Love Hurts

Love Hurts by Vickie Moseley

Evanston, IL

February 7, 2008

Scully found him picking his way around the formerly immaculate living room. Blood had

already soaked into the cuff of his pants and she winced at yet another ‘dry-cleaning

miracle’ poor Mrs. Yancy would be forced to perform. “Mulder, are you about done here?”

she asked, her eyes darting around the room.

Unlike most of their cases, this one had a very definite perpetrator. Dr. Philip Coates,

professor of English Literature at Northwestern University was currently awaiting autopsy at

the Cook County Morgue, his body resting next to his wife of 35 years, Dr. Imogene Walsh-

Coates. It had already been ruled a murder-suicide, but Mulder still seemed to be searching

for clues. Clues only he could find.

“Mulder?” she asked again. It wasn’t unusual for him to get this focused during an

investigation. What was unusual was the fact that he’d dragged her out of bed in the

middle of the night to catch an early morning to flight to a crime scene that had already

been resolved. “Mulder!” she raised her voice to cut through his mental gymnastics.

He looked up at her, startled. “What?”

She sighed and crossed her arms. “Are you close to finished?”

“Yeah, just about,” he replied absently, picking up a framed photograph with his latex

gloved hand. “Did you get a seat at the autopsy?”

“Yes. And if you don’t come with me, you’re stranded here. I’d have the rental,” she

reminded him evenly.

He brushed his fingers across the images on the photo and gently replacing it on the table

beside the once cream-colored sofa, now spattered with brown stains of blood. He looked

up at his partner. “I guess I can go now. I can always come back.”

He walked over to her and turned her toward the door. They ducked under the yellow crime

scene tape and crunched through the six inches of snow-pack to the road.

“Mulder, you still haven’t told me why we’re here.” He’d been almost silent on the plane

and for once, had no bevy of case files to assault her with during the flight. She’d dozed

and he’d just sat watching the stars out the window.

“The Coates are the fifth couple in the Chicago metro area in the last year to fall by their

own hands, Scully. All the other couples were professional people — Ph.D.s, lawyers,

medical doctors. All the couples had been married at least 20 years, had grown children,

were considered stable, happy people.”

“Mulder, I admit that’s a high number, but do you realize the population of Chicago and the

suburbs? We’re talking a pool of 3 or 4 million people! And assuming that just because a

person has a good career means they aren’t susceptible to the pressures of modern life —

that’s elitism at it’s finest.”

“Scully, I’ve not saying insanity and education never mix, I’m saying this is a pattern. I

think there’s something more at work than meets the eye. Remember David and Amy

Cassandra?”

“The real question is, do _you_ remember David and Amy Cassandra, Mulder?” she asked,

tilting her head. “Amy was an alien abductee who underwent a dangerous treatment for her

depression. Do you suspect that another Dr. Goldstein might be at work in the Chicago

area?”

“Well, from what I’ve been able to determine, there is no alien abduction link here, Scully.

But the fact that there might be another Ketamine-pushing dentist-drilling mad psychologist

lurking in the shadows did cross my mind.”

As he adjusted his coat and put the keys in the ignition, she caught his hand. “Mulder,

look.”

He glanced down and saw that during his examination of the crime scene, he’d brushed

against some of the blood. It was already darkening to a deep purple on his shirt cuff and a

spot the size of a quarter was drying on his skin. “Oh, damn it,” he cursed casually. “Got a

tissue?”

She rolled her eyes and reached into her purse, withdrawing an individually packaged

antibiotic wipe. “Here, clean it off. We’ll have to mention that to Mrs. Yancy.”

He took the wipe, opened the packet and used the small square to clean off the blood from

his hand. “No open wound. I won’t catch anything, right?” he asked, his eyes twinkling.

“Not anything more than at any other crime scene you’ve traipsed through,” she assured

him. “C’mon, I told the ME I’d be there by noon and it’s 11:15 already.”

“Yes ma’am,” he saluted and pulled out from the curb into the quiet residential street.

Cook County Morgue

7:45 pm

“We’ll have those test results by tomorrow morning, Agent Scully,” Dr. Wanless, the medical

examiner said as he pulled off his gloves and hair cover. “Want me to call you at the FBI

office here?”

“Yes, or my cell phone. I left the number with your assistant,” Scully said. “I’ll let you

know if our labs turn up anything in the samples I sent over.”

“Seems a little redundant — both of us looking at the same blood,” Wanless said with a

cocked eyebrow. He’d been cordial and accommodating all afternoon, but Scully knew some

of her requests had caused more than a little curiosity and maybe even some concern.

