Werewolf Chronicles (incl Standin’ at the Crossroads) by frogdoggie

Werewolf Chronicles cover

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The Werewolf Chronicles
With Standin’ at the Crossroads
by frogdoggie

Werewolf Chronicles cover

Wisconsin Death Trip (WCi)
Standin’ at the Crossroads
Not With a Whisper (WCii)

Wisconsin Death Trip


RATING: NC-17, and I mean it. This story contains graphic language, sexual situations and violence. Forewarned is forearmed. If you don’t care for really graphic stuff, STOP HERE!

SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully travel to Wisconsin to investigate some cattle mutilations. Their discovery of the cause behind the mutilations soon proves to be something very terrifying. This is a horror story. I have always been partial to X-Files episodes that were about monsters – like ‘The Host.’ So, I wanted to write an X-Files horror story. I also wanted to include a classic type of monster but with a bit of a twist to it. Comments, suggestions and healthy debate are always welcome. Flames? Flames are for roasting ‘weenies’.

TIMESPAN/SPOILER WARNING.: I don’t know when this story takes place. Ha. Maybe after “One Breath” but certainly before Scully’s cancer. At any rate, it takes place during a long, hot summer, what the heck. I’m not including any spoilers really, but I do mention Phoebe Green (from ‘Fire’), in passing.

KEYWORDS: X-File-Romance-Angst. Mulder/Scully romance. Rated NC-17

DISCLAIMER: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Byers, Langly, Frohike and Phoebe Green, belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and 20th Century FOX Broadcasting. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made from their use. Lyrics from the song ‘Can’t Get Enuff’ copyright Virgin Songs Inc./Verseau Music/Small Hope Ltd.,BMI/Virgin Music, Inc./Blue-32 Ltd./Julian Music, ASCAP. The song appears on Winger’s ‘In the Heart of the Young’ CD.

Wisconsin Death Trip by frogdoggie

The slide projector clicked again and Fox Mulder’s voice droned on as the next slide popped onto the screen.

“Here’s another example of classic cattle mutilation. This photo was taken just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now, if you compare these slides with the following 4.” The projector clicked slowly in succession, finally stopping on the last slide. “Do you notice anything significantly different Scully?”

Dana Scully walked forward in the darkened room to study the screen more closely, her brow wrinkled in thought. “Mulder, they don’t look the same at all, really. In those other slides, the wounds are regular, almost surgical in appearance…”

“Yes, like the wounds in a typical cattle mutilation….” Mulder interrupted.

“All right.” Scully replied, slightly annoyed, and raising an eyebrow. “But, in this last series, the wounds are totally different. They’re irregular ripping wounds, the trauma is much more pronounced, more grievous…” Scully continued.

“Like?” Mulder prompted.

“Well, like they were caused by some type of large predator. A wolf or a big cat.” She finished touching the screen and running her fingers along the image in an attempt to gauge the relative size of the injuries.

“‘Super wolf’, wouldn’t you say, Scully?”

Scully remained silent for a moment and than turned to her partner as Mulder switched on the overhead lights and than shut off the projector. Scully had a slight frown on her face as she asked, “What does this have to do with the X-Files, Mulder?”

“What doesn’t it have to do with them would be a more accurate question.” Mulder smiled as he picked up some papers from his desk.

“Oh, come on Mulder, those cows in those last 4 slides were probably killed by some sort of wild dog or wolf pack or quite possibly a cougar.” Scully argued.

“In rural Wisconsin?” Mulder asked brandishing the papers.

“Well, coyotes and wolves have been reported more frequently in Wisconsin, especially in the northern part of the state.” Scully continued to defend her opinion. “And wild dogs are a nuisance problem even in Washington, DC.”

“Well, maybe…but take a look at this.” Mulder replied laying the papers down on his desk.

“What?” Scully asked.

“When I saw the reports about these current cattle mutilations something jogged my memory concerning an older X-File I’d seen. On a hunch, I poked around and found one. There wasn’t much there, though. The file consisted of a couple photocopies of 75 year old newspaper articles. But, they came from the same area of Wisconsin. So, I had someone who owed me a favor at the Milwaukee field office do a little microfilm research as well as get some current photos. These are the newspaper reports from the area and the articles detail series of cattle mutilations dating back to the 1800s.”

“So, they probably had even more wolves indigenous to the area back than..” Scully interrupted.

“Yeah, well, I’m sure they weren’t killing people at the same time.” Mulder stated.

“People?” Scully asked in surprise.

“Yes. Wolf attacks on people are extremely rare. But, it seems that about every 75 years or so there is a series of what looks like cattle mutilations around Addison, Wisconsin. The type of cattle doesn’t seem to matter, beef or dairy it’s all the same to whoever or whatever is doing it. At any rate, as soon as the cattle mutilations cease there are suddenly several murders, usually farmers. The wounds are pretty much identical to the cattle’s wounds and no one has ever been apprehended in the killings. The most recent series of deaths occurred 75 years ago in the summer, so if we assume the mutilator is following a pattern, this could be a new cycle starting up now.” Mulder finished.

Scully looked over the articles critically and than something did catch her eye. “Mulder, the names of the farmers that owned the mutilated cattle, they’re the same names as those of the murder victims.” she said looking up in Mulder’s direction.

“An interesting coincidence, wouldn’t you say?”

Scully at last raised a less disdainful eyebrow.

“Yeah, I thought so too. You’d better pack your sun tan oil, Scully, we’re heading for Wisconsin tomorrow, and the weather reports say they’re having a heat wave.”


As soon as they exited the terminal at Mitchell field in Milwaukee county early the next day, the term “heat wave” took on a whole new meaning. It was like a blast furnace even that early in the morning, with the humidity just about equal to the air temperature. The pilot had come on during the flight to warn all the passengers that Milwaukee county was under a ‘Dangerous Heat Alert’ and it was only too evident that he had not been exaggerating. Both Agents began to sweat almost immediately as they stood outside the doors to the baggage claim area.

Scully sniffed the air and with a look of disgust, turned to Mulder and asked, “God, Mulder what is that smell?”

Mulder lifted his arm, and sniffed his pit experimentally. “Gee, I don’t think it’s me, Scully, I put on my ‘Degree’ this morning.”

“Mulder…” Scully began.“Alewives.” Mulder replied before she could say anything else.

“Alewives? Little fish?” Scully asked in amazement.

“Yep, believe it or not Scully, a bunch of pan sized filets are responsible for this elegant perfume. They die off wholesale this time of year and wash up all over the shores of Lake Michigan.” Mulder answered “They’re sort of the ‘lemmings of the lake’, I guess. If the wind’s right….” he let his voice trail off, smirking slightly.

“Ugh, remind me not to order anchovies on my pizza while we’re here, all right?” Scully stated.

Mulder chuckled, “Well, that particular cuisine isn’t what Wisconsin’s famous for anyway.” Mulder replied.

“I know….” Scully began.

“Brats, beer and dairy products – as in cows.” Mulder finished for her. “Let’s go find the rental car.”

They drove down the lakefront into downtown Milwaukee so that Mulder could stop off at the FBI field office. Scully thought the cool look of the lake was probably very deceptive on a day like this, and she was thankful for the car’s air conditioner. They pulled into the Plaza East Parking garage at about 9 AM. The underground garage was cool and the elevator well air conditioned as they took it up into the building.

“Dana Scully, this is Janet Price, Mulder said, introducing his partner to a slightly built blond woman. She was so blond in fact as to be almost an albino and her watery blue eyes peered out from behind thick round spectacles.

“Janet is sort of the paranormal equivalent of Byers, Langly and Frohike all rolled into one.” Mulder continued. “Except she works within the system, don’t you Janet?““Put a sock on it, Mulder,” she grinned extending a hand to Scully. Scully smiled back ‘Ah ha, I like her all ready,’ she thought. “Nice to meet you, Dana.”

“My pleasure.” Scully answered.

“When I first heard about these cattle mutilations, Janet was the first person I contacted.” Mulder stated.

“Yeah. Mulder and I share similar tastes in casework, shall we say.” Janet chuckled. “I may be stuck in records here, but I like it because it helps me keep track of things. My hobby is the bizarre, actually. I’m sort of a ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ fan.” she added. “So, when Mulder called about these cattle mutilations, I was way ahead of him in terms of following up on them. In an unofficial capacity, of course.”

“Of course.” Scully replied. Mulder was grinning.

“So, what have you got for us, Janet?” Mulder asked.

Janet pulled some 8 x 10 photos out of a manila envelope on her desk. She proffered them to Mulder and he spread them out on her desk top. Scully drew close for a better look.“These are fresh, Mulder. Within the last 48 hours. I had Jimmy Rafferty of the Whisper Group go up to Addison and shoot these himself, so I know they’re accurate.”

“Whisper Group?” Scully asked.

“The local ‘Ghostbusters’ you might call them.” Janet replied. “But, Mulder you can see what I meant, can’t you, these are really awful. Scully studied the photos closely.

Mulder looked at the photos also, and pursed his lips. They were very graphic, the wounds on the animals more violent. In one instance, the cow had been completely decapitated. There were also signs that parts of the carcasses had been eaten. “I see what you mean.” Mulder replied to the blond as she scooped the photos up, and put them back in the envelope for them.

“Were there any tracks around these animals? I mean, it must have taken a whole pack of wolves, or dogs, or a very large cat to do that kind of damage” Scully asked.

“No, the ground was way too churned up for any clear tracks to be seen. Also, it’s rained up there during the night for the last few days so a lot of the evidence was probably washed away.”

Her face grew very serious than, and she took her glasses off to clean them. Not looking at Scully, she instead peered myopically up at Mulder.

“So, Mulder, do you see what I mean? She whispered. “I know it sounds weird but Rafferty is starting to agree with me and he’s a skeptic.”

“Yeah, well we’re going up there today, we’ll get to the bottom of it.” Mulder nodded reassuringly.

Scully looked from one to the other and sighed. She hated when Mulder treated her like she wasn’t there. But, she knew if she waited long enough an explanation would be in the offing.

“OK, Mulder.” Janet Price replied. “But, listen, be careful, all right. Besides the obvious danger, Jimmy said everyone is half crazy up there over these cattle deaths. There’s guys running around with rifles all over the place.” she finished.

“Thanks, Janet, we’ll watch our step.” Mulder replied.

“Yeah. Well, good luck and let me know how things turn out,” she said “nice to meet you Dana.” she added.“Nice to meet you too Janet, stay cool.” Scully replied smiling.

“I hear you!” the blond replied as the two agents left her office.


Once back in the rental car Scully figured she’d waited patiently long enough. “All right, Mulder, I’ll bite, what does the Whisper Group, or as Janet referred to them, the local GhostBusters, have to do with all this? And what in the heck was she alluding too back there? What obvious danger? I thought maybe you were hot on the trail of a new connection between UFOs and cattle mutilations, but now I’m totally confused.” she finished in exasperation.

“Well, Scully my jury is still out on this one, but I have to say that Janet and her friends in the Whisper Group have a rather interesting idea about who or what might be committing these atrocities.” Mulder attempted to explain.

“And that is what?” Scully asked.

“Werewolves.” Mulder grinned as he steered the car onto the I94 entrance ramp.

Later that afternoon a perspiring Dana Scully and Fox Mulder were up to their ankles in the heat, cow dung and mud of an Addison, Wisconsin farm field. Mulder kicked a particularly gross lump of offal off his boot tip as Scully bent to examine the cow’s body baking in the afternoon sun. The local law enforcement team, Sheriff Dan Pardy and his Deputy Ross Baker as well as the farms owner, Owen Keller stood off to the side near the squad cars, rental car and farmer’s truck. Keller had supplied the rubber boots both agents were very happy to be wearing. He had also considerately thrown down a tarp for Scully to kneel on while she made her examination. Unfortunately, no one had thought to supply any type of shade and Dana Scully was not happy about that little oversight one bit.

Mulder gazed around at the flat landscape, the sky was crystal clear, and several red headed buzzards wheeled about above them. He wiped some sweat from his brow and looking down at Scully’s back said, “You finding anything Scully?” Mulder was rapidly becoming green from the combination of heat and stench and he devoutly hoped Scully was almost through with picking at the carcass.

Scully glanced back up at him from above her surgical mask. Her eyes were flinty, and she at last stood up taking a step back off the tarp. “May I speak to you in private, Agent Mulder?” she asked formally. ‘Oh, oh,’ Mulder thought, ‘I’m in trouble now.”

He stepped aside out of earshot of the rest of the little group and braced himself for his partners invective. The Sheriff, Deputy, and farmer were involved in their own conversation as Scully rounded on Mulder, her face red with anger and exertion.“Mulder, damn it! If you ever drag me out in the 90 plus degree heat and make me root around in some rotting steer’s guts again – I’ll have your guts for garters.” she hissed, pulling off the surgical mask with vehemence.

“Ouch.” he replied. “I thought you wore pantyhose.”

“Cut the crap, you know what I mean.” she answered using the surgical mask to wipe her sweaty neck and brow. “It wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that this carcass has been out here way too long, and as Janet mentioned, the rain has pretty much obliterated most of the evidence.” she replied tired and annoyed.

“So you didn’t find anything?” Mulder asked disappointment in his voice.“I didn’t say that.” Scully replied producing a plastic medicine bottle from her pocket. “I did find some signs that the steer had been gnawed at – there are teeth marks indicative of wolf or dog predation on some of the rib bones. Also, I found this” she finished displaying the bottle for him to look at.

Mulder took it and held it up to the sunlight. There was some viscous material in the bottom along with some cow’s blood. He squinted his eyes and looked over at Scully, eyebrows raised.

“It’s saliva.” Scully replied in answer to his unasked question.

“What kind of saliva?” Mulder asked. “Wolf?”

“How the hell should I know, Mulder. It’s more than likely canine, possibly wolf – and I don’t mean werewolf,” she added sarcastically. I have to send it somewhere to be tested so we can find out for sure.”

‘Obviously, someone’s a bit testy from the heat’ Mulder griped mentally. But than he had a sudden pang of guilt. That wasn’t very fair. It hadn’t been that long ago that his partner had been on deaths door, after all. ‘God, I should think about her health once in while.’ he reprimanded himself.

“Ok, let’s see if there’s any place locally to test this stuff.” he said looking towards the Sheriff, his Deputy and Owen Keller. As Scully turned to walk back over to the gathered group, Mulder touched her arm. “Scully, listen, thanks, ok? I know this was pretty terrible. I’m sorry for asking you to do it, really.” Mulder looked into her eyes.

Scully blinked for a moment, and than smiling waived a hand in dismissal. “That’s all right, Mulder. But you owe me big time.” she replied, “dinner and a long cool drink. Deal?”

“Deal.” Mulder replied smiling just as Sheriff Pardy was coming over to meet them. “If you folks are done with your private discussion here, would you mind telling us what, if anything you found?”

“Sorry, Sheriff,” Mulder replied. “Agent Scully did find something actually, some type of saliva. We were wondering if there was anywhere around here to get an analysis on it?”

“Could it be wolf saliva?” Keller asked.

“We won’t know that until we run some tests.” Scully replied. “If there’s someplace locally that can perform the analysis we can get the results a whole lot faster. Otherwise, I’ll have to arrange to have the sample sent to Madison or Milwaukee and that could take a lot longer.”

“My vet could probably take a look at it.” Keller replied helpfully. He’s top notch and I imagine he could at least tell you if it was canine saliva.”

“All right, why don’t we get it over to your veterinarian then?” Scully agreed.


“Ross, would you take this sample over to Doc March, please.” Sheriff Pardy called back to his Deputy. Baker had been standing over by the cow’s corpse, staring down at it, and had seemed momentarily uninterested in the conversation. As he approached, Scully was struck for the first time on how tall the man actually was, tall and darkly handsome with eyes as pale and cold as a glacier. He seemed to stare right into her head through her eye sockets. He stretched his hand out and Scully placed the vial into his palm. Despite the heat she shivered suddenly as Baker said, “My pleasure, Agent Scully.” His voice was deep and melodious and Scully found herself momentarily weak in the knees as Baker turned around to face the Sheriff. ‘It must be the sun,’ she thought. ‘I’d better get back to the motel and get some liquids into me before I have a heat stroke’ she thought.

As an afterthought she pulled an FBI business card out of her pocket and handed it to the Deputy. She had all ready written the phone and motel room numbers where they would be staying on the back. Her cell phone number was on the front so she figured she had covered all the bases. “Give this to the vet and tell him to please call me as soon as he has the results.”

“Certainly, ma’am.” Baker replied coolly, as he headed away from the group towards his waiting squad.

Mulder took in the scene between his partner and the Deputy. Scully was staring at the guy like he had walked off a UFO, or maybe off a museum pedestal. When she handed the vial over to him the Deputy’s fingers gently touched her hand and Scully trembled like she was cold instead of sweating her make-up off. Mulder frowned. ‘That isn’t ‘by the book’ Scully is it?’ he thought, perplexed. ‘She looks like she’s got the hots for that guy,’ came into his mind suddenly. ‘So what if she does? She’s human after all, and he certainly is impressive, I guess – if you like ‘em tall, dark and gruesome.’ Mulder considered wryly. ‘Why should I care,’ he added but in the back of his mind the thought arose ‘you bet I care, buddy, stay the hell away from her’ but he filed it away with the rest of the disturbing feelings he sometimes had for Dana Scully. The ones that were pleasurable but painful and not very professional. He took a step forward and said, “Thanks Deputy, Sheriff Pardy. And thank you Mr. Keller. I hope we have some news for you soon.”

“Well, I hope to God you do.” Keller replied. “I don’t know why the FBI’s involved in this anyway, but I’ll take all the help I can get. I can’t afford to loose many more head like this, I can tell you,” he sighed heading back to his truck.

“We’ll be in touch as soon as we know anything.” Scully added retrieving her medical bag from the tarp. The group trudged back to their transportation, Deputy Baker all ready in his squad and pulling away as the rest of them got into their cars and truck. The vehicles split up at that point as Mulder and Scully headed towards the little motel just outside Addison.

“God, Mulder, I need a shower.” Scully sighed as they finished checking in and headed towards their adjoining rooms. “Well, why don’t you go cool off and I’ll haul the luggage in.” Mulder offered taking in Scully’s drooping demeanor. “You can knock on the connecting door or something when you’re done.” Mulder added.

“Thanks, just put my bags on one of the beds,” she replied walking ahead of him, room key in hand as he went back to the car.

“I could use a dip in the pool,’ Mulder considered, but he had neglected to bring his Speedo. ‘Oh well, a cool shower will do just as well for me too’ he thought, hefting the bags out of the trunk. He carried the bags into his room and than knocked on the half open connecting door, Scully’s garment and medical bags in one hand.

“Are you decent Scully, I have your stuff.” he called. Hearing only running water he assumed she was still in the shower. He walked in and placed the luggage on her bed and then went back into his room, closing the connecting door behind him.

Mulder was lying on the bed in a pair of jeans and t-shirt considerably refreshed from his shower, and with the TV on when Scully knocked on the connecting door.

“Come on in,” he called. Scully entered. She was wearing a white blouse and jeans, and sneakers. She looked a whole lot better. Mulder motioned with his hand for her to take one of the cokes he’d gotten from the vending machine outside their room. “There’s ice over in the ice bucket,” he said. The TV weatherman was on the screen and Mulder added, “it’s going to be a clear night tonight, Scully, no rain.”

“And?” Scully asked as if she knew what he was about to say.

“Well, I think it might be a good idea if we took a little drive up to Farmer Keller’s field this evening,” he began.

“To stake-out a bunch of cows?” Scully asked, pouring herself one of the cokes.

“Yeah, why not?” Mulder replied.

“Well, because I think all we’re likely to see is a hungry pack of wild dogs or wolves and it’s probably a waste of time for us to spend all night sitting in the car, in the heat, and with the bugs. Unless of course, you want to shoot some half starved wolf as a trophy for the office wall.” she complained uncharacteristically.

“Well, that’s fine, Scully.” Mulder answered getting genuinely annoyed himself now. ‘This isn’t like her,’ he thought. ‘She seems almost too reluctant to pursue every lead in this case.’

He pressed on, “But consider this. What if these killings are really in some kind of pattern, just like the one’s 75 years ago. What if whoever is doing this…”

“Do you mean aliens, cultist or ….werewolves, Mulder” Scully interrupted sarcastically.

“Whatever, Scully. What I’m trying to say is, that if there is a pattern than these summer killings are going to lead up to a human death, and the victim is going to be Owen Keller.” Mulder finished significantly. Scully seemed to snap out of whatever funk she was in at his words and took a large swig of her coke .

“I’m sorry Mulder. I don’t mean to be so pissy about your theories. I guess I’m just a lot more dehydrated than I thought. The heat out there was pretty brutal.” she finished. She really did feel out of touch, dizzy and disconnected. She had, since handing that medicine bottle over to Deputy Baker.

Mulder watched Scully as she turned something over in her mind, with concern. ‘Maybe the sun was too much’ he thought. ‘Hell, I thought I was going to dissolve out there.’

“Scully, why don’t you get some more rest.” Mulder suggested I want to go over to the Addison public library and check out their local records. I can finish up there and than come back and take you to dinner, my treat of course,” he added remembering their deal.

“And a big glass of lemonade?” Scully asked smiling.

“Whatever you want.” Mulder grinned gently at her.

“All right. I should wait here anyway in case someone calls about the analysis on the saliva.”

“Ok, I’ll be back as soon as I can than. Sit tight.” Mulder replied, getting his car keys, gun and badge from the night stand. As an afterthought he threw his suit coat on.

“That doesn’t exactly go with the outfit.” Scully advised him, with humor, as she was heading back through the connecting door.

“Yeah, I know, but I forgot a sport coat. Anyway, it wouldn’t do for me to walk around with my piece hanging out. ‘Ouch, that didn’t sound right’ he thought wryly.

Scully just glanced back in his direction, an amused little smile playing about her mouth.

“I hear that’s illegal in this jurisdiction.” she stated as she closed the door.


The Addison public library just barely qualified as one, and Mulder hoped that he’d be able to find some old records to aid the case. The sign outside said he had an hour until it closed to try, so he vaulted the steps. The library may have been small, but it was air-conditioned and Mulder was grateful. He walked up to the main desk where two woman were sorting and placing books on a wheeled cart. The older woman looked up and smiling said, “May I help you, sir?” Addison was a very small town and despite the smile, her voice betrayed the fact that he was an obvious stranger to her.

“Yes, you could.” he replied putting on his most ingratiating but business like G-man smile. “I’m Special Agent Fox Mulder, with the FBI,” he added displaying his badge for both of them to see. “I’d just like to take a look at any newspapers you may have on file, if I could.”

The older woman seemed immediately flustered and stammered for an answer but the younger woman, a really tall, gorgeous blond, looked him straight in the eye and asked, “Are you here about those cattle mutilations, Agent Mulder.”

“Yes, actually we are investigating some aspects of the attacks. But, I’m not at liberty to discuss the case in detail, Ms?

“I’m Sian, she pronounced it ‘Sean’, Phillips, and this is Maisie Conroy,” she replied indicating the still flustered older woman.

“How rude of me,” Mrs. Conroy finally replied. “Your welcome to look through whatever newspapers you’d wish. Sian, would you help Agent Mulder?” she asked turning to the younger woman.

“Certainly.” Sian replied coolly. We have some of the newspapers on microfiche. We just started having that done with some of our records. So, we could start there, if you’d like. Come this way, please,” she said motioning towards the back of the library.As they headed to a small area with a microfilm viewer Mulder said “Ms. Phillips, the newspapers I’m interested in are old – from about 75 years ago, actually.”

“Oh, well we haven’t quite gotten the money to go back that far with our microfilm project yet. The records you want may be in the basement. We store all our old newspapers down there. I can show you.” she offered.

“Thank you.” Mulder replied following her to a stairwell off to the left. He couldn’t help but notice the blonde’s movements through her tight cotton skirt as she descended the stairs ahead of him. ‘Christ, Mulder, get a grip’ he thought. ‘Or that comment about his walking around with his piece hanging out might not be too far from the truth.’ As they descended into the basement it became slightly warmer and a bit stuffy. Sian turned lights on as they went. “I’ll apologize for the atmosphere down here ahead of time,” she said. “The air conditioning just isn’t quite up to the task of making it through all this paper, I’m afraid. The newspaper is probably a real fire hazard also. I’m sure that’s why the trustees want it all on microfilm.”

“Insurance costs important to them?” Mulder asked with a slight smile.

“Yes, very perceptive of you, Agent Mulder,” she replied, her clear green eyes boring into him.

“Well, yes.” he gulped, starting to sweat again. “Uh, I’d be looking for papers from July and August, 75 years ago,” he stated looking around at the flat stacks and filing cabinets filling the basement.

“Oh, those might be over here,” she answered moving further into the room. If you want to take a seat at the table I’ll see what I can pull out for you.” she suggested.

Mulder sat down with embarrassment. He stared into his lap. He could not believe he had a hard on. ‘What the hell was wrong with him? This was FBI business, an X-File for crying out loud, and investigative drudge work on top of it,’ he wondered, chagrined, as Sian Phillips returned with a stack of newspapers. Placing them on the table she sat down in the chair across from him.

“I’ve found most of the papers I think will interest you Agent Mulder,” she began, and as Mulder looked into her eyes the room spun. He was vaguely aware that the blond had taken one of his hands and was rubbing his palm gently as he perspired into his shorts. ‘Good Lord,’ he thought, I’m going to lose it all over this chair in a second.’ But just as thoughts of ejaculation flew into his mind, they flew out again. His erection disappeared right along with them, and without benefit of any natural way he would have used to get rid of it.

The next thing he knew he was paging through the newspapers in front of him, and Sian Phillips was rising to leave. “If you need anything else, Agent Mulder, just yell up the stairs and I’ll be happy to come back down and help you.”

Mulder stared after her retreating figure, dizzy and disorientated. ‘It certainly is hot and stuffy down here’ he mused. He’d have to heed Scully’s advice and drink some more fluids in this weather. It wouldn’t do for him to start losing it during some critical moment.

Mulder headed back to the motel after the library closed to pick Scully up for dinner and for further planning of the evenings stake-out. He stopped by the local mini-mart and picked up a couple of bottles of ‘Deep Woods Off’ as well as four quarts of ‘Gatorade’. ‘That should hold us, Scully’ he told himself, bemused. ‘At least she couldn’t grouch about the bugs and dehydration if the humidity stayed as high after dark.


His research at the library had been fairly non-productive, most of the newspaper reports merely serving to back up the information all ready in his possession. There definitely was a pattern to the killings, they escalated in violence, and than they ended with several murders. All the victims had been the farmers who owned the mutilated cattle. There had been one interesting item however.

Seventy-five years ago the Sheriff investigating the case had been one Ronald Baker, an obvious relative of Ross Baker, as evidenced by the grainy photo accompanying the article. Looking further back, Mulder discovered that the Baker’s had been quite the public servants in Addison over the years. There were Baker Mayors and Baker Sheriffs as well as Councilmen going back as far as the newspapers went. He wanted to get back to the motel to discuss this interesting development with Scully as soon as possible. He was beginning to form the opinion that something might be rotten in the Baker family tree. At the very least, the Baker connection warranted further investigation.

As he arrived at the motel, and pulled up in front of their rooms, he noticed a Sheriff department squad car parked out front. Scully appeared to be standing at her motel room door. Standing in front of her was Deputy Ross Baker. He was standing very close, almost looming over Scully, and an alarm bell went off in Mulder’s mind as he put the car in park, and jumped out. For some irrational reason he had his hand on the butt of his gun as he approached the pair. ‘What the fuck am I doing?’ he half thought, as he removed his hand at the last instant.

Scully was leaning up against the door jam, facing Mulder and she looked very odd. Almost hypnotized in fact. But even more strangely, she was breathing heavily, flushed, in fact, and her blouse was unbuttoned. Mulder stared in shock “Scully?” he blurted in amazement.

She blinked several times, as if she was struggling to come to her senses. Baker’s back was turned to Mulder but as the agent approached he turned slowly around. Mulder gaped. For a second the expression on the Deputy’s face was incredibly feral and predatory in the shadows under the motel overhang. ‘Shit, was that a trick of the light?’ Mulder thought. His head swam. He blinked and Baker’s face became suddenly neutral again. ‘What is with this guy, is he coming on to her or what?’

For her part, Scully hastily pulled her blouse together, a bewildered look on her face. Baker stared at Mulder and in a gesture that was at once common, but somehow utterly eerie, ran his tongue slowly and erotically around the outside of his lips.

“Scully, uh, what’s going on here?” Mulder asked his eyes hooded.

Scully just ogled him blankly and it was Baker that answered in that deep voice of his. “I was just reporting to Agent Scully that I dropped the bottle off at the veterinary clinic, but Dr. March was out on an emergency call. He won’t be able to look at the sample until this evening,” he replied taking a reluctant step back from Scully.

“Yes, that’s right.” Scully added, finally finding her voice. Mulder looked from one of them to the other and than said, “Fine, Deputy, thanks for filling us in, and thanks again for dropping off the sample.”

Baker tipped his hat, and said “We aim to serve, Agent Fox.”

“That’s Mulder, Agent Mulder.” Mulder replied gritting his teeth.

“Sorry, sir, Agent Mulder.” he replied sarcastically glancing for one last time at Scully as he turned and went back to his squad car. Mulder watched him start the car and gun it, as he screeched out of the parking lot. ‘What a dick,’ Mulder thought with venom and then turning, he grabbed Scully by the arm and yanked her into his motel room.


“Ow, Mulder, you’re hurting my arm.” Scully complained as he shoved her down into a chair.

“What the hell was going on out there?” he asked his voice rising “What was that guy doing?” he continued, the color is his face rising to match.

“What do you mean, Mulder. We were just talking.” Scully replied dreamily.“Just talking? Christ, Scully it looked like he was trying to climb inside your pants.” Mulder ground out, as he moved to stand very close over her.

Scully glared at him and replied, “And what if he was, Mulder, what possible difference would it make to you, anyway?”

‘Because that’s something I’d like to do’ flashed instantly into his mind but instead he blurted out without thinking, ‘because I don’t want my partner acting like a bitch in heat, that’s why.”

Scully jumped up instantly from her seat and slapped him so hard he fell backwards onto the bed with a thud.

As he grabbed for his stinging jaw she fled the room, running through the connecting doors and slamming them as she went. Mulder was awestruck. “What had come over them?” he tried to reason. ‘God, was he finally losing it? Was the combination of the Wisconsin heat and the unending strangeness of the X-Files finally threatening to send him off the deep end? Was he going to be wearing a shirt with no sleeves any day now? Shit. And what about Scully. She was behaving about as atypically as possible. It didn’t make any sense.’ he thought. ‘I’d better try to talk to her’ he added still confused. He got up off the bed and went to open the connecting door on his side. He hesitated a second and then knocked on Scully’s connecting door.

“Scully?” he called. There was no answer. “Scully?” Nothing. He started to worry. “Come on, Dana” he yelled hoping to get a rise out of the use of her Christian name.

“You bastard,” he heard a muffled voice say from the other side of the door.

“Oh, Jesus, Scully, I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me, really. I must be suffering from heat stroke or something. 95 degrees in the shade and a stuffy library basement is just catching up with me, I guess. ‘Not to mention a raging and than disappearing hard on’ he thought dismally.

Scully was silent for a few more beats and than he sensed she was leaning up against the other side of the door. It sounded like her head thumped the wood.

“Mulder, you suck.” she said.

“Uh, huh,” he answered. “I guess that means dinner is out of the question?” he asked wincing.

The door across from him opened than and Scully stood awkwardly framed in it. Her eyes were stuck on her shoes and Mulder thought at that moment she looked utterly beautiful despite the fact that she was as red as a beet. When she looked up there was just a hint of tears in her eyes and Mulder felt like a real heel right away.

“Hey, Scully, he whispered, stretching out his hand. She took it and than he drew her close to his chest and hugged her fiercely. “Forgive me, ok, I was a real asshole.” he asked quietly. “I really don’t know what came over me,” he added as she broke the embrace and went to sit down on the bed.

“Well, that makes two of us,” she stated, the flush in her face still lingering.

“Listen, Scully I’m beginning to think something is not on the up and up with Deputy Ross Baker.” Mulder replied sagging into the same chair Scully had just vacated.

“Ha! That’s an understatement if I ever heard one, Mulder,” she replied with a sigh. “But, just where are you going with this?” Scully asked rubbing her temples.

Mulder began to explain to Scully what he had found out at the library. He neglected to discuss his encounter with the enigmatic Sian Phillips. Scully was all ready freaked out enough over his actions. Describing his disappearing boner wouldn’t help her mood any. However he did fill her in regarding the Baker dynasty and it’s part in the life of Addison.“Scully, what if this family has been killing cattle for years and when the farmers stumble on them in the act they just kill them as well?”

“Killing the cattle?” Scully asked, “Why?”

“Well, maybe they’re a cult that uses them in a sacrifice of some kind and than partakes of the flesh during the ceremony.”

“Or maybe they’re aliens,” Scully sighed.“Or werewolves,” Mulder suggested.

“Oh come on, Mulder.. it’s too hot for this.” Scully replied.

“No, hear me out, Scully” “Janet Price and her friends are really sincere in their investigation of the occult and supernatural. She was really convinced that these attacks are being committed by some kind of creature based on her research. Some kind of monster that has been in the Addison area for hundreds of years, periodically kills, and than goes underground in some kind of bloody cycle every 75 years or so. She’s gone back much further in her research than we have, all the way back to Native American legends on the topic.”

“Mulder…” Scully began again.

“All right, I know it sounds pretty strange, even for me.” Mulder exhaled. “But you’ll have to admit at least, that Baker had some kind of strange effect on you a while ago. What if he has some kind of ability to influence people’s minds. It’s not like we haven’t seen that MO before. Doesn’t that make him a trifle dangerous and worth investigating further?”

“Of course, Mulder, I agree we should look into the matter, for Mr. Keller’s sake if nothing else.” Scully replied.

“All right, good.” Mulder said relieved. “What do you say we have dinner and than as soon as it gets dark, drive up to Keller’s farm. Maybe we’ll get lucky and catch whoever it is, in the act.”

“Fine, Mulder, let me pull myself together and we can go get something to eat. I’m going to need some carbs if I’m going to have the energy for an all night vigil.”

As she headed back to her room she said over her shoulder. “At least the vet has my cell phone number. If he does call and tells us he’s looking at wolf saliva, we’ll probably have found an alternative for the Deputy Baker theory.” she stated.

“Right, and Scully…” Mulder agreed, displaying his mini-mart bag with a flourish.

“What is that?” Scully asked half in dread. Mulder drew out a bottle of ‘Off’ and than ‘Gatorade’ with a grin.

“Well, aren’t we ‘Eddie Ever-ready’,” Scully grinned with genuine humor as she went through the connecting door.

Mulder watched her go. He reached for the motel telephone as soon as she shut the connecting doors. Than he sat staring at the receiver in bewilderment. ‘Who am I calling anyway?’ he thought. In the back of his mind a tiny voice was saying “Call Sheriff Pardy and arrange for back-up and by the way, tell him his Deputy is a cattle mutilator.” Unfortunately, the little voice was quickly stilled and Mulder replaced the receiver, and rising from the chair headed to take Scully to dinner.


The humidity was indeed as high after dark as it had been during the day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and no moon, so Mulder and Scully could see all the stars through the windshield of their rental car. The Agents had parked in a small copse of trees just next to Owen Keller’s pasture. Cows grazed or dozed in shadow as far as the eye could see. The inside of the car smelled like a mixture of “Deep Woods Off’ and sweat. Scully shifted in her seat for about the hundredth time in the last hour, as Mulder took a huge gulp from one of the quarts of ‘Gatorade’.

“Better have some more ‘Gatorade’ Scully,” he advised, offering her the bottle. She took it, and without even bothering to wipe the top, tipped it up to her lips. Mulder smiled in the darkness.

“So, Scully, did you park a lot in high school?” he asked suddenly.

Scully coughed violently, spraying ‘Gatorade’ all over herself. “God, Mulder are you trying to cause me to choke to death.” she asked.

“Cooled you off didn’t it?” he asked grinning.

“I don’t think bathing in a tub full of this stuff would cool me off right now.” she wheezed wiping at her blouse with her hand. “And not much.” she added.

“Not much what?” Mulder asked caught off guard.

“I didn’t park much in high school.” she replied quietly.

“Oh.” Mulder said. “Didn’t find the right guy?” he asked, half seriously.

“Something like that,” she smiled back at him.

“How about now?” he asked, fishing.

“Well, I’m parked here with y….” her answer was interrupted by the sudden, high pitched shriek of what sounded like a woman in mortal agony or terror. It was only after a split second that Mulder realized it was a man’s scream, and than suddenly the sound was followed by the deafening roar of a shotgun somewhere to their left.

Both Agents were out of the car simultaneously, flashlights sweeping ahead and guns drawn. Mulder headed to the fence to climb over and Scully quickly grabbed him from behind. The cattle in the pasture were bellowing and running everywhere. “Don’t go in there Mulder, they’re stampeding, you’ll be squashed like a bug. I think that scream came from down the left hand fence line anyway,’ she yelled taking off in that direction at a dead run.

Mulder followed her, legs pumping, as the air was rent with another high pitched wail. That scream was abruptly cut off. Scully plowed ahead and as she rounded an irregular jog in the fence line she fell sprawling over something lying at the side of the pasture. She rolled over desperately into a sitting position as Mulder reached her. “Oh my God, Mulder.” she whispered. Lying next to her, facing skyward with unseeing eyes and shotgun in hand, was the body of Owen Keller, his throat ripped out.

“Crap…” Mulder began and suddenly he was hit from behind and thrown violently towards the ground. He could hear Scully’s shrill and very ‘un-Scully-like’ scream of “Mulderrrrrr!” and than the rapid pop, pop, pop as she fired her service revolver into whatever was riding him down. Mulder was vaguely aware of a large animal presence breathing hotly and noisily against his cheek as the creature grunted and bucked with each slug that tore into it. Mulder struggled mightily to shift his weight and throw the beast off, but to no avail. He tried to turn his gun up and into the things side, but his gun hand was swatted away and the crunching sound and excruciating pain that accompanied the swat told him that his wrist was broken.

Mulder let out his own scream than, “Scully, for God’s sake run, get out of here,” he yelled at his partner, as the beast yanked his head up by the hair. Scully was yelling his name over and over, as she continued to fire, until Mulder heard the clip click impotently, empty at last. The beast didn’t budge and Mulder thought ‘So, this is it then, this is how it ends. He thought of Samantha ‘maybe I’ll find out what really happened to her at last,’ he mused, dirt mixing with blood in his mouth. But his last thoughts were of Scully as the beast slammed his skull into the ground and everything went black.


Mulder came to gradually, and even after coming fully awake he thought his senses weren’t quite all there. He seemed to be blind in one eye. Than it occurred to him that his eye was merely stuck shut with dried blood. He tried to wipe it with his hand but he couldn’t move the hand, so he wiped his face against whatever he was lying on. The movement of his head caused him to nearly black out again, so he lay very still and tried to assess the situation. He remembered what had happened but found it incredible. Was it a cougar or wolf that had attacked him? No, that couldn’t be right, when it had picked up his head it felt like, it felt like human hands had gripped his hair.

His train of thought was really confused, but he didn’t dare shake his head to clear it. It came to him also that he was lying in his boxer’s and t-shirt, and face down on a bed. There was a pale blue comforter under him but no pillow. Also, his ankles and wrists were shackled to all four bed posts with chains. He found out the hard way that he definitely had a broken wrist, when he tested the shackles on his gun hand. The room was semi-dark, being illuminated by some weak light source somewhere behind him and out of his field of vision. The room was also as hot as a sauna, and Mulder was bathed in sweat. Distantly he was aware of some kind of loud throbbing music.

‘Scully, Oh Christ, where’s Scully,’ his mind jolted and he looked from side to side disregarding the short, sharp, shocks in his head. There she was, also lying in her underwear on a matching twin bed next to him. Scully was lying face up, and apparently unconscious. She also had all four limbs neatly and securely shackled. He fought down his rising panic, because in the shadows, it was very hard to see whether she was breathing or not. However, in a moment he could just discern the gentle rise and fall of her chest. He could also just make out a livid bruise that stretched down the side of her face from her scalp line to the bottom of her jaw. She seemed to be breathing regularly, however, and Mulder calmed down a bit. ‘Where in the hell are we?’ he thought dully as he still tried to get a better look around the room. Suddenly a door opened at his back and extremely loud heavy metal music intruded through the open door and into his aching skull. Somehow the lyrics were very appropriate in a horribly warped sort of way.

It’s all right
It feels good
when I’m in your chains
it’s understood
that you’re my owner
My only will
Come and get me

while I’m quiet and still

The door closed abruptly and the music faded again to a loud thumping reverberation. Mulder was aware of a soft breathing and snuffling sound, and than something that sounded large crossed towards the beds. There was a clicking noise against the wood floor and Mulder thought ‘claws, it sounds like a dog that needs it’s nails trimmed.’ But he lay very still hoping whatever it was, would think him still unconscious.

Through half lidded eyes he watched however, and suddenly right before his face appeared the muzzle of a very large, dark wolf-like thing with ice cold glacier colored eyes. Mulder’s own eyes flew open almost of their own volition, and he had all he could do to stop from yelling as the creature looked at him with what appeared to be an expression of amusement. Then it opened it’s mouth and extending it’s tongue, lapped him across the cheek. It’s breath was rank, smelling of blood and rancid, rotting flesh and Mulder gagged. The wolf made a low growling sound in it’s throat, it almost sounded like a laugh, and than it turned and backed out from between the beds, heading over to the far side of the twin bed Scully was lying on.

Mulder really started to struggle then, straining and pulling against the shackles in a vain attempt to reach his unconscious partner. “Don’t touch her, you bastard,” he screamed as the wolf worked his head up over the side of the bed and sniffed at Scully’s crotch. “Jesus. I’ll kill you, get away from her,” he yelled, almost incoherently as the wolf thing suddenly began to stand up, towering over Dana Scully’s prostrate body. Mulder’s yell was cut off in mid shriek as he saw the wolf’s body, with it’s powerful shaggy chest, huge biceps and unmistakably human like hands equipped with razor sharp talons. His eyes took in it’s flat muscular stomach and than the fact that the wolf was unmistakably male between it’s oddly jointed legs. Mulder yanked against his chains as the wolf opened it’s mouth and grinned down at Scully with impossibly large teeth. ‘The better to eat you with…’ flashed through Mulder’s brain, and he yanked and screamed, and the searing pain in his head and wrist caused him to collapse, and he blacked out, just as the monster reared back it’s head and howled.


Later he awoke again, and the room was quiet but still stifling hot. Perspiration ran down into his eyes, and he again tried to wipe his face against the comforter. Once Mulder could see better, he noticed there was no nightmarish wolf monster in his field of vision. Scully was still lying on the bed next to him. He was aware of the acrid stench of the thing all around him though, permeating his nostrils and clinging to his skin. He craned his neck to look at Scully and whispered hoarsely.

“Scully? Are you awake? Scully?” But there was no answer. Suddenly he was aware of another presence in the room, and as he listened the hard animal breathing became obvious. ‘Oh God, it’s still here’ Mulder thought and he prepared himself for the worst. But the creature seemed to be in distress this time. It mewled and coughed, crying out in pain. Than there was a strange snapping and popping sound, and finally a very human curse.

“Fuck, I hate when that happens.” It was the voice of Addison Deputy Sheriff, Ross Baker. Mulder groaned as he heard the voice, and presently the totally naked Baker came over and sat on the bed next to him. “Surprise!” he blurted out cheerfully directly into Mulder’s face.

“Get away from me, you prick.” Mulder hissed. In reply, Baker reached forward and gave his gun hand shackle a quick twist. Mulder shouted in pain but quickly suppressed it as Addison chuckled. “Maybe that will teach you to be more polite, Mr. Federal Agent,” he growled in a low, feral voice.

“What do you want with us?” Mulder asked the obvious question. He wasn’t sure he’d get an accurate answer, but it was worth a shot.

“Want with you?” he replied. “Well, with you – let’s just say I want to make you realize who’s top dog around here.” he grinned at Mulder.

“Let me hazard a guess, you?” Mulder said carefully.

“I’d think that was obvious wouldn’t you, Fox?” he smiled. “Yes, you hit the nail right on the head. I come from a long line of top dogs, Mr. Mulder, and now I’m really ready to come into my own, you might say.”

“What do you mean?” Mulder asked hoping to keep him going, get him boasting, so that he could gain more knowledge of their situation.

“Let me tell you a little story, Agent Mulder. We’re going to call this “Little Red Riding Hood, except this is a very 90s version of that fable. In this version the wolf wins, well, sort of wins.” Baker chortled slightly. “Hundreds of years ago, one of my ancestors made a wicked deal with a Native American witch, not a shaman, a female sorceress. Those bitches didn’t heal, they worked really bad magic instead. My ancestor wanted a big favor – he worked this deal with the witch to give him wealth and power over all the people in this area, forever. Or at least as long as his family still continued to produce heirs.” Baker laughed again. “His every wish was granted, but I guess the guy was so ungrateful that the witch took a dislike to my ancestor. So, the old guy bumped her off to protect his own skin. But, before the old crone croaked she cursed him. She gave him the curse of shapeshifing and forced him and all his male heirs to follow the ways of the wolf every 75 years.”

“Ways of the wolf?” Mulder asked.

“Yeah, you know, killing and eating prey animals, running with the pack, fighting for dominance and territory, that sort of thing?” Baker patiently answered.

“So, Owen Keller came under the prey animal heading, did he?” Mulder carefully questioned.

“No, you idiot, the cattle came under the heading of prey. Keller came under the heading of fighting for territory. Eventually when the old fuck’s land comes up for auction, I’ll buy it and add it to this, my father’s plot. It’s a 165 acre parcel all ready and I’m thinking of quitting the law and starting to finally farm some of it. I can always use more land – more space for some cattle of my own. And incidentally, this house sits in the middle of the acreage, so if you were thinking of yelling for help, forget it, no one will hear you.”

“Thanks for the advice.” Mulder shot back.

“You are most welcome,” Baker replied tapping Mulder’s aching cranium for emphasis with each word. This time Mulder was able to stifle his groan as Baker continued.

“Can you guess the rest of the story?” he asked Mulder, licking his lips with his impossibly long pink tongue.


“The fighting for dominance?” Mulder guessed.

“Yeah, that’s where you come in.” Baker smiled down at him as he stood up and wandered around the room. “You see I’ve decided to institute something a bit different in Addison. As I said, this is the 90s, man. The age of corporate culture and such. It’s not like it was in my Dad’s day, you need to organize now to be successful. So, I’ve decided to organize a little pack unit here to run things efficiently. Every pack needs an alpha male. That’s me of course, by birthright now that my father’s passed on.

Mulder stared at Baker half in disbelief.

“Oh, don’t worry Mr. Mulder, I assure you it’s true. I fought for dominance when I came of age and my father stuck around, but he was never the same, and I was ‘King Wolf’ even before the day he died. But that brings me back to you.” he leered.

“I was afraid of that,” Mulder yawned sleepily. He had lost total track of time and now his sleepiness told him that it was either bed time or the ache in his head was most likely a concussion, and he was in real danger if he did fall asleep.

“Yes, well, every pack needs it’s lower, subservient wolves to help in the hunt and when it comes down to it Agent Mulder, you’re a pretty good hunter. You just need a little, well, dominating to show you the pecking order around here.” he finished with a nod of his head.

“And the rest of the pack?” Mulder asked, sudden apprehension building in his chest.

“Yes, the rest. Well, Agent Mulder, that’s where you’re lovely partner comes in,” Baker stated matter-of-factly as he ceased his wandering of the room. He was now carrying a switch blade knife he’d picked up during his restless circuit. He stopped and sat on the edge of Scully’s bed. The knife made a little ‘schnick’ sound as the blade popped out of it’s handle. The werewolf gazed down on her with a look of lust and possessiveness that sent a chill up Mulder’s spine. Baker reached over and touched Scully’s breast with the knife, stroking a small circle around her nipple. Scully’s nipple came to attention through her bra and Mulder strained up off the mattress, “I said keep your hands off her you filthy piece of shit.” he violently ground out between clenched teeth.

Baker laughed very loudly and withdrew his hand. “Ha, See,” he said gesturing at her breast “she’ll make the most delightful brood bitch, I’m sure.” Mulder flailed against his bonds than, but Baker sat patiently while he struggled, until Mulder was finally too weak to pull anymore.

“Taking her from you is all part of the plan, Agent Mulder. Part of your subjugation to my will. I know how you feel about her you see, and actually she feels the same about you, I might add. So, we’ll have to work on that I guess. Yeah, I could smell your feelings for each other all over the both of you, believe me. It really pissed me off too, thinking she’d prefer a tight assed little G-man like you over someone like me. But, hey. I’m sure she’ll make a better decision before very long.”

“Fat chance, Deputy Dog.” Mulder replied.

“Well, whatever,” Baker sighed. “But, at any rate Fox, only the alpha male and alpha female in the pack are allowed to breed. And, I intend to make Agent Scully my alpha bitch, and there’s very little you, or she, will be able to do to stop me.” he grinned.


Mulder fell back down flat on the bed, the effort of holding himself against his bonds too much at last. “And how do you expect to accomplish all this crap, Baker? I mean we’re human, for Christ sake. What makes you think either Scully or I are going to be able to physically fulfill your master plan much less want to. It was pretty obvious that Baker wasn’t completely human any longer. His incredible transformation was evidence of that, even if Mulder had heard, rather than actually seen it. It was obvious the guy was a shapeshifter and it seemed, a megalomaniac on top of it. A werewolf no longer content to live with the status quo, and hot to change it.

“Well, you must realize that I have a certain, shall we say, influence over people? I would have thought my effect on Agent Scully was obvious to you this afternoon,” Baker explained. “And, don’t you think she was just a tad uncooperative during your investigation here? She sleeps even now because I’m not really ready for her to awaken and witness our little lessons,” he added. “And what about your actions, Mr. FBI, don’t you think they were a little odd, as well? And last but not least, who do you think put the idea into your head to forget about calling for back up tonight?” he finished grinning slyly.”

“You?” Mulder exhaled with fatigue.

“Yes, indeed, yours truly. Also, I’m sure it’s a no brainer that I didn’t turn that sample into the vet. It would have yielded some really strange results and I can’t afford to draw any attention to myself, now can I?” he finished.

“Yeah, OK fine, so you can get into our heads and force us to do things. But what about the physical part. There’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to keep up with you in your fucking fuzzy faced form.” Mulder grated.

“Well, that’s not exactly true, Fox,” Baker replied.

Mulder stared at the man blankly, as Baker got up and crossed back over to sit down next to Mulder on the bed. “You see, Mulder – I had to change back to human form a while ago because your partner drilled me with all the bullets in her ammo clip before I knocked the two of you out. The stress of getting you both back here, combined with the bullet wounds forced me to revert to heal. It’s sort of an odd way to do things, but it works. However, in just a few hours, I should be able to change again and than I’ll come in here, give each of you a playful little love bite, and viola – two new pups join the pack.”

Mulder stared at him in shock as Baker smiled back at him. Baker reached over impulsively, and stroked Mulder’s hair as if he was all ready a big hairy wolf that needed petting. Mulder jerked his head away as best he could and Baker cuffed him hard. The sound of the cuffing brought a tiny groan from the other bed, and Scully shifted slightly in her bonds.

“Oh, oh, not yet.” Baker growled and jumped back over to touch Scully lightly on the forehead. “Go back to sleep, baby, we’re not ready for you yet,” he admonished Scully, stroking her forehead gently. Scully shifted and sighed against him. Baker smiled down at her and than glanced over at Mulder. “Then again, maybe I should take a sample, just to test the goods before the big event,” he sneered looking Mulder directly in the eyes.

Mulder struggled back against his exhaustion, pain and shock as Baker shifted and climbed onto the bed.

“Don’t go near her, you cocksucker,” he yelled. “Leave her alone!” he howled.

Baker replied without really looking at him. “Let this be your first pack lesson, Fox. The alpha wolf always gets everything first. And in Dana’s case, you don’t even get sloppy seconds,” Baker hissed as he roughly parted Scully’s legs. Scully’s shackles clanked as he began to use the switchblade in an attempt to cut through the material of her underpants.

“Please, Baker, don’t do this, you rotten son of a bitch. I’ll do whatever you ask, all right, just don’t, just don’t rape her in front of me, please.” Mulder pleaded. ‘I don’t think I can take it’ he thought. ‘I can’t see her humiliated that way, even if she is out cold.’

“Do you want me to wake her up?” Baker asked, as if he could read Mulder’s mind.

Mulder was almost shamefully near tears now, the grinding pain in his head, broken wrist, room’s heat and impotency in the situation, taking their toll. “Baker, please, no…” he began.

“Are you begging me, Fox?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m begging you.” Mulder replied breathing heavily.

“And you’d do anything to stop me?” Baker added.

“Yes, anything, God damn it.”

“All right.” Baker finally replied. He got off Scully’s bed and walked over to stand next to Mulder. “Than I want you to take her place.” he replied as he brandished the knife in his hand.

“What?” Mulder replied dully, not getting the man’s drift, and than suddenly the meaning of Baker’s words came to him, and he craned his head over to look at the Deputy Sheriff.

“Are you serious?” he sighed, pretty much knowing the answer and beyond hope that he had any recourse.

“Yes, I’m serious, little Fox or should I say, little wolf.” Baker replied. “I want you to get on your knees and hold onto those bed posts, buddy, because you’re about to really get a lesson in domination.”


Mulder’s stomach took a violent leap and than his mind suddenly decided to do the same. He let it happen, and hoped he’d disassociate completely in view of what was coming. He remembered years ago at Oxford, when he and Phoebe Green had been involved, and she had once invited one of her former lovers into their bed. It had happened after a drunken party, and all three were totally wasted, but as horny as hell. Mulder was shocked at first but the booze, his naturally inherent curiosity, and his youthful, raging libido, caused him to go along with the game. It had been his first and last homosexual experience and being entered in that manner was pleasantly and erotically interesting but in the long run not his cup of tea. But the fucking had been consensual, and he’d enjoyed it, even if he had been embarrassed by the incident afterwards. Mulder had the distinct feeling that this second experience with anal sex was going to be anything but enjoyable. And it certainly wasn’t going to be consensual.

He started to struggle fiercely against his bonds again, and Baker grabbed him painfully by the hair. “Be still, Mulder. If you so much as squeak I’m going to hurt you first, and than I’m going to hurt her.” he whispered. “I have to undo your ankles and I’m warning you – don’t try anything funny or you’ll regret it for the rest of your short and miserable life.”

Mulder was finally still and submitted to being unbound and than having his boxers pulled from his body. He gritted his teeth and spat out at Baker, as the other man pulled him up roughly by the waist, “Don’t I even get the benefit of a condom, you asshole?”

“Condom? Oh, you don’t have to worry about protection. I wouldn’t expose such a potentially valuable pack member to any disease. I’m clean if that’s what you mean.”

“Well how do you know I am?” Mulder shot back in one last ditch effort to forestall the inevitable.

“Oh, get real, G-man, even if you were sick, I can’t catch anything. And you won’t be able to after the change either.’ And with those last words he drove into Mulder without any further warning. The pain was incredible and Mulder fell forward into the wrist shackles as Baker pushed him all the way forward into the head board. Mulder’s skull connected with the wood, and he cried out with both pain and humiliation as Baker grunted and strained behind him. Baker’s efforts pushed Mulder forward violently again. Evidently the man-wolf was lost in the moment, and his earlier thoughts about damaging his potentially valuable slave were forgotten. Mulder was sent crashing into the headboard and against his broken wrist for yet a third time and as Baker howled in orgasmic frenzy, Mulder passed out cold beneath him.

Much later as Mulder swam in and out of consciousness he thought he heard a voice anxiously calling his name. He struggled to hear it, the voice was so familiar, but it was so very far away. “Mulder, wake up, Mulder, are you all right? Mulder…” It was very insistent and finally he pushed his way through the darkness and answered it’s call.

“Whattttt?” he groaned, annoyed at the interruption to his blissful, forgetful sleep.

“Mulder, it’s Scully, come on, come back, wake up, please.” Scully called quietly “Fox Mulder, snap out of it,” she ordered and the command in her voice finally brought him into complete wakefulness.

“Scully, are you all right?” he asked weakly looking over at her. He immediately realized that he was no longer chained face down on the bed. Instead he was face up, and he could finally see the door to the room, as well as the small Coleman lamp that served as their only illumination. He could also almost turn his whole body to see Scully. She was fully awake and for the first time during their ordeal, a feeling of total relief beyond description, swept over Fox Mulder. Scully was still in her underwear and sweating profusely, but she looked alert, concerned for him, and really angry all at the same time.

“Oh, Mulder…” Scully gasped as she got a good look at her partner. Scully assessed the damage with difficulty in the shadowed room, dread in her heart. Mulder was bleeding from his nose slightly, as well as from a scalp laceration. His lips were cut and from the odd angle of his right wrist she guessed it was broken. But the thing that really alarmed her was his lassitude and unfocused eyes. She wished she could examine his pupils for a more accurate diagnosis but she thought Mulder most likely had a concussion, and the idea terrified her.

“That bad huh?” Mulder asked thickly struggling to swallow. The room was still horribly hot and he wished he had a quart of that ‘Gatorade’ they’d left in the rental car.

“Well, you’ve looked better.” Scully whispered quietly shaking her chains lightly as she shifted to look at him more closely. Mulder noticed that her eyes drifted down below his waist and as he glanced down he sighed abysmally. He was sans boxers. ‘Wonderful’ he thought. He really wished Baker had left him on his stomach. He moaned slightly as a stab of pain shot through his abdomen and he realized there was something wet and sticky beneath his ass, and than he remembered what had happened, and his embarrassment and humiliation were totally and utterly complete.

When he looked back over at Scully she had averted her eyes and was instead studying each of her shackles in turn, testing them with a strong tug.

“Don’t waste your time, Scully, he’s got us manacled good and tight.”

“Who?” Scully asked her eyes squinting through the gloom.

“Ross Baker.”

“Good God. Mulder I saw, I thought I saw, no, I saw…” Scully began.

“A wolf?” Mulder sighed.

“That was no wolf, Mulder.” Scully hissed. “I shot that thing, and it kept pounding your head into the ground, and than it just lunged over and knocked me senseless.” “God, it was so strong, Mulder! Are you telling me that was Ross Baker?” she asked still not half believing.

“Oh, it’s him all right.” Mulder answered and he filled Scully in on what had transpired while she was sleeping. He didn’t leave out a single detail because he still had hope somehow that they would come out of this predicament with their humanity and lives intact. Anything he left out might jeopardize their chances for survival.


After his recitation he didn’t want to look Scully in the eyes because he was afraid what he might see there. He couldn’t stand it if he saw loathing or worse yet, pity for him.

“If I can get out of these chains, I’m going to kill that son of a bitch.” Scully whispered with vehemence. “Who the hell does he think he is?” she blustered.

“He thinks he’s the ‘Leader of the Pack,’ Scully that’s who he thinks he is,” Mulder giggled slightly and with the giggle he realized that he was very close to the edge, and he struggled desperately to stop from tipping over into insanity. His head lolled sideways and he thought ‘Gee, it would really be nice to go back to sleep,’ as his eyes began to close.

“Mulder, listen to me,” Scully began to speak rapidly. “You probably have a concussion, all right. You have to concentrate. Don’t give in to the feelings you’re having. Try to stay alert! Stay sharp! And for God’s sake, don’t fall asleep.”

“But, I’m just so tired, Scully,” he sighed.

“I know Mulder, but please, fight it. I need you to stay awake.” Scully pleaded. And than she began to talk to him in a gentle whisper her voice trying to keep death away.

“Mulder, I know what you must be thinking. Baker is a monster. He had no right to do what he did to you. But, that doesn’t mean he’s really dominated or broken you. You’re stronger than that, I’ve seen it. Mulder, Fox, please, don’t imagine what he did to you will make me pity you or loathe you or…” she stopped for a moment. Mulder shifted slightly to stare at her, a bit more alert.

“… stop loving you.” she suddenly blurted out. Mulder blinked back sweat out of his eyes and breathed out, “Oh, Scully,” in a very low voice.

A tear was leaking from Scully’s right eye and trailing down across the livid bruise on her cheek. As she gazed over at him with a look of love, and compassion, and worry for his safety on her face, a cruel voice came from the room’s doorway.

“Oh, how touching,” Ross Baker hissed as he stalked, naked into the room.

Mulder looked groggily over his stomach at the Deputy Sheriff. “Depitty Dawg” he drawled sarcastically as the big man walked up to his bed.

“In the flesh, little brother.” Baker growled as he reached forward and gave Mulder’s penis a hard yank. Mulder yelped and Scully shrieked at the top of her lungs.

“You sick bastard!”

Baker turned his head towards Scully and grinned at her. “Isn’t that just like a woman, Mulder. She doesn’t know a good thing when she’s got it.” he spat out, dropping Mulder’s aching member back down onto his balls. ‘I guess I’m thankful he didn’t pull on those,’ Mulder thought distantly as Scully twisted mightily against her chains.

“Come over here and say that, you shit,” she hissed. “I’ll show you just what that feels like,” she added with venom.

“Oh, I’ll be with you directly, Dana, don’t worry.” Baker said as he stretched luxuriously, and cracked his back.

“Well, folks, I have good news. Time’s almost up, so none of us will have to wait much longer for this floorshow to end. In the meantime, I have a little something that I think each of you will appreciate. He walked back over to the open bedroom door and reaching outside it, brought a bottle of ‘Gatorade’ into the room.

“I got this out of your rental car, guys. I thought you could use a little refreshment right about now,” he finished walking over to Scully’s bed, bottle in hand. He uncapped it, and lifting Scully’s upper body for support, began to pour some of the green liquid down her throat. Scully struggled and choked, but she was obviously very thirsty, because she did manage to gulp down as much of the fluid as she could manage.

“That’s good, Scully. You really need to keep your strength up, you’re going to need it.” Baker smiled at her, and than he crossed over to Mulder’s bed. He repeated the same procedure and Mulder drank eagerly as the man-wolf cradled his head almost gently.

“See, Fox, I can be kind as well as cruel. If you cooperate everything is going to go much more smoothly, and than afterwards you’re not going to care about fighting me anymore anyway,” Baker stated as he stood up and placed the bottle on the night stand between the beds. He walked back to Mulder’s feet.

Mulder gazed up at him. He all ready didn’t care about much of anything, anymore. The only thing that he was able to focus on at all was Scully, and what she’d said to him, and the fact that he knew he loved her too. Of course, now he’d never be able to tell her just how very much she meant to him. His eyes focused on Baker and he said, “Baker, can you just shut the hell up and get this show on the road, you’re boring the shit out of me,” and than he managed to give the man a really sarcastic grin.

Scully blanched. She could practically see the hair on Baker’s body stand straight out in anger. The man beast bellowed mightily back at her shackled partner. Scully began to pray that the irate monster wasn’t going to kill Mulder right in front of her eyes.

“Bored! You fucking Fed, I’ll show you a cure for boredom, you little shit!” and than Baker started to transform. The sight was horrible and somehow beautiful in its deadliness and Mulder thought ‘this is how a deer must feel just before the wolf breaks it’s neck.’ Both agents stared transfixed as Ross Baker’s bones cracked and reshaped themselves. He howled, and than the thing that had been a man stood before them, eyes glowing coldly, and saliva dripping from it’s open, fang filled mouth.


