Category Archives: Season 10

Red Becomes Her

TITLE: Red Becomes Her

AUTHOR: Inluvwthfox with Sammy

EMAIL: inluvwthfox@hotmail.com

RATING: R for violence.

SPOILERS: Irresistible

SUMMARY: When the holiday of love turns into the holiday of death.

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. No

copyright infringement is intended.

AUTHOR’S NOTES: Thank you Sammy for giving me the idea for this fic and

pushing me along to get it done. Thanks also go out to Megs for her wonderful

support, her help with the ‘tough’ spots, and her wonderful betaing. 😉

FEEDBACK: Yes, please

x.Xx

He lurked in the shadow of her home, waiting for her to get comfortable for the

evening. He watched as she took off her business clothing, opting to wear her

jogging suit. He knew her routine, studied it in minute detail. She wasn’t the one he

wanted, but she was close. She looked enough like her to pass for his purposes.

He didn’t know her name, didn’t care too. All he knew was she was what he wanted

that night and he always got what he wanted. He moved closer to the house as she

moved from the bedroom to the living room. She sat down and turned on the TV.

He turned to see the delivery truck pull up to the house.

He smiled, happy for the timing of the delivery service he had enlisted the aid of.

He watched as the young man carried the box to the door and knocked.

The woman went to the door and opened it. He could see her fully now. He was

getting turned on by how much they looked like each other. The petite body,

piercing blue eyes, and the wonderfully red hair.

The woman collected her package and tipped the young man. She closed her door

and returned to her seat in the living room. She opened the package to find one

dozen red roses. She smiled, wondering who they had come from. The card said,

“Your secret admirer.”

She picked up one of the roses and sniffed it. She sighed at the sweet smell of the

flower. That’s when he made his move. He knew the drug would take effect soon

and he entered the front door with little difficulty. She tried to turn to see who was

invading her house, but found she couldn’t move. She tried to call out in fear, but

she couldn’t do that either.

He kneeled before her and stroked her hair. He smiled and said, “Don’t fear, my

dear sweet Dana. I’m here. I’ll always be here.”

xXx

Hot water ran down her back as she stood in the shower after a long day in the

basement office. She let the water wash away the day of paperwork and autopsy’s.

The day of running around looking for another mystery to solve or alien to hunt.

She let the water lull her into a calming trance where her mind drifted into a make

believe world where Mulder had Samantha back, she had Emily back and they were

all a happy family.

The ring of her phone broke her dream. She hurriedly wrapped herself in a big

towel and ran to it.

“Scully,” she said as the phone made it’s journey to her ear.

The familiar timber of his voice said, “Scully, want me to come over your place with

some Chinese? My treat.”

She smiled, “Sure Mulder. Give me about ten min….”

Before she could finish her sentence she heard Mulder hang up on her. She shook

her head and with a sigh returned the phone to its rightful spot.

Scully walked to her bedroom to change, wondering why Mulder wanted to come

over tonight. It wasn’t there usual movie night, and he never offered to just buy

dinner for her, unless there was something up.

As she pulled her shirt over her head, she heard a knock on the door. She yelled out

from her room. “Come on in, Mulder. It’s open.”

Mulder came in and deposited the bag of food on the coffee table. He glanced down

the hall as he went to the kitchen and grabbed some sodas. When he came back out

into the living room Scully was coming down the hallway, combing her wet hair.

Mulder laughed, “You look like a drowned rat, Scully.”

She grabbed one of the sodas out of his hand and turned towards the cough. “You

like it? I may start coming to work like this.” She smiled and sat down.

Mulder came around and took a seat next to her. They ate quietly and watched TV.

After a long while Scully looked at Mulder and said, “Mulder, why did you come

over here tonight?”

Mulder looked at her innocently, “I hate eating alone?”

Scully smirked and shook her head. “There’s a reason why your here, now spill it.”

Mulder sighed. “Alright.”

He pulled out the newspaper from the cushions of the couch. The headline read,

“Valentine’s Killer Strikes Again.”

Scully looked at the paper and then to Mulder with a raised brow. “This is the

reason your here? Are you afraid your next?”

Mulder glared, “Very funny, Scully. Look at the victim’s descriptions. The killer is

picking a distinct type of girl. Scully… you fit the profile.”

Scully was quiet for a long while as she stared down at the paper. She whispered,

“Mulder, I’ll be fine. I’m a trained agent with a loaded gun. This guy wouldn’t stand

a chance.”

Mulder sighed, “Alright. I just want you to be careful. I’d…I’d hate to lose you

again.”

Scully smiled and said, “Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere.”

Just then there was a knock on the door. Scully said, “I wonder who that could be

this late? Your the only one who bothers me in the middle of the night.”

She opened the door to see Assistant Director Skinner standing there, stone faced.

She looked surprised. “Sir?”

Skinner looked in to see Mulder. “I figured I’d find you both here. Can I come in?”

Scully gave a nod and stepped out of the way. “By all means…”

Mulder looked to Skinner and said, “What’s going on sir?”

“I’ve got a new case for you.”

xXx

It had been raining again. Not a good thing in early February in Washington. It

made the roads even slicker then usual. It did manage to get rid of some of the dirty

snow that had piled up from the many winter storms but it didn’t help out an

investigation any. If there was any evidence left outside of a crime scene, it would

be washed away.

Mulder, Scully, and Skinner knew this all to well as they pulled up to the small

Washington suburb home of Shanda Smith. She had been the latest victim in a

string of ‘valentine’s killings’, as vice liked to call them. Some had finally got there

head out of there asses and decided, after the third murder, that it might be smart to

call in the feds.

The whole property had been marked off with yellow tape and police cars lined the

sleepy neighborhood street on either side. There was a uniformed officer guarding

the entrance of the crime scene. He stopped the trio as they approached.

“Sorry, no one inside without the officer in charges permission.” He held out his

hand, as if to stop traffic.

Skinner took the lead and said, “I’m Assistant Director Skinner. These are my

agents. Mulder and Scully.”

The officer looked over the three of them and then sighed. “Ok. Officer Scott is in

the living room, gathering evidence.” He stepped out of the way and let them in.

Skinner led the way into the living room, looking around for the officer in charge.

There were so many people in the room, doing various things that he sighed and

called out, “I’m looking for an Officer Scott.”

Everyone in the room stopped and looked at the trio. Mulder glanced over at Scully

with a smirk and raised brow.

A woman, wearing a business suit like what Scully usually wears, approached them.

She was petite, about Scully’s age, with bright flowing red curls that fell down past

her shoulders to her middle back. She had a look of determination on her face.

She held out her hand to Skinner to shake and said, “I’m Officer Samantha Scott.

And you might be?”

Skinner caught the contempt in her voice. This was her crime scene and she didn’t

like intruders. “I’m AD Skinner with the FBI. This is Agents Mulder and Scully.

Our unit has been assigned to help you out on this case.”

Officer Scott shook Mulder and then Scully’s hand. She sighed and said. “I’m

assuming you don’t know much about what’s going on so, I’ll start at the beginning.”

She led them into the living room, where a woman’s body was laying out on the

couch. The woman was stunning in her petite beauty. Dressed in a red dress, red

roses strewn on the floor around her. Her red hair laid beautifully against the cream

colored couch that was her last resting place.

Both Mulder and Skinner couldn’t believe how beautiful the woman looked, even in

death. Scully was to busy studying the crime scene to consider the woman’s beauty.

She noticed the redness around her neck. Like rub marks.

Officer Scott said, “This was Shanda Smith, a 34 year old Journalist. She’s single,

no known family. Neighbors say she didn’t go out much. Her job was her life. She

got home about 5:30 this evening. Soon after that a neighbor said he noticed a

delivery truck pulling into her drive. The neighbor, a James Franklin, was just

getting home from work. His wife asked him to go check on Smith, she had been

feeling kind of down lately. So, after his supper, he came over and found the door

ajar. He came into the house and found her like this.”

Mulder goes and looks at the door. “No sign of forced entry?”

Scott shook her head. “No, however it was either knew her or knows how to pick a

lock very well.”

Scully continued to look at the body. “Do you know what the murder weapon was?”

“As far as the forensic reports say in the other two cases, it was strangulation. But

not with a rope or hands. The coroner said that it had to be done with something

soft. That’s why the redness and bruising is so faint.”

Skinner looked at the roses and champagne. “It looks like she had company. A

romantic evening?”

Scott looked at him and shook her head. “No, the scene is the same in all three

crime scenes. Red dress, champagne and glasses, and red roses. I think it’s kind of

the killers calling card.”

Scully said, “I’d like to do the autopsy on this body and I’d also like to look at the

autopsy reports on the last two victims.”

Scott gave a nod. “No problem. Officer Jenkins can help you out there. Hey

Jenkins…”

A uniformed officer walked up to the group, “Yeah Sam?”

Scott smiled at the young officer and said, “Take Agent Scully to the medical

examiners and get her copies of the last two cases.”

Jenkins smiled and said, “Yes ma’am.”

xXx

He stood in the crowd across the street from the crime scene. The lights of the

police cars mixed with the rain gave the whole area and surreal glow. He almost

smiled at how idiotic these peons of law enforcement were, trying to solve a case

that was beyond there little minds. He knew this wasn’t a case for the locals. It was

something that only the big guys could handle and soon they would come.

That’s when the front door opened and she exited it. He couldn’t breathe, seeing her

standing there next to her tall, dark haired partner. She looked so lovely in the

mixture of red and blue lights. Her hair was perfect, even though the dampness of

the air should have made it flat.

She was chatting with another woman who looked a lot like her. A local, as he liked

to call them. One of the peons. His smile spread as he whispered, “That peon could

become useful.”

xXx

“Female subject, approximately 36 years of age. Apparent cause of death from

external exam, strangulation.”

Scully sighed and stopped the recorder. She stared down at the body on her table.

She wondered what had motivated the killer. Why he left such a romantic setting at

the crime scene. Why he killed this particular type of woman.

When she looked over the other victim’s files, she couldn’t help but notice it. They

all looked alike. They all looked like her. Mulder’s words rang in her ears.

“Scully… you fit the profile.”

She did fit the profile, to a tee. She shook her head to try and clear her mind. She

was an agent, a professional. She couldn’t let cases like this get to her. She thought

back to how she had reacted when Donnie Pfaster had taken her. She knew she was

a rookie agent and only acted the same as any other new agent would have. But she

still feared him, feared the situation.

She was brought back from her thoughts by the door opening. “Agent Scully, I have

the lab work you requested.”

The young lab tech had rushed the tests as a favor to her. She smiled at him as he

handed over the files. She looked it over as the young man anxiously said, “It’s a

very interesting case, if I do say so myself. I wonder why all of the victims had

taken Ketamine?”

She looked at him and said, “Ketamine?”

The tech gave a nod. “Yes, it showed up in each victims blood system and also in

the nasal cavity.”

Scully put down the file and went over to the woman lying on the table. She

swabbed the inside of the woman’s nose and handed the sample to the tech. “Can

you run this also?”

The tech smiled and said, “Yes ma’am. I’ll have it rushed.”

xXx

Detective Scott sat behind her desk, pouring over the reports from each crime.

Skinner sat across from her looking at his own notes. Mulder was pacing back and

forth, mulling over the killer’s motives.

They all looked up at the door as Scully walked in. She smiled and set a file down in

front of Scott.

“Ketamine,” she said.

Scott opened the file and looked up at Scully, “What in the hell is that?”

Scully sat down next to Skinner, “It was found in all of the victim’s bloodstreams.

It’s a general anesthetic used mostly for veterinary use. Recently it’s become one of

the more favorite of club drugs.”

Scott said, “So, you think all these women were users?”

Scully shook her head. “No, there wasn’t any sign of prolonged use. I think our

killer is using the drug on his victims. See, ketamine causes the user to go into a

kind of paralysis. You can see and breath, but you can’t move or talk.” She looked

up to Mulder, “It would be easy for him to kill his victims if they can’t fight back.”

The room fell quiet as everyone took in this new information. Scott finally broke

the silence by standing up. She grabbed the files and her coat. “Well, we aren’t

getting any closer to finding this guy sitting here. I’ve got some friends on the

Narcotics squad. I’ll have them track down known ketamine dealers for us.”

Mulder gave a nod and said, “I’m going to go over the files again, see if there might

be anything we missed the first time. Scully, I want you to go with me?”

Scully looked up at him, questioningly. Mulder answered her before she could ask,

“You fit the profile and we don’t know how he finds his victims. You could be a

target.”

Scully sighed, “Mulder, I’m fine.”

Mulder smiled and said, “I know, just humor me.”

Scully smiled back at him and whispered, “Ok.”

xXx

Skinner followed Scott down the hall and towards the narcotics office. He couldn’t

help but watch the way her body swayed as she moved down the hall. He shook his

head, trying to clear the dirty thoughts from his mind.

As they approached the door he stepped in front of her and held it open. He smiled

at her as she passed by. She stopped, turning back towards him, and smiled.

“Thank you Mr. Skinner.”

Skinner blushed slightly and said, “Please, call me Walter.”

She gave a nod and said, “Alright, but I insist you call me Sam.”

He gave a little smirk at that and whispered, “I’d feel more comfortable calling you

Samantha.”

It was Scott’s turn to blush as she replied, “Ok.”

“Look, I was thinking. Maybe after we get done here, we could go somewhere for

dinner?” As soon as he said it he wanted to take it back. He knew it sounded

desperate.

Scott sighed and said, “Well, I’ve already got dinner waiting for me at home.”

“Oh, husband cooks for you, huh?” Now, he felt really, really stupid. He came on to

a married woman.

“No. But my mother keeps me stocked up on the essential meals. You know, the

meat and potatoes type?”

Skinner smiled with relief that she wasn’t married. “Sounds good, actually.”

“Well, why don’t you join me? We could work on the case.”

Skinner stopped smiling abruptly. He wasn’t thinking about working tonight. He

forced himself to keep smiling. “That would be great.”

xXx

Mulder sat behind his desk, combing through the files on all of the murders. He was

so intent on his work that he didn’t notice Scully enter with coffee for each of them.

She smiled as she placed his coffee on the desk. She couldn’t help but admire this

man’s talents as an agent. She thought that all those who made fun of Mulder as

being ‘Spooky’ or ‘off the deep end’, never really got to know him and how much he

dedicated himself to his work and to helping people.

She sat down and watched him work. She hoped that he could figure this killer out.

Hoped that they could put an end to this madness. A shiver went down her spine as

she thought of the women this man had already murdered. She thought how much

each of them looked like her. Mulder had been right. She did fit the profile, but she

didn’t want him to know she was worried about it.

She also didn’t want him to know how much this case had brought back her fear

from the Pfaster case. She had thought she had put that behind her, but this case was

bringing back all of those old fears. She had to be strong and forget about that. It

was old news.

She was startled back to reality by a hand on her shoulder. She looked up with

momentary fear in her eyes. Mulder looked down at her with concern in his,

“Scully, are you alright?”

She sighed and put on her trademark smile. “I’m fine, Mulder.”

Mulder had a look of disbelief on his face as he moved back around to his chair. “I

asked you a question and you didn’t answer. You looked like you had something

troubling you. Want to talk about it?”

She shook her head and said, “It’s nothing. Just thinking about the case, that’s all.”

Mulder gave a nod and said, “Well, I think I’ve done just about all I can do here

tonight. How about I drive you home so you can get some rest?”

Scully gave a nod and stood up, grabbing her coat. “I think I could use some.”

xXx

Skinner sat back on Scott’s couch, looking over his notes once more. He smiled up

at her as she came back from doing the dishes. She sat down beside him and smiled

also, opening her on notebook.

“So, dinner was really good. A lot better then fast-food take out.” Skinner remarked.

“Thanks. My mom always said that she didn’t care that I was a cop as long as I

didn’t end up eating at the donut store and letting myself go. So, she keeps me fed.”

Skinner smiled and said, “Think she would feed me too?”

Scott giggled, “I’m sure if you asked her, she would. She’d probably like you. Your

a lot different from my ex.”

Skinner’s smile faded. “Oh, you were married?”

Scott sighed and shook her head. “No, engaged. He worked the beat. He didn’t like

it much that I was higher up the ladder then him. It kind of came between us.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Scott smirked. “It’s alright. Life goes on, right?”

Skinner remarked quietly. “I guess it does, if you want it to or not.”

“You sound like your speaking from experience?”

Skinner sighed. “My wife and I ended up divorcing because of my job. I didn’t feel

like talking about work once I got home and she felt like I should let it all out. It

caused a lot of fights before we were through.”

Scott gently touched Skinner’s hand. “Some people just don’t understand that the

things we see on a daily basis aren’t something we want to share with others.”

Skinner gave a nod and squeezed her hand in return.

Scott stared at him for a moment and then sighed, “Well, this isn’t getting anything

done on the case…”

Skinner smiled. “Your right. Let’s get to work.”

xXx

He stood outside the cop’s home. She was inside with Dana’s boss. He didn’t know

much about him, just knew who he was from the few times he had visited her at

Quantico. He seemed like the typical Assistant Director type. No emotions, no

feelings, no expressions.

He smirked, wondering what the AD was in there doing with the pretty young cop.

Then he thought about what he was going to do to her after the AD left. She was the

closest he’d ever come to someone like his Dana. She was even a cop and to top it

all off, she was working with Dana also.

He got excited just thinking about it. He wondered if he could control himself

enough to just do what he always had or if he’d have to raise the stacks a little and

partake of the AD’s girl.

He was changing his plan for this one anyways, going in as the deliveryman himself.

What if he changed it a little more? What would it hurt? He laughed menacingly,

“It’s only going to hurt her.”

xXx

Skinner stood up and stretched. “Oh god, it’s late. I should go.”

Scott stood up beside him. “Thanks for coming by and working on this with me.”

Skinner smiled and touched her hand. “Not a problem. I’ll come over again, if you

feed me?”

Scott giggled, “It’s a deal.”

Skinner put his coat on and looked at her. “Oh…I wanted to thank you for the talk

too. It’s nice to talk to someone who knows what it’s like.”

Scott smiled gently at him and whispered, “Anytime you want to talk, just let me

know, ok?”

Skinner blushed slightly. Scott’s smile broadened at that and she leaned in and

kissed him on the lips. Skinner wrapped his arms around her waist. He moaned as

she deepened the kiss and pulled herself closer to him. She could feel what she was

doing to his body and it brought her back to her senses. She pulled away quickly

and turned away from him.

She scolded herself, “Stupid!”

Skinner looked at her in shock, “What?”

She turned back towards him and sighed sadly. “Oh Walter. I’m sorry. I didn’t

mean too… I mean…” She let out a long sigh.

Skinner frowned, “I understand.”

Scott placed her palm gently on his chest. “No, you don’t… I like you. I really do. I

just wasn’t thinking there for a minute. I guess what I’m saying is I need to take this

slow. It hasn’t been that long since Jake and I broke up. I don’t want to think about

him while I’m kissing you. Ok?”

Skinner smiled gently, “Ok.” He whispered.

She smiled gently, “So, you’ll come back for dinner tomorrow night?”

Skinner smiled. “It’s a date.”

xXx

Finally, he thought. He had waited outside the house for hours, hoping the old man

would leave. Now he was finally going to get his chance with her. He waited until

the AD drove away before he approached the door and rang the bell.

She opened the door saying, “I knew you’d be back for these?” She was holding up

Skinner’s notes.

When she the young uniformed man she looked slightly startled. “Oh, can I help

you?”

The man smiled and said, “Yes ma’am. I’ve got a delivery here for you.”

She looked at the box and smiled gently. She took it and said, “Come on in. I’ll get

your tip.”

She left the door open, allowing him to enter as she opened the box to reveal one

dozen red roses. She smiled gently and picked one up to smell it before she set them

down to go grab her purse.

As she stepped across the living room she felt dizzy and before she knew it she was

on the floor. She looked up at the man smiling down at her. He picked her up in his

arms and moved her to the couch.

“My dear sweet Dana. You are more beautiful then all of the roses in the world.”

Scott’s eyes showed her realization of who the man was. She tried to move but

couldn’t feel her body. She tried to scream but couldn’t make a sound.

He turned to look at the files on the coffee table. “How interesting. You think I’m a

spurned lover, do you? Well, your wrong there. You see my dear, anything I want I

can have. It’s always been that way, until I met her. There is no one like her and all

of you who pretend to be her just make me angry.”

She could see the rage burning inside him as he leaned over her, holding an ivory

scarf. She tried to control her breathing, thinking that any minute that scarf was

going to be around her neck, pulling it tight.

He took a deep breath and smiled, loosening his grip on the scarf. “What am I

thinking? You need to get changed, my dear. I have a special evening planned.”

He stood up and left the house for a moment, returning with a large duffle bag. He

set it down and swiped all the papers off the coffee table and onto the floor. He

pulled a vase out of the bag and grabbed the roses. He made them the centerpiece of

the table.

“Aren’t my roses lovely? They have a special scent too.” He laughed evilly.

Her eyes went wide, realizing it was the roses. He had put the ketamine into the

roses somehow. She watched him as he continued his work by setting up candles

and glasses. He hummed a tune, as he made sure everything was just right. Then he

smiled at her and reached into his bag once more.

He pulled out a sexy little red dress. “You will look so beautiful in this dress Dana

and the scarf will match it perfectly.”

She was screaming with all her strength but nothing was coming out.

xXx

Skinner opened the door to his dark, lonely apartment. He sighed and flipped on the

light. He couldn’t stop thinking about Samantha and that mind numbing kiss she had

given him. He knew he liked her and was sure that he could feel even more for her.

She had been the first person that she felt comfortable talking to about Sharon and

she understood the emotional baggage the job he had carried.

He moved to the couch and opened his briefcase, thinking he might as well get some

work done. Knowing that he’d be up all night thinking of Scott anyways. He looked

inside and cursed quietly. He had left his notes at Scott’s and he needed them for a

briefing with Kersh in the morning.

He sighed at the thought of going back out this late, but he also knew it meant seeing

her again. He grabbed his coat and headed for the door.

xXx

He stared down at the smooth skin of her shoulders against the bright red of the

spaghetti straps. He ran his hand gently along her collar and down towards her

breasts.

“You look amazing, Dana. Of course, I knew you would.” He leaned in and kissed

her pulse.

He pulled away and said, “I had thought about making this an extra special night.

Make our love real. But you look far to lovely tonight to ruin that. Besides, I

promised you I’d wait until Valentine’s Day.”

He gently caressed her cheek. “So, I guess there’s only one thing left to do.” He

pulled out the scarf and wrapped it around her neck.

xXx

Skinner knocked gently on Scott’s door. As he did it popped open a crack. He

peeked in and said, “Samantha?”

He could here something in the living room but couldn’t place what it was. He

slowly pulled his gun and moved that way. As he turned the corner he gasped in

shock of what he saw.

Candles, roses and champagne were laying on the coffee table. Scott was sprawled

on the couch, in a red dress. An ivory scarf hanging around her neck. She looked

almost blue.

He ran to her and loosened the scarf, looking for her pulse. He took a breath when

he found a weak one. He looked around the room and noticed that the perp must

have ran out the back door, as it was standing open.

He grabbed his cell and called 911.

xXx

He hid in the bushes and watched the ambulance take her away. He was angry.

Even more then before. That idiot AD had ruined everything. He had almost

finished with her when he came in. Now all of his stuff was being bagged as

evidence, including his precious scarf.

His plan was falling apart. But he wasn’t going to let that happen. He’d just have to

step things up a bit. He’d have to go to Dana now and finish what he had started.

He smiled at the thought of seeing her again, of touching her. It made him excited

just to think about it.

xXx

Mulder and Scully ran into the emergency room waiting area to find Skinner pacing

back and forth.

“What happened?” Asked Mulder.

Skinner sighed and had the two sit down. “I had gone to Scott’s to work on the case.

When I left I forgot my notes. I went back to get them and found her laying in her

living room, like the other victims.”

Scully gasped. “Oh my god. Is she…?”

Skinner shook his head. “The doctor’s are with her now. They say it was lucky I

came in when I did. Just a minute more and she would have.”

Scully sat there in shock. Not able to believe that this was happening.

Skinner sighed, trying to think straight. He pulled a plastic evidence bag out of his

coat pocket and handed it to Scully.

“This was what he used to strangle her. I’m assuming he used it on all of the

victims. The rest of the evidence was taken back to HQ, but I thought you should

see this.”

Scully looked at the scarf in the bag and then looked up at him. “Why?”

Skinner looked at her sadly and then looked down. Mulder took the bag from her

and looked the scarf over, turning the bag over and over. He stopped abruptly and

looked up at Skinner and then to Scully.

Scully looked at him, “What is it?”

Mulder whispered, “Your name.”

He handed the scarf back and pointed to the embroidered ‘Dana’ on the scarf. Scully

gasped and stared at it. It couldn’t be her scarf. She never had one like that and she

certainly would have known if something had been missing from her home.

Scully looked to Mulder and said, “This isn’t mine. It can’t be. I’ve never owned a

scarf like this.”

Mulder gave a nod and took the bag from her again. He looked up at Skinner, “Do

we have any prints on this guy yet?”

Skinner shook his head. “Not yet. There’s a duffle bag in evidence that they are

going to run and I wanted to also run that scarf.”

Mulder stood up and said, “I’ll take this down and have it run. Let me know as soon

as you find out something on Scott.”

xXx

Mulder turned on the computer to do a name search. They had got the prints and a

name for them. Now he wanted to find out what connection this man had to Scully.

Why he was killing woman who looked like her and why he carried a scarf around

with her name on it.

He typed in the name, Daniel Hinds, and waited for the information to come up.

Mulder looked shocked when he saw what it said. He had been at Quantico and

studied under Scully. He passed all of his classes with flying colors and had

accommodations from all of his teachers, except Scully. He had a lot of promise

and would have made a fine agent, but he couldn’t pass Scully’s pathology course.

Mulder smiled, thinking about how few agents would be able to pass a course she

taught. She was a tough agent and a tougher teacher.

As he read on he got more concerned. He had been hospitalized for anxiety soon

after dropping out of Quantico. They found him to show signs of insanity but the

man refused to stay and checked himself out against doctor’s orders. They couldn’t

keep him because he had been there voluntarily to begin with and he had not harmed

anyone.

