Sonnet Stories by Anne Haynes

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Sonnet Stories by Anne Haynes

Sonnet Stories cover

(In order of Episode)

1.10 “Spite of Fortune” – post “Fallen Angel”

2.08 “Time Removed” – post “One Breath”

2.13 “Anchored” – post “Irresistible”

3.02 “Sorrow’s End” – post “Anasazi/Blessing Way/Paper Clip”

3.04 “Awake For Ever” – post “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”

3.10 “Effects of Time” – post “Nisei/731”

3.13 “Blame the Cosmos” – post “Syzygy”

3.13 “Scent of a Woman” – post “Syzygy”

3.14 “Out of the Abyss” – post “Grotesque”

3.16 “Mutual Ransom” – post “Piper Maru/Apocrypha”

3.17 “A Separable Spite” – post “Pusher”

3.18 “Unlooked-For Joy” – post “Teso Dos Bichos”

3.19 “Conscious Pulse” – post “Hell Money”

3.20 “Sleep is Sweeter” – post “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”

3.22 “Hope” – post “Quagmire”

3.22 “Hope – Epilogue of Denial” – post “Quagmire”

3.23 “Home” – post “Wetwired”

4.02 “Home- talk” – post “Home”

4.04 “Palm to Palm” – post “Unruhe”

4.05 “Greater Meed” – post “The Field Where I Died”

4.06 “No Such Roses” – post “Sanguinarium”

4.09 “One Heart” – post “Tunguska/Terma”

4.10 “Riddle Incomplete” – post “Paper Hearts”

4.12 “So Short a Lease” – post “Leonard Betts”

4.14 “Song of Life” – post “Memento Mori”

4.18 “Fragile is the Glass” – post “Tempus Fugit/Max”

4.20 “Lone Dreams” – post “Small Potatoes”

5.02 “Time’s Best Jewel” – post “Redux II”

5.05 “Passage of a Song” – post “Post-Modern Prometheus”

5.08 “Shadows, Rumors, Doubts” – post “Kitsunegari”

5.09 “Struggling Green” – post “Schizogeny”

7.02 “Fortune and Men’s Eyes” – post “TSE: Amor Fati”


1.10 “Spite of Fortune” – post “Fallen Angel”

DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, set post-Fallen Angel and contains spoilers. Congratulate me—this is my first ever First Season SONNET story. <g> Rated PG for language

Category V, A Not MSR, only UST

SONNET: “The Spite of Fortune”

By Anne Haynes


Then hate me if thou wilt! if ever, now!

Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,

Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,

And do not drop in for an after-loss.

Ah, do not, when my heart hath ‘scaped this sorrow,

Come in the rearward of a conquer’d woe;

Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,

To linger out a purposed overthrow.

If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,

When other petty griefs have done their spite,

But in the onset come. So shall I taste

At first the very worst of fortune’s might;

And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,

Compared with loss of thee will not seem so.

– William Shakespeare


The basement office seemed quieter, somehow. Empty, despite the clutter still tacked to the walls and spread across Fox Mulder’s desk. Maybe it was the large cardboard box sitting in his chair that gave the impression of loss, the handful of files lying at the bottom a mute reminder of the end of a journey.

Two years, six months, three days since he’d first gotten permission to work the X-Files. A wry, humorless grin creased his cheeks. Hell, he’d lasted two years and six months longer than he’d expected. Not much to show for it, though. A little extra junk, a lot more questions. A twinge more guilt….

Poor Max. Nothing to show for all his hard work, either. Mulder didn’t believe for a minute that the military retrieval team had found Max’s body in an oil drum. Max wasn’t anywhere near that warehouse. Hell, Max probably wasn’t anywhere near this solar system by now….

A soft, muted rapping on the door drew him out of his self- pitying introspection. “It’s open.”

Dana Scully entered the office, clad this morning in a dark blue linen jacket and matching trousers. Her impossibly small feet were in low-heeled pumps, bringing her height to somewhere around his chin. If that. She eyed the box on his chair, her forehead creasing. “Word came down already?”

He shook his head. “No, but why wait ’til the last minute?”

Her pretty heart-shaped face darkened slightly, an unhappy frown making little lines in her smooth, pale brow. “It doesn’t look good,” she admitted.

He felt something inside him coil up, like a snake in defense mode. He didn’t trust her—why would she care? She was probably thrilled at the thought of ditching Spooky Mulder and getting back to her little fast-track career to the top. She’d never really been anything but a spy, after all. “Wonder if you’ll get a pay raise.” he murmured. He picked up a couple of books and placed them in the box. He felt her gaze on him. It was a physical sensation, like fingers on his skin. Don’t turn and look at her. Don’t do it, Mulder.

He lifted his eyes to meet hers. Her expression was a mixture of anger and pain. “I didn’t do this to you, Mulder.”

He sank down on the edge of his desk and looked away. “I know you didn’t. I could hear most of your debriefing through the doorway. I know you went to bat for me.” He just couldn’t figure for the life of him why.

“Can’t tell that it did much good.” She crossed to the chair in front of his desk and sat down, crossing her slender legs. The trouser leg drew up, revealing a slender ankle and the beginnings of a shapely calf. Almost like an afterthought, a slight tingling tightness rippled through his groin. He controlled it with practiced ease, focusing his attention on the work at hand.

He picked up an antique microscope and looked at it. He ran his hand over the dull gleam of the goldtone surface, thinking about science. Scully would probably laugh at him, but he considered himself a scientist, too. But where she focused her attention and her belief on the natural world, he studied and quantified the supernatural world. Different methods, different outcomes, but the heart of the search was the same, wasn’t it? It was all about finding truth.

He glanced at her. She sat still, composed, like a porcelain figurine. Sometimes he looked at her and wondered how such a tiny, fragile-looking thing had ever made it through the FBI academy at all, much less first in her class in every major skills and training category.

Oh, he’d checked her out. The second he got wind that Blevins was sticking him with a greenhorn academy instructor, he’d been nothing but thorough. By the time she set foot in his office that first day, he not only had all her vital information committed to memory, he’d profiled her, figured her out. Military brat background, early graduation from high school and college, breezed through med school on brains and a love of hard work, not afraid to voice an opinion, not afraid to flout conventional wisdom— “Einstein’s Twin Paradox: A New Interpretation” indeed!

He had her pegged for a real blue-flamer, willing to sacrifice everything and everyone for that next rung on the ladder. No denying she was brilliant. No denying that she did good work. A good girl from a good family with good grades and good work habits and no doubt a good as gold reputation. Too good to get her hands dirty on the not-so-tidy files he investigated. Too good to kiss off Blevins and the boys upstairs in order to pursue the truth no matter what.

He’d been so sure he was right about her. For about a day. Then she’d come to him on a rainy night in Oregon, scared as hell and trying so hard to be brave as she took off her robe and bared herself to him, asking his help, trusting him not to betray her show of faith in him.

She had looked like an alabaster sculpture, her skin glimmering in the flickering candlelight. Flaring hips, tight little ass, a back that curved and dipped and begged to be explored by hands and teeth and tongue. He was a man. He’d wanted her. But something about her moved him beyond that automatic physical response to something so much more dangerous. He’d found himself wanting to shelter her, shield her, take her utterly within himself like a treasure to be protected at all costs.

Had that been her intent all along? Was that how she meant to destroy him—from the inside out?

He’d told himself so then. He’d told himself so at other times as well, times when she’d seemed to prove herself his ally. On a military base in Idaho, when she’d held an Army intelligence operative at gunpoint to gain his release. In a high-tech building in Virginia, when she’d done the same thing to an agent with the NSA. In Icy Cape, Alaska, when she’d put herself in danger to protect him.

“I don’t trust them,” he’d told her in a cramped, claustrophobic little room bathed in harsh light from a bare overhead bulb. “I want to trust you.”

He looked up at her now, saw her worried gaze on him.

I want to trust you, he thought.

He looked away. Didn’t really matter, now. Any minute, the word would come down from Blevins and she’d be taken away from him, just like the X-Files.

He would continue to pursue the truth. He didn’t need government sanction for that. It would be harder without the access and resources of the bureau, but he’d come too far and seen too much to stop now.

He’d just have to go it alone again. It wasn’t really so daunting a prospect. He’d gone it alone for a long time now. He wore his solitude like a comfortable old robe, wrapped himself in it to keep out the cold and the dark. Probably a good thing they were parting company now, before he’d gotten to used to having her around. He had been okay before Scully. He would be okay again.

“Did Section Chief McGrath give you any idea how soon you’d hear the committee’s decision?” Scully’s low voice made him look up.

He shook his head. “I don’t expect they’ll waste much time in debate.”

She pressed her lips together and gave a little nod. Her eyes dropped, unable to stand up under his intense gaze. He felt a little frisson of triumph, a sort of perfunctory pride in making her look away first. Fox Mulder still had the power to unnerve his opponents with a glare.

But the pride faded quickly, leaving him with a niggling question. Was she still an opponent?

Did he want her to be?

Don’t think about it, Mulder. Go ahead and start letting go now. It’ll be easier in the long run.

He stood, to put distance between them symbolically as well as physically. He’d put away the crutches this morning, his sprained knee already much better, but as he cut the corner around his desk too quickly, the injured joint buckled, pain shooting up into his thigh.

She was at his side in a heartbeat, little hands on his stomach and his back, steadying him. He drew a sharp breath, felt her hands move with his respiration. She looked up at him, blue eyes warm with concern and compassion. “Are you okay? What did you do with your crutches?”

I don’t want crutches, he thought. Not even small, pretty red-haired ones. He shrugged off her hands. “I’m okay— just twisted it a bit.” He took a cautious step and satisfied himself that he was telling the truth. His knee barely twinged. “See?”

She leaned her hips against his desk, folding her arms over her chest. “What are you going to do, Mulder?”

“Do?” He wasn’t sure what she was asking him.

“When the word comes down from McGrath’s office. What are you going to do?”

“Pack up my toys and go home, I suppose.”

“And after that?”

He frowned in her direction, unwilling or maybe unable to meet her questioning gaze. “I have a psychology degree. I’ll look around, see if there are any research jobs to be had. Maybe look into some of the paranormal research outfits out there.”

“Out there,” she repeated softly.

He looked at her then, wondering if he’d find her laughing at him. She merely met his gaze, her expression open and a little sad. “What about you?” he asked.

Her eyebrows lifted. “Me?”

“What will you do now? Where will you go?”

“Wherever they send me. Back to Quantico, most likely.” She looked down at the floor, shuffling her feet slightly.

“Don’t let them do that to you, Scully.”

She looked up, a question in her eyes.

“You’re a good field agent. You shouldn’t be hidden out at Quantico.”

Her chin jutted stubbornly. “I did good work at Quantico, Mulder.”

“You did good work in the field, Scully. Damned fine work.” He crossed to her, almost without realizing what he was doing. He moved into her space, consumed it. “Tell them you want to work with the Violent Crimes Section. You earned it on the Tooms case, and I know you liked it.” He bent closer, brought his face almost level with hers. “You liked telling that asshole Tom Colton where to get off. You liked being right about Tooms when everybody said you were wrong. Tell me you didn’t find that a big turn on.”

She glowed with barely contained excitement. Her eyes were shiny, almost glassy, and her lips parted on a little hiss of breath that brushed across his skin. She looked for all the world like a woman on the verge of passion, and an answering shudder went through him. There really was nothing sexier than an intelligent woman, he thought, watching a faint flush rise in her pale cheeks and tint her parted lips.

“Yes,” she said, her voice husky.

His heart pounded in his chest, loud and percussive. “Don’t let them put you back in Quantico, Scully. Fight for this. Do it.”

She breathed in quick little puffs. He could see the faintest tremor in her lips, betraying both her excitement and her fear. She wanted to push the envelope. He could tell. She wanted to go after exactly what she wanted, consequences be damned. She’d always been ambitious, but on other peoples’ terms more than her own, he suspected. Her rebellion always came in small doses. Taking on the FBI upper echelon and demanding a chance to prove herself in the field—that was a big, horse-choking size lump. But she was on the edge of taking that step. He could see it in her eyes.

“What do you want to do when this mess finally comes down?” He bent closer. Her warm breath whispered over his lips. “Tell me what you want, Agent Scully.”

Her answer took him completely by surprise. “I want to work with you on the X-Files.”

He took a step back, nonplussed.

She met his bewildered gaze steadily, lifting her chin again. “I was sent here to do a job, Mulder, to test the scientific validity of your work on the X-Files. I haven’t completed that work. I don’t like to leave things unfinished.”

He didn’t know what to say. Express gratitude? She hadn’t paid him any sort of compliment. She hadn’t said she’d found any validity to the work he did—only that she wasn’t finished looking.

As it turned out, he didn’t have time to say anything. The phone rang before he could utter a word.

She gave a start, grabbing the edge of the desk. Mulder pressed his lips together in annoyance and picked up the receiver. “Mulder.

“Agent Mulder, this is Cheryl in A.D. Blevins’ office. He would like to see you and Agent Scully in his office in ten minutes.” The secretary didn’t wait for a reply before hanging up.

Mulder hung up the phone and looked at Scully. “This is it.”

Her brow creased. “Blevins?”

He nodded. “You ready?”

She licked her lips. “Yeah.”

She started out the door in front of him, but at the last minute, she stopped and turned around. He almost walked into her. “I’m sorry, Mulder. I’m really sorry this happened. You’re a great agent, and I know that whatever your methods, the goal is always the truth.” She put her hand on his arm, let it lie there, motionless.

He removed her hand gently and not without reluctance. In turn, he pressed his hand to her back, remembering, as always, the way her skin had felt like hot silk beneath his fingers on that rainy night in Oregon. He bent low to speak into her ear as he guided her from the office. “Tell them what you want and make them give it to you.”

She met his eyes for a moment, her gaze enigmatic. Then she preceded him down the hall to the elevators.

Blevins didn’t make them wait. His receptionist ushered them right in. Blevins stood, waved at the two chairs in front of his desk. “Won’t you have a seat?”

Mulder glanced at Scully. Her eyebrows arched. He looked away and sat in the chair next to Scully’s.

Blevins began without preamble. “The Senate subcommittee that oversees NASA has requested that you and Agent Scully provide another briefing into the death of Dr. Marcus Belt,” he said, referring to a case Mulder and Scully had finished working a few weeks earlier. “You’re both to make yourselves available all day every day for the next week, beginning tomorrow. We want to make sure we’ve crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s on this case. Belt was an old friend of the Senate Chairman.”

Mulder glanced at Scully again. She met his gaze, her brow crinkling slightly.

“That’s all, Agents. You may go back to whatever you were doing.”

What I was doing was packing to leave the FBI for good, Mulder thought, more than a bit confused. “Sir, I—uh….” He wasn’t sure how to broach the subject—or if he even should.

Scully spoke for him. “Sir, Agent Mulder and I were under the impression that you’d called us up here to tell us the results of Agent Mulder’s OPC hearing.”

Blevins’ face darkened slightly, so slightly that a quick second later, Mulder wasn’t sure he’d even seen it. “The OPC has closed the matter to everyone’s satisfaction. There will be no further action taken on the case.”

Mulder barely stifled a gasp. “But sir—”

“Agent Mulder, do you wish to file a complaint about the outcome of the hearing?”

He shook his head quickly, relief beginning to bloom in his chest. “No sir, not at all. Thank you for the information, sir.” He glanced at Scully, who looked as shell-shocked as he felt.

She stood, straightened her jacket. “Agent Mulder and I have paper work we can catch up on, sir. Thank you.” She moved quickly toward the door, as if afraid that it might disappear before she got there.

They walked slowly down the hall together, silent as if by tacit agreement. When the elevator doors opened, he ushered her inside with a brief touch and leaned against the wall of the elevator to await the descent to his office.

Their office.

They were back in business.

Once the elevator was moving, he stole a glance at her. She stared straight ahead, her face composed, almost distant. But he could swear that the faintest hint of a smile curved her apricot lips.

He looked down at his shoes, and hid a grin of his own.

The End


2.08 “Time Removed” – post “One Breath”

DISCLAIMER: None of the characters in this piece of fiction belong to me. CC, 10-13, and FOX have dibs on them, and I mean no infringement by my brief and admiring attempt to borrow said creations for my own pleasure and (hopefully) the pleasure of others. Sonnet #97 is by Shakespeare, but I don’t think he’d mind. The snippet of Emily Dickinson poetry is from “After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes.” She probably wouldn’t mind, either.

This is another SONNET story. Set in the middle of Season 2, during the events of ONE BREATH, the episode where Scully returns after her abduction. Lots of spoilers if for some odd reason you haven’t seen what is arguably the best X-Files episode ever. No M/S romance, but hey, it’s me! UST is a given. This one’s short, folks.

SONNET: “Time Removed”

by Anne Haynes


How like a winter hath my absence been

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!

What old December’s bareness everywhere!

And yet this time removed was a summer’s time,

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,

Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,

Like widowed wombs after their lord’s decease.

Yet this abundant issue seemed to me

But hope of orphans and unfathered fruit,

For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,

And, thou away, the very birds are mute,

Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

-William Shakespeare


Dana Scully existed in the cottony realm at the edge of oblivion, clinging to a life that by all rights should have ended when the respirator tube had been removed from her airway. Science had no answers for her in this place, gave her no comfort or enlightenment. But she was not surprised or disillusioned, for while science had been her religion, empiricism her ritual, her faith lay elsewhere, in a power unknowable and undeniable.

She recognized that she hovered on a precipice, a point beyond which she could not return. The temptation to leave was overwhelming, for even in the peace of this nether region, she knew that to return to her life would mean facing truths she had no desire to face. Pain and weakness awaited her back in that world, while peace and rest beckoned from the realm beyond.

Her father had told her that her time was not at hand, but she had not always obeyed her father. She was her own woman, knew what was best for herself. Had she listened to her father, she would never have joined the FBI, never been assigned to the X-Files….

Never ended up standing at the edge of this cliff, wondering whether or not to jump.

But, too, she would never have met Fox Mulder. And no matter what, she could never regret knowing him. He was the most unique, intriguing, exciting and bewildering man she knew. He enriched her life in ways she’d never imagined possible.

She’d felt him here by her bedside last night. Holding her hand. Watching her, listening to the slow, steady rhythm of her respiration as if the next breath would be her last. She had sensed the tension in him, his fears and his anger. But overwhelming it all had been a soul-deep love for her that blazed from him, cocooning her in warmth. She didn’t try to define the emotion, to categorize it with words like romantic or platonic. It was enough for now to know it existed, that living or dying, she’d occupied a place in this man’s guarded heart.

He told her he knew she believed it wasn’t her time to go, and that she’d always had the strength of her beliefs. But he was wrong. She didn’t know. She wasn’t strong. She was close to death, and the temptation to submit was as powerful as any she had ever known.

And all she had to do was take a single step….

She envisioned herself in a forest, dappled by sunlight peeking through the canopy of trees above. Birds sang softly, cheerily, reminding her of her childhood, when every bright summer morning held a promise of magic and majesty. This could be her destiny, she thought. Endless summer mornings, with no fears, no pain.

She saw a path leading deep into the forest, into the primeval darkness within, a darkness cool and beckoning. She had only to take the first step forward….

A faint, haunting sound hummed beyond the happy chirping of the birds. A wordless litany of grief, racking sobs of one whose whole world has crumbled at his feet.

Mulder’s cries, guttural and heartbroken.

Pain lanced through Scully’s heart at the sound. She couldn’t see him, but she knew that he was the mourner and she was the cause. He believed her dead. He had lost his faith, and she alone had the power to return it to him.

Dana Scully knew what she had to do.

She took a step backwards.

And another.

With each step, her body grew heavy, corporeal. Physical pain seeped into her muscles and pores, while consciousness twisted and transformed. The forest faded; reality appeared in increments: an i.v. rack, a chair, an orderly.

As memory faded into oblivion, Dana Scully came back from the dead.


Fox Mulder had no tears left to shed. His eyes were dry and burning, his throat sore. His body felt heavy, as if every recess had been filled with sand. A snippet of a poem came to mind…Emily Dickinson…”This is the Hour of Lead— Remembered, if outlived, As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow—First—Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go—”

He stared at the shambles of his apartment, not unaware of the ironic symbolism. Wrecked room, wrecked life. The pieces would never go back together the way they were before. Some things would always be missing, broken, twisted beyond recognition or rectification.

He was in the hour of lead, paralyzed by loss. She’s gone, he thought. Twelve hours ago, when he’d walked into her hospital room, she had been slipping away. An hour ago, when Margaret Scully had chased him from the room, insisting that he go home and rest, Scully had been weaker than ever. He’d passed a priest in the hallway and knew that Mrs. Scully had called for the last rites to be performed. Mulder wished he could find comfort in such rituals.

But comfort was beyond his grasp now.

He’d lost Scully. He suspected he’d lost himself as well. And he knew he’d lost what little hope remained of finding Samantha. With Scully at his side, anything had seemed possible. But Scully was gone. Beyond his reach, beyond his voice or even his battered heart. In a few seconds or a few minutes or a few hours, his phone was going to ring and someone was going to say the words he never wanted to hear.

She’s dead….

When the phone rang, he was too numb to react. His mind registered the trilling noise, his heart cracked and poured out in his chest, but his hands never moved, his expression barely changed. His eyes flickered toward the phone, but he couldn’t reach out his hand to lift the receiver.

The machine clicked on. “Hello, this is Fox Mulder. Leave a message pl—”

Something surged inside him. I can’t hear about it this way, he thought. He grabbed the phone. “I’m here.”

“Fox, it’s Margaret Scully.” Her voice was thick with tears.

His breath caught in his throat. God no, God no, God no….

“Dana’s come out of the coma. Dr. Daly’s cautious, but he believes she’ll recover.”

He blinked. A smile curved his lips, beyond his control, and he released a sigh of bone-deep relief.

“She’s lucid and asking about you. I told her I’d call and let you know.”

He took another deep breath. “Does she remember—?” He didn’t know if he wanted her to remember anything. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

“She hasn’t said anything. She knows that she’s been here a while, and she knows that it’s not August anymore, but beyond that….” Mrs. Scully’s voice trailed off. “I know she’d like to see you, Fox.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

He hung up the phone and rose to his feet, his whole body thrumming with excitement. He was almost out the door when he remembered a promise he’d made to Margaret Scully.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the slim gold chain he’d recently worn around his neck as a talisman of sorts, a reminder that Scully was out there somewhere, waiting for him to find her. The tiny gold cross glistened in the morning light pouring through his window, glowing as if Scully’s life spirit had infused it with her very essence.

He pressed the small charm to his lips, like a supplicant kissing the feet of his deity, then slipped it into his pocket.

The time removed receded from his memory, replaced by hope.



2.13 “Anchored” – post “Irresistible”

Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully and the other participants in this little fanfic fest belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network—and in large part, to David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. I mean no copyright infringement whatsoever.

This is another SONNET story. Post-“Irresistible” and

contains spoilers.



by Anne Haynes


Dressed in silence, fear, the thief,

Purloins my peace with practiced ease,

Strips my soul of true belief,

And turns deaf ears to wretched pleas.

He dons a thousand shifting faces,

Hides beneath a commoner’s cap,

Waits in quiet, placid places,

Luring prey within his trap.

Fear’s dark craving drinks me, drains me,

Fills the void with liquid pain,

‘Til your gentle love restrains me,

Draws me to the light again.

Anchored, though the ocean churns,

I claim your strength ’til mine returns.

– Paula Graves


Dana Scully lowered the towel and turned her back to the wide bathroom mirror, looking over her shoulder at her reflection with the detached, professional eye of a doctor. Bruises were already forming, splotchy and purple on her milky pale flesh. The tumble down the stairs hadn’t hurt that much at the time—she was far more intent on getting away from Donnie Pfaster. But the contusions were beginning to hurt now.

The air in the hotel bathroom was cool. Goose bumps sprinkled her flesh, a reminder of her nakedness. Panicky shivers raced through her and she donned her underwear and pajamas, shaking hands slowing her progress. The clothing gave her back a small sense of protection, an illusion of armor. She added her terry cloth bathrobe and went back out into the darkened hotel room.

She heard soft sounds from the connecting room—Mulder watching television? She glanced at her travel alarm and saw that it was after two a.m. Not an unheard of hour for Mulder to be awake, but she knew he was waiting up on the other side of the door, listening for her to settle down for the night before he went to bed as well.

She turned back the covers on the bed and sat, hoping Mulder would hear the creak of the bed springs and take his cue to get some sleep. But instead, she heard a soft tapping sound on the connecting door.


She closed her eyes, willing him to stay on his side of the invisible line between them. She’d already trampled the line once today. If he came in, she didn’t know if she could hold onto the last scraps of her control. “I’m going to sleep now, Mulder. I’ll talk to you in the morning.”

He was silent for a moment, no doubt contemplating the idea of coming into the room to check on her anyway. She heard the soft rattle of the doorknob and was glad she’d locked the door between their rooms. If Mulder came in now—

“Night, Scully.” She heard the hurt in Mulder’s soft words. She never locked the connecting door—it was a small but important expression of her trust in him.

A trust she’d just broken with her fear.

Tear filled her eyes and she blinked them away. She didn’t mean to hurt him, but she couldn’t seem to make him understand. What had happened to her tonight stripped away every scrap of self-protection she’d ever built around herself. Pfaster had torn away her strength, her control over her own body, her control over her own mind—he’d ripped away her shell, exposed the soft underbelly of her weakness, left her bare and vulnerable.

And now, Mulder was doing the same thing with his concern. She knew that he was trying to reach through her armor out of caring and affection instead of madness and obsession, but right now it all felt the same. It was still vulnerability, and it scared the hell out of her.

She needed her armor. She depended on it. She wouldn’t surrender it again, not even to Mulder.

She lay in the darkness, waiting for the television next door to go dark and silent. But the soft droning sound continued, rebuking her for turning him away when all he wanted was to comfort her.

She remembered Karen Kosseff’s soft question. “Is it your partner? Is there a problem with trust?”

God, no, she thought. She didn’t trust anyone but Mulder to cover her back. But she also didn’t want to let him know how weak and afraid she was. She’d told the social worker that she didn’t want him to think he had to protect her, but that wasn’t the whole reason.

She didn’t want to disappoint him.

Earning Fox Mulder’s trust had been the most difficult task she’d ever undertaken, and when it had finally been granted to her, she could remember no more satisfying moment in her entire life. Mulder had stopped treating her like a spy and started treating her like an equal. A partner. Now, she was terrified of losing that respect and trust. She couldn’t bear if he lost faith in her ability to cover HIS back.

She stared up at the shadowed ceiling, watching as the faint light peeking through the motel room curtains painted little patterns across the sheetrock. Next door she heard the soft creak of bed springs. Maybe Mulder was going to bed now. Maybe she could stop feeling so damned guilty about how she’d failed him.

Go to sleep, Mulder, she willed silently. I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me. Never again, I promise. Just close your eyes and get some sleep, and we can pretend it never happened.

Next door, the television droned on.


Mulder stared at the television screen without really seeing it. His mind was back in a dark, abandoned house, where he’d witnessed the most frightening scene he could ever remember.

He’d seen Dana Katherine Scully fall apart.

In that moment, the world had shifted for him, knocked forever slightly off its axis. Even as his arms moved to enclose her body with his, his mind had reeled wildly.

She’s the strong one the brave one she never crumbles never breaks if this can happen to Scully oh God what will happen to me?

She’d felt so small and fragile in his arms, her hot, damp face burrowing into his chest and her arms circling his waist, clutching him like a little girl clinging to her father. Her utter trust moved him in ways he lacked the power to express, even to himself. There had been something elemental and magic in that moment Scully had opened herself to him, the walls between them visibly crumbling. While he hated what Pfaster had done to her, hated what had brought her to the point of complete surrender, something in his very core rejoiced in the fact that when her reserve had finally shattered, he’d been the one to whom she’d yielded herself.

Surrounded by a roomful of fellow agents and policemen, Scully and he had shared a moment as intimate in its own way as making love. But that moment had passed quickly. Scully had refused help from the paramedics, drawing herself back together with determination that left Mulder in complete awe. She’d given her statement to Moe Bocks with methodical precision, relating every detail like the forensic scientist she was. As Mulder watched in amazement and admiration, she’d dug deep inside herself and found the steel at her core. But in the process, she’d frozen him out again.

He was torn by his feelings—gladdened by the reemergence of her strength, of course, but disappointed that she no longer needed HIS strength. From the very beginning of their partnership and friendship, he had always needed her far more than she needed him. He needed her companionship to remind him that he wasn’t alone in the world. He needed her sane rationality to help him remember that lies were out there as surely as the truth.

Three long, horrible months without her had been his own personal hell, a day by day reminder of his utter dependence on her. Once he’d gotten past the naked feeling of vulnerability, admitting his need for her had been remarkably liberating. He was free to admit what he really wanted, what he needed.

He needed Scully. By his side, watching his back, guarding his mind and his heart. Forever.

But Scully obviously didn’t find that same comfort in her vulnerability to him. He could hardly blame her, he supposed. He wasn’t sure he’d trust himself in her position. After all, what had he ever done to prove himself to her? Her association with him had derailed her career in the F.B.I. Her life was spent in one lousy motel room after another, chasing aliens and mutants she didn’t really believe in, trying to write her field notes in such a way that she didn’t sound as spooky as her whacked-out partner.

And there was always her abduction if he needed another reminder of how he’d failed her.

Not tonight, though. He hadn’t failed her tonight. He’d gotten to her in time.

He comforted himself with that thought as the night stretched and deepened.


Scully dreamed she was back in that dark closet, half-dazed, fear paralyzing her as she awaited her fate like a lamb facing slaughter. The door opened and Donnie Pfaster crouched in front of her, dim light glittering off the blade of a knife. Her mind seemed to splinter into separate compartments—clinical detachment in full lecture mode, droning on about how the knife was a standard steak knife, four inch stainless steel blade with scalloped edges, while the child inside her shrieked in wordless terror.

There’s no way out, girlie girl…there’s nowhere to hide….

Pfaster bent over her, his face shifting, changing, taking on new yet recognizable features. But even in her dream state, she knew that the faces she saw now were not the ones she’d seen in Pfaster’s house. Ted Bundy and Charles Manson had been replaced by strange, light-washed visages that emerged from the deepest center of her subconscious. White surgical masks covered the shadowy faces of her tormentors as they bent over her, studying her as if she were as specimen on a dissection tray….

Oh God oh God oh God!

She catapulted from sleep, a silent scream hissing between her teeth. Her heart jackhammered in her breast as she grappled with panic, subduing it with the last ounce of inner strength she possessed.

As the thunder of her pulse in her ears subsided, she realized she still heard the sound of the television next door. A single word filled her mind, chasing the remaining shadows from her soul.


She pulled her robe tightly around her, her eyes going to the door between their rooms. He was just beyond, she thought. Waiting. Waiting for her to let go of the fear and come to him.

For a moment, panic darted through her again as she realized how much she feared—and desired—this swelling urge to lay her life in his hands and let him keep her safe, tonight and always.

Complete, utter surrender.

Terrible, wonderful surrender.

Fear dissipated like warm breath in cold air, leaving only desire to compel her. She scrambled off the bed and padded across the carpet to the connecting door, pressing her ear to the cool wood. Beyond the low drone of the television, she heard nothing.

Had he fallen asleep with the television on? He did that sometimes, she knew. She thought he might be afraid of silence and darkness, the twin terrors of night. In the stillness, his memories of Samantha must surely haunt him more profoundly. So he clung to light and noise as talismans against the demons of remembrance.

She thumbed the lock mechanism in the connecting door, wondering what she’d find on the other side. Had he closed his door to her, answering her lack of trust with a betrayal of his own? Her breath caught in her throat as she turned the knob and swung open the door.

His door stood open wide. A soft, shuddery sigh escaped her, and she took a step forward, crossing the invisible barrier between her world and his.

He sat on the queen-sized bed, still dressed in his charcoal gray suit trousers and rumpled white shirt, though the first three buttons of the shirt were open, and his hair was spiky as if he’d spent the past few hours running his fingers through it. His jaw was blue with a day’s growth of beard, and Scully had the most overwhelming urge to join him on the bed, curl up in the protective shelter of his long, lean body and rub her face against the rough stubble on his jaw.

With eyes as sharp as a cat’s, he watched her slow approach. He made no move toward her, as if he sensed her need for complete control over the situation. Inexorably she closed the distance between them, her arms instinctively curling around her stomach as she took the final steps to the edge of his bed.

His gaze never wavered from hers. He waited, still and quiet, and Scully felt a surge of love for this man that transcended any emotion she’d ever known. He knew what she needed right now—as surely as if the need were his own. He knew that while she longed for his comfort, the decision to reach out had to be hers, not his. So he waited, silent and submissive to her will.

Warmth seeped into her, filling her cold, numb extremities, enervating her. As she turned and sat on the edge of his bed, she felt her strength waxing, blooming, spreading through her limbs like air filling a balloon, giving shape and substance to something that had been fragile and deflated.

Mulder moved for the first time since she entered the room, sliding to his left to give her space to join him on the bed. She filled the emptied spot, pressing her hip against his and turning toward him a bit, giving him silent permission to hold her.

His strong, lean arms curled around her, tucking her into the safety of his embrace. She lifted her head and rested her face in the shadowy curve of his neck, reveling in the raspy feel of his beard lightly scraping her forehead.

No spoken words passed between them. None were needed.

Anchored in each other, they finally slept.

The End


3.02 “Sorrow’s End” – post “Anasazi/Blessing Way/Paper Clip”

Disclaimer: Everybody in here belongs to CC, Ten-Thirteen Productions, Fox and anybody else who has legal claim over them. I mean no infringement.

It’s a SONNET story, post “Paper Clip” and contains copious spoilers. It takes place on Mother’s Day, 1995, just a few short weeks after Melissa’s death (Sorry, Melisketeers!) and Mulder’s return to the world of the living.

SONNET: “Sorrows End” by Anne Haynes


Sonnet #30:

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste,

Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,

And moan the expense of many a vanished sight.

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of forebemoaned moan,

Which I new-pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.

– William Shakespeare


Mrs. Scully’s Home – Maryland

Mother’s Day 1995

3:05 p.m.

The house was empty, still. Margaret Scully drifted from room to room, her thoughts scattered to the winds. Her sons had called to wish her happy Mother’s Day. She understood why they couldn’t get away. She’d been a Navy wife, after all. She knew how the military worked. Over the years, she’d gotten used to Mother’s Day without her sons.

Without Missy, either. Many years without even a call or a card. But not last year. Last year Melissa had called from somewhere out west—Billings, Montana? They’d talked on the phone for hours.

And Missy had been home for the holidays. After Dana came back. Such a short time ago, really.

Margaret knew that her youngest daughter considered Melissa’s death some sort of horrible trade—Missy’s life for Dana’s. But Margaret couldn’t think that way. Wouldn’t think that way. A trade implied that a price could be put on two precious lives. That a choice could be made somehow.

One life for another.

Margaret Scully knew that wasn’t possible. No parent could make such a choice.


Georgetown Medical Center – Washington, D.C. Mother’s Day 1995 3:45 p.m.

The monitors above the narrow bed scrawled steady peaks and valleys in rhythm with the soft beep the machine emitted. Dana Scully tucked her hands in the pockets of her pearl-gray blazer and approached the bedside. The woman who lay against the flat hospital pillows looked more pale, more fragile than she remembered from their last meeting. Her eyes were closed as if she were asleep, but there was no peace in her expression.

Scully searched the troubled face, looking for the resemblance. Mrs. Mulder’s face was rounder, softer—but she could see hints of the sharp angles and flat planes of her son’s expressive features. And the haunted look—THAT they shared, she thought. It clung to Mulder more now than ever—since that day in the abandoned mine in West Virginia.

Since he’d seen the files. Samantha’s file. It was supposed to have been his file.

He’d never told her the significance of the hidden label. Not in words. But she and Mulder didn’t need words these days. They hadn’t talked about any of what they’d been through—not since that day in the hospital room by the empty bed.

<I’ve seen the truth.>

Mulder had seen the truth, too. He never said so, but she knew he’d gone to see his mother in Connecticut. That was why he’d gotten to the hospital too late the day Missy died. That’s how he understood her own sense of utter guilt and remorse.

His sister’s life for his own.

Missy’s for hers.

Dreadful symmetry.

Scully looked at Mulder’s mother and thought of her own. She should have stayed the night with her mother. With Mother’s Day coming so soon after Missy’s death—

She’d go back home after she left the hospital, she decided. She didn’t want to leave her mother alone. Grief and solitude were a dangerous combination.

Mulder’s mother stirred, and for a second Scully felt the urge to turn and run. Silly impulse, she knew. But she couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable with Mrs. Mulder, for a thousand different reasons. Especially knowing what she knew now. About the choice.

Mrs. Mulder opened her eyes. She blinked, trying to focus on Scully’s face. “Oh. Agent Scully.”

Scully took a step closer to the bed. “Hello, Mrs. Mulder. I hope you don’t mind that I came to visit without calling.”

“Is Fox back yet?” Mrs. Mulder’s eyes swam—the effect of the sedatives they’d given her to calm her nerves after the panic attack landed her in the hospital the night before.

“Um, no. Not right now. I’m sure he’ll be back soon.” She didn’t know where he was. The nurses at the desk said he’d left over an hour ago. “Can I get you anything? A glass of water?”

A small smile darted across Mrs. Mulder’s face, gone almost before it got there. “No. Thank you.” She lowered her eyes, avoiding Scully’s gaze.

She knows that I know.

“It was good of you to come, Agent Scully.”

Scully wished she could think of some nicety, some simple polite response to put the other woman at ease. But all she could think about was Mulder and his sister. About the choice.

How her life would be so different had Mr and Mrs. Mulder chosen Samantha instead.


Mrs. Scully’s Home 4:15 p.m.

The doorbell startled Margaret Scully from her memory journey. Wiping away tears, she replaced Missy’s photo on the mantle and went to the door, plastering a cheerful smile on her face. It wouldn’t do for Dana to see her crying.

She hadn’t expected Dana back from D.C. so quickly. Maybe Mrs. Mulder wasn’t having visitors.

But it wasn’t Dana at the door.

“Fox.” She felt a swift rush of affection.

Fox Mulder looked so uncomfortable, standing there in her doorway, as if he expected her to order him off her porch like some unacceptable suitor for her daughter. “Hi, Mrs. Scully.”

She saw his thoughts so clearly—the guilt, the self- recriminations in his eyes, blaming himself for her loss.

Echoes of Dana.

“Please come in.” She gestured him inside. He didn’t meet her eyes as he walked through the door.

They ended up in the kitchen. They always did. From the first time he’d come to her house after Dana disappeared— not even a year ago, she realized with a start. It seemed liked another lifetime.

Maybe because a lifetime of loss had swallowed the intervening months. Missy. Fox’s father. Even Dana— found, but not without loss of her own. Long months of nothingness. Months she might never regain. Margaret wasn’t sure she wanted her daughter to remember what had passed in those lost months.

“I should have come before.” He sat in the same chair in which Dana always sat. He had from the first, and Margaret had seen that as a good omen back in the dark days. Saving Dana’s seat until she could take it back again.

He had become her son in those days. A son of her heart if not her womb. But just as surely as she knew her love for him, she also knew he had no idea of the depth of her affection. Fox didn’t recognize love when he saw it.

Not in himself or in the people around him.

But she tried to show him anyway. She put her hand over his, not feeling hurt when he flinched. It was enough that he relaxed and let her hand remain. “How’s your mother, Fox?”

Dana told her not to call him Fox, but Margaret knew things about him that even Dana didn’t. Things that only a mother knew. He NEEDED her to call him Fox. To say his name with pleasure and fondness and pride, not disappointment or anger. So she called him Fox whenever possible, with as much love as she had within her. His shy smile was her reward, now as always.

“The doctors say she’ll be all right. Just stress. I can take her back home tomorrow like we’d planned.” He hazarded a glance at her. His expression softened a bit more as he relaxed. “How are you, Mrs. Scully?”

Did he have any idea how much emotion he expressed when he said her name, how his low voice caressed the words? No, of course he didn’t. He didn’t realize that he saw her as a surrogate mother any more than he knew she saw him as her son in spirit. She squeezed his hand lightly. “Some days are better than others.”

“I’m surprised Scully’s not here—” An half-smile crossed his face. “Dana, I mean.”

So Dana didn’t tell him she was going to visit his mother? Margaret wondered why not. “She was here earlier.”


For a man who considered himself such an enigma, he was so easy for Margaret to read. He was disappointed that Dana wasn’t here. Troubled, even. Incomplete without her by his side.

How long would it take for him to understand?

Probably as long as it would take Dana.

Margaret thought about Melissa, and a chill passed through her.

Don’t let it be too long, children. Don’t let it be too late.


Georgetown Medical Center 4:30 p.m.

“Fox went to see your mother, you know.” Mrs. Mulder’s soft voice startled Scully. She had been quiet for the last few moments, seemingly content to let the guilty silence hang between them unchallenged.

“I didn’t know.” Scully was pleased. Her mother made no effort to hide her affection for Mulder. This Mother’s Day, with Missy gone—it was good he went to see her.

“He would rather I be more like her, I think. I let so much come between us. So many things unspoken for so many years.” Pain suffused Mrs. Mulder’s voice.

Did she regret her choice? Scully wondered. Did she wish she’d chosen Samantha instead? If Mulder had been the one taken, Missy would still be alive, Scully thought. And I wouldn’t be wondering what mysterious part of Hell I was in for three long, lost months. If his mother had chosen Samantha instead—

Who would you choose, Scully?

It was her thought but Mulder’s voice. Soft, sardonic, taunting.

Choose Samantha, and you get your sister back, Scully.

You get yourself back. All those long, lost months.

But she’d lose Mulder.

If it were only her own loss to consider, there’d be no question. She’d lay down her life for her partner without hesitation. What were a few lost months?

But Missy’s life—

Missy’s life wasn’t hers to give.

Back to square one, Scully. Door number one or door number two?

Mrs. Mulder’s faint voice still had enough power to cut through Scully’s agonizing introspection. “He thinks I loved Samantha more. Now more than ever.”

Scully looked at the woman, surprised and confused. How could he, after the choice she’d made? “I don’t understand.”

Sad resignation filled Mulder’s mother’s eyes. “Nor does he.”

“But you chose him.”

The stark anguish that crossed Mrs. Mulder’s face robbed Scully of her breath. “No. I couldn’t choose. Don’t you see?”

Scully shook her head, although she did see. At least, she was beginning to.

Weak tears spilled down Mrs. Mulder’s round cheeks. “I could never make that kind of choice. How could I?”

“You couldn’t.” Moisture pooled in Scully’s eyes and trickled down her cheeks. And neither could I, she thought.

“But Bill did.” Hatred filled Mrs. Mulder’s voice, low and shivery. “He chose Fox. His son.”

*His son.*

Scully heard Mrs. Mulder’s voice with Mulder’s ears. Heard the cold resentment. No wonder he felt unloved. Unwanted. Whenever Mulder spoke of his parents, his voice held equal parts of love and hate, fear and hope, bitterness and longing.

Mulder’s father had made the choice his wife couldn’t.

He’d chosen Mulder.

And she’d chosen hate. Hate for her husband. Hate for herself. And whether she realized it or not, hate for her son. Because he was still here, and Samantha wasn’t.

“I love my son, Agent Scully. I know he doesn’t really believe that. I can tell that you don’t, either.”

Scully licked her lips. She had no words to answer.

“If he ever asks—if he ever doubts, tell him that for me, Agent Scully.” Deep abiding sadness filled Mrs. Mulder’s eyes. “Tell him I love him. He’ll believe you.”

But only if I believe it myself, she thought. And could she? Despite all the empirical evidence to the contrary? Despite the hatred that even now mingled with the sadness in Mrs. Mulder’s expression?

I want to believe, she thought. For Mulder’s sake, I have to believe.


Reflecting Pool, Washington D.C. Mother’s Day 1995 6:50 p.m.

Mulder wasn’t surprised to see Scully walking slowly down the sidewalk toward him. These days, they had a sort of radar working with each other. Maybe it was coincidence. Fate. Shared sorrows.

He waited until she was almost standing in the pile of sunflower seed shells at his feet before he spoke. “I went to see your mother.”

It took a second before he realized she’d said the same thing.

“Jinx, buy me a Coke.” Her lips curled slightly upward as she sat on the bench next to him.

“You saw Mom?”

She nodded. “I just wanted to see how she was doing.”

“You didn’t tell me.”

She cut her eyes at him. “I didn’t know I needed your permission.”

He loved when she got haughty with him. It did something warm and fuzzy to his insides. “I wondered why you weren’t at your mother’s house.”

“I’m headed back there now.”

God, he wanted to go back with her. Back to the warm, golden place that almost made him remember how his life had seemed before Samantha was taken. “She doesn’t blame you, Scully. For Melissa.”

“I know.”

He envied the sureness of her reply, the love that filled her face. She looked like her mother then. Strong and good and true.

She turned her intense blue eyes on him. “Your mother doesn’t blame you, either.”

No, he thought. He knew that now. It wasn’t a matter of blame, like he’d always thought. She hadn’t been able to choose between Samantha and him. She knew it wasn’t his fault.

But that knowledge was cold comfort. Because the choice she hadn’t made all those years ago she’d been making every day of every year since. She chose Samantha now because his father hadn’t back then. And she’d let him think it was his fault for all these years, even though he’d been powerless to stop what happened.

“Scully, I didn’t tell you this before…but my father… when Samantha was taken—” He’d had time over the past days to reconcile fantasy with reality. He held no more illusions about his father. He knew now how utterly, horribly fallible his idol had been. But saying the words—even to Scully—

Especially to Scully—

Her hand closed over his. He was reminded of her mother’s hand squeezing his gently as they sat in the kitchen a few hours earlier. Remembered the low, soothing voice that had never failed to comfort him—neither today nor in the darkest hours a few months ago when he’d thought Scully was lost to him forever.

He turned his hand and curled his fingers through Scully’s, needing to feel the solid strength of her grip. A reminder that all was not lost, after all. He still had hope. He still had Scully. And himself.

“My father made a choice, Scully.”

“I know.” Her fingers tightened around his.

“I always thought my parents split because I lost her. I thought it was my fault—”

Her grip became painful, and he turned to look at her. Her blue eyes shimmered with compassion. “Your father made the choice, Mulder. Not you. Your mother knows that.”

“She hated him for it. She hates me for it.”

“No.” Scully shook her head. “She loves you.” Certainty glittered in her eyes, the lure of belief as strong as a siren’s song.

He was caught in her gaze, trapped by the intensity of her conviction. Memory sliced through him, razor edged. Scully’s face, pale yet radiant with the pure, vibrant essence of her soul. The day she came back to him. “Mulder, I had the strength of your beliefs,” she’d said then.

