Out of the Cold Series by Vicki S

Out of the Cold cover

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Out of the Cold Series by Vicki S

Out of the Cold cover

Table of Contents

Out of the Cold

Little Red Corvette (aka The Real Us)

Making Up is Hard to Do (aka The Fight, The News)

Out of the Cold by Vicki S

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and/or Fox Studios. No infringement is intended, and believe me, I’m not making any money off this.


RATING: I don’t know, R or NC-17 for some sex, but not as graphic as some I’ve read.


WARNINGS: Lots of MSR, some angst, so if you don’t like that stuff, turn back now!

SUMMARY: Mulder leaves Scully ‘out in the cold’, literally, and has to warm her up. Let your imagination take it from there.

REQUEST: I love any and all comments and suggestions for improvement. I have some ideas for a sequel, so if you liked it, just ask, maybe I’ll work on one. Reply to

Part 1 of 2

Just keep moving, he thought. Don’t stop. Don’t think about it. One foot in front of the other. Fox Mulder’s arms ached with the strain, but he blocked the pain from his mind. Funny, he’d never thought of his partner as heavy before, she was so small, the top of her red head falling a full inch short of his chin, even that only when she wore heels. Then again, he’d never carried her three miles over rough terrain in the bitter cold before, either.

As usual, he’d left her behind, stranded 40 miles from nowhere, to go running off after the bad guys. Only it had been a ruse. While he chased wild geese, Dana Scully had confronted the real enemy, and been left tied to a tree for 8 hours in near-zero temperatures until her thick-headed partner figured out something was wrong and came back for her.

It was his fault; he shouldn’t have left her. His chest heaved with the physical effort and with the guilt threatening to sap even more of his dwindling strength. He squashed the emotion like a bug under his shoe. There would be time for that later, when Scully was safe. For now, he just had to keep moving. Each breath exploded from his burning lungs in a cloud of icy condensation

His heavy parka, which he’d wrapped around his still partner when he’d found her semi-conscious and huddled against the trunk of an old growth tree providing some shelter from the north wind, slipped off her shoulder. He stopped a moment and adusted her in his arms, lifting one thigh against her bottom to balance her, freeing his right hand to pull the parka back tightly under her chin. He tottered slightly, but regained his balance, and took a precious moment to catch his breath while he looked around.

They should be almost there, and he prayed he wasn’t lost. The tall pines and cedars surrounding him all looked the same. Towering over him, the trees made it difficult to see enough of the sky to accurately sight his direction. Hell, he’d never been very good with directions anyway.

Right above him, a group of winter-hardy birds chattered noisily and scattered at the intrusion of some small animal, probably a squirrel. They didn’t sound bothered by his predicament. His intelligience was supposed to be so superior to them, and yet they never seemed to have any trouble finding their ways back to their own trees at the end of a long nut-hunting day. Shaking his head, he sucked in a great breath of tangy forest air, and started forward again. Right direction or wrong, standing here worrying about it wasn’t going to do him any good.

As he forced himself the last step up a steep rise, the breath whoosed from his chest in relief. The car, thank God. He hardly noticed the pins and needles in his thighs, calves, and biceps as he crossed the last 100 yards and sat Scully down, leaning her back against the wheel for support. The stiffness of his fingers made it difficult to dig the keys out of his jeans’ pocket, and he cursed at his fumbling fingers when he finally retrieved the keys only to drop them in the snow drifted next to the car. After only a few hours exposed to this weather, he thought he might never feel his fingertips or toes again. He looked at his partner, a worried look etched into his features; she had been out in it much longer than he had.

With the car running and the heater blasting on high, he settled his partner in the front passenger seat. Her head lolled to the right as he eased the shoulder belt over her chest. Her face was so pale her skin looked translucent, like fine-quality pearls. Icy crystals on her thick lashes turned soft, warmed into wet droplets by the rush of hot air from the vents, all of which Mulder had turned to blow directly on her.

She was so still, for a moment he panicked, afraid she wasn’t breathing. Slowly, watching her parted lips intently, he leaned close to feel her shallow breath on his own frost-bitten cheek…

…and jumped back so suddenly he hit his head soundly on the rim of the car door when her eyes, crystal clear and blue as the deep ice of an arctic glacier, snapped open.

“Dana?” he said, rubbing the rapidly rising bump on the back of his head. “Are you all right?” His eyes searched hers, hazel meeting blue, looking for signs of recognition, of lucidity.

When she didn’t answer he swallowed the painful lump in his throat and grabbed her shoulders, rubbing them and shaking gently. He forced more confidence than he had into his voice as he tried to talk her back to awareness. “Don’t worry. You’re safe. I’m going to get you to the hospital. I’m sorry, Scully. I’m so sorry.”

Ever so slowly Dana Scully, M.D., M.E. Special Agent of the FBI, once again became who she was. She put a hand over Mulder’s and grimaced, then smiled curiously at his apology. “No, Mulder, I’m fine.” She patted his hand and he jerked it away quickly. For a moment he lowered his eyes, unable to meet her stare. He’d done it to her again. But his intense gaze locked back to hers as her body was gripped in a violent shaking convulsion. Still squatting on the ground next to the open car door, he squeezed her shoulders, helping her ride out the shivers. As abruptly as it had begun, it ended, and she smiled weakly in relief. She gave Mulder’s hand a gentle squeeze. “I’ll be okay. Just get me somewhere warm,” she said. Please, her eyes added.

Mulder wasn’t sure he was buying it, but she was the doctor, as she told him repeatedly when he pulled the car out onto the country highway, so he did as she asked. Back at the squat dingy building misguidedly calling itself a motel, Mulder hurried around the car to open the door for Scully. For once, she waited for his help. Probably a bad sign, Mulder couldn’t help thinking. Before she could leverage herself out of the blue Taurus, he reached in and scooped her into his arms, giving her a look meant to immediately snuff any argument.

“Mulderrrrrr,” she protested anyway, but her teeth chattered, drawing out the last syllable and ruining the effect. She gave up and rested her cheek on his strong shoulder.

After he’d shoved the door open with his shoulder and carried Scully into his room, Mulder turned and kicked it shut with his foot. The earlier abuse of his arms and shoulders was taking it’s toll. They screamed for relief until he lowered Scully carefully to the sagging mattress. Mulder clicked the locks on the door and then crossed to the combination window heat/air conditioning unit. After studying it only a moment, he turned the knob all the way to the right toward heat and stabbed at the “Fan – High” button.

On the bed, Dana curled on to her side, drawing her knees up and pulling the corner of the bedspread over her fully clothed body. Her things had to be damp, Mulder thought. He couldn’t leave her like that. Hell, he couldn’t leave her at all, this was his hotel room.

He eased himself down on the edge of the bed and pushed a few errant strands of silky hair off her cheek, tucking it behind her ear in her own familiar gesture. Her only response was another round of trembling, beginning at the tip of her toes and working itself all the way up and out of her body to her tightly pursed red lips.

When she turned her face into the pillow at his touch, his gut constricted like she had kicked him. Not yet, he thought, crushing the guilt back into the depths of his heart. Gently he pried the covers out of her fists and slipped her out of his parka, then her sweater.

Her lethargy worried him. He’d expected at least a token resistance when he reached for the snap at the waist of her jeans, but instead she lifted her hips to help him slide off the stiff denim.

He got a white T-shirt from his suitcase and brought it back to the bed. She’d covered herself with the bedspread again but his mind still saw her creamy skin, the curve of her breasts. Damn, he was making this harder than it had to be. She was sick, and going to get sicker if he didn’t get her into something clean and dry. She’d seem him numerous times, when he was hurt, and done what she had to without embarrassment, or other…distracting…thoughts.

He steeled himself and put an arm behind her shoulders to help her sit up. Once the T-shirt had been eased over her head, he took a deep breath and slid his hands underneath to the clasp of her bra. She flinched a little, but didn’t pull away. Somehow he couldn’t ever remember having so much trouble taking off a woman’s underclothes. By the time his trembling fingers finally figured out the clasp was in front and he had successfully unhooked it, his body was doing more than just trembling. Traitor, he thought, looking at his lap.

It took only seconds to slide the straps down her arms, throw the trouble-making scrap of lace and silk across the room and slide her body back under all the covers, but it seemed like days. He cursed himself and his lack of control as he tucked the covers up around her chin and spun away from the bed, breathing raggedly.

While she slept, Mulder paced the room, corner to corner. Each time he passed the foot of the bed he stopped, took a step toward her, then wrenched himself back to his original path, raking a hand through his toussled hair.

Finally, he sank into the hard wooden chair next to the peeling pine veneer nightstand — the only other furniture in the hovel that passed for a room. His head fell into his hands. As her small body shook again on the bed, the covers barely trembling over her hips and shoulders, his hands clenched to fists at his temples, denying the long-buried feelings threatening to surface.

She was all right, she had told him so. He couldn’t do anything more for her. He had to do something for her. A whimper escaped in her sleep, a small frightened sound that tugged at his already taught nerves.

With a sigh of surrender he succumbed. Against his better judgement he stripped out of his hiking boots and jeans and slipped into the bed next to Scully. With his arms around her middle, the soft weight of her breasts on his forearms, he pulled her back tightly against his chest. Only his Tshirts, the one on him and the one on her, separated them. God, she was still so cold. He slipped a leg between hers, sharing as much of his body heat as he could. The light lacy edge of her panties tickled his thigh, raising goosflesh. Fervently, Mulder prayed that’s all it raised and focused on thoughts of other things: the worst of the mutants they had chased together, her mother, the shadow government which conspired against them. But each time, his thoughts circled right around to one thing– the woman in his arms.

Only a whisper of silver moonlight filtered into the room, peeking around the corners of the curtain where they didn’t quite meet the edges of the scarred windowsill. It was enough to glance off her soft auburn hair where it fluttered each time he exhaled, touched by his breath. He began to let himself feel his own exhaustion, and eventually the rythymic rise and fall of her chest under his palms gradually lulled him into a sweet, dreamless sleep.

There was no way to tell how long he had been out. He woke in the same position, curled around Scully like a child around a cherished teddy bear, but something was different. He was sweating, and heat radiated from Dana’s body, too. A fever? No. His mind registered the whine of the window unit behind him. He’d fallen asleep with the heater on high, and it had pumped enough dry scorching air into the room to change it to a desert. Grudgingly, he loosened his grip on Scully and went to turn it off.

Now fully awake, Mulder stood staring at his partner. Even in the dim light, he could see the color had returned to her cheeks. Her breathing was slow and regular and deep. She didn’t need him any more, but he wanted to crawl back into the bed anyway. After a few hours of lying beside her, these few seconds of separation left him feeling incomplete. He wasn’t sure he could ever let her go again.

The pull was just too strong. It crumbled the defenses he had spent years perfecting. He didn’t remember getting back into bed with her, pulling her close. He never consciously decided to put his lips on her neck, or graze her earlobe with his teeth.

His heart beat so hard in his chest he thought it might wake her where it thumped against her back. As if his thoughts had come true, Scully murmured softly and reached a hand back to rest on his hip, but then she lay still. Breathing harder, he slid his own hand from her waist down her thigh, around then back down to the juncture between her legs. Her hand slid off his thigh and touched him intimately, stroking his rock-hard shaft where it pressed into the small of her back.

It wasn’t until she touched him there that Mulder realized what he was doing, and just how aroused he was. His body was betraying him, his actions denying his honorable intentions. One more sin he would have to apologize for in the morning.

The mattress pitched and heaved with his labored breathing as he tried to disentangle his limbs from hers. When he drew back, she turned and rolled with him. Her hair brushed his shoulder where her head tilted, her face just inches from his own. And he realized just how aroused she was.

Her blue eyes smoldered chalky gray, like the last embers of a fire. She snaked a hand up to touch his throat, outlining his jaw, and he thought he would suffocate for not being able get his lungs to function properly.

“Mulder,” she whispered, “why did you stop?” Her breath was coming as rapidly as his own when her hand dropped from his jaw to thread the fine hairs high on his chest. The room had cooled off, but he was still sweating. Slowly he reached up, his eyes never leaving hers, and put his hand behind her head, drawing it down those last few inches to his own.

His lips pulled at hers. He sucked gently, first on her thin upper lip, then on the fuller lower one until she sighed against his mouth and parted her lips for easier access.

On cue, his tongue plunged in, seeking first the hidden recesses, then withdrawing to lap at the corners of her seductive smile.

While she returned the favor, he gripped her waist and rolled them until he lay fully on top of her. He crushed her breasts against his chest and she arched her back, grinding her hips against his erection. Gulping, he pulled back long enough to work them both out of their Tshirts, then fell back to her.

