As it Might Have Been by Dyann Z

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As it Might Have Been by Dyann Z

As it Might Have Been cover






Date: 4 Nov 2002 20:16:36 -0000

Subject: As It Might Have Been, 1-6 Revised by Dyann Zimmerman Source: direct

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TITLE: As It Might Have Been (1/6)




SPOILERS: First Season, episode by lovely episode!

SUMMARY: What if Ethan was never edited from the Pilot episode? What actually happened between the scenes we saw? Tune in and find the true smutty story.

DISCLAIMERS: Please sue me!!! I would love my 15 minutes.

FEEDBACK: Most of it welcomed at . The rest of it is deleted.





“Ethan… let go of me… I’ve got to be on time today. I’ve got a meeting,” she said, trying not all that heartily to get out of his grasp. He continued to hold on to her, his arms around her middle, his leg over hers, essentially pinning her to the bed from behind.

“Mmmm… Come on, Dana. Just another 10 minutes,” he said, nuzzling her hair. “You feel so good… and it’s cold outside of this bed.”

She laughed slightly, rubbing her hands over his at her waist, before turning onto her back to look at him. “You’re nervous about this meeting, aren’t you?” he asked her, the tender concern in his voice making her smile.

“Yeah, I guess I am,” she said as she wrapped her arms around him, facing him, snuggling closer to his body. “I just don’t understand it, Ethan. I get this call late yesterday telling me a Section Chief wants to see me in his office at the Hoover building first thing this morning. What am I supposed to think?”

“He’s probably going to give you another commendation or something, Dana. Don’t be so pessimistic,” he said to her, kissing the end of her nose, rubbing his hands over her back. “Dana, no matter what it is, all I can think about right now is having you all to myself, lying together on the beach. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this weekend,” he said, kissing her neck before covering her mouth with a more passionate kiss.

“Me, too, Ethan,” she said, looking at him, wiping his hair back from his forehead. “We’ve been way too stressed lately. We need this time alone… for ourselves… she finished, kissing him lightly before moving to get out of bed. “Go ahead and sleep. I’ll wake you when I get out of the shower.”




“Agent Scully, thank you for coming on such short notice,” Section Chief Blevins said to her, signaling for her to sit.

“We see you’ve been with us just over two years?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered, hoping her inward apprehension was not outwardly apparent to the three men she was facing.

After a bit of small talk about her background, the other man in the room asked a question that seemed a bit odd, “Are you familiar with an agent named Fox Mulder?”

She knew of him, by reputation only, but had heard a few stories about him and was faintly familiar with his reputation as an outcast, a lone wolf who pursued strange cases within the FBI. She wasn’t the water-cooler, gossip-type, so beyond that, she really knew very little.

“Are you familiar with the so-called ‘X-Files’?” Blevins asked. She did become aware of the weird presence of the man in the room, skulking in the background, smoking a cigarette, but saying nothing.

He gave her an odd feeling. As a matter of fact, the whole meeting was giving her an odd feeling. Then it came.

“The reason you are here, Agent Scully, is we want you to assist Agent Mulder on these X-Files. You will write field reports on your activities along with your observations on the validity of the work.”

Her heart sank. All of the thoughts about what this meeting might bring for her career, instead, turned into what this meeting was going to do to it.

“Am I to understand that you want me to debunk the X-Files project, sir?”

“Agent Scully, we trust you’ll make the proper scientific analysis.

You’ll want to contact Agent Mulder shortly. We look forward to seeing your reports.”

After being told that Agent Mulder’s office was indeed in the basement, as per the folklore, she again felt her ire rising, wondering why she had garnered this assignment. Did they think she was so worthless in her job at Quantico that they found her expendable? Did they think she was weak and would just serve as their spy to rid themselves of this Agent Mulder, someone who was notoriously a thorn in their sides? Were they trying to force her to quit?

She knocked on the open door as she entered; amazed at what she saw when she entered the office. Her eyes couldn’t work fast enough to take everything in… pictures of UFO’s, of skeletons, aerial maps, folders and books stuffed every which way on every available surface.

She saw him, hovered over a light table looking at slides. “Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted,” a voice called to her.

But she didn’t really see him until he turned around to face her, looking up through his glasses.

“Agent Mulder… I’m Dana Scully. I’ve been assigned to work with you…”

He was nothing like what she expected. She found his verbal repartee intellectually stimulating… intelligent, challenging. The arrogance of his attitude and his forwardness of constantly stepping into her personal space was a bit offsetting. But, she thought she detected a bit of shyness, that his arrogance was just a defense mechanism. And he certainly didn’t look like the odd ball she was expecting… Actually, she thought he was kind of cute, a bit goofy, maybe, but definitely not in the least bit spooky.



Later that day

“Hey!” he said to her as he looked up from his monitor, moving to meet her. “What are you doing here?” he asked, kissing her, always pleased to have her stop by his station. She returned his kiss, but he felt a bit of hesitancy in her action.

“I knew you wouldn’t be home until late and I wanted to see you,” she said, the same hesitancy apparent in her voice. As soon as she looked down, unable to look him in the eyes, he knew what she was going to say was going to be something he didn’t want to hear. “I got an assignment, Ethan.”

“Oh, no… Dana, you can’t do this. We’ve been planning this vacation for six months,” he said, his whine of disappointment understandable to her. They had been planning this, counting the days of this last week of work. They had rented a private condo on the beach in North Carolina, with private access to the water and all the amenities necessary to seclude themselves for a week. They needed this. Their relationship had become strained; the pressures of her job and the sometimes erratic hours of his not affording them much time to spend on themselves.

“I have to go to Oregon. I don’t know for how long.”

“Well, can I ask what’s so important to ruin our trip?” he asked, a raised eyebrow her first response. “National security is not an acceptable answer.”

“You know I can’t talk about it.”

“Are you working with anybody?” he asked, teasingly probing to see if her assigned co-worker was male or female.

“Yeeees,” she smiled to him. “His name’s Fox Mulder.”

“Spooky Mulder?”

“You know him?” she asked, surprised that his reputation seemed to reach outside the FBI. Ethan’s story of trying to cover one of Mulder’s projects and his inference that everyone felt he was somewhat of a joke around town somehow irritated her. She already found herself feeling defensive about her new assignment… and her new partner.



She was already in bed, not really sleeping, tossing and turning mostly, when he came home from work. He was quietly moving around the apartment, figuring she was already asleep. He had cancelled their reservations for the condo, checking for a vacancy for the following weekend, hoping that they might still get their trip together. He entered the bedroom, looking toward her to see if she was sleeping.

“I’m awake,” she said groggily, sitting up in the bed to look at him.

He walked toward the bed, bending to kiss her as he removed his jacket. “Are you coming to bed or do you have work to do?” she asked, lying back down against the pillow.

“I’ve got work to do, but I’m coming to bed,” he said smiling at her, moving into the bathroom to take a quick shower. She watched him in the dim light of the bedroom, suddenly feeling a pang of guilt at ruining their chance for some quality time together. He dropped his towel and crawled into bed, scooting toward her before propping his head on his elbow to look at her. “Wanna talk about it?”

“Oh, Ethan. I’m just having so many second thoughts about this assignment… why they chose me for it… what it’s going to do to my career…”

“Can you get out of it somehow?” he asked, rubbing her stomach soothingly.

“I can’t refuse an assignment, Ethan. I’ve got to go on this one,” she said, turning to him, putting her hand on his bare chest. “But as soon as I get back, I’m going to try to make sure this assignment is only temporary.”

“How long will you be gone?” he asked, smiling at her as he began to unbutton her pajama top.

“I have no idea… It could be a day or two or a week… I don’t know…” the arousal already starting to cloud her voice. “Oh, Ethan.

I wanted this vacation with you so much… so much,” she said, kissing him, responding to his touches.

“I wanted it too, Dana. I moved the reservations to next weekend, so let’s keep our fingers crossed,” he half- mumbled, opening her top, moving his hand to her breast.

“Actually, I’d like you to keep your fingers right where they are…”

she said, giggling as his hand descended into her panties. “I love you, Ethan…”

“I love you too, Dana. I don’t think I say that often enough,” he said as he nuzzled her neck. “Now, if I could just get you to say ‘yes’ to my proposal…” He pushed her panties down with his hand; she finished removing them, pulling them off her legs with her feet, too aroused to pay any attention to his last statement. He moved between her legs, holding himself to enter her, her sigh indication that she felt as good as he did. “Jesus, Dana…”

“Ummm, yeah, just like that…” she sighed, moving with him, stroking her hands up and down his back, over his ribs as she kissed his neck, under his chin to his ear. “A little harder, Ethan…” she whispered.

He began moving harder and faster as he felt his release building, hoping she would finish before him. He felt her working harder to keep up with him, her breathing indicating to him that she was close, finally feeling her shudder, her internal muscles clamping him so tightly, he followed almost immediately. They lay quietly, both recovering as he held her close.

“What am I going to do without that in Oregon?” she smiled at him.

“I think you’ll survive, considering that’s the first sex we’ve had in over a week as it is,” he said, sounding rather sharp and not meaning to.

“And whose schedule has caused that,” she said, turning onto her side, away from him.

“Dana, I didn’t mean it that way… really,” he said, snuggling over to her, wrapping his arm around her.

“I know, I know… I’m just tired and apprehensive about tomorrow… I’m sorry.” She moved her head back and he kissed her, her thoughts being totally elsewhere…


The next morning, 5:08am

She poured her travel mug full of coffee, thinking she’d leave the rest in the pot for him when he got up in a couple of hours. As she turned to close her briefcase that was lying on the table, she startled at seeing him standing in the doorway, leaning against the jamb watching her. “Ethan! Shit! You scared me,” she said, holding her hand to her pounding heart.

“I just wanted to say good-bye, wish you good luck on this assignment,” he said, moving to her and putting his arms around her waist, kissing her neck. “I know you’re nervous.”

“I’m okay… better this morning, I think. Last night helped,” she smiled, returning his embrace, relaxing to lay her head on his shoulder. “At least Fox Mulder doesn’t seem so bad.”

He pulled away from her, looking into her eyes at that comment. “I did some checking last night, Dana… on Mr. Mulder and his so-called work.” She moved back from him, looking up with a questioning expression on her face. “He’s bad news for you, for your career.

You do not want to be associated with this guy any longer than you have to.”

“You checked up on him?” she asked, finding herself somewhat irritated that he hadn’t mentioned it last night. “Why didn’t you say something before?”

“Well, we had other things on our minds, for one thing,” he answered, moving to put his arms around her again.

She stepped back from him, her irritation continuing to build.

“Don’t Ethan,” she said, finishing putting things into her briefcase.

“I think I can handle this situation myself, thank you.”

“Well, Dana, maybe you think you can, but just be aware that Mr.

Mulder has some very powerful friends who support him that you may not want to piss off.”

“Well, it’ll be a moot point by the time I get back, now won’t it?”

She picked up her briefcase and her mug, looking at him like she wanted to say more, but thought better of it, not wanting to leave on a bad note. “I have to go, Ethan. I’ll be late for my flight,” she finished, looking at him with a softening look, leaning over to give him a light kiss. “I’ll call you as soon as I can.”



The same day, 7:06pm

“I want you to look at something,” she said, her voice quivering as Mulder invited her into his room out of the pouring rain. She could barely see him, the light of the candle providing illumination only of his face. She took a deep breath, turning away from him before unfastening the tie of her robe. She lowered the robe to her waist, standing before a man she barely knew, but somehow trusted, in nothing but her bra and panties. “What are they? Mulder, what are they?!”

she demanded, scared that the marks on her back were the same kind they had found on all of the victims in their case.

“Mosquito bites…” he said after hesitating a few long seconds.

“Are you sure?!”

“Yeah, I got eaten up alive, myself, out there,” he said, a bit of a laugh to his voice.

She closed her robe, turning around to lay her head against his chest, as much from embarrassment as fear, most likely. She felt him lightly pat her back, asking her if she was okay. “You’re shaking,” his voice having lost the bit of fun he had previously seen in this situation.

He realized she was really scared.

“I need to sit down,” she said quietly, her eyes downcast, unable to look at him. She couldn’t believe she was behaving this way. She had seen more horrible things in her work thus far than many agents would see in their whole careers and she had handled them professionally.

But this case was nothing like she had ever experienced— people disappearing, suffering severe psychosis as the result of their disappearances or as the result of the marks on their back. And all of it starting to appear as though the local officials were trying to cover it all up. She took several deep breaths, trying to regain her composure and her ability to speak.

“Take your time,” he said softly as he sat in the chair on the opposite side of the small hotel table. After a few moments, she bent over and laid her head on her legs. He stood; alarmed that she was not doing well. “Scully, hey, are you going to be okay?”

“I’m a little light headed…”

“Come on, lie down on the bed,” he said, helping her to her feet.

She moved to the bed, laying down, rolling to her side. Instead of leaving her, he sat on the floor beside the bed, a gesture she found touchingly kind and considerate. “Some of the cases I get weird me out, too, Scully. So don’t be embarrassed.” A bit blunt, but somehow comforting and just what she needed to feel better about her unexpected reaction to their case. “You feeling a little better?”

“Yeah…yeah. I’m fine,” she said, finally looking at him with a slight smile. “I’m not a pantywaist, Mulder. I don’t usually react that way. It’s just… it’s just that there are so many unknowns in this case…”

“There are more unknowns than you will ever understand, Scully…”

He began to tell her everything, opening up about his life, his family, his sister, the cases he had found and the attempts by others to destroy evidence and to cover up what he was searching for. “I’m tellin’ you this, Scully, because you need to know… because of what you’ve seen…” She felt somehow proud that he trusted her enough to confide in her, this from a man who, admittedly, trusted no one. She found herself telling him about her life, past and present, about Ethan and felt an immediate attraction to him that she couldn’t define. It wasn’t sexual or even personal at this point, but his honesty and compassion for the truth of his work was something she had never seen in anyone before. She felt drawn to him in some way.

‘Nothing else matters to me’ he had said. “I know you can’t understand, Scully. But I needed to set things straight… so you can get out while you can,” he said, a resigned laugh, almost.

“But I do… I do understand, Mulder,” she said, putting her hand on his arm that was lying on the bed. “I may not understand this case or your work, but I understand your compassion for it… I’ve always felt that no one really understood why I wanted to join the FBI, my interest in forensic medicine.”

“Not even your boyfriend?”

“Especially not my boyfriend,” she said sadly, propping herself up on her elbow. “Oh, I think he might understand my compassion for medicine—he loves his work, too. But he’s never really accepted that I have a compassion for forensics. He really doesn’t like to even talk about it. I think he thinks it’s too weird,” she said, smiling a sad smile at him. “So when I come home and I’m excited about my work, having solved a case or maybe even preventing another crime, I really don’t have anyone to share it with…”



Two weeks later, 9:04pm

She and Mulder had finished the case in Oregon in a few days, but they had to finish up with several things after they had returned to Washington. They had spent long hours together, Mulder working with Dr. Werber and Billy Miles and she working on trying to present the facts of their case to Blevins in an acceptable light. She found herself invigorated, actually turned on by the work and the absolute need to prove what she felt might have happened. She couldn’t say the words that she might believe; still having doubts that what Mulder felt happened could have actually happened. She could justify almost every point with some kind of scientific explanation, which was more what Blevins wanted to hear.

Needless to say, she and Ethan’s rescheduled trip to the beach had been placed on indefinite hold. He couldn’t understand why she couldn’t go since she had returned from Oregon with, what he thought, was plenty of time to spare. She resented that he doubted her, questioned her work and the strain on their relationship seemed to have intensified by the day.

“Ethan, I don’t know what you want me to say,” she said resignedly, moving off the couch and walking into the kitchen.

“Dana, don’t walk away from this,” he said, looking back over the couch to watch her. She had already returned to the couch, a filled mug of tea in her hand before she addressed his statement.

“I’m not… I’m not. I know we need to talk about this, but you just refuse to listen to my point of view.”

“What—that you want to give up a great job here in DC with fairly regular hours to go chasing who knows what all over the country?” he said, a sincere tone to his voice. “I thought you wanted to get out of this assignment, Dana. Why have you suddenly changed your mind?”

“I haven’t ‘suddenly changed my mind’, Ethan. I have no choice. I have been assigned to the X-Files with no opportunity to leave at this point,” she said. “It’s the FBI, Ethan. You are told to do a job and you do it—period.”

He moved closer to her, his voice soft and caring. “Dana, you know people, you have an excellent reputation… I’m sure if you tried, you’d have enough influence to do something about this assignment.”

“Maybe so, Ethan…” she said, placing her hand over his that was resting on her thigh. “But I’m not… so… convinced I want to…” she spoke, aloud and maybe to herself for the first time. She turned to him and took his hand in hers, looking him directly in the eyes for the first time that evening. “I have never been so challenged by any work I’ve had yet, Ethan. It was invigorating. Fox Mulder is an extremely intelligent, dedicated agent and the work is nothing like anything else within the Bureau.”

“Dana, he’s a joke to everyone in Washington.”

“Then the joke is on them. He is the furthest thing from a joke I have ever met in my life, Ethan. And the work is fascinating—nothing like I have ever encountered before,” she said, moving to him, putting her arms around his neck. “Please understand, Ethan. I want to learn more about this work, at least for now,” she whispered, leaning back to look at him. “Please understand…”

He returned her embrace, moving back to kiss her lightly on the lips.

“I don’t understand, Dana, but I’ll support you. If that’s what you feel you need to do right now, then I’ll support you… I love you,” he finished, holding her tightly to him. “Come on… let’s go to bed,” he said. “We could use some…um…sleep…” She chuckled lightly at his metaphor, smiling at him as she stood from the couch.

“You go ahead. I’ll be in in a bit… I’m gonna take a shower, then I’ll be in,” she said, bending to kiss him before leaving the living room. He didn’t understand her, he thought. What was it about this ‘work’ that had caught her fancy? Why was she the only one he had come across who had anything positive to say about this Fox Mulder?

He didn’t want this guy or this new work— or his attitude towards it to come between them—it just wasn’t worth it.

Ethan had wanted to get married six months ago when he first proposed, but she had wanted to wait, something that subconsciously could wear away at him, at times. He felt that she truly loved him, but seemed all too content living together without a permanent commitment. He loved that she was career-minded—he was too, but he didn’t know if they could make it through the continuous separations that her new assignment would surely bring. He just hoped they could.

He was sleeping when she crawled into bed over a half-hour later.

She hoped he wouldn’t stir and she could just go to sleep. She knew he had wanted to make love and she wasn’t exactly in the mood, despite the fact they had only made love a few times since her return from Oregon. She didn’t understand why—they used to spend some weekends barely getting out of bed. She had loved sex with him. He was tender but assertive, loving and always aware of her needs and pleasures, appreciative of her satisfaction of his. Quite frankly, she had always thought he was simply great in bed. But lately, since their relationship had become so strained, he seemed somehow… forced, trying too hard to pleasure her rather than just loving her. Maybe it was her imagination—maybe it was just her.

She felt the mattress move, feeling he might be awake, knowing so when he reached over to place his hand on her stomach. “Feel better after your shower?” he said softly as he rolled from his back to his side to face her.

“Yeah, I always do…” she smiled at him before turning to face him, too.

“Dana, I hope you know that no matter what we may disagree or even argue about, I’ll always love you,” he said softly, wrapping his arms around her.

“Oh, Ethan… I love you, too… so much,” she whispered into his ear as they embraced each other. She knew he was hurting, as was she, and suddenly felt an overwhelming need to show him just how much she felt she really did love him. “I need you, Ethan…” She moved over him, easing him over on his back as she began to kiss him, ravenously.

She moved her leg between his, feeling his erection against her thigh, feeling the wetness beginning between her own legs.

“Dana, God…” his response causing her to smile to herself.

“Just lay back, Ethan,” she whispered, eliciting a soft groan from him that affected her so that she had to lay her head against his chest for a moment to catch her breath. She began kissing his chest, taking a nipple in her mouth, sucking it softly before kissing her way down his chest, over his abdomen. He stroked her hair, her back, holding her hand that was splayed over his heart. She took him in her hand, stroking him lightly, kissing his thigh in response to his sighs and increased breathing. After putting him in her mouth, she held on to his hip that had bucked in response, enjoying giving him pleasure in this way, the way he had done so many times for her. As a physician, she knew where the most sensitive nerve endings were on a human body and, as his lover, certainly knew where the ones were which were most erogenous for him. She licked his length and sucked his glans, massaging his testicles, rubbing his perineum, feeling herself needing more in response to his moans and sighs.

“Dana, honey, you’ll… have to… stop… unless you want me… to…

uhh, Jesus… finish this way,” he said between pants. She scraped her teeth very lightly over the head before moving up to lie over his body, smiling at the euphoric expression on his face, before kissing him.

“Some other time,” she spoke against his lips.

He wrapped his arms around her back, rolling her to her side, making eye contact with her for the first time since she had started kissing her way down his body. “Enjoy yourself?” he teased, finally being able to speak.

“Very much… Now, return the favor, big guy,” she smiled to him as she rolled to her back, opening her legs to him. He moved on top of her, his penis so hard he was able to enter her easily. “Ummmm,” she sighed, rubbing her hands down his back, over his bottom, enjoying the feeling of the contractions of his muscles as he began to move in and out of her. Her climax came quickly, as did his—their foreplay placing them at the precipice before they had even started. As their bodies cooled and their breaths steadied, he moved them to their sides, holding her as he stroked her back, squeezing her bottom.

“I love you, Dana. God, I love you…”

She snuggled closer into him, kissing his chest before Answering, “I know… I know.”




Two days later, 2:11pm

The bar was noisy, particularly the giggling woman sitting next to her at the bar. Scully was beginning to wonder why she was here, why Mulder wanted to meet outside the Hoover building in the middle of the afternoon. And, she was beginning to wonder if he was going to show up, when she heard his voice.

“Hi,” she said, turning almost into his face. “I got your message.”

“Sorry for the runaround… Can I buy you a drink?” he asked, already motioning for the bartender.

She was a little taken aback by his forwardness, again crossing the line into her personal space. “It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Agent Mulder.”

“It’s not stopping the rest of these people,” he noted, looking around at the others in business attire crowding the bar. “I’ve got something to show you.”

“Something you couldn’t show me at work?” she said rather coolly to him, still a bit off kilter by his closeness.

He nodded, the look on his face making her understand that what he had to talk about was something he didn’t want others to hear. “Let’s get a table.” She followed him through the crowd, up a couple of steps to a more private section of the bar. He began telling her of a case of what he suspected was a military cover-up of a kidnapping of an Air Force general.

“So you and I are going to the ‘Spud’ state to investigate a little kidnapping,” he smiled at her.

If she didn’t know better, she would have thought he was flirting with her.

“I don’t get it, Mulder. Does this have something to do with an X-File? I thought you only liked those…

a…paranormal-type cases… Am I missing something here?” she asked, suddenly self-conscious that she had caught herself flirting back.

“Well, let’s just say this case has a distinct smell to it—a certain paranormal bouquet…” he said, excusing himself to go to the restroom. She was smiling, enjoying the way he could describe something so boring in such a, well, a ‘Mulder-ish’ way. She enjoyed his conversation… very much.

The file proved to be quite interesting as she began to read, perusing the copied documents, some of them apparently smuggled from somewhere, wondering just how Mulder got his information sometimes. And she also wondered what might be missing… what he might not be telling her when she looked up and saw him standing there with a shocked look on his face. “You okay, Mulder?”

He focused on her, hesitating before answering, “Yeah, I’m fine.” He didn’t explain anything to her, even though she had asked. She had let it drop; knowing that he only trusted her to a point and would tell her when or if he was ready. They returned to their table, talked a little about the case, about everything in general and nothing in particular. He had made a somewhat off-color joke, that she had found hilarious, not being able to prevent herself from laughing loudly, only giving him fuel to continue to try to make her laugh, she thought. During another particularly hearty laugh, someone saying her name interrupted her.


“Ethan!” she said, struggling to stop laughing at Mulder’s latest quip. “What are you doing here?!”

she asked, standing to greet him.

“I guess I could ask you the same thing, sweetheart,” he said as he kissed her quickly on the mouth. Her discomfort was palatable, both because of Ethan’s public display of affection and his questioning attitude, surely about why she was in a bar with a man in the middle of the afternoon.

“Um, Ethan, this is Fox Mulder…” she stuttered.

“Mulder, this is Ethan Minette.” Mulder immediately offered his hand, almost arrogantly.

“Ethan. Good to meet you. Dana has told me a lot about you…” Mulder offered, apparently trying to temper his attitude.

“Ethan, what are you doing here? I didn’t know you were working around Hoover today,” Scully said, honestly wondering what he was doing there.

“I’m meeting Steve and a couple of people he’s working with on a story. You haven’t seen him, have you?” he said to her looking around the crowded bar as he could. Steve was Scully’s friend, Ellen’s, husband who worked with Ethan; that’s how she had met Ethan.

The four of them socialized with some regularity, but those instances had decreased also since Scully and Ethan had both become so involved in their work.

“No. No, I haven’t,” she answered, still looking somewhat uncomfortable.

“Uh, Scully, we need to be going if we’re going to catch the next flight,” Mulder said just as uncomfortably.

“Um, yeah, uh, can you give us a minute, Mulder?” she said, the sadness in her voice and in her eyes apparent to Mulder immediately.

“Sure, Scully. How about I meet you at the airport?

I’ll have your ticket at the gate,” he finished, moving quickly out of the bar and away from the awkward situation he knew Scully was in. He would talk to her about it later.

“Ethan…” she started.

“Were you going to tell me about this or just call me when you got there— to wherever the hell it is you’re going now,” he said harshly.

“I was going to call you. I just found out about this myself, Ethan. I hadn’t had a chance to call you yet,” she said, her voice quiet and passive, very unlike her.

“Oh, really. When I walked in here, you didn’t look like you were getting ready to do anything of the kind, Dana.”

“Ethan, you are being ridiculous,” she said, moving to touch him, causing him to back away. “What is going on with you, Ethan? I’ve never seen you act this way.”

But before he could answer, he heard a voice behind him. “Hey, Ethan. Dana— I didn’t know you were going to be here!” the man said to her, giving her a friendly hug.

“Hi, Steve. Good to see you,” Scully said to the man who had just walked up, glancing sadly then toward Ethan. “I’m sorry, you two, but I’ve got to go.

Ethan, I will call tonight after I arrive in Idaho,” she told him, pointedly letting him know where she would be going.

“Oooh, Idaho. Man, Dana, are you livin’ the high life or what,” Steve joked, not knowing the thin ice he was treading on. She gave him an obligatory smile, moving to hug Ethan, whispering that she loved him in his ear. He barely returned her embrace and said nothing more to her as she exited the bar. They wouldn’t speak for another three days.


The next day, 3:10pm

They were sitting in their rental car across the street from the home of one Col. James Kissell, waiting for the man to arrive at his home since he had refused to meet with them after Scully’s call to his office. Mulder noticed she had been unusually quiet during the flight out, but couldn’t really say anything to her since the plane was crowded and they’d had someone in the third seat. They had been busy with the case since their arrival, trying to figure out why they had received such a cold welcome from every one except Mrs. Boudahas, the kidnap victim’s wife, and they hadn’t felt her to be totally forthcoming.

“Scully, you doin’ okay?” he asked gently, trying to test the waters a bit.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, looking at him with a smile he recognized as forced.

“I’m sorry about yesterday…in DC. I hope your boyfriend wasn’t too pissed off.”

“Pissed off wasn’t the half of it and I’d really rather not talk about it right now, Mulder,” she said, unable to look at him, taking another drink of her lukewarm coffee.

“Scully, we work together, surely he understands that…”

“What? What?!” she said, her second query containing a laugh. She looked at him incredulously; never imaging that that was what he would think Ethan was upset about. “Mulder, I hate to burst your bubble, but you have this all wrong. As you know, I hadn’t yet had a chance to tell Ethan I was leaving town on an assignment—the first he hears about it is from someone he has never met reminding me that we had a plane to catch. I think you can understand why he was upset.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply anything, Scully. I hope everything is okay between you two, that’s all,” he said, placing his hand softly on her shoulder.

“Mulder, please, I’m having a hard enough time with this as it is and I truly would rather not talk about it, okay?” she replied, her response more harsh than she intended.

“Yeah, sure, I’m sorry, Scully. I really didn’t mean to pry. I won’t mention it again—Scout’s honor,” he said, giving her his smile as he gave her the Scout salute.

“No, I’m sorry, Mulder. I didn’t mean to bite your head off… It’s just that I don’t do very well talking about my problems to other people. I never have,” she said, staring at the half-empty Styrofoam cup in her hands. “I truly would like to talk about it to someone, Mulder, but I think it would be best, at this point, if that person were Ethan…”


Four days later, 6:07pm

Depositing her suitcase on the floor by the door, she closed the door with her foot, slapping her hand at the wall trying to find the light switch in the dark.

She was only mildly surprised to find that Ethan wasn’t yet home; he generally didn’t get home until six or so on a regular night. She laid her briefcase on the desk, taking her carry-on into the bedroom.

She had showered and had been working on her notes for a while before she went into the kitchen to make some tea, wondering to herself where Ethan was, childishly thinking he was paying her back for her trip to Idaho. The case had been stressful enough, her anger at Mulder as palpable as her fear for him at what his stunt at Ellen’s Air Force Base could have cost him. She was just thankful the ordeal was finally over, at least the ordeal in Idaho was over, she thought. She had finally been able to reach Ethan, on the third day she was in Idaho. Mulder had taken off with the car and she hadn’t heard from him since and she was worried as hell. She was in the middle of nowhere, and was totally inexperienced in anything like her current situation. So when she had finally talked with Ethan, she was pretty much a babbling idiot, the conversation finally deteriorating into her crying and him trying to comfort her from 1,000 miles away. She had never felt so alone in her life.

She had turned on the light above the sink when she noticed a small note lying on the counter top.

Recognizing Ethan’s handwriting on the front of the envelope, her heartbeat increased as she began to open it…


I had to go to Atlanta. We got an exclusive interview with Turner, so we had to go while he was still in the mood. I left a message at your office, but wasn’t sure you would get it. I should be back late tomorrow. I’ll call.

I love you, Ethan’

Surprising herself and for some unknown reason, she began to cry. She knew she wasn’t crying because he wasn’t coming home, but yet she was. She needed to see him, to have him hold her, talk this out. The events in Idaho had scared her; she realized that Mulder’s paranoia wasn’t just all part of his over-active imagination. She just felt sad…

She took her tea and went to the living room, lying down on the couch, wrapping herself in the afghan that had been folded over the back. She left the lights off, turning on the television, searching for an old movie to keep her company in the dark.


Two weeks later, 7:06pm

She and Ethan had been doing all right, better actually. He had come home from Atlanta in a good mood, having gotten his interview with his prize catch. She needed to see him so badly by that point, that most of their tension was seemingly forgotten.

They had taken a couple of nights for themselves, one for a Pat Metheny concert and another for a night out at a nice restaurant and a stay overnight in one of Baltimore’s most posh hotels. She felt things between them might actually be smoothing out and getting back to what they had had before— until the ‘Tooms’ case.

The stakeouts she had been doing for this case had been keeping her out overnight, forcing her to sleep when he was at work and simply repeating the cycle the next day. He understood, or so he said he did, but they hadn’t actually laid eyes on each other in four days. But she had told him on the phone that morning that they had gotten back-up help with the surveillance of the suspect and that she would be home that night, all night, barring anything unforeseen. He told her he would be a little late, but that he would be home in time for a late dinner and the promise of actually sharing a bed.

“Mulder, you must have gone out since Colton gave us the night off. I say we file a complaint against him— I am furious! Call me when you get in. Okay, bye,” she had left on his machine. Their co-worker on this case, Tom Colton, had proven to be a major horse’s ass, not the decent Joe he had seemed to be when she knew him at the Academy. He, too, had ridiculed Mulder and his theories regarding Eugene Tooms. And while she wasn’t totally sold on Mulder’s conclusions either, she resented Colton’s attitude and had told him off quite well, she thought.

She came home to find the apartment empty, wanting to get a shower before Ethan got home, but realizing she needed a long, hot bath to calm down after her run-in with Colton. She had been readying the tub when all hell had broken loose. Mulder’s theories had been true and Tooms squeezed into her apartment, attacking her until Mulder showed up and was able to help in subduing him. Had it not been for Mulder’s dedication to the case and his habit of not listening to his superiors, he might not have found the evidence at Toom’s hideaway that led him to rush to her apartment.

And the outcome might have been very different.

She was sitting on the couch, talking with a female DC police officer when Ethan arrived home. There were a couple of other officers there, as well as a couple of FBI, including Mulder. “What the hell?…” Ethan had said as he walked up to the apartment building. After convincing the officer outside that he belonged there, he was given a brief rundown on what had happened and escorted into the apartment. “Dana?” She turned around, immediately going to him, wanting to jump into his arms, but keeping up her professional decorum and resisting her need.

“Ethan, I’m fine. I’m fine. There’s been an incident related to that case I was working on, but everything is okay now,” she said, her tone just a little too professional for his liking at the moment. “If you would, please just give me a few minutes to get everyone out of here and I’ll explain everything, okay?” He just looked at her and walked back into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.

While Mulder and the various agents were finishing with what evidence there was and Mulder was giving his statement, Scully found time to go talk to Ethan, still sequestering himself in the bedroom. When she entered the room, his fury was palpable before he spoke. “What the fuck is going on, Dana? What the hell kind of work are you into that maniacs are attacking you in our home?!!”

“Ethan. Shhh, they’ll hear you,” she said nervously, glancing back toward the door.

“Goddammit!! I don’t give one fuck if they hear me! You could’ve been killed!”

“Ethan, I said lower your voice,” she whispered.

“I’ll not argue with you in earshot of my co-workers.

Now, I’ll go out there and hurry them along; you calm down and we’ll talk about this like rational adults.”

“I’ll lower my voice, Dana, if you don’t talk to me in that condescending, nauseating FBI voice,” he finished, throwing his jacket across the room. She stared at him for a moment, her absolute anger raging from her eyes, before moving to leave the room.

“Deal!” indignation dripping from her voice as she slammed the door behind her.

All the evidence that was available had been gathered and she could finish her statement tomorrow. Everyone had been ushered out except Mulder and he was readying to leave, slipping on his coat. She moved toward him, standing on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck.

“Mulder, thank you. Thank you,” she said, moving back to look at him, but not releasing her embrace. “I think I owe you my life.”

“Looked like you were doing a pretty good job yourself, there, Scully, but, you’re welcome,” he said, wrapping his arms loosely around her waist.

“That’s what partners do, partner.” She embraced him again, and then stepped back from him, reaching for the doorknob to let him leave. He looked at her intently before telling her quietly that he’d see her tomorrow. She smiled, closing the door behind him, locking the locks before leaning her forehead against the painted wood of the raised panel, not realizing that Ethan had been watching the whole interchange from his place just inside the bedroom door. He never mentioned what he had witnessed… and neither did she.



Two days later, 8:06pm

Scully had called her friend the previous day, telling her she was in need of a drink and some female conversation. Ellen kidded her that it sounded serious, but realized Scully was about as far from kidding as she ever got. “Well, maybe you can tell me what to do, El,” she had told her friend on the phone, setting a date for the next evening.

Ellen had picked Cattalari’s since it was close to her home and she wouldn’t be far if Steve called with any problems with the kids.

“So, Dana, tell me what’s up…are you alright?” Ellen asked, concern suddenly present in her voice after she noticed how tense her friend appeared. “How’s Ethan?”

“Um, he’s in New York, at the affiliate’s convention,” she answered, her evasion of the question not going unnoticed.

“I didn’t ask you where he was, I asked you how he was doing, Dana,” Ellen said softly, knowing Dana had picked up on her acknowledgement that she knew her friend was trying not to answer her question. “And why didn’t you go with him? I thought you guys always liked to turn his trips to New York into mini-vacations.”

“Oh, Ellen… I just don’t know where to start and I need to talk to someone,” Scully finally said, her voice filled with emotion that her friend was surprised to witness.

“Dana, what’s happened? Tell me…”

The problems with Ethan just came pouring out of her, even a slight mention of their lack of passion for each other, the infrequency of their lovemaking, things that Scully had never before talked about, not even with Ellen. Scully began telling her about the problems Ethan was having accepting her new assignment and how they seemed to have so little time for each other anymore. “We just don’t seem to have anything to talk about anymore, El. We used to lie in bed and talk for an hour before we went to sleep. Now, we’re hardly ever home on the same nights to even share a bed,” she said sadly.

“What is it with this new job that has you so enthralled, Dana?” she asked, curious about what had taken hold of her friend that would cause her to consider losing her relationship over. Scully began talking about her work, not the specifics of the cases, but what the work did to her… intellectually, emotionally, even spiritually; how she had felt so alive and vital in the last two months since she had started working on the X-Files, working with Fox Mulder. She began talking about him, telling the funny things he had said, the brilliant conclusions he had made in their cases, how stimulating she found his conversation.

“Dana, do you realize that in the last, oh… 40 minutes or so, you have talked about virtually nothing except your partner and haven’t mentioned Ethan once?” Ellen asked sincerely, convinced that Dana didn’t even realize it.

“What? Have I? …Er, haven’t I?” she asked, now embarrassed by what she knew her friend meant. “God, Ellen, what is wrong with me? One minute, I think if I don’t see Ethan, I’ll explode and the next minute, I can’t wait to get to work to see what next new thing Mulder is going to expose me to… She put her face into her hands, trying to contain some of her tears. “I can’t take this, El.”

Ellen reached across the table, putting her hand on Scully’s shoulder, thankful that they had a booth toward the back of the restaurant, knowing her friend would be highly embarrassed if anyone noticed she was crying.

“Dana, do you still love Ethan?” Ellen asked quietly.

Scully looked up finally, taking a deep breath before answering as honestly as she could. “I don’t know…

I don’t honestly know…”


Two weeks later, Saturday evening

The table was set for two, candles, crystal, the whole deal. Scully had actually been cooking most of the afternoon, making Ethan’s favorite, lamb with wild rice pilaf and steamed vegetables. The salad was chilling in the refrigerator and the wine was at room temperature waiting to be poured. She was trying in earnest to make things work and Ethan seemed as if he was trying, too. She had had to leave for Sioux City, Iowa the day after her breakdown with Ellen and the day before Ethan returned from New York. She had returned several days ago and things had been cordial, no arguments or particular tension, but no real passion, either. True, they had been tired, and she had gotten her period, so sex hadn’t been anything they had had to face. But tonight would be different.

The case in Iowa had been emotionally draining. She had felt so sorry for Mulder, his empathetic response to the case of the disappearance of a young boy’s sister making her very concerned for his emotional well-being. She felt she and Mulder had become close enough for her to confront him about his personalization of the case, which had initially just irritated him. But later, back at their motel, he had thanked her, actually thanked her for ‘giving enough of a shit’ about him to even notice that was what he was doing. The boy’s sister was returned to him, alive, but the case hadn’t ended well for Mulder.

He hadn’t gotten the answers he was seeking, needing, hoping for, and it saddened her to see him with his heart aching.

But she was trying to put Mulder out of her mind and keep her thoughts on her struggle to save her relationship. She really did want this to work out… didn’t she?

“Mmmm, Dana, even your lamb smells good,” he said to her, wrapping his arms around her from behind, nuzzling her neck. “Do you know how much this means to me that you are doing this for me, for us?”

“It means a lot to me, too, Ethan,” she answered softly, bending her head to give him easier access to her neck. “It’s almost ready.”

He helped put the food on the table and poured the wine as she lit the candles and turned down the lights. “Here’s to us… and to our future,” he said, his desperate look unsettling to her, sad even.

They touched their wine glasses, taking a sip before he reached to kiss her lightly on the lips. The conversation during the meal had been pleasant enough; he had actually tried asking about her work.

He talked about his work, catching her up on a couple of new projects he was working on at the station.

She couldn’t go into too many details about her cases with Mulder. What would he think? Hell, he thought her work at Quantico was weird.

He had surprised her later, after they and the wine had moved to the couch. “So what’s this Mulder guy really like? Is he as weird as everyone says he is?”

“He isn’t ‘weird’, Ethan. He’s intense, but not weird. He has very strong beliefs about certain things and is very intent on what he believes in,” she said matter-of-factly to him. “Some people may mistake that for being weird or arrogant, but I don’t,” she finished, setting her wine glass on the table behind the couch. She moved to sit closer to him, folding her legs up on his lap before laying her head on his shoulder. “I don’t want to talk about work anymore, Ethan. I thought tonight was supposed to be about us.”

“It is… It is,” he said, kissing the top of her head.

“You know, it could be even more about us if we moved this party to the bedroom…”

He was more aggressive than usual, seemingly more intent on satisfying his basal need that she knew hadn’t been even addressed in well over two weeks.

She tried to respond to him, felt her body responding to his physical touches, his mouth, his voice. It felt good when he entered her, her body needing this as much as his did.

“Right there, Ethan,” she had said when he intensified his thrusts, her physical need to be satisfied taking over her thought processes at that point. She climaxed, something she thought wasn’t going to happen until he moved just enough to hit the right spot at the last minute. He continued to thrust in and out of her, her thoughts by that time on hold, just wanting him to finish… to hurry up and get it over with. Her thoughts suddenly began to make her feel sick… nauseous to the point she was afraid she wasn’t going to make it until he finished. After he came, he fell off of her, onto his back next to her, trying to catch his breath. She rolled to her side, away from him, never remembering a time when they made love before that they hadn’t held each other afterwards. She was already crying and that thought made her weep all the more and she knew there was no hiding her tears.

“This isn’t going to work anymore, is it, Dana,” he said softly, sadly to her, a statement, not really a question. She reached for a tissue from the bedside table, sitting up to wipe the tears from her eyes.

“Ethan…” she sobbed, sincerely sorry for what she now knew was the end of this relationship. She loved him, she still did, she was just no longer in love with him. “I wish I could say differently, but I can’t… I can’t.” She finally looked at him, the light filtering in from the streetlight and the nightlight from the bathroom, providing enough illumination for her to clearly see the sadness in his eyes. She started sobbing all over again.

“What happened, Dana?”

She covered herself, leaning back against the headboard, still sniffling, wiping at her eyes with the tissue. “I don’t know, Ethan…” She sobbed again, covering her eyes with her hand. “I didn’t intend for this to happen… I just think we have grown in different directions and can’t seem to find a middle road anymore.”

“You’re in love with him, aren’t you?” he asked. His tone wasn’t mean or accusatory; it was simply sadly resolved.

She looked at him, initially surprised by his question, but then realizing that the question had been hanging between them for some time and needed to be asked—and answered. “Ethan, there is nothing going on between Mulder and me,” she said, looking at her hands, nervously twisting her tissue.

“I didn’t say there was… I asked if you were in love with him.”

She looked at him lovingly, an inconsolable sadness washing over her face as she contemplated her answer, for what seemed like eons to him, and to her, before responding. “What I feel or might feel for anyone else has no real meaning to us, Ethan. You and I both know that there were problems in our relationship before I ever met Mulder,” she said, returning her gaze to her lap. She looked at him again, reaching to take his hand in hers. “You were never a substitute until the real thing came along, Ethan. I loved you… Don’t ever think that I didn’t…” She had loved him, had felt deep love for him, but there always seemed to be feelings somewhere inside her that made her feel there could be more… She had asked herself what had happened at least a thousand times, never before being able to admit there was an answer to her own question. But she knew— Mulder and the X-Files had happened.



One month later

Ethan had moved to a hotel the next day, moving the rest of his things out within the week. They had been civil to each other, sincerely trying to make things as easy as possible on each other, all the while enduring insufferable pain in silence, alone.

Ironically, she and Mulder hadn’t been out of town on a case since Iowa and she had barely seen him since her split with Ethan. Probably for the best, she thought. She had painfully told her mother about her break-up, the lack of any surprise from her coming as a surprise to Scully. Her mother hadn’t said much’It’s probably for the best, Dana’— about all Scully had remembered from the conversation. She told Ellen, after a half bottle of wine, finding it more difficult to tell her than when she told her mother, for some reason. She had been deliberate in not mentioning Mulder in either conversation, not wanting to deal with any potential questions or insinuations.

Of course, she hadn’t yet told Mulder. She used the fact that she had seen very little of him as her convenient excuse, but she knew the truth was that she was avoiding it. Actually, she had also realized that her insecurities had reared their ugly head and she was also avoiding telling him because she was afraid he could actually care less. No, she really didn’t think that; she knew he would be concerned for her, but was certainly not convinced that he would have any other reason to take notice.

A coroner had telephoned Scully for consultation on a rather strange case in New Jersey. Scully had really wanted to run it by Mulder, but her apprehension was high at the potential of possibly having to go out of town on assignment with him. She headed down to the basement office, finding Mulder, um, otherwise engaged…

“Workin’ hard, Mulder?” she facetiously asked, her question directed at his preoccupation with the rubber-breasted centerfold in the magazine he was viewing.

Without missing a beat, he turned around in his chair, showing her the magazine. “This woman claims to have been taken aboard a spaceship and held in an anti-gravity chamber without food and water for three days,” he said, his humorous smirk bringing the same reaction to her face.

“Anti-gravity’s right…” she replied, a bit proud of her ‘Mulder-ish’ retort. He threw the magazine on the desk and she read the look on his face as sincere happiness at seeing her. She smiled back at him, their unspoken language speaking much, at least to each other.

“Sorry to interrupt your serious investigation…” she said, turning to face him, leaning against the desk, “but I just heard a story that’d just about take your knees out.”

“What’s that?”

“They found a body in the New Jersey woods yesterday, missing its right arm and shoulder. They think they may have been eaten off… by a human.”

Of course Mulder’s curiosity was peaked. “Where in New Jersey?”

“Just outside Atlantic City.”

“Not an uncommon place to lose a body part,” he pointed out. “They think it’s the Mob?”

She shook her head, “Uh uh. It was a homeless man. There doesn’t seem to be a motive.”

He looked at her before rising from his chair, his face almost touching hers as he grinned at her, asking “Ya feeling lucky, Scully?”

“Relative to whom?” she asked, being as coy as he was.

He was already rummaging through the file cabinet where he kept the old X-Files; she could see the wheels already turning in his head. “It’s not our case, Mulder. The local police are handling it.” He pulled out the file he had evidently been looking for and turned to look at her. “An X-File?” she said, teasing him with incredulity.

“Ever hear of something called the ‘Jersey Devil’?” he asked seriously, handing her the file, again stepping into her personal space.

“Yeah, it’s a beast that’s supposed to come out of the woods and attack cars, right? Kinda like an east coast Big Foot?”

He leaned even closer to her. “Read the file about the case in 1947,” he said, leaving the office before she had a chance to barely open the folder.

She hurriedly closed the file, grabbed her briefcase from the desk, moving quickly to catch up to him. He began giving her a matter-of-fact bare bones synopsis of the 1947 case as they made their way upstairs to the car requisition unit. “Family watches Dad get dragged off into the woods. Cops find Dad with a few appendages gnawed off. Cops corner a large naked man in the woods and gun him down. Autopsy shows human flesh and bones in the man’s large intestine… a ‘beast’ man,” he says, finally stopping, turning to look at her.

Scully had become fairly incredulous at his attitude that she was just supposed to accept this as fact.

“Is the autopsy report in here?” she questions, holding the file up to him, knowing full well there was no documented proof of what he has described.

“Mulder, it’s the same story I’ve heard since I was a kid! It’s a folktale, a myth!”

He continued to avoid her eye contact, overly intent on completing a car requisition form. “I heard the same story when I was a kid, too. Funny thing is… I believed it.” He turned to face her, then, telling her what he knew she needed to hear to get her to investigate this case with him. “Fact is, we got a cannibalized body in New Jersey. Someone or something out there is hungry,” he finished, walking away from her. She watched him go; taking a deep breath as she realized she may be embarking on what could become the rest of her life.


Outside the City Morgue, 2:11pm

Mulder’s self-confident arrogance had further pissed off an already irritable, jurisdictional local detective named Thompson who was in charge of the case. They were essentially given the official boot without ever even being allowed on the case. She tried to explain to him that the detective had been well within his rights to pull jurisdiction on them, but she could tell that Mulder wasn’t finished with this case.

“Hey, whadaya say we grab a hotel, take in a floorshow, drop a few quarters in the slot, do a little digging on this case?” he said to her as they started to get in their car. She couldn’t help but smile at him.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Okay, we can skip the floorshow.”

“Mulder, I have to be back in DC.”

“Have you got a date?” he said, his expression serious. She looked at him a moment, taken aback at his quick question.

“No… I have my Godson’s birthday party at 6:30.” He looked away from her, the pissed-off expression on his face beginning to piss her off. He looked back toward her, tossing the car keys at her across the roof of the car. “What are you doing?”

“A little poking around… maybe make a weekend out of it,” he finished, walking away from her, giving her a fairly irritated stare. That was all it took…

“Mulder, it’s a three hour drive back by myself!” she yelled after him, Mulder simply giving her a discounting wave as he continued across the street.

“In Friday night traffic!” she finished, flashing him an even more irritated stare that he wouldn’t see.




Later that evening, 7:06pm

Scully had sat motionless in bumper to bumper traffic on the New Jersey turnpike for over twenty minutes, her anger at Mulder having risen to a level that if he suddenly appeared in front of her car she would have run him over. And whatever made her think that being in the presence of ten eight-year-olds would be any less animalistic than the ‘beast man’ in New Jersey had quickly faded from her memory pool. After Ellen had rounded up all the party-goers and had them sitting at the table with plenty of cake and soda to keep them occupied, the two of them had a chance for a bit of respite.

“Ohhhh,” Scully had groaned, amazed at the deafening decibel level emanating from a seemingly average group of boys. “You’re amazing!” she said to her friend.

“What?” Ellen replied, unsure of what Scully was even talking about.

“You’re such a natural at all this… I don’t know how you keep it all together.”

“Mommy radar.”

“Hmmm… I don’t think I’m cut out for this, El.”

“Dana, you went through the FBI Academy. What better training could there be for motherhood?” Ellen said, Scully looking at her unsure if Ellen was joking or not. “Seriously… You’re great with kids. What are you talking about?”

“When am I supposed to find the time?”

“Well, first you have to get a life…”

“Ahhh,” Scully joked.

“—And, of course, it helps if you can find a man,” Ellen hinted.

“Know of any?” Scully asked, only half teasing.

“Yeah, they’re disappearing faster than the Brazilian Rain Forrest. What about that guy you work with?”


“Yeah, I thought you said he was cute?”

“He’s a jerk,” she said, her ire at him just as present as it had been on her solo trip home. But, she really didn’t truly believe that, and not wanting her friend to believe it either, immediately corrected herself. “He’s not a jerk. He’s a… he’s obsessed with his work.”

“And like you’re not, Dana.”

“I’m committed to my work, El. There’s a difference.”

“Okay… if you say so, Dana. You just keep telling yourself that.”

The doorbell rang and Scully went to answer it, leaving Ellen to answer the ringing phone. When Scully opened the door, an incredibly handsome man greeted her on the other side.

“Hi, I’m Scott’s dad,” he said by way of introduction before moving in to locate his son.

Ellen coughed to get Scully’s attention and put her hand over the receiver, whispering to Scully, “Divorced…” Scully didn’t outwardly react, but internally, her emotions were like a blender on a roller coaster. She had strong feelings for Mulder that she could make no orderly sense of whatsoever; she still missed Ethan at some level, missing having someone to love and missing someone loving her; she found this stranger very handsome, but nervous about the prospect of dating anyone again.



Monday, 11:02am

Mulder’s phone call to her at FBI Headquarters hadn’t exactly come as unexpected news. He had stepped on the wrong toes over the weekend and found himself locked up in the drunk tank of an Atlantic City police precinct. After she had picked him up, he could barely contain himself, his eagerness to tell her all about the case and what he had seen, so childlike and refreshing, that the predominant anger she had continued to feel toward him as recently as that morning, just faded into the background.

She had taken him to breakfast, jail food not being all that appetizing and all. “Mulder, what’s gonna happen when word of this gets back to the Bureau?”

“They dropped the charges. That guy, Thompson— he ran me through the system just to spite me,” Mulder said, his mouth stuffed with his breakfast food.

“I’m talking about this Jersey Devil thing…”

“I saw it! It’s exactly the way the Ranger described— the way it moved; the way it sniffed the air. It’s come out of the woods! Probably in search of food…”

“Yeah, I’ll say,” she said sarcastically, referring to the fact that this ‘beast’ had eaten human body parts.

“This thing chewed somebody’s arm off. It’s not exactly a defensive posture.”

“But you do believe I saw something, don’t you?” he asked, his face alive with the wish that she would, at least, believe that.

“You saw something, I’ll give you that. But I’m not about to go in and sell it… Not when it’s nothing more than a sighting in a dark alley.”

“I still got a hotel room I’m paying for,” he said, looking up from his plate of food, the innocent hope that she would agree to stay and work the case with him, lighting up his eyes. She found herself wanting to, very much, but not being able to prevent herself from backing away.

“Yeah, well, I have to get back to Washington by 7:30, so… a…”

“Got another birthday party?” he asked, unable to look at her, as he stuffed another piece of toast in his mouth.

“No. I have a date,” she answered, taking a sip of her coffee to avoid his eye contact, too. She felt somehow guilty.

He looked at her with an expression on his face that looked like if he waited long enough, she would retract her statement. “Can you cancel?” he finally asked shyly.

“Unlike you, Mulder, I would like to have a life…” she told him, finally looking him square in the eyes.

He smiled at her, almost a pitiful expression, she thought. “I have a life,” he said, staring at her, seemingly thinking that if he stared at her long enough, she would believe that he really did. She had to laugh, shaking her head slightly, embarrassed because all she could really think about through their entire breakfast conversation was how infectious his excitement was and how endearing he was when telling her about it.

After they got in the car and she had pulled back out onto the interstate, he looked at her as if his question had just dawned on him. “What do you mean, you have a date? You mean a date with Ethan?” sincerely realizing he didn’t really know what she had meant.

Her audible sigh could be heard over the low tone of the radio. “Mulder, Ethan and I split up… last month…” she said softly, saying the actual words still difficult for her.

“Scully… I… I didn’t know… I hadn’t heard…” he said, the end of his sentence dropping off as he looked at her.

She could feel him watching her, knowing his expression would be something that might bring out more emotion that she could let herself have at the moment. “It’s okay, Mulder. Really… I think even my mother has taken me off suicide watch by now, her attempt at levity falling short.

“That bad, huh?”

“Oh… not really,” she said, turning to look at him.

His eyes radiated the emotion of his true concern, causing her to realize that she owed him, at least some of the true feelings she had. “At times, yeah, she finally said. “I think I’ve cried more in the last few months than I had in all the previous years of my life— combined.”

“The last FEW months?” he asked, immediately picking up on the time discrepancy.

“Things had not been good for quite some time, Mulder.

We just happened to finally end it last month.”

“The Tooms case…,” he stated, looking down at his hands. “I could feel he blamed me for that, blamed your working with me for exposing you to danger you didn’t have in dealing with dead bodies at Quantico.”

“Mulder, you know when you have a cup overflowing with water; it isn’t that last drop that causes it all to pour out… It’s the accumulation of every drop in that glass…” she said, looking at him, his eyes expressing something to her that she wasn’t sure she was ready to handle…



One week later

Her date with the incredibly handsome man Ellen had fixed her up with had turned out to be incredibly boring, so incredibly boring, that when Mulder had called her pager, she made the proper excuses and left the poor bastard sitting in the restaurant alone. There had been another sighting in New Jersey and she had followed Mulder back onto the case, going with him that same night back to Atlantic City. They hadn’t been chasing some slimy criminal, some child rapist or serial killer, but a possible evolutionary missing link. How fascinating was that? The case excited her, whether totally believing it or not, she was enthralled at what they might find, the thrill of the hunt almost intoxicating.

Mulder had been devastated at the end result, the ‘beast WOMAN’ being killed by the same local detective who had thrown him in jail. She had tempered Mulder’s reaction, preventing him from doing something that could have easily gotten him thrown out of the Bureau. They had worked on the case notes for the last week, gathering statements from the other witnesses, waiting for the autopsy report, since the local PD had again flaunted their jurisdiction and not allowed Scully to perform it.

On Friday, she had walked into the basement office, the posthumous medical exam results in her hand. They had found fragments of human bones still in the woman’s digestive tract, but nothing to suggest prehistoric bone structure or physiology. She also had the results of the male body they had found.

“There would’ve been offspring…” Mulder stated.

“The exam of the woman’s uterus does seem to indicate that she may have given birth,” Scully admitted.

“She was just protecting her children, Scully. It all makes sense!” he said excitedly, like the proverbial light bulb over his head had just been turned on.

“The male dies… and she comes out of the woods in search of food,” he said, jumping up from his chair, getting his coat, obviously heading out to who knew where.

“Mulder, will you do me a favor? Will you just go out and have a beer? Will you take the day off?

I’ll cover for you… Will you just take some time for yourself?” she begged, her worry for his obsessiveness showing in her voice.

“Thanks for the offer, but I’ve got an appointment at the Smithsonian with an Ethnobiologist— I can’t wait to tell him about this!” he said excitedly, moving around her to go answer the phone. She crossed her arms and sighed with exasperation at his refusal of her offer.

“Mulder,” he answered. “Yeah, just a second.” He had an odd look on his face, she thought, seeming surprised by who had called. “It’s for you,” he said, handing her the phone before walking out of the office.

“Oh, hi,” she answered, wondering herself who would have tracked her down to Mulder’s office. It was the man she had gone out with last weekend, trying again, offering her a chance at ‘a life’ from the other end of the phone.

She caught up to Mulder, again registering for a Bureau car, moving to stand beside him.

“Who was that on the phone?”

“A guy.”

“A guy? Same guy as the guy you had dinner with the other night?” he asked, his attempt at nonchalance not very convincing.

“Same guy,” the hint of a smile beginning on her face.

“Gonna have dinner with him again?”

“I don’t think so…” she said, thinking to herself that this plainly ordinary conversation with Mulder was more stimulating to her that that ‘guy’ could ever be on his best day.

“No interest,” Mulder said, finally looking at her, reaching for the car keys issued to him.

“Not at this time,” she said, her resolve that her place was with Mulder, giving her a comfort and a pleasure she hadn’t felt in a long, long time.



Three months later, 2:11pm

“Ohhhh. I forgot what it was like to spend a day in court,” Scully moaned, loaded down with files and reports used in her testimony.

“That’s one of the luxuries to hunting down aliens and genetic mutants—you rarely get to press charges…” Mulder’s observation eliciting her laughter. They had found a cassette tape in the car containing a cryptic message from a previous acquaintance of Mulder’s, now an inspector with Scotland Yard, the message scaring the hell out of her, but seeming to be quite a cute trick to Mulder’s friend. The fact that the ‘acquaintance’ had immediately given Mulder a lingering kiss on the lips did nothing to endear her any further to Scully.

Later, Mulder had told her they had ‘known’ each other at Oxford but that it had been over ten years ago and he just wanted to help her with the case so she could return to England.

Scully had so wanted that to be on the case. In the last several months, they had been together virtually every day, even weekends, working on varying cases.

A poltergeist in Philadelphia, a computer with a mind of its own in Virginia and an ordeal in Alaska that had nearly gotten them killed— at each other’s hand.

On their next trip, to Houston, they had been distant, both probably needing some time away from each other.

Alaska had shaken them both. Then Mulder had gone off to Wisconsin by himself, AD Skinner sending her to retrieve him after he had gotten into trouble with a military operation Mulder said was covering up a downed UFO. The case seemed to heal them a bit, both seeming to realize that they were much better when they were together, than trying to work apart.

Their next case had been tiring, flying back and forth from Connecticut to California twice within a week’s time. The case had involved two young sisters; cases with children always difficult for anyone, but particularly so for Mulder. They had had some down time after that, only the court case to prepare for.

They had actually had a night out together, Mulder showing up at her apartment asking her if she wanted to go with him to a friend’s birthday party, an outdoor barbeque held in the Virginia countryside just outside Washington. The following weekend, Mulder had gone with her to her mother’s to help with some furniture moving prior to her mother having her house painted. They had ended up staying the night, Mulder in the guest room, Scully sleeping on the couch, and finished up the next day. Their off-hours time together had been wonderful, the connection she felt with him growing each day,it seemed,until Phoebe Green.

Almost as soon as Phoebe had shown up at their car, she had barely seen Mulder. He had worked the case with Phoebe, telling her flat out he didn’t need her on the case. Scully had found the file in the office and read it, researching a few things on her own.

She had finally found some significant information that she felt she should share with him when she called his cell.

“It’s Scully. Where are you?”

“Hum,” he coughed; surprised to hear her voice, acting like he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t. “I’m in Boston.”

“I’ve got something to show you. I’m gonna come up there,” she said matter-of-factly, not yet picking up on his reaction to her call.

“What’ve you got?” he asked, a feeble attempt, hoping she might just tell him over the phone.

“I might have some information on the identity of your arson suspect.” He hesitated, an ‘oh shit’ look on his face that he was lucky Scully couldn’t see, but picked up in his audible sigh. “Are you there, Mulder?” she asked, beginning to get the picture as to why he was reacting to her news as though it didn’t matter.

“Yeah… yeah…” he said, another nervous sigh audible to her.

“Can I meet you somewhere?” her voice tinged with the impatience and irritation she was beginning to feel for him.

“No, it’s just I’m… I’m kinda anticipating having my hands full,” his double entendre not being lost on Scully. He had finally told her where he was staying, that he was providing surveillance at a party there that night along with Phoebe for the family who had been threatened by the arsonist. She hadn’t told him definitely that she was coming up there, not knowing for sure that she would. But after she hung up, she knew professionally that she needed to and shouldn’t let her personal apprehensions interfere and, personally, she just knew she had to.




Scully had arrived in Boston and checked into a room before trying to locate Mulder. He wasn’t in his room and she thought about calling his cell again, but decided, instead, to go to the Marsden party to locate him. She expected to find him near the ballroom, but was taken aback when she got off the main elevators to find Mulder and Phoebe, in their evening finery, sharing a very slow dance in the main hall area outside the ballroom. She didn’t know whether to be pissed at him for being so unprofessional in public or hurt because he seemed to be enjoying himself. She thought it was a little of both.

Scully moved around the corner a bit, out of their field of sight, not wanting to be discovered, to decide how she was going to proceed. She looked around the area, before again checking on them, now finding them kissing, his hand slipping down to Phoebe’s bottom. Scully turned to leave, unable to witness anymore, when she noticed the main fire alarm panel on the wall, the flashing lights and beeping noise catching her attention. Running to do the job that Mulder and Phoebe were obviously ignoring, she let them know as she passed them, still kissing.

“There’s a fire upstairs!” she said, turning to look at them.

“What?!” Mulder responded, Phoebe moving out of his embrace.

“On the 14th floor,” Scully finished, giving Mulder a look that reflected everything she was feeling.

The rest of the evening had been a blur… Fire personnel had taken charge and Mulder was unaccounted for until he was finally located some time later. He had suffered smoke inhalation when trying to rescue the Marsden children, feeling embarrassed that he had panicked and been unable to get to them, what a limo driver had been able to do instead.

Scully had taken care of him when he was brought back to his hotel room, only saddened further when his first concern when he awoke was “Where’s Phoebe?”

Scully had essentially solved the case for them and Mulder had caught Phoebe and Sir Marsden in a lip-lock, so his experience with her had ended no differently than it had 10 years before. But the whole scenario had shaken Scully, feeling she had mistaken the closeness she and Mulder had developed as more than he wanted it to be. She had worked on several autopsies for other agents and cases and he had helped profile on two important cases, projects that had gotten him some positive attention for a change. But she missed him… missed the challenges he presented, missed his passion, even his sick jokes and off-color innuendos. She put in for a week off at Christmas to spend time with her family, hoping that over the break she could get her head, and her heart, back on the right track.



December 29, 10:03pm

“I lied to the police about how I found the warehouse,” she said abruptly, not being able to deceive Mulder any longer. Scully had left Mulder and their suspect, Luther Lee Boggs, at the Central State Prison earlier, her emotions running too strong, unable to endure any more. She and her family had held her father’s memorial service only hours before she joined Mulder in Raleigh, needing to be near him and her work, more than needing to be with her family.

Boggs had taunted her, had started singing the obscure song played during the scattering of her father’s ashes, and she had been stricken. She had held on to her emotions as long as she could, not wanting to fall apart in front of Mulder and a room full of fellow officers.

For once, Mulder didn’t believe in something paranormal, he didn’t believe this suspect was ‘channeling’ another murderer, but orchestrating a kidnapping from within the prison walls, trying to deal a stay of his execution. And for once, Scully was believing, truly believing this suspect was somehow communicating with her deceased father.

Scully had chosen to let Mulder finish with the suspect while she returned to the hotel, but on her way there, the things that Boggs had said were coming to him in visions, began to formulate into clues that she was seeing in her own mind. She found herself following the clues and located important evidence exactly as his visions told her she would.

“I didn’t notice any… suspicious activities,” she admitted.

“Then how did you find it?” Mulder questioned, moving closer to her.

“It was where Boggs said it would be,” she said, unable to look at Mulder.

Mulder sighed, the frustration evident in his voice.

“Scully, I told you about Boggs.”

“I didn’t go looking for it! I came across an area that had landmarks he spoke of!” she said defensively, finally looking him squarely in the eyes.

“That doesn’t matter! That’s exactly what Boggs wanted! He could’ve been setting you up—you could be dead right now!!!” he yelled, unable to contain his emotion, his obvious concern for what could have happened. She turned away from him, but he moved closer to her, hurt beginning to register on his face. “Why did you feel you had to lie on your police report?”

“I thought it would be a better explanation under the circumstances…” she said quietly, beginning to understand the look of hurt now on Mulder’s face.

“What you’re really saying is that you didn’t want to go on record admitting that you believed in Boggs.

The Bureau would expect something like that from SPOOKY Mulder… but not Dana Scully.”

She turned to look up to him, her voice starting to break. “I thought that you’d be pleased that I’d opened myself to extreme possibilities…”

“Why now, after all we’ve seen— why Boggs?” She had turned away from him again, unable to speak and Mulder noticed her emotion, a sudden understanding dawning on him. “Does this have to do with your father?” he asked gently. She couldn’t look at him, shaking her head ‘no’, but Mulder knew better. “You said that he didn’t approve of you becoming an FBI agent. Now, if being on the job now makes you feel guilty… or… uncomfortable or uneasy, I think you should back away.” She looked at him then, hoping that he didn’t mean that—she couldn’t leave now and be alone with all that she was feeling.

“Because if it’s clouding your judgment, you’re putting yourself in danger,” he finished, the caring in his voice making it difficult for her to hold herself together.

“I love this job,” she said softly to him, not knowing if everything she meant by that was apparent to him.

“You love your father…” he said sweetly and that was too much. She walked away from him, unable to face him, to let him see her cry. He moved closer to where she was standing and sat on the end of the bed. She looked at him and saw the invitation in his eyes, sitting down next to him. He offered a bit of conversation about Boggs, probably to help divert his own emotions but serving to help her gather herself a bit also.

“Scully, maybe you should go back to DC… be with your family,” he said looking down at her, sitting quietly next to him, unable to meet his eye contact. “Scully?” he said, touching her chin with his fingers so that she would look at him. That’s when she broke, unable to contain her whirling emotions, her shaken belief system… her grief, any longer. She wrapped her arms around his neck, sobbing openly into his shoulder. He reciprocated, holding her tightly, just letting her cry as he soothingly rubbed her back, whispering into her ear. “Let it go, Scully… I’m here with you… Just let it go…” he told her.

They stayed that way for over ten minutes, neither saying another word. After her sobs had finally subsided, she lifted her head from his shoulder, letting her arms fall away from him. She looked at him, her small smile saying so much, before laying her head back on his shoulder. He put his arm around her, laying his cheek against the top of her head.

“I’ve got an idea, Scully…” he said, reaching for her hand that was lying in her lap. “You get yourself ready for bed and I’ll go scrounge us up something to eat and some hot tea or something… How’s that sound?”

“Wonderful…” she answered quietly, finally sitting up to look at him. He stood up, reaching in his pocket for his handkerchief, offering it to her before he moved to leave. “Mulder…” she said, just before he moved out the door. “Thank you…”

“Anytime, Scully… Anytime.”


Two hours later

Scully had barely had time to shower and put on her pajamas and robe when Mulder knocked at her door, his hands full of carryout containers. The hotel had fixed him a couple of omelets and decaf coffee and he had brought her several mints that he had filched from a maid’s cart he found sitting unsupervised by the kitchen entrance. She had only picked at her omelet, so he had finished hers as well as his own. “Mints are for you…” he had smiled at her, childlike in his offering of his little gift.

It became obvious to him that she was fighting sleep, obviously so tired she could barely sit up, but keeping the conversation going so he wouldn’t leave.

“Scully, you need to get to bed. You can barely sit up.”

“Mulder…” she said, stopping herself before saying what she really wanted to say. “I guess you’re right,” she offered quietly, standing to move toward the bed. But he stopped her, touching her shoulder before wrapping her in his arms. She held on to him, needing his comfort more that he could realize, she thought. “Mulder, I don’t want to be alone tonight…

please don’t leave…” she said, strengthening her grasp on him.

“I hadn’t planned to, Scully. I’ll stay as long as you need me to…” he whispered to her, moving back from her to look at her. “Come on, let’s get you into bed.”

He bolted the door before turning off the light on her bedside table, the room darkened except for a faint glow around the partially opened bathroom door. He took off his shirt and his shoes and she could hear the buckle on his belt jingle as he removed it and the change from his pockets clatter onto the table. She remained quiet, lying on her side with her head pillowed on her arm, unsure of what he was going to do. The mattress dipped, but he did not get under the covers, simply scooting over to her, spooning up behind her, wrapping his arm around her. “Sleep tight, Scully. I’ll be right here if you need anything…” She didn’t reply, but simply moved her arm over his and grasped his hand, feeling him snuggling closer to her as she did.


Six days later

The case in Raleigh had ended badly, at least for Mulder. Even though the kidnap victim was found alive, Mulder had been shot in the thigh, a nasty wound that had left him fairly incapacitated.

Despite his arguments otherwise, Scully had insisted that he stay with her after his four day stint in the hospital, until he was up and around enough to, at least, get to and from the bathroom without assistance. His doctors in Raleigh weren’t exactly ready to discharge him, but gave in only because he was going to have a ‘personal’ physician.

“Mulder, please just lay back and let me do this,” she said, mildly irritated at his lack of cooperation.

“This dressing needs to be changed and you need a bath. You’re starting to get a bit rank…” Even though he had been sedated enough that he slept most of the time, he had managed to refuse his sponge bath the previous two days he had been at her apartment and she had finally drawn the line in the sand. Either he allow her to properly take care of him or she was sending him back to the hospital. “I won’t kill you, Mulder… even though I have given it thought in the last couple of days,” she teased, looking up from what she was doing to give him a slight smile.

“Scully, the last time you did that I was too stoned to notice. But, I get a little nervous when… a… a someone is using scissors so close to my… uh… valuable parts, so to speak,” he said. He was sitting up in her bed, propped against the headboard with a stack of pillows. She continued to cut the tape, giving him a look that told him he had better keep his comments to himself.

“Everything looks good, Mulder. Your incision is healing nicely, very nicely, actually. You’re a quick healer,” she smiled. “Mulder, I really need to give you a sponge bath, but you need do as much for yourself as you can.” She placed a pan with warm soapy water on the nightstand, handing him a towel and wetted washcloth. “Wash what you can and what you don’t want me washing,” she smiled at him. “And I’ll be back in a few minutes and finish what’s left.”

“Oooh, Scully, you mean I get to choose?” he said, wagging his eyebrows at her.

She gave him a departing smile, one that made him remember a previous case where she was referred to as ‘the enigmatic Dr. Scully’. Enigmatic indeed. He couldn’t figure her out most of the time, that was for sure. And there was something else he didn’t understand— what the hell had he ever done in his life that had made him worthy of her care, her loyalty, her friendship… her love?

The rest of the evening had been spent in the living room, Mulder’s cabin fever having reached dangerous proportions. She had put a brace on his knee to prevent him from pulling the muscle of his thigh and he had hobbled from the bedroom using his crutches.

He was propped up on the couch, his legs extended in front of him. Moving from the bedroom to the living room had been enough of a strain that he had needed more pain medication and had fairly quickly dozed off. That gave her time to do a few things around the house, to actually cook something for dinner instead of ordering in.

Mulder had roused a couple of hours later, his stamina still at about zilch. She brought him something to snack on and a sports drink to tide him over until dinner time. She had given him the remote and figured he was good to go for another couple of hours and went about finishing what she needed to do. He would watch her come and go, in and out of the kitchen, the bathroom, wishing she’d come and sit with him for a while but not wanting to ask her. He already felt he was a burden to her, and knew she had things to do beyond playing nursemaid to him.

“Hey,” she said quietly, touching his shoulder from her place sitting on the coffee table. “You ready to wake up?” He looked around, not even realizing he had dozed off again.

“What time is it?” he asked groggily, sitting up a little further as she moved the pillows behind his back.

“Dinner time, if you’re hungry,” she offered. “You want to stay here or try to sit at the table? We could probably prop your leg up, give you a change of scenery…” she smiled.

“Um, yeah, yeah, that sounds good,” he said, touching her knee. “Thanks for all you’re doing for me, Scully. I don’t know where I’d be right now if you hadn’t taken me in.”

“Mulder, if the truth be known…, I’m actually enjoying the company,” she said quietly, placing her hand on top of his on her knee. “Please don’t feel that you are in any way a burden, or a pain in the ass… well, at least you aren’t a burden…” He smiled at her, truly feeling she meant what she said to him.

“Well, I can’t show you right now, but I do appreciate it.”

“Come on, let’s eat in the kitchen. You’ll feel better,” she smiled, standing, offering him her hand.


