Disclaimer: I only wish I owned all of the characters.
Note: Helps if you've read my story "Supernatural Sunnydale"
After eight years of working with him, Dana Scully had come to the obvious truth that Fox Mulder would always come for her, always be there in her time of need. After almost a year of waiting, of uncertainty and relying on e-mails to convey her feelings, he didn’t disappoint. Watching him as he marveled over their son, Dana could almost believe in happily ever after.
“I’ve got to leave,” he said the next morning.
“Fox.” He gave her a glare. She rolled her eyes and started again. “Mulder, you just got here.”
“I have to, Scully. It’s not safe. I need you both to be safe.”
Dana had just nodded. Mulder gathered his few belongings, gave a kiss to William then came over to her, holding her tightly. She kissed him desperately, not wanting to let go. But Mulder broke away, slipping out of the apartment and out of her life once again. Dana refused to cry. He’d be back. She could wait for him again. She had her faith and her son. That was all she needed.
Then things began to unravel. Her faith cracked with the deaths of the Lone Gunmen. Other than William they had been her last link to Mulder, to finding the truth. As they buried Byers, Langly and Frohike, she could help but think he should have been there. She hadn’t heard from him in three months. But she still held strong. She had William.
The universe had other plans. William was still a target. Jeffrey Spender posing as Mulder was the final straw. It nearly killed her but Dana came to the conclusion that William would be safer away from her. She chose the couple, kept stoic as the woman from the adoption agency took her son away. She still didn’t cry. She would not allow herself the luxury of grief. Dana turned to what remained of her faith. Mulder was still out there. Then John Doggett called her in the middle of the night two days later.
“Dana,” he paused. “Dana, its Mulder. His body was found just outside of the city.”
“We just went through this, John,” she yawned.
“Just, Dana, come to the morgue, please.”
She stared at the phone for a moment, listening to the dial tone. It wasn’t him. She’d know if it was Mulder. She dressed and was at the morgue in less than fifteen minutes. John and Monica were there, faces sad. Monica tried to approach her, but Dana brushed her off focusing on the autopsy room instead. They left her alone as she went in.
Dana stared at the sheet covered body as the door swung behind her. She waited until it stopped before doing anything. She told herself she’d be back in her bed in no time. She took a breath, allowing detachment to seep in. This was not Mulder. She took a better look at the body with a doctor’s eye. Whoever was under the sheet was the approximate height and weight, but that description fit a lot of men.
She toyed with the end of the sheet. “It’s not Mulder” she told herself aloud. Dana pulled it back with a flourish. The sheet fluttered to the floor, pooling at her feet. Her heart stopped, seemed to skip for a moment before speeding up. She pinched herself, gasping at the pain. She wasn’t imagining this.
It was Mulder.
He had four gunshot wounds to the chest, one that looked to have gone into his heart. There were bruises and cuts everywhere else on his body. Somehow…somehow his face, his beautiful face, had been left untouched. Dana choked back a sob as she brushed a hand across his cheek, through his hair.
She bent to pick up the sheet, never taking her eyes off of him. She covered him again, leaving it off of his face. Shaking she kissed his forehead before leaving the room. Her fellow agents, many they’d both worked with in the past, surrounded her. She even saw Skinner coming down the hall. They all wore matching expressions of pity. They parted to let Skinner get close to her.
“Dana, I’m so sorry.”
She could have handled the stares and the sympathy from everyone else, but from him…. She steeled herself, looking up and glaring at him.
“If you knew anything, if you knew he was in danger,” she said.
“I give you my word, Dana. I had no idea.”
They stared at each other for a moment before she turned away. She unclipped her badge from her coat, took her ID holder from her pocket and unholstered her gun. She handed them all to Skinner.
“Dana,” he started.
She ignored him and turned to John. “Finish it, finish this. For him, for me, just finish it.”
John nodded. Dana pushed through the crowd and towards the exit. She couldn’t stay here. She needed to leave. Someone would have called Mrs. Mulder, he would get a funeral. She got back to her apartment and started up her computer. She packed a couple of bags while she waited. Then she called the airport and booked a flight. Finally sitting in front of the monitor, she pulled up file and printed it. A minute later she was faxing her resignation to Skinner’s office. She found an envelope to put her apartment key in and left in the outgoing mail for her mother. Her rent was paid up; she could decide later if she wanted to come back.
An hour later she was on a plane. She ate the bland, rubbery meal if only to sustain herself for the rest of her journey. Dana was exhausted but she slept only in fits and spurts. She would jolt herself awake, half expecting to see Mulder sitting next to her. When the plane landed she managed to get through customs, claim her bags and get a train ticket to her next destination. She dozed during the short trip. It was another ten minutes by cab to find the house buried in the countryside. She paid the driver and stood at the door, bags by her feet, wondering if she was crazy. She knocked.