Mulder hit the print button and hurriedly headed back to the hospital to tell Scully.

xXx

Scully stood at the window of the room they had given Scott. She watched as the

sun dipped behind the buildings and the moon arose to brighten another February

evening.

Skinner looked at her from his chair next to Scott’s bed. “Scully, you’ve been here

all day. Why don’t you go home and get some rest.”

Scully looked from Skinner to Scott and back. “Are you sure?”

Skinner smiled gently and gave a nod. “I’ll let you know as soon as she wakes up,

ok?”

Scully smiled and grabbed her coat. “Thanks sir. I’ll be back in the morning.”

xXx

Mulder entered Scott’s room and sat down by Skinner. “How’s she doing?”

Skinner looked at him and sighed. “She hasn’t regained consciousness yet. The

doctors think she will be able to fully recover, in time.”

Mulder gave a nod and looked around. “Where’s Scully?”

“Oh, she looked really beat, so I sent her on home.”

Mulder looked shocked and mad. “You did what?”

Skinner was about to repeat his statement when Scott sighed and started to move

slightly. Skinner stood over her and took her hand.

He whispered, “Samantha, can you hear me?”

“Walter?” She asked, hoarsely.

Skinner smiled and nodded. “Yeah.”

She smiled gently and then her eyes showed a fear that Skinner hadn’t seen since

Vietnam. “Dana….”

Mulder moved to the side of the bed. “What about Dana, Samantha?”

She looked at Mulder and said, “He called me Dana… He’s after her.”

Mulder and Skinner looked at each other, realizing what kind of danger Scully was

in.

xXx

Scully entered her dark apartment and threw her keys down on the table. She took

off her weapon and put it in the drawer and then moved to the kitchen to put on

some tea.

She came back into the living room and sat down. She felt a chill run across her

body and looked around to see where it had come from. Just as she noticed a

window in the corner of her living room was opened, she was grabbed from behind.

He pushed a knife to her neck and covered her mouth with his hand. “Don’t scream.

I don’t want to have to hurt you.”

She gave a nod and he loosened his grip slightly. She couldn’t believe who it was.

Daniel Hinds, a former student of hers. It all made sense now. He had an unhealthy

infatuation with her. He had tried to leave her gifts, which she refused. He even

questioned her one time after Mulder came to see her, asking about who he was.

He let go of her mouth and grabbed her hands, pulling them behind her and

handcuffing them.

“Why are you doing this Daniel?” She asked.

He smirked and said, “All you had to do was say yes when I asked you out. But you

said no. NO ONE EVER TELLS ME NO!” He yelled, waving the knife around.

She suddenly remembered that day in her office. When he came in with an ivory

scarf with her name on it, as a gift. She smiled gently and gave it back to him. She

told him that she couldn’t accept it and that she would like for him to quiet giving

her things. He was upset when he left the office but she never thought him capable

of anything like this.

“Ok. Calm down Daniel. I’m here now. Why don’t we sit down and talk about

this?”

He moved around to face her. He sat on the coffee table. “It’s to late to talk. You

had your chance and now it’s my turn. I was going to wait until Valentine’s Day but

that idiot of a boss and his little whore ruined that for me.” He rubbed his head

having trouble thinking.

Scully noticed this as a sign of insanity, “Daniel…your sick. Please, let me help you.

I know people who could help.”

He stood up and pointed the knife at her. “NO! I don’t need help. After tonight

everything will be all right. You and I will be together, forever.”

Scully sat back, trying to get away from the blade. Just then the door burst open and

Mulder ran in and fired a shot at Hinds. He dropped the knife and grabbed his

shoulder. He looked shocked as blood ran between his fingertips.

He looked down at Scully and said, “All I wanted was for us to be happy.”

Skinner grabbed his hands and cuffed him and pushed him out of the apartment as

Mulder went to Scully and unhand cuffed her.

He touched her cheek and whispered, “Are you alright.”

Scully gulped back her fear and nodded. “I’m fine. How’d you know?”

“Scott woke up and said he had called her Dana.” Mulder smiled weakly.

Scully nodded. “He said that he was doing this because I had turned him down

when he asked me out.” Her voice sounded weak and distant. “I never thought that

saying no could cause so many people to die.”

Mulder pulled her into him and caressed her hair. “It wasn’t your fault Scully. You

had every right to tell him no.”

Scully gave a nod and just held him.

xXx

He sat on the bed in the corner of his cell. The only light coming from the lover’s

moon. It was valentine’s night. The night he was supposed to be with Dana. He

wrapped his arms around his legs and began rocking. His dear sweet lonely Dana

wasn’t there with him. She was with her partner. His anger grew at the thought of

him touching her.

Slowly his cell door opened and the nurse entered. She smiled at him and he looked

up. He stared into her piercing blue eyes and smiled at the way her red hair shined

in the moonlight.

She sat down his dinner and said, “Her you are Mr. Hinds. Enjoy your meal.”

He smiled at her and said, “Thank you.”

She turned to leave as he said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Dana.”

xXx The End xXx

My Funny Valentine

Title: My Funny Valentine

Author: Britt Mulder

EM: XFilesNTN@aol.com

Date: 02-02-03

Category: MSR

Spoilers: None

Rating: PG

Archive: Anywhere

Disclaimer: Fox owns them.

Summary: Scully has a secret admirer.

Thanks to my dear friends Marcella and Debra for their beta.

Scully’s Apartment

6:00 AM

Friday, February 14 2003

The first rays of the morning sun streamed through Scully’s

blinds and across her bed. She lay awake in bed and could feel

the warmth from the sunshine through her comforter. Scully

sighed contently with a faint smile playing on her lips in

remembrance of what day it was. It was February fourteenth,

Valentines Day. It was the day of love when men wooed woman

with chocolates and flowers.

Scully crawled from her cozy bed and made her way to the

kitchen. She put on a pot of coffee and went to retrieve the

morning newspaper. Opening the front door, she was taken aback

by what she found. A long white box with a red ribbon tied

around it sat neatly by the morning paper. She picked up the

box and shut the door without giving the newspaper a second

thought.

Scully sat down on her sofa and untied the ribbon wrapped

around the box. Her face lit up with a grin as she opened the

box. Inside lay a dozen red roses. She picked up the card that

was attached to the roses. Her eyebrows lifted as she read

over the card.

“From your secret admirer.” She read out loud.

Well, there is only one person this could be, Mulder.

7:30 AM

Scully exited her apartment building. Dressed in a red v-neck

shirt with a black dress coat and skirt that was an inch or

two above her knee. She had decided to show Mulder a little

leg today; after all it was Valentines Day.

“What the…” Scully muttered as she stopped to study the

object on her car parked a few feet away.

A fuzzy brown teddy bear holding a red laced heart sat on the

hood of her car. Scully walked up to her car and looked around

before picking up the teddy bear.

‘Be My Valentine.’ It read across the tiny heart the teddy

bear held.

“Mulder is really into Valentines Day.” Scully mused out loud

as she hopped in her car and drove off.

FBI Headquarters

8:00 AM

Scully walked into the basement office already in high

spirits. The office was empty but a bag of Krispy Kreme donuts

sat on Mulder’s desk showing that he had been here. Scully

walked over to her desk and put her briefcase down. She was

shocked to see a heart-shaped box of chocolates sitting on her

desk. She picked up the envelope that lay on top of the

chocolates.

“Meet me at Naples Italian Restaurant at eight o’clock

tonight. With love, your Valentine.” Scully read to herself.

Just then Mulder strolled through the door carrying a mug of

hot coffee.

“Morning Scully!” He said taking a seat behind his desk. He

took a sip of his coffee before placing it on his desk. When

Scully didn’t respond he looked up with a confused

_expression. Scully stood there gazing at him lovingly with a

Cheshire Cat grin across her face. Mulder was surprised by

what he saw.

Scully walked over to him alluringly and wrapped her arms

around Mulder’s neck. She began to pepper kisses below his

ear. Mulder didn’t know why he was getting all this attention,

but liked it.

“Hmm, Happy Valentines Day Mulder.” Scully purred into

Mulder’s ear. A then squirming Mulder went cold still.

“Oh, shit.” He mouthed. His eyes went big as saucers. Scully

was too busy nipping at Mulder’s neck to catch his little

swear.

“Thanks for the roses, the teddy bear, and chocolates.” Scully

said nuzzling Mulder’s ear. Mulder swallowed hard.

“I never knew you were such a romantic.”

“Um, well…surprise.” Mulder stumbled out.

“Wait till you get your Valentines present tonight.” Scully

whispered in a husky voice. Mulder laughed nervously as he

jumped out of his chair.

“Mulder?” Scully said looking at him with a puzzled look.

Mulder scratched the back of his head trying to come up with a

reason to leave the office.

“Um, uh…I forgot something and um I need to go get it.” He

said motioning with his thumb toward the door.

“What is it?” Scully asked. Mulder had to think a minute.

“Um, I forgot I have to pick up some laundry at the dry

cleaners.” He said walking toward the door.

“Mulder wait!” Scully called out

“Yeah?” He said poking his head back through the door.

“See you tonight.” Scully said with a mega watt smile. Mulder

nodded his head returning the smile then disappeared. Once he

was in the elevator he began to really wonder who had sent

Scully the gifts. A twinge of jealousy coursed through him.

“I’m going to give Scully a Valentines Day she will never

forget.” Mulder vowed.

Naples Italian Restaurant

8:00 PM

Scully stepped on the plush red carpeted floor of the ritzy

Italian restaurant dressed in a silky black dress with strappy

high heels and a shawl draped over her shoulders. Her auburn

hair was done up with a few wisps of curly red tresses left

down. The dim lights and glowing candles on each table gave

the restaurant a cozy atmosphere.

Scully walked up to a well-dressed man who stood at a polished

wood podium. “Excuses me sir, a Fox Mulder is expecting a Dana

Scully.”

Scully waited as the man check the roster in front of him.

“I’m sorry Madame there is no Fox Mulder here.”

“Are you sure?” Scully said in confusion. The man looked down

at his roster one more time.

“Ah, wait a minute. There is one Melvin Frohike expecting a

Dana Scully.”

Scully froze in shock staring at the waiter. “Frohike.” She

squeaked out through a suddenly dry throat.

“Yes, Madame. Now if you will please follow me your party is

waiting.” The man said starting toward the dining area. Scully

stood frozen for a minute before following the man.

He led her past many tables blanketed by white tablecloths.

She caught sight of Frohike dressed in a nice tux at a table

in front of a painting of Italy. Frohike spotted Scully and

stood, straightening his tie as she approached.

“Agent Scully you look gorgeous as always.” Frohike greeted

her with an enormous grin on his face.

“Frohike, what a surprise.” Scully said with a laugh.

Frohike got down on one knee making Scully worry for a minute

before he grabbed her hand giving it a kiss. He pulled out a

rose he had hidden behind his back. “Happy Valentines Day.”

“Oh, Frohike thank you.” She said smiling as she took the

rose.

“Um, hum.” The well-dressed man cleared his throat. Holding

out a chair indicating for Scully to take a seat. Frohike and

Scully both took their seats. “Your waiter will be with you

shortly.” The man said before walking off.

“I hope you liked the gifts I got you.” Frohike said gazing at

Scully admiringly.

“Yes, I did. That was sweet of you, but you really shouldn’t

have.” Scully said.

“Who couldn’t resist showing their love for such a beautiful

woman on Valentines Day!” Frohike confessed. He picked up a

bottle of wine. “Wine?” He asked. Scully held out her glass

for him to fill.

“I can think of someone.” She said taking a sip of her wine.

“Don’t tell me Mulder didn’t get you anything.” Frohike asked.

“I’m afraid he didn’t.” Scully said with a sigh.

“That horse’s ass!” Frohike exclaimed. “Want me to knock some

sense into him for you?” He offered eagerly.

“No, but thanks Frohike.” Scully laughed. “Don’t worry he

won’t get off easily.”

“Mulder has always been the kind of guy who couldn’t show his

true feeling. I mean look how long it took you two to finally

get together!” Frohike explained.

“Yeah, that is true, but I haven’t always been so open

either.” Scully said picking up a bread stick from the basket.

“You wouldn’t believe how many bets Langly, Byers, and I made

on how long it would take you two to do the naked pretzel.” He

said before taking a sip of his wine.

“Frohike!” Scully looked at him with surprise.

“Hey, it was Langly’s idea.” He lamented.

“Mulder and I have always had this unspoken love between us.

Even before we got together we always had this bond.”

“Well, about that bond thing. I think here is something you

should know.” Frohike said leaning closer to Scully.

“What?” Scully whispered in question.

“Mulder has always been jealous of the bond between you and

I.” Frohike said hunched down close to Scully. Scully laughed

with amusement.

“Oh, Frohike.” She said cupping his face in her hands and gave

him a peck on the cheek. The little man’s face turned as red

as the rose he gave her. “You’re my funny Valentine.”

Dana Scully’s Apartment

10:00 PM

Scully got off the elevator and walked down the hall to her

apartment. After leaving the restaurant she had tried to reach

Mulder, but couldn’t get a hold of him. She guessed he was

hiding from her since he had forgotten it was Valentines Day.

Scully planned for him to write the case reports for the next

three months as payback. She reached for the keys in her purse

and opened the front door, then dropped her purse in total

astonishment.

Her living room was bathed in candlelight and the faint music

of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Funny Valinetine’ floated through the

air. A picnic of strawberries, whip cream, chocolate cake,

lobster, and wine was spread out nicely across the coffee

table. Scully had to cover her mouth to keep from bursting

into laughter at the sight on her sofa.

Mulder lay poised out on the sofa clad in nothing but a pair

of white boxers with little red hearts on them and a rose in

his mouth.

“Oh Mulder”, Scully sighed. ” You’re no Melvin Frohike.”

The End

Heart Shaped Peeps

Title: Heart-Shaped Peeps

Author: Girlie_girl7

EM: girlie_girl74@yahoo.com

Date: 02-02-03

Category: MSR

Spoilers: None

Rating: G

Archive: VS10 for two weeks then anywhere

Disclaimer: Fox owns ’em

Summary: M&S do Valentines Day

~ Heart-Shaped Peeps ~

Dana Scully walks into the office to find her partner

Fox Mulder already there. She drops a stack of papers

onto her desk and glances over at him. “Mulder what

are you eating?”

Mulder swallows hard, “Peeps.”

Scully furrows her brow, “Peeps, on Valentine’s Day?”

Mulder shrugs his shoulders, “I guess they’re

Valentine Peeps.”

Scully stares at him, “Then how come they’re red and

shaped like hearts?”

“I don’t know Scully, what do I look like a Peep

inspector?” Mulder growls as he pops another spongy,

heart-shaped candy into his mouth.

“You look like a man gorging himself on sugar-coated

marshmallows.”

Mulder tosses another Peep into his mouth. “Well if

my ‘best girl’ would buy me a big ol’ box of

chocolates for Valentine’s Day I wouldn’t be reduced

to eating Peeps.”

Scully leans over Mulder with a hand on each arm of

his chair. “Mulder, I’d better be your ‘only girl’ or

you might find that Peep shoved where the sun doesn’t

shine.”

Mulder leans back away from Scully with a large grin

on his face, “Are you coming on to me Scully?”

“Not with your mouth full of marshmallows I’m not.”

Scully plops down on the edge of Mulder’s desk with

one slim leg dangling off it.

Mulder looks up at her and wiggles his eyebrows, “I

can think of other things I’d rather have in my

mouth.”

“Mulder!” Scully scolds.

“I meant the chocolate,” Mulder laughs.

“Sure you did,” Scully says as she moves behind

Mulder’s chair. “Speaking of Valentine’s gifts just

where is mine?” Scully glances behind the desk and

around the room.

“Trust me Scully, you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

“Is that another bad innuendo?”

“No, not this time but I’ll have to remember that

one.”

Scully walks in front of Mulder and puts one hand on

her hip and one hand on the back of his chair and

looks deeply into his eyes. “So did you get me a

gift?”

“Of course I did.” Mulder squirms in his chair and

holds out his hand, “Sure you don’t wanna Peep?”

Scully laughs and shakes her head, “No that’s okay.”

Mulder pops the last little heart-shaped Peep into his

mouth and rubs the sugar from his hands and dress

pants. “Scully you are gonna love what I got you, in

fact you already do.”

Scully crosses over to her desk and picks up her mail,

“It has be better than Superstars of the Super Bowl.”

“Hey, I put a lot of thought into that gift. It was

either that or Naughty Nel and the Harmonica Player.”

“Wise choice Mulder,” Scully says leafing through her

mail.

Just then there is a knock at the door. Scully walks

over to answer it. Before her stands a tall,

sandy-redheaded man.

“Charlie! Charlie is that you!” Scully nearly

screams as the man scoops her up into his arms. They

stand there in a long, hard hug. Finally Charlie

returns Scully to the floor. “Happy Valentine’s Day

from Mulder, Sis.”

Scully pulls back with a surprised look on her face,

“What?”

Charlie grins down at his sister. “That’s right, I’m

your Valentine’s Day gift.”

Mulder finally gets up from his desk and leans into

Scully’s ear, “Happy Valentine’s Day Scully. Isn’t

this better than Superstars of the Super Bowl.”

Scully gives Mulder a quick peck on the lips, “Another

wise choice Mulder.”

~ The End ~

Chy An Dour

CHY AN DOUR (Cornish Or KERNOWEK for “Our House” or

“Our home” KERNOW =

Cornwall)

Category: Written for IMTP VS 10 Valentine challenge.

Keywords: H MSR Mild Angst , very light MT ( Now

theres a shocker)

Rating: PG for several choice metaphores, lots of

affection, romance and

general goofyness. Stuff happens.

Summary: Uh well A reunion , a gift, and a cosy

weekend of planned romance

in Cornwall,rustic charm, Best laid plans etc etc..

Spoilers: FIRE and The PILOT. SOME MYTHARC eps.

Archive: 2 weeks exclusively on IMTP VS10 after that

my website and

anywhere that would want it..

Feedback: Any would be much appreciated.

dragonrider1@ntlworld.com

Disclaimer: They have more fun with me CC but Il be

nice and give them

back clean ,sweet smelling and refreshed.

A couple of brands of various drugstore products which

also dont belong

to me but hey Im giving you free publicity.

No point sueing. C’mon criss what would you do with a

mouldy cornish pasty

and my son’s battered scooter with the

wonky front wheel?

Author’s Notes: Humble appologies to the wonderful

folks of Cornwall.

I go there every year on vacations and spend simply

oodles of money in your wonderful Duchy. I am in fact,

part Cornish myself paternally, so please don’t take

the content of my fic to be in anyway derogatory,

either people , culture,language.etc…

All references thierin are made with a mixture of

personal anecdotal licence and deep affection. Its a

beautiful place to explore, beaches are

fantastic, and the weather is great (most of the

time.) A few scenes from the last James Bond was

filmed there. (VEG)

All incedents in this fic have been anecdotal either

to me, friends or loved ones and adapted for your

amusement and M&S’s. Although I fear a certain friend

will be quite honoured to know that I have forever

immortalised a previously entertaining feature of her

humble abode into X files fanfic. I say previous,

because the er problem has been recified. By

Liceneced workmen.

Chy an Dor (Kernowek for Our house)

“Mulder it’s so gorgeous!” Scully’s grin was all

bright eyes and teeth; a radiance of love dancing in

their blueness to rival the perfect sky, as she gazed

with awe at the picturesque cottage before them,

gravel crunching pleasantly as Mulder slid up the

drive in their rented open top MG. The car came to a

stop and he switched off the ignition. The car purred

a beat then stopped.

” This is it. I promised you candy box perfect. Can I

cook Scully? I knew you’d love it.” Mulder sighed

expectantly, turning to show off his own expensive

orthodontistry. He took off his shades, his thumb

gently grazing her cheek.

She looked like a 16 year old on her first big prom

date.

“Definitely Mulder.’

“Hey..”

His arms slid around her waist and he leaned in for a

kiss, claiming her lips with his own, a gesture she

hungrily returned. His heart did a happy little

Lambada knowing that he’d done something that had

delighted the love of his life and turned her into the

cuddly little ball of mushy promise, he cradled in his

arms. All his blood rushed south.

His other current love – the car, was hugging his ass

in a leather caress beneath him, which was quite

pleasing in several ways…. He really had to pick one

up when he got home. It was so choice.

Mulder imagined cruising around the countryside with

Scully in one of these, going from case to case in

beautiful sculptured seats. Weekends at the coast,

picnics etc.. Comfort personified. Better than a

bureau Crapsmobile any day of the week. Since he’d

become Scully’s lover, he’d developed a definite

extravagant streak. Not because he really cared about

his parents money, but now he often got overwhelmed

with the need to ensure Scully’s comfort and pleasure.

He had the cash, the “black” money his father had left

him, and he thought he might as well use it to make

her life a little better…a little happier. His

eternal guilt chip over things she had lost along the

way on his quest, still in prime working order,

despite her reassurances and love.

Scully seemed beside herself with happiness. Good to

know he still had the knack to make her happy,

especially after the unfortunate events in Oxford. The

reunion from hell. How he hoped that they could forget

the last few days and write them off as a particularly

unpleasant miasma of cosmic forces, bad moon rising or

post Christmas funk. The alcohol probably hadn’t

helped either. Scully had seemed a little out of

kilter lately anyway, it had started to gnaw at the

back of his subconscious.

Scully’s warm lips played tango with his own, paying

special attention to his pouty bottom lip, eventually

they came up for air, sun shining its benevolence on

them and not a cloud in the sky. February in Cornwall,

who would have thought the weather would be this kind.

It was perfect, the rolling hills and woods behind the

cottage were amazing and they felt like this was the

only little nook for miles around, and Scully’s hot

mouth eased away any fears he’d harbored in his heart

that she might be reconsidering their relationship.

He still couldn’t believe his luck that she had chosen

him at all.

The Ivy that hugged the whitewashed cottage walls sang

with the light breeze as if whispering “Hello”.

Mulder, content enough not to move for a few minutes

after what had been a long drive, burrowed further

into Scully’s neck, breathing in the Cherry scented

soap they had both been lathering themselves with in

the shower, the night before leaving Oxford. It had

tasted so good on her skin. Something south of

Mulder’s belly button twitched in remembrance. An

early birthday present he’d picked up for her in

Selfridges. He’d probably be buying a case before they

went home. The cottage break was her real present

though, and also doubled nicely as a romantic

Valentines getaway. Hopefully their latest and

unwelcome encounter with the demonic specter of Phoebe

Green would vanish into the ether of the beautiful

Cornish countryside and a weekend of serious passion.

With his nose buried in Scully’s fiery wind tussled

hair, all was right with the world…until he opened

one sleepy eyelid.

“Get down!!!!”

“Wh…what?”

SPLAAAAAATTTT!

“…Shit! …”

Literally.

The Seagull seemed to do a victory swoop above them

after scoring a direct hit on its unfortunate targets.

It prescribed a perfect arc in the sky and veered off

with a last cheerful shriek towards the sea.

Why Anton Chekhov had ever felt moved enough to name

one of his more famous plays after one of these

defecating feathered bastards, was beyond Mulder at

that point and found his hand twitching for the weight

of a gun that wasn’t there. Right now a Bee-bee might

come in useful.

They stared at each other for a second or two in utter

stupefaction, taking in the aftermath of the attack; a

truly astounding amount of greeny yellowish, foul

smelling substance the consistency of lumpy oatmeal,

that would make the ABH throw up in disgust,

generously pebble dashed all over their clothes,

clinging to their faces and hair, not to mention

spread all across the entire cherry wood veneer of the

car dashboard. Must have ricocheted at an impossible

angle for its payload to coat everything so

completely, Mulder mused, trying hard not to vomit.

“Yikes. Hot lunch, Scully?” He was truly stunned at

the sheer volume of crap that one bird could produce.

Had this been the States, he’d have thought that a

Condor had happened by and taken a dump on them.

“Look at this amazing new hair gel, I’ve discovered.

Umm.” He gingerly held his fingers up to his nose to

sniff at them.

” Mulder you are truly gross, do you know that?” She

scooped a lump of the slimy muck out of her eye socket

and vigorously shook it off her fingers, onto the

gravel. Mulder was wiping a blob off his nose with the

cuff of his sweater, spitting out what was smeared all

over his lips. Scully watched him use around 80% of

all his facial muscles in a mask of utter disgust.

” I live for moments such as these, don’t you?. Bang

goes the car rental deposit. I don’t even think Amway

products could cope with clearing up all this crap, or

the smell.”

Scully produced a tissue and began dabbing at Mulder’s

quivering lips. He looked a bit green. ” There. You

missed a bit. Just tell me there’s a hot shower or

bath and you packed my soap.”

” I did. There’s a Claw foot tub, candles, hot water.

Soft sheets…. ” She grinned goofily at him.

“There had better be Mulder, and don’t tell me this is

supposed to be lucky. That’s bullshit.”

“Actually its gull shit.”

“Mulderrrr…” What was it about the cadence of

her voice that spoke directly to his groin?

“Kiss me Scully.” He leered at her over the top of

the tissue. Puckering his lips. Waggling his eyebrows.

” Yuck, in your dreams, Mulder.”

” I promise to floss.” Her face pulled into a just-

sucked- a- lemon grimace in reply before making a

beeline for the trunk. He sucked in a breath, flicking

a lump of bird crap off his cowlick and followed her

out of the car. “Twice..?” he glanced back once at the

state of the car and wanted to cry.

SHIT.

Their footsteps crunched swiftly across the gravel in

their haste to get indoors, and out of range of any

more reinforcements that might turn up in true

Hitchcockian tradition. Mulder muttering something

under his breath that sounded a little like “muck’ but

not quite, as he literally kicked the door open. Rain

clouds were sifting in from the east and looked

ominous on the horizon. He considered it wasn’t

entirely beyond the realm of science fiction that the

vapid Phoebe could be an evil sprite from middle earth

in an latter-day incarnation, and sitting in her bat

cave somewhere with a rippling seeing- eye mirror like

the big boobed witch had in “Red Sonya” , and set this

unpleasant revenge on them in retaliation for Scully’s

display back in Oxford. Phoebe had always made a

startling Cawing noise –much like a constipated gull

during her noisier orgasms, he shuddered in

remembrance as he hefted the bags through the door.