She had gotten him back to bed, full from dinner and in a much better mood from having been up and about a bit during the afternoon and evening. “How many pillows do you want, Mulder?” she asked, wondering how he wanted to sleep. The first few days he had wanted to sleep half sitting up; he said it was easier on his leg muscles. But as the days progressed, he wanted fewer pillows, sleeping better if he reclined.

“Um, just one. I’m going to try to sleep lying down for a change,” he said, solemnly to her. “Scully…”

“What? What is it?” she asked, sensing he wanted to say something further, moving to stand at his side of the bed to adjust his pillow.

“I’ve been hogging this whole bed since I’ve been here, but now that I don’t need so many pillows, I can sleep on my half and you can have your bed back, at least half of it,” he said sincerely to her.

“Mulder…” she said, unable to look him in the eye.

If he only knew how badly she wanted to sleep in that bed with him, he wouldn’t have been so apprehensive about asking.

“Look, Scully, I know you don’t like the couch and I won’t do anything…”

“I’m not afraid of you, Mulder. That isn’t why I have been sleeping on the couch,” she said, finally looking at him, feeling silly that she was even hesitating. “Let me get you comfortable and I’ll be in later. I’ve got a few things to do. Is that better?”

“Yeah, much better,” he said, looking toward her just in time to see her slight smile.


Scully had taken a long, gourmet bath, soaked until she was prunish. She dressed in the bathroom, not knowing if Mulder was totally asleep. She had mixed emotions about getting in the bed with him; wanting to so badly she could barely contain herself, yet dreading lying next to him without being able to touch him. She had touched him physically so frequently since his discharge from the hospital, seen him naked, helped him use the bathroom. But yet, it wasn’t intimate, sexual or truly personal; it was all things she had done with other patients during her residency more times than she could remember. But yet it was personal, more intimate than some sexual contact could be because it was Mulder. She hadn’t been with anyone since Ethan and there were times, she admitted to herself, that she missed him, missed him physically, missed being held by a man while she slept.

But this wasn’t about that. This was about friendship, about being there for someone you cared about, about getting Mulder better. He was sleeping when she got into bed, snoring very noticeably, probably from the sedation of his pain medication.

She gave him a slightly larger dose at bedtime than she did during the day so that he would sleep more soundly and not accidentally move and hurt himself.

She felt odd getting into bed with him, laying that closely to him when they were both half-dressed.

She rolled to her side away from him, smiling to herself that the strangeness she had felt initially was already dissipating and the closeness they shared seemed somehow already familiar.


Scully had slept fitfully; Mulder’s snoring keeping her awake on several occasions. She had gotten up early, making coffee and an easy breakfast quiche.

She squeezed the orange juice and made a tray for Mulder. She checked on him about an hour later, finding him still sleeping, the covers thrown off of him and his t-shirt on the floor next to the bed.

Going to his side of the bed, she noticed the perspiration on his forehead and the flush to his face. Looking down his body, she also noticed the tenting of his boxers, his morning erection making an impressive appearance. She softly moved the sheet over him before touching his shoulder, shaking him slightly to wake him. “Mulder… Mulder, it’s time to wake up,” she said, now brushing his hair off his forehead with her hand. He didn’t feel feverish and she noticed his eyes moving rapidly under his eyelids, obviously dreaming something that had him worked up or aroused or both. “Mulder,” she said louder, shaking him more strongly.

“Huh?!” he said loudly, snapping up straight in the bed, a look of total disorientation on his face.

“Owww, fuck!” he said, reaching for his leg, obviously hurting from his sudden movement.

“Oh, Mulder. I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean to startle you,” she apologized, grabbing at the pillows to place them behind him. “Here, lay back and try to relax… just relax.” She moved the sheet down, massaging his leg softly, trying to ease his pain.

“Oh, shit, it hurts,” he said, laying back against the pillows, closing his eyes. She got him a glass of water and his morning pain pill and lifted his head to help him drink.

“Here, take this and just try to relax. It’ll kick in in a few minutes.” He opened his eyes then, looking up to her, sitting beside him on the bed. She smiled at him, again brushing his hair back from his forehead.

“Feeling better?” she asked softly.

“Yeah, yeah… I’m fine… much better, Scully.

Really,” he said, taking hold of her hand, giving her a reassuring smile. “Man, I musta really been out of it.”

“Um, yeah. I think you were dreaming,” she said, blushing slightly, unable to look at him directly.

“I’ve got some breakfast made if you’re hungry… I’ll bring you a tray…”

“No, Scully. Just help me get up—I need to go to the bathroom, anyway,” he said, moving to sit up and reaching for his crutches. “I need to start living a normal day… I can’t stay here forever.”



Friday, six days later

They had returned from Mulder’s doctor’s appointment, his stitches had been removed several days before and he was getting about fairly well, but slowly, on his own, only using his crutches when he was out of the apartment, walking longer distances. He, no doubt, could have moved back to his own place several days before, but both of them had been silently avoiding the subject. They had developed a routine, even after Scully had gone back to work earlier in the week. She had simply taken some personal time, feeling that her reason for being off was no particular business of anyone at the FBI, figuring they assumed that it was related to the sudden death of her father. And she just let them believe that. Mulder had paid medical leave since he was injured in the line of duty and wasn’t due back until his doctor released him, so he was probably going to be off another couple of weeks before he could return, even to desk duty.

“Scully, where’s your corkscrew?” he yelled to her from the kitchen.

She stuck her head around the corner of the bedroom, finishing dressing from her shower. “Top drawer to the left of the sink… ” she called back.

Mulder had puttered around in the kitchen, getting the take-out ready for dinner, even making a salad, such as it was. He opened the wine, looking forward to drinking a bit since he was no longer taking any pain medication. Scully had gone in to work very early to get some things finished so that she would have time later in the afternoon to take him to his doctor”s appointment. She was beat, tired and stressed, Skinner having questioned her about the time she had been taking off and she sensed he was insinuating something about Mulder, but had let it drop, feeling it was better than to try to deny anything. After they had returned to her apartment, Mulder had insisted that she take a long bath, even bringing her a book and a cup of tea.

She had known things would go well at Mulder’s doctor’s appointment and then there would be no sliver of a reason why he would need to continue to stay at her apartment. And she didn’t want him to leave; she had grown used to him being there and had grown used to not being alone. That had been one of the greatest adjustments after Ethan had moved out-spending time alone in her apartment. Not that she didn’t enjoy it once in awhile, having time to herself; sometimes she even looked forward to it.

But she loved having Mulder with her, enjoyed the humor and intellect in his conversation, enjoyed having someone to care about… sleep with. But she knew tonight was it—he would have not even a flimsy excuse to stay any longer and would be moving back to his place tomorrow.

“Mulder… everything looks great,” she told him, seeing the table already set and dinner just waiting to be eaten. “Really, it’s very thoughtful. ”

“It”s just take-out, Scully, ” he said, not a person to take compliments well. They sat down to dinner, neither saying much, awkwardness in the air that they hadn”t had in the two weeks he had been at her apartment. Each of them seemed to be wanting to say something, but neither having the nerve to start the conversation each of them knew had to take place.

“Mulder… ”

“Scully… ” they said simultaneously, each of them laughing then, finding the humor in the fact that they had somehow each begun the inevitable conversation at the same time.

“I guess we both got our nerve at the same time, ” Mulder kidded, looking at her knowingly.

“Yeah… yeah,” she smiled, meeting his eyes.

“I guess I”ll head back home tomorrow. I think I”m healed, huh?” he said, the melancholy visible in his voice, his eyes.

“Yeah… I, uh… uh… all of your laundry is finished,” she said clumsily, embarrassed by her inability to talk about what she was really feeling with him.

“We can get everything packed tonight, if you want.”

“Scully, it”s okay. I”m having a hard time with this, too,” he said, his directness actually causing her to relax a bit. “I”ve gotten used to mooching off you in the last couple of weeks.”

She smiled then, looking at him, somewhat shyly.

“You haven”t been mooching off me, Mulder. If I hadn”t enjoyed every minute of it, I would”ve moved you out a week ago… and I wouldn”t be dreading tomorrow.”

“Dreading?” he said, affecting a shocked expression, teasing her.

“Well, maybe not dreading… but definitely knowing that… that, um… that I”m going to miss you, Mulder,” she said sincerely. “You know, it hasn”t been that long ago that… um, I, um… didn”t live alone. I”ve kinda gotten used to having somebody around again.”

“Oh, so that”s it,” he responded, a measure of hurt reflected in his voice.

“No. No… that”s not what I meant,” Scully said, shaking her head. “I”m not doing very well, here…” she said, almost under her breath. She looked at him, then, directly making eye contact with him before speaking again. “What I want to say is, Mulder, that I enjoyed having you here. I have enjoyed spending time with you, having someone around to fuss over, someone else to think about besides myself, someone to come home to…”

“Thanks, Scully. I know I have been a burden, but you have never made me feel like one and I appreciate that. Really, you have no idea,” he finished, reaching across the table to lay his hand on hers. She returned his grasp, smiling quietly at him, not knowing what to do next. “I hope you know that had things been reversed, I would”ve done the same for you.”

“I do know that, Mulder… as surely as I”m sitting here. And you have no idea how much that means to me,” she said, giving his hand a confirming squeeze.

“Come on,” she said standing, pushing her chair away from the table. “You go on into the living room and find something ACCEPTABLE to watch and I”ll be in in a few minutes, okay?”

He stood, moving up behind her as she stood at the sink, rinsing their dishes for the dishwasher. He put his arms around her, laying his chin on top of her head, moving to kiss her temple, then whispering in her ear, “Thank you, Scully.”



The next day, 1:12pm

They had had a nice, relaxed evening, Mulder finding “The Birds” showing on AMC and Scully figuring it might be one of the few movies that they both would like. He had laid on the couch, his head on a pillow on her lap, her feet on the coffee table. They were watching in the dark, Mulder”s idea of the only way to watch “The Birds”. When the movie had ended, he looked up at her, his eyes and expression saying so much, the look she returned saying as much. He reached up, stroking his fingers along her cheek, giving her a small smile that she somehow couldn”t resist and bent to kiss him, lightly on the lips.

She pulled back suddenly, like she had been shocked, afraid she had made a mistake. He pulled her down for another kiss, smiling at her after, telling her quietly, “I think I”d better sleep on the couch tonight.” And that was the way the evening had ended.

They had gathered his things after breakfast, and Scully had loaded everything in her car. Mulder joked, telling her he could get used to her waiting on him, but really feeling quite terrible at not being of much help. When they had arrived at his apartment, she had left him for a while to go shopping for a few things for his refrigerator so that he would have at least a few things that were less than a month old. Finally, she had figured he was set and she probably needed to get going. “I guess I better go, Mulder. I think you”re set, here,” she said, picking up her jacket from the back of the chair.

“Scully, sit down a minute. I need to say a couple of things,” he said, looking at her, patting the sofa beside him.

She slipped her jacket on, maybe as security to let him know that she was indeed leaving, and sat down beside him on the sofa.


“Mulder, look, I think I know what you are going to say and it”s okay. Really. I understand. We were both caught up in the moment last night and we can just chalk it up to that and forget it if you want to. I won”t hold it against you,” she said, staring at some unknown spot on the floor. “We have to work together… and I don”t want to ruin that.”

“If that is what you thought I was going to say, you may not be as perceptive as I thought you were,” he laughed. “I was just going to say that, well… I owe you one, you know? And I just wanted to pay you back, well, in some small way. How about tomorrow night? There”s an “Ed Wood” marathon at the Esquire…” he asked hopefully.

“Mulder, I would really enjoy that… But I”ve already made plans for tomorrow night,” she said softly.

“Another date?” he joked with her, but fearing it was actually true.

“Actually, yes— with my mother,” she kidded, sensing his apprehension. “We”ve made plans for the day and she needs my company right now. But I”ll call you when I get home tomorrow and maybe we could rent one of Ed”s classics sometime next week, if that”s okay?” she asked as she stood from the couch. He started to stand as well, struggling to get to his feet as she reached to help him. He walked her to the door, both of them childishly nervous about how to finally say good-bye. She stopped when she got to the door, opening it before turning to look up at him. “I”ll call later, Mulder—make sure everything is okay…”

“I”ll be fine, Scully. I”m not helpless anymore—at least no more helpless than I”ve ever been,” he said, touching her shoulder, rubbing her shoulder lightly.

He looked at her intently, his gaze so intense that she found it almost unsettling. Holding on to her shoulder, he bent to give her what he meant to be a light kiss, but which became much deeper when she reached her hand behind his neck and held him close, kissing him harder. She pulled away then, smiling at him before exiting, closing the door behind her as he stood there still in a state of shock.



Sunday, 1:12pm

Scully and her mother had gone to Mass in Arlington and had each lit a candle for Scully”s father. Her mother had good days and bad days, as did Scully, but Sunday generally seemed to be a good day for her mother; maybe it was Mass, she didn”t really know.

Scully had driven them to a favorite restaurant, not far from the Hoover building, and they were seated in the atrium, enjoying the view of the Potomac.

“Mulder and I like to eat lunch here every now and then, when we have the time,” Scully said to her mother, continuing to peruse the menu. “The raspberry and havarti salad is good, Mom.”

“Is that what you and your new partner order?” her mother teased, Scully getting her inference.

“No…, Mom. That”s what I order— Mulder orders whatever he can find that is highest in calories and cholesterol,” Scully answered.

“Oh, really… So what else can you tell me about Fox, Dana?” her mother smiled at her.

Scully finally looked up from her menu, glaring at her mother, before speaking. “Why don”t you just say what”s on your mind, Mom.” But before her mother could speak, the waiter arrived at their table and delivered their drinks and took their order. Scully hoped that her mother”s train of thought had been broken and that she wouldn”t continue to rib her about Mulder. She didn”t want to lie to her mother, but she really didn”t want to answer any questions about him… Hell, she wasn”t sure she would know the answers.

“So work is good, Dana?” she started.

“Yes, Mom. Work is good.”

“I don”t know why you are being so evasive, Dana. I can see that you are enamored with Fox…”

“Mom, please,” Scully said. “Please…” the emotion behind this line of conversation finally apparent to her mother.

“Dana?” she said, moving her head to force Scully to meet her gaze. “What”s going on with you?”

“Mom, please don”t ask me any more questions. I”m having a hard enough time with this as it is…” she replied, taking a drink of her coffee.

“What do you mean, “with this”? Dana…” her mother said, almost a gasp. “You are in love with this man,“she said, a surprised statement,not a question.

“No, Mom. No,” Scully said, unable to formulate any more words to reply.

“Dana, I didn”t just fall off the turnip truck, you know. I know what it”s like to be where you are and I can see how you feel,” she said softly. “You”re in love with him…”

“Mom, I can”t be. Don”t you understand? I can”t be!” she said, glancing at her mother before laying her forehead in her hand. “He”s my partner.”

“Don”t let your work interfere with you personal life this time, Dana. True love only comes around once in your life. I knew that you and Ethan were not meant to be together forever. I could see it.

But, Dana, I can see what you are feeling for Fox in everything about you… I”ve noticed it every time you speak about him,” she said, noticing her daughter fighting back tears. “Please, honey, don”t let this pass you by for some noble reason.

Don”t ever count on tomorrow… things can be over in an instant.”


Three weeks later

Mulder had returned to work, desk duty, the previous week and was annoyingly antsy to get out in the field on a case again. That next week after he had moved back to his apartment, he had taken her out to dinner and to a play about the “Brady Bunch” that she thought was kind of funny, in a dorky kind of way.

They had kissed a couple of more times, but he had seemed distant, almost as if he was having second thoughts or trying to slowly pull away from her.

Only Mulder could”ve come up with their next case.

He had actually wanted her to believe that there was a group of backwoods Amish-types from outer space who were able to change from one sex to another to use pheromones to kill their sex partners. The funny thing was, by the end of the case, she wasn”t so sure that he was wrong.

Anyway, after they returned from their weird experience in Maine, they had been assigned a case that she would never forget because it almost spelled their end. She had been called off the X-files at the request of an agent in charge of a big case the FBI had been working on for some time and were pulling out all of the stops to solve. She knew that Agent Jack Willis had been a major part of the case, but was surprised to learn that he had specifically requested her.

The case had begun catastrophically, Willis having been shot in the process of catching the suspect, this being witnessed by Scully before she shot the suspect. She had felt guilty about the whole thing, feeling she should have reacted more quickly, shooting the suspect before he had a chance to level his gun at Willis. Mulder had heard about the shooting, knowing Scully was working the case and initially only hearing that an agent had been shot and seriously wounded. He had frantically located the Baltimore hospital where the victims were taken, bursting through the ER doors to find Scully standing at the nurse”s station talking with a couple of doctors. He stopped dead in his tracks, feeling a relief that almost took his breath.

“Scully…” he said as he walked up beside her.

“Mulder? What are you doing here?”

“I heard that an agent was shot on the Dupre case and I thought…” She took hold of Mulder”s elbow to move away from the others, excusing herself to the two men she had been speaking to.

“Mulder, I”m fine. I”m fine,” she said, a slight tone of irritation evident in her voice. “Why didn”t you just call my cell?”

“I did—about fifteen times and there was no answer,” he told her, his irritation with her attitude starting to show also.

“I”m sorry. I forgot I had it turned off. I was helping in ER. It was Willis who was shot, Mulder. He coded but we were able to revive him,” she said tiredly as she led him into a private conference room just off the ER waiting area. She collapsed into the closest chair, laying her head back against the wall as she sighed a sigh of exhaustion.

“You okay, Scully?” Mulder asked softly as he sat down beside her.

“Oh, Mulder… it was awful… just awful,” she said, struggling not to let her emotions show in her voice.

“Tell me,” he said,touching her arm as he watched her.

“We had “im, Mulder. Dupre looked like he was going to surrender his weapon and then he just pulled it up and shot Jack, square in the chest,” she said, finally looking at him.

“What about Dupre? Did you get him?”

“Yeah. He”s dead… He died in the ambulance, she said, side-stepping the subject of exactly how he died.

“It was you, wasn’t it, Scully,” Mulder asked quietly. “It was you who shot him.”

She hesitated for a moment before answering, her mind unable to work quickly enough to process everything her answer meant.

“Yes,” she answered simply, looking at her worrying hands in her lap. “If I had reacted a couple of seconds earlier, not let my guard down when Dupre looked like he was going to surrender, Jack wouldn”t be lying in there within a heartbeat of his life right now.”

“Come on, Scully. If you hadn”t reacted soon enough, you might be lying in there right along side of him. I”m sure it was a good shoot,” he said, standing, offering his hand. “You”re a good agent, Scully. If Willis got shot with you covering his back, then it couldn”t have been avoided. That I”m sure of, Scully…” She looked at him, then, giving him a slight smile that he recognized as her way of thanking him for his steadfast support of her.

“Mulder, let me just check on Jack, okay?” she asked resignedly as she stood.

“Sure, Scully. Take as long as you need.”

“I won”t be long, Mulder. I just want to go home…”



Two days later

After they had left the hospital, Mulder had taken her home and made sure she was settled in bed. He had volunteered to stay, but she told him she needed to be alone, that she would see him the next day. He had relented, gave thought to staying on her couch, but decided that he wanted to check on a few things about the case before seeing her again and left her to sleep.

By the time Scully had arrived in the office late in the morning the next day, Jack Willis had already left the hospital and was nowhere to be found and Mulder had already gathered enough evidence to postulate a theory that Warren Dupre was not exactly dead and had inhabited Jack Willis” body. Mulder had talked her into meeting with a professor of biology who had done extensive research on near-death experiences but she was still more convinced that Willis” miraculous recovery and disappearance from the hospital was more related to psychology than the supernatural.

“I don”t discount the near-death experience because it can be explained empirically by stimulation of the temporal lobe,” she said to Mulder as they exited the professor”s office.

“I sense a big “but” coming,” Mulder said, fully expecting her skepticism.

“Well, it”s still my best guess that Jack”s disappearance could be explained in psychological, not supernatural, terms.”

“For instance?” Mulder asked, curious about what she was getting at.

“The stress of the case; the trauma of being shot;” she said, looking toward Mulder before continuing. “Jack”s personality…”

“How well do you know ‘im?” Mulder asked looking at her as they continued to walk.

Scully took a deep breath before answering, figuring she might as well come clean about this whole thing with Mulder. “We dated…” she said as she exhaled the breath she was still holding. “…for almost a year.”

Her admission caused Mulder to stop walking, a look of “now I get it” finally appearing on his face. She stopped and looked up into his eyes, wanting to see his reaction and wanting him to know she was telling him something no one else knew. “He was my instructor at the academy,” she finished, deciding to walk away from him.

“The plot thickens,” Mulder called after her, a facetious grin beginning to form on his face.

Scully continued to walk away, but stopped, deciding she wanted him to know something about her past, about her. She turned back toward him, moving closer to speak to him, both of them oblivious to the students walking around them in the halls of the building. She smiled, hoping Mulder would begin to understand why the shooting had been emotional for her. “We even had the same birthday. We used to celebrate it in some dive in Stafford that had a slanted pool table.” Mulder tried to smile at her reminiscence, but was feeling that Scully might have some unresolved issues with this man. “But it was always so hard for Jack to… relax— it was impossible for him, really. He was always so… intense, so relentlessly determined…” she finished, looking at Mulder sincerely.

“Do you believe that he is predisposed to this type of psychotic episode?” Mulder asked, keeping his voice calm despite his inner anxiety.

“I believe it”s a long way from saying Jack had a near-death experience to saying his body”s been inhabited by Warren Dupre,” she said, turning to walk away from Mulder, wanting to get back to the case to try and find any clues that might lead them to locating Jack. She turned back to look at Mulder, coyly smiling her answer to him before descending the stairs to the exit. “… A long way…”



Four days later


The case went from bad to worse, all within the span of a day. Willis had been located, his disappearance and the circumstances surrounding it seemingly not even slightly unsettling to Scully, but seeming highly suspicious to Mulder. He could see with both eyes that Scully still had some kind of feelings for this man and he felt it was affecting her judgment.

He had told her so, but she had just become angry at him, so he let it drop… and it had very nearly cost her her life. Willis/Dupre had kidnapped Scully, nearly gotten her killed all the while managing to get himself killed— again. Mulder had busted his balls to locate where she was being held and his relief and excitement at finding her alive was only met with indifference by her, her concern being aimed toward Willis” condition instead of at seeing Mulder.

Mulder had gone to the hospital with her, the agent in charge ordering her to be checked out before being released to go home. Mulder had called Scully”s mother and left soon after she had arrived, not wanting to even see Scully, much less speak to her.

And that was the way it had been for almost three days…

Scully had been left to take care of Willis” personal effects, planning his service and she had several other issues to take care of before it was all said and done. Mulder had only talked with her briefly at the service, feeling sorry for her after seeing her obvious discomfort as being viewed as Willis” most significant other. He could see that she didn”t want this role, but had gone along with having it placed in her lap because that was who she was. She knew Willis had no one else and felt some obligation to follow through with everything.

After Mulder had arrived home after attending the afternoon service, he had called Scully”s cell to check on her with intentions of meeting her at her apartment with dinner. Willis had been a “Big Brother” to a boy that Scully had taken to the service and Mulder reached her in her car as she was driving the boy home. “It”ll be a couple of hours before I get home, Mulder,” she said, looking toward the sleeping 8-year-old next to her.

“I could bring some dinner by, Scully… Say… 7:30 or so?”

She thought only an instant before answering, her desire to not have to make dinner and not wanting to be alone both distant seconds to needing to see Mulder. “That sounds good, Mulder. I”m really not in the mood to worry about getting something,” she said. She was tired, physically and emotionally.

She hadn”t had time to really recuperate from her abduction or the strange feelings she had had about everything surrounding Jack. She hadn”t had feelings for him anymore. Their split had been difficult as he would not let her go easily after she broke it off. He had tried to coax her into seeing him again, on several occasions, and had arrived at her apartment uninvited late one night after having had too much to drink. It had gotten ugly and what could have been a fairly friendly split had turned into a bad situation, with him saying some cruel things to her. But after she and Ethan had begun dating seriously, he had backed off, things being generally civil between them when their paths occasionally crossed at work.

“Hi… come on in,” she said, smiling to him as she opened the door to her apartment. “Mmm… Chinese,” she said, the smell immediately permeating the apartment.

“Yeah, I hope that”s alright,” Mulder said, placing the food on the counter in her kitchen before removing his jacket. “I wasn”t sure what you”d be up for… so… uh…” Mulder trailed off, unsure of what to even say to her, his nervousness obvious.

Scully walked up to him, touching his arm before speaking. “Mulder, I”m fine… we”re fine… okay?” the expression on her face questioning and reassuring at the same time. He nodded, smiled a strained smile, still feeling uncomfortable at being alone with her for the first time in weeks. “Come here,” she said as she held her arms out for him. He hung his jacket over the chair and walked toward her. She wrapped her arms around his waist, laying her head against his chest before speaking. “Thank you.”

“For what, Scully?” he asked quietly, returning her embrace, rubbing her back lightly.

“For the first step,” she said, stepping away from him to look at him.

“You”ve lost me there, Scully,” Mulder replied, truly unsure of what she meant.

“Mulder…” she began, now looking at an unknown spot on the floor. “Lately our friendship doesn”t seem to have been what it once seemed to be and… and, quite frankly, I, uh, I”ve missed you. I appreciate you coming here tonight… with dinner.”

“Yeah, I guess it”s kind of a peace offering… such as it is,” he smiled.

“Well, it”s just what I needed. Really… Anyway, thanks,” she finished, moving to him to give him a light kiss on the lips. “Thanks… Let”s eat-I”m starved,” she said, quickly moving away from him, unsure how he felt about her action. He stood there fairly stunned for a moment, just watching her move around her kitchen, getting out the necessary things for dinner and setting them on the table.

They had a nice dinner with stimulating conversation, something she realized she had missed dearly. They hadn”t mentioned the Dupre case or Jack Willis, barely even talking about work. They sat at the dinner table for a long time, enjoying desert and coffee. They had moved to the couch after they washed dishes together and opened the wine Mulder had brought with the take-out. Funny stories had been exchanged as well as embarrassing college stories, academy nightmares, before the conversation got more personal, talking about family… and former lovers. “Mulder, you can ask me about Jack. I told you I”m okay and I am. Really.”

“Scully, if you want to talk about Jack or the case, then I”m here to listen. If you don”t, then I”m just here. It”s your call,” he said quietly, wanting her to do what she needed, not face questions just because he wanted to know the answers.

“As I told you, Jack and I dated for a little over a year,” she started, her tone softening as she began.

“He was my instructor in an evidence course and had asked me out before the course had ended. At first it pissed me off that he would do that, but I guess my irritation was obvious and he apologized. I sincerely think he didn”t really think about me being his student, so I ended up apologizing and asking him out.” She shifted on the couch, her discomfort obvious to Mulder, but he didn”t say anything, just letting her continue.

“It got serious quickly… Jack was very intense—and possessive. Or, at least, he grew to be that way,” she said, looking at Mulder then, a sad regret obvious in her eyes. “It was difficult to break it off with him. He just wouldn”t let it go. I don”t think he loved me that much, I think it was all a matter of control. Had he ended it first, he probably wouldn”t have had much of a problem,” a slight laugh to her voice. “But since I ended it, I just think he couldn”t stand it— didn”t want anyone around the Bureau to find out he”d been dumped, let alone by a fellow agent.” She smiled at him then, taking his hand before finishing.

“I won”t deny that we had a lot of good times in a lot of ways… and working with Jack again stirred some unexpected feelings, but by the end, it became clear again why Jack was not someone I wanted to be with. I just wish it had ended differently, that”s all. I certainly didn”t wish him harm… I hope he finds some peace…” she finished, her voice faltering a bit.

Mulder moved closer to her, putting his arm behind her on the back of the couch.

“Scully, wherever Willis is, I”m sure he knows that. I think you must have been one of the few friends the guy had. He obviously felt so and you should be proud of that,” Mulder said softly to her, rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb. “You were obviously the only one he trusted,” Mulder noted, Scully smiling before leaning her head on his shoulder.

“I never really thought of it that way, but in some weird sense, I guess you”re right. It”s sad really.

If I”m the person he felt closest to, then he was a very lonely man…” her voiced trailed off, Mulder recognizing that she was finished with this chapter of her life. And knowing Scully, that would be the end of that; the topic would probably never cross her lips again. When she was done with something, she put it behind her and moved on… a trait he wished he had only a portion of.

They sat together silently for several minutes, Mulder continuing to rub Scully”s hand, fondling her fingers. Finally, he lifted her chin, smiling slightly at her before dipping his head to kiss her softly, moving his hand to caress her cheek as he did. She returned the kiss just as softly, moving her hand to hold his wrist as he continued to caress her. The kiss intensified and Mulder put his arms around her, lifting her fully into his lap. At that, she interrupted the kiss, moving to wrap her arms around his neck, holding him as close to her as she possibly could. She felt his stubble against her face, but relishing the feeling as she nuzzled his neck. “Mulder…” she whispered, more of a sigh.

He didn”t answer for awhile, just continued to hold her, rubbing her back, then over her bottom, down her leg. “What, Scully?” he asked softly.

“What are we doing, Mulder?” she said, kissing his neck, her hand slowing running through his hair.

“We”re making out on your couch,” he answered, returning kisses to her neck, near her shoulder.

“You know what I mean…”

He did know what she meant—he just didn”t know the answer. He moved back from her, placing his hands at her waist to move her so that he could look in her eyes. “What do you want to do, Scully? As I said earlier, it”s your call…”

She gave him a slight smile, brushing a stray strand of hair from his forehead before giving him another soft kiss. “Whatever it is that we are doing, I think we had better stop while we still can.”

“Is that what you want to do—stop?” he asked, a sad resonance of defeat clear in his voice.

“No, it isn”t what I want to do, but I think it”s what we”d better do…” she said, laying her head back against his shoulder.

“Then why, Scully? Why stop?” he asked softly. “You know this is where we”ve been going since the day we met.”

Suddenly, she jerked up, staring at him with an incredulous look on her face. “What did you say?” she asked, almost whispering.

“I think you heard me…” he said, the defeat still present in his voice.

“Since the day we met?” she asked, still not quite believing what she had heard.

“Well…, maybe that first day in Bellefleur, thenat least for me. I”ve never had anyone take me seriously before, Scully. At least not about anything surrounding my sister…” he finished.

She could feel his sadness, his sincerity; could see it in his eyes. She smiled, again putting her arms around him, holding him as tight as she could before whispering in his ear. “And here I thought it was seeing me in my underwear…” They both snickered, again pulling apart to look at each other before kissing again— softly, at first, then intensifying quickly.

“Scully…?” he said, kissing her neck, under her chin.

“Yeah?” she answered, almost panting.

“I”d rather see you out of your underwear…” he said, moving one of his hands under her sweater to feel her skin.

“You would, huh?” she said, barely managing more than a mumble, continuing to kiss and nuzzle him.

Mulder started undoing the buttons at the bottom of her cardigan, shifting slightly as his jeans became a bit more snug.

“Mmmm… yeah, I would…” he whispered, continuing to unbutton her top as he kissed the area of her chest already exposed by the v-neck of her sweater.

“Then what”s stopping you?” she said coyly to him.



Mulder scooted to the edge of the couch, and then stood, lifting Scully easily with him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, laying her head on his shoulder as they walked to her bedroom, both knowing that their lives were about to change forever. She had known, too, that Mulder was ‘the one’ for a long time. Maybe not since she had first met him, but most certainly by the time her father had died. She knew when she needed to be with him more than she needed her family’s support then that he would somehow be in her life forever. And she hoped it would be like this.

Scully kissed his neck, touched his cheek to turn his head toward her to kiss his lips. He returned her kisses as they made their way into the bedroom, Mulder stumbling into the dresser causing a laugh that eased some of their nervousness. When he reached the edge of the bed, he laid her down on the comforter, her head falling gently against the pillow. He felt like his breath was being sucked from his lungs, seeing her laying there, her sweater half open, her auburn hair splayed against the taupe pillow case.

And it was him that she wanted. Scully held on to his hand as he moved over her, bending to kiss her as she reached to pull him down closer, to feel him on top of her. He moved off of her to his side, bringing her with him while they continued to kiss, caress each other, before looking at each other for reassurance that they were doing the right thing… and finding it in each others’ eyes.

“Scully, are you sure this is what you want?” he asked, working on the remaining buttons of her sweater, barely able to look at her after her sweater fell open and he saw the tops of her breasts over her black lace bra.

“God, Scully…” She watched him look at her, feeling overwhelmed by his obvious awe of her and barely able to handle it at that moment. She moved closer to him, embracing him, then kissing him deeply, contemplating what he had asked her, what she knew was going to happen.

“Mulder… tell me what you want,” she told him as she held him to her, her hand under his sweater, stroking his back softly.

“You. Plain and simple, Scully,” he said, the emotion catching in his voice. He reached for her arms, grasping her hands in his as they faced each other, their eyes finally meeting.

“But we both know this will change everything… and working with you, being with you these last months has been… well, I… don’t want that to change.”

“Mulder, it will change—you know that,” Scully said, sadness to her voice as a realization seemed to overcome her. She sat up, moving away from him, sitting up, shifting her legs off the bed to sit on the edge. “If you didn’t want to do this, Mulder, why didn’t you say so before you had me in bed, half-undressed?” she finished, as she held her sweater closed to cover herself. She wiped the tears that came so quickly, not wanting him to notice her tears.

Mulder moved quickly to sit next to her, putting his arm around her shoulders.

“Scully, no. No. That’s not what I meant at all. I, I just wanted to give you one last opportunity to change your mind,” he said, reaching for her hand that had been worrying in her lap. “Scully, you actually wanting me just seems… well, I just needed to make sure that you are in your right mind, I guess, before we… well, you know, did something we couldn’t take back.”

Scully let her head drop and laughed, actually laughed out loud before turning to look at him again. “Mulder, why is it so hard for you to believe that I would care for you the way you care about me?” she said, moving over him to straddle his lap, putting her arms around him. “You know I think you’re intelligent, brilliant actually,” she said between kisses to his neck, his jaw line. “You’re funny… most of the time, anyway.” His hands weren’t still as he rubbed her back under her sweater, then grasped it to remove it. She moved her arms from around him to let her top open and fall to the floor, never stopping her kisses to his neck, his face, finally embracing him again before kissing him deeply on the lips. “And you’re a reallllly good kisser,” she smiled, reaching for the bottom of his sweater to remove it. “And… I think that if you don’t get me in that bed with you, I’ll spontaneously combust…”

They had removed their clothes with a little help from each other and Mulder had turned back the covers and crawled into bed while Scully had gone to the bathroom. When she had gotten in bed, he had immediately moved over her, nuzzling her neck, nervously stroking her stomach with his palm.

“Scully, do you need me to use some protection? I mean, I know I’m clean, but if you…”

“I’m on the pill, Mulder; everything’s okay with me, too,” she said softly, her voice sounding almost like a pant as he continued to kiss and nuzzle her. He was kneading one breast while he was kissing and licking the other before taking her nipple in his mouth to suck it.

“Jesus, Mulder…” she sighed, causing him to smile. He moved up to look at her, propping himself up on his elbows over her, continuing to smile at her. “What is it you find so amusing, Mulder?” she asked, smiling slightly in spite of herself.

“Nothing…, nothing. I’m just really, really happy right now, Scully,” he said, and then kissed her— hard, passionately.

They continued to kiss; he continued to massage her breast as he laid half over her, his hardness pressing into her thigh. She ran her hands up and down his back, over his bottom, the light touch of her fingernails making him shudder. She moved more underneath him, opening her legs to him as he moved between them, holding himself up above her with his elbows. He looked at her, able to see her expression by the slight light coming from around the ajar bathroom door.

“You are so beautiful, Scully,” he said into her lips before kissing her again. “I want you so much.”

“Me too, Mulder,” she responded softly, rubbing her foot against the back of his calf, moving under him as she continued to stroke his back and kiss his neck, under his chin. She felt his hand move away from her cheek as he reached for himself, finding her opening with the tip of his penis before slowly entering her. “Mmmmm, Mulder…” she sighed.

“God, Scully…” he said, his voice deep with arousal.

“You feel so good.” He began to move inside her, feeling her hardened nipples rub against his chest, her fingers tightening against his back. The feeling of her moving under him, responding to what they were doing was awe-inspiring, his feeling of love for her increasing with every move, beyond what he ever thought he was capable of.

“Oh, Mulder…” she said, unaware that she had even formulated a word amidst her sighs. She bent her knees further, moving her legs over the backs of his thighs, then up over his bottom, opening herself further to him. “Oh, God…” she said aloud, the change in position causing his friction to hit her in just the right place. “Oh, Godright there, Mulder… Right there.” She could feel the pressure escalating, her abdominal muscles beginning to tighten, knowing she was so close. “Don’t stopohhhhhh…” she finished as her orgasm hit, causing her body to shudder harder than she had ever known was possible.

Her body jerked again every time he stroked into her, to the point that it was almost embarrassing, painful. “Mulder… could you… stop a second… please…” she was able to say to him between pants.

“Scully… everything okay?” he asked her, his breaths as labored as hers by that point. He was balanced on his elbows, looking down at her, rendered speechless by the sight he saw, the ecstasy on her face beyond beautiful.

“It’s just…” she stammered. “Too much… I… need to move, um, position a bit for you to finish, Mulder. It’s just too much this way,” she finished, shifting slightly underneath him, finally looking at him, giving him a slight smile before lifting her head to kiss him.

“Better, now?” he asked, returning her smile.

“Yeah… Every woman should have this problem,” she joked softly.

“What’s that?” he asked, beginning to move within her again slowly.

“Feeling too good…” she answered, closing her eyes, the feeling of him moving in her just as good, but in a different way; a way that felt wonderful, but a way she knew would not bring her to another orgasm.

She knew she couldn’t do that again, physically or emotionally, not now. Even when he began to move faster, harder, she could just enjoy it and enjoy moving to help bring him the pleasure he had brought her.

“Scuuullly,” he groaned, his voice betraying that he was close. “God, I love you,” he said as he climaxed, emptying into her with several hard thrusts, his body as erratic as his thoughts at that moment. “Scully,” he sighed as he collapsed onto her, trying in vain to stay up on his elbows, his face buried next to hers in her hair splayed against the pillow. He rolled to his side, holding her tight to take her with him.

Scully held onto him, her leg wrapped around his waist, her arms around his neck as their lips touched, not really kissing, just breathing in each other’s breath, each other’s life. “Mulder,” was all she could say, finally kissing him, his lips, his face, snuggling closer to him, trying to wrap him up in her arms. She felt like she couldn’t get enough of him, her body feeling like it was glowing, vibrating. “God, Mulder…” she whispered. “I have never experienced anything like that in my life—not even close…”

Mulder’s breathing had finally slowed and his thoughts finally focusing so that he realized where he was and what had happened. He wrapped his arms and legs around her, too, holding her tightly against him as they continued to lie on their sides facing each other.

“Jesus, Scully…” he said softly to her, rubbing her back, grasping her knee to pull her leg further around his waist. He could feel their fluids on her, now on him, closing his eyes to take a deep breath to settle the overwhelming feelings that were swirling in him.

They lay in each other’s arms, not saying anything, just caressing each other, stroking each other’s body, kissing… Finally, she broke the silence, looking at him, smiling to him. “You gonna be alright, Mulder?” she said, a slight tease to her voice.

“Scully, it wasn’t just something I said in the throes of passion when I told you I love you, you know,” he said out of the blue, his tone and expression very serious.

Scully smiled at him in spite of his absolute seriousness, placing her palm against his cheek, rubbing his face with her thumb. “I know that, Mulder. I know…” she said softly, kissing him then, drawing back and smiling at him again.

“I also know that I love you.” He smiled then and kissed her, softly but for a long time, not moving his lips from hers for several minutes except for a few needed breaths.

His tongue stroked hers, traced her lips between kisses.

She returned his actions, sucking his bottom lip between kisses, nuzzling against his face, his neck. His hands didn’t stop moving either, rubbing her back before reaching her bottom and squeezing after which he felt her nipples harden against his chest.

“Mmmmm… Scully… I never want to let go of you…” he said, holding her to him as he rolled to his back, holding her to him. She laid half over him, her leg between his, her head on his chest, rubbing her hand lightly over the spattering of hair on his chest. They stayed like that for a long time, Mulder having covered them with the quilt to take the chill away. She dozed off and on, but, as usual, Mulder didn’t.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked after she stirred and noticed him staring at the ceiling, idly stroking her back, her shoulders.

“You,” he said, looking at her. “You are absolutely beautiful, Scully. You do know that, don’t you?”

“If you think I am, then that’s enough. I only care if you think so, Mulder. You know those kinds of things aren’t all that important to me,” she responded, truly meaning what she said. He smiled at her, reaching both arms around her to hug her, kissing the top of her head as she held him, too.

“What’s next, Scully?” he asked, later as they continued to lie in bed enjoying the touch of each other’s body.

“Well, I’m going to go to the bathroom and then we’re going to sleep and—”

“No, I mean what’s next for us?” he asked, knowing that she had understood his question the first time.

Scully moved up, propped herself across his chest on her arms, looking into his eyes. “Mulder, we will take this one day at a time. We’ll be fine, okay?” she said, pleading with her eyes for him not to over analyze things.

“Let’s just enjoy this for a while.”

“That I can do,” he said, rolling her to her back, moving over her, both knowing they were not going to get much sleep.



Two weeks later, 8:05pm

They had been together six times since their first, Mulder had kept count. But then work had gotten rough and they had been a bit tense with each other the last several days since their case in Pennsylvania. A guy Mulder had been instrumental in sending to prison had somehow re-appeared and was systematically killing off those close to him.

Mulder had become overly protective of Scully and she resented it, telling him so and, instead, using herself as bait to draw the suspect out. It had ended well; Scully was only banged up a bit and they got their killer without him getting to anyone else. But one of Mulder’s good friends had been killed and he had been distant, dealing with his grief alone, not letting her in.

Their next case had been more up Mulder’s alley, UFO’s and all the trimmings, and his mood had been better and his interest high. They had found that their office had been bugged and her paranoia was more heightened than his, if that was possible. “Mulder, this photograph is a fake,” she said bluntly after closely examining the photograph his ‘deep background’ had given him.

“What?” Mulder asked, almost in disgust.

“Look…” she instructed him, pointing out all of the areas of the picture that didn’t jibe, that she felt his contact had obviously altered.

He had presented arguments for all her points and she was getting nowhere. “Mulder, we should have it analyzed.”

He stood from his chair next to her at her kitchen table, his anger very apparent in his voice.

“Why don’t you just admit it, Scully? You’re determined not to believe him!”

“Well maybe you’re too determined to believe him!” she said looking up at him standing over her.

“I am determined to follow a lead that may result in the proof of the existence of extraterrestrial biological entities!” he said as he gathered the picture and the rest of his papers from her kitchen table. “I need to go.”

“Mulder, listen to me…” she said, quieting her tone.

“No,” he answered, walking away from her toward the door.

“Please… Will you just hear me?” she said, standing, leaning over the table to plead with him. Resignedly, he turned to face her, giving her a patronizing look as he pretended to listen. “I have never met anyone so passionate and dedicated to a belief as you… It’s so intense that sometimes it’s blinding.” He relaxed a bit, realizing she was just looking out for him, fearing that someone was misleading him. “But there are others who are watching you, who know what I know and wh…” she said, needing to take a breath before finishing, choosing her words carefully.

“Whereas I can admire and respect your passion… they will use it against you.”

He nodded, knowing she was right.

“Mulder, the truth is out there, but so are lies.”

“Thank-you,” he said softly, looking at her intently, his eyes trying to apologize for his earlier anger at her.

Mulder had left her apartment then, needing to cool off, intending to spend the night in his own apartment as he had since the completion of their last case. They weren’t together every night or even with any regularity yet; their nights together still being something uncommon and special.

Scully had taken a long bath to relax, her tension from their argument lessening as she soaked. She had gone to bed shortly after, knowing they would be headed to who knows where by this time tomorrow. She had just turned out the light after reading a bit to make her sleepy when she heard his key in the lock of the front door of her apartment.

“Scully, it’s me,” he called from the living room. “I, uh, wanted to apologize…” he said as he entered her bedroom. “I didn’t want to leave things the way I left them earlier.”

She sat up, leaning back against the headboard when he sat next to her on the edge of the bed. “You were right. I took the picture over to the night guys at the lab. Hopefully, they should be able to tell us something by morning.”

“Thank-you, Mulder. I hope you know that I don’t question you because I don’t trust you. It’s everybody else I don’t trust,” she said, smiling at him.

“God, I’m starting to sound like you.” They both laughed and he leaned in to her to kiss her, which she returned.

“We okay?” he asked softly, holding her hand. Scully smiled at him, putting her other and on top of their joined fingers.

“We’re okay,” she said, moving to kiss him lightly.

“Well, I guess I’ll go… We’ll probably be heading out of town tomorrow. So… uh, I’ll call when I hear something…” he stammered.

“Mulder…?” she asked softly.


“You have your clothes and luggage already in your car,don’t you?” she said coyly, still holding his hand in both of hers.


“Then, you’ve got everything you need for work tomorrow, don’t you?” she continued, smiling at him then.


“Then go get what you need from your car and be in this bed in five minutes,” she said, arousal already apparent in her voice.

“Yeah!” he said, running from the room like a kid on his way to the candy store with a full pocket of change. She laughed, enjoying his silliness and needing the release.




One month later

Things had been going well between them, both personally and professionally. Mulder had narrowly missed finding his ‘EBE’ and his enthusiasm for continuing his search was renewed after their cross-country trek to the state of Washington. Consequently, he had been in a fun mood for their next case; a case of a faith-healing teenager in Tennessee. The boy’s life had been a tragedy, but Mulder was none-the-less at his wisecracking best. Scully had reserved two rooms at a nice Memphis hotel, much better than Mulder’s usual fair, and they hadn’t once opened the door to the second room. They hadn’t slept together on a case up until that point, but knew they would probably never sleep apart on another one.

A strange case in Montana hadn’t taken very long and had fairly much just proven to be cold and wet. They were both eager to get back to Washington and civilization and hoped they might have some time at home before another case would come along. But the next day back, she knew better when she entered the basement office and found him reviewing slides.

“Take a good look, Scully,” he said, showing her a slide of a large group of flannel-clad loggers projected against his handy screen.

“What am I looking at?” she inquired.

“Thirty loggers working a clear-cutting contract in Washington State— rugged manly men in the full bloom of their manhood,” he retorted, his good mood still present.

“Right, but what am I looking FOR?” she said, playing along with his little game.

“Anything strange…, unexplainable…, unlikely…, a boyfriend?” he teased.

“I don’t know…, I give up, Mulder,” she said, smiling at his joke.

“You give up? Funny, that’s apparently what the Federal Forest Service has done as well.”

“Why, what happened to them?” she asked, her curiosity peaked despite herself.

“In a word— they vanished…” he said flatly, finally turning away from the screen and looking at her. “Or so it would appear.”

He explained the specifics of the case, the problems with eco-terrorists, and the claims about the logging companies.

“It appears as if these ‘monkey wrenchers’ are doing more than just a little mischief making,” Scully noted.

“That’s what the lumber company and the Federal Forest Service are accusing. They’ve asked the FBI to investigate. I had to pull a few strings to make sure we got the case,” he finished.

“For an eco-terrorism case?” Scully asked skeptically. “Do I dare ask why?”

Mulder flipped up another slide; this one very similar to the one he had just shown her, but very obviously taken decades earlier. Mulder explained that this exact same scenario could be assigned to a situation in the same area of the same forest in 1934. An entire WPA crew had also vanished without a trace. “Not one of those men was ever heard from again.”

“And you suspect what— Bigfoot?” she asked sarcastically, grinning at him.

“Not likely,” he smiled. “That’s a lot of flannel to be choking down, even for Bigfoot.” She returned his smile, enjoying the banter.

“Come on, Scully. It’ll be a nice trip to the forest…”



Two days later

Famous, almost, last words. They had a trip to the forest alright, but it had been anything but nice. The weather had been abhorrent and they felt like they were in the middle of the war of the timbers. They had become isolated in a cabin with a ranger, a security man from the logging company and one of the eco-terrorists— a fine combination. Everyone hated each other except them and the others would’ve been happier if the FBI would’ve just stayed home. They had found a body in a cocoon and some kind of swarming mites that one of the eco-terrorists had warned them had killed his co-terrorist, swarming him in the dark. The only thing that could save them was the light. They had become isolated in the ranger’s station with no vehicle and they were more than a day’s hike back to civilization. All of the gasoline in the stranded vehicles had been sabotaged and they only had a can full to keep their generator running— and their light on.

Unbeknownst to the others, Mulder had given the extra gas to the eco-terrorist on only his word that he was going for help and would come back for them. Larry Moore, the Forest Service ranger, was royally pissed and Mulder realized he may have fucked up in a major way. After his confrontation with Moore, Mulder had gone into the cabin, leaving Scully to deal with the ranger alone.

Scully found Mulder in one of the bedrooms, sitting on a bed with his head in his hand. She entered slowly, taking a deep breath before walking toward him to speak. “Mulder…”

“Look— it’s done. I shouldn’t have let him go. Let’s just… move past it, okay?” he said disgustedly.

“Fine,” she nodded, distinct irritation present in her voice. “What do you suggest?”

“I don’t know,” he said flatly, still unable to look at her, feeling her standing over him, staring. “We’ll think of something.”

“Look… I think we both have a pretty good idea of what happened to those loggers and what happened to the group in 1934…”

“They only found one cocoon,” he said defensively, standing to leave the room, but not meeting her stare.

“It’s a VERY big forest,” she said, her irritation still palatable.

Mulder turned to look at her then, raising his voice in anger.

“Look, Scully, what would you have done?!”

She looked at him then, her expression reflecting the tone in her voice. “You mean would I have made a decision by myself that would’ve affected the whole group?” she asked him rhetorically.

“Oh, would you cut the sanctimonious crap?!” he yelled.

“What do you want me to say?” she said, hesitating before continuing.

“Let’s face it, Mulder, we might die up here. If we’re lucky, they’ll find our bodies spun up in a tree—or they may not find us at all!” she said, yelling at him now, her actual fear finally becoming apparent to him.

Mulder looked at her for a moment and couldn’t bear what he was seeing. He realized that Scully wasn’t actually mad, but afraid. And in that instant, he also realized that this could be their last day together on the earth.

“You’re right,” he said softly, looking at her intently. “And we’re wasting time arguing about it.”

She sighed and hung her head, realizing the exact same thing he did at the exact same moment. He touched her only lightly as he moved past her to the window, looking out, checking to see that it was snugly closed. She moved over to stand next to him, but not touching.

“What’re you going to do?” she sighed sadly.

“Button this place up. If we gotta spend the night in here, we gotta do everything we can to make sure the bugs stay out there…” he said, moving away from her. He was afraid to touch her, even though he wanted so badly to hold her. Despite the fact that they had shared a bed while on cases, it was only when they were in a hotel away from the location of the actual crime scene and the questioning eyes of others. And since they were still sharing the accommodations with the ranger, Mulder knew better than to even get close to her. But he touched her lightly as he moved to leave the room, getting to the door before he heard her— heard her sob. He turned back to see her standing there with her back to him, her hand covering her face, trying to hold her tears at bay.

He flipped the latch on the door to lock it and walked over behind her, putting his arms around her middle, bending to kiss her temple lightly. She turned quickly into him, wrapping her arms around his waist and burying her face in his chest. He could hear her fighting to stop crying, but not doing a very good job of it.

“Scully, we’re going to find a way out of this… I promise you.”

“Oh, Mulder…” she said, her words muffled by his sweater.

“This can’t be our end— not like this.” She looked up at him then and he bent down to kiss her softly on the lips.

She wrapped her arms around him again, holding him tightly to her. “Hold me. Just hold me for a few minutes…” she asked and he held her tight, kissing her hair.

“Then we’ll get this place tightened up,” she said, the ‘Scully’ back in her voice.



Later that night

The three of them moved into the main area of the cabin, the only area with a working light. Mulder and Scully were lying on separate cots and Moore was sitting on the edge of his, all of them not saying a word, just staring at the light, hoping there was enough gas to keep it going until sunrise. Scully suddenly noticed the glowing bugs coming in underneath an area they had patched closed. “I can see them,” she said, continuing to stare at the green swarm, moving to sit up. “You guys, look at this.” She got up from the cot then, walking toward the corner where she was seeing the moving bugs. “Look, they’re coming through the wall, down where it’s dark— you see them?!” she said anxiously, pointing to them. Mulder and Moore had moved to look and now saw what she saw.

Suddenly, she looked down and noticed the bugs were covering her hand, the arm of her shirt. She stood, panicked, “They’re on me!” she said, standing to try to move away from them, frantically brushing at her sleeve to get them off of her.

“You’re alright, Scully,” Mulder said calmly to her, reaching for her as she was becoming more and more frantic. “Scully… easy— stop it!” Mulder yelled at her, trying to reach for her flailing arms.

“Scully!” Mulder said, finally grabbing her arms just as she accidentally hit their only light with the back of her hand.

“Get them off me! Get them off me!” she yelled, absolute panic having taken over.

“Whoa, watch out! Watch it!!” Moore yelled, reaching for the swinging light bulb as Mulder yelled to her.

“Stand still! Stand still!— Stop it! Stop it!” Mulder yelled, holding her arms, shaking her.

“Can you see them?!!” she yelled to Mulder as he continued to hold her arms, trying to shake her to her senses. “Mulder, get them off me!”

Mulder stayed calm, holding on to her, trying to talk to her calmly. “They’re not just on you— they’re everywhere. I think that’s what that greasy residue is all over everything.”

“I thought we were supposed to be safe in the light,” she said, looking at him, trying to find reassurance.

“We are. I think the light keeps them from swarming,” he said, looking at her intently, wanting her to believe him, to calm down.

“We’ll be safe as long as we stay in the light,” he said quietly to her, his face mere inches from hers now. She quieted, but he could see that she was still more scared than he thought she ever could be. Despite the fact that Moore was looking on, Mulder held her to him, comforting her for a moment.

He moved her to the cot, sitting her on the edge and sitting down next to her, his arm still around her shoulders. Moore returned to his cot, staring at the floor, trying to give them what sliver of privacy he could, given the situation.

Scully leaned into him, laying her head against his shoulder, taking a deep breath before giving him a look that told him to return to the proper decorum. He removed his arm from her, leaning forward, putting his elbows on his knees, his face in his hands. After a few moments, he looked at her, finally speaking again over the omnipresent gloomy din of the generator.

“How’re you feeling?” he asked softly.

“I’m okay,” she answered with an obviously stilted optimism. She took a deep breath, trying to do something besides sitting there worrying.

“They’re oxidizing enzymes… just like fireflies,” she said, turning to look at him, wanting so badly to kiss him, have him hold her. If this was going to be their last night alive, she wanted to be with him.

“Maybe that’s why they cocoon their prey… so that they can oxidize the proteins taken from the fluids in the body.”

The light flickered and they all held their mutual breaths until the bulb glowed strong again. Scully let out the breath she was holding.

“What if the generator goes?

They all gonna swarm in here and drain the life out of us?” she said facetiously, her face resigned with pessimism.

Mulder continued to look at her, his heart aching that she was losing hope. “We’ve got an hour and a half ‘till sunrise,” he said softly to her, wanting her to believe that they would make it.

“And then what? It’s over a day’s hike out of here. We won’t make it on foot by nightfall.”

“Well, maybe somebody heard our radio transmission; help could be on the way,” he said, still trying.

“Hell, you sent that call hours ago, I mean, help would’ve been here by now,” she continued softly.

“Well, I’m not gonna give up on Spinney. He gave me his word he’d come back to get us,” Mulder said, their faces only inches apart, the conversation only between the two of them. And so much more was being said than the actual words, only the two of them knowing what they were really saying to each other.

“And if he doesn’t?” she said, her eyes searching Mulders.

“We’ll think of something,” he said, looking at her trying to will his confidence into her.

She sighed, leaning into him again to wait for the sunrise.




Two weeks later

They had made it out of the forest, but not without being swarmed by the bugs and being found only hours before imminent death. Had Spinney not come back for them and had Mulder’s radio transmission not made it to the authorities, they would’ve surely died and disappeared in the forest just as those loggers had before them.

Scully had spent a couple of more days in the hospital than Mulder had, her body being more dehydrated by the bugs than his. He had stayed by her bedside, not leaving the hospital until he left with her when she was discharged and had taken her to her apartment, only leaving to get some clothes from his apartment when her mother had come to stay with her.

“Dana, are you and Fox involved?” her mother had asked her after the first few days she had witnessed Mulder hovering over her.

“What?” Scully answered, her mother’s question totally catching her off guard.

“I think you heard me, Dana. I’m not blind. I can see how Fox treats you. It isn’t the way he would be treating someone who was just his partner,” she said, giving her daughter a slight smile. “I’m not trying to pry, honey, I would just like to… well…” she stammered, realizing it was really none of her business until Scully decided to make it her business.

“I shouldn’t have asked, Dana.

I’m sorry I—”

“We’re involved, Mom,” Scully said abruptly, taking a quick sip of her coffee. “We have been for a couple of months.”

“I’m happy for you, Dana,” her mother said, reaching across the breakfast table to touch her daughter’s hand. “I like him.”

“You do, huh?” Scully asked, smiling a quiet, proud smile. “Why, Mom? Tell me what it is you like about him.”

“What I like about him?” she said, thinking about her answer before finishing.

“What I like about him is that I know he is absolutely, totally in love with my daughter…”

Mulder had been assigned a case with the violent crime unit early into the second week she had been home from the hospital. She hadn’t seen him in five days and, at times, she enjoyed the solitude, but was looking forward to Mulder’s return. He had called earlier in the day telling her he would be in later that evening and would bring her something she had been wanting. She could only guess.

The disaster in the forest had zapped Scully’s stamina, but she had been given a clean bill of health by her physician the previous day and could resume normal activity as tolerated.

So, she was looking forward to Mulder’s arrival for an extra reason they hadn’t been able to think about for well over two weeks.

Scully had gone for a walk around the neighborhood each of the last couple of days, trying to get some exercise and breathe some fresh air. She had gone to pick up a few things from the deli around the corner thinking she’d have a few things on hand for Mulder when he returned. She had hoped he might be home earlier in the evening, but the last time he had called, he had told her not to wait up for him.

She had taken a satchel on her walk to carry her groceries and a couple bottles of wine and was walking down the street just past the deli when someone took hold of her satchel, lifting it from her hand. She spun around, ready to defend herself when she saw who it was. “Ethan!

Goddammit!” she yelled, bending over to catch her breath, her hands on her knees. “Do you know how close you just came to getting the shit knocked out of you?”

“Sorry, Dana. I didn’t mean to scare you… I’m sorry,” he said sheepishly, immediately chastising himself for not thinking about how she would react.

“What are you doing here, Ethan?” she asked quietly after gaining her composure, standing up to look at him, taking her satchel back from his hand.

“I still come to this deli, Dana. We just haven’t bumped into each other before, I guess,” he said, finding himself unable to take his eyes off her.

“I’m sorry, Ethan. I didn’t mean to be rude… you just caught me off guard,” she said, her look softening. “How are you? You look good.”

“I’m doing great— working for CNN now— the Washington bureau.”

“That’s great, Ethan. Congratulations. Really… I’m happy for you. I know that is something you’ve wanted for a long time,” she said, sincerely happy for him.

“How about you? Still at the FBI, I guess…” he asked.

“Yeah,” she answered without elaborating.

“On the X-Files?” he asked, getting to what she knew he wanted to know.

“Yes, on the X-Files,” she said, not meaning for the defensiveness that crept into her voice to be there.

Ethan decided to change the subject, not wanting to anger her or take a dig but suddenly remembering something he had almost forgotten.

“I was sorry to hear about your father, Dana,” he said, touching her shoulder. “I wanted to call… or something, but wasn’t sure you’d want to hear from me.”

“Thanks, Ethan,” she said, looking at the sidewalk, still unable to talk much about her father’s death.

“How’s your Mom?” he asked then, always truly having liked her.

“She’s good. She has good days and bad days, but she stays busy which seems to help her,” Scully answered, becoming uncomfortable with the conversation getting a bit personal.

“How’s everything with you? You doin’ okay?”

“I’m fine, Ethan. Fine.”

“Dana…, uh, you got time for lunch… or dinner later, maybe?” he asked tentatively, testing the waters.

“No, Ethan, I can’t,” she said politely, giving him a small smile.

“You can’t because you don’t have time or you can’t because you don’t want to?” he asked directly.

Scully looked at him, thinking for a few seconds about how she wanted to answer and finally making up her mind that she needed to tell him the real reason so there would be no question.

“Ethan, I would like to be friends with you, really I would… But there’s something you need to know first,” she said, taking a deep breath to finish. “I’m involved with someone… someone I love very much. So, if you

are asking me as a friend, then maybe someday we could go to lunch or maybe to dinner. But if you are asking me in any other capacity, then I’ll have to say ‘no’.”

“Fox Mulder?” he asked, knowing the answer before she provided it.

“Yes, Ethan. It’s Mulder,” she said, looking directly at him when she answered.

“Well, in that case, I think I’d better just pick something up at the deli here and eat my lunch in the car…” he said, a certain sadness to his voice.

Scully gave him a slight smile and a nod, speaking to him before she moved on down the street.

“Take care, Ethan…”

“You, too, Dana. I hope everything goes well for you. Really, that’s all I ever wanted for you…” he said, giving her a slight smile.

She walked back toward him, embracing him, much to his surprise— and hers. “That’s all I ever wanted for you too, Ethan,” she said softly, looking at him once more before walking away, back down the street to her life.



The bedside clock read 1:12am and still no Mulder. She was dozing, but seemed to wake every time she moved, checking the clock. She had finally fallen asleep and was actually sleeping quite soundly when she felt something tickling her ear. She startled awake to find Mulder bent near her, his tongue licking her ear.

“Shit! Mulder—you scared me!” she said, sitting up in the bed.

“You aren’t going to shoot me, are you Scully?” he asked, a smirk firmly planted on his face.

“Give me a minute to get my gun…” she said, finally smiling at him, reaching to put her arms around his neck. They both embraced, Mulder nuzzling her neck before shifting to kiss her passionately on the lips.

“Mmmmmm,” she moaned, remembering how much she had missed him, missed kissing him.

“God, I’ve missed you, Mulder.”

“Me, too, Scully. Me, too,” he responded, kissing her again, long and hard.

“Let me take a quick shower and I’ll be in, okay?”

“Don’t loiter,” she said, giving him another quick kiss before releasing him.

He didn’t. When he returned to bed, he found her already undressed, waiting for him.

“A bit eager, are we, Scully?” he teased, moving close to her, propping himself up on his elbow to face her, rubbing her stomach with his other hand.

“I can put my pajamas back on if that’s what you want, Mulder,” she countered dryly.

“Mmmmmm, baby, that’s the LAST thing I want,” he said, being silly.

“Mulder, if you call me ‘baby’ one more time, the couch will be your next destination—honey,” she joked back.

“Come on, tell me how your case ended. Everything work out?”

“Yeah, they got the guy, a creep on a whole new level,” Mulder started, remembering more gory details than he wanted to be thinking about.

“But I don’t want to talk about that, Scully—not now. I’ll fill you in tomorrow.”

“Sounds good,” she smiled, turning to her side, scooting closer to him, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“Now kiss me…”

He did, pushing her lightly to her back, moving over her, continuing to kiss her. “I’m so glad you’re home. I’ve gotten kinda used to you…”

“Yeah? Kinda like a headache?” he asked, propping himself up on his elbows over her, bending to kiss the top of her breast.

“No, kinda like something I never want to be without,” she answered, looking at him tenderly.

“I love you very much, Mulder. I hope you realize that.”

“You know, Scully. Funny thing is… I do,” he said, almost grinning at her. He bent to kiss her, moving his hand to her breast, down to her abdomen, rubbing her there knowing it was a very erogenous area for her. They continued to kiss, Scully’s hands rubbing his back, his sides, over his chest.

His hand descended between her legs, eliciting a soft moan from her. She moved the leg he wasn’t laying over to open his access to her a bit, wanting him to touch her there.

He found her center with his fingers, then moving to kiss her neck, her shoulder, sliding down to reach her breast with his mouth. He licked her there, and then softly sucked her nipple into his mouth, continuing to move his fingers between her legs.

“Mulder, you make me feel so good,” she sighed, barely able to speak. He watched her as he continued to play with her, recognizing that her orgasm was imminent before she told him so; feeling her muscles contract in her groin, her hips buck before she climaxed— hard.

Her nails dug into his sides so hard they hurt but he would never tell her so. He just watched her ride it out, her body shuddering, her eyes clamped closed as she held her breath.

Scully finally came down, Mulder continuing to stroke her lightly so she wouldn’t just crash.

“You okay?” he smiled to her when she finally opened her eyes. “That was a good one, eh?”

“Define good, Mulder,” she said groggily. “I think you are underestimating your abilities,” she finished, moving to wrap herself around him, wrap her leg around his, kiss his neck.

“Jesus, Mulder…”

“It musta been good if your deifying me before we’ve even gotten down to the main show, Scully,” he teased, holding her, rubbing her back.

“Main show? You mean there’s more?” she asked, faking a yawn, moving back to look at him. She rolled over to her back, holding on to him so that he would go with her, opening her legs so that he’d fall between them, bending her knees to place her feet flat on the bed. He smiled at her, kissing her lightly as he entered her, her eyes closing as he did so.

He loved her so, realizing why what had always been ‘having sex’ to him had truly become ‘making love’ with Scully.

“Scully…” he sighed, unable to get much more out of his mouth. He continued to thrust, her movements meeting his, her hands never still.

“Mulder, what do you need?” she whispered. “Tell me…”

“Just this, Scully. Being with you…” he whispered into her ear, continuing to move within her.

“This is everything.”

He kissed her then, quickening his pace, pushing harder trying to bring her off again before he finished.

“Come on, Scully. Go with me, here…”

“I’m trying, Mulder, but it’s okay… I’ve had mine,” she reassured him, continuing to move with him, undulating to match his rhythm. “I don’t think it’s gonna happen again tonight.” And she was right.

His orgasm burst into her, his warm liquid filling her, his groan of her name making her skin break out in goose bumps.

He spilled into her a few more times before he was finished, his body falling limp on top of hers before he slid to his side taking the full force of his weight off of her.

“I love you, Mulder… so much,” she said, snuggling close to him, laying her leg over his, her head on his shoulder, kissing his chest.

“I love you, too… baby,” he teased, both of them laughing as they drifted off to sleep.




After Scully had returned to duty, they’d had a couple of cases on the east coast, making it a bit easier on both of them, before heading back to Washington State for another ‘techno’ case. She hated those—Mulder loved them.

Their latest case hadn’t involved traveling, but she almost hoped it would have. She and Mulder had gotten a call regarding what looked to be a fairly routine case. But his ‘deep background’ had informed him that it was anything but a standard FBI case and they had found themselves neck deep in another conspiracy. They had both discovered evidence that the government had concrete evidence confirming the existence of extraterrestrial life and were determined to find it. Only in the meantime, Mulder had disappeared and Scully had been frantically calling trying to find him. She finally went to his apartment, thinking he might show up or she might find some evidence that would lead her to him.

She had been up all night and was so tired she was running on her last dose of adrenaline.

As she reached for the door bell at Mulder’s apartment, she was startled by the sound of a man’s voice coming from around the corner of the building.

“He’s not home,” the man said, Scully whirling to see who it was. It was Mulder’s ‘deep background’ standing there looking at her.

“Where is he?” she breathlessly asked. “He’s been gone all night.”

The man shook his head sadly.

“I wish I knew,” he answered sincerely, moving toward Scully to speak to her.

“Something’s happened to him,” she said, both a statement and a question.

“They won’t kill him,” he said flatly.

“How do you know that?” she asked, moving closer to him, the anxiety rising in her voice, her affect.

“He’s become too high profile. And you’ve got evidence that could expose them,” he said to her.

“I don’t have any evidence,” she said, her voice becoming louder.

“They took the evidence and they may have killed in order to get it!”

“Listen to me— evidence still exists…”


“It might be difficult to obtain, but with your medical background, I might be able to get you inside…” he said. Scully’s impatience was palpable, her breathing betraying her inner fear.

“Inside where?” she asked.

“High containment facility— Fort Marlene, Maryland,” he said, looking at her, knowing she would then understand just how deep this conspiracy went.

“What do they have there?” she asked quietly, stunned by what she was hearing.

“The wellspring, Miss Scully— the original tissue. If they’ve got Agent Mulder, they might be willing to make a deal… it could save his life.”


Thirteen days later, 11:21pm

Scully was lying in bed, but she wasn’t sleeping— she couldn’t sleep. When she did doze, she would startle awake, still fearful of what had happened on their last case.

Scully was able to infiltrate the lab at Ft. Marlene and traded the evidence she had found for Mulder’s life— but not for her contact’s life. The man who had led her to the way to save Mulder had been killed himself; shot right in front of her. Mulder had been injured, was sick, but had survived and had gone back to work just that morning.

Scully stared at the clock, taking a deep breath to recover what had been startled from her by her dream. Suddenly, the phone rang and she answered it groggily. “Hello.”

“Hey, Scully, it’s me,” said Mulder, an odd tone to his voice, she thought.

“Where are you?” she asked.

He hesitated, not knowing exactly how to tell her what he had learned only a few hours before.

“They’re shutting us down, Scully,” his voice almost breaking.

“What?” she said, leaning up on her elbow not believing what she was hearing.

“They called me in tonight… and they said they’re gonna reassign us to other sections…” hoping she couldn’t hear that the news had brought him to tears.

“Who told you that?” she said softly, hoping against hope that it wasn’t official news.

“Skinner. He said word came down from the top of the executive branch.”

“Mulder…,” she said, almost gasping at the finality of it all.

“It’s over, Scully.”

“Well, you have to lodge a protest— they can’t—” she started, still unable to accept what he was telling her.

“Yes, they can,” he interrupted flatly.

“What are you gonna do?” she asked softly.

“I’m… not gonna give up—I can’t give up… not as long as the truth is out there.” The click of the receiver sounded like a gavel hitting a desk when the sentence was death.

She needed to see him, and more importantly to her right then, she knew he needed to see her.




Scully had dressed hurriedly, slipping on only her jeans and a sweater, sliding her bare feet into her loafers. She drove to Mulder’s apartment, getting stuck in traffic from an accident that had covered the road with scattered boxes from an over-turned semi. She was so desperate to see him that she had finally resorted to using her FBI credentials with a bit of a lie to be allowed to drive through the median to get around and out of the situation.

When she reached his apartment, she found his door unlocked and no lights on. “Mulder?” she called softly as she moved into his apartment.

“It’s me…” she said, then seeing him lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling in the dark.

“What are you doing here, Scully?” he said, continuing to stare at the ceiling.

Scully removed her jacket, tossing it toward the overstuffed chair in the corner of his living room, then moved to sit next to his side on the couch before answering.

“I love you, Mulder. This is what people do when they love each other— they’re there for each other,” she said softly to him, her hand lying on his chest, moving only slightly. “And I needed you—”

Finally he looked at her, wrapping his hand around her thigh before speaking.

“Thanks, Scully,” he said simply, giving her a small melancholy smile.

“This is as devastating to me as it is to you, you know…” she said softly, bending to lay her head on his chest. He put his arms around her then, stroking her back, kissing her hair.

“Yeah, I guess I was too busy thinking about myself,” he said, more to himself than to her.

She sat up then, giving him a soft kiss.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Mulder. You called…” He smiled at her, reaching for her, pulling her down to lie next to him.

“I love you so much, Scully,” he said, his voice breaking slightly. “I don’t know what I did until I had you.”

She propped herself up to look at him, a sly smile starting on her face. “You probably would be getting more sleep…”

She grinned fully at him then, kissing him thoroughly.

“I have plans for you tonight…”

“Scully…” he sighed. “I’m not so sure tonight is a good night…”

“Mulder, this just makes us need each other all the more…” she said softly, wriggling against him, feeling him start to harden.

“You are wicked, you know that?” he said, returning her smile, squeezing her bottom.

“Take me to bed and I’ll show you just how wicked I can be,” she said against his mouth, giving his bottom lip a gentle bite.

“You just made me an offer I can’t refuse…” he said, smiling before giving her a quick peck. They both got off the couch,

Mulder leading the way, taking her by the hand. When they reached his bed, he shoved all of the papers and boxes that were strewn all over it off the opposite side of the bed to the floor, a basketball bouncing into the wall. She just stood there watching him, finally laughing out loud after he’d folded the covers down and turned to look at her with his goofiest of grins.

“It’s a good thing for you that I don’t hold out for romance, Mulder. When’s the last time you changed the sheets in here?” she teased, but really curious to know.

“After the last time I slept in here— They’re clean, Scully… Really… Well, at least for now,” he grinned, moving toward her, taking her in his arms, kissing her neck, whispering in her ear.

“Let me undress you, Scully.” She held him to her, laying her head against his chest, hearing his heart pounding with arousal.

Scully continued to hold him against herself for several long seconds before moving away from him, her eyes giving him permission for what he’d asked. Mulder lifted her sweater, pulling it off over her head, moving to hold her, rubbing her back after seeing she hadn’t worn a bra. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, feeling her nipples harden to tight pebbles and her sex beginning to lubricate. He moved around back of her, never taking his hands off the skin of her middle. He reached for the button of her jeans, opening her fly before sliding his hands down her sides, into her jeans, smiling slightly when he realized she didn’t have any panties on either.

“You are so beautiful, Scully… so beautiful,” he said, bending to kiss her shoulder.

