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Draw Down the Moon

Draw Down the Moon 8

“. . . I’ve been going over the footage and listening to the audio tapes every spare minute, but there’s nothing, Dana.” Chuck Burks sighed into the phone. “I’m sure it’s not much comfort to know ghost investigations can be hit-or-miss.”

“Nothing,” Dana whispered, gripping the phone.

“I’ll be happy to come back and try again, any time you’d like.”

She cleared her throat and said, “I don’t know how John will feel about that.”

Chuck paused and said, “I think he’ll be a lot more open to it than you expect.”

“We’ll see,” Dana said. “Things have been so quiet lately I’d hate to waste your time by having you back again. It might be over.”

“Maybe it is,” he said in a comforting tone.

“Thanks, Chuck. Keep in touch.”

“Absolutely,” Chuck said, and hung up the phone.

Dana hung up more slowly, exhaling. She was disappointed, but not surprised. The night Chuck and his crew had come had been so quiet, as well as the week before and the few days since, that she had begun to think maybe she had imagined it all.

*You know you saw it,* she thought, and shook her head at herself. At the moment she didn’t know anything.

She walked up the stairs slowly, to their bathroom where John was bathing the baby. She stopped in the doorway and wrapped her arms around herself. William squealed and splashed when he saw her, and John twisted back to look at her. “Hey, Mommy,” he said cheerfully.

“That was Chuck Burks on the phone, just now.”

“Oh?” He lifted William from the tub and wrapped him in his towel, while the baby growled in indignation. “What’s the verdict?”

Dana took William and started rubbing his head with the hood of the towel. “They didn’t find anything.”

“Nothing?” His eyes widened and he stroked her hair for a moment. “Well.”

She sighed and pressed her lips to William’s head. “He offered to come back anytime, but there’s no point in having an investigation when there’s nothing to investigate.”

“But that’s good news, isn’t it?” He was still playing with her hair.

She started to say yes, but said instead, “That leaves me with the other choice: that I’m losing my mind.”

John sighed. “Dana . . .”

“You know, maybe I cracked up a long time ago and all of this is just an hallucinatory dream,” she said in a breaking voice. It was a thought that had crossed her mind more than once but she’d never dared say it out loud. “Maybe I created this life for myself where I’m happy and safe and loved, where I have my baby in a normal life, because I couldn’t deal with my past anymore. Mulder’s death—is that where I went insane? And now there’s ghosts because—”

John had been looking at her with unhappy eyes through this, when abruptly he grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her.

She was panting when he lifted his mouth, and his eyes had darkened to the deep blue of a summer night. He stroked her jaw with his thumb. “Does that feel like you’re dreamin’, babe?” His voice was a good octave lower than normal.

“No,” she whispered. “I feel . . . very awake.”

“No more talk about you losing your mind. Something weird happened but it’s over now. Okay? No more worries?”

She nodded, still gazing up at him. “No more worries.”

John kissed her again, more gently this time. He rested his mo
uth against her forehead. “I love you so much, babe.”

“I know.” She shifted William, sleepy after his bath, to one arm so she could stroke John’s hair. She kissed his neck and inhaled his scent with a deep sense of satisfaction. John’s hands settled on her waist and he stooped to start kissing her shoulder. She whispered, “I love you, too,” as she rubbed her lips against the side of his face.

“How soon until he goes to sleep?” John muttered between kisses.

“At least another hour—I still need to nurse him. But—” She hesitated. She never said no to him before—she had no idea how he’d take it. “I—I’m much too nervous for sex tonight.”

“Oh, yeah,” John said quietly. “Tomorrow’s the big day. Are you sure a home test will be get it right this early?”

“The one I bought is made for early testing. You’re not mad about not having sex tonight?”

“Of course I’m not mad—why would I be?” he said in a puzzled tone.

“I thought . . .” She trailed off, embarassed.

“Babe, I’m not gonna force ya, you know.”

“I know.”

He chuckled and kissed her. “What goes on in that head of yours?” he murmured.

She kissed him back. “Strange and inexplicable things,” she said lightly and went to the nursery to feed the baby.

She was settling into the rocking chair, murmuring to William, when he turned his head towards the crib and made his “I know you!” sound. Dana glanced at the crib and tickled William’s cheek. “Who are you talking to, silly? Who’s there?” He babbled nonsense syllables back to her, his eyes bright. “You’re silly,” she said as she lifted her shirt and unsnapped her nursing bra, and William was distracted by his hunger and the scent of her milk.

***

She was arguing with Mulder on their bench, but the words were wrong—convoluted, coming out of their mouths in long strings of sound. “Don’t you know how much I miss you?” she said, and it sounded like a foghorn.

Cherry blossoms floated down, spattering his dark hair and suit coat. “It’s always spring here,” he said and his fingertips brushed her cheek. Vowels piled themselves up like autumn leaves.

“Something else is here,” she told him, and shivered. “I can’t see it. It hides in the shadows. I’m afraid.”

He smiled at her, his eyes crinkling at the corners. John’s smile is like that, she thought, and knew she would tell him soon she loved him for his smile.

“Don’t be afraid,” Mulder said. His hand was warm in hers. She could feel blood pumping, hairs curling, skin whispering. “You have to stay full of love, Scully.”

“How can I not be afraid? I don’t know what it is.”

“You’re stronger than it is. You’re stronger because you’re full of love. You have to stay full of love. The moment you let hatred enter you, it wins.”

“I don’t understand,” she said, but he was already standing, already walking away from her. “Mulder! Please don’t go. I need to understand.”

He turned and smiled at her. “I told the children I’d be back soon. Don’t be afraid, my love. Your heart is as big as the world,” he said, spreading out his arms, and then he was gone.