Definitely a visual to banish forthwith and

concentrate on what he had planned with Scully.

The house was as beautiful inside as it was out; it

just smelled musty with disuse. It was so cozy, the

perfect love nest. Seascapes adorned the walls,

tasteful décor that extended to the quaint floral

print sofa that looked like a giant marshmallow ready

to swallow them up, it looked so comfortable. Scully

almost cried with delight when she spotted the huge

open log fire and the antique range in the kitchen.

The bedrooms revealed a king size canopy bed with

Fleur de Lillie cotton valence and bedspread. Mulder

thought how romantic it would be to cast a sea of

blood red Rose petals all over the white organza and

light candles all around the room. His heart did a

little unnatural twist thinking about him and Scully

lying side by side, the candlelight flickering in her

eyes and their skin painted with amber light, sipping

champagne. He just needed to distract her long enough

to put his plans into action. Perhaps while she was in

the bath. His long fingers closed over the felt

covered mound in his pocket, to reassure himself it

was still there. He let him smile despite his nervous

energy.

Professor Scott, who had always looked sagely upon

Mulder like a second son while at Oxford, had been

badgering him for years to take him up on his offer to

borrow the cottage and take a lady friend there. It

had only taken him the best part of two decades to

capitulate. He remembered fondly the knowing wink the

old buzzard had given him. Now slightly deaf and away

with the fairies, he’d taken one look at Scully and

surreptitiously pressed the keys into Mulder’s hands,

with shaky fingers that spoke of early Parkinson’s.

The old boy seemed to find it profoundly amusing when

Scully, who had taken just about all she could stand

from Phoebe’s obnoxious repartees of put downs, and

accidentally on purpose retaliated in very un- Scully

like fashion. Phoebe’s head became the sole

beneficiary of Scully’s virtuous generosity, in the

form of her untouched Fillet minion in sauce

Béarnaise. Much to the amusement of the assembled

thong. Professor Scott lit a cigar and puffed on it

with barely concealed amusement, taking in Scully’s

satisfied glow and Mulder’s open mouth astonishment as

the said Miss Green., all dripping fury and bug eyes,

had beaten a hasty retreat from the diner hall. Whose

bright idea had it been to seat her next to Scully?

Ooopse.

The professor had leaned over and whispered in

Mulder’s ear.

“She’s got balls, my boy. Do yourself a favor and hang

onto her. Marry her for god sakes.” Mulder had nodded

dumbly. The old guy smiled at Phoebe’s retreating

maelstrom as he handed him the keys. ” Silly Cow,

little Miss “Bury me a Y shaped coffin”, we used to

call her.” He chuffed on his cigar, laughing

imperiously.

So here they were, in a tiny village nestled in the

downs a few miles from Camborne.

They both fought the urge to sneeze as they dropped

their bags. First order of that day. Divesting

themselves of their clothes. This wasn’t quite the

reason Mulder wanted to get naked, but making love

would be a whole nicer not smothered in itchy bird

shit. He could hear Scully putting the kettle on the

range for tea. Right now he needed to strip and clean

his teeth…several times with a wire scrubbing brush

if necessary. No way was his missing out on Scully’s

amazing lips tonight. He was rooting for tongue too if

all went well with his gift.

Hot water rained down on their entwined bodies like a

warm blanket, cleansing the last of the Seagull

surprise from their hair and skin. Scully’s arms were

around his waist, head nestled against his chest,

drawn there by the rapid beat of his heart, warmth and

the cherry sweet smell of his skin, enjoying the

feeling of being clean again and revived by the water

and being with man she loved more than life itself.

He held against his own chest like a second skin,

nuzzling her neck and breathing her whole essence into

his soul. He loved her so much he wanted to weep. She

looked flushed, wonderful.

“Scully, what exactly made you mad enough so that

Phoebe ended up wearing your meal?” His soft voice

reverberated in his chest as he softly rinsed the soap

from her hair. Her eyes rose to meet his hooded green

ones and she let her lips curl up in a knowing smile

before melding herself to his mouth. God she was

beautiful, all wet and warm in his arms, nipping

little kisses down his face and neck

“I….er guess I decided she had it coming, Mulder. I

think it was the wine stripping away my normal good

sense. Right at that moment, it seemed like a good

thing to do at the time.” He was massaging her scalp

now and she automatically leaned into his touch.

“You enjoyed it way too much.” His voice was like

warm honey as his laugh ticked the hair at her neck.

” She got your Irish up…admit it. ”

“Yes she did…I guess…are you feeling sorry for

her?” He chuckled; her fingers smoothing over his

waist, feeling his stomach ripple in amusement.

” No, I’m just thinking of the poor chef who sweated

blood and tears to produce such a fine feast, only to

have you dump it all over Phoebe’s head. I enjoyed

mine. ”

” I enjoyed that. The satisfaction of seeing that

sauce dripping lazily down her prissy little face was

almost orgasmic. I wasn’t all that hungry, her

proximity had quite ruined my appetite for one

evening. I did the only thing I could have done under

the circumstances…what? Don’t tell me you didn’t

get a kick out of it? I know you Mulder.”

Mulder grinned devilishly, sucking air through his

teeth like ice cream had just gone in a filling.

Scully poked his chest with a teasing finger.

” I cannot lie to you. … yeah. Kinda hot. But that’s

my department.”

“What G-Man?.”

“Orgasms. Agent Scully.” His eyes rolled about in a

sultry leer that made her toes melt. Scully laughed

running her fingers up and down Mulder’s back.

” So you liked me defending your honor, huh.” That

piqued his curiosity.

” C’mon baby what did she say?”

” I…. ?”

Just then, a huge thunderclap cracked the air over the

cottage, shocking them both. Something loud crashed in

the vicinity of the living room, the sound of glass

breaking startled them.

Shit!!!! What now ?, Mulder thought groping for their

bath robes.

“What was that Mulder?”

“Dunno sounded like the living room window. C’mon.”

Sure enough, a large oak branch had come through the

window. Rain, Glass and debris strewn everywhere.

Mulder sighed, quickly dressing, leaving Scully to

build the fire up while he found boards to nail up at

the windows. The storm outside raged on.

Half an hour later Mulder emerged back through the

door cold, soaked through and shaking from braving the

elements, which had turned decidedly nasty since

they’d arrived here. Howling wind came through door

with him. He just wanted to drop. He went to stand by

the heat of the log fire Scully had built up while he

fixed the window. Apart from freezing through to the

bone, he’d managed to drive a nail into his palm

instead of the board. He looked miserable as he held

his bloodied hand to his chest.

“Here le me see that, Mulder.” She took his hand in

her own , away from his chest to inspect it. He was

ice cold.

” Its Okay, just a scratch…. it will be fine. I

just want to get back in that hot shower. I’m frigging

freezing.” His teeth chattered just to make his

point. Their romantic evening seemed to be sliding

further and further onto the back burner.

” Its more than a scratch, Mulder, this will need a

few sutures. I’ll get my kit. Aren’t you due for

another tetanus about now? ” He cringed. Uh oh,

Doctor Scully rides again. Trust her to remember

something as anal as that.

” Umm…. Maybe…Its okay, I want to get out of these

wet clothes now. You can see to it after. ” Blue

daring eyes locked on defiant green. He looked so

gorgeous when he batted those huge lashes at her. The

little boy in him could always knock her dead.

“Okay,” she acquiesced with a tired sigh. “Go get

your shower and get warm G-man. Careful with that

wound though, rinse it thoroughly but not with very

hot water. I’ll get you some clothes, make you some

hot tea and we’ll do this after. But…” and there was

a hint of evil about her smile that Mulder felt right

down to his frozen marrow. “…It comes with a jab. I

don’t want you getting lockjaw on me.”

Mulder’s leer reached right up to his ears as his

mind skittered off on a divergent thought at her last

words. Scully caught the look and pursed her lips.

She’d been with him way too long to need to wonder

what mucky little innuendo he was thinking about.

Mulder ducked into the shower again, while Scully

decided a visit to the ladies room was in order first;

she followed Mulder to the bathroom and stopped,

checking the other doors off the passageway. Where the

hell was it?

” Mulder? Where’s the ah…?” She stopped short at

the site of his splendid naked ass vanishing behind

the shower curtain. ” The um….”

Hot damn.

” Little agent’s room? Its outside.” His voice came

back through a cascade of running water and steam. The

smell of cherries pleasantly availed her senses.

” What? You are joking right? ”

” Scully this is rural Cornwall, land of legend and

devilish little people called Knockers, the Cornish

Pisky, pasties, communing with land sea and sky, half

the charm of living in rustic places is the outside

‘Chokey’.”

” A Chokey… Mulder? You mean I have to go out in

that storm…. in all that wind. Okaaayyyyy then. ”

She thought she heard him giggle. ” Mulderrrr? ”

“Its either that or a bucket….”

” Oh…nicely put, Mr. sophisticated.” She huffed,

sounding whiney even to her own voice ” coming from

someone who has been known to relieve himself in the

sink.” She heard a wet sounding chuckle and the sound

of a thud on the shower floor that told her he’d

dropped his soap. A wet, bemused , adorable Mulderface

appeared around the curtain.

” I did NOT!!!”

“Oh yes you did. Frat boy…Frohicke has the

photographic evidence.”

“Where?…That little weasel…I” Scully flashed him a

kilowatt smile that smacked of victory. Too much for

his liking. He couldn’t remember the incident in

question fully, but just prayed to the gods the

dastardly deed hadn’t occurred at Margaret Scully’s.

His height challenged friend was going to be dead meat

when he got back to DC.

“Mulder, honey, please can we hurry.”

” How about you try the sink facilities, G- woman?..”

Her glare seared his retinas with their intensity. ”

But…. on second thoughts…since you are um…a

little gender..err height challenged for that

activity…I’ll just get dressed and come out there

with you. Find the mag-light, will ya, Scully. It’s in

my rucksack. Can you hand me my robe. Please?” The

soft terry-towel landed on his head.

Scully just stared at him, strangely lost for words,

tapping her fingers in an irritable tattoo on the

wall, trying to ignore the ache in her bladder as he

threw on his bathrobe, then went off to find the

torch, shaking her head and rolling her eyes.

The ‘Chokey’ was two thirds of the way up the garden,

since the path went up hill, they had a devil of a

job, just keeping hold of each other, keeping upright

as the wind blew around them in an angry tempest.

Nature felt really pissed off in this part of the

world, they both gasped as the wind took their breath

away, leaves and branches slapped at their skin.

Individually, they both wondered about catching

pneumonia, most likely at this rate. So much for the

romantic weekend. Mulder felt a suspicious tightness

in his chest that was starting to be very unfunny.

Scully darted inside the dilapidated wooden door,

leaving the latch on. Mulder shivered miserably,

aiming his mag-light beam around the gap left in the

opening. He was nearly knocked flat by Scully coming

back through a beat later.

“What? What is it.. Scully?” He fought to steady

himself against the chokey wall, while she just looked

shellshocked.

” Mulderrr…it ….barfed up a rat…?”

“What?!!” Sheesh, you’d think some of the things

she sees at autopsy’s

” A …a rat! …horrible BIG rat! ” Her despair was

a shaky whisper fighting against the wind, half her

voice torn away by the elements, she swung back the

door and they both peered gingerly inside. Scully

grabbed hold of his ass. He bit down a gasp at her

fingernails digging in.

” Its was floating and it all welled up and slid over

the top. It’s flooding over. Its little eye looking up

at me. I almost sat on it.” Stifling an insane urge

to laugh, Mulder shone his torch at the troubling

sight before him.

This particular Chokey was not well. Something very

brown and nasty clung to every inch of the chipped

porcelain and something bubbled inside it like the

thing from the black lagoon, cheerfully burbling away

to itself like some hideous sucking swamp creature

from Mulder’s nightmares.

WUP WUP …WUP.

I know just how you feel, pal, thought Mulder as he

spied the unfortunate soggy rodent amidst the morass

of spilled ablutions. The smell made the chokey live

literally up to its name.

Shit.

” Alas poor Krycek , I knew him well. So that’s where

you have been hiding buddy. Scully, um, I need a

bucket full of soapy water and bleach. The ah…

facilities seem to be blocked so we need to find the

drain cover. ” Mulder sighed, he was looking at his

third shower of the evening, his chest hurt and his

hand throbbed like a battered heart, but the worst

feeling of all was knowing with all reasonable

certainty, that a wild and pleasurable coupling (or a

good ole portion, as the locals called it,) was not on

the cards tonight.

After this, he was going to have a very hot,

alcoholically saturated cappuccino and collapse into

those inviting fluffy virgin white sheets, hopefully

with Scully to fuss over him. When he turned around,

Scully was scowling and trying not to eat a mouthful

of hair that kept plastering itself in her face. Last

time he saw that look of death frenzy; it had been

aimed at one infinitely annoying Scotland Yard

inspector, whose social skills hadn’t evolved much

since Cro-Magnon times. She trembled with disgust or

annoyance, he wasn’t quite sure which, but she

suddenly grabbed his flashlight and was scuttleling

back down the path toward the cottage again before he

could utter another word. The back of her robe

swishing in the mud behind her. The howling wind

snatched away all but her choicest words of profanity.

On the other hand, perhaps he’d be sleeping alone. He

hung his head in the rain. This did not bode well. A

single tear slipped down his face and merged with the

moisture already there. The heavens were crying with

him in empathy it seemed.

Getting the drain cover off was a feat in itself and

took the two of them a good few minutes of scorching

‘F’ words and broken fingernails to achieve their

objective. Mulder was wheezing by now and for the

first time in an hour, Scully looked at him with some

concern, but even that was short-lived. It put him in

mind of that first case back in Oregon. A graveyard in

the rain, Scully laughed that time. Beautiful, all wet

and exhilarated, their partnership gelling closer

together with each moment of growing trust even at

that early stage. They’d both been so young. He’d

loved her then too. Even back that far, his heart

reminded him, as he hefted back the metal cover as she

watched on. She really looked pissed.

” Go back inside and keep warm Scully, I can do this.

” Scully glared at him, shaking her head. The rain

came down like stair rods now. He wasn’t sure what

had stopped her jigging about but for a desperate

woman, she looked much calmer now. He bit down the

urge to comment about the sink again.

” Can’t it wait to the morning? I should look at your

hand.”

Yep the sink had seen some action.

” Nah lets do this now, I don’t think Il be compos

mentis in the morning. I’m as stiff as Elvis now.”

She gave him a predictably filthy look.

Scully helped him pour the soapy concoction gingerly

into the drain hole. As it disappeared into the dark

abyss beneath them, they heard a swooshing noise going

the length of the drain. Hopefully that hit the spot.

Now for the second bucketful.. They heaved the bucket

into position, between them, fighting to stay upright

in the wind, all of a sudden the mag light went out.

Then two things happened simultaneously. Scully’s

fearful shriek drowned out Mulder’s heart stopping

yell, as some unknown heavy object cannoned into his

back and knocked him arms and legs akimbo flat across

the drain hole. The full force of the water from the

bucket shot up the drain like a bursting dam with a

horrible THUNK!. Scully and Mulder heard their voices

cry out in fearful union.

“OH SHIT!”

There was a short warning sound of ominous gurgling

before a huge torrent of water shot full force back

out the hole like a the old faithful geyser and

sprayed everything in its path with a dripping river

of crap. Scully fell backwards and Mulder cringed as

he heard a loud splash, an unhappy confirmation that

the love of his life had fallen in the pond he’d

spotted earlier. Something wet and slimy nudged his

face as he lay there breathless, and a even wetter,

raspy thing slid over his face, that stilled his heart

on the spot. A second or two later, it was thudding

again, he was panting at the frigid air,

dripping…smelling. Something rough almost took off a

few layers of his face. Yuck. He was up and out of the

hole then like a bat out of hell.

“What the…f..”

” Mulder?”

” Scully? ” He ambled towards her frightened voice,

the high level of it scaring him silly. Something was

following him…not just one thing, lots of things…

shitshitshit.. Every part of him ached as he spotted

the damp outline of Scully and he leaned forward to

grasp her hand.

Just then a blast of white light shone in their faces,

blinding them. Mulder arms automatically shot up to

his face to protect his eyes and he keeled over on top

of a struggling Scully trying to get up behind him,

her cold wet hands grabbing his ass cheeks. Normally

he would have enjoyed the sensation but their combined

inertia immersed them again in the icy pond; Mulder

spluttering and gasping as his face slid beneath the

murky water. They grappled against each other to sit

upright again. It was then they heard the hideous

laughter. …And something else. Something not quite

human.

Once their eyes became accustomed to the light, they

both gasped at the sea of red eyes bearing down on

them. They flew into each other’s arms, clinging

tighter than conjoined twins as they both tried to

breathe and couldn’t.

Oh God! Did he just yell that out loud?

The light came nearer and became more intense, then it

suddenly swung upward into the driving rain, leaving

enough light to see the shape of a…man?

” Not God, my andsome boy, jus farmer Morley. Seems ye

found my erd, avee?” His stout body seemed to fold in

on itself as once again the maniacal laughter floated

through storm like a hyena doing something unnatural

to a corpse. ” Ohh let the cows owt oohhh ohhhh,

ooohhh?” More laughter bounced around them.

Mulder was not amused. Christ, the stupid old fart

sounded akin to that alien from ‘Galaxy Quest’ ” Now

the damn cows were joining in with their braying.

Scully was too shocked to do anything other than to

cling to Mulder like a limpet. This joker should be

damned glad they left their guns in DC.

Cows…lots and lots of cows. If he had his way they’d

be hamburger. His eidetic mind’s eye played out a nice

fat juicy steak stuck right on phoebe’s head, while

her big mouth opened and a mooing noise came out.. A

prickly tongue curled itself around Mulder’s ear with

a playful slurp just then. Ewweee.

” Whoever you are, you Kernowek redneck jackass, don’t

just stand there like an asthmatic warthog, get us out

of this F*&&^^%$$#$% pond!!!”

Just then a previously dumbstruck Scully, found

credence to her voice.

” Fu… ff.. f*^&%#%#$#$!!!!!”

” Not in front of the, Bovine

Scully….ahhhhcheeooooooo!!” Wheeze splutter.

A little while later.

Mulder lay naked and warm beneath the white comforter

of their huge bed. Scully lay beside him, hands

lovingly running through his damp hair. He groaned

softly as he leaned into her touch. There was a short

beep and Scully removed the thermometer from his ear.

” BEEP! Your body temperature is 102,4.” The scratchy

digital voice on Scully’s new state of the art med-

gadget declared all too cheerfully, kind of reminded

him of Joan Rivers.

Scully put a stethoscope bell to his chest, smiling

ruefully as she listened. Mulder leered goofily at her

through a cherry Nyquil haze. Sitting there in her

peachy bathrobe, hair wet and cheeks carrying just a

hint of wind kissed flush, she looked too darn hot to

be a doctor. But he was glad she was. He hoped while

she was listening to his heart, that she could hear

just how much he loved her right then. She leaned

forward and kissed him, signaling that Doctor Scully

had retired for the evening and his lover had

returned. Not that he had any strength to show her a

good time. He felt like he was floating up amongst the

old oak beams in the ceiling. Their lips met again,

briefly dueling for a better taste of each other.

” Its official G-man. You have bronchitis. A couple of

days in bed and you should be fine. ” Mulder was

rubbing her back in little circles through her fleece

robe.

” Does that mean I get to share them with you, Doctor

Scully?”

” Only if you’re a very good G-man.” She was making

that purring sound at the back of her throat again.

” Sorry Scully. So much for romance huh.” he tickled

that sensitive spot behind her ear.

” If you are a very good boy, you might get a massage

when you’re feeling better. But I think for now I just

prescribe hot chocolate and a couple of hot water

bottles. ”

” You’re the only hot thing I want baby” She almost

squealed as he sucked at her ear lobe. His arms

pulling her onto the bed until she straddled his legs.

“Hey, it’s the 14th today. Happy Valentine’s, Scully?

I love you. Baby.”

” Love you too, Mulder.” She looked radiant in the

candlelight flickering around the room. She looked

hesitant for a second then looked up her eyes ablaze.

It was a look he didn’t recognize, just a tiny nuance

that had him curious and made his heart beat like a

little birds.

” I got you a present, Scully…” Now his heart was

thudding in earnest as he rolled slightly to one side

and slid his arm slid his pillow, fingers closing over

the almost pulsating little box, or was that just his

own pulse. He’d never been so nervous in his life.

This, despite being ill, this was a wonderful setting.

He’d save the rose petals for another day and the

champagne. It would taste much better when his taste

buds returned. He had to do this before his heart

gauged it’s way out of his chest. …

“Mulder, I got you one too, its …er big.. Pretty..

um big. Can I give you the little one first,”

“Scully…I…you did? Er…sure. ” She slid her

hand over the covers of the bed and pushed a fist

sized package into his shaking palms. Her impossibly

blue eyes never leaving his. He was holding his

breath, heart one big ache and for a moment he thought

it had stopped altogether. After what seemed like an

eternity, he tore his eyes away from hers and looked

down, uncurling his fingers. Two seconds later, the

paper was off and he gulped when he revealed ….a

jar of VICKS VAPOR RUB.

Mulder could not believe the high-pitched hysterical

laughter had come from his mouth. Scully seized both

his arms when she thought he might have some kind of

seizure and made him look at her. The little green

flecks in his eyes blew up in a riot, pupils dilating

madly in a way that shouted the hurt he felt. His lips

were trembling and his eyes held back a dam of tears

that made her smile fade.

” I um , I always wanted one of these, …err.. Every

boys wet dream…”

” Mulder, that prescription I was telling you about?

…That’s part of it. I have your real gift right here

the big one. Don’t cry…I’m going to rub this all

over your chest later. I’m sorry, please…love so

sorry. ” he sniffed, and choked out a sound that could

have been a laugh., eyes still holding a sadness she

hated herself for causing, already regretting the

silly gag. Something more serious was going on with

him and it shocked her to realize just how much she

misjudged this moment. Suddenly she felt scared.

Scared for both of them, the stress of the last few

days, the strangeness she felt inside that robbed her

of her normal equilibrium. His beautiful eyes held her

fast. She felt her breath hitch as she pulled a long

slim beautifully wrapped package from the deep pocket

of her robe, took his fingers and closed them over it.

His eyes were closed but his face was a mask. She

could hear his heart beat through the ambient light.

As loud as the storm in her mind and in every breath

she took with him, both of them now breathing in sync.

” This is the big present?” he bit his bottom lip as

she nodded. His fingers turning it over in his hands,

knuckled almost white, he was gripping it so tightly.

Scully gulped back a threatened tear.

” Its big, very big, trust me on this. The biggest

thing …”

” Is it a tooth brush? ” he made no move to take off

the paper. Something in her eyes made him start

tearing at it gently, almost in slow motion.

“Scully…?” His eyes changed colors so suddenly that

it made her gasp, it was that second she realized that

his mind has pulled into all the right places like a

Rubik’s puzzle and they were both staring down at his

hands, …..at the slim plastic pen shaped device that

showed two blue lines in two separate little windows.

They came together by consensus, arms tightening

around each other. Mulder’s face was suddenly wet and

from that split second, it was finally real to her.

The other half of her, the other soul that joined with

her to make this miracle merged as one and they

finally basked in the healing warmth of a supernova.

” Scull……god..ba ..ba bab..god baby!! Scully?

You’re pregnant…?oh god.” The rest of his emotional

wheezing got lost beneath her hair as he buried

himself against her and sobbed his heart out. She

nodded her head, suddenly laughing and crying , trying

to do the impossible and pull him closer.

After everything they’d lost after all they had been

through, all the pain, the fear and anguish, vaporized

in an instant. The miracle of their unborn child had

already begun to heal them.

He came up for a strong heaving breath. Chest tight

with emotion and they kissed at each others tears,

their fingers at each others temples. When he spoke

again he was gasping for air but she’d never seen him

so alive..

” I love you…so much.”

” I love you Mulder, …we love you.” her hands left

his face momentarily, and pulled his to caress their

unborn child. ” Happy Valentine, Mulder. I love you so

so much. I’ve never wanted anyone as much as I want

you. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to feel

what I feel for you.”

” Your are my Heart scully, my life. No one could ask

for such a wonderful present as this. Thank you. So

Much…….Oh my GOD” She startled at his stricken

look.

” What? …Mulder, are you alright.?” She was too

busy worrying about his sudden hacking cough to

notice the little felt box he was pressing into her

palm.

Oh MY God!! MULDER…

” Almost forgot. Guess…now…” Choke …cough ”

this will come in handy. ”

” Mulder!!! Oh…”

“Scully will you do me the profound honor of becoming

my wife?.” his hands slid nervously to their child

safe in her belly. ” mother of my child.” Taking her

left hand in his own, eyes never leaving hers, he

leaned back, pushing the ring on her third finger. A

perfect fit.

” Oh Mulder. You know damn well I will!!! You have

the most amazing timing.”

” ummmm let me show you timing baby.” For the rest of

the night they lay together, never more than a breath

away. Despite his illness, they consummated their

engagement and their good news . Several times.

Later…

“Mulder?”

” Yeah baby?” His mouth had started that slow erotic

trail behind her ear again and she shivered.

” I hate to ask this but……..Did you close the soft

top on the car last night?”

” OH F^^%%&*)K!!!”

Champagne and Caviar

Champagne and Caviar

By Humbuggie

A VS10 Challenge

© 2003

san@sv-tales.com

The challenge: write a shortstory under 35K revolving

around the theme Valentine’s Day.

Was it a struggle? Yes! ?

Story: Mulder has a special Valentine’s Day planned for his

partner, but you didn’t expect that to go well, did you?

Type: MSR (sans sex), MT

Champagne and Caviar

I bought Scully champagne and caviar; both clichés to

celebrate a special occasion, but effective ones. She’ll never

expect me to do such a thing; in fact, I made pretty damn

sure she thought I had forgotten all about Valentine’s Day. I

have to admit: last year I almost did.