It was answered after a moment. The familiar face carried more worry, a few more gray hairs and the eyes echoed some of the same grief she had, but he smiled through his surprise when he saw her.
“Dana? What brings you here?”
“I had nowhere else to go, I couldn’t stay there,” she said, shaking in earnest now. “Do you have a spare room, Rupert?”
“Yes, of course. Dana, what happened?”
It was then the tears came and Dana found herself wrapped in Rupert Giles’ strong arms as she wept.
Rupert Giles was finally beginning to settle in. His bags had been unpacked for a week now and the majority of his belongings had arrived yesterday. Boxes were piled where ever he had room. When exactly had he become a pack rat?
The pain and guilt of Buffy’s death was still there, still ever present, but he was living with it. He saw her fall in his dreams, often waking covered with sweat her name on his lips. When he really thought about it, Rupert realized that his relationship with Buffy, while never romantic, was the longest he’d had since leaving England to find her. And it had ended as all Watcher-Slayer partnerships did, with her death. He’d been tempted to disappear into the bottle, but he’d seen too many of his fellow Watchers go that route, it never ended well.
Ever since he’d been assigned to Buffy, he knew that the day would come. There would be one of three outcomes to their partnership. She would die at the hands of a vampire or in battle. He would die protecting her or fighting by her side. To hell with Council dictates that he just train and observe. The men who made up those rules had never been in the field, never faced the day to day evil. This was the end of at least forty percent of all Watchers who were partnered with Slayers. The last was that they both perished in battle. This had happened only ten percent of the time. Meaning the remaining half were like him, Watchers who saw their Slayers die. Over half of this group either went crazy or committed suicide. The rest, they lived out their lives either alone or in service to the Council. But they were never the same men who had been sent out in the first place.
Rupert had already received an offer to return to the British Museum. He was weighing his options. With Buffy gone and Faith in prison there wasn’t an active Slayer out in the world, facing the forces of darkness. That had the Council in frenzy. He smiled at the memory of Quentin having an apoplexy when he realized that he might have to turn to Faith. They were equally loathe to kill her as she was experienced in dealing with the Hellmouth. Rupert almost pitied the poor fool who might get assigned to her if the Council did decide to free her.
Meanwhile, Rupert was taking some time off. He had five years of vacation time saved and he was going to use every second of it. He needed time. Time for…many things. His house in Bath was quiet and out of the way. Not many knew where it was so he was assured of his privacy for as long as he needed it. He kept to himself, interacting with the town folk only when necessary. So he was surprised when he heard a knock on his door. He was even more surprised to see the person standing on his doorstep.
“Dana? What brings you here?”
It had been almost two years since he’d seen Agent Dana Scully. They’d kept in touch via phone calls and e-mail, once Willow had convinced him computers were not evil. She looked weary and her eyes spoke of loss. This was not the strong, vibrant woman he had met in Sunnydale.
“I had nowhere else to go, I couldn’t stay there. Do you have a spare room, Rupert?”
“Yes, of course. Dana, what happened?”
She didn’t answer instead giving into tears. Rupert immediately took her in his arms. He held her, stroking her back as he guided her to the sofa. He left her there for a moment while he grabbed her bags, bringing them inside and setting them down. When he came back to talk to her, he saw Dana had fallen asleep. He went to the closet and pulled out a blanket, covering her. There would be time for explanations later.
Dana woke suddenly, her breath catching in her throat. It took her a moment to remember where she was, to remember her trip. She idly rubbed the blanket that had been covering her. Rupert must have put it there. She stood, wrapping the blanket around her shoulders. There were sounds coming from deeper in the house. She followed them, finding the kitchen. Rupert was standing behind the counter chopping vegetables. He looked up when she came in.
“Dana,” he smiled, the corners of his eyes wrinkling. It made him look younger she thought. “I hope you slept well, you looked like you needed it.”
“I guess I did, thank you. Where’s the,” she paused.
Rupert put down the knife and came around the counter to stand next to her. He pointed down the hall. “The bathroom is to your left. I put your bags in the second bedroom on the right, I hope you don’t mind. I’ll put on some tea and we can talk after you’ve freshened up.”
Rupert took the blanket from her and gently prodded her down the hall. Dana went to the bedroom, which was homey and large, dug out some clean clothes and went to the bathroom. It was much larger than the one in her apartment and she nearly depleted Rupert’s hot water supply before she felt human enough for conversation. When she wandered back to the living room, Rupert was sitting in the chair opposite the sofa, a small tea service on the table between them. She sat down, tucking her feet under her.
“Milk? Sugar?” Rupert offered.
“Both, two sugars.”
He nodded and stirred in the ingredients. She took the cup from him when he offered it, sitting back and blowing it cool. He just sat, watching her. Which was fitting given his title.
“How did you find me?”