Now he found strength in hers.



3.04 “Awake For Ever” – post “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to CC, 10-13, and Fox. The probably-never-to-be-named Pomeranian apparently belongs to Darin Morgan, since he’s the only one who ever mentions the poor pooch. (May the Pom return for “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”!). This is post-Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose and contains copious spoilers. Rated PG for language, UST and some minor sexual innuendo.

Oh, yeah—it’s another SONNET story.

SONNET: “Awake For Ever”

by Anne Haynes


Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art—

Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night,

And watching, with eternal lids apart,

Like nature’s patient, sleepless eremite,

The moving waters at their priestlike task,

Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,

Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask

Of snow upon the mountains and the moors;

No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,

Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,

To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender taken breath,

And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

– John Keats


The small red Pomeranian pitter-patted around Dana Scully, who sat in the middle of her living room floor, trying to figure out if she could fix her phone. The inner workings seemed to be all right, but the little plastic cover to the earpiece had been knocked askew, chipped by the collision with the television set.

Damn that Stupendous Yappi, anyway. What did that freak know about the future, beyond how to line his pockets with money from the poor, trusting fools who bought into his crap? God, even Mulder had seen through him, and Mulder was a sucker of the highest order.

While poor Mr. Bruckman—

She stopped fiddling with the phone and looked up, staring at the far wall without really seeing the tall green peace lily or the Andrew Wyeth print hanging above it. She was, instead, in a small, spare apartment in Minnesota, her hand clutching the cool, limp hand of a kind, sweet old man who’d believed his own delusions.

They had been delusions, hadn’t they?

“I see us quite clearly in bed together…you’re holding my hand, uh, very tenderly. You’re looking at me with such compassion…I feel…tears are streaming down my face…I feel so grateful. It’s just, ah, a very special moment neither of us will ever forget.” Mr. Bruckman’s gravelly voice rang in her head, reminding her that he’d been right about that much, anyway.

Poor man. Poor, dear man.

She gave up on the phone and pushed herself up off the floor. Just as she was putting the cracked phone in its charger cradle, it rang, the sound strange and warbly through the cracked receiver. She crossed to the other phone by her computer to answer. “Hello?”

“Hi, it’s me. Did I wake you?” Mulder’s voice was distorted slightly by static.

She looked at her watch. 11:21 p.m. “No, just finishing a movie. Are you on your cellular?”

“Yeah, I’m out and about. Couldn’t sleep.”

So what’s new, she thought. “Just thought you’d share the joy, Mulder?”

He chuckled softly. “Actually, I thought I’d share a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream. It’s still nice and frosty. Want some?”

She arched her eyebrow at the phone. “You want to come over now?”

“You’re up. I’m up.”

“I’m already dressed for bed.”

“So what’s your point, Scully?”

She grinned at the phone, knowing it was safe since he couldn’t see her. “You’re crazy, Mulder.”

“Look, Scully, either way, I’m getting some chocolate in my system. But if you let me come over, you’ll get some, too.”

There was a double meaning there somewhere, but far be it from her to point it out. “How far away are you?”

“About four blocks.”

“Anywhere near a convenience store?” she asked.

“There’s one just up the block.”

“Stop and get some pistachios, too.” She hung up the phone and turned to look at the little dog, feeling a silly grin splitting her face from ear to ear.

Oh, goody, she thought, Mulder’s coming over to play.


A frantic yapping sound greeted Mulder halfway down the hall to Scully’s apartment. The little carnivorous fur ball, he thought, shaking his head slightly. Only Scully would take a dog who’d done such a thing to his former master.

He knocked on Scully’s door, and the yipping increased exponentially.

“Hold on!” Scully’s voice was muffled and harried sounding. A moment later, she opened the door.

Mulder grinned down at her. Her white terry cloth robe was a bit askew from where the quivering Pomeranian struggled beneath her restraining arm. He caught a glimpse of shadowy cleavage and looked quickly away, not wanting to be caught staring.

“Sorry, he’s having a bit of trouble adjust—” Scully bit off the last word as the dog squirmed free of her arms and launched himself at Mulder.

Mulder dropped his bag of groceries, bracing himself for needle-sharp teeth sinking into his flesh. Instead he received a very wet, very stinky dog kiss. Trying hard to forget where that dog’s mouth had been less than twenty four hours before, Mulder held the wriggling creature way from him.

“I’m sorry, Mulder—he does seem to like you, doesn’t he?”

Lucky me, Mulder thought. Scully took the Pomeranian from his outstretched hands and carried the dog into the back of her apartment. Mulder heard a door click shut, then muffled yaps. Scully returned as he was bending over to check the contents of the bag he’d dropped.

“Tell me you didn’t burst the bucket of ice cream,” Scully murmured.

“Nope, it’s fine.” He pulled it from the bag and set it on her coffee table.

She released a small sigh of relief. “Whew. How about your hand?”

He glanced down at the bandaged cut on his right hand. Bright red blood was seeping through the gauze. “Uh-oh.”

“Mulder, I’m sorry about that. The poor animal is a bit high strung—”

Mulder chuckled. Scully, the queen of the understatement. “Got a Band Aid?”

“Wait right here and I’ll get my first aid kit.”

He chuckled again, noting her sudden enthusiasm. She so seldom got to show off her medical skills to a living, breathing person—sometimes he wondered if subconsciously he put himself through so many scratches and scrapes just so he could see Scully jump into doctor mode.

Hell, any excuse to make her touch him….

He wandered over to the couch to wait for her, noticing the broken phone. Probably the damned dog knocked it over. Really, how in the world was she going to manage a dog when they were out of town so often?

“Okay, Mulder, here you go.” She came into the room, bearing a large cardboard box of supplies. Not the store- bought kit for Dr. Dana Scully—oh, no. She was a “start from scratch” kind of girl, Mulder thought, watching her search through the contents of the box. She withdrew a couple of sterile-packaged gauze pads, a roll of surgical tape, and a bottle of antiseptic.

He winced slightly, anticipating the impending sting, and she made a soft, rumbling sound deep in her throat. “Big baby,” she murmured.

He held out his hand, trying not to react outwardly when the soft, warm skin of her palm cradled his. But inside, he felt hot and just a bit shuddery. He wondered if she ever felt the same things. Or was it something that afflicted him alone?

Sometimes he thought she found him attractive, too. Not that she’d ever say so. But there had been times he’d caught her looking at him—times when he’d thought he’d seen something very un-partnerlike in her expression. Just for a second, there and gone so quickly he couldn’t be sure he hadn’t imagined it.

He tried not to over-analyze those instances. After all, what if she did feel the same way about him that he felt about her? Neither one of them dared do anything about it. Just let Cancerman get wind of that, he thought, glaring darkly at the broken phone on the table.

“Am I hurting you, Mulder?” Her voice was soft and tinged with concern.

He turned his eyes to meet hers and saw his own soul. The sensation stole his breath and time stretched like taffy, spooling out in an endless, flexible thread. A million sweet, forbidden thoughts raced through his mind, reaching fruition in the span of microseconds, and he thought his heart would stop.

Then she spoke again, her low, dry voice gently drawing him back to reality. “All done.” She patted his newly bandaged hand and slowly—reluctantly?—put safe distance between them.

Mulder forced his gaze away from her, swallowing convulsively in the hopes of being able to speak without stuttering when he finally opened his mouth. He cleared his throat and said the first safe thing that came to mind. “How’d you break your phone?”


He looked up. Her face was bright pink, and he quirked one eyebrow. “Scully?”

“I threw it at the television set.”

He quirked the other eyebrow as well. “Would it be presumptuous of me to ask why?”

“There was a Stupendous Yappi commercial on, and—”

He held up his hand. “Enough said.”

“It still rings, but the earpiece is cracked.”

He picked up the phone, looking at the sagging piece of plastic. “Really did a number on this thing.”

She made a soft huffing sound that might have been a chuckle. “Well, you should’ve seen the other guy.”

“I don’t blame you, Scully. The Stupendous Yappi’s a stupendous charlatan.”

“Unlike Mr. Bruckman?”

He looked up at her sad blue eyes. “I think he could see things, Scully. But he didn’t feel that he had the right to change the future.”

“So, the future is set in stone?”

“God, I hope not.” Mulder grimaced, remembering another one of Clyde Bruckman’s prophecies. Autoerotic asphyxiation…. He couldn’t foresee such an end for himself, of course, but—

“He said I was never going to die,” Scully murmured, setting the first aid box on a side table.

Mulder looked up at her, studying her face in the hopes of reading her thoughts. But she was wearing her favorite, touch-me-not porcelain mask. And since she wouldn’t meet his gaze, he didn’t have a clue what she was thinking.

“I think he was being nice, of course,” she added quickly. “Everybody dies.”

“Except Elvis.”

She graced him with a little smile. “Except Elvis.”

“Maybe you’re an Immortal, like in those movies.”

“Those movies?” She sat on the sofa next to him, propping her legs on the coffee table. The shimmery green silk pajamas inched upward, giving Mulder a glimpse of smooth white shins and firm, round calves.

He quickly looked back at his own hands. “You know, ‘I’m Dana McLeod of the Clan McLeod. There can be only one.'”

“I’ll miss you when I’m old and immortal, Mulder.” She made another little chuckling noise deep in her throat and patted his hand. “Of course, we both know how YOU’LL be shuffling off the mortal coil—”

“Even a genuine psychic makes a mistake from time to time.” Mulder was surprised by how embarrassed he felt. He prided himself on his jaded, worldly cynicism—but Scully ripped that mask off endlessly and effortlessly. With her he felt naked and new, a feeling both terrifying and exhilarating.

“So you’re telling me you never—?”

“Of course not.”

“Never once crossed your mind?”


She arched one red eyebrow, and he squirmed a little.

“Okay, it has crossed my mind—but not seriously. You know, just a bit of curiosity. Wondering what the appeal would be….”

“Promise me something, Mulder.”


“If it ever crosses your mind again, give me a call.”

“Why Dr. Scully!” He turned and flashed her his favorite leer. “Never let it be said that you don’t go above and beyond the call of duty to help a fellow agent in distress!”

To his delight, she went bright pink before she looked away. She scooted off the couch and grabbed the bucket of Rocky Road ice cream that was starting to melt onto her coffee table. “I’ll put this in a couple of bowls for us.”

She hurried into the kitchen, taking the ice cream with her. Mulder turned around on the couch to watch her through the open breakfast bar that divided the kitchen from the living room. Her robe had fallen open even more, he noticed, daring a lingering look while her attention was focused on opening the bucket of ice cream.

“So, Mulder, one scoop or two?”

He watched the soft swell of her breasts rise and fall beneath the shiny green silk of her pajama top.

“Two,” he murmured.

Definitely two.

The End


3.10 “Effects of Time” – post “Nisei/731”

DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to CC, 10-13, and FOX. I mean no infringement.

I wasn’t happy at the end of the two parter NISEI/731. Too many loose ends, Mulder and Scully at odds, etc. etc. ad infinitum. And did we get to see Scully at the bedside of her partner as he recovered from his beating at the hands of the NSA creep? No. So this is my version of what happened when Scully finally made it to Mulder’s side in Iowa. (Which looked remarkably like Vancouver). Spoiler warnings apply.

BTW, this one’s very short.

SONNET: “Effects of Time”

by Anne Haynes


Shadows shroud the angles and planes

Of your face. They kiss the hollows

And trace a dark path my fingers follow

In silent worship. I touch the stain

Of the day’s increase; a man’s time

Kept not by mechanisms but by hair

That blues his cheek. And as I stare

At the rough growth, I want to climb

Into your heart and make it slow.

I want to freeze time forever in this place

Where we are not apart. I long to chase

Away tomorrow. Today is far enough to go.

But sadly, I have learned too well

That inevitable effects of time prevail.


Dana Scully swept past the nurses’ station and grabbed the nearest person in a white coat. She scanned the i.d. tag on his lapel. “Dr. Fielder? I’m Special Agent Dana Scully with the F.B.I.” She flashed her badge and tucked it back in the pocket of her suit. “I received a call that my partner was brought here. Fox Mulder?”

Fielder frowned at her. “Mr. Mulder?” He looked over at the nurse sitting behind the high desk of the nurses’ station. “Carol, is there a Mr. Mulder on this floor?”

Carol’s dark eyes flickered over Scully appraisingly, and Scully felt her hands tighten to fists in impatience. The nurse pulled a computer keyboard in front of her, her movements unhurried. Scully clenched her teeth.

“Room 1121,” Carol said finally. “But he’s not to have visitors—”

Too bad, Scully thought, already headed down the hall.

Room 1121 was near the end of the hall. The door was closed, but Scully didn’t hesitate. She pushed the heavy wood door open and strode inside.

He was alone. Asleep, but not peacefully so. His face was scraped and battered, his forehead furrowed with evidence of his troubled dreams. His jawline was blue with a day’s growth of beard—maybe two days. Scully moved quietly to the bedside and stared down at him.

Tick, tick, Scully….

She wasn’t aware she had moved until she saw her hand against his cheek, her fingers lightly tracing the purpled path of a bruise. His beard stubble was rough, making her fingertips tingle. Who did this to you, Mulder? Who could do such a thing to you?

It was hardly the first time he’d ended up bruised and battered in his quest for truth. It wouldn’t be the last. But it still hurt her to see him this way, no matter how many times she’d seen it before.

His eyes opened suddenly, and his hand closed around her wrist before she could even react. She recoiled on instinct, a soft gasp of surprise escaping her throat. “It’s just me, Mulder.”

He relaxed but didn’t release her wrist. He held her fingers pressed to his face for a few seconds more, his hazel gray eyes searching her expression as if looking for something he desperately wanted to see but didn’t think he’d find.

What is it, Mulder? What do you want me to show you? Tell me and it’s yours.

He let go of her hand, and she let it drop to her side. She took a little step backwards, covering her sudden nervousness with a half smile. “I guess it’s true what they say, Mulder. You really SHOULD stop, look and listen.”

He tried to smile, but his battered face looked as if it would crack from the effort. “I realize I look like a train hit me, Scully, but I assure you, it was the other way around.” He shifted, groaning softly. Scully saw the outline of bandages under his hospital gown and realized he’d probably cracked a few ribs along the way. And at a closer look, she also saw the angry red line across his throat.

Garrote, she thought in horror. Somebody had tried to do a lot more than just beat him up.

He lowered his chin, reading her troubled expression. “I don’t remember much about the train.”

She pulled up a chair and sat. “I haven’t been able to find out how you got here, Mulder. There seems to be some confusion about it.”

“Surprise, surprise.” He shifted again, a grimace creasing his face. She moved forward, out of the chair, wondering how she could spare him at least this small bit of pain. He looked up into her face, his eyes dark and serious, and his hand covered hers where it lay on his breastbone. “I’m okay, Scully.”

She eased back into her chair, her hand sliding out from under his. “You shouldn’t have gotten on that train, Mulder. You should’ve listened to me.”

His mouth tightened with impatience, and she drew a deep breath of frustration and pain. She knew he viewed her attempts to rein him in with a mixture of gratitude and resentment. But recently, resentment seemed to have the upper hand. She looked away, licking her dry lips as she tried to think of something she could say that would ease the tension. But nothing came to mind.

They sat in thick silence for a few moments. Then Mulder turned his head toward her. “I haven’t thanked you for coming through with that door code.”

“Didn’t seem to help you that much.”

He shook his head, wincing slightly at the movement. “Without your help, I’d have died on that train, Scully.”

She resisted a chill that rippled through her body. “Do you remember anything that happened after the door opened?”


“We found no sign of the boxcar.” The wreckage should have scattered across the Iowa countryside, sparking small fires and leaving a black cloud of smoke that covered several square acres. But there had been nothing. She’d gotten a call early that morning telling her that her partner was in a hospital in northern Iowa. Scully didn’t think he’d gotten there alone, but no one seemed to be able to tell her anything.

His eyes darkened slightly. “I suspected as much.”

“I don’t know if the cargo was salvaged.” She stumbled over the words, remembering that the “cargo” had been a human being, a subject of a heinous test that the government was still denying.

How much longer before denial turned into apology? Time moved slowly sometimes, but it always moved forward. A time would come in the future, assuming the world was still spinning on its axis, that another president would make a public confession of the government’s sins. Sins that were committed over and over every day, without any end in sight.

Apology had become policy.

“The doctor told me I could get out of here this afternoon if my blood work comes out okay. Suppose I could catch a ride back to D.C., Scully?”

She pulled herself out of her grim reverie and spared him a small smile. “Seems to be my lot in life, Mulder. Scraping you up, dusting you off and taking you home.”

He didn’t return the smile. “I know. I’m sorry, Scully.”

She put her hand on his arm, her fingers restless against his warm skin. “I’m not.”

His gaze was uncomfortably direct. “Are you sure?”

To her dismay, her lip began to tremble, and her vision blurred with hot tears. She fought the weakness, unwilling to betray the fears and longings of her heart to the one man in the world who had the power to deconstruct her. She loved him with a depth and breadth she’d never felt before. By necessity it was a platonic love, but it held her completely in its sway.

She often envied Mulder’s seeming immunity to such emotion. His focus was more narrow, unencumbered by untidy feelings. That he cared about her, she had no doubts. But that emotion didn’t rule him as her love for him ruled her. The only thing that ruled him was his quest for truth—and for his sister.

She realized he was waiting for her answer to his question. “I’m sure,” she said.

The End


3.13 “Blame the Cosmos” – post “Syzygy”

DISCLAIMER: All characters who have ever appeared or even been mentioned on the X-Files belong to Chris Carter, Ten- Thirteen Productions, Fox Network, etc. They don’t belong to me, and I mean no infringement. Sonnet #146 is used without Shakespeare’s permission. (I’d have asked, really I would have, but nobody’s exactly sure who he was—and everybody but the NATIONAL ENQUIRER is pretty sure he’s dead).

No sex, no romance (though the underlying emotions are there), some bad language and sexually suggestive thoughts and dialogue. This story takes place after episode #13, SYZYGY, and contains an abundance of 3rd Season spoilers, so beware.

This is the first installment of my new series idea called SONNET…inspired by the sonnets of Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and anybody else whose poetry I can shamelessly exploit. (But no infringement intended, of course).

SONNET: Blame the Cosmos

by Anne Haynes


Sonnet #146

Those lips that Love’s own hand did make,

Breathed forth the sound that said, “I hate,”

To me that languished for her sake,

But when she saw my woeful state,

Straight in her heart did mercy come,

Chiding that tongue that ever sweet Was used in giving gentle doom,

And taught it thus anew to greet.

“I hate,” she altered with an end

That followed it as gentle day

Doth follow night, who, like a fiend,

From Heaven to Hell is flown away.

“I hate” from hate away she threw,

And saved my life, saying “not you.”

– William Shakespeare


After the warning light at the front of the plane’s cabin flickered off, Fox Mulder unbuckled his seat belt and pushed past the still, mute form of his partner, seeking open air and a moment to himself. The plane ride back to Washington had been mercifully short, but the thick, tense silence between him and Dana Scully had lengthened the passage of time into something elastic and endless.

What the hell had happened to them in Comity? Could he blame EVERYTHING on the fact that Mercury, Mars and Uranus (in the house of Aquarius) came into conjunction yesterday— and he and Scully happened to end up in a “cosmic G-spot”?

Then why hadn’t he and Scully returned to normal after the stroke of midnight?

Carry-on case in hand, he joined the line of debarking passengers, trying to pretend for a few minutes that he WASN’T Fox Mulder, that he hadn’t just seen a cosmic anomaly that he still didn’t understand, and that he hadn’t just seen the end of the most significant and satisfying relationship in his life.

He stopped short at the thought. No, he thought. Not satisfying. Not recently.



Dana Scully stirred herself from a self-induced lethargy, grabbed her carry-on case and joined the line, well behind her partner.

Partner, she thought with a grimace. Since when?

When he ditched her to go to Alaska by himself? When he left her behind to go chasing off to Seattle when Amy Jacobs was abducted? Maybe that time he ignored her, jumped on a damned train and almost got himself blown to a thousand pieces?

Oh, wait, she thought, jerking her bag up more tightly when it started dragging the floor of the plane. Maybe it was just yesterday, when he left her alone in her ratty little motel room to go play chase the alien with Det. White.

Son of a bitch.


Mulder considered getting his car from long-term parking and leaving her to catch a cab. She was always so damned quick to tell him she could take care of herself, as if he made a habit of coddling her.

He leaned his forehead against the roof of his car, releasing a harsh sigh. Ah, hell, sometimes he did coddle her. Then the next moment he’d brush her off as if she was a pesky fly trying to land on his lemon meringue pie. It was his fault, wasn’t it? He’d caused this?

Then another surge of anger brought him upright. No, damn it, not this time. Not by himself. She’d been in queen bitch mode from the moment they stepped off the plane two days ago, closing her eyes to anything that didn’t fit her little FBI research and her own rigid view of the world.

He had thought that all they had seen over the past few years might have finally broken through that shield of science Scully put between herself and the rest of the world.

Between herself and him.

Would it hurt her to just once say, “Yes, Mulder. It IS a horned beast”?

Or maybe even, “Yes, Mulder…you horny beast….”

Oh God.

He raked his fingers through his hair, remembering the look on her face when she’d walked into his motel room and found him grappling with Det. White. Of course, it had looked more like groping than grappling, he realized. In the span of a second her expression had gone from shock to anger to something he couldn’t quite define and wasn’t sure he really wanted to.

He’d even tried to explain to her that she’d misunderstood the situation—and he sure as hell couldn’t explain his motivation for that. He’d been off duty, for God’s sake, and if he wanted to have wild, hot sex with Det. White—and two of her best friends, too, for that matter—it would’ve been his own damned business, not Scully’s.

But it felt like it was her business. Like he owed her some sort of—



Scully considered ditching Mulder, grabbing a cab and getting the hell out of National Airport and as far away from her erstwhile partner as twenty dollars and a Visa card could take her. Hell, any medical examiner’s office in America would hire her in a heart beat. She didn’t need Fox Mulder and his damned X-Files and his obsessions and perversions….

She stopped in the middle of the airport concourse.

Oh, God.

Is that what this is really about, Dana? Are you still hung up on that?

He’s your partner, damn it. Just a man you work with, not your own personal property. If he wanted to screw Det. White, her next-door neighbor and her neighbor’s nubile, nympho sister, it was none of her business as long as he did it on his own time.

And face it, Scully. He’d been on his own time yesterday.

She got a firmer grip on her overnight case and started walking toward the parking deck, her mind retracing all the twists and turns of the case they’d just left behind them. She was letting Mulder write the report because she didn’t have a clue what they’d seen and experienced, and she was too tired to fight with him about it.

Det. White hadn’t fought with him about anything. “Why, yes, Agent Mulder…it DOES look like a horned beast….”

The horny beasts….


Oh God oh God oh God, here she comes. Mulder leaned against the door of his car and watched her short, trenchcoat-clad figure slowly approaching him through the darkened belly of the long-term parking deck. Disjointed thoughts swam through his head—should I give her the keys and let her drive…she looks so tired…if I put my arms around her now would she shoot me or kiss me…?

She was still angry. He could tell by the poker face—cool, calm, looking like a porcelain goddess. What would it take to make her crack? he wondered. He knew the horrors that could break the surface, but what about pleasures? Did she like to be stroked and teased, or did she like it fast and raw? Did she scream or sigh when she finally shattered?

He turned away from her, shocked by the swift, eager response of his body to those thoughts. Not that it was the first time he’d gotten a hard-on thinking about Scully, but usually not in her presence…or in a public parking garage.

She put her suitcases in the open trunk of the car and walked around to the passenger side of the car. “You drive,” she muttered.

He nodded, waiting for a second to get his body back under control before he dared get into the car beside her. A few long, deep breaths later, he slid behind the steering wheel.


Scully trudged down the hall to her apartment, trying to hold onto her composure just a few more seconds. Just long enough for Mulder to drop her bags by the door and shove off, like always….

“Scully, can I come in for a minute?”

She turned in surprise, looking up at him. “Why?”

A pained expression flitted through his expressive eyes, and she felt a twinge of guilt. I really have been a bitch this trip, she thought. And how much of the problem could she attribute to walking into that chapel in Comity and seeing tall, blonde and busty Det. Angela White—a Mulder special?

You’re jealous, Scully. You were jealous of Phoebe, you were jealous of Bambi Berenbaum, and you were sure as hell jealous of Det. White. God, she’d even smoked a pack of cigarettes…and she hadn’t smoked since she was fourteen years old and puked her guts up on the front porch.

Maybe it was time to look for another assignment. Skinner would agree, and the shadowy powers-that-be would probably rejoice. Mulder would go back to being Spooky, the lone wolf, just the way he liked it. Not having to worry about an FBI spy looking over his shoulder, taking her little notes, poking holes in all his theories….

Tears welled up in her eyes, and she turned away from him.


It’s over, Mulder thought, panic spilling into his gut. This is the end; she’s going to leave me.

He’d been waiting for this moment, expecting it, dreading it, since she’d started working with him. Oh, he’d resented her at first, doubted her integrity and her trustworthiness, but it hadn’t taken long for her to prove herself to him. She’d been his anchor, his shield, sometimes his sanity.

But he’d started to take her for granted, he realized. Go ahead and jump on that train, Mulder—Scully will be there to catch you. Don’t wait until you can reach Scully—grab the first flight to Seattle; she’ll catch up.


She moved slowly away from him, like some sort of symbolic statement of their recent history. No violent parting of the ways…just a drifting….

He had to stop it. Bring her back.

“We need to talk about this weekend.”

She turned in the hallway door. “Go home, Mulder.”

Damn it, didn’t she realize that it hurt when she turned on the ice? Did she think he was immune to it?

“No, damn it, I am not going home. Don’t you dare freeze me out, Scully. I am not one of your cadavers you can slice open and gut.”

“And I’m not your girl Friday you can drag all over the country to cover your ass while you chase every tabloid monster story and blinking light in the sky!” She threw her purse on the ground and squared off to face him, her eyes blazing. Not a sliver of ice remained; she was pure fire. “You forget that I’m just as much a part of the X-Files as you are. I have just as much at stake, if not more! Do you think that you’re the only one who lost a sister? Well, at least yours can still come back, you selfish bastard!”

He stared at her, sick to his stomach. She was white with anger, her eyes bright with tears he knew she’d fight heaven and earth to keep from shedding. And he’d done this to her. Made her into this enraged Valkyrie who looked at him now as if he were the most vile creature on earth.

“I’m sick of this, Mulder. I’ve had enough. You have no respect for me or my work, you have no regard for me as a person—I’m just baggage to you, and half the time you dump me in the trunk and forget me.”

He shook his head. “No—”

“Yes. What’s the matter, Mulder? What did I do? Was it because I came back and Samantha didn’t?”

“God, no, Scully—when you came back….” He couldn’t find the words to tell her what he’d felt that day he’d walked into her room to find her awake and on the way to recovery. He’d truly expected that the next phone call he got would be news of her death.

“I hate what’s happening to me,” she said, the fire slowly dying from her eyes. “I hate what I’m becoming. I hate—”

“Me,” he said, something breaking and spilling inside him. He felt a chill begin to spread through his bones, turning his fingers and toes to ice. He backed up a couple of steps, groping behind him for the handle of the door. The metal felt warm in his cold hands. He turned it and slipped out the door, unable to bear another moment with her.


Scully called her mother and asked her to keep the dog until the next day. She didn’t trust herself to face her mother in her current state of mind, for one thing. And for another, she didn’t want to allow herself the comfort of the little furball’s unconditional love.

She didn’t deserve it.

It wasn’t Mulder’s fault that she was halfway in love with him. He’d never lied to her, never led her on. From the very beginning he’d been straight with her, telling her what was most important to him. His search for Samantha and the truth. Nothing else mattered, and she’d known that. She had no one but herself to blame.

Beyond the utterly unprofessional aspect of falling for one’s partner, there was the sheer stupidity of it all. As if a man like Mulder would ever want somebody as dull and ordinary as Dana Scully. He could have half the women at the J. Edgar Hoover building in his bed by sunset if he ever bothered to pull his nose out of one of his X-Files for long enough to exert the effort.

But she’d hoped that maybe by proving herself to him in other ways, by doing the best damned job she could and being there for him as his friend and partner….

What? What had she hoped? That one day he’d realize he was madly in love with her, too?

Yeah, Scully, like that’ll ever happen.

Still, she didn’t like the way things had ended between them today. She didn’t like the tension or the hurt she’d seen in Mulder’s eyes. Maybe he wasn’t in love with her, but he still felt something for her, because she still had the power to hurt him.

She’d wanted to hurt him the way he’d hurt her. But she hadn’t expected that in doing so, her own pain would merely be magnified exponentially.

She had to do something. Find some way to fix things, to put them back on track. Because bottom line was, as much as she was hurting right now, she couldn’t bear the thought of walking away from him. She could wad her feelings up in a tight little ball and stuff them somewhere in the back of her mind, like she’d always been able to do before. Damn it, she could. She had to.

Surely they could find a way back to each other.

But she was going to have to make the first move.


Mulder stared at the vodka bottle on his tiny kitchen counter. Two bottles in two days. Turning into the old man, Mulder.

He jerked the unopened bottle from the counter and tossed it into the trash can. Then, on second thought, he retrieved it from the trash, untwisted the top and took a long, burning swallow.

God, it was nasty stuff. And despite rumors to the contrary, alcohol seemed only to heighten his pain, not extinguish it. He crossed to the sink and upturned the bottle, letting the clear, potent liquid swirl down the drain.

He drifted out to the living room and ended up, as usual, on the couch, feet propped on one arm and his head on the other. He clicked on the television. Frantic, familiar music greeted him, and he stared at the screen. Keystone Kops.

He jabbed the channel button, relieved when the next channel up carried a home shopping network. He muted the sound and stared up at the ceiling, where the light from the television painted odd, swirling patterns on the sheet rock.

How long would it take her to call Skinner and ask for the transfer? Did she have his home phone number?

She hated him. The emotion had blazed from her, the harsh flip side of love. And he deserved it, because she was absolutely right. He treated her like crap. Always had. It was something he didn’t understand about himself, something he couldn’t seem to control. During the ten years after Phoebe—after her total deconstruction of his mind and soul—he’d put himself back together with agonizing precision. But maybe he’d lost some parts. Or some parts were in the wrong place. Because something made him act like an ass with Scully, made him hurt her and humiliate her when what he really wanted to do was hold her and cherish her.

Maybe it was the knowledge of how much power she had over him. Knowledge driven home like a knife the day she disappeared from his life on a mountain top in Virginia. Knowledge twisted in his gut when she came back in a coma, and he’d faced the unbearable prospect of watching her die.

Maybe he should just tell her the truth. Say, “Scully, I don’t want to fight with you. I want to hold you.”

But he couldn’t say that. Beyond the unwritten but unmistakable restrictions put on them by the Bureau, he didn’t think he could bear to say the words only to see pity and sadness in Scully’s eyes when she told him that she didn’t feel the same way.

And she couldn’t feel the same way. Not now. Not after the things they’d said to each other just an hour ago—

A sharp rap sounded at his apartment door. He frowned at the interruption of his self-pity, grumbling as he padded barefoot to the door. “Who is it?”

“It’s me.” Her voice was terse.

God, he thought, does she still have a few poison arrows left in her quiver with my name on them?

“Are you going to let me in or am I going to have to kick down the door?”

He almost chuckled. She’d do it. He unlocked the door and let her in. She strode inside, trench coat flapping around her. She stopped in the middle of his living room, turned and faced him.

“I don’t hate you, Mulder. And I didn’t mean what I said.”

“You do and you did.”

She shook her head. “Look, I’ve thought a lot about this. We have been in situations two human beings should never have to face—and not once but hundreds of times. You’re a psychologist, Mulder. You know what stress can do to the sanest of people—and I’m not sure that you and I qualify as the sanest of people.”

He stared at her, wondering why she’d come here now. Why she was making this…this OVERTURE toward him.

“Damn it, Mulder, say something. If we don’t deal with this now, we’re going to give the bastards exactly what they want.”

His mouth felt dry. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that somebody wants the X-Files shut down. We’ve known that for a long time. But if we don’t change the direction we’re going, we’re going to do it for them. And I don’t intend to give them that satisfaction.”

“So you’d rather work with a man you despise than to give into the puppet master, huh, Scully? How noble.”

“I don’t despise you, Mulder. God, how have we gotten to this point?” She raked her fingers through her hair, blinking rapidly. His stomach coiled into a knot when he saw the first tears spilling down her pale cheeks. “You’re the most important person in my life, Mulder. Maybe that scares the hell out of you, I don’t know. But I think it needs to be said. I think you need to know that I’m not the enemy.”

He crossed to her slowly, his fingers aching with the need to touch her, to brush away her tears and pull her into his arms. He toyed with the thought of showing her in rather graphic form that she was the most important person in his life, too. But in the end, he just brushed a strand of hair away from her tear-dampened cheek and gave her a little smile. “I don’t think of you as the enemy, Scully. And I’m sorry. This was a weird weekend, even for us. You know, Madame Zirinka said that when aligned, Mercury, Mars and Uranus are extreme influences, especially when Uranus is in the house of Aquarius….”

She lifted her eyebrows, giving him that skeptical look he’d grown to love. When she spoke, her tone was almost affectionate. “So, what, Mulder? Now we blame the cosmos?”

He looked down at her, feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. She really was rather rigid—in a wonderful way.



3.13 “Scent of a Woman” – post “Syzygy”

DISCLAIMER: Nobody in here belongs to me. They belong to CC, 10/13 and FOX. No infringement intended.

This another SONNET story. Takes place after SYZYGY (Ep. 3:13), and spoiler warnings apply if you haven’t seen it. No sex, some adult situations and language. When you see my name on something, you can expect that there’ll be some sort of Mulder/Scully romance, even if it’s only UST, so deal with it.

SONNET: “Scent of a Woman”

by Anne Haynes


Sonnet #54

Oh how much more doth beauty beauteous seem

By that sweet ornament that truth doth give!

The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem

For that sweet odor which doth in it live.

The canker blooms have full as deep a dye

As the perfumed tinture of the roses,

Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly

When summer’s breath their masked bud discloses.

But for their virtue only is their show,

They live unwooed and unrespected fade,

Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so.

Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odors made.

And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,

When that shall vade, by verse distills your truth.


The phone rang, jarring Dr. Dick Godfrey’s nerves. His hand jerked, smearing lipstick across down his chin. “Damn!”

He grabbed a tissue and picked up the telephone. “Hello?”

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, but he could hear breathing.

“Hello?” he repeated.

“Uh, hello, Dr. Godfrey?” The voice was low and warm, a woman’s soft alto. Vaguely familiar, though he couldn’t place it until she continued. “This is Special Agent Dana Scully with the F.B.I. I wanted to call and formally apologize for the trouble that my partner and I may have inadvertently caused you a couple of weeks ago.”

He frowned. That devil worship fiasco. All the town idiots, clamoring at his door, invading his privacy. He’d barely managed to get into his regular clothes before the posse came rushing through the door, calling for his head on the proverbial platter—all because some poor girl had buried her Lhasa Apso in one of his old surgical bags. He crossed his legs, wincing a bit as the pantyhose cut into the soft flesh his thigh. He tugged the nylon with one hand, untwisting the offending scrap of thin mesh. “Well, Agent Scully, things here in Comity seem to have calmed down, so I suppose some good came out of the situation.”

“Still, there was no need to subject you to that sort of interrogation. I’m afraid my partner may have gotten a bit caught up in the unusual atmosphere of your town.”

Godfrey looked in the mirror, lifting his chin to make sure he’d cleaned up the smear of lipstick. “I suppose even Federal agents aren’t immune to hysteria.”

“Um, Dr. Godfrey, I also wanted to apologize for his comment about the perfume you were wearing. It WAS you, wasn’t it?”

His nerveless fingers lost their grip on the mascara wand he’d just picked up. It bounced off the vanity table and skipped across his knee, leaving a large black smear on his dressing gown. Damn it to hell!

She knew!

“Don’t worry, Dr. Godfrey, it’s not the first time the F.B.I. has come across alternative behavior. It’s completely irrelevant to our investigation and I assure you that it will go no further than me.”

He sighed, instinctively realizing that she was telling him the truth. “How did you know?”

“In trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the bones, I came across some…*anomalous* information that made me curious. I put two and two together and—”

“So if my secret’s safe, why are you bringing it up?”

She paused just long enough to increase his worry a thousandfold. “Dr. Godfrey, I know this is going to seem like an odd question…but what’s the name of the perfume you were wearing?”

Godfrey’s perfectly penciled-in eyebrows rose in surprise. “It’s call Star Mist.”

“Star Mist,” she repeated. “Thank you so much, Dr. Godfrey. And again, I’m sorry for the trouble.”

“No problem, Agent Scully.” Godfrey made a face at his reflection in the mirror, wondering what was going on with the Federal Government these days.



Det. Angela White almost hung up the phone at the sound of that slightly dry voice on the other end of the line. It had taken nearly an hour to work up the nerve to make the call to Washington. God knew she didn’t want to talk to Agent Mulder again, but she was a cop and there was always the possibility that he might pass her way on a case in the future. She felt the need to clear the air between them, just in case. “Agent Mulder, this is Det. Angela White with the Comity, New Hampshire, Police Department.”

“Oh. Hello.”

God, he sounds so wary! Of course, it was no wonder, considering how she’d acted a couple of weeks ago. Throwing him down on the bed and—she shuddered with humiliation at the memory. What on earth had gotten into her? Sure, he was an attractive man, but she was a professional. She didn’t jump men she’d met a day before—especially when they were F.B.I. agents who obviously had unresolved sexual issues with their little red-haired female partners. “Agent Mulder, I want to apologize for my behavior when you and Agent Scully were in Comity a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have any explanation or excuse—”

“Madame Zirinka said that the rare planetary alignment might drastically affect a person’s judgment and actions, so….”

“Well, I have to believe she was right, because I’ve never acted that way in my life. I’m so sorry. You were very kind to me, considering, and I wanted to thank you. I’m afraid I might have created some tension between you and your partner with my unprofessional behavior.”

“Oh, no, Det. White, Scully and I are perfectly capable of creating tension all by ourselves. Don’t worry—it’s forgotten. So, have things in Comity returned to normal?”

“Mostly. There are still lingering rumors of Satanic black masses, but since the killings seem to have stopped, I believe we’re finally over the crisis.”

“And what about Teri and Margie—” Agent Mulder’s voice stopped short, and Angela heard a low alto voice in the background.

“Mulder, have you had—oh, sorry, you’re on the phone….”

Agent Mulder’s dry voice murmured, “Gotta go.” There was a click and he was gone.

Angela frowned at the phone. Well, she thought, I went to the trouble to apologize. You’d think he’d at least have the courtesy to say good bye.


“Who was that on the phone?” Scully slipped off her trenchcoat and folded it neatly over the back of her chair.

Am I stupid enough to answer that truthfully? Mulder wondered. Not on your life. “Wrong number.”

“Oh. Have you eaten breakfast?”

He cocked one eyebrow. “Is that a trick question?”

She graced him with a half-smile. “I picked up a bagel at the deli on the corner. I got an extra for you, just in case.”

Okay, he thought, who kidnapped Scully and sent this Stepford-partner in her place? “Scully, are you feeling well?”

She made a little face at him. “Do you want the bagel or not?”

Maybe she’d poisoned it. She was a doctor. She knew how to do things like that. “Um, why don’t YOU take a bite of it first and tell me if it tastes good….”

“Fine, Mulder. Forget it.”

“I’m kidding, Scully. Toss it to me.”

She frowned and picked up the bag. “This isn’t a high school cafeteria, Mulder. We don’t throw food around.”

God, he loved that little school marm voice of hers! Sometimes he pissed her off just so he could hear it. “Spoil all my fun, will you, Scully?” He kept his voice intentionally light and teasing, just so she wouldn’t mistake his intent. They’d already had too many misunderstandings between them lately.

She cocked her head slightly, her eyes smiling even though she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of letting her lips follow suit. She stood and crossed the room. As she approached, he caught a faint whiff of….

His eyebrows twitched with surprise. The scent of his favorite perfume filled his nostrils, emanating from his favorite woman. So, he thought, maybe it WAS her after all….

A slow grin spread over his face. “Scully? What are you wearing?”

The End


3.14 “Out of the Abyss” – post “Grotesque”

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong not to me but to CC, 10-13, and FOX. I mean no infringement. Post-GROTESQUE and contains spoilers, so beware. Mulder angst, Scully compassion and tender partnership moments infused with repressed romantic feelings. (What did you expect? It’s me, after all).

SONNET: “Out of the Abyss”

by Anne Haynes


Sonnet #112

Your love and pity doth the impression fill

Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow.

For what care I who calls me well or ill,

So you o’ergreen my bad, my good allow?

You are my all the world, and I must strive

To know my shames and praises from your tongue,

None else to me, nor I to none alive,

That my steeled sense or changes right or wrong.

In so profound abysm I throw all care

Of others’ voices, that my adder’s sense

To critic and to flatterer stopped are.

Mark how with my neglect I do dispense,

You are so strongly in my purpose bred,

That all the world besides methinks are dead.

– William Shakespeare


“Spooky.” The word was a whisper; Fox Mulder couldn’t tell which of the agents in the hallway had uttered it.

One of them was a little more bold. “Heard you looked into the abyss again, Spooky. Or did it look into you?”

He ignored them, not altering his pace as he strode toward the elevators that would take him down to the basement and relative peace. He punched the “down” button and the doors opened. He entered the elevator and turned to face front.

Dana Scully stood in the open doors, her expressive gaze on his face. She walked in and the doors shut behind her.

He looked away, irritated with her usual impeccable timing. She’d heard the taunts. He could see it in her eyes. It certainly wasn’t the first time—she’d been tarred with the same brush herself. But this time, there was more than irritation in her eyes.

There was fear.

His stomach tightened painfully. “Are you afraid of me, Scully?” The words escaped before he could stop them.

Her expression melted a little, and he felt an answering softness in the pit of his stomach. “No, Mulder.”

“You saw a different side of me over the past few days, Scully. I wouldn’t blame you.”

“I’m not afraid OF you, Mulder. I’m afraid FOR you. That’s a different thing altogether.”

The elevator doors swished open as they reached the basement level. Mulder pushed past her, heading for his office. She would follow, of course. He hadn’t shaken her yet, and God knew he’d been trying, consciously and subconsciously, for months now.

Why couldn’t she just turn tail and run? Why was she so damned stubborn?

“Mulder, I just came from a briefing with Skinner. He said he’d asked you to be there.”

“I forgot.” He sat at his desk and picked up a folder, pretending to read. She was going to chew him out now. Tell him he was acting like an irresponsible ass and that he was putting his job as well as hers in jeopardy. She might even find a way to slip in a dig about the last case, how his theory of demonic possession hadn’t held up—

“I told Skinner that you’d called me at the last minute and said you’d been delayed by traffic. He seemed to accept that. He just wanted to update us on Patterson, anyway.”

Mulder drew a long breath through his nose. “I checked on him myself. This morning before I came in. They’re not hopeful about his mental state.”

Scully sat on the edge of his desk, much closer than he wanted her to be. He could smell the faintest whiff of sea- scent—shampoo or shower gel? he wondered briefly. He didn’t lift his eyes to meet hers, knowing she was staring at him, knowing that she was trying to reach him, trying to reconnect with him. He wanted that, too—more than he had words or thoughts to express—but he couldn’t let it happen. Not after this last case—not after all the hell they’d been through over the past year.

He wouldn’t be the one to go to Skinner and ask for a dissolution of the partnership—he simply didn’t have the strength to do that. So he knew he had to make sure that eventually, finally, Scully would make that move herself, once she was convinced there was nothing left to fight for.

He couldn’t give her something to fight for. Because if he did, she’d never go. And she’d never be safe.

“Skinner told me to find you and make sure you took the day off. That it was my job for today.” Her voice was dry.

He picked up a file. “Sorry, but I can’t do that. I have work—”

“No, you don’t.” She took the file from him.

He looked up, irritated and angry. Her cool blue gaze captured him, and he cursed inwardly. Damn her for getting under his skin in the first place, and damn her for clinging to his soul like a burr, and damn her for—

For what? For being the best thing—and worst thing—that ever happened to him?

“Scully, I don’t need a babysitter.”

“Maybe I do.”

He tore his gaze away and picked up another file. “Sorry. I’m not qualified for that kind of work.”

“You do this deliberately, don’t you? You know all my buttons, Mulder, and you push them daily. You’re trying to get rid of me. Do you think I don’t see that?” She slid off his desk and retreated toward the other side of the office, her back to him.

He didn’t bother to correct her—there was nothing to correct. He WAS trying to get rid of her.

She turned, her eyes large and luminous as she pinned him with her gaze. “I’m not going anywhere, Mulder. If you want me gone, you’re going to have to go to Skinner yourself and make the request, because I won’t let you bully me out of here.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I think you do.”

He almost told her then. The words hovered on his tongue, filled his mouth, threatened to choke him. But he didn’t say them. Didn’t tell her that if she stayed around him, she would end up dead, and he would gladly walk through the fires of hell before he watched her die because of him.

Didn’t tell her that he loved her.

“Mulder, let’s go home.” She crossed back to him, holding out her hand. “Let me take you home.”

Images flitted through his mind: Scully’s hands on his body, alternately soothing and arousing. Her lips parted and swollen from his kisses, her eyes drunk with need. Her body opening to him, giving herself to him. The need that surged through him at those thoughts was less physical than emotional—even spiritual. He needed her at the atomic level, where body, mind and soul were deconstructed to their most elemental properties.

He knew he would go with her. In the end, he recognized that he could never willingly walk away from her. And she wasn’t going to leave him, either.

Amid the bittersweet agony of that knowledge, there was also a deep sense of gratitude and comfort.


Mulder’s apartment was dark. Scully flicked on the light, steeling herself for the reminder of his temporary descent into madness. But even prepared, she found the sight chilling. The apartment always seemed dark, even with all the lights on, but the addition of Mulder’s grotesque new art collection gave the room a distinctive chill to go along with the customary gloom.

Gargoyles. Twisted faces and nightmare shapes, tacked to all the walls of the small living room, surrounding her on all sides. Had he slept here, watched over in his slumber by these horrific images and reminders of violence and death?

She heard a hollow click behind her as Mulder shut the door. She turned and looked at him, carefully plastering a calm, neutral expression on her face.

But she saw in his eyes that he knew. The sadness and guilt suffused his face, giving him an odd, gray colorlessness. He walked slowly past her, sank onto the couch and lowered his head to his hands. “You don’t have to stay, Scully. I’m okay.”