But not this year. Nope: this time I had something

extraordinary planned that will swipe her off her feet and

hopefully straight into my eager arms. So I found myself

standing in the small and cosy delicatessen shop two blocks

away from my apartment building, to buy my partner-in-life-

and-crime everything I believe she deserves.

Scully is particularly not a woman of luxuries but when they

are offered to her, she is usually very impressed. So I

decided that this year I would also invest time and cash in

this money-sucking special day.

I always liked getting her things. In fact, I buy them all the

time. Yes, I know you don’t think I’m a romantic, but I am.

Sometimes. I admit though that I was never keen on

Valentine’s Day.

I always found the ‘forced special occasions’ as I call them to

be over-exaggerated. Why do you have to give someone

something today, and not tomorrow, for example? Why not

celebrate every day that you have with the one you love?

Alas, Scully does like these types of days and after last

year’s – when I had almost forgotten it – I decided to do

something out of the ordinary today. So, for this Valentine’s,

I ordered a cute little Miranda-teddy bear that I found in an

online-shop. It arrived early this morning: a beautiful grey

cuddly thing with a cute, little white T-shirt. I know that she

will absolutely adore this. Hell, even I love it and I’m not a

woman.

I bought her another teddy too: a diaphanous one. Black

and gorgeous and absolutely stunningly looking on a petite

woman like her. She’ll love that even more than the

Miranda-bear. I do know my partner well, you know.

But of course gifts don’t complete a perfect Valentine’s and I

took advantage of the fact not many aliens are invading

planet Earth at this time. I took my time in the delicatessen

shop and tried out all the little nibbles the store manager

has set out for the occasion: French cheeses and wines,

Belgian chocolates, truffles, special oils and vinegars and

carefully toasted bread. There were oysters too but I swoosh

past them.

I’ve never liked the looks of oysters but the store manager –

celebrating his fifth anniversary right here in DC – offered

them to me with a gracious smile.

“These are rare Gulf oysters,” a beautiful brunette shop

assistant added as a sales pitch as if I am supposed to be an

authority on the subject. “They are rarely served in

restaurants these days but I can assure you that they taste

fabulous. Here, try one. Your wife will love them.”

“No thanks,” I said friendly, smirking at the ‘wife’-comment.

But the shop assistant kept on insisting that I should buy

some for Scully.

“Women generally love oysters,” she added to finish off her

pitch.

She spoke the magic words of course and I did decide earlier

that I would give Scully anything she would like. So what’s

the harm in buying a few oysters as well? If they truly are

sexually arousing, as the shop manager winked in my

direction, I could not leave them there, could I?

Despite the woman’s insistence to buy even more cheeses

and chocolates and whatever, I finally left with what I came

for: caviar and champagne, and a few oysters on the side

for tonight’s starters. After that, dinner would be served.

I wasn’t exactly an expert cook and of course she’s not just

getting the champagne and caviar. So I ordered a full dinner

from the caterer that lives down the block. Dinner will be

served at eight. And after that – well, you get the picture.

Let’s just say that import strawberries with chocolate crème

will complete the task.

Early this morning I called Scully and asked her to come to

my place around seven. We were supposed to be leaving on

a late flight to LA for a new case, I explained, having her

moan and groan at the injustices of life. Of course I didn’t

mention Valentine’s at all, knowing that this would piss her

off slightly.

She’ll be in for the shock of her life!

Yes, I admit it: I’m feeling quite content with myself. If

Scully thinks I won’t be able to surprise her anymore, she’s

wrong.

I showered around six and tried to ignore the acid feeling

building up in my stomach that warned me I was very much

hungry; I sort of skipped lunch today. Since Scully wasn’t in

the office to warn me, I had completely forgotten to take a

break. Skinner had wanted me to finish off two reports that I

had lying around for the past days and I wanted to finish off

early.

I nibbled on a cookie after drying off and changed into my

sexiest outfit: Scully’s favourite boxers and black turtleneck

sweater above a brand new blue jeans. I know Scully’s crazy

about me this way and I added a little of fabulous new Boss

aftershave to complete the process.

I hope she hurries.

I lingered around in the kitchen and prepared our starters.

The seven oysters I bought were lying around on a plate and

I watched them in awe: slippery little suckers dancing on

shells. I wondered what they taste like. Were they really

sexually arousing?

Finally, I couldn’t resist the curiosity anymore: I just had to

try one. Besides, I had to test if they tasted good. If they

were horrible – as I expected – I could always throw them

away and pretend I didn’t just spend half my income on

them.

“Bottoms up,” I said out loud, having a glass of water ready

just in case. And the oyster slipped from its shell into my

mouth. I could feel the sucker slither down my throat and

am suddenly absolutely appalled. What is this: a

delicatessen? My goodness, it tasted horrible!

The strange taste lingered on for quite a bit. I’ll never forget

this one, I think after I emptied two glasses of water and

nibbled on another cookie to get rid of the flavour.

The oyster actually worsens the burning acid feeling inside

my nearly empty stomach. Horrible! Just horrible!

I shoved the oysters back in the fridge amongst the other

food I haven’t touched in weeks and wiped my mouth.

Suddenly she knocked on the door.

Ah yes, this is it.

“Mulder?” Scully asked before I could open the door for her.

I deliberately blocked her view so that she would not see I

have set the coffee table with candles. She looked at me,

wondering why I wasn’t wearing a suit.

“Do we really have to leave tonight?” she groaned before

she even realized what I had in store for her. I smiled when

I noticed the way she was dressed: I love it when she wears

one of those gorgeous black outfit that express every curve

of her body.

She had a hair cut last week and her locks were dancing on

her shoulders, waving with every move she made. She wore

a light dash of make-up, just enough to accentuate her

eyes.

I smiled. “No, we don’t have to leave tonight.”

“What -?”

I stepped aside and watched as she froze in my door

opening when she noticed what I had done. Then she stared

from me to the coffee table and back. Only then she saw

that I was holding a single red rose in my hand. It’s the

smaller things in life that do the trick.

Graciously I offered her the rose.

“What -?” she repeated and I know it worked: she had

absolutely no idea.

“Milady.” I offered her my hand and she took it.

For the very first time in her life she is stunned. She opened

and closed her mouth, staring at me as if I have been

replaced by a clone. She does not know what to say. She is

speechless.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I grinned broadly.

“I thought you’d forgotten,” she said and I pulled her inside.

I took her in my arms and kissed her gently. She dropped

her bag on the floor and gasped slightly before our mouths

touch.

I took her by the hand and pulled her further inside. Then

she saw the bottle of champagne standing next to the

candles, and the small portions of caviar that I had arranged

on a china dish.

“This is amazing,” she spoke in awe. “How did you – why –”

“You thought I don’t have a romantic bone in me, did you?”

I grinned. “Guess again.”

“But I don’t have anything for you – I was pissed that we

had to leave tonight and I didn’t –”

“Don’t say a word.” I placed my fingers on her lips and

pulled her close to me. She grasped me and we just stood

there, perfectly still. I took in her scent and she did mine.

She truly was speechless.

“Sit down,” I whispered and she did. I knelt on the floor by

her side and pulled my first gift from underneath the couch.

She looked at the wrappings, tore it up and grinned when

she saw the Miranda-teddy.

“This is beautiful! Where did you get this?”

“I went online shopping,” I smiled.

“You set this up the whole time, did you?”

“Yep.”

“And what if we had been on a case?”

“Then the teddy would have gone with us.”

I smiled mysteriously. “There is another gift that you won’t

be getting now. It will have to wait until after dinner.”

“Another gift?”

“Yeah, but you could call that one a present for me. I figured

you wouldn’t be getting me anything so I bought myself a

little something.”

She roared with laughter. “Porn movies, Mulder?”

I laughed. “Maybe. But something tells me you’ll like this

even better.”

Within five minutes we were both completely at ease with

each other, chatting and talking about so many things as we

usually did, but I did start to build up that horrible acid

feeling in my stomach again. I couldn’t compare it with a

hunger feeling. In fact, it felt almost painful.

I tried to lean comfortably against the couch and fed my

partner little portions of caviar. She laughed at my

clumsiness. I poured two glasses of champagne too.

“A toast,” I stated. “To many more years to come.”

She smiled and kissed me before drinking hungrily. I

laughed.

“Thirsty for more, Agent Scully?”

“Mulder, you are so crazy,” Scully roared and I could tell she

was getting slightly drunk. An empty stomach and loads of

champagne do that to you. “I never thought we would end

up doing this some day.”

“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” I smiled. “In fact, tonight is

going to be a night to remember forever.”

“I hope so.” She leaned hungrily into me and her hands start

caressing my chest. I knew where she was heading and

grinned broadly as I pushed her away.

“Hey, dinner comes first.”

“You made us dinner?”

“Erm, I phoned for dinner, does that count?”

She burst into laughter and embraced me. “My god, you are

wonderful. I love you so much.”

“Now that’s quite a reward,” I grinned, leaned back and

experienced a first sharp headache that cut through me like

a knife. I forced back the feeling, ate some caviar myself

and enjoyed Scully’s excitement. This truly was a night to

remember.

I rose up and felt a floating sensation as I poured more

champagne into our glasses. Damn, I’m getting old if I can’t

even take one glass of it anymore, I think, swaying slightly

on my feet.

I drank a bit more and shook off the dizziness. And Scully

kept on drinking champagne. She liked bubbles.

At that exact moment a hard knock on the door startled us.

“Dinner is served,” I smiled and swayed towards the door.

Scully laughed at my inability to stay straight on my feet

and I realized she was experiencing the same dizziness too,

brought on by the bubbles.

Champagne danced around my stomach and there I was:

feeling drunk as hell. And Scully leaned back on the couch

and roared with laughter. I knew I could do anything with

her tonight. She was giggling like a child. I should have

waited with the champagne until she had eaten something.

“Thanks,” I said, offering the delivery boy a ten dollar tip. He

tapped his cap, bared a mouth with a set of missing teeth

and disappeared. I swayed back towards the living room and

placed down the paper dishes carefully on the coffee table.

By then Scully was stone drunk. I swear!

She was laughing, giggling and chatting.

I watched her and laughed with her, at the same time

becoming disoriented. The room started dancing with me. I

swayed on my feet while Scully somehow managed to place

food on two plates. I watched her and realized I could not

eat a single bite. Everything ached.

I suddenly felt like throwing out everything inside my

stomach. I turned towards her to tell her I was going to

leave for a second but wasn’t even able to tell her that

anymore. Instead, I rushed towards the bathroom and

managed to pull the toilet seat up just before I threw up the

little bit of champagne, caviar and oyster I had in me. And

apart from that followed bile. Lots and lots of it. What a way

to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I sighed and leaned back against the seat, too tired to even

care that Scully had stumbled into the bathroom and was

staring at me strangely. “You’re drunk,” she lulled and looks

pale around the edges.

I wasn’t. Somehow I knew I was not drunk. Something was

struggling hard inside of me to get out, and that something

had to be the oyster. Even though most of it was out of me

now, I felt like it was still killing me.

I turned towards her, sat back heavily and groaned, “I think

I need a doctor.”

That sobered her up alright.

And so we ended up in hospital on Valentine’s Night.

I am not on a respirator, but an oxygen mask helps me to

breath. I suck in the air because it’s difficult to take deep

breaths and have my body work on its own. My mouth, arms

and legs tingle and I feel extremely weak. The constant

headache has been reduced to something that can be called

annoying. But at least it’s not destructive anymore. The

doctor told me I had a lot of good fortune on my side. Had I

not thrown up, I would have been off much worse. If I had

waited to come to hospital, I might have died. Yes, it was

that bad.

I ate the wrong type of oysters.

The doctor explains to me that this particular sort has been

proven to be very destructive in the past and is not served

in restaurants anymore. But there are still a lot of chefs who

take the risk because they taste excellent and are the best

of the best.

But they can also kill people. When you have the

unfortunate luck of eating a poisoned oyster, like I have

done, you are lucky to be alive. Of course shellfish poisoning

can be treated. But it can also kill.

I had the unfortunate luck of eating the best of the best.

Look where it got me. I’ll never forget the taste of oysters,

that’s for sure.

Scully sighs deeply as she sits by my side while I rest up on

a private room and try to ignore the last bits of nausea that

continue to creep up now and then. I don’t know if she sighs

because of me, or because of the splitting after-the-bubbles-

headache she is experiencing. I hope it’s the latter.

Finally she gives up and crawls into bed with me, holding

onto me as we both fall asleep. She is not exactly wearing

the diaphanous teddy or anything that looks like it, but at

least she is beautiful as ever, and made me laugh.

In the morning, as I am waking up with bright sunlight

dancing on my face, Scully wakes up too feeling the way she

looks: hung over.

And I smile, take her in my arms and kiss her.

“Next time, just buy me a porn video,” she smiles.

The End

A Night To Remember

Title: A Night To Remember

Author: Waddles 52

Summary: Mulder’s big plans for Valentine’s Day have

to be changed after a car accident lands him in the

hospital in California.

Rating: PG 13

Category: MT, MSR

Disclaimer: As if you didn’t know by now. Just for

fun. Not for profit.

Archives: Written for VS10, Valentine’s special.

After two weeks it can go just about anywhere as long

as you let me know.

Acknowledgements: As always to Vickie, who got me

started on this fun journey, and to Lisa for

listening to me rant and rave about life in general.

Feedback: I would love to hear from you at

Waddles52@wmconnect.com

“Have you got everything packed and ready to go?”

Mulder asked rather impatiently. “I don’t want to

miss our flight.”

“I’m just double-checking to be sure we have

everything,” Scully answered, turning in a circle to

survey the motel room.

“Okay. I’m going to take the bags down to the

rental.”

“We’ve got plenty of time, Mulder. Calm down!”

Scully laughed, used to seeing a much more laid-back

partner.

It was February 13th and they had been working a case

in California for the past two weeks. They were both

relieved that the case had wound up that morning

because they had big plans for Valentine’s Day.

Mulder was being very secretive about the plans he’d

made, but Scully was sure it would be a night to

remember. With a last look around the room she

locked the door and headed for the car.

Thirty minutes later they were sitting in bumper-to-

bumper traffic. Mulder tapped the steering wheel and

kept looking at his watch, all the while cursing

under his breath.

“Mulder, if you don’t relax you’re going to have a

stroke,” Scully chided him.

“I just want to get home,” he sighed. “I have quite

a few things to do before tomorrow night.”

“We’ll get there. Look, the traffic is starting to

move,” Scully pointed out.

“Hallelujah!” he exclaimed as he stepped on the gas

pedal.

The traffic jam seemed to disappear and the car was

soon traveling slightly above the speed limit.

“I would sure like to know what has gotten you so

uptight about tomorrow night,” Scully stated as they

continued to move at a steady pace.

“It’s a surprise, Scully, but trust me, you’re going

to love it.”

“Maybe I should be very afraid.”

Mulder’s expression changed to one of disappointment.

“Mulder, I’m just teasing you. All of your surprises

lately have been very nice,” she purred, laying her

head on his shoulder.

“Let me assure you. This is going to be over the

top,” he grinned.

“You’re sure you won’t give me a hint?”

“Nope.”

“You’re mean,” she giggled, punching him on the

shoulder.

“Take it easy! You know how easily I bruise.”

“Mulder, look out!” Scully screamed.

Mulder’s attention was drawn to a tractor-trailer

that had jack knifed in the curve ahead. In the span

of just a few seconds they found themselves in the

middle of a massive pile-up.

“Shit!” he exclaimed before darkness claimed him.

“Mulder, wake up!” Scully pleaded. The cars had

stopped their demolition derby maneuvers and all was

quiet.

“What? Scully, you okay?”

“Some bumps and bruises, but I think I’m okay. What

about you? You took a pretty hard hit on your side.”

“Hurts.”

“Where, Mulder? What hurts?” she asked as she

unbuckled her seat belt and tried to move closer to

him.

“Everything. Left side. You okay?”

“I’m all right. Don’t try to move, okay?”

“Hurts too much to move. Scully, you okay? What

happened?”

Scully sighed as she tried to open her door. At the

very least he had a concussion. They wouldn’t be

leaving today for sure. She pushed the door open and

made her way over to Mulder’s side.

She observed cars all around them, at odd angles and

in various states of destruction. A few people were

beginning to survey the damage and check on others.

With a little help from the man in the car behind

them, Scully was able to get the driver’s side door

open. She knelt beside Mulder to check his injuries.

She looked him over and moaned, “Oh, Mulder.”

Mulder was on a bumper car ride at the carnival.

Scully was sitting next to him as the car came to a

shuddering halt. He looked over and realized she was

gone. “Scully?”

“I’m here, Mulder,” he heard her answer to his right.

He slowly pried his eyes open to find that he was in

a hospital bed instead of the ride.

“Where? What happened?”

“We managed to wind up in the middle of a 17 car

pile-up. How are you feeling?” Scully asked,

dreading the answer.

“Left side hurts. You okay?”

“I’m a little banged up, but it’s not too bad. You

managed to get the worst of it.”

“Gotta get up and catch our flight,” Mulder

announced, making a move to sit up. Instead he was

overwhelmed by waves of pain and nausea as he quickly

sank back into the pillows.

“Mulder, take it easy. You’ll be doing well if

you’re out of here by my birthday.”

“No, we have to be home by tomorrow,” he insisted.

“I don’t think so. Mulder, your left side is a mess.

Your shoulder, knee and hip were dislocated. You’re

probably going to need surgery on that knee, by the

way. You also have three broken ribs, a left tib-fib

fracture and a mild concussion. You’re not going

anywhere.”

“Maybe tomorrow?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Damn, Scully. My surprise.”

“Your surprise can be rescheduled. You need to stop

worrying about that and let yourself heal.” Scully

took his right hand in hers. “You really gave me a

scare.”

“I don’t really remember much about it. Are you sure

you’re all right?”

“Yes, Mulder. I’ve been checked out and they didn’t

find anything more than a few scrapes and bruises.

You got most of the impact.”

“Feels like it. Hurts.”

“I know. After the doctors check your orientation

and responses they will probably let you have a

pretty strong pain killer.”

“Hope so. Why don’t you leave? You’ve got to be

tired. You look like you could use some rest.”

“I’ll find a motel in a bit. I want to stay with you

a while longer. Don’t worry about me. Just close

your eyes and try to sleep.”

Mulder finally convinced Scully to leave shortly

before midnight. The doctor had been in and decided

that he was sufficiently oriented to receive narcotic

painkillers. A hefty dose was administered and

Mulder slept for several hours.

The pain woke him with a vengeance. “Damn, why do

things always get so screwed up?” he thought. He had

made reservations at an exclusive restaurant with the

finest cuisine, service to match and strolling

musicians to add to the romantic atmosphere. He was

sure Scully would have loved it. After that he had

planned to drive to one of the most popular bed and

breakfasts in Maryland. To keep the romantic theme

going, he had reserved the honeymoon suite. Skinner

had even given them a few extra days off.

“Damn it! When will we ever catch a break?” he

sobbed. He tried to stop them, but the combination

of pain and frustration won out and the tears

continued to fall.

A nurse came in to check his vitals and IV. He

tried to brush the tears away but the nurse was very

observant and also very concerned. “Mr. Mulder, are

you having a lot of pain right now? I can get you

something for that.”

“I’m okay,” Mulder answered, rather shakily.

“You don’t look okay to me. What’s going on?”

Normally Mulder would have ignored her, but for some

reason he started to tell her about Scully and his

big plans that had been wrecked as surely as the car.

Patti Sims pulled up a chair and listened to her

patient pour his heart out.

Early Valentine’s morning, Scully entered Mulder’s

room expecting to see him in the same agitated

condition as the night before. Instead he was

sleeping peacefully, and was that a smile on his

face?

Mulder was in considerable pain throughout the day

and took the painkillers willingly. Whenever he was

awake his mood was very upbeat and he smiled a lot.

In fact, everyone on the staff seemed to be smiling a

lot. “Must be Valentine’s happiness,” she sighed.

Though she was puzzled by Mulder’s mood shift, she

decided to embrace it. He was due for some more pain

medication around six and she thought that would be a

perfect time to get something to eat. To her

surprise, Mulder refused his medication and his

dinner, not that he would have been able to eat much

anyway.

“Mulder, you need to try to eat a little something,”

she coaxed. “And you know you’ll be in agony without

your pain meds. What gives?”

“I don’t like feeling so groggy and as far as

hospital food goes . . .” he left his comment in the

air.

A young nurse came in and checked Mulder’s IV.

“Scully, this is Patti Sims. She’s my night nurse

and she put up with my crappy mood last night.”

“You have my sympathy,” Scully responded.

“Oh, he’s not that bad,” Patti replied.

An aide entered, carrying a dozen long-stemmed roses.

“Dana Scully?” she inquired.

“That’s me,” Scully answered.

“I have a delivery for you.”

Scully accepted them with a look of surprise on her

face. “Mom must have sent these,” she thought as she

opened the card. She was shocked when she saw that

they were from Mulder. “Mulder, how?”

Before she could get an answer to her question,

another aide pushed a cart into the room. It was

covered with a white cloth but Scully could tell that

it was food. A wonderful aroma filled the room.

“Mulder, what have you been up to and when? I’ve

been with you all day.”

Again, before her question could be answered a young

man wearing a tux entered the room. He was carrying

a guitar.

“Miss Scully,” Patti began, “Mulder was so upset that

you had to miss out on your Valentine’s plans that we

decided to help him out.” She pulled the cover from

the cart, revealing a feast of surf and turf.

“I know it’s not Antonio’s,” Mulder explained, “But

Patti assured me that Fredrico’s would come in a

close second.”

“You planned to take me to Antonio’s?” Scully asked,

her face reflecting her astonishment.

“I had the reservations for three months.”

The guitarist began to play softly.

“I’d planned on a violinist, but I think this will

do,” Mulder smiled. “Dave comes highly recommended.”

“He’s my husband,” Patti supplied.

“Go on and eat before it gets cold,” Mulder

suggested.

Scully walked over to survey the cart loaded with

salads, shrimp cocktail, lobster, steak and assorted

vegetables and desserts.

“This is amazing, Mulder.”

“Patti and the others really stepped up and pulled

this together.”

“Thank you,” Scully offered. “I don’t know what to

say. I’m really overwhelmed.”

“Why don’t you fix that man of yours a plate?” Patti

suggested as she brought some battery-operated

candles from under the cart and placed them around

the room. After she placed the last candle she

strode to the door. “Miss Scully, you have a very

special man here.”

“I agree. Thank you for helping Mulder with the

arrangements. This will be a night I will always

remember.” She brought a plate to Mulder and kissed

him softly on the lips.

“Oh, I have one more thing for you.” Patti pulled a

card from her pocket and handed it to Scully as Dave

finished one song and began to play another. “Take

good care of him,” she smiled as Scully opened the

card. Patti and the aide left the room while Dave

continued to play in the background.

Scully offered Mulder a bite of the shrimp cocktail.

“Sorry babe. I don’t think I can handle that right

now. I might try a little of the baked potato after

you read the card.”

“Okay,” she agreed, putting the plate down. She

opened the card and brushed a tear aside as she read

it. “The Beaufort Inn? Mulder, you really had this

planned out didn’t you?”

“Only the best for my Scully. We’ll just have to

arrange another trip, maybe the Bahamas or Jamaica?”

“Mulder, I love you,” she smiled and hugged him very

gently. “And I’m not just saying it because you went

to all this trouble and expense.”

“I know that, Scully. You put up with so much shit

from me that I just wanted to show you how special

you are, and like always my plans got screwed up.”

“It wasn’t your fault you know, and the fact that you

were able to pull all of this off from a hospital bed

makes it even more memorable.” She gave him another

kiss.

Mulder shifted a bit so he could deepen the kiss.

Despite his efforts to conceal it, a cry of pain

escaped.

“Mulder, that’s enough. You’ve got to have some pain

medication.”

“I don’t want to be groggy. I want to spend this

time with you.”

“And I won’t enjoy myself if you’re in agony,” she

countered.

“How about a compromise? Half a dose?” Mulder

ventured.

“No, you need the full effect of the medication.”

“That’s my final offer, Scully. Half or none at

all.”

“All right, Mulder,” Scully decided. “This is

against my better judgment, but I’ll go along with it

for an hour, then you get the rest.”

Mulder could tell by the set of her jaw that she

meant it, so he agreed.

After the medication was administered, Dave played

while Scully ate and fed Mulder a few bites of the

baked potato. When she offered him another bite he

held his hand up. “No more. I’m sorry, but I’m just

not hungry,” he sighed.

“I figured as much. Whenever you’re better we’re

going to Antonio’s, my treat.”

Mulder started to protest.

“No, Mulder. This works both ways. Can’t a woman do

something for the man she loves?”

“You do, Scully. Every time I’m in the same room

with you and I breathe the air that you breathe,

you’re granting me a great privilege.”

Dave sensed that he was no longer needed so he took

his guitar and quietly left. Neither Mulder nor

Scully noticed.

“Mulder, you’re getting really sappy,” Scully

giggled, “But I like it.”

“I just can’t help it when I’m around you,” he

smiled, then winced.

“Mulder, that’s it. I’m calling for the other half

of your pain medication now,” she decided, reaching

for the call button.

“This time you’ll get no argument from me. I’m sorry

to be a party-pooper, but I don’t think I can hold

out much longer.”

Patti came in with the ‘magic needle’ and deposited

the rest of Mulder’s pain meds into his IV. “The

muscle relaxant that the doctor ordered is in this

too, so give her a quick kiss before you sail away.”

“That fast, huh?” he questioned.

“Yep.” She deposited the hypodermic in the sharps

container and left.

“Stay awhile?” he asked Scully.

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me out of here,” Scully

assured him.

“Lay with me?” Mulder asked, already feeling the

effects of the combined medications.

“Until they make me leave.” She slipped out of her

shoes and lowered the rail. Mulder was asleep by the

time she carefully arranged herself beside him. She

put her arm across him, careful to avoid his injuries

and the various lines and monitors.

“Dana Scully, you are one lucky woman,” she thought

as she snuggled into him as much as she could. A

special Valentine’s surprise despite his painful

injuries and his love every day, every minute. Yes,

this truly was a night to remember. She whispered in

his ear. “Sleep well, Mulder. I love you.”