Scully laid her head back against his chest, his hands moving inside of her pants around to her abdomen. She shivered, then gasped when he moved one hand down to cup her, feeling how wet she was for him. “Mulder…” she sighed, feeling inadequate at not being able to speak more fluently to him about what she was feeling. He slid her jeans down to her ankles and she stepped out of them, just standing, waiting to see what he would do next. He kissed her on the back of her thigh causing her knees to buckle slightly. He stroked her skin, kissing what he didn’t touch, until he was standing in front of her. He was looking at her with such love and longing that coupled with how her body was throbbing, she wasn’t sure she could continue to stand much longer.

He started to move her to the bed, but she managed to stop him.

“Huh, uh,” she said, reaching for his t-shirt.

“It’s my turn,” she whispered, raising his shirt up, Mulder finishing removing it. She looked at him as she undid the buttons on his jeans, now strained from his erection. She started to pull down his jeans and boxers, but was so overcome with arousal, with love, that all she could do was lay her forehead against his chest.

He wrapped his arm around her waist for balance, removing his jeans himself and moving her to the bed. She sat on the edge, moving up to lay down, her head on the pillow. He lay down beside her, both of them just looking at each other, so much being said with their eyes.

The sheets rustled as he got in the bed, scooting over to her in the center. He started to lay on his side to look at her, but she crawled on top of him before he could move.

“Let’s start where we left off, huh?” she said, rubbing against him as she had done out on the couch.

“Whatever you say, Scully,” he said, his hands holding her thighs as she laid over him, only breathing room between their faces. She kissed him then, running her hands through his hair, slowly moving against him, feeling his chest hair against her breasts.

“I love you…” she whispered to him, next to his ear. “I love being with you… being together like this.”

“Scully…” was all he could say, thinking that if he didn’t get inside her pretty soon he was going to embarrass himself.

As if reading his mind, she lifted herself up on her knees, his cue to hold himself up for her. She moved over him so that he was at her opening and slowly slid down on him. He held onto himself until he felt her wetness against his hand, softly rubbing her clitoris as he removed his hand.

“Oh, God, Mulder…” she sighed,

all the way down on him now, feeling his pubic hair against her clitoris as she leaned further forward. Her hands were on the bed on each side of him as she began to move, feeling like nothing could be more perfect. She wasn’t going to let herself think about work, what tomorrow might bring, what closing the X-Files might do to Mulder. She just wanted to lose herself in the moment and feel everything that she and Mulder were doing together.

Mulder watched her all the while touching her body everywhere he could reach. She sat up, sliding her hands down his chest onto his stomach, feeling the length of him all the way in against her cervix. He touched her breasts, gently massaging them, still just watching her, pure bliss reflected on her face. Her eyes hadn’t opened since he entered her but, finally, she looked at him, seeing him watching her. He smiled at her, reaching to touch her cheek, caress her face.

“You don’t mind me watching you, do you Scully?” he said softly, hoping she didn’t feel self-conscious. She shook her head, her eyes barely able to focus on him. She began to move faster, her movements becoming more erratic as she tried to find the right angle to take her where she wanted to go.

His eyes were closed now, trying to hang on until she climaxed. Sometimes he would go before she did, but it was much better for both of them if he could wait for her. He reached down to touch her clitoris, pushing on it with his thumb, rubbing it as hard as he dare. She lost it then, her movements stopping instantly as she leaned back, her spine arching. He felt her pulsing against him, feeling her inner muscles grabbing him in hard, rapid spasms.

After she seemed to come back to herself a bit, he needed to move and began thrusting, hoping for release. She leaned forward again, placing her palms against his stomach, moving with him again to meet his impetus. She lay all the way over against his chest, still moving with him as he seemed to be struggling for release.

“Bend your knees, Mulder,” she whispered to him, hoping the change in position would be what he needed.

And it was… emptying into her finally with several surges, his knees giving out and his legs falling flat against the bed. She kissed his lips but quickly moved her actions to his neck, under his chin, his chest, to allow him to catch his breath. Then she just lay quietly on him until he calmed, enjoying the touch of their bodies, him still inside her. Then she felt him move, stroking her back, over her bottom, her muscles reflexively tightening causing him to slip out of her.

“Ummm,” she groaned, suddenly feeling empty, wishing their connection could last forever.

“Miss me already?” he quietly teased.

“God, yes…” she lamented. “Mulder, I never want to move from this spot— never…”

They lay like that for a long time, neither of them saying a word, just stroking each other softly, enjoying the quiet sensations. Finally, Scully looked up at him, recognizing the distant stare in his eyes. “Don’t think about it tonight, Mulder… Please…” she pleaded softly, knowing what he was thinking about.

“You know, Scully, somewhere early in my life I must’ve broken an eternal mirror. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have had any luck but bad luck,” he said, kissing the end of her nose. “Just when my life seemed worth living, someone comes along and takes my work away from me.”

At that, she moved off of him, sitting next to him on the bed, watching him continue to stare off into space.

“Your life has always been worth living, Mulder in more ways than you will let yourself believe.”

“I mean, my existence never seemed very important, well, before the X-Files… before you…” he said, finally looking at her.

“Mulder, when you’ve pictured yourself— where you were or where you might be in the future, have you ever imagined yourself, say… mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage?” she asked sincerely, softly.

“No… no, I haven’t,” he answered, unsure of where she was going with her line of thought.

“You are meant to do this, Mulder… because you are important, important enough to do important work… on the X-Files,” she said, rubbing her hand softly over his chest, looking down at him.

“Don’t you mean unfortunate work?” he said facetiously.

“Mulder, you may not have imagined yourself doing this work, not exactly dreamed of doing it as your life’s goal, but you found the work because God meant for you to do it,” she said, leaning against him, over his chest.

“And for some reason, I have been placed here to be with you, in your work and in your life,” she finished, giving him a loving smile.

“God, Scully… What did I ever do to deserve you?” he said, his voice laden with emotion.

“Oh, stop it, Mulder,” she said, smacking him lightly on the arm in jest. “I just finished telling you… As usual, you don’t seem to have been listening to me.”

“What? Did you say something, Scully?” he teased, rolling her over on her back, laying half on top of her. They just stared at each other, both of them starting to smile at the same time.

“You know, Scully. I just have this feeling that no matter what happens, we’re going to be okay, you and me,” he said, still looking intently at her.

“Yeah… yeah, I think we will.”

The End


Catch the numbers in the timelines? E-mail me if you figured it out.



Date: 25 Sep 2006 23:59:10 -0000

Subject: As It Might Have Been, Season 2, Pt. 1 by Dyann Z Source: direct

Reply To:

TITLE: As It Might Have Been, Season 2, Pt. 1 AUTHOR: Dyann Zimmerman



SPOILERS: Second season, episode by lovely episode!

SUMMARY: A review of the second season with scenes not seen in the episodes. What actually happened between the scenes we saw? Tune in and find the true smutty story.

DISCLAIMERS: Please sue me!!! I would love my 15 minutes.

FEEDBACK: Most of it welcomed at .

NOTE: This fic starts where ‘As It Might Have Been’

left off at the end of season one. It would help to read that one first. It’s available at Gossamer.




February 20, 1994, 6:50am

“Mmmmmmmmm,” Scully sighed…groaned, rousing from a sated sleep. She realized she had drooled against Mulder’s bicep and wiped his skin and her cheek with the soft cotton sheet before stealthily moving out of the bed to stumble to the bathroom. She and Mulder had made love twice since her arrival at his apartment just after midnight and, if she had her way, they might just try for a third. Their night had been their way of coping with the closing of the X-Files, the sudden end to Mulder’s dream which had gradually become hers.

They hadn’t found any answers to what they would do, where they would go next; hadn’t even really tried.

Instead, they lost themselves in each other, telling each other that whatever happened, they would be okay together.

Scully crawled back into bed, her teeth freshly brushed, wondering if a minty kiss from her would temper Mulder’s morning breath—although, she really didn’t care. He was still sound asleep; flat on his back, the sheet barely covering his crotch, both of his arms spread wide, dead to the world for all intents and purposes, but absolutely gorgeous to her eyes. She slid in next to him, her lips softly covering his left nipple as her hand crept down his stomach to the hair covering him between his legs. He stirred when her hand made contact with his sex and she smiled against his chest.

“Thought that might wake you up,” she said softly to him as she watched his eyes struggle for focus. “Hi,” she whispered when his eyes finally located hers. “I thought for a moment there you were unconscious.”

“I think I was…you wore me out,” he smiled, reaching for her with one arm, encouraging her to move on top of him. She obliged, scooting up, slipping her hands under his shoulders as she slid her leg over his waist to straddle him. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her loosely, thinking to himself how absolutely perfect her body felt against his. “You’ve already been up.”

“How do you figure that?” she smiled, giving him a soft kiss.

“I smell your toothpaste. I am… I was an investigator with the FBI, you know,” he said, seemingly just remembering that he wasn’t exactly sure what his position was anymore. Scully could see his realization, her own having evaded her for the night as well.

“We’ll be okay, Mulder,” she said against his lips, not sure if she was trying to reassure him or herself; a little of both, she figured.

But they hadn’t been…



Two months later

Mulder stared at the reels of the tape recorder, rolling another sunflower seed against his tongue, his pen tapping a monotonous beat, a physical display of his thoughts… his emotions. He had been assigned yet another wiretap case, #5A21147 to be exact. A couple of supposed embezzlers droned on and on and were divulging nothing more than how much money they had slipped a lap dancer the previous night.

This was his fourth ‘white bread’ case since the XFiles had been closed and he knew it was punishment; knew it was a concerted effort to make him leave the Bureau.

But he had been determined to hang on, to outlast them just to spite them if for no other reason. And he had tolerated their punishment; tolerated it beyond what those who were watching him figured he would…could.

He had tolerated it as long as he had had Scully. But now that she was gone…



The same day

“It is advantageous to begin an autopsy with removal of the cranium…” Scully continued, her voice reflecting her lack of concentration, her rote expression of her knowledge now as boring to her as she was sure it was to her students. But as she looked at the faceless cadaver, she felt something she realized she had begun to forget. The body she used as nothing more than a classroom example was a person; a person who had been someone’s husband, someone’s son, a brother to a grieving sister. This person had once had hopes and dreams, had once laughed at a good joke, enjoyed a cup of coffee with a friend…Scully thought to herself.

“Something wrong?” a cadet finally asked, breaking Scully from her silent lament.

Without looking at her, without looking at any of them, Scully found herself suddenly expressing what her heart was feeling. “What this man imagined…his dreams…who he loved, saw…heard…remembered. What he feared… Somehow it’s all locked in this small mass of tissue and fluid…” she said, her voice faltering as she began to comprehend what she knew she was really saying to herself.

“Are you okay, Agent Scully? You kinda sounded a little spooky,” the cadet told her, the young woman’s words saying more than she could’ve ever realized, the use of her last word shaking Scully to her core.

“You’ll have to excuse me,” Scully said, holding on to the stainless steel table to steady herself, her emotions at the moment making her feel unsteady, her heart irregular. “I… I…” she stuttered. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Class dismissed.”

Scully couldn’t manage anymore. After being partnered with Mulder for a year, their partnership evolving into the most intense love affair she could’ve ever imagined, she knew she couldn’t continue with things the way they were. Life was too short and could be over in an instant. She had known that with her father, her experience with the X-Files and Mulder’s near death episodes, her relationship with him. She needed him, knew she had to talk to Mulder…

After they had gone back to work after their weekend together and the closing of the X-Files, their new assignments had separated them physically; Scully sent to Quantico to teach the greenest of the new cadets, Mulder assigned to cases that any monkey could work.

But their personal relationship had suffered even more.

As Mulder became more and more frustrated and unhappy, his darker side had surfaced, a side she had only seen flashes of in their year together. No matter how she tried to talk to him or tried to sooth his worry, he just seemed to sink deeper and deeper into himself.

“I’ve been told people are watching us, Scully. I think it would be better if I just worked this out alone,” he had told her the night he had ‘officially’

ended their personal relationship, about a month after the FBI had ended their professional one. He knew it was a flimsy excuse, but he kept telling himself it was for the best; the best for her.

“Mulder, you can’t do this alone—I can’t do this alone!” she had told him, raising her voice. “We NEED each other.”

“You don’t need me the way I am, Scully. You deserve more,” he told her, unable to look at her. “Your association with me will only get you into trouble now.” Mulder told himself he needed to let her go and had told her in a fairly unceremonious way that he wanted to end their personal relationship. She had only wasted a year of her life with him, he had told himself, and he loved her so much that he would live without her for her own good. He had told himself he could do that, too.

Scully had been so hurt that she had exited his apartment in anger, but had cried for three solid days without talking to him or him contacting her. Finally, on the fourth day, Mulder had telephoned her, his voice soft and sad, but confirming that he didn’t want them to see each other outside of work anymore. And they hadn’t. Not until the day she had realized that she had a previous life that she had enjoyed that she could still have again; an option that the cadaver in her classroom no longer had.




Later that night

“It’s dangerous for us to just have a little chat, Scully. We must assume we’re being watched,” he told her coldly, looking around the dark garage for anything suspicious… and as a way to avoid looking into her eyes.

“Mulder, I haven’t seen any indication…”

“No, no. Of course not. These people are the best,” he told her, his irritation at her foolhardy request for a meeting beginning to show.

Scully assured him she had taken the necessary precautions to avoid being followed, a bit irritated that he would have thought she wouldn’t have been careful enough when asking him to meet her. “The X Files have been terminated, Mulder. We have been reassigned,” she sighed. “What makes you think they care about us anymore anyway?”

“So why have you bothered to come here covertly?” he asked her then, finally turning to look at her.

Scully looked at him then, her voice softening when she saw how sad his eyes were. “Because I realized that it was the only way that you would see me…”

They both looked at each other, both missing each other, but neither able to say what they wanted to.

“So, what do you want?” he asked, a coldness still in his voice.

“To know that you’re alright. Mulder, you passed me today within a foot…, but you were miles away,” she said softly, her voice pleading with him to see what he was doing to himself, and to her. He nodded slowly, but said nothing until he changed the subject, began telling her about his lousy new assignments, his theory about George Ellery Hale and, finally, his disappointments that he had nothing to show for his work. She could see his defeat, his feelings of failure in his whole body.

“Don’t give up…” she told him softly, both of them seeing their connection still in each others eyes.

“And next time, we meet out in the open,” she said, touching his hair softly before moving to leave.

Scully had thought maybe things were improving between them after their meeting; Mulder hadn’t been totally resistive to her efforts to talk. But the next day, she had been called into to Director Skinner’s office and had been questioned about Mulder’s presumed disappearance and his failure to show up for his assignment.

Her next three days had been spent on tracking him down, which she did, finding him chasing aliens in Puerto Rico. They had very nearly been gunned down, but were able to, again, escape with their lives, but no closer to having any of the proof that Mulder so needed. Mulder had been surprised that she was able to track him and locate him in another country, but he had also been proud of her ability. The situation had only served to reinforce to Scully how obsessed Mulder could become and that she would always come second to his work.

But she had also been buoyed, had been given a reason to hope that, with time, maybe they could have what they once had. “I may not have the X-Files, Scully, but I still have my work,” he had told her. “And I still have you…”

They had begun to see each other again, well at work, at least. The X-Files had remained closed, but Scully had performed a couple of autopsies for cases Mulder was working on. Only Mulder could’ve found a case involving a suspect who had been a nuclear mutated fluke worm/man. Working together on that case had almost felt like old times and she had told him so.

Scully had gone to a small town in Pennsylvania to help him on a case involving residents who suddenly turned violent seemingly, when prompted by digital readouts telling them to kill. The two of them had gotten along well, their ability to work together as they had before surprising them both. They had both silently been afraid that their professional relationship could never be the same after being together in a personal relationship, and an intense one at that.

Mulder had been assigned a new partner and Scully had gotten bad vibes about him from the moment she met him.

She supposed some of it was jealousy, but she knew most of it was because she didn’t trust the man and was fearful of him not being there when Mulder needed him.

She had always had Mulder’s back.

Some of Mulder’s witty repartee and his inability to pass up an opportunity to make a double entendre had returned, to a degree. He had even flirted a bit.

Mulder and his new partner, Alex Krycek, had been assigned a case involving ex-soldiers who had been deprived of sleep by what had appeared to be a government sponsored program. Mulder must have telephoned her fifty times during his investigation, asking her questions, consulting with her about his theories, sometimes just wanting to talk.

“Sounds like your new partner is working out,” Scully spoke lightly, but feeling apprehensive inside.

“He’s alright. He could use a little more seasoning and some wardrobe advice, but he’s a lot more open to extreme possibilities than…”

“Than I was?” she interjected.

“Than I assumed he would be,” Mulder finished, both of them smiling on their respective ends of the phone.

“Must be nice not having someone questioning your every move, poking holes in all your theories,” Scully softly kidded him, not admitting to herself that she was fearful there might be some truth to her statement.

Mulder grinned, sensing her true feelings and finding some comfort in them in some kind of way. “Oh, oh yeah, it’s great. I…I’m surprised I put up with you for so long,” he teased back.

Scully smiled to herself, feeling in so many ways how deeply she missed him, sensing…hoping that he missed her, too. She didn’t respond for a few long seconds, needing a deep breath before continuing. “You better go…” she told him, both of them hanging up with so much more to say. God, she missed him.

But by the end of the case, both of them realized they were indeed being watched. Mulder suspicioned that his new partner had taken an envelope from his car that Mulder had received from his new informant. And someone had broken into Scully’s office, gotten into her files, her computer and taken her copy of the same information. “Someone went to a lot of trouble stealing both our copies to keep this a secret,” Mulder had told her when he had asked to meet her in a basement storage area in the bowels of Hoover. “He said it’s never been more dangerous…” Mulder told her of his new informant, their eyes never leaving each others’ as Mulder spoke. “He said that closing down the X-Files was just the beginning; that we’ve never been in greater danger.”

All the while the two of them thought they were meeting privately, safely, Mulder’s new partner was reporting his findings to those who had been watching. “What about Scully?” the man asked through a haze of cigarette smoke.

“Reassigning them to other sections seems only to have strengthened their determination. Scully’s a problem; a much larger problem than you described,” Krycek told him.

“Every problem has a solution…” the answer floated through the lingering smoke.



May, Several days later

Scully hadn’t seen Mulder since their meeting in the basement, hadn’t even had a phone call. She had left him a voice message earlier in the day, hoping he would call back. She had finished her classes early for a Friday and had done a bit of shopping and bought a couple of books for the weekend. She had finished a quiet dinner alone and had retired to her couch to dive into her reading, expecting to spend most of the weekend doing very little of nothing and actually looking forward to it, or at least, that’s what she told herself.

The ringing of the phone startled her from her reading, her mind immediately wondering who would be calling at the relatively late hour. “Hi, Scully. It’s me,” his deep low voice said to her.

“Mulder? Is everything alright?” she asked, detecting an odd tone to his voice.

“It will be if you let me in,” he told her simultaneous to his tap on her door. Scully smiled to herself at her realization that he was just outside her apartment, but then she immediately wondered if something was wrong. Hanging up her phone before moving across the room, she took the sight of him in as she opened the door.

“Hi…” she said as she moved back, indicating to him to come in.

“Hi,” he said, almost staring at her as he entered her apartment.

“Come on in,” Scully told him, moving to the living room to sit, still watching him skeptically, wondering just what he was doing there. He sat on the couch, wondering why she was still looking at him so oddly.

“You sure everything is okay, Mulder?”

“Yeah, yeah. I just wanted to see with my own eyes that you were okay,” he told her, knowing she would find his concern just further evidence of his paranoia.

“Is there some reason I shouldn’t be?” she asked.

“I just had this weird feeling earlier… I just… I just wanted to check,” he told her, now seeming embarrassed for his reason for coming to her apartment.

“Talk to me, Mulder,” she told him, beginning to tire somewhat of his cryptic explanations.

Mulder looked at her, one of her legs crossed over the other, her hair scrunched on top of her head in some clip of some sort, her body fully relaxed into the upholstery of the overstuffed chair across the room from his place on her couch. The closing of the XFiles had been devastating to him, but he had realized that letting that event effectively end his relationship with Scully had just been like killing him twice. He figured she was done with him; would chalk their affair up to experience and as a reminder to herself to never get involved with a co-worker again.

“Scully…” he began, then stopped suddenly when he noticed that she had closed her eyes and seemed to be trying hard not to… to cry, he thought. “What?

What’s the matter?” he asked, leaning forward, his forearms resting on his knees, his face saddened that he had upset her in some way.

Scully leaned her head against the back of the chair, taking a deep breath before opening her eyes to look at him, a single tear slipping over her lid down her flushed cheek. She recognized the tone in his voice when he had said her name; remembered the timbre vibrating against the flesh of her ear as he made love to her. She knew he was about to say something that she wasn’t sure she could handle hearing. She had just gotten to the point where she could be around him and his proximity wouldn’t make her heart ache for what they used to have.

“Mulder, please don’t say anything unless you mean it,” she pleaded, her voice almost a whisper.

“Scully, the only thing that I have ever said to you that I didn’t mean was when I told you I didn’t think we should be with each other anymore…” he told her bluntly, then just looked at her, waiting for her reaction.

“Oh, God…” she sighed, not even realizing she had said anything out loud. She looked at him, the expression on his face one that she remembered; one that told her he was letting her back into his soul.

“Mulder, don’t do this to me unless you intend to stand by your words…forever. I won’t play around anymore.

It’s all or nothing for me.”

“I was so afraid that you were going to be hurt, Scully… because of your association with me. I never stopped caring for you… loving you,” he said, wringing his hands where they had settled between his knees. “You were right, Scully. We can’t do this alone. If we’re going to continue, it has to be together,” he finished, looking to her for her response.

She took a deep breath, looking into his eyes and even though she saw deep sincerity, she was still fearful that his commitment might be fleeting. That was Mulder; always on to the next big thing and she didn’t want that mentality to be part of their personal relationship. “Mulder, I, I want to continue… with our work… with, with us. But you… I’m afraid…”

“You’re afraid of me?”

“In a way…” she started, knowing she had probably hurt his feelings and not meaning to. “Even if it’s for one of your noble reasons, I’m afraid that you’ll leave again. I need more this time… a commitment, a promise that you will not act separately from me, make decisions that concern me without talking to me first.

I can’t stand surprises, Mulder.”

He nodded, knowing full well what she meant. He had ended their relationship earlier and had taken that decision totally upon himself, not even being honest with her why he was ending things. She didn’t like being protected; being seen as less than able to handle things that came their way. “I know what you’re saying. I do. I understand. It was a bad decision, even if it was for the right reason. I’ll try my best.

That, I promise you,” he told her, giving her that skewed smile that could always melt her heart.

“That’s all I ask,” she said. Mulder moved over to her, bending to give her a soft kiss, a kiss he tried to intensify until she moved back from him. “We need to start this slow, Mulder. I need time to get used to you again. You can be a bit intense, you know,” she smiled to him.

“Yeah, that’s what I hear.” He stood, reaching out for her hand. “Walk me to the door,” he told her and she complied, both of them kissing before he departed. She smiled to herself as she went back to her couch, picking up her book, trying to read, but her thoughts staying on the man who she knew was her life.



Two days later

“Mulder, it’s me. I just had something incredibly strange happen,” she said into the phone, her message being recorded by Mulder’s answering machine. “This piece of metal that they took out of Duane Barry…it has some kind of a code on it. I ran it through a scanner and some kind of a serial number came up,” she continued, her voice breathy from her fear. “What the hell is this thing, Mulder? It’s almost as if… it’s almost as if somebody was using it to catalog him.”

Scully stopped suddenly, hearing something outside her window, even over the loud sounds of the continuing rainstorm. She held onto the phone, moving to open the blinds to look out her window, wondering what the noise could be. Her gasp was audible, the lightening flashing as if on cue revealing Duane Barry staring at her just on the other side of the glass, the absolute fright shaking every fiber of her being.

“Mulder! I need your help!!! Mulderrrrrrrrrrr!!!”

Scully yelled into the phone. “Mulderrrr!!!” she yelled again, his machine recording every word, her voice clear and desperate amid the sounds of breaking glass and toppling furniture—and the forceful voice of the crazed man who was attacking her.



“Mrs. Scully?” Mulder said as he moved toward Scully’s mother having heard her anguished pleas to enter her daughter’s apartment. Mulder reached for her, and then noticed the blood on his fingers at virtually the same time it was noticed by Scully’s mother. They both knew it was Scully’s. “She’s not in there,” Mulder told her softly.

Mrs. Scully noticed the sad, scared look on Mulder’s face and stepped back, looking him in the eye before speaking. “Where is she?” she asked fearfully. “Where IS she?”

That, of course, was a question Mulder couldn’t answer.

And a question he wouldn’t be able to even guess at for a long, long time. Mulder had searched for Duane Barry for days, with no sleep and little food, finally locating Scully’s captor, alone, and gleeful that Scully had been ‘taken’ in his place. Barry had claimed that he had been taken repeatedly by aliens over the course of his life and he had ‘given’ them Scully in a trade for him never being taken again.

Mulder had given credence to Barry’s ideas, but was never really able to explore them further with him when Barry had ended up dead, probably at the hands of Mulder’s new ‘partner’, Alex Krycek. And after Krycek had mysteriously disappeared and after any leads Mulder had about Scully’s whereabouts had dried up, Mulder had retreated into himself further than he ever had before.

Mulder had taken a leave from the FBI, not sure if he would ever return. Actually, he didn’t really know why he did. But he had nothing. He didn’t have the XFiles and he didn’t have Scully. She had been taken, and after all this time, he gut-wrenchingly figured, she had probably been killed, or worse, taken where his sister had been taken; and all because of her association with him. He should’ve stayed away from her; never renewed their relationship, he told himself over and over again.



One week later

Mulder had called her, just wanting to talk and feeling he owed her the truth. “Agent Mulder? Thank you for calling me,” Mrs. Scully said to him. He stood from his place on the park bench, the look on his face telling her everything.

“I’m sorry I don’t have better news,” Mulder admitted to her.

“Do you know something? Is Dana okay?” she asked quickly, hoping there was some kind of news.

“We don’t know anything more about it,” he said, the sadness in his soul as much as he could bear. Mrs.

Scully sighed, her knowing sadness apparent in her every motion.

“I know you’re doing all you can.” They both sat on the bench, not saying anything for several long moments, neither of them able to look at the other.

“I had that dream again last night…about Dana being taken away. I can’t tell you how it scares me,” she told him, Mulder seeing the profound sadness in her expression.

“It’s probably scarier when you STOP having the dream,” Mulder told her matter-of-factly…or so he thought.

But his words had struck her; made her realize that he was right; that maybe there was a reason she was still dreaming about her daughter. “Don’t you think?” Mrs.

Scully looked at him and smiled, finding comfort in the fact that Mulder had not given up, but unable to contain her tears.

Mulder reached into his pocket and offered Scully’s chain to her mother, hoping that she would find some comfort in this small belonging. “Found this,” he said softly, placing the gold cross in Mrs. Scully’s palm.

“It’s something I’m…I never considered about her.

She was…um… if she was such a skeptic, why did she wear that?”

Mrs. Scully composed herself, swallowing hard as she gazed at the small piece of her daughter’s life that lay in the palm of her hand. “I gave it to her on her fifteenth birthday.” Mulder watched her, but she was unable to look at him. But then she reached over to him, handing the necklace back to him, placing it in his hand.

Surprised, Mulder questioned her. “Don’t you want to keep it?” Mrs. Scully closed his hand with hers, holding on, giving his hand a trusting squeeze before finally looking him directly in the eyes.

“When you find her, you give it to her,” she managed to say to him through her choked tears. He knew she was counting on him… knew the two of them now had a bond that would last for the rest of their lives.



November, 1994, 11:43pm

Mulder lay on the couch, the light of the flickering of the porno movie playing on his television casting a haunting shadow over his eyes. He had stopped and rewound the same scene over and over, watching a man and a woman pretending they were climaxing together, acting as if they were in ecstasy. He remembered what pure ecstasy had been and there was no pretense; it happened every time he had been with Scully. Scully…

Only with Scully…

Mulder had searched every lead and then some and had found nothing. He felt like he had been in a maze with no way out and that Scully was at the end, waiting for him, praying that he’d find her. He had gone back to work, not really knowing what to do, taking a case in Los Angeles that did nothing but make him more depressed, make him long for Scully even more. And he had been stupid; sleeping with a woman that he knew had exchanged blood with various others. He didn’t care.

Hell, maybe that’s why he’d slept with her, hoping that he would die; die a long, horrible lingering death. At least he’d be with Scully…

Mulder was startled from his viewing by the ringing of the telephone, immediately having a reaction that he had been ‘caught’ doing something he shouldn’t. He gave thought to not answering it. He knew that the only one that he really wanted to talk to would not be on the other end of the line. But he did answer it, and he got the call he had almost lost hope he would ever get.

“Mr. Mulder?” the unfamiliar man’s voice asked.

“Who’s asking?” Mulder said, the bored tone in his voice apparent to the stranger.

“Mr. Mulder, this is Dr. Daly from Northeast Georgetown Medical Center and I’ve been asked to call you,” the man said calmly.

Mulder sat up, not knowing why his heart had begun to beat rapidly and his breath became shallow. “Yes…”

Mulder responded tentatively.

“Margaret Scully has asked me to tell you that Dana has returned. We have her here at the Medical Center.”

Mulder didn’t answer; didn’t turn off the phone; didn’t grab a coat, just grabbed his car keys and ran from his apartment. Scully…




Mulder entered the hospital calmly, going in search of the intensive care unit at a normal pace. But he couldn’t continue that way, beginning to jog down the hall the closer he got to where Scully was. As soon as he saw the door, he began to run in earnest, ignoring the warning of the nurse who nonsensically told him he couldn’t go in.

As soon as he burst through the doors he saw her, her lifeless body laying flat, tubes and wires and tape covering every part of her face and then some. He moved to the side of the bed, bending to look at her, wanting so badly to kiss her, to climb in the bed and hold her. Then he saw Scully’s mother, sitting next to the bed, one of Scully’s hands in both of hers. She didn’t look away from her daughter, didn’t even acknowledge that she had even noticed him enter. Mulder started to ask her what had happened, but after seeing her sad, intense expression, he went in search of the information he so desperately needed.

“Who brought her here? How did she get here? How did she get here?!! Was it paramedics? FBI? Military?”

Mulder demanded, yelling at the nurse and Dr. Dailey.

His anger just exploded; his anger at the injustice of everything that had happened to Scully, at the bastards who would do such a thing… at himself for putting her at risk.

Mulder had been removed from the ICU, ‘escorted’ away until he calmed and begged to be allowed to return to see Scully. Her condition was reported as terminal to him and he and Scully’s mother knew that she didn’t want to live in the condition she was currently in, but he couldn’t bring himself to give up. He needed to see her and went to her room to spend some time alone with her.

When he entered her room, he found a woman standing near Scully’s bed, a crystal suspended from her hand, her eyes closed in apparent meditation. Mulder looked at her for a moment, the woman finally smiling before opening her eyes to look at him. “I’ve been told not to call you ‘Fox’,” she said by way of greeting.

“By who?” Mulder asked suspiciously, the sound of Scully’s respirator keeping an eerie time.

“Dana… Just now,” the woman told him.

“Dana talked to you just now?” he asked skeptically, not really knowing what to make of this woman. “If she talked, the EEG would’ve moved.”

The woman laughed a slight laugh at her perception of his ignorance. “No, her soul is here,” she said before she noticed Mrs. Scully enter the room. “Hi, Mom,” she said softly.

“I’m glad you could come, Melissa,” her mother said softly, her emotional and physical weariness more than apparent in her voice.

“You’re Scully’s sister?” Mulder asked, not having an inkling that that was who the mysterious woman would turn out to be.

“Dana’s choosing whether to remain or move on,” she said then, her mother tired and resistive to Scully’s sister’s new age beliefs. She tried to get Mulder to understand; to believe what she was feeling, but he couldn’t.

“She’s not here,” Mulder told her, unable to just stand idly by and see Scully in her current state. He had to do more than wave his hands in the air he had told her and exited the hospital to try to find a clue, any clue, about what had been done to Scully.



Three days later

Mulder had found essentially nothing. The Gunmen had told him there was no hope, his informant had killed the man who may have had any clue to what was done to Scully and he was despondent, ready to murder for revenge for what was done to her. Mulder was told the men responsible would be coming to his apartment that night and he was sitting in his dark apartment holding his gun waiting for their arrival. He startled when he heard a soft knock at his door, unsure of who it could be, knowing it was too early for the visitors for whom he waited. He answered the door, finding Scully’s sister on the other side.

“I just came from the hospital. Dr. Daly says… she’s weakening… it could be anytime,” Melissa struggled to say. “So I figured you’d want to come down and see her.”

“Well, I can’t,” Mulder said, unable to think about this being the end, wanting his revenge instead.

“Well, I think that you would,” Melissa told him, her irritation at his mystery and evasiveness obvious.

“Yeah, I would. I can’t. Not right now,” he told her impatiently. They argued then, Melissa tiring of his apparent self-centeredness, Mulder tiring of her new age ramblings and telling her so. But her last words hit him hard.

“Why is it so much easier for you to run around trying to get even than just expressing to her how you feel?

I expect more from you—Dana expects more!” she told him angrily, moving to leave. But before she exited, she gave him words that hit him hard. “Even if it doesn’t bring her back, at least she’ll know. And so will you.” Mulder knew she was right; knew Scully would feel him there, no matter where her soul was…

and telling her how much he felt suddenly became more important than any revenge could ever be.



When Mulder entered her room, she looked almost peaceful, most of the tubes and wires removed, her respirator now gone. He sat next to her bed, taking her hand before speaking. “I feel, Scully, that… you believe you’re not ready to go. And you’ve always had the strength of your beliefs,” he said softly to her, his breath catching in his throat. “I don’t know if my being here… will help… bring you back… but I’m here.” He sat with her through the night, never leaving her side.

“Fox?” Margaret’s voice woke him from his brief doze.

“Hi, Mrs. Scully,” Mulder said, Margaret moving around the bed to stand in front of him.

“Have you been here all night?” she asked him softly.

He nodded slowly, moving his head to look around her to glance at Scully. “Most of it.”

Even though Margaret was losing her youngest daughter, she suddenly felt sorrier for Mulder than she did herself. She touched his hair, petting him softly as he hung his head, fighting tears. Margaret turned to look back at her daughter, her form as lifeless as someone could be and still be breathing. “She knows you’re here with her,” she told him, leaving the room and the two of them together.

Mulder stayed through most of the night, sometimes holding her hand, sometimes talking to her, sometimes just sitting there. Finally, Margaret had sent him home, not giving him much alternative. When he’d gotten to his apartment, he found it ransacked, knowing that those he had been waiting for had come while he had been at Scully’s side. He hadn’t been surprised by what he’d found, but feeling so alone and like such a failure. He’d failed to protect Scully and he wasn’t even able to make those who had harmed her pay for what they’d done.

He walked slowly into his apartment, finally slumping against the door jamb, his grief finally overtaking him as he sobbed into his hands. He sat like that for several long minutes, his body finally too exhausted to go on. He shoved everything on his couch to the floor before removing his jacket and dropping it there as well. As soon as he’d hit the couch, he’d fallen asleep in his clothes, his weariness over taking him.

He didn’t know how long he’d been asleep before he woke, sitting up to try to get his bearings. His mind barely seemed to want to work. Suddenly, the sound of his ringing phone startled him, his dread at what news he might hear when he answered the phone taking his breath. He let it ring a couple of times, letting his machine catch it first. ‘Hello, this is Fox Mulder.

Leave a message—’ it said into the dark before he picked up, knowing he had to answer, had to face what he feared he would hear on the other end of his phone.

“I’m here,” he responded defeatedly.

“Mulder, its Melissa… You need to come to the hospital. She’s awake,” Scully’s sister told him, a smile finding its way to his face. “She… she’s asking to see you.”

Mulder had practically flown to the hospital, suddenly unsure of what to say or do when he saw her. He slipped into the hospital gift shop to pick up a bouquet, but then changed his mind, selecting a different gift instead. He had to ask at the desk where her room was since she’d been moved from her place in the intensive care section. When he’d located her room, he could feel his breath shorten, both from excitement and apprehension. Was she really okay?

Would she be herself? Was she in any pain? He didn’t know how he’d find her.




When he’d entered her room, her sister was sitting on the edge of her bed, holding her hand, a sight that initially scared him. But when Melissa stood and moved away from the bed, he could see Scully and see that she was smiling even though her face was turned toward her mother who was sitting on the other side of her bed.

“Hello, Fox,” Margaret smiled to him.

“Not Fox… Mulder,” Scully said, bringing a smile to everyone’s face in the room. She turned toward him, looking at him with a smile that he feared he would never again witness. He wanted to kiss her, wanted to crawl into bed next to her and never let go. But he didn’t. They just looked at each other for several long seconds before he finally spoke, “How ya feelin’?”

“Mulder, I don’t remember anything,” her voice weak and coarse. “After Duane Barry…” she said, Mulder taken aback that she seemed to be apologizing for not being able to remember what had exactly happened to her.

He shook his head, not wanting her to feel that she had anything to apologize for, especially not to him. He had been the one who was unable to find her in time to save her. “It doesn’t… it doesn’t matter…” he reassured her. She closed her eyes and he could see that just speaking a few words seemed to take as much energy as she had. He felt inept, wanting to say so much, but seemingly, unable to say anything of worth.

“Brought you a present,” he said instead, opening his bag from the gift shop. “Superstars of the Superbowls.” He handed her a video tape, hoping that she would understand what he was trying to convey.

And Scully did understand what he was trying to convey to her; that life would go on and they’d be alright.

“I knew there was a reason to live,” she quietly teased, looking toward her mother with a smile, but her fatigue seemed to be overwhelming her. She was surprised when Mulder took her hand, not suspecting that he would do so in front of her sister and mother.

He wasn’t like that. “I know you wanna get some rest,” he said softly, his thumb caressing the back of her hand. “I… just came by to see how you were doin’…

to say ‘hi’.” He took her hand in both of his, giving it a soft squeeze before he turned to leave, his emotions about to get the best of him.

“Mulder…” she said softly and he turned back to look at her. “I had the strength of your beliefs.” Her look told him that she had so much more to say, that she needed to say. His gaze settled on her for a few moments before he nodded, touched by what she had said.

Then he remembered one of the other reasons he came by to see her. He dug around in his pockets until he located her cross and necklace that he had been wearing while she was gone. When Margaret realized what he had retrieved from his pocket, she remembered their day on the bench, wanting to believe that one day he would give her daughter’s cross back to her, but, admittedly, unsure that he would ever be able to.

“I was holding this for you,” he told her as he handed the gold chain to her. Scully had forgotten about her cross, but when she saw that he had been keeping it for her, she could barely temper her feelings. She turned to look at her mother, seeing the deep emotion in her eyes, both of them remembering the sentiment behind the small object.

“Thanks,” Scully’s voice no more than a whisper, but her expression making him smile. And in his last glance at her, she saw in his gaze a promise he would be back when they could be alone.

Her mother and sister hadn’t stayed too much longer, letting her get some much needed rest. She had slept for several hours and had woken thinking about the nurse she had fondly remembered from her time in intensive care. But when she’d asked about locating her, she was unsettled to find out there was no such person. Had this woman been a figment of her imagination? A dream? Her guardian angel? She knew that many people were watching over her. That was the only reason she was alive; she knew that. That and the fact that she had the strength that Mulder had given her in the relatively short time she had known him. Her belief that she would see him again had given her strength she wasn’t sure she would’ve had if she didn’t know him.

Scully had fallen asleep again fairly easily, having very little strength to do much else. She wasn’t yet able to get out of bed and she was only allowed clear liquids to eat. But, she didn’t seem to have much appetite anyway.

When Mulder entered her room, he found her asleep; glancing at his watch realizing it was almost midnight.

He thought about not disturbing her, but his need to be with her ruled out that idea fairly quickly. He sat on the edge of her bed near her hip, the movement of the mattress stirring her. It took her a moment to focus, but when she realized it was him, she suddenly felt totally awake. “Hi…” she smiled to him.

“Sorry I woke you,” he smiled back.

“No you aren’t,” she teased quietly, taking his hand in hers. “I’m glad you came back.”

“How are you feeling?” he asked, noting that she didn’t look much differently than she had before she was taken, except that her hair was longer.

“Better now,” she smiled to him again. She couldn’t seem to take enough of him in, not wanting to take her eyes off of him. “Actually, I feel okay. Just tired.”

Mulder reached toward her, stroking his hand over her head, “Your hair is so long… I like it.”

“Yeah… I, um, was a little shocked to find out how long I’d been gone. It, um, seems like I just woke up from a short nap,” she told him, her voice sad.

“Not to me,” Mulder said softly, his voice almost cracking.

Scully reached for him as she could, her weakness affecting her motor ability. “Come here,” she said softly to him, wanting to hold him and have him hold her. He bent over her, his arms sliding under her to hold her as he buried his face into the contour of her neck. He was holding her so tightly it was uncomfortable, but she didn’t tell him so, just wanting to feel him again. Then she realized he was crying, sobbing actually, seemingly unable to control himself.

“I’m here, Mulder. I’m okay…” she comforted.

“I’ve missed you so much,” he said, his words muffled into her hair. “I was so afraid I’d never see you again.” She held on to him, his strong grip on her still uncomfortable. She was trying to scan her memory, her remembrances of the time just prior to her abduction not totally clear to her. How had she and Mulder left things?

“Mulder…” she said, wanting to talk to him about everything that had happened while she was gone.

“I’ll never forgive myself for what happened to you, Scully,” he said, finally letting go of her to sit up, still holding on to her hands.

“Mulder, none of this was your fault. None of it,” she said strongly to him. “The only ones to blame are the people who took me.”

Mulder could see that she meant every word, that she didn’t blame him. But he still felt responsible; felt overwhelming guilt that he couldn’t protect her from whomever or whatever abducted her. “Scully, do you remember…?”

“I don’t remember anything… I think I remember Duane Barry in my apartment…” she explained, wishing she had some memory of what had happened to her. “Was he?”

Mulder nodded, the sight of her destroyed apartment splattered with blood coming back to him. “That’s all you remember?”

“I’m sorry…”

“Don’t say that, Scully. You have nothing to apologize for. Jesus, I’m just glad you’re here,” he said, gripping her hands tighter. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here talking to you.”

Scully smiled at him, thinking the same thing. “I’m really tired, Mulder. I’d like nothing more than to spend the rest of the night talking with you, but my stamina is about zip.”

Mulder could see how much energy it seemed to take her just to speak. “I’ll go… let you get some rest.” He bent to give her a kiss, a soft peck just next to her mouth. “I’ll, um, check on you tomorrow, if that’s okay.”

“I’d like that,” she said, barely able to keep her eyes open. She held onto his hand as he stood, only letting go when he walked far enough away from her that she could no longer reach him. He glanced back at her when he’d opened the door and could see that she was already asleep.



Ten days later

“So, they’re letting you go?” Mulder asked, Scully sitting in the chair next to her bed when he’d entered.

“Yeah…” she smiled. She had been through extensive physical therapy in the time she had been at the hospital, the therapists impressed by her progress.

They had told her that the excellent physical condition she was in prior to her abduction could very well have made the difference in her living or dying. The doctors ran every possible test on her and found nothing significant other than a few unknown blood abnormalities but they felt that could be easily treated with antibiotics and vitamins and dietary supplements. “They told me I could go home if I had someone to stay with me—”

“I’d be glad to,” he interjected immediately, wanting to be there for her, to somehow make up for letting things happen to her.

“Thank you, Mulder, but Missy said she’d stay with me,” she told him, surprised, almost shocked by his offer.

He had been to see her every day since she’d returned, sometimes a couple of times each day, but he had yet to really show any real physical affection toward her.

He’d hold her hand; give her a soft kiss when he’d leave, but nothing much beyond what any friend would do. She could remember that their relationship had had its problems but she also thought she remembered that they had made amends; that they had agreed to try again. But, he hadn’t given her any reason to believe that her memories were completely accurate. He had been sweet and kind, but hadn’t been in the least bit affectionate, something he was never short on when they had been involved.

“She can be with you when I’m at work. I’ll stay the rest of the time,” he said to her matter-of-factly, seemingly not giving her a choice.

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I want to do it,” he told her, moving to sit on the edge of her bed, the topic seemingly finished. “Can we leave now or…?”

“As soon as my doctor signs the release forms…”

Suddenly the door opened, both of them hoping for someone official that was going to discharge her.

“Missy,” Scully said, seeing her sister enter the room instead.

“You ready to go?” her sister asked by way of greeting, giving Mulder a glance. “Mom’s already at your apartment. She’s been cleaning for three days.”

“She’s all set,” a nurse said, appearing almost just as Missy did. Mulder took her small satchel and Missy helped the nurse get Scully into a wheelchair.

Mulder waited with Scully while Missy pulled her car up to the entrance. “I’ll go pick up some things and be back at your place in a little while,” he told her, Scully still not sure why Mulder was so insistent about wanting to stay with her.

And he had, knocking on her door only a few hours later. Her mother and Missy were there with her, Scully reclining comfortably against a pile of pillows on her couch. “Hello, Fox,” her mother said with a smile.

“Hi,” Mulder said, but looking at Missy, busy with something in the kitchen. “How’s Scully?”

“I’m fine and I’m right here,” she answered, letting them know she was in the room and listening to them act as if she wasn’t. Mulder took off his coat and walked over to her, sitting next to her hip on the couch.

“I’ll try again… How ya doin’?” he smiled to her.

“It’s nice to be home again,” she smiled back, now sorry for her earlier irritation. But her mother and sister had been doting on her to the point that she wanted to scream. They were trying to be nice, trying to help, but their efforts were gradually getting on her nerves. “You sure you want to stay?”


“What?” Missy asked quickly, hearing their conversation from the kitchen.

“Mulder’s going to stay with me,” Scully told her, Missy moving into the living room, their mother joining them.

“Dana, I’ll be here. I told you that,” Missy said, still unsure about what she thought of her sister’s partner.

Scully looked at Mulder before answering, letting him know she’d handle things. “I’ll need you when Mulder works, Missy. He’ll be with me when he can,” Scully told her sister, her mother looking on.

“That isn’t necessary,” Missy offered.

“It’s Dana’s choice, Melissa. And I feel safe when he’s here with her,” Margaret said, worried that someone might take her daughter again.

And Mulder had lived up to his word, staying every night with her for the next month, Scully wondering how he managed not to have one single case that took him out of town over night. “This is the off-season for the paranormal. Didn’t I tell you?” he had explained her questions away.

From the first day he had stayed with her, he had slept with her. He was next to her in bed, but there hadn’t been a hint of anything beyond a soft kiss goodnight.

It wasn’t as if she was able to do anything beyond sleeping once they got into bed, but she just wished she knew where she stood.

“Dana, talk to him,” Missy told her, wondering why her usually straight forward sister hadn’t made a point to confront Mulder with her questions.

“The thing is… I don’t exactly remember where our relationship was before I was… taken,” Scully explained, still having a difficult time using words like ‘abducted’ or ‘kidnapped’.

“But he does,” Missy answered and Scully knew she was right. She would be going back to work soon and she would be well enough that if either of them wanted to take things further, she would be able. She needed to get her bearings.

Mulder had been treating her as though she would break and she was growing tired of his doting, knowing she needed to have a talk with him, whatever the outcome.

Scully had been going to the FBI gym for a couple of hours each day, usually taking a swim, using the treadmill. In the early evening, usually after she and Mulder finished dinner, they would go for a walk, Mulder leaving her for awhile to run, then meeting up with her again before they would go back to her apartment. She felt stronger each day and was looking forward to Dr. Daly releasing her for duty, well, desk duty at least.

“Mulder, let’s just walk tonight… I need to talk to you,” Scully said as he’d helped her on with her coat as they left her apartment for their nightly ritual.

“Sounds ominous,” he said, picking up on her serious tone.

“I got released to return to work today. Desk duty,” she told him, getting to the outside door of her building first, opening it for herself before he had a chance to do it.

“You sure you’re ready?” he asked sincerely.

“I’m way beyond ready. Haven’t you noticed that I’ve been about to climb the walls?” she asked, her hands stuffed into her pockets. The air was cold, but not uncomfortably so; they were dressed well for the weather.

Mulder smiled, knowing there was probably no good answer to her question, but gave her one anyway. “I’ve noticed you’ve been a bit… um… well, is irritable an okay word to use?” he said, trying to tease her a bit.


They walked for a while without either of them saying much, Scully thinking over and over what and how she wanted to approach what was on her mind. She decided the best way was just to say it and get everything out on the table. “Mulder, we need to talk about what I remember and, I guess, what I don’t.”

“It doesn’t matter, Scully. Whoever did this to you has long ago covered their tracks. We couldn’t find them even if we knew where to look,” he said dejectedly.

“That isn’t what I mean. I mean I don’t remember, well, where you and I left off,” she said, both of them still slowly walking, sauntering actually. “I only have spotty memories, snippets of things from the day I was taken and even before that, I think.”

“What do you remember, about us, I mean?” he asked slowly.

“I… seem to remember that we weren’t exactly together… together,” she slowly explained, not having any recent visions of them making love. “But I don’t think we were apart either. I know we had been apart, but, it seems like I remember us… I don’t know, making amends?” she said, a question rather than a statement.

“Your memories may be better than you think,” Mulder smiled to her, finally taking hold of her hand as they walked.


“So… You don’t remember me coming by your apartment the night before… the night before Duane Barry…?”

he asked softly.

Scully thought for several long moments, trying to visualize the last thing she remembered of her life before. “I think I have a memory of you being in my living room… telling me we couldn’t do our work alone, that we could only do it together,” she started.

“And I think we were kissing, but I don’t seem to remember much else.”

“Wow, I didn’t know my kissing was that memorable,” Mulder kidded, Scully snickering along with him, relieved that they were finally talking. “We, um, decided to take things slower this time, your words, not mine.”

“I said that?” she smiled.

“You did.”

“What the hell was I thinking?” she smiled back, stopping, slipping her arms around his neck. “I’ve been wrong before,” she said, standing on her toes to kiss him, Mulder’s arms reaching around her to pull her close. They kissed for several long moments, each of them enjoying the feelings they had missed for so many long months. “Let’s go home,” Scully sighed, suddenly overcome with emotion.

After they had returned to Scully’s apartment from their walk, Mulder had gone to take his shower first, Scully making sure all the lights were out and the apartment was locked before she got into bed. She was somewhat surprised that he came out of the bathroom in his pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, the same thing he’d been wearing to bed since she’d gotten home from the hospital. And she was even more surprised when, again, he gave her a soft kiss, telling her “Goodnight, Scully,” just like he had each night as well.

Scully thought maybe he was waiting for her to initiate things, so she turned to him, wrapping her leg over his, slipping her fingers through his hair. “I’m not really sleepy,” she smiled to him before giving him a soft kiss. “Are you?”

“Scully, I don’t think we should be doing anything. I mean, I don’t think you’re strong enough yet,” he told her, his words sounding lame even to himself.

“Mulder, I’m fine. I’ve been released by my doctor to resume normal activity. And I think making love would fall right into that category, don’t you?” she smiled to him.

Mulder looked at her for several long moments, not exactly knowing where to start to explain his hesitancy to be with her. He wanted to be more than anything he could imagine, but knew he needed to be honest with her. “I need to tell you something, Scully,” he started. She noticed his serious expression, sensing that something was not as it should be with him.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, moving to sit up, as did he, leaning against the headboard.

“I did something really stupid while you were missing,” he started, barely able to look at her.

“What do you mean?”

“After I searched for you and hit dead ends everywhere, I, um, kinda fell apart, I guess. I, uh, took a couple of months off work…”

“Mulder, you never mentioned anything about this. Why didn’t you tell me before?” she asked, realizing how hard her disappearance had been on him.

“After Skinner re-opened the X-Files and I finally came back to work, I had a case in California; the specifics are not really important,” he began, his words seeming to catch in his throat, but he continued. “I could barely concentrate on the work, wondering if I’d ever be able to really continue on with anything. I, um, there was a suspect in the case I was working… a woman.”

And that one word made Scully’s stomach flip, almost already knowing where he was going with his story. “I think I understand,” she said, suddenly seemingly interested in her hands that were squirming in her lap.

“Yeah. I’m sure you’ve already guessed where this story is going,” he said, his regret apparent in his voice. “It was self-destructive, Scully. I know you aren’t going to believe this, but she was a vampire, someone who drank blood from someone else. And I slept with her, not caring what happened to me, maybe even subconsciously hoping something would happen to me…

put me out of my misery,” he told her honestly. “It was meaningless and stupid. I’m not making any excuses for my behavior, Scully, but you have no idea how guilty I felt about your disappearance.”

“Have you been tested?” Scully asked, now in doctor mode.

“Once. It was negative. I’m waiting for the results of my second test,” he admitted. “I don’t want to endanger you.”

“Does anyone know about this?” she asked, wondering if any of what he’d just told her was part of the official case report.

“No. It didn’t have any relation to the case… and I wasn’t exactly proud of my behavior…” he confessed and meant it. Scully could barely process what he’d just confessed, let alone know what she really thought or how she should feel about what he’d done. “I’m sorry, Scully.”

She simply nodded. He could see by her expression, the way she pursed her lips, that she was upset and hurt by what he’d shared with her. Maybe it would’ve just been better if he’d kept his mouth shut…

And by the next morning, he knew he was probably right.

“I think I can manage on my own, Mulder,” she told him at breakfast. “I need to get back into some kind of routine.” But he knew what she really meant; she wanted him to leave. She was upset, pissed, angry, hurt, whatever and she needed to be away from him. And he knew he needed to give Scully her space. And as much as he didn’t want to, he would give it to her.



Three weeks later

Scully had gone back to work, glad she didn’t have to go back to Quantico and could, at least, work desk duty at the Hoover building. Mulder was called back to California to testify about his infamous vampire case and Scully used the opportunity to read the case file about Kristen Kilar. It didn’t explain much and she didn’t find any answers. Hell, she didn’t even know the questions.

She and Mulder had co-existed fairly well, both of them ignoring the large pink elephant in the room— their personal relationship. But neither said anything about it, just falling into their familiar routine of work and more work. Scully kept herself on a strict routine, only working her regular hours leaving any overtime to Mulder. She continued to work out and had passed her physical and psychological workups and had been released to return to full duty. She had been offered on-going counseling, but after attending her mandated three appointments, declined any further sessions. She said since she had no memory of her abduction, she seemed to have no residual trauma from having been taken. If she didn’t know that so much time had passed, she said it was just like waking up the next day and returning to the X-Files. And although she knew Mulder wished she could remember something, anything, she was just as glad she couldn’t.

“I’m standing here on an historic eve with a group of scientists who can barely contain their excitement about this device which looks like a large titanium bug. Its name is Firewalker,” the reporter’s voice began, Mulder and Scully watching the video provided by Dr. Adam Pierce, a member of the original team who was exploring the volcano in Mt. Avalon in upper Washington state.

Mulder heard Scully ask Dr. Pierce, “How soon can we get up there?” and felt his heart begin to race. He had been okay with Scully returning to desk duty, but found himself protective of her, not wanting her to be put in any situation that might bring her harm.

“Scully,” he said softly, calling her over to where he sat at his desk. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go.”

“Mulder, I appreciate your concern, but I’m ready,” she told him, truly understanding that he was worried about her. “I wanna work.”

“Well, maybe you should take some time off,” he told her, the sincerity in his eyes bringing back too many memories.

“I’ve already lost too much time,” she answered quickly and he felt a deep pang of guilt file through him. He hoped he could protect her.

They had gone on their ill-fated trip to Mt. Avalon, one minute snipping at each other—

‘Mulder, that is science fiction! Look, Mulder, the fact is that all of these people are suffering to varying degrees from post traumatic stress and from a strictly medical point of view, we have to get them out of here sooner rather than later!’, Scully irritated, Mulder rolling his eyes.

‘We’ve got to get him to a hospital.’

‘What about Trepkos? We can’t just leave him.’ ‘Give me the shortwave!’ Mulder hell bent on finding information that she found outlandish, Scully losing her patience with his self- centeredness.

The next minute sharing tenderness—

‘He’s dangerous, Mulder. He’s already killed two men.’

‘Then I have to find out why.’

‘Will you at least let me go with you?’


‘Look, I know what you’re thinking, but you have to get past that. We both do. I’m back and I’m not going anywhere.’

‘You have to finish the autopsy… I’m counting on you to keep us all from ending up on that slab,’ Mulder tenderly rubbing her shoulder, his need to protect her touching her to her core.


‘I’m okay. I’m okay.’

‘You alright?’

‘I’m okay…’ Mulder softly caressing her cheek, relieved she wasn’t harmed.

Their next case had taken them to Delta Glen, Wisconsin and Mulder seemed to be in a sweet mood, Scully less irritable and sharp towards him.

‘You know, Mulder, with ribs like these, I’d say the Church of the Red Museum has its work cut out for it.’

‘Yehp,’ he agreed, wiping the barbeque from the corner of her mouth as if he had a right to.

And they had worked a case in Worcester, Massachusetts where both of them had nearly drowned, but they’d had a few moments of levity.

‘Whatever tape you found in that VCR isn’t mine.’

‘Good. Because I put it back in that drawer with all those other videos that aren’t yours.’

‘Are you saying the building is haunted? Because if you are, I think you’ve been working with me for too long, Scully.’

Their next case in Aubrey, Missouri felt like old times, both of them teasing a bit, working together to solve a 50 year old murder.

‘I guess that’s why we’re going to Aubrey.’

‘Yes and, also, I’ve always been intrigued by women named ‘BJ’.’

‘What if the recent murders triggered what was previously buried in her mind; some connection that she’d unconsciously made that no one else had been able to make?’

‘You mean a hunch?’

‘Yeah, something like that.’

‘That’s a pretty extreme hunch.’

‘I seem to recall you having some pretty extreme hunches.’

‘I never have,’ Mulder smiled to her, both of them having a laugh at that.

But it was their next case, a case that Mulder had taken in Minneapolis just to give them a vacation on the FBI’s dime to see a football game between the Redskins and the Vikings, that had nearly been Scully’s last.


One week later

“You okay, Scully?” Mulder asked, both of them sharing an umbrella to ward off the cold drizzle.

“Yeah, I’ve read about cases of desecrating the dead before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it,” she answered softly, Mulder picking up on her discomfort.

“Nothing can prepare you for it. It’s almost unimaginable,” he answered, Scully noticing his almost nonchalance.

“Why do they do it?”

“Well, some people collect salt and pepper shakers.

Fetishists collect dead things; fingernails and hair.

No one quite knows why. Although I’ve never really understood salt and pepper shakers myself,” he said in his droll manner.

Scully looked at him, almost irritated by his cavalier attitude toward behavior that she found extremely disturbing. “Sometimes you surprise me, Mulder.”

“Why’s that?” he asked, opening the car door for her, both of them getting in the car.

“How that didn’t shock you back there.” The sight of a young girl’s corpse with her hair and fingers cut off still making her skin crawl, upsetting her entire being.

“I prepared myself for it before we left Washington,” he said matter of factly, something that irritated her.

She stared at him for a few moments, thinking about slugging him for dragging her all that way on what was beginning to look like a wild goose chase. “You knew this wasn’t UFO related from the start?”

“I suspected as much, yeah.”

Scully was doing a slow burn, but was trying to hold her temper. They had been getting along much better, both of them seemingly trying to move on. “It took us three hours to get here. Our plane doesn’t leave until tomorrow night. If you suspected…”

Mulder smiled at her, interrupting her sentence, knowing she was getting irritated at him and he had pulled her chain long enough. “Vikings versus Redskins, Scully. Forty yard line in the Hubert H.

Humphrey Metrodome. You and me,” he smiled to her, showing her his VIP tickets.

Despite herself, she smiled to him, knowing this was just his way of trying to make amends. “You didn’t have to come up with such an outlandish ruse to get me to go to a football game with you.”

“You think this is outlandish?” he grinned.

“I guess not for you,” she smiled back. “Are we, at least, paying for the tickets or is Uncle Sam footing that bill, too?”

“Danny owed me a favor. I fixed him up with Holly…

in the communications department,” Mulder told her proudly.

Scully burst out laughing, the thought of Mulder matchmaking seeming absolutely hilarious to her.

“Matchmaking, Mulder? You can’t even keep your own relationship going, let alone…” she said before she realized how it sounded, seeing the hurt in Mulder’s eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”

“Why not? It’s true,” he answered, his eyes straight ahead on the road.

Scully reached over and touched his hand, wanting him to look at her. “I didn’t mean that,” she reiterated.

Mulder glanced at her, seeing her look of regret and gave her a smile, nodding his acceptance of her apology. “Guess where we’re staying?” he asked, figuring it would be a good idea to change the subject.

“Ohhhh, I don’t know. The Timberwolf Trailer Park?”

she teased, mocking Mulder’s penchant for picking tacky, second rate motels.

“No, they were full. Actually, I’ll just surprise you,” he smiled to her, enjoying teasing her, taking her mind off the body that had seemed to upset her so.

Scully could seemingly do an autopsy with one hand and eat a sandwich with the other, her professionalism second to no one’s. But the body in the desecrated grave had really seemed to unnerve her.

Scully was surprised when Mulder had pulled into the Adam’s Mark Hotel, a very nice, very expensive looking hotel. He had the bellhop get their luggage from the trunk and the valet park their car, Scully taking it all in in silence. But when he registered at the desk and the clerk asked if he wanted one or two keys, she knew he had only booked one room. “Mulder,” she said, walking a few steps from the desk, her look asking him to follow her. “We’re on a case and I’m not sure one room is such a good idea… yet.”

“The room’s on my tab, Scully, and I don’t think there’s much of a case, for us, at least. But it’s your choice. I’ll get another room,” he told her, turning to go back to the desk. But Scully reached for the sleeve of his coat, giving him a soft smile.

“It’s on your tab?”

They had settled into the room, Scully noticing it had only one bed, albeit a large king size. Their room was big and had a balcony with a seventeen story high view of the Minneapolis skyline. “Nice view, Mulder,” Scully said, her back to him as she looked at the setting Saturday evening sun.

“Yeah, it is,” Mulder said, not even glancing out the glass of the sliding doors, moving to stand next to her.

“We need to talk, Mulder,” she said out of the blue, Mulder suddenly having a sense of dread.

“Okay…” he said, Scully turning to look up at him.

She moved to sit at the small table, her arm resting on its top. She wasn’t sure exactly what she was going to say, but they couldn’t just resume the physical aspect of their relationship without first talking about where they were in the whole scheme of things. “I’ve, a, thought about everything that’s happened… before I was taken, what you did while I was taken. Actually, I’ve thought of little else.”

“Yeah. I know the feeling,” he said, leaning against the cool glass doors.

“I’ve tried to understand why you would do what you did and I…”

“Scully, I don’t even understand why I did what I did.

I was… in the darkest place I’ve ever been in my life,” he started, almost begging her to understand.

Mulder moved to sit opposite her at the small table, wanting her to see that he meant what he was telling her. “Even though I tried to never give up on you, I admit that I was to the point where I thought I would never see you again. I didn’t care whether I lived or died.”

Scully reached across the table and took his hand in hers. “If you’d let me finish,” she smiled to him.

“The thing is, I do understand, Mulder. When you were missing, when Deep Throat was killed, I was… I was crazy with fear. And that was only a couple of days,” she smiled, still holding his hand. “I don’t blame you for trying to feel something other than pain. I don’t.”

“You mean that?” he asked, his heart pounding.

“Yeah… I do. And heaven knows I’ve thought about it long enough,” she chuckled, feeling a sense of immense relief at them having finally talked about what they should’ve talked about weeks ago. Mulder stood, continuing to focus on her as he moved to where she was still sitting across from him. He bent down in front of her, placing his hands on top of each of hers where they rested on the arms of the chair. “Scully…”

Scully fixed her eyes on his, her need for him to hold her as much as she could tolerate. She moved forward to wrap her arms around him, laying her head against his shoulder. “This has been the longest two months of my life, Mulder.”

“I know. Mine, too,” he told her as he held her, his voice just enough of a whisper for his breath to tickle the skin of her neck. “Scully, I’m sorry for being…

well, for being so fucking stupid.”

Scully pulled back from him, her small smile telling him everything he needed to know at that moment.

“You’re forgiven,” she said, her smile increasing when she noticed he seemed surprised that she had agreed with his assessment of himself as being stupid. She held his sad face between the palms of her hands, her thumbs stroking lightly across the bones of his cheeks.

“I love you, you know? Sometimes, I wonder why… but I do,” she smiled. “And I don’t think there is anything you can possibly do to ever change that, Mulder… No matter how hard you try.”

Mulder snickered, a knowing snicker, knowing that he could’ve said the same thing to her. He moved toward her, giving her a soft kiss which she gently returned.

“I want to make love with you tonight,” he told her gently, almost childlike.

“You think I’m that easy?” she teased, her fingers stroking through his hair.

“Nothing about you is ever easy,” he said, his smile felt against her neck as he kissed her there.

“Flattery will get you everywhere…” she said, a low moan following after Mulder had found ‘that’ spot behind her ear.

They managed to stumble to the bed, kissing and touching and dropping clothes as they went, making it to the bed almost simultaneous to the last piece being removed. “Good timing, Scully,” Mulder kidded as they fell to the mattress. “We haven’t lost our touch.”

“It’s your touch I’m more concerned with at the moment,” she replied, laying on her back against the pillow as he moved over her. He laid flat against her, his erection pressing into her thigh, her breasts pressed against his chest, most of his weight balanced on his elbows.

“Just so you know… My second test came back negative.

I’m clean,” he told her sincerely.

“I know that. You wouldn’t be here with me like this if you weren’t.”

“God, I love you,” he said before kissing her hard, thoroughly.

They kissed for several long minutes before he began moving his kisses down her neck, to the front of her throat before moving low enough to capture a nipple with his lips. She had been wet before they had ever made it to the bed, but at the feel of his lips and tongue on her breast, she felt her body lubricate itself even further. When Mulder began to move his kisses down to her stomach, she held onto his biceps, preventing him from moving any further down. “Mulder, let’s save that for another time…” she said softly to him. He smiled at her, then kissed her softly, shifting his weight to one arm, holding himself to enter her.

Entry was easy. “God, you’re wet, Scully,” he said as he did, his eyes clamping shut as he relished what he was feeling.

“I’ve missed you,” she told him, unable to keep her hands still as they danced across his back, his shoulders. They began to move together, their bodies finding the rhythm they remembered.

“Jesus, you feel good,” he whispered into her ear, his body moving firmly against hers.

“Nnnnnnnnn, Mulder. If you keep moving right where you are, you are going to make me a very happy woman in a… oh, god…few…Ohhhhhhhhhhhh,” she stopped, her voice ending with a gasp. He tried to stop moving long enough to let her ride out her climax, waiting for her to exhale. He began to move a little, the firm oscillation of her internal muscles making it impossible for him to remain completely still. “Oh, Muldermuldergodmulder. Ohgodohhhhhhhhhhh godddddd,” she moaned, his movements making the pleasure of her continuing orgasm becoming almost painful.

“Scully, I can’t…oh, fuuuccccck,” he said, his orgasm bursting into her, his body quivering as he released several more times before he could still. He lay over her, their panting the only sound within the stillness of the dark room. He tried to kiss her, snuggle against her neck, but could barely move. Scully could feel his breath against her neck, her brain beginning to register what was going on around her again.

“Mmmmmmmmmm,” she sighed, rubbing her foot languidly against the back of his calf, his thigh. “That was…

I don’t know what that was…”

“That was one big fucking simultaneous orgasm is what that was, Scully,” he teased as he moved off of her to his side, the combination of their fluids on his penis painting a trail across her thigh as he moved. She immediately turned on her side to face him, sliding her arms around his neck, her leg over his hip as she snuggled close to him. He wrapped his arms around her, one hand slipping down to caress her bottom, the other rubbing her shoulders, down her back.

“I love the feel of your hands on me…” she hummed softly as she laid her cheek against his shoulder.

“I love the feel of my hands on you, too,” Mulder said, moving to kiss her hair, smiling at himself at his good fortune. He moved back from her a little, looking at her, still wearing his smile. “We’ll always be together, Scully. This is for life…”

Scully kissed him softly. “You bet your ass,” she teased, garnering a laugh from him, before they both fell off to sleep.

They had slept in the next morning after awaking shortly after sunrise, making love again after they had ordered room service and finished their breakfast.

They were getting dressed to head to the game, Scully thankful she had brought a pair of jeans with her, not really having anything else that would be appropriate, or warm enough, for a football game. But Mulder had come prepared with two stadium blankets and a new heavy duty hooded official Redskins sweatshirt for her. She felt like a kid. But just before they were leaving their room, Mulder’s cell phone rang, Mulder wondering who would be calling.




Forty minutes later

“Sorry you had to miss your game, but we found more bodies dug up,” Agent Moe Bocks informed them to the din of the almost taunting play by play of the football game on the TV in Bocks’ office.

“Did you get your forensics report on your first victim?” Scully asked, not really wanting to look at it, but needing to if they were going to work the case.

She could hear Agent Bocks describing the morbid details behind her as she opened the file and began to leaf through it. As Scully looked at the pictures of the bloody ends of the victim’s fingers, their nails pulled out and the post mortem view of the women’s faces, she suddenly saw herself, the victim’s picture seemingly being one of her.

Scully slammed the file closed; leaving Agent Bocks’

office without a word, but Mulder noticed she was upset, realizing their case was really getting to her.

She went to the women’s restroom, washed her face a bit, trying to get her breath and calm her nerves.

After Mulder had decided that with two more victims they had better stay and help solve the case, she had researched more about what a death fetishist would likely be, the information only serving to heighten her already frayed nerves.

And after another murder had been discovered later that evening, Scully had found herself unable to view the body at the crime scene, something that had never happened to her before. She felt emotionally crippled by the bazaar nature of the crime, but didn’t know why.

Even though she felt she had no memory of the time of her abduction, for some reason, the case made her realize she had been away. She felt ill-prepared to handle what their case was dishing out.

The next morning, Scully was called upon to do an autopsy on the latest victim, a young woman, most likely a prostitute that the killer had picked up on the street. It took everything she had to get through it.

Mulder had stayed late at the FBI Field Office while Scully had returned to their hotel, totally exhausted from the autopsy and the feelings everything was churning up in her. She was sleeping when the phone rang, waking her from what she realized was a nightmare, again seeing herself as one of the corpses, the silhouette of what appeared to be the devil standing over her. It was Mulder and they had a suspect.

“Mulder, can I have a minute with you?” Scully asked, Agent Bocks excusing himself, noticing that she seemed to want to talk with her partner privately. They had gone to talk to the so-called suspect, all of them realizing he wasn’t likely to be the killer. But all of it was building within Scully, the men in the jail creeping her out.

“I think I could better drive this investigation if I could focus on the evidence,” she told him.

“What are you suggesting?” Mulder asked calmly.

“That I take the body back to Washington… I could run it through the finger print lab there… You know those guys; they can pull a print off…”

“Scully… if you’re having trouble with this case, I want you to tell me,” he told her softly, sincerely worried about her. Mulder noticed that she seemed to be trying to find a way to get some distance from their case, noticing just how much it seemed to be bothering her. It wasn’t like her.

“I’m not having trouble, Mulder,” she told him, but not very convincingly. She didn’t want him to know how the case had been affecting her. It made her feel weak, but her fear seemed to be getting the best of her.

“I’d understand. I mean, it’s not exactly easy to stomach,” he explained, wanting to reach out and take her in his arms, but resisting his urge in the middle of an FBI office where others could see.

“I’m fine,” she said, trying to smile at him. “Really, I, I just think we’re a long way from catching this guy. If we could get a print, we’d have something to focus on. But right now, we’re at a standstill,” she tried to convince him and, probably, herself. But Mulder knew she wasn’t being honest with him about her real reasons for wanting to return to Washington.

Hell, she could barely look at him while she was talking to him.

Mulder looked at her, seeing such fear and lack of confidence in her expression. “I think it’s a good idea,” he told her, letting her think his answer was because of the possibility of getting a print, but actually agreeing with her so that she could separate herself from their case. “I just don’t want you to think you have to hide anything from me,” his voice low and tender. “I’ve seen agents with twenty years field experience fall apart on cases like this. I have,” he said, finally reaching out to touch her, rub his hand over her shoulder.

“I’m fine. I can handle it,” she said, Mulder watching her walk away, wishing she wouldn’t hide her feelings from him. But that was Scully and she’d talk to him about it when she could. At least, he hoped she would.




Later that day

“You’re a very strong person. You’ve probably always felt you can handle any problem by yourself,” the therapist observed. “But you feel vulnerable now. Do you know why that is?”

Barely able to keep her composure, Scully though a moment, before shaking her head, “No,” her voice not much more than a whisper.

“Is it your partner? Is there a problem with trust?”

the woman asking, sensing that her partner might be part of her insecurity.

Scully shook her head, smiling at the almost absurdity of someone thinking she wasn’t able to trust Mulder.

“No. I trust him as much as anyone. I trust him with my life.”

“Can you talk to him about the way you’re feeling?”

“No,” Scully answered quickly, but the thought of him momentarily bringing a smile to her face. “I… don’t want him to know how much this is bothering me. I don’t want him to feel like he has to protect me.” The therapist looked at Scully’s file, reminding her how the fairly recent death of her father, her recent abduction could make her vulnerable and Scully agreed, her composure crumbling further. “…And I have counted on that fact to give me faith in my ability to do what I do. I want that faith back. I need it back.” It only took a few seconds for Scully’s self control to let go and she covered her face with her hands as she began to sob. Karen handed her a box of tissues and let her cry as long as she needed, not saying anything else until Scully was ready to talk.

“I think, Dana, there is maybe something more you need to talk about,” the woman said to her, sensing that Scully wasn’t being totally forthcoming.

Scully thought for a moment, taking in a deep breath to calm herself before speaking. “I think I may be remembering some things about my abduction,” she finally admitted.

