Title: Chiaroscuro
Author: Didi K
Written:January 2000
Rating: PG
Classification: MS VR Mulder/Scully Vignette/Romance
Spoilers: Emily up to Season Seven
Keywords: Scully's POV
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters are the creation and property of Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Production and Fox Broadcasting. I'm using them without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Archive: for anywhere else but Gossamer, ask me please, I'd like to know.
Feedback: This is my first work and English isn't my first language either. So, be kind, please.

Summary: Scully has a fateful encounter

Credits: My eternal gratitude to my priceless beta-reader Suzanne.

Author's note: this story is dedicated to my boyfriend and my co-workers Rosaria and Sabina who tolerate my obsession. I can't forget Rachel who gave me the first incentive.

It was a tepid Spring Saturday evening. After Mass, I strolled around the Church's garden. For some reason, I didn't want to go back home. Looking at the couples playing happily with their children, I didn't feel the usual pain. Even the thought of... him... didn't hurt too much.

In the courtyard I noticed a motorcoach and a group of playful children. Some of them wore Cub Scout uniforms. A young man was leading them single file along the sidewalk with difficulty. "Be quiet please! Listen to me now: get on the bus one by one without pushing," he tried to assert himself upon their cheerful chattering. I watched the scene with amusement. Field trips such as this one always brought out the beast in children. The young man would have his hands full.

Finally I walked towards my car, fishing in my coat pocket for the keys.

Suddenly, the shriek of brakes, a clash of metal and a broken-off cry shredded the peaceful atmosphere.

A black sports car, its bumper crushed and the radio blaring, sped up and tore around the corner. On the street in its wake lay a little boy.

I ran to his side and knelt down on the road, ignoring for the moment the small pieces of gravel and broken glass. The child was lying on his stomach, one arm crumpled under him. I grasped his accessible wrist. His pulse was weak and rapid under my fingertips. He gave a tremulous cry, and before I could stop him, he rolled over onto his back. Now I understood why his pulse was so weak, his complexion so pale. From a jagged laceration in his arm, blood pulsed like a small fountain, soaking his tee shirt and jeans.

Pale and sweating, the young man gave me his handkerchief. "Oh, God! I've called an ambulance," he said tensely.

I clapped the cloth onto the laceration and gripped tightly. The little boy winced.

"Sorry, honey. I'm a doctor. I'm trying to stop the bleeding from your arm," I told him. "I'm sorry if I hurt you. Don't be afraid."

Tearfully, he nodded.

The young man withdrew and then appeared again at my side. "I have a blanket, if-"

"Thanks, you're a lifesaver." I took it and covered the child, wrapping the soft folds around him. Looking down at him, I said softly, "My name is Dana. What's yours?"

"I don't know, I can't remember." He looked at me with bright hazel eyes and smiled faintly.

I was confused. The child seemed so familiar, but.... His full lower lip trembled and I push a forelock of brown hair aside from the scrape on his forehead.

I asked the young man if he knew the boy's name. "I'm sorry, ma'am, I can't help you. I was called at the last minute to stand-in for the guy who was in charge of this group. He got sick yesterday. I don't know any of the kids."

I asked the other kids . They didn't know him either.

"He's new. He moved into the neighborhood few weeks ago."

And this was all that I could get.

The ambulance arrived and I stood back while the paramedics assessed the boy. But when they began to load him into the vehicle, he cried out. "Dana! Dana, please don't leave me, I need you!"

"I'm a doctor," I said to the crew chief. "Mind if I ride with him?"

"Sure thing. Anything to keep him calm. Cute kid, huh?"

He gave me a hand up into the ambulance. The boy clutched onto my hand even before I took my seat. "It's okay. I won't leave you until your Mommy and Daddy come for you, okay?" I whispered.

Again he nodded, then his eyelids fluttered closed.

At the hospital they ran the usual tests and x-rays. Fortunately no bones were broken, and the total of his injuries appeared to be the concussion which caused his memory loss, and the laceration of his arm and the underlying artery.