Scully’s breath came in short, labored gasps and she moaned, “Oh my God,” as her arms yanked against her restraints. ‘I’ll be damned if I’ll let him touch me without a fight’ she vowed to herself as she mentally prepared for the battle to come. The wolf thing was wheezing heavily and it’s head swiveled from one Agent to the other, and as it threatened to settle on Scully, Mulder marshaled every ounce of strength he had in him and called out, “hey, butt fucker, remember me? Your lone wolf? Come and get it, you piece of white trash, if you think you have the balls for it.” His words had their intended effect. The Baker thing opened it’s mouth and with a sound between a howl and a human curse launched itself at Fox Mulder. Scully screamed.

Actually it was Baker’s first real mistake during the entire ordeal. As he jumped onto the twin bed that held the shackled Agent, their combined weight sent the bed crashing in on itself. Wood splintered everywhere as the wolf creature thrashed about, Mulder half pinned beneath him. Somehow the bed posts broke free and Mulder’s arms and legs were suddenly loose, and he fought like a demon. He fought for his own life, but mostly he fought to protect Scully. His left hand was still attached to one of the bed posts by a chain and he used it as a flail, bringing the detached length of wood up to connect with the lupine head of Ross Baker. The impact made a satisfying crunch and the wolf thing fell backward just enough for Mulder to back pedal out from under him.

“Mulder!” Scully yelled as the wolf launched himself at Mulder again and their two bodies collapsed in a roiling heap amongst the bed’s broken frame and bedding. Mulder smashed the all ready splintered bed post up against the wolf’s muzzle again and again, and than he drove the sharp end home – right into one of Baker’s cold, blue-white glacier eyes. The wolf thing screamed in agony and grabbing Mulder hoisted him over his head. He tossed the struggling Agent across the short space and he landed with a thwack on top of Scully, and the other twin bed was sent crashing over onto it’s side with the impact.

Mulder and Scully were trapped between the mattress and the wall. Mulder was stuck slightly to the side, and under Scully and he had the wind knocked out of him. He could just look up into Scully’s bruised face though, so he mouthed what he thought might be the final words he ever spoke to her, “I love you.” Tears were in her eyes and she bent forward in the shackles and kissed him gently on the lips and than incredibly she tried to shield his body because the wolf was standing over them, blood dripping from his ruptured eye socket.

A low growling, gurgling voice came out from between Baker’s black feral lips and Mulder stared hazily in wonder at the almost human voice that came out. “Together at last, I see,” it rasped. “Well, not for very much longer. I’m going to gut you, deadboy,” he growled at Mulder and than he bent down to shift the bed. Mulder closed his eyes and bending up tried to reach Scully. He managed to just touch one of her hands. He prepared himself to die as Scully’s body was jerked violently out of his grasp as the werewolf shifted the bed away.

Suddenly, however, before the Baker creature could grab Mulder, the bedroom door burst open with a resounding thump. Something large, and white, and hairy crashed into the room and landed squarely on Baker’s back pulling him away from the two Agents. Mulder crawled over to Scully and helped her to work loose the bed posts and slip the chains off as the two huge hairy forms rolled, and bit, and fought all over the floor, just missing the small table where the Coleman lamp sat lighting the conflict.

Scully took Mulder into her arms as the adrenaline rush he had been running on faded away. He collapsed senseless, and she cradled him, waiting for the fights outcome. She hoped beyond hope that Mulder wasn’t dying. Scully watched, fascinated and horrified as the smaller beast, obviously a female, faced off on all fours against the somewhat larger, and darker male. She dashed in at his throat and with a roaring growl, managed to gain a strangle hold as the male went crashing onto his back. He tried to kick up into her stomach with the deadly talons on his rear feet but the female beast thing sat on his thighs, and bore down on his throat with renewed vigor. Finally the male gave a strangled cry as the female’s jaws snapped down tight with a wet click. She had severed his spinal column and the male wolf thing collapsed under her, dead.


The female beast, breathing heavily, looked up and surveyed the room. ‘She really has lovely green eyes’ Scully thought weakly as the beast’s muzzle pointed in her direction. There was blood all over her mouth and the female creature extended her tongue and licked it off.

As the wolf thing advanced towards Scully, she gripped Mulder more tightly, “Stay away from us, you bitch,” she barked as the beast stopped just short of reaching her, and than sat down in a very dog like fashion. Scully heard the familiar sound of bones popping and re-shaping and presently the beast had transformed itself into a really stunning blond, and completely naked, woman.

“Agent Scully?” the woman asked kindly.

“Yes, who the hell are you?” Scully shot back, shaking. Mulder groaned in her arms. Scully, still staring at the blond, felt around and than pulled one of the crumpled bed sheets from the floor over Mulder’s naked lower body.

“My name is Sian Phillips, I’m one of the town librarians, Mr. Mulder and I met several days ago,” she smiled.

“Librarian?” Scully replied, a bubble of hysterical laughter threatening to escape from her chest.

“Well, we all have to earn a living, Agent Scully.” Sian replied with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Is he all right?” she asked real concern in her eyes as she looked at Mulder.

“God, I don’t know. Baker, he, he raped him on top of beating him senseless.” she whispered. Than she went into Doctor Scully mode, prying Mulder’s eye lids up, and than taking his good wrist to check his pulse. His eyes looked better than she had expected but even in the poor light it was still possible to see that he had a concussion. His pulse seemed to be strong, however. ‘God, he is so battered,’ Scully thought and she looked over at Sian and replied, “I can’t do anything for him here, I have to get him to a hospital.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I tried to get here sooner, but Ross was so good at covering his tracks it took me this long to track you down.”

“Tracks?” Scully asked dully.

“Yes. Did Mr. Mulder tell you anything about Ross, Dana?” she asked.

“Yes, he told me Baker was living under some type of curse, and every 75 years members of his family had to live the ‘way of the wolf’ with everything that entails,” she answered sagging against Mulder feeling her own fatigue for the first time.

“Well, that’s half true anyway. His family wasn’t cursed, they chose this path and some of us didn’t like their choice. Did he tell Mulder a load of garbage about some Indian witch putting the curse on one of his ancestors?”

“Yes.” Scully answered

“Ha, that’s Ross Baker all over. He was such a lying piece of shit. Listen, Agent Scully. We do come from an ancient race. A lot of legends talk about us, and some of them are right and some of them are wrong. Ross and I are members of, let’s call it, a very exclusive society. This society is made up of shapeshifters and we go to great lengths to hide ourselves from the rest of mankind – mostly to protect our own skins. We’ve been watching Ross and his family line for a long time and well, quite frankly we couldn’t put up with any more of their bullshit. If they had kept up their murderous ways we would all soon be in danger, and we couldn’t take that risk.”

“Are you telling me that there’s a society of creatures out there, all just like you, and we’ve never known about it?” Scully asked, her skeptics mind refusing even now to wrap itself around the obvious evidence.

“Oh, I assure you Agent Scully, we are out there.” Sian replied with a smile.

“And they sent you as their ‘one wolf-woman hit squad’ to remove this guy because he was drawing attention to you?” Scully asked.

“Right. We had to eliminate him, especially before he produced a male heir, and before he killed again.” Sian answered glancing over at Baker’s body. In death, the man-wolf had reverted back to human form and now he lay staring, glassy eyed, up at the room’s ceiling.

Scully sighed. “All right, Sian, fine. I guess I don’t have any choice but to believe you. All of this has been rather convincing” she added laughing weakly, as she swept the room with one hand. “But please, no more talk, can you just help me get Mulder to a hospital,” she asked in desperation.

“All right, but Dana, I have to ask you one more question.” Sian stated.


“Fine, what is it.” Scully asked, turning Mulder onto his stomach and laying him gently flat on the floor as she prepared to rise. The other woman gripped her arm and stared into her eyes, “I have to ask you to forget any of this ever happened. Now, I can make you forget, but just between you and me, you know, woman to woman, I’d rather not force you. So, can I trust you to keep my secret?” Sian asked.

Scully looked into her green eyes and despite the trappings of humanity, she saw something totally alien there. She was afraid that no matter how mild mannered and polite the librarian wolf woman seemed, if Scully answered in the negative she and Mulder wouldn’t make it out of that house alive.

“You have my word, Sian, I’ll never reveal your secret.” Scully stated emphatically.

Sian studied Scully for a moment and than she said, “Good. All right, let me help you with Mulder. Oh, and here, I have your clothes outside. They were just lying in a heap outside the door,” she added leaving the room to retrieve the garments.

Scully bent over Mulder and stroked his hair. He looked so vulnerable and lost that her heart almost broke. ‘God, I love him,’ she thought. She’d admitted it at last and she was glad. She knew he had suffered horribly and been humiliated for her in that hot, horrid, Wisconsin farmhouse. “Oh, Mulder,” she sighed leaning over him, “If there was only something I could do to make it all different, to make you forget.” she cried silently.

Sian had re-entered the room and she witnessed Dana Scully crying over the prostrate form of her partner. The sex pheromones in the room were very heavy and Sian sniffed the heady aroma with a slight smile playing around her lips. ‘That’s nice’, she thought, ‘she loves and wants him as her mate and he loves and wants her for his, how sweet,’ the she-wolf smiled as Scully voiced her wish for Fox Mulder.

She walked over to Scully and said, “I can make him forget, you know, Dana, if you think he’d want it.” she advised.

Scully jerked her head up and peered carefully at the other woman, “All of it?” she asked in verification.

“Or selectively, if you’d prefer,” Sian replied smiling down at Scully.

Scully considered Sian’s offer. Yes, she decided, she did want Mulder to forget. He had suffered so much in his life all ready, it would only be fair if one horrible experience could be erased, never to trouble him again.”

“All right, Sian, but just the part about the rape, all right, nothing else. Make him think he was a hero for a change, make him think he killed Baker and than saved my life.” Scully sighed, wiping the tears from her cheek.

“All right, Dana.” Sian replied patting Scully gently on the shoulder.


Later, in a Madison, Wisconsin hospital, Scully sat next to Mulder’s bed. As it turned out Mulder had been lucky. Only a mild concussion, a rather ugly scalp wound, the broken wrist, and a gazillion bruises all over his body. The wrist had been set with pins and a cast but the emergency room doctors had said it would be fine, and Mulder would be back on the firing range in no time flat. Scully marveled at his luck and than she thought ‘maybe Sian had something to do with all that too’ because she remembered the shapeshifter gently stroking Mulder’s head, and wrist, and body back in the farm house in Addison. The house was gone, along with Ross Baker’s body. Burned to the ground in the fire from the Coleman lamp that Scully had helped Sian Phillips set just before she called for back-up and an ambulance on her cell phone.

Scully held Mulder’s hand and as she watched his face, a little squeeze pressed her fingers and Mulder gradually opened his eyes.

“Sculleee,” he huskily whispered, smiling up at her. A slight look of confusion crossed his brow.

“You’re in a Madison hospital, Mulder. You’re going to be fine,” she smiled back, squeezing his hand in return.

“Baker?” he asked.

“He’s dead, you killed him. The house caught on fire from that damn Coleman lantern during your struggle and it burned to the ground. His body was still in it.” Scully quickly explained as Mulder winced glancing at his wrist cast.

“The doctor that set your wrist said to aim high from now on.” Scully teased and she was rewarded with a grin from Mulder.

“What did you tell Sheriff Pardy and the rest of the authorities?” he asked, serious again.

“Don’t worry about that, ok, we can talk about it later, get some rest.” she answered patting him on the arm.

“Scully, I… I’m glad you’re all right.” he sighed his eyes growing heavy.

“Hey, thanks to you, Mulder. You were a bit of a hero back there, you know,” she smiled wistfully down at him.

Mulder opened his eyes again and struggled to grip both of Scully’s hands, “I guess we have a lot to talk about later,” he whispered.

Scully bent forward and kissed him gently on his broken wrist “A whole lot.” she replied quietly as Mulder fell asleep.



Standin’ at the Crossroads

NAME: frogdoggie

RATING: NC-17, and I mean it. This story contains graphic language, sexual situations and violence. It also contains references to the occult, the Devil, and conversely, God and faith. IF ANY OF THESE SUBJECTS DISTURB YOU, DO NOT READ THIS STORY. Lastly, there are some magical rituals mentioned which are a combination of different arcane ceremonies. None of them are completely authentic or accurate. So, please folks, as the saying goes, do not try this at home! Once again, this is a very adult horror story. Forewarned is forearmed. If you don’t care for really graphic stuff, STOP HERE!

SUMMARY: Mulder, Scully and Skinner travel to Maine on a case that proves to be a very dangerous and then deadly, X-File. FEEDBACK PLEASE, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. I AM DOWN ON BENDED KNEES! Comments, suggestions and healthy debate are always welcome. Flames? Flames are for roasting ‘weenies’.

TIMESPAN/SPOILER WARNING.: No spoilers, except maybe for the quote at the end. Timespan? I hate to pigeon hole this story. I think maybe it happens in some alternate universe – ha! – the universe of my imagination, I guess. It would be, however after Scully’s cancer is in remission as that does effect the plot. Please note also: Stephen King decided to write an episode set in Maine called Chinga. I began work on this story before that episode was a gleam in his eye, or at least before I heard about it. So, the setting of this story is Maine and I didn’t want to change it. I guess this is my version of a Maine X-File. Sorry, Mr. King.

KEYWORDS: x-file romance angst Scully Mulder Skinner NC-17

DISCLAIMER: Fox Mulder, and Dana Scully and A. D. Skinner belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and 20th Century FOX Broadcasting. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made from their use. The lyrics to Cross Road Blues are by Robert Johnson and belong to CBS Records. Inc. The song is on the Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings, 2 CD set.

Standin' at the Crossroads cover

Standin’ at the Crossroads by frogdoggie

Webster’s defines “at the crossroads” as “at the point where one must choose between different courses of action.”

It was a hot mid-July day and Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder were, for once, enjoying the air conditioned basement office in the J. Edgar Hoover building. Each sat absorbed in their separate tasks, and the refreshingly cool air circulated around them.

“Mulder, what are you reading?” Scully asked her partner as he looked up from the open book on his desk. Mulder stared over his glasses at her and then pushed them back up his nose before he replied.

“What?” he asked, somewhat tight lipped.

“I just wondered what you were so engrossed in,” Scully asked as she sat across the room, typing into her laptop computer. Mulder seemed tense and an alarm bell went off in Scully’s head – the bell that warned of an impending X-File and a possibly unpleasant one at that.

“Oh, this, it’s just a little light reading,” he answered lifting the book up so that she could see the title.

“The Encyclopedia of Horror and The Supernatural?” Scully observed eyebrow raised. “Your idea of light reading Mulder? I’d call it a little dark if you ask me.”

Mulder half smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes as he replied, “it may be dark, but it is shedding some light on this letter I received yesterday.” “Want to take a look?” he added.

“Why do I think I’ll regret it if I do?” Scully inquired as she got up and crossed over to stand by his chair.

“Ouch! You wound me to the quick,” Mulder retorted half-heartedly as he handed her the neatly folded piece of paper. Scully unfolded it and began to read.

I went to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy
save me, if you please.”

Mmmmmm, standin’ at the crossroad
I tried to flag a ride
Standin’ at the crossroad
I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me
everybody pass me by

Mmm, the sun goin’ down boy
dark gon’ catch me here
oooo ooee eee
boy, dark gon’ catch me here
I haven’t got no lovin’ sweet woman that
love and feel my care

You can run, you can run
tell your friend Walter Skinner
You can run
tell your friend Walter Skinner
Lord, that I’m standin’ at the crossroad, babe
I believe I’m sinkin’ down

Come to the Crossroads, Fox, before it’s too late.

The letter was hand written in pencil and printed, not written in script. The writing was in a child’s neat but stilted style. Scully looked up from reading and said, “I didn’t know your fans were into sending you the lyrics to blues songs.”

“Ha, very good, Scully, you never cease to amaze me,” Mulder replied a weak, half smile still on his face. “An old blues tune as a matter of fact, Robert Johnson, circa 1936 or 1937, I believe. I looked it up – the words are pretty much the same except for the obvious additions…” Mulder added, his voice trailing off.

“All right, what does this have to do with the X-Files?” Scully asked.

‘And what in heaven’s name does it have to do with Skinner?’ she thought.

Mulder looked at her ‘she always asks that,’ he thought distantly. ‘it’s like some kind of catch phrase for her, like magic words,’ and Scully continued when he didn’t immediately answer.

“I mean, Mulder, it’s obviously a crank letter, someone is just trying to push your buttons, that’s all. It’s some kind of sick prank,” she finished placing the letter back down on his desk.

“Yeah, I thought so too, until I got this second letter this morning,” he answered with real tension in his voice. He pulled a second folded piece of paper from beneath another book, ‘The Handbook of Voodoo Ritual’ which also sat on his desk. He handed it to Scully without preamble and then sat back rubbing the bridge of his nose beneath his glasses.

Scully unfolded the second letter and read it too, and it chilled her.

There was only one line on the page and a signature.

“Please come, Fox, before it’s too late.”
Love, Samantha

“Oh, Mulder….” Scully began, her whole face pulling down in an anxious frown.

“Hey, it’s all right,” Mulder hastened to reply.

“No, it’s not all right, this is absolutely sadistic,” she fumed, angrily tossing the letter onto his desk for emphasis.

Mulder just stared at her, and then he turned to his suit coat hanging on the back of his chair, and took out an envelope from inside the inner pocket. He opened the envelope and pulled out a third letter. Mulder carefully unfolded the paper and smoothed the page flat next to the first and second letters on his desk.

“If it’s a sick joke it’s a pretty elaborate and convincing one…” he replied quietly, gesturing for Scully to compare all three pieces of paper spread out on the desktop.

“Uh, I brought this in this morning,” Mulder stated quietly, indicating the third piece of paper.

Scully drew closer and bent over to look at the letters. The last letter was dated from the year before Samantha’s disappearance and it was obviously a letter from Mulder’s sister to her big brother. The little girl had been writing from a summer camp somewhere and Scully was touched by the love for her big brother that shown through her childish scrawl. A childish scrawl that was absolutely identical to the handwriting in the other two letters – letters that were not dated but must have been written…? Scully wondered just when the other letters had been written.

“What was the postmark on the other two letters?” she asked Mulder.

Mulder pulled the envelopes from under ‘The Handbook of Voodoo Ritual’ and showed them both to Scully. The postmarks were only three days old and from Crossroads, Maine. Scully raised an eyebrow at the city’s name. Mulder remained mute.

Scully turned them over in her hands and examined the envelopes. They were fresh, like they’d just come out of a newly opened box of business sized envelopes. She touched the first two letters again and the paper was crisp and new as well.

“Mulder, this doesn’t make any sense. I mean, these last two letters – if they were written by your sister, her writing would have changed by now. She’s a woman, not a little girl anymore,” Scully said gently.

Mulder reached over and carefully picked up Samantha’s summer camp letter. Scully couldn’t help but notice the letter’s fragility. It was obviously old, and she was touched as Mulder cautiously and tenderly folded it up and placed it back in it’s accompanying envelope. ‘God, he must have kept that letter all these years,’ Scully thought and she suddenly had a very tight feeling in her chest, as Mulder slipped the envelope back inside his jacket pocket.

“Mulder, I…” she began, but he interrupted her.

“I know what you’re going to say, but, look, I have to find out about these letters. Christ, if there’s any possibility, no matter how remote that Samantha sent them – I have to know,” he stated.

Scully sighed. She saw the single mindedness in his face. She knew what it meant. The logical, eidetic brain that Mulder had was shutting down and the irrational, emotional Mulder brain was taking over as it always did in matters involving his sister. She also knew she was going to go along for the roller coaster ride that was most likely coming and she said, “All right, Mulder…but what do all these books have to do with the letters?” she finally asked.

Mulder squared his shoulders and grinned slightly, and Scully knew that her tacit approval had buoyed his spirits, and she felt good about it. He took his glasses off and put them on his desk.

“Well, I’ve been doing a little research on the symbology of ‘The Crossroads,’ he began in way of explanation, “The crossroads or more specifically, a crossroad, is very significant. There are references to crossroads in just about every magical belief system across numerous cultures. The meaning varies all the way from a spot that’s magically dangerous and should be avoided at all costs, especially after dark, as in the Robert Johnson song, to a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to practice ritual magic. For instance in the voudon religion…”

“Voudon, like Voodoo? As in little dolls with pins?” Scully interrupted skeptically. “And what does this have to do with Skinner?” she belatedly asked.

“Hey, I would have thought you’d be a bit less skeptical where voodoo is concerned, especially after….” Mulder’s comment was interrupted by the ringing of the telephone on his desk. He focused on it and then picking up the receiver, placed it to his ear.

“Mulder,” he growled into the phone obviously annoyed at the interruption, but his tone quickly became much more formal, “Yes, yes Sir, all right, we’re on our way,” he said and then he placed the receiver slowly back in it’s cradle. He looked at the phone for a second with furrowed brow, and then turned to Scully, a confused look on his face, “That was Skinner, he wants to see us immediately,” he told her, “and he sounds pissed,” he finished, reaching for his suit coat.

Both Agents gave each other a look that said ‘What the hell?’ But, they knew better than to keep Assistant Director Walter Skinner waiting, and they both exited the basement office, thoughts of voodoo and the enigmatic letters from Samantha rattling around in their heads.

A.D. Walter Skinner’s secretary ushered Mulder and Scully into Skinner’s office so quickly that they barely had time to prepare themselves for what was likely to be a chewing out session.

Scully looked at the harried woman and thought, ‘Lord, he must really be on the warpath this afternoon!’

Mulder took one look at the woman and thought, ‘It looks like it’s bend over and assume the position time again,’ and he took in a deep breath to prepare himself for Skinner’s wrath.

Skinner had his back to them when they entered, and as the secretary announced them, and then beat a hasty retreat, shutting the door behind her, he turned around. His face was tight and his eyes were narrowed to two flinty lines behind his glasses. The Assistant Director was indeed royally pissed, and he was working to control the emotion before it broke free and scorched them all with it’s heat.

“Sit down,” he hissed indicating the two chairs in front of his desk and both Agents played musical chairs to see which one of them could take a seat faster.

Skinner had a piece of paper in his hand and as soon as they were seated he brandished it at Fox Mulder and spat out between clenched teeth, “Do you have any explanation for this Agent Mulder?”

Mulder gazed back at Skinner, a blank look on his face.

Scully thought, ‘Well, it looks like I’m off the hook this afternoon,” as Mulder replied in his best conciliatory tone.

“An explanation for what, Sir?”

“For this letter!” Skinner almost shouted at the bewildered Agent.

Scully suddenly had a sinking feeling in her stomach, and from the look on Mulder’s face something similar must have been going on in his guts as well.

“Letter?” Mulder asked slowly and then he extended his hand towards the fuming Assistant Director. Skinner thrust the letter into Mulder’s waiting fingers, and then he stood over the younger man, his hands on his hips.

Mulder read the letter over carefully and then he looked up at Skinner and kept eye contact with him as he slowly passed the letter over to Scully.

Skinner’s head swiveled from Mulder to Scully as she plucked the paper from Mulder’s hand and read.

It was essentially the same letter Mulder had shown her, but with the Robert Johnson blues song written in an elegant script, a woman’s hand. ‘In fact, the letter even smells faintly of a woman’s perfume,’ Scully thought. The only difference in this letter and the one they had left behind on Mulder’s desk was that instead of ‘tell your friend Walter Skinner’ it said, ‘tell your friend Fox Mulder.’ Scully handed the letter to Skinner and looked at Mulder with a raised eyebrow.

“What the hell is going on?” Skinner demanded angrily looking from one to the other as he took the letter and put it back on his desk.

“Sir,” Scully began, “I’m sure Agent Mulder doesn’t know anything more than you do about that letter. As a matter of fact, he has a very similar letter on his desk right now.”

“Yeah, except instead of Fox Mulder it says ‘tell Walter Skinner on mine,” Mulder added, rubbing his hand through his hair.

“All right, then can I assume you don’t know anything about this letter either?” Skinner asked walking to his desk and grabbing a different piece of paper from it.

Mulder took the second sheet and this time he read it aloud.

“Come to the Crossroads, Walter, for old times sake.
Please, before it’s too late”
Love, Maggie

Skinner snatched it back from Mulder, embarrassment suddenly joining the consternation that was all ready on his face. He threw the paper down next to it’s mate and glared at Mulder.

“When did you receive these letters?” Scully asked in an attempt to salvage a potentially explosive situation.

“I’ve been out of the office for a couple of days, I got them both this morning,” Skinner replied tersely.

“Sir, I don’t know anything about these letters,” Mulder broke in quickly “And if it’s any consolation, my second letter said, ‘Love, Samantha,’ he added looking down at his hands.

Skinner blinked at Mulder for a moment and then the anger seemed to drain out of him all at once. He walked back over to his desk and sat down, heavily, behind it.

“You’re telling me you got two nearly identical letters?’ he asked.

“Yes,” Mulder replied flatly.

“And the letters were seemingly written in Agent Mulder’s sister’s handwriting,” Scully explained, “of course further analysis might prove that assumption untrue, but from just cursory examination, they were either identical or very expert forgeries,” she added.

“How did you know that?” Skinner asked quietly.

“We knew it because, uh, I brought in a letter my sister had written to me years ago, and Scully and I compared all three letters. They’re identical, Sir,” Mulder stated with conviction.

Scully glanced at Mulder and breathed deeply. Before she could say anything else Skinner was opening the center drawer in his desk and pulling out an old envelope. He placed it carefully on his blotter and opened it up.

“Yeah, well, I had a similar feeling about the handwriting in the letters I received so I sent them over to Bill Burke, for a handwriting analysis,” Skinner began, fingering the folded paper he had taken from the envelope.

“Burke really knows his stuff,” Mulder interrupted.

“Burke says the first two were written by the same person,” Skinner stated.

The two Agents looked at him as he continued, “which means I guess that they are identical to this letter,” he sighed, unfolding the paper and facing it towards the two Agents.

Mulder and Scully both got up and stepped over to peer down at the letter.

Scully scanned the contents and as she did her face flushed red, “Oh my God,’ she thought, ‘it’s a Dear John letter,’ and ‘what must it be costing him to show this to us?’ followed the first thought, and then, ‘why did he keep it?’ but she kept reading.

‘Shit,’ was all Mulder could think.

Dearest Walter,

I hope you’ll understand. I know it’s going to be hard, but I don’t know any other way to tell you – I’ve met someone else. I’m so sorry I had to let you know this way, because I really do care for you. I know I said I would wait, but it’s just that, well, I’ve fallen in love with someone else.

Please forgive me, and don’t think it’s anything you said or did. It’s just me. You’re a good man, Walter and I know you’ll find someone else to share your life with when you come back. God Bless, and keep you, and bring you back safe.


Scully finished reading and she couldn’t look up at Skinner, ‘no way,’ she thought, so she glanced over at Mulder but he seemed to be reading the letter again. She looked over at the empty envelope on Skinner’s desk and she could just make out, reading upside down, the return address – ‘Maggie Flynn, Crossroads, Maine.’

Skinner was saying something however, and then Scully had to look up at him. There was a very far away look in his eyes.

“She sent me that letter six months after I’d been In Country, Vietnam, I mean,” he cleared his throat. “After I was wounded and got my discharge, I half thought about looking her up, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.” “I moved on, I didn’t even go back there,” he said.

“Back to where, Sir?” Mulder asked quietly having finally finished reading the letter.

“To Crossroads, Maine” Skinner replied, the far away look still on his face, “I’d been working up there on a summer job, on a fishing boat, just before I enlisted. I was only 18 years old – still wet behind the ears – hell, you can guess the rest,” he blustered.

“Yes, Sir,” Mulder commented neutrally. Scully remained silent. In truth she was slightly awed by the fact that Skinner was telling them any of this, and she was acutely uncomfortable over the fact.

“I heard from her a couple of more times over the years though. She’d tracked me down somehow, and wrote to congratulate me when I graduated from the Academy, and then when I got married. I heard from her for the last time about 7 years ago. She and her husband were running a little bed and breakfast just outside of Crossroads, I guess. She had sounded happy in the letter….” he let his voice trail off as he took off his glasses and checked them for lint.

“Sir, Flynn was her maiden name?” Scully asked gently indicating the envelope on Skinner’s desk. Mulder examined it then too as Skinner placed his glasses back on.

“Yes, she married Kevin Boyce, a local guy and settled down in Crossroads, they owned Boyce’s Bed and Breakfast. Her maiden name was Flynn. Margaret Flynn.”

“And the writing is identical,” Mulder agreed as he turned his attention to all three letters laying on top of Skinner’s blotter.

“Yes,” Skinner retorted sharply, still embarrassed at revealing such a personal memory to them. “Hell, that first letter even smells like..”

“Her perfume?” Scully asked.

“Yes,” he sighed the memory of Margaret Flynn obviously still painful to him.

“So…” Skinner had started to talk again, but suddenly Scully’s cell phone beeped.

A mystified look on her face, Scully pulled phone out of her jacket pocket and pressed a button on it’s face, “excuse me” she whispered politely, and then “Scully,” she said into the receiver end.

Mulder and Skinner watched her as she took the call.

“Who is this?” she gasped slightly into the phone, “How did you get my number?” and then all the color drained from her face and her blue eyes got very wide.

Mulder glanced in alarm at Skinner, and going to her side pressed his ear against the outside part of the cell phone. He could just make out a male voice singing something into Scully’s ear. ‘It sounds like, it sounds like that Robert Johnson blues tune,’ Mulder thought, ‘Hell, it’s definitely the tune, and it’s saying tell your friends, Dana, and he looked at Skinner and whispered, “Can we trace this?”

Skinner shook his head – “not with any accuracy on a cell phone,” he advised in a low voice as Scully’s face began to register more and more horror.

Mulder pressed his ear to the phone once more and he noticed that the cellular was shaking because Skully’s hand was trembling. He could just make out the voice and it was saying, “Come to the Crossroads, Starbuck, before it’s too late,” and there was a click as the line went dead, and Scully dropped the cellular to the office floor.

Scully stood momentarily paralyzed and then her face contorted with a mixture of anger and fear and her knees seemed to suddenly weaken. Mulder grasped her arm as she rocked back and fell into the chair she had been sitting in.

“Scully, are you all right?” Mulder asked touching her hair, her shoulder and her back in quick succession. He was seething with anger and worry, and his hand shook slightly.

“Of course, she’s not all right,” Skinner blurted as he made a hasty exit towards his executive bathroom. He returned quickly, and carried a glass of water. Scully took the glass from him and drained it in one long, steady gulp. Skinner walked over and gingerly picked up the cell phone as if it was hot, setting it on the corner of his desk.

“Agent Scully, who was that on the phone?” he asked his face tight with tension.

Scully couldn’t find her voice so Mulder answered for her, “I think it was her father, Sir, Bill Scully. He’s the only one I know of that called her Starbuck,” he finished. Mulder was surprised at how uneven his voice had become as Skinner blinked back at him in temporary confusion.

“My father’s dead, Mulder,” Scully stated flatly, finding her voice at last, “that must have been some sick ba…umm, some misguided person imitating my father’s voice,” she insisted.

Scully looked Mulder in the face then and he thought, ‘she doesn’t believe what she just said at all, she thinks it was her father,’ and he forced his face into a blandly neutral expression. Scully caught the look though and flared up at him.

“Damn it Mulder, it wasn’t my father, my father is dead!” and the last four words were shouted into his face with such vehemence that Mulder took a step back. Scully continued to glare at him, her blue eyes like two argon lasers.

“Agent Scully!” Walter Skinner barked and Scully jumped. He had certainly gotten her attention.

“Can you really deny it was your father?” Skinner probed watching her face carefully.

Scully stared down at the water glass she was still holding and replied almost in a whisper, “My father used to sing me to sleep sometimes when I was very small,” she said, “the voice, that voice, it, it sounded so much like him…but I just can’t believe it was him, I mean, my father, my father’s dead,” she finished miserably and then she handed the water glass to Skinner because he was now standing the closest to her.

Mulder frowned deeply and Skinner was doing the same, and both of them stared at the small, still figure of Dana Scully as she sat trembling in the chair.

At last Skinner moved and he seemed to have come to a decision. He strode over to his phone and rang his secretary. “Sharon, I want you to book a flight for me. Yes, three tickets, for me and Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Right. From Dulles to Bangor, Maine. The first available flight in the morning. Yes, we’ll pick the tickets up at the airport. Yes, no, wait, yes, that might be a good idea. Try to get a four wheel drive vehicle, all right. Thank you,” and he hung up the phone.

Mulder had resumed his position next to Scully and had placed his hand on her shoulder again. Skinner glanced from Scully to Mulder’s hand to Mulder’s face. Mulder looked a bit stunned.

“Well, don’t you want to investigate this thing?” Skinner asked his voice barely under control. “This is your specialty, isn’t it?”

“Yes sir but I didn’t think..” Mulder began.

“Look, Fox,” Skinner said using the Agents Christian name to add emphasis to his words. “Ever since I got those letters I’ve felt like I had to check out what was going on. I don’t want to say I feel compelled, but, hell, I don’t know any other way to describe it. I feel drawn back to Crossroads. Like I have to go there, and it’s, well, it’s scaring the shit out of me,” he finished bitterly.

Mulder considered Skinners words. Skinner watched him closely and then Mulder came to a decision also.

“Sir, I think you’re right, and I think I’m feeling the same way – we feel like we have to go, so….” Mulder began, giving voice to his opinion.

“We should go,” Scully finished for Mulder, looking up at the two men with determination on her face. “I felt exactly the same way the minute I answered that phone call,” she added. “Now, wild horses couldn’t keep me from going to Maine.”

Skinner’s phone beeped. He turned and picked it up. “Yes, excellent. Thank you Sharon, and Sharon, uh, I don’t know what I’d do without you. No, that’s all right, my fault, yes, thanks, ok,” and he hung up.

“That woman has the patience of Job – working for me she has too,” Skinner sighed, a tiny grin just lifting the corner of his mouth as he tried to break the tension in the room. Mulder smirked slightly and Scully just stared for a moment, not sure he was serious, and then she smiled at his unexpected self-depreciation.

Skinner rubbed his jaw and shifted his tense shoulders, “Go home and pack your bags,” he said, we’re flying out tomorrow morning at 7 AM.”

Scully left the basement office early, but Mulder had lingered there to pour over his occult books and study the two letters. He wracked his brain over the significance of the song’s words. Finally he had underlined Skinner’s name and penciled in a question mark next to it. Then he had drawn an arrow down to the lines that said, ‘I haven’t got no lovin’ sweet woman that love and feel my care’ and penciled in Maggie Flynn next to them. Somehow, after Skinner had shown them his Dear John letter, Mulder had thought those lyrics were too much of a coincidence to ignore. He still tried to determine, though, how any of the lyrics could possibly relate to his sister. About the only lines that applied at all were “Have mercy save me, if you please,” and the thought sickened him. There just weren’t any easy answers to be discovered in any of the letters. Mulder looked forward to the trip to Crossroads, Maine with a mixture of dread and anticipation. ‘At least I’ll have some explanation then,’ he thought, ‘I hope,’ he sighed.

Mulder put the letters into his inside suit coat pocket, slammed the last book he had been reading, The Book of Ceremonial Magic, shut and tucking it under his arm, left the building.

Skinner had gone home, packed and then downed a couple of shots of scotch to steady his nerves. Even with the scotch, sleep had come with difficulty but finally at midnight he was able to close his eyes.

Scully had gone home immediately, packed and then tried to go to sleep. Sleep was a long time coming and only after a warm shower and cup of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Tea was she finally able to close her eyes.

Mulder tossed and turned on the couch in his apartment. He dreamed his sister was calling his name, “Fox help me, please, help me,” and he woke shouting “Samantha!?” ‘God, what had I been dreaming,’ he thought, suddenly unable to remember.

Scully tossed in her bed. She dreamed that her father was calling her name, “Starbuck, help me, please, help me,” and she woke screaming, “Daddy!?” ‘Oh my God, what was I dreaming about?’ she thought, suddenly unable to remember.

Skinner tossed in his bed. He dreamed of Maggie Flynn but she wasn’t calling for help. Instead she was screaming in ecstasy as he thrust into her and he woke, sweating in the dark. “What the hell?” he thought, suddenly unable to remember.

In Crossroads, Maine, a dark haired woman woke screaming, “Walter, no!”


Dulles airport was busy as usual even for the early morning hour. A taciturn Skinner had picked both Mulder and then Scully up at their apartments and then driven them to the airport. It had been hard to find a spot in long term parking, but Skinner had finally managed to locate one fairly close to the terminal. The trio walked the rest of the way to the departure gate and as Mulder and Skinner strode ahead, Scully struggled to keep up.

‘God, why is it that every man I know forgets to take into account the difference in my height,’ Scully thought tiredly, just as Skinner glanced back and then slowed down to allow her to catch up. Mulder, in his usual single minded way, strode ahead. Scully just watched his receding back and sighed. Mulder reminded her of a blood hound hot on the scent whenever he got like this, and Scully was usually left in the dust.

“Agent Mulder, where’s the fire?” Skinner called after Mulder, and the other man stopped and turned around, squinting into the sun at them. He waited for them to catch up, garment bag slung over one shoulder, and when Scully and Skinner reached him, he walked on into the terminal in silence.

The flight to Bangor was uneventful, Scully sat next to Mulder and Skinner was seated directly across from them in an aisle seat. Skinner had been squirming in his seat for the last 15 minutes or so because next to a him was a very garrulous little old lady. The grandmotherly woman was regaling Skinner with stories of her many grand children and soon, she was calling him Walter, and talking about her latest surgery. Scully almost laughed at the look on the Assistant Director’s face.

Mulder was reading a thick volume, The Book of Ceremonial Magic, which he had brought along on the trip. Scully got a look at some of it, when Mulder held the book flat and it was so bizarre that she really didn’t want to read any more, so she looked out the window, read the boring in-flight magazine, and then finally dozed off, sagging against Mulder’s shoulder.

The gentle pressure of Scully’s head and the exhalation of her sleeping breath against his neck, finally caused Mulder to quietly close his book and glance over to study his partner. Her face was unlined and devoid of worry. He was glad that she was getting some rest. She had looked very tired this morning and Mulder had been concerned that she hadn’t slept well the night before either. He was sure that all of them were going to need every once of strength they had once they reached Crossroads, Maine. He was worried for Scully’s safety. ‘OK, shoot me for being overprotective,’ he thought. Sometimes he just couldn’t help wanting to protect her even though he knew Scully hated it when he did.

Scully shifted slightly and snuggled even closer to him. One of her hands came up to rest lightly on his arm and her hair spilled down over the side of her face. Mulder allowed himself a half smile as he reached over and gently pushed her hair back behind her ear. Impulsively he let his fingers just brush her cheek. Mulder didn’t know why he had wanted to touch Scully at precisely that moment. ‘Well, that isn’t quite true,’ he mused ruefully, and then he pushed the feeling into the back of his mind where other similar moments were kept well hidden.

The rest of the flight seemed to pass quickly and the plane landed at Bangor International Airport pretty much on schedule. Skinner’s secretary had made arrangements for them to rent a four wheel drive vehicle. The black Ford Explorer was waiting for them when the shuttle dropped them off at the rental car agency.

There was a brief awkward moment as Skinner and Mulder tried to decide who was going to drive. Finally, incredibly, Skinner took Mulder’s suggestion and they flipped for it. Skinner won. Mulder offered to let Scully ride shotgun but she told him “no, that’s fine, I’ll be happy to sit in the back.” Somehow the thought of sitting next to Skinner until they reached their destination made her slightly car sick.

So, their seating arrangements decided, Skinner guided the Ford out onto state highway 9 northeast and towards the Maine coast. Mulder soon fell asleep in the front passenger seat and Scully passed the time by looking out the window.

At about the halfway point between Bangor and Crossroads, Skinner pulled off the highway at a service area. ‘Thank God,’ Scully thought, her legs had fallen asleep at least five miles back. Mulder made a beeline for the restroom. Scully had begun to think that this road trip was turning into one of her childhood family vacations when her father was trying to make time, and pit stops were few and far between. She decided to avail herself of the ladies room as well as long as she had the opportunity. It was anybody’s guess when they’d stop again. Scully walked into the service area building and then her shoulders sagged as she spotted the women’s restroom. ‘It figures,’ she sighed, taking a spot at the end of the long line.

Mulder returned from the restroom to see Skinner, foot propped up on the Ford’s bumper sipping a soda and holding a half eaten hot dog. There were two more sodas and hot dogs sitting on top of the vehicle’s roof.

“I drove off and left something up there once,” Mulder commented as he walked up to the Assistant Director, “I take it this is lunch?” he added with amusement.

Skinner indicated the sodas and replied, “Diet Cokes,” and “what’s the matter, don’t you like hot dogs?” as he continued to drink his Coke while scanning the crowd in the parking lot.

Mulder thought Skinner looked like he was on duty, and he guessed in a strange way, he was, but he didn’t say anything about it, and picked up one of the Cokes, “Hot dogs are fine, Sir,” was all he said instead.

“Straw?” Skinner asked, pulling one from his suit coat pocket.

Mulder took it from him and said, “Thanks.” He tapped the end of the straw against the Ford’s side, it burst through the paper wrapper and he popped the straw into the cup. He almost threw the wrapper on the ground, looked at Skinner, thought better of it, and walked over and put it in a trash can.

When he returned to the side of the Explorer, Skinner was almost through with his soda and the hot dog was gone. He was staring at Mulder as if he had something to say. Mulder stood waiting and sipping, waiting and sipping, and finally Skinner spoke up.

“Look, Mulder, does this trip make as little sense to you as it does to me?”

“Sir?” Mulder asked puzzled, as he reached for one of the hot dogs.

“It’s just that, well, I’ve never been very good with this type of thing – running off on a whim I mean. I’m not used to following an impulse, acting irrationally, going on intuition, or compulsion or well…Crap. What I’m trying to say is, this isn’t my usual way of operating.”

“You mean it’s more like my way of operating?” Mulder asked sardonically.

Skinner gave him a scathing look, but Mulder figured he had hit the nail on the head.

“Whatever,” Skinner continued, “But, look – Margaret Flynn meant a lot to me Mulder, and if there’s even one chance in a million that she wrote those letters, then maybe she does need my help and I can’t overlook that possibility. And if she didn’t write those letters then whoever did is going to have hell to pay,” he added angrily.

“I think I know what you mean,” Mulder replied quietly, thinking of his sister.

Skinner glanced at him and replied, “Yes, I suppose you do.”

“But it bothers you to feel out of control?” Mulder asked carefully.

“Yes, exactly, out of control,” Skinner agreed, “and I don’t think I like the feeling,” he added, dropping his empty soda cup to the ground and crushing it under his heel.

Mulder sighed. He had lived most of his life since his involvement with the X-Files in a state somewhere between rationality and irrationality and now it seemed fairly normal to him. But, he could understand that this same concept would probably turn Skinner’s world upside down. He had no idea what they were going to face in Crossroads, but he did have the idea that all of them would have to deal with the irrational before very much longer.

“Sir, the only advice I can give you is, go with the flow, because if you try to paddle upstream against the current you’re going to end up..”

“going crazy,” Skinner asked.

Mulder just looked at him, raised an eyebrow and took another sip of his Coke.

“All right,” Skinner replied. “I’ll consider your advice, Agent Mulder,” he added as he took his crushed Coke cup to the trash can.

“I wonder what happened to Scully?” Mulder asked peering off in the general direction of the service building and taking a bite of his hot dog.

“Long line,” Skinner replied, “my wife used to complain like hell at rest stops because there was always a long line for the women’s restroom,” Skinner added.

Mulder nodded and then Skinner said, “you’d better take her soda into the shade or it’ll be nothing but brown water by the time she comes back.”

Mulder wolfed down the rest of his hot dog and then picked up Scully’s cup and hot dog and walked over under one of the trees that bordered the parking lot. He wondered briefly how Skinner could stand out in the sun like that and not burn the hell out of his head. Just as he thought it, Skinner walked over and joined him in the shade.

Presently Scully returned and Mulder handed her the Diet Coke and hot dog.

“Oh, thank-you,” she said somewhat surprised and looking at Mulder.

“You’re welcome,” Skinner replied.

Scully looked from Mulder to Skinner and then thought ‘oops, I should have known better,’ “Oh, thank you, Sir,” she stammered hastily.

Before she could embarrass herself any further Mulder said, “Shall we hit the road, then?”

“Fine.” Scully stated quickly, heading towards the Ford. She tried to juggle the Coke and the hot dog to open the door, but found it impossible. Skinner reached over and opened it for her. “Thanks,” she said as she sought refuge in the back seat.

Skinner continued to drive and they spent the remainder of the trip in relative silence.

By late afternoon they had reached the outskirts of Crossroads, right on the Maine coast and were greeted with a typically quaint New England town. There were quiet shady streets, little interesting shops, and art galleries, antique dealers, old houses lovingly restored, and well maintained newer structures that were built to blend in with the existing architecture. Everything looked completely like small town historic landmark Americana, and Scully, Mulder, and Skinner seemed to relax a bit with the normalcy of it.

Scully spotted the tasteful sign that advertised the location of Boyce’s Bed and Breakfast, and they followed the directions to it’s location on the opposite side of Crossroads proper. Skinner had thought it might be a good idea to call ahead but Mulder suggested they just show up and see what kind of reaction they got from Margaret Flynn and her husband. Skinner finally agreed that perhaps that was the best course of action and they had driven out unannounced.

Scully was instantly impressed with the classic Victorian architecture of the Bed and Breakfast and the fact that it was actually farther from town than she expected, as well as being perched right on lands end, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The view was breathtaking and as the car pulled up out front she watched the gulls wheel and swoop around the widow’s walk on top of the house.

As they exited the Ford, Scully also noticed some scaffolding surrounding one end of the house and several bundles of shingles waiting on the roof.

Skinner walked straight up the walkway towards the front door but Mulder lingered a moment, reading the little sign out front. Scully drew up beside him and read it too. The sign said, Welcome to Boyce’s Bed and Breakfast. Your hostess: Margaret Flynn-Boyce. Mulder’s brow was furrowed and Scully said, “Why not Kevin and Margaret Boyce?”

“I was just thinking the same thing,” Mulder replied but then they both realized that Skinner hadn’t looked at the sign, and he was all ready on the porch, and pressing the door bell. Both Mulder and Scully hastened to catch up with him.

He rang the buzzer several times and finally a shadow appeared on the other side of the glass door and the inside door swung open. Mulder and Scully stepped up onto the porch just in time to see a striking woman standing behind the outer screen door.

Skinner was suddenly speechless and he just stood staring as the woman said, “May I help…” and then stopped dead in mid sentence to say, “Walter? Walter Skinner?” with tremendous emotion in her voice.

“Hello, Maggie,” was all Skinner could manage to get out.

“My God, Walter, I…My God!” and she opened the screen door and came out onto the porch to get a better look at Skinner.

Mulder took in the scene and had to admit that Skinner had good taste. Maggie Flynn was beautiful, a classic face and figure that had aged well, with long black (slightly gray in places) hair, tied up behind her head, and arresting blue eyes. She was almost as tall as Skinner and she carried herself , in her light summer dress, with a dancer’s grace and poise.

Mulder looked over at Scully to get her reaction and she glanced at him, raising an eyebrow. Scully was thinking, ‘either Margaret Flynn is a consummate actress, or she had no idea Skinner was going to show up on her doorstep,’ as the woman took Skinner’s hand.

“Walter, after all these years. Good lord, I thought I was dreaming, what, what are you doing here?” Maggie asked bewildered but obviously glad to see him nonetheless.

Skinner took the hand that was grasping his between both his hands, and gently squeezed it. “Maggie, it’s, it’s great to see you,” he stammered, “Uh, could we come in, my reason for coming here is a little complicated,” he added.

Maggie Flynn looked from Skinner to Mulder, and then Scully, and replied, “Oh, I’m sorry, now rude of me, of course, come in, come in.”

Skinner released her hand and introduced the two Agents, “Maggie, this is Fox Mulder and Dana Scully,”

Scully thought it significant that he didn’t say Agents Mulder and Scully.

“Oh, well, come in, all of you, please, I just put some fresh lemonade in the fridge, I’ll go get it,” she replied, opening the screen and ushering them inside, “That’s the parlor, go on in and sit down and I’ll be right back,” and she headed off towards the back of the house after shutting the front door.

Mulder was conscious of the fact that the house looked like an authentic Victorian in both decor and the fact that it lacked central air. However, there were ceiling fans and with the windows open, the proximity of the sea made for excellent cross ventilation. It was really quite breezy and pleasant inside.

As Skinner prowled the parlor he leaned over and whispered into Scully’s ear, “Would you call this decor, early Martha Stewart’s Living or The Best of Bob Villa’s This Old House,” he quipped. Scully narrowed her eyes at him just as Maggie Flynn returned carrying a tray with the lemonade and four glasses heaped with ice on it. She put the tray down on the coffee table and sat down on the couch. She began to pour the lemonade and each of them took a glass and sat down. Skinner moved to sit next to Maggie on the couch. She looked at him then and from the look in her eyes it was evident to both Mulder and Scully, that Walter Skinner had also meant a lot to Maggie Flynn.

“Walter, what are you doing up here in Maine?” she asked. “You’re still with the bureau, aren’t you? Is this a business trip?” she asked real curiosity in her every question, “My Lord, it’s so good to see you, It’s been, how many years since I last wrote you?” she added breathlessly.

“Seven years,” Skinner replied, taking a drink of the lemonade to wet his dry throat.

“That long, my God…” she replied.

“Yes, and Maggie, I am still with the Bureau and this is sort of official business,” he added reluctantly.

“Oh?” she replied expectantly, “Official? How can I help?” she added.

“Well, first of all, this is Agent Fox Mulder, and Agent Dana Scully,” he amended their previous introductions, and then he took out his ID with some chagrin and Mulder and Scully did the same.

Maggie waved them aside with a smile and said, “Walter, please, I’ll take your word for it as to who you all are.”

Skinner smiled then for the first time, and Scully thought she could see what Maggie Flynn saw in him all those years ago. ‘He should smile more often,’ she thought as Skinner replied.

“Uh, Maggie, I think it would be a good idea if we could talk to Kevin as well,” he began, “is he here?”

Scully winced. From the moment they had come in she had noticed that there was no evidence of a male presence in the house, but the sign out front had been a bigger clue to the fact that Kevin Boyce may not have been in residence any longer. Maggie Flynn’s next statement only served to verify Scully’s suspicions.

“Oh, Walter, Kevin, Kevin’s dead,” she began. Skinner put down his lemonade glass with a click, “he died two years ago. It was an accident, Kevin drowned,” she finished quietly.

Skinner stared at her for a split second and then replied, “God, Maggie, I’m sorry, I had no idea.”

“Well, Walter, how could you have known? It’s not like I kept in touch is it?” she sighed. “I’m sorry about that too, I should have stayed in touch, I should have let you know,” she added.

Mulder cleared his throat and then with his usual single minded intensity asked, “So you haven’t written to Assistant Director Skinner in over seven years?”

Maggie Flynn looked from Mulder to Skinner and replied impressed, “Assistant Director?” and then she added, “No, I haven’t, not since, when was it again, Walter?”

“Right after you opened the Bed and Breakfast,” Skinner replied never taking his eyes off Maggie Flynn.

“That’s right, that would have been 7 years ago,” Maggie shook her head in the affirmative.

Skinner blinked, having suddenly gotten Mulder’s hint and he reached inside his jacket and pulled out the two letters he had received from Crossroads, Maine.

“Maggie, can I ask you to take a look at these two letters and tell me what you think?” Skinner asked opening both envelopes, removing the letters, and holding them up into the light for her to see.

The raven haired woman bent over, concentration furrowing her brow as she read first one letter, and then the other. Color drained from her face as she finished, and then she looked up into Skinner’s face.

“Walter, I, what is this all about?” she asked, concerned.

“Did you write those letters, Maggie?” he asked, falling back into G-Man mode as he watched her face.

“Did I write them? My God, no, Walter, I didn’t write them!” she replied.

“But it is your handwriting,” Skinner pressed.

She scrutinized the letters again, deep confusion on her face. “Yes, it looks like my handwriting, but I swear to you, I didn’t write those letters. It must be some kind of sick joke,” she added looking up at both Mulder and Scully.

“You’re saying the letters are forgeries?” Scully asked.

“Yes, they have to be!” Maggie insisted her voice rising slightly.

“By whom?” Mulder asked from his chair near the fire place. He was looking, not at Maggie, but at the letters, his eyes squinted as if he was trying to see something that was unclear to him.

“I have absolutely no idea,” she replied, rubbing her arms together as if she were suddenly cold. “God, this is so strange,” she said in way of explanation.

“I’d have to agree with you there,” Skinner replied taking the letters and folding them back up. He put them back in the envelopes and tucked them into his suit coat pocket.

“So, there’s nothing wrong up here then, no trouble, no one’s been bothering you, no strange letters or threatening phone calls?” Skinner asked carefully, “You, uh, you didn’t write these letters to ask for my help?” he added and the last part was very hard for him to say.

“No!” Maggie answered shock and puzzlement still in her voice.

Skinner cleared his throat then and it was evident from the expression on his face and his posture that he believed her, and his words backed up his thoughts, “All right. Well, listen, Maggie, we have to find out who sent these letters. Agent Mulder received some very similar correspondence and Agent Scully, well, she’s received uh, a rather threatening phone call. We are here to investigate who may have written the letters, and sent them,” Skinner explained.

Scully glanced at Mulder and he shook his head back and forth, in the negative. ‘He doesn’t believe her?’ Scully mused.

“My God, Walter!” Maggie was exclaiming. “How awful,” she added looking at both Mulder and zeroing in on Scully. “How terrible.”

“Yes, well, we will get to the bottom of it,” Skinner interrupted her.

“Is there any way I can help?” Maggie hastened to ask. “You’re all welcome to stay here while you continue your investigation, if you’d like. I didn’t take any bookings for a couple of weeks, because the roof’s being repaired and re-shingled. If you don’t mind a little hammering in the morning, you’re welcome to stay here, as my guest.”

“That might be a good idea, Sir,” Mulder interjected.

Skinner agreed immediately but added, “But not as your guest, Maggie, this one’s on the FBI.” Maggie smiled radiantly at him then, and Skinner actually smiled broadly back.

Mulder watched Skinner and Maggie Flynn interacting and felt a bit uncomfortable, because it really was becoming evident that Skinner had never gotten over Maggie Flynn. Mulder was worried that perhaps he was losing his impartiality in the investigation. He thought that Skinner had jumped to his conclusion about his old flame a little too quickly. Mulder kept his own console for the moment, however, because he figured that if they were going to stay at the Bed and Breakfast all of them would have ample opportunity to find out if Maggie Flynn was telling the truth.

Skinner and Maggie continued to stare, slightly awestruck to be seeing each other after all these years, and Scully looked over at Mulder and said, “Uh, Sir, Agent Mulder and I will go out and get the luggage if you’d like.”

“Fine,” Skinner replied without looking at them.

Mulder looked at her with a wide eyed stare, and Scully tightened her lips and gestured with her head for him to follow her out the door.

As soon as they were out on the porch Mulder asked, “What was that all about?”

“Oh, come on, Mulder don’t be so dense.”

“Dense?” he asked affronted slightly as he walked down the steps towards the car.

“Well, couldn’t you see they wanted to be left alone?” she asked following him.

Mulder just shrugged. Scully pressed the issue.

“Well, what did you think was going on in there?” she asked.

“I think we were seeing Skinner losing his objectivity because of her.” Mulder stated flatly.

“Skinner, lose his objectivity?” Scully replied stopping to look into his eyes with an expression that said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ and then she added, “I don’t think that’s a danger.”

“Well, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to encourage them, we don’t know for sure that Maggie Flynn is telling the truth.”

“Oh, come on, Mulder, she was either telling the truth in there, or she’s the world’s greatest actress.”

“So, she convinced you, did she?” Mulder asked.


Mulder gave her a sour look as he took out the car keys and unlocked the trunk. He handed Scully her garment bag and then picked up both his own and Skinner’s, shutting the hood. Mulder sighed.

“OK, look. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, for now, at least until I have more information,” Mulder said, lowering his voice, “I’m not blind you know, Scully, I saw what was going on in there. I’ll cut Skinner some slack. I guess the guy deserves to have a little happiness come his way for a change.”

Scully looked down at her shoes and replied, “Mulder I didn’t mean to imply that you were dense, or blind…I’m sorry.”

Mulder looked at her and then waved the garment bag in a dismissive gesture smiling slightly, “Oh, forget it, Scully, I’m just tired I guess, we’ve all been under a lot of strain, it’s ok, let’s go back inside.”

Both Agents headed back towards the house. As they approached the porch Mulder gazed off into the distance, into the large and very over grown field that bordered the neatly landscaped area of the Bed and Breakfast. His attention had been caught by something and he dropped the two garment bags he was carrying onto the sidewalk.

“Mulder, what is it?” Scully asked as he started to walk away.

“Scully, come here, will you?” Mulder asked, and she followed him as he trotted over to the lawn’s border.

“What does that look like over there,” he asked her pointing out into the field at some far off point.

“A large maple tree?” she guessed.

“No, off to the right,” Mulder insisted.

“A bunch of rocks,” she replied.

“Rocks, yeah, but not just a bunch of rocks,” and he took off across the field, at a dead run. Scully dropped her bag and took off in pursuit. Some of the weeds were nearly up to Scully’s shoulders but she ran after him and finally caught up to him just as he was reaching the first of a series of upright stones.

Mulder walked around the stone grouping and then turning to Scully said, “Do they still look like just a bunch of rocks?”

“No, of course not,” she started to say.

“These are standing stones, Scully,” Mulder interrupted, his excitement barely contained.

“Standing stones as in Stonehedge?” Scully asked retracing the path Mulder had taken around the circle. “God, I think you’re right, Mulder,” she added as the scaled-down lay-out became clear to her through the weeds.

“But standing stones, on the coast of Maine?” she asked. Even now she could hear the crashing of the surf. The ocean was very close she thought, possibly right over the rise.

Mulder walked off, his head bent in thought and he disappeared from view over the small rise in the hill. Scully followed him once again. The ocean stretched out immediately in front of them and Mulder stood on the edge of a shear cliff overlooking it.

“Oh, Mulder, it’s beautiful,” Scully breathed before she could even stop herself. As the wind off the ocean whipped her hair around her head she watched Mulder look down at the abrupt drop off. She walked forward to find out what had captured his attention. Mulder turned towards her then, and his hair was blowing across his forehead, and his eyes were reflecting back the dark blue of the water, and she thought, ‘God, he’s beautiful,’ and then she almost slipped, and he reached out and caught her awkwardly in his arms pulling her back from the edge.

“Watch out there, Scully,” he whispered holding her close for a moment. Scully’s heart raced, and she wasn’t at all sure it was only from the near fall. Mulder released her, and they silently walked back from the cliff’s edge to stand amongst the stones.

“Standing stones have great magical significance, Scully,” Mulder said turning around in a circle.

“I know that Mulder,” Scully replied, “But what bearing do they have on this, this trip or quest, or whatever it is, we’re on,” she added.

“I’m not sure yet, Scully, but I think I’d like to ask Maggie Flynn what she knows about this stone circle,” Mulder replied heading back off across the field.

Once they were back on the walkway leading up to the house, Mulder picked up the garment bags he had been carrying and walked up onto the porch. Both of them could hear Skinner and Maggie talking inside as they opened the screen door and walked in. Maggie was laughing and smiling at something Skinner had said and Mulder and Scully both felt like intruders as they stood in the parlor’s door.

Maggie was getting up then and so did Skinner. “Let me show you all to your rooms,” she was saying. “I hate to put you under the roof repairs, so if you don’t mind being split up, I can put two of you upstairs and one of you down here. There’s a nice room at the back of the house and the two upstairs rooms are right across from each other and away from the scaffolding.”

“Well, we can take the upstairs rooms, If that’s all right with you, Sir,” Mulder suggested looking at Skinner.

“Sure, that would be fine,” Skinner answered taking his garment bag from Mulder.

“All right, I can take you two upstairs then, and Walter, I’ll be right back to show you your room.”

“Thanks, Maggie,” Skinner replied, and she turned and smiled at him again as she headed up the stairs.

Mulder and Scully followed her up one flight of stairs, and then up another to their rooms on the top floor. “To tell you the truth, besides not wanting to subject you all to the noise from the repairs, these are the only two rooms I’ve had time to make up. I’m just letting everything air out so that when the guests start showing up the rooms will be nice and fresh.” Maggie explained as he unlocked the door to the first room.

“We appreciate your hospitality, Maggie,” Scully answered.

“Well, Boyce’s Bed and Breakfast has always prided itself on hospitality,” she smiled opening the door wide. Both Agents followed her in. The windows on the wall opposite the door showed a spectacular view of the ocean and Scully stood transfixed again at the scene.

“I guess this will be her room,” Mulder smiled gently, and turned around to go across the hall. Mulder’s view was less spectacular, but infinitely more interesting, because from a side window he could clearly see the standing stones in the distance.

“Uh, Mrs. Boyce?” Mulder began.

“Please call me, Maggie, Fox,” she smiled at him.

“Maggie,” he continued without missing a beat, ‘aren’t standing stones rather unusual on the coast of Maine?” he asked.

“Oh, so you’ve seen the stones?” Maggie asked brightly. “Yes, they are very rare. Kevin did some research on them before we bought the house. He had the idea that they would make a nice attraction for the B&B, and they did. He kept that whole area cleared out. It wasn’t like it is now, all choked up with weeds. I, I haven’t been able to bring myself to go out there and weed, not since, well, not since Kevin died,” she finished quietly.

“I’m sorry, Maggie, I didn’t mean to bring up a painful memory,” Mulder said.

“Oh, it’s all right,” Maggie answered.

“Just out of curiosity, what did Kevin find out about the stones?” Mulder pressed her.

“Well, not anything earth shattering really, just that they are very old, dating back God knows how long. But they’re mentioned in the earliest records of the area. They’re supposed to be in some kind of arrangement for gauging the seasons or significant astronomical events, like the full moon or an eclipse.”

“Interesting,” Mulder commented. Scully came in the door just as Maggie was finishing up her explanation.

“I’ll just let you two freshen up then. Both rooms have a private bath, as you can see, and if you’d like any more towels, help yourself, the linen closet is down the hall.”

“Thank you,” Scully replied.

Just as Maggie exited the room however, she turned back and looked at Mulder, “if you’re really interested in the standing stones, there’s a whole exhibit on them in the little museum downtown next to the town hall. It’s quite comprehensive. Kevin helped create it,” she added as she walked towards the stairs.

Scully came into the room and shut the door behind her.

“I think we’d better check out that museum, Scully,” Mulder said looking out the window towards the standing stones. He ran his hand across his mouth, pulling at his lower lip, and Scully said, “All right, Mulder what are you thinking?”

“Look, Scully I need to tell you something, and I know what you’re going to say, but just let me get it out before you jump all over the idea, all right.”

Scully sat down on the edge of the bed and spread her hands out, palms up, “Fine, I’m all ears.”

Mulder sighed and began, “When I first got those letters, I was willing to believe they might have been from my sister. I knew her writing should have changed, but the feeling was so strong that I was willing to overlook that fact. I almost took off for Crossroads without even telling you I was going.”

