Stain of Purity by Nicknoc

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From: “Nicknoc” <>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 20:01:26 +1100
Subject: xfc: NEW: Stain of Purity (1 of 11)
From: “Nicknoc” <>

TITLE: Stain of Purity

AUTHOR: Nicknoc

EMAIL:

RATING: NC-17

CATEGORY: MSR, Case File

ARCHIVE: Gossamer, Spookys, Ephemeral, Blue Velvet, anywhere, just let me know.

DISCLAIMER: Not mine.

SPOILERS: Not really.

FEEDBACK: Yes please at

SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully investigate a series of abductions.

DATE POSTED: 15 February, 2000

NOTES: Thanks so much to my beta crew. Thanks to bugs and Jessica for a tireless and thorough ‘deep-tissue’ beta, and thanks to Amanda and Barb for de-Australianizing this for me. My gratitude is endless… At the time of writing I had not seen any Season 7 eps, except for The Sixth Extinction. Therefore, this fic makes no reference to Season 7.

–––––

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 1 of 11

She didn’t struggle as her wrists were bound to the table legs. She wasn’t calm, but she didn’t resist. She merely recognized the futility in opposition.

Her head hung back over the table, her hair a knotted red waterfall. The wooden edge dug into the tender skin of her neck. She rolled her eyes back into their sockets, trying to escape into a dark corner of her mind. But she was unable to block out the feeling of cool, gritty liquid being poured through her hair, and warm blood being daubed on her stomach.

Then, something different. A pause in the routine.

Rough hands grasped at her hair, and pulled it tautly from her scalp. The last thing she heard was his roar of anger before she blacked out with the pain.

_____

Four days later FBI Building 7th April, 2000 9.15 AM

“You’re late,” she said in a cool voice as he walked into the office.

“I know that,” he responded testily. What was she? His personal alarm clock? “I spilled coffee down my shirt on the way here, and had to go back and change. And I burned myself – the coffee was boiling.”

He flung his coat over the back of his chair, and turned to her with a bad-tempered pout. Okay, he was playing it up a little for the audience, but there was nothing better to distract Scully from his failings than an injury.

“Let me see,” said Scully, beckoning for him to move closer. She moved his tie aside and undid two buttons of his shirt to run her fingers down the skin of his chest.

“It looks fine, Mulder, just a bit pink. Are you sure the coffee was really that hot?” She looked at him quizzically, and he couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face.

“Nah, it wasn’t really. I just wanted you to undress me in the office.” He waggled his eyebrows at her and then ducked as she playfully slapped him.

“So is Skinner pissed, or did you make up an excuse?”

“I made an excuse, Mulder,” she sighed in a resigned tone. “He said to go up when you got here, so if you’re ready?”

They made their way to Skinner’s office, bickering amiably. Mulder was miffed that Scully hadn’t remembered that he’d used the dentist excuse the previous week. He was even more annoyed when she pointed out to him that if he’d really been to the dentist she may have remembered, but she couldn’t be expected to remember his fake dental appointments as well.

They were ushered into Skinner’s office immediately.

“Agent Mulder, how are your teeth? This is the second time in ten days you’ve been to the dentist; I hope you are okay?”

Scully smirked, and Mulder glared at her before mumbling, “I’m fine, Sir, just a few fillings.”

“Right. Agents, I have an assignment that the VCU needs your assistance on.”

“They requested our assistance?” asked Scully, faintly incredulous.

“My understanding is that they were forced to request our assistance,” replied Skinner grimly. “This is an unsolved case dating back 14 months involving abductions of nine young women across two states. The ninth victim was taken only five days ago. The only feature of the abductions that link them is that all the women were aged between 15 and 30 and had red hair.”

He looked up to see the reaction of his agents. Mulder blanched at his words, but Scully’s face remained impassive.

Skinner continued. “Last night a body was discovered of a 17 year old red-haired female. She had been abducted one month previously. Out of the nine young women abducted, this is the first body that has been discovered. This case is fast becoming a publicity nightmare for all the police departments involved, and it will be for the FBI if it is not solved soon. I have agreed to release you from the X-Files for as long as it takes to solve this.”

Mulder sat in silence, not listening as Scully clarified some details with Skinner.

Red hair. Missing young women.

His natural instinct was to take the case, but this was quickly overtaken by a desire to shield Scully from anything that might provoke painful memories of her own abduction.

He broke into their conversation. “What if we don’t want to be released from the X-files?”

Scully turned to stare at him, incredulous.

“I think you misunderstand, Agent Mulder,” Skinner said evenly. “I am giving you an assignment, not a choice.”

With those words he handed them the file, and dismissed them.

As they traveled in the elevator back to the basement, Scully flicked through the file while Mulder remained quiet, chewing on his bottom lip.

After a noticeable period of silence, Scully flipped her head up and snapped, “Mulder, what is wrong with you? We don’t actually have an X- File ongoing at the moment. This is important. Why don’t you want to do this?”

He regarded her for a moment. ‘Because you have red hair, Scully’ would not be an appropriate answer.

“Because we’ll be stepping on a lot of toes, Scully,” he muttered.

She snorted as she exited the elevator. “Like you’ve ever worried about that before, Mulder. I’ll organize the travel if you organize the accommodations. And Mulder? Try and get something decent for once.”

_____

Mulder shifted uncomfortably in his airplane seat, while trying not to dislodge Scully’s head from his shoulder. How she managed to fall asleep so easily always amazed him. He reached up and pulled the air- conditioning vent open, lifting his face into the cool air that blew down.

Settling back into his seat, he glanced down at Scully and briefly nuzzled his face into her clean-smelling hair. Red hair. Sighing, he opened the file that sat on his lap. Immediately his stomach flipped at the lurid photos that stared up at him. A young woman with long red hair was splayed on the ground, her white limbs askew and blood covering her torso. She had been stabbed in the stomach and it appeared as if a large chunk of her scalp had been ripped off.

He skimmed over the report that came with the photo. The autopsy had not been performed yet; Scully had the pleasure of that one. There were nine abductions across two states that appeared to be linked. So far, there was no evidence, no leads and no eye-witness accounts.

He closed the file and glanced at Scully, still sleeping soundly. Her hand had moved in her sleep and was resting in the valley created by their touching thighs. He tilted his head and brushed his lips lightly over her crown. He found it endearing that she was so abandoned in her sleep; that she wouldn’t stir at his caresses. He knew she was aware it was him – if someone else touched her while she was sleeping she would have a gun in their face before they could blink.

This intimacy was a relatively new development in their relationship. Over the last six months they had developed a habit of dropping in to see each other on the weekends. They always had an reason; a file that the other should see, a book they had promised to lend or an item of clothing left behind from the last visit. This last excuse was Mulder’s specialty; he wondered if Scully suspected that he deliberately left something behind just so he could visit the following weekend.

As a result of these ‘impromptu’ visits they had slipped into the comfortable habit of eating dinner together on a Saturday night, or spending a lazy Sunday together watching TV. On occasions Scully had even convinced Mulder to go shopping, a chore that he whined about incessantly, but rather enjoyed.

Recently, they had been through a lot. His illness, in particular, had shaken them both. However, it seemed the more the universe threw at them, the closer they drew together, as if seeking comfort in each other’s familiar company.

When not at work they would touch each other often; he would kiss her on the cheek when he said goodnight, she would hold his hand when talking intently, and occasionally he would massage her shoulders. Sometimes, while watching a movie, she would lie with her head in his lap and fall asleep to the rhythmic motion of his fingers stroking her hair. Often he would spend the night at her house, and in the morning she would watch him sleep on her sofa for a minute or so before waking him. If she knew he was only pretending to sleep, she didn’t let on.

Neither of them discussed these moments of intimacy; they had become an accepted part of their relationship, but not a part they were willing to acknowledge out loud. Not yet, although Mulder could sense they were on the verge of admitting their feelings for each other. Soon.

He closed his eyes and leaned his cheek against her head. He might as well try and get some sleep.

_____

They had been driving for almost two hours, and still had another 40 minutes before they reached their destination. For the most part they had passed the time in companionable silence, but Mulder could see Scully was getting bored. She was beginning to fidget.

“So Mulder, if you could capture one moment in your life, and preserve it forever, what moment would it be?”

It was a game they played to pass the time on their all too frequent car trips. They would take turns asking a question; preferably a question that challenged them to think deeply. They were both allowed ten minutes to compose their thoughts and then each had to give their answer. Mulder couldn’t remember when it first started, but over the years they had learned a lot of things about each other. They’d also had a number of heated arguments when the question touched on a particularly sensitive issue.

One moment in time.

“So are you looking for an episode that I consider a defining moment in my life?” clarified Mulder.

“No, not really,” replied Scully. “Just a moment that you always want to remember, for whatever reason. It could be as simple as taking a bite of the best chocolate cake ever.”

He laughed. “That sounds more like a Scully moment, I think.”

She smiled, and settled her head back against the headrest, gazing unseeingly at the scenery whipping by. He glanced at her fondly. She was already deep in thought, composing an eloquent answer that would perfectly reveal another piece of herself, whether or not she intended to.

He focussed on the road, and tried to think of a moment in his life worth saving. All he could come up with were moments that he would prefer to banish forever; to never remember. He could pretty much discard everything after Samantha’s disappearance. Except for moments involving Scully – he could come up with a list as long as his arm of special moments involving Scully. She probably wouldn’t consider them that special. In fact, she’d probably have a completely different slant on most of his special moments, he thought ruefully. Like the time he told her he loved her.

Scully’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “Are you ready?”

“Just a couple more minutes, Scully.”

He thought quickly. If he chose a moment involving her, she was likely to be embarrassed. He thought for a time in his life that he considered special enough to save, and his mind latched on to his last Christmas Eve with Samantha. She’d been too excited to sleep, so he’d let her crawl into bed with him. That was a special moment.

“Okay, I’m ready. You first,” he said. The rules had always been that the person who asked the question had to answer it first.

Scully cleared her throat, and glanced sideways at him. “There are a lot of moments in my life that I think are special enough to preserve forever, so I found it difficult to choose just one. But I kept coming back to one moment, and I feel a bit silly, because it’s not really an important moment. Well, not objectively important. When I asked the question, I thought I would choose a moment involving Dad or Missy, or my cancer, or Emily. But in the end, I chose the night we played baseball.”

Mulder’s breath caught in his throat.

“The reason why I chose that moment,” she continued, “was because for that hour we were both happy. I know how important baseball is to you, and I felt touched that you wanted to share it with me. And you were right, Mulder. While we were playing, all my other worries melted into the background. All I knew was that we were having fun together, and you had your arms around me and were laughing into my ear. We were just two normal, happy people.” She glanced at him shyly. “That’s my special moment.”

Mulder felt his eyes tearing over, and he blinked twice.

“What about yours?” she asked, when he said nothing.

“Can I change my mind at the last minute?” he asked.

She nodded.

“This moment, Scully. Easily this moment.”

He reached over and took her hand in his.

_____

Starry Nights Motel Greentown, Indiana

Mulder grunted as he pulled Scully’s bag out of the trunk. Damn, what did that woman have in there? He knew better than to ask. He also knew better than to offer to carry it for her, but he couldn’t resist a smile as she struggled to lug it to her motel room.

He entered his own room and threw his bag into a corner. The first thing he did was unlock their adjoining door, and the next was order dinner.

Opening the door between their rooms, he called through the crack, “Scully, I’ve ordered us pizza.”

When she didn’t answer, he poked his head around the corner and heard the shower running. He knocked on the bathroom door and told her about the pizza.

“Thanks! I’ll be out in a moment. Did you order anchovies?”

“Of course,” he responded. What a woman; on top of everything she loved anchovies.

When the food arrived he opened the door to take it in to her, and then thought better of it. She hated it when her room smelled like pizza. He, on the other hand, loved it – it made the room feel like home. He opened the box and inhaled the hot, garlic-scented steam. All the food groups together on a cheesy disc. Who said pizza was unhealthy?

In a few moments Scully wandered into his room, still flushed from her shower and rubbing her hair with a towel. Her silky pajamas clung to her chest in places where her hair had dripped, and he found it difficult to tear his eyes away from her breasts.

“Mulder, you have excelled yourself,” she stated.

“Scuse me?” He had no idea what he’d done to be so highly regarded. She hadn’t even tasted the pizza yet.

“My room is clean. There are no rips or stains on the comforter. In fact, the comforter is cotton, not nylon and it smells nice. The TV works, there are no missing tiles in the bathroom, but best of all, my bath has spa jets.” Her eyes were shining.

Mulder looked around at the room. Now that she mentioned it, it was pretty nice.

“Hmm, yeah. I hadn’t noticed.”

She rolled her eyes at him, and playfully flicked him with her towel. “Typical,” she muttered.

He grabbed the towel, and pulled her toward him. “Scully, didn’t your mother ever tell you not to do that; someone could lose an eye.”

She tilted her head and pretended to consider. “No, I can’t recall her mentioning that. Then again, I was never much of a towel flicker. I think being around you is causing me to relive my childhood. Or maybe relive someone else’s childhood, most likely yours.”

“How’s that, Scully?” he asked with a grin.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, grabbing a slice of pizza from the box. “Towel flicking, checking for monsters under the bed before I go to sleep, alien chasing…pizza at least twice a week…ugh,” she grimaced, eyeing the greasy slice.

He grinned and leaned towards her. “So does this mean you’re due to relive your wild teenage years soon, Scully?”

She raised her eyebrows at him. “Mulder, if you’re fishing for information about my teenage years, you are going to be sorely disappointed.”

He sat back against the headboard of the bed and sighed. “Soon, Agent Scully, soon. I’ll get the dirt on you somehow.”

She abruptly changed the subject, focussing on their case. “So what are your initial thoughts, Mulder? I just find it very hard to believe that there is no concrete evidence and that with nine abductions there are no witnesses.”

“Well, I guess it’s hard to have concrete evidence without a body. Unfortunately we have one of those now, so maybe you’ll find something tomorrow. But you’re right; it’s hard to believe that nobody saw or heard one of these girls being abducted, especially given the abductions all took place in small towns. You would think that a stranger to the town would stand out like a sore thumb.”

“Maybe he’s not a stranger,” Scully mused.

“How can one person be familiar to nine different towns?” countered Mulder.

“I’m not sure. Maybe he’s a regular visitor to all the towns. Perhaps he doesn’t live in the towns, but visits enough for people not to be suspicious. Or he might have the kind of job that makes people trust him, such as a police officer. Any thoughts on what kind of person we are looking for?” she asked.

“Well, it’s probably too obvious to mention, but this is a guy with a thing about redheads. Possibly he was spurned by a red-haired lover and this is a way of revenge, possibly he had a red-haired mother or sister that he has…troubled feelings about,” he said, twisting his face into a grimace. “Although it’s odd that only one body has been found. Either he has been very clever in concealing the bodies so far, or this woman is the first victim he had killed. If that is the case, then he’s not your regular serial killer. Serial killers usually…kill.”

Scully was examining the crime scene photo while she was eating pizza. To this day, Mulder remained amazed at her lack of squeamishness. He was sure that she could eat and perform an autopsy at the same time, if not for the hygiene aspects.

“It’s also odd that he tore her scalp off, rather than destroying her face,” she mused. “Serial killers who target people for how they look usually deface the person’s features, don’t they? I wonder why he targeted her hair? And her stomach,” she added.

“Maybe you’ll find out more during the autopsy, Scully.” He took another large bite of pizza, and then said through a mouthful of cheese and crust, “Did you know that only five percent of the population have red hair? Ancient superstition dictates that if the shadow of a redhead falls on you, it will bring bad luck. The Irish believed that if you gave birth to a red-haired girl, a pig had found its way under the bed during conception.”

“Fascinating, Mulder,” she murmured, still flipping through the file.

“Wait, there’s more. The Ancient Egyptians paid homage to the God Osiris by burying red-haired women alive.” He looked at her, waiting for her inevitable reaction.

“Well, I’m sure Osiris was impressed, but the whole thing reeks of discrimination to me,” she replied dryly. “All I know about redheads is their ancestry is usually Celtic, which means redheads have been oppressed and reviled for centuries – first by the Romans, then by the English, and then by people who tan easily,” she finished, looking pointedly at his golden skin.

He laughed. “My point is that the trait of red hair has, through the centuries, been linked with superstition. There is a group of people who believe that life originated on Mars, and that Earth was only colonized when Mars’ resources were depleted. They say that the original inhabitants of Earth were the red-haired inhabitants of Mars – that they, not Adam and Eve or a random ape, are the Parents of humanity. They believe themselves to be endowed with special powers because of this ancestry.”

“Mulder, having red hair is a result of genetics. That’s all. It is no more special than blonde or brown hair. It does not give a person special powers, and I am not from Mars. Trust me on this one.”

Mulder could see a John Gray joke in there somewhere, but the late hour had obviously deadened his wit. It had also caught up with Scully, he noted, as she yawned.

“Get some sleep, Scully,” he said, packing up the pizza box. “You’ll need it, I’m sure.”

She nodded. “G’night Mulder,” she murmured, running her hand lightly over his hair as she stood up.

At the doorway, she turned and gazed at him with heavy-lidded eyes. “Pig under the bed, Mulder?” she asked.

He couldn’t stop a big grin. “Yeah.”

She gave one nod, turned and stumbled through the doorway, closing it behind her. He could still hear her mumbling. “Pig.”

______

Greentown Police Station Greentown, Indiana 9 April 2000 9.30AM

Detective Harradine was in his late fifties, with salt-and-pepper hair, and lined skin that had obviously seen too much sun. Under normal circumstances Scully thought his round face would have seemed friendly and relaxed, but today it looked tense. He ran his hands over his face. He looked exhausted, and the lines of strain around his eyes were clearly evident.

“These are the files for the related abductions. Nine girls are missing, well, eight now that Caroline Becker’s body has been found, and although we’ve been on the case for over a year, we have nothing, except a trail of false leads. I guess we’re hoping that a fresh perspective will open things up for us, and from what I’ve heard, you two have a good solve-rate. We need to crack this case, apart from the obvious reasons. So far the media attention has been low key, probably because the abductions have taken place in different towns, and states, and over a one year period. I don’t think they’ve realized that the abductions are linked. When they do, however, there will be hell to pay. Not to mention the fact that media attention may escalate his actions.”

He sighed heavily. “I’ve put aside a room for you to go through the files. Agent Scully, our local coroner is expecting you at 12.30 to perform the autopsy. I hope that time is convenient.”

Scully nodded, feeling a twinge of sympathy for the man. He looked defeated.

“If you could point us to the nearest coffee machine, we’ll get started on the files,” requested Mulder.

Two hours later, Scully left Mulder still sifting through the files. His concentration was such that he didn’t even look up when she whispered that she was going to the Coroner’s office.

The young coroner greeted Scully with puppy-like enthusiasm. He was obviously not keen to do the autopsy, which was understandable. She doubted he’d ever seen anything this gruesome before in his career. Unfortunately, it was all too common for her.

When she peeled back the sheet from Caroline Becker’s body, her stomach did a little flip-flop. Normally she could control her reactions of horror, but in this case the first thing she noticed was how similar Caroline’s hair was to Missy’s. Instictively she picked up a lock of red hair, and rubbed it between her fingers. It even felt the same as Missy’s – fine, not coarse. Almost baby soft.

Pushing that thought aside, she set to work in her usual professional manner. It was as she was inspecting the victim’s half torn scalp that she noticed the color line in the roots of her hair. Caroline was not a natural redhead. At first glance, Scully hadn’t realised this. Caroline had reddish pubic hair, and her natural hair color appeared to be a strong auburn. Although the roots were almost an inch long, they weren’t overtly noticeable. Scully noted this, and then moved on. A pale dust appeared throughout the girl’s long hair. With a fine tooth comb, Scully scraped some of the dust from the hair for testing.

Adjusting her mask, Scully bent over to examine the stab wounds. The victim’s upper torso was unscathed, but she counted four knife wounds in the lower abdomen. The wounds did not appear to be inflicted randomly, rather, they were in a diamond shape. Whoever killed her did so with precision. Working efficiently, Scully collected tissue and blood samples from around the wounds. Next, she performed the Y- incision, peeling back the skin to expose the internal organs. As she inspected the damage to the girl’s organs, she noticed with a sharp feeling of nausea that there were changes to the uterine lining. She was – had been – pregnant. Good God, the poor girl had been pregnant.

Abruptly Scully moved back from the autopsy table, breathing heavily. She peeled off her gloves and mask and went over to the sink to splash her face with water. She gripped the side of the sink until she was sure her hands had stopped shaking. Shaking hands did not assist in an autopsy.

Picking up her cell phone, she punched the ‘Power’ button to call Mulder. She had intended to perform this autopsy without interruption, but she knew he would be interested in this piece of information, and the sound of his voice would calm her.

When she switched her phone on, however, the LED screen told her she had a message. It was Mulder.

“Hey, Scully. I’m going to Kempton, just across the border in Illinois. I’ve been talking to Harradine, and we agree that there are too many people to interview for us to do them together. So I’m going to cover the towns in Kankakee and Ford Counties over the next couple of days, while you do the towns closer to Greentown. Don’t get mad, this isn’t a ditch, okay? It just makes more sense. I’ve taken the car. Harradine said he could loan you a nice young police officer to ferry you around in the meantime.” There was a pause, before he added softly, “Be careful, Scully.”

She sighed, turning the phone back off. She wanted to get angry with him for going off without her, but he was right. She’d call him later.

She continued the autopsy, methodically noting her findings on tape. She would go through them later, when she received the transcript.

End Part 1

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 2 of 11

Starry Nights Motel Greentown, Indiana 10.45PM

When she got back to her motel room, the first thing she did was call Mulder. It was 10.45pm, but she knew he wouldn’t even be close to sleeping. She, on the other hand, was exhausted and ready for bed.

“Mulder,” he answered.

“Hey there,” she said.

“Scully! I’ve been trying you on and off all day – I kept getting your voice mail. I was starting to worry.”

“Sorry,” she responded. “I had the autopsy, and then I tried to call you, and your phone was off. Then I met with Harradine and we went to visit Caroline’s parents. That was pretty tough – they are, naturally, distraught. Then Harradine took me someplace for dinner, so this is the first time I’ve had a chance to call.”

“Harradine took you out for dinner?” asked Mulder. Scully smiled at the jealousy in his voice.

“Yes, Mulder. We had a lovely time,” she teased. “Just him and me, oh – and his wife.”

She heard him laugh softly in her ear.

“So how’d the autopsy go, Scully? Find anything interesting?”

“She was pregnant, Mulder. About six weeks pregnant. She died a nasty death – severe blood loss from a torn scalp and four knife wounds. The wounds appeared to be in a diamond pattern. I can’t even begin to guess the implications of that, but I’m sure you’ll come up with some unusual theory,” she said dryly. “She had some old bruising around her wrists, and some chafing that looked new, so I think she was restrained at the time of her death, and had been so previously. Oh, and she wasn’t a natural redhead. Her hair was dyed – the roots were just beginning to show.”

“When was she abducted, Scully?”

Scully grabbed the file from out of her briefcase. “Umm, it says here she was abducted on March 11th, 2000. So that’s about one month ago. I haven’t spoken to her boyfriend yet,” she said, pre-empting his next question. “I’m seeing him tomorrow morning.”

Mulder sighed into her ear. “That’s going to be hard,” he said softly. “Will you be okay?”

“I’ll be fine, Mulder,” she responded automatically. At his cluck of annoyance, she added, “Really, Mulder. I’m okay with this. I’ve seen worse.”

“Maybe, Scully, but I can’t imagine anything worse than autopsying a pregnant woman.”

“She wasn’t a woman,” Scully said quietly, “She was a girl. Just turned seventeen.”

They were silent for a moment, both contemplating the monster who could kill a pregnant teenager.

“When was her time of death?” Mulder finally asked.

“I estimate about three days ago. I took some samples from her body, and forensics should have them back soon. But there didn’t appear to be any traces of semen, so I don’t think she was raped. There wasn’t any skin under her fingernails, or even defense marks. It was if she didn’t even struggle, Mulder.”

“Well I haven’t really got anything of interest. So far I’ve interviewed the parents and friends of four of the missing girls. The only consistency, apart from the red hair, is that they all disappeared without a trace. No witnesses and no signs of a struggle. There also doesn’t appear to be any one person that links the girls – at least not that we can find so far. I feel as if I’m looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said in a despondent voice.

“We’ll find him, Mulder,” she said softly. “I’m beat. Try and get some sleep okay?” She was just about to hang up, when she blurted, “Mulder? When are you coming back?”

She blushed as soon as the words left her mouth. She sounded desperate.

“Miss me already, Scully?” he teased.

“No, I miss the car,” she responded acidly before hanging up in his ear.