“God, Dana.” His voice was strangled. It was difficult to find the breath to speak. “I’ve wanted you for so long.”


Part 2 of 2

With hands and lips they expored each other’s bodies. Their roaming becoming more erratic, more urgent, with each kiss, each sigh, each touch. Dana shifted her hips again, this time with his hand helping lift and tugging at the panties blocking his goal.

His mind reeled with the intensity of it. Stopping was no longer an option. There would be ramifications, he knew, but they would wait until tomorrow.

Divested of his boxers, he entered her in one sure, strong thrust. She gasped, a little hiccup at the back of her throat. Afraid that he’d hurt her, or worse, that she didn’t want this, he froze. On trembling arms he held himself above her, waiting. In a moment she sucked in a deep breath and opened her eyes. He was stunned. They had turned a dark violet, like a storm brewing on the sea’s horizon. He’d never seen anything more beautiful.

She began to move, rocking her hips up and down against his weight, urging him into his own rythym. And he answered her, sliding slightly side to side to increase the sensation. They rolled together as waves rippling to the beach, each swell growing in power and intensity as the storm in her eyes moved ashore. They finished together in a final roar of tumbling white water and thunder, unlike anything Mulder had ever experienced. Too soon after, as he held the love of his life in his arms, the riptide pulled them beneath the surface of reality into the quiet darkness of sated slumber.

When Mulder woke again, the silver slivers of moonlight had given way to the pink rays of dawn’s light.His arms were still around Dana’s waist and he nuzzled her hair, which hung like a curtain in his face. The fresh pine scent from the forest mingled with the apple aroma of her shampoo. He lay still a few moments, revelling in the sensations, until he remembered. Remembered exactly where he was, who he was, who she was, and what he had done.

He screwed his eyes shut, willing the memories to go away, but it didn’t work. His conscience screamed at him. She’s your partner, it said. She’s never been anything but good to you, even when you treated her like shit and didn’t trust her.

In horror, he slid slowly out of the bed, stopping only to pull the covers back up to her shoulders. He doubled over in the chair, hating himself. He had had these feelings for Scully for years, there was no sense denying it. But she didn’t feel the same way. She insisted on a professional relationship. They were partners, and nothing more. Well, maybe friends, too, but that was it.

Now he’d not only put her life in danger once again, but had taken advantage of her when she was weak and in shock as a result of it. She would never forgive him. He couldn’t blame her. He’d be lucky if she didn’t…Christ…technically he was her supervising agent, even if they had never actually worked that way. If she reported this to the bureau it would mean his job. No, she wouldn’t do that. Well, it would depend how mad she was. But even if she didn’t, he knew she’d find some other excuse not to work with him anymore.

His mind was busy applying its considerable abilities to imagining the worst, a future without Scully, when she woke up. She sat up, rubbing a fine-boned hand over her sleepy face. He kept his eyes fixed on floor. He knew she was looking at him, but he didn’t have the courage to look back. Mutants, aliens, men in black, those he could face. But not her, not after this.

“Mulder?” she called quietly. The silence stretched the tension between them like a child experimenting with a rubber band. Her voice was more firm this time. “Mulder.” Almost impatient sounding. “What are you doing over there?”

As hard as anything he had ever done, he slowly lifted his head. “I’m sorry, Scully. I…”

“Oh, God.” She cut him off, falling back to the pillow behind her. “Mulder, you’re not…” She raised back up, leaning on one elbow. “You are, aren’t you?”

Mulder couldn’t figure out what she was trying to say.

She looked incredulous. Her lips were fixed in a grim line. She punched the pillow and pulled it over to her lap, folding her arms across it. “Mulder, you are the only man I know who could take something as wonderful as what happened last night and manage to feel guilty about it.”

Wonderful, did she say wonderful? He stood up, shaking his head and began to pace again. Self reproach welled up inside him, heedless of her words. “Scully, you were in no shape to have a say in the matter, if I had even bothered to ask, which I didn’t.”

“Well that’s funny, Mulder, because I seem to remember being very much aware of what was happening. In fact, I’d say I was a more than willing participant.”

He turned his back to her and paced the other direction.

When he reached the corner and headed back her direction, her face twisted into that really angry look he had learned meant big trouble. She lurched off the bed, wrapping the sheet around her, and stalked over to stand in his path. “Fox William Mulder…”

She sounded like his mother. Check that, she sounded like her mother.

“You are not getting out of this that easy.”

Here it comes, she was going to let him have it now. Nothing less than he deserved, though.

“Mulder, look at me.” He stared at her forehead, and she put her hand on his chin, tipping his head down until his eyes met hers. Her voice was softer now. It wafted on the air like a classic oldies tune from an antique radio.“Did you mean it, Mulder?”

He didn’t know what she was asking. She made that impatient sound again, like last night, and he nearly wilted from the heat of the flashback that emerged in his mind.

“Okay, I’ll spell it out for you. You said you had wanted me for a long time. Did you mean it?”

After everything that had happened, the last thing he could do was lie to her. “Yes,” he whispered.

She exhaled a long breath and licked her lips. Putting her arms around his rigid neck and shoulders, she said, “Then you have nothing to feel guilty about. You just happen to be the one who worked up the courage to say it first.”

As Scully massaged his neck, he realized what she had implied. His eyes narrowed. “Scully, are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

She grinned wickedly. “Uh Huh.”

He rolled his head back to stare at the ceiling, a littany of silent curses running through his head. He finally lowered his gaze back to her, a drab expression his face. “And I’ve been standing here like an idiot thinking I’d ruined everything between us.”

Her grin turned into a full-fledged smile. “Uh Huh,” she repeated.

He leaned down so that his forehead rested on hers. Her breath mixed with his while they held each other, not quite knowing where to go from here. She stood on her toes to caress his neck with her mouth and murmured, “Why don’t you come back to bed?”

He chuckled and hooked a fingertip under the top of the sheet wrapped around her chest, tugging it out just a bit and leering at the sight underneath. “I would, but you seem to be hogging all the covers.”

Without a word, the sheet fell to the floor.

Mulder had thought last night was incredible— an experience to be cherished and savored forever in his mind during quiet moments–but this morning surpassed the unsurpassable. A fully recovered Dana Scully proved to be the kind of lover most men only dreamed about. She was vivacious and exciting. She approached making love with the same curiosity, open-mindedness, and attention to detail she showed in her work. In short, she gave as good as she got.

By the time they fell asleep a second time, they knew every inch of each others’ bodies, knew what pleased them and what drove them insane, and knew the expression on their lover’s face that only comes from one thing. If the sun never rose again, it wouldn’t matter.

All too quickly, the sun did rise again. When Mulder turned toward the window in his sleep, he had to scrunch his eyes shut to block out the light. He hadn’t had nearly enough sleep to face the day yet. Still too bright, he put the pillow over his head and groaned, but nothing worked. With a resigned sigh, he slid out of bed.

Shrugging back into the clothes he had discarded last night, he decided to surprise Scully with some coffee.

When he returned, he found his partner, now much more than that to him, sitting on the bed with her knees drawn up to her chest, crying into a pillow. He dropped the bags he was carrying, slammed the door shut, and rushed to her side.

Somewhere between the door and the bed she realized he was back and lifted her head. Sniffling, she wiped her nose on the sleeve of his T-shirt. Before she could get a word out, he was beside her with his arms around her.

“Scully, what’s wrong?” His hands were shaking as the rubbed her back. “Scully?”

She looked up at him with wide liquid eyes and an embarrassed little grin. “Mulder, I…when I woke up and you were gone, I thought, well, you had changed your mind. Maybe you didn’t really want this, and I pushed you…”

“Ssshhh, Scully.” He rocked her and kept rubbing her back. “That’s not true. I love you.”

She blinked the tears back in surprise. “You love me?” Even in the passion of their lovemaking he had not said those words. She grabbed him in a bear hug and started crying all over. “I love you too.”

When she let him go, he wiped her eyes dry with his thumbs. “Where did you go?” she asked.

“Breakfast,” he said, looking at the spilled bags by the door. The coffee was soaking through one of them and staining the carpet. “I brought you breakfast.”

With one last hug he got up and retrieved what was salvageable of the donuts and coffee. Quietly, he took a smaller package out and laid it on the nightstand, behind his gun. “Well, the donuts aren’t too much the worse for wear, and the lids on the cups were tight— there’s about a half left in each.”

He carried the goodies back to the bed and settled himself beside Scully to enjoy them. They got powdered sugar all over their mouths and fingers, then had a great time licking it off. Amid the laughing and touching, Mulder suddenly turned serious. “Scully, we have to talk about this.”

“I know. Things are going to change. But it doesn’t mean some things can’t be the same.”

Mulder nodded. “I know we can still work together—this, us, won’t interfere. But we can’t be together all the time, Scully. It would be too obvious. The bureau may be changing, slowly, but they’re not ready for this. They’ll split us up. And you know their are others who would use it against us in much worse ways.” He held her hand, massaging her palm.

“Then we’ll just have to take what we can get. A few days at your place, a few at mine. It can’t possibly make our lives more complicated than they already are.”

He harumphed. “I think it’ll make things a lot more simple— no more hiding our feelings from each other, at least in private.”

Her smile was enough to brighten his day, every day. This new-found truth between them was uncharted territory, but he was anxious to explore its terrain.

“Then it’s all settled. We’ll keep going pretty much as we have, for now. On the bureau’s time, we’re still who we were— no exceptions— but on our own…” she leaned forward and kissed him sensously, her tongue pushing at his lips until he granted access.

Breaking it off to catch a breath, Scully winked at him and started to roll across the bed pulling him down with her. Mulder kept his grasp on her hand, pulling her back up. “Scully, there’s one more thing we need to talk about.”

She looked at him, waiting, trusting. He cleared his throat and lifted his chin. “Last night,” he said, “we didn’t use any, um, protection.”

Her face settled into that expression he so fondly thought of as doctor mode. “We’ve both had physicals in the last six months, and I assume nothing was found either of us should know about. Have you had unprotected sex since then?”

He smiled at her bluntness. “No.”

She flashed him a wry grin. “Good.”

He returned it. “You?”

She snorted. “Not even close.”

She started to pull him down again, and again he stopped her. “That’s all good to know, Scully, but , uh, actually that’s not what I was worried about.”

It took her a moment, but she finally caught his drift. She put a reassuring hand on his arm, mentally calculating. “It’s okay.” She shook her head,. “The timing is way off.”

He sighed in relief, but didn’t completely relax. That method had proven unreliable many times.

“When we get back to D.C., I’ll get a prescription.” She tugged on his T-shirt. When he resisted, she looked annoyed.

“What else?” she asked in exasperation.

“You’d tell me Scully, wouldn’t you? If you were wrong.”

She hesitated just a second too long. He frowned. “Yes, Mulder, I would tell you.”

As he fell back, Scully was already working his T-shirt out of the waistband of his jeans. His mouth met hers, but his hand was distracted, fumbling around on the nightstand until his gun dropped off to the floor.

“Mulder, who are you going to shoot?” Scully asked.

He took the opportunity to raise his head so he could see the little table, and grabbed the box that teetered on the edge.

Her eyes laughed at him as he ripped it open and retrieved one of the foil packages. “Oooh, a whole box. You did go shopping this morning.”

“There was a drugstore next to the donut shop,” he replied, grinning.

She lowered he hand to the crotch of his jeans, rubbing her palm on the plainly outlined bulge, cupping him underneath. Her eyes twinkled. “Outstanding, Agent Mulder. Outstanding.”

Then Scully stole the breath from his mouth, and neither of them needed any more words.


Little Red Corvette (aka The Real Us) by Vicki S

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and/or Fox Studios. No infringement is intended, and believe me, I’m not making any money off this.




WARNINGS: Lots of MSR, so if you don’t like that stuff, turn back now!

SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully take some time off in sunny California just to enjoy each other, but end up not being able to deny who, and what, they really are.

NOTES: Time-wise this follows my first story, “Out of the Cold”. You don’t really have to read it first for this story to make sense, but you might want to check it out anyway. If you don’t read it, all you really need to know is that Mulder and Scully are now….together. You know, really together. The kind of together they will never be on the show, thanks to CC.

REQUEST: I love any and all comments and suggestions for improvement, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know what you think. Reply to

Part 1 of 2

Bright light assaulted Special Agent Dana Scully’s eyes through her closed lids. It smelled like sunshine on warm sheets. Reflexively, she stretched, arching her back to loosen sleep-stiffened muscles, and reached across the bed seeking a warm body, but found only cool sheets. He wasn’t there.

