Amish Country by Lolabeegood

Amish Country cover


Amish Country by Lolabeegood

Amish Country cover

From: Lola <> Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2012 22:45:38 -0400 Subject: Amish Country by Lolabeegood Source: direct

Title: Amish Country

Author: Lolabeegood

E-mail: Distribution: Anywhere as long as my name stays attached and the work remains unchanged.

Rating: R Category: S, UST, MSR, maybe AU (although it does fit with the timeline)

Keywords: Mulder/Scully, undercover work, Amish

Spoilers: Set during late season 6 between Field Trip and Biogenesis

Summary: A serial rapist on the loose in Amish Country causes Mulder and Scully to go undercover and test the limits of their relationship.

Author’s Notes: This idea came to me while on vacation. I was in Scotland when I met a woman who was fascinated with the Amish and Mennonites of North America and she asked me tons of questions about them once I mentioned I had encountered them a few times in my life. I also realized in talking with her, how little I knew about them as a group. I did some research and a story was born. This is my first attempt at a semi case file so have patience with me.

I don’t own the characters or make any money from this.

Amish Country by Lolabeegood

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully adjusted her bonnet as the wagon bumped down the dirt road. It was a hot day and she realized that she might just miss air conditioning the most. The wagon bounced as it ran over a large rut in the road and her butt jumped up off the wooden bench she sat on. She reached to grab her sore posterior and updated her list of things she would miss to include a smooth and comfortable car ride.

“You okay?” Mulder asked as he leaned into her space.

“Fine,” she said as she pulled her hand away from her butt.

“I’m missing all those crappy rentals too,” he smiled at her. “But this slower pace does allow you to look at the scenery a bit more.”

She looked over at his profile as he sat closely next to her and thought that in all her life, she would never expect to see Mulder dressed like that. He had on a straw hat, vest, and suspenders over his blue shirt and black pants. His bronze skin seemed to suit his new garb and his beard had grown in quickly.

She then looked down at her current clothing and realized he must have thought the same thing about her. A white bonnet sat on her head, a soft lavender dress with a white apron covered her body, and flat black plain shoes were on her feet. She tucked a strand of brown hair in her cap and pulled it around her ears.

“Stop fiddling with it,” Mulder said as he leaned into her space again.

She raised an eyebrow and swallowed hard. He was right, she would give away their cover with her uncomfortableness.

They were Samuel and Miriam Troyer, a late-marrying newlywed couple, uncommon in Amish country but their cover-story seemed plausible. They had moved back the hands of time five years with Mulder being 32 and she 29, still late to marry by Amish standards.

Their excuse for marrying so old was that Mulder had been very sick for a number of years and that she had waited for him instead of marrying another eligible young man. When his health had returned and he was able to provide for his family, they had married in November of last year. His sick uncle had asked for their help with the harvest and so the couple had left their community to assist.

The man who was posing as Mulder’s uncle was currently driving the buggy they were in. Abram Fisher had done something that Amish did not do. He had contacted the FBI about a series of sexual assaults in his community, asking for their help. It was almost unheard of for the Amish to initiate this type of contact so the Bureau had acted quickly and sent in an undercover team. Abram and his wife Ruth had agreed to the ruse in the interest of their greater community, knowing that outsiders would get no answers. Abram’s interest in the case was personal; his grand daughter was the latest victim.

Since being given the case a week ago, Mulder had developed a profile on the rapist and she had studied as much as she could about the Amish community of Ohio and brushed up on her German.

They were given the case because Mulder was one of the best profilers in the Bureau, and she had a minor in German. They were also currently not assigned to any case in particular, which was how they found themselves on this one, pretending to be Amish, and looking for a serial rapist in Charm, Ohio.

“That is our farm,” Abram said gesturing to the right. “Ruth is nervous about your arrival, so please forgive her of she seems…strange.”

“She’s alright with us being there, though?” Mulder asked.

They needed to integrate themselves seamlessly with the community to gain their trust and get information to find this offender as quickly as possible.

“She left it to me to decide what was best,” Abram said. “She will be your aunt until you find who is doing this in our community.”

“Mr. Fisher, I’ll need her help with knowing how to act in certain situations,” Scully said as she leaned forward. “I’ve studied as much as I could, but some things…”

“She will show you how to be an Amish woman,” Abram said softly.

“Thank you,” Scully said back.

The buggy made its way down the narrow driveway and rocked back and forth as it hit a large pot hole. Scully lurched to the side and Mulder grabbed onto her leg to steady her. His hand on her thigh caught Abram’s attention.

“And I will show you how to be an Amish man,” Abram said as he cleared his throat.

Mulder removed his hand from Scully’s thigh and dropped it onto his leg, looking over at Abram and knowing the reason for the comment.

The group remained quiet as they bumped down the road. They pulled up in front of large white house with a wrap-around porch and the buggy came to an abrupt stop. An older woman dressed similarly to Scully walked out of the front door, and sombrely stood on the porch. Abram got out of the buggy, followed by Mulder, who walked around to Scully’s side and helped her get down.

“Ruth, these are the police officers,” Abram said as he gestured toward them. “They are Samuel and Miriam Troyer.”

She quietly nodded her head as Scully started to mount the steps to shake her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Ruth,” Scully extended her hand and Ruth took it. “Your home is lovely.”

“Nice to meet you Miriam,” Ruth returned. “Samuel.”

Mulder nodded towards her and helped Abram with their bags. The two men carried the belongings inside and set them by the door.

Neither agent was sure why Abram chose to use their alias instead of their real names with his wife, but in the end, it was inconsequential.

“I have some questions,” Ruth said as they took a seat in the plain living room.

“We will answer whatever we can,” Mulder said as he sat next to Scully.

“Did you bring guns into my house?” Ruth asked as Abram lit his pipe.

“No, we did not.” Mulder answered her plainly.

“We want to be respectful of your beliefs.” Scully added.

“Are you married?” Ruth asked.

“No, we are FBI partners,” Scully answered.

“Are you married to other people?” Ruth asked.

“No, we are both single,” Mulder answered.

“It will have to look like you share a room when people come over, but I cannot have you sharing a bed in our home if you are not married,” she said as she looked at her lap.

“We understand,” Mulder said as he looked at the uncomfortable woman in front of him. “I can sleep on the couch or…”

“We have another room you can use, but you must leave it as if it’s untouched so people don’t know.”

“I can do that,” Mulder said as he nodded his head.

“How will you catch this person?” Ruth asked.

“We think that being part of the community will allow us to observe people unguarded and notice things that, as investigators, will give the man away,” Mulder said.

“But you will find him?” She asked as she met Scully’s eyes.

“We will,” Scully said with conviction.

“Well, I’m sure you must want to get settled and cleaned up before supper,” Ruth said rising and looking at Scully. “You should help me with it tonight so you are used to the tools I use in the kitchen and the way we do things.”

“I can help now,” Scully said rising.

“Come down in an hour and then you can help,” Ruth said smiling at her.

Scully and Mulder mounted the stairs bringing their bags with them. Abram walked behind them and gestured to a room near the front of the house. They carried their things inside and put their bags on the bed. The room was a soft yellow colour, had one dresser in the corner, a wooden chair and a double bed with a hand-sewn quilt on it. All the furniture looked hand made and quite old.

“You should keep all your clothes and personal items in this room, so as not to raise suspicion,” Abram said.

“Will people be coming in here?” Scully asked, unsettled by the prospect.

“Not really, but doors are kept open during the day. If our daughter, or someone else came upstairs for something, she would notice if a married couple was staying in two different rooms.”

“Gotcha,” Mulder said as he looked across the hall at another room. “Is that the other room?”

“Yes, it was our son’s,” Abram said as a look of sadness passed over his face. “He died of pneumonia when he was twenty.”

“Abram, I’m so sorry,” Scully said softly.

“He is with god,” Abram said matter-of-factly.

Abram left the room and they heard the stairs creek as he descended them.

“Which drawers do you want?” Scully asked as she opened her bag.

“I think I’ll keep the blue shirts here,” Mulder said gesturing toward the one drawer. “And the black pants there…unpacking all done.”

“It does make wardrobe choices more…simple,” Scully said as she hung a dress up.

“You probably should be grateful they want us in separate beds,” Mulder said as he threw his underwear in a drawer. “Without deodorant things could get ripe.”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate my hairy legs either,” Scully smiled.

“I don’t know, that might be a turn on,” Mulder joked.

Scully shot him a look.

“No makeup, sunscreen, or hair products…” she mumbled

as she hung another dress. “I’m going to get burnt.”

“But your freckles will come out,” Mulder joked.

“Hardy har,” Scully said as she put her primitive underwear in a drawer. “The undergarments will take some getting used to.”

“Yeah, mine are like a longer and more restrictive boxer short,” Mulder said as he indicted how long they were on his leg to Scully.

“Mine are pretty much the same,” Scully said as she ducked her head.

“I read Amish women don’t wear bras,” Mulder said as

he put a now-empty bag under the bed.

“It’s not what you think,” she said as she put a brush on the bureau.

“How do you know what I think?” He asked with a smirk.

“I know you Mulder, and you are picturing a bare chest. Although Amish women don’t wear bras, they do wear an undershirt of sorts,” Scully said as her face turned a little pink.

“Way to kill a dream, Scully.” Mulder joked.

“You’re going to need to stop that talk, they will know we don’t belong in thirty seconds.”

“I know,” he said as he put their other bag under the bed. “But it’s just us now and I figure with acting like Samuel all day, it’ll be nice to just be Mulder for a bit with you.”

She smiled at him; her understanding was real.

“I know,” she said as she took a seat on the bed. “Are you going to start working with Abram tomorrow?”

“If I want to learn how to use the equipment without looking like an ‘English’, I better be a quick study in farming,” he smiled as he sat next to her. “That, and the fact that I’m supposed to be here to help him because of his health, so I should look capable.”

“I think you might have it harder than me,” she said as she folded her hands on her lap.

“I’ve tried your cooking Scully,” he smirked. “I’d say we both have to be quick studies.”

She elbowed him in the ribs and he let out a yelp.

“I want to find the man doing this before another girl gets assaulted,” Scully said. “Abram and Ruth are taking a big risk doing this and I don’t want to let them down.”

“We’ll get him,” Mulder reassured her. “He thinks he’s found a community that won’t defend itself or involve the authorities. He’s confident and that’s going to give him away. But, he didn’t count on the love of two grandparents that were willing to break the rules.”

“No, he didn’t,” Scully smiled at him.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully proudly placed the potatoes on the table. Ruth had managed to cook the rest of the meal without her help, but she had shown Scully how to make potatoes. It was labour intensive, but from the look of them, seemed worth it. They were peeled, boiled, mixed with fried onions and cucumber, and herbs here added. Scully’s mom usually only made mashed potatoes so these seemed quite elaborate. It was Sunday so no work was done on the farm and generally the household was in a state of relaxation. It was the perfect day for them to arrive and get acquainted with Abram and Ruth before others started to show up for work on the farm.

“It smells amazing,” Mulder said as he caught her eye.

Scully returned his smile and took her seat.

Abram and Ruth bowed their heads; Scully and Mulder followed suit.

After a short blessing Abram and Ruth raised their heads and the food started to get passed around. Very little was said at first, as everyone loaded their plates.

“So, do you normally pretend to be people you aren’t?” Abram asked as he scooped some gravy.

“No,” Mulder laughed. “We’ve had a couple of undercover cases over the years but they don’t happen a lot.”

“So, you’ve known each other for years?” Ruth asked.

“Six,” Scully said as she took a drink of water.

“That is quite a long time to work together,” Abram noted.

“Don’t you want children, Miriam?” Ruth asked as she cut her meat.

“I…uh…” Scully stammered as thoughts of Emily and her infertility circled her head.

“This is a great roast,” Mulder interrupted. “Do you butcher your own meat?”

“No, we get our meat from the Lapps,” Abram said as he ate. “We exchange dairy and vegetables for meat.”

“So, it’s a barter system?” Mulder asked.

“It’s just how we do things,” Abram said.

The table fell silent as Abram ate oblivious, Ruth eyed Scully, and Scully intently moved food around her plate. The old house seemed almost too big for the four of them sitting around the table, it seemed to have been designed to fit a large family but Scully and Mulder both knew Ruth and Abram only had two children.

“We start early Samuel,” Abram said breaking the silence. “Then I can show you how the dairy equipment works before people arrive.”

“Who will I be working with?”

“Our daughter Hannah and her husband John will be over in the morning,” Abram said. “They are just coming for the day to help with the pies and to meet you. She hasn’t ever seen a picture of you so she won’t question that you are Samuel and Miriam Troyer, from my mother’s side. Just say very little and they will know you are one of us.”

“Okay,” Scully said as she took another drink of water.

“You will follow my lead in the kitchen,” Ruth said quietly. “Amish women are plain and quiet. When in doubt, say nothing.”

Scully nodded her head in agreement.

Supper was eaten in silence and when Abram rose from the table, Ruth immediately started to clear the plates. Mulder and Scully each started to help when Ruth took the plate from Mulder’s hand.

“That is not a man’s job,” she said softly. “Go sit, Samuel.”

Mulder shrugged his shoulders and smiled weakly at Scully who walked past him with a pile of plates into the kitchen.

“So the men take care of the farm and the women take care of the house?” Scully asked as she scraped a plate.

“At harvest time, everyone works the fields but the women are also expected to keep the house.” Ruth said as she packed away leftovers. “We prepare the food, draw their baths, help with the harvest, and keep the house in order.”

“It hardly seems fair,” Scully muttered as she handed Ruth a plate.

“When you see how tired he is at the end of a day, you will not wonder what is fair,” Ruth said matter-of-factly.

Scully rinsed the plates and thought of what Mulder’s workday would be like. Ruth knew this life much better than she did, if she said he would be tired, Scully didn’t doubt that for a minute.

“The ground cherries are in,” Ruth said as she cleaned the kitchen. “We will make pies tomorrow.”

Scully nodded and quietly finished cleaning the kitchen with Ruth. Quiet seemed to be a welcome guest in this house.

After the kitchen was clean, she and Ruth joined Mulder and Abram in the parlour for a little while before Abram stood, stretched and wished them a good night. Ruth followed him up the stairs and when Mulder and Scully heard their door shut she seemed to let out the breath they were both holding.

“Hopefully we’ll get to meet some workers tomorrow and get a feel for the community a bit more,” Scully said as she relaxed on the sofa.

“You mean, I’ll get to meet some workers,” Mulder corrected her. “You’ll be in the kitchen with Ruth, not associating with men.”

“True,” Scully said as she removed her cap. “It’s sort of hard to investigate if I can’t interact with people much.”

“I’m sure you’ll find out more from women in the kitchen then I’ll get out of men in the fields,” he said as he patted her knee. “Just work your charm.”

She smiled at him and they sat quietly, each deep in their own thoughts. The clock on the wall ticked away the seconds as they sat.

“Those were good potatoes,” Mulder said as he noted the clock that read 9 pm.

“Tomorrow its pies,” Scully said as she rose from her seat. “And from the sounds of it, you’re going to have a full day, so you better get to sleep.”

“I guess,” he said as he rose from his seat and put down the newspaper that was in his hand. He grabbed the lantern that was sitting on his side table and walked toward her.

They mounted the steps and every creak was noticeable in the house. “It’s really quiet,” Mulder whispered.

“Very,” Scully whispered back.

Mulder took his pyjamas from the dresser and turned to leave the room. “Goodnight, Scully,” he said as he took a step. “Keep your ears peeled tomorrow.”

“How early do you think they rise?” Scully asked.

“I’m sure they’ll let us know,” Mulder said with a tight-lipped smile.

“Yeah,” Scully said softly. “Goodnight, Mulder.”

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder’s muscles ached and it was just past 7 am. He had been up since 4 am when Abram came to wake him in his room with a shake of his shoulder. He had looked longingly across the hall at Scully’s closed door, thinking of how she was able to sleep longer than him.

He had been surprised to find very modern dairy equipment running off a generator in the barn. He expected that he would have to learn how to milk a cow but when he saw the hundred cows before him, he was happy the Amish had given in to some modern allowances. He thought his reaction to the dairy equipment was probably the same as Scully’s when she discovered the farm ran off a septic system and had a proper washroom.

The equipment was complicated but Mulder’s great memory allowed him to remember the operation of the mechanism quite easily. Abram was very happy he had caught on so easily. Mulder had been piling hay in a stall when Abram, in his own quiet way, had tapped him on the shoulder and said it was time to eat. Mulder was grateful there would be more food then the piece of bread and cheese Abram had quickly handed him in the morning as they made their way outside.

After washing up Mulder made his way into the kitchen and noted the flurry of activity. Scully was frying sausages as Ruth was gathering bowls and bringing them out onto the back porch. On the table was a spread of breads, boiled eggs, potatoes, cereal and fruit. Mulder had not seen this big a breakfast since he hit a buffet in Memphis.

“Good morning, ladies,” Mulder said as he stood awkwardly in the corner waiting for some direction.

“Morning,” Scully said as she took the sausages from the pan and placed them on a plate and then placed the plate on the table with the rest of the food.

“Good morning,” Abram said as he appeared in the room in a fresh shirt.

Mulder looked down at his shirt and cringed. It was dirty and smelled of manure. He excused himself and went upstairs

to change. When he returned everyone was sitting at the table, waiting for him.

He sat and a blessing was shared before Abram reached for the eggs and everyone started to put food on their plates.

“When did you get up?” Mulder asked Scully across the table.

“We were up at 5am,” Scully said as she filled their juice glasses.

“Everything is wonderful, Ruth,” Abram said as he put some sausage in his mouth.

“Miriam made most of it,” Ruth acknowledged. “I was too busy getting things together so when Hannah gets here we can start right away.”

“You made this?” Mulder asked as he smiled at Scully.

She nodded her head and didn’t make eye contact with him. He wasn’t sure if she was trying to get into character or if she was really that humble about her cooking.

“How many pies will you get?” Abram asked as he ate.

“I’m hoping for thirty but we’ll see how the ground cherries go,” Ruth said as she continued to eat.

“What will you do with all those pies?” Mulder asked.

“Hannah will take some, we’ll keep some, and the rest we’ll deliver to our neighbours to share.”

“What are ground cherries?” Scully asked, not wanting to look ridiculous in front of Ruth’s daughter when she arrived.

Ruth got up from the table and walked wordlessly to the back porch and came back with her apron full of papery casements. She dropped them on the table and then handed on to Scully. Scully played with the papery texture and wasn’t sure how this item could be used for a pie, until she saw Ruth pull back the papery casement and reveal a tiny golden fruit in the centre.

“Try it,” Ruth said as she popped one in her mouth.

Scully peeled back her casement and saw what looked like a golden cherry tomato inside. She put it in her mouth and was surprised by the taste.

“That’s delicious,” she said smiling.

She then peeled one for Mulder and passed it to him to try. He liked it as well.

“You will be peeling the casings while Hannah and I make the dough…I wasn’t sure if you knew how, and I don’t have time to show you this morning.”

“I actually don’t know how,” Scully said as she gathered the casings to take to the compost bin. “But I’d like to learn.”

“Good,” Ruth smiled warmly at her. “Maybe you can help with the filling; everyone does it differently so it wouldn’t be unusual for you to ask.”

“I’d like that,” Scully smiled back at her.

The two women sat back down and everyone finished their breakfast. Mulder ate a lot, not only because it was so good, but because he knew there would be more work ahead and he’d need the calories to continue.

As they started to clear the breakfast dishes Mulder noticed Abram left to change back into his work shirt. He was about to do the same when he decided to thank Scully for breakfast.

“That was great,” he said quietly into her ear as she stood at the sink with her back to him. He put a hand on her hip.

“Thanks,” she said quietly as she turned to look at him more closely.

Their faces were so close she could feel his breath on her neck. “How are you doing out there?”

“I’m going to have pipes when all this is done,” Mulder said as he flexed his arm in front of her.

She laughed at his joke and he smiled at her. His hand still rested on her waist and she sensed he had more to say so she kept quiet.

“Try and subtly see if Hannah has anything to say about the assault on her daughter,” Mulder said quietly as Ruth walked in the back door and her eyes widened at the sight before her.

Mulder pulled back immediately and Scully straightened in her spot. Their close proximity when talking was something they had grown used to over time, but she understood in that one moment, it was not something Ruth was used to seeing unmarried men and women doing.

“I’ll see you at lunch,” Mulder said as he walked from the kitchen.

Ruth walked over to the large sink and started to rinse the pan that lay in it.

“So, you are like that?” Ruth asked.

Scully knew what she was hinting at, and wanted to dispel any issues she may have.

“We’re friends, Ruth. We work very closely and out in the world…in our line of work…” Scully struggled for the words to explain their relationship. “He’s my best friend, and I trust him with my life.”

Ruth didn’t say anything back.

Scully heard horses in the front yard and looked toward Ruth. She smiled and Scully knew Hannah had arrived.

The two women walked to the front of the house and saw a man, two women, and three children getting out of a black buggy.

“Maem,” Hannah said as she embraced her mother. She was in her early forties, with dark hair and a broad smile.

“Miriam, this is my daughter Hannah Miller, her husband John, their eldest daughter Fannie, eldest son Willis, and the twins Martha and Sadie” Ruth said as she gestured around the group.

Fannie Miller, the latest rape victim, stood awkwardly next to her parents and Scully could see that she wanted to blend into the woodwork if at all possible. According to Abram she was twenty, but she looked no more than sixteen to Scully. Without the make-up, every woman looked younger than Scully expected them to look.

“Nice to meet you,” Scully bowed her head as she heard a door whack shut behind her. She felt Mulder’s hand come up on her shoulder and the heat of his body behind her.

“This is my, Manne Samuel,” Scully said as she put a hand over Mulder’s.

“Nice to meet you,” Mulder stepped out from behind her and shook John’s hand and nodded toward his wife.

“Hannah,” Abram called from behind them as he rounded the corner of the house.

“Hi daat,” Hannah smiled at him as he came around and gave her and all the kids a hug.

“Have you come to help with the pies?” He asked the twins, who nodded their heads eagerly.

“Did you meet your cousin?” Abram asked gesturing toward Mulder.

“We did,” John smiled at the man. “It was nice of you to help and come all the way from Norwalk…with my own farm, and Hannah due any time…”

Scully then noticed Hannah’s large belly. She looked like she was about to have the baby any minute. If

there weren’t any more children, it would be her fifth

by Scully’s count.

“Not a problem,” Mulder said softly. “We haven’t got our own place yet, and were still staying with Miriam’s parents.”

“You were married in November?” Hannah asked as she looked at Scully’s slight figure.

“Yes,” Scully said, noting that the woman had noticed she wasn’t pregnant.

“Miriam’s father got sick this spring and I needed to run his farm, I had no time for starting my own.”

“He’s better now?” Hannah asked, honestly concerned.

“Yes,” Scully said softly.

“We’ll stay with her parents through the winter and raise a barn in the spring,” Mulder said as he grazed Scully’s elbow with his hand.

She smiled slightly and noticed that Fannie’s eyes were closely following she and Mulder.

“John and Samuel, I’ll need your help in the barn moving some equipment,” Abram said as he started to walk away.

“See you at lunch,” Mulder whispered to Scully as he turned to leave.

Scully noticed that yet again, Fannie was looking at them closely. She hoped she would have some time to speak with the young lady.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Scully sat on a wooden rocking chair next to Fannie as they both peeled ground cherries from their casements. Ruth and Hannah worked in the kitchen chatting as they made the dough

for the pies. The sun was still low in the sky but it was already getting warm. Summer had come to Amish country and Scully pulled her chair closer to the house in an attempt to sit in the shade.

She had made a few attempts at small talk with Fannie but found the girl to be not much of a conversationalist. So far Fannie had told Scully how old she was, that she was baptized and that she had no suitors at the moment. All facts Scully already knew. Scully got off her chair and crouched down to pick up the large bowl of husks they had laying at their feet.

“I’ll take it to compost,” she said as she made her way down the back steps.

Fannie didn’t respond, and merely continued to husk her ground cherries. Scully had no doubt that she was probably in desperate need of counselling and possibly medical treatment but, she had no way of suggesting that without blowing her cover.

When she returned to the porch, Fannie made her first attempt at conversation all morning.

“They are out in the field now,” she said nodding to the large expanse behind the Fisher’s house. Scully shielded her eyes and looked toward the herd of cows that had just been let loose on the field. She spotted Mulder immediately. He, John, Abram and a few farm hands were taking the cows out to pasture. Mulder looked, surprisingly, comfortable as he herded the cows with a large stick. Scully couldn’t help but smile at the sight of him as a farmer.

“You are very happy,” Fannie noted as she looked at her expression.

“I am,” Scully said as she sat back down next to the girl. “My husband is a good man.”

“That’s nice,” Fannie said as she picked up some more ground cherries and placed them in her apron. “But you have not been blessed with children.”

“Not yet,” Scully sighed as she focused on the husks of the fruit.

“God will know when your time has come,” Fannie said softly.

“I hope so,” Scully continued their conversation. “Samuel would like a big family and I am starting late…”

“God will give you what you need,” Fannie said softly. “He works in mysterious ways.”

The two women fell into companionable silence for a few minutes before Scully initiated conversation once again.

“Why don’t you have any suitors?” Scully asked, trying to be nonchalant.

“I am not so special,” Fannie said as she continued to husk.

“You are a beautiful girl,” Scully noted as she saw Fannie blush. “You must have a suitor or six.”

“I won’t be married,” Fannie said softly. “I…I will help take care of my parents and my family.”

“Fannie, have you decided this or…?” Scully asked.

“It is done,” Fannie said quietly as she got up from her seat and walked toward the screen door.

Scully tried to think of something to say to continue their conversation but came up short.

“Maem, we have enough to start the pies,” Fannie called inside the house.

“Miriam, can you start lunch with Fannie while we get these pies going?” Ruth asked from inside.

“Yah,” Scully said as she dumped the remaining un-husked fruit from her apron into the bowl. She was grateful for her German classes in university.

She and Fannie made chicken sandwiches, salad, potato salad, and put out pickled vegetables for all the men on a large table outside in the shade. Pitchers of lemonade were made and cloth napkins were placed around the table. Scully assumed the women would eat later and separately from the men as the setting was just enough for the men to all sit. Fannie went and banged a pan quite exuberantly, calling the men in from the field to eat. Quickly straw hats started to appear on the other side of the sloped field and Scully saw the men making their way toward the house. She spotted Mulder wiping sweat from his brow and waving to her as he got closer. She didn’t wave back, because she wasn’t sure if it would be seen as improper.

Soon Hannah and Ruth joined them outside and started to heap food onto plates for the men as they went to wash up. The men all came to the table in clean shirts, where they had them all stored Scully wasn’t sure, and sat down to have the blessing. Scully noticed that the other women stood, almost at attention behind the men seated, and she went to stand with the others. As soon as a glass was empty it was filled, as soon as a man’s salad was almost gone more was offered, as soon as a chicken sandwich was eaten, another was placed on his plate. The men carried on a conversation at the table as if the women didn’t exist as they buzzed around them fulfilling their every need.

Scully was so busy taking care of all the men that she didn’t have time to process how unfair the whole situation was. She did feel one thing though; invisible. It was not a feeling she was very accustomed to.

When lunch was ended all the men thanked the women for the wonderful lunch and rose from the table to get back to work. Scully caught Mulder’s eye as he walked away and there was something there that she couldn’t quite understand; shame.

The afternoon was spent trying to talk to Fannie some more and being very unsuccessful in that task. Scully resolved that she would have to give Fannie some time to warm up to her before she could get any real information from her. The pies were made and Hannah proved herself to be quite the talker throughout the afternoon. She was debating names for the baby and admonishing another women in their community who, went against Amish tradition, and named her daughter Samuelle.

“Honestly, can you imagine if she names a man named Samuel? They will be Samuel and his wife Samuelle. They will sound like those English that choose to lay with their own kind.”

The other women nodded their heads in agreement. Scully wasn’t sure if they were in agreement that the name was a mistake, or being gay was.

“The bishop should have made her change it,” Ruth said.

“Miriam, what do you like?” Hannah asked, turning her attention to Scully.

“I have always liked Mark and Katie,” Scully said as she wiped the table off.

“Those would be nice names with Troyler,” Hannah said.

“Yes, they would,” Scully said quietly.

“God will bless you and Samuel,” Hannah said as she grabbed Scully’s hand. “You will one day have a family as large as mine.”

“I hope so,” Scully said softly. “But we are starting late.”

“I had Fannie at twenty-two, but Willis was five years after that, and the twins seven years after him. We lost some along the way but…we are blessed and they are with god.”

“I am so sorry Hannah for your loss,” Scully said honestly.

“It was god’s will,” she answered with conviction. “He knows what is best for us.”

Scully found the statement problematic. Here was a woman whose twenty year old daughter had been sexually assaulted and she could say that god knew what was best for her. How could being raped be best for her? The conviction with which this woman spoke astounded Scully.

“Yes, he does,” Scully answered with a tight-lipped smile and she caught Fannie leave the room with tears in her eyes.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder was not having any more luck in the fields with John, Abram and the farm hands. The work that these men did without complaint astounded Mulder. He knew FBI agents that bitched if their parking spot was too far away and they had to walk an extra five minutes to get to their cushy chair at their desk.

The labour that these men did was back-breaking. The equipment Abram wanted moved was heavy and awkward and Mulder was grateful when it they were done rolling it to the other barn. Sweat dripped from his forehead and his uncomfortable Amish underwear bothered his legs as they stuck to them and rode up in the back.

He was actually tugging at his underwear when Abram came up behind him.

“We don’t wear them in the field, generally,” Abram said as his eyes fell to Mulder’s mid-section.

“You don’t?” Mulder asked, both relieved and shocked at the same time.

“Around the house, when visiting, when at church…” Abram said as he looked around to make sure no one was near them. “But in the field they bother most men.”

“Thanks for the tip,” Mulder smiled at him.

“You are a good worker,” Abram said as he placed a hand on Mulder’s shoulder. “I didn’t expect that.”

“Thank you, Abram,” Mulder smiled at him.

“Come on and help us decide which trees need pruning today,” Abram said as he turned to go.

“But Abram, I don’t know anything about…” Mulder started.

“Just say the peach trees are due for pruning,” Abram smiled at him.

“Thanks,” Mulder smiled back as he started to follow him.

The rest of the workers had gathered under a shaded tree and were waiting quietly for the two men to join them. John seemed to be walking amongst the trees and looking at the leaves closely.

“Abram, which ones do you want us to look after first?” young Isaac Lapp asked.

“Which do you think Samuel?” Abram asked Mulder.

“The peach trees,” Mulder said confidently.

“I agree,” John piped up from behind one. “Abram, you have let these go too long, your peaches might not be very sweet.”

“I should have asked for help sooner, I know, but I thought I was just feeling under the weather,” Abram said softly.

“It’s okay daat,” John said as he patted him on the shoulder. “We’ll save your peaches.”

Mulder smiled at John. He honestly loved his family, and, although his views were ultra conservative, he practiced what he preached and worked hard for what he had. Mulder also saw in him a secret desire to head the household once Abram was no longer able to.

“Hannah will be having the baby soon?” Mulder asked as he and John walked toward the farthest patch of trees.

“In the next week,” John smiled at Mulder. “Hopefully another boy, to help with the farm.”

Mulder nodded in agreement.

“And your Miriam?” John asked shyly.

“We lost one in the spring, a girl” Mulder said softly as he looked out over the fields. “I’m praying for another soon, I think it would make her happy.”

“They take it hard when they lose them,” John said, understanding what the couple had gone through. “Give her some time and I’m sure God will bless you.”

“I would just like her to be happy again,” Mulder said honestly.

“She will be,” John said as he nudged Mulder with his shoulder. “Children make women happy and every time you have one, you want more, trust me.”

“Fannie is quite a bit older than this baby,” Mulder said, trying to broach the subject of his older daughter. “She must be getting married soon?”

“No,” John said looking away. “She has chosen to not marry.”

“What?” Mulder asked, shocked.

“Fannie is…she’s a different sort of girl. She’s not going to make a good wife for anyone, but for Hannah she will be a big help.”

“But surely she must want children of her own…a family is what all women want,” Mulder continued.

“Fannie won’t be having none of that,” John said with finality as they reached the orchard. “Which row do you want?”

With that question, Mulder knew that all conversation about Fannie was done.

“I’ll take the left,” Mulder said as he walked toward his row of peach trees.

✦ ⸎ ✦

By supper time all the field hands had left. Dinner was lively with the children at the table and Mulder seemed to be in better spirits from the afternoon. The had no time to talk just the two of them, so Scully relished the time when the guests would leave and she could be alone with Mulder.

By six o’clock the Miller’s were on their way with twelve pies. Scully learned that Willis would be coming by to pick them up tomorrow to deliver pies to a few neighbours and visit with them. Scully looked forward to the change in schedule and the opportunity to meet some other community members and get a feel for them. Abram and Ruth walked over to an elderly neighbour’s house to visit with her for a bit, and Scully and Mulder had the house to themselves.

“I’m exhausted,” Mulder said as he fell into a kitchen chair as Scully finished up the last of the dishes.

“You’ve had a long day,” Scully said without turning to look at him. “How was John?”

“I sense that if he could be Old-Order Amish he would be, he’s far more devout than Abram.”

“Really?” Scully turned to look at him.

“Yeah,” Mulder smiled at her as he rubbed his burnt neck. “He doesn’t agree with the milking machines Abram has. He milks all his cows by hand.”

“All of them?”

“They have farm hands who do a lot of the work, but yeah, Abram is too modern for his tastes.”

“Huh,” Scully sighed as she turned to rinse a pot.

“What?” Mulder asked.

“Hannah came across the same way. She kept on talking about how ‘god knows best and it’s his will’ in the same room as her daughter who was raped just two months ago. I found it a hard pill to swallow.”

“Well, in their minds Fannie needed to forgive her attacker and forget about the assault, as if it didn’t happen.”

“She said she won’t marry, that she’s not special.” Scully said as she picked up a towel and dried the pot.

“In this community…men won’t generally marry a woman whose not a virgin, whether it was against her will or not. She’s right to say she won’t get married…it’s probably true.”

“Mulder how can you just accept that?” She turned on him exasperated. “Here we have a victim who obviously needs counselling and trauma therapy but nothing is

being done for her. She…”

“Scully, I figured your role at lunch today explained everything already.”

“My what?’

“Serving the men, tending to our every need as we ate, and you stood behind us. I found that also hard to stomach, but it’s their way.”

She let out a big breath and slammed the pot on the counter. “When we find the rapist I’m going to insist she get counselling.”

“And it’s her prerogative to take you up on that, or not,” Mulder said as he stood and held her by the

shoulders. “You are not here to change their ways, you are here to stop a rapist.”

Her head dropped to his chest and he put his arms around her body pulling her close to him. They swayed gently back and forth for a couple of minutes until she pulled away and stepped back from his embrace.

“Are you okay?” Mulder asked as he held her chin with his hand.

“I thought it would be the amenities I would miss,“she sighed. “I didn’t expect to miss myself so much.”

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder rose at 4 am as usual and donned his clothes in the dark. He walked quietly down the stairs and greeted Abram in the kitchen. The two men silently drank a cup of coffee. When Abram went to open the back door, to his surprise, it was locked.

“Why is this locked?” He asked Mulder.

“Oh, force of habit,” Mulder smirked. “I must have done that before Miriam and I went up to bed.”

“You English and your locks,” Abram smirked as he unlatched the door and opened it. In the dark, a figure was present on the back porch.

Abram went to the figure without hesitation and Mulder followed. The girl was huddled up against a porch post in the dark, shivering.

“Fannie?” Abram asked as he lifted her chin. “Oh my Gott!”

Mulder leaned over the young woman and swiftly lifted her from the floor or the porch and carried her shivering body inside. As much as the days were hot, the nights in Amish country were very cold. Being exposed to that cold night air had sent a chill right through the young girl’s body that had frozen her to the core.

The girl’s teeth chattered and her whole body shook as Mulder carried her into the parlour and laid her on the sofa. He pulled a blanket off the back of the chair and covered her with it.

“I’m so sorry, forgive me, forgive me,” Fannie chanted as Abram leaned over and held her tightly.

Mulder ran up the stairs and into Scully’s room, opening the door without hesitation, he shook her shoulder.

“Scully, something’s wrong with Fannie, she’s been outside all night,” he said breathless.

Scully bolted from her bed and ran past him towards the stairs, her white cotton nightdress billowing around her.

Mulder then went to the door of Ruth’s room and knocked loudly on it.

“Ruth, there’s a problem with Fannie, she’s downstairs.”

Ruth swiftly opened the door as she tried to tie a robe around herself. Mulder watched as her bare feet pounded down the stairs and her long grey braid swayed behind her.

When he got back to the living room it appeared as though nothing had changed. Scully was attempting to listen to her heart rate and feel her for a fever while Fannie clutched to her grandfather muttering mostly to herself.

“Fannie, what is it?” Ruth demanded as she ran to her grand daughter. “Why were you outside?”

“The door was locked,” Abram explained. “She couldn’t get in.”

“Why are you here? Why are you not at home?”

“They want to send me away, I…I can’t go,” Fannie said through chattering teeth.

“Who wants to send you away?” Ruth asked confused. “Why would you go away?”

Fannie turned from her grandfather’s gaze and looked straight at Scully when she spoke. “I am with child. I told them tonight.” She said embarrassed.

“What?” Ruth asked exasperated.

Abram shook his head and walked circles around the edge of the room.

“You’re pregnant,” Scully clarified. “Your parents want you to go away because of that?”

“I…I don’t know why god did this to me as well, I don’t understand…” Fannie cried as Ruth pulled her into her arms.

“Are you sure? Do you know what pregnant is?” Ruth asked, hoping the girl was wrong.

“I went into town with daat a few days ago and when I was on my own I went to a pharmacy and bought a test. It says I am, and I knew I was before the test. I remember from all the times maem was…” she said quietly.

“Out of the room!” Ruth called out loudly. “No men.”

Mulder and Abram were startled into submission as they cleared the room and shut the door to the kitchen behind them.

“Is this from…when you were caught in the barn?” Ruth asked as her face reddened.

“There’s been no other, I would not…” Fannie cried.

“I know my girl, I know,” Ruth cried with the child.

“You did this test correctly?” Scully asked, trying to not betray her cover.

“I read the instructions and followed them…it was a smiling face,” Fannie said as a new batch of sobs raked over her body.

“Okay, okay,” Ruth said more to herself than anyone else. “We must get another in town today, to know for sure. We cannot wait to know this…we cannot.”

“Let me get you a hot water bottle,” Scully said rising from her spot next to the couch.

She went into the kitchen and warmed some water in silence while the two men in the room stood quietly and watched her. When she re-entered the living room Ruth and Fannie were gone. She mounted the stairs and found Fannie nestled into Mulder’s bed, the covers pulled up to her chin as Ruth sang softly to her and stroked her hair.

Scully placed the water bottle under the covers and softly shut the door behind her. She went downstairs and told Mulder and Abram that Fannie was resting. The two men stood awkwardly looking at her, not sure what to do.

“We need to go into town when the stores open to get a test to know for sure,” Scully said as she paced the kitchen.

“Samuel will drive you out after morning chores,” Abram said sadly. “I hope she is wrong.”

Mulder smiled softly at Scully, “I’ll come and get you as soon as I can.”

She returned his smile and set about making breakfast for everyone, partly because she knew it needed to be done and Ruth was busy, and partly because she didn’t know what else to do.

Mulder and Abram returned a couple of hours later to eat and she watched as Abram quietly slipped upstairs to check on his grand daughter.

“Where would they send her?” Mulder asked as he walked up to Scully.

“I don’t know,” Scully answered honestly. “But it’s not her fault if she is pregnant.”

“You know that, and I know that,” Mulder reminded her.

Scully nodded her head as Mulder grabbed her hand in his.

“I should be done by eight, I’ll grab a quick bath and change and then we can be off.”

“I’ll have your bath ready,” Scully said quietly, her thoughts elsewhere.

“Scully…” Mulder said squeezing her hand.

“Don’t let it get to your head,” she smirked at him.

Abram re-appeared in the kitchen and walked past them without noticing. Mulder dropped her hand and followed him outside.

Mulder arrived back at the house a quarter to eight just as Scully was starting to run his bath. He walked into the washroom behind her and took a moment to admire the soft fall of her hips as she leaned over the tub to test the water.

“I know you’re there,” Scully said, scaring him a little.

“That’s freaky, Scully,” Mulder said as he walked closer to her and shut the door over to trap in the heat.

“I saw you in the taps,” she turned to smile at him.

“Always doing surveillance,” Mulder smirked at her. He pulled his sweaty shirt from his body to reveal an even sweatier chest underneath. “And unless you want the full show…”

Scully opened the door and walked out without a word from the washroom. Mulder stripped down and slipped

into the bath. Relishing in the feel of the water on his sore bones but knowing the bath was merely utilitarian because there was a possibly pregnant rape victim in the other room that needed some information.

He scrubbed himself off and quickly washed his hair with the harsh soap the Fisher’s used. Rising, wet from the tub, he towelled himself off and pulled on the clean clothes Scully had left for him on the chair in the room. Mulder thought that it would be easy to get used to being taken care like this.

When he arrived downstairs Scully was waiting on the front porch wearing the same dress she wore the first day they arrived to the Fisher farm. She looked anxious to leave and Mulder quickly walked past her to hitch the horse to the buggy. Abram had shown him how to do this yesterday and despite an unresponsive horse, he managed to get it hitched quickly.

They rode in relative silence all the way into town as cars raced past them on country roads. Mulder saw one couple stop their car far ahead of them and wait for the buggy to catch up so they could take a picture of the Amish couple in the horse and buggy. Scully laughed loudly after they passed the couple and Mulder joined in on the moment of light heartedness. The couple in the car had waited to take a picture of two FBI agents posing as Amish.

At the store Mulder insisted on joining Scully as she purchased the test and received looks of interest from the pharmacist and his assistant behind the counter. Not many Amish, he assumed, bought home pregnancy tests.

On the street people took pictures of them and gawked at them as they loaded themselves back into the buggy.

“It’s like a circus,” Scully muttered under her breath as Mulder hopped up next to her.

“You can see why they don’t think much of us English,” Mulder said as he started the buggy and they escaped back to the Fisher farm.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder sat on the sofa in the parlour with Abram waiting for the news. Scully’s sullen face when she entered the room told them both all they needed to know. Fannie was pregnant as a result of her sexual assault almost ten weeks ago. She was now an unmarried Amish woman who was over two months pregnant and she had run away from home. The sound of a buggy pulling into their driveway caused all three people to look toward the front window. John and Hannah Miller had stopped in front of the house.

Abram rose to greet them at the front door.

“She’s here,” Abram said to the couple as they got out of the buggy.

“Thank Gott,” Hannah said as she walked up the stairs.

“She’s upstairs with Ruth,” Abram said as he placed a hand on her shoulder.

John walked into the parlour and seemed surprised to find Miriam sitting on the sofa. He immediately looked uncomfortable and started to shift his feet.

“Miriam, can you get us some coffee?” Mulder asked her as he placed a hand on her arm.

She nodded towards him and exited the room, knowing John wanted privacy.

“She says she’s with child,” John said as he wiped his forehead and paced the room. “With child and unmarried.”

“John, you know she wouldn’t do that of her own free will,” Abram said as he gestured toward the chair. “It was when she was forced in the barn.”

“She must have…she must have been willing if she’s now pregnant, women can’t…if they are forced.” John stammered.

“I don’t think her will had much to do with it,” Mulder interrupted. “Women either get pregnant or they don’t. It…it has nothing to do with whether she agreed.”

“How would you know?” John snapped.

“John, now is not the time…” Abram cautioned him. “You know she wouldn’t run around so the only way…was in the barn.”

“She won’t say who it was…there’s no one to take responsibility,” John muttered.

“She can’t marry the man,” Abram said, stunned.

“Sometimes a boy gets carried away,” John explained. “It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a good husband to her.”

“You want her to marry the man who did this to her?” Mulder asked, dumbfounded.

“He has responsibilities,” John said matter-of-factly. “And if she won’t say who it is…she can’t stay here and have that…that bastard child.”

“That poor child has been hurt, taken advantage of…” Abram muttered with teary eyes as he pointed upstairs to Fannie’s room. “You can’t possibly blame her for…for this!”

“It was her body,” John said, determined. “She should have fought harder, she should have prayed more, maybe god thought she needed to be punished for…for something.”

“You need to leave, John,” Abram said as he walked to the door and opened it.

Mulder wanted to grab him by the collar and throw him out himself but decided to let Abram deal with his own family. Fighting was a very un-Amish way to behave.

“Abram, she will do as I expect,” John said as he reached the door. “I am her father.”

“And you can walk away from that right now,” Abram said softly. “I will take responsibility for her and the child.”

“It doesn’t work that way and you know it,” John said, shocked.

“Then, it needs to,” Abram said as he turned his back and walked away from the door.

“Talk some sense into him,” John implored Mulder. “You know how this works.”

“Hannah!” John called loudly from the door. “Time to go!”

With that, he walked out the door and to their buggy. Hannah scurried downstairs moments later and shut the door behind her. Mulder stood in the living room aghast at what had just happened before his eyes. When Scully entered from the kitchen, all she saw was his upset expression.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder walked toward the house after another long day at work in the fields with Abram and the workers. He could tell the older man was quite distracted throughout the day because he kept forgetting to do simple things. Abram forgot to call the men in for lunch for almost an hour after the usual time and everyone was starving by the time they reached Scully’s table. In the afternoon, he forgot to send a man to get more gas for the generator and they were out of juice by suppertime, when another farm hand needed to make an emergency trip.

As he walked toward the house he could think of nothing more than his soft bed. Then, it occurred to him that his soft bed was now occupied by a young woman who desperately needed her grandparents. To keep up the ruse, he should sleep with Scully, but Ruth and Abram wouldn’t like that at all. Mulder would have to talk with Abram when he got the chance.

Scully greeted him at the back door and he followed her eyes as they rested on Fannie sitting at the kitchen table cutting tomatoes for a salad.

“Hi Fannie,” Mulder said as he took off his straw hat.

“Hi Mr. Toyler,” Fannie said without raising her eyes to him.

“Just call me Samuel,” Mulder said as he put his hat on the rack. “If you are going to be staying here, Samuel is much easier.”

“Fine, Samuel,” Fannie said as she continued to chop.

“Are you hungry?” Scully asked him as she placed a hand on his chest.

“Starving,” he smiled down at her. “Is supper almost ready?”

“There’s a bath waiting for you upstairs,” she said as she patted his chest. “Get cleaned up quick and come down to eat.”

“Thanks,” Mulder sighed as he walked past her. She watched as his walk seemed to drag; he wasn’t as sprightly as he used to be. Hard farm labour was taking its toll on him and it was starting to show. She noticed the patch of red on the back of his neck that seemed to get brighter with each day. She would have to help him with that.

