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After the Louvre I & II by DBKate
AFTER THE LOUVRE by DBKate
Summary: After the events in Gethesemane, Mulder & Scully go on the run to an unusual place and discover some hidden feelings.
Spoilers: US Season Four/All episodes up to finale
Warning: This is an MSR, all friendshippers beware.
It was half an hour past her partner’s funeral and Dana Scully was late.
She took off in the rented Ford Taurus with barely a word to the other mourners, choosing to simply kiss Mrs. Mulder on the cheek and insisting that she hold onto faith. It had been four days since Fox Mulder had taken his own life, with a gunshot to the head and all hell had broken loose. She had ID’d the body, attended the inquiries and faced the inquisition.
Now she was ready for the real challenge.
She sped past the outskirts of D.C. and headed to the little-known streets of downtown. Her cel phone rang.
Skinner’s voice still boomed, even through the tinny receiver.
“Yes, sir?” she answered, trying to concentrate on the road as she swerved around a slower car.
“Everything is clear on this end. You are taking your vacation now, I
assume?” he asked cautiously.
“Yes, sir,” she said, screeching to a halt at a red light.
“Good. Be sure that Mr. Luder stays the hell out of Dodge, please,” he said and hung up.
She revved the car impatiently waiting for the light to change. She checked her rear view mirror quickly and satisfied that she wasn’t being followed, plowed on ahead. She forced the car into high gear and sped down even more desolate streets, narrow, dark and empty. When she came to the murkiest of these, she stopped the car, but did not get out. The car ground to a halt and she waited. She heard footsteps to her right, but made no move.
“Can I get a ride, sailor?” said a voice in the dark, through the passenger window.
“Hop on in,” she said, keeping the engine running and her eyes straight ahead.
Fox Mulder jumped in the car besides her, ducked down below the front seat and Scully hit the pedal with a vengeance. They took off like a shot into the streets.
“I got the tickets, Scully,” he said from below.
“Great. Where are we going?” she asked, ignoring the speedometer as they flew past buildings and streets.
“You’ll see, Scully.”
It took them less than twenty minutes to reach the airport and its roads.
“So where are we headed, Mulder?” said Scully, as she turned into the enclosed circular highway.
“Paris,” Mulder replied. He had finally felt more confident, but insisted on keeping his eye in the rearview mirror.
“Paris? What’s in Paris?” she asked, turning yet another steep curve as departing planes thundered overhead.
“The Louvre,” he replied and pointed to their terminal.
Scully raised an eyebrow, but followed his direction nonetheless.
“The Louvre?” she asked, as she pulled into the parking lot and began searching for a spot. “What’s in the Louvre?”
“The Mona Lisa,” replied Mulder
“Mulder…” Scully began, but was silenced by Mulder’s gentle finger on her lips.
“Trust me?” he asked quietly.
She looked at him closely and wondered if he was indeed all right, if everything that had happened in the past few weeks hadn’t damaged him in some subtle way, some way that even her experienced eye wasn’t yet able to detect. She wanted to talk, to wait, but she knew that any time spent standing still was an opportunity for disaster to come closer.
Perhaps even to collide.
“Of course,” she replied with a sigh. She was heartened by his answering smile and decided that Paris in spring wasn’t the worst of all hiding places on earth.
As long as they weren’t found.
“You’ll like it,” said Mulder, as he opened his door.
“I’m sure I will,” she said and got out to follow him inside.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the window to your left, you’ll see the Emerald Isle of Ireland.”
Scully turned her head at the captain’s announcement and was vaguely glad to see land after the six hours of endless and monotonous sea. Mulder had slept soundly throughout the entire trip and even her curiosity didn’t have the heart to wake him.
“We will be landing in Paris in approximately 30 minutes.”
Paris. She had never been to Paris, but had dreamed about it like countless of other people, wondering if all things in Paris were as magnificent in real life as they appeared in the imagination. She felt slightly guilty at the small twinge of happy anticipation, for Mulder and she were here on business, and serious business at that.