A few minutes latter Patti looked in the door to

observe her patient. He and his love were sleeping

soundly. She closed the door and smiled. “That

worked out quite well.”

She picked up the next chart and started down the

hall, glad that she had been a participant in their

night to remember.

End

The Death of Me Yet

cover

This story is based on characters created by Chris Carter and Ten Thirteen Productions. Characters used without permission. No  infringement intended.

TITLE: The Death of Me Yet

AUTHOR: Jo-Ann Lassiter

EMAIL ADDRESS: 70302.3654@compuserve.com

DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Post anywhere. Thanks.

SPOILER WARNING: Season 8, only for the reference to Kersh’s

new title

RATING: R

CLASSIFICATION: S, R

KEY WORDS: Mulder/Scully UST/Romance

SUMMARY: Scully and an ailing Mulder track a killer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

THANKS: As always, to Gerry.

The Death of Me Yet

by Jo-Ann Lassiter

70302.3654@compuserve.com

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Teaser

February 5

Deputy Director Kersh’s Office

9:16 a.m.

“Mulder, I’ll meet you downstairs in a few minutes, okay?” Scully

paused in the doorway, gently guiding her partner out the door.

At his look of utter befuddlement, Scully had to fight down the

almost overwhelming urge to take him in her arms and make him

all better. She settled instead for rubbing a hand between his

shoulder blades while sending him on his way. “Go on. I’ll be right

down,” she whispered.

Mulder nodded shakily, then turned and walked stiffly away.

Scully took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly as she closed the

door behind him, stepping back into the office. She faced the man

at the desk.

Kersh wasn’t even pretending he hadn’t witnessed that touching

little scene at the door. “Something, Agent Scully?”

“Yes, sir.” Standing tall, Scully squared her shoulders, ready for

battle. “Why did you pull Agent Mulder off the X-Files to work on

this case?”

Kersh leaned back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest. “I

believe I already explained that, Agent.”

Scully strode to his desk; she knew enough not to sit unless she

was invited. “You said that the Portsmouth office needed a profiler

in New Hampshire. What you didn’t say is why you’re sending

Mulder when you’ve got all the profilers in the ISU at your

disposal.”

“Two-thirds of whom are out with the flu.”

Scully just stared at him. “Sir, Agent Mulder has the flu, too. Yet,

you’re sending him, and it’s not even his *job*.”

“Agent Mulder looked perfectly healthy to me,” Kersh said,

waving her off. “If he’s so sick, why was he here?”

“Because he was ordered to be here!”

A long, slow smile grew on Kersh’s face, making Scully want to

shudder more than she ever had at the sight of any ghost, mutant or

Reticulan. “Are you telling me…” Kersh let out a laugh. “…So

you’re trying to tell me that Agent Mulder, lying in bed with the

latest designer flu, got up, got dressed–quite dapperly, I might

add–and came in here because he was *ordered* to?” Kersh stared

at her, as if actually expecting an answer, then continued without

giving her a chance to formulate one. “Forgive me, Agent, but

that’s bullshit.”

Counting to ten under her breath, Scully waited until she was sure

steam wouldn’t escape from any external orifices before she

opened her mouth. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.” She wondered

if Kersh was aware that the soft, controlled tone she’d just utilized

was the one that caused Mulder to nearly wet his pants whenever it

was directed at him.

Kersh laughed harshly just before he slammed his fist on the

desktop. Placing both hands palm down, he raised himself until he

was towering over her. “Do you know what, Agent Scully? I don’t

care. I don’t care if it took every last ounce of strength he had to

get here; the fact is that he did it. And if he can do that, then he can

*damn* well get his ass up to New Hampshire to work on this

case.”

“Sir, that makes no sense…” Scully felt herself spiraling out of

control. “Why didn’t you order one of the ‘real’ profilers out of

bed? Why Mulder? He’s not–”

“I’m making him useful, Agent. I’m justifying his even being in the

Bureau at all. I’m giving him a real case where he can use real

skills to find a real killer. And if he wants to keep his job, he’ll

*do* his job.”

Stunned, Scully fell into the nearest chair, protocol be damned.

Kersh must have been counting the days to Skinner’s vacation so

he could pull this stunt. “He can barely stand, sir. How can you

expect him to work?”

“Oh, he can work.” Kersh smiled again, and Scully felt sick to her

stomach at the sight of it. “Agent Mulder’s abilities to work while…

indisposed… are legendary. That’s why I know he can do this.”

Kersh sat back down, looking much like the cat that ate the canary.

“That’s why he *will* do this.”

“Sir…” Scully leaned forward in her chair, all shows of strength

rapidly deserting her. “He really is sick,” she said softly. “Isn’t

there anyone else–”

“No, there is not,” Kersh said sharply; then he sighed, and Scully

became immediately wary as his face softened into something

almost resembling human compassion. “If it makes you feel any

better, the Portsmouth people jumped at Mulder’s services–and

they requested yours, too.”

Scully narrowed her eyes, wondering when the hell he was going

to tell her this little tidbit of information. After all, she’d been out

the door already, only returning to plead Mulder’s case. “Mine?”

Kersh nodded. “The local coroner’s admitted that he’s way out of

his league, and they figured that since Mulder’s coming and you’re

his partner…” Kersh looked her in the eye. “Or would you prefer

that another pathologist accompany him?”

“No,” Scully answered quickly, before he could change his mind.

“No. I…” She stood up. “I’ll go.” Quite aware that she was leaving

without being dismissed, Scully strode to the door, opened it and

got the hell out of there.

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*****

Act I

February 5

FBI Resident Agency

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

8:48 p.m.

“Agent Scully, I’m so sorry. If I had known he was sick–”

The young Supervisory Senior Resident Agent looked beside

himself with concern, and Scully wanted to allay his fears that he’d

killed a fellow agent. “It’s not your fault, Agent Watts,” she said,

rushing into the conference room where Watts was standing

helplessly behind her partner, who lay hunched over the

conference table, face down in a river of yellow legal paper. “Do

you think you could…?” She smiled weakly at the flustered SSRA.

“Oh. Yes. Yes. Sorry.” He started to move away, yielding his

position at Mulder’s back to Scully. “Is he…” The young man

swallowed audibly. “Should I call a doctor?”

Scully shook her head. “I’m a doctor.” She laid a hand gently on

Mulder’s forehead. “He’ll be all right.”

Watts hesitated a second, his eyes darting to the prone agent. “I

didn’t know what to do,” he stuttered. “He was telling me what he

had so far, and he just… bam! No warning, no indication that…”

The agent sucked in a breath. “I’ll be just outside if you need

anything.” And he hurried out of the room.

Even as she frowned at the heat her hand encountered, Scully

allowed herself a small smile. Watts was okay. Thrilled when she

and Mulder arrived, horrified when he took one look at Mulder and

discovered how ill her partner was, Scully found the SSRA an

intelligent man with a compassionate heart. Instead of dispatching

her off to the White Mountains, where the killings took place and

the bodies were being held, he had asked her if she’d mind very

much waiting until tomorrow and flying up with Mulder.

Something about a gas shortage and favorable weather conditions

and some other B.S. that he’d conjured up.

Mulder moaned, and Scully gave him her full attention again.

“Hey…” She brushed her hand through his hair.

“Scully…” he groaned, raising his head. “Scully, I…” His head fell

back to the table. “Scully, please… Please take out your gun and

put me out of my misery.”

“How is my pistol-whipping you going to make you feel better?”

she asked, tugging at his arm until he rose to his feet.

“Funny,” he mumbled. “No wonder you went into pathology.”

“Come on, Mulder,” she said, slipping an arm around his waist.

“I’m taking you to the motel and putting you to bed.” When she

received no indecent comment, not even a leer, Scully knew just

how ill her partner felt.

“Scully, I’ll give you anything if you’ll just let me lie down right

here,” he whimpered, aiming himself at the table.

“No can do, partner.” As she yanked him away from the smooth,

polished wood, her hand came into contact with his thigh, and she

rubbed it soothingly. “You’ll appreciate this in about half an hour.”

He froze at her words and stood, staring at her, panic and disbelief

on his face.

“What?” she asked.

His face flushed even more than it already was, and he ducked his

head. “I can’t.”

“Can’t what?” she asked, pulling him closer to her, snaking a hand

under his jacket and around his waist, getting ready to help him

out.

“I can’t…” He mumbled the rest.

She leaned in closer, trying to see his face. “What? I can’t

understand you?”

Angry, embarrassed eyes met hers. “I said I can’t…” he snapped,

then looked away. “I can’t make love to you tonight. I don’t think I

can—”

“Oh, Mulder,” she said, sympathetically, finally tumbling to the

fact that his mind had gone there after all; she lifted his arm around

her shoulders and propelled them toward the door. “I would never

proposition you when you weren’t well enough to enjoy it.”

He angled his drooping head so that he was eye to eye with her.

“Make me better, Scully.”

*****

February 6

FBI Field Base of Operations

White Mountain National Forest

Rocky Gorge Campground

11:45 a.m.

Scully snapped off her gloves and tossed them in the hazardous

waste bin, looking around at the canvas walls as she strode to the

rear of the large tent. Well, it wasn’t the worst place in which she’d

performed an autopsy, but it certainly ranked in the top five. At

least, she reasoned, shivering in the frosty mountain air, there was

no need to haul the body back into a refrigeration unit. What the

hell kind of a person killed under these conditions anyway?

Gazing down upon the man who might be able to answer that

question, Scully hated to wake him. “Mulder,” she said, softly,

shaking him gently. “Mulder, c’mon. Wake up.”

“Wha… Scully? Time to go?” he murmured sleepily, grunting as

she helped him to sit up. “Are you done?” He rubbed his eyes with

the heels of his hands. “God, I feel like shit.”

“I know,” she said, rubbing her hand up and down his back.

“Find anything?” he asked.

She nodded. “The coroner’s reports indicated the cause of death as

‘blunt instrument trauma.’ While this may be true, there was

something done post death which leads me to believe that we’re not

dealing with your average serial killer.”

“What?” he asked, tiredly. She could tell that he was trying his

hardest to act interested, but he didn’t quite pull it off.

“I noticed a tiny hole just above the ear, so I decided to take a look

inside.”

At an inarticulate noise from Mulder, she paused, but he waved her

on.

“Well, judging from the miniscule amount of matter I found on the

skin near the pinhole…” She took a breath. “…I’d have to say your

suspect sucked out all of the brain fluid, and a good deal of the

brain matter–”

Mulder’s hand immediately covered his mouth. “No more. Don’t

tell me anymore.” He struggled to his feet with her aid. “I need

fresh air.”

Once outside, he gulped in several breaths and looked around. “Is

there anyplace warm around here?” He stuffed his hands into his

pockets and tried to burrow deeper inside his jacket. “You can give

me all the gory details, and I can make a few more refinements to

the profile if I can find somewhere to write.”

Scully nodded. “The rangers’ cabin. Behind the hospital tent. It has

real heat and hot water.”

“Great,” he said, heading in that direction. “Let’s make the

additions before we head up to the first crime scene.” Mulder

coughed into his gloved hand, a harsh biting sound that Scully

thought had to be hurting his throat.

Scully wanted to tell him to forget about the crime scenes, that he

should be in bed, resting, but she knew he couldn’t. Not with Kersh

breathing down his neck. “Mulder, why are they making you do

this?” she asked, unable to contain her curiosity any longer.

Mulder doubled over with a series of hacking coughs before he

answered her. “Because they know I can do it,” he said, out of

breath.

She steadied him, returning his nod of thanks. “That’s what Kersh

said.”

“Ah,” Mulder said, trying to suppress another cough. “The fabled

iron profiler legend knows no bounds.”

“So it’s true?” Not that she doubted it, but to hear it confirmed

appalled her.

He gave her a sickly smile. “You’re witnessing it first-hand.”

She pulled him to the edge of the woods when his next bout of

coughing unsettled his stomach. Holding him as he vomited up the

water and crackers she’d made him consume earlier, she found her

thoughts straying to the deputy director.

And what a bastard he was.

*****

February 6

Ranger’s Station

12:45 p.m.

“You’re kidding, right?” Scully stared at Special Agent Dale

Forsberg as she watched a second head sprout up from between the

man’s shoulders. “You don’t seriously expect us to ride in one of

those… things.”

Forsberg shrugged. “It’s the only way to get up there. That, or

walk.”

Scully planted her feet and shook her head. “Neither of those is

acceptable.”

“Acceptable or not, Agent Scully, those are your only options.”

“We came here by helicopter. Why can’t we–”

“It’s too thickly wooded up there. There’s no place to land, and you

don’t want to be lowered down in those crosswinds.”

Scully was at a loss; she wondered if Mulder would forgo the visits

under the circumstances. Then she heard Kersh’s voice spewing all

that garbage about Mulder’s job, and she knew he couldn’t.

“Are you sure there’s nothing else we could take?” She glanced at

her partner, curled up on a cot practically on top of the stove.

Forsberg’s face softened, following her gaze; he shook his head.

“I’m sorry. You were originally scheduled for the regular four-

wheelers, which only seats one, but we thought it might be better if

you took the two-seater.” The agent reached behind him and

picked up three sheets of yellow paper with her partner’s

handwriting on them. “Agent Mulder’s drawn us a pretty good

picture already. Does he really have to go up there?”

Scully looked at Forsberg, then back at Mulder. Did he? Again she

heard Kersh’s voice and again she knew that even if they could get

away without visiting the sites, they shouldn’t because it would

only come back and bite them–bite Mulder–on the ass when they

got back to D.C. and it was discovered that they hadn’t touched all

the bases.

“Where’d you say it was?” she asked, facing Forsberg again.

He walked over to a window, and Scully followed him. “Right

there.” He pointed to a lean-to in which she could see a group of

four-wheeled vehicles, one of which, the two-seater which

resembled a mini-jeep, was to be their transportation. “If this was

any other winter, you’d be on a snowmobile,” Forsberg continued,

“but we’ve gotten hardly any snow this year so you’ll have to take

the four-wheeler.”

“We’re going to freeze,” she muttered, gazing at the open-air car.

“Uh, they gave us these…” Forsberg produced a bundle of cold-

weather gear from thin air. “Snowsuits, gloves, hats, goggles and

boots.”

Scully took the articles, not even curious as to whom the ‘they’

might be.

They were going to freeze.

**

Act II

February 6

Somewhere in the White Mountain National Forest

2:25 p.m.

She had to give credit where credit was due. ‘They’ had actually

provided the correct sizes–for both of them. Not only was she

attired properly, after half an hour of driving exposed to the frigid

mountain air, she was not quite the popsicle she’d thought she’d be.

Mulder, however, wasn’t faring so well. As she glanced at him,

huddled beneath all the blankets she could wrangle out of

Forsberg, she doubted that anything short of a blast furnace could

warm her partner.

“How are you doing, Mulder?” she asked.

“Okay,” came the muffled reply. “How much longer?”

She glanced quickly at her watch, then at the folded trail map she

held pressed between her hand and the steering wheel. “About ten

minutes.”

The wind caught a pocket of the map and tore it out of her hand;

when she made a grab for it, the four-wheeler ran off the trail and

nearly smashed into a tree. As she fought to get them back on the

trail, she abandoned her hold on the map, and it flew out behind

their heads.

Finally getting the vehicle back in control and on the trail again,

she skidded them to a stop. She gazed over at her partner, who was

dazedly unburrowing himself from his nest. “Look,” she panted, “I

know you don’t feel well, and I’m sorry, but I could really use some

help with navigation.”

His expression changed rapidly from frightened to confused to

shamed, and she immediately felt awful for yelling at him.

“Where’s the map?” he asked, in a quiet voice.

Scully secured the 4-wheeler and stepped out. She gestured to the

woods around them. “I’ll… find it. You…” She pointed at him. “…

stay here.”

Mulder nodded, then reached across and grabbed her arm. “Scully,

wait! It’s right here.”

Following his gaze, Scully snatched the map from where it lay

plastered to her seatback by the wind. She smiled at him, getting

back in and handing him the map. “Maybe our luck is changing.”

She caressed his cheek as lovingly as she could in her extra-thick

insulated mittens. “Maybe you’ll be feeling better soon.”

“Maybe,” he agreed cautiously, as he gathered the blankets around

himself. “Is the wind picking up?” he asked, and she could see him

trying to keep a firm grip on the trail map.

“Yeah,” she said. “The higher we get, the windier and the colder

it’s getting.”

Scully put the vehicle in gear and sent them bouncing over rocks

and branches and tree roots again. Mulder made a sour face and

pulled the blankets more securely around himself.

“Peachy,” he said.

**

February 6

3:47 p.m.

They were at the third site when Scully realized that their earlier

luck had been just as she’d feared: a fluke. Instead of getting better,

her partner’s condition had worsened to the point where she felt not

only concern for his well-being, but for his survival.

“Okay, Mulder, we’re almost there.” She relaxed the death grip she

had on him only for the two seconds it took for her to maneuver

him into the four-wheeler. “You with me?” she asked once she had

him settled in.

“With you,” he wheezed, then broke out into a coughing fit.

Grabbing a bottle of water from the seat beside him, she quickly

uncapped it and held it to the lips of the still-coughing man. “Try

to drink some water,” she told him, tilting the bottle. “Your throat’s

too dry, and it’s making you cough. The last thing you need is

oxygen deprivation.”

She managed to get some down his throat, and the coughing eased

but the wheeze didn’t; her partner was literally gasping for air.

“Okay, that’s it.” She stalked around to the driver’s side and got in,

starting the engine. “We are getting the hell out of here. Kersh can

just kiss my ass.”

“Why should… he… have all the fun?”

Shocked to hear him speaking, let alone coherently, let alone alert

enough to make a ribald comment, Scully looked at him in wonder.

His eyes were closed, his breathing was labored, but he was

smiling. “Thank you, God,” she said, and Mulder’s eyes snapped

open. She smiled at the hopeful look on his face. “Feeling better

now that you’re not running around out there?”

He nodded, then leaned his body into hers and rested his head on

her shoulder. “Do me a favor?” he asked in a whisper.

“What?” she answered, wrapping her arms around him and pulling

him closer as she felt him begin to shiver.

He encircled her with the arm that wasn’t pressed between their

bodies and his head slid off her shoulder and onto her chest.

“Scully… Mm…”

“What is it, Mulder?” she asked gently. “What do you need me to

do?” Her hand traced soothing circles on his back while she

pressed a kiss to the top of his head.

She felt him hugging her with all the strength he had. “Christ,

Scully. You’re already doing it.”

Moving back a little so that she could see his face, she allowed an

expression of amusement to come into her eyes. “And here I

thought I was doing it for me.”

His eyes slid shut, and he snuggled into her. “Scully?”

“Yes, Mulder?”

His voice was breathy when he spoke. “Just wanted to tell you that

I love you, and…” He struggled to take a breath. “I…” His arms

loosened around her, and his head grew heavy against her. “I’m

going to…” His body went totally slack in her arms, and she knew

he’d passed out.

She held him for a few minutes, then shifted him so she could

buckle him in. Gazing at him with a mixture of sympathy and

affection, Scully sighed as she engaged the engine. She positioned

the map half under her bottom and started down the mountain.

They hadn’t been on the road fifteen minutes when she came upon

the moose.

**

February 6

4:08 p.m.

It was a bull moose, and it was big. And it was standing about ten

feet away, smack in the middle of the trail. Even if Scully hadn’t

read the literature on vehicle/moose collisions and the ensuing

human fatalities, she would have chosen to avoid something twice

her height and weight–jeep and Mulder included.

She slammed on the brakes and jerked the wheel sharply to the

right, in the only direction that wouldn’t get them killed outright.

The change in terrain was drastic. Whereas before they’d been

traversing the gentle slope of the trail, they now plummeted at

breakneck speed down the steep mountainside. Braking did little to

stop wheels sliding on dried pine needles and loose pebbles, and

when the collision with the birch tree seemed inevitable, Scully let

go of the wheel and grabbed onto her partner.

She almost cried when, at the last possible second, the jeep veered

off to the side and came to an abrupt stop inside an elder bush. For

about five seconds, all Scully did was hold tightly to Mulder and

breathe. Then she felt a sharp pain in her side and found that not

only was the jeep inside the bush, but the bush was inside the jeep.

Those parts of the bush that hadn’t been broken off during the

crash were poking and prodding every which way above and

around them.

Craning her neck to her left, Scully sucked in a breath when she

saw the bloodied tip of a broken branch dangling a few inches

away. Carefully, she changed position, relieved when the level of

pain in her side increased only slightly. At least it was a clean stab

wound; if a piece were still in there, she would have felt it.

Ignoring the burning in her side, Scully turned to her partner. He

looked relatively intact, at least injury-wise. She was worried,

however, that their wild ride down the side of the mountain hadn’t

produced so much as a peep out of him. She peeled off a mitten

and felt his skin, then frantically looked around for a way to get

them the hell out of there.

Mulder was burning up. His fever was higher than when they’d

started back, and she needed to get him to a medical facility ASAP.

But how, dammit? The jeep was literally embedded in the bush.

Judging by their position about a foot off the ground, Scully

guessed that they’d been airborne the last second or so. Lucky for

them the bush had been there to stop their attempt at finding a

really fast way down the mountain.

Almost afraid now to look out the front windshield, Scully gasped

when her gaze beyond the brush encountered nothing but blue. She

was suddenly grateful that the bush had taken it upon itself to hug

them so firmly to its bosom. All the same, they had to get out of

there. Even the strongest of branches–and these didn’t look

particularly strong–could snap, and send them careening to their

deaths.

She unbuckled herself and then Mulder. Reaching beneath her, she

pulled out the map and tucked it inside a pocket, then tossed any

supplies she could get her hands on out the back, onto the ground

behind the jeep. She took a breath and looked for the safest

direction in which to disembark. With the front of the jeep tilted

upward, the rear was nearly sitting on the ground behind them, so

the decision was, for once, an easy one. Once she got Mulder into

the storage area in the back, he should literally roll right out. The

hard part would be getting him there.

There was no way she could lift him out without causing some

movement to the jeep; she had to wake him.

“Mulder…” She tapped lightly on his cheek, and when she got no

reaction, she pulled his hood away from his head and put her lips

to his ear. “Mulder… Come on. I need you to wake up.”

He made a sound that was part moan/part whimper, and Scully

swore she’d get even with Kersh for this somehow.

“Hey, partner. We’re in a little bit of trouble, and I need your help,”

she told him when his eyelids fluttered.

“Whazzit, Scully? Whassmatter?” he slurred.

“We ran off the road, and we need to get out of the jeep. I’ll explain

more fully later, but for now I need you to help me, okay?” She

hated talking to him like he was a child, but in his half-awake state

it was the quickest way to get through to him.

” ‘kay, Scully.” He nodded clumsily, as his eyes kept drooping

closed.

“Good.” Scully climbed up onto her seat, then crouched down and

held onto the sides of his head with her hands. “I want you to get

up on the seat, Mulder. Like me. See?” She waited while he

blinked his eyes a few times, trying to focus.

Then his head tilted back, and he looked up at her. His mouth hung

open, and he blinked lazily. “I don’t know if I can.”

Sliding her hands to his shoulders, she leaned forward until she

was face-to-face with him. “Sure, you can,” she said in her most

reassuring voice. “I’ll help you. Okay?”

She pulled him up until he was kneeling on the seat, his feet

hanging over the edge, his chest flush with the seatback. He laid

his head on his folded arms. “I don’t feel well, Scully,” he said, his

voice shaking. “I really don’t think I can climb up there.”

“Can you try, Mulder? We need to get out of here, and I can’t lift

you.” Spotting his blankets where they’d slid to the floor, Scully

retrieved them and lobbed them out the back with the rest of their

supplies.

Suddenly, everything spun around her, and she found herself

sitting back down, Mulder’s anxious face looming above her.

“Scully! Scully! What happened? Are you all right?”

” s’okay, Mulder,” she said, as the world settled back on its axis

around her. “I have a minor injury, and got a little light-headed for

a minute.”

“You’re hurt?”

She saw the alarm in his eyes and patted his cheek. “It’s no big

deal.” She tried not to grimace as she climbed back onto the seat.

He was wide-awake now, she was pleased to see; concern for her

well-being had knocked him out of his stupor. She couldn’t resist

giving him a hug for it. Then she tugged on his arms, trying to pull

him up.

“Don’t Scully. I can do it.” The determination in his statement

might have convinced her were it not for the tremor in his voice.

She laid a hand on his arm and spoke to him gently. “Mulder, I’m

not hurt that badly. If you need my help, take it.”

He seemed to debate the issue, then nodded his head. “Thanks,” he

said, quietly.

She smiled, then gripped him under his arms. “Ready?”

Giving her a nod, he let her pull him up while he concentrated on

getting his feet under him. When he was finally upright, she

panted, “Okay. Up and over.”

She made a mental note to laugh later at the look of astonishment

that came over his face, but for now she just crawled over the seat

and gave a yank on his hands. She could only think, “Oh, shit,” as

Mulder practically soared past her to land heavily in the back of

the jeep before tumbling out onto the sloped ground. Scully

scrambled out after him as she heard the snap of a branch, and the

jeep’s front end dropped a couple of inches.

Pulling Mulder clear of the jeep, she watched in horror as the heap

of metal finally became too much for the bush, and their only

means of transportation trundled down the mountain, quickly

disappearing from sight. A loud crash signaled its demise as it

made contact with a tree or a rock or God only knew what.

Scully tightened her hold on her partner, unwilling to allow the

same fate to come to him. Looking up, she breathed a sigh of relief

when she saw the trail about thirty yards above them. Their flight

down the mountain must have only *felt* like miles. Well, at least

if they had to hike, it wouldn’t be on the treacherous mountain

itself but on the mild–in comparison–incline of the trail. Plus,

their chances of being rescued were greater on the well-marked,

well-traveled trail.

“Scully–” Mulder began, but broke off when he was overcome

with a series of coughs. Scully held him and rubbed his back until

he calmed, then examined his face. They were a little further down

the mountain, so the air wasn’t as thin, and Mulder could breathe

better, but he looked done in enough just from the flu.

