Blackwood I & II by Susan Garrity

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Blackwood I & II by Susan Garrity

Blackwood cover

Blackwood I  . . . . . . . . . . . .  Blackwood II


DISCLAIMER: Have to have it, I guess, so here it is: They’re not mine, and I wouldn’t want the responsibility anyway.
SPOILERS: All the way up to the movie.
RATING: NC-17 (Language, Mulder/Scully sex)

SUMMARY: An important section of the upcoming movie, from the author’s point of view.

AUTHOR’S NOTES: I actually started this months ago, after preview shots and rumors of various scenes in the movie became available. A lot of it is fantasy that I would never expect Mr. Carter would actually allow our heroes to fulfill. But when I saw the previews for the movie after the final episode of season 5, I was amazed at how close some of my fantasy predictions were. If the movie ends up anything like this fanfic writing, I will pass out. Oh, one more note: With the addition of the Diana/wife angle introduced late into the season, I updated this writing just before posting it. I decided to address that aspect directly in a separate post entitled “Blackwood II”. Look for it on an archive near you.

The title “Blackwood” was taken from the rumored original screenplay title for the movie.

BLACKWOOD by Susan Garrity

Every time he drew a breath, the icy fingers of the arctic air reached into his mouth and tried to snatch it back. Jack Frost wasn’t nipping at his nose – he was snapping at it, the hairs inside frozen into tiny daggers. His heavily balmed lips felt disgusting, and he purposely kept them apart and endured the shock of breathing the frigid air through his mouth rather than have them stick together. Between that and the ache in his legs, this jaunt through the northern woodlands had become an altogether unpleasant experience.

He raised his eyes from the spot immediately in front of his moving feet, where his gaze had remained for the last several minutes of trudging through the snow, to take stock of his surroundings. The trail ahead stretched on, unmarked, but clearly visible as an open area through the sparse woods. It was still only late morning, and the sun bounced off the snowpack in a blinding brilliance. The extra money he’d spent on his polarized, UV-blocking snow goggles had been well worth the expense.

If it wasn’t so fucking cold, this place would be beautiful, he thought for the thousandth time.

He continued on, his thoughts wandering as they had been throughout the morning trek, completely separate from the automated forward-moving actions of his body. The relentless up and down motion of his legs as he lifted them out of the snow just to put them back down again focused his unconscious on the lower half of his body, and he imagined a beautiful, naked woman straddling his thighs, her warm hands traveling up and down his chest and hips as she lowered herself slowly and luxuriously onto his hard, eager cock. The idea of being buried to his balls in that moist heat made the image just that much more appealing. He thought about how her breasts would feel in his hands, and how he would caress and fondle them, roll the nipples around under his fingertips. He imagined taking the warm, turgid peaks into his mouth, gripping her firm ass as he sucked on them. He’d had this same fantasy many times over the course of the morning, and each time, as he pulled away from his fantasy woman’s breasts to look up at her face, it was always Dana Scully that was straddling him, driving him with her touch and movements and voice and expressions to the very edge of sensual sanity. He’d given up long ago trying to replace her with some other woman, because even if he started with someone else, it was always Scully who was there to share in his climax. It was inevitable, he rationalized, at least in his fantasies, so he enjoyed them unashamedly as he plowed on in the brilliant snow.

Just as it had done before, a cough made by the person behind him immediately slowed his pace. He shortened his stride considerably but kept moving, and looked over his shoulder at his companion. She had her head down, in the same distracted, automated gait that he’d adopted for the extended hike that had started hours before. She seemed to be moving well, so he lengthened his stride again and brought his gaze forward.

But a series of short, hard coughs nearly halted him altogether. The woman’s stride faltered as she fought through her bought of coughing. He paused long enough to allow her to move up beside him, but he didn’t touch her, or offer any assistance.

The fit soon subsided, and as she was clearing her throat, she became aware of his gaze on her, and looked up at him. He made a quick, but practiced, study of her face, slightly annoyed that the dark snow goggles she also wore made a view of her eyes impossible. But even so, he could tell immediately how fatigued she was. Expressionless, he inclined his head toward a grouping of nearby boulders. She looked in the direction he indicated, then back at his face, hesitant. The corner of his mouth twitched up in a sardonic half-smile, and the corners of her full lips twitched in response. Then they both made their way to the boulders.

The rocks were dark and free from snow, and she leaned her hip against one as though to test its sturdiness. He knew that she was making her movements in stages, and waited until she finally shifted and lifted herself up to rest completely on the smooth crest of the rock. A little sigh escaped her, and he lifted his boot and placed it on the rock next to where she sat, so that she could rest her weight against his leg if she wished. He shifted the submachine gun around from where he’d slung it across his shoulder to cradle it in one arm, his elbow propped on his raised knee. He continuously scanned their surroundings, alert and aware, his actions uncharacteristically militant. He was taking this assignment very seriously.

He listened to her labored breathing as it gradually slowed to normal. The hike they were making was challenging even to someone in excellent shape, never mind someone who was still recovering from the aftereffects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer. The cancer itself had weakened her considerably even before the treatments decimated her immune system. Although her remission was miraculous, it had only marked the beginning of her crawl toward recovery. It had been several months since she was declared cancer-free, but she was still gaining back the strength and endurance she had lost. He could tell every time he looked at her that she was still a little too thin, still shy of filling out those curves her tiny, but voluptuous, body used to sport. Yet through it all she had remained stunningly beautiful to him, and the desire for a little more roundness to her cheek only served to further cement his devotion to her and to their partnership.

She gave another little sigh and leaned heavily against his leg. He shifted his elbow so that she could rest her head on his knee, which she did. He smiled a little to himself as he lightly touched the hood of her parka, as though stroking her hair, but the touch was brief, and he went back to his sentry duties, a warmth spreading out from deep in his gut at the feel of her body against his leg.

He thought about how things had changed between them since she had agreed to cover for him to Blevins and the subcommittee. How as little as a year ago a situation such as this one would have played so differently… Back then, a rest like this would have been the perfect time for her to say something like “Tell me again why we’re doing this, Mulder,” or “What do you hope to find when we get there, Mulder?” How any concern he may have displayed or help he would have offered would have been met with a movement away from his touch and a firm, “I’m fine, Mulder.” How there was a time when he more than likely would have left her behind and done this completely on his own.

But these days doing anything without her by his side was not even an option. Something had happened during those long days of grief and adrenaline that preceded the diagnosis of her remission – he had come to peace with the idea of accepting her completely into his life. And she seemed to have done the same. Now there was a unity between them that superseded even the silent communication that they had developed through the years of working together; a comfort and serenity and acceptance of each other that he had always longed for. With her by his side, he was whole. He was greater than the sum of them both. He was invincible. He was a human being.

Sometimes he missed the old days, when she wasn’t so willing to acquiesce. He had become very reliant on her to keep him mentally sharp and focused on his goals – their battle of wits and her constant questioning of his motives had been maddening, but ultimately useful. Her professionalism had helped protect her against his passions, both the ones he let her see and the ones he didn’t. Her standards had been so solid that he’d often thrown himself bodily upon them when he’d felt his own weaken and turn to jello. He hadn’t realized just how essential that part of her been to him until Diana had questioned her methods in the last investigation.

What he couldn’t explain, to Diana or anyone else, was that there was so much more to his partnership with this woman than the professional debates on theory and methodology. Like the way she would speak to him when they were alone, in that low voice that was now so warm and gentle; or the way she would smile a little at his flirtations; or the way she would sta= nd so close to him for no reason at all; or the way she would hold his hand, giving him total support with no spoken word; or the way she would look at him with her blue eyes all soft around the edges, and listen to his theories and subjecture and nod and then go to the phone and arrange all the things that needed arranging so that they could continue on unabated – and he knew deep inside that this was the best that it had ever been with anyone in his entire life. If he had to pick her up and carry her in his arms to their destination, he would do it, because he never again wanted to face anything of importance without her.

His relationship with Diana had never even come close to this.

His companion lifted her head from his knee and straightened stiffly. She was ready to move on. He dropped his foot to the ground and offered her his hand, which she automatically took. He helped her off the rock, and gave her a silent, questioning look. She nodded in answer, and he reshifted the gun sling back to its original position around his shoulders, and started off along the snow-covered trail. A quick look at his watch and a mental calculation put them at the camp in about an hour and a half. At that point, they would have about 10 hours to find what they were looking for and to make their retreat before the occupants returned.