________

Melville residence Sibley, Indiana 10 April 2000 10.00AM

Scully sat at the wooden kitchen table of the Melville’s house. Out of politeness she sipped the instant coffee they had given her. She’d already had enough caffeine that morning to last her for the rest of the day.

Todd Melville’s parents hovered around, obviously nervous at her presence. Todd hung back, lurking near the fridge.

“Caroline was such a lovely girl,” Mrs. Melville babbled, her permed and hairsprayed hair bobbing as she spoke. “It’s just so awful. So awful. She loved Todd so much. We were all certain they would end up married.” Her voice choked and she dabbed at tears with a tissue.

Mr. Melville cut in, thrusting his impressive belly toward Scully. “Look, I have to ask this. You don’t think Todd’s involved in any way, do you? Because he would have given up his life for her. There is no way my son-”

Scully cut in. “No, Mr. Melville, Todd is not under suspicion in any way. I am just hoping he can provide us with information that can lead us to Caroline’s killer. If you don’t mind, I’d like to speak to Todd alone.”

The Melvilles nodded, and left the kitchen.

She turned to look at the boy. Todd was only seventeen himself, but he looked younger. His body still hadn’t filled out, and he had a smattering of pimples across his chin. He leaned against the counter and picked at his nails, refusing to look at her.

“Why don’t you come and sit down, Todd,” she said gently. “I know this is hard for you. Very hard. I’ve been there myself, and I know the pain it causes.”

Todd looked up, anguish in his eyes.

“I feel as if half of me has been ripped off,” he choked out.

Scully nodded. She knew that feeling. She indicated the chair next to her, and he sat down, his head still bowed.

“Todd,” she began softly, “Were you aware that Caroline was pregnant?”

He looked up, startled. “That’s impossible!” he blurted.

“Why is it impossible, Todd?” Scully asked, feeling guilty at the pain she was inflicting on him, necessary though it was.

“Because we hadn’t ever…we hadn’t done it.”

Scully winced at the next words she knew she had to say.

“Todd, is it possible that Caroline had been with someone else?”

He jumped up violently from the table. “No!” he yelled. “No way, dammit! She loved me, and I loved her!”

Lowering his voice, aware that his parents were listening, he said, “She was a virgin. We both wanted our first time to be special, but she wasn’t ready, and I respected that. She always said that I was the person she was going to lose her virginity to and I believe her – believed her. She wasn’t lying, dammit.” His voice started choking. “I was going to ask her to marry me on her eighteenth birthday.”

“Todd, I’m so sorry,” said Scully quietly. “But Caroline was six weeks pregnant. Can you think of anyone she may have been with two weeks prior to her abduction?”

She watched, puzzled, as the blood drained from Todd’s face.

“Six weeks pregnant?” he asked hoarsely. “Are you sure she was only six weeks pregnant?”

Scully nodded. “As sure as I can be.”

He moaned and slumped back into the chair, placing his face into his hands. “That bastard did it. God, he raped her.”

Scully frowned. “Todd, Caroline was abducted one month ago. She must have been pregnant before she was taken.”

He looked up, aghast. “Two months ago. She was taken two months ago, as of tomorrow. February 11th, 2000.” He said the date mechanically, and Scully knew it would be forever emblazoned on his brain.

Quickly she delved into her briefcase and pulled out Caroline Becker’s file. There was the date in front of her, clearly marked as 3/11/2000. They had made a mistake. Whoever had entered the details into the computer at first instance had obviously entered a ‘3’ instead of a ‘2’ for the month, and it had carried over.

Dammit! Her meticulous nature abhorred carelessness, but particularly when it involved soemthing so important.

She reached out and squeezed his hand. “Todd, I’m so sorry. The date was wrong in the file. We’ll find him, I promise you.”

She stayed with Todd for a short while longer, asking him questions about places Caroline regularly visited, and whether he had noticed anyone suspicious recently. He was too distraught to remember anything of value, so eventually she left him her card and made him promise to call her if he remembered anything more.

On the drive back to the police station she fumed, ignoring the officer who had picked her up. How could anyone possibly get such an important date wrong? How was it possible that nobody realized it was wrong? Why had nobody picked up the mistake in previous interviews with Caroline’s family and friends? She wanted to call Mulder to let off steam, but she didn’t want to subject the young officer beside her to a stream of invectives that would probably make him blush.

By the time she reached the Greentown Police Station she had calmed down somewhat. When Detective Harradine asked her how the interview went, she calmly pointed out the mistake in the official report. She felt a wave of sympathy at the horrified look on his face, which was increased when she pointed out the implications.

“So the perpetrator raped her and got her pregnant?” he asked, shock evident on his face.

“It appears that way,” replied Scully in controlled tones. She hadn’t yet had time to come to grips with that fact herself.

Harradine rubbed at his eyes, and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Well, I’m afraid I have more bad news for you, Agent Scully. Sarah Phillips’ body has been found. She was the young woman who was abducted early last week. The body is at the Coroner’s office for you to autopsy.”

Scully closed her eyes briefly.

“Fine,” she said, opening them again. “I need to eat something first. Tell the coroner I’ll be there at 1.30.”

_____

Newtown Police Station Newtown, Illinois 10 April 2000 12.47PM

Mulder sat at an empty desk in the local police station of the latest town he was visiting. He couldn’t even remember its name – he was beginning to mentally refer to the towns by the names of the victims who had lived there.

This town was Jolie.

He was using scotch tape to stick together four sheets of paper that had been faxed from the investigation team in Greentown. Together the sheets made a map, and the towns from which the girls had been taken had been circled.

With the latest two abductions added to the map, the investigation team had realized that the towns formed a rough circle around a town which they considered the epicenter of the abductions. It was this town of Rockhampton that Mulder was interested in. Although no girls had been taken from Rockhampton, the pattern of surrounding abductions suggested that the killer may be based there.

According to the local police, Rockhampton was a small town, but with a large outlying rural community. However, Mulder was assured that chances were high that the Rockhampton police would be acquainted with everybody within their area personally. It was the only redeeming feature of working in small towns as far as Mulder was concerned. The local police knew everybody.

When his phone rang he answered it quickly, knowing instinctively it would be Scully.

“Scully?”

“Hi, Mulder.”

She sounded tired.

“You okay?” he asked.

“They found Sarah Phillips’ body, Mulder,” she said dully. “I’m doing the autopsy today.”

He sighed. He could hear the tightness in her voice, but he didn’t say anything. She would just tell him she was fine if he asked.

“I interviewed Caroline’s boyfriend, Mulder,” she continued. “The police got the date of her abduction wrong in their report. She was taken two months ago.”

His mind quickly did the calculations, recalling Scully’s finding that the victim was six weeks pregnant. He’d impregnated her, and then killed her.

“Oh,” he said.

“‘Oh’ is right, Mulder. Fuck,” she sighed into his ear.

His eyes widened in surprise. He could count on one hand the times he’d heard Scully use that word – that was usually his domain.

“Scully, you know we’ll find him,” he said softly. His heart pierced at her obvious despondency. “I’m coming back tomorrow,” he added, in a lame attempt to cheer her up.

“Oh goody, I get the car back,” she responded weakly.

“And if you’re good I may even let you drive it – if we can shift the seat far enough forward for you.”

She laughed, and he lightened a little at the sound of her throaty chuckle in his ear. God, he missed her.

He told her about their suspicion that Rockhampton was the home of the killer, and he noticed her mood lift a little. He felt they were drawing closer to their prey.

_____

Rockhampton Police Station Rockhampton, Indiana 3.30PM

Mulder was handed a cup of coffee by Stephen Nugent, the officer assigned to help him while he was in Rockhampton.

“Look, I have to admit,” Nugent said nervously, rocking from foot to foot, “the biggest crime I’ve solved was when Mrs. Miller’s car was stolen. We don’t get much crime in Rockhampton, and frankly, that’s why I like it. If I wanted to deal with crime, I’d move to New York City.”

Mulder smiled, both at the young man’s obvious anxiety and his bluntness. “It’s okay, I’m not expecting you to solve this case single-handed. I just want you to help me with some information.”

Mulder outlined the profile he had worked up, explaining that their suspect was probably a white male, in his late twenties to early thirties and a loner who had a problematic relationship with a red- haired woman, possibly his mother or a lover. Nugent listened intently and when Mulder finished he shook his head. “I can’t say that rings any bells with me. I mean, I know pretty much everybody in this area, and nobody seems like a murderer to me. It’s a good community we’ve got here,” he said somewhat defensively.

Mulder pursed his lips, trying to hide his frustration. “Usually serial killers are the last people you’d expect,” he explained patiently. “I don’t want you to think of someone who seems like a murderer – think of someone who fits the profile I have given you.” He paused, watching the officer frown in concentration. “Perhaps we can start by looking at old felony reports?” he said eventually, when it appeared that Nugent was not going to be forthcoming with any suggestions.

Nugent took him through past felony reports, but there was only one man who possibly fit the profile. However, further checking revealed he had been in jail for drunken behavior on the night Caroline Becker was abducted.

“So there’s nobody in this area who you would consider a loner? Who does a bit of travel around the state? Are you sure about this?” He paced up and down the threadbare office, worrying a sunflower seed husk with his tongue. His tie was loosened and his shirt rumpled. He had long ago discarded his jacket, and he suspected he smelled. He was starting to become frustrated at the lack of leads, and struggling to hide it.

“Well,” said Nugent slowly, “I guess there’s lotsa people ‘round here who could be considered loners. People often choose to live in a rural community precisely because they are loners, y’know what I mean? And as for red hair, I mean it’s hardly an uncommon characteristic.”

Mulder bit his tongue to prevent himself from pointing out that only five percent of the population have red hair. As if reading his mind, Nugent added, “The original settlers around here were of Scots- Irish descent, so maybe we’ve got more than our fair share of redheads.” He ran his hand self-consciously through his own auburn curls. “You should see my brother’s hair. Talk about a carrot top.”

“Let me think,” the officer mused, rubbing his nose with his forefinger. “Actually, now that you mention it, there is someone who fits your profile – David Sharp. But he’s a nice guy. Kind of quiet, but never been in any trouble. Except for the car accident. He and his sister were driving home from a party a couple of years ago and he lost control of the car. His sister died. She had amazing red hair.”

Nugent paused for a moment, caught by a memory. “His sister was kind of the golden girl of the family. She was the Prom Queen, a really smart girl, and absolutely gorgeous. David kind of paled in comparison to her. The whole town was shocked by her death. David kind of withdrew into himself after that; I think he blamed himself. He moved out of the house shortly after – I think things were kind of strained with his parents after Maria’s death.”

Nugent picked up the papers in front of him and shuffled them nervously. Mulder watched him fidget. He was obviously hiding something.

“Anything else?” he inquired mildly.

Nugent sighed. “It doesn’t seem fair to tell you this. It’s unsubstantiated conjecture. A number of people believed that the car accident was no accident. Rumours flew around that David had always been insanely jealous of his sister, so people jumped to the conclusion that he’d crashed the car on purpose. There is no evidence to suggest that this happened. In any event, if he’d wanted to kill his sister, crashing a car that he was driving seems like a pretty dumb way of doing it.”

Unless he was trying to kill both of them, thought Mulder.

“That’s good. I’ll need to speak to him. Can you think of anyone else?”

Nugent frowned. “There are the Harper brothers. They’re kind of weird but they seem harmless. They don’t seem like murderers to me. However, they have a furniture moving business and they travel all over this part of Indiana, and certain parts of Illinois. They have red hair themselves, but no red-haired wives, or sisters. Their sister is blonde; she lives with them. Their parents don’t have red hair either. I’ve been to their house,” he explained, “and I saw a photo of them when they were younger. I only remember the photo because I was surprised that both their parents had dark brown hair. Maybe they were adopted or something.”

Mulder jumped up. “Let’s go. We’ll speak to David Sharp first and then the Harpers.”

______

Sharp Residence 20 miles south of Rockhampton

The young man who answered the door was unkempt, and sleepy-eyed.

“David, sorry to disturb you,” said Nugent. “We’d like to ask you some questions.”

David blinked, puzzled. “What about?”

“May we come in?”

He moved back from the door, and Mulder and Nugent entered the dimly lit house. A smell of stale smoke hung in the air, and Mulder made out a small pile of empty beer cans near the sofa.

David looked slightly embarrassed at the mess. “Take a seat.” He swept some clothes off the sofa, and Nugent sat down. Mulder remained standing, surveying the room.

“You’re aware that a number of young girls have been abducted from surrounding areas?” asked Nugent, getting straight to business.

“Yes,” answered David warily. “I read about it in the paper. What’s it got to do with me?”

“Nothing,” answered Mulder calmly. “We’re just questioning people in the neighborhood. I don’t suppose you’ve noticed anyone behaving suspiciously, or know of anyone who may have a reason to target red- haired young women?”

The young man blanched.

“No,” he said shortly.

“Your sister had red hair, didn’t she?” asked Mulder mildly.

“My sister’s dead,” answered David shortly.

Mulder looked at him, and froze. For a brief moment they connected; sharing a pain and consequential guilt that nobody else could understand.

“I’ll need you to tell us where you were on the days the girls were abducted.”

David nodded.

______

Harper Farm 35 miles NE of Rockhampton 6.00PM

Both John and Rob Harper were at home. They appeared slightly surprised when Mulder introduced himself as FBI, but cordially asked him in and offered him coffee.

“No thanks,” replied Mulder as they entered the living room. “I’d just like to ask you some questions. We’re investigating the disappearance of a number of young girls in this general area. We thought you might be able to help.”

Rob Harper frowned, running his hand through his bright copper hair. “I’m not sure I understand. Why do you think we could help? I mean, we’d love to if we could. I’ve read about this in the papers. It’s a terrible business, but I don’t see that we have anything to offer your investigation, Mr. Mulder.”

“I understand you have a furniture moving business,” said Mulder smoothly. “Do you travel around a lot?”

“We do,” answered John. “Our business is very successful. We service this part of Indiana, plus neighboring towns in Illinois. We certainly chew up a lot of miles.”

Mulder walked over to the mantelpiece and picked up the photo of three young boys, a young girl and two people he assumed were their parents.

“Is the other boy in this photo your brother?” he asked.

John answered curtly. “That’s Bill.”

“Does he live with you?” asked Mulder mildly.

“No,” answered Rob quickly. “We don’t get along,” he added. “We don’t know where he is – somewhere in Europe.”

“This is your sister?” asked Mulder.

“Yes,” replied Rob. “That’s Aletha.”

“She lives with you, doesn’t she? Can I ask her some questions?”

“Yes, she does live with us. But I’d prefer it if you didn’t speak with her. My sister is very shy. She doesn’t take well to strangers.”

Mulder locked eyes with Rob, trying to read his tone of voice. Eventually, he moved on. “Are these your parents?”

Both men nodded in unison. They looked so much alike, in both features and mannerisms, that it appeared for a moment as if he was seeing double.

“Where did you get your hair from?” asked Mulder. “It’s quite distinctive.”

Rob smiled slightly. “We don’t know. It was a bit of a family joke really. Mom and Dad must have both had a recessive gene or something.” He shrugged. “I’m not a scientist, Mr. Mulder.”

John cut in. “Mr. Mulder, are we under suspicion?”

Mulder looked at them for a long moment. Finally he spoke. “Not at the moment. Although it would help if you could tell me where you were on the 11th of February, and also last Monday”

Rob got up and went into the kitchen, bringing out with him a large diary. He flipped through it quickly until he got to February 12th.

“On February 12th we were on a job – a large one. We spent the whole day and most of the night moving an entire household of items. Needless to say we have a number of witnesses to verify that. And, last Monday…” He paused to flip through the pages of the diary. “…we were also on a job.”

Mulder looked at the self-satisfied look on Rob Harper’s face. They had an alibi…yet something just didn’t feel right to him. He turned to Nugent.

“Can you get contact details for those witnesses?” Turning back to Rob and John Harper he said, “Thank you for your time. I’ll be seeing you.”

As he went to leave the room, he heard a faint cry, followed by the cooing of a woman’s voice.

“You have a child?”

“My sister’s baby,” answered Rob.

Mulder glanced at Nugent, who shrugged slightly to indicate that he was not aware of a baby. Mulder glanced around the room for evidence of the baby’s existence. No photos, no toys.

Back in the car he directed Nugent to check the Harper’s alibi, and the whereabouts of the third brother. He also asked him to assign someone to track down details of the sister’s child. It struck him as odd that a woman had given birth to a child in a small close-knit community without the local police being aware of it.

End Part 2

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 3 of 11

______

Starry Nights Motel Scully’s room 10.55PM

Scully turned first the hot, then the cold water faucet on. She couldn’t remember the last time she had looked forward to a bath so much. Once again, she blessed the fact that Mulder had managed to find a motel that had recently been refurbished. Her bath was not only deep, but it had spa jets in it. This was going to be good.

She brought her cell phone into the bathroom with her, feeling slightly foolish as she turned it on and placed it next to the tub. She hadn’t spoken to Mulder all day. Well okay, she had spoken to him a number of times, but she hadn’t really spoken to him.

They’d only been apart for two days, and it dismayed her slightly that she missed him so much. Not that she would ever tell him that. It didn’t seem normal that two people who were merely work partners would feel bereft if they didn’t see each other every day. But they were more than partners – she just wasn’t sure what the more was.

As Scully undressed, she briefly toyed with the idea of calling him. No, he would call her, she was sure. She would prefer not to acknowledge the deep-seated desire she had to hear his voice.

She dipped her toe into the water, and realized it was way too hot to get into. Perching naked on the edge of the bath, she turned the hot water faucet off and turned up the cold. She pulled the brand new bar of apple soap out of her toiletries bag, and began unwrapping it with a reverence more suited to an box of fine chocolates. It was, however, her favorite soap, and a fresh bar was one of her little indulgences.

The shrill sound of her phone echoing off the tiles brought her out of her daydreaming. She turned the water off and picked it up.

“Scully.”

“Scully, it’s me.”

“Hey,” she answered warmly. “How are you, Mulder?”

“Tired, exhausted, drained, annoyed. I interviewed two brothers, and another young man today. The young man seemed to fit the profile, and for a number of the abduction dates he was unable to tell us his whereabouts. Still, that’s understandable; some of the dates stretched back over a year. He claims he did some shopping and saw a movie on the day Sarah Phillips was abducted, and we’re looking into that. The two brothers had a watertight alibi, and yet I can’t get rid of this niggling feeling I have about them. Then again, I may be clutching at straws out of desperation. The reality is that I’ve come up with nothing of value, although we still have a number of other people to interview. You?”

“I did the autopsy on Sarah Phillips this afternoon. She was pregnant, Mulder, only she was pregnant before she was abducted. She was about three and a half months pregnant when she was killed. She was stabbed four times in the stomach, in the same pattern as previously.” Her own stomach threatened to rebel as her mind vividly replayed the details of the tiny, mangled fetus. She had been so shaken after the autopsy that she had sat in a cafe for an hour sipping hot water with a slice of lemon, her mind blank and her eyes vacant.

“I also got the results back from yesterday’s autopsy,” she continued. “There were traces of bovine blood around the entrances of all four stab wounds. I should get the results from Sarah Phillips’ autopsy tomorrow, and I expect to find the same thing.”

“You think the knife used to kill her was also used to slaughter cows?” His voice rumbled in a familiar way in her ear, and her tension eased with the familiar to and fro of their conversation.

She shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. No bovine blood was found deeper in the wounds, only on the surface skin. I think the blood was painted onto the skin. I also found the origin of the dust in her hair. Ashes, Mulder. Ashes from a cow.”

Mulder paused to process the information before answering. “Sounds ritualistic. Maybe a cult is involved in this. I recall that a number of pagan rituals involved the sacrifice of cows.”

“No, I don’t think this has pagan, or cult overtones, Mulder,” Scully replied. “I think these killings have religious overtones. The knife wounds were in the shape of a cross – one for each point of the cross. Sacrifice of cows, specifically a red heifer, is prominent in early Judaism and Christianity. An Old Testament priest would spread ashes from the red heifer upon water, and the water was then used to cleanse all things and people in temple worship. I think we’re dealing with a religious fanatic,” she concluded, unable to keep a slight note of triumph from her voice. It was not often that she got in first with a theory, and she always felt slightly jubilant when she did so.

“Red heifer,” he mused. “Do you think that’s how the red hair fits in?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted, feeling slightly deflated. “I don’t know how the religious implications fit in with the hair. You can figure out that part, Mulder. I think my brain is starting to fall asleep.”

He chuckled slightly. “Lucky you. Mine’s just starting to wake up. So, what are you wearing, Scully?”

She blushed. “I’m about to get in the bath,” she replied in a neutral tone, not answering his question directly.

“The bath? Right now?”

“Right now. I’m just waiting for the water to cool a bit.”

There was a long pause at the end of the phone. “Just for the sake of accuracy, Agent Scully, does this mean that you are naked?”

She was glad he couldn’t see her glowing red cheeks, but she refused to let him sense her embarrassment. “As a newborn, Agent Mulder,” she replied smoothly.

Again he paused. “For the first time ever, Scully, I think I’m speechless.”

She laughed. “Mulder, if you really were speechless, you would have said nothing.”

“Yeah, well that’s as close to speechless as I get. Why are you having a bath at 11.00 at night?”

Scully tested the water again with her toes, and concluding it was bearable, stepped in.

“Because I only just got home, and I know I won’t get to sleep unless I can relax. A bath is the best way I know of relaxing.”

“The second best,” murmured Mulder.

Scully laughed in surprise. “Well, as there is no eligible male in sight, I’ll have to take the bath. Besides -” she sucked in her breath sharply as she lowered herself into the tub, realizing belatedly that the water was still too hot.

“Scully, are you okay?” Mulder asked, concerned.

“I’m fine,” she grunted with a grimace. “The water’s a bit too hot, is all. Owww!”

She looked down at her stomach, which had turned a bright pink in protest. Her nipples had formed into stiff peaks at the change in temperature.

“Scully, I’m sure that must be bad for you.”

“What must be bad for me?” she asked, still distracted by the heat of the water.

“Submersing yourself in boiling water.”

“Mulder, it’s not boiling. I think I’d realize if I was boiling myself to death.”

“Well the frog didn’t.”

Scully frowned in bemusement. What was he talking about?

“Mulder, I swear you get more and more bizarre by the day. What frog?”

He sighed in mock exasperation. “Scully, surely you know of the ‘frog in boiling water’ experiment. They put a frog in water and then raised the temperature of the water by one degree every few minutes. The frog kept adjusting to the temperature change and rather than jumping out when the water got too hot, it boiled to death.”

“Mulder, that is cruel.”

“Don’t blame me, Scully. I didn’t perform the experiment, I just heard about it on the Discovery Channel.”

She shook her head. Figures. She was surprised his brain had room for work related issues, it was so stuffed full of useless trivia.

“Well, thank you for sharing that bit of information, Mulder, but I don’t really think it is applicable. In my case, the water will be cooling, not heating up, so I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

He chuckled into her ear. “So Scully, how high is the water?”

“Why, Mulder?” she asked warily.

“So I can get the picture in my head right. You know how I dislike inaccuracy.”

“Mulder, I’m not sure I approve of you picturing me in the bath.”

“Scully, if you disapproved, you wouldn’t have left your phone on while you were getting into the bath.”

She sighed, a little embarrassed. The man was sometimes too perceptive.

“It’s chest high, Mulder.”

“Above the nipples or below?” he murmured into her ear.

Scully felt a jolt of arousal at his words. This was getting into dangerous territory, but she knew she was going to answer. Damn, he had the sexiest voice when he whispered into her ear like that. Her mouth felt dry as she stammered, “Umm…just below.”

“Are your nipples erect?”

“Mulder…” she murmured weakly in protest.

“Well, I thought they might be cold, seeing as they’re above the water,” he explained. She could hear the smile in his voice.

“You’re right, they’re cold. Very cold,” she added, in a slightly huskier voice than usual. If Mulder had been in the same room as her – not that he would have, given she was in the bath – she would have put a stop to this conversation long ago. But she found it hard to resist flirting with him when he was safely ensconced in a motel room some 200 miles away.

He chuckled softly. “So where are you going to start, Scully?”

“Start?” she asked hazily. The water was having its expected soporific effect on her, and she was finding it harder to follow his erratic train of thought.

“Washing yourself, Scully. What’s the game plan?”

“Well, Mulder, I didn’t really formulate a game plan. I guess I was going to fly by the seat of my pants, so to speak.”

“Hmmm, sounds like you might need some help.”

“Help?”

“Help, suggestions. You sound tired, Scully. Why don’t you let me do the thinking? I suggest we start at the feet.”

Scully blinked in surprise. We?