An unhappy grumble escaped her lips as long lashes fluttered then raised to reveal the crystal blue hidden within. The room took shape around her in the form of walls, furniture, and bedcovers she couldn’t quite place. Her apartment? Mulder’s? No. Recollection seeped into her mind like water into a leaky boat. Another hotel. Scully sighed and wiped her shimmering red hair back from her face into its place behind her ears.

Of course he wasn’t here. They were on a case. Had just finished a case, she corrected. In the weeks since she and her partner, Fox Mulder, had finally battered down the last of the emotional and physical barriers between them and become lovers, they had strictly obeyed their own code of conduct. On government time they were partners and nothing more. Totally professional. That included any nights spent in hotel rooms for which the government footed the tab. And there had been a lot of those lately.

San Francisco was just the latest in a string of tragedies and curiosities conspiring to run her and Mulder from one end of the country to the other in a marathon of flights, rental car counters, and cloned budget hotels.

After four grueling days, they’d finally wrapped up the case last night well after midnight. It had been too late to fly back to Washington, so they’d driven back to their hotel, said bleary-eyed good-nights and retired to separate rooms.

Tension and exhaustion dampened the fires of emotion. Uncomfortably, Scully remembered how easy it had been to say good-night with nothing more than a look and gentle caress. Too easy. None of the heart-tugging sense of loss usually accompanying separation from him. No need to quell rising desire in her abdomen. No sleepless tossing and turning with his image dancing in her mind. Too soon to lose the fire. Damn this job. She stood watching him, arms hanging limply at her sides, as he turned his back and walked out on her. In that moment she hated who they were.

Judging from the intensity of the sunlight streaming in the window, morning was now well underway. Mulder had probably been up for hours. She listened for signs of life from the room adjoining hers, but the connecting door was closed and for once, the rooms were well sound-proofed. Thoughts of getting up, showering, packing for the trip home crossed her mind, but her limbs felt leaden, bound to the soft bed as if by magnetic force.

Soft knocks on the door to the adjoining room interrupted her reverie.

“C’mon in, Mulder,” she said as she sat up and drew the sheets over her chest, tucking them in under her arms.

Her partner’s dark head poked around the door. The hair on his neck was still damp from his shower. Even from across the room she smelled the tangy mix of male-scented soap and shaving cream.

She caught the sweep of his brown eyes over her sleep-tousled hair and down her sheet-clad body as they exchanged good-mornings. Maybe a few embers still smoldering there, she thought.

The muscles across his shoulders and in his arms bunched, then released as he twisted his way through the door without opening it all the way. A white T-shirt and jeans replaced his formal FBI attire. The embers in her heart glowed a little more brightly.

“Scully, it’s Saturday,” he said.


“Our flight to D.C. leaves in an hour and a half.”

“Umm. I’d better get up then.” Scully sat up, still wrapped in the sheet, and slid her feet to the floor. Mulder looked strange, like he wanted to grab her and stop her, but was afraid.

She stopped, waiting to hear what was on his mind. “Well, we are in California. And we’ve had a tough month. I thought you might want to stay here for the weekend. Drive down the coast or something.”

Her eyes widened. Mulder amazed and surprised her. A romantic soul, once estranged from faith in a relationship, now freed. Last week, it was flowers on her pillow. Yesterday he snuck in and out of her bathroom while she showered, leaving a heart and arrow drawn in the steamed mirror. He lavished attention on her, spoiling her for any other man.

Still waiting for her response, he held up the cell phone in his hand. “I’ve lined everything up. All you have to do is say okay and I’ll confirm the reservations.”

The ‘okay’ slipped out of Scully’s mouth before Mulder even finished his sentence. Over breakfast they sketched out their plans, then while Scully checked them out of the FBI hotel room, he exchanged the FBI rental car for one on his own credit card.

Scully waited in the lobby with their bags until Mulder returned. He pushed the revolving door of the hotel and grinned at her as he walked up, keys jangling in his hand.

“Ready?” he asked.

“All set.”

Outside, she turned right, heading for the parking lot when she didn’t see a rental car next to the curb. Mulder’s hand on the small of her back gently guided her left. She stopped, still not seeing the car, and he pushed a little harder.

“Okay, Mulder, where’s the car?”

Mulder raised his eyebrows and grinned mischievously. “Right in front of you.”

He walked around her with both bags and hefted them up to set them in the car in front of her. The very small car in front of her. No Ford Taurus. Nuh huh. It was a Corvette. It was a convertible. And it was red.

His eyes lit up like firecrackers and he laughed at her astonished reaction. “Mi’ lady,” he said as he opened her car door and gestured her into the car with a grand sweep of his arm and a slight bow. Scully picked up her jaw and climbed in her shining carriage feeling Cinderella riding off to the ball.


Mulder turned the key and the high-performance engine roared to life. The mid-morning sun was slowly winning its battle with the northern California coastal fog, so they made good time on the highway. Not that Mulder seemed to be in any rush. He slowed the car and craned his neck to see every time Scully gasped and oohed or awed at the panoramic view from the coastal highway. The wind chapped her cheeks, and it felt great.

A couple of times they pulled over to stare at the gray-blue-green expanse and watch the white foam pound the rocky shoreline. They sat on the edge of the precipice with arms wrapped around waists and fingers intertwined. Far away from the Bureau and its prying eyes, here they could be who they wanted, not who their jobs demanded, even if only for a few days.

They arrived in Pacific Grove, a quaint village on the North side of the Monterey peninsula, in time for a late lunch. The busy hours were over, and they had the seafood house nearly to themselves. Mulder froze in mid-bite, fork perched over his plate, as Scully pursed her lips and sucked the butter and lemon off of her broiled shrimp, then licked the melted baste off her parted lips.

“Scully?” he asked, putting down his fork. His voice quivered a little.


“We drove all the way to Pacific Grove so we could see the sights. You wanted to go to the lighthouse, and drive through Pebble Beach, and look for some artwork in Carmel, remember?”

Fighting to hide her smile, Scully meticulously tongued the butter off her fingertips. She bet his heart was playing a John Phillips Sousa march against his ribs after that display.

“So?” she said sweetly.

“So, if you keep that up, we aren’t going to see anything but our room in the bed and breakfast. ” His voice rumbled with explicit warning.

“But Mulder, it’s such a nice room. And that antique four-poster looks so cozy. I bet—”

“That’s enough,” he interrupted. Outside, raucous seagulls dive bombed the shallow waters, dodging the violent waves to claim their prey.

Mulder calmly blotted his mouth with a linen napkin and looked at her with a dry expression. “Are you finished?” he asked.

“Mulder, I never finish quickly, you know that.”

The innuendo drained a bit of color from Mulder’s face. He squirmed as if his clothes chaffed. He darted a reproachful glance at her empty plate, threw forty dollars on the table, and grabbed her wrist, wrenching her from her seat.

“Come on,” he said.

She feigned insult and looked at him with round, innocent eyes. “All you have to do is tell me when you want me to come, Mulder.”

“Scully…,” he growled. With a hand on the small of her back, a more personal imitation of his usual gesture, he shoved her to the door.


Scully eased up on her partner for the rest of the afternoon. The poor man’s knees had actually wobbled as they fled the restaurant. They spent a few hours rummaging through local shops and then piled back into the Corvette for the famous drive through Pebble Beach. High on the cliffs over a particularly spectacular view, they sat and listened to the honking of the sea lions catching an evening meal in the surf below.

Mulder nuzzled her neck. “What’re you thinking?” he asked.

She smiled, a little embarrassed at where her thoughts had wandered. “Cinderella,” she answered. She felt the smile come to his lips on the tender skin behind her ear and turned her neck to give him easier access.


“Um hm. That’s how I feel. Like just for a little while I get to be someone else. But I’m afraid. I know at midnight it will all be over.” She looked at the Corvette. “All my beautiful white horses will just be lab rats.”

“Scully,” Mulder said, mock horror in his voice, “I’m going to have a hell of a time explaining to the rental company if that Corvette turns into a pumpkin.” She hated herself for not being happy when he was trying so hard.

A young couple strolled around the rock beside them and the two agents jumped, still unaccustomed to being in public in such a vulnerable position. The mood broken, Mulder and Scully rose and she took him by the hand to fulfill the unspoken promises of the day.


As the sun extinguished itself in the surge of the sea,. Scully pulled back the curtains on the window of their ocean view room at the Victorian bed and breakfast. In Monterey Bay, the lights of the sailboats and speedboats bobbed in a poor imitation of the stars emerging in the inky sky.

Behind her, Mulder put away the matches and turned off the lights. She turned and met him halfway across the room. Candlelight shadows hid his eyes from her view, but she knew the fire that burned within them. His flames stoked her own.

Their bodies melded together like two metals melted and forged into one. As their mouths touched, their tongues clashed, both seeking to be the plunderer. She conceded and let him lead the way in inquisitive exploration. Like hikers on a well-known trail they kept a steady pace, pausing every now and then to savor a particularly favorite spot.

Scully took over the lead and urged Mulder backwards with palms flat on his chest. When the edge of the bed buckled his knees from behind, collapsing him onto the hand-stitched quilt, he pulled her with him. Only their rasping breaths and the distant roar of the surf broke the room’s stillness.

The rising heat between them broke out a fine sheen of sweat on Mulder’s bare chest. Scully’s attempts to cool him with her tongue, lapping at his tight nipples and nipping at the cords of his neck only seemed to make him hotter.

He had already stripped to his boxers, but she still wore the blouse and jeans she had put on in San Francisco. Frowning at the encumbrance, she started to unbutton the blouse, but he stopped her, clasping her hands in his and lowering them. He nuzzled the V at the top of her blouse and she moaned. In an amazing display of dexterity, he began to undress her with his mouth. Her chest heaved into his face as he nipped the fabric, tugging with his teeth then pushing at the buttons with his tongue. She thought she would die wanting his mouth on her, so she reached up to pull his head to her bosom.

He got the message and undid the last button with his hands even as she pushed the cotton fabric off her shoulders and threw it across the room. While she lifted her hips and wriggled out of her jeans and panties, he held her upper body to the bed, massaging and suckling her until reality drifted away like smoke from a fire.

She reciprocated the pleasure with her hands, stroking him with one hand as she pushed down his boxers with the other. Her mouth pulled on a fold of skin where his neck met his collarbone. When his fingers plunged into her, she bit down in reflex, hard. Mulder’s head jerked back as he winced and her fingers flew to the offended flesh.

“Oh, God, Mulder, I’m sorry.” She probed the reddening spot. His pulse played an erratic rhythm beneath her fingertips. She hadn’t drawn blood, but she hadn’t missed by much.

A shadow flitted across his features, there and then gone. Candlelight flickered against his dark irises like lightening on a hot summer night. From somewhere deep within him a feral sound, half groan, half growl emerged.

His body urged her to an open position and he rose above her.

“S’okay,” he breathed. “I like it when you lose control.” He lowered his head to hers and captured her lips with a new intensity, stonger, more basic, than anything she’d felt from him before. With his first plunge a blazing inferno surrounded her, stealing the air from her lungs and searing her skin. Scully held on to him like a lifeline as lava rose within her body.

“Scully? Dana,” he struggled for breath, “open your eyes.”

She did as he asked and felt the heat emanating from his gaze. He ran a hand over her forehead as he moved, pushing back a few sweaty strands of errant red hair.

“I love your eyes, Dana.” He was so close, she didn’t know how he could talk. He pushed again and the fine muscles of his face spasmed once. “I love watching them when it happens. I love you.”

As her body erupted in shuddering waves, she kept her eyes open, for him. He watched her with an intensity unique to Mulder, then smiled and followed her into release. She held him, stroking his back, until the convulsions subsided. When she knew he could hear her, she said, “I love you too.”


Part 2 of 2

The next day Scully really did feel like Cinderella at the ball. She and Mulder walked hand in hand through the parks of Carmel, eating cotton candy and watching the local artists work. The day was clear and sunny, just chilly enough that she wore a favorite sweatshirt and he donned his favorite black leather jacket. The pungent ocean smell was perfect for clearing cobwebs from tired minds.

Scully wanted to get an oil painting, preferably a seascape. He pointed out oils of coastal sunsets, watercolor marina views, pencil sketches of gulls over the rocky cliffs, even a charcoal of a family of sea lions sunning themselves on a pier. None were exactly what she was looking for.

Mulder finally flopped down on a bench between the latest cluster of disapproved artists and a playground. A balding man in a bright yellow jacket strolled along the path in front of them, taking pictures of the beach and the park. His hands twitched, fiddling with the camera settings after every few exposures.

“Okay, Scully, enough with the art already. We’ve been walking for hours. Why do you want a painting?”

She sat down next to him and elbowed him in the ribs. “I told you. For my bedroom.”