The trail quickly leveled out and the going became much easier. They were halfway through a stand of pines when they noticed that the clearing on the other side was artificially enormous. They had reached the camp. Operating on training and instinct, they simultaneously began a skulking approach, using the tree trunks as cover. They moved in fits and spurts to the edge of the stand, then surveyed as much of the clearing as they could while camouflaged by the pines.

About 200 yards to their right was a large building with 3 huge loading dock- type doors. Parked perpendicular to the building were 2 gigantic snow-cats, outfitted with cargo beds that could easily accommodate 60 fully-equipped soldiers, or any large-scale equipment necessary for an operation of this magnitude. There were lower, more control-oriented buildings beyond the big one, their roofs bristling with antennae. The majority of the clearing, however, was obscured by a snow-covered rise directly in front of them. They would have to expose themselves if they wanted to properly assess the situation.

Swinging himself and his pack completely behind the tree, he unslung his submachine gun and cocked it. Looking over at his companion’s position behind the neighboring tree, he patted the gun lightly, then pointed at her. She knew instantly what he was asking, and shook her head no; she then reached into her parka, and withdrew her handgun, and cocked it as well. He shrugged a little. He knew that she was fully capable of handling the automatic weapon, but he also knew how deadly she was with her Sig. If she felt more comfortable with that, then he would gladly take the firepower the machine gun afforded them.

At his nod, he started a countdown on his fingers, and as he lowered the last one, they crouched and moved fluently out of the sanctuary of the trees and up the slope of the rise. As they approached the crest, they dropped to their stomachs and crawled the rest of the way, creeping the last few feet with their faces in the snow. As one, they threw back the hoods of their parkas, and cautiously lifted their heads to peer over the top of the rise.

The view was almost disappointing. All that was visible was a large, shallow depression in the clearing, covering several acres. The snow that blanketed the clearing softened the outline of the depression to the point where it was impossible to tell exactly what the level-bottomed depression actually was. Snow-covered lumps could be seen at various points inside the depression. She produced a small pair of field glasses from inside her parka and spent several minutes examining each feature in the clearing. He shaded his eyes and peered around as well as he could without magnification.

Finally she whispered, “I don’t see any activity anywhere. It appears deserted.”

He nodded. “Our information was good in that respect, at least,” he whispered back. “What do you make of those mounds?”

She examined the lumps more closely. “I can’t make them out. They appear irregular. Could they be the pumps?”

“Could be. I suppose we could take a look.”

She lowered the glasses and ducked her head back down, following his lead. They slid back down the rise, standing when they reached the bottom. Taking stock of themselves and each other, they then started their stealthy move out from behind the rise and across the clearing toward the large building. Their crouched run took them across the deep tracks left behind by the snowcats. As they approached the vehicles, it became obvious that there had been a third one parked next to the other two, and it had been recently driven away. They hid themselves between the remaining monsters.

Gulping down the frigid air, they took a few minutes to reorient themselves. The depression with its strange lumps was only a few dozen feet away. They would be hopelessly visible out there in the open, but it was necessary if they wanted to get what they came for.

She scanned the clearing and buildings again, zooming in on the windows of the smaller compound. “I still don’t see anyone,” she whispered. “I’m not sure I like this. It’s almost too easy.”

“Nothing is as easy as it looks,” he retorted, holding his hand out for the glasses. She wordlessly passed them on, and he made his own evaluation of the clearing. Minutes later, he returned them with a shrug. “Let’s not waste any more time. Do you feel up to checking out that nearest mound while I cover you?”

She gave him a sharp look that reminded him suddenly of the old days, and he just smiled at her. The look softened immediately, and she nodded. He reached out and squeezed the arm of her parka, noting that it took a while before he could feel her actual flesh under the material. “Let’s go,” he whispered, and they stood and cautiously moved out from behind the safety of the snowcats.

He dropped back and took a low, cautionary stance while she moved rabbit-like – zigzagging, in bursts of speed punctuated by crouching stops – to the edge of the depression, holding her handgun at the ready. She surveyed the path from her feet to the nearest lump, then gingerly reached down with her foot to test the surface. Her boot sank into the snow up to her shin, then stopped. She put some weight on it. The surface underneath felt solid. Very slowly, she put the rest of her weight on that leg, then lowered all of herself into the depression.

The mound of snow was about forty feet away. She tried to damp down her sudden feeling of trepidation as her eyes raked over her surroundings. The whole camp area was so very silent, the normal outside noises muffled by the fresh layer of snow that had fallen the night before. Aside from the snowcat tracks and footprints around where the third one had been, there was no evidence of recent habitation. It was unsettling.

A soft sound behind her reminded her suddenly that he was there, strong and vigilant. She felt better immediately. It was just this nagging apprehension…

To the task at hand. She moved toward the mound, slowly, testing the ground with each step before applying full weight. In no time at all she was there, and she started gently sweeping the snow away from whatever was underneath. It was a fluffy snow, and it fell away mostly of its own accord, revealing large, convoluted piping and control boxes with keyhole security. She looked it over carefully as she dug out a small hand mic and receiver from her pocket, and quietly spoke into it.

“It looks like it could be part of a flushing or ventilation system, possibly for a pumping mechanism larger than what we originally thought. There’s nothing here to indicate that it’s what we came for.”

He took his handset away from his ear and replied into it, “Okay, come on back and we’ll check out the warehouse.”

“Wait,” she countered. “There are control boxes here. Let me open one and take a look.”

“Hurry. I don’t like you out there where everyone can see you.”

She smiled at his concern and tucked the handset away. From another pocket came a compact, multipurpose tool kit. Selecting a slender pick, she made short work of one of the keyholes and popped the box open. The switches and buttons and indicator lights inside were unremarkable and unlabeled. One tiny green light kept going on and off in long, slow blinks.

She went to close the box when she noticed that the green light suddenly went off and a red light next to it lit up like a neon sign. She stared at it for a few seconds, puzzled and suddenly very worried. Then, under the soles of her boots, she felt a rumble, low and coming from somewhere very deep. The box in her hands started to vibrate and hum. The snow blanketing the piping developed sudden caverns as heat radiated from the metal, sending rivulets of water running downward. Her eyes followed the dripping, and in a flash of dread, she pawed away the snow from the base of the pipes. She paused when she saw what the snow had been hiding.

Ice. Ice which was rapidly melting from around the piping, revealing the ripples of concussion waves in dark green water.

Shit. She was standing on a large, frozen lake.

Panic gripped her for an instant, then she mentally shook herself. She could feel the handset in her pocket vibrate as he tried to contact her. She knew that he noticed her strange body movements and was worried. Her biggest concern at that moment was not to make any sudden movements which might put her through the presumably weakened ice around her and the piping, which was now putting out so much heat that the metal was changing color.

Slowly, slowly, she lowered her body and spread herself out in the snow to dissipate her weight, then started moving back the way she had come. She dared not stop. The rumbling deep beneath her continued – she could feel it in her belly and thighs. It might have actually been pleasant if not for the current situation. When she was about halfway, she dared to lift her head and look for him. He was standing at the edge of the depression, every fiber in his body silently screaming his desperate concern. She was heartened, and finally stood to make the rest of the way back quickly on foot.

At that moment, a deep, muffled BOOM resonated under her feet, bouncing back and forth from shore to shore beneath the ice. Immediately after, a sharp, sickening crack!, like the report of a gunshot, traveled up her legs and echoed in her chest. Her heart stopped. She lifted her eyes to lock with his. Help me, they pleaded.

He was frozen in place, his mind racing to comprehend what was going on. When he saw her lay face down in the snow and start crawling back toward him, he knew something had gone terribly wrong. He’d reached the edge of the depression at the same time that she’d stood up, and then there were those noises, so surreal, like from a subterranean doomsday machine, raising the hair on his neck. He’d looked around him wildly, prepared for some sort of attack, when the sound like a gunshot honed him right back to her. The last thing he saw was her lifting her arms out to him, her eyes wide in horror. Then she was gone, swallowed by a dark, wet hole which had suddenly appeared directly where she had been standing.

“Scully!! NOOO!!!”

The scream erupted from his throat before he could stop himself. If anyone hadn’t noticed their presence before, they were sure to be aware of it now. But the consequences of blowing their cover was the last thing on his mind. He ditched his backpack and gun, and jumped down onto the surface of the depression. He took two steps and then fully realized exactly= what had happened. This was a frozen lake. She had fallen through the ice. Why wasn’t she popping back up to the surface? Please, God, bring her back up!