Or at least she thought.
But Scully allowed herself to picture the Eiffel Tower against a perfectly blue sky, strings of lights scattered throughout the narrow, nighttime streets and imagine the smell of fresh bread and dark, sweet coffee in the morning. She tried not to smile, but one curled around her lips anyway as she leaned back in her seat still dreaming.
Maybe I can convince Mulder to sneak out for one night.
Her eyes popped open at such a frivolous thought. Remember who you are Dana Scully, she told herself sternly. Remember why you are here.
But why am I here, replied a little nagging voice.
She turned toward Mulder with a huff and decided to wake him to demand an explanation, when the peace on his face stopped her once again. He looked too content, too calm, to wake after the nightmare of the past month. It can wait, she chanted to herself. Trust him. Give him a break, she thought, taking a deep breath.
Give yourself one.
And so she allowed her imagination to take her to Paris in any way, shape or form it pleased. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the next thirty minutes of dreaming.
For that was all that was going to be allowed.
“What do you think, Scully?”
Mulder picked up both their bags as the cab roared away after dropping them in front of the small hotel. It was barely a bread & breakfast, still in the city, but behind a hidden alleyway and facing the black glass of a decidedly unquaint high-rise.
But it was lovely. Even this tiny building had its own distinctive architecture, pillars and exquisite carvings, brilliant art in stone and mortar, a timeless island of the past. Scully tried to make a dry comment, but even as she fought it, the magic of the city had already invaded her soul.
“It’s beautiful,” she said honestly, and Mulder rewarded her with a brilliant, shining smile, one that crinkled underneath his eyes and dared to show a dimple in his cheek.
“Wait till you see the inside. The carpets were made by hand,” he said, slinging both their bags over his shoulder, and guiding her up the short staircase. A serious, red suited doorman opened the front door and ushered them in.
“You’ve been here before?” she asked with an arched eyebrow.
“Read the brochure,” he replied without missing a beat, and she was forced to laugh whether she wanted to or not. Everything that had happened in the past few weeks, the madness, sickness and death that had nearly overtaken them, nearly killed them, was quickly fading and she was helpless against its departure.
Scully entered the hotel with a light step.
And she saw the gilded wallpaper shining under soft lights, the carpets, truly exquisite and certainly made by human hands, for no machine could create something that showed such care and love. The cherry wood reception desk was perhaps a century old, and the concierge wasn’t too far behind she noticed, as they walked up to register. Everything spoke of warmth, tradition and taste and Scully was enchanted.
“Monsieur? May I help you?” asked the concierge, in English. Scully was relieved. The cabbie hadn’t spoken English and French wasn’t her language of choice in school. They had taken a much longer ride than expected on the way here.
“Mr & Mrs. Godot,” answered Mulder, ignoring Scully’s astonished expression at the introduction.
“Very good. Let me find your room,” answered the concierge. He walked slowly to the far side of the desk and began to go slowly through the register.
“Mr. & Mrs. Godot?” whispered Scully, incredulously.
“Joan of Arc was already booked,” answered Mulder with a shrug. He motioned for quiet as the concierge made his way back.
“Room 1013, Monsieur & Madame Godot. We will carry those things up to your room. Please, Monsieur, this way. Madame, watch your step over these tiles. They are slippery. Come, right this way,” said the concierge, suddenly becoming amazingly animated, one arm waving at the bellhops, the other taking Scully’s elbow and carefully leading her down the marbled halls.
He rang for the elevator and held the doors open as they both entered.
As the doors closed Scully turned to Mulder with a questioning expression.
“We are here for a reason, right?” she asked carefully.
“Yes,” replied Mulder watching the floors roll past the stained glass of the elevator window.
“And that would be?” asked Scully slowly.
“To see the Louvre,” he replied as the elevator ground to a stop. The doors opened and Mulder stepped outside.