On the far end of the playground, a group of boys argued about the score in a pickup soccer match. Back by the trees at the inland edge of the park, a group of girls cackled out a jump rope song as a blond-haired angel in a pink jumpsuit hopped up with every whump of the rope on the ground. Her pigtails bounced over her ears, falling to slap her shoulders with each landing.

Mulder raised his eyebrows at her. “And why this sudden passion to have a seascape in your bedroom?”

“Cinderella’s ball is almost over, Mulder. Tomorrow we go back to being our other selves. When we’re there in my room, I want to look up and remember us like this.”

“Scully, in the bedroom is the only place in Washington where we are like this.” He twined his fingers in her silky hair and kissed her deeply.

Breaking the kiss for a breath, Scully considered his words then looked at him with a depraved smile. “Then maybe I’ll hang it in our office.”

Mulder groaned. “As if it’s not already hard enough for me to keep my mind on work.”

She laughed and he wrapped her in a bear hug. Staring over Mulder’s shoulder, she saw the girl in the pink jumpsuit skip out of the cocoon of twirling rope and two others run to take her place. Pink Jumpsuit wandered toward the edge of the wood, collecting dandelions. Scully’s brow creased when the man in the yellow jacket snapped a few pictures of the girl bent over, then moved off the path into the grassy area between the walkway and the trees.

“Mulder,” Scully said, pushing him away from her.

He lifted his head and gazed at he somber expression. She nodded toward the scene unfolding across the park. Her hands, still on his shoulders, felt his muscles bunch and she saw his eyes narrow.

They watched Yellow Jacket saunter closer to the trees and the lone girl in the Pink Jumpsuit, frequently checking over his shoulder. Careful to maintain the air of two lovers with eyes only for each other, Mulder reached around Scully, feeling her waistline under the soft sweatshirt she wore.

“You carrying your weapon?”


He nodded in relief as his hand found the cold leather holster clipped on her hip. Pink Jumpsuit hopped closer to the trees, blowing on a dandelion that had already turned to fluff and giggling was the white puffs floated on the air like soap bubbles. Yellow jacket’s shutter whined again.

“Head down that way, Scully,” Mulder said, pointing down the path toward the girls with the jump rope. “And keep her in sight, not close enough to spook him, though. I’ll head the other way and come up behind him in the trees.”

In a last attempt at maintaining their cover, Scully stroked Mulder’s jaw. In her mind, she swore she heard a clock tolling midnight. With a sigh, she stood and started down the path.

Passing the jump-ropers, she glanced over her shoulder silently wishing Pink Jumpsuit away from the trees. Yellow jacket slid out of sight behind a large cedar. Taking the opportunity to get closer without being seen, Scully darted off the path. A public restroom allowed Scully to get close to the girl’s position without being in the Yellow Jacket’s line of sight.

About 100 yards down, Mulder dipped into the tree line. Tipping her head around the corner of the restroom, Scully looked for Pink Jumpsuit. The girl ambled along, humming a nursery rhyme, scanning the ground for more flowers. A flash of yellow from behind the rough bark of a tall pine. Pinky was on the brink of disaster. Scully desperately looked for Mulder in the thick growth, but saw nothing.

Everything happened at once. Pinky lifted her head as a soft but deep voice seduced her closer to the tree line. Scully jumped from her hiding place and raced the final yards as a hairy forearm reached out and a large hand wrapped itself around a fragile wrist. Lunging forward, Scully wrapped her arms around the girl in a flying tackle, wrenching her from yellow jacket’s grasp.

The would-be abductor let out a plaintive cry. For a moment, the insanity shining in his eyes said he just might be bold enough to fight for his prize. Scully cradled the frantic child as yellow-jacket took a step forward, camera swinging wildly from his neck. In a flash of blue, Mulder slammed into him from behind.

The two men rolled on the ground, struggling for dominance. Yellow jacket wrapped burly arms around her partner’s waist and twisted him toward the ground until Mulder raised up and slammed an elbow into the man’s face, spraying blood across them both. Using his momentary advantage, her partner pinned the other man to the ground face down and twisted the man’s arm behind his back until all the fight was gone.

The child’s sobs and the fight scene drew the attention of passers-by. While Mulder sat straddling the suspect, fighting to catch his breath, she flipped out her FBI ID and waved it at the growing crowd.

“FBI, everything is under control. Someone please get to a phone and call the police.” Scully watched as Mulder cuffed and patted down the suspect. Her partner seemed okay, so she stayed with the child, but kept her eyes open, ready to back him up if necessary. She shuddered when Mulder removed a large knife from a sheath at the man’s ankle.

From the path, two uniformed officers jogged toward the agents. From the grassy park, a boy careened toward them on an out-of-control bicycle, his face screwed up in fury, screaming ‘Jennifer’. One of the cops took control of the suspect while Mulder went to intercept the crazed bicycle rider.

After a brief struggle during which Mulder attempted to restrain the boy’s flailing arms and legs, the boy quieted and Mulder led him over to where Scully related her story to the other cop.

“This is Michael, Jennifer’s brother,” Mulder said. He let the boy go and the brother and sister hugged. Fresh tears streaked down the girl’s face.

“Michael, are your Mom and Dad here in the park?” the officer taking notes asked.

“N-no,” the boy stuttered, still holding Pink Jumpsuit-Jennifer. “They’re visiting a friend.” He stumbled over his words as he raised his head to the adults towering over him. “I’m supp-supposed to be watching her. I-I’m supposed to take care of her.” He ground a fist in his watery eyes and pressed his lips shut as Mulder put a hand on his shoulder and squatted down to look at the boy on eye level.

The tortured gaze in Mulder’s eyes at the significance of the boy’s words wasn’t lost on Scully.

“It’s all right, Michael. Jennifer’s okay.”.

“But I wasn’t watching her. I wanted to play soccer with the guys.” More police cars rolled up, and an officer led the handcuffed suspect away, stuffing him in the back of a black-and-white “That man…,” Michael said, his lips quivering.

“I know,” Mulder said, “but it’s okay. She’s all right.” With a choked sob the boy fell into Mulder’s arms and wrapped shaking arms around his neck. The muscle in Mulder’s jaw tightened as he held the boy’s rattling frame. With a deep breath, Mulder turned his eyes to the police officer.

“Do you have a cell phone?” he asked.

“In the car,” the cop said, nodding.

“Have you contacted the parents yet?”

The cop shook his head.

Looking frightened, Michael raised his head, but didn’t release Mulder’s neck. “Are you gonna call my parents.”

Scully thought Mulder had the most compassionate eyes in the world. With a soft voice, he smoothed the boy’s hair and said, “No, I think you should do that.”

Michael nodded solemnly and straightened up to follow the officer and Jennifer back to the police car.

Between the two agents standing side by side, silence stretched like an endless chasm. Finally, Scully touched Mulder’s bloody sleeve. “Any of that yours?” she asked.

He shook his head without looking at her, his eyes still fixed on Michael. Still a thousand miles away, Scully thought, with a different boy once responsible for his sister.

One of the cops trod back toward Mulder and Scully.

“We’re gonna take the kids home,” he said. “Parents are on their way.” The officer shuffled his rubber-soled black shoes. “One more thing,” he said. “For the report, what happened to the guys face? I mean not that I’d blame you if you just busted him one.”

His moment of reflection broken, Mulder glared at the cop. “He had his hand around my back. He went for my gun.”

“Did he get it?”


“You hadn’t drawn it?”


“Why not?”

Mulder turned the intensity on high and the officer took a step back. “We’re on a playground for Christ’s sake,” Mulder growled.

The cop pointed his pen at the purple ridge showing just above the collar of Mulder’s drooping T-shirt. “He do that?”

Scully’s heart leapt and her eyes flicked to her partner’s, but he managed not to flinch at the question.

“No,” he answered.

“Too bad, we could’a got him on assault on a federal officer.”

Scully knew Mulder was about to explode at the ignoramus. She hoped it would hold, they didn’t need to draw any more of this cop’s attention to why off-duty Washington FBI partners were on the beach in Carmel, one of them sporting the most livid love-bite she had ever seen.

“You’ll have to make do with kidnapping, I guess,” he ground out sarcastically and stomped off toward the car.

“Okay, fine,” the officer said, hurrying to catch up. “You’re gonna need to come down to the office and make a statement.”

“We’ll be there,” Scully said. As they left, he called from behind them, “Me, I’da drawn on him. Won’t catch me jumping an unknown without a weapon.” Scully thought she heard Mulder’s teeth grinding, but he kept walking.

After the last report was filed and badge and telephone numbers were exchanged, Mulder and Scully walked out of the Carmel police station into the California sun. The red Corvette waited, sparkling in the sun, looking less magical than it had before.

“We still have time to check out a few galleries for that painting, Scully,” Mulder said as he folded his long legs into the sports car.

For the first time all week, a smile came easily to Scully’s face. “No, I don’t need it any more.”

He put his arm over her shoulder without starting the car and looked at her with those melted chocolate eyes that said “I’m sorry,” so clearly.

Instead of launching her standard lecture on him wallowing in unfounded guilt, she laughed and rested her hand on his thigh. “You know, Mulder. I thought I needed a keepsake to remember us like we were last night and this morning. But Michael and Jennifer and that cop who would have pulled his gun in a playground full of kids showed me the truth.” He raised his eyebrows, encouraging her to continue. “It was fun, but that’s not the real us. Out in that park, that was the real us. And we’re not so bad. In fact, we’re pretty damn good.”

She pulled her lip between her teeth as Mulder put the car in gear.

“We’re going to have to be to explain to Skinner why we were still in California together two days after we finished our case when that Carmel PD report hits his desk,” Scully said.

Mulder grinned. “We’ll just tell him the truth, Scully: that you went to Carmel to look at paintings and I shacked up with a gorgeous woman for the weekend.” He angled the rearview mirror down to check out the purple bruise on his neck, and his grin became a leer. “We’ve even got proof,” he said.

They watched the sun set from the Point Pinos lighthouse promontory. Scully sat between Mulder’s legs, leaning her back into his chest with his arms wrapped around her torso. The love between them was as impossible as the vivid color painted across the horizon. Impossible, but real. Not constantly on display, but infinite in its beauty in those special moments when it did appear.


Making Up is Hard to Do (aka The Fight, The News) By Vicki S

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and/or Fox Studios. No infringement is intended, and believe me, I’m not making any money off this.




WARNINGS: Wicked MSR, so if you don’t like that stuff, turn back now!And kiddies, go home!

SUMMARY: A fight, a case, a question that may never get asked if the agents can’t make up. Time-wise, this story comes after “Out of the Cold” and “Little Red Corvette”, but you don’t need to read them to get this one–you just have to know that Mulder and Scully are much more ‘involved’ than they are on TV.

REQUEST: I love any and all comments and suggestions for improvement or just general BS. Reply to

Part 1 of 3

Fox Mulder lay flat on his back, concentrating on the long, slow circles spiraling down his chest. Long, slow, wet circles. Sometimes life was so good it hurt. He cranked one eye open just enough to see his partner, his lover, Dana Scully. The corners of his mouth curled up as her tongue’s descending exploration of his midsection hit a particularly sensitive spot. All that was visible to him was her copper hair, hanging like a veil over her face. Each time it brushed his ribcage, mingling with the wiry curls on his chest, shivers of pleasure rippled through him like a sunny spring breeze through sheets on a clothesline.

“Mmm, Dana, that feels so good.”

It was Friday evening, the end of another long week maintaining a purely professional relationship with Scully at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Thanks to their ability to slip in and out of the roles of their duplicitous lives, no one at work had caught on to the changed nature of their association. At least not yet.

Sometimes it was hard to believe their feelings weren’t obvious to anyone who caught the partners pausing as the two agents exchanged a glance or lingering a little too long in a touch as a file folder passed between their hands. The last hour or so in the office had seemed like an eternity, knowing that over the weekend ahead they could drop the façade and enjoy each other in a decidedly non-professional relationship.

For Mulder, the week had been a gut-wrenching exercise in anticipation and apprehension. Wednesday he had picked up the ring he had ordered for her. A wide band of smooth white gold, with a single diamond nestled in a deep setting. When he saw it, he knew it was the one. Like her: plain yet elegant, beautiful yet strong, simple yet complex in its multi-faceted sparkle.

Their relationship had progressed beyond partnership and friendship to this physical and emotional level less than three months ago, but it was time enough. Time enough someone who realized the fragility of life. How quickly it could flitter away, like a butterfly on a spring afternoon, its dreams unrealized. Now all he had to do was ask her to marry him, and get her to say yes.

As the clock had ticked toward 5, their looks became more frequent, the need in each other’s eyes more evident. By 5:40, when they made it back to Scully’s apartment, they had been so frantic that they were naked between the sheets within seconds after the door closed behind them. The ring, still in the pocket of Mulder’s suit coat, was strewn somewhere in Scully’s living room. His proposal would have to wait until baser desires were satisfied.