“You are very lucky,” Fannie said from her spot at the table. “He looks at you with such love.”

Scully cleared her throat and didn’t respond.

“I’m sorry,” Fannie apologized. “I had no right to…”

“No, it’s fine,” Scully said looking at the young girl. “I’m just not used to someone being so frank.”

“Oh,” Fannie muttered.

“But I like it with you Fannie. I feel like I can be myself with you.” Scully smiled at her.

“Who else would you be?” Fannie asked.

“No one,” Scully answered as she stirred the soup on the stove.

Within a half an hour Ruth, Abram, and Mulder had joined them in the kitchen for supper. There was a weariness about everyone that could not be masked. That, coupled with the worry over Fannie’s child, made for a quiet and introspective supper. After dinner Ruth helped Scully with the dishes and shooed Fannie out of the kitchen saying she needed her rest.

“Fannie seems happy here,” Scully noted as Ruth handed her a glass.

“If John has his way, she’ll go to school with the English and give her baby up for adoption,” Ruth said as she grabbed another glass.

“What does Fannie want?” Scully asked.

“I don’t think she wants anything but to not be in the barn that night,” Ruth said as she shook her head.

“Did she say anything about her attacker?” Scully asked.

“No,” Ruth said absently as she starred off into space. “We’ll have to deliver the pies tomorrow.”

“Uh, sure,” Scully said as she noticed the woman’s attention wane.

They continued to do dishes in silence.

After the dishes were done Scully and Ruth made their way into the living room and sat with Mulder and Abram.

“Do you know how to sew?” Ruth asked Scully as she took up a basket.

“No,” Scully replied.

“Knit?” Ruth asked.

“No,” Scully said softly. “I wasn’t ever taught.”

“Would you like to learn?” Ruth asked.

“I would,” Scully said softly.

“Good, because if you are here for a couple more weeks he’ll need some repairs to his clothes,” Ruth said nodding toward Mulder who was reading in the corner. “I will show you when Fannie isn’t around.”

“Hopefully we can meet more people in the community and find who is assaulting these women before it comes to that.” Scully smiled at her.

“I wanted to talk with you two about Fannie staying with us,” Abram said as he lowered the paper.

Mulder sat up a little straighter and felt as if he was about to be scolded.

“With Fannie in the other bedroom, you two are going to have to share if you want her to believe you are married,” Abram began.

“Abram, they can’t,” Ruth whispered. “They’re not married.”

Everyone looked toward the staircase and noted that the bath was running and Fannie wouldn’t be able to hear their conversation. “I realize that Ruth, but circumstances being what they are…we have no other choice.”

“He could sleep on the sofa and get up before everyone else,” Ruth offered.

“Abram, Ruth…Miriam and I are just…” Mulder started.

“It’s settled,” Abram said in a strong voice. He then picked up his newspaper and started to read it again.

Ruth sat for a moment starring at his paper; she was clearly upset with his decision.

Scully and Mulder both sat and waited to see if she

would say or do anything more to voice her opinion. She put down her basket and started to walk from the room.

“Good night,” she said, and then she climbed the stairs to her bedroom.

“She’ll be fine,” Abram said from behind his newspaper. “You English do things differently than us, I’m sure you’ll manage.”

“We will, thank you,” Scully said back to him.

An hour later Abram was mounting the stairs to his room and wishing them a pleasant sleep.

“Maybe Ruth would feel better if I slept on the floor,” Mulder said as he turned off a light.

“After all the work you do?” Scully said as she picked up her shawl. “You need a good night’s sleep and, no matter what ideas Ruth may have about us…we are just going to sleep.”

“Party pooper,” Mulder said as he followed her up the stairs.

He and Scully got changed under cover of darkness and climbed into bed next to each other. Mulder shifted and the springs creaked underneath them. He shifted again and more springs creaked. The noise wasn’t loud but it seemed that way in the quiet house.

“Stop moving around,” Scully hissed. “Or Ruth will not be able to sleep thinking you’re stealing my virginity.”

“It’s still available?” Mulder asked with a leer.

“Good night, Mulder,” she said with a groan.

“It’s a legitimate question after you brought it up and all,” he said shifting onto his side to face her. The bed creaked again beneath him.

“Good night John boy,” she said as she starred at the ceiling.

Mulder bounced his hip up and down on the bed making the springs squeak in a rhythmic pattern.

“Mulder, stop!” Scully snapped at him in a whisper.

“Are you going to answer the question?” He asked ready to start the bouncing again if she gave the wrong answer.

“Of course it’s not up for grabs you fool,” she whispered as she swatted at him.

“There, was that so hard?” He said as she rolled onto his back again.

“If you are going to be like this, you may just end up on the floor,” she said as she giggled.

“Come on, you love it,” he said with a chuckle.

“Goodnight, Mulder,” she said with a yawn.

The two agents fell asleep rather quickly and when four am came and Abram knocked on their door, Mulder found himself cuddled up to Scully who was drooling on his arm. He carefully pulled away from her and got dressed for the day.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully sat on the bench at the back of a wagon bumping along the various dirt roads in their farming community. It was a warm day already at 10 am and Scully absently wondered how Mulder was doing in the fields. At breakfast she had taken some time while he was eating to pin a handkerchief to the inside of his straw hat so that it fell over the back of his neck while he was working; she wanted to circumvent further sun damage. He seemed touched by the action and, much to Ruth’s chagrin, gave her a hug before he left to go back to work.

“We don’t do that in public,” Ruth had said to her as they cleared the table. “Plain people keep those things in their bedrooms.”

Scully had not responded to her, thinking it was ridiculous that a husband and wife could not hug in public, but knowing she was in a very different world right now.

They had visited Mrs. Hilty, an older woman who lived by herself with a lot of support from her neighbours. She and her husband had not been ‘blessed’ with children so the community took care of her in her old age. Scully was sure she was not the rapist.

They had also visited the Zook family and, although Scully had only spent a few minutes in the company of Mr. Zook she didn’t think he fit Mulder’s profile, nor did she get any sort of odd feeling about him.

Ruth thought it was preposterous that anyone from their community could be doing this; she thought it had to be an English coming into their community and bringing this horrible behaviour. But, Mulder’s profile was clear; it was someone from this close-knit community who had assaulted six women in the last year. Two of the women were married, three were engaged and one was neither. Fannie had been the last women who had reported an assault. Mulder also thought there had been more women, they just hadn’t reported the assault to anyone for fear of how the community would look at them. He estimated there were at least 3 more women, if not more, who had kept their assault a secret.

“This is the Lapp farm; the woman’s name is Katie” Ruth said as she turned to look at Scully. “After this we need to go home and prepare lunch for the men.”

Scully nodded her head in acknowledgement and tucked a lose

strand of brown hair behind her ear. She absently wondered if she should keep her hair brown for a while, change things up. Mulder hadn’t said anything about her colour change except that she would fit in better that way.

The buggy came to a halt in front of the house and Scully stretched her back before rising to allow Willis, Fannie’s fifteen year old brother, help her get down. Fannie had asked to stay home today, citing general unhappiness as her reason for not coming. Ruth had tried to insist that it would help her mood to visit others, but Fannie said she would just upset everyone. Scully weighed her options and felt Fannie would not divulge much more but visiting people in the community might turn up some information they could use in their investigation.

Scully was fixing her skirts when she heard the pleasant voice of another woman.

“Ruth, I heard you were making your pies,” the woman said cheerily.

“Yes, and I have a couple for you, Katie” Ruth smiled back as she walked toward the woman and handed her one pie. Scully reached into the wagon and grabbed a second before she approached.

“You must be Miriam,” Katie smiled at Scully. “I’ve heard a lot about your husband from my young Isaac.”

Scully just nodded her head and bowed her eyes.

“Come on and get out that sun,” she said to Scully with an outstretched arm. “Your cheeks are already getting pink.”

“So Isaac has been talking about Samuel?” Ruth asked as she stepped inside.

“It’s like he’s never met anyone new before!” Katie laughed

as she walked them into her plain living room. Katie carried the pie in her hands to the kitchen and Scully followed her with the second one. The placed them on the counter and returned to the living room.

“According to Isaac,” Katie continued as Scully followed her back into the living room, “Samuel is a very good worker and he told nice Bible stories to Isaac while they were in the fields. Isaac said, he said them word-for-word like he was reading them, but in his head. He said working with Samuel made the day go by so quickly he was surprised when it was done.”

“Samuel knows his Bible very well,” Scully said softly as her mind reeled about how Mulder knew stories from it so well.

“Well, we are all happy he is helping Abram, but Isaac is also happy to have a new friend,” Katie said as she took a seat.

Scully went and sat next to Ruth on the couch. The room was plain but had more touches of colour than Ruth’s house. A sunflower pillow here and a pink lamp there made the room seem brighter somehow. She wondered it the happiness came from Katie’s jovial personality as well. Up until now, all the Amish women Scully had met had seemed so sombre; Katie was the first woman who seemed truly happy.

“I hope all this work is not too taxing on Samuel,” Katie said. “I heard he was quite sick for a number of years.”

“Yes, he was,” Scully said as she prepared for the story she knew she was expected to give. “But he had an operation and he’s better now.”

“An operation?” Katie asked, intrigued.

“He had a tumour in his brain and that made him have ‘fits’ for many years. Everyone thought it was just how he was, and then…then we discovered it was something else, something that could be fixed.”

“So he doesn’t have fits anymore?” Katie asked.

“Not for two years,” Scully smiled at Katie. “As soon as he was better from the operation we prepared to marry.”

“You waited all those years? How could you be sure he’d be better?”

“I wasn’t,” Scully said to her lap more than to anyone else. “He wouldn’t marry as long as he was sick. He wanted to provide for his family and not be a burden to them. So, I waited for seven years, and he tried to get me to marry another.”

Katie touched her chest and Scully knew that she was taken with her story.

“But I only wanted to marry Samuel and if I couldn’t…” Scully paused to seemingly collect her thoughts. “So he talked with some English doctors and they did some tests and they found out they could fix it.”

“He let the English fix the fits?” Katie asked, intrigued by the story.

“He said if I was going to insist on marrying him, he was going to have to do whatever it took to make sure that happened,” Scully smiled to herself.

“Ruth, did you hear that?” Katie swooned.

“I am glad the English made him well,” Ruth replied as she sat uncomfortably next to Scully.

“And you married in November?” Katie asked as her eyes fell onto Scully’s thin body.

“We lost one in the spring,” Scully explained with her eyes downcast and teary as she thought of Emily, who she lost a year and a half ago, “A girl.”

“God will bless you with healthy children,” Katie smiled at Scully.

The room fell into silence for a minute before Katie rose from her seat. “Let me get everyone some tea.”

Ruth rose to help but Scully placed a hand on her arm.

“I’ll help,” she said softly.

She followed Katie into her kitchen and immediately started to fill the kettle as Katie got out some tea cups.

“We need to have you and Samuel over for dinner this week,” Katie said as she turned to face Scully. “Isaac will be happy with that.”

“We don’t want to burden…” Scully began.

“Nonsense,” Katie said as she put a tea bag in a pot. “How about Saturday?”

“I will check with Ruth, but…”

“They will come too,” Katie said as if it was a given.

“Okay, that sounds wonderful,” Scully smiled at her.

The next hour flew past with Katie telling stories of times in their youth when she and Ruth got into trouble. Ruth seemed more and more embarrassed with each story and almost jumped at the chance to leave when she realized they had to get back to make lunch.

Once they got home Ruth and Scully set to work, quickly making lunches for the men, who would be back at the house expecting to eat in a half hour.

“You have lost a child,” Ruth said to Scully as she cut the bread for the sandwiches.

“My daughter, Emily,” Scully said once the initial shock of Ruth’s question wore off. “It will be two years this Christmas.”

“How old was she when she died?” Ruth asked as she continued to cut.

“Four,” Scully said softly, unsure of where this line of conversation was going.

“My son was twenty,” Ruth said. “There were six other babies, some weren’t alive when they were born…others only lived a short while.”

“I’m so sorry, Ruth,” Scully said turning to face the women as she worked.

“That’s why we only had the two…we wanted more, but God must have thought we had enough loss.”

Scully didn’t know what to say to comfort the woman. She had lost six babies and her son, now her relationship with her only daughter could be falling apart.

“I have the pickled beans,” Fannie interrupted her train of thought as she entered the kitchen.

“Miriam will help you set the table while I finish in here,” Ruth said as she continued to cut the bread that would go along with the vegetable soup they had made yesterday.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder’s ears had been peaked for the last forty minutes as he waited for the lunch pot to bang calling all the men in from their work. He was hungry but he also hoped to get Scully alone for a minute and talk with her about someone he met that he wanted to make their first suspect.

Isaac Lapp had taken to Mulder from the moment they met.

At first Mulder thought it was the intrigue of being a

stranger in this small community; the twenty year old probably had little excitement in his life. Then, later this morning, Mulder had discovered the real reason for Isaac’s friendship; his older brother was an asshole.

Isaac had been working on Abram’s farm for five years. The Lapp family were the butchers of the community and with no shortage of boys, 6 in all, there was very little work left when Isaac came of age. So, he got a job with Abram and seemed to be happy with the arrangement.

Mulder quite liked the young man. He was very innocent but interested in the world around them. He readily asked questions Mulder wouldn’t expect an Amish boy to ask and seemed extremely bright for his age. Mulder thought it was too bad he stopped his education at

fourteen, like most Amish boys, because he was probably smart enough to go to college.

He had asked Mulder questions incessantly for the first day. Had he ever ridden in a car? Did he want a large family one day? How had he proposed to Miriam? Did he ever want to be anything but a farmer?

Mulder had answered his questions with good Amish answers. No, he had not ridden in a car but his best friend had and said it was scary how fast they went. Yes, he wanted a large family but he also didn’t want Miriam taxed with too many children to handle so he would let her decide when they stopped. He proposed to Miriam one evening as the sun was setting and they were walking by a river near her parent’s house. No, he didn’t want to be anything but a farmer and he couldn’t imagine any other life for himself.

After one day of non-stop questions Mulder had decided it would be easier to tell him some Bible stories he had memorized then constantly think of good Amish answers instead of the ones he wanted to say. Yes, he drove a car all the time and part of him missed it. No, he didn’t want a large family, or maybe any kids at all. He had proposed to Scully once over the phone as a joke but thought that if he tried something like that again, he’d want it to be serious and well-thought out. Yes, although being a farmer for a while was an interesting idea, he would be excited to put on a suit and wear a gun again.

He was in the middle of another Bible story about stealing when Jacob Lapp seemed to pop up from nowhere.

“So, much talking…are you getting any work done?” He asked sternly as he rounded the corner of the barn.

“We’re working,” Isaac bristled. “Samuel, this is my brother Jacob.”

“Nice to meet you,” Mulder said as he extended a hand.

Jacob gripped his hand with sheer brute force and shook it to the point where Mulder winced in pain.

“You don’t have enough calluses to be a farmer,” Jacob said as he released his hand.

“There’s a farm in Norwalk that says otherwise,” Mulder smiled at the man, immediately disliking him.

“You and your wife staying for long?” Jacob asked.

“As long as Abram needs us,” Mulder said as he straightened to tower over Jacob. “We hope not into the winter though.”

“Once harvest is done Abram will be fine with my soft brother,” Jacob said as he punched Isaac hard in the shoulder.

“Owww,” Isaac said as he rubbed his shoulder.

“Mom needs you to bring home some beans for her salad tonight, and some more milk,” Jacob said looking over at Isaac who was tinkering with a piece of farming equipment.Isaac just nodded his head.

“Did you hear me?” Jacob asked as he smacked Isaac upside the head.

“I did, I did,” Isaac said as he held the side of his head.

“Isaac, if you don’t look at me…how do I know you hear me?” Jacob said with a snap to his words.

“I’ll bring the beans and the milk,” Isaac said as he looked straight at his brother.

“Good,” Jacob said as he adjusted his suspenders. “I gotta get back to slaughtering a pig…real man’s work.”

Mulder noted the way he directed that at Jacob.

“Good day Samuel,” Jacob said as he turned to walk away. Mulder nodded to his back.

“He always that pleasant?” Mulder asked when Jacob was far enough away.

“This is a good day,” Isaac said shyly as he walked toward his tool belt.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Someone had finally called them in for lunch and Mulder couldn’t reach the house quick enough. His eyes caught Scully’s as soon as he reached the yard, and, as was the case over their years of being partners, she read in his eyes exactly what she needed to do. He went into the barn and grabbed a clean shirt, but instead of changing there walked with the clean shirt to the side of the Fisher’s main house. Scully tracked him and, instead of putting out more lemonade, walked around to the other side of the house to meet up with him.

“We have to check out Jacob Lapp,” Mulder said quietly as he walked up to her on the porch.

“I was just at the Lapp farm today. I met Katie Lapp and she seemed very nice. Is he her husband or…?”

“A son,” Mulder said as he unbuttoned his dirty shirt. “He’s Isaac’s older brother and he’s a real piece of work.”

“That doesn’t make him our suspect,” Scully whispered as she looked around to make sure no one was near.

“He’s an alpha male with homophobic language,” Mulder said as he took off his shirt and threw it over the railing.

“We’re invited to the Lapp’s for dinner on Saturday,” Scully said as she watched him reach for his old shirt and attempt to towel off the sweat on his chest a little before donning the clean shirt. “It will give us a chance to get to know them better.”

“So there was nothing about…” Mulder stopped mid sentence when he heard a floorboard creak on the porch. He heard another, and then another and realized someone was walking right towards them.

He grabbed Scully by the shoulders and pulled her into a passionate kiss. His reasoning behind the action was that, although Amish people don’t generally kiss like that on porches, it would be less suspicious then a husband and wife meeting in secret to talk. If it was Ruth or Abram they would explain, if it wasn’t, it would protect their cover.

Scully, although initially shocked by his action, returned the kiss and placed her hands on his bare chest which turned him on even more and caused him to pull her even closer to him.

“Oh, sorry,” Fannie said as she rounded the corner and caught the couple in the act.

“Fannie, oh no,” Scully said pulling away from Mulder and blushing.

“I’ll go,” Fannie said as her face turned six shades of red.

“Fannie, we didn’t know…” Scully started to explain.

Fannie practically ran down the steps. When she was out of sight Scully turned to see a grinning Mulder.

“Protecting our cover, were you?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

“All in the interest of solving the case,” he said as he reached for his clean shirt and put it on.

“I wish it wasn’t Fannie,” Scully said as she looked around the porch corner at the larger group.

“I’m just glad she didn’t hear our conversation,” Mulder said as he did up his buttons. “She was walking too quickly towards us to do anything else.”

“We can’t meet like this again,” she said as she continued to watch the men take their seats.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Mulder said as he walked up closely behind her and placed his hands on her waist. “This meeting kind of enhances a somewhat tiresome work schedule.”

“Samuel,” she said as she stepped free from him. “I have to get back to work, and so do you.”

Scully walked away from him and when Mulder looked around the corner he saw Ruth standing on the stairs waiting for him to emerge. She shook her head and walked into the house.

Mulder put on his straw hat, grabbed his dirty shirt, and walked toward the table where everyone was assembled. Lunch went on as usual with Scully, Ruth and Fannie tending to the needs of the men. Filling plates, glasses, cutting more bread, and getting more soup for them as needed. Mulder did notice that Fannie seemed to steer clear of him, as did Ruth. It was up to Scully to heap more food onto his plate and put more lemonade in his glass. He always felt awkward about this situation but knew that he couldn’t do anything about the roles they needed to play.

After lunch Mulder changed his shirt in the barn with the other men and went back to work in the fields leaving Scully behind to deal with both Fannie and Ruth.

✦ ⸎ ✦

She was shaking the table cloth out with little luck when Fannie came up and grabbed the other side. The shook the table cloth together and then the two women folded it.

“Fannie, about earlier…” Scully started.

Fannie waved a dismissive hand at her. “He is your husband and you are his wife.”

“But I want you to understand that we don’t normally act like that around each other, outside, where others could walk in on us.”

Fannie just nodded her head and said nothing.

“We’ve only been married nine months and we waited so long to get married that…sometimes…”

“You are new to each other still,” Fannie said matter-of- factly.

“Yes,” Scully sighed, relieved Fannie knew what she was trying to explain.

“It would be nice to be such a shiny penny for someone that they couldn’t stand being away from you,” Fannie said wistfully.

“Fannie, you will be…”

“No, I won’t,” Fannie said as she tugged at the edge of the table cloth she was holding. “Everyone knows I am not so shiny, and when this baby comes…I will be with the English.”

“You don’t have to be, you could…”

“Move to another community? No. My family is here, and people in a new community will still know, we always do. Maybe my family will take me back if I repent for…”

“You were forced,” Scully said softly as she held Fannie’s shoulders. “It wasn’t your fault, you didn’t do anything to deserve…”

“God thought I did,” Fannie said as she looked into Scully’s eyes.

“I don’t think God had anything to do with this,” Scully said softly. “He would not want you harmed. Fannie, the man who did this to you is the only one responsible for what happened and if you say who he…”

“I don’t know!” Fannie cried. “I don’t know!”

“Okay, okay,” Scully said as she looked at the pain in the girl’s eyes. She pulled Fannie toward her and said soothing words of comfort. “It’s going to be alright.”

She didn’t believe the words as they passed her lips but she knew she had to say something to her; something that, even if a lie, could make things better in the moment.

✦ ⸎ ✦

The rest of the week went by without incident. Mulder worked with the men in the fields hearing more and more about Jacob Lapp that he didn’t like, and Scully worked in the house with Ruth and Fannie cooking, cleaning, sewing and washing. Scully had visited several other farm families to deliver pies and had not come across anyone else suspicious. Mulder was going to deliver the milk with Isaac next week and hoped to meet more people in their community that way. Tomorrow was Sunday and they would be introduced to the community and have a chance to socialize. It was a perfect opportunity to check everyone out.

Each night, after a hard days work, Mulder crawled wearily into bed next to Scully; they both fell asleep quickly and each morning he found himself more and more entangled with her when he woke. It started out with simple cuddling, then one morning he found her almost lying completely on top of him, then another morning her hand was under his shirt and on his bare chest, finally on Saturday morning he had woke up with a huge erection and his hand on her breast outside her nightgown. Things had been changing rapidly between them over the course of a week and it didn’t just involve their sleeping arrangements.

He found himself, without the distractions of the modern world, noticing more about her. He had always thought she was a beautiful woman but since coming to the farm, he had noticed a kind of natural beauty about her movements. She was graceful in everything she did, whether it was rolling out a pie crust, pouring lemonade or learning to cross stitch. She attacked everything with intensity but her movements were always slow and graceful. She looked at him differently as well, and did small things to make his life easier. Whether it was pinning a handkerchief to the inside of his hat to protect his neck, or placing a small helping of green beans on his plate because she knew he didn’t like them; she was always looking out for him. She made a great wife, by Amish standards, and he tried to tell her that without seeming patronizing.

He crept into their bedroom and tried to grab a clean shirt from the drawer as quietly as possible.

“What are you doing?” She groaned as she rolled over to look at him.

“Just getting a shirt,” he whispered. “Go back to sleep.”

“Wait,” she said as she sat upright in bed. “What time is it?”

“It’s just after eight but…” he started to tell her.

“I’ve gotta help Ruth with breakfast,” she said in a flurry as the blankets were thrown off and she jumped from bed. “Why didn’t someone wake me?”

He walked over to her and held her by the shoulders. “Scully, its Saturday…the cows are milked and there are no other chores today. Abram and Ruth have left with Fannie to visit her parents.”

“I didn’t make breakfast,” she said wiping sleep from her eyes and still not understanding what he was saying.

“Ruth made breakfast for them and I asked that you sleep in. I said I’d eat with you.” Mulder clarified.

“What do you want for breakfast?” She asked as she stifled a yawn.

“I’ll make something for myself later, right now I just wanted to get some clean clothes and have a bath before I crawled back in that bed and went back to sleep.”

“When are they coming back?” Scully asked as she looked longingly at the bed.

“Not until the afternoon, I think,” Mulder said with a smirk. “We can get a few hours in if I hurry.”

“Mulder, I’ll get up and leave you the bed, I’m sure you want to…”

“Do what you like Scully, but it’s big enough for two and I don’t mind sharing,” he said as he grabbed an undershirt and underpants and walked from the room.

She stood for moment thinking about what she should do and what she’d like to do. She should get cleaned up and surprise Ruth with homemade cookies but the five am wake up calls were taking their toll on her…

Scully walked back toward the bed and got in on the left side. She pulled the quilt over her body and snuggled into the pillow. She sighed contentedly and fell asleep. When Mulder walked in twenty minutes later she was fast asleep. He crawled carefully into his side of the bed and, he too, fell asleep within seconds.

When Scully woke a few hours later, it was the sound of horse’s hooves in the lane that caused her to stir. She pulled Mulder’s hand away from her waist and got out of bed to look out the window. A man in his early twenties was pulling up in front of the Fisher house and unloading some things wrapped in paper. Scully pulled on her bathrobe and scurried downstairs.

“I’m Miriam Troyler,” she said as she exited the house.

The young man turned and was surprised to see a woman dressed in her bathrobe at noon hour. Her head did not have a bonnet on it and her brown hair was stirring in the wind around her.

“I’m Jacob Lapp,” he said jumping from the back of the buggy. “I’m delivering some meat to the Fisher’s.”

“Oh, Ruth didn’t mention you’d be dropping by,” Scully said as her ears perked at the man’s name.

“They probably thought you’d bring it home after supper but I was in the area and…are you sick?”

It was then that Scully noticed she was standing very un-Amish like in her bathrobe with her hair askew.

“Yes,” she smiled at Jacob. “I’ve been in bed all morning with an upset stomach.”

“I hope you are still going to make supper,” Jacob smiled nicely at her.

“I hope so too,” Miriam said as she returned his smile. “Let me help you with…”

“If you’ll just get the door, I can do the rest,” Jacob said confidently.

He hoisted a leg, possibly one belonging to a lamb, over his shoulder and walked behind Scully up the stairs. She opened the door and he walked straight back toward the kitchen, obviously familiar with the Fisher house.

“They left you all alone?” Jacob asked as he put the meat wrapped in paper down on the counter. There was something about the way he said it that sent a chill down her spine.

“I, uh…” Scully stammered.

“Hello again, Jacob,” Mulder suddenly said behind her. She turned to see him buttoning up his shirt and pulling up his suspenders.

“I see you’re home too,” Jacob said to Mulder.

“I was taking the opportunity to have a nap,” Mulder said as he put

a hand on Scully’s shoulder.

She immediately began to blush and looked at the floor.

“I’ll…I’ll get out of your way then,” Jacob said as he was confronted with the knowledge that he had interrupted the couple in bed. “You’ll get that into cold storage?”

“We’ll take care of it,” Mulder said as he turned to face Jacob.

“Thanks for delivering.”

“You’re welcome,” Jacob said as he looked Mulder right in the eye “I’ll see you at supper.”

“We’ll be there,” Mulder said confidently.

Jacob walked briskly from the house and his wagon was off and down the dirt driveway quickly.

“I don’t like him,” Scully said as she watched his wagon disappear from the kitchen window.

“Neither do I, but that doesn’t make him our rapist,” Mulder said as he came up behind her to look out the window as well.

She turned to face him, “a little male posturing?”

“Who me?” Mulder smiled down at her.

“Yes, you. I thought you were still asleep.”

“I noticed a familiar warmth missing,” he said as he looked down at her.

“Speaking of that familiar warmth, I think maybe we should put some pillows down the middle of the bed, if Ruth or Abram were to walk in they would get the wrong idea.”

“You mean when you climb on top of me while you sleep?” Mulder asked with a grin.

“I never!” Scully said shocked.

“You do, and I wake up to find you in some very interesting positions in the morning,” he smiled again at her.

“Now you’re just trying to get me riled,” she said as she walked away from him.

“Tomorrow morning I’ll wake you up the second my eyes open, I won’t move a thing and you tell me things aren’t awfully cosy in that bed,” he said as he grabbed an apple off the table.

“I think you will find Mulder,” she said as she took out some eggs, “that it is you, not me, that is…”

“What’s the bet?” Mulder asked.

“What do you mean, what’s the bet?” She asked.

“What do I get if I’m right?” He asked.

“What do you want?” She asked as she crossed her hands over her chest.

“That’s a dangerous question to ask, Scully,” he leered.


“Swimming. You and I go swimming tomorrow at a small lake on the edge of the Fisher’s farm.”

“I don’t have a suit, Amish women don’t swim,” she said haughtily.

“Wear your underwear if you like, but I could use a nice cool swim,” he said as he took another bite.

“My underwear is all white cotton and when it gets wet…I might as well not wear anything,” she said.

“Do whatever you like Scully, wear the underpants or nothing. I promise not to look.” he smiled.

She stopped and considered the bet.

“What do I get?” She asked.

“What do you want?”

“A foot rub every night for a week, no matter how tired you are when we go to bed,” she said with a smile.

“Deal,” he said as he stretched out a hand.

“Deal,” she said as she took it.

“I better get this big hunk of meat in their cold house before it rots,” he said as he lifted the leg over his shoulder.

“I’ll make us some eggs,” she said as she got out a frying pan.

Mulder walked to the cold house thinking that either way, he won the bet.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Fannie sat knitting nervously in the living room. The visit with her parents had, apparently, not gone well. Scully got only a few details from Ruth but, in essence, John had expected Fannie would say who her attacker was so he could approach the young man’s family about marriage. A very un-Amish-like argument had ensued between Abram and John that caused both Fannie and Hannah to cry and they had left early. The Fishers had arrived back at the farm just after Jacob Lapp had made his exit.

Now Scully and Fannie sat with Ruth in the living room waiting for Mulder and Abram to return after closing up the barn for the night. They were going to the Lapps for supper so the Fishers could visit with their neighbours and Scully and Mulder could investigate Jacob Lapp. It was a great opportunity for Mulder to see if he fit the profile he had developed for the case.

“Let’s go,” Abram said as he walked through the back door followed by Mulder.

All of the Fishers seemed to be in a bad mood this evening and Scully hoped that they would be able to keep Fannie with them and not return her to her parents. So far, Fannie had either refused, or been unable, to identify her attacker. The idea of forcing the young girl to marry her attacker sickened Scully to the point she could not think about it without getting angry and upset.

“I won’t be coming with you,” Fannie said softly as she continued to knit.

“You are,” Ruth said sternly to her. “We can’t have people talking…not with the way things are.”

“I won’t be good company tonight and I don’t feel well,” Fannie said softly.

“Is it your stomach?” Ruth asked as her concern grew.

“It’s everything,” Fannie said as a tear streaked down her cheek.

“With what you’ve been through,” Scully said as she leaned forward and placed a hand on Fannie’s knee. “It’s completely understandable.”

Everyone was quiet for a minute, wondering what was going to happen.

“I don’t want you staying by yourself,” Abram said from the doorway.

“I’ll stay with her,” Ruth said.

“I don’t know if you should stay home without a man in the house,” Abram amended.

“We’ll be fine,” Ruth said facing her husband. “We’ll lock the doors and only open them for you.”

“Maybe we should cancel with the Lapps,” Scully offered as she saw Mulder’s face fall. As much as he wouldn’t want anyone upset, he also wanted to speak with Jacob Lapp a little more.

“No,” Abram said. “I’ll go with you to their house…it won’t be a late night.”

“We won’t be long,” Mulder assured them as he gestured for Scully to join him.

Abram, Mulder and Scully made their way by buggy to the Lapp farm down the road. It wasn’t far away but because they were returning after dark, a buggy was necessary.

“The Lapps have a large family,” Abram began as they bumped down the road. “They have six sons; four of them are married with their own farms. I don’t know if any of those families will be joining us tonight.”

“So, it could be quite the party,” Mulder said.

“It could be a lot of people at supper,” Abram said to him in all seriousness.

“Abram, what do you know of the Lapps?” Scully leaned forward and asked.

“They butcher good meat and their youngest Isaac is a good worker, I like him a lot.”

“What about Jacob?” Mulder asked.

“I don’t know him so well…he doesn’t seem like a very happy man and then there have been the cancelled engagements…”

“Cancelled engagements?” Scully asked.

“He has been engaged twice and both times it was called off by the bride.”

“What happened to the girls?” Scully asked.

“One married his older brother, Luke, instead. The other girl has not married another since.” Abram said.

“Does that happen often in this community?” Mulder inquired.

“There have been times where the bride and groom have decided against marriage for various reasons but…”

“What reasons?” Mulder interrupted.

“We don’t really talk about such things,” Abram said


“But, there are reasons, yes?” Mulder pushed forward.

“Maybe they don’t get along as well as they should, or maybe there are too many problems between the families, or maybe they have not been honest and love another,” Abram offered. “Plain people marry for life…not like the English.”

“You know Abram, not all English divorce,” Mulder said as he sat back.

“Isn’t the English average fifty percent?” Abram said in a self-satisfied way.

“Actually I think it’s more than fifty percent now,” Scully smiled over at him.

“Thank you, Miriam,” Abram smiled back at her.

Mulder sat between the two of them, silent.

When they arrived to the Lapp farm there was a buggy in the driveway.

“One of the other boys must be joining us,” Abram explained as Mulder helped Scully from the buggy.

“Hello and welcome!” A man called from the top of the staircase.

“Mark Lapp,” Abram smiled at the man. “This is my nephew Samuel Troyler and his wife Miriam.”

“We were so glad you could come,” he smiled at them.

Scully noticed that he seemed to share his wife’s exuberance for life and she was happy the evening would not be sombre. She was starting to feel quite melancholy herself and needed a little more sunshine around her.

Mulder climbed the stairs and shook Mark’s hand, Scully just nodded at him and let her eyes fall to the ground.

“Isaac has spoken about you,” Mark said as he looked at Mulder. “He’s quite taken with you.”

“He’s a great young man,” Mulder smiled at him.

“Come in Miriam,” Mark gestured toward the house. “Is Ruth not…?”

“She’s not well tonight,” Abram said succinctly.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear,” Mark said as he followed them inside.

Katie and Isaac greeted them happily and introduced them to Luke and his wife Martha. Both Mulder and Scully were disappointed that Jacob didn’t seem to be joining them as he was the primary reason they had come over.

They sat and talked for a while and Mulder found both Katie, Mark and Luke to be friendly and open; hiding nothing as they spoke. He understood where Isaac got his open and friendly nature. It made it more difficult to understand how Jacob was such an asshole though. It didn’t fit his profile. Martha on the other hand, seemed reclusive and quiet, which was not strange among Amish women so it wasn’t noteworthy.

“Sorry, I’m late,” Jacob called from the kitchen.

Mulder and Scully exchanged looks; the night was not a waste of time after all.

“Now, we can eat,” Katie said standing.

Martha immediately followed her into the kitchen as did Scully. Scully understood that, even as guests, the women were expected to place all the food on the table.

Scully spooned the potatoes into a dish while Katie pulled the meat out from inside the oven. Martha assembled a salad and Jacob seemed to roam around them.

“Let us have some room to work,” Katie admonished him as he picked up a green bean and ate it.

Martha seemed to stiffen slightly as he walked behind her and, Scully noticed, he seemed to linger there for a little too long.

“Glad you could join us tonight,” Jacob said to Miriam.

Scully just nodded and walked the potatoes to the table. There was something very creepy about Jacob and she hoped they would get some more information about him they could use.

Everyone sat for dinner and, after the blessing, food started to get passed around.

“So you’re raising a barn after the winter?” Mark asked Mulder.

“Yes, we’ve waited so long that the spring cannot come quick enough,” Mulder smiled.

“Miriam told me about your medical issues,” Katie smiled at the couple. “It’s quite romantic that she waited for you.”

“There was no convincing Miriam otherwise,” Mulder said as he smiled at Scully.

“It must be difficult, starting so late,” Mark noted. “You have a home to make, a barn to raise, a farm to start and you are years older then most couples in your shoes.”

“We’re up for the challenge,” Mulder said as he took Scully’s hand.

“And you’re feeling better Miriam?” Jacob asked

“Yes,” Scully said as she bowed her head.

“You weren’t well?” Katie asked.

“I was under the weather this morning,” Scully admitted. “But I am much better now.”

“Samuel helped her feel better,” Jacob smiled at her across the table.

Mulder’s head snapped up and he glared at Jacob. Scully’s faced turned six shades of red, but no one else seemed to notice except Martha who met Scully’s eyes and then quickly looked away. Scully realized in that moment that she needed to talk with Martha privately.

The rest of the dinner conversation consisted of

farming talk about crops, cattle, dairy, and the harvest which was soon approaching. Mulder’s knowledge of farming seemed to be quite substantial as he heartily took part in the conversation and seemed like a regular farmer. All of the women sat quietly at the table and the only time they seemed to talk was to ask for things to be passed between them.

Both Mulder and Scully noticed that Jacob was surly and that when he did participate in conversation he seemed to disagree with the other men. No one else at the table seemed to notice his bad attitude and the only sign that something was off was when Abram interrupted a squabble Jacob was having with Mulder over the weather forecast. Jacob looked toward Abram with a sneer and Katie got up from the table saying she had made some pies for dessert.

“I’ll help,” Scully said, standing.

She joined Katie in the kitchen and started to get the pies ready when Katie placed a hand atop hers.

“You mustn’t mind Jacob,” she said softly. “He’s always been an unhappy boy. He…he’s just that way.”

Scully just smiled at Katie and handed her a pie. Katie walked ahead and then turned at the doorway to the dining room.

“I forgot the plates Miriam, can you get them?”

“Of course,” Scully replied as she handed a pie to Martha and then walked back into the kitchen alone.

She opened one cupboard after another and was having trouble locating the plates when she felt someone come up closely behind her.

“Can I help?” Jacob asked as he leaned in closely to speak into her ear.

“Oh, you…you scared me,” Scully jumped away from him.

“Sorry,” Jacob smiled at her as he took a step towards her. “I just came to help.”

“I’m fine,” she said holding her ground against the counter and facing him.

He took another step forward until his body was pressed up against hers. She refused to move, wondering what he was up to but she was trapped between him and the counter behind her.

“It’s just the plates,” he said as she leaned toward her face and spoke, “are on a high shelf”

He reached above her and opened a cupboard to grab a batch of plates. His whole body was pressed against hers and she tried to control herself from shoving him to the ground, sticking a knee in his back, and hog-tying him. He lowered the plates in front of her and she put out her hands to take them from him.

“Thank you,” she said as she lowered her eyes.

“For just the plates?” he asked as his breath washed

across her cheek.

“I’m sorry?” She asked, trying to play innocent.

“No, no you’re not,” he leered down at her and then took a step back.

Turning from her he walked from the kitchen and she was left catching her breath against the counter. He made her skin crawl and his confidence was exactly what Mulder had anticipated. Scully had never seen an Amish man behave this way towards a woman, or a married woman for that matter.

After supper they sat and talked for a while; mainly about what kind of farm they were going to have and how many children Miriam hoped for. Jacob had excused himself from the after-supper discussion soon after that, and Scully had been happy to see his exit. Throughout the evening his gaze had been trained on her and it made her doubly uncomfortable at the Lapps. She had always been very aware of the role she was playing but his constant scrutiny was quite unnerving.

They bid everyone a good night and Scully made sure she grabbed Martha’s shawl instead of her own; the opportunity to talk with her again was the reasoning. An innocent mix-up would be why she needed to visit Martha on Monday.

“That went well,” Abram said as he guided their buggy down the dirt road.

“It did,” Mulder said as he wrapped an arm around Scully who seemed to be shivering next to him. “Wouldn’t you say?”

“Uh, yeah…yeah it did,” she said softly.

He looked at her strangely and knew there was more to the story. Instead of pressing her for more details in front of Abram, he just pulled her a little closer to him as they bumped down the road.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Fannie’s presence in the Fisher house not only meant Mulder and Scully had to sleep together and always pretend to be a couple, but it also meant they couldn’t really talk much in their room. They could talk quietly for a bit each night but, if they wanted to have a real conversation and hash out some ideas and a plan, it would have to be done elsewhere. When they arrived home from dinner with the Lapps they had a lot to talk about, and the quiet Fisher house was not the place.

“Abram, we’re going for a walk to talk for a bit,” Mulder said as he helped Scully down from the buggy.

“You might want to get a coat, the wind is picking up,” Abram said with his head bent toward the dark night sky.

“You help with the horse and I’ll get the coats from inside,” Scully said as she walked toward the house.

“You don’t like Jacob,” Abram said after he unhitched the horse and they walked toward the barn.

Mulder opened the large barn door and held it for him to walk past. “Do you know what my specialty is, Abram?”

“No, I don’t,” Abram replied as he put the horse in a stall.

“I went to university for psychology where I studied how people act and what causes them to behave in certain ways. Then, I became a profiler for the FBI where I get inside the heads of our suspects and try and figure them out so we can catch them.”

“And you like to do this?” Abram asked as he met Mulder’s eyes.

“At first I did,” Mulder confessed. “But then it became very hard to deal with on a personal level. Now, I only do it for special cases.”

“And ours is one of them.”

“Yes,” Mulder agreed. “The man who does this is confident; he thinks he’s doing this in a community of women who won’t speak up. So he feels free to keep doing it. He knows these women well; he’s one of you.”

“You are sure?” Abram asked.

“I am not sure it’s Jacob,” Mulder said matter-of-factly. “There are some things about him that add up and some things that just don’t…fit. I know we’ll find the person who did this to Fannie and the other women, and right now we’re looking into Jacob…but that’s all I know so far.”

“But how will you find out if it’s him?” Abram asked, honestly interested.

“Mulder?” Scully called from the door to the barn.

“We’re back here,” he called from behind a stall.

“Trust us to do our job,” Mulder said to Abram as he turned to join Scully.

Abram nodded and went to get water for the horse.

Scully stood at the doorway to the barn waiting patiently for him in the dark.

“You don’t realize how really dark it is,” Mulder noted as he walked out of the barn, “until you’re really away from all the lights.”

“That’s why I brought a lantern,” Scully said as she walked outside and pointed to one sitting on a nearby rock.

“Good thinking,” Mulder smiled at her as he pulled on the coat she brought him.

“Come on,” she called as she picked up the lantern and started to walk towards a field.

He followed her in relative silence for quite some time before he ventured to speak.

“So, Jacob has got balls, huh?” He asked.

“That he does,” she replied.

“Saying that in front of everyone at the dinner table…”

“Oh, the comment about you making me feel better?” She asked.

“Yeah,” Mulder nodded. “I don’t think he read the Amish handbook. Otherwise, he’d know not to discuss sex in public.”

“Well, he didn’t exactly do that.” Scully noted.

“Close enough,” Mulder scoffed.

“There was more to it…after,” she said, not knowing how to broach what happened in the kitchen without enraging him.

“What do you mean ‘after’?” Mulder inquired as he unlatched a gate leading to a pasture.

“When I was in the kitchen getting the plates Katie needed for dessert…”

“You were?” Mulder asked, unaware she’d been missing from the table and suddenly feeling guilty about his lack of surveillance.

“Yes, I was,” she clarified as she stepped through the gate he held open. “Jacob came into the kitchen and he came up behind me…I had no idea he was there.”

“Did he touch you?” Mulder asked as he stopped walking and stood in front of her.

“No, not exactly,” Scully continued. “He came up behind me and, when I found him there, I stepped away. But he kept coming towards me and eventually, I was pinned between him and the counter.”

“Did he hold you there?” Mulder asked, surprised by what had happened to her only a few feet away. “What did he do?”

“He…he reached behind me and grabbed a bunch of plates from a shelf. He said he came to help me because he didn’t think I’d be able to reach them. He sort of rubbed up against me as he reached…and he quite enjoyed it.”

“Scully, why didn’t you call for me? Or fucking floor him?” He asked worried.

“Mulder, I’m a big girl. I wasn’t in any danger…I could have had him on the floor if I wanted to blow my cover, but I didn’t. I played intimidated quite well.”

He shook his head, obviously upset with what she had revealed.

“I’m fine,” she said as she grabbed his arms. “I’m fine, Mulder.”

He just stood in front of her, miles away in his thoughts.

“What was interesting,” she tried to move forward. “was what he said afterwards.”

“What’d he say?” Mulder asked quietly.

“I thanked him for getting down the plates, and he asked if that was all I thanked him for.”

“That cocky son of a bitch!” Mulder snapped.

“Then,” Scully continued. “I said ‘I’m sorry’ because I was pretending to not hear him correctly, and he replied ‘no you’re not’. Then he spent the rest of the night watching me like a hawk. It was very uncomfortable.”

“I saw how intent he was on you the rest of the night but Scully…I had no idea what precipitated it. If I…”

“Its better you didn’t,” she said as they started to walk again.

“His actions do say that he’s quite sure of himself, very sexual, and willing to break the Amish code.” Mulder started to think.

“I agree,” Scully concurred.

“But he doesn’t fit my profile in several key areas,” Mulder admitted. “He seems to have had a relatively good childhood, he’s not in a relationship that I know of, and he manages to hold down a steady job without issues.”

“But he has been in a couple of broken engagements and it’s not like there are tons of job opportunities in Amish Country so he can’t really switch around a lot…”

“True,” Mulder said as they walked along. “One of those broken engagements was with Martha, the woman who was over with her husband.”

“Yes, about her…”

“It’d be good if you could talk with her, find out the cause of the broken engagement, maybe,” Mulder mused.

“If you would have let me finish,” Scully continued. “I wore her shawl home for just that reason.”

“I’m sorry?” Mulder asked, unsure of what she meant.

“I’ll need to go by her place on Monday to return it,” Scully smiled up at him. “She’ll be alone and hopefully we can have a visit.”

“Good move,” Mulder smiled down at her.

“Thank you,” she smiled back.

“She seemed very uncomfortable around Jacob and there was something…something in the way he buzzed around her in the kitchen…I’m not sure what it was but…”

“Your gut said something was up,” Mulder added.

“Something like that,” Scully agreed.

“But we’ll see them at church tomorrow,” Mulder noted.

“I’ll tell her I washed it because I got it dirty,” Scully smiled. “Then I can make arrangements with her so I can come by on Monday.”

“I like the way your mind works,” he stopped walking and looked back towards the house.

“We better get back, church is early and from what I’ve read, quite long,” Scully said following his eyes back to the house.

“Great,” Mulder mumbled.

“I heard from Katie that you were telling Isaac all kinds of Bible stories while you two were working in the fields,” she said to him.

“One thing about a photographic memory Scully,” he said as he took a step towards the house. “Everything sticks. Even church sermons and readings from when I was a kid.”

“Who says religious education is a waste?” Scully joked as she took his arm and walked with him.

He laughed at her joke and put his hand over hers.

“Do you think Fannie knows who assaulted her?” Scully asked honestly.

“I don’t know,” Mulder said thoughtfully. “If she does, she’s right to not say, or else her dad would marry her off to her rapist.”