“Tenth floor, Madame,” he said, holding the door open for her.
He offered her his arm.
“Mulder, this bathtub is incredible!”
Scully’s voice echoed happily from the bathroom and boomed throughout the room. Mulder smiled. Nothing like a woman and her bathtub, he thought. He tossed himself on the huge, king sized bed and closed his eyes, and listened to the sounds of the noisy Parisian streets below. There was no TV in the room, but he had better entertainment right there.
“They have perfume in here, Mulder. French perfume!”
He tried not to laugh at the astonished and gleeful yell.
“Smell this soap! And these towels, they are huge! And look! A drinking fountain…”
Ooops. Mulder sat up.
“That’s a bidet, Scully,” Mulder yelled back quickly. “Uh, don’t drink from that.”
There was a long moment of silence and then Scully’s hysterical laughter began to echo off the tiled walls and through the room. She stumbled out, clutching her sides as Mulder shook his head at her.
“I think someone didn’t get enough sleep on the plane,” he said with a smile, as she sat next to him on the bed and wiped the laughter from her eyes.
“A bidet,” she choked. “Oh lord…”
Mulder looked at her with a smile and wondered when was the last time he had seen her laugh.
Or if he had ever seen her laugh.
“So, do you like it?” he asked softly, watching as she lay back on the bed and stretched out her arms, feeling the comforter beneath her fingers.
“I think so. But there is just one thing, Mulder,” she said, her blue eyes focused on the ceiling, her hands carelessly stretching up, toward it, as if she could almost touch the small, carved flowers that adorned it.
“And that is?” he asked, but he knew the question.
“What are we doing here, Mulder?” she whispered, still concentrating on the flowers above. “I mean, really. I know there is a reason and you’ll have to tell me it eventually. I can wait…”
She pulled herself up and looked straight into his eyes.
“But I might just end up taking a five-hour bath and say to hell with it,” she said, with a smile in her eye.
“I told you already, Scully,” he replied and smiled back, but weakly. “We are going to the Louvre.”
“And what’s in the Louvre, Mulder? And don’t say the Mona Lisa, because then we’ll have a fight,” Scully replied.
“But the Mona Lisa, is there, Scully. Don’t you want to see it? We can go to the Rue Morgue tonight, and the Eiffel Tower tomorrow. Don’t tell me you’ve never even wondered what they’ve looked like. Haven’t you, Scully?” asked Mulder sincerely, and Scully was taken aback.
“But what does all this have to do with the Kritchgau? The alien body?” asked Scully, incredulously.
“Nothing,” said Mulder softly.
Scully’s expression changed. This was no longer a joke. They had things to do. Truths to find. They were supposed to be here on business.
“I thought we could use a vacation, Scully,” he continued, trying desperately to read her face. “You and me. We had to go somewhere far away, why not here? I thought you would like it here. Especially since…”
Mulder suddenly went silent. But Scully could still hear what he was about to say, even if he hadn’t said it.
Especially since you’re sick.
Her cancer. That’s why he’s doing this, she thought. He feels guilty. This is what this is all about, her mind screamed. Give poor, dying Scully a last hurrah. Her anger started to blind her.
“So, you felt sorry for me and took me to France,” she snarled. “Poor, poor Scully…so sick. She needs some pity.”
“No, no…Scully, wait…” said Mulder, turning pale under her glare. “You don’t understand…”
“I don’t want your pity, Mulder!” she cried out furiously, her face turning red and the tears beginning to bite behind her eyes. “Not yours, not my mother’s, not Bill’s, no one’s, Mulder. Don’t you understand? Pity will not help me!!”
Mulder felt his temper slip away.
“I’m not pitying you! I’m tired, Scully. Aren’t you?” he yelled back, his voice thick and cracking. “Aren’t you tired?”
Scully hesitated and thought for a moment. Yes, I am tired, she thought. But….