“Mulder, I hate when you ditch me, you know that…” Scully interrupted.

“Yes, I know, so I didn’t do it this time. But the compulsion was so strong I almost did. Skinner said the same thing in his office – I feel like I have to go to Crossroads. And then you…”

“Said the same thing after the phone call,” Scully looked at him.

“Right,” Mulder replied.

“And?” she prompted.

“And what if those letters were actually causing us to come here, compelling us through…”

“Through magic?” Scully asked quietly, “Oh, Mulder, I don’t know, I have real trouble believing in that possibility. And besides, I didn’t get any letters.”

“You didn’t get one, but you had your hands all over mine and Skinner’s copies. Maybe the phone call was just a reinforcement for you. Maybe whatever is summoning us knows you’re really the most logical of the three of us, and that you’d need a little extra push to bring you up here.”

Scully just stared at him, “Mulder there are other explanations.”

“Like what?” he asked.

“Well, certain types of psychoactive drugs can induce that type of compulsive behavior. Maybe someone coated the paper with a drug that we absorbed through our skin when we touched them. Maybe the phone call was just a form of subliminal suggestion or….”

“That sounds more far-fetched than my idea, Scully.”

“All right, Mulder, what is your idea,” Scully finally said, giving in.

Mulder continued, “All right, listen to this. According to The Book of Ceremonial Magic, a practitioner of the black arts, can harm a person by passing him magical runes written on a piece of paper. Sometimes these runes are used to kill an enemy, because once they’ve been passed to the intended victim, a demon appears and kills the person. Sort of like a demonic hit man. But in another instance, and this is more rare, the runes can be used to summon a person to be used in a magical rite, as a sacrifice to a bring a demon into this plane and then bind it to…”

“Mulder!” Scully stopped him, “Do you know how that sounds? I didn’t see any runes on those letters, no magical symbols of any kind,” she added, impatience in her voice.

“All right then, how do you explain the compulsion to come up here? And how do you explain away the fact that the thought of your dead father calling you on the phone upset you so much you could barely stop shaking?” Mulder asked angrily.

Scully’s mouth closed and she looked down at her hands. “I guess I don’t have a good explanation for that, Mulder,” she replied in a near whisper. “But I don’t want to rule out some type of drug. We should have had the paper analyzed before we left DC, God, Skinner should have had the paper analyzed.”

“But he didn’t, did he?” Mulder replied suggestively.

Scully looked at him without comment, and Mulder continued, “Scully, after I found those standing stones, it only reinforced my idea. Maggie was right when she said that stones like those were used to plan the planting season, and harvests, as well as to chart other significant astronomical events. But there’s also some research out there that supports the idea that stone circles can be used by practitioners of black magic for any number of magical rituals.

Scully began to rub her temples, fatigue showing in her entire body’s posture. “And you’re going to tell me that Maggie Flynn is some type of witch, or sorceress and she’s luring Skinner here for some kind of sacrifice?”

Mulder crossed over and sat next to her on the bed, “All I’m trying to say, Scully, is I’m not sure our coming here has a rational explanation. Maybe my idea is cracked and I’m just guilty of seeing too many B-horror movies, but I want to show you something else now, and then I want you to tell me what you think,” he finished, and he reached into his suit coat pocket and drew out the two letters he had received.

He held them up into a shaft of bright light that was coming through the window, “Scully, look up trough both pages, ok?” he asked her and she tilted her head up to look. She could just make out the outline of Celtic style runes running diagonally across each of the sheets of paper.

“Mulder..” she whispered.

“Yeah,” he nodded at her.

“My God, when did you notice those?” she asked.

“Actually I didn’t notice the runes on these two sheets at all. I noticed them on Skinner’s when he held them up downstairs for Maggie. I just took a chance that mine might have the same symbols on them.” Mulder explained, “The letters seem to be woven directly into the paper,” he added tucking the pages back into his pocket.

Scully looked at him and shook her head, “Mulder this is almost too incredible to believe…”

“Well, we’d better start believing it, because I don’t have a better explanation right now and I’m afraid that if we don’t believe it we’re going to be in deep shit,” Mulder answered matter-of-factly.

Scully struggled to comprehend Mulder’s idea. ‘This is always the sticking point between us,’ she thought. He believes almost blindly and I just can’t seem to agree.’ She had seen the notations he had made next to the song’s lyrics. He had really been trying to piece the puzzle together. She looked into his face, and besides the will to convince her he was right, she also thought she saw concern for her there as well, so she finally said, “All right, Mulder, I’ll try to agree with you, now where do we go from here?”

Mulder straightened a bit and replied, “Well, I think the first thing we should do is go downstairs and tell Skinner what we’ve found. That line in the song, where it says, I haven’t got no lovin’ sweet woman that love and feel my care strikes me as too much of a coincidence for Skinner to ignore.”

“Are you serious about suspecting Maggie?” Scully asked.

“Well, I don’t want to think of her as a suspect,” Mulder sighed, “but…” he let his voice trail off.

“I still can’t think she wrote those letters. She seems so sincere,” Scully replied.

“I still think we should at least mention what we just found to Skinner, don’t you?” Mulder asked.

“OK, you’re right, but I’d tread lightly there if I were you,” Scully advised.

“Fine,” Mulder replied, “but if Maggie Flynn doesn’t have anything to do with the letters or those stones then we’d better formulate a plan to find out just who is Casting the Runes,” he added.

Mulder and Scully left his room and headed downstairs, Mulder went off into the parlor thinking Skinner and Maggie may have been in there. Scully walked down a side hallway towards the back of the house in the general direction she thought Maggie had indicated Skinner’s room was going to be. As she turned the corner at the end of the hallway she could see the Assistant Director standing in the doorway to one of the rooms, his garment bag in one hand and his other hand touching Maggie Flynn’s cheek, and she stopped dead in her tracks. She backed up as quietly as possible and bumped right into Mulder who had been coming up from behind her.

“What’s up?” he asked and she shushed him, and pushed him, farther back up the hall. “Don’t go down there,” she whispered, go back to the parlor, I’ll explain there.” Mulder turned around and headed back up the hall as quietly as he could. Once in the parlor Scully said, “He was down there at the end of the hallway with her,” and she started to blush slightly, “and, well..”

“Well, what?” Mulder asked.

“Well, it looked like he’d probably like another second alone with her,” she finished looking down at the floor.”

“What?,” Mulder shot back causing Scully to jerk her head up in astonishment. She gazed in amazement at him as he bulled his way past her, and headed towards Skinner’s room.

“Mulder!?” she called after him in surprise. But it was too late, he was all ready at the end of the hallway and going around the corner out of sight.

Scully dashed after him and as she rounded the bend she sighed with relief, because Maggie Flynn was nowhere to be seen, and Skinner was talking to Mulder in the door way to his room.

“Agent Mulder, that’s none of your business,” Skinner was hissing angrily at him.

“It is my business, Sir, if it jeopardizes our lives,” Mulder was arguing heatedly.

Skinner looked up at Scully as she approached “Mulder, would you please keep your voice down?” he asked the younger man and then he said to Scully, “do you know what the hell he means by I should think about staying away from that woman?

“Uh, Sir…,” Scully hesitated.

“Oh come on Scully, who do you think is the most likely candidate for having cast those runes?” Mulder glared at her.

“What runes Mulder, what in the devil are you talking about?” Skinner asked color rising into his face.

“What the DEVIL am I talking about…” Mulder began to bluster.

“Maybe we’d better go inside your room and let him explain,” Scully interrupted and all three of them stepped out of the hall and Skinner shut the door.

“All right, Mulder, you have about one minute to explain yourself before I punch your lights out,” Skinner spat out viciously. Scully stared at him in shock, and watched as Mulder struggled to control himself. He took a deep breath and began to tell Skinner what he had just got done telling Scully about the runes, and the standing stones, and his suspicions regarding Maggie Flynn. He finished by making Skinner take out his letters and look at them through the sun streaming in his window.

When he was done looking at the letters, Skinner turned and asked reluctantly, “And you seriously think Maggie had something to do with these letters, and the runes?”

“Yes sir, I think she’s the most likely candidate to have passed them to us, and if not the one who did it, she may know who did,” he finished as reasonably as he could.

Skinner gazed at him and for a moment, Scully thought he was going to hit Mulder, but then he sat down on the bed slowly and rubbed the back of his neck with one large hand.

“All right, listen, Mulder. Your idea sounds, God, it sounds insane. I can hardly believe that, that woman, that Maggie…, I mean sacrifices, come on Mulder? For Christ’s sake!” Skinner replied desperately. There was a look very close to anguish on his face.

Mulder just stared at him, his eyes boring a hole right through Skinner’s skepticism. Scully shook her head sadly. It was obvious that Skinner was having his feelings for Maggie Flynn rekindled and the idea that she was hiding something from him was extremely upsetting.

Finally he ran a hand over his mouth, and still looking at Mulder said, “All right, look. I’m going to take a piece of your advice here, Mulder, against my better judgment. I’m going to try to go with the flow for a change. I’ll consider your hypothesis to be a possible theory, all right. But, look, let me talk to Maggie, please. She may tell me things she would never reveal to either of you, and if she isn’t involved I’d like to find that out for myself.

“And if she is involved?” Mulder asked.

“Well, then I guess I’d like to be the first to know about that too.” Skinner replied.

Mulder exhaled slowly. Obviously he had thought that Skinner might have belted him as well. “Ok, I can respect that,” he replied.

“Fine, now why don’t the two of you go into town before it gets too late and see what else you can dig up regarding your theory. And see if you can check into the records at city hall regarding Kevin Boyce’s death. I’d just like to make sure about the cause as well.” Skinner advised, taking the keys to the Ford out of his pocket and handing them to Mulder.

“All right, sir,” Scully replied.

As the two left Skinner’s room and were near the front door, Maggie Flynn came out from the direction of the kitchen, “Are you two going back out?” she asked.

“Yes, we just thought we’d take a look around town,” Scully replied, trying her best to smile.

“Oh, well, I’m going to serve dinner at around 7 PM, so I hope you can make it back by then..” she let her voice trail off.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Mulder replied, a smile struggling to appear on his face, as well.

“Wonderful,” she answered, “I’ll see you both then,” and she walked away into the parlor.

Unfortunately, by the time Mulder and Scully had driven into town and found a parking place it was after 5 PM and Crossroads was rolling up the sidewalks. Everything was shut down, despite the fact that there was plenty of summer light left.

“What do we do now?” Scully asked as they walked up to the town hall and saw the CLOSED sign posted on the door. The little museum next door was shut up tighter than a drum as well.

“Well, we could go back to the B&B,” Mulder replied.

“No, Mulder, let’s give Skinner a little time with Maggie. He might be able to get some information out of her. And if there’s still a possibility that she isn’t involved with those runes, then maybe Skinner might just want to spend a little time with her,” Scully added quietly.

Mulder looked at her out of the corner of his eye and then he began to whistle the tune Matchmaker, Matchmaker, from Fiddler on the Roof.

“Oh, shut up,” she laughed unable to stop herself.

Mulder laughed a bit too then and said, “He really has it bad for her doesn’t he?”

“Do you even have to ask?” Scully replied.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I thought he was going to hit me back there.” Mulder replied shaking his head.

“So did I,” Scully agreed.

“Uh, look, Scully, we have almost two hours to kill, would you, I mean, would you like to take a walk down on the beach? It’s probably cooler down there. I could use the sea air to clear my head.” Mulder suggested.

“All right, that sounds like a good idea,” Scully answered and the two of them walked the two blocks it took them to reach a stairway that lead down to the shore. The air was indeed cooler there and the sand was white and looked like it stretched for miles. Mulder rolled up his slacks and took off his shoes and socks. Scully did the same, tucking her knee hi panty hose into her tailored suit coat pocket. Then both of them, carrying their shoes in one hand, stepped out onto the sand, and began to walk, side by side along the water’s edge.

Scully glanced over at Mulder and allowed herself to admire his profile as he looked out over the water. She sighed and thought to herself that at times she was attracted to Mulder with an intensity that she found almost unbearable. In peaceful, quiet moments like these, when she was alone with him, she let herself imagine what it might be like to have him be more than just a friend and partner. She’d sometimes fantasized about how it would feel to have him kiss her and tell her he loved her. But, the whole idea was just that, a fantasy and after logical consideration she would dismiss her thoughts for what they were – the musings of a workaholic who barely had time to eat regular meals much less maintain any type of relationship or social life. Still, at times she thought, just maybe….”

“Scully?” Mulder interrupted her train of thought.

“Yes?” she replied.

“You dropped one of your shoes,” Mulder replied indicating the beach in back of them.

“Oh, hell,” she frowned.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get it,” he replied gallantly, and then ran back up the beach to fetch the shoe.

“Thank you kind sir,” she smiled putting the shoe back with it’s mate in her right hand.

Impulsively, Mulder reached out and took her left hand in his. Scully looked down at their intertwined fingers and then up into his face. Mulder didn’t say anything, he just started walking again, holding her hand comfortably in his and she decided it felt very nice, and she walked on beside him.

After a time they reached a little stairway that led back up to the houses above, and Mulder asked her if she’d like to sit a while, and she said that would be just fine. They sat down next to each other and looked out over the waves, in companionable silence, and the gulls were flying, and the sand pipers scuttled along the waterline.

After a time, Mulder looked at his watch, “Hey, we’d better get back, it’s 6:30,” and they headed up the stairway and over to the parked Ford Explorer.

They were able to return to the B&B shortly after 7 PM and once inside the front door they were met by the sight of Assistant Director Walter Skinner wearing a chefs apron, and helping to set the large table in the dining room. Mulder almost burst out laughing but luckily he was able to hold in most of it.

“What’s so funny, Agent Mulder?” Skinner asked dangerously.

“Not a thing, Sir, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go, uh, wash my feet,” he winced. Neither he nor Scully had been able to get all the beach grit off their feet so they had come back barefoot.

“Me too, Sir,” Scully hastened to add, making a quick exit.

“All right, but make it fast, dinner’s about to be served,” he called after them.

When the two Agents came back down, the table was completely set, the lights had been turned down low, and candles illuminated the room.

The scene was almost idyllic. Scully hoped that the room looked like that because Skinner had found out that Maggie Flynn had nothing whatsoever to do with runes or standing stones.

Skinner came out of the kitchen, sans apron, but wearing khaki dockers and a fresh white polo shirt. Mulder and Scully were glad they had both taken the time to change into jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Mulder made his way directly over to Skinner and without preamble asked, “What did you find out, Sir?”

“I might ask you the same thing, Agent Mulder,” he whispered. Mulder shook his head in the negative, “We got into town too late, Sir, everything was closed till morning.”

“I was afraid of that,” Skinner said. “This town hasn’t changed much since I was here last in that respect,” he added. “You’ll just have to try again tomorrow. We’ll get an early start in the morning.”

“And you, Sir, what did you find out from Maggie?” Mulder pressed.

“I’m sure she didn’t write the letters, Mulder. I’m almost sure she doesn’t know who did either, but I’m still working on that end of the problem,” he whispered and then he stopped talking because Maggie was coming out of the kitchen. She was carrying a large platter with steamed crabs piled high on it. Skinner hurried to help her, “Here, let me take that, Maggie,” Skinner said, and he took the platter from her and placed it on the table with the other dishes.

“Oh, you shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble, Maggie,” Scully said.

“I didn’t go to much trouble at all, Walter fixed the crabs, he certainly hasn’t lost his touch in that department,” she laughed. Skinner actually reddened at her comment, and then he said, “Well, sit down… they aren’t going to stay hot forever..” and all four of them took their places at the table.

The meal was delightful, Scully had to admit. Even Mulder seemed to relax. All of them enjoyed cracking the crabs after Maggie and Skinner had given a hilarious demonstration on how not to do it, and then exactly how it was done. There was ice cold beer to wash the meal down with, and hot towels to clean up with afterwards.

They all sat around the table after the meal and talked, and Scully found herself believing again that in no way could Maggie Flynn have written the letters and if she did know anything about them, the runes, or sacrifices, or demons at all, it would have been a big surprise to her.

Mulder seemed to be looking at her with less suspicion and his mood was upbeat.

During the meal it became obvious that the Assistant Director was indeed, as the old saying went, smitten, with Maggie Flynn. It was as if the intervening years had simply slipped away, and he was 18 years old again, and in love. For her part, Maggie was equally as interested in him, but there was a hint of wistfullness about her. Scully thought that she was probably thinking of her late husband, and her sudden resurgence of feelings for Skinner might have been making her feel guilty under the circumstances.

Finally when it became obvious that Skinner and Maggie Flynn would probably like to be alone together again, Scully looked over at Mulder and tried to get his attention. He was a bit more quick on the uptake this time and said, “Maggie, that was one of the finest meals, I’ve ever had, but I’m so full I think I’d better go out and stretch my legs before I burst.”

“Does that mean I can’t interest you in coffee and desert, Fox?” she asked laughter in her voice.

“Not unless you want to have to call 911,” Mulder quipped.

“All right, I’ll excuse you this time,” Maggie smiled, but tomorrow night you’ll have to have a piece of my apple pie.”

“That’s a deal,” Mulder replied. “Hey, Scully, would you like to join me?” Mulder asked.

“All right,” Scully replied quickly and both of them exited the dining room and headed out onto the front porch.

“Now what?” Mulder asked.

“Well, let’s take a walk, I am nearly ready to burst,” Scully groaned a bit, “God, I haven’t eaten that much in eons.”

“It was good though, wasn’t it?” Mulder grinned.

“No, I hated it all, especially that fourth crab I gagged down,” Scully joked back giving him a little poke in the ribs.

“Hey, watch it, I just might explode on you,” Mulder smirked, and then he walked down off the porch and onto the lawn.

They walked down the road that lead up to the B&B and then turned back towards the house. The only sounds were the crickets, and the gravel crunching beneath their feet. They walked into the back yard and there was a little screened in gazebo at the edge of the lawn.

“Mulder, let’s go sit in there, the bugs will stay off us that way,” Scully suggested as she swatted at the first of the mosquitoes that found her arm.

“Yeah, I don’t feel like donating any blood right now myself,” Mulder agreed and they both entered the little structure and closed the door behind them.

Mulder looked back towards the house as Scully sat down on one of the wooden benches.

“Mulder, relax, you don’t have to chaperone them, they’re big people.” Scully told his back.

He turned around and walked over to her, “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” and he sat down next to her.

“Do you really still think she had anything to do with those letters?” Scully asked.

“God, I hope not,” Mulder breathed, “for Skinners sake,” he added and Scully looked at him, a very soft expression on her face.

“Scully,” Mulder continued, “I don’t think I want to believe that Maggie Flynn had anything to do with any of those letters, or the runes or well, any part of my theory about her.”

“I hope she doesn’t. I’m starting to like her too much,” Scully replied.

“Yeah, me too,” Mulder sighed, interrupting her, and then he turned and looked at Scully. There was a strand of hair falling across her eyes and he gently reached over and moved it back behind her ear. His hand lingered at her cheek and Scully sat very still. Mulder searched her face, looking for something, and Scully instantly wished, ‘Please, let him do it..’ but the kiss didn’t come. Instead he lowered his hand.

“Look, Scully let’s go into town early tomorrow like Skinner suggested and really pound the pavement. Let’s try to clear Maggie once and for all, and then take this case from there, what do you say?” Mulder suggested.

“I think that’s an excellent idea,” Scully agreed, letting her breath out very slowly.

They both left the gazebo and headed back around the side of the house. Both of them tried to make as much noise as possible as they walked up onto the porch and through the front door.

Once inside they saw Skinner and Maggie clearing up the last of the plates from the dining room table.

“We’re going to turn in, Sir, I think we should get an early start in the morning,” Mulder said.

“All right, Mulder, Scully, that’s a good idea. I’ll see you in the morning then,” and he turned around and followed Maggie into the kitchen. Both Agents went upstairs then, and to their separate rooms.

Scully took a shower and putting on her pajamas, walked over and sat in a chair facing the ocean to admire the view.

Mulder took a shower as well, and hung his suit pants over the shower bar afterwards so the cuffs that had gotten wet at the beach could dry. He but a clean pair of boxers on and stretched out on the bed to read The Book of Ceremonial Magic. The breeze from the open window in his room felt very refreshing on his naked legs.

Downstairs, Skinner was helping Maggie to load the last of the dishes into the dishwasher, and laughing with her over the fact that there were some things that you didn’t want to do without even for the sake of Victorian authenticity, and a dishwasher was one of them. Skinner was vaguely aware that he was falling head over heels in love with Maggie Flynn again. He didn’t want to question the feeling, even though a nagging voice told him he should, and that things were moving way to fast. He tried to ignore the voice, because he felt like he had so many years ago, like he was 18 again, and it was summer, and he’d never been to Vietnam, and Maggie was his first love.

They were standing very close in front of the dishwasher and Maggie looked into his eyes. The room spun a bit, and Skinner thought, ‘God, she’s so beautiful,’ and he wanted to kiss her, but instead he turned away and clearing his throat, said, “Uh, Maggie, I’d better turn in too, we have a lot of ground to cover tomorrow, I’d like to get an early start.”

“All right, Walter,” she replied quietly. “I’ll just finish up here.” and she started to wipe the counter top with some wet paper towels.

Skinner walked away but before he left the kitchen he turned and said, “Maggie, Thanks, it was, it was a great meal, and I really liked talking over old times.”

“It was my pleasure too, Walter,” she smiled as he went out the kitchen door. As soon as Skinner was gone, Maggie Flynn clutched at her head and moaned, “No, please, no,” and sagged against the dishwasher, utter despair written on her face.

The next morning Skinner and Maggie were all ready up when Mulder and Scully came downstairs. Both Agents had taken extra time to don their official FBI attire of tailored business suits in preparation for a day of investigation in town.

Skinner was seated, his suit coat thrown over the back of his chair, and a plate full of bacon and eggs with toast and coffee in front of him. Maggie was seated across from him pouring another cup of coffee from the pot that sat between them. They were joking about something again, and she was laughing her musical laugh. There were two other table settings laid out, but Mulder and Scully both hesitated almost simultaneously to enter the room. Finally, Mulder waved Scully past him and she went to sit down next to Maggie Flynn at the table. Mulder went over and took the chair next to Skinner.

“Oh, let me get you two some breakfast, Maggie said brightly, rising to go back into the kitchen.

“Maggie, let me help you, Scully said and the two women exited the dining room.

Skinner looked over at Mulder and Mulder noticed that the usual stern and taciturn expression that Skinner wore was absent from his face. In it’s place was a serenity that Mulder had never seen before. Mulder became suddenly envious of him because he recognized what that expression on his face meant, and Mulder wished that he could feel what Skinner was feeling just once in his miserable life.

“So, are you two going into town this morning?” Skinner asked.

“Uh, yes, sir,” Mulder replied looking away from him. He devoutly hoped that whatever they found out in town about the runes, the stones and Maggie Flynn wouldn’t be something that would wipe that expression of perfect peace from Walter Skinner’s face.

“Good, well, I think I’ll stay here and see what else I can find out from Maggie,” he stated taking a sip of his coffee.

“That would be a good idea,” Mulder agreed. “We’ll do our best, Sir, to get to the bottom of this,” he added hopefully.

“I appreciate that, Agent Mulder,” Skinner replied sincerely.

They stopped their conversation because they could hear Maggie Flynn laughing again in the kitchen and saying, “He didn’t do that did he, really?” and Scully said something that Mulder couldn’t quite hear, and then they both were laughing. For some reason Mulder felt like his ears were burning as Scully and Maggie came back out.

Scully was carrying two plates with bacon and eggs on them and she somewhat shyly placed one in front of Mulder, and then resumed her seat across from him. Mulder looked over at her, slightly stunned as Maggie put a coffee cup in front of him, and then walked over to put the other cup near Scully’s hand.

“So, are you two going into town to investigate things this morning?” Maggie asked, interested.

“Well, yes, partly,” Mulder replied, “I’d like to stop by that museum though, you’re description of the standing stones exhibit sort of interested me,” Mulder answered.

“Oh, I think the museum is closed on Wednesdays, she said, “The caretaker, Henry Merritt, teaches a class over at Little Hook community college on Wednesday’s I think,” Maggie said.

“Oh, well, I can always check that out tomorrow,” Mulder replied, disappointment in his voice.

“Yes, Henry will be down there tomorrow,” Maggie answered.

“Well, I’m sure we can take a look around town anyway,” Scully replied. And suddenly it occurred to her that there wasn’t any hammering and she thought of the scaffolding and shingles on the roof.

“Maggie, aren’t the roofers working today?” Scully asked really curious.

“Oh, you’re in luck there, Dana, no noise for a while. They had an emergency job, and when they called to ask if I’d mind waiting for mine to be finished I said no. All that’s left to be done is that shingling, anyway.”

“Well, we certainly won’t miss the hammering!” Scully laughed.

“I didn’t think so,” Maggie replied.

Mulder and Scully drove the Ford Explorer into Crossroads at 8:30 AM. They found practically the last parking spot right in front of the Town Hall. They intended to start there by taking a look at Kevin Boyce’s death certificate. The sign on the door of the Town Hall said it would be open at 9 AM, so Mulder and Scully went back to the Ford to wait.

Mulder looked at his watch and said, “It’s almost 9 AM and just as he said it a woman in a business suit opened the Town Hall door from the inside, flipped the sign around to read OPEN, and shut the door again.

“We’re on, Scully,” Mulder said and they left the car and headed up the walk way to the Town Hall door.

In the Town Hall, Mulder and Scully had flashed their FBI identification and gotten instant cooperation. Now they were studying the death certificate for Kevin Boyce, identical frowns pulling down their mouths.

The certificate said death by misadventure, an accident, but nothing about drowning. Kevin had died two years ago though and had been 42 years old at the time. There wasn’t much else to be gleaned from the bare bones certificate, and Scully decided that it might be a good idea to visit the local police station to see if they had kept any records regarding Boyce’s accidental death. They returned the certificate to the clerk at the front desk, got directions from him to the police station, and exited the building.

At the police station a very grumpy desk sergeant looked at their ID twice, and told them that he’d have to have someone hunt the file down. After all, it was a two year old case, and the file was buried somewhere in the basement file room. If they could come back tomorrow, however, he was sure he could have it ready for them. But, he added if he located it sooner he’d call them. Mulder gave him the number of the bed and breakfast so that he could reach them.

Back at the bed and breakfast, Walter Skinner had gone to his room to change out of his business suit and into something more casual since he had decided to stay with Maggie this morning. He sat down on the bed to take off his shoes, and suddenly he became inexplicably tired, so he curled up on the bed and fell fast asleep.

In the bedroom next door to Skinner’s, Maggie Flynn sat in a chair. She faced the direction of the standing stones and behind her a desk top stereo system was playing music. The volume was down low but a black man was singing along to a plaintive blues guitar riff and the thing that rode in Maggie Flynn’s body stroked her mind and said, “Ah, Maggie, that music is just wonderful. I imagine Robert Johnson had no idea he was writing it for me, did he?” it asked, and Maggie groaned through her moist lips. The thing inside her made her move her hands to touch and rub her breasts until her nipples were hard and erect, and then it forced her hands down further until they went between her thighs and began to stroke her there, “I imagine he had no idea until I made my presence known that is,” the thing hissed and then, “until I rode him Maggie, just like I’m riding you,” and tears fell down Maggie’s cheeks as she rocked against her hands. “Now Maggie, I want you to concentrate real hard, I have something else I want you to do…” the voice droned on, and on, and Maggie Flynn did exactly as she was told.

Dana Scully stood on the sidewalk outside the police station and shook her head.

“Well, that certainly was a dead end,” she fumed.

“No kidding,” Mulder complained as well, “I really wanted to find something out today. I don’t relish telling Skinner we came up empty again. Maybe I should just go back in there and make that cop show us to the file room. We could dig through the records ourselves for the rest of the afternoon,” he added, squinting to look back towards the police station.

Scully looked at her partner, and she was suddenly overcome with the most overwhelming rush of lust that she had ever had in her life. ‘God,’ she thought desperately, ‘What, what brought this on,’ she gasped, as she became instantly wet. Her mind fought to hold the sensations at bay, but it was pretty much a hopeless battle, and she turned away from Mulder, because she knew what her face must look like, and she didn’t want him to see the look of naked desire on it.

The heat in her built and built, rising to her face and she was burning hot. ‘Oh my God,’ she thought, ‘I can’t, how can I be feeling this way,’ she thought with shame and guilt, this was Mulder, her friend, her trusted partner her, her..lover, the word sprung into her mind unbidden and then the images started to come, and Scully shut her eyes tight as if that would make them stop. Mulder naked, his hands and mouth roving over her naked body, their coupling in every conceivable position imaginable, and then some that she could never imagine would be possible, howling in animal pleasure, writhing…and she gasped involuntarily and clutched her stomach.

“Scully, are you all right?” Mulder was asking, concern in his voice, and she fought to clear her head and steady her voice to answer him.

“Mulder, I, I don’t think so. My stomach, uh, I think the rich meals over the last couple of days are getting to me. I feel sick,” she gasped out. She doubled over, not in pain however, but in almost unbearable pleasure, as her whole body shook with an earth shattering orgasm.

“Oh, God,” she cried out, gritting her teeth to keep quiet.

“Jesus, Scully, it might be food poisoning,” Mulder said as he caught her arm.

“Mulder, please, don’t touch me,” she hissed, panicked.

“But I want to help you,” Mulder said, tight-lipped. “I want to get you back to the car, you should see a doctor.”

“Mulder, I am a doctor, I’ll be fine, all right, help me back to the car, but just drive me back to the Bed and Breakfast, please.” Scully gasped her eyes shut tight.

“Ok, all right,” Mulder dithered slightly, as he grasped her arm carefully and lead her over to the passenger side of the Ford. He got her in somehow and buckled her seat belt.

‘God, she looks really white,’ Mulder thought dismally as he started the engine and pulled out into the town’s traffic.

Scully sat in the seat next to him, her head leaning back against the backrest, eyes closed, breathing heavily. She was beyond pleasure now, the sensations wracking her body were painful, and in silent desperation she grabbed the crucifix that hung around her neck, and began to pray for the feelings and images to stop.

In her room in the Bed and Breakfast, Maggie Flynn cried with a mixture of pleasure and pain as she came again, and again, and the parasitic thing that held her in it’s thrall howled in an ecstasy of growing power. Suddenly however, all feelings coming through Maggie to it were shut off like someone turned off a faucet, and the thing reared up inside her mind and wailed in rage.

Mulder and Scully had only driven to just beyond the outskirts of Crossroads before Scully begged Mulder to pull the car over to the side of the road. As soon as they came to a stop she flung the passenger side door open and vomited copiously onto the ground. She heaved up everything she had eaten that morning.

Suddenly she was aware of Mulder, holding her shoulders and supporting her head as she retched and she was mortally embarrassed again, as some of her vomit hit his shoe.

Once the spasms in her stomach calmed down she was able to straighten up and Mulder gently held her head against his side. Thankfully she noticed that with the vomiting, all traces of her sexual heat had dissipated and she leaned weakly against Mulder.

“Oh, Mulder, I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

“What’s to be sorry about, you obviously ate something that disagreed with you,” Mulder replied quietly, stroking her hair, “Are you feeling better now?” he asked.

She wanted to shrink away from his touch, afraid that the overwhelming sensations would return, but they didn’t. The only sensations she felt were ones of warmth, and caring, and comfort and she sighed with relief.

“Yes, I feel a lot better,” she replied straightening up. She reached forward and pulled open the glove compartment and taking out some napkins Skinner had put there at the rest stop, handed them to Mulder.

“You, you’d better wipe off your shoe,” she smiled at him weakly, as she used some of the napkins to wipe her mouth.

Mulder released her shoulders and walked back behind the rear bumper to clean himself up. He tossed the napkins onto the ground and came back over to squat in front of Scully. Scully didn’t want to look at him because he was straddling what was left of her breakfast on the gravel of the roads shoulder.

“Are you really ok, Scully?” he asked looking up under the shaft of golden-red hair that fell obscuring her face.

“Yes, I’m fine, let’s go back,” she lied. She may have been better physically but mentally she was anything but. She couldn’t think what had gotten into her, and she certainly couldn’t explain to Mulder what had happened to her, at least not here at the side of the road. ‘Maybe after we get back to the B&B I can try to tell him,’ she thought.

Mulder smiled at her and said, “Good, ok, get in and buckle your seat belt.”

They drove the rest of the way back to the Bed and Breakfast in silence.

Walter Skinner woke, totally refreshed. He hadn’t recalled wanting to take a nap, but it had certainly felt good to do so. He got up and changed his clothes and then he went to find Maggie Flynn. Maggie was in the kitchen and she had a picnic basket on the counter. Skinner thought she looked a little tired, but still exquisite.

“Oh, there you are, sleepy head,” she smiled. “I thought you’d like some lunch,” she added.

“Yeah, I can’t believe I’m hungry again,” he said, “you’re going to cause me to blow my whole diet regimen, Maggie,” he teased.

“Oh, you can make up for it later,” she laughed, “when you get back to DC.”

“A picnic?” he asked taking the blanket that was lying next to the basket on the counter.

“Yes, I thought it might be nice to just, you know, go out in the back yard for lunch,” she answered, “It’s a gorgeous day out.”

“That would be great, Maggie,” Skinner answered smiling tenderly at her. He knew there was something he was supposed to be talking to her about, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember the questions.

“All right,” she was saying, “Can you just get a couple of beers out of the fridge?”

Mulder and Scully pulled up in front of the B&B at around 1 PM. Scully got out of the passenger side of the car very gingerly. Her stomach was sore from heaving earlier. Mulder stood and waited for her, and they both went up to the front door and walked inside. No one was in the parlor, or dining room. Mulder walked down the hallway and looked around the corner towards Skinner’s room. His door was open but there was no noise coming from that direction. Scully was heading into the dining room and then straight through into the kitchen, so he followed her.

Scully continued to walk through the kitchen and out onto the screened in porch that surrounded the back of the house. Mulder bumped into her as she stopped dead. He looked directly over her head to see what had made her stop, and he saw Skinner and Maggie out on the lawn. A picnic lunch was spread out on a blanket on the grass, but they weren’t eating. Skinner held Maggie close, in his arms, and he was gently kissing her as Maggie’s hands were entwined behind his neck.

“Oh shit,” Mulder whispered and he turned on his heel and walked back into the kitchen.

Scully stood and watched. She couldn’t help herself. After what had just happened to her, it was very easy for her to imagine that the couple on the lawn were her and Mulder. She touched her own lips as Skinner continued to explore Maggie Flynn’s mouth. Then she shook herself violently and turned to follow Mulder back into the kitchen.

Mulder was still walking, and as he passed the fridge he opened it, took out a beer and twisted off the cap, taking a pull from the bottle before he even reached the dining room. He sat down heavily at the table and Scully came in and sat across from him.

“Now what?” he said to her, his eyes downcast.

“Well, I think we have to assume that, well, that he talked to her and he’s obviously sure she’s innocent of any wrong-doing,” Scully replied quietly.

“Christ, I hope so,” Mulder replied sadly.

“Well, we have to try to trust Skinner’s judgment I guess,” Scully added hopefully.

“All right, but that still doesn’t help tell us who wrote these,” Mulder answered, taking his letters from his inner suitcoat pocket.

Scully stared at the letters as if they were a huge snake that Mulder had just thrown down in front of her, “Have you had those with you all this time?” she asked, eyes wide.

“Yes, why?” Mulder replied.

Scully just shook her head, and said, “Nothing, I just, look, Mulder, I want to go lie down, I still feel a little sick.” She also wanted to rinse the taste of vomit from her mouth.

Mulder’s face took on such a sympathetic expression that Scully’s insides started to melt. She had to get some rest but while she recuperated she would definitely have to think about how she was going to tell her partner what had happened to her outside the Crossroad’s cop shop.

“Hey, that’s all right Scully, go lie down, I’ll talk to Skinner when, when he gets done with lunch,” he grinned sheepishly and Scully smiled at him as she got up and walked towards the stairs.

Mulder had almost finished his beer by the time he heard Skinner and Maggie coming back into the kitchen. He heard them distantly and he could tell they were making lover’s talk, and he sighed over the beer bottle. He thought of Scully and his barely concealed secret feelings for her, and this time instead of envy for Skinner, he felt happiness for him. ‘Well, someone deserves to be happy around here,’ he thought as Skinner walked out of the kitchen into the dining room.

“Mulder, I didn’t expect to see you back this early,” he said blandly.

“Well, we didn’t intend to return this early either, but, Scully got kind of sick in town so I brought her back here,” Mulder replied, “She’s upstairs resting,” he added.

“Sick, is it anything serious?” Maggie Flynn asked as she followed Skinner from the kitchen.

“No, I don’t think so, she threw up on the way back here. She said her stomach was upset. I thought it might have been the heat.” Mulder replied, worry changing his voice slightly.

“Oh, that’s awful, I have some Pepto Bismol, maybe I should go up and see if she wants some,” Maggie replied kindly.

“Well, that might be a good idea, Maggie, thanks,” Mulder told her as she hurried off towards the stairs.

Skinner came and sat down at the head of the table and looked at Mulder closely. “If you’re hungry, Mulder, there’s a couple of sandwiches left in the kitchen.”

“No, sir, I’m not very hungry,” he replied.

“Suit yourself,” Skinner replied. Mulder was waiting for him to ask if they had found anything out in town, and when he didn’t, Mulder spoke up.

“Sir, we didn’t have time to find out much in town. Boyce’s death certificate says accidental death or rather, death by misadventure. The police file on the case won’t be available until tomorrow, and the museum was closed, just like Maggie said. I’m sorry we don’t have more answers for you,” and he sat back and waited for Skinner to blow up at him.

“Oh, well, that’s all right, Fox,” he said smiling at him, “You can try again tomorrow. I’ve talked to Maggie and, well, she didn’t have anything to do with the letters, and she doesn’t know who could have sent them either. So, I think whatever you find out isn’t going to amount to much anyway. It was probably someone’s idea of a sick joke after all,” he said, “Want another beer?”

Mulder looked at him, his mouth hanging open in shock. A little voice told him that Skinner’s words were not a good sign, but instead of saying that to the Assistant Director he replied, “Sure, I’d love another beer.” Skinner got up immediately and walked back into the kitchen.

All sorts of things raced through Mulder’s mind as he heard someone coming down the stairs. It was Maggie.

“She’s fine, Fox, don’t worry, I gave her some Pepto Bismol she should be feeling a lot better by dinner,” she smiled.

Skinner came back in with another beer and handed it to Mulder. “Here you go, Mulder.” His face looked a bit more normal because there was now a slight frown creasing his forehead, “What were we talking about?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing important, Sir,” Mulder replied, taking a swig of the second beer, “Uh, if you two will excuse me, I’d like to check on Scully,” he said. He went to take the empty beer bottle, into the kitchen, the mostly full bottle left forgotten on the table.

Maggie said, “that’s ok, Fox, I’ll take care of the bottles, go on up to her.”

“And Mulder, if you’re looking for us, Maggie and I are going to drive into town for more groceries. We should be back in an hour or so.” Skinner said as Maggie went to get her purse.

“Yes, Sir,” Mulder said as he went to the stairs. As soon as he was out of their site he took the stairs two at a time up to the third floor.

Upstairs, Scully was lying on her bed trying to come up with a plan to tell Mulder about the incident in Crossroads. She had just about decided to go back downstairs and explain, when there was a tentative knock at the door.

“Scully, are you awake?” Mulder called softly through the door.

“Yes, come on in,” she called and he opened the door. “Come in, Mulder, it’s all right, I’m feeling a lot better.”

Mulder walked over to the chair by the window and, straddling it, took a seat.

“So, did the Pepto Bismol help?” he asked.

“Yes, that was so considerate of Maggie. I wouldn’t have thought to ask for anything,” Scully answered.

“Oh, ok, well, you are feeling better, right?”

“Yes, Mulder I’m fine,” she answered, “Is that all you came in here for, to ask if I was all right?”

“No, not exactly,” I wanted to tell you that I talked to Skinner and he said we should try to check the files and the museum tomorrow.”

“Fine,” Scully said.

“But, he also said that he didn’t think we were going to find anything important because he had talked to Maggie, and she was completely innocent of either sending the letters or knowing who did. He’s come to the conclusion that the whole thing was some kind of sick joke and now we should just have a beer, sit back and relax, and watch while he humps the hostess.”

“Mulder!” Scully exclaimed, real shock in her voice.

Mulder rubbed his hand over his mouth and looked down at the floor, “Shit, I’m sorry Scully, that was out of line. I guess I shouldn’t be drinking a beer in this heat on an empty stomach, maybe it went to my head. But you should have seen him down there, he was, well he wasn’t himself.”

“Of course, he wasn’t himself, Mulder, he’s in love.” Scully said quietly.

“Oh, shit, maybe you’re right,” he groaned, rubbing his temples. “I guess I just find it kind of hard to imagine Skinner running around behind her like some overgrown..”

“Puppy?” Scully asked smiling.

“No I was thinking more like gorilla.”


“All right, all right, sorry,” he sighed.

“But look, I think we should still go back into town tomorrow and check out those files, and the museum. We still have to get to the bottom of those letters.”

“Yes, I agree,” Scully replied, “I still have to admit that the compulsion to come up here was so strong – it just didn’t seem natural. Whether it was chemically or, uh, magically induced – I still don’t know, but we should continue to try and find out. I’m beginning to think I’d like to try to have the paper the letters were written on analyzed too. Maybe there’s someone locally who could handle the job.”

“Good idea, Scully,” Mulder agreed shaking his head in the affirmative.

“Umm, and Mulder, uh, I think I have something else odd to tell you about what happened in town today,” she ventured suddenly.

“What?” he asked, concern on his face at her abrupt change of topic, “don’t tell me you think you were poisoned…”

“No, no, nothing like that,” she hedged.

“So, what is it?” Mulder asked, all ears.

“Well..” and she just couldn’t do it. She couldn’t look Mulder in the face and tell him she had wanted to strip naked on the sidewalk in front of the Crossroads, Maine Police Station and ball his brains out. Strange compulsion or not, she would rather die than tell him what had gone through her mind.

The silence was heavy between them.

“Well, what?” Mulder prompted again. Scully absent-mindedly fingered the crucifix on it’s chain around her neck. A small voice inside her said, ‘Dana, you’d better tell him, it’s important. Don’t be embarrassed, he’ll understand, he trusts you and besides the knowledge might save your lives,” so she let the whole thing come out in a rush.

“Mulder, I wasn’t sick to my stomach outside the police station today. I was, something was making me sexually aroused and, God, the images were so, so intense and real, and I, I started to orgasm. And, then I couldn’t stop and pretty soon it didn’t feel good anymore, it hurt like hell, and finally I held onto my cross and prayed that it would stop, and then I threw up, and it was all right again,” she finally stopped in her recitation to look over at him, mortification and humiliation on her face.

Mulder was looking at her and his face was so blandly neutral that she wanted to rush over and slap the look off it.

“You’re telling me that something forced you to orgasm in front of the police station?” Mulder asked carefully.

“Well, I didn’t think the location mattered much, Mulder..” she replied miserably.

“No, I suppose not,” he answered musing.

“Well, don’t you think that sounds a little strange!?” she asked shrilly.

“Wait here a second, Scully, ok, I have to get something I want to show you,” he said abruptly getting up and walking to the door, “just hold that thought, all right, I’ll be right back,” and he opened the door and walked out. She could hear him cross the hall to his room and then he returned carrying The Book of Ceremonial Magic.

“Scully look at this all right? I’ve marked the pertinent passages.“Scully started to read the text. The first part described something called The Mysteries of the Goetic Theurgy, and there was page after page of arcane names, all of which were supposed to be names of demons, and what they looked like, and what they did. There was one that Mulder had underlined, Saleos, and he was some kind of great demon duke that promoted lust between the sexes and gained strength and power from a couples union.

“Mulder, this is really strange stuff,” Scully said quietly, looking up from the book.

“I know, but keep reading, please,” Mulder asked.

Scully read on. The text mentioned the rituals for summoning the demons, and the special symbols that signified each demon, and how to bind the demons to your will. There were even copies of grotesque medieval woodcuts depicting each demon. The text also mentioned circles of standing stones being used as a setting for conjuration, and runic symbols used to attract worthy human sacrifices.

“God, Mulder,” Scully whispered.

“Listen, Scully , I read in another book before we came up here, that some of these demons inspire such lust in people that they can’t help but..well, they fuck themselves to hell, so to speak,” he breathed out raggedly. “I mean once they’re summoned by the runes the sacrifice is easy because they’re so besotted with lust that they don’t know what’s about to happen.”

“Good Lord,” Scully whispered.

“So, let’s suppose I’m right and someone used the runes to summon Skinner, and then me, and then you too. Sort of a buy one, get two for free, sale,” Mulder stated, “God, I wish I had more to go on though, I’m basing a lot of my ideas on just gut hunches here, I really need to go back to town and try to find some concrete answers.”

“And you think whoever is doing this magic…that they forced me to have those, those carnal thoughts about you…” she said it before she even realized she had, and her face felt hot under Mulder’s gaze.

“About me?” he whispered gently, “Oh, Scully, I, I don’t, oh…” he whispered.

“You mean you had no idea?” she asked looking up into his face.

“Well, I..I..” he stammered and then he sat down heavily on the bed next to her.

“Yeah, I had more than an idea, I guess,” he confessed looking at his hands.

“Oh, Mulder,” she whispered, putting the book down and touching his arm. “When I was forced to have those thoughts it was so horrible partly because, well, partly because I have imagined what it might be like for us to make love. And what those images were showing me, it wasn’t making love, it was like two beasts, animals, fucking. It was nothing like what I’d, what I’d like us to experience together. It made me sick,” she said in a very small voice.

“Scully…” Mulder replied his voice sad.

“And, Mulder, that’s why I prayed, I prayed to make it stop because I didn’t want to have to think of us…”

Mulder put his arm around her shoulders, “Scully, it’s ok, I understand, I know, don’t worry,” he said as he rubbed her arm, “I’ve imagined what it would be like to make love to you too, and more times then I can count. Scully, I’ve wanted you for so long, but I want it to be the right time, a special moment between us, not under some kind of threat of losing our souls, or under some kind of chemically induced compulsive hallucination. I want it to be us, and I want it to be real, because…well, because I love you.”

She was shaking slightly and he put his hand under her chin and pulled her face up to his. He bent forward and gently pressed a kiss to her lips. It was so light, and tender that Scully hardly realized he was kissing her. Mulder left her lips and pulled her close. Her head rested easily under his chin and they sat together like that for quite some time.

“Mulder?” Scully asked.

“Hmmm,” he answered breathing against her hair.

“I love you too,” she said, barely audibly, and if, if you’d ever want to make love to me, I wouldn’t dream of saying no.” Scully whispered.

Mulder pulled her a bit closer, but he didn’t move, and he didn’t say another word.

Presently Scully sighed and said, “I still hope Maggie isn’t involved in any of this.”

“Me too. I really do want Skinner to be happy, Scully, he may be a royal pain in the ass, but the guy has guts, and I think he goes to bat for us more than we might realize,” Mulder replied. “I hope when we go into town tomorrow we find out she’s the last person in the world that could be conjuring demons or sending chemically treated letters for that matter.”

“Mulder?” Scully asked.


“I think I hear a car,” and they went downstairs to meet Skinner and Maggie Flynn.

Dinner that night was even more wonderful than the night before if that was possible. All traces of Scully’s upset stomach seemed to have disappeared and she was very grateful because now she was hungry and the food looked delicious.

The table was set again, the lights were out, and candles were burning everywhere. Maggie had steamed oysters for them all, and Skinner had made the salad. It was excellent, and Skinner finally admitted to a hidden talent that neither Mulder nor Scully knew he possessed – he loved to cook, and he was really quite good in the kitchen. There was fresh French bread, and a fragrant and fruity local wine that Maggie thought they’d all like to try.

Throughout the meal Maggie and Skinner were so caught up in each other that it was almost painful to watch. But gradually, maybe due to the wine, or the pleasant sea breeze that circulated about, or the candles or maybe what they had said to each other that afternoon, Mulder and Scully began to feel some of the joy that Skinner and Maggie were experiencing.

Scully watched Mulder almost continuously, and when he looked her way she was usually smiling. Mulder came out of himself more than she had ever seen him do, and he was really very funny, so she couldn’t help but laugh at his jokes.

By the end of the meal all of them were tired from laughing and almost full to the brim.

“Why don’t you all go out on the front porch and I’ll bring out some coffee,” Maggie said as they sat back in their chairs.

“I should help, Maggie,” Scully said as Maggie got up to go into the kitchen. “Thanks, Dana, we can carry everything out a lot faster that way,” and as the two women made their exit, Mulder and Skinner walked out of the dining room and through the house to the front porch.

It was a crystal clear night and Skinner leaned up against the porch railing and looked up at the stars. Mulder stood by the railing, a little farther down than Skinner, and leaned over to look up under the over hang at the sky as well.

“Mulder?” Skinner said.

“Yes, Sir?” Mulder replied.

“Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live your life over again?” Skinner asked.

Mulder decided to be honest, “Uh, Yes Sir, probably at least once a day.”

Skinner looked over at him but in the shadows it was hard to read the expression on his face.

“Well, Mulder, I think I might be getting a chance to do that now,” Skinner replied quietly.

“Now, here?” Mulder asked.

“Yes, here with Maggie,” Skinner replied turning to look at Mulder.

“Mulder, listen, when you and Scully get done with the investigation here, I want the two of you to go back to DC without me, all right. I’m, uh, I’m going to stay here for a while.” Skinner replied.

Mulder could tell he was completely serious, and even though part of his mind told him something might have been wrong with Skinner’s decision he couldn’t bring himself to criticize him.

“All right, Sir, and for what it’s worth, I wish the two of you the best, I really mean it,” Mulder replied.

Skinner cleared his throat and looking at Mulder replied, “Thanks, Fox.”

“Coffee anyone?” Maggie was saying as she and Scully came out onto the porch. She put the tray with the pot and cups down on one of the small tables that lined the porch. Scully was right behind her carrying the cream and sugar bowls as well as a fist full of spoons.

“Here, let me take those,” Mulder offered as Scully tried to juggle the spoons onto the tray. As he took the spoons their hands touched and Mulder maintained the contact for a moment longer than was necessary.

Scully actually flushed and they did an awkward little dance as Mulder finally got the spoons away from her and onto the tray.

Out of the corner of his eye, Mulder thought he saw Skinner staring at them with more than average interest.

“All right, you guys, pour some coffee, we’re making another trip for pie,” Maggie laughed as both Skinner and Mulder groaned loudly.

“Now, no complaints, especially from you, Fox, you agreed to try my apple pie, after all,” Maggie teased.

“I surrender, you’ve convinced me,” Mulder answered, hands raised in mock surrender.

As soon as the women had left the porch again, Skinner crossed his arms and smiled at Mulder.

“What?” Mulder asked, noticing Skinner’s cat that ate the canary look.

“Agent Mulder, I’m going to give you a piece of your own advice, all right?” Skinner began.

“Sir?” Mulder asked confused.

“Go with the flow, Mulder,” he finished.

Mulder repeated the phrase in his mind as if Skinner had spoken in a foreign language. Then it dawned on Mulder what he meant, and Mulder felt his ears get hot.

“Ah, Sir, it’s not what you think…” Mulder started, and then he told himself, ‘Of course it’s what he thinks you nitwit.”

“Oh, come on Mulder, I saw the way you looked at her, not to mention the way she looked at you…” Skinner let his voice trail off.

Mulder was suddenly in the unique position of feeling like Assistant Director Walter Skinner was the older brother he had never had, and he was advising him on how to handle his first girlfriend. It was an awkward and uncomfortable feeling.

“Well, uh,” he stammered. This was getting worse by the minute. Now he sounded like his voice was changing, “Sir, we both know it’s against FBI policy for two agents, partners I mean, to fraternize because…”

Skinner burst out laughing. “Jesus, Mulder, you poor son of a bitch, you sound just like me.”

Mulder looked over at him and just stared as he continued, “or at least just like I used to sound,” he finished more subdued.

“Thank you,” Mulder replied grimly.

“Listen, Mulder, and don’t take offense all right, but if I were you, I’d take Scully out for a walk tonight, just get her alone somehow, and tell her how you feel about her. It’ll do you a both a world of good. And as for the regulations, fuck ‘em. We’re not in DC now, and I don’t give a shit about the rules, understand?”

Mulder understood. But what he understood was that something was fundamentally wrong with this entire conversation and yeah, he sure as hell wanted to get Scully alone, because they needed to discuss this little turn of events right away.

Maggie and Scully came back out onto the porch at that point, so Skinner was forced to stop giving Mulder his brotherly advice. Mulder sat bewildered, and bemused, as Scully placed a huge piece of pie in front of him.

“God, I can’t eat all that!” Mulder exclaimed, and everyone burst out laughing, and then he did too, as he saw that Maggie had cut the large piece as a joke. She was holding his much smaller piece on a plate behind her back.

The pie was delicious and Mulder did manage to eat his entire slice. After his cup of coffee, he put down the cup, and looked over at Skinner. Skinner gestured towards Scully with his head, and Mulder turned away and sighed. It was obvious Skinner expected him to take the bull by the horns, so he decided now was as good a time as any to talk to Scully anyway.

“Say, uh, Scully, I think I’m going to stretch my legs a little before I go to bed, would you like to come along?”

“All right, Mulder,” Scully replied and the two of them left the porch and walked off across the lawn.

“Mulder, where are we going to walk too?” Scully asked, “There’s really no place to go, except down the road again.”

“Well, it’ll have to do, I need to talk to you about Skinner, so come on and walk close to me, all right,” Mulder replied.

Scully drew up beside him and said, “What’s going on?”

“Scully, Skinner isn’t going back with us after we’re through here, he’s going to stay here with Maggie,” Mulder said.

“Oh, I sort of expected something like that after what Maggie said in the kitchen,” Scully answered.

“What did she say?” Mulder asked.

“She told me she thought she was falling in love with Skinner, and she asked me if I thought it was wrong,” Scully answered quietly.

“Wrong?” Mulder asked, confused.

“Well, she’s only been widowed for 2 years. She just thought it was disloyal to her late husband mostly. Especially since she knew Skinner before and he was her first…”

“He was her first love?” Mulder asked.

“So I gathered,” Scully replied, “And I don’t know if it’s important but she told me she was the first for him too.”

“God,” Mulder said.

“Listen, Scully, I’m beginning to get a little worried. I mean, this thing with Maggie and Skinner, it’s really nice and all, and I want to be happy for Skinner, like I said before, but, well he said something to me while you were getting the pie, that was so atypical it really spooked me.” Mulder stated, “oh, sorry, no pun intended,” he added seriously.

“What did he say?” Scully asked stopping to stare up at Mulder.

“He told me that I should go with the flow, stop denying my feelings for you, get you alone and then…well, he didn’t say I should jump your bones, he just implied that we’d both be a lot better off if we admitted how we felt.”

“Skinner said that?” she asked amazed.

“Yeah, and not only that, when I quoted the regulations on fraternization he told me “fuck ’em, we’re not in DC anymore, and he didn’t give a shit about the rules.” Mulder finished.

“That is a little un-Skinner-like, I have to admit,” Scully replied glancing back up to the porch. She could just make out Skinner and Maggie sitting together on the porch swing and although they were talking, she thought she saw them looking their way briefly several times.

“Mulder, I think they’re watching us,” Scully whispered moving close to Mulder.

“You’re kidding?” Mulder raised an eyebrow.

“No, I’m sure they’re watching,” Scully replied and then she squeaked, “Mulder what are you doing?” as he took her into his arms.

“I’m giving them a good show,” Mulder smiled down at her and then he kissed her with his warm, full, pouting lips. Scully instantly molded herself against him and opened her mouth to admit his questing tongue.

‘Oh my God,’ she thought, he feels so warm,’ and she ran her hands up the front of his body and then around his neck. This kiss wasn’t like the first, it was much longer, hot and eager, and finally Scully had to pull back because the heat was getting to be too much. She staggered against him and said, “Mulder, I have to stop,” she gasped, “I…”

Mulder’s breath was coming in ragged puffs, “Whoa, I’m sorry, I know, that got away from me a little bit too. Are they still watching?” he asked.

“No, they’re going inside,” Scully replied.

Despite the fact that the show was over, Mulder didn’t let Scully go. She was trembling with the intensity of her passion, and he just wanted to feel her body against his for a few moments longer.

“Scully, I meant the kiss,” he said, “I wasn’t just acting for them,” he said quietly.

“Neither was I, Mulder,” she answered. “But look, we both know this isn’t the right time for this. We have to get some rest, and then we have to go into town tomorrow and settle this case, one way or the other.”

“Yeah, I know, you’re right, we’d better get some sleep, come on, let’s go back.” Mulder agreed and they both walked back up towards the porch.

Inside the house Scully went upstairs immediately, telling Mulder to give her respects to both Maggie and Skinner. Mulder went into the dining room to find Skinner clearing away the dishes from the dinner table. Skinner put down a plate he was holding, and actually came over and slapped Mulder on the back. ‘Jesus, this is just too much,’ Mulder thought. But he did his best to smile, and he was grateful when Skinner didn’t say anything to him.

“Uh, Scully told me to say goodnight to you and Maggie, and thanks for the great meal. She went up to bed. I’m going to turn in now too, I guess. We’re going to try to go into town as early as possible in the morning.” Mulder stated.

“Fine, Mulder, enjoy yourself,” Skinner said, and he turned around and went into the kitchen.

Mulder shrugged, ‘Ok, so now he thinks I’m going to go upstairs and really show Scully how I feel about her, I guess,’ he thought. And God, he really wanted to. But the phrase “they fucked themselves to hell,” flew instantly into his mind and he shuddered and turned to go up the stairs.

The clock on the mantle in the parlor chimed 2 AM. Mulder slept and he dreamed, and the dreams were sweet. He was with Scully, and they were walking happily, hand in hand on the beach as the sun set, and the gulls flew over the surf.

Dana Scully slept and she dreamed, and the dreams were sweet. She was with Mulder and they were walking happily, hand in hand on the beach as the sun set, and the gulls flew over the surf.

Two stories below in her room, in her bed, Maggie Flynn writhed and moaned, “Please, don’t, no, I really am trying, please” she pleaded. A guttural, liguid-evil voice resounded loudly in her head, “You’d better try harder, bitch, or there’s going to be hell to pay,” and it laughed and laughed. Tonight it felt stronger, better than it had before when that red headed bitch had cut off it’s pleasure. The beast had decided to leave the red head and her tall, lanky man alone. He’d have them both soon enough. They could dream their own dreams for a change. No, tonight it had decided to gather real power, to take the next step with this woman, his host, and the man she desired, the one tossing and turning in the next room, The Skinner, the sacrifice. Now!, Maggie, it said, NOW! and Maggie cried out as the thing inside her head reached to touch Skinner’s mind.

Walter Skinner was in the jungle. He was walking through the Vietnam jungle. He was walking point, and suddenly the air was rent with tracer fire and there were VC everywhere. He was firing his rifle and yelling for everyone to take cover but there were too many Viet Cong – it was an ambush.

He saw his best friend, John Rand go down next to him, the bullet going in between his eyes and then out the back of his head, taking most of his skull and brains along with it as it exited. He screamed again and again, firing everywhere, and his helmet was knocked off by another of his platoon, as the man died grabbing for Skinner’s shoulders. Then hot shrapnel splattered, and hit his head, and blood poured from multiple tiny wounds, and the blood blinded him, and he couldn’t see to use his weapon. Skinner wailed incoherently as the rounds tore into his groin and he fell to his knees and Walter Skinner woke and he was screaming.

“Walter, Walter, it’s all right, please, it’s me,” Maggie Flynn cried as she sat on the edge of the bed and tried to stop his arms and legs from thrashing.

“Maggie, Maggie, what the hell are you doing in here?” Skinner asked totally confused, and not sure if he was still dreaming or not. He stopped struggling, but he was shaking terribly, and Maggie held onto his shoulders.

“Walter, my God, my rooms right next door. I heard you screaming at the top of your lungs in here. I didn’t know what was wrong, so I got my pass key…” she let her voice trail off as Skinner buried his head in her breast and whispered, “God, Maggie, I haven’t had a dream like that in years. I was back in Vietnam and oh, God…” and that was all he could say.

“Oh, Walter, oh babe,” Maggie Flynn replied, rubbing his shoulders, and back.

“Maggie, I…” Skinner started to say, but she put her finger to his lips, and told him to be quiet, it was all right. He kissed her fingers and then he sat up and touched her hair, “Maggie, you’ve let your hair down,” and he ran his hand through her raven tresses. Maggie brought her hand up and pressed his to her cheek, and then Skinner smiled and took her into his arms.

A low snake-like voice hissed in Maggie Flynn’s head, and it said, “Ahhhhh, Maggie, that’s a good girl, that’s so much better, yesssss, so much better,” as Skinner’s mouth began to explore her body.

Dana Scully sat at the dining room table the next morning alone with her coffee cup. She had come downstairs as early as she could, and found the lower floor deserted so she had gone into the kitchen and started a pot in one of the automatic coffee makers. Now she sat at the dining room table with a mug of coffee just the way she liked it in front of her and content to wait for someone else to join her.

Mulder came down the stairs, yawning and stretching his back, “Morning,” he said cheerfully, walking up behind her and touching her hair gently.

“Is that coffee?” he asked looking into her cup.

“Yes it is,” she smiled up at him. He was dressed in the same rumpled t-shirt he had worn the night before, and his pair of faded jeans, and his hair was tousled from sleep and Scully thought he looked incredibly handsome.

“Ah, you’re a saint, Scully,” Mulder replied, and he went into the kitchen to help himself to a cup.

The first question out of his mouth when he came back in was, “Where’s Skinner?”

Scully shrugged her shoulders. “I haven’t seen anyone this morning, I guess Skinner and Maggie aren’t up yet,” she said stifling a yawn herself.

Mulder put his coffee cup down and started to head towards the hallway that would take him to Skinner’s room.

“Mulder, where are you going?” Scully asked even though she knew the answer.

“I’m going to play alarm clock,” he answered, walking down the hall.

Mulder strode up to Skinner’s door and knocked once softly. There was no answer so he knocked a little more forcefully. The louder knock brought low sounds from inside. “Who is it?” Skinner’s muffled voice came from the other side of the door.

“Sir, it’s 6 o’clock,” Mulder called through the wood, “I thought you might like to know what Scully and I plan to do in town this morning.”

He heard Skinner fumbling around and then his heavy steps as he came to the door and unlocked it. He opened it just a crack to peer out at Mulder.

“Agent Mulder, it’s 6 o’clock,” he whispered, bleary eyed behind his glasses. He was bare-chested and only had on his briefs.

“Yes, sir, I just said that,” Mulder replied quietly, “but I thought you might have some additional suggestions for our trip into….” Mulder was interrupted by a feminine voice coming from somewhere behind Skinner.

“Walter, is everything all right?” the voice sighed, barely audible with sleep.

Skinner turn his head around and said gently, “Yes, everything’s fine, go back to sleep,” and then he slipped outside the door, shutting it. He stood toe to toe with Mulder.

Mulder was speechless as Skinner half smiled at him.

“Well, Mulder,” he said running a hand over his head, “I guess I don’t have any special instructions. I’ll stay here and talk to Maggie a bit more, but like I said, I don’t think there’s much more for her to tell,” he added.