He shuffled forward as gingerly as he could force his body to move, his eyes riveted on the dark green water lapping at the jagged edges of the ice. How deep was it? Was there a current? Could she have bobbed back up just shy of the hole and was now clawing frantically at the ice from underneath? The thought was like a knife deep in his gut, twisting… He fell to his knees, then to all fours, crawling steadily toward the hole, desperately sweeping the snow away in front of him, trying to see through the ice for a glimpse of her. It had been too long. Why the hell wasn’t she popping back up?!!

A soft swooshing sound forced his eyes back to the hole. Something was there that hadn’t been there before, grotesquely shaped, pale against black and dark red, bobbing.

Jesus Christ!

She bobbed upright in the frigid green water, the trapped air in her parka ballooning around her and helping to keep her afloat, at least for the moment. Her hair was plastered to her face, obscuring her eyes; but the thing that made his heart jump was the fact that she had her mouth wide open, and she was trying to gulp down lungfulls of air. Her hands fluttered weakly on top of the water, her head tilted crazily to one side. Her lips were moving.

He spread his body fully on the ice and pulled himself to the edge of the hole. As he got closer, he could hear soft gasps coming from her mouth as she tried desperately to breathe. He realized that the shock of the cold water had probably caused her diaphram to contract or go into spasm, and that she was working against it just to draw breath.

“Scully,” he said, trying to remain calm, “Scully, I’m here.”

Her lips were still moving. The ice immediately around the hole was brittle, and spiderweb cracks appeared as he edged his body closer. The soft gasping she was making carried a word that he couldn’t quite make out.

“Scully,” he said again, “Scully, it’s me. Listen. I’m here. Reach for me. I’m going to pull you out. Can you help me?”

She was oblivious to his presence. He moved out so far that his chin was in the icy water with her. He stretched out his arm as far as he could. She bobbed just slightly out of his reach, her face turned away from him, gasping, trying to speak.

“Scully!” His voice was strained and frightened. Every second she spent in that water was a second closer to death. If he stretched any further he would fall in with her. “Scully!”


He finally made out the word.

He inched still further, risking everything. Anger rose in him, and he directed it at her in his frustration. “Dammit, Scully! I’m here! Take my hand!”

Something in his voice made it’s way through to her, because her head finally moved, swiveling toward him. The hair in her eyes still blinded her, but she picked up her hand and partially extended it toward the sound of his voice. It was just enough. He grabbed her wrist, then the sleeve of her parka, and pulled her toward him. As he pulled, the trapped air in her parka started to bubble out, and she began to sink.

“Scully,” he grunted with the effort of trying to keep her from sinking and pulling him in with her, “you’ve got to help me get you out. Grab hold of me. Pull yourself up. Now, Scully. Do it!”

She obeyed, wheezing, moving like an autotron. She gripped him like a lifeline, weakly crawling over his body as he grabbed handfuls of her sodden clothing and hauled her up for all he was worth. He frantically dug the toes of his boots into the ice and pulled himself back from the edge of the hole, hauling her with him as best he could.

When she was completely out of the water, they both lay on the ice, exhausted and soaked. It was the loud chattering of her teeth that forced him to keep moving. Still on his stomach, he grabbed her by the shoulder of her parka and dragged her after him as he crawled back toward the shore. When they were nearly there, he rose to his feet and hooked his arms under hers, dragging her off the ice and over the edge of the depression. He deposited her on the snow for the moment it took to grab up the backpack and gun, then he bent back over her, swung her arm over his shoulders, and lifted her to her feet, supporting her with his other arm around her waist.

“Walk, Scully,” he commanded. “We’ve got to get you somewhere warm. You’ve got to walk. It’ll help, and we’ll get there faster. Can you hear me? Help me, Scully.”

She nodded, still wheezing, her body trembling uncontrollably. He took a step forward, and she clumsily imitated him, almost stumbling. She leaned heavily on him and took another step. His shoulders and arms screamed in pain, but he managed to keep them both upright as they made their way to the giant warehouse nearby.

Once there, he propped her up against the wall as he tried the handle of a man- sized entrance next to the huge loading doors. To his surprise and relief, it was unlocked, and swung open easily to the inside. Gathering her back up, he took them both inside and kicked the door shut behind them.

The interior was unlit and dark, save for the thin breaths of light that whistled in with the hard wind between the edges of the huge doors. It had the feeling of being empty, and therefore immense. He paused several paces inside and looked around, his eyes not fully adjusted. It was still too cold in here. He needed somewhere warm, and he needed it now. Scully swung from his shoulders, her legs trembling to the point of convulsions and unable to support her weight.

A concentrated pinpoint of light caught his attention in the opposite corner of the building. It had the reddish glow of an artificial origin. Summoning up a bit more strength, he urged her on, half-stumbling, half dragging her. He made out an office-type structure looming in the darkness, boxed outward from the interior wall. The door was open, and the light was coming from inside. With a heave, he took the two of them into the structure, and promptly collapsed to his knees on a thinly carpeted floor. He laid Scully down as gently as he could, and fell on all fours, his head hanging, sucking air into his lungs. He allowed himself only a few deep breaths before reaching over to check on his partner. He pushed her wet, heavy hair away from her face, but couldn’t see her well in the dim light. Her skin was cold. Her body convulsed to the point of seizures. Her had to do something or she was going to die from hypothermia.

He rose shakily to his feet and looked around. The light he saw was coming from a small gooseneck lamp on a desk against the wall. There were whiteboards and pegboards adorning the walls, covered with papers and engineering diagrams. None of it interested him. His eyes fell on a low structure in the other corner, and he made his way to it, just to make sure it was what he thought it was. A bed. A cot, really, fashioned from wood with a thin mattress, and only enough room for one person. He nodded to himself. No blanket, though.

Another structure caught his attention. A locker. He ripped it open. He couldn’t make out it’s contents, so he just reached inside and started pulling out everything he touched, throwing it on the floor. Toiletry articles. Jumpsuits. Magazines. Extra cold weather outer clothing. That would come in handy, but he was really looking for…

His hand came in contact with a plump, nylon-covered mound. He yanked it out and stared at it in disbelief. A sleeping bag, made especially for sub-zero conditions. Unbelievable. “Wow,” he breathed. He inspected it quickly, unzipped it. Yes. Perfect. He spread it out on the cot, then turned back to his partner.

Scully was lying very still.

He leapt past her and slammed the door shut. With strength born from panic and determination, he leaned down and grabbed her by the front of her parka, lifted her off the floor, and brought her to the cot. He set her on the floor and propped her up against its frame. Her head lolled to her shoulder at a crazy angle. The light from the lamp on the desk illuminated her face. It was deathly pale. Her lips and the skin around her eyes were blue.

“Shit!” He felt her neck for a pulse. It fluttered against his fingertips. “Scully!” He grabbed her chin and moved her head so she faced him. “Scully, wake up!” He let go, and her head lolled away from him again. “Shit!” His hands tore at her parka, unzipping it clumsily. He pulled her against him to work it over and off her leaden arms. It was completely soaked and weighed a ton, and when he heaved it into a corner it landed in a heap and immediately started to freeze.

As he worked the sodden wool sweater over her head and arms, he started talking to her, trying to calm himself. “This really sucks, you know, Scully? Mothmen, flukemen, little gray men, G-men – oops!” He caught her before her freed body fell back against the frame of the cot. Gently he eased her back until she rested there, then proceeded to rip the buttons off her fleece workshirt. “You’ve faced them all, looked them straight in the eye, and not once did I see you flinch. You’re my hero, Scully.” He pulled her against him again to work off the shirt. She was like a rag doll in his arms. His throat started to tighten as he felt tears pushing behind his eyes. “I wish you’d wake up and help me, Scully. I don’t make a habit of undressing unconscious women. I’m not very good at this.”

Freed of the workshirt, he grabbed the silk undershirt she wore next to her skin and tried to rip it down from the back of the neckline. The strength of wet silk became immediately apparent to him, and he swore and once again drew it clumsily over her head and arms. He grabbed her to him as he freed her of it to keep her from falling back, and his hands grazed over the back of her bra. He hesitated. He hadn’t taken the time to think about this before he started – he’d only known what he had to do. The internal struggle took only a second or two, and he determinedly unhooked her bra, slipped it off her shoulders, and deposited in upon the mound of her sodden clothes.