“Scully, aren’t you tired of believing that there is no joy in this world? That all there is, all that exists in life, is pain and lies?” Mulder continued, his voice softening. “I hope not, Scully. Because I can’t live like that any longer. That’s what I’ve realized, Scully. That life is short and that the truth isn’t worth a damn when you’re alone. I’ve been alone for a long time Scully, and I can’t go on like this. I can’t.”
Mulder stopped and took a deep, shuddering breath.
“Because I’m tired, Scully,” he finally whispered.
Scully saw that Mulder’s features had finally crumbled and beneath them were obsessions that had fallen away and they had left behind a simple humanity. He had become a man longing for something outside of himself, something outside of his sister, his tortured family, outside of his own guilt.
She could barely stand the sight.
“All right, Mulder,” she said, looking away. “We’ll take a break. I think that’s appropriate. We’ll…we’ll go to the Louvre. I think that’s a good idea. Maybe we could use some time to think. Time to plan.”
Scully hung her head and stared at the floor, unable to continue. She felt a finger slid under her chin and lift her face. Mulder’s eyes met hers.
“Thank you, Scully,” said Mulder simply…gratefully.
And she knew he meant it.
“Mulder, I think it’s closed.”
Scully was speaking in whispers outside of the great museum. The street lamps still burned brightly outside in the night, but there was only stillness and darkness behind the doors.
“The Louvre never closes,” said Mulder matter-of-factly.
Scully pursed her lips.
“And what makes you think that?” she said dryly.
“I read the brochure,” he replied and jogged up the huge stairs to peer in the door.
Scully was content just to look at the huge palace, with its Gothic style exterior, the pride of six kings. To their right, ran the Seine river and the lights of Paris still shone. But Mulder appeared determined to enter, even at the inconvenience of the hour.
“We’ll come back tomorrow,” said Scully, feeling compelled to speak in whispers outside the overwhelming building. “We’ll go back to the cafe…”
“I think we can get in, Scully,” said Mulder, squinting down a ledge.
“We are not breaking into the Louvre, Mulder,” squeaked Scully indignantly. “Absolutely not.”
“We aren’t going to steal anything, Scully. I just want to look,” he replied, peering down the side of the stairs.
“Everyone wants to look, Mulder. That’s why they come here. We’ll come back tomorrow,” she hissed, now getting nervous. “Come on.”
“It is open, Scully!” he whispered back triumphantly. I see a crack of light on the stones. A quick run inside and then we’ll leave. I can’t come all the way here without seeing the Mona Lisa, Scully. Can you?”
Scully rolled her eyes. Oh, he is so…so..
He is alive, she thought. Absolutely and wonderfully alive. She watched for a moment as he carelessly dangled down the side stairs, attempting a closer look at the stolen entranceway. Something inside of her broke open at the sight.
“Won’t we get caught?” she said, biting her lip in thought.
“A flick of a switch says we won’t. That’s the entrance for security. No wonder the Mona Lisa was stolen twice,” replied Mulder, running back down the stairs, grabbing her hand and virtually dragging her down to the open door.
She followed without complaint.
They entered the dull security center, surprisingly dead and empty. Mulder examined the grey panels for a moment and switched off only the motion detectors. A small hum came to a standstill and Mulder let out a yelp.
“Elvis has entered the building,” he said to Scully dragging her up the steel stairs, his eyes bright.
“God help us,” said Scully, but feeling an odd thrill at such an awful and forbidden deed. She ran up the stairs behind him.
Mulder burst through the top door and Scully gasped.
Heaven had unfolded.
The room was huge. Long, with an impossibly high ceiling, the Grande Gallery lay before them. Scully stared and couldn’t understand how a single room could stretch almost a thousand feet in front of her with such beauty.
“Oh, my God,” she gasped. “Oh, my…”
Mulder nodded in mute agreement.
“Look,” she murmured pointing to the left. “Look….”
The Venus de Milo greeted them. Her head bowed to one side, her invisible arms graceful and poised, even in absence. Scully fought the almost overwhelming urge to touch the spotless marble and slowly, sadly passed her by.