“So, you’ll be uh, you’ll be interrogating Maggie then?” Mulder replied carefully.

“That’s right,” Skinner replied, a dreamy smile playing on his lips.

“Fine, Sir, Scully and I will let you know what we discover.”

“All right then, you’re dismissed,” Skinner finished. Mulder turned and went back up the hallway. He didn’t look back as he heard the bedroom door click shut behind him.

Scully was still sitting at the dining room table and about to pour herself another cup of coffee.

“Well?” she asked as Mulder sat down and reached for the coffee pot.

“Skinner’s going to stay here and interrogate Maggie Flynn,” he replied a distracted look on his face.

“Interrogate her, were those his exact words?” Scully asked.

“No, that’s what I called it,” Mulder replied, “I’m sure that’s not what he’d call it…” he let the thought trail off.

Scully looked at Mulder, and then what he was getting at sunk in.

“Oh, Mulder,” she replied. “I don’t know if I should be happy or sad for him.”

“Well, I guess we should go into town and try to determine which is the correct way to feel,” Mulder replied.

Mulder and Scully pulled up in front of the little museum in downtown Crossroads and it was still too early for them to go in, so they waited in the Ford again.

“Maybe we should have stopped for a donut,” Mulder smiled slightly as Scully’s stomach made a growling noise.

“I cannot believe I am hungry again after the meal we had last night.” Scully said shaking her head. “I’m going to have to go on a diet when we get back.”

“I know what you mean,” Mulder said puffing his cheeks out like a chipmunk with a mouth full of seed.

Scully smiled at him.

“Scully, let’s try to kill two birds with one stone here. Why don’t you go over to the police station and take a look at that file and I’ll wait here for Henry Merritt to show up.” Mulder suggested.

“That sounds like a good idea,” Scully replied, “And I should ask at the police station about getting the paper analyzed as well. All right, if I get done before you, I’ll meet you back here.”

“And if not, I’ll meet you at the police station,” Mulder replied.

Scully, all business now, pulled open the passenger side door and left for the Crossroads cop shop.

Presently, Mulder saw an elderly man walk up to the museum door, unlock it and go in. He gave himself 5 more minutes and then he left the car and headed over to the museum, a look of concentration on his face.

The glass case with the standing stone exhibit was to the right of the museum door. Mulder stood in front of it, reading all the material that was posted on the wall plaques above the case. It seemed well researched, and told a concise history of the circle, and the fact that it had been there when the first settlers had colonized the area, and was thought to pre-date them by centuries. The information went on to describe the likely uses for the circle as being determination of the planting and harvesting schedules as well as pinpointing certain astronomical events which may have had religious or agricultural significance to early men in the area. ‘That’s all fairly run of the mill stuff,’ Mulder thought. There was no mention of runes or demons or human sacrifice at all. ‘Well, I guess there wouldn’t be – it might hurt the tourist trade,’ he mused wryly.

The model of the stone circle was very detailed and showed a talent for modeling that impressed Mulder. The tiny sign on the outside of the case said model by Kevin Boyce. As he was kneeling down to get a ground level view of the model, he noticed a pair of khaki clad legs suddenly standing next to him. He stood up and looked into the face of the thin elderly man who had opened the door, and he was staring at Mulder through thick wire rimmed glasses.

“So, I see you’re interested in our local mystery,” the man said smiling broadly, “Henry Merritt,” he added extending his hand.

“Fox Mulder,” Mulder replied. This was the point where he usually pulled out his FBI identification but something caused him to hesitate to do so.

“Nice to meet you, Fox, I’m the curator of this little tourist attraction,” Merritt replied, sweeping the room with his hand, “Can I answer any questions you might have about the exhibit?”

“Well, actually, uh, you could, Mr. Merritt,” Mulder replied.

“Hey, Henry will do, son, everyone calls me that around here.”

“Well, Henry, I do have some questions regarding the standing stones, do you have some time?” Mulder asked, smiling.

Merritt looked around the room and said, “Well, I don’t think there’s much of a crowd in here to keep me busy,” and then he laughed.

Mulder chuckled along with him.

“Listen, do you like jelly donuts?” Merritt asked.

“Strawberry filled?” Mulder asked.

“Yup,” Merritt asked.

“Love them,” Mulder answered

“Well, I was just about to have a jelly donut and some coffee in my office, if you’d care to join me I can probably answer just about any question you’d have regarding those stones,” Merritt offered.

Mulder munched on a fresh jelly donut as Merritt fished a clean cup out of his desk drawer, and poured coffee into it from the automatic coffee pot that sat on a small book case.

“Henry, this donut is excellent,” Mulder said, chewing.

“Isn’t it? The bakery in town makes them fresh every day. I can’t resist them myself, I don’t know what I’d do if I had a weight, problem,” he replied patting his flat stomach. He handed Mulder the cup of coffee.

“Now about those stones?” Mulder said.

“Yes, I was wondering if they had ever been carbon dated?” Mulder asked.

“Nope, the town wanted to do it, but Kevin Boyce wasn’t interested in having it done. The stones are on his property after all, so the town had to respect his wishes.” Merritt replied.

“That’s kind of strange, don’t you think, for a man that seemed to take such an interest in them?” Mulder asked.

“Well, yes, but I figured maybe he didn’t want a lot of university types traipsing all over his land. Kevin liked his privacy. He had to give a lot of it up running that little B&B outside of town, so I guess he hoarded what little he had left.” Merritt replied.

“You’re talking about him in the past tense, did he move away?” Mulder asked playing dumb.

“No, unfortunately, Kevin died about two years ago, fell off that friggin’ cliff in back of his house. God, I was so sorry for his poor wife,” Henry answered quietly.

Mulder hid his surprise rather well he thought, and he took a sip of his coffee and asked, “What about the use for the stones? Was there ever anything else that they may have been used for besides what’s written on those plaques?”

“You mean the info about the planting and harvesting?” Merritt asked.

“Yes,” Mulder answered.

Henry Merritt sat back in his chair and it creaked under him. He looked at Mulder for a moment and then he said, “Are you a superstitious man, Fox?”

“Superstitious, no, but I do have an open mind,” he replied.

“Well, an open mind will do nicely,” Merritt replied, and then he reached around and pulled a very old book from the glass fronted case behind him. “I’ve been getting these books ready for display,” he added, “But, you might want to take a look at this one.”

“What’s written out there in the exhibit is the official politically correct information for the tourist trade,” Merritt began, opening the thin, old volume and placing it on his desk, “ah, here’s the passage I’m looking for,” he said quietly and he slid the book over to Fox Mulder.

Dana Scully was sitting at a desk in the police station pouring over the case file for Kevin Boyce’s accidental death. Kevin may have drowned, would have probably drowned, if he had survived the fall from the cliff near the standing stones.

The inquest had decided that he had slipped and fallen into the sea, and either died from the fall, or drowned afterwards. His body had washed up far down shore several days later. Scully sucked in her breath in dismay. Maggie Flynn had said he had drowned. She hadn’t exactly lied outright, but she certainly had left out a lot of information regarding his death.

There were photos of the body in the file and there were large diagonal tears across Kevin’s chest. They could have been caused by the fall or the time the body had been under water. But Scully couldn’t be sure because the marks looked almost like claw marks, and also there was such an expression of terror on the dead face of Kevin Boyce that Scully shut the file, forgot about analyzing any paper, and got up quickly to go meet Mulder.

Mulder was reading the page in the book that Henry Merritt had given him. It was very old, in fact it was a diary of one of the first settler’s from the area. The passage described the standing stones and how they were a place to avoid, ‘let no man drive his cows over the spot, or they will cease to give milk, and whither and die,’ the diary said, and later, ‘if a man finds hisself near the spot and darkness falls, said man should fall upon his knees and beg the Lord, Our God for the salvation of his soul. Let all ye who settle here be warned, that the circle of stones is cursed and let all men know that it be called The Devil’s Crossroad.

Mulder looked up at Henry Merritt and said, “Well, I can see why this wasn’t put in the exhibit.”

Henry snorted loudly.

“Do you believe this, Henry?” Mulder asked no trace of sarcasm in his voice.

“Believe it?” Henry repeated, “Well, Fox, I’ve heard the stories about the stones for years. My Dad and my GrandDad used to tell them to me when I was young. They certainly believed them, and I know my father wouldn’t pass by there at night for all the money in the world.”

“The Devil’s Crossroad?” Mulder mused aloud.

“Yup, that’s what the old timers call it. Kevin Boyce was a local lad, I can’t figure out to this day why he took such an interest in that spot. After he and his wife bought that house and made it into the B&B he was really hepped up to turn those stones into a tourist attraction.”

“Did he succeed?”

“Oh yes, it worked at least until he died. His wife hasn’t kept up the land around the stones at all though, so I expect she doesn’t have as much interest in them, or she’s taken the stories to heart and abandoned the damn place,” Merritt replied.

“Henry, you seem to have done a lot of research on the stones,” Mulder stated.

“Yes, well, maybe that’s because I have a degree in philosophy and comparative religion. I teach a course on it over at the community college in Red Hook. Fox, I’ve been interested in the occult for years, black magic and demonology, and I’ve also always thought it’s good to understand your enemy.” Henry answered.

“So, you believe in the devil then?” Mulder asked quietly.

“Son, if you believe in God, then the devil is just a foregone conclusion,” Merritt answered.

And there may have been the crux of the problem for Mulder. He wasn’t sure he believed in God, and therefore, even though he had managed to convince himself that something demonic was going on in Crossroads, he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe it. In truth, despite his espousing of his theories to Scully, he was actually much closer to her usual reaction in this type of situation. He was skeptical. And the thought bothered him because he was beginning to think that a belief in God might be the thing that was necessary to get them out of this situation alive, sane, and with their souls still their own.

“Henry,” Mulder began, “Let’s suppose those standing stones are some type of nexus for evil, The Devils Crossroad if you will. Would someone be able to conjure up the devil there somehow?”

“They could probably try to conjure something up out there, if they knew the right rituals. But, well, the devil or as he’s also known – Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, or the Lord of the Flies – he isn’t the one most practitioners of black magic would want to conjure up. The cost is too high to bring a big gun like him over to this plane. He’d be too hard to bind. No, if I was going to conjure something up, I’d probably try for some lesser demon. There are so many of them, and they can do so many things for the summoner. You’d have a veritable smorgasbord to choose from.”

“Would one of those lesser demons be Saleos?” Mulder asked carefully.

“The duke of lust?” Merritt asked, “I see you’ve been doing a bit of research on the subject, Fox.”

“Yes, well, I’m sort of a student of the bizarre and unusual myself,” Mulder nodded grinning slightly.

Henry looked at him then and it was obvious the old fellow didn’t get to talk about his favorite subject with too many people, and the fact that Mulder seemed to be a kindred spirit made the old man warm to him even more.

“Well, Saleos is a particularly popular lesser demon. A sorcerer might conjure him up to inflame lust in his partner if he was worried the other person was straying away from him, or wasn’t quite completely enamored of him. If the ritual were done correctly, the magician’s partner would never want to leave, and their sex life would certainly be rather spectacular – at a price.

“What price?” Mulder asked.

“Well, Saleos demands human sacrifices, human souls, just like most of the other members of the infernal legions. The magician would have to supply them or else…”

“Or else what?” Mulder asked.

“Or else the demon would take the magician, and then because no one was binding him anymore, he could pretty much run rampant, gaining strength from the fornication of anyone he could influence,” Henry replied.

“Gaining in strength, for what?” Mulder asked, the hairs suddenly standing up on the back of his neck.

“Until he was strong enough to use someone to open the gates of hell and let his infernal brothers loose to wreck havoc on earth,” Merritt answered.

“Whoa!” Mulder exclaimed softly.

“Pretty gruesome hey?” Merritt replied, “Look, Fox, you don’t think someone is using the stone circle to perform magical rites do you?”

“Henry, I hope not,” Mulder answered seriously.

“Son, I’ve never seen any evidence of it, and I’ve been up there hundreds of times since I was a boy. Of course I always went with protection when I got older.”

“Protection?” Mulder asked.

“Yes, with this,” Merritt replied taking a crucifix and chain out from under his shirt.

“Oh,” Mulder replied, “Listen, Henry besides the cross, is there anything else that you can use to combat one of these demons.”

“Well, Fox the big thing that combats them is faith in God, and symbols, of that faith, like this cross. Also admitting they exists helps, because the devil operates best when people don’t believe in him. Also, you can protect yourself by taking refuge in a protective magic circle, or by using a base metal such as iron to ground the demon and send him back to hell.”

“Iron?” Mulder asked.

“Yes, but the iron works best when it’s used by someone with faith.”

Henry’s speech was interrupted by a bell tinkling at the front of the museum.

“Oh, it looks like we have some tourist company coming in,” Henry smiled as he got up.

“Fox, it’s been a real pleasure to talk to you. I guess you can tell I don’t get much of a chance to discuss this type of thing around here. My students at the college aren’t too interested in listening to an old man talk about God and the Devil.”

“It’s been my pleasure too, Henry,” Mulder said shaking his hand.

“Oh, and Fox, if there is something strange going on up there at the standing stones, be careful all right? And if I can help, let me know.”

“All right, Henry, thanks,” Mulder replied following him out into the museum proper. The bell at the door had been Scully coming in, and Mulder straightened instantly when he saw her, and smiled. Henry Merritt looked from Mulder to Scully and smiled too.

“Your wife?” he asked.

“No, uh, at least not yet,” Mulder replied. He was surprised he had said it, but it wasn’t something that sounded wrong to him at that moment.

Merritt chuckled and replied, “Well, good luck, son, I hope she says yes,” and he patted him on the shoulder and turned back towards his office.

Mulder ran his hands through his hair and walked to meet Scully. “Scully, we have to talk,” he said.

“You must have read my mind, Mulder,” Scully replied grimly, as Mulder ushered her through the museum door.

Back at the Bed and Breakfast, a black man’s blues guitar was playing somewhere nearby, and the man was singing “Didn’t nobody seem to know me everybody pass me by. Lord, I’m standing at the crossroads, babe, I believe I’m sinkin’ down”, as Skinner and Maggie Flynn were locked in each other’s embrace. Skinner was thrusting into her again, and again, and she was telling him to do it harder, and to never stop. In the back of his mind, Skinner realized it was impossible for him to have become erect again this quickly, and to stay hard for so long. And he knew that after they had used the second of the two condoms Maggie had found in her medicine cabinet, it was probably a bad idea to have unprotected sex. But the part of his brain that formulated those thoughts was rapidly shutting down under the endorphin rush that flooded his cerebral cortex. All that mattered at the moment was the fact that he could keep it up, and that she was loving it, and he moaned with pleasure as Maggie writhed beneath him. The black man wailed, “Mmmm, the sun goin’ down, boy, dark gon’ catch me here.”

Mulder wanted to take Scully down to the beach and walk with her while he told her what Henry Merritt had told him, and what he feared was happening. But, he knew the beach would be crowded with tourists, so instead he walked with her back to the Explorer.

“I can’t think of anywhere else where we can talk privately, I’m sorry,” he told her as they got in. His only concession was to leave the windows open a bit, so they could catch the breeze.

“Mulder, you go first, all right,” Scully said. “I just need to hear what you have to say first,” she said.

So, Mulder told her everything Henry Merritt had said, and Scully’s eyes got larger as he told her. When he was finished she replied.

“Mulder, the police report said Kevin Boyce fell from that cliff next to the standing stones, no one seemed to know if he was dead when he hit the water, so he may have drowned, but…”

“But what?” Mulder asked.

“But there were these huge slashes on his chest, Mulder. They could have been caused by the fall but, well, I wasn’t so sure. Mulder they looked like claw marks.” Scully said.

“Claws…” Mulder let the words trail away.

“And Mulder, his face! Normally in death people’s faces are slack, expressionless, almost featureless…” Scully began.

“Yeah, I know, so…” Mulder prompted.

“Well, Kevin Boyce’s face was frozen in some kind of rictus of horror, Mulder. He looked like he had been terrified by something and that look had never left his face.” Scully finished quietly.

Mulder looked at her and all his fears and suspicions coalesced at once into an ugly, black thought and he sighed deeply and looked out the windshield into space.

“Mulder?” Scully asked tentatively.

“Scully, I want to tell you what I think is going on now, and just let me ramble, all right? I’m half thinking it through as I tell you, and if you interrupt I might leave out something critical.” Mulder said.

“All right, go ahead,” Scully replied and shifted to look at his profile.

Mulder continued to stare through the front window, but he began to talk.

“Scully, let’s imagine that seven years ago, when Kevin and Maggie Boyce bought the B&B, that something was lurking in those standing stones. Maybe some formless evil, biding it’s time, waiting for just the right person to come along and give it a leg up into this world. Let’s suppose this evil was weak. But after this person, Kevin Boyce, came along and started to tend to the stones, and make them a tourist attraction, spending a lot of time, alone up there – the thing touched his mind somehow and started to influence him, to control him.

Scully didn’t interrupt and she stared fascinated despite her horror.

“Ok, so let’s say this evil being, a demon, influences Kevin to think that his loving wife, Maggie is seeing another man, or maybe that she still harbors love for a past old flame, and never really loved him in the first place, or who knows, maybe they’d been having marital problems anyway, and the thing just fed on that situation. I can’t be sure. At any rate, the old flame was Walter Skinner.” Mulder continued glancing at Scully. She remained mute so he plunged on.

“So the thing makes Kevin get interested in black magic and shows him the way to summon it. Kevin succeeds in bringing it into this plane, but also in binding it, which didn’t make it very happy. The thing grants his wish though, because by this time Kevin is desperate to have Maggie love him and stay with him, and this being the demon of lust, it was only too happy to have the two of them around for endless sexual amusement.”

“So, over the years the thing feasts on them and their emotions, it plays them like a piano, but one day it tells Kevin that he has to pay the price for his wish and the price is a human sacrifice. He says anyone will do, but Kevin can’t bring himself to do it so…”

“So, the demon killed him and threw him off the cliff to make it look like an accident?” Scully asked quietly.

“Yeah, that’s what I think,” Mulder replied.

“But what about Maggie?” Scully asked, so afraid to hear his answer.

“Scully,” Mulder said painfully, looking at her full on for the first time during his recitation, and taking one of her hands.

“That’s where the hard part comes in,” he said.

“Oh, no, Mulder,” Scully whispered.

“I think this demon, the demon Saleos, was set free after it killed Kevin. But, you saw the picture of it in the book, you know what it looks like. I think it knew it couldn’t walk safely among us in it’s real form, it’s probably still weakened form, weak from escaping the binding, and killing Kevin. So, it took Maggie Flynn, possessed her, and used her to house it until it was strong enough…”

“Oh my God, Mulder.” Scully said, and at first Mulder thought she was going to disagree with him. But then she said, “Mulder, Maggie told me Kevin used to beat her, that they had been having marital trouble for quite some time because he had caught her sending letters to Skinner.”

“When did she tell you that?” Mulder asked.

“When we were in the kitchen alone together those few times. She told me about the beatings just before she told me she was falling in love with Skinner.”

“Shit,” Mulder said.

“And Mulder, that night we were getting the coffee and pie, the night you kissed me again, I told Maggie I thought it was beautiful that she was in love with Skinner, and I told her that I was, that I was in love with you,” Scully whispered, turning white, “So now that thing knows about us,” she added, afraid.

“Well, Scully, I’m sure it would have found out eventually, because I think Skinner would have told Maggie anyway,” Mulder comforted her.

“God, Mulder this, this is so irrational.” Scully said.

“Scully, I know, but I think this demon lured Skinner here because Maggie knew him. And like I said before I think we were just the desert on the menu. I think it’s going to sacrifice Skinner, and then us, so it’s infernal buddies can take over mankind.” Mulder stated.

“Mulder, I can’t imagine that woman, I mean Maggie is so, so sweet and considerate and..”

“Scully, I think we’ve been allowed to see the real Maggie Flynn on occasion. I think the demon lets her out so that people won’t catch on that it’s inside her. Henry said that the devil operates best when people don’t believe in him, or don’t know he’s there,” Mulder explained.

“Oh, God, how horrible,” Scully put a hand over Mulder’s hand, “What can we do?” Scully asked.

“Well, I have a plan, but I have to ask you something first Scully,” Mulder said.

“What?” Scully asked.

Mulder reached forward and took the crucifix that was hanging at Scully’s neck into his fingers, “Scully, do you really believe?” he asked looking her in the eyes.

Scully blinked at him and then she replied, “Mulder, until recently, no. But after my illness, after the cancer went into remission. Mulder, I, I believe now. I lacked faith before, but I’ve found it again,” she said simply.

Mulder sighed, “Scully I told you once that I thought you had the strength of your beliefs, and it’s going to be very critical that you do now, because I don’t think I have enough faith, or belief in a higher power to get us through this mess,” Mulder stated matter-of-factly.

“Oh, Mulder,” Scully whispered touching his cheek.

“The only one I have faith in, the only one I’m certain I trust, is you, Scully,” Mulder told her.

Scully stroked his cheek with the back of her hand and then took the hand that was holding her cross and kissed it.

“Mulder, what do you want me to do?” Scully asked.

“All right,” Mulder replied setting his jaw. “First I think we need to try to get Skinner away from Maggie somehow. Maybe if I can get him alone, I can influence him somehow to leave Crossroads or.. I don’t know, something, I just hope he isn’t too far gone by now to talk too.”

“I hope not too,” Scully replied.

“But before we can try to rescue him I think we need to construct a protective magic circle. The Handbook of Ceremonial Magic gives detailed instruction on how to do it. We can get supplies at the local sporting good, and grocery stores.”

“Some shopping list,” Scully said, and Mulder smiled a bit.

“And then we have to ground the demon, and send it back to hell,” Mulder finished.

“How do we do that?” Scully asked, fear tingeing her voice.

“Well, Henry said that a person with faith using a holy symbol could ward off or fight the demon, and then they could use something iron to ground the demon, bind it to the earth, and send it back to hell. I guess that’s where you come in, Scully.” Mulder said. “Someone with true faith has to ground the demon, and that’s got to be you, because I don’t think it can be me.”

“And where do you come in, Mulder?” Scully asked.

“I’m the bait,” Mulder replied.

Mulder and Scully went to a sporting goods store and Mulder bought a hunting knife. Then they went to the grocery store and bought 2 dozen containers of Morton’s salt, and three boxes of Crayola crayons (the stores entire supply), and a box of large kitchen matches. Mulder tried to find some long, tapered dinner candles but he couldn’t find any in the grocery store.

“I guess we’ll have to hope Maggie keeps a supply of candles at the house,” Mulder said. But as they were returning to the car Mulder saw a little candle shop and went in to purchase eight tall white candles.

“We’ll only need four, the others are for insurance,” he told Scully.

By this time it was late afternoon and Mulder and Scully were finally driving back to the B&B, determination in both their faces but fear in their hearts.

When they reached the end of the long driveway that led up to the B&B, Mulder stopped the car and pulled it over to the side.

“Scully, let’s get out and walk the rest of the way, I don’t want them to know we’re coming,” and they both exited the vehicle burdened with their supplies, and walked as quietly as they could up to the steps of the B&B.

Inside, in his room, Skinner lay on his back in bed, Maggie Flynn above him, riding him, and he was dimly aware that he was in pain. They had been coupling for hours, and he had come over, and over, and ejaculated into her so many times, he didn’t think there was anything left to shoot. His genitals were on fire, but he was still able to get it up, and just as he thought the pain would be too much, the pleasure would come again, and the images would enter his mind, and Maggie would be groaning how good he was, and he never wanted the ride to end.

Mulder and Scully entered the house and placed the bags with the supplies just inside the front door. Mulder instantly had his weapon out of his holster. Scully drew hers as well and both held them in front with both hands and swept the hallway. No one was there. Mulder drew close to Scully and said, “Go upstairs to your room and wait, I’m going to use your room to construct the circle in – it’s bigger than mine, and there’s no view of the stones from there.”

“What are you going to do, Mulder, I don’t want to leave you alone,” Scully whispered back.

“I’m just going to take a quick look around and try to find out where Skinner and Maggie are, all right, then I’m going to come up and draw the circle,” Mulder answered.

“All right, but, Mulder what about the iron?” Scully asked.

“Shit,” Mulder exclaimed, “how could I be so stupid,” he hit himself in the head, because he had forgotten probably the most important tool they would need.

Scully glanced around and off to the left into the parlor. “Mulder will that do?” she asked, pointing towards the fireplace.

“Yeah, excellent,” Mulder replied, touching her on the back, “See, I knew there was a reason I love you, you’ve got the brains, sweetheart,” he added in his best Bogart imitation.

Scully smiled weakly as Mulder snuck into the parlor and removed the sharp cast iron poker from it’s hanger by the fireplace, handed it to Scully, and gave her a little nudge towards the stairs.

“I’ll bring the rest of the stuff with me,” he whispered indicating the bags by the door.

“All right, I’m going,” she whispered, “But Mulder, be careful,” she added as she turned and crept up to the third floor.

Mulder checked the dining room, kitchen, and back porch, and then he walked down the hallway towards Skinner’s room. Mulder had all ready had a pretty good idea where Skinner and Maggie were, and that’s why he had sent Scully upstairs.

He took off his shoes at the bend in the hallway, and then his socks as well so that he wouldn’t slip on the wood floor, and he flattened himself against the wall on the same side as Skinner’s door and slide down it, his weapon at the ready.

As soon as he was just at the other side of Skinner’s door he heard the sounds, and there was no doubt that they were in there, and what they were doing.

‘Oh, God,’ Mulder thought, ‘maybe we’re too late all ready,’ and he backed off down the hallway on his way to join Scully upstairs.

He approached Scully’s room, carrying the grocery bags, and since the door was open he walked in. Scully was seated straddling the chair as far back from the door as possible, her gun in her hands propped against the chair’s back.

Mulder tried to raise his arms and she lowered her weapon, and he turned and fumbled the door shut.

“Did you find Skinner?” Scully asked in a more normal voice.

“I found them both,” Mulder answered, putting the grocery bags down on the bed.

“Mulder?” Scully asked, pressing him.

“They were in Skinner’s room, Scully, he’s in there banging her brains out,” Mulder replied bluntly, “and from the sound of things, they’ve been at it a long time.”

“Oh, no,” Scully replied.

“Well, we’d better get going because I think we need this circle constructed and then we need to try to get him out of there,” Mulder advised.

They had to move some of the furniture around, but not much, luckily, because it was hard to do it quietly. Mulder began to pour the Morton’s salt in a large circle on the wood floor of the room. He made a big outer circle and then a smaller inner circle, leaving a space between the outer and inner one. There were four squares attached around the circle corresponding to the points of the compass. Next, Mulder melted some wax from the candles into the squares and then he stuck a candle in each pool of wax so that they stood upright. He lit the candles. He took the boxes of Crayola crayons and took out all the red crayons, and started to write arcane symbols around the perimeter between the edges of the circle, and then in each of the four squares below each candle.

During all these preparations Scully kept watch, standing, facing the door, her gun drawn. Finally Mulder stepped back and said, “Almost done, Scully.”

She turned and looked at him, “What’s left?” she asked.

“The blood,” he replied.

“Blood, what blood?” she asked in alarm.

Mulder took the hunting knife out of this suit coat pocket and replied, “My blood,” and he drew the blade across his left palm with one swift stroke.

“Mulder!” Scully almost screamed in shock, only clamping her own hand over her mouth stopped her from giving them away.

The blood gushed from Mulder’s palm and he quickly swung his hand around the perimeter of the outer circle, so that blood dripped into the salt around it’s entire circumference.

“I’m sorry I had to do it that way, Scully, without warning you, because, well, I was afraid you’d try to stop me,” he said, strain on his face as he squeezed his hand to keep the blood flowing.

“And you would have been right, Mulder,” Scully said angrily, but she softened quickly as she saw the pain on his face, “Here, let me rip off part of a pillow case so I can bind that up,” she said.

Once Mulder’s hand was bandaged there was no more waiting. “Scully, I want you to give me your weapon,” Mulder said. Scully complied without hesitation. He popped out the clip, and seated on the bed, removed the bullets from it. Then he took the hunting knife and marked the nose of each bullet with a tiny cross. He repeated the process with his ammo clip and then he loaded both weapons again, and handed them to Scully, “For insurance,” he said looking her in the eyes.

“But Mulder, you’ll be unarmed,” Scully said sitting down next to him on the bed.

“Yeah, well, I don’t want to take a chance that I might use the gun against you, and I plan to be running back up here anyway,” he smiled at her gently, “Now Scully, I want you to take the guns and the poker and get into the middle of that circle. Don’t step on the lines or knock any of the candles down, though. That’s really important, don’t even so much as smudge any of the lines, no matter what happens.”

“Got it,” she replied, all business.

“I’m going to go downstairs and try to lure Maggie up here and I hope I can. I’ll be coming at a dead run, and hopefully ahead of her. When I get back up here I’m going to jump into the circle with you. And look, Scully, ah, you’re going to have to shoot her,” Mulder said quietly.

“Oh, no, Mulder, I can’t,” Scully argued.

“You’ll have too, aim for some non-vital areas if you can, but shoot her, and incapacitate her. The bullets should have enough trace iron to start the binding process, and I’m hoping the little crosses will help. Once she looks subdued, and not until that point, I want you to come out of the circle and take the poker and..”

“What?” Scully asked, beyond thinking.

“You have to drive it through her somewhere and pin her to the floorboards. Do you think you’re strong enough to do that Scully? You’re a doctor, I figured you might be able to do it without actually killing her.”

Scully just looked at him blankly, as if she wasn’t there anymore, and Mulder, in fear, shook her by the shoulders violently, “Scully are you strong enough to do that?” he hissed at her through clenched teeth.

She came back to herself instantly, and a look of calm determination came into her face, “Yes, Mulder, I’m strong enough,” she said with conviction. And Mulder let go of his breath.

“All right,” he replied, “Now look, if anyone comes up here besides me, or even if I come back up here alone and you’re not sure, well, you’re not sure I’m really me, shoot first and ask questions later, ok?” he told her.

“Not yourself?” Scully asked.

“Yeah, I’m thinking old Saleos may try to do some body hopping if he knows things are getting tough. So stay sharp,” he finished.

“Don’t worry about that, Mulder,” she replied, stiff lipped. “Just make sure you run like you’re going for Olympic Gold – leave the rest up to me,” Scully added.

“Yes, ma’am Agent Scully,” he replied with a smile. “Now, go get in the circle.”

Before Scully got up, she leaned over and kissed him on the lips. “For luck,” she said and then she got up and gingerly stepping over the circle’s blood and salt rim, sat down in the middle with her weapons and poker ready.

Mulder moved to leave and Scully watched his back, straight and set with purpose. He turned just before he reached the door and said, “And Scully…”

“Yes, Mulder?”

“Pray,” he advised her as opened the door and left the room.

As Mulder stood in the hallway he crossed his fingers in front of him and thought, ‘I hope that book was right and that all this stuff works. I don’t much like thinking that I’ll have to assume the position in hell instead of Skinner’s office from now on,” and he headed for the stairs.

Downstairs, while Mulder was constructing the magic circle, Skinner was staring up at Maggie Flynn as he pumped into her, and he knew for sure that something was drastically wrong. “Maggie, please, babe, I, I can’t keep this up any longer, Maggie it hurts,” he cried dismally through his pain and exhaustion. Maggie opened her eyes and looking down at Skinner replied in a guttural, rasping, evil voice, “It hurts? Walter, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” and the Maggie-thing stopped meeting his thrusts, and Skinner looked up into her face, horror taking possession of him, as he looked into her eyes, her bile yellow and snake pupiled eyes, and as he opened his mouth to scream, her forked tongue flicked out and she said, “Rides over, Walter,” And Skinner opened his mouth and wailed in mortal terror.

Mulder was at the top of the landing to the bottom floor, when he heard Skinner scream. It was an animal sound of terror, and it chilled him to the bone. He yelled back up the stairs to Scully, “Scully, no matter what happens, stay in the circle!” and then he ran down the stairs and down the hall towards Skinner’s room. He slowed as he reached the bend in the hallway and then he slid sideways along the wall again until he was near Skinner’s door.

A voice greeted him and the sound of it sent a cold pain right into his bowels. “So nice of you to join us, Foxxxx,” it hissed and the door swung open on it’s hinges.

Mulder stepped around the open door and looked into the room. What he saw there was something he would have given his right arm never to have seen, and his other arm never to see again.

Skinner was kneeling in front of his naked lover, back to the door, and he was also naked, and bleeding from scores of scratches on his back. The blood ran in rivulets and dripped onto the floor. Maggie had a livid bruise that ran from her left eye, a bile yellow eye with a snake pupil, down her cheek. Skinner was sobbing and he said, “Please, please don’t make me do that to her again. I don’t want to hurt her,” and Mulder was enraged to see him begging like that, on his knees, after he had been made to hurt the woman he loved.

“Maggie is in here, Fox…” the thing said as if it read his mind, and it flicked it’s forked tongue, and suddenly it’s eyes were blue and pain filled, and it was Maggie Flynn.

“Oh God, help Walter, please, Fox…” was all she had time to say before the eyes changed again and the beast was back.

“You bastard,” Mulder spat out at the thing, and it laughed. Skinner was making a mewling noise in his throat, and the creature bent forward and slapped him hard in the forehead. Skinner’s whole head rocked back.

“Walter, shut the fuck up, you’re distracting me,” the creature said. Skinner was instantly silent and he bent over farther into a tight ball.

“Now, Fox, I want you to see just what being a bastard really means,” the thing said, and suddenly Mulder felt the tendrils of another’s mind, another’s will, touching his own and he gasped in pain, but then in pleasure. It was the most intense sexual pleasure he had ever felt and he knew he would become erect, and then the images started to come. A small portion of his mind had expected to see Scully then, but she wasn’t there. Instead he was in his parent’s house, in Chilmark, in the living room and his sister, his sister Samantha was there and she, and he was…” Mulder yelled with fear and revulsion at what the demon was making him see and feel and…

Upstairs, Scully heard him scream, and she knew it was Mulder, and she clutched her cross, and she prayed…

And the demon thing shrieked in fright, and released the cringing Mulder who did not hesitate to turn on his heels and run.

He ran, and the Maggie thing recovered, and leaving Skinner to curl up into a fetal position on the wooden floor below, ran after Mulder up the flights of stairs as he sought Scully’s room, and the safety of the circle.

Mulder was far enough ahead that he reached the room first, ran through the door and vaulted into the circle in a perfect leap to land next to Scully. “Get ready,” he had just enough time to say, before they heard Maggie’s footsteps in the hall outside.

As Scully raised the first gun, the steps stopped just outside the door.

“Knock, knock..” the demon voice said.

Mulder looked at Scully, and she shrugged her shoulders, and swung the gun up and aimed it at the center of the door.

“Look, I have a proposition for both of you,” the demon said, “I wouldn’t shoot if I were you Dana, because if you do, I’m going to kill Walter Skinner faster than you can say, FB fucking I, all right?”

Scully pulled her weapon up and Mulder said, “No, Scully!”

Maggie poked just her head around the door’s edge and said, “Mulder, your partner’s a hell of a lot brighter than you, so why don’t you listen up for a minute while I tell you my idea?”

Maggie’s eyes widened at seeing the circle, “Welly, welly, well,” it said. “Maybe you’re brighter than I thought, G-man. I know, you know, that I can’t touch or influence either one of you while you’re in there, so why don’t you hear me out?” the Maggie thing asked.

Mulder looked at her with his eyes narrowed. He was afraid to agree, but if it would save Skinner’s life, he guessed he could take a chance at listening to the thing’s proposition.

“All right, come in, but not any farther than the bed. Sit down there and tell us what you have to say.” Mulder sneered.

“Fine,” Maggie replied, and she came in, docile, and sat on the bed. The thing’s tongue flicked in and out a couple of times, and it’s snake eye’s nicitating membranes blinked and Scully moved closer to Mulder as she got a first glimpse of what was riding shotgun in Maggie Flynn’s body.

“Here’s the deal, Fox,” she began, “I have to admit you two have been very good opponents. It’s been a long time since I’ve had two such worthy adversaries. I really hate for the game to end – in a way,”

“Yeah, well, fuck you,” Mulder spat out viciously.

“All in good time, Fox,” the thing giggled, “but in the meantime, I’d like to offer you a deal.”

“Go on,” Mulder said.

“I’d like to leave you and your lady friend alone in your safe little nest here for the couple of hours of light that are left outside. You’ll be perfectly safe and you can rest and martial your strength.” Maggie said.

“And…” Mulder prompted.

“And, because I’m not a complete asshole, I’m going to give you a sporting chance to get Walter back,” it said.

“How?” Scully asked.

“Well, let’s just say, Dana, that Fox knows there’s something else that can be done with your little circle to make it, and you, even more powerful. And Dana, once it’s done I want you both to come up to the standing stones and we’ll all go at it, mano a mano so to speak.”

“Oh, sure..” Mulder started.

“I’m serious,” the demon said, affronted. “Look, we lie a lot of the time, Fox, but we also get really bored. The two of you are the most fun I’ve had in years, so I’ve decided to tell you the truth, and cut you a break, ok?”

“Thanks a lot…” Scully said.

“You should thank me, Dana, it’s not everyone that gets this opportunity. Kevin didn’t, and Maggie didn’t, and neither did Walter. And, goodness, neither did old Robert Johnson, and the thing began to whistle the blues tune, the lyrics to which were all too familiar to them.

“Nice touch, hey?,” the demon said, “Personally, I thought it was rather poetic. Well, anyway, the lyrics and the runes, and oh my, that phone call, they all certainly worked to get you up here, didn’t they?” the thing chuckled thickly.

“So we’re supposed to make the circle and ourselves more powerful, wait until dark and then go up to those standing stones and duke it out with you?” Mulder asked.

“Right, Fox, that’s about the long and the short of it. But, you know what, I’m betting that you won’t be able to do it, and so I’ll win anyway. I’ll have Skinner, and you, and the lovely Ms. Dana Scully to do with as I please,” the Maggie thing smiled, showing two rows of very sharp teeth. And with those parting words Maggie got up and walked towards the door.

“Well, maybe Walter and I will see you two later,” the thing said, “but right now I have to go down and play with him some more. I think we’re going to Play Doctor next,” it said, and then Maggie headed off down the hallway.

Both Mulder and Scully slumped against each other. Scully put her gun down on the floor next to it’s twin, and the poker.

“Mulder, if we both hadn’t seen that thing, I would think I was going insane,” Scully whispered running a hand across her forehead. She had found a rubber band somewhere, Mulder noticed, and had tied her hair back in a pony tail.

Mulder looked at her and reached his hand out to touch her face. It was the bandaged hand, and the sudden movement caused it to hurt, and he winced.

“Mulder, let me see that,” Scully said, all Doctor, as she took his hand and examined the dressing.

“What did that thing mean when it said we could do something else to make the circle stronger? Why wouldn’t you want to do it, Mulder? What’s left to make us stronger so we can get that thing?” she asked as she re-wrapped his hand.

“Scully, we have to consecrate the circle,” he answered stiffly.

“Consecrate, what do you mean?” she asked looking up at him.

“We have to have sex in it,” he said flatly.

“What?” she breathed out at him.

“We have to…”

“Ok, I heard you the first time,” she said.

“Scully, I…oh for crying out loud. I didn’t even want to think about that. I wanted our first time together to be something special, not something like this,” he replied miserably gesturing to encompass the room. “This is awful,” he added not looking at her.

“But is that thing right by saying that if we do have sex we’ll be more powerful and maybe have a chance against it?” Scully asked.

“Oh, yeah, it’s not lying about that point, Scully. It’s just playing the odds though. It must think it knows me fairly well by

now,” Mulder replied quietly.

“Mulder, look at me,” Scully said. He did. “I want you to make love to me,” Scully stated flatly.

“Scully,” Mulder replied awkwardly, “please, I, I don’t know if I can.”

“Oh…” Scully answered in a small voice.

“Yeah, well, contrary to popular belief, a man isn’t always ready to spring to attention at a moments notice, you know, and certainly not under less than ideal conditions,” he sighed, embarrassed.

Scully was sitting very close to him and she put her head on his shoulder. “Mulder, that’s all right. I’m sorry. This is really terrible. I know what you mean. I had a totally different idea of what it would be like for us the first time too. Would you like me to tell you about it?” she asked, her blue eyes wide and guileless.”

“Oh, uh, sure,” Mulder replied. Scully pulled even closer and she began to whisper in his ear, and the things she said were very romantic, and then they were extremely erotic and then…

Mulder felt a familiar sensation flooding his genitals and he said, “Scully, I, I think I’m getting the idea.”

She stopped whispering and then she started to lick his ear and nibble at his ear lobe. Mulder smiled and turned to her, “Now I definitely have the idea,” he said, and he met her mouth with his.

They only stripped from the waist down, because they didn’t want to waste any more time, and they didn’t know where to pile all the clothing anyway. Mulder unbuttoned Scully’s tailored suit coat and blouse because, well, he just had to see her, and touch her warm flesh, and Scully’s hands shook as she loosened his tie, and unbuttoned his coat and shirt. There was some foreplay, not as much as they would have liked, but enough, and Scully was very wet and ready, and Mulder pulled her into his lap, his erection bobbing between them.

“Scully, he breathed against her ear, I, we have to do it this way, because I’m afraid of smudging the circle, all right, is this ok?” he asked her.

She clung to him, and shifted closer, “It’s wonderful, Mulder, you’re wonderful, she said.

“Scully, just…I’ll hold you,” Mulder was whispering, and she reached between them and guided his cock between her legs.

Scully had to shift up slightly and then he was in her, and she pressed herself as close to him as she could, and her legs straddled his hips. He thrust into her slowly, and gently, and she rocked in his lap and the sensations were exquisite. Their bodies moved together, skin against skin. Scully’s nipples rubbed against the buttons of her blouse, and the buttons of his dress shirt, and the gentle tickling made her moan. She held tightly to his waist, and then moved her hands up his back. Mulder reached around and supported her ass as he picked up the speed of his thrusts. She met his rhythm and she reached down with one hand to rub and stroke herself until emotion overtook her and she couldn’t keep it up. She groaned, “God, Mulder, you feel so good,” and she had to hold on to him again. Mulder moved a hand between their legs and took over stroking her, and Scully bit his lower lip lightly and moaned into his mouth.

When she started to come it was long, and slow and it built and built, and Mulder thrust into her hard, and fast, and she exploded in ecstasy, calling his name, and her love for him over, and over. He felt her tighten around him and he almost lost all thought as he pumped into her, all his concentration focused on the last inches of his cock as he exploded into her, filling her, as well as spilling his seed onto the floor, in the circle, and the consecration was complete.

Mulder sagged against her, “OhMyGodILoveYouOh,Scully..Dana…you’re so beautiful,” he gasped against her hair. “I swear, I’ll make this up to you, I’m so sorry,” he whispered, still inside her. Scully moved against him, and even though he wasn’t hard anymore, the feeling was so sensual, and loving that he gasped again, and she smiled.

“Mulder, you have nothing to apologize for,” she said gently, “Making love with you was beautiful, and having you inside me, connected to me, it was, well, nothing else matters, all right,” she sighed.

Mulder looked into her face and touched her lips with a finger and then he bent forward and kissed her again. He didn’t want to let her go, didn’t want to separate from her, but he could look past her out the window, towards the sea, and he saw that the sun was setting.

Scully looked into his eyes, and then she reached down and ran her hand between their thighs, and she brought her fingers up and tasted him, tasted his semen. Her eyes closed and Mulder felt tiny electric shocks move from inside her, up his penis and into his entire body. It was power, the raw power of their love, and the magic circle, and for the first time, Mulder believed, and he had hope that they would be able to stand against the darkness.

Finally, it was Scully that reluctantly broke their connection. She pulled away from him and, picking up their guns, and the fire place poker, she stood up and moved towards the edge of the circle.

“Scully, remember, don’t break the line,” Mulder said.

“Right,” she answered stepping gingerly over the salt and blood. She left her tailored pants, and underwear in the circle and instead walked over and pulled out her jeans, and a clean pair of underwear from her garment bag. She hesitated a moment, the underwear in her hands, looking down at her thighs at the remnants of Mulder that glistened there, and she smiled, and pulled the underwear on, and then her jeans.

As Scully sat on the bed putting on her socks and sneakers, Mulder quietly stepped out of the circle and went across the hall. He still felt the snapping of electricity in his body, and he didn’t feel tired from his union with Scully at all. In fact, he felt invigorated, and he quickly got his jeans and underwear, and pulled them on, and threw his suit coat onto the bed. ‘Car keys’, he thought and he grabbed them from his suit coat pocket. He stuffed them into his side jeans pocket and then got his ID and put that into his back pocket as well. He carried his socks and sneakers back into Scully’s room and sat down on the bed to don them as well.

Scully was just throwing off her tailored jacket, placing her ID in her jeans and then jamming both guns into the jeans waistband behind her back.

“How fast can you draw those things, pardner?” Mulder asked.

“Fast enough, slim,” she said and then she picked up the poker, “Can you carry this for now, I want to keep my hands free.”

“Good idea,” Mulder replied, “Are you ready?” he asked.

“As ready as I’ll ever be to go head to head with a soul sucking spawn from hell, I guess,” Scully quipped.

“My kind of woman,” Mulder answered and they headed out the door to meet their fate.

A quick check of Skinner’s room told them both that no one was home. The room was a shambles, with blood spattered on the floor and bed sheets.

“Good Lord,” Scully said.

“Does it look like he’s lost too much blood?” Mulder asked.

“Not if it’s from two people,” Scully whispered.

“Come on, let’s go,” Mulder said, urgency in his voice. They left Skinner’s room and went back up the hall through the dining room and into the kitchen. Scully looked sadly back at the dining room table, scene of two happy meals when they had all thought that Maggie Flynn was a charming hostess, and Skinner had been paying court to her. The thought steeled her nerve and she followed Mulder out onto the back porch and into the backyard.

In the distance, in the dark, where they knew the stones lay, there was an eldritch glow.

“Well, I guess we won’t have trouble finding them in the dark,” Mulder said.

“Oh, Mulder, wait, Scully said, and she ran back inside, into the kitchen, and returned with a large industrial style flashlight.

“We’d better take this, Mulder, there’s a lot of ground to cover between here and those lights,” Scully stated.

“Are you sure you haven’t seen a few B-Horror movies?” Mulder asked.

“Not many, why?” Scully asked.

“Because they always forget to bring a flashlight along in them,” Mulder replied, walking into the weeds at the edge of the lawn.

Scully gave Mulder the flashlight, and he lit the way as they walked through the waist high weeds not bothering to hide that they were coming. There was really no advantage to surprise. The demon probably sensed they were coming after they left the magic circle.

When they reached the first of the standing stones Mulder realized they didn’t need the flashlight any longer because the glow in the area illuminated everything. He put it down and walked forward. The ground had been cleaned flat and no weeds surrounded the immediate area of the stones. Mulder and Scully walked out of the grass and into the flat area and stood, waiting to see what would happen next.

A low, hissing voice spoke, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” and then it laughed it’s guttural, inhuman laugh and said, “Greetings!” and they saw Maggie then. She was sitting cross legged, and still naked, on the top of one of the smaller stones. Skinner was at her feet below, on the ground kneeling face forward this time and Scully’s breath caught in her throat. He was covered with bruises and scratches, some of which were still bleeding. He was naked, and his eyes were blank and staring, and Scully thought absurdly of the old expression, the light’s on, but nobody’s home.

She hung back, her hand behind her on the butt of one of her guns. Mulder walked forward. On the ground in front of him, between them and Skinner was a smaller magic circle. Mulder looked down at it and he knew immediately that it wasn’t a circle of protection. It was a circle for summoning. Maggie had been busy while he and Scully had been up in Scully’s room, and now the final act of her labors was about to begin.

“So, I see you got it up for her,” Maggie said, “Well, a minor problem really,” she added, jumping down from the top of the stone and landing next to Skinner with a thump. It was obvious from her appearance that some of the blood in the room at the B&B belonged to Maggie Flynn as well. Skinner showed absolutely no awareness of her maneuver, or her presence, or even his own position. He just stared blankly and breathed in and out in ragged gasps, as Maggie touched his head and rubbed her hand across his scalp. Blood trickled down in the trail left by her fingers.

“Stop that,” Mulder shouted at her, swinging the fireplace poker back and forth, and the demon looked up through Maggie’s eyes and said, “Make me, bone bag.”

“Mulder, no, she’s just trying to goad you into making a mistake,” Scully said, and Mulder listened, and stood his ground.

“A point for Ms. Scully,” the demon said, and then she turned quickly and bent down to look into Skinner’s blank face. Suddenly, the thing was Maggie Flynn again and it said plaintively, “Walter, babe, please, help me, it was Mulder, Fox, did this to me. He beat me and then he raped me!” she cried real tears, “Walter, please, hurt him back,” she pleaded and with those words, Skinner came instantly awake, and with an animal scream of rage and pain, launched himself across the smaller magic circle at Mulder, tackling the younger man to the ground. The fireplace poker flew through the air and landed a few feet away.

“NO!” Scully had just enough time to yell, and then she grabbed the first gun, and planting her feet wide apart, she took aim to fire. But she didn’t have a clear shot, because Mulder and Skinner were rolling around on the ground next to the magic circle in a crude parody of a lover’s embrace.

Mulder was yelling at Scully, “Shoot her, shoot Maggie,” but Skinner had him around the neck, and he cut off Mulder’s words. Skinner was going to strangle him, Scully knew it, and as Mulder started to turn blue and go limp, she fired, hitting Skinner in the shoulder and the Assistant Director bellowed like a wounded beast and fell forward on top of Mulder.

The demon that was Maggie Flynn ran forward and jumped over the circle. She slapped Scully’s gun hand so hard, that the weapon flew through the air and off into the weeds. Then she hit Scully in the jaw and she went down with an oomph of air rushing out of her lungs.

Mulder was coming around then, and he crawled out from under the unconscious Skinner to crawl towards the fire poker. “Scully, shoot her, shoot her,” he kept yelling. But the demon had Scully by the blouse front and was pulling her up from the ground. Scully’s arms flailed about, and she managed to bring one around to her neck to grab the crucifix on it’s chain. She dragged it sideways and brought it into contact with Maggie’s wrist. The demon howled in pain, dropped Scully and fell to it’s knees. Scully was by it’s side, instantly, the second service automatic out and jammed against the side of Maggie’s head. And then she hesitated.

“Scully, pull the trigger,” Mulder yelled as he reached, and grabbed the poker. But Scully couldn’t do it. She looked down into Maggie’s face and all of a sudden, it was Maggie, and her crystal clear blue eyes were looking up into Scully’s. “Dana, I don’t have much time,” she said through cracked lips, “You have to believe – it, it will be all right for me, please, pull the trigger,” she begged in a choked voice.

“Maggie, I can’t,” Scully cried.

“Dana, you have no choice, and besides, I’m dead all ready,” Maggie replied and then she said, “Good bye, Walter, I love you,” and she reached over, and grabbing Scully’s hand, forced her to fire the gun. The shot was loud, and the bullet entered the left side of Maggie Flynn’s head and blew her brains out in a shower of blood. She fell sideways, and Scully heard Mulder say, “Scully, catch!” and she turned just in time to catch the poker that he had thrown through the air.” Incredibly, Maggie was still trying to move because even though her mind was gone, the demon was still trying to animate her body.

Scully screamed incoherently, with grief, and disgust, and lifting the iron poker high over her head, plunged it downwards through Maggie Flynn’s stomach, missing her backbone, as the poker drove into the ground beneath.

The demon wailed, and his voice was many legions strong, and there was a huge rush of displaced air, and Scully fell backwards as arcs of electricity shot up out of Maggie’s body, through the air everywhere. Mulder ran over and dragged Scully away from Maggie’s prostrate form over to where Skinner was lying. The electric fire continued to rise and Maggie’s body was completely incinerated in it’s heat. Some of the arcing bolts traveled all the way across the field to land on the roof of the Bed and Breakfast, igniting the paper wrapped shingles that still remained there. The fire spread and soon the house was engulfed and Mulder and Scully knelt beside the wounded Walter Skinner as the house burned.

“Scully, Scully,” Mulder shouted into her face as he shook her. “Skinner needs our help, do you have your cell phone?” he asked.

She looked at him bewildered, “No, Mulder I forgot mine.”

He felt his pockets desperately, no cell phone and then he thought, ‘Shit the one thing we forgot’ as he looked back towards the flaming house.

“Dana, Skinner needs your help now, he’s going to die if he doesn’t get medical attention, Dana!” Mulder shouted and she came back to herself.

“All right, move out of the way, Mulder,” and she bent down and expertly began to examine the extent of his injuries.

“Scully, I’m going to get the car,” Mulder said and just as he was getting up, and preparing to run for the Ford, headlights appeared coming across the weed choked field, and he stood up to flag down the Land Rover that was approaching. The car braked to a halt and out jumped Henry Merritt, as spry as a 21 year old, and he came running over.

“Fox, God, what happened? I had this horrible dream, and someone told me to wake up and drive over to the B&B as fast as I could because his daughter was in danger,” he said out of breath.

“Who told you?” Mulder asked.

“I don’t know some Naval officer. At least he had on Navy dress whites,” Henry said, his eyes bugging out at Scully, as she tended to the wounded Skinner. Mulder looked over at Scully to see if she had heard Henry’s remark but she hadn’t looked up from tending to Skinner.

“Fox, what the devil happened out here?” Henry asked again.

“The devil is probably the operable word, Henry,” Mulder replied and Henry set his mouth in a determined line and said, “Say no more Fox, it can wait till later, let’s get that man to the hospital,” and once Scully had the bleeding from the bullet wound under control, the three of them managed to get Skinner into the Land Rover and transported to the Crossroads Municipal Hospital.

In the hospital, Mulder, Scully and Henry Merritt sat in the waiting room while Skinner was in surgery. Mulder told Henry some of what had happened over the last few days, and he also told him that he and Scully, and Skinner worked for the FBI, and a little about the X-Files. But Mulder looked so exhausted, and shell shocked that Henry told him to explain the rest after he felt better.

Scully curled up next to Mulder on the couch in the waiting room, with her head in his lap and fell asleep. Henry looked at them together and told Mulder to put his head back and go to sleep as well. Henry would keep an eye out for the doctor. Mulder did, and soon he was snoring as Henry poured another cup of coffee from the complimentary dispenser on one of the waiting room tables.

The next thing Mulder knew, Henry was shaking him, and he and Scully both woke up.

“The doctor’s coming down the hall,” Henry said, and then he sat back down a little bit away from them, so that they could have some privacy when the doctor came in.

“Agent Mulder?” the doctor asked.

“Yes” Mulder replied.

“I’m Don Black, Agent Mulder, I’m the one that pulled the bullet out of Assistant Director Skinner,’ he said extending his hand. “First of all, let me tell you right away that he’s going to be all right, he’s in recovery now and he’s awake, and his vitals are good.”

Scully heaved a sigh of relief and Mulder took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

“And Agent Mulder, he’s asking to see you,” Dr. Black said.

“See me?” Mulder asked.

“Yes, he created a bit of fuss over the request as well, so I told him you could have a couple of minutes with him provided he calmed down and behaved himself,” the doctor smiled slightly.

“That sounds like the old Skinner,” Scully remarked, hope in her voice.

“Well, if you want to follow me, Agent Mulder, I’ll show you to ICU. And Agent Scully, if you don’t mind, I have some paperwork here that I would really appreciate having help in filling out.”

Scully sighed and said, “The story of my life,” but she gave Mulder a little push and said, “Go on, go see Skinner,” and Mulder headed off after the doctor towards ICU.

Skinner was in a cubicle hooked up to a dozen machines with tubes running everywhere. Pretty much a familiar site as far as Mulder was concerned. Mulder walked over and pulled up a chair to sit close to the bed. “Sir, it’s Mulder, I’m here,” he said and then impulsively he took Skinner’s hand in his and held it.

Skinner opened his eyes groggily and saw Mulder. He didn’t say anything put there was a slight pressure as he pressed Mulder’s hand. Then he struggled to speak.

“Mulder,” he croaked out, I… Maggie?” he asked.

“Sir, don’t talk now, all right, try to conserve your strength, you’re going to be ok, you just have to rest,” Mulder said. He had hoped that Skinner wouldn’t remember what had happened, but it was obvious he remembered something otherwise he wouldn’t be trying to ask about Maggie.

“Mulder, is she ok, did Maggie, did she come back?” he asked and Mulder’s heart fell down to his shoes. Mulder knew then with horrible clarity that all the time he and Scully had thought Skinner was staring blankly, out of his head, that he had been aware of most of what was going on, but under the demon’s control. The thought turned Mulder’s stomach, and he looked down because he couldn’t meet Skinner’s face to answer his question.

A low groan came from the bed and Mulder knew that looking down had been a mistake because it had only served to allow Skinner to guess correctly about the fate of Maggie Flynn. When Mulder looked up, Skinner was crying weakly and Mulder, sad beyond measure, took the older man into his embrace, and held him while he sobbed for his lost love.

Later, Mulder went back out into the waiting room and told Scully that Skinner was going to be ok. He didn’t want to tell her immediately about the scene with Skinner in the ICU. He figured that could wait until they were rested and less emotionally drained. It occurred to both of them simultaneously that neither of them had any fresh clothing or anywhere to go at that point, except for the Ford Explorer, and Mulder didn’t relish the idea of sleeping in the car. They also had to figure out a way to deal with the local authorities, and call the bureau to report what had happened in Crossroads, Maine, or at least the PC version of events.

Henry Merritt came up with the perfect solution. They could all go to his place. Mulder and Scully were welcome to spend the rest of the night, and sleep late in the morning if they liked. Henry even promised to supply some of the delicious jelly donuts at breakfast in exchange for Mulder telling him more about the X-Files. The whole subject intrigued him immensely, and Mulder sensed that the X-Files may have found an ally there in Maine.

So, the three of them drove over to Henry Merritt’s quaint Cape Cod style house. There had been a Mrs. Merritt they discovered, and her photo was lovingly displayed on the mantle piece. Henry showed Mulder and Scully to the guest room with it’s private bath, and then retired to his own bedroom upstairs. The house was cool and quiet, being installed with central air, and the first thing both Mulder and Scully did was take a long, hot shower.

Afterwards they gratefully climbed into the bed and pulled the sheets up around themselves. Mulder lay on his back and Scully snuggled close and he wrapped an arm protectively around her shoulders. Then, even though they were extremely weary, they began to touch each other, seeking to gain that intimate connection once again.

They made love in a slow and languid fashion. There was time to enjoy each other, and Mulder wanted to give Scully all the pleasure he felt had been denied her in that other house in Crossroads. He lingered over her body using his mouth and hands to tell her that she was the most wonderful woman in this world and any other, a Goddess, and the only women he would ever love. He didn’t care about his own wants or needs, all that mattered in that moment was Scully’s desire and his ability to bring her ecstasy. His pleasure was in the exploration of her body, the texture of her skin, her scent and her heat as she moaned and writhed beneath him. He worked her up to a fever pitch, and she held back, letting him bring her to the brink, but not over the edge, until she was almost beyond thought and reason. At last she was crying, begging him to enter her, to fill her again, to complete her and it was something he wanted more then anything in the universe as well, and he thrust into her, finding the comfort and loving protection of her inner self around him. They climaxed together, and even though it wasn’t for the first time, it was a special moment for them, in it’s affirmation that they were safe, and alive, and in love.

The next morning, Henry Merritt came downstairs early so that he could rustle up a hearty breakfast for his two guests. He had even pulled some old jeans and shirts out of his closet thinking they might look funny but they’d do until the two young people could find something better.

As he was passing the guest bedroom he noticed the door was open again, ‘Darn that thing,’ he thought, ‘I really have to fix those hinges,’ and he quietly approached and put his hand on the door handle to close the door. He couldn’t help looking inside the room, and he saw Mulder and Scully, spooned together, side by side under the covers, and he could tell that Mulder’s arm was wrapped protectively around Scully’s middle, holding her close. Henry smiled and shut the door, ‘What a nice couple they make,’ he thought and then, ‘now where did I put those jelly donuts?’


Skinner was released from the Crossroads hospital and transferred to DC to convalesce. The Bureau had him take a medical leave of absence through the rest of the summer and into early fall with mandatory counseling thrown in for good measure. He completed the counseling to his therapist’s satisfaction despite the fact that Skinner avoided telling him anything about demons, or runes, or what had really happened in Crossroads, Maine. Eventually he was released to do whatever he wanted for the rest of his medical leave.

Fox Mulder, basketball in hand, was getting ready to leave his apartment for one of his infrequent pick up games at a local gym with a bunch of the violent crimes section guys. He would have liked to have spent the Saturday with Scully, but she was off with her mother having a pleasant mother-daughter day of visiting some art galleries, and shopping. So Mulder had decided on the game as his second choice to occupy his time.

Just as he was getting ready to leave there was a knock at the door. He walked over and looked through the peep hole to see who was outside. To his amazement, Skinner stood in the hall way, in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. He looked rested, tanned and healthy. Mulder opened the door.

“Oh, Mulder, you are home,” Skinner said, blinking at him through his new glasses. Where he had managed to get identical spectacles to the one’s he’d lost in Maine, Mulder didn’t know.

“Yes, sir, come on in,” Mulder said.

Skinner entered the apartment, “Sorry to just drop in like this, but I wanted to talk to you. Do you have a couple of minutes?”

“Sure, I was going to play basketball, but I have plenty of time before I have to be there, is something wrong?” he asked concern in his voice.

“Oh, no, nothings wrong, Mulder,” he said, “I just wanted to talk that’s all.”

“Well, go on in and have a seat, would you like a soda?” Mulder had almost said beer, but that memory was a painful one even for him, so he decided it wouldn’t be wise to ask Skinner if he wanted one.

“No, that’s ok, I’m not thirsty,” he replied but he did walk into the other room and sat down on the couch. Mulder went over and sat down in the chair across from him, putting the basketball down on the floor between his feet.

“Mulder, I just, I just came by to thank you,” Skinner said clearing his throat. “I wanted to thank you for saving my life and for well, for trying to save Maggie’s,” he said quietly.

“Sir, I…” Mulder started.

“Mulder, I remember a lot of what happened, not all of it, there are still some gaps that the therapist said I have a 50-50 chance of filling in someday, probably with more therapy. But I just wanted you to know that I thought it took real guts to do what you did up there, and I am grateful.”

“Thank you Sir,” Mulder said simply.

“And, I’d like you to thank Agent Scully for me too,” Skinner said looking at him closely for the first time.

Mulder looked away and stared over at his fish tank.

“Mulder, I remember what went on between you and Scully up there. I know you love her, and I know she loves you. Fox, don’t ever stop loving her, all right. Take what you have and use it to it’s best advantage. I think you’ll find you’ll be a hell of a lot more powerful together then you ever were apart. And as for regulations, like I said, fuck ’em,” he coughed and said, “well, that’s all I wanted to say,” and he stood up to leave.

“Sir?” Mulder asked as Skinner turned to go.

“Do you play basketball?”

“Does a bear shit in the woods?” Skinner asked with a smile playing around his mouth, “Oh yeah, I play basketball.”

“All right, let’s see if you can put your money where your mouth is,” Mulder grinned, and the two of them walked out the door together into the bright fall sunshine.