Hugging her to him, he lifted her onto the cot, and laid her down on the opened sleeping bag. His eyes took in her naked torso, her innocently revealed breasts, and a stab of guilt hit him as he felt his cock automatically surge. He pulled a section of sleeping bag over her nakedness, as much to cover her as to keep her warm, and set about to relieve her of the bottom half of her wet clothing.

The boots and socks were soaked, but yanked off easily. “You really should consider another line of work, Scully,” he continued, grunting at the effort of pulling off her waterlogged snowpants. “You don’t tend to meet the best guys running around with someone like me.” Water seemingly poured out of the lightweight fleece tights he peeled off next, and he whisked it off the sleeping bag with a sweep of his hand. “I’ve been thinking about it, you know. Going into something else. It’s getting so that I can’t even take a pretty lady for a walk in the woods without something happening to her.” Long silk underwear. He tried not to notice how cold and pale her skin was as he rolled them down her legs like pantyhose. Her feet were ice as he worked them over them. He hesitated again at the thought of pulling off her underwear, the last scrap of clothing she had left. But they were wet, and they had to come off, so he gritted his teeth against the emotions rolling in his gut and pulled them off her precious body.

Before he could allow himself the sight of her naked before him, he grabbed up a jumpsuit from the floor and rubbed it briskly over her, drying her as best he could. Tossing it away from him, he then quickly folded the sleeping bag over her and zipped it up to her chin. He stepped away, breathing heavily, and stared down at his handiwork.

She was unconscious, her breathing shallow and irregular. Her lips and eyelids were still blue. She was obviously not going to make it without some help. He rubbed his hands over his face wearily, then suddenly noticed his own shivering. In his efforts to look after Scully, he had forgotten completely that he was also wet from the waist up from pulling her out of the water. He took off his parka and hung it over the chair that accompanied the desk. A sudden bout of shivering overtook him, and he hunched over, burying his frozen hands in his armpits. He was starting to really feel the pain of exposure to this cold. It struck him that neither one of them might make it out of here alive – if they didn’t succumb to the hypothermia, the camp’s occupants would make short work of them when they returned. They still had about 8 hours, according to their information. He snorted to himself. How reliable could that source be, when even their aerial recognizance couldn’t determine that the depression was actually a body of water under the snow? He suddenly felt very isolated and alone… and cold.

Something under the desk caught his eye from his hunched-over vantage point. He quickly moved the chair away and peered into the cavity. An electric heater! It was plugged into an outlet under the desk. He flicked a switch, and a hum filled the room, followed soon after by a glow at the ends of the elements. He closed his eyes in a silent prayer of thanks. Flicking it off, he unplugged it, and took it to the cot. His hands scanned the dark wall next to it, searching for an outlet. A heartfelt, “Yes,” escaped his lips as he found one and plugged the heater in. A few seconds later, the little heater was gamely trying to fight off the refrigerator-like cold that gripped the room. It seemed to be succeeding, but only for the few feet directly in front of it. It might be good for drying the clothes, he thought grimly, but it wasn’t going to help him or Scully.

He peeled off his wet fleece and thermal shirts, and wrapped one of the extra jackets from the locker around himself. He sat on the edge of the c= ot and gravely looked down on her face. He thought it somewhat tragic that he could still think of her as beautiful no matter how she looked. He traced the outline of her cheek with his finger, his heart breaking. With everything they had been through, all the brushes and handshakes with the most exotic of deaths, it was horrible to think that he should lose her to something as ordinary as hypothermia. It was inconceivable to think of losing her at all. He wanted to hold her in his arms and tell her what was in his heart…

He sat upright. A memory of a night in the forest flashed through his mind. Jesus, why didn’t he think of that before? He stood and stripped off the jacket, his boots, the remainder of his clothes, unzipped the sleeping bag, and climbed on top of her still form, awkwardly zipping the bag up after him.

In a morbid kind of way, this was a fantasy come true. Yet out of all the reactions he’d imagined his naked body having laying on top of a naked Dana Scully, recoiling in horror wasn’t one of them. It was like being trapped in a coffin with a corpse. Her pale skin was clammy and cold, so very cold, everywhere his body touched hers. He could barely feel her heartbeat against his chest. He had to grit his teeth and fight his body’s natural reaction to climb out of that sleeping bag as quickly as possible. He closed his eyes, and concentrated on the fact that this was the most important person in his life, someone he loved more than himself, someone to whom he owed his life, many times over. He snaked his arms around her and gathered her still closer to his chest, his belly, rolling over on his side so that he wouldn’t crush her. He wrapped one long leg over= and around hers, trapping her cold little feet between his calves. With one hand he positioned her head so that it was pillowed on his arm, drawing her face close to him so that she would breathe air warmed by his body. His hand rested there, against her cheek, and he shivered as he felt the heat being drained from him, sucked away by the lovely heat sink he so willingly held against his heart.

He tried to let his mind wander, to force himself to think about anything except his shivering, and how very cold she felt in his arms. Perhaps thoughts of exercise could distract him, help make him feel warmer, maybe even have a psycho-physiological affect and elevate his body temperature. The first thing that came to mind was his passion, swimming. Immediately he dismissed it. Too close to the reality at hand. Running. He loved to run, especially when he was stressed, and it was a close second to a good swim. He closed his eyes and pictured himself thrumming along a dirt country road at the height of summer, dressed only in his running shorts and footwear, the sweat dripping off his hair. He concentrated on the burn he’d feel in his legs, the heat coming off his body in waves that trailed after him like smoke. The air would be warm, warm in his mouth, warm in his lungs. Even the breeze hitting his skin would be warm. And the run would be effortless, like running through space, and he would run forever. He’d pass homes with families outside, doing family things, and he’d wave. He’d pass farms with animals, and imagined the tang that the smell of animals added to the air. He’d pass endless fields of flowers, seas of colors and fragrance, and hear bees and crickets and cicadas and birds and some lonesome dog calling for him far, far down the road…

It was the tingling of the arm under Scully’s head and the leg he was laying on that brought him out of his daydream. Both limbs were falling asleep. Time to shift. Tightening his grip on Scully’s body, he rolled over on his back, bringing her and the sleeping bag with him. Then he scooted both of them back to the middle of the cot. He was about to roll them both over to his other side when he stopped, realizing two things. First, his shivering had stopped. He still didn’t feel very warm, but then again, she didn’t feel as cold as she had either. They must have finally reached some sort of equilibrium in that sleeping bag. And second. he really liked the feel of her, especially this way, draped on top of him, her legs fallen open on either side of his. It was almost as though she had fallen into a languid sleep there after an energetic bout of lovemaking, her orgasms having been especially satisfying…

Stop, he admonished himself. Don’t go there. As much as he lived for his fantasies about them together, she was still his partner, and as much as he had flirted with her these many years, she had never indicated that she cared for him that way. And regardless, she was unconscious, and still near death, and completely unaware of the earthquake she had innocently started in his groin just by being quiet and naked and laying sprawled on his naked body in this cramped sleeping bag.

Think of something else. What else could he think about? How about something non-sexual. Think about this beautiful, naked woman in a non-sexual way. Let’s see. How about how amazing it was that her damp, auburn crown could be completely tucked under his chin, her cheek against his chest, and her toes didn’t even reach his ankles, yet she still managed to fit so perfectly against him. That her firm breasts pressed into his torso was sensitizing his skin every time he took a breath, and his swiftly hardening cock was trapped between the soft skin of their bellies, despite his efforts to think of the situation in a non-sexual way. His hands were moving of their own accord, traveling lightly over her back, noticing distractedly that her skin was soft even if not very warm, and his fingertips were straying over and over again to the small of her back where the swell of her tight ass began… He groaned and shut his eyes tight, fighting to stay his hands. Jesus, how easy it would be… He could just roll them both over and be right where he wanted, between those luscious thighs, and he could slip right into paradise…

She took a sudden, sharp intake of breath, a gasp that made her body jump a little on his chest. It put a shock right through him, scared the shit out of him. Instantly he was tuned into her, his hands splayed over her back, waiting, listening, feeling. Her breathing remained shallow, and as the adrenaline rush began to subside, he started to think that he had imagined it. Then, suddenly, she did it again, then again. It was a convulsive kind of breathing, and he began to panic. Maybe she was going into cardiac arrest. Maybe she needed more room to breathe. Should she be on her back? On her side? Should he move at all? Wanting to do something, without even thinking, he rolled with her to the side, pillowing her head, holding her, but not too tightly, and tried to lay her so that her chest could have enough room to expand. It seemed to help. He pulled away from her as much as he could so he could watch her face. She took a few more convulsive gasps, then stopped. For too long a time she didn’t breathe at all, and he was just about to grab her and start mouth-to-mouth when she took a long, deep, steady breath, her ribs expanding exquisitely, and let it out. Her next breath was slightly less long and deep, as was the one after that, and very soon she was breathing normally, over and over again.