“I know my methods seem . . . unusual. But I have my reasons,” she answered with a

shrug. “I’ll be sure to share anything I come across.”

“Well, it seems a little bit of overkill for a murder-suicide, but if there is something else at

work, I’m sure the family would appreciate the effort you’re taking,” Wanless said with a

warm smile. “Have a good night.” He left to go to the men’s locker room to change.

“Hey, I’m lost and wondering if you can help me find my partner. She’s a gorgeous red

head and usually seen wearing ugly blue scrubs and her hair in a pony tail,” Mulder said, his

eyes twinkling as he entered the room.

“I might know where you can find her, if you promise to feed her as soon as possible,”

Scully shot back.

“Uno’s? Best pizza in town, Scully.”

“Veggie with a side of fried mushrooms and you’re on, G-Man,” she replied. “Let me go

change.

“Fried mushrooms. Was it that grueling? What did you find?” he asked, following her to the

door of the women’s locker room.

“After I change. Over food. I promise,” she told him with a hand to his chest, pushing him

backwards as she hurried through the locker room door.

Uno’s Pizza

Chicago

8:30 pm

The dinner crowd was thinning as they were ushered to their table. Mulder put in the order

for the half veggie, half supreme pizza, deep dish, and fried mushrooms. Scully sat back,

relishing the feeling of sitting down after 7 hours in an autopsy bay. He let her ‘relish’ until

their drinks arrived, then his patience ran out.

“OK, Scully, what did you find?” he pleaded. “Please,” he asked politely, nodding his head

in her direction.

She smiled at him, but sighed. “Basically, Mulder, nothing. I did a complete survey of Dr.

Coates brain — no lesions to suggest a cause for violent behavior. His adrenal glands

showed no sign of wear, as we’ve seen in cases of LSDM exposure. I even checked the

xrays for chips in both the victims and found nothing. I sent samples of the blood over to

our labs and the Cook County labs are running tests as well. Unless something shows up in

the tox screen or a bacterium . . . Mulder, maybe they just had a simple argument that got

out of hand,” she concluded finally, twirling her soda straw between her fingers.

“I did a little checking on the past murders, Scully, as well as this one. In each case, the

victims were described as ‘the perfect couple’. Friends were appalled, neighbors were

shocked. No records of domestic disturbances, no known affairs, nothing to indicate a

troubled marriage. And in two of the couples, they had just booked cruises or vacations,

sometimes within days of the murders.”

Scully shook her head. “I don’t know what to tell you, Mulder. Sometimes it takes nothing

to make a person snap.”

“If it were one instance, I would agree, but Scully, this is five couples. That just doesn’t

make sense.”

“Well, I’m not sure what we’re going to find by staying here in Chicago. Unless you think

we should alert the CPD and have them warn all professional couples that are happily

married — ”

He grinned at her jab, but grew serious again. “I just feel something is here, Scully.” He

absently scratched his hand, just below the knuckle of his thumb. “Something happened.

This wasn’t random violence. There was a cause.”

“I’m not disagreeing with you, Mulder. I just don’t think the ’cause’ you’re looking for will

link these murders. In all likelihood, there was a different cause in each case. Violence

happens, even in the best relationships. You know that as well as I do.” She noticed he

was still scratching. “What’s wrong with your hand?”

He looked at her with a confused expression, then followed her gaze to where he was still

scratching his knuckle. “I dunno. It just started to itch a minute ago. Mosquito maybe?”

“In February. In Chicago. Hardly,” she said, taking his hand and inspecting it closely.

“There’s a rash here. Did you rub up against something?”

“That wet-nap you gave me this morning,” he said, shrugging.

“You’ve never had a reaction before,” she noted.

He pulled his hand from hers and rested his chin on it trying to get the discussion back on

the case. “Scully, I know you think this case isn’t a case, but my gut is telling me there’s

something going on. Can we please stick around, just until we get the test results back

tomorrow? Then we can go home with what we have and I can chew on it in our own little

office.”

She rolled her eyes, but in the end nodded with little enthusiasm. “OK, Mulder, but in

return, you’re the one to take the clothes to the dry cleaners and face Mrs. Yancy’s wrath.”

He was about to object strenuously when their pizza arrived and all conversation ended.

Mulder and Scully’s Townhouse

Georgetown

February 10, 2008

9:55 am

Mulder opened his eyes. The headache he’d been quietly fighting for the last 24 hours was

beginning to win the battle. Even the weak mid-winter sunlight streaming in through their

bedroom window caused him to wince. He reached behind him for his partner and came up

with empty sheets long gone cold. He sat up immediately, the pain behind his eyes

doubling and then tripling in force. “Scully?” he ground out.