She smiled wryly at him over her cup. “FBI.”
“Silly question,” he admitted with a chuckle. “But how did you know I wasn’t still in Sunnydale?”
“I, uh, was keeping an eye on your movements and on things there, just in case you might need our help again,” she said, fidgeting with her cup. “There’s only one reason I can think of as to why you’d be here.”
“Buffy,” he said. “She…she died. Saving the world actually.”
“I’m sorry. I know what she meant to you.”
He nodded. “That still doesn’t explain why you came here, to me. I haven’t heard from you in almost a year, Dana. I know I didn’t exactly keep up my end but something’s changed. It has to do with Mulder, doesn’t it?”
Dana closed her eyes, hand gripping the cup hard. She felt hands over hers gently prying it away. She opened them and saw Rupert kneeling before her. His eyes were full of concern; a line of worry crossed his forehead.
“He’s dead,” she said, turning her head.
She began telling him all she could. Even though she’d left the Bureau some things still stayed classified. He continued to hold her hands as she spoke. They were calloused and warm, strong. She told him about her relationship with Mulder, about William and the conspiracies surrounded her child. She described what she’d seen in the autopsy room. She shed more tears, Rupert offering her a handkerchief when she was done.
“I have nothing there, Rupert. I couldn’t stay, everything reminded me of Mulder. My mother wouldn’t have been any help. You were the first person I could think of to turn to.”
“I’m honored. You can stay as long as you need to, Dana. Perhaps we can help each other through our grief.”
“Lost souls, searching for peace.”
After tea, Rupert offered to show Dana around the village. She agreed and he waited while she found some shoes. Her loss, while different from his, was just as devastating. It was obvious she was in need of time and quiet, something she most certainly wouldn’t have gotten back in the States. He convinced her to call her mother when they returned to reassure her that she was fine. He knew the necessity of having family available to soften the blow. When he’d come home, the first call he’d received had been from his mother.
When she returned, he gently guided her out of the door and down the garden path. The afternoon was clear and sunny. They took their time, enjoying the gardens and the peacefulness of the village. Rupert introduced her to the shopkeepers as an old friend come for a visit. He bartered at the fruit stall for some pears he’d make into a tart for tomorrow. They came to the pub and he offered her a drink. Dana smiled and nodded. The patrons and barkeep greeted him. She was regaled with tales of younger Rupert’s adventures over a pint. It was good to see her laugh.
In another time, another place, Rupert could have seen himself having a relationship with Dana. He thought about that sentiment for a moment as he watched her smile at another story. Yes, they were both hurting right now, which meant rushing into anything now could prove disastrous. But given time, maybe they could find a way. For now, he was content to be her friend.
He rescued her from the small crowd that had gathered around her citing the lateness of the hour. They all said rousing goodbyes. They took the walk back slowly, just enjoying each other’s company. It was the kind of comfortable silence he and Jenny had not developed before her death and one that he’d never had with Olivia. He shook his head to steer his mind away from those thoughts. Now was not the time.
“I like your friends,” she said suddenly.
“Yes, well, they can be rather boisterous and I do hope you take anything they said about me with a grain of salt.”
“I will. Are you going to use the pears for dessert tonight?”
“No, maybe tomorrow. We’re going to have a stew, that’s what I was cutting up the vegetables for earlier.”
“I could help.”
“Nonsense, you’re my guest.”
“Rupert,” she said, relenting when he gave her a stare. “Fine, but I can cook and I’d like to help in some way as repayment.”
He gave her a slight nod as they turned onto his path. Dinner was a success and Dana had managed to cajole him into letting her help with the dishes. They were just finishing up when the phone rang. Rupert wondered who it might be as he excused himself to answer it. Willow’s cheerful voice echoed from across the sea as he took in her news. Dana came in drying her hands, a concerned look on her face as she watched him. He automatically said goodbye, pressing the disconnect button as he let the phone drop to the floor.
“Rupert? Is everything okay?”
He tore himself from his thoughts to focus on Dana. Willow’s pronouncement was still echoing in his head. “It’s- - it was Willow. About Buffy. She’s alive. She’s back.”
“You’re going to her,” Dana stated. “I’ll come with you.”
“No, no, it’s---stay here. I’ll not be there long, a day or two, a week at most. I just,” he faltered.
“I know, Rupert. I’ll go make calls about a flight and all that, go pack.”
He looked down at this extraordinary woman. She’d come to him in her time of grief and now she was being strong for him. Propriety be damned. He strode over to her, leant down and kissed her, a brief touch of lips, before he went off to his bedroom to pack.
Dana’s afternoon with Rupert had been more than pleasant. It had been--fun. It should have been wrong to have been laughing so soon, but the people in the pub, Rupert’s friends, had made it so easy. It was then that she knew she’d made the right choice to come here. She’d caught a glimpse of him as she laughed, the small smile playing across his face making him younger, less burdened. They would be good for each other.