Sunlight faded through gauzy curtains above the bed with the closing of the day, its last golden rays reflecting the glow of Dana’s skin as she moved over his body. Funny how in bed was the only place he thought of her as Dana. Everywhere else, she was Scully, his friend, his confidant, his partner. But in bed, it just didn’t fit. Apparently she felt the same way, since it was the only place she ever called him Fox, and the only place he let it go without comment.

With a flourish, Dana threw back the floral sheets and scooted her body down the bed. A rose scent, matching the print on the comforter, wafted through the air. How she got her bed covers to smell just like the roses they pictured was still a mystery to him. For a moment their gazes locked. They caressed each other with their eyes as surely as they had caressed each other with their hands. Mulder opened his mouth to protest as she slid out of his reach, but decided against it when he caught her wicked grin.

Lying beside him, she slid one arm under the small of his back and wrapped the other over his thigh, holding him just above the back of his knee. Then she turned her head back to his body. Leaving a trail of butterfly kisses, her mouth swept down and across his flat stomach, pausing to nip at the hollows just inside the points of his hips. Her tongue delved into his navel, then moved lower.

Her flushed cheek rubbed against the sensitive skin of his erection and her warm breath teased him even tighter. Mulder arched his head back into the pillow, strangling on the sensations she created. Ever so lightly, her tongue resumed its long, slow, circles, flicking at him as it spiraled up. Up from his hips, around the shaft, to finally twist around the head, already glistening with moisture.

Mulder couldn’t stop the gasp that escaped when she wrapped her lips around the tip of his sex and pulled slightly. He grabbed the headboard of the bed to stop himself from forcing her head all the way down on him.

Her mouth was hot, so hot, as it worked him up and down, descending a little farther each time, and pulling a little harder on the way back up. Involuntarily, his hips lifted as he writhed beneath her. She held him tighter, riding with him as he lunged again. Her hand reached between his legs to gently massage his balls and he thought he might never breathe again. If she wanted to kill him, she could have just shot him, he thought.

His body screamed for release, but he held back. If Dana was going to get any pleasure out of this he had to stop her before his mind completely shorted out and he proved himself the selfish bastard his body desperately wanted to be right now.

Drawing a ragged breath he let go of the headboard and, raising up, held out his arms to draw her to him. With her palm flat on his steamy chest, she groaned in annoyance and pushed him back down.

In this state, he was in no shape to fight her. This time when she took him fully in her mouth, her rhythm was more urgent. He stiffened, lost in knowing that he couldn’t hold back, and that she didn’t want him to.

Each time she withdrew, even as her lips encircled him, she pressed her tongue against him. The rough nubs created an exquisite friction. It was pure torture. It was sweet hell. And then his body exploded and it was a long time before he was once again capable of conscious thought.

He opened his eyes to see her sliding up his sweat-slickened body. She kissed him, and he tasted himself on her lips.

“Dana Katherine Scully,” he said, breaking the kiss for a breath, “where the hell did you learn to do that?”

She smiled, looking very proud of herself. “I watched a couple of your tapes,” she said.

Mulder’s eyes narrowed. “I threw those out weeks ago.”

“Well, I rescued one or two.” She swallowed, looking suspiciously like she was suppressing a giggle. “Purely for educational purposes, of course.”

“Of course.”

Mulder regained control of his liquid limbs and wrapped his arms around the woman he loved. He pulled her completely against him, chest to chest, stomach to stomach, thigh to thigh. As his mind worked on a plan to pleasure her as fully as she had pleasured him, he grasped her and rolled until she lay underneath him. She breathed more quickly and wrapped her arms around his neck as his head lowered to hers.

Out of nowhere, a rumble as deep as an approaching train broke the silence. After the tremors passed, Dana’s body began to shake beneath him, lightly at first, then harder until the laughter she couldn’t contain split her lips.

“Fox, when was the last time you ate?”

Mulder cursed his complaining stomach and flopped over on his back, arms spread wide. It seemed like a very long time ago that he had wolfed down a tuna sandwich and called it lunch. He grinned wryly. “It’s your fault, you know. If you’re going to do things like that to my body, I’m going to require significantly more sustenance.”

She slapped him playfully on the stomach and sat up. “In that case, let’s get you something to eat. I want you full of energy this weekend.”

They settled on pizza: fast, easy, and close. Mulder tugged on a clean T-shirt from ‘his’ drawer in Scully’s dresser, pulled on his coat, then stuffed his Sig in the waistband of his jeans. The ever-present service weapon nestled comfortably against the small of his back under his leather jacket. After she dressed, Scully brushed her hair, put her own weapon in her purse, and picked up her car keys. In a matter of minutes, Fox and Dana transformed into Mulder and Scully.

Mulder stood at the cash register chatting with the teen-aged clerk while Scully perused the videos on the other side of the store. Not that they needed a video; he doubted they’d see more than the opening credits if they snuggled on the couch to watch it. Still, in the large round mirror mounted in the corner, he watched her stroll down the horror aisle. Who’d have thought little Dana Scully would like slasher movies. With all the blood and guts they saw daily on the job, you’d have thought she’d look for something a little more sedate. But she liked to be frightened, and he liked it when she grabbed onto him in the scary parts.

He was so absorbed in watching her in the mirror that he didn’t see the three young men enter the store until it was too late. They walked in a triangle formation: one in front and the other two side by side behind him.

The collars on their hip-length fatigue jackets were turned up, partially obscuring their faces, and they wore black baseball caps turned backwards. Mulder heard footsteps close behind him and saw the store clerk’s eyes go wide. At the click of a hammer being pulled back, he turned to see a cheap Saturday-night special aimed at his face.

“Don’t move!” the lead man said, waving the gun between the clerk and the FBI agent. “Get your hands up!” The other two men pulled similar guns out of their jacket pockets.

Mulder did as he was told, careful to keep his back turned away from the gunmen and not raising his arms high enough to pull his jacket up, revealing the pistol tucked behind him. He glanced over the gunmen’s shoulders to the mirror, and saw that Scully hadn’t noticed what was happening. God, just stay back there, Scully, he thought. Stay out of this.

“Open the register,” the first gunman said to the clerk. “And gimme the cash.” As he gave the orders, he shoved an army green backpack across the counter.

At the door, gunman number three kept watch outside. Cars passed, their headlights glaring through the glass storefront, but none slowed enough to catch the robbery happening inside. While the cashier fumbled with the backpack, the second gunman turned to the rear of the store. One glance up at the mirror, and Scully would be discovered. Please, God, give me the chance to ask her to marry me. I’m sorry I waited so long. Mulder saw, in slow motion, the guy’s head start to tip up and knew he had to create a diversion, quickly.

In a sudden motion meant to startle, but not panic, the gunmen, Mulder brought a fist down to his mouth and covered a racking cough. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to distract the second gunman, and anger the first. The butt of a pistol flashed through the air and collided with the back of Mulder’s skull. The world began to spin and his knees wobbled. As he fell, he saw Scully in the mirror, drawing her weapon. Then his forehead smashed into the corner of the counter and blackness enveloped him.

He woke to shouting. Scully’s voice.

“Down. Get down on the floor now” Through barely open eyes he thought he saw two figures drop to the ground–the gunmen, he hoped. One of them groaned; he seemed to be clutching his leg just above the knee. A smaller figure crept up with a gun held out in front. It was Scully. He had to help her. There were three of them, all armed.

Mulder groaned and struggled up to his knees, instinctively drawing his own weapon. The world refused to focus.

“Mulder?” Scully was looking his way, but her gun still covered the two men on the floor. “Mulder, cover me, the third guy went in back. I’m going after him.”

“Scully?” Mulder called. “Wait.” But she had already stepped around the men on the floor, kicking their guns away from them as she went by, and was creeping forward, her weapon held in a classic two-handed grip.

Swaying on his knees, Mulder pointed his Sig at the prone figures on the floor. Even at this close range he doubted he could hit them. He wouldn’t even know which of the triplet images swimming before his eyes to aim at.

Keeping his gun trained in their general direction, he staggered to his feet and tried to follow Scully. Damn. What the hell was she doing chasing after an armed man with no back-up, and two more bad guys behind her, dubiously covered by a woozy partner.

Behind the counter, the pizza store clerk stood frozen in fear.

“Don’t just stand there,” Mulder said, “call 911”. He jerked his head the direction of the phone on the wall. Big mistake. A barrage of firecrackers popped in his skull. A wave of dizziness assaulted him and he almost fell. In an attempt to take advantage of Mulder’s weakness, the uninjured gunman crawled toward the door.

“Don’t you move,” Mulder yelled, pointing the gun his way.

From the back of the store, two shots exploded.

“Scully!” He had to get back there. He thrust his gun at the bewildered clerk. “Cover them. If one of them moves, shoot.” The clerk probably had a better chance of hitting them than he did anyway, the way his vision kept fading in and out.

Mulder stumbled to the back of the store, burning his hand on a pizza oven he grabbed to keep himself upright. “Shit,” he said, shaking his reddened palm. “Scully?” he called. No answer. Fear coursed through him, driving him forward on unsteady legs. “Scully?”

He staggered into a shelf of pots and pans, which toppled to the floor in an ear-splitting chorus of clanging steel on tile. Steady hands righted Mulder from behind just before he pitched on top of the cookery. Spinning and raising a weak arm to defend himself, he met a pair of familiar blue eyes, and nearly collapsed against her.

“Mulder? What are you doing back here?” she hissed, lowering him to the floor and leaning his back against the wall.

Less dizzy now that he didn’t have to stand up, he raised his eyes to hers. “The third guy?”

“Dead. He shot, I returned fire.” Mulder nodded, wishing again that he hadn’t moved his head.

In a cacaphony of sirens and revolving lights, police units rolled up out front.

While Scully gave her statement to the police she watched Mulder out of the corner of her eye. The paramedics checked his pupils and put a bandage over the small cut on his forehead. The way his right eye was beginning to swell, he was going to have a nice shiner.

Finally finished with the police, she walked over and checked his pupils herself. He didn’t seem to have a concussion, but his jaw was twitching and he didn’t look at her. Must still be a little dazed, she thought. One of the paramedics gave her the eye.

“I’m a doctor,” she explained.

Satisfied, the paramedic went back to picking up his supplies.

“Mulder, are you okay? How do you feel?” she asked.

He jerked his head away from her hands and his hazel eyes scorched her with their touch.

“Me? You’re worried about me? I’m fine. You’re the one who could have been killed. They didn’t see you. Why didn’t you just stay back in the videos? What the hell were you thinking?”

Astonished at his reaction, her back stiffened. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. “What was I thinking? I was thinking I was an FBI agent and there was an armed robbery going on. I was thinking there were three men with guns surrounding my partner. Forgive me for thinking maybe I should do something about it.”

Apparently, no explanation was going to mollify him. If anything, his glower intensified. He had been acting as nervous as a kitten in a dog pound all week. Now he was mad as hell, riding a self-righteous high horse, and she didn’t even know why.

“Damn it, Scully. I had everything under control. You always have to jump in-”

“Under control?” she cut him off, laughing sarcastically. “That was under control? Getting your head bashed in? Sorry Mulder, but it looked like you could use a little help.”

Ignoring his ire, she slid her hand around his head, roughly probing the lump on the back of his skull. With a painfully tight grip on her wrist, he pulled her hand away. Before either of them could speak, one of the police officers walked up.

Both agents glared up at the uniformed cop, and Mulder released his hold on Scully.

“Paramedics said you aren’t going to the hospital, so you two going to need a ride or anything?” he asked.

“No, thanks,” Scully replied, “My car is right outside.”

“Well, we’re through here. Ready to close up.” Both agents recognized an invitation to leave.


Part 2 of 3

Not a word was exchanged on the ride home. When they got to her apartment, Scully flipped on the lights and closed the door behind them. Mulder stood unmoving, and her heart sank when she saw what he was staring at.

One of her dress shoes lay haphazardly at his feet. The other had been kicked off near the coffee table. The suit coat Mulder had worn to work that day hung halfway on and halfway off the seat of the couch. On the floor beneath it lay his tie. Near the open end of the hallway leading to her bedroom, Scully’s pale peach silk blouse, one of her favorites, sat crumpled on the carpet. In the dim light just outside the door to her room, she could make out a pile of clothes that looked like his shirt and her skirt. The trail of clothing they had left earlier in the hasty prelude to their lovemaking mocked the anger that stood between them now.