Her regret soon passed. For here were so many other sights to see. She passed by sculpture after sculpture and painting after painting and not the dull ones you stare at in boredom in some local museum, but all the lovely ones, the real ones, that you only see in books or postcards or perhaps a dream or two.
But Mulder looked perturbed. He pulled Scully along, past the Winged Victory of Samothrace, looking, searching for something. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it.
The Mona Lisa.
He put a finger to his lips and motioned for quiet at Scully in the already silent hall. She answered with a thrilled shhh and they edged toward it. The Mona Lisa sat still, accepting their tiptoeing homage, smiling as ever, somewhere over their shoulders as she has at all pilgrims for the past few centuries.
Mulder grasped Scully’s hand tighter as they walked up.
And the treacherous world outside disappeared.
Scully felt no need for words. Impulsively, perhaps instinctively, she took her hand from Mulder’s and wrapped her arms around his waist, holding him closely, laying her head against his heart. She looked at the great countess and hoped that she could have the same peace after heartbreak that she had found. Mulder grasped her waist in return and his head lay atop of hers. And so entwined they stood, still and peaceful in time, surrounded by the past.
Scully felt his lips against her forehead.
She closed her eyes and felt the waves of warmth and a slight shiver run down her body. I have lived so long alone, she thought, and life is so short. She raised her lips and was rewarded with a kiss, soft at first, but growing stronger…more desperate the longer she waited. She took a moment to respond, just wanting to savor the feeling, the taste and warmth of Mulder’s lips, but soon her own desire betrayed her. She twined her arms around his neck and pulled him against her, rocking slowly, pressing against his chest, hearing his heart.
He gently laid her down on the floor.
Scully didn’t even notice the hardness of the tiles, just that they felt deliciously cool through her blouse and upon her back. Mulder lie on his side next to her, carefully holding her face in his hands, kissing her slowly, trying to give her the chance to stop before there was no turning back.
But that time had passed.
Before Mulder could think, Scully was on top of him; her mouth and hands everywhere, needing and taking, wherever they touched. He began to feel dazed, her warmth spreading over him like a blanket, and when he opened his eyes, the ceiling above him stretched forever, almost to eternity. She kissed him again and he couldn’t help the groan that left his throat.
He couldn’t ignore the ache between his legs.
He tried to put it away, this terrible desire, but she was, if by instinct, her own way of knowing him absolutely and perfectly, urging him on. As he felt her hand caress him through his jeans, he bucked and tore into her. He pulled her blouse open, silk and small buttons popping aside, buried himself in the warm, sweet skin and closed his eyes against her moans. He unclasped her bra and pulled it up harshly and took a nipple in his mouth, felt it hard and hot against his tongue. Scully arched and whimpered against him, softly imploring him to continue, not to stop, but to please, please go on.
And the Louvre fell away.
Soon Mulder was inside of her, on the floor of the palace, his body one with hers. Their rhythm was the rhythm of life and he no longer feared death. He thrust into her with open eyes, searching hers for what he needed. And above her lips, full and bruised with kisses, through her passion and the pain of the past few months, he saw it.
He saw love.
Open and perfect, shining at him in this huge room, before these figures created with love and passion, she became one with them. And he was one with her.
They fell over the edge together.
And soon, in the aftermath, in the Louvre, two lovers finally lie in peace, with the Mona Lisa, serene and smiling sweetly over them.
“Where to next, Mulder?”
Scully’s eyes were still bright from the lights of a Paris evening. She and Mulder were walking hand in hand down the Rue Morgue and the world was finally right.
“London?” he asked, with a smile.
“Tower of London?” she replied with a sly look.
“Now that’s a challange,” he said, picked her up and twirled her underneath a new sunrise. He kissed her and she no longer felt fear.
“I live for a challenge,” she replied. “But you knew that.”
