Stolen Moments

Debra Fran Baker







***Prologue***

May 14, 1998

Barryville High School

Barryville, Ohio



I had been Fox Mulder's partner for five years. I had seen him asleep on motel room floors, in cramped airline seats and beside me in parked cars. I had seen him unconscious because of injuries, fever or shock, and I had seen him drugged in hospital beds and his own couch, and sometimes by my own hand. Even then, even when he was so deep he couldn't react to pain, I could see his questing, restless spirit move in him, and make it impossible for him to be completely quiet, completely at rest.

He was completely still on that cot in the makeshift ward. Only the slow beeps of the EEG told us he was alive. I stole glances at him as I worked my way down the rows of silent, unmoving patients. Every so often, I could see Skinner, Walter, steal time from his own tireless labors to go to Mulder and just hold his hand for a moment, or stroke his forehead, or kiss his cheek with a tenderness that would have made me cry if I had any tears left.

Then, he would get up and bathe more patients, check more IV's, comfort more survivors, and make more phone calls. Meanwhile, I administered yet another experimental drug and prayed for all of us, and wondered at the people who let all this loose on the world, or at least on this small town.

***Chapter One***

May 7, 1998

J. Edgar Hoover Building

Washington, DC

Mulder's hair was wet when he entered the office that morning, and his eyes were bright. I knew he'd spent the night by himself because he'd called me three times - once to talk about Voyager, once to make certain I was watching Babylon 5 and once just because he was lonely.

"Did you two have a good workout?"

"Yeah." He grinned. "People are used to us being in the gym at the same time. And I get to watch Walter pump up without anyone noticing."

"Other people use the gym."

"We don't do anything out of line. It's not like we're necking in the parking garage."

"Ah, yes. Steamed up windows on a Thursday morning in the JEH garage. No one would suspect a thing. I could see *you* doing this, Mulder, but I'm glad you couldn't talk Walter into it."

He got out his coffee cup - the new one Walter had given him. "Me talk him into it? There have been times I've been the voice of reason."

"You, Mulder? I'm su