She didn’t retreat, although she knew that was what he expected. Probably what he wanted. She looked at him, willing him to look up and meet her eyes. “Are you going to leave these pictures up forever?”

He looked up then, a wry smile crossing his haggard face. “You don’t like them, Scully?”

She pursed her lips slightly, holding back a slight smile at the understatement. “I’ll take them down if you want. You should lie down and try to get some sleep. I know you haven’t slept much over the last few days.”

He closed his eyes and nodded his assent. As he stretched out on his couch, she circled the apartment, taking down the ghastly wallpaper. The images seemed to stare into her soul. A snippet of Mulder’s preliminary report sliced through her mind…”ushers into hell or into the realm of our own dark fears and imaginations…”.

Flashes of missing memory flitted through her head, fast and terrifying. Bright light…men huddled over her, masks covering the hideous sight of their depravity….

Her legs trembled and she grabbed the back of the chair next to the television set.


She groped for the arm of the chair and sank into it just as her legs threatened to give way. The pictures she’d pulled from the wall fluttered from her nerveless fingers to scatter across the floor.

Mulder was in front of her, hunkered down so that he could look into her eyes. “Scully, are you all right?”

“Skipped breakfast,” she lied.

He knew she was lying, she knew. He lifted her chin with two long fingers, forcing her to look at him. His eyes, so shuttered from her before, were full of fear and sadness and something else—something she was afraid to believe. Something she longed to believe.

“I know we’ve been less than forthcoming with each other recently, Scully. I know it’s my fault. But if you’re not feeling well—if you’re sick, I want to know. After what you told me about the microchip—”

Tears pricked her eyes. “I’m fine, Mulder. I just had a check-up two weeks ago and I had them run extensive cancer screening tests along with another battery of diagnostic tests. The doctor told me I was disgustingly healthy.”

Visibly relieved, he lowered his head a moment and drew in a couple of deep breaths. Scully looked down at his crouched form, feeling the heat of him seep into her chilled bones. He was so close that she barely had to move to touch him. Her fingers twitched, wanting to touch him, to see if that silky skin at the back of his neck was as hot and soft as she remembered. It had been a while since he’d allowed her to touch him. A while since she’d tried.

He looked up at her suddenly. She wondered for a breathless second if he knew her thoughts. But he simply gave her a smile—a fine gift, indeed, she thought. He brushed back a strand of hair that had fallen forward into her eyes, then pushed himself up and set about the task of removing the rest of the gargoyle drawings from his wall. He stacked the pictures on the coffee table until there was a thick pile. “I’d suggest a ceremonial burning,” he murmured drily, “but you know how I feel about fire.”

“Put them in a trash bag and I’ll carry them out with me when I leave,” she suggested.

“And when would that be?” He started gathering up the papers.

“You want me to go?”

He looked up. “No.” He went into the kitchen, taking the stack of pictures with him.

She sensed that he’d wanted to say yes. She was beginning to think she knew why. He was afraid. More of himself than of her, she suspected. He’d told her a long time ago that he’d gotten out of Behavioral Sciences because he didn’t like what he was becoming.

Takes a monster to catch a monster….

He came back into the living room, carrying a garbage bag. He set it by the doorway to the foyer and turned back to her.

“This case really scared you, didn’t it, Mulder?” she asked.

“I scared myself.” He sat on the couch and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees. “I’ve heard ‘Spooky’ more today than I’ve heard it in months. Word spreads fast.”

“You know it’s just jealousy.”

“Jealousy?” He gave a soft bark of disbelief. “Why would anyone be jealous of me? Spooky Mulder, the whipping boy of the bureau, doesn’t know his ass from an alien—”

“They know that they don’t have half the talent in their whole bodies that you have in your little finger, Mulder. They know that what they sweat and struggle to accomplish every single day are things that you do as easily and effortlessly as breathing. We all know that.”

He looked up at her, his eyes widening slightly with surprise. “What are you saying, Scully?”

“I’m saying—” She faltered. What am I saying, she wondered. That I feel like I’m always a step behind, trying to keep up with him? That I feel like sometimes I’m holding him back? That I’m a little jealous of him, too?

“Know what I’m jealous of, Scully?” He leaned forward a bit more. “I’m jealous of how you can stay calm when the rest of the world is going crazy. I’m jealous of the way that you nerve it out when I can see you’re scared as hell. I’m jealous of the way your mind works, processing information like a computer, putting things in proper order instead of scattering them to the four corners of the earth the way my mind does.”

She stared at him, realizing that the things he’d just mentioned were the very things that had always made her feel inferior to Mulder. She’d envied his passion and drive, so different from her own calm reserve. She wished for his ability to give into emotions, letting them lead him into impossible realms, instead of tamping down the emotions like she did in order to keep her chin up. She was jealous of the way his brilliant mind worked, making leaps and jumps that were dazzling in their sheer breadth and height.

Yin and yang, she thought. Perfect balance.

“Peas and carrots,” Mulder murmured, his gaze locked with hers as he apparently read the course of her thoughts.

She felt a smile curve her lips. “Bacon and eggs.”

“Starsky and Hutch.”

She chuckled, and he joined in. She pushed herself up from the chair and crossed to the sofa to sit next to him. His warmth at her side felt good. When he slipped his hand into hers—that felt even better.

“So, Scully, tell me what just happened.” He nodded toward the chair, reminding her of the flashback that had knocked her feet from under her.

She took a deep breath, squeezed his hand, and began telling him what she could remember.

The End


3.16 “Mutual Ransom” – post “Piper Maru/Apocrypha”

DISCLAIMER: The people in this story belong to CC, Ten- Thirteen, and Fox network. I mean no infringement.

This is another SONNET story, post-PIPER MARU/APOCRYPHA, and contains spoilers. Pretty short. No romance, but hail the return of the UST!

SONNET: “Mutual Ransom”

by Anne Haynes


Sonnet 120

That you were once unkind befriends me now,

And for that sorrow which I did then feel

Needs must I under my transgression bow,

Unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel.

For if you were by my unkindness shaken,

As I by yours, you’ve passed a hell of time,

And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken

To weigh how once I suffered in your crime.

Oh, that our night of woe might have remembered

My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,

And soon to you, as you to me, then tendered

The humble salve which wounded bosoms fits!

But that your trespass now becomes a fee,

Mine ransoms yours and yours must ransom me.

– William Shakespeare


The coffee shop was almost empty when Fox Mulder and Dana Scully arrived around ten-thirty a.m. Mulder opened the door, guiding her in ahead of him, his hand warm against the small of her back. Scully resisted the urge to lean into his strong, lean body and let his heat drive out the chill that had set itself deep in her bones.

He kept his hand on her back as he nodded toward the waitress and led Scully to a booth near the back. He waited until Scully had slid into the booth before he took his place across from her. He shrugged off his coat and peeled off his gloves. She did the same.

She didn’t comment on his unaccustomed chivalry. Not really all that unaccustomed, she amended mentally. Back when they first started working together, the odd combination of his gentlemanly manners and his utter respect for her as a fellow agent had been one of the things that had set him apart from the other men she encountered in the F.B.I. Most of her other F.B.I. colleagues either treated her like a little girl trying to dress up in her daddy’s clothes or went overboard, acting as if she were some kind of genderless mutant.

Not Mulder. He treated her as a partner, and yet he had a way of subtly reminding her that she was very much a woman, with all the mysteries and majesties that entailed.

With another man, the way Mulder had treated her could be viewed as sexual harassment—the way he touched her, the teasing remarks, the way he invaded her personal space as if it belonged to him—

But it wasn’t harassment. It was just—Mulder. And she’d missed it terribly over the past few months.

Things had changed between them, somewhere between the time he put that plane ticket to San Diego in her hand and the moment, just a little while ago, when he’d put his hand on her shoulder and knelt to place flowers on Melissa’s grave. A momentous, welcome change—not a return to the past but a step toward the future. They’d emerged from their own private hell, and they’d done it together. Still partners and friends.

“Feel up to food or you just want coffee?” His soft voice was thick with a level of intimacy she hadn’t heard in a while. The sound made her want to cry.

“Coffee.” Her voice trembled only slightly.

He gave their orders to the waitress, waiting until she had left the table before he reached across and placed his hand over Scully’s. His touch was outwardly casual, but Scully felt it all the way to her bones. “Your hands are cold.”

She sighed. “I feel like I’m cold all over.”

“Can’t do much about that here, Scully. Maybe later?” His eyes twinkled, forcing her lips to curve against their will.

“You do like to live dangerously, don’t you?” She looked down at their joined hands. His thumb stroked lightly over the knuckle of her own thumb. In other circumstances, she might wonder if the rhythmic caress was meant to tell her something, but she didn’t have the strength to ponder the possibilities right now. It was enough to know that this was Mulder, her beloved friend and companion, safe and here with her, sharing her pain and fears as willingly as he shared her triumphs and joys.

Right now, that kind of love didn’t require definition or categorization. Later, maybe. But not now.

“Krycek told me he didn’t kill my father,” Mulder murmured.

She looked up at his frowning face. “Do you believe him?”

“I don’t know. I do know he was there, Scully. He didn’t do anything to stop it.”

“And he didn’t stop Cardinal from shooting Melissa.”

He tightened his hand over hers for a moment. “Scully, will you hate me if I confess something to you?”

Another confession, she thought, remembering a late-night call and some Mulder-babble about a praying mantis epiphany. She cocked her head slightly. “If I don’t hate you by now, Mulder, I’d say you’re pretty safe.”

He smiled, but his eyes still looked sad.

“What?” she prodded when he didn’t speak right away.

“You know I liked your sister, Scully, don’t you? I met her when you were in the hospital.”

“I know.” She wasn’t sure what he was trying to confess. Something about Melissa?

“When Frohike told you that Melissa was in the hospital, and you figured out that she’d been mistaken for you—I figured it out, too, you know. Similar thoughts went through my head.” His fingers moved restlessly across the back of her hand. “But where you were thinking that it was your fault— that somehow you’d failed her—” He sighed and looked down at their hands. “I was thinking that I was glad it was Melissa and not you.” He pulled his hand back and looked away.

She sat back, her stomach coiling. How could he be glad? Her sister was dead, and he was glad—? Tears filled her eyes as the full impact of his words hit her.

He’s glad it wasn’t me. Just like I’m glad it was his father who died instead of Mulder.

She reached her hand across the table toward him. “Melissa should still be alive, reading her crystals and making Mom and me crazy. Your father should still be alive, trying to tell you all the secrets we both know he wanted to tell you at the end. And Samantha should be sitting here with us right now, showing us pictures of her husband and family and telling you what a terrific big brother you are.” Tears spilled from her eyes as he turned his head sharply to look at her. Through her tears, she saw that he was crying silently at her words. “It’s those bastards’ faults that they aren’t, Mulder. Not yours and not mine.”

He grabbed her hand, squeezing convulsively. “I hope they don’t think we’re going to give up, Scully.”

She shook her head, steel in her voice. “Not a chance.”

“I think Cancerman has the digital tape.”

She nodded. “And that makes him doubly dangerous.”

“At least we know where Skinner stands.”

She smiled, thinking about the brave, strong man who’d taken a bullet for the truth about Melissa. He said he was just doing his job, but in Scully’s book, that was a rare, noble thing. Skinner made her think of her own father, in a way— a younger version, a little less idealistic than Ahab, perhaps, but honorable to the core.

She was a lucky woman, to be flanked by two good, decent men like Walter Skinner and Fox Mulder. For the first time in so many months, she felt a sense of hope. About the future, about finding herself again. She saw light at the end of the tunnel, and it was warm and bright. Thanks to Skinner— and to Mulder.

She looked across the table at her partner.

My other half, she thought.

She wondered if he felt the same way.

The End


3.17 “A Separable Spite” – post “Pusher”

DISCLAIMER: Mulder, Scully et al belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and Fox Network. I used to think this whacked-out triumvirate might be appalled at the course my fan-fic sometimes takes, but after watching “Pusher,” I’m not so sure. No infringement intended, of course.

This is another SONNET story, post-“Pusher” and fraught with spoilers. Another thing…my SONNET stories normally draw the line at UST, but “Pusher” was so full of UST by itself that it somehow begged for a little something more. So, warning, warning, warning—there’s some Mulder/Scully romance. PG for language.

A special thanks to Karen Rasch, whose “Words” series has been inspiring—I didn’t exactly steal from you on this one, Karen, but your wonderful stories were in my thoughts.


“A Separable Spite”

by Anne Haynes


Sonnet #36

Let me confess that we two must be twain,

Although our undivided loves are one.

So shall those blots that do with me remain,

Without thy help, by me be borne alone.

In our two loves there is but one respect,

Though in our lives a separable spite,

Which though it alter not love’s sole effect,

Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love’s delight.

I may not evermore acknowledge thee,

Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,

Nor thou with public kindness honor me,

Unless thou take that honor from thy name.

But do not so. I love thee in such sort,

As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

– William Shakespeare


Morning was still a couple of hours away, but Dana Scully couldn’t stay in her apartment. She wasn’t going to get any sleep anyway. She couldn’t block out the memory of Fox Mulder with his gun to his head.


She shuddered as the moment replayed itself in her mind.


Her heart had stopped at that moment. Her blood had frozen.


She’d seen his finger squeeze the trigger, seen his terror and his helplessness as he bent to Modell’s will.


Resolutely shutting that hollow sound out of her mind, she turned her car down the lamp-lit street, recognizing without surprise that she was less than a block from Mulder’s apartment.

Of course she was here. Where else would she go? She was beyond self-delusion now. She loved Mulder. She wanted to be with him. She needed to be with him.

And he needed to be with her.

She’d seen it yesterday in the hospital room, when Mulder had pointed the gun at her, anguish and desperation in his eyes. He shook with the effort of resisting Pusher’s orders to shoot her—and with the fear that he wouldn’t be able to stop himself.

Witness to his silent agony, she’d seen how much he loved her.

She parked in front of his apartment building and stepped from the car. A glance at Mulder’s window told her the lights in his apartment weren’t on, but that meant nothing. Mulder spent a lot of time in the dark. And it didn’t matter whether or not he was asleep, anyway. She had a key.

She let herself into apartment #42, walking softly. In the cool blue glow of the streetlight pouring through the window, she saw his long, lean form stretched out on his couch. She crossed quietly to the sofa and stood over him, tears pricking her eyes as she committed this quiet, peaceful moment to memory. In slumber, he looked so young. So vulnerable.

She’d almost lost him today, and she was still shaking from the close call.

So close.

Mulder made a soft, guttural noise in the back of his throat. His forehead creased and his eyelids twitched.

Scully’s heart contracted, and she swallowed with difficulty. Sitting on the coffee table in front of the sofa, she watched him dream.


“Mulder, hand me the gu—”

He grabbed Scully’s hand, stopping her command in mid-word. He could feel Modell in his head, like a growing cancer. Pushing. His jaw clenched with the effort of resisting. He knew what was coming. He knew it. That’s why he’d just pulled the trigger with the gun to his own head. Knowing that if the lone bullet lurking in the chamber went into his own head, it wouldn’t end up in Scully’s.

The pressure built in his mind. The sensation was tangible, sensory, like hands at his back, shoving him toward the edge of a cliff. Modell made a low, straining sound, and Mulder felt his own arm shift positions. Swinging to the left….

No God no God no God no….

He turned the gun on Scully, his heart cracking inside his chest. The pain and horror he saw in her face would haunt him for whatever lifetime he had left, he knew. He tried to show her with his eyes that he was fighting Modell, tried to tell her that if he could, he would swing the gun toward himself and take the bullet for her.

“Mulder, you don’t have to do this.” Tears welled in her wide, scared eyes. “You’re stronger than this.”

Modell’s tight voice filled his head. “Your turn, Scully. Gotta play by the rules. Pull the trigger, Mulder.”

“Mulder, fight him.” A single tear spilled onto Scully’s pale cheek, and Mulder felt a little part of himself die an agonizing death. “You can fight this.”

He saw that her fear was for him, not for herself. Because she knew what it would do to him if he killed her. Because she loved him. The knowledge comforted him, even in his agony.

Modell tightened his grip on Mulder’s mind. “Come on, pull the trigger, Mulder. She shot you; I read it in her files. Payback time! Shoot the little spy!”

He wanted to scream at Modell, turn the damned gun and blow the son of a bitch away. This was Scully, for God’s sake! She wasn’t a spy, she wasn’t his enemy. She was the person he loved most in the world, and the bastard was trying to make him kill her.

He tried to lower the gun, tried to fight. He couldn’t take his eyes from Scully’s beautiful, frightened face, all his energy focused on keeping his finger from squeezing the trigger. “I’m gonna kill you, Modell!”

“Yeah, pull the trigger, you get another crack at me!”

He felt his finger tightening on the trigger. Panic surged though him, making his voice shake. “Scully, run!” He breathed her name, willing her to move. “Scuh…” She edged backwards, her gaze locked with his. He tried to say her name again, to make her turn from him and save herself. “Scuh…”

Then his finger squeezed the trigger. He heard the sharp bark of the revolver, saw the burst of red as the bullet tore into the pale flesh of her throat, saw the light go out of her blue eyes….

He screamed and bolted upright.

Darkness engulfed him, cold and comfortless. Then, over the thunder of his runaway pulse, he heard her soft voice. “Mulder.”

He turned toward the low sound and saw her shadowy shape, sitting on the coffee table in front of his sofa. In the low light, her eyes glittered like jewels. His own eyes filled with tears of relief. “Scully,” he breathed.

She lifted her hand to his cheek, her fingers cool and gentle. “It’s okay, just a dream.”

Just a dream. He took a shuddery breath and swung his feet around, turning to face her. “What are you doing here, Scully?”

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“Lucky you.” He still trembled from the nightmare.

“I needed to see you.”

He looked up at her, knowing why she was here.

She was here because she loved him. And because now she knew he loved her, too.

“I needed to be with you.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “Just for a little while.”

He took her hands in his, caressing the soft skin with his fingertips. Her eyes closed, silently acknowledging his wordless reply. She was truly the most beautiful woman he’d ever known, he thought—far beyond her outward prettiness.

He couldn’t find words to say everything that filled his heart, so he didn’t try. He simply drew her to her feet and cradled her face in his hands, gently forcing her to meet his gaze. I love you, Scully, he said with his heart, and he saw her silent reply shining in her eyes.

Her mouth trembled, parted, and he felt a strong, irresistible tug—stronger even than Modell’s mind-push, he thought as he surrendered to the pull and touched his mouth to Scully’s.

Her lips moved beneath his as if forming words. I love you. I need you. Don’t ever leave me. Promise me you’ll always love me.

He answered with gentle kisses. I love you. I need you. I’ll never leave you. I’ll always love you.

He felt the first surging of his body and knew he would have to find the strength to end this moment. There were places he and Scully couldn’t go. Not now.

Not yet.

She knew it as well. She drew away from him, lifting her fingers to his mouth to gently trace the moist evidence of her kiss. Her eyes promised forever, and he realized he could live with the necessary separateness of their lives knowing that she loved him as he loved her.

She lowered her hand from his face, reluctance evident in her eyes. “I’m going to go in early. Not gonna be able to sleep, anyway.”

“I doubt I’ll get back to sleep, either. I’ll shower and be there in a little while. We can catch up on some paper work.” He kept his voice light and impersonal. But he caught her hand in his, needing one more moment of union before they resumed their separate walks.

He released her hand after a moment, and she closed her eyes, as if lifting a silent prayer of benediction to signal the end of a holy sacrament. She opened her eyes and gave him one of her gentle half-smiles, then turned and walked out of his apartment, closing the door quietly behind her.

The End


3.18 “Unlooked-For Joy” – post “Teso Dos Bichos”

DISCLAIMER: Just about everybody in this story belongs to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post “Teso Dos Bichos” and containing some spoilers. I didn’t think I was going to be able to write a SONNET story after such a pointless X-File, but there WERE a handful of subtle but nifty partnership moments to make the episode more palatable, so I decided to dwell on these thoughts and see what emerged. Rated PG for some language and some sexual innuendo (not necessarily between our heroes, alas).

I also know that the “Ice Queen” moniker is a fan fic convention, but it works for this story, so I went with it. 🙂

SONNET: “Unlooked-for Joy”

by Anne Haynes


Let those who are in favor with their stars

Of public honor and proud titles boast,

Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,

Unlooked for joy in that I honor most,

Great princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread

But as the marigold at the sun’s eye,

And in themselves their pride lies buried,

For at a frown they in their glory die,

The painful warrior famoused for fight,

After a thousand victories once foiled,

Is from the book of honor razed quite,

And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.

Then happy I, that love and am beloved,

Where I can not remove nor be removed.


“Hey, Mrs. Spooky, did the iddle biddy kitty cat get you?”

Dana Scully looked up from the file she was reading, surprised by the low taunt. She didn’t know the other agent occupying the elevator, but he looked like a greenhorn— slicked back hair (what she and Mulder secretly called the “Krycek special”) a gold and crimson power tie, peach fuzz on his chin instead of a manly shadow like Mulder’s. She cocked one eyebrow at him, gave him her best “Ice Queen” glare and turned her attention back to the file.

“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”

She glanced at him again, her eyes going to his i.d. badge. Martin Pinter. She mentally added his name to the list she’d been making ever since the Neech Manley case. She smiled inwardly, contemplating any number of lovely ways she could make Martin Pinter’s life a living hell were she to come back from the dead to haunt him.

On the third floor, the elevator doors opened to admit another pair of agents. They eyed her, amusement evident on their faces. Scully resisted the urge to touch the painful scratches on her face, knowing that such a sign of self- consciousness would be tantamount to pasting a “kick me” sign on her back. She forced herself to focus on the autopsy report from her VCS consult, glad that her office was the next floor up.

The elevator doors swished open and she got off, ignoring the soft meows that ushered her out. Nibbling her lower lip and chiding herself for giving the taunts even a moment’s thought, she didn’t see the agent standing outside her door until she almost bumped into him.

“Dana, Dana, Dana, didn’t I warn you about hanging around with Spooky?”

Scully looked up at Tom Colton. Revulsion shot through her as she remembered how the back-stabbing little ladder- climber had almost gotten her killed by Eugene Tooms. “Colton, I’d prefer it if you called me Agent Scully. Only my friends call me Dana.”

“Maybe I should call you Mrs. Spooky.” Colton bent forward, trapping her between him and the wall.

She was sorely tempted to slam her knee into his groin. Only the prospect of trying to explain her actions to A.D. Skinner kept her from doing so. She did, however, step on the instep of Colton’s foot, using the spiky two inch heel of her black pumps to full advantage.

His grunt of pain gave her a shocking amount of grim satisfaction. She bit back a smile as she pushed him out of her way and unlocked her office door.

He followed her inside before she could stop him. She turned, barring him from going any further into the room. “Is there something you want, Colton?”

His round, boyish face split into an ugly grin. “Just wondering if you could tell me what a killer pussy looks like, Dana.”

Anger rocketed through her like a bullet.

Colton took a step forward. “Or is that something I should be asking Spooky?”

“Get out.” She lifted her chin and met his gaze without flinching, although she felt as if her body was about to rattle apart from the fury that raged through her.

Colton’s mean smile broadened as he backed slowly toward the door. “You could’ve been bucking for A.D. by now, Dana. But you chose the wrong man.”

She followed him to the doorway, not dropping her steely gaze from his. Once he was safely out of the office, she gave him her most condescending smile. “If you’re implying that my choice was between you and Agent Mulder, Colton, I’d say I chose the ONLY man.” She closed the door in his reddened face and locked it securely behind her.

She flicked on the light and crossed to her desk, stopping short when she saw the yellow lump on her desk.

Oh, for God’s sake….

She picked up the stuffed Garfield toy, glaring at the cartoon cat’s wide smirk. Somebody had pasted a peel-and- stick name tag on the toy—”Killer,” it read.

She sighed and peeled off the sticker, then stuffed the toy in her bottom drawer. She’d toss it in the washer to make sure it was clean, then give it to one of the kids in her apartment complex. What she WASN’T going to do was give this little gift or the taunts of her fellow agents another minute of her time or attention.


“So I asked the Ice Queen what a killer pussy looked like.”

Fox Mulder stopped in the middle of the agents’ bullpen, his head turning automatically at the mention of “the Ice Queen.” Supposedly it was a nickname Scully had been given all the way back in her days teaching at the Academy, but he hadn’t remembered ever hearing her called that until she started working with him. Either way, it was a term he hated—mostly because he knew it to be categorically untrue. His Scully was a warm, funny, passionate and ferocious woman. “Fire Maiden” was a much more accurate term—and one which had sprung to mind more than once over the last few years of working side by side with her.

He might have ignored the remark if it weren’t for two things. One, the speaker was Tom Colton. And two, he kept talking.

“So then, I said, ‘or should I ask Spooky that question?'”

The other agent laughed—until he caught sight of Mulder’s swift, purposeful approach. His worried expression tipped off Colton, who turned to meet Mulder’s glare, his sneer slipping just a bit.

“Colton, you had a question for me?”

Colton lifted his chin, defiance overcoming apprehension. “I heard you and Mrs. Spooky had a little run-in with some mean old kitty cats.”

The other agent snickered. Mulder shut him up with a glare, then turned his attention back to Colton. “Agent Scully and I just finished a case that involved what appeared to be feral cat attacks. I have my doubts, but—”

“So who do you think killed those people in Boston, Mulder? Aliens?”

“No, actually a jaguar spirit sent by an ancient female shaman called the amaru,” Mulder said placidly. “But that would be a little hard to prove, so the feral cat theory is close enough. Sometimes you gotta know when to pack up your toys and go home.”

Mulder’s response seemed to incite Colton to further boldness. “Too bad the cat messed up Dana’s face. But I guess you two can always do it in the dark, huh, Mulder?”

Blackness seemed to crowd the edges of Mulder’s vision as he met Colton’s smug gaze. I could kill him in a second, he thought, keeping his face utterly expressionless while he contemplated the idea. One swift smash of the hand to his throat—crack the hyoid bone, crush the larynx, snap the vertebrae….

He breathed deeply, slowly, shoving the violent thoughts deep into a dark recess inside him. When he spoke, his voice was as dry and calm as normal. “You are a disgusting pig, Colton, and the mere thought of your speaking Scully’s name fills me with more revulsion than I can adequately express, so I won’t try.” He turned swiftly and almost ran right into AD Skinner, who had walked up behind him.

“Is there a problem?” Skinner asked.

Mulder opened his mouth to answer until he realized that Skinner was addressing Colton. He moved aside, symbolically planting himself at the AD’s side. With satisfaction, he noted Colton’s round face turn pasty white.

“No, sir, no problem,” Colton said swiftly.

Skinner glanced at Mulder. “Is that true?”

“No problem, sir.”

Skinner was silent for a long moment, pinning Colton with what Scully called his “drill sergeant” glare. Then the AD turned to Mulder and gave a little nod of his head toward the hallway. “Mulder, can I speak to you for a moment?”

He should have known he wouldn’t get away with holding a public pissing match with a fellow agent. With a sigh, he followed Skinner to an unoccupied office and stood quietly until Skinner closed the door behind them. “Sir, I know I should have walked away—”

Skinner held up his hand. “I’m surprised you didn’t beat the hell out of the little bastard, Mulder, but thank you for your restraint.”

“How much did you hear?”

“Enough to want to emasculate Colton myself—with my bare hands and no anaesthesia,” Skinner muttered. Mulder arched his eyebrows, and Skinner grinned. “Don’t pretend the thought didn’t cross your mind, Mulder.”

“No, I usually leave emasculation to Scully, sir.”

Skinner chuckled. “Well, I’m going to put him on report—”

“No, sir.” Mulder shook his head. “Scully would hate that, and besides, Colton’s got some friends in high places. I don’t think this incident is worth making more enemies. Scully’s career is already on shaky enough ground because of working with me.”

“I’ve thought about transferring her, you know.”

Mulder’s heart skipped a beat, and his mouth went dry. “Sir—”

Skinner shook his head and perched on edge of a desk. “I’m not separating you two, Mulder. You’re much more trouble when you’re apart than when you’re together. Besides, I know you two. You’d move heaven and earth to work together no matter what I did, so why bother?”

“I hate what working with me has done to her reputation,” Mulder murmured.

“I have great respect for the job you and Agent Scully have done with the X-Files, Agent Mulder. And even your enemies recognize that the two of you are formidable adversaries. What you do here, Mulder, has meaning and purpose. I know that. Scully knows that, too. That’s why she’s still with you.”

“What’s the purpose? To find the truth? To uncover all the dirty little secrets?” Mulder shook his head, venting all the pent up frustration of the past few days. “We don’t know what the hell we’re up against half the time, sir. We don’t know anything. For every truth we uncover, there are a dozen more lies.”

“‘We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows,'” Skinner murmured softly.

Mulder looked up sharply.

The right corner of Skinner’s mouth rose slightly. “Robert Frost.”

“I know.” Mulder shook his head, a bit surprised. Although why should he be surprised? A man didn’t become Assistant Director of the FBI on the merits of a linebacker’s build and a glare that would melt an iceberg.

“If Agent Scully wasn’t satisfied with her job as your partner, I believe she would request a transfer herself,” Skinner said, his voice gentle, almost paternal.

For a second, Mulder could hear his own father’s voice— patient, loving, warm with unspoken affection. God, how many years had it been since he’d heard his father speak to him that way? A little part of his heart ripped and bled with the knowledge that he’d never hear his father’s voice again.

“Don’t let the bastards get to you, Mulder. Don’t let them win with words.”

Mulder lifted his chin and met Skinner’s forceful gaze. “Yes, sir.”

“Now, I think it might be a good idea for you to check on Agent Scully, don’t you?”

Mulder’s lips curved. “Check on Scully? Sir, I respectfully suggest you never use that term in front of her.”

Skinner chuckled again. “Do you take me for a fool, Agent Mulder?”

Mulder shook his head, wondering when Skinner had gone from being an uneasy ally to a full-fledged friend. Then he realized the answer. It was when Skinner took a bullet to help Scully learn the truth about her sister’s murder.

Mulder held out his hand. “Thank you, sir.”

Skinner closed his large hand around Mulder’s. “For what?”

Mulder released his hand and shook his head. Anything he said, the AD would deny, chalking up his actions to “just doing my job.” He gave Skinner a little nod goodbye and headed out the door.


Startled by the knock on her office door, Scully looked away from the computer. “Who is it?”

“Steven Spielberg.”

She grinned, Mulder’s low, dry voice taking her back through the years to a motel room in Oregon—their very first case together. Let’s see, she thought as she crossed to unlock the door, that time he was checking to see if I wanted to go on a jog with him. In the middle of the night. And crazy me, I said no.

She wiped the smile from her face as she opened the door, knowing better than to let him know she thought he was endlessly witty and charming. She cocked her head and looked up at his familiar face, wondering if her eyes were giving away all her dark little secrets—such as the fact that she loved him madly. “What now?”

He made a little face and entered her office, sliding his hand behind her shoulder to draw her along with him. He closed the door behind them and guided her toward her desk without a word.

She gently moved out of his light grasp and turned to face him. “Is something wrong?”

He shook his head. “No. I just thought I’d check and see how your autopsy consult went this morning.”

Now she knew something was wrong. Mulder had never displayed interest in an autopsy before—a gagging reflex, yes, but never interest. “Come on, Mulder, what’s up?”

He sighed. “Well, since you’re going to hear about it anyway—it’ll be around the whole building by tomorrow—”

She wrinkled her brow, not liking the sound of this. “What?”

“I had a little…discussion…with Tom Colton today.”

Oh, God, she thought, pressing her fingertips to her forehead. “What about?” As if she didn’t already know the answer.

“He made a remark—” Mulder made a face, obviously not happy talking about this with her.

“About?” she prodded.

He nibbled his lower lip, distracting her for a moment as she contemplated the idea of nibbling it herself. Then he spoke, jarring her out of that warm, dark place. “You.”

She sighed. “And you had to play knight in shining armor, slaying the dragon to defend the honor of the damsel in distress?”

“I knew you were going to say that, Scully, but it wasn’t like that at all. I didn’t defend your honor, I swear I didn’t!”

For a second they just stared at each other. Then Mulder started to laugh, and she was lost. For the first time in recent memory, she broke into a full-bodied belly laugh.

It took several seconds before she could regain her composure. By that time, Mulder had his hand on her shoulder, leaning into her for support as his own chuckles subsided. “You’d have been proud of me, Scully, I nodded and agreed with everything Colton said,” he joked.

She shook her head, wondering how she’d ever been lucky enough to meet this wonderful, endearing, certifiably insane man, much less have her life become so inextricably intertwined with his. “What exactly did you agree with?”

His laughter subsided for good, little lines of tension marring the smooth skin of his forehead. “Nothing worth repeating.”

“Was it the killer pussy remark?” To her surprise—and secret delight—Mulder blushed at her words. Taking pity on him, she added, “Or did he call me Mrs. Spooky?”

“I don’t really care when people call me names, Scully. But you don’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush.”

She knew that nothing she could say would make him feel better, so she went for humor, hoping to distract him from his willing descent into self-loathing. “Well, look at it this way, Mulder. People used to call me the Ice Queen when I was teaching at the Academy. I figure that Mrs. Spooky is a step up.”

He quirked one eyebrow. “That’s a step up?”

“Well, before, everybody thought I was frigid. Now they just think I’m sleeping with you.”

His other eyebrow lifted, turning his expression into a familiar leer. “That’s a step up?” he repeated.

“Well at least this way, I’m getting some,” she said with a sly half smile, waiting for the inevitable Mulderesque comeback and steeling herself against her equally inevitable blush.

But the leer faded from his face, replaced by a look so intense she squirmed inwardly. His gaze moved over her face as if searching for clues. He lifted his hand to her left cheek, his finger tracing the path of a scratch with such delicacy that it felt like a puff of breath against her skin. She couldn’t hold back a shiver.

As he lowered his hand back to his side, his eyes met hers, dark with emotion. Her pulse thundered in her head, drowning out all ambient noise save the soft, ragged hiss of her breathing.

All I would have to do is take one step forward, she thought. One step….

Before the thought had finished resonating in her head, she WAS one step closer to him. She wasn’t sure if she had moved or if he had—only that they were as close as two people could be without actually touching.

The phone rang, making her jump. She took a stumbling step backwards, turning to grab the phone. The receiver almost slipped from her nerveless fingers twice before she brought it to her ear. “Scully.”

“Agent Scully, this is Walter Skinner. I need you and Agent Mulder to meet me in my office in five minutes. Something just came across my desk that you might find interesting.” Skinner hung up without saying goodbye.

Scully replaced the receiver in its cradle and turned to look at Mulder. “Skinner has a case for us.”

Mulder’s eyebrows rose slightly. “Gotta wonder if there’s hidden surveillance equipment in this room,” he muttered.

She chuckled softly. The same idea had crossed her mind. “Skinner does seem to have remarkable timing.”

They looked at each other for a moment longer, words passing between them in utter silence. Then, as one, they headed out the door.

The End


3.19 “Conscious Pulse” – post “Hell Money”

DISCLAIMER: All the characters within belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This story is post-“Hell Money” and contains spoilers. Rated PG for language, and contains unpartnerlike sentiments and feelings between Mulder and Scully, so be warned.

I don’t know the name of the cigarette smoking doctor, so I’ve arbitrarily named him Dr. Wu. 🙂

SONNET: “Conscious Pulse”

by Anne Haynes


Time flies, hope flags, life plies a wearied wing;

Death following hard on life gains ground apace;

Faith runs with each and rears an eager face,

Outruns the rest, makes light of everything,

Spurs earth, and still finds breath to pray and sing;

While love ahead of all uplifts his praise,

Still asks for grace and still gives thanks for grace,

Content with all day brings and night will bring.

Life wanes; and when love folds his wings above

Tired hope, and less we feel his conscious pulse,

Let us go fall asleep, dear friend, in peace:

A little while, life reborn annuls

Loss and decay and death, and all is love.

– Christina Rossetti


The clock on the wall near Mulder’s desk read 9:18 when Dana Scully finally closed the last file and leaned back in her chair, stretching to loosen the kinks that four straight hours of sitting had left in her back. Mulder’s office was dark—not an unusual circumstance, although usually a slide show of some sort accompanied the murk. In the privacy of the empty office, Scully allowed herself a broad, toothy grin at the thought. God, she loved those slide shows. But if Mulder ever found out—

She looked down at the stack of files in front of her. Thirteen X-Files dealing with the unexplained deaths of recent Chinese immigrants. These cases had haunted her over the past few weeks, ever since she and Mulder had returned from San Francisco with empty hands and troubled hearts. Dr. Wu’s arrogant assertions had enraged her, even when she’d been certain he would pay for his crimes. Now that she knew he wouldn’t so much as see the inside of a jail cell—

God, she felt helpless. Impotent. She hated the feeling, had hated it since she was a small girl. Control was everything to her—it defined her, steadied her, empowered her. So she’d stayed here tonight, long after even Mulder had gone home, and went through each of the files on the immigrant murders, trying to find a clue, a connection, anything that would help them mete out some semblance of justice. But she’d found nothing.

She rubbed her finger over the label on the front of the file at the top of the stack. Mulder had once said something to the effect that in their line of work, they seldom got to press charges.

She sighed. It was just that sometimes—every once in a while—it would be nice to close a file with a sense of satisfaction instead of the cold knowledge that nothing you did or said really made a bit of difference in the long run.

She picked up the stack of files and carried them back to the file cabinets. As she was opening the top drawer, she heard the steady approach of footsteps outside the door. Instinctively she dropped the files on top of the cabinet with a soft thud and reached for the gun in the holster at the base of her spine.

The footsteps slowed and halted just outside, and she saw a flicker of shadow in the small crack of light under the door. She readied her gun, recognizing the level of her paranoia even as she took the proper shooting stance.

“Put down the gun, Scully, it’s just me.” Outside the door, Mulder’s voice was soft and amused. A second later, the door swung partially open and he poked his head through the opening.

She re-holstered her gun. “Like to live dangerously, Mulder?”

He quirked one corner of his mouth. “Hungry?”

She was, she realized. “Yes, as a matter of fact. You wouldn’t have a candy bar stashed in this office anywhere, would you?

“Nibbled your way through your own stash?” he asked.

She gave him a fraction of a smile. “Are you going to stand out there in the hall all night?”

He pushed the door open and walked inside, both hands clutching plain brown bags. A warm, spicy aroma assailed Scully’s nostrils, evincing a loud grumble from her stomach that Mulder heard all the way across the room, judging from his smile.

“It’s alive!” Mulder intoned in a passable imitation of Dr. Frankenstein as he put the sacks on his desk.

“What did you get?” She crossed to his side, her stomach continuing to growl.

“Well, I figured you wouldn’t be in the mood for Chinese—” He grinned at her, his eyebrows waggling slightly. “So I stopped at Naji’s.”

“Falafel?” she asked hopefully.

“With a side of hummos sauce.” He opened the bag and waved it under her nose.

The rich, spicy aroma of freshly baked pita bread, hummos and falafel mingled in an olfactory symphony. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply with pleasure. “Have I told you lately that you’re my favorite partner?”

He chuckled. “You’re so easy to impress, Scully.” He handed her the bag and opened his own. “So, anything?” He nodded toward the stack of files on the steel cabinet in the corner.

She sighed and shook her head, pulling up a chair in front of his desk. “You can’t fight fear and silence, Mulder.” She stared down at the pita roll-up in front of her, her appetite fading quickly.

“Don’t, Scully—”

She looked up to find his hazel gray eyes focused intently on her face.

“You did everything you could—” he began.

Sometimes doing everything you could just wasn’t enough, she thought, a childhood memory springing to mind. “Did I ever tell you about the time, when I was a girl, that I was accidentally locked in the basement for six hours?”

He shook his head.

“I was eight or nine at the time, and my mother thought I was next door at a neighbor’s with Missy, Bill and Charlie. But I’d stayed home—it was in the spring, I remember, and for my birthday, my dad had overruled my mother’s objections and bought me one of those junior chemistry sets that were popular at the time.”

Mulder smiled. “Bet you loved that thing.”

She nodded, a little smile of reminiscence touching the edges of her mouth. “I was trying to make a battery—I think Bill was in junior high chemistry at the time, and his text book had a formula for making a battery—anyway, I had the text book and all my chemicals downstairs, and my mother left to meet some of the other base wives for lunch and shopping. As she was leaving, she shut the door down to the basement, not knowing that I was down there. It was one of those doors that locks automatically and you can’t unlock without a key.

“I heard the door shut, but at the time I didn’t realize it locked automatically. We hadn’t been at that particular base all that long, so I guess it had never come up. But about fifteen minutes later, when I tried to go upstairs to go to the bathroom—”

Mulder winced. “No bathroom downstairs?”

She shook her head. “And I really had to go, too. I remember, it was the most helpless feeling in the world. All that stood between me and everything I wanted and needed was a two-inch-thick piece of wood and a self-engaging steel lock, but that was all it took.

“I yelled until I was hoarse, but nobody heard me. I tried to break the door, but all I got for my efforts were bruised shoulders and a jammed thumb.” She smiled, remembering her little girl resourcefulness. “I even tried twisting the lead I’d been using to make the battery into a lock pick, but of course it was too soft, and my burgling skills weren’t quite as finely honed then as they are now.” She shook her head. “I was powerless, Mulder. And I hated it. To this day, I hate it.”

He nodded. “And the San Francisco case was one big exercise in frustration.”

“Logically, I know that we did everything we could. We followed every lead, we built the case as solidly as we could, we played by the rules—”

“But Dr. Wu didn’t play by the same rules.”

She pressed her lips together in frustration. “How do you bear it, Mulder? You’ve been at this a long time—longer than I have. How do you keep it from tearing you apart?”

“You’re assuming that it doesn’t.”

She looked into his sad eyes, her heart breaking. Of course it tore him apart. It had been tearing him apart every minute of every day since he was twelve years old. When it came to raw deals, Mulder was light years ahead of her.

She reached across the desk, covering his hand with hers. “I’m constantly amazed by you, Mulder.”

He quirked his eyebrows. “Is this going to be the desert and the shovel story again?”

She graced him with a full smile and noted with quiet satisfaction the way his eyes darkened with appreciation. “I just—” She paused, realizing she didn’t have words to express the level of her admiration for him, her sense of gratitude that he’d brought her along with him on his journey, included her in his quest for the truth. Losses and frustrations merely served to drive home the fact that before Mulder, life had never been so rich or so real.

His mouth curved slightly and he turned his hand over, cradling her palm with his, giving her hand a little squeeze. “Me, too.”


Mulder gathered up the trash from their late dinner and deposited it into the garbage can by his desk while Scully finished putting the case files she’d been studying back into the cabinet. He sat on the edge of his desk and watched her work, appreciating the graceful curve of her spine as she stood slightly on tip toes to put the final file into its slot at the back of the top drawer.

Sometimes when he looked at her, his breath caught in his throat when he realized how really tiny and fragile-looking she was. She was strong as steel and fierce as a tigress, but she was a small woman. Delicately built. Graced with an incandescent beauty that had less to do with what she looked like than with who she was.

She was Dana Katherine Scully, beloved daughter of William and Margaret Scully, esteemed in the F.B.I. by fellow agents and superiors alike despite the ignominy of being partnered with the Bureau pariah. She was the most amazing woman he knew, and to say that he was lucky to have her seemed somehow grossly inadequate.

There were times he’d convinced himself that he should go to Assistant Director Skinner and request—no, BEG for—her reassignment to a different division. He’d actually made it to the AD’s outer office once, after the fiasco on the train. She’d been so angry with him then—angry that he’d ignored her warnings and jumped on the train but equally angry that he was unwilling to accept her explanation of what had happened to her during the time she was missing.

And he’d been angry with her for assuming that his inability to believe the “human experimentation” theory revolved around his quest for proof of the existence of extraterrestrials. Did she really think he WANTED to believe she’d been subjected to God only knew what kind of heinous tests and procedures? Did she think that it satisfied some kind of need to know?

It made him sick to his stomach. It made him ache so much he didn’t know if he could take another breath. It ripped him to shreds and bled him out. And most of all, it made him wretchedly sorry he’d ever inflicted his own brand of bad karma on Scully. So he’d gone to Skinner’s office in a moment of desperation, looking for a merciful end to a dying partnership.

But he hadn’t been able to do it. He’d stood outside the AD’s door, lifted his hand to the doorknob—

—and then turned away, muttering an excuse to Skinner’s assistant.

He’d walked back down to the office and found, to his surprise, that Scully was there, looking through a new X- File that had come down through channels the night before. She’d looked up at him, her blue eyes wary as if she’d expected him to order her out of his office. And though he knew that in the long run she’d be better off if he cut all ties, he couldn’t do it. Saying goodbye to Scully wasn’t within his power. If their partnership was going to die, Scully was going to have to be the one to pull the plug.

He’d thought she would end it after the case in Comity, New Hampshire, but she’d hung in there. He was almost certain she’d have run back to the Academy after the gargoyle murders, when she’d witnessed his frightening descent to the gaping mouth of madness. But she’d gently drawn him back to the light, holding him safe in her strength and loyalty.

And now, he’d finally accepted that despite the pain and the frustration and the craziness they faced every day, Scully was there with him because she’d rather be there than any place else in the world. The knowledge was surprising and humbling, but it was also exciting. Being so highly esteemed by a woman as amazing as Dana Scully gave him back a sense of worth that he’d lost when he was twelve years old.

She turned and caught him staring at her. One corner of her mouth curved upward. “What?”

He shook his head slightly, smiling slightly. “Just wondering why you hang around.”

She arched her eyebrows. “Here? With you?”

He nodded, suddenly serious, as he awaited her reply. He wondered if he’d been wrong about the recent upturn in their relationship. If he was just seeing what he wanted to see, as she’d accused him of doing more than once.

She cocked her head slightly, pinning him with her “Dr. Scully” look of clinical curiosity. He watched with a mixture of fear and anticipation as she slowly crossed the room, closing the distance between them. She stopped within a few inches of him, so close that he felt the heat of her body like a whisper against his skin.

She bent close, invading his space the way he’d always invaded hers. To his surprise, heat crept into his neck and face, sending a little shudder of awareness racing through his body. He was acutely conscious of his pulse thundering in his ears. Is THIS what I do to her? he wondered. Is this how she feels?

Her soft breath burned his mouth like a phantom kiss.

“Who else would put up with you?” she whispered.

The End


3.20 “Sleep is Sweeter” – post “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” (Rated R)

(Winner of the 1996 “Best Post Episode Story” Spooky; 2nd Place “Best Vignette)

DISCLAIMER: All characters in this story belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story that takes place in the middle of “Jose Chung’s FROM OUTER SPACE.” This is very different from my usual SONNET stories, which will be patently clear from the first. Then again, “Jose Chung’s…” was very different from most other X-Files, so….

