Separation Anxiety 6/7

Separation Anxiety
Written October 1998
Rated PG-13
Synopsis: Mulder and Scully are separated but find themselves working on a similar case…and falling in love.

Disclaimer: The characters you recognize belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement is intended. Some of the characters and situations are my own.


Key West, Florida
The next day (September 4)
8:45 A.M. EST

Mulder stumbled into the bureau to find his boss, his partner, and two police officers waiting in his office. “Only 45 minutes late, and you’re ready to arrest me? Remind me not to call in sick.” One of the officers, an Irishman with red hair and dimples, took Mulder’s gun and gave it to his partner. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“Agent Mulder,” the dimpled officer began, “where were you last night at approximately ten fifty?”

“Why?”

“Where were you?”

“I had some things I needed to take care of.”

The two officers exchanged glances. The taller, meaner looking one spoke. “Was there anyone with you?”

“Yes.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know. Lots of people. I didn’t speak to any of them.”

“Did they see you?”

“Yes. What is—”

“Did you kill Kallie Duran, Agent Mulder?”

He hesitated, casting a puzzled glance at Primrose. The man looked sheepish. He was sure of the reason. “Is she dead?”

“Did you kill her?”

“Now why would you think that?”

“There were witnesses who say they heard you two fighting around 8:30 or so on the boardwalk.”

“Aaron—”

“Mulder, you threatened to kill her if she hurt Agent Scully.”

“It was the adrenaline. You know I didn’t kill her.”

“Tell them that.”

He turned to the dimpled officer. “I didn’t kill her.”

“We’ll see about that.”

“Look, if all you have to go on is a heated argument—”

“We believe she was killed using your gun.” He withdrew his handcuffs. “You have the right to remain silent…”

***

10:45 A.M. EDT

Mulder was not amused by his situation. Someone must have taken his gun, but who? Probably the same person who killed Kallie. No doubt they would find his prints on a recently fired gun that belonged to him.

Great.

He stared at the telephone that had been slammed down on the table in front of him.

“You get one phone call,” the officer clarified. “Better make it a good one.”

Slowly he reached for it, knowing exactly who to call but unsure what to say. He dialed the number…

“Hello?”

“Scully, did I wake you?”

“That’s okay. What’s up?”

“Do you have the day off?”

“Yes.”

“That’s good. I need to ask you for a favor.”

“Anything.”

“Fly down to Key West?” he mumbled hollowly.

“What happened?”

“I was arrested for the murder of the third witch, Kallie Duran.”

She sat up in bed. “What? You’re kidding, Mulder. Please tell me you’re kidding.”

“I can tell you that, but it’s not going to change the truth.”

“Okay. We can work through this. Do you have an alibi?”

“Kind of.”

“Kind of? Where were you?”

“I’d prefer not to say over the phone.”

“Were you at a strip joint?”

“No!” he replied loudly, and the guard glared at him. “My time is running out. Can you help me?”

“Of course. Terry and I can catch the next flight out. Take care, Mulder.”

“I’ll try not to drop the soap.”

She hung up the phone. “Terry!” They nearly crashed into each other in the hallway. “Pack your bags; we’re going to Key West.”

“Why?”

“Mulder’s in jail.” She pushed him into his bedroom. “Come on!”

***

Key West, Florida
That afternoon

“Hi. I’m Special Agent Dana Scully. I’m looking for Aaron Primrose.”

“Last room on the right.”

“Thank you. Come on, Terry.”

He followed her obediently. “Who’s Aaron Primrose?”

“Mulder’s partner. I want to know more about why Mulder’s in jail before I visit him.” She peeked into the small office. A man sat at a desk, typing something on a laptop. “Excuse me, Agent Primrose?”

He lifted his head and smiled. “Dana Scully!” He walked over to her and shook her hand.

“You know me?”

“I feel like I’ve known you for years; Mulder talks about you enough.” He paused. “You heard.”

She nodded. “This is my partner, Terry Stevens.”

“Nice to meet you.”

“Do you know what happened?”

Primrose turned a shade paler. “Yesterday morning, the police came looking for him. They told me Kallie Duran was dead, bullet wound to the head at point blank range. I’m assuming you know who Kallie Duran is.”

“Yes.”