And Mulder nodded, smiling under the rising sun over Paris.
AFTER THE LOUVRE II: Escape by DBKate
Summary: Hiding out in Europe after the events in Gethsemane, Mulder & Scully head to London. Second installment of After the Louvre.
Spoilers: US Season Four/All episodes up to finale.
WARNING: This is a strict MSR, all friendshipper’s beware! This is mush for my own relaxation. Mush-induced diabetes ahead!! You’ve been warned.
“Are you sure it’s him?”
The black-suited man gave a slight cough before answering.
“According to our intelligence sources in Paris and inside Interpol, the answer would be a definite yes. We have photos, videotape and passenger manifests from the US and of his arrival in France.”
“And he is not alone?”
The black-suited man allowed himself a short laugh.
“No, sir. Not by a long shot. His partner is there as well, and to say she is with him is rather an understatement. We have a very interesting bit of footage from inside the Louvre, of all places. They were appreciating a bit more than art that evening. Care to take a look?”
“They are involved, you are saying?”
“Yes, sir. They are also sharing a room in a hotel right off of Rue de Degres. We can probably pick them up today, this morning, if you prefer.”
“What do our friends in Paris think of us taking action there?”
“No problem, sir. Even offered us the use of the Surete.”
“That will be unnecessary.”
“Yes, sir,” said the black-suited man, blinking through the haze.
The haze of cigarette smoke.
“Shall I give the order sir?” he asked.
“Wait until tonight. And then only on my word,” replied the smoker, grinding out his cigarette in one quick motion. “Remember….only on my word.”
“Good morning, Scully.”
Dana Scully opened one eye, and then the other. Slowly, the white plaster roses that decorated the ceiling came into view. She closed her eyes again and breathed deeply, hoping to awake perhaps twice, or three times this morning.
For waking up happily was not something to waste.
She felt Mulder’s arm encircling her and his lips were moving against her neck, either with words or kisses, she couldn’t tell. It had been six days since they left the nightmare behind them. The nightmare of discovering Kritchgau’s body in Mulder’s apartment, a victim of an apparent suicide. The nightmare of the inquisitions and the deceptions that followed. She had followed Mulder once again, blindly, to the edge, but this time had been different.
She felt his hand brush along her breast.
So very different.
“How do you feel?” he asked, his voice moving down her neck and sounding softly against her shoulder.
Scully thought for a moment.
“Blessed,” she replied, honestly.
She could almost see his smile, warm and sweet against her back. She felt him rise and allowed him to turn her onto her back. They looked at each other for a long moment, each one fascinated with the other’s face…a face they had both seen hundreds, perhaps thousands of times, but never, no, never in this light.
Fox Mulder almost shook his head in disbelief. Everything about her was a new wonder. The colors of her hair, for instance. There wasn’t only red, but gold and rich browns. The odd grey hair weaved its way through the others and far from detracting from its beauty, added a nobility, a sense of time that he found endlessly intriguing.
He wondered why he hadn’t noticed before.
He kissed her forehead tentatively. Scully responded with small pout, and in one swift motion, pulled his lips down to hers. He feigned a moment of surprise, but soon gave in to her kiss, feeling the silk and heat of her lips against his own. And soon, Mulder was feeding on her throat and her face, his organ pushing against her belly, flushed and hard.
“Beautiful girl…” he whispered against her cheek, feeling her body twist and squirm underneath his own. “Beautiful girl.”
Scully made a small, frustrated noise and rolled over on top of him. She looked breathless, as if she had been tossed on a rough sea, her hair full and curling against a damp forehead, biting her lip in anticipation. She mounted his thigh, pressing herself against it and bent over to kiss him greedily. He responded, letting her take control, and looked at her body, almost polished in the faint, early morning light. Her eyes were stormy as she rose up and forced herself onto his hardness.