He finally released the air that he’d been holding in his lungs since her first gasp, and gathered her to his chest again, gently, tenderly. He buried his face into her damp hair, and before he knew what was happening, his gut hitched and a sob emptied from him into her hair. Another one followed, then another, and he didn’t understand why his body was giving itself over to this emotion at this moment. All he knew was that he was relieved, that the blue was gone from her face and that her body was getting warmer and she was breathing all right again; and he was ashamed. Ashamed of his thoughts, of his opportunistic desires. He was not worthy of this woman’s trust. He wondered for the first time how she would react when she regained consciousness and realized what had happened here. Would she be mortified? Would she ever be able to look him in the eye again? Or would she see it in a clinical, detached way, never allowing the awkwardness of the situation register as anything other than the duty of one partner saving the life of another? Somehow he doubted that. He could only hope that she would know, on the level that she reserved for herself, and sometimes for him, that it was more than that; that he did it out of love first, and duty second, and she would choose to overlook and forgive the pervert in him that got a cheap thrill out of imaging doing the unthinkable.

There were few tears to accompany his sobs, and soon he was drained, his erection and fantasies long gone. All that was left was the feel of her against him, and the comfort that time and the innate warmth of his body would bring her back to him. The two of them, together, were going to be all right.


There were hands touching his body. Ascending out of his dark slumber he could feel them, feather-light, soft and coaxing, stoking him from neck to knees. In the surreal world of not-quite-awake, he was mesmerized by this sensation, a slow tightening of all the chords in his cocooned body and the thrilling reverberation as the fingertips plucked them. It felt so good, so infinitely good, to be stroked this way, to feel the long, warm softness along the length of him, to be wrapped in glorious heat and played like the strings of a symphony. He became aware that his body was singing a quiet song of pleasure, moving slightly toward each touch, and probably had been for quite a while. His cock was only half hard, even though the hands did not neglect it or his balls on their travels; but now that he was more aware, his semi-erection swiftly became full and straining. The hands noticed the change, and lingered there, softly tugging and juggling, and he arched his back and pulled back his head, and made a little groan deep in his throat.

There was an answering moan against his chest, and he heard a light, husky murmur. “You are beautiful.” One hand moved to trail fingertips across his hip while the other continued to stroke him. “I knew you’d be beautiful. So soft… your skin… hot and soft, over steel…”

The pleasure was mounting exponentially. He twisted his head and groaned again, deeper, and his grip tightened on the owner of the eloquent hands that were making his body sing. The notion of warm curves and willing roundness and moist cavities and what they actually were made no connection in his mind as his hands determinedly scanned over her, memorizing her over and over and storing it away in the primitive part of his brain, the part that handled breathing and whether or not his heart beat. There was no plan, no conscious thought as he sought out her breasts, her wonderfully reactive nipples, and as he stroked and touched and rolled them under his fingers he licked his lips, imaging how exquisite they would feel against his tongue. Her low murmurs roared in his ears and inflamed him even more.

“You feel so good… so strong… so wonderful… I’ve waited so long to touch you… to kiss you… ooooo, baby… yes… touch me…”

God. Oh, God. This was unbelievable. How could this be happening? Jesus, he was ready to come right now. All she had to do was sigh the right way, or kiss him right there again, or move her hip just a little, like THAT…

“Scully,” he choked out, and brought his head back down to slide his lips over her hair. “I need to taste you.” He felt her lift her face slightly to his, and his lips found the smooth of her forehead. A few kisses, and he wanted the rest of her face. He scooted his body a little lower so he could reach her easier, and explored the exquisite planes and curves of her features with his lips, slowly, tenderly. She sighed, her eyes also closed, her full lips parted and inviting.

“Oh… yess…” she whispered.

“God, Scully… you’re so sweet…”

“Kiss me…”

His lips brushed over hers, quietly, gently. They breathed each other’s breath for an infinite second before he sealed his mouth over hers. The tip of his tongue encountered the tip of hers right at the thin edge of her teeth, and she sighed and opened her mouth to him. The invitation, the thought that she actually wanted him to taste her, to caress her this intimately, sent a lightning bolt down his spine. He thrust his tongue into her mouth, pressed himself into her, moaning with the pain of his desire, the rocking pleasure her soft willingness created in him. The kiss turned bruising and needy very quickly, and went on forever. He could not stop tasting her.

“Sweet…” he gasped out once, when he briefly released her lips for elemental oxygen. He was in awe. “Sweet…”

“Baby…” she whispered back, and he couldn’t allow her lips to move unless they were under his, so he claimed them again, in another infinite joining filled with movement and feeling. Their hands battled for stroking space in the confines of the sleeping bag, colliding with each other as they clung and dug, then soothed, the hard and soft places found on each other’s bodies.

His spirit was soaring. The conditions weren’t ideal, but he wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to finally show this woman what she meant to him. For an instant he wished that he had been better prepared for their first time together; he had so wanted everything to be perfect, orchestrated just right, so that by the time they had gotten to this part, she would know without a doubt exactly how much her loved her, adored her, respected her, could never survive without her. But nothing ever went according to plan in his life, and the situation had innately allowed for this quickly escalating passion, passion which had already carried him past the point of no return. He was making love to Dana Scully, and his heart and soul were finally speaking to her through his body, serenading her, singing an ancient, primal song of lust and promise and joy.

He broke the kiss again and drew back just enough to gaze into her face. It was flushed a healthy pink again, her closed eyelids making birdlike flutters against her cheeks. He kissed them, and she sighed deliciously through her full, parted lips.

“I want you…”

“Oh, God… Dana…”

He crushed her to him, kissing her fiercely. He was on fire. This was good, too good, too fucking good…

He was holding her so tightly, his arms straining to press her physically into his skin, that at first he didn’t notice the slow lack of response. Then her weight in his arms started feeling… wrong. She was not helping him hold her. Her lips stopped moving under his. She went completely slack. He drew back again, confused.


He stared at her quiet face with myopic vision dulled by his need of her. It was totally obvious that she had slipped into unconsciousness, yet it still took several moments before the fact registered. He opened his mouth to say something, realized that she couldn’t possibly hear him, and closed it again. He was helpless. Suddenly alone, swimming in desire, clutching his unconscious lover in his arms, and utterly helpless.

His jaw worked, willing some words to come out that would bring her back to him. Magic incantations, prayers… anything. Don’t leave me, Dana, a voice inside him cried out. And still his jaw worked. “Please,” he finally managed, his voice a croak. “Please, Dana.”

He was just about to shake her when she murmured something unintelligible, and her body came back to life. Just like that. Without opening her eyes she lifted her face back to his, her lips seeking his out and finding them immediately. The shock of feeling her warm, wanting mouth caressing his as though not a thing had happened to interrupt them was eerie. His skin erupted in goosebumps. He pulled away from her mouth, reluctantly, and it was her turn to be confused.

“What?” she asked softly. “Don’t you want me?”

He groaned. “Yes, yes, Jesus Scully, yes, I want you. I’m going to split down the middle if I don’t have you.”

Her eyelids fluttered, opened only enough for her to gaze hungrily at his lips. She whispered her command. “Then take me.”

Again that lightning bolt shot down his spine. His electrified nerves made him move, made his mouth jump forward to claim hers again, hungry, so hungry, devouring and thirsty, and her tongue danced eagerly inside his mouth. God. Oh, God. He grabbed her softly moving ass and thrust his hips roughly against her, and she signaled her delight with a moan that nearly made him come right then and there.

But there was still that niggling little thing about her falling in and out of consciousness…

He tore his mouth from hers, unhooked his hands from her ass and forced himself to look at her. Really look at her. He laid a hand gently along her face, his thumb on her intoxicating lips, and took a deep breath to steady himself. “Look at me, Dana.”

She shook her head a little, as though to disengage his hand. She didn’t look at him.