“And you think this case is stimulating these memories?”

“Maybe… I keep seeing myself lying on a steel table.

I’m not sure if it is because of the pictures of the victims or if they are actually memories of where I was… what might have been done to me,” Scully said to the attentive woman sitting across from her. For some reason, she seemed to be able to tell a complete stranger things she was yet unable to tell Mulder.

“It is not uncommon for someone to repress memory of things too painful to remember. And it is also not uncommon for someone to have flashbacks, stimulated by a variety of things,” she explained.

Scully nodded, still dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.

“I realize that. I… guess I was caught off guard by this case.”

“That’s something that seems to bother you, being caught off guard. You seem to keep your feelings fairly guarded,” she observed.

“I’m a woman in a man’s arena. It’s a daily task to not allow the men’s club to treat me as less than they are.”

“But can you turn that off? With your partner? With your personal relationships?”

“Sometimes. It’s still difficult for me, I guess,” Scully admitted, knowing her emotional walls weren’t just put up at work.

Scully and the counselor had explored that aspect for a while, Scully explaining that she had developed those habits as a child because she had moved so much because of her father’s career and had a difficult time establishing relationships because of it. She always seemed to be the new kid that wasn’t really part of the inner crowd.

“Are you in a relationship now, Dana?” Karen had asked her, hoping that she had someone to confide in.

“I guess, of sorts,” Scully smiled, never exactly sure how to describe her relationship with Mulder. Only two short days ago, she probably would have answered with an ambiguous negative.

“Of sorts?”

“Our relationship is a bit unorthodox,” Scully said, not wanting to reveal that she was involved with her partner, to risk the possibility that it could end up in her permanent file. But she wasn’t able to disguise her emotions well enough to successfully hide her information from someone who was well-trained in reading everything about a person, not just listening to what they were verbalizing.

“I think I may see why you are trying so hard to cover the feelings you’re having about this case,” the woman observed knowingly. “It’s your partner you’re involved with, isn’t it?” the woman asked directly, but not accusingly. Scully smiled and nodded almost imperceptibly, a bit unnerved that her counselor was so perceptive, wondering what else she may be picking up from her. “But I think that begs the question, Dana…”

“Why can’t I just talk to him?” Scully filled in for her. “Yeah…”

“Maybe you’re underestimating him. Maybe you should give him a chance to understand,” the woman told her sincerely. “I don’t have to tell you, Dana, what lack of communication will do to a partnership, professional or personal… or both.”

When Scully had exited Karen Kosseff’s office, she felt like she’d been beaten with a club, both emotionally and physically. Counseling was difficult when you have a good counselor and she definitely put Karen in that category, so her long session had drained her. But Karen had made a good point; she needed to talk to Mulder.

Scully had cut short her trip that she had initially devised, in part, so that she wouldn’t have to go back to Minneapolis and, instead did just that. But as she’d left the rental car lot at the airport, she had, of course, been forced off the road and kidnapped by Donnie Pfaster. And by the time Mulder had located her, she had been through an ordeal that she would never forget.

“Sure you don’t want to sit down, Scully, and let somebody take a look at you?” Mulder said softly to her, seemingly oblivious to the other agents in the room taking Pfaster into custody.

“I’m fine, Mulder.” Her voice trembled as she spoke, trying to hold herself together, but unable to look at him. But as soon as he’d touched her chin, lifting it to make her look at him, she felt all her reserve crumble the instant his eyes met hers. She fought not to cry, but knew it was futile and Mulder recognized it, too. Despite that fact, he was surprised when she moved toward him, burying her face against his chest and beginning to sob, the other agents trying not to notice. He softly wrapped his arms around her, moving his hand to stroke her hair in comfort. He felt her arms encircle his waist as she continued to sob, her whole body trembling while she squeezed herself against him so tightly he felt her full strength. He had never witnessed her become so emotional in front of her co workers and never thought he would.


MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA Later that night “I’ve got our flights. Two thirty, so we can get a little sleep,” Mulder said softly to her, sitting next to her hip where she reclined on the bed. He tried to get her to go to the local hospital to be examined but she refused adamantly, just wanting to get back to the hotel and take a shower.

Mulder hadn’t pressed her for conversation on the way to the hotel and understood when she went directly to the bathroom when they had gotten back to their room.

He gave her some time, but was concerned enough that he looked in the bathroom to check on her and could see her silhouette behind the shower door just standing there, no water running. Mulder undressed and got in with her, reaching around her to turn the water on, adjusting the temperature before pulling the shower knob. He wrapped his arm around her from the back, moving her to stand under the shower to let the warm water soothe over her.

And soothe it did. She could feel some of her tension seemingly wash down the drain with the water. But it was Mulder’s understanding and support of her that helped most in finally allowing her to relax. They hadn’t yet said a word to each other until Mulder began to soap her hair and her simple words of “Thank you,” were all the words said until he had gotten her into bed.

Scully looked at the clock and noticed it was almost 5:00am and she was no where near feeling like she could sleep. “Mulder, I have a prescription bottle in my bag in the bathroom. Could you get it for me, please,” she asked, scooting up in the bed a bit to sit.

He got her the bottle and a glass of cool water, handing them to her before calling the desk for a wake up call. “Eleven early enough?” he asked and she nodded, taking a pill with the entire glass of water.

“Maybe you should take one, too,” she said, handing him the small bottle.

“I’ll be fine,” Mulder said, setting the container on the bedside table without taking one. He knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep and he wanted to be awake to keep an eye on her anyway. He got in bed next to her, gathering her close to him, pulling the sheet and blanket further up over them. “Okay?” he asked.

“Good,” she answered, snuggling in next to him, falling off to sleep fairly quickly. But he knew she was far from being good and he wasn’t sure how long it would be before she would be again.



Three weeks later

Typically, Scully had said very little about her ordeal in Minnesota, even when Mulder had tried to ask a couple of times. But, typically, he didn’t really try very hard to get her to talk, neither of them the greatest at talking about their inner fears and feelings. They had worked a couple of cases, their lives threatened when caught between a New Hampshire town’s secret occult religion and a woman with strange powers. Then they had traveled to a Haitian refugee camp in North Carolina, finding themselves caught in a war between the camp commander and a Voodoo priest.

But it would be their next case that would most threaten their existence together.

They had been tracking several missing doctors who, strangely, they found all looked alike. They had found evidence of possible cloning in a laboratory in Germantown, Pennsylvania and were trying to follow up on various leads they had found. Until the afternoon Scully had come back to the office and the case seemed to take a left turn.

Scully had been trying to find some DNA evidence, locating one of the doctor’s bags and showing it to Mulder when she walked into the office. “I didn’t find anything much to go on, but I’ve got an address,” she told him as she entered.

“Check it out. I’ll call you as soon as I can,” he said solemnly to her, grabbing his coat.

“Where are you going?” she asked, somewhat stunned by his abrupt exit.

“Home,” was all he’d said as he left, leaving her standing in the office not understanding what had just happened. She was used to Mulder’s obsessive focus, his sometimes inconsiderate actions that could hurt her feelings. But he had been doing better, sometimes, and particularly since her abduction and her ordeal in Minnesota. But, when he ditched her, it still hurt.

Mulder had gone to his father’s home, finding the news his father had sitting in the living room talking to his mother— His sister. Or, at least, a young woman who claimed to be his sister, all of them skeptical at first, but coming to believe that she could probably not be anyone else. Mulder hadn’t slept all night, finally helping his mother to bed after sunrise. He walked outside on the porch to get some fresh air and found Samantha sitting alone, wrapped in a blanket to insulate herself from the morning chill.

“Is it too late for a game of Stratego?” she asked, bringing a smile to his face, his memory of their last game flashing through his mind.

“Twenty-two years too late.” He walked over to where she was sitting, leaning against the porch rail in front of her.

His sister could see his fatigue, the worry lines around his eyes. But she also saw his smile at her mention of their childhood game. “I don’t think Dad could think of anything to say. He just… sat here.”

“So much has happened,” Mulder told her, knowing how their father must be feeling. “Where do you begin?”

“I must have been nine or ten when I was returned. I had no memory,” she started to explain, standing to move closer to him. “I was placed with a family who raised me as a daughter.”

“Who were they?” he questioned, almost unable to absorb everything she was telling him.

“I knew they weren’t my parents, but I didn’t remember Mom or Dad… or you.”

“But you came to remember… us,” he said, hopefully.

“I started having trouble several years ago. It was diagnosed as free-floating anxiety. Nothing worked for me. I hit rock bottom,” she confessed, seeming sincerely trying to explain things to her brother.

“Until I underwent regression hypnotherapy. And it all started coming back,” her voice starting to break.

“The abductions… the tests…” She moved to him, laying her head against his chest, wrapping her arms around him. He enfolded her, still almost unbelieving that he had his sister back, despite how much her story was breaking his heart all over again.

Samantha moved back from him, looking at him sincerely before speaking. “I’m in danger, Fox.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve been contacted. You know there’s a man hunting my father and the other doctors.”

“You’re fa, your father?” Mulder not wanting to hear her call someone else ‘father’.

“My adoptive parents. They’re only visitors here. What people would call aliens.” Mulder continued to listen, almost unbelieving what he was hearing. “A bounty hunter has been sent to kill them. You’ve met this man. His lies to you have caused others like my father to die. He won’t stop until he’s killed them all and anyone who tries to stop him. He’ll come for me soon.”

Mulder listened to what she had told him, feeling it must be true since she seemed to know so many details about the case he and Scully were working on. He tried to call Scully, leaving a message of warning that she wouldn’t get. And as he’d done that, she was trying to contact him. “Mulder, it’s me,” she called him from the seat on a public bus. “I’ve just left my apartment and I don’t think I’ve been followed. I’m gonna be staying at the Vacation Village Motor Lodge off the I90 in Germantown. Now by the time you reach me I should have some very important information for you regarding this case.”

But what she didn’t know was that she had been followed by the bounty hunter, the man hearing everything she had just told Mulder. She had pursued the address she found on the doctor’s bag and found a lab that had contained not only growing fetuses, possibly clones, but the identical doctors they had been pursuing.

Scully had all four of the doctors held in maximum security protective custody, not really sure who they were, but feeling they were very important to the case she and Mulder had fallen into.

Finally, Mulder and his sister had gone to his apartment and he had listened to her message, calling the motel where she said she’d be in her message.

Evidently, she hadn’t yet registered, so he left a message with the clerk, the man not realizing the importance of the note he didn’t take because of the broken lead of his pencil. So when Scully did register, she never knew of Mulder’s call or his impending warning.

Scully got to her room and took a shower, not hearing her phone again, Mulder desperately trying to reach her. She innocently laid down to take a nap, not remembering when she’d last had any sleep, but awakened by a knock at her door. “Who is it?”

“Scully, it’s me,” she heard Mulder’s voice. Scully looked through the curtain and saw that it was Mulder, relieved that they had finally connected. She had so much to tell him.

“I got your message,” he told her as he walked through the door.

“Where have you been?” Scully asked, turning away from him to answer her ringing cell phone that was lying on her bed. “Scully,” she said into the phone.

“Scully, it’s me. Where are you?” she heard Mulder’s voice say and suddenly felt her heart start to pound.

Who the hell was the person in her room if Mulder was on the other end of the phone? “Scully? Are you there?” he asked her silence through her cell.

“Scully? Are you there? Scully? What’s going on?”

She was still almost too stunned from hearing his voice when he’d seemingly just walked into her hotel room.

“No, sorry,” she told him, hanging up, knowing he would sense that something was wrong and be on his way to help her. She didn’t know why, but she followed her instincts, believing that it was the real Mulder on the phone, the man currently standing in her hotel room some kind of imposter. As implausible as it seemed, she knew that, somehow, there were clones being made and she felt he must be one of them.

“Who was that?” the ‘Mulder’ in her room asked.

“Wrong number,” she lied. “Where’ve you been, Mulder?

I’ve been trying to get hold of you.”

“I’ve been trying to reach YOU. I went by your house but you weren’t there. I got here as quickly as I could.”

She needed to stall him while making her way to get her gun that was hidden in her waist pack on the bed. “Why didn’t you call when you got my message?” she asked.

“I did call. I, I couldn’t get through,” he gave as an excuse.

But in the next instant she pulled her gun and pointed it at him. “Put your hands against the wall!”

“Scully, what are you doing?” he asked innocently, a bit too innocently.

“I said put your hands against the wall!” she yelled forcefully, still pointing her gun directly at him.

“What’s wrong?” he said, trying to fool her, but she somehow knew it wasn’t him, no matter what he’d said.

“Do it!!”

“Scully, it’s me,” he said, but complied with her, turning and placing his hands flush against the door.

“I don’t know who you are.”

He kept talking, trying to distract her and it worked just well enough for him to turn and hit her squarely in the jaw with a right cross, knocking her into the wall.

The man picked her up, grabbing her by the fabric of her jacket, pushing her against the wall as he lifted her from the floor. “Where is he?” the man said, his voice and his physical appearance now changing drastically. “That was him on the phone, wasn’t it?

Tell me where he is.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, panting, knowing he would kill Mulder if he found him.

The man tossed her like she was no more than a feather, her body falling into the hotel table, the glass top crashing as it broke. After that, she remembered little else.

Mulder and his sister had gone to look for her, Mulder sick at seeing the disarray of the hotel room, the broken table telling him Scully had been in a hell of a fight. “Your partner is alive,” his sister reassured him.

“How do you know?” Mulder asked desperately.

“He took her to get me. He’s gonna contact you. He’s gonna say he wants to make a trade. Your partner’s life for mine,” Samantha told him, knowing what the bounty hunter really wanted and she knew it wasn’t her brother’s partner.

“Why? Why does he want to kill you?”

“Because I know how to kill him.”

“How do we find him?” Mulder asked as they left the motel.

“We don’t. He’ll find us,” she told him plainly.

Mulder and Samantha went to Mulder’s apartment to wait to be contacted and Mulder was frantic, unable to even sit for any length of time. He was having trouble absorbing everything, even after his sister had explained who the man was, who the clones were, what they were doing including combining human DNA with alien DNA. He was beginning to wonder just what his sister had been involved in while she had been missing and just how deeply she had become involved.

With Skinner’s aid, Mulder and Samantha had set up a trap and Scully was shocked to learn that he had agreed to trade his sister to the bounty hunter for her. Even after the twenty two years he’d spent searching for his sister, when it had come down to it, he had chosen her.

But the whole trade hadn’t gone well and his sister and the bounty hunter had ended up in the river. He held out hope that she might be found alive, scrambling to find some way to locate her.

Mulder had found a note that his sister had left him and headed to the Women’s Health Clinic in Rockville, Maryland while Scully stayed in Bethesda to work with the crew searching for his sister. But just as he reached the clinic, his cell phone rang and it was Scully.

“Mulder, it’s me,” she said, heartsick with dread at having to tell him what he had found.

“Scully, she left a path in case we got separated,” he told her hopefully in reference to her note. “I think she’s alive.”

“I think you should come back as soon as you can,” she told him softly, watching the EMT’s near the river’s edge.

“Why? What’d you find?” he asked hopefully.

“It’s your sister,” she told him sadly. “We just pulled her body out of the river.” He didn’t say anything, the silence on the other end of the phone deafening to her. “Mulder, I’m so sorry…” It had been all she could do to call him with the news, but knew it would be best for him if he heard it from her.

Finally, he spoke. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah…,” she replied sadly. “You know…, whatever you’re feeling, you can’t blame yourself,” she tried to comfort, her chin quivering, upset at having to tell Mulder news that she knew would devastate him. Again, he didn’t say anything, his silence killing Scully.

“Mulder, please talk to me. Come home. You need to be with your family now,” she told him, trying to stay calm. “I need to see you.”

“I need to find out what is going on, Scully. Now, more than ever.”

Scully’s news had seemed to bolster his drive instead of making him give up. After he’d hung up from Scully, Mulder went on into the clinic anyway and found the clones of his sister, realizing the young woman who had returned to him hadn’t been his sister after all.

Mulder couldn’t resolve in himself everything that had happened. He’d thought he’d lost his sister only to find that he’d never really had her. Scully’s life had been put on the line for a personal pursuit of his, a personal pursuit that hadn’t even yielded him any answers. But he knew the bounty hunter was out there somewhere and, maybe, just maybe, so was his real sister. And just maybe, he could find out where.



The next day

Scully knocked at his door, but there was no answer, something that didn’t surprise her. She entered with her key and went directly to his computer. She immediately found a message directed to her, seemingly hearing his voice reading it to her.

‘Scully- When you get this message I will be too far away for you to stop me, but where I’m going I cannot allow you to follow. I won’t let you jeopardize your life and your career for reasons purely personal to me.

You were right, Scully— you said a line has to be drawn somewhere. I’m drawing it for you here. I’ll contact you when I can.’

Scully was desperate to find him, knowing he was in grave danger, especially if he ran into the bounty hunter. She went to Skinner practically begging for his help. But he had become angry at her, ignoring her desperation. “Agent Mulder’s actions in this case are in violation of his duties, his oath of trust and bureau protocol. He’s risked my position, your life,” he told her.

“Agent Mulder has saved my life!” she yelled at her boss, all her emotions near the surface. She knew that she would not be alive if Mulder hadn’t rescued her from Donnie Pfaster, something that Skinner hadn’t even realized.

“If he wanted or expected you to do the same, he would’ve told you where he was going,” Skinner told her, hoping she would stop looking for her partner, putting herself in danger to do so. His words cut her to the bone, the truth behind them hurting her, almost stunned she had been put in her place, a place that didn’t seem to matter much to Skinner or Mulder for that matter.

Regardless, she didn’t give up, contacting Mulder’s source, getting no further with him than she did her boss. But, in spite of how he had treated her earlier, Skinner had come through for her, finding Mulder’s location through ‘unofficial channels’ and she set off to find him, hoping it wasn’t too late.



Two days later

Scully burst though the doors of the ER, seeing Mulder, sitting in a tub with an oxygen mask on, recognizing that he must be near death. “I’m Dana Scully. I’m Agent Mulder’s partner. What are his vitals?” she said, showing her badge, her voice shaking with emotion. Scully knew what was wrong with him, having seen the retrovirus in Agent Weiss in Syracuse.

A man, who appeared to be the doctor in charge, spoke abruptly to her. “He’s suffering from extreme hypothermia.”

“No, you’ve got to get him out of the tub!” Scully tried to explain what was wrong with Mulder and how the doctor’s current treatment was exactly opposite of what should be done. “If you keep him in there, you’re going to kill him. The cold is the only thing that’s keeping him alive.”

Suddenly she heard the monitors change tune and she immediately recognized that Mulder had flat lined, the attending doctor calling for an injection of epinephrine. “You don’t know what you’re dealing with here!” Scully yelled at them, trying to explain, the attending doctor trying to argue with her, send her from the room. But she didn’t give up, scared beyond words that she would be witness to the stubborn doctor’s methods ending Mulder’s life. “No, the only thing saving him right now is the hypometabolic state induced by the cold. Now, if you don’t do what I’m saying, you are going to kill him!” she implored and finally, the doctor seemed to realize that she seemed to know what she was talking about.

But even as she helped to revive him, using the defibrillator on him herself, she couldn’t believe where she was and what she was doing and who she was doing it to. It all seemed surreal, but she was on auto pilot, her only purpose being to save him.

“This patient is not going to recover,” the snotty doctor said almost under his breath.

“He’s going to make it,” she gave back to him, almost demanding it to be, but gently petting Mulder’s hair back from his bruised and discolored face.

After a treatment of transfusions and an aggressive treatment with antivirals, Mulder began to recover.

Scully sat vigil by his bed, buoyed by the fact that he seemed to be slowly getting better, even though he still hadn’t regained consciousness. She had gone back to the quarters they had given her for a couple of hour’s rest, not able to stay upright any longer. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept.

She felt somewhat better after her nap, returning to Mulder’s room to sit by his side, holding on to his arm, saying a silent prayer. Just then, he began to stir, hearing a familiar grunt coming from him as he woke. All she could do was smile. “Hey,” she said and he turned his head toward the familiar voice. He wished he could say how relieved he was to see her face, having no idea what had happened or where he was, but knowing that things would be okay because she was there. “How ya feelin’?” she asked, still unable to remove her grin.

“Like I got a bad case of freezer burn,” he managed to whisper, his words so much like him that he couldn’t have said anything more comforting to Scully. She explained to him where he was and how he’d gotten there, just glad that they were anywhere together.

“Thanks for ditching me,” she said, so angry several days before when he had done so, but her anger now all gone.

“I’m sorry, I, uh, I couldn’t let you risk your life on this,” he told her sincerely.

“Did you find what you were looking for?”

“No, no… I found something I thought I’d lost.” Her eyes asked him what he meant. “Faith to keep looking.”

His words warmed her very soul, her love for him and his passion overwhelming. She looked back at the door, seeing it was safe for her to lean over and give him a kiss. She did, stroking his rough, chapped cheek as her lips met his. She gave him another 100 watt smile, “you taste like lemons,” commenting on the lip balm they had used to treat his damaged skin.

“When someone gives you lemons, make lemonade,” he quipped, Scully comforted by his familiar corny sense of humor.

“You scared the hell out of me,” she told him tenderly.

“How long have I been here?” he said, still feeling disoriented.

“This is day three,” she told him and he could see that the days had been harder on her than they had been on him.

Mulder smiled at her, looking down to find her hand, taking it in his. “You okay?” he asked, his voice low and scratchy.

Scully only nodded, trying to keep her composure, but finally crumbling as she laid her head against his chest and began to cry. He stroked her hair with his other hand, letting her cry as long as she needed.

“Don’t ever do this to me again, Mulder,” she told him when she’d finally quieted, looking him squarely in the eyes.

“I did it to protect you,” he tried to explain.

“Do I look like I felt protected?” she asked, knowing he could see the tired, worn expression she bore. He got her point.



Two weeks later

Scully stayed with him for the few more days he was at Eisenhower, both of them returning to Washington on a military flight. Scully had essentially moved to his apartment for the next couple of weeks, not trusting Mulder to take proper care of himself or follow his doctor’s directions. She had gone into the office a couple of times, making Mulder promise not to set foot out of the apartment while she was gone and he complied for a change.

“Mmmmmmm,” he smiled, peeking into the top of the sack of take home she had brought in from Mulder’s favorite Greek restaurant, knowing she’d driven way out of her way to get it. “You went all the way out to Khalkis’?”

“Just for you,” she smiled to him, giving him a quick kiss. “I got the reports from your sister’s case finished early, so…”

Mulder had helped her with some of the text, telling her what the woman he thought was his sister had told him. She knew it hadn’t been easy for him, the pain of thinking his sister had returned only to have her taken from him again very difficult. “Well, thank you,” he said, giving her a kiss in return, truly appreciating her extra effort.

They had a nice dinner and were lying together on his couch watching television, Scully dozing off and on.

“I think I’ll go to bed,” she said finally, sitting up from her place in front of him, his arm still wrapped around her waist. “You can finish your movie in the bedroom if you want. It won’t keep me awake.”

“I guess not,” he chuckled, seeing that she had been sleeping through much of it already.

She gave him a stern look, but he knew she was teasing him. She started to stand from the couch, but he held on, pulling her back down on the couch, down next to him again. “How tired are you?” She could tell by the look in his eyes what he was actually asking. They hadn’t made love since before his ‘sister’ had returned, his health curtailing any ideas either of them might have had.

“I don’t think my status is the issue here,” she answered.

“Oh, but you think mine is?” he smiled to her.

“Yes, yes I do. I’m not sure you’re ready yet, Mulder.”

“If I can go back to work, surely I can play around a little bit,” he said, nuzzling her neck.

She looked at him, not sure he was actually serious, but seeing that he was. “You’ve been released for desk duty only.”

“Okay. Then let’s have sex on my desk,” he said, his hand slipping under her sweater as she chuckled at his joke until he put his lips to hers, giving her a long intense kiss.

Finally, she came up for air, feeling long unanswered arousal stirring in her abdomen. “Come on,” she said softly, standing, holding her hand out for his.

They got ready for bed, Mulder waiting for her when she came out of the bathroom. She slid in under the sheet, finding that he was naked, which made her laugh.

“Eager are we?” she teased.

“I am if you are,” he teased back, gathering her in close to him. She returned his embrace, her leg wrapping over his hip as they faced each other, both of them enjoying kissing for a while. Mulder’s hand rubbed across her bottom, knowing how erogenous her butt was, a touch there usually getting her going.

“I’ve missed you,” she whispered next to his ear, her hand sliding down his torso to grasp his penis. She was a bit surprised to find him totally flaccid, Mulder usually ready to go, seemingly anytime. She stroked him, her hand closing over the end each time, hoping to help him along.

Mulder continued to kiss her, down her neck, across her chest to her breast, his lips finding her nipple. And despite how good it felt, Scully moved away from him a bit, to look at him. “You okay?” she asked, worried that something might be wrong since he still didn’t seem to be hardening.

“I’m fine. Just a little slow to get started, I guess,” he said, hoping that’s all that was wrong.

“This is like riding a bicycle, right?” Scully nodded to him, giving him a soft smile of reassurance.

She gave him an easy push, silently telling him to lie on his back before moving slowly atop him. “Just lie back,” she whispered to him, kissing him for a long time as she sinuously moved her body against his. She kissed down his chest as she moved down his body, her leg slipping between his, her thigh rubbing against his sex as it did. He still wasn’t erect. Her hands weren’t still as she progressed further down his stomach, kissing his skin along the way. She took him in her hand, never before making it this far with him that he wasn’t already hard as a rock. She put him in her mouth, her hand massaging his sack as her tongue did its work on his glans.

Mulder wasn’t small, even totally flaccid, so she had no difficulty holding him in her mouth, using her hands for other things. “Jesus, Scully,” Mulder sighed, the attention she was giving him making him feel very good.

But even though he seemed to be enjoying what she was doing, his body didn’t seem to be responding. Finally, she used her hand on him, slowly pumping his shaft as she continued to suck and massage him with her tongue.

But after a few more minutes of her actions being unanswered, Mulder finally reached for her, coaxing her back up next to him. “I think I need a plumber,” he said, but she could tell by the tone of his voice and the look on his face that he was embarrassed.

“Mulder, this really isn’t surprising considering everything you’ve been through. You’re just not ready for this yet,” she told him tenderly.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” he said, barely able to look at her.

“It’s the truth.”

“Is THAT supposed to make me feel better?”

Scully could sense that he was actually quite upset and just using his humor as a way to handle it. “Can I ask you something?” she asked softly. He nodded, albeit reluctantly, so she continued. “Um, have you… have you woken at night with an erection or had one in the morning?” she asked carefully.

“You mean ever?”

“I think you know I mean since we got back from Alaska,” she answered, getting a bit exasperated by his attitude.

Mulder knew she was just trying to help so he thought for a few moments before answering. “I, uh, haven’t really noticed, but I, um, really don’t think so now that you mention it,” he told her, realizing he hadn’t, not having really noticed until she had asked. “Is that a bad sign?”

“No. I meant it when I told you its normal for this to happen after an illness such as yours.”

“Well, it’s not normal for me. Especially since I’ve been sleep— well, since you and I have been together,” he chuckled to her. “Everything you do turns me on, Scully.”

She smiled and gave him a soft kiss, “Yeah, I’ve noticed.”

Mulder looked at her and seemed to suddenly realize that just because he couldn’t get going didn’t mean he couldn’t satisfy her. “Well, at least I can make you feel better,” he smiled to her, his hand slipping down her body to between her legs.

“Unh, uh,” she said, quickly taking hold of his hand and removing it from where it rested. “I’m perfectly content to wait for you. Then we can feel good together.”

“Trust me when I tell you, I would feel good if you’d let me continue.” He kissed her then, hoping maybe she’d change her mind and let him pleasure her, which would, indeed, pleasure him.

“No. I can wait,” she reassured him again.

“Let’s hope neither of us has to wait too long,” he joked, but Scully knew he was worried about what had happened, or hadn’t happened. As was she.




One week later

The day after their failed attempt at love making, Mulder had discovered a strange case in Fairfield, Idaho that involved a gorilla who Mulder thought had been impregnated by aliens. Initially, Scully thought Mulder had finally lost his last semblance of sanity, but by the end of the case, she wasn’t so sure he hadn’t been right.

They had only just returned to Washington when Mulder was called in to assist with the Behavioral Science division, being sent to Texas for several days. Scully had been looking forward to him coming home the next day when she’d received a call from him to meet him at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Mulder having already been back in Washington for several hours.

“Scully. Thanks for coming,” Mulder said as soon as she’d gotten off the elevator.

“What was so urgent that you couldn’t tell me over the phone?” she asked quickly and he could sense that she was slightly irritated at him for not letting her know he was back in Washington.

Mulder took hold of her arm, steering her to an area down the hospital corridor so that he could speak more privately. “I didn’t want to waste any time. A Navy destroyer escort, the USS Ardent, has been missing in the North Atlantic for the past 42 hours.”


“Yeah, there’s been no radio contact, no distress signals picked up. Search planes and satellites haven’t picked up anything either,” he explained softly to her.

She looked at him in disbelief, “You’re saying that a ship and its entire crew just vanished?”

Mulder returned her gaze somewhat sheepishly, knowing how implausible his story might seem. “Well, that’s what it looked like until last night. A Canadian trawler picked up 18 survivors.”

“Well, they must have reported what happened.”

“Only one of those survivors is still alive. He’s been taken into the ICU under heavy security,” he continued, the case starting to peak Scully’s curiosity.

“What’s wrong with him?” she asked.

“That’s what I was hoping you could tell me.”

Thus began their search for the missing U.S.S. Ardent in the Norwegian Sea. And after they found it, even though both of them had come to believe that the crew had suffered from some kind of rapid aging process, neither of them suspected what would happen to both of them.

“Scully?” Mulder said, the timer on his watch having gone off, telling him it was time to wake her from her short nap.

“Mmmm. I just fell asleep,” she said from her position on her stomach on top of one of the ship’s galley tables, still not wanting to rouse.

Mulder felt for her, knowing her belief system had been disturbed by what they had found in the ship and seeing that she was still very tired. “You want a few more minutes?”

“No. I’m up.” But as she lifted her head, Mulder was shocked by her appearance.

“Scully…,” he gasped, her face aged and wrinkled.

At the same time, she looked at him, seeing that he looked like an old man. “Mulder, what happened to you?” her voice just as desperate.

And everything went downhill from there. Trondheim, the man who had taken them to find the ship, had turned on them, selfishly trying to hoard all of the drinking water for himself. So they had no drinkable water and were continuing to age by the minute, Mulder seemingly more quickly than her. They had no idea if anyone would find them, both of them not able to do much more than wait… and continue to age.

Scully had looked through every corner and cabinet in the crew’s quarters for liquid, finding only a snow globe, some lemons and a can of sardines. She drained the liquids into a jar, bringing the drink back to the dining area of the ship where she and Mulder had been staying. She found Mulder reading her journal.

“You’re almost out of pages. It’s good you kept a record,” he said, continuing to look worse, getting weaker as he aged.

“Trondheim’s locked himself in the sewage hold. He’s backflushed all the water and he’s keeping it for himself. I looked everywhere and this is all I could find,” Scully told him, setting the jar on the table in front of him. “Its sardine juice, half a dozen lemons and uh, the water from a snow globe.” Mulder licked his lips, slurping like it sounded delicious, his sense of humor giving her a bit of comfort. “It’s not Evian, but…”

“You go ahead and drink it,” he told her, knowing he was in much worse condition than she was, even though they hadn’t really said it in words.

“No, Mulder,” she answered quickly, wondering what he could be thinking.

“It’s the only logical choice, Scully. You’re a woman.

Your life expectancy is greater, and your body retains more water in fatty tissues,” he said, knowing she would be able to last longer than he was going to.

“That’s more reason for you to drink it,” she said tenderly to him, touched by his thought for her.

“You have a much greater chance of surviving until help comes,” he tried to convince her.

“Don’t do this, Mulder,” she told him firmly, his care for her touching her heart.

“Don’t be so stubborn, Scully. You know I’m right,” he challenged and she really didn’t have anything to counter with, at least anything honest.

“Well, there isn’t much liquid to make a difference anyway,” she said, still hoping he would drink it.

He pushed the jar across the table toward her, hoping the same thing. “There might be.” Scully looked at him, seeing the love in his eyes, then eyeing the pathetic little jar, feeling silly that they were acting the way they were over something that would, ultimately, make no real difference.

“No,” she told him, her reply also telling him that if he was going to die, then she would go with him.

Suddenly, there was a metallic groaning sound and the ship suddenly shuddered, knocking both Mulder and Scully to the floor, the jar vibrating along the table.

“What was that?” Scully asked, both of them getting back in their chairs.

“The outer hull must have finally corroded through, which means we’re taking on water.”

“Mulder… the water,” Scully noticed, the jar broken on the floor, having vibrated off the edge of the table. They looked at one another as odd creaking noises continued to be heard from the hull of the ship, both of them knowing that even if they didn’t age quickly enough to die, they would surely drown.

Mulder was shaking, his voice little more than a whisper. He took hold of her hand, pulling it up to rest against his face. “I wanted to grow old together, but this is ridiculous,” he smiled to her.

“Yeah, my manicure is kind of wasted on these hands,” she smiled to him, Mulder gently massaging her hand between both of his.

Mulder looked at her for several long moments, his heart breaking that these may be their last hours together. “I love you, Scully,” he said simply.

“And I love you…”


Mulder’s trembling had worsened, Scully’s voice almost giving out as well. She was still at the table, Mulder half-reclining on a bench next to where she sat. He was wrapped in a blanket watching Scully writing in her journal, trying to record everything she could in case someone would find them or in case what was happening to them might sometime happen to others. “I always thought when I got older I’d maybe take a cruise somewhere. This isn’t exactly what I had in mind. The service on this ship is terrible, Scully.” Scully smiled, finding so much comfort that even under their dire circumstances, Mulder still had his warped sense of humor. “It’s not fair. It’s not our time. We still have work to do,” he said sadly to her.

Scully put down her pen and turned toward him.

“Mulder… When… they found me, after the doctors and even my family had given up, I experienced something that I never told you about. Even now it’s hard to find the words. But there’s one thing I’m certain of.

As certain as I am of this life; we have nothing to fear when it’s over.”

Mulder slumped over to his side, reclining a bit further, but unable to take his eyes off her. “I’m so tired.”

Scully looked at him, not wanting him to close his eyes because she knew it would probably be for the last time. But she knew he couldn’t sit up any longer and knew he needed to have her permission to stop fighting what was happening to them. “You should sleep,” Scully told him, stroking his forehead, closing his eyes for him.

But he struggled to open them again, “I need to see you,” he said. Scully moved over next to him on the bench, putting her arms around him and holding him as she could. She wrapped the blanket around them both.

“Better?” she asked, giving him a soft kiss.

“I don’t want to leave you…” Mulder said, his voice teary.

“You aren’t. I’m right here with you. We’re together, Mulder… always,” she comforted him, his eyes finally closing, Scully’s tears unfelt against his cheek as he lost consciousness. She held him for a long time, but knowing she needed to finish her journal, hoping almost against hope that someone would find it before it sank to the bottom of the Norwegian Sea.

Scully had filled all the pages in her journal and had found a children’s book of Norse legends, completing her writing in the margins. “…And finally a wolf named Skoll will open his jaws and eat the sun, sending the world into an everlasting night. I think I hear the wolf at the door…” she wrote as her last words, her pen dropping from her hand, no longer able to hold on.

She could see that Mulder was still breathing and she moved over to be next to him again, taking his hand in hers, her eyes finally closing, finding comfort in her last cognizant moments that she and Mulder would die together.



“Agent Scully? Agent Scully, can you hear me?” she seemed to hear faintly. She forced herself to rouse, her eyes gradually opening, seeing nothing but a bright light.

“Mmmmm,” Scully mumbled, the light finally moving away.


“It’s been 36 hours since your rescue. I’ve got you on dialysis with a high-flux filter. You’re obviously responding well,” a woman’s voice told her. Scully focused a bit, being able to see that she was in a hospital of some kind and seemed to be alive.

“Your electrolytes are almost back to normal and your fluid status has been corrected,” the woman continued.

Scully opened her eyes fully, her throat uncomfortably dry as she tried to swallow. She tried to raise her head, to try to orient herself better, but it fell back on the pillow, her eyes closing again from fatigue and confusion.

But suddenly, a moment of clarity came to her. She raised her head again, now seemingly wide awake.

“Mulder? Where is he?” Scully asked, almost frantic even in her weakness, looking to the woman above her for an answer, then around the room, seeing Mulder lying in a bed next to her, releasing her breath in relief.

“His endocrine system was considerably more compromised than yours. Frankly, we didn’t think that he’d make it – until we discovered this,” the doctor said, showing her the journal she had so meticulously taken her notes in. “Based on your observations, we’re giving him a course of synthetic hormones, which seems to be working.” Scully just looked at him, thanking god that the conclusions she’d drawn about their rapid aging had been used to save his life.


Scully had been able to sit up, drink some liquids, even take some clear broth, but Mulder had not yet regained consciousness, despite the fact that his vitals were strong and steady. Scully had gotten out of bed and had been assisted to walk a bit, deciding to sit in a chair next to Mulder’s bed rather than returning to hers. She almost couldn’t believe that there they were again, Scully sitting vigil by his bedside.

Then she heard a low, horse groan and she thought it was the most beautiful sound she’d ever heard. Dr.

Laskos was there as well and she noticed him rouse, too. “Agent Mulder?” the doctor said, quickly moving to his bedside. Mulder tried to focus, not recognizing the woman standing before him. But before he could quite orient himself, Scully had stood, moving close to look him in the eyes.

“Mulder, it’s me,” Scully smiled to him, placing her palm against his cheek, her thumb stroking his lips.

“You’re okay.” After he saw her, she was almost shocked to see his lips start to quiver, his eyes fill with tears, seeing that he was about to cry. Not caring that Dr. Laskos or the other technicians in the room were witnessing their interchange, Scully bent closer to him and gave him a soft reassuring kiss.

“We’re okay, Mulder. We’re okay…”



One week later

The lights were low, a small fire burning in her fireplace, the first one she’d had in a couple of months at least, she thought. It was quiet and peaceful and she was enjoying a great book that she hadn’t been able to put down most of the day. Then, she heard his familiar knock. “It’s me, Scully.”

“Use your key,” she called to him, not really wanting to unwrap herself from her afghan or get up from her recline on the couch, but she smiled when she heard the tumblers turn.

“Hey,” he said, tossing his coat in one chair, sitting down in the other. “Being lazy?”

“Yes, actually I am,” she smiled to him. “What are you doing out? I thought you were resting today.”

“I was… but I’m stir crazy… bored,” he told her, but she seemed to recognize that he had something else on his mind.

Scully smiled, knowing that Mulder wouldn’t be able to stay cooped up in his apartment for long. He had actually ended up being discharged from the hospital sooner than she had, Scully having developed a respiratory infection that kept her there an extra day.

Her mother had stayed with her for a day when she first got home and had shuttled back and forth between her apartment and Mulder’s for the next couple of days to insure that both were doing well and were feeding themselves. Most of the outward signs of their aging had healed as well and neither of them seemed to have suffered any permanent damage.

“And that made you think of me?” she smiled to him and he laughed.

“I’m always thinking of you,” he told her and she knew by his sudden seriousness that he really did have something on his mind.

Scully resituated herself on the couch, folding her feet up under her, readjusting her afghan. “Come ‘ere,” she told him giving him room on the end of the couch. Mulder gave her a small smile, but did as she’d asked, thinking how inviting the spot next to her looked. “What’s the matter?”

“I’ve missed you this week,” he told her, his hand reaching to rub her thigh through the blanket.

She grasped his hand as it moved against her and gave it a soft squeeze. “I’ve missed you, too… but I don’t think that’s really what’s on your mind…”

He thought for several long moments before he spoke, Scully seeing that he seemed to be having difficulty putting into words what he had on his mind. “I guess I came here for some kind of forgiveness,” he said, laying his head back against the couch.

Scully looked at him for a few moments, puzzled at what he could possibly mean. “Forgivness?”

Mulder let out a long deep sigh, finally turning to look at her again. “I apologize… for what happened in Norway.”

“Apologize? Just what is it you think you need to apologize for?” she asked him, still not exactly sure what he was trying to say.

“I damned near got you killed! Again.” He was angry at himself, she could tell, blaming himself as usual.

“Goddammit, Mulder,” she said, moving to sit up fully, letting go of his hand, irritated at him. “You did no such thing.”

Mulder laughed at her remark, shaking his head almost in disbelief at what she’d said. “And how do you figure that?”

“Do you think I owe YOU an apology for what happened in Norway?” she asked him pointedly. “Do you?”

“Of course not.”

“Then why do you think you owe me one? It wasn’t as if you forced me to go with you. It’s my job, too, Mulder and I go because that is what I do. Any danger we incur is no more your fault than it is mine. How many times do I have to explain that to you?” she told him, exasperated.

“I guess I can’t believe you really mean that,” he said, almost laughing at himself.

“That’s the problem. You just don’t believe me,” she said, tossing the afghan off, moving from the couch, heading for her kitchen. She opened the refrigerator, finding a Shiner Bock on the bottom shelf, immediately remembering the time she and Mulder had drank the other five.

Mulder slowly followed her, trying to figure out in his mind how what he thought was a humble apology had so totally pissed her off. “You know that isn’t true…”

he said, leaning against one of her kitchen counters while she leaned against the other, taking an angry swig of her beer.

“Of course it’s true. I could give you a litany of times when you didn’t believe me,” she told him, still angry. “Do you really even believe that I love you?”

Mulder smiled at her, not knowing that his action was making her furious. “Actually, that’s one thing about you that I DO believe,” he tried to tease, moving closer to her in an attempt to put his arms around her.

“Stop it!” she said angrily, moving away from him, pushing his arm away from near her hip. “Don’t try to play around. I’m pissed and I want to be pissed.”

“Play around? Is that what you think I’m doing?”

“In your own way, yes,” she told him honestly.

“I think I need a beer on that one,” Mulder chuckled, reaching for the refrigerator door.

“There aren’t any more,” she snarled at him, feeling instantly childish that she felt a twinge of pleasure that she had the last beer. But, being who she was, without looking at him, she handed him her bottle, Mulder taking a quick draw from it. He looked toward her, but she refused to look at him, still leaning against the counter with her arms sternly folded in front of her. So, Mulder just kept staring at her as he put the bottle to his lips and leaned his head back, with obvious purpose to drain the entire contents.

“You asshole!” Scully yelled, jumping towards him in an attempt to grab the bottle from him, but he wriggled away from her, having to stop drinking when he began to laugh. “Give me that!” she continued, trying to get hold of what remained of her beer. He was able to get around the table and stood opposite her as if in a stand off.

“You want it, come get it,” he taunted, a big teasing grin on his face as he again put the beer to his lips.

“If you drink the rest of that beer, I will never speak to you as long as I live. Or maybe as long as you live, because if I get hold of you, I’m going to strangle the ever living life out of you,” she told him, trying to move around the table after him. She was still trying to act angry at him, but he could tell he had her; he had played and now she was playing back.

“Oooooh, Scully, this beer is reallllly cold,” he goaded her, taking another sip. “Mmm, mmm, good.”

At that, she lurched, getting to him in an instant, Mulder making no real effort to get away from her. He outstretched his arm, holding the beer high above her reach, his other arm wrapping around her, pulling her to him. “Give me that!” she shrieked, now unable not to laugh.

“I’ll give it to you alright,” Mulder said, wrapping his outstretched arm around her, too, bending to kiss her as he squeezed her tight against him. He could feel her resist only a couple of seconds before she relaxed against him and settled in to his kiss. They kissed hard, passionately, for several long moments, Mulder backing Scully up against the table, setting the forgotten beer bottle down next to them to free his hand. He quickly slid his hand down inside the back of her pajama bottoms, his hand cupping her ass firmly and squeezing.

Even as they continued to kiss, Scully reached for the button on his jeans, opening his pants and slipping her hand inside his brief to cup him, relieved to feel that he was on his way to being hard. “You’re very trusting,” she smiled, finally breaking their heated kiss, giving him a gentle squeeze. “As mad as I was, you are a brave man…”

Mulder laughed, realizing she did indeed have him by the short hairs. “Like what you find?” Mulder asked.


They made it into the bedroom, barely able to stop kissing long enough to undress. Their lovemaking started out fairly desperately, but they slowed somewhat, neither of them back to their physical best.

But it had been wonderful, not having been together intimately for almost a month.

“I’m glad you stopped by,” Scully chuckled as they lay together afterwards.

“Yeah, I could tell. I think you needed that,” he kidded her, in reference to how intense her climax was.

“Oh, and you didn’t,” she said sarcastically, teasing him in return. Mulder chuckled and pulled her closer, kissing her hair as she snuggled into his side.

“Good make-up sex, I’d say,” Mulder commented. He could feel Scully’s smile against the skin of his chest.

“Did we? Make up, I mean,” Scully answered.

“I don’t know. Are you still going to strangle me?”

“Maybe tomorrow,” Scully answered dryly, giving his hip a little pinch.

“Ouch,” he laughed, grabbing her guilty fingers, bringing them to his lips for a kiss. They lay together silently for several long moments, softly stroking each others’ skin, wrinkled and scarred only weeks before. “I, um, apologize for my apology.” He didn’t like it when she was angry at him.

Scully sat up, her hand resting on Mulder’s stomach as she looked down at him. “We’re equals, Mulder. I think sometimes you forget that, not often, but…”

“I know, I know. I just can’t stand to see you put yourself in danger. I feel responsible,” he admitted, trying to explain.

“It’s my job. I do it because I love and believe in the work,” she told him, leaning down to give him a soft kiss. “And I love and believe in you…”



13 days later “Why can’t we just get one trailer, Scully? It’s not like we’re going to use both of them. And who in this town is gonna tell?” Mulder said as he’d parked their rental outside the proprietor’s office of a small trailer park. Scully just gave him a look, knowing that they’d had this conversation several times before.

They had gone to investigate the murder of a man who was part of a community of former circus performers, including several former ‘freak show’ acts and contortionists. Right up Mulder’s twisted alley.

Actually, he had partially chosen the case as a diversion, something a bit less serious to work on, their first case back in the field after their near death experience in Norway.

Mulder and Scully were led by their trailers by the bellhop, a man named Lanny who had a smaller twin that seemed to be attached to his torso, head first.

“Tell me, have you done much circus work in your life?”

Mulder asked the man.

“I was on the stage for most of my life. I was a headliner,” the man told them as they walked toward their trailers.

“Did it not bother you to have other people staring at you?” Scully asked, wondering why someone would want to display a deformity for others to glare at.

But the man smiled, seemingly proud of his former career. “Best work I ever had. All I had to do was stand there. Occasionally, I’d say…” he began, stopping to stand tall as if on stage as Mulder and Scully look on. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet my brother Leonard.” He paused and looked down at the partial person that was protruding from under his coat. “Excuse him, he’s a little shy. Big laughs, I tell you, big laughs.”

“Why’d you give it up?” Mulder asked as they start to walk again.

“Mister Nutt, the kindhearted manager here, convinced me that to make a living by publicly displaying my deformity lacked dignity… so now I carry other people’s luggage,” Mulder and Scully suppressing a laugh.

They came to a set of trailers, essentially nothing more than campers, Scully giving Mulder a dirty look at his typical choice of accommodations.

“I believe these are your trailers. If they are not, then I am wrong,” Lanny told them, Mulder taking both suitcases from him.

Scully had the key to the first trailer and headed to the door, Mulder just standing there. “Yours or mine?”

he asked. Scully turned to look around, wanting to make sure Lanny had gone back down the road and no one was around to hear them. “Mine looks newer,” Mulder said, noticing hers was a bit run down.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes,” she told him as she opened her door and entered the small trailer.

Mulder had just stepped out of the shower when he heard her soft knock on his door, her familiar, “It’s me,” bringing a smile to his face.

“Well, I was hoping it wasn’t Mr. Nutt,” he told her, a towel slung low around his waist as he walked into the small kitchen area of the camper.

Scully smiled, slipping her coat off, revealing her purple silk pajamas and her white terry robe. Mulder wondered just how many sets of pajamas she must have.

“There’s no television,” Mulder told her and she chuckled.

“Oh, my god,” she teased. “You’d better get into bed before you pass out.”

He walked up to her and untied the sash on her robe, slipping his hands around her waist. “Only if you come with me,” he said, nuzzling her neck. “You’re better than TV.”

“Gee, thanks,” she offered, giving him a quick kiss.

“Don’t get too excited. I’m tired and this isn’t exactly the best time of the month to be starting something.”

“I still get to see you naked, don’t I?” he teased, going to the door to lock it, turning off the kitchen light, both of them heading to the bed towards the back of the trailer.

“If you give me a backrub. That flight was horrible.”



She felt Mulder get out of bed early, only rousing long enough to see that he was getting dressed to go for a run. She had slept well, but was glad to have the time to roll over and go back to sleep. But not long after Mulder had left, she began to wake again, hearing the birds chirping outside the open window. Her eyes flickered, still not quite wide awake when she saw a man fly by her field of view out the window, seemingly falling off the roof of the trailer. Startled, she sat up and was relieved to see that the man was actually bouncing on a trampoline outside the window. But just as she began to wonder where the trampoline had come from, she heard a frantic pounding at the door.

She gave thought to not answering it, not really wanting to answer Mulder’s door, but didn’t know what else to do. She loosely put on her robe and opened the door, finding Lanny standing there, seeming surprised to find her answering the door at Mulder’s trailer.

“Uh, ma’am… sheriff, he, uh…” he stuttered, “wants to see you.” Lanny’s robe was open enough for Scully to see his twin attached to his abdomen and she couldn’t help but stare. Unbeknownst to her, Lanny was noticing that her robe was gaping a bit as well, a good portion of cleavage freely exposed.

Suddenly, they both slowly looked at each other, realizing each of them had been staring, albeit at different objects of interest and quickly self consciously close their robes.

“There’s been another murder,” Lanny told her.

And there had been a couple more before they had finally figured out that it had most likely been Lanny’s twin who had been disengaging, trying to find another brother. The case had indeed been a different one, but the two of them had needed a diversion and they had certainly gotten it in Florida.


Three weeks later

Their next three cases had all been close to home, a nice relief from the drain of their sometimes constant travel. They had investigated a young boy’s unusual death which had led them to a superstitious old woman and her grandson who Mulder had believed had been possessed by some kind of evil.

Mulder had found out about a case in a Virginia prison which involved a plague-like illness that the government seemed to be trying to cover up. Scully hadn’t told Mulder how close she’d come to contracting the disease while working in the quarantined area while he had been working to capture two escapees. But she had known and the effect of her latest brush with death seemed to be having an accumulative effect, her sleep, her appetite starting to suffer.

“You losing weight?” Mulder had asked her while they were working on their next case where a scientist’s shadow seemed to be a form of instant death. She had denied his observation, blaming it on her new suit, one she’d bought in a size smaller than she had been wearing for the last several years.

But during their flight to Arkansas for their next case, Mulder had pressed her again. “How come you’re denying that you’re losing weight? It’s obvious, Scully,” he told her, flipping through a magazine.

“You’re making a big deal out of nothing, Mulder. So, I’ve lost a few pounds. I needed to,” she said, sitting in the seat next to him, trying to relax.

“You needed to?” Mulder laughed, thinking the last thing Scully needed to do was lose weight. “I just wish you’d be honest with me.”

And she knew he was right. She had been keeping the exact truth from him and she wasn’t sure why. Except maybe that she didn’t want him to worry. She wondered if he’d noticed that she hadn’t been sleeping as well, but hoped that he hadn’t since she usually slept better when they slept together. But she had been using a sleeping pill on many of the nights she slept alone, something else she hadn’t shared with him.

“Well, some good old fried chicken ought to fatten me up a bit, don’t you think?” she told him in reference to the case they were going to Arkansas to investigate.

Scully thought the powers that be were sending them on a wild goose chase, that they were trying to undermine their work. But Mulder saw more in the case and seemed to be determined to show their bosses that they were wrong about the case.

Scully had discovered a rare disease in one of the victims during her autopsy which led them to find a small creek near the chicken processing plant where many of the townspeople worked that seemed to be full of bones— human bones.

Scully sat on the floor of a large room in the county building, sorting through hundreds of bones that she had spent the night categorizing. She turned when she heard the door open, happy to see Mulder enter.

“Sheriff Arens is outside. They’re still pulling bones from the river.”

“Well, so far I’ve been able to isolate nine distinct skeletons. This one belonged to the late George Kearns,” Scully told him, confirming the location of the initial murder they had come to investigate.

“How do you know?”

“The pin in his femur. According to his medical file, Kearns broke his right leg four years ago,” she told him matter-of-factly, showing him the long bone held together by a metal plate and screws.

“What about the others?” he inquired, seeing the large array of human bones spread out on the floor before them. He could see that the case she had initially thought was ‘a wild goose chase’ was now totally fascinating to her. ‘That’s what always happens,’ he smiled to himself.

“Well. I’ll need more sophisticated equipment to be certain, but I estimate that some of these bones are as much as 20 or 30 years old,” she began. “All of them share one strange detail, though.”

“Well, they seem to have lost their heads,” Mulder quipped.

“Well, besides that,” she smirked. “The older bones show signs of decay and surface abrasion just like you’d expect but for some reason all of them, even Kearns’, are smooth and buffed at the ends.”

Scully handed him one of the larger bones and he looked at it closely. “It’s almost like they’ve been polished.” Even he was beginning to get creeped out over what he was seeing.

“It could be from erosion from the water, but…” she explained, but not with much sincerity.

“No. That water had hardly any current and this level of erosion wouldn’t be confined to just the ends of the bones,” he noted, but knowing she had already deduced that.

“Any theories?”

“Maybe,” Mulder said, pulling out his phone and dialing. Scully could see the wheels in his head beginning to spin, wondering just what theory he was beginning to form. She knew his head was really going to spin when he heard the theory she was putting together…

Mulder had called his friend at the FBI, following up on a few of his suspicions. He had stayed with all of Scully’s bones while she had gone back to the hotel to take care of something ‘personal’; he didn’t ask what.

“I had Danny run a check on all missing persons last seen within a 200-mile radius of Dudley,” Mulder said when Scully had returned, carrying a bucket of chicken.

He was perusing the fax that he’d just pulled from the machine. “In the last 50 years, 87 people have disappeared near here and, judging from the forensic evidence, I’d say the same person or persons were responsible.”

“Then it may have been the work of some kind of a cult,” she said, not really knowing what else could be going on.

“Scully, I think the good people of Dudley have been eating more than just chicken,” Mulder told her slowly, a look a revulsion covering his expression.

“You think these people were eaten?” she asked, almost shocked that he was suggesting such a thing.

“Look at these bones. They’ve been polished at both ends suggesting they were boiled in a pot,” he started moving to pick up a large bone to show her what he meant. “Anthropologists have used similar evidence to prove cannibalism among the Anasazi tribe of New Mexico.”

“Well, then Paula Gray may have contracted Creutzfeldt Jacob by eating George Kearns…” Scully said, barely able to say it.

Mulder had several things he wanted to check out, wondering just what the townspeople were really up to and just what else the chicken plant was being used for. “You coming?” he asked as he walked toward the door.

Scully looked once more at the bones on the floor, then remembering that she was still carrying the bucket of chicken and set it down on the table before she left, the thought of it by then turning her stomach.

After only a little more investigation, both of them knew that something terrible was happening in the town and, most likely, many people had died because of it.

But they had done something they tried not to do, they separated, each of them investigating different leads.

And it was almost a fatal mistake.

Scully had been captured and taken to a gathering of the townspeople and had been restrained in one of their ceremonies, Mulder rescuing her within an instant of her being decapitated by the cannibalistic townspeople.

Mulder unfastened her restraints, Scully near panic, gingerly removing the duct tape that covered her mouth.

“You hurt?” he asked, almost as panicked as she was.

“You alright?” he questioned again, tenderly moving her hair back from her face. Scully was unable to speak, still trying to catch her breath, but she managed to give him a small nod. But Mulder could see the look on her face, a look that he had only seen once before.

And it was then that he realized she had never really been the same since Donnie Pfaster had done what he’d done.

Scully had remained professional, however, filing a report with the Arkansas State Police when they arrived and no one was the wiser about how the case had affected her. Except Mulder. He had wanted her to rest after they returned to the hotel, but she had made it clear that they were packing and leaving and making it as quickly as they could to Little Rock to get the next flight out. He didn’t argue.



Later the next day

“You can stay if you want, but I’m going to bed,” she told him shortly after they had arrived home from Arkansas. She had unpacked a few things, taking a quick shower while Mulder searched her refrigerator for something to eat.

“Aren’t you hungry?” he said, finding some eggs and cheese, Scully walking into the kitchen toweling her hair.

“Yes, but I’m too tired to eat,” she replied and he could see that she was beat.

“You need to eat something.”

“And I’m equally tired of your comments about my eating habits,” she said angrily, turning quickly to leave him standing in the kitchen. Mulder let out a deep sigh, deciding to let her go, for now. He knew she hadn’t been herself lately and then, after yet another brush with death, the case in Arkansas had made her withdraw even further. He had wondered to himself just how much more she would be able to take.

He put together an omelet and found a diet soda in the door of the fridge and sat down at the table alone to assuage his hunger pangs. He knew she had probably taken a pill; she’d been doing that a lot lately, and would be out for several hours, at least. He wished she’d open up to him, but also knew how hard it seemed to be for her to do that and she didn’t respond well to confrontation about it. He’d tried that approach, on several occasions, and it just seemed to make her angrier each time he’d tried to get her to talk. But, he couldn’t just sit by and do nothing. He was sincerely worried about her.

Mulder had finally fallen asleep on the couch, tiring of watching an early season Yankee rout of the Angels.

But as he lay resting soundly, he was startled awake by the loudest, blood curdling scream he had ever heard.

“Noooooooo!!!!,” he heard again. He jumped off the couch and nearly flew into Scully’s room, not finding her on her bed, his heart pounding.

“Scully?” he said, checking the bathroom, but not finding her there either. “Scully…” he sighed, finally locating her. She was sitting on the floor of her bedroom, cowered in the corner, her breathing loud and desperate. “Scully… take a deep breath,” he told her, the look on her face scaring him; she didn’t seem to recognize him. “It’s me… Mulder… It’s Mulder…” he repeated, reaching to touch her.

“Nooooo!!!” she yelled again when he reached for her, very obviously afraid of him.

He backed off a bit, just staying crouched in front of her, but trying to be non-threatening. “Scully, take a deep breath. Slow down…” he coaxed fearing that she was going to hyperventilate. “That’s it… that’s better…”

“Mulder?” she said weakly, confusion written all over her face. “Wha… where…?” She looked around and seemed to recognize that she was in her own bedroom, but not knowing why she was on the floor, huddled in the corner.

“You’re at home. I think you had a nightmare,” he told her, still keeping his distance. She shook her head, trying to clear it he figured. “Okay?”

“Um, yeah, I think so,” she answered, reaching to wipe her face, noticing she had been crying.

“Can I touch you?” Mulder asked, wanting to hold her, but figuring he’d better not try.

“Why would you ask me that?” she snapped, still befuddled by her situation.

“Earlier…” Mulder started, but then realizing she didn’t remember and it wasn’t important enough at the moment to upset her about. “Let me help you up.” She was wobbly when she stood and now seemed to be embarrassed by her display, but let him help her back to the bed. He fluffed several pillows behind her against the headboard and sat next to her hip once she was settled in.

“What happened?” Scully asked timidly.

“I was hoping you could tell me,” he replied softly.

“Do you remember your dream?”

Scully just looked at him, seeing in his eyes so much love, but also his abject fear and concern for her. And at that moment, she knew she owed him the truth.

“I, I, don’t think it was a dream…” He looked at her questioningly, not understanding what she meant. “I think it was a flashback.” And then he got it.

“This wasn’t your first one,” Mulder said and it wasn’t a question, many things about her recent behavior, her weight loss, her late arrivals to work, dawning on him.

Scully shook her head, knowing he was probably going to be hurt when she told him what had been happening to her… and how long it had been happening. “I’ve, um, had a few… quite a few,” she admitted slowly.

“Since your abduction?”

She shook her head again, knowing that Mulder was way off base. “I honestly don’t remember anything about my abduction, Mulder,” she assured him. “Maybe I will at some point, but right now, it just seems like I went to sleep and woke up several months later.”

“Then when?”

“Since Minnesota…” she confessed, not able to say Donnie Pfaster’s name. And then Mulder realized just how much she had been holding in, holding back from him about their case and what had happened to her.

“Oh, Scully…” His response was soft, reaching to take her hands in his, scooting a little bit closer to her.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want you to worry, to feel you had to protect me.”

“I always feel like I have to protect you. You’re my partner. That’s what partner’s do,” he tried to reassure her. “And Scully, this doesn’t make you seem weak. I know that’s what you’re thinking. We all have our Achille’s heel and, even though you don’t remember anything about your abduction, I think somewhere subconsciously, that event has added to what you are feeling about Pfaster and then what happened in Arkansas. Jesus, Scully, I’ve been wondering just how much more you could take. I wish you’d told me what you were going through.”

“I’m sorry. I, I know I should have,” she said, giving his hand a soft squeeze. “Maybe you’ve noticed, I’ve never had, um, an episode when you’re here.”

“Yeah, I gathered that. Why this time?”

“Because you weren’t sleeping in here with me. You don’t usually sleep on the couch,” she smiled.

“Well, then I won’t do that again,” he teased her softly, but then suddenly getting serious. “You need to get help with this, you know.”

“You sound like Melissa.”

“You told her about this?” he asked, wishing she’d felt she could confide in him instead.

“She told me to talk to you.”

“You’re kidding?” Mulder chuckled, thinking that her sister didn’t really seem to think too much of him. “I never thought she’d ever give me an endorsement.”

Scully chuckled, knowing that something must have happened between her sister and Mulder while she was ill. “She knows you love me,” Scully told him honestly, remembering her conversation with her sister.

I think he’s an asshole, Dana, but it’s obvious he loves you more than life itself. I gotta give him credit for that. “And she knows I love you.” Scully leaned forward and gave him a soft kiss, her palm caressing his cheek.

Mulder returned her kiss, then moved back to look at her. “I’ll go with you, Scully. I’ll do whatever you need, but you need to get professional help,” he told her sincerely.

Scully nodded and he could see by the look in her eyes that she would do it. She pulled the sheet and blanket back and scooted over in the bed, inviting him in. He lay down next to her and she snuggled against him, falling asleep fairly quickly. But Mulder stayed awake for quite some time.




Two evenings later

“It bothers me that you couldn’t tell me that,” Mulder told her as they drove to Karen Kosseff’s office, choosing to see her at her private practice rather than officially through the FBI’s employee assistance program. Scully wanted to keep her private business private and Mulder had agreed; seeking help sometimes wasn’t the best thing to have in your personnel file, especially for a woman.

“Mulder, I wasn’t sure where I stood with you at the time. If you remember, I wasn’t even sure we were back together,” Scully explained, having finally told him she’d gone to see Karen when she’d come home from Minnesota during their case.

Scully had filled out several forms when they’d arrived, Mulder uncomfortably shuffling through an outdated magazine. “Karen’s ready for you, Dana,” the receptionist told her. Scully gave Mulder a self conscious smile and went into the inner office, her stomach in knots.

“It’s good to see you again,” Karen had said by way of greeting as she shook Scully’s hand.

“I wish I could say the same thing,” Scully chuckled.

“You don’t think it’s a good thing that you’ve decided to come here?” Karen smiled to her, not taking offense to Scully’s quip.

“No, I mean yes… I do… I’m a, I’m just a little nervous, I guess,” Scully admitted.

“I’m used to that. Everyone always is. I guess I’d wonder about someone who wasn’t,” Karen smiled to her.

Karen reviewed the forms Scully had completed earlier and wasn’t too surprised by the fact that she had been having flashbacks. “How frequent are your flashbacks?”

“It depends…”

“On what?”

“I, um, seem to only have then when I sleep alone. So, if, um, I am alone, I’ll usually wake up… most nights anyway. It may not be a full blown thing, but my heart will be racing and I, um, feel… disoriented for a few moments,” Scully explained.

“How about the ‘full blown thing’ as you call it?”

Karen asked.

“Every couple of weeks, I guess,” Scully said shyly, still not able to get over her feelings that she was somehow weak for having her problems.

“Describe them.”

Scully thought a few moments, realizing that even though they all were slightly different, in general, they were so much the same. “Most of the time, I wake up and I’m still in bed, but on a few occasions, I haven’t been. I’ve, um, found myself in the bathroom, the living room, the most recent time on the floor of my bedroom. And I have no memory of getting there,” she explained.

“Are you having any somatic symptoms?”

Scully nodded, staring at her hands as she began to answer. “I’ve um, been crying after most of them; had headaches.” She didn’t tell Karen about the time she had woken with her hands fisted so tightly her fingernails had broken the skin of her palms deeply enough to draw blood.

“Do you have any memory of what you are visioning?

What happens that makes you feel like crying?”

“Sometimes… but only… snippets, I guess you’d say.

Flashes of scenes…” Scully acknowledged.

“Like what?”

Scully knew what the common thread in all of the various scenes from her episodes was and why she was having it, or at least she thought she did. “I’m usually someplace where I don’t know anyone, always among strangers. And I seem to be the object of everyone’s attention.”

“Everyone’s attention?”

“Yeah. Everyone either seems to want me to go with them or everyone is chasing me or I’m the only one in a room and everyone else is outside looking in. And I can’t seem to get anyone to talk to me, to answer my questions, but they all seem to be talking to each other, just not me.”

“Do these memories seem to be more like visual metaphors for what you are feeling or actual memories of things that have happened to you,” Karen asked, knowing that Scully probably had who knows what happen to her when she’d been taken and missing for so long.

Scully thought pensively for several long moments while Karen patiently waited for her response. “I never really thought about it, but I would have to say both,” Scully started. “I’ve had memories where I was, um, restrained to a metal table, seemingly in some kind of exam room or hospital and that seems so real somehow.

But then I have recollections of running through a flowered field, with birds chirping and it being very pleasant until I turn around and see that there is a crowd of people who are chasing me. And I somehow know that I need to run from them, but I don’t know why.”

Karen absorbed every word Scully had said, trying to analyze everything she was telling her and also what she wasn’t telling her. “We’ve talked before about you being a very controlled person and, I know, Dana, a very intelligent person. So I know you can see clearly how all of the scenarios that you have described have you in places and circumstances where nothing seems to be within your control. And when so many things so totally out of your control have been done against you, I can easily see how all of it could get the best of you. And even though your reaction is very normal, it is also abnormal in the sense that any of the rest of us would’ve crumbled a long time ago,” Karen told her, giving her a soft, reassuring smile. “So even though you’ve come here thinking you ‘can’t handle things’ as you’ve said, I think, given your circumstances, you are handling things quite well.”

“Well, I guess that’s something,” Scully smiled, comforted by the observation her therapist had just presented.

“It’s more than something, Dana. We just need to get you to a place where you don’t feel your circumstances are controlling you and to a point where you take control of your circumstances. You can’t change what happened to you. But you can change how you deal with it. That’s what we need to help you do.”

“You make it sound so easy,” Scully said, feeling a bit overwhelmed.

“Nothing like this is ever easy, Dana. But it is doable and you have the intelligence and insight and the will to do it,” Karen explained, knowing that many of her patients, sadly, had none of that. “And you have support. I noticed that your partner is here with you tonight.”

Scully nodded, her chin beginning to quiver when her thoughts went to how loving and understanding Mulder had been after finding her a shaking mess on the floor of her bedroom. “He’s, um, very… he’s a great support.”

“And I can’t tell you how important that is, having someone to help you get through this, someone to confide in. I usually try to include a significant other in the treatment plan, if they are willing,” Karen said, her way of testing the waters to see if Mulder would agree to be a part of Scully’s therapy.

“He’s willing. We’ve talked about it,” Scully told her shyly.

“You seem… reticent?” Karen commented, noticing Scully’s sudden shyness. Scully found herself desperately fighting back tears, thinking that if she didn’t have Mulder she wouldn’t be able to be where she was. Karen gave her a few moments, seeing that she was having difficulty containing her emotions, wishing that Scully felt comfortable enough to let go. But, that wasn’t for her to decide. She met her clients where they were, wherever that might be at any given time.

She was confident Scully would make it there.

“No, no, that isn’t it at all. It’s just that he’s already put up with so much from me in the last couple of days, since my last flashback. I worry that I’m asking too much from him,” Scully confessed, reaching for a tissue from the box on the end table next to the couch where she was sitting.

“Should we call him in and see if he feels that way?”

Karen smiled, figuring that Mulder didn’t.

“Can I have a minute?” Scully asked, wiping her nose.

“Take as long as you need,” Karen told her, making a quick note in Scully’s record, patiently waiting for Scully to regain her composure. A few minutes later, Scully told her it was okay and Karen asked Mulder to join them.

“Have a seat, Mr. Mulder,” Karen said and Mulder sat on the opposite end of the couch where Scully sat.

“Just ‘Mulder’ is fine,” he told her quickly, looking at Scully, seeing that she had obviously been crying.

“You okay?” he asked her softly, trying to get her to look at him. Finally she did and nodded, trying as she might to give him a smile.

“I have a few things I’d like Dana to do in the next few days, before her next session. Things both of you can work on,” Karen started, Mulder still looking at Scully. She had given them an ‘assignment’ of sorts, eliciting Mulder’s background in psychology to assist.

“We can manage that, can’t we, Scully?” Mulder said hopefully, wanting Scully to feel better about things.

Scully chuckled at Mulder’s enthusiasm, not sure if he was being silly or just nervous. “Yes, Mulder we can manage that,” she said, finally giving him a smile.

“I know you both have unpredictable schedules, but if you can, it usually works well if you set aside the same time each day to work on the exercises I’ve given you. They’re important, so don’t put them on the back burner.”

Mulder had taken hold of Scully’s hand as they’d left the office, Mulder taking a detour to Scully’s favorite all night ice cream place close to the Hoover building on their way home. When she noticed where he was headed, at the next stoplight, she leaned over and gave him a long, hard kiss and a smile that was worth even more to him. He was almost shocked when she ordered a double cone with mint chocolate chip and black walnut, her usual fair some kind of low cal sorbet.

“Mmmmmmm, this is sooooo good,” she said as she licked the melting ice cream, Mulder barely able to keep his eyes on the road, much more interested in the acrobatics of her tongue.

“If you don’t stop that, I’m going to have to pull over,” he told her and she giggled, knowing full well what she was doing to him.

He started to turn toward the route to Georgetown and she quickly stopped him. “Let’s go to your place.”

“You have anything there to wear to work tomorrow?”

“I’m not going,” she told him, still licking playfully on her ice cream.

“You’re not going?”

“No. I took the day off. I, um, figured that tonight would be much worse than it was and, I, um, didn’t sleep all that well last night, so I…”

“Thought you’d need it,” Mulder finished for her.

“And we’re between cases, so…”

“You don’t have to justify why you took a day off, Scully. I think it’s great. And I think it’s great that tonight wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be.

You must’ve expected something really awful,” he told her, now heading towards Arlington. “I know you’d been crying when I came in.”

“But you don’t know why,” she said, reaching over to take his hand in hers, her ice cream now gone. “I talked to Karen about how supportive you’ve been.”

Mulder just looked at her, not able to really say much.

“And that made you cry?”


“Oh,” was all he could manage, seeing that she suddenly seemed about ready to cry again. They drove on for several more miles in silence, Mulder’s mind working over what she had said. “It surprises you that I’d be supportive?” he finally said out of the blue, the tick of the blinker an odd background. Scully looked at him like he’d sprouted horns and wondered how such an intelligent man could miss the obvious so drastically.

“No,” she answered simply, thinking she’d just make him try to draw it out of her. It was always better if Mulder figured things out for himself.

“I don’t understand.” Mulder recognized what she was trying to do, but that didn’t help him to understand why talking about something he considered so everyday would bring her to tears. He pulled up to the curb in front of his apartment house and she quickly exited the car, heading up the sidewalk almost before he had gotten out. He jogged a couple of steps to catch up with her and was surprised when she took hold of his hand just before they entered his building.

“I’m not mad at you,” Scully smiled to him once they’d entered the privacy of his apartment. “I can tell by the look on your face you think I am.”

“Well, you tell me I made you cry, then you don’t talk to me… Even I’m sharp enough to figure out that you’re pissed,” he told her self-deprecatingly.

Scully slid her arms around his waist, much to his surprise and laid her head against his chest. “I love you,” she told him easily. “And I’m not pissed.” She moved back to look at him, seeing that he was about as confused as he could get and it made her chuckle. “I told Karen how supportive you’ve been and that I was afraid I was asking too much of you.”

“You can’t be serious,” he said.


“Then you do need professional help,” he teased. “How many times have you been there for me?”

“This is different,” she said, letting go of him, removing her jacket.

“How?” he asked, following her into the bedroom.

“I don’t know. It’s just different,” she said, starting to undress to take a shower. Mulder moved closer to her, smiling at her inability to explain herself.

“It isn’t and you know it. You can be there to give help, but you sure can’t take it. You know that?” he told her. Scully looked at him for a few moments, realizing he had her pegged.

“I hate it when you’re right,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I just don’t want our relationship to be all about my current problems.”

Mulder thought about what she’d just said and wondered why she seemed to think that’s what might be happening.

“Your current problems are my problems, too, Scully.

And while working on getting you better is a part of our relationship at the moment, it doesn’t define it any more than any of my problems do. Or any one issue, for that matter. But it’s something we need to deal with right now. And we are and you will get better,” he told her sincerely, his eyes never leaving hers.

“You really mean that?”

Mulder smiled at her in affirmation and bent to give her a kiss which soon grew into a bit of groping, Mulder slowly pushing her back onto the bed.