Getting out of bed, he shivered against the cold of the bedroom. “Scully?” he called again.

No answer greeted him. He made his way to the bathroom. The room was humid, the

shower curtains still wet. He blinked as his vision doubled for a second and then cleared.

“Scully!” he bellowed, as loud as his headache would let him.

She was gone. She’d left him. Alone.

The word rattled around in his head, dancing with the pain that had taken up a staccato

beat against his forehead. Alone. She left him. Alone. She found someone else, someone

smarter, sexier, someone had caught her fancy and he would never see her again . . .

He closed the lid on the toilet and sat down, burying his face in his hands. That was how

she found him ten minutes later.

“Mulder?” she asked, walking past the bathroom, but coming back to stand in the doorway

when she saw him sitting there. “Are you all right?”

His head snapped up from his hands. “Where were you?” he demanded. He bit his lip when

his headache reverberated each syllable inside his skull.

“Mass. I went to 9 o’clock at St. Anne’s. Why?”

A convenient lie, a small voice whispered in his head. Mass, who would question that? Of

course, St. Anne’s was on Tinley Circle and there was a Catholic Church just across the

Georgetown University football field just a block or two away. Who was she meeting at

Tinley Circle?

He rose and shoved past her. “You should have told me you were leaving,” he snapped,

heading into the bedroom. He grabbed a pair of jeans off the chair near his side of the bed.

“I woke up and you were gone.”

“Mulder, it’s Sunday morning. I always leave you in bed. I brought back croissants and the

New York Times, like I always do,” she said casually. “Do you want to eat here or down in

the dining room?” she asked but he obviously was only half listening.

“I don’t like it when I don’t know where you are, Scully. You know that,” he said tersely as

he removed a long sleeved tee shirt from the dresser and gingerly pulled it over his head.

“I didn’t know where you were, I didn’t know if you were meeting someone — ”

She eyed him critically. He was squinting and kept turning away from any sunlight in the

room. She knew she was right when he grabbed his sunglasses from the nightstand and

put them on. “Mulder, do you have a headache?” she asked.

“I’m going out,” he growled.

“Mom’s expecting us in Baltimore at 3,” she reminded his back as he headed down the

stairs.

“I’ll try to be back in time,” he quipped and slammed the door on his way out.

The winter sunshine was only partly dimmed by the dark glasses and the cold air was a

shock after the warmth of their home. He felt for his keys, but decided he needed a walk,

fresh air. If he’d had two brain cells working in tandem, he would have thought to put on

his running shoes and gone for a nice four or five miles. Walking would just have to do.

About two blocks down the street, in the direction of Georgetown University campus, his

head started to clear and he realized what an idiot he’d been. He knew Scully went to Mass

each Sunday. He knew they had a standing date to snuggle in bed with the Times when she

got home. She’d even picked that church near Tinley Circle because the second Mass

offered was scheduled to get out just about the time he usually started to wake up on the

average Sunday when they were home. It was something he always looked forward to each

week they weren’t out on a case.

Why in the world had he thought she was meeting someone? Who would she meet? Since

they’d become intimate she had never looked at another man. His mind quietly reminded

him of Damien Willis . . .

No, she had been hypnotized at the time! And even then, she’d fought to keep from hurting

him. No, Mulder had absolutely no reason to question her love and devotion, and yet . . .

he had.

What the hell had happened? That damned headache had blotted out every rational

thought from his mind. But now, in the fresh air and sunshine, the pain had vanished and

he was left feeling like a complete and total asshole.

The little campus bookstore had just opened up for early risers. There was a display of

stuffed animals in the window, all decked out in red and pink ribbons with hearts and

flowers. Damn — Valentines Day was just around the corner. And he’d just blown up at

Scully for no good reason. Now he felt lower than an asshole.

Luckily his wallet was still in his pocket. He went into the bookstore and looked over the

selection in the window. A stuffed bulldog with a forlorn expression looked exactly as he

felt. He picked it up without bothering to look at the price and took it to the cash register.

Once in line, he saw some of her favorite chocolates and bought her a small box. He paid

for the purchases and hurried out the door. He had a lot of apologizing to do.

She was in the living room, pretending to read the Times when he got home. She looked up

apprehensively as he walked into the room. The thought that she might think he was still

mad at her stabbed him right in the heart. He’d seen a similar look on his mother’s face

before his parent’s divorce — that look never really went away. Suddenly, he couldn’t

breathe right.

“I’m so sorry,” he gasped out, hurrying to her side and burying his head on her shoulder.