“Mulder,” she said again, but she was in bed, in the dark, in John’s arms. He hummed in his sleep and kissed her hair, and she pressed her head against his shoulder. The ache for Mulder flared, but just for a moment as she inhaled John’s scent and felt his heart beating beneath her cheek.

Just a dream. Just the mind talking to itself. Just grief that would never really go away, but could be put aside for longer lengths of time each day.

Still, she puzzled over the details of her dream as she waited for sleep to come, his strange words and how much in the dream he’d seemed like John—solid, comfortable, tender. The children he’d mentioned, the mysterious ‘it’—she sighed and shook her head. Just a dream, she told herself. Just another dream.

***

Dana set the timer and crawled back into bed. John’s arms went around her, pulling her close. “How long?” he murmured.

“Five minutes. I thought you were asleep.”

“I woke up when you did.” He kissed the top of her head. Over the baby monitor William rustled in his crib and smacked his lips.

Dana laid her ear over John’s heartbeat and exhaled. The rhythm was slow and strong, the heartbeat of a healthy man at rest. The sound soothed her, and she matched her breathing to his, to calm her own racing heart.

“Five minutes,” John murmured. “Funny how your life can change so fast.”

“Or not change.”

He sighed, heavily stroking her hair. “What do you want to happen?”

“I wish I knew. I do want another baby . . . just not yet.” She raised her head to look into his eyes, and he pushed her hair behind her ear and caressed her cheek. “What do you want?”

His thumb traced her lower lip. “I want you to be satisfied.”

Dana studied him, then nodded and lay down on his chest again. “Deal,” she murmured, making John chuckle.

She had begun to doze off, calmed by his breathing and his hands rubbing her back, when she heard the timer ding. She sat up and looked at John, who sat up too. “D’ya want me to get it?” he said, covering her hand with his.

“No, it’s okay.” She started to get out of bed, but first leaned over and kissed him.

Her hands were shaking when she picked up the pregnancy test in the bathroom. She closed her eyes, inhaled, and looked.

Negative.

Dana let out her breath. A hollowness settled in her chest but her eyes remained dry.

“Dana?” John said from the doorway. “Are you okay?”

She looked up from the test and tried to smile. “I’m okay.” She handed the stick to him. He frowned, shaking his head.

“One line?”

“That means it’s working. It would have two lines if I were pregnant.”

“So it’s negative,” he said quietly.

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Home pregnancy tests can give false positives but false negatives are very rare. I’m sure.”

“Oh, honey,” he said and gathered her into his arms. He kissed her forehead. “I know you wanted this.”

She wrapped her arms around his waist and nodded against his chest. Another blue-eyed boy, a sweet little girl—she could see them in her mind’s eye, but reality would just have to wait.

John was still kissing her, slowly and sweetly, all over her face. She looked up at him and swallowed, thrust her hand into his hair and pulled his mouth to hers. She kissed him desperately, and he made a soft sound in his throat as his hands came up to cup her face.

“Dana,” he whispered.

“Please,” she answered him, and her voice was desperate too. “Please.”

The countertop was already pressing against her ass. He lifted her onto it and kissed her again, leaning her back against the mirror as his hands slid up beneath her knees. She twisted her fingers into his hair as he kissed her neck, making his slow way down to the vee in her pajama top. His morning stubble scraped against her throat, her chin, the tops of her breasts.

“I love you,” he whispered between kisses to her nipples. “I love you.”

“I know,” she said, because everything he told her was the truth. She lifted her hips to yank off her panties and pajama bottoms, opened her knees wide and hooked her feet together behind John’s back. “I love you.”

“Don’t be sad, baby,” he said, and then he was inside her, hard and hot and filling, pulsing with life under her hands, his eyes bright, his skin damp. Their eyes held each other, unflinching, even as their bodies shook and trembled.

I am full of love, she thought, taking his mouth in another kiss. My heart, my soul, my body—he has reawakened me, brought me back to life. He brought rain to the desert. He has filled me to overflowing. He has taken nothing from me he does not give a hundred times in return—

She would have told him this, but her body was responding to his roughly caressing fingers and her synapses decided they’d had enough of poetry. Colors bloomed behind her closed eyelids and she managed not to shout too lo
udly. His hips pumped hard against hers and he muffled his groan in her hair before slumping against her, spent.

Dana stroked his hair, her head bent over his. “I’m not sad,” she whispered, and he chuckled.

“Oh, good.” In the bedroom the phone rang, and John sighed, looking at her with sleepy eyes. “So it begins.”

She nodded and let him go, watching him walk on wavering legs to the phone. I did that to him, she thought, and smiled, impressed with her own power.

“John Doggett,” he said into the phone, and caught her looking at him. He held out his hand and she hopped down from the sink and crossed the room to take it. She rubbed his knuckles while he listened to their caller. After a moment his face grew serious and his mouth frowned. “All right. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He hung up the phone and exhaled. “Honey—”

“It’s okay,” she said. “I’m a cop’s wife. More or less. I can deal with it.”

“We’re needed,” he said. “I just hate to leave you today.”

“I’ll be fine. Scout’s honor.”

“If you wanted to stay with your mother or something while I’m gone, I’ll understand.”

“No. I’ll be fine. I’ll miss you terribly, but I’ll be fine.”

“Okay.” He sounded reluctant to agree, and kissed her firmly as if to remind her not to get any ideas while he was gone. “I’ll hurry home as soon as I can. Promise.”

“I know.” Dana kissed him back and watched him return to the bathroom, to prepare to save the world. It seemed to her a lot rested on those slender shoulders, but she had no wish to join him. Those days were over—she wanted only to channel her energies to her own family now.

She lay down in bed again as the shower started, and listened to William’s morning sounds through the monitor. Not for the first time, she wondered who he was talking to and if they had anything helpful to say.

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