She waited. Still, he didn’t look at her. Soundlessly, she went to the kitchen to get him some aspirin and a glass of water. When she returned, Mulder was sweeping magazines off the table in front of the couch and running his hand along the floor. She stood behind him and watched as he picked up the suit coat and patted it pockets.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

His head snapped up, and the look on his face surprised her. The anger left over from the scene at the pizzeria was still there, but now it was mingled with something new. Something more akin to fear.

He seemed to search a little too hard for an answer to her question. “Looking for my keys,” he finally mumbled between clenched teeth.


“Why not?” He shoved the pillows off the couch, digging behind the cushions. With each unsuccessful search his agitation increased. As his fear grew closer to panic, Scully’s confusion increased. Maybe he hit his head harder than she thought.

“Mulder, you’re not driving home tonight. Not with that head injury.”

He straightened up, but his eyes still darted around the carpet, continuing his search. Finally he sighed resignedly, wadded the suit coat still in his hands into a ball and threw it at the fireplace. “Fuck it,” he said, half under his breath, half overtly. His shoulder slumped and his eyes turned heavy-lidded. He quit looking for whatever he was missing and turned to her. “I think that is exactly what I’m going to do, Scully. Now where are my keys?”

Scully’s eyes settled on the small marble-topped table in the foyer where Mulder’s keys lay in plain view. They both moved at the same time, but Scully was closer. She snatched up the keyring just before his fingers closed around it.

“Give me the keys, Scully.”



The warning in his voice was unmistakable. It made her more determined.

“No.” His fists clenched at his sides until he swiped his hand out, attempting to snag the keys away from her. Finally she snapped, her own anger a fair match for his. She’d been tip toeing around his moodiness all week, worrying at what secrets he was keeping from her. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you so mad you would endanger yourself by driving home in your condition?”

“Why would I endanger myself? Excuse me, are you the same woman who just stepped out to face three armed men by herself?”

“Oh, we’re back to that?”

“I never left it.”

“Mulder, what was I supposed to do? Besides, I wasn’t alone, you were backing me up.”

With a snort, Mulder advanced on her until her nose was at his chin. His eyes bore into hers. “Great, you left me hanging with two armed perps. I couldn’t even stand up. I couldn’t see worth shit. I couldn’t have fired my weapon if I had wanted to, because I had no idea what I’d hit. Some back-up. Scully, I can’t protect you-”

“Protect me?” She hated it when he treated her like that. Dana Scully had spent the better part of her life proving she could take care of herself. Always taking the hard road, always making the tough choices. She tried to out tomboy her brothers. In medical school, she chose a very unfeminine specialty–pathology. Then on top of everything, 5′2″ Dana Scully chose to apply her training in the FBI instead of private practice. The FBI–the oldest of good ‘ol boys clubs. Physically challenging. Dangerous. She had gone willingly where no one had gone before, to partner with “Spooky” Mulder on the X-Files. And she had succeeded at it all. She wasn’t about to let his overprotective sense of fucking chivalry set her back.

“Since when have I ever asked you to protect me? You’re the one who always ends up hurt.” Her voice rose, as did her blood pressure, but she stopped herself short of the whole truth.

She wasn’t ready to tell him yet that when he fell, the armed robbers saw the gun tucked in the back of his jeans and knew he was a cop. Or that the man who she had shot in the leg had had his gun pointed at Mulder’s head, ready to pull the trigger. She stepped out of the video section to save her partner’s life. She should have told him that back in the store, but didn’t think it was important. Now her pride prevented her; she didn’t have to explain her actions to him. “I’ve been telling you for three years: I do not need your protection. I do not want your protection. I am an FBI agent and I can hold my own on the job.” With that she turned and stomped off to the bedroom, taking his keys with her.

“Oh yeah,” he yelled after her. She heard him come after her. When he caught up, he grabbed her arm and turned her to him. His twisted face was inches from her own. “Like you held your own with Eugene Tooms and Donnie Pfaster? Like you held your own with Duane Barry?”

His words hit her like a physical blow and she hated the tears that sprang to her eyes. That he could hurt her so badly with mere words increased her fury, blinding her. Weakness was unacceptable. She ripped her arm from his grasp and stepped back.

“Get out,” she screamed. She flung the keys at him. “Get in your fucking car and go home, go to work, go chase your little grey friends. Kill yourself on the freeway. I don’t give a fuck. Just get out of here. And don’t come back.”

His face turned ashen and unreadable. They stood staring at each other, trembling, listening to the sounds of their own labored breathing. She could smell the anger in the air. He scooped up his keys and left. Only after she heard the door slam behind him did she allow the tears in her eyes to fall.

Scully was right about one thing. He probably would kill himself on the freeway. He wasn’t sure if it was his headache or his anger that made the blacktop waver in front of him. More than once he had to veer back onto the road when he felt the crunch of the gravel shoulder underneath his car’s tires.

By the time he opened his apartment door and fell to the couch, he was exhausted. Still furious, but exhausted. His stomach churned and filled his sleep with unpleasant dreams. Not the usual dreams about Samantha, but horror-filled scenes, like from one of Scully’s favorite movies. Scenes of death and disaster. Always Scully, always dying. And him watching, helpless.

In the morning he felt like shit. He paced his apartment, occasionally stopping by the phone, but resuming without picking it up. He knew he’d hurt her. The look in her eyes when she threw him out was one he’d never seen before, and one he hoped never to see again.

She didn’t call. He didn’t call. A chasm stretched between them. One Mulder wasn’t sure he could cross.

By Saturday evening, he regretted what he’d said. The times with Tooms and Pfaster and Barry were his fault, not hers. If she hadn’t trusted him, believed in him, she never would have been hurt. How could he have faulted her?

Afraid of what was happening between them, he picked up the phone. He called every half hour, leaving messages on her recorder, always the same.

“Scully, please pick up if you’re there. I’m sorry, Scully. I shouldn’t have said what I did. We need to talk. Please?” He waited for her to pick up if she was listening. “Please call me, Scully. “

Saturday night he considered going to her place, but didn’t think she would let him in even if she was there. Her words, “And don’t come back,” echoed in his mind. He didn’t want to force his way in with his key. Maybe she had gone to her Mother’s. He spent another fitful night on his couch, an icepack numbing his bruised eye, but doing nothing for his bruised heart.

The ringing phone woke him early Sunday morning. He snatched it from the base. “Scully?”

There was a moment of silence, and then a familiar voice, but not Scully’s. Mulder’s shoulders slumped.

“This is Skinner. I have a case, a potential X-file. I need you and Scully on it right away.”

The Assistant Director described the recent assassination of a state senator in Maine. Mulder only half listened. It seems the assassin claimed aliens made him do it. So what else is new.

“Sounds like the guy needs a shrink.”

“Mulder, you are a shrink. Besides, I haven’t told you everything yet. It seems that in a routine evaluation, to determine if they guy belonged on the psych ward, the local ER did a blood test. They can’t quite explain their findings.”

Mulder tried to pay attention.

“Mulder, aren’t you going to ask what they found?”

“What did they find?” he asked, his voice flat.

“Some kind of infection. Like a virus, but not like anything they’ve ever seen before. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta can’t identify it. His blood is full of it. He claims it’s from the aliens. According to the doctor, this guy shouldn’t even be alive. They’ve got him in isolation. Now find your partner and get up there. Your tickets are waiting at the airport.”

Oh boy, Mulder thought, another alien infection virus. Just what Scully and I need right now.

After hanging up with Skinner, Mulder reluctantly dialed Scully’s number one more time.

“Scully? Pick up this time if you’re there.” His voice was stronger, more professional than it had been. “Skinner just called. We have to go to Maine. It’s a case, Scully, we don’t have any choice. I know you don’t want to see-”

“Mulder?’ her voice cut in. The tape clicked off. “If you’re lying to me-”

“No lies, Scully, ” he said, hurt by the accusation. “We’re on a flight in two and a half hours. I’ll pick you up and tell you about the case on the way.”

In the airport lounge, Mulder peered at his partner when she wasn’t looking. Scully sat huddled in a plastic chair looking like a mass of misery. Her eyes were puffy and red despite the eyedrops he’d seen her put in just before they left. Her usually perfect posture had given way to a defeated slouch. He’d thought she might actually hit him when he’d picked up her bag to carry it to the car for her.

In truce, he squatted down before her and offered her a cup of slimy airport coffee. She took it, but looked away as she sipped. How fast things could change.

On the airplane, Scully seemed more interested in the magazine she flipped through than in the case. After a few minutes of reciting the facts to her profile, he gave up and left her to sulk.

Neither the state police or the pair of Secret Service agents on the investigation team questioned the haggard appearance of the FBI agents, but Mulder caught their surreptitious stares. He was sure fate had it in for him when he learned the suspect, Charles Bullins, had escaped from the isolation unit at the county hospital.

Sick as the man was, he had duped one of the interns doing the psychological evaluation into releasing the restraints and jumped from a second story window. Apparently uninjured, he had run into traffic on a busy street and disappeared.

Great, Mulder thought. Now instead of just debunking the guy’s story and going home, they actually had to go out and hunt down some alien-infected mutant assassin. Just great.

Scully went to the hospital to look at the blood tests and interview the doctors while Mulder dug into the suspect’s background, trying to figure out where they might find him.

The afternoon slipped away in relative peace. The pounding in his head had finally subsided, and the work kept his mind occupied. Trying not to wonder what Scully was doing, he read the background material on the subject and crossed referenced it on his computer with other abductee profiles and reports. By evening, he was convinced this guy had been abducted and somehow infected with a mind-controlling virus. The problem was, he wasn’t sure he cared; the truth didn’t seem as important as it once had.

Through the door connecting his hotel room to Scully’s, he heard her come in. Normally, she would have called from the hospital to tell him she was leaving, but today he hadn’t really expected it. He got up and walked to where he could see her, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned a shoulder and a hip casually into the door frame.

“Hey,” he said, trying to judge her mood. It didn’t look good. She didn’t look mad, just distant, ambiguous. “What did you find out at the hospital?”

She kept her back to him as she answered, hanging up her suit jacket. “Charles Bullins. 38 year old white male. 6‘1”, 240 lbs. An out of work fish delivery truck driver suffering from a blood infection of unknown origin.”

When she didn’t continue, Mulder lifted his eyebrows at her and cocked his head. “Ah, well, ” he said in a caustic tone, ” I can see how it would take you all afternoon to dig up all that.”

Without a word, Scully sauntered toward him, handed him a stack of audio tapes labelled “Bullins Psych Interview”, and shut the door in his face. Mulder heard the bolt click into place. Guess there won’t be any banter about the extreme possibilities versus scientific probabilities of this case.

At 8, the state police guys took a break for dinner, dragging the agents along with them so the team could review the facts and make plans for the next day’s investigation. Mulder folded himself into a chair at the near end of the table and Scully breezed past the empty seat next to him to sit at the far end. As she passed, she brushed him with clear blue eyes, cold as ice. Apparently she was through crying over him.

The restaurant was far nicer than what Mulder usually chose when he was on a Federal expense account, and the service was slow. The two Secret Service Agents sat on either side of Scully. On each side of them were the two uniformed state cops, opposites: one mature with gray-flecked hair that matched his eyes, and a young blonde kid. Next to Mulder sat the captain of the state police, the informal leader of the group.

The cops talked among themselves while Mulder and Scully pushed food around their plates. Finally, the Captain of the State Police turned his attention to Mulder.

“So, what do you think, Agent Mulder?”

Mulder swallowed and looked up blankly. He didn’t want to admit that he hadn’t been following the conversation.

“About what?” he asked.

One of the Secret Service guys must have been aware of Mulder’s reputation. Taking a swig from his beer, he sneered in Mulder’s direction. “Agent Mulder probably thinks Marvin the Martian shot the good State Senator.” Judging from the snickers around the table, the Secret Service Agent had shared the gossip with the rest of the team.

Scully, usually the one to keep peace between Mulder and the rest of the law enforcement world, stared at her plate.

“About what?” Mulder asked, carefully avoiding eye contact with anyone but the captain.

“I asked what you thought about the suggestion that the suspect would hole up, go somewhere he knows, somewhere from his past where he feels safe, to ride this thing out.”

Mulder glanced at Scully, looking for help, but got nothing.

Under other circumstances, he would already have discussed his theory with her, in private. She would find a way to soften it around the edges, so that it could be presented to a group of mainstream, closed-minded law enforcement pukes like this without him getting thrown in the looney bin alongside the suspects.

She would back him up, let him know with a lifted eyebrow or a tilt of her head when he was pushing too far, telling too much. Usually, they were a team. Tonight, she was a stranger.

She had to know what was coming. He was going to blurt out his theory, and they would scoff. They wouldn’t listen to him, and Bullins would get away.