“Listen to me,” he said, trying very hard to sound authoritative. “As much as I want this, I don’t think this is a good idea right now.” Jesus Christ, what was he saying? Was he insane? Yes, he was definitely, certifiably insane. That, and he was hopelessly in love with this woman, and the thought of perhaps pushing himself on her while she was obviously not fully recovered from her ordeal was the only thing he could think of right now that would be worse than not making love to her. “You passed out for a few minutes just now. Did you know that?”

Her head and body stopped moving, though her hands continued to stroke and fondle him. He gritted his teeth at the pleasure of the distraction. He was still humming, and didn’t want her to stop. Dimly, he felt her shake her head again slightly, as though saying “no”. What did that mean? Was she answering his question? Had she even heard him?

“Dana,” he said again, firmly. “Look at me. Please.”

Slowly, her eyes opened. The warm blue windows to her soul that he loved so much gazed upon his face, cloudy, fuzzy, unfocused. She blinked, a long, slow, torturous movement, and afterward her eyes were no clearer than before.

His heart sank. “Do you know where you are?” he asked softly.

She didn’t answer. She just kept gazing at him. She blinked again, slowly. He suddenly felt like crying. His beloved was probably delirious. It occurred to him she may not even know him in the state she was in at the moment. That was a particularly horrible thought. Who did this subconscious personna of Dana Scully think she was making love with?

“Dana.” His voice broke. “Scully. Do you know who I am?”

Her unfocused eyes flipped back and forth between the two of his, as though searching for something in first one, and then the other. But she answered without hesitation. “Mulder,” she said clearly. She repeated herself, and he could tell that it was to convince him, not herself. “Mulder.”

His eyes filled with tears. It was him that she wanted, even if she wasn’t fully in reality at the moment. “I’m here with you,” he said, as though to affirm the impossible.

“Mulder,” she said a third time, clear and firm, and he clutched her to him again, so inexplicably happy, so high on her voice and touch and softness and heat that he closed his eyes and kissed her hair where a tear had fallen from his cheek.

“You’re going to be all right,” he crooned, rocking the two of them gently. He had already made his decision. They would wait to make love. He would have his chance to make it perfect, for her, for them, for once.

But she still seemed to have her own ideas, this gorgeous, naked woman in his arms whose hands and body and lips just would not stop moving, softly, gently. She touched her lips to his cheek, traveling slowly to his earlobe, which she matter-of-factly took between her teeth and nipped, soothing the bite with her tongue. “Mulder,” she murmured again, her voice sultry and ripe with want. He shivered. She was oblivious to everything but her desire, and it was pulling him under again. He found it incredibly difficult to fight her innocent single- mindedness. She wants me. She wants me…

“Dana.” Her hand wrapped itself around his straining shaft. He gasped, tried again. “Dana…” She stroked him, long and slow. He bucked against her, his body betraying him joyously. She draped one silky thigh high over his hip, taking his shaft and drawing the swollen head to her wet, hot core. She swept it against her, slipping open her velvet lips with it, and rubbed the sensitive glans against her clit. They both jumped at the shot of pleasure it gave them.

“Make love to me, Mulder,” she growled into his ear.

His tenuous hold on control lasted just long enough for him to gasp, “Are you sure?”

“Now. Now.” She swept his throbbing head between her lips one more time. It shattered him. With a small shout of surrender and triumph, he rolled smoothly into the cradle of her hips, the head of his cock slipping effortlessly past her lips and into the heat of her sheath. They paused, panting, poised on the edge, and then he pulled his hips forward and in one long movement, sheathed himself completely inside of her exquisite body.

His eyes squeezed shut, and his mouth opened in a silent scream of ecstasy. She arched under him, her teeth clenched, the gleam of her throat the most brilliant thing he’d ever seen. He pulled back, slowly, a moment of agony, and she writhed at missing him, then he pushed all the way in again – how could that be possible, that it could feel even better? Jesus, Jesus, he was going to come, going to annihilate himself after only two strokes. She twisted her head around, slowly, hissing from behind her clenched teeth, her body incredibly tight, coiled under him. Her fingernails dug into the corded muscles of his back, his ass, digging harder as he went to move out again, telling him to stay put, to push deeper, harder. He listened to her hands and bore his strength into her, moving deeper by fractions, but it was enough. A sound started from somewhere down where his cock was buried, rising up through her, spilling from her, a hybrid of a growl and a scream, and as it rolled from her throat he felt her sheath wrap itself tightly around him in a twisting motion. Coming, she was coming; his heart burst in his chest at the sensation of her shattering around him. He pushed himself still deeper into her, reveling in how her hips bucked up against his pressure, the way her body twitched and rolled, the stabs of pleasure he felt as her animal voice broke repeatedly on his name. He was absolutely certain that he had never in his life bore witness to a more soul- rendering event.

He was so enthralled at experiencing her orgasm that he didn’t realize the extent of the stimulation that was assaulting his own body. Rising from the depth of his groin he felt the answering surge that signaled the uncoiling of his own release. It was still part of the astonishment that had washed over him, that so little movement could produce so much ecstasy so quickly; and yet it seemed almost fitting, right, natural. These were feelings he’d hoped for but never expected. Just one more gift that loving this woman seemed to give him.

Unable to control himself, he pulled back and thrust into her, quick, hard. She gasped, still spasming around him.

“Scully!” He thrust into her again, again, his hands gripping her tightly, and she moaned. He squeezed his eyes shut and lowered his face to her throat, breathing her in, the whole universe focused on the overwhelming sense of her. He thrust again, and again, his orgasm building rapidly, and a dim part of his brain registered that she had relaxed under him, stopped moving… In fact, she was too relaxed. There was suddenly no response at all. No fingernails on his skin, no answering push to her hips, no convulsions around his cock. Nothing.

With incredible difficulty he stilled his movements, lifting his head to look into her face. Her expression was smooth and quiet, her eyes closed peacefully. She had fallen unconscious again.

A loud cry of disbelief and anguish poured out of him. He was seconds away from orgasm. But he couldn’t do it. Wouldn’t do it. He gritted his teeth and yanked himself out of her body, nearing screaming with the sudden loss of her. Overcome with something akin to fury, he ripped open the sleeping bag and scrambled out of it, nearly tripping and falling in his haste. Standing on shaking legs next to the cot, he stared down on her, breathing in heavy pants, his eyes wild. Some tender thread of emotion made his trembling hand pick up the edge of the bag and gently cover her back up; and then the next second he was barely supporting himself with one hand on the edge of the cot, his body taut and straining, bowed backwards over her, his other hand gripping his cock and pumping it furiously towards the sky.

He was so far gone it only took a couple of hard jerks before the thick white jet of semen erupted from him, coating his hand and splattering his thighs. He collapsed against the cot, his ass missing the edge and sliding down the side to land, jarringly, on the floor. He sat there, sprawled bonelessly, his head falling backwards onto the cot. The room was spinning. He couldn’t catch his breath. He felt wet, and cold. Lifting his head, he looked down at himself, at the puddles of semen that peppered his lower body and covered his hand. He lifted the hand, regarded the mess, and let it fall back. Steam rose from his body in the cold air, and he closed his eyes and shook his head slowly. Only to them. Something like this could only happen to them. At this moment he had no idea if he wished her to remember any of this or not. He also had no idea what he should be feeling right now. He supposed that he should be angry, or humiliated; or perhaps he should be whipping himself for allowing the situation to progress to this. He shook his head again, sighed. Shit. That’s all he felt. Like shit.

The piercing cold of the room air and the thinly covered concrete slab under his butt refused to allow him much wallowing time. He reached for his still wet thermal shirt off the pile of sodden clothes and wiped himself clean, wincing at the iciness against his skin. He tossed the shirt away from him, and it landed on the floor next to the other clothes. Start another pile, he thought ruefully. The “Mulder and Scully can’t get a break” pile.

It took a unique combination of uncoordinated movements to get himself off the floor and sitting back on the edge of the cot. He reached down and retrieved his underwear and socks, but despite the cold he had no enthusiasm for getting dressed. Turning slightly, he gazed down at Scully’s face, his clothes bunched in his lap. He knew now that no matter how lucid or warm she felt to him in that bag, she still had suffered an immense trauma and was nowhere near total recovery. Between the hike up here and the dunk in the freezing water, in her weakened condition, following through on his (and her) desires probably did her more harm than good. If she didn’t survive this, there would be no way he could ever forgive himself.