“Mulder, I want us to get up onto the trail,” she told him gently.

“We need to climb up there.” She pointed to the slight clearing

behind and above him.

He didn’t even look. He just nodded and reached out a hand to her.

Slipping his arm around her neck, they made it a couple of feet

before Mulder collapsed onto his side.

“Oh, Mulder…” Scully felt so bad for him as he lay panting and

sweating in the frosty mountain air. She picked up the blankets and

covered him with them. “Maybe we can wait a few minutes.”

Again, he just nodded, but there was no mistaking the gratitude in

his eyes. Taking a corner of one of the blankets, Scully patted his

face dry, then stood up. “I’ll be right back,” she told him.

She checked the surrounding area for the items she’d salvaged, and

recovered everything that was within reach. Forsberg had provided

her with a knapsack, and she’d stocked it with water, aspirin,

packages of tissues, and an assortment of granola and candy bars

she’d bought at the motel’s snack area. The jeep had been equipped

with a length of rope, spare tire, first aid kit and a walkie-talkie.

Scully sighed. With the exception of the first aid kit, which had

been within easy reach, she hadn’t had a chance to save the other

items before they lost the jeep.

She wondered if she should try to get to the jeep; that radio would

come in mighty handy now that they were stranded. As she trudged

back up to Mulder with her cache of supplies, she decided that the

risk was too high that she’d sustain an injury. She also doubted the

radio had survived what sounded like a teeth-shattering collision.

Pausing briefly to glance at her partner, Scully carried the

knapsack, a couple opened bottles of water and the first aid kit up

to the trail. Her side was feeling uncomfortably wet and sticky, and

Scully hoped that the bleeding had stopped. Mulder’s being sick

was bad enough; she didn’t need both of them incapacitated.

She paused a moment to catch her breath, then made her way back

to Mulder, giving a startled yelp when she lost her footing and

started to slide down. She had just started to gain momentum when

she felt Mulder’s arm snag her around the waist. Grateful though

she was for his stopping her, she couldn’t hold in her cry of pain as

his arm dug into her wound.

“I’m sorry, Scully. I’m sorry,” Mulder practically sobbed, but he

didn’t let her go until they both stopped sliding.

Scully had to wait a few seconds until she could think clearly

again, and then she turned around to look at her partner. Tears

were in his eyes, and he looked frightened to death.

“Mulder, it’s okay. I’m okay.”

He nodded his head that he understood, even though the remnants

of his anguish remained in his eyes. With a shaky hand, he reached

over and gently wiped her face of tears she hadn’t realized she’d

shed. Scully grasped his hand and kissed his palm, then pressed it

to her face. For a few moments, she closed her eyes and let

sensation take her over as she let herself feel how much she

appreciated having Mulder in her life.

The heat from his hand, however, brought her back to reality

damned fast. She opened her eyes to find Mulder gazing at her

with what could only be described as loopy contentment. He

looked like he was about to pass out but was enjoying himself too

much to do so. Well, whatever worked, she thought, suddenly

feeling an overpowering need to grin at his expression.

Mulder’s eyebrows rose a couple of notches at her smile, and she

couldn’t resist–she just had to hug him. Mulder reclaimed his hand

and hugged her back loosely, mindful of her injury.

Although she truly hated to break their embrace, she needed to

capitalize on his temporary fortitude and get him up to the trail.

“Mulder, can you walk?” she asked, pulling out of his arms far too

easily for her liking. “Can you climb up there with me?”

Nodding, he clambered to his feet. The lightheartedness of a few

seconds ago had been replaced by an air of gravity. “Actually,

Scully, I think it had better be right now, because in about three

minutes I’m going to pass out.”

She gave a short nod and jumped to her feet, then doubled over

when the wound in her side reminded her that it was there.

Mulder reached out to her, and she took his hand, more to help him

than to accept any help he had offered. Still, she found herself

relying on his aid as they picked their way up the mountain. About

halfway up, they reversed position, and she took the lead as

Mulder’s strength began to flag.

“Almost there, Mulder. Come on. Just a few more feet.” His lips

were pressed tight, and she could see him trying desperately not to

cough. She felt an adrenaline burst kick in and pulled him the

remaining distance.

As soon as she let go of his hand, Mulder fell to his knees and

started coughing; he hunched forward, his head resting on his

folded arms. Scanning the area, Scully located one of the water

bottles and scooped it up. She knelt beside Mulder and gently

coaxed him upright; uncapping the bottle, she handed it to him. He

suppressed his coughing long enough to take a couple of swallows,

and that seemed to do the trick

He gave her a smile of thanks right before he fainted.

clip_image004

**

1989

Quantico, Virginia

10:41 p.m.

“Hey, Mulder…”

Mulder looked up quickly as the door slammed against the wall.

His vision darkened momentarily as the room faded from view,

then it wavered back in until he could focus on the source of all the

noise. Neil Valenti, his immediate supervisor, stood hands on hips,

a frown of disapproval on his face. “You got that damned profile

done yet? I promised it to the A.D. forty-five minutes ago.”

Looking down at the notepads scattered over the table, Mulder

reached for one, then checked himself. “Which one was yours?”

“For Christ’s sakes, Mulder. The Jacoby case.”

“Oh… Right.” Mulder picked up a blue file folder and held it out to

the agent. “Just finished it a few minutes ago.”

Valenti looked peeved. “Then why the hell didn’t you bring it to

me? You knew I was waiting for it.”

Mulder wanted to curl up on top of the table and cry. Or die. At

this moment, he didn’t care which. He was up to his ears in

profiles, all of them “top priority,” and he felt like death–most

definitely not warmed over. He was too damned cold for that.

“Sorry, Neil. I’ve got these others to finish, and–”

Valenti snatched the folder out of Mulder’s hand. “Yeah, yeah.

That’s what you always say.”

Mulder closed his eyes as Valenti left as brusquely as he came.

“Because that’s the way it always is,” he said to the empty office.

**

February 6

Present Time

8:51 p.m.

“Sorry…” Mulder mumbled in his sleep. “I… finish…”

He moaned, squirming in her arms as though trying to escape from

his dream. “Please… just want sleep few hours… Let me…”

When he folded in on himself, and his shoulders started shaking,

Scully couldn’t stand it any more. “Mulder,” she called gently.

“Hey, come on. It’s only a dream.” She touched his arms, and his

reaction was immediate, wrapping her in a bear hug and holding on

for dear life.

“Mm… Scully. You came. You came to save me.”

When he rolled them over, pinning her beneath his body, Scully

became mildly alarmed. “Mulder, what are you–”

“I’m so tired, Scully, but they won’t let me sleep.” His eyes were

open, and he was looking at her, but she suspected that Mulder was

still a long way away.

Reaching out, she brushed her fingers through his hair. “Who won’t

let you sleep?”

“Valenti, Rogers, Wattumbi… all of them. Can’t sleep. Need to

work.” His eyes closed. “So tired, though.” He turned his head

away to cough. “And sick. They won’t let me sleep when I’m sick.”

Her anger with Kersh flared when she heard that. When she

caressed his face, his eyes opened, and he gave her a lazy smile.

“But you let me sleep, Scully.” His eyes closed again, and he

reopened them with an effort. “Did you come to make them let me

sleep?”

Her heart went out to him at the hopeful expression in his eyes.

“That’s right, Mulder. You sleep, and I’ll kick their asses if they try

to wake you.”

Smiling dreamily, he slid off her until only his head lay pillowed in

her lap. He looked at her, and she could tell that he had snapped

out of his dream. “Is this okay?” he asked softly.

She sat up and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. “Of course it is.”

He sighed happily and snuggled in closer, wrapping one arm

around her waist. “I wish I had you back then, Scully.” He gave her

a squeeze. “I’m so grateful I have you now.”

Scully gathered all the blankets and covered them both. She slid

down, pulling Mulder up until his head was resting just beneath her

chin. Kissing the top of his head, she hugged him to her. “As well

you should be.”

She felt him shake with silent laughter. “Ah, God, but I love you,

Scully.”

“I know you do, Mulder.” She ruffled his hair and settled her cheek

atop his head. “Sometimes that’s the only thing in this life that I

*am* sure of.”

**

1989

Quantico, Virginia

“Maybe we should lay off him for awhile. I mean, *look* at him.”

Jack Godfried’s voice reached Mulder’s ears through the crack in

the door and even though he was puking up everything he’d ever

had to eat, Mulder felt himself flushing with embarrassment. When

he could pause enough to take a breath, he stretched an arm out

and slammed the door shut.

He wanted to stay where he was forever. He might be sick, it might

smell pretty rank in there, but he was alone. He had privacy. And

there were no babies dying in there. No kids with their hands

chopped off, or their intestines removed or their tiny bodies

violated in any other number of unspeakable ways.

Here he needed only to concentrate on one thing: making sure his

aim was on target.

An impatient rapping on the door made him cringe. “You almost

done in there, Mulder? Some of us are on deadline, you know.” It

was the despised voice of the recently promoted Neil Valenti, and

it gave Mulder an incentive to keep puking.

“Mulder!” Valenti was pounding on the door now, and Mulder

wished he’d just shut up and go the hell away.

“For Christ’s sakes, Mulder. Can’t you do this on your own time?”

The voice was right next to him now, and Mulder was so pissed

that the jerk couldn’t even give him five minutes to be sick that he

momentarily rose above his bodily ills to address the man.

“I don’t have any of my own fucking time, Neil. You and your co-

workers see to that.” Mulder indicated the door. “Get the fuck out.

And try working on your own damned profile for once. I’m too

sick.” Mulder turned back to the toilet.

“No fucking way!” Mulder’s shoulder was grabbed, and he was

jerked upright to face Valenti. “You just get over yourself, Spooky,

and get your head back in the game where it belongs.”

Mulder pulled out of Valenti’s grasp and sank back down to the

floor. “I can’t. I can’t do it any more. I can’t eat, I can’t think… Hell,

I can’t even sit up any more.” He let himself slide onto the floor.

“Lemme sleep, Neil.”

“You can sleep later, Mulder. For now, I want–”

“No!” Mulder sat up with the rest of his energy. “It’s always ‘later.’

You or Bill or Frank–” He stopped, frustrated when he couldn’t

remember the names of the people he worked with every day.

“You–all of you–need me every second of every day and every

night. For God’s sake, Neil, I haven’t been to my apartment in

days.”

“That’s not my problem,” Valenti said, dismissively.

“It damned well *is* your problem, because I quit.” Mulder pushed

himself to his feet, anger giving him temporary strength. “I fucking

quit.”

He tromped out of the bathroom and stalked out the door, nearly

colliding with Patterson. Then he pulled out his cell phone, called a

cab and got himself admitted to the nearest hospital.

**

February 7

Present Time

6:16 a.m.

Scully’s eyes opened and fell on her partner, lying beside her. His

restless shifting and his mumbling had awakened her, but since he

didn’t seem to be in too much distress, she let him sleep while she

slipped outside to relieve herself. She thought she’d take care of

her wound while she had her clothes undone, but it was too cold

and windy, so she hustled back to the blankets and her warm

Mulder. Once under the covers, she peeled back the layers of

clothing to reveal the injury.

The wound wasn’t too deep, but it was oozing pus, so she cleaned

it, disinfected it, and slathered on a generous amount of antibiotic

cream from the first aid kit. A gauze pad, folded in quarters, and an

extra large bandaid were all it took to complete her ministrations.

Satisfied with her work, she lay back down by Mulder’s side when

he began whimpering.

She caught enough of his dream for her to get a better idea of what

life had been like for him back in his ‘glory’ days. Now she had no

trouble understanding why he loved their office in the basement. It

also gave her more of an insight as to why Mulder often had

difficulty working with other agents.

It saddened her to think that he’d been abused so badly by his

fellow workers. It angered her to know that he still was–and that

she was a willing participant. She wondered how far up the ladder

this blatant mistreatment of her partner went. If she had protested

Kersh’s actions, would anyone have listened?

Mulder came suddenly awake with a cry of surprise, and Scully

hastened to comfort him. “Hey, easy there, Mulder. It was just a

dream.” She rubbed a hand across his back as she spoke in a

soothing voice. “You’re here with me: Scully.”

She felt a rumble against her chest and realized he was laughing.

“You are the first person I think of, Scully, and the only one I

would care to be stranded with in the mountains in the winter, so it

wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch for me to guess that the

‘me’ was you.” He lifted his head and smiled at her.

“I take it you’re feeling better?” she asked, both amused and

annoyed by the smugness in his tone.

“Yes, I feel better. Not much, but a definite improvement over last

night.” He sighed. “Let me warn you from experience, though–it

won’t last. I’ll be feeling rotten in no time.” He pulled gently from

her arms and got to his feet. “While we’re in the ‘eye,’ so to speak,

should we try to make some headway in getting out of here? Or at

least a little further down, where it’s not as cold and windy.”

She shivered, missing the warmth Mulder had been sharing with

her. Nodding, she stood, taking his hand up when he offered it to

her. “You’re right. It’s getting light out, so we should be able to

follow the path okay. Hopefully, we’ll meet a rescue team before

we get too far.”

Mulder turned and directed his gaze back up the mountain. “How

far from the ranger station do you suppose we are?”

Scully took the map out of her pocket, located their last known

position, then found the ranger station. “We’re actually not in too

bad a position. We’re about an hours’ driving time away, but we

weren’t going much over fifteen miles per hour.”

“We’ve gone fifteen miles?” Mulder asked.

“Well, the trail twists and turns and rises and falls…” She stopped.

“The elevation for this mountain is only around 4,500 feet. Could

we really have covered fifteen miles when it’s not even one mile

high?”

Mulder nodded. “Easy. These trails are blazed for enjoyment, not

for the quickest way up and down.”

Scully sighed. “Doesn’t anyone ever need to get down in a hurry?

What do they do when someone’s hurt?” She held up a hand at the

question forming on his lips. “I took care of it while you were

asleep. It was just beginning to become infected, but I think I

headed it off.”

Mulder nodded, apparently satisfied. “Is there anything on the

map?”

She shook her head. “I already looked. If there is, it’s not on this

map.”

Mulder gave a frustrated grin. “Figures. Nothing could ever go that

easy for us.” He helped Scully gather up their supplies, hesitating

when he came to the four wool blankets.

“It’d probably be easier if you wore them,” she offered.

Mulder ducked his head, a sure indication that he’d had the same

thought, but would not have voiced it; he didn’t want to admit that

he craved the extra warmth, a sign that he was feeling better.

“Would you mind sharing them?” She was so happy that he was

well enough to put on his brave front that she tried to soften the

blow for him. She held out a hand, and he grinned as he shook out

two blankets, draping them over her back.

“I thought you’d never ask,” he said, spreading the remaining two

around himself.

She shook her head, once again having figured him out correctly,

yet underestimated him at the same time. “You are one of a kind,

Mulder,” she said, smiling.

He hefted the backpack beneath the blankets and gazed at her, a

sparkle in his eye. “That’s part of the reason you love me, isn’t it?”

He was thrilled by the answering twinkle in her eyes. “You know

it, partner.”

**

February 7

6:25 a.m.

Scully watched with amusement the almost jaunty gait of her

partner as he walked ahead of her. Happy that a few words from

her had rejuvenated him this much, it also saddened her that he still

grasped onto these tiny expressions of love the way a drowning

man did to a life raft.

Was she so stingy with them before? Had she so rarely shown him

how much she cared for him that any crumb she’d thrown his way

had become, to him, equivalent to a banquet?

She wasn’t a very demonstrative person. Surely he knew that that

was why she didn’t throw platitudes of love his way every time she

wanted to. Daring a look at him, she smiled when he turned to her

as though he’d felt her eyes upon him. Hell, he probably could.

Catching up with him, she placed a hand on his back. “How are

you doing?”

“I’m good,” he said, nodding. He indicated the spot she’d just

vacated. “What were you thinking about just then?”

Reluctant to reveal her shortcomings to him, she shrugged and

offered him a half-truth instead. “I was thinking how much better

you were doing.”

He frowned as if he knew she wasn’t being totally honest with him.

“Oh,” he said, turning his attention back to the path. “I’m feeling

better, thanks.”

Suddenly, the disappointment she saw on his face, and felt in

herself, became unbearable. “I was thinking about how much I

love you,” she blurted out, “and how I don’t seem to tell you

enough.”

He stopped then, and she plowed into his back. Before she could

peel herself off his backside, he did a one-eighty, holding onto her

shoulders before she could move away. Relocating one hand to

caress her cheek, he smiled gently. “Thank you,” he said softly.

She shrugged. “I thought you needed to know.”

Chuckling, he touched his forehead to hers in a gesture she’d come

to associate with his deep affection for her. He kissed her forehead,

then tilted her head so that she had to look into his eyes. And then

she understood.

He knew. He’d always known.

**

Act III

February 7

7:06 a.m.

Mulder cursed softly as he trudged along behind Scully. He’d felt

the change come over him a few minutes earlier, but hadn’t

mentioned it to his partner. The further down the mountain they

could get, the better off they’d be, so he’d kept to himself the fact

that with each step he took he was feeling poorer and poorer. He

wanted to keep going until he absolutely couldn’t go on any longer.

Scully turned her head to check his progress, and before he could

blink, she was at his side, taking the brunt of his weight as he slid

bonelessly to the ground. “Oh, Mulder,” she said, softly. “You

should have said something.”

He shook his head. “I was okay until a couple of minutes ago.”

“You should have said something then.”

Giving a tired smile, he shrugged. “Thought I could keep going

awhile longer.” He let his eyes drift shut. “Must be getting old.”

She settled him a little more comfortably against a tree trunk.

“We’re both getting old.” Kissing him lightly on his forehead, she

uttered, “But as long as we do it together, I don’t mind.”

Opening his eyes, he fought to bring her face into focus. “Do you

really mean that? Do you… would you… grow old with me?”

She smiled then, a huge grin that he’d never before seen gracing

her features. “Well, not right away, but… yeah.” Her gaze shifted

down to their clasped hands. “I think I have to,” she said, her voice

just above a whisper.

“Wow,” Mulder said, just before he fainted.

**

February 7

7:09 a.m.

Scully laid the last of the blankets over her partner, narrowed her

eyes, and squinted up at the sky. She was certain that those fluffy

grey clouds rolling in were up to no good.

Where the hell was their rescue? Didn’t *anyone* notice that they

hadn’t returned? At the very least, someone should have missed the

damned jeep thing. And just where in the bloody blue blazes on

this blamed mountain were she and Mulder anyway?

Scully brought out the trail map and opened it to their last known

position. It was dismayingly close to the summit. She cursed

herself for not paying attention to landmarks on her drive down.

Absurdly, she wondered if she’d be able to locate the site of their

“mishap” if she looked for a picture of a moose.

The loud “snap” of a branch breaking off to her right sent Scully

scrambling into a side pocket for her gun. Just as her hand closed

over the weapon, a gravelly voice ordered, “Hold it right there.”

Her finger on the trigger, her thumb about to flick the safety off,

Scully froze.

“Let go of whatever it is you’ve got a hold of in there, and bring

your hand out slowly–and empty.” Scully looked toward the voice

and found a bear of a man holding a shotgun against her partner’s

head. “Or your boyfriend here gets his pretty face messed up.”

“Okay,” she said, in what she hoped was a calm voice. “Okay, I’m

doing it.” Relinquishing her hold on the hard steel, she drew her

hand out carefully.

“Good,” the man intoned, nodding and licking his lips. He looked

almost as nervous as she did. “Now reach in two fingers–no

thumb–and pull it out.”

Scully did as directed, and as soon as her weapon was in sight, he

snatched it out of her hand. She was relieved to see that Mulder

was no longer in the gun’s sights.

“What about him?” the man asked. “He got a gun, too?”

“Yeah,” she said, nodding, wondering whether or not she should

volunteer information about their professions.

“Get it.” The barrel was once again held against Mulder’s temple.

“The same way as yours.”

Scully nodded, pulling the pile of blankets off Mulder. Kneeling

beside him, she patted him down until she felt the hard lump at his

side. She reached into his pocket, pulled the gun out, and offered it

to their captor.

After the man had deposited their weapons in his jacket pocket, he

indicated the ground near Mulder. “Sit down.” He gestured to the

unmoving Mulder. “What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s sick,” Scully answered. “Flu,” she added, in case the man

should think Mulder had some highly contagious disease and

decide to put him out of his misery.

“Well, for godsakes, cover him back up,” the man said.

Surprised, Scully hastened to comply. Since it appeared that the

man wasn’t the ogre Scully had thought him to be, she took the

time to tuck the blankets snugly around her partner. “Thank you,”

she said, sincerely.

“What are you two doing up here? Don’t you know there’s a storm

coming?”

Scully’s gaze took in the gathering clouds. “I suspected as much.”

She sighed tiredly. “I crashed our four-wheeler trying to avoid a

moose.”

The man snorted. “Wise move.”

Scully studied the man as his thoughts seemed to drift. “Are you

going to let us go?” she asked.

“You still haven’t told me why you’re here.” The shotgun, which

had been pointed toward the ground, swung up to cover her and

Mulder.

“My partner and I were investigating the sites of some murders

which took place up here.”

The man’s demeanor changed from irritated to interested. “Are you

law officers?”

Scully hesitated, then nodded, deciding that it would be in their

best interests to tell the truth rather than be caught in a lie. “FBI.”

“Son of a bitch,” the man cursed, and his face seemed to… ripple.

Scully blinked, wondering if she’d just seen what she thought she

saw. “Get him up,” he said. The man jerked his weapon at Mulder,

and Scully quickly turned her investigator switch to ‘off.’ “You’re

getting out of here now.”

Wanting nothing better, Scully rousted her partner. “Mulder,” she

called, slapping his face lightly.

Mulder groaned and rolled away.

Casting a quick glance to their captor, Scully latched onto Mulder’s

shoulder and gave it a shake. “Come on, Mulder. I’m sorry, but you

have to get up now.”

Suddenly, Mulder gave a wail of anguish. “Nooo! Scully, you

promised. You said you’d kick their asses!”

“What’s he talking about? Kick whose asses?” the man asked,

growing more and more agitated by the second.

Scully thought it best to come clean on the first attempt, rather than

try to pass it off as nothing. “He was dreaming earlier.

Remembering when he was a young profiler and his colleagues

wouldn’t let him sleep. He was so good they didn’t want to let him

stop to rest.” She brushed a hand through Mulder’s hair lovingly.

“Even when he was sick.” She looked up at the man. “I told him I’d

kick their asses so he could sleep.”

The man’s features softened to an expression of understanding. He

looked at Mulder, then turned his gaze to her. “I’m sorry, but it’s

necessary. If you don’t get out of here in time, you’ll know why.”

A plethora of scenarios, culled from too many years of x-files, ran

through Scully’s mind. She didn’t know which would apply in this

situation, or if it was an entirely new one, but she certainly didn’t

want to wait around to find out. She thanked her lucky stars that

their roles weren’t reversed. It would be just like Mulder to want to

see what would transpire.

She leaned in until her lips were grazing her partner’s ear. “Mulder,

we have to go. There’s a man here, and he says we have to leave.

He has our guns, and he said we have to leave now.”

She didn’t know which part registered, but Mulder’s eyes opened,

and he made an effort to sit up. “What? What, Scully? What’s

going on?”

“We need to go,” she said. “I need to get you up, and we need to go

now.”

His confusion-filled eyes blinking, Mulder nodded his head.

“Okay. But I’m feeling pretty fuzzy. I don’t know how long I’ll

last.”

“I know, Mulder. And I’m sorry.” She knelt beside him. “But

there’s something… urgent… in his insistence that we need to get

out of here.”

“Whose?” Mulder was blinking owlishly at her, and Scully read

the confusion in his eyes.

“There’s a man here,” she repeated. “He has our guns, and he says

we have to leave.”

“How?” he asked, and she saw that the cobwebs had finally cleared

from his mind. “Didn’t you tell him that’s what we’ve been trying to

do?”

He met her eyes, and she knew what he was going to say next. She

cut him off before the thought could be fully formed in his brain.

“No,” she said. “I’m not going without you.”

Expecting a rebuttal, she was surprised when he drew in a ragged

breath. “Thank you,” he said, quietly. “I was terrified that you

might finally listen to me.”

She shook her head. “Never happen.”

He laughed, then turned serious. “I feel like shit, Scully. I don’t

know how far we’re going to get this time.”

“He says there’s a storm coming.” When she leaned down to help

him up, she whispered in his ear, “But I don’t think that’s the real

reason he wants us to get moving.” She took the arm Mulder

reached out to her. “He’s afraid for us.”

“Why?” Mulder asked, as Scully levered herself under his arm and

raised him to a standing position.

“I don’t know.” She shook her head. “I only know that it’s

something we don’t want to be around for.” She turned so that she

and Mulder were facing their captor. “I just need to pick up our

supplies, and we’ll leave.”

The man held up a hand. “Let me.” He handed Scully the knapsack

and the blankets.

Accepting them, she nodded to the items in the man’s pocket.

“What about our weapons?”

Their captor hesitated a second, then reached into his jacket and

pulled out the guns. “Here,” he said, handling them as if they

would burn him. “Now, go.” He pointed his arm down the trail.

“And don’t stop until you’re off this mountain.”

Scully looked down the trail, then back at the man. “Do you know

how far we are from the bottom? How long will it take?”

“We’re a little more than halfway to the summit. Should take you a

couple of hours.”

Scully sighed in frustration. “My partner is sick. We’re not able to

travel very fast.” She gave her partner an apologetic smile. “He’s

already passed out twice. I doubt very much if we’ll make it down

that fast.”

The man shook his head slowly. “I sincerely hope you’re wrong

about that.”

“Why?” Scully’s patience was beginning to wear thin. “Why do we

have to leave so quickly?” Not that she didn’t want to; it’s just that

they couldn’t. Not with Mulder in the condition he was in.

The man seemed to be considering his words carefully before he

finally spoke. “Because you’re in danger from this killer you’re

tracking.”

Scully was alarmed. “He’s here? He’s close?”

The man nodded solemnly. He indicated the path. “Go now. And

put in as much distance as you can to the bottom.”