“How ludicrous is that, to force her to marry the person who…”

“Preaching to the choir here, Scully. Preaching to the choir,” Mulder noted.

“I know,” she said softly.

They walked the rest of the way back in silence. Both deep in their own thoughts about the case and the life they were pretending to lead. When they got to the house everything was quiet and, as they mounted the stairs to their room, the only noise was the squeak of the floorboards under their feet.

They changed in the dark and climbed into bed together; a routine that had become normal over the last week.

“Goodnight, Scully,” he said as they pulled up the covers.

“Goodnight,” she yawned.

She felt his warm hand reach over and hold hers under the covers.

“I’m sorry for what happened with Jacob,” he said quietly.

“I’m not,” she said honestly. “In that moment, we got more information from his actions, then we could have got from a whole night of small talk with his family.”

He knew she was right, but that didn’t make what happened to her any easier for him to accept. When they fell asleep that night, they were still holding hands.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder had a rare experience that Sunday morning. The sun was up before he was awake. Abram had chosen to not wake him that morning to help with the cows and he’d had three extra hours of glorious sleep. Apparently, Ruth had not woken Scully either because she was draped over his chest and drooling on his night shirt.

He only saw a sea of brown hair when he looked down. She was lying across his chest with an arm firmly wrapped around him and a leg draped over him. He smiled down at her because he had won the bet, and was about to wake her until be noticed his pulsing, hard, cock. Although he wanted to show her he’d won, he didn’t want her to see what she did to him. He willed his hard-on down with thoughts of nuclear testing, atrocities of war and Barney. It started to work after several minutes but before it was completely gone, she woke


“Mulder?” She asked half-asleep as she turned her head to face him.

“Good morning,” he muttered with a half smile as her eyes met his.

She then realized her proximity to him and, to his sadness and relief, disengaged herself from him and shimmied beside him on the bed.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized as she sat up next to him in bed.

Her hair was dishevelled, she wore no make-up, she had crease marks on her face from his undershirt and he could see right through her thin white nightgown in the sunlight. She was breathtakingly beautiful and Mulder found any sort of words he could have said, caught in his throat.

“Mulder, I don’t know what to say, I…” she started in a whisper.

He just gazed at her in the soft morning light.

“What?” She asked quietly as she tucked some hair behind her ear. “Mulder…”

“Sorry,” he said as he came to his senses and thought of a lie. “I was…I was just trying to see how you’d get out of our bed.”

“Am I like that every morning when you get up?”

“Sometimes you spoon me, other times you have your hand up my undershirt…” he admitted to her.

“Have I ever…?” Her eyes fell to his lower half, where she noticed a slight morning erection.

“No, you stay away from that region with your hands,” he said matter-of-factly as he bent a leg to tent the sheet more and hide his arousal.

“Good,” she sighed. “Maybe we should put some pillows down the middle.”

“I don’t need protecting from you Scully,” he laughed quietly. “If I objected to what you were doing while you slept, I would have said something.”

She turned a shade of pink he would like to name flamingo, and seemed at a loss for words after his admission.

“The truth is,” he continued in a whisper, “it’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of waking up with someone like this on a regular basis and, I kind of like it.”

She smiled a tight-lipped smile at him and nodded her head in agreement. If he didn’t object to her clinginess in bed, then nothing needed to change.

“You win,” she said as she rose from their bed and straightened her nightgown. “We’ll go swimming later this afternoon, or maybe after supper. I’ll figure out something I can use for a bathing suit.”

He clapped his hands together and was delighted she’d given in so readily. He rose from their bed and helped her make it. There was something about the domesticity of doing this together that made him smile.

When he saw her grab a dress from the closet and then look at him, he knew the predicament they were in. Every other day they had dressed privately because they rose at different times. When they undressed at the end of the day it was in the dark and they couldn’t see a thing. Today they were standing in a sunny room and they were both expected to be dressed before they left it; the Amish did not walk around in their pyjamas.

“I’ll, uh…turn this way,” Mulder said as he sat with his back to her.

“Thanks,” she said softly as she opened a drawer and got fresh underwear out and began to change.

He could hear the swish of material behind him and the sound of people moving below him. It was really nice that Abram and Ruth had given them the morning off and he’d make sure to thank them when they got downstairs. As the week had gone on, he hadn’t got nearly as many guilty looks from Ruth as he had earlier in the week. Mulder guessed she understood they were professionals with a job to do and that above all, they were also friends.

“Okay, you can look,” she said from behind him.

Mulder turned and looked at her in her grey dress, bonnet, and apron. “Pretty as a picture.”

She returned his smile. “I’ll go to the washroom and get cleaned up, then I’ll head downstairs to help. Church is at nine am.”

“I’ll be down in a minute,” he smiled at her as she headed for their door.

“Oh,” she said turning to look at him. “Can you put all your dirty laundry on the floor of our closet? I’m doing laundry tomorrow with Ruth.”

“Scully, you don’t have to do my laundry. I can…”

“Mulder,” she snickered. “You send all of your clothes out to be either laundered or dry cleaned.”

“I can do a load, if necessary,” he stammered.

“Well, here you can’t, so pile them on the floor and I’ll wash them tomorrow,” she said as she opened the door and walked into the hallway.

Mulder sat and stared after her long after the door was shut. He wasn’t really keen on her taking care of him because she was expected to. They were equals everywhere else but here. She was expected to tend to his needs and he was expected to provide a home for her. In the real world, their world, they would take care of each other and provide for a home together. But, Mulder reminded himself, in the real world there wasn’t an ‘us’.

Within a few minutes he was dressed and freshly washed as he walked into the kitchen.

“Thanks for letting us sleep in,” Mulder said to Abram.

“Why would we break with tradition?” Abram asked.

Mulder looked at him confused.

“You and Miriam only have a few months of Sundays left, so enjoy sleeping in until your anniversary.” Abram clarified.

“Thanks,” Mulder said, acknowledging a tradition he was unfamiliar with, but as Samuel, should be.

Scully was busy setting a place for the two of them as Ruth and Fannie cleaned up the dishes from everyone else and Abram walked out to the back porch to have his cigar.

“Everything is ready,” Scully said as she passed him, slightly harried. “Ruth made enough for us too…I just have to finish with the table.”

Mulder cringed before he said his next words, knowing he wanted to help but couldn’t, “Come get me in the living room when you are ready with breakfast, Miriam.”

He walked past her and sat heavily on a chair in the living room; there were some things that he, as a modern man, found difficult about male-female relations in Amish Country.

✦ ⸎ ✦

At nine am they found themselves at the Miller farm handing their buggy over to a thirteen year old boy who parked it in a field with the others.

‘Amish valet service,’ Mulder thought to himself as he and Scully watched the buggy taken away.

Amish church services only took place every two weeks and always at a local farm; it was at Hannah and John’s this week. And, unlike church services that Mulder and Scully had been to, it was going to be about three hours long and consist of a great deal of singing in German.

The first part of church was the social aspect where they were able to meet a lot of local people. Abram and Ruth circulated them around to meet everyone. There wasn’t time to talk in-depth with many people, but they could at least get a ‘read’ on everyone present.

It turns out, Mulder discovered, Jacob Lapp wasn’t the only angry and anti-social man in his twenties. Saunder Miller, John’s twenty-six year old nephew, was equally pleasant company as was Jonah Heise. Both Mulder and Scully made note of the young men and decided to visit with their families next.

“Miriam,” Martha Lapp said softly as she held onto Scully’s elbow. “We have the wrong shawls.”

Scully noted the shawl over Martha’s arm and smiled. “I realized this morning when I got up. I’m so sorry, I took yours by accident.”

“It’s no problem,” Martha smiled back at her and handed Scully her shawl.

“I’ll have to bring yours by tomorrow,” Scully said as she accepted the shawl from Martha. “I noticed some dirt on it, probably from when it fell off my shoulder one time, so I washed it.”

“Oh, you didn’t have to do that,” Martha smiled at her. “I could have…”

“It’s the least I could do, after taking yours.” Scully noted. “Is there a good time I can come over tomorrow and return it?”

“Come in the afternoon and we’ll have a nice cup of tea,” Martha said.

“That sounds great,” Scully smiled as she noted the parishioners starting to move into the house.

“We better get in,” Martha said as she looked around at the others and then moved toward the house.

“I’ll see you in a few hours,” Mulder said softly as he leaned into her ear.

Scully just nodded up at him and walked toward Ruth. Mulder went to join Abram and the other men.

They took seats in the kitchen of Hannah’s house with Hannah, Fannie and some other women from the community. People were spread out all over the house on chairs and benches in every available space. The men stayed separate from the women and the younger parishioners sat together. Scully was fascinated with the way Amish church services were run, when she read about them, and was excited to actually participate in one.

Suddenly a woman started to sing and every other woman in the house joined her. The songs were in German and went on for many more verses than Scully was used to. She sang a few that she had made herself familiar with, others she just lip synched. There were short breaks between songs but one song followed another for over an hour.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder had started the church service inside the house, sitting on a very uncomfortable bench in the dining room. He moved his mouth to a few songs and was able to sing the chorus of each song as it appeared time and time again. Then about twenty minutes into the service, Abram tapped his elbow and Mulder followed him outside. There, he found a gathering of men, waiting to discuss the sermon.

“I think temptation,” an older man said as Mulder and Abram joined the group.

Many men nodded their heads in agreement.

“What about dedication?” Another man asked.

Other men nodded in agreement.

“How about dedicating ourselves to Gott and not being tempted by personal need?” John spoke up.

All of the men heartily agreed and the sermon topic was borne.

Over the next thirty minutes the men decided which of the ministers would tackle the various parts of the sermon, and practiced some lines on the others. Mulder was fascinated by this impromptu process and community-based speech writing. He was also interested to see that in the interest of church and God, John and Abram had put their differences about Fannie aside and co-operated without incident in the service.

He could still hear the women in side singing and he pictured Scully sitting with a sore throat waiting for the sermon to start. Mulder appreciated the fact that he was outside talking with others and

enjoying the beautiful day, while Scully was stuck inside the hot house sitting and singing. It appeared that even Amish church services played favourites.

Once the basic speeches were ironed out, the men returned to the house and took their seats again. Mulder noted that the temperature in the house seemed to have risen by a good five to ten degrees and that some of the people around him were starting to sweat.

The first sermon began and went on for almost an hour. The man, in his early fifties, walked from room to room delivering his speech. Mulder was surprised at the grace with which he spoke and the language he used because most Amish aren’t educated beyond grade eight. His speech was interesting and full of examples of avoiding temptation in the name of God.

Then, one after another, other ministers of the church delivered smaller and more informal sermons about temptation or dedication. Drawing on examples from the community they re-iterated the need for the community to place God above all else. By the time the last minister spoke, the room they were in was stifling, and Mulder couldn’t wait for his speech to end. Luckily he only spoke for ten minutes. Then the women started to sing a song that took almost fifteen minutes to finish before the service was finished. Mulder couldn’t get out of the stuffy house quick enough, so, when he saw a man picking up a long bench to carry it outside, Mulder grabbed the other end and followed him.

✦ ⸎ ✦

As soon as the service was over the women around Scully got to work in the kitchen. A light meal was served after church service, it was usually outside, and was more about socializing than eating. Scully was handed jar after jar of pickled vegetables that she dutifully took out to the long tables being set up by the men outside. The benches used for the service were then used for seating outside at the tables that had been assembled. Other women were dropping fresh linens over the tables and setting up plates and glasses. It was a finely-tuned operation and Scully

couldn’t believe that fifteen minutes after the service, everyone was sitting down for the blessing.

Unlike other times they had eaten with large groups, men and women both sat at the same table to eat together. Married couples and older adults sat at one end, the unmarried teens and people in their early twenties at another end and the small children in-between. When Scully looked at the table she realized the reasoning behind this arrangement. Married couples talked about farming and

children, the children were close by and easily taken care of by all members of the community. The older teens and young adults were placed together as a type of rudimentary match-making, giving them an opportunity to get to know each other better.

Scully took a seat next to Mulder and waited patiently for the blessing to begin.

“Gott, thank you for the blessings you have placed upon us at this time,” a minister began. “Thank you for the bountiful lunch before us and our ability to join as a community once again. For this we are thankful.”

The entire congregation said ‘Amen’ and then the food started to get passed around.

Both Mulder and Scully conversed easily with those around them, but found themselves repeating their cover stories to the others. Some people were again astonished Scully had waited so long to marry him, others amazed at the English’s ability to cure Mulder’s ‘fits’.

In the end, all conversations veered onto the topic of children. Mulder explained about their earlier loss and their desire to have a large family. Scully squirmed in her seat next to him, thoughts of Emily and her infertility, making their way to the front of her mind. At one point Scully felt Mulder’s hand rest firmly on her thigh under the table. She hadn’t realized until that moment, that she was been nervously bouncing her one leg under the table. He steadied her with his hand and when their eyes met, she knew he understood her anxiety.

After lunch, they stayed with everyone to clean up, but they had trouble finding Fannie when it was time to leave. Scully found her upstairs in her old room holding a rag doll in her hands.

“Fannie, we’ve been looking for you,” Scully said as she walked into the stuffy room.

“I’ve been here the whole time,” Fannie said absently.

“Did you not eat?” Scully asked as she approached her.

“I wasn’t hungry,” Fannie said as she set down the doll on the bed.

“Have you spoken with your parents?” Scully asked.

“No, daat won’t speak of such matters on the lord’s day,” Fannie said as she flattened out her skirt.

“Maybe I could come by here with you sometime…” Scully started to offer.

“No, I think they are embarrassed enough by my behaviour,” Fannie shook her head. “They don’t need others around to remind them that everyone will know my shame soon.”

“Fannie,” Scully said reaching out to hold her hand. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. I think maybe you should talk with someone…maybe an English about what happened to you.”

“No,” Fannie looked at her wide-eyed. “This is not an English matter.”

“I’m not saying that,” Scully softened. “Just maybe…they have these things happen to them more, and they might…they might be able to help you understand your feelings and…”

“I don’t need the help of the English,” Fannie said softly. “I need only God.”

Scully gave her a tight-lipped smile and then dropped her hand. The

two women walked downstairs and joined the others in the buggy to go home.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“She blames herself,” Scully said sadly as they walked along a narrow path following him.

“That’s what she’s been taught to do,” Mulder sighed. “The Amish don’t talk about these personal matters so there’s probably no one else in the community that would be willing to share their own experience with her. It’s something that is considered shameful regardless of her consent, or lack of, to the act.”

“I suggested she see someone,” Scully said softly.

“You what?!” Mulder stopped and turned suddenly, causing her to bang into him.

“Not like you’re thinking,” she said, trying to stave off an argument. “I said that this happens all the time with the English and maybe there was an English person she could speak with…someone that could help her.”

Mulder relaxed slightly. “She didn’t think it was an odd suggestion?”

“I worded it in a very Amish way,” Scully smiled up at him.

“Because Scully,” he said as he rubbed his forehead in frustration, “if we break our cover we may never have another chance to find the man that raped her or all the other women.”

“Speaking of which,” Scully interrupted. “I only located three of them at the service, besides Fannie.”

“Which ones?” Mulder asked as he turned to keep walking down the path.

“Sarah Schwartz was there with her husband, Rebecca Hillar and Bertha Kitzen were also there, as was Fannie. But the other two…”

“We’ll find out from Abram,” Mulder said as they hit a clearing. “I’m sure he’ll know what happened to them.”

“How are we going to interview them?” Scully asked as she watched the pond start to appear before them.

“Is there some sort of women’s organization they might belong to?” Mulder asked as he picked up the pace, the sight of water propelling him forward.

“A quilting bee…but I can’t quilt and everyone would figure that out pretty quickly,” Scully said, resigned.

“What if there was a problem with your hand?” Mulder asked as he walked toward a hollow log resting near the water.

“I’m not sure what you are getting at?”

“Could we not bandage up you hand, saying you burned it or hurt it and therefore couldn’t quilt?”

“It might work,” she conceded as she took a seat on the log.

He sat next to her and started to remove his socks and shoes. He was excited about this swim after a long week of labour-intensive work. If he hadn’t won the bet, he still would have come for a swim on his own, but it would be more fun with her.

“Mulder, has this water been tested for e coli?” Scully asked as she looked out at the small pond.

“It’s artesian,” Mulder clarified. “A well feeds the pond, so the water is very safe.”

She stood and looked around. There wasn’t a person in sight except the two of them. Scully pulled a blue shirt out of a sack she’d been carrying and shook it out.

“Isn’t that one of my shi…?”

“You told me to figure out a bathing suit,” Scully smiled at him as turned her back and unbuttoned her own shirt. Mulder watched the shirt fall to the ground and his replace it overtop of her undershirt. She turned back to face him when it was buttoned and then started to remove her skirt. His shirt was large enough that it covered her torso and fell to just above her knees, at a very respectable length.

“Are you just going to watch me swim?” Scully asked him as she stood with her hands on her hips wearing his huge blue shirt.

Mulder took his cue and started to undress, obviously having put less thought into what he would swim in. He stood before her in his Amish underwear and realized that Scully was right, the white underwear wouldn’t conceal anything once it was wet. He shrugged his shoulders; there was nothing he could do about it now. And, she already knew what he looked like naked, so there was no mystery there.

They both walked toward the water and were happy to find it cool but comfortable for a hot summer’s day. Mulder jumped forward and did a quick lap across the pond while Scully slowly waded into the unknown waters. When he got back to her, she was floating on her back her face turned toward the sun.

“Wasn’t I right?” Mulder asked as he came up next to her. He noticed the freckles that marked her cheeks after only a week in the sun and the slight red colour to her nose.

“That I’m a bed hog?” she asked as she kept her eyes closed and basked in the sun.

“No,” he laughed. “I was right about the swim.”

“It is nice,” she said wistfully.

The two were quiet for some time, Mulder treading water next to her, and Scully floating on her back. Mulder soon realized that his position at her side afforded him a great view of her breasts as his wet shirt clung to her. He tried to avert his eyes but found them going back to her nipples over and over again like his magnetic north. She, either didn’t notice, or didn’t care.

They swam around the pond for a while, talking quietly about the case as they planned their visits to the other men they suspected and the other women who had been assaulted. Then, they spent a lot of time just swimming around quietly, occasionally telling a joke or sharing a story.

Finally, they went back to their original position of Scully floating on her back and Mulder treading beside her after almost an hour in the water.

“I know,” she said breaking the silence and still floating with her eyes closed, “from what I’ve read their life is one of sacrifice but…but it’s not until you live it that you realize what the sacrifices are.”

“Like what?” he asked as he too launched himself onto his back to float beside her.

“You sacrifice your personal time, you freedom to speak up, your ability to go and do as you like, your role as an individual, sometimes.”

“True,” Mulder mused. “The personal time is much less then we are both used to, and we’re workaholics.”

Scully snickered at his comment.

“And you as a woman, in particular, don’t have much of a voice in this community.” He added.

“Very true,” Scully agreed.

“We both have responsibilities to the farm that keep us from just doing as we like…going off to investigate at the drop of a hat is very foreign to this culture.”

“It was very foreign to me at first, but I got used to it,” she smiled.

“And, I’m grateful for that,” he said softly as his hand brushed up her arm under the water.

She let out an involuntary shudder. One she hoped he didn’t notice, but somehow knew he did. Mulder noticed everything.

“And as a woman,” she began, trying to keep the conversation going, “I am only identified by my role as wife until I have children. Then it’s wife and mother.”

“Yeah, everyone seems a little obsessed with your waistline.”

“I haven’t had this much attention on it since I was twelve and sort of chunky.”

Mulder laughed at her joke.

“How are you doing with that?” He asked in all seriousness.

“I’m okay,” she answered honestly.

“You tell me if you’re not, okay?”

“Part of me,” she mused. “Almost wants to say that I am pregnant, just to get everyone off my back.”

“If you want to say…”

“Mulder,” she said as she pulled herself down in the water and started to tread next to him. “I have so much to remember about who I am here, adding pregnancy to the list would just complicate things for me.”

“Good point,” he said as he pulled himself down to tread with her.

“Besides, then I’d just have to talk about all a pregnant mother’s dreams for her child and…and I don’t have those anymore.” She said sadly.

“Scully,” he said bridging the distance between them and touching her face.

“It’s okay, really, I’m okay, ” she faintly smiled at him before she abruptly left to do a lap of the pool.

He swam closer to the edge of the pond, to a place where his feet touched the murky bottom and took a moment to gather his thoughts. He loved her and he hated what infertility had done to her; to her hopes for a future. He was still deep in thought when she approached.

“Mulder, this is supposed to be a happy swim,” she said as she looked at his pensive face. She wanted the serious cloud that had fallen over their afternoon swim to disappear.

He gave her a false, exaggerated smile.

She fiercely whacked her hand against the water and sprayed water all over his face. She was trying hard to lighten the mood. This swim was supposed to be a break from their lives, not a reminder of them.

“Hey!” He called with a laugh in his voice.

“Don’t get in the water if you don’t plan to get wet!” She said jokingly as she continued to spray him with water.

He attempted to splash her back but the onslaught of water had temporarily blinded him. Years of swimming with her brothers had honed her skills as a water bomber. Having hardly splashed her, he decided to take away her target. He ducked his head under the water and swam beside her coming up quickly at her back.

He reached over and grabbed her frame to keep her from splashing him further as she attempted to turn to face him again. Her wet legs entangled with his and he felt her breasts pressed up against his chest and his shirt riding up dangerously close to her waist. She couldn’t touch the bottom of the pond, like he could, and he felt her holding onto him as she tried to get better leverage to splash him some more. He had her captured in his arms and he knew what he wanted to do, the real question was: did she want the same thing?

All jockeying for position stopped suddenly and both of their bodies stilled. Her legs were entwined, her hips flush, and her breasts smashed against his body. She looked at him with anxious desire as she tried to catch her breath and he licked his lips.

Mulder leaned his face down to kiss her, at first, quite softly, as he held her in the water. The kiss deepened quickly and before he knew what was happening he had his hand in her hair and his mouth was exploring hers. Her fingers pulled at his bare back and an erection began to form between them. In close quarters, and with little clothing, it was hard to mask his desire for her.

His wet lips pressed firmly against hers and her soft lips returned the favor. Both their hearts pounded so hard against the other, neither was sure which beat was their own. She moaned softly as he brought one arm firmly around her naked waist pulling her even closer to him. The shirt and undershirt she was wearing had twisted, in all the jostling, and was now barely covering her breasts. The feel of her naked, wet flesh caused his heart to race faster and his cock to throb.

She didn’t seem surprised by his kiss, and he half wondered if she was kissing him because she thought someone was watching them, as was the case before. His worry about this point, caused him to pull away from her and clarify that he was kissing her because he

wanted to, not because he needed to.

She looked up at him, confused by his action and then he knew that she didn’t suspect a case-related motive. Her eyes were filled with desire and her body had moulded to his. She was trying to catch her breath as her hands entangled in his hair and tried to pull his mouth back to hers.

It was perfectly clear to both of them. They were kissing because they wanted to.

“Scully, I…” he started before both their ears peaked to the noise of a group of people approaching.

Mulder immediately placed himself in front of Scully to shield her from the group as it approached. It appeared to be a cluster of teenagers, all with towels slung over their shoulders.

“Hey, look!” One boy called. “We have ourselves some plain people who like to break the rules.”

“If you’ll just give us a minute,” Mulder called as he moved toward the shore. “We’ll get out of the pond and leave it to you.”

“Hey, whatever works for you, man,” one other boy called as they stood at the edge of the water.

Mulder walked out of the water unabashedly in full view of the group in his wet white underwear with his full erection. He was on his way to get a towel for Scully when he heard her get out of the water as well. He turned to see her standing soaking wet in his shirt with her legs wet and bare underneath it. His blue shirt clung to every curve in her body. The erection he was hoping would subside quickly, showed no signs of leaving.

“You know the Bible says you’re not supposed to have sex before you get married,” one smart ass pointed out.

“Really?” Scully asked him surprised, as she walked blushing toward Mulder.

“Alright!” One boy called. “We got ourselves a live one.”

With the recent sexual assaults in the area, the comment caused Mulder to snap his head toward the group, the look on his face must have been murderous. They all took a step back and immediately quieted down as Mulder held out a towel for her and she walked into it.

“Thanks,” she mumbled.

“How do you want to do this?” He asked as he looked at their wet bodies and he wrapped a towel around himself, happy to finally hide his bulging cock.

“Why don’t we walk over the hill and get dried off and changed there,” she said gesturing with her eyebrows toward the hill.

“Sounds good,” he said as he picked up her bag and their various

clothes and followed her up the path and over the hill.

“Hope you had a good one!” One of the teens yelled as the others laughed.

“Little shits,” Mulder muttered under his breath as they got to the other side of the hill.

The moment was gone. Scully was either going to ignore what just happened between them, or rationalize it away. Mulder kicked a clump of dirt with his foot as they walked toward a tree.

Scully dropped her towel when they reached a tree and asked for the bag from Mulder. She was immediately all business, and Mulder was saddened by that fact. She rummaged through her things and pulled out a skirt and a blouse. Mulder held up a towel and kept watch for the teenagers while she took off her underwear and pulled up the skirt. Mulder turned his back to her as she undid his shirt and took it and her undershirt off and then pulled on her blouse.

“Okay, I’m decent,” she said happily. “Well as decent as an Amish woman can be without a bra or underwear.”

“You bad Amish woman,” Mulder chided.

He then did something neither of them expected, and leaned in to give her a soft kiss on the lips. His beard tickled her face again, causing her to break out into a smile. He wasn’t sure why he did it. Perhaps he wanted to remind her of what just happened, perhaps he wanted to stay in the moment a little longer.

She made no mention of their earlier make-out session and they were silent for a moment, both looking at the other and wondering where to go with all this. Mulder finally broke the silence.

“So, are you ready for the Amish version of a strip tease?” Mulder leered at her as he started to pull at the towel wrapped around his waist.

“Oh, I am,” Scully said sarcastically as she turned her back to him.

He quickly changed out of his underwear and into a pair of pants and a shirt while she watched for the teenagers. When they were sufficiently dressed they started to head back towards the house.

“Sorry about that,” Mulder apologized as they walked back along the path. “I didn’t know other people used it as well…I haven’t seen anyone there before.”

“It’s okay Mulder,” she sighed. “Kids will be kids and…I’m sure they don’t see many Amish couples swimming together like that.”

“Well, we,” he said as he slung and arm over her shoulder, trying to soften the uncertainty that was in the air,“aren’t a regular Amish couple.”

“That is true,” Scully smiled up at him, happy to not discuss what happened in the water.

They walked back together towards the house, with his arm around her.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Fox Mulder sat next to Isaac Lapp as they made their way down country roads making deliveries to one farm after another. He was most interested in information Isaac could provide him about his brother, and the deliveries to the Miller farm and the Heise farm where he hoped to encounter Saunder and Jonah. Jacob Lapp, Saunder Miller and Jonah Heise were at the top of their suspect list so far. Although Jacob’s behaviour at the dinner party made Mulder place him as suspect number one, he couldn’t discount the other two brooding members of the community

who may fit the profile.

“Is the Heise farm next?” Mulder asked Isaac.

“Yep,” Isaac smiled over at him.

“You know Jonah well?” Mulder asked.

“I used to,” Isaac said thoughtfully. “Then he lived with an English girl for a while and…”

“He left the community?” Mulder asked, surprised.

“Yep, for a couple of years when he turned twenty.”

“Why’d he come back?”

“His dad died and there was no one to take care of his mother and the farm. All of his brothers and sisters are a lot younger and…”

“So that’s why he seems so unhappy,” Mulder noted absently.

“Yeah, he…he still visits the girl sometimes, I hear,” Isaac said in almost a whisper. “But it’s been almost 3 years since he came back and his mom’s putting pressure on him to marry a plain girl.”

“But, his English girl, she didn’t want this life?” Mulder asked.

“I guess not,” Isaac said as they turned down a laneway. “I can’t imagine any English leaving all their fancy cars and houses to live how we do.”

“So do you think he’ll go back to her?” Mulder asked.

“If she waits for him, maybe,” Isaac noted. “He has two brothers coming close to twenty…maybe they’ll take over and he’ll go back to his English girl.”

“It’s quite a leap of faith to wait for him, don’t you think?” Mulder asked.

“I guess it is,” Isaac said non-committally as they drove along. “But your Miriam waited for you.”

“Yeah, but that wasn’t a leap of faith,” Mulder noted. “I was hers from the start.”

Mulder’s thoughts drifted toward Scully as they made their way down the bumpy road. His thoughts always went back to the kiss. She seemed quite engaged in it while in the water, and smiled when he kissed her afterwards. But she hadn’t said a thing to him otherwise. Last night they had gone to bed, as usual, and this morning he woke to find her arm draped across his chest and her head wedged under his armpit.

He knew her well and was sure she was running through the reasons for what happened, the ramifications of it, and the future possibilities if they were to continue or ignore their feelings. She needed time to figure everything out. That was the way Scully operated.

He just needed her. As he had said to Isaac, he was hers from the start; he just wasn’t sure she was that interested, until recently. That alone, had caused him to lie awake for most of the night next to her, reliving various moments from recent months in his head as he tried to discern exactly when she became attracted to him. Because she didn’t kiss him obligingly, she kissed him with repressed passion.

In Arcadia, she had been everything but warm toward him. He had tried to be playful and she had not gone along. He was having a lot of fun playing a married couple, and she obviously, was not. Part of him was worried this investigation in Charm would be the same, but now she was completely different towards him; something had changed.

During the Padgett case, she pushed away from him for most of it until the end. After the ‘incident’ as she liked to call it, she had slept in her bed, waking throughout the night with nightmares, and always found him sitting next to her with his back against her headboard ready to chase the demons away. He must have drifted off at some point, because in the morning he woke with a sore back and a stiff neck to freshly brewed coffee and English muffins. She hadn’t talked about Padgett, or the night of nightmares spent by his side, since.

Then, there was the Berquiest case, where Scully intimated that Karen was interested in him as more than an investigator. He eventually saw the rouse later on, but not after it was too late. Had Scully’s interest in Karen been the fist sign that she was thinking differently about him?

He had told her months ago that he loved her, he had told her she was his one in five billion; maybe Scully had taken all this time to decide how she felt? She seemed to enjoy batting practice with him, and afterwards they had gone for a beer and nachos and laughed at old cases and stupid childhood memories until the bar closed. There was a moment, outside the bar when he felt she might be open to him kissing her. He had, at the time, chalked it up to the two beers he’d had and nothing more. Now, he wasn’t so sure.

“We’re here,” Isaac said to him, pulling him from his thoughts. “You drifted off for a while there.”

“I was just thinking about Miriam,” Mulder answered honestly.

“You two are such newlyweds,” Isaac smiled at him and shook his head.

“We’re something, alright,” Mulder smiled over at Isaac as their buggy came to a halt in front of a house.

Mrs. Heise was at the farm to receive their delivery, and she seemed as surly as her son. Mulder moved Jonah to the bottom of his list based on the information Isaac had supplied about his experience with the English. He was an unhappy young man because he was away from the women he loved and forced, by family obligation, to take care of his family and his farm. Mulder would still want to have a conversation with him to get a better read but, for now, he seemed like a man in a bad circumstance.

Three deliveries later, they were finally at the Miller farm, not John Miller’s, but Adam Miller’s farm. Mulder thought it was unlikely that his son Saunder raped his own cousin in such a close knit community, but something about the young man felt off. While they were at the church lunch Saunder seemed to be quite interested in Rebecca Hillar, one of the rape victims, who was engaged to be married this fall. He made a point to sit near her and always seemed to be close at hand whenever Mulder saw her. He really seemed to lurk around her.

“So the boys on this farm are Saunder, Mark, and…?” Mulder asked.

“Melvin,” Isaac finished for him. “He’s the youngest.”

“And Saunder is the oldest?” Mulder clarified.

“Yeah, he’s twenty-six,” Isaac said.

“And not married?” Mulder inquired.

“No…he’s asked a couple of girls but had no luck,” Isaac reported.

“They weren’t interested?” Mulder asked.

“It seemed for a while that Rebecca Hillar was, then…then she up and accepted a proposal from Benjamin Schwartz about three months ago.”

“And everyone was surprised by this?”

“Yeah, no one knew they were seeing each other that way,” Isaac said.

Mulder thought about the connections carefully. Saunder Miller was hoping to be engaged to Rebecca Hillar and was turned down. Rebecca Hillar was raped soon after her engagement to Benjamin Schwartz. Prior to that, possibly while Rebecca was getting involved with Benjamin, his sister-in law Sarah Schwartz was also raped. There

couldn’t be that many coincidences.

“Why didn’t Rebecca wish to marry him?” Mulder asked after a few moments.

“Who knows?” Isaac replied. “He’s a nice enough

guy but…”


“But so serious all the time. He can’t just talk to you, there always has to be something more going on. He always did really well in school I hear, but plain people don’t do much schooling after grade eight.”

“Maybe he wanted more,” Mulder offered. “Some plain people do go to college, nowadays.”

“Yes, they do, but Saunder didn’t. His father is the bishop and…”

“I didn’t know that,” Mulder said, interested even more in his background.

“I think he expects Saunder to be a minister, at least,” Isaac added.

Things were looking promising for Saunder as a suspect. He was smart, young, confined by his community’s expectations, and with a strong head of household that was entrenched in the over-bearing religion. Mulder was excited about spending some time with him until they reached the farm and were greeted by his younger sister, Sarah, who seemed to be quite interested in Isaac.

Mulder was the third wheel through a half hour of small talk between the two who were obviously quite interested in each other. When they finally left the Miller farm, Mulder had not even seen Saunder, and Isaac was grinning from ear to ear.

Dana Scully was happy to be on her own and away from the farm for the first time in over a week. For a woman who was used to so much independence, the Amish lifestyle was a little trying. But, here she was, in the buggy on her own, enjoying the afternoon on her way to Martha Lapp’s house under the guise of returning a shawl. She had done laundry with Ruth in the morning and was now free for an afternoon visit with Martha.

She had a sleepless night and the fatigue was starting to catch up to her. Her worry over two things; how to engage Martha in conversation about Jacob that would tell her more than Martha would want to, and her make-out session with Mulder at the pond yesterday, had kept her lying still and starring at the open window for most of the night.

She had decided that the best way to get Martha to talk was to place herself in a situation with Jacob. And Martha, hopefully, would feel a need to warn her about him. That was the hope at least. The Amish didn’t readily talk about their lives with others, and this was her first time really meeting

with Martha, so Scully was hoping for the best. As much as she wanted to develop a rapport with this woman, she also needed to investigate this case, so she needed to push forward regardless of Amish sensibilities.

Mulder was also at the forefront of her thoughts throughout the night. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the passionate kiss in the pond, although that was amazing, that kept her mind reeling, but the little kiss after she was changed that most intrigued her. Scully could chalk their heated kiss in the pond to close living quarters, over-active libidos denied any sort of space for self-pleasuring, their roles as husband and wife, and the attraction that always existed between them. But the second kiss that afternoon, was a mystery to her.

He had just kissed her, softly, and with no sexual drive attached to it. He had kissed her because he wanted to, needed to, and liked to. The kiss was outside her realm of understanding, and she wondered if Mulder was trying to tell her something with it. He made no apologies for either kiss and seemed both happy and confident with the outcome of the afternoon.

That night, nothing was unusual about his behaviour and they ate, talked on the porch and went to bed as they were accustomed. He made no attempt to start anything in bed, and Scully was left wanting to talk with him about what had happened, but equally wanting to bury the experience and never dig it up again. It was sort of perfect as it was, and part of her didn’t want to destroy it with whatever explanation he may have for their behaviour.

She pulled up to the Lapp farm and noted that it was like almost every other Amish farm in the area. The siding was white and the shutters were green. It had a large wrap-around porch and a barn behind it with various types of farming equipment dotting the back property.

As she stepped from the buggy, Martha Lapp appeared on the front porch.

“Hello, Miriam,” she greeted Scully warmly.

“Martha, it’s such a beautiful day, I almost wanted to take

the long way to get here, just to enjoy it a little more,” Scully smiled up at her.

“Yes, but then I wouldn’t have as long a rest with you this afternoon,” Martha laughed as she ushered Scully to a set of wicker chairs on the porch. “I’ll just be a second.”

Scully watched as Martha went inside and noted how different the woman’s personality was when she was not around the other Lapps. At dinner she seemed quiet and brooding, but at church and here, when it was just the two of them, she seemed warm and welcoming. Scully draped the shawl that she had stolen from Martha over one of the chairs and took a seat on the soft cushion of the chair. She looked out onto the front yard and thought about how serene this lifestyle was. No cars were whizzing past, no radios played, no telephones rang, and no TVs broke the silence. There was something infinitely calming about this life.

“I have lemonade,” Martha said as she joined Scully on the porch with a tray in her hands.

“Oh, Martha, you didn’t have to go to such trouble,” Scully said as she moved some things aside on the table between


“Just some lemon poppy seed cake and lemonade, nothing fancy,” Martha smiled as she put the tray down.

The two women poured drinks and placed cake slices on plates before they settled back into their seats.

“This is very nice, thank you,” Scully said with a smile as she sat back into her comfortable seat.

“It’s nice to have visitors,” Martha smiled into her lap. “Two of my closest friends just had babies and they are busy at their own home with their family right now.”

“I have friends like that at home,” Scully mused. “They seem to disappear for months until they get a handle on the baby.”

Martha laughed and agreed with Scully’s choice of words.

“It just gets lonely,” Martha said softly. “I go to help sometimes, especially with my friend who has twins, but they have mothers and sisters who are also there and I feel…”

“I know,” Scully said as she looked over at Martha.

“It’s just different when you don’t have any of your own,” Martha muttered.

“God will bless you and Luke,” Scully said as she took a sip of lemonade.

Martha just looked at her lap and said nothing.

“Martha?” Scully asked, suddenly aware that something she had heard said to her a million times this past week was not sitting well with Martha.

“Yes, god will bless us,” Martha said as she raised her teary eyes to meet Scully’s.

“Martha, I hope I haven’t said…”

“No, no, it’s fine.” Martha started. “It’s just I haven’t ever been with child after all this time, and I don’t know if something is wrong with me.”

“Have you seen a doctor?” Scully asked.

“The midwife gave me teas and told me to pray. And I have, but still nothing.”

Scully wanted to say more, but resisted the urge. After they were off the case, she justified, she would forward Martha the names of some doctor’s that could test her for infertility.

“God will know when it’s you time,” Scully said as she placed a hand on Martha’s knee and swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat. “How long have you and Luke been married?”

“It’ll be two years this fall,” Martha said, happy to change the subject. “And you and Samuel will be one year, yes?”

“Yes,” Scully smiled.

“It must be hard, not having your own house,” Martha said.

“My parents needed us, and then Abram and Ruth needed us…it’s good to be needed. But, I do look forward to next spring so I can have my own house with Samuel.”

“Are you going to stay in Charm?”

“No, our people are from Norwalk and we will go back to them,” Scully said assuredly.

“I understand,” Martha smiled.

“But it must be nice to visit and stay someplace different,” Martha said cheerily.

“Yes, different is nice,” Scully agreed. “Although I haven’t seen much of the community this last week.”

“If you are staying through the harvest, you’ll have lots of time.” Martha smiled.

“Actually, your brother-in-law Jacob has offered to take me around the area and show me the sights,” Scully said, watching Martha’s reaction carefully.

“Jacob?” Martha said as she swallowed hard.

“Yes, he’s been awfully kind to offer, and I think we’ll go later this week in his buggy.”

“You and Samuel?” Martha asked quietly.

“No, Samuel is too busy with the farm and Abram needs him too badly, so I’ll go on my own with Jacob,” Scully explained.

“What about Ruth? I’m sure she’ll go with you, or I could show you…”

“Jacob seems very nice to take time out of his day to do this,” Scully persevered. “I don’t want to inconvenience anyone else.”

“Excuse me,” Martha said as she stood from her seat. “I just have to…”

Scully barely had time to catch her as she fainted in front of her. She laid Martha down on the wood porch and placed a cushion under her head. Within moments, Martha roused.

“Martha, Martha? Are you okay? You just dropped to the ground,” Scully said worried.

“I’m fine, just a little light headed,” Martha said, slightly confused.

“Just lay here a minute and I’ll get a cold cloth for your forehead,” Scully offered as she went to leave Martha’s side.

“No, I’m fine, really,” Martha called for her to stop as she started to sit up.

“Should I go and get someone?” Scully asked concerned as she helped Martha back into her chair.

“No, I just…it’s just…” Martha looked at Scully and seemed to be looking for words to express herself.

“What?” Scully asked softly.

“Don’t go with Jacob,” Martha said as she closed her eyes and sat back in the chair.

“What?” Scully pretended to act confused.

“Promise me you won’t go with him alone in his buggy…you must promise me Miriam,” Martha said with tears in her eyes.

“Okay, okay, I promise,” Scully said softly. “But why?”

“I…I can’t say,” Martha said softly. “Just know that it’s for your own good, okay?”

“Okay,” Scully agreed.

“I will borrow the buggy from Luke one day and take you around, I promise you,” Martha said with some conviction.

“Okay, but I still don’t…”

“Jacob is not trustworthy,” Martha said elaborating. “Don’t go with him on your own anywhere.”

“Martha, does he…has he…” Scully began.

“Just know that he cannot be trusted,” Martha said as she sat more upright in her seat. Scully sensed the conversation was over.

“Maybe Luke will let me have the buggy Friday,” Martha said as she took a sip of her lemonade.

Scully noted that, although her voice had returned to its jovial nature, Martha’s hand was shaking as she held her glass.

Dana Scully stood in the yard carefully taking down the laundry she had hung to dry earlier in the day. Everything was dry, crisp and smelled of fresh summer air. It was moments like this that made Scully wish she lived in a house instead of an apartment. Air-dried laundry was a staple of her childhood and absent from her adulthood. There was beauty and simplicity about it that she had to admire.

“Can I help?” Mulder asked as he walked under the line between a couple of his shirts.

“Aren’t you supposed to be delivering milk?” Scully asked with a smile when she spotted him.

“That was done hours ago. I’ve been cleaning up the barn since,” he smiled at her as he took down a shirt.

“So that’s the smell,” she sneered at him and folded a pair of pants.

“Ouch!” He laughed as he placed a folded shirt in her basket.

In the afternoon light, his beard looked almost red in colour and Scully noted how handsome Mulder was with and

without facial hair. Then, she was suddenly struck with a memory or his tongue sliding along the inside of her mouth as this facial hair tickled her nose. She remembered his warm hand along the bare skin of her back, made slick with the water they were in. She could almost feel his heart pounding into her chest as he pressed himself against her.

He looked at her strangely, and she found herself blushing and willing her thoughts clean.

She smiled at him and continued to silently take down laundry. He pulled at a pair of pants and a pair of her underwear fell to the ground.

“Scully, how did these…?” He started.

“The Amish hang their unmentionables,” she said as she took them from his hand, “behind other clothes so they are not seen.”

“Got it,” he said nodding as he peered in another pair of pants. “Any pretty unmentionables I should look for like Easter eggs?”

“Not here,” she smiled at him and turned a little pinker.

“But somewhere?” He leered at her.

“Mulder you don’t ever…” she started and then stopped suddenly. “Fannie’s coming.”

She continued to take down their laundry and he stood and watched her. Men did not do laundry.

“Supper’s almost ready,” Fannie said as she joined them. “Are you almost done?”

“Only a few more things,” Scully said as she caught Mulder’s eye.

“I better go grab a bath,” Mulder said as he ducked under the clothesline and walked toward the house.

“I’m sorry I interrupted,” Fannie apologized to Scully.

“You didn’t,” Scully acknowledged. “Samuel was just telling me about his day.”

Fannie helped Scully take down some clothes.

“How are you feeling today?” Scully asked.

“I’m okay,” Fannie said softly. “A little tired.”

“You should take it easy,” Scully said. “I remember my first few weeks were hard.”

“How far along were you when…”

“Just over three months,” Scully said softly.

“I’m so sorry,” Fannie said softly. “You wanted one and lost it. I want nothing to do with this child, and I’m sure I’ll have a healthy baby to care for the rest of my life.”

“You won’t give it up?” Scully asked.

“Some days I think it’s the answer, that Gott thinks I should give a good baby to a good family. Other days, I think…I think I need to take care of my own.”

“Do you think you can love this child?” Scully asked.

Fannie took a deep breath and expelled it before speaking. “I want to love this child. It is innocent and one of Gott’s creatures. I try everyday to love this child and…and I hope that I won’t have to try anymore by the time it’s born.”

Scully nodded in acknowledgement. They took down the rest of the laundry in silence, each woman deep in her own thoughts.

“Come on,” Fannie said as she nodded toward the house. “You manne should be clean by now.”

“You didn’t smell him,” Scully laughed. “I think he needs to sit in that bath for a long time.”

Fannie laughed as Scully hauled the basket up onto her hip. The two women walked companionably back to the house.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Fox Mulder walked out onto the back porch and heard the screen door smack shut behind him. The sun was starting to fall in the sky and the purple colour making its way across the wide open space was a beautiful sight.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Scully asked as she walked out behind him, wrapping a shawl around her shoulders.

“That it is,” Mulder muttered as he turned to look at her.

She was beautiful with wisps of brown hair skirting around her jaw, her small shoulders pulled in tight to shut out the cool night air, and her pale skin was iridescent in the evening light. She was as beautiful as the sky before them.

“We better get walking if we want to be back before dark,” Scully said as she walked past him, unaware of the affect she had on him in that moment.

He followed her out into the yard and through to the field behind the house.

“So?” He asked. “How was your day with Martha?”

“Very telling,” Scully said mysteriously. “But first, tell me how we are getting away Wednesday.”

“Well, the story is, we’re visiting your elderly aunt Clara in Zoar, when in reality you and I are checking into the Courtyard Marriott in Canton…which also happens to be close to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

“Mulder…” She cautioned him.

“I’m just saying,” he smiled at her and put an arm around her shoulder. “If there’s time, we have options.”

“And we’re there for…?”

“One night, while we check in with the Bureau, do some Internet searches, and some record checks.”

“And watch mindless TV?” She asked wistfully.

“Any Golden Girls episode your heart desires,” he said, still not removing his arm from around her shoulder.

She laughed at his joke and walked in-step with him through the field.

“I found out more about Saunder Miller and Jonah Heise,” Mulder said.

“And?” She asked interested.

“Jonah Heise is the rebel of Charm, having lived with an English women for a couple of years outside of the community.”

“Really?!” Scully asked, shocked.

“He came back to take care of his family when his father died…apparently he still sees the girl and will return to her when his brothers can take over the farm.”

“That’s family dedication,” Scully said as she tried to wrap her head around it.

“Yeah,” Mulder agreed. “He’s surly because he’s unhappy and trapped, not because he’s a rapist.”