“Okay, Mulder. Let’s start with the feet.” Picking up the soap, she pulled one of her feet up onto the opposing knee and began to lather it with her free hand.

“Are your feet sore, Scully? I bet you’ve been doing a lot of walking around today. Y’know, if I was there I’d offer to give you a foot massage. Would you take me up on it?”

“What – in the bath?”

“No, after the bath. I wouldn’t be brave enough to interrupt your bathtime.”

“I think I would, Mulder. That sounds nice. My feet are done now.”

“Okay,” he said huskily, “Now your calves. They’re probably just as tired. Make sure you rub them firmly to release some of the tension in the muscles.”

She ran her hand over her smooth calf muscles, and was unable to stop herself from imagining it was his hand doing the rubbing.

“Mulder,” she murmured, “how will I explain this if I drop the phone into the bath?”

“You’ll just say you were getting some much needed advice from your partner. Now your thighs, Scully. Don’t forget your inner thighs.”

She swallowed and wondered what part of her body he was going to suggest next. She wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or disappointed when he next said, “Time for your arms, Scully. Don’t forget your armpits,” he added teasingly. “Did you know that in 16th Century England they used charcoal as a deodorant?”

“Let me guess – Discovery Channel?”

He laughed. “Of course, Scully. Have you finished your arms? I think the back of your neck should be next. Have you put your hair up?”

“Hmm,” she confirmed, “In a clip. Bits of it are falling down, though. It always does. I never come out of the bath with completely dry hair. Okay, I think the back of my neck is clean now.”

“Your stomach then, Scully.” His deep voice rumbled in her ear, and she shivered slightly at the intimacy of it.

She ran the soap smoothly over her stomach, nearly losing hold of it as it slipped over her flesh.

“What kind of stomach do you have, Scully?”

“Scarred,” she replied bluntly.

He paused. “I was talking about the shape,” he continued eventually. “Washboard, rounded, concave?”

“Definitely rounded,” she said with conviction.

“Good, I hate skinny stomachs. It’s not natural.”

She laughed, knowing full well that if she’d said ‘washboard’ he would have claimed to hate rounded stomachs. She was also sure that he remembered exactly what kind of stomach she had – she’d seen him peeking in the decontamination shower.

“So, any other identifying features on your stomach, Scully?”

“Why Mulder? So you can ID my body?” She’d meant it as a joke, but as soon as she said it, she regretted it.

There was a pause at the other end of the line. Finally he muttered, “Way to bring the mood down, Scully.”

“Sorry Mulder. It was a joke. Probably not in the best taste. I have a mole near my belly button – a dark, flat one. And some other ones scattered around, but I only like the one near my belly button.”

He laughed. “You have favorites?”

“Well I have a lot, Mulder. It comes with the territory if you have fair skin like mine. And I hate most of them, but the one near my belly button is…cute. I think my stomach is clean now, Mulder.” Her hand gripped the soap a little harder, in anticipation of what he was going to say next.

“Breasts, Scully. We can’t neglect your breasts.”

She swallowed, and found herself unable to come up with a response, so instead she started lathering her breasts. She could hear his breathing in her ear, sounding heavier and faster than it had at the beginning of the conversation. She wondered if he was touching himself, and then quickly turned her mind from considering that. If he was, she didn’t want to know. Really, she didn’t.

He wasn’t.

Instead he had one white-knuckled hand gripping the steering wheel, and the other gripping his phone. If he’d had a third hand, however, he would have been touching himself.

He hadn’t quite got around to telling Scully that he was on his way back from Rockhampton. That was the initial purpose of his call, and he wasn’t sure how the conversation had got away from him so quickly. Oh, yes he was. It was the bath. His glorious, gorgeous partner, naked in a bath. Waiting for his call.

He battled with his mind, in an effort to concentrate on the road, rather than on the picture in his head. It wouldn’t do to die now. Scully and he were finally razing the walls that existed between them. Well, maybe ‘razing’ was too strong. Dismantling brick by brick might be more appropriate.

His mind wandered back to Scully’s breasts. Their careful wall dismantling had been set aside for one brief, blazing moment last weekend. She had fallen asleep with her head on his lap, as she had so many times before. This time he allowed himself to tuck in behind her, wrap his arms around and fall asleep too.

He had woken a number of hours later, to find his hand clasped firmly over her breast. He should have moved it the moment he realized, he knew that, but he couldn’t. Her breast felt so soft, even through the rough cotton of her blouse, and he was simply unable to direct his hand to move. The closest he got was a stirring of his fingers, which would have been construed by anyone as a caress, rather than an attempt to remove his hand.

It was possibly the stroking of his thumb that woke her. He felt it the moment she became aware of his hand. She stiffened, and he lay there expecting her to sit bolt upright and fling a few choice words at him. But to his eternal surprise, she didn’t. Instead, she relaxed again, and fell asleep to the ever so slight stroking of his thumb.

It was that incident that gave him the confidence to continue this conversation. He wanted to move on to the next stage of their relationship, and although he wasn’t going to push her, he was not above flirting if the opportunity arose. And a naked Dana Scully in a bath was a prime opportunity as far as he was concerned.

“So Scully, is there room in that bath for two?”

“Two what, Mulder?” she asked, faking innocence as to his meaning.

“People, Scully. People about the size of you and me.”

“Gee, I’m sorry, Mulder. This bath is only big enough for one. And in any event, you’re at least 200 miles away.”

“Uhh, actually Scully, make that about 20 miles.”

He heard the splashing of the water as she sat bolt upright.

“What?!?” she squeaked.

“I couldn’t sleep, and…well, I missed you. So I thought I’d drive back tonight, rather than tomorrow morning. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Uh, no. No, that’s fine, Mulder.” She sounded flummoxed, and he grinned at her discomfort. His grin faded when he realized that he still hadn’t told her the bad news.

“Um, Scully? There’s something else. I tried to call reception, but they were closed, and I kind of don’t have a room. I was thinking maybe we could share? Just for tonight.”

“You want to share my room?” she repeated back to him, slightly incredulous.

“Just for tonight,” he said. “I’ll get a room first thing in the morning. Don’t you have a sofa in your room? I can sleep on that.”

He knew she didn’t, but it was the thought that counted.

“Mulder,” she said, exasperated, “You know I don’t have a sofa in my room. I can’t believe you! What if I’d been asleep? What if my phone was off? What would you have done then?”

He grinned. He loved it when her voice went all high and squeaky. “I guess I would have woken you up and begged forgiveness.” He paused for effect before continuing, “Did I mention that I miss you, Scully?”

The silence on the end of the phone was deafening, but he knew if he said nothing she’d cave. Finally she did.

“Fine, Mulder, you can share my room. When will you be here?” she asked.

“Give me about half an hour,” he replied, a wide smile spreading across his face.

Scully placed the phone on the floor by the bath and groaned in embarrassment. He’d tricked her! She covered her face with her hands, but was unable to stop a smile growing. That conversation was not just flirtation, it was out and out seduction. And goddamm, she’d enjoyed it.

With feelings hovering between embarrassment and arousal, she flicked the switch to turn on the spa jets. As she turned to adjust the towel she had placed behind her head, a firm jet of water hit her fairly between the legs. She gasped at the sensation and froze in that spot. That felt good.

She briefly considered her options. She could ignore the potential of the spa jets, or she could lie back and enjoy. She chose the latter. It wouldn’t do to be still aroused when Mulder arrived. She might do something she would regret in the morning.

True to his word, Mulder pulled up outside her room half an hour later. She was still in her bathrobe, having only just jumped out of the bath when she heard his car pull up.

“You look clean, Scully,” he murmured.

She eyed his rumpled clothes and stubble. “You don’t, Mulder. Why don’t you take a shower? I haven’t drained the bath yet, so you’ll need to do that.”

“What happened to my greeting kiss?” he inquired ingratiatingly.

She smirked. “Have you looked at yourself in the mirror, Mulder? I don’t think so.”

He laughed, accepting her insult good-naturedly and went into the bathroom immediately. She was surprised when she didn’t hear the bath drain; instead she heard the sound of sloshing water as he got in. Contemplating the thought of him sharing her bathwater was arousing, although not as arousing as the thought of him sharing her bath. As if reading her mind, she heard him call, “Hey Scully, it’s your turn to help me wash!”

“In your dreams, Mulder,” was her deadpan reply.

“Every night, Scully,” he called back, and she couldn’t help but laugh.

______

Scully’s room 3.25AM

Mulder blinked to clear the haze from his eyes. He’d just been hit gently across his face. When he dragged himself out of his sleep, he realized that Scully had flung her hand across the bed, and it was now resting on his neck. She whimpered slightly, her brow furrowed, and he picked up her hand and gently kissed it.

“Scully, it’s okay,” he whispered.

She sighed softly, settling down, and he brushed away a wisp of red hair that had fallen across her face. He knew he was taking advantage of her sleeping state, but he was unable to resist his urge to caress her. He wondered what she would say if she knew how often he stroked and kissed her when she had fallen asleep on his lap while watching TV. Sometimes he wondered if she was actually awake, and just hiding behind the curtain of sleep, so they could both maintain the facade of business as usual.

He shifted closer to her, and muttered “Roll over Scully.”

Obediently she did so, and he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back into his stomach. He savored the feeling of her warm, soft body pressed into him. Her legs were bare below her short pajamas, and he rubbed his legs against them, relishing the feeling of flesh on flesh. She wriggled her bottom into his groin, obviously seeking his warmth. Careful, Scully, he thought with a grin. That’s inviting trouble. He nuzzled his face into her hair, and within minutes he was asleep.

End Part 3

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 4 of 11

Greentown Police Station Greentown Indiana April 11th, 2000 11.10AM

Mulder and Scully had spent the last two hours sifting through the files they had gathered. Scully had taken Mulder through her autopsy reports, and as they pondered the evidence, he absentmindedly cracked open sunflower seeds with his teeth.

“Both girls were pregnant, but only one of them was pregnant before she was abducted. Caroline Becker was only six weeks pregnant – that’s not enough to be visible is it, Scully?”

She shook her head. “No. Really, she may not have even been aware of it herself. Fear and stress can cause a missed period. Then again, she was obviously raped by him, so she would have suspected. The question is – if she suspected she was pregnant, would she have kept it to herself, or told him, maybe as a ploy to gain his sympathy?”

“I think we can assume he knew. He killed her by stabbing her in the abdomen. The focus of the knife wounds was her womb. Likewise with Sarah Phillips. She was abducted just over a week ago. You estimated her time of death to be three days before her body was found, so she was killed shortly after she was abducted. Either the killer noticed she was pregnant, or she told him in the hope that this knowledge would prevent him from harming her.”

“And instead it seems this was what got her killed,” said Scully numbly.

Mulder ran his hands over his face and rubbed at his eyes. “It appears that way,” he sighed. “As soon as he discovered the girls were pregnant, he killed them. I think their pregnancy was a symbol to him that they were unclean, no longer chaste. The girls were required for some sort of religious ritual, and they were worthless once they were tainted.”

“Or maybe they were killed as a sacrifice,” offered Scully.

“That doesn’t make sense. If the killer was sacrificing girls, you would think that more than two bodies would have turned up by now. In any event, I am convinced by the way they were killed that he knew about their pregnancy, and that was the reason for their death.”

She shook her head, stubbornly. “We can’t be sure that he knew they were pregnant, Mulder. Neither girl was visibly pregnant.” She sighed. “And what about Caroline’s head injury? He almost ripped off half her scalp. She wasn’t the natural redhead, remember?”

Mulder nodded. “I don’t know the significance of that, Scully,” he admitted with frustration. He felt as though it was important, but he wasn’t sure why. “You said that it wasn’t that obvious that she wasn’t a natural redhead – that she had naturally auburn hair anyway. But maybe he did notice. Maybe he was pissed off that she had ‘fooled him’ into thinking she was a real redhead. But I still think the key is their pregnancies. I think the scalp injury was possibly done in the course of the struggle.”

“I didn’t find much evidence of a struggle though, Mulder. Although,” she said, her mind ticking over, “perhaps that is why. Maybe the pain of her scalp being torn caused her to pass out, which is why there were no defense injuries.”

Mulder nodded in agreement.

“What about the Harper brothers? Have you found anything more on them? Or David Sharp?”

“Not really. Although, David Sharp did go to school with Sarah Phillips when they were younger, before his family moved to Rockhampton. He said he couldn’t remember her. We’ve got a photo of him from the accident, and we’ve got someone interviewing the neighbors of Sarah Phillips’ again, asking them if they recognize him. In the meantime, we’re still trying to get some more information on the Harper sister’s baby. There are no records of her giving birth in Rockhampton, but I’ve got someone searching the county records. As far as I’m aware, the investigation team still hasn’t located Bill Harper’s whereabouts. He’s the other brother,” added Mulder. “He’s apparently in Europe somewhere, so he’s probably irrelevant to this investigation. But I just think it’s important that we place him.”

Scully squeezed his hand quickly. “Why don’t you put them under surveillance? You obviously have a feeling about them. Following your gut instinct usually works.”

He shrugged. “We don’t have any evidence that it might be them. No more to suggest that it is them, rather than David Sharp, or…well at this stage, anyone. I won’t be able to convince Harradine to place a surveillance team on the basis of my gut instinct alone. Especially when the Harper brothers have watertight alibis for both Sarah’s and Caroline’s abductions.”

Scully nodded, realizing he was right.

They both looked up when an officer entered the room, holding a file. “Agent Scully, the results from Sarah Phillips’ autopsy have just come in.”

“Thanks.” She took the file from him, and began perusing the results. “Bovine blood,” she murmured. “Oh! Mulder…the blood type of Sarah’s baby doesn’t match that of the father.”

She met his quizzical eyes. “They took his blood as part of the initial investigation into her abduction last week. He wasn’t really a suspect, but I guess they were covering all possibilities.”

He blanched. “What are we going to say to him?”

She shook her head slowly. “I don’t know, Mulder. I don’t really want to say anything unless we think it’s necessary to the investigation. I mean, the man just lost his wife…to find out the baby wasn’t his…”

They both sat in silence, contemplating the devastation this news would wreak on a man they didn’t even know.

“Well, I guess we should go and interview her parents and husband. I suppose in the interest of time we should go separately. I’ll interview the husband if you want,” Scully said, obviously reluctant.

Mulder looked at her with compassion. He knew she was finding this hard. He had heard the crack in her voice the night before when she told him the second victim had been three months pregnant, and he’d wondered how she had coped with the autopsy. When they had woken up together this morning, she’d been slightly shy, but he thought he’d detected gratefulness in her eyes that he’d been there to stave off nightmares.

He was not going to let her interview the husband, or the victim’s parents, alone.

“No, Scully, I think we should do this together.” He didn’t offer any explanation as to why, but he saw the relief in her features.

“Okay, let’s go,” she said.

______

Betty’s Diner Between Rockhampton and Greentown 3.30PM

Scully picked at her chicken salad sandwich absentmindedly. They hadn’t had time for lunch, and frankly the last few hours had been so emotionally draining that she had not felt like eating anyway.

Sarah Phillips’ parents had been distraught and accusatory. Sarah’s mother had almost reached the stage of hysteria, screaming at them “Why haven’t you caught him yet?” and “What are you doing to end this?” and more cuttingly, “How many more babies have to die before you finally do something?!”

Both Scully and Mulder knew that sometimes it was better to allow a person vent their pain and anger, and they sat there dutifully, allowing the accusations to rain down on them. When Mrs. Parker had calmed down, they began the same questions they had asked too many parents in the last few days.

Once again, they were unable to draw out any information that would lead them closer to the killer.

The interview with Sarah’s husband was even more distressing, especially after Scully spied a new crib in the corner of the room, with a bow still attached. Mark Phillips was at a loss to explain how his wife had been abducted so easily. He had been at work, and he was not sure of her whereabouts on that day. She could have been anywhere – taking a walk, shopping, gardening. Nobody had seen her, except for one sighting that morning, and there were no signs of a struggle in the house. The house had been locked when he arrived home from work.

Neither she nor Mulder had the heart to inquire about the possibility of Sarah having an affair. As if in a silent understanding they avoided the subject, neither of them convinced that it was relevant to the immediate investigation. Not yet, anyway.

They left his house, despondent.

Now, Scully picked at her food, and Mulder gulped down his burger and chips, watching her.

Finally, she looked up. “Mulder, will you please stop staring at me?”

“I’m just wondering what you’re thinking.”

“Nothing, Mulder.”

“You don’t look as though you’re thinking about nothing.”

She sighed. “Mulder, since when do I have to reveal every thought I have to you?”

He looked hurt, and she immediately regretted her words. “I’m sorry, Mulder. I’m just formulating an idea. When it’s done, I’ll let you know,” she said with a smile.

He shrugged, and went back to eating, this time staring out the window at the parking lot.

She glanced at him, feeling a little guilty at her brush off. She’d already formulated her idea, but she knew he wouldn’t like it. She was not about to tell him now, giving him the drive back to the station to try and talk her out of it. He would just have to wait.

They had reached that frustrating point in an investigation where they had examined all the evidence, propounded a number of theories, and were left with an incomplete hand, waiting for the dealer to dispense the winning card. Only in this case the winning card would be another murder. And Scully was not willing to wait for another death just to get more evidence.

She had decided to go undercover to lure the killer out.

______

Greentown Police Station 5.45PM

Scully waited until Harradine had finished outlining the evidence they had amassed, before she spoke. She looked around at the team of police officers – they all looked weary and frustrated.

She stood to speak, grateful for the heels that gave her a few extra inches. She was aware, by their glances and smiles, that some of them were unable to overcome their bias against women in law enforcement, and being small didn’t help.

“It seems to me that we are stuck,” she began in measured tones. She deliberately avoided Mulder’s eye as she spoke. “We have narrowed the area where we believe the killer resides to Rockhampton, but we have little forensic evidence, and only conjecture as to his motives. We have two choices. Our first choice is to wait for a further murder or abduction, and hope that the killer slips up and leaves more evidence. I know nobody in this room wants there to be another murder. Or I can go undercover in Rockhampton. I believe that at this stage, this is our only option.”

The room was silent, and all eyes turned to Mulder, as if realizing that he was going to have objections.

He did.

“I believe that is unnecessary,” he said in a controlled voice. “We can find him on the evidence we have.”

Scully met his eyes with determination. “I disagree,” she said evenly. “If that was the case, we would have found him by now. This is the only way Mulder. You know I’m right.”

She looked at him with a silent plea. Don’t argue with me in front of them Mulder. Save it for later.

He dropped his eyes. “I think we should consider this further,” he muttered.

Harradine cleared his throat. “I agree with Agent Scully that this may be our only option. Why don’t we think about it tonight, and I’ll look into what surveillance and tracking equipment will be required for Agent Scully. Woodford, why don’t you start coming up with an appropriate cover for Agent Scully – if this is the course of action we decide upon,” he added, glancing at Mulder.

The officers filed out of the room, aware that they still had a few more hours of work before they could go home to their families. Scully caught Harradine before he left.

“Is there a spare patrol car I could borrow, just for this evening? I need to run some errands.”

Harradine nodded. “I’ll arrange that for you. Come with me.”

Looking back over her shoulder at Mulder still sitting in the middle of the room, she said, “Mulder, I’ve got some things to do. I’ll see you in an hour or so.”

He didn’t respond, but she knew he had heard her. She also knew he was pissed with her. She felt slightly ashamed about springing this on him in front of everyone, but if she’d told him earlier he would have argued with her until he was black and blue in the face. She couldn’t face an argument then, and she didn’t want one now. Although she did have shopping to do, and she could have simply dropped him off at the motel and then taken the car. But maybe in an hour’s time he would have cooled off enough to discuss this calmly, she rationalized.

After dropping Harradine at his house, she headed to the local shopping mall. She needed a some new clothes for her undercover persona. She had only brought her ‘professional’ clothes with her, and none were appropriate if she was going to pass for a women in her twenties.

Two hours later she left the shopping mall, the new owner of a tight pair of faded jeans, a Wonderbra, a few cute floral blouses that she had picked up in a retro sixties shop and some funky shoes. She also had some curlers, hair gel and a curling iron. Finally, she’d picked up a fake navel ring and some body glitter at the last minute. The last item had been a pure impulse buy – she wasn’t even sure what to do with it, but it seemed ‘young’.

As she drove back to the motel, she wondered whether Mulder had calmed down.

______

Starry Nights Motel Greentown, Indiana Scully’s room

Mulder looked up as Scully entered the room. He had been staring unfocussed at the TV, slouched against the headboard of the bed, eating pizza. When she walked in, some of the tension left his body. She had been gone longer than he expected, and her phone had been turned off.

She frowned. “Mulder, what are you doing here?”

“They’re full.”

She raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “Full,” she repeated.

“Yes, full. They have a school group visiting for the night. They’ll have a spare room for me tomorrow night.”

He sat on the bed, staring at her. He wasn’t impressed with her efforts to avoid discussing this with him, and he was pissed that she’d ambushed him. She’d known he would disagree with her plan, so she’d waited to tell him in front of everyone else. Although he had too much respect for her to engage her in an argument in front of the others, he wasn’t going to let her get away with that.

“Why didn’t you tell me what you were planning on doing before you announced it at the meeting?” he asked icily, folding his arms in front of his chest.

“Because you would have objected,” she responded simply, dropping her packages on the table.

“Damn right! And I would have had good reasons for doing so,” he said, his voice rising in pitch a little.

“I don’t believe you do have good reasons, and in any event, it’s not your place to try and talk me out of it,” Scully answered with controlled anger.

“Dammit Scully, how dare you suggest that I have no right to express my feelings over this!”

She glanced at him dismissively, and walked to the bathroom. “I’m going to take a shower.”

“Wait.”

The bite in his voice was enough to stop her in her tracks. She turned and regarded him with cool blue eyes, her face impassive. “What, Mulder?”

“We need to talk about this. I simply cannot see why it is necessary for you to put yourself on the line. This isn’t even our case, we’re just helping, goddammit! Besides, I don’t believe it will work,” he said, grasping at straws. “You’re not the right age group. He’s after younger women.”

“I can look younger,” she said evenly.

“That’s not the point, dammit!” he yelled, unaware that she flinched at his raised voice. “The point is that you don’t have to do this. So why are you going to? What are you trying to prove, Scully?! It is not necessary for the conduct of this case that you use yourself as live bait. We can catch him without doing that.”

“Well, we haven’t so far,” she countered calmly.

“Scully, don’t you think we’ve been through enough lately?” he asked in a calmer voice. “What if he does take you, and something goes wrong? Why are you willing to risk that?”

“Because it’s my job, Mulder,” she said in a firm voice. “And it is not your job to tell me what to do.”

“Strictly speaking, Scully, it is. I am the senior agent, and I could forbid you to do this.” He knew he was treading on dangerous ground, but he was unable to stop images of her abduction racing across his mind, and he was desperate to steer her from this course of action.

Her eyes narrowed. “Is that what you are going to do, Mulder?” she asked in a quiet, controlled voice.

“I’m just trying to get you to reconsider. This is dangerous. You could get hurt, or worse…I could never forgive myself.”

As soon as those last words left his mouth, he knew it was precisely the wrong thing to say. She snapped.

“Goddammit, Mulder! You are not here to protect me. I am a Federal Agent and I know the risks of my job. I make my own choices and if I choose to do this, then dammit, I will! How dare you assume that somehow my choices are your fault! How dare you! I can look after myself, Mulder, and I am good at my job.” She glared at him, as if defying him to say anything further, and then stormed into the bathroom.

He followed her, only to have the door slammed in his face. Resting his forehead on the door, he sighed deeply. That did not go well.

How could he explain to her why he didn’t want her to do this? Surely she knew that she was everything to him. Dammit, he’d as good as told her so…he’d told her she was his only constant. Why didn’t she realize that if anything happened to her…well, it would be the end of him. Didn’t she feel the same way?

A small voice inside him pointed out that she probably did feel the same way about him, yet she didn’t dictate to him how to do his job.

He groaned against the door. He was a fool. He knew in his heart that he had to separate his feelings for her from their job. They had a dangerous job, and he had to accept that. But try as he might to tamp down his feelings, he knew that when she walked out of the bathroom, he was going to make one last ditch attempt to talk her out of this.

Scully grimaced as the hot water hit her. Her body temperature had risen a few degrees during her tirade against Mulder, and she felt as if she was about to spontaneously combust. The thought caused her to smirk. What a way to go – give Mulder one last X-file as she exited this world.

As she washed herself, she ran over their argument in her head. Again, she became incensed. How dare he try and stop her from doing this! He was letting his personal feelings for her get in the way of their job, that much was clear. It was precisely this reason that she had resisted entering into a relationship with him for all these years. He appeared completely incapable of separating their working life from the personal side of their relationship. If it was like this now, what would it be like if she did allow them to get even more personal.