“She was staying in Mulder’s apartment because she feared for her life.” By the look on Scully’s face, he wasn’t sure she knew that fact. “Kallie was…bewitchingly beautiful. She was attracted to Mulder, but he refused all of her advances. He loved you too much.” He handed her a photograph. “That’s her before the murder.”

Scully stared at the woman with envy. To think that Mulder spent time with her… She gave the picture to Stevens. “So they came here looking for Mulder. Why?”

“No one knows where he went last night, and he won’t tell anyone.”

Stevens set the photo back on the desk. “That still doesn’t explain why Mulder was accused.”

He sighed. “When they came here this morning—the police, that is—they asked me if I knew who may have killed her. Kallie thought it was Satan, but last night…”

“What?” Scully asked gently. He seemed as if he was wrestling with himself—and losing.

“Mulder threatened to kill Kallie. Everyone heard, including my wife and me. I had no choice but to tell them.”

She straightened. “What happened?”

“They came up from the beach. She accused him of having fears about what she would do to you.”

“Me?”

Primrose nodded. “She said she wanted to get you out of the way, so they could be together. Mulder said he’d kill her if she did anything to you. Then he went one way, and she went the other. And that was the last I saw of her.”

“And Mulder?”

“He came to work late. The police asked him where he was, and he was very vague.”

“What did he say?”

“He had something to take care of. Anyway, they arrested him on suspicion of murder. They’re testing his gun to see if it was the murder weapon.”

Scully was very distant. “I have to go see him.”

“Scully?”

She turned. “Yes?”

“When you see him…tell him I’m sorry.”

“Okay.”

Stevens put a hand on her shoulder. “Are you going alone?”

She nodded. “Yes. I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s okay. I think you should. You have a lot to tell him.”

She put her arms around him gently, and he felt himself blush. “Thank you. I’ll be back.”

***

Holding cell at Key West Police Station
Key West, Florida
Twenty minutes later

“I need to see Fox Mulder, please.” Scully held out her FBI badge and gave her gun to the guard in exchange for a pass.

“Call box only.”

“I need to see him in the visitor’s room.”

He glared at her. “Call box only. Don’t you Feds know what only means?”

She took her visitor’s badge and followed him to the waiting area. She sat down on a cold grey chair and sighed.

She knew he didn’t kill anyone. The trick was getting enough proof to convince a jury.

The warden glanced at his clipboard. “Dana Scully.”

She sat in front of a dirty bulletproof window, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mulder before he saw her.

Finally, he arrived, wearing shackles and chains to complement his blue jumpsuit. He hadn’t shaved recently, and his five o’clock shadow was chiming six o’clock.

He was pushed into the chair by a burly guard. His eyes met hers, and they remained locked in the position for what felt like an eternity.

She fumbled for the phone, connecting her to him. He did the same, burdened by the handcuffs. “Mulder…”

“Hiya, Scully. Like my outfit?”

“You would joke about this,” she replied shakily.

“It’s the only thing keeping me from going crazy in here.” He smiled. “You look great. I was beginning to think I’d never see you again.”

She fought to keep her voice level; she couldn’t believe this was happening. “Mulder, I talked to Aaron. He’s sorry.”

“I don’t blame him.”

“You have to tell me what happened, Mulder. Everything. No holds barred, or I can’t help you.”

“I didn’t kill her, Scully.”

“I know you didn’t.” She was relieved to hear it nonetheless.

“We ate dinner, and we were walking back to my apartment, where she had been staying. She kissed me, I pushed her away, she got mad…lunged at me, I think. I don’t know. I noticed she was bleeding, so I went to help her.” He paused. “She had been playing us for a fool, Scully. She never had a devil’s mark to begin with. Her ‘supposed’ mark had blood coming from it. I got upset and walked away, to the boardwalk.”

“And she followed you.”

He nodded. “She told me to face my fears. She wanted to hurt you, Scully. I threatened to kill her if she did anything to you. It was partial adrenaline and other things, but it was strange, too, because…she knew my fear, Scully. She knew my biggest fear was losing you.”

A lump formed in her throat, making it difficult to speak above a whisper. “You’re not going to lose me, Mulder.”

“The fear was always there, whether it be to John or the other dozen men in Spokane.”

She drew a sharp breath. Though John and the others were a joke to her, Mulder had been insecure, and she had never reassured him. “There is only…one…man for me, Mulder—and I’m not going to let him go without a fight.”

All the tension and worry lifted from his face, and looked ten times younger. Slowly, his expression turned cloudy.