This one’s rated “R,” by the way, for reasons that will also be patently clear from the first. If you’re against Mulder/Scully romance, run away now, screaming your little girly scream. If you continue to read after this warning, don’t expect me to respond to your pathetic whining if you don’t like it.

And I’ll admit it. I went for the obvious story. But heck, if somebody throws you a hanging slider, isn’t it a moral and civic duty to try to knock the sucker out of the park?

SONNET: “Sleep is Sweeter”

by Anne Haynes


I dream of you, to wake: would that I might

Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;

Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone,

As, Summer ended, Summer birds take flight.

In happy dreams I hold you in full sight,

I blush again who waking look so wan;

Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone,

In happy dreams your smile makes day of night.

Thus only in a dream we are as one,

Thus only in a dream we give and take

The faith that maketh rich who take or give;

If thus to sleep is sweeter than to wake,

To die were surely sweeter than to live,

Thought there be nothing new beneath the sun.

– Christina Rossetti


Her body was on fire, as if her very blood had become a river of flame. Her flesh burned wherever he touched her— and he touched her everywhere, in every way. Gently, firmly, teasingly, lovingly—long, arousing strokes and quick, maddening brushes of skin against skin. His gaze never wavered, his hazel eyes locked with her blue ones, speaking a thousand words that his lips had never uttered. Her heart listened and wept with joy, reveling in all that she’d felt and hidden from him for so long.

Why had she held back? She honestly couldn’t think of a reason that made sense, especially not now with his mouth hot and hard against hers, his hands sculpting her body to fit against his. And they DID fit, against all laws of physics or logic. He enfolded her, pressed her against his bare flesh, let their bodies glide gently back and forth, skin to skin, in an erotic mating dance. She thought she’d never breathe again—and she didn’t care.

“Scully….” His breath burned against her throat, and she swallowed with difficulty, her fingers clutching the hard muscles of his upper arms. He nuzzled lightly along her clavicle, teeth pressing delicately against her flesh, quickly replaced by the soothing warmth of his tongue.

She shuddered with need, thrusting her fingers into his soft, dark hair, lifting his face so that she could look into his eyes. “Mulder….” She couldn’t remember what she wanted to say. She knew only that this was right. She loved Mulder. He loved her. They both knew it.

It was time.

Doubts and questions fluttered ineffectually in the back of her mind, but she refused to look at them.

Go with it, Scully….

His loving gaze filled her with a surge of strength. In his familiar, beloved face she saw the answer to the only question that remained.

Do you love me, Mulder?


Then love me.

She opened herself to him and he filled her, not just with his body but with his heart and his soul as well. She felt him within her, under her skin, inside her veins. She’d never known anything like this sensation of oneness. She had always thought herself an individual, independent and self-sufficient. But in Mulder’s arms, she learned that she was something far more wondrous.

She was half of a whole.

On the heels of that mind-shattering epiphany she soared to the apex of pleasure, splintered and fell, drifting slowly back to herself on a sparkling sea of light. She clung to Mulder, surprised to find herself crying softly. His lips brushed her eyelids, his tongue flicking against the droplets dusting her cheeks.

“Scully,” he whispered.

She felt so tired, her eyelids drooping. She wanted to stay awake, unwilling to relinquish even a second of being here, like this, with the man she loved but never thought she dared to be with. But her mind was spinning, her body buzzing with weariness.

Maybe just a few minutes of sleep.

Just a few minutes….


For a few, phantom seconds, the dream lingered, as powerful as any reality he’d ever known. He could feel her body sheathing him, hot and soft and fitting him so perfectly. He tasted her mouth, felt the gentle tug of her teeth against his lower lip, felt her fingers digging into the muscles of his back as she held him tightly to her, unwilling to let go of him even though their bodies had already found exquisite release.

Then reality encroached, stiff and a little scratchy.

The collar of Scully’s suit scraping against his neck. Her stocking-clad toes curling against his shins. And her gun, hidden at the base of her spine beneath the jacket, pressing painfully against his tightened groin.

This new reality was not only less appealing than his lingering dream, it was also somewhat more bizarre. After all, had he awakened to find himself naked in bed with his partner, it would have been a <welcome> surprise but hardly shocking.

Waking up in her hotel room in her bed with his suit-clad arms wrapped tightly around her slender, suit-clad waist—

—now THIS was strange….

One thing was crystal clear—he had to get out of this situation now, before she woke up. Because he wasn’t sure he could beat her to her gun.

He tried to disentangle himself from her gently, slowly sliding his numbed arm from beneath her. She shifted in her sleep and he froze, pulse pounding in his ears. What would he do if she turned over and opened her eyes? How could he explain what he was doing in her bed, fully clothed but also the possessor of a raging hard-on?

Hell, Mulder, why don’t you try explaining that to yourself first?

Well, not the raging hard on. That didn’t really require explanation. The clothes, however, still threw him, in light of the amazingly vivid dream that still lingered in his mind. Scully’s body under his, soft and hot and welcoming….

He forced his mind away from the dream.

It was just a dream.

Wasn’t it?

He waited until she was still again, then pulled his arm the rest of the way from beneath her warm, soft body. Somewhere below his belt, the current center of his universe protested the loss of her heat. But he muzzled the inconvenient ravings of his body and rolled off the bed to relative safety, retreating quickly to the red velour covered chair at the foot of the bed. He sat, staring at her small, huddled form beneath the red brocade bedspread.

This is not happening, he thought.

Suddenly his jacket felt heavy and confining. He sat forward and shrugged off the coat, folding it with the intent of tossing it over the ladderback chair nearby.

But then he smelled it.

Smelled HER.

He drew the coat to his nose and took a deep breath, burying his face in the black fabric. Scully’s faint, clean scent permeated the fabric. He dropped the coat across his knees and lifted his arm to his nose. He could smell her in the rumpled cotton of his long-sleeved dress shirt. Her subtle fragrance clung to his gray silk tie.

He suspected that if he stripped naked, he would smell her on his skin.

But what did that mean, really?

What perceptions could he trust?

Quietly, he rose to his feet and walked around the room, searching for evidence to support even one of the jumbled fragments of memory roiling in his brain. A strung-out Air Force lieutenant—bizarre men in black—Scully’s flesh opening to him—

He shook his head, staring at the spotless, empty trash can that was utterly devoid of anything but air. No gum wrappers, no lipstick-stained tissues, no used condoms….

There would be no evidence. No answers.

There never were.

He walked soundlessly back to the red chair and sat, pulling the ladderback chair in front of him. He propped up his feet and covered himself with his suit jacket, pressing his nose into the collar, where Scully’s essence lingered.

Had it happened? Was it real?

He didn’t know what he wanted to believe. Even now, the dream <memory?> was fading and fragmenting, inexorably stripping from his mind the exquisitely real image of making love to Scully, leaving only mist and whispers.

And the mists and whispers finally swallowed him, drawing him into a troubled slumber.


Scully reached for him as she awakened, just to reassure herself that this time, he was really there. But now, as all the times before, she found only bed sheets beneath her searching hands.

She closed her eyes, disappointment sharp as a razor blade. This wasn’t her first dream of making love to Mulder, but it had been the most vivid by far. Never before had her phantom lover brought her to release, never before had her body shaken and trembled and unraveled until she didn’t know if all the pieces would ever go back together again.

It had seemed so real. His body, hot and hard, hers to touch and taste and take. His soft wordless murmurs of love as he buried himself inside her in a way that transcended the mere physical act of bodies joining. If she was very still and concentrated, she could still feel him within her, moving in an ancient rhythm. Her breath quickened and she lifted her hand to her breast, where she could still feel the imprint of his lips against her flesh—

Her eyes flew open as she felt the stiff, slightly scratchy sensation of linen beneath her fingers.

She was fully dressed.

She looked down at herself, her hands smoothing over the rumpled fabric of her suit. It was still buttoned, she realized.

She’d fallen asleep in her suit?



Then she smelled it.

Smelled HIM.

She clutched the lapels of her suit jacket and lifted the fabric to her nose. The warm, musky male scent of Fox Mulder filled her nostrils.

Oh, God.

She breathed deeply, inhaling his essence, filling her lungs and nose, taking him into her. She pulled a strand of bright red hair beneath her nose and inhaled.

Oh, God, the smell of him was in her hair—

Suddenly, a soft sound jarred her upright, and she found herself staring at the slightly contorted form of her partner <lover> slumped in the red velour chair at the foot of her bed. He was asleep, his head lolling on his chest, fully dressed except for his suit jacket, which he wore draped over his torso like a blanket.

She fell back onto one elbow, nonplussed.

What was he doing over THERE?


Looking as if the most unlikely thing he’d done last night was make love to her until she thought she’d shatter into a million shivering pieces?

She closed her eyes, searched her memory. When had he come to her room? Had she let him in? Had they—?

But the night was a blank. She remembered coming back to the hotel and kicking off her shoes. She remembered sitting on the bed, feeling so tired, still just a bit wired after the bizarre autopsy within an autopsy she had performed. It was after midnight, but how long after she wasn’t sure.

She didn’t remember pulling back the bed covers and crawling under them, fully clothed and still armed. She didn’t remember Mulder knocking on the door, coming inside or curling up on the chair at the end of her bed. She had NO idea how her clothes had become permeated with Mulder’s warm, masculine scent.

The only thing she remembered—and remembered vividly—was Mulder’s body moving slowly, possessively over her, the feel of him filling her, the splintering sensation of pure pleasure.

But she couldn’t remember anything before that—how had he come to her? Had he initiated the lovemaking or had she?

Had it happened?

Was it real?

She opened her eyes and looked at Mulder. His face was relaxed, boyish in slumber. Something in her chest—something very much like her heart—twisted and ached at the sight of him like that, the years of care and pain mercifully erased by sleep. She felt a surge of love that made all the questions of why or how or if seem suddenly unimportant.

Suddenly, his head jerked up and his eyes flew open. She drew a swift breath as his gaze stabbed her.

“You’re awake,” he muttered.

She nodded.

For a long, breathless moment, they stared at each other. Scully felt as if he was probing her, slicing through to her innermost core, looking for something he’d lost and was desperate to find.

What is it, Mulder? she wondered. Tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you.

“Scully, we need to talk.” His brow furrowed. “What do you remember about last night?”

Her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t seem to find words.

He licked his lips. “Look, Scully—there’s something I need to know…last night…here in your room….”

She swallowed with difficulty, both scared and exhilarated by what Mulder might say next. He remembers, too, she thought with utter certainty. It did happen.

But her certainty was dashed by Mulder’s next soft words. “Scully—last night—did you see a guy who looked just like Alex Trebek?”


“But, Mulder—I…I don’t even remember letting you in.” Scully looked at him over the sheets and bedspread, her brow creased with puzzlement.

Mulder sighed, glad he’d managed to slip out of the bed without Scully awakening. If she was having trouble buying the story about the M.I.B.’s— “I told you, you didn’t let me in. They were already here—”

The phone rang, jarring his nerves. Scully rolled over in the bed, reaching for the receiver. “Scully.”

Mulder looked to his right and saw it. The first tangible shred of evidence—for what it was worth. He drew his hand from beneath his jacket and reached toward the ice bucket on the table by his chair.

On the phone, Scully said, “We’ll be right there.”

He dipped his fingers in the ice bucket, expecting nothing.

But they came back dripping with tepid water.

Melted ice.

It happened, he thought. At least part of it. The ice and the MIB’s.

As for the rest of it—

He looked at Scully, who had just hung up the phone. A little tendril of copper hair fell over her eyes, stirring a memory that rocketed straight to his core—Scully leaning over him, back arched with pleasure, her hair spilling onto his bare chest like a fire shower. He drew a quick breath to steady himself.

“That was Detective Manners,” she said. “He said they just found your bleepin’ UFO.

He found the strength to put aside all the questions swimming through the murk of his mind and went to his own room to shower and change into a fresh suit. But before he left to join Scully down in the lobby, he lifted his white undershirt to his nose and took a deep breath.

Scully’s scent was there, too.

But he didn’t know what that meant.



3.22 “Hope” – post “Quagmire”

Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post-Quagmire. Spoiler warnings apply.

For the IP, who know who they are.

SONNET: “Hope”

by Anne Haynes


When vain desire at last and vain regret

Go hand in hand to death, and all is vain,

What shall assuage the unforgotten pain

And teach the unforgetful to forget?

Shall Peace be still a sunk stream long unmet —

Or may the soul at once in a green plain

Stoop through the spray of some sweet life-fountain

And cull the dew-drenched flowering amulet?

Ah! when the wan soul in that golden air

Between the scriptured petals softly blown

Peers breathless for the gift of grace unknown,

Ah! let none other alien spell soe’er

But only the one Hope’s one name be there —

Not less nor more, but even that word alone.

– Dante Gabriel Rosetti


Fox Mulder frowned at the report in his hands, rereading the terse medical summation to make sure he understood everything. The tension coiling in his stomach went from uncomfortable to painful.

What the hell—-?

He adjusted his glasses and flipped to the next page, a continuation of the Forestry Service’s report on the post- mortem examination of a rogue alligator that Mulder himself had shot and killed. As expected, the examination had uncovered partially digested body parts from at least six different victims, as well as bits of an opossum, a couple of squirrels, and a multitude of frogs.

What it DIDN’T reveal, however, was any sign of a five pound red-haired Pomeranian named Queequeg.

Mulder’s lips tightened to a thin line. He hadn’t liked the yappy little monster, and he’d never lied to Scully and told her otherwise, even though sometimes he wished he COULD have liked it, just because she’d loved the little carnivore so much.

He certainly hadn’t wished the thing dead. Adopted by a nice family and out of Scully’s apartment, perhaps—but not a late night gator snack.

He rubbed the slight cleft of his chin and stared at the note the Forestry Service veterinarian had tacked onto the bottom. “Sorry, Agent Mulder, but no sign of a Pom.”

Mulder closed the file and frowned.

No sign of the Pom. No body. No evidence.

No closure.

He swivelled his chair around and leaned back, rocking slightly as he stared at the poster on the wall behind him. “I want to believe.”

I want to believe Samantha’s alive and that they’re not hurting her and that someday they’ll bring her back to me, just like the voice told me….

I want to believe that Scully’s okay, that the experiments they did aren’t going to hurt her, that everything will turn out okay and we’ll find the truth and we’ll have each other and….

I want to believe that there are answers.

I want to believe that there is justice.

What he didn’t want to believe were the implications of this report.

Where the hell was the damned dog?


Dana Scully knelt by her sister’s grave and brushed her fingers against the granite headstone, her heart speaking words her lips couldn’t utter. A light breeze blew, cooling the unseasonably warm May morning and stirring the fallen leaves dotting the green lawn of the cemetery.

I brought extra flowers today, Missy. For Queequeg. I know dogs don’t go to heaven—I’m not a hundred percent sure people do, but right now I just want to believe, okay?

She laughed softly, painfully, at herself. God, who’s thinking like Ahab now?

I miss you so much, Melissa. You’d think that since I know what happened to you, I wouldn’t have these questions. I saw you in the morgue—I watched them bury you.

She stroked the stone.

You would think that would give me a sense of closure, but it doesn’t. Melissa—it just didn’t feel like you. I don’t know—maybe you of all people could understand what I mean by that. But it just didn’t feel—real. Even with your body right there. It’s like Thomas in the Bible—I couldn’t believe until I’d seen you and touched you.

She shook her head, automatically dropping her hand to the pedestal of the grave stone to sweep away a fallen leaf.

But even after I touched you, after I saw that you were dead—I still couldn’t believe. I still can’t believe that I’m not going to see you again.

She looked down at the small bone-shaped tag she had brought along with her. “Queequeg” was engraved in the scratched metal.

And with poor Queequeg, I didn’t even have a body to bury.

I’m not equating you and Queequeg, she thought quickly, then chuckled at herself again.

Of course, you know that. I’m not equating him with Mulder’s sister, either. But it’s finally hit me just how hard losing her must have been for him. Because he didn’t have a body to bury or a gravestone to bring flowers to. He only has his memory, and he doesn’t know if he can trust that half the time.

Hope, she mused, was sometimes a double-edged sword. Poor Mulder.

Squeezing the tag in her hand so tightly that the edges bit into her flesh, she stroked the gravestone with her knuckles and whispered words aloud for the first time since she’d arrived at the grave. “I’ve gotta go, Melissa. I miss you.”

She rose and walked slowly back to her car.


Mulder tapped the eraser of his pencil against his lower lip, trying to decide what the hell he should do.

Tell her the truth? “Uh, Scully—it looks like the gator didn’t eat your dog after all.”

And what would that accomplish, beyond breaking her heart once again? Even if the dog had survived whatever had befallen it in the woods that night, a little scrap of nothing like that wasn’t hardy enough to fend for itself. It had either starved to death or been eaten by something else—perhaps shot by a drunken poacher or drowned when it tottered into the lake and couldn’t find its way back to shore….

The fact was, the dog was probably dead, no matter what. Giving Scully hope would be cruel.

But so would lying to her.

And the sound of footsteps approaching the office door told him he’d run out of thinking time. He knew the sound of her so well—he knew HER so well it scared him. Scared him so much that many times he didn’t give her what he KNEW he should give her for fear that everything would spill from him in an uncontrollable rush—all the pain and the need and the fear and the love.

Maybe she understood that. Maybe that’s why she forgave his failures and stayed around, dangerously playing Starbuck to his Ahab.

Maybe, one day, they could teach each other how to be Ishmael, how to survive amidst all the death and darkness that surrounded them.

As soon as she walked into the office, he realized that she’d been to her sister’s grave. It wasn’t because she’d been crying—her eyes were dry, and there was no telltale sign of redness around her nose and eyes. It wasn’t even that she looked particularly sad, because Scully had perfected that porcelain mask that hid everything behind its cool, smooth facade.

The secret was in the way she looked at him, her expressive eyes hiding nothing. She wasn’t even trying to hide things from him anymore, not really. That was a pretty scary concept, too—having somebody trust him so completely with something that he knew she held dear. Something almost sacred to her—her control.

He offered her a slight smile. She returned it—slightly. She hung her purse on the back of the chair behind her desk. It wasn’t REALLY her desk—not officially; she had a small office on the fourth floor that she called her own. He knew that when he pushed her too far, spun one too many outlandish theories, that she’d escape to her office to ground herself, to surround herself with science and hard facts.

But he considered this office their office now. That desk was her desk; that chair her chair.

His quest was her quest, not because he’d asked her because he needed it to be so, but because SHE had made the choice to join him. Knowing the risks, knowing firsthand the costs, she’d nevertheless embraced his quest, feeding off his passion and his dedication.

God knows he didn’t deserve that kind of loyalty. God knows she deserved better. But she’d made her choice, and though he was grateful, her decision brought him equal measures of joy and pain.

And that’s when he knew he had to show her the report. Because in the end, the truth, no matter how painful, was less hurtful than a lie. That was the shared belief that sustained them through it all.

She took the report wordlessly when he held it out, her eyebrows arched in preparation for another plunge into the bizarre and inexplicable. He watched her eyes dart across the pages quickly as she took in the information with the precision and speed of a computer. He teased her sometimes about her almost machine-like brilliance, her razor-sharp intellect, her rigid scientific detachment, implying that it was a big turn-on — and she invariably ignored the implications.

But the truth was, it WAS a turn on. Maybe not a physical one — not something that made his trousers feel too tight or his heart feel too small for the volume of blood racing through it. But it was a huge mental turn-on, knowing that she was even smarter than she was beautiful.

Scully’s wide blue eyes met his. “They didn’t find Queequeg in the alligator’s digestive tract.”

He nodded, watching emotions spool across her face just as he’d expected—surprise, shock, disbelief, understanding, joy, realization, worry, and finally the return of grief, accompanied by a stiff dose of guilt.

She closed the folder and pressed it against her chest as if it would provide some sort of buttress for her breaking heart. “Poor Queequeg. I left him there.”

“You didn’t know.”

“We looked for him everywhere, didn’t we, Mulder?” She looked to him for answers and for support—something she usually provided him instead.

This wasn’t a role he was used to or one he was comfortable playing. But he had no intention of failing her this time. “We looked all over the woods, Scully. You know that.”

“What could have happened to him?”

He stared up at her stricken face, wondering if she really wanted him to answer. He saw by her crestfallen expression that no answer was necessary. She knew the likely fate of the dog as well as he did.

She looked down at the pen cup on his desk. “He was probably badly injured. Maybe he crept off and hid, and that’s why we couldn’t find him. Animals do that, you know. They go off to die alone, in peace.”

He nodded. “Maybe.”

She sank into the chair in front of his desk and passed the folder back to him. “Why did you ask for a copy of the report?”

He shrugged. “I thought knowing one way or the other would be better than having doubts.”

Her smile was sad. “It would have been.”

“I know.”

He knew she understood. After all, Scully had been living with his obsessive search for Samantha for years now.

“Hope can be a bitch,” he murmured.

She stared at him for a second, then chuckled. “Yes, it can.”

He found, to his surprise, that he was laughing softly with her.

The End (unless you’re into denial)


3.22 “Hope – Epilogue of Denial” – post “Quagmire”

SONNET: “Hope – The Epilogue of Denial”

by Anne Haynes

The woods were thick and scary, and he had a strange fear of going back there, although for the life of him he couldn’t remember why. Something about strange sounds and weird smells—and teeth. He definitely remembered teeth.

An ache in his neck stiffened his resolve—he WASN’T going back into those woods, despite the odd rustling sounds and gamy smells that beckoned him toward the thick, green darkness. He shook himself and turned on his heel, heading back to the small log cabin nestled in the pines on the hillside overlooking the lake.

The woman appeared in the doorway, lithe and pretty and smelling like flowers and woodsmoke. She reminded him of The Other Woman, the one who used to feed him every morning and every night, the one who spoke in a low, soothing voice, the one who called him an odd name that wasn’t really his name, not the one he remembered from his first vague memory. The one who had rescued him that time when he was so very hungry….

The movements of the woman on the porch distracted him from his wandering thoughts. She clicked her fingers and made a little sound with her tongue. “Suppertime, boy.”

He trotted up to her and grinned as she lowered the plate to the porch floor in front of him. Her fingers stroked his fur, her voice low and soothing just like The Other Woman. She was a lot like The Other Woman—even looked a bit like her. Similar face, similar hair—he didn’t realize he couldn’t really see color, so he didn’t let that stop him from making the comparison.

But this one was taller. Maybe a bit thinner. And she wore a strange white rock on a collar around her neck.

Boy, was he glad to be rid of HIS collar.



3.23 “Home” – post “Wetwired”

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully et al belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

Sonnet #22 belongs to EBB, who would probably be all for a Mulder/Scully romance. Post-“Wetwired” and contains spoilers. A little more romance than you usually find in my SONNET stories, but not so much that you’ll want to throw your computer through the window. <g> This one is for Lorna.

SONNET: “Home”

by Anne Haynes


Sonnet #22

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,

Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,

Until the lengthening wings break into fire

At either curved point—what bitter wrong

Can the earth do to us, that we should not long

Be here contented? Think. In mounting higher,

The angels would press on us and aspire

To drop some golden orb of perfect song

Into our sleep, dear silence. Let us stay

Rather on earth, Beloved—where the unfit

Contrarious moods of men recoil away

And isolate pure spirits, and permit

A place to stand and love in for a day,

With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Dana Scully pulled the sheet back over the body in the Quantico morgue and depressed the record button of her microcassette recorder. “I concur with the findings of the Prince William County coroner concerning the cause of death. I suggest a careful analysis of hair and fiber evidence and further examination of the body for fingerprints.”

She turned off the recorder at the sound of the exam room door opening behind her. From somewhere deep inside, a surge of adrenaline pumped through her body, coiling muscles and tendons, and she whirled around, body tense.

Fox Mulder stopped in the doorway, his hands moving up and slightly away from his sides. “Sorry—didn’t mean to startle you.”

She looked away, embarrassment and no small bit of shame creeping up her neck and shoulders, heating her cheeks. The rush of adrenaline slowly receded. “Sorry—I was kind of focused.” She took in the way his faded jeans and navy t-shirt hugged his trim body, her breath catching just for a second. “So, what brings you down to the morgue on a Saturday morning?”

He didn’t move from the doorway. “Got your message about the consult and happened to be in the neighborhood, so….”

Something in the sound of his voice wasn’t right. There was a tightness to it, a little clipping cadence that didn’t sound like her partner. She looked up and found him staring at the sheet-draped body beside her, his eyes wide and dark, his expression like granite. She glanced at the body, wondering what he was seeing that froze him like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck. Had she missed something? “Mulder?”

He twitched at the sound of her voice, and his eyes lifted to hers, slightly out of focus. He took a long, shaky-sounding breath and backed toward the door. “I’m going to drop by the office for a while, so maybe I’ll see you later—” He turned, stumbling slightly. He caught the door frame and steadied himself.

“Mulder?” She crossed to him quickly, her heart in her throat.

He shot her a familiar, smart-ass smile, but his eyes were still dark and haunted. “You can catch me up on all the gory details later, Scully—I know you live for that.”

The words were Mulder, but the voice wasn’t. The voice was taut, as if he was having to force the sound through his throat. But he was out the door and down the hallway before she figured out how to ask him what was wrong.

She turned back to the autopsy table, setting about the methodical work of returning the room to its proper order. But her mind was elsewhere, following her partner down the corridors to his car, out the Quantico gate and onto the interstate back to D.C. and FBI Headquarters.

A week and a half had passed since the night she’d pulled the gun on him and accused him of betraying her, and not once in all that time had he ever done anything to make her feel guilty or ashamed. He’d taken care to ease her back into the office routine, watching out for her, shielding her from the curiosity and speculation that had surrounded her ever since she’d gone down the rabbit hole.

And yet, for all his kindness and gentle consideration, she didn’t really know what he was thinking or feeling. He’d shut another part of himself away from her, and that scared her.

In the heart of her madness, she’d accused him of not trusting her. And even now that she was thinking clearly again, she had to admit that she still had a small kernel of doubt about that. She knew she had his respect and loyalty, his regard and his love. Those were easy.

Trust was hard for Mulder. And she hadn’t made it any easier.

She shut off the lights of the autopsy bay and went to wash up. Fifteen minutes later she was in her car, headed back into the city. She pulled out her cell phone and punched in Mulder’s number. It was busy. With a sigh, she shut off her phone and tucked it back in her pocket.

She’d be at the office soon enough. And maybe, if she could work up her nerve, she and Mulder could have a little talk.


Mulder tucked the phone between his chin and shoulder, needing both hands to merge into the traffic headed toward Maryland. “Are you sure you don’t mind?”

Margaret Scully’s voice was warm as summer sunshine. “Of course I don’t mind. Fox, you know that.”

Amazingly enough, he did know that. Almost from the very first, surrounded by broken glass and blood in Scully’s shattered apartment and bathed in the cherry and blue strobelights from the police cars parked outside, Margaret Scully had opened her heart and let him in. No doubts, no accusations, nothing but acceptance and eventually love. Such a far cry from his own family, from the secrets and lies and thinly veiled scorn, the low, cultured voice of his father thick with disappointment and disapproval, the pain and bewilderment in his mother’s sad eyes.

Mrs. Scully had gotten him through Scully’s abduction. She could get him through this, too. “I just—it hit me like it was happening all over again, and I didn’t want to tell Dana—she’s on eggshells as it is. I don’t know how to make it better—” He knew he wasn’t being coherent. He also knew that with Mrs. Scully, it didn’t really matter.

“I’ll be right here, Fox. I’ll fix you a sandwich—maybe soup? We can have lunch.”

He smiled at the cell phone. Once a mom, always a mom. “Okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” He shut off the phone and signalled right, heading for the beltway.


Mulder wasn’t at the office when Scully got there. Nobody remembered seeing him in the past few hours, and when she tried his home phone, she got his machine. Dropping in his desk chair, she picked up the phone and dialled his cell phone number again. After four rings, she was informed that the cellular customer she was calling could not be reached at that time.

She slumped a little lower in the chair, staring at the controlled chaos of his domain. She had a desk just across the room, a chair, a phone, a computer. But this was still Fox Mulder’s office—always had been. Even though their partnership had evolved into something far more than subject and spy, one fact remained. Mulder WAS the X-Files. And she was on the outside looking in.

Maybe that’s the problem, she thought, squeezing her lower lip between her thumb and forefinger. Maybe Mulder can’t trust me because I haven’t openly stepped into the circle with him.

Yet his search for the truth was every bit as much hers now. Especially since Melissa’s murder. But Melissa wasn’t her only reason for staying.

(You can admit that, can’t you, Dana?)

You stay because of him. Because you respect and love him, and you want him to find the truth HE’S looking for.

She looked at the framed photograph on his desk, at the smiling little girl face, the dark wavy hair pulled back in barrettes. She bent forward and picked up the photo, staring into the eyes of Samantha Mulder.

“Are you still out there?” she whispered.

Scully had to know. She couldn’t turn her back on the truth, no matter how much she feared what she might find. She’d known that since she’d said goodbye to her sister in a cold hospital morgue.

But it had taken a photograph of a child long gone to bring home to her just how committed she was to the X-Files, to the quest for the truth—and how much she was also committed to Fox Mulder.

For the duration.


Margaret Scully wrapped her hands around her mug of hot coffee and waited for Fox Mulder to tell her the things he’d come here to tell her. He sat across the patio table from her, a photo album open in front of him. It was his favorite—the Dana Album, of course. That photo album had gotten them both through some long, hard hours when Dana was missing. Looking at the pictures from a simpler, more innocent time was therapeutic for Mulder— he’d been visiting her regularly over the months since Melissa’s death, and she’d come to judge his state of mind by how quickly he reached for the album that always lay out on the coffee table in the living room.

Today, he’d picked it up immediately, following her wordlessly outside into the mid-May sunshine. He had been looking at the pictures in silence for several minutes, but Margaret could tell that he was desperately trying to find words to express his distress.

He ran his finger over a picture of Dana in her first school photo—all red hair, freckles and dimples, Margaret noted with a rush of love for her baby girl.

Mulder looked up suddenly, meeting her gaze. “She doesn’t trust me.”

Margaret shook her head. “That’s not true, Fox.”

He looked up at her, sadness suffusing his face. “Mrs. Scully, the other victims of the signal—their fears might have seemed irrational, but they were based on reality. The atrocities in Bosnia are real. Men do cheat on their wives. Partners do betray each other.”

“Dana knows that you would never—”

“Does she? Do you?” He shook his head. “I fail her every day, Mrs. Scully. I betray her in little ways—I run off without her, I ignore her warnings, I keep things from her.” He bent forward, resting his elbows on his knees and covering his face with his hands.

Margaret watched him struggle with his demons, her heart breaking. Fox Mulder was such a complex man—he had the noble soul of a fearless warrior and the broken heart of a wounded child. In the weeks and months following Dana’s abduction, she and Fox had forged a strong bond of shared sorrow. They never spoke of it, never gave words to what existed between them, but Margaret knew that this man would do anything for her—and God knows, she’d do anything for him.

She also knew that no matter what he thought, he could no more betray her daughter than he could stop looking for the truth.

“Does she think I don’t trust her?” Fox looked up at her, his eyes haunted. “Doesn’t she understand that she’s the ONLY one I trust?”

Margaret stared at Fox, wondering if he understood what he was admitting, if he knew the full import of his bond with her daughter. Did he understand that if he trusted only Dana, he could never truly love another woman? “Maybe she has trouble believing it because you say one thing but do another.”

Fox looked at her, crestfallen, then looked down at his clasped hands. “What has she told you?”

“Enough to know that you don’t always listen when she tries to warn you that you’re walking into danger.”

His brow crinkled slightly. “She’s overprotective.”

Margaret laughed. She couldn’t help it.

Fox glanced up at her, a grin curving his mouth. “I know, look who’s talking.”

“Fox, Dana doesn’t tell me very much about what you two do. Frankly, I’m not sure I want to know. But I know that you and Dana went through a rough patch over the last few months. I know that it was tense between you for a while and that the past couple of months have been a lot better. I don’t want to see the two of you slide back into rough waters. So maybe instead of talking to me, you should be talking to my daughter.”

Fox sat back, slumping a little against the sofa cushions. “Dana and I don’t really—talk. We just—understand each other.”

Margaret wondered if he realized he was talking about Dana as if she were his wife. “Sometimes, Fox, that’s not enough.”


“I asked to open the blinds myself.” Mulder played with the glass of tea in front of him, turning it between his hands, his expression stony with the effort of controlling his emotions.

Margaret Scully watched him, her heart aching for him.

“I don’t know—maybe I thought I could control the outcome that way. I didn’t have any other control—” He shook his head. “I opened the blinds finally and…for a second—”

Margaret closed her hands over his, stilling his nervous movements. He looked up at her, raw anguish in his eyes, and she fought a swelling surge of tears.

“For a second it WAS her, and I—” His mouth worked silently for a second as he searched for words to tell her what he’d experienced at the Frederick County Morgue. “I felt as if somebody had opened me up and extracted every drop of life in me. I didn’t move. I didn’t blink, I didn’t react; there was nothing. I couldn’t even hear my heart beating—and just seconds before that was ALL I could hear.”

“Fox—” She squeezed his hands.

He shook his head. “It seemed like days passed while I stood there, staring at that body, thinking it was her. It was probably only seconds. Then, suddenly, I realized that I’d never seen that woman before in my life. It wasn’t Dana.” He drew a deep breath. “It was like someone flipped a switch and turned the world back on.”

She sensed that telling her this was one of the hardest things Fox Mulder had ever done. He was so self-protective, even in the best of times.

“How can I make her understand that she CAN trust me? That I’d never willingly hurt her?” He looked up at Margaret, his eyes giving away the fear and guilt that he carried with him like a photograph in a wallet.

Margaret didn’t know what to tell him. She knew that Dana loved this man, trusted him and feared for him. But at the most primal level, Dana also feared him—or, at least, she feared the power Fox Mulder had over her. “I think Dana is afraid that something might happen to take you away from her life. In the past three years, she’s lost her father and her sister. Last year, she thought she’d lost you, too.” She leaned forward, touching his hands again. “Fox, if you had been affected, what do you think you’d have seen? What nightmare would have been revealed?”

His eyes widened slightly as he met her gaze, and she saw her answer.

Losing Dana, of course. He’d already lived it.

“I’ll check on the soup.” Margaret squeezed his hand and stood, going through the French doors back into the house. As she crossed the threshhold, she glanced over her shoulder one more time. A slight smile curved her lips as she saw him open the photo album once more, his fingers tracing the pictures of her daughter’s happy childhood.

Somehow, she had a feeling that things would work out just fine.


Mulder turned the page of the photo album, unable to hold back a smile as he looked into the bright, happy face of his partner at eight years old. She was so damned cute. Dimples and freckles and slightly crooked teeth that looked a little too big for her mouth. Physically, she looked nothing like Samantha, but she made him think of his sister anyway. There was something universal about little eight-year-old girls—maybe it was how they existed in a sort of shimmering limbo, somewhere between childhood and adolescence, where anything seemed possible.

He stared at the now-familiar little girl in the photo and wondered exactly what experiences had transformed her into the woman she was today. What horrors and pleasures? What fears, what joys?

Had Samantha turned out as well? Was she alive somewhere, healthy and beautiful and whole like Scully? Or had she turned out like Lucy Householder, a broken shell, so strung out and shattered that death seemed like the only escape?

Tears stung his eyes, blurring his vision, making the bright sunny colors of the photo bleed into each other. A soft sound to his right turned his head and he blinked away the moisture, his vision clearing to take in the sight of his small red-haired partner, standing in the open doorway. She wore a pair of faded jeans and a loose-fitting gray baseball shirt, and her small feet were clad in white thong sandals. He seldom got to see her like this, and considering the way his heart rate was soaring, it was probably a good thing.

She crossed to his side, pulling up a chair next to him. As she looked at the photo album in front of him, a rueful half-smile crossed her placid face. “Look at all those freckles.”

He studied her profile, the Roman goddess nose and full salmon- pink lips, the pointed chin that jutted stubbornly when she argued with him. He’d never known anyone like her before and never would again. Loyal to the point of absurdity, painfully honest, yet compassionate and soft-hearted. Brilliant but accessible. Self-controlled, yet possessing a fury that could be blinding in intensity. He smiled, remembering Max Fenig’s description of his partner. Enigmatic Agent Scully. A thousand mysteries—and he wanted to solve them all, even if it took a lifetime.

She flipped a page in the photo album and grimaced. “Oh, God, the braces.”

He scooted closer and slid his hand across the back of her chair. The heat of her body seeped through the soft jersey knit shirt to warm the skin of his arm. He looked over her shoulder at the photo of Dana Scully at age 13, her hair parted in the middle and feathered back in the style of that time, her grin all silver.

“Attractive, huh?”

He chuckled. “What a babe.”

“Did you wear braces?”

He shook his head. “Samantha was going to need them, though. I could tell—her teeth were coming in a little crooked—” He faltered, bone-deep pain slashing through him. “Do you think—”

Scully put her hand on top of his. “Mulder, today in the morgue—what happened? Was there something about the body that made you think of Samantha?”

He stared at her for a second, thrown by the question. “No, it wasn’t about Samantha.”


He drew his arm away from her chair and folded his arms protectively around his ribcage. “You read the report on your case, didn’t you?”

She nodded. “Of course.”

“I was called in to identify a body the Maryland State Police found. They thought it was you, and—”

A pained expression darkened her face. “Mulder—”

“There was a minute, sitting in the car in the morgue parking deck, when I didn’t think I was going to be able to go inside. I didn’t think I could do it.”

“I’m so sorry.” She reached out and curled her hand around his forearm. Her touch burned.

“It wasn’t you, of course.” There was a lot more he could tell her—the way his whole body had recoiled from the notion that she might be dead, the way his stomach had knotted and his heart clenched into a rigid stone. But he said none of those things. He just looked at her, wondering if there were words to describe how empty his life would be without her. “Today at the morgue—” He chewed his lower lip. “It just came back for a minute.”

Scully bent toward him, her hands lifting to cradle his face. Her thumbs stroked his cheekbones lightly, and he close his eyes, overwhelmed by the sight and feel and smell of her. He heard her movements, felt her approach. When her soft mouth moved gently over his, he expelled a shuddery breath, lifting his hands to cover hers. For a few seconds, he was utterly still, drinking in the feel of her mouth on his, her tongue lightly playing against his lower lip, more teasing than insistent. It would be so easy to forget everything and just feel.

But after another moment, he removed her hands and pulled away. With only the greatest effort was he able to open his eyes and meet her questioning gaze. “You don’t have to do this, Scully. I don’t want you to feel like you have to make things up to me this way.”

She took a little step backwards, her calves bumping against the chair she’d just vacated. She sat, her puzzled gaze never leaving his face. “Make things up to you?”

He stood, pushing his chair back with a scrape of metal against concrete. Being so close to her was suddenly painful; he crossed to the low wall enclosing the patio, pressing his knees against the sunwarmed bricks. “You’ve been feeling guilty about everything that’s happened, Scully, but it’s not your fault. I know that.”

He heard the soft scrape of her chair as well. When she spoke, her voice was only a few feet behind him. “I still don’t know where those doubts came from, Mulder. I’ve thought and thought about this, and I don’t understand it. Because I KNOW you’d never go to the other side. That’s not even an extreme possibility.”

“Maybe your deepest fear was something even your subconscious wouldn’t let you imagine.”

She was silent, and he turned to look at her. She met his gaze, one eyebrow cocked in a query.

He sat on the retaining wall, a soft sigh escaping his lips. “You may not really believe that I would betray you for Cancerman and his cronies, but maybe you think I would betray you for the truth.”

She shook her head slowly.

“I’ve betrayed you in a hundred little ways, Scully. Going off on my own, keeping you in the dark, making decisions for both of us that I have no right making.” He looked down at his own hands, unable to meet her troubled gaze. “If you have doubts about me, it’s only because I’ve put them in your head myself.”

“If you keep things from me, maybe it’s because I haven’t made you understand that I want the same things you want.” She closed the distance between them, cupping his chin in her palm and forcing him to look up at her. “I want you to find the truth. Just because I don’t always agree with you about what the truth will be once we find it doesn’t mean I’m any less dedicated to the search than you are. The truth is out there and I’m going to help you find it, no matter what.”

His heart clenched into a tight fist, and he could barely hold back a sob of relief. They never said these things to each other, perhaps sensing that words had the power to deconstruct them, to strip away what little armor they retained for self- preservation. But there was also something so liberating about saying the words out loud, admitting that he was no longer alone in the world, that he had a partner—not just at work but in every part of his life that mattered. “It’s not just about Samantha, Scully.”

She nodded. “I know.”

“So much of what I do, I do for you.”

Moisture pooled in her eyes, making his heart skip another beat. “I know that, too,” she said.

“I know that you’re in this for Melissa—and for me, too.”

“And for Samantha. I want to find her as much as you do.” She reached into the pocket of her jeans. “And I know that you want justice for Melissa, too. You have a picture of Samantha to remind you of what you’re searching for. I thought it would be good for you to have a reminder of Melissa, too.” She withdrew her hand from her pocket and held it out to him. Cradled in her palm was a photograph of a lovely red-haired young woman he’d met only a few, brief times.

He took the photograph, staring into the mysterious eyes of a woman who’d died too soon, torn between sadness for an interrupted life and thankfulness that Scully hadn’t been the one to die in that darkened apartment a year earlier. “You want me to have this?”

She nodded. “I know you didn’t really know Melissa very well, but she liked you.” Her lips curved upward, though her eyes were sad. “She thought you were a good influence on me.”

He chuckled softly. “That has to be a first.”

“Well, consider the source,” Scully murmured, her voice dry.

He pulled out his wallet and flipped to the first empty plastic sleeve. More empty than occupied, he realized, looking through the sparse collection of pictures. One of his mother, taken several years ago when her hair was almost as dark as his. One of his father during his days with the State Department. Two of Samantha and one of Scully that Margaret had given him back when Scully was missing for all those weeks. He put the photo of Melissa next to one of his sister.

“When you get a chance, I’d like to have a photo of Samantha, too.” Scully added.

He looked up, surprised and so very grateful. He knew what she was telling him, the promise she was making. Partners through it all, no matter what. Until they found Samantha or found out what had happened to her—and even beyond. No one had ever made that kind of commitment to him.

He wasn’t worthy—but he was glad.

He returned his gaze to the photos in his wallet. One of the pictures of his sister was a wallet-sized copy of the photo he kept on his desk—Samantha on the monkey bars, perched like the queen of the world, all teeth and gangly legs. And he knew that this was the picture he wanted Scully to have. This would be his commitment to her.

With a rush of love, he withdrew the photo from its protective sleeve and gave it to Scully. “I want you to have this one.”

She looked at it, a smile flirting with her lips. “Thank you.” She put the photo in her pocket. When he held out his hands, she took them without hesitation. They remained that way for a long moment, hands and souls entwined in silent communion.

Margaret’s voice interrupted the quiet. “Are you two hungry yet?”

Mulder started to pull away from Scully, but she tightened her grip on his hands. She met his quizzical look with a placid half-smile before she glanced over her shoulder at her mother. “Yeah, Mom, we’ll be inside in a minute.”

Margaret nodded, a broad smile creasing her face as she met Mulder’s wary eyes. “No hurry.” She ducked back inside the house.

Mulder looked back at Scully. “What will your mother think?”

“What she’s always thought.” She moved closer until her knees touched his shins.

It would be so easy to reach out and pull her into his arms, he thought. To hold her and never let her go. His whole body ached for her, but caution proved stronger than desire. “Scully, we’ve never been in more danger than we are now. What you’ve just gone through—there are lies and manipulations out there that you and I haven’t even begun to imagine.”

“I know.”

“They’ll be looking for a way to stop us from finding the truth.”

“I know that, too.” She released one of his hands and reached out to brush his wind-ruffled hair away from his forehead. “When we walk out of this house today, Mulder, we’ll have to be on guard. I know that. You know that. But right now, after everything we’ve just gone through—I just need to feel close to you again. I need to feel like nothing can come between us anymore.” Her gaze met his, open and vulnerable. “Please….”

He touched her face, his fingers tracing the contours of her cheekbone. Her skin was velvety soft and warm as summer sunshine. She closed her eyes and rubbed her cheek against his hand like a contented kitten, and something inside of him let go.

He opened his arms and she walked into his embrace, burying her face in the curve of his neck. He breathed deeply, inhaling the soap and sunshine smell of her.

“I know we’re in a delicate situation, Mulder. But I’ve always felt safe here. Like nothing can touch us.” Her breath whispered against his throat. “Even if it’s just for a little while.”

He knew what she meant. The sense of safety she spoke of—that’s what he’d found in her, almost from the first. His search for the truth, for justice and for his sister—these would go on, maybe for the rest of his life. But in Scully, he’d found one thing he’d long since given up hope of ever finding again.


The End


4.02 “Home- talk” – post “Home”

Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, Ten- Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. (Although this particular incarnation of M & S seem to be exclusively a product of Glen Morgan and Jim Wong). I mean no infringement.

Post-“Home” Sonnet story and contains some spoilers. PG 13 for language and subject matter. Probably fairly sappy, too—sorry, I’m a little hormonal or something. It’ll pass.

SONNET: “Home-talk”

by Anne Haynes


If I leave all for thee, wilt thou exchange

And be all to me? Shall I never miss

Home-talk and blessing and the common kiss

That comes to each in turn, nor count it strange,

When I look up, to drop on a new range

Of walls and floors, another home than this?

Nay, wilt thou fill that place by me which is

Filled by dead eyes too tender to know change?

That’s hardest. If to conquer love, has tried,

To conquer grief, tries more, as all things prove,

For grief indeed is love and grief beside.

Alas, I have grieved, so I am hard to love.

Yet love me—wilt thou? Open thine heart wide,

And fold within, the wet wings of thy dove.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Home, Pennsylvania

1:21 a.m.

There was none of the expected pain. Only pressure. Hard, tight, deep in her belly. Heavy as lead.

She held her breath and pushed against the pressure, her swollen abdomen taut to the point of breaking. It had to come out now, and she was torn between wanting to keep it safe in the nurturing confines of her womb and wanting to see it emerge, kicking and mewling as it greeted the world.

The pressure built. She strained forward, teeth gritted, guttural sounds escaping her throat as the child entered the birth canal, a tiny contortionist squeezing through the impossibly small passageway. She felt her body stretch, unfold to accommodate the little escape artist. Unexpected tears sprang to her eyes. She trembled in anticipation of the first sight of her offspring.