The ER resident took me aside. "The memory loss should be temporary - the head injury is minor. The blood loss is another matter. You have no idea who this kid is? We have to take him to surgery torepair that arterial tear, and we have two problems. One, we have implied consent, of course, but I'd like to have his parents' consent."

"I have no idea who he is. Neither did anyone who was there after the accident. You said two problems," I probed. "What's the other?"

He shrugged. "We just handled six major multiple traumas here in the past twenty-four hours. Must be the full moon. Anyway, the kid needs a transfusion. Especially if we're going to be bringing him to surgery, where he may lose more blood before we're through. Unfortunately, his blood type is rather rare, O-negative, and we're out of it. I just thought that maybe a family member might have the same blood type..."

I thought for a few moments. "I don't know his parents... but I do know someone with that blood type. Would it help if he came in?"

"That would be great, if he would. It's a help, anyway."

I nodded. "I'll call him," I said, moving back into the treatment room to be with the child. I dialed a familiar number on my cellphone "Mulder, it's me. I'm at Trinity Hospital. I need your help."

"Scully, what happened?" The alarm in his voice was evident. "I'm fine. Look, I'm sorry to bother you. There was an accident, a boy was injured and he needs an 0-negative blood transfusion. The hospital's out, and you could be here a lot faster than the local blood service can, even with the processing time. That is, if you want to..."

"I don't mind. I'm on my way."

Twenty minutes later Mulder entered the hospital. I saw him and walked to him.

"Thank you for coming." I briefly told him the situation.

I introduced Mulder as a friend of mine.

The doctor led him to the lab. He stuck his index finger to have Mulder's blood tested. After a few minutes, a technician handed him a computer printout. "Thank God your friend's blood is compatible. Unfortunately a single unit won't be enough. We'll need at least 2 units to perform the transfusion during the surgery. It's more than we usually ask of donors, since it will definitely cause some dizziness and weakness for a few days, but..."

Mulder looked into the treatment room at the still form of the boy on the stretcher. "That's no problem," he agreed. The resident got the attention of a nurse and together they all went into a spare treatment room. Mulder rolled up his sleeve and lay down on the stretcher, wincing when the nurse inserted the wide-bore needle into his arm. While Mulder was donating the blood, I was on my cellphone, trying to find out more about the child. Within a fairly short amount of time my partner was sitting, pale and shaky, on the side of the stretcher as the plastic sacs of blood headed to the lab and the boy headed to the O.R.

When I thought Mulder could stand up without passing out, I took his arm and we headed for the cafeteria so I could pump some fluids into him.

Reluctantly he gulped down a cup of hot sweetened cappuccino and nibbled a bit of a pastry.

"Stop staring at me, Scully, please. I'm fine," he protested irritably.

"Mulder, thank you for helping this boy. I'm sorry I dumped all this on you..."

His tone softened "Scully, you don't need to apologize for asking me. You did the right thing. You're a doctor."

"I don't know how to explain it.... I felt the sensation I saw him before. He seemed sort of familiar... something in his face reminded me..."

"I can understand how you feel, Scully..."

I knew he was thinking about Emily as well as his sister Samantha. I would have retorted "Mulder, it wasn't your fault..." but the lump in my throat kept me from saying the words.

I held his hand for comfort all the time but he remained quiet.

About an hour later, Mulder's color was a bit better, so we strolled back to the recovery area outside the surgical suite. We were about to sit when the doctor came out.

"How is he?" I asked.

"Well, we have him under a mild sedative. He's regaining consciousness again, and we'll be moving him to the pediatric floor."

They moved our mystery child to an empty two-bedded room. Mulder and I followed. My attention was split between them. Mulder had shadows under his eyes and was terribly pale. The doctor, evidently as concerned as I was, suggested that he lay down on the other bed. He must have been feeling as lousy as he looked, because he did, without argument.

The boy opened his eyes and I approached the bed. "I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. His name is Mulder."

Mulder smiled and waved to him. "Hi."

Briefly, in language the child could understand, I explained the part my partner had played in his care.