“Where were you last night, Mulder?”

“I bought a plane ticket,” he admitted, “under the name Fred Lundry. Flight 5683 to Spokane, Washington.” He looked deep into her eyes. “I stood at your front door in the rain, wearing my shining armor and accompanied by my white horse. I came to take you away, Scully. We were going to ride off into the sunset, far from John and Kallie and the X-Files.” He watched a tear roll down her cheek. “Together forever. But I couldn’t even bring myself to knock. I wanted to reassure myself, but I knew I’d only end up hurting you. You would think I didn’t believe in you. So…I flew back and didn’t sleep a wink.”

She closed her eyes briefly, releasing teardrops. “You are so stupid,” she whispered softly. “Why do you have to be so stupid? Don’t you know that…I love you.”

There was a brief pause. “I love you, too.”

She inhaled a shaky breath, pools of tears welling in her eyes. She watched as Mulder slowly flattened one hand on the dingy glass. She followed him, her hand resting over his.

“I trust you to save me, Dana,” he murmured faintly.

She nodded and watched him as he was escorted back to his cell by a guard. Their eyes never broke contact.

***

Key West International Airport
6:17 P.M. EDT

“I need to inquire about a passenger on flight 5683 going to Spokane last night. May I see the manifest?” Scully’s badge was good at being forceful; all she had to do was state her wish.

Federal agents were swarming the airport, searching for any proof that Mulder was there the night before. The process was painstakingly slow.

“Dana, look at this.” Stevens brought the collection of tickets to her. “These stubs are kept in a safe until the company comes to file them. I’ve gone through the box twice; there is no Fred Lundry.”

“Here’s a printout of the manifest, ma’am,” the attendant announced, handing her the document.

“Thank you.” She scanned it carefully. “No Lundrys or Freds. Dammit! What else, what else…” She grabbed his arm. “Security video!” They headed for the office of airport security and had the guard find the tape for the flight’s terminal. She was anxious to find any clue; agents working in tandem in Washington were coming up empty-handed as well.

Stevens watched the film closely, trying to spot Mulder in the crowd. Suddenly, there was a blip on the screen. “Go back.” The officer rewound the tape. “There! Did you see that? It’s like someone spliced the tape. And the counter went from 24 seconds to 32 seconds.”

“Just enough time for someone to walk across the screen,” Scully realized. “Someone does not want us to find evidence that Mulder was here. Terry, keep going through the video. See if our conspirators missed a spot. I’ve got to call someone.”

***

Washington, D.C.

“Lone Gunmen.”

“Langly, hi!”

“Dana Scully! Wow, Byers, Frohike, and me haven’t heard from you in ages.”

“I need to talk to Frohike.”

“Sure thing. Frohike!”

The voice on the telephone changed to a deeper, slightly rougher one. “Hello.”

“Hi, Frohike.”

“Agent Scully, to what do I owe this pleasure?”

“I need your help.”

“What can I do for you?”

“I need you to bring all of your hacker programs.”

“Ooh. Just tell me what to do.”

***

Key West, Florida

It was nearly midnight when Frohike arrived at the airport. Scully greeted him warmly. “Thank you for coming on such short notice.”

“Anything for you and Mulder. Especially you.”

She smiled. His crush on her had dwindled over the years, but that didn’t keep him from teasing her. “I think there’s a force working against us, someone who wants Mulder to be guilty. Some computer files on flight 5683 may have been erased. I need you to retrieve them.”

“My kung fu is at your service.”

She led him to a computer terminal. Stevens met them there. “Oh, Frohike, this is my partner Terry Stevens.” She almost laughed at their physical similarities. Frohike was shorter and chubbier with less hair, but their other features were nearly identical.

“Hi, Terry. I thought Mulder was your partner.”

She nearly glowed at the mention of his name. Frohike didn’t need another hint.

“I see.”

Stevens frowned “What?”

She shook his head. “Nothing.” She squeezed Frohike’s shoulder. “Let me know if you find anything.”

Her partner waited until the conversation seemed finished. “We went through all of the tapes. Pieces were missing from seventy percent of them.”

“All the ones Mulder was in.”

“Exactly.”

“Someone is going to great lengths to hide the truth and frame Mulder.” She frowned in puzzlement. “But who? And why?” Mulder was against it from the start. Did he have a hunch? She sighed. He should always trust his hunches.

End of Part 6

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