“And Saunder?”

“Now, he’s a little more interesting.” Mulder said as he walked with her. “He’s smart and he was dating Rebecca Hillar before…”

“One of the victims,” Scully interrupted.

“Before she was engaged to another man,” Mulder continued. “Then she was raped soon after she accepted the engagement.”

“Who did she become engaged to?”

“Benjamin Schwartz,” Mulder answered.

“Is he related to…?”

“Sara Schwartz is his sister-in-law,” Mulder answered before she was finished.

“Lots of links there,” Scully noted.

“And he fits some key areas of my profile. He’s above average intelligence, he’s the right age, he’s unattached, and has been turned down by a series of women.”

They both walked and thought about their two suspects as the sun started to dip down in the horizon.

“We better head back,” Scully noted as she saw the sun fall.

“Scully, I…” Mulder started as she turned within his arms.

“Yes?” She asked, as she swallowed hard and looked up at him in the dying light.

“I want you to know that I…that I’m not going to do anything or…or try anything with you while we’re in bed and…”

“Mulder, I…” she interrupted.

“No, let me finish,” he said as he held her shoulders. “I don’t know if you wanted what happened at the pond to even happen but…but I know I did.”

Her eyes grew wide at his admission.

“And,” he continued before he lost his courage. “And I think you may want the same thing but…but I’m not sure if you’re ready now. And, I want you to know…I’ll be here when you are.”

She was silent for a long time after he finished talking. He wasn’t sure if she was trying to let him down lightly, or was thinking of an excuse for why this wouldn’t work. What she did next shocked him.

Scully raised herself up on her toes and gently kissed him on the lips. It was a soft kiss, a kiss full of promise. When she pulled back he found his lips following her and had to stop himself from falling forward.

“We better get back,” she said as she took a step away from him.

“Wait a minute,” he said as he gently grabbed her arm. “What was that?”

She stopped and looked at him. “It was what it was, Mulder. I wanted to kiss you and I did. You’ve done just the same with me.”


“I think we should explore this, that’s all.” Scully said softly, ducking her head to avoid his eyes.

He sensed this was a big step for her, and he didn’t want to push. He also knew she didn’t really want to delve into the topic of emotions at this time; he could see it in her posture.

“Okay,” he said softly as he let go of her arm. “We’ll explore.”

She smiled up at him in response, he was not forcing the issue and that made her happy.

They started to walk back towards the house as the world around them darkened quickly. He put his arm around her shoulder and they walked in-step with each other.

“Martha didn’t want me to be alone with Jacob Lapp,” Scully said, breaking the silence. “She vehemently argued that I should not be alone with him…that he can’t be trusted.”

“She what?” Mulder asked interested.

“I told you how I sensed something between her and Jacob,” Scully started. “Mulder, she fainted when she thought I was going to be alone in a buggy with him touring the county.”

“She fainted?” He asked, surprised.

“Yeah, there’s more to it,” Scully sighed. “I think she’s another victim.”

“Did she say…?”

“No,” Scully confirmed. “When I pressed, she pulled away and closed down. But, but I think if Jacob is our rapist, Martha is another victim.”

“And do you think she’ll talk with you about…?”

“Mulder, she barely knows me,” Scully said sadly. “She’s opened up this much to me and maybe…maybe if she takes me around she may say some more. But, I don’t think she’ll say what happened with Jacob, if indeed anything did happen.”

“Scully, you know as a profiler, we were always taught to

trust our gut first.”

She looked up at him as they walked into the yard and toward the porch. “Well, my gut says she’s a victim.”

“Then explore it,” Mulder said as he helped her up the porch steps by taking her hand.

She smiled up at him when they reached the top step. “What are you up to tomorrow?”

“I’m helping the Miller’s re-build a fence in their north field,” Mulder smiled at her. “Saunder’s sister mentioned a bunch of men were going to help with it tomorrow and I volunteered.”

“How sweet of you,” Scully smiled deviously at him, knowing the real reason he had volunteered. “It’ll be a great chance to get to know the young Miller men.”

“Yes, it will,” Mulder smiled at her as he opened the back screen door to allow them entrance.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder woke to find Scully lying snuggled up next to his left side. Her brown hair was splayed over his chest and her two hands were tucked between their two frames. He wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to get used to waking up alone again. He carefully pulled his arm out from underneath her and the bed squeaked at he shifted to the side.

“You going to the Miller’s?” Scully asked groggily next to him.

He looked down to see her blue eyes starring, sleepily, back at him.

“After I help milk the cows,” Mulder said as he looked down at her.

“How are you doing with that?” She asked as she covered her mouth in a yawn.

“The milking part isn’t hard because it’s mechanized.” He said as he brushed a wayward strand of her hair to the side. “It’s the strong smell of manure and cow

flatulence first thing in the morning that hits you the hardest.”

“Cow flatulence?” She smirked up at him.

“Yeah,” he said rising to lean on an elbow above her form. “It’s contributing to the warming of our planet. I read a study where…”

“Trust you, Mulder, to woo a girl with stories of cow flatulence,” she snickered to herself.

“I didn’t know we was courtin’,” Mulder said in his best country accent.

“Well, you’ve already slept with me, so I don’t know if it’s courtin’ anymore,” Scully said matter-of-factly.

They both fell silent for a few moments. Him starring down at her, admiring how beautiful she was. And she, looking up at him, feeling uncomfortable under his scrutiny.

“What are we doing, Scully?” he asked thoughtfully as he ran the pad of his index finger over her brow. He had allowed the subject to drop last night, but found curiosity outweighed patience.

She swallowed hard and starred at him for a few beats before answering.

“I don’t know, Mulder. I don’t know,” she said in a whisper.

“And that scares you,” he said.

“It does,” she admitted with a slight smile. “But I’m willing to be scared for a while.”

He grinned down at her, happy with what she had said. She admitted that she was scared, which he already knew, and also, said she would embrace the fear instead of run from it. This was a turning point, as far as he was concerned.

He leaned down and softly kissed her on the lips. She, however, responded differently than he expected, and pushed the kiss further. What was meant to be a chaste parting-of-ways kiss, quickly turned into a passionate embrace that caused his whole body to react to her ministrations.

Both their tongues played between their mouths and he found his hands running up and down the sides of her flimsy cotton nightgown. He could feel the curve of her hip, the tightness of her thigh, the underside of her ass, and the suppleness of the side of her breast. Between that, and the wonderful things she was doing to his mouth, Mulder felt quite overwhelmed by all that was Scully.

Two short raps on their bedroom door caused the partners to pull apart from each other and snap their heads towards

the noise.

“We have to get going Samuel, if you want to help the Miller’s with their fence,” Abram said from the other side of the door.

“Sorry, Abram,” Mulder called as he got up from their bed looking dishevelled and guilty. “I’ll be down in one minute.”

“Okay,” Abram called from the other side of the door.

They heard footsteps retreating down the stairs.

“Oh, my god,” Scully said softly as she straightened her nightgown and patted down her hair. “I’m so sorry, I…”

“I’m not,” Mulder said with a smirk as he shucked on his pants and pulled a shirt from the closet.

“Mulder, we shouldn’t…we’re on a case and…” she started to whisper as she stood beside him.

“Scully, we are working as best we can under the circumstances, but we can’t run ideas off each other twenty-four hours a day, we’ll burn out and get nowhere.” He said softly to her as he pulled on his suspenders. “There was nothing wrong with what happened.”

“Then how come I feel so guilty?” She asked, honestly.

“It’s the Amish rubbing off on you,” Mulder said as he grasped her shoulder. “Are we okay?”

She looked at her feet and nodded her head.

“Good,” he said as he kissed the top of her head and started to leave the room.

“Make sure you ask Abram about the women missing from church on Sunday,” Scully reminded him.

“See?” Mulder said smiling at her. “We’re always working.”

He opened the door and walked out into the hall, shutting it behind him. Scully put one knee on the bed to get back under the covers when she heard a familiar squeak of their mattress. She moved slightly to one side and heard it squeak again.

“Oh, god,” she muttered to herself.

When they were embracing and kissing in bed, they were both anything but still. Abram would have heard all the squeaking going on from the other side of their door before he knocked. Scully’s head fell into her hands and she threw herself onto the bed with a large thump, and a very loud squeak.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder had been working for a couple of hours driving stakes into the ground at the edge of the Miller’s property. Twelve other men were working around him and the job would probably be wrapped up by lunch time. His arms were aching and his back was starting to get sore. He hoped they would be called for lunch soon so he could sit and relax for a bit. That, and he was starving after only eating a piece of bread this morning as he rushed out to the barn to help Abram. But, he wouldn’t trade his time with Scully this morning for any big breakfast.

So far, he’d had little opportunity to talk with Saunder Miller beside Saunder passing him items he needed and guiding the group through the process of building the fence. He seemed like an intense young man, easily frustrated, and very observant.

A bell rang in the distance and Mulder’s head snapped up. It was time for lunch and they were almost done the fence.

“Saunder, why don’t we finish the last two sections before we…” one man started to offer.

“No, no…it’s fine,” Saunder said shaking his head. “I’ll finish it myself later. Thanks everyone for all your help.”

All the men waved at him and neatly piled up their various tools then made their way toward the house where lunch would be served.

Mulder waited around until almost all the others had left so he could walk back with Saunder.

“It should hold up, pretty well,” Mulder started the conversation.

“As long as the cows behave themselves,” Saunder said as he turned to look at the fence.

“Are you going to take over the farm?” Mulder asked.

They walked a good twenty yards in silence before Saunder chose to answer the question. It was an act of control over the conversation they were having. A deliberate way domineering him, of showing Mulder who was in charge.

“It looks that way,” Saunder said finally.

“No farm of your own?” Mulder asked.

“Not all of us get wives as pretty as yours,” Saunder said as he glanced at Mulder.

Mulder looked at him suspiciously. There was something about the comment that didn’t sit well with him. Saunder was being very forward for an Amish man.

“I’m lucky to have Miriam,” Mulder nodded, not quite sure where the conversation was going.

“Yes, you are,” Saunder grinned. “But you don’t have your farm yet, now do you?”

The question was meant to throw Mulder off, question his ability as a husband and as a man in this community, to provide for his family.

“No, but in the spring we should. It’s been a long wait.” Mulder assured Saunder as they continued to walk.

“I also heard Miriam had a long wait for you too. You suffered from ‘fits’? Do they ever come back?”

“No,” Mulder said confidently. “Gott has cured me.”

“It would be a shame if she waited all that time to have you relapse. Imagine having to spend the rest of your life taking care of a cripple? Feeding him, changing his diapers…”

“I’m cured,” Mulder said as he tried to control his anger. “Miriam will have no such future.”

“Well that’s good to hear,” Saunder said as he starred off at a pasture. “But now she has to wait for her home…she’s a very patient woman, your Miriam” Saunder said, almost with a sneer.

Mulder would never have expected an Amish man to speak

to him this way. Saunder Miller was an overly-confident man, by Amish standards. He was an alpha male and he didn’t even attempt to hide it. It unnerved him more than he’d like to admit.

“I guess I’m worth the wait,” Mulder said not as jokingly as he’d like.

“Or maybe Norwalk doesn’t have many men,” Saunder joked, but Mulder could tell he was serious.

“That’s funny,” Mulder laughed in an exaggerated way.

Saunder grinned at him, obviously thinking he had the upper hand, and had proven Mulder a fool. He was obviously quite smart, and probably used to other Amish men backing down at this point.

“I heard you were involved with Rebecca Hillar at one time, what happened there? Isn’t she marrying someone else?” Mulder asked cattily.

He didn’t like Saunder’s attitude, and instead of playing nice, liked he’d planned; he decided to not pull any punches. It wasn’t his best investigative method, but at the moment it was the only one that felt natural.

“So you’ve heard about my luck with women?” Saunder noted as they continued to walk.

“It’s a small community and people talk,” Mulder said, trying to project Amish humility. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…”

“No, the rumours have been going around about Rebecca and me since the spring…” Saunder said thoughtfully.

“You didn’t marry,” Mulder added.

“No, she wasn’t right for me,” Saunder said confidently, as if it was his choice. “And now…now she’s damaged goods and her fiance is stuck with her.”

“Damaged goods?” Mulder asked, trying to seem innocent of the assaults.

“You haven’t heard?” Saunder asked as he looked at Mulder. “I guess you haven’t been here long enough…”

“Long enough for what?”

“You know about what happened to Fannie?” Saunder asked. “How she’s no longer…innocent?”

Mulder nodded his head and looked toward the ground, like he knew a good Amish man would.

“She’s not the only one…there have been others,” Saunder said as they approached a clearing. “Someone has been teaching the women in this community a lesson.”

“What kind of lesson?” Mulder asked as they approached the others, sad this conversation was ending so quickly. He wanted more information from Saunder than time would allow.

“To know their place,” Saunder said with authority as he surveyed the group before them. “Keep an eye on that pretty wife of yours Samuel; make sure she knows her place.”

Mulder stopped dead in his tracks and watched as Saunder walked over to the long table and took a seat in the middle surrounded by other men. Saunder Miller was not what he expected and he was quite bothered by what he had discovered.

Saunder was a misogynist who thought the women in the community were being ‘taught a lesson’ by being raped. He saw a woman he once wanted to marry as ‘damaged goods’ that was now someone else’s problem. He also challenged Mulder’s manhood and questioned his relationship with his wife all in the same conversation. Saunder Miller was definitely a piece of work, and someone that they definitely needed to investigate further.

“Samuel are you having something to eat?” Abram asked as he walked to his side. “I know you didn’t get breakf…”

“I’m not hungry, anymore,” Mulder said with a groan. “I’ll wait for you in the wagon.”

Abram watched as Mulder walked to the wagon, eager to get as far away from Saunder Miller as he could. Mulder felt dirty just having participated in the conversation with him.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully rolled out cookie dough on the kitchen table as Fannie stirred another batch next to her. They had been working companionably for much of the day making cookies for a church picnic that was happening Saturday. Ruth was busy outside working in her garden, weeding.

The back door opened and Mulder walked inside. He looked slightly flushed.

“Hey,” Scully called to him. “You’re back early.”

“We need to talk,” Mulder said as he walked up beside her and grabbed her by the elbow.

She looked up at him and saw the distress in his eyes. He was upset about something, and she wasn’t sure what.

“Okay, let me just…” Scully began.

“Now, Miriam,” Mulder said low and with intent.

Fannie’s eyes flashed on Scully and Scully returned the puzzled look. Mulder was acting strangely and neither of them was sure why. He was still standing closely next to her, not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Then, she felt his breath on her neck close to her ear.

“Please,” he said softly. He then stepped away from her and walked out the kitchen door.

Scully wiped her flour-covered hands on her apron and silently followed him out of the kitchen and onto the back steps. Fannie dropped her head, suddenly quite interested in what she was mixing.

“You mind telling me what’s the matter?” She asked as soon as they were off the porch.

“Not here,” Mulder said gesturing with his head to Ruth weeding nearby.

They walked away from the yard and into a nearby field. He, walking closely next to her, protectively. She was getting more and more anxious with each passing minute. Something was wrong, and he felt she was in danger.

“I think we need to go see Aunt Clara a night early,” Mulder finally broke the silence.

“What? Why?” Scully asked confused.

“Saunder Miller has proven himself to be a worthy suspect.”

“And how does that warrant leaving early?” She asked as she crossed her arms over her chest and stopped walking.

“We’re going to have to pull everything available on him and Jacob Lapp,” Mulder said as he kept walking. “It’s going to take some time.”

“But we won’t get into Canton until dark, it’s really not a lot of extra time to speak with Skinner and…” she started as she began to follow him again.

“Scully,” Mulder said as he stopped to face her. “This Saunder guy really creeped me out.”

Scully looked at his face and saw something she hadn’t seen in a while when investigating, Mulder was not feeling very sure of himself.

“What’s wrong?” She asked as she took his hand.

“I only had one chance to speak with him today,” Mulder said as he dropped her hand and ran it through his hair. “He says he broke it off with Rebecca Hillar and that it’s a good thing, because now she’s ‘damaged goods’ and her fiance’s problem.”

“He said that to you?” Scully asked, shocked.

“Scully, there were no Amish sensibilities in him when we spoke.” Mulder said as he met her eyes. “He tried to be dominant the entire time we talked, he even walked for a long time not answering my questions so he could show me who’s boss.”

“Alpha male,” Scully muttered.

“I pretended I only knew about Fannie’s assault, and he, unabashedly, told me about the others and how they were being taught a lesson, to know their place.”

Scully stood open-mouthed before him. She had been quite confident Jacob was their primary suspect, now things were starting to change.

“He…he questioned my ability as a man to provide for my family, and he questioned our marriage.”

“He what?!” She asked, wondering if their cover had been blown.

“Not that way,” Mulder said shaking his head and walking in a tight circle before her. “He said it would be a shame if my ‘fits’ came back and you had to feed me and change my diapers for the rest of your life.”

“Oh my god,” Scully sighed as she ran a hand up and down his arm. “How did you handle that?”

“I said you wouldn’t have that life,” Mulder said as he played with his lip. “I challenged him at some points and backed away at others. But, I didn’t seem to ever throw him off, which was very unnerving.”

“What do you make of him?”

“He’s smart and determined to show his prowess in everything he does. He’s also cool, calm, and collected. Very calculating in what he says and does. He keeps his emotions in check and doesn’t let anything get to him.”

“He sounds like a good serial rapist.” Scully noted.

Mulder looked up at her blue eyes, which always seemed to turn a darker shade when she was upset. He wanted to not tell her the rest, but knew he had to.

“He…he also talked about how pretty you are and how lucky I am,” Mulder started slowly. “It was almost as if he wanted to use you to make me feel inadequate.”

“If he’s trying to dominate, it’s a good tactic,” she noted. “Make the man feel unworthy of the life he has.”

“He also told me to keep an eye on you, and make sure you know your place.” Mulder said as he watched for her reaction. “If he’s our rapist, it’s a threat.”

Scully swallowed hard and licked her upper lip before meeting his eyes. “Maybe that works in our favour.”

✦ ⸎ ✦

Despite Mulder’s desire to leave early, Scully convinced him to stay the night and leave first thing the next morning. It made much more sense then travelling by horse and buggy in the evening and not being able to make contact with the people they needed to at the Bureau.

So that is how, she found herself being shifted off his warm body at 4 o’clock in the morning.

“Sorry, I have to go,” he murmured in her ear as he slid out from underneath her.

“I’ll get up too,” she mumbled as she opened her eyes.

“You don’t have to. It’ll be over two hours before I’m done the milking with Abram,” Mulder said as he smiled down at her and sat up.

“I know, but I can make you breakfast and I should pack up some of our stuff…”

“It’s all in the trunk of the rental, remember?” Mulder reminded her.

“I forgot,” she yawned as she sat up in bed next to him.

“You tossed and turned a lot in your sleep last night,” Mulder said as he tucked a strand of her brown hair behind her ear.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I guess I was just thinking about the case.”

“Once we pull everything on Jacob and Saunder it’ll hopefully fall into place a little better.”

“Hopefully,” she sighed as she turned and dropped her feet onto the cold floor.

“You know,” Mulder said as he stood to find some clothes. “You sometimes talk in your sleep too.”

She blushed a deep red colour and turned to look at him. “I’m sorry, I hadn’t realized I was.”

“So, you know you do?” Mulder asked, interested.

“I have been told I do. It’s usually when I get stressed that it happens.” Scully said as she selected a shirt, skirt and underwear from a drawer. “Mulder, can you turn around?”

“Sure,” he said turning his back to her. “Do you want to know what you were saying?”

“No, I don’t think I do.” She said as she started to take off her underwear and put on fresh panties.

He paused for a moment, wondering if he should take it further. Their relationship was so new, he didn’t want to scare her. After a minute of introspection he decided to push forward.

“So I can’t ask where ‘there’ was that made you so happy?” Mulder asked.

She froze mid-motion, he skirt gripped in her hands, and looked at his back, unsure of what to say next. She closed her eyes and silently chastised herself for being so vocal while she slept.

“You know, I’m just kidding right?” Mulder laughed as he turned slightly to the side, still not seeing her, but not completely turned anymore. “You were actually talking about different types of cookies.”

“I was what?!” She asked relieved as she then continued to pull up her skirt.

“All that cookie making is haunting you in your sleep, I think,” Mulder laughed.

She caught her breath and thanked God for small miracles.

“God, Mulder, you scared me,” she snickered as she changed her undershirt.

“What scared you? The sex talk, or the fact that I knew all your secrets?”

She paused again, not sure if she should be honest. But then, deciding she couldn’t be anything but, answered him.

“Maybe a bit of both,” she answered as she pulled on a shirt. “Okay, you can turn around.”

He stood up and turned to face her as she was doing up her buttons. He smiled when he saw she was not upset with his joke.

“I forgot about the suitcases. It’ll be a nice break from all this,” she said gesturing at her long skirt.

“I don’t know, I’ve kind grown to like the look,” Mulder said as he walked over to his dresser.

“You have?” She asked, shocked as she looked down at herself again.

“It’s very soft and feminine,” Mulder said quietly as he selected a blue shirt from those hanging in the closet. “It’s also simple; no makeup or coiffed hair…it’s just you.”

Scully didn’t know how to respond to him. She wasn’t sure if he was complimenting her or insulting her. If he liked this ‘look’ what didn’t he like about how she normally looked?

“You’re beautiful either way,” Mulder said meeting her eyes and sensing her worry. “I guess I just haven’t seen you like this much and…and it’s nice.”

Scully ducked her head and nodded. “I’ll get you and Abram some breakfast.”

Scully was never good at taking compliments so instead, she walked from the room and shut the door quietly behind her.

Mulder continued to get dressed in their room. He had to milk the cows and then they were off to live as themselves for two days so they could work on the leads they had gathered.

✦ ⸎ ✦

By 10 am Mulder and Scully found themselves bidding Abram farewell until the next evening. Their car was parked at a golf course that was about an hour’s horse and buggy ride outside of Charm. Their thinking was, no Amish would work or visit the course, so it was a good place to do a switch. They quickly made their way inside and got changed in the golf-pro washrooms. The few people they encountered took no notice of them and just went on with their business.

Once dressed, Dana Scully looked at herself in the mirror and was a little startled at who looked back. She was wearing casual pants and a golf shirt, but her skin was slightly tan, her hair soft and loose, and her posture relaxed. She usually looked tight, pale and stiff when investigating; always on edge. This was a picture of herself as an investigator she hadn’t ever seen before and she wasn’t sure what to make of it.

She walked out to their car to find Mulder already sitting in the driver’s seat looking odd in his khaki’s and golf shirt with his Amish beard. She got in the car grinning from ear to ear at the strangeness of it all.

“I think I might trim it a little at the hotel,” Mulder said as he read her thoughts.

“You shouldn’t,” she said as she did up her seatbelt. “Unless it’s incredibly unruly Amish men don’t trim.”

“Does that mean you’re not going to shave your legs?” He asked smiling at her and raising an eyebrow.

“I’ve actually been thinking about that. No one has really seen them but you,” she noted as he started the car. “So I probably could, but then I’d have to smuggle a razor into the house and clean up any evidence of shaving after each bath…”

“So, it’s not worth it,” Mulder finished her thoughts.

“Not really,” she groaned. “And it’s gotten beyond the itchy prickly stage so…”

“You’re legs are actually quite soft,” Mulder said distractedly as he manoeuvred through the parking lot.

“Uh, thanks,” Scully said as she turned a few shades of red. “Once the hair grows in long enough it’s really not too noticea…how would you know?”

“When you…when you lay on top of me,” Mulder said turning to look at her turning beet red beside him, “your nightgown sometimes rides up and when I have to move you off of me in the morning…”

Scully nodded her head in acknowledgement, hoping he wouldn’t continue further with his explanation. Mulder took the hint and went silent.

They spent the next few minutes navigating their way from the golf course and onto the right road to Canton. It was only about forty minutes away so they could get started on things by lunch.

“I’m going to give Skinner a quick call…” Scully started as she pulled out a charged cell phone.

“And then you need to call Alex Cowan, he’s the local Agent who’ll be meeting us in Canton. His number should also be programmed in.”

“Should I call him first? Give him a chance to…”

“No, let Skinner know we’re fine and see if he has any info to share first,” Mulder said as he drove down the lonely stretch of road.

Scully dialled a number on the phone. After a few rings, someone answered.

“Special Agent Alex Cowan,” said the husky voice on the other side of the phone.

“Agent Cowan,” Scully said looking straight ahead and not at Mulder. “This is Agent Dana Scully. I’m with Agent Mulder on our way to Canton to meet up with you and…”

“What time will you be in?” Agent Cowan interrupted her as the line cracked.

“We’ll be at the hotel in about forty minutes,” Scully answered.

“I’ll get you rooms at the front desk for you both and meet you in your partner’s room to go over the case.” He said distractedly on the other side of the line. “Call me when you get to the hotel, and I’ll give you the room number.”

“Sounds perfect,” Scully nodded.

“Oh, do you want me to get us some lunch or…”

“We’ll figure it out when we get in,” Scully said. “We want to get our hands on some information first.”

“See you then Agent Scully,” he said just before he disconnected the phone.

Scully clapped the phone shut in her hand and looked over at her partner. She knew the hamster was on the wheel and wondered if he was actually going to say anything to her.

“Agent Cowan, huh?” He said breaking the silence.

“Yep,” she answered.

They drove on, in silent agreement that outside of Charm, Mulder wasn’t going to order her around.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Alex Cowan opened the hotel room door with a flourish and greeted the agents with a tense smile.

“Glad to meet you, Agents,” he said as he shook each of their hands. He was a large, bulky man with a well-trimmed moustache and glasses.

“Nice to meet you Agent Cowan,” Mulder said as he put their two bags down in the corner.

“Oh, before I forget,” Agent Cowan said as he reached deep into his pant pocket. “Here is your key Agent Scully.”

“Thank you,” Scully smiled tightly up at him as she took the key card from his hand.

“Agent Mulder, yours is on the dresser,” Agent Cowan gestured toward the dresser with the TV on it.

“Uh, thanks,” Mulder said as he looked in the direction indicated. “It’ll be weird having all this space to myself.”

“Conditions cramped at the farm?” Agent Cowan asked as he walked over to a file sitting on a table.

“You…you could say that,” Mulder smirked across the room

at the Agent’s back while Scully shuffled her feet.

“Well, hopefully it won’t be for too much longer,” Agent

Cowan said absently as he walked back towards them holding a file.

“I don’t mind,” Mulder muttered.

“Here’s the file on the rape victims,” Alex Cowan said to them both. “I pulled everything on the women to see if there are any links.”

“And?” Scully asked.

“And there are a ton,” Alex Cowan said as he shook his head. “It’s a small community and it looks like everyone is related to each other. They all inter-marry and pretty much every victim is somehow tied to the others.”

“Yeah, they are tight knit,” Scully said as she took the file from him.

“You have any suspects yet?” Alex Cowan asked as he placed his hands on his hips.

“Yeah, Jacob Lapp and Saunder Miller,” Mulder said as he glanced over Scully’s shoulder at the file. “We didn’t get a file this big before we started the case.”

“No, we only had the basics,” Alex Cowan admitted. “Since you’ve been undercover we’ve managed to get more information about the women. I thought you’d want to see it.”

“Thanks,” Scully said absently as she flipped pages.

“I’ll get the names into the database and see what comes up,” Alex Cowan said as he walked toward a laptop on the table. “Jacob Lapp and Saunder Miller?”

“Uh, huh,” Mulder mumbled as he continued to read over Scully’s shoulder.

“Beulah,” Scully muttered as she flipped a page.

“Beulah and Amos King sold their farm two months after she was raped and Abram didn’t know where they went to,” Mulder said as he read. “Looks like they moved to New York state.”

“And she’s listed as receiving rape counselling from the Beacon Clinic,” Scully read aloud. “At least someone is getting help.”

“She’s the only one, I think,” Mulder muttered as he reached around her to flip a page. “Anything on Annie Glick?”

“She’s listed as staying with her relatives in Brimfield,” Scully read. “No mention of any type of medical help or psychological counselling.”

“She’s technically still engaged to Daniel Beiler,” Mulder said. “But she hasn’t been back to Charm in five months.”

“With no telephones or internet, are they still engaged?” Scully asked.

“According to Abram, Daniel is expecting her to come back for the wedding after the harvest.”

“He is?” Scully asked, surprised.

Mulder just shrugged his shoulders at her.

“Why don’t you two have a seat?” Alex Cowan looked over at the Agents. “We’re here for a while.”

Mulder looked over at the Agent who was busy at the computer and then down at Scully who was still reading the file before them. They had hardly uttered two words to Agent Cowan beyond information about the case.

“Have you heard from our AD?” Mulder asked.

“Yeah, he wants your reports filed before you go to bed tonight,” Alex said as he stood and grabbed his coat.

“Sounds like him,” Scully muttered.

“I’m heading out to get us some food,” Alex said as he approached them. “Any requests?”

Mulder looked down at Scully and she nodded her head in agreement. “Some pizza?”

“Pizza?” Alex asked, unsure.

“Yeah, pepperoni, bacon, green olives, and mushrooms.” Mulder clarified.

“No problem,” Alex said as he reached for the doorknob. “Anything else?”

“Maybe some salad?” Scully asked.

Agent Cowan nodded. “Get yourselves settled. I’ll be back in about an hour.”

He left the room without another word.

Mulder and Scully looked at each other and the file before them.

“Take off your shoes Scully, and hop up on the bed.” Mulder said.

“Excuse me?” She asked, surprised by his request.

“We…we can spread out the files there,” Mulder clarified.

“Oh, okay,” Scully smiled to herself.

“Get your mind out of the gutter,” he leered at her. “Unless…you know, we have an hour before he gets back…”

She smacked him with the file folder in her hand and walked toward the bed.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully lay awake in her large, comfy queen-sized bed, unable to sleep. It was almost 1 am and she, by all accounts, should be sleeping well. She’d been up since 4 am, reading files and talking on the phone most of the day, and had not even made it to this room until midnight. But here she was, lying in bed after a warm bath, and…nothing.

The information they had retrieved about the other victims, as well as their two suspects had shed some light on their case a little more. Their rape victims: Bertha Kitzen, Sarah Schwartz, Rebecca Hillar, Annie Glick, Beulah King, and Fannie Miller had a lot in common. They all ranged in age from 20-34 years old and attended the same Amish school; most of them at the same time. Some of them were friends, all of them had belonged to the local quilting bee, some were even related through marriage or were cousins. None of the women had lived away from the community, and by all accounts, were ‘good Amish women’. But, there were subtleties about each of them that made them interesting.

The first victim, Bertha Kitzen, was notably smart. She earned straight A’s in school and tried to start a community newsletter when she was in her early twenties. The newsletter was met with a lot of opposition within the community and, although she published only 4 in total, it was stopped by the bishop as being un-Amish. The newsletter was not controversial in any respect mainly publishing recipes and announcements, but the fact that it was being operated by a women seemed to be the problem. She was engaged to Isaiah Fehr until she was raped one week before her wedding while walking home from a friend’s house. Her fiance broke off the engagement and she has since carried on in the

community as if nothing had happened. Scully remembered her stern face from the church service and noted that Bertha almost looked as if she dared anyone to talk to her.

The second victim, Sarah Schwartz, was the only married woman who was still living in the community. She was married to Peter Schwartz and the mother of three children. Sarah was a woman who had the audacity to want to continue teaching at the Amish school house after she had her first child. She petitioned the trustees to keep her job and was refused. In her file, there was an application for a teaching position with the local public school, but she failed to accept any job that was offered to her. Sarah’s attack happened while she was at home baking one afternoon. Her children played in the snow outside the entire time the attack took place. Of all the women, Sarah’s assault seemed to be the most brutal in that she suffered a broken jaw as a result of the rape and had to stay at the local hospital for several days.

The third victim, Rebecca Hillar, broke off her engagement to Saunder Miller only to become engaged to Benjamin Schwartz soon afterwards. Benjamin Schwartz is Sarah Schwartz’s brother-in-law and the husband of the previous rape victim. Rebecca was raped soon after she became engaged to Benjamin. By all accounts Rebecca’s only defiant act in her life, was breaking off her engagement to Saunder Miller. It is unclear in any document why the engagement was nullified; that was something they would have to discover for themselves. Rebecca Hillar was raped in her bedroom at night, while her parents and siblings slept down the hall.

The fourth victim was Annie Glick who was attacked in a field near her home. She was outside gathering firewood from a stockpile when she was grabbed from behind, forced face down in the snow, and raped. Annie stayed outside a long time after her rape and her father found her half-naked and bleeding in the snow more than an hour later, suffering from exposure. Annie left the community to live with her Aunt almost immediately, and there is no record of any contact between she and her family since. According to Abram, she’s still engaged to Daniel Beiler and neither party has made any move to call off the wedding. There is no record of any issue with Annie within the community but her fiance Daniel was shunned by the community a year ago for dishonourable behaviour. Mulder would need to find out what the cause was.

Beulah King was the fifth victim of the local rapist. She and her husband Amos, moved away from Charm quickly after the rape happened and re-settled in New York State. According to the records she has been in rape counselling since the move and has not had contact with the community in Charm outside of occasional letters to her parents. Beulah King was raped in the school house where she was serving as the community’s teacher. She had stayed after school until it was dark one night when someone grabbed her as she was exiting, forced her inside, and raped her on the floor of the coat room. She has yet to go back to teaching since moving away.

The last victim, Fannie Miller, was the youngest and only unattached woman of the group. She was raped one night in her family’s barn while she was checking on one of her hens that seemed ill. She, like the others, was grabbed from behind, and assaulted. Fannie’s only act of defiance within the community was refusing a proposal by Heinrich Weibe, a man ten years her senior whose wife died during childbirth last year. Scully would have to ask her about Heinrich the next time they spoke.

The similarities between the victims as strong women who, at one time or another, challenged the authority of the community were of particular interest to Scully. The only woman who didn’t fit was Annie Glick, who seemed to have no black marks on her record as a good Amish woman. Annie was no longer part of the community, so Scully would be unable to glean any information from her. Agent Cowan would have to set up an interview with her and see if there was any more information they could get.

All of the women filed reports, refused any counselling offered by the officers on the case, and reported that they didn’t know who their attacker was. No one had much to offer in the way of description, except that it was a man, he was strong, he overpowered them easily, and that they were completely caught off guard. All women were vaginally penetrated while lying face down and all reported that they couldn’t move at all during the attack. All women had refused rape kits so no DNA was collected by police. Fannie Miller was the only woman, known at this time, who was pregnant as a result of her rape.

Dana Scully tossed and turned in her sleep, unable to get comfortable or take her mind off the case. But, eventually, sleep captured her.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder found himself waking automatically at 4 am. It hadn’t taken him long to fall asleep after Scully left his room around midnight, but he had not had a restful night. The sheets were twisted around his body and a pillow was rammed against his side when he woke up, indicating a night of tossing and turning.

He didn’t want to admit it, but he slept better with her. He knew waking up alone was his reality, but he enjoyed the sojourn from it for a little while. She was warm and soft and pliant next to him each and every night, but he also realized those nights were numbered and he shouldn’t get too used to it.

He was happy with the direction their relationship seemed to be headed, but didn’t kid himself into thinking it would be a path without bumps along the way. She was willing to explore the possibilities with him but, once they were back to their old lives with all the same problems, would she feel the same way?

He rose from his bed and walked toward the bathroom, stripping off his clothes as he went. The thought of a nice, warm shower, his first since starting this case, made him smile despite the early hour. He relieved the pressure on his bladder and turned on the hot water as steam filled the room.

As he got in and lathered up his tired muscles he thought of the information they had gathered about the victims and the suspects. The women were all raped in different locations but with the same method, a surprise attack. They were all assaulted from behind to cut down on their ability to identify their attacker. According to all the women, their attacker said nothing to them during the assault and left as quickly as he arrived.

What they found out about Saunder Miller and Jacob Lapp was also telling.

Saunder Miller at age 21, had been accepted by Ohio State into their Psychology Programme, despite his lack of a high school education. According to the entrance exams he took, he scores were off the charts and the College had accepted him based on those alone. Saunder had not accepted the offer of admission and had applied to no other programmes or schools since. Saunder had a library card and their records indicate that he visited the stacks once a week, on Wednesdays usually, to take out and return books. He read books on various psychological topics as well as biographies about a host of different people including Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong Il, and Michael Collins. Besides his engagement to Rebecca Hillar, which lasted three months before being broken off, there was no record of his involvement with any other women in the community. Saunder’s father had been the Bishop of the community for the last 15 years. His job running his family’s farm allowed him a somewhat flexible schedule where he could come and go as he pleased and without question. There are no records that indicate he had left town during the last year.

Jacob Lapp had been interviewed by cops as a teenager. He was questioned by police in the mutilation and death of several cats

and dogs in the nearby English community when caught one night in an alley assaulting a cat. He was released into his parent’s custody and, although cats and dogs still were mutilated several more times, was never questioned about his involvement again. The police never made any arrests. As a child, he was sent home from school for fighting on a regular basis, and eventually quit school in grade six. Jacob studied butchery under his father and soon became involved in the family business, first by delivering the meat, then chopping up cuts of meat to sell and trade to the local community. Two and a half years ago he became engaged to Martha, the woman who is now married to his brother Luke. She broke off the engagement and married his brother two weeks later; something not usually done in the Amish community. Then, last year he was engaged to Marike Janz for a month before she broke off the engagement as well. Mulder noted that Scully would have to meet this woman and get some details from her. Jacob’s delivery schedule made him a very mobile member of the Amish community in Charm.

Mulder reached to turn off the water and caught off guard by a cramp in his shoulder. The muscle tensed and failed to release when he attempted to stretch it out. He stood for a while letting the hot water sluice over his shoulder, hoping it would ease the taunt muscle that was hurting him so much. Finally, he gave up, resigning himself to a day with a sore shoulder.

He towelled off and walked naked to the small suitcase that was open on the chair in his room. He pulled a pair of jeans and a t-shirt out along with some boxers and got dressed. Despite the fact that it wasn’t 5 am yet, there was no way he could fall back asleep with the case on his mind.

He fell into the nearby chair and reached for the file, his wet hair dripping on the cover as he leaned over it to look for more clues.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“Was it nice to get a good night’s sleep?” Agent Alex Cowan asked Scully as she walked into Mulder’s room the next morning.

“It was weird not having to get up so early,” Scully noted as she glanced at Mulder engrossed in a file. He hadn’t even acknowledged her presence yet.

“And the air conditioning’s got to be a treat,” Alex Cowan smiled down at her, his mood obviously better today.

“It actually felt a little cold,” Scully said, still eyeing Mulder. “But, I survived.”

“I was telling Agent Mulder,” Alex Cowan said as he walked into the room a little more. “I got a call from your AD this morning and he’s pleased with your progress on the case.”

“I’m surprised he’s not pushing for an arrest already,” Scully smiled at him as she sat on the edge of the bed.

“Apparently, this is the first time any police agency has been successful in embedding themselves in an Amish community,” Agent Cowan noted. “The Bureau wants you to do this right, not fast.”

“I’d like to make an arrest before another woman is assaulted,” Scully said as she chanced another glance at Mulder, who had not involved himself in the discussion yet.

“Well, we all hope for that,” Agent Cowan agreed. “But we also hope a successful arrest will lead to further co-operation between the Amish and the police.”

“Did you see this?” Mulder interrupted their conversation and rose from his seat.

“What?” Scully asked, rising to meet him.

He looked over at her and was surprised to find her in his room. He, apparently, had been so engrossed in the file he had not noticed her arrival.

“Hey, Scully,” he smiled sloppily at her. “Sleep okay?”

“Fine,” she said as she knitted her brows. “What did you find?”

“Remember when Jacob was picked up by the police for harming animals?” Mulder asked as he showed Scully and Agent Cowan the file.

“Yeah, why?” Agent Cowan asked.

“Look at the signature of the officer who released him to his parents,” Mulder pointed to the file.

“Silas Miller was the officer,” Mulder said.

“So?” Agent Cowan asked.

“So, look at the Miller family tree,” Mulder said turning a few pages. “Silas is Saunder’s uncle and a former member of the Amish community.”

“When did he leave?” Scully asked as she jockeyed to look closer at the file.

“Fifteen years ago,” Mulder looked at her pointedly. “Around the same time Saunder’s father became the bishop.”

“Is he still on the local force?” Scully asked.

“Yep,” Mulder smiled up at her.

“Does he know about our operation?” Scully asked Agent Cowan.

“Local PD is not in on the investigation,” Agent Cowan informed them. “But I’ll make sure it gets red-flagged that no information is to be divulged to them.”

“Did he investigate any of the rapes?” Scully asked Mulder.

“His name didn’t come up as the investigating officer but…” Mulder started.

“But on such a small force, pretty much everyone is involved in the investigation,” Agent Cowan finished his thought.

Both Mulder and Scully nodded their heads in agreement.

“We need to find out if he’s still involved in the community and his brother’s family,” Mulder noted as he closed the file.

“This case just got a whole lot more involved,” Agent Cowan noted as he took out his cell phone to place a call.

Mulder and Scully exchanged looks, knowing they would have to be much more careful from now on while investigating.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Later that day, Scully found herself again, bumping along a dirt road towards the Fisher farm. Agent Cowan was going to try and set up an interview with Annie Glick and find out more about Beulah King. He was also assigned with the task of digging up information on Silas Miller and deciphering if he was somehow involved in the case. They were scheduled to return to Canton and meet up with him again in 9 days.

“So, how did it feel to be English again?” Abram smiled over at the pair.

“It was odd at first,” Mulder answered. “But then we started pulling apart the case and it all became normal really quickly.”

“It was great to have files and computer access again, so we could look up the information we needed,” Scully added.

“You English and your computers,” Abram laughed as they pulled into his driveway. “It’s like the world didn’t exist before them.”

“It certainly makes investigating easier,” Mulder smiled at him.

“And, did you find anything?” Abram asked.

Mulder and Scully exchanged glances. As much as Abram was helping them with the investigation, they didn’t want to taint his view of other community members with the information they were privy to.

“We’re getting closer, but no, Abram, we don’t know who did this to Fannie and the other women,” Mulder answered for them.

“But, you will know?” Abram asked, slightly nervous.

“As soon as we know, we’ll make an arrest,” Mulder assured him.

Abram smiled at the two agents as they pulled up in front of his house. Fannie and Ruth greeted them from the front door.

“How’s your Aunt Clara?” Fannie asked Scully as soon as she got to the top of the steps.

“She manages just fine,” Scully smiled at her. “I think she was glad for the company though, Samuel did some repairs around her house for her.”

“That was nice of you, Samuel,” Ruth smiled at him.

“She needs the eaves troughs replaced and I’ve ordered the parts,” Mulder said to the group. “They should be ready in the next week or two and then we’ll go back so I can replace them for her.”

“You are keeping busy,” Fannie smiled at him.

“Idle hands…” Mulder noted as he lifted off their bags and carried them into the house.

“You’re late getting back,” Ruth said to Abram.

“I am,” Abram agreed as he looked at the setting sun. “And I’m also hungry. Any food left?”

Ruth smiled at him and walked ahead of him to put out his plate.

“After you,” Abram gestured to Scully and Fannie.

They entered the house as the world around them quickly darkened, and lit the lamps inside the house.

“Miriam, do you and Samuel need to eat still?” Fannie asked.

“No, we’re fine,” Scully said taking her arm. “Just tired from the journey.”

“You go and unpack,” Fannie said as she patted her hand. “I’ll keep them company.”

“Thanks,” Scully smiled as she released Fannie and walked towards the stairs.

When she got to their room she found Mulder massaging his sore shoulder and fighting his drooping eyes.

“You look tired,” she said as she walked into the room.

“I couldn’t sleep past four and we weren’t in bed until midnight…” he trailed off as he continued to wearily rub his shoulder.

“What’s the matter with your shoulder?” Scully asked as she walked in front of him and stood between his long legs.

“I pulled it or something, in the shower this morning,” he sighed as he dropped his hand from it. “It wasn’t so bad until the bumpy buggy ride and then I think it got inflamed again.”

“Let me see,” Scully said as she started to unbutton his shirt. She lowered it over his shoulder and down his arm. She started to tap certain spots and poke them with her thumb asking which areas hurt the most. Mulder winced through the exam and found himself pulling away from her touch before she even got to a certain spot.

“You’ve strained your trapezius muscle,” she ascertained. “Probably from all of the labour-intensive work you have been doing without proper stretching before and after.”

“It’s not like Suzanne Somers is leading a warm-up out there,” Mulder winced as she kneaded the muscle.

“Have you tried stretching it?” She asked as he rested his forehead against her stomach and let her rub his shoulder.

“It helped a little,” he winced into her.

“Have you tried cold?” She asked and felt him nod his head ‘yes’ against her.

“I can make you a salve of chamomile and mint, that’ll help a little,” she sighed as she continued to rub. “Maybe Ruth has some…”

“Miriam, are you sure you and Samuel don’t want…” Ruth stopped short when she saw the two agents before her.

Scully stepped away from Mulder and turned to face Ruth who was now standing at their doorway.

“I’m sorry…I…” Ruth stumbled over her words as she looked at a half-naked man and his police partner before her.

“Ruth,” Scully began. “Samuel has injured his shoulder, do you have any salve that would…”

“I do,” Ruth said as she pulled back from the door. “If you want to come with me, I’ll get you some.”

She left their doorway abruptly and Scully turned to look at Mulder who was pulling on his blue shirt. Scully quickly followed her downstairs and into the pantry.

“Use this,” said Ruth as she handed Scully a jar. “I’ll boil some water and you can get him tea that will also help.”

“Thanks,” said Scully.

“Shut the door too,” Ruth said as she met her eyes. “I don’t want Fannie to see that and then find out later…”

Scully nodded her head in agreement. Ruth was worried her granddaughter’s purity would be further compromised by the fact that one day she would know they weren’t married and behaving as such.

She returned to Mulder and carefully shut the door behind her.

“Everything okay?” Mulder asked when he saw her return.

“Yeah, everything’s fine,” said Scully as she took the lid off the jar and smelled the salve inside.

“What is it?” Mulder asked as he looked at her scrunched up face.

“Smells like mint and possibly wormwood,” Scully said as she

stuck her fingers inside and took out a glop of it.

She climbed up on the bed and kneeled behind him. He lowered his shirt and she immediately started to rub in the ointment. If he hadn’t been so sore, this would have been a highly erotic moment.

“How’s that feel?” She asked Mulder as she rubbed.

“Sore,” he winced. “But a good sore.”

Her soft but strong hands kneaded his skin as her hair gently whisked over his skin every once in a while. Despite the strong smelling ointment he could still smell her sweet scent behind him and feel her breasts brush up against his back occasionally as she leaned in to rub a little harder.

“Good,” she said softly as she continued to gently work the muscle.