The baby emerged in a sudden wet rush. She wanted to reach for it, cradle it to her, but her limbs were useless. She found the strength to lift her head, to look at the tiny, squirming thing between her thighs.

It stared back at her, eyes huge, slanted and shiny black like onyx. Its cranium was too large, too round, its mouth and nostrils little more than slits in its gray visage. Spindly, spidery arms and legs moved like antennae.

Dana Scully screamed.


Mt. Airy Motor Lodge

Home, Penn

1:45 a.m.

The reception still stank. The picture, mostly obscured by static to begin with, also rolled wildly. But Fox Mulder kept the television on for company—even bad company was better than none. And after the past couple of days, he was glad for any contact with the outside world, no matter how tenuous.

He glanced at his watch as he sank lower in the bed. Almost 1:45 a.m. An insomniac under the best of circumstances, Mulder realized that he wasn’t going to get much sleep. He was keyed up from his and Scully’s latest brush with death, sore in places he didn’t even know he had from the beating he’d taken at the hands of the Peacock brothers. He winced as his movement brought another bruise to his attention.

He was getting too damned old for this whole business of saving the world.

He had told himself he was joking with Scully when he’d talked about settling down and making a home. After all, he was the guy who’d put his entire life on hold to search for answers about a sister he hadn’t seen in twenty-three years.

He’d let friendships and relationships fall by the wayside with barely a second glance when they’d conflicted with his single-minded pursuit of The Truth. He’d screwed himself out of any career advancement due to his dogged determination that nothing else mattered but finding out why his sister disappeared from their home in 1973 and what had happened to her after that.

But for all his sacrifices, he’d always kept a small, still hope in the back of his mind that one day the search would end and he could go on with his life. Salvage what he could and find a little bit of happiness. Find a place far away from the madness, marry a smart, beautiful woman and raise a bunch of little hazel-eyed, red-haired uber—

He shifted uncomfortably, quickly pulling his mind away from dangerous territory. Just a silly dream, anyway. Another futile search for his lost childhood and shattered family. Didn’t need a degree from Oxford to figure that out.

But Scully—Scully was different. She wasn’t like he was. She wasn’t broken. She didn’t need fixing. And the clock was ticking faster and louder for her. She would be 33 her next birthday, heading toward the end of her child-bearing years. Partnered with him, she didn’t have much chance at a social life. Working all hours, on the road for days on end, constantly scraping him up and taking him home when his obsessions put him in the heart of danger—

He should have asked Skinner to transfer her years ago, the day she came back to him after her long disappearance. But he’d been selfish, too glad to have her back to bear the thought of letting her go again. Even before her abduction, when the X-Files had been shut down and they had been separated for agonizing months, they’d stolen minutes and hours together, gravitating toward each other almost against their will.

They were caught in each other’s orbit, and he suspected that without the other, each would spin away into a cold, black void, never to be seen again.

So there would be no genetically spotless man for Scully, no small town idyll for him. They were already married—to their quest and to each other. It had been a marriage of convenience at first, but now it was a soul-bond. Not so different from other couples, when you got down to it.

Except for the frustrating lack of sex. And that wasn’t insurmountable….

A soft tap on his door startled him. Automatically he reached for his S & W tucked in the holster on the nightstand. “Yeah?”

“Mulder, it’s me.”

Her voice rippled down his spine. He got up, realized he was bare except for pair of gray boxers, and looked quickly around the room for something to wear. He grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and quickly donned them on the way to the door. When he got one arm through one sleeve of the t-shirt, he moved the chair away from the knob and opened the door.

Scully stood outside, barefoot and tousled, clad in a white cotton robe over blue silk pajamas. She held a can of cola in either hand. “Feel like a soda?”

He pushed his other arm through the other sleeve of his shirt and took the can she proferred. “What’s the matter?”

She shook her head and scooted past him through the doorway.

He closed the door and replaced the chair beneath the door knob in lieu of the broken lock. When he turned back around, she was sitting at the end of his bed, looking at the rolling, static-shot picture on his television. She opened the can of cola with a soft “snick” and tucked her feet up under her, making herself comfortable. “What are you watching?”

“It’s either ‘The Amityville Horror’ or ‘Leave it to Beaver.” Haven’t figured out which yet.”

She glanced up at him, a faint smile barely curving her lips. “Do you ever sleep?”

“Not if I can help it.” He sat next to her, close enough that he could feel the warmth of her small body seeping through his t-shirt. “But what are you doing up this hour?”

“Couldn’t sleep.”

Not the whole truth, he recognized. He could tell by her mussed hair and the pillow case imprint on her cheek that she’d been asleep for at least a little while. Nightmare, he guessed. And a bad one to drive her into his room at this time of night.

“I went to get something to drink and heard your television, so I took a chance you’d still be up.”

She obviously didn’t want to talk about the nightmare. He was okay with that—he didn’t like to talk about his own bad dreams, either. He waved his hand at the rolling television screen. “How could I stop watching?”

Her little half-smile widened a bit, then faded away. “I talked to the Pennsylvania State Police before I went to bed. Still no sign of Mrs. Peacock or Eugene.”

Mulder sighed. “They’ll catch them soon.”

Worry lines creased her forehead. “I suppose.”

“I doubt they’ll come back here now,” he added.

“No, they probably won’t. But I can’t help thinking….” Her voice trailed off, and she took another sip of cola.

“Can’t help thinking what?” he prodded gently when she didn’t continue.

“This town—it seems like the quintessential small town. Everybody knows everybody, neighbors help out neighbors—and yet for more than a hundred years this perfect little town stood by and allowed unspeakable things to happen in that house. They knew, and they looked away.”

“People don’t want to see things like that, Scully. They don’t want to believe that it can happen in their back yard.” He put his hand on her back, sliding his palm against her spine. “Maybe they thought that it wasn’t their business. The Peacocks obviously kept to themselves—it’s hard for people to get involved in other folks’ lives without being invited.”

“How many babies did they kill, Mulder? If we dug up that ball field, how many little corpses would we find?” She shook her head. “If the Peacocks have been inbreeding for over a century, the baby we saw yesterday can’t possibly be the only one of its kind. There were more.” Beneath his hand, her body shuddered.

There was a lot more to her strange mood than mere curiosity about the Peacocks. But Scully wouldn’t tell him what was bothering her until she was ready. And maybe not even then.

So he let her take the lead, sitting in companionable silence as she finished off the can of cola. She discarded the can in the trash and returned to his bed, this time settling in up by the headboard, tucking her bare feet beneath the blanket. “Am I keeping you up?” she asked when he turned to look at her.

He shook his head, moving up the bed until he was sitting next to her against the head board. He set his half empty can of cola on the bedstand and tucked his bare feet under the covers as well.

“I’m assuming you’ve decided against settling here in Home, what with the murders and the bad television reception. Got anywhere else picked out?” She nudged his foot with hers under the cover. Her toes were cold.

“Probably somewhere in Montana. Raise sheep, goats—”

“—but not pigs?”

He smiled. “Not pigs.” He cocked his head slightly. “I’m surprised you don’t want to live in a small town when you finally settle down. I’d think coming from a military family, you’d want to find a nice place to plant some roots.”

She shifted slightly until her shoulder touched his. “Give me the city, where nobody knows your name. On a base, everybody’s in everybody else’s business. No such thing as privacy.”

“And everybody knows you’re Captain Scully’s daughter and your every move is reported in the daily log?”

She nodded. “More or less.”

“But the city’s so—I don’t know.” He shook his head. “I’m all for the conveniences, but there’s something about a small place that feels—”

“Safe?” She arched her eyebrow at him.

No, not safe. If he hadn’t learned anything else from his little trip to Home, he’d learned that. “I guess it’s just another way to try to recapture what I’ve lost.”

She leaned a little more heavily against him. “We all do that, I suppose.”

“Is that why you’re suddenly thinking about babies? Trying to live your mother’s life—get married, have babies, be happy?”

She met his curious gaze solemnly. “Time is fleeting.”

“You’re still young.”

“And there’s no prospect of marriage looming on the horizon.” She looked down at her hands. “It’s possible I may never have children. It might even be best.”

Instinctively, he knew that she’d just revealed something important. But he wasn’t quite sure what. “I think you’d have beautiful children, Scully. And you’d be a great mother. You learned from the best.”

She smiled. “Mom’s great.”

He nodded. “Yes, she is.”

“What about you?”

He arched his eyebrows. She arched hers back, and he grinned. “I’d be a lousy mother.”

She rolled her eyes and looked away.

He sighed, relenting. “I’d probably be a lousy father, too.”

“Because of your own dad?”

“He wasn’t exactly Ward Cleaver.”

“Ward Cleaver wasn’t even Ward Cleaver, Mulder. No man in the world is a perfect father.”

“Yours was.”

She flexed her hands in front of her, making a show of studying her neat fingernails. “My father was a wonderful man, Mulder. But he wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t always right. But he loved us completely and did all he could to take care of us. That’s all any child can ask of his father. And I know you, Mulder—when you love, you love with everything you have inside you.”

He looked at the television, blinking away the unexpected moisture in his eyes. “What if that’s not enough?”

“It’s enough,” she said simply. “One day, you’re going to be a wonderful daddy, Mulder.”

He looked at her, forcing himself to meet her steadfast gaze. “How do you know?”

Her lips curved. “I just know.”

The intensity of her gaze was too much. He looked away. “And what, Madame Dana who sees all and knows all, am I going to name these lucky children?”

“Not Fox.”

He chuckled. “That’s a gimme.”

“I think you HAVE to have William in there somewhere, don’t you?” She settled more firmly against his side, her soft hair tickling his chin. “It’s a rule.”

“William’s good, I guess.” It was Scully’s father’s name, too. That seemed like a good omen.

“I’m partial to Amanda.” She lifted her chin and looked up at him. She was beginning to relax; he could feel the tension slowly seeping from her warm body. “Do you like Amanda, Mulder?”

“It’s a good name.” He rolled the name silently over his tongue. Amanda Mulder. He liked it. Sounded good. He could almost picture her—taller than her mother, but with the same red hair and razor-edged intelligence….

He took a slow, deep breath.

“One question, Mulder—-when are we supposed to find time to have these wunderkind?”

“I’ve got to chase mutants at 9—-lunch with a shadow government conspirator, then a close encounter of the third kind around two—-maybe I can sandwich it in between the ghostly visitation and the ubiquitous Skinner ass-chewing session….”

She chuckled softly. “Sure, that’ll work for you—you don’t actually have to go into labor or anything….” Her smile faded, and she leaned forward, away from him.

Now we’re getting somewhere, he realized. He leaned forward, level with her. “I know you said there wasn’t a history of birth defects—”

“Not a genetic one,” she answered softly before he could ask the rest of his question.


“But we don’t really know what will happen. Any of us. A clean genetic background is no guarantee that a woman will have a healthy, perfect baby. Especially if—”

He felt like smacking himself in the forehead. Mulder, you blind ass. “Especially if she can’t remember three months of her life and has no idea what might have been done to her?”

“What I do remember doesn’t make me feel much better,” she murmured.

“But you had diagnostic tests done—you told me—”

“Diagnostic tests aren’t going to catch everything. There are things that could happen in a pregnancy that no test can predict. Things that wouldn’t show up unless I was pregnant—and that’s assuming I CAN get pregnant, which isn’t a given.”

He shook his head, wondering why he hadn’t guessed before now that she might be harboring these kinds of fears. After all, reproductive testing was an alien abduction archetype.

The truth was, he hadn’t guessed her fears because HE didn’t want to think about the possibilities. He didn’t want to believe horrible, invasive things had been done to her body. He couldn’t bear to believe she had been violated that way, because to believe that, he also had to acknowledge his own culpability. She had been taken because of him.

“It’s not your fault, Mulder.” She touched him, her fingers cool and soothing against the back of his hand. “And there may be nothing wrong at all, anyway.” She leaned back, gently drawing him with her. “I stay with the X-Files because I want to be here. It’s my choice. It always has been. I could have turned down the assignment, but I didn’t. I wanted to work with you. I knew there were things you could teach me, and I wanted to learn.”

He slipped his arm around her shoulder and tucked her close, comforted by her warmth against his side. “Goes both ways,” he said, his voice embarrassingly husky. He cleared his throat and looked at the television, searching for a way to escape the treacherous territory they had just entered. He gestured toward a fuzzy blob on the screen. “Hmm…does that look like a pig-faced demon to you?”

Scully’s eyes narrowed, and she stifled a yawn, settling more firmly against his side. “No, I think it’s Eddie Haskell.”


Mt. Airy Motor Lodge 4:23 a.m.

Fox Mulder dreamed he was standing on the beach at Gay Head on the Vineyard, high, craggy cliffs at his back and the gray-green Atlantic in front of him. A few feet away, a small girl with a plastic bucket and shovel was gathering rocks and sand with single-minded determination. Sunlight burnished her hair to fiery copper, and she looked up at him with his own hazel eyes.

He thought his heart would stop.

Down the beach, another redhead stopped and waved at him. Her normally tiny build was rounded in pregnancy, and he knew with certainty that the little boy inside her was as beautiful and perfect as the smiling little girl now reaching up for him with chubby little arms.

Mulder smiled in his sleep and tucked Dana Scully closer to his side.

The End.


4.04 “Palm to Palm” – post “Unruhe”

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully are the intellectual property of Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. My use of them in this story is not meant to be any kind of copyright infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post-Unruhe, and contains spoilers.

Rated PG 13 for language.

SONNET: “Palm to Palm”

by Anne Haynes


If I profane with my unworthiest hand

This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this,

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,

Which mannerly devotion shows in this;

For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,

And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

Have not saints lips? And holy palmers too?

Aye, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

Oh, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do.

They pray. Grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.

—William Shakespeare, ROMEO & JULIET, Act I, Scene V


1:12 a.m.

Fox Mulder’s apartment

She hadn’t let him hold her.

Adrenaline had coursed through him as he walked past Gerald Schnauz’s crumpled body and held out his hand to pull her from the chair where she’d been strapped. His heart hammered against his ribcage. His hand shook even as he tightened his grip on her fingers.

He had wanted to crush her to him, to imprint on his body the reassurance of her warmth, the feel of her pulse beneath his fingers, the whisper of her breath against his skin. But she had walked past him with stiff, dogged control, pausing in the shaft of light pouring through the doorway of the RV only long enough to cast one last stare at her dead captor. She had not looked at Mulder, then or later. She had remained solitary.


They had been bumped to a later flight back to D.C., and their seats had been separate. Scully seemed glad. She seemed to want to be alone. And he had given her the space she wanted, not so much because he understood her feelings but because he didn’t know what else to do. He couldn’t make her tell him what had happened. She had refused his plea that she go to the hospital to be checked out, assuring him with almost frightening calm that the Twilight Sleep injection had worn off and that Schnauz had done nothing else to harm her.

He wanted to see that for himself. He wanted to look at every inch of her, catalog the bruises and scrapes he knew must be there, soothe the pain, take it from her and bear it himself.

But she wanted to be alone. So he let her.

Mulder sat up and rubbed his stubbled jaw, aware that sleep would not come easily that night. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw the twisted thought-o-graph of Dana Scully, her hand outstretched and her mouth open in a plea for help.

He could hear her voice call his name. Just as he’d heard it outside Schnauz’s camper.


He closed his eyes, but the image remained. Her cry rang in his ears.

So close. Too close. How many more times could he race death to claim her life? How much longer before he wasn’t fast enough or smart enough or lucky enough?

How long before she was gone, and he was left to live out the rest of his existence in a hell where there was no Dana Scully?

The knock on his door caught him by surprise, jangling his nerves. His legs wobbled slightly as he pushed up from the sofa and went through the foyer to the door, pulling a t-shirt over his head on the way. He had no peep hole—stupid, really, that he still hadn’t gotten such a thing, as paranoid as he was. He paused, debating. It was almost 1:30 in the morning—whoever was out there probably up to no good.

“Mulder, it’s me.”

Her voice surprised him. He was NOT expecting her.

He unlocked the door to let her in. But he stopped in shock when he caught sight of her.

She looked like hell. Her copperfire hair hung dull and tangled, caught up indifferently in a half-hearted ponytail. Her skin was pale, as translucent as watery milk, her lips bloodless and dry. Purple shadows haunted her blue eyes.

He swallowed hard.

<Your fault.>

She looked up at him, her mouth working silently for a moment, as if she was searching for the right words to say. A little sigh escaped her throat finally and she murmured, “I’m sorry.”

<Your fault, Mulder. Your fault she’s hurting.>

He drew her inside, one hand on her shoulder. He shut the door behind them and guided her into the living room, his hands fluttering gently, soothingly against her shoulders. “What’s wrong, Scully?”

“I’m so sorry, Mulder—I never—I didn’t understand….” She withdrew from his touch and turned around to face him, her eyes glowing in the low light from the muted television. Her hands were clasped before her, fingers entwined as if in entreaty. “I didn’t understand before what it was like. Not really.”

He frowned, not following her disjointed apology. “What didn’t you understand?”

“Monsters,” she said softly.

A hot, painful weight settled low in his stomach.

<Monsters begetting monsters….>

“Why it’s important…it’s—it’s necessary….”

He reached out and touched her clasped hands. He almost drew back in shock; her fingers were icy cold. “God, Scully, you’re freezing.” He closed his hands over hers to give her his own warmth.

She pulled her hands away quickly. “No, Mulder—-don’t.”

<She doesn’t want you to touch her. You always hurt her.>

She frowned, her teeth chattering.

He tried again. “I’ll put some coffee on—-you’re shivering—”

“No.” Her head gave two sharp shakes.

He sighed and turned back to her, not sure what to do or say. “Come sit down—” He took her elbow and drew her toward the sofa.

She pulled her arm away and crossed to the window, staring out at the street below. “I’m sorry.”

He was bewildered. But he said what he thought she needed. “Don’t be sorry.”

“I didn’t come here to brush you off.” She turned to look at him. “I came to tell you what happened in that camper with Schnauz.”

Mulder’s blood froze.

“I need to tell you….” Her face twisted. “Schnauz was sick, Mulder. Warped by what his father did.”

“To his sister?” Before they’d left Michigan, Scully had told him that she believed Schnauz’s father sexually abused his daughter, and that the discovery of his father’s evil had been the reason Schnauz had attacked his father in 1980. Mulder’s heart clenched. Had Schnauz followed his father’s footsteps? None of the other victims seemed to have been sexually abused, but killers often developed escalating fantasies. “Scully…did Schnauz…what did he do to you in that camper?”

She looked up swiftly, her eyes widening a bit. “Nothing like that. He wasn’t like his father that way. It was horrible, the way he hated his father and loved him at the same time.” She shuddered. “It split him in two.”

Mulder thought of his own father. <Love and hate.> He swallowed hard and somehow found his voice. “He told you all of this?”

She looked up at him, her eyes dark and haunted. “No.”

He shook his head, not understanding.

“I just knew.”

The weight in his stomach doubled. “Just knew?”

Light from the streetlamps outside illuminated the edges of her shadowy silhouette, bathing her in a soft blue aura. “Remember the gargoyle case?”

He shuddered. “Of course.”

“I couldn’t understand you then, Mulder. I couldn’t understand how you could immerse yourself in Mostow’s evil, in his sickness. It scared me. It horrified me.” She turned slowly to face him. “I let it put a wall between us.”

He nodded slowly. “I know.” He had felt the wall, even after it was all over. It wasn’t something impenetrable— they’d both breached the wall more than once since then. But it had remained there, a solid reminder that they both had private territory they wanted to protect from each other.

That there were still doubts. Still room for everything to go horribly wrong.

“But yesterday in Gerald Schnauz’ camper—” She lifted her chin as her lips began to tremble, forcing herself to hold fast, to stay together. He watched in awe as she reached down into the recesses of her soul and found that core of steel that he so envied. “Schnauz never told me about what his father did, Mulder. He never admitted it. But I know it’s true. Because I entered his mind. I became Schnauz in order to know how to defeat him. I….” She faltered then, for just a second, then caught herself up again. “To understand a monster—”

“You have to become one.” Mulder trembled, remembering Agent Patterson’s descent into madness after spending three years in the head of John Mostow. He himself knew what it was like, to become the evil you most hated and feared.

He had hoped Scully would never know.

Tears stung his eyes. He blinked them back, angry at himself for his weakness. “I’m so sorry, Scully. I’m sorry you ever had to know what that felt like.”

“No, Mulder. I’m sorry. I’m sorry about everything.” She looked at him for a moment, her expression sad and weary. Then she turned back to the window, looking down at street below. “For ever questioning you on this ability of yours.”

He crossed to her side. Observed her in profile, the small Roman nose, the full lips, the pointed chin. So familiar.

Had it only been four years since she’d first walked into his office and held out her small, slim hand, demanding his attention and respect?

“I used to call you Spooky, too, you know.” she said softly.

He bent closer, not sure he’d understood.

She turned and looked up at him, her eyes pained. “Back at the academy. We laughed and joked about you—how does Spooky do it? Ouija boards? Tea Leaves? Calls to the Psychic Hotline?”

He was surprised at the frisson of pain that rippled through him at her soft confession. She had laughed at him. Thought he was a joke.

She put her hand on his chest, her fingers covering his heart. “I didn’t know….”

He closed his eyes, his heart thudding wildly beneath her fingers.

She ran her fingers down his chest and let her hand fall to her side. “There’s more.”

He opened her eyes and looked down at her. His mouth was suddenly desert dry.

“I knew why Blevins sent me there. What he expected me to do. And God help me, Mulder, I was excited about it. Looked forward to being the one who took you down.” She looked away, her forehead creased. “I was going to be the one who knocked the fair-haired boy down to size. Dana Scully. They’d be talking about me at the Academy, and they wouldn’t be calling me Spooky.”

He licked his lips. “You could have done it, Scully.”

She looked up quickly.

“You could have destroyed me a thousand times over. Why didn’t you?” It was a question he asked himself every day. In four short years, she had become the most important person in his life. And yet, he somehow managed to find ways to hurt her, to alienate her. It was some sort of pathological need to isolate himself from the world.

Maybe it was as simple as his subconscious acknowledging that in loving her as he did, he had given her the power to destroy him. And as much as he trusted her—trusted ONLY her—in the deepest part of himself he lived in fear that she, like everyone else in his life, would eventually betray him.

And if she did, it would deconstruct him utterly and irrevocably.

But she never once betrayed him. That she never would was something Mulder the man understood with blinding clarity. God knows, she’d proved it to him time after time. But at his core, Fox Mulder was still twelve years old, still watching his world shatter into irretrievable fragments around him. No one he could turn to. No one to depend on. His mother shut down emotionally. His father inaccessible and cold. His friends unable to understand his nightmares and his quicksilver moods.

It had been so long since someone tried to understand him that when Scully had come along, he’d fought her with every smart-ass, paranoid trick in his book. And yet, she’d endured. Clung to his soul like a burr. Never let go.

He didn’t deserve her. God knows, she didn’t deserve someone as messed up as he was. And yet, here they were. Always together in the end.

But even now, he needed her to say the words. Speak her loyalty, her fidelity.

She met his gaze solemnly. “Because I believe in you. I believe in us—what we accomplish as partners. I believe that what we’re doing is right. Just.” She reached out and caught his hands, pressing her palms flat against his. They stood like that, palm to palm, silently feeding off of each other’s strengths. Then, she curled her fingers, twining them with his, and moved so close that her hips brushed against his. His body leapt for a swift, hot moment, then subsided as even biology bowed to the almost mystical union of two heart, two souls, two lives.

Mulder drew her with him toward the sofa and sat, pulling her down beside him. He released her hands and reached for the afghan she’d shrugged away earlier. This time, she let him drape it over her shoulders, nestling into the curve of his arm. He tucked her close, resting his cheek against the top of her head.

And somewhere deep inside him, a broken-hearted twelve-year-old took a big step toward learning to trust again.



4.05 “Greater Meed” – post “The Field Where I Died”

Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to CC, Ten-Thirteen and The Fox Network. And REALLY, they ought to be taking much better care of the poor dears!

No infringement intended.

This is a SONNET story, post-The Field Where I Died” and contains spoilers.

SONNET: “Greater Meed”

by Anne Haynes


How long shall this like dying life endure

And know no end of her own misery,

But waste and wear away in terms unsure,

Twixt fear and hope depending doubtfully?

Yet better were at once to let me die,

And show the last ensample of your pride,

Than to torment me thus with cruelty,

To prove your power, which I too well have tried.

But yet if in your hardened breast ye hide

A close intent at last to show me grace,

Then all the woes and wrecks which I abide

As means of bliss I gladly will embrace,

And wish that more and greater they might be,

That greater meed* at last may turn to me.

*meed: reward


Washington D.C.

8:59 p.m.

Fox Mulder paused by the freezer section of the convenience store, glancing inside at the small selection of ice cream quarts. Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate Pecan….

He opened the door and reached for the last selection, Rocky Road. On the rare occasions he had ever taken ice cream to Scully’s it had been Rocky Road, because it was his favorite. Selfish bastard that he was.

But as he reached, his hand touched the edge of the nearer carton, and the ice crystals on the cardboard lid seemed to burn into his blood. He picked that carton instead— Chocolate Pecan—and paid for the ice cream and a bag of sunflower seeds at the front counter. He dashed back to his car through a driving rain, planning to return home to his apartment and an old Ed Wood movie he’d rented earlier. But his mind wandered as he drove, taking him back to a field in Tennessee and a compound of lost souls.

He didn’t know what to feel about that anymore. What he had believed at that moment had seemed so real, so true—and yet the remnants of feeling were fading, leaving no peace or greater understanding, only questions and confusion. Once again, no answers. Not even the small proof that his skeptical Scully had tried to provide him—the photographs— retained the power to move him to certainty. The more he thought about what he had experienced, the less sure he was about any of it. The timeline was screwed up, the memories fragmented and somehow unreal. Melissa was a soul he had wanted to save—but was she in any way different from Lucy Householder? From Kristen Kilar? From any of those troubled souls he’d tried to fix out of some wretched need to atone for his imperfections? He had told himself so, but he just didn’t know.

He didn’t want to go back to that cramped apartment alone. So it came as no surprise that when he emerged from his thoughts long enough to gather his bearings, he discovered he was a block from Dana Scully’s apartment.

If there was such thing as fate, Scully was part of his.

That was the only thing he knew for sure.


When Dana Scully opened the door to find Fox Mulder standing there, dripping from the rain, a soggy paper bag clutched in one hand, she couldn’t say she was surprised. Nothing he did seemed to surprise her anymore—in a way, she supposed, she DID subscribe to a tiny part of his past-life theory; she felt as if she’d known him for a thousand lifetimes instead of just a handful of years.

She had known he would come to her to talk more about what had happened to him in Tennessee. She hadn’t been sure when it would happen, but she’d known it WOULD happen. It was as inevitable as predestination.

He put the sack on her kitchen table and shrugged off his coat, folding it over the back of a chair. “It wasn’t about past lives, was it?” he asked with no preamble.

She met his questioning gaze, wondering how to answer. Of course it wasn’t about past lives—even if she were to accept that reincarnation was a reality, the idea that certain people were destined to play certain roles in a person’s life over and over again had been proved wrong by the fact that Melissa Ephesian had been nothing more than a stranger to Mulder until a few short days ago. If she were truly his eternal love, why hadn’t they found each other before now? Before Melissa married another and Mulder—

She sighed, not knowing how to finish that thought now. Past life beliefs aside, what Mulder had gone through during his regression hypnotherapy session HAD raised questions about his feelings and the way he saw himself, her and their world. She wasn’t sure anyone but Mulder held the key to the interpretations.

“What clued you in?” she asked, her voice gentle.

“The Gestapo.”

She glanced up at him, arching one eyebrow.

“I remembered Cancerman as a Gestapo agent who killed you— killed my father.” Mulder ran his hand through his rain- sparkled hair and sat at the table. “But Cancerman was already alive—as himself—during the time period in which the Gestapo was sending people to the camps. So there’s no way he could have been a Gestapo agent. Which means there’s also no reason to believe that you were once my sergeant or my father—”

“Or Melissa your lover or your husband?” Scully finished softly.

He nodded, meeting her gaze. “It felt so real.”

She looked away, opening the soggy sack he had put on her table. Inside was a carton of Chocolate Pecan ice cream. Her favorite. Although Mulder usually got Rocky Road….

She sighed and opened the top of the carton, dipping her finger into the ice cream. She sucked the creamy dollop onto her tongue, relishing the icy sweetness. She let the sensual pleasure of that small experience fill her, drive away the nagging questions raised by Mulder’s words.

But Mulder wouldn’t allow her the luxury of escape. “Why did it feel so real, Scully?”

She lowered her hand and met his eyes. “Maybe you want it to be real. You want to believe there’s a purpose and a pattern to this life. You want to believe there’s such a thing as the perfect lover who travels through eternity with you.”

“The eternal friend….”

She forced a little smile to her lips. “Who always gets killed. Thanks a lot, Mulder.”

He rose and grabbed the sack, carrying it to the kitchen counter. Wordlessly, he retrieved two bowls from her cabinet and spooned ice cream into them. Scully sat, allowing herself a secret moment to study him, to watch his long, sinewy forearms flex with his efforts, enjoy the sight of his lips parting to capture a small drop of chocolate that dripped from the scoop. He rinsed the scoop under the tap, then brought the ice cream back to the table. “Why do you think that is?” he asked.

She blinked, not remembering the thread of their conversation. “Why what is?”

“Why you died violently in my past life memories.” He pushed his spoon into the mound of ice cream but showed no signs of further interest in the dessert.

“I’m trying not to think of it at all, Mulder.” She dug her spoon into the ice cream and took a bite.

“I think it’s symbolic of my deepest fears.” He leaned back in the chair, staring down at the ice cream in front of him. “My fear that the underpinnings of my life always end up ripped from beneath me.”

Scully licked her spoon. So, she thought, I’m an underpinning now.


“I have a twelve-year-old’s concept of love, Scully. No matter how old my body gets, my soul never seems to make it past twelve years old. I cling to this idea of some perfect soul mate I’ll love for eternity—but it’s just a construct. An archetype. I wrap myself up in it every night and suck my thumb until I manage to fall asleep.” A tear formed on one eyelid, sparkling like a diamond. “And I use it to rationalize why I’m still alone in this world.”

She knew his words weren’t meant to cause her pain, but they hurt her anyway. After four years of shared passions and pains and losses, how could he think he was alone?

“But the thing I keep…coming back to…the thing that presses on me….” His voice faltered.

Scully looked up. His face was dark, haunted. She didn’t have to ask what he was thinking about. She knew him better than he knew himself—a fact she might have found unsettling in another time with another person. But not now. Not with him. “Mulder, what happened at the compound was not your fault.”

He looked up sharply, the force of his gaze almost tangible. Her breath caught briefly in her lungs. He leaned forward, ever so slightly, just enough that she felt the faintest heat from his nearness. “I jeopardized the investigation and the lives of all those people to spend a little quality time with my navel, Scully. How can you say it’s not my fault? You yourself called me on it when it was happening.”

“Mulder, I investigated MY way and didn’t find the bunkers or the guns, either. Nothing I did was able to save those people from themselves. Are you saying that it’s my fault they committed suicide?”

He stared at her for a moment, his forehead wrinkling. “No.”

“There were dozens of FBI and BATF agents working the case. Our involvement in the proceedings was peripheral at best.” Scully pushed her spoon at the melting ice cream in her bowl. “It always is.”

“So why do you stay around?” He sat back slowly, withdrawing the whispery warmth of his nearness. “Why are you still listening to my insane theories and watching your career go down the toilet?”

A hundred logical, reasonable answers died on her lips when she saw the raw need in his gaze. She reached across the table and trapped his hand beneath her own. “Because I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

Silence spooled out between them, filling a long, heavy moment. Mulder finally broke the stillness, turning his hand beneath hers until his palm cradled her own. His fingers curled around hers. “The things I remember from the hypnosis session are fading. They seem like things I read in a book a long time ago.”

“It’s possible they were, Mulder.” It wouldn’t be the first time someone had mistaken the contents of a book for a past life. She didn’t have to remind him of that; he knew the subject better than she did.

He looked up at her, his face tight with anguish. She felt a sliver of empathetic pain in her own heart. His fingers tightened around hers. “One thing hasn’t faded, Scully. There’s one thing I still remember.” Moisture pooled in his eyes, making her heart stop for a moment. “I remember what it felt like to lose you over and over again.”

She blinked back the tears stinging her eyes. She remembered the same thing. Losing him….

…and having him return to her again. She would never forget the sight of him bursting through the door of his apartment, gun leveled at Skinner, as he told her that he’d returned from the dead to continue with her. She’d never forget that as long as she lived—even if she lived a thousand lives.

“I’m here.” Her voice came out soft, gravelly with emotion. “We’re both here.”

He nodded, looking down at the melting lump of ice cream in his bowl. He released her hand, his expression softening. His lips curved slightly. “You think if we leave it here long enough, this ice cream with reincarnate into filet mignon?”

“More likely into salmonella.” Scully took the two bowls of melting ice cream to the sink and dumped the gooey mess down the drain. “Feel up to a fresh bowl?”

“No.” His voice was right behind her, sending a hard shiver down her back.

She turned to look up at him. His expression was pensive as he unhurriedly closed the distance between them, entering her personal space with the practiced ease of a long time companion. The heat of his body cocooned her in welcome warmth. She loved the way she felt when he was near like this, the odd amalgam of gentle comfort and bristling awareness. She loved the familiarity of him, the constancy of him. She loved the way the tiniest atoms of her body seemed to move in some ancient tidal rhythm, endlessly, inexorably closer to him.

This was what she believed in. This undeniable connection she had felt with him from the very beginning. From the day she walked into his basement office at headquarters, there had been no turning back. No real thought of walking away from him, from this magical thing called partnership.

He touched her, and it was like electricity coursing through her, through him, through them in a fulgent circle. Eternal, infinite. His fingers moved slowly down her arm as if tracing the current that moved between them. He twined his fingers through hers, sealing the connection. “I wanted to believe that my life has a purpose. That it hasn’t been some kind of cosmic joke—or worse, a curse of some sort on those around me, those I love.”

She shook her head. “Mulder—”

He touched his finger to her lips, shushing her. “When I was driving over here, I thought about what you and I have gone through over the past four years. The dangers. How close I’ve come to losing you—losing myself. And I realized something.”

She arched her eyebrow slightly when he fell silent for a moment.

A faint smile flitted over his lips. “If my life had no other purpose than to be there those times you needed me, that’s enough. That’s a blessing.”

Tears filled her eyes, and she felt her heart rise to her throat in a painful lump, rendering speech impossible.

He bent closer, his breath warm against her lips. “And I wouldn’t change a feeling or a thought or a look of the past four years, either.” He brushed his lips against her forehead, a light, undemanding caress somehow more potent than anything she’d ever known before. If she were a fanciful person, she might even imagine that she felt his soul merging with her own, shape and substance, until she could no longer distinguish between the two.

If this was karma, she was all for it.

The End.


4.06 “No Such Roses” – post “Sanguinarium”

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to CC, 1013 and FOX. NO infringement intended.

This is a post-Sanguinarium SONNET story and contains a few minor spoilers. Rated PG for mild sexual innuendo and mild profanity.

Classification: V, MSR (sorta—I’m still not clear on what constitutes R and what doesn’t….)

SONNET: “No Such Roses”

By Anne Haynes


Sonnet 103

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

– William Shakespeare


Chicago, IL

11:24 p.m.

The door to Mulder’s hotel room was ajar. Dana Scully paused on her way to her room and tilted her head toward the door. She could hear the faint sound of movement, but it didn’t sound like he was in trouble or pain or anything. She was about to turn and continue to her own room next door when she heard a deep, weary sigh.

She gave the door a little push and looked inside. Fox Mulder stood in front of the large antique dresser, his face close to the inset mirror.

He caught sight of her reflection and turned, a slightly sheepish look on his face.

“What are you doing?”

He ignored the question, leaning against the dresser, his hands braced on either side of him. “Anything on Franklyn?”

She sighed, crossing to his bed. “No. Looks like he’s long gone.” She sat and looked up at him, noting the little frown lines around his eyes and mouth. He never slept much on cases to begin with, and this one had seemed to keep him awake and preoccupied more than most. “You look beat.”

His little frown deepened. “Yeah?” He turned back to the mirror and looked at his reflection. He lifted his forefinger to his nose, pressed and probed at the wide bridge.

Scully tried to hide her amusement. “Our flight isn’t until ten tomorrow—why don’t you sleep in? I’ll take care of checking us out and getting everything loaded into the rental car. You pretty much packed?”

He nodded, still looking at his reflection. “Scully, ever had any…you know…?”

She arched her eyebrows. “Any…I know…?”


She stifled another smile. “Well, I wouldn’t be caught dead without lipstick.”

He turned and looked at her. “Seriously.”

She quirked her eyebrows again. “Are you suggesting I need further cosmetic…help?”

“No, of course not.” He shook his head quickly. “Don’t change a thing.”

She felt a warm little glow of pleasure at his words. “Of course, if I work with you much longer, I might have to start covering all this premature gray,” she added with a wry half-grin.

He turned back to the mirror. “I wonder how many of those people at the ASU had taken advantage of their own facilities. Did you notice how pretty all the nurses were?”

She pressed her lips together, slightly annoyed. “No, but I wasn’t really looking at the nurses.”

“Some were really beautiful. I found myself looking for hidden plastic surgery scars.”

“Oh, THAT’S what you were looking for.” She eyed him skeptically.

He looked over her shoulder, a little grin on his lips. “Pure empirical observation, Scully.”

She nodded. “Very pure.”

He ignored her teasing. “And notice how many people had almost TOO perfect features? Perfect chins, perfect cheekbones, perfect—”


He frowned slightly. “Yeah, there were a few perfect noses.”

Scully decided to cut through the obfuscation. “There’s nothing wrong with your nose, Mulder.”

“Did I say there was?”

“Mulder, I saw the computer the other day—you were considering a little nasal Bobbitizing. Don’t even consider it. You have a great nose.”

He chuckled. “Nasal Bobbitizing?”

She met his gaze, her eyes twinkling with mischief. “Well, you know what they say about the size of a man’s nose….”

He crossed and sat down next to her, ignoring all boundaries of her personal space. “No, Scully, what do they say about the size of a man’s nose?”

“It’s….” She swallowed hard before continuing. “It’s proportionate.”

He leaned closer. “Proportionate to what?”

So, Scully, she thought, forcing herself not to look away from his challenging gaze, what shall it be? Forward into the fray or a calculated retreat?

The soft trilling of Mulder’s cellphone saved her from a decision. With a little grumble, Mulder moved away from her and grabbed his cell phone from the bedside table. Scully took advantage of the distraction to rise from the bed and move across to the dresser a safe distance away.

As Mulder spoke to whomever had called, she glanced at her own reflection in the mirror. Her eyes widened slightly at the sight of her flushed, glowing face.

She looked for all the world like a woman madly in—

“Let’s go.” Mulder shut off the cell phone and rose from the bed. “Dr. Shannon is awake and ready to give a statement.”

“At this hour?”

He shrugged and grabbed his coat and the tie he’d draped over a chair near the bed. “Since when do we punch a clock?”

Scully took one last look the radiant face in the mirror, then followed her partner out the door.


Fox Mulder shifted in the cramped airplane seat, acutely aware of the warmth of his partner asleep next to him. They’d gotten lucky this time, snagging seats on the side of the plane that had only two to a row instead of three. It allowed them a modicum of privacy, for once. Another chance to cocoon themselves in their own little world built for two—and only two.

He turned his head and looked at her, grateful for the chance to really study her openly, without reservation. She was, truly, the most beautiful person he’d ever known—not just beautiful the way those nurses in the ASU were beautiful but bone-deep beautiful, the kind of beautiful that would still shine in her eyes and her face when she was a hundred years old, faded and wrinkled by time. God, he hoped he lived long enough to still be looking at her this same way, to still be her partner and best friend when she was a hundred years old.

He wondered how strangers saw her, sometimes. Would they think her skin too pale and freckled, her nose decidedly Roman and too short and small for her face, her eyes too big and waiflike? Was she too short, too thin, too matter-of- fact, too opinionated?

Why didn’t others see what he saw? Why did he sometimes hear the whispers about her, the names, the snide remarks?


He smiled slightly, noting that his by-the-book Scully was still securely buckled into her seat, heeding the recommendation of the flight crew that all passengers keep their restraints buckled while they were in their seats. He himself had dispensed with the belt long before the seat belt lights went off. Just another testament to their innate differences—differences that had long since ceased to be a point of contention and had now become a source of enjoyment. He LIKED the differences between them as much as he enjoyed the things they had in common.

And Scully liked the differences, too. He could see it in her eyes when they argued, in the flush of excitement that colored her cheeks when she passionately debated her point, in the amused affection with which she greeted his most outlandish theories.

Hell, she even liked his nose.

Scully shifted in her sleep, her head rolling toward him. Gently, careful not to wake her, he moved closer so that his shoulder cradled her head. He rested his cheek against the top of her head and closed his eyes.

“I grant I never saw a goddess go.” His breathy whisper lightly stirred her hair. Relaxing against her still form, he let the quiet hum of the airplane’s engines and the security of her presence lull him to sleep.

The End


4.09 “One Heart” – post “Tunguska/Terma”

DISCLAIMER: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are the intellectual property of Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. My use of them in this story is not meant to be any sort of copyright infringement. This is for the purpose of entertainment only.

This is a SONNET story, post-Tunguska/mid-Terma, and contains spoilers for both episodes. My apologies to William Shakespeare for the slight revisions to the sonnet used below. (As it was originally dialogue between two women, one of whom was posing as a man, some of it wouldn’t make sense had I left it as written in the scene—and I can’t even say the sentiment is intact. But somehow, I think that Shakespeare, the romantic, wouldn’t mind a slight revision for the sake of true love).

Category: V, MSR Rated: PG for language

SONNET: “One Heart”

by Anne Haynes


A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon

Than love that would seem hid: love’s night is noon.

Beloved, by the roses of the spring,

By maidhood, honor, truth, and everything,

I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,

Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.

Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,

For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause;

But rather reason thus with reason fetter,

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

By innocence, I swear, and by my youth,

I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth,

And that no man has, nor never none

Shall be master of it, save you alone.

– William Shakespeare; *revised* from



Dana Scully’s apartment

7:45 a.m.

There had been no question of separating.

After the plane touched down at Dulles, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder had taken a cab straight to Scully’s apartment. There had been no time to book a hotel in Canada, no time for anything but the most cursory cleanup in the bathroom of the Calgary airport, and they both reeked of oil smoke. Because he had taken the brunt of the oil, Mulder took his shower first.

Scully put on a pot of coffee and shrugged off her suit jacket, glad to be home and relatively safe. She needed a moment of silence and calm to process everything that had happened from the moment Fox Mulder walked into the senate chamber the day before.

A little shiver rippled through her at the memory of his entrance, timed with a Mulderesque sense of high drama. Her heart had nearly stopped, then ratcheted into triple speed. For all her steely self-control, all her determination to address the horrible wrongs she had uncovered, she had quite nearly flown from her chair straight to his arms.

As it was, she’d barely let the chairman’s gavel fall, declaring the session in recess, before she ran to his embrace.

When did she come to love him so mindlessly? So viscerally?

She had been drawn to him, and he to her, like steel to magnet. The rest of the room, the crowd, the watchful eyes of their detractors—she had seen none of it, heard none of it.

Only him. Only his eyes locked with hers, his arms circling her body, his voice in her ears—”It’s good to put my arms around you.”

She closed her eyes, leaning against the kitchen counter. That moment, that closeness, seemed so far away, though it had been less that twenty-four hours ago. So much had happened in the interim—she’d learned so much and lost so much—that she felt she’d lived a lifetime since that last moment of temporary, perfect happiness.

The evidence was lost. Always lost. They had statements and documents, but the rock and the organism hidden within were lost in the oil fire. They had checked with the authorities in Boca Raton and discovered that the convalescent home had been destroyed in a blaze before quarantine procedures could be undertaken. She had no way to study the organism that had infected those patients or the exobiologist from NASA Goddard—

—unless the creatures were still inside Mulder, attached to his pineal gland.

A low, keening sound escaped her throat. God—Mulder. Not Mulder, please God….


His voice was faint, raspy. She opened her eyes and found him watching her from the kitchen doorway. He was freshly scrubbed, his hair damp and spiky from the shower. He’d donned another pair of dress slacks and a clean white t- shirt. His feet were bare.

She felt the pull again, that ancient tidal rhythm that drew her to him. He opened his arms and welcomed her as she closed the distance between them.

He made soothing, wordless sounds against her hair, his breath warm and bracing. She heard the steady thud of his heart beneath her ear, reminding her that no matter what had happened, it could be worse.

He could be dead.

“I want you to make an appointment for tests,” she insisted, rubbing her cheek lightly against the front of his t-shirt.

“Of course. But I don’t think the organisms are still inside me, Scully. I think that’s what the experiments were about. To test a vaccine the Russians had developed to kill or repel the black cancer. And I think it worked.”

She lifted her head to look at him. “I want to believe that.”

His lips curved in a little smile. “I knew you’d come around to my way of thinking sooner or later.”

She couldn’t hide a tiny smile of her own. She slapped his back lightly. “Know-it-all bastard.”

He loosened his embrace, giving her room to draw away from him if she chose to. She chose not to, and his smile widened just a little. “It’s going to be okay, Scully. I can feel it.”

“We have nothing to present to the Senate subcommittee—”

“We have the truth.”

“No evidence, Mulder. No rock, no organisms, not even a victim of the experiments—unless we discover that you ARE still infected. And forgive me if I’d rather be laughed out of the Senate chamber than for that to be true.”

He reached up and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “You’re forgiven.”

She held him close for another moment, then reluctantly pulled away and went to check on the coffee. With her back to him, she took a moment to compose herself, to still the tremors rippling through her body. The weakness in her knees, the fluttering of her stomach—all signs of her utter awareness of him, her need for him. It wasn’t just arousal, though sexual heat between them was undeniable. It was somehow more…elemental. Something that happened on the subatomic level, electrons inexorably drawn to protons. Somehow, Mulder had become essential to her in a way that transcended anything she’d ever experienced. He was part of her. Like a leg or….

Dark laughter bubbled deep in her throat.

…or an arm.

Mulder apparently heard the strangled sound. “What?”

She poured coffee for them, ignoring his question. She turned and handed one mug to Mulder. “Do you think Krycek is really dead this time?”

Mulder shrugged and took the mug. “I”m not sure.” His voice flattened, deadened. “Rats are hard to kill.”

“If he walked through the door now, Mulder, you’d kill him, wouldn’t you?” She tightened her grip on her coffee cup, letting the heat chase the sudden chill in her fingers.