This wasn’t right. He and Scully shouldn’t be in the field if they weren’t capable of doing their jobs. Despite all the promises they’d made about their personal lives not interfering with their work, here they were, unable to function even in a basic discussion of the case. It wasn’t right. If she wanted a scene, that’s what she’d get.

He snapped his head back to the captain. “I think it’s a crock of shit.” Scully’s hand tensed on her fork and she chewed on her bottom lip. “I think this guy was abducted by aliens, infected with an unknown substance, and forced or coerced into assassinating the Senator because of the Senator’s ties to the military-industrial complex that has been exploiting captured alien technology for years. I don’t think Bullins will go anywhere near a safe place from his past, I’m not even sure he knows who he is anymore. He’ll go back to the ones that are controlling him. He’ll go back to where he was abducted.”

Jaws around the table dropped. Mulder knew he was about to be humiliated; in a sadistic way, he looked forward to it.

“Yeah, and the mother ship is hovering over the state capitol right now,” the agent that had made the Marvin the Martian remark said.

Around the table, the snickers started up again, this time, taking on that embarrassed twitter people use when they aren’t sure if someone is joking, or really out of his mind.

“No, no,” the guy next to Scully piped up, “that’s just the Klingons. The mother ship is in D.C., at the Hoover building, replacing all the FBI agents with alien clones.” The snickers grew to guffaws.

“That true, Mulder,” the gray-haired state cop said, talking with his mouth full of baked potatoe, “you a clone?” A few of the men elbowed each other, and one laughed so hard he nearly choked on his salad. Except for Scully, only the young cop and the captain were not laughing. The kid was blushing. The captain quieted the table with an authoritative glare at the offending officers, and then turned to Scully.

“Agent Scully, do you agree with this assessment?”

Mulder held his breath.

She tipped her chin up, her faced pinched. “I think Charles Bullins is a sick man, suffering from delusions caused by an infection of unknown origins. I see no reason to perpetuate his delusions, or those of my partner, by making them the focus of this investigation.”

Around them, silverware plinked against fine china plates and diners murmured in muted conversation, but the table at which the agents sat was still, like the eye of a storm.

Mulder let a sick grin cross his face, then excused himself from the table.

Scully let the meal drag on as long as possible, postponing the inevitable confrontation with her partner. When she finally returned to her hotel room, he was waiting for her. He sat on her bed in the dark, outlined by a shard of light glinting through the open door. “What the hell was that about?” he asked.

“What, that scene in the restaurant?” She shut the door and dropped her purse on the table. Until her eyes adjusted, all she could make out was his silhouette in the dark. “You deliberately provoked them, Mulder. You knew how they would react. What’s the matter, did you need my help? I didn’t want to jump in when you obviously had everything under control.”

He flinched and shook his head, but stayed quiet. Was he as tired of arguing as she was?. The limited light in the room glinted off his eyes. They looked naked, raw in their grief.

“We can’t do this,” he said, his voice barely a whisper.

She didn’t understand.

“We can’t be in the field like this. I want you to go home.”

“What?” she asked, incredulous. “Because I wouldn’t back up one of your crazy theories?”

“No, because we promised not to let our relationship interfere. It’s not right and it’s not safe.”

Her painfully constricted throat rendered her speechless for a few seconds. He couldn’t do this.

“Forget it Mulder. We don’t have a relationship. And you have no right. I’m staying. We’re going to find this guy and we’re going to find whatever infected him-whatever on Earth infected him.”

He stood and slapped a plane ticket on the table in front of her. “No, you’re wrong. I do have the right. I’m the Senior Agent here, and you’re going home.”

For the first time she noticed her packed bag by the door. He was certainly thorough. She folded her arms across her chest and gave him her best look of defiance. “I’m not going.”

“Agent Scully, if I have to take your badge and your gun and carry you myself, you are leaving.”

Insanely rational, she unsheathed her weapon and removed the clip. She tossed them on the bed, along with her FBI ID. He stared at them like they were poisonous snakes, curling to strike.

An FBI agent only surrenders his badge and weapon under one condition. “God damn it, Scully. I don’t want your fucking resignation, I just want you to go home. Just until this is over.” He dragged his hand through his hair and spun away from her, gulping air like a drowning man. “Son of a bitch. Son of a God damn bitch. I can’t think straight with you around.”

Pulling out his own gun and credentials, he turned around and tossed them on the bed with hers. Their eyes dueled in the dim light as he said the only words that could possibly make her go.

“One of us is leaving, Scully. You choose.”

Damn him. He was a hell of a manipulator. But he must also be desperate if he was willing to bet everything he believed in, everything he had been searching for, on the surety that she would choose to leave rather than drive him out.

He was right. She picked up her purse and her bag, and left him standing in the dark.


Part 3 of 3

Blinded by tears, Scully drove to the airport, weaving recklessly through traffic and clutching the steering wheel as if it were the only thing holding her to this Earth. While she waited for her flight, passers-by in the terminal swept wide around her, sometimes whispering or flashing fleeting looks of sympathy her way.

Hours passed as she watched planes arrive and depart. Loved ones greeted each other with hugs and smiles, or sent each other off with tearful kisses. The milieu of life made her feel dead, and she didn’t even notice when the flight to D.C. left without her.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, she opened her purse and took out the small velvet box. She turned it over in her hands as she remembered Mulder’s nervousness this past week, and the look on his face after their fight Friday night, when he’d been searching her apartment, looking for his ‘keys’.

It wasn’t until after he’d left that she’d found it. She had cried herself out, and then begun picking up her apartment; she couldn’t bear looking at his clothes, laying around accusing her. The box was under the back of the couch, where it must have fallen when she ripped off his jacket in her hurry to liberate him from his clothes after work.

Fox Mulder had been planning to ask her to marry him, and it scared her to death. So she’d blown it. Or he’d blown it. She couldn’t keep track any more. All she knew was she wanted to be with him more than anything in the world, and she wasn’t. She might never get the chance to know his love again.

Somehow she knew if she walked away now it would be forever. This rift was so deep, so devastating, that if it wasn’t attended soon, her relationship with Mulder would simply bleed out and die, like a patient with a severed artery. She couldn’t let that happen.

Taking the ring out of its slot, she slipped it on her finger. With a pang of guilt, she wondered if he would want her to wear it now. The diamond caught the florescent lights and shimmered shards of colored light at her eyes as she turned it.

Wiping her grainy eyes, she collected her things and headed back to Mulder. She had to find a way to talk to him, and a way to make him listen.

After Scully left, Mulder turned to his work, burying himself in it. For several frustrating hours, he struggled to banish all thoughts outside the scope of the case while he reviewed everything he had on Bullins’ abduction. He typed a preliminary profile and left it sitting on his computer screen. In the initial psych interview tapes, Bullins had rambled on about ‘dead eyes’ staring up at him as the aliens took him.

Dead eyes. Unbidden, Scully’s cool blue eyes as she brushed him off in the restaurant flickered before him. Forget it, he thought, shaking his head. Dead eyes. But the vision wouldn’t fade. It transformed instead into blue eyes turned deep violet with passion, leaning over him, watching him as her lips curled around him, moved on him.

Mulder closed his own eyes and felt his body stir. Only two days ago. He remembered every sensation so clearly, like it was happening now. With a groan he lay back on the bed and grabbed the headboard, giving in to the fantasy. She was so perfect. She knew how to make it perfect. Knew just where to touch, how much pressure to use. His neck arched back, the cords in his throat straining with imaginary pleasure. One hand released the headboard and reached between his legs. His fingers wrapped around himself in a poor imitation of her. His chest rose and fell with his hand as he pretended she was there. Violet eyes. Blue eyes. Dead eyes. Dead blue eyes.

With a strangled cry he forced his eyes open and wrenched his hand away. He rolled over and drove his sobs into a coarse hotel pillow until the spasms passed. Christ, he was pathetic. She had only been gone a few hours. But he missed her. Rubbing his temples, he stumbled to the shower.

As steam swirled around him and scalding water pounded his back, he focused again on the case. The sooner he solved it, the sooner he could get back to D.C. and find Scully. He just hoped it wasn’t too late already.

Bullins had told the doctors the noise of the craft surrounded him as it descended. Like it was coming from all directions. It had to be someplace large, then, a place that would echo. Large and empty. With dead eyes. The clues whirled in his head like the water at his feet, tantalizing him with almost-answers before swirling down the drain. With a start, Mulder shut off the water and grabbed a towel, drying himself as he stepped out of the bathroom.

Whipping on clean boxers and a T-shirt, he spied the local phone book on the bottom shelf of the nightstand. Northport was a small community. It shouldn’t be that hard to find a listing for a place like that.

He sat in the middle of the bed scanning the yellow pages without knowing exactly what he was looking for. By the time he finished the Zs, frustration ate at his determination. He didn’t want to be here, doing this, when she was somewhere in D.C., hating him.

He looked at himself in the mirror across from the bedroom. You threw her out, you bastard, after everything she’s done for you. You drove her away without even trying to sort things out between you. Her gun and ID still sat on the other side of the bed, accusing him. She’s never coming back.

Haunted eyes stared at him from the mirror. With a grunt, he zinged the phone book at the image. “Serves you right, asshole.”

When the book settled, sprawled on the dresser top, Mulder noticed the advertisement on the back cover.

Northport cannery: fresh fish for all seasons. The picture showed an old salt in a yellow slicker standing over a barrel of fish carcasses, holding up one of the catch for the camera. Dead eyes looked at him from the barrel. Behind the sailor loomed a monolithic gray structure, some five or six stories at its tallest point in the center, then sprawling to each side in single-story wings that extended to the waterfront, where trollers deposited their day’s take from the sea.

Regret pounded his soul as he picked up his gun and ID from the bed where they still lay next to Scully’s. With a muttered curse he shoved his gun in the waist of his jeans and bolted from the room.

Mulder shut off the car engine and lights and coasted up to the cannery. The old corrugated tin covering many faces of the building creaked in the wind blowing off the sea. Creeping around the side of the largest part of the structure, Mulder shivered in the dawn chill and wished he had grabbed a jacket in his hasty exit from the hotel.

Inside, the air was heavier. Gun drawn, he wound threw the maze of towering vats, conveyors, lifts, and pulleys, looking for any sign of his prey. Attuned to every sound, his ears caught a plink and rattle somewhere ahead of him.

He froze. The meager morning light cutting through the grimy windows only partially illuminated the plant. On his vision’s periphery, a shadow flitted across a wall. Turning, he heard heavy footsteps ring up a set of metal stairs. A man-shaped form moved across a catwalk to another set of stairs, and climbed higher.

Tucking his gun away, Mulder followed, his sneakers silent on the rusted steps. He lost sight of the suspect in the catacomb of walkways above the fish vats. Against the stillness of the abandoned building, his breath sounded harsh. Even the wind had stopped its torture of the groaning building . Up here, the fish smell overpowered him, turning his stomach.

After climbing up more catwalks and ladders, following what appeared to be the main conveyor, he paused to look down from the dizzying height. For a moment he was on top of a mountain, looking at the stars and thinking about his lost partner, taken from him by Duane Barry, and then someone or something unknown. Now she was lost to him again, only this time it really was his fault. He sent her away. He shook his head, clearing away the distraction, and tried to pick up a trace, by sight or sound, of his prey. With a deep breath, he plunged ahead.

Scully returned to the hotel and banged on Mulder’s door until she was convinced he wasn’t there. Then she paid the clerk in the lobby $50.00 to open his room. Without her ID, she had no official way to coerce him.

The room was empty. She didn’t know what else she expected. After the way they’d left it, he was probably passed out in a corner booth in a bar somewhere.

But it looked like he’d been working. His computer was on. Clicking a key to get rid of the screen saver, she read the partial profile he’d written. Not some of his better work–his distraction was obvious–but still convincing in his offbeat way.

She smiled at the mess on the bed. Covers were strewn every direction, papers spread from head to foot. In the middle of the clutter sat the Northport phone book. Next to it sat a legal pad, full of meaningless doodles, but in the center he had written ‘Dead Eyes’ and circled it. Surrounding that were figure 8 style fishes, with black dots for eyes.

Her smile faded. The ad on the back of the phone book was a cannery: Northport Cannery. Had Mulder found the site of Bullins’ supposed abduction? Her breath caught. If he did, had he gone after the assassin? She didn’t even bother to check to see if he had asked any of the other agents to back him up; after the way they’d treated him, she knew he wouldn’t.

With the back cover of the phone book in her hand, Scully climbed back in her rental car. Her id and gun felt right, back in their proper places.

A shiver crawled down her skin from her scalp to her toenails when she saw the sedan in front of the abandoned Cannery. The car was government issue; it had to be Mulder’s. She steeled herself with a deep breath and a quick prayer, and opened the car door.