After ten minutes of massaging she pulled her hands from his

shoulder and climbed off the bed. “I’ll go and get you that tea. Lie down and relax the shoulder in the meantime.”

Mulder watched as she walked from the room to wash the salve off her hands. He laid back on their bed and starred at the ceiling above him. His shoulder ached less, but the lower half of him ached more. He shifted himself and tried to will his erection to dissipate before she returned.

✦ ⸎ ✦

The next day, instead of going for a buggy ride with Martha under the guise of showing her the community, Scully found herself at Martha’s house setting up for a church picnic. It was supposed to be at the Zook farm but Mrs. Zook was under the weather and, at the last minute, it was changed to Martha’s farm.

Scully and Fannie found themselves labouring at the house for most of the day getting everything set up. Tables needed to be put out, chairs placed around, activities for children set up, table cloths laundered, lemonade made…the list went on. Scully found herself doing most of the labour so Fannie could rest. No one knew she was pregnant outside the Fisher family, so no one was aware how this heat could affect a pregnant woman.

Finally, at three in the afternoon Fannie agreed to go back to the farm and rest. It was a particularly hot and humid day and Scully found herself worrying a lot about Fannie’s health. Scully had hardly eaten or drank anything herself throughout the day, always finding herself too busy to stop until, at around supper time, she started to feel dizzy. Scully sat heavily on a nearby rock and waited for the feeling to pass.

“I just need a drink,” Scully said to herself as she rose to walk inside.

She found Martha and several other women frantically boxing goodies on the kitchen table.

“Oh, good Miriam,” one woman called to her. “You can help bring these to the cold storage.”

Scully nodded at her and then walked to a jug of water sitting on the counter. She poured herself a large glass and gulped it back wiping sweat from her forehead. It must have been a hundred degrees outside and the sun had been blazing down from the cloudless sky all day.

“Miriam are you okay?” Martha asked as she grabbed Scully’s elbow and looked her in the eye.

“Just a little hot,” Scully smiled wearily at her.

“And a little burnt,” another woman noted as she passed them.

Scully looked up at Martha who nodded in agreement. She had been out in the sun all day without any sort of sun block, she was probably quite red. Immediately Scully felt the skin tighten across her cheeks.

“Rest for a minute,” Martha said as she gestured toward a chair.

“I’m fine, really,” Scully said as she refused the chair and put her glass in the sink. “What needs to go to the cold storage?”

“These goodies,” said a woman pointing toward a pile of boxes. “Before they melt in this heat.”

Scully reached for a pile of boxes and walked outside to the door that lead to cold storage. When she walked down the stairs into the basement, she immediately felt a shiver run down her spine; cold storage seemed more like a freezer than a fridge to her. It was dark, but with the open door, she could make out a table with a similar set of boxes sitting on it. Scully set the boxes down and again and felt a little dizzy. She clutched the table in front of her and waited for the spell to pass. Then she heard a stair creak behind her.

She turned swiftly and tried to focus on the shadowy figure that was coming down the stairs towards her. It was a man and he was also carrying something in his hands. Her vision was slightly blurred by her quick turn and the harsh sunlight streaming in through the open door, so she couldn’t make out who it was.

“Hello?” Scully called to the man from her place in the dark.

“Hello, yourself,” the familiar voice said as he approached her.

“Who’s there?” Scully asked, somewhat unnerved.

“You know who it is,” he said slyly as he walked toward her. “I saw you look towards me when you came down here.”

“Excuse me?” Scully asked and she felt behind her for something she could hold herself up with as a wave of dizziness washed over her again. Her stomach lurched and she used all her concentration

to resist the urge to throw up.

“Miriam, you looked right at me,” he said as he came up to her and she saw the face of Jacob Lapp in front of her. “I know you wanted me to join you down here.”

“I’m sorry,” Scully said confused. She didn’t remember seeing him all day and was now wondering why he was at his brother’s farm and

now, down here in the cold storage with her.

“I somehow don’t think you are,” he said as he reached around her and placed a brown package in the table behind her. When his hand came back, it landed on her hip and stayed there. She shuffled slightly away from his grip but his hand stayed glued to her hip. His body was pressed up against her and she had to arch her neck at a steep angle to look him in the eye.

“Jacob, I have to go,” she said confidently. But as she went to let go of the table, her legs started to give out beneath her and she had to grab back onto the table.

“No one is around, Miriam,” he said softly as he leaned into her frame, his breath hot on her face. “It’s just you and me.”

“I…I have to go,” Scully willed her legs to work as she let go of the table one more time. She managed to take a small step forward, pushing him slightly away from her body.

“No, you don’t,” Jacob said as he forcefully pushed her back against the table so hard she could feel the bruises already starting to form across her buttocks.

“Jacob, I…“she started and then stopped when she heard voices outside the cold storage.

He must have heard them too because he immediately backed away from her and walked quickly towards the stairs without looking


“Jacob, what are you doing here?” A woman asked with a sing song voice.

“Just delivering some more cold cuts for the picnic,” he said gruffly.

Scully heard the woman wish him a good afternoon and then start to come down the stairs.

“Miriam, you’re still down here?” She asked when she noticed Scully.

“I’m…I’m just enjoying the cool air,” Scully stammered, still thrown off by her light-headedness and the forcefulness with which Jacob pushed her.

“You’ve been working hard all day,” the lady smiled at her. “I’ll take you home on my way. I’m just about to leave.”

“Thanks,” Scully smiled weakly at the woman. She then let go of the table and shakily walked up the stairs and out to the buggy. She couldn’t wait to get home and lie down.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Fox Mulder walked into the Fisher’s kitchen and was surprised to not find Scully chopping vegetables alongside Ruth and Fannie.

“Ladies,” he said as he craned his neck to see if she was setting the table in the dining room.

“She’s not feeling well,” Fannie said, noticing what he was doing. “I think she got too much sun today at the Lapp farm.”

“She did?” Mulder asked.

“Her face is as red as a lobster,” Ruth confirmed as she pulled something from the oven.

“Is she upstairs?” Mulder asked.

“Lying down,” Fannie said to him.

“I better go and check on her,” Mulder said as he exited the kitchen and walked upstairs to their room.

When he walked inside he was greeted by Scully’s small form lying under an afghan with her back to him.

“Miriam?” He asked softly.

There was no response. He walked around to look at her. Her face was beet red, but her eyes were closed and she appeared to be resting.

“Scully?” He whispered softly next to her ear.

He watched her chest rise and fall and realized she was out for the count. He looked at the side table and saw another jar of ointment sitting open next to her. He screwed the lid on it and put it back on the table. Mulder pulled the afghan a little higher around her shoulders and smiled softly down at her sleeping form.

He changed his clothes and joined the Fishers for dinner. When Mulder returned to their room later that evening, he expected to find her at least awake, but had no such luck.

Mulder lit the lamp in the corner and leaned down to look more closely at her face. The skin across her cheeks and nose looked tight and sore. Mulder reached for the ointment and put his two fingers in the jar and place a glop on her skin. He rubbed it in gently and noted that she slept through the entire process.

“You are exhausted,” he smiled down at her now shiny face.

He lifted the afghan at the bottom and discovered that she was still wearing her shoes. He pulled them off her feet and eased her stockings down so her feet were bare and probably, more comfortable. He then undid the back of her apron and eased it over her head, gently placing it on a nearby chair. He reached for her blouse and undid the top two buttons so it wouldn’t be so tight around her neck while she slept. Then, he undid the back of her skirt at the waistband so it wouldn’t cut into her if she rolled in her sleep. Finally, he pulled the blankets up from the bottom of their bed and covered her with them.

Mulder stripped down, to his underwear and slid into bed next to her. He reasoned that she would feel better in the morning as his eyes drifted shut and his body relaxed.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder woke at 4 am to find himself in strange circumstances. Scully was not lying on top of him or against him for the first time since they had started sleeping together. He looked over at her body, lying in almost the same position as he’d left her, and panic set in.

“Scully,” he whispered as he roughly shook her shoulder. “Scully.”

She moaned and rolled toward him, her eyes drifting open slowly.

“Mulderrrr?” She asked groggily.

“Welcome back to the world of the living,” he smiled over at her. “How do you feel?”

“Why are you in bed with me?” She asked, confused.

“What?” He asked, also confused.

“What time is it?” She asked as she sat up in their bed.

“It’s 4 am,” he said, sitting up as well. “You’ve been asleep since yesterday evening.”

“What?” She asked, confused again.

“I think you got too much sun yesterday,” he said as he ran a gentle finger down her burnt nose. “You hardly moved all night.”

“Oh,” she said shaking her head slightly. “I came up to bed to have a quick nap and…”

“And you didn’t wake up until now,” Mulder finished for her.

“So, that’s why my bladder is screaming,” she said as she heaved her legs over the side of their bed and went to stand.

“Thanks for not making this an Amish waterbed,” Mulder smiled at her as she grabbed her bathrobe and scurried out of the room.

He got up after she left and started to get changed for the day. Saturdays were a little more relaxed; they milked the cows, did some chores in the barn, and then had the rest of the day to themselves. There was a church picnic today and he relished the idea of talking with both Saunder Miller and Jacob Lapp again.

He was standing bare-chested and bare-assed putting his first leg into his pants when Scully re-entered the room.

“Sorry,” she said as she averted her eyes from his naked body.

“No problem,” Mulder said casually as he pulled on his pants and did them up. Abram was right, working without underwear was always more comfortable.

“I was really out for that long?” Scully asked dumbfounded as she sat back down on the bed and watched him continue to dress.

“I even put salve on your face, took off your shoes and undid some of your clothing so you’d be more comfortable,” Mulder said as he did up his shirt. “You didn’t even know I was here.”

“I was so busy yesterday…I guess I got dehydrated,” she mused.

“Are you okay for the picnic today?” He asked as he pulled up

his suspenders.

“Yeah,” she said looking at her lap. “I promised Martha I would run the children’s games so, red complexion or not, I need to be there.”

“You don’t look as red today,” Mulder said looking closely at

her face.

“It just feels really tight and sore,” she said touching her cheek. She then reached for the jar of ointment on the bedside table and started to dab it on her cheeks. “Maybe we can go for a bit, long enough for you to run the games, and for me to talk with Jacob and Saunder.” Mulder pointed out.

Scully played with the lid to the jar. She wanted to tell Mulder about her encounter with Jacob yesterday in the cold storage, but she was worried his temper would get the better of him and compromise their investigation.

‘No,’ she thought. ‘I am a big girl; he doesn’t need to know yet.’

“Scully?” Mulder asked as he leaned down to look at her.

“Yeah?” She muttered, her thoughts no longer distracting her.

“You okay?” He asked, slightly worried. “You look a million miles away.”

“Apparently Bertha Kitzen is going to help with the children’s games as well,” Scully shook herself slightly to come back to the present. “I’ll try and get a better read on her.”

“Good,” Mulder said as he leaned down to kiss her.

His soft lips met her chapped ones and she briefly returned his kiss. It had been soemthing he had been doing lately; a kiss in the morning, sometimes a kiss before they went to bed. It didn’t seem odd or strange to kiss him goodbye anymore; something she wanted to think about a little more when she had the time.

“Take it easy this morning and we’ll get you a straw hat for the picnic,” he smiled at her before he walked toward the door, then out of the room.

Scully was left alone in their room, wondering if she’d regret keeping the information about Jacob from Mulder.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully had not been enjoying her time at the picnic. Bertha Kitzen had proven to be a bad conversationalist and a generally mean-spirited person. Scully reasoned it was because she was a rape victim who had not received proper counselling, was dumped by the man she may have loved, and forced to live in a community where everyone knew everything about her and what happened to her. Scully figured, given the circumstances, she would also be a fairly surly person.

“That last group really liked the bean bag toss,” Scully noted as she picked up the scattered bean bags off the ground.

“They were quite demanding,” Bertha noted as she too grabbed a couple of stray bean bags.

“They’re just little kids,” Scully smiled as she put a hand to her brow. It was a hot day and, like yesterday, she had been fighting dizziness on and off throughout the afternoon. She had, at first, worn a hat until it seemed to make her hotter and began to itch. The hat had been the first thing to go. She longed for a pair of shorts, a tank top and a pair of sandals but knew that was not part of her Amish wardrobe.

“Children need to know how to behave at any age,” Bertha said scornfully.

Scully winced at the remark. As a child she had gotten into a lot of trouble with her brothers over the years and, although her parents expected politeness, she was sure she wouldn’t have met with Bertha’s approval.

“Were you always so good?” Scully asked, smiling at her as she took a seat on a nearby chair.

“Always,” Bertha replied as she crossed her arms and sat next to her; almost daring Scully to ask more.

Scully dropped the subject. She had tried, quite unsuccessfully, to get Bertha to talk about her history and Bertha had not budged an inch. She knew she could get information out of her if she interrogated her but that was not part of her cover as an Amish woman. The Amish don’t interrogate.

“Maybe you should put your hat back on?” Bertha asked Scully as she noticed her reddening nose.

“It just makes me feel even hotter,” Scully said dismissing Bertha’s suggestion as she pulled at her collar.

The two women sat in silence for a while. All the kids were more interested in the ice cream at the moment. It was a nice break; they had been busy engaging the kids in activities for most of the picnic and the heat was starting to bother them.

“Do you want to take a break Bertha? I can watch the games while you go and talk…” Scully asked.

“Talk to who?” Bertha snapped. Apparently the heat was getting to her as well.

“Maybe your friends, or your family or a young man…” Scully ventured to bridge the subject, yet again.

Bertha scoffed at her suggestion. “No one wants to talk to me.”

Scully looked at the woman and felt sorry for her. She was in a horrible situation; one no one should have to be in.

“I do,” Scully offered.

“That’s because…” Bertha stopped short and looked closely at Scully. She seemed to be examining her, as if she was a specimen under a microscope.

“How long will you and your husband be staying with the Fishers?” Bertha changed the subject. Scully could see that Bertha was watching Mulder as he stood across the yard talking with Isaac under a tree.

“Until Abram doesn’t have his heart problems,” Scully answered, not sure why Bertha had changed subjects. “Probably through the harvest when they need us the most.”

“Would you like to come to my sister’s wedding shower in one week?” Bertha asked, still wary of Scully.

“That would be nice,” Scully smiled at Bertha. “Will Ruth be…?”

“No, just younger women…maybe Fannie, I’m not so sure,”

“Are you two friends?” Scully asked, thinking that getting two rape victims together could be the beginning of their healing.

“No, she’s a few years younger than me and…and we…we don’t have a lot in common,” Bertha said softly.

Scully thought that was quite the understatement. She spotted Fannie carrying a pie across the yard and yelled for her. People were now packing up the tables and chairs as guests were leaving to go home. Several heads turned; apparently one woman calling another was no usually done in Amish society.

Fannie put the pie on a table and scurried over to join them. Scully rose from her chair and found herself grabbing onto the back of it to steady herself. A wave of nausea washed over her and she quickly grabbed her stomach. No one seemed to notice, which relieved Scully.

“Hi Miriam,” Fannie greeted them. “Bertha.”

“Bertha’s sister is getting married and there’s a shower next Saturday…” Scully started, hoping Fannie would pick up on the rest of the sentence. She didn’t.

Bertha sat behind her on a chair, Fannie stood looking at her expressionless. Another wave of dizziness passed over Scully and she closed her eyes trying to stave off the feeling that

she was about to hit the ground. She could hear her heart beating in her ears and she felt her legs begin to shake once again.

“I thought,” Scully swallowed hard. “I thought we could maybe go together.”

Fannie’s face changed and she took a step closer to Scully, reaching out an arm to grab her elbow.

“Miriam are you okay?” Fannie asked, her voice filled with concern.

“I’m…uh…” was all Scully got out before everything went black.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder watched across the open field as Scully pulled again at the straw hat covering her head. She had easily accepted the hat Fannie had found for her, citing the need for her to not get any more burnt. When they got to the Lapp farm they had separated, each assigned to their task. He helped set up a hay ride for the younger children, and she started the toddlers on a bean bag toss game. Ruth and Fannie relegated themselves to the kitchen and Abram sat with some older men from the church under a tree talking.

After loading the hay, Mulder stepped back under a nearby tree, away from the heat of the sun, and was quickly joined by Isaac Lapp. Isaac talked with Mulder for over an hour about chickens while Mulder watched Saunder stalk Rebecca Hillar. She was operating a table with lemonade and other punch-like drinks and seemed unaware of the attention Saunder was paying her.

He stood back from her, some twenty feet, watching her every move for over an hour. A couple of people came up to him and engaged him in what looked like idle talk, but at no time was his attention diverted from Rebecca. He looked like a man studying his prey. Saunder was, in fact, so focused on Rebecca; he failed to notice someone intent on him. Mulder was free to watch Saunder leer at Rebecca without fear of being caught.

Mulder wondered if Saunder was recalling the attack on her, using his proximity to Rebecca to recall details about her voice, her smell, and how scared she was. Many serial rapists liked to relive the moment again and again, sometimes using a memento from each attack to pleasure themselves. It was hard to tell, at the angle Mulder was at, if Saunder was getting excited by Rebecca.

Mulder noticed people starting to pack up to leave; he didn’t want to lose this opportunity to get more information about one of his suspects.

“I’m going to go and see how Saunder Miller’s fence is holding up,” Mulder said to Isaac.

Isaac walked with him across the yard, apparently having nothing better to do. Mulder glanced at Scully, who was currently without her sunhat as she stood in the middle of the yard unshaded. He was tempted to go and speak with her about taking a break, but thought she would see his suggestion as invasive.

“Saunder!” Mulder called to him as he approached.

“Samuel,” Saunder grimaced as he saw the men approach. “How are you?”

“It’s a hot day, but I am good,” Mulder said as he shook the man’s hand.

“Isaac,” Saunder said as he looked at the younger man. “Are you looking for Sarah?”

“Me? Uh, no,” Isaac stammered and blushed.

“She was helping in the kitchen,” Saunder smiled at him, almost enjoying how uncomfortable he was making the young man. “But you would know that already, wouldn’t you?”

“I…uh,” Isaac stammered.

“Did you manage to finish the fence?” Mulder asked as he turned to look at Rebecca.

“Yes, I did,” Saunder looked at Mulder strangely, wondering why he was looking at Rebecca.

“Isn’t that Rebecca Hillar?” Mulder asked as he gestured toward her.

“Yes, it is,” Saunder smiled slyly at him. “But you already know that.”

“Is it hard being around her?” Mulder asked with confidence.

Isaac practically spit out the lemonade in his mouth. Mulder absently slapped him on the back while he waited for Saunder’s response. He was trying to shake Saunder up a little and see what happened.

“No, no it’s not,” Saunder said as he gave Mulder a tight-lipped smile.

“She’s a nice looking woman, I can see why it might be difficult,” Mulder ignored his comment.

“I have no difficulty,” Saunder said straightening himself so he was as tall as possible next to Mulder. “Perhaps you should ask yourself why you are looking at her?”

With the last comment Saunder wandered away from them, no longer wanting to speak.

“What was that about?” Isaac asked, astonished at Mulder’s behaviour.

“He had some harsh words for me last time we spoke, and I wanted him to know I…I…I don’t know what I wanted, Isaac. I was just being stupid.” Mulder said as he acted humble. In reality, he had carefully calculated his remarks to see if he could get a reaction out of Saunder.

Mulder glanced at his pocket watch; it was almost 4 pm, the picnic would be wrapping up any minute and he hadn’t once seen Jacob Lapp. He scanned the yard one more time to make sure he hadn’t missed him. Many families were loading their children onto wagons and others were carrying plates inside so there was less work for Martha later.

“Your brother Jacob was not able to make the picnic?” Mulder asked Isaac.

“No,” Isaac said kicking the dirt at his feet. “He didn’t feel like coming ever since word got out that Marike Janz was getting married this fall.”

“Who’s that?” Mulder asked, trying to get more information from Isaac.

“Jacob was engaged to her a year ago and she called it off,” Isaac volunteered.

“Why?” Mulder asked astonished.

“It’s not right to gossip,” Isaac said softly.

“It was just a question Isaac…I’m not going to tell everyone,” Mulder said as he patted the young man’s shoulder in reassurance.

“Jacob came home really angry that night, the night they broke it off,” Isaac started. “Apparently he’d taken liberties with her ever since they became engaged and…”

“What kind of liberties?” Mulder asked, interested.

“More than kissing but…but not making babies,” Isaac elaborated.

“And Marike was agreeable?” Mulder asked, worried they had another, even earlier, rape victim on their hands.

“According to Jacob she was,” Isaac blushed as he spoke. “But then her brother found them and told her father…he forbade Marike from seeing Jacob anymore and the engagement was called off.”

“Didn’t Marike have anything to say about all of this?” Mulder asked.

“She…she was too embarrassed to say anything,” Isaac continued. “Her father said that Jacob should have known to protect her purity if he loved her.”

“He should have,” Mulder agreed.

“Tell that to him,” Isaac groaned. “The way he sees it, everyone is against him.”

“So, he’s angry?” Mulder clarified.

“He’s always been…not so nice,” Isaac conceded. “But this last year…he’s…he’s been downright mean.”

“For the last year?” Mulder asked.

“Well, since the fall,” Isaac explained as he took a bite from an apple.

Mulder nodded his head. Jacob’s change in personality coincided

exactly with the first attack. He was a man who tested the limits of Amish sexual sensibilities and he blamed others for his problems, possibly Marike, for allowing them to get into the situation where the engagement was called off. Maybe he took out this anger on other women he saw as a threat in the community.

“Samuel,” Isaac interrupted his thoughts. “Did things change for you and Miriam when you became engaged?”

“Changed how?” Mulder asked the young man.

“I know a lot of couples who…who take liberties with each other before…before vows are exchanged, because they say an engagement allows them to.”

Mulder looked over at the nervous young man; he obviously looked up to Mulder. He knew he needed to say the right thing because this question was important to Isaac.

“No, Isaac,” Mulder said as he leaned in to speak more confidentially with him. “We held hands, she let me kiss her, and that was all, until our wedding night. A good man protects the woman he is going to marry.”

Isaac closed his eyes and nodded. Mulder’s words had obviously meant a lot to him.

“Why Isaac are you thinking of…” Mulder started but his words were cut short by someone yelling his name across the yard.

“Samuel! Samuel! Come quick!” Fannie called to him.

It was then that Mulder noticed the person at her feet being fanned by another woman. Scully was lying across another lady’s lap, unconscious.

“Miriam!” He yelled as he took off in a sprint.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“Miriam!” Mulder yelled again as he got closer to her.

He kneeled down on the ground before her and touched the side of her cheek. She was very hot, but not sweaty or clammy in any way. Except for the sunburn across her cheeks and nose, she looked drained of any colour. She’d been out in the sun all afternoon running around after children, and then yesterday, she had come home sick, tired and sun burnt. It had been hovering around 100 degrees the last few days, and the humidity had been high. Mulder suspected she was suffering from severe sunstroke.

“Miriam!” He called to her again as he pulled her closer to his body.

Scully’s eyes briefly opened, then rolled back into her head. Her body was limp in his arms.

“Fannie go and run a cool bath for her upstairs, make it deep and cool, not cold,” Mulder ordered as he gathered Scully in his arms and lifted her from the ground.

Fannie ran ahead into the Lapp’s house. A few others gathered around them, out of concern, but most stayed back, giving them room to move. Many families had already left, and only a handful of people were still remaining in the yard.

“Samuel, what is it?” Ruth asked as she walked next to him onto the porch.

“I think she has sunstroke,” Mulder said as he carried her through the back door.

“How do you know?” Ruth asked as she followed him through the living room.

“I’ve seen it before,” he said as he shifted his arms to hold her without hurting his shoulder any more. “Her body can’t cool itself anymore, so we have to do it for her.”

He walked up the stairs with Scully lying limply in his arms. He followed the sound of fast running water into the bathroom where Fannie was getting a bath ready.

“What can I do?” Fannie asked when she saw them enter.

“You can help me get her out of these clothes,” Mulder said as he looked around the room for a spot to prop Scully up.

“Why take her clothes off?” Ruth asked, unsure of what was about to happen.

“The clothes trap heat close to her skin, we need to allow her skin to get cooled by the water and clothes stop that from happening.” Mulder explained.

“What happened to Miriam?” Martha asked breathless from the door to the washroom.

“Sun sickness,” Ruth explained as she watched Mulder sit on a chair in the washroom with Scully in his arms.

“Get her shoes, Fannie,” Mulder ordered as he undid a few buttons at the top of her blouse and started to pull it from her skirt.

“We…we can do that,” Ruth said to Mulder, wanting him to stop and knowing he was not married to the woman he was currently undressing.

Martha reached around her and shut the door behind her, wanting to protect Miriam’s privacy from others who may wander upstairs to see how she was doing. The washroom was now closed, and crowded with the three women, Mulder and an unconscious Scully in the small room.

“Open a window to let some air in,” Mulder ordered as he pulled Scully’s limp arms from the sleeves of her blouse.

Martha rushed to open the window and Ruth walked over to Mulder and took Scully’s blouse from him. When Mulder started to roll Scully towards him and undo her skirt, Ruth got more and more anxious. Fannie had her shoes and socks off and was helping Mulder shimmy her skirt down her legs.

Scully moaned at one point and all movement stopped.

Mulder pulled her face closer to his.

“It’s me,” he said softly to her.

She made no response and within moments Mulder and Fannie had Scully down to her Amish underwear. At that moment Mulder was glad Scully had decided to not shave her legs, now three Amish women would know she was a closet shaver if she had. When he rolled her back in his arms her undershirt shifted and he caught a glimpse of her tattoo at the small of her back.

‘Shit’ he swore to himself. Amish women don’t have tattoos and there was no way Ruth could handle getting Scully undressed and into the tub on her own.

“Samuel, maybe you should go,” Ruth said nervously. “We can take it from here and make sure she’s in the bath.”

Fannie reached over and turned off the water that had now filled the claw foot tub.

“No, I can do it from here,” Mulder said as he swallowed hard.

“But surely she would rather other women…” Ruth began, pleading with him to not do this.

“I’m her husband,” Mulder said assuredly.

“But you’re…” Ruth began then stopped herself from finishing. He was not her husband.

“Please,” Mulder pleaded. “I have to get her in the bath.”

“Do you want one of us to…?” Martha started to ask, astonished at this man’s need to care for his wife.

“No, just leave us,” Mulder said as he pulled Scully closer to him. It would just be easier if it was the two of them, and he couldn’t stand the way Ruth was looking at him right now. He already felt guilty enough, but, he also knew what he had to do.

The three women all silently exited the washroom and shut the door behind them.

Mulder looked down at Scully who was now moving her lips, but saying nothing. He hoped she would forgive him for this intrusion, but he had no choice.

He quickly divested her of her undershirt and underwear and slowly lowered her into the tub. She started to slip under the water, so he had to hold her up from behind by her armpits for a while until she was more aware of her surroundings.

Her body reacted to the cool water almost immediately. She began to shiver and her teeth started to chatter. Her temperature failed to lower for a while and she still had not begun to sweat, but she at least seemed to be able to stay conscious, although somewhat confused.

Finally, Mulder heard the first understandable words come from her mouth.

“What happened?” She asked through chattering teeth.

“You fainted,” Mulder explained as he put a cold cloth on the back of her neck. “Now you’re in a cold bath to regulate your temperature…you’re burning up.”

“I have hyperthermia,” she said softly.

“I don’t think so, seeing as there is no snow and it’s about 100 degrees out there,” Mulder joked as he dipped a cup in the water and dumped it over her exposed shoulders.

“That’s hypothermia,” she said as her teeth chattered.

“Just testing you,” Mulder said as he continued to dump cool water over her shoulders and chest.

She didn’t speak for a long time but remained conscious and aware of him changing cool cloths on the back of her neck and across her forehead.

“Why didn’t you let Ruth and Fannie…?” She started to ask.

“Amish women aren’t usually tatted up,” Mulder explained.

“Shit,” she muttered.

“That’s exactly what I thought,” Mulder smiled down at her.

She shook her head back and forth, silently admonishing herself once again for her foolish mistake.

“I can’t promise I didn’t look,” Mulder smiled down at her, trying to make light of the moment.

She opened her mouth to say something but was overcome by an urge to vomit. Scully sat up quickly, immediately felt dizzy, and fiercely gripped the side of the tub.

“What?” He asked anxious. Then he saw a look wash over her face and he reached for a bucket under the sink.

She vomited her stomach contents into the bucket and started to cry.

“I feel so awful,” she wept as he put down the bucket and wiped her face clean with a washcloth.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he reassured her again and again as he held her head against his shoulder.

Her body still felt extremely hot and, except for the water on her skin, hadn’t started to sweat and regulate her own body temperature.

He held her naked body close to him for a long time while she hiccupped into his chest and fought moments of dizziness followed by a feeling that she was going to again lose consciousness.

He kissed the side of her head and ran a cool washcloth over her back in an attempt to cool her off as quickly as possible.

“you do too much, and you don’t take breaks,” Mulder mumbled into her hair.

“Is everything okay?” Ruth called from the other side of the door.

“Can we get some water for Miriam?” Mulder asked.

“I’ll be back with some,” Ruth said softly.

A minute later Ruth quietly entered the room and found a completely naked Scully in the tub clinging to Mulder who was kneeling on the floor next to her. His shirt and pants were completely soaked and he looked very worried.

“She should drink this instead of water,” Ruth said as he handed Mulder a large glass of liquid. “It’ll help with the salt she’s lost.”

“Thanks,” Mulder smiled up at her.

“She was sick?” Ruth asked as she eyed the bucket in the corner.

“Uh, yeah,” Mulder said as he held the glass of liquid to Scully’s lips so she could drink.

“I’ll be back,” Ruth said as she picked up the bucket and left the room.

“Come on, you need to drink this,” Mulder urged her as she shut her eyes and turned her head away.

She laid her head against his chest instead, and pulled at his shirt, seeking out his warmth even though she was burning up.

Mulder set down the glass for the moment and went back to dipping a cloth in the cool water and running it over her shoulders, back and limbs.

Ruth walked back into the washroom with the empty and clean bucket.

“How is she?” Ruth asked.

“Still burning up but she thinks I’ve put her in a freezer,” Mulder said distractedly as he rubbed her back with a cloth.

“It’ll come down soon, but she shouldn’t move much. She needs her rest,” Ruth began. “Martha and Luke want you both to stay here for at least the night, if not a couple of days, until Miriam is better.”

“That’s very nice of them,” Mulder said thoughtfully. “We’ll stay the night, so I don’t have to move her.”

“Do you want me to stay here with…?” Ruth asked, concerned.

“No, thanks Ruth,” Mulder smiled up at her as he dumped water over Scully’s shoulders. “We’ll be fine. You and Abram go home.”

“I’ll come by tomorrow to see how you both are doing,” Ruth said before she laid a fresh white nightgown on the chair and walked from the washroom.

Eventually, Scully lay back against the tub and relaxed as her body started to cool. Mulder ran a cloth over her shoulders and chest as her breasts bobbed on top of the water. He watched her, looking for signs she was going to lose consciousness but happily it didn’t happen again. When he felt her brow almost an hour later she was no longer hot and there was a fine sheen of sweat across her forehead. He smiled down at her, and, although here eyes were closed, Mulder sensed she knew things had gotten better.

She stayed in the tub for another 15 minutes before Mulder helped her stand and towel off. He couldn’t keep his mind from wandering as he towelled off her beautiful thighs, her nice ass and her gorgeous breasts. She was so tired, she didn’t seem to mind being helped at the time; he hoped her vanity wouldn’t come back to haunt her later. He pulled the white nightgown over her head and realized that, without underwear, it was quite thin and revealing.

“Get your mind out of the gutter,” she smirked up at him. It was the first sign from her that she was feeling normal again and Mulder relished in the thought.

“You’ve been naked for the last hour and a half,” he smirked at her. “Forgetting the circumstances of your sunstroke for the moment, bathing you was pretty hot.”

“Even with the vomit?” She asked groggily.

“It’s been a while,” Mulder admitted as he pulled the plug on the tub and cleaned up the clothes he had earlier stripped her out of.

Scully leaned heavily against the wall, all her strength sapped from her body.

“Come on,” Mulder said to her as he gripped her by the waist and helped her from the washroom.

She limped along beside him, leaning heavily on his frame as they entered the hallway.

“Martha?” Mulder called.

Martha scurried to the bottom of the stairs and ran up them to meet him.

“I’ve got a room ready,” she said as she looked at Scully’s grey complexion. “It’s just over here.”

Mulder followed her, while holding up Scully, to a bright blue room at the back of the house. He helped Scully lay down on the bed and carefully tucked her legs under the sheet before turning to thank Martha for all her help.

“Thank you for letting us…” he started.

“I’m just glad she’s okay,” Martha whispered as she looked down at Scully’s curled up body. “I had no idea she was in the sun so long.”

Mulder turned to look at Scully again and noted that she was close to falling asleep.

“Would you like something to eat Samuel? I can stay with her, if you want to go…”

“No,” Mulder said softly. “I need to stay with her.”

“I can bring you something,” Martha offered.

“Maybe later,” Mulder said as he took a seat on the bed next to Scully and carefully watched her breathing.

“I’ll check on you in a while,” Martha nodded at him before she left the room and closed the door behind her.

Mulder placed a hand on Scully’s hip, feeling her body rise and fall rhythmically under it; willing her to feel better soon.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Martha brought Mulder some supper later in the evening and he thanked her quietly before eating it next to Scully’s sleeping form. Her temperature had fallen and her breathing was even. Things seemed to be getting better for her, health-wise. Later, he stripped off his still-damp clothes and finally laid down next to her in bed, happy he had worn underwear to the picnic.

In the middle of the night he was roused from his slumber by Scully thrashing in the bed next to him. He twisted to see her and, as he caught her hand to stop her from hitting him, he realized she was hot again. He sat up in bed and felt her forehead as she struggled against him. Her body was on fire, her skin was dry and she was mumbling incoherently.

“Scully,” he whispered softly, trying to pull her from whatever dream she was having.

He whispered her name again and again into her ear but she showed no signs of acknowledgement. She thrashed against him whenever he was near and managed to hit herself several times in the process. Mulder rose from the bed and pulled off the sheet that was covering her, hoping it would cool her slightly until he could get her in the bath again.

He ran in his underwear to the bathroom and immediately started to run cool water into the tub. He grabbed a few towels and threw them on the floor for later, moved the bucket close to the tub and filled a glass with cold water for her to drink.

“What’s the matter?” Martha asked anxious from the door of the washroom.

“It’s me, Martha,” Mulder answered quickly her as he checked the water’s temperature.

She then noticed that Mulder was in his underwear and diverted her eyes. “I’m…I’m sorry,” she stammered.

“Her temperature is up again,” Mulder said unaware of her awkwardness, as he walked past her to their room. “I have to get her in the bath, again.”

“Let me help,” Martha said as she followed him, trying to keep her eyes pointed upwards.

She walked into the room and saw Scully thrashing on the bed, her nightgown drawn up to her thighs, mumbling and swinging her head from side to side.

“What’s the matter with her?” Martha asked, stunned.

“She’s hallucinating,” Mulder said as he gathered her in his arms and she thrashed against him. “It’s from the fever.”

Martha followed Mulder as he carried her into the washroom and

watched as he pulled her nightgown easily over her head, revealing the naked form underneath. Martha turned off the water and waited for further instructions. Mulder was careful to keep one hand on her lower back to cover Scully’s tattoo as he carefully lowered her into the tub. Later, he realized the coverage was very unnecessary as Martha was on the other side of the room and it was fairly dark.

“I’ll get her something to drink,” Martha said before she walked out of the washroom and shut the door behind her. She had seen more of her friend then was right, and she wanted to give her some semblance of privacy.

When Scully hit the water she immediately started to flail her arms and legs, attempting to climb from the tub in the process. Water flew everywhere and waves washed over the side of the tub. Her wrists banged against the side of the tub and her knees smashed forcefully against the tub walls. Mulder tried to hold her down in the water but her wet body now made it more difficult for him to get a grasp on her.

Scully’s head smacked hard against the back of the tub and Mulder held his breath for a moment, hoping she wasn’t going to add a concussion to her list of medical issues. She barely paused before she began to scratch at his arms again. Mulder’s head started to reel, how was he going to keep her from injuring herself?

Without hesitation, he climbed into the tub behind her and provided the necessary cushion for her body so she smacked

against him instead of the edge of the tub. He cooed soft words into her ears as he attempted to hold her hands and keep her from hurting herself or him.

Mulder heard a man and a woman mumbling outside the door, and

realized that their middle of the night bath had woken up both Martha and her husband Luke. The door opened quietly a few moments later and Martha walked into the dark washroom carrying a lamp. Until that moment, Mulder realized, it was just the full moon that was lighting up the room.

“Oh,” Martha said, startled to find him in the tub with Scully.

“I needed to keep her from…” Mulder started but didn’t finish as the back of Scully’s head smacked up against his chest and he winced in pain.

“How can we get her to stop?” Martha asked as she walked a little closer to the tub.

“Once her temperature starts to drop the hallucinations should go away,” Mulder said as he held onto Scully’s wrists to keep her from smashing them against the side of the tub.

“But she was fine earlier,” Martha noted.

“I thought she was over the worst too,” Mulder said as Scully elbowed him in the stomach.

“She seemed so weak earlier…she could barely stand,” Martha said as she brought a glass of liquid closer to Scully’s mouth.

“You’d be surprised at the strength Sc…my wife has,” Mulder caught himself.

Scully settled for a moment and Martha brought the class to her lips. Scully took a small drink and then turned her head away. Martha retracted the glass and put it on the floor next to the tub.

“You go back to bed, Martha,” Mulder said, feeling guilty for

waking everyone up. “Tell Luke, I’m sorry we woke him, but she should calm down soon.”

“He’s just worried about her…as am I,” Martha said as she took a step towards the door. “I’ll leave you to your wife, but I will check on you in a bit.”

Martha left the room and Mulder struggled with Scully for another twenty minutes before her resolve, and her strength, started to weaken. Mulder thanked the heavens when she relaxed in his embrace and finally stopped assaulting them both. He finally left go of her wrists and winced when he thought of the bruises that would soon be forming on them from the death grip he had held her with.

He placed his hand over Scully’s forehead; she still felt incredibly hot. Her naked body also felt very warm pressed up against him. Her skin was wet, but probably from the water splashing about, rather than any sort of cooling her body may be doing. He took a cloth off a nearby shelf, dipped it in the water and brought it up to rest on the back of her neck. Her head immediately settled against his chest and her body relaxed against his.

“That’s more like it,” he whispered softly as he took another cloth, dipped it in the water and ran it over her shoulders and the top of her exposed chest.

She murmured softly, words he couldn’t understand, but that sounded like she was content. The skin on her back was soft against his chest, and her legs finally settled in the tub, lying peacefully next to his. Her ass was wedged up against him but he ignored anything that was going on in his lower half, so he could focus on helping her feel better.

He dipped the cloth again and ran it up her arms, which were now resting on the edge of the tub. The cool water washed over her skin. They lay like that for some time, she relaxed fully against him, and he dipping a cloth and running it over the parts of her body not immersed in the water. Her temperature wasn’t dropping as quickly as last time and he was growing more and more concerned with each passing minute. He spoke softly into her ear as she lay reclined against him.

He reached over and brought the cup of water to her lips, she took small sips and then turned her head away. Mulder figured, if he did this every couple of minutes he would get the full glass into her in no time. If her temperature wasn’t going down, at least he would keep her hydrated.

The door opened quietly almost an hour later and Martha slipped inside again. She smiled when she saw that Scully was no longer thrashing about.

“She seems better,” Martha noted.

“Well, she’s finally relaxed,” Mulder said as he ran a washcloth up her arm again. “But I’m sure we’re both going to have some pretty big bruises and sore muscles tomorrow.”

Martha nodded her head in agreement and watched as Mulder dipped the cloth again and ran it gently over the top of Scully’s chest. Martha’s face began to redden, she felt as if she was an intruder in a very private moment between a husband and his wife.

“Do you need…?” She asked as she shifted her feet.

“No, we’re fine,” Mulder mused as he placed a cold washcloth on Scully’s forehead and she let her head drop further back into his shoulder. “Her temperature seems to be dropping finally, so once it’s down I’ll put her back in bed.”

“Well, just leave all this,” Martha said as she gestured around the room. “You just take care of her and I’ll clean this all up in the morning.”

Mulder smiled at her and thanked her for all her help. Martha slipped quietly out the door and he was left alone with Scully again. Within a half hour, her temperature seemed normal so he decided to put her back to bed. She had gone from mumbling incoherently to sighing against him; this, he felt, was an improvement. She was much more talkative last time, explaining to him that she had hyperthermia, Mulder mused. The fact that she was more ‘out of it’ this time seemed odd and bothered him a great deal.

“I’m going to get you back to bed,” he said as he leaned her body forward and started to slide himself out of the tub from behind her.

She grabbed at his hand as it held on to the edge, “Thank you,” she whispered.

Mulder stopped himself from getting out of the tub and looked down at her face more closely. Her eyes were closed and she looked very pale, but she swallowed hard when he came close to her.

“You’re back?” Mulder smiled at her as he touched her shoulder.

She nodded her head slightly and then put it down on her arms against the side of the tub.

Mulder could tell she was exhausted and that he needed to get her into a bed so she could finally rest. He leaned forward and softly kissed the back of her head before heaving himself from the tub. He looked down at his soaked underwear and realized he couldn’t go to bed in them or he would end up sick as well. He took them off his body and wrung them out in the toilet before wrapping a towel around his hips and then reaching down to pull Scully from the water.

He hauled her slight form from the tub and sat her on a nearby wooden chair so he could dry her off. He gently rubbed down the front of her body, trying to not pay too much attention to the fact that she was naked and in front of him. Then he wrapped his arms around her and helped her lean against a wall so he could get her back, butt, and legs.

It was then that he noticed a long dark blue bruise that spanned

the top of her ass. He looked at the bruise closely and noted that it was even and long and new. He looked at the tub and quickly ran through the course of events this evening. In all her thrashing, she had never once banged her ass against anything.

“How did you get this bruise?” Mulder asked her as he touched it gently with the pad of his thumb.

She didn’t respond and he figured he could get an answer tomorrow. He pulled the borrowed nightgown over her dry naked body and carried her back to their room. He laid her down on the bed and covered her with a light sheet. He then lay down next to her, clad only in a towel, and promptly fell asleep. It had been a long night, and he hoped that was the end of her fever.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully’s eyes slowly opened to look at the bright room she was lying in. They eventually focused in on the fact that this room was not familiar to her. She glanced at the walls, the furniture, and tried to move her head as little as possible. Her head was pounding and her body ached. Honestly, she felt like she had been rolled over by a steam truck. Then she heard a familiar sound to her left.

She carefully rolled onto her side to see Mulder lying next to her, on his back, shirtless and snoring softly with his mouth open. She immediately relaxed when she saw she was with him, but her mind tried to re-count where, exactly, they were. She opened and closed her eyes several times, trying to adjust to the bright light and stave off the piercing feeling of a knife jabbing her in the back of her head.

It was the sight of the unfamiliar nightgown on her body that caused her to have brief flashes of memory. She remembered worrying about Fannie in the heat…setting up the children’s games…carrying boxes of cookies into the cellar…Jacob slamming her back against the table…standing in the sun and feeling sick at the picnic…throwing up…Mulder drying off her naked body…Mulder covering her tattoo with his hand…fighting Mulder in the tub…the feel of his body against hers…him gently washing her with a wet cloth across her chest as she laid against him…

Dana Scully sat up abruptly, the realization that Mulder had been stripping her down and bathing with her at the forefront of her thoughts. She had been vulnerable and naked and he had cared for her, cared for her in the most intimate of ways. Her stomach lurched, and despite her sore muscles, Scully launched herself from their bed and ran out of the room in search of a washroom to vomit in.

The washroom was the second door she went to and Scully slammed it before heading for the toilet in this strange house. She expunged all of the limited contents in her stomach and then started to throw up acid and bile. Moments later, she heard Mulder rapping on the door and calling her Miriam. She wanted to answer him, to tell him she was fine, but she couldn’t speak. The door opened and there stood Mulder, clad only in a white towel and a worried look.

He walked over to her and crouched behind her, rubbing her back as she lurched against the toilet again and again. He said soft words on encouragement and drew circles on her back as she waited to make sure she wasn’t going to be sick again. He reached around her and flushed her vomit while she gathered her strength to stand.

He grabbed a nearby cloth, put some water on it and brought it to her so she could wipe her face. Scully wished she could hide behind the cloth forever, but had no such luck. Scully stood up on shaky legs and walked over to the window, hoping she could say what she wanted to say and have him understand.

“At least you can move on your own, now,” Mulder smiled lazily at her as he stood and leaned against the sink.

“Yeah,” she said softly. She turned to face him and her skin immediately went from white to pink to red. “Mulder, I don’t know what to…”

“I know,” he interrupted her. “I know you would have preferred someone else take care of you, a woman maybe. That the last thing you wanted was to be hauled around, bathed, and dressed like a rag doll by me but…but I had to protect our cover, and I was worried about you.” He paused to collect his thoughts. “I was really, really worried.”

She saw him run his hand through his hair; he was almost as worried about what her reaction would be in this moment. He was worried she would be angry; that she would hold this against him.

She closed her eyes and willed herself to not let personal embarrassment get in the way of what she needed to say to him.

“Mulder, I…I was really sick and you…you took care of me and did whatever was necessary. Thank you.” She smiled weakly at him.

“Scully, I…” he started.

“I’m not done,” she interrupted him as she gathered all her courage. “You did more than take care of me Mulder. Anyone could have dumped me in a tub, forced me to drink liquids,

or…or left me to the care of someone else.”

He looked down at his feet, humbled by her comments.

“I don’t remember everything from yesterday,” she paused to lick her lips. “But I remember that I felt safe and loved. When I was out of it, when I didn’t know where I was, I knew without a doubt that you would take care of me. That you would…that you would take care of me because you loved me.”

Mulder’s eyes snapped up to meet hers. She knew. He swallowed hard.

“And, and even though I am quite embarrassed by the circumstances…” she said closing her eyes. “It was those circumstances that made me realize how much I am loved.”

When she opened her eyes, he was before her, as she knew he would be. He pulled her body towards his in a fierce hug. She gripped onto his back, and, despite her weak knees, pounding head, and aching body, she felt amazing.

“Is everything okay?” A voice came from the other side of the door.

“We’re at Martha’s?” Scully asked as she looked up at Mulder.

He just smiled down at her; he could care less where they were.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Scully watched herself carefully in the mirror as she brushed her teeth. It felt good to be clean, to be back in her own clothes and to have clean teeth. She still felt weak, her head still pounded, and her body ached in places she didn’t know she had…but she felt like herself again.