She sighed as she got out of the shower and began drying herself. If she was honest with herself, she didn’t think consummation of their relationship would change anything. She couldn’t feel more deeply for him than she did already and she was sure he felt the same. Acknowledging their feelings wouldn’t change them.

Mulder would just have to accept that they had dangerous jobs. Bad things could, and did, happen. But they always managed to get through.

With this thought in mind, she pulled on her bathrobe and opened the door, to find Mulder inches away from her.

“Mul-”

Before she could ask what he was doing, he clamped one hand behind her head and pulled her towards him, bringing his lips down on hers. She struggled briefly, and opened her mouth to protest. He took that as an invitation, and she felt his hot tongue slide in. It was her undoing. For too many years she had dreamed about Mulder’s tongue in her mouth, and now that she was faced with reality, she had no strength to resist.

She groaned slightly, and rubbed her tongue against his, experiencing its taste and texture. In response, he tightened his grip on her body and ran his hands over her back and bottom. She could feel his growing erection pressed against her belly, and the rumble of a moan deep in his chest. He smelled of cologne and sweat, in stark contrast to her clean soapy scent. His mouth devoured hers, but when he pulled back to shower kisses over her jawline she came to her senses.

“Mulder,” she said sharply, wresting herself out of his arms.

He looked at her, his previously wild eyes suddenly blank.

“Take a shower, Mulder. Preferably a cold one,” she added cuttingly.

She watched his retreating back, and then quickly slipped into her pajamas, trying not to notice the trembling of her hands. She lay in the bed, plucking mindlessly at the comforter that was pulled up under her chin. She wasn’t angry, just upset. She wasn’t really sure why he’d kissed her. Had he thought that by doing so he could erase their argument? Or make her agree with him? A kiss was not something that should be used as a pawn in an argument.

She heard him come out of the bathroom, but didn’t turn around to look at him. He didn’t get in the bed with her, and finally he cleared his throat and spoke.

“Scully, I’ll sleep in the car tonight if-”

She cut him off. “Mulder, don’t be stupid. Get in the bed.”

She felt the bed sink as he lowered his weight onto it. The mattress jiggled while he turned the bedside lamp off and got comfortable. After a long period of uncomfortable silence, he said in a small voice, “Scully, I am so sorry. That was inexcusable.”

“Yes, it was, Mulder,” she replied bluntly. She was not going to let him charm his way out of this one.

He sighed. “I know I have no right to tell you not to go undercover, Scully, no matter what I might think about it personally. But, I…I care about you.”

“I know you do, Mulder, but that is not an excuse. I care about you, but I don’t prevent you from doing your job in a professional manner just because I’m frightened of what may happen to you.”

“Well, that’s not entirely true, Scully. You try to stop me from ditching you. You have some weird idea that I always get hurt when you’re not around.”

She smiled against her better judgement. She was still angry at him, and she didn’t want him to joke his way into her good books. “Ditching me is not doing your job in a professional manner. G’night Mulder.”

Her meaning was clear – conversation closed.

End Part 4

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 5 of 11

Starry Nights Motel 12 April 1999 8.30AM

The next morning Mulder booked himself into the adjoining room.

As he entered the motel restaurant, he spotted Scully sitting at a window table. The sun reflected off her shiny hair, and he wondered why the rest of the people in the room weren’t as transfixed by the sight as he was.

He rubbed his eyes, still grainy with sleep. He hadn’t been able to sleep after their argument, especially as his feelings of remorse and guilt were competing with lust. His mind kept replaying their kiss, over and over, and he had only been able to reduce his erection by thinking of dead cats. He’d picked up that erection-shrinking tip from the Internet, and had used it ever since. Unfortunately, the remainder of the night had been spent tossing and turning under the influence of mangled felines.

He shook his head to discard the residual images, and let his eyes rest once more on Scully. He hadn’t intended to kiss her. He’d been meaning to talk with her, quietly and reasonably. But when he’d been confronted with her, newly scrubbed and smelling of apples, something else had taken over. Call it lust, call it love, call it an inability to express his feelings in words…call it what you will, the only thing he knew was that it was possibly the biggest mistake he’d ever made.

The look in her eyes when she pulled back was enough to make him wish the mothmen had got him. She was pissed at him, and she was hurt. And he knew why, because he felt the same hurt. Their first real kiss should have been special. It should not have been a kiss forced upon her in the middle of a goddamm argument.

When he approached her table she didn’t look up, but he could tell that she sensed him by the way her shoulders stiffened.

He stood there uncertainly. “I got myself another room.”

“Good,” she responded quietly, still reading the file laid out in front of her.

When he didn’t sit down, she looked up and added, “I don’t relish the idea of explaining to Accounts why we were sharing a room. There are enough rumors about us as it is.”

He smiled slightly, feeling the heavy weight he had been carrying lift slightly. She didn’t appear too angry.

He sat down and picked up the menu. “I got the adjoining room again. Is that okay?”

This time she smiled. “It’s okay, Mulder.”

“Ahh, Scully…about last night-”

She cut him off before he could continue. “Mulder, conversations that begin with the phrase ‘about last night’ are destined to be awful. So let’s not talk about it, okay?”

“Scully, I don’t think we can ignore it.”

She stared down at her hands that were splayed on the table before she responded in measured tones. “Mulder, I just don’t see any benefit in rehashing the events of last night. We both expressed our views, our views differed, and there is nothing more either of us can add. I’m not suggesting we ignore it, I’m just suggesting we move on.”

“Move on,” he repeated dumbly.

“Yes, move on.” She picked up the file, and continued her perusal.

Mulder furrowed his brow in confusion. What did ‘move on’ mean? Was she talking about their kiss, or their disagreement? He was talking about the kiss, but he had a feeling she was talking about their argument. Or maybe she was referring to both. And in which case – how do they ‘move on’ from that kiss? Move on and ignore it? Or move on and do it again?

His musings were interrupted by the waitress requesting his order. Anxiety made him hungry, so he ordered the big breakfast with extra hash browns.

Scully looked up, amused at his order.

He caught her eye, and said defensively, “What?”

“Nothing,” she replied, shaking her head gently.

“I’m hungry,” he protested.

“Obviously.”

He grinned, knowing that as soon as his meal came she would pick at the bacon.

“So what’s up first, Scully?”

“We’re meeting Harradine and the Investigation team to discuss my undercover assignment. Harradine said he should be able to set everything up by this afternoon, and we can either drive to Rockhampton today, or tomorrow morning.”

“Okay,” responded Mulder neutrally. He grabbed the local newspaper from the next table and began reading. When his meal came, he couldn’t hide his smile when Scully nabbed a bit of bacon before he even had a chance to take his first bite.

They were back to normal. ______

Back in the motel room, Scully changed into her new clothes, scrubbed the make-up off her face and curled her hair. She hated all her freckles showing, but it did make her look younger. She smeared a little of the glitter on her cheekbones, and smiled at the effect. It looked cute. After a bit of fiddling she clipped on the fake navel ring, and then tied her blouse in a knot just above her belly button. Luckily, it was an unusually warm day.

When she emerged from the bathroom, Mulder almost choked on his coffee.

“Young enough for you?” she asked with a smile, and one eyebrow raised.

Dabbing at the coffee that had spilt on his tie, he responded with a smirk, “Probably a bit too young for me, Scully. C’mere.”

She walked over to stand in front of him. From his position on the bed he was almost eye level with her belly button. He leaned forward, and she could feel his warm breath tickling the flesh of her stomach. Finally he looked up.

“When did you get that?”

She laughed. “It’s fake, Mulder.”

He gripped her by the hips and turned her around. The top half of her tattoo was showing above the waistline of her jeans. Slowly he traced it with his finger. She shivered at his touch and her flesh pebbled into goosebumps.

“Can I see the rest of it?” he asked, his voice gravelly.

She hesitated, and then undid the top two buttons of her jeans, pulling them down slightly. His fingers hooked into the waistband and tugged her jeans slightly lower, catching her panties with them. Her tattoo was now completely exposed. She blushed. She could almost feel the heat of his gaze, and she knew that the swell of the top of her buttocks was visible to him.

She swallowed and closed her eyes when his finger continued to trace the rest of her tattoo.

“I like it,” he finally said huskily.

He stood up, and she quickly did up her jeans, ducking her head so he wouldn’t see her glowing cheeks.

“C’mon Mulder, they’re waiting for us.”

______

Greentown Police Station 10.00AM

The investigation team had arranged a house for Scully and explained that she was enrolled in the nearby Kokomo College studying Feminism. They had assembled an impressive array of tracking equipment to be placed in Scully’s clothing, as well as concealed cameras to be set up on the front porch of the house, and in her bedroom.

“My bedroom?” asked Scully, with a grimace. Realizing how that could be interpreted, she added, “I don’t relish the idea of people watching me sleep.”

“Don’t worry,” explained Harradine with a chuckle. “First, there’s no sound on these cameras. Second, we’ll have it trained on the window, and not on the bed. So if you drool in your sleep, we won’t notice,” he added with a roar of laughter that caused his belly to shake.

“You have to remember to bring in the tapes each day for us to examine,” added Woodford, a quiet man who had gathered the equipment. “I’m afraid we don’t have a direct feed from these cameras, so don’t rely on them if anything does happen. The cavalry won’t be coming to save you.”

Scully smirked at his bluntness. How comforting.

“I’m going with you,” said Mulder.

“Mulder,” said Scully, exasperated. “As who, exactly? My father?”

He clutched his heart. “Ooh, you wound, Scully. No, as your older lover.”

He deliberately emphasized the work ‘lover’, smirking as he did so. She glared at him, and he laughed. “It makes sense, Scully. You had to leave your hometown because your parents were absolutely furious that you’d taken up with an older man. I’ll be out of town most of the time, so I promise I won’t get in the way.” He paused and then said quietly, “It’s safer, Scully. We’d all feel better.”

“Mulder, I am meant to be undercover. You are investigating this matter – you’ve already interviewed two prime suspects. If they see me with you, don’t you think that will blow my cover just a little?” she asked, laying on the sarcasm thickly.

“We thought about that,” Mulder admitted. “But as I said, I’ll be out of the town during the day, and I won’t be seen with you at any stage. I’ll just be with you during the nights, and so long as the blinds are drawn, nobody will see me. Please, Scully, you’re putting yourself in danger as it is. At least allow me this.”

She looked around at other members of the team. Obviously he’d discussed this with them already. Fine, if that was what it took.

“Okay,” she said, resigned.

“We’ve still got some things to organise,” said Harradine. “I believe Agent Mulder wanted to take another look at the places where the bodies were found, so if you come back this afternoon, we’ll have the keys to the house for you.”

______

Kiah St residence Rockhampton, Indiana 4.30PM

The trip to Rockhampton took a couple of hours and after settling in, Scully decided to go grocery shopping. She might as well start getting herself known immediately. Rockhampton was not a large town, and she was sure that the grapevine would soon latch on to her presence.

“Mulder, I’m going to get the groceries. Are you okay unpacking the rest of the things?”

Harradine had provided them with dinnerware, sheets, blankets, and pots and pans, although the rest of the house was already furnished.

“Why don’t I come with you?”

She smiled, touched at his obvious, but misplaced, concern. “Mulder, you’re not meant to be seen with me, remember? Anyway, the point of this little exercise is for me to get out there, and make myself known. Don’t worry, I have tracking devices in my shoes and my bra, and I have my phone and gun with me. Stop worrying!”

He grimaced. “Okay. How long do you think you’ll be?”

“I’ll see you in an hour.”

Scully almost did feel like a college student again, driving to the shopping mall in the beaten up car they had been given. She couldn’t help but glance at herself every now and then in the rear view mirror. She’d gelled her hair after curling it, and with the window open it had been whipped into a mass of untamed red curls. The glitter on her cheekbones made her feel like a completely different person, not like the button-down Federal Agent she was so used to, and she suddenly felt quite liberated. She turned the music up louder, and sang off-key all the way to the mall.

While standing in the checkout cue she struck up a conversation with a young man behind her. Loudly, so that all around her in the small supermarket could hear, she proclaimed that she’d just enrolled in college and had moved onto Kiah St. She told him laughingly that she’d left her hometown because she’d taken up with an older guy who her parents disapproved of, and she was sick of them ragging her. In the short conversation she managed to make herself as noticeable as possible, flirting with both the guy she was talking to, and the guy behind the counter.

After stopping to load her groceries in the car, she wandered around the town center for a while. She went up to a number of people and asked them for directions to places she didn’t really want to visit, and patted as many dogs as she could. She cooed at a couple of babies, and chatted to some kids playing on the footpath. She was beginning to feel like a politician.

She bought an ice-cream, and chatted to the two students behind the counter, asking them if there were any good drinking places in town. They gave her the name of the place to be and be seen, and told her they expected to see her there soon. She assured them they would, but had to smirk at the thought of her and Mulder ‘hanging out’ with them.

By the time she got back to the car, she felt as if she’d met almost the entire town. Or at least been seen by them. She hadn’t noticed anyone behaving strangely – except for her; Mulder would have had a field day if he’d witnessed her flirtations.

Scully smiled happily to herself the whole way home. Although the reasons for her being in this town were serious, she’d thoroughly enjoyed her outing. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d dressed outrageously, flirted, or even just had a normal conversation with a stranger – liver eating mutants didn’t count.

When she got home, she lugged the groceries in to find Mulder asleep on the sofa. She crouched down near him, and looked at him for a while. She guessed he hadn’t slept well last night.

She looked at his lips, remembering their kiss from the night before. Despite the circumstances, it had been a great kiss. Hot and salty wet, his tongue had demanded a response from her, a response she had been more than willing to give. She leaned forward slightly, daring herself to muster the courage to slip her tongue between his slightly parted lips.

She couldn’t do it. She could no more kiss Mulder out of the blue than she could accept one of his wild theories without proof. A move like that needed careful consideration. She got up to cook dinner.

When Mulder woke, he was greeted by a delicious smell emanating from the kitchen. Stretching and scratching his belly he wandered into where Scully was putting the finishing touches on a salad.

“What’s for dinner, lover?”

“Nothing, if you keep calling me that,” she warned, brandishing the salad server.

He opened the oven and a rich garlicky smell wafted out.

“You can take those out now, Mulder.”

Grabbing a dish towel, he pulled out a large baking dish of ribs, in a deliciously fragrant sauce.

“Mmmm, meat,” he growled, caveman style.

“Actually, more bones than meat,” she said. “But this is my Mom’s secret recipe, and it’s worth the trouble of gnawing the meat of the bones. Once you taste these ribs, you’ll never look back.”

“I believe you, Scully,” he said, dipping his finger in the sauce. She was right – if the sauce alone was any indication, these were ribs to die for. He watched her as she opened a bottle of wine. She was still wearing the top that she’d knotted at her waist, and as she twisted to undo the bottle, it rode up exposing her shooting scar.

When she looked up to find him watching her, she became self- conscious, and released the knot in her blouse.

“So tell me Scully. Now that you’ve spent a day with a navel ring, are you gonna get one?”

She sat down, and began serving the ribs. “I don’t think so, Mulder. I’ve had enough physical pain to last me a lifetime – why add more?”

“You had a tattoo,” he said, before he could stop himself. “That hurt didn’t it?”

She smiled; a small secretive smile. “In a way.”

“Some people say that the pain of a tattoo can be sexual,” he said in a low, rumbling voice. “Did you find it sexual, Scully?”

He watched as the color rose on her cheeks.

“Do you like the ribs, Mulder?”

He laughed. “Scully, that was the most obvious ploy to change the subject that I have ever heard. Answer the question, Scully – did getting the tattoo turn you on?”

Now she was blushing hard. They had avoided the subject of her tattoo for many years, but he felt confident enough to raise it now. Truth be told, the thought of Scully’s tattoo almost gave him an instant hard-on.

“Mulder, do you really want to know?”

“Uh huh,” he answered, gnawing on a rib bone, all the while staring at her intently.

“Yes, it did turn me on,” she replied, before taking a large mouthful of wine. She lowered her eyes, and began examining the tablecloth with an intensity she usually reserved for corpses.

He grinned at her embarrassment. “Your tattoo turns me on too, Scully.”

Her head shot up, and she stared at him with wide eyes.

“Why is that so surprising, Scully? A model of conservatism, yet Agent Scully has a wild tattoo hidden on her lower back. It’s incongruous, and therefore it’s sexy.”

He could see her thinking about her next words. “I guess it’s not so surprising,” she admitted finally. “I’m just surprised that you said it.”

“Hmm, it’s not something that you usually say to your work partner,” he answered with a smile.

“Why say it then?”

He leaned forward, and tugged at her hand until their fingers were entwined. “I guess I don’t think of you as just my work partner.”

She dropped her eyes to look at their hands. Slowly, he ran his thumb over hers, caressing her soft skin. When he felt her pull back slightly, he let go. He wasn’t going to force this with her. If there was one thing he knew about Scully, it was that she had to make up her own mind.

He went back to eating his meal. “So Scully, why have you never made me these before?”

She looked at him, her gaze inscrutable. “I think the last time I made these was before I joined the X-files. I guess it’s because they take time to cook, and you and I always seem to be working late or in some dingy motel somewhere. This is the first time in ages that I’ve actually had some spare time to do some cooking.”

He nodded, wondering what she expected him to say to that. In the end, he chose levity, and said, “Well, you realize that these are going to have to be a regular on the menu from now on?”

“Only if you’re good,” she replied with a small smile.

He lifted his eyebrows. “I can be very good, Scully,” he said in a mock-seductive voice, leaving her in no doubt as to what he was referring.

She merely rolled her eyes at him, and changed the conversation to a safer subject.

After dinner, Mulder did the dishes. Scully sat curled up on one end of the couch, reading a magazine she had found. Her head shot up when she heard the sound of something breaking.

“What did you break, Mulder?” she called out.

“Nothing,” he replied guiltily, “…much.”

She stifled a laugh. Why did it not surprise her that he had broken something? Since they had started spending more time together they often ate at her house, and he always washed up. In the last six months she had lost two of her favorite bowls, a vase, and a number of wine glasses. Sometimes she thought his appendages were too big for him to control – he dropped things or he tripped over constantly.

Thinking about large appendages caused her mind to drift south. She wondered if the old wives’ tale was true. He certainly had a large nose… Thinking about Mulder’s ‘attributes’ caused her to squirm with a mixture of arousal and fear. They were close; she knew that. But the closer they got, the more nervous she became. Was this really a good idea?

She liked the new level their relationship had reached. They were more intimate physically and mentally, and she appreciated the freedom they had given each other to bestow the occasional caress or to curl up together on the sofa without feeling uncomfortable. But she knew Mulder was not willing to leave it at that. Although he was patient with her, he wanted their relationship to go further; that much was clear.

She just wasn’t sure she was ready for that. She was ready to have sex with him – God, she’d been ready for that for years. It was hard to ignore the sexual energy that pulsed between them. A number of years ago she had seriously considered the possibility of having a purely sexual relationship with him. But in the end, she’d known that he meant too much to her to separate sex from emotions.

He was her best friend, faithful partner, staunch defender – everything but lover…should he be that?

Complications, fear and anxiety crowded her thoughts, competing for attention. A coward’s voice screamed, “Leave it alone, Mulder. Everything’s fine the way it is, and you want to screw it up!” Another voice, low and throbbing, called her to surrender – to his will, to her deeper emotions, to whatever passion was driving this. That part of her wanted to be swept away by the tide, and washed back to shore a different person, with Mulder as her lover.

But she wasn’t ever going to be a different person. She was always Dana Scully, and right now Dana Scully was frightened of changing things between her and Mulder. It was odd that she should be so scared of change. She was the person who had given up a promising career in medicine to join the FBI. She was the person who had been excited about being assigned to the X-Files, despite Mulder’s ‘spooky’ reputation. But she was older now, and she’d been through more trauma than she ever expected would befall her. The consequence of this was a desire to harbor in the safety of the familiar.

Mulder was her safety net, and the thought of losing that made her stomach roil and churn with anxiety. There was every possibility that a romantic relationship between them may not work. If it didn’t, she would lose everything. If they tried, and failed, she didn’t believe they could turn back and retrieve the intimacy and warmth they had now.

Scully was so lost in thought that she didn’t notice Mulder lean over behind her, and gently wave a steaming mug of hot chocolate in front of her face.

“What are you reading?” he asked, hovering over her shoulder.

She clasped the mug in her hands, relishing the burning sensation. Although the days were quite warm, the nights were still cool. Her hands were cold, as she’d been too lazy to get up and get a sweater. She turned her head sideways to look at him, aware of his closeness. She could feel his heat, and smell his distinct mix of cologne and sweat. “Just a trashy magazine,” she answered, allowing her eyes to run briefly over his stubbled face.

“Do you mind if I turn some music on?”

“Go ahead,” she replied, slightly surprised that he wasn’t going to watch TV.

Mulder chose a classical music station, and then settled on the other end of the sofa to join her reading.

Scully sipped at her chocolate, feeling inordinately pleased that he had made it for her. It was a small gesture, but it was thoughtful, especially as he didn’t appear to have made himself one. She twisted her body, so she could watch him from under her lids while pretending to read. With the lights low, his skin looked even more golden than usual. Sometimes, when he reached for her hand, she marveled at the difference in their skin color. She was so pale, and compared to her, he seemed to have a perpetual tan. She wondered what he would look like if he did actually have a tan. God knows, in the seven years she’d known him, he’d never really had an opportunity to have a relaxing holiday in the sun, soaking up the rays.

She sighed slightly, taken with thoughts of her and Mulder somewhere on a beach, rubbing suntan lotion onto each other’s shoulders.

“Y’okay, Scully?”

She came back to earth to find him looking at her with concern.

“I’m fine, Mulder.” Catching his look, she smiled softly. “No really. I was just daydreaming. About a beach. It’s been so long since I’ve been to the beach.”

He looked intrigued. “I can’t really picture you at the beach, Scully. I would have thought with your skin you’d avoid the sun at all costs.”

She held up a white arm. “I’m not exactly beach material, am I?” she said ruefully. “When I go the beach, I wear a long-sleeved white shirt over my bathing suit, a big-brimmed hat and I sit under an umbrella. But I still like it,” she added wistfully. “I love the salt in the air, and the crusty bits that form on the end of your eyelashes. I love it when the water’s so cold it’s almost painful when you first jump in, but the moment you do your heat-induced lethargy disappears. I love watching the other people on the beach, especially the children.” Her eyes shone at an old memory. “Children seem to take a greater delight in the ocean than adults. They actually shriek when the waves hit them.”

“Did you shriek, Scully?”

She nodded, remembering family holidays at the beach. “I loved the waves, but they scared me too. Bill used to swim right out to the big ones, and I desperately wanted to join him, but I was young and big waves were terrifying. I’d had a healthy respect for the ocean instilled into me by Dad. Mom would never let me go in too far and Bill never offered to take me in with him. He was too busy flirting with girls to want to play with his kid sister.” She smirked, but the old hurt tugged at her.

“I’d have taken you in, Scully,” Mulder said softly.

She smiled, captured for a moment by an image of her and Mulder in the ocean, his arms wrapped around her.

“When was the last time you went to the beach, Scully?” Mulder asked.

“Too long ago. I can’t really remember,” she replied.

“We both have a lot of vacation leave stored up,” he ventured. “Maybe we need a visit to the beach.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “Are you suggesting we go on a vacation together, Mulder?”

He shrugged, appearing a little embarrassed. “Maybe.”

She cocked her eyebrow at him, unable to suppress a small, pleased smile. “You don’t think we’d get sick of each other?”

“Not if you wear a bikini,” he quipped.

She lay her head back against the sofa, considering the idea. “I would love to go to the beach,” she murmured dreamily. “Summer’s coming up.”

She propped her head on her bent arm and looked at him. “I think I could put up with you, for a week or so.” She smiled shyly.

“Great,” he said simply. “We’ll arrange for the time off with Skinner when we get back. Maybe we could write if off as some sort of work-bonding thing: the FBI Agents that play together, stay together,” he grinned.

She returned his smile, and then ducked her head to stare unseeingly at the magazine on her lap. She felt almost giddy. She’d just agreed to go on a vacation with Mulder. Together. The two of them together. Her fingers trembled slightly as they closed more tightly around her hot chocolate.

Mulder returned his attention to his book, but found himself reading the same sentence over and over, his mind engaged with the thought of he and Scully frolicking in the waves. The words on the page blurred and swirled until they formed a perfect outline of Scully on the beach, wearing only a bikini and suntan lotion that he had applied. His cock twitched, and he immediately looked up, trying to banish the image.