Scully held the man’s gaze for another second before she latched

onto her partner and led him back to the path. After they were out

of sight of their captor, she wrapped all the blankets around the

two of them, huddling closer to Mulder for warmth. “How’s that?”

she asked, adjusting the hood of his snowsuit so that it was more

snug around his head.

“Fine,” he croaked, and she could tell he wanted to be anything but

upright.

“I know,” she said softly. “I promise… you can sleep for a week

once we get out of here.”

Hell, he could sleep for a month, a year, he could have his way

with her whenever he wanted. Just as long as he made it out.

**

February 7

8:36 a.m.

Surely, Mulder thought, death could not be any worse than what he

was going through right now. If it wasn’t for the fact that it would

endanger Scully’s life, Mulder would have succumbed to death’s

allure long ago. He felt like he’d been walking for days.

It was snowing now. Just putting one foot in front of the other was

almost more than he could handle. He’d already fallen a few times,

and stumbled even more; he wanted to cry every time Scully

forced him back to his feet.

His foot caught on a jutting rock, and he went down–again–

landing hard on his knees.

“Oh, Mulder…” Scully mourned, dropping to her knees beside him.

Knowing what was coming next, Mulder felt his eyes fill and his

nose become stuffed. He sniffed and tried to blink back the tears,

but found that he just hadn’t the strength any longer. He bowed his

head, braced his hands on his thighs, and gave in to the despair and

self-pity that he’d been fighting off for the last hour and a half.

“Mulder, I’m so sorry,” Scully said, enfolding him in her arms.

“I can’t… go on, Scully,” he said, his voice hitching. “I don’t want

to give up, but I just can’t… do it.”

“Mulder…”

He braced himself for the pep talk, even as his tears continued to

drop onto the snow.

“I’ll try to find us some shelter.”

Surprised, he looked up. She was regarding him with so much

tenderness that it almost overwhelmed him. He sniffled, reigning

in his tears. “Is it safe?”

She shrugged. “I don’t really know.” She hugged him tighter. “I

only know that I can’t stand to see you suffering any longer.”

He took a deep breath, suddenly feeling ashamed; the snow

melting beneath his knees seemed like a good thing to look at. “I’m

sorry I’m not stronger,” he said, quietly.

“Stronger?” she asked, and his head snapped up at the near hysteria

he heard in her voice. She released him from her embrace and

grabbed his head so that he had no choice but to look into her eyes.

“Mulder, this whole case you have been nothing *but* strong. I

don’t know how you ever made it this far.” She shook her head,

letting her hands drop to her sides. “I know I couldn’t.”

He shook his head vehemently. “If it was you, we wouldn’t be

having this conversation. You would rather die than show me any

sign of weakness.”

He saw the flash of anger in her eyes. “I–” Then she stopped

abruptly and sighed. “You’re probably right.” She took hold of his

hand. “But that doesn’t make me stronger.” At his questioning

look, she dropped her gaze to their joined hands. “That just makes

me less open, more afraid to show you how I really feel.”

He nodded, sensing the truth in her words, feeling more like he

thought a man should feel around a woman, and especially around

the woman he loved. “Okay if I wait here?”

She nodded. “I’m not going too far. I’m just going to look for

something off the beaten path, so to speak.” Smiling, she wrapped

all the blankets around him before standing up. “I should only be

gone a few minutes.”

He couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive, both at her going off

alone, and at his being left alone, in a snowstorm, with a killer on

the loose. Yet, he returned her smile and nodded at her parting.

Her footsteps muffled by the fresh snow, it was only seconds

before he felt like he was the only person left in the world.

**

February 7

8:58 a.m.

When she saw Mulder seated upright, his back against a tree, his

eyes closed, his hands limp and unmoving in his lap, Scully’s

breath caught in her throat. “Mulder?” she asked, not caring if he

heard the quiver in her voice, not caring about anything except if

he was alive.

To her surprise and great relief, his eyes opened immediately.

She released a shaky breath. “How are you doing? I thought you

were… asleep.”

He looked just as relieved at seeing her there as she was at seeing

him still alive. “I was too scared to sleep. I thought…” Taking a

deep breath, he seemed to be regrouping his thoughts. “I thought

that if I fell asleep, I might not wake up again. I thought I might

not see you again.” The hint of a smile touched his eyes. “I thought

you might not be too happy to come back and find I’d expired.”

She laughed, now that she could, now that he *hadn’t* expired.

“You’re right. I’d have been royally pissed if you’d died before we

got to do everything I want to do once we get out of here and get

you well.”

His eyes lit up. “Such as?”

“Oh, you know… the usual. Hugging, snuggling, kissing, making

love like bunnies…”

He laughed. “I’m glad I stuck around, then. I definitely don’t want

to miss out on any of that.” Then his smile faded, and he shuddered

violently.

“Come on,” she said, reaching down to grasp his hands, helping

him to his feet. “I found someplace dry.”

Leading him off the trail and onto the sharper incline, Scully

tightened her grip on him, following her bootprints, then the

markers she’d left when her footsteps were no longer visible

because of the falling snow.

Mulder seemed a little stronger now; the rest had apparently done

him some good. When she announced that they’d reached their

destination, however, Mulder threw himself through the opening

and lay on his side, shaking. Scully clambered over him, through

the entrance, into the shallow cave. She dragged Mulder the few

feet to the back of the cave, then hauled him to an upright position

when he began coughing uncontrollably.

The episode lasted about a minute, ending with Mulder trying to

suppress the cough by breathing through his nose. Scully slung the

knapsack off her back and uncapped a water bottle, offering it to

him. It was a few minutes more before he could calm himself

enough to chance a sip.

By this time, his eyes were tearing and his nose was running, and

he could barely draw in a breath between sips.

“Dammit, Mulder, why didn’t you say something? We could have

stopped to rest.” He had given no indication that he was in any sort

of distress.

“Couldn’t stop,” he gasped. “If I stopped… I might not be able to…

move again.” He sucked in a breath. “Couldn’t chance it.”

She sighed, nodding; she would have done the same. “Here,” she

said, softly, handing him some tissues from where she knew he’d

stashed them in the pockets of his snowsuit.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, yanking off his gloves to accept the

Kleenex. After making himself more presentable, he let his eyes

wander, examining their accommodations, while his breathing

evened out.

“It’s not much,” she said, “but at least it’s dry.” She eyed the

entrance. “As long as the wind doesn’t change.”

“It’s great,” he said. “Can we do anything about blocking that

doorway?”

It was about five feet high and three feet across, but as Scully

pictured the insignificant amount of brush they’d passed that could

be useful as a screen, it appeared double that. “I’ll see what I can

find,” she said, crawling toward the exit.

“Wait!” Mulder called, stuffing his hands back into his gloves. “I’ll

help you.”

She laid a hand on his thigh. “You’re too sick.” To emphasize her

declaration, she brushed a bead of sweat from his forehead with

her thumb. “Stay here and rest.”

He looked like he was about to argue with her when he suddenly

dropped his gaze and nodded. “Don’t go too far.” She heard a host

of emotions in that utterance, and she loved him for feeling every

one of them for her.

“I’ll be careful,” she acknowledged. “I’ll button up.” She kissed him

on his lips. “I love you, too.” And please don’t be ashamed, she

added silently, hugging him tightly.

“I can’t help it,” he said into her hair. “I should go with you.”

“Not when you’re this sick, you shouldn’t.” Letting him go, she

gave him a gentle shove; he acquiesced and lay down. “I’ll be right

back,” she said, burying him under a mound of blankets. “Warm

these up for when I get back.” She smiled and threw him a wink.

“I’ll do my best,” he returned, grinning.

She took in one last glimpse of him before darting out into the

snow.

“You always do,” she said, softly.

**

Act IV

February 7

3:16 p.m.

“Well. It’s about time.”

Even through his sleep-addled brain, Mulder heard the laughter in

her voice. “What time is it?” he croaked. He took in the darkness

outside the partially-blocked entryway. “What day, for that

matter?”

“Same day, but it’s a little after three.” She followed his gaze. “It’s

still snowing. That’s why it seems so dark.”

He felt no small amount of panic that they were trapped on a

mountain with little food, a serial killer on the loose, and useless

cel phones. Not to mention that one of them felt like total and

absolute crap. His only consolation was that Scully wasn’t the sick

one. He’d much rather that their fate rested in her hands instead of

his. “Are we in any danger?”

“Not at the moment,” she answered. “We’re out of the snow. We

have plenty of ‘water,’ and I have a small supply of the best junk

food the hotel and ranger station vending machines had to offer.”

“God, Scully, if we had a TV, this would be a regular resort.” A

pebble dug into his backside as he slowly sat up. “A soft bed might

be a plus, too.” His bladder let its presence be known when he

shifted to a more comfortable position; he remembered the winter

wonderland surrounding them. “Indoor plumbing could be an

asset, as well.”

She gave him a sympathetic smile. “I knew that a long time ago,”

she said, then indicated the doorway with a tilt of her head. “Better

get out there while there’s still enough light to find your way

back.”

He nodded, tossing off the blankets and donning his hat and

gloves. Scully moved the brush aside and crawled out ahead of

him; he was surprised to find her fully dressed for the outdoors as

well. “Are you coming with me?” he asked.

Her head bobbed a ‘yes.’ “I’ll turn my back to give you some

privacy, but we’ll be standing ass to ass, Mulder. I’m not losing you

because you couldn’t find your way back from a potty break.”

He felt exulted and insulted at the same time. “I can–”

“I know you can,” she said softly. “But you’re ill. And I’m a little

more familiar with the terrain.” She looked around at the almost

total whiteness. “What little we can see of it.”

His eyes took in the monotonous vision of trees and rocks, all

covered in snow. Ten feet out, he knew he’d be lost. “Lead on,

then, McDuff.”

Taking hold of his arm, she walked them to a tree not too far away

. She faced him toward the tree, then did an about-face. As he

pulled off one glove with his teeth and fumbled his way through

layers of clothing, he felt her at his backside. “You weren’t kidding

that we’d be ass-to-ass, were you?”

“Nope,” she answered. “Although we’re really more ass-to-back.”

He smiled as, finally, he reached his goal; he tried not to sigh in

relief while he was emptying his bladder. He also tried not to think

of how close Scully was and that she was privy to his every

movement. Finishing, he groaned in pleasure. “Oh, God. That feels

much better.” After tucking and zipping and re-gloving, he turned

around and grasped her shoulders gently. “All set.” When she

faced him, he kissed her on the forehead. “God, I love you.”

She raised an eyebrow. “And that’s the best you can do?”

Always up for a challenge, Mulder leaned down to capture her lips

with his.

He didn’t know if it was because of the kiss, the altitude or the flu,

but he felt himself growing light-headed and broke off. “I’m afraid

*that’s* the best I can do for now,” he puffed, leaning heavily on

her.

“What’s wrong?” She was gazing at him with concern.

“A little dizzy,” he said.

She wound an arm around his waist, taking on part of his weight as

she started them back. “You need to eat, and we need to get some

fluids into you.”

“Okay.” It had been awhile since he’d eaten–and then lost–his

breakfast. He wasn’t feeling so much nauseous any more as he was

feeling tired, achy and light-headed. By the time they reached the

cave mouth, he was shaking and sweating.

Scully lowered him gently to the floor; when she left him to move

the brush back into place, he closed his eyes, trying to will himself

back to some semblance of normal. Feeling her settling beside him,

he opened his eyes a crack. She was holding her arms open to him.

“Come on, Mulder,” she said, gathering him in her arms.

He didn’t hesitate even a nanosecond. He wouldn’t have thought he

could fold himself into a small enough bundle to be gathered to her

bosom, yet there he was. Gradually, through all the layers of

clothing, her warmth seeped into his chilled bones; he sighed in

contentment.

Scully hugged him tighter, then pulled away a little. “Feeling

better?”

“Feeling warmer,” he told her. He still felt like crap, but at least it

was warm crap.

Scully’s arm left him, and he felt her reach for something. “What’ll

it be, partner? I have a wide assortment of candy bars, granola

bars, cookies and crackers.”

He sat up, trying to get a peek into the backpack she was

unzipping. His stomach felt a little rebellious at the thought of

putting something in it. “Um, crackers?” He met her gaze for a

second. “The blander, the better.”

Out the corner of his eye, he saw her nod in understanding. The

sound of cellophane rustling brought his eyes to her hands.

Removing a plain saltine, she offered it to him with a shy smile.

“From my soup last night.”

He smiled gratefully as he took the cracker and bit into a corner.

Bless her for anticipating what he hadn’t even considered. A little

embarrassed that she apparently knew his body—and its

weaknesses—better than he did, Mulder let his gaze drop down to

his lap as he nibbled on his second cracker.

“So why all the food?” he asked, curious as to why his health-

conscious partner was carrying around a horde of junk food.

A fleeting smile came to her lips. “I knew we were coming up here

today. And I knew that you wouldn’t be eating much in the way of

‘real’ food. So I got a few things that might tempt you to eat, even

if you weren’t hungry.”

Warmed that she’d given so much thought to his well-being,

Mulder squeezed her hand. “Thanks,” he said quietly. “Thanks for

looking after me so much better than I look after myself.”

She squeezed back. “It used to be my job, Mulder, but now it’s my

pleasure.” A smile suddenly sprang to her face. “I suppose I should

make some glib remark about its being to my advantage to keep

you in top condition—and while that may be true to some extent,

it’s not the reason.” Her expression softened to one of affection.

“The fact of the matter is that I care about you. I care about how

you’re feeling, and I want to help you feel better.” Her eyes

hardened, and her lips compressed to a thin line. “I hate that Kersh

could send you out here when you’re so ill. I hate that it’s even a

consideration, that because they’ve abused you in the past, he

thinks that gives him the right to order you to work when you

should be home in bed. I’d like to see that bastard show up for desk

duty—much less field work—with a hundred and three degree

temperature.”

She was red-faced and puffing when she finished. Mulder couldn’t

help it: as shitty as he felt, he was tickled pink. “I’ve mentioned

that I love you, right?”

She looked at him then, gave a laugh and threw her arms around

his neck. “You may have told me once or twice.”

He smiled against her neck, but jerked back when he felt

something wet on his cheek. “Hey,” he said, brushing a finger

under her wet eyes. “What’s this about?”

She shook her head. “I just get so angry sometimes.” Using the

back of one hand, she wiped her eyes dry. “The way you were

treated. The way they still treat you.” She took a deep breath. “It

just pisses me off.”

He swore he could feel his heart swelling up into his throat. He had

to swallow before he could speak. “I don’t know why you love me,

Scully, but I’m glad you do.” Reaching out, he pulled her back into

his embrace. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell you how grateful

I am to have you in my life.”

Scully gave him a hug and then gently disentangled herself. He

caught the tail end of the pleased smile she had been wearing.

Nodding to the cracker he still held in his hand, she told him, “You

can start by eating something.”

Shaking his head in amusement, he dutifully finished off the

cracker. She promptly handed him another one. By the time he’d

consumed all the crackers from all the packages—eight crackers in

all—his stomach felt settled enough for him to try something with

a little more flavor. The adventurous side of him told him to go for

the jalapeno Doritos, but the more practical side of him (he was

surprised by this; he didn’t think he had one) made him choose the

vanilla wafers.

After eating half the bag, Mulder no longer felt hungry. He folded

down the top of the bag and handed it to Scully. “Thanks. I’ve had

enough for now.”

She regarded him with a suspicious glint in her eye. “Is your

stomach okay?”

He was surprised to find that it was; he nodded. “Yup. It’s fine. I’m

just full.” He ran an appraising eye over her petite form swallowed

up in all her winter garb. “What about you? You have to eat, too.”

She chuckled, reaching into one of the pockets of her snowsuit,

pulling out the wrapper to a granola bar. “Already ate.” She offered

the wrapper to him.

He frowned. Is that what she called a meal? “You have—”

Another wrapper appeared under his nose. Twinkies this time.

Mulder nodded his approval. “Okay,” he said in a gravelly voice.

Before the thought that his throat was dry could even develop in

his mind, Scully produced a bottle of water. Accepting it, he raised

his eyebrows. Well. Wasn’t someone taking this Mrs. Spooky thing

right to heart?

“There’s nothing spooky about it, Mulder,” she said, and he nearly

spit out the mouthful of water he was about to swallow.

Oh, no? he thought, swallowing the liquid, his eyes widening on

the question he was unable to voice.

“No,” she replied, a smug look overtaking her features. “It’s all

about being able to read you.” Taking the bottle from him, she re-

capped it and put it aside. She let her hands play over his face. “Of

anticipating what’s going through that delicious mind of yours.”

He couldn’t prevent the enormous grin from spreading over his

face. “Delicious?”

She sidled up closer to him, her hand skimming down his face to

gently caress his neck. “You are delicious through and through,

Mulder.”

He felt a shiver run through him at her words. “I think that’s my

line, Scully.”

She shrugged. “Can’t say I’ve ever heard it from you.” She

snuggled in until she was practically in his lap. “You don’t use it,

you lose it.”

Never one to be accused of inactivity, Mulder wrapped his arms

around her and pulled her the rest of the way onto his lap. “Oh, I’ve

used it,” he purred in his best sexy voice. “Just not out loud. I think

I was afraid you’d pummel me into a ball of mush.”

Pushing herself out to arm’s length, Scully’s amused gaze captured

his eyes. “You might end up a ball of mush, but it wouldn’t be from

my pummeling you.”

Trying to wrap his mind around what that might entail, Mulder

groaned. “Scully…” he whined.

She batted her eyelashes. “What?” she asked, innocently.

How could anyone with a three-inch layer of bulky clothing be so

damned sexy? Surprised to find himself reacting to her under his

own sixteen layers of winterwear, Mulder pulled her back to his

chest, burrowing his nose under her hood and into her hair.

“Love you,” he said, touching his lips to her neck gently. The

closeness of her shoulder beneath his ear was too much to resist; he

let his head drop down, and uttered one last, “Love you, Scully,”

before he drifted off.

**

Only the slightest bit miffed that her Romeo had fallen asleep just

as things were heating up, Scully eased herself off Mulder’s lap

and gently lay him down on the “bed” of pine needles that had

accumulated in the cave over the years. With a sigh, she leaned

back against the wall, contemplating Mulder, the cave, the

mountain outside their ‘doorway,’ the killer, the FBI…

Jolted awake from a sleep she couldn’t even remember lying down

for, Scully panicked for a few seconds while she tried to remember

where she was. The feel of pine needles beneath her hand and the

agitated moan of her partner brought her up to speed fairly quickly.

Pulling off a glove, she laid her palm on her partner’s cheek,

disquieted by the heat she found there. His thrashing calmed upon

her initial touch, but started up again when she removed her hand

to reach for the water and the first aid kit. Abandoning her search

for the moment, she rested her hand on his forehead.

“Mulder,” she called softly. He moaned in response. “Can you

open your eyes for me, partner?” She massaged his face gently as

she spoke to him.

“Save me…” he muttered. “Scully, save me… They won’t let me…”

He broke off suddenly with a sob that broke her heart.

“Leave him alone, you bastards!” she yelled. She leaned over to

speak softly into Mulder’s ear. “There you go, partner.” She

pressed her lips to his ear in a kiss. “Come on now. Come back to

me now.”

“Scully,” he sighed. His head turned until his lips met hers,

whether intentional or by accident, Scully couldn’t tell. “Thanks,”

he whispered into her mouth, before his breathing evened out.

“Sure thing,” she muttered, irked that he’d fallen back to sleep so

easily while she was now wide-awake.

About to lie back down and give it the old college try, she shivered

when the sound of a howl reached her ears. She froze, trying to

determine just which mountain creature could be out there, and

hoping that her ‘door’ would be effective at hiding them.

After a few seconds, she heard stealthy footsteps as they trod over

the snow-covered ground through to the crunchy leaf cover below.

Even though it had been snowing steadily for a few hours, only a

couple of inches had managed to accumulate, and she could see,

with the brightening sky, that the snow had stopped altogether.

While one portion of her brain marveled that she’d apparently slept

twelve hours straight, another pondered just what could be stalking

them. Slipping her hand into her pocket, Scully removed her

weapon, checking the clip and releasing the safety. She debated

whether or not to wake Mulder, then decided that, hell, misery

loved company, and wouldn’t he just be all the more miserable if

she didn’t wake him.

She leaned in close to his ear, shaking his shoulder while she

whispered, “Mulder, wake up.”

His eyes fluttered open, and for a moment, Scully was distracted

by how utterly endearing he looked. “Whassrong?” he asked,

blinking those glorious eyelashes over those gorgeous eyes.

Giving herself a mental swat upside the head, Scully filled him in

on their potential visitor. “Someone or some thing is outside. I

need you to back me up in case it decides to come in.”

His grogginess dissipated in an instant. She gave him a hand a he

struggled to sit up. “Thanks,” he puffed out, breathing heavily. “Do

you…” He reached inside his pocket, drawing out his gun. “…have

any idea what it could be?”

She shook her head. “Whatever it is, it’s treading slowly and

carefully.” She gave him a grave look. “Almost as if…” She trailed

off.

“As if it knew we were in here,” he finished quietly.

“Yeah.” She watched as Mulder flicked his safety off as quietly as

he could, then they turned their attention to the entrance, both

weapons trained on the doorway.

Within a minute, loud snuffling announced the arrival of

something most definitely not human. Holding her breath as the

outline of a very large biped loomed into view behind the brush,

Scully grit her teeth to tamp down the feeling of panic that was

starting to build.

Suddenly, the bushes were swept aside, and what looked like

Godzilla in armor plating stood glaring in at them. Scully’s mouth

went dry. She lowered her gun and reached for Mulder’s hand.

There was no way bullets were going to penetrate that hide. If she

was going to die, she was going to do it connected to Mulder in

some way.

Mulder, too, lowered his weapon. Grasping Scully’s hand in his, he

went her one better by pulling her into a crushing embrace. Scully

closed her eyes and hugged him for all she was worth, love and

regret now overshadowing the all-encompassing fear she’d felt

only a few seconds ago.

“Scully…” Mulder murmured, and she heard his voice—as well as

his heart—breaking. She felt him swallow as his throat constricted

with tears.

“I know, Mulder.” She hugged him tighter. “Me, too.”

As she waited for the beast to strike, it occurred to her that the

death blow was taking an unusually long time in coming. She

cracked open an eye, hoping that by some miracle…

It was crouched down, staring at her, regarding her with curiosity.

‘Intelligent?’ she wondered. “Mulder,” she whispered.

His head shifted forward a little, and his cheek pressed into hers as

he peeked around her head. “What’s it doing?” he whispered back.

The thing was now regarding them with an expression of

amusement, irritation, and indulgence. “I *can* hear you, you

know.”

Scully’s mouth dropped open.

Mulder jerked back in surprise so fast, he cracked his head against

the wall. “Son of a…” he began, then broke off abruptly.

As much as Scully wanted to ascertain that he was okay, she

couldn’t take her eyes off the refugee from Japanimation that had

just addressed them with a British accent.

“You’ll never apprehend him with *those*.” The creature was

gazing distastefully at the weapons being held limply in their

hands.

“Uh…” Scully began. “Wh…” She cleared her throat and tried

again. “What should we use?” Then the absurdity of the situation

hit her. “Who the hell are you? And who the hell is ‘him?'”

The beast laughed in delight, and Scully was surprised that she

knew this, because the only sound that reached her ears was a

growl. “Oh, I do so adore your attitude,” it said, in that damned

accent again, and she was really hard-pressed to match that voice

to that… er… face. “I,” the beast began, his countenance losing all

trace of humor, “am…” He paused again. “Oh, bloody hell. Just call

me ‘Targ.” You’d never be able to pronounce the Kilartian

version.”

Scully blinked. She ran though her mental database of all known

languages, including popular, archaic and defunct. “‘Kilartian’ was

not among them.

“Where are you from?” Mulder asked, annoying the hell out of her

that he’d come to the conclusion a split second before her: that

their friend was not of this world. Or dimension. Or plane of

existence.

She jerked her head. When had believing in aliens, demons and

time travelers become so matter-of-fact, so second nature, to her?

Thinking all Mulder’s attention was devoted to the creature, Scully

jumped when he touched her lightly on the arm.

“You okay?”

The warmth and concern in his voice knocked her out of her

thoughts and back to the present. It also served to vanquish any

lingering vestiges of irritation and jealousy she’d harbored toward

her partner. She was not surprised to find his gaze upon her, and

not the creature. “I’m okay,” she said, trying to convey by her tone

that she really was. Breaking their eye contact, she addressed Targ.

“Who are you?”

The creature dipped its head, a movement that looked so out of

place, given its fearsome appearance, yet also quite natural. “Like

you,” he indicated her and Mulder, “I am a law officer.”

Scully nodded. She’d suspected as much. “Are you from…”

Throwing a sideways glance at her partner, she decided to fulfill

her own curiosity, and shock the hell out of him as an added bonus.

“…from another planet or another dimension?”

Mulder did not disappoint. “Wow, Scully.” She turned to find him

studying her, his expression one of awe, surprise and delight.

Blushing a little, even though she’d expected just that reaction, she

returned his smile before turning her attention back to Targ.

“Actually, from both,” he replied. “And another time.”

“The future?” she asked.

Targ shook his head. “The past. The much distant past.”

“Really?” Mulder asked, and Scully shared his wonderment. She

thought how truly gratifying it was to finally experience that sense

of belief, of acceptance of something at face value, just because

someone told her it was so.

“Yes, really,” Targ answered. He gestured to the winter

wonderland outside, a little impatiently, it appeared to Scully.

“Now since you obviously didn’t take my earlier advice about

leaving this mountain–”

“The old man,” Scully interrupted. “That was you.”

Targ nodded.

“Why didn’t you just tell us?” Scully was a little irked by that

whole ‘mystery man of the mountain’ performance now that she

knew it had been Targ all along.

“I had no intention of revealing myself to you.” He indicated their

surroundings. “Now, however, you give me no choice.” Taking a

moment to sniff the cold, crisp air, he returned his gaze to her.

“Retic has your scent.”

“Retic? Is that who you’re after?” Mulder asked.