“Did you really think that
you could call up the Devil and
ask him to behave?”
– Fox Mulder
’Die Hand Die Verletzt’



Not With A Whisper

NAME: frogdoggie




SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully revisit some familiar Wisconsin friends and then confront some familiar foes as well in this wide ranging X-File adventure. The story takes the Mulder-Scully relationship to one possible conclusion too. I am pushing the envelope a bit here so: FEEDBACK PLEASE!!! Comments, suggestions and healthy debate are always welcome. Flames? Flames are for roasting ’weenies’.

TIMESPAN/SPOILER WARNING: This story takes place in my own X-Files universe I guess. The events take place after my stories “Wisconsin Death Trip” and “Standin’ at the Crossroads. The story features many themes and plot elements from those stories. Slight spoiler for “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”. If you haven’t read either of my previous stories and would like to read them for reference, feel free to check out my X-Files story archive at: http://www.squidge.org/3wstop.

KEYWORDS: x-file romance angst Scully Mulder NC-17

DISCLAIMER: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner, Margaret Scully, Cancer Man and Melvin Frohike belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and 20th Century FOX Broadcasting. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made from their use.


NOT WITH A WHISPER by frogdoggie

Dana Scully breathed deeply in the hot, scented water of the bathtub. As she relaxed, she let all the tension of the last two weeks flow into the water around her.

‘God, this feels so much better’ she thought. A magnificent unwinding of all her muscles. The feeling of the steaming hot liquid, the sensation of floating, of being weightless, the fragrant bath oil, and last but certainly not least, the feeling of Fox Mulder’s lean and muscular body, propped against the tubs side, enfolding her in his loving embrace.

It had been a hellacious two weeks. The X-File they had been working on had caused them to argue, which wasn’t unusual, but the disagreements seemed particularly acrimonious, and it was only the start of the trouble. Skinner had called and requested that they put the case on hold temporarily so that Mulder could consult with the Violent Crimes Section on a serial killer profile. Scully had been asked to contribute some forensic assistance. They had had to fly to Philadelphia and the case had been horrible. The killer had raped and then murdered three pre-teen girls. Mulder had done the profile and she had performed autopsies on unfortunately, victim number four and then number five. The killer was caught within 48 hours of their contributing to the case, but Mulder had been moody, depressed and quiet afterwards. Scully’s nerves were shot after looking into the dead eyes of those two young girls – girls who would never see womanhood. And all that was only the first week.

Week number two brought the conclusion of the X-File with the invaluable assistance of Melvin Frohike. Scully had to admit that she could have kissed the grizzled little gnome for hacking into the database that exposed the whole case as a publicity stunt by a nationally known pharmaceutical company. That was on the Monday after they had gotten back from Philly. On Tuesday her mother had called and told her that her brother Bill and his wife’s baby was extremely ill and she was flying to San Diego to help. Scully had asked her if she wanted her to fly out as well, but her mother had told her to sit tight and she would find out if it was necessary. The baby had a serious viral infection and it had been touch and go. Scully had been on the phone to San Diego almost constantly for two days, but by Thursday night the baby was out of danger, and expected to make a complete recovery.

Mulder, God Bless him, and thrown off all his moodiness the minute Scully’s mother had called and had been supportive through the entire crisis. By Friday however, both Agents looked like two shell shocked war veterans, and Skinner had taken one look at them, and told them to leave before noon to get some rest. And so the weekend was upon them.

Mulder had gotten into the habit of spending the weekend at Scully’s apartment. He just seemed to prefer doing it. Gradually he had brought some of his things over, and now Scully always got a pleasant, soft feeling inside when she saw his jeans hanging on the back of her bedroom door. On Friday afternoon they had been forced, despite the luxury of leaving early, to bring some paperwork home. They had changed out of their work clothes, and then, there they were at her dining room table, heads bent over reports, and coffee pot at hand. Scully was comfortable in her old sweat shirt and sweat pants, but she was still tense and so tired that it was hard to concentrate. She kept pushing her glasses up to peer at what she was typing and writing, and signing. Mulder had on his glasses also, and a worn t-shirt and faded jeans and even though he was dressed comfortably as well, Scully could see the furrow in his brow. They slogged through the paperwork until 4 PM.

“Scully, how’s it going?” Mulder asked.

Scully sighed, taking off her glasses, “God, Mulder I can’t believe how many copies of these forms we have to fill out, it’s daunting,” she answered rubbing her temples.

“No kidding, I’m thinking of buying a big rubber stamp to use next time,” he replied smiling at her slightly.

“Well, if we keep at it maybe we can get it done, and then enjoy the rest of the evening,” she said hopefully. “I don’t have too much more to go.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s a good idea. I thought Chinese take-out tonight? How about you?”

“God, I’ve had a taste for egg rolls all day. That sounds wonderful.” Scully replied.

“Ok, with two you get egg roll – as soon as we plow through the rest of this crap,” Mulder agreed.

Scully was oblivious to almost everything as she worked to finish her almost completed reports. She was vaguely aware that Mulder had excused himself to use the bathroom at around 5 PM, but when he didn’t come back for quite some time, she looked over to his side of the table and raised an eyebrow.

“Hey, Scully, can you come here a sec?” Mulder called from down the hall. “I have something I think you should see.”

‘What the devil?’ Scully thought as she got up and walked towards the apartment’s bathroom.

The door was shut when she got down there, so she opened it and walked in. The bathroom was steaming. The lights were off but the entire room was glowing with candles and the tub was full of inviting, hot, scented water – as well as full of one hell of an inviting Agent Fox Mulder. Scully stood and stared, and then she burst out laughing.

“Oh, Mulder – you look like something out of a romance novel,” she gurgled helplessly, love in her eyes.

“Just call me Fabio,” he grinned. “Come on in, the waters fine.” And she did.

And the water was indeed fine. Now they lay together, and Scully rested against him quietly because the two weeks had obviously caught up with Mulder and he had fallen asleep against her, the tubs side and the rolled up towel underneath his back and neck. Scully could feel the gentle breeze from his sleeping breath and the slight nasal snoring that he sometimes suffered with when he was particularly exhausted. She couldn’t see his face, but she knew what he looked like – his head tilted back, hair tousled, long lashes closed and sensual lips parted slightly as he slumbered. She was content to let him rest, and to just enjoy the feel of him holding her in the protective comfort of his arms and legs for as long as she could.

Mulder had to leave for Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sunday afternoon. Months ago he had been invited by his friend in the Milwaukee bureau office, Janet Price, to deliver a paper at a meeting of The Whisper Group, the local paranormal investigative organization. At the time the idea had sounded interesting, but now with the rotten two weeks they had just been through, and the prospect of flying to Wisconsin in January, the trip seemed more chore than charming.

But, Mulder hadn’t wanted to disappoint Janet. She had been an invaluable aid in too many X-File cases for him to let her down. And besides, she was a friend, so he had gotten his notes together on the Clyde Bruckman case for the paper’s presentation.

So, with the prospect of his absence facing Scully, she wanted to have him with her for as long as she could tonight and over the next day – and as close as possible. ‘Yes, very close,’ she thought with a grin.

“Mulder?” she said quietly, “Mulder?”

“Hmmmm?” he answered.

“I’m starting to prune up.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry, I dozed off there,” she could hear the smile in his voice.

One graceful hand crept around her and up onto her breast.

“Doesn’t feel pruney to me.” Mulder chuckled.

“Well, you’re feeling the wrong one – see?” she said moving his hand over to her other breast.

“Oh, I see that Agent Scully, Well I guess we’d better get out of the water,” he replied with a chuckle, and slight shifting of his weight.

Scully moved forward to let him get up and climb out. She simply had to get a look at the sight. ‘God, that man’s ass never fails to make me warm all over,’ she thought as Mulder’s wet feet slapped on the tiled bathroom floor. He walked over to the towel rack, and grabbing a large plush towel began to dry himself off.

‘Now this is even better,’ Scully thought as she watched him run the towel over his arms, and chest, his waist, and down his legs. When he drew it between his legs and rubbed it against his sex, Scully felt her insides melt and her nipples harden at the sight.

She had a wicked thought then and she voiced it, “Mulder, do the Elvis thing,” she said, humor in her voice.

“Ah, Scully, come on..” he started to protest.

“Please?” she asked teasing him.

Mulder grabbed the towel, wound it up, and went into an Elvis karate move, snapping the towel so that it cracked loudly, and echoed in the confines of the bathroom.

“Happy now?” he pouted. But she knew he loved it because he could hardly maintain the pout as she suppressed a giggle.

“More than you could ever know,” she replied, quietly, suddenly touched.

He smiled at her then, extending his hand, and she got up out of the water, out of the tub, and walked into his arms. He toweled her dry and then taking her by the hand, lead her into the bedroom.

“I take it the rest of the paperwork is going to wait?” she asked him playfully.

“And the egg rolls too, if you don’t mind,” Mulder replied grinning at her.

“Well, Agent Mulder, egg rolls aren’t the only thing I’ve had a taste for today,” Scully replied. ‘God he has, he has such bedroom eyes,’ she thought as Mulder pulled her down next to him on the bed.

The two weeks of gut wrenching tension, terror and turbulence were rapidly fading away as they fell into the natural rhythm that their lovemaking had become.

Mulder’s foreplay was quite possibly the most erotic experience that Scully had ever had in her life. She knew he had at one time had some doubts about his abilities as a lover. He’d confessed that to her during one of their first times in bed together. She had not hesitated to tell him that for her, that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The look on his face told her that he had been profoundly relieved to think he was able to bring her pleasure.

Now, as he worked between her legs with his mouth and tongue Scully moaned and entwined her fingers in his hair. She had never imagined that she could enjoy oral sex this much, but this man was an incredible master at it, and she had to admit it was a most phenomenal turn on. She came and it was a soft, slow orgasm, and tremendously sweet. Mulder liked to see her come. He held her and brought her to climax with his hands just so that he could watch her. He had told her once that when she came she looked like an angel, and she had blushed scarlet.

Mulder lay back and she propped herself up on his chest using her elbows. “Fox Mulder, you can suck like a vacuum cleaner, did you know that?” she asked.

“God, Scully!” he exclaimed laughing. She laughed too because it tickled her to know that she could embarrass him every once in a while.

“Yes, I can’t begin to tell you what that feels like,” she replied and then a thought leapt into her mind, ‘but I can show you.’

“Don’t move,” she told him.

“What?” he started to ask as she shifted down, and took his partially erect penis into her mouth.

“Jesus, Scully!” he gasped as she took him all in and then drew her mouth up from the base to the tip. She worked her tongue around the end of his penis and then took him in again…and again.

“Oh my…” she sucked, and teased his cock until he was as hard as a rock, and he finished the sentence with a groaning, “God.”

She removed her mouth then and looked up into his eyes. “See what I mean. Interesting isn’t it?”

He was breathing heavily and his penis was bobbing in front of her nose.

“Interesting isn’t quite the right word,” he managed to breathe out, shutting his eyes.

“Do you want me to keep this up?” she asked huskily. In the time they had been lovers, Scully had never brought him to climax in this manner, but now she wanted to see him derive as much pleasure from it as she did. She looked into his eyes and asked somewhat shyly, “Mulder, I, I’d like to make you come this way if you’d enjoy it.”

“Enjoy it?” he said his voice going up an octave. “Scully, my brains are going to explode out my ears,” he moaned.

“Well let’s see if we can get something else to explode, Agent Mulder.” she laughed, “Scoot down to the end of the bed and sit up.”

He did as instructed and she had all ready gotten up and knelt down between his legs. He braced himself by leaning back on his arms.

Scully looked up at him then and said, “Relax Mulder, you’re going to like this – I know I will,” and then she went down on him.

Mulder thought he had died and gone to heaven in that moment. Scully’s mouth sent electric bolts of lust up his cock in a trail along his spine and right into his cerebral cortex. All the little pleasure brain cells started to fire at once, and the indescribable endorphin rush traveled back down the same pathway to make his penis burn with the white hot heat of ecstasy. If Mulder could suck like a vacuum cleaner then Scully was more like the some kind of pneumatic suction device. Mulder was moaning incoherently in very short order, and he pumped his hips in time with what her lips, tongue, and teeth were doing to him.

“OH, JESUS, THIS IS, GOD THIS IS SO GOOD…” he couldn’t say anything else, and he just shut his eyes and concentrated on what was going on between his legs. Scully was teasing the head of his cock, bringing him up to the brink of orgasm, and then backing him off by squeezing him just behind the glans, and the seesaw effect caused him to collapse backwards so that he was lying flat on the bed. He arched up to meet her mouth again, and again, he moaned Scully’s name, his fists clenched, and then he felt his balls start to contract, and he knew he was going to come. He screamed out OH, CHRIST! as he thrust one last time into her mouth, and then he shot his warm flood of semen down her throat.

Scully had been watching him and enjoying every minute of his pleasure. Mulder seemed transported to some other place, his head thrown back, eyes closed and larynx working to swallow, and God, he was gasping so hard he sounded like he would hyperventilate. When he fell backwards she struggled to stay with him. He was arching his hips, and thrusting to meet her mouth, and groaning out her name. Finally she knew he was going to come, she could feel his whole body tense through his cock, so she knew what was going to happen next. The warm semen was something she had prepared herself for, and at that point there wasn’t much more she could do except swallow. The experience of swallowing part of him was odd at first but then very erotic for her. She took it all in as he pumped weakly into her mouth, and as he struggled to sit up, she released his penis. Mulder drew her up into his arms.

Then he collapsed backwards again, taking her down next to him on the bed. His breath came in ragged gasps, but there was an ear to ear grin on his face as he looked into her eyes.

“You realize, Scully that I’m doing the rest of your paperwork for you tonight,” he wheezed out.

“And buying the egg rolls?” she replied.

“If you’re still hungry,” he teased, taking his hand and wiping her chin. He couldn’t believe she had swallowed his ejaculation.

“Mulder!” she slapped him on the stomach, suddenly embarrassed, but laughing despite herself.

“Hey you can have one from Column A and one from Column B for all I care, Scully! God, I’m not even going to ask you where you learned to, to…”

“Give head?”

“Jesus, Scully, Yeah,” he replied flushing even more deeply.

“Mulder you must remember at times like this – I AM a Doctor,” she replied stroking his thigh.

“Dr. Feelgood,” he grinned running his hand down her cheek.

‘God I love this man,” she thought, ‘in every corner of my heart and soul,’ Not only could he send her to another world in bed, but he was so warm and fun to be with before, during, and after, that she could hardly believe it. The serious, self obsessed, intense man that Mulder was most of the time seemed to disappear every now and then, especially here in her apartment, and in her bed, and she was glad that this little corner of her world helped to light some of his darkness. He might go back to being Spooky Mulder once he hit the door to the J. Edgar Hoover Building, but here with her he was just Mulder, (never Fox, of course), her partner, her soulmate, and lover, and that was all, and it was wonderful.

“Scully, are you all right though?” he was asking. “I mean, do you need anything else?”

Scully considered his question, but she really was content. The hot relaxing bath, her slow sweet orgasm under his mouth and hands, and then the wonderful experience of her man enjoying everything she could give him had been enough for her.

“Yes, Mulder, I’m starving, I could really use those egg rolls, and some pork fried rice, I think,” she said planting a kiss on his forehead.

“Me too. Ok, coming right up, Doc,” he answered reaching for his cell phone on the night stand.

The rest of the weekend stretched ahead. Mulder had done the small remainder of her paperwork as promised so they had spent Saturday together, sleeping in, and then lounging in the apartment in their jeans and bare feet, without the intrusion of the JOB. There had been one phone call from Skinner to tell Mulder that the Philly PD had recommended them both for a commendation for their help in solving the string of murders there. Despite his self-depreciating comments over the phone to Skinner, Scully could tell Mulder was flattered that for once old Spooky Mulder’s efforts had been considered worthy of an award.

Mulder’s relationship with Skinner had changed subtly since the horrors of the X-File case in Crossroads, Maine. Skinner was still Mulder’s superior, but he also struggled to be his friend. It was hard for Skinner to balance the intrigue of the bureau and the darker forces that swirled around him with his gratitude towards Mulder for saving his life. There were still a lot of issues between the two men, but one of them was not Mulder’s relationship with Scully. Skinner knew about it, and after his one bit of advice to Mulder to never stop loving her, and to use their love as a strength in their partnership, he had never mentioned it again. Scully believed that he was operating under the don’t ask, don’t tell policy in order to protect them more than himself and she was grateful. She hoped that someday Skinner would find someone like his lost love Maggie Flynn, so that the man could find some modicum of happiness.

After Skinner’s phone call on Saturday, Mulder was so full of himself that Scully had to laugh. He was seldom so confident and pleased with his violent crime work and Scully was relieved for once to see him strut a bit.

They decided to go shopping. Well, Scully dragged Mulder shopping while she desperately tried to find one or two new tailored suits for work. He was like most men in that department. He put up with the trip through the boutiques and shops and she finally lost him to a computer software store. They debated taking in a movie but opted for an early dinner out instead, and rental of a video. Scully voted to rent Room with a View and Mulder picked Them! a movie he had probably seen a zillion times but Scully had never dreamed of watching. He said he wanted to get her reaction to it. They ended up renting both. Then they had driven home, tired but happy, and Mulder had helped her to carry her packages into the apartment.

Mulder and Scully were snuggled in front of the TV, popcorn bowl in Mulder’s lap. Them had been better then Scully had thought it would be. Not Mulder’s usual grade B-schlock horror film at all. She thought it was a little bit of 50s paranoia about the A-bomb, and it’s giant ant mutants, mixed with an interesting blend of unexpected women’s liberation with the central role of the female entomologist. Mulder told her he was hoping she would think the movie was classic 50s SF and she told him she had to agree.

They had just finished watching Room With A View which Mulder said he enjoyed more then he thought he would too, when the phone rang. It was Scully’s mother calling to let her know that Bill’s baby had improved so much the child would more than likely be released from the hospital on Monday and that she was coming home on Monday afternoon. When Scully answered the phone Margaret Scully had heard Mulder talking in the background briefly at first and asked, “Is that Fox, Dana?” Much to Scully’s guilt and chagrin, she answered “Yes, he just stopped by to drop off some case files. We never did finish all of our paperwork on Friday,” she lied.

Scully was terribly guilty because she had not been able to say anything to her mother yet about her relationship with Mulder. She didn’t know why she hadn’t told her. It seemed totally irrational. But she had a sneaking suspicion it had something to do with her Catholic upbringing as well as the fact that her older brother Bill, now the head of the family since her Father’s death, was increasingly involved in her mother’s life.

Bill had an intense dislike for Mulder. Scully could remember only too well the knock down drag out fight regarding her partner she and Bill had after Emily’s death. It seemed so long ago, but the memory was still fresh and painful. Bill had accused her of sleeping with Mulder then, and he made it sound as if it was something improper and dirty. There had been no sexual relationship with Mulder at that point, but Scully’s feelings were finally becoming plain to her even then, and she had actually slapped her brother across the face when he made the accusation. They were still attempting to heal the rift after the many months, so Scully wasn’t sure what the reaction of her family would be to finding out that she was actually bringing Mulder into her bed. Sometimes she wished Missy were still alive. Missy, her wonderful free spirit of a sister. She had said to her once “God, Dana, why don’t you just ball his brains out and get it over with, I would!”

Scully exchanged further pleasantries with her mother, told her to give her love to Bill, his wife, and a big kiss to the baby, she would see her when she got back, and then she hung up the phone with a sigh.

Mulder watched as she put down the phone. He had turned off the TV and VCR while she had been talking and now he put the popcorn bowl down on the coffee table. Scully leaned against him and he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and drew her close.

“You know, Scully, you’re going to have to say something to your Mother soon. I, I don’t like to think we’re sneaking around behind her back. Crap, I know that sounds juvenile, but you know what I mean,” Mulder said quietly. He had a great respect for Margaret Scully and thought he was doing her a huge disservice in this situation.

“Oh, Lord, I know Mulder. But, well, it’s just so hard for me. It’s that Catholic upbringing thing again. I feel so guilty. I’ve made a new commitment to my faith and here I am lying about us to my mother. I feel awful. It does seem adolescent. And of course, there’s Bill.”

Mulder sighed, “Yeah, he really still hates me doesn’t he?”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly say hate Mulder. But he doesn’t trust you and he just feels you’re not a suitable associate for his little sister. I suppose I’ll always be that to him, you know. He can be such a prick sometimes,” she replied against his chest.

“You mean he doesn’t trust my intentions?” Mulder asked.

“Well, that’s part of it. He just thinks you’re too dangerous all the way around, Mulder. I know he’s concerned for my health and safety. God, he’s always hated my work with the FBI anyway and the X-Files, well, that subject is just beyond comprehension for him. Just like Dad, he would have preferred I took the safe route and become a practicing physician – even a coroner would have been better then an FBI Agent in his eyes. He’s such an old fashioned conservative shmuck about the whole thing that I can barely stand it at times.”

“Yeah, but I don’t like the idea that I’m coming between you and the rest of your family, Scully, I…”

“Mulder, look, don’t take the guilt onto your shoulders, all right. It’s not your fault and it’s not something for you to deal with. It’s an issue I have to deal with, and I know I should do it soon.”

“But maybe I should approach Bill, try to make amends, I don’t know, talk to him somehow.”

“God, no Mulder. That would go over like a lead balloon. I need to get to Bill through Mom. I need to talk to my mother…” Scully sighed. “Damn, this is so complicated.”

“Yeah, I’m beginning to get that idea – loud and clear,” Mulder said pulling away from her slightly.

“Mulder, please, don’t shut me out,” she whispered, touching his chin, “and repeat after me – I am not responsible for Bill Scully being an asshole, and this situation is not my fault.”

“He really thinks I’m dangerous, huh?” Mulder looked into her eyes.

Scully looked down and away then, reddening slightly, “Mulder, it’s, it’s not important what Bill feels, it’s important what we….”

“Not important? Scully, come on, how can you say that for God’s sake? Of course it’s important, the guy may be insufferable but he is your brother. He’s family, I mean it’s a blood bond. Scully, you shouldn’t ever overlook the importance of family, it’s ….” Mulder’s voice faded off suddenly.

Scully looked up into Mulder’s eyes, and she saw again the guilt in his haunted look. She saw the self flagellation that he was always willing to put himself through. She saw the pain over his sister Samantha, and his father, and his mother. She knew that pain was always just within reach in all his thoughts. But Scully also saw the emotion that was paramount in Mulder’s mind – the one that superseded all others – the need to know. The search for the truth. She knew it would be hard to deny him the truth of her brother’s vituperation – but she hesitated to tell him of the disapproval. He always hurt so much. She wanted to protect him just this once – out of love, and compassion, and maybe she thought with chagrin, for her own peace of mind.

“Mulder, I know, but, let’s just drop the subject, please, all right?” she whispered staring at him nervously. The look on his face told her instantly that this had been totally the wrong approach.

“God damn you,” Mulder spat at her, “You’d think that after all this time, after what we mean to each other now – I mean Scully how can you let me into your head like you do when I, when we’re making love, and then when I ask you a simple question like this you close up like, like the fucking vault at Fort Knox!”

Scully’s head jerked up. She was mad now herself. “God damn me? Well, let me tell you Agent Mulder – you have more then enough God damning on your shoulders to more than suit both of us don’t you? Why do you think I don’t want to tell you what Bill said, for crying out loud? I don’t want you to suffer any more. I’m tired of seeing you put yourself through a fucking self flagellation. I’m sick to death of seeing you hurt, you stupid bast…” Scully stopped, horrified at her own words, as she watched Mulder gulp and struggle for control.

Mulder’s mouth snapped shut and he stared at her in amazement. Emotions surged across his face. He took a deep breath and Scully saw the expression there she knew would come, and dreaded – the guilt.

“Scully, I’m sorry, it probably isn’t any of my business,” he replied quietly, rubbing a hand on the back of his neck, and looking away from her yet again.

‘This is it,’ Scully thought, ‘this is too much. All right, I’ve had it, fuck it,” she inwardly cursed. And then she told Mulder what Bill had said, and it came out in a rush.

“Mulder, Bill said you’re dangerous to my life, health and happiness. He accused you of seducing me long ago. He thinks you’re a miserable excuse for a human being for sleeping with me out of wedlock, as he so delicately put it. Besides being an utter cad, he thinks you’re nuts, a borderline psycho and….”

“Jesus, he said that? You never gave me an any idea he said all that,” Mulder’s jaw was incredibly tight and he looked at her again, shock on his face.

“Well, we had one hell of a fight about it, just, just after Emily,” Scully whispered. “And at that point for God’s sake, you weren’t, I mean we weren’t…” her voice trailed off.

Mulder looked down at his hands then and he folded them together tightly between his knees. His whole body was tense under Scully’s gaze. She was instantly sorry for what she had said. Her much vaunted control had slipped for just a moment, and she realized now that her wish to avoid hurting him had failed miserably. ‘Oh Mother Mary, help me salvage this,’ she thought desperately. ‘He doesn’t deserve this.’

Scully touched his hands and said gently, “Oh God, I’m sorry Mulder. I shouldn’t have repeated…I didn’t mean to hurt you with any of Bill’s idiotic remarks.”

Mulder’s jaw muscles were very tight, and he stared at his hands as if they were the only important thing in the world at that moment.

Scully hastened to continue, touching him on the shoulder now, “Mulder, my brother has this instinct sometimes for ferreting out all the things in life he thinks are improprieties, and then lecturing and lecturing…oh I know he does it out of love for us all, and he feels such a responsibility for the family now that Dads gone, but Lord, Mulder, I wish he’d give it a rest.”

“I’ll second that,” Mulder finally replied, sagging slightly.

“I know, dear God, Mulder, please, I love you, I didn’t mean to let Bill’s remarks hurt you. I didn’t want to tell you – I tried not to tell you,” she was immensely flustered and close to tears.

Mulder sighed, “Look, it’s OK, Scully. Listen, I know, all right? I asked for it didn’t I?” he tried to muster a sheepish grin. “Hoisted on my own petard, I guess. But Scully, believe it or not, I do know I’m capable of damning myself. I just don’t admit it most of the time. Please bear with me though, OK. I’m trying to learn to change. And Scully, it’s been a hard couple of weeks. I know you’re hurting too. I think, I think we’re just stretched a little too tight at this point, right?”

“Oh, Mulder…” Scully replied quietly, touched as she saw him attempt to throw off his automatic will to blame himself for everything, and deal with the situation as best he could. She touched his face and then rubbed her hand along his arm.

“But Scully….uh, does what we’re doing, I mean, our relationship, is it really bothering you because of the religious, the Catholic thing?…Shit, what I’m trying to say is, maybe Bill’s right. Maybe I am compromising you by sleeping with you. I hate the idea that I’m making you feel guilty or confused over lying. It disturbs me to think about how that affects your faith,” Mulder said, a tone of misery still tingeing his voice. Scully’s faith was after all what had quite literally, pulled his nuts out of the flames of hell, in Crossroads, Maine.

“Oh God, Mulder,” Scully replied looking at his profile. “Please don’t ever think that, ever. I love you. I made a decision to be with you, I don’t regret it, I never could,” she replied stroking his hair.

Mulder still wouldn’t look at her so Scully gently reached over, and turned his head around to look into his face. She closed her eyes and brushed his lips with a kiss.

He yielded to the kiss, and started to finally unwind, his relaxation seemed almost complete, but then he started to talk around her mouth, “Well, there’s always one solution,” he said.

“What?” she asked.

“I could marry you, and make you an honest woman,” Mulder replied.

Scully gradually opened her blue eyes wide and stared over his nose into his hazel ones.

“Bad choice of words?” he asked, holding her gaze. His jaw muscles were clenching and unclenching anew.

‘OhboyOhboyOhboy,’ Scully thought, pulling her mouth away from his.


“Ok, bad choice of words,” Mulder sighed wistfully, breaking eye contact and looking at his hands again.

“No, no, God, Mulder, it wasn’t a bad choice of words, those were, those were…wonderful words,” Scully was stumbling all over herself. ‘Marriage?’ she thought, ‘For God’s sake. This is certainly out of left field. I never saw it coming. What a question. Talk about a 2 by 4 right between the eyes. Does he mean it? Oh God, look at his face, of course he means it, Oh Mother Mary…Am I ready for this step? Are we ready for this step? I just don’t know. I can’t even tell my mother I’m sleeping with him – married to him? Oh My Lord. What about the Bureau, the X-Files the…the…’ her mind was reeling.

“Wonderful, but?” Mulder asked looking at her again.

“Wonderful but, well, unexpected, Mulder – Good Lord! For crying out loud – can’t you do anything conventionally? I mean, where’s the ring, the candle light dinner, the violins? Why aren’t you on your knees?” Scully blustered, and then she broke into a radiant smile.

Mulder grinned at her. He got up and knelt in front of her, putting one hand over his heart and the other flamboyantly out to the side.

“Oh, no, please get up!” she was really laughing now, in tears, her earlier mood making her want to lose herself in laughter. Mulder was laughing as well.

“Dana Katherine Scully,” he choked, “Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

“Oh, for heavens sake,” Scully exclaimed. But then she tried to gain control of herself, because although Mulder was laughing, she could see the look in his eyes now as he calmed down, and it was very vulnerable.

Mulder got up and sat back down on the couch next to her.

“So, last chance to dance, Scully,” Mulder said, breathless. He searched her face and Scully noticed he was sucking on his lower lip, a sign that he was still nervous.

“Oh, Mulder,” Scully said, laying her head on his shoulder. “I love you so much, I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather spend the rest of my life with…”

“I hear the but word again in there somewhere,” Mulder replied.

“Well, I’m just not sure trying to please my brother, my mother, and the Catholic church is a good excuse for marriage,” Scully answered quietly.

“Excuse?” Mulder asked slightly affronted.

“Oh, you know what I mean, not an excuse – I mean it’s not a good foundation to start out on, that’s all,” Scully sat up and ran her hands through her hair, pushing it back behind her ears. She looked down at her lap, “I don’t want to go into marriage because I felt like I…we were forced to in order to please anyone else but us. For God’s sake that’s like, like…”

“A shotgun wedding?” Mulder asked grinning slightly.

“God, yes, and Bill’s holding the gun,” she answered. “And besides the family issues – For heaven’s sake, Mulder what about the Bureau? And our work on the X-files? and…” she let her voice trail off.

Mulder sighed. “Yeah, I guess I can see your point.”

“Mulder, besides the obvious occupational difficulties and, and the dangers all that implies – well, it’s just that I’ve begun only recently to realize a really basic fact about myself. The fact that I’ve lived most of my life pleasing others, never myself. I don’t want to do that again where we’re concerned, where our relationship or…marriage is concerned.”

“Am I included in there along with the rest of the others?” Mulder asked quietly.

“Sometimes,” she answered truthfully. “But take my word for it, not very often – anymore,” she looked up at him smiling slightly.

“Too easy to argue with, hey?” he asked, a bit of humor tingeing his voice.

Scully smiled, “You challenge me, Mulder, and I love a challenge.”

“So, is that a no, Scully?” he asked finally.

“Mulder, let’s call it a maybe, all right. Give me some time to think about it,” she tempered her words my stroking the side of his face. “I want to get my mother alone for a long talk when she gets back. You’ll be in Milwaukee – maybe I can get her to come for a visit. I need to be honest about this with her. When you get back, we, well we need to talk about some of the other obvious issues. But Mulder, I, I won’t make you wait long for an answer – ok?” she squinted at him a bit, and then she grinned at him from under her eyelashes, despite herself. She was almost inclined to throw caution to the wind, and just say yes, and to hell with all the rest.

Mulder caught the look and said, “Ah ha, see, watch out, the idea is growing on you, Scully.”

“Well, I have to admit, it’s an attractive proposal. God, proposal. I can’t believe this…” she let her voice trail off into helpless laughter again, waving a hand through the air for emphasis.

“You can’t believe it? – I thought I was going to swallow my tongue…” Mulder began.

“No, Mulder, don’t do that, I’d really hate it if you did that,” Scully managed to sound both suggestive and extremely tickled all at once.

“Oh, sure, drag me through the gutter, you wanton woman,” Mulder started to tickle her.

“Oh, no, Mulder, please, stop it, come on,” Scully was flinching and trying to keep his hands from her most sensitive spots.

“Uncle?” Mulder asked.

“Yes, Uncle, Uncle, damn it, Mulder,” she was helpless with laughter.

Mulder stopped tickling her and grabbed her in a bear hug, “Want some coffee?” he asked, “I could use some coffee.”

“Sure, that would be a great idea,” Scully struggled to regain her composure. She felt hot all over. ‘I wonder if this is what spontaneous combustion feels like,’ she thought errantly.

Mulder had gotten up and gone into the kitchen. She rose and followed him. He was measuring the coffee into it’s filter and his hands were shaking slightly. Scully felt an overwhelming surge of emotion almost take her breath away. Here was a man that not that long ago had been afraid to admit his feelings, wary of commitment of any kind, and frightened to death of seeing Scully endangered because of any involvement with him. Now, they had come full circle to completion, like the tattoo of the snake devouring itself that nestled in the flesh of her lower back. Scully realized that Mulder had offered her the most profound gift he had to give – his life and his love as her husband, and as the marriage ceremony would say – until death do us part. ‘And with Mulder, maybe even beyond death – forever,’ she thought, gazing lovingly at his restless hands.

She walked over and leaned into his back, her arms drawing around his waist in a hug. He spilled the coffee all over the counter. She laughed, “Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up.”

Scully released him, and moved about the kitchen getting the mugs, sugar and cream together. Mulder gathered his thoughts.

‘Well at least she didn’t reject me outright,’ he mused. ‘God, maybe she should. I am such a fucking geek. What a loser. No. Crap. Cancel the self-deprecation shit this time, come on, she’s receptive. I can tell she’s receptive. She just needs time. There’s hope here yet. I should just be patient. She’s honest. I can trust her for God’s sake. I know she won’t let me twist in the wind for long. Whew, I’m Christfully glad I got this over with – whatever her answer is going to be. I didn’t think I had the guts to pop the question. Guess I’m not such a jerk after all. Ha, not bad, for once, Mulder. Gee I wonder if I should think about a ring? Time for that later I guess,’ and he smiled as he thought of the possibility of Scully saying yes, and the look on her face when he finally did get conventional and gave her that ring. Gradually his hands ceased to shake and he ventured a tentative conversation with Scully again.

“Scully, uh, would you mind listening to some of the paper I’m going to present? I’ve got most of it down but I think there’s one or two parts I could really use your input on,” Mulder asked as he filled the coffee pot with water.

“Clyde Bruckman?” she asked.

“Yes, I decided the Whisper people might find him intriguing,” Mulder replied.

“That poor man,” Scully sighed remembering the unfortunate psychic. “Sure, I’d be happy to listen to it.”

“Thanks, I can use the rehearsal too,” he grinned as the coffee perked.

Later, after Scully added a few points to Mulder’s paper and Mulder had declared the work presentable at last, they tidied up the cups, coffee pot, and kitchen. Mulder used the bathroom, and then waved Scully past him as she went in to wash and brush her teeth.

Mulder went into the bedroom, and turned on the bedside lamp. He grabbed his duffel bag and hefted it onto the bed. “For once I don’t have the damn garment bag with all the G-man suits,’ he thought. At least out in Milwaukee he could dress casually. He was only going to be there through Wednesday morning – just enough time to say hello, deliver the paper, and blow out of the great place on a great lake. He was going to miss Scully, he thought, and he certainly would be anxious to get back and get her answer to his question, no matter what it might be. Whatever the outcome, they would deal with it.

Mulder placed the folder with the presentation in the top of his bag next to his extra gun, the one that went into the accompanying ankle holster. He wasn’t sure why he had packed the damn thing. He knew he would take it out tomorrow before he went to the airport and strap it on. Including the extra gun had been a formless feeling at the time. He’d just shrugged and thrown it in. He chalked it up to his natural, but advisable paranoia. He shrugged again, zipped up the duffel and placed it in the corner of Scully’s bedroom. As he was bending to set the bag down he heard Scully clear her throat. He turned around.

Scully was standing in the doorway to the bedroom and she was dressed in the most incredible piece of lingerie he had ever seen. It was black, and very little else. His eyes bugged out, and after his mouth hung slack for a few seconds Scully took pity on him and spoke.

“Like it?” she asked.

“Holy shit,” he breathed out, “Was this a recent purchase?” he asked, his pupils contracting to tiny little pin pricks.

“You carried the package inside yourself this afternoon,” she replied seductively.

“Well, I didn’t think that was a very heavy package, and now I can see why,” he grinned.

“I’m glad you like it, I just wanted to dress up a little tonight, you know, before your trip,” she was saying as she started to walk over to him, “Consider this a bon voyage present.”

Mulder actually found himself backing up until there was no where else to go, and he was standing against the side of the bed. His eyes widened as she sashayed across the room to confront him. She looked positively wicked and Mulder struggled to swallow.

“Why Agent Mulder, are you afraid of me?” Scully asked teasing as she stood in front of him.

“Afraid, ah, no – but you are one hell of a formidable women, Ms. Scully,” he answered finally swallowing audibly. ‘Whoa,’ he thought. Maybe I am a little afraid of her. She, she looks so strange, so hot, uh, a little un-Scully like here. But, my she is – stimulating,’ he chuckled trying to pass off his nervousness as she started to unzip his pants. He stepped out of his jeans, and then he pulled his t-shirt over his head. He was standing there in his boxers looking down into Scully’s eyes. ‘God, that little outfit is too much,’ he thought.

Scully looked up at him and her eyes were an electric blue, and wild in their passion. Her mouth was open slightly and she was breathing harder. A drop of sweat was on her upper lip. The total effect excited him strangely. A image came suddenly into his head. A disturbing image of Scully biting him on the back of the neck, holding him immobile, drawing his blood. The blood dribbled down his back. The image abruptly touched a side of him that he didn’t expect to see revealed, didn’t know he had. It was an unexpected violent side, a darkness, and he felt an urgent need to be frenzied, and rough in his lovemaking.

Scully studied his face, his eyes, and his body. She was picking up on his signals in an almost psychic way. Suddenly an image came into her mind. A disturbing image of Mulder biting her on the back of her neck, holding her immobile, drawing her blood. The blood dribbled down her back. The image made her gasp, and abruptly, she was all over him. She grabbed his boxers and actually tore them in her haste to pull them off. Mulder fell over onto the bed, backwards but struggled upright to catch her as she followed him.

Scully couldn’t grab, suck on, or stroke enough of him at once, and he was struggling with her, fighting her off, resisting her. The resistance sent a searing heat right between her legs. She was so excited from the battle that the feeling took her to the brink and then over it, and she had a crashing orgasm. As she came, her inner lubrication ran down her thighs.

Mulder tore Scully’s little black lingerie number right off her body, his nails scratching her as it ripped away. He flung it through the air and it fell on the floor in a crumpled heap. He wanted her naked as quickly as possible and all thoughts of gentleness were totally forgotten in his white hot lust. Scully groaned, and then arched her neck in delight as Mulder bent his head, and lapped at a bloody scratch near one of her taunt nipples.

Mulder knelt on the bed, holding her by the wrists in front of him for a moment, and Scully looked into his eyes. They weren’t hazel any longer, they were black, dark with his desire, two shadowed spots, two black holes, and tonight, Scully wanted to go over the event horizon, and right down into them both.

Mulder kissed her violently, crushing her mouth against his, taking her in, forcing her head back. She struggled against him now, and her twisting and turning made him achingly hard. Mulder flipped her around and held her arms tight against her sides so she couldn’t move. Scully tried to lever up to gain some advantage, but he was too strong. She ground her ass against his balls and cock. His hard on was crushed against their bodies, and he groaned loudly into her ear.

They were becoming slick with sweat from struggling, and Scully was so wet between her thighs, that she could barely feel the skin there any longer. Mulder bent his head to her neck and worked his mouth and teeth down from her ear to her shoulder. He reached a spot just next to the tip of her clavicle and then he sucked on the skin so hard that Scully thought she could hear every capillary in the area popping. She jerked her shoulder aside but he brought his arms up higher, holding her immobile. She bent her head forward and bit him on the arm. They hadn’t spoken an intelligent word until that point but then Mulder hissed, “Fuck…” and Scully arched back violently into his body and moaned, “Oh God Mulder, Please – Fuck Me, Pleaseeee!”

Mulder took one arm away from gripping her shoulders, and putting his hand on the back of her neck threw her forward into the mattress, onto her knees and forearms. He grabbed her around the waist with the same arm, and using his other hand parted the folds of her cunt and rammed into her, hard, fast and deep.

Scully cried out, but not in pain. His violent thrust met her lust perfectly, and the pleasure was almost too much for her to bear. They were both crying out now, words that neither one of them would ever dream of saying to each other under their normal, gentle lovemaking. These were words to match the darkness, the violent ecstasy of this unexpected, and obscene, animalistic act.

Mulder continued to drive into her, both hands on either side of her hips now, drawing her to him. Scully didn’t need to be drawn, she was eagerly meeting his cock, struggling to brace herself, back up on her hands and knees now, against the mattress. She didn’t want him to ever stop, and she didn’t want to come, she just wanted to feel him pounding into her, groaning her name, and the things he wanted to do to her. “Harder, OHMYGOD, don’t stop, please don’t stop!” she screamed.

Mulder was gone. He was focused on his penis and that was all. Focused on the sensation of ramming into her, of Scully’s tightness and wetness and his plunging into the darkness, her darkness and his darkness. He was going down, down somewhere, to a place he had never been with Scully, down where it was black, into a hidden erotic, dark city. He sought another dimension, a sybaritic metropolis of carnality he never new existed and wasn’t sure he wanted to know was there, even now. But he was searching for it, and he was vaguely aware that Scully was screaming at him, and it was distracting him from the trip. So, he slowed his thrusting and was greeted with a mewling sound of protest from the kneeling body of his lover. Mulder draped his body over Scully, his cock still hard and buried inside her up to the hilt.

“You don’t want me to stop?” he hissed into her ear.

“You bastard…” she wheezed, breathing hard below him.

“What?” he asked quietly right next to her ear. Scully could just look sideways into his profile. His eyes were closed, face flushed, and his full lips were parted in erotic abandon. He looked feral, and his appearance took her to another level, a higher plane of near orgasmic delirium. She felt her body tighten around his cock. He grunted in time to her spasm.

“I don’t want you to stop…” she whispered, breathless.

“Then beg me not to,” he said. And she did without hesitation.

Mulder listened to her words for what seemed like an eternity. Scully pleaded, and he held so still, and his breath came in labored gasps. Once he moaned in a strange whining manner. Then finally when she thought she couldn’t stand it any longer, Mulder spoke, and his curt command which should have disgusted, angered, and frightened her sent her instead into a red hot, searing heat.

“Shut the fuck up, you bitch,” Mulder snapped, and Scully groaned in torrid ecstasy.

Scully was indeed somewhere else herself by this time. The only thing she could feel was her cunt, and his cock and both were on fire.

Mulder rose up from leaning over her body, gripped her waist tightly, drew out and then pulled back. Then, without any further warning, he thrust into her so hard that she thought he would split her in two.

Scully cried out in surprise, and then she shrieked because she was coming again. A burst of blinding light flashed in her head. The orgasm was quite unexpected, and quite phenomenal, and she knew her body was squeezing Mulder’s cock like a vice grip. Mulder howled, pumping into her violently twice more and then he came, ejaculating into her. She felt his warm semen filling her, and then running down her thighs. He screamed to God, and then he collapsed sideways, blacking out.

Scully fell over in front of him and he slid out of her, wetly. She rolled over onto her stomach, and pushed him onto his back. He was really out of it, his head lolling to the side. He was breathing hard, and his eyes lids were fluttering.

“Mulder,” she prodded him, “Oh Christ, Mulder!” Scully shook him and he started to come round.

“Scully? What the…Jesus..are, are you all right?” he asked groggily, concern on his face.

“God, Mulder I should be the one asking you that question,” she gasped, touching his chest and then his neck, feeling for his pulse.

He took her hand and kissed it. “Scully, My, God, What? What…Dana are you all right?” he asked again still dazed.

“Mulder, please, I’m fine…” she whispered. ‘God, what had come over them?’ she wondered. “Are YOU all right?” she asked, concerned. He wasn’t quite focused and it was scaring her.

“I’m, I’m ok, I think. I, Christ, I blacked out,” he ran his hand over his face. “Ha, uh, well, I guess, I hardly, Scully, I don’t know what to say…” he let his voice fade. It was obvious to Scully from the brief look she had gotten into his haunted eyes, that Mulder was mortified at what had just taken place between them. She looked at the arm that he had flung abruptly across his face. There was a bloody bite mark on it.

“Oh my God, Mulder! Your arm!” she exclaimed, “Dear God, is that where – I mean – I bit you! I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize I’d been so rough.”

“YOU were rough? Shit, Scully,” Mulder replied quietly sitting up and hugging his legs to his chest. “What the fuck was I thinking,” he added dismally. He felt like his balls were rapidly shrinking and seeking a safe haven up in his groin somewhere.

“I’m going to get some alcohol and gauze, I’ll be right back,” she said as she got up off the bed. Mulder watched her leave. He could see the bruises all ready forming on her waist and backside. He cringed.

Mulder was totally at a loss for his behavior. He couldn’t imagine what had caused him to do what he had done to Scully. And the horrible part of the whole thing was that he had a vague, rapidly disappearing, feeling that he had enjoyed it.

Scully came back into the room with the disinfectant, cotton, gauze, tape and scissors. Placing the alcohol on the night stand, she took his arm and gently began to clean away the blood using the cotton swabs. ‘The bite isn’t too deep, thank God,” she thought, “but still….”

“Scully, I’m sorry,” Mulder said.

“YOU’RE sorry?” she looked into his sad eyes. “Look at what I did to your arm.”

“It doesn’t hurt very much,” he said as she finished bandaging it.

“Well, I just hope it doesn’t get infected. Human bites can be extremely…” she whispered, laying the tape, and scissors on the night stand.

“Scully, I know,” he said touching her hair. She was shaking.

“Here, you’re getting cold,” he said and he pulled the covers back and gently maneuvered her under them and then himself in beside her. He stretched one arm out and turned off the bedside lamp. Mulder held her close, and they were face to face in the darkness.

“Mulder, what was..?” she started to ask in a small voice. She was almost afraid to ask. She had hurt him and she hated to admit it, but she had a half remembered sensation that she had enjoyed doing it. Their frenzy had been unbelievably pleasurable and even now her body buzzed with the memory of his and her own roughness.

“I thinking?” he replied guiltily.

“I was going to say, what was I thinking?” she sighed.

“Scully, I don’t have an explanation, I just want to tell you I never meant for that to happen.”

“Mulder, I think I enjoyed it,” Scully interrupted him.

“What?” he asked as if he hadn’t heard her correctly.

“I think, God, I, I can’t believe it, but I think I enjoyed it.”

“Really? Shit,” Mulder replied. “I felt like I might have liked it too.”

She put a finger to his lips and when she drew it away she could just make out the stain in the darkness. There was blood on his bottom lip. “Listen, Mulder, let, let’s just forget this all right, chalk it up to hormones, or the stress of the past two weeks, or that damn piece of lingerie I bought…or whatever. Let’s just go to sleep and forget about it,” Scully said, fatigue and the need to forget dragging her down into sleep’s embrace.

“Yeah, Scully, yeah,” Mulder yawned, he was suddenly tremendously exhausted and he snuggled against Scully as she turned over onto her other side. He spooned closely against her and put one arm around her waist.

“I love you,” Mulder breathed into her hair, as he drifted towards sleep. “Dana, I’m, I’m so sorry,” he whispered.

“It’s all right, and I love you too – Fox,” she replied kissing his arm.

Later Mulder’s bladder woke him, and he went to the bathroom to relieve himself. On the way back to the bedroom he thought he heard something in the living room. He considered going back for his weapon and then chided himself for being a bit too paranoid as he listened to the seemingly random, insignificant sound. He also debated waking Scully, thought better of it, and moved to shut the bedroom door as he crept out into the apartment. Cold winter darkness met him there. There was no moon to send light in through the windows. The street light in front of Scully’s apartment was burned out. A quick sweep of the area told him there was no one in the rest of the apartment. Then he heard it again, an aimless scratching. It was coming from outside the front windows. He walked over and drew the curtain back. He was just in time to see a large dog running off across the street, through the dark. He jumped. “Crap,” he hissed, startled. Then he chuckled as he glimpsed the dog’s tail as it fled behind the apartment building across the street, “God, someone’s going to be missing one huge mutt in the morning,” he mused and then he went back to bed.

Across the street, and behind the other apartment near a dumpster, the huge red-furred shape stopped and crouched down. One large human like hand came up and pulled a tape recorder out of it’s mouth. He exhaled a cloud of steam into the cold night air. Setting the device down on the cement, the creature fumbled around with the bugging device it was also carrying and then crushed it accidentally between it’s powerful taloned fingers.

“Shit…” the wolf thing cursed gutturally as it tossed the useless piece of electronics up into the dumpster. ‘I’d better watch it with the recorder,’ he thought as he carefully depressed the off button. “Success!” he growled as the tape stopped running.

“Oh, man, you’re going to love this you butt puffing bastard,” the thing hissed as he tucked the recorder under one massive arm. He glanced back around the dumpster in the direction of the apartment opposite. He knew the asshole FBI guy was watching him. He could feel it. He chuckled at what he had just made the skinny creep and his little women do. It had been easy to follow them around town during their little shopping expedition that afternoon. And equally easy to make the mind link that allowed him to influence them later. The only thing that hadn’t been easy was listening to him fuck her brains out tonight. “Yeah, how come he got some, and I’m stuck out here with a major case of blue balls?” he snarled. Such was the lot of the subservient wolf – even if he was an enforcer. “Cocksucker,” he rumbled running his long pink tongue around his feral lips. Then he lifted his leg and urinated copiously on the side of the dumpster. “Welcome to the jungle, Agent Mulder,” he said and then he turned, and rising onto two legs, loped off into the shadows.

Scully pulled her car up in front of the departure terminal at Dulles airport to drop Mulder off for his flight to Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. They had got up that morning and neither of them had mentioned what had happened the night before. In truth, Scully could barely remember what had transpired. The events had seemed almost like a dream. If it hadn’t been for her bruises, and Mulder’s arm she would have thought it had been a dream – a brutal, aberrant nightmare.

She could tell that Mulder was still deeply upset about hurting her, and he had gone out of his way to show his care and love by touching her tenderly every chance he got all morning long. She bore him no blame. His arm was testament enough to her participation in their sadistic sexual gymnastics. The whole incident was better forgotten for now. She’d consider talking to him about it when he got back from Milwaukee – maybe. ‘God, I’ll have a lot to discuss with him when he gets back,’ she thought sighing. Mulder had gotten out and she popped the tailgate. He was getting his duffel bag out of the trunk as she got out and walked back to him.

“Be careful out there, Mulder, don’t eat too much kielbasa,” she said as he hefted the duffel’s strap over his shoulder.

“Hey, I hate that stuff,” he grinned back at her boyishly. Her heart did a back flip, because he looked so handsome in his LL Bean foul weather gear, jeans, and hiking boots.

“Well, at least you won’t have to smell the alewives this time,” she smiled. Then she stepped forward and hugged him hard around the middle. He dropped the duffel and threw his arms around her shoulders.

“God, I’m going to miss you, Scully,” he said.

“Well, it’s only for a couple of days, I’ll see you Wednesday,” she told him. “And, Mulder. I am going to talk to my Mother while you’re gone. I’ll, I’ll…”

“I know, Scully, don’t worry about it, all right. Say hello to your Mom for me,” he was grinning again as he picked up his duffel bag. He turned and went into the terminal. Scully watched him go, and then she got back into her car, and pulled away from the curb, heading for home.

Across the city, in a glass fronted, concrete and steel, sterile, office building, a man dressed in conservative black sat behind a desk in an office on the top floor. He picked up another Morley, lit it and sucked the acrid smoke deep into his lungs. As he exhaled, he pushed the button on the cassette recorder again, and then used the same hand to adjust the headphones on his head.

‘Yes,’ he thought. ‘Mr. Rimmer certainly knows his business, this tape’s audio quality is crystal clear,’ he coughed slightly as he listened impassively to the sounds on the tape. The first part of the tape he found particularly – he fished for a term – touching? No, cloying was a better choice. Yes, saccharine – as Mulder proposed to the love of his life. God what a moment,’ he thought. Somewhere in the organ in his chest that passed for a heart, he felt joy for Mulder, and ultimate sorrow for something he would never experience – at least never again experience, although he had come close – once. As he listened to Mulder expressing his love, however, his cold calculating mind sealed off his heart, and he sneered at the sounds on the tape. ‘Weak, weak, weak,’ he thought, the man is weak, and I’m going to use that against him again and again. It’s frustrating really, you’d think he’d learn.’ he mused stubbing out the cigarette in the ashtray near his arm. He lit up another, and settled back, because the second part of the tape was much more interesting.

He hadn’t believed Rimmer at first when the man had told him what he could do, so he had asked for a little demonstration. Rimmer had been only too happy to oblige, so he had supplied him with the necessary sophisticated bugging device and the location of the apartment. Rimmer had indeed done the rest. His influence over the two FBI Agents had been total and absolute and quite incredible to listen too. ‘Hmmm, maybe I should have requested video instead,’ he considered as he listened to Scully’s screams on the tape. He felt a tightness in his groin and then he started to become hard. He took the cigarette out of his mouth and put it down in the ash tray. ‘Talk about coming back from the dead’, he chuckled.

His return to power had been complete and a direct result from the good sense of faking his own death. That ploy had worked better then even his wildest dreams could have expected, and he had been able to consolidate his position all over again. Revenge had been sweet and it would be even sweeter soon, he thought, gently massaging his swelling organ. Just as he was contemplating seriously taking matters into his own hands, his phone rang. He flipped off the cassette recorder, took off the headphones, and picked up the receiver, hissing into it, “Yes? Very well, send him in.” He picked up the half burned cigarette and took a drag on it as the office door opened.

A tall, impeccably dressed man walked in. The man had ice blue eyes and hair as golden red as a setting autumn sun. He stood formerly in front of the smoking man’s desk and inclined his head.

“Sit down, Mr. Rimmer,” the man said indicating the chair in front of the desk. Rimmer sat down.

“Well?” he asked quietly, “Did the tape meet with your approval?” he had a very upper class British accent.

“As a matter of fact, the tape is superb,” the man replied blowing smoke in his direction. Rimmer wrinkled his nose and coughed slightly.

“So, I take it that means you would like to employ my services?” he asked moistening his lips with the tip of his pink tongue.

“Yes, I believe I would like to do that, Mr. Rimmer,” the man answered, “I believe I would.”

Fox Mulder walked through the airport terminal towards the departure gate for his flight to Milwaukee. He was still troubled over his actions of the night before. He still couldn’t imagine what had come over him, or Scully for that matter. He didn’t blame her for biting him. She had bitten him when he had restrained her, it had almost been self defense. But the rest of it – God. Had she really enjoyed all that? Had he really enjoyed it? Rough sex had never really been his scene, it had been one of Phoebe Green’s many scenes, and yes, another aspect of their relationship that he abhorred to this day. He shook his head to clear his mind as he walked down the concourse.

Mulder reached the baggage check with it’s x-ray and metal detectors. He placed his duffel bag on the conveyer and then flashed his FBI identification, and displayed both his guns. The Sheriff on duty raised an eyebrow at the ankle holster but he was waved on through anyway. As he walked on down to the gate his thoughts still churned a bit.

‘I guess I should just chalk last night up to that fucking Philly homicide case, and the stress of the last two weeks,’ Mulder thought, ‘I’ll think about talking it over with Scully when I get back. I guess we’re going to have a lot to talk about,’ he sighed. But his mood lifted slightly when he remembered their Friday evening and how wonderful it had been with the relaxing soak together. Despite their argument things had turned around for the better. Seeing her laughing at his proposal had been icing on the cake. When he thought about Friday he felt like he was walking on air even if he wasn’t sure what her answer would be. Even the anticipation of her answer was exciting – a new and refreshing feeling for him.

‘Why can’t you do anything conventionally?’ she had asked. ‘Because I like to surprise you and see you laugh,’ he thought smiling to himself. ‘If acting like an idiot will let me see that smile in your eyes, Scully, I’ll be happy to drool down my shirt for you any time,’ he added to himself, grinning. As he smiled a voice interrupted his pleasant revelry.

“Hey, G-man what are you grinning at?”

Mulder looked over beside him and then down into the face of Melvin Frohike, Lone Gunman, photographer and occasional partner in crime.

“Frohike?” Mulder raised an eyebrow, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Catching a plane, Mr. FBI, what do you think?” Frohike replied grinning as they reached the gate area for the Milwaukee flight.

“On this flight?” Mulder winced. ‘Oh oh,’ he thought.

“Yeah, I’m going to Milwaukee, Mulder. Surprise!” and then Frohike cracked up. The look on Mulder’s face causing the photographer to dissolve helplessly into one of the plastic chairs.

“You’re flying to Milwaukee? What for?” Mulder fished, confused.

Frohike struggled to compose himself as he looked up at the blinking Mulder.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to tell you, big guy, but I’m going to Milwaukee for that Whisper Group meeting. I’m giving a paper on the use of special filters in photographing psychic phenomenon. You know – how to get a better look under the ghostly sheets,” he guffawed.

Mulder put his duffel down on the floor and sat down heavily into a chair next to Frohike.

“So, why didn’t you mention this to me earlier, when you hacked that file, and helped Scully and I last week?” Mulder asked.

“Well, you two were so busy, and you looked like someone had run you both over. I just decided to let sleeping dogs lie. Hell, it wasn’t important at the time. I just thought I’d surprise you out in the dairy state. I had no idea we’d be on the same flight,” he sat back and unbuttoned his leather coat. His battered carry-on was at his feet along with his rather impressive and much newer camera case.

“So I’m going to be blessed with your company for the entire trip?” Mulder asked, “Hey, and why didn’t Janet mention you were giving a presentation?”

“She probably thought I’d tell you. Jimmy Rafferty was the one that invited me anyway. I’m staying at his place,” Frohike answered, “And yeah, we’re going to be traveling companions, Mulder. Kind of cool hey? A road trip, just like Easy Rider.”

‘Thank God for small favors,’ Mulder thought. Janet had arranged to have Mulder stay at an FBI owned apartment in downtown Milwaukee. ‘And who am I, Peter Fonda?’ he thought, ‘I guess that makes Frohike, Dennis Hopper,’ he mused looking at the grizzled little photographer. Well, hey, Frohike was all right. He had helped them more then he would ever know in that pharmaceutical case, as well as so many times before. Mulder liked the guy. He was a friend. A geek, but a friend nonetheless. But then Mulder was an acknowledged geek himself. He smiled at Frohike, “Yeah, well, you’re dressed for the part,” he joked, slapping the lapel of Frohike’s leather jacket.

“Only the best quality goods for me,” Frohike laughed. “And besides, leather jackets really turn the ladies on,” he arched an eyebrow.

Mulder guffawed himself this time.

“And speaking of ladies, Mulder, how is the enigmatic Agent Scully?” he asked. Frohike had a thing for Scully, of course. It was equal parts serious, good natured fun, and healthy sexual attraction, and Mulder sometimes thought he was really a bit in love with her too. He always tried to respect Frohike’s feelings regarding Scully just in case they were actually a little deeper then his off color jokes and leers indicated. Sometime soon he was going to have to tell him about his own relationship with her. He didn’t want the guy to make a fool out of himself around her. He owed him more respect.

“Ever enigmatic,” Mulder answered smiling, “She’s doing fine, Frohike. In fact, she did say to tell you thanks for helping on the case the next time I saw you. You really were instrumental in solving it,” he added.

Frohike visibly swelled. He was smiling from ear to ear, “It was my pleasure, Mulder, after all, when you need the best you know you two can always count on me,” he was almost bobbing up and down from the flattery.

“Right,” Mulder suppressed a laugh. They were interrupted by the announcement that their flight was boarding and both men picked up their luggage and headed for the entrance to the plane’s gangway. As they talked and joked neither man noticed the tall, red headed Tony Rimmer as he picked up his suitcase and boarded the plane after them.

The flight was uneventful. Mulder tried to doze a bit, but Frohike had left his seat and taken the empty one next to Mulder in order to talk to him about his photographic presentation. Mulder actually got interested in what Frohike had to say, but then he asked him to stop giving so much of the presentation away. “Hey I have to have something left to listen to during the Whisper meeting besides my own voice,” he joked. Frohike had laughed and put his lenses and camera back into his camera case. They made small talk again but then Frohike started to nod off and Mulder suggested the grizzled Lone Gunman put his seat back and nap. Frohike yawned and complied with the suggestion. ‘Good,’ Mulder thought, ‘now I can do the same,’ and he put his seat back as well, stretched out his legs as best he could, and shut his eyes. The next thing Mulder knew the fasten seat belt sign was coming on again with a ding, and the plane was making it’s approach over the lake and into Milwaukee’s airport. It was 4 PM and the sun was starting to go down over the horizon.

“Mulder, Frohike,” Janet Price called from the gate area of the United Airlines satellite terminal at Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. Mulder smiled and waved back. Frohike was hurrying forward through the crowd to meet her. As Mulder hefted his duffel to follow, a tall, red headed man bumped into him. Mulder turned to look at the expensive leather coat the guy was wearing and then he looked up into his eyes. They were ice blue, cold, and bottomless. Mulder blinked and when he opened his eyes again the man was gone. He shook his head, ‘Welcome to Milwaukee, Mr. Freeze,’ he thought, shivering slightly. He suddenly had an impression that someone was walking over his grave, and it startled him. But, as quickly as the feeling of dread was there, it dissipated slightly, and Mulder was grinning again because Janet was laughing as he drew near. Frohike had dropped his bags and grabbed her in an excited hug.

“Janet, you look like a million bucks,” Frohike slapped her on the back. They were pretty much the same height. “Hey, you’ve cut your hair, it looks great!” he complimented her.

“Wow, Frohike it really must be a good look for me if you noticed the change,” she teased pounding his back as well. Besides being the same height, they both wore thick glasses and leather jackets, and Mulder thought they looked like they could almost be brother and sister. Janet’s short white-blond hair bounced around her head as she released Frohike, and then she turned towards Mulder, a beaming smile on her face.

“Mulder….” she began.

Mulder stepped forward and to Janet’s surprise, he also dropped his bag and hugged her tight. Her face was crushed into his chest at a level slightly lower then Scully’s would have been. Her glasses were pushed askew.

“Mulder, how the hell have you been,” she giggled, pulling away from him and looking up into his face.

“I’m great, Janet, and Frohike’s right, the do is you,” he laughed as she punched him lightly in the stomach.

“We’d better get out of the way here you guys, I think we’re blocking traffic,” she said and the three compatriots gathered themselves together and headed up into the main terminal.

“So, Janet, where’s Jimmy?” Frohike asked as they passed the shops and bars that lined the route.

“Oh, Jim stayed back at the Whisper House. He had some tapes he was listening to from our last investigation and you know how he is when he gets involved – you can’t pry him away,” Janet replied with humor.

“So the House remodeling is done?” Mulder asked looking over and down at the smaller women.

“Oh, thank God, yes it is – I didn’t tell you guys. We’re all moved in and well – I sort of wanted it to be a surprise. I’m really proud of it,” she enthused, “Wait till you see the place.”

Mulder was very pleased for her. Janet Price had been dreaming for years of a special headquarters for The Whisper Group. A large house somewhere on the eclectic East Side of Milwaukee, near the university where like minded individuals could stay and study the occult and the supernatural. Several years before, after the death of her parents left her a small inheritance, Janet had purchased an old boarding house on Shepard Avenue. Now it seemed her dream had come to fruition and Mulder grinned because Janet was almost walking on air.