Looking across at Scully he noticed her yawn, and glanced at her watch. He knew the drill. It was too early for her to go to bed, but she was too tired to stay awake. So she would compromise by dozing on the sofa for an hour or so, until she could go to bed at what she considered a ‘respectable’ time. For some reason that he didn’t understand, she didn’t consider sleeping on the sofa ‘real’ sleep. He thought it a bizarre routine, but he never complained, because of late he’d ended up with her head on his lap.

“You wanna lay down?” he asked, lifting the book he was reading from his lap, and patting his legs.

She nodded, and moved over to lay her head on his lap. He gently draped one arm over her waist, and rested his book on the arm of the sofa. She wriggled a bit, until she was comfortable, and then almost immediately began drifting off to sleep.

Mulder watched her, his attention torn completely from his book. She was at her most beautiful when she was sleeping. The fine lines of worry seemed to soften, and her lips fell apart in invitation. Or at least, to him it seemed an invitation.

She shifted again, so she was lying on her back. He brought his arm up so it was resting on her chest, and cupped his hand against her cheek, releasing his book to run his other hand through her hair. Unable to help himself, he leaned down and pressed his lips to her forehead. She smiled slightly in her sleep.

He let his fingers trace the planes of her face, allowing them to caress her bottom lip slightly. Her tongue darted out to lick her lips, a reaction to the tickling, and he found himself getting aroused. Please don’t wake up Scully, he begged silently, or you’ll be face to face with something I don’t think you want to see just yet.

As he looked at her, his mind drifted back to their kiss the previous night. He hadn’t meant to kiss her, and he would probably have come to his senses the moment their lips met, if not for her response. She had kissed him back furiously, her tongue meeting his with equal fervor. When she had pulled away, he’d felt as if a part of his body had been torn off. Now as he stared at her parted, slightly chapped lips, he felt an overwhelming temptation to kiss them. Just one little kiss. Just one.

He leaned forward, his body ignoring the warning messages his brain was sending, and pressed his lips softly to hers. She didn’t wake. The memory of their kiss drove him to press his lips against hers again, this time for longer. He almost gasped in surprise when he felt her moist tongue tickle at his lips, and without fully comprehending what he was doing, he stroked the tip of her tongue with his.

It was only the moan that escaped from his throat that brought him back to reality. He pulled back roughly, and she half-opened her eyes. She blinked at him in confusion, and then fell back to sleep. He breathed a sigh of relief, as a flood of shame washed over him. That was unforgivable.

Slipping out from under her, he walked out to the back porch, slipping on a hooded jacket as he exited. The cool air was a blessing on his hot face. He stared out into the dark night, mentally berating himself. He had taken advantage of her, pure and simple. It was one thing to stroke her hair and face when she was asleep, another to kiss her. He felt sick; as if he’d betrayed her.

He wondered if he should confess to her. But how? “Oh, by the way, Scully. Last night when you were asleep on my lap, I kissed you. It was only meant to be a little kiss, but you must have been having a really wild dream because you stuck your tongue in my mouth, and I just couldn’t resist.” In the end, it was best to say nothing at all, and vow never to do it again.

When Mulder returned to the living room, Scully was still deeply asleep on the sofa. He stood there, considering whether to wake her, or carry her to her room. He couldn’t bring himself to disturb her slumber, so he bent down, knees creaking and carried her to the bed. Gently laying her down, he pulled back the covers on the other side. He slipped her shoes off, and then looked at her jeans. Should he take them off? He knew from personal experience that sleeping in tight jeans was an unpleasant experience. But the thought of taking hers off seemed like a further invasion of her privacy.

This is ridiculous, he thought. You’ve dressed her naked body before. Surely you can take her jeans off. Yes, but last time was a matter of life and death, he answered himself. And last time you hadn’t kissed her while she was sleeping.

He shook his head. Great. Now he was holding a conversation with himself.

He knelt on the bed beside her, and started undoing her fly buttons. When he began tugging her jeans down, he closed his eyes. The least he could do was not look.

Her voice startled him when she spoke. “Mulder, what are you doing?”

He opened his eyes to find her staring at him in astonishment.

He blushed. “I thought you’d be uncomfortable sleeping in your jeans, so I was taking them off,” he mumbled.

“But why were your eyes closed?” she asked, puzzled.

“I was trying not to invade your privacy,” he muttered, by now thoroughly embarrassed and waiting to be chastised.

Instead, she started laughing. She laughed so hard that she rolled over to her side, bent double with her arms around her waist. Finally she sat up to catch her breath. “Mulder, you’ve seen me naked,” she gasped. She burst into another fit of laughter, and he started to grin with her.

When she had regained control, she cupped her hand against his cheek. “I think that’s one of the sweetest things you’ve ever done for me,” she said, still smiling widely. She pulled his head down, and planted a soft kiss on his lips. “Thank you. G’night, Mulder.”

He floated out of her room, unsure what had just happened, but knowing he’d liked it.

End Part 5

_________________________

Part 6 of 11

Scully’s Bedroom Rockhampton, Indiana 13th April, 2000 7.30AM

Scully stretched as she woke, relishing the feeling of lengthening her stiff muscles. Rolling over, she looked at the clock by the side of her bed.

7.30!

Doing quick calculations, she realized she’d slept for about nine hours. That would have to be a recent record. She lay there for a few moments longer, appreciating the quiet morning noises. The sounds were different here. In her apartment, she was greeted in the mornings by the sound of cars. Here, she could make out a child laughing, birds and a clinking noise from the kitchen. Was Mulder making breakfast? The noise of him moving around made her feel bitter-sweet. It reminded her of times long past when she actually had someone in her life to make her breakfast, and wake her up with a cup of coffee.

It was the thought of coffee that got her out of bed, and into the shower. She was still toweling her hair when she entered the kitchen. The good thing about her new hair style was that it could dry naturally before she curled it.

Mulder was standing over the stove with a spatula in his hand, and a dish towel thrown over his shoulder. He had on old jeans, and no shirt – he’d obviously showered just before her, as his hair was still damp. Whatever he was cooking, he’d certainly made a mess doing so, she thought, taking in the bowls, empty egg carton, spilt milk and various dirty utensils littered around the kitchen.

He turned around as when he heard her enter.

“Hey there. You must have slept well.”

“Mmmm,” she responded, searching for the coffee pot. She wasn’t much of a conversationalist until she’d had her first cup of coffee in the morning.

“It’s over there,” he said, indicating the coffee. “Sit down, I’ll get it.”

She sat down and watched in bemusement as he poured her coffee and brought it to her. Mulder and domesticity were not two images she had previously juxtaposed, and frankly, she was finding them a little hard to reconcile.

“I’m making Russian Pancakes for breakfast. My Mom used to make them when we were little. I called her for the recipe, and after a couple of false starts I think I’m getting the hang of it,” he said. “I know you only eat light for breakfast, but I thought you might like these. I got maple syrup as well, in case you just want them plain,” he added hopefully.

She smiled, and nodded again, sipping her coffee. The thought of something so sweet for breakfast turned her stomach slightly, but she wasn’t going to tell him that. Not when he was looking so cute, and trying so hard to please her. She sat there, watching him cook, enjoying the rippling of the muscles in his back as he mixed something in a bowl.

When she’d had enough of a caffeine hit, she spoke. “Mulder, what are you doing today?”

“More interviewing, Scully. I’m going to drop last night’s surveillance tapes off to Harradine, and pick up some blank ones. Also, I need to check whether the investigation team have come up with anything more on the Harper brothers. Although they have an alibi, I just feel uneasy about them. What will you be doing?”

“Making myself known around town, I guess. I might do some snooping myself; get to know people, find out what the local gossip is about the murders.”

“Scully, I’m shocked. I wouldn’t have picked you for a gossip.”

“All women are gossips, Mulder,” Scully said dismissively, but with a smile. “The only reason that men are not is because their level of conversation still hasn’t passed the ‘this is how much beer I drank on the weekend’ and ‘what are the football scores?’ stage.”

“I never talk about the football scores, Scully,” Mulder protested.

“Football, basketball, baseball – it’s all the same, Mulder. When was the last time you and the Lone Gunmen discussed your feelings.”

Mulder shuddered. “Scully, …”

“See,” she said. “Men don’t have real conversations with each other. Women do. Now is my breakfast ready, or will I have to start chewing on my own hand?”

He presented a plate to her with a flourish.

She looked at it doubtfully. It contained three pancakes rolled around a white creamy mixture. He’d dusted the top with powdered sugar.

“Yum,” she said gamely. There was no way she would be able to finish all three, and she had her doubts about even finishing one.

Aware that he was watching and waiting for her reaction, she cut off a small portion. A fine shower of powdered sugar floated through the air; caught on a waft of her breath as she put the pancake in her mouth. She bit down, and allowed the taste and texture to sink in – thin pancake wrapped around a slightly sweetened, lemony cream cheese mixture, studded with raisins. It was surprisingly good, but far too rich for her morning tastes.

“These are great, Mulder.”

He grinned, delighted with her reaction. “You really like them?”

She nodded, and beckoned for him to join her. “Come and have some.”

He grimaced. “Ugh. I couldn’t eat something so sweet for breakfast.”

The sound of his cell phone ringing drowned out her snort of incredulity. When he left the kitchen to answer the call, she quickly tipped the other two pancakes into the trashcan and hid the evidence with newspaper. She wasn’t an FBI Agent for nothing.

He returned, wearing a puzzled look. “Did Harradine tell you they’d put an extra surveillance camera in the living room?”

“No. I thought they were putting one on the front porch, and one in the bedroom.”

“So did I. It seems they managed to get their hands on an extra one – it’s hidden on a shelf above the TV.”

She shook her head, ruefully. “Well that’s embarrassing. I hope I didn’t drool on your lap,” she joked. “At least there’s no sound on those things.”

She looked up to see him frowning into the distance. “Mulder? You okay?”

“Hmm? Sorry, I wasn’t listening. Uh, I’ll just do these dishes.”

Scully stared at him for a moment, before leaving the kitchen. And he accused her of being moody.

After breakfast, Scully was still fixing her hair when Mulder came into the bathroom. He watched for a moment as she teased the curls into a wilder halo.

“I’m going now, Scully. Do you have all your tracking devices on you?”

She nodded. “And before you ask, I’ll carry my gun in my bag, and I’ll have my phone with me.” She smiled at his reflection in the mirror.

He came up behind her, watching their reflection. “Be careful, Scully,” he whispered.

She reached back and grasped his hand briefly. “I will, Mulder. You know I will.”

He bent down and kissed her cheek, taking a moment to breathe in her scent. “I’ll see you later, then.”

Scully’s day passed uneventfully, but pleasantly enough. She made a token appearance at Kokomo College in the morning, but then returned to Rockhampton. In the local supermarket, she struck up a conversation with the owner, a large woman in her late 50’s.

When she made a casual inquiry about the Harper brothers, the woman’s face clouded over. “Ooh, they’re odd boys, those ones. They keep to themselves, they do. Not very friendly at all. They live in this community and they don’t even do their shopping here,” Patti said in righteous indignation. “They prefer to do it at some fancy place when they’re out with their truck. It’s their sister I feel sorry for. In all this time, I’ve only seen her once. She’s a little mouse of a girl, and from what I’ve heard she rarely leaves their farm. They probably use her for their own personal slave – cooking, cleaning. No, a pretty young thing like you don’t want to be getting involved with one of the Harper boys.”

Scully smiled demurely. “I was just interested, because I noticed one of them the other day. Redheads tend to notice other redheads. Besides, I’m already involved with someone.”

“Ooh, yes. Your man came in this morning to get some maple syrup. He’s quite a looker, isn’t he?” she said, leaning over the counter.

“I think so,” answered Scully, impishly. “He makes good pancakes too.”

Patti laughed, her flesh jiggling. “You hold onto him, girl. He sounds like a good one.”

As Scully left the shop, she remembered something Mulder had mentioned to her. She turned back and asked, “The girl you were talking about, the Harper girl, she has a baby doesn’t she?”

Patti’s eyebrows shot up, and her eyes brightened with this piece of gossip. “Ooh, not that I’m aware of. What makes you say that?”

Scully shrugged. “I thought I overheard someone mention it. I’m probably wrong.”

Scully left the supermarket mulling over the conversation. She entered a few more shops, buying things she didn’t need, so she could chat to the shop assistants. All of them had heard of the nearby murders, but none of them had anything to offer other than their fervent hope that whoever it was would get caught.

In the meantime, Mulder had dropped off the video surveillance tapes to Harradine, and sat down to sift through the files again. He was sure he was missing something, or just not seeing something the right way.

After a couple of frustrating hours, Harradine interrupted him.

“Hey, we’ve just got word from one of our men that David Sharp was spotted by one of Sarah Phillips’ neighbors, apparently on the day of her abduction. The woman who lives next door to Sarah is a notable busy-body, and she swears that she saw him visiting Sarah. We’re bringing him in for questioning now. Also, I think we’ve got something on the surveillance tapes. Want to come and see?”

The surveillance tape from the living room showed he and Scully sitting on the sofa, reading. Mulder watched himself pat his lap, and Scully lie along the sofa, her head on his legs. He grimaced slightly at the thought of what was coming up and glanced at the others in the room. Harradine remained poker-faced as he stared at the screen, but he detected a faint smirk on Woodford’s face.

“There!” exclaimed Harradine. “It’s brief, but distinct.”

He re-wound the tape, and played it again in slow-motion, pointing to the window in the background. A shadow passed across the window; it was clearly a human form. Mulder shivered slightly and cursed himself for going out on the porch. If the killer had been there and had seen him, then Scully’s cover was blown, assuming the killer was someone Mulder had interviewed. At least he’d worn a hooded jacket, which would have prevented most of his features from being seen. Except maybe his nose. He asked for the video to be re-wound again, but he was unable to make out anything from the shadow that might identify the person. “Is there anything else?” he asked.

“No, that’s it,” replied Harradine.

Mulder couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief at not having to watch any more of the tape. He knew the others had watched it in full, but he didn’t relish watching it in front of them. It was embarrassing enough that they’d seen him kissing Scully. God forbid that she see the tape.

Harradine ejected the tape from the video, and handed it to Mulder. “Here, I’m sure Agent Scully would like to see it.” His face was perfectly straight as he said it, but Mulder detected a snicker from one of the officers leaving the room.

“Thanks,” he muttered, slipping the tape in amongst the files. Hell would freeze over before he showed Scully the tape.

An officer poked his head into the room to let them know that David Sharp had arrived.

Mulder and Harradine entered the office that doubled as an interrogation room to find an ashen-faced David Sharp.

“I didn’t kill her,” he blurted the moment Mulder walked in.

Mulder crossed the room, and placed his hands on the desk opposite David. “You’ll have to do more than that to convince us otherwise at this stage, I’m afraid. Why didn’t you tell us that you knew Sarah Phillips?”

“I was scared. I knew she was missing, and I thought you’d blame it on me. I was over at her house on the day she was taken, but when I left her she was fine,” he said desperately.

“What were you doing over there?”

David started shaking, and his eyes flickered around the room frantically, falling on Harradine pleadingly. “I think I should speak to a lawyer.”

Mulder stared at him, stony faced. And then it hit him.

“The baby was yours wasn’t it?”

David didn’t have to respond. The look on his face gave Mulder his answer.

“Did you already know? Or did she tell you that day? Did you have an argument with her, David?”

“I want to speak to a lawyer,” answered David shakily.

Mulder snorted slightly in frustration, and left the room with Harradine on his heels.

“Do we have enough to keep him in custody?” asked Harradine.

“It’s not him,” responded Mulder shortly. “He didn’t kill those girls, and he didn’t kill Sarah Phillips. He’s just a frightened kid who’s in a very bad situation, but he’s not our man.”

Mulder drove around for an hour, trying to fit together the pieces of the puzzle. He didn’t know why he was so sure it wasn’t David. But he was sure. He shook his head. Harradine had been taken aback, pointing out that David fit Mulder’s profile and he had admitted to being at Sarah’s house on the day she disappeared.

But it didn’t seem right. David Sharp had practically fallen to pieces in the interrogation room. The person they were looking for had abducted nine girls, some in broad daylight, without leaving any evidence. The person they were looking for was organised and self- composed. The person they were looking for was not David Sharp.

When Mulder arrived back at the house, Scully was already home and cooking again. The smell of food and the sight of her slight form buoyed his spirits.

“Hey little woman,” he said, in a booming voice, “What ya got cookin’?”

“Mulder, why is it that you have this insane desire to be shot by me again? I didn’t think the last time was a particularly pleasant experience for you.”

He came up behind her, and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Well, it got me into your bed, didn’t it? A man’s gotta try, Scully.”

He doubled over in mock-pain as her elbow connected with his solar plexus.

“Jeez, Scully,” he whined.

“Shut up, Mulder, and get the cutlery out. Dinner’s almost ready.”

Dinner was stir-fry chicken with rice. Mulder began eating with gusto, remembering how hungry he was.

“I thought this stuff only ever came delivered in little cardboard boxes. I didn’t realize it was possible to actually cook it.”

She shook her head at him. “You are such a philistine sometimes, Mulder.”

He grinned. “So how was your day, dear?” he asked with saccharine sweetness, through a mouthful of stir fry.

“Fine, snookums. Yours?” She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Okay, seriously. What did you do today? Find out anything interesting?”

“Not really,” she replied. “Only that the townspeople are pretty disturbed by the murders, but nobody has any theories. Nobody’s pointing the finger, making up stories, spreading rumors. It’s bizarre really. Oh, and the woman who runs the supermarket thinks that the Harper brothers are unfriendly, and that you’re cute.”

“Well, she’s right about the last thing. Actually, she’s right about the first thing too. I spent most of the day going through the files again, trying to find something we may have missed. I also interviewed David Sharp. A neighbor identified him as being at the Phillips’ house on the day of Sarah’s abduction. He was the father of Sarah’s baby, Scully.”

Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Did he tell you that?”

“Not in so many words. He refused to say much without speaking to his lawyer. I don’t think it’s him though, Scully. It just doesn’t feel right. Oh, and Harradine spotted something on the surveillance tape,” he added casually. “Not much really. Just a flash of a shadow outside the window. Somebody must have been looking in.”

Scully’s eyes widened. “Do you have the tape here?”

Mulder paused. He could lie to her. But he knew Scully too well. If he said no, she’d just ask Harradine for it when she saw him next. That would be even more embarrassing.

“Um, yeah. I think I’ve got it somewhere,” he said vaguely, avoiding her eye. “You can’t really see anything; just a shadow reflecting on the blind. You can’t make out any features, or even a clear body shape.”

“Still, I’d like to see it,” she insisted.

“Okay, we’ll look at it after dinner.”

Mulder spent the rest of the meal only partially listening to Scully’s conversation. The rest of his mind was focussed on trying to think up a way of distracting her when dinner was finished.

End Part 6

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 7 of 11

Kiah St residence 8.50PM

After dinner, Scully had a quick shower and changed into the more comfortable jeans she had bought earlier that day. Although the pair she had been wearing during the day were flattering, they were a little too tight to spend the evening in. She quickly slipped into her plain black bra, and buttoned her cotton shirt. She wanted to see that video.

As she entered the living room, he looked up and smiled.

“Hey, Scully, do you want to go for a walk?”

She frowned. “A walk?”

“Yeah, it’s a nice night out there.”

She was puzzled. Mulder was suggesting a walk. For no reason. “Why, Mulder?”

“Why does there have to be a reason, Scully? I just thought it would be nice for us to go for a walk.

“What if someone sees you?”

“It’s dark. I’ll stick a cap on. Jeez, if you don’t want to…” he muttered.

“No, I want to,” she said quickly. “I’ll just get my sweater.”

Slipping her sweater on over her head, she followed him out the door, still puzzling at his motives. In her experience, Mulder was the type of person who preferred to sloth in front of the TV after dinner, not go for romantic strolls. Maybe the full moon was affecting him, she thought, noticing the moonlight.

They walked in silence for a while, making the odd remark about their surroundings. Scully was vividly aware of Mulder’s arm brushing against hers as they walked. She felt like a schoolgirl again, wondering if the boy was going to hold her hand. Breathing in the crisp air, she looked up and noticed how many more stars were visible in the sky than were in DC.

“Look at the stars, Mulder,” she commented, pausing to lift her face to the sky.

He looked up. “Wonder how many of them are inhabited?” he mused.

She shook her head. Typical.

“So Scully, do you think you’d like to live in a place like this?”

She tilted her head as she considered her response. “No, I don’t think so,” she said finally. “Sometimes when everything gets too hectic in DC, I wish that I could live in a small town, in a cute little house, with a dog and a nice garden.” And a child, she thought to herself, a familiar squeeze in her chest. “But whenever we come to a small town for a case, I find the reality doesn’t seem to match my fantasy. In the end, a small town is often just that – small. Populated with small-minded people, isolated from the rest of the world and serving only bad coffee. So no, I think I’m a city girl.”

“Ouch, Scully. That’s a bit harsh. Small-minded people?” Mulder resumed walking, and she fell in beside him.

She shrugged, feeling slightly embarrassed at her assessment. “Okay, that’s a bit mean. But sometimes the attitudes that I’m confronted with when we come out on these cases really irk me. What about you, Mulder? Could you live in a place like this?”

He chuckled softly. “No, although I admit to having similar fantasies when it all gets too much. Hiding away in the country, with someone by my side.” He reached down and took her hand in his. She felt warmth spread up her arm and across her entire body as he stroked his thumb over her hand. “But in the end, I guess I care more about who is with me, than where I am. So I’m happy in DC. And you’re right, the coffee’s better.”

She laughed, and gripped his hand slightly tighter. She knew what he was saying to her – home is where you are, Scully. Did she feel the same way? She considered the last couple of days. Although she and Mulder spent a lot of time together, they had never spent so much time together. It was only slightly surprising that she was enjoying their domestic intimacy so much. She liked having him with her after work. She liked curling up on the sofa together, reading, and she loved seeing his sleep-crumpled face in the morning. Somehow she had always known that she would enjoy sharing these moments with him.

Did this mean she was ready to share her life with him?

They walked back to the house, hand in hand, both engrossed in their own thoughts. Scully’s mind ran in circles, considering the pros and cons, and then the pros again, of a relationship with Mulder. She could only guess that Mulder was also thinking about her.

When they got back to the house, she remembered the video.

“Can you show me that surveillance video now, Mulder?”

“Um, I’ll just see if I can find it,” he mumbled.

She watched as he rifled ineffectually through his files. She could see the video poking out from under a pile of papers. What was he hiding?

“Mulder, it’s just there,” she pointed out.

“Oh,” he said, with a weak grin.

He slipped the video into the player, and perched himself onto the arm of the sofa. She glanced at him. He couldn’t be seated much further from her if he tried. What was all this about?

Scully winced slightly as the tape began – she hated seeing herself on camera. She smiled ruefully as she watched the image of herself laying her head on Mulder’s lap. I wonder how many tongues wagged after watching that, she thought.

Mulder cleared his throat. “It’s coming up soon. Just keep your eye on the window behind us.”

Her point of focus shifted to the window, until she noticed the on- screen Mulder caressing her face. Her mouth opened slightly in surprise. She watched his fingers trace over her cheeks and then her lips.

“There! Did you see it, Scully?”

She turned to him, slightly dazed. “No, Mulder. I didn’t see it,” she said quietly.

“I’ll rewind it for you,” he said, reaching for the remote control.

“No.” He stopped at the sound of her voice, and she turned to the screen again.

As she held her breath, she watched Mulder bend over her sleeping form and press his lips to hers. And then again. This time the kiss was longer, and it seemed that she was responding. Then he pulled back, and slipping out from under her, he left the room.

She turned to him. His face was bright red, and he looked miserable.

“Mulder?” She wanted an explanation, and she was prepared to sit in silence until he said something. Anything.

He sighed. “I don’t know why I did that, Scully. Well, I do know…but I don’t know why I did it then – while you were sleeping. I’m sorry,” he whispered.

She patted the sofa cushion, and reluctantly he slid off the arMr.est and moved to sit next to her. She sat there patiently until he finally met her eye. She wasn’t angry, but she was disappointed with him, on so many levels. Disappointed that he’d kissed her when she was asleep, giving her no say in the matter. Disappointed that he’d done it in front of a surveillance camera, albeit unknowingly. And even more disappointed that he had obviously tried to avoid showing her the tape.

“That’s why we went on the walk, wasn’t it Mulder?” she asked suddenly. The look in his eyes gave her his answer. That hurt. She’d enjoyed their walk, their conversation, and the way he’d held her hand. She’d been totally focussed on him during their walk, and he…well he’d been trying to come up with new excuses to not show her the tape.

“Scully, I admit that I suggested the walk in the hope that you’d forget about the tape, but for what it’s worth, I really enjoyed it. I enjoy being with you, Scully. I would spend so much more time with you, if you let me.”

No, Mulder. This is not about me. This is about what you did – don’t try and turn the tables.