She slunk across the oily floor, not even wanting to contemplate what she brushed out of her hair as she passed under a stairwell. At last she found what she was looking for, and threw a lever that she hoped was the lights.

Mulder shuffled across the catwalk, afraid to lift his feet from the planks for fear he would find only air when he tried to set them back down. His knuckles were white where they gripped the railing. This one was worse than the others. It swayed with every step. His toe connected with something metal, a roll of cable he thought, and he flinched as it slid off the side. A few seconds later it clanked on the cement surface below.

Sweat beaded on Mulder’s forehead. Just a little farther. He was almost to the end of this deathtrap, and a ladder. He tilted his head up, then down, looking for a sign of where the other man had gone. Fuck it, he thought as the walkway swayed again, I’m going down. Another catwalk ran perpendicular about 15 feet under the one he stood on. He’d take the ladder down to it and then cross to the stairs leading to ground level. Carefully he reached for the last few feet of railing.

Suddenly, bright lights flashed on, blinding him. His arm jerked up over his face to cover his shocked eyes. The reflex caused his feet to slip out from underneath him. In desperation, he grabbed at the railing as he slipped off the plank walkway. The cable railing bit into his palms as it bore his weight. Helplessly, his legs kicked at air below him.

He was sweating in earnest now. The perspiration threatened the tenuous grip supporting him. He was really beginning to wish Scully was here. He swung his legs, trying to hitch a knee over the catwalk planks and leverage himself up. The whole structure swayed, but after two attempts, he made it. For several minutes afterwards, he couldn’t seem to get his body to cooperate in doing anything but lying there and panting. Finally, with extreme caution, he rolled his head just enough to peer over the edge. It was a long way down. A very long way down.

Gently, he rolled onto his hands and knees in an attempt to get up. While his back was turned, a man slid down the ladder and rushed him. Before Mulder could prepare himself, Bullins’ body connected with his, slamming him once again to the planks. Mulder grabbed one of the struts that attached the cable railing to the catwalk and tried to keep from sliding over the edge. Not again, he thought.

Mulder held on with everything he had, even when a booted foot connected with his ribs. His lungs exploded in a rush of air, and refused to draw in a new breath. His body absorbed the foot again and again. With both hands clutching the strut, there was no way he could protect himself. If this kept up, he wouldn’t be conscious much longer.

He opened his eyes and waited for the next blow. When it came, he let go of the strut and wrapped both arms around the leg that smashed into his shoulder.

The move surprised his assailant. Bullins lost his footing and crashed down on top of Mulder, grinding his elbow into Mulder’s just-healed eye. A big fist hammered the other eye. Mulder tried to roll the guy off him, but was forty pounds outweighed. The walkway shifted again, and both men slipped closer to the edge.

Bullins got his hands around Mulder’s throat and beat the agent’s head against the planks. Darkness encroached on Mulder’s mind as his brain went too long without oxygen.

Like a distant echo, Mulder thought he heard a voice below. Scully’s voice. A fire more intense than any pain Bullins could cause coursed through his veins. Tears flooded his eyes. He thought he was imagining it. Just what he deserved, to spend his eternity in hell hearing Scully’s voice calling him, pleading with him.

She sounded closer now.

“God Damn it, Mulder, kick him! Get away from him, give me a shot.”

It was her. She was really here.

He tried to answer her, but thick fingers squeezed the words back in his throat. With renewed energy, he flung arms and legs wildly at his attacker, punching and gouging anything he could reach. He heard Scully running, but knew she couldn’t make it in time.

In a last desperate act, Mulder wedged the man’s legs apart with a foot, and then jerked his knee up as hard as he could. Bullins screamed, a high pitched whine, and peeled his hands off Mulder’s neck to clutch himself. Mulder scrambled out from under the writhing man and tried to crawl away, but Bullins recovered quickly and snaked an arm around Mulder’s ankle, pulling him back.

In a raspy voice, Mulder called for help. “Scully!” The strain on his still-burning lungs threw him into a coughing fit.

“I’m coming, Mulder.”

He could see her, now, hurrying up a ladder. She couldn’t get an angle for a shot. Frantically, Mulder kicked at Bullins. The bigger man’s eyes were glazed with insanity. He grunted as he dragged Mulder back along the planks, tangling him in a loose roll of cable, and began pummeling him again.

This time Mulder was getting enough air to fight back. He landed a blow squarley on his attacker’s face. The force sent Bullins spinning backward, blood spewing. Bullins grabbed at the planks, but missed, getting Mulder’s pants leg instead. As Bullins fell, he pulled Mulder over the edge with him.

Both men plunged down. The world spun by Mulder in his hasty descent. There wasn’t even time to regret dying. And then something snapped on his leg and whiplashed through his body. He cried out at the pain. Just before the world went dark, he realized his momentum had stopped somewhere between the catwalk and the floor.

Scully knew she wasn’t going to make it. She couldn’t get an angle on the man beating Mulder and he didn’t seem to be able to get away. With a final desperate blow, Mulder freed himself but the momentum sent both men reeling over the edge of the catwalk.

Her scream mingled with theirs as they fell. Her heart stopped. And then Mulder stopped in mid-air. She heard him cry out and saw the cable tangled around his left leg. He hung suspended from it, upside down and unconscious.

Racing up the ladder, she tried to get close to him. A perpendicular catwalk ran underneath the one he had fallen from. It was at about the right height, but Mulder swung several feet out beside it. Lying on her stomach she reached for him. Bullins’ crumpled body below was a grim reminder of what would happen if she couldn’t pull Mulder in before the cable gave way.

Tears streamed down her face as she stretched her fingertips toward him. A hum started somewhere in the plant. She couldn’t tell what direction it was coming from, but it was getting louder. Below her, huge vats of fish stared up her in death. She remembered what Mulder had written on the legal pad, ‘Dead eyes’.

“No!” she said. Not dead. Scully prayed that Mulder would open his live hazel eyes and help her.

“Mulder! Mulder wake up. Come on, Mulder, help me.” Edging her hips a little closer to the side of the plank, she reached out again, but was still short by several feet. With a groan, the cable slid farther down, dropping Mulder another foot, but catching again before he plunged all the way to the ground. The humming was so loud now she had to shout to be heard. The planks beneath her vibrated in harmony with the sound.

“God Damn you, Mulder. I’m tired of yelling at you. Wake up right now. Do you hear me, Mulder?”

Blood ran out the corner of his mouth over his cheek to his forehead. From the way his breath rattled in his chest, she’d guess he had several broken ribs. His eyes flickered, then opened. At first they were calm, hazy. His arms swung lazily over his head.

Then he must have realized he was hanging in mid-air, several stories over a cement floor. He struggled, trying to right himself.

“Mulder, take it easy. Calm down.” She soothed him with her voice. It must have gotten through, because he quieted and looked her way.

“Scully?” he asked. He reached his hand out to her, but she still couldn’t get a hold on him. His eyes darted around, trying to identify the sound. As the light in the plant increased in intensity, beyond what any normal florescent system could produce, his body stiffened. He looked at Bullins’ body beneath him.

“They’re coming, Scully.”

She ignored his comment, refusing to think about the source of the light and sound. There was only Mulder, and he needed her. “It’s all right. I’m going to get you down.”

The light became painfully bright and the noise rattled her teeth.

“No. There’s no time. Just go,” Mulder said.

“Forget it, Mulder. You’re not sending me away again. You can yell at me for it later. Right now, I need your help. I can’t reach you from here. I need you to swing yourself a little.” The cable supporting Mulder creaked. “Gently, Mulder. Just swing gently over this way.”

His eyes travelled up the cable twisted around his knee and to where it had snagged precariously on one of the struts. She heard him breathe more quickly and saw him fighting the panic. Eyes wide, he shook his head. The cable slid, dropping him a few more inches. His face twisted in pain and fear.

They both gasped. Scully prayed and Mulder cursed.

“C’mon partner. You can do it. You’ve got to do it now.” She inched a little farther off the edge of the catwalk and reached for him again. His hazel eyes locked on her extended hand, caught by the ring on her finger, then slowly rose to her face. A thousand unasked questions shone in his eyes, but for the moment, the old trust was back. Ever so slightly he rocked his body, never breaking his eye contact with her. He rocked a little farther.

The light was so bright around him that Scully couldn’t see anything but him against the glare, his hand reaching out to her. The old cannery screamed as metal strained against the onslaught of light and sound. Their fingertips brushed, but they couldn’t hold on. On the next swing, he propelled himself directly to her. Their hands clasped each other’s wrists just as the cable groaned a final time and let go completely.

Mulder free-fell to the end of his and Scully’s grip while the cable snaked to the ground below. Grunting with the effort, Scully held him as he swung below her, held aloft only by their mutual grip. She was perilously close to the edge of the catwalk and sliding steadily forward under Mulder’s weight.

Suddenly a crushing weight descended on her, stopping her just before she toppled over the edge. The shock almost startled her into letting go of Mulder. Almost, but not quite. She tightened her grip and focused on nothing but her partner.

The weight pinning her to the catwalk wiggled, and she identified it as human, a man. A man lying on top of her. Just as that thought started to worry her, a khaki sleeved arm reached over her shoulder into her field of vision and grabbed Mulder’s shirt by the collar. She turned her head enough to see blonde hair and part of a state police uniform. Scully offered a silent thanks to whatever deity sent provided them with a cop young enough, and maybe naïve enough, to take Mulder serious and follow him here.

For a second they were all still, trying to stabilize the swaying. Below, Bullins’ body levitated on the light, floated about 12 feet off the ground, and dematerialized. Within seconds, the light was gone and the noise had stopped.

“Wow,” Scully heard between the panting breaths emanating from the vicinity of her ear.

“Agent Mulder,” the young officer said, “looks like you were right after all–Marvin the Martian did assassinate the Senator.”

Scully would have laughed, but she couldn’t get enough air in her lungs, crushed as she was by the young officer’s weight.

“Yeah, right. Whatever,” Mulder said. “You think you could just pull me up from here, now?”

The blonde state patrolman heaved on Mulder’s shirt and raised him a few inches, giving blessed relief to Scully’s aching shoulder.

The muscles in both men’s arms bulged and their faces contorted with the effort.

“Back up,” the cop instructed her, lifting his weight from her back. She wriggled until her upper body was fully back on the platform, but maintained her grip on Mulder’s wrist.

Mulder’s free arm reached up to the platform. He gripped the edge with his long fingers and pulled.

They all strained, and Mulder was able to gain enough height to lock his arm across the side of the planks. Closer to victory, they rested a second, then heaved again. Mulder kicked his legs and pushed up on his elbow until, cheating death and gravity, he rolled onto the catwalk.

Breathing heavily, the three of them lay in a heap on the rough planks. Finally, Mulder slid his hand over hers, and intertwining their fingers, brushed his thumb over the band she wore. She turned her head to look at him and feathered her fingers over the new bruises on his face. When he flinched, she flinched with him. They didn’t say anything, but their eyes communicated volumes.

With a glance over at Officer Crisp, whose attention was on the spot where Bullins’ body had disappeared, Scully bit her lip and rolled to close enough to Mulder to whisper in his ear.

“Does this mean we’ve made up?”

He nodded, smoothing damp hair away from her face.

“Only one thing left to make it official,” he said. His eyes twinkled with a little of their old fire.

“And what would that be?”

“Deciding who is going to say it first.”

“Say what?” she asked.

“That ugly ‘I’m sorry, I love you, please don’t leave me’ thing.”

Scully hid a grin. “Well, since you’re the one who threw me out, I think that is clearly your responsibility.”

His eyes narrowed, but the up-turned corners of his mouth gave him away. “You threw me out first, remember?”

That one almost had her stumped, then she remembered. “You’re the one who had to have pizza.” They both smiled.

“You’re the one who made me hungry.”

Scully grabbed the collar of his shirt and twisted it in her fist. “Fox William Mulder, you are impossible.”

“I know.” He pulled her hand from his shirt and kissed it. “But I’m sorry and I love you. Please don’t leave me.”

“Oh, Fox, no.” She shook her head and smiled through the tears running down her cheeks. “I’m sorry. I love you. Please don’t you leave me. Not ever.”

His smile felt like heaven shining on her face. Even the fact that they were lying on a creaky catwalk in a smelly fish factory, with Mulder battered and bloody, couldn’t diminish her happiness. Even the wide-eyed stare of a fresh-faced young state patrolman as he watched the scene play out before him couldn’t make her hide her feelings. She leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to Fox’s abused face.

“Dana Katherine Scully, will you marry me?”

End Part 3 of 3 YOU LIKE?
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