Scully was a little shocked at his actions, but not at his words.

“Mulder, I’m sorry, too. I’m really sorry if I scared you. I know how frightening it is when I

wake up and you’re not there. If I did something — ”

“No, Scully, it’s not your fault. Not at all. I just forgot it was Sunday, that’s all. And that’s

a pretty stupid reason for me to storm out of the house. I’m an idiot.”

She pulled away so she could look at his face. Silent tears were streaming down his cheeks.

“Yeah. But you’re MY idiot,” she said with a tender smile, wiping his damp cheeks with her

thumbs. “Besides, you brought me something. Where’s my ‘I’m an idiot’ present?”

He untangled from her arms only long enough to retrieve the plastic sack from the floor. He

handed it to her before pulling her onto his lap.

“Oh, Mulder, he’s cute,” she cooed. Then she caught sight of the price tag. “Mulder, you

spent $29.95 on a stuffed dog?” she asked, eyebrow raised in accusation.

“Uhhh . . .” was his only defense.

“But the chocolates are nice,” she said, kissing him on the nose. “C’mon. You can feed

them to me, along with the croissants I brought you.”

So what if they were a little late getting to Maggie’s in Baltimore.

FBI Headquarters

February 11, 2008

Mulder pulled another file folder from the stack on the left side of his desk and opened it on

the pile in front of him. He was reading statements from friends and family members of the

five murder-suicides. In each case the tributes were glowing, but he still sensed that he

wasn’t getting the whole story. The frustration he was feeling was beginning to manifest

itself in a pounding headache right at his temples. He removed his glasses and tossed them

onto the open file folder.

“Still searching?” she asked, looking up from the report she was typing.

“These weren’t random events, Scully.”

“OK, let’s take a step back. Have you found any commonalities?”

“They all had higher than average IQs and they all made more money than the both of us,

combined,” he sighed, rubbing his forehead. “Aside from that, nothing. They live in

different suburbs, apparently never crossed paths — it just doesn’t make sense.”

“Well, maybe it’s something environmental,” she suggested. “They all live in the Chicago

area, right?”

He didn’t have time to answer when the phone on his desk started to ring. He grabbed it

angrily, barking his name into the handset. After a second he held the phone out to her.

“Skinner’s assistant.”

She gave him a look that spoke to her confusion and took the phone. “Scully here.” She

nodded twice and hung up the phone. “Skinner wants to see me in his office.”

He looked at her curiously. “He wants to see you? Did she say what it was about?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “No idea. Just said that I was to come up immediately.” She

glanced down at her watch. “Look, I have no idea how long this will take. Why don’t you

go on to lunch without me?”

He frowned. “I can wait till you get back,” he offered, but his stomach growling almost

drowned out his words.

She grinned at him. “Nah, go ahead. I’ll grab something from the cafeteria,” she said,

squeezing his arm. “I’ll see you later.”

He watched her leave the office, an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He heard her

heels tapping down the hall, heard the elevator bell as it announced its arrival. Suddenly he

felt very cold and shivered. He got up from the desk and walked over to pull on his coat. It

was freezing in the office.

Scully’s coat was hanging there, next to his. He touched it, feeling the wool. There was a

scent on it — her perfume. But it didn’t smell right. It wasn’t her perfume — it smelled

different. He sniffed the collar and down the shoulder to the sleeve. It was a men’s

cologne, he was sure of it.

Skinner! It smelled like Skinner’s cologne!

They were having an affair, right here in this building! That had to be it. Skinner was

always calling her, having her come up to his office. Could they be that stupid? Did they

think he wouldn’t find out?

Maybe it was Skinner she was meeting at Tinley Circle. The thought almost dropped him to

his knees. He and Scully had made love — right after she’d been with Skinner for a tete-a-

tete. How could she do this to him?

He had to confront them. He stormed out into the hallway and right past the elevator,

choosing the stairs as the quicker method.

The lancing pain hit him right as he rounded the fourth floor landing. It felt as if someone

had driven a railroad spike through his left eye. He dropped to his knees, grabbing his

head, hoping he could ride out the agony. He couldn’t keep his eyes open and the cold

seemed to seep into his very pores. He didn’t even notice when his head hit the edge of the

step, sending him into oblivion.

A clerical worker found him several minutes later. By the time Scully arrived, with Skinner

hot on her heels, Mulder was lying on a cot in the infirmary.

“He says he doesn’t want to go to the hospital,” the nurse said grimly. “You could make it

an order, sir,” she directed at Skinner.