“Wow, that’s fantastic, Janet,” Frohike added, beaming also.

“Yeah, great, I’ll really look forward to the grand tour,” Mulder interjected as they reached the main part of the terminal and headed towards the parking garage exit.

“Well, you’ll be getting more than a tour actually, Mulder, you’ll both be staying there for the duration,” Janet replied a bit of embarrassment in her voice.

“Both staying where?” Mulder asked, his voice rising an octave.

Frohike started to laugh.

“Did you know about this too?” Mulder asked, annoyance creeping into his voice as he squinted at Frohike.

“Cool your jets, Mulder,” Janet hastened to break up any animosity.

“No, it’s OK, Janet, I deserve it. I neglected to tell the G-man that I was coming out for the conference. But, no, Mulder, I had no idea we’d be bunking together,” Frohike smirked, “Jim just said I’d be staying at his place.”

“Well, for God sake, we do have separate rooms for you,” Janet sighed, “Look, Mulder. I tried to get that FBI owned apartment for you, but the office is keeping a witness in it right now. So, I thought this would be the next best thing. If it’s a problem I can arrange for a room at the Hyatt, downtown. That’s where the conference it taking place.”

Mulder ran a hand through his hair. Crap he hadn’t meant to jump on Janet or Frohike. He just seemed tense. He had since he bumped into that tall guy at the gate. ‘Get a grip, Mulder,’ he thought. ‘These people are amongst the friends you can count on one hand, for crying out loud. What’s the problem?’

“Hey, I’m sorry you two. I guess I’m still a little fried from the last couple of weeks. Scully and I had some trouble with a case in Philadelphia, Janet – it’s still got me sort of over a barrel,” he offered in way of an apology.

Frohike gave him a sympathetic look and patted him on the back, “No problem amigo, no offense taken,” he hurried to say.

“Apology accepted here as well,” Janet was grinning again, “And Mulder, you can feel free to relax in Milwaukee. You’re a guest of The Whisper Group – consider this a mini vacation.”

Mulder smiled at Janet and attempted to shake off his formless feelings of edginess. By the time they reached the inside of the parking garage he felt a bit better, and he hefted his duffel bag as they approached a new deluxe long body Dodge Caravan in one of the parking stalls.

“Whoa, Janet is this yours?” Frohike asked running his hand along the hood of the black vehicle. Mulder walked over and read the logo The Whisper Group. Psychic investigators was written in small letters underneath and the group’s address and phone number under it, all emblazoned in white along the side.

“This IS nice, Janet,” he said.

“Well, it’s one of two we are now proud to owe payments on,” she laughed. The other is identical except it’s full of equipment. This one does chauffeuring duties. Gentlemen…” she added opening one of the large side doors.

Mulder and Frohike climbed into the back, and dumping their bags at their feet, took the bench seat. Janet climbed into the front seat and turned the key in the ignition. She backed the van out of the stall and they drove out of the parking garage, and out onto Howell Avenue.

“Scenic or fast and dirty route?” Janet asked.

“Scenic,” Mulder and Frohike answered in unison, and then all three of them burst into laughter, and Mulder felt most of his tension drain away.

Janet pulled the van into the two and half car garage next to the large three story white boarding house on Shepard Avenue. Mulder and Frohike got out and followed her around to the columned porch that stretched full length across the front of the edifice. There was a tasteful sign to the left of the double front doors that said The Whisper Group – Paranormal Investigation and Research. Janet unlocked the front door and they passed through the vestibule, and through the inner double doors into the front hallway. Mulder and Frohike put their luggage under a large side table that sat against one wall. All three hung their coats on a clothes tree nearby.

Jimmy Rafferty was pounding down the large sailing ship style staircase that faced the doorway, an enormous grin on his face, “Hey, hey, hey, welcome to Brewtown,” he laughed bouncing up to Frohike and grabbing his hand and arm.

“Jimbo!” Frohike laughed pumping the younger man’s hand up and down.

Rafferty was taller, and much more muscular than Mulder, and as blond as Janet. He dwarfed the photographer and Mulder suppressed a guffaw as the two proceeded to pummel each other on the back. Rafferty released Frohike and then spun around to grab Mulder’s hand in a death grip.

“Rafferty,” Mulder smiled broadly as the blond giant shook his entire arm.

“Mulder, Mulder, Mulder, how the hell are you,” he asked, his green eyes shining.

“Well, except for the broken arm, I’m doing great,” he joked as Rafferty stopped shaking and guffawed loudly.

“Glad to hear it Mr. GQ or should I say, LL Bean. I like those boots,” he added grinning at Mulder.

“Hey, jumping bean, how about me?” Janet laughed as Rafferty turned towards her voice.

“Oh, sorry babe, I just got carried away with these two reprobates,” he teased walking over to her and sweeping her up into his arms. He squeezed her tight and planted a kiss on her head, “That better?”

“Much,” she smiled up into his eyes.

Frohike and Mulder exchanged glances and Frohike was smiling like the Cheshire cat. Well, obviously here was a little development he had also neglected to tell Mulder about. Janet Price had been a very lonely woman for quite some time having been through a bad early marriage with a husband who abused her. She had known Jim Rafferty for a number of years as a good and faithful friend. Now it appeared that the relationship had taken a new turn. Mulder sighed. The parallels between his relationship with Scully were only too obvious. Frohike continued to grin at him, and soon Mulder was caught up in the moment as well, and smiled back at the Lone Gunman.

“So, something you’d like to tell me, Janet, besides “Welcome to the new Whisper House,” Mulder chuckled looking at the mismatched couple.

Rafferty looked from Janet, to Frohike, to Mulder, and back to Janet again. “Didn’t you tell him?” he asked confused.

Janet laughed, “No, I got as far as telling Frohike but, well, I just didn’t have time to say anything to Mulder.”

“Oh for Pete’s sake, Janet,” Rafferty winced slightly shamefaced.

Mulder was still chuckling at the two of them.

“Mulder, I guess it’s obvious by now anyway, but I’ll make it official – Janet and I are getting married, the date’s set for this June,” he smiled gently over at the much shorter woman.

Mulder looked at Janet then, and saw the ring on her finger. He chuckled, ‘Should have spotted that one, Doh!’

“Hey, congratulations,” Mulder reached forward and took Rafferty’s hand again. He shook it vigorously. Then he let his hand go and walking over to Janet looked down into her face. “Congratulations, mighty mouse,” he said quietly. It was his pet name for her, and Janet smiled up into his eyes. Mulder took her gently into his embrace and hugged her close. He really was tremendously happy for her, and despite the poignancy of the similarity with his and Scully’s situation, he let his pleasure in the news of her impending marriage have free reign.

Janet pulled away from Mulder and there were tears in her eyes behind her thick spectacles. “God, Mulder, I…thanks so much,” she was flustered.

Rafferty stepped forward to her aid, “Hey, you two, you have to take a tour of this place. You gotta see what Janet has done with it!”

“Oh, Jim, come on, take some of the credit – the place wouldn’t be anywhere near ready if it hadn’t been for you,” Janet added jabbing him in the ribs.

“Let’s see it then, if you two can cut out the mutual admiration society,” Frohike playfully grouched.

“Right O Fro – follow the guide and keep your hands behind the ropes please,” Rafferty laughed, sweeping his hand around the hallway.

Rafferty lead them around the house and both Mulder and Frohike were soon impressed with the remodeling job. On the ground floor there was a small but comprehensive research library to the right of the front door. Mulder noticed many rare volumes on the occult. On the left was a den and a large dining room with a huge wooden table and chairs at it’s center. There was a charming plant filled room off the dining room and then a hallway that lead to the back of the house into a huge kitchen and laundry room. Once they had seen the ground floor they proceeded to the second floor up the sweeping staircase.

“These are some private testing and conference rooms up here and three sleeping rooms. This is where we’re going to put you guys, if that’s ok?” Janet asked.

“No problem, here,” Mulder replied. He wanted to make up for his earlier graceless comments regarding the accommodations.

“Looks fine to me too,” Frohike added.

“Fantastic,” Rafferty chimed in. Let’s head upstairs. The third floor consisted of four individual sleeping rooms and a larger double room suite.

“Uh, this is our suite,” Janet said shyly glancing at her fiancee, indicating the door to the rooms.

Mulder smiled at her and Frohike did his best not to leer for a change.

There’s an attic above us, but it’s just storage. Let’s go down to the basement – that’s where this house really shines,” Rafferty was saying as they all turned to trudge back down the stairs.

The group went all the way downstairs and into the circular hallway that bounded the stairs, the dining room, and kitchen. There was a door just off the right of the stairs. Janet opened it and Mulder could see over her head at the steps leading down. “Watch out you guys, these are a little steep,” she warned as they made to descend.

Rafferty had reached past Frohike and turned on a light switch at the head of stairs. The room below them was bathed in bright white light. When they reached the bottom of the stairs a huge room, running the length of the house, stretched before them. It was filled with every kind of equipment imaginable from computers to sophisticated photographic equipment, and Frohike whistled in obvious appreciation.

“Holy shit, you two. Wait till Langly and Byers hear about this,” he exclaimed with delight, moving off into the room, and rubbing his hands together. Rafferty hastened to follow and the two friends were instantly caught up in a discussion over a new computer Rafferty had on a work bench nearby. Mulder and Janet stood together at the bottom of the stairs and shook their heads in amusement.

“Well, I guess that’s it for the tour,” Mulder said, smiling slightly at Janet.

“I guess so, you know how they are,” she chuckled.

Mulder sat down on the steps so he could look Janet more directly in the eyes, “Janet, I am really happy for you,” he said quietly.

“Thanks Mulder, I, well, that means a lot coming from you,” she replied laying a hand briefly on his shoulder. “But, Mulder, are you ok? I mean you did seem awfully tense. Is there anything you’d like to talk about?” Janet asked with concern.

“No, it’s ok, Janet. I’m just still beat from the casework, that’s all. I’m sure the time here is going to help me to relax. Don’t worry about it.”

“All right, but remember if there’s anything you need to vent about, I’m here, Spooky,” she whispered.

“Thanks, lady,” he smiled up at her.

Janet turned and called over to the two occupied photographers. “Hey, Frohike, don’t you want to see your room?”

“Oh, yeah, I guess I should stow my stuff,” Frohike replied.

“Well, let’s go back upstairs and get it,” Rafferty offered and all four made the pilgrimage back to the first floor hallway.

Mulder and Frohike retrieved their gear. Mulder carried his coat and his duffel and Frohike shrugged his coat back on. Rafferty excused himself to answer the telephone that was wringing insistently from the den. “See you guys later,” he said.

Janet lead them back up to the second floor, “The rooms have individual sinks and toilets but the shower and tub are at the back of this floor. The linen closet is back there too if you guys need any more towels. Also, we’re on the sweat equity system here folks – you make up your own beds. We can’t have everything I guess,” she laughed.

“Gee, just like college,” Frohike grinned at Mulder as the Agent grimaced slightly.

“Well, this room is yours if you want it Frohike,” Janet was saying indicating the first room at the top of the stairs. “And Mulder you can bunk next to him, all right?”

“No sweat, Janet,” Frohike smiled at her and opened the door to the room.

“Thanks for the hospitality, Janet, I really mean it,” Mulder grinned at her and squeezed her hand with affection.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” she said reaching into her jean’s pocket, “we have keys so you can lock up your valuables and get in the front door as well,” she added handing them both two keys.

“Why don’t you guys get settled and then come back downstairs. Jim and I would like to treat you all to dinner tonight, we thought Japanese if you wouldn’t mind. We made reservations at Izumis – they serve great sushi.”

“All right!” Frohike agreed with enthusiasm.

“Sounds like a plan, Janet,” Mulder added.

“All right, I’m going to go downstairs and find out who that was on the phone. You guys come on back downstairs as soon as you’re ready. No big rush – our reservations are for 8 PM.”

“Cool,” Frohike replied opening the door to this room. “See you all in a bit,” he added shutting the door behind him.

“Later, Mulder,” Janet called back over her shoulder as she headed back down the stairs.

Mulder opened the door to his room and walked in. It was plain but comfortable looking with a full sized bed, dresser, night stand, desk chair, and reading lamp. The bathroom and closet were small but adequate. Mulder walked over and placed his duffel bag down on the chair at the desk. He took his cell phone out of his coat pocket, threw the coat on the bed, and flipped open the cover on the cell phone. He sat down on the bed and dialed Scully’s number.

The phone only rang twice. “Scully,” her voice reached his ear over the distance.

“Hey, Scully,” he smiled into the phone, “Miss me yet?”

“Miss you much,” she replied. He could hear the love in her voice and his heart did a handstand in his chest.

“How was the flight?” she was asking.

“Uneventful except Frohike was on it,” he chuckled.

“Frohike?” Scully replied, confused.

“Yeah, the little dweeb neglected to tell me he was coming out here for this conference. He’s the other keynote speaker.”

“Oh for God’s sake,” Scully snorted into the phone.

“Well, his paper does sound kind of interesting – I got a sneak preview on the plane,” Mulder replied.

“Thank heavens for small favors,” Scully said.


“So, when do you take center stage?” she asked.

“The conference is only one day – I go on Tuesday afternoon. I guess I’m being left to my own devices tomorrow. We’re all having dinner tonight.”

“Sounds nice,” she answered.

“Hey, and guess what, Scully? Janet and Jimmy Rafferty are getting married.”

There was silence on the other end of the line for a second and then Scully replied, “Get out, Mulder!”

“No, really, the weddings in June,” he insisted.

“My God, tell her I said congratulations. Mulder, that, that’s wonderful!” Scully enthused.

“Yeah, they seem really happy,” Mulder agreed, “And oh by the way, the Whisper House is now a reality, and Frohike and I are both staying here for the conference.”

“That’s marvelous!” Scully replied, “Lord, I am so excited for her, for them,” she added.

“So, I guess I’d better get going,” Mulder said.

“All right, and Mulder, my mother is definitely coming back tomorrow afternoon. She called again to let me know, and I volunteered to pick her up at the airport so she wouldn’t have to take a cab. I’m going to talk her into visiting me, Mulder. We, I’m going to have that talk with her.” There was nervous anticipation in her voice, but Mulder thought he also heard resolve there as well.

“Well, that’s good Scully, I, I really appreciate it. Say hi to your Mom for me,” Mulder replied kindly, chewing on his lower lip.

“All right,” she answered quietly and then she added, “I love you, Mulder.”

“I love you too, Scully, I’ll call you tomorrow night, OK?”

“No, I’d better try to call you, I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow night,” she said, a grin in her voice. “I’ll give you a call Tuesday sometime and let you know how things went.”

Mulder grinned as well then, “OK, Scully, I’ll expect your call. Good luck.”

“Thanks, Mulder,” and she broke the connection. Mulder turned off the phone with a sigh and tossed it over onto the top of his duffel bag. ‘I hope Margaret Scully has more of an open mind then her son, or else this ship is going to go down fast,’ he thought staring off into space, lost in his emotions.

In downtown Milwaukee a dark blue Ford Taurus pulled up to the Phister Hotel on Wisconsin Avenue. A very dapper Tony Rimmer stepped out, garment bag grabbed from the back seat, in hand. He handed the keys to the valet so that the rental car could be parked in the hotel garage. He watched as the car was driven away, exhaling into the cold early evening air. The Phister was his kind of hotel. Old and richly appointed, it oozed class and history. It wasn’t new, bland and uninteresting like the Hyatt or Whyndham Suite hotels across the river. The tall red headed enforcer walked in through the front entrance and into the lobby. He inhaled the many scents with delight. God, he loved coming to a new city. There were so many sensations to explore. He still remembered the scent of that prick, Mulder, from the airport. He had bumped into him to get his smell and then to just tweak his mind a little for fun. He’d also smelled the heady aroma of the FBI Agent’s girl friend on his clothing and skin. He idly wondered if the dickhead had fucked her again in the morning after Rimmer’s little induced night of debauchery. It didn’t quite smell like it though, so he supposed the creep had held himself back. ‘What a schmuck,’ he thought, ‘if I had a piece of ass around like that I’d bang it every chance I got,’ he thought with a sneer, as he walked up to the hotel registration desk. ‘Well, plenty of time to entertain myself with Mr. Mulder,’ he mused, ‘the game is about to begin in earnest.”

“May I help you sir,” the dark haired woman behind the desk asked him.

“Yes, you can my dear, I have a reservation, Anthony Rimmer,” he replied, a feral grin oh his lips.

Mulder got ready to leave his room after unpacking and putting his clothing away in the dresser. He had changed into his black turtle neck and a sports coat for dinner out. He was rather proud that the rolled up coat had survived the trip in his duffel bag without becoming too wrinkled. He slipped his cell phone into his jacket pocket. He kept his holster and weapon on his belt behind his back, and under the sports coat. He had removed the ankle holster and left it, along with it’s gun, in the desk drawer. Mulder finally jammed his ID into his back pocket, picked up his LL. Bean outer coat, and opening the room’s door walked out into the upstairs hallway. Frohike was nowhere to be seen so he headed for the stairs without him. He glanced at his watch. It was 7 PM all ready. His stomach growled loudly and he grinned sheepishly, ‘Looks like it’s lucky I don’t have much longer to wait for dinner.’ He walked down the stairs.

He could hear Frohike, Janet and Jim Rafferty talking in the den. As he crossed the hallway to join them the front door bell rang. “I’ll get it,” he called into the den, and he crossed over to the large doors to the vestibule, stopping to hang his coat on the coat tree. Mulder yanked the doors open with an authoritative pull and then his mouth dropped open, and he blinked in shock at the figure standing there getting ready to knock on the inner doors.

“Good evening, Agent Mulder,” the silky voice of the statuesque Sian Phillips said, with a smile, and gleam in her striking green eyes.

Mulder just stared, prompting the blond to say, “May I come in?” He stepped back, and she walked past him into the hallway.

Janet was coming out of the den along with Rafferty and Frohike, “Sian, I’m glad you could make it,” she was smiling as the taller woman took off her coat and placed it on the coat tree.

“I appreciate the dinner invitation,” she replied graciously turning to face the group, “it’s nice to be included in your plans. You make a new girl in town feel very welcome.”

“New? You’ve been here six months!” Rafferty laughed.

Frohike was ogling Sian Phillips like he had never seen a woman before, and Mulder’s expression wasn’t much better. Janet looked from one to the other and then asked, “Do you three know each other or something?”

“Uh, no,” Frohike gulped.

“Yes, Ms. Phillips and I have had the pleasure,” Mulder finally found his voice.

Jim Rafferty chimed in, “You’ve met?” he asked.

“Yes, as Agent Mulder said, we’ve had that pleasure,” Sian smiled at Mulder as he struggled to swallow.

Sian Phillips had a secret identity, of course. She was a werewolf, plain and simple. She had also been the librarian at the Addison Public library during Mulder and Scully’s brush with death under the hands of the murderous werewolf Ross Baker. Sian was sort of a canine hit woman for the hidden society of shapeshifters that walked among human kind. She had saved their lives in Addison by killing Ross Baker. She had also helped to heal Mulder’s injuries and at Scully’s request, wiped his memory clean of the horrendous fact that Baker had raped him while he and Scully had been held hostage.

Mulder wouldn’t remember that she was a wolf either, he thought he had saved Scully and killed Baker. Sian had wiped her shapeshifing identity from his mind. But he did remember his first impression of her in the summer heat of the Addison public library basement, along with the memory of the instant, awkwardly embarrassing hard on he had gotten on the occasion. Her non-human presence still affected him without his realization and it was made slightly worse by the fact that Sian had been in intimate psychic contact with him during the fateful events in Addison. She was slightly amused about the effect she was having on him despite Mulder’s discomfort. It was always nice to know one hadn’t lost one’s touch. However, she remembered Scully, and her love for this man, and she hastened to touch his hand. She shook it, and as she did so, she sent out a calming tendril of psychic energy into his mind. Mulder visibly relaxed and returned the handshake with a smile.

Frohike was bobbing around like he was stepping on hot coals. “Oh, Sian, this is Melvin Frohike,” Rafferty quickly added.

“Frohike? Didn’t you write that article in the last newsletter – the article on spirit photography?” she asked with interest.

Frohike puffed up like a blow fish, “Right, yes, I wrote it.”

“Well, we’ll have to discuss that further, Melvin, it was very interesting,” Sian smiled and shook his hand.

Frohike practically fell over, and Mulder suppressed his laughter. The guy looked like he had no idea what to do with the attention Mulder thought.

Mulder, Frohike and Sian Phillips continued to talk, and as they did so Jim Rafferty pulled Janet Price aside and whispered into her ear.

“Did you know he knew her?” he asked.

“No, she didn’t say a thing about it,” Janet replied frowning.

“Well, this could be a little awkward,” Jim hissed.

“Not really, I mean they seem friendly. Maybe that will be an advantage.”

“God, Janet I still can’t believe you tried to set him up with her like this, it, it’s so contrived.”

“Oh come on, Jimmy, Mulder’s unattached, and I know he’s lonely. He’s such a workaholic he has no social life. It’s about time somebody introduced him to a nice woman for a change.”

“All right, all right. But let’s hope this little blind date works or we could all be eating crow in the morning,” he finished.

Sian was laughing at something Mulder had said, and Janet glanced at Jim with a look that said “See, I told you so,” “Well, I vote we get going, folks, personally, I’m starving,” she said aloud.

“I’ll second that motion,” Mulder replied and they all gathered up their coats and exited the house for the garage and the drive to Izumis.

As the black van pulled out and away from Shepard Avenue, past Sian Phillip’s parked Toyota RAV4, a silent figure sat up into full view inside the blue Ford Taurus. Tony Rimmer licked his lips. ‘Hmmm, this is an interesting development,’ he thought as he caught a glimpse of Sian Phillip’s head in the passing van’s window. ‘So the she-wolf is in residence,’ he grinned, ‘Well, the more the merrier,’ he chuckled. Tony knew Sian. He had worked with her once and had a grudging admiration for her skills as a killer. She could be a formidable adversary, but he welcomed the challenge if it was too come.

Tony was late of the British Isle branch of the shapeshifting clan. He had only come to the states comparatively recently, having been sent as an official emissary by the London area alpha wolf. His mission was to gather information on the colonies comings and goings. There was some intrigue and rivalry between the old world and new world clans, and Tony enjoyed his investigative capacity. He also enjoyed the liberal leeway in the business that the alpha wolf had given him. Tony’s little side jobs, like this one for the cigarette smoking bastard, were part of the perks of his occupation as spy and enforcer. He enjoyed every minute of the moonlighting – not to mention the lucrative cash he made. ‘As long as I’m discreet anything goes,’ he thought, stretching his back in the confines of the cars front seat. ‘And if that bitch, Sian gets in the way, she’s dead meat,’ he added fishing around on the seat next to him, ‘Now, where the fuck did I put those bugging devices?’ he mused as his hand fell on the tiny box. ‘Good, now I’d better get to work before the goon squad gets back here,’ he finished exiting the car quietly, and heading towards the darkened Whisper House.

Izumis was packed so it was lucky that Janet had gotten their party reservations. The group of five was escorted to two pushed together tables in a small alcove off to the side and they were soon ensconced and perusing their menus. Janet made sure that Sian was seated between Mulder and Frohike and then she sat back with the hope that something would develop between Mulder and the stunning blond librarian. Once they had placed their orders they all began to chat while they waited for the food.

“So, how many people are coming to the conference?” Frohike asked Janet.

“We’re expecting 100 people this year, it’ll be a nice turn out,” she replied.

“Yeah, I was really surprised,” Jimmy added, “also, you guys, we’re having an open house tomorrow up at Shepard Avenue. You’re welcome to stick around for it or take off on your own. Whatever, either is fine.”

“Sounds interesting,” Mulder offered, “I’ll probably stick around for a while.”

“Yeah, me too, I’d like to see who shows up,” Frohike added taking a sip of his Japanese beer.

“So, Sian, you’re living in Milwaukee now?” Mulder asked the women to his left.

“Yes, Fox, I decided to move a little over six months ago. Addison was such a nice town, but quite frankly the pay there was making it hard for me to live comfortably. I’m a librarian at the main library downtown now. It’s very rewarding so far, and Milwaukee is a nice smaller city. Everyone has been very friendly,” she said smiling at him.

“So you’re a member of The Whisper Group,” Frohike asked staring at her. Mulder looked at him and he started to hope that the photographer wasn’t going to make a fool out of himself in front of this woman. He made a mental note to watch Frohike’s beer intake. The guy could get rather strange after he’d had too many.

Sian stared back at the smaller man and a smile played about her lips. For some odd reason she liked this little fellow. He was eccentric, but he had well, he had an interesting mind. She had just skimmed the surface of it when they had shaken hands, and it had proved as absorbing as the article he had written for The Whisper Group newsletter. He also had a very interesting scent that she found attractive. And he was a friend of Mulder’s so he had that going for him as well. ‘Hmmm, maybe I should get to know him a little better,’ she mused as she formulated an answer to his question. “Yes, Melvin,” I joined it almost right after I moved here. I’ve always had a terrific interest in the occult and supernatural. I have an interest in amateur photography as well so that part of the group’s investigations fascinates me. Jimmy has been really helpful in honing my photographic skills,” she nodded over at Rafferty, and then she fixed Frohike with a shining smile.

Frohike was poleaxed by this time. His brain was on auto pilot and he took a really deep swig of his beer as Sian picked up her cocktail and took a dainty sip of it. “Photography?” he asked, “Well, maybe we can talk about that a little more later,” he managed to say.

“Yes, that would be nice, I’d like that,” Sian replied staring into his glasses.

Mulder sat back and raised an eyebrow. ‘Holy shit,’ he thought, ‘she’s actually flirting with Frohike.’

Janet Price let a frown pass across her mouth. Her brow furrowed. She knew flirting when she saw it even though it wasn’t something with which she had very much personal experience. ‘What the heck is going on here?’ she considered with confusion. ‘How can Sian possibly be interested in Frohike, I mean, God.’

Jimmy Rafferty took in the scene and thought dismally, “Shit, I knew this was going to take a turn for the worse,’ he thought. He liked Frohike a whole lot but this scene was well, a bit farfetched.

Their meals arrived and the food was outstanding. Everyone sampled each other’s dishes, and sushi was passed wide around the table. Mulder and Sian continued to converse politely but it quickly became apparent to both Janet and Jimmy that neither one of them had much real interest in each other except in a friendly way. Sian and Frohike on the other hand were another story all together. Something was definitely brewing there and Janet was flabbergasted as the minutes ticked by.

The meal concluded all too soon it seemed to Janet and soon they were all pushing back from the table and having coffee.

“Janet, I want to thank you for bringing me here,” Mulder said. “This was fantastic.”

“Ditto here, Janet,” Frohike burped, “Oh, sorry,” he grinned sheepishly over at Sian.

“Yes, I must say Izumis out did themselves this evening,” Sian added smiling all around.

“Well, I’d better get the check,” Jimmy offered suppressing a yawn. “Sorry, it’s been a long day,” he added.

“Yeah, I could use some rest myself,” Mulder agreed. The earlier tenseness had begun to take a toll on him and he did feel tired now.

“Well, ok we should get going, it’ll be a busy day tomorrow for sure,” Janet replied.

It was 10 PM when the van pulled up front of the house on Shepard Avenue. Janet wheeled it into a spot just behind Sian’s parked Toyota. The temperature had dropped a bit and all five huddled together on the side walk saying their good-byes.

“See you tomorrow, Sian, 10 AM?” Janet asked.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Sian smiled. Janet and Jimmy turned and headed towards the front porch. Mulder began to follow them. He glanced around to say something to Frohike but the photographer wasn’t following him. He turned around and looked back. Frohike was engaged in an animated conversation with Sian Phillips. Mulder was amazed to see the tall woman place a hand on his arm in a very affectionate manner. Frohike was smiling and then he left her and walked up to where Mulder was waiting at the bottom of the porch stairs.

“Listen, uh, Mulder.”


“I’m not coming in just yet. Sian, well, she’s offered to go bar hopping with me a bit. I’m too buzzed from the trip and the meal anyway. I can’t even think about turning in yet,” he exhaled into the night air.

Mulder looked down into his face. He wanted to laugh but he didn’t because Frohike really did look excited, and for once the dirty old man persona that he sometimes affected was absent. He looked like your average Joe that had just met a very attractive woman and wanted to enjoy her company for an innocent night out on the town. Mulder smiled at him.

“Hey, knock yourself out Frohike, we’re on vacation after all. Sian seems like a nice person. Have a great time,” he replied patting him on the shoulder.

“Ok, tell Janet and Jimmy I’ll let myself in later. I have the key.”

“Later, Frohike,” Mulder called after him as he bounced back down to the waiting Sian Phillips.

Mulder walked back up onto the porch, opened the door and went inside. He walked into the glowering face of Janet Price standing right inside the door. “Mulder, we have to talk,” she said gesturing towards the den.

Mulder stared after her, a perplexed look on his face. He took his coat off and walked over to the coat tree and slung it over one of the hooks. Then he followed Janet into the empty den.

“Where’s Jim?” he asked looking around.

“He went up to bed,” she stated flatly, and then she said, “So, Frohike went with Sian?”

“Yeah, I guess they hit it off, they went bar hopping. He was pretty keyed up. He said he’d let himself in later,” Mulder grinned at her. Then he dropped the grin because he could plainly see that Janet was rather angry.

“What’s the matter?” he asked her.

“Oh, Mulder,” she shook her head and moved to sit down in one of the chairs. Mulder walked over and sat down on the couch next to her.

“What’s wrong, Janet, did you and Jim have an argument?” he asked in total confusion.

“No, no, nothing like that, God, this is embarrassing. Maybe I should drop the subject.”

“All right,” Mulder answered beginning to become annoyed, “I’ll just go to bed then, I’m beat,” he started to rise.

“Mulder, I’m sorry, I’ll explain,” Janet hastened to stop him. She could see that not revealing her matchmaking plans to the truth seeking Agent would cause more harm then good so she plunged ahead without any further thought for her own embarrassment. Mulder sat back down on the couch.

“Mulder, you know how I hate the fact that you work all the time and have no social life…” she began.

Mulder ran a hand over his mouth, “Yeah, so, it’s an old story, Janet, what’s the big deal?”

“Well, I wish it wasn’t the whole story, Mulder. I, well, I’m so happy now with Jimmy, you know and, I, I guess I’ve been guilty of trying to bring a little happiness into all my friend’s lives lately. It hasn’t always worked out for the best though,” she replied sheepishly.

Mulder looked into her face and some of what she was getting at started to sink in. ‘Oh, oh,’ he thought, ‘maybe now might be a good time to tell Janet about his news regarding his relationship with Scully’. Obviously his omission of that little item had created an awkward situation between Janet and himself, not to mention Janet and Jimmy as evidenced by his absence in this little conversation.

“So, Mulder, I’m really sorry about tonight. I tried to set you up with Sian. I just thought you’d make such a nice couple. God, what a stupid idea, and it obviously backfired!” she laughed a little as the image of Frohike with the statuesque blond came into her mind.

Mulder sensed what she was laughing at and he smiled over at her, “Hey, Janet, it’s ok, really, I knew you meant well,” he replied reaching over and patting her knee. “And listen, I don’t think you have to worry about my social life for much longer anyway,” he added quietly.

“What?” she asked her attention riveted on his face.

“Well, I guess I can tell you but, keep it under your hat, all right.”

“Mulder?” she asked, a smile creeping into her eyes.

“Well, you met Scully that summer we came out here for that Addison case, you know, my partner, Dana Scully?” he began.

“The red head?” she asked quickly, “Yes, she seemed really nice, and professional….” she let her voice trail off, “Mulder, are you trying to say that you and Dana Scully….”

“Yeah,” he grinned at her sheepishly.

She gave out a low whistle.

Mulder chuckled. “That’s why I said to keep it under your hat, Janet, we both know the Bureau policy on this kind of thing. Besides you know more then you probably want to regarding the X-Files. That just complicates the whole relationship matter,” he added bemused.

Janet got up and moved onto the couch next to him. She threw her arm around his shoulder and hugged him. “Oh, Mulder you big goofus!” she laughed, “I couldn’t be more happy for you. Thank God!” she put her head on his shoulder, “So did you actually get around to asking her to marry you or are you just shacking up with her?” she asked matter-of-factly.

Mulder laughed at her directness. “Well, we’ve sort of been cohabiting, but yeah, I asked her to marry me just before I came out here. She, she’s got some issues regarding the decision. She’s considering the proposal while I’m in Milwaukee,” he answered sucking on his lower lip.

“Oh you poor man, no wonder you were so tense,” Janet patted him on the back. “Well, I’m sure she’s not going to leave you hanging, she didn’t seem like that type of person.”

“You’re right about that, Janet. She’s honest and besides that, she’s well, we trust each other with our lives, Janet. She said she wouldn’t let me twist in the wind for long. I know she’ll have an answer for me when I get back,” he sighed looking into his friends face.

Janet smiled and got up. “Mulder, I know she’ll say yes, I just have a feeling. We don’t call this place The Whisper Group for nothing you know. Janet’s intuitions were no joke. She had a strong psychic mojo going on occasion, and Mulder knew it. “And, Mulder, don’t worry, I won’t say anything to anyone.”

“Well, Janet, I’ll take that as a hopeful sign then. You can tell Jimmy if you’d like, but no-one else ok? I haven’t even said anything to Frohike. I have to talk to him sometime soon too,” Mulder yawned, “Sorry,” he grinned slightly.

“Wow, you’d better get some sleep big guy. This place is going to be a zoo tomorrow,” she giggled. Mulder rose as well then and he headed to get his coat and then walked upstairs. Janet went back into the kitchen area, drank a glass of milk, and then went up to bed herself.

Later, outside on a side street, Tony Rimmer sat in the Ford Taurus, head phones stuck to his ears. He had been able to hear Janet and Mulder’s earlier important conversation without any interference. The antenna was working well and he could could use the black box on the top of the dash to tune into all the bugging devices he had planted in the house. The bug in Mulder’s room was excruciatingly boring. He was sawing wood like there was no tomorrow. ‘God, what a set of sinuses,’ Rimmer thought rolling his ice blue eyes.

The bug in Janet and Jimmy’s room was interesting, but distracting and ultimately annoying, as he picked up the sounds of their lovemaking. “Fuck this shit,’ he thought ripping the head piece off with a snarl. ‘I have to get some relief from this sexual tension or I’m going to go ballistic,’ he thought. He had checked the phone book before leaving the Phister hotel earlier in the evening for the address of strip joints that might be nearby. There was only one in the downtown area – The Cheetah Club – and he had really gotten a laugh over the name. He started the car and pulled away from the curb, pointing the hood towards the downtown area. ‘To hell with this subservient wolf crap,’ the enforcer thought, ‘I’ve been given carte blanche over here, for God’s sake. What’s London going to care if I get it on with one of the local chippies,’ he mused. He ran his tongue over his lips, moistening them as thoughts of the exotic dancers undulated across his mind.

Monday morning dawned for Dana Scully in DC and she didn’t face the day with a happy face. Her mother was coming in, of course, and she was becoming more and more nervous as the day dragged on. She had occupied her time by clearing out the entire apartment of any trace of Mulder’s presence in anticipation of her mother’s acceptance to come for a visit. She had stashed everything away, even his leather jacket, which she had hugged to her body, inhaling his cologne before she hung it in the back of her closet.

One last search of the rooms around 3 PM had shown her that not a trace of him remained and she shook her head in sadness and guilt at having erased Mulder in such an efficient manner. She sighed. ‘God, please let this be over tonight,’ she thought as she grabbed her coat, purse and car keys and left the apartment.

Margaret Scully was all ready in the arrival gate area when her daughter hurried up to meet her. Scully grabbed her mother in a hug and the older woman squeezed her tightly back and kissed her cheek.

“I’m sorry, Mom, traffic was horrible,” she smiled at her in way of an apology.

“Oh, I know, some poor business man next to me on the plane was on the in flight phone complaining about that fact,” she laughed, “He was making alibis all ready for being late to meet his client.” Margaret commiserated.

“So, you must have checked luggage Mom,” Scully stated noticing her mother’s small bag.

“Yes, we’ll have to go down to the baggage claim, I’m afraid. It’s just the one bag though,” she replied taking her smaller overnight bag and putting it over her shoulder.

“Oh, that’s all right, maybe the wait will allow the traffic to improve a little,” Scully answered, taking her Mother’s arm in hers as they headed towards the baggage claim area.

Once they were in Scully’s car and out on the Beltway, Scully made some small talk about her Mother’s trip, Bill, his wife, and the baby. But she quickly brought the subject around to the issue that was paramount in her mind.

“Come stay with you for a few days?” Margaret asked her daughters profile as she stared at the road ahead. She could see that Dana was tense because her jaw muscles were tight. “Is anything wrong honey?” she asked, concern in her voice.

“Wrong, oh no, nothings wrong, Mom. I just thought you might like to come for a visit. I have off until Thursday,” she replied, and then she smiled slightly, “maybe I’m a little jealous of Bill, Mom, he shouldn’t be getting all your attention you know.”

“Dana, you sound just like Charles,” she replied affection in her voice. Charles was her other son, the world traveler, very seldom home, but envious just the same of the attention she gave his two siblings.

“So, what do you say, Mom?” Scully asked mentally crossing her fingers.

“Yes, sweetheart, I’ll come for a visit. I think it might be nice. I’ve had quite enough of Bill for a while. The peace and quiet might do me good,” she grinned.

Scully glanced at her and then she laughed. Her mother very seldom said anything snide about any of her children so she knew Bill must have been really gotten under her skin.

“I guess he was in a panic over the baby, wasn’t he?” Scully asked.

Margaret sighed, “Yes, it was very stressful for him and his wife. I have to admit that’s probably why he was such a bear. But, it was tiring.”

“I can imagine,” Scully replied.

“Well, let’s try not to talk about all that now, honey. If you can just take me past the house, I’ll get some fresh clothes and check my answering machine. I put a hold on my paper and mail until this Friday, so I don’t have to worry about them,” Margaret suggested.

“All right Mom, that sounds fine,” Scully answered taking the exit that would go past her Mother’s house.

Once Margaret Scully was at Dana’s apartment the two women made coffee and sat around making small talk. Scully was still very jumpy and she noticed her Mother was still a bit strained from the San Diego trip as well. ‘Maybe I should suggest dinner out, my treat,’ she considered, ‘then I can bring her back here when she’s more relaxed and we can have our talk.”

“Mom…” she began as her Mother was taking a sip of coffee.

“Yes, Hon,” she answered over the cup.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like cooking tonight. How would you like to go over to Gabella’s for dinner, my treat,” she smiled at the older woman. Gabella’s was a small Italian restaurant that was close to Mulder’s apartment. Scully had gone there often with Mulder, and she had also taken her Mom there at Mulder’s suggestion.

“Gabella’s? Lord, that would be wonderful, Dana! Believe it not, I got so tired of fresh seafood out in San Diego. I would love some veal scaloppini,” she enthused. “But don’t you think they might be crowded?”

“Well, it’s Monday night, they usually aren’t too busy. Even if we have to wait, it shouldn’t be too long. We can always sit in the bar and have a glass of wine,” Scully replied.

“All right, let’s go then, I am hungry,” her mother smiled and the two women got up to leave the apartment.

Gabella’s was a little crowded but the Maitre D’ had promised only a short wait so Scully and her Mother went into the bar to have their glasses of wine.

They hadn’t been sitting at the bar for very long when Margaret Scully craned her head to look past Dana’s shoulder and over to the Maitre Ds’ stand behind her daughter.

“Dana, honey, isn’t that Assistant Director Skinner?” she asked moving to get a better look. Scully blanched, ‘God I hope not,’ she thought instantly as she turned around to look in the direction of her Mother’s gaze. Sure enough, standing in the doorway was Walter Skinner, Assistant Director big as life. ‘Oh shit,’ Scully cursed inwardly, ‘I hope he doesn’t see us.’ “Yeah, Mom, that looks like the A.D.,” she answered her mother and then she turned back around to take a large sip of her wine.

“Dana, he’s going over to the other side of the bar, I bet they don’t have a table for him either. Why don’t you ask him to join us?” her mother asked politely.

‘Oh Christ,’ Scully thought with chagrin, ‘I was afraid this would happen. Lord! Just what I need – a charming night out with my Mother and my Boss,’ she sighed.

“Oh, Mom, maybe he wants to be alone, we shouldn’t intrude,” she insisted trying to salvage the moment.

“Oh, Dana, don’t be silly, the poor man is alone, no one likes to eat alone,” she disagreed, “I’ll just go over and ask him to join us.”

“Mom, he’s divorced, he’s used to it, Mother…” Scully was hissing after her mother but Margaret had moved off into the noisy bar crowd and was quickly beyond earshot.

Scully sighed and resigned herself to the fact that one of the people that made her more nervous than anyone else in the world was more than likely joining them for dinner. Even the events in Crossroads hadn’t helped her feelings for the A.D. In fact, that situation had served to make her even more upset at times in his presence. She respected him and liked him, but he just made her think of her father too much and that bothered her to no end. He was her Boss and she stuck to thinking of him formerly and professionally, and that’s how she got through most situations involving him.

Scully watched as her mother walked around the bar and reached Skinner on the other side. Skinner was surprised to see her and he pushed his glasses back up his nose and straightened up as she started to talk to him. Her mother was smiling as Skinner shook his head no and then he was smiling and shrugging and glancing in her direction. Scully caught his eyes, and smiled weakly, waving her hand limply in his direction. Skinner was soon picking up his glass and following her mother back around the bar.

“Scully, how are you?” he said in way of greeting as he sat his drink down next to her wine glass.

“I’m fine, Sir, how are you this evening?” she asked looking over at her Mother as she approached.

“I’m fine. Scully, you’re Mother has asked me to join the two of you for dinner. Is that all right with you? I mean, I don’t want to intrude,” he asked formerly, studying her face.

‘Well, he gets points for asking at least,’ she thought staring back at him. ‘Oh hell, maybe the guy was lonely, she thought, ‘what the heck, I might as well make the best of things.’ She fixed Skinner with her best professional smile and replied, “No sir, that would be just fine,” and as her mother joined them the maitre d’ called out that their table was ready.

While Scully was hiding Mulder’s belongings in her apartment that morning, Mulder was getting up sleepily at 6 AM and trudging down the hallway towards the communal shower, his change of clothes in one hand and his shaving kit in the other. He hadn’t heard Frohike at all in his room so he expected the guy was sleeping off a hell of a hangover. Mulder showered and dressed, and headed downstairs to rustle up some coffee and breakfast. He could hear noises coming from the kitchen and as he turned to walk into the hallway that lead towards the sounds, the front door swung open. In walked Melvin Frohike. Mulder’s jaw dropped open. Frohike looked rested and happy and Mulder could pretty much figure out the happy part without much of a stretch.

“Hey, G-man, any coffee to be had around here?” he grinned walking over to hang his coat on the coat tree. Mulder saw that his hair was still slightly damp and he was cleanly shaved for a change. Mulder continued to stare.

“Mulder, coffee?” Frohike prompted, grinning more widely.

“Oh, yeah, come on, I was headed in search of caffeine myself,” Mulder answered finally moving towards the kitchen again. He was shaking his head. It was obvious the Lone Gunman had spent the night with Sian Phillips and from the way he was strutting, Mulder was fairly sure it hadn’t been on her couch. ‘Will wonders never cease?’ he thought, and then, ‘God, this is almost an X-File in itself,’ he mused trying to hold back his mirth.

The two men walked into the kitchen to see Jim Rafferty and Janet Price performing a graceful ballet between the twin refrigerators and the stove. Coffee was on, and both Mulder and Frohike made a bee line for the mugs on the kitchen table. “Grab a plate, you two, eggs are almost ready,” Jim grinned. “And then get out, we have to start getting the stuff ready for the open house,” Janet laughed.

“All right, we’ll go eat in the dining room then, Martha Stewart,” Frohike teased.

“Are you sure we can’t help?” Mulder asked.

“You two help? I don’t think so,” Janet teased as well.

“Ok, I get the message,” Mulder smiled and both he and Frohike made a hasty exit for the dining room table.

They both put their full plates down across from each other and started to eat. Mulder kept looking at Frohike as he pounded down his chow. He didn’t know what to say to the photographer. He was happy for him but a little embarrassed as well. The mismatch between the gnome-like Frohike and the devastating Sian Phillips was almost beyond even his mind to comprehend.

Frohike looked up at him over his coffee cup and then he burst out laughing, “Christ, Mulder, don’t look so flustered,” he laughed, “I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right dude. I’m not embarrassed, why should you be,” he chortled.

Mulder grinned sheepishly then and took another bite of his scrambled eggs. “Well, I guess all I can say is congratulations, Frohike,” he chuckled.

“Yeah, thanks man. And Mulder, you were right, she really is a nice person,” Frohike replied quietly.

Mulder smiled back at him and then he thought instantly that perhaps now might be the time to tell Frohike about Scully. After all the guy had another woman to definitely occupy him for now and they were alone at the table which would probably not be the case before very much longer. Mulder decided to go ahead and he cleared his throat. “Uh, Frohike, as long as we’re talking about man/women relations here, I, I have something I’d like to talk to you about,” he began.

“Oh, yeah, hey, I’m sorry man, I didn’t mean to step in ahead of you with Sian, I know it seemed like Janet was trying to get the two of you together, but…”

“No, no Frohike, that’s not a problem, that’s not what I had in mind,” Mulder hastened to interrupt him.

“What then?” Frohike asked putting his coffee mug down next to his plate.

“Well, Frohike, I haven’t said anything about this before because, well, mostly because I just didn’t have the right opportunity. But, I thought now might be a good time to let you know that, that Scully and I are seeing each other,” he replied quietly.

“Seeing each other?” he asked, “You mean like…”

“Yeah, we’re having a relationship, Frohike. We’ve been together since we were on that case up in Crossroads, Maine. Frohike, I’ve, I’ve asked her to marry me,” he stumbled over the words, and then he took a long sip of his coffee.

“Son of a bitch,” Frohike hissed. Then he broke into a broad smile. “God, damn it Mulder, that’s great! Holy cow, I’m, Christ, Congratulations!” he exclaimed. He was bubbling all over and Mulder grinned broadly back at him “Holy shit, wait till Byers and Langly hear about this too,” he chortled.

“Oh, listen, Frohike. Don’t tell them yet ok, Scully and I still have some stuff to work out. She hasn’t said yes, yet, and besides there’s the job issue to think about.”

“Ah, fuck that stuff, Mulder, she’s nuts about you, she’ll say yes. And you can always tell the Bureau to go screw and come work for us,” he joked.

“Seriously, Frohike, don’t say anything to anyone for a while, out of respect for Scully at least, ok?” Mulder asked.

“For Scully? No problem, Mulder. All right, Mums the word, my man. But, did you tell Janet and Jimmy?” Frohike asked.

“Yeah, I told Janet and told her she could tell Jim as well. But I want to keep the in the know circle fairly small for now, all right. Just a few close friends,” he added smiling at the other man.

At Mulder’s inclusion of Frohike under the few close friends heading, the photographer had puffed up even more if that was possible.

“Hey, my lips are sealed, Mr. FBI,” Frohike replied.

“Ok, great, thanks,” Mulder breathed a sigh of relief.

“Are you going to stick around here for this open house?” Frohike asked, changing the subject.

“Yeah, I thought I’d check it out for a while. But then I want to go downtown for a while. I have something I think I need to buy,” Mulder replied.

“Oh yeah, like what?” Frohike asked.

“A ring,” Mulder smiled back at the Lone Gunman.

In an apartment just off Kilbourn Avenue and quite close to the Milwaukee FBI field office, Tony Rimmer grunted between the legs of the stripper he had picked up the night before. She was a tall, large breasted blond, very similar in appearance to Sian Phillips and Tony had found her performance at the Cheetah club quite marvelous to behold. Now he thrust into her as she raised her knees higher to meet his pumping hips. “God, baby, harder, come on, Oh, God, you’re so good,” she was moaning, and Tony had no doubt it was the truth. He had burrowed quite deeply into her mind as well as her body, and now he stoked her passion, making her cunt nice and tight, just the way he liked it. This wasn’t his favorite position for banging a broad, but it would do for now. He intended to take a more dominate position later for his ultimate sexual pleasure. For now he just wanted this woman to worship his hugely erect cock and crawl back eagerly for more when he showed up at the club this evening.

“You fucking bitch,” he growled at her as she writhed under him, “This is the best you’re ever going to get, you whore,” and then he allowed her to orgasm, clenching her muscles around his cock like a vice. He howled as he came and the dazed women screamed for more as Rimmer laughed into her face.

Sian Phillips showed up at The Whisper House at about 10 AM, overnight bag in hand. She was scheduled to help Janet set up the refreshments for the open house which was due to begin at noon. Janet had prepared most of the food ahead of time on her own in order to save money. Jimmy had gotten most of the supplies using his Sam’s Club wholesale card. The provisions were mostly snack type items that people could munch on easily while touring the house and there was plenty of soda and beer in case everyone was incredibly thirsty. Mulder had been in the library engrossed in one of the occult volumes when he had heard the front door bell. He hastened to open the door into the January cold.

“Come on in Sian,” he said smiling at the librarian.

“Good morning, Fox,” she replied walking past him. “Is Janet in the kitchen?”

“Yes, she’s really bustling around in there. She wouldn’t let Frohike or I help. I don’t think she trusted us,” he chuckled taking her coat from her and hanging it on the coat tree.

“Well, I’ll go and give her a hand,” she replied looking around.

“Oh, ah, Frohike’s downstairs with Jimmy. They’re getting the basement ready for the open house,” Mulder grinned a bit. Despite Frohike’s admonishment to not be flustered about the photographer’s liaison with Sian he couldn’t help but turn a bit red now that she was standing before him.

“Oh, well that’s good. I’m sure I’ll see him later,” she looked into his eyes enigmatically. Mulder gulped as the room strobed in and out suddenly and then Sian was walking back towards the kitchen. Mulder shook his head to clear it and went back into the library to read.

Sian smiled to herself as she walked towards the kitchen. The look on Mulder’s face had been priceless she thought. But even so, he didn’t even know half of her pleasure from the night before, and she giggled slightly. She had gone to several bars with Frohike last night, and had really enjoyed herself in every one of them. She had danced with him which had been rather amusing considering their height. They had certainly drawn stares. But holding him close had been extremely pleasant. They had ended up in a quiet little bar near her apartment next to the downtown campus of Marquette University.

It was here that Sian touched Frohike’s hand again and let her mind join with his deeply for the first time. The man really was an open book, and Sian quickly saw his diamond in the rough quality. He had a genius IQ, was intensely loyal to his friends, driven to find the truth and uncover all manner of twisted government conspiracies, some imagined but many very real. He was also intensely lonely. She saw his failed romances, the one or two brief successful liaisons he had formed with women, and the one romance that had broken his heart, the one he had never really gotten over to this day.

All these thoughts came to Sian in a rush and her breath was taken away for the first time, in a long time, with the overwhelming sensations. In her wolf like way Sian felt the need to protect this man. She also found herself attracted to him which surprised her because she knew most human females would consider him physically repulsive. But she found him extremely arousing and she decided on the spot that she would take him home, and take him to bed as well. One of her perks as a favored member of her clan was the permission to take a human lover when she so desired it. “And I so desire it, tonight,’ she smiled. So, she had taken Frohike home and they had made love, and it had been unhurried, very tender, and sweet. In the morning he had insisted that she sleep in, and he gallantly took a bus back to Shepard Avenue.

Sian looked forward to seeing him again that morning at The Whisper House but she could bide her time. Anticipation was part of her pleasure after all.

The open house was in full swing by 1 PM and Mulder and Frohike were at the center of it. Mulder especially was the object of much attention due to the X-Files. The attention was flattering but by 3 PM it was getting tiring as well so he decided to try to make an exit to go downtown. There was a brief lull in the stream of visitors so Mulder went in search of Frohike in order to tell him he was leaving. He found him in the little room filled with plants off the dining room. Frohike was in there sitting with Sian on the wrought iron bench that sat against the wall. He was holding her hands in his, and Mulder cleared his throat.

“Oh, hi, Mulder,” Frohike looked over at him nonplused.

“Frohike, I’m going to cut out for a while. I need to run that errand we talked about,” Mulder said.

“Ok, But try to be back by 7 PM, Janet says she’s ordering in pizza for all of us – sort of a post open house feast,” Frohike advised.

“Fine, I can manage that, see you two later,” Mulder replied.

“Stay warm, Fox,” Sian said smiling into his retreating back.

Hours later, DC time, Dana Scully was sitting at a table in Gabella’s Italian restaurant staring at her Mother and her Boss, A.D. Walter Skinner as they carried on an animated conversation on Italian cooking. She stifled a yawn and glanced at her watch. “Holy Mother Mary, it’s 10 PM,’ she thought with dismay. But she looked in her Mother’s eyes and she could see that she was really enjoying herself. ‘But what is wrong with this picture?’ she thought as she watched Skinner advising her Mother on what went into a really good marina sauce. It dawned on her with a jolt then what was wrong. The expression on her Mother’s face was the same sort of rapt attention that Margaret Scully had reserved for Dana’s late father and the idea was suddenly terribly troubling to Scully under the circumstances. ‘Oh God,’ she thought, ‘this is too much.’

“Mom?” she interrupted, “It’s 10 PM,” she stated pointedly.

“Oh good heaven’s Dana, is it that late? Oh, I’m so sorry. Mr. Skinner, we’ve kept you out too long,” she laughed.

“Please, call me Walter,” he told her smiling slightly, “and it’s no problem, you’ve been very gracious,” he added.

“Well, as long as you call me Margaret,” she smiled back.

‘Oh, crap,’ Scully thought as Skinner beckoned for the waiter. He was taking out a credit card and he intercepted the check before Scully could grab it.

“Oh, Sir, I can’t let you pay for the meal,” Scully blustered as Skinner glanced up from signing the credit card receipt.

“Nonsense, Scully, it’s my pleasure,” he rumbled looking over at Margaret Scully again.

“All right, Sir, well, thank you,” she sighed. Skinner finished with the credit card business, and then they all headed towards the restaurants cloak room. Skinner got all three of their coats and then he helped first Scully on with hers, and then held her Mother’s coat open for her. Scully bristled because it seemed as if Skinner held onto her Mother’s shoulders just a bit longer then necessary when he wrapped the coat around them. ‘No, it must be my heated imagination,’ she thought because Skinner was quickly holding the door open for them to exit the restaurant.

“Can I walk you to your car?” he asked.

“No sir, we lucked out, it’s right here,’ Scully gestured towards her car parked at the curb.

“Oh, all right,” Skinner replied nodding his head, “Well, I’ll say goodnight then, ladies. It was nice seeing you again, Margaret. And certainly under much more pleasant circumstances,” he added in his usual clipped way.

Scully rolled her eyes.

“Yes, it was a wonderful evening, Walter, and it was nice seeing you again as well,” Margaret Scully replied.

Skinner turned and headed towards his car then, tossing back a final “Goodnight,” over his shoulder.

“What a charming man,” Margaret Scully sighed as Scully unlocked the car.

“Well, I guess he does have his moments,” she agreed still worried over her Mother’s obvious interest in the A.D.

Her Mother got in the car and they drove back to Scully’s apartment. As Scully unlocked the door she thought, ‘Well, it’s now or never,’ and she walked into the apartment, her Mother trailing behind her.

Both women hung up their coats in the closet.

“Mom, would you like an after dinner drink, or some coffee?” Scully asked procrastinating still.

“Actually honey, do you have some herbal tea?” Margaret replied.

“Celestial Seasonings,” Scully answered.

“That would be fine,” her mother smiled.

Scully went to make the tea, leaving Margaret Scully to sit down comfortably on the couch in front of the TV and VCR.

When Scully came back in, tea cups and saucers balanced carefully in both hands she stopped dead. Her mother was looking at two video tapes that had been on top of the TV. One was Room with a View, the other was Them. Scully’s eyes went wide as her mother read the back of the box for the 50s SF classic. ‘Oh Lord,’ she thought, ‘As Mulder would say – I’m busted. Why the hell didn’t I take those back and to top it all off I’ll have to pay an overdo charge.’

“Oh, that tea looks good, honey,” Margaret was saying as Scully approached the couch and placed the cups on the coffee table. She placed the video tapes back on top of the TV, and sat back down on the couch. Scully sat down next to her and pushed a tea cup closer to her hands.

“So, did you rent these for us to watch while I was here?” she asked indicating the tapes. “I’ve haven’t seen Room with a View, but this other one, God, that brings back memories. I saw that film with your father, honey, years ago,” she smiled in remembrance.

Scully sighed. ‘Well there’s no need to put off our little talk any longer,’ she thought and then she began to explain.

“Well, no Mom, I didn’t exactly rent them for us. But, now that you mention them, Mom, they do involve something I need to talk to you about,” she said. “Those are Mulder’s tapes.”

Margaret Scully took one look at her Daughter’s face and knew something was wrong. She settled into the couch, flipping her shoes off and tucking her legs up under her. Scully did the same and Mother and Daughter looked like bookends at either end of the furniture.

“Dana, what’s wrong, dear? I thought you said earlier that nothing was wrong,” Margaret said with worry.

“Mom, please really, nothings wrong. In fact, well, it may be very right depending how you look at things,” Scully added opaquely.

“Dana, can you get to the point, sweetheart, it’s late and I’m not as sharp as I used to be,” her Mother teased her lightly reaching over and touching her knee.

“I don’t know how to start,” Scully sighed with love in her eyes.

“Why don’t you just start at the beginning, honey, that’s usually the best place. I’ll just let you talk. I won’t interrupt.”

“Well, Mom, I need to talk to you about Mulder Mom, about Fox,” she fumbled with his Christian name. “You know, I’ve been partnered with Mulder now for, Lord, it’s been almost five years,” she continued, ‘We, we’ve been through a lot together Mom, an awful lot. He’s been so tortured over his sister, so driven Mom, to find her, so obsessed and self centered for the five years I’ve known him. But despite all that, he’s been there for me through everything, Mom. Dad’s death, my abduction, Missy’s death, the cancer, Emily. He’s supported me and trusted me and, God, Mom I don’t know what I would ever do without him,” she had stretched her arm across the back of the couch and her mother extended her arm and touched her hand with hers. “He’s saved my life I can’t count how many times. Mom, he sent the cancer into remission for heaven’s sake. I just know I need him, and I want him with me now more than anything in the world.”

Her mother tightened her grip on Scully’s hand and Dana let the rest come out in a rush.

“Mom, what I’m trying to tell you is, I love him. I’ve loved him for five years, almost from the beginning when I walked into that crummy basement office in the J. Edgar Hoover building,” she stopped for a moment to catch her breath.

“Dana, honey, does Fox know how you feel?” her Mother asked quietly and kindly.

“Does he know Mom? Yeah, you could say he knows,” she laughed bitterly then because she was about to admit to her Mother what had been going on for months, and she was scared to hear her response.

“Mom, I’ve been sleeping with him,” she said looking down into her lap. She waited for something then, the sign of disapproval, the sharp intake of breath, or the removal of her Mother’s hand from her arm.

But instead her Mother gave her arm a gentle squeeze and then she said firmly, “Dana, look at me honey,” and Scully looked up into her Mother’s face. Margaret Scully was smiling slightly and Scully searched her face in amazement.

“What’s wrong, Dana, did you think I was going to go all Catholic on you?” she asked and Scully’s mouth dropped open.

Margaret Scully laughed then, “Honey, I have to tell you a little secret too. I never told any of you kids this dear, but I wasn’t exactly a virgin on my wedding night either. Your father and I spent one idyllic weekend up on the Cape just before the wedding and well, one thing lead to another, and your sister Melissa was probably the result,” she stroked her daughters hand.

“Mom….!?” Scully replied staring back at her.

“Well, I never mentioned it because it wasn’t important, at least until now,” she smiled, “and we were too young and dumb to know what we were doing in terms of protection. Things were a lot more naive in those days. But look, honey, do you really love each other, I mean, are you sure?” She asked her daughter.

“Oh, yeah, Mom, we’re sure,” Scully replied and then she started to tear up.

“Oh, baby, come here,” her Mother comforted, opening her arms so that Scully could come into her embrace. Scully scooted over and rested her head against her Mother’s breast as Margaret closed her arms around her and rubbed her back. “Dana, honey, if you love each other everything else will take care of itself, believe me,” she kissed her hair.

Scully started to cry a bit harder but she struggled to gain control because she wanted to tell her mother the rest of the story now.

“Mom, Mulder asked me to marry him just before he left for Milwaukee.”

“Oh, Dana, that’s wonderful,” her Mother replied releasing her. Scully sat up and looked into her Mother’s face, “You know Dana, I have to tell you that I’ve always liked Fox, and I’ve always felt he really cared for you. I wondered if he might love you honey, oh, I’m so happy to hear this I never dreamed, Oh baby, I love you,” she kissed her hand.

“Well, I’m really glad to hear that, Mom. But it’s not your approval I’m worried about you any longer I guess – it’s Bill’s,” she admitted at last.

“Bill? Oh I see,” Margaret answered her lips tight for the first time that evening.

“Mom, I haven’t given Mulder an answer yet because I wanted to talk to you and well, I need you to talk to Bill. I can’t face his anger and disapproval with Mulder. I’m afraid of what I might say or do now,” Scully stated with determination.

Margaret Scully sighed, “Dana, your brother has tunnel vision where Fox is concerned, I’m afraid. After the cancer and Emily he just won’t.”

“Mom, if Bill doesn’t approve of Mulder, if I have to make a choice between Mulder and Bill, well, then I’m afraid to say that I’ll no longer have an elder brother,” she finished, anger in her voice.

Her Mother was silent for a moment but then she replied, “Look, Dana, I know Bill has been a royal pain in the ass on this issue.”

“That’s an understatement” Scully answered.

“Well, be that as it may. All right, I’ll talk to him, Dana. I think he needs to have his cage rattled a bit too I guess. I’ve put if off for too long, I’ll see what I can do,” she finished touching her Daughter’s cheek.

Scully let out a profound sigh of relief. ‘God this is such a weight off my shoulders,’ she thought.

“So, honey, are you going to tell him yes?” her Mother was asking.

“Well, Mom, I’m leaning that way. But you know, we have to factor a few other things in here, like our careers and The X-Files and Mulder’s sister and…”

Her Mother laughed, “Well, Hon, don’t let the poor man wait for long, all right. And honey, if you talk it all out I’m sure you can settle all those other issues. You were friends before you were ever lovers, let that friendship make your bond even stronger. If you trust each other enough, like I said, the rest will fall into place.”

“Don’t worry, I told him I’d let him know my answer when he got back. And, I’ll consider your advice, Mom, I really will,” Scully replied with a smile. Now she would have some news to tell Mulder, she thought, and with her Mother’s approval that only left Bill to sway. She had hope and a sudden peace calmed her heart.

“Good,” her mother nodded decisively. “But, honey, I think we’d both better get to bed, I thought you might like to go shopping tomorrow, we could get an early start and then have lunch out if you’d like.”

“Fantastic, Mom, I saw an outfit I thought would look great on you the other day, it was on sale too.”

“Ah, ha, I knew you’d inherited my shopping smarts all along,” Margaret Scully laughed and both women got up to prepare to go to bed.

