TITLE: Corrigenda (part 10/?)
GENRE: WIP, MSR, A, Post-IWTB
SUMMARY: see part I
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Corrigenda is a Latin phrase
meaning “things to be corrected";
sorry for all the grammatical errors,
I am posting this as fast as I write it
so there is ZERO editing done...consider yourself warned! :)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Twelve hours before Mulder had sat in the same exact spot as he was in now, just far enough away from the house to remain inconspicuous if the man drove up. And fifteen minutes ago, Mulder’s nails had drawn blood in his palms, when the “suspect” finally made an appearance. The voicemail Mulder had received from Skinner that morning "confirming" that Scully was safe became nothing more than a distant – though utterly distasteful – memory.
Tony had pulled up to the house – Mulder noticed he did not park in the garage, just as he had supposed – and got out with a small, dark haired boy…who was approximately William’s age. Oh God. Mulder had known about the child, but seeing him up close, knowing what kind of monster his father was…Unless the child was part of the reason he took Scully…Was it watching the boy – Jeffrey, he recalled from the file – get along so well with Scully, and her surely amazing bedside manner, that won Tony over?
Tony was dressed in khakis and a short-sleeved polo, a combination that Mulder assumed was his work uniform. Computech. Wonder what that gives him access to…
There had been no apprehension in Tony’s movements, but Mulder kept waiting for the moment when cautious eyes would turn his direction. Bring it, motherfucker. Mulder had glanced down at the Sig in the seat beside him, but felt rather disappointed when the man and his son casually strolled inside.
Now, not even twenty minutes later, Mulder watched in shock as Jeffrey sprinted from the house, his backpack banging heavily against his back. He breathed a quick sigh of relief when it was obvious there was no danger to Jeffrey as he was pulling on the locked car door handle impatiently. Tony sauntered out a few seconds later, laughing in a smug way that made it hard for Mulder to stay put, and hit the keyfob button to allow Jeffrey passage inside.
Mulder couldn’t believe his luck as Tony backed out of the driveway and took off in the opposite direction, allowing Mulder an easy way to follow without making the dreaded and all too-conspicuous three-point turn.
Scully scrubbed her face with her hands, feeling the hot water run over and between her fingers, the near-scalding water rinsing away the day’s confusing feelings. It was the first time she had been fully nude in the shower since she got here. But Tony had told her he would be leaving at three to pick Jeffrey up from school and she for once trusted him enough to believe no one would be watching the monitors.
She was shocked at how easily Tony had worn down her walls of doubt and hatred towards him. Oh, she sure as hell knew that he was messed up – most likely because of losing his wife in such a tragic fashion – but was he truly dangerous? She was more sure than ever that the answer to that question was “no”. Kidnapping was one thing. Assaulting was another.
So Scully had come up with her own game plan: pretend to be his friend by acting less defensive and more open. The first step was to accept his invitation to leave the room. So she did her laundry. What she didn’t expect was the conversation that ensued.
It was amazingly easy to fall back into her role as an agent – picking apart every move he made, trying to find motives and explanations. So, as she sat there with him, listening, she began a mental-list:
1. He still watches after his mother-in-law. He is caring.
2. He seems to truly hold a lot of affection for his son. Witnessed from the peace he gets when talking about him and his time with him at the hospital.
3. He is courteous and considerate. He goes out of his way not to look at me or make me feel awkward when he enters and leaves the room. Also witnessed by the privacy he afforded me doing the laundry and the ample amounts of non-drugged food he continues to supply me with.
4. He is gentle. Even when he was coming after me when I tried to escape he did everything he could not to hurt or harm me.
5. He has little to no interest (as far as I know) in other women. Proven by how much time he put into stalking me and with holding me here.
6. He thinks I am the one who should be with him for the rest of “my” life.
7. He respects every wish of mine (BUT ONE: FREEDOM).
She shivered under the water, thinking back to the last revelation she had discovered: the nightmares. It was strange to her that she didn’t remember them, though she could imagine that being kidnapped again would have traumatized her mind enough to produce them. But all that was beside the point: Tony was coming into her room at night. While the idea was disturbing, there was absolutely no indication that he was covering or being deceptive in his explanation about why. And he had done everything he could to keep her from being further torment by bolting before Scully knew he was there.