“It was a bit cowardly of you, don’t you think?”

He placed his face in his hands, propping his elbows on his knees. Speaking through his fingers, he said, “What? Not telling you what I did, or doing what I did?”

She ducked her head to hide the smile that arose at his dejected tone. “Both, but I was referring to you kissing me while I was asleep.”

He sighed, and turned to look at her again. “Scully, with the notable exception of New Year’s Eve, I don’t have great success with trying to kiss you.”

“Maybe not, but at least the other times I had some say in it.”

He laughed hollowly. “Yeah, and the other night you told me to take a cold shower.”

“Mulder, you kissed me in the middle of an argument!” she cried indignantly. “What did you expect?”

“It’s just that I never know what to expect, Scully,” he murmured. Her breath caught when he took her hand in his. “I used to believe that I could tell what you were thinking just by looking in your eyes. I used to think that I knew you better than I knew myself. But now I just feel lost whenever I look at you. Sometimes I think you want the same as I do, and other times I sense you pulling away from me. Tell me what you want, Scully.”

Scully heart quickened. This was it. They were finally discussing the issue they had danced around for seven years; the pink elephant that both of them avoided looking at. And she didn’t have an answer for him.

“I don’t know, Mulder,” she whispered. “I don’t know what I want.”

“I don’t accept that, Scully,” he responded harshly. “You do know what you want, you’re just scared to face it.”

She flinched, as if he’d slapped her.

“Mulder, this is not as simple as you make it out to be.” She pulled her hand away from his.

“Nor is it as complex as you make out,” he retorted. Softening, he took her hand again, and said quietly, “If you can’t tell me what you want, Scully, then tell me what you are thinking. Tell me why this is so hard for you.”

His hazel eyes begged her, and she knew this was her moment to finally find her courage and tell him how she felt.

She felt a little dizzy, as if she was falling. Gripping his hand tighter, she said, “Mulder, I’m scared of losing you. You’re the one person who understands me, the one person who knows what I – what we – face everyday. My sister is gone, and I can’t tell Mom. She worries about me enough. Bill is useless, and Charlie is never here. You’re the one, Mulder. You’re it for me. What if I didn’t have you anymore?”

He reached out and stroked her cheek with his knuckles. “Scully, no matter what happened between us, you would always have me. I would never stop being your friend, and I would never hurt you, I promise.”

She shook her head. “You can’t promise that, Mulder. And anyway, I’m not asking you to make promises. I know that you would never intentionally hurt me. But you have done so before, Mulder.” Her eyes clouded as she thought of Diana, and how she’d felt when he’d taken her side.

He nodded in acknowledgement of her comments. “You’re right, Scully. You could get hurt. So could I. Are you telling me that you don’t want our relationship to move forward over fear that you may get hurt?”

She closed her eyes. He was making her sound like a coward. It was bigger than that – why couldn’t he understand? “Mulder, that’s not what I’m scared of. You’ve hurt me in the past, and I’m still here. You’re still here. That’s my point. As friends, we can get past the pain. As lovers, maybe the wounds will be too deep. It’s not the pain I fear, it’s losing you,” she whispered. “I’ve come so close to losing you, Mulder, that I don’t know if I’m willing to take that risk.”

“But you’re willing to give up something that could be the best thing that ever happened to us?”

She shook her head slowly. “You can’t give up what you don’t have,” she said, her voice tight with unshed tears. “And anyway,” she added, brushing away a rogue tear that had squeezed out of the corner of her eye, “I like what we have.”

She watched as Mulder got up from the couch. Standing in the middle of the room, he took off his sweater and threw it towards the TV. It landed on top of the surveillance camera, and to anyone watching, his action would have appeared accidental. But Scully knew it wasn’t an accident, and she held her breath as he approached.

He knelt in front of her. “I refuse to spend the rest of my life wondering ‘what if?’.” Placing one hand on her thigh, and another around the back of her head, he pulled her toward him.

“Fair warning, Scully. I’m about to kiss you.” He paused for a second, and then pressed his lips against hers. She tried to say his name against his mouth, but for what purpose she didn’t know. Now that his lips were on hers, she didn’t want him to stop.

Instinctively she opened her mouth to him, and he responded by seeking out her tongue with his. She moaned softly, swept away by the sensation of Mulder’s tongue in her mouth. This was better than the other night, when she had been taken by surprise. This was better than anything.

His other hand moved down and he spread her knees apart, moving into the vee of her legs. She snaked her arms around his shoulders and pulled him closer, pressing her breasts against his chest. He moaned slightly at the sensation and she smiled into his mouth.

As he pressed his lips more firmly into hers, Scully tilted her head to gain better access to his mouth. She wanted to taste every inch of him. Her tongue stroked at his inner cheek, and then tickled the underside of his tongue. He was making low humming sounds in the back of his throat that caused her breathing to quicken.

She gasped slightly as Mulder’s hands gripped her waist tightly. Deftly he lifted her, and sliding onto the sofa he deposited her on his lap. She snuggled down to get more comfortable, seeking out his lips again. They continued their deep kisses, and she moaned softly. He was right. To miss out on this because of fear, no matter how real or how great that fear was, would be wrong. The greatest risk takers reaped the greatest rewards, and Mulder was without a doubt her greatest reward.

“God, Scully,” he muttered into her mouth.

“Don’t talk,” she whispered back. While he talked, his tongue couldn’t do the delightful things it had been doing to her mouth just a few seconds ago.

He twined his fingers through her hair, and gently pulled her head back. “Scully, I want you to know that I’m not going to push this. We can go as slow as you want. I don’t care if we spend another seven years just kissing, so long as we are kissing.” His voice was husky and his eyes tender as he looked down at her.

She would have laughed, if the sentiment hadn’t been so sweet. Did he think she was some 16 year-old virgin?

“Mulder,” she said with a grin, “While I appreciate the sentiment, if we’re not naked and sweaty in the near future, I think I’ll explode.”

His expression was comical; a mixture of surprise and arousal.

She ran her fingers over his now slightly swollen lips. “Mulder, you must know me well enough to realize that although it may take a while for me to see your point of view, when I finally do, I support you one hundred percent,” she murmured, a twinkle in her eye. “Well…I see your point of view, Mulder.” She clambered up so she was straddling him, not taking her eyes from his for a moment. An aroused Mulder was a breathtaking sight, one that she wanted to imprint into her brain for future reference. His hair was tousled from where she had been running her hands through it, and his chest was heaving. Even under the golden hue of his skin she could see he was flushed, and his lips were puffier than usual.

She leaned forward and ran her tongue lightly around the whorls of his ear. His hands clamped on her hips in reaction, and she smiled. Ticklish ears. Nibbling at his earlobe, she moved her hands up his torso until they were resting on his chest. Gently she squeezed his pectoral muscles. God, she’d been wanting to do that for years.

After a few seconds of rubbing and squeezing his chest, she thought hazily, “No good.” His t-shirt was in the way. Pulling back, she didn’t even get a chance to voice her problem before he’d whipped his shirt over his head. Smiling gratefully, she continued her exploration of his body with her tongue and hands.

Mulder’s head flopped back on the sofa. He groaned and then slightly whimpered as she bit hard into a nipple. If his brain had been working as normal, he would have felt slightly embarrassed at the guttural sounds emitting from his throat. But the part of his brain that controlled logical thought was on sabbatical, and all that was left was his screaming nerve endings sending messages to his brain along the lines of ohgodohgodmoreScullyohScullyohgodohgod.

He moaned as she slid off his lap so she was crouched before him, her head moving lower, trailing kisses down his stomach. He had a sensitive stomach, and Scully was doing all the right things. He squirmed in pleasure as she nipped at his tender flesh, and traced patterns with her tongue. She then buried her face in the creases of his stomach, and lay there a moment, pausing to inhale his scent.

With trembling hands, he cradled her head, gentling lifting it so he could look at her. “I can’t believe we’re really doing this, Scully,” he croaked.

“Neither can I,” she responded, her eyes shining. She slid back up his body, and kissed him tenderly on the lips. “But it feels right, doesn’t it.” She said this as a statement, not a question, and he nodded, tracing her lips with his finger.

Capturing his finger gently between her teeth, she sucked on it until his eyes closed and his head fell back again. Chuckling, she worked her way down his body once more. When she reached his belt buckle and began undoing it, she looked up and said wickedly, “Think we should remove your sweater from the camera and start our own video collection?”

He half laughed, half gasped. If only she knew how many times he watched his porn wishing it was Scully on the screen. “Maybe later, Scully. Right now I’m not letting go of you.”

He clamped his legs around her to emphasize his point, but made a mental note to ask her about the video thing another time. Just the thought that there would be another time almost sent him over the edge; never mind the small fingers that were brushing against him as she fumbled with his fly buttons.

Finally she got them undone, and he gasped when her cool hand reached into his boxers and released him. “Ohhh, Sculllly,” he groaned.

She smiled at his reaction, and flicked her tongue out to taste the droplet of moisture on the end of his cock. His hands were back on her head, and he fought to stop himself from pulling her face down into his groin. Control, he thought. Control.

He lifted his hips obligingly as she tugged at his jeans and boxers, and then lay back on the couch, legs sprawled on either side of her kneeling form. He watched her as she gazed with appreciation at his naked body.

“You’re gorgeous, Mulder,” she breathed, before licking her lips lightly.

He opened his mouth to respond, but unless the words were “oh” and “Scully” and “Ohhhh Goddd” he appeared to have lost his ability to speak. When her hot, moist mouth enclosed the head of his throbbing cock he no longer cared at his inability to voice his thoughts. He had no thoughts, save from those recording the sensations radiating from his groin.

She nibbled, and licked, and sucked until he knew that he was about to tip over the edge. With his last vestiges of willpower, he pulled her head up.

“Stop,” he gasped. Pausing to reign himself in, he finally said, “I do believe you are fully clothed, Scully. Stand up,” he ordered, in a low voice.

She did as she was told, standing before him uncertainly.

“You look tired, Scully. Why don’t you let me take care of this? I suggest we start at the feet.”

Scully blinked at him. Why did that sound so familiar? Then she remembered; the other night in the bath. Mulder was about to undress her.

Obligingly she took off her shoes and socks. Unlike Mulder, who could walk around with bare feet without noticing the cold, she had thick socks and warm shoes on. Impatiently she tugged at the laces, cursing herself for tying double knots.

When she got them off, she straightened up apprehensively. Her heart was beginning to thump a little harder, partially from arousal and partially from nervousness. She was not a sexually shy person, but usually clothes were pulled off in the midst of passion. Standing before Mulder, taking her clothes off piece by piece, subjecting herself to his scrutinizing gaze – well, that unnerved her.

“Shirt next, Scully,” he demanded huskily.

Slowly she unbuttoned her shirt, watching his reaction as she did so. He was stroking himself lazily, his glittering eyes boring into her. As she watched him, her nervousness began to fade. His reaction to her slow striptease was incredibly erotic.

When she’d undone all her buttons, she paused for a moment, tilting her head down and looking at him through her eyelashes. Smoothly, she shrugged her shoulders and her shirt slipped to the floor, revealing her black bra. Thank you God for making me put on a nice bra, she thought. She’d almost put on her frayed gray cotton bra, and made a mental note to throw it out.

A slow smile crept across his face as her shirt fell. “Now your jeans, Scully.”

She shook her hair back, and undid the top two buttons of her jeans, folding down the denim so he could see the top of her lacy panties. Then she turned so her back was facing him, and swayed her hips slightly. At his groan, she smirked. She’d caught him staring at her butt once or twice.

Bending over slightly so her bottom jutted out, she undid the rest of the buttons, and then slowly slipped her jeans over her hips. She turned to look over her shoulder at him, her jeans still resting half- way down her bottom. His mouth was hanging open, and his breathing was coming out in quick pants. Slowly she slid her jeans the rest of the way down, and then kicked them off before turning around to face him once again.

Standing there before him, in nothing but panties and bra, she felt magnificent. She gloried in his obvious adulation; in the fact that the man she had fantasized about so many times was now reduced to a quivering puddle of arousal by the sight of her. He was caught in her thrall, and she was going to make the most of it.

Slowly, Scully ran her hands up her body, over the front of her hips and her rounded belly, up and over her breasts and then down again, until they rested on her panties.

She hooked her thumbs into the elastic. “So what next, Mulder?” she asked in a smoldering voice. “Panties?” She tugged them slightly lower, noting his cock twitch under his hand as she did so.

She paused. “Or would you prefer my bra?”

His mouth fell open in an obvious struggle to speak. “Bra,” he finally grunted.

She released the elastic on her panties, and turned around again. She could almost feel the heat of his eyes on her back as she undid her bra and let it drop to the floor. Then she turned to face him again, holding her arms crossed in front of her breasts. She raised her eyebrows at him, grinning at the expression on his face.

“Scully, nobody likes a tease,” he eventually said. “C’mere.”

She took a step closer, and gently he pulled her arms away, holding them outstretched so he could look at her properly. Releasing her arms, he ran his hands over her breasts, and she gasped. They were slightly rough against her tender flesh and the sensation was nothing short of divine.

He leaned forward until his mouth was a hair’s breadth from her right nipple. “You’re beautiful, Scully.” His hot breath against her nipple caused it to harden, and she groaned slightly.

The tip of his tongue flicked out and wet her nipple, and then he pulled back to look up at her.

“Now who’s the tease, Mulder?” she groaned.

“You’re not naked yet, Scully.”

He ran his warm hands up the back of her legs and slipped them under the material of her underwear so he was cupping her bottom cheeks. Pulling her closer, he ran his tongue across the top of her panties, where the elastic met her flesh. She shivered at the feeling. Languidly, he planted hot, open mouthed kisses across her pubic mound, pausing at the edges of her underwear to lick her skin.

Scully reached down for his shoulders as her legs began to tremble. She opened her mouth to ask him to let her sit down, when he pulled the material of her panties to one side and touched her with his tongue. This time her legs trembled so violently they buckled, and she pitched forward onto the sofa.

Without missing a beat, he flipped her over onto her back, and pulled her remaining piece of clothing off. He spread her legs, so she was mirroring his position of earlier; slumped in a seated position, head back against the sofa and legs sprawling. He positioned himself between her legs and sat back on his haunches to admire her.

She watched him looking at her, and felt a flush rise up her chest and neck. She’d seen this look on Mulder’s face before; one of intense concentration, when she knew he was imprinting every detail of what he saw on his brain. She always found that look sexy, but never imagined what it would feel like to have it trained on her naked body.

When he leaned forward and began stroking her with his tongue, she was lost.

“Mulder,” she cried, louder than she had intended. She could swear she felt his lips curl into a smile against her, but she didn’t care. The insistent movement of his tongue was driving her to heights of pleasure she hadn’t felt in a long time – if ever. A feeling of total abandonment swept over her, and she cried out again, partly in joy that she could.

She could feel the waves of her orgasm begin, and for a second she wanted to stop. She wanted to feel him in her when she came. But when he slid two fingers into her, her body took off, and she floated away on the undulations of her orgasm, calling his name.

Mulder left his fingers inside her, even as he felt her muscle twitches subside. The feeling of her muscles clenching around his fingers had been one of the most erotic experiences of his life, and he didn’t want the moment to end.

But when he looked up and saw her half-lidded gaze on him, his cock reminded him of other equally erotic moments that he had yet to experience. She shifted so she was lying lengthwise on the sofa, and pulled him on top of her. The experience of full body contact caused them to both pause in their movements, reveling in the warm, silky sensation of their bodies pressed together.

Then Scully moved her hips under him, and he knew he had to be in her. “Now, Scully.”

She nodded, and obligingly lifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist. He closed his eyes as she reached down and guided him into her. The sensation of her hot, slick muscles enclosing him nearly made him come instantly. He frowned in concentration, trying to salvage a modicum of control.

And then she whispered into his ear, “I want you to lose control in me, Mulder. We’ve got plenty of time for soft and slow.”

A deep, guttural groan tore from his throat, and his hips began pumping of their own accord. Her fingers dug into his buttocks, and he increased his pace. Deeper, deeper, God he needed to bury himself in her. He thrust into her, sweat dripping and pooling between their bodies, slipping and sliding over her. He felt the familiar tightening in his balls, and opened his mouth as a half-cry that resembled her name escaped.

“Open your eyes,” she gasped.

His eyes snapped open and locked on hers as he spilled into her. As his orgasm diminished, his eyes fluttered shut, and he slumped over her. She was whispering in his ear, but he couldn’t make out the words through the blood roaring in his ears. When he regained his faculties, he realized she wasn’t whispering, but humming softly and out of tune. Another thing he could add to his knowledge of Scully; she hummed after sex. He found that incredibly endearing and he didn’t move for fear of breaking the spell.

She broke it herself, however. “Mulder,” she whispered. “You’re heavy, and I think I’m lying on my shoe.”

He propped himself up on his elbows, gazing at her sweat-sheened face. “Shower, then bed,” he decreed.

She nodded, and he helped her up from the couch. He held back, allowing her to walk ahead of him, so he could admire her finely muscled back, and round bottom. Even the imprint of a Nike shoe in her lower back didn’t diminish from her beauty.

His body felt sluggish as he followed her into the bathroom. He wasn’t a young man anymore, and sex like that made his body scream out for sleep. But he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to shower with Dana Scully.

Scully smiled at the doped look on Mulder’s face. He was dead on his feet. She tenderly helped him into the shower and then proceeded to lather him with her soap.

“Apples,” he murmured, his eyes closed and head nodding forward.

She tilted her head up and kissed him gently on the lips. Her sleepy, golden Adonis. She smiled at the thought. It had been so long since she’d had sex with someone she loved that she’d forgotten how mushy she felt afterwards.

Someone she loved. How had that thought slipped by her defenses? She shook her head. Love. Too much, too soon. Let’s deal with sex first, she thought. Better yet, let’s deal with getting Mulder to bed.

She turned off the water, and led a heavy-limbed Mulder out of the shower stall. He pulled her to him in a bear hug, burying his face in the crook of her neck.

“I can’t dry you if you don’t let me go,” she said, trying to sound stern.

“Don’t wanna be dry, just wanna hug you,” he muttered into her neck.

She squirmed out of his embrace, and quickly ran the towel over him, then herself.

“Let’s go to bed, Mulder,” she said with a yawn. The post-coital exhaustion was now starting to hit her.

Hand in hand, they made their way to the bedroom, and she slipped gratefully under the sheets. Mulder pulled her into his side, and she curled up against him, head heavy on his chest and one leg draped over him. His arm curled possessively around her.

“No regrets, Scully?” His voice was tentative, and her heart squeezed a little that he could still feel so unsure about her reactions.

“None whatsoever, Mulder,” she said firmly. “Only that we’re not 15 years younger and able to do it again instead of falling asleep.”

He chuckled and kissed the top of her head.

In the space of a few heartbeats, they were sleeping.

End Part 7

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 8 of 11

Scully’s room Kiah St residence 14th April, 2000 5.30AM

Scully woke with a jerk, pulling away from Mulder until she realized where she was, and why he was with her. Mulder’s arm tightened around her shoulder in response to her movement, but he didn’t wake. She glanced at the clock radio. It was still early; they didn’t have to get up for over an hour.

She tilted her head, and rubbed her face into his chest, as if to make sure he was real. Part of her still couldn’t believe that she was lying naked in a bed with her equally naked partner. Her hand wandered over his chest and stomach, appreciating his silky skin, warm from sleep.

Unable to resist, her hand traveled lower, and bumped into his erection. Her eyes widened. Morning erection. She looked up, but he still appeared to be sleeping. This was an opportunity she wasn’t going to miss.

Gently, so as not to disturb him, she lowered the sheet so he was uncovered. Slowly, she propped herself up on one elbow. He snuffled a bit at the movement, and she paused, expecting him to open his eyes. He didn’t and her gaze shifted to his body. He was gorgeous. The insecure teenager inside her, who had never fully disappeared, gazed in awe. How had she managed to end up with someone so beautiful?

Glancing at his face again to make sure he was still asleep, she wriggled down until her face was level with his groin. Penises fascinated her. They were at once ridiculous looking and erotic.

She looked at it closely. She had seen many flaccid penises, mostly on dead men, but her experience with erect penises wasn’t as extensive. It appeared normal. Normal. She chuckled at herself. Hell, she was a doctor. She couldn’t help it. Was it big? She’d always assumed he would be big. It seemed big to her – at least it was larger than any she’d experienced previously – but she didn’t think it was abnormally large. She’d seen a bit of porn in her time, and John Holmes he wasn’t.

She glanced at his balls. Balls were funny things. They moved of their own accord and the skin looked like a plucked chicken. Dismissing them, she went back to his penis. Rosy in color, the skin was thinly draped over bulging veins. She wondered what it looked like when it was flaccid.

A slight noise made her look up, directly into Mulder’s laughing eyes. “Doing some investigations, Agent Scully?”

She blushed furiously and sat up. “Just making sure everything’s okay, Agent Mulder.”

“And are you satisfied that all is in order, Agent Scully?”

“Very satisfied.” She emphasized the word ‘satisfied’ and raised her eyebrows suggestively.

He laughed, and sat up, pulling her to him. Nuzzling her neck, he whispered, “Feel like a little more satisfaction, Scully?”

In answer to his question, she pressed her lips against his. This time their love-making was slow and languorous – a gentle exploration of their bodies.

When they were both sated, they dozed for a while longer, until Scully’s alarm went off, reminding them that the real world was waiting.

______

Kiah St residence 11.30AM

Scully was frustrated. She had spent the morning walking around town, speaking to the locals and making a few inquiries about the Harper brothers. She refrained from asking too many questions, realizing that it would look suspicious if she started to do the ‘Agent Scully’ thing.

Mulder was conducting more interviews, in the hope of picking up information they had missed the first time around. She knew he was starting to get desperate, but she had faith they would find this guy.

She looked at her watch. Too early for lunch. She needed a run. She hadn’t exercised for a week, and her legs were stiff. Looking down at her legs, she wondered if they only looked short to her because of the angle she always viewed them from. Probably not, she sighed. She was five foot two. That meant short legs.

Quickly she changed into her running gear. She didn’t have a tracking device in either her running shoes, or her exercise bra, so she put on one of her ‘good’ bras under her exercise bra. Double the support, she thought, although she would have preferred not to sweat into her expensive underwear. Too bad. Mulder would kill her if she went out without at least one tracking device on her.

She considered taking her gun, but decided against it. She had nowhere to put it, and she didn’t intend to run far. She would stick to the main streets of the town, and she would remain alert. Besides, it was the middle of the day.

As she ran, her mind mulled over the details of the night before. There had been some awkwardness between them this morning, as they both tried to deal with their new situation. As Mulder left, he had leaned forward hesitantly to kiss her, and then pulled back, obviously thinking better of it. She, however, had wanted his kiss, and pulled him down to her lips by his tie, thereby fulfilling another of her fantasies. She couldn’t even count the number of times she had imagined tugging his head down to hers by means of one of his garish ties.

Her legs were beginning to burn, and she could feel the endorphins pumping. A little longer and she’d start to get a runner’s high. God, she loved that feeling. She used to think it was better than sex, but after last night she might have to reconsider.

Up ahead, she spotted a moving van parked outside a house. A large ‘Sold’ sticker was placed over the For Sale sign on the front lawn, and she saw a red-haired man sling a box into the back of the truck. It must be the Harper brothers, she surmised. She remember Mulder saying they had their own furniture moving business. Slowing down to a walk, she headed in his direction.

“Mornin’,” he said to her, as she approached.

“Good morning,” she replied, with a wide smile. She stopped near the back of the truck, and glanced into its dark interior. Her eyes darted about as she searched for the other Harper brother. He must still be inside the house.

“Someone leaving?” she asked.

“Yep, they’re off to the bright lights of the big city. It’s taken us all morning to get their stuff into the back of this truck. You’re new here,” he said, his eyes flickering over her body. “I’m Rob Harper.”

“I’m Dana,” she replied. She was starting to feel uneasy, and wished she had her gun on her. Where was the other brother?

A slight noise behind her alerted her to his presence, but it was too late. She turned sharply, just in time to see a large hand swoop down over her mouth and nose. Rob grasped her around the waist, and together they manhandled her into the back of the truck. Her last thought before she blacked out was that she had forgotten to leave a note telling Mulder where she was going.

______

Mitchell Rd Between Greentown and Rockhampton 1.05PM

Mulder jumped slightly as his cell phone rang. He’d been deep in thought as he was driving, mulling over the previous night with Scully. He picked it up with his free hand.

“Mulder.”

“It’s Harradine.” His pause was ominous. “We think something may have happened to Agent Scully.”

Mulder slammed on the brakes, and pulled over to the side of the road.

“What?! What do you mean?”