He shook off the familiar guilt that threatened to weigh him down and replaced it with a sudden, almost viscous resolve. He quickly pulled on his socks and underwear, then his thermal and snow pants. As he was fastening them around his waist, he paused and leaned over his partner’s still form to gently smooth her tangled hair away from her sleeping eyes.

“I’m going to get you out of here, Scully,” he promised softly. He continued to smooth her hair back for several long moments, then stopped to tuck the edges of the bag tightly around her shoulders. “I’m going to get you out of here.” He went back to smoothing her hair, then realized that he was actually trying to calm himself, to gather his thoughts, to once again transform himself into the crack FBI agent everyone imagined him to be. First things first, he decided. Must have boots on to walk through snow. Find boots. Put on boots.

It was while he was tying the last double bow in his laces that he heard the sound. Below the hum and rattle of the space heater he could barely make it out. He stopped in his hunch over his boots, turned his head toward the door, listened. There. The sound was accelerating, getting more pronounced. Mechanical. In the distance. Like a motor. The snowcat? He quickly checked his watch, swore harshly, and snatched up the spare winter parka he had found earlier in the locker. Swinging it on, he searched for and found the submachine gun he had left on the floor near the door. He ripped open the door, then stopped and looked back at her laying unconscious on the cot. He knew what he had to do. His resolve strengthened, he closed the door gently behind him, and skulked his way quickly through the interior of the vast warehouse to the small entrance door.

He flattened himself up against the wall by the side of the doorframe, the gun’s icy barrel pointed up and laid flush against his bare chest. He hadn’t bothered to zip up the parka, but he didn’t even feel the cold. All his attention was focused on trying to see through the door’s small window at what was coming towards them from the distance. The angle of the door to where the wide trail started in the woods was all wrong, yet he was only assuming that that was where the snowcat would appear, if it was the snowcat at all. The motor sound seemed to fit what he imagined a snowcat would sound like, but there was also a deep ‘whump – whump’ accompaniment that tickled his mind with familiarity. It was as though the two noises did not belong together.

He had a sudden, deep desire not to wait to find out what was making the noises. He didn’t want to be trapped in the warehouse once everyone had disembarked from the snowcat and had conveniently surrounded the building. Cocking the gun, he slowly opened the door, peeking out in quick moves to try and see what was going on. The sun was much lower in the sky now, but it was still blindingly bright, and his squinting didn’t help much. The noises were louder, getting stronger, closer. Gulping down his fear, he threw himself out the door and flattened himself along the outside wall. He followed it in fits and spurts to the corner, where he paused, catching his breath.

The sweat on his palms began to freeze his hands to the metal of his gun, and for the first time he realized how foolish he’d been to run out of the warehouse without the proper cold weather gear on. But it was too late now. Peering around the corner carefully, he could see the top of the cab of the snowcat emerging from the trees and coming over a small rise. The back was crowded with nervous, heavily armed troops in white arctic survival gear, and they pointed their weapons at the sky and started shooting. It appeared to him that they were traveling exceptionally fast for such a huge, topheavy vehicle. And what made it worse was that they were weaving as they traveled, so much so that the troops were losing their balance in the open cargo area; yet they refused to sit down, as they raised their weapons and shot, seemingly haphazardly, into the blue sky.

Either they were all drunk and out for a joyride, he thought, or they were being chased.

A split second later several attack helicopters burst out from behind the tree canopy, confirming his suspicions. Two of them swooped down in front of the snowcat, causing its driver to wrench the monster into a steep turn that threatened to overturn it. Several troops tumbled out and fell headfirst into the snow, but the vehicle kept going, and a follow-up strafe from a third chopper quickly convinced the grounded troops to abandon their weapons and run back to the trees for cover. The snowcat continued in its hasty retreat from the helicopters, finding another path through the woods and away from the compound. Two of the helicopters followed it, hovering above the trees like eagles stalking prey.

Fascinated by the spectacle, he was startled when an unknown, larger troop helicopter settled in the clearing directly beside him and the warehouse. He swung his gun around and pointed it at it, but before he could do more the doors opened and ominously dressed soldiers poured out of the belly of the noisy beast and scattered like insects all around him to secure the area. They took no notice of him at all. They were outfitted all in black, from their arctic gear to their equipment, and the crash helmet/face shield combos they wore covered every part of the head and neck except their lips. He was not surprised to note that there wasn’t an organizational insignia in sight.

“Agent Mulder?”

Whipping toward the corner, he trained his gun on the black-draped soldier that had suddenly materialized there. Despite being confronted with a dazed, half- dressed man with a weapon leveled at his chest, the soldier simply stood there, calm, unmoving, his own weapon at his side.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” Mulder demanded.

The soldier’s lips curved into a smile. Without the benefit of seeing his eyes, Mulder was at a loss to evaluate its meaning. The flash of human teeth from the technological gadgetry of his headgear only served to make the soldier look more menacing, even less human.

“Compliments of your government, Agent Mulder,” he replied in perfect, non- accented English. At Mulder’s confused frown, he grinned, gave a little salute, then turned and trotted off back toward the troop helicopter.

Mulder took only a moment to consider the soldier’s words. “Hey!” he called out after him, but he was already too close to the helicopter to hear him. Mulder broke into a run, waving his arms to get someone’s attention. “HEY! I NEED A STRETCHER!” he yelled into the din of the whirring motor. No one turned in his direction. He ran up to the yawning doorway, and stuck his head inside. “HEY!” he yelled at the shadowy figures moving in the bowels of the beast. “HEY!!”

A viselike hand gripped his shoulder the same instant a male voice shouted “Agent Mulder!” in his ear. He whirled again to see a black-garbed Assistant Director Skinner, his face, sans headgear, mere inches from his. Mulder blinked at him. Just as Skinner opened his mouth to speak again, Mulder shook off his hand and turned back to shout at the chopper’s occupants, “I need help! A stretcher! Now!”

“Where’s Agent Scully?” Skinner demanded.

Mulder reached into the chopper to grab at the end of the stretcher that the soldier was too slow in handing over. Mulder yanked on it. The soldier stumbled and stifled a curse.

“You come too,” Mulder directed the soldier. The young man looked at Skinner. After a moment, Skinner nodded, and the soldier immediately gestured at his two companions. The three of them hopped out of the chopper, grabbed up the stretcher, and started running for the warehouse. Mulder followed, shouting directions. Skinner was at his heels.

“Has something happened to Agent Scully?”

Mulder once again ignored him. He put on a burst of speed and got ahead of the soldiers, slamming open the door to the warehouse and leading the way inside. “Over here!” he shouted over his shoulder as he led the group at a run to the little interior office. He barreled into the small structure, jumping to one side to let the others in behind him. They followed without hesitation, slowing and stopping only once they were all inside.

It was difficult to see the cot at first in the dim light, but one of the soldiers zeroed in on it and walked over immediately, leaning over Scully’s still body. The other soldiers followed, surrounding the cot. Mulder stayed by the door, and Skinner pulled up beside him.

“What the hell…” Skinner’s eyes scanned the little room, missing nothing. They rested for seconds on the piles of clothes, then on Scully in the bag, and he sliced his gaze back to Mulder and his naked chest under the parka. “Mulder…” he growled.

“NO!” Mulder jumped forward and shouldered a soldier bodily away from the cot, forcing him to drop the corner of the sleeping bag that he was just about to peel away from Scully. But it was too late. The bag fell open, revealing a wide expanse of creamy naked shoulder and upper chest. He grabbed at the corner and tucked it back under her chin, rezipping the bag, and muttered angrily, “She has to stay covered… conserve body heat…”

“Mulder.” Skinner was not pleased.

Mulder looked up just in time to see the smirks that the soldiers were exchanging with each other. Enraged, he grabbed one by the front of his uniform and yanked until their noses almost touched. “Do you have an issue with what you see here, asshole?” he hissed.

The soldier raised his hands in mock surrender, but his expression did not change.

“That’s enough!” Skinner stepped forward and forcibly removed the soldier from Mulder’s grip. He pushed them apart and stepped between them, facing Mulder. “What’s going on here, Mulder? What’s wrong with her?” he demanded.

“Hypothermia!” Mulder shouted. “She’s suffering from acute hypothermia, and she needs to get out of here NOW!”

Skinner took a second to stare down Mulder’s insolence. Then he turned to the soldiers and ordered, “Get blankets. Don’t remove her from the bag. Wrap her completely, move her to the stretcher, and get her in the chopper.” He scanned the soldiers’ expressions, and his voice dropped to a menacing growl. “And wipe those fucking smiles off your faces, or I’ll do it for you. Now MOVE.”