These thoughts had her so enraptured that it wasn’t until her chattering teeth caught her tongue in a painful clamp that she realized how long she had been in there.
Mulder parked his white Ford sedan in front of a house conveniently located caddy corner from the large ranch that Patterson somehow had access to. He immediately committed the address of the home to memory so he could check it out as soon as he got back. He reached into the glove compartment for the binoculars he’d stashed there earlier and scooped up five loose sunflower seeds from where the bag had spilled out onto the passenger seat. Training the lenses on the silver car, he watched as it rolled to a stop in front of a large two-story dwelling that looked like something out of a classic movie. The beautiful frame house was painted a cream with dark brown trim. The wrap-around porch had a large stoop with two chocolate pillars welcoming Tony and Jeffrey as they made their way in with a key.
So this house either belongs to them, too, or Tony is involved deeply enough with someone that they would trust him with a key. Interesting. While the two were shielded from Mulder’s eyes behind the walls of the house, Mulder used that time to examine the rest of the property. There was a gate that he could easily jump – no taller than the gate he and Scully had in front of their own property – but he didn’t want to risk getting caught and having Skinner keeping an eye on him to keep him from the property. Not to mention the restraining order that would surely follow.
But seeing this ranch was so much more than Mulder dared to hope for, so the idea of blowing it by rash decisions was not an option. As soon as Tony put the key in the door, Mulder knew: Scully was here. He shifted his magnified gaze from the house to the parts of the ranch that were obscured by large hickory and cherry trees. Swinging the car door open, he crept out and moved to get a better angle on the brush.
There was some kind of tan colored building, like a shed or something behind the trees about a hundred yards from the back of the main house. Mulder darted across the street hoping to get a less obstructed view. As he did Mulder heard a door close and the sound of heavy footsteps on a wooden porch. He shifted to see Tony walking quickly from the main house to the building where Mulder was now positive Scully was being kept. His heart began racing, sweat forming on his brow, wishing to God that he had some kind of proof that Scully was okay. That letting Tony go on living another second did not equate to Scully being assaulted – again! Again you idiot! Are you really gonna let him hurt her again? Go after him! – and that he needed to stay put to gain more information and possibly have something to present Skinner.
If he hadn’t been holding the binoculars, his fingernails would surely have done further damage to his recently scabbed over palms. Everything inside Mulder screamed, go, but he remembered the last time he had done such a thing. And he knew Scully was in no position to save his ass if he got into trouble. The irony that swathed the fact that this was the very first time that Mulder chose not to throw caution to the wind in search of a truth that might save the only person who meant anything and everything to him was infuriating. And, as he watched Tony fumble with his key, he prayed to whatever benevolent God there might be to watch over Scully.
Tony closed the entry door behind him and relocked the double deadbolt. He had not looked forward to seeing Dana this much since back when she worked at the hospital. There was something new about her. Not that she was back to normal, but he had noticed how seeing the sun for the first time in so many days had lifted her shoulders. His mind replayed the image of her, the rays highlighting the blonde streaks in her mass of copper waves – she had not taken the effort to straighten it in the fashion he had always seen when was at the hospital – while she seemed to absorb every particle of sunlight that enriched the air around her, and it made his heart swell with hope. So occupied by the vision in his mind's eye he didn't see the piece of paper in the hallway before the sole of his loafer slipped on it. Catching himself on the door frame of Dana's room, he stooped down to pick up the folded sheet and opened it.
"I know you only come to my room based on those scheduled hours you told me about before, but I was wondering if that could change. Can I come out again?"
The joy he had felt after watching Dana eat now escalated into what he could only describe as a high. He hastily pocketed the note, pulled out his key (now kept with his others on his key chain since the incidence where Dana had slipped it away from him after rendering him unconscious) and knocked on the door three times.
"Dana?" he called noticing that the room was void of her presence. It was then that he realized he had forgotten to wait the usual time and knock again like the ritual he usually performed. Her note had clearly thrown him.
"One second," came a slightly panicked reply from the bathroom.
"No problem." Tony moved to sit on the chaise to wait, not wanting to alarm her further. She must have written the note much earlier, he surmised.