Back in Milwaukee earlier in the afternoon, Fox Mulder was traipsing from jewelry store after jewelry store on Wisconsin Avenue. He just could not find the right ring for Scully and it was pissing him off. Clerk after clerk looked at him like he was crazy as he asked them to show him case after case of engagement rings. Nothing looked right. ‘Damn it,’ he thought, ‘I guess this is going to have to wait till I get back to DC.’

But just as he was about to give up, he walked down a little side street, Milwaukee Street, and saw a tiny shop nestled between two older office buildings. The sign above the shop said Pandora’s Box – Jewelry, Clothes, Statuary & Gothic Collectibles. It drew Mulder like a magnet.

The bell above the door tinkled as he walked in. A slender blond women with a pierced nose was sitting behind a counter sorting earrings into separate piles. She looked up at Mulder, “May I help you?” She smiled pleasantly.

“God, I hope so,” he sighed. “I’m trying to find an engagement ring for my fiancee and I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for.”

“Do you know the size?”

Mulder had been sure of the size having taken a look at some of Scully’s rings in her jewelry box back in her apartment. He told the woman and she pursed her lips.

“So she’s petite?” she asked.

“Yes,” Mulder answered.

The women peered closely at Mulder, a somewhat dreamy expression in her watery blue eyes, “What color is her hair?”

“She’s a red head.”

“Ah, Irish then?” the women asked.

Mulder smiled, ‘Gee, that was a lucky guess,’ he thought snidely.

But then he stopped that thought because the woman said, “With a name like Scully that should be obvious, I guess,” and then she laughed a very tinkling musical laugh.

Mulder stood with his mouth gaping open.

“Juan, can you come out here a minute?” she turned and called back through the curtained door behind the counter.

“Yeah, what is it Kim?” the short muscular Hispanic man asked as he came through the curtain.

“Can you bring me the Claddaugh you’re working on, the gold one, not the silver?” she asked.

“Sure, I’ll be right back. He returned directly and placed a small square of black velvet down on the counter. He then placed a ring down in the velvet’s center and Mulder stepped forward to see it. One look and he knew he had found the ring for Scully. The ring was a primitive Claddaugh, with the hands and heart and crown design appearing raised on a plain gold band. The heart and crown were inlaid with a tiny diamond. It was beautiful and very unusual. Mulder raised his head and looked at Juan.

“You made this?” he asked impressed.

“Yeah, man,” Juan smiled back.

“This is the first Claddaugh my husband has made in gold, he usually works in silver. So, this piece is one of a kind. Juan usually breaks the molds on a unique piece like this one. So, it really will be a limited edition. And you’ll notice, it’s just your fiancee’s size,” Kim grinned.

Mulder whistled. Juan chuckled.

“Did she guess your fiancee’s name?” he asked Mulder.

“Yeah, she did.”

Juan laughed again. “Kim, you’re going to have to stop showing that Shining off to the customers, babe, you’re going to start driving them away.”

Kim smiled wide at her husband, “So, would you like to purchase the ring?” Kim asked Mulder.

“You bettcha, Kim,” he answered with a bemused grin.

Now, Mulder walked back up Wisconsin Avenue, his coat pulled around his ears, and the box with the ring in his pocket. He ran ahead quickly as he approached the 30 bus stop, the city bus that would take him back up to Shepard Avenue and the dinner of pizza that awaited him there.

His cell phone rang on Tony Rimmer in his hotel room, as he was taking a piss. ‘Damn it he thought,” as he hastened to stop and zip up his pants. He left the bathroom quickly and picked up the phone.

“Mr. Rimmer?” the familiar voice coughed over the connection.

“Who else would it be?” Rimmer answered sarcastically.

“Now, now, temper, temper,” the voice warned, “Do you have anything to report?”

“Yeah. I bugged the house quite thoroughly. Nothing much is going on right now. They’re having some sort of open house today. I spent a little time up there checking things out, but it was pretty uneventful.” Rimmer neglected to mention the appearance of Sian Phillips. It was none of the government creeps business what went on amongst the clans. That was a shapeshifter’s affair and not meant for human kind.

“Very well, what are your further plans?” the cigarette husky voice asked the red headed wolfman.

“Well I intend to really get things moving tonight, Sirrr,” he drew out the Sir so that it was just a touch insulting. Rimmer felt more confident dealing with this human from a distance. He was beginning to think he might even feel confident close up as well. He could almost feel the black lunged fuck’s neck in his jaws as he listened to his wheezing voice over the cell phone.

“Good, Mr. Rimmer, I hope you aren’t losing sight of our little mission. I expect you to report in a little more often than you have been, Tony,” he hissed.

“Fine, I’ll do that,” Rimmer whispered.

“See that you do,” and the cigarette smoking man broke the connection.

Rimmer threw the cell phone down on the bed with a violent slap. ‘That turd is really going to pay when I get back to DC,’ he growled, and then he went back into the bathroom to finish emptying his bladder.

Frohike pushed his plate back from the table. “God, I can’t eat another slice of this stuff,” he grinned patting his stomach, “Where did you say it came from?” he asked grabbing one of the pizza boxes to look at the cover.

“Pizza Man,” Jimmy Rafferty answered munching on his last piece.

“Great crust,” Frohike added and Sian laughed as he said it.

All five were seated around the dining room table, empty pizza boxes and bottles of beer between them. It was late, almost 10 PM again but they had gotten a later start at dinner then planned after cleaning up after the open house. At least Mulder had returned early enough to help out on the clean up and for once Janet had been more than willing to let he and Frohike lend a hand.

“So, are you two going to go downstairs and take a look at those new lenses of Frohike’s?” Janet asked Jim Rafferty and Sian Phillips.

“Yeah, I’d be happy to give you all a demo,” Frohike enthused glancing shyly at Sian.

“I guess we could take an hour to look,” Jim replied. But then I’m going to have to crash, I’m beat and the conference starts at 11 AM tomorrow.”

“All right,” Janet answered. “Well, I’ll clear up and then, Jim, honey, I think I’m going to bed, I’m exhausted.”

“Gee, sweetheart, I can’t imagine why,” Jim grinned hugging her from his chair next to her.

“Janet, why don’t I give you a hand,” Mulder offered.

“God, that would be great, Mulder, thanks,” she said with real gratitude.

Rafferty, Frohike and Sian Phillips got up and headed for the basement stairwell. Mulder moved to gather up the first of the plates and carry them into the kitchen.

“So where were you all afternoon?” Janet asked curious.

“Oh, I went downtown. I wanted to look at rings for Scully,” Mulder answered quietly.

“Oh, that’s nice, Mulder. Did you find one?”

“Yeah, I did. I’ll show it to you later, it’s upstairs.”

“I’d like that, Mulder,” she replied smiling at him. They carried the plates on into the kitchen. Several trips later they were done and Janet was yawning widely.

“Go on up to bed, Mighty Mouse, I’m going to read a little in the library,” Mulder told her. He was still awake enough from the days excitement to feel sleep still a bit reluctant to come so he thought some reading in the volume he started earlier might help him to relax.

“Well, if you can’t get to sleep, have some warm milk – it works for me,” she patted him on the arm.

“Thanks, Mom,” he teased her as she headed off up the stairs. Mulder went into the library and presently he heard Rafferty, Frohike and Sian coming back upstairs from the basement.

He heard Rafferty saying, “Naw, like I said, she won’t mind, I’m sure. She was expecting, Sian, don’t worry. See you guys in the morning,” and then his heavy footsteps as he went up the stairs.

Mulder could just make out Frohike and Sian in the hallway, “After you,” Frohike was saying and then he heard another noise and he realized that they were kissing. He smiled as their footsteps soon receded up the stairwell. Mulder settled back into the comfortable recliner, thick book in hand. He took his glasses out of his jacket pocket, cracked the book to the spot where he had left off and proceeded to read. Soon however his lids grew heavy and before he realized it, his head was falling onto his chest and he was asleep.

Outside in the dark blue Ford Taurus, Tony Rimmer adjusted the earphones on his ears. The joint was really jumping tonight he thought as he listened. The short blond and her tall Viking Prince were humping like hell. And for God’s sake he couldn’t believe Sian Phillips was screwing that pathetic little dwarf he had seen her with earlier in the day. ‘I thought that white furred bitch would have better taste then that,’ he mused listening to her moans of pleasure as the pathetic little geek put it to her. The only one who was truly unoccupied was Mulder, Rimmer thought. ‘Ha, time to change that, you FBI fuck,’ he thought. He had followed him around in the mall downtown today and then later watched from afar as he bought the ring for his red headed lady love. The guy had some class though, he thought. The ring had been tasteful at least. Having all ready touched his mind and gotten his scent at the airport and back in the apartment in DC, it was relatively easy for Rimmer to reestablish the psychic bond with the Agent. Now, he let his mind loose and touched Mulder’s slumbering brain.

Fox Mulder dreamed. He dreamed he was in a forest, a dark tangle of trees, ferns and undergrowth. He swiveled to look around and stretched with the pleasure of his heightened senses. The crisp air on his face, the earthy smells, the sounds of tiny rustlings at his feet. Everything seemed vivid, alive and new and he reveled in it. For some reason he could see in the dark, and he sensed that he wasn’t standing upright. No, he, he was standing on all fours. And when he glanced down he could see his legs, and they were covered in fur, and his hands were more like paws and they were equipped with razor sharp claws. All this didn’t seem strange to him however, just different, and he ran his pink tongue over his lips as he loped off through the brush. Presently he caught a sent. It was musky, afraid, it was a deer, and it was running. Mulder became incredibly excited as he heard the deer fleeing before him. He began to run, crashing through the underbrush, and suddenly he looked around and noticed he had been joined by other four legged furry shapes.

He was a wolf he realized suddenly, a huge brown wolf with dark hazel eyes, and he lifted his head and howled with the pack as they ran on after their prey. A large white wolf, a female, ran by his left side, and on his right a larger red wolf, a male streaked along as well. But Mulder pulled ahead of them both, and soon he saw the terrified deer right ahead of him. He knew it was a doe then, and he took four strong bounds, and he was upon the deer in a flash. He threw himself up onto her neck and pulled the doe crashing down under him. He gripped the deer’s neck in his jaws, grunting and growling as he did so. The creatures eyes rolled in terror and her tongue jutted out as the doe bleated in pain and panic. Blood was on her lips, and Mulder was inflamed with the killing lust as he began to squeeze his jaws tight. The deer writhed in her death throes.

But, just as he began to taste the hot blood of the deer in his mouth, the prey’s body shifted, and the doe’s face became that of Dana Scully’s, and she was screaming in terror as Mulder felt her neck snap under his teeth.

Mulder woke with a shout of utter fright. He jerked up and the book he had been reading fell from his lap with a thud. His glasses fell off as well and clinked into his lap. ‘God All Mighty, what, what an awful dream,’ he shook his head with dismay, reaching to pick up his glasses. He put the glasses back on and gasping, struggled to still his breathing. He listened to see if his yell had disturbed anyone else in the house. All was quiet, however, and he sighed and rubbed a hand across his face. His stomach was sour, and he was having a massive case of acid reflux from the pizza he had eaten earlier. ‘Shit that’s what I get for eating spicy food so late,’ he sighed getting up to retrieve the book. He remembered he had some Pepcid AC in his duffel upstairs so he got up and headed out of the library to find the medication. As he headed upstairs he turned off lights as he went.

Mulder entered his room and went to his duffel, took out the meds and went into the bathroom to get water to go with the pills. Exiting the bathroom he walked over to the bed and set his wrist watch alarm for 7 AM. ‘Should be plenty early enough to get ready for the conference,’ he thought as his shoulders sagged. ‘God, that dream…’ passed through his mind again and the thought made him really dreadfully tired so he decided to lay down on the bed, fully clothed to try to get some sleep. He’d only been laying there for a few minutes when he heard the muffled sounds coming from Frohike’s room. ‘Oh Jesus,’ he thought with annoyance as he heard the low moans and creaking bed next door. ‘God, doesn’t he realize somebody might like to sleep around here,’ he thought, turning onto his side. As the noises continued, albeit very quietly, Mulder yanked the pillow from under his head, placed it over his ear and closed his eyes. The terror filled dream he had experienced earlier began to recede and he was fast asleep once more. This time no dreams came immediately, and soon he was snoring.

Next door, Frohike was in Sian Phillips embrace. He was beyond believing that he could ever be this lucky again in his entire life and he didn’t even stop to question whether it was a permanent state of affairs or whether he would ever see the gorgeous blond again after leaving Milwaukee. It wasn’t even the sex he thought, hell he would have been just as happy to sit and talk with her for hours. He was still surprised that he was making love with her, and to know that she truly enjoyed being with him. Sian touched his eyelids as he lay next to her now, drowsy from his efforts, and he fell asleep breathing against her breasts. Sian smiled down at him and reaching over gently removed the condom that he had used with her. The protection hadn’t been necessary of course, but Sian had been touched at his thoughtfulness on the issue.

He really looked so cute, smiling, and asleep, she thought and she quietly got up and went into the bathroom to dispose of the rubber. As she stood looking into the mirror she was suddenly met with a chill, and she sniffed the air, her green eyes aflame as she sensed danger. Every muscle and nerve in her body went on alert. She exited the bathroom and went over to her clothes which hung over the back of the chair with her overnight bag, next to the room’s desk.

Frohike shifted in his sleep and asked groggily, “Sian, is everything all right?”

“Yes, Mel, everything’s fine, lover, go back to sleep,” she assured him with a light stroke to his brow. Frohike sank back into slumber and Sian took the keys to his room, and the main doors from the desk top, stepped out of the room and locked the door behind her. She crept downstairs into the darkened lower floor. All her senses stretched out and she could just make out a presence. The hair on the back of her neck and her arms stood on end. One of her own kind she thought, but male, and vaguely familiar. She cast her head about again to pick up the scent, and soon she knew the direction from which it came and she walked back through the kitchen to the house’s back door. She opened it cautiously and stepped out into the cold January air.

A tall shape stood up in the shadows by the dumpsters. Sian growled low in her throat, and she felt the nubs of her fangs spring from her gums.

“Hey, cool it Sian,” the tall shape hissed, “Is that any way to greet an old friend?” Rimmer added stepping into full view.

Sian relaxed slightly when she saw the familiar face. But she didn’t let her guard down completely, “Tony, what are you doing in the states?” she asked her eyes narrowing at him.

“Business, my dear. What are you doing in Milwaukee?” he asked in return.

“I live here now, Tony. The pays better. A girl has to make a living you know.”

Rimmer chuckled and looked up idly at the dark house above them. Sian followed his gaze and then looked at him with further suspicion.

“You’re business wouldn’t involve anyone in there would it?” she asked, the warning plain in her voice.

“In there? No, Sian,” he lied smoothly. Rimmer had been in the enforcing business longer then Sian. He had also been brought across as a shapeshifter way before she had and he was very powerful. Under normal circumstances, Sian would have caught his lie, but his seniority allowed him to mask the untruth. Sian knew this was a possibility also, so she was still worried that he was coming after one of her friends.

“Look, Sian, if you’re worried about your little human up there, God, that dwarf you’re fucking, he’s safe, don’t worry,” he hastened to reassure her. It wouldn’t do for the she-wolf to go on the rampage Rimmer thought.

“Well, you’d better stay away from everyone in this house, Tony, or there will be hell to pay,” Sian snarled.

Rimmer held both hands up in surrender, smiling ferally at her. “No worries, Sian, they are as safe as little lambs,” he replied, ‘lambs headed for the slaughter,’ he grinned inwardly.

“All right, Tony, I’ll take your clan oath on that,” she whispered and Tony made the sign that signified his clan loyalty. Sian relaxed.

“So, how long will you be in Milwaukee?” she asked.

“Oh, just until tomorrow night. I’m making the grand tour, for Alex,” he added, meaning London’s alpha wolf, “I go down to Chicago on Wednesday to meet with the Midwest clan leader.”

“Oh, well, sorry to hear Alex is still so caught up in his political intrigues,” Sian sighed.

“Well, not really Sian, he’s been having me put out peace feelers now for weeks. It think the old asshole is getting ready to bury the hatchet,” he added.

‘Probably right in your head, you prick,’ Sian thought staring into Rimmer’s icy eyes.

“Well to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” Sian asked him finally.

“Oh, I just wanted you to know I was in town so you wouldn’t be surprised if you sensed me around. And for old times sake. I did enjoy our one bit of business together, Sian,” he smiled. She had been quite spectacular at the time Rimmer thought, especially when they had thrown caution and clan propriety to the wind and fucked each other almost unconscious after killing a dozen men in a Spittelfield’s crack house. Those had been the good old day Rimmer thought. He half hoped Sian wasn’t going to give him any grief over his killing of Fox Mulder. But he was just as prepared to rip her throat out now as he had been to screw her two years ago.

“Oh, well, I suppose I should be flattered Tony,” she chuckled. Rimmer frowned at the sarcasm in her voice.

“No, I’m sorry, I am flattered, really, I, I was just a little startled to see you that’s all,” she hurried to say.

“No harm done, white one,” he replied seductively, walking over to touch her on the cheek. She arched her head slightly and rubbed against his hand.

He drew away quickly and said, “Well, I need to take care of business, Sian, Au revior, my sweet. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again. Enjoy your little human,” he laughed and then he was gone. Sian blinked and shook herself all over. She turned and quietly reentered the house.

‘I hope that bastard is telling the truth,’ she thought. ‘I’m not in the mood for a fight right now,” she added. However, if Rimmer so much as harmed one hair on the heads of anyone in this house she would not hesitate to snap his spinal column and she would be glad to do it.

Sian stopped to listen to the various sounds to make sure all was well. The wolf women’s hearing was very acute, and she could hear Janet Price and Jim Rafferty snoring lightly in their suite on the third floor. She could hear Mulder talking in his sleep, and then his silence, and Frohike tossing a bit. She hastened up the stairs and unlocked the door to Frohike’s room. The photographer was waking up again and Sian carefully climbed back in bed beside him. He reached sleepily for her, but she stroked his neck and then his face whispering, “Melvin, go back to sleep, you’re going to be totally dead on your feet for your presentation tomorrow if we go at it again,” she chuckled slightly as Frohike gave her a lopsided smile. She lay back and pulled him close as his head lolled onto her breast and she closed her eyes as he snuggled next to her.

Tony Rimmer sat in the front seat of the Ford Taurus and shook with laughter. This whole thing was too rich he thought. Sian Phillips boffing that repugnant little gnome, the equally diminutive blond upstairs amusing herself with her tall fiancee, and Fox Mulder mewling in the library below as Rimmer forced him to dream of the pack, and the kill and his slaughtered lover. Tony really wanted to just walk into the Shepard Avenue residence and butcher everyone in it – they all deserved it, they were such cunting fools. But he knew he had to show some restraint. It would be suicide to draw too much attention to his real identity and the world of the shapeshifters. Discretion would be the better part of valor he thought even though it would be damned hard to do.

Rimmer hadn’t even revealed his wolf form to the smoking man in DC. He had just let the petty tyrant think he was an accomplished psychic able to warp men’s minds to his will. He did intend to let him get a glimpse of his true form however when he returned, and after the pay off for this little job, of course. It would be the last thing the cancer stick puffing shit would see, and Tony was really looking forward to the moment.

The smoking man’s instructions on this mission had been clear but rather annoying to Tony. Rimmer would have been more content with a direct approach with Fox Mulder. He would have just enjoyed grabbing the Agent off the street some dark night, crushing his neck, and then ripping his heart out for a snack afterwards. But the DC dick had wanted Rimmer to torture him a bit first, and then incredibly give the guy the idea that he had a sporting chance against Rimmer at the end before he delivered the coup de grace.

Maybe the old fuck was part wolf himself. Maybe he had a little shapeshifter in his ancestry somewhere along the line. He was certainly blood thirsty enough to fit into a certain segment of their society Rimmer thought. Of course, he could understand some of the man’s motivation. The old established wolves always got nervous when their son’s showed some initiative and threatened to rock their little world in a struggle for dominance. Rimmer knew the cigarette man would want to eliminate Mulder before his son had a chance to dethrone him and he could understand that need at least.

Still, the whole job was taking too long, it was too drawn out to be really fun. Rimmer wanted it to end, and ultimately he would have preferred that it ended in another way. Tony didn’t really want to kill Fox Mulder. In fact he would have liked to bring the FBI man across into the life of the pack. Rimmer had delusions of grandeur. He knew Milwaukee was a city without an alpha wolf – a no-man’s land controlled at a distance by a weak and decrepit elder leader in Chicago. Rimmer thought that if he planned things right, he could set himself up in Milwaukee as an alpha wolf. A first step in that plan might be to recruit some subservient hunters as pack members. Mulder would do for that role. Tony thought he might even be able to convince Sian to become his alpha bitch if he played his cards right. He sighed. Well it was an idea. He’d have to see how things went however. It could be a plan that was better left for the future, but the near future, he hoped, as he ran a hand through his golden red hair.

‘Well, at least things would be heating up tomorrow,’ he thought, ‘and then it will be end game and I can finish the whole bleeding show.’ Rimmer took the head phones off and placed them down next to him on the front seat. ‘In the meantime, there’s always the Cheetah Club’ he mused thinking of the Divine Desdemona a.k.a. Susan Foster, the exotic dancer now his sex toy, that awaited him there. Tony switched on the ignition and once again pointed his car south into downtown Milwaukee, a evil smile on his wolfish lips.

Tuesday dawned and the occupants of the house on Shepard Avenue began to stir. Frohike and Sian Phillips had gotten up early and walked quietly down to the communal shower. The hot water was pouring down on them and Sian scrubbed Frohike’s back tenderly. There was no sex between them that morning, just the shared pleasure of each others company, and Frohike thought that was very fine. Janet rolled over in bed and kissed Jimmy Rafferty on the forehead. Jim’s eyes opened and he reached to brush a strand of her hair back behind her ear. She kissed his lips and then giggled at the love in his eyes. “Honey, we’d better get up and fix some breakfast,” she said. “I’m starving and I imagine Frohike will be in serious need of energy food this morning.” Jimmy laughed, and agreed and they got up to go downstairs.

Fox Mulder’s watch alarm went off at 7 AM and he grudgingly brought himself out of his dreams. He had finally dreamt something pleasant that night, a wonderful vision of walking with Scully on a sunlit beach somewhere tropical. He had seen the ring on her finger plus the second ring, a wedding ring as they walked. He knew it was their honeymoon and his heart had soared at the scene. Mulder woke reluctantly but refreshed and he had headed down to the now vacant shower to clean up for the conference.

Once everyone was showered, clothed and fed, they gathered up all the material needed for their various presentations, loaded up the van, and made the exodus for downtown Milwaukee and The Whisper Group meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Tuesday morning had dawned for Dana Scully in DC and she did meet the sun with a happy face. Her Mother sat at the kitchen table as Scully prepared breakfast for them. The coffee was perked and Scully was putting bagels and fresh fruit onto plates.

Margaret Scully all ready had a cup of coffee before her and she was smiling at her Daughter because Scully was more content and joyous then she had seen her a long time.

Mother and Daughter had chatted over breakfast, lingering in their bathrobes and slippers over their food. The subject of Mulder had come up again and this time the conversation was light and pleasant with Scully telling her Mother about some of Mulder’s more amusing jokes and acerbic humor. At one point in the conversation Walter Skinner’s name came up and Scully squinted at her Mother because she seemed suddenly interested in the Assistant Director and the idea still gave Scully fits. Dana was successful however in steering their chat into other avenues and they whiled away the time until mid morning. Finally the two women had showered, dressed taken their coats and purses and left the apartment for their day of shopping.

At around 1 PM, Fox Mulder waited outside a section of the ballroom in the Hyatt Regency Hotel where The Whisper Group conference was in full swing. The first speaker was inside finishing up his presentation and Mulder could hear his voice and then the crowds laughter at some joke he made. Frohike was scheduled to go on after Mulder and the photographer had excused himself to use the rest room a sudden attack of stage nerves causing him to have to piss. Mulder sat down on a bench against the wall and opened his presentation folder to take one final glance through his paper on Clyde Bruckman.

As Mulder read, the hairs on his neck suddenly stood on end and he became aware of the feeling that he was being watched. He looked up and scanned the lobby and his eyes fell on the tall red headed man from the airport. The man was standing near the elevators and his ice cold blue eyes were boring a hole right through Mulder’s skull. Time seemed to stop and everyone in the lobby was moving in slow motion as the tall well dressed man pinned Mulder under his hypnotic stare. Mulder got a glimpse then of the forest and the chase and blood and darkness and as quickly as he felt all the sensations they were gone and so was the tall stranger. Mulder blinked and time returned to normal. Mulder stretched, the memory of the moment fading fast, and he looked towards the doors to the ballroom as he heard the applause that signaled the first presentation was complete. Standing he opened the door, walked into the room and headed up to the stage where the speaker was just leaving the podium.

Tony Rimmer exited the lobby of the Hyatt Regency smiling. ‘The pump’s primed,’ he thought. Mulder was softened up enough now to go along with just about anything Rimmer was going to do this evening and he had pretty much decided how the Agent was going to meet his death – or just remotely his rebirth. He still held out some hope that he would be able to bite Mulder at some point and convert him rather then kill him. He was leaving his options open. ‘To be or not to be,’ he mused. Well, it didn’t matter. The game was afoot and that was the ultimate pleasure. ‘And speaking of ultimate pleasure, I’d better get back to the Divine D,’ he thought. The exotic dancer, Susan Foster was waiting for him in her apartment near the FBI Headquarters. Tony had checked out of the Phister Hotel and then picked Susan up at the Cheetah Club the night before. He had decided to make her apartment his final base of operations, and he had escorted her there last night for an evening of debauchery which she had begged him for.

Rimmer had fucked her in every conceivable position possible during the evening and made her scream for more. He had tweaked her orgasms until she was almost passing out from their intensity and then he had sprawled back on the bed, the woman straddling his hips, impaled on his huge cock. He watched her as she rode him, rubbing her clit in a frenzy, and he closed his eyes and smiled. As the woman pumped up and down on his erection and her cunt spasms squeezed him tightly Rimmer grunted just allowing himself to begin to feel his own ecstasy. He had grinned then and picked up the cell phone lying next to him on the bed and punched in a number in DC. The phone was answered after one ring.

“Rimmer here, Sir,’ he grunted into the receiver end as another spasm constricted his penis.

“Mr. Rimmer, I’m glad you’re reporting in, I was getting a bit anxious,” the smoke hazed voice hissed from the other end of the connection.

“Well, never fear, things are moving along quiet nicely Sir,” he licked his lips, ‘moving, yeah, I’ll say they’re moving’ he gave out a low groan as the blond writhed against his crotch.

“And…my son?” the cigarette smoking man was asking.

“OH, Mulder’s primed, I don’t think the conclusion of my little play will be any trouble,” Rimmer assured him, thrusting slightly to meet the blond’s hips. She groaned loudly and Rimmer could hear the sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line.

“See that it isn’t, Mr. Rimmer the voice said, “And remember the stipulations of our deal,” he added breathing somewhat heavily as he listened to what he now obviously knew was going on in the Milwaukee apartment.

“Yes, Sir, I know – torture, terror and fake triumph and then I frag his ass,” he hissed as the blond raked his chest with her nails.

“Correct, Mr. Rimmer, and don’t forget it,” he advised.

“No problem, Sir,” Rimmer stated, and then he added, “if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I have something I need to finish here,” and he put the cell phone down on the bed next to him, the connection still open. He grabbed the blond by the waist and flipped her over violently, forcing her legs up as he drove into her, hard and deep. She shrieked in lust and Rimmer could her a low moan coming from the cell phone next to her head and he laughed as he came with a guttural roar.

Rimmer smiled at the memory. He chuckled at the thought of the cancer man beating off in his office in DC as he listened to Rimmer and the exotic dancer. It had been a sublime bit of business. Now Rimmer really wanted to get back to the Divine Ds apartment because when it finally came down to it, Susan Foster had a very important part to play in his plans and he didn’t want her to wait to take center stage much longer.

Dana Scully and her Mother carried the packages from their shopping expedition back into Scully’s apartment at around 6 PM. It was late but they had had such fun shopping and stopping in an art gallery on the spur of the moment. Dana had decided to cook for her mother tonight and then to call Mulder to tell him how things had gone on Monday evening. As she was putting her packages in her bedroom and planning a dinner menu in her head she heard the phone ring in the living room.

“I’ll get that honey,” her Mother called.

Scully put her packages down on the bed and then she went back into the living room. Her mother was talking into the phone and it was obvious the call had been for her and not Scully.

“Well, how nice,” she was saying. “But, I’m not sure, uh, let me ask Dana,” she was saying, “Just a moment, she’s right here,” Her Mother pressed the mute button on the phone and then she turned to Scully, a half flustered and pleased look on her face.

“Honey, this, it’s Walter Skinner on the phone,” she whispered smiling nervously.

“Skinner, is something wrong?” Scully was worried that even though the call sounded like it was for her mother that something had happened to Mulder.

“Oh, God, no honey, nothings wrong!” Margaret Scully hastened to reassure her, “He, he’s calling for me. I told him I was staying with you the other night in the restaurant so he called me here. He wants to know if I’d like to have dinner with him this evening.”

“Dinner?” Scully raised an eyebrow, “Alone?”

“No, together, honey,” she teased, but then she went very serious, “God, Dana, I think he’s asking me for a date,” and then Margaret was suddenly extremely flustered.

Scully’s mouth dropped open, “Oh, Mom…” she started to say.

“What should I do?” Margaret whispered.

“Well, don’t keep him on hold forever,” Scully advised equally upset. She didn’t know what to say. This was incredible.

Her Mother put the receiver back to her ear and it was evident that Skinner was talking to her right away.

“Oh, no, it’s not that short a notice, Walter. No, we haven’t eaten yet, we’ve been shopping all day. Yes, I have to admit I’ve worked up quite an appetite,” she took a deep breath and then came to a decision.

“Walter, I’d love to go to dinner with you. Yes, Thai food would be marvelous. 8 PM? Fine, you know the address? Oh, yes, of course you would. All right, I’ll see you then,” she finished hanging up the phone.

“Mom, I think we’d better have another talk,” Scully sighed at the look of utter confusion and chagrin on Margaret Scully’s face.

At 6 PM in Milwaukee, Janet Price, Jim Rafferty, Frohike, Mulder and Sian Phillips were just sitting down to a post conference dinner in the restaurant of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It was a convenient location and the food was passable but their main intent was to enjoy each others company for one final evening before Mulder and Frohike returned to DC. They all ordered traditional Milwaukee German specialty dishes, Mulder opting for veal rather then the despised kielbasa. As he ate his meal he was content but slightly buzzed and he chalked that up to the enthusiastic reception his paper had gotten that afternoon and the fact that he was thinking about returning to Scully and her possible answer to his marriage proposal.

Frohike was lost in Sian Phillips eyes and Mulder was really happy for the photographer. He figured Frohike could always talk to her over the Internet if he wanted, and Milwaukee was only a plane flight away, so the relationship might have a chance at continuing despite the fact that they looked so mismatched. Sian Phillips really did seem eager to be with the Lone Gunman and Mulder just shook his head with a smile at the vagaries of fate.

Janet and Jimmy were laughing and joking, and in love, and all in all Mulder thought, the evening was going to be wonderful. He picked up his knife and fork and cut another piece from the excellent piece of veal on his plate.

It was close to 8 PM in DC and Margaret Scully was breathing deeply to calm herself. She and Dana had indeed talked for quite some time about Skinner. Dana had explained that she wasn’t entirely happy with her Mother accepting the invitation to dinner with her Boss and why. It had been hard to admit to her Mother that Skinner made her so nervous and even though she respected him he still made her feel like she was about six years old. And of course, she did have to work with him, maintaining a professional demeanor although that wasn’t as hard since he had known about her relationship with Mulder. Of course she had to tell her mother about that little fact as well.

Margaret Scully had listened and then confessed that she wasn’t sure she should have accepted either. After all, she hadn’t had a single date since her husbands death. She hadn’t even thought about another man in all that time. She was totally flummoxed and afraid that she would make a total fool of herself even though it did seem like she wanted to go.

But as they talked, Dana Scully began to realize that maybe her Mother had grieved for her late Father long enough. It wasn’t healthy for her to deny herself the pleasure of a man’s company forever. She needed some sort of social life. Scully chided herself for making too much of the Skinner situation. ‘I mean, God, he just asked her to dinner, it isn’t like he’s serious or anything’” she mused. After the extended conversation in the restaurant about cooking – a subject she knew Skinner was very familiar with after the Maine case, she figured he just wanted someone to talk to about a shared interest. She knew Skinner was lonely. Since the horrible events in Crossroads, Maine, and the loss of his love, Maggie Flynn he had mostly been absorbed in the job and it’s day to day grind. He had no social life to speak of so Scully finally decided she really couldn’t begrudge him escorting her Mother to dinner. After all if he was going to pick an attractive older woman to entertain he couldn’t go wrong in squiring Margaret Scully.

Dana had smiled and told her Mother to go for it and then they had both laughed long and hard to break the tension. Margaret Scully sat on the couch now, dressed in a stunning red dress that she had purchased just that afternoon. Dana thought she looked beautiful. The door bell rang promptly at 8 PM.

“Look, Mom, I’ll be in the kitchen, all right?” Scully whispered. She thought it might be more easy for her Mother to answer the door on her own without her hovering like some suspicious chaperone.

As she poured herself a cup of coffee from the pot on the counter she could hear her mother opening the apartment door.

Skinner was greeting her and Scully could tell from the tone of his voice that the dress was a hit. She smiled. She wished she could have seen what he was wearing but it really wasn’t important. Skinner was somewhat of a clothes horse so she knew he would have done it up right. They made small talk for a couple of minutes, and then Scully heard her mother getting her coat from the closet near the door.

“Honey, we’re going now,” she called and Dana took a deep breath and just poked her head out of the kitchen door. ‘Yup, I was right, he looks great,’ she thought taking in Skinner’s tailored suit.

“All right, have a nice time you two,” she smiled. Skinner smiled ruefully at her. He was nervous for once and Scully suppressed a grin.

“I won’t keep her out too late,” Skinner was saying a slight smile playing about his lips.

Scully grinned back and keeping with the good mood and light tone said, “Well, see that you don’t – Sir.” and then she smiled more broadly to show that she was only joking.

Skinner took her Mother’s arm then and opening the front door gently steered her through it and out into the crisp January evening.

Scully went back out into the living room with her cup of coffee and sat down on the couch. She picked up a book she had been reading and settled back to wait for her Mother’s return.

Tony Rimmer sat naked on the edge of Susan Foster’s bed in downtown Milwaukee. He glanced at the clock as the equally naked blond knelt between his legs, his cock in her mouth. Rimmer was stroking her head with one hand as he idly glanced over at the clock. ‘8 PM’ he thought. ‘Well, it’s about time I got this show on the road,’ he added.

“Susan, my dear, that’s really exquisite, but could you stop a moment please. I don’t want to come yet. I’d like to save that for you,” he grinned down at her ferally as she looked up into his face and released his erection.

“Oh, sure, Tony…” she purred. She was panting for him now and he stood up and extended his hand to pull her to her feet. He embraced her and kissed her tenderly on the lips. She opened her mouth and he stuck his tongue into her and deepened the kiss. As he explored her taste he reached into her mind and let her feel that she could never experience such rapture again. He also told her that no matter what happened next she would do anything he asked without hesitation. She groaned and Rimmer moved her over to the bed and sat her down on it. She made to pull him down on top of her but he disengaged himself.

“Look baby, I need to take a leak, all right, I’ll be right back, keep the home fires burning,” he licked his lips as she lay back, stroking her breasts and between her legs.

Rimmer walked into the bathroom and shut the door. This part of his life was always a little painful and inconvenient and he always felt just a trifle vulnerable during it. He didn’t want Susan to see what he was going to do now and just possibly have his control over her broken. It was a remote chance but caution was what had kept Tony Rimmer alive for so long. He stared into the mirror and then crouched down on the floor on all fours. He grunted in discomfort and then retched slightly in pain as his bones began to shift and pop and twist. His legs elongated, turned furry, and bent at an odd angle. His arms swelled and became equally as furry and his ears lengthened as well. Sharp talons sprung from his finger tips and fangs broke through his gums. He snarled quietly and mewled a bit as the pain swept over him one last time and his shapeshifting transformation was complete. Tony Rimmer stood on all fours next to the tub in Susan Foster apartment and his ice cold blue werewolf eyes glowed with a supernatural light, and his now mammoth erection swung between his legs.

Rimmer reached up with a nearly human hand-like paw and twisted the bathroom door handle. The door swung open and he loped back down the hallway to Susan’s bedroom.

The blond was masturbating on the bed and Tony crept up to her and stuck his head up over the bed’s edge between her legs. She looked down into his wolfish muzzle, her eyes grew wide and her mouth opened to scream. Rimmer pinned her eyes and then sent a bolt of psychic energy into her mind and she smiled at him.

“Oh, hello Tony, what took you so long?” she asked him, dazed.

Tony laughed. He pulled the dancer down off the bed and flung her to the floor onto her hands and knees. She pushed her ass up into the air eagerly as he grabbed her by the waist, and without further preamble, the werewolf thrust violently into her. The blond screamed in fear and torment then as Tony pulled back and then pounded into her again and again, snarling and groaning. ‘God this is so fucking good,’ he thought. ‘The only way, the only way,’ he kept repeating and he mentally stifled the blond’s shrieks because he didn’t want to attract attention.

Susan Foster writhed in front of him. There would be no pleasure for her now, only terror and anguish in her mind, and complete compliance to the wolfman with her body. Tears streamed down her face as Rimmer continued to brutalize her with his cock and his claws. Blood ran down her legs and back and finally when she was close to collapse she felt the wolf’s muzzle at the back of her neck. Rimmer was close to coming, he grunted in time to this thrusts and rolled his hips and head in white hot bliss.

He gripped the blond’s neck in his jaws and then as he drove into her hard and deep for two last tremendous thrusts, he erupted, his jaws shut in an orgasmic rictus and he snapped Susan Foster’s neck like a broken twig. As Rimmer’s semen spurted into her dying body, her blood spurted everywhere, and Rimmer caught some of it in his now gaping and gasping jaws.

It was nearly 11 PM and Janet Price was wheeling the black Dodge Caravan out of the Hyatt Regency Parking garage and heading for The Whisper House on Shepard Avenue. The little group, still including Sian Phillips was happy but tired and somewhat subdued now as they drove off into the night. Jim sat next to her riding shotgun and he smiled as he glanced in the rear view mirror. Mulder was seated on the middle bench seat staring out the window into the Milwaukee City lights a small smile on his face. Rafferty figured his mind was miles away. He could just see past Mulder to the rear bench seat where Frohike was talking quietly to Sian. Janet had invited her to return to the house with them again and Jim had to chuckle at the way she had finally excepted the fact that Frohike and the tall blond were an item. It was a strange vision but fun to watch Rafferty thought. He reached over and patted Janet on the knee and she smiled over at him. The van sped on towards the lakefront route and towards the East Side.

Dana Scully had dozed off when a noise outside her front door awakened her. She rose from the couch instantly and went to open the door to let her Mother in. Something caused her to hesitate however, and she stepped forward impulsively and pried the curtain aside just a bit to make sure it was indeed her Mother returning, ‘It had better be, it’s almost midnight,’ she yawned.

Through the window she could plainly see Skinner and her Mother on the stoop. They were standing very close and then Skinner bent over and started to give her Mother a kiss on the cheek. But then he hesitated, looking into her Mother’s eyes, and searching her face for something. Her Mother touched his arm, and then instead of a chaste kiss on the cheek Skinner drew Margaret Scully close and kissed her on the lips.

“Oh shit,” Scully breathed as her Mother melted against him, ‘Jesus,’ Scully amended and she dropped the curtain and backed quickly into the living room. Her knees were shaking and she sat back down on the couch with a thud. ‘God, her Mother was kissing him, kissing Walter Skinner, oh for Christ sake! And on the first date. I mean wasn’t there something against that according to Miss Manners? Oh my God! Well, the A. D. certainly doesn’t waste any time does he? Holy Mother Mary. But he has been so lonely and my Mother is really warm, and fun, and attractive and…oh dear Lord,’ Scully’s mind was in turmoil. She struggled to compose herself as she heard her Mother’s key turning in the lock.

Margaret Scully came in the door and Dana took one look at her Mother’s face and she knew. She had seen that look enough times in her own mirror when she thought about Mulder to know what it meant. Margaret Scully was very close to falling fast for Skinner and Scully could not believe it. She was too skeptical to consider love at first sight as a valid reason for this unexpected turn of events. She began to think it was more than likely the feelings of two lonely people taking a sudden turn and she wasn’t sure it was a turn for the better.

Her Mother was quietly closing the door behind her and taking off her coat. After she hung it in the closet she stepped back and then Scully felt a tremendous rush of love go through her body because her Mother was smiling as she reached up and touched her lips with her finger tips.

“Mom, are you all right?” Scully asked quietly from the couch. Her Mother jumped slightly and then turned to look at her daughter.

“Dana honey? Oh, you shouldn’t have waited up for me,” she smiled at her as she walked into the living room.

“Oh, that’s ok, Mom, I wanted to finish this book anyway,” she said placing the novel on the coffee table. Then she patted the couch next to her and said, “Why don’t you come over here and tell me all about your evening. Was the restaurant nice?”

Margaret Scully crossed to the couch and sat down, a dreamy expression on her face and Scully thought, “Yes, she looks just like me after Mulder and I…” and then suddenly she thought, ‘Oh my God, I forgot to call Mulder!’ With everything that had been going on between her Mother and Skinner she had completely neglected her promise to call him that evening.

“Oh, Mom, I forgot to call Mulder,” she blurted out.

“Oh, Dana, Lord, you’d better try to get him, he must be frantic by now!” her Mother touched her arm. Scully picked up her cell phone from the coffee table and punched in Mulder’s cell phone number. She sat back as the phone rang.

Janet Price closed the garage door on the Dodge Caravan and turned to follow the rest of her little group into the house. Once inside everyone decided it was best to go to bed. Mulder and Frohike’s flight wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon but both of them thought it might be best to turn in.

“All right you guys. I’ll let you all sleep in the morning and we can all have a big brunch before we drive you to the airport,” Janet said

“Thanks, Janet,” Mulder replied, “I really enjoyed today. The conference was great.”

“Hey, your paper was great, G-man,” Frohike chimed in slapping him on the back.

“Hell, Frohike, I don’t think it held a candle to yours,” Mulder grinned. The photographer had really outdone himself with slides regarding the new lenses, and a demo of spirit photography, and then the many ways photos could be faked at the end of the presentation. Mulder had been very impressed and almost felt his paper was boring by comparison.

Frohike laughed. “Yeah, well, you got the most applause, Mulder. But maybe that was just because you’ve got that GQ look,” he teased.

Sian Phillips laughed and patted Frohike on the arm. He smiled over at her and then said, “I’m beat, Sian, I’m going up to bed.”

“All right, Melvin, I’ll be up in a minute,” she replied smiling at him with love in her eyes. Sian couldn’t quite believe it but in just a few days this little man had captured her wolfish heart. She wanted to see him again or at least try to maintain the relationship. She’d do it long distance for now if she had to but she was even considering relocating to Washington, DC. It wouldn’t be a bad move, DC held lots of action and there was certainly a need there for her special, hidden talents.

Of course, she would have to tell Frohike about her true nature. She had probed his mind enough to know that he would be shocked at first but the experiences in his life as well as his association with Mulder had made him more then open to extreme possibilities. She thought things could be worked out in the shapeshifting department. And then of course she would bring him across. He wasn’t exactly a prime pack candidate but the clan could certainly use his genius and photographic expertise not to mention his underground hacker connections. She smiled to think what the change would do for him too. He wouldn’t be quite the gnome like individual he was now, not that she didn’t find that aspect of him charming. No, he would be much larger, muscular, powerful and graceful. She grew slightly wet with the thought.

She watched as Frohike went up the stairs and then she turned to Janet and Jimmy and said, “I, I just want to thank both of you for inviting me to stay here for the last couple of days. I can’t tell you how much…” and she suddenly became uncharacteristically flustered and her voice trailed off. Mulder and Jim Rafferty stepped aside, slightly embarrassed and Janet stepped forward and hugged Sian around the waist.

“Oh, honey, don’t mention it,” she replied quietly, “I’m so happy for you.”

Janet released her then and Sian said, “Good night everyone, I’ll see you in the morning,” and she turned to go up the stairs.

Mulder scratched his head and smiled sheepishly, “Yeah, well, I guess I’d better hit the sack as well.”

“I’ll turn off the lights and lock up down here you two, go on up to bed, Jim,” Janet replied, “Oh, and Mulder, can I stop by before I go up and see that ring?” she asked.

“Oh, sure, Janet, great, I’ll leave my door open a crack, just come on in,” Mulder replied and then he turned and headed up the stairs with Rafferty following behind him.

Janet Price began to make her rounds of The Whisper House checking doors and windows and turning off lights as she went. When she reached the door to the basement work rooms she noticed it was open and the lights were on downstairs. ‘What the hell,’ she thought, ‘Jimmy must have left the lights on again,’ she thought in exasperation. But as she made to switch off the light she noticed a dark, wet stain at the bottom of the steps. ‘Oh shit, have we got a leak?’ she thought. ‘No, that doesn’t look like water, God I can’t believe Jim would have spilled paint down there and not cleaned it up,’ she mused descending the steps to get a better look. As she reached the bottom step and beheld what was splayed out on the floor before her she put her hands to her face and screamed in terror.

Fox Mulder sat on the bed in his room upstairs and fingered Scully’s engagement ring in it’s box. It glinted in the rooms soft light. He was smiling and then he suddenly heard an almost inhuman shriek of terror coming from below. He dropped the box onto the bed, grabbed his weapon from the holster behind his back and was out the room’s door instantly and thundering down the stairs.

Frohike was just unbuttoning his shirt as Sian sat on the edge of the bed to remove her shoes when the air was split with a wail of terror from the basement. Sian rushed past Frohike in a blur of motion, and the photographer’s neck snapped around as the door to the room flew open and she was gone. He turned and dashed after her at a dead run.

Jim Rafferty was standing in his briefs when he heard Janet’s loud screams from the basement, ‘Oh my God, that’s Janet,’ he thought and he was out the door in three long strides, panic on his face.

Mulder was the first down the basement steps and he collided with Janet who stood paralyzed. He caught the small blond who was still screaming and rapidly turned her around in his arms and looked into her face. He recognized hysteria well enough when he saw it. He jammed his gun into his belt and then he took the only route to stop her wails that came to mind. He slapped her across the face and Janet stopped at once sagging against him. He held her close as she shook and then he looked past her into the room. ‘Christ,’ he thought as he beheld the charnel house the room had become.

Blood covered the floor in a circle around the naked body of a tall blond woman. She was splayed out – her arms and legs stretched wide almost in the position of a crucifixion. Mulder couldn’t see her face, only the halo of her long blond hair because a large sheet of white paper was covering her head. The paper had writing on it that he couldn’t make out from the steps, and the missive had been nailed to her forehead, the bloody hammer print staining the paper. But the worst thing about her body was the fact that she was gutted from the base of her neck to her pubic bone. Her organs had been yanked out and spread all over the floor near her body. A quick cursory inspection told Mulder that almost everything was there, except for her heart he thought. He felt the gorge rise in his throat and he gagged it back down as his professional persona took over. Suddenly he was Special Agent Fox Mulder and he gently extricated Janet from his embrace and turned her around towards the stairs. By his time Sian Phillips was coming down and Mulder pushed Janet up towards her.

“Sian, take Janet back upstairs,” he said in a clipped voice, “and don’t let the others come down here under any circumstances,” he added tersely.

Sian looked past him, saw the body, and her eyes narrowed. Mulder was surprised to see no look of horror or shock on her face as she gently took Janet by the arm and went back upstairs. He could hear Frohike and Jim Rafferty’s excited voices from above but Sian was saying something and they were fading away slightly.

Mulder walked over to the body on the floor and bent down to take a closer look. He wanted to examine her further but he hesitated because he didn’t have any gloves. Then he glanced around and noticed a box of latex gloves on one of the work benches. He walked over, drew two out and put them on. Then he bent back down to take a look at the women’s corpse.

Her heart was indeed missing he observed. It looked like her neck was broken as well. He bent over and tore the paper off her forehead. Her face was horrible beneath it, her eyes wide open and staring and her mouth open in a silent scream. Mulder walked over to the work bench again, grabbed a large rag that was lying there and threw it over her face. Then he stepped back over to the bench and turned on one of the bright magnifying lamps that was bolted to the wall over it. He placed the note flat on the bench and began to read it.

****Sorry Sian, I lied, I’m afraid. Well Mea Culpa, my dear. I hope you’ll understand. This is just business.

Fox Mulder. Greetings again. We’ve seen each other over the last few days, but I haven’t had the pleasure of making your direct acquaintance yet. Consider this little calling card an invitation to get to know me better. Also, I bear you glad tidings from DC, from a certain cigarette smoking mutual friend of ours. He wants me to discuss some things with you as well, G-man, so listen up. We need to meet, and soon, in fact, Agent Mulder. Wait for my phone call tomorrow night. And be prepared to come because if you don’t I’m going to come up to that fucking house on the hill, and slaughter everyone in it, you bastard. Don’t think I’m not serious. Ask Sian, she’ll tell you.

Yours truly, Anthony Rimmer****

Mulder sucked his breath in and bit his lower lip, ‘Oh fuck,’ he thought angrily. A sudden noise drew his attention and he whirled around to see Sian Phillips standing quietly at the bottom of the stairs.

“Sian, this letter, it, Sian, what in God’s name is going on here?” Mulder asked.

“Fox, I, well, I can explain,” Sian said.

Mulder glared at her. “You’d better, Sian, this is serious,” he hissed handing her a pair of latex gloves and then the letter he had in his hand.

Sian looked at him closely and then she came to a decision. Tony Rimmer had overstepped his bounds for sure now. Besides calling out Mulder, the woman’s body only served as a signal for Sian also. It was a battle signal, a challenge to fight, to kill or be killed, and she was perhaps for the first time in a long time, afraid.

Sian would need help in this war. Tony Rimmer was a skilled assassin and older and more powerful then Sian. He was no minor wolf easily vanquished like Ross Baker had been. She knew Mulder would need help as well to defeat him, so she decided on the only course she could. She would make Mulder remember the events in Addison, Wisconsin and her role in them and then she would try to convince him to aid her in killing Tony Rimmer.

Mulder stood staring at her as she glanced at the letter one last time and then placed it on the work bench. She was standing very close to him and she removed one of the rubber gloves from her hand. Stepping forward quickly, she grasped his arm and then she sent a bolt of psychic energy into his mind. Mulder reeled back but Sian kept a tight grip on his arm as the Agent groaned in shock. He fell to his knees and Sian followed him down and then held him in her embrace as the memories flooded into him. Everything went in, except for one tiny fact, the one that Scully had wanted devoutly to keep from Mulder, the rape by Ross Baker. Other then that he got it all, and he got it fast, and when Sian was done, Mulder looked up into her face in wonder.

He extricated himself from her arms and moved away to sit in one of the chairs that lined the workbench.

“Uh, Sian, I, I don’t know what to say,” he whispered as she got up and pulled a chair up to sit next to him. She had probed his mind as well during their bond and she read there the story of the smoking man and everything that he meant in Mulder’s life. She snarled at the thoughts.

“Mulder, you don’t need to say anything, but you need to listen to me because we obviously don’t have much time. And I think we should take this discussion upstairs. I’m going to have to tell the rest of them what’s going on for their own safety and quite frankly I’m going to need their assistance. I could use your help to explain.”

“Yeah, all right, but let’s find something to cover the body first,” Mulder replied.

Once they were upstairs they went into the den where Janet, Frohike and Jim Rafferty were sitting in shocked silence. Janet was more calm but she was still shaking on the couch, and Jim held her close in his arms.

“What the fuck is going on here, Mulder,” Frohike barked from his seat in a chair. “Janet said something about a dead woman in the basement!” Frohike was shaking slightly also, and Sian crossed to stand next to him and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Sian’s right, there’s been a murder, and we need to explain something to all of you.” Mulder said crossing to a chair next to Frohike and sitting down. “It’s going to take an open mind too, but I know you’re all open to extreme possibilities, so bear with us,” Mulder began.

And then he and Sian began to explain about Tony Rimmer, and Sian, and the shapeshifters and what had happened in Addison, Wisconsin. Mulder explained a bit about the Cancer Man too – Frohike knew him only too well, and the danger of his involvement was not lost on him. Sian told them all that they would have to kill Tony Rimmer and then destroy all the evidence so that no one would know about the werewolf clan. She begged for their help and Mulder backed her up.

As they explained they could see the faces of their companions go from disbelief to various levels of acceptance. When it seemed that the three were willing to believe but not quite convinced Sian decided to do something that would definitely sway them. She stepped across the room and to their utter shock, took her clothes off, got down on all fours and transformed before their eyes.

Frohike gagged suddenly at the sight, and standing up, ran out of the room. Sian’s muzzle turned in the direction of his fleeing back, and she quickly changed shape again and reached for her clothes.

“I’d better go talk to him,” she said.

“No, Sian, let me go,” Mulder said but just as he commented his cell phone rang. He took it out of his sport’s coat pocket and flipped it open, “Mulder,” he barked into it. It was Scully. ‘Oh Jesus,’ he thought getting up to walk away from the other three people for some privacy.

“Mulder, is anything wrong?” Scully asked immediately recognizing even over the long distance connection, the tone of his voice.

“Yeah, Scully, we have a problem here,” and he started to explain about the dead woman, and Cancer Man, and Tony Rimmer.

“Oh my God,” Scully was saying.

“And Scully, Uh, Sian Phillips is here, and, well, she gave me back my memories about Addison, Wisconsin,” Mulder added quietly.

“Oh Christ, Mulder, I’m, I’m so sorry…” Scully whispered over the distance.

“It’s ok, Scully I understand why you did what you did, it’s all right,” Mulder replied.

“Mulder?” Scully asked.

“Yeah, Scully?”

“I’ll be on the next flight out there. Now, don’t argue with me either. I’ve had as much experience with the shapeshifter’s as you have. You’ll need all the help you can get. And I can help take care of that body. Mulder, if Sian hasn’t explained it too you I might as well tell you – we’re going to have to erase all the evidence. Those creatures are extremely dangerous, Mulder. Sian implied up in Addison that she would kill us if we revealed their secrets,” Scully said.

“Yeah, I sort of got that idea,” Mulder agreed, “All right Scully, come on out, but be careful, all right. Let me know what flight you’ll be on as soon as you can.”

“All right, Mulder, I’ll try to get a flight on United. But don’t come out to the airport to meet me, just give me the address of The Whisper House. I’ll rent a car and drive up there as soon as I land.”

“Ok, Scully,” Mulder replied, and then he gave her the address.

Scully started to say good bye, but then she had one last thought and her voice came into Mulder’s ear over the miles.

“Mulder, I had that talk with my Mother,” she said.

“Yeah?” Mulder whispered.

“She wants you to start calling her Mom,” Scully smiled into the phone.

Mulder grinned wider and gripped the phone tightly, “Tell her I said it would be my pleasure,” he replied, “I love you, Scully,” he added, “and stay sharp, Dana.”

“Sharp as a tack. I love you too, I’ll see you soon,” Scully replied breaking the connection.

Mulder put the cell phone away and turned towards Janet, Jim and Sian.

“We’re about to get some extra help, guys, and she’s a fucking crack shot.”

Outside in the Ford Taurus Tony Rimmer took off his earphones and dropped them on the seat. He flexed his arms lazily and then cracked his back. ‘Well as that old saying goes, the cat is out of the bag,’ Rimmer thought. ‘Well, no matter, I’m ready for the fray,’ he grinned. ‘Too bad about that stupid bitch, Sian Phillips though,’ he sighed. ‘She was going to have to either submit to his will or die now,’ he thought. And if she died, well, there was always Mulder’s fetching little red head. Her imminent arrival was a development that could prove interesting. Tony moved his head back and forth to further work out the kinks in his muscles. Rimmer remembered only too well Scully’s performance back in the apartment in DC as Mulder had fucked her. Her moans and screams had been quite delightful. Rimmer thought it might be pleasant to make her acquaintance. ‘Yes,’ he thought, ‘I think I’ll have to meet Ms. Dana Scully,’ he decided bending forward to turn over the ignition. As the car sprung to life, Tony Rimmer glanced back at The Whisper House. ‘Well, this is it, G-man,’ he thought. ‘You’re about to take a walk on the wild side, Fox, so enjoy life while you can.’ and then he laughed. ‘Well, I’d better go get some sleep,’ he advised himself as he gripped the steering wheel, ‘Wouldn’t want to be sluggish for Mr. Mulder or Ms. Scully,’ he grinned and then he drove the car back towards the late Susan Foster’s apartment in downtown Milwaukee.

After talking to Scully, Mulder got up and went in search of Frohike, leaving Sian to continue to talk to Janet and Jim. He figured Frohike might have gone up to his room and as he neared the open door upstairs he could hear the sound of vomiting coming from inside the room’s attached bathroom. Mulder walked in quietly and sat down on the bed. Frohike finished and came out of the bathroom.

“Mulder,” he said weakly crossing to the chair by the desk. He sat down and put his head in his hands.

“Frohike, she, she’s the same person really. I mean, she touched my mind, I know,” Mulder said quietly.

Frohike looked over at him, “Mulder, I, God, I just couldn’t see her like that, it was a shock, man. And the pain, Christ it looked like it hurt,” he whispered referring to Sian’s transformation.

“Yeah, it doesn’t look pleasant, but I think it’s something she knows how to cope with.”

“God, I hope so,” Frohike sighed.

“But Mulder, I, Jesus, I’m in love with her…I slept with her, and all this time she, she wasn’t, Mulder, I don’t even like dogs,” he whined pathetically running a hand over his face.

Mulder smiled slightly, “Frohike, if it’s any consolation, when she fed me those memories I picked up a lot of her emotions. She loves you too, truly. One of the reason’s she’s going into battle with this prick, Tony Rimmer, is to protect you,” Mulder finished watching Frohike closely.

“Really?” the photographer asked.

“Really,” Mulder replied. And as he watched Frohike sat up straight and set his shoulders. A look of determination came into his face and his lips formed a tight line.

“All right, Mulder, what can I do to even the odds?” he asked.

Mulder straightened up himself then, “Well, I think we need to go back downstairs and formulate a plan of attack. We don’t have much time until Rimmer calls to let me know where the meeting will be. We need to have some idea how we’re going to protect ourselves and then kill the son of a bitch.”

“Yeah, Mulder, but what about that fucking black lunged bastard back in DC?” Frohike asked.

“Well, I think he’s going to have to wait for now, Frohike, but he’s going to pay if I have anything to say about it,” Mulder hissed.

“OK, Mulder, I’m with you all the way, big guy, let’s go back downstairs and brainstorm. I need to apologize to Sian anyway. God, I really lost it.”

“Yeah, well it’s not every day that a guy gets to see his lover really bark like a dog, I guess,” Mulder smiled slightly.

“Ho, you got that right,” Frohike replied with a grin.

“And Frohike, speaking of lovers. Scully’s coming out on the next flight,” Mulder added as they both left Frohike’s room and headed for the stairs.

“Good, that should help ace the bastard,” Frohike nodded following Mulder down.

Mulder hoped Frohike was right. A feeling of dread was threatening to creep over his soul and he was fighting hard to keep his thoughts steady and as he had advised Scully, his mind sharp. If he didn’t he thought it would prove fatal.

Dana Scully moved around her bedroom tossing her belongings into an overnight bag, worry creasing her brow.

As soon as Scully had gotten off the phone with Mulder she had called the airport and booked a 6 AM United airlines flight for Milwaukee. Her Mother had watched her make the call in patient silence. Scully had then called Mulder back, quickly told him the flight number and her time of arrival. She hung up with him and then turned to her mother to explain what was going on. She hadn’t elaborated too much, she just told her that there had been trouble in Milwaukee, a murder, it was shaping up into an X-File, FBI business, and Mulder had requested her assistance. Her mother swallowed hard and nodded agreeing that of course, she had to go and not to worry about her or anything in DC.

“Mom, you’ll have to take a cab home later, I’m sorry,” Scully said.

“Oh, that’s all right, honey, don’t trouble yourself about that,” her Mother answered. “And, Dana, why don’t you go get some sleep. I can wake you in time for you to drive to the airport.

“Well, Mom, I have to pack. I’ll sleep if there’s time, but I may have to do that on the plane,” she added. Sleep wasn’t something she thought was possible now anyway, she was starting to run on adrenaline, “I think you should go to bed though, Mom, you look beat yourself,” Scully added, touching her Mother’s arm with affection. Her Mother smiled back at her. It looked like their little talk about Skinner was going to have to wait. ‘Skinner?” she thought, ‘God, I’ll need to call him too,’ she thought as her Mother got up off the couch and left her side to head off towards the guest bed room.

As soon as her mother had closed the bedroom door Scully picked up her cell phone and dialed Skinner’s number. The phone rang several times and then a slightly blurred voice barked into it.


“Sir, this is Dana Scully,” she winced. She had obviously rousted him from sleep.

To his credit however, Walter Skinner was awake instantly. Years of experience making him alert at a seconds notice at the tone in her voice.

“What’s wrong Agent Scully?” he asked falling into Assistant Director mode.

Scully hurried to explain the situation. She told him pretty much the same thing she had told her Mother. There had been a murder in Milwaukee, and it was definitely an X-File and would prove to have some dangerous elements in it much like their case in Crossroads, Maine. Mulder had requested her assistance and she was flying out there on the 6 AM flight.

Skinner had listened without interruption and when she was done he said, “Like Crossroads? Christ, Scully,” as his professional demeanor dropped slightly. But then he had recovered and added, “Very well, it’s an X-File and that comes under Mulder’s expertise as well as yours, of course. Go ahead out there. We’ll consider it an open case, I’ll take care of the paperwork back here tomorrow. Don’t sweat it.”

“Thank you Sir,” she replied.

“And Scully, watch your step and tell Mulder to do the same. And if you need any help don’t hesitate to call me. All right?” Skinner advised.

Scully sighed. She did have something she needed to ask Skinner’s help on but the request was going to be difficult. Scully knew that dealing with the situation in Milwaukee would be incredibly dangerous given the involvement of the shapeshifters. She had no idea what might happen. But, she was afraid that there was a possibility that she might not return from the Midwest. She was worried about her mother in that eventuality.

“Sir, I, I do have a favor to ask you,” Scully said.

“Shoot,” Skinner replied.

“Well, I’m a little worried about my Mother. I’m going to have to send her back home in a cab later this morning. She’s really worried, Sir, about my trip even though she won’t admit it to me. I just figured she might need someone to talk to, Sir, just in case….” she winced. She was managing this badly she thought as she let her voice trail off.

“Scully?” Skinner interrupted, “Your Mother’s welcome to bend my ear anytime. I’ll give her a call later today, if you’d like, just to make sure she’s coping,” he added quietly.

Scully heard his tone and smiled slightly. A certain tension was leaving his voice, and it was being replaced with an emotion Scully had heard there before, once, in Crossroads, Maine. ‘Oh well,’ she thought, ‘What will be will be.’ She couldn’t afford to worry about Skinner and her Mother right now. ‘God, they’re adults, I should mind my own business,’ she mused. And then she grinned, ‘Lord, if Bill is having conniptions over the thought of her relationship with Mulder what would he think about this little development? But then of course, Skinner was much more staid and respectable wasn’t he? Maybe he’d be more acceptable to Bill. And if not she could just imagine the backlash he was in for from her Mother if he protested this time around. She smiled broadly at the idea.