“The surveillance team just contacted me. Agent Scully had been moving around the town. There was nothing irregular in her movements. The tracking device showed her leaving the town via the main road. It appeared by the speed of her movement that she was driving. The officer on duty at the time assumed she was going to the college, so he left the surveillance room for a while to complete some paperwork. When he came back, the tracking indicator was in the same place on Mitchell Road. It hasn’t moved. Officer Nugent is organising the mobile surveillance van and he said he will meet you at Mitchell Road. I’ll be there shortly.”

Mulder closed his phone with trembling hands, and fumbled with the keys to start the car. Panic gripped his heart. She’d had an accident. Or she was gone.

With screaming tires he pulled back out into the road.

______

When Scully came to, she blinked to clear the picture before her eyes. The light was dim, but she could make out a group of red-headed young women in a semi-circle around her. They were all naked, apart from panties. Distantly, she realized that she was naked too.

“She’s waking up,” one of them said.

“Get her some water,” instructed another.

Gentle hands moved her into an upright position, and brought a glass of water to her lips. She drank gratefully and then cleared her throat.

“Do any of you know where we are?”

They all looked at her, in various states of distress. Finally one of them spoke.

“No. They blindfold us when they…when they take us in and out.”

Scully looked down at her naked body, and crossed her arms over her torso protectively. “Why are we naked?”

The same girl who had spoken before answered her question. “It makes it easier for them to…do it.” She looked down at her body, unembarrassed about her nudity. “We’re allowed to keep our panties on so we don’t get dirty for them, I guess. It’s pretty dusty in here.”

Scully felt bile rise in her throat as she took in the girl’s words. She looked around and realized there were no windows. The only light came from a dim bulb hanging from the ceiling. There was a basic toilet, shielded for some privacy by a hanging sheet, and a basin. Thin mattresses were scattered around the floor.

And there was something else. Something she hadn’t noticed when she had first woken. Most of the girls appeared to be pregnant. She glanced at each of them separately, quickly noting how far into pregnancy each girl was. Her heart lurched when she realized the girl sitting closest to her appeared to be only 16 or 17, and she was about eight months pregnant.

She indicated towards the girl’s belly. “He did this to you?” she asked softly.

The girl nodded. “One of them. I don’t know which one. There’s three of them. My name’s Jolie.”

“I’m Dana,” responded Scully. “I’m … I’m so sorry.”

The girl shrugged slightly, and said nothing, but her eyes caught Scully’s. They were scared, and filled with pain.

Instinctively, Scully reached out to her. “It’s okay. I’m with the FBI. There are people searching for you. For us. They’re going to find us.”

A pale, thin girl laughed hollowly. “In how many years? I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but I’ve already had a kid. Nobody has found us yet, and nobody will.”

Scully’s mouth fell open in horror. Finally she stammered out, “Where’s your child?”

The girl just shrugged. “Don’t know, don’t care.”

Scully covered her face with her hands. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. They were baby farming. For whatever twisted reason, these men had abducted these girls to produce children.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up into Jolie’s eyes.

“It’s okay Dana,” said Jolie. “They won’t come for you straight away. They usually give the new girl a week to get used to it before they do.”

Scully smiled weakly at the girl’s kindness.

“How far along are you, Jolie?”

Jolie’s eyes clouded over. “I’m not sure. We try to keep track of the time, but it’s hard; we don’t know when it’s day or night. But I think I’m almost due. I’m scared of giving birth,” she added in a whisper. “One of the girls died giving birth.”

Scully’s stomach heaved, but she said in a strong, calm voice, “That won’t happen to you, Jolie. I’m a medical doctor; I’ve delivered babies before.” Well, one baby, but a little white lie wouldn’t hurt.

“In any event, we’ll be rescued before then, Jolie.” She turned to look at the other girls, and repeated, “We’re going to be rescued, soon.”

They just looked at her with dull eyes. A small girl, who could only have been 15, began weeping quietly. A few of the girls glanced at her, but nobody moved to comfort her.

She realized they had lost all hope. Apart from the fact that their hearts were beating, it appeared as if they had lost all life. They sat and stared at her listlessly. She knew she had to do something.

“Listen to me,” she said in a loud voice, “We are going to be rescued. You have to believe that. My partner will find us. He has a brilliant mind; he will figure out who is doing this, and he will find us. I have complete faith in that.”

She noticed one of the girls smile slightly. She directed her next question at her. “What’s your name?”

“Darcy.”

“Tell me about yourself, Darcy. I’d like to get to know you all.”

One by one, the girls began to talk. They told Scully their names, their favorite movies, the names of their boyfriends, cats, sisters. Inwardly, Scully sighed with relief. As they talked, sparks of life began to seep back into their eyes. Even the weeping 15 year-old, Lisa, stopped crying and joined in.

______

Mitchell Road 7 miles outside Rockhampton

Mulder spotted the surveillance van up ahead. It was pulled to the side of the road, and the men were hopping out. They had obviously only just arrived. He hopped out of his car, and ran toward them. PleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod. He thought of the smirk that would cross Scully’s face if she knew he prayed in times of stress. Well actually, he only did it when Scully was in danger. If her God existed, it couldn’t hurt to appeal to Him on her behalf.

Nugent looked shaken, as if he couldn’t quite believe that this had happened in his town. He placed a hand briefly on Mulder’s shoulder. “We’ll find her. She hasn’t been gone long.”

“This is as specific as I can get,” explained the technician to Mulder. “She could be anywhere within a 150 yard radius of this point.”

The men looked around them, squinting in the bright light. They were standing by the road, and there was nothing that stood out as a hiding place for a woman.

“Spread out,” directed Mulder. “He may have found the tracking device and thrown it out. We need to comb this place.”

Mulder stood in one place, contemplating his surroundings. If the killer had wanted to hide something…or someone…this wasn’t a good place to do it. It was too obvious, and the risk of a car driving by was too great. So chances were, whatever he’d hidden, he’d done so in a hurry. Which meant whatever they were looking for was close to the road.

Mulder began walking slowly along the side of the road, scanning the dirt and vegetation for any marks out of the ordinary. He didn’t acknowledge Harradine as he pulled up and began consulting with the surveillance technician.

After only 20 minutes, Nugent yelled out. “I’ve found something!”

Mulder head snapped around to see him dragging a plastic bag out from under a gnarled bush. Immediately he sprang into action, his long legs bringing him to Nugent’s side in a matter of seconds. Instinctively he reached for the bag, but Harradine ran over before he could open it.

“We don’t want to disturb any forensic evidence. Let’s take it back to the van, and put some gloves on.”

Mulder ran his hand over his face. Harradine was right. He cursed, but followed the officers to the van.

Inside the van, Harradine slipped some latex gloves on, and gingerly opened the bag. Mulder closed his eyes briefly, unable to look. A collective sigh of relief caused him to open them again.

“It’s her clothes.” Looking around, Mulder realized they had all been expecting the same thing – a body part.

He almost broke into a smile, until the implication hit him. She was naked. He had taken her clothes from her. She was naked, and she no longer had the tracking device on her.

End Part 8

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 9 of 11

Harper’s Farm 19th April, 2000

Scully woke to a rough hand pulling her upright.

She blinked, and found herself staring at one of the Harper brothers, wearing a long black robe. “Get up,” he ordered. “It’s your turn.”

Fear and panic began rising in her belly. She’d known this time would come, and she’d desperately hoped that Mulder would come before it did. Automatically she lashed out, only to received a back-handed slap across the face.

Jolie cried out, “Dana, stop!” Quieter, she said, “They just hurt you if you fight them. It’s best to just do it.”

His large hand clasped her upper arm and pulled her to her feet. She didn’t resist as he blindfolded her and tied her hands, and then led her up the stairs.

It was a short walk across an open field before they got to another building, presumably their house. When he took her inside, she smelled air heavy with hot wax and fear. She could sense the pain and horror of the girls that had been taken here before her.

Despite herself, Scully felt tears welling under the blindfold.

No, please God, please, don’t let them do this to me. Not this. Anything but this. Her heart beat furiously against her chest. She could feel her body trembling violently, but she was powerless to stop it.

Surprisingly gentle hands lifted her, and lay her back on a table. Her wrists were untied, only to be pulled apart and bound to the table legs. Her legs remained unbound, but firm hands held them down. Her head lolled back heavily, hanging over the edge of the table, but she didn’t notice the pain. All her senses were focussed on the chanting voice of the man who was circling her.

“Unto the pure, all things are pure,” he intoned in a deep voice. She could hear the sound of matches being lit, and through her blindfold could see the blurred glow of candles being lit.

She jerked when cold water was poured over her head, and then started coughing when some of it entered her mouth. Ashes. The water had ashes in it.

Blood would be next.

“Hold her legs,” the deep voice commanded.

“Yes, Melchizedek.”

She felt the callused hands grip her knees. The man with the deep voice moved away, and then came back again and leaned over her. She smelt his sour breath and she flinched away from him.

“Do not struggle. This is your destiny. Our destiny. Together we will maintain the purity of our seed.”

Scully bucked as she felt the first warm circle of blood being painted on her stomach. She opened her mouth to scream, but a hand closed over it.

“Unto the pure, all things are pure,” he intoned again, with each daub of blood. When he had finished, he released his hand from her mouth and pulled her underwear to her knees.

There was a long period of silence, while Scully bucked under their hands.

“She is menstruating,” one of them finally said.

Embarrassment and relief flooded Scully instantly. This was quickly overtaken by fury. How dare they do this to her! How dare they invade her privacy like this.

“Fuck you,” she screamed. Instantly, she was hit across the face, causing her to moan in pain as her neck cracked against the table.

“Get another one.”

Scully heard one of the other brothers cluck in annoyance. “Can’t we just use her?”

“No!” he roared. “She is unclean and any man who has intercourse with her will also be unclean. Get another one!”

“Yes, Melchizedek,” replied the brother in a contrite tone.

Rough hands pulled her up, and yanked her underwear back into place. When they returned to the bunker, she was thrown unceremoniously in a corner and the blindfold and hand ties were ripped off.

The red-haired man looked around, until he found Lisa. Pointing his gun at her, he said, “You. Get up.”

She started to weep uncontrollably, and Scully stood up. “Leave her alone, you bastard. She’s only 15.”

Slowly, he turned to stare at her menacingly. “Fine,” he said evenly. “Who do you think I should choose?”

Scully flinched, but didn’t drop her gaze. “I won’t do your dirty work for you, you fucking animal.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Scully saw Darcy stand up hesitantly. “Take me,” she said quietly. “Take me instead of her. I’m not pregnant yet.”

Scully watched, trembling, as the man tied her hands together and blindfolded her. When they left, she sank to her knees, overcome with guilt and horror.

For the next hour she sat in the corner, consumed with visions of Darcy being raped in her place.

When Darcy was returned, Scully crawled over and folded her arms around her. The girl trembled in her arms, jerking so violently that Scully almost had trouble keeping hold of her. But she calmed to Scully’s soothing caresses, and her whispered words. Eventually, she fell asleep.

Some hours later, Scully moved to the basin to clean the blood from her stomach. Mechanically she wet the washcloth under the cold water, and rubbed it against her skin. When her stomach was clean, she still kept on rubbing, until her flesh was pink and chafed. The pain was somehow cleansing.

She picked up the toothbrush to brush her teeth. They had one toothbrush between all of them. At first she had been reluctant to use it; in fact the thought of using it had revolted her. But after a couple of days with furry teeth she had decided that using a communal toothbrush was better than disgusting breath. Now she cleaned her teeth with the same ferocity that she had washed her stomach.

As she rubbed the toothbrush against her teeth and tongue, her mind kept reliving the voices she had heard. Melchizedek. The name struck her as familiar. It had some religious significance, she was sure. As she rinsed her mouth, it came to her. Melchizedek – King of Righteousness. It was the name given to a man who was both a King and a Priest. Her stomach heaved at the thought of the twisted premise behind their ‘religion’, but she breathed deeply and kept her stomach contents down. They didn’t feed them enough to lose any nutrition.

She took a tampon out of the large box provided for them, her hand shaking slightly. Her period usually only lasted for four days. She knew she didn’t have much time before they came for her again.

She shook her head violently. No. Mulder would find her first.

“Dana!”

Scully was snapped out of her thoughts by the sound of Jolie screaming her name.

“Jolie, what is it?” she asked, as she rushed to her side.

“My baby. I think it’s coming. I’ve got contractions.”

“Did your water break?” asked Scully.

Jolie shook her head.

“You might be having Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re not real contractions; or rather, they don’t mean the baby is coming,” explained Scully.

She held Jolie’s hand as the girl panted in fear. “I don’t want to have it,” she started crying. “Not now. Please God, not now.”

Scully pulled Jolie to her, and wrapped her arms around her. Rocking her back and forth, she whispered, “It’s okay, we’ll be rescued soon. It’s okay.”

“I don’t know if I believe you anymore,” Jolie sobbed. “I want to…but I don’t know if I do.”

Scully’s eyes filled with tears. She was starting to understand why the girls had succumbed to hopelessness. She looked around, and caught Darcy’s eye, who was awake again. As if sensing her mood, Darcy moved over and sat in front of them.

“Tell us about Mulder,” she asked softly. “Tell us why he’ll find us.”

Scully looked at her in awe. Darcy’s resilience amazed and moved her. She smiled at her gratefully. She’d told them about Mulder before; how intelligent he was, how good he was at his job. She could see that Darcy sensed they needed to hear it again.

“He challenges me,” she began with a far-away look in her eye. “And he’ll find us because…because he always finds me. He once traveled all the way to Antarctica to find me. If he can find me there, he can find me here. He’ll put the pieces together, and he’ll work out who these men are. I believe in him, more than I believe in anyone. Sometimes even more than I believe in myself.”

“How long have you been together?” asked Darcy.

“We’ve been working together for seven years,” responded Scully, taking care to emphasize ‘working’. “But it doesn’t really seem that long.”

“So is he good in bed?” asked Darcy, with a wide smile that only barely hid the pain in her eyes.

“Darcy!” admonished Jolie, through her fading tears. “You can’t ask people things like that.”

“Yes I can,” she retorted. “So spill, Dana. What’s he like?”

Scully could feel the blush burning on her face. “How did you know?” she asked finally.

Darcy smiled and shook her head. “It’s obvious, Dana. You’ve got it for him bad. So what’s he like? No wait – start at the beginning. What’s he look like?”

Scully pursed her lips, and was about to refuse to answer, until she noticed all the girls looking at her, with varying degrees of amusement. They were all hanging on for her answer, but more importantly, they all looked happier.

Normally she wouldn’t have answered, but the thought that she might take them out of their misery for a while changed her mind. And…talking about Mulder seemed to bring him closer to her.

“He’s tall, and kind of skinny, but nicely muscled. He’s very good looking, which is strange because his features are all a bit unusual. He has a really long nose, and a small chin, and his bottom lip is huge, but put together, they look great. He had brown hair, which is usually cut badly-”

Lisa started laughing. “So far you haven’t made him sound that great.”

Scully smiled. It sounded great to her ears. “You’ll just have to take it from me until you see him for yourself.”

She ignored the snorts of laughter, and continued. “He is beautiful and caring. His policy is trust no one, but in some respects he is almost too trusting. He is obsessive, and single-minded, and the most loyal person I know. He has a bizarre sense of humor, and he loves sunflower seeds. He is always eating the damn things.”

Darcy laughed. “Okay, so when did you two first get together?”

“How do you mean?” asked Scully, starting to blush again.

Darcy sighed in exasperation. “Okay, let me try and be clearer. When did you first kiss?”

Scully thought. Should she include the almost kiss in the hallway? Or the kiss on New Years Eve? They probably didn’t count. In which case, it was the kiss during their argument the other night.

“Not long ago – I’m not sure exactly when,” she replied evasively.

“Okay, Miss Cagey, when did you first have sex with the man?”

Now Scully really was blushing.

“Do I have to answer that?”

“Yes!” came a chorus from all of them.

She smiled weakly, and briefly considered lying, but then said, “Okay. It was the night before…before I was taken.”

Immediately a hush descended.

“I’m sorry,” said Darcy, immediately contrite, “I shouldn’t have asked.”

“Don’t be silly,” said Scully briskly, realizing the mood was beginning to deteriorate again. “It’s not like it was our last time or anything. He’ll find us – trust me on this one. Think about it – the man traveled all the way to Antarctica to rescue me, and we hadn’t even kissed then!”

Darcy burst out laughing, relieved that she hadn’t upset Scully. “That good huh?”

Scully smiled widely. “Ooh yeah. That good.”

Her lascivious grin emitted a few giggles from the girls watching her.

“So is he the best you’ve ever had?” called out one of them.

Scully laughed. “Without a doubt,” she responded.

Darcy butted in. “Yeah, but that says very little about the quality of his love-making. For all we know, your previous encounters could have been all duds.”

Scully smirked. Ever since Missy had died, she hadn’t had anyone to girl-talk with. Despite the circumstances, she was quite enjoying the conversation.

“Well, let’s just say I’m 36 and I’ve had my fair share of experience, although not in the last seven years I might add. But in my twenties I sampled a few, including a couple of duds, so I think I have some yardsticks to compare with. And I’m telling you, Mulder is definitely the best.”

“The best ‘yardstick’ huh?” snorted Jolie.

“Hey you – mind out of the gutter,” giggled Darcy.

“Me?!” retorted Jolie, wincing slightly as another, smaller, contraction passed. “You started this conversation way down in the gutter girl, not me.”

“I know – it’s great isn’t it? So Dana, what makes Mulder a great lover? We want details.”

Scully pulled her legs up to her chest, and rested her chin on her knees.

What made Mulder a good lover? She thought about their lovemaking, which now seemed like eons ago. She thought about the gentleness of his caresses, the urgent way he kissed her, the feeling of his skin against hers. But in the end, it had nothing to do with technique, and everything to do with the emotions behind every touch.

“It’s his passion,” she said finally. “His passion for me.”

Darcy smiled slightly, a far away look in her eye. “Love makes all the difference, doesn’t it? When my boyfriend and I make love, I feel as if I’m the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Scully nodded, and put her arm around Jolie, who had pressed up against her. She looked around at the others, all engrossed in their own thoughts. She wondered how many of them had never experienced real lovemaking. Jolie for sure. She had confided in Scully that she was a virgin before now. Her only experience of sexual intercourse was rape. Turning her head, Scully pressed her lips against the girl’s hair. She closed her eyes and prayed that this girl would one day experience what she and Mulder had.

______

Mitchell Road Approaching Rockhampton 2.15PM

Mulder drove along the highway, his hands gripping the steering wheel to stop them from shaking. It had been five days, and time was speeding by. A sick feeling in his stomach told him that if he didn’t find her soon, it would be too late. Too late for what, he wasn’t sure.

His cell phone rang, and he grabbed at it frantically, only just keeping the car on the road.

“Mulder.”

“Mulder, it’s Harradine. I just interviewed Janine Taylor. It took us a while to track her down. She’s the person who hired the Harpers to move her furniture on the day Agent Scully was taken. She said she was inside most of the time, supervising the packing. But she went outside when they loaded the last item and she saw nothing out of the ordinary. She said she remembered looking briefly into the truck as they were loading the last box, but she didn’t see anything unusual. Just her furniture and boxes. She didn’t hear any noises from the truck either. Frankly, Mulder, I know you think they have something to do with this, but they have watertight alibis.”

“Scully was near that area,” Mulder replied stubbornly. “Woodford said the tracking device placed her moving within 500 yards of that house. They could have grabbed her. It was the middle of the day,” he continued heatedly, “and most people would have been at work. Anyone at home was probably watching Oprah. The chances of someone seeing her are slim, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t there.”

“Okay, okay,” soothed Harradine. “I know she was near there. It’s a shame our equipment wasn’t more sophisticated, or we would know if she was on that street.” He sighed into Mulder’s ear. “I’m just trying to say that I don’t think you should focus all your attention on the Harpers. At the moment, we have nothing on them, and unless you can give us something concrete we can’t just bust in and arrest them.”

“I’ll speak to you soon,” replied Mulder coldly, not bothering to respond to Harradine’s comments. “Fuck!” he swore as he placed the phone back on the passenger’s seat.

He had been back to interview the Harper brothers twice since Scully’s abduction. The second time Rob Harper had been quietly aggressive and threatened to report him for harassment if he returned. Harper had smugly pointed out that they had steadfast alibis for the last three abductions, including Scully’s. And he was right.

But that didn’t stop Mulder’s gut telling him that the Harpers were hiding something. Mulder had petitioned to get surveillance placed on them, but without any evidence, he had been refused.

He was missing something, he knew it. It was right in front of him – why the fuck couldn’t he see it? He ran his hand through his hair, and only then did he really notice how badly it was shaking.

Lack of food, he thought. When was the last time I ate? Scully would kill me.

It was only the thought of Scully’s disapproval that caused him to pull into a convenience store. He wandered the aisles searching for sunflower seeds; Scully probably wouldn’t classify them as food, but they were the only things he could face.

As he walked down an aisle, his eye was caught by a packet of red hair dye. He picked it up, and looked at it. The first victim had dyed her hair; she wasn’t a natural redhead.

He turned the packet over and over in his hand. He had a feeling that was important, but he wasn’t sure why. Finding the sunflower seeds, he bought them and the hair dye.

On the drive back to Rockhampton he kept glancing at the hair dye that he had thrown on the passenger seat. His mind ran over the facts again.

The first girl had been six weeks pregnant when he killed her. She had become pregnant after she had been abducted, so presumably the killer had impregnated her. She wasn’t a natural redhead.

The second girl had already been pregnant when she was abducted, although not enough to be very visible. Unlike the other girl, she had only been missing a few days before he body was found. It appeared she had been killed shortly after she was taken. She was a natural redhead.

What had Scully said about the first girl? She hadn’t realized at first that she wasn’t a natural redhead, because her roots were only just becoming noticeable. Apparently she had enough auburn in her hair to cover the fact that she dyed, until there was a good inch of regrowth. Mulder thought about what he knew of hair growth. Hair grew about a half-inch a month. If that was right, then from the time she was abducted to the time she was killed, her hair would have grown enough for her regrowth to be noticeable.

With sickening ease the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. He hadn’t killed the first girl because she was pregnant, he’d killed her because she wasn’t a real redhead. It had taken two months for him to notice that. As for the second girl, although she was a real redhead, she was carrying someone else’s child.

This man was taking these girls to procreate; to create children in his own image.

Immediately Mulder got on his cell phone.

When Detective Harradine picked up, he said, “Harradine, he’s taking the girls to impregnate them. We’re looking for someone with red hair, not someone with red-haired parents, or a red-haired girlfriend. The killer has red hair, and he’s probably been teased about it, ridiculed because of it.”

A thought occurred to him. That child in the Harper’s house. Was that why nobody had been aware of the sister’s pregnancy? Was this a child they had created?

“John and Rob Harper. I need to speak to someone who knew them as children.”

Shortly, Detective Harradine patched Mulder through to the local Police Department in the Harper’s home town.

“Sergeant Litton? This is Special Agent Fox Mulder, FBI. I need some information from you. I need to speak to anyone who went to school with John and Rob Harper.”

“Well you’re in luck then, Agent Mulder,” chuckled Adam Litton. “I did. What can I do for you?”

“Tell me what you know about them. What were they like?” asked Mulder, trying to hide the urgency in his voice.

“They were a funny lot, the Harper triplets. Bill was always a bit stranger than the others. He had funny ideas, and I think the others were a bit scared of him. When we were kids he wouldn’t let the boys, or their sister, play with any other kids. He said it would spoil their purity. He used to hold sermons that he made up at lunch time – he would refer to the rest of us as ‘Satan’s Issue’ and would drone on and on about how he was the Chosen One.” Litton chuckled at the memory. “We all thought it was a riot, y’know?”

“Sergeant Litton, were they ever teased about having red hair?”

“God yes. I mean, we were kids you know? And their hair was really red. There were always rumors floating around that their father wasn’t really their father, y’know what I mean? I went over to their house once to drop something off for my Mom, and I heard their father screaming at them. He was calling them Devil’s Spawn, and telling them they were unclean, impure. I think that’s where Bill got his funny ideas about purity – some sort of rebellion thing. He used to tell anyone that would listen that they were a pure race, that they were special.” I hear they’re all running a furniture moving business together. I never-”

Mulder interrupted. “I think you’re mistaken. We were told that Bill Harper is living in Europe.”

This time Litton laughed out loud. “No, I don’t think so. I saw Bill in their truck just recently. I was surprised actually – I often see the other two driving around, but this was the first time in years I’d seen Bill. It’s kind of hard to tell them apart, but Bill has a mole on his cheek, so I knew it was him.”

Mulder felt a cold trickle of fear run down his back. It was them. That was why John and Rob had alibis – on those occasions Bill had abducted the victims.