She had bruises around her wrists. Mulder had described in detail the events of the afternoon and evening that had all been a blur to her. He wanted her to know exactly what happened so she would know the circumstances herself. He didn’t want her to have any questions that she didn’t have answers for. When he told her about climbing into the

tub behind her in his underwear, she couldn’t help but

laugh. Only Mulder would do that for her.

She had marks and bruises up her arms and down her legs and a goose egg on the back of her head. She must have put up quite the fight. And he had weathered it all with her. And she had, despite her embarrassment and trepidation, managed to actually tell him what she knew was in his heart.

Mulder had embraced her in that moment and then, he began the story of what had happened to her. Thirty minutes later, he left her alone in the washroom to clean herself up. She had taken a bath, washed her hair so it didn’t smell like vomit, brushed her teeth and put on something other than a nightgown. Martha had knocked on the door several times to ensure she hadn’t fainted again, but she gave her privacy, which Scully was grateful for.

Now, she had to face Mulder, Ruth, Fannie and Martha. She had to not let the knot in her stomach get the better of her. She had to resist the message in her brain that told her to ‘flee’ the scene so she could process it first. In short, she had to just suck it up and deal with everything that was before her so they could get on with their investigation.

She exited the washroom and walked downstairs into Martha’s kitchen. Mulder and Luke were sitting at the kitchen table eating, what appeared to be, lunch.

“Miriam,” Martha greeted her, having spotted her first. “Are you hungry?”

Mulder rose from his spot at the table and took a step toward her before Scully shook her head in the negative and he sat down again.

“I don’t think I’m ready for any sort of food, yet,” Scully said as she walked to the table to take a seat.

“Well you should at least drink some apple juice or…” Martha said as she grabbed a glass off shelf.

“Apple juice would be great,” Scully said through a scratchy voice. “Thank you so much for allowing us to stay here with…”

“Nonsense,” Martha interrupted.

“I’m sure we must have woken you up,” Scully addressed Luke directly. “I know you need your sleep and…”

“It’s Sunday Miriam,” Luke said with a kind smile. “Our day of rest, so lack of sleep is not a problem. We’re all just glad you’re feeling better.”

“Thank you,” Scully nodded as a glass of apple juice was placed before her.

“Speaking of rest,” Mulder began as he put down his fork, “you should lay down for a while before I take you back to the Fisher’s.”

“You’re going back so soon?” Martha asked, surprised.

“You have been more than kind,” Mulder started. “But we can’t burden you any further.”

“Stay for dinner,” Martha said, anxious to keep their company. “I’ll make it early so you have time to get back and settle in for the night.”

“Luke, do you need anymore help with…?” Mulder began.

“You already helped me with the lambs this morning, Samuel,” Luke said with an easy smile. “You’re going to need a nap too after the night you had. Stay for dinner and I’ll drive you both back afterwards.”

Mulder had forgotten that he didn’t have a means to transport Scully back to the Fisher farm. He would have to talk with the Bureau about a buggy if they were going to stay in Amish Country much longer; not having your own transportation was a pain.

“Sounds great,” Mulder smiled across the table. “Thank you for all your generosity.”

“It’s Gott’s way,” Luke said as he shovelled another forkful into his mouth.

Mulder looked across the table at Scully, slumped in the chair. She looked tired and weak. Her complexion was as close to the colour of paste as you could get. With the sunburn on her nose, forehead and cheeks, she sort of looked like a new kind of zebra.

He smiled softly at her and garnered a gentle smile in return. He had been floored by her observation. But this morning, in the Lapp’s washroom after she had just been sick, somehow his feelings for her had come to light. Scully was full of surprises.

A horse and buggy, it appeared, had just pulled up in front of the Lapp farm.

“Who could that be on Sunday?” Luke asked as he rose from the table to check it out.

When he came back to the kitchen he was followed by Ruth carrying a canvas sack and looking worried.

“Glad to see you are up,” Ruth smiled at Scully as she entered the kitchen.

“Thank you Ruth,” Scully stood weakly to greet her.

Ruth motioned for her to sit back down and Scully followed without argument.

“I told Samuel I’d come by to check on you,” she offered by way of explanation. “I thought you both may need some clothes, so I took the liberty of bringing you some.”

“Thank you, Ruth,” Mulder said as he took the sack from her and smiled. “That was very thoughtful.”

“I wasn’t sure how Miriam was doing and if you were coming back tonight or…”

“Luke and Martha have kindly asked us to stay for dinner and then they’ll take us back to your place.”

Ruth nodded her head in acknowledgement of the plan. Luke excused himself from the table and left the kitchen to go and have a bath upstairs.

“Did you get some sleep?” Ruth asked Scully as she took a seat at the table and looked at her closely.

“She had to go in the bath again last night,” Martha


“You got hot again?” Ruth asked, concerned.

“Yeah, I was hallucinating, apparently,” Scully offered.

“If it wasn’t for Samuel, you would have hurt yourself, I’m sure,” Martha offered as she cleared the table.

“But you settled down quick enough,” Mulder reassured Scully.

“How long did it take you to cool?” Ruth asked, interested.

“About forty-five minutes,” Mulder offered.

“That’s longer than the first time,” Ruth noted. “Anything since?”

“I was sick this morning,” Scully offered, interested in Ruth’s bedside manner.

“Was there any blood when you were sick?” Ruth asked.

“No,” Scully said with even greater interest.

Ruth racked her brain for a moment while everyone sat in silence.

“We need to get you back in bed right away,” Ruth said rising from her chair. “You need to lay down with your feet up for at least a day.”

“What?” Scully asked, astonished.

“Martha, do you have any nettle for tea?” Ruth asked.

“I do,” Martha nodded. “I’ll make some.”

“Samuel, can you help me get Miriam into bed?” Ruth asked as she looked at Mulder.

“Wait,” Scully said softly. “I feel fine, I’m a little weak but…”

“Your second time was worse than your first,” Ruth said to her. “You have to prevent another attack. If another one happens it’ll surely be even worse.”

The kitchen fell into silence. Mulder exchanged looks with Martha; last night’s attack had been frightening, they couldn’t imagine how much worse it could be.

“You’re going to bed,” Mulder said as he took Scully by the elbow and helped her rise from her chair. Before she could protest he had her lifted into his arms and was walking from the kitchen and towards the stairs.

“He’s a very determined young man,” Ruth said to Martha with a smile.

“He loves her very much,” Martha replied as the two women left the kitchen to go upstairs after the couple.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“I feel ridiculous,” Scully said with a grimace as Mulder entered the bedroom and shut the door behind him.

“You do look a little ridiculous,” he snickered as he set a tray down on the dresser. “But, really who is there to


Scully made a face at him and pouted. She looked like a red and white striped zebra laying on a downward slope.

“You know, keeping my feet raised like this for extended periods of time will just…”

“Doctors do make the worst patients,” he smirked as he brought her another cup of tea.

“At least all this tea allows me the opportunity to walk to the bathroom,” she said with a sigh, “otherwise my limbs will become atrophied.”

“Atrophied after three hours?” He snickered.

“I’m sure there have been case studies where…”

“You know we do have a bedpan,” he smiled deviously at her as he sat next to her on the bed.

“Don’t even suggest it,” she said in all seriousness.

“It’s not like I’m looking for another job,” Mulder yawned as he leaned against the headboard.

She quietly drank her tea and listened to his breathing slow. “You should lay down for a bit.”

“I’m fine,” he groaned. “Ruth said you need to stay like this for at least 24 hours.”

“So you don’t plan to sleep for the next day?” She asked.

“I’ll sleep when you sleep,” he offered as he rubbed his eyes.

They sat in silence in the bright room as the mid-afternoon sun warmed it.

“How does Ruth suddenly know all about hyperthermia?” Scully inquired.

“Mrs. Hilty is apparently a retired midwife and local medical guru,” Mulder informed her as he yawned again. “Ruth stopped by to visit her after they left here. Mrs. Hilty gave her some advice to follow.”

“So the nettle tea and the raised feet are care of Mrs. Hilty?” Scully asked.

“I convinced them you didn’t need onions rubbed on your feet,” Mulder said, his speech slurring.

“Onions on my feet?” Scully asked stunned.

“Ruth wanted Martha to do it, but I said we’d wait on that treatment…see if you got worse before we rub onion juice into your skin,” Mulder said as he folded his arms over his chest and settled into the bed a little further.

“Well, thank you for that,” Scully replied, relieved. “And, I’ll be back in a minute.”

She swung her feet over the pile of pillows and slowly lowered them to the floor. With a great heave, she hoisted herself up from the bed and winced with the pain of the action.

“You need any help?” Mulder asked, leaning toward her.

“No, I’m fine, thanks,” she said as she slowly walked from the room.

A few minutes later, she walked back into the bright room to find him sitting up sound asleep on the bed, his arms were crossed over his chest and his head slumped slightly to the side.

“You needed a nap,” she smiled down at him as she walked toward his side of the bed.

She looked down at his beautiful and relaxed face. He was a handsome man when she met him, but he grew more and more beautiful with each passing year. The more she knew him, the more she respected him, the more attractive he became. She loved him with all her heart, today even more than yesterday.

Scully walked to the closet in the corner and grabbed a quilt off the shelf. She placed it over his body and pulled it up around his shoulders. As hot as the day was, sleeping without any sort of covering would leave him chilled when he woke. He snuggled further into the bed and she tried to shift his body into a semi-lying position. He moved with ease and seemed to settle into a comfortable spot.

She placed a palm on his cheek and took a moment to take in all that was wonderful about him.

“I love you,” she said in a whisper as he began to snore below her.

Dana Scully walked over to her side of the bed and climbed back in on her pillow slope and promptly fell asleep.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder stirred when he heard a knock on the bedroom door. He was feeling groggy and trying to sort out when he should do about the knock, when he felt Scully lifting his arm off her. She dropped it gently at his side and scurried over to answer the door. He lay now in a state of neither wakefulness or sleep, listening to Scully assure Martha that she and he would be down for supper.

The door shut and Mulder’s eyes closed again; his lids too heavy to remain open for another second. Then he felt a

soft kiss on his forehead followed by another, more lingering kiss in the same location.

“I’m having the greatest dream,” he said with a gravely voice.

“Are you?” she smirked as she watched his eyes begin to flicker behind his lids.

“It involves you naked in a tub…then you uncharacteristically talk about feelings…then I wake up to you undressing me so we can make mad passionate love in a small squeaky bed.”

“That’s some dream,” she said softly.

“Parts of it are,” he said with a smile as he opened his eyes slowly.

She leaned down and kissed him slowly and methodically on his lips, stirring feelings and muscles he didn’t realize had the energy to wake up. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him, deepening the kiss as their bodies made contact. His hands roamed down her back, feeling the indent where her ass began and her back ended and wondering if he should keep moving lower. He hesitated, and while he was considering what to do, felt her weight shift heavily onto his sore shoulder.

“Owww!” He called out reflexively.

She immediately pulled back and placed her weight on his torso and off his shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized, quite flustered. “I forgot about your shoulder.”

“It’s okay…it’s just I think I strained it again carrying you up here earlier,” he said rubbing it.

“You shouldn’t have,” she said sitting up more. “It won’t get better if you keep doing stuff like that.”

“I was more concerned about you then me,” he said lowering his arm and letting it fall against her lower back.

She was straddling him and he couldn’t think of a more perfect position to find himself in.

“Now, where were we?” he asked with a smile as he tried to pull her forward by pressing his hand against her lower back.

“Ahhh,” she yelped as he put pressure on her bruised upper buttocks.

Mulder let go of her immediately and looked at her confused. His photographic memory kicked in and he remembered the large bruise running across the top of her ass.

“How’d you get that bruise?” He asked as he lightly ran a finger across where he knew it was.

She looked away from him and shifted her body on top of his. He knew she was hiding something.

“I know you didn’t get it in the tub, it was there already,” he explained to her, hoping she’d let him in on what happened.

“Two days ago,” she began softly. “When I was helping Martha get ready for the picnic I was not feeling well.”

“I remember, you came home and slept for the rest of the day. Did you fall?” he asked confused.

She let out a breath before continuing. “I was helping take sweets down to the cold cellar when I had a dizzy spell. I was trying to get my bearings, but I felt like I was going to faint. So, I grabbed onto a table and leaned against it.”

“You didn’t get that from leaning against…”

“Mulder, let me finish,” she interrupted. “As I was letting the dizzy spell pass, Jacob Lapp came down into the cellar after me.”

“He what?!” Mulder snapped, sitting up and causing her to slide down his frame.

Scully pulled herself off him and sat cross-legged with her hands folded in her lap beside him. She intently starred at her hands, knowing he was going to have a big problem with the fact that she kept this from him.

“He said I looked right at him and beckoned him to join me in the cellar,” Scully said swallowing hard. “I was still feeling quite nauseous and dizzy and I tried to tell him that wasn’t the case.”

She watched Mulder swallow hard as he listened to her story.

“He backed me against one of the tables, and when I finally thought I could walk without fainting, I went to leave and he pushed me back really hard into the table. That’s how I got the bruise.”

“So you left?” Mulder asked softly.

“Someone was just outside the cellar and about to come down. Jacob bolted as soon as he heard the other woman.”

“What did he do to you?” Mulder asked through gritted teeth.

“Nothing. Mulder,” she said looking right at him to assure him. “He had a hand on my waist and used his body to press himself against me and corner me…that’s all. If I wasn’t so scared I would pass out…I would have had more control of the situation.”

“But you didn’t have control of the situation,” he said standing and starting to pace. “If that woman didn’t come down…”

“But she did,” Scully said rising to walk into his path.

“If you had passed out, he could have loaded you into

his wagon under some blankets and taken you away to…” he said, panicked.

“But, he didn’t,” she said softly as she stood before him, blocking his path. She reached out and grabbed his hand, but felt him not return the hold.“Mulder, I…” she started to whisper.

“Almost got yourself raped or killed,” he finished for her, his jaw set in a harsh line. “Why didn’t you just sit down? Admit you were sick? Take a minute to assess the danger of going down stairs to a cold cellar on your own? You could have fallen and cracked your head open.”

“Now, you’re just inventing…” she said as she dropped his hand and started to turn away from him.

“You need to take a break…maybe you need to be taken off the case, go and…” he whispered.

“You will not take me off this case…you don’t have the authority to do…” she hissed.

“If I tell Skinner about this,” Mulder paused, “you’ll be visiting your Aunt Clara for a while.”

“You wouldn’t,” she said crossing her arms, angry at his suggestion.

“For your health and safety…I would,” he said crossing his arms over his chest.

She opened her mouth to say something and then closed it, thinking better of the words that were on the edge of her tongue.

“Supper!” Martha called from downstairs.

Both heads snapped toward the closed door and the call from the kitchen. Scully marched past him and out the door, without a word.

Mulder stood for a moment, looking at the rumpled bedding where, not twenty minutes ago, they were making out like teenagers and on the cusp of becoming intimate. Now, she might not ever speak to him again.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dinner with the Lapps had been an exercise in politeness as Mulder and Scully each fumed about the other. He was angry she had not been alerting anyone to her sickness and had put herself in harm’s way, and she was angry he had the audacity to consider pulling her from the case. They tried to portray the happy couple but both agents feared their sour mood was showing. After dinner Scully offered to help Martha with the dishes but was relegated to the bedroom to lie down. Mulder took the opportunity to help Luke close up the barn for the night.

“Thanks for having us another night,” Mulder said as he filled a bucket with feed.

“Martha likes the company, I think,” Luke mused as he piled some hay up. “She’s lonely with me working all day and no children to care for.”

“They’ll come,” Mulder said, assuredly.

“If Gott wills it,” Luke agreed.

“Luke, can I ask you something?” Mulder inquired. “And, you can tell me it’s none of my business if you like.”

“Okay,” Luke said uneasily as he stood and leaned against his rake giving Mulder his full attention.

“Miriam was telling Martha that your brother Jacob was going to take her out in his buggy and show her around the county,” Mulder ventured into the water. “But Martha told her not to go with him; that he can’t be trusted. Why would she say that to my wife?”

Luke shifted his feet uneasily where he stood. He let a large breath out his nose, squared his shoulders, and looked Mulder straight in the eye.

“My brother was not always a good man,” he began. “When he was engaged to Martha…”

Mulder nodded and waited in silence for the man to continue. He was obviously uncomfortable with the topic, and Mulder wasn’t even sure if he would say more.

“He thought he had the right to do certain things…with her. She was naive and, I think, a little shy about everything…”

“Did he…?” Mulder asked as he too shifted his feet, attempting to look as uncomfortable with the topic as Luke.

“I caught him trying one night,” Luke said softly. “Martha’s family was over for dinner and they went for a walk, alone. Martha seemed uneasy and not wanting to go…but, Jacob insisted. It didn’t sit well with me. After a while, I had to check on her and that’s when I found them.”

“Was she…?” Mulder asked.

“She was very upset and I don’t think…I don’t know if he…” Luke said wiping his brow. “I’m not proud of the fact that I hit him…more then once.”

Mulder nodded his head. “I can see why…and I’m sure Gott could too.”

“She…she was hysterical and he ran off for a few weeks. I don’t know where he went,and I don’t really care. When he came back, I had married Martha. He apologized saying he didn’t know why he acted that way. We’ve put it behind us…but we don’t see him much.”

“And Martha?”

“She doesn’t go to my parent’s house often,” Luke said picking up his rack again. “I think he only tries these things with girls he’s involved with. He’s not a danger to your wife, but I can see why my Martha would say that.”

“Thank you for being truthful with me. I won’t say anything to Miriam, or anyone else about Martha.” Mulder said. “I’m sorry that happened to her.”

“So am I,” Luke agreed. “She’s better now, but…but it took

a long time for her to trust me.”

“You’re a good husband,” Mulder said honestly.

“I love her,” Luke said shyly as he turned his back to Mulder to continue raking hay.

Mulder thought about how simple those words were coming from this man. There was no doubt, no complication; just love.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder went to bed that night next to Scully, who was either asleep or pretending to be asleep. He wanted to talk to her, but guessed she was not thinking the same thing. He was not going to get her taken off the case, but he wanted her to know how serious her lapse in judgement was.

Also, after hearing about Jacob’s history with Martha, he was more upset than before about what could have happened to her, had she fainted. Jacob had shown an obvious interest in Scully and they could use that to their advantage, but it needed to be planned so he could supervise.

Mulder found himself being roused in the middle of the night as Scully shook his shoulder.

“There’s an unmarked police car sitting across the road with their lights off,” she said cryptically.

“What?” He stirred, unsure he had heard her correctly.

“Shhhh,” she said as she leaned over him and glanced out the window. “It looks like someone is sitting in the driver’s seat.”

Mulder raised himself up on his elbows and followed her sightline outside to a car sitting in the shadow of a tree.

“Someone’s either doing surveillance or there’s an English couple in that car who are going to get the surprise of their life,” Mulder said as he rose from their bed.

“I’m coming with you,” she hissed as she reached for her clothes.

“You need to stay back,” Mulder agreed as he shoved his legs in his pants. “We don’t want anyone to be suspicious.”

“Fine,” she agreed as she brought her dress over her head on top of her nightgown.

They quietly crept down the hallway and noted that both Luke and Martha were soundly sleeping in the room across the hall. Mulder carefully opened the back door and he and Scully scurried out onto the porch, out of the car’s line of vision. They walked quickly up the side of the house and into a bunch of bushes that ran up the side of the property next to the car. As they approached the car, Mulder noted that it was a single white male sitting in the driver’s seat. He grabbed a nearby branch and heaved it over his shoulder. Scully too picked up a good sized branch and followed him. She watched as he walked from the bushes and towards the car; ready to help Mulder if


“Can I help you?” Mulder asked loudly as the man startled in his seat.

“Jesus Christ!” Agent Alex Cowan snapped as he turned to see Mulder standing next to him. Mulder was also startled by the identity of the man in the car.

“Agent Cowan, why the hell are you running surveillance on us?” Mulder hissed.

“I found out you were staying at the Lapp farm from someone I interviewed,” Alex Cowan offered by way of whispered explanation. “I thought I wouldn’t see signs of you until the morning.”

“Why are you looking for us?” Scully asked from behind Mulder.

“There’s been another rape,” Agent Cowan said sadly. “Get in.”

Mulder and Scully got in the car quietly, not shutting the doors so the sound couldn’t be heard.

“Who? When?” Mulder asked immediately as he sat in the back seat.

“Marike Janz was raped 2 days ago after a community picnic at this house. She reported the rape just yesterday.”

“Shit,” Scully swore as she took the file from Agent Cowan.

“Was she raped at the picnic because Jacob Lapp didn’t come and…” Mulder began.

“No,” Agent Cowan interrupted him. “She was raped in her living room later that afternoon. She was…”

“Reading a book,” Scully read from the file. “When she felt someone come up behind her and force her face down into the couch. She said her attacker said nothing during the attack but held her down so forcibly that she sustained a neck injury. She bathed after the attack and went to bed early. When her parents came home later that evening she said nothing of what happened until the next morning when they questioned her odd behaviour and her physical injuries. She was taken to the hospital, x-rayed and fitted for a neck brace before the police showed up and she reported the crime.”

“And she didn’t do a rape kit either?” Mulder asked, already knowing the answer.

“Nope,” Scully scowled.

“Oh, shit,” Mulder said as his face dropped into his hands. “She was engaged to be married, but before that, she was engaged to Jacob Lapp. She broke it off after someone from her family discovered her and Jacob pleasing each other and forbid her from seeing Jacob again.”

“She was involved in a prior sexual relationship with Jacob?” Agent Cowan asked.

“It was described as ‘more than kissing but less than making babies’” Mulder explained.

“She was probably performing fellatio,” Scully noted. “Do you think Jacob did this?”

“He does seem to be linked to many of the women who have been raped. Isaac explained that the reason Jacob wasn’t at the picnic was because he found it difficult to be around Marike now that she was going to marry another man. I think he took the break-up pretty hard, and maybe he’s feeling in the mood for some revenge.” Mulder noted.

“He wants to have her before her husband does,” Scully continued his thought.

“Bingo,” Mulder said.

“How would he know she was alone? Where were her parents?”

“They were over visiting a…” Agent Cowan paused as he read from his notes. “Mrs. Hilty when Ruth Fisher showed up and explained what happened to you. You lost consciousness?”

“She had a severe case of sunstroke,” Mulder explained.

“Anyway,” Agent Cowan continued. “It was in my interview with Mrs. Janz that I discovered that you two were staying with the Lapps for a couple of days while Agent Scully recovered. Which is how I came to be here.”

“Is she okay?” Scully asked softly.

“She’s upset, blames herself for being home alone, was asking why God would do this to her,” Agent Cowan explained. “Her parents seemed equally upset…her father seemed a little embarrassed by the whole situation.”

“Did they offer up any suspects?” Mulder asked.

“They think it’s an English,” Agent Cowan said with a roll of his eyes. “None of them seem to believe it’s one of

their own.”

“It’s a tight knit community…it would be like believing a member of your family was capable of rape.” Scully offered.

“Luke Lapp shared some interesting history about Jacob with me tonight,” Mulder offered.

Both Scully and Agent Cowan nodded for him to continue.

“Apparently, Jacob may have sexually assaulted Martha Lapp while they were engaged,” Mulder said. “Luke found them while they were out walking and he said Martha didn’t seem agreeable to the act. He doesn’t even know if penetration occurred, but it was enough to scare the shit out of Martha, and I sense it took a long time before they became intimate as a couple after marrying.”

“When did you hear this?” Scully asked him.

“When I was out in the barn with him, I asked him why Martha would warn you about Jacob and he told me the story,” Mulder explained.

“Oh,” Scully scowled.

“You two too busy to communicate with each other?” Agent Cowan asked.

Both agents looked at each other then down at their laps.

“Scully hasn’t been well and I’ve been busy,” Mulder offered by way of explanation.

“Have you been able to interview Beulah King or Annie Glick, yet?” Scully asked, changing the subject.

“Mrs. King has agreed to see me tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have some news for you on Wednesday,” Agent Cowan explained. “Annie Glick has not returned my calls.”

“Anything else we need to know?” Mulder asked.

“Your car isn’t at the golf and country club anymore,” Agent Cowan explained. “Silas Miller is a member and, although he wasn’t there when we last met, Wednesday is his day off.”

“So he could be there,” Scully elaborated.

Agent Cowan nodded.

“Your car is now at a cottage outside of Walnut Creek,” Agent Cowan explained. “I rented it for the month, so we’ll be meeting there from now on. Apparently lots of people rent cottages to be near the Amish but they still like to have air conditioning, the internet, phones and cable.”

“How Amish,” Mulder shook his head as Agent Cowan handed him the printed directions.

“Well, it’s off the beaten path, so no one will see us there, it’s got all the bells and whistles we need to run an investigation, and it’s close enough that Abram can drive you there.”

“Speaking of which, I think we need a buggy,” Mulder added.

“We do?” Scully asked.

“It would be a lot easier to investigate if we could move around more easily on our own without feeling we were putting our hosts out,” Mulder added.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Agent Cowan said.

“Thanks for letting us know,” Mulder said as he got out of the car. “We’ll be there by lunch on Wednesday.”

“Thank you Agent Cowan,” Scully said softly as she too got out of the car.

“Hopefully I get something more from my interview,” Agent Cowan noted.

“We’ll have more for you by Wednesday,” Mulder said with determination.

They both snuck back into the bushes before Agent Cowan’s car quietly rolled down the dirt road. Mulder watched and saw that he didn’t start his car until it was well past the Lapp farm. When he turned back to say something to Scully, she was gone.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“Scully!” He hissed as he raced through the bushes. “Scully!”

“I’m fine,” she said softly from the edge of the clearing.

He found her sitting on the grass wiping her eyes with her skirt.

“What’s the…?” He started.

“It’s my fault that girl was raped,” Scully said as she sniffled.

“What?” He asked astonished as he sat next to her.

“You were right,” she said quietly. “If I had taken better care of myself, noticed the signs, even told you about what happened with Jacob…maybe she wouldn’t have been raped.”

“Scully, there’s no way you could have…”

“No, Mulder,” she stopped his speech. “If you hadn’t have been distracted by caring for me…if I wasn’t dizzy when I encountered Jacob…I don’t know, I may have been able to trap him, to get him to…”

“You can’t do this to yourself,” Mulder said as he wrapped an arm around her.

“I have played that scene over and over again and again in my head. Things I should have said or done, ways I could have got him to…”

“We can’t go back in time,” Mulder said as he rubbed her shoulder. “Who knows if any of those things would have prevented this rape from happening? All I know is that I am determined to figure out who the bastard is that’s doing this to these women.”

She nodded her head in agreement.

“Come back to bed and get a few more hours of sleep and then tomorrow, you and I are going to see if we can trap one of our suspects.”

“You have a plan?” Scully asked him with a raised eyebrow.

“I’m formulating one,” he smirked. “Give me a little more time and I should have something to offer.”

Mulder stood from his spot and offered her a hand to help get up.

“Mulder, I’m sorry about what I said.” She offered as she stood. “You were right, I deserve to be pulled from this case…but I hope you won’t do that, because I want to catch this rapist.”

“Scully I wouldn’t pull you,” Mulder explained. “But you can’t keep anything from me anymore, deal?”

“I was just worried you’d…”

“Lose it and kill Jacob Lapp myself?”

“Something like that…” she smirked.

“You don’t want to know what I’ve done to him in my imagination,” he grinned down at her. “But in reality, I want to see him serve some hard time if he’s our rapist. At the very least, I want to find out if he sexually assaulted Martha and have him pay for that. If he’s not a rapist…I’ll have to have a nice chat with him about what’s considered respectable behaviour with women.”

“A chat?” Scully inquired.

“Man to man,” Mulder nodded as he draped an arm over her shoulder and started to walk her back toward the Lapp house.

“I am sorry,” she said honestly as they approached the house.

“I know you are,” he said back softly as he kissed the top of her head.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“I heard about Marike,” Scully said to Ruth and Fannie as they cleaned up from supper that night. “Does anyone know how she’s doing?”

“She has a neck brace,” Fannie offered as she cleaned off a plate.

“She needs to rest,” Ruth said defensively, as if she knew what Scully’s suggestion would be.

“Maybe we should go by tomorrow and bring…” Scully began.

“No, she needs her rest,” Ruth interrupted.

Fannie chanced a look at Scully that said she believed otherwise.

Scully said nothing in return and instead concentrated on packing up the leftovers.

Later that night Scully and Fannie sat on the porch enjoying the cool night air and talking about fairytales from their youth.

“I would like to visit Marike,” Fannie whispered to her.

“How do you think she’d doing?” Scully asked quietly.

“Right now, she feels all alone and bad and dirty,” Fannie said as she leaned back into her rocking chair. “She could use a friend.”

“How can we go and see her?” Scully asked conspiratorially.

“Grandma is going into town tomorrow with Mrs. Miller and will be gone for the afternoon buying material for the new wedding quilts we need to make. We could walk over to the Janz farm and visit with Marike.” Fannie whispered.

“Are you okay with being dishonest about this?” Scully asked her.

“I know my grandma has good intentions,” Fannie paused to look over her shoulder, “but she doesn’t really know…”

Scully nodded her head in agreement. Fannie knows exactly what Marike is going through and she would be the best person to help her right now.

Just then the back door opened and Mulder appeared.

“So this is where everyone is,” he smiled at them.

“I better go to bed,” Fannie said as she rose from her seat.

“Stay, Fannie,” Scully implored.

“No,” she smiled down at her. “I’m tired and I’ve had a long day.”

“Okay,” Scully returned her smile

Fannie stopped in front of Mulder before going inside. “Don’t let her stay up too late. Grandma said she really should have been lying down for 2 days ideally.”

“I’m fine,” Scully assured everyone.

Mulder and Fannie exchanged knowing glances.

Fannie went inside and Mulder sat heavily in her vacant rocking chair.

“Tired?” Scully asked.

“My body’s not looking forward to my 4 am wake up call,” Mulder said as he leaned his head back against the chair.

“We should go to bed,” Scully said as she gathered her glass of water.“I’m making a delivery to the Miller’s again tomorrow,” Mulder sighed.

“You’ll get another crack at Saunder?”

“Yep,” he said softly.

“Fannie and I are going to visit Marike tomorrow,” she said in a whisper. “Ruth won’t know about it.”

“I think it’ll be good for Fannie,” Mulder noted.

“You mean Marike,” Scully corrected him.

“Well, her too, but really…I think it will be most beneficial to Fannie,” Mulder continued quietly. “Studies show that victims of sexual assault feel happier and more empowered once they begin to help others in the same situation.”

“I can see that,” Scully yawned.

“Come on,” he said rising from his seat and offering her his hand. “I’ll tuck you in.”

“That all I get?” She said sleepily.

“Between your bruises and mine, the sun stroke and my pulled trapezius…that bed ain’t seeing no action tonight.” He snickered.

She snickered at his joke and walked ahead of him toward the door.

“But I’m not making any promises about any other night,” Mulder whispered softly into her ear.

“I may hold you to that, you know,” she turned to look at him.

He swallowed hard; she was serious.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder and Abram bounced along the dirt road making milk deliveries to the neighbours. It was a beautiful summer day without a cloud in the sky.

“So Miriam is feeling better?” Abram asked, thoughtfully.

“Yes, she’s still a little pale looking but she’s herself

again,” Mulder smiled back at the older man.

“Ruth told me what happened upstairs at the Lapps…”

“Miriam has a tattoo, Abram,” Mulder interrupted the man with an explanation. “It’s at the small of her back and…and I needed to protect our cover. Ruth couldn’t possibly handle her on her own and…and Amish women don’t have tattoos.”

“No, they don’t,” Abram said as he shifted on the seat.

Mulder looked at his hands. He felt as if he was being admonished by his father for something he did wrong.

“Ruth was…she was quite upset on the way home. She was concerned about Miriam’s…about her privacy.” Abram said delicately.

“Abram I would never take advantage of…” Mulder said adamantly.

“Samuel, that’s not what I mean,” Abram said as he placed a hand on Mulder’s arm. “I know you are a good man.”

“Thank you,” Mulder nodded and exhaled for the first time in a minute.

“I mean as an unmarried woman being cared for in that way, by an unmarried man…she was without clothes, yes?”

“Yes,” Mulder nodded.

“And then she had to face you…to work with you afterwards. That must be very difficult for her. Very embarrassing.” Abram said softly.

Mulder thought better of telling Abram that he had been Scully naked before. That the image of her naked body was burned in his memory long before this incident. It was not the time or place, and really, it was not Abram’s business.

“She seems to be okay. Embarrassed but fine,” Mulder noted instead.

“We should all be extra kind to her. You especially.” Abram said softly.

Mulder nodded his head. He had not been particularly kind to her after finding out about Jacob. Maybe Abram was right, he needed to be more aware of the situation he had placed Scully in. They continued in silence for a few minutes until Abram broke it with a question.

“How do you know she has a…? Wait, I don’t need to know that,” Abram smiled quietly to himself.

“I’ve seen her in a two-piece bathing suit,” Mulder answered, trying to preserve some of Scully’s good character in this man’s eyes. “Her tattoo is high enough that it’s not covered.”

“You English and your two piece suits!” Abram laughed, relieved the answer was innocent.

Mulder laughed along with him. He had seen things and known people in his life that would make Abram’s toes curl. It hit Mulder suddenly how truly innocent this community was, how even someone as old as Abram, had no idea how the English world worked.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Scully didn’t get the access to Marike she had hoped for. When they got to the Janz farm with their preserves Marike’s brother had kindly told them no one was available for a visit. Fannie had tried to tell him that she thought Marike would want to see her, but Matthew had said that it wouldn’t be possible. He seemed very on-edge and angry. His sister had been violated and he wanted revenge; Amish or not, Scully could read that in his eyes.

“Let me drive you home, it’s hot and…” Matthew said as he escorted them off the porch.

“That’s okay, we can walk, we’re…” Fannie started.

“You shouldn’t in your condition,” Matthew interrupted.

“My condition?” Fannie asked as she swallowed hard.

“Uh…” Matthew stammered.

Scully stood between the two of them in silence. It was like watching a train wreck; she couldn’t take her eyes off them, and she also could think of nothing to do to help.

“Matthew?” Fannie asked softly.

“I, uh…I overheard my father and yours talking. He said we should check Marike for a baby as soon as possible because of what happened to you.”

Fannie’s face reddened and she looked at her feet.

“We better go,” Scully finally came to her senses and pulled at Fannie’s arm.

Scully started to turn Fannie away when Matthew grabbed her arm as well.

“Fannie, you aren’t respon…” Matthew started.

“Good day, Matthew,” Fannie said quietly and took a step away from him.

“Fannie…” he called after her as she walked briskly from his yard.

Scully watched as the tears slowly started to fall from Fannie’s eyes. Scully held Fannie’s arm more tightly against her frame.

“It’ll be okay,” Scully said again and again, hoping it would help.

“No it won’t,” Fannie said as she gulped back tears. “It never will be again.”

Scully stopped her at the side of the road and faced her.

“You are a strong person Fannie, you will get through this. If you keep the baby you will love it. If you give it up, you will still love it. You and this baby will be fine, trust me.”

Fannie crumbled into a sea of tears before Scully’s eyes. Scully held her tightly against her frame, willing some hope to come into the life of this young girl. Horses came up beside them and Fannie buried her face in Scully’s shoulder.

“Fannie, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…” Matthew said kindly. “Please let me drive you back…it’s the least I can…”

Scully pulled Fannie’s face away from her body and looked to the young girl for guidance. Fannie nodded her head ‘yes’, and then Scully found herself sitting between Matthew Janz and Fannie Miller as everyone kept awkwardly silent.

“How is your sister, really?” Scully asked, breaking the silence.

“She cries a lot, and I think she’s still in some pain,” Matthew said thoughtfully.

“Does she know who…?” Scully asked softly.

“No, she doesn’t,” Matthew said through gritted teeth. “I know we are supposed to forgive but I find it…I find it really hard.”

“I know,” Fannie mumbled from the other side of Scully.

Scully turned to look at her tear-streaked face and sighed. If there was some way to get these women together, maybe the healing process could begin.

“Maybe when Marike is feeling better, she would like to talk with Fannie,” Scully said, trying to broach the subject.

“It’s up to Marike,” Matthew said, non-committally. “But…but, I think it sounds like a good idea.”

The pulled up in front of the Fisher farm and the group again, found themselves silent.

“Thank you for the ride, Matthew,” Scully said as they

both got out of the buggy.

“It was no…” he paused and thought for a moment. “Fannie, I’m sorry that I said that. I sometimes don’t think before I speak and that was…”

“It’s fine,” Fannie said tersely before she turned to leave.

Scully looked at Matthew and smiled warmly. She felt badly for him; it was a terrible situation for everyone and no one knew what to say.

“Thanks again, Matthew,” Scully said before she turned to join Fannie inside.

When she got to the door she turned to see that he was still standing there, staring off into the distance. For a moment, Scully saw her own brother’s face; he would want to murder any man who did that to her.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder and Abram pulled up to the Miller farm and the first thing Mulder noted was the man waiting for them on the front porch. Saunder Miller was sitting casually on a chair, reading in the afternoon sun.

“Saunder!” Abram called from the buggy as they came to a stop.

“No work for you today?”

“You caught me cheating,” Saunder said with a laugh. “Father is gone for a couple of days and mother is with your wife in town. I took advantage of the break.”

“There’s no crime in that,” Abram said with a laugh.

“Unless you did something besides read,” Mulder said slyly as Saunder caught his eye.

Abram looked between the two men and kept silent.

“I’ll get the milk, Abram,” Mulder said as he walked toward the back of the buggy.

“Let me help you with that,” Saunder said as he reached for the other handle on the milk jug Mulder was hauling.

“Thanks,” Mulder smiled at him.

Mulder and Saunder carried the jug up the steps and through the door away from Abram.

“How’s your Miriam?” Saunder asked as they walked though the front hall.

Mulder smiled. “She’s…uh…she’s good.”

“You don’t sound so convinced,” Saunder said, interested.

“She had that spell at the picnic,” Mulder said. “And since then…she’s been talking about strange things. Things she hasn’t brought up for a while.”

“She’s still sick?” Saunder inquired.

“No, she’s…she’s different.” Mulder stammered.

“Different?” Saunder asked as he helped Mulder heave the jug up onto the counter.

“She told me she wanted to work, to try writing children’s books and put off having babies. She had been saying that before, but since the picnic she’s…she’s determined.”

“She wants to do that?” Saunder asked, interested more.

“She has always had these ideas…but I thought they were sort of childish and really…children’s books?” Mulder laughed. “She’s never been very good at school.”

“That is a little…odd,” Saunder smiled at him. “What have you said?”

“I said that I waited long enough to have her as my wife and make babies, that this career she wanted was out of the question,” Mulder said with authority.

“And?” Saunder leaned in.

“And…and I don’t know,” Mulder conceded. “She’s angry with me and says I’m not being supportive. It’s…it’s just too much.”

“So this trip to Abram’s was to help out but…”

“But also to get her away so I could talk some sense into her,” Mulder smiled up at Saunder. “But, it doesn’t seem to be working so far.”

“So that’s why you seem so…” Saunder said.

Mulder looked at him oddly and Saunder stopped talking.

“It’s just that you seem a little edgy,” Saunder admitted. “A little guarded.”

“Samuel!” Abram called from outside.

“I have to get going,” Mulder said as he started to walk out of the kitchen.

“Samuel,” Saunder called to him. “You are the head of your household, and you need to let Miriam know her place.”

Mulder nodded towards Saunder and then left to re-join Abram.

“Everything okay?” Abram asked as Mulder got into the buggy.

“Perfect,” Mulder said quietly as he sat next to Abram.

Abram snapped the reins and the buggy launched itself forward.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“So you didn’t get anything else about Marike?” Mulder asked as he lay down next to her in bed.

“No,” Scully sighed as she turned on her side to face him. “Her brother was fiercely guarding her and…and rightfully so.”

“But he said she couldn’t identify her rapist?” He asked as he lay looking up at the ceiling.

“No, she couldn’t,” Scully sulked. “I think that getting these women together would be…therapeutic.”

“I agree,” Mulder said softly. “A support group for the women who have been assaulted would be a step forward for them.”

“Maybe once the case is done, you could…”

“I will,” he said softly as he met her gaze and reached out to hold her hand.

“Thank you,” she smiled softly down at him.

“On a good note,” Mulder sighed. “Everything went perfectly with Saunder. He bought it hook, line, and sinker.”

“So the career as a writer?” She asked.

“I added in the fact that you wanted to put off having children too,” he smiled up at her again. “For good measure.”

“Why not?” She asked with a grin. “In for a dime, in for

a dollar.”

“But, you know…we could practice,” Mulder said as he turned to face her and the mattress beneath them squeaked.

“Practice what?” She asked, confused.

“Practice,” he said slyly as he put a hand on her hip and pulled her towards him.

“Oh, practice,” she smiled over at him. “On a squeaky mattress, while working a case, and living in an Amish house?”

“When you put it that way,” he said in a sexy voice as he leaned forward and slowly kissed her.

“Mulder!” She hissed in admonishment when their lips parted.

“What?!” He laughed at her.

She turned to lay on her back and he towered over her lying form. The bed squeaked loudly.

“I need to get some oil,” he whispered to her.

She giggled beneath him as he leaned in to softly kiss her lips.

“Good night,” he said softly.

“Good night,” she said back as she watched him settle in on his back next to her.

She pulled herself toward him and rested her head on his shoulder as he wrapped and arm around her small frame and held her tightly against him.

“Saunder said you needed to know your place,” Mulder continued their earlier conversation. “I don’t want you going anywhere alone, not the barn, not the fields, not in the house by yourself, okay?”

“Mulder, I…” she started to whisper.

“I know you can handle yourself,” he pre-emptively began. “But, these women were caught off guard, held from behind…sometimes training isn’t a factor.”

“And…” she began again.

“And there is no MO for the location chosen. Inside the house, in the barn, in a field, he doesn’t have a place he prefers so anywhere can be dangerous if you are alone.”

“I get that,” she yawned from beside him. “I promise I’ll stick with Fannie or Ruth.”

“Thank you,” Mulder said as he gripped her shoulder a little more. “We’ll catch this guy Scully…but by being smart.”

“Well, he’ll have to wait a couple of days. Aunt Clara calls,” Scully said as she yawned again.

“Agent Cowan seems on the ball,” Mulder noted quietly. “Hopefully he got some information from the interview he had.”

“Let’s hope,” Scully said wearily.

“Go to sleep,” Mulder said as he leaned down to kiss her forehead. “We have a long day tomorrow.”

Within minutes Scully was asleep, but Mulder found himself awake and on guard for a long time after that.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder walked around the exterior of the cottage looking for signs of Agent Cowan.

“Should I stay?” Abram asked Scully as she stood next to the buggy.

“No, no, Abram,” Scully smiled at him. “We’ll be fine. The Agent we are meeting up with should be here anytime.”

“Are you sure?” Abram asked.

“Yeah, we have the car in case we need to go anywhere,” she said as she craned her head to look for Mulder.

Mulder re-appeared at the side of the cottage and looked over at the two of them.

“He’s not here yet, but I’m sure he won’t be long,” he said as he approached them.

“Do you want me to stay?” Abram asked again, unsure.

“No, I’m sure he’s on his way,” Mulder smiled up at him. “We’ll see you at suppertime tomorrow.”

“Okay, good luck,” Abram said as he jostled the horses into duty.

“Thanks for bringing us,” Scully called to him as he started off.

Abram tipped his hat toward them as he started down the lane.

Mulder appeared at Scully’s side and looked over at their car. “It’s the right place because that’s our car.”

“Agent Cowan must be delayed,” she said as she looked toward the car. “Do you think he left the keys somewhere?”

They both walked toward the car and began a cursory exam of the area.

“Bingo!” Mulder called as he pulled the keys out from under the wheel well of the car.

“Keys to the cottage too?” Scully asked.

“No, just the car,” Mulder said as he unlocked the doors.

They sat for a few minutes in the car, looking it over for any notes left for them. They found none.

“If we have cell phone service here,” Mulder mused. “We could call him.”

“Remind him of our clandestine meeting,” Scully said with a grin.

“Is there something about this overnight stay with Agent Cowan that I should be privy to?” Mulder asked with a wicked grin.

“Mulder!” she said as she smacked his arm.

Just then, a cell phone in one of their bags sprang to life. They scurried to find it until Mulder flipped it open and answered.

“Hello?” He asked, out of breath.

Scully watched as he nodded his head and agreed with the person on the other end of the phone. She saw him get out of the car and start to walk toward the cottage looking at the ground. She followed behind him and watched as he bent over and unearthed a small rock, revealing a key underneath.

“Okay, let us know as soon as you do,” Mulder said as he hung up the phone.

“What?” Scully asked.

“That was Agent Cowan,” Mulder said as he pocketed key. “He’s still in Westfield New York and may not be able to meet us until much later today.”

“Why is he in New York State?” Scully asked confused.

“He went there to interview Beulah King yesterday evening, they spoke for a while and he got no new leads from her. Then, last night as he was driving back to Cleveland, he got a call from her husband…she attempted suicide and was at the hospital. Agent Cowan turned around and went back. He’s still waiting to see her.”

“How is she?” Scully asked concerned.

“She wasn’t successful,” Mulder said quietly. “We’ll know more when he calls back.”

“I wonder if something set her off from the interview…recalling the events of her attack,” Scully mused.

“Possibly,” Mulder said. “But we shouldn’t speculate until we hear more from Agent Cowan.”

“Until then…”

“We don’t have files or food or a computer,” Mulder said with a groan.

“We may as well be back on the farm checking out our suspects,” Scully groaned as well.

“But we can’t drive back, and Abram’s not here until tomorrow evening,” Mulder noted as he looked around.

“We can run through the information we know,” Scully said thoughtfully.

“After we hit a store for a few food supplies,” he said as he stepped from the garden.

“I knew that would be your first priority,” she said.

“Wanna come along or get settled here?” He asked.

“I’ll stay,” she said putting out her hand for the house key. “Just try and buy some actual food…food that’s fresh.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said tipping his hat toward her and handing her the house key. “I want to get in and out of town as quickly as possible, before anyone recognizes me.”

“Sounds like a good idea,” she said as she walked back toward the car to grab her things. “Maybe Agent Cowan can buy a few supplies to stock the cupboards in case this happens again.”

“I think,” Mulder said as he opened up the driver’s side door. “By the time he gets here, the last thing he’s going to want to do is get back in a car again.”

“True,” Scully agreed as she lifted her bag from the car.

Mulder started the engine and slowly backed out of the long laneway while Scully entered the cottage.

