just grew from
there. There’s a quote from STAR TREK in here somewhere.