“Sergeant, you’ve been a great help. Thanks.”

Quickly Mulder hung up, and called back Harradine. “Harradine, it’s the Harpers. Bill is not out of the country. I’m heading straight for their place. Send back up and ambulances. I’ll wait until you arrive.”

Ending the call, he cursed. Why hadn’t their investigation revealed Bill’s whereabouts? He had asked someone to track that down! It would have been so simple. Fuck.

Within 20 minutes, Mulder was at the Harper’s farm. The temptation to run in alone and rescue Scully was almost overwhelming, but for once he held back. This was too important to stuff up. There were three of them and only one of him.

The time it took for back up to arrive seemed interminable, but in reality it was only about ten minutes. Urgently, Mulder explained the circumstances. Within minutes they had the farmhouse surrounded.

Mulder slammed his fist against the door. “FBI, open up! You’re under arrest!”

When they received no answer, he kicked the door down and ran in. A shot was fired out back; one of them had tried to escape through the back door. Mulder found the other two in the living room, calmly sitting on the sofa. Bill, thought Mulder, noticing the small, dark mole on his cheek.

“Where are they?” screamed Mulder, pointing his gun at Bill’s head.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he responded coolly.

“Don’t fuck with me!” Mulder grabbed him by the collar, spittle flying from his mouth. “Where’s Scully?!”

Bill met Mulder’s stare calmly, and said nothing.

“They’re in the barn, there’s a trapdoor,” Rob said finally. “It’s over, Bill. They’re gonna find them anyway.”

Releasing Bill, Mulder flew out the back door, screaming to the others, “They’re in the barn. Bring the ambulances around!”

After 30 seconds of frantic searching, Mulder spotted the trap door. Lifting it, he nearly tumbled down the steps, calling Scully’s name.

The sight that confronted him almost caused him to vomit on the spot. A group of naked young women were clustered in the room, most of them in various stages of pregnancy.

“Mulder.”

The sweet sound of Scully’s voice caused his head to whip around.

“Mulder. She’s in labor. We need to get her to a hospital, now!”

He moved towards her, and she briefly squeezed his hand, as if to say “Not now, but soon.”

Mulder understood, and simply brushed his hand over her hair in greeting. He peeled his jacket off and gave it to her, and she slipped it on gratefully. Quickly he unbuttoned his shirt and draped it over the young girl trembling in the corner.

The bunker became a flurry of activity as jackets and shirts were handed out to cover the girls, and they were herded into waiting police cars and ambulances.

As Jolie was placed on a stretcher, she screamed, “Dana, don’t leave me. Please, don’t leave me.”

Scully rushed to her side. “Don’t worry sweetie. I won’t leave you. I’m coming with you to the hospital.”

She glanced at Mulder to see if he heard and he nodded at her. “I’ll get your clothes, and bring them to the hospital,” he said, glad his voice sounded stronger than he felt.

When all the girls had been removed, and the forensics team started their work, Mulder’s knees buckled, and he sat down on the step. He didn’t know whether or not Scully had been raped.

End Part 9

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 10 of 11

Rockhampton General Hospital Rockhampton, Indiana 4.10PM

Scully quickly slipped on the clothes that Mulder had brought for her, avoiding his eye. She knew if she looked at him she would cry, and she needed to be strong for Jolie.

“I’ll see you soon,” she whispered, before entering Jolie’s room.

Jolie whimpered as Scully approached her, and Scully ran her hand over the young girl’s brow, whispering assurances to her and smoothing aside her sweat-soaked hair. The young girl grunted as another contraction overtook her.

“Agent Scully?”

Scully looked up to see a police officer shuffling nervously before her.

“What is it?” she asked calmly.

“The young woman’s parents are here. They want to see her.”

“No!” shrieked Jolie, her eyes wide. “They can’t see me like this! Don’t let them!”

She began crying noisily, and Scully wrapped her arms around her, nodding to the officer who left gratefully.

“Jolie, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m going to leave you for a minute with the nurse, to talk to your parents. I promise I won’t bring them in unless you want me to.”

Slipping out of the girl’s embrace, Scully went outside to where a distressed looking couple stood with another red-haired girl. Jolie’s sister, surmised Scully.

“Mr. and Mrs. Griffith?”

They nodded and Mrs. Griffith began to cry. “We heard her,” she sobbed. “She doesn’t want to see us.”

“Agent Scully,” said Mr. Griffith in a trembling voice, “Could you give Jolie a message for us?”

Scully walked back into Jolie’s room, blinking back the tears in her eyes.

“Hey,” she whispered to Jolie, who had closed her eyes. “Your Mom and Dad wanted me to pass on a message.”

Jolie opened her eyes, and glanced quickly around the room, as if assuring herself that her parents weren’t there.

“What did they say?” she asked in a quavering voice.

“They said they love you very much, and they’re very proud of you for getting through this.” Scully’s voice broke slightly, and she cleared her throat. Reassembling her professional mask, she continued, “They said to tell you that if you choose to keep your baby they will love it too, because any baby of yours will be just as sweet and innocent as you were when you were born. And they said if you choose to put the baby up for adoption they will support your decision and help you through it. Jolie, they love you so much.”

Jolie started sobbing again. “I want my Mommy,” she whispered. “Please.”

Quickly Scully went to the door of the room, and beckoned Mrs. Griffith in.

“Mommy, I’m scared,” sobbed Jolie and her mother rushed toward her.

“I know sweetie,” soothed her mother, wrapping her arms around her and kissing her forehead. “I was terrified when I had you. Absolutely petrified. But it’s really not that bad, and I’m here now. It’s okay darling, everything’s going to be okay.”

Scully left the room, fighting to keep the lump down in her throat. She approached Mr. Griffith, and said in a soft voice, “Your daughter is a very special person, Mr. Griffith. You should be very proud. She’d going to be okay.”

Before he could respond, she turned and walked down the long corridor. She made out Mulder’s form slouching against the far wall. At her approach, he stood up straighter and began walking toward her. Scully felt her chin start to tremble, and she clenched her jaw to hold back the tears.

He started to jog slowly toward her and she stopped, feeling the energy draining from her. When he reached her, and wrapped her tightly in his arms, she pressed her face hard into his chest. Concentrate on breathing, she told herself, inhaling a lungfull of his musky scent.

He hugged her tightly to him and rocked her back and forth. “Scully, Scully,” he murmured in soothing tones. His hands rubbed her back and hair, and he kissed the crown of her head repeatedly. Now that she was safe, her body started trembling. She gripped handfuls of skin on his back, trying to ground herself.

Mulder pulled back from her and cupped her face in his hands. “Scully, I have to know. Did they…?”

She shook her head, and he closed his eyes in relief. “Thank God.”

He leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on her lips. He tasted familiar, and she wondered if he could taste the cold dust that seemed to cling to every inch of her.

“The detective said he can wait until tomorrow to speak to you. Can I take you back to the house?”

She nodded, and wrapping his arm tightly around her, he steered her to the exit.

______

Kiah St residence 5.45PM

Scully couldn’t remember the last time she’d enjoyed a bath so much. Although she had tried to keep clean with the single washcloth they’d been given, she was washing away more than just dirt.

She smiled as Mulder knocked tentatively on the door.

“It’s okay Mulder, you can come in.”

He poked his head around the door and smiled shyly. “You sure I’m not intruding?”

“I’m sure,” she said softly.

He perched himself on the edge of the bath and handed her a glass of red wine.

“Red wine as requested, and pizza with extra anchovies on the way.”

She groaned low in her throat. “I never thought I’d be so happy at the thought of pizza.”

Taking a mouthful of red wine, she closed her eyes and sent a quick prayer into the ether that she had come through unscathed. Briefly her mind flitted back to her dark prison, but she shut down that train of thought. I will not think about it. Not tonight.

“Nice wine?” he asked.

She opened her eyes and nodded. “Want to try some?”

When he nodded, she took a mouthful and then reached up to pull his head toward her. Pressing her lips to his, she waited until his mouth opened and let the wine flow between their lips. Instantly his tongue probed into her mouth, and she knew it wasn’t the wine he was seeking.

She moaned and opened her mouth wider to let him in. His tongue stroked the roof of her mouth, and his hand wandered down her neck until it was resting lightly on her chest. Suddenly he ripped his mouth from hers.

Panting slightly, he said, “Scully, I wasn’t going to do this. Not tonight. You don’t need this from me.”

“You’re wrong, Mulder,” she said throatily. “This is exactly what I need. I want to feel your hands and lips on me. I want to feel you in me.”

She placed her wine glass on the floor, and pulled his head down to meet hers. As he leaned toward her, he slipped and partially fell into the bath, catching himself with his hand, but drenching his t- shirt and boxers.

Scully smirked. “Smooth move, Mulder.”

“Luckily there’s room for two in this bath, Scully,” he said, climbing in fully clothed until he was lying on top of her, his feet dangling over the end of the bath. Water splashed over the sides, soaking the bath mat and the towel she had placed there.

“Boy, are you gonna be in trouble when I have to clean this bathroom,” she murmured, running her fingers lazily over his back and then under his soaked t-shirt.

“Well, I’d better make this worthwhile then,” he whispered, before kissing her deeply. She could feel him harden against her as his tongue slid against hers, hot and demanding. She kissed him back with equal fervor, tasting his lips and teeth.

“Think we can do it in the bath?” she asked, sliding her hand down between them and grasping his cock.

“I think we can give it a good try,” he muttered against her mouth, lifting his hips slightly so she could gain access into his boxers. While he balanced himself above her, she pulled his boxers down, first with her hands and then with her feet. Then he sat up on his knees, wincing slightly, and pulled his t-shirt off.

“That’s better,” she said admiringly, running her hands down his chest. “Now get back down here.”

He lowered himself back down on top of her, ignoring the fact that sex in a bath was, really, an inherently uncomfortable activity. If she wanted it in the bath, he thought, then she was gonna get it in the bath.

Mulder kissed his way down her chest until he was suckling her nipple, but she pulled him back up so they were face to face. “I know I said I wanted to feel your hands and lips all over me, but I lied, Mulder.”

For a split second he looked crestfallen, until she whispered huskily into his ear, “I just want to feel your cock in me.”

She saw the slight surprise that her words provoked, but also noted his increased arousal. So Mulder was turned on by dirty talk, she thought. Well she was flying high on a mixture of desire and exhilaration at being alive, and she was going to make tonight a night to remember.

She lifted her legs and hooked them over the sides of the bath, so she was wide open for him, and then guided him into her. He willingly began thrusting, gently at first, but picking up pace when her fingernails dug into his buttocks, urging him on. Waves of water sloshed over the edges of the bath.

“Harder Mulder,” she whispered, between gasps for air. “Fuck me harder.”

He hadn’t thought it possible, but her words spurred him on, and he thrust into her with wild abandon. Briefly he wondered if he was hurting her, but when she groaned into his ear, “God, you’re so good, Mulder,” he discarded that thought.

He pumped into her, willing himself not to come. Suddenly she gasped. Her hips lifted to grind their pelvises together, he felt her tighten around his already too painful cock, and then his name was bouncing off the tiled walls in surround sound. It took only a few more seconds before he followed her over the edge.

They lay there, the sound of their ragged breathing the only noise that could be heard, until Scully groaned slightly.

“Scully? You okay?” came Mulder’s muffled voice from between her breasts.

“I feel great, but my body is complaining a bit. I think it just decided it’s too old to have sex in the bath. How are your knees?”

“Sore as all hell. I’d get up if I had any movement left in my body.”

“Roll over,” she instructed. Mustering all his energy, Mulder did so, and then sighed happily as he leaned back against her, and she wrapped her arms around him.

Their peaceful post-coital slump was interrupted by the pizza delivery boy arriving.

“That’ll be for you,” said Scully, when she heard the rap on the door.

Knees cracking in protest, Mulder got up and grabbed a towel to wrap around his waist. Scully admired his lean body and then reluctantly followed him out of the bath. Woman cannot live on sex and baths alone, she thought, as she got the first whiff of pizza.

Drying herself quickly, she wrapped her bathrobe around her, and combed her hair back.

Mulder was sitting in the living room, the pizza box laying in front of him. For the first time ever he hadn’t started eating, and instead was sitting against the sofa waiting for her. He beckoned her over, and pulled her between his legs.

“Hungry?” he asked into her ear, as he dragged the pizza box onto their laps.

“Starving,” she responded, watching him open the box and pick up a slice. He brought the steaming slice of pizza to her mouth, and she obligingly opened her mouth and took a bite.

“I can feed myself,” she said as she chewed, savoring the delightfully salty taste.

“I know,” he murmured into her ear, his mouth also full. “I’ve seen you do it before.”

He kissed her temple, leaving a greasy spot behind, which he wiped off with his tongue. She smiled at the sensation. He raised the slice to her mouth again, and she took another bite. Nuzzling back into his warm body, she sighed. This was nice.

They ate in silence for a while, until Mulder said, “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No,” she replied quickly, and firmly.

He said nothing, but she could sense his disappointment. “Mulder, not tonight. Please.” She twisted to face him. “I’m not going to keep it to myself. I will talk to you. But I can’t face it tonight. I just want to be with you.”

He nodded, looking at her solemnly.

“Y’know Mulder, I never doubted that you’d find us,” she said, running her fingers down his cheek.

“It was only my knowledge that you had such faith in me that gave me confidence, Scully. I had the courage of your convictions,” he replied softly.

She smiled in recognition of his words.

“We’ll talk about it, Mulder. I promise. But tonight I just want to finish this pizza, and go to sleep.”

End Part 10

From: “Nicknoc” <>

Stain of Purity By Nicknoc

All parts can be found at http://members.xoom.com/nicknoc/

Part 11 of 11

Rockhampton Police Station 20th April, 2000 2.00PM

Mulder leaned over the large desk and stared into the expressionless eyes of Aletha Harper.

“Did you know what your brothers were doing, Ms Harper?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Why did you do it?”

She tilted her head and frowned, as if puzzled that he would even ask such a question. “A man is not a man until he procreates, Mr. Mulder. My brother was ordained by God to expand our bloodline. In order for our bloodline to remain pure, I should have been the mother of our children, but…” she paused and looked down at her hands. When she looked back up at him, her eyes were tinged with pain. “…I was unable to bear children. This was the only way.”

Mulder hands shook. For a brief second he wanted to pick her up by her frail shoulders and throw her against the wall, and the strength of his emotions frightened him.

“There are many women in the world who are unable to bear children,” he answered tightly.

“That is true, Mr. Mulder. But it is irrelevant to God whether or not they bear children.”

“I’ve heard enough,” spat Mulder in disgust. He turned to Harradine. “You can continue this.”

Mulder stalked out of the room, willing himself to calm down. He went back into their temporary office, and slumped into a chair. Moments later, Scully entered the room.

“Hey, how was the hospital?” he asked.

“Full of too many pregnant young girls,” she replied softly. “Most of them are still in hospital, suffering from delayed shock. Darcy was released. She’s not pregnant, and she just wanted to go home. Jolie had some complications while giving birth. She lost a lot of blood, but she’ll be okay. I wasn’t able to see her.”

She paused, obviously trying to compose herself. “The baby that you heard at the Harper’s house…one of the girls gave birth to her. Christine. She refused to see her. She became hysterical when one of the doctors suggested it. She kept screaming “She’s not my baby, she’s not my baby…” I’ll guess they’ll make the child a ward of the state until they decide what to do…” Scully’s voice cracked, and she ran her hand over her eyes.

Mulder stood up and wrapped his arms around her. She stiffened slightly and pulled back.

“I’m fine, Mulder. Not here,” she said, looking around. “Someone might come in.”

She sat in the chair next to his, and pulled him down next to her.

“So, did he talk?”

Mulder grimaced. “He talked all right. Preached is probably the better word for it. Preached and boasted, which is a singularly distasteful combination. He claims to be Melchizedek, which I understand is a name given to a man -”

“Who is both priest and king,” finished Scully. “I know, I heard one of the brother’s call him by that name. I remember reading about Melchizedek in a book about religion and myth. Melchizedek is thought by some to be a precursor to Jesus, while others think that the name Melchizedek is just another name for Jesus.”

“Well he is certainly a man with a Jesus complex. And his brothers and sister are his slavish followers. He appears to have brainwashed them into believing they are the chosen ones. He believes himself to be ordained by God to produce a pure race of people.”

Mulder paused, uncertain how much to tell Scully. “His sister believes she was destined to be the mother to their children. However, she was unable to conceive, so they moved on to abducting girls in their image.”

He glanced at her. Her expression remained passive, although her shoulders stiffened. “Because the girls weren’t of ‘pure’ stock,” he continued, “they had to purify them.”

“Hence the cow’s blood. The red heifer has always signified purity,” murmured Scully. “He painted a spot of heifer blood for each point of the cross over their womb, and poured water sanctified with the ashes of the heifer through their hair.”

Mulder reached for her hand. It was clear she was speaking from personal experience.

“Want to tell me about it?”

She drew her hand away from his and picked up a paperweight from the desk, turning it over and over. “They blindfolded me and took me into the house. There were burning candles in the room – I could smell the wax. They tied me to the table and the whole time he was chanting “Unto the pure all things are pure”.” She shivered almost imperceptibly. “I felt them paint the blood on, and then they poured the water through my hair. They had tied my arms to the table, but not my legs – they were just holding them down. I knew what was coming next…Mulder, I was terrified. Rape…rape is more horrifying to me than death.”

She glanced at him with haunted eyes, and he knew she was thinking about the experiments they had performed on her. Medical rape was no less abhorrent than physical rape. He squeezed her forearm, trying to impart some comfort, but he didn’t draw her to him. She needed to tell him this in her own way.

She pulled away from his touch, and walked over to the window, still holding tightly to the paperweight.

“When they pulled down my underwear, I had my period. I hadn’t even realized it was due.” She gave a hollow laugh and rubbed her thumb over the glass paperweight. “Many religions consider a menstruating woman to be unclean. They took me back, and raped Darcy instead.”

“Scully,” he said gently, “You know that’s not your fault.”

She nodded, her head down. “I know. But that doesn’t make it feel any better.”

He walked over to her, and turning her around so they were facing, he bent to rest his forehead against hers. “Scully,” he whispered, bringing his hands up to smooth her hair back from her face. “Scully.”

“I’m fine, Mulder. I’mfineI’mfineI’mfine.” Her words tumbled out through gritted teeth as she struggled to hold herself together. “I’m fine.”

He pulled her into his embrace and rocked with her, letting her attempt to convince them both that she was fine. She was just fine.

______

Rockhampton General Hospital 23rd April, 2000

Mulder glanced over at Scully. Her hands were gripping the magazine so tightly that her knuckles were white. He could tell that she wasn’t reading the words.

“Hey,” he said softly.

She looked up with a small frown, as if surprised to see him there.

“You’re nervous aren’t you?”

She nodded. “I don’t know why. I guess I’m starting to have second thoughts. Maybe she won’t want to see me because I’ll remind her of what happened, or maybe she’s just so destroyed by what happened to her…”

Mulder reached over and grabbed her hand. “She’ll be okay. People are very resilient. You of all people know that.”

They both looked up when the doctor approached them.

“She’s ready to see you now.”

Mulder held back to allow Scully to go in before him. He felt a little uncomfortable about visiting Jolie himself, but Scully had insisted. She was sure that Jolie would want to meet him.

His fears were allayed by the big smile that spread across Jolie’s face when she saw them.

“Dana!” she shrieked, holding her arms out wide.

Scully walked over and hugged her, while Mulder stood stiffly at the end of the bed. Scully turned, flashing him a smile.

“This is Mulder. Mulder, this is Jolie.”

“Hey, Jolie.”

“Hi, Mr. Mulder,” said Jolie, suddenly shy. “It’s so nice to meet you. I heard a lot about you.”

Jolie and Scully locked eyes, and Jolie started giggling. Mulder frowned. He was obviously missing something here. Scully reached out and squeezed Jolie’s hand.

“I heard you had a boy.”

Jolie’s smile diminished slightly, but she tilted her head up bravely. “Yes. I’m not keeping him.”

She paused, gauging their reaction, and then continued, “I discussed it with my Mom and Dad, and I decided I was too young to be a mother. So he’s being adopted, and I’ve already met his new parents.”

Her eyes glistened slightly with tears. “They seem like really nice people. They know what happened, and they don’t care. They said they’d send me photos, and I could visit if I wanted to. It’s called an open adoption.” She took in a deep, shaky breath before continuing. “I said I wanted to name him, and they said I could.” She glanced at Scully, and then Mulder. “If he was a girl, I would have called him Dana. When I found out he was a boy, I was going to name him after you Mr. Mulder, but then I found out your name…sorry, but I just couldn’t do that to a kid.”

Mulder burst out laughing. “Thank God for that. Why do you think everyone calls me Mulder?”

“So, I named him Todd. It means Fox.” She grinned, waiting for Mulder’s reaction.

He shook his head. “Why didn’t my parents think of that?”

Scully smiled at him. Turning her attention back to Jolie, she leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “Take care, Jolie. I know it may seem hard to believe at the moment, but this will feel less painful after some time has passed.”

Jolie nodded. “I know,” she whispered, suddenly close to tears. “That’s what my Mom keeps saying. Dana, I’m glad you were there. I mean, I’m not glad…but you know what I mean. Part of me wants to say ‘keep in touch’, except most of me just wants to forget this ever happened. But I’ll always remember you.”

Scully ran her hand over the girl’s hair. “I’ll remember you too, Jolie.”

She kissed Jolie one more time, and then reached a hand out to Mulder. He pulled her toward him, and smiling his goodbyes at Jolie, led her out of the room.

Scully was quiet on the trip to the airport and throughout their check-in.

When they had settled into their seats, and flipped the arMr.est up between them, Mulder turned to her. “You’re thinking about the baby, aren’t you?”

She looked up, startled, and he knew he’d read her correctly. His heart clenched at the knowledge that she felt the pain of her infertility every time she was confronted with birth.

She nodded, and then turned to gaze out the window. He leaned over, and with one finger on her chin, turned her head so she was forced to meet his eye. Her blue eyes shone with unshed tears, and her bottom lip was twisted under her teeth.

Gently, he smoothed out her lip with his thumb. He gathered her in his arms, pulling her stiff body close. Staring out the window at the dull gray tarmac, he realized there was nothing he could do to ease this particular pain. Only time could do that, and those seconds were counted in every ragged, controlled breath from Scully.

______

Scully’s Apartment 25th April, 2000 10.30PM

Mulder’s eyes followed her as she entered the bedroom, still looking flushed from the shower. It was cooler in DC, and she was wearing flannel pajamas that made his hands twitch in anticipation of cuddling her.

He pulled back the covers, and spread his legs apart, indicating for her to sit between them. She complied sleepily, crawling over the bed and snuggling up against his chest.

“This is nice, Mulder,” she sighed.

He hooked his arm under her legs, and pulled her a bit closer, getting them both comfortable. If she’d given him a sign, he would have been undressing her in an instant, but he sensed she just needed some quiet closeness. He was happy with that – holding Scully was second on his list of favorite pastimes.

He stroked her hair, waiting for the small sighs he knew would come. Scully was like a dog when she was being petted; cuddly and contented. He half expected to see her leg start to twitch.

She tilted her head up and looked at him with a small smile. His hand stilled expectantly.

“What?” he finally asked when she said nothing.

“Mulder, I feel a bit guilty. I told the girls something that was personal between you and me. Something that you need to know.” She placed a tender kiss on his lips, lingering slightly to lick his bottom lip.

“What?” he asked, a little nervously.

“I told them I love you, Mulder.”

He smiled, and ran the back of his hand down her cheek.

“Thank God for that,” he joked gently. “I thought you were going to say you’d told them the gory details of our lovemaking.”

Scully blushed, and Mulder’s eyes widened. “You didn’t! Scully, I would never have taken you for a kiss and tell kind of woman,” he admonished, laughing.

Blushing furiously, she protested, “I’m not, I swear. But…well, they asked, and we had to talk about something.”

He kissed her, still smiling at the expression on her face. “Well it’s just as well that I love you too, or you could be in real trouble.” He paused, and then asked, “So did you tell them I was good?”

She raised an eyebrow at him, and then shrugged. “I told them you were okay, Mulder.”

He gasped in mock horror and wrestled her to the mattress. He pinned her to the bed with his body, delighting in the feeling of her shaking with laughter under him.

“Just okay, Scully? I nearly broke my knees for you in that damn bath the other night and you say I’m just okay??”

Now she was laughing so hard that tears were trickling out of the corners of her eyes, and she was gasping for breath. He let go of her hands and tucked his arms under her body, laying his head on her chest. He sighed in contentment, listening to her laugh.

Scully laughing.

If he could capture just one moment in his life to preserve for ever more, this would be this one.

THE END.

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