“Mulder… Mulder, let me take a shower first,” she tried to tell him between kisses, trying to move his body off of hers.

“You smell just fine to me,” Mulder told her, kissing down her neck.

“Let me up. I’ll be back,” she assured him, mussing his hair as she stood, heading for his bathroom.

She had no more than gotten in the shower and had the water temperature adjusted when the curtain opened and he got in behind her. “I’ll wash your back,” he said, reaching for the soap, kissing the back of her neck.

“Mulder…” she said, his small shower stall barely large enough for one, let alone both of them.

“Then you can wash mine.” He soaped his hands, giving her the soap before beginning to rub his hands over her shoulders, down her back, then across her bottom. When he did that, she reached back and took hold of each of his hands with hers, holding them up to turn around to face him.

“We are not doing anything in here,” she told him, knowing exactly what he had on his mind.

“I thought it was every woman’s dream to be taken in the shower,” he teased.

“You’ve been watching too many of those videos you don’t own,” she countered, squeezing a dollop of shampoo into her hand. “And… the sooner we finish in here, the faster we get out, if you get my meaning.”

Mulder grinned at her, reaching for the soap and washing himself as she washed her hair. They finished in record time, Scully doing a quick comb of her hair, but foregoing her moisturizer. Mulder met her in the bed, both of them barely dry.

“I’m freezing,” Scully said, snuggling in next to him, trying to warm herself against his body. Mulder wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer with the leg he draped over her hip, his hands moving up and down her back trying to warm her.

“That better?”

“Much,” she sighed, kissing his chest. “You feel so good,” she told him when he pulled her fully against him as they lay facing each other on their sides, admiring the hard muscles of his chest, the firm feel of his abdomen.

“As do you,” he told her, moving over her to turn her to her back. “I love the way you feel, Scully…

always… always so beautiful…” he told her, barely whispering next to her ear when he moved further on top of her, nuzzling her neck. His hand moved to her breast at the same time he kissed her and he shuddered when her hands stroked his back, down over his bottom.

“Thank you for being there for me,” she whispered to him before kissing his neck, her lips finding their way to his.

“Don’t ever doubt it.” They kissed for several long minutes, Mulder rubbing himself against her, Scully responding to the feel of his erection against her mound.

She reached down to touch him, take him in her hand to stroke him a few times before helping him to find her center, wanting him inside her. She bent her knees and opened her legs around his hips as he entered her, the feeling of his penetration eliciting a moan, “Mmmmm, Mulder…”

“Yeah… you, too, Scully… you feel so good,” he told her as he began to move in and out of her, his hips slow and strong. Scully moved her legs up further, locking her ankles just behind his bottom as he continued to rock against her. She pulled her head up from the pillow wanting just to kiss him again and again, not letting his lips get away from hers. She held on as he slowly lowered her back to the pillow, their lips never losing contact, Mulder’s body flush against hers as he continued to move within her. He could feel her getting close, her abdominal muscles tightening beneath him, her breath shortening. He pushed harder against her wanting her to go before him but he was having difficulty holding back much longer.

“Mmmmmm, right there, Mulder,” she managed to tell him as she worked to take herself where she wanted to go.

“Uhhhhhhhhhh,” she sighed as her climax hit, her soft tissue clamping him inside before she began to pulse around him like a velvet glove.

“Sculllllyyyy…” he moaned, moving faster within her as she came down, her breath panting against the sensitive skin of his neck. She tightened her arms around his neck, moving her hips more firmly against him as he continued to move, wanting him to let go.

After a few more moments, his movements quickened, but became more erratic and she knew he was getting close.

He thrusted several more times, then letting loose inside her, his hips grinding against her with every surge of his fluid into her, finally emptying himself.

“Jesusssss,” he sighed when he was able to catch his breath enough to speak.

Scully held his face with her hands, willing him to look her in the eyes. “I love you, Mulder,” she told him openly, wanting him to hear the sincerity in her voice, see the passion in her eyes. “I. Love. You.”

“Scully, god, I’ll always love you… always,” he told her before moving off of her, lying on his back next to her. “C’mere,” he said, opening his arms to her, Scully snuggling into his side, Mulder pulling the spread up over them.

He felt her relax, the puff of air from her sigh tickling the hair on his chest and he knew that she was already asleep. He fell asleep soon after, but only slept a couple of hours before waking again, the beginning of a headache nagging him. He slowly moved away from her, moving the pillow under her head where his arm had been. He went into the bathroom to relieve himself and drank a large glass of tap water, sex always making him thirsty. He popped a couple of Tylenol in his mouth at the last minute, hoping he’d stave off a full blown headache.

When he returned to bed, he stood there and watched her sleep for a few moments, the strips of light through his half-open blinds giving her an almost ethereal look. She looked so peaceful and yet, he knew she wasn’t; knew what she had been through this past year was more than most people would be able to survive in a lifetime. But as he continued to look at her, he smiled at thinking if others could see her like this, looking almost childlike as she slept, they would never imagine what a strong person she actually was. He always tried to protect her, but he really knew she was the strong one.

The next morning, Scully woke to the scent of something that smelled wonderful, her nose taking a few moments to recognize it as baking bread, or some kind of warming pastry. She knew Mulder would already be up since she hadn’t set an alarm, never knowing a time when she hadn’t out slept him. She took a quick shower and found one of his shirts hanging on the back of the door to wear, the tails brushing at her knees. She glanced at the clock, seeing that it was almost eight.

“What smells so good?” she asked his back where he stood at the counter in his kitchen.

“I got a couple of things from Murphy’s when I went for my run. You want yours warm?” he asked, barely looking at her.

Scully moved next to him, giving his bare bicep a soft kiss. “Warm is good,” she said, snuggling close to him, hoping he’d recognize her actions as her way of telling him she wouldn’t mind getting back into his warm bed. “But I can think of something better than breakfast at the moment.”

Mulder looked at her, wishing he didn’t have a pounding headache. “I need to eat something. My head is killing me.”


“Yeah, I woke up with it.”

“Did you take something?”

“Yeah. I’ll try again,” he said, reaching up into his cabinet for a large bottle of Tylenol. He took three, draining a large glass of tap water to wash them down.

“Go lie down and I’ll finish getting breakfast,” she told him.

“Scully, I’m not going back to bed,” he snapped back at her.

She gave him a glare, “I meant the couch. I’ll bring it in.” He picked up his glass of juice and went into the living room, stretching out on the couch, turning the television on with the remote, flipping channels until he found CNN.

A few minutes later, Scully joined him, setting a plate with a bagel and cream cheese in front of him along with a cup of coffee. “Can I sit?” she said, a bit of irritation in her voice that he hadn’t moved to make room for her. He moved his feet, seemingly paying no mind to the food she sat on the table. She took a bite of her own bagel and settled back into his couch with her mug of coffee, watching him paying her no mind.

“That must be some headache.”

Finally, he glanced over at her, realizing he had been fairly rude to her because of his preoccupation with the pounding in his head. “Sorry. I, uh, it just seems to be getting worse. You have anything stronger than Tylenol?” he asked, knowing she had quite a stash of medications that she had picked up here and there and saved for a rainy day.

“Yeah, but not with me. My bag’s at home,” she told him, remembering that she didn’t have it in her car.

Mulder got up off the couch and headed for the kitchen again, Scully quickly following him. “Mulder, you just took three Tylenol, you shouldn’t take any more for at least a couple of hours.”

“I’m getting a glass of water,” he snapped, his voice harsh. “Stop hovering.”

“Hovering? Would it be hovering if I went to my apartment and got you something better for your headache?” she asked, a tinge of sarcasm to her voice.

“I’d appreciate it,” was all he’d said in response, returning to lie down on his couch.

And despite the fact that she was fairly irritated at him for his nasty mood, she knew his headache must be bad or he wouldn’t have been acting the way he was, the previous evening and night having been so good.

Scully had gotten him a pillow from his bed and sat another glass of water on the table by him before she left, telling him she’d be back in a couple of hours and would bring him something to eat. He didn’t bother to tell her he wasn’t hungry and could care less what she brought as long as she had something that would help his pounding head.

He had finally fallen asleep, more out of necessity to relieve his head than actual need for sleep. But at least his head didn’t hurt when he slept. He woke when he heard his door open, knowing it must be Scully.

“Feeling any better?” she asked when she walked into the living room, carrying her medical bag.

“Um, yeah, my, um headache seems to be a bit better. I slept,” he told her, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands.

She tossed her jacket into a chair and sat down next to him, opening her bag. “Well, I’ve got something that would probably make you sleep again, if you want to take it.”

“I think I’m getting the flu or something,” he said, realizing he felt like absolute shit.

“If I wouldn’t be hovering, I can check your temp,” she told him, still a bit hurt by his earlier mood. He didn’t answer her, but took the thermometer after she shook it and handed it to him. He kept it in his mouth for a minute or so, handing it back to her without saying anything to her. “100.7. Yep, you’ve got a temperature. Here, take these,” she said, handing him an antibiotic and a couple of Vitamin C’s.

“What are these?” he asked, not meaning to be rude, but his question only serving to piss her off.

“Cyanide,” she answered sarcastically.

“Goddammit, I’m just asking,” he said, now pissed himself.

“Take another one of these before you go to bed,” she said, glaring at him as she took a deep breath to temper her growing irritation at his mood. She handed him a small medicine bottle, “And if your headache comes back, you can take one of these,” handing him a small white packet. “But only one, Mulder. I mean it,” she said, closing her bag, standing from the couch.

“I hear you,” he said, propping his feet on the coffee table, leaning his head against the back of the couch.

Scully got her jacket from the chair across the room, thinking it would probably be better if she left him alone. She really didn’t like anyone around either when she was sick. “You leaving?”

“Yes. I’ll call later. If you need anything or get worse, call me,” she told him, but he didn’t really acknowledge her words. “Did you hear me?”

“I heard you. I’ll call if I need anything or get worse,” he parroted back to her.

In spite of herself, she walked over to him and bent to give him a soft kiss on his forehead, feeling his fever against her lips. “Feel better…”

Mulder barely noticed she had left and took the pills as she’d told him. He lay around most of the day, finally going out later in the day to go down the street for a paper, but barely read it when he got back to his apartment. Scully had called around dinner time, but he’d turned down her offer of bringing over something to eat, telling her he’d probably take the other pill she’d left for him and go to sleep. She knew it was best to leave him alone in his misery and told him she’d check on him the next day.



The next day, April 11

Mulder had slept fitfully, his throat getting sore, his headache reappearing with a vengeance and he had been up several times during the night. Scully hadn’t called yet, so he figured she would probably just stop by, and he didn’t really want company, even her. So when he heard someone walk up to his door, he thought it might be her until he heard the knock and knew it wasn’t her recognizable tap. He filled yet another glass with water from his kitchen tap, taking a couple more aspirin with a gulp of water and headed to the door, wondering who was being so insistent as the knocking continued.

Mulder was visibly annoyed to find all three of the Gunmen outside his door when he’d answered it, his greeting of, “What are you guys doing here?” fairly much a snarl. They barely seemed to notice him, all of them in a hurry to get into his apartment and out of the hall. At least Byers had asked if they could come in, but only after they were essentially already in.

“I’m not feeling well. I didn’t sleep last night,” he tried to tell them, but they just moved on into the living room, Frohike looking out through the closed blinds, seemingly looking for something, or someone.

“I’m really not in the mood for the three stooges,” Mulder snarled again, sitting down on his couch.

“I don’t think we’ve been followed,” Frohike said, closing the blinds.

“Who would follow you?” Mulder muttered, holding his head in his hands, wishing they would just leave.

“Multinational Multinational Black Opps unit. Code name Garnett,” Byers told him, Mulder almost laughing at his seriousness.

“Trained killers. School of the American Alumni,” Langly added.

“You boys been defacing library books again?” Mulder said sarcastically.

“They don’t want us. They want him,” Frohike told him, handing him a small piece of paper.

“Kenneth Suna,” Mulder read from the paper, tossing it disinterestedly onto the coffee table.

“We think that’s his real name,” Langly added.

“You’ve heard us refer to him as The Thinker,” Byers began to explain.

Mulder was still barely paying attention, rubbing his face with his hand, hoping some of the headache would go away. “What’d he do?” he mumbled.

“Hacked into the defense department computer system,” Byers said.

“What?” Mulder asked, finally looking up at him, Byers last words getting his attention fast.

Byers continued, “The Thinker’s an anarchist and a snoop. Whatever he got into has made him a very wanted man. Customs and immigration are on full alert. Every port of egress is closed.”

“What are you coming to me for?” Mulder asked wondering just what his three motley friends wanted from him.

“In his last communique’, The Thinker named a meeting place and a three hour time window. He asked specifically for you,” Byers continued. Mulder shook his head, not knowing what this man who he had never met could possibly want with him

“The only problem is he may already be dead,” Langly interjected.

But before anyone could say more, they were all startled by the sound of a gunshot, Mulder grabbing his gun before all four of them rushed out of his apartment and down the hall to find out what had happened. When they rounded the corner, down another hall, they found a group of neighbors already gathered outside of another apartment.

The Gunmen stayed back, peeking around the corner as Mulder moved quickly to the crowd. “What happened?”

Mulder asked a middle aged woman in the hall, both of them watching as another neighbor tried to console an elderly lady, near hysterics inside the apartment.

“She just shot her husband. They’d been married for thirty years. It’s like she went crazy,” the woman told Mulder.

“Everybody go back to your apartment, we’ll handle this,” Mulder heard the police officers say as they arrived. He slid his gun inside the front of his jeans, covering it with his t-shirt figuring it would be better just to stay out of things. Mulder looked back at the Gunmen, beginning to connect the information they’d just shared with him to the erratic behavior of his neighbor.

“Weirdness,” Frohike said before the three of them left him standing in the hall wondering what the hell had just happened.

Mulder went back inside his apartment and picked up the slip of paper Frohike had given him, and read the time and place that this mysterious ‘Thinker’ had given them. Maybe he would check it out. He heard a knock at his door and, this time, recognized it as Scully’s.

“Mulder?” she said, letting herself in through the unlocked door. “What’s going on?” she asked as she entered his living room.

“My neighbor just shot her husband,” he told her, rubbing his eyes again.

“You’re kidding,” she said, joining him on the couch.

“Nope. Just another friendly day in the neighborhood,” he said, giving her a smile, but she could tell he was disturbed by it.

“Did you know her?” she asked sympathetically.

“Barely,” he said, getting up from the couch and heading for the kitchen, looking in the fridge for some juice. “Want some?” he asked her when she joined him.

“No thanks. I think you need it more than I do. I take it you’re still not feeling well,” she observed.

He gave her an affirming glance and took a long swig out of the jug of orange juice. “Headache any better?”

Despite how he felt, he knew he’d been downright rude to her the day before and was going to try his best to be civil. “Yeah, a little bit, I think. The stuff you left for me really helped. Thanks,” he said, leaning back against the counter edge.

“Have you eaten?”

“Not much. I’ve just been thirsty as hell,” he said, taking another swig of the juice.

“Yeah, that’s probably a side-effect from the pills,” she told him. “But it’s good for you to drink plenty of fluids.”

Mulder had gone back to sit on the couch while Scully searched his cabinets, not finding much in the way of food to make anything to eat. “I’ll go get us something to eat,” she told him. “Any requests?”

“I’m not hungry, really,” he told her.

“Well, I am. I’ll run over to Culpepper’s. I’ll bring you something tasty,” she told him, smoothing her hand over his hair. Mulder nodded, unable to look at her, knowing he wouldn’t be there when she got back.



The garden was beautiful in the early evening darkness, the flowers in their spring bloom. Mulder sat on a brick ledge surrounding one of the flower beds, waiting for someone to show up who looked like they might be looking for him. And he didn’t have to wait long, a grunge type guy carrying a manila envelope walking past him, giving him a glance. Mulder stood and followed him a few steps before he stopped and spoke.

“I… I don’t want you to know my real name. I… I just don’t think it’s that important that you know,” the guy told him by way of introduction.

“Sounds like a line I used in a bar once.”

“Look, I’m sorry about the wait but I kinda got this ninja party shagging my butt.”

“Why? What’ve you got,” Mulder asked, feeling a bit of excitement at what this hacker may have uncovered.

“Well, if I’m correct I got the original defense department’s UFO intelligence files. Everything from the 1940’s and up,” he said proudly.

“Everything?” Mulder said, almost unbelieving of what he was hearing.

“Everything. Roswell, MJ12 and beyond,” he told Mulder.

“You’ve read them.”

“Not entirely. I downloaded all I could and then I split. I mean, I knew that these guys would be after me.”

“What makes you think they know who you are?” Mulder asked, thinking the guy might be overestimating his importance.

“I didn’t take any precautions. I mean I… I didn’t even expect to get inside,” he explained, handing Mulder the package.

“You know they always denied that these files even existed,” Mulder said, looking at the other man intently, wondering just what his motives might be.

“What do you want from me?”

“I want the truth. And I want you to promise that those rat bastards answer to the people,” the man told him sincerely and Mulder nodded, his gut telling him the guy was genuine.

Mulder had gone back to his apartment, pulling his gun when he found it unlocked, now somewhat paranoid because of the package he carried under his jacket.

But when he entered and found two carry-out sacks on his table, he knew Scully had been there and left. He also knew she was probably pissed. And when he found her short note, he knew so. M- Enjoy your dinner. “Ouch,” he said out loud. He would explain to Scully after he’d looked at the tape.

He didn’t even look at what she’d bought, simply taking the sacks and setting them in his refrigerator, heading to his computer to see what was on the DAT tape in the package Suna had given him. He may just hold the key to everything he had been searching for in his hand.

He booted up his computer, pushing the tape in his external DAT drive.

“Shit,” he mumbled to himself, seeing that his computer didn’t have enough memory to read the sophisticated files on the tape. He knew he’d have to take the tape to an FBI computer or take it to the Gunmen and he figured it best, for now, to keep what he had to himself.




The next morning, April 12

Mulder had intended to go into work early, but he had taken one of the pills Scully had left for him and he had overslept a bit. When he got to the office, Scully wasn’t there and he figured she was still pissed. He hung his jacket on the back of the door and immediately booted up his computer, sliding the DAT tape into the drive.

Just then, Scully stuck her head in the door, relaying a message he was sure she was given. “Mulder, Skinner’s looking for you.”

He looked up, trying to judge her demeanor. “Come in and lock the door,” he told her, figuring he’d just come clean about where he had gone to the previous night.

“Why, what’s going on?” she asked, seeing that he seemed a bit frazzled, locking the door behind her as he’d asked.

“Are you familiar with the ten commandments Scully?”

“You want me to recite them?” she asked and he knew she could.

“No. Just number 4, the one about obeying the Sabbath, the part about where God made Heaven and Earth but didn’t bother to tell anybody about his side projects,” he told her quickly.

Scully looked at him, noticing the strange smile on his face, wondering about his obscure reference. “What are you talking about?”

“The biggest lie of all,” he smiled, pointing to his computer screen as ‘Department Of Defense. Top Secret’

popped up.

Scully noticed the screen, realizing that Mulder had gotten into files that he shouldn’t have. “What is this?” she asked, moving around the desk next to his side to view the screen.

“The Holy Grail. The original defense department files.

Hard evidence that the government has known about the existence of extraterrestrials for over fifty years,” he told her excitedly, waiting for the directory to come up.

Scully watched him closely, seeing that he seemed agitated or excited or something, surely not himself.

“Where did you get this?”

“Your friendly neighborhood anarchist,” he told her, the files finally appearing on the screen. But when he saw it, the smile of excitement disappeared from his face. “I don’t believe this,” he said, scanning to the next page and to the next, seeing that they were all the same. “This is just gibberish.” He stood, almost shoving Scully out of the way as he hit his pencil holder, sending the cup and its contents half way across the room. “Damn it!” he yelled, kicking his wastebasket as Scully looked on, now sincerely worried about his mood. “I’m so sick of this crap, BS and double talk. I can’t believe this.”

Scully watched him pace in anger, but glancing back at the computer screen, sitting down in his chair to take a closer look. “Mulder, this may not be gibberish.”

“It’s a joke Scully, it’s a bad joke.”

“I think it’s just encrypted and I think I recognize it,” she told him calmly, hoping her words might settle him down. “It looks like Navajo. It was used in World War II,” she began, Mulder moving back over to look at the screen again. “My father told me it was the only code the Japanese couldn’t break, I… I remember the long strings of consonants,” she told him, pointing to the writing on the screen.

“Well can you find out?” he asked calmly.

“Well only a handful of people can decipher it.”

“Then find one of ‘em,” he said, quickly walking toward the door of the office, remembering he had to go see his boss.

She took a deep breath, still worried about his strange demeanor. “Mulder. Are you okay?” she asked, now wondering if he had been suffering from more than a bout of the flu.

“Yeah. I just haven’t been sleeping,” he told her as he left, Scully just staring at his back as he walked out, stunned that was all the explanation he’d given her.

As soon as Mulder had exited the elevator on the fourth floor, he saw Skinner come out of his office and round the corner, probably going to look for him.

“Sir,” Mulder said, walking up behind him, Skinner turning around to face him.

“Agent Mulder. I need to speak with you.”

“About?” his mood still terse.

Skinner looked around, seeing that the hallway was a bit too crowded for a private conversation. “In my office.”

“Why? Is this another jerk off assignment where I end up doing the government’s dirty work?”

Skinner lowered his voice and moved closer to Mulder so that others wouldn’t hear. “It’s about a rumor that you may be in receipt of some sensitive files.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” Mulder said unconvincingly.

“Agent Mulder listen…” Skinner started, but Mulder turned to walk away from him. “I’m talking to you…”

Skinner said, reaching for Mulder’s shoulder to stop him.

But Mulder turned on him, punching him squarely in the jaw, the older man’s glasses flying off his face.

Mulder moved in and swung at him again, another agent coming up from behind to try to stop him. But Mulder tried to get out of his grasp, Skinner righting himself enough to grab Mulder, getting him in a quick headlock, Mulder no match for his larger, bulkier boss. “Are we finished, Agent Mulder?” Skinner asked him as he kept Mulder trapped in his hold. “Are we done?” Skinner let go of him, slinging him away from him. “We’re done.”



The next day, April 13

As soon as Scully entered the room, she was met by Skinner, replete with a swollen lip and a bruised face.

She couldn’t look at him, knowing full well where his injuries had come from. She had tried to call Mulder several times the previous afternoon, finally reaching him early in the evening. She had asked again if he was alright and where he had gone to after he’d left the office.

“I came home,” he told her flatly.


“I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it. I punched Skinner,” he told her like he was reporting on the day’s weather.

“You what?” she asked slowly, unable to believe what he had just told her.

“I just need some time, Scully. I’ll see you tomorrow,” was all he’d said and hung up. She was so angry with him, she figured it was best if they didn’t see each other, but on the other hand she had been very worried. And she was even more worried the next morning when Mulder didn’t show up for work and she was called in to a meeting with Skinner. What she didn’t know until she got there was that there were four other directors there as well.

“You wanted to see me, Sir?” she asked uncomfortably, knowing Mulder was in deep trouble.

“Yes, Agent Scully. Please have a seat,” Skinner said, seemingly almost as uncomfortable as she was.

Scully moved to the table with the others, straightening her suit jacket as she sat. “Agent Scully, you heard about the incident here, in the hallway yesterday,” one of the men asked, watching her closely.

“Yes Sir,” she answered as nonchalantly as she could.

The same man spoke again, the others just looking on.

“Do you have any explanation as to Agent Mulder’s, bizarre behavior?”

“No Sir. Agent Mulder told me he was having trouble sleeping,” she offered. It wasn’t actually a lie, but she knew it wasn’t the whole truth either. Something was wrong with Mulder. She just wished she knew what.

One of the other men finally spoke, a director she knew to be Section Chief Blevins’ right hand man. “Do you think agent Mulder confides in you agent Scully?”

She thought it was a bit of an odd question, figuring he was trying to set her up for something. “Of course, he’s my partner.”

“Your partner. Weren’t you originally assigned to agent Mulder to debunk his work?” the man at the end of the table asked, someone she had never seen before.

“Yes sir. A year and a half ago. I’ve been writing regular reports stating the validity of Agent Mulder’s work on the X-Files,” she said, hoping to appease them, but barely able to catch her breath.

“Would you lie to protect him?” the same man asked.

“Am I being accused of lying?” she said, the emotion creeping into her voice, knowing she was in some kind of deep shit, as was Mulder.

Blevins’ man spoke again, this time with much more of an edge to his voice, obviously trying to intimidate her. “Agent Mulder has been notified of a disciplinary hearing. If there’s something we learn at that meeting that you haven’t stated here today, you could be subject to the same summary action.”

“What action is that?” she asked, trying not to let her nervousness show.

“Dismissal without chance of reinstatement,” Skinner told her, Scully looking him square in the eyes.

“Is that all Sir?” she asked, hoping that Skinner would let her get the hell out of there.

“Yes Agent Scully, thank you,” he answered, barely able to look at her. She stood quickly, hoping to get out of there before anyone could ask her another question.



Later that day Scully had called his cell, but he wasn’t answering. She was pissed and worried and several other emotions she couldn’t quite sort, so she left work to find him. She knocked a couple of times, but his door was unlocked, so she slowly walked in, finding him asleep on his couch, walking slowly up to him. But she startled him and he jerked awake grabbing for his gun where it lay on his coffee table.

“You didn’t answer your door,” she said quickly.

“Uhhh,” Mulder growled, wiping his face with his hands, trying to wake himself up. “I took a pill.”

Scully just watched him, seeing that he was not himself. “I couldn’t find you at work. I was worried about you.”

“I came home,” he muttered, taking a drink of water. “I must be running a fever. Maybe it’s the threat of being burned at the stake,” he joked, smiling up at her where she stood over him.

She wasn’t in the mood for his humor and she was growing very tired of his insolence, regardless of the fact that he was ill. “They called me in today.”

Mulder sat up further, leaning back into the leather of his couch. “What did you tell them?”

She hesitated before answering, her irritation now very obvious in her expression. “That nothing was wrong.”

“Well you told them the truth then.”

“Mulder, you opened the door for them, they’re just looking for a good reason now,” she told him, something she knew he already knew.

“Okay, I’ll say I’m sorry,” he said snottily, relaxing further against his couch. Scully was biting her tongue, trying to hold her temper and not just scream at him.

“Mulder, these files. Who knows you have them?” she asked, moving to stand in front of him, forcing him to look at her.


“Because I had to lie today. And I put my job in jeopardy in order to do so,” she told him firmly. “If they find out about those files…”

“How would they find out?” he raised his voice, interrupting her.

“Maybe they already know. The question is, is it worth it? Is this cassette worth risking everything?” she asked, her voice almost breaking. Both of them knew she meant not only their jobs and the X-Files, but possibly their relationship as well.

“I’ll tell you when I find out what’s on it. Now just tell me who I can talk to about breaking that code,” he yelled at her.

Scully just stared at him, angry and hurt that he was treating her like he was. “I’m meeting with someone in an hour. I might know something later tonight,” she told him, Mulder unable to meet her stare. “I just need some kind of assurance that they’re not going to let us hang ourselves with this! That I’m doing the right thing!”

Mulder finally looked at her, realizing that he was jeopardizing everything that she had as well, knowing she had good reason to be angry with him. Mulder got up and walked to his window, putting an ‘x’ in his window with masking tape, Scully knowing that’s how he messaged his secret source. “I’ll try to find out,” he said quietly, knowing by the look on her face that he had hurt her.

There were so many things she wanted to ask him, but was so angry with him, she knew it wasn’t the time.

And she had an appointment to keep. But she needed to ask one question. “I need to know one more thing Mulder. Why did you attack Skinner?”

Mulder looked at her and she could see that, in his own way, he was trying to apologize for his terrible disposition. “I’ve thought of that Scully. I honestly can’t say.” And he couldn’t. He had no idea what was actually wrong with him, but she knew it was more than the flu and she was worried even more.



Later that evening

Scully had paid a visit to the offices of the Navajo nation to see if someone could decipher the single page of hard copy she had from the DAT tape, Mulder not able to get any more from it. The office’s representative had told her she would need an actual code talker to interpret the code and she would put him in contact with her.

In the meantime, Mulder had received a call from his father asking him to come to his house, a request his distant parent rarely made. Mulder knew it must be important and suspected that it may be related in some way to the state department tape. But after he’d gotten there, his father seemed to talk in circles, never really getting to the point before he excused himself to the bathroom. And that’s when all hell broke loose, Mulder hearing a gunshot coming from the restroom where his father had gone.

“Forgive me,” his father had said to him as he lay dying in his arms.

“Dad… Oh, Dad…”

After Scully had left the Navajo nation office, she went straight to Mulder’s apartment, wanting to share with him what she’d found and wanting to check on him.

But when she got there, the apartment was dark and he wasn’t home, the taped ‘x’ still on his window. She looked on his desk for any sign of where he’d gone, but barely had time to look before a shot rang out, coming through his window and lodging in the plaster wall.

She had fallen to the floor, realizing she’d just escaped with her life when she felt the blood on her forehead where the bullet had grazed her. Now she was even more scared for Mulder. She didn’t know what to do or where to go look for him so she decided to just stay at his apartment, hoping he’d return or at least call. But the call she got wasn’t one she expected.

“Hello,” she answered her cell quickly, just sitting at his table waiting.

“My father’s dead, Scully.”

“Where are you?” she asked, now scared beyond belief.

“They shot him. He’s dead,” Mulder told her painfully.

“Mulder, where are you? Just tell me where you are,” she pleaded.

“I’m on the Vineyard,” he told her, knowing she would know he was at his father’s house.

“Who shot him, Mulder?” Scully sincerely fearing that it had been Mulder

“I don’t know.”

“Mulder, were you arguing?”

“Ohhhh, I didn’t do it, Scully,” he said breathlessly realizing even she thought he might have done it, knowing everyone else would. “He was trying to tell me something.”

“Mulder, listen to me…”

“You gotta believe me, Scully.”

“Mulder, I believe you. Just listen to me. You’ve got to get out of there. You have to leave immediately,” she told him, almost panicked at what someone would think if they found him there.

“I can’t leave the crime scene. It’ll look like I’m running,” Mulder told her, knowing he was innocent.

“Make me look guilty.”

She almost couldn’t believe what he was saying, knowing she was making the right call on this one. “Mulder they’re gonna suspect you anyway, you’ve got no ID on the shooter, you, your behavior has been irrational lately. Mulder can’t you see that everything is pointing directly at you?”

“He was shot with somebody else’s weapon,” he tried to reason.

“Damn it Mulder, you’re an FBI agent. You have access to weapons other than your own,” she yelled at him, hoping to convince him to listen to her.

“All right. Meet me back at my apartment,” he said, his voice breaking.

“No. No you can’t come home. Someone shot through your window tonight; they almost killed me. They might be trying to kill you.”

“Jesus, Scully…” Mulder said tearfully.

“I’ll meet you back at my place,” she told him, hoping it would be safe. “And Mulder… Please be careful.”

Scully had gotten there first, but not by much. She had driven around Arlington, doubling back several times, trying to discern if anyone was following her.

She hadn’t noticed anyone, feeling safe about going home, well almost.

She almost ran from her place in the kitchen when she heard the knock at the door. “Oh… Mulder… My God.

Look at you. You’re sick,” she said, shocked at Mulder’s ragged appearance.

“I’m okay,” he said, reaching for her, so tired all he’d been through he felt he was barely able to stand up. As she was trying to unzip his coat, he almost stumbled toward the chair closest to him, but she stopped him.

“No, come on, I want you to lie down. Woah, come on. I want you to lie down. Let me take your coat off,” she said, seeing the blood stains all over the front of his checked shirt.

“We gotta find them Scully,” he told her as she led him into her bedroom.

“Right now you have to lie down. Come here,” she said, steering him to the bed, helping him to lie down. She touched him gently, her mind racing in a hundred different directions. But, at the moment, she needed to attend to him, worried that he was so sick. She went into the bathroom to get a cold cloth, hoping to cool his fever.

“We gotta find out who killed my father,” he called to her from the bed, struggling to sit up.

“Well right now you need to rest, okay, rest,” she told him, helping him to lie back down, putting a cold cloth on his forehead, touching his warm cheek. “Okay? Rest.

It’s okay. It’s okay.”

“My father…” he said and she could tell he was trying not to cry. She knew his relationship with his father had been a rocky one ever since his sister had disappeared, but she also knew he still loved his father, probably holding out some hope that someday things would be better.

“I know… I know…” she comforted, reaching to hold him, kiss his cheek. He held onto her tightly, finally letting his tears come as she cradled him in her arms.

“Scully…” he cried into the fabric of her suit.

“I’m here… I’m right here.”

After he’d settled a bit, she helped him to undress down to his boxers and got him back into bed. “Here, take this,” she said, handing him a small white tablet and a glass of water. “You need to rest.”

“You coming to bed?” he asked after he’d swallowed the pill, taking hold of her hand, hoping she wouldn’t leave him alone.

She gave him a small smile and nodded, “I’ll be in in a minute. Now rest.”

After she’d taken a quick shower, she snuggled in beside him, not sure if he was sleeping or just resting. He looked so worn out. But he opened his eyes, locating her by the soft glow of the moon through the window. “I thought maybe you were sleeping,” she whispered to him.

“I wish…”

“The pill should be kicking in pretty soon.”

“Jesus, Scully, what the hell is happening?” he sighed, still not believing his father had been killed and he had tried to beat the crap out of his boss.

She moved up on her elbow, looking down at him as he lay next to her. “I don’t know. But we’ll find out, Mulder. I promise you we’ll find out.” And she laid her head down on his shoulder, listening to his heart beat, noticing when the steady cadence of his breathing slowed down and she realized he was finally able to find sleep.




April 16

Scully had gotten up early the next morning, Mulder still sound asleep. She knew he’d be angry if he knew how strong the sleeping pill was she’d given him the previous night, but she knew he needed to decompress.

Leaving him to sleep, she had taken his gun to run forensic tests on it, wanting a formal record which might be needed later to clear his name. But he was furious when he’d discovered she’d taken his weapon and left him in the apartment, yelling at her over the phone, saying some things she knew he didn’t really believe. And her intuition was telling her that whatever had been making him so ill tempered the last couple of days wasn’t just the flu.

After he’d hung up on her, she wasn’t sure where he’d go, but wanted to get back to his apartment in case he went there. She also wanted to dig the bullet that had been fired through his window at her out of the wall, having a sneaking suspicion that it might match the bullet that would eventually be removed from his father’s body. But after she’d removed the bullet from the plaster, she’d noticed a truck outside Mulder’s building loading some kind of large canister that appeared to be a water softener container.

Following her hunch, she went into Mulder’s basement and found the mixing nozzle on the bottle to Mulder’s floor to be brand new, the others old and corroded.

Someone had been tampering with Mulder’s water.

Later, Mulder arrived at his building in a cab, noticing someone hiding behind the edge of his building. He went in his building, doubling back, seeing that it was Alex Krycek, probably lying in wait to kill him, too. Mulder went after him, getting the best of him, beating him up pretty badly and taking his gun. “I’m gonna kill you anyway Krycek so you may as well tell me the truth,” Mulder yelled at him, pointing Krycek’s own gun directly at his face. “Did you kill my father? Did you kill him… answer me!”

Scully had heard the fighting and ran out just as Mulder seemed ready to pull the trigger. “Mulder, don’t shoot him. Just back away,” she told him, pointing her gun at them.

“He killed my father, Scully!” Mulder yelled back at her, now totally out of control.

“I have him, Mulder,” she told him, knowing that if he killed Krycek, Mulder’s life would also be over.

“No Scully…” Mulder yelled and she could see that he was going to pull the trigger and shoot Krycek point blank. She had no option but to stop him, aiming carefully and shooting Mulder in a place she knew would stop him, but not kill him. And she succeeded, Mulder falling to the ground, a shocked Krycek running away.

Scully immediately ran to Mulder, double checking where her bullet had landed to make sure he wasn’t seriously wounded.

“Oh my God. Somebody call the police!” a woman’s voice echoed out of the dark and Scully knew she had to get him out of there.

“Mulder… Mulder,” Scully yelled at him, slapping his cheek to rouse him. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

She helped him up, Mulder knowing she was right.

“Oh, fuck,” he said, his shoulder hurting like hell as they ran down the street to Scully’s car. She helped him in the car, lying him down in the back seat, speeding off before anyone had seen them.

Once she had gotten far enough out of Mulder’s neighborhood, she had pulled over in a parking lot, out of the view of the few cars that passed by. Mulder was moaning once in a while, seemingly in and out with his pain and from whatever had been put in his water. She had filled her syringe with enough Demerol to ease his pain and to make him sleep, injecting him without him even realizing what had happened. “I’m so sorry,” she said as she’d given him a soft kiss. “Sleep…” She cleaned and dressed his wound after the drug had taken effect and went into a discount store to buy a couple of blankets and a cheap pillow, making him more comfortable for the long ride ahead of them.

She had driven for about five hours, making it into Ohio before he had finally woken. It was almost daylight and she had pulled into a BP station to refuel. “Mulder, I’m going to give you another injection, but I want you to take this antibiotic first,” she told him, trying to help him sit up a bit.

“Uhhhhhh,” he groaned, Scully feeling horrible about the pain he was having, but thankful he was safe.

“Open,” she said, laying the pill on his tongue, putting a bottle of water to his lips. “Drink.” She could tell that he was barely able to know what was going on, his eyes swimming around in their sockets.

And that’s the way she wanted to keep him until she got them to where they were going.

“I need to pee,” he managed to slur.

“Can you hold it for a few minutes?” she asked hopefully. “I’ll be right back.” She went into the station and bought a large container of orange juice and a few other things easy for her to eat while she drove. She poured the juice out on the ground next to the car, crawling in the back seat with Mulder. “Here, Mulder. We can use this,” she told him showing him the plastic bottle. She couldn’t risk trying to get him out of the car, someone would surely notice since he would probably barely be able to walk. And all the clothes he had were bloody.

She started to unzip his pants, his slurred comment of “Not now, I have a headache,” bringing a reluctant smile to her face. “Can you help me?” she asked, hoping he could. She held the bottle close to him and he found the opening with his hand, placing himself inside. He couldn’t resist a sigh when he finally began to pee, his bladder having been uncomfortably full.

“Thanks,” he said when he’d finished. She emptied the bottle on the ground with the orange juice, figuring he might just need the make shift urinal again. She gave him another injection of Demerol, checking his bandage to see that he had no bleeding and covering him with the blanket before heading back out on the highway to New Mexico.

She had driven straight through, only stopping when she had to to refuel or to give him another injection. By the end of the next day, she had changed his bandage again and everything looked good. She was relieved for that. She finally made it to Farmington, near Two Grey Hills, late the next day and found an out of the way motel, wanting to get them settled in for the rest of the night. “Come on, Mulder. We need to get you out of the car. We’re at a motel,” she told him, so tired herself she felt like she could barely walk.

Mulder groaned when he sat up, but he made it and she helped him out of the car and into the room. She had taken all of their things in before she had attempted to rouse him, so she locked the door behind them. She helped him to the bathroom and then to undress and got him settled in bed, most likely without him knowing much of what was going on. She could see that his pain was significant from all the movement so she gave him another injection, wanting him to rest soundly for the night. She took off everything of hers except her bra and panties and crawled in next to him, falling asleep as soon as she snuggled in.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d slept, but she could tell by the amount of sun sneaking in around the edges of the tacky motel curtains that it must be at least mid morning. Mulder was still sleeping soundly, so she took a hot shower and dressed and went in search of the code talker who had contacted her.

After she’d located him, he’d said he’d meet her at the motel and she’d returned to check on Mulder. She’d helped him to the bathroom again and got his jeans on him, laying him back down on the bed again. A little while later, Albert Hosteen arrived at their room, Scully hoping he could decipher the few pages they were able to print from the DAT tape.

“He’s awake,” Albert said, seeing Mulder rouse for the first time since he’d arrived in their room. Mulder looked up, seeing a Native American man looking down at him, thinking that maybe he’d died.

Scully came over to the bed, sitting down next to him.

“Mulder, Mulder it’s me,” she said, hoping he could orient himself to her voice. “Here drink some of that, you haven’t had any water in over 36 hours.” She handed him a glass, but his eyes closed again. He knew if he didn’t sit up, he would fall asleep again, so he struggled to rise.

“Owww,” he moaned as he sat up.

“Your shoulder’s going to be fine. The round went through nice and clean,” she told him, fluffing some pillows behind his back, leaning him back against them.

“You shot me,” he said angrily, seemingly just remembering what had happened almost two days before.

“Yes, I did. You didn’t give me much choice; you were going to shoot Krycek.”

“Why’d you shoot me? He’s the one,” he asked, still angry.

“If he is, then his weapon is probably the same one that killed your father,” she tried to explain.

“What are you talking about?”

“If you killed Krycek with that weapon, there would have been no way to prove that you didn’t kill your father,” she told him, understanding finally registering on his face. He now realized what she had done for him. “I’m sorry about your father Mulder, I haven’t been able to tell you,” she told him tenderly, Mulder’s face softening at her words.

“How’d you know it was Krycek?” he asked, finally taking a sip of the water she’d given him.

“I didn’t,” she sighed. “I went back to your apartment to pull the slug from the wall.” She got up from her place next to him on the bed and picked up a baggie from the small table next to where Albert sat working on the papers she had given him. “But I noticed an unmarked van delivering soft water and I found this in one of the tanks servicing your building,” she explained, showing him what was in the baggie.

“What is it?”

“It’s a dialysis filter. It’s a device used in the transmission of substances to solution. Considering the level of psychosis you were experiencing, it was probably LSD, amphetamines or some kind of exotic dopamine agonist.”

“Oh my God. There was a murder in my building,” Mulder figuring out why his nice elderly neighbor had suddenly killed her husband.

“Well it wasn’t an exercise in subtlety,” she told him, remembering how angry and hurtful he’d been towards her, now understanding why. “Mulder, these men are quite possibly the same ones who killed your father and who systematically tried to destroy you by turning everyone you could trust against you. I don’t think I have to tell you why.”

“I’d gotten too close to the truth,” his eyes meeting hers as she nodded in agreement. Finally, Mulder moved his gaze from hers and looked around the room. “Where are we?”

“We’re in Farmington, New Mexico,” she told him, knowing he’d wonder why in the hell why. “We’ve just driven two days across country. I had to put you out to let the side effects of the psychosis abate.”

Albert walked over closer to the bed, wanting to talk to the mysterious traveler that he had many things to talk to about. “This is Albert Hosteen, he’s been translating your files.”

“You’re lucky she’s a good shot,” Albert kidded him.

“Or a bad one,” Mulder teased, happy he’d garnered a smile from Scully.

“Albert was a Navajo code talker during World War II.

He helped encode the original government documents,” she told him, knowing he’d be impressed by the stately man she’d discovered.

“How’d you find him?” Mulder asked her.

“Through a woman in Washington. But he claims he knew you were coming,” she smiled again.

“Last week we had an omen,” Albert said, just before he left their room. He had been watching their interchange since Mulder had awoke and quickly realized that there was more between them than just a pursuit of the meaning of some long hidden files. He figured they needed to be alone.

“Most of these files are written in jargon but apparently there was an international conspiracy of silence dating back to the 1940’s. Albert says that evidence of these secrets is buried on a Navajo reservation not far from here. He says that he’ll take you as soon as you are able.”

Mulder handed her his glass of water, figuring he needed to try to get up, realizing he really needed to pee. She watched him closely, looking for any sign that he wasn’t strong enough to sit up.

Mulder righted himself, sitting on the edge of the bed in front of her. “What about you?”

“I’m afraid you’re on your own with this,” she began, barely able to look at him, worrying that he’d be angry at her for putting herself at such risk. “I didn’t show up for a meeting with Skinner the day before yesterday and I don’t know what the repercussions will be.”

Mulder thought to himself in that instant how he could have been so lucky to have found a person as loving and intelligent and as steadfast as Scully. “You’ve taken a big risk.”

Scully’s eyes met his and their silent communication was clear to both of them. “I was certain they would have killed you, Mulder,” she told him tenderly. Mulder took hold of her hands, giving them a loving squeeze before he stood, his bladder reminding him again that he needed to empty it.

But just before he got to the bathroom, he turned back to her. “Thank you. Thank you for taking care of me.”

She could see that he was struggling to keep his emotions in check.

“There’s something else,” Scully started, standing to be at his eye level, taking a deep breath before continuing. “My name is in those files. It appears in the latest entries with Duane Barry’s.”

Mulder’s heart sank, fearing just what that could mean, seeing by her expression that she feared it, too. “In what context?”

“It’s not clear, but it has something to do with a test. I want you to find out Mulder,” she said, her words breaking his heart. “I need you to.”

Mulder simply nodded and headed for the bathroom, softly closing the door behind him. When he came back out, Scully was sitting at the small desk by the window, trying to translate some of the documents, working with the decoding keys Albert had written down for her.

“What’re you doing?” Mulder asked, walking up behind her, squeezing her shoulders, feeling how tight her muscles were.

“Nothing that can’t be done later,” she smiled up at him. “You need to eat something, if you feel like it.”

“Yeah, I am kinda hungry,” he laughed. “When’s the last time I had any thing to eat?”

“Ummm, I’d say about three days ago. You’ve had some liquids, but nothing substantial to eat,” she told him, going to the small cooler she’d picked up along their way across country. “Let’s see…” she rummaged around in the small plastic container, “We have some yogurt, a dried out ham and cheese on white bread, an apple, an orange and what’s left of some cottage cheese. That’s what you get when you do your shopping at an all night convenience store.”

“Seems like I remember some orange juice,” he said, her head jerking to look at him. “Or maybe it was just an empty jug.”

“Oh, god. You remember that?” she asked, seeing that he was grinning at her, teasing her.

“I hope your juice bottle isn’t in that cooler.”

“You shit,” she said, giving his bare stomach a teasing smack.

“All I know is I owe you everything, Scully. And I’m saying that to someone who shot me two days ago,” he said, taking her in his embrace with his right arm, his left one not working all that well.

She wrapped her arms around his waist, kissing his chest before laying her cheek against him. “I’m so sorry, Mulder. I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Hey, you did the right thing. I just congratulate you on having the balls to do it,” he chuckled, Scully not finding his joke all that funny.

“Well, I don’t think I’ve ever been so, so panicked in all my life. You hadn’t been yourself for days, and when I discovered that someone was spiking your water… Well, I was so afraid you’d shoot Krycek and seal your own coffin instead.”

“Well, thank you…” he said softly, kissing the top of her head.

“Come on,” she said, pulling a soft blue shirt out of a Wal-Mart bag she retrieved from the closet. “It ain’t Saks, but… There’s a diner near the office.”

After their late lunch/early dinner, they returned to their room, Mulder wanting to go find Albert Hosteen.

But she had talked him out of it; actually, she had given him no choice, pointing out that he still had significant amounts of Demerol in his system. She wouldn’t have trusted him under normal circumstances since heaven knew he’d taken off from her many times before. But she was sharing a room with him this time and she had laid down the law, Mulder calling it a threat.

They had worked on deciphering some of the Defense Department text until Scully felt she couldn’t look at it anymore. Mulder had taken a short nap, Scully laying down beside him as a way to coax him into it, but not able to do much more herself than doze.

“You’re awake,” she said, feeling his eyes on her.

“Yeah. I’ve been laying here listening to your snore.”

“I do not snore.”

“I hate to tell you this, Scully, but all those other men you’ve been sleeping with aren’t being honest with you,” he deadpanned.

“Damn them,” she deadpanned back. “Really, tell me what you were thinking about.”

“I was just thinking about your, our therapy session.

We haven’t worked on any of the things Karen asked us to do,” he told her, his hand absently stroking her shoulder.

“I’m sure she probably already assumed that since we didn’t show up for our next session. And that’s what you’ve been thinking about?” she asked incredulously.

“If we get this mess cleaned up…”


“WHEN we get this mess cleaned up, we’re going to follow through, Scully,” he said, giving her forehead a small kiss. “You need to do that for yourself.”

“I’m not arguing. I agree. But there are priorities, Mulder. And as long as I’m sleeping beside you, I seem to be fairly exempt from the flashbacks,” she smiled to him, leaning up on her elbow to give his lips a kiss.

Mulder responded quickly, his good hand slipping into her hair to press her lips closer to his, his tongue slipping into her mouth. She cupped his cheek with one hand, her other absently smoothing over his abdomen.

“Mmmmmm, I think we need to stop,” Scully said, finally separating her lips from his.

“Why?” Mulder asked, pulling her to him for another kiss, feeling his body responding to the arousal.

“We can’t finish this,” she said against his lips, not actually wanting to stop.

“Sure we can,” his hand moving down her back to her rear, his fingers massaging as he continued to kiss her.

“Mmmmm,” she murmured as they continued to kiss, her bottom always an erogenous area for her. “I don’t think so.”

“Help me undress and I’ll prove it to you,” he told her, moving away to stand from the bed. She could see the bulge in his jeans and was relieved to see that the medication wasn’t influencing that bodily function.

He began to unbutton his shirt with one hand, but she stopped him. “Let me do that…”

Scully slipped his shirt off, unbuttoning the fly of his jeans. “Thank you for being here for me,” he told her sincerely, reaching to touch her face with his palm. “I love you, you know,” he smiled, then leaned in to kiss her, his arm going around her waist. The kiss lingered for several long seconds until Scully pulled away, pulling his jeans and boxers down below his crotch, his erection springing free.

“Sit and I’ll slide your jeans off,” and he’d done what she’d asked. She had quickly removed her own clothes, laying them flat over the back of a chair, knowing that was all she had. She crawled into bed beside him and wrapped her arms around his neck, sliding further down in the bed to lie flat next to him under the sheet.

“I love you…” he told her again.

“I love you,” she said, kissing his face, down his neck. She sat up, her hand slowly pushing the sheet down below his waist, his erection now exposed to her.

Where she sat next to him, he could see that her nipples had stiffened in the cool air. “You’re so beautiful, Scully,” he said to her softly, pulling her closer to him to take a firm nipple into his mouth, his tongue licking around the areole.

“Oh, god,” she sighed, the heavy feeling of arousal immediately centering between her legs. Mulder moved his mouth to her other breast, his hand covering the breast he had just had in his mouth, his fingers massaging slowly, firmly. He kissed her again, pulling her into an embrace and then maneuvered her on top of his body as they continued to kiss.

Scully wrapped her arms around his neck, her breasts pressed into the right side of his chest, trying not to disturb his injury or the bandage. They kissed and kissed and kissed, Mulder’s hand moving and caressing and squeezing everywhere it could reach, her body lithely moving her skin against his. Scully stopped kissing and took Mulder’s face in her hands to look at him. “You sure this is okay?” she asked softly.

“Better than okay,” he responded, his thumb stroking her cheek.

Scully moved to take his nipple in her mouth, kissing down his chest to his stomach. “You want me?” she smiled, her hand moving down his abdomen to between his legs, feeling how hard he was in response to her.

“Mmmmm, yeah, I do,” he said, his hand softly stroking her hair. She moved back up to kiss him again, his hand sliding down to grasp her bottom. She shuddered, feeling her center lubricating, the gooseflesh making its way over her entire body. “What is it about your butt, Scully? All I have to do is touch you there and you’re off and running…” he teased, sliding his hand further to find her core with a finger. “God, you are so wet.”

“I want you, too,” she smiled to him before closing her eyes to kiss him, a long lingering kiss that felt so good. “I love kissing you,” she whispered to him as her lips crossed his cheek, finding their way to his neck. Her body moved languidly against him, feeling his rigid growth against her mound, the hair of his chest teasing her breasts. Her low moans and sighs as she continued to kiss him, her tongue caressing his, made his breathing more labored than if he’d run a mile.

Mulder’s hand stroked her body everywhere he could reach, his words slurred with arousal. “If you were any more sexy, Scully, I think I’d explode…” he told her.

“Not yet,” she murmured, her ability to speak at the moment no better than his. Her fingers wove through his hair as they kissed, their tongues playing their own kind of game. Her hands moved from his hair to his neck as she slid down slightly, again taking a nipple in her mouth to tongue, to suck. “Just lay back,” she whispered. She kissed his mouth again, her lips caressing his, then licking and sucking his lips, kissing and kissing before nuzzling his neck. She moved further down, her kiss to his stomach and the glide of her breast against his genitals as she moved further down almost more than he could take.

“God, Scully…” he groaned, his voice barely more than a breath. She took his shaft in her hand, her fingers massaging him, her palm closing over the head each time she stroked him. Mulder felt her slight shudder, still in disbelief that she always was, at least, as turned on by what she was doing to him as he was by what she was doing to him. She took him in her mouth, her fingers moving to his sac, massaging him as she moved her lips up and down on him, her tongue lapping against him as she sucked. “Scully, ssstop,” Mulder hissed when her teeth scraped against his glans.


Mulder reached for her, her mouth leaving him with a soft pop. She moved up over him, intending to be on top, just wanting him to let her make love to him.

“I’ll love you forever…” she said, moving to kiss him softly. She moved on top of him, kissing him soundly, their tongues vying for control. He wrapped his arm around her, rubbing her back down to her thighs. She spread her legs, moving her knees to the bed, lifting herself over him as he held his penis for her. She centered herself and then slid down on him, both of them sighing at the sensation. She didn’t move for a few seconds, just savoring the feeling of him buried in her.

Mulder held on to her waist with his one usable hand as she sat up fully, feeling his length push against her cervix. “God, you feel so good,” she moaned as she began undulating against him. She placed her hand on his stomach, holding onto his sides as she began moving up and down on him.

“Jesus, Scully…” Mulder sighed, his head tilting back onto the pillow, his eyes clamping shut. “Uhhhhh, just like that…”

She smiled, watching him, feeling her arousal soar seeing his reactions to her movements, her loving of him. She bent forward a bit, moving her hands to the mattress, causing her clitoris to rub against his pubic hair. She pushed harder, feeling the eminent release of her orgasm spiral within her abdomen. She moved her hips side to side a couple of times and that was all it took, her hips jerking, her thighs trying to squeeze together against his. She held her breath while her muscles clamped him, the tissues of her fleshy folds throbbing against him.

“Ohhhhhh, god…” she finally breathed, her body melting to lay over him as she could while she came down, the hair on his chest against her breasts giving her entire body goose bumps. She began to start pumping against him again, rising and falling on him as he lay beneath her.

“Oh, yeah,” he moaned and she could tell he was close.

She kept moving, easily watching the beautiful expressions on his face in the light of the late afternoon sun. “Yessssss…” he said as he let loose, trying to thrust up into her, but each movement of his hips resonated through his muscles up to his shoulder.

He tried to stop and let her continue to do all the work, but his body wouldn’t exactly mind. Despite his pain, his release felt wonderful. “Scully…” he sighed when she’d moved off of him, his penis slipping out of her.

She snuggled into his side, giving his flesh a soft kiss, before sitting up enough to reach the sheet and spread, covering both of them as she lay back down.

“You okay?” she asked softly, his breath still ragged.

“I’m good,” he sighed, suddenly just very tired. “I just need to sleep.” He heard her chuckle next to his skin. “What?”

“I wore you out,” she teased.

“Don’t be so proud of yourself,” he smiled back to her.

“I’m not. You’re wounded.”


so that’s why you shot me. It was foreplay,” he countered, Scully’s quick laughter filling the room, the sound almost foreign to them. They hadn’t had a lot to laugh about lately.



The next day

Mulder and Scully had napped for an hour or so, taking their time to get dressed and going back to the diner for a late dinner, such as it was. Scully had cleaned his wound and changed the dressing, his shoulder clean and healing well. But he was having some aching, so she gave him a Tylenol with Codeine, knowing he would sleep well, but not be so totally knocked out as he had been with the Demerol.

The next morning, she tried to tell him he needed to take another day before heading out to see what Albert had to show him, but Mulder insisted he was fine and well enough to go to see the older man.

“You said you knew I was coming,” Mulder said, driving Albert to his house.

“In the desert, things find a way to survive. Secrets are like this too,” Albert told him, Mulder listening intently. “They push their way up through the sands of deception so that men can know them. Here, this is my house,” Albert pointed out and Mulder pulled up in front.

“But why me?”

Albert turned to him, “You are prepared to accept the truth, aren’t you? To sacrifice yourself to it?”

“I don’t understand.”

“There was a tribe of Indians who lived here more than 600 years ago. Their name was Anasazi. It means ancient aliens,” Albert began. “No evidence of their fate exists. Historians say they disappeared without a trace. They say that because they will not sacrifice themselves to the truth.”

“And what is the truth?” Mulder asked him, feeling as if Mr. Hosteen actually may have the answer.

“Nothing disappears without a trace.”

“You think they were abducted?”

“By visitors who come here still.” Albert saw his grandson, Eric, come out of the house and got out of the car to meet him, Mulder following, still thinking about what the man had just told him. His arm was hurting, but he wanted to see what they had to show him.

“What’s buried out there?”

“Lies. You will see for yourself,” Albert told him, his grandson starting his motorcycle, Mulder finally getting on the back, holding on with his good hand.

The teenager drove him out into a large quarry, the red New Mexican rock a beautiful backdrop.

Finally, Eric stopped the motorcycle, pointing to a place beyond them. “It’s through these rocks.” They walked a little bit further before Eric pointed to something white at the bottom of a ledge. “It’s down there.”

Mulder climbed down the rocks, surprised to hear his cell phone ring.


It was the smoking man. “You’re a hard man to reach.”

“Not hard enough apparently,” Mulder recognizing the man’s voice.

“Where are you?”

“I’m at the Betty Ford Center, where are you?” Mulder replied sarcastically.

“I need to talk to you Mr. Mulder, in person. There are things to explain.”

“I’ll save the government the plane fare, I just need to know which government that is,” Mulder snarled at him.

“Your father may have told you things Mr. Mulder. I should warn you against taking those things at face value,” the smoking man told him, trying to sound calm and concerned.

“Yeah, which things are those?” Mulder asked, not believing a word the man was saying.

“He was never an opponent of the project. In fact he authorized it. That’s what he couldn’t live with.”

“No, he couldn’t live with it because you had him killed,” Mulder replied angrily.

“We weren’t involved in that,” the man lied.

“Now listen to me you black lunged son of a bitch, I’m gonna expose you and your project. Your time is over!”

“Expose anything and you only expose your father…”

Mulder hung up, tiring of the man’s bullshit, angry that he couldn’t get his hands on the man he knew was involved in his father’s death.

Cancerman climbed out of his car, taking a last puff of his cigarette, a Black Opps military guy approaching him. “Sir, we got a co-ordinate on ‘F’. We’re ready to go,” he told him, the sound of a helicopter making it difficult to hear. The man had used the cell phone signal to locate Mulder.

“Let’s go,” the smoking man instructed and he belted himself in the copter as it took off.

Mulder followed Eric down to whatever it was that seemed to be buried beneath the rocks, wondering just what the hell it could be. He noticed something that seemed to have some printing on it and swept the dirt away to get a better look. It was a plaque of some kind that read, ‘Sierra Pacific Railroad, RTC-567-480’.

“Over here,” Eric called to him, finding something that appeared to be a hatch.

“This is a boxcar.”

“Refrigeration car,” Eric said, clearing the dirt from around the hatch, both of them working to open it.

They got the door open and Mulder crawled down inside.

Scully had stayed back at the motel to continue working on figuring out the documents from the stolen tape, hoping she’d hear from Mulder soon, hoping that he was alright. She almost startled when her cell phone rang.


“Yeah, it’s me,” he said from down inside the boxcar.

“Where are you?” she asked, wondering if he was still with Albert or on his way back to the motel.

“Nowhere I ever expected,” he said cryptically.

“What do you mean?” she asked slowly, beginning to suspicion that he was somewhere she wished he wasn’t.

“I’m in a boxcar buried inside a quarry. There are bodies everywhere.”

“Bodies?” her voice faltering with emotion, knowing that Mulder had discovered something that was way beyond what she wanted to have to deal with.

“Stacked floor to ceiling.”

“What happened to them?”

“I don’t know,” he told her honestly, still not quite believing what he had discovered.

Scully picked up a piece of paper she had been working on, suddenly putting things together. “Mulder, in these files I found references to experiments that were conducted here in the US by Axis Power scientists who were given amnesty after the war.”

“What kind of experiments?” he asked almost tentatively.

“Some kind of tests, on humans. But they’re referred to as merchandise.”

“But these aren’t human, Scully. From the look of it I’d say they were alien.”

“Are you sure?” she asked, thinking that after what she had read in the files, he made need to alter his perception of what it was he’d actually found.

“I’m pretty damn sure,” he said slowly, but then looked closer at the arm of one of the beings, “Wait a sec…

This one… has a smallpox vaccination scar,” he told her and she could hear the realization, and fear, in his voice.


“Oh my God, Scully, what have they done?” he said, his phone signal snapping off as Eric closed the door, the boy detecting an approaching helicopter.

Eric had no choice but just to stand there, the helicopter landing and the smoking man approaching him.

“What’s your name boy?” he asked him as the Black Opps men searched the train car. Eric wouldn’t answer.

“He’s not here,” one of the men told him.

Back at the motel, Scully was frantic, grabbing her bag and practically running to the motel office to arrange for a rental car. She had to find out where Mulder had gone. She knew in her soul, he was in trouble… and lots of it.

“Where’s Mulder?” Cancerman asked Eric angrily, but he still refused to answer. “He’s here,” he demanded, angry with Eric for not talking.

“No sir,” the soldier reported. “If he was, he’s vanished without a trace.”

“Nothing vanishes without a trace. Burn it!” he yelled, grabbing Eric and pulling him into the copter.

One of the men threw an incendiary device into the boxcar and it exploded. As the smoking man left in the helicopter, he watched as flames flew out the open hatch…



Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 19:59:25 -0600 (CST)

Subject: AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN- Season 3 Pt-1 by Dyann Z Source: direct

Reply To:

TITLE: As It Might Have Been, Season 3




SPOILERS: Third season, episode by lovely episode!

SUMMARY: The third season with scenes not seen in the episodes. What actually happened between the scenes we saw? Tune in and find the true smutty story.

DISCLAIMERS: Please sue me!!! I would love my 15 minutes.

FEEDBACK: Most of it welcomed at .

NOTE: This fic starts where ‘As It Might Have Been-Season 2′ left off. Seasons One and Two available at Gossamer.




“I need to rent a car,” Scully told the desk clerk, trying not to seem as frantic as she actually was.

“We don’t do that here. You’ll need to go into town,” the clerk responded as if he could care less.

“Then I need a taxi,” Scully told him, beginning to lose her patience.

The clerk dialed for a cab, finally checking a phone book to find the address of Lariat rental cars and scribbling it down on a piece of paper for her. Scully waited outside for the taxi, surprised when it showed up so quickly.

Everything within her being was telling her Mulder was in trouble and she could barely contain herself long enough to try to get to him.




Scully pulled up in front of Albert Hosteen’s house so fast her tires skidded in the gravel enough that she gave thought that she might run into his porch. She saw her car that Mulder had driven parked outside, saying a silent prayer that he was safe inside Albert’s house. But when she’d entered, she realized that no one had been safe.

“What happened?” she asked, clearly out of breath. She walked further in and could see that Albert was injured, that he’d obviously been beaten. His son was attending to his father’s wounds.

“There were men,” Albert’s son told her and she immediately assumed they had something to do with Spender and the fact that Mulder didn’t seem to be there.

“They were looking for your partner,” Albert said.

She couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the two men, knowing they had bravely stood up for Mulder, even though they barely knew him. “Where is he?” she asked slowly, fearing their answer. However, Albert just shook his head, not having an answer for her.

But it was when Albert’s young grandson entered the room that she felt an overwhelming guilt engulf her; guilt for having involved this family in her and Mulder’s situation.

Her heart melted at the sight of the boy, his eye so blackened it couldn’t open and his face bruised and swollen, obviously having taken a serious beating.

“I, I’m so sorry,” she said to them.

But the boy spoke up. “I’ll show you where I took him; where the men in the helicopter came looking for him.”

“Did they take him?” Scully asked, worried that Spender had him.

“No. But, come, I’ll show you.”

Scully followed the young man to the quarry, checking the boxcar for herself, but finding nothing more than a smoldering empty car buried beneath the red rock.

“Mulder!!” she yelled into the empty canyon, more out of need to scream than of an expectation of finding him. She looked around the huge quarry, the vast scenery probably appearing beautiful to most, but seeming desolate and overwhelming to her. She sat down and cried.

She had searched for over an hour for any signs of him, finding no clues at all, no footprints, nothing of his that had been left behind. She had no idea if he’d been taken as she had not so long ago or if he had wandered off into the desert heat. Maybe the smoking man’s men had somehow taken him after all. She had gone into Farmington to talk to the local authorities, hoping they would be able to help, to have someone look for him. But she had been frustrated when they had told her that if anyone got lost out in that area, they weren’t likely to make it out. She found herself hoping that Cancerman did have him.

But after two days of searching and waiting for Mulder to return to their motel or to Albert’s, she knew that if he were going to show up, it was just as likely that he would be back in Washington somewhere. She was sick with fear, but she didn’t know what else to do but return home.

She finally pulled out of the Navajo reservation later the next evening, driving back the way she had brought Mulder out only a few days before. The events of the past week were swirling in her head, her mind barely on her driving as she thought and re-thought everything that she had done and wished she hadn’t. She was so engrossed in her own contemplations that she didn’t hear the helicopter until it was almost sitting on top of the roof of her car. “Jesus Christ,” she said out loud when the bright light shined into the window of her car, so blinding that she couldn’t see to continue driving. “Oh, fuck…” She knew the copter could force her off the road if she didn’t stop, so she pulled over, not really knowing what else to do. She wasn’t all that surprised to see military personnel pile out of the copter, coming at her with automatic weapons drawn.

“Out of the car. Come on,” one of the men barked at her, roughly pulling her from the front seat, pushing her body against the outside of her car. “Hands on top. Spread your legs.”

She complied, her heart racing so fast she felt she could barely breathe. The man searched her roughly, taking her gun from her holster. “Where’s Agent Mulder?” she asked, turning to look at the man who was roughing her up.

“Turn and face away,” he said gruffly, shoving her back against the car. “Where are the files?”

Knowing they would find them anyway, she told him. “In the trunk.”

Not wanting the few pages of hard copy they found in her trunk, “We need the DAT copy,” the man barked.

“I don’t have it,” Scully told them over the din of the whirring helicopter.

“Who has it?”

She thought for only a few seconds before she spoke, hoping against hope that her answer would help find him. “Agent Mulder.” Maybe if Spender and his men thought Mulder had the tape, if they didn’t already have him themselves, they would find him, if only to find the tape.

Scully watched them leave, taking deep breaths to help calm her pounding heart, trying to silence the thoughts in her head, “It can’t be… he can’t be dead…”




Two days later

Scully had been called into Skinner’s office, knowing full well she would probably get, at least, a couple of day’s suspension for not showing up for her meeting with him the previous week. But she didn’t expect to find several other FBI directors and the deputy director who had interrogated her after Mulder had slugged Skinner present also.

They had interrogated her; asked her questions she knew they already knew the answers to. They were much more interested in the tape than they were Mulder, seemingly only interested in him to get the tape back. But she had given them nothing.

“It is the recommendation of the Office of Professional Conduct that Special Agent Dana Scully be given a mandatory leave of absence until the full detail of her misconduct can be calculated,” the man read from his file, seemingly enjoying himself. Scully didn’t give him the satisfaction of looking at him. “This summary action is justified under the O.P.C. articles of review and Agent Scully will complete her suspension of duty without pay or benefits, due to the nature of her insubordination and the direct disobedience of her superior agents,” the man read from his notes before looking at her. “We will have to ask that you check your weapon and your badge before you leave the building, Agent Scully.”

Finally, Scully glared at him, but silently standing, lifting her jacket to remove her holster that was clipped to the waist of her skirt, laying the gun on Skinner’s desk.

Skinner seemed to be squirming in his seat, disturbed by the glances Scully had given him, but silently following along with what the other directors were dishing out. “We would also ask that you make yourself available to answer further questions in our investigation into Agent Mulder’s whereabouts.”

“I’ve told you everything I know,” she said, tossing her ID next to her gun. “To the best of my knowledge, Agent Mulder is dead.”

“Don’t think this hasn’t been difficult for everyone,” Skinner tried. But Scully just glared at him, her anger obvious in everything about her. If her parting stare could’ve killed, Skinner would’ve dropped over dead.

But just as she was about to exit the door of his outer office, he called to her. “Agent Scully…” She almost kept walking, but then figured she was most likely out of a job anyway so she had nothing to lose.

“Who are these people?” she asked, walking back to him angrily.

“These people are doing their job,” Skinner told her.

“What they’re doing is putting an official stamp on the perpetuation of a lie,” she told him, now madder than hell and he knew it.

Skinner tried to lower his voice, hoping she would lower hers, his door to his inner office still ajar. “These people have a protocol to follow, which is something you and Agent Mulder did not do.”

“What about the people who were poisoning Agent Mulder’s water? Whose protocol was that?”

“The investigation will…”

“The investigation will be an exercise! The men who killed Agent Mulder, the people who killed his father, they aren’t meant to be found.”

“We will find them,” he told her lamely.

Scully hesitated only a second, “With all due respect, Sir, I think you overestimate your position in the chain of command.” And as much as her statement pissed Skinner off, he knew she was right and he also felt in his gut that Blevins’ chain smoking friend was somehow involved.

Before leaving Hoover, Scully went down to the X-Files office, making sure that no one had followed her. She went immediately to Mulder’s desk, opening the middle drawer, reaching up to the top of it, finding the plastic container that Mulder told her contained the DAT tape hidden there just as Mulder had told her it would be. But when she pulled the small box out of the drawer, her stomach lurched when she found it empty.



Later that evening


“Hi, Mom,” Scully said, standing on her mother’s front step, her shoes in her hand.

“What are you doing with your shoes?” her mother asked.

“They, uh, they started to give me blisters, so…” Scully said, barely able to hold back her emotions.

“You walked here at this time of night?” her mother asked, realizing that something was very wrong, her daughter still in her work clothes.

Scully couldn’t hold it in any longer, her voice breaking as she began to cry. “Oh, Mom…” she said, stepping inside and into her mother’s embrace.

“What is it, Dana?” Margaret asked, rarely seeing her youngest daughter let her emotions get the best of her.

“I’ve made a terrible mistake,” she cried into her mother’s shoulder, her voice hitching. “Dad would be so ashamed of me.” Her mother took her into the house, leading her into her living room, both of them sitting down on the couch.

“Dana, what has happened?” Margaret said, turning to face her daughter, taking hold of her hand.

“Mulder…” was all Scully could manage, her crying turning into sobs. Her mother moved closer and reached out for her, holding her for a long time while Scully just cried. She didn’t think she had any tears left in her since she’d practically cried all the way home from New Mexico, but she couldn’t seem to compose herself.

Finally, when Scully’s sobs had quieted some, Margaret asked again. “Tell me what happened.”

“He was in New Mexico… I th, think… he’s dead, Mom,” her words making her sob all over again. “I couldn’t find him… I couldn’t find him…”

Scully told her mom about the tape, all of that part of the situation seeming so meaningless now. Nothing was worth Mulder’s life. She explained about Mulder’s water being laced with some kind of drug and what he’d done to their boss, finally explaining her reason for shooting him. Her mother seemed like she was having difficulty absorbing information that understandably seemed like science fiction.

And Scully had explained that the last time anyone had seen him, he’d been inside a burning buried train car. And she explained that she was likely expelled from her job at the FBI.

Margaret could tell that her daughter felt guilty, that she felt somehow responsible that her partner was missing or dead and that she could’ve made better decisions. “I don’t see how you can fault yourself. You had to make a choice.

You did what you thought was right,” her mother tried to comfort.

“No, I did what I felt was right for my partner,” Scully admitted.

“Wouldn’t Mulder have done the same for you?”

“Yes, but that’s exactly it, Mom,” Scully told her, seemingly angry at herself. “I behaved exactly how Mulder would’ve behaved. I, I lied and I countermanded my superiors because I thought the pursuit of the truth was more important.”

“And wasn’t it?” her mother asked sincerely.

“I don’t know what the truth is,” Scully started. “But as far as the FBI is concerned the truth is that if all of their agents behaved this way, they wouldn’t be able to do their job… And they’re right.”

Margaret could see that her daughter was torn, feeling so badly that she had made unwise decisions. “Dana, if you’re really worried about what your father would think of you, I think he’d see that there was no right choice and no wrong one.” Her mother’s words made her wish so badly that her father was still with them, that he would be there to give her advice. Margaret could see that her daughter was touched by her words, but couldn’t look at her. “He would’ve been very proud and supportive of his daughter,” she told her, lifting her chin to make her look at her, taking hold of her hand.

“Mom, there was a right choice to make. And I didn’t make it. I went with Mulder to New Mexico,” she admitted, just as the door opened and her sister came in. But Scully looked back at her mother. “I never should have let him go off by himself. He, he was in no condition…”

“Something’s happened to the man you work with, hasn’t it?”

Missy asked as she walked into the room, sensing something was wrong.

“Melissa, please,” Margaret said, feeling that her younger daughter didn’t need to hear any of her sister’s New Age ramblings at the moment. Scully didn’t totally discard many of Melissa’s unconventional beliefs, but knew that they waved in the face of her mother’s Catholicism.

“No, no I’ve been feeling it for the last couple of days.

He’s become ill or something,” Melissa said as if she knew exactly what had happened to him.

Margaret had had enough. “I’m gonna go make some coffee,” she said, leaving Scully on the couch to stare at her hands.

“I’m right aren’t I?” Melissa asked, sitting in the wing chair opposite the couch.

Scully didn’t know how to tell Melissa what had happened.

She knew her sister didn’t care much for Mulder. Hell, she hadn’t even referred to him by his name. But she knew she had to tell her, if for no other reason than to get it over with. Scully took a deep breath, trying to prepare herself for what she was about to say. “Melissa, Mulder is very likely dead,” she said, finally looking at her sister.