✦ ⸎ ✦

They had run through all their information by lunch time, and still had not heard from Agent Cowan. They had come to no new conclusions but were in agreement that they had suitably set a trap for Saunder, if he was the rapist. Mulder was going to make it known that he, Abram, Fannie and Ruth were away from the farm on Saturday and Scully was going to be alone. In reality, he would be protecting Scully while Ruth, Abram and Fannie were gone for the day visiting distant relatives two towns over. Abram had reluctantly agreed to the plan and sent word to his cousin that they would be coming for an overnight visit. Fannie complicated matters slightly, but Mulder was sure she wouldn’t be suspicious; she had too much on her mind already.

“Too bad this place doesn’t have a hot tub,” Mulder said as he gathered up their plates.

“Mulder, I can’t think of anything else we can do for the case, not without files, or a computer or…”

“Aunt Clara’s is turning out to be a big waste of time,” Mulder noted.

Just then, the cell phone sitting next to them on the table rang. Agent Cowan was on his way there and would be in around three o’clock with some new information.

Mulder looked at Scully as she sat uncomfortably in a chair across from him.

“Seeing as there’s nothing we can do until he gets here,” Mulder noted. “What about enjoying the afternoon?”

“What do you propose?” Scully asked.

“Well, we could make out like horny teenagers for a few hours or…” Mulder began.

“Or we could go for a walk, watch some TV…” Scully suggested.

“I guess your idea is better,” Mulder said begrudgingly. “Agent Cowan might notice the hickeys.”

Scully giggled at his suggestion. “I’ll get my shoes on.”

Mulder carried all their dishes over to the sink and waited for Scully to get her shoes on.

They both left the cottage and started to make their way down a small trail that ran into the forest behind the house.

“I miss all this,” Scully said as she stepped over a rock. “As kids we used to play outside all day but as an adult…I’m only outside when I walk to the car.”

“Or, when I take you on cases in the woods,” Mulder mused.

“Yeah, that too,” she smiled at him.

“Maybe I should take you into the woods more often,” Mulder said as he reached to hold her hand.

“Maybe,” she mused as she squeezed his hand in hers. “When therearen’t any mutants hunting us.”

They walked for a long while, holding hands and not speaking as they meandered through the woods. The temperature was cooler in the woods and the heat from the day, almost unnoticeable.

“I remember when I was a teenager, we used to hold bonfires in the woods and it was so…easy. Everyone was accepted, there were no jocks or babes or nerds…it was a perfect little moment in time in the life of a teenager.”

“I was a camp counsellor one year and we held a bonfire party for the kids at the end of every week, sort of sent them out with a bang. There is something about a bonfire.” She mused.

“Well, we also used to smoke pot around the bonfire, I’m sure that was not encouraged at camp,” Mulder joked.

“No, we tried keep the kids from getting hooked on grass while they were at camp,” she laughed.

“What about the counsellors?” He asked as he nudged her shoulder.

“I tried it a couple of times in high school and college,” she said with a smirk. “It just made me all giggly and then I felt really sick the next day.”

“A giggly Scully…” Mulder pondered.

“What about you?” She asked, interested.

“It was pretty much a given at the bonfire,” Mulder smirked at her. “I was far from a pot head but…but it was sort of a coping mechanism I used as a teenager.”

“How so?”

“My sister was gone, my parents were miserable, divorce was looming over our house, I was smart but unsure of myself, I was athletic but had a bit of a temper on the court…”

“And you…?”

“And I wanted to fit in, to just be normal,” Mulder explained. “Maybe I wanted to disappear for a little bit, take a break from my mind.”

“I can see that,” Scully said as she looked up at him thoughtfully. “I can’t imagine how you got through all that.”

“It’s kind of why I went to Oxford,” he explained. “I didn’t like the future I saw for myself, so I chose a different path.”

“What was the future you avoided?” She asked, interested.

“Getting a business degree and working for one of my father’s friends helping him invest his hoards of money. Marrying a girl from town, with just the right social connections so my mother would be pleased. Having 2.5 children, taking golfing vacations and buying a boat…”

“Oh, yeah,” Scully smiled up at him. “It sounds horrible.”

“It wasn’t me and…and I knew it even then.” He said assuredly.

“And…and is any part of you sad you didn’t choose that?” Scully asked quietly.

Mulder thought for a moment. A moment longer than Scully was comfortable with.

“Maybe I would have played along for a while…wanting to please my parents and all, but, at some point, I would have stopped and looked at my life and changed it.”

“You’re sure of that?” Scully asked doubtful.

“Scully, I wasn’t meant to live that life, you know it, and I know it. It looks good on paper compared to living on my own in a small apartment, chasing down cases, getting shot, having my ass raked over the FBI’s coals every once and a while but…”

“But?” She asked interested.

He stopped and looked at her thoughtfully. “But my life would be incomplete. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without all that. I wouldn’t be here with you. And, I can’t imagine not being here with you.”

She swallowed hard and couldn’t help the watery look that took over her eyes.

“Mulder, you amaze me,” she said simply.

He smiled down at her uncomfortably and looked around. “Maybe we should head back so you can get in a chick flick in before Agent Cowan arrives.”

“Who said anything about a chick flick?” She joked.

“Oh Scully, even you can’t hide the fact that your itching for something like that,” he joked as he guided her back towards the cottage.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Agent Alex Cowan was tired from the long drive into Walnut Creek. He had been up all night waiting to talk with either Beulah or her doctors; neither had been forthcoming. Then, when he had finally spoken to her, she had revealed enough information to push their investigation forward. Now, after three hours of driving, he wanted nothing more than to sit on his ass in air conditioned comfort and let two other agents do some work.

He parked at the back of the house and walked up the back porch steps to get inside. He looked inside the window and wasn’t sure for a minute if he was at the right house. Inside, he spotted a woman lying partially on top of a man on a couch while a Meg Ryan movie played in front of them. Alex walked back around the side of the house to look at the plate on the car. It was the right location.

He went back the same way and knocked on the back door. The woman’s head snapped up and looked around, in that moment, he saw that it was Agent Scully. She quickly jumped from the couch and ran to the front door to answer it. Mulder rose more slowly and, when he sat up spotted Alex at the back door waiting. A slow smile spread across his face as he called to Scully and then walked to the back door to give the Agent admittance.

“Come on in,” Mulder said to the Agent.

“Thanks, I wasn’t sure if I had the right place when I saw you two,” Alex Cowan explained as he dropped his laptop bag on the counter.

Scully blushed and starred at the floor; Mulder puffed out his chest.

“Long drive?” Mulder asked.

“Three hours and after a night of sitting in uncomfortable hospital chairs…” Alex Cowan started to explain.

“Have you had lunch yet? We have…” Scully started to offer.

“I had a burger while I was driving, thanks,” Alex Cowan explained.

“How’s Beulah?” Scully asked.

“She’s recovering well, her husband is with her,” Agent Cowan said as he walked toward the living room where the Agents had just been asleep.

“She tried to kill herself?” Scully asked, interested.

“She slit her wrists in the tub,” Agent Cowan said as he shut off the Meg Ryan movie. “Her husband found her and called 911.”

“How much blood loss?” Scully asked as she moved some pillows to sit on the couch.

“Enough that is was a long time before a doctor would talk with me,” Agent Cowan said as he threw himself heavily into a chair.

“Were you able to interview her?” Mulder asked as he sat next to Scully.

“Yeah, later this morning,” Agent Cowan said as he undid the top two buttons on his shirt. “She said that Jacob Lapp had been by the school earlier on the day she was assaulted and he’d been acting strangely.”

“Strangely?” Scully asked.

“She said he hadn’t come by before and that, having no kids in the school, it was strange for him to just drop in like that,” Alex Cowan explained as he crossed his legs.

“What else?” Mulder asked.

“She said he came by at lunch time and started talking about things they used to do when they were kids, silly names they used to call all the other kids they went to school with as children,” Alex Cowan explained. “She said at the time she thought it was odd, but that after the assault she felt strangely about it, and then she didn’t put it all together until she spoke with me.”

“Put what all together?” Scully asked as she leaned forward.

“She said when they were 11 or 12 she and Jacob called another boy in their class Pumpkin Head. She said they were relentless in their teasing until one day that boy tackled her in the coat room and sat on her back yelling for her to take it back as she lay on the ground helpless before him.”

“And she was raped three months ago on the coat room floor, right?” Scully clarified, as she looked at Mulder.

He nodded that she was correct.

“She said she remembered Jacob just standing there and watching that boy on top of her, yelling at her, while he did nothing to help. She said she remembered Jacob rubbing himself…arousing himself, as this happened to her.”

“Really?” Scully asked, interested.

“She said she bucked the kid off her back and then told the teacher, but then she stopped being friends with Jacob,” Alex Cowan explained further. “She said that at the time, she knew what Jacob was doing was wrong, but she hadn’t really thought about the incident from her childhood until she spoke with me.”

“What did you ask her to cause this revelation?” Mulder asked.

“I said that I noticed she and Jacob went to school together and that I wondered if they were ever friends. Who knew it would lead to that!” Agent Cowan said surprised as he sat back further in his seat.

“It’s a very interesting piece of information about young Jacob,” Mulder said thoughtfully. “He was aroused by a woman being held down and chastised before him. She was the bottom.”

“What do you make of it?” Scully asked as she turned to face him more fully.

“Well it could be tied to early sexual fantasies related to bondage or something known as erotic humiliation. He became aroused by watching her get humiliated in front of him; it’s a type of sexual fetish. And, it happening in the coat room in front of others could tie it to exhibitionism as well. He knew that Beulah saw him aroused as she was being chastised and he wanted her to know that he liked it.”

“And then she ceased being his friend,” Scully added.

“And then after a surprise visit from Jacob, she was raped on that same coat room floor,” Mulder said as he rose from his seat.

“What?” Scully asked.

“I need to do some research,” Mulder said as he walked toward Agent Cowan’s bag. “That okay?”

“Be my guest,” Agent Cowan yawned as he waved his hand in Mulder’s direction.

“Why don’t you grab forty winks,” Scully said to Alex Cowan. “We’ll do some research and have more when you wake up.”

Alex Cowan nodded at her and pulled a quilt off the back of the chair he was sitting in and threw it over himself. “I won’t put up a fight.”

Scully walked over to Mulder who was booting up the computer.

“So what are we looking up?” She asked as she leaned in.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“So the fetishism could be directly tied to the places he raped the women?” Alex Cowan asked between bites of his stir fry.

“It could be, but we’d have to find out some information from each of the women about their earlier experiences with Jacob. If each of them has a link like Beulah…” Scully began.

“Then we have a pattern,” Mulder finished. “And with a pattern I can hone my profile better and then we can either bait him or be one step ahead of him next time.”

“So we’re going with Jacob Lapp as our rapist?” Agent Cowan asked as he took a drink of his water.

Mulder and Scully exchanged looks.

“I still don’t want to rule out Saunder Miller,” Mulder said hesitantly. “Despite the evidence that’s mounting against Jacob there’s just something that doesn’t sit right about Saunder.”

“So we’re going to still investigate them both?” Alex Cowan clarified.

“Yes,” Scully answered for them. “Mulder has been successful at setting me up as an independent and non-rule abiding woman in the eyes of Saunder and I think we should see what he does with it.”

“And how are you going to do that?” Alex Cowan asked as he got another forkful of food.

“I’m going to ask him to keep an eye on the Fisher farm for the night on Saturday; I’ll explain that Ruth, Fannie and Abram needed to come with me to visit a very sick relative but that Scully couldn’t go because she was still recovering from her sunstroke. I will let him know that if it’s late we may just stay overnight and come back early the next morning.”

“He’ll think that I’ll be alone for at least the evening and, if he’s our rapist, he’ll seize the opportunity.” Scully said as she reached for her glass of water.

“But you’ll be…?”

“Hiding in the house, out of sight.” Mulder explained before he ate the last bit of food on his plate.

“Do you want me to…?”

“If he suspects anyone is around he won’t try…I think you better leave this one to us.”

“You should take the cell phone back with you and hide it somewhere, that way if he is our guy you can call it in and get the police there right away.”

“Good idea,” Scully noted as she sat back in her chair. “We can keep the phone off and in a drawer unless we need it.”

“Do you need anything else?” Agent Cowan asked.

“No, I think we’re good,” Mulder said as he sat back in his chair a little more.

“Then, I’m off,” Agent Cowan said as he pushed his chair back. “I’ve gotta get home and see the kids before they’re off to


“I thought you were staying?” Scully asked, confused.

“Originally I was going to,” Alex Cowan explained as he reached for his jacket. “But after being away all of yesterday, last night, and all day today…I think I need to show my face at home.”

Both agents nodded in understanding.

“What about the…” Scully motioned towards the laptop.

“I can leave it here, just make sure you lock up the cottage before you go,” he said as he looked absently for his keys. “There are almost no breakins in this area so I wouldn’t worry about leaving anything here.”

“That’s good to know,” Mulder nodded as he stood to see Alex Cowan out.

“You know, no one told me you were an actual couple when you took on this case, I thought you both were just playing roles.” Alex Cowan said as he pocketed his found keys. “I guess it makes it much easier to use people who are already involved…it makes it more believable.”

“We don’t advertise,” Mulder said clearly. He didn’t want their relationship to become water-cooler banter in Ohio.

“And I don’t gossip, so we’re all good,” Alex Cowan smiled over at them. “Have a good night. And I’ll see you Monday or even earlier if Saunder is our guy. “

He walked out the back door and closed it behind him.

“We shouldn’t have fallen asleep on the couch or he wouldn’t have…” Scully started as she picked up their plates off the table.

Mulder helped her clear the table. “Scully you can’t turn back the clock. Besides, who would have thought that souls swapping bodies would put us to sleep?”

“Too much of the real thing, ” she muttered as she started to rinse off their plates.

Mulder watched her back stiffen at the sink. The case was making her tense and the newness and ambiguity of their relationship was adding to that tension. He wondered absently if there would ever be a time when they could just be themselves and have time together instead of stolen moments with various cases as bookends. The work was what drove them both and, as much as he loved her, it would always be somewhere lurking in the background when they were together. They would need to define their relationship despite the cases; the work couldn’t be the reason they weren’t involved.

“What’s done is done,” Mulder said as he gently grabbed her wrist as she lifted a new plate to be rinsed. “Besides, now we have one less person we have to put on a show for.”

“What do you mean?” She asked as she met his eyes and lowered the plate back down onto the counter.

“For the people at the Bureau, we’re just partners. For Abram and Ruth we’re partners and friends. For all the other Amish people we’re a subdued married couple…I guess I’m just tired of acting.”

Quiet descended over the kitchen. She turned to face him more fully and felt her heart leaping out of her chest.

“What do you want Mulder?” She asked quietly.

“You,” he said softly as he captured her lips with his.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Scully hesitantly responded to his heated kiss. She felt his full beard tickle the underside of her nose. Her mind kept racing, wondering what exactly it was that they were doing. His passion caught her unexpectedly and she didn’t have time to process her thoughts and feelings.

She found herself asking ‘do you want this?’ as his tongue slid across her teeth and ‘are you in love with him?’ as his hand dipped down to the very small of her back and finally ‘is this going to work?’ as his mouth trailed kisses down her neck.

She pulled away from him for the briefest of moments. He looked into her eyes and she knew that her answer was a very clear ‘yes’ to all of her questions. She leaned forward and took his mouth in hers kissing him with all the force her body could muster. He responded in kind and she began to moan softly as she reacted to his unfiltered desire.

Their kissing deepened and she felt her body being pulled towards his, her hips gyrating against him on their own. She was drawn into this man like no other.

He trailed kisses down her neck, pushed her shirt outward and kissed her soft shoulders. She felt as if he was making love to her, one body part at a time.

Her head dropped back and he seized the opportunity to kiss down her neck and over the top of her chest as his hands reached under her shirt and softly caressed the bare skin at her waist.

She reached for his jeans and started to undo the buttons, one pop at a time until they were undone and easily shifted off his hips. They dropped to the floor quietly as she immediately lifted up his shirt to feel the soft hairs of his chest stand on end. She ran the pads of her fingers over his nipples and felt them grow erect and sharp underneath her skin. She was doing this to him and he liked it.

He lifted her cotton shirt over her head and tossed it off to the side before immediately reaching to unclasp the back of her bra to release her encased breasts. The bra let go with a snap and he reached around to cup her breasts as the bra fell away and his hands held her instead.

It was the most erotic sensation, to be standing in front of Mulder only half dressed and have her breasts in his gentle hands. He looked at her reverently and she almost collapsed onto the ground because her knees suddenly felt weak.

“I love you,” she whispered softly as her chest heaved in and out in anticipation of what was to come next.

He looked at her, surprised she would say the words out loud, but obviously touched that she had.

“Thank you,” he said quietly as he began to run the pads of his fingers back and forth along her sensitive nipples.

She leaned forward and kissed him softly as he held her breasts and she placed her hands on the warm flesh around his waist. His skin was warm and palpitating under her touch.

He carefully let go of her breasts and they bobbed between their two bodies momentarily before being crushed against his hairy chest. The sensation of his bare skin, in contact with her own, was unbelievable. He continued to kiss her as they slowly backed up towards the bedroom. He pulled his bunched up shirt over his head and she undid her own pants as they made their way to the desired destination. When they finally got to the bedroom they were both only wearing underwear and their lips were swollen from all of the kissing.

He guided her body down onto the mattress and slowly climbed up next to her.

“Are you okay?” he asked as he fingered the lace edge of her panties.

She responded with a soft smile and pulled him into a kiss as she ran her hand along the edge of his boxers and pulled them down. The kiss deepened and his hands lowered her panties as his mouth kissed every part of the upper half of her body. He rolled nipples in his mouth, sucked on the tender skin under her breasts, and nibbled on the flesh that covered her ribs. She lay back, taking in all the attention, hoping she would have some ability to reciprocate at some point. She felt worshipped by this man. Her body was responding in kind; with every suck, kiss and caress her entrance grew moist.

Then she felt his fingers tentatively circling her vagina. She sighed as he drew a wide circle around her entrance, and moaned when fingers carefully drew her open. She looked up to see the tip of his cock circling her entrance, dipping tentatively into her as he braced himself above her body. He was asking permission.

She pushed her hips up against him without warning, and he found himself fully submerged inside her.

“Oh, god!” He moaned as realization hit him.

She rolled her hips below him as he got his bearings.

“You’re sooo…” he said softly as his body started to react to hers and move in time with her hips.

She smiled and reached up to push the hair out of his eyes so he could see her more fully.

What Mulder saw was beautiful. Scully’s breasts bobbed up and down as he pounded into her. Her skin was a beautiful shade of pink, her eyes radiant, her mouth wanton, and her desire apparent.

“God, I love you,” he moaned as they continued to gyrate together.

He could feel his cock pulling almost completely out of her before slamming it back inside. She linked her ankles behind the small of his back and joined him time and time again as their bodies met and then pulled away. Their lovemaking was not smooth like that of old lovers, but they sought to please each other like only two people in love could.

He grabbed her backside and pulled her up off the bed and towards him, making their contact even deeper than before. She smacked herself against him and he hunched his back over her, bringing his lips down for a kiss.

She kissed him back but, he felt her pause several times, as waves of pleasure passed over her intoxicating body. She came below him with a red flushed face and a look of awe as her mouth formed a perfect ‘O’ and her eyes glimmered below him. Mulder couldn’t help but smile broadly; he had wanted to see that look on her face for a number of years and now he had witnessed it first hand. It was more beautiful than he’d ever imagined.

When she came back to herself, she smiled up at him; and act which did him in. He came inside of her with great force, yelling out her name as his essence passed from his body to hers. She rode out his orgasm with him, sapping the last of his juices as he shuddered inside her. The smile that danced across her lips in that moment caused Mulder’s heart to squeeze tighter in his chest. He had done the right thing in pursuing this tonight.

She pulled his body towards hers and allowed him to lay completely on top of her. His cock still twitched inside her as his body melted into hers. Her soft skin against his seemed to cause every nerve in his body to react.

“That was incredible,” Mulder mumbled from her shoulder region.

“Shhhh,” she said softly. “Just relax.”

He sloppily kissed the side of her face and felt all the life drain from his body. She had tapped the last of his energy and he needed to rest.

“I’m so tired,” he mumbled next to her.

She gently rubbed his back and kissed the side of his head. She was exhausted as well. All of the early mornings had taken some time to adjust to. Between that and the sunstroke, investigating the case, and now making love to Mulder, her body was sapped of all it’s energy as well.

He let his body go and felt his penis slowly slip out from inside of her as his mind and his body felt like they actually belonged to him for the first time since this case began. He loved this woman and she loved him, the rest they would figure out.

He felt Scully draw a quilt up and over their naked bodies as he slid down next to her, pulled her close, closed his eyes and let sleep overtake him.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder woke to find a very naked Scully lying next to him and drooling on her pillow. A grin spread across his face when he thought about them making love yesterday evening. His head shifted to the side, and he caught the time on the clock.

“Christ, four am,” he muttered to himself.

He turned back to look at her and couldn’t help but smile again. They had been heading toward last night like an out of control train and the destination, it turned out, had been even more fulfilling than he’d expected.

‘You are beautiful,’ he thought as he looked at her soft face in

the moonlight.

He realized that for the first time, they did something for themselves. That despite the case, they had been able to also be in a relationship; one that extended beyond the work. He was not going to screw this up. He vowed to himself that he was not going to take what they had for granted; that he was not going to be an ass when it came to this. She was singularly the most important person in his life and he wasn’t going to do anything to destroy that.

He placed a hand on her bare hip and felt her body breathing in and out. He had gotten very used to her presence in his bed, and he wondered silently if their encounters would become a regular part of their lives one day. He didn’t fool himself into believing that they would live together, or that she would be over every night. That wasn’t them. But he quietly hoped, it would not be long until he was able to be with her again.

He retracted his hand from her hip and rolled onto his back and starred up at the ceiling. There was something that he was missing, something that he needed to look at closer in the files. He mentally flipped the pages of the files and scanned the information.

It had to do with Fannie, he remembered that at least. Fannie who was assaulted in the barn while checking on her hens. Mulder racked his brain and came up empty. He could clearly see the pages in her file but nothing was popping out at him as odd. He turned his head to look at Scully sleeping next to him and decided that although it wasn’t the best idea to get up and look into the case, she would understand.

Mulder carefully retracted himself from the spot next to her and slid from the bed. He walked buck naked from Scully’s room and over to his own to find some clothes. There was something that was bothering him about the case and he needed to figure out what.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully’s eyes slowly opened to the morning sun that was beaming into her bedroom. She looked to her left where Mulder had been laying and saw a very empty bed with rumpled sheets. She softly yawned and stretched her arms out to either side.

Mulder’s disappearing act was not something that surprised her. He had probably got some thoughts on the case and had been up since the middle of the night working on it. In past relationships, waking up alone had been an insult, with Mulder, she knew already, it was just part of the deal. Not that she didn’t want to wake up with him, she just didn’t expect to.

She took a moment to lay there and contemplate the enormity of what happened last night. Immediately her stomach retracted and turned into a ball of worry. She was three seconds away from making lists of what was good and what was bad about this new type of relationship with Mulder, when she caught herself. She was not going to be that way. She was not going to over-think this and screw it up. Mulder was Mulder and things were not going to be like Ward and June Cleaver with them. The sooner she stopped compartmentalizing him into something he wasn’t, the better.

They would take it slowly, not place pressure on each other to conform to an archetypal role. He would come over when he wanted to, and she’d do the same. If work was busy they would place their own personal needs on the backburner. They would give space and not…

“Christ,” she muttered as she stopped herself again. Already she was making up terms and conditions.

‘No’, she thought to herself. ‘For the first time in your life Dana, you have a chance to be in a relationship with someone you love and that, is enough.’

Scully rose up to a sitting position and looked around for some type of clothing to wear. She quickly spied Mulder’s shirt that had come off last night and reached over to take it off the ground. He was either still walking around naked or had gone to his suitcase for clothes.

She pulled the shirt over her head and was immediately surrounded by Mulder’s scent; a mix of musk, aftershave with an undertone of something sweet. Scully walked over to her open suitcase and donned a fresh pair of panties. Sliding them up her legs she was reminded of how he slowly had hooked them down her legs the night before. Then, in the middle of the night when they had made love again, panties her were no longer around.

The second time they had made love, it was slow and sweet. He had crawled on top of her and, unlike the first time, their lovemaking had been less awkward and more rhythmic. His whole body had been pressed against her the entire time and they had kissed and nipped at each other playfully. That second time, it had taken much longer for the two of them to climax and they both had enjoyed every last minute of extra time he had spent inside of her. While their first time was passionate, their second time was intense. He had not looked away from her eyes the entire time and the connection they had experienced was beyond anything she had ever had happen before.

Scully walked toward the washroom, an unfamiliar stickiness was making it’s presence known between her legs and she needed to wash up before seeing Mulder.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Fox Mulder poured her a cup of coffee when he heard the toilet flush and the taps turn off. He carried it over to the table and sat it in front of the croissant he had just placed on a plate. He thought the lest he could do, after abandoning her in the bed after they had made love, was to provide her with a nice breakfast to go along with his apology.

He sat down at the table and nervously watched the door she would appear through. When she wasn’t there right away, he picked up his own cup of coffee and took a sip. It was then that she decided to come out and he nearly burnt his tongue on the hot liquid. She was wearing his shirt and little else. He pulled the offending mug from his mouth and placed the cup on the table.

“Good morning,” he greeted her with a smile.

“Morning,” she said softly as she took in the table before her.

He rose to greet her and apologize for his disappearing act.

“Scully, I’m sorry for…” he began.

She touched his arm lightly and looked up at him. His speech stopped and he knew she understood why he wasn’t there when she woke.

“This is lovely,” She said as she took a seat across from his spot.

Mulder sat back down and smiled at her across the table. She looked beautiful and almost glowing in the morning light. Her hair fell beautifully around her face and curled up slightly on the ends.

‘So this is what a post coital Scully looks like,’ Mulder noted to himself.

She quietly pulled apart her croissant and buttered it lightly with her knife.

He sat and watched her intently, not missing a moment of her movements.

“If you’re going to stare at me like that all the time,” she said as she raised her eyes to greet him. “Things are going to

get even more awkward.”

“Sorry,” he said as he shook his head. “It’s just…I’m still sort of still not believing what happened actually…happened.”

She smiled shyly up at him. “I believe we were both very much present.”

“Scully, I’m sure you must be thinking about all the ramifications of…”

“Mulder, that’s exactly what I’m trying not to do,” she said as she put down her butter knife and looked at him intently. “What we did, what we’re shared was wonderful and special and so amazing…”

Mulder couldn’t help but grin at her analysis of their coupling.

“But if I over think this, if I do what I usually do, and weigh the pros and cons of continuing with this…we wouldn’t.”

“What?” Mulder asked shocked.

“I love you,” Scully said as she clasped his hand across the table. “But that still doesn’t change the fact that getting involved with each other might be the stupidest thing we have ever done.”

Mulder sat looking across the table at her dumbfounded.

“It doesn’t make it wrong, and it’s not something I regret but…but I’m trying to not think about it too much. Because if I do, I can’t help but conclude that we shouldn’t continue on this path.”

Mulder took a deep breath and was about to argue the point with her, when she continued.

“But my brain isn’t the only organ that gets a say in this decision,” she said with a sly smile. “My heart…Mulder, my heart would break if I could never touch you or kiss you or feel you again. I can’t allow my brain to make a decision that would break both our hearts.”

She squeezed his hand and he looked up into her shimmering eyes.

“So, if you’ll have me…” she began.

Mulder leaned across the table and kissed her thoroughly on the lips. She returned the kiss in kind and he slid out from his chair and kneeled before her on the floor kissing her and caressing her bare thighs as she ran her hands through his hair.

She slowly started to stand and he raised himself to join her. Her bare legs swished next to his as she guided him back towards her bedroom. The growing erection in his sweat pants bobbed up against her stomach as his hands reached around and grabbed onto her ass. He felt her muscles tense and then relax as his hands kneaded her and slipped under her panties.

“I’m going to have trouble walking,” Scully joked as her knees hit the edge of her bed and he yanked her panties down her body as she pulled off his shirt.

“You don’t need to walk right now,” he murmured into her ear as he pulled his own pants down and his member, now completely hard, got even harder when it touched her bare skin.

She sat down carefully on the edge of the bed and came face to face with his red, palpitating cock. He was just about to guide her back into a lying position, when she took him in her mouth. He gasped in surprise and then felt himself hunching over her body looking for support. Her mouth sucked hard on him as her tongue ran his length.

“Oh my god,” he moaned as she continued to pull him in and out of her sweet, wet mouth.

He watched as her red hair cascaded around her face and, with her eyes closed, she slowly and sensuously sucked him like the most delicious popsicle she had ever encountered.

As he felt his climax building, he firmly grabbed hold of her shoulders and stopped her from any further action. He wanted to give her pleasure too and if they stayed this course any longer that possibility would diminish.

She released him from her mouth and then looked up longingly into his eyes. He laid her back slowly and crawled up her naked length. He took a perfect nipple into his mouth and sucked hard on it, knowing that the act was bringing her both pleasure and pain. She squirmed beneath him and he climbed further on top of her. She smiled below him, knowing exactly what his intent was.

He entered her in one swift movement and his piercing caught her a little off guard. She gasped below him and watched a smile tease its way across his mouth. He was enjoying this new aspect to their relationship.

His pumping was cadenced and she felt herself quickly building toward climax as she wrapped her legs around him and dug her heels into his lower back. She felt his hand reach around and hold her by her knee as he slowed his motion and brought her one leg up higher so her foot rested on his shoulder. He repeated the same action with her other leg and she felt her butt rise up off the bed.

Mulder then leaned forward and Scully suddenly had her knees on either side of her head. He was very deep inside of her and hitting her G spot time and time again with the head of his cock. Words failed her as her powerful orgasm washed over her body and she pulled at his back, one nail breaking in the process. Her body quivered below him as she rode out the long intense orgasm and he watched every second of her pleasure.

“Oh, my god,” she gasped as her orgasm ended and she came back to him.

Mulder slowly lowered one of her limp legs at a time down onto the bed as she wiped the fine sheen of sweat from her brow. Her skin glowed a distinct hue of pink that Mulder attributed to her sexual satisfaction.

“You liked that,” he whispered as he slowly began to move in and out of her again.

She smiled broadly and he took that as his answer.

She pushed against him as he pumped into her and sucked hard on her other nipple. Scully helped Mulder work toward an orgasm for quite some time before he came inside of her. Apparently, coupling three times since yesterday had taken it’s toll on him as well. His orgasm was rewarding but less intense than the others, as his body was taxed and every bit of energy after a short night’s sleep was sapped from him.

“You look exhausted,” she said as she wiped his hair from his face. “How long have you been up?”

“Since four,” he groaned as he pulled out of her and lay next to her on the bed, his arm around her waist.

Scully could feel the raw skin between her legs and knew that she would be sore for a day or two. She had not had sex with a man in years and her body was not used to this kind of repetitive rubbing and intense pumping.

“What did you find?” She asked as she stroked his back.

“Saunder Miller was over at the Fisher farm the night of Fannie’s rape,” Mulder said as he looked into her eyes. “In her testimony she said there was a family dinner that night and Saunder was listed as one of the guests.”

“How could we miss the fact that he was at the farm during the rape?” Scully asked, her body suddenly alert and angry.

“He wasn’t there at the time of the rape,” Mulder said placing a hand on her shoulder to calm her. “He was there earlier in the evening, not at the time of the attack. He went home with his family in a wagon and was actually probably en-route home or just arriving there when Fannie was attacked.”

Scully looked at him confused. How was this information relevant then?

“Fannie said she had sick hens, right?”

“Yes,” Scully nodded.

“She also testified that she wasn’t alerted to their illness until supper time…suppertime with Saunder.”

“Okay,” Scully responded, still unsure of where this was going.

“What if, Saunder did something to make the hens sick? What if he set up the situation where he knew his cousin would be concerned for her hens and possibly alone in the barn later that night. What if he is the one who sets up the situations and Jacob performs the assault?”

Scully was silent for a moment, her eyes slowly widened with the realization that Mulder was onto something that could break their case.

“So Saunder is the brains behind the assaults?”

“Jacob assaults the women because he’s angry and thinks he has the right to take these women against their will. And Saunder is the sadistic bastard that plans everything so these women get what they ‘deserve’” Mulder noted.

“But the two men don’t seem to associate with each other,” Scully poked a hole in his theory.

“It wasn’t until this morning that I thought of them in this sort of relationship. Maybe we just didn’t see it.” Mulder stifled a yawn.

“True,” Scully agreed as she starred at the ceiling.

“We’ll know if they are working together if Jacob shows up at the Fisher farm when he thinks you’re alone. He would have no way of knowing unless Saunder alerted him to this.”

“So, Saunder picks the women?”

“Saunder picks women he thinks are not fulfilling their role as a proper Amish woman, and then he sends out his errand boy Jacob, to ‘teach them a lesson’” Mulder said as he yawned.

“Have a nap,” Scully said as she leaned over to kiss his cheek. “I’m going to look into this a bit more.”

She rose from the bed and walked bare-assed toward the bathroom where a shower awaited. Mulder watched the view of her hips swaying and thought he could get used to that.

✦ ⸎ ✦

The ride back to the Fisher farm had been a little agonizing. Abram had arrived later than expected and the two agents, although they enjoyed their time together, were anxious to get back to the case. Mulder felt well-rested having napped for most of the morning and Scully had slept in this morning. Even though their sexual encounters had been exhausting, the time spent together and away from others had also been rejuvenating. Now, with clear suspects in mind and some information they had gathered that afternoon they felt prepared to take them on.

“So you and Ruth and Fannie are okay with going away on Saturday?” Mulder asked as they bumped closer to the house.

Abram just nodded his head in acknowledgement. “We will visit my cousin Rachel.”

“Who is Rachel?” Scully asked, interested.

“An older cousin of mine who lives a couple of hours away,” Abram explained. “She can always use the help around the house and likes some company. We usually visit her once every couple of months like the rest of my family.”

“But she still lives on her own?” Scully inquired.

“We Amish don’t do retirement homes like you English,” Abram laughed. “We live in our homes and we die in our homes. The community takes care of each other.”

“That is something I quite admire about your religion,” Scully noted. “Everyone pitches in.”

Abram nodded and turned down his driveway.

“And I’ve booked Fannie in for an ultra sound Saturday afternoon at 4pm,” Scully clarified for them. “Just so you can make sure everything is okay with the baby.”

“I’m not so sure she needs these medical scans,” Abram said.

“Abram, please?” Scully asked. “At the very least, having this ultrasound will allow Fannie to begin to bond with her child.”

“Okay,” Abram agreed softly. He wanted what was best for his grand daughter and if this would help, he would agree.

“So Saturday I will ride away with you, in case anyone is watching, and then double back to the farm and somehow sneak back inside.”

“How do you plan to do that if someone is watching?” Abram asked, interested.

“We haven’t figured that out yet,” Mulder explained. “Maybe I’ll wait outside until its dark.”

“That would be smart,” Abram agreed. “We could also set up some farm equipment near the house so you have things to hide behind as you make your way inside.”

“Would it not look out of place?” Scully asked.

“On the west side we have the most sun,” Abram noted. “It would not be unusual to move a bunch of equipment to that side of the yard to wash it and let it dry in the sun. Or treat the rust spots and paint them so they can dry in the sun.”

“Maybe we can start to place everything there tomorrow after morning chores,” Mulder said as his mind worked on the plan.

“I think that would be best,” Abram agreed as the wagon came to a stop in front of the farm house.

“Welcome back!” Fannie called from the porch, happy to have Miriam back for company.

“Hi Fannie!” Scully called over to her, equally happy to see her again too.

“How’s your Aunt Clara?” Fannie asked as Mulder helped Scully down from the wagon.

“She’s good,” Scully said with a smile. “She was happy we could come.”

Mulder walked past her with their bag and Scully walked in to the house, her arm linked with Fannie’s.

“Come on and eat, before its cold!” Ruth called from the kitchen.

Abram walked directly to the kitchen, obviously hungry; leaving Scully and Fannie alone in the living room.

“Fannie,” Scully asked, trying to seem casual. “That night in the barn when your hens were sick…how did you find out they were?”

Fannie looked at Scully puzzled for a moment.

“My aunt Clara had some hens behaving strangely and I was wondering…” Scully explained.

“Well, they had seemed fine up until Saunder told me he’d been in the barn and one hen was pecking so forcefully at itself it was bleeding. When I went outside to check during dinner, I discovered he was right. Except at that point it was four hens and I had to put cones on their necks so they wouldn’t harm themselves. It was the strangest thing…”

“Why?” Scully asked, interested.

“They only acted that way for the night. The next day, my brother checked on them for me while I rested and he said they were completely fine again.”

“That is strange,” Scully noted.

“Come and eat,” Ruth ordered from the edge of the living room.

“Coming,” Fannie replied. “Is that how your aunt’s hens were acting?”

“No,” Scully said. “They were bumping into walls.”

“Oh,” Fannie said as she guided Scully towards the kitchen. “Must be something else.”

“Yes, it must be,” Scully agreed as she walked into the kitchen.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder woke at his usual early morning hour and, naturally, felt sad that he had to extract himself from Scully’s warm body which was lying curled up next to him. She hardly stirred as he got out of bed and dressed and, when he kissed

her softly on the cheek before he left the room, she mumbled something incoherent and rolled over.

He spent the morning with Abram doing his regular milking chores before joining Scully, Fannie, and Ruth for breakfast. Everyone seemed a little ornery and spoke little before he returned outside once again. He suspected his and Scully’s attitude was related to the early morning hours, and that Ruth and Abram’s had to do with the trip and ultrasound tomorrow.

Isaac Lapp was happy to see him back and even more contented when Abram said the two of them would be making deliveries together today. Mulder helped Isaac load the containers onto the wagon and heard Isaac instruct other men to move some of the heavy equipment to the west side of the house for rust-proofing.

“So Abram said something about you already going away again?” Isaac asked as they bumped down the road.

“Yes,” Mulder answered as he shielded his eyes from the glare of the sun. “Our cousin Rachel needs some work done at her farm. Abram wanted to go with just Ruth and Fannie, but I insisted I go as well, he shouldn’t be climbing ladders and moving heavy things on his own.”

“No, it’s not good for him,” Isaac agreed. “He seems to be doing better since you have been at the farm.”

“Good,” Mulder smiled over at Isaac.

“But you are leaving Miriam?” Isaac asked, interested in this odd way of doing things.

“She needs to take it easy since her sun sickness,” Mulder explained. “She just got back and that little trip exhausted her. I don’t want to make her go on another so soon, but Abram promised Rachel he’d come so I must go too.”

“I see,” Isaac said thoughtfully. “She was very sick. How is she now?”

“She does well for most of the day, but needs a nap halfway through,” Mulder explained. “She sleeps heavily at night and should stay out of the sun as much as possible.”

“I see why you are leaving her at home,” Isaac nodded. “Why not see if she can stay with Luke and Martha again? I’m sure they…”

Mulder chuckled next to Isaac. “Luke and Martha have been more than good to us, but Miriam already thinks she’s imposed on them enough. No, she’ll be fine on her own for the afternoon and hopefully we’ll make it back by the night.”

“You may stay away?” Isaac asked, surprised.

“Abram promised Rachel some roof repairs. I don’t know how much needs to be done or how long it will take so…”

“I see,” Isaac mumbled.

“It is not how I would like it to be but…”

“I know,” Isaac agreed.

They pulled into the Miller’s driveway as Saunder was exiting in his wagon. Isaac slowed their wagon next to his.

“Good day Saunder!” Isaac called cheerily.

“Good day,” Saunder said flatly back.

“You off for a visit?” Isaac inquired.

“No, I have to go into town for some errands,” Saunder explained.

Mulder knew when he looked at the bag next to Saunder on the seat, that by its shape and size, he was headed into town to visit the library and return books. Saunder had been doing this regularly for years, but had kept it quiet from the Amish community.

“Nice day to be out,” Mulder called over from his seat next to Isaac.

“Yes, it is Samuel,” Saunder greeted him. “How is your wife doing?”

“She’s still recovering but better each day,” Mulder explained.

“Good,” Saunder said non-committally.

Mulder could tell he was anxious to get on his way.

“Saunder, speaking of my wife, I was wondering if I could ask you a favour?” Mulder inquired.

“Uh, sure,” Saunder answered.

“I have to accompany Abram on a trip to see our cousin Rachel and do some repairs to her roof. He wants to go alone, but with his health I want to go as well. Miriam can’t travel again with her sun sickness and will be alone on the farm tomorrow afternoon and evening. Can you keep an eye out for her? Maybe check in on her?”

Saunder shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Uh, sure, but where will Fannie and Ruth be?”

“They are going with Abram and we hope to be back by nightfall but if the repairs are more than I expect…we may stay the night with Rachel. And seeing as you are the closest farm without your own family to care for…”

“I will help,” Saunder smiled at Mulder. “I’ll check on Miriam and keep an eye out for anything on the farm.”

“Thank you,” Mulder smiled back at him, grateful he had caught him before he left so the plan wouldn’t be wasted. “We won’t keep you from your errands.”

“Good day!” Saunder called cheerily to them as he coaxed his horses forward.

They continued down the driveway toward the main house where Sarah Miller waited for them on the front porch.

“You know we are a close farm too,” Isaac pointed out. “I could have watched out for your Miriam.”

“I’m sorry, Isaac,” Mulder apologized. “I guess I forgot about down the road, I was thinking of the farm we can see from the back porch.”

“I hadn’t thought,” Isaac said, seeming to apologize. “They do have a clearer view.”

Mulder nodded in agreement. He hoped Isaac didn’t feel too left out.

“Sarah, how nice of you to meet us!” Isaac called as the back of his neck blushed.

Mulder looked between the two infatuated people before him and felt horribly out of place.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Friday night Mulder and Scully sat in the living room with

Ruth, Abram and Fannie.

“So, why are we visiting Rachel?” Fannie asked.

“I promised her I would help around the farm,” Abram explained. “And I thought you and your grandmother would be good company for her.”

“So Samuel and Miriam are staying back?” Fannie asked, still unsure.

“Miriam is,” Mulder interjected. “I don’t want your grandfather climbing ladders and hauling equipment.”

“I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Abram complained. The complaint seemed genuine in nature and Mulder applauded him for his acting skills.

“And I will make sure you are,” Mulder smiled at him.

“So Miriam will be alone?” Fannie asked.

“I’ll clean out the pantry,” Miriam explained.

“I can stay and help Miriam,” Fannie volunteered.

“There’s another reason why we are going,” Abram explained.

“Why?” Fannie asked.

“Fannie, we want you to see a doctor about the baby…have a test to make sure everything is okay,” Ruth explained.

“Why would everything not be okay?” Fannie asked as her hand immediately went to her belly.

“It’s just with how you got pregnant…” Ruth began. “I just think we should check that the baby is okay.”

“What kind of test?” Fannie asked.

“Just a scan,” Scully explained. “They will rub some liquid on your belly and then put a camera over it. When I…when I lost our baby, I had to have one. It doesn’t hurt.”

“Okay,” Fannie said softly.

“Good,” Ruth smiled. “We should all get off to bed; we have a long day tomorrow with the bridal shower and then the trip to Rachel’s.”

Everyone got up from their chairs and turned down the lamps before they walked upstairs. They exchanged wishes for a good sleep and went to their respective rooms.

“That went well,” Scully said quietly as they shut the door to their room.

“Fannie wanted to stay back with you,” Mulder said as he removed his shirt.

“Yeah, she did,” Scully smiled as she started to undo her dress.

“She’s really going to miss you,” Mulder said, warning Scully of the consequences of their undercover work.

“I know,” she said sadly as she pulled her dress from her body. “I don’t know what I can do…”

“Maybe you can offer to visit,” Mulder said as he stepped from his trousers and folded them.

“If she’d want me to, I’d like that,” Scully said as she reached for a nightgown in a drawer.

“I think she’ll understand,” Mulder said as he climbed into bed in his underwear.Scully turned from him and carefully removed her undershirt.

“Trying to remain mysterious?” Mulder chuckled. “Isn’t the cat out of the bag?”

“Ha Ha,” she said in an exaggerated voice. She then pulled her nightshirt over her head before turning to face him.

“So why the mystery?” He asked, interested.

“I don’t know it’s just…” she stammered. “It’s just we’re on a case and…and we’re at Abram and Ruth’s.”

“I get it,” he smiled at her then rolled to turn out the lamp on the bedside table.

She climbed in bed next to him and turned to face him more fully. “Am I being ridiculous?”

“No, you’re not,” he said with a soft smile.

“Thank you,” she said softly as she lay down.

He lay on the pillow next to her and wrapped an arm around her back, pulling her closer to him. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she sighed as she snuggled into his body.

“As soon as it gets dark I’ll get into the house, before that, I’ll watch it.”

“I don’t think he’ll try anything until it’s later,” she said.

“He has struck in the daytime so there’s no precedent to say otherwise.” He explained. “I want you to lock the doors and windows until you get the signal from me that I’m watching the house.”

“Isn’t that very un-Amish?” She asked.

“It’s safer is what it is,” Mulder said with authority. “Once you see I’m there, you can unlock them.”

“Fine,” she agreed.

“And you have the shower beforehand?”

“In the morning,” she said. “It’ll be interesting to see what games Amish women play at these things.”

“There are games?”

“Very silly ones,” she smiled.

“Well, enjoy,” he said with a yawn.

“Goodnight,” she said as she manoeuvred herself to kiss him on the lips.

He returned the kiss, a little startled by her action.

“What happened to professionalism?” He asked with a chuckle.

“Lighten up, Mulder,” she whispered.

She then felt his hand riding up her thigh under her nightgown.

“Mulder!” She quietly chastised.

“Oh, now you bring out the rules again,” he chuckled as his hand moved back down her leg and lifted off it.

“Good night,” she sighed as she laid her head on his chest.

“Good night,” he snickered as he kissed the top of her head.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully sat amidst a group of young women playing party games filled with sexual innuendo and was surprised no one else seemed to notice. She couldn’t get over the sheer number of party games that involved pegs and holes, or holding a long cylindrical object between a woman’s teeth, or pumping an object. If the women around her had not been taking the party games so seriously, she would have burst out laughing.

“Miriam, do you want a turn with the cucumber game?” Bertha Kitzen asked her, harshly.

“No,” Scully smiled, trying to contain her silliness, “I’m fine, thank you.”

“Are you okay?” Bertha asked, suddenly full of concern.

Scully smiled warmly at her, knowing that Bertha’s concern was genuine. Bertha was there when Scully had collapsed at the picnic.

“I’m good Bertha, thank you,” Scully said softly. “I feel like myself again.”

“I wasn’t sure if you and Fannie would be here,” Bertha admitted with a smile. “I’m glad you were well enough to come, I…”

“Bertha, can you get some more lemonade?” a young woman asked as she approached them.

“Uh, sure,” Bertha said sadly.

Miriam could tell Bertha had wanted to talk more, but had been pulled away by her duty to her sister.

“Congratulations,” Scully smiled at Jane Kitzen. “Are you excited?”