“Thank you Sir,” she replied.

“Fine, Scully, keep me posted, all right,” Skinner finished and then he broke the connection.

Scully had put the cell phone down and then gone into her bedroom to pack. She crossed to her dresser drawer and opening it took out her extra side arm, the one she had used during her suspension from the Bureau. She pulled out one of the extra ammo clips that went with it and tipping the gun up rammed it into the handle with one violent stroke.

At 2 AM, Sian Phillips and Fox Mulder stood at the bottom of the basement steps in The Whisper House staring at Susan Foster’s body. Sian had volunteered to dispose of the evidence and Mulder had grudgingly agreed to let her do it. He felt uncomfortable about just letting this unfortunate victim’s remains disappear into oblivion but Sian assured him that she could make arrangements for her to get a decent burial.

In truth, she lied. For Sian, Susan Foster’s remains were just meat, meat for the beast that was Tony Rimmer. Whatever this woman had been, and knowing Tony’s taste in human females, she had come from a lower sub order of humanity, her essence was long gone and what was left was merely a cold husk. Sian intended to take her body, weight it down inside the sleeping bag and tarp she had retrieved from her Toyota RAV4, and dump the corpse into a secluded stretch of the Milwaukee river. In sympathy for Mulder’s sensibilities, however, she didn’t mention a single word regarding her plan.

So, now they stood staring at the exotic dancer’s body, and Sian moved to pick up the sleeping bag. Mulder crouched next to the body, latex gloves on. Sian watched him as he stared at her corpse and a sudden formless feeling of strangeness came over her. All her body hair stood on end. She moved closer to the Agent and stood very still.

Mulder studied the corpse and he suddenly felt dizzy. He was focusing on the blood pooled around her neck and he started to sweat. An image sprang into his mind, an image of a doe running through a forest. Mulder sniffed the air. He could smell her even now, her fright and terror, and he became excited. He licked his lips and removed one of his latex gloves. He reached down and touched the congealed blood on Susan Foster’s neck and started to raise his damp fingers to his lips.

His arm was stopped in a grip of steel before it could reach his mouth.

“Mulder, Stop!” Sian Phillips hissed and the Agent looked up into her eyes, a dazed expression on his face.

Sian’s brows furrowed and as she gripped his arm she let the tendrils of her mind enter Mulder’s brain again, and then she gasped, ‘Shit, how could I have overlooked this before,’ she thought, ‘my God, how could I have been so stupid and lax?’ she mentally kicked herself. But of course she thought, she hadn’t been lax. Tony Rimmer was extremely skilled and the auto suggestions he had planted in Mulder’s mind were very deep. Sian had to probe hard to get at them but now she saw what Tony had done to Mulder and it enraged her.

“Mulder, listen to me,” she whispered into his ear. Mulder was panting now, almost hyperventilating, and Sian had to move fast before he blacked out. “Fox, Tony Rimmer has planted something in your head, he, he’s going to be able to play you like a piano later if he wants because of it. I need, I need to remove the auto suggestions and it’s going to hurt, so just hang on, I’ll try to make it quick,” she warned him.

Mulder must have heard her which was good she thought because it meant he was stronger mentally then she had originally thought. He shook his head up and down and sat down with a thud from the squatting position he had been in.

Sian Phillips ripped into Mulder’s mind, and he doubled over further, groaning as he passed out. Sian strained to follow his mind down into unconsciousness and then she felt the bubble of Tony’s control burst and disappear and she released his arm and staggered backwards. She just stopped herself from falling down. Mulder fell back flat onto the floor, his breath coming in puffs. Sian squatted down next to him and ran her hand over his forehead and his breath slowed in relaxation.

She picked him up then and carried him over to the corner of the room, placing him carefully down on the floor on his stomach. Then she went back over and started to clean up what was left of Susan Foster from the basement floor.

Mulder woke up and hoisted himself onto his hands and knees. He looked around and saw Sian Phillips mopping up the small amount of blood that was left on the floor in the middle of the room. He stood up and smoothed the front of his black turtle neck down. His jeans were all scrunched up so he smoothed those down as well. He walked over to Sian.

“Thank you,” he stated flatly running a hand through his hair.

“No problem,” she answered, “The body’s gone,” she added, “I arranged for her burial,” she said, “Look, Mulder, don’t feel bad about what Tony did to you, all right. It’s not your fault. He, he must have established his control much earlier for him to bury the suggestions so deep.”

Mulder’s mind flashed instantly back to the night in Scully’s apartment when they had brutalized each other in their sadistic sexual encounter. He quickly told Sian about the incident.

Sian sighed. “That bastard!” “Mulder, believe me, none of that was your fault or Scully’s either. When, when we control humans and force them into that type of brutality, well, they’re hardly human any more at that moment. Sure, you can talk and such, but your reactions will be largely animalistic. They’ll be those of the wolf in control. In fact a really skilled shapeshifter experiences the very acts he’s influencing right along with his victim. Christ, I can imagine Tony was going right along for the ride with you and Scully,” Sian sighed shaking her head.

“Crap,” Mulder hissed.

“Yeah, I’m sorry Mulder,” Sian apologized.

“All right, that’s ok Sian, you don’t have to apologize for that asshole. Listen, where’s everyone else?” Mulder asked stretching his back.

“They’re upstairs in Janet and Jim’s room. Melvin claims to have a plan of attack and he’s organizing things. As soon as this is cleared up they’re coming down here to organize some equipment.”

Mulder glanced at his watch. ‘Christ it’s 4 AM,’ he thought. No one was going to get any sleep and he didn’t think that was going to be a good thing.

As if Sian had read his mind she replied to his thoughts, “Mulder, why don’t you go up and get some sleep, the rest of them are just waiting for Scully to show up and then they’re all going to try to get some rest. Melvin said that once everyone’s more rested it’ll be time to go over the battle plan.”

“Rest? Jesus, Sian,” Mulder sighed, “I don’t think I can sleep.”

“Mulder, I can help you if you’ll let me. In fact, I intend to help all of them before long. It won’t do for you to be running on empty. Just let me finish mopping this up and we’ll go upstairs. I’ll help you to get to sleep and then I’ll stand watch,” she suggested.

Mulder agreed and when Sian was done cleaning up the blood they exited the basement and went up to Mulder’s room.

Dana Scully stood at the Hertz rental car counter at Mitchell Field in Milwaukee signing her credit card slip. She picked up her overnight bag and swinging it over her shoulder next to her purse, went to get her rental car. As she turned around she bumped smack into a tall red haired man standing behind her.

“Sorry,” she mumbled turning to hurry away.

“No problem, my dear,” Tony Rimmer smiled with his wicked lips he turned to follow her up the concourse.

On Shepard Avenue, just before Scully’s arrival in Milwaukee, Sian Phllips sat in the den and composed her thoughts. She used the ancient meditation techniques of her race to gather strength and steel her will for battle. She would not need to rest again from this point on and her senses and energy level would be at their peak.

Earlier she had quietly touched all the humans in the house and gotten them to fall into peaceful, pleasant dreaming slumber. When they woke they would be invigorated and as ready for the events to come as they could be. All had gone to their beds uncomplaining, all that was except Melvin Frohike. He had been shaking when Sian came into his room.

“Melvin, I’d like to help you get some rest, now, honey,” she said.

“Sian, I’m, God, I want to apologize again for being such a loser earlier…Please…”

She had crossed to the bed and sat down next to him, “Melvin, it’s all right, really, I understand. My Lord, I imagine my true nature must have been a tremendous shock to you, I…”

“I love you, Sian,” he blurted out interrupting her.

“Oh, Melvin,” she replied quietly.

“I don’t give a flying fuck what you are – it doesn’t matter, it won’t ever matter,” he sighed.

“I love you too, sweetheart,” she replied and she embraced him then and as they kissed she sent him to sleep.

Sian allowed them all to sleep and at 8:30 AM the front door bell rang. Sian shifted and rose to go answer the door. She swung open the inner doors and met the frowning face of Special Agent Dana Scully standing in the vestibule.

“Where’s Mulder?” Scully asked pushing past her into the hallway.

“Nice to see you again as well, Dana,” Sian replied staring down at the much smaller woman.

Scully dropped her overnight bag onto the floor and turned to look at Sian and her serious face softened a little.

“I’m sorry, Sian, I didn’t mean to be rude, really. I’m just wound up very tight right now. I didn’t get much sleep.”

“I can understand, Dana, that’s ok. Look, I’ve, well everyone’s sleeping right now with a little suggestion from me actually. Mulder’s upstairs in his room. I can show you where he is if you’d like.”

“Thanks, that would be fine,” Scully smiled weakly at her.

“And, Dana, if you’d like I can see to it that you get some rest too,” Sian offered.

“Well, I’ll think about it, Sian, but I just want to see Mulder right now, please,” she sighed and then followed the blond werewolf as she headed towards the stairs.

Sian knocked on Mulder’s door and called out, “Fox, there’s someone here you’ll want to see.”

“Mulder, Mulder, it’s me,” Scully called through the door.

“Scully, oh, wait a sec I’ll get the door,” Mulder answered and she heard his feet slap across the wooden floor.

Mulder opened the door and stood in his t-shirt and boxer’s staring down at Scully for a moment. Then he stepped forward and grabbed her, hugging her close. Her night bag and purse slipped to the floor.

“I’ll go back downstairs, Dana, if you want me for anything just let me know,” Sian said and she turned and left them alone.

Mulder released Scully and picked up her carry on and purse and then placing a hand on the small of her back gently ushered her into his room and then closed the door. He walked over and put her bags down on top of the desk and then turned.

“Oh, Mulder,” Scully breathed and then he crossed to her again and gathered her into his arms. He bent down and kissed her deeply. Scully molded herself against him and eagerly returned his kiss, opening her mouth to admit his questing tongue.

They tasted each other for several minutes and then Scully pulled away from Mulder and lead him over to the bed. They sat down on the edge together.

“Mulder, maybe you can fill me in a little more about what’s happening later, but I think right now, we both could use some more rest,” Scully whispered looking into his sad eyes.

Mulder searched her face and knew she was right. She looked exhausted. She needed to sleep. Sian was on guard downstairs and their battle plan was almost complete thanks to Frohike, Janet and Rafferty. They could afford to rest and regroup.

“Yeah, you’re right, Scully,” he smiled gently at her and then he tenderly began to help her undress. He removed her coat and sweater and jeans, unfastening even her holster from her belt. She unfastened her bra and let it slip onto the floor with rest of her clothing. Before she could remove anything further, Mulder pulled her down next to him on the full sized bed and maneuvered her under the covers by his side.

“Mulder, just hold me,” Scully said and he pulled her close and Scully realized that she wouldn’t need Sian Phillips help to get to sleep. All she needed was Mulder’s warmth and the touch of his protective embrace.

The Whisper House began to stir at various times over the next few hours. Frohike came down first and found Sian in the library reading one of the many occult volumes. He told her he was going to make some food for everyone and Sian followed him into the kitchen to help. Janet and Jim Rafferty came down next.

At around 4 PM, Mulder and Scully were the last to appear, and when they walked into the kitchen, Frohike put down the soup spoon he was using on a large pot on the stove, and grabbed Scully in a bear hug.

“Boy, am I glad to see you,” Frohike grinned squeezing her tight.

Scully glanced over at Mulder and raised an eyebrow. Mulder was smirking.

“He knows you’re a dead shot, Scully,” he laughed.

“Welcome to Milwaukee again, Dana,” Janet added, “I just wish it were under better circumstances.”

“Yes, well, the circumstances can’t be helped, Janet,” Scully answered kindly, crossing to the smaller woman and putting an arm around her shoulders.

Janet was doing much better, the Sian Phillip’s induced sleep having brought her out of her previous hysteria and near paralysis. Scully’s kind words seemed to buoy her spirits further and she smiled at her weakly. Scully released her shoulders and took a step back to look at Jim Rafferty who was standing at the sink rinsing out some soup bowls.

“Dana, this is Jim Rafferty,” Janet said making the introductions.

“Jim, nice to meet you, and I heard congratulations are in order,” she said taking his outstretched hand and shaking it.

Jim blushed and replied, “Thanks Dana, and I guess I should say the same to you.”

Mulder coughed. Scully glanced back over at him and smiled a little to assuage his discomfort, “Well, yes, thank you, Jim,” she said, and Mulder grinned back.

“Hey, if you all want to eat why don’t we go into the dining room. Sian and I can bring out the soup and stuff,” Frohike offered, “And then we can go over the plan for tonight,” he added quietly.

It was near dusk as they finished their meal. Janet and Jim cleared the table and Frohike went back upstairs to his room and brought back a note pad full of his cramped handwriting.

“Ok, folks, here’s the drill. This is the best thing we could come up with so anyone has any better ideas, please don’t hesitate to jump in,” Frohike said and then he began to explain.

Of course they would have to wait for Tony Rimmer’s phone call to Mulder before they could spring into action. Sian had theorized that Rimmer wouldn’t contact them until after dark and then probably around midnight, the witching hour, because Tony was if nothing else theatrical, and that would appeal to him.

Frohike had figured that they would have enough time between dusk and midnight to load the rest of the surveillance equipment into the all ready well equipped Dodge Caravan. This vehicle would be the base of operations and Frohike, Janet and Rafferty would ride in it to monitor the equipment. Sian and Scully would take the second Dodge and Mulder would drive Sian’s Toyota to wherever Rimmer wanted Mulder to meet him. The other vehicles would follow him at a discreet distance and once they were at the location Mulder could go in, with Sian and Scully acting as back up. At that point it was anyone’s guess what would happen but at least it was a plan.

Mulder had some concerns.

“How will you guys keep track of us all?” he asked.

Frohike sent Jim Rafferty into the basement to bring up a large box. Scully raised an eyebrows when she saw the Eyes and Ears brand name written on the lid.

“Hey, you’d be surprised what kind of stuff we’ve had to investigate on occasion,” Janet shrugged at Scully.

Mulder recognized the tiny video cameras and combination microphones and ear pieces that he had worn during his pursuit of Robert Modell a.k.a. Pusher.

“That should do it,” he nodded.

“We can pretty much follow your entire progress anywhere with these, Mulder. The van is equipped with the screens to follow all three video cameras and the audio for all the microphones. We have redundant walkie talkies in the vans and an extra for the Toyota,” Rafferty added, “so we can stay in constant touch.”

“But if you’re sitting around outside while Mulder, Sian and I go in to find this assassin how are you going to protect yourselves?” Scully asked.

Janet Price got up and walked out of the room. They heard her going into a closet under the stair well. When she returned she was carrying two large gun cases and a smaller case slung over her shoulder. She put them down with Jim’s help on the table and opened them up. Both larger cases contained deer hunting rifles. The third case contained a really serious looking sawed off shot gun.

She took it out of the case and cocked it with one arm. Mulder’s mouth dropped open.

Janet laughed, “Don’t look so shocked, Mulder. You know what a big fan I am of Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.”

“Janet and I both deer hunt,” Jim added, “so, if you need back-up, I guess we’re it.”

“Well that’s fine,” Sian said, “but remember, bullets will slow us down, they may even incapacitate us in our wolf form, but they won’t kill us. You have to severe our spinal columns to do that. Don’t forget it because Tony won’t.”

“Right,” Frohike replied, “So, can you guys think of anything else we need to do?”

“Load the vans,” Mulder answered and they made to do so. By eight o’clock the van’s were loaded and there really wasn’t anything else to do but wait for Rimmer’s phone call. The couples all came to about the same decision at the same time. They wanted to be alone with each other for the few hours before midnight so in tacit agreement they went to their separate rooms. Janet and Jim told everyone that there was a phone in their suite so when Rimmer called it would certainly get their attention and they would send for Mulder. Mulder shook his head in acknowledgment. Then all three couples went upstairs.

Frohike and Sian Phillips, in a concession to privacy didn’t take the room that Frohike had been using up until that point. Instead they went up to the third floor and went into one of the other guest rooms diagonally across and down the hall from Janet and Jim’s suite. As soon as the door to the room was shut, Sian turned and embraced the little photographer and they began to kiss and then to undress each other.

“God, I, I love you so much,” Frohike said yet again as they sunk down onto the bed together. “I love you too, Mel,’ she whispered as she drew him close.

Janet and Jim Rafferty went to their suite with their guns and checked them out again. They would be the last things they loaded into the vans and they wanted to make sure they were ready for use. Then they had gotten into bed and fallen asleep for a few more hours of rest before the battle would begin.

“You’re Mother and Skinner?” Mulder was saying in his room. “Are you serious?”

“Yes,” Scully was shaking her head and smiling.

“God, that’s almost as weird as Frohike and Sian Phillips,” he chuckled.

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” Scully replied jabbing him in the stomach. They were sitting cross legged and in their underwear, facing each other on the bed and Mulder looked into Scully’s amused face.

“Uh, Holy shit, that, that’s going to make Skinner my father-in-law,” he realized and then he really started to laugh.

“Mulder, I don’t think things have gotten that far yet,” Scully replied. ‘God at least I hope not,’ she thought.

Mulder looked at her and his brow furrowed. ‘Oh!’ Scully thought ‘he thinks I meant between us and not between my Mother and Skinner,’ and she opened her mouth to say something further but Mulder was getting out of bed.

“Mulder…” she began as she watched his boxer clad legs move across the room.

He walked over to his duffel bag and took something out of it. Scully shifted closer to the edge of the bed and watched as he came back and sat down next to her.

He had a small box in his hands.

“Scully, I got this for you the other day,” he said, “I think, I think it might be a good time to give it to you now,” he said and he opened the box to let her see the ring. She was stunned.

“Oh, Mulder, it’s beautiful,” she whispered.

“Scully, uh, Dana..” he cleared his throat, “I guess this is my moment of conventionality here. You would do me a great honor if you’d become my wife, Scully. I, oh Christ. I want you by my side for the rest of my life, no matter what happens. I mean, my life has been so fucked up until now, and if marrying you is going to act as an anchor, a last chance at stability for me, or whatever, then so be it. But I can tell you this – our marriage isn’t just about me and my wants and needs, Scully, it’s about us. I don’t feel complete without you, and I have this feeling that you may feel the same. So, shit, what I’m trying to say is, will you accept this ring, and marry me?” he asked looking into her eyes.

Scully started to tear up then and she looked at the ring in his shaking fingers. “Mulder, I…God, yes, I’ll marry you,’ she whispered.

Mulder’s face lit up with an expression of absolute and utter joy and he took the ring and slipped it onto Scully’s finger.

Scully held it up in the soft light of the room and it sparkled.

“Mulder, God this is so wonderful,” he said tears still in her eyes. “I love you so much. You’re the only one I ever want to be with, and for the rest of my life too,” she said turning to look into his face. She reached over and touched his cheek. She was going to make a suggestion and she hoped he wouldn’t take it the wrong way.

“But, well, let’s not rush to the altar all right?” she whispered stroking his jaw to temper her words. “We really have some serious issues to work through first and I think we need to address them. We’ve made this commitment now. We can take the time to plan the rest out really well, ok?”

“Oh, well, yeah, I can see your point,” Mulder agreed. Looking into her face he would have denied her nothing at that moment. He grinned, “Besides, you have to help me pick out a ring for myself too you know, so I won’t feel left out,” he teased.

“Ha, I think I can manage that,” she grinned.

“Hey, Scully, maybe it’ll be a double wedding, you know, you and me, your Mom and Skinner.”

Scully choked and then she started to laugh almost uncontrollably. Mulder laughed as well and then he pulled her close and they began to kiss. Mulder felt as if this time was the first time he had touched Scully, and she felt the same. The explored each others mouths, tasting each other slowly. Scully sighed. They both moved back up onto the bed to face each other, and then they helped each other to undress.

Mulder sat down and Scully straddled his legs. She pressed her skin to his skin and Mulder began to stroke her hair and her neck with his hands and then he followed his hands with his lips. He was incredibly soft and tender and when he reached Scully’s breasts and her tight nipples, she arched her neck. As Mulder sucked on one of her nipples, Scully touched his cheek with her fingers, and then she lifted her breast from beneath, and Mulder took more of her flesh deeper into his mouth. She moaned.

Scully was straddling his thighs, and rotating her hips slowly over his cock and his balls in a tremendously sensuous motion. Mulder breathed heavily against her neck. He moved his head to look into her eyes as she rubbed herself along his length.

“Scully, I… God, Scully, you, you’re so wet,” he gasped as her folds played up and down his penis. He rested his hands on her back and then he ran them up and down her spine in time to her movements on his lap.

Scully looked into his hazel eyes and smiled. At that moment there was no guilt there, no pain, no worry, only Mulder’s arousal and the bottomless depths of his love for her. She reached up and met his lips.

Soon Mulder was very hard and Scully moved back slightly, reached between them and stroked his erection as she continued to probe his mouth with her tongue.

“Oh Jesus Christ,” Mulder was moaning as Scully pumped his cock and he struggled to reach his hands down between their legs to rub her clit. They closed their eyes and leaned against each other savoring the mutual masturbation. Scully was close to coming, she gasped in ecstasy ‘Lord!’ she thought, ‘this is so good,’ and she knew she wanted Mulder inside her. She quickly shifted up and guided Mulder’s cock closer. He thrust forward, but gently, and she eagerly helped him to enter her. They sat very still for a moment, breathing and feeling the sensation of being connected, the fullness and completeness, inside, and enfolding.

Mulder rubbed his cheek against Scully’s hair. “Hold me, Scully,” he whispered and then he began to move within her, tenderly and slowly and Scully held him close. They moved together languidly as long as they could, but finally they couldn’t hold back any longer and as Mulder picked up the pace of his thrusts, Scully felt her body begin to tense before her orgasm.

“Mulder, I love you, it’s so good, Oh God,” Scully moaned into his neck and then she reached down and stroking herself hard, she came, pumping against his stomach. She was spasming over and over, and Mulder was grunting as he felt her tightening against his flesh.

Mulder cradled her and met her writhing hips, he thrust deeply and moaned incoherently and then he came with her, grabbing her tight to his chest. They collapsed in each others arms, gasping and laughing again, and supremely satisfied.

Later as a clock chimed somewhere, Scully extricated herself from Mulder’s arms and got up. She was incredibly thirsty she thought and even though there was water in the bathroom she really felt like she wanted a Pepsi. So, She quietly pulled on her clothes and then headed downstairs to the kitchen in search of a soda.

Standing at one of the refrigerator’s doors she rooted around inside amongst the leftover open house sodas, “Ah ha,” she said aloud as she spotted a Pepsi way at the back. When she closed the door and looked up behind it her breath caught in her throat.

“Good evening, Agent Scully,” the tall red headed man grinned down at her shocked, upturned face. Scully dropped the Pepsi to the floor and the top popped, spurting brown carbonated liquid all over the wood as the can spun around and around.

Just before midnight, the phone rang in Jim and Janet’s suite. Rafferty was awake instantly and picked it up.

“Yes,” he said into the receiver.

“Get Mulder, you freaking Viking,” a British accented voice hissed into the phone.

“Hold on,” Rafferty answered his face going pale as he hit the hold button on the phone, “It’s him,” he hissed at Janet and then he went to get Mulder and Scully.

He pounded on Mulder’s door, “Mulder, get up, Rimmer’s on the phone. Mulder was up like a shot and reached to wake Scully but she wasn’t there. He checked the bathroom and when she wasn’t in there either he frowned. ‘She must be downstairs,” he thought and then he pulled the room’s door open.

“All right,” he said to Jim, “Have you seen Scully?”

“No, she must be downstairs, I’ll go get her,” and then he left the Agent as Mulder climbed up to the third floor suite. By this time Frohike and Sian Phillips were standing in the hallway as Mulder passed them and entered Janet’s room. Janet held the phone out to him and he took it and gritted his teeth, depressing the hold button.

“Mulder,” he said into the receiver.

“Good evening Agent Mulder,” Tony Rimmer replied pleasantly. “How are you feeling this evening?”

“Cut the crap, Rimmer and get to the point,” Mulder sneered.

“Oh, Fox, temper, temper,” Rimmer replied with a chuckle, “But, all right, I’ll dispense with the chit chat if you insist.”

“Good, I’m all ears,” Mulder replied.

“Fine. Here’s the story. Our mutual friend in DC hired me to trail you out here Mr. Mulder. Actually he wants me to kill you, I’m afraid. Of course he’s unaware of my special abilities. He just thinks I’m an extremely efficient assassin with unique psychic abilities – and of course he is right in that assumption. But he really hates your guts, you fucking FBI sod, and he wants you dead. So here I am, your friendly werewolf hit man.” Rimmer explained calmly.

Mulder sucked in his breath. So it had come to this. The Cancer Man was back and he was back with a vengeance. ‘Well, so be it,’ Mulder thought. He wasn’t going to go down without a fight. And if he won the war he was going to go back to DC and send the black lunged son of a bitch straight to hell, “Ok, so why the phone call and all the other dicking around, Rimmer?” Mulder asked.

A hint of annoyance crept into Rimmer’s voice, “Oh come on, Mulder have some respect, please. I’m an artist in a way. I like to orchestrate these things. And I like to give my targets a sporting chance on occasion if I respect them enough. You qualify, Mr. Mulder for my grudging respect. So, I’m going to give you a chance to get me. Who knows, you might succeed and then you can go back to DC and make that cigarette smoking bastard pay for his mistakes.”

“Yeah, Ok so where do you want to meet,” as he was asking the question he could hear Frohike’s worried voice just outside the door. Jim Rafferty came in then followed by Frohike and Sian. When Mulder glanced in his direction the expression on Jim’s face froze his heart, and struggling to maintain the calm in his voice he said into the phone, “Rimmer can you hang on for a minute, I think I’m having trouble with the connection here.”

“Make it fast, Mulder,” Rimmer chuckled and Mulder pressed the hold button.

“Mulder, I looked all over the house, I, I can’t find Dana anywhere,” Rafferty whispered his face getting whiter by the minute.

“Oh my God,” Janet hissed.

Frohike looked on in stunned silence.

Mulder’s hand shook as he depressed the hold button.

“Mulderrrrr…” a groaning voice came through the connection. It was Scully and she sounded like she was in pain, and terrified.

Her voice stopped abruptly and then Rimmer came back on the line, “I’m sure you know I’m deadly serious now, Fox. And by the way, it’s been really stellar to make Agent Scully’s acquaintance.”

“You cocksucking monster, you bastard, God damn you, I’ll fucking kill you, you rotten limey turd, you bastard, you snake, fuck you….” Mulder was raving and shrieking into the phone.

Sian Phillips dashed forward and grabbed the receiver from Mulder’s hand. Janet pulled him away and held him back with Frohike’s and Jim’s help.

“Tony, this is Sian.”

“Good evening my white furred beauty,” Rimmer replied urbanely, “Please tell that frothing FBI dickweed that his lady love is still alive. She’s a little the worse for wear but she’s alive,” Tony fingered the black eye Scully had given him before he had knocked her out.

“Cut the shit you fucking asshole,” Sian hissed.

“Sian, I’m crushed. This is just business, can’t you understand that?” he asked in a last ditch effort to win her over.

“No, I don’t understand it you jumped up little freak. All bets are off you prick. I’m going to snap your neck tonight Tony, and I’ll enjoy listening to the sound of every breaking vertebrae.”

“We’ll see about that, you cunt,” he finally hissed.

“Just so we understand each other, lover…” she drew out the sarcasm on the last word and Rimmer snarled into the phone, “Now where do you want Mulder and I to meet you?” she asked.

“The third ward, a charming little warehouse establishment called “Paintball Dave’s. You have until 2 AM Sian. If you don’t show up by then I’ll kill this little red head and the I’ll come after you and Mulder anyway. And for God’s sake, just bring Mulder all right. Leave the rest of the goon squad home, please. That cancer ridden son of a bitch back in DC isn’t paying me enough to take care of all of them, understand.”

“Fine, 2 AM,” we’ll be there,” and she hung up the phone.

Tony Rimmer flipped the cell phone shut in the cavernous warehouse complex that was Paintball Dave’s Splatter Emporium in the artsy Third Ward of Milwaukee. The area was a warren of warehouses, most of them like Dave’s business. Some of them had been converted into galleries and artist’s studios or loft apartments. But this end of the area was still seedy and the warehouses that made up Paintball Dave’s were old and just enough up to code to be legal for their clientele.

Rimmer turned around and looked at the bound and gagged Dana Scully and gave her a toothy grin.

“Well, Ms. Scully, your man is on his way, I’d say.”

Scully squirmed in her bonds and cursed at him around the gag. Rimmer stepped forward and yanked the gag down.

“You are absolutely dead you overweening shit,” Scully hissed at him. Her mouth was bleeding and she had a livid welt on her forehead where Rimmer had struck her. But her eyes flashed in anger and defiance.

Rimmer stepped forward and grabbed her bound hands and strung her up to meet his face. Her feet didn’t touch the floor.

“Dead? You red headed bitch. I wouldn’t count on it, here’s how dead I am,” he snarled at her and then he threw her almost full force into the warehouse wall. Scully slid down it crying out in pain as she felt her ribs snap. She curled up into a fetal position against the wall in preparation for the kick she thought was surely to come. But instead Tony Rimmer walked over to her, bent down and stroked her forehead gently. The pain from her broken ribs began to recede. He ran his hand over her breasts and then down her rib cage. Scully flinched away from his touch but then she leaned into it because the warmth was causing all the pain to go away. She felt her ribs knit back together.

“See, Dana, I can be kind as well as cruel,” Rimmer said, and Scully gagged then, because his eyes, his voice and the quote were a much more sinister and powerful version of the late Ross Baker, the insane werewolf of Addison, Wisconsin.

“Mulder, you have to snap out of it,” Sian Phillips was shaking the Agent violently by the front of his LL. Bean sweater, “Scully’s still alive but we only have until 2 AM to rescue her.”

After the phone call Mulder had continued to lose it, screaming and spitting. Frohike had tried to calm him down but he was raving. Sian sensed that some of his panic was a residual effect of Tony Rimmer’s conditioning and she had hurriedly explained this to Janet, Jimmy and Frohike. Mulder had grown suddenly silent then and Sian had taken him by the arm and propelled him out of Janet’s suite.

“Listen, go get the rest of the equipment ready and load up the vans, I’ll take care of Fox. I, something has to be done about this,” she told them as she dragged him out into the hall and down the stairwell. Mulder was limp under her hands so she steered him all the way downstairs and into the library and then she shut the library doors.

Now she was shaking him so hard his teeth were rattling. Finally when she saw it was having little effect she sent another bolt of psychic energy into his head and then she simultaneously slapped him across the face. As she was preparing to slap him a second time his hand shot out and caught hers in a strong grip.

“That will do, Sian,” he hissed completely himself again. She released him and he sat down in one of the library chairs.

He put his head in his hand for a moment and then sat up to shake it. There was a look of fire and determination in his eyes as he looked over at Sian, “There is no doubt that fucker is going to die,” he snarled.

“Mulder, this is bad,” Sian replied quietly.

“What do you mean?”

“Mulder, I hate to admit this but, I’m afraid. I don’t think I, I don’t think I’ll be able to beat him,” Sian sighed and then she sat down in one of the other chairs in resignation.

“Not beat him? But you didn’t have any trouble with Ross Baker,” Mulder replied worry furrowing his brow.

“Well, Mulder, Ross was young and just a jumped up little despot. I had a lot of seniority and skill over him. Killing him was relatively easy. But, Tony, well, Tony Rimmer is a werewolf of a totally different color.”

“So you’re saying you won’t be able to take him on?”

“Oh, I can take him on all right, Mulder, and I will. I won’t back down from his fucking challenge – no way in hell. It’s just he’s more then likely going to kill me and then he’ll go through the rest of you like crap through a goose,” Sian answered in dismay.

“And we won’t be able to stop him?”


“Shit,” Mulder hung his head. If they couldn’t stop Rimmer and he killed Scully, then Mulder was half inclined to just walk into PaintBall Dave’s and let Rimmer rip his heart out too. Or maybe he would save him the trouble and just blow his brains out.

“Mulder, there is a way though to beat Rimmer. It’s a remote chance, but it just might work,” Sian began.

“What, Sian? I’m open to any suggestion at this point,” Mulder answered desperately.

“I can get another shapeshifter to help me,” she replied, “two clan members might be able to go up against him and succeed, just maybe. I think it might work though, and I’m willing to give it a try.”

Mulder pulled out his cell phone and handed it to her, “Call up whoever you need to, Sian. Just tell them to get over here fast.”

“I don’t need to make a phone call, Mulder, the wolf’s sitting right here,” she answered staring into his face.

Mulder raised both his eyebrows and his eyes went wide, “What the hell do you….”

“Mulder, I can change you. It doesn’t have to be a large bite, just a nip really. I can help you through the first change. It’ll happen almost immediately. It won’t be pleasant but I’ll make it as easy for you as I can. Once you’ve changed I’ll show you how to change back and then we can go down to the Third Ward and…”

Mulder looked at her in amazement, “Uh, Sian, isn’t this bite thing permanent? I mean Ross Baker lead me to believe that once you’re recruited into the family it’s for life. Sort of a werewolf Mafia. I’m not sure I want to be a Made Man, Sian. It might prove to be a bit awkward even if my nickname is all ready Spooky Mulder,” he tried to grin but didn’t quite make it.

“Well Ross Baker was largely full of shit, Mulder. There is a way for me to turn you back to the proverbial human condition after all this – it’s difficult – but possible. Don’t worry about the reverse trip. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she answered with a sigh.

Mulder studied her face for a moment and as he did so Scully’s terrified voice came back to him, “Yeah, all right, Sian, let’s do it,” he said with finality.

“All right, look, we’ll need more room. I think I’d better take you down to the basement. I’m going to tell the rest what I’m going to do also and I’m going to suggest they wait outside or in the vans. The garage is heated maybe they can wait in there.”

“Why?” Mulder asked.

“So they don’t hear your screams,” Sian answered.

Frohike stood next to the vans in the garage with Janet and Jim Rafferty. He was twisting and untwisting some wire he’d picked up in the basement. It wasn’t helping to calm him but it helped to center his anger.

“So you know where this Paintball Dave’s is located?” he asked again for the third time.

“We know where it is, Frohike,” Jim Rafferty answered patiently chewing on one of his nails.

“I wonder how long this is going to take?” Frohike asked looking at his two companions and then back in the direction of the house.

“I hope not long,” Janet answered looking at her watch.

In the basement workroom, Sian Phillips had Mulder strip. She watched interested as he removed his boxers and walked over to place them on top of one of the work benches with the rest of his clothes and his two guns.

“Hmmm,” she thought distantly, “Dana Scully is a very lucky woman,’ as her eyes strayed below his waist. But then she put all thoughts of sex out of her mind, and told Mulder to sit down on the floor in front of her. She stood in front of him and removed her jeans, and sweater, and then the rest of her clothes as well, throwing them off to the side. She then sat down across from Mulder.

“What do I do now?” Mulder asked. He was surprised that Sian’s nudity had no effect on him. Maybe it was the fact that her green eyes were glowing slightly.

Sian noticed a bite mark on his left arm. She reached over and probed it with a finger, raising her eyebrows. Mulder remained mute.

“Mulder, you don’t have to do anything really. Just sit back and breath deeply. You know those classes pregnant women go through, Lamaze? Try to breath like that or something, whatever.”

“I used to meditate,” Mulder offered helpfully.

“Good, try to meditate. And Mulder, I wasn’t kidding about the screaming. This is going to hurt like hell the first time so if you need to wail, go ahead, it’ll help.”

Mulder shut his eyes and began to pace his breathing. He felt Sian Phillips touch his chest over his heart and then his forehead. There was a smell then, an earthy odor of the forest. It was dark and he could see shadows in the foliage, and eyes, so many eyes, glowing ice cold blue, black, brown, red, and they beckoned they beckoned, they…he felt Sian grasp his arm gently and then her lips pressed against the scab of Scully’s bite wound. He sucked in his breath as she bit down lightly, broke his skin, and sunk her canines into his flesh.

There was a feeling of warmth and almost sexual arousal and then suddenly the pain came. And it was agony. Mulder felt like every muscle and nerve in his body was on fire. His brain was boiling. He moaned and clutched his stomach and then his genitals as a terrific cramp tore through his balls and up into his spine. He could just hear Sian’s voice calling to him from a great distance, “Go with it Mulder, let it happen, feel the flow, feel me, come for me baby,” as if she were having sex with him. And it a way it was like sex because he was joining with her mind and her saliva was flowing into his veins from the bite on his arm. He gasped for breath and then his bones started to pop and shift and then the screaming began. He never thought he could scream that loud in all his life but he did. But as he screamed he changed and the last scream he uttered wasn’t a human scream at all, it was the howl of a wolf and he sprung up onto all fours in the basement of The Whisper House, his hazel eyes glowing with supernatural fire.

Sian stood up and stood back. She hadn’t changed yet but as soon as she saw that Mulder wasn’t going to totally lose it on her she transformed and then they both stood facing each other under the lights of the basement.

Mulder struggled to talk. The muscles of his muzzle clenched and unclenched. Sian’s wolfish lips smiled at him.

“Hang on, Fox, speech is hard at first, just think about the sounds and the mechanics of it for a moment and then try again.”

Mulder swallowed and his jaws worked, “God, Sian dis is really stwange,” he said and Sian laughed.

“You have a talent for understatement Agent Mulder,” she chuckled.

“Sian, I have to take a pith,” he lisped again, “I mean a leak, a piss,” he said. His speech was improving by the second.

“Oh, don’t stand on ceremony with me,” she said. Mulder raised a wolfish eyebrow and started to try to stand up to relieve himself. He fell flat on his face. Sian howled with humor.

“You idiot, go lift your leg on a bench for God’s sake,” she choked out.

Mulder’s wolf lips twitched into a sheepish grin and he walked over and took her suggestion.

“Now, Mulder, walk around the room and get the kinks out,” Sian told him.

Mulder walked, and stretched, and marveled at his transformed body. He flexed his arms and legs and felt his fangs with a taloned finger. He could feel the raw power in every muscle and sinew. He was finally able to stand up and he found it remarkable that his head brushed the 7 foot ceiling of the basement. All his senses were magnified and he could just feel the embryonic development of a sixth sense, the one that would allow him to control men’s minds.

“You won’t be able to use much of that unfortunately, Mulder,” Sian told him as she felt his weak telepathic probing. Those skills develop over time and with training from an elder. We don’t have time for that training. But believe me, you’re physical change is more than adequate to face Tony. I’m beginning to think this just may work.”

“Ok, how do I change on my own?” Mulder asked, “And how do I change back, Christ, I may be getting used to this, but I’m sure I can’t drive your Toyota with these,” he said extending his human-like paws.

Sian gave him the secrets of transformation then as well as the ones that would change him back. Mulder practiced them both again. The second transformations hadn’t been nearly as bad and when he was done Mulder had gotten up and put on his clothes. Sian had changed back as well, dressed, and then they both went back upstairs.

Tony Rimmer glanced at his watch. It was a quarter to 2. He glanced over at Dana Scully. She was sitting up against the wall but her head was lolling down against her chest.

“Come on Dana, I know you’re awake, cut the shit,” he hissed at her.

Scully’s head came up and she looked at him with total hatred.

“Ouch, if looks could kill,” Rimmer laughed at her. Then he strode over and picked her up by the handcuffs that bound her wrists, “It’s show time, baby,” he said dragging her off into the depths of the warehouse.

Mulder pulled the Toyota RAV4 up a block away from Paintball Dave’s warehouse. The two black Dodge Caravans pulled up behind him. Sian got out of one of them and walked up to the other and knocked lightly on the side door. Frohike slid it open and as Mulder came up behind Sian they both climbed into the back amongst the equipment. It was really cramped and Janet and Jim had taken refuge in the front seats. Janet held her sawed off shot gun cradled in her arms and Jim had one of the deer rifles propped up on the console between the seats.

Frohike bustled around adjusting audio and video. Mulder glanced at his belt. He had jammed both of Mulder’s gun into the back of his pants. Mulder had given them to him just before they left Shepard Avenue with the admonishment to take the safety off before he tried to fire them, and not to shoot himself in the foot.

Frohike turned around to face Mulder brandishing two of the “Eyes and Ears” units.

“Here you go, you two,” he said quietly.

“Hey, wait a second, Frohike, we have to change first and, fuck it, these things aren’t going to fit after we’re all warm and fuzzy,” Mulder replied with chagrin.

“Ha, G-man, I thought of that,” Frohike answered brandishing a large roll of duct tape, “Duct tape, a 1000 and one uses,” he deadpanned.

Mulder grinned. Sian Phillips looked into Frohike’s eyes then and Mulder caught the look and turned away to give them a moments privacy.

Sian touched Frohike’s face gently and then she bent forward and kissed him. Frohike sighed and drew her face closer to his and explored her mouth for a moment. Then he released her lips, “Good luck, Sian,’ he said simply and then he turned towards Mulder. “All right, let’s go over to the other van and you guys can wolf out. I’ll adjust these things afterwards,” he said.

Mulder and Sian Phillips loped towards the entrance to Paintball Dave’s, sticking to the shadows as they went. Mulder had no trouble seeing in the dark. The “Eyes and Ears” sets had been comfortably arranged on their wolf heads with duct tape and some extra wire Frohike had also brought along.

“Are you getting this, Frohike?” Mulder whispered into the microphone.

“Loud and crystal clear, Lone Wolf,” Frohike’s voice answered tinny in his ear. “That’s a five by five on audio and video,” he added.

“All right, we’re near the entrance,” Mulder replied. Sian crept ahead of him and when she reached the door she pushed against it. It opened.

“How convenient,” she whispered over to Mulder as he drew up beside her.

At the center of the warehouse, in the very center of the maze that was Paintball Dave’s premiere test of a paintball team players skill, Dana Scully hung suspended, bound and gagged, from a hook in the ceiling. Her arms were on fire as gravity pulled her body weight down. She tried to hold very still because if she moved she twisted around and the pain from the movement was horrible.

Tony Rimmer stood below her, naked, hands on his hips, and he was grinning, his teeth huge, and his eyes glowing.

“Just hang around here, Dana. I think you make a most attractive capture the flag, my dear. In any event you won’t have to twist in the wind very long. I can feel the marines landing even as I speak,” and as he said that he changed and Scully gasped in anguish.

Mulder entered what must have been Paintball Dave’s office area. It was sort of a staging room with safety posters on the walls, the rules for playing paintball, a long counter, and cases with paintball equipment for sale displayed in them. Sian followed him in and prowled about.

Mulder sniffed the ground and then the air. He could smell a musky alien odor, the smell of another male wolf, and he snarled, and the hair on his hackles stood up. He walked over to one of the cabinets and urinated on it with authority, marking his territory. Sian smiled her approval.

“You’re getting the hang of this Mulder,” she said.

“God, Mulder piss a bucket, but don’t get any on the electronics, ok?” Frohike’s voice came to him over the ear piece.

“Hey, even I can’t aim that high,” Mulder replied and then as he reached a hallway leading off to the side he sniffed and picked up another scent. It was Scully.

Sian drew up next to him and she sniffed as well, “She’s still alive, Mulder, can you tell?”

“Yeah, I, I can tell,” he whispered. The two wolves moved off down the hall way and into the depths of the warehouse.

As soon as they were out of the hallway they came into an open area full of walls and tunnels, false furniture and every manner of hidden spots. It was a maze, and Mulder thought it wasn’t unlike an obstacle course at Quantico except much more elaborate and strange. The warehouse stretched up two stories and there were ladders and cat walks around the perimeter leading up to the second floor. The middle of the warehouse was open however, and as Mulder looked up towards the ceiling he could see a lone figure suspended from the rafters. His night vision told him it was Scully.

“Oh my God,” he hissed.

“Shit,” Frohike’s voice groaned in his ear. Mulder ran off towards Scully’s direction and Sian hurried to follow him. Mulder sensed Rimmer was very close and he prepared himself to meet him at any moment.

“Hold it together you guys,” Sian advised and just as she said it their senses were assaulted. Rimmer had obviously turned on the buildings sound and light system. Sweeping lights moved and crawled about the walls. Strobes began to flash creating the strange twitching motion effects that they were infamous for in every SF film since 1979. To complete the sensory overload, blaring Rock Music pounded their ears. The song was Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses.

Mulder fell down and writhed on the floor. The audio and video assault were too much for his new wolf senses. Sian dashed over to him and touched his head before he could damage his Eyes and Ears equipment. She probed his mind and shut off the confusion and pain and Mulder stood back up, calm again.

“Take a deep breath, Mulder, this shit won’t bother you anymore,” Sian said licking her lips.

“Frohike, can you still see and hear us?” Mulder asked swiveling his video camera over towards Sian.

“Barely,” he answered and just as he said it a huge red furred form dropped down from above right onto Sian Phillip’s back.

“Sian!” Frohike screamed into Mulder’s ear piece.

Sian Phillips bucked and rolled beneath Tony Rimmer to the deafening sounds of Guns N’ Roses. In a split second Mulder was upon the slightly larger red furred wolfman, pulling him off her in a snarling frenzy. He levered Rimmer up using both his back and front legs and tossed him over his head and into the wall with a crushing wallop. Rimmer was on his paws in a flash and then all three wolves stopped to stare at each other in defiance as the bass beat of Welcome to the Jungle blared around them.

Out in the front of the Warehouse in the equipment filled black Dodge Caravan, Melvin Frohike was yanking a set of headphones off his head. The violent battle inside the warehouse had obviously dislodged Mulder and Sian’s connection to him and he was beginning to panic. He threw the headphones down onto the floor of the van and then turned to grab the side door.

“Frohike, where the hell are you going?” Rafferty asked.

“I’m going in there, Jim, they need help for God’s sake, I can’t just let them get chewed all to hell.”

“Well, don’t just rush in, Frohike, hang on a minute. We’re coming with you. You’re going to need more fire power then those two little pop guns,” Janet advised, tensely as she gripped her shotgun.

“All right, Yeah you’re right. And wait, we can at least put on these other three portable walkie talkies. At least we can communicate once we’re inside,” and he pulled the devices over towards them with shaking hands, “but hurry up!”

Inside the warehouse Tony Rimmer glared at Sian and Mulder. He lifted his leg and pissed a huge stream of hot urine in Mulder’s direction. Mulder jumped back as some of it hit his paws. Rimmer laughed. He shouted over the music, “I wish it was hydrochloric acid you piece of shit,” and then he ran off into the maze towards the direction where Scully was hanging.

Mulder looked at the slightly dazed and bleeding Sian Phillips, “Are you all right?” he asked, concern on his fuzzy face.

“Yes, let’s go,” she breathed, and they ran off in pursuit.

Frohike, Jim and Janet entered the warehouse through the main entrance and crouched down in the entry office.

“Look, someone has to stop the special effect show in there,” Frohike said as they listened to the loud rock music coming down the hallway that lead into the maze, “I think you should handle that, Jim. Take Janet with you and shut that fucking noise off. Wait for my signal. When I call, come running.”

“Where are you going, now?” Janet asked fear in her voice.

“The Jungle,” Frohike barked.

“Well, here, we’d better trade I think,” Janet said quickly and she handed Frohike her shotgun and the bandoleer of extra shells she was wearing.

Frohike handed her Mulder’s two guns and she jammed them into her belt.

Then she bent forward and kissed Frohike on the cheek, “For luck,” she said and Frohike walked towards the hall way that lead out into the maze.

Tony Rimmer had climbed up one of the ladders to the second story and unhooked Scully from the hook in the ceiling. He laid her down carefully on one of the overhead catwalks.

Scully was unconscious now, the pain in her arms having caused her to pass out, so Tony Rimmer pushed her back against the wall so that if she came too she wouldn’t pitch over the side. Rimmer had all ready decided that he wasn’t going to kill Scully. She was too feisty and sexually attractive for him to bring himself to do it. ‘No,’ he thought, ‘I think I’ve definitely found my alpha bitch,’ he mused licking his red lips. ‘She’s certainly a hell of a lot more desirable, at this point, than that slut Sian Phillip,’ he thought.

Glancing down he could just make out Sian and Mulder winding their way through the maze towards his location. He could not fathom the fact that Sian had brought Mulder across. The event was a serious problem he thought. A real fucking inconvenience. Now he couldn’t influence Mulder and all possibilities of making an easy kill had flown out the window. Now Tony would have to fight, and fight for his life. The prospect was a royal pain in the butt.

But Rimmer smiled. He was good. He had confidence, and he had Scully and if nothing else, this might prove Mulder’s downfall. He watched again as his two adversaries reached the spot where they knew Scully had been hanging. He drew back into the shadows of the cat walk, and waited.

Frohike crept through the maze. He had to crawl on his belly at one point but now he was upright and he hurried towards where he thought he had seen Mulder and Sian looking at Scully’s suspended body before the communication link had been cut. He held the shotgun before him loosely in both hands, and as he did so the strobe lights and loud music stopped. Only the sweeping lights remained to light the warehouse dimly and Frohike thanked God that Jim and Janet had been quick enough, and smart enough to figure out how to give them some light for the end game that was to come.

“Where the hell is she?” Mulder hissed at Sian as he yanked the broken Eyes and Ears set from his head in fury.

“I don’t know Fox, I can smell her but I can’t see her,” Sian replied yanking her set off as well.

Mulder sniffed the air. He could make out Scully’s scent and it was quite close. Then suddenly his nostrils were assaulted with the smell of Tony Rimmer’s spore and the furred assassin dropped down on top of both of them from the catwalk above.

“Mulder!” Sian howled she was thrown to the side, and the two males rolled about the floor clawing, and biting each other with impunity.

Mulder lunged at Rimmer again and again, snapping impotently at his neck. The older wolf was just too strong and although Mulder fought valiantly Tony Rimmer was gaining the upper hand. He flipped Mulder over onto his back, and slammed his wolf’s skull repeatedly into the warehouse floor. Mulder was knocked senseless. Tony was preparing to deliver a killing bite to the throat when Sian Phillips slammed into him throwing him backwards as she rode him down.

Sian knew she was in the fight for her life and Mulder’s life and Frohike’s life and….” she clawed Rimmer violently across the face, deepening the gashes all ready put there by Mulder’s claws. She bit into his foreleg driving her teeth to the bone.

Rimmer shrieked but the pain seemed to inflame him and he reared up, pushing Sian backwards and slamming her into the floor with all his strength. There was a sick snapping sound as one of Sian’s legs broke. She screamed in agony and rolled across the floor.

Mulder was just starting to come round and he was further jolted partially back to himself by Sian’s body thudding into his side as Rimmer threw her over. Tony dragged her away from Mulder by her tail then and grabbing her legs worked his way up her body. There was blood in Mulder’s glowing hazel eyes so he could barely see what was going on.

Rimmer had walked up Sian’s body and stood on her chest now looking down into her green glowing eyes. Her head lolled to the side and she gasped for air, the pain from her leg and several broken ribs also making her dazed and helpless. She looked up into Tony’s face and she knew she was going to die. Sian composed her mind. In the time honored tradition of her kind she slowly bent her head to the side, exposing her throat to her victor for the killing blow.

“Sorry, my sweet,” Rimmer growled almost sadly and then he bit into the flesh of her neck. Mulder howled out and the sound distracted Rimmer slightly and he rose up and looked over towards Mulder. Sian was bleeding, mortally wounded, as he shifted his knees on her chest.

“Come and try that with me you fucking bastard,” Mulder hissed. But before Tony Rimmer could spring for the kill there was an almost inhuman scream of anger, fear and anguish.

Melvin Frohike stood at the end of one of the passages that lead into the center of the maze. His face was twisted in rage and horror as he beheld the dying body of Sian Phillips and he ran forward yelling, “Bastard, Noooooooooo!…” and then he pulled the trigger of the sawed off shotgun at almost point blank range. Both barrels blasted Tony Rimmer backwards through the air and into the opposite warehouse wall.

Frohike threw the shotgun to the side and fell down on the floor next to Sian. He picked up her body in his arms and pulled her into his lap. He was keening ,and his cries galvanized Mulder. The Agent dashed over to the prostrate Rimmer and he straddled his body.

It quickly became apparent that Rimmer was also done for. The shotgun blast had torn through the middle of his body almost shattering his spinal column and now he was struggling to breath, gurgling blood in his mouth. He was trying to talk so Mulder bent down to listen.

“Congratulations, Mulder,” he coughed blood. “May the best wolf win, even if it was a malignant little dwarf,” he tried to grin.

“Yeah, you rat bastard, I hope you choke!” Mulder sneered, “Die slow, Tony,” he said.



“I just wanted to ask you a favor, you won, do me one last thing, all right?”

“What, you fuck?”

“When you get back to DC, tell that cigarette smoking father of yours that his son…Well, just tell him I hope he rots in hell,” he lisped sarcastically, and then Rimmer turned his head to the side so that Mulder could deliver the coup de grace.

Mulder looked in shock at Rimmer as his words froze his guts, and then he stared at his exposed throat. His wolfish face twisted in fury and he shouted into his ear, “I wouldn’t foul my mouth with your blood you God damned son of a bitch,” and then he stood up and brought one taloned foot down to crash through Tony’s shattered rib cage, severing his spine with a loud crack.

Mulder stood there breathing heavily. He heard Frohike crying nearby and then he heard Janet and Jim Rafferty running into the middle of the maze.

“Oh my God,” Janet exclaimed. Mulder limped over to confront them. “Get out of here,’ he said bleakly, “it’s over, go back to the vans and wait.” He didn’t have any strength left to deal with them. They took one look at the scene, turned around and walked back through the maze.

Mulder thought to look for Scully, but Sian and Frohike needed his immediate attention. He could sense her presence and smell her scent now more clearly and he could tell that she essentially all right and quite close by. So, Mulder walked over to Frohike.

The photographer was sitting his back against the wall and cradling Sian’s head in his lap. Her blood was pooling over his jeans and he was stroking her fur gently.

“Oh, God, Mulder, please, can’t you do something, she, she’s dying,” he whispered looking up into Mulder’s muzzle. Frohike’s face was stained with tears, and dirt, and more of Sian’s blood streaked the lenses of his glasses.

Mulder bent closer to look at Sian’s throat and he knew it was hopeless. Tony’s bite had damaged her spine it was more than likely a mortal wound.

“Mulder…” Sian struggled to speak. “Mulder, leave me with him for a second,” she said rolling her eyes up at Frohike.

“All right Sian,” Mulder said and he walked over and sat down with his back to them. He began to lick the fur on one leg to clean one of his wounds.

Sian looked up into Frohike’s stricken eyes, “Mel, ddddon’t cry for me. Don’t worry. I, I love you, I’ll love you forever,” she said gently.

“Oh, Sian, Oh God, Please, don’t…, Oh, honey…I love you too, forever too, Oh, Christ,” he started to cry again as he stroked her white furred head. Sian mustered every once of strength she had left, and she went into his mind. She sent him all her healing and her love, she bolstered him and strengthened his abilities to continue with the good fight, and then she began to remove herself from Frohike’s thoughts. She left just enough of herself there to allow him to think he had met an attractive woman on the trip, they had enjoyed each other during a fun and satisfying one night stand, and then he had moved on with a pleasant memory of her arms around him. As she finished the last of her erasure she sent him to sleep and Frohike sagged back against the wall.

“Mulder,” she gasped.

Mulder turned and hurried over. Seeing the sagging Frohike he gently extricated him from Sian and carried him a short distance away. He placed him gently down on the floor and returned to Sian’s side.

Sian coughed, “I’m dead, Mulder,” she sighed closing her eyes. But then she opened them and looked into his haunted wolf face. “Mulder, I told you there was a way I could return you your humanity didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did,” Mulder replied quietly.

“Well, then maybe this is for the best, Mulder. Because for me to give you that gift I would have had to let you kill me anyway. Now, you’ll just have to finish what Tony so obligingly started,” she wheezed.

Mulder looked at her in horror, “And you knew this ahead of time?”

She shook her head slightly and the movement caused her to mewl in pain, “Please, Mulder, it’s the only way,” she hissed, “it hurts,” and then she exposed her throat to him.

Mulder looked down into her profile, and then he stroked her soft face. He could feel a bit of the sixth sense welling up in his head, just enough he thought…maybe enough, and he sent his thoughts into Sian’s mind. He gave her a vision of her and Frohike together again, they were hand in hand walking in a forest somewhere, into a clearing, into the bright warm sun, and as she smiled, he bent forward and bit into her neck, severing her head from her body.

Dana Scully rolled over onto her side and sat up. She was still bound and gagged but she was just working the gag from her face as Mulder approached her across the cat walk. Her eyes went wide because he was quite naked. He was covered in scratches and drying blood but no more the worse for wear. He quickly covered the distance to her and knelt down beside her. He untied her legs.

“Do you have the keys for the cuffs?” he asked.

“In my pocket,” she said flinching from the pain that was still in her arms.

Mulder gently retrieved the key and then unlocked the manacles. Scully sagged against him, “Mulder what…”

“Rimmer’s dead Scully, so’s, Sian, come on, let’s get the hell out of here,” he sighed, in exhaustion.

The Whisper House was quiet. Mulder, Scully, Frohike, Janet Price and Jim Rafferty all slept the sleep of the totally exhausted.

Mulder had carried the unconsciousness Frohike back to the Dodge Caravans and placed him carefully inside the more empty vehicle. Then Mulder had redressed and he and Jim Rafferty had gone back inside the warehouse to retrieve both Tony and Sian’s bodies. The warehouse sat right on the Milwaukee river so it was a simple enough job to wrap both their corpses up, weight them down with things they found in PaintBall Dave’s and then consign them to the dark waters. Jim had said a prayer for Sian as Mulder bowed his head. They had cleaned up the blood as best they could but Mulder figured with the filth of the warehouse and the zillion paintball splatters over every surface, no one was going to notice the blood that was left on the floor.

The group had driven back to Shepard Avenue in silence. Mulder had wanted Scully to go to St. Mary’s hospital nearby but she had insisted it wasn’t necessary. Her arms and shoulders were sore and tingling but she thought they would be all right in a couple of days. She took a hot shower before going with Mulder into his room. He had given her a message and her arms felt much better.

Janet and Jim saw to it that Frohike was cleaned up and then they had put the still sleeping photographer to bed in his old room next to Mulder and Scully. He was snoring and smiling now, in his boxers and tee shirt, over the memory of the gorgeous blond he had been lucky to meet in Milwaukee.

“Mulder, are you all right?” Scully asked stroking his cheek.

“Yeah, I’m OK, Scully, I guess,” he sighed.

“I’m so sorry about Sian,” she said

“Yeah, me too,” he replied with a far away look in his eyes.

“I’m just glad she had a chance to make sure Frohike wasn’t going to remember anything about her death. God, I can’t imagine what that would have done to him,” Scully said.

“I think I can,” Mulder said looking into her eyes. She searched his face and then she reached up and kissed him gently. Mulder smiled at her for the first time that day and then he kissed the ring on her finger. Mulder pulled her close, they snuggled together and fell fast asleep.

In a dreary apartment in Washington, DC a man woke from dreaming. He reached over to the night stand and grabbed the pack of Morley cigarette’s that rested there. He lit one up and inhaled the smoke deeply into his lungs. He coughed. ‘God, what an idiotic dream,’ he thought. ‘Why the hell would I be dreaming about Star Wars for Christ’s sake? I am your father Luke? How fucking asinine!’ he mused. Still he vaguely remembered that he’d liked wearing that Darth Vader outfit. But the fact that Mulder was dressed as Luke Skywalker had disturbed him. He took another drag on the Morley and swung his long legs over the bed’s edge. He slipped his feet into his slippers, and then he got up to take a piss. As he crossed the apartment he stopped to listen. ‘Oh, for God’s sake who’s dog is that howling?’ he thought. But then the hair on the back of his neck stood up because it didn’t really sound like a dog. It sounded more like a wolf and there wasn’t just one. The man threw down the cigarette and crushed it under foot. Then he crossed to his dresser, opened the top drawer, and took out a .44 caliber gun almost as long as his forearm. There was a scratching at his door and the man turned and for the first time, in a long time, there was fear in his eyes.


It had been a month since they had returned to DC and Mulder was standing in Scully’s kitchen making coffee on a Saturday afternoon. Sun from the window over the sink was shining down onto his hands and the ring on his left hand was sparkling in the light. Mulder smiled. Scully had given him the ring a week ago. It was very masculine, and well designed, and Mulder liked it immensely.

It was a gorgeous day, and Mulder didn’t want anything to spoil it. He had been thinking of the Cancer Man and the possibility that he was indeed his father. It was something he had considered before, of course. But in the long run there wasn’t much he could do about the fact if it was true. He wasn’t sure even now whether it was true. He figured that Rimmer may have lied about it in a sick attempt to get back at Mulder before he died. At any rate, Mulder thought, he would deal with the bastard later and through more official channels if he could. I wouldn’t do to seek revenge and have his efforts backfire against him or God forbid, against Scully. He decided to let sleeping dogs lie for the moment. He could afford to wait and deal with the problem later after he’d had time to plan a suitable course of action.

Scully was on the phone to her Mother. Mulder was glad to hear that things between Margaret Scully and Walter Skinner seemed to be moving along, but at a nice slow pace. Both he and Scully were having enough time to get used to the idea that Skinner might become one of the family, but at least it wouldn’t be in the immediate future. Still, they were spending a lot of time together, dining out and visiting galleries and such, and Scully’s Mother seemed really happy. Mulder noticed the change in Skinner as well, and he thought the guy was seriously in danger of being in love again as well.

“So, Mom, say hello to Bill when you meet him at the airport. I suppose we’ll all need to get together while he’s here,” Scully was saying into the phone. Then she laughed, “Yes, I guess that can wait until you’ve had your little talk with him. All right, Mom, I love you, Uh, say hello to Walter,” she said. Scully still wasn’t quite used to referring to Skinner by anything other then Sir. Mulder really grinned to think what it would be like if she had to call him Dad.

Frohike had called earlier and Mulder thought he sounded pretty much like his old self. He was a little wistful but not overly so. Mulder agreed to go out with him, Langly and Byers for pizza and a movie that evening. Sian Phillips seemed to be just a pleasant memory. Sian’s death saddened Mulder greatly because in a selfish way he knew it had been necessary for his own salvation. He felt tremendous gratitude to Frohike for killing Rimmer, and even though the guy would never know he had saved all their lives, Mulder endeavored to show him the new respect he so justly deserved.

Scully walked into the kitchen.

“Coffee’s almost ready,” Mulder said turning to face her. She looked radiant, all traces of the horrors that they had been through a month ago had been erased from her.

“Uh, Scully, you know, I really like making coffee and stuff here, I mean, I really like your place,” Mulder said.

“I sort of got that idea, Mulder,” she smiled at him, humor in her eyes.

“Well, I was thinking, you know, the lease on my apartment is up at the end of next month. Uh, what would you say to my moving in here, permanently, I mean?” he asked quietly.

Scully moved over to him and hugged him around the waist. “Yeah. I think that could be arranged Agent Mulder,” she said into his strong chest.

Mulder relaxed and wound his arms around her shoulders.

“But Mulder, you just have to promise me one thing, all right,” she said smirking into his t-shirt.

“Anything, Scully.”

“Just don’t leave the toilet seat up, ok?” Scully replied and they both dissolved in joyous laughter.



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