Scully hurried to his side, gently peeling back the tape and gauze covering a small cut on

his forehead.

“I’m fine, Scully,” he said, not meeting her eyes.

“Mulder, what happened?” she asked, perching on the edge of the cot.

“I slipped,” he lied, staring at his shoes. His thoughts were all jumbled, but the anger was

still there, still licking at his mind. He couldn’t look at her, not when she was betraying him

right under his nose.

“Slipped,” she repeated, her disbelief obvious.

“Yes, I slipped. My foot slipped off the step and I fell. Now, may I please go back to the

office and everyone can stop standing around staring at me?” he asked impatiently.

“Were you unconscious, Mulder?” she asked, her arms crossed.

He looked away, not answering.

“He was just coming around when I got there. There’s no telling how long he was out,” the

nurse offered.

“We have to get an x-ray,” Scully told him firmly. “You could have a concussion.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head, which only served to make it hurt worse. “No. I’m not

going to any hospital.”

“Agent Mulder, you were injured on Bureau property, you will go to the hospital and get

checked out. That is an order,” Skinner said gruffly from his place by the door.

“Why? So you can screw my partner while I’m gone?” Mulder sneered. He was off the table

and before anyone could stop him, he pulled his gun on Skinner. “I should have seen this

coming. You’ve had your eye on her for years.”

“Mulder!” Scully yelled. “What are you talking about?”

“Mulder, I don’t know what you think is going on, but believe me, you aren’t thinking clearly

here,” Skinner said slowly, holding his hands up and away from his body. “No one wants to

hurt you.”

“No, you just want me out of the way, that’s all,” Mulder shouted back. “But you can’t have

her! I’d rather see her dead than with you!” He turned toward Scully and that gave

Skinner just enough time to tackle him to the floor, knocking the gun out of his hand.

Mulder struggled for a moment before the pain ratcheted up again and this time he simply

blacked out.

Georgetown University Medical Center

February 12, 2008

Skinner found Scully at the nurses’ station, flipping through a chart. “How is he doing?”

Scully smiled at their boss. “Much better this morning, thank you. I was just checking his

levels. His doctor thinks we’ll have the infection under control in time for Mulder to be

home for Valentine’s Day.”

Skinner smiled and shook his head. “It was an infection?”

“As near as we can tell,” Scully hedged as they made their way down the hall. “His white

count was off the scale and he was running a pretty high fever when we finally got him

here. We’re still trying to pin down the exact nature of the bacterium, but it appears it was

passed to Mulder from the infected blood of the last victim — Dr. Coates.” At Mulder’s door

she stopped. “He’s still pretty embarrassed by it all. He’s apologized to me about a 1000

times just since breakfast.”

Skinner shook his head and stopped before entering the room. “He does know that he

wasn’t to blame, doesn’t he?”

“Intellectually — yes. Emotionally — not so much. I can understand, sir. Once upon a time

I had the same problem.”

Skinner nodded. “You both spend way too much time finding your way into a striped file

folder.”

Scully opened the door to Mulder’s room, Skinner following her, but careful to leave a polite

distance. “Agent Mulder, you’re looking better.”

Mulder blushed and licked his lips. “Sir, I’d just like to — ”

“Save it, Agent,” Skinner smiled fondly. “Wasted breath. I know you weren’t yourself. You

know, one of these days you’re going to run out of that excuse — I was drugged, I was

infected.”

Mulder rolled his eyes. “Just my little way of keeping your life interesting, sir,” he said with

a shrug.

“That you do. Well, I’ll see you back at the office — as soon as your doctor releases you for

duty.”

“Thanks for stopping by,” Scully said. Mulder nodded his thanks and they both watched

their superior leave.

Scully reached down and took Mulder’s hand. “Mulder, I know I don’t say this often enough

— ”

“Scully, I know you’re not seeing anyone else. You don’t have to say anything.”

“Mulder, what I was going to say is, you have to be more careful at crime scenes,” she

huffed. “If you hadn’t gotten the blood on your wrist none of this would have happened.”

“Yeah, but it helped us solve the case,” he pouted.

It was her turn to roll her eyes. “There are much easier ways to solve a case.”

He nodded slowly. “So . . . I guess I have to stop by a jewelry store when they finally

release me. Somehow I don’t think a $29 stuffed dog is going to make up for this one.”

“No, but a nice pair of pearl earrings might do the trick. Followed by a Valentine’s dinner

along the Potomac,” she said with a smile.

“Scully, I think I’ve learned a lesson here.”

“And that would be?”

“Love hurts. Especially in the checkbook.”

1

Love Hurts by Vickie Moseley

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