He gasped as she sealed herself against him, and stretching out on the soft coverlet of the bed, the down pillows, he threw his head back as she rode him. His hands lifted her breasts, pinched her nipples, and held them throbbing as she rose, sliding up as high as she could without losing the shaft and plummeting down, her lips dipping to kiss him.
“My own girl,” he murmured, as she plunged herself onto him, the hot wetness engulfing him and receding in a maddening rhythm.
Mulder’s face went dark with pleasure, and as Scully felt him erupt underneath her, she came, bucking until she was transfixed with her own response, her legs trembling, shimmering with the last shocks of pleasure.
Scully’s body folded down upon his, and his shaking hands ran along her back, and up again to her hair. He lifted her face and held it in his hands, perfectly framed by his fingers, fitting like a heart in his palms.
“Beautiful girl.” he whispered again, and brought her lips to his.
It’s good to get lost in a big city, thought Scully.
She and Mulder walked down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees , taking in the nighttime sights and sounds of the huge promenade, one of the most famous in the world. Here the Arc de Triomphe stood before them and the arrondissements continued their spiral northeastward, circling through the railroad terminals and residential neighborhoods.
Mulder turned to Scully with a smile.
“Now, Frohike says he’ll send more, but only after we send him a photo of you posing as the Venus De Milo. With arms, no sheet,” Mulder said, as he pocketed an envelope full of cash The Lone Gunmen had wired to them, and grinned at the maleficent expression on Scully’s face. “So think hard, Scully, we can go hungry without the money.”
“I assume we are going to starve then,” said Scully dryly.
“So cruel, Dr. Scully,” he said mildly.
Scully rolled her eyes and pulled him toward her. Their lips met, briefly and then deeply as if they both just remembered, that here, in this place so far away from all their troubles, they had nothing to hide.
The black car came to a stop directly across from them.
When they broke from the kiss, Mulder twined his arm around her shoulders and lead her toward the Arc. Think of it as our own personal triumph march, Scully, he had said earlier in the evening, when suggesting they walk there. She had laughed and agreed and here they were, nearing the great monument, feeling as though they had certainly overcome their foes.
As they neared the Arc, out of the corner of his eye, Mulder saw the black-suited men.
He took Scully’s arm and increased their pace, watching what the men would do. Surely enough, they sped up and began to push people aside in their haste. As he walked even faster, Scully looked at him with a questioning gaze, and he tilted his head in the direction of their pursuers. She turned slowly and saw them. Her eyes opened in fear, but she said nothing.
She walked faster.
“I wanted to be carefree…I’ve just been careless,” whispered Mulder, with quiet dread, as Scully’s hand curled tightly in his own, the street moving quickly past.
The men in the black suits advanced toward them at a tight clip.
“Do you have your gun, Scully?” Mulder asked.
She nodded mutely.
“Then on my count….” he started. “One…”
Scully took what she needed from her handbag and started stuffing items in her jeans’ pockets as she walked.
The men in the black suits began to push their way through the throng.
“Three!” yelled Mulder, grabbing her hand.
Mulder and Scully ran, shoving their way through the crowded streets, vendors, tourists, everyone and everything appearing to conspire to get in their way, to slow them. Scully began to become breathless, a pain searing through her side, but she continued, holding tightly to Mulder’s hand, praying they wouldn’t be separated in this huge crowd.
The streets of Paris whirled by, strange triangular things they were, some endless and wide, others so tiny they hardly seemed like a street at all. Mulder tried ducking down the narrower ones, pulling Scully behind him ,attempting to will the strength of his legs into hers.
But the men behind them became relentlessly closer.
“The Paris Metro…” gasped Mulder, turning slightly around. “There’s the station.”
Mulder pointed to the entrance and Scully followed him, her legs nearly giving way, her ankles twisting on loose corners of cement. But she doubled her speed, for she was hunted now, and she had to run or die.
She and Mulder flew into the Metro’s Art Deco entrance gasping for air. The suited men were still behind, but a small crowd of tourists had slowed them down. Mulder threw some francs in the direction of the fare-taker and leapt over the railing leading the tracks. He scooped Scully over behind him and together they descended into the depths of the station, tumbling down stairs, sliding down railings.