“Oh, you don’t believe that,” she said sincerely, slowly shaking her head.

Scully looked at her, giving her a very serious gaze. “No, I DO believe that.”

“I’m getting very strong feelings otherwise,” her sister continued, her insistence starting to annoy Scully.

“I wish it weren’t true,” Scully said, her voice faltering, Melissa noticing how deeply upset her sister actually was, wanting, in her own way, to help her.

Melissa moved over to the couch, kneeling on the floor near where Scully was sitting. “No, no honey. It’s, it’s more than that. You’re radiating, Dana,” Melissa told her, taking hold of her hand. “You have a connection with him that’s still strong, powerful.” Missy knew that her sister and Mulder were involved, that they had become involved during the first year they had begun working together. But she had gotten the feeling at the time Scully had gone missing that they may have drifted apart, so she wasn’t exactly sure where they stood at the moment. Her sister was often too private with her personal feelings.

“Melissa, don’t do this,” Scully said, Melissa not sure if her sister’s words were a warning or a plea, but she continued.

“Well, I know what I feel.”

And her words were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Fine. We’ll leave it at that because you have absolutely no sensitivity to my feelings,” Scully said angrily, letting go of her sister’s hand, climbing off the couch.

“Oh, Dana,” Melissa said, realizing she’d upset her sister when she was only trying to help. She stood, trying to reason with her sister. “I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t feel so sure. You need a second opinion.”

“This isn’t a medical condition, Melissa,” Scully started, her patience with her sister gone. “It is a statement of fact. It’s either true or it isn’t. And based on the empirical evidence which I happened to have gathered, it’s a pretty damned sure bet that your whistling in the wind,” Scully said, her hurt very evident in the tone of her voice.

And Melissa could see that she’d upset her sister, but couldn’t seem to let things alone, truly feeling she could help. “I’m sorry. I know you’re feeling a lot of things right now. You may even be feeling responsible. But if you can just try and see through your, your guilt and your anger, then maybe you can look past this western empiricism.”

Scully was barely able to look at her, but she did just long enough to give her a stern gaze. “I’ll make sure and consult my tarot cards when I’m out looking for a new job, thank you,” Scully said flippantly, walking away from her, but then changing her mind, turning back to address her.

“Melissa, I have lost somebody,” Scully added, her voice faltering again. “I would like to deal with it in my own way.” Melissa just stood there as Scully glared at her, watching her younger sister leaving the room angry at her.

Melissa had gone up to her room, on one hand angry at her sister for being so stubborn and rigid in her beliefs, but on the other hand, feeling so badly for her. She knew, for whatever reason, her sister was deeply in love with her arrogant partner and that her belief that he was dead was killing her. She wished she could help her.

“Where’s Missy?” Margaret asked when Scully had joined her in the kitchen.

“She either went up to her room or moved back to California,” Scully said, getting a couple of coffee mugs out of the cabinet. “She can really piss me off sometimes.”

“You know, even though I disagree with her, in her own way she’s trying to help you,” Margaret said, pouring the mugs full.

Scully almost startled, surprised that her mother would be saying such a thing in defense of Melissa’s beliefs. “I know… But I just need to, to grieve in my own way.”

Scully could see in her mother’s eyes that in order for her to be understood by her sister, she needed to accept that she was trying to help. “But I’ll talk to her.”

“Why don’t you stay tonight…” Margaret told her. Scully nodded, moving to her mother, as always, finding comfort in her embrace.

Scully had gone home the next morning, barely able to eat much of the big breakfast her mother had made for them. She had talked to Melissa, explaining that she understood that she was trying to help, but needing to sort things out for herself. But she had to admit, that Missy’s honest conviction that Mulder was still alive gave her a ray of hope and she finally told her sister so.

That night, Scully had slept fitfully, her thoughts of Mulder in the forefront of everything she tried to do. She had just given thought to getting out of bed and going to the living room to let the television make her sleepy when she’d heard a knock at her door. She was touched that she’d found Frohike there, drowning his grief about Mulder in a bottle of vodka. But he had provided her with information that she might be able to use to, at least, clear Mulder’s name.

“We’ll find out who did this, Scully,” Frohike told her, taking another sip of his coffee. In many of his dreams, he’d imagined he’d be alone with Scully in her apartment in the middle of the night, but not under the circumstances he found himself in.

“I don’t think that’s possible. I think this goes so deep, no one will ever be able to bring it to light. Right now, I just want to, at least, take the blame off Mulder,” she said and Frohike could see how devastated she was.

“I know about you, about the two of you,” Frohike told her after a few quiet minutes, hoping she wouldn’t be angry.

Scully looked at her cup of coffee, not able to meet his eyes. “I guess it’s hard to keep a secret from you guys.”

“You’re the best thing that ever happened to him,” Frohike told her and meant it with all his heart. “I just want you to know that.”

“Well, I could argue that you have that backwards…”



Two days later

It felt weird for her to use the public access to the Hoover Building, passing a tour as she stepped in line for the metal detector.

“Making you come in the front door these days, are they, Agent Scully?” the handsome security guard smiled to her.

“For now,” she smiled, knowing him from his time working the employee entrance at the parking garage. When she walked through the metal detector, it buzzed loudly, surprising them both.

“Are you carrying your weapon?”


“Sorry to have to run you through this.”

“It’s okay,” she answered, cooperating with him. He picked up the handheld detector and ran it over her front and it didn’t buzz again. “That was weird.” He let her pass, neither knowing what had set off the machine.

She had taken the elevator, passing various agents in the halls, feeling as if everyone knew she had been suspended and they probably did. “Scully, come in, please,” Skinner said, his mood already clear to her. “You said you needed to see me concerning the investigation?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered nervously as she stood in front of his desk. She wanted so badly for him to help her. “I came across a news article. A man’s body was found in New Jersey and I have reason to believe that he was killed by the same man responsible for Agent Mulder.” She handed him the article, explained her theory on how the ballistics from the murdered Kenneth Soona could hopefully prove that Mulder didn’t shoot his father. “I would like you to run it against the ballistics from this man’s case.”

“Trying to prove what?”

“Well, if both men were killed by the same weapon, we could prove that Agent Mulder didn’t kill his father and it could also help us find the man who did,” she said, wanting so badly for him to listen.

Skinner looked at her, a stern look on his face. “You’ve been relieved of your investigative function.”

“Yes, I know that, sir. I just thought this might be helpful,” she said, starting to realize that Skinner was probably not going to help her.

“I’m afraid not,” he said almost smugly, Scully staring at him in utter disbelief. “This case would have been handled by the Trenton P.D. They’re on our drug-fire ballistics database. If there was a match in the two slugs, all the bells and whistles would have gone off by now.”

“You don’t want to check?” she asked, feeling like she was begging and knowing that she would if it would help clear Mulder’s name.

Skinner just looked at her, seemingly just waiting for the moment when he could answer. “Miss Scully, I think you underestimate the duties and responsibilities of my position as Assistant Director,” using her own words against her.

She knew there was little chance of getting anywhere with him, but held her tongue in hopes of one last chance. “I was just trying to cooperate with your investigation, Sir.”

“To mitigate your situation and then add to your chances of reinstatement, isn’t that right?!”

“No. I just want answers!” she said, wanting to cry but determined not to let Skinner see that.

“And so do I,” he said angrily, picking up a folded form from his desk. “I want to know why I was asked to execute a search warrant on your apartment to look for a digital cassette,” he told her, throwing the paper down angrily on his desk.

Scully sighed, knowing now that Skinner, and probably others, had known that Mulder had been in possession of the digital tape all along. “I don’t have it,” she answered plainly.

“Is this tape what Agent Mulder died for?”

“I believe so,” she admitted, her voice barely a whisper.

What Skinner couldn’t tell her and what he didn’t want her to know for her own protection, was that he was trying to help her, help Mulder. He’d grown tired of the smoking man hanging around his office, silently threatening him to do what he was told to do where Mulder and Scully were concerned. “You want to bring me a smoking gun, Scully? You bring me this tape. Otherwise, I would ask you to go home, sit tight and let us do our job.”

Scully was hurt by his remarks, now thinking that she was on her own. She had no one to trust. “Is that all, Sir?”

“Yes, that’s all,” he said, leaning back in his chair as she gave him one last angry look before she exited.

She had no more than walked out the door, than another door in Skinner’s office opened and the Cancerman entered, putting a cigarette in his mouth. “Did you ask her about the tape?” he asked, trying to act nonchalant, knowing he’d lied to the other members of his consortium about already being in possession of the tape.

“She says she doesn’t have it,” Skinner told him angrily, wishing the bastard would just leave.

Downstairs, Scully tentatively walked toward the metal detector again, tossing her visitor’s badge into the basket on the security desk.

“Back again?” the security guard asked her.

“I’m just curious about something. “Would you mind if I went through here again?”

“Come on through,” he motioned to her.

She put her keys down in the holder and walked through again, the detector beeping as if on cue.

“This thing is more sensitive than a toothache,” the guard said, wondering what could be setting it off.

But Scully was even more curious, her suspicions on high alert. “Would you mind running the wand over me one more time?”

“Sure.” He waved the handheld across her front, Scully raising her arms and turning around. But as he passed over the back of her neck, the signal sounded again, surprising both of them.

“You wearing a necklace or something?” he asked, also wondering what could be setting it off, his machine not usually so sensitive.

“No, not today,” she answered, touching her neck where her cross usually lay.

“Then what the hell is that?”

Scully had been asking herself the same thing, remembering what Mulder had said about how people with missing time had often found implants under their skin. Had Mulder been right? Had they just become even deeper pawns in the grand conspiracy? She needed to find out.




The next day

“Dana? It’s me,” her sister announced as she walked in.

Missy was somewhat surprised when her sister had asked her over for breakfast, wondering what was on her mind.

“Come on in…” Missy heard her sister call from her bedroom. “Hi.”

“Morning. I brought goodies. Pastry, no white flour,” she smiled, dangling a small beige sack in front of Scully.

“You could use some comfort food.”

“Thanks… I’ve got coffee, but I’ll make you some herbal tea,” Scully told her, knowing her sister wouldn’t begin to touch caffeine.

They busied themselves putting a couple of things on the table to eat for their small breakfast, the shrill of the tea kettle the only sound in the room. “This is delicious,” Scully commented after she’d sat down, taking a bite of a blueberry scone. Missy dipped her tea bag several times, watching her sister for some sign of what it was she wanted to talk about.

“So, Dana, why am I here?” Missy finally asked.

“Because you wanted to have breakfast with your baby sister?” Scully smiled, taking a sip of her coffee, looking at her sister for some kind of reaction. “No, I guess not.”

“You called me, remember?”

“Oh, Missy…” Scully began, telling her sister about everything that had happened to her in the last couple of weeks, about what she suspected was a conspiracy. Scully didn’t say, but Missy gradually realized that her sister and her partner were indeed involved with each other again, her sister’s grief palatable.

“You shot him?” Missy asked incredulously as her sister continued her story. “You SHOT him?”

“I had no choice. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Scully explained, her sister still incredulous.

“Damn, Dana. I, I guess all I have to say is that I’m impressed. I mean I knew you carried a gun, but I never really stopped to think you actually knew how to use it,” Missy said, realizing, maybe for the first time, that her sister not only loved the profession she’d chosen, but was also damned good at it.

“There’s more,” Scully went on, telling Missy what she thought Mulder may have given his life for. And she also told her about what had happened to her the previous day downtown at the Hoover building.

Scully stood, reaching in her pants pocket, showing Missy a small vial with a tiny microchip inside. “This was implanted in the base of my neck.”


“I don’t even know how long it’s been in there. I have absolutely no recollection of it being put there,” Scully said.

Melissa sat down, picking up the vial to look at it for herself. “That is frightening. Dana, this is very serious.

You’ve got to find out what this is.”

“I don’t have access to the F.B.I. labs,” Scully said, thinking about how she might be able to gain a way in.

“No, I’m, I’m talking about access to your own memory,” Missy told her earnestly.

“Melissa…” Scully sighed under her breath as she looked away, not wanting her sister to start in on her again with her spiritual ramblings.

“I mean, obviously, you have buried this so deeply, you can’t consciously recall it,” she went on.

“Melissa…” Scully warned louder this time, giving her sister a stern stare.

But she wasn’t fazed, continuing to tell her sister what she needed to do. “I know someone, someone who can help you…”

Scully stood, slamming her palm on the table in frustration.

“No!” she yelled, staring at her sister, trying to tell her with her eyes to let it drop.

Missy watched as Scully paced, knowing she was about ready to burst at the seams. “What are you so afraid of, Dana?

You afraid you might actually learn something about yourself? I mean, you are so, you are so shut off to the possibility there could be any other explanation except for your rigid scientific view of the world,” she told her, Scully taking deep breaths to try to settle herself, knowing deep down her sister was right, sounding so much like Mulder. “It’s like you’ve lost all touch with your own intuition.”

Missy stood, walking over to where Scully stood. “You’re carrying so much grief and fear that you can’t see you, you’ve built up these walls around your true feelings and the memory of what really happened.” Missy touched her hand to her sister’s arm, seeing that she was struggling to absorb what she was hearing. “Just do this for me. As your sister. Please…”

For a few moments, Scully didn’t speak, wasn’t even able to look at Missy. But then she nodded, knowing she needed to help herself try to make some sense of what had happened to her, to her and Mulder. Scully knew she needed to get to the real cause of many of her problems— her abduction.

“I’ll try, Missy. I’ll try.” Missy wrapped her arm around her sister’s shoulder, almost shocked when Scully turned into her and slipped her arms around her waist to accept her comfort.

“I’m not sure I can do this without him, Missy,” Scully confessed, her voice muffled into her sister’s dress.

“He hasn’t left you, Dana. He knows you love him and he’ll return. You have to believe,” Missy tried to reassure her, but could feel that her sister had lost faith.

Scully’s visit with the therapist hadn’t gone well, some of the memories scaring her and she was still too raw from Mulder’s absence to deal with them. When she had returned from the therapist’s office, she was disturbed to find Skinner leaving her apartment building, Scully wondering what he could’ve been doing there. But when she telephoned him to confront him and ask him what he wanted, he denied that he had even been there. But what she didn’t know was that he denied being at her place to protect her; protect her from the man in his office who was sitting there puffing on a Morley.

She had spent the rest of the day and evening alone, trying to find some peace for herself. She had decided to attend Mulder’s father’s funeral in Boston the next day, so she went to bed early since she had an early flight. But as she slept, she could hear Mulder talking, seeing his image among the stars, seemingly talking directly to her. I have been on the bridge that spans two worlds, the link between all souls by which we cross into our own true nature. You were here today, looking for truth that was taken from you, a truth that was never to be spoken but which now binds us together in dangerous purpose. I have returned from the dead to continue with you… but I fear that this danger is now close at hand… that I may be too late. His words startled her awake. She sat up instantly, trying to catch her breath. Suddenly, she knew… he had to be alive; he just had to. Maybe Missy was right.

Scully had gone to Mr. Mulder’s funeral, fairly surprised when she saw Mrs. Mulder standing across the lawn from her.

Scully waited until after the service to approach her, not sure she should, but taking the step anyway, watching as Mulder’s mother took a flower and sprig of Baby’s Breath from the casket bouquet of her ex-husband.

“Mrs. Mulder?” Scully said, slowly approaching Mulder’s mother, recognizing her from a picture Mulder had of her and Sam on his dresser. It bothered her some, sometimes, that Mulder had never introduced her to his mother and father.

Sometimes she wondered if he had ever even mentioned her to his parents. Scully knew that Mulder had become estranged from his mother, both of his parents, really. But she also knew that he loved his parents, hoping that someday things would be good again. Of course, now that was impossible, at least half of it.

“Yes?” Mrs. Mulder asked, wondering who the young woman was who was offering her handshake.

“I’m Dana Scully. I work with your son.” Scully said, the two of them slowly walking toward their cars. “I know what you may have heard from the FBI, but I have a very strong feeling that your son is going to be found.” Scully could barely look at the woman, fearing she would ask for some kind of proof and Scully knew she didn’t have it.

“Oh, my goodness gracious,” the woman responded, startled, stopping in her tracks.

Scully looked at her clearly then, “I think he’s still alive.”

“How do you know?” Mrs. Scully asked hopefully.

Scully could almost feel Mulder smile when she offered her answer to his mother. “I just have a very strong feeling.”

What Scully didn’t notice was the distinguished man watching the two women interact. Mrs. Mulder was cordial enough and she seemed comforted by Scully’s feelings that her son was still alive.

“Fox has spoken of you often. You aren’t what I expected,” Mrs. Mulder told her. Scully had to rethink her idea that Mulder’s mother had been cordial; she wasn’t sure whether or not Mrs. Mulder’s words were a compliment. “He speaks of how strong you are, so I guess I didn’t expect such a small woman,” the silver-haired woman smiled to her and Scully felt herself smiling back, warmed by the thought that Mulder had talked to his mother about her. “He values you.”

Scully felt her throat tighten at the woman’s statement, her choice of words curious, but somehow touching. “Thank you,” was Scully’s only response. They continued to talk as they walked towards their cars, Scully trying to reassure her that she felt Mulder would return. “I promise I’ll let you know as soon as I do,” Scully told her, touching the woman’s arm in an attempt at some kind of comfort.

“Thank you. Thank you very much,” Mrs. Mulder said sincerely, reaching for Scully’s hand, seemingly even more lost than Scully. But it had been her encounter with a stranger and his warning that someone would try to kill her, either strangers in her home or someone familiar to her who stopped by unexpectedly, that had truly unsettled her. And she had remembered Skinner’s denied visit… and her dream of Mulder’s warning.

She returned home late from Boston, her phone ringing as she walked in her door. It was her sister, wondering how her visit with the hypnotist had gone, but, at that point, Scully could have cared less. “Missy, something strange happened to me today. I’m… I’m a bit freaked out by it.”

“Okay, well, I, I want to come over. I want to talk to you.

Are you going to be there for a while?”

And Scully thought she would be until her phone rang again, this time the caller hanging up, the obvious reason for that flashing through her mind. After she’d made alternate arrangements with her sister, she stuck her extra gun in her purse and left the apartment.

But as soon as she’d gotten to the street, Skinner drove up next to her, his car just appearing out of the dark. He swung the passenger door open, Scully observing him warily, her hand near her purse that held her extra gun. “Scully, get in the car. I need to talk to you, it’s very important.”

“I was just going over to my sister’s,” she hesitated.

“I’ll drop you by there. Right now, I need for you to come with me.”



Skinner had wanted her to go with him to Mulder’s apartment, a strange place to want to go to talk in private since he supposedly thought Mulder was dead. Scully knew better than to go in ahead of him, wanting to stay in control of her situation. She opened his door with her key, stepping back to allow Skinner to enter. “After you.”

And as soon as he’d stepped into the apartment before her, she’d let him know her stand in her best FBI voice. “Eyes forward. Put your hands where I can see them. Don’t turn around or I’ll blow your head off. Don’t think I won’t do it, you sonofabitch.”

“No, I believe you. Just stay cool, I’m with you,” he said, his hands help up.

“Take two steps forward,” she told him, knowing the drill.

“Now move slowly towards the couch.” She followed him into the living room, turning on the lights, Mulder’s taped ‘X’

still visible in the window, the bullet hole right next to it. “Turn around and sit down on your hands.”

“Are you going to let me tell you why I’m here?”

“I know why you’re here,” she told him, sitting down opposite him, her gun aimed directly at him. “I want to know who sent you; whose errand boy you are.”

Skinner could see how angry she was and knew she didn’t trust him, wondering how he was going to get her to understand that he was there to help her. “No one sent me,” he said calmly.

But his attempt at trying to reason with her didn’t have its desired effect. “You got the rest of your life to give me answers.” She wanted a resolution. Not for herself, but for Mulder. “How high does it go, Skinner? Who’s pulling the strings?”

“You can kill me, Scully, but you’ll only be doing their work for them. Forget about your job and family. You’ll spend the rest of your life behind bars, there isn’t a federal judge that they couldn’t persuade.”

“What’s the alternative? Let you kill me now?”

“I didn’t come here to kill you. I came here to give you something,” he began. “I’ve got the digital tape.”

“You’re lying,” she answered quickly, wishing she had someone to rely on, but knowing that Skinner wasn’t that person. She’d seen the smoking man in his office way too many times to ever think that he was there to help her.

“I’ve got it in my pocket. I took it out of Mulder’s desk,” he told her, Scully remembering that’s where she’d found the empty tape box.

Suddenly, Scully heard footsteps outside the apartment in the hallway, her heart pounding from fear. She glanced toward the door, seeing a shadow covering the light shining through the gap beneath the door. But she had diverted her concentration just long enough and Skinner seized the moment, pulling his gun and aiming it at her. Both of them stood, their weapons pointed at each other in a stand off.

“Drop your weapon! Put it down, Scully!” Skinner yelled.

“No way.”

“I said put it down!”

“I said no! You’re setting me up!” Scully yelled, worried that he had a collaborator waiting just on the other side of Mulder’s door.

“I’m trying to help you!” They continued their standoff, until the door crashed open, Scully immediately thinking that whoever was with Skinner was there to kill her. But it was Mulder who broke through, appearing with his gun aimed at Skinner.

“Drop your weapon! I said…” Mulder yelled.

“What the hell is this? What are you pulling here?” Skinner said, looking back and forth at both of them. Scully was barely able to react, her thoughts totally on Mulder standing there in the flesh.

“You okay, Scully?” he asked, seeing that she seemed to be stunned.

“Yeah…” was all she could say, still staring at him.

Mulder made Skinner give his gun to Scully, Mulder asking for an explanation for what he’d just walked in on.

“I was warned that somebody would kill me… someone I trusted,” she told them both, putting Skinner’s gun in the waist of her pants.

Skinner showed them that he had the digital tape, demanding an explanation.

“Your cigarette-smoking friend killed my father for that tape,” Mulder told him. He told Skinner what the tape contained, both of them deciding it was better for Skinner to keep the tape since others were trying to get it from Mulder and Scully. “Come on, Scully, let’s go.”


“There are truths out there that aren’t on that tape,” Mulder told her, heading for the door. Scully glared at Skinner, still not trusting him as Mulder seemed to. But before leaving, she put his gun down on the end table.

As Scully joined him at the elevator, Mulder looked down at her, giving her a soft smile. She stared at him, taking him in, letting out a considerable sigh as she returned his smile. “Mulder, I…”

“Scully, whatever you’re going to say…” he interrupted, neither of them seeming to be able to stop staring at each other.

“I went to your father’s funeral. I told your mother that you were going to be okay…” she told him, wanting him to know that she hadn’t given up hope.

“How did you know?” he smiled to her.

“I just knew…” The door to the elevator finally opened, Mulder following Scully in. And as soon as it closed, Mulder scooped her up in his arms, Scully burying her face in his shirt. “Mulder… my god…”

“I’m here… I’m okay,” he told her, knowing she had to have been very worried.

She relaxed from their embrace, stepping back to look at him for several long minutes, “I was so scared…”

“I know. I’m sorry. It’s a long story,” he told her, knowing he would explain things to her as soon as they had some time. He placed his palms against her cheeks, bending to give her a long, slow kiss, her hands covering his.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” she asked, thinking he surely wasn’t thanking her for kissing him.

“For going to Dad’s funeral. I can’t believe you did that,” he said, touched that she had gone all the way to Boston.

“I, I, just wanted to do it for you. I knew you’d want me to,” she told him sincerely.

“Jesus,” Mulder sighed, pulling her into another embrace, realizing how close he’d come to never seeing her again.

“I’ve got a lot to tell you.”



Mulder had told her about his escape from the boxcar, his near death battle with smoke inhalation and his exposure to the New Mexico elements. He was surprised when she listened attentively to the details about his healing, even wanting to know more about the ‘Blessing Way’. She had told him about her visit from the mysterious stranger and his warning to her, her reasons for distrusting Skinner now understandable to him.

“I need to call my sister,” she’d told him, hoping that Missy had gotten her message. She called from her cell as Mulder drove to the Gunmen’s, but she got no answer at her sister’s apartment. “I’ll try again later.”

Mulder had a photo he’d found at his mother’s house, hoping that the Gunmen could help identify the other men in the group picture of several, including his father and Cancerman. Byers had recognized one, a former Nazi who had worked on a post World War II project called Operation Paperclip. He explained that the U.S. government had given them a safe haven in exchange for their scientific knowledge, a ‘deal with the devil’ of sorts.

“What would he be doing in a photo with your father?” Scully asked carefully.

“I don’t know…” Mulder replied, wondering the same thing.

All of a sudden the door opened and Frohike entered, immediately seeing Mulder. “Unbelievable! We thought you were history,” he said, giving Mulder a hug.

“You’re going to have to wait a little longer for my video collection, Frohike,” Mulder teased him, Scully having a bit of a laugh despite herself.

“Where were you? We were looking all over,” Langly chastised.

“Down at D.C. General. I was scanning the police frequency when I heard the report of a shooting,” he began, removing his hat before continuing, looking directly at Scully.

“Agent Scully…”

“What, what is it?”

“Your sister’s in critical condition,” he told her sadly.

Scully looked at Mulder, the fear in her eyes obvious to everyone in the room before she ran out the door.

“Scully…” Mulder called to her, running after her, following her down the stairs. “Scully, wait. Scully!” She didn’t stop, needing to get to her sister. “Scully, wait!

Scully!” He finally caught her, grabbing her shoulder to turn her around to look at him.

“I have to go there, Mulder,” she said, her voice breaking.

“You can’t go.”

“That bullet was meant for me,” she told him, knowing now that her sister hadn’t received her message not to come to her apartment.

“If they’re trying to kill you, that’s the first place they’re going to look,” he told her, hoping she’d understand.

“Those bastards…” she said, her voice tear stained.

“We’re going to call someone I think can help. It’s the only thing you can do for her right now is to try to crucify them,” he pleaded, reaching to take her into his arms.

“We’ll get them, Scully.”

Scully cried against him, allowing herself a moment to settle her pounding heart. “Yes, we will,” she said, looking up with him with the determination that he loved in her. “Come on, let’s go.”




The next day

Mulder and Scully had found the Nazi war criminal in the photo with his father and he had given them a location that may have held some answers. They had found miles of files in a secret mountain vault, finding a file on Scully as well as Mulder’s sister. But they had almost been caught, a small army of soldiers with guns chasing them, seemingly, into a dead end within the tunnels of files. But they had found a back way out and were able to get away.

They found an all-night diner a few miles up the road, the long walk about as much as Scully could take. She was worried sick about her sister and had barely had a decent night’s sleep since Mulder had gone missing. Mulder had called Skinner to meet them, not really knowing where else to turn, knowing he still had the tape. They had ordered breakfast, taking their time to eat so they could stay in the restaurant without drawing suspicion.

“You should try to eat something,” Mulder told her, Scully just picking at her food. Scully tried, taking a couple of bites of her omelet, but too disinterested to even be able to taste it. “Scully, she’ll be okay. Albert will help her. He saved me.”

Scully looked up from her coffee, giving him a soft smile, knowing he believed what he’d just told her. “I just want to see her.”

They heard the door open and in walked Skinner, his expression very dour. “This place isn’t even on the map.

How’d you get here?”

“You’d be surprised what’s not on the map in this country and what our government will do to keep it that way,” Mulder said sarcastically, but Skinner knew he meant it.

“How’s that?”

Mulder explained what had happened to them, what they’d found in the mountain vault and how they were chased out by a hit squad that just happened to arrive in CIA fleet sedans.

“Well, I may be able to negotiate a deal that would guarantee your safety,” Skinner told them.

“What kind of deal?” Scully asked.

“I’ll turn over the digital tape in return for your reinstatement…”

But Mulder didn’t want to give up the tape, wanting it to finally prove that there was a vast conspiracy against the American public, to find the answers he’d always been seeking.

“Is that answer worth your lives?” Skinner asked, the morning sun bright in the greasy little diner.

“It’s obviously worth killing us for,” Mulder pointed out.

“In your wildest dreams, what do you possibly hope to find, Agent Mulder?”

“Why they killed my father… and what happened to my sister… and what they did to Agent Scully,” Mulder explained, wanting so badly to make whoever took Scully pay.

“I think we should let him make the deal, Mulder,” Scully said quietly, Mulder almost shocked. “Look… those answers mean nothing if we’re going to be hunted down like animals. We are operating so far outside of the law right now, we’ve given up on the very notion of justice. We’ve turned ourselves into outsiders. We have lost our access and our protection…”

“What makes you think there’s any such thing as justice, Scully?” Mulder tried to counter.

But she was growing tired of his stubbornness and losing her patience. “Then what good are those answers to anybody but you, Mulder?”

“What we found last night…” he tried to make his case.

“Look, I want exactly what you want. But I NEED to see my sister,” she told him and he could see her eyes begin to shine from unshed tears. They looked at each other for several long moments, Scully finally looking away.

“What makes you think they’ll even honor this deal?” Mulder asked Skinner.

“Because, if they don’t… I’ll go state’s evidence and testify… or they’ll have to kill me too.”

“It’s up to you, Scully,” Mulder said, knowing that she needed to make the decision. Mulder walked out of the diner and a few minutes later, Scully joined him on the porch.

“I told Skinner to make the deal. But not to hand over the tape until you agree to it,” she told him, squinting against the bright morning sun.

“I’m sorry about your sister, Scully,” he told her sincerely, realizing he’d been being selfish about his desire to keep the tape.

“I just need to know she’s going to be okay,” Scully said sadly, Mulder feeling so damned sorry for her at that moment, he could barely look at her. He knew what she was going through.

Skinner had taken them back to Washington, both of them staying in a motel for the night until Skinner could secure the deal to clear them. And even though Krycek had caught Skinner off guard and gotten the digital tape from him, Skinner, with Albert’s help, was still able to call the smoking man’s bluff and had gotten Mulder and Scully reinstated. Mulder and Scully were out of danger, at least for the time being. But all Scully cared about was getting to the hospital to see her sister.



“Mom?” Scully said, walking into her sister’s room, seeing her mother sitting next to the bed. The sight of the labyrinth of tubes and wires hooked up to an unrecognizable person, more like a mummy, lying on the bed made her stomach lurch, took her breath.

“Dana…” her mother sighed. Margaret had been filled with dread that she might actually be losing both of her daughters at the same time, knowing that her youngest was in some kind of serious trouble with her work, but not having any information as to what kind. “You’re here.”

Scully walked over to her and laid her hand on her mother’s shoulder, the sight of her sister making her cry. “How is she?” Scully asked, struggling to hide her tears as she looked at the monitors, trying to figure out what she could about her sister’s condition.

“They had to do another surgery early this morning,” her mother explained, never taking her eyes off of Melissa.

Scully got another chair and pulled it up next to her mother, taking hold of her mother’s hand. “Something else was bleeding… or something…” Scully could see that her mother was almost too tired to sit up, let alone talk.

“I, um, think I’ll go find her doctor; see what I can find out,” Scully said softly to her. She had located Missy’s attending physician, but was devastated to hear where the bullet had struck and the extensive damage it had done. But she didn’t want to give up.

“Why don’t you go home, Mom,” Scully told her mother when she’d returned to Missy’s room. “Get some sleep.”

“What did her doctor say?” her mother asked, ignoring Scully’s suggestion.

“You never know, with this type of head injury, what to expect. We just have to wait,” Scully told her.

“Don’t lie to me,” Margaret said sadly. “I’ve been here for four days, Dana. I know what her prognosis is.”

“We can’t give up, Mom,” Scully told her, giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze. “I’ll stay with her. You need to get some rest.”

Her mother had no more than left to go home for a while when the monitors started beeping and medical staff flew into the room in a rush. Scully could see on the monitor that Missy’s blood pressure had skyrocketed and they were doing everything right in trying to get her sister’s BP lowered and get her stabilized. And they did, but less than an hour later, her pressure slowly began to escalate and finally she flatlined and, despite all their efforts, Scully knew there was nothing more that could be done.

Scully had signed all the necessary papers and had gone back into Melissa’s room to gather several things she knew her mother had left there. Melissa’s body had already been removed and the bed had been made, the room seeming to forget that anyone had been there, had just died there. She sat down, still finding herself sitting there a couple of hours later, her body so tired it could barely move, her mind having been a thousand places.

She heard footsteps in the hall and turned when they stopped at the door, turning to find Mulder standing there. She knew he’d come. “It happened three hours ago. She went into surgery and, uh… the damage to her brain was worse than they had hoped.” Mulder kneeled down next to her where she sat so quietly. “Her blood pressure started to rise and, uh… she slipped away.” He took hold of her hand, recognizing that she was barely holding herself together.

“She died for me and I tried to tell her I was sorry but I don’t think she’ll ever really know,” her voice finally breaking, unable to look at him.

But Mulder looked at her, feeling so badly for her he could barely think. “Oh, she knows… Melissa knows.”

Scully took a deep breath, trying to hold on. “You were right. There is no justice,” she told him, finally able to meet his eyes.

“I don’t think this is about justice, Scully.”

“Then what is it about?” she challenged, trying to find a way to deal with what had just happened.

“I think it’s about something we have no personal choice in.

I think it’s about fate,” he said, knowing that Scully was blaming herself. She gazed at him for several long moments, seeing in his expression that he truly meant what he had said. After several long moments, Mulder spoke, “Skinner told me that he talked to you, that you were insistent about coming back to work. Now, if Melissa’s death is…”

“I need something to put my back up against,” she told him insistently.

“I feel the same way. We’ve both lost so much… but I believe that what we’re looking for is in the X-Files. I’m more certain than ever that the truth is in there,” he explained, his eyes never leaving hers.

“I’ve heard the truth, Mulder. Now what I want are the answers.” He moved to his knees, leaning in closer to her to put his arm around her. She laid her head on his shoulder, her arm going around his neck and they stayed there like that for several minutes, just looking at the empty bed and all it signified.

“Let’s go home,” Mulder said, giving her a brief kiss.

“I need to tell my mother,” Scully said. And even though she knew her mother had known that there was little hope Missy would recover, actually hearing the words would be devastating.

“I’ll go with you,” he told her, not giving her any room to say no.




“You want me to come in with you or…?” Mulder asked when they pulled up in her mother’s drive. “I mean, maybe your mom won’t want me there.”

“I want you there,” was all Scully said, getting out of the car.

Later, Scully assumed her mother knew when she walked in the door that her older daughter had died. She knew Scully wouldn’t have left her alone. But it had been horrible to have to actually tell her. “They couldn’t get her blood pressure down.” Her mother had been silent for a long time, just sitting at her comfortable kitchen table, her head in her hand. “I don’t think she suffered, Mom. The brain doesn’t feel pain.” Scully wished her mother would say something or cry or… something. But her first words surprised Scully.

“We need to make arrangements.”

They had spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening contacting relatives, Mulder staying with them, but generally just trying to stay out of the way as Scully and her mother took care of their business in the kitchen. Her mother had barely asked about where she had been for the last week, but did tell her that she was happy to see that Mulder was alive. Scully knew that her mother was emotionally numb, functioning on auto pilot, but she hoped she was doing all right.

“You okay?” Scully asked when she walked into the living room, Mulder reclining on the couch but not sleeping. He sat up quickly, making room for her next to him.

“That should be my question,” he asked, watching her as she sat down.

Scully took a deep breath and sighed. “I never realized there is so much to do when someone dies. So much…

planning and… and arranging. I don’t think Missy would want this.”

“Want what?”

“Well, a Catholic Mass, for one,” she told him, her head relaxing against the back of the couch.

“That’s what you’re planning?” he asked.

“No, that’s what my brother wants us to do. Mom is wavering,” she went on. “Missy would’ve wanted something simple.”

“Did you tell your mother that? I mean, is she going to decide or let your brother decide?”

“I don’t know… my brother, my older one, can be a real asshole sometimes,” she told him, her fatigue very apparent in her entire demeanor. “After he gets here, I hope Mom can stand up to him.”

“You look tired. Are you about finished with what you need to do?” he asked, hoping Scully, and her mother, were about ready for a night’s sleep.

“Yeah, I guess. We’ll finalize things tomorrow. Mom’s talking to her sister. I think it’s easier for her to talk to her than it is me. I’m glad she’s finally talking about it to someone,” Scully told him, turning to look at him.

“You staying here tonight?” Mulder assumed.

“Yeah, I think it would be best,” she answered.

Mulder nodded, agreeing that Scully needed to stay with her mother. “I guess I’d better go then,” he said, standing from the couch.

“You’re going? I, I thought you’d stay, too,” she told him.

“All night? Here?” he asked, surprised that she had even suggested it.

“Well… yeah… I don’t want to, to be alone,” she confessed.

“Your mom needs you,” he said, figuring her mother wouldn’t want him to stay.

“And I need YOU,” she told him and he realized that he needed her, too. He wasn’t exactly sure why he felt that way, he barely knew her sister. But he knew Scully was having much more difficulty than she was letting on and it hurt him to see her hurting.

“I’ll stay if you want, if it’s okay with your mother,” he agreed.

“You mean you want me to ask my mom if my boyfriend can spend the night?” she smiled to him and he smiled back.

“I’ve already told her you were staying and that we would take the guest room.”

Scully had finally talked her mother into going to bed, encouraging her to take a sleeping pill so that she’d get enough rest. She and Mulder had retired to the guest room, both of them more than tired. Scully had snuggled into his side when they’d settled into bed. “I’m sorry about Melissa, Scully. I know you two were close.”

“Actually, we weren’t really. I mean we were as kids. My family moved so often that we were often each other’s only friend. But we drifted apart after she took off after high school,” she told him, her fingers absently rubbing a slow pattern on his stomach. “I think the entire time I was in college and med school I saw her all of three or four times.”

“I didn’t know,” Mulder said, truly surprised to hear what Scully was telling him.

“We were very different people. And I often thought that she didn’t like me very much,” Scully confessed.

Mulder moved up to lean on his elbow, looking her directly in the eyes. “Your sister loved you very much, Scully. If you’d seen her after you’d been missing, you wouldn’t even question that. She loved you.”

“I know she loved me. But I’m not sure she liked me. I think she thought I went to med school just to please Daddy or to, I don’t know, follow the family plan because she didn’t.”

“But, Scully, you told me your Dad didn’t want you to join the FBI.”

“Yeah, I think maybe after that Missy saw me in a different light. But I don’t think she ever realized that I went to medical school because I wanted to. Daddy didn’t really want me to do that, either. So, it certainly wasn’t to please him,” Scully said, her voice sad. Mulder patiently listened, knowing Scully just needed to talk. “But, since she’d moved back here, since after I was returned, we’d done pretty well, I guess. We’ve talked, done a few things socially. I guess I had hope we might get back what we’d had as kids.”

“I’m sure you did, Scully. Siblings argue, fight, disagree about a lot of things, but, when it comes down to it, we’re actually closer to them than we ever are our parents. Don’t you think?” Mulder asked, remembering all the time he and Samantha spent together doing the things kids do that their parents pay no real attention to or even know their children are doing.

“Maybe. Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s just…”


“I feel so responsible,” she told him, trying to snuggle further into his side.

“I wondered when you were going to mention that,” he said, knowing she would blame herself. “You have absolutely no responsibility in this. None whatsoever, Scully. I want you to put that out of your mind. That black lunged sonofabitch is responsible. He and Krycek. And no one else.”

“It should have been me,” she said, her voice breaking.

“But it wasn’t. And regardless of the circumstances, you can’t feel guilty for that. For some reason, it wasn’t your time,” he told her.

“You mean, it was just a matter of simple fate? …You don’t believe that,” she told him.

“I do believe that,” he answered. “And I think it’s because there is more for you to do here. For us to do.” he told her, trying to make some sense from something so senseless.

Scully thought about his words for several long minutes and Mulder figured she was near sleep until she spoke again.

“Thanks for staying, Mulder.”

“I love you, Scully…”


Three weeks later

“Mulder, there is no such thing as human lightening,” she said, trying to keep her eyes on the road.

“Then what do you think Oswald was, Scully?” They had just returned from a case in Oklahoma where a young teenager seemed to have the ability to absorb lightening and, seemingly, to turn it on others as well.

“I don’t know. But I know he was not lightening,” she told him.

“Oh, is that how it goes? You tell me my theory is shit, but you don’t have an answer yourself. I see,” he said, half teasing her.

“Yeah, I kind of like that. Your theories are shit. I like that,” she teased back, finally looking at him with a smile.

They had finally gone back to work after Missy’s funeral, both of them needing to work to regain some normalcy in their lives. Scully’s brother had been so angered that their mother had stood her ground and had a simple ceremony and not a Catholic mass that he had stayed away altogether.

Mulder figured it was for the best because if the guy had shown up, he felt like he could punch him. “What kind of guy boycotts his own sister’s funeral?” Mulder had asked Scully when she’d told him about the conflict. “A Bill Scully kind of guy,” she told him. “He’s used to telling other people what to do and having them mind him. And, my mom is getting a bit stubborn in her old age,” Scully smiled, proud of her mother for standing her ground. But he could tell she was upset her oldest brother didn’t come.

They had no more than returned from Oklahoma than Mulder had been contacted about a crazy case in St. Paul and he thought it might be a bit of relief. “Is it true you asked for some help in this case?” Officer Havez asked as he and several other local police investigated the crime scene.

“This guy’s supposed to be an expert at this sort of thing.”

“I heard he was a bit… unorthodox.”

“He comes highly recommended.”

“Yeah. I saw him on TV.”

“Hey, so he’s a publicity hound. As long as he gets results.”

“I once worked on a case he did. Very spooky.”

“As long as he gives us leads, I don’t care how big a kook…”

A policeman appeared at the door, “Sir, right in here, please.”

Mulder walked in and the three officers who were talking stared at him for a second.

“Who the hell are you?” one of them asked.

“I’m Agent Mulder. This is Agent Scully,” Mulder told them, Scully flashing her badge.

Mulder began explaining to them that their killer was not likely a satanist, as the other agents were suspecting.

Scully handed them a profile they’d already done, Mulder continuing about why someone likely committed the murder.

Mulder was in his element, enjoying pulling the other agents along, spouting his strange theories about seeing one’s future in the victim’s entrails and gouged out eyeballs.

Scully could barely keep herself from laughing, Mulder’s intellect and intuition so much above the rest of the men in the room.

But as soon as the real TV star arrived, an infomercial psychic named the Stupendous Yappi, and threw Mulder out of the room, she knew those working on the case were in dire trouble. “Please leave this room,” Yappi told him.

“I’m part of this investigation.”

“You give off negative energy,” he told Mulder, Scully enjoying every minute of it. She was sure it was her the socalled psychic was talking about.

“I can assure you, Mister Yappi, I’m a believer in psychic ability,” Mulder told him, tired of the man already.

“So you say with your mouth but your thoughts tell me the truth,” Yappi told him, walking away.

“Agent Mulder, please,” the lead officer said, indicating to Mulder that he actually wanted him to leave the room.

Mulder couldn’t believe what he was hearing, Scully leaning in next to him, “I can’t take you anywhere.”

Later, they had left the crime scene and were headed to their motel to review the case file. “You don’t believe in that guy, do you?” Mulder asked, sensing that Scully had thoughts she wasn’t sharing.

“Of course not, Mulder. But I also don’t believe these local yokel’s are much more capable of solving this crime than the Stupendous Yappi,” Scully said, looking at him next to her in the car. “And I’m wondering why you took this case.”

Mulder smiled at her, pulling into the parking garage at their hotel. “We should be able to solve this in our sleep, Scully.”

“So, you took it because it was easy?” she asked, not quite believing his reason.

“I took it because it needed solving,” Mulder said, popping the trunk, giving her a grin as he exited the car.



After they’d settled in their rooms, Scully heard Mulder’s distinctive knock. “That was quick,” she said, not yet having had time to take her shower, wondering how Mulder had, his hair spikey and wet.

“I was in a hurry to get here,” he said, sliding his arms around her waist.

“I’d say,” she smiled at him, her arms going around his neck. Mulder bent to nuzzle her neck, his hands sliding down to her bottom. “Mulder… let me take a shower first…” she said, her fingers softly massaging his neck.

Mulder continued to kiss her neck, reaching for the buttons on her jacket. “You know, Scully, I don’t think I got quite clean.” Scully chuckled at his lame reason for wanting to join her in the shower.

“Oh, I agree… You smell terrible,” she said, holding his face in her palms to kiss him. Mulder continued on her buttons, backing them toward the bathroom as he did, neither breaking their kiss. They had almost made it before the ring of the phone stopped them.

“Fuck,” Mulder mumbled against her lips.

“Answer the phone first,” Scully chuckled, moving back from him. Mulder headed for the nightstand, but before he picked up the receiver, Scully remembered something. “No! Don’t answer it!” she almost shouted, hurrying to him. “You’re in my room. Let me get it.” He nodded his relief. “Dana Scully…” she answered. Mulder could see that it wasn’t something he was going to want to hear. Scully hung up the phone, looking at him, her regret obvious. “Get dressed, Mulder. There’s been another murder.”

And that’s how they met Clyde Bruckman.



The next night

“I am so tired, I think I could sleep standing up,” Scully said as they’d entered her hotel room. They had worked through the previous night and through the rest of the day, working with Mr. Bruckman to locate whoever it was who was on a fortune teller murdering spree.

“I don’t think that’ll be necessary.” Mulder said, turning down her bed before going to his own room to shower.

“Mmmmmm,” Scully sighed when they’d finally settled into her bed, the sheets feeling cool against her skin.

“This is much better than standing up, don’t you think?”

Mulder said to her as he held her.

“Much,” she said, her breath soft against his skin.

They talked about the case for a while, both of them needing the conversation to wind down a bit. Finally, Mulder snickered. “What?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“What, dammit,” she said, wondering what was on his mind.

“Mr. Bruckman has a thing for you,” he told her.

“Oh, please,” she said, shifting herself against him, thinking he was just trying to tease her. “He’s just a sweet little old man.”

“I mean it. I can tell by the way he looks at you,” he smiled, Scully looking up at him like he was crazy.

“Mulder, sometimes I truly question your sanity.”

The next day, they had felt it necessary to put Mr. Bruckman into protective custody and had him in a room just a floor below theirs at the Le Damfino Hotel. Scully had taken the first shift to stay with him, hardly believing what she had heard the man say.

“It’s something you haven’t explained. Can you see your own end?” Scully asked, sitting crossed legged on the bed opposite Mr. Bruckman’s.

“I see our end,” he told her, Scully confused by his statement. “We end up in bed together.” Scully was stunned, looking squarely at him in disbelief. “I’m, I’m, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I, I, I don’t mean to offend you or scare you, but, uh, not here, not this bed.

I, I just mean I, I see us quite clearly in bed together.”

Scully didn’t want to hurt the man’s feelings; she’d grown to like him. But his conversation was making her more than uncomfortable. But he continued. “You’re holding my hand, uh… very tenderly and then… you’re looking at me with such compassion and I feel… tears are streaming down my face. I feel so grateful. It’s just a… very special moment neither of us will ever forget.”

Scully couldn’t look at him, feeling her blush warming her skin, but felt she had to say something. “Mister Bruckman… there are hits and there are misses. And then there are misses,” she said, giving him a small smile when she finally looked at him.

He smiled at her, Mulder’s intuition about the man’s feelings for her right on target. “I just call ‘em as I see ‘em.”

There had been another murder, Mulder almost being another.

But Scully had solved the case, shooting the suspect just before he would’ve stabbed Mulder. But sadly, they had found Mr. Bruckman dead, his end just as he had described it to Scully. And there she sat, on his bed, holding his hand as a tear slid down his face. And he had been correct about something else. Autoerotic asphyxiation wasn’t a very dignified way to die.

“I can’t believe you are taking that stupid dog. It looks like a… a… furry rat,” Mulder said, glancing at her next to him in the car, holding the dog Mr. Bruckman had left her. What she didn’t know was that Mr. Bruckman only had it because its owner had died, the dog eviscerating his previous owner’s body.

“What was I supposed to do, Mulder? He left a note. He wanted me to have him,” she said, the dog sitting in her lap, its tiny tongue wagging.

“I know you liked the old guy, Scully. But, Jesus, a dog?”

“He’ll be fine.”

“I have a feeling that spotless apartment of yours is all of a sudden going to have plenty of spots… all over your imported rug,” Mulder told her, hoping she’d rethink her decision to keep the animal. “He’s not going to sleep with us, is he?”

“Us?” she said, tiring of his nagging about her new companion.

“Oh, shit…”



Six weeks later

“Who were you talking to?” Mulder asked when he’d come out of the bathroom seeing Scully turning off her phone.

“Skinner. Virgil Incanto died… finally. Skinner wants me to do the autopsy,” Scully told him, watching him closely.

“They flew the body to Quantico.”

“You aren’t leaving tonight are you?” Mulder asked, retrieving a pair of boxers from his suitcase, dropping his towel to slip them on.

“No… but I need to get back tomorrow at a decent hour.”

She knew Mulder didn’t want to be alone even though he wouldn’t say so. He had a difficult time with the case they’d just finished in Washington, his emotional attachment to Lucy Householder, their suspect, ultimately their victim, had almost gotten the best of him and he was having a difficult time accepting her death.

After they’d finished the Bruckman case in Minneapolis, they had barely landed in D.C. before they’d headed to Florida to work a case of the systematic killing of prisoners and guards in a state penitentiary. Mulder thought the guilty man was a reincarnated prisoner, his view only serving to irritate Scully.

They had gone directly from Florida to Cleveland, Virgil Incanto’s killing of women to deplete their body of adipose a gruesome one. He had upset Scully, his violation of women reminding her too much of Donnie Pfaster.

At least their next case had been closer to home. They’d solved the murders of the family members of several military personnel at the Ft. Evanston Army base or, at least, they’d stopped them. But it was their current case that had proven to be most troubling to Mulder.

“I’ll, uh, finish up things here in the morning if you want to schedule the flights,” Mulder told her, his entire demeanor seeming defeated.

Scully nodded, moving toward the adjoining door. “I’m just going to go take a shower… see if they have a valet service to dry clean our wet clothes. Where’s your suit and coat?” They had waded into a creek to rescue young Amy Jacobs and the clothes they had been wearing were wet and dirty. Mulder had gathered his things, appreciative that she was taking care of them. He felt so tired, both physically and emotionally, that he wasn’t sure he would be able to stay awake until Scully came back into his room.

And he was right. When she’d returned little more than thirty minutes later, she found him sound asleep, the lights in the room still on. She didn’t wake him, simply turning out the lights and slipping into bed next to him.

The next morning, Scully had awakened with Mulder practically wrapped around her, his breath steady against her skin. “Mulder… we need to get up,” she told him softly, her hand stroking the arm he had across her abdomen.

When he’d roused, he had reached to grasp her more tightly, his leg wrapping over hers. When his hand had found her breast, she thought he was wanting to start something, but he had simply fallen back to sleep.



Scully had scheduled their flight and picked up their clean clothes, Mulder asking her to finish up the last few details of their case with the local officials while he ran an errand. He had insisted on giving her the rental, leaving the hotel in a taxi. Later, she was only slightly surprised when she’d called and found him at the last place Lucy Householder had lived, knowing he had wanted to make sure her funeral was taken care of.

After she got to the halfway house, Scully found him on the third floor in Lucy’s room, sitting on her bed, looking at old school photographs of Lucy before her life had been turned upside down. “How’s Amy?” he asked softly, hoping the young girl Lucy had sacrificed her life for was going to be all right.

“She’s exhausted, but it looks like she’s going to be fine,” she told him, noticing the pictures of Lucy in his hands.

“The doctors want to keep her for a day or two just to be sure.”

“How serious were her injuries?”

“Wade must have left her alone. There were no injuries.”

“He must have dragged her through the woods for at least a mile,” Mulder said, knowing that Lucy had saved Amy from all of her kidnapper’s malice.

Scully took a deep breath, realizing what Mulder believed.

“I know, Mulder. I can’t explain it. She didn’t have a cut on her and nobody wants to talk about that right now.

Everyone’s just relieved to have her back again – to have her safe.”

“Did they finish up on Lucy?” he asked.

“Yes. They, uh . they brought in the State Pathologist last night so I stopped by to get the autopsy reports on my way,” she told him, watching him shuffle through the pictures of Lucy.

He finally looked up at her. “She drowned, didn’t she?”

“They found five liters of water in her lungs,” Scully confirmed.

Mulder smiled a knowing smile, also knowing that no one else would ever let themselves believe what had actually happened. “She saved Amy’s life,” he said, looking up at Scully.

Scully took a deep breath, moving to sit next to him on the bed. “Mulder… Whatever there was between them, you were part of that connection. Did you think about that? Lucy may have died for Amy, but without you, they never would have found her,” she told him, still watching him closely, even though he didn’t return her gaze.

“I think she died for more than Amy,” he said, rising from the bed, crossing the room to look out the window.

“What do you mean?”

He thought a moment before speaking, his eyes fixed on whatever was outside the window. “I think finally, it was… the only way she could escape. The only way she could forget what happened 17 years ago.” He turned to look at her, his voice achingly sad, “Finally, the only way she could outrun Carl Wade.” They looked at each other for several long moments, Scully just waiting on the bed, letting Mulder have the time he needed.

“You ready?” Mulder finally asked, setting Lucy’s pictures on the small night stand next to her bed.

“If you are…” she replied softly.

On their way to the airport, Mulder was fairly quiet, apparently not wanting to talk any more about what they’d been through the last several days. Scully knew, in a way, their case had made him think of his sister, wondering who had her, what someone might be doing to her. And at that moment, Scully hoped his sister had someone like Lucy watching over her as well.

When they’d pulled the rental into the lot, Scully reached for his hand, “You gonna be okay?” she asked gently.

“I, um, I guess I just wish Lucy’d gotten a break for once in her life,” he told her.

“Yeah…” Scully said, waiting for him to continue.

“Why is it that some people, people like Lucy, live their entire lives at the expense of someone else?” he began, obviously having thought about her a lot. “Why is it that life treats the people who seem to deserve it the least the best and just seems to shit on people like Lucy?”

“I don’t know…”

“She overcame obstacle after obstacle and, still, she had nothing. Not a fucking thing. And her death will be barely noticed.”

Scully thought about what he said for several moments, thinking about what she wanted to say. “Maybe so… But I believe she saved a young girl’s life and that’s more than most people ever achieve in their lifetime. Her life made a difference to Amy Jacobs and her family… whether they ever realize it or not. Lucy’s life mattered…” Mulder looked at her and gave her a loving smile, comforted by her confirmation that she believed as he did about what happened between Lucy and Amy Jacobs.

“Let’s go home…”



Three days later

After returning from Seattle, they had stayed in their respective apartments, Scully recognizing that Mulder had needed some time alone. She hadn’t even heard from him until very early Monday morning when he’d called. He was already in the office and she wasn’t even out of bed yet.

He had a new case. She figured he was back on track.

“Come on in,” he said as she slowly opened the office door, peeking around the edge. She found him in the office with his feet on the desk, cleaning his fingernails with a letter opener.

“What are you watching?” Scully asked when she’d walked over to the desk to see what was on the TV screen.

“Something that just came in the mail.”

Scully sat on the edge of his desk, nodding to the screen.

“That’s not your usual brand of entertainment,” she turned back to smile coyly to him. Mulder smiled, appreciating her humor. “What is it?”

“According to the magazine ad I answered, it’s an alien autopsy. Guaranteed authentic,” he told her, trying to feign seriousness. Scully could see a group of people dressed in medical garb, apparently operating on something.

“You spent money for this?” she asked, almost laughing at him.

“Twenty-nine ninety-five. Plus shipping,” Mulder said, still smiling at her.

“Mulder, this is even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network,” she told him, walking closer to the screen to try to see better. “You can’t even see what they’re operating on.”

“Yeah, but it, it does look authentic,” he said, going to stand next to her. “I mean, the setting and the procedures.

I mean, it does look as if an actual autopsy is being performed, doesn’t it?”

“Well, technically, I don’t know why they would be wearing gas masks,” she said, playing along.

“Well, maybe it’s this green substance they seem to be extracting from the subject,” he says, pointing the remote at the VCR to pause the action. “Can you identify that?”

“Olive oil?… Snake oil? I suppose you think its alien blood,” she said, looking at him skeptically.

“It’s widely held that aliens don’t have blood, Scully,” he deadpanned.

“I guess that begs the question, if this is an alien autopsy…”

“Where’s the alien…?” he said to Scully’s nod. “But what, what’s so intriguing to me is the striking lack of detail here.”

“Well, what do you want for twenty-nine ninety-five?” she asked, still not quite believing that he was serious.

“No, that, that autopsy you saw on TV was so fake precisely because it tried to show too much.”

“And this is real because it doesn’t?”

“Yes, and because, uh…” he began, reeling her in just where he wanted her. He pointed the remote again and released the pause, the action on the screen coming to life again. “Because of this.” The autopsy continued until the back door of the operating room burst open and several men with automatic weapons charged toward the doctors, beginning to fire until the picture turned to static.

And Scully hesitated, realizing that Mulder’s little exercise wasn’t just to tease her. “Who’s selling these tapes?” she asked, now suddenly interested.

“Some guy in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Claims he pulled it off the satellite dish at two in the morning,” he told her, going to his desk, handing her a slip of paper with an address.

“I guess we’re going to Pennsylvania…” she said, looking to him for an answer.

“Let’s just check it out. It may be nothing more than a geek with a UFO fettish, but…”

“A geek with a UFO fettish? You mean there are two of you?”

she ribbed.

“Come, on, smart ass. Let’s just go see what we find,” he smiled to her, grabbing his coat as they left.



Later that night

They had gone to the low-rent address from where Mulder’s video had been mailed and found a man dead, killed execution style with a pillow case over his head. Mulder had captured a Japanese man running from the house and they had taken him to the local police precinct, Skinner showing up informing them that the man they had captured was a high-ranking diplomat who had federal immunity from prosecution. Skinner had sternly told them to head back to Washington and keep their noses clean.

“I don’t know, Mulder, it just doesn’t track,” Scully said as they walked back to their car. “What would a Japanese diplomat be doing in that house with a dead man with his head stuffed in a pillowcase?”

“Obviously not strengthening international relations.”

“Well, what do you want to do now, drop it?”

“No, I paid my twenty-nine ninety-five, Scully. I think I’m entitled to a few more answers, don’t you think?” Mulder said, opening the trunk of their rental.

“What are you doing?” she asked as he reached in the trunk for something.

“I just remembered a piece of evidence from the crime scene that I forgot to turn in,” he said facetiously. He pulled out the brown leather satchel and closed the trunk. Opening it up, he pulled out a folder, handing a paper to Scully, then noticing several aerial pictures of ships along a coastline.

“What are those?” she asked, noticing the photos, too.

“They look like satellite photos,” he said, flipping through several similar pictures, the ships in various positions in a canal. “What would he be doing with these?”

Scully glanced at the paper he had handed to her, now wondering what the Japanese man could have possibly been up to. “What would he be doing with a list of Mutual UFO Network members in the greater Allentown area with the name Betsy Hagopian circled?”

Mulder noticed the paper, both of them looking at each other thinking the same thing. They had stepped into something neither of them suspected. “Maybe he was going to fit her for a pillowcase too. Why don’t you stick around, get a motel room and check it out in the morning?”

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

Mulder put the photos back in the briefcase, fastening the buckles closed. “I’m going to go back to D.C. like a good boy, like Skinner told me to do, and show these to a few friends of ours.” Scully knew he was going to enlist the Gunmen to see just what those ships were doing and where they were doing it.

“Mulder,” she called to him as he walked away. He turned back to her, covering the briefcase with his overcoat. “Be careful and call me as soon as you find something,” she asked to his nod. “Promise?”




The next day

The Gunmen had traced the pictures to a naval yard in Newport News, Virginia and Mulder had gone there, seeing a group of men loading someone or something onto a train car.

Meanwhile, Scully had followed-up with the MUFON members, disturbed to find a group of women who claimed they remembered her from her ‘unexplained event’ from the previous year. She had been beyond worried about what she had found, but hadn’t been able to talk to Mulder since he’d disappeared in Newport News.

He had left a message on her machine at home, telling her he was on his way back to Washington, telling her he’d catch up to her at the office. She’d gotten there early, but he wasn’t there, Skinner calling her upstairs before she’d even had a chance to get her coat off. He’d grilled her about the briefcase, Scully trying to evade his questions, but Skinner now knowing both she and Mulder were hiding the truth.

After she’d escaped Skinner’s ire, she went downstairs only to find the office door locked. She knocked, hoping Mulder was there. Mulder opened the door, peeking out to make sure it was Scully, not wanting anyone else to see the papers he had been reviewing at his desk. “Scully…”

“Why is the door locked?” she asked as she entered.

“I got something to show you,” he told her, locking the door behind her.

“Do you have any idea where I’ve been?” she asked him as they moved toward his desk, Mulder noticing that she seemed upset.


“I went to go see those MUFON members to find out about that woman, Betsy Hagopian.”

“Oh, what’d you find?” he asked, sitting back down in his desk chair.

“I found out that she’s dying along with a lot of other women who claim to be dying too,” she told him, her concern evident to him. “All of them who say that they have these implanted in them.” She took out a small glass vial with little more than a black spot in it. “It’s the same thing I had removed from my own neck.”

Mulder took it from her, looking at it closely. “But you’re fine, aren’t you, Scully?” he asked as he looked up at her, concerned, but not wanting to seem so, fearful of upsetting her further.

“Am I? I don’t know, Mulder. They, they, they said that they know me, that they’ve seen me before. It was freaky. They know things about me, about my disappearance…” She had thought about little else since she’d met the women who’d told her that they’d all someday end up like their dying friend Betsy, including Scully.

“That is disturbing,” Mulder said, still looking at the vial. “But I don’t think you should freak out until we find out what this thing is.” Suddenly, Scully noticed a picture lying on Mulder’s desk.

“What is this?” she asked, picking up the picture to look at it.

“That’s a group of Japanese medical officers taken during World War II.”

Scully pointed to a man in the picture, recognizing him.

“I’ve seen this man before.”

“No, I don’t think so. Not unless you were in Japan in the last fifty years,” Mulder answered, assuming she was mistaken.

But she was sure. “No, I… I’ve seen him before.”

“His name is Doctor Takeo Ishimaru. He’s been dead since 1965. He was the commander of an elite section of the Japanese medical corps known as ‘731’, a unit now known to have experimented on human subjects,” he explained, showing her other pictures he had on his desk. “They performed vivisections without anesthesia… Tested frostbite tolerance levels on infants… Exposed innocent prisoners of war to diseases, the plague. Like their Nazi counterparts, they were never brought to justice.”

The pictures, Mulder’s explanation of them, the ramifications of what the chip in her neck meant were beginning to be so overwhelming to her she was starting to feel sick to her stomach. “What are you doing with these?”

Mulder explained that several of the doctors in the photo, who had performed the disgusting experiments, were on his $29.95 video tape performing the alien autopsy and were all, strangely, found murdered the day before.

“Murdered for what?” she asked.

“That’s what I’d like to know.”

“Well, murdered by whom?”

“Possibly our government,” he told her, knowing she wasn’t going to believe him.

And she didn’t. “Our government? For what possible reason?”

“For continuing their work. The work the Nazis were doing, trying to create an alien-human hybrid,” he told her, truly believing what he was saying.

“Mulder, that is still a fantasy,” she told him, seemingly tiring of his theory, more concerned with what might be happening to her.

He walked closer to her, bending to look her in the eyes.

“Scully, after all you’ve seen… after all you’ve told me you’ve seen. The tunnel with medical files, the, the beings moving past you, the… the implant in your neck, why do you refuse to believe?” he asked her gently.

“Believing’s the easy part, Mulder. I just need more than you. I need proof,” she told him, almost imploring him to understand.

“You think that believing is easy?” he asked with a soft smile. They stared at each other for a few moments, Scully sighing when she understood his meaning. Suddenly the fax machine beeped and Mulder pulled a piece of paper from it.

“Well, we have proof. I identified what those five photos were tracking. A ship that pulled a UFO off the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. A UFO that’s in a warehouse right now being guarded by U.S. military personnel…” Scully looked at the fax, an overhead picture of numerous boxcars. “A UFO that was probably carrying that E.B.E. we saw in that autopsy tape.”

“What am I looking at?” she said, wondering how the railroad cars were related to the UFO.

“Part of our government’s secret railroad. Train cars used to carry test subjects,” he explained, reaching for his coat, putting it on. “Used to conduct that autopsy we saw being performed.”

“Where did you get this?” she asked, wondering sometimes just who Mulder knew.

“From someone like you who wants proof… Who’s also willing to believe,” he told her, his disappointment that she still didn’t totally believe in his work very apparent in his expression. He took the faxed picture from her, slipping it in his coat pocket, heading for the door.

“Mulder, where are you going?”

“I’ll prove it to you, Scully,” he said, wanting to so badly.

“Mulder, listen to me,” she said, looking towards the door before taking his hand in hers. “I believe in you. I hope you know that. And if you believe in this, then I will support you. I may not agree with you, but I’ll always have your back. Just tell me what you want me to do.”

Mulder smiled at her, giving her hand a squeeze. “How about you have that chip checked out.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m gonna find that EBE.”

Scully had found out that the chip in her neck was so sophisticated that it could have been, not only monitoring her thoughts, but manufacturing them. The prospect scared her to death. And Mulder had gone to Quinnimont, West Virginia and found several Japanese men loading some kind of being in a train car. He just knew he’d found what he was looking for.

After Scully had Agent Pendrell examine her chip, she’d gone back down to the X-Files Office to take another look at Mulder’s video tape. Finally, one of the doctors took off his mask and she recognized him as the man in Mulder’s photo that she’d recognized. She paused the tape when the man was in a close position and she could see him clearly, his face bringing out a memory she didn’t even know she had. She was naked, lying on a metal table with a bright light in her eyes, barely able to see. She could remember trying to wake, then three doctors standing over her, speaking Japanese. She gasped as the ringing office phone startled her out of her memory.

“Scully,” she answered.

“Hey, Scully, it’s me.”

“Where are you?”

“A train yard in Quinnimont, West Virginia. A group of Japanese men just put someone in one of those boxcars we saw in the satellite photos,” he told her excitedly.

“I thought you said that it was our government’s railroad.”

“Something serious is going down here, Scully,” he told her, reaching his car.

“What do you mean?”

“The thing they put in the train? It was alive.”


“I got to get on that train. It’s hooking up with a Canadian passenger train outside Cincinnati.”

“Mulder…” she said, wanting to get his attention to tell him what she’d remembered. “…I was right about Doctor Ishimaru. He’s not dead. In fact, he’s on your videotape.”

Mulder got into his car, buckling his seatbelt, wanting to hurry to catch up to the train. “Well, that’s where you know him from, then.”

“No, that’s not where I know him from at all,” she told him softly.

“What do you mean?” he asked, concerned.

Scully thought for a few moments about how she was going to explain her flash of memory. “When I, when I saw his face I remembered something, Mulder. Something from my abduction…”

“Scully…” he sighed, wishing he was there with her, knowing by the tone in her voice that she was scared.

“He was there, Mulder. Dr. Ishimaru. He and several of the other doctors were examining me,” she confessed, wishing he was there with her now.

“Jesus, Scully,” Mulder said, not really knowing how else to respond. “What else do you remember?”

“That’s all…” she sighed, not sure if she wished she had remembered more. “But there’s something else.”


“The chip in my neck… it’s Japanese,” she said, knowing he would put the pieces together just as she had.

He shook his head, realizing even more that he had to catch up to the box car and the men who were on it. “I’ve got to get on that train, Scully. I’ll call as soon as I can.”

“Mulder… be careful… I want you home.”




“Mulder? I think I’ve got something here,” Scully told him, Mulder listening on his cell while keeping his eye on the man who had tried to strangle him with a piano wire. He had managed to find the train and get on it, something he wished he hadn’t done. He found himself locked in a boxcar with the man who tried to kill him, the being that may be an EBE and a bomb that had only minutes remaining before exploding.

Mulder had disengaged the car from the rest of the train in the middle of nowhere, at least protecting the rest of the people on the train.

Scully had tried everything she knew how to locate him and try to find a way for him to get out of the car, but she had hit roadblocks everywhere she’d turned. Finally, she had gone back to Mulder’s apartment, hoping she might see something on his alien autopsy video that could help. And she may have.

“What is it?” he asked, seemingly more resigned to his fate than she.

Scully had noticed on the video that one of the doctor’s on the video, who had been in a train car like she had remembered being in and like the one Mulder was currently in, had punched numbers of a code that had opened the door.

She hoped it might open Mulder’s. It was their only chance.

“I think I may have a code for you,” she told him as she rewound the video, pausing to try to see what numbers the man was pushing. “I’m watching Zama punch it into a keypad in one of the train cars.”

“What are you watching?”

“Your alien autopsy video.”

“You mean I might get my twenty-nine ninety-five’s worth after all?”

Scully looked at her watch, knowing Mulder’s time was running out. “I’ve got six minutes left, is that what you have?”

“Let’s hope not. What’s the code?” he asked, propping his phone between his ear and shoulder, going to the key pad near the train car door.

Scully continued to rewind and pause, wanting to make sure she saw the numbers as clearly as possible. “One. One, zero.”

“Wait, are you there?” Mulder asked, Scully silent as she tried to see the numbers.

“Yeah, yeah. One, zero, one.”

“One, zero, one,” Mulder repeated as he punched the numbers in the key pad.

“And a three… then a three…” she told him slowly, still straining to see the video.

“Three, three,” he repeated after her.

“Uh… I can’t see the last number clearly. His hand gets in the way,” Scully told him, frustrated.

“Tick-tick, Scully,” Mulder said, knowing his time was running short.

“I know, I’m sorry, um… I think it’s a one.”

“You think it’s a one? Are you sure?” he asked nervously.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m pretty sure,” she nodded, but only half believing herself.

“One,” Mulder said, pressing the last number, the keypad beeping as the red lights turned green. But just as he smiled in victory, he was hit on the head from behind, Mulder having almost forgotten about the other man in the car in his attempt to get the door open.

“Mulder?” she asked, suddenly hearing the sounds of a struggle. “Mulder?!” All she could hear was unrecognizable sounds, but she knew something terrible had gone wrong.

What she didn’t know was that Mulder had been knocked unconscious and beaten to a pulp by the man in the car.

“Mulder!!!” she yelled again even though she instinctively knew he couldn’t hear her. But then she heard a gunshot, her heart nearly pounding out of her chest.


Scully didn’t hang up the phone, hoping she might be able to hear what was going on. She pulled out her cell, calling Skinner. She didn’t know where else to turn. But before she reached him, she heard the beginning of an explosion, the phone going dead. “Oh, my god….”

After Skinner had finally gotten on the line, she explained what Mulder had done and begged him to try and locate any explosion that occurred on the Canadian Northwest track line. She talked as she headed for her car, hoping she could get the Gunmen to help as well. But after she’d hung up from Skinner and had just pulled out into traffic, her cell phone rang. “Scully,” she said frantically.

“Agent Scully,” the voice said and she recognized it as Mulder’s informant.

“Where’s Mulder?” she asked before he could speak.

“You should get to the city hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.

And make sure you aren’t followed.” Scully had immediately turned her car around, heading to Dulles as fast as she could get there.



Seven hours later

Scully had gotten a flight to Sioux City and driven a rental to the hospital. She didn’t know what she’d find, praying that Mulder was there and that he was okay. She’d gone in the emergency entrance since the main entrance was locked due to the late hour.

When she walked up to the ER desk, she flashed her badge, hoping it would help her get some answers. “Has Fox Mulder been admitted here today?” she asked the nurse.

“Yeah. We wondered why an FBI agent would be all the way out here,” the woman told her, checking her computer. “We moved him to a room. Number 118. Down the hall to your left.”

Scully hurried, the hospital small enough for his room to be on the first floor. When she walked in Mulder’s room, it was dark, almost too dark for her to see. But when her eyes adjusted, she could see that it was him, her sigh of relief audible. When she got closer, she could see the cut on his forehead, his swollen lip and the bruising all over his face. But he looked beautiful to her. At least he was alive. “Mulder,” she said softly to him, brushing his hair back from his forehead. “Mulder…”

He began to rouse, trying to open his only eye that would open. He was disoriented, not knowing where he was, having been in and out since ‘X’ had rescued him from the train car. “Scully?” he asked, wondering how she could be there, wondering if he was dreaming.

“I’m here, Mulder,” she said, giving him a soft kiss on his forehead.

“Where am I?” he asked slowly as he began to orient himself a bit better. Scully pushed the button to raise the head of the bed a bit, moving to sit next to his hip.

“Sioux City, Iowa.”

“How, how did you find me?”

“I received an anonymous phone call.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No. I’m not really in a kidding mood,” she said as she took his hand. “I begged you not to get on that train.”

“It was on there, Scully. The EBE. I saw it,” he told her, trying to legitimize his foolhardiness, she figured.

“Right now, I could care less. What happened to you?” she asked, noticing the cut that circled his throat, touching it softly.

“There was a man on the train. Said he was NSA. But I don’t think the piano wire that gave me my new necklace is standard issue.”

“He did this to you?”

“Yeah. Beat the fuck out of me and left me for dead. I have no idea how I got off that train,” he said, pushing the button to raise his bed further up.

“I think I might.”


“I think the anonymous caller was your informant. I think I recognized him. And the ambulance drivers who picked you up saw a tall black man watching them. Sound familiar?”

“How did he find me?” Mulder wondered out loud.

“I have no idea. I’m just thankful that he did,” she said, laying her head down on his chest, comforted by the steady beat of his heart.



The next evening

Mulder had been discharged the next day, with cuts and bruises and two cracked ribs that he said didn’t hurt at all… unless he breathed. They didn’t have enough time to make it for the afternoon flight out and Scully hadn’t slept in almost two days, so they got a room for the night.