“He is, yes. And since you are now involved, you can assist me in

capturing my prey.” He sniffed again. “Although considering the

carnage he’s wrought, ‘prey’ is not too appropriate a term.”

“Is he responsible for the deaths up here?” Scully asked.

Targ nodded. “Yes, And in my home. And in the country you call

England.”

“Is that where you…” Scully raised her eyebrows in question. She

tilted her head. “The accent?”

Targ stared in incomprehension for a moment. “The language is

the same, but the… dialect… is not?”

“The accent is distinctly British, yes,” Scully told him, something

still puzzling her. “The old man, though. You didn’t use that accent

with him.”

Targ seemed put out. “Of course not,” he reproved her. “That

would have been as out of place as your seeing me like this.”

Scully exchanged a look with Mulder. ‘Probably more so,’ she

thought.

“So…” Targ rubbed his ‘hands’ together in expectation, then

indicated the area outside the cave. “Shall we?”

Assisting Mulder to his feet, Scully said, “I don’t know how much

help we’ll be. You said our weapons were useless, and if he’s built

like you, we aren’t about to overpower him.” She regarded her

partner, leaning heavily on her; he looked like he wouldn’t last

upright more than fifteen minutes. “And my partner’s sick. He

won’t be able to help us much.” Placing her lips to his ear, she

whispered, “Sorry, Mulder.”

He nodded shakily. “It’s okay,” he said softly. Then he lifted his

head to observe the alien. “I’m afraid she’s right. It’s all I can do to

stand. I’m not going to be any help to you in a fight.”

“Not to worry,” Targ tut-tutted, shooing them out of the cave.

“He’ll do fine.”

The smugness in the alien’s tone didn’t escape Scully. She stopped

in her tracks, holding onto Mulder tightly so that he stayed with

her. “No,” she said, when Targ turned around to face her.

“I’m afraid it’s the only way,” Targ replied, and the only thing

stopping Scully from giving him an earful was the fact that his tone

really did convey regret—and that he was probably right.

Mulder was to be the bait.

**

February 7

5:45 p.m.

If he’d ever been more miserable in his life, Mulder couldn’t recall

it. They’d selected a patch of flat land, cleared a small area of

snow, and started a fire. He was dry and relatively warm, but he

wanted to be anything but sitting up, pretending he wasn’t dying.

Targ had assured them that Retic was in the vicinity, if not the

immediate area, and would soon be paying him a visit. The alien

law officer had masked Scully’s scent from his adversary, and

Mulder gained no small relief from the fact that the only life being

risked in this ploy was his.

He knew that she hated the situation and that she was worried

about him; he hoped that that worry wouldn’t cause her to do

anything rash or reckless. His normally level-headed partner

tended to come a little unglued when his life was in danger.

Although she rarely displayed any evidence of this, it was a secret

she’d revealed to him when their relationship had finally, finally,

*finally* evolved to the next plane.

The snap of a twig off to his left jerked his attention away from the

fire. Mulder’s breath caught at what was now approaching him.

Although smaller than Targ, an air of viciousness clung to the alien

like a second skin. The smile it gave him was not meant to

comfort.

As the creature moved closer, and neither Scully or Targ appeared

to be coming to the rescue, Mulder thought some action in his own

defense might be advisable. Drawing his weapon out of his pocket,

he flicked the safety off and pointed it at the alien; he was relieved

to find his hand steady and his aim true—for all the good it would

do.

Unlike the inaction he’d taken with Targ, Mulder did not lay his

weapon down; even though he knew it would have no effect on the

heavily-armored creature, it made him feel like he had some

control over his fate. Aiming for the alien’s eyes, Mulder got off

two ineffective shots before the creature was upon him. Its mouth

opened wide, engulfing the first part of him it reached: his

outstretched hand—his outstretched hand with the gun.

As the teeth were closing over his arm, Mulder fired into Retic’s

mouth. The alien howled, and Mulder yanked his wounded arm

free. Enraged, the alien backhanded Mulder, sending him flying

until a tree broke his flight.

Right before he passed out, Mulder saw Targ, and then a stormy-

faced Scully appear out of thin air. He almost giggled at the

thought that if looks could kill, Scully’s could annihilate. He

almost felt sorry for the alien.

And then he grew puzzled because her glare was not directed at

Retic, their enemy, but at Targ, their ally.

**

February 8

6:50 a.m.

His eyes, when he opened them, were met with the sight of gray

and green. He groaned in disappointment; he’d hoped to be waking

up in a nice, warm bed, Scully by his side…

He turned his head, and there she was, cuddled against him,

sleeping like a baby. As awareness returned to him, so did all the

aches and pains that reminded him he still had that blasted flu.

Suddenly remembering the last few minutes before his unexpected

nap, Mulder jerked up in alarm.

“What? What?” Scully reached for him in her confusion, and

Mulder cursed himself for waking her.

“Shh. It’s okay. I’m sorry I woke you.” He rubbed her back, then

looked at his arm. Wasn’t that arm recently in the mouth of a bad-

tempered alien? And didn’t that bad-tempered alien try to chow

down on said arm?

“Targ fixed it,” Scully told him, and he could feel the distaste in

her voice.

“Shouldn’t he have?” he wondered.

She nodded. “Of course. The jerk. It was the least he could do after

trying to feed you to that overgrown iguana.”

Mulder furrowed his brows in confusion; he replayed the entire

encounter with Retic until it became clear. “He had no intention of

rescuing me, did he?”

Scully shook her head angrily. “No. And since he had me in that

damned… stasis field… I couldn’t do anything, either.” She looked

away. “Except watch.”

“Scully…” he started.

“No, Mulder,” she cut him off. “No matter what you’re going to

say, there is no comparison. I was going to watch you die. I knew

it was going to happen, and there wasn’t a thing I could do to stop

it.”

“But it didn’t happen.” He gazed at her, puzzled. “Why didn’t it

happen?”

He was so pleased to see a smile on her face, he almost didn’t care

about the answer. “You shot him in the only place where some

damage could be done.”

Mulder blinked. “So I killed him?”

Scully hedged a moment before answering. “You incapacitated

him. While Targ was debating whether or not Retic would recover

enough to finish you off, I took Targ’s weapon and ended the

debate.” Her features turned surly. “He’s lucky I didn’t do the same

for him.”

“But why? Why didn’t Targ try to capture Retic once he was

down?”

Scully’s lip curled into a sneer. “It appears that right after Retic has

‘fed,’ he lapses into a ‘digestion’ period for about five minutes. Targ

was going to use this time to subdue him and transport him back.”

“But you didn’t let him,” Mulder said softly.

“That coward,” Scully spat. “Willing to sacrifice another living

being so that he didn’t have to break a sweat.” She drew in a shaky

breath, then captured his gaze. “I wanted to kill him. Because he

used you, and tricked me, and nearly got you killed.” She paused.

“And for what he put me through.”

He rubbed a hand up and down her arm. “I can only imagine what

it must have felt like—and just thinking about it scares the hell out

of me. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”

She nodded stiffly, and he could tell she was trying not to cry. “Oh,

Mulder. When I watched your arm disappear into that thing’s

mouth, I thought for sure I was watching you die.”

She threw herself into his arms, and he felt her tears on his neck.

He had no witty remark to make, and no words of comfort to offer

for a pain of this magnitude, so he just held her tight and tried not

to cry himself.

He wanted to slap himself when, after only a few minutes, what

had begun as a small tickle grew into a full-blown coughing fit.

When he could finally get a breath, he found their roles were

reversed, with Scully holding him upright, her hands offering

support as well as comfort.

“Sorry,” he wheezed.

She gave him a severe look.

“Sorry,” he said, apologizing for apologizing. Then the absurdity

of his words hit him, and he smiled goofily.

Scully laughed, and Mulder was so thrilled to see it that he forgot

about his illness and their situation and his near-death and laughed

with her.

All too soon, reality seeped back in. The grim look returned to

Scully’s face before it softened into one of concern. “We should try

to get out of here. Do you want to give it a try?”

What he wanted was to curl up in Scully’s arms until either he felt

better or spring arrived, whichever came last.

He surprised himself by telling her just that.

She smiled sadly. “I wish you could rest, too. You need to rest.”

She stood up, then helped him rise to his feet slowly. “When we

get home, and I get you into bed, I’m not letting you out again for

anyone. You’re going to stay put until you’re well, and until I’m

good and ready to let you go.”

It sounded terrific to him, but he was worried because the reason it

sounded so good was the promise of sleep–and nothing else. He

looked at her glumly. “I think I’m losing my sex drive.”

Her eyebrows set a new height record. “What?”

He let his gaze drift down to his boots. “When you mentioned you

and me and bed… the only thing I want to do is sleep.”

She shook her head. “Oh, Mulder,” she chuckled.

He looked back up, feeling silly. “It’s probably just temporary,

huh?”

She clutched his arm possessively. “I can almost guarantee it.”

Laying his hand over hers, he patted it lovingly. “In that case, let’s

get started on the road to recovery.”

**

Epilogue

February 10

Deputy Director Kersh’s Office

10:08 a.m.

“Bears?” Deputy Director Kersh stared at Scully over the top of his

wire rims. “Your suspect was eaten by bears?”

“Taken.”

“What?”

“The suspect was taken by bears. We couldn’t find any trace of

him, so it’s assumed he was eaten.”

“That’s your professional opinion?” Kersh challenged.

“That is the professional opinion of the White Mountain Parks

Department rangers.”

Kersh sighed. “You’re certain it was him?”

“Yes, sir He attacked Agent Mulder, and he admitted to the

murders.” Even if it wasn’t quite true, even if it was Targ who’d

told them about the killings, it was as close to the truth as she was

willing to put on paper.

“Very well.” Kersh’s eyes scanned the office. “Where *is* Agent

Mulder.”

“Home. Recovering from the flu.”

Kersh didn’t seem in the least affected. “Really. When do you

expect him back?”

“About one to two weeks.” She was about to offer more of an

explanation, then decided not to bother. Kersh didn’t care, anyway.

“I see. Dismissed, Agent.”

Meeting Kersh’s diffident eyes with a cold glare of her own, Scully

nodded and left.

She stopped off at Skinner’s office, arranging to take a few

vacation days with his assistant. After she thanked the woman, she

took the elevator to the basement, grabbed her coat and her

briefcase, and went home.

**

February 10

Dana Scully’s Apartment

12:21 p.m.

Clutching her bundles tightly, trying to make as little noise as

possible, Scully sneaked past the sleeping form on the couch; she

nearly dropped the three grocery bags, two lunch sacks, and one

pharmacy package when Mulder uttered a raspy, “Hi.”

She placed her parcels on the counter and returned to his side,

shucking her coat as she did so. “Hi,” she said, softly, touching the

back of her hand to his still-hot skin. “How are you feeling?”

He licked his lips. “Not too great physically, but much better

mentally.”

She smiled, knowing exactly what he meant. Sleeping in a cold,

dark cave and traveling on a snowy, unfriendly mountain were

harrowing under the best of circumstances, but when a person’s not

at his best, and is downright ill… well, it was enough to make a

grown man cry. She brushed the hair out of his eyes, her fingers

tracing his brow gently. “Are you hungry?”

He mulled it over for a moment before he answered. “I think so.”

He sniffed the air, and Scully could smell the tantalizing aroma

wafting from the kitchen. “What did you bring?”

“Roast chicken breast and a salad for me, and chicken broth–with

crackers–for you.” She indicated the bags on the counter. “I’m

willing to share if you think you can eat some chicken.”

He turned slightly green and swallowed hard before he answered.

“No, thanks. I’m going to stick with the soup and crackers.”

She rubbed her palm along his upper arm. “It’s okay. At least

you’re eating something.”

After they’d been picked up by the ranger–who had only

questioned their whereabouts because of the absence of the jeep

thingy–then choppered back to Portsmouth, she’d driven them

straight to her place. She’d put Mulder in her bed, from which he

hadn’t budged until this morning when he’d relocated to the couch,

and the comforting drone of the television.

He’d had no appetite for two days, and it had been all she could do

to get liquids into him. That he was now hungry enough for soup

and crackers was encouraging. She was glad she’d stopped at the

grocery store and stocked up on crackers, bread and a variety of

soups, from clear broth to the more hearty vegetable ones.

“Do you want me to bring it in here?” she asked.

He sat up slowly, and didn’t seem inclined to move. “If you

wouldn’t mind,” he said, eyeing her dining room as if it were a

thousand miles away.

“No, I don’t mind,” she assured him. Her eyes darted to her meal.

“I’ll get you settled, then I’ll eat in the kitchen.”

His gaze was equal parts grateful and guilty when he looked up at

her. “Thanks,” he said in a small voice.

Sitting next to him, she wrapped an arm around his middle,

holding him gently. “I know your stomach’s still queasy, and that

it’s my chicken you have an aversion to, not me.” She gave him a

light squeeze to emphasize her words.

He nodded, his expression one of misery. “I hate being sick.”

Taking her other hand in his, he brought it to his cheek. “I hate that

at this moment the only thing I want from you is for you to take

care of me. I feel like I should be ashamed for wanting that.” He

looked up at her, dropping their hands to his lap. “But I don’t, and

for that I do feel ashamed.”

She laughed lightly. “You’re such a *man*.”

That earned her a smile. He snorted. “I don’t feel like much of one

right now.”

She brought his hand to her lips and kissed it. “I know. You’re

thinking that I’m seeing you at your worst.” When he looked away,

she brought his face back with a gentle touch. “You’re actually

hugely appealing, all helpless and whiny and oh-so-cuddly.”

“Whiny?” he whined, then immediately grimaced. “Oh, God, I

am.” He gazed into her eyes, a little shyly, she thought. “Helpless,

I readily agree.” He let a grin grow over his face. “You think I’m

cuddly?”

Wrapping her arms around him, she hugged him. “You are

incredibly cuddly.”

His expression changed to one of doubt. “Even on that mountain?

You can’t possibly find anything cuddly about a delirious man

begging for you to save him from past ghosts. My God, could I

have been any more pitiable?”

“I felt honored,” she told him, “that you had such faith in my

capability to deal with your ‘co-workers,’ that you would weave me

into your dream, into your memory.”

He hugged her as tightly as he could, then released her so he could

see her face. “It’s true. What I said.” His fingers intertwined with

hers. “I wish I had you back then. I’m so glad I have you now.” His

eyes brightened. “I wish I could have seen you in Kersh’s office

after I’d left.”

She blinked. “Mulder, I didn’t change his mind. You still had to go

up that damned mountain.”

“Yeah, but you tried. I know you tried.” He looked into her eyes.

“And that makes all the difference.”

She saw the gratitude and the acceptance and the love, and she

knew he was right. “Yeah, I guess it does.”

“Still…” he sighed.

“What?” She was dismayed that he’d changed his mind so quickly.

“The next time you beat up an alien and take his weapon, I’d really

like to be awake to see it.”

She didn’t care if he was sick; she let him have it—right on the

kisser.

Then she got up to freshen her lipstick, since she left most of it on

his lips.

The End

1

57

Would You Like Some Fries With That?

Would You Like Some Fries with That?

By Mary Kleinsmith (BUC252@aol.com)

Categories/Keywords: Post-ep for Small Fries, Written for VS10’s

Post-ep Challenge

Rating: PG

Summary: Six Weeks after the events in Small Fries, Scully and

Mulder visit the school

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: Scully and Mulder belong to 10-13, Fox, and CC.

Gabrielle and the rest of the Small Fries crowd belong to Kel, and I

thank her for sharing them with us.

Feedback: Please? Much appreciated!

Would You Like Some Fries with That?

By Mary Kleinsmith (BUC252@aol.com)

Mrs. Cooper stood at the front of the class, finishing the

mathematics lesson. All the children had done very well, the six-

year-olds finding their addition tables all the easier because of

the way she taught them.

Mulder and Scully watched from the corner of the room. It had

been six weeks since their ordeal in the town, and while official

follow-up wasn’t really part of their duties, they couldn’t resist

checking up on the five very special children.

Scattered about the classroom, fitting in like their parents always

dreamed, the changelings sat at their desk in their jeans or

dresses or their Sponge Bob T-shirts, absorbing the information

the teacher was imparting to them. The five were, undoubtedly,

intelligent – a fact that they both found amusing given their

father. Eddie Van Blundht was not the brightest penny in the jar.

“Look, Mulder,” Scully whispered, pointing to a small, blonde

girl in the second row. Gabrielle Nelligan wore the same braids

they’d seen her with when they’d been there last, but her clothes

were no longer the rags they had been.

“Looks like Amanda’s moving up in the world. I wonder how

she managed it on a single-mother’s salary.”

“Maybe she got a promotion,” Scully suggested in a whisper that

had gotten just a bit too loud.

“Shhh!” a student said with a finger over her pursed lips. This

child, Mulder remembered, was Erica Carlyle, the child who had

been accused of smashing a teacher’s car with a baseball bat. It

had turned out later to be Amanda, “making faces.”

Scully had the good grace to look at least a little guilty.

“I guess she told you!” Mulder smiled.

“I guess she did,” Scully agreed, smiling.

Mrs. Cooper was just finishing up the lesson when the first

rumbles went through the classroom. A few children’s faces

being fearful of the noise, but the teacher knew that if she kept

teaching, they’d eventually forget it was there and their fear

would dissipate.

Great plan while it lasted, she told herself, as the sky grew dark,

the noise grew louder and was accompanied by flashes of light,

and then, the rain came down. Buckets and buckets, cats and

dogs, as the old expression went.

Just as the rain became such a downpour that she didn’t think it

could get much worse, the inevitable happened: the bell for

recess rang.

There was instant movement, kids jumped out of their seats and

began to chatter, but she drew them back into control with her

words, calm and collected.

“Well, obviously we won’t be able to go on the playground

today, so we’ll just have to stay inside and have some fun. Can

anybody think of a game they’d like to play?”

All the kids shouted out at once. She should have known.

“Faces!”

She chuckled as she nodded her head. “Very well, since it seems

to be unanimous.”

“Mrs. Cooper, what is ‘u-nanny-mouse’?”

“It’s u-na-ni-muss, Christopher. And it means that everybody

thinks the same thing. Like what game you want to play.”

She turned her back on the class, cleaning the surface of her large

desk until the top was immaculate, then she took the chalk and

drew a line down the center of the blackboard. One column she

labeled, “challengers” and the other she labeled, “challenged.”

The two agents at the back of the classroom exchanged a look,

and she smiled a bit to herself. They’d get a kick out of this, just

as she did every time the children played it.

“Okay, everybody in their places.”

The five kids, Michael, Gabrielle, Joshua, Christopher, and

Matthew went to the front of the class, where she helped them

each to a seat on the desk, side by side, facing their classmates.

The other students quickly moved forward to fill in empty

spaces, some of them dragging their desks and chairs even closer

to get a better look.

“Who gets to go first?”

“Me, me, me!” a small boy at a desk shrieked, waving his hand.

“Okay, Jason. You first. We’ll work from left to right.”

“Okay, ummmm . . . the kid from Home Alone!” His challenge

was proudly given, but Michael didn’t seem at all concerned.

Sitting very still, they all watched as Michael’s face changed,

even his hair changed, until was the spitting image of McCauley

Caulkin – in the years before he grew up.

Everybody laughed and clapped.

“Very good, Michael. Excellent. That’s one point for the

challenged team.” She drew a slash mark on the board in their

column.

“Me next!” another child begged, and when she nodded, she said,

Mrs. Cooper.”

The teacher was pleased to watch as Gabrielle turned into a tiny

replica of herself. It was adorable. Another point went in the

“challenged” column.

“I have one, I have one!” At the teacher’s nod, the student looked

Joshua in the eye. “Hermoine Granger! From the movie.”

“Oooh,” went through the classroom. They all knew that Joshua

was the weakest when it came to making faces, and asking a boy

to do a girl made it especially hard.

Joshua’s four teammates supported him, trying to send them their

strength through their eyes while he tried with all his might, but

the class agreed that he never quite made it to looking like the

child in question. A point went into the “challenger” column.

They continued making challenges and faces for about forty-five

minutes, and only occasionally did Mrs. Cooper have to step in

and play judge, deciding as to whether the child in question had

succeeded in doing the face. She had the best kids. She may not

have any of her own, but she had a whole class of them here.

Even Agents Mulder and Scully made challenges once or twice,

and they did well and kept in mind that there were some people

the first-graders wouldn’t know.

The score was tied, and their hour recess was almost up.

Suddenly, Mrs. Cooper smiled. She had an idea.

“Hey everybody, can I make a challenge?”

All the small heads nodded simultaneously. “I’ll need two of

you – who wants to do it?”

“Me!” Michael’s hand went up, just a moment before

Christopher’s, and simultaneously with Gabrielle’s.

“Okay, Michael, and Gabrielle. Do . . .” she drew it out, a

simulated drum roll. “. . . Agents Mulder and Scully.”

The gasps were heard throughout the classroom – nobody had

ever challenged a guest in the classroom before. The room grew

silent as the seated students watched intensely.

“C’mon, Michael,” Christopher encouraged. “You can do it.

He’s standing right there.”

“Yeah, Gabrielle,” Matthew said with a grin. “She should be

easy. You’re both girls, after all.” He exchanged a look with

Joshua.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the two students’ faces changed.

Formed, reformed, their concentration apparent. Mrs. Cooper

retrieved a small mirror from her desk and gave it to them to help

them see if they were on track.

Finally, ten minutes later, they put the mirror down.

“Done!” said Michael.

And surely enough, he bore a striking resemblance to Mulder.

Not perfect, but close enough for a point in their favor. Gabrielle

had a tougher time, and her “Scully” face wasn’t quite as close,

but still pretty good.

“I did it!” She said.

“No, you didn’t,” a classmate claimed. “You don’t look like

her.” He pointed to Scully.

“Sure, I do!” Gabrielle began to argue, and Mrs. Cooper knew

she had to resolve the situation before the tensions grew.

“Okay, okay, I’ll be the judge.” She walked around Gabrielle for

almost a full minute, then did the same to Scully, which made

both Mulder and the rest of the class laugh. “I’ve decided that

the winners of today’s game are . . .” She hesitated, and the kids

were at the edges of their seats.

“. . . it’s a tie! Both teams win!” With that, the entire classroom

erupted in cheers, just as the bell rang again.

“Okay, that’s lunch. Get your boxes and go down to the

cafeteria. In an orderly fashion, please!”

The five “misfits” jumped off the desk and joined their

classmates, and before long, the room was deserted of her young

charges.

She didn’t realize she wasn’t alone until a male voice cleared

itself behind her. Agents Mulder and Scully hadn’t left with the

kids.

“I have to say,” Agent Scully said, “I’m very impressed with

how you handle those kids. Six-year-olds can be a handful under

the best of circumstances, but this group . . .”

“They’re still just kids, Agent Scully. You just have to keep

them interested.”

“Well, you seem to do that very well,” Mulder agreed. “In this

type of environment, there’d be a predilection for a schism to

develop between the two factions: those gifted, and those non-

gifted. But these children don’t have any of the signs of that.

Very impressive, indeed.”

“Well, thank you, Agents. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a

lesson plan to complete before they get back.

They all shook hands, and Mulder and Scully took their leave of

her as she turned to begin cleaning the chalk from the

blackboard. As she bent down to retrieve a dropped eraser,

nobody saw the small, round scar right above her tailbone. . .

The End . . .

Portents

TITLE: Portents

AUTHOR: Dawn

EMAIL: sunrise@lightfirst.com

RATING: PG

SPOILERS: Prequel to Justice, Interrupted

SUMMARY: Portent — Prophetic or threatening significance

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter and

1013 Productions. No copyright infringement is intended.

AUTHOR’S NOTES: Written for the VS10 Post-episode

challenge. Many thanks to dtg and Vickie for beta.

FEEDBACK: Yes, please.

Portents

By Dawn

They’ve been at it for hours now, and she’s had enough.

Loaned to Domestic Terrorism in what was essentially a political

gesture of good will, they are staked out in front of the dilapidated

shell of a factory, waiting for a clandestine meeting between two

alleged arms dealers. In four hours of surveillance they’ve

consumed a thermos of coffee, listened to the Yankees beat the

White Sox, and debated whether Skinner has an active sex life. In a

final act of desperation, she’s allowed Mulder to cajole her into a

game of Watercooler Trivia.

“My turn.” Mulder slips another seed between his teeth, gaze

skimming over her before returning to the darkened building. “The

category is ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ for two hundred.”

“All right. Fire away.”

“Which Hoover building employee’s fashionable coiffure is

actually a wig?”

She thinks a moment. Frowns. “Clarification, Mulder. A full wig?

Because lots of women wear hairpieces.”

“Give me a little credit, Scully; I know the difference. I’m telling

you, this ‘do’ is a don’t.”

“Okay, okay.”

She chews the inside of one cheek, sifting through a sea of faces

and coming up empty. Who in the hell could he be talking about?

Smugly annoying, Mulder spits a seed out the window and begins

humming the Jeopardy theme under his breath. She huffs, grasping

at straws.

“Florence Dobson?”

His brow furrows. “Florence who?”

“In Financial Operations. I would think you’d be buddies, Mulder.

Among other things, she handles reimbursements.”

“Ahh. You mean the older lady with hair like a gray football

helmet?”

“I take it she’s not the one.”

He mimics a buzzer. “Nope. Not even close.” He checks his watch,

then glares out the window. “This was a waste of time. The action

is going to happen around back; I’d bet my life on it.”

She tamps down the urge to strangle him. “Mulder?”

“Hmm?” He gives her a blank, uncomprehending look, but she

knows him well enough to glimpse the glint of mischief beneath.

“So it’s not Florence Dobson. Who is it?”

He leans in, as if about to impart information vital to national

defense and not a juicy piece of gossip. “You won’t believe this,

Scully. I mean, I can hardly believe it. Never in a million years–”

“Mulderrrr…”

The pop of a gunshot has them scrambling from the car even

before the radio crackles to life with the ASAC’s shouts for

reinforcements. But by the time they make it into the building, it’s

over. A scruffy-looking street punk in ripped jeans and a leather

jacket stands with palms pressed to the cinderblock wall and legs

spread. His ‘business associate’ lies crumpled on the ground in a

puddle of blood.