The reached the tracks and began their wait.
Mulder kept looking behind them waiting for the men to appear. The trains arrived every minute and a half according to the tour book, and Mulder prayed it was true. At the top of the stairs was a slight commotion. Mulder looked and saw the suited men at the top of the stairs. He took Scully and they began to run to the opposite end of the platform.
The train slowly began its entrance into the station.
The suited men ran down the long staircase, shoving and pushing the commuters aside. Scully could barely run another step, but followed Mulder anyway. The train came to a shuddering stop and its door opened.
The suited men ran faster.
Mulder and Scully leapt inside the train and Mulder almost screamed for the doors to close. The suited men were almost on the platform now…ten more yards…two more yards…
The trains door shut.
The suited men pounded on the door, but the conductor ignored them as he made his way out. A train every minute and a half…they can wait. With a huge breath, Mulder pulled Scully’s shaking body against his own and nearly collapsed himself against the train doors, oblivious to the curious looks of the passengers around him.
“We have to get to Calais,” he panted.
Scully just nodded.
The port town of Calais lay under a heavy fog.
Mulder and Scully, nearly numb with exhaustion, traveled throughout the night to make it here, hoping to reach England via the shortest route. It was only twenty two miles across the channel to Dover. There, Mulder hoped to reach London and get lost in a great city once more, before they were found again.
They had gone overland via the metro, a country train and a taxi ride, and finally, jolted and weary they were at dockside, inquiring about channel crossings. A large ferry stood at the dock and Mulder purchased their tickets. The ferry wouldn’t be boarding for thirty minutes they were told, so they sat and waited.
Mulder curled his arm around Scully’s shoulder and felt her head rest against him. He felt a wave of tremendous guilt overtake him. She had trusted him…he had let her down.
“We should have expected them to find us,” Scully said sleepily against his chest.
We. I should have expected it, thought Mulder bitterly.
“But it doesn’t matter..” she continued, her voice quiet and peaceful.
“Doesn’t matter?” he replied with a short, humorless laugh. “They can kill with impunity here, Dana. They have the freedom they didn’t have back in the US and we don’t have the access, we have absolutely no authority here. And I should have known that. I should have thought first, but…”
Here he stopped, unable to continue.
“But?” asked Scully, a wan smile curling around her mouth.
“But…I wanted…I just wanted…” he stumbled. He swallowed hard, wishing for a hundred things at once. He buried his head against the top of hers.
Scully closed her eyes and shook her head slowly.
“Mulder, did you know that ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to see Paris. I’ve always dreamed of its streets, what its sounds might be or the smell of bread and perfume and the feel of the crowded shops in the day. I really and truly wanted to go there, but it never occurred to me to go. It was too impractical, too impulsive, it wasn’t something that I was supposed to do. But guess what?”
“What?” he asked, the same tired smile beginning to grace his features.
“You did it again. Took me somewhere wonderful, even against my practical judgement. That’s why I’m with you, Mulder. To take me to all those places I’m too stubborn to go,” said Scully, lifting her head and looking in Mulder’s eyes. “That’s why I am so glad to be here with you.”
She put her hand under his chin and brought his mouth to hers.
“And that’s why I love you,” she said, before taking his lips with hers.
Something inside of Mulder broke open at her words, and he returned her kiss, understanding more than ever, the true nature of their partnership. The balance between them, as deep as the trust.
The ferry’s horn blew.
They broke their kiss at the sound and Mulder got up and held his hand out to Scully. She took it with a confident look and together they boarded the boat. A few minutes later, the anchor was raised and the shores of France departed, the White Cliffs of Dover appearing in the distance.
Mulder pulled her closer as they neared the English coast.
“Ever been to London, Scully?” he asked with a gleam in his eye.
Scully just smiled and shook her head.
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