The boy turned over to face Mulder. "Thank you, sir," he said drowsily.

My partner reached over and tweaked the boy's nice freckled nose. "Call me Mulder."

"Mulder," he repeated.

I chuckled. "Two men here have to rest now!"

The boy tried to resist. "I'm not tired," but yawning, fell asleep almost immediately. Mulder tried to stand up but I pushed him down again. Tweaking his nose I leaned down and whispered "Thank you, sir. Now, you get some sleep, too." I left the room and sat down on a bench in the corridor.

Some time passed. I must have been dozing, because I didn't hear Mulder approach and sit close to me. He was rubbing my hand. I opened my eyes and met his caring gaze. "You need to rest too, Scully." In reply I laid my head on his shoulder and muttered, "One more minute will be enough." I felt him smile into my hair and kiss my forehead with a featherlight touch.

I don't know how long we stayed this way. All I felt was his warm loving embrace. God, if this is a dream don't let me wake up, please, I thought.

When I opened my eyes again I met Mulder's soulful gaze. I used to be upset about his protective manner but I've been getting accustomed to it. As if he was reading my mind, he took my hand and kissed my palm. "Doctor Scully, your little patient may be awake."

We stood up and I felt his hand at the small of my back. We crept into his room, to find him still sleeping quietly. "I'm going to the police to ask if someone claimed our little man," Mulder whispered. "I'll be back tomorrow". He brought my hand to his lips again, then left.

I sat down near the bed. The sleeping boy looked like an angel. I kept my vigil through the night. Occasionally, he tossed and turned. I began to stroke his hair to soothe him.

"Dana?" he called out.

"I'm here with you, go back to sleep" I whispered softly. He clasped my hand and his face relaxed. I kissed him lightly on the cheek. Gradually the grip on my hand loosened and I knew he was sound asleep.

I was half asleep with my head on the pillow and the boy's hand clenched with mine. I blinked. A dim light filtered through the curtain in the dark room. I closed my eyes again. Just few hours ago I indulged in Mulder's arms and I wanted to recollect the sweet sensation.

The door opened silently. I recognized him by his walk. He approached the chair and I felt him put his hands on my back and began to knead gently my aching shoulders. A moan escaped from my lips. "Mmmmm... Mulder ...."

He bent down, not stopping his healing massage.

"Good morning, Scully."

I was surprised by the way my body responded under the light pressure of his fingers and the warmth of his breath on my ear. I was quivering inside. God knows how much I wanted to kiss him, and I was just few inches away from his mouth....

Stop it, Dana! "Good morning, Mulder," I answered instead, regaining my composure.

He sat in the chair next to mine and spoke in a low voice. "Unfortunately, I have no news about our little friend. Nobody reported his disappearance to the police. I'm sorry, Scully."

Still holding my hand, the boy shifted and his eyelids fluttered. "Dana... what time is it?" he asked.

"It's six in the morning, honey. You can get more sleep."

He shook his head and saw Mulder. Looking surprisingly composed under the circumstances, he said, "I can remember now. My name is William Leigh. I'm 11 years old. I was going on a Cub Scout trip. Guess they left without me, huh?" he asked glumly.

"What about your parents?" Mulder inquired.

"My parents wouldn't worry. They didn't expect me to be home until Sunday, in time for dinner".

Mulder and I caught each others' eyes.

"This morning the doctor will run the final examination and probably discharge him if there's no complications..." I said softly to my partner.

"...and we could see him home," he finished the sentence.

I disengaged my hand and caressed the stubble on his cheek.

William stared at us and pouted. Mulder, with a mischievous grin, leaned close to whisper in my ear "I think our boy has a crush on you, Scully."

I muffled a laugh.

Unwillingly William curled down into the pillow. The need for sleep got the better of him again. Mulder tucked in his covers and a sad smile curved his lips.

"William's kinda like me at that age... I had already taste for attractive women too!" he joked.

I rolled my eyes but his words struck a note in me. I peered at the kid and then at Mulder. Their features were so similar. How did I not catch the resemblance before? "Mulder, William *looks* just like you!"