She was glad he was her friend. Right now, Rupert was just the person she needed to be with, one who cared just for her as she was. Not as Mulder’s partner or lover. Not as William’s mother. But just as Dana. Deeper down, she acknowledged that she was attracted to him. A woman would have to be blind not to be. But it was more than that. She could fall in love with him. He was everything all her previous relationships were not. It was too soon though. Being Rupert’s friend was enough for now.
Things were going well, dinner was a comfortable affair and they laughed over the dishes when the phone rang. She finished drying up the last of the plates as he answered it. She didn’t mean to listen. Actually there wasn’t much to listen to on this end. After the initial hello and the name “Willow” Rupert was unusually quiet. Dana came out of the kitchen, drying her hands on a small towel. The look on his face was indescribable. Pain mixed with worry and joy almost. He said goodbye and let the phone drop.
“Rupert? Is everything okay?”
“It’s- - it was Willow. About Buffy. She’s alive. She’s back.”
“You’re going to her,” she said. “I’ll come with you.”
“No, no, it’s---stay here. I’ll not be there long, a day or two, a week at most. I just,” he faltered.
“I know, Rupert.” She did really. She wasn’t going to ask how or why Buffy was back but Dana knew it to be true. And she knew that if she’d gotten a call saying the same about Mulder she’d be on her way just as quickly. “I’ll go make calls about a flight and all that, go pack.”
He stood there, looking at her for a moment. Then she watched him come over to her, lean down and kiss her. It was over in a second but--wow. Dana was half-tempted to grab Rupert and deepen the kiss, forget that she’d told herself it was too soon, but he’d backed away. They stared at each other before he stepped away and left for his bedroom. So maybe, just maybe, they were on the same page. She brushed her fingers against her lips before going over and picking the phone up off the floor. An hour later, Rupert was standing in the doorway, the cab waiting at the end of the path.
“I’ve left my mobile, cell, number and other numbers where I can be reached on the fridge. There’s some money in the green tea tin in the kitchen. If you need some more, there’s a branch of my bank next to the small shop, they’ll know who you are. Avail yourself of my small library, it’s not much, but feel free to read anything.” His emphasis on the word seemed strange.
“I’ll be fine, Rupert. You should go, the driver is waiting.”
“I’ll call you when I arrive, Dana. I,” he paused.
“Go,” she said. Then throwing caution to the wind she stood on her toes and kissed him. It was more than a mere brushing of lips. Rupert cupped her face in his hands, returning the kiss with equal passion. She slowly broke away. “Don’t forget to call me.”
He nodded as he picked up his bags and walked towards the cab. She watched until it disappeared around a bend in the road. Dana closes the door, leaning against it for a moment. Looking up at the clock she calculated the time in Virgina then called her mom. After a few minutes of berating, Dana assure her she was safe, staying with a friend and that she was sorry for worrying her. Margaret Scully accepted it but not before dragging a promise from Dana to call at least one a week. They said goodbye. All she could do now was wait.
Rupert called the next day to let her know he’s arrived safely and seen Buffy. The undisguised joy in his voice made her smile. She told him she’s glad and let him go before either of them can say anything else. She took walks through the village, missing Queequag. She visited Rupert’s library, stumbling across diaries. Reading them she understood what he meant by anything. These are his, from before, detailing everything that happened in Sunnydale, including Buffy’s death. Dana wished she had something like this for him to read. The closest thing she had were her casefiles, but they’re all classified.
These insights into his mind, his life, they got her to thinking. She would always love Mulder, nothing was going to change that. But in that last year, while she carried William, waited for Mulder, she’d mourned him as if he were dead. Now he was and Dana realized she didn’t need to go through the process again. Of course it had been a shock to her system to see him on the autopsy table, but in her heart she’d already grieved for him, for what they’d had. He’d want her to move on, be happy, have her own life. And the kiss with Rupert--maybe she’d found that happiness.
He called her a week later to tell her he was coming home again. She wrote down his flight number, just in case. He sounded sad again, but when she asked him about it he said he’d explain it when he saw her. She figured out times and was waiting at the door for him with a cup of tea in hand. The cab pulled up and he got out, dragging his one bag behind him. When he saw her he smiled. Dana felt that smile course through her system like a bolt of lightening.
“Welcome home,” she said as he stepped in front of her.
“Dana,” he replied before dropping the bag. He swept her up in his arms, pulling her off the ground as he kissed her. She dropped the tea as she wound her arms around his neck in response. He set her down again as he pulled away. “Dana, I….”
“No more waiting,” she said. “Be with me, Rupert.”
He nodded as she took his hand. The bag was pushed inside as the door was kicked closed. He followed her as she tugged him towards her room with a smile.