He looked at her for a long moment, his mind working. She could almost see the thought processes taking place. Slowly, he licked his dry lips and looked down at the coffee. “What happened to me in that gulag was….” His lips tightened. He swallowed hard, Adam’s apple bobbing. “It was…like rape.”

Her heart contracted at the sound of his hoarse, haunted voice. She reached out, but he stepped back. She drew her hand back, closed her fingers tightly around the coffee mug.

“He set me up for that, Scully. He knew what they would do to me. How they would violate me. He knew and he offered me up like some kind of whore to their experiments.” His voice was harsh and ragged.

Tears burned her eyes at the raw pain she saw in his face. “I’m so sorry.”

He looked up at her then, his eyes blazing with anger and hatred—directed not at her, she knew, but at Alex Krycek. “I know you’d rather I tell you that I can let it slide, but I’m not sure I can. Not yet. And it’s not just because of what happened in Russia.” He raked his fingers through his wet hair, making it stand in thick spikes. “The bastard killed my father, Scully. My father, for the first time in my sorry life, was trying to make things right between us, and Krycek’s bullet cut him short.”

He put his mug on the counter by Scully, sloshing coffee onto the white formica. “He stole my father from me in ways that mere death can’t even approach. He stole—” Mulder’s eyes closed, as if he were in pain. “He stole three months of your life.”

“We never proved that Krycek—”

“I know he was behind it, Scully. He was sent to spy on me when it became clear to them that you wouldn’t. We both know they separated us because together, you and I were becoming a force to be reckoned with. And when Duane Barry took you, Krycek did everything he could to make sure….” His voice cracked, faded.

She put her hand flat against his chest. Beneath her fingers, his heart thudded, fast but steady. She drew strength from the cadence. “Taking me away from you didn’t stop us. Taking you away from me didn’t stop us. THIS—” She shook her head. “This won’t stop us. We always find a way to be together. We always keep looking for the truth.”

He stared at her, searching her face as if seeking her permission to believe the words she spoke. She could almost see the plea—show me the evidence, Scully. Prove it for me. It was what she was to him, she realized with sudden clarity. She was his science, his empiricism. She grounded him, defined him, validated him.

And he was her belief. Her leap of faith. He opened her mind and her heart and her soul to the wide, wondrous, frightening and exhilarating possibilities of life. Apart from him, she was not all she was supposed to be. Apart from her, he was incomplete.

It was crazy.

It was true.

She curled her fingers in the soft fabric of his t-shirt, lifting her face to him, wondering if he knew what she knew about them. In his eyes, she saw the answer.

Slowly, inexorably, he bent and she rose. Lips touched, melded, moved in concert. The electric touch of mouths, of tongues, of hearts and souls was a vow, a renewal of faith and purpose and loyalty. It lasted an eternity.

It ended too quickly.

In silent consent, they moved apart. She trailed her hand lightly over his chest, down his ribs, stopping short of the border between someday and now. A little glint of amusement and something very like regret flashed in his eyes as he turned away from her to empty their untouched coffee into the sink. She went into the bathroom to shower and change into a fresh suit.

He came into the bathroom while she was applying make-up, his eyes meeting hers in the mirror. His reflected gaze was naked and needy in a way he couldn’t be face to face. Not now.

Not yet.

“I made an appointment to have some tests run,” he told her. “Tomorrow at ten a.m.”

She blotted her lipstick, watching him in the mirror. “Do you want me to come with you?”

He chewed his lower lip. “Yes. If you would.”

She nodded. “Okay. I’ll pick you up around nine or so.”

He turned, leaning against the sink basin so that he could look into her eyes without the aid of the mirror. “What are you going to tell them today at the hearing? About the rock?”

She lifted her chin, understanding the challenge he had put forth. “I’m going to tell the truth. That the rock contained a toxin that I believe to be extraterrestrial in origin.”

Fire sparkled behind his eyes. “You are an amazing woman, Dana Scully.”

She arched one eyebrow. “Took you four years to figure that out, Mulder?” She reached up and traced the shallow cleft in his stubbly chin with her fingertip. “Come on. The U.S. Senate is waiting.”

She didn’t wait for him to follow. No matter how many lines they drew in the sand, he and she always ended up on the same side in the end. And they both knew it.

It was fate.

The End


4.10 “Riddle Incomplete” – post “Paper Hearts”

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten- Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post-“Paper Hearts,” and contains all kinds of spoilers.

Rated PG-13 for adult language and situations.

Summary: V, A, MSR

NOTE: “Riddle Incomplete” also begins the Hearts Series by Anne Haynes, completed by the stories “Be Still My Heart”, “Time Like a Heartbeat”, and “Heart of Midnight”

SONNET: “Riddle Incomplete”

by Anne Haynes


Every piece that forms the hidden whole

Lies scattered in the ether of remembrance,

And every passing moment takes a toll,

And even truth is subject to dissemblance.

Is this the piece that fits? Is this the key

To all the ancient mysteries concealed?

Is this the secret ever kept from me?

Is this the sin not meant to be revealed?

On hands and knees, I crawl across the past,

Tipping rocks to see what lies behind,

Under chairs, in closets, ’til, at last,

I cannot tell you what I hoped to find.

Yet I endure, though trapped within the middle,

Where incomplete before me lies the riddle.

– Paula Graves


Fox Mulder’s Office

8:17 p.m.

The office door closed behind her, and he stared at the broad, flat surface that separated her from him. His face tingled pleasantly, warm where he’d laid his cheek against her stomach and felt the soft rise and fall of her breathing. Her faint, fresh scent lingered on his skin. Fox Mulder smiled, bemused at the way she always knew how to reach him when he felt unreachable.

How had he managed to survive all those years without her by his side? These days, he couldn’t seem to keep it together for two hours without her.

He’d screwed up. Badly. Skinner was talking censure, probably suspension—and he deserved it. He’d made all the wrong moves on this case because he’d let his need to know the truth about Samantha eclipse his duty to the Bureau, to the people he was expected to protect—

—to Scully.

Skinner hadn’t even waited for them to get back to D.C. before he started reaming them. Both of them. Mulder had taken his punishment willingly, knowing nothing that Skinner could do to him would be sufficient to cover his sins. But Scully didn’t deserve Skinner’s wrath or censure. Though she’d taken it with her usual stoicism, Mulder had seen the humiliation and pain behind the porcelain mask.

His fault, he thought. Always his fault.

God love her, she never blamed him. Sometimes he wished she would. He wished she would kick and scream, throw a fit, make him hurt, make him bleed, make him pay for the pain he’d brought into her life.

And sometimes, he was terrified she would make him pay in the most final, devastating way possible—by simply giving up and walking out of his life for good.

It would be in her own best interests. But it would kill him. A final, fatal blow to a wounded man.

God, he hurt. Hurt bone deep. Samantha was and always had been a wound unhealed, scabbed over by time but still festering beneath the surface. One well-placed blow and he was bleeding all over again.

He fingered the small, plastic-encased flannel heart on his desk. One more little girl lost. One more family who would never know the truth. One more brother wondering, waiting, hoping to find the truth about what happened to his sister twenty-three years ago.

He should feel SOMETHING after killing a man at point blank range. Some sense of horror, some remorse that things had ended that way. But he felt nothing but a vague regret that he hadn’t found Roche twenty-three years ago and blown his brains out before he ever touched the first little girl.

Does that make me as much a monster as Roche? he wondered.

He honestly didn’t know.

He sighed deeply and picked up the final heart. Gently, reverently, he placed it in his drawer and pushed the drawer shut, hiding the small, heart-shaped scrap of flannel from view. He turned back toward the door that Scully had closed behind her and stared at the grain patterns in the wood, wondering if he ever dared close his eyes and sleep again.


A.D. Skinner’s Office 8:37 p.m.

“I’m not going to put anything in your personnel file, Agent Scully.” Walter Skinner closed the folder in front of him, steepling his hands over the file. His expression was stern, tight with anger. “I can’t do the same for Mulder.”

Dana Scully nodded, her stomach sinking. “Yes, sir. I know.”

“He put too many people at risk this time. His judgment in cases such as these is non-existent.” Skinner sighed, looked down at his hand. “I am not unaware that Agent Mulder has talents and abilities the Bureau needs. Between you and me, Scully, if he were any other agent in the Bureau, he’d have lost his job long before now.”

Scully swallowed hard. A nervous energy filled her, kept her on the edge of her chair. She didn’t like to think of what might happen to Mulder if he didn’t have his work.

She didn’t like to think of being an agent without Mulder by her side.

“He needs to take time off anyway.” Skinner pushed the folder to the side of his desk as if dismissing the whole thing. “I’m issuing a censure and enforcing two weeks’ suspension from duty, starting immediately.”

“Sir, perhaps just a censure—”

“The suspension stands, Agent Scully.”

She pressed her lips tightly together, fighting anger. Anger at Skinner, certainly, but anger at herself, as well. Anger at Mulder. Anger at a world so cruel as to give birth to monsters like John Lee Roche, whose primary joy in life was the rape and murder of innocents.

“When are you going to tell him?” she asked.


She stood. “May I be the one to tell him, sir?”

He looked up at her, his expression enigmatic. She thought she saw a hint of admiration—and a hint of irritation. But finally, he nodded his assent. He turned away from her in dismissal.

She left the office, walking slowly toward the elevator. Mulder couldn’t be surprised by this—as Skinner had said, he was lucky to still have his job. But though she’d asked to do it, she didn’t look forward to delivering the bad news to Mulder. He’d already been emotionally pummeled enough over the past few days.

She was surprised to find the office door locked when she got down to the basement. She unlocked the door and went inside. “Mulder?”

Silence greeted her.

She frowned, looking around the office. His coat was gone— he must have left soon after she left him. From the phone on his desk she dialled his cellphone and was informed that he was unavailable. She tried his home phone and got the machine. She didn’t leave a message—he probably hadn’t had time to get home yet, and this wasn’t the kind of news she could deliver over an answering machine, anyway.

She gathered up her coat and purse and headed home. She’d try him again later.


Fox Mulder’s apartment 9:42 p.m.

“Mulder, it’s me.” The answering machine had picked up after four rings, and Scully’s warm, familiar voice filled the apartment. Mulder looked toward the phone from his spot on the sofa, picturing her as she spoke. Blue eyes full of concern, that little frown she got between her eyebrows when she was worried about him.

“If you’re there, Mulder, please pick up.”

He considered it. But his body seemed heavy, unwilling to move.

“Okay, well—call me as soon as you get home. Don’t worry if it’s late—call me anyway. Um—call my cell phone—I’ll leave it on.”

Even if it’s three in the morning, Scully?

“Even if it’s three in the morning, Mulder, call me.”

He smiled. The effort made his face feel as if it were going to crack.

She hung up the phone and the answering machine fell silent. The whole apartment fell silent, except for the soft burbling of the aerator in the fish tank and the faint sound of his own breathing. He felt as if he were waiting for something to happen. Something momentous.

Then realization struck like a blow to the gut.

He was waiting for Scully to show up.

It was why he’d turned off his cell phone. It was why he hadn’t answered the phone just now. It was why he ditched her and walked away from her and kept things from her time after time after time.

It was a test.

Will she follow?

Will she cross the line?

Will she save me?

God, he was pathetic.

Over the past few days, John Lee Roche had made him jump through hoops to get to the truth. If you sink this shot, I’ll tell you. If you bring me the hearts, I’ll tell you. If you’ll pick the right one, I’ll tell you. If you take me with you, I’ll walk you through it….

Was that any different from what he did to Scully?

Almost four years ago, the Bureau had sent a spy to his basement office. A fresh-faced, by-the-book little Nancy Drew who was supposed to take notes, keep track of Spooky Mulder’s lunacy, gather the evidence necessary to put an end to his work on the X-Files for good.

He’d thought to run her off on that very first case in Oregon. He’d held back nothing—not his unconventional theories, not his acidic humor, not his penchance for keeping everyone around him off balance. He’d invaded her space, gotten in her face, gotten in her head. He’d profiled her and dismissed her as a J. Edgar Hoover wannabe with delusions of duty, honor and loyalty to the Bureau. He thought she’d waste no time begging for a transfer when they got back to D.C.

Then she’d walked into his motel room, wet and scared, and asked him for help. She’d displayed an unexpected and overwhelming sense of trust in him. By the time she dropped the robe and revealed herself to him, naked and fragile, trusting him to help and not hurt her, he’d been lost. Utterly lost.

No one had ever trusted him that way. Not since he’d let his sister be taken. That this woman—this stranger, this spy—would trust him to treat her with dignity in her time of utter vulnerability had hit him like a sledgehammer. And in return, he had honored her in the most intimate, personal way he knew.

He’d told her about Samantha.

And she’d listened. Sympathized. He could tell even as he spoke that she had doubts, but she hadn’t voiced them then. She had treated him with respect and compassion—something he’d never expected or even felt that he deserved.

He would crawl naked through glass for Scully. Cut off his arm for her.

Die for her.

And yet, he seemed to have a pathological need to make her prove herself to him over and over again. How far will you come with me, Scully? How deep into hell? How much will it take before you don’t love me enough to do it anymore?

It wasn’t fair to her. It wasn’t right.

He had let the phone ring tonight because he knew her. He knew she couldn’t sit there in her apartment waiting for him to call. He knew that even now, she was probably in her car, on her way over. In a few minutes, he would hear a knock on his door. If he sat quietly and didn’t answer that knock, he would hear the sound of her key in the door. She would come in and look at him, angry and scared at the same time, and then she would put all that aside and come to him anyway, because that was how much she cared.

That was the kind of woman she was, and God knows, he didn’t deserve her. And she sure as hell didn’t deserve what he dished out to her on a daily basis.

He shook off his lethargy and went to the phone. He tried her home number in case she hadn’t left, but all he got was the answering machine. He sighed and dialled her cell phone number.

She answered on the first ring. “Mulder?”

“How far away are you, Scully?”

She hesitated for a second. When she spoke, her voice held equal parts amusement and resignation. “About five minutes.”

He sighed, loving her and hating himself. “I’ll leave a light on for you.” Hanging up the phone, he settled back on his couch to wait for her.


Fox Mulder’s Apartment Building 10:02 p.m.

She should have turned her car around and gone home the second she heard his voice on the cell phone. He was fine. He wasn’t on the verge of doing anything reckless. And she was tired. Feeling a bit reckless herself. Not a good way to feel when she was around Fox Mulder.

They asked so much of themselves. Denying natural instincts because they were married to their work, to the quest that had been his and was now hers. Deeply, intimately hers—did Mulder recognize that? she wondered. Did he know that she’d felt what he had felt through this whole thing? She loved Samantha because Mulder loved Samantha. And Scully loved Mulder. What hurt him, hurt her.

But they never said those things to each other.

She’d always thought that was for the best. But tonight, with her heart raw and her nerves on edge, she was beginning to wonder how much longer they could stay silent on the subject. How much longer could they ignore the elephant in the living room before it went on a rampage?

He opened the door quickly after her first knock. He’d changed out of his suit into a dark green t-shirt and faded jeans. He was barefoot and his hair was an unruly mess. Scully felt every atom of her body move toward him.

He drew her inside with his hand on his shoulder. The touch of his fingers burned her skin even through her coat. She fought a shudder of awareness as she allowed him to help her out of her coat.

His gaze swept over her, as if he were imprinting the image of her in his mind. Despite the thick navy cableknit sweater and black wool leggings, she felt naked. As naked and exposed to him as she had been on that first case in Oregon. Waiting for his touch, praying she was right to trust him. Praying that he wouldn’t betray her.

His eyes finally flickered up to meet hers. “I’m sorry, Scully.”

She wasn’t sure what he was apologizing for. She searched his face for a moment before she remembered why she had been trying to find him in the first place. “Mulder, Skinner called me into his office after I last talked to you.”

His expression changed slightly, a subtle darkening of his eyes and a touch of apprehension furrowing his brow. “What happened?”

“Mulder, Skinner’s issuing a censure and placing you on two weeks’ suspension without pay. Effective immediately.”

He nodded as if he were expecting her words. “I’m glad I still have a job, frankly.”

“You could use the time off, Mulder. This case was really hard on you. Maybe you should go spend a week with your mom, or—”

He shook his head quickly. “No. I can’t—I can’t go be with her after—not right now.”

She felt a little of her tension seeping away. “Well, maybe you could just get away, try to catch up on some sleep, maybe—I don’t know—go camping?”

A faint smile flitted over his lips. “A nice trip to the forest?”

She arched one eyebrow. “Don’t forget the bug repellant.”

His smile broadened a bit, warming her insides. “I’ll figure out something to do with myself, Scully. Don’t worry about me.”

“But I do worry.” She sighed. “You know that what you did was wrong and foolhardy, don’t you, Mulder?”

He nodded again, moving away from her to take a seat on his sofa. He looked up at her as she approached. “At the time I thought it was my only option, Scully. I thought I could handle it—make it work.” He shook his head and looked down at his hands. His mouth worked silently, as if trying to form unfamiliar words. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse. “But when I saw Roche with Caitlin….” A shudder went through him. “God, Scully, what did I do?”

She shouldn’t comfort him. She shouldn’t try to make him feel better. He was right—he’d screwed up and a little girl had almost died because of it. She closed her eyes, reliving that moment in the abandoned trolley car when she’d seen Roche and Mulder in a stand off at the back of the car.

Roche’s words had been soft but distinct in the silence of the trolley graveyard. Roche had Mulder’s gun pointed at Caitlin. He was threatening to shoot her, and Scully had known with sickening certainty that he wasn’t bluffing. He might even shoot her just to see Mulder’s face when it happened. He knew that he’d be dead a second later, but for Roche, that one second of watching Mulder’s soul being ripped asunder would be worth an eternity in hell.

Scully had found that she couldn’t breathe. She kept waiting for the sound of gunfire, waiting for Caitlin to fall, for Roche to fall….

…for Mulder to put the muzzle of his own gun to his head and pull the trigger.

If Mulder had fired at Roche one second too late, that’s what would have happened. Scully knew it deep in her gut where nightmares lived.

What would she have done if that had happened? If she had witnessed the end of his life at his own hand?

How tempting would it be to find a similar solace? The imagined scenario had remained with her, haunting her for an answer. If she watched Mulder kill himself, could she live with that image imprinted on her brain for the rest of her life?

She shuddered.

Mulder looked up at her at that moment, his eyes glowing gold in the dim light of the living room lamp. He reached out his hand in concern at the sight of her distress. “Scully?”

She should go now. She’d told him what she’d come here to say, and staying any longer would be reckless. Because she had needed to be strong for Mulder through this last ordeal, she’d denied herself the chance to break down and deal with her own fears and losses. She was too close to the snapping point of her control to stay now.

He stood and closed the distance that separated them, touching her again, his hand nestling in the curve of her neck and shoulder. “You okay?”

She swayed slightly, mortified by her sudden shivering weakness. “I’m fine, Mulder.”

He chuckled softly. “Of course you are.” He moved closer, lifting his other hand to her shoulder. His thumbs brushed across the ridges of her collarbone.

Don’t, she thought. Please don’t….

His face darkened slightly, his right thumb moving reflexively over her left collarbone. A chill rippled through her as she realized what he was thinking about. The image of a tiny skeleton on an autopsy tray filled her mind. So fragile. Fragile as hope.

All thought of leaving him fled. Driven by an impulse stronger than reason, she threw her arms around his waist and pressed her face against his throat, burrowing in the silky warmth she found there. His arms enfolded her, crushed her, as if he could bring her into himself somehow, merge her flesh with his so that nothing could ever separate them again.

His hand tangled in her hair, tipping her head back. Blindly, she rose to meet him as his mouth descended, hard and hot and hungry. Need swelled in her like a flame kissed by a breath of wind, driving her beyond her last shred of control. They had kissed before—soft, tender kisses just this side of chaste. But never like this. This was thunder and fury. Fire and electricity. She burned. She shivered. She disintegrated.

She jerked at his shirt, tugging, needing to feel him, flesh on flesh. She twisted in his grasp, helping him find his way beneath her sweater to press his fingers into the soft flesh of her back. His mouth moved over her skin, his beard stubble rasping harshly against her cheeks and jaw. She felt everything—pain, pleasure, heat, cold, roughness, softness—all blending, melding, soaring—

When he drew away from her, she nearly collapsed. She blinked at him, disoriented and aching with frustration.

Then she heard the rap on the door.

Mulder met her eyes for a moment that seemed to stretch into eternity, his gaze a swirling kaleidoscope of passion, regret, fear and love. He straightened his shirt and brushed his thumb across his mouth to wipe away the apricot- colored evidence of her kiss before slowly crossing the foyer to the door.

“Mulder?” Skinner’s voice was on the other side of the door.

Scully’s heart skipped a beat. She quickly ran her fingers through her tousled hair and straightened her sweater, patting it down with trembling fingers. Schooling her expression to a cool, composed mask, she nodded toward Mulder, who was waiting for her assent.

He opened the door to let Skinner in.

Skinner stopped when he caught sight of her. His eyes narrowed slightly. “I guess Agent Scully told you about the censure and the suspension.”

“Yes, sir.” Mulder nodded.

“I am not unaware of the special circumstances of this case, Agent Mulder, but—”

“But what I did was incredibly wrong-headed and reckless. I endangered the life of a child.” Mulder lifted his chin and met Skinner’s glare unflinchingly. His jaw was tight with suppressed shame and a fierce nobility that made Scully’s stomach ache with love and admiration. “I deserve far worse punishment, sir. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to prove myself again to you and Agent Scully.”

Skinner looked past Mulder toward Scully. His dark eyes flitted over her quickly, assessingly. She couldn’t read his dark expression. But there was no missing a hint of irritation in his voice when he next spoke. “Agent Scully, I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Agent Mulder—take some time and get your head together before stepping foot in my office again. Understood?”


With a brief nod and another enigmatic glare, Skinner turned and left, closing the door behind him.

For a moment, neither Mulder nor Scully moved. Silence enveloped them.

Then Mulder turned to look at her. His eyes widened, then closed, his expression both resigned and pained. “Damn.”

She didn’t know how to respond to that. Was he sorry Skinner interrupted? Was he sorry they had taken things so far that an interruption was necessary?

“No wonder he looked so pissed off, Scully.”

She shook her head, not following.

Mulder crossed to her and took her elbow, drawing her along with him down the hallway. He pulled her into the bathroom and turned her toward the mirror.

She stared at her reflection. Her heart sank.

Her face was flushed bright pink from the harsh rasping of his beard stubble, her bare lips swollen and dark from his kiss. Her eyes were heavy-lidded and drunk with passion.

No way in hell Skinner didn’t know what had been going on when he knocked.

“Damn,” she murmured.

“We should probably have a long, honest talk about all this, Scully, but I don’t think I’m up to it tonight.” He met her reflected gaze in the mirror. “I want you to stay. But I think you should probably go.”

She closed her eyes, not sure if she felt more disappointed or relieved. He was right. Staying would be reckless. And he didn’t have the strength to resist her if she chose to throw all caution to the wind. So once again, she was left to bear the brunt of the burden. Strength or weakness, Scully? Which will it be?


It took her most of the drive home to convince herself that she’d made the right decision—for now.

But a day of reckoning was coming.


Something had to give.

The End


4.12 “So Short a Lease” – post “Leonard Betts”

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten- Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a post-Leonard Betts Sonnet story and contains MAJOR, COPIOUS SPOILERS. If you do not want to know what happened in Leonard Betts—-or want to have hints as to what I believe may happen in future episodes, GO NO FURTHER.

Rated PG-13 for disturbing content and language. And warning—-this does NOT have a happy ending. Yet.

SONNET: “So Short a Lease”

by Anne Haynes


Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth,

….these rebel powers that thee array,

Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,

Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?

Why so large cost, having so short a lease,

Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?

Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,

Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body’s end?

Then, soul, live upon thy servant’s loss,

And let that pine to aggravate thy store;

Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;

Within be fed, without be rich no more.

So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,

And Death once dead, there’s no more dying then.

— William Shakespeare


Washington, DC

Late January, 1997

The tests, though thorough, had been surprisingly quick. Dana Scully was re-dressed and on her way back to the office within three hours of arriving at the doctor’s office. She had even begun to laugh at her fears; Dr. Pritchard hadn’t seemed overly concerned by anything Scully had told her. A nosebleed wasn’t a particularly rare phenomenon, especially during the winter. And her general feeling of fatigue could be just that—fatigue. She and Mulder had been on a run of tough, stressful cases recently, the Leonard Betts case only the latest.

*…I’m sorry, but you’ve got something I need….*

She shook off the memory. Leonard Betts may have been— okay, most definitely had been—a bizarre example of human evolution gone awry, but it was ludicrous to assume that he had possessed some supernatural ability to diagnose cancer, no matter what Mulder thought. If highly trained oncologists couldn’t diagnose internal cancer at a glance, there was no way an EMT—even one who could re-grow his own head (and possibly a whole other body)—could do it.

Was there?

She pulled into the parking deck at FBI headquarters and pushed aside the thought. Mulder was waiting for her, and she could tell by his voice on her cellphone earlier that he had a new case. She needed to be focused on the job at hand.

But when she got to Mulder’s basement office, he was nowhere to be found. She looked on his desk for a note to her, but there was nothing. Not that she could be entirely sure, considering the stack of papers and files scattered across his desk.

She dropped into his chair to wait for him, welcoming the chance to sit and finally relax for the first time all day. Something about being here, in this office, surrounded by the essence of Mulder, calmed her in a way that all her rational mental lectures hadn’t been able to. Mulder would laugh if she told him so, but he was her rock. Sure, he was certifiably nuts, and he was just as likely to go running off after a light in the sky as he was to actually sit still long enough to listen to her perfectly plausible explanation for said light, but in the end, he was her touchstone. Mulder was one of the few “givens” left in her life. It was a given that if she needed him, he’d be there for her, no matter how unreliable he might seem to others.

That knowledge had gotten her through the tests this morning, and it would get her through the waiting period between now and when the doctors finally called and told her that her fears had been silly and unfounded.

Resolutely, she pulled a piece of paper from Mulder’s note pad and started jotting a to-do list. They hadn’t finished filing all the paper work from the Betts case, but if Mulder had gotten a whiff of a bizarre new case, he’d drop the paper work without another thought. So it was up to her to keep them on track.

She had already come up with seven pressing tasks when the door to the office burst open and Mulder slammed inside, his jaw set like stone. His expression softened slightly when he caught sight of her in his chair, a sheepish look erasing part of the tension in his anger-darkened face.

“Been to see Skinner?” she asked, deadpan.

He managed a grimace that she supposed he meant to be a smile. “Apparently the suspension last month wasn’t enough.”

She arched her eyebrows.

He sighed. “He turned down the 302 on the case in Tampa.”

No big surprise, Scully thought. She’d told Mulder that three half-tanked teenagers swearing they saw a Swamp Beast wasn’t going to sway Skinner. But he always had to figure those things out the hard way.

He dropped into the chair in front of his desk, his long, lanky legs stretched out for miles in front of him. “Maybe the explanation of the Betts case isn’t going over well with the powers that be, and Skinner thinks more punishment is in order.” He sounded utterly morose. “And Skinner actually started hinting that I hadn’t taken vacation days in a while.”

Only Mulder, Scully thought, would mope about a paid vacation. “You think he’s going to make you take time off?”

“I think he might.” Mulder sighed. “So I guess I’d better start getting stuff in order here so you can carry on without me for however long I’m subjected to this vacation.”

She bit back a smile. Subjected to a vacation—yep, that was her Mulder. “Things are pretty slow around here….”

“Not anymore.” He reached across the desk and picked out a manila folder from the jumble of papers and folders on his desk blotter. He handed it to her.

She opened the folder and glanced at the contents. Arched her eyebrows a half inch. She read it more carefully, then cocked her head slightly and looked up at him. “You’ve gotta be kidding.”

He flashed her a familiar, slightly sheepish smile. “It IS intriguing, isn’t it?”

That was one word for it. But intriguing or not, it wasn’t anything that wouldn’t wait until he got back from vacation.

She swallowed a sigh of longing. How long had it been since SHE’D had a real vacation?

Too damned long.

She wondered, suddenly, if maybe Skinner would give her matching vacation time. Mulder wouldn’t really want her to work this new case without him, anyway—not that she couldn’t investigate on her own, but she had long ago come to the conclusion, and even Mulder was beginning to figure out, that when she and Mulder worked apart, trouble generally followed.

Besides, she could use a vacation. Somewhere hot and sunny, where she could relax and just enjoy being alive. Stretched out on a beach somewhere, Mulder by her side, his lean body offered up to the sun like a sacrifice….

Why not? she thought suddenly.

Why the hell not?

The more she thought about it, the better an idea it seemed. She and Mulder had been dancing around the edge of a big step forward in their relationship, and if her recent brush with mortality had taught her nothing else, she had learned that life was too damned short to spend waiting for the perfect time for anything. This could be exactly what both of them needed. A chance to move ahead with their lives.

She nibbled her lower lip for a second before she blurted out the words. “Maybe I should ask Skinner for vacation, too.” She ventured a little smile. “Maybe that trip for two to Tahiti we’re always joking about.”

She wanted him to agree more than she wanted to take her next breath. Say yes, Mulder. For God’s sake, just say yes. Don’t think about the consequences. Just say yes.

“I was kinda hoping you’d hang around here, Scully, maybe get a head start on this thing.” Mulder nodded at the folder in her hands.

Her eyebrows rose. Get a head start? Mulder was going to trust her with one of HIS cases, on her own? She stared up at him, surprised and a bit more pleased than she liked to admit. She cocked her head. “So while you’re sipping Margaritas on the coast somewhere, I’m slaving away on your case? Thanks a LOT, Mulder.”

He glanced at her, his brow wrinkling slightly. “No, Scully—I wouldn’t expect you to handle this case on your own—I just need you to be here so I don’t lose access to the Bureau resources.”

Her stomach coiled and sank. “And what? I feed you information on this case while you’re on official leave? If they wanted you working on a case, they’d never have ordered you to take vacation.”

“What the Bureau doesn’t know won’t hurt it.”

Scully pressed her lips together. Who did he think she was, Hastings to his Poirot?


“Tahiti will just have to wait.” He reached for the folder and took it from her suddenly nerveless hands. “Definitely this summer,” he added with a boyish grin. “Don’t forget to pack the thong bikini.”

Son of a bitch.

She stood, stiffly, and crossed to the small area she called her own when she was working down here with him. Not really her office, of course. This was—and probably always would be—Fox Mulder’s lair. She was a visitor, an outsider.

No doubt always would be….

Trapping her lower lip between her teeth to still its traitorous quivering, she unfolded the to-do list she’d slipped into her jacket pocket and started methodically working through the list. She was almost finished with the expense report on the Betts case when her cellphone trilled.

“Scully,” she answered, her voice tight as a rubber band.

“Dana, this is Lisa Pritchard. I’ve gotten the preliminary results of a couple of your tests, and I want to discuss them with you. Do you think you could drop by my office in an hour or so?”

Scully’s fingers tightened on the cell phone. “What is it?”

“Just some irregularities. It may be nothing, but since you’re a doctor, I thought I’d like to go over the results with you as soon as possible. I’d rather not try to do it over the phone. Can you be here in an hour?”

“I’ll be there.” She shut off her phone and sat stone- still, staring at the expense report in front of her. Leonard Bett’s face danced in her mind, grotesque and taunting. *…you’ve got something I need….*

Oh, God.

“Mulder, I have to go—call me on my cell phone if Skinner gives you the details about your vacation time.” She rose and headed for the door.

“What’s up, Scully?”

She paused in the doorway, turning to meet his quizzical expression. She carefully schooled her own features, donning a placid mask. “Nothing for you to worry about. Just a consultation. I’ll be in touch.”

He nodded and returned his attention to the file in front of him. He didn’t say good-bye. Neither did she.

She made her way slowly to the parking garage, trying to shut down her mind. She unlocked her car and slid behind the wheel, her body on auto-pilot while her mind continued to spin wildly.

Irregularities, Dr. Pritchard had said. That could be anything. Anything at all. It could be a glitch in the diagnostic machinery. A miscalculation on the part of the technician.


*Glioma. Carcinoma. Sarcoma. Lymphoma. Osteoma.*

She knew. Gut deep, she knew what she would see when she got to the doctor’s office.

She lowered her head to the steering wheel, tears burning her eyes. Damn it, Mulder, why didn’t you just say yes? Why didn’t you say, yes, Scully, let’s go to Tahiti and make memories that’ll last us however long you have left to live?

Involuntarily, her hand rose to her throat. Her fingers closed over the cool metal of her gold cross pendant. Oh, God, how much longer would she have? How much life could she live in the time she had left?

She had been so patient. Biding her time. Waiting, waiting for the time when she and Mulder could finally deal with everything they’d left unsaid and undone between them for all these years now. She had felt the time coming, nearing. Only a matter of time before they were both ready….

But time had run out faster than either of them had expected. And it was becoming blatantly obvious that Mulder wouldn’t be ready soon enough for her. Might never be ready, even if they both lived a thousand years.

*Do I even have a thousand days?*

With a searing rush of pain, she realized it was over. She couldn’t put her future on hold anymore. Life was short— shorter than she’d ever imagined. And she couldn’t spend what was left of hers waiting for Mulder.

Biting back a soft sob, she started the car and headed for the doctor’s office.

The End


4.14 “Song of Life” – post “Memento Mori”

DISCLAIMER: The characters found herein belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. I also think Vince Gilligan deserves some credit just for being Vince.

This is a SONNET story, post-“Memento Mori.” Spoilers abound.

Rated PG-13 for adult situations and language.

SONNET: “Song of Life”

by Anne Haynes


Mortality speaks our names in whispered sighs,

Hushed and still, a fleeting, cherished breath,

A song of life that lifts its fists and cries

Against the silent harbingers of death.

Your heart is big and full and swallows me

As sunlight swallows shadows in its gold,

Its warmth and luminescence prove to be

The cloak I wear against the coming cold.

I will not look beyond into the dark

That holds no secret power over me;

Your soul is incandescent, every spark

Sheds light on all that’s left for us to see.

Because your love is stronger than my doubt,

I will not contemplate a time without.

– Paula Graves


She would be angry if she knew he was sitting out here like a spy, watching her window at midnight. She would feel embarrassed. Frustrated. Convinced he didn’t think she was capable of taking care of herself. The truth wouldn’t really occur to her. The truth that he was here because he couldn’t bear lying alone in the dark, listening to the steady cadence of his heartbeat like the ticking of a clock winding steadily toward its end.

She’s dying. He let the words form in his head for only a second before pushing them away.

No. He would not accept that.

There was a way. The answer existed. That black-lunged son of a bitch knew how to heal her—Mulder knew with utter certainty. It was so tempting to make a deal—whatever price the smoking man exacted would be worth saving Scully, wouldn’t it? Mulder would give up the X-Files in a heartbeat. There was no question in his mind, no doubts about it. Small price to pay for Scully’s life.

But Scully would never forgive him if he sold his soul to the devil for her. She’d never forgive herself, either. And that was too high a price to pay.

There had to be another way, like Skinner had told him. If the truth was out there, then it was knowable. He and Scully would have to work harder than ever to find the answers they sought, but at least they could hold their heads high knowing they’d not let the bastard steal their honor and their integrity.

The rare kind of tumor Scully had didn’t have a history of metastasis, she’d told him. That was no guarantee that it wouldn’t spread to other parts of her body, but Scully seemed to think that she was okay for now. There was still time before the tumor became life-threatening.


God, what he wouldn’t give for more time.

Their very first case together, they had lost 9 minutes of time. He’d been thrilled. Ecstatic. Rejoicing in the time loss, in the wondrous implications of it, in being part of a supernatural experience.

Nine minutes. Nine interminable minutes.

He wanted them back. Every second of them.

He wanted back the time he lost in Idaho, when he’d been captured at the Yellow Base, drugged and stripped of memory.

He wanted back the days he’d spent comatose in Alaska after his run in with the bounty hunter. He wanted back the thirty-six hours he’d spent unconscious while Scully had driven him cross country to Albert Hosteen in New Mexico. He wanted back the days he’d hovered near death in a starry void.

He wanted every second, every millisecond of the time they had lost when she was taken from him, the time she had lingered in the coma, the time he’d spent seeking revenge.

He lowered his head to the steering wheel and closed his eyes. Had they known then what they knew now, what would they have done differently? Would they be lovers, cherishing every moment, every whisper, every touch? Would they have taken even more risks in their pursuit of the truth, knowing that time was running out?

Or would he have walked away before his heart was so fully invested in her, in them? Would he have distanced himself from her, avoided the pain that now seemed as inevitable as his next breath?

Yes. That’s what he’d have done. He would have armored himself against the pain at all costs.

So he was glad he hadn’t known. Because the only thing he he would regret more than losing Scully was never having known her at all.

That would be tragedy.

That would be hell.

He lifted his head and looked up at her window.

She stood there, backlit by the glow of the lamplight inside. Tiny but solid. His heart clenched at the sight of her. She lifted one hand and touched the windowpane. Let her hand move slowly down the glass as if caressing his cheek across the distance. Then she turned away from the window and walked out of his view.

He should leave. That was what she was telling him, even as she reached out to comfort him in her own way. He drew a long, deep breath and reached for the keys in the ignition, tightening his seat belt across his lap.

His hand fell away.


He unfastened his seat belt, withdrew the keys from the ignition and exited the car. Within a minute, he stood outside her door, his forehead pressed against the door frame as he forced his ragged breath to calm. His heart thudded, a metronome keeping time. He lifted his hand to the door and knocked.

The sound of silk on silk whispered on the other side of the door. It fell silent for a long moment, and he could feel her just beyond the wooden barrier between them. Paused. Waiting. He felt the passage of time like blood spilling, absorbed by fate, swallowed by eternity.

With a soft click, the door opened. Scully stared up at him, her face pale and devoid of make-up, but her eyes clear and free of dark circles. She looked better. Stronger. “It’s almost one a.m.”

He nodded.

“You shouldn’t be here.”

“I know.”

She pressed her lips together as if she were annoyed with him. But her eyes gave away her need. She was glad to see him.

He held back a smile when she stepped back to let him enter. He let the door close behind him before he reached out and touched her, his fingers closing over the curve of her shoulder. She fell still at his touch, her eyes fluttering closed for a moment.

“I don’t want to be alone,” he said. “Please.”

Her eyes opened, her blue gaze searching his face. “We can’t let this change our lives. We can’t allow it to dictate our behavior, Mulder. If we do, then it wins. They win.”

“Am I supposed to pretend there’s nothing wrong, Scully?” He shook his head. “I can’t pretend that. There is something wrong, and we have to find a solution.”

“So you’re going to camp out at my apartment every night until we do?”

He managed a small grin. “You got a problem with that, Scully?

She shot him a glance of mingled irritation and amusement. “I don’t want you to treat me differently, Mulder. I need to feel like things are normal between us. I need to know that you still trust me to cover your back.”

“I trust you with my life.”

“Then please don’t make me feel like an invalid. I can’t bear it.”

He stared at her for a moment, words forming silently in his head. You’re not the invalid, Scully. I am.

Her expression changed slightly, a softness akin to sorrow melting her eyes. She knew what he was thinking as surely as if he’d said it aloud. “Mulder….”

He reached out and brushed her cheek with his fingertips. Like a kitten, she lightly rubbed her face against his fingers. His heart swelled.

Timing, he thought, is everything.

He wanted to take her back to her bed and make love to her, imprint himself on her soul, imprint her on his, create something strong and hot and vibrant, something no one and nothing could ever strip away from them. He wanted to sing a song of life that death couldn’t silence.

But he didn’t think Scully could see it the same way right now. And he didn’t want her to think he was offering her a part of himself that wouldn’t be hers were she not dying. Because he hadn’t given up hope yet. He hadn’t admitted defeat.

She would live. She would be cured. She would find a way, or he would find a way, or they would find a way together, but he wouldn’t—couldn’t—accept that Scully was going to be dead within a year. She was going to live and they would have time back, time to explore all the secret, sacred places that they had never before traveled together. And they would do it free and alive, not pinned under the swinging pendulum of death’s scythe but soaring into the limitless starry reaches of life’s extreme possibilities.

This was his vow, to her, to himself.

There would be a time for them. Soon or late, it didn’t matter. It was as inevitable as death.

As inevitable as life.

The End


4.18 “Fragile is the Glass” – post “Tempus Fugit/Max”

DISCLAIMER: Everyone in here belongs to CC, 1013, and FOX, except Annelle Hollis, who belongs to me. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post “Tempus Fugit”/”Max.” Spoiler warnings apply.

Rated PG-13 for language and adult situations.

Category: V, A, implied MSR

SONNET: “Fragile is the Glass”

by Anne Haynes


Unsaid, the words lie bitter on the tongue,

Linger in the soul, a cold, ill wind;

And hesitance, sad folly of the young,

Seems greater sin than impulse in the end.

Were life allotted in each falling grain

Within a glass set firmly in our sight,

Meting out each pleasure and each pain,

A metronomic count of day and night,

Then might we know the rhythm of our days,

The tidal pulse of every second’s worth,

The measure of our journeys and our stays,

The balance of our sorrows and our mirth.

But life cannot be hoarded, held or planned,

For fragile is the glass that holds the sand.

– Paula Graves


The hostess left with the promise of sending over a server to take their order, leaving Fox Mulder alone with his partner at a small corner table in Shakespeare’s Pub. It wasn’t their favorite place to wind down and grab a quick bite—that had been the Headless Woman Pub, but Pendrell’s shooting had made that place uncomfortable for both of them these days.

Mulder shrugged off his jacket and set it on the chair beside him, studying Dana Scully’s pale, pretty face as she scanned the crowd in the pub. She looked wary, alert—expecting trouble.

I did that to her, he thought, remembering a time when he could have—and had—sneaked up on her at will, startling her by a quick invasion of her personal space. She’d been so innocent then, so trusting. Ironic, he thought, that only by giving up her own sense of trust had she been able to secure his trust in her.

God, he was a selfish bastard. Taking, always taking. Giving only what she could pry from his grasping, unwilling fingers. She’d done all the work in their partnership, all the reaching out. No matter how many times he’d slapped her away, growled at her—

She turned back to him just then, her eyebrows lifting slightly as she read his expression. “You look like somebody stole your Elvis doll, Mulder.”

He grinned at her, knowing by the slight tilt of her head that his smile wasn’t doing a good job of covering his dark mood. He tried to think of a handful of comebacks, but they all sounded lame, so he didn’t say anything.

She picked up the menu the hostess had left them. “What are you in the mood for? I’ve heard the cheese and fruit plate is good.”

“Never order real food in a pub.” Mulder picked up his own menu and scanned the appetizers. He wasn’t all that hungry; their visit to Sharon Graffia had left him feeling kind of gloomy. Scully had been quiet on the drive from the trailer park, staring out the car window at the star-washed city, lost in thought.

She had said she wasn’t thinking of Pendrell. She’d said she hadn’t even known his first name. In the car, she admitted that wasn’t really true—she HAD seen his first name on his name badge several times, but she’d gotten so used to calling fellow agents by their last names that she hasn’t really let it sink in.

Mulder, with his eye for detail and his scary memory, had known. Pendrell’s first name was Alan. He’d had gingery red hair and hazel eyes, and he’d been too damned young to die.

So had Max.

He looked up at Scully and drew a swift breath. “God.”

Her eyes widened and she grabbed a napkin, pressing it automatically to her nose. The flow of blood was more than a trickle this time—it quickly stained the yellow paper napkin. Mulder swiftly handed her his own napkin and she pressed it to her nose, leaning her head back in an attempt to stanch the flow.

The approaching waitress stopped short at the sight of the blood-stained napkins. Her green eyes widened with concern. “Can I do something to help?” she asked Mulder.

He glanced at her name tag, one eyebrow arching as he noted the odd spelling. “We may need some more napkins, Juliettt.”

Juliettt nodded and hurried toward the counter.

Scully rose. “I’ll go clean up.” She headed toward the restrooms in the back of the restaurant, leaving Mulder sitting alone in the booth, his stomach in knots.

That one was worse. More blood.

Did it mean anything?

Both Scully and her doctors had assured him that the nosebleeds were secondary symptoms—they didn’t really mean the tumor was growing. The existing pressure on the sinus wall occasionally led to burst capillaries, but she wasn’t going to bleed to death. At worst, the nosebleeds were nuisances that Scully would have to deal with.

Keep telling yourself that, Mulder. Chant it like a damned mantra. Lift it like a prayer.

“Agent Mulder?”

He didn’t realize he had been sitting there, rocking, until the low, soft drawl jarred him, causing him to bang his ribcage against the table. He sucked in a gasp of pain. “What?” His voice came out harsh, unwelcoming.

The woman standing by his table pressed her lips together for a moment as if considering retreat. Then she visibly girded herself and slipped into the seat that Scully had vacated. “I don’t know if you remember me…I’m Annelle Hollis. I worked in the Sci-Crime lab with Agent Pendrell.”

He nodded. She did look familiar. Fingerprint expert, if he wasn’t mistaken. She could pull a print off the skin of a 4000 year old mummy, or so they said. Short, dark-haired, with intelligent eyes the color of strong coffee.

Her accent spoke of hot, humid Southern nights but her tone of voice was cool and measured. “Agent Scully dropped this.” She put the Apollo 11 keychain Mulder had given Scully on the table in front of him. “Is she all right? I was coming over here to speak to her when I saw that she was having another nosebleed.”

He tried not to react to her statement. So Hollis knew that Scully was having nosebleeds? Was that common knowledge around the Bureau now? He and Scully had tried hard to keep anyone but Skinner from finding out what was going on with her health.

Annelle leaned forward. “Her cancer isn’t common knowledge, Agent Mulder. Most people assume she has bad sinuses and don’t speculate.”

He didn’t know if she was trying to test him, trick him into admitting the truth about Scully’s condition. He wasn’t sure how to reply.

“I have the same oncologist,” she added.

He couldn’t hide his surprise.

“Non-metastatic melanoma. On my shoulder—too much sun as a kid without wearing sunscreen, I guess. I had it removed two years ago, but I still go back for regular exams. You can’t take chances, even if you think you’re cured.”

Somehow, just hearing the word “cured” sent a little shiver down his back. “She doesn’t want people to know.”

“I understand. I haven’t said a word to a soul. Not even….” Her voice broke. “I’m glad I didn’t tell him. I’m glad he didn’t know.” She met his eyes for a moment, her expression naked. Raw emotion blazed back at him briefly before she dropped her gaze.

Oh God, Mulder thought, she loved Pendrell.

“He was crazy about her, you know.” She pushed a fork back and forth between her forefingers. “He thought she was the greatest. He kept trying to impress her, show her he wasn’t just some guy in the lab.”

Mulder nodded. He knew.