He gave me a puzzled expression. "Scully, you aren't insinuating he might be my secret son, are you? Do you want to make a scene?" he grimaced.

"Mulder... be serious...." I spoke with affection. Anyway that thought had already crossed my mind, and a wave of jealousy rushed inside of me. They could be really taken for father and son. And if that were true, I obviously couldn't be the mother. Some other woman, from Mulder's past...? No, I wouldn't believe that. I couldn't...

Two hours later we were leaving the hospital.

"Mulder, let's stop at the mall, please. William needs new jeans and a clean shirt."

Mulder added, "Mmm, we could grab something to eat, too. What about a huge hot-dog?"

William exclaimed, "Wow! I'm really hungry. At the hospital, the food sucked!"

I chose the clothes for William, then we stopped at a hot-dog stand. We were eating and laughing, attracting the attention of an elderly man seated nearby. When we had finished, the old man, carrying a Polaroid camera, came up to us. "Excuse me. If you don't mind, I'd like to take a picture. You three together seem to be a very happy family."

Both Mulder and I tried to say something, but William had other plans. He put his arms around our waists and we could only smile at the camera. I reached out for Mulder's hand and squeezed it tenderly.

When we arrived in front of the boy's house, William was in a playful mood.

"Hey Dana, if I were about your age would you marry me?" he smirked.

His words befuddled and embarrassed me, leaving me speechless.

"... Will you wait for me? I love you." He tiptoed and pressed his lips on mine.

I felt the blush start at my neck and work its way up. William, too was red-faced. My partner's mouth hung open in astonishment. "Hey, boy, this isn't fair!"

With a giggle, William turned from us and ran toward the door. He knocked eagerly. "Mommy, Daddy, I'm back!"

A man opened the door. In a long, stunned moment he noticed William's arm bandage and the fine-looking pair behind him. "William... what happened?" he asked, concerned.

The words tumbled out of the excited boy. "Daddy, a car ran over me, but they helped me. It's all right now."

His father gave us a suspicious look.

"Mr. Leigh, I'm Dana Scully and this is my partner Fox Mulder. We're FBI agents." We flashed our badges.

I read the demand in his eyes and I felt compelled to fill him in with more details. Before he could question anything, I added "I'm a medical doctor too and I was near the church when the accident occurred."

I told him all about the hospital and Mulder's role in the story.

"Your son is a very brave boy," I concluded.

The man looked up, a bit relieved. "Thank you for taking care of William. I just don't know what to say, I can't adequately express our gratitude to you both. Please come in, my wife will be back in a few minutes and you could stay for dinner."

"No, thanks. We really should be going now."

William looked at us with a puppy dog expression I knew well, then smiled. I hugged him once more, tears welling in my eyes. The boy blinked at us and blurted out, "Show up sometimes, we could go out for hot-dogs!" Mulder shook his hand and they exchanged a silent agreement.

Mr. Leigh watched as the two FBI agents pulled away in their car. William retrieved the photograph from his pocket and showed it to his father. "A funny old man took it.... And hey Daddy, guess what? They have real guns!"

They heard a metallic click and turned toward the door.

"Dear, are you home?" She saw her son and hurried to hug him, holding back the tears. "William, I was so worried. I went to the church to pick you up. The young man in charge was new and he didn't know all the kids, so I waited until the last kid got off the bus... and... and you weren't there... And then one of the boys mentioned something about an accident, a little boy hit by a car..."

"That was me, Mommy. I was in the hospital, and I didn't remember who I was because I was really mixed up, and a nice lady and man took care of me..." he paused for breath. "Anyway, I'm sorry but I'm here now."

She looked at the picture and her heart stopped. "Who are these people?"

"They're my friends, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. They were the ones who took care of me. They're so nice! They were here, just five minutes ago."

"Oh, I wanted to... to thank them." Something in her tone made her husband glance over towards her, concerned.

"Samantha, what about going out for dinner to celebrate William's return?"

She kissed her husband warmly. "Yes, dear, let's celebrate."

The End

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