When she finally emerged, a long three minutes later, his eyes nearly shot out of his head, his gasp echoing off the walls before he could stop it. Her hair was slightly damp, waves of crimson falling over her shoulders leaving black drops on her fitted, brown scoopneck shirt. His eyes fell over her curves down to the khaki pedal pushers that left her pale feet obscenely exposed, tiny coral painted toes teasing him where he now shifted in his seat.
"Sorry," she said in a voice was hard to hear over the din caused by the roar of blood pounding in his head as it rushed in time with his racing heart. "I lost track of time. I thought I would be more presentable by the time you found my letter."
Presentable? You couldn't be more presentable if you had just spent five hours in the salon, he thought but was only able to smile like an idiot, mumbling, "S'okay."
"So," Scully said, pretending not to notice the effect she was having on him, "do you think we could work something out?"
Get your mind out of the fucking gutter, Tony! This is what you have been working for...don't blow it by being a pervert! "Yeah. Yes. Of course." Stop grinning, moron! "I mean...well, what did you have in mind exactly?"
Her brow furrowed. "I get to ask?"
"Of course," he replied instantly. Tony felt the urge to pull her into his lap and never let go. Deep breath, take it slow, one step at a time. "You know what my qualifications are, right?"
Her face remained expressionless as she nodded.
"Can you show me around the ranch?"
He hesitated, thinking about what chances she would have to escape or cause some sort of scene. His neighbors weren't close but they were within hearing and viewing distance. This could prove tricky but...well, it would have to happen sooner or later. A thought popped into his head. "Jeffrey might see us."
Her head cocked to the side, a question etched on her forehead. "But I thought that was a good thing?"
He nodded emphatically in agreement before amending, "It will need to be worked out between us first as to what we will tell him."
"You mean why I'm here?"
He nodded again. "I don't like lying to him, but I obviously can't tell him the whole truth about how you came to be here."
"So how did I come to be here, then?"
Tony studied her for a second: There was no sarcasm or bitterness in her question which he found a little jarring. She simply wanted to know how this would be explained to his little boy.
"He's only six," he smirked, "so while his age holds the possibility of a million follow-up questions it also means he will probably be too excited by seeing you to care about much else. I think we should just tell him you're staying in the guest house for awhile because...well, because I asked you to."
Tony laughed. "Yeah, I think so. Like I said, he's only six." He glanced down at her hand and then back up.
Could she really read him that easily? he wondered. "Well, I...I haven't brought anyone else home since his mother..."
Dana moved to sit across him on the bed. He didn't miss the fact that it was the first time she had gotten close, let alone sit, upon it since the night she found him there beside her. "It will be confusing for him to see another female presence. He'll jump to conclusions."
"Yeah," he sighed. I just wish I could affirm those jumps. "How do I know that you won't do anything to try and free yourself? Obviously, if Jeffrey's there, I won't be able to restrain you in any way. Don't misunderstand me: I want this to happen. More than anything. But I also can't compromise my son's security and future by allowing you the opportunity to make a break for it."
"So what can I do to make you believe that I won't try something?"
Tony knew he couldn't use ties, handcuffs, or gags, but he did have a physical advantage. "I have an idea. But it will involve doing something that you have, so far, been deeply averse to."
"I will need to touch you..."
Dana's eyes dropped to the floor between them. "I thought you might say that."
"If it's too much, then we may have to put this off..."
"No," she said more calmly than he supposed Dana must feel. "I understand the necessity. It's a fair request considering what you are putting on the line so that I can get out of this room for a little while."
They sat in silence for a few more seconds before Dana stood and moved towards the bathroom. "Can you give me five minutes to dry my hair?"
"Of course, Dana."
Mulder, having decided -- after nearly twenty minutes of self-loathing -- that sticking around would have been counterproductive, was picking up speed as the ranch moved into the Ford's rearview mirror. He glanced up to eye the beautiful abomination and felt his stomach lurch when he noticed two figures walking up the stoop of the main house: Tony and a petite woman who could be none other than his Scully. And they were holding hands.
The sound of Mulder's tires squealing and his engine revving as he spun the Ford around was enough to stop them in their tracks.
END PART 10/?