“Yes, sir,” a few of them murmured, the smirks gone. One ran out the door to get the blankets. The other two situated the stretcher near the cot. The next several minutes were spent wrapping blankets around Scully and transferring her to the stretcher. Mulder assisted, and as he was securing the straps that held her in the stretcher, Skinner noticed his hands shaking.

A medic and two other soldiers found them inside the office just as they were ready to move her to the chopper. The medic started to take her vital signs, and suddenly there was no more room for Mulder. He tried, staying by her side as they lifted the stretcher and jogged out of the office through the warehouse, but Skinner took hold of his arm and he was forced to drop back, to slow down, even though it was obvious that his attention was with the stretcher and its cargo. He watched as they carried her out of the building, out of his sight, and only then did he turn and look at his superior, who had been talking to him the whole time.

“What? What were you saying?” He was panting from anxiety.

Skinner was at the end of his patience. “You have a lot of explaining to do, Agent Mulder.”

“Explaining? About what?”

“About why you didn’t complete your mission. About exactly what happened… in there.” He pointed behind them at the office.

Mulder looked from him to the office and back again, not comprehending. With the dawning of understanding came another surge of rage. Eyes flashing, he advanced on Skinner.

“Explain? You want me to explain myself? How about some explanations from YOU, sir? Where did you get the information about this place from? Huh? From Krychek? The Cancer Man? Why was it conveniently left out that the hole out there is actually a large frozen lake, through which Scully conveniently fell?!”

Mulder was so close to him and so worked up that spittle flew from his mouth and splashed on Skinner’s glasses. Skinner called on his training and forced himself not to flinch. Mulder raised his arms high, and Skinner thought for a moment that he was going to hit him.

“She should be used to this by now, sir, setting herself up for even more physical and emotional abuse by working with me. It’s one thing if I’m the one who drags her around and she gets hurt, almost killed. But this time we trusted YOU, sir. Both of us. And look what happened!”

Mulder was at the height of his rant. He balled up his raised hands into fists, his body shaking.

“Hypothermia! Fucking hypothermia! She goes through cancer, our own government kills her sister and daughter, she faces down every slimy, creepy, crawly motherfuckin’ mutant from this world and the next, and she may simply freeze to death while we’re standing here!!!!”

Mulder’s fists came crashing to his sides. He stood there, his chest heaving, his eyes wild and wet with frustration and anger. Skinner regarded him with concern.

“She understands the risks, Mulder, of the job…” Skinner regretted the words as soon as he said them.

Mulder dropped his head back on his neck and squeezed his eyes tight. “That may be so, sir,” he said, his voice husky from screaming. He looked at Skinner again. The anger was gone – only depression remained. “But I can’t take it anymore.”

Skinner frowned. “What do you mean?”

Mulder ran his hands through his hair, looking like he was about to pull it out. “I can’t watch her go through this anymore. She can’t take much more of this near-death stuff. And I can’t watch her do it.” He lifted and dropped his hands again, shook his head helplessly. “I just can’t.”

Skinner stood silently, watching him. He sensed that there was nothing more to be said. Mulder continued to mumble, “I can’t do it, I can’t,” quietly and mostly to himself. He seemed to have forgotten that Skinner was even there. Skinner took his arm again, gently but firmly, and turned him toward the door and the waiting chopper.

“Let’s get the two of you home,” he said, and led Mulder out into the last rays of the sun.



DISCLAIMER: Have to have it, I guess, so here it is: They’re not mine, and I wouldn’t want the responsibility anyway.
SPOILERS: All the way up to the movie.
RATING: None at author’s request.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: How they got to that kiss in the previews for the movie. The title is from the the rumored title of the original screenplay.


Blackwood II by Susan Garrity

The soft fall of footsteps behind her. She didn’t turn around.

“Scully, what are you doing?”

“Packing to go home.”

“It’s too soon for you to leave. The doctors said they wanted to do more tests, make sure that your nervous system wasn’t compromised by the hypothermia.”

“I’m fine, Mulder.”

A long silence. She continued to pack.

“Sometimes even top notch federal agents with medical degrees need some TLC, Scully.”

“I’m surprised to see you here, Mulder. Didn’t you want to check on Diana?”

“I just came from there. She’s going to be all right. I left so that we could both get some rest.” Pause. “Besides, I thought you and I could watch Nickelodeon tonight on the hospital network. I was going to smuggle in those awful dried banana chips you like so much.”

Another long silence.

“Scully? Why do I feel like I have to explain something?”

She finally turned to him, her arms folded. “We’ve worked together how long?”

“Five scintillating years.”

“And why is it that Frohike has to tell me that Diana is your wife?”


“Not according to the paperwork.”

“It was a European divorce. Out-of-country events like that don’t tend to make the personnel file.”

“Regardless, I’m gathering that you and I hadn’t reached that certain point in our relationship where you thought that information like that might have been important enough to share with me.”

“I felt that information like that had no bearing on our relationship.”

“Our working relationship.”


“You told me about Samantha.”

“I knew that you would understand about that. I wanted you to understand what drove me, what my motivation and. passion was based on.”

“I thought I knew. I thought I understood.” She turned back to her packing.

Another long silence. Finally a sigh.

“What do you want to know?”

The arms folded again. “How. Why. When.”

“I was fresh from the academy. My reputation preceded me. She was already with the Bureau, a profiler. Pretty good, too. She sought me out, picked my brain about behavioral patterns which smacked of paranormal phenomena. It was flattering – she was older, more experienced, she had connections. Pretty soon we were working together, then living together. She hated that, the whole moral question, and it was hell keeping the two of us a secret so we could keep working together. So we got married.”

She waited.

“I was just as obsessed then, but it was worse. I was unorganized, only able to pursue leads in my spare time. I was hardly home. I spent every spare dime in my search. She was understanding and supportive, but after a while it was too much. I couldn’t do both things at once.”

“Any children?”


A sharp intake of breath. “A child.”

“He died.”

Another silence, full of pain. “My God. I’m so sorry.”

“Stillborn. Eight months into the pregnancy. I wasn’t there for that, either.”

“Mulder…” There were tears in her voice.

“A few months after that she took the overseas assignment. The divorce arrived in the mail.”

She hung her head for a long time. Her heartbeat filled the room.

“She’s forgiven you.”


“She’s come back. And she wants to be with you.”

“It appears that way.”

“She wants to work with you again.”


“Do you want that?”

“She would be an asset, no question. She’s sharp, intelligent, got a crack intuition… She could definitely help fill in the gaps.”

“It sounds like you’ve made up your mind.”

“I…” He shook his head. It was a non-answer.

She turned back to packing. Her eyes hurt.

“She wants to be your partner again. I think you want that too.”


A surprised look, not convinced. “Don’t you still love her?”


“You loved her.”

“That was the assumption when we got married, yes.”

“Well? Did you? Do you?”

“As much as I could at the time. And… no.”

She looked down at the clothes she’d folded into her small bag. They had wet spots on them. Her shoulder twitched when he touched it.


“I… I was sure… when I saw the two of you together… And the way she was talking… She’s so much more supportive of you than I -”


“… she’s got the experience, the background… You have history together…”

“We have history together. Stop this, Scully.”

She pushed down on the clothes, almost punching them. The bag could close easily, but she needed to push.

“I was so sure… I was so afraid…”

“Of what? Of what?”

“Between her and those bastards with their clout and their phone calls…”

He nearly took off her arm yanking her around and against his chest. “Stop.”

She railed against the confinement, yet her voice sought out his shirt. “I’m so ashamed… I assumed, after all this time…”


She pushed away. He grabbed at her, she fought him off. Her pain needed distance.

“Don’t do this, Scully.”

“It’s done, Mulder. It’s already done!”

“No!” His large hands gripped her head, held her still. The grief, the fear in her eyes streamed down her face. His lungs heaved in response.

“Think, Scully. The compound. After you fell through the ice. Do you remember?”

Long, agonized moments of silence. Finally a light appeared deep inside her. He wiped away the wetness with his thumbs, waiting.

“Oh, Mulder… Did I… Did we…”

He nodded. She trembled.

Whispers. “My rock. Dana Scully. My rock.” He leaned closer, tasting her shaky breath. “Stay with me. Please…”

His lips stroked hers. They opened on a moan. He claimed them, his tongue took possession of her mouth. It was hunger, and thirst, and need, and so much more.

So much more.


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