“But he never had a chance with her, you know.”

Mulder looked up.

Annelle’s dark eyes were gentle, tear-sparkled. “I thought I could just wait things out. Alan was tenacious, but he wasn’t stupid. He just didn’t want to see the things that I saw. But eventually, he’d have figured out that Dana was already taken.”

Mine, Mulder thought with an almost primal sense of possessiveness. She’s mine.

“I just…I thought there was time to wait.” The moisture in her eyes pooled, spilled down her lightly freckled cheeks. “I thought I could wait until he figured it out. I mean—how long would it take?” She nibbled her bottom lip, chewing away the last remnant of lipstick. “He heard about your birthday surprise for her—somebody from work was at the Headless Woman that night. It was all over the place by Monday morning.” She shrugged. “I don’t know—maybe that’s why he went there that night. Hoping to see her. Hoping that you didn’t really mean anything special to her. I guess maybe that’s why he was drinking so much, too. Just trying to bolster his courage.”

God, he was close to tears himself, and he’d hardly known the guy. But he knew what it was like to want something desperately, something you feared you’d never have no matter how hard you tried, how hard you worked at it, how many sacrifices you made. He’d known it with Samantha. He knew it with Scully.

Mulder looked down at the keychain lying in front of him. A keychain. A lousy Moon Walk keychain. It was more than just that, of course—he had been trying to tell her something. But in the end, he hadn’t told her. He’d let her tell him what she thought it meant, and she’d been close to the truth in a way, but way off target in the most important way.

She hadn’t realized that it was all about her. Not about the astronauts or history or extreme possibilities. Not really.

Annelle stopped fiddling with the fork and pushed her hair back from her face, closing her eyes for a moment as if gathering her strength. “I knew Alan Pendrell for five years. We went through the FBI academy together. He was the best friend I ever had.” She looked down at her fingers, watched them twitch and twine on the table in front of her. “I thought I had time.”

Mulder didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t sure he could make any sound pass through his tight throat anyway.

The arrival of Scully saved him from trying. Mulder saw her coming first, saw her eyebrow lift at the sight of Annelle Hollis sitting across the table from him. He could almost hear the arch remark buzzing through her head—leave you alone for two minutes, Mulder, and you’re already hitting on other women?

He gave a little shrug—imperceptible to all but her, he knew. She could read the smallest nuance of his body language, the slightest change in his tone of voice. He had always fancied himself a mystery, but he suspected that Scully had figured him out a long time ago. The fact that she was still hanging around was a testament to either her patience or her madness.

Annelle Hollis rose as soon as she saw Scully. “I’m sorry, Agent Scully—I just wanted to—” She stopped, pressing her lips together. “You okay?”

Scully nodded, frowning slightly. “I’m fine.”

Annelle moved so that Scully could take her seat. “I didn’t want to interrupt—I just wanted to tell you that I was grateful you were there when Alan died. I know it…it m-made things easier for him.”

Scully looked down at the table. Mulder saw her eyes light on the keychain lying by her menu. Slowly, her fingers crept forward and closed around the trinket. “He was a good agent.”

“And a good friend. I just—I miss him. I guess I thought he’d always be around, you know?”

Mulder nodded. Scully remained silent.

“You never know how much of an impact one person will have on your life until he’s gone and all you have left is a stupid bracelet and a lifetime of questions and regrets and things you left unsaid.” Annelle shifted from one foot to the other, biting her lower lip. “After the funeral, his mother gave me something she said she’d found in Alan’s coat pocket the night he died. She said he must have been planning to give it to me for my birthday next month—he hadn’t had it wrapped yet.”

Mulder saw Scully’s face turn pale, and he shifted forward automatically, stretching out his hand toward her. She gave him a warning look and a tiny shake of her head. He frowned, confused.

“I didn’t know he knew that opals are my favorites.” She smiled slightly, holding out her right wrist. A slim gold band circled her wrist, studded by small opals. Fiery red streaks crisscrossed the moonlight pale stones, seeming to send off sparks.

They reminded him of Scully, Mulder realized. Small, delicate, beautiful….

And then he knew.

He looked up at Scully. He saw the confirmation in her haunted face before she turned and smiled up at Annelle.

“Maybe he did know how you felt about him,” she said softly. “Maybe that’s what that bracelet was supposed to tell you.”

A single teardrop spilled down Annelle’s cheek. “Maybe.” She managed a watery smile. “Thank you, Agent Scully. I hope you feel better soon.” She glanced at Mulder, her eyes dark with sympathy and understanding, and turned away.

“That was for you,” Mulder said as soon as Annelle was out of ear shot.

Scully shrugged, fiddling with her keychain. “Maybe not. Opals were her favorite.”

Mulder nodded, watching the play of her delicate fingers on the gold-plated surface of the Apollo 11 keychain. He remembered her words tonight, words about duty and honor sacrifice. And he knew he couldn’t leave it there.

She had to know there was more.

He reached out and closed his fingers over her hands, stilling her restless fingers. He gently took the keychain from her grasp, sliding his fingers over the eagle insignia. “When I was a kid, I remember watching a man walk on the moon. It…” He shook his head, trying to find the words. “It opened the world for me. What had been impossible was now reality. I never looked at the world the same way after that. And for years, that one moment in time was the most significant event in my life.” He stopped and leaned forward, handing back the keychain. He studied her pale, composed face, wondering if she understood.

She stared back at him for a long, thick moment, her eyes wide and shiny. Then, slowly, a tiny smile curved the corners of her mouth. “Thank you.” She pocketed the keychain and picked up her menu.

Mulder picked up his own menu and smiled.

The End


4.20 “Lone Dreams” – post “Small Potatoes”

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten- Thirteen Productions and the FOX Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET Story, post “Small Potatoes” and contains spoilers. I think that this episode, which I ADORED, fits better in the 3rd Season, possibly right before “Piper Maru/ Apocrypha.” The time shift explains the lack of cancer references and the “we don’t ever talk” business, which I feel several third and fourth season episodes disprove. So, if you will, let’s go back to 1996 and a basement office in the J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, D.C.

For Juliettt—-thanks for all the help! {{{ }}}

SONNET: “Lone Dreams”

by Anne Haynes


Where the red wine-cup floweth, there art thou!

Where luxury curtains out the evening sky;—

Triumphant Mirth sits flush’d upon thy brow,

And ready laughter lurks within thine eye.

Where the long day declineth, lone I sit,

In idle thought, my listless hands entwined,

And, faintly smiling at remember’d wit,

Act the scene over to my musing mind.

In my lone dreams I hear thy eloquent voice,

I see the pleased attention of the throng,

And bid my spirit in thy joy rejoice,

Lest in love’s selfishness I do thee wrong.

Ah! midst that proud and mirthful company,

Send’st thou no wondering thought to love and me?

— Caroline Norton


AD Skinner’s Office

April 1996

“One hundred and twenty dollars at The Foot Zone.”

“I thought I saw a new pair of Reeboks in my closet.” Fox Mulder’s dry comment interrupted Assistant Director Walter Skinner’s terse litany.

Dana Scully looked anywhere but at her partner or her boss. Her eyes settled on the name plate at the front of the assistant director’s desk. It was trim and dark, with “Walter S. Skinner” in a neat sanserif type. She wondered what the “S” stood for.

“Fifty dollars at Mandarin Inn?”

“Agent Scully theorizes that van Blundht expends an enormous amount of caloric energy to be able to maintain his altered musculature for long periods of time.” Mulder’s voice was slightly bemused. “And since there’s no buffet at the Mandarin Inn….”

Scully clenched her jaw. She didn’t need to look at Skinner’s face to know how that statement had gone over. The A.D.’s beefy fist clenched around the pen he held, bending the casing. There was a long pause in which she felt Skinner’s gaze fall upon her. She avoided making eye contact and braced herself for what she knew had to be there on that list somewhere.

“Twenty-two dollars at Capital Spirits.”

She felt her whole body running hot and cold. Breath trapped in her lungs, she waited for Mulder’s explanation. She knew that he hadn’t told Skinner what he had burst in upon that night over a month ago. She supposed she could be grateful for small favors, but the reprieve was over.

“That’s my purchase,” Mulder replied. “I didn’t have my personal card with me. I’ll cover that.”

Scully fought the urge to turn and gape at him. As it was, she gripped the arms of her chair until her knuckles ached and turned pasty white. Why the hell did he say THAT? Was he taking pity on her? God, how humiliating.

Suddenly, being in this office with her partner and her boss was more than she could take. “Sir?”

Skinner’s dark eyes met hers, his brow crinkling slightly.

“I have a consultation at Quantico this afternoon, and I haven’t been able to properly prepare. I believe Agent Mulder can handle your questions on the rest of the expense report. May I be excused?”

Skinner stared at her for a long, thick moment. Then he gave her a curt nod.

She rose swiftly and left the room without looking at her partner. Her heart thudded wildly in her breast as she headed blindly out the door of the assistant director’s outer office. She had just under two hours before she was due at Quantico; she headed straight to her small cubicle office on the fourth floor, ignoring the other agents she passed on the way. She dropped gratefully into her chair and buried her head in her hands.

Since that Friday night a month ago, she had been telling herself that things were back to normal between her and Mulder. Back to the usual pattern of 60 hour work weeks and machine-like efficiency as a team. And that was all true— their work hadn’t suffered at all, much to her surprise.

But nothing was easy between them anymore. Mulder hardly touched her now—not fingers against the small of her back, not a hand cupped beneath her elbow. No wisecracks about picking out china patterns. He kept his distance, physically and emotionally, as if he were afraid to cross some invisible line between them. He even stayed out of her personal space, and he’d NEVER done that before.

And God knows, she’d been keeping her distance from him, afraid that the slightest touch or smile or look might lead him to a wrong conclusion.

Maybe she should talk to Karen Kosseff about this. The social worker had helped her before, back during the Donnie Pfaster case. But Scully nixed that idea quickly. She could NOT tell Karen Kosseff that she was harboring unpartnerlike curiosity about Mulder. If that kind of information were to get around….

She shook her head. She’d learned to trust no one these days. No one but Mulder.

And wasn’t THAT ironic?


Scully wasn’t in the basement office when Mulder returned there after discussing the expense report with Skinner. He wasn’t surprised—she seemed to be looking for reasons to get as far away from him as possible these days.

He was surprised by how much her sudden distance hurt. She had always been something of an enigma, but time to time she’d let him in, let him see her funny bone or her vulnerable heart. But these days, she was utterly inscrutable. Nothing like the Dana Scully he’d burst in on that Friday night a month earlier. That Dana Scully had been soft and open and glowing with excitement, her eyes liquid with the first flicker of desire.

For him.

Or what she thought was him.

He’d always figured that she’d never drop the professional wall between them and explore the attraction he sometimes felt simmering between them. Earlier that day the month before, he’d tried to bridge that chasm of professionalism and tease her into revealing something new and exciting about herself, but she’d more or less rebuffed him. As always.

So why hadn’t she rebuffed Eddie when he’d showed up at her doorstep with wine and a stupid story?

“Live a little.” Eddie van Blundht’s voice still rang in his ears. “Treat yourself.”

Maybe one day he might have tried to explore a few of the possibilities between him and Scully. But not now. Eddie had closed that door in his face forever.

Loser by choice.

Rage pushed through him with surprising force, like an electrical surge. His arm shot out and swept across his desk, sending pencils and papers and the desk blotter flying.



Scully hurried through the darkened living room into her bedroom. She hardly ever spent time in the living room anymore. Not since Eddie had invaded her home and turned everything upside down. Of course, he hadn’t done it alone, had he? He’d tricked her, but she’d responded to his seduction. Apparently she was so lonely that she’d been willing to throw out every ground rule she’d set since her relationship with Jack Willis had gone sour. No more dating colleagues had been the rule at the top of the list. Especially someone like Mulder, who wouldn’t exactly be a great catch even if he weren’t her partner.

Scully sighed and sat on the edge of her bed. Well, that wasn’t completely fair. Somewhere inside him was a really great guy. She’d told Eddie that she was seeing a whole new side of Mulder, but that wasn’t really true, was it? She’d seen glimpses of Mulder’s tender side—with Kevin Morris on that abduction case in Iowa, with Lucy Householder in Seattle….

With herself. After her father died. After her own missing time. After the Pfaster case. After Melissa’s death.

But that was the problem. It always took a damned crisis to bring out that side of Mulder, and she had no intention of playing danger monkey just to get Mulder to be nice to her.

She kicked off her shoes, flinging them across the room with a burst of irritation. She knew the reasons why he was the way he was. She knew all the arguments against pursuing any sort of personal relationship with him.

But damn it, she’d LIKED it. Really liked it—even if it HAD been Eddie, not Mulder. It had been a long time since she’d felt so attractive and desirable.

Damn Eddie van Blundht.

Damn Mulder.

A soft rapping sound on her door surprised her. For a second, she froze, remembering who had been on the other side of the door the last time she’d answered someone’s knock.

She forced herself to relax. Eddie van Blundht was tucked away safely in the reformatory, pumped so full of muscle relaxers he could barely venture a grin, much less mold himself into another man’s form. She turned on a lamp on her way to the front door, bathing the living room in golden light. She stood on tiptoes and looked through the peephole.

She froze again. Mulder’s face, distorted by the fisheye lense, looked back at her. He looked grim.

Yeah, she thought, relaxing slightly. That’s the real one.

Her jaw tightening, she opened the door.

“I should’ve called first.” He stood there, his hands in his pockets, looking like he’d rather be anywhere else in the world.

She stayed in the doorway, blocking his entry. “Is something the matter?”

“I, uh—” He pulled one hand from his jacket pocket and held it out toward her. In his fist was a crumpled piece of paper. “You didn’t sign the expense report before you left.”

She arched her eyebrow. “And it couldn’t wait until morning?”

“You know how I feel about getting paper work right.” He thrust the crumpled form toward her.

She took the paper from his grasp. “I’ll sign it and bring it with me in the morning.”

His lips thinned to a line. “I can wait while you sign it.”

Scully felt her ears burning with irritation. She sighed and crossed to the desk near the window, where her computer sat. She grabbed a pen from the lap drawer and signed the form, then turned back to Mulder.

He was no longer in the doorway. He was sitting on the couch.

Right where Eddie had sat.

She could tell by the way he was sitting, rigid and uncomfortable, that he was well aware of what he was doing. He was here for a reason, and it had nothing to do with the expense report.

Well, she wasn’t up for it. Not tonight. Maybe not ever. She drew a swift breath through her nose, crossed to the sofa and held out the paper. “There you go.”

He looked up at her, not making a move to take the form from her outstretched hand. His eyes were dark in the low light.

Suddenly, her irritation bloomed into full anger. She dropped the form in her lap and walked away from him, headed for the door. She opened it. “See you in the morning, Mulder.”

He didn’t move from the couch.

She closed her eyes. “Mulder, why the hell are you really here?”

He didn’t answer.

She slammed the door shut and strode to the couch. Mulder sat there, his eyes focused intently on some point in the general vicinity of her fireplace. His fingers were clasped tightly in front of him, the crumpled expense report teetering precariously on his knee. The slight stir of air from her swift, angry approach sent the form floating down to the floor.

When he finally spoke, his voice was thin and strangled. “What did he say to you, Scully?”

She stared at him, at a loss as to how to answer.

Mulder tore his gaze away from the fireplace and looked up at her. “What did he say? What got through to you?”

She shook her head slightly, her stomach knotting. “I don’t want to talk about this with you, Mulder.”

“You wanted to talk to me that night, Scully. You sat there and talked to me through a whole bottle of wine. What did you tell me? He bent forward, looking down at his clasped hands. “What happened here, Scully? How far did it go before I burst in here?”

Was that an accusatory tone she heard in his voice? She felt the fierce urge to slap him. “Go to hell, Mulder.”

He looked up at her again. “You thought it was me, Scully. What happened here, you thought was happening between you and me. Don’t I have a right to know what that was?”

“No, you don’t.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “You have no right.”

He rose and towered over her, his body invading her space for the first time in a month. “I need to know, Scully.” He was close enough that she could smell a faint whiff of liquor on his breath, along with the tang of oranges. A screwdriver, she thought. Like he’d been drinking in Comity.

She frowned. “Did you drive here?”

He stepped back. “I’m not drunk, Scully.”

“You should go.”

His face darkened. “What do you think, I got drunk and came here to score with a sure thing?”

“Bastard.” Her jaw tightened.

He stiffened. “Sure you don’t mean ‘loser’?”

“I think you should go home now, before this gets any worse, Mulder.”

He stared at her for a long, thick moment. Then, like a wind-filled sail collapsing in a sudden calm, he drooped and slumped to the couch. His long, lanky body seemed to fold up on itself. “Why don’t we ever talk, Scully?”

The words were so close to those spoken by Eddie van Blundht a month earlier that Scully flinched. Feeling a little wobbly, she dropped onto the couch beside Mulder, not unaware as she did so that she was helping recreate the scene of earlier disaster.

“We do talk.” She looked down at her feet and realized she was barefoot. Had she been barefoot that night? No. She’d been wearing her soft black flats. She felt absurdly relieved.

“Eddie must have told you something about me. Something that made you….” Mulder stopped in mid-sentence, his lips moving soundlessly as if searching for the right words. He pressed his lips together finally and started again. “I don’t know why it’s so important to me to know what he told you, Scully, but it is.”

She cocked her head slightly, studying his face for any sign of deceit. But Mulder merely stared back at her, his expression somewhere between pleading and terrified. She didn’t know if it was the screwdriver bolstering his courage, but God love him, he was trying to be honest with her. The least she could do was be honest with him, too. “He wanted to know why we never talked.”

He lifted his chin slightly. “What did you say?”

She nibbled her bottom lip before answering. “I don’t remember. I don’t think it was important.”

“What did he say then?”

She shook her head, a bemused smile curving her lips. “I don’t remember. I guess it wasn’t important, either.”

His eyes narrowed in confusion. “I don’t—” He sighed, perplexed.

No, she thought, you don’t. You don’t understand, and neither did I. Until now. “Eddie really didn’t say much of anything, Mulder. What could he say? He knew nothing about you. Just the bare essentials. He pulled the oldest con in the world. He let me tell him all he needed to know.”

It was like watching a light come on in Mulder’s head. His eyes glowed for a brief instant. “He listened.”

She nodded. “He listened.” She grimaced and looked down at her clasped hands. It might as well have been a chapter in a text book on what women want from men, she realized.

Would she have responded to any man who took the time to sit and make her the focus of his attention? Or was she looking for that kind of attention from one man in particular?

From this man?

“I guess the burning question, then, is what did you tell him?” Mulder commented.

She tried to remember what she’d said that night a month ago, not so much to tell Mulder as to remind herself. But she couldn’t recall how they had gotten started. She barely remembered what she and Eddie had been talking about before Mulder burst in. “I don’t think it matters what I said, Mulder.”

“Just who you said it to?” His voice was tinged with bitterness.

She looked up. His face was a slightly sneering mask, his best and favorite defense against people who hurt him. “Do you think it was Eddie I was telling those things to?”

“It WAS Eddie.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Why didn’t you? Why didn’t you know it wasn’t me?” His mouth thinned to a dark line. “God knows, I’m not the kind of guy who sits around, drinking wine and listening to a woman pour out her heart, am I?”

“No? Then why are you here now, Mulder?”

He stared at her, wordless.

“Do you remember Bellefleur, Oregon, Mulder? That rat trap motel room, with the power out? You told me what drives you that night, even though you didn’t really know me at all. You took a chance on trusting me, and that’s something I’ll never forget as long as I live.” She smoothed a non-existent wrinkle in her silk pants. “I guess I finally realized that I’d never done the same.”

“No, you haven’t.” He sighed. “Not until Eddie.”

She tried again, wondering if this time he would hear what she was trying to tell him. “Mulder, I thought it was you.”

He met her gaze, the mask slipping just a bit so that she could see the vulnerable man beneath. “I want you to know that you can tell me anything. Not just about the job, but about you. About what you want and what you like.”

To her utter dismay, tears stung the backs of her eyes. He had told her something like that before. *I don’t want you to think you have to hide things from me, Scully.* During the Pfaster case.

But she hadn’t really listened to him. Not then. Not until now. Fact was—she’d always rebuffed his efforts to get to know the REAL Scully. Maybe because she knew just how easy it would be to succumb to this kind of Mulder. Eddie van Blundht had proved that, hadn’t he?

She pushed herself up from the sofa and crossed into the kitchen. “I’m going to make some tea. Do you plan to be around long enough to have a cup?”

He stood as well. “Do you want me to stay?”

She stopped in the middle of filling the tea kettle. Was it a good idea? Or was she playing with fire again, the way she had been with Eddie?

He read her indecision. “I should go, I think.”

He was right. He should.

But she followed him to the door, not ready to let him just walk away. “I’m glad you came here tonight. It means a lot to me that you took the trouble.”

His mouth crooked. “I wish I had answers for us, Scully.”

She gave a little shrug as she opened the door. “Answers don’t come out of thin air, Mulder. They have to be discovered, one at a time.”

He paused in the doorway. “We’ve always been pretty good at that, haven’t we?”

She allowed herself a smile. “Yes, we have.”

He smiled back, just a little. Then he turned and walked out the door.

The End.


5.02 “Time’s Best Jewel” – post “Redux II”

DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations belong, not to me, but to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, taking place near the end of “Redux II.” Spoilers abound.

Category: V, A, MSR commensurate with that of the episode All other information withheld at the request of the author

SONNET: “Time’s Best Jewel” by Anne Haynes


Sonnet LXV

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,

But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,

Whose action is no stronger than a flower?

O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out

Against the wreckful siege of battering days,

When rocks impregnable are not so stout,

Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?

O fearful meditation! where, alack,

Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?

Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?

Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

O, none, unless this miracle have might,

That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

– William Shakespeare


9:35 p.m.

On impulse, he had stopped in the hospital lobby and bought flowers for Scully, although he couldn’t really say what had made him think to do so. Neither he nor Scully were particularly conventional people, and flowers seemed a distressingly normal, conventional gesture at a time like this. But the daffodils had struck Mulder as a peculiar sight, happy yellow harbingers of hope and new life, out of season and out of place, somehow, in this antiseptic atmosphere of death barely held at bay.

He held them behind his back as he entered her hospital room, playing an old, infrequent game. He half-expected, half-hoped that she would greet him with a tired but curious smile. Instead, she greeted him with eyes brimming with tears and a shell-shocked expression on her pale, haggard face. Next to her, in a bedside chair, Margaret Scully wept silently, her fingers curled around her daughter’s hand. Bill Scully stood apart at the window, staring out into the night, his face set like stone.

Mulder let his hand drop to his side, the daffodil petals bruised as they thudded against his thigh. He swallowed hard and took an involuntary step toward the bed. “What is it?”

Bill Scully turned away from the window and looked at him, his expression fathomless. But in the Navy man’s eyes, Mulder saw a mixture of anger and shock and something else.


Mulder’s stomach coiled as Scully’s older brother stared him down for a long, tense moment. Then Bill shouldered past Mulder, almost knocking him off balance, and left the room without a word.

Margaret Scully released her daughter’s hand and stood, dabbing at her tear-stained face with a crumpled tissue. Her gentle face was ravaged with emotion; Mulder couldn’t lower his gaze from that face as she slowly approached, held out her hand to him and murmured his name. He lifted his free hand and closed his fingers around hers. She clenched his hand tightly, crushingly, then released him and followed her son outside.

Mulder stood frozen a few feet from the bed, gazing at the wall beyond Scully’s hospital bed, digging deep for control before he found the strength to meet his partner’s eyes. She was crying silently, and the unaccustomed sight ripped a hole in his heart. He lurched to her side, taking the hand she outstretched to him, terrified. He couldn’t even find his voice to ask her what had happened.

Her hand was surprisingly warm in his clasp, or was it that his own hand was icy cold with dread? He didn’t know. He only knew that he had to hold onto that small, warm hand, hold her in this life as long as he could.

She blinked a couple of times, spilling tears down her cheeks as she wrestled for control. Her fingers tightened around his, her grip amazingly strong. He watched her throat bob once, twice, three times. Then her lips parted and her voice emerged, thick with emotion. “Dr. Zuckerman did another PET scan this morning after you left for the hearing.”

No. He shook his head almost imperceptibly. No, don’t say this, Scully. Don’t tell me. Don’t take away my hope.

Her mouth worked silently, trying vainly to form words. She licked her trembling lips and tried again. “The cancer—”

He shook his head again, his heart shredding.

Her jaw went suddenly firm and steady, and her eyes blazed at him with a fire he’d begun to wonder if he’d ever see again. “The cancer is in remission, Mulder.”

He blinked.

The world spun around him in utter silence.

A voice, ragged and raw, sliced through the quiet. His own voice, he realized. “Remission?”

Her lips began to tremble again, and tears welled in her eyes. “Yes. The PET scan showed a massive reduction in the size of my tumor.”

He took a slow, shuddery breath. His body was suddenly wracked by a strange, prickly pain—like a limb coming slowly, achingly back to life, he realized with a frisson of wonder. He was acutely aware of his pulse thudding in his ears, the feel of the cool, sterile air of the hospital room playing over his flesh. He heard Scully’s soft, sniffly intake of breath and felt the satiny warmth of her skin underneath his fingers.

We’re alive, he thought.

“So soon? How?” he asked when he could find his voice again.

“I don’t know.” Her answer spilled out in a shuddery chuckle. “But the tumor is only 1/3 the size it was yesterday, and Dr. Zuckerman thinks it’s continuing to shrink. He did a battery of tests—blood chemistries, CBC, T-cell levels, the works—and it all looks…incredible.” Her lips curved in a mega watt grin.

He lowered himself carefully onto the bed next to her, laid the slightly rumpled bouquet of daffodils to one side and clutched her hand with both of his, staring at that wonderful smile. A bubble of laughter spilled from his throat, and he let it go. Scully answered his laughter with her own.

It was almost almost ten seconds before Mulder’s laughter turned into hard, gasping sobs. She reached for him then, and drew him into arms that had already regained a surprising amount of strength. Like bloodied comrades, they wept together for their losses and for their victories and for the battles still to come.

After a few moments, the floodwaters of emotion subsided, and they fell to a pensive silence, still locked in a tight, comforting embrace. Scully’s nose nuzzled slightly against Mulder’s throat, making his heart clench into a hot, tight fist. Then she moved slightly, breaking the embrace. She wiped away her own tears with her fingertips, then reached out and brushed away the tears dampening his face as well. Before his eyes, she transformed into Special Agent Dana Scully and asked, “So what happened at the hearing?”

He related the details of the inquiry quickly, not really wanting to waste time on shop talk right now.

Her eyebrows lifted slightly. “So Blevins is the mole?”

He nodded. “I don’t think he’s the only one.”

She looked up at him, her shadowed eyes warm. “How about you? What was the outcome of the hearing as far as you’re concerned?”

“Skinner and I spent a few hours this afternoon trying to gather up what evidence we could against Blevins. I don’t know if we were successful. I get the feeling there’s some kind of clean up job going on, erasing all evidence of the conspiracy. The only good thing coming out of it is that it looks like nobody’s going to press any charges against me.” He grimaced. He’d taken extreme measures to save his life—and Scully’s—but it didn’t make living with what he’d done any easier. Getting away free and clear didn’t seem right.

“Are you sure we can trust Skinner—?”

“Absolutely.” More than she would ever know. If Mulder owed anything to Walter Skinner, it was his silence about the lengths to which the assistant director had gone to save Scully’s life. Telling her would do nothing but hurt two good people who’d suffered enough already.

And Mulder had no room to condemn Skinner when it came to making deals with the devil. He’d come far too close to such a bargain himself.

She nodded. “Okay. I trust your judgment on this.”

Something in his chest seemed to burst and spill at her words. “I still can’t believe this,” he murmured, touching the curve of her pale cheek as if to reassure himself that she was still here with him.

“Of course you can,” she said with a wry smile. “I think maybe you were the only one who ever did believe.”

He smiled then, because she was right about one thing: he hadn’t given up on her. And even if his faith had been born of desperation and terror, it had devoted and true. “You didn’t give up either, Scully. No matter what it was that put your cancer into remission, it was your strength and your determination to fight that saw you through it.”

She touched his hand. “It’s not really a cure, you know. But I have a good feeling about this, Mulder.”

He squeezed her fingers gently. “So do I.”

“There will be more tests—and I’ll probably be here in the hospital a few more days. But I believe the worst is over.” She fingered the small golden cross pendant nestled in the hollow of her throat, then dropped her hand to her side, her expression pensive but happy.

He reached out and ran his fingertip over the cross himself, not realizing until after he did so that he was touching it like a talisman to ward off evil. He’d worn this cross once, during the time she was gone—to stay close to her, he supposed. To have her with him even when she wasn’t with him. The cross was evidence of her faith; maybe it had also been evidence of his own faith. In the truth. In her.


He envied the sense of peace he felt in her. “So you think faith is what saved you?”

She met his questioning gaze. “I know it did. I have faith in three things. In God, in science—” She reached out and took his hand. “And in you, Mulder. I have faith in you.”

God, she knew how to deconstruct him. “Scully—”

She squeezed his hand. “I don’t know what it was that turned this disease around. I just know that I couldn’t have survived without every bit of faith I have. And that’s all I need to know.”

He lifted her hand to his lips. “Then that’s all I need to know, too.”

She brushed her thumb across his bottom lip. The touch was featherlight and undemanding, but his body responded with a ripple of awareness that he’d not allowed himself to feel since the day she told him about her tumor. Not desire, exactly—or, at least, it wasn’t just desire. His need for her eclipsed any sort of rational description.

She seemed to read his thoughts, for her eyes softened and her face creased with a tender half-smile. She lifted her other hand to his jaw, cradling his face. “We still have a lot to accomplish, Mulder. And it looks like I’m going to be around to see it happen.”

She didn’t say the name, but he knew what she meant.


He hid the pain from her, never once considering telling her about his meeting with the woman who called herself his sister. There would be time to tell her later. Now that they once again had time. He still had so much to sort through in his own mind, not the least of which was whether or not the woman he’d met last night was really his sister at all. And he had questions of his own faith to work through, as well. What to believe and what still remained unknown.

But this wasn’t the time to ask or answer those questions. This was a time to be grateful for what had been returned to him. He’d been given a gift far beyond his wildest imaginings, and right now, he just wanted to be happy.

Scully leaned forward and brushed her lips against his. The kiss was sweet. Simple. Breathtaking. He moved his lips beneath hers, silently speaking his gratitude and devotion. The caress lingered for one perfect moment.

Then he drew away from her, not wanting to complicate this brief interlude of peace and contentment. There would be time for that, too. Later.

“I’m sure your mother and brother want to spend a little more time with you,” he murmured.

She nodded. “I called Father McHugh, too. And Dr. Zuckerman is going to come by later with more detailed test results.”

Mulder felt a niggle of worry, but Scully’s knowing smile brushed the anxiety away. “Relax, Mulder, it’s not going to be bad news. Dr. Zuckerman just wanted to share some of the things he’s learned from treating this case. For my professional edification. This is pretty big stuff, you know.”

“Doctor stuff, huh?”

She nodded. “Doctor stuff, Mulder.”

“I’ll go get your mother and your brother.”

She squeezed his hand. “You don’t have to leave.”

He smiled. “I don’t think Bill wants me underfoot. I’ll be outside if you need me.”

She clung to his hand as he rose to leave. “Mulder?”

He turned back to her. “Yeah?”

She opened her mouth as if to continue, but she couldn’t seem to find the words. It didn’t really matter; he saw the message in her eyes and felt it in his own core.

“I know,” he said.

And finally, he did.

The End


5.05 “Passage of a Song” – post “Post-Modern Prometheus”

DISCLAIMER: All the characters in this story belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story dealing with the events of “Post Modern Prometheus.” Spoilers abound.

Category: V, MSR (sorta) Rating: PG-13 Spoilers: US Season 5 All other information withheld at the request of the author.

SONNET: “Passage of a Song”

by Anne Haynes


I must not think of thee; and, tired, yet strong,

I shun the love that lurks in all delight—

The love of thee—and in the blue heaven’s height,

And in the dearest passage of a song.

O just beyond the fairest thoughts that throng

This breast, the thought of thee waits, hidden yet bright;

But it must never, never come in sight;

I must stop short of thee the whole day long.

But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,

When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,

And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,

Must doff my will as raiment laid away,—

With the first dream that comes with the first sleep

I run, I run, I am gathered to thy heart.

— Alice Meynell


“So it turned out that Dr. Polidori’s father was the one drugging and impregnating the women, in an attempt to create a companion for The Great Mutato.” Fox Mulder dropped his fork beside his plate and looked up at his partner.

Scully’s blue eyes were fixed on him in what he’d come to think of as The Look. “And Dr. Polidori killed his father in a fit of rage because his father had dared to usurp Dr. Polidori’s own role as the mad scientist?” Her words oozed skepticism.

Mulder shrugged and reached for his wallet. “Nobody ever said dreams had to make sense, Scully.” He tossed a ten on the table and slid out of the booth. Scully fell in step as they left the diner and headed for the only motel in Orwell, Indiana, a sleepy town on one of the byways just south of Bloomington. Their motel was a sprawling old two-story house converted to an inn. What it lacked in convenience and amenities, it made up for with a quaint, sleepy charm.

Mulder expected Scully to make her escape to her own room, across the hall from his, but she remained at his side when he unlocked the door to his room. “So did the dream end there?” she asked, following him into his room.

“Well, no.” Mulder pocketed the room key.

“What happened next, then?” She perched on the edge of his bed. The sight was a bit disconcerting, if for no other reason than the fact that the bed was an old fashioned behemoth that rose high off the ground, and Scully’s feet dangled, not reaching the floor. She looked like a school girl waiting expectantly for the next installment of a campfire tale.

She crossed her legs, her navy skirt sliding up to expose a small but tempting stretch of creamy thigh.

Okay, maybe not a school girl, he corrected. He looked away for his own peace of mind, putting his not-too-steady hands to work gathering the notes he’d made last night before bed. He and Scully were in Orwell on a dead-end case—three odd deaths at a purported haunted house had ended up easily explained away when he and Scully dug a little deeper. Their plane back to D.C. left at three this afternoon.

“Well?” Scully prodded.

He glanced at her. She had leaned back on the bed, propped up by her outstretched arms. Her crossed leg kicked idly, sliding the hem of her skirt higher with each little bounce.


Should he just lie and tell her he woke up then? Or should he tell her about the rest?

What the hell. “After we’d unraveled the mess, I wasn’t happy with the outcome. Yes, the old man had paid for his crime, and his murderer had been apprehended as well—but The Great Mutato had been as much a victim as an accessory—a lonely, isolated soul looking for someone to love and to love him—and we were about to cart him off to jail. So I demanded rewrite.”

Her eyebrow arched slightly. “A rewrite?”

“Yeah. I rewrote the ending—sorta.”

“Of your dream.”


“Damn. That never works when I try it.” Scully uncrossed her legs and leaned forward.

Great—now he not only got a good look at several inches of Scully-thigh, he also got a peek down the front of her v-necked shell. He felt a familiar, inconvenient stirring south of his belt. “Never does for me, either, most times.”

“So how did you rewrite the ending?”

“We took The Great Mutato to a Cher concert.”


“You, me, the whole town. Like a freakin’ caravan.”

Her voice emerged, low and deadpan. “Par-tay.”

He grinned. “You have no idea.”

“So did The Great Mutato get to meet Cher?”

“Yeah, he even got to dance with her.”

Scully’s lips curved slightly. “Mulder, anyone ever tell you you’re a sentimental mush?”

“Only in bed.” He shot her a glance, hoping that the loaded statement would send her skittering back to her own room, removing the source of his growing temptation.

But she let it pass, acknowledging his words with only a tiny twitch of her eyebrow. “What song did they dance to—’I Got You, Babe’?”

“No—’Walking in Memphis.'”

“That’s not Cher. That’s Marc Cohn.”

“Cher did a cover.”

She cocked her head slightly. “And you would know this because…?”

“Because I know stuff.”

She kicked her feet gently back and forth, bracing herself on the edge of the bed. “I’m surprised it wasn’t an Elvis song—but at least you got Memphis in there.”

“It’s a nice song,” he defended. “Great for dancing.”

Both eyebrows shot up, and her eyes glittered with amusement. “What, you danced with Cher, too?”

He blurted the answer before he had time to think better of it. “No, I danced with you.”

Scully’s expression froze for a second. Then she made a face. “You made this whole thing up.”

He dropped his stack of notes on the small desk and turned to face her, crossing his arms over his chest. “What are you saying, Scully—you can buy the whole two-faced monster story but the thought of dancing with me is beyond your comprehension?”

“I’m just saying that up until the dance part, I could buy the whole thing. Tell me you’ve never gotten a letter from someone who saw your name mentioned on a daytime talk show.”

“Just the once.”

She nodded. “And even I know about hypertrichosis—so the wolf baby story isn’t a stretch.”

He hid his amusement. “What about the circus tents over the house?”

“You’ve never seen a house fumigated? Happens all the time.”

“And the two-faced monster?”

Scully reached over to the bedside table and picked up the TV listing booklet. “Let’s see—there it is. THE MASK was on last night. Followed by the original FRANKENSTEIN. You slept with the television on, didn’t you?”

“Well, yeah.”

She flipped the page. “Odd—I don’t see a Fred and Ginger movie here to explain the dancing part, though.”

“Ergo, I’m making that up?”

She put down the booklet and looked up at him. “Okay, Mulder—if you really dreamed this part—what was I wearing? Chiffon, I hope. Lots of flowing chiffon. With a draped neckline. And let me guess—I was five inches taller and two bra cup sizes larger?”

He didn’t know whether to be amused or insulted. “No, you were wearing your black suit. Same old bustline.”

She shot him a look of amusement. “So this so-called dance you allegedly dreamed—what were we doing, exactly? The Hustle? The Macarena?”

“No, it was just a plain, ordinary dance. One arm around you, holding your hand with the other—”

“Cheek to cheek?”

No—hip to hip, he thought, remembering that part of the dream vividly. He could still feel the phantom pressure of her lower belly against his groin. “Not exactly,” he answered her aloud. “Just a dance.”

“Just a dance.” She looked skeptical.

What did she want him to do, draw a picture? “Just a dance,” he repeated, crossing to where she sat on his bed. He looked down at the floor and slowly lifted his hand, stretching it out to her, just as he had in the dream.

He didn’t have to look up to sense her surprise and hesitation. What had seemed like a natural right move just a second ago was quickly seeming a mistake. He began to draw back his hand and move away.

But her fingers curled around his, stopping him in mid-retreat. He gave a little tug and she was in his arms, her belly warm and soft against his groin. He stared down at her for a long, breathless moment, terrified and exhilarated. When she made no move to escape his embrace, he tightened his hold on her waist and eased her into a slow rhythm, dancing to the phantom song in his head.

She gazed up at him, her blue eyes wary but also hungry. Just as they had been in the dream. Firing questions and pleas in equal measure. He jutted his chin forward, partly as an answer and partly as a dare. Her lips curved in response, and he felt her body slowly melt against his, hot and soft and enveloping.

If she felt the unmistakable response of his body to hers—and how could she not?—she didn’t comment on it or draw away. She merely brushed her forehead against his jawline and murmured against his throat, her breath sweet and hot on his flesh. “This kind of dance?”

“Yeah.” His voice was little more than a groan.

Her nose pressed against the side of his neck. Her next words vibrated against his skin. “And then what happened?”

“Then I woke up.”

She drew back slightly, looking up at him with through eyes murky with equal parts arousal and suspicion. “You DID make this up, didn’t you?”

“Did not. Scout’s honor.”

“You weren’t a scout, Mulder, you were an Indian Guide.” But she sank back into the cradle of his arms again, surrounding him with her softness. She eased back into a slight, swaying rhythm, as if she could also hear the music in Mulder’s head.

He moved his hand slowly down her back, settling on the curve of her spine just above her buttocks. He pressed gently, increasing the slow, gliding friction between their lower bodies. His whole body thrummed with reaction.

He felt the languorous descent of Scully’s hand down his own back, her fingers trailing fire. She smoothed her palm over his buttocks, forcing his hips forward. He sucked in a sharp breath, his heart bolting like a startled jackrabbit. Her legs tangled with his for a moment, parting to accept the pressure of his thigh against the soft swell of her sex. Her hip bone pressed against his groin, forcing the pent-up breath from his lungs in a long, shuddering hiss.

He had to be dreaming again. That was the only way Scully would be here, in his arms, her body opening to his with such willingness and determination.

Then she closed her lips over the rigid tendon in his neck and sucked hard, and he stopped giving a damn one way or the other. His knees buckled and he toppled backwards, bringing her with him. They ended up in a tangle on the bed, and Scully shifted until she sat astride him. He smoothed his hands over her thighs, pushing the hem of the skirt up and out of his way. Her stockings were silky and sheer, sliding beneath his touch with a whispery rasp.

She bent forward, flattening herself over his chest, and slanted her mouth over his. His lips parted, welcomed the sweet invasion of her tongue. He was drowning in her, drowning and sinking and dying, unable to move or think or even breathe….

…and came to in a burst of coughing, his lungs full of something foul and smoky. His head spun, making his stomach lurch as he fought for breath. He lay prone, his cheek flattened against what felt like the bristly nap of an Oriental rug. The hardwood floor was cold and unyielding beneath his body.

He blinked, trying to clear away the haze fogging his vision. He saw Scully lying right in front of him, her small body wracked with coughs. He tried to say her name, but his voice was strangled by more coughing.

“What are you doing in my house?” The voice, deep and commanding, sliced through some of Mulder’s grogginess. With great effort, he lifted his head and looked into the frowning visage of Dr. John Polidori.

Bits and pieces of memory darted through Mulder’s head, a mishmash of dreams and reality. A striped canvas tent, a frantic rush through the house, gun drawn, feet moving in determined counterpoint to the song blaring from somewhere deep in the house….

…Scully’s soft body melting into his….

The uniformed officer with Dr. Polidori hauled Mulder to his feet with no effort at gentleness. Mulder shook off the lawman’s grasp and reached out to help Scully, who was stumbling to her feet next to him. His head took another spin and he lurched toward his partner, grabbing her shoulders to steady them both. Her small, soft body flattened against his for a long, electric moment, and he could swear he hear music, distant and emphemeral, as phantom lips moved hungrily against his own.

Then Scully found her footing and pulled away, withdrawing her warmth from him. The music in his head faded, and he dropped his hands away from her, peering through the haze of fumes to reassure himself that she was all right.

She looked up at him with a groggy gaze. “Are you okay?”

He nodded. “I think so. You?”

“Fine,” she slurred.

“You sure?”

She nodded, glancing at Dr. Polidori and the sheriff’s deputy. She turned, using Mulder’s body to shield herself from their eyes as she looked up at Mulder, her gaze dark and intense and jarringly intimate. Once again, he found he couldn’t breathe, especially when she spoke, her voice low and throaty, her words pulsing through him like thunderbolts.

“But remind me to tell you about the dream I just had.”

– End –


5.08 “Shadows, Rumors, Doubts” – post “Kitsunegari”

DISCLAIMER: No one in this story belongs to me. They all belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post-“Kitsunegari,” and contains spoilers.

Category: VA Keywords: Mulder/Scully UST Rating: PG for language and disturbing images All other information withheld at request of the author.

SONNET: “Shadows, Rumors, Doubt”

by Anne Haynes


This evening, my love, even as I spoke vainly

to you, beholding how your gestures strayed,

and how the words I spoke failed to persuade,

so I desired you to see my heart plainly.

And to my aid came Love, who took my part,

and willed what by my will had futile seemed:

that from the torrent where my grief streamed

I might, by drops, distill my streaming heart.

Enough harshness, my love, cease and resist

jealousy, even as to a tyrant’s torture;

to shadows, rumors, doubt do not give over,

weigh not your peace against such proof as this:

for even as water could you touch and behold

my heart, as through your hands it flowed.

– Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.

— Translated by Judith Thurman


3:05 p.m.

He closed his burning eyes for just a minute.

It was a mistake.

Blood filled his vision, garnet dark and spreading in slow, undulating circles. Filled his nostrils, sharp and metallic, mingling with the acrid tang of gunpowder. Filled his ears, amplifying the crack of gunfire still ringing in the massive expanse of the warehouse.

And there, amid the blood, he saw a small, still form in sleeplike repose, never to wake again—

He snapped his eyes open and sat up with a jerk, his heart slamming against his ribcage.

The basement office of the FBI building was quiet and brightly lit, pushing shadows to the far corners. On the desk in front of him, an open file spilled photographs and notations from the Linda Bowman case like a taunt. He straightened the notes and slapped the folder shut.

He reached for the phone but stopped short. A sense of dread blanketed him. What if he called and there was no answer? What if it hadn’t been an illusion?

He sat cocooned in the white noise of his empty office, ears buzzing with the almost imperceptible drone of electricity coursing through the walls. He clung to the sound, to the sight of his cluttered office and the gray trenchcoat hanging over the back of Scully’s chair. Taking a deep, steadying breath, he imagined he could smell the faint vestiges of her clean essence—soap and water and Scully.

She would walk through the door any moment now, her hair copper-bright in the overhead light. What had she been wearing this morning?

He did see her this morning, didn’t he?

The rattle of the doorknob made his nerves jangle. He stared as the door swung open, praying, dreading….

Walter Skinner filled the open doorway.

Fox Mulder released a shaky breath. He blinked, trying to gather his scattered wits.

“How many hours since you had any sleep, Agent Mulder?” Skinner’s words emerged in a low growl, somewhere between anxious and exasperated.

“I caught a nap.” His voice sounded like it was traveling over glass. He cleared his throat.

“Go home.”

Mulder shook his head slightly. If he went home, he would sleep. And if he slept, he’d dream…. “I just have a few things to finish here—”

“You can finish them Monday. I don’t want to see your face before then, understand?”

Mulder nodded. He understood. If he pushed it, Skinner would order him to see somebody with the EAP, and some desk jockey know nothing would try to drag every damned detail of the nightmare out in the open for him to relive again, as if he could somehow purge himself of it. Well, he couldn’t. This was one image that would never be banished from his mind. And he sure as hell didn’t need to relive the moment in gruesome detail in front of a stranger.

He stood slowly, his body creaking as if he’d aged a century in the hours since his confrontation with Linda Bowman in a warehouse on Channel Avenue. Maybe he had, he thought, slipping his arms into the sleeves of his trench coat.

Maybe that’s what happens when a man’s whole world puts a gun to her head and blows her brains out before his very eyes.