“I am,” Jane smiled at Scully. “Joel is a good man and he’ll continue to work in his father’s business.”

“What’s his father do?” Scully asked as she watched a bunch of women gather presents into a common area near a chair.

“He makes furniture,” Jane said distractedly as she looked at the women working busily to get her chair ready.

“That is good work,” Scully said nicely.

“Jane!” A young woman called to her. “You need to open your gifts.”

“Sorry, I have to go,” Jane smiled at Scully.

Scully watched as she walked over to her haul and sat in the chair awaiting her first gift. Ruth had been kind enough to help Scully prepare a table cloth that had some simple stitch work along the edge. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as some of the other gifts she was sure Jane would receive, but it was the first gift Scully had made for someone since she was ten years old.

“Miriam,” Martha smiled at her as she walked up beside her.

“Martha, so good to see you,” Scully smiled warmly at her.

“Good to see you too,” Martha said as she looked over at Jane starting to open her gifts.“Fanny said you’ll be by yourself for most of the day.”

“Yes, Samuel doesn’t want Abram taxing himself too much so he’s decided to go with him and help,” Scully explained.

“You can stay with us, if you like,” Martha offered.

“Thank you Martha, but I’ll be fine,” Scully assured her.

“I just think,” Martha said ain a whisper. “With everything going on…you might be safer at our house.”

Scully nodded, wanting to get out of this invitation so that their plan to trap the rapist would work. “I’ll be fine Martha.”

“I just think…” Martha started again.

“Thank you Martha!” Jane gasped as she held up a beautiful

cross stitched picture.

“God bless!” Martha said loudly back.

Scully took that moment as an opportunity to slip away.

“Excuse me, Martha,” she said as she walked toward the washroom.

“Oh, of course,” Martha smiled at her and lowered her head.

Scully paced for a while in the washroom, hoping Martha was still not waiting for her on the other side. It would be hard avoiding her invitation, considering the sexual assaults that had been happening in the community, but Martha didn’t know it was her job to catch this man.

Scully wondered silently if Martha and the other women she had met would understand when they found out she had been an impostor. She hoped she would have an opportunity to explain herself at some point in the future.

When she exited the washroom Martha had left the area and Scully let out a sigh of relief. Many women were still focused on Jane opening gifts, while others were busily preparing some pies in the kitchen.

Fannie approached Scully looking very pale and sick.

“Fannie?” Scully asked as she approached the young women.

“I don’t feel so well,” Fannie said softly.

“Is it the…your stomach?” Scully asked.

“It’s that and my back,” Fannie said softly. “I just need to lie down.”

“Let’s get back to the farm,” Scully said softly as she helped Fannie outside to the buggy.

Scully carefully helped her into the buggy and then took the reins herself. Within minutes Fannie was doubling over in pain.

“Fannie?” Scully asked, startled by her sudden change in demeanour.

“Owww,” she screamed.

Scully pulled the buggy to the side and immediately reached to feel Fannie stomach.

“Is it a sharp pain or a dull pain?” Scully asked.

“Dull, it’s a…a dull pain from my back all the way to my stomach,” Fannie said while catching her breath.

“I need to get you lying down,” Scully said as she looked around them and spotted Ruth and Abram’s farm just a few miles away. “Are you okay until we get home?”

“Hurry,” Fannie said softly.

Scully snapped the reigns and the buggy took off down the road, the horses trotting quickly and kicking up dust all around them.

Within minutes they were at the Fisher farm and, spotting Mulder, Scully yelled for help.

Mulder ran beside the carriage to Scully’s side, ready to help her when he noticed her hovering over Fannie.

He ran around to the other side of the buggy and reached to pick up Fannie.

“Ahhhh,” Fannie yelled.

Mulder backed away and looked at Scully for direction.

“She has pain in her back and stomach, she needs to lie down,” Scully said worried.

“Fannie, I need to get you to your bed,” Mulder explained as he reached under her to pick her up.

Fannie slumped against him and held her stomach tightly as he carried her upstairs.

“What’s going on?” Ruth asked as she appeared at the side of the house with a basket of vegetables. “Fannie?”

“She’s having some pain,” Scully explained as she followed Mulder inside.

Ruth ran to the back of the house and called for Abram.

Scully and Mulder went upstairs and she watched as he carefully laid Fannie on the bed. Immediately she saw some blood on the back of Fannie’s skirt.“Thank you Samuel,” Scully said softly as she indicated toward the door with a nod of her head.

“I’ll…I’ll be outside,” Mulder said worried as he backed away from them.

“Fannie, I need you to trust me,” Scully said as she walked toward the bed.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Scully stood next to Mulder and watched the ambulance pull away from the Fisher farm. Mulder had, wisely, used his hidden cell phone to call an ambulance for Fannie. Ruth and Abram both rode in the ambulance with her and the paramedics to a nearby hospital. Scully was sure Fannie was miscarrying and, despite the circumstances of her pregnancy, felt very sorry for Fannie.

Scully had revealed herself as a medical doctor, quickly divulging her status as an undercover FBI agent as well. Fannie was shocked, but her current circumstances allowed her to ask few questions as the pain and the imminent loss of her child was at the forefront of her thoughts. She trusted Scully enough to allow her to examine her and determine that the blood was indeed coming from her vagina.

The ambulance had arrived quickly; apparently they had responded to a call in town about an elderly person in distress and were in the area. Fannie was whisked off by surprised paramedics who heard Scully, Amish woman, spouting off medical terminology like a doctor.

“Has she lost it?” Mulder asked grimly.

“Not yet,” Scully said coolly. “But she will.”

Scully turned to walk back in the house, suddenly tired from all the action. Mulder followed her inside.

They both sat heavily on the sofa, silence enveloped the room.

“Maybe it’s for the better,” Mulder finally said.

Scully turned and starred at him, incredulous. After everything she had gone through with Emily a year and a half ago, how could he say something like that to her of all people? She groaned and got up to leave the room before she said something she would regret.

“Scully? Where are you…?” He asked, surprised.

“I’m leaving,” she said angrily as she walked into the kitchen.

“Leaving for where?” He asked as he got up to follow her.

“Leaving your general vicinity,” she fired back.

“Did I…? What did I…?” He asked, his mind searching for the answer before he asked the question. When he entered the kitchen she was just standing looking out the window above the sink, her hands clenched at her sides.

She turned to look at him, red-faced. He stood looking at her open-mouthed.

“Mulder, that young girl is going through something horrific right now,” she said angrily. “No matter how she got pregnant…that was going to be her child and that loss is very real.”

“I…I didn’t say it wasn’t,” he responded haughtily. “I’m just saying that given the circumstances, her age, her upbringing, her community…that this, as bad as it is, gives her a chance to start again.”

“Not everyone gets to start again!” She snapped back.

He starred at her; realization hitting him suddenly. She was sad for Fannie but this loss of an unexpected child was also hitting her very close to home. Emily.

“Scully,” he said softly. “I don’t mean to imply that this is not a loss, a very real loss.”

He saw her shoulders relax slightly.

Silence again filled the space between them. He didn’t know what he could say to make her believe he didn’t think her loss was real. So he did the only thing he could think of; he crossed the room and held her against him. At first she resisted, but not enough to cause him to stop. Then, she melted into his embrace.

“Mulder,” she mumbled against his chest.

He rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head. The loss of Emily was something she guarded closely, something she kept him and everyone else in the dark about. She had been stoic, closed, quiet the whole time; never wanting to talk about Emily.

“Do you want to talk about her?” Mulder asked softly.

He felt her nod against him in the negative.

“Okay,” he cooed as he rocked back and forth with her.

Not a tear was shed, but it was the first time she had opened herself up to him about the loss of Emily. He hoped she would feel confident letting him in again, once this case was done.

“You better get going,” Scully said as she pulled away from his body.

“Scully, I don’t think the plan is…”

“Mulder, who knows if he’s already watching the house,” she noted. “If he is, then he’s waiting to see if you’ll leave. If he isn’t then he doesn’t know about Fannie leaving with Ruth and Abram in the ambulance. Either way, you need to leave me alone.”

Mulder nodded, agreeing with her conclusion.

“So either way, I need to make it look like I’ve left and you’re alone,” he said as he rubbed his chin.

“So you better get going,’ she said as she looked up at him.

“You’ll lock the doors until I get back?” He asked.

“I promise,” she said.

“I’ll throw some rocks at the kitchen window when I’m back and you can open up the side door so I can slip in,” he said.

“Sounds like a plan, but what are you going to do with the buggy?” She asked.

“I’ll have to figure something out,” he said as he donned his hat. “Someplace safe for the horses for the night, but out of the way so no one spots them.”

“I’ll get some stuff done around here while you’re gone,” Scully said eyeing the pantry.

“I’ll hitch up the horses and you’ll lock the doors?” He asked, reassuring himself.

“Mulder,” she murmured.

“Just making sure,” he said as he leaned down to kiss her softly on the lips. “I’m sorry I was insensitive.”

“I know,” she said softly back to him when she returned his kiss. “Be careful.”

“You too,” he said seriously before he walked out the back door.

She shut the door behind him and turned the latch to lock it. She walked to the front door and did the same. Now, she just had to wait.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Scully was up to her armpits in pickled vegetables in the pantry when she heard someone tapping on the kitchen door. She brushed her hands against her apron and stepped outside the pantry closet to see Saunder Miller standing at the back door. The sun was just starting to set and Mulder was probably still making his way back to the Fisher farm.

Scully plastered on a soft smile and eyed the knife block in the corner of the kitchen, knowing that would be her best weapon if Saunder made a move. Making yourself known to your victims didn’t fit this rapists MO but if Scully had learned one thing in all her years with the Bureau, it was that criminals are unpredictable.

“Saunder Miller,” she said as she opened the door for him. He took a step inside and took off his hat.

“Miriam, Samuel asked me to check in on you and make sure you were okay,” Saunder explained as he looked around the room.

“I’m good,” she smiled warmly at him. “I thank you for your kindness.”

“Mother thought she heard a siren earlier this afternoon, but she wasn’t sure,” Saunder said as he walked around the room.

“Fannie became quite ill and Samuel went to the Briggs farm to call for one,” she explained. “Abram and Ruth went with her.”

“I hope the baby’s okay,” he said clearly.

Scully was taken aback by his knowledge of Fannie’s pregnancy; information she thought no one else knew except Fannie’s parents and Matthew Janz.

“Baby?” She tried to ask innocently.

“No need to lie Miriam,” he said as he picked up a jar of picked beets. “I know she is with child from her rape.”

“Saunder, I don’t know what to…” Scully began.

“Everyone will know soon enough,” he explained as he peered into the living room. “That is, if the child survives.”

“Saunder, how do you know?” she asked as she inched toward the counter where the knives were housed.

“My father and her father are close friends,” Saunder explained as he put down the beets. “He came to us to ask for advice.”

“Us?” Scully asked.

“My father relies on me a lot in matters like this one,” Saunder explained as he puffed out his chest.

“So, what did you advise?” She asked, interested.

‘That’s man’s business,” Saunder said snapping his head to look at her. “You’d do well to remember that.”

“I’m sorry?” Scully asked.

“Work, making these kinds of decisions…Samuel should be making them for you,” Saunder said as he walked toward her.

“Saunder I don’t…” Scully started.

“He told me that you don’t want to have children and that you have these silly notions of writing children’s books,” Saunder explained.

Scully lowered her head, trying to appear embarrassed.

“Miriam, I am only speaking so plainly because I will be the next Bishop and I see the pain you are causing Samuel with these unnatural ideas,” he explained. “You would do well to listen to your husband. Gott made him the head of the household for a reason.”

Scully merely nodded her head.

“If a man wants children Miriam, you’d do well to oblige him lest he not wait for your permission,” Saunder said and Scully’s eyes snapped up to look at him.

He looked sternly down at her. She felt that strength of his conviction that he saw nothing wrong with a husband raping his wife.

She merely nodded her head again as she swallowed hard.

“So Samuel went on his own?”

“Yes,” she answered, barely audible.

“I’ll keep an eye on you Miriam,” he said with a smirk.

“Thank you,” Scully smiled nervously up at him.

Saunder walked back towards the kitchen door, pausing before he opened it.

“You’d do well to take my advice,” Saunder said with authority. “A man can only wait so long before the need overpowers him. Children are Gott’s blessing.”

“Yes,” Scully agreed, but then realized she’d been too agreeable throughout their meeting and she needed to show her independence before he left. “But the gift of writing is also Gott’s blessing and I’m not going to deny that as well.”

Saunder turned on his heel and eyed her carefully.

“It’s a woman’s job to please her husband,” Saunder said through gritted teeth. “Maybe you have to learn that your needs and wants are secondary to his.”

Scully swallowed hard. She worried suddenly that he would try and attack her on the spot, despite his MO.

“I think that’s something between me and Samuel,” she said with a lifted chin.

Saunder huffed loudly and turned quickly, walking out the door and slamming it harshly behind him. She had set the stage.

✦ ⸎ ✦

It had taken Mulder much longer to get back to the Fisher farm then he had hoped. It was dark now and he moved easily, but stealthily, toward the piles of farming equipment next to the house. Mulder was so confident they were going to catch the rapist tonight that he had driven the buggy as far as the cottage where he and Scully had stayed, changed into his casual clothes, shaved, holstered his weapon, and driven back in a car to the Amish community. He knew the car would be a good cover because no one in the Amish community would even look at him. He would simply be English.

He hid the car amidst some trees and then had to walk back to the Fisher’s through the woods to stay hidden. The woods proved to be more of a challenge then he wanted them to be. He had to cross many creeks, go through barbed wire fence from one property to the next (used to keep out coyote-like predators) and had lost his direction at one point and doubled back. The whole time he cursed himself for not having a better plan in place. He hoped Scully had done as he asked and kept the door locked.

When he finally got a good view of the kitchen, Scully was no where in sight. He edged his way around the house toward the living room and saw her sitting next to a lamp reading a book. She looked calm to any outside person, but he saw the strain in her face; she was wondering where the hell he was. Mulder picked up a bunch of small stones he’d left near the equipment and threw them towards the house. They rained down on a living room window and Scully jumped at the noise. Then, a small smile formed over her lips and she got up to unlock the front and back doors.

Mulder followed her towards the kitchen, swiftly dodging around the farming equipment and he watched her turn out the lamp in the kitchen, getting rid of all light at that end of the house. He could easily get inside. He was just about the slink towards the back door when someone grabbed him from behind and whacked him over the head, causing him to fall unconscious to the ground.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Over five minutes passed with Dana Scully standing in the dark kitchen, her eyes adjusting to the complete blackness around her while she waited for Mulder to come inside. He was taking a long time, and she wasn’t sure if that was because he was being extra cautious or if he saw someone making their way towards the Fisher farm and didn’t want to be spotted. Either way, her heart pounded in her ears and every noise she heard caused her to startle.

She thought she heard something at the front of the house and quickly made her way towards the living room. There was a low light coming from a lamp she had been reading at, and Scully quickly turned it out, thinking that Mulder wanted access through the front of the house instead of the back. It seemed odd that he wanted to change their plan, but something must have spooked him. She sat on the living room couch as her eyes again adjusted to the change in light.

She heard the front door slowly open and a heavy foot stepped inside. She almost said his name until something caught her about his figure. The man coming in the door was shorter than Mulder, slightly brawnier than her partner. Scully’s eyes widened in realization and her heart began to pound even quicker than before. Whoever was in the house with her was definitely not Mulder, it was the rapist.

She inched her way along the couch, hoping his eyes were still adjusting to the darkness of the room and that he hadn’t spotted her there. The movement caught his ears and he immediately snapped his head towards her.

“Why are you sitting here in the dark Miriam?” The voice asked from across the room, almost teasing. “You knew I’d come for you, didn’t you?”

Scully swallowed hard and decided in that moment she couldn’t hide from him anymore.

“Jacob, why are you here?” she questioned.

“I came because I heard you would be all alone.” He said as he moved toward her. “I thought that maybe you would need some company.”

“Jacob, you know coming here when no one else is around is not right,” she said as she thought of how many paces it would take to get to the butcher block of knives in the kitchen.

“Miriam, stop playing the good Amish girl,” he said as he took another step forward.

She rose off the couch and inched her way toward the kitchen. “I’m sorry?”

“I saw it in your eyes when you got here,” he smiled at her. “You need a real man in your life. Your husband is not enough for you.”

“Jacob, I think…” she started.

“Miriam, you are going to be special,” Jacob said as he took a large step towards her. “The others, I now realize, were just practice for you. I want everything to be perfect for us tonight.”

“Perfect?” Scully questioned.

“It’s why I’ve shown myself to you,” Jacob said softly. “We have something special between up Miriam.”

“Jacob, I am a married woman and…” Scully said as she took another step towards the kitchen. Jacob was closing in on her

more quickly now.

“And you need to know what satisfaction is,” he smirked. She could see his white teeth gleam in the darkness, he was that close.

“I think you should leave,” she said forcefully. “There has been a misunderstanding and…”

In that moment, Jacob pounced toward her like a cat, grabbing her arm and wrenching her whole body towards his. “You and me are going to have some fun tonight and, I hear we have the whole night.”

Scully pulled against him and noticed that his eyes were cold, like a shark’s. As much as his words said he felt there was something special between them, his eyes said he saw her as an object. A woman, that he was going to rape and take great pleasure in hurting and degrading for many hours. She needed to get to the knives.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder woke to find someone shaking him and telling him to get up. He opened his eyes and saw Isaac Lapp panicked before him.

“Scully!” He snapped as he sat up quickly and grabbed his head. “Samuel, what are you doing dressed as an English?” Isaac asked, worried.

“Why did you hit me?” Mulder snapped.

“I was watching over Miriam for you,” Isaac said panicked. “I saw an English man creeping around the house and…”

“And you hit me over the head,” Mulder concluded as he strained to look inside the dark house. “How long have I been out?”


“How long?” Mulder snapped.

“I’ve been trying to wake you for about fifteen or twenty minutes,” Isaac mumbled. “I was just about to go back to my house and…”

“Fuck!” Mulder swore as he tried to look into the house. “Has anyone else been around?”

“What?” Isaac asked.

In that moment, Mulder realized Isaac had been so pre-occupied with his unconscious and English state that he probably didn’t notice anything else.

Mulder made a decision to enter the house as quickly but as quietly as possibly. If their rapist was in the area, he didn’t want to spook him. But, if Scully was in danger, he needed to get to her as quickly as possible.

“Why do you look like an English?” Isaac asked.

“Because I am,” Mulder said as he started toward the house, keeping low. “I’m FBI Isaac, now stay where you are.”

Mulder pulled his gun from his holster and crouched, inching toward the house. He was sure Isaac’s eyes were wide at this moment, but right now all Mulder could focus on was getting to Scully.

He entered through the unlocked kitchen door and noticed that all lights were off in the house. His eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness of the house and he didn’t spot her in the kitchen. He made his way along a wall and into the living room and didn’t spot her there either.

He heard some noise upstairs and his head snapped towards the stairs. He inched his way up the stairs, his gun drawn. He hoped he would just find Scully busying herself in their bedroom and then they could laugh about the circumstance Mulder woke up to.

Then he heard a low male voice, he couldn’t make out what was said, but Scully responded and then a piece of furniture was shoved across the floor.

Mulder quickly made his way up the stairs and towards their bedroom, the only place there appeared to be any sort of light.

“Let go!” Scully yelled.

“Miriam, you need to settle down so this is nicer for you,” Jacob Lapp said with authority.

“Stop!” Scully yelled loudly as Mulder banged open the door and caught Jacob in his sightline.

Scully was tied to the bed partially naked, only one leg was free and she was using it to kick at Jacob Lapp who was trying to climb on top of her with his pants down to his ankles.

“Hands up!” Mulder called with authority as he walked into the room.

Jacob turned to look at him, astonished. He actually froze in his spot above Scully, obviously stunned he could be caught.

Mulder grabbed his shoulder and yanked him back off Scully and slammed him against the wall.

“What…?” Jacob asked stunned.

Mulder slammed his body up against the back of Jacob and further rammed him into the wall. “You have the right to remain silent, asshole.”

He grabbed a nearby set of suspenders and tied Jacob’s hands behind his back. He pushed him hard into a corner of the room and Jacob went head first into a wall.

Mulder immediately moved to Scully’s side, not taking his eyes off Jacob, but was satisfied when he saw the man visibly slump. He undid one of her hands and then pulled her skirt down over her exposed parts.

“Scully,” he said softly as he sat down next to her.

“Thanks,” she mumbled softly.

“Did he…?” Mulder asked, as he met her scared eyes.

She nodded her head in the negative and reached to untie her other hand. “He had chloroform on a rag and when I woke up I was tied down.”

“So you don’t know if he…”

“He said he was waiting for me to wake up so I could enjoy myself,” she mumbled, disgusted.

He patted her head and then reached to undo her leg. “I’m so sorry; I was knocked out and…”

“Jacob knocked you out?” She asked astonished.

“Isaac,” Mulder said as he undid the knot and massaged her ankle.

“Isaac was in on it too?” Scully asked, astonished by the turn of events.

“No,” Mulder shook his head. “Isaac was trying to keep an eye on you because you were alone and he saw an Englishman sneaking around the house and…”

“He attacked you thinking he was saving me,” Scully smiled at Mulder.

“Something like that,” Mulder smirked back. “Are you okay, really?”

“I’m f…” she stopped herself; she was going to be honest with him. “I’m…I’m shaken up and a little embarrassed that I was knocked out so easily, but physically I’m fine Mulder.”

Jacob groaned in the corner, starting to wake up.

“I’m sorry it took me so long to get back, I…”

“You got here,” she said as she placed a hand over his. “You got here.”

“Did he say anything else?” Mulder asked as he saw Jacob’s bare hairy ass shift to the side.

“He admitted to raping the other women,” Scully said

quietly. “He didn’t say anything about Saunder’s involvement but when Saunder was by earlier…”

“He was what?” Mulder snapped.

Scully pulled his hand with her and guided him out of the room and Jacob, who was slowly coming to.

“He came by to check on me around sunset. He seemed to be casing the joint, looking to see if no one else was around. Then he talked frankly with me about my writing and denying you children. He basically said that if I don’t start giving in to you, that you as my husband, had the right to rape me.”

“He said that to you?” Mulder asked astonished.

“He creeped me out, Mulder,” she said with a shiver. “I have no doubt he’s in on it.”

“Maybe Jacob will give him up,” Mulder said as he started toward their bedroom again.

Scully caught him by the arm. “By the book, Mulder. Don’t let what you saw in there cloud your role. We need this done cleanly.”

Mulder let out a heavy sigh and the tension in his jaw eased. She knew him so well. He wanted to make mince meat of Jacob Lapp for what he had done to those women and what he had done to her. He closed his eyes and took a step back towards her. He hugged her tightly against him and kissed the top of her head.

“I’ll get the phone out of the room and you call it in,” Mulder said softly. “I don’t want you around him, so stay downstairs. I’ll be a good boy, I promise.”

Scully nodded and waited patiently for him to return. Jacob groaned loudly and a shiver went involuntarily down her spine. She was moments away from becoming his latest victim. Although he hadn’t penetrated her, he had touched her, undressed her, and ogled her while she was unable to do anything about it. She had still been assaulted.

Mulder returned with the cell phone in his hand and gave it to her.

“You okay?” He asked when he noticed the far-off look in her eyes.

She nodded and tried to hide her watery eyes from him.

“Scully, you need to talk with someone, what he did to

you and the vulnerability you feel right now is…”

“I will,” she said softly as she turned to go downstairs.

He watched her walk down a stair before he called out to her. “Call for Isaac to come in the house, he can maybe keep you company while we wait.”

She nodded her head in the affirmative and walked down the stairs.

Mulder turned and with a pained expression, walked back into the bedroom. Jacob was going to give him some answers.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder hauled Jacob up off the floor and sat him down heavily in a chair. His pants were still around his ankles but his exposed penis was no longer erect. Mulder offered him no opportunity to cover himself.

“Sorry I interrupted your fun,” Mulder said as he took a seat across from Jacob. “I guess a man like you is so disgusting he feels he has to take women by force.”

Jacob looked at him and straightened slightly in his chair. “You are a police officer?”

“I am an FBI agent Jacob,” Mulder said as he popped open his badge. “So is Miriam.”

Mulder then proceeded to mirandize Jacob, keeping to the promise he made to Scully, but hoping he wouldn’t clam up and ask for a lawyer.

“I don’t know what that FBI woman said, but she asked me to come here tonight,” Jacob said, cocky.

“Did she?” Mulder asked, interested.

“She’s been attracted to me from the start,” Jacob said, rationalizing his actions.

“She was so attracted to you that you had to drug her and tie her up to have sex with her?” Mulder asked, plainly.

“I could tell she wanted it that way,” Jacob said as he jutted out his chin.

“You could, could you?” Mulder asked. “Like those other women asked to have you hold them down and have sex with them in a ditch or their bed or the barn?”

Jacob made no reply.

“How did you choose these women to have sex with, Jacob?” Mulder went a different direction.

Jacob made no reply again.

“I know you are a very robust man, Jacob,” Mulder said, trying to stroke his ego. “Many women must have wanted to have sex with you. How did you choose the ones who would?”

Jacob smiled a creepy smile. He bowed his head in contemplation and then raised it to look more closely at Mulder. “You looking for some advice, Englishman?”

“I…” Mulder started and then stopped when he heard stomping feet running up the stairs. Isaac appeared in

the doorway, out of breath.

“Jacob you?” Isaac asked as he starred at his brother. “You have been hurting these women? Fannie? Marike? Beulah?”

“They are liars,” Jacob said with authority. “And you are so dumb you believe these stupid women. No wonder you are going nowhere.”

“You bastard,” Isaac shouted as he lunged at his brother.

Mulder jumped from his seat and separated Isaac from his brother’s throat.

“Isaac!” He snapped. “Isaac!”

Isaac pulled back, huffing and puffing.

“I need you to help Miriam, keep her company until the police arrive, Jacob tried to attack her tonight.” Mulder said as he held the young man back.

Isaac’s eyes flashed in sudden awareness. Scully had obviously not shared this detail with him.

“Did he…?” Isaac asked as he swallowed hard.

“No,” Mulder said softly. “But she needs to feel safe and you can help with that while I talk to your brother.”

Isaac nodded his head mutely and relaxed under Mulder’s grip.

“I need you to do this for me,” Mulder repeated again.

“Okay,” Isaac said as he went to leave. Suddenly, he turned back and looked at Jacob with rage and tears in his eyes. “You are not my brother!”

Mulder watched as the younger Lapp brother walked painfully downstairs.

“He’s so stupid. He’ll end up some woman’s lap dog,” Jacob said snidely.

“But you won’t?” Mulder asked.

“Never, I am my own man,” Jacob said proudly. “Dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”

“Who taught you that?” Mulder asked.

“What do you mean?” Jacob asked, astounded.

“The quotation about dignity, where did you learn that?” Mulder asked.

“I read it,” Jacob stammered.

“You read Plato a lot?” Mulder asked.

“He is one of my favourite authors,” Jacob smiled at him snidely.

“And you read that quote in one of his mystery books?” Mulder asked, setting the trap.

“Yes,” Jacob said with authority.

“That’s funny because he doesn’t write mystery books and the quote, the one about dignity, that’s from Aristotle. So why don’t you tell me who taught it to you, was it Saunder?”

“I don’t need to be taught I…” Jacob muttered.

“Tell the truth Jacob! You are too stupid to do this on your own!” Mulder yelled.

“No, I’m not stupid!” He yelled back. “I know more than he thinks, he doesn’t…”

“Then who thinks?” Mulder snapped as he leaned over Jacob’s frame.

“Saunder, he thinks I’m stupid but I know he’s learning just like me,” Jacob explained.

“Learning what?” Mulder asked, not backing off.

“We will be the leaders of the community soon, we are setting things up so the women are in line for when we are in charge.”

“Who is going to be in charge?”

“Saunder!” Jacob snapped. “He’s going to be bishop and he’s making me his advisor.”

“So he tells you which women need to be taught a lesson?” Mulder leaned into Jacob’s face.

“He knows more about these women because of his dad and his uncle and…”

“What do his dad and uncle have to do with it?” Mulder tried to not look surprised.

“Nothing,” Jacob clammed up.

“Tell me!” Mulder shouted as he grabbed Jacob’s shirt.

“I want to speak with my father,” Jacob said.

“You have the right to a lawyer, not to your parents,” Mulder said as he backed away from Jacob.

“Then I want one of those,” Jacob said as he looked Mulder square in the eyes.

In the distance, Mulder heard some police sirens approaching. He wasn’t going to get anything more out of Jacob. But, he did need to order the arrest of Saunder, his father and his uncle until more information came to light.

✦ ⸎ ✦

“How’d you know?” Mulder asked Agent Cowan shortly after they arrived at the local precinct.

“Remember how Saunder went into town each week to the library?” Alex Cowan asked. “Well, I tailed him this week and got some ears on the conversation he had with his uncle. We put two and two together and were in the middle of arresting them when the call came in from the Fisher farm. It was my next stop.”

“And Jacob?” Mulder asked.

“The patrol unit that I sent over to his house arrived just after he left.” Alex Cowan hedged. “It took a lot

longer to put my people in place then I would have liked, but with Silas Miller on local PD…”

“Say no more,” Mulder waved his hand in the air.

“How is she?” Alex Cowan nodded his head in the direction of Scully, who was sitting down at a desk writing out her statement.

“She’s…she’s Scully,” Mulder surmised. “I want to get her out of here as soon as possible.”

“I get that,” Alex Cowan nodded. “After a whole summer living like you have been, it’ll be nice to be in your own home, with TV and computers and all the conveniences.”

A look of sadness crossed over Mulder’s face. “Uh, yeah.”

“I better get back in the interview with Silas,” Alex Cowan noted.

“His motivation was power,” Mulder said bluntly. “Power over his nephew. It was because he wasn’t chosen for bishop. That pain was deep and he wanted to regain some measure of the authority he thought a bishop would have, but it was misplaced.”

“I heard you were good at your job,” Alex smirked at him.

“And Saunder,” Mulder continued. “He was in it for the same reason, like in a family where abuse occurs each member preys on the weaker ones. A father beats his son, the son beats his little brother, and the little brother kicks the dog.”

“Except this time they thought they were also being righteous,” Alex added.

“Silas preyed on Saunder, goading him with promises of power while he stroked his ego so he thought he was smarter than everyone else. Silas used his intelligence and research into psychology to convince Jacob that the women deserved to be raped. And Jacob was such a misogynist meathead he thought he was doing the community a favour by putting these women in their place.”

“And now we are going to put all three of them in the right place; behind bars. Good work Agent Mulder.”

“On a case like this, with all these victims,” Mulder starred off at Scully as she wrote. “There is no good outcome.”

He watched her put her pen down and sigh, she had finally finished her statement. He grabbed her shawl off a nearby chair and walked toward her.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” he said softly as he touched her shoulder lightly.

She nodded and stood silently before him. He carefully wrapped the shawl around her shoulders and tied it at the front over her chest. They walked, wordless, out of the station and across the street to the Best Western. As he checked them in, he couldn’t help but notice the stares they were getting. An English with an Amish woman, checking into a hotel together was obviously something that didn’t happen around her. For all intents and purposes, Scully was still Amish in everyone’s mind, including her own.

“Is there a 24 hour store around here?” Mulder asked.

“There’s a 24 hour Target across town,” the clerk explained.

“Thanks,” Mulder smiled at her and took their key.

They spoke little, mostly about what had to be done tomorrow, before she showered and went to bed wearing the bathrobe supplied by the hotel. Mulder knew she needed time. Scully had to process everything in her mind before she would open up to him. He would give her all the time she needed. He loved her too much to push. Mulder watched her sleep for some time before he called the front desk and ordered a cab. He needed to help her feel like Scully again.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Dana Scully slept fitfully that night. Her sleep was continuously interrupted by visions of Jacob Lapp over her and penetrating her. She had nightmares about him doing vile things to her over the course of many hours while they were alone in the house. She had horrible images of Mulder finding her half dead the next morning tied to the bed and bleeding.

She woke with a start over and over throughout the night, sometimes yelling, sometimes panting. The first few times she woke, Mulder wasn’t there and she was filled with a sense of dread, that he had chosen to work the case instead of being with her. But then the next time she woke he was there with a soothing voice, calming her fears and easing her back to sleep.

In the morning, as the sun’s rays made their way into their room Dana Scully got up from their bed and saw a sight that warmed her heart. Mulder was slumped in a chair nearby with a mass of shopping bags surrounding him. She walked the two steps to get beside him and heard the soft snore emanating from his nose. He looked beat.

She peered into the one bag sitting at his feet and saw what looked to be women’s clothing. Without touching the next bag she looked inside to see what amounted to women’s toiletries and makeup. Then, she looked into the third bag and saw what appeared to be shoes.

When she reached into the last bag it rustled and Mulder suddenly woke up.

“Scully?” He asked softly as he noticed her next to him.

“You went shopping?” She smiled at him.

“Once you fell asleep,” he said as he rubbed his eyes and sat up more fully. “I went to a 24 hour Target and picked up some things for you. I figured you might want to un-Amish yourself.”

“Why didn’t you just get out stuff from the car?” She asked.

“The car was parked off the road near the Fisher farm and getting there and back would have meant I’d be away from you for too long. The Target was closer; this is Charm Scully, across town means a five minute drive.”

“So this little shopping spree of yours took…?”

“In and out of the store in 25 minutes,” he said proudly.

“I can’t wait to see what you managed to buy for me in that time,” she said ominously, wary of what she may need to wear from Mulder’s choices.

“I wanted you to feel like yourself again,” he said, touching her arm.

“Thank you,” she smiled softly. “I want to feel like myself too.”

Scully took the bags and disappeared into the washroom to shower and dress. Mulder watched her go then immediately ordered some food to their room.

He went to the phone and called the station and got a report from Agent Cowan. Jacob had confessed to all the rapes but one, Fannie’s. He said he had nothing to do with that one but suspected Saunder could tell them more. Jacob’s family had refused to help him with legal counsel so he was being represented by a public defender.

Silas had lawyered up and was not saying a word about his involvement. The FBI had enough on tape that they could still convict him in the planning of the attacks. He was the ultimate mastermind behind the attacks, without him planting the seed in Saunder’s mind, none of this would have happened.

As for Saunder, Agent Cowan informed Mulder that he refused to talk to anyone but him and he hadn’t. Alex was wondering if Mulder could come in as soon as possible so he could possibly get a confession out of him.

Mulder glanced toward the washroom and heard the shower running.

“I can be there in about an hour,” Mulder said. “Has he requested a lawyer as well?”

“No, just you,” Agent Cowan said cryptically.

Mulder swallowed hard. He would have a hard time keeping his emotions in check when dealing with this psychotic man, but he would have to for the sake of Scully, Fannie and all the other women. They needed a confession out of him to put him behind bars.

Twenty minutes later some cereal and toast arrived and Scully emerged from the washroom wearing the navy blue suit he had bought for her. The skirt was a little longer then she usually wore, and the shoulders seemed a little large for her, but to the untrained eye she looked polished and pulled together.

“Nice choice, Mulder,” she said with a small smile as she

turned in front of him to show him the whole outfit. “I like the shoes.”

“I had to guess at the clothing sizes,” he admitted. “But I think I was pretty close.”

“The skirt’s a little tight in the waist. Probably from eating pie for dessert almost every day,” she noted.

He smirked at her. She had a slight pie addiction now and it was going to be a battle for her to let that one go.

“You look great and I have nice taste,” he smiled.

“It was nice to shave my legs and put on a real bra and underwear,” she admitted.

“I liked shopping for those,” he smiled.

“Did that take up twenty of your twenty five minutes of shopping time?” She smirked at him.

“No, the makeup and facial cleansers took up the most time,” he explained. ‘I don’t know how you do it…sensitive skin, waterproof, aloe, foaming, UV protection…”

She laughed at the image that immediately came to her head of Mulder up to his armpits in women’s toiletries and looking completely baffled.

“Thank you for this,” she said honestly.

Mulder walked toward her slowly, he didn’t want to intimidate or scare her in any way. But, he noticed she visibly relaxed as he got closer.

“I think that this is just the first step,” he said softly. “You need to talk with Dr. Kossoff when we get back. You can’t do this alone.”

“I know,” she sighed as she leaned her head onto his chest. “But I’m not alone.”

“And you won’t ever be,” he said quietly as he wrapped his arms around her.

They stood and swayed for several moments before she broke the silence.

“I want to check on Fannie’s condition,” she said as she pulled back.

“Uh, there’s something I need to tell you about Fannie’s assault,” Mulder began. “Jacob admitted to all of them except hers. He left the police with the impression that Saunder did it.”

“Saunder?” She asked, astounded. Why would he rape his cousin and Jacob all the other women?

“Has Saunder…?”

“He’ll only speak to me so I should get over there to…”

“Mulder, I think you need to find this out from him, for the sake of not only the investigation but Fannie. That poor girl has been through enough and…”

“I’ll find out why,” Mulder said with conviction. “You go and see if she’s okay.”

Scully nodded. The two agents reached for a piece of toast before hey walked out the door of their hotel room.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder gazed into the interrogation room and watched Saunder Miller closely. He sat at the table, a smug expression on his face. He wanted only Mulder, so he could play a game with him, then brag about what he had achieved.

“You ready?” Alex Cowan asked from somewhere behind him.

“As I’ll ever be,” Mulder said as he launched himself toward the door.

Saunder’s face lit up as soon as Mulder entered the room. He was happy the agent had given in to his request, he thought he had the upper hand and Mulder wanted him to think that.

“You called?” Mulder said nonchalantly.

“Agent Mulder, not Samuel?” Saunder smirked. “You look different without the beard and the clothes.”

Mulder just gave him a small smile in return.

“We all believed you two were the real deal, congratulations,” Saunder again tried to start a conversation.

Mulder sat across from him, he didn’t say a word.

Saunder sighed, he was not happy with the way this conversation was going.

“You’re not at all curious?” Saunder asked, a smile

teasing it’s way across his lips.

“I’m only here because they said you would only speak to me, I’d rather be with my partner who was almost raped by your puppet,” Mulder said, seeming visibly upset.

“Almost?” Saunder raised an eyebrow. “No one has said whether he was able to complete the act or not. Too bad.”

Mulder flinched at his last words.

“She’s more than a partner, eh?” Saunder said. “So, it wasn’t all an act.”

“Why don’t you just tell me what you want, so I can get the hell out of here,” Mulder retorted.

“Touchy,” Saunder said softly.

Mulder didn’t reply.

“Maybe she needed to be put in her place, Amish or not. Ever think of that?”

“Why Jacob?” Mulder countered quickly.

“Jacob…he fit what I needed, he was a means to an end,” Saunder said as he sat back in his chair. “He had a history of harming animals, taking liberties with women when alone…it was only a matter of time before he became what he was meant to be. I just…honed his skills.”

“Is that what you call it?” Mulder asked. “Did you like to watch as he held them down and forced himself inside them? As they screamed and begged? Was that how you got off?”

“You think this was for sexual gratification?” Saunder laughed at him.

“I know it was,” Mulder said as he sat back and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I didn’t get aroused by watching them,” Saunder defended himself.

“But at one time you did,” Mulder said forcefully. “When did you first feel that rush of adrenaline when you watched a woman powerless?”

“When I was younger,” Saunder leaned forward conspiratorily. “I saw Jacob hold down Beulah on the coat room floor. She screamed to be let go. It was the first time I…”

“You reached orgasm,” Mulder finished. “And you liked watching the other women get raped?”

“What kind of sick…?” Saunder began indignant.

“You watched them all Saunder, didn’t you?” Mulder stood from his seat and yelled.

“No, you pervert, I didn’t…”

“You watched them beg, didn’t you? You got off on them crying and being helpless!” Mulder snapped again.

“No, after Sarah, I stayed away to protect them!” Saunder lashed out.

“You protected them?” Mulder asked, dumbfounded.

“He hurt Sarah really bad when he saw me there. He was performing for me and I agitated him. I stayed away after that one. I made it less painful for them!”

“But you continued to set up the rapes?” Mulder eased back.

“It didn’t change the fact that they all still needed to be taught a lesson,” Saunder smiled, his composure quickly restored.

“But then it got to be too much, Jacob having all the fun and you, not even watching anymore,” Mulder went on. “So you decided to rape Fannie on your own.”

A smile spread across Saunder’s face and he crossed his arms over his chest.

“Why Fannie?” Mulder asked, hoping he had not lost the momentum with Saunder.

“Is she still with child?” Saunder asked, playfully.

“You mean, your child?” Mulder pushed forward.

“I hear she was a lose woman and I would have to wonder if…”

“The child your cousin now carries because you raped her Saunder!” Mulder snapped again.

“She’s a disgrace to her father now, he can’t hold his head up in the community with a whore for a daughter.”

“This is about her father?” Mulder asked, interested.

“Righteous bastard,” Saunder said snidely.

“How so?”

“Father was going to appoint him the next bishop! After everything I’ve done, all the sacrifices!” Saunder yelled.

“And he needed to be taught a lesson?” Mulder added.

“He did!” Saunder yelled.

“Raping his daughter was a good start,” Mulder continued.

“Yes! And then Gott smiled on me and she was with child! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect circumstance! He knew what I was doing was right!” Saunder yelled, his face beat red.

“Gott knew?” Mulder asked. “Gott knew that you raping Fannie was the right thing to do?”

“He gave me his blessing when he gave her that child, my child, don’t you see?” Saunder asked.

“No, Saunder, I don’t,” Mulder said rising from his chair. “And neither will a jury.”

“Gott is the only judge I fear,” Saunder said, pious.

“I’d fear my new roommate in prison more,” Mulder said as he stepped out of the room.

✦ ⸎ ✦

Mulder pulled up in front of the Fisher farm and noted that another car was in the driveway, he guessed it was Scully’s but couldn’t be sure.

“Samuel!” Abram called from over by the barn.

Mulder smiled at his continued use of his Amish name and walked toward the man, smiling “You don’t have to call me that anymore, Abram.”

“You will always be Samuel to me,” Abram said good naturedly.

“I will miss the time we spent together milking the cows,

out in the fields…” Mulder said with some sadness.

“But not the early morning hour?” Abram asked with a mischievous smile.

“Let’s just say that I’ll never complain about an 8am meeting again,” Mulder laughed with him.

“So the community knows about us?” Mulder asked, interested.

“Word is spreading,” Abram said as he rubbed his chin. “Martha was by earlier to see Miriam.”

“Is anyone angry with you for lying and having us here?” Mulder asked.

“No, they are just happy their daughters are now safe. I think they’ll realize that you English needed to do this for us.”

“Why is that?” Mulder asked, curious.

“Because we would never be able to see this evil in each other, we are too close to see.”

Mulder nodded his head in agreement. “How’s Fannie?”

“Resting,” he said quietly. “She lost one of the babies but one is still hanging on.”

“She was pregnant with twins?” Mulder asked, shocked.

“Yes, the scan showed one baby still inside and healthy,” Abram said as they started to walk towards the house. “Only time will tell, but she’s convinced she can will this one to stay.”

“So she wants it?” Mulder asked.

“Once she started to lose the baby, I think that’s what convinced her she really wanted it.”

“I have some information about the father that maybe I should share,” Mulder said softly as they came to a stop outside.

“Jacob?” Abram asked with a scowl.

“No, Saunder. Jacob raped all the others but Saunder raped Fannie,” Mulder said with sadness. “He did it so her father wouldn’t be bishop. He said Gott blessed the rape because he gave Fannie a baby.”

Abram looked at his feet for quite some time.

“Gott did bless it,” Abram said softly. “If he hadn’t have given her the baby it would just be a horrible thing she suffered through. But the baby, somehow makes it better, it gives her something that is good that came out of all of this.”

Mulder had a hard time agreeing with the man’s reasoning, so instead he just remained quiet.

“I’ll tell her in a few days,” Abram said quietly. “Once all the worry about the baby has passed.”

Just then, Scully appeared on the porch with their bag in her hands and Ruth following close behind with a pie.

“I just spent some time with Fannie,” she said softly. “And Ruth wants us to take one of her peach pies.”

“Ruth, you know you have got her quite addicted to your baking,” Mulder smiled up at the older woman.

“I don’t know why she says it’s one of my pies, she made half of them herself, she’s a good Amish woman afterall” Ruth smiled back. “And she’s become quite the baker so she’d do well to stay in practice.”

“Sounds like a great idea to me. I’m sure my stomach will agree with you,” Mulder smiled as he took the pie from her and gave her a hug.

“But your waistline won’t,” Scully chided.

Ruth and Abram laughed at her joke.

“Thank you for all your hospitality,” Scully began. “I’m sure it wasn’t easy having strangers in your house but you always made us feel right at home.”

“Thank you for being so good to Fannie,” Ruth said honestly. “We’ll take good care of her and the baby.”

“I hope she and the other women take the police up on their offer of group counselling,” Scully added.

Ruth and Abram were both silent. Counselling wasn’t the Amish way.

Scully gave them a tight-lipped smile; she knew exactly what they were thinking.

“Here’s my contact information,” Mulder said as he handed Abram his business card.

“When Fannie has the baby, will you let us know? We may want to send something or come by to offer our congratulations.”

Abram smiled at him and took his card. “I will write you when the baby arrives.”

“Thank you,” Scully smiled at him.

Mulder placed the pie in the back seat and walked around the driver’s side of the car. Scully got in the passenger’s side and the two of them waved to the Fisher’s before pulling out of their dirt driveway.

They drove in silence all the way down the Fisher’s road.

“You know, Alex Cowan said the cottage is rented out for another week and a half, if you wanted to stay there for some R&R you could, or we could,” Mulder offered.

“Mulder, as much as I loved most of my experience in Amish Country, I think I need to get back to DC and my real life,” Scully said sadly.

“You sound so thrilled,” Mulder said under his breath.

She sighed heavily.

“I wish they would get counselling,” she finally relented. “I plan on getting some and my ordeal wasn’t nearly as…”

“Don’t minimize what happened to you,” he said as he placed a hand on her knee.

“I’m not saying that,” she said forcefully. “I’m saying that what happened to that community, what happened to those women, can’t just get swept under the rug because it’s not the Amish way.”

“Why do you think I want to check back in a few months when Fannie has that baby?”

“You think it will just take time?” She asked hopeful.

“Scully, they are a community that doesn’t have electricity.” Mulder said succinctly. “Time is relative to experience. For you, counselling needs to be immediate because you are a modern woman living in modern times. For them…they probably need to mull it over for a bit.”

“I hope you’re right,” she said quietly.

“I hope so too,” he said as he patted her knee.

“Mulder, take me home,” she said as she got more comfortable in her seat.

“Whatever my lady wants,” Mulder smiled over at her as he drove down the dirt road and past a buggy going slowly along the side.



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