Scully had taken Mulder’s hospital issued toothbrush and paste and stopped at a small grocery store near their hotel to get some Tylenol and a few things to eat. Neither of them had any clothes beyond what they had on and both of them had been wearing those for a couple of days. “I hope our seats on the plane are next to each other, Scully. As rank as we probably are, I’d feel sorry for anyone who would have to sit next to either of us.”

“You feel like taking a shower?” she asked, knowing he was having considerable pain.

“You join me?” he smiled to her.

“If you behave yourself,” she told him. But as he began to undress, she could see the bruising he had on the rest of his body. “Jesus, Mulder. What the hell did that guy do to you?”

“I think he had on steel toed boots,” Mulder quipped, looking down to see his discolored body as well. “Does look kinda bad, doesn’t it?”

“Come on. The warm water will make you feel better…”

After their shower, she had re-applied the Ace bandage the hospital had bound around his ribs, the binding giving him some support and relief from the pain. “I feel like a fucking mummy,” he mumbled as she’d wrapped him, but thanked her after she’d finished.

Later, they lay naked in bed, Scully careful not to touch his sore ribs. “You look tired,” he told her, stroking under her eye with his thumb.

“You scared the hell out of me,” she told him plainly. “I heard the explosion.”

“I’m sorry…”

“Are you? Are you really, Mulder?” she asked, exasperated by his behavior after her warning to him not to get on the train in the first place.

“What should I have done, Scully? Just let them get away with it?”

“Well, they got away with it anyway.”

“Maybe not,” he smiled to her coyly.

“What are you not telling me?” she asked, propping herself up on her elbow to look at him.

“Hopefully, when we get back to DC, I’ll have evidence.

Real evidence.”



One week later, 7:30am

“No. Okay, call me if you learn anything,” Mulder said into the phone as Scully walked in, his face still bearing the scars of the beating he took. “Nothing, Scully. Not the rail operators, not the forestry department. Nobody knows what happened to that train car.”

“Are there any satellite photos you can get your hands on?”

“Senator Matheson hasn’t returned my phone calls. His, uh…

his aides say he’s out of the country.”

“Well, the administrator at the hospital where you were admitted said that someone had called and alerted them to your location. Now, I went through the phone records myself, and the call was placed from a phone booth in Blue Earth, Iowa.”

“Did you locate the briefcase that Zama left on the train?”

hoping that the conductor had shipped it as he’d asked.

“Yeah. I got it right here,” she said, handing it to Mulder.

He looked at it strangely, sitting down at his desk to open it.

“This doesn’t look like the same briefcase.”

“It’s the one they gave me, the one they said you gave to the conductor.”

Mulder opened the case, flipping though the notepads inside.

Even though it was all written in Japanese, he could see that they weren’t the same journals he’d seen on the train.

“These aren’t the same journals. They’ve all been rewritten.”

“Mulder…” she sighed, exasperated.

“They’re getting away with it, Scully.”

“They’ve gotten away with it, Mulder,” she said firmly. “The bodies at the leper colony have all been removed.”

“I know what I saw on that train car. It wasn’t a leper and it wasn’t human.”

“And I know what I saw at that research facility. It was barely recognizable as human,” she tried to explain. Mulder rubbed his eyes, tired of missing his chance once again to gather damning evidence. “Don’t you see, Mulder? You’re doing their work for them. You’re chasing aliens that aren’t there, helping them to create a story to cover the shameful truth… and what they can’t cover, they apologize for.

Apology has become policy.”

Mulder stood, wanting her to understand. “I, I don’t need an apology for the lies. I, I don’t care about the fictions they create to cover their crimes. I want them accountable for what did happen. I want an apology for the truth.” They stared at each other for several long moments, Scully realizing what he said was right.

“I understand. I do. But we’ve got to be more careful about what we do, Mulder. We don’t want to play right into their hands,” she told him, walking around the edge of the desk, taking hold of his arm. “We’ve got to be sure we aren’t being set up.”

“I realize that. But, I’m going to prove what they’ve done, Scully,” he told her. “It may not be tomorrow or next week or even next year, but I will prove what happened to my sister… and what they did to you.”

Scully wanted to hold him, but glanced at the door and seeing that it was open, resisted her urge. “I know you will, Mulder.”

“You really believe that?” he asked, looking at her, hoping to find proof that she believed him, believed in him.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t…”



A few hours later

“I can’t believe you enjoy putting all this stuff up,” Mulder complained, standing on a step ladder to finish hanging the garland around her front windows. “In a few weeks, you’ll just have to take it down again.”

“Merry Christmas to you, too,” Scully replied quickly, setting two candle holders on her fireplace mantle. If the truth be known, she knew Mulder was actually enjoying himself, having told her once that he missed celebrating Christmas as he did before his sister was taken. “Here, hang this,” she smiled to him, handing him a small sprig of mistletoe.

“Ooooh, baby, now you’re talkin’” he kidded, taking the mistletoe from her only to hold it above her head, bending to give her a long kiss. He was happy to feel her return it.

“Better?” she asked, giving him a soft smile before going into the kitchen to find something for dinner. Mulder watched her as she moved, always amazed that she seemed oblivious to how much she turned him on. He grinned to himself, then looping the string of the mistletoe around the button above the fly of his jeans.

He followed her into the kitchen, coughing a stage cough so she’d hear him. And it worked. Scully turned and there he stood, his hands on his hips, the mistletoe hanging just above the tailored bulge in his pants. “Kiss me, baby,” he said through one of his goofy grins, giving his hips a little shake. Scully just looked at him for several moments, finally unable to prevent a chuckle no matter how hard she tried. Her low key reaction didn’t really surprise him; he didn’t expect her to fall to her knees and accommodate him. But her quick move toward him did catch him by surprise and he half expected her to smack him. But she kissed him… hard, her hand instantly cupping him, her leg wrapping around the back of his causing both of them to stumble back against the kitchen counter.

And again before he could realize what was happening, she slipped a finger under the band of his pants and pulled, telling him, “Follow me.” He went along like a puppy, still not quite believing what was happening. When they got into the bedroom, she finally let go of him, but only to start removing her clothes, her glistening eyes meeting his as she continued. He followed her example and then followed her to the bed, Scully practically jumping him after she’d pushed him onto his back. She lay on top of him, kissing him for all she was worth before she began to move down his neck, then his chest to his stomach.

“Oh, Jesus,” he sighed, realizing what she was going to do.

She took him in her hand, slowly moving her hand up and down his shaft, already hard just from what they’d been doing.

She touched her lips to the engorged head, giving him the kiss his mistletoe had invited. She licked her tongue against him, almost teasing him before she put him in her mouth, her action causing his hips to jump. “Scully…” he moaned, grabbing fists full of her comforter. She licked and sucked and massaged until he couldn’t stand any more and he grabbed hold of her biceps, pulling her up his body. “I want to be inside you…” He held himself for her, Scully shifting her weight to her knees and slowly lowering herself down on him, feeling her fluids leak as he opened her.

Scully couldn’t move, the feeling of him pushing deep inside her rendering her unable to get her muscles moving. He took hold of her hips, lifting her a bit to get her going and she smiled down at him, realizing he knew just what she needed.

She leaned forward to give him a kiss, her hips beginning a good rhythm, continuing as she sat up, her hands sliding down to his ribcage while her hips kept a steady pace against him. And he could tell by the look on her face that she was struggling to reach her orgasm, moving and pushing to find just the right spot. And when she leaned forward slightly and her pace became erratic, he realized she found it, her inner muscles clamping him as she fell forward onto his chest. “Mulder…” she sighed, barely able to speak.

Mulder held her hips while he pushed up, his movements speeding up when he felt his release pending, letting go soon after. He held on to her while he calmed, her body limp on top of him. “Can I just stay here for the next week or so?” she said, her words muffled against the skin of his chest.

“Fine by me,” he said, smoothing his hands over the moistened skin of her back. “If I’d known mistletoe was so powerful, I would’ve smoked it while I was in college instead of the junk I did smoke,” he teased, feeling her snicker against his skin.

“Didn’t think I’d oblige, huh?” she said, moving up to smile at him.

“Maybe all this decorating isn’t such a bad thing after all,” he smiled back, giving her a quick kiss.

Later, they’d settled on the couch with the newspaper, their dinner remnants still on her coffee table. “Where’s ‘the dog’?” he asked, just realizing that he hadn’t seen it since they’d come home.

“He’s at my mother’s. She took him for his shots today and is keeping him for the night. SHE likes him,” Scully said, knowing that Mulder didn’t.

“I don’t dislike him,” Mulder tried to convince her.

“Liar,” she said, paying more attention to her paper than she was him. He’d noticed she’d been a bit quiet when they’d come home from work earlier, wondering if something had happened earlier in the day that he didn’t know about.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

“Why wouldn’t it be?” she replied, moving from the couch to go to the kitchen.

“Well…,” Mulder said, still trying to gauge her mood, standing to follow her. “I’m just wondering what’s wrong.”

Scully glanced at him, quickly feeling guilty for not leveling with him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you,” she began. “Did you forget I had an appointment with Karen this afternoon?” He had spent much of the day in Skinner’s office getting raked over the coals about their last case and hadn’t really known what Scully had done most of the day.

Mulder looked at her, knowing he’d have to admit he hadn’t remembered her visit to her therapist since his forgetfullness was probably written all over his face. “Will you hate me if I confess I did?” he said. She gave him a soft smile as her answer to his question and he wasn’t sure if her response was a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. He let it go. “Um, I take it your session didn’t go well?”

“You want wine? Or… there are a couple of your beers in here,” she said, retrieving a bottle of white from her refrigerator.

“Yeah,” he said, joining her, reaching in to grab a beer.

“You gonna tell me about it?”

“She wasn’t too happy that we’d only done our exercises a couple of times since the last time I was there.”

“Did you happen to mention what we’d been doing for the last few months?” Mulder chuckled.

Scully smiled, thinking that even if she’d told her therapist, she doubted the woman would believe her. “Well, we need to do them before I go back again.”

Mulder set his beer on the counter, turning to her, slipping his arms around her waist. “We need to because we need to,” he told her, wanting her therapy to help her settle whatever was inside her that was making her have bad dreams. “No time like the present.”

“I appreciate your thought, but I really don’t feel like it tonight. This afternoon was bad enough,” she told him, remembering that her therapist had really pressed her about very emotional issues. Namely, her experiences with Donnie Pfaster and her inability to really talk about them.

“I’ll ask again. Are you going to tell me about it?” Mulder asked again.

“With one stipulation…”

“Name it.”

“You give me a backrub…”



They settled back on the couch, Mulder getting a small fire started in her fireplace, the colored lights of the Christmas tree the only light illuminating the living room.

Scully sat between his legs, his strong fingers working magic on her shoulders. “You’re tense. Things were that bad, huh?”

“She just… made me think about things I’ve worked hard to try to forget,” she said, reaching to the coffee table for her wine.

“But you know that’s what you need to do, Scully. Just because you don’t talk about what happened to you doesn’t insure that you’ll forget about it.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m sure that’s why I wake up in a cold sweat most nights you aren’t here,” Scully admitted. Mulder leaned down, giving her a soft kiss on her neck, wishing he could make all of her problems go away. “Anyway, I guess the more I get out in her office, the less I’ll dream about.”

Mulder leaned back against the pillows behind him, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her against his chest. “One of the exercises was for you to tell me three things you haven’t told me that you probably should have… or something like that.”

Scully chuckled, “Something like that. Are we going to do this tonight?”

“Tell me one.”

Scully thought for a moment, knowing her therapist was trying to get her to talk to Mulder, her partner, the person most important to her. “Ummm. I’ll start my period tomorrow, so you won’t be getting lucky any more this weekend. How’s that for starters?”

Mulder ignored her statement, knowing if he kept at her she would cooperate. “That’s one. Number two?”

Scully sighed, knowing she needed to do what her therapist prescribed. “Okay… After I recognized Dr. Ishimaru on your tape, after I remembered where I’d seen him before, I, um, remembered him looking down at me. My view of him was from lying on my back and he looked like… like he was…

huge… like he wasn’t real. Then he, um, pulled the sheet off me… and, um…”

“Oh, Scully,” Mulder sighed, unable to imagine what Scully must have gone through.

“…he, um, inserted something sharp into my abdomen.”


“But it didn’t hurt. I remember wondering how it couldn’t have,” she continued, her voice almost a whisper. “I couldn’t move; couldn’t really see what he was doing and I was just… just so fucking angry that I couldn’t move, or scream or get up and fight back.”

“Do you remember anything else?” Mulder asked gently.

“After he had inserted whatever it was in my abdomen, he turned away and I could tell that he was doing something behind me, but I couldn’t see. And then all of a sudden, I felt a searing pain, excruciating pain, and, and I don’t remember what happened after that. I have no recollection of anything…” she said, wondering if she had even been able to scream.

“Those fuckers… If I ever find who did this to you, Scully, I swear…” Mulder said, knowing he could kill them with his bare hands. He embraced her more firmly, kissing her temple as he spoke next to her ear. “I love you…

You’re my hero, you know that?”

“Your hero?” she chuckled, wondering why he would say that.

“You are the bravest person I’ve ever met in my life, Scully. No one could’ve survived what you’ve endured,” he told her, his chin resting on her shoulder.

“It wasn’t like I had a choice, Mulder. And I have no idea what I did or didn’t do… I remember virtually nothing…

nothing more than a few seconds in a stainless steel train car,” she told him, turning around in his arms to look up at him.

Mulder bent down to give her a soft kiss, his hands rubbing her back. “I’m proud of you for working with Karen. I know it isn’t easy to do.”

“No, it isn’t. If I didn’t have your support, Mulder, I’m not sure I could do it alone,” she told him, remembering the time when she had tried.

“Well, I’ll tell you one thing,” he began. “I volunteer to sleep with you as often as I can… you know, to keep the nightmares away,” he grinned, teasing her.

“I just bet you do,” she smiled back.

“Were you kidding me about, you know, the time of the month?” he asked.

“Sorry, no,” she chuckled. “But if you don’t stay the weekend anyway, you’re a dead man.”



Three days later

They had only had a couple of days of down time before Mulder heard about a case in Pennsylvania where a young boy was supposedly experiencing evidence of stigmata.

Ironically, it was Mulder who had been skeptical about what was actually happening and Scully who had believed that God was actually at work in the boy. But regardless of what was actually happening, they both believed that the boy was in danger and Scully had made the decision for him to stay with her and Mulder at their motel.

“You never draw my bath,” Mulder pouted, teasing her.

Scully had drawn young Kevin’s bath and she had noticed a fresh scar on his chest when he’d removed his shirt. “Kevin has a cut under his ribs,” she told Mulder, giving Kevin privacy in the bathroom.

“He was in an accident,” Mulder answered, relaxing on the bed, reading the case file.

“No, I… I was with the paramedics when they were looking at him. It wasn’t there,” she said, concerned.

“Maybe you missed it.”

“No, Mulder, I was paying close attention.”

“What do you think it is?”

Scully sat on the other bed opposite him, taking a deep breath before telling him what she thought, knowing he didn’t share her beliefs. “Yesterday, I saw Kevin’s hands.

They were bleeding from identical wounds on the top as on the bottom … just like in the crucifixion.”

“Scully …”

“There have been other signs. I haven’t said anything until now, because I haven’t been sure … and I’m still not sure.”

“Sure of what exactly?” Mulder asked quickly, fearing where she was going with her conversation.

“How Kevin was able to be in two places at once … just like St. Ignatius was able to do in the Bible,” she explained.

“That was in the Bible. It’s a parable; it’s a metaphor for the truth, not the truth itself,” Mulder said, almost laughing at her. “Why didn’t Kevin conveniently bi-locate when Owen Jarvis abducted him from the shelter?”

“How is it that you’re able to go out on a limb whenever you see a light in the sky, but you’re unwilling to accept the possibility of a miracle? Even when it’s right in front of you,” she answered, getting irritated at Mulder’s stubbornness.

“I wait for a miracle every day. But what I’ve seen here has only tested my patience, not my faith,” he told her sternly, Scully knowing what miracle he waited for.

“Well, what about what I’ve seen?” she asked him softly, torn by what their case was presenting, not knowing what to think or how to feel.

Suddenly, they heard a noise coming from the bathroom.

“Kevin?” Scully called, walking to the bathroom door. “You OK?” When he didn’t answer, she tried the door, finding it locked. She looked to Mulder, “I didn’t lock it.”

Mulder had broken down the door and they found Kevin gone, the window broken and the bars covering it bent and glowing red from extreme heat. Mulder had called the police and they had cordoned off a ten mile radius. “Best I can figure is they must have had an acetylene torch in the back of the truck. I don’t know how else they could have done it,” Mulder told her as they waited outside of the motel, hoping for more information.

“I wasn’t out of that room for more than two minutes, Mulder. Come on, there’s someone I want to talk to again,” she told him, walking toward where their car was parked.


“Kevin’s father.”

“Why?” he questioned, but following her.

Scully stopped and turned to face him. “He knew that Kevin was in danger. He warned us about a powerful and respected man.”

“The man’s a nut case, Scully,” Mulder said, knowing that Scully was beyond being personally involved in their case and with Kevin.

“Maybe he is,” she admitted, but not knowing what else to do.

“But if Kevin is in immediate danger, even if his father has anything to say about Gates, it doesn’t help us right now,” he told her, trying to reason with her.

“Well, it’s not doing us a lot of good standing around here,” she told him walking away. Mulder watched her for a couple of moments, sincerely worried that she was going to be terribly hurt by her personalization of their case, no matter what the outcome.

Scully had followed her own hunch, against Mulder’s wishes and had rescued Kevin from near death. And she had been emotionally involved, saying goodbye to Kevin one of the most difficult things she’d ever had to do. She had asked Mulder to take care of last minute paper work and had found herself locating a Catholic church and going to confession for the first time in six years.

Afterwards, Scully met Mulder at the airport, neither saying anything about the case until they’d been in their seats and airborne. “You, um, gonna tell me where you went?” Mulder asked softly. Scully didn’t look at him, just watching the clouds outside her window, but took hold of his hand when he spoke to her. He saw her nod, noticing that she seemed to be straining to contain her emotions. He grasped her hand more tightly. “We can wait until we get home, if you want,” he told her softly. And he noticed when she nodded again.



Later that evening

“Qeequeg, get down, please,” Scully said, picking the dog up off the couch. “Come on, I’ll get you something to eat.”

Mulder watched as Scully carried the ball of fuzzy red fur to her utility room, now the dog’s bedroom, talking to him as if he were human. He was working on a salad to go with the pizza they had called in.

“I can’t believe you talk to that mutt,” Mulder chuckled when she’d come back into the kitchen. She gave him a glare, the ring of the door bell just in time to save him.

“There’s money in my jacket pocket,” he called to her, but she got money out of the drawer of her desk instead.

Later, they sat at her kitchen table, Mulder taking the last piece of pizza. Scully had been fairly quiet and Mulder figured she was irritated at him, probably as much for his comments about her dog as she was about how he’d reacted to her handling of their case in Pennsylvania. Mulder picked up the plates and began to rinse them to put them in the dishwasher. “I guess I’ll go,” he said. Scully looked at him, not really understanding why he didn’t want to stay, but not asking him.

He slipped on his jacket, Scully following him to the door.

Mulder touched her cheek, giving her a sincere expression of his feelings. “I love you, Scully,” he said, bending to give her a soft kiss. He was surprised when she slipped her arms around his waist and squeezed, burying her face into his shirt.

“Please stay…”

“Are you sure?” he asked, returning her embrace.

Scully looked up at him, her hand slipping behind his neck as she kissed him. “Yeah.”

They talked for a while, Scully apologizing to him for becoming so emotionally involved with Kevin Crider. “His father was hopelessly ill and, and then he lost his mother… I just felt I was meant to be there for him,” she had explained to Mulder, the glow of the Christmas tree lights giving the room a warm glow. They lay on the couch and watched television for a while, nothing much on that interested her.

“I’m gonna take Queequeg for a walk,” she said before they readied for bed, retrieving the dog from his bed in the utility room.

“I’ll take him,” Mulder volunteered.

Scully laughed, “Yeah, right.” She clipped his leash to his collar, but Mulder took it from her hand.

“I’ll take him. You go take a nice long gourmet bath,” he smiled, bending to give her a kiss. Scully gave him a puzzled look and he chuckled at her suspicious expression.

“I won’t throw him in front of a speeding bus or anything.

Promise,” he said as he left.

Later, they’d settled into bed, Scully snuggling into his side. “Feel better?” he asked when she’d finished her bath.

“Much. Thanks for taking care of Queequeg,” she told him, her hand smoothing over his chest.

“Well, I just hope nobody saw me,” Mulder said.

Scully sat up a bit to look at him, wondering what he could mean. “Why?”

Mulder laid his hand on her shoulder, rubbing down her arm.

“He isn’t exactly a guy’s kind of dog, Scully.”

Scully laughed, scooting back down, laying her head on his shoulder. “I’m sorry if my dog threatens your masculinity,” she teased, still chuckling.

Mulder turned over, lying almost on top of her, holding her hands on her pillow next to her head. “Do you question my masculinity?” he smiled, almost challenging her.

“Oh…. I don’t know… maybe.”


“Maybe you need to prove to me just how masculine you can be,” she said, her teasing smirk turning him on in a big way. He met her challenge, leaning down to kiss her, his tongue almost immediately slipping into her mouth, his hips moving against her slowly. “Mmmmmm,” she moaned against his lips, needing to come up for air.

“How’s that?” he asked against her ear, using his tongue to tickle her there. She laughed, his action making her shiver beneath him.

“Not bad for starters,” she told him, trying to squirm under him, Mulder still holding her hands down. Finally, he let go of one of her hands, needing his to unbutton her pajama top. And as soon as her top was open, he put his mouth on her nipple and began to suck, his mouth covering a big part of her breast. “Ohhhhh, I think you’re getting there…”

Soon, they were naked, Scully now on top of him, Mulder’s hands grabbing her bottom and squeezing and she felt her sex flood. “You want me on top?” she asked against his lips, her fingers stroking through his hair. Without answering, he took hold of her waist and moved her off of him and onto her back. “I guess that’s a ‘no’.”

“You forgot. I’m trying to prove my masculinity,” he told her, his hand slipping down between her legs. “Scully….”

he sighed, feeling how wet she was. She opened her legs further and he moved between them, rubbing his penis through her moisture a few times before finding her opening. He pushed in easily, always hard as a rock when they were together.

“I love you, Mulder,” she told him, her eyes closing at the wonderful feelings he was generating in her. He balanced on his elbows, their bodies pressed together as they moved in tandem, kissing and touching each other everywhere they could. She moved under him, whispering everything he was doing right.

Scully climaxed first, her whole body going rigid when she’d flown over the edge. Mulder pushed harder and faster, letting go shortly after she did. Afterward, they lay together, both trying to catch their breath. “I think I pulled a muscle in the bottom of my foot,” Scully laughed, realizing that Mulder had actually made her toes curl.

Mulder sat up, “Which one?” he asked.


He massaged her foot, then bringing it up to give her big toe a kiss. “Thanks,” she told him, Mulder lying back down next to her, gathering her in his arms.

“Oh, shit. I probably shouldn’t have done that. I’m not sure kissing your big toe is all that masculine,” he kidded.

Scully kissed him, taking her time, slipping her tongue inside, slowly moving her body against him. “You have nothing to prove to me, G-man,” she smiled to him.



December 24, 1996

“Are you ready? I have a hundred things to do before we go,” Scully said, gathering her coat and her briefcase, hoping that Mulder would pick up his speed a bit. She had been trying to get him out the door for almost an hour and he wasn’t being overly cooperative.

Mulder knew he couldn’t drag his feet much longer, so he pulled his jacket from the back of his chair and slipped it on, trying not to look at her. They were due at her mother’s house for Christmas Eve festivities and he was dreading it. It wasn’t, of course, that he didn’t want to be with Scully; actually that was exactly what he wanted.

It was her family celebration that he was having cold feet over.

It wasn’t really even her family that he was dreading. He liked Scully’s mother and in only the few times he was around her sister, she had kind of grown on him and he regretted that he hadn’t been able to get to know her better. And even though Scully’s youngest brother hadn’t been very friendly at Melissa’s funeral, so distraught over his oldest sister’s death that Mulder figured he hadn’t really noticed his other sister’s partner had been present.

Her older brother, Bill, had refused to go to his sister’s funeral since their mother had opted for a simple service rather than a mass, so Mulder didn’t really want to have to play nice with a grown man who seemed to act like a child.

But he had never met him, Scully never really saying much about him, so the jury was still out.

But what was causing his anxiety was being around a big family Christmas celebration. It had been so long since he’d done it, he didn’t really know how to be a part of one.

But he was going; going with Scully. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” he said under his breath, following her out the door.

Later, they were stuck in traffic, Mulder tapping his fingers against the steering wheel to the beat of something on the radio, not even noticing that it was some cheery Andy Williams Christmas tune. “You okay?” Scully asked, noticing he hadn’t been himself all day.

“Yeah… If I can get up to ‘D’ street, I can take the back way to Georgetown,” he said, paying more attention to the traffic than he was to her. “If I don’t get out of this traffic soon, I’m gonna get out my gun.”

“Its okay, Mulder. I’ll call Mom and let her know we’re probably going to be late. She won’t hate us,” Scully touched his arm, wondering why he seemed so on edge. She watched him, his eyes, and could tell that he was ready to do something she probably wished he wouldn’t and he didn’t disappoint. Suddenly, he whipped the car into an alley, Scully reaching for the dashboard to hang on. He wound through so many backstreets and alleys that Scully felt her lunch speak back to her. Finally, she saw familiar territory and realized Mulder had actually known where he was going.

“Don’t look so surprised,” Mulder said. Scully smiled, inwardly relieved, too, that they had gotten out of the snail’s pace of the traffic.

After they had made it to Scully’s apartment, she had gotten the presents and food and stocking stuffers she was taking to her mother’s. “You want to exchange any presents at Mom’s?” she asked him, Mulder leaning against the kitchen counter drinking a beer.


“Huh?” she mocked. “Do I need a translator?” she asked, totally exasperated with him.

“Whatever you want, Scully. This is your deal, not mine,” he said, taking another drink of his beer.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, turning to look at him, her stare telling him more than her words.

“It means I’ll do what ever you want me to do. I’m just along for the ride.”

“I see. Mulder, are you going to tell me what’s going on with you?” she asked.

“Nothing’s going on. Christmas is just another day to me, so just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I don’t care one way or the other,” he told her, not meaning for his comment to sound as cold as it probably did.

Scully walked over closer to him, disturbed that he seemed so disinterested in the holiday. “Is it my family? Don’t you want to be with them?” she asked, a sense of unease in her voice, seeing that there was something else going on behind his eyes.

“No, Scully… no. It isn’t your family,” he said, looking at the floor unable to make eye contact with her.

She slipped her arms around his waist and pulled him to her.

“Then what is it?” she pleaded against his shirt.

Mulder took a deep breath, his sigh filtering through her hair. He thought for a few moments, realizing he needed to level with her since his silence had obviously given her the wrong idea, an idea that seemed to have hurt her feelings.

But his emotions were getting the best of him, remembering the last time he’d really had a Christmas, the year before Sam was taken. He slipped out of her embrace, moving to sit at the table. Scully watched in silence for a few moments before moving to sit next to him. That’s when she noticed he seemed about ready to cry.

“Mulder…,” she said, standing to embrace him, caressing him to her abdomen. She stroked his hair, kissing the crown of his head, letting him have the time he needed. He was holding on to her so tightly, she was barely able to stand up, steadying herself by holding on to him. Finally, he relaxed a bit, letting go of her, but still unable to look at her. She kissed his temple and sat down again, her hand tenderly stroking his thigh. “Tell me…” she coaxed softly.

“I feel stupid,” he said, wiping his eyes with his sleeve.

“I can see that whatever it is isn’t stupid,” she told him sincerely. “Talk to me.”

“It’s just that, well, it’s been a long time since I’ve done much for Christmas…”

Suddenly, Scully realized what he really meant. It wasn’t being with her family that he was having anxiety about; it was knowing what to do and how to act as a part of a family celebration, remembering what he didn’t have with his own family. It dawned on her that he probably hadn’t had a real family Christmas since his family had fallen apart after his sister went missing. “Oh, Mulder…” she said, taking hold of his hand. “Why didn’t you say something before? We don’t have to go.”

“I don’t want to keep you away from your family, Scully,” he told her honestly, beginning to feel like a whining child.

He didn’t want to be without her, but he knew how much being with her family meant to her, especially this first Christmas after her sister’s death, so he didn’t want her to miss Christmas with them either. “You need to be with your family…”

Scully looked at him, realizing he was serious, touched by his consideration for her need to be with her family. “I will be,” she smiled to him, moving to her small desk to pick up the phone, hitting #2 on the speed dial. “Yeah, Mom, it’s me. Um, something’s come up and we won’t be able to make it tonight,” she started, her mother asking if she was okay. “Yeah, we’re fine.”

“Scully… You go. I’ll be fine here until you get back,” Mulder said, not wanting her to miss her family’s Christmas.

“No, it isn’t work, Mom,” Scully continued on the phone, her mother hoping duty hadn’t called her daughter on the holiday. “Mulder and I just decided to stay home tonight.

But I’ll stop by tomorrow, okay?” They said their goodbyes and Scully gave Mulder a soft smile when she’d hung up.

“Come on,” she said, holding out her hand for him. “Let’s go open our presents.”



January 5, 1996

“Mulder, I’m coming up there right now,” Scully told him as she packed. He had found himself stuck working a case that he had told her involved killer cockroaches that he’d stumbled across after he’d vacated his apartment while it was being exterminated. How fitting. She had made it sound to him like she felt he needed help on his strange case, but she wouldn’t admit that her sudden need for travel was probably more due to the entomologist named ‘Bambi’ than it was out of any fear that he’d be attacked by a murderous coprophagous insect.

By the next day, Mulder and Scully found themselves trying to share an umbrella as they stood in the early morning rain covered in shit. Literally. Not only had the entire town of Miller’s Grove seemingly lost its mind with unwarranted panic over killer cockroach rumors, but she and Mulder had found themselves in the middle of it. And she was pissed, to put it lightly.

The local Sheriff approached them, not appearing to be as upset by the whole mess as he probably should have been.

“It’s like a crematorium in there. I don’t think we’re going to locate the doctor’s remains,” he told them, speculating about an alternative fuel researcher who had most likely been blown to bits by the explosion that had covered Mulder and Scully in dung.

“Or anything else, for that matter,” Mulder chimed in.

“Still, it’s not as bad as some of the other fires we had last night,” the Sheriff continued.

“There were others?” Scully asked, barely able to control her fury at the entire situation.

“Four, to be exact. Plus eighteen auto accidents, thirteen assault and batteries, two stores were looted, thirty-six injuries all total, half of them from insecticide poisoning… but, we didn’t receive reports on cockroaches or otherwise for the last couple of hours. Maybe this town’s finally come to its senses,” the Sheriff commented as he looked Mulder and Scully up and down. “You two ought to go home and get some rest.” He looked them up and down again and then smirked. “You look pooped.”

Mulder smiled at the man’s lame joke and Scully would’ve hit him if Dr. Ivanov, a professor of entomology, hadn’t rolled his wheelchair up next to them along with the infamous Bambi.

“Agent Mulder? They told me I could locate you here,” the man said in his serious tone. “Those, uh, segments you showed me earlier… may I examine them again?”

Mulder shrugged and reached into his pocket, handing a small bag to the man. “Well, they’re completely desiccated…

just like the molted exoskeleton.”

“You know, many insects don’t develop wings until their last molting stage. Perhaps whatever these things were, they had their final molt and have flown off back to wherever they originated,” Bambi commented to the man, seemingly absorbed by him.

“Yeah, that would explain everything,” Scully said, sarcasm dripping from her comment. Mulder gave her a look, his next comment cut off by the professor.

“May I borrow this, Agent Mulder, for further study?”

“Well, I’ve already had a similar sample analyzed; it’s nothing but common metals. What do you hope to find from it?” Mulder asked, his interest just serving to piss Scully off further.

“His destiny,” Bambi commented, trying to be profound, Scully rolling her eyes.

“Isn’t that what Doctor Zaius said to Zira at the end of “The Planet of the Apes?” the professor asked, obviously smitten by the shapely woman who nodded as she smiled at him.

“It’s one of my favorite movies,” Bambi grinned at him.

“Mine too. I love science fiction,” the professor told her, Mulder looking at them strangely.

“I’m also fascinated by your research,” Bambi fawned, both of them moving to leave without giving Mulder and Scully so much as a glance. “Have you ever considered programming the robots to mimic the behavior of social insects like ants or bees?” she added, both of them almost sickening as they continued to talk about bugs as if they were the most fascinating topic of conversation in the world.

“Smart is sexy,” Scully said to Mulder’s stare, returning one of her own. “Well, think of it this way, Mulder. By the time there’s another invasion of artificially-intelligent, dung-eating robotic probes from outer space, maybe their uber-children will have devised a way to save our planet.”

Mulder, obviously irritated by her sarcasm, glared at her before finally speaking. “You know, I never thought I’d say this to you, Scully… but you smell bad,” he smirked as he walked away, taking the umbrella with him. If Scully’s look could’ve killed, he would’ve been ready for autopsy.



One week later

After Mulder and Scully had left the nightmare of Miller’s Grove, things had only seemed to go downhill from there, if that was possible and apparently it was. Scully remained so irritated at him that he had actually devoted his time and the Bureau’s to cockroaches, no matter what they were or weren’t, that they had barely seen each other since the end of the case.

“Okay, okay. I’ll pay your dry cleaning bill,” Mulder said, just wanting her to put Miller’s Grove to rest.

“That was a Burberry cashmere coat, Mulder. And the only thing the dry cleaner did for me was laugh. That coat is now only a memory. So thanks,” she said right back to him, trying to read the map as they headed to the town of Comity.

“Maybe he took it wrong when you told him to clean the shit out of it,” Mulder said sarcastically, his attempt at humor exactly the wrong thing.

“Fuck you,” she said plainly.

“Fuck me? What’s that?” he said, the two of them barely crossing paths in the past week, let alone share a bed.

“Enough!” she snapped, glaring him down. “Do you understand? Enough.”

And that had ended it for several long miles.

Scully was still trying to read the map when she saw a sign for Comity and an approaching intersection. “The map says to turn right at the intersection,” she sighed, still a sharp edge to her attitude.

“The detective who contacted me told me to turn left.”

“At the intersection?”

“Stoplight,” he answered, neither of them using any more language than they had to.

“This isn’t a stoplight, it’s a stop sign,” she said like he was the dumbest person on the planet.

“Well, I’m sure she meant stop sign.” That was the first Scully’d heard that Mulder’s contact person was female, wondering if she was named after a Disney cartoon as well.

“Turn right,” she said, irritated.

Mulder turned right, knowing… hoping in his gut that she was wrong just so he could tell her ‘I told you so’. And sure enough, only a few yards down the road, they saw a sign that said ‘You’ve just left Comity, the Perfect Harmony City’. Mulder tried to look at her to rub it in as he turned the car around, but she wouldn’t return his glance, Scully so pissed at that moment that she could barely see.

He figured it best to keep his mouth shut for a change. He may actually need his balls at some time in the future.

And Scully’s mood didn’t temper a bit after they’d found the Sheriff’s office and a tall shapely woman detective seemed just a little too happy to see her FBI contact. And Scully found every opportunity to ridicule the detective’s theory that ‘Satanists’ had killed a high school boy and Mulder had found every opportunity to ridicule Scully’s ridicule.

In just a day, the entire town seemed to be snowballing out of control. Scully had been biting Mulder’s head off practically every time he opened his mouth and Mulder seemed to be enjoying treating her condescendingly all the while flirting with Detective White, something he could tell was irritating Scully. And every one of the townspeople was trying to find the phantom ‘Satanist’ who was killing people, a mob mentality making everyone nearly hysterical.

Even the town doctor was being blamed.

“You can go now Dr. Godfrey,” Scully said as she walked into the precinct interrogation room where the shapely Detective White and Mulder were questioning the poor clueless man. “I don’t think we’ll be needing you any further. Your story checked out.”

“This may not be any time to mention it, but someone is wearing my favorite perfume,” Mulder said out of the blue, everyone in the room looking at him like he was crazy.

And that was it. Scully had her fill. “Can I have a word with you?” she barked, turning on her heels to leave the room, her look telling Mulder he’d better follow.

“This has gone far enough,” she told him after they’d made it to the hall.

“What?” he asked, at a total loss as to what she was so obviously pissed at him about.

“I am not going to be humiliated by you, in front of you, or by having to bring a teenage girl in, on her birthday of all days, to identify the bones of her dead dog, Mr. Tippy!” she said, fully irritated by that point, having no clue how absolutely ridiculous she sounded. Mulder barely seemed interested in what she had to say, sniffing the air, closing in around Scully’s head. She was used to him getting in her personal space, so she didn’t think too much of his behavior initially. “I see no reason to pursue this case any further and not only that, I find your conduct and comportment in this investigation not just alarming, but highly objectionable,” she went on, finally having enough of his sniffing. “What are you doing?!”

Distractedly, Mulder didn’t even acknowledge her anger or her point, more concerned with locating the source of the person who was wearing the mysterious perfume. “Must be Detective White…”

“If that’s the reason we’re sticking around, that’s your business,” she said, walking away from him, Mulder following.

“What?” he said incredulously, surprised by her insinuation.

“What are you talking about?”

“Detective White,” she told him bluntly.

“We came down here because of three unexplained deaths; Detective White is just trying to solve them. She could use our help.”

“Well, you two seem to have a certain… simpatico,” she spat at him. “I’m going back to Washington in the morning,” she told him angrily, Mulder sinking against the wall as he watched her storm off.



Later that night

They had done nothing but fight, argue and spar since they’d come to Comity. And they hadn’t exactly been getting along before that. They could usually disagree and quarrel about their work and not take it personally, but for some reason, on this trip, they were both taking everything personally; even things that weren’t personal.

Mulder didn’t know why, he generally didn’t drink much, but he’d just felt like getting wasted and managed to find the last container of frozen orange juice at a convenience store and bought a bottle of cheap vodka to go along with it. He went to his room, thinking he would watch some TV and drink himself into a sound sleep. He added the frozen mixture to the vodka bottle, shaking it to make his rendition of a screwdriver and turned on the television. A black and white Keystone Cops movie was playing, the ‘Sabre Dance’ playing along with the slapstick. He changed the channel, hoping to find something a little more along his line of taste, something perhaps on pay-per-view. But it seemed that the crazy movie was on every channel.

And next door, Scully wasn’t behaving any more normally.

She had bought a pack of cigarettes out of the machine in the lobby, smoking one right after the other since she’d gone to her room. She sat on the bed, flipping channels, the loud ‘Sabre Dance’ and Keystone Cops movie irritating her even more than it had Mulder. She tried to find something else, finally turning the TV off when she found the stupid movie on every channel as well. She threw the remote on the bed and began to pace the room, so agitated she couldn’t sit still.

She walked to the window, angrily mumbling to herself, mocking Mulder, “Detective White could use our help.” She looked briefly out the window, then continued pacing the room, continuing to ruminate “Just here to solve this case… Detective White…”, puffing away on a cigarette that tasted absolutely terrible.

And while Scully was not enjoying her cigarette, Det. White had shown up in Mulder’s room and he realized she was there to put the moves on him. “You know, I don’t feel like going home. Do you mind if I slept here?” she said to him suddenly, kicking off her shoes, removing her jacket.

Mulder stuttered, not really knowing what to do, but no where close to wanting the woman in his room. “Actually, I’m sure I could, eh, get you another room,” Mulder told her, grabbing the phone. But Det. White had other ideas and shoved him onto the bed, straddling him so that he couldn’t get up.

“Maybe we can solve the mystery of the horny beast,” she told him, eyeing him like a shark looks at a swimmer.

“Maybe we should just watch some television. There’s a movie on TV, actually, it’s the same movie on every channel,” he told her, trying to get up.

“Weird… I like weird, I feel weird,” she said, bending to kiss Mulder just as Scully came in.

“Mul…” Scully started to say until she saw them and gasped, the look on her face scaring the hell out of Mulder.

Not knowing what to say, she blurted, “There’s been another death.”

Mulder pushed the woman off of him, grabbing his coat before running out of his room to catch up with Scully, Det. White following him.

Mulder caught up to her and not wanting to get into anything personal in front of Det. White, he simply asked her about the murder. “Let me drive,” Mulder said as Scully was opening the driver’s side door on their rental.

“I’m driving,” Scully said disgustedly. Scully had never had any real reason to mistrust Mulder where their relationship was concerned and never really had. Sure, once in a while normal female jealousy would rear its ugly head, but it had always been unfounded. But what the hell had she just walked in on, she wondered.

“Scully, it’s not what you think,” he said, despite the fact that Det. White was right there next to them.

“I didn’t see anything anyway,” she said and he could tell she was more hurt than pissed.

“Will you let me drive?” he said impatiently as she crawled into the driver’s seat.

“I’m driv… Why do you always have to drive? Because you’re the guy? Because you’re the big macho man?” she said angrily, childishly.

“No. I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals,” he snarled back, Scully giving him the look of death as she slammed the door closed. Mulder sent Det.

White to ride with Scully, him taking the detective’s car alone.

For several long minutes, neither Scully nor the detective said a word, riding along in tense silence. “Look, if I’d known you two were involved, I never would’ve gone to his room.”

“What?” Scully said, taken aback at the woman’s statement.

“He didn’t invite me in,” she tried to explain.

“You don’t owe me any explanation,” Scully told her, keeping her eyes on the road, but wondering what signs he had given off that led the woman to realize that she and Mulder had a relationship beyond their partnership.

“I’m not in the habit of forcing myself on someone. I don’t know what’s gotten into me,” Det. White said, realizing she still felt ‘weird’. “Really, Agent Scully, he didn’t do anything. He was trying to get me out of there. It was me; not him.” Scully finally looked at her and could tell that the woman was being honest, knowing in her heart that Mulder wasn’t to blame, but still not in the mood to be forgiving.

“Sure. Fine. Whatever…”

They had solved the case, two high school girls who just happened to share a birthday in the midst of a syzygy, finally being arrested. And Mulder realized it hadn’t just been he and Scully who were behaving unnaturally, but it had been the whole damned town. But they hadn’t talked, both of them just wanting to get somewhere beyond the city limits of Comity.

Mulder put his bags in the trunk of the car, Scully already having loaded hers. She waited for him, sitting on the driver’s side, needing to adjust the seat, Mulder barely able to squeeze in, the seat was so far forward. But he didn’t say anything, simply getting in on the passenger side.

“You ready?” she asked, not looking at him.

“You’re the driver,” he said, almost taunting her, watching her to see if she’d give him a glance. But she didn’t, instead shifting the car into reverse and squealing the tires as she pulled out of the parking spot.

As they reach the intersection that had started their illfated trip to Comity, the “Perfect Harmony City” sign almost seemed to be laughing at them. “Eh, Scully, if I’m not mistaken, we’re gonna be taking a left up here.” When Scully didn’t react, he tried again. “Eh, there’s an intersection up here. You’re gonna wanna…” And, again, she didn’t react, continuing to speed along on the dark country road. “Scully! You’re gonna wanna…!” Scully ran straight through the stop sign at the intersection, still not giving Mulder so much as a glance. “You just… ran a stop sign back there, Scully.”

“Shut up, Mulder.”

“Sure. Fine. Whatever.”



The next day

They had very little conversation on the flight back from Comity, Scully taking a pill so that she could sleep on the trip back. They had gotten back very early in the morning since they’d taken the red eye, the fastest way out of Comity County they could find. Mulder had taken the Bureau car they left at Dulles, Scully opting for a cab even though Mulder had offered to drive her home. They both knew they needed some time apart.

The next morning in the office hadn’t been too bad, considering, she thought. Mulder had been into yet another one of his slide shows, eager to move on to a new adventure.

“He’s an unemployed painter, divorced, no children. He came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan during Perestroika. He failed to mention on his INS application that he spent the better part of his twenties in an insane asylum,” Mulder began, Scully not paying his pictures much attention as she perused the file.

“He was arrested last week for the murders of at least seven men,” she commented.

“You thought all they produced were great hockey players,” he quipped, finally garnering a glance from her. “The crimes took place over a three year period. All the victims were male, aged seventeen to twenty-five.”

“Was there a signature or a defining MO?”

Mulder watched her as he moved to his desk chair to sit, well aware that she was still treating him with a cold shoulder. “Well, according to the M.E. there was no evidence of any sexual assault. Death was caused by massive blood loss due to facial mutilation. He also reported that the wound pattern on all the victims was identical. It’s all there on page three,” he said, pointing at the chart she continued to read.

“Both eyes punctured… signature gashes from the corners of the mouth to the ears,” she read, Mulder noticing the look of repulsion on her face when she found the pictures. He pushed the projector remote button, the wall of the office covered with the same graphic illustrations Scully found in the file.

“The level of violence and overkill here would suggest the work of a very angry individual,” she said, the look on her face reflecting her disgust with the graphic murders.

“Or individuals, if you count the spirit Mostow says possessed him during the murders.”

Scully looked at him, not sure where his theory was going.

“Well, possession is a common claim by criminals who have disociative disorders. It’s how they… distance themselves from their actions.”

“That was the operational opinion until last night…” he said, flipping to a graphic slide of another victim. “When a 19 year old male was found dead six miles from here with an identical set of facial wounds.”

“A copy cat?”

“Well, according to Assistant Director Skinner, who asked us to look into this case, the details of the mutilations were never released. Only members of the crime team would have that information. And Mostow’s been in custody for five days.” They looked at each other, both wondering what kind of case had just landed in their laps.

And everything had pretty much gone down hill from there.

They had disagreed vehemently on virtually everything about the case, Mulder thinking Mostow, their suspect, had indeed been possessed by some kind of evil spirit which had actually committed the murders, Scully, of course, thinking Mostow and an accomplice were just plain murderers.

“You have a nice soft bunk, sir. Why aren’t you using it?”

Scully asked Mostow when they went to see him in his cell, the man cowered on the floor.

“Cuz he’s been working,” Mulder said, taking in his sketch in the cell, Scully paying it no mind. “Haven’t you, John?

What is it? What is this thing?”

“It killed those men,” Mostow said plainly, seeming scared to death.

“Does it have a name? Does it have a name to go with that face?” Mulder asked, Scully wondering if Mulder was actually believing the man’s story or was just acting like it to get the man to talk.

“All men know its name.”

“What do you call it? Satan? The devil?” Mulder asked.

“Or maybe it’s just the name of your accomplice,” Scully interjected, hoping to add some reality to the situation.

“I had no accomplice.”

“You killed all those young men yourself?” Scully said, the skepticism obvious in her question.

“IT killed them. How many times do I have to tell you?”

“Well, ITS fingerprints weren’t on the murder weapon; yours were. And IT won’t be tried for seven murders under the death penalty,” Scully told him, losing her patience with the man’s feeble attempts to escape punishment.

Mulder continued to talk to the man, Scully becoming fairly irritated that he was giving Mostow that much time. Then the door to the cell opened, both of them squinting to see who was there. “Agent Mulder… Can I see you two outside?”

Both of them left the cell, Mulder reluctantly; Scully more than happy to have a reason to get Mulder out of there.

“So what is it, Mulder? Little green men, evil spirits, hounds of hell?” the older of the two men began.

Mulder smiled to himself, recognizing the man’s usual demeaning ridicule. “Scully, this is Bill Patterson. He runs the investigative support unit out of Quantico.”

“Yes, I know. Behavioral Science… You wrote the book. It’s an honor, Sir,” she said.

“Is that what you think, too? That the suspect is possessed by some dark spirit?” he said pointedly to Scully.

“No, not at all, Sir,” she answered.

“Funny company you keep then,” Patterson said to her, but looking at Mulder, Scully now realizing that there was something between Mulder and Patterson that she didn’t know about. And the younger agent with Patterson must have felt the tension, too; all he could look at was his shoes.

“That’s what always amazed me about you, Bill. You never fit your own profile. No one would ever guess how really meanspirited you are,” Mulder said, starting to walk away.

But Patterson kept after him, walking towards Mulder. “The arrest of John Mostow resulted in three years of hard work by my unit. Three years… You can imagine we were awful upset by this latest murder. And by the suspect floating this possession theory.”

Mulder stopped and turned to face him, Scully and the agent with Patterson not able to do much but stand there and watch the strained interchange.

“You think he’s got an accomplice then. Even though your own profile of Mostow states that he’s most certainly working alone,” Mulder said, trying to stand up to Patterson’s bullying.

“My profile led to his arrest. No, he acted alone. And that murder last night was done by a second killer, and he acted alone too,” Patterson said adamantly.

“What about these drawings of Mostow’s? The gargoyles?”

Mulder said. Scully was almost embarrassed by Mulder’s belief in Mostow’s story, wishing he wouldn’t have brought the subject up.

“You know why he draws those? Did you ask him?” Patterson asked condescendingly.

“I didn’t get a chance to…” Mulder smiled back.

“He says he draws them to keep this demon of his away.”

“Well, that would make sense. Historically, that’s what gargoyles have been used for, to ward off evil spirits. Like on the eaves of buildings…” Mulder started.

“Come on, Mulder. I don’t need a history lesson,” Patterson said nastily. “And I don’t need anyone indulging this guy’s story.”

Mulder had it by that point, now done with Patterson’s rude condemnation of him. The man was no longer his boss and he didn’t have to listen to any more from him. “I was asked to look into this case. If you’ve got a problem with that I suggest you take it up with AD Skinner,” Mulder told him firmly and walked away. Scully hesitated for a moment, glancing toward the man with Patterson and they exchanged a look, both of them wondering just what history Mulder and Patterson shared. She walked away without giving Patterson another look.

Mulder was so tense and irritated in the car, she chose not to ask him anything. He simply drove, the radio blaring his favorite oldies station as they made their way to Mostow’s apartment to check it out. But finally, she asked him.

“You’re not going to tell me when your love affair with Patterson ended?”

“Patterson never liked me.”

“I thought you were considered his fair-haired boy when you joined the Bureau.”

“Not by Patterson.”

“Why not?”

“Didn’t want to get my knees dirty. Couldn’t quite cast myself in the role of the dutiful student.”

“You mean you couldn’t worship him?” she asked, trying to keep up with Mulder as they walked down the damp, dingy hall to Mostow’s apartment.

“Something like that. Yeah,” Mulder said, tearing the police tape from the door.

“Well, from what I hear, there are a lot of men who did. A lot of men joined the FBI because they wanted to be him,” Scully said, looking up to him for a reaction.

“Yeah, Patterson had this thing about wanting to track a killer; If you wanted to know an artist, you have to look at his art,” he said, then turning to look at Scully. “What he really meant was if you want to catch a monster, you have to become one yourself.”

And that’s almost what happened to Mulder. He absorbed himself so deeply in the case, in Mostow’s demented drawings, that Scully was scared he was indeed becoming the monster Mostow had become. She couldn’t reach him, even when she did talk to him, he wasn’t himself. He was distant and obsessed and she was seriously worried about him.

They had found more victims amongst more tormented drawings and sculptures in Mostow’s studio and Mulder knew Patterson was going to be pissed that he had put a wrench in the older man’s case. Scully and Agent Nemhauser seemed to agree about the case, both of them trying to solve it without aggravating whatever was going on between Mulder and Patterson.

“What does Patterson have to say?” Scully asked Nemhauser.

They had found one victim still alive, barely clinging to life and they were at the hospital hoping the man could be questioned.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet. But I bet he’s going to come around to the idea that it’s someone working directly with Mostow.”

“Well, I’d have to agree with that theory,” Scully said.

“What’s Agent Mulder think?” he asked Scully, never taking his eyes off her.

“He thinks our finding Mostow’s secret gallery isn’t going to do him any favors with Patterson,” she answered without really answering the agent’s question.

“Well, between you and me, I think Patterson secretly went to Skinner and requested Mulder on this case,” he said, moving closer to her, his gazes and proximity starting to unsettle her a bit.

“He requested him?” she asked, truly surprised.

“I’ve worked with Patterson for three years on this. And this just about killed him, until we finally got a break and arrested Mostow. Then this first copy cat murder… It threw him for a loss.”

“Mulder’s under the impression that Patterson never thought too highly of him.”

“No. That’s just Patterson. Late at night, with a few beers in him, he starts telling me Mulder stories; how he’s some kind of crack genius.” Scully could barely believe what she was hearing. Then Patterson showed up, wondering how the victim was doing, but Scully feeling he was only interested in getting information out of the poor man, not in his prognosis.

“Where’s Mulder?” Patterson asked accusingly.

“He was going to see what he could find out about these drawings of Mostow’s,” Scully told him.

“What’s he looking for?” Patterson asked.

“I think the same thing you are, Sir. A second killer,” Scully told him, finding herself becoming defensive in reaction to Patterson’s sarcasm tinged questions.

They were asked to leave the victim’s room by the doctor and Patterson just kept going, leaving Scully and Nemhauser standing there. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” Nemhauser laughed. “No matter what I say…”

“It’s not your fault, Agent Nemhauser. The two of them need to settle their own business,” Scully said, tiring of both Mulder and Patterson’s issues.

“It’s Greg, please,” Nemhauser said. “And I couldn’t agree with you more,” he smiled. “Maybe if you and I can get this case solved, both of them will calm down.”

Scully laughed, “Now I think you may be delusional.”

Nemhauser laughed, giving her elbow a slight touch as they walked down the hall to the elevator. “Um, Agent Scully…”

“Dana, please,” she corrected, pushing the down button.

“Dana… would you have time to get some coffee? Maybe compare our case notes?” he asked hopefully, the elevator doors opening as a soft bell dinged.

“Um, I really need to check on Mulder. But how about in the morning… at my office at Hoover?” she suggested picking up on the fact that Nemhauser might be more interested in her than he was the facts of the case.

“Um, yeah, sure,” he smiled as the elevator doors closed.

But when she’d gone to Mulder’s apartment to check on him, she was stunned to see what she’d found— Mostow’s drawings plastered all over the walls of his living room. If she hadn’t already worried enough about him, now she was even more concerned, fearing he was living Patterson’s approach and was becoming the monster he was pursuing.

And later, Mulder had been attacked by someone, or something as he purported and he and Scully had argued loudly, Patterson taking it all in. She was worried sick, but still she found herself so frustrated by him that she had let herself get angry at him. And she didn’t want to be.

The case took another twisted turn and Scully had feared that Mulder had become so obsessed that he had crossed the line and done something that would change their lives forever. She had found his fingerprints on the murder weapon that had mysteriously disappeared from the evidence box in the Mostow murders. Even Skinner was worried about him.

Scully had gone home late that night, unsure where Mulder had gone, hoping against hope that he had gone to her place, but not really holding out much hope of that. She checked her answering machine when she got in, finding a message from Agent Nemhauser and immediately calling his cell phone, shocked when Mulder answered.



“Where are you?”

“I’m at Mostow’s studio,” he answered plainly.

“Are you with Nemhauser?”

“No. Should I be?”

“Well, that’s who I was calling. He left this number on my answering machine. He said he had to talk to me,” Scully explained. “Mulder? Do you know where he is?”

“I’m not sure.”

Scully could hear the difference in his voice, the hesitancy in his answers and was so worried about him that she could barely ask him what she knew she needed to, just to try to put her mind at ease. He denied taking the knife from the evidence box and, even though Scully couldn’t understand why he’d touched it, she believed him when he said he didn’t take it.

“Okay, Mulder. Listen to me carefully. I want you to stay exactly where you are. I’m going to be there in a few minutes and we’re going to work this thing out together.

Okay? Mulder?” she said, leaving her apartment and rushing toward Mostow’s as fast as she could go. And things had gone badly, Patterson showing up and attacking Mulder and Mulder finally shooting him when the man tried to strangle him. Skinner had been kind and had put Mulder on administrative leave only to investigate the shooting, but knowing he was giving Mulder time to get past the case that had almost gotten the best of him. And he knew Scully would see to it that Mulder would be ready to come back to work when it was time.



Later that evening

Both of them had given their versions of the story to the agents investigating the shooting of Patterson and had written up their notes on the Mostow case. Scully had been saddened to learn that Nemhauser had been Patterson’s last victim and, strangely, Mulder had been very upset that it had been Patterson who had been guilty of killing all of the men Mostow hadn’t. Mulder realized he had a lot of selfexamination to do.

“Mulder?” Scully called as she knocked, not wanting to use her key unless she had to. After they completed their report to OPR regarding the shooting, Scully had gone down to the X-Files office to talk to Mulder, but he wasn’t there. She hoped he had gone home and tried not to be pissed that he had left without telling her. “Are you here?” she asked, just as the door opened, Mulder standing there in his pajama bottoms, his hair still wet from his shower.

“Come on in,” he said, slipping a t-shirt over his head, his bare feet squeaking against the wood floor. “I was just getting a beer. Want one?”

“No thanks,” she answered softly, hanging her coat over one of his dining room chairs.

“You finish up with OPR?” he asked, moving into the living room to sit on his couch, noticing Scully had taken off her coat. He also noticed her jeans and sweater, knowing she must have already been home, too.

“Um, yeah. I looked for you…” asking him with her eyes why he didn’t tell her he was leaving. “You didn’t answer your cell.”

“I’m not even sure where my cell is. I guess another one has bitten the dust,” he smiled, referring to his penchant for either losing or destroying phones.

“Mine was working,” she said as she sat down next to him.

Mulder didn’t look at her, but knew what her comment meant.

He thought a moment before answering, knowing the truth probably wasn’t as bad as something he might make up to make her feel better. “Yeah, sorry I didn’t let you know I was headed home. I just needed some time. I, um, was getting ready to call you when you knocked.”

Scully was silent for several long moments, not really knowing what to say until she just let herself say what she was thinking. “I’ve been so worried about you,” she finally spoke, laying her head against his shoulder, taking hold of his hand.

“I’m sorry…” Mulder said, taking his hand from hers, rubbing his tired eyes. “This case…”

“Mulder, we haven’t had a personal conversation since you went cockroach hunting,” she said, laying her hand on his thigh, needing to hold onto something.

“You’re exaggerating.”


“Scully, I know you’re angry at me. For Comity…” he began, still unable to look at her. “For getting covered in shit.”

“Mulder, I haven’t even thought about that.”

“I know you were mad about Det. White. I told you nothing happened. The crazy woman jumped me,” he said, the ‘Sabre Dance’ tune echoing in his head.

“Hey,” she said, touching his chin with her fingers so that he would look at her. “I know that. I trust you. The only thing I’m worried about is you. And the fact that you’ve been existing in your own world lately. Without me.”

“I guess old habits are hard to break,” he said, taking hold of her hand and bringing it to his lips.

“That excuse is not going to fly, Mulder. We have been through this too many times. If you need time to yourself, you need to tell me that, not just shut me out without telling me what you are feeling,” she told him frankly.

“Yeah…” he sighed, disappointed in himself.

“Do you understand how much that behavior hurts my feelings?” she asked softly.

Mulder looked at her, realizing that although she did get pissed at him with some regularity, she wasn’t all that worried about that stuff. It was shutting her out that upset her the most… that hurt her. He could take her being angry, but it killed him when he hurt her.

“Come here,” he said softly to her, opening his arms and pulling her onto his lap. “I don’t mean to hurt you. I don’t… I’ll try to do better. I love you, you know.”

She gave him a soft kiss, holding his face between her hands, slowly caressing his cheeks with her thumbs as she looked at him. Then she smiled, “That’s a start.”

He wrapped her firmly in his arms, kissing her neck, his hands slowly stroking her back. “I need you more than you could ever know,” he told her, his voice barely above a whisper.

She kissed him where she could reach; his ear, the side of his neck. “I know… I know…”

Finally, he loosened his embrace and gave her a soft smile.

“Can you stay tonight?”

“Are your sheets clean?” she grinned.

“Umm…” he hesitated.

“Come on. We’ll make your bed. We both need about a week’s sleep,” she said, moving to stand from the couch, Mulder following, holding on to her hand.


One week later

Scully had worked most of the week, but Mulder had used his time off to clear his head, work out and bug her, mostly.

She had finally told him to quit calling her at work since he was driving her crazy. But they were doing well at repairing their relationship and both were pleased that things seemed to be going well.

“Thanks for going with me tonight,” Scully said as she drove, Mulder on the passenger side of her car. Her session with her counselor had been fairly manageable, nothing too heavy that could put her in a really down mood.

“You don’t have to thank me, I’ll go anytime you want me to,” he told her.

“Anytime you remember,” she teased, recalling a particularly bad session that Mulder had totally forgotten to go to.

“There is that,” he responded. “Where’re you going?” he asked when she took the turn from Karen Kosseff’s office to his apartment.

“I’m taking you home,” she said, confused. They had been staying in their own apartments for the last week, having discussed that they probably needed some time apart.

“Oh…” Mulder sighed.

Scully smiled, almost laughed, at his obvious pout. “Let’s see…. Is this where I’m supposed to ask if you’d rather stay at my place tonight?” she asked not even trying to hide her grin.

“Not if I have to beg,” he responded. “It’s just that I thought after our session tonight… and our, um, ‘session’

yesterday afternoon… well, I thought maybe we’d progressed beyond only sleeping in the same bed.”

“Well, yesterday afternoon was nice…,” she smiled. They had worked on one of the home exercises Scully’s therapist had them doing and engaged in a bit of snuggling and groping on the couch and took a long nap in each others’ arms.

“And tonight went well, don’t you think? Your therapist was pretty happy that we’d done our homework yesterday,” he said.

“Yeah, just in the nick of time.”

“Well, at least we did it,” Mulder said and Scully realized it was time to stop teasing him and turned the car to head to her apartment. Mulder grinned at her like a kid who had just been told he could buy anything he wanted in a toy store.

“Once in a while you do have a good idea or two,” she smiled to him and reached for his hand. “I’ve missed you. More than you realize.”

He looked down at her hand on his, at her understated manicure, at the precise crisp edge of her cuff peeking out from under the expensive fabric of her jacket sleeve.

“Scully, can I ask you something?” She gave him a hesitant nod, unsure of what he might ask. “Are you as horny as I am?”

Her laugh echoed in the car, her hand leaving his as she held onto the wheel as she continued to laugh. “I’m not sure that is possible. You are in a perpetual state.”

Mulder smiled, enjoying seeing her laugh. “However…” she said, wiggling her eyebrows at him, “I think at the moment, I could give you a run for your money.” They hadn’t been together since before he had discovered his dung eating companions and both of them were ready to put an end to their circumstance driven celibacy.

But despite their flirting in the car, there were practical things to be done when they got to her apartment. The phone was ringing when they opened the door, Scully taking time to talk to her mother since it had been a couple of weeks since she had talked to her. Mulder showered while Scully got her laundry ready for pick-up in the morning and while she showered, he flopped on the couch to channel surf.

“Find anything interesting?” she asked, standing over him, taking his figure in as he lay on the couch, the way his grey boxer briefs contoured the bulges of his crotch. The tail of his t-shirt rode up just far enough to see the line of hair that traveled from his navel to below the low rise of the waist band. God, he was sexy.

“Maybe I should ask you that,” he smiled, catching her checking him out, reaching down to scratch himself.

“My answer would be a definite ‘yes’,” she smiled, crawling on top of him, when he turned fully on his back.

“You naked under there?” Mulder smiled, his hand sliding up her thigh under her light blue robe.

“Why don’t you come into the bedroom and find out,” she teased, her voice low and suggestive.

He wrapped his legs around her, his arms almost crushing her to his chest as he kissed her, Scully feeling his growing hardness against her abdomen. “Nnnnnn…” she moaned against his lips, then pulling away from him. “C’mon. You get the lights; I’ll check the door,” she smiled, trying to make her way off of him.

But he wouldn’t let her, instead pulling her up over his shoulder as he stood, carrying her like a sack of potatoes.

“C’mon, woman,” he said in his best caveman voice. And she laughed again, only faintly trying to get upright.

“Mulder, let me down,” she laughed, Mulder carrying her as he turned out the lights and double-checked the lock.

“Dammit, let me down!” and Mulder could swear she was giggling, but he would never accuse her of that since he’d want his balls for later use.

When he got in the bedroom, he tossed her on the mattress, her robe flying open when she bounced. He immediately crawled up over her, grinning as he straddled her. He bent to kiss her, opening the sash of her robe, a hand immediately going to her breast. He kissed and nuzzled her neck, his lips vibrating against her ear when he told her, “I can’t wait to be inside you…”

Scully reached for the band of his underwear, the sight of his erection tenting the front making her sex flood, her heart speed up. “Get these off. Now.”

Soon, they were naked and Mulder opened her legs, entering her easily. “Mmmmmm…” he groaned, Scully barely hearing him over the sound of her own moan. He pushed in and out of her, Scully’s hips moving with him, her legs wrapped around his hips. She could feel her arousal climbing, her body responding to his movements. She knew she was getting close, needing just a little bit more.

“A little harder, Mulder… Harder,” she sighed, her eyes closing when she felt her abdominal muscles starting to tighten. “Oh, yes… yes… yessssssss…” Mulder felt her legs squeeze his hips, her inner tissue grab him like a velvet fist. She shook against him, holding her breath until she was on the downside, then gasping for air. But he didn’t let her ride it out, thrusting against her again, pushing as deep as he could, his hips rubbing against just the right spot. “Ohhhhhhh….” she moaned as she came again, even harder than the orgasm she’d just experienced.

“Scully, Scully,” he managed to say, the beautiful sight of her orgasms more than he could take. “Oh, fuckkkkkkkk,” he groaned when he let go, his hips jerking with each release, filling her with his warm liquid, pushing it back out with each thrust in.

“Oh, god,” he heard her say and felt her slick inner flesh grab him again, massaging the last bit of liquid out of him.

He managed to continue to rub against her, his hips kneading the flesh of her mons, her breasts moving against the sensitive skin of his chest.

“I love you,” he whispered against her ear.

“And a fine job you do of it, too,” she chuckled, kissing his neck. “Oh, god, Mulder… that was… wonnnnnnderful.”

He propped himself on his elbows, his hips still slowly massaging her. “Wonderful, huh?” he smiled to her, her eyes barely able to focus on his.

“Actually, that’s terribly inadequate language, but…” she smiled back, tipping her head up to kiss him. “I have missed being with you so much.”

“Three. Not bad,” he kidded her as he kissed her.

“Three?” she questioned.

“I think you missed the last one. You were still whimpering from the second one,” he laughed, moving off of her to her side.

“Three, huh…” She snuggled against him, wrapping her leg over his, her hand subconsciously smoothing over his abdomen. “What you do to me…” she sighed and Mulder could tell by the tone of her voice that she was only minutes away from a sated sleep. He softly stroked his fingers along her spine, his other hand lying on her thigh where it rested against his. “Cold…” she mumbled. Mulder pulled the sheet and spread up over them and they both slipped into a much needed sleep.


“Oh, jesus, Mulder,” Scully sighed, collapsing over him like a weathered rag. He rubbed his hands up and down her back, his palms finally coming to rest atop her bare butt.

“I love it when you deify me,” he teased. “It makes me feel so powerful.” They had just had great morning sex, both of them making up for lost time. He had woken first, starting things, but she had quickly climbed on top and did most of the work.

“I’m really happy right now,” she smiled against his chest, still moist from the perspiration of good sex. “I’ve been carrying around this weight and it feels like it’s been lifted.”


“Yeah, this… distance between us. I’ve hated every minute of it, Mulder. It was stupid. And childish,” she told him.

She moved up to look at him, giving him a soft kiss. “And I apologize.”

“It was a two way street, you know,” he told her.

She smiled at him, “Yes, it was. So apologize for your lane and we can put it behind us.”

“I apologize.”

“Accepted.” She kissed him again, her body involuntarily moving against him.

“God, you are so beautiful,” he said, wondering what the hell he’d ever done to deserve having Scully in his life.

He took a breast in his hand, squirming down beneath her enough to take her nipple in his mouth.

“Don’t start something else,” she told him, even though she wished they could just stay in bed the rest of the day.


“I have lunch scheduled with my mother.”

“Cancel,” he told her absently, kissing up her chest to her neck.

She could feel her body responding to him, but tried to temper her reactions. “I can’t.”


“I won’t”

“But I can’t live without you,” he teased dramatically.

Scully moved up just enough for him to see her look, giving him the eyebrow before moving off of him and heading for the bathroom. “I guess I need to work on my morning hyperbole.”




Two days later

They took separate cars into work, Mulder back at work for the first time since the Patterson ordeal. Scully had an early meeting on the sixth floor and Mulder was anxious to see what had come across his desk in the X-Files. Scully’s meeting had been incredibly boring, her mind wandering most of the time to her weekend with Mulder. She was glad they were back on track.

Scully was absorbed in the report from her meeting, trying to catch up on what she missed while daydreaming much of what was said earlier away. “Agent Scully? Can I see you for a few minutes?” Skinner said, poking his head out his office door as she passed by. She was caught off guard, wondering what he could possibly want. “Kimberly, would you excuse us please?” he asked his secretary, his request for privacy peaking Scully’s curiosity even further.

After Kimberly had exited, Skinner turned to face Scully and she could tell by the look on his face that his reason for talking to her wasn’t something routine. “A memo came across my desk last night. I debated whether or not to call you at home, but I decided to…”

“And it concerns me?”

“Yes. And your sister,” he said, almost meekly. Scully could barely believe that he would be talking to her about something personal. “It’s been 5 months and there have been no leads or new evidence on her murder investigation by the DC police team or the Bureau. I’ve been told the case is to remain inactive until further notice.” To say that Scully was shocked, stunned, incredulous… any of them, would be an understatement. Maybe add all of the words together.

“I see,” she ineptly uttered when she was finally able to speak.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be read into this,” Skinner tried to rationalize, but Scully recognized his motives and couldn’t prevent herself from rolling her eyes.

“I think it’s a case of manpower and workload. I want you to know that I am going to appeal this decision and I am gonna go back over all the evidence again myself and make sure that nothing has been overlooked.”

Initially, she couldn’t even address him, but her tight curt expression told him her feelings. She started to exit, but found herself telling him what she thought before she walked out. “You know, it’s strange. Men can blow up buildings, and they can be nowhere near the crime scene, but we can piece together the evidence and convict them beyond a doubt,” she told him, unable to prevent the tears forming in her eyes, but not letting them drop. Her voice wavered, but she went on, “Our labs here can recreate out of the most microscopic detail the motivation and circumstance to almost any murder, right down to a killer’s attitude towards his mother and that he was a bed wetter. But in the case of a woman, my sister,” Scully continued, angry now,” who was gunned down in cold blood in a well-lit apartment building by a shooter who left the weapon at the crime scene, we can’t even put together enough to keep anybody interested.”

“I don’t think this has anything to do with interest,” Skinner, again, tried to rationalize, but knowing Scully was right.

“If I may say so sir, it has everything to do with interest.

Just not yours, and not mine.”


“Sorry I’m late,” she said as she entered the office, the disgust over the situation with her sister’s case evident in her voice.

“Anything up?” he asked, noticing something wasn’t right with her.

“No. It’s nothing,” she lied, not wanting to get into it yet. She tossed the file she was reading on his desk and slung her coat in the chair, her body language confirming that something had happened that she wasn’t telling him.

“What did you want to talk to me about?”

Mulder let it go, for now, telling her about what he’d found about a French salvage ship named the Piper Maru.

Initially, she barely heard what he was saying, her mind, obviously somewhere else. But he just kept on, answering every one of her skeptical questions in detail.


“Look Scully, I don’t know what it is but something is still down there and now the French are looking for it too.”

“So what?” she asked, feeling a headache creeping up on her.

“So why all the attention paid to this site? What information are they acting on?” he kept on.

“Why don’t you just ask them?” she asked, tiring of his insistence that he had discovered something that needed to be investigated.

“I would but the entire crew is being treated for radiation burns.”

And that statement got her. “From exposure to what?”

Mulder went into another detailed disseration about even more that he had found out about the case. Finally, she smiled… and laughed, shaking her head.


“I’m just constantly amazed by you… You’re working down here in the basement, sifting through files and transmissions that any other agent would just throw away in the garbage,” she said, a respectful smile still on her face.

“Well, that’s why I’m in the basement, Scully,” he smiled back, sitting down, looking up at her as she stood next to him. She couldn’t help but smile back at his selfdeprecating view of himself.

“You’re in the basement because they’re afraid of you, of your relentlessness, and because they know that they could drop you in the middle of the desert, and tell you the truth is out there, and you’d ask them for a shovel.”

Suddenly serious, Mulder was a bit taken aback by her assessment. “Is that what you think of me?”

Scully could tell that he may have taken what she said in the wrong way; she’d meant it as a compliment. In the matter of a few seconds, she admired his dedication and perseverance all over again and wished the rest of the FBI would be as committed to their work as Mulder was. “Well, maybe not a shovel…” she started seriously, but then giving him a loving smile. “Maybe a backhoe.”

Mulder was relieved that she was kidding with him, realizing what her assessment of him really meant. And her mood seemed to be considerably better than it was since she first arrived in his office. “Well that’s good because there’s some garbage in San Diego I want you to help me dig through,” he smiled to her, handing her an airline ticket.

She started to reach for her coat to follow Mulder, but first opened the ticket envelope, checking the flight time.

“Mulder, we have to be on the plane in less than three hours,” she said, knowing she didn’t have anything packed, wondering if he did.

“Then we’d better hurry,” he smiled to her and they headed out the door. “And on the way, you can tell me what had you so upset earlier.”

Mulder took his car and headed to his apartment to get his stuff while Scully swung by her laundry service first to pick up her things and Mulder would pick her up at her place as soon as he could. But while she was packing, the picture of her and Melissa her mother had taken of them not long before she had been killed that sat quietly on her dresser caught her eye. And then the tears came. All of her feelings that she had somehow been responsible for her sister’s death, that she was letting her down by not being able to find out who did it, rushed into her mind as she remembered Skinner’s words. She felt that nobody cared.