Karen Kosseff’s office had a homey, comfortable feel missing in most of the high-stress areas of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Kosseff herself was a homey, comfortable sort of woman, with a voice as gentle as a mother’s touch. She sat quietly on the settee, legs crossed and her hands folded serenely in her lap, her sympathetic gazed fixed on the pale face of Special Agent Dana Scully.

Scully looked down at the dark, intricate patterns of the Oriental rug under her chair, wondering how to answer the employee counselor’s question. “I don’t think I’m angry at him, exactly—” She pressed her lips together, realizing that she was lying. “No, that’s not true. I am angry at him.”

“Because he put you in danger.”

“No—” She shook her head quickly. “He tried to keep me away from danger. He took stupid risks….” Her voice died away. Had there really been another way to handle things? She didn’t know anymore.

“In the past, you’ve told me that your partner is overprotective, and this makes you feel as if he doesn’t trust you.”

Scully nodded. “He thinks it’s his responsibility to shield me from anything that would hurt me. The partner’s code—” She stopped, knowing that the truth wasn’t nearly so simple as what she was telling Karen Kosseff. Mulder’s actions went well beyond partnerly. He was playing protector in areas of her life that had very little to do with their work. “He means nothing but the very best, and I know that. But….” To her horror, tears stung her eyes. Damn it, couldn’t she come into this office just once without becoming a blubbering idiot?

Karen’s dark eyes softened in sympathy. “Dana, you told me earlier that your cancer is in remission, and that you feel as if you’ve been given back your life. Do you think that your sense of frustration with your partner is connected with these new feelings?”

“Maybe,” Scully admitted. “I don’t want us to go backwards, now that there’s hope for a future.”

“In your work?”

She glanced up at the counselor. “Yes.” In their work, but also in their personal relationship—not that she could admit that to Karen Kosseff. The last thing she needed to do was let an FBI counselor think that she and Mulder couldn’t do their job because they were too personally involved.

Or maybe, was it because they weren’t as involved as they needed to be? As honest about who they were to each other?

It was a question that had become so much more important since her cancer diagnosis. Only then, it had been a question of regrets, of what might have been and never would be.

But now….

She pushed away the question and continued. “My partner is not an easy man to know, and I have no doubt that I know him better than anyone else in the world. But there’s so much I still don’t know, and sometimes that scares me.”

“Why does it scare you?”

Scully stared at her hands, clasped tightly in her lap. She flexed her fingers, noting that they were cold and stiff with tension. “I don’t know. I—I guess I’m afraid that some day I’m going to discover that he really doesn’t trust me after all, and—” She stopped. It wasn’t even that, she realized. That’s not what she feared.

Karen gazed at her expectantly, silently encouraging her to continue.

Scully took a deep breath. “I’m afraid I’ll lose him. To his recklessness. Or to his fear.”

“His fear of trust?”

She shook her head.. “His fear of hurting me.”

“Your partner is afraid that he will hurt you in some way?”

“Yes.” Scully closed her eyes for a moment and immediately regretted it, for, permanently etched in her mind, her partner’s shock-deadened eyes glittered back at her in a cold, dark warehouse. She snapped her eyes open, but the horror of the image remained. “It’s his worst nightmare.”

“Is it interfering with your ability to work together?”

Scully glanced up quickly, barely hiding her alarm. “No.”

“But you believe it’s affecting your partner’s decision-making processes?”

“No.” It was a lie, a bald-faced lie. Of course it affected his decision-making processes. It affected hers, as well. It had been a huge part of the problems they had encountered on the Linda Bowman case—she had used their concern for each other to manipulate them from the beginning. And she was hardly the first adversary who’d used their closeness against them.

But the alternative was unthinkable. They weren’t as good apart as they were together. If the ordeal in the warehouse on Channel Avenue had taught her nothing else, it had taught her that. And a vital part of their strength, as partners, was their devotion to each other. It was the glue that held them together when the rest of the world spun apart around them.

“It doesn’t hurt our work,” she said aloud. She felt she was telling the truth this time—what problems their closeness created were eclipsed by the benefits. “I think it helps our work. I don’t have to wonder if he’ll be there to watch my back. I know he will. And he knows the same about me. It’s freeing.”

“But it hurts you both on a more personal level?”

Scully didn’t answer. She was afraid to say the wrong thing.

Karen shifted a little, giving her extra time to speak. When she realized Scully intended to remain silent, she continued. “The last time we spoke, we discussed your cancer and how it was affecting your partnership. Do you remember what you told me?”

“Yes.” She had admitted, maybe for the first time, how much she depended on Mulder for strength. It had been a breakthrough confession for her—she wasn’t a person who depended easily or often. “I remember.”

“Did you ever tell your partner how much you appreciated his strength?”

Scully sat back, the question catching her by surprise. Had she ever told him? In so many words?

No. Even during those dark days in the hospital, when they both knew she was dying, he was the only one who spoke of such things.

He had made her feel so loved, so cherished. He had told her that he depended on her to keep him honest, to help him make the right decisions.

But she’d never said a word in return. Never told him that she depended on him just as much.

“No,” she confessed aloud.

“Why not?”

Because I don’t want to depend on him. Because I’m afraid to depend on anyone but myself.

Because people go away. They die. They’re transferred.

“I guess I never thought he needed to hear it.” Another lie. Or maybe, just self-deception. Maybe she didn’t WANT him to need to hear it, because she was afraid to say it.

Karen Kosseff leaned toward her, pinning her with an all too perceptive gaze. “Do you still think that?”

No, Scully thought, I don’t.


5:14 pm

Where the hell was the coffee?

Mulder dug through the last unransacked cabinet and came up with a crumpled, empty bag that had once held a fine Columbian- Brazilian blend. But only a couple of grains spilled out on the counter when he unfolded the bag.

Damn it.

He flung the empty bag across the tiny kitchen and leaned against the sink, rubbing his throbbing temples. He knew he needed sleep. But he just didn’t have the guts to close his eyes tonight.

He grabbed his car keys from the table in the foyer and headed outside. There was a grocery store a few blocks away.

But when he reached the store, he kept on going.


6:28 p.m.

Scully’s afternoon had gone downhill after the session with Karen Kosseff. She’d stopped by the lab to check on the DNA workups on Linda Bowman and Robert Modell, hoping to find some anomaly that might begin to explain their strange “pushing” ability, but the lab was backlogged and wouldn’t have the workups for at least a week. And after that futile effort, Skinner had caught up with her in the hallway and told her that he’d sent Mulder home for the weekend—and she should do the same.

She had tried to catch Mulder at home but the machine had picked up. And his cell phone was useless, as she’d discovered when she stopped by their basement office to pick up her trenchcoat. His cell phone was lying on his desk, apparently forgotten by mistake or perhaps by design.

And now, to top off a lovely day, when she unlocked the door of her apartment, she saw that the light was on inside.

She paused in the half-opened door and reached behind her for her gun. Had Bowman found her way out of the prison ward at the hospital already?

Then Scully smelled it.

Coffee. Strong and fresh.

“Don’t shoot, Scully.” His voice was low, slightly dry. Definitely tired. She let her gun remain in the holster at the small of her back and entered her apartment.

Mulder sat at her small dining room table, his slim fingers closed around a stoneware mug. Steam rose, wraithlike, from the cup, veiling his weary face for a moment.

“Make yourself at home,” she murmured, dropping her trenchcoat over the back of the sofa.

“I ran out of coffee.” He sounded as if his words made perfect sense.

Hell, maybe they did.

“You need the whole pot, or is there enough for me?”

“Help yourself.” His glittering eyes told her that he was aware of the irony.

She crossed to the coffee pot and poured herself a large mug. She needed sleep as much as he did—but she needed to be here for him much more than she needed sleep. She carried her mug to the table and sat in the spindle-back chair to his left.

“Skinner told me not to show my face at the office before Monday.” Mulder swallowed a gulp of coffee. She could tell by the wince that it was hot and strong.

She made a mental note to blow on hers a while before taking a mouthful. “Good idea.”

“Bad idea. The last thing I need is a weekend alone with myself.”

“How about spending time with the Gunmen? Hasn’t Byers been nagging you to come check out all their new gizmos?”

His lips curved slightly. “Actually, it was Frohike’s gizmo, and I seem to recall he wanted YOU to check it out.”

She gave him a little kick under the table but bit back a smile. “Maybe I’ll come along, then.”

His gaze flickered back to her face. “On your off time?”

“Byers was going to show me a program he found at some computer show—it can take autopsy data and extrapolate to a series of 3-D cross-sections of the cadaver—so I can have a visual record of autopsies stored on a zip disk along with the report. Cool, huh?”

“God, I love it when you talk like that.” Mulder’s lips curved even more.

This is good, she thought, relaxing a little. He’s making cracks. Smiling a little. If it’s not the caffeine talking, it’s a good sign.

Then again, there was such a thing as whistling in the graveyard….

“I’m sorry for just barging in and making myself at home.”

She shook her head. “I’m glad you did. I was a little worried about you.”

He looked up sharply, and she realized she’d said the wrong thing. She couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t make things worse, so she remained silent, returning his smoldering gaze as steadily as she could.

He looked away first. “I guess you have good reason to.”

She nibbled her lip for a moment, then decided the best tactic was diversion. She rose from the table and went into the kitchen, opening her cabinet to see what she had that might be quick and easy to prepare for dinner. “How long since you’ve eaten, Mulder?”

“I think I had a bagel this morning.”

She stifled a sigh, knowing she didn’t have any room to scold him. She hadn’t even managed a bagel. “Feel like soup and sandwiches?”

“Feel like shit, actually—-but…”

She glanced over her shoulder. He wasn’t quite smiling, but he had lost that kicked-in-the-gut look he’d had a minute ago.

She opened a can of clam chowder and reached into the can to retrieve the fallen lid. But her finger slipped on the sharp edge, and the metal sliced into her skin.

“Damn!” She pulled her finger safely free of the can before it started bleeding, but the cut was ragged and moderately deep, and once it started, the blood spilled freely. She turned on the water and held her injured finger under the flow, pressing the wound to slow the bleeding.

“Jesus!” Mulder’s voice, right behind her, came out low and strangled.

She looked up at him. His face was ashen, his eyes dark like coals, fixed on the whirlpool of blood and water spilling down her drain. He suddenly lurched for the roll of paper towels hanging over the sink, pulling the holder down with it in his urgency. He ripped a couple of sheets from the roll and grabbed her hand, pressing the makeshift compress against her wounded finger. His grip was tight, almost painful, but Scully didn’t protest.

She couldn’t. Because this wasn’t about a cut finger.

This was about a man dealing with his deepest fear.

She wasn’t surprised when his soft, frantic oaths dissolved into voiceless sobs. He let go of her hand and just stood over her, his body hunched in silent, shaking agony.

Slowly, gently, she caught his hand and lifted it to her temple, pressing his fingers to the unblemished flesh at her hairline, silently reassuring him. She anchored his hand there until he found the strength to lift his eyes and look at her.

“It’s just a cut,” she murmured. “No harm done.” She released his hand, but he left his fingers against her temple. They tangled lightly in her hair.

He shook his head. “You were right, Scully. I should never have gone after Modell alone. I just—” He swallowed hard, his throat bobbing. “After the last time, what he almost made me do to you—” His voice faltered.

“I know.” She knew what it was to need revenge, to feel it burning like a fire in the gut. She’d felt it the night she held a gun on Luis Cardinal and knew, despite his protests, that he’d killed her sister. She’d known it in a quiet chapel in San Diego, when the only thing left of her little daughter was stolen from her. She knew better than Mulder realized.

“I’m sorry, Scully. I’m so sorry.” He bent his head, brushed his lips against her temple. His mouth was soft and warm against her skin; heat flooded through her at the touch. She wasn’t aware of moving, but suddenly she was holding him, her arms tight around his waist, her face pressed into the hollow of his throat.

“It’s okay,” she murmured softly against his skin.

They stayed there, in the quiet heat of each other, while time stood still for them. But soon, the sound of the water still gushing into the sink seeped into Scully’s consciousness, reminding her that there was still a world around them, still a bleeding finger, still two empty stomachs to be fed.

She pulled away from him slightly, and he let her go, reaching up to swipe at his wet eyes with his thumb and middle finger. She caught his other hand and gave a little tug, drawing him with her into the living room. “How about we order pizza or something?” she asked, gesturing for him to sit on the sofa while she picked up the phone.

He sat, watching her with a sad, quiet gaze while she phoned in an order. She hung up the phone and sat next to him, closer than usual, needing to feel him near her, his heat enveloping her. She sensed that now was the time to tell him what she had told Karen Kosseff all those months ago. If ever he needed to hear it, now was the time.


He covered her hand swiftly, stilling the words in her throat. He gave a little shake of his head. “I have to tell you….” His words died away before his lips stopped moving.

“No.” It was her turn. “I have to tell you. Something I should have said a long time ago.” She licked her lips and steeled her courage. “When I found out I had cancer, it felt like someone had ripped me open and gutted me. I worked really hard at coming to grips with it, but I was scared.” Tears burned her eyes, and she blinked them away. “I wasn’t ready to go. I had things I wanted to do. Things I needed—things I needed to do.”

His grip on her hand tightened almost painfully. But she reveled in the pressure, let it bolster her.

“I was sicker than I let you know. There were days I could barely pull myself out of bed and get dressed. I threw up half of everything I ate, and I wasn’t eating that much to begin with.” She took a deep breath. “I was dying, and I didn’t know how to stop it. And then, after a while, I think I realized that I couldn’t stop it. I came so close to just giving up. Just letting it happen.”

She heard his soft, guttural moan, but she couldn’t look at him. If she looked at him, she wouldn’t be able to finish what she had to say. “Mulder, the only thing that got me through those last few months was knowing that you were there, fighting for me when I didn’t have the strength to fight for myself.” Tears spilled down her cheeks. She heard the shuddery sound of his breathing and knew he was crying, too. She squeezed his hand, swallowed the lump in her throat, and continued. “You were my rock, and you didn’t let me down. Not then—and not now.”

“How can you say that?” His voice was a raspy whisper.

“Because it’s the truth. Linda Bowman put us both in a no-win situation—and we both did what we had to do.”

“At what cost?”

“We’re alive, Mulder. We’re here together and we’re alive. Maybe that’s not the same as winning.” A watery chuckle escaped her throat. “But it sure beats the hell out of the alternative.”

His answering chuckle spilled over her like sunshine. She basked in its warmth during its short, sweet duration. It died away too soon.

She squeezed his hand. “Stay here tonight, Mulder. I have extra blankets, and the couch is really pretty comfortable.”

He shot her a sidelong glance. “Scully are you coming on to me?”

“You know what they say—-if you have to ask….” She retreated to the kitchen to clean up the mess in the sink and bandage her injured finger. With her back safely turned, she indulged in a smile.

They could do this, she thought. They were going to be okay.

One step at a time.

– End –


5.09 “Struggling Green” – post “Schizogeny”

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox network. I mean no infringement.

This is a SONNET story, post-Schizogeny, and contains some spoilers.

Category: VA, M/S UST Rating: PG-13 for language and some mild to spicy innuendo All other information withheld at the request of the author.

SONNET: “Struggling Green” by Anne Haynes


I think of thee! —my thoughts do twine and bud

About thee, as wild vines, about a tree,

Put out broad leaves, and soon there’s nought to see

Except the struggling green which hides the wood.

Yet, O my palm-tree, be it understood

I will not have my thoughts instead of thee

Who art dearer, better!

Rather, instantly

Renew thy presence, as a strong tree should,

Rustle thy boughs and set thy trunk all bare,

And let these bands of greenery which insphere thee,

Drop heavily down, —-burst, shattered everywhere!

Because, in this deep joy to see and hear thee,

And breathe within thy shadow a new air,

I do not think of thee—-I am too near thee.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning


The Hazelnut Inn

Coats Grove, MI

8:59 p.m.

The rain had been intermittent since their arrival in Coats Grove, but chilly mid-winter drizzle was nothing new to Dana Scully. She and Mulder had put in plenty of time under an umbrella over the past few years.

The power outage, however, was damned inconvenient.

She had gathered a decent first aid kit from her own personal stash and a few things she’d found in the motel gift shop. Besides the scratches on Mulder’s head, she suspected there’d be other scrapes and bruises he’d need her to tend to once he finished washing away the mud that had almost swallowed him.

She shuddered, remembering the sight of him, buried chest deep in the bog. A few more inches….

She pushed away the thought. It hadn’t happened. He was okay. Bobby and Lisa were safe. And tomorrow morning, they’d get someone to drive them to the airport in Lansing and they could put this muddy little town and this unsettling case far, far behind them.

She’d procured some emergency candles from the motel office, but for some ungodly reason, the motel manager couldn’t find any matches. “There’s probably a book in your room,” he’d promised her.

He’d been wrong.

She grabbed the candles anyway, stuffing them in her small canvas tote bag along with the first aid supplies. If she was lucky, Mulder would have a book of matches in his room. If not, she could use her flashlight to look him over. She tucked the flashlight in the tote bag as well.

Pathetic, really, how much she was looking forward to playing doctor. Maybe because it was something constructive she could actually DO here. She’d felt ineffectual for most of this case—not much to do when your only suspects are a disappearing woodsman and a hazelnut grove. She didn’t like feeling superfluous.

Mulder didn’t answer her knock on his motel room door. Though not the sort to worry without reason, Scully couldn’t forget the blow to the head Mulder had sustained. Concussion was a real danger. So she felt no compunction about using her lock pick gun to open the door to Mulder’s room.

The sound of the shower running eased her fears a bit. No doubt her partner was busily scrubbing all that grimy Michigan mud out of his various nooks and crannies.

Now THERE was a distracting thought….

She tucked that little mental image away for later and put her tote bag on Mulder’s bed. She pulled out her flashlight and crossed to the dressing area next to the bathroom. Unlike her room, Mulder’s was generously stocked with freebies— complimentary soap, shampoo, lotions, even bath gel.

And one book of matches, lying out on the sink. A single match was missing.

Scully shut off the flashlight and let her eyes adjust to the gloom enough that she could see the faint glow coming from the narrow crack between the bathroom door and the floor.

Mulder was showering by candlelight.

Naked. Wet.

She’d seen him naked and wet before, of course. But he’d been in shock one time—and in cardiac arrest the other. Not quite the same as naked, wet and in relatively good health, bump on the head notwithstanding. Or lit by the warm glow of candlelight, which she knew, from experience, burnished his skin to a velvety gold. Scully swallowed with difficulty.

Matches. You came here for matches.

She picked up the book of matches and extracted one, raking the tip of the match over the flint. It sparked and hissed to life. She lit the wick of one of the emergency candles and anchored it, with a few drops of wax, into a small glass drinking cup. She lit the other four candles she’d found and put them in cups as well, setting them around the small room to shed as much light as possible.

Funny how candlelight could add instant atmosphere, even to a dingy little dive like the Hazelnut Inn.

She sat on Mulder’s bed. It was softer than hers, she noted. And the coverlet wasn’t nearly as worn. She suspected that if she pulled back the covers, she’d find that the sheets weren’t as threadbare or faded as the ones on her room, either.

Because housekeeping was predominantly female. And Mulder was an outrageous flirt when it suited him. Of course, he seemed to insinctively pick the moments when she couldn’t call his bluff—like when an axe-wielding psycho was sneaking up on them.

A little shiver rippled over her. She and axes did NOT mix. Not since her ordeal with the cannibals in Dudley, Arkansas. And the mysterious woodsman had seemed to come out of nowhere, startling her before she could come up with a smart-ass reply to her partner’s teasing come-on.

Oddly, the woodsman seemed to have disappeared exactly the same way. Once the mud had settled tonight, the axe-man was nowhere to be found, and neither Mrs. Rich, her son nor Lisa Biaocchi had any idea who he might be. The local authorities had merely looked at Mulder and Scully as if they’d lost their minds when they filed their report on the incident in the hazelnut grove. Scully was more than ready to turn the whole mess over to the Coats Grove police department and get the hell out of Dodge.

Around the corner, the sound of the shower died away, replaced by the whisper of rain sheeting against the motel room windows. Scully reached for her tote bag and pulled out her first aid supplies, getting ready for Mulder.

It wasn’t until she heard the bathroom door open that she realized she hadn’t given him any warning of her presence.


Hazelnut Inn Coats Grove, MI 11:45 p.m.

The room was relatively warm—gas heat was a wonderful thing, Fox Mulder thought as he emerged from the steamy bathroom into the dressing area. The damp towel he was using to dry his hair obscured his sight, but most motel rooms were depressingly similar, and he and Scully had been in their share of dives over the past few years. Forward three steps to clear the wall that hid the bathroom door from the bedroom area, then ten steps to the left to the bed.

On step eight, he froze.

For one thing, even with the towel over his head, he could tell that there was more light in the room than there should have been.

And for another thing, a small pair of white tennis shoes had invaded the heretofore uniform stretch of dingy beige carpet demarcating his path to the bed.

He whipped the towel off his head and looked up into the candlelit eyes of his partner. Thoughts raced through his mind at the speed of light, jumbled and frenetic.

It’s Scully.

Scully. On his bed.

V-necked blouse gaping open a bit. Mysterious, tempting shadows….

He was dripping on the carpet.




He wrapped the towel around his hips, preserving what little dignity he had left. “God, Scully, could you make a little noise next time?”

Her lips curved slightly, so slightly that he wasn’t sure what he was seeing until her voice emerged, low and smoky. “What little noise would you like me to make?”

He felt every nerve in his body go on full, instant alert. This was NOT how they played this game.

He rolled the ends of the towel together and tucked them snugly against his belly with hands that trembled just a bit more than the moderate coolness of the motel room warranted. He felt naked—okay, he WAS naked—and way off balance. What happened to the partner he’d left scowling by her motel room door? Or the woman who’d barely acknowledged his presence since they got to town to look into the strange case of Phil Rich and his belly full of Michigan mud? Who’d called him a grave robber?

He stole a glance at her as he crossed to the small dresser next to the bed to grab a pair of underwear. She was looking him up and down, concentration creasing the skin between her eyes.

Was she checking him out?

“Wait, don’t put those on,” she said as he snagged a pair of gray boxer-briefs.

He froze and cut his eyes at her. She met his gaze, the hint of a smile curving her lips.

Dear God.

Had he brushed his teeth? Washed behind his ears? Would she want to call him Fox now? What WAS the normal life span of a condom left unmolested in a guy’s wallet—

Her eyebrow arched slightly. “Looks like you got a few nasty scrapes.” Her little smile widening just a bit, she looked away from him and reached for a canvas tote bag lying on the bed next to her. “Let me make sure they’re cleaned up and disinfected.”

Jesus, Scully!

She’d done that on purpose. Set him up. He felt like throttling her—except he knew he was WAY ahead in the racy innuendo game, so he could hardly blame her for taking an easy shot at him.

But why now? What had made Scully decide to come out and play?

His heart still racing wildly at the close call, he dropped the boxer-briefs on the bed next to her. She moved them out of her way, and Mulder found himself inordinately fascinated by the sight of her fingers tangled in the soft gray cotton. He forced his gaze away before his body began to embarrass him.

Scully picked up a small emergency candle in a glass tumbler. “Come stand here beside me—you have a big scratch on your back.”

He did as she asked, turning his back to her. The touch of her cool fingers on his still-damp skin sent a vibration of awareness through him. He felt the warmth of her breath as she bent for a closer look.

“Must have caught a small root on the way down,” she murmured. Her fingers moved over his back, slathering something cool and soothing over the stinging scratch. “Not too deep, though.”

Her fingers dipped lower down his back, skittering across his hips just above the edge of the towel. He couldn’t suppress a shiver.

“Mmm, nasty bruise. Nice and purple. You’ll be feeling that for days.”

He’d be feeling her fingers on his hips for days, that was for sure. Days and nights. Long, sleepless, hot and bothered nights….

“Any mosquito bites, while you’re back there?” he asked, trying to distract himself from the growing certainty that his body was about to betray him.

Her fingers danced across the muscled swell where his back met his hips, tracing phantom circles. “Nope. No mosquito bites. Not the season.”

Was this how she’d felt, he wondered. That rainy night all those years ago in Oregon, when they’d barely known each other, when he’d thought she was a spy and she’d thought—-

What? What HAD she thought? That he was a jerk? That he was crazy?

Yes. And yes. God knows he’d done his best to convince her so. Like the time he’d pulled off the road and spray painted the big orange X on the pavement. Scully’s expression had been priceless. A chuckle escaped his lips.

“Ticklish?” Scully asked.

“Actually, I was still thinking about that case in Oregon.”

She made a soft, “hmm,” sound behind him and moved her hands lower.

Over his ass.

God almighty.

“Anything hurt when I touch it?” she asked.

He shook his head almost violently. No, not when you touch it. It’s when you DON’T touch it that it hurts….

“How about here?” She slipped her hands down under his buttocks, pressing her fingers lightly against the backs of his thighs through the thin terry cloth of the motel towel.

“No, that’s fine, too.” Short of racing from the room screaming, Mulder had to stand there and take his partner’s fiendish little torture. The strange thing was, he was pretty sure she knew exactly what she was doing to him.

He just didn’t know why.

Her fingers traced a slow, thorough route down the backs of his legs, dipping into the crease behind his knees and grazing over the muscular swell of his calves. His whole body was on fire, flushed and tightening. And any minute, God help him, she was going to make him turn around so she could check out the front side. Boy did he have a surprise for her….

“Okay—all done.”

Mulder froze. All done?

All fucking done?

He whirled around to face her, certain he would find her smiling like a kitten in the cream.

But instead, he found her eyes wide and wary as they gazed up at him.

She was afraid.

He stared back, stunned. She was afraid? Of him? Of herself? Of what she’d just done?

She looked away, busying her hands with the leftover first aid supplies. But the movements didn’t hide the trembling of her hands. “I’ll leave you the antibiotic ointment—-think you can reach that scratch on your back?”

“Yeah,” he replied, his eyes narrowing slightly. What the hell had just happened here?

She tucked the rest of the supplies in her tote bag, then finally turned to look up at him again. In her candlelit eyes he saw equal parts apology and wariness. “I’ll see you in the morning—”

He spoke before he realized he was going to. “No, Scully.”

Her eyes darkened.

“Stay,” he said softly.

He couldn’t read her expression now. Maybe it was better that way. Maybe it made it easier to resist the less-than-noble ravenings of his body as he sat down next to her on the bed. She didn’t pull away from him, but she didn’t exactly throw herself into his arms, either. Not that he expected her to. He was beginning to think he knew what was going on with her now.

It was all about control. Having it. Keeping it. Getting it back.

She wasn’t afraid he’d take advantage of her. She was afraid that he’d be angry because she’d pulled back before delivering on her unspoken offer.

He wondered if something like that had happened to her before. Maybe Jack Willis, or that fucking psycho in Philadelphia. The thought made him ill.

He nudged his shoulder gently against hers. “I took a knock on the head when I crashed the car. I might have a concussion. Aren’t you supposed to keep me awake or something?”

Her lips curved a little. It was a nice start. “Or something.”

His own lips responded in a half-smile. “So? Wanna have a slumber-not party?”

She nibbled her lower lip, considering. “You’re not going to tell ghost stories are you? Because you stink at ghost stories.”

“No ghost stories.” He reached behind her and grabbed his gray boxer-briefs. “I’ll go get dressed.”

She made a little huffing sound that might have been a laugh. “And I’ll go grab my pajamas and my teddy bear. Make a night of it.”

He glanced at the mirror as he turned the corner to the bathroom. In the reflection, he saw her watching him, her gaze hovering somewhere around his backside.

He grinned and closed the bathroom door behind him.

Yeah, you still got it, Mulder.


Hazelnut Inn Coats Grove, MI 11:45 p.m.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my father as angry as he was that night.” Scully laid her head back against the edge of the motel bed, her face turned toward where Mulder lay curled on his side beneath the coverlet. His head was propped on one hand, and to his credit, he wasn’t yawning yet.

“Did he punish you?” he asked.

“Oh yeah.” The memory could still make her cringe. “I had to wake my mother out of a dead sleep and tell her that I’d defied her wishes by sneaking out of the house to see an R-rated movie with my friends.”

“What movie?”

Scully frowned. “Something with Brooke Shields and sex. Not BLUE LAGOON.”

Mulder’s lips twitched slightly, but he had the decency not to laugh. “So you had to confess to your mother? That was all the punishment you got?”

“Well, I was grounded for two weeks, too. But I’d rather have taken a beating than face my mother’s disappointment.”

Mulder’s expression didn’t change, but he shifted slightly on the bed. “Your dad was strict?”

“They both were. Catholic upbringing, you know.”

“But they loved you.”

She smiled slightly. “Yeah. That’s why they were strict.”

He rolled onto his back, folding his hands behind his head. His gaze rose to the ceiling, where the glow of candlelight drew shifting patterns of light and shadow across the sheetrock. “I was thinking about Karin Matthews. What her father did to her. I wonder if it explains what happened out there in the hazelnut grove tonight.”

Scully turned and rose to her knees, resting her forearms on the bed. “How so?”

“Maybe Karin had some sort of…connection to the trees. Maybe a form of psychokinesis that enabled her to affect the trees at the cellular level, to control their movements to the point that—-“

“Control their movements?” Scully arched her eyebrow. “Mulder, trees may be moved by wind but they don’t move on their own.”

“But they do, Scully. Trees have sap moving inside them. They grow. Their roots spread.”

“Over a span of years, Mulder—-not seconds.”

“Then how do you explain how the roots of those trees grabbed my ankle and pulled me under the mud?” He rolled back on his side, his gaze challenging.

“There’s been a lot of rain here, Mulder. The ground is soft. And you could easily have snagged your foot on a root. You were dealing with a panicked boy, and you’d just taken a pretty hard knock on the head in the accident.” She shook her head slightly.

“So I imagined it?”

“Would you rather that I tell you the trees were trying to devour you?”

He was silent. So was she. The moment spooled out endlessly between them.

He broke the silence finally. “Still, there’s a certain poetry to the idea.”

“Poetry?” She cocked her head.

“Karin Matthews, cruelly abused by her father, finds solace in the trees. In nature, where animals protect their young with a primal savagery.”

“Survival of the species,” Scully murmured.

“Kinda makes you wonder who’s the beast in this tale, huh?”

She knew who the beast was. Karin’s father—-and what his cruelty had wrought in his child. “He reaped what he sowed.”

“Survival of the species.” Mulder echoed her earlier words. “Even after death, Matthews kept recreating himself in his daughter.”

“Because she couldn’t let herself let go of him once and for all.” Scully tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “Do you think she dug up her father’s body?”


“I can’t shake what Bobby told us. About the ‘therapy’ sessions Karin was putting him through.” Scully held back a shudder. “My God, the poor kids. Already troubled, already full of doubts and fears, and she does that to them.”

“Making them believe their fathers were abusing them. Putting those thoughts in their heads.” Mulder’s frown deepened, his voice fading as if he were disappearing from her. She had the strangest urge to reach out and catch his hand, to pull him back to her.

But when he spoke again, his voice was stronger. “And now Lisa Biaocchi has no one.”

Scully looked down at her clasped hands. “I talked to her a little bit. While you were talking with Bobby and the police.” The girl’s tear-stained face haunted Scully, even now. “Before her mother’s death, she and her father were very close. He doted on her, treated her like a princess. But when her mother died, it all changed. At least—that’s how Lisa saw it.”

“He became more strict?”

Scully nodded. “Maybe it was his way of making sure he didn’t lose Lisa, too. I got the feeling that he’d taken his wife’s death very hard. That the marriage had been good.”

“Surviving is hard on everyone.”

Scully met his gaze. They both knew a little something about that.

“The part that keeps coming back to me, though—” Mulder shook his head, his eyes sad. “I keep remembering what the woodsman said about the blight. About how it came about because of a bad man. And how it didn’t go away until he did.”

She nodded. “You think he was talking about Karin’s father.”

“I know he was. And that’s the scariest part of all.” Mulder’s fingers plucked at the thin beige coverlet. “There was a man down the road beating the shit out of his kid, and all anyone could see was the blight on the trees and how that was going to affect their livelihoods.”

She looked down at her clasped hands. “While the biggest blight of all went unnoticed.”

Mulder sighed. “And did a hell of a lot more damage than a tree disease.”

“People see what they want to see.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

She reached across the bed, laying her hand on his arm. “But the truth has a way of coming out in the end. And whatever it was that happened out there in the hazelnut grove tonight, at least it’s over now. Bobby and Lisa are free of Karin Matthews and her abuse.”

“I’m not sure you ever get free of something like that.” His voice darkened. Roughened.

She squeezed his arm. “But maybe you learn from it.”

He met her eyes. A ghost of a smile kissed his lips. “Maybe.”

She had to believe it. That tragedy had a moral. That pain had a purpose. Some days, it was the only thing that kept her going.

She looked at her partner, at his dear familiar face, and wondered what kept him going. Once, she had thought it was his beliefs, his quixotic faith in extreme possibilities. But those beliefs had taken a blow in recent days. His certainty was gone, replaced by a pensive wariness. He still wanted to believe; she could see it in his eyes, even now.

Because it was so much harder to believe that all the atrocities they’d witnessed over the past few years were the offspring of human evil.

Easier to blame it on little green men.

But he was a man of integrity. A man of honor. His faith was not in what he wanted to believe but in the truth. And if he’d flirted with apostasy for a while, if he’d indulged in hubris, he had also found his way back to his faith when it mattered most.

When she’d needed him most.

“God, we’re depressing,” Mulder muttered.

She chuckled. “Speak for yourself.”

“We need to liven this party up, Scully.” His eyes glinted with humor. “I could tell you about the ghost of Sloss Furnace—”

“No.” She shook her head firmly.

“—or we could play a game.”

“We don’t have any cards.”

“A word game.”

She cut her eyes at him, suspicious. “What kind of word game?”

“Word association?”



“Mulder, I’m not playing.”

“Why not?” His eyes glittered in the golden light of the candles. “Chicken?”

That was dirty pool. Better think of something to distract him before she let Mr. PhD-in-Psychology-From-Oxford strip her psyche naked. “How about the alphabet game?”

“You mean Anna Anna Bo Banna—”

She quirked her brows. “No, that’s the name game. This is the alphabet game. You pick a subject, like flowers—-and try to come up with a flower name that starts with each letter of the alphabet.”

“There’s no flower that starts with X.”

She sighed. “So we’ll pick another subject. Movies with one word titles.”

He frowned. “You can get that specific?”

I can if I’m making up the rules, she thought, stifling a sly grin. “Alien.”

He made a little face. “Bolero.”


“Bo Derek. Naked.”

She hid a smile. “Cocoon.”


She was sensing a theme. “Porno movies don’t count.”

He shot her a grin. “Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich.”

“Oh.” She smiled a bit sheepishly. “Um…Eraserhead.”

“Ooo, Scully—wild thang.” He rolled onto his back and folded his hands over his flat stomach. But his gaze never left her face. “Let’s see…F. F. Something that starts with F….”

He was taunting her now. Payback for earlier. He may not have been angry before, thank God, but he was keeping score. The bastard.

She gave a little shake of her head, nibbling her lip to keep from grinning. She’d thought better of him, really she had—

“Flesh.” He savored the word.

She wasn’t going to touch that with a ten foot pole—or any other kind of pole. “Ghostbusters,” she quickly countered.

“Tell the truth, Scully—you had a secret yen for Igon. I know how that science jargon turns you on.” Amusement sparkled in his eyes.

Only one answer for that. “Yeah,” she deadpanned. “I’d do him.”

Mulder uttered a soft laugh. His gaze held hers, affection and consternation battling for primacy. His laugh died away, and for a long, thick moment, their eyes locked in silent battle.

This was one of those moments in time, Scully thought, when a single word, a single touch could change their lives forever. It was exhilarating. It was terrifying.

Mulder pushed off the coverlet and sat up on the edge of the bed next to her. Her breath caught in her throat.

He took her hands and pulled her to her feet. Though he was safely clad in sweats and a t-shirt, her mind supplied what lay beneath, the long, lean planes of his back, the angles of his hips, the ridge of his spine. His skin had been hot and silky, pliant beneath her touch. She wondered what it would feel like to be naked against him, to feel his body enclose her own. She wondered if she was about to find out.

“Time for bed,” he said softly. Her heart raced with frightened anticipation.

But he led her toward the door.

For a moment, she considered protesting. To insist that she stay, that she take him to bed and take her pleasure and give it in return. Just to prove she could. That she was in control.

But this wasn’t the night, and this definitely wasn’t the place. And Mulder was right to send her back to her own room, before control became the last thing on their minds.

He unlocked the door and opened it, leaning against the jamb. His gaze moved over her like a warm ocean tide. “Hazard,” he murmured.

She quirked an eyebrow.

A smile broke gently across his face. “George Marshall, Paulette Goddard.” He bent and brushed his lips against hers. Softly. Sweetly. “Goodnight.”

With a sigh, she started down the breezy outdoor corridor to her room, wrapping her robe tightly around her. She sensed Mulder’s gaze following her, felt his regard like a physical thing. A few steps further, she stopped and turned around. He still stood in the doorway of his room, watching her.


He cocked his head slightly. “Yeah?”


He grinned. Smiling herself, she turned and continued to her room.

– End –


7.02 “Fortune and Men’s Eyes” – post “TSE: Amor Fati”

DISCLAIMER: I own none of the characters seen and mentioned in this story. Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network do. I mean no infringement of copyright.

CATEGORY: VA RATING: PG SPOILERS: “Amor Fati” and anything before is game KEYWORDS: MSR-ish, SONNET series SUMMARY: Two touchstones and a beach

SONNET: “Fortune and Men’s Eyes”

by Anne Haynes


When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

—William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXIX


The beach was nearly deserted, even the hardiest of Maryland natives driven indoors by the chilly breeze coming off the Atlantic. The rock-strewn sand of Assateague stretched out like an alien landscape in front of Dana Scully as she stepped out of the driver’s seat of her car. The wind tossed her hair into her eyes, nearly obscuring the sight of Fox Mulder emerging from the other side of the car.

She pushed her hair back and studied him through narrowed eyes, looking for signs of frailty. Under his ever-present Yankees cap, his face looked remarkably seamless and healthy for a man who’d undergone brain surgery. His eyes were a shimmery gray today, mirroring the gunmetal sea. He turned his head and pinned her with a serene gaze that made her insides twist. Tendrils of short-cropped brown hair danced along the edges of his head bandage.

“This must be the place,” he said.

She closed the driver’s door and walked around the car toward him. “Shouldn’t we have found a place to stay first?”

“It’s off season. We’ll sweet-talk somebody into finding us a place to stay in Ocean City. No problem.” His placid gaze never wavered.

“You know, maybe we should have talked to your doctors first—”

He shushed her with one long finger against her lips. The touch was warm, spreading through her in spirals of heat. A strange sort of calm followed in the wake of the warmth.

Mulder slipped his arm over her shoulder, the move casual and unthreatening. She relaxed against his side, letting him support her for once. “This is a great place, Scully—ever been here before?”

“When we lived in Annapolis—I was in high school by then—we’d come down here sometimes to see the ponies. Mostly just mom and Charlie and me, but Dad would come when he was home. Bill and Missy were grown by then, doing their own thing—” She fell silent, already tired of the sound of her own voice. Saying everything but what she wanted to say.

They had been through so much, processed so much over the last few days that Scully wasn’t sure what side was up. Diana’s funeral this morning, Mulder’s sudden but implacable decision to get out of D.C. for the weekend—she hadn’t had time to think in hours. All her time had been spent packing a bag and driving herself and Mulder three hours east to the Maryland shore.

“Take off your shoes and let’s go for a walk.” Mulder slipped his arm from around her, already kicking off his running shoes. He bent and started to pull off his socks.

“Mulder, it’s too cold—and you’re still recuperating.”

He shot her a look.

“Do you know what kind of germs you can pick up on a beach? Step on a sandspur or—”

“Shut up, Scully, and take off your shoes.” He said the words kindly, but there was steel behind them.

She pressed her lips together and tried one more time. “Mulder, I’m serious.”

Now barefooted, he rose and looked at her. “I’m not sick, Scully. I’ve never felt better in my life. Let me enjoy it, okay? Enjoy it with me.”

He held out his hand to her. She looked at the long fingers, the upturned palm, and remembered closing her fingers around that hand, squeezing it, begging him to hold on long enough for her to find a way to save him.

Kicking off her sneakers and the thick wool socks warming her feet, she took his hand.

The path to the beach was gently sloping, the cold sand loose and shifting beneath her bare feet, slowing their walk. Halfway there, her calves began to protest; she glanced at Mulder to see if the extra effort was taking a toll on his weakened condition. But he looked well. Content, even.

He stopped a few yards from the ocean’s edge and spread the thin wool blanket he’d carried down from the car, gesturing to her to sit. She took the left side of the blanket and tucked her toes under her, shivering slightly as a gust of cold wind lifted her hair and kissed the back of her neck. He took his seat next to her, not quite touching but close enough for her to feel a wall of warmth radiating from his body.

“I’ve never been here during the off season,” she commented, looking down the stretch of undeveloped beach. There were few visitors; stragglers spotted the beach here and there, hardy hikers dressed for the cool, damp weather. “I think the horses only hang around the beaches during the summer.”

“Do you remember what they looked like? From your other visits here?” Mulder leaned her way, stretching out almost across her lap to retrieve something from the sand near the edge of the blanket.

“The horses?” Her voice shook a little as his shoulder brushed across her breast on his way back up.

He’d fetched a slender piece of driftwood from the sand, she saw; he began to run the stick through the sand, leaving a wavery trail in its wake. “Yeah.”

“Well, they’re—they’re smaller than normal horses. Shorter— pony size. Um—they seem a little fatter than your average horse—rounder.”

“Do you know why?”

“Overfeeding from tourists?” she ventured.

He shook his head slightly. “No—tourists are strongly warned against feeding the horses. Didn’t you see the signs when we stopped at the park entrance?”

She hadn’t. She’d been too busy watching him for any sign of pain or illness.

“The Assateague feral horses eat a high-salt diet. Sometimes they even drink salt water. So they have to drink twice as much fresh water as domestic horses. That’s what makes them look so round.” The lines Mulder was drawing began to form a shape. Vaguely triangular. Scully watched the tendons ripple on the back of his hand as he sketched.

“That can’t be good for them,” she murmured.

“You might think that,” he conceded. “But after so many years adapting to their environment, the Assateague horses can’t properly digest ‘normal’ food. The diet of a common domestic horse would be detrimental to the digestive system of an Assateague horse. It could even have grave effects on his overall health.”

Scully licked her lips, her gaze locked on the back of Mulder’s hand, where she noticed a pin-prick of red caused by the I.V. needle from his hospital stay. “Moral of the story—please don’t feed the horses?” Her voice came out raspy and raw.

He made a soft chuffing sound. “Something like that.”

Beneath the efforts of his hand, the triangle in the sand was taking on details: a circle in the center, a series of etched patterns along the edges. It took a moment for the patterns to register. When they did, she pulled back slightly, staring.

Mulder withdrew the makeshift stylus and looked at her. “The Assateague ponies are really pretty happy, Scully. They run, they play, they fight. They love. They mate. It’s a different life—but it’s a good life.”

The cold wind pricked her eyes, drawing tears. She blinked them away, looking down at the triangular shape Mulder had fashioned in the sand.

I don’t know what to believe.

She’d said those words to Mulder only a couple of days ago, in the doorway of his apartment. They were still true—with the exception of Mulder. She believed in Mulder. In his goodness and integrity, in his constancy in her life.

But her science and her God….

“This is the ship you saw in Africa.” It wasn’t a question; Mulder’s voice was calm and sure.

She nodded, blinking away another wave of tears.

“I saw it, too.”


Mulder reached out and pressed his fingertips against her forehead. “In here.”

For a second, panic shot through her. She’d known— intellectually, at least—what was happening to Mulder when he fell ill. She even believed him when he’d told her what he’d sensed from Skinner’s mind, the guilt and fear and shame.

But fear or denial or just plain mortification had kept her from contemplating what Mulder might have seen in her own mind.

“I don’t remember every detail—the world was noisy and mad when you came to me in the hospital. But I heard you. And I felt you—your fears and your questions about what you’d seen.”

She looked down at the triangle etched in sand—lines and circles, shapes as simple and essential as building blocks. But they represented something complex and mysterious. Maybe even unknowable.

Like the truth. Like the future.

“There’s something else about Assateague horses, Scully.”

She looked away from the sand sketch and met his gaze. She fished around her brain for a clever remark, something to deflect him from whatever it was he was about to tell her. But nothing came to mind.

“Nobody really knows how they got here.” Mulder reached out and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, his fingertip lingering a moment on the curve of cartilage before his hand dropped to his side. “The romantic version is that they struggled ashore from a shipwrecked Spanish galleon. Most experts think they were simply brought here by settlers and allowed to roam free, with the bay and the ocean as their corral.” He gave a little smile. “There are probably other stories, don’t you think?”

She nodded, understanding. “There always are.”

His smile widened. Just a bit. “But they got here somehow. Whether by accident or design—they got here. And this place wouldn’t be nearly as special without them, would it?”

Her eyes stung again, and this time she didn’t bother to blame the wind. “No, it wouldn’t.”

His gaze lingered on her face a moment longer. Then he gave an exaggerated shiver. “Brr—it’s freezing out here, Scully. And you let me come out here barefooted?”

She made a face. “You said you were fine.”

“I just had my head cracked open, Scully—you’re going to listen to a man who just had his head cracked open?” He pushed up from the blanket and towered over her, stamping his feet as if to work some sensation back into the frozen appendages. He tucked his hands beneath his arms to warm them. “What kind of doctor are you?”

She stood as well. “A pathologist.” She grabbed up the sand-crusted blanket and gave it a shake in his direction, grinning at his howl of indignation. Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, she started running toward the car.

Beneath her running feet, the sand shifted and churned. The salt-sweet tang of sea air filled her pumping lungs. Cold wind scraped her cheeks and sent her short hair flying out, mane-like, behind her. She felt lighter, somehow, than when she’d arrived in this place.

More alive.

Mulder was behind her, jogging just hard enough to keep up. She slowed, not wanting him to over-do, about to turn and call out an admonition when she saw them: a small band of horses moving along at a slow trot about two hundred yards away from the beach road.

Mulder jogged up beside her. “Run out of gas?”

She shushed him, pointing at the horses. They kept moving, sparing the two humans only a brief glance.

Places to go. People to see. Lives to live.

Mulder’s hand slid over the small of her back, coming to rest in a spot that she sometimes thought belonged to him alone.

“Beautiful,” he murmured.

She nodded, watching in silence until the horses disappeared from sight.

The End

Author’s notes: I’ve never been to Assateague, although I used to own the Misty of Chincoteague doll. Any inaccuracies, I apologize for—-there are some great websites about Assateague, but they can’t answer every little question.


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