Her sister was gone and everything else seemed to take priority.

Scully’s door hadn’t been locked and she hadn’t heard Mulder come in until he stood at the entrance to her bedroom.

“Scully?” he questioned, seeing that she was crying.

“Um, I, uh, I’m almost ready,” she stuttered, standing from her seated position on the edge of the bed, scrambling to put her sister’s picture back and grab a few more things from her dresser drawer.

“Scully…” Mulder said, moving over to her. She turned, laying her head against his chest as her arms gently wrapped around him. “Is this about earlier?”

She sighed, comforted by his arms and the gentle tone of his voice. She moved back from him, sitting down on the edge of her bed. “Skinner told me Melissa’s case is to be made inactive.”

“That bastard,” Mulder started, immediately thinking it was their supervisor who had made the decision.

“He didn’t do it, Mulder. Someone higher up has decided my sister isn’t important enough to warrant FBI attention anymore,” she clarified.

Mulder sat down next to her and slipped his arm around her waist. “Well, fuck the FBI, Scully. We’ll cancel the flights to San Diego and give our full attention to it,” he told her and meant it.

She smiled up at him, leaning in to give him a soft kiss, touched by his offer to give up an X-File that obviously meant a lot to him. “We’ll go to San Diego, Mulder. But we will solve Missy’s murder, even if no one pays attention except the two of us.”

“You sure?” he asked, wanting to make sure she wouldn’t resent it later if they continued with the X-File.

“Grab the suitcase in the living room. I’m almost done here,” she smiled to him, reaching for her carry on.

Their case had taken them not only to San Diego, but had also led Mulder to San Francisco and, eventually, China.



“Mulder, it’s me, where are you?

“San Francisco airport, where are you?” he asked, hurrying through the terminal corridor.

“Miramar Airbase. I think I’ve just found out what those men were exposed to, what the Piper Maru was out there looking for,” she told him, not mentioning the nostalgic memories being on the base brought back to her.


“That P-51 Mustang was part of an escort for a B-20 carrying an atomic bomb, just like the one we dropped on Hiroshima.

Only this one never reached its target,” she told him, sure she’d found the basis for the French’s interest.

“Says who?” he asked, skeptical of her simple reason for the Piper Maru’s search.

“Says one of the men originally sent to find it, on a submarine called the Zeus Faber,” she told him plainly, knowing he was doubting her.

“That was the name we saw written on that dive chart, right?” he asked, now convinced she may be onto something, but her rationalization didn’t explain everything.

“It all makes sense Mulder. Why would they build a nuclear weapon when they can salvage one?” she pointed out.

“If they knew about it, why wait fifty years to try to recover it? And why was the only person not exposed, the diver, sent down to find it?”

“I don’t know,” Scully sighed, realizing Mulder’s points were valid.

“Why don’t you try to find out?” he asked.

“What about you?”

“I gotta go to Hong Kong,” he told her, a bit sheepishly.

He hadn’t really touched base with her about everything he had been investigating and figured she’d be a bit upset.

And she didn’t disappoint. “Hong Kong?!”

“Yeah, look, uh… I’m gonna miss my flight, so uh…

I gotta call you back, ok?”

“Shit…” she sighed, wondering what the hell she and Mulder had gotten themselves into. She had investigated all she could, discovering that the military had indeed covered up some kind of nuclear accident and it was most likely still at the bottom of the ocean.



The next day

Scully had gone back to Washington, not really sure how much more she could find out in San Diego, unsure of exactly where Mulder was. He had called her back earlier that morning, telling her all that he had found in San Francisco and why he was in Hong Kong. He left out the part about Krycek. “Be careful. Your FBI credentials won’t do you much good over there,” she told him. But she had no idea that maybe things were actually more dangerous right in their own back yard.

“Excuse me, where can I find Walter Skinner? He was brought in with a gunshot wound.” She had barely returned to her apartment when she had received a phone call from Skinner’s secretary that he had been shot. She dropped her bags and went immediately to the hospital. She located the other agents on the case and questioned them about Skinner’s status, not too pleased with their lack of progress on finding the person who did it.

Skinner had been shot, on the surface seeming like a run of the mill shooting by a hothead in a restaurant. But Skinner knew better after having been threatened the previous day about dropping the investigation into Scully’s sister’s murder. Scully followed his gurney when saw him being taken to his room after surgery. She took hold of his hand to let him know someone was there with him. She really didn’t know enough about him to know if he had any family, but she didn’t see anyone around who seemed to be acting in that roll. Then she felt him squeeze her hand and he turned his head toward her. She leaned down toward him, his voice barely a whisper. “I’ve seen him before,” he started, obviously in pain. “The man who shot me…” And Scully knew that his shooting wasn’t just a matter of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a deliberate act, not just a random shooting.

But there was something she didn’t know— that Mulder picked up Krycek in Hong Kong and that after they got back to Washington, Mulder had been found unconscious in a wrecked car and Krycek had disappeared. Scully had called Mulder’s cell and his apartment phone but he hadn’t been in all night.

She’d gone into work and just as she was about to check hospital listings, Agent Pendrell had called wanting to show her his findings on Skinner’s shooter. “We found saliva on Skinner’s shirt that wasn’t his. This is an

analysis of the secretors and other hemofactors,” he told her, handing her a DNA transparency. Unless they had someone to match it to, it wouldn’t tell them much and it would take a long time to run it against their available samples in the FBI data base. But suddenly, Scully had a hunch. “Can I borrow this for a little while?” she asked in regards to the DNA information.

Scully took the clear plastic sheet with the little dots which meant virtually nothing unless they could find another sheet with the same little dots. She went to the evidence library and checked out the file on her sister’s murder, already put away in the cold case section. Her stomach flipped when she compared the data from Skinner’s shooter and her sister’s killer— they matched. “Jesus Christ…”

she sighed to herself, sitting down to absorb what she’d just found out. Skinner hadn’t dropped the investigation into her sister’s murder and someone hadn’t liked it that he didn’t. She practically jumped out of her skin when her cell phone chirped.

“Scully,” she answered.

“Agent Scully, this is Georgetown Memorial Hospital…”

Scully had grabbed both DNA sheets and made it to Georgetown Memorial in record time. She stopped at the nurse’s station to get Mulder’s room number and found him sleeping when she got there. She looked over his chart and felt her whole body relax when it told her that he hadn’t been seriously hurt. She sat down next to his bed and just watched him as he slept. She loved him beyond words, thankful that he had managed to make it through yet another near tragedy.

Finally he woke, smiling when he saw her sitting next to him, her return smile just what he needed. “I guess I’m not dead,” he greeted her.

Scully just shook her head, still taking him in, leaning forward to speak to him. “What happened?” she asked quietly.

Mulder paused, trying to decide exactly what had happened to him, not remembering much. “Maybe you can tell me.”

“The State police found you unconscious. You were strapped in the passenger’s seat of a rental car that had been driven into a ditch,” she told him matter of factly. He explained how he and Krycek were run off the road, probably by someone wanting the digital tape that Krycek was selling information off of.

Scully was barely holding herself together, every event of the last several days taking their toll. He noticed that she seemed to be fighting back tears. “Well it may not be the best time to tell you but, you’re not the only one in the hospital. Skinner’s been shot.”

After Mulder recovered from his shock, she told him that Skinner would be fine. “Who shot him?”

“I’m not sure,” she said giving him a meaningful look. “But I have an idea.” She opened the folder she was carrying and handed the plastic transparencies to him.

“What are those?”

“PCR results,” she told him, pointing to one of them. “This one belongs to the man who shot Skinner.” Mulder put the two sheets together, lining up the matching dots.

“Yeah and who’s this one belong to?” he asked innocently.

Scully hesitated, almost not believing the information she was about to share. “The man who shot Melissa…” Mulder’s mouth dropped open, now knowing what Scully had already figured out. Someone in the FBI saw to it that the investigation into Scully’s sister’s shooting was being shut down not due to lack of evidence, but because someone didn’t want the killer caught.

“Oh, Scully…” he sighed, reaching for her hand.

She let go of his grasp as she stood, her hands on her hips.

“What is this convoluted crap, Mulder? Who in the hell is wanting Missy’s case to go away enough to try to murder someone else? And an FBI Assistant Director, no less?”

“I don’t know, Scully. But we’ll find out,” he told her, Scully pacing next to his bed. “C’mere.” She sat next to him on the bed, glancing toward the door before taking his hand in hers. “Help me get out of here and we’ll find out who did this. I promise.”

“You need to rest some, Mulder. And they need to observe you for a while because of your head injury. I’ll go check on Skinner and come back by. Maybe you’ll be ready to leave by then,” she told him, squeezing his hand, before she started to stand. But he held onto her, not letting her go.

“Promise me that’s all you’re going to do,” he said, worried that she was just upset enough to do something she might regret.

“I won’t do anything stupid. We don’t need to call any more attention to ourselves.”

When she had gone to check on Skinner, he had told her that the man who shot him was also the one with Krycek when they had attacked him and taken the digital tape from him.

Scully realized then that not only was Krycek involved in the case she and Mulder had been investigating in California, but was also involved in killing her sister.

Her inner turmoil must have been more outwardly apparent than she wanted it to be because Skinner warned her against acting on her emotions as well. That wasn’t something she generally had a problem with and she realized she needed to regroup before she did something irrational.

Scully sprung Mulder from the hospital and took him to her apartment. The next day, she had gone into work and Mulder had gone to elicit the Gunmen’s help, both of them gathering helpful information. The FBI had identified the man who matched the DNA, the picture of the man who most likely killed her sister sending chills down her spine. She was informed, however, that he was an illegal alien and would probably be next to impossible to find.

Mulder got information that Skinner may be in danger and Scully went to the hospital to check on him, finding him gone from his room when she arrived. The staff told her he had just left to be transferred and she was relieved when she was able to catch up to the ambulance. “I just wanted to make sure you got where you were going safely,” she told Skinner, taking a seat in the back of the ambulance next to him. They rode only to the next traffic light before she felt the ambulance shake and knew that someone was either on the top or the back bumper. She drew her gun before she opened the door, but then it opened before she had a chance, a man standing there holding a gun. He fired at her before running away into the traffic. She took chase and luckily, he was hit by a car which allowed her to gain ground on him, finally catching up to the man when he fell.

“Federal agent. Stop right there!” she yelled at him, pointing her gun at him as he lay on the pavement helplessly. “Are you Luis Cardinal?! Are you Luis Cardinal?!!”

“Please,” the man begged.

“Are you the man who shot my sister?!” she screamed at him, moving around him to keep him off guard.

“Don’t kill me, please,” the man begged cowardly.

“You shot my sister!” she yelled, wanting to shoot him so badly her hands were shaking.

“Please, I can tell you.”

“Tell me!”

“I can tell you.”

“Tell me!!” she demanded, screaming at him.

“I can tell you what you want; you want Krycek, I can tell you where he is. Please, please don’t shoot me,” he begged, watching her every move, realizing that she was angry enough to kill him. And she was. She knew she could kill him and tell a story that would make it look like self-defense. He had killed her sister. Her thoughts were broken by the sound of wailing sirens, several black and white units pulling up at the same time.

Scully let the local DC officers take him away, still in a state of stunned silence that she had actually caught the man who had taken Missy’s life. She quietly gathered herself, on the verge of tears, but not wanting the other officers or Cardinal to see her break down. But what bothered her the most, was that she had seriously considered shooting the man in cold blood.

She went to the local PD to follow up on Cardinal’s arrest, getting information from him on Krycek’s location and making sure he was transferred into federal custody. She checked to see that Skinner had been transferred safely and then called Mulder, needing to talk to him as badly as she ever had.

“Yeah, Mulder,” he answered the chirp of his cell phone.

“Mulder it’s me, where are you?”

“At the airport in New York.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for my rental car agreement.”

“What are you doing in New York?”

“I’ll tell you when I see you.”

“Mulder, your instincts were right about Skinner. We’ve just arrested a man for what looks like attempted murder,” she told him, the beginnings of a headache stirring just behind her forehead.


“It’s him Mulder, the man who shot my sister,” she told him, trying not to cry.

“Oh, Scully…” he said sympathetically, knowing she was going through something terrible and he wasn’t there to be with her.

“Mulder listen to me. He said he knows where Krycek is. I don’t know if this makes any sense to you, but he says he’s headed towards an abandoned missile site somewhere in North Dakota,” she told him, hoping he’d know something about it.

And he did, knowing there had been rumors that those old missile sites weren’t as abandoned as the government wanted people to think. “I want you to meet me at the DC airport in an hour. I want you to get two tickets on the first flight for North Dakota,” he told her calmly.

“What’s in North Dakota?”

“The salvaged UFO,” he told her.

“Goddamnit, Mulder. I don’t give one fuck about some UFO.

I want to find Krycek and make him pay for what he did to me, to my sister!” she told him, angry and frustrated.

“If you’d calm down…” he told her, rarely hearing her so angry and upset. “I think that may be where Krycek is. I think the people who are behind this whole mess may be working out of that area. At least since they pulled the UFO off the floor of the Pacific Ocean. You know, the one you think was a P-51?”

“Mulder, so help me, if you don’t really believe that and are using this as an excuse to look for some goddamned UFO, I will… I don’t know what I’ll do, but you won’t like it,” she told him, her breath billowing in cold clouds in front of her.

Mulder had to smile to himself knowing, too, she’d come up with something. “I give you my word, Scully.”

And Mulder had been right. They knew Krycek had been taken to the missile silos by the smoking man along with the downed craft, whatever it was, and taking the radiation along with it. Being taken away by the Cigarette Smoking Man’s henchmen was a tough pill for them to swallow, but at least they knew they had discovered something they weren’t supposed to find. And, at least, they had one of the men who had killed Missy.

When they returned to DC and filed their report, Scully had gone home from work early, Mulder planning finishing up on everything. That is until he got a visit in his office from Skinner and realized he needed to tell Scully the news he’d just learned. He went to her apartment, but only found a note. “I’ll be back in time for dinner. I love you, S”

Mulder wasn’t sure where she’d gone, but he had an idea and decided to follow her there, not wanting to wait until she returned home to see her. Scully had only been at Melissa’s grave a few minutes when she saw a car arrive, recognizing it as Mulder’s lease. She wasn’t all that surprised to see him, considering his uncanny sense of knowing when she needed him. He walked up to where she was standing next to Melissa’s headstone, rubbing his hand across her shoulders before bending to lay some flowers next to the ones Scully had laid down. They stood there in silence for several moments, Mulder waiting for her to speak first.

“I was just thinking about something that a man said to me,” she began, thinking before continuing. “That the… that the dead speak to us from beyond the grave, that that’s what conscience is.”

Mulder watched her, her pain obvious. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing. “That’s interesting, I never thought of it that way.”

“You know I thought… when we found him, this man that killed Melissa, that… that when we brought him to justice, I would feel some kind of closure,” she admitted, her fatigue and grief pouring out of her. “But the truth is no court… no punishment… is ever enough.”

He watched her fight tears, wanting just to take her home, but needing to tell her what he knew she needed to know. “I came here to tell you something, Scully,” he said, taking her by the elbow and leading her toward his car. She looked at him and could tell by the tone of his voice that it was something serious. “There may be some justice, just not the kind you’re looking for.”

“What are you talking about?”

“They found this man, Luis Cardinal, dead in his cell,” he told her, stopping to give her his direct attention.

“How?” she asked, swallowing her tears.

“They made it look like a suicide. The men he worked for couldn’t take the chance that he’d point his finger at them.”

“And what about Krycek?”

“Oh he was there. I know that.”

She shook her head, still in disbelief that she would not be able to witness Luis Cardinal brought to justice. “You think they got to him too?”

“I don’t know, but if they haven’t they will. I doubt it’ll weigh on their consciences though,” he said disgustedly.

“I think the dead are speaking to us Mulder, demanding justice,” she said. His heart was breaking as he watched her, knowing her grief was about to overwhelm her. “Maybe that man was right. Maybe we bury the dead alive.” He looked at her a few moments before gathering her against his wool coat, wrapping his arms around her.

“Let’s go home…”



Later that evening

“I forgot all about your dog,” he told her after she’d hung up from her mother, hearing her ask about the mutt.

“I’m sure you did,” she smiled. “Mom’s had him for a couple of weeks… since we’ve been out of town so much lately.”

He busied himself cleaning up after their pizza and grabbed a beer before heading into the living room.

“Want one?” he asked her.

“Better not,” she said, feeling depressed enough.

They settled on the couch, Mulder sitting up with his feet on the coffee table, Scully lying down on her side with her head on his lap. Mulder found ‘Three Days of the Condor’

showing on TBS and tossed the remote to the coffee table.

His fingers subconsciously made small patterns on her arm as he watched the movie, one of his favorites.

“Mulder, can we watch something with a little less of a conspiratorial theme?” she said tiredly.

“Sure, you choose,” he said, reaching for the remote and handing it to her. She took the remote and flipped channels until she landed on the Oxygen channel and some banal selfhelp discussion program.

Mulder let it sit for a few minutes until he could stand it no longer. “You’re kidding, right?” He heard her laugh, realizing she had been teasing him.

“I wondered how long it would take you to say something,” she said, turning to her back to look up at him with a mischievous smile.

“I was trying to be nice,” he said, his hand resting on her stomach.

“Come here,” she said, reaching up to guide his lips to hers. “Thank you for finding me this afternoon. I really didn’t want to be alone.”

“If you would’ve called me, I would’ve gone with you and you wouldn’t have had to be alone.”

“I know… I guess I thought I wanted some time to myself… until you found me.” She sat up, snuggling into his side, wrapping her hand around his thigh. “I’m still getting used to letting myself need you.”

Mulder smiled, bending to give her a soft kiss. “How about we watch TV in bed?”

“You know I hate to have the TV on in the bedroom.”

“Well, you’re about to fall asleep right here, so what’s the difference? I can watch it out here with you asleep or I can watch it in the bedroom with you asleep and we can be comfy AND naked,” he grinned at her.

Scully chuckled, realizing he was right. “Come on,” she said, standing, holding her hand out for him.

“Wow, it isn’t often I win a disagreement using rationalization and logic with you,” he smiled as he stood.

“Very lame logic, I might add… And if I wasn’t so tired, you wouldn’t have stood a chance,” she replied drolly. But she was smiling.



One week later

Things had been fairly routine around the office, Scully suspecting Mulder was deliberately staying away from X-Files just so they didn’t have to be gone on any long trips for a few days. He and Scully had been to her counselor again and the session had been rough on her, her emotions still on edge since the death of her sister’s killer. She also figured Mulder agreed to take their next case only because it was close to home and they could sleep in the same bed each night. But a man named Robert Patrick Modell had almost gotten the best of Mulder.

Scully had been waiting in the basement office for Mulder for almost an hour and was beginning to worry about him.

She was afraid he was going to do something irrational; Modell was getting to him. She didn’t want to call around Hoover like a nagging mother trying to find him, but she had finally gone to Skinner’s office to see if he was there.

Luckily, Mulder had asked Kim to reserve some time for him at the firing range, so Scully headed after him.

When she entered the sound proof room, she stood at the door a few moments, watching Mulder empty his clip almost dead center into a small ‘Q’ forty feet away. She was almost stepping on him before he noticed her, removing his ear protectors when she walked up to him. She could tell by the way he stood, by the way he was chewing the hell out of his gum, that he was still keyed up from the interchange he had with Modell at his hearing. And he was still pissed as hell that Modell had walked.

“I dug up a few more things on our Robert Patrick Modell,” she told him, opening the file she’d brought with her.

“Let me guess. He was an average student, he attended an average community college, he did an average stint in the military.”

“Which branch of service?” she toyed with him.

“Not his first choice. He wanted to be a Navy Seal and then he wanted to be an Army Special Forces Green Beret. Promptly washed out of both, though not for lack of intelligence. He ended up being a supply clerk at Fort Bragg. Served two years, general discharge,” he told her, his profiling skills impressing Scully.

But she could tell that she had something that he hadn’t figured out. “Did you know that he applied to the F.B.I.?

He didn’t even come close to passing the psyche screening.”

“You got a copy of that?” Mulder said, his eyebrows arching in surprise.

She shared the psyche review with him, telling him what it essentially said and the screener’s assessment as well.

“The screener caught him in a dozen self-aggrandizing lies… saying that he was a master of martial arts, that he had been trained by Gurkhas in Nepal and Ninjas in Japan.”

“Well, Ninjas are said to have the ability to cloud the minds of their opponents,” Mulder said, trying to figure out just how Modell was mentally controlling people.

“Are we talking kung-fu movies, Mulder?” she said almost mockingly, tiring of Mulder’s efforts to find an excuse for Modell getting the best of them.

“He certainly clouded the mind of that judge, Scully.”

“Even if Modell could, he didn’t need to. We barely had a case against him.”

“Oh, we had enough to get past a simple preliminary hearing,” he said, tiring of her not seeing what he thought was obvious. “Modell psyched the guy out. He put the whammy on him.”

“Please explain to me the scientific nature of the ‘whammy’,” she countered, barely believing he’d just said what he did.

Mulder seemed to be scrambling to counter her arguments, realizing he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. “I don’t know, maybe, maybe it’s some mental aspect of some eastern martial art. You know, the temporary suppression of the brain’s chemistry, produced by a specific timbre or cadence in Modell’s voice. His voice seems to be the key.”

Scully calmed her sarcasm a bit, knowing that, ultimately, Mulder was just trying to figure out a way to stop Modell’s ability to get people to kill themselves, seemingly at will.

“Mulder, Modell’s last known employment was as a convenience store clerk. He has never been trained by Ninjas. He has never even been out of the U.S. He is just a little man who wishes that he were someone big… and, and, we’re feeding that wish. That, that failed psyche screening… if, if Modell could actually control people’s minds, right now, he’d be an F.B.I. agent, right? He’d be a Green Beret, uh, a Navy Seal.”

“Maybe the ability came to him more recently, like in the last two years,” Mulder said, still not letting go. Scully couldn’t believe he was still grasping for straws. “Well, o, o, okay. What’s your big theory? How do you explain what Agent Collins did? I mean, this was a sane man, a family man with no prior history of psychological problems, sets himself on fire. You witnessed that. How does that happen?”

“What do you need me to say, Mulder? That I believe that Modell is guilty of murder? I do,” she told him, wanting him to understand that she didn’t believe Mulder was totally wrong about him. She just didn’t agree with his reasons.

“I’m just looking for an explanation a little more mundane than ‘the whammy’.”

“Well, he’s laughing at us, Scully,” he said, still chewing the hell out of his gum.

“Is that what this is about? A battle of wits?” she asked, now thinking that Mulder was just being childish, macho, she wasn’t sure. “When you get into a battle of wits with a sociopathic convenience store clerk, what does that say about you?”

“Is that what you think this is? A simple pissing contest between me and our suspect?” he asked, almost stunned that that was what she seemed to be insinuating.

Scully stepped closer to him, glancing back at the door before taking hold of his hand. “No, Mulder. You want to stop a killer the same as I do,” she told him sincerely.

“But you are scaring me.”

“Scaring you?” he asked in disbelief.

“I’m afraid you are losing your objectivity and I’m afraid you are going to get hurt because of it,” she admitted to him.

Mulder realized now why she was trying so hard to get him to listen to her point and to downplay his theories. She was afraid he would challenge Modell and come up on the short end. “Scully…” he began, squeezing her hand. “I’m not going to do anything stupid.”

“I’m sure Agent Collins didn’t think he would’ve done anything so stupid as to set himself on fire either,” she told him, putting her ear protectors back on and loading a target of her own, her way of telling him she had made her point. He gave her one last look before he left the room.




They had tracked Modell to the hospital where he was being examined for a brain tumor, something that definitely could’ve caused him to have psychic ability, Mulder discovered. A SWAT team, more FBI agents than at J. Edgar’s funeral and more local PD than anyone knew Fairfax had had the hospital surrounded, trying to decide how best to trap Modell. He’d killed a couple of more people, including Frank Burst who had brought the case to them in the first place, so everyone was ready to put a stop to Modell’s game.

“How do you want to play this?” the SWAT Lieutenant asked Mulder and Scully, knowing they were in charge. They were stationed in a surveillance van, the hospital surrounded by more police personnel than a terrorist training camp warranted.

“I think I should go in alone,” Mulder spoke immediately.

“Why?” Scully questioned just as quickly.

Even the SWAT Lieutenant wondered why the hell Mulder would want to face Modell alone. “My team could flush him out.”

“What if Modell turns one of your men against the others…

in a crowded hospital? I think we should give him what he wants,” Mulder said, making his point clear.

“You,” Scully said, hoping the others couldn’t see how afraid she was. She didn’t look at Mulder, knowing he would catch it. But she knew he was right. His plan was the best way.

The SWAT Lieutenant got Mulder wired and miked with a camera attached to his headphones and a bullet-proof vest that held the battery packs. They checked the equipment and a clear picture showed up on the video monitor.

“Think I can get the Playboy channel?” Mulder tried to joke, but Scully couldn’t find humor in anything that was going on, unable to do much more than sit there and watch everything happen. Mulder turned to look at Scully, her face appearing on the monitor and her expression told him everything. “Smile, Scully,” Mulder tried to ease her seriousness. But she just stared at him. He kneeled in front of her, laying his gun in her hands.

She looked shocked, despondent almost, unbelieving that he wanted to face Modell without being armed. “Take it.”

“No. I wouldn’t want to end up pointing it at anybody except Modell,” he told her, never taking his eyes from hers. She looked as worried as he’d ever seen her and he couldn’t believe it when she placed her hand over his, everyone in the surveillance van seeing it. Their eyes didn’t waver, both wondering if they’d ever see each other again. “Let’s get this show on the road.”

Mulder made his way through the hospital, trying to locate Modell, Scully and the SWAT Lieutenant watching his every move on the monitor, Scully talking him through it, hoping her voice would keep him focused. But it was Modell who found Mulder, pointing a gun at him, then the picture going black. “Mulder! God!” Scully gasped, pulling off her headset and rushing out of the van toward the hospital.

Once she got inside, she was outfitted with a bullet-proof vest and went to locate Mulder, not giving any of the officers room to talk her out of it.

As Scully handed her service weapon to the SWAT Lieutenant, the whole scene would’ve been humorous if it weren’t so serious. The hall was full of SWAT Team personnel, big men outfitted with helmets, goggles, bullet proof protectors and the best in automatic weapons standing by while an unarmed 5′ 2″ woman in heels went after the bad guy. They were all admiring her balls.

She located the room Mulder and Modell were in, slowly opening the door and taking in the scene before speaking.

The two were sitting opposite each other at a small table, a pistol lying on the surface between them. “Mulder…” she said softly, but neither of them moving their eyes from where they stared at each other.

“Thanks for joining us,” Modell spoke, still not taking his eyes from Mulder.

“We’ve got a dozen law enforcement officers outside in the hall… another thirty in the parking lot,” Scully told Modell calmly.

“Regular convention,” Model quipped, Mulder still staring at him.

“So whatever you’ve got planned, it’s not going to work out the way you it want to,” she told him, hoping he would realize his situation was hopeless.

“You don’t know what I got planned,” Modell said, his mood angrier as he continued to stare at Mulder.

Scully kept her eye on the gun, then glancing at Mulder’s expressionless face, as she slowly sat down in the other chair at the table. She felt helpless when Modell suddenly picked up the gun and checked the chamber, mumbling some crap about Japanese Budo and fighting to the death. She looked at Mulder, perspiration dripping down his face, remembering the last time she’d seen him like that— above her with a look of pure love in his eyes. Now, they were a blank stare.

“I’m going to give you… one pull of the trigger against me,” Modell told Mulder, Scully’s eyes wide with fear.

Mulder lifted the gun, almost nonchalantly, aiming it at Modell. Scully couldn’t stay quiet any longer. “Wait.

Mulder, look… there’s pure oxygen in this room,” she warned, but he pulled the trigger without even flinching.

The lone bullet in the gun wasn’t in that chamber, the gun just clicking like a toy. Scully wished the gun would’ve fired; then everything would’ve been over.

“Piece of cake. Your turn,” Modell smiled, but the expelling of the breath he had been holding betrayed his real fear.

“Mulder, no,” Scully said, wanting him to look at her.

“Mulder, yes,” Modell said, mocking her. “Go.”

Scully’s eyes filled with tears, scared to death that she was going to sit there and watch Mulder shoot himself.

“Mulder, listen to me. Give me the gun,” she tried, her voice shaking with fear. “We can stop this thing right now.

You and I can walk outside of this room…”

Mulder cringed and jerked the barrel to his head, pulling the trigger in one quick, fluid motion. Even as Scully heard only another benign click, she jumped up, pounding the table with both hands, glaring at Modell. “No! Damn you!,” she yelled. “You bastard!!” She turned to Mulder, reaching to grab his arm that held the gun. “Mulder, hand me the g…” But Mulder grabbed her arm, then aimed the gun at Modell, but only for a few seconds. Then Mulder slowly moved the gun toward Scully, pointing it at her shocked expression. “Mulder, you don’t have to do this. You’re stronger than this.”

“Your turn, Scully. Got to play by the rules. Pull the trigger, Mulder,” Modell mocked, seemingly enjoying the scene as it was playing out in front him.

“Mulder, fight him. You can fight this,” she said, knowing her partner was stronger than Modell could ever be. But when he continued to point the gun at her, she could no longer hold back the tears.

“I’m going to kill you, Modell,” Mulder was able to say, but still, could not point the gun away from Scully. Scully slowly began to back out of the room, heading for the fire alarm on the wall. “Scully, run!” Mulder told her, mustering the strength to warn her, but still unable to point the gun away from her, the weapon shaking he was trying so hard not to fire. “Scully…”

Scully stared at him, then ran out into the hall and pulled the fire alarm, the sound breaking Modell’s concentration on Mulder which broke his ‘spell’, Mulder then pointing the gun at Modell and firing, shooting him in the head. Mulder stood, tipping over the table and dry-firing at Modell as he lay on the floor, even though he knew the chamber was empty.

Scully turned her eyes away, unable to watch Mulder any longer. The SWAT team swarmed the room, the officers descending on Modell.

Mulder fell into a chair, the reality of the entire situation crashing down upon him. Scully moved closer, Mulder noticing out of the corner of his eye, handing her the gun. He put his elbows on his knees, his face in his hands overwrought with what he’d almost done to his partner, his lover. As Modell was lifted onto a gurney and other medical personnel attended to the patient whose room they were all in, Scully leaned against Mulder where he sat, his arms going around her hips as she pressed him against her abdomen. And she paid no attention as the others in the room watched her lay her head atop his as she cradled him with a loving embrace.

They went back by the hospital later so that Mulder could reassure himself that Modell was indeed comatose and would never do to anyone else what he’d done to him… and Scully.

“There’s no telling how long he’ll hang on, but he’ll never regain consciousness,” Scully said when she walked into Modell’s room, having been down the hall checking his status with the nursing staff.

“You know, we thought he was undergoing treatment. We were wrong,” Mulder told her. His sadness was still so present in his expression, in the tone of his voice.

“What do you mean?”

“Read his chart. The M.R.I.‘s were a way to gauge how much life he had left, but he consistently refused treatment. The tumor remained operable right up until the end, but he refused to have it removed.”


“I think it was like you said. He was always such a…

little man. This was finally something that made him feel big,” he said sorrowfully. Scully slipped her hand in his and felt him take it, giving her a squeeze.

“I say we don’t let him take up another minute of our time,” she told him softly, slowly walking out of Modell’s room.

Mulder joined her in the hall, taking hold of Scully’s hand again as they walked toward the elevator.

“Mulder…” she warned, knowing they shouldn’t be seen doing that in public and tried to move her hand out of his. But he held on. And then she let him.

After they had gotten in the car, Mulder reached to start the ignition, but she stopped him. He looked at her, puzzled. “Mulder, I want us to put this case behind us,” she told him, laying her hand on his arm.

“Easier said than done,” he replied, unable to look at her.

“I almost killed you…”

“Look at me,” she said and he slowly complied. “MODELL almost killed me… and you. It was because of you that he didn’t.”

“That’s the way you see it?” he asked, searching her eyes for the truth.

“HE was the murderer, Mulder. No one else. You have to put this behind you or you are going to let it eat you alive,” she told him gently.

Mulder looked at her, thinking whether or not he really wanted to ask her his next question, but he needed to know.

“I need to ask you one question, Scully.”


“Did you believe that I was going to shoot you? I need the truth, Scully,” he said, his eyes never leaving hers.

“Never for a second.”

“But I could see how afraid you were.”

“I was only afraid for you. Only for you,” she said, leaning into him, her arms going around his neck. When she withdrew, she squeezed his hand before moving back into her seat, fastening her seatbelt. Mulder started the ignition, checking for traffic before pulling away from the curb, driving away back to their lives.


Three weeks later

After the Modell case, they had spent days undergoing questioning by OPR, Mulder’s shooting of Modell being ruled ‘self-defense’ in an odd sort of way and he had been cleared to return to duty. They had gone on a strange case in Boston that involved an Ecuadorian Amaru and lots and lots of rats. And cats, much to Scully’s chagrin since she was allergic to them. Then they had gone to San Francisco to investigate a strange case that uncovered a secret game that involved the selling of body parts for profit. Disgusting and incredibly sad and too easily solved to be much of an XFile by Scully’s estimation.

“Mulder…” she began. “How was this case an X-File?” They were holding hands, walking amongst all the shops on Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf.

“Well, it had some… mysteries to it,” he smiled to her.

“Particularly what the meat was we had in that Chinese lunch we just ate.”

“Cut the crap,” she smiled back.

Mulder squeezed her hand and bent to give her a quick kiss as the Bay breeze mussed his hair and blew the tail of his jacket. “We’re in San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We have a room at a beautiful hotel literally on the Bay and we have the next four days off,” he smiled to her. “Now, are you still questioning why I took this case?”

Scully stopped walking and looked up at him, pushing her windswept hair out of her face with her hand. “You civil servant, you,” she laughed, standing on her toes to give him a kiss. She intended it to be a quick peck, but he wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet while he practically devoured her. Finally, he put her down, smiling down at her like a mischievous child. She thought how good it was to see him relaxed and in a fun mood. The Modell case had taken a toll on him but the passage of some time had made things better and they were, hopefully, moving on.

They walked for a long time, pointing out this or that of interest to each other, finally ending up in Sausalito in a quaint little restaurant Mulder knew of for dinner. “So, how did you know about this place? It’s wonderful,” she told him, taking a spoonful of her asparagus bisque.

“I spent some time here one summer, before I left for England,” he told her and she could tell by the expression on his face there was a story behind that.

“Why did an eighteen year old kid spend a summer in San Francisco?” she asked, her curiosity peaked.

Mulder took a drink of his wine, wiping his mouth with the linen napkin before speaking. His actions gave Scully the feeling he was preparing to tell her something fairly unpleasant. “Actually, I was seventeen,” he smiled, then beginning his story. “My parents were at each others’

throats… constantly, it seemed. My dad would disappear for days on end, which while he was gone, things would be quiet, too much so, actually. But then when he would return, my mother would just be insane.”

“Did…, do you think he was having an affair or something?”

“Or something, yeah. At the time I didn’t form a theory, really. But I know my mother thought he was,” he said, pausing to take a bite of his food.

“But now?”

“But now, I think it was something to do with his work, with Sam,” he confessed.

“Oh, Mulder,” she sighed, knowing that memories of much of his youth were incredibly painful for him.

Mulder nodded, but then going on. “I think that might be why my father would be so passive when Mom would become so enraged. Having her thinking he was having an affair was much better than her knowing what he was actually doing,” he said, trying to smile.

“You don’t know for sure what his work was, Mulder,” she tried to console, not wanting him to have only bad memories of his father.

“No, I don’t. But do you actually think he wasn’t involved somehow in the disappearance of my sister? Truthfully?” he asked.

Scully thought for a moment, not wanting to hurt Mulder, but knowing she needed to be honest. “No,” she said plainly before continuing. “But that doesn’t mean it’s a fact. You know, I heard a saying once, um, something like, ‘It’s not what we don’t know that gets us into trouble. It’s what we know for sure that just isn’t so’,” she told him.

“Yeah, Mark Twain. So you think there’s a possibility my father wasn’t part of everything we found in the files in that mountain vault?” he asked skeptically.

“There’s always hope,” she smiled, touching his hand across the table. He couldn’t help returning her optimistic smile.

They continued to eat, the food delicious and the view of the bay at night gorgeous. “So, you didn’t finish your story about spending a summer here.”

“Oh. Yeah. Well, since my parents were so busy sparring, I’m still not sure they even noticed I was gone,” he began, garnering a chuckle from Scully. “One of my best friends throughout high school moved close to here only a few months before graduation. His dad was Air Force and he got stationed at Hamilton in Novato, so I spent the summer with them.”

“So, you had a taste of what it was like to live in a military household,” she smiled at him, interested to hear his impressions of how she had lived her entire youth.

Mulder hesitated, knowing Scully had drawn conclusions that weren’t exactly true. “Well, we weren’t exactly in the household…” he began, the smirk on his face telling Scully he had more to say.

“I can’t wait to hear why,” she smiled to him.

“Well, I told my parents I was staying with Keith and well, he told his parents he was staying with me,” Mulder smiled, Scully laughing out loud.

“Oh, my god. I’m not sure I want to hear what high schoolers did on their own in a city like this one,” she continued to chuckle.

Mulder smiled, shaking his head, his mind spinning wondering which story he was going to tell her first. “We smoked more pot, drank more wine and, how should I say this, sampled more of the local population than we should have,” he laughed.

“Where did you actually live?” Scully asked, her curiosity peaked.

“We camped on the beach…, lived in a concession stand at San Francisco State Park… But mostly, we crashed at this chick, um, girl’s house in Half Moon Bay, a little town on the coast.”

“Ah… A girlfriend?” she commented.

“Yeah. Just not mine. Keith had it bad for her and then she dumped him. That’s when we ended up in the park,” Mulder laughed. “It was 1978, but we kinda lived like it was ‘68. We worked here and there for money, but my parents usually sent me enough for both of us to manage on. It didn’t take much.”

“Seventy eight? You should’ve graduated in ‘79,” she quickly calculated.

“I graduated early.”

“So, you were only sixteen; you wouldn’t have turned seventeen until October,” she calculated, her mind spinning at how quickly he must’ve grown up after his sister disappeared.

“I couldn’t wait to get out of that fucking house. I took every summer class in high school I could to make that happen,” he confided. It had also given him more reason to be out of the house to be in school during the summers.

“And that summer was… well, it made me feel, for the first time in my life since Sam was taken, that it was okay to have fun, to actually live a life that wasn’t soaked with grief and anger and conflict.”

“I’m glad you did it, Mulder. I wish I would’ve been a little more carefree in my youth,” she admitted.

“Yeah, as the saying goes, we don’t regret the things we did; we regret the things we didn’t do.”

“Mark Twain?” she smiled, teasing him.

“No. Keith Wright.”

“So, have you stayed in contact with your friend?” Scully asked, the busboy taking her empty plate.

“I did for awhile. But, I haven’t heard from him in many years. Don’t even know where he is, now that I think about it,” he told her, chewing on his thumbnail as he thought.

“Last I heard, he was living in Vancouver working on a fishing boat or tour boat or slow boat to China or something.”

After their meal, they went back to the Wharf area, near their hotel, finding a seat at an outdoor cafe’/club, a blues band playing. They were a bit overdressed for the club, their restaurant having a dress code, but no one seemed to notice. The ocean breeze was cool, but the club had heaters placed here and there, so it was comfortable, perfect actually. “Great band,” Mulder commented, the lead guitarist reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn.

“Thanks for tonight, Mulder,” Scully told him, wishing she’d been the one to plan something special; she knew Mulder needed it.

“The night isn’t over yet,” he grinned, waving his eyebrows at her.

“Oh, you think not, huh,” she smirked.

“Well, that depends on you, I guess,” he said, his little boy pout fully in place.

“If it depends solely on me, then let’s get back to our room,” she stood, then bending to whisper in his ear. “And our bed,” brushing her tongue against the whorl of his ear.

Mulder stood, practically grinning ear to ear when the band struck the first chord of ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

“We’ve gotta dance first,” he said, pulling her to the area near the band where a group of couples were dancing.

“Stairway to Heaven, Mulder?” she questioned, Mulder almost pulling her along behind him. He grabbed her into his arms, the song not a bad song to dance slowly to, at least in the beginning. He bent to kiss her, her hands grabbing onto the fabric of his jacket.

“This song reminds me so much of the summer I spent here.

You couldn’t go into a bar or a coffee house without hearing this song,” he explained as they continued to dance. She understood and gave in to his lead, enjoying being held by him in public, something they didn’t dare do back in Washington or some Podunk town while they were working a case. “I don’t think we’ve ever danced together, have we,” he noted, just realizing it.

“It’s nice.”

Scully felt good moving with him and the slow motion the music inspired ratcheted up her arousal with every move Mulder made. And Mulder felt the same way, the feminine smell of her perfume, the way her hips slowly brushed against him. “You know, I really love this song,” he said against her ear, “but I think I really love more what is going to happen once we get back to our room.” He felt Scully chuckle against him, then she took his hand and headed out of the place.



“Mulder, yes, yes, Uh, Uh, Uhhhhohhhhhh,” she moaned, his movements finally sending her flying. She was on her stomach, a pillow under her hips. Mulder was on his knees behind her, his hips moving against her as fast as he could move and still hold himself over her back. She tried to keep moving with him, feeling another orgasm building in her, but not sure she had enough energy to work hard enough to achieve it so quickly after the first one. She took hold of Mulder’s hand where it pressed into the mattress next to her and guided it to between her legs and he knew what she wanted. He shifted a bit, his hips still pushing hard and deep, then wriggled his fingers between her body and the pillow to find her folds.

“Uh, Scully, shit, I’m close,” he said, worrying that he was going to go before she could get off again, knowing that that was what she wanted. But he found her clitoris, her folds wet and slick, and began rubbing as firmly as he could with his middle finger.

“Harder…” she sighed, her hands clenching the sheets.

Mulder wasn’t sure if she wanted him to thrust harder or to press her clitoris harder, so he did both.

“Scully, Scully….” he groaned before letting go inside her, his hips shivering with release. He continued to try to move in and out of her, but couldn’t keep any semblance of a rhythm going. Finally, he collapsed against her, sliding off onto his side, taking her with him, pulling her back against him. His penis slipped out, but he somehow managed to keep his fingers where they were and kept working on the orgasm they both wanted her to have.

Scully lifted her leg back over his and put her hand over his between her legs, guiding his fingers to just the right spot. “There… Oh, god, right there…” she told him just as his other hand snaked under her and found her breast, taking it fully in his hand and firmly squeezing. “Oh…

Oh, oh, uh, Mulder…”

“Come on, Scully…” he breathed against her ear, his lips moving to her neck. “Come on…”

“I’mcloseI’mcloseI’mclose,” she said, her words barely discernable, her face buried in the pillow. “Uh, uh, uh, yesssssssssssssssssssssss,” she cried out, her second orgasm hitting hard. Mulder slipped his fingers inside her, her flesh squeezing him in pulsing spasms, her liquid coating most of his hand.

“God, you’re beautiful,” he whispered to her when she’d come down, lying motionless next to him, her breath still panting. After she’d calmed, she adjusted herself to her back, giving him a soft, lingering kiss. “Feel good?” he smiled at her.

“If I felt any better, I’d spontaneously combust,” she deadpanned.

“Now you’re talkin’,” Mulder teased, watching her as she took a deep breath, sighing the air back out. She smiled at him, knowing he was watching her, then touching his face with her palm. He watched her for a several more moments, brushing a few stray strands of hair from her forehead. “Do you know that you fight your orgasms?”

“What are you talking about?” she asked, wondering how he could say that when she’d just had two really, really nice ones.

“You hold back. Why don’t you just let go?”

Scully thought about it, trying to figure out just what he had meant. She knew his question wasn’t a complaint or really even a request for her to do something differently; he just seemed curious. “Well… if you are perceiving my build up to it as ‘fighting’ it, then I guess it is because the build up is… somewhat painful, a good painful, but none the less perceived by the autonomic nervous system as pain. So, naturally, the body fights it.”

“You can’t be serious,” he said, incredulous.

“The build-up to your orgasm isn’t painful, at least to some degree?” she asked curiously.

“You can’t be serious,” he retorted again and she chuckled.

“Anything but.”

Scully laughed, closing her eyes as she shook her head.

“Well, you fight it, too, you just don’t realize it.”

“Not that it doesn’t prolong my pleasure, too, but the only reason I try to delay orgasm is to last longer, to prolong your pleasure,” he smiled.

“You just keep telling yourself that,” she chuckled. “I can’t believe we are talking about this.”

“Oh, I don’t know, I kinda like it,” he grinned at her, then cradling her cheek as he kissed her.

“Mulder, we never talk about things like this,” she smiled to him.

“And why not?” he asked, suddenly serious. Scully looked at him, not exactly sure what to say.

“Well….” she thought.

“Because I’m so good in bed, we don’t need to discuss our sex life?” he smirked.

“Oh, brother,” she sighed.

“I’m NOT good in bed?”

At that comment, Scully pushed him to his back and crawled on top of him, almost in one swift movement. “You are wonderful in bed. Wonderful.” Her lips descended on his, her tongue quickly sliding into his mouth while her fingers slipped through his hair. She moved sensually against him as they continued to kiss, Mulder’s hands stroking her just about everywhere, kneading her bottom. Finally, when they’d stopped kissing, Scully propped herself up on his chest to look down at him, her expression growing into a satisfied grin. “You make me happy.”

“Did you mean that sexually?” he smiled back.

“No, not specifically. I simply meant you make me happy.”

Mulder kissed her, then tucked her close to his body, resting his chin on her head where it lay on his chest.

They laid there for several long minutes, Scully almost asleep when Mulder spoke, “You know what, Scully?”


“I think today was the best day of my life…”


One week later

They had spent the next four days in San Francisco, eating a lot of good food, listening to good music and having a lot of great sex. They had done a lot of touristy things, standing in line for over an hour at ‘Ghiardelli Square’ for one of their famous sundaes. Scully complained the next day she’d gained a pant size, but she brought lots of chocolate home anyway. They had gotten fairly drunk one evening at the ‘No Name Bar’ in Sausalito and Mulder ate enough Dungeness crab at a joint in China Town that Scully had to doctor him through a very upset stomach. But the time had been good for them. They had laughed and loved and forgotten about the terrible world around them, at least for four days.

When they had returned to Washington, Mulder had been contacted by one of Scully’s favorite authors, but someone Mulder thought was a nut. “Mulder, please talk to the man; if for no other reason than as a method for me to meet him,” Scully almost begged him.

“He’s a nut, Scully. I won’t give him fodder for a book that will do nothing but make those of us who believe in life on other planets look like raving lunatics,” he complained, both of them in Scully’s car on their way to work.

“And your point is…?” she smiled.

“Ha,” Mulder frowned back at her, not amused. “I’ll tell you what, Scully. You like him so much, you go talk to him.”

And that’s how Scully met Jose Chung. She had enjoyed every minute with him, his animated demeanor entertaining her the entire time she talked with him. And his grandfatherly little comments and innuendo made her laugh. “He called me a ‘brainy beauty’ and told me I had good taste,” she teased Mulder after she arrived at her apartment the day she met Mr. Chung.

“And that qualifies you for what?” Mulder snipped, opening the take out she had set on the counter.

Scully glared at him and his comment, wondering why just the mention of Mr. Chung made him irritable. “Maybe if he’d met you first, he wouldn’t have said the thing about taste,” she quipped and Mulder had to smile. She could tell Mulder couldn’t stand not having input on the man’s book, pestering her all evening about what she had told him and why she hadn’t told him what she didn’t. “When the book comes out, you can find out for yourself.”

The next morning, Mulder had gone into work early, Scully having an early dental appointment. But as soon as he’d gotten into his office, he had a message that Skinner had called in a homicide. But after Mulder had arrived at the crime scene in the Ambassador Hotel, he realized there was more to it.

“Yeah,” Mulder answered his cell.

“Mulder, it’s me. I just got your message,” Scully said, on her way into work, the rain so heavy she could barely see.

“You said Skinner called in a homicide?”

“Yeah, it appears to be a little more complicated than that.

It seems like he had a front-row seat,” Mulder told her, watching a detective talking to Skinner.

“I don’t understand.”

“I don’t understand it either. They’re not letting me talk to him. Hold on a second,” Mulder told her, Skinner coming out of his hotel room with the Detective.

“Excuse me, Sir?” Mulder said when Skinner looked like he was going to walk right past him without a word.

“I appreciate your concern, Agent Mulder, but there’s no need for you to get involved in this,” Skinner said, barely able to make eye contact, seemingly embarrassed.

“Detective?” Mulder called several times before the man acknowledged him. “Can you at least tell me what happened?

What does he say happened?”

“Well, he claims he met the victim in the bar downstairs.

After a couple of drinks, they decided to get a room together, which is all fine except when he wakes up, he finds her lying next to him with a broken neck,” the man told Mulder, his skepticism in Skinner’s story obvious.

“That’s all he says he remembers.”

“You don’t believe him?” Mulder asked, Skinner being taken away by other officers.

“He refused to take a polygraph test. It’s not helping his credibility,” the man said smugly.

Mulder tried to get any information he could on the victim, find out if there was any evidence of an intruder or if any of the hotel workers saw anything. The Detective wasn’t all that forthcoming and grew tired of Mulder’s questions. “I appreciate that he’s a colleague of yours, but I want you to understand something. He’s also a suspect,” the man told him and turned to walk away.

But Mulder didn’t give up. “Detective?” Mulder said, handing him one of his business cards. “When you’re done questioning him, I’d appreciate a call.”

“All right.”

“Get any of that?” Mulder asked Scully, still on the other end of the phone.

“Most of it. Mulder, I’m on my way.”

“No, no, I want you to take a look at that body. Get down to the Coroner’s. I’ll meet you there.”

Skinner had been charged in the woman’s murder, Mulder working to prove his innocence, Scully hoping against hope that he was right. And Mulder had found evidence that it was likely Skinner had been framed and a sting had been set up to trap whoever had set Skinner up. The scheme had worked, Skinner having been cleared of the charges, but not before Scully had been knocked out just before the criminal was shot by Skinner. She was checked out by the EMT’s and was sent home with nothing any more serious that a nice bump above her eye.

“How’s the eye?” Mulder said when Scully walked into the kitchen from the bathroom. After they wrapped everything up, they had come to Scully’s, Mulder ordering in dinner while she took a shower. She had made an ice bag and held it over the left side of her face.

“I think the swelling has stopped,” she told him, removing the bag to show him.

“Shit, Scully. You’re going to have a nice shiner,” he told her, moving over to her to look more closely. “Your cheek is swollen, too.”

“Gee, thanks for your optimism,” she said sarcastically.

“Your comfort makes my headache so much better.”

Mulder chuckled, but then leaned down to give her bruise a soft kiss. “I’ll get you some Tylenol,” he told her softly.

“Just took some,” she smiled to him, putting the ice bag back to her face. “What’d you get?”

“Comfort food. Teddy brought it by,” he told her, Scully knowing Teddy from ‘Green’s Grill’ a couple of miles away.

“Meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”

“You’re kidding,” she said, knowing Mulder knew she didn’t eat ground beef.

“That’s mine. I got you a Cobb salad,” he said, noticing still a look of disappointment on her face. He moved to her and wrapped his arms around her, laying his cheek against the top of her head. “A Cobb salad and… his special onion rings and blueberry cheesecake for dessert. You need a treat.”

“Thank you,” she smiled to him, moving to give him a quick kiss. “It’s you who should have the treat.”

“I’ll help you eat it.”

“No, I mean it, Mulder. If you hadn’t persevered, I think Skinner would be going to prison on a murder charge,” she told him sincerely.

“So, you think I used a shovel or a backhoe on this one?” he smiled as they sat at the table.

“On this one? I think you used a fork,” she told him.

“Really, Mulder. You should be proud. You did a good job.”

Mulder gave her a soft smile, touched by the sincerity of her words, but uncomfortable with her praise.

They finished their meal and, later, sat in the living room with the cheesecake and two forks. “Mmmmmm, Mulder… This is abso ute wy scrum ious,” she said, her mouth full of cheesecake and blueberries.

“You are so articulate when you’re pigging out,” he told her, reading the paper, catching up on the news. “You think you’ll feel like going to work tomorrow?”

“I’m fine, but I’m not sure I’m ready for all the stares, though,” she said, touching her black eye, her face tender.

“Hopefully, I can cover it with make-up.” Mulder smiled, giving her a knowing look and she could tell he had something on his mind. “What are you up to?”

“I found a case that warranted a look before Skinner’s situation and I thought maybe we could check it out,” he said mysteriously, not telling her anything further.

“Mulder, we’ve got our reports to do on Skinner’s case and I wouldn’t mind having the weekend at home…”



Two days later

So much for the weekend. Both of them had worked on Friday, Mulder staying late working on something or other, Scully wasn’t sure or interested enough to stay late with him. He hadn’t come over after work, calling her briefly telling her he’d see her tomorrow. He had been watching a case in Georgia and early on Saturday morning, he received a call that another murder had taken place.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Mulder called, Scully barely awake when she answered her phone.

“What do you want at…” Scully glanced at her alarm clock, “five eleven am, Mulder?”

“Get packed. I’ll be over in five minutes,” he told her excitedly.

“If you are at home, you can’t make it in five minutes and if you are already in your car, you should’ve called me earlier,” she told him, still barely awake.

“Five minutes,” he told her and hung up.

“Uhhhhhhhhh,” she groaned out loud, irritated at him for pulling one of his usual stunts; irritated at herself for complying. ‘Someday, I am not going to go with him.

Someday…’ she told herself as she crawled out of bed and headed for the shower. So much for the weekend.

Just as their car drove past a large billboard that asked ‘What’s Older Than The Hills?’, Quequeg began to get restless in the back seat, the sound of his ‘yipping’ bark sounding like fingernails on a blackboard to Mulder.

“Nature’s calling. I think we should pull over soon,” Scully told him as she watched her dog bouncing around in the back seat.

“Did you really have to bring that thing?” Mulder complained, wishing he could pull over and let it out and then keep on driving.

“You wake me up on a Saturday morning, tell me to be ready in five minutes, my mother is out of town, all of the dog sitters are booked, and you know how I feel about kennels.

So unless you want to lose your security deposit on the car, I suggest you pull over,” she smiled at him, getting a certain amount of pleasure in knowing that she was paying Mulder back for taking her out of town on the weekend by bringing her dog along.

“I think I’m lost anyway. I’ve got to stop and ask for directions.”

“I know I’m lost as to why you’re so interested in this missing person’s case,” Scully said, looking at the file.

“Dr. Bailey works for the US Forestry Service. That makes his disappearance a federal case,” he answered non-commitally.

“It’s not jurisdiction that I’m questioning, Mulder.”

“Dr. Bailey’s not the first person to go missing from Heuvelman’s Lake recently. Two weeks ago, a Boy Scout Troop was out here, fossil hunting… Their troop leader wandered off to relieve himself, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since,” he told her, trying to make his case.

“So you think that there’s a serial killer at large?”

“The operative word being ‘large’,” Mulder answered, a small smirk on his face.

Scully hesitated, suspicioning she wasn’t getting the whole story, then noticing another billboard, this one asking ‘What’s Bigger Than the Sky?’. “What are you leaving out?”

“What makes you think I’m leaving anything out?” Mulder answered a little too innocently.

“Most missing persons cases are not that uncommon, Mulder.

Why this one warrants us flying halfway across the country and driving for two hours is a total mystery,” she said, becoming a bit frustrated with him. He glanced away and she followed his eyes, seeing another sign ‘Big Blue. The Southern Serpent. Spot Him at Heuvelmans Lake.’ “Oh, tell me you’re not serious?” she said and he gave her that little mischievous smirk that could just make her melt. But, sometimes, it could just serve to irritate her.

“It’s Georgia’s answer to the Loch Ness monster,” he smiled.

“As in the one who has never been found or even credibly photographed? The one that only crazy people believe actually exists? That one, Mulder?” she asked, disbelieving tha

t he came all that way to look for something named ‘Big Blue’.

“You don’t think it sounds interesting?” Mulder asked, sincerely.

“I think it sounds more like a Sesame Street character. I can’t believe you dragged me all this way for some silly sea serpent,” she said, shaking her head. “No, more to the point, I can’t believe that I followed you.” Mulder smiled at her, his expression teasing her that he knew she’d always follow him.





They passed two nice, clean looking gas stations before Mulder pulled up in the parking lot of a run down local bait and tackle. “Do you always have to pick the rattiest places?” she asked, unfastening her seatbelt, glancing back at her anxious dog.

“I always pick the best places for information,” he smiled at her, stepping out of the car, popping his umbrella open.

“And this place looks like it’s just teeming with info.”

“Teeming with something,” she said under her breath, hooking the leash on Queequeg’s collar. Mulder held the umbrella over her as they walked across the muddy gravel parking lot.

“If I get mud all over my new suit, you are a dead man, Mulder.”

“I like your new coat. Fits you quite nicely,” he smiled back, wagging his eyebrows at her, trying to keep her happy.

He knew his case was a bit ridiculous, but the thought of a prehistoric lake monster was more than he could resist.

“Who needs that old Burberry, huh, Scully?”

“Shut up, Mulder,” she fired back, but he knew she was just playing along. “I can’t believe we are actually going in a place that has a giant blue rubber lizard tied to the roof.

Why are we here?”

“It’s been reported for centuries in dozens of countries.

From the monsters in Loch Ness, Nessie, to the Ogopogo in Lake Okonagan,” Mulder started his usual encyclopedic explanation of the case background.

But she stopped him mid-sentence. “And Lake Champagne, Lalavack Iceland…”

“Sounds like you know a little something about the subject.”

“I did as a kid. But, then I grew up, and became a scientist,” she said, her expression insinuating he hadn’t grown up or they wouldn’t be at Heuvelman’s Lake.

“Well some very grown up crypto-zoologist believed it could be an evolutionary throwback, quite possibly prehistoric,” he retorted, reading her look accurately.

“An aquatic dinosaur,” she said, almost laughing at him.

“A plesiosaur, actually. Though admittedly, there’s not a lot of hard evidence to back that up,” he had to confess.

“You know why? Because those creatures don’t exist, Mulder,” she said, becoming exasperated. “They’re folk tales born out of some collective fear of the unknown.”

He couldn’t help but smile at her predictable skepticism, but he kept after her. “Well how many folk tales do you know that could eat a Boy Scout leader and a biologist?” He walked away from her, leaving her standing in the rain as she rolled her eyes at him.

They found the proprietor, busying himself folding ‘Big Blue’ t-shirts. “Can I help you people?”

“We’re looking for the Lake View Cabins. Flipper Road?”

Mulder asked, Scully looking around at all the tacky souvenirs.

“You passed the turnoff a few miles back. It’s uh, pretty tough to find,” he told them in his folksy accent, chomping his chewing gum. “Uh, a map might help.” He offered up a map, Mulder reaching for it. But Ted pulled it back, “Uh, they’re two-fifty each, plus Uncle Sam.”

“Fine,” Mulder said, irritated he’d bit the man’s bait, Scully suppressing a laugh.

“If you don’t mind my saying, you folks don’t look like you’re here for the trout.”

“No, we’re with the FBI. We’re investigating a pair of missing person’s reports,” Scully answered, showing the man her ID.

“Oh, yeah. It’s big news around here. Everyone’s been talking about it.”

“What are they saying?” Mulder asked.

“The same thing they’ve been saying for years. Now I’m not one for spreading rumors, but the truth is, I’ve heard the story since I was a kid,” Ted told them.

“About Big Blue? What kind of stories?” Mulder asked.

“Well, I was ten years old, fishin’ with my daddy, when I heard a… ” the man began, telling a story so tall Scully could barely contain her laughter. She watched Mulder, enthralled by the lame story, wondering at the moment which one of them was the most gullible.

“That’s quite a story,” Scully mocked.

“That’s just one,” Ted said.

“Those stories must sell a lot of T-shirts,” Scully added quickly, hoping to stop the man from telling another one.

“Well, a man’s gotta survive,” Ted laughed.

“What about you? Do you believe those stories?” Mulder asked.

“Well, a man’s got to look at the evidence, decide for himself. But if you want to ask a real expert, you should probably talk to Ansel here,” Ted told them, nodding toward the man who had just entered the store. “He’s out there practically every day.” Ted picked up several rolls of film the man handed him, seemingly used to the man and his pictures. “These folks are with the FBI, they’ve been looking into that unsolved mystery about how those two people disappeared.”

The man chuckled, trying his best to present him as someone who knew something no one else knew. “Unsolved mystery?

Since when is there a mystery?”

“So you think Big Blue’s responsible for what’s been happening?” Mulder asked.

“Don’t you?” the photographer asked.

“Have you ever actually seen it?” Mulder continued.

“Not directly, no,” the man admitted rather sheepishly. “But I aim to. Someday, I’ll be in the right place at the right time, and I WILL snap a shot of that monster.” Mulder looked at Scully, nodding like he was buying all of it, Scully standing there in stunned silence until someone hurriedly entered the store announcing, “Call the Sheriff.

We got a floater.”

They had found half of the Boy Scout leader’s body floating near the dock in front of Ted’s Bait Shop, Scully sure it was a simple boating accident, Mulder just as sure it was ‘Big Blue’s’ latest victim. Scully had gone into town with the ambulance that came to pick up what remained of the body, the town small enough that there was no morgue. She watched as the local coroner performed a cursory autopsy at the town’s only funeral home, too much predation already taking place to determine what had initially severed the man’s torso from his legs. She knew no more after the autopsy than she did when she found the body floating.




Later that night

Scully had gone back to her cabin frustrated and irritated.

She hoped Queequeg had peed on Mulder’s floor while she had gone to the funeral home and hoped he was as ready to go home as she was. But when she had gone to his cabin, he wasn’t there, her dog more than happy to see her. “C’mom, Queequeg. We’ll get you something good to eat,” she cooed at the animal as she carried it to her cabin. The night was chilly, but not cold and the air was fresh and crisp. She took the opportunity to take Queequeg for a short walk, letting him go into the woods only a bit to go to the bathroom.

After she had changed into her pajamas and had Queequeg on her bed as she read a bit to make herself sleepy, she recognized Mulder’s soft tap at her door. “Go away,” she called at the same time she got out of bed and slid her feet into her slippers. “What?” she said, opening her door.

“How’d you know it was me?” Mulder said as he stood there looking at her, Queequeg standing there barking at him.

“What if it was ‘Big Blue’?”

“Nonexistent prehistoric sea serpents don’t knock,” she deadpanned, going back to her bed, fluffing her pillows against the headboard, crawling in and leaning against them.

Mulder felt a twinge of jealousy when her dog jumped in after her and snuggled against her hip, his head in her lap.

“What’d you find at the autopsy?” he asked, tossing his jacket into a chair next to the one he settled in.

“Not one goddamned thing, Mulder. What did you expect me to find?” she said, petting her dog. “Blue finger prints?”

“Did you find anything unusual? Were there bite marks or could you discern if he’d been cut by a propeller? You know, facts,” he said, getting irritated at her irritation with him.

“Facts? Facts? What about this case has anything to do with facts?”

“Did you find anything?” he asked, exasperated.

Scully took a deep breath, trying to remember that there were actually two murders that needed solving. “No. There had been too much predation, most likely by turtles. We couldn’t make a determination as to the actual cause of…

his dismemberment. But, his body was cut in half prior to death.”

“Thank you,” he said, giving her a stiff smile.

“Where’ve you been?” she asked, since he wasn’t in his cabin earlier.

“I drove into Millikan to find something to eat. We must’ve just missed each other. I’ve got some pizza in my cabin.

That is, if you aren’t too pissed off to eat,” he told her.

She took a deep breath, pulling Queequeg fully into her lap before she spoke. “I’m not pissed,” she sighed. “I just don’t understand why you take cases like this, Mulder. You have to know this is all a bunch of nonsense.”

“Two people are dead, Scully.”

“And don’t use cheap shots, Mulder. Of course, I understand that. But we should not be running all over the country investigating garden variety deaths that should be handled by local police,” she started. “And before you tell me the locals couldn’t solve a game of ‘Clue’, I realize that. But that doesn’t change our role.”

Mulder sat there, not really knowing what to say in defense of himself, knowing that she was right. “But don’t you believe there is a possibility that something like ‘Big Blue’ could exist?” he said, his childlike hopefulness striking a nerve in Scully.

She moved Queequeg from her lap and tossed the covers back as she got out of bed, slipping on her house shoes. She moved over to him and sat on his lap, wrapping her arms around him as she hugged him to her. “No. But I love you for believing that,” she told him, moving back to look him in the eyes. “I’m sorry I’ve been so crabby. I’ll try to be a little more… accepting.”

Mulder smiled at her, knowing she probably wouldn’t be, but loving her for trying to try. “Pizza here or in my room?”

They had gone to his room to have pizza and Scully ended up sleeping there with him, Queequeg having his own cabin for the night. But just after dawn, there was a knock at his door, Ansel the photographer telling him Ted was missing.

“Can you and your partner come help?” he asked.

“Yeah, we’ll, um, meet you at the bait shop.”

Scully had sneaked back to her cabin to dress, Mulder none too happy when she showed up at their car with Queequeg in tow. Ansel had led Mulder down to the lake’s shore where he’d found Ted’s hat and several large, creature-like footprints in the mud. “Like I said, I recognize his hat.”

Mulder picked it up, recognizing the ‘Show Us Your Bobbers’

patch on the front. “How could you not?”

“So Ted’s Ford is parked about a half a mile back. Here’s his hat, and here’s these tracks. Know what I’m saying? I mean, look at the size of these tracks,” the photographer said excitedly.

Scully appeared through the tree line near the shore, the jangling sound of her dog’s tags preceding her. “Mulder?

This is Sheriff Lance Hindt.”

“Careful, watch out where you’re walking. Watch out…watch out for those tracks,” Mulder told her.

“Queequeg,” Scully mildly scolded, her dog tugging on its leash.

They exchanged a bit of small talk with the Sheriff, seeming like any other rural local law enforcement. “I think I can tell you what’s going on. Same thing that goes on every year. Fishermen get drunk, they drown, men get run over by power boats. Hell, on a lake this size, you’re going to have eight, nine deaths in a season. That’s just a statistical fact,” the Sheriff explained.

“But you’ve got two or three in as many weeks, I’d say you’re a little outside your bell curve, Sheriff,” Mulder told him.

“Agent Mulder? Mulder, this lake has 48 miles of shoreline.

I got four deputies full time. To close down a lake this size, hell, you’d have to call out the National Guard something like that…”

“We’d need irrefutable proof,” Scully added, still tugging at her dog, who seemed determined to get into the woods.

“What about these tracks?” Mulder asked, hoping she’d see the footprints as actual facts.

“Mulder, a creature as large as the one you’re looking for would have left considerably deeper impressions,” Scully pointed out just as Queequeg gave one good pull on his leash, getting away from her. “Queeqeg! Queequeg come back here! Queequeg!” she called, following the dog into the woods, noticing what her dog had found. “Mulder, Sherrif, come take a look at this.”

“What you got?” the Sheriff asked, following her into the woods.

“There’s your lake monster, Mulder,” she said, Mulder immediately seeing an empty boot with a large bottom shaped like a reptile’s clawed foot.

“That’s what it looks like,” Mulder said, bending to look closely at it.

“It’s all a hoax,” Scully said, trying not to be too gleeful.

“I’ll be dammed,” the Sheriff said.

Mulder noticed something on the inside of the top of the rubber boot, touching it with his finger. “Yeah, but what happened to the hoaxer?” he asked, holding up his blood coated finger for Scully and the Sheriff to see.

But just as the three of them believed they’d found clear evidence of a hoax, two wasted kids witnessed a snorkeler being pulled through the water by something, with nothing remaining but the man’s head and a lot of blood. And if that weren’t enough, poor Ansel the photographer was missing, all of his cameras and equipment found at the water’s edge. The Sheriff had finally closed the lake, extra help being brought in to drag the lake and try to get to the bottom of the deaths.

Early in the evening, Ansel’s bloody vest had been found, but not his body. Mulder had all of his film developed and he and Scully were in his cabin going through the photographs. “It looks like Ansel took these during the attack,” Mulder said, handing Scully a picture to look at.

“I agree with you, I just wish that he gave us something more,” she told him.

“Oh, look at this. Could this be a tooth?” he asked excitedly, wanting so badly to find some proof.

Scully was trying to show interest in his pictures, but Queequeg was distracting her in addition to the fact that the photos showed nothing. “Yeah, it could be a lot of things, Mulder. Fifteen years of fruitless hunting and the only thing the guy comes up with is a blurry picture of the monster’s tooth?” she said, looking up at him.

“There’s thousands of pictures here, Scully,” he told her, picking up Ansel’s bag, pulling out even more pictures.

“There’s got to be some visual evidence somewhere. Here, go through these.”

Scully reluctantly took the stack of pictures, skimming through them. “Mulder, they’re just a bunch of poorly composed tourist shots. “There’s…”

“That could be something,” he said, pointing out a spot on one of the pictures to her.

“A tooth?” she said to him, Queequeg beginning to whimper where he stood by the door, wanting out. “I’m taking Queequeg for a walk.”

“Want me to come with you?” he asked, still shuffling through Ansel’s pictures.

“I’m fine,” Scully smiled to him, lifting her jacket to reveal her gun clipped to the waistband of her slacks. He smiled back at her, knowing she could handle herself. She hooked the leash to her dog’s collar, looking back seeing Mulder still absorbed in the pictures. “Goodnight, Mulder,” she said, figuring he’d probably be up most of the night trying to find some miniscule evidence in the dead photographer’s life’s work and she was tired and wanted to go to bed.

“Goodnight, I’ll see you in the morning,” he said and she knew she was right.

She had taken the dog into the lawn near the cabins, the air cold and damp. “Come on, Queequeg,” she said, tugging softly on the leash. “Queequeg, we’re not going to go into the woods. Come on, do your business. I thought you had to go.” The dog continued to whimper and pull on the leash, very interested in something in the woods. “Queequeg, what is it?” Scully asked, shining her flashlight toward the woods, wondering what the dog was sensing. She looked around a bit, losing her concentration on her pet, the dog pulling the leash from her hand. “Queequeg! Where are you going?” The dog broke free and ran for the woods, dragging his leash behind him. “Queequeg! Come back here!” she called, following the leash, trying to see in the darkness with her flashlight. “Queequeg!” she yelled, following the plastic handle of the leash, but no longer able to see her dog. “Queequeg? Queequeg?” her voice stopped when she finally reached the handle, pulling her gun when she heard the dog bark and then whimper. Then the dog went silent and the line went limp in her hand, winding itself back into the handle and, to Scully’s horror, with only Queequeg’s ragged collar and tag on the end.

Scully ran like hell back to Mulder’s cabin, pounding on the door, “Mulder! Mulder, let me in!”

He opened the door and she ran in, practically shoving him out of the way so that she could close the door and lock it.

“What’s the matter?” he asked, then noticing the empty leash in her hand. “Where’s Queequeg?” Scully leaned over, her hands on her knees as she tried to catch her breath, winded from her run and her fear. “Scully?”

“It’s… It’s Queequeg…” she started, falling into a chair. “I think something got him.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, standing next to her. She handed the leash to him and he examined the torn collar, seeing blood on the underside.

“He got away from me… into the woods. I heard him cry out and… well, you can see for yourself,” she said, looking at the collar she remembered buying for him.

“What do you think it was?” he asked carefully, sitting at the chair at the small table.

“I don’t know, but if you say it was ‘Big Blue’, I’m going to slap you,” she said, her voice starting to quaver. Both of them sat there for several long minutes, it finally soaking in to Scully that her dog was dead, Mulder afraid to say much of anything. He worked on studying the information he had about the lake, the locations of the sightings, of the deaths. He glanced over at her now and then, seeing that she was still upset, sitting there in a distressed silence.

Finally, he decided he’d better say something. “I’m sorry about Queequeg,” he said softly, hoping he hadn’t said the wrong thing. Even though he didn’t like her dog, he didn’t want her to have to go through losing it, especially in such a brutal way. “You know, I think I’ve learned something from these photos.”

“Mulder…” she sighed, not really wanting to hear about his damned photos at the moment.

“They’re not pictures of the lake monster, they’re pictures of the lake,” he said, going over to where she was sitting, showing her the map he’d been working on. “Locations where the fish has been sighted over the past several years.

Look, five years ago, all the sightings occurred in the center of the lake. But progressively the sightings have moved closer and closer to shore, until this year, they’re practically on the shore.”

“Could you repeat the last part again? I kind of faded out,” she said, barely able to pay attention.

“Which part?” he asked.

She hesitated a moment, then looked at him sadly. “After you said ‘I’m sorry’?”

Mulder just nodded, knowing she wasn’t going to hear much of what he’d said. “Can you drive a boat?”



One hour later

They had used their FBI credentials to rouse the owner of the boat rental place, the man not used to letting boats go out in the middle of the night. Scully showed adept skill at maneuvering the vessel out of the marina, Mulder impressed. “You really do know how to drive a boat.”

“My dad was a Navy man, Mulder. What do you think we did on vacations?” she smiled, Mulder noticing her mood was much better.

“I don’t know, maybe head to the desert?” he joked.

“No, he loved the water. We were all like fish as kids.

And we all learned to ski and drive a boat whether we wanted to or not,” she smiled, memories flooding into her mind. She drove a little further, keeping her eye on the sonar screen in the boat. “It’s too bad we’re not out here fishing,” she said, seeing all of the activity on the machine.

“We are fishing,” he said, his sincerity garnering a smile out of her.

“You really expect to find this thing, don’t you, Mulder?”

she said, looking back at him.

He held up his map, turning it this way and that, pointing to a particular spot. “You want to head right…here,” he said, but she got the idea that he probably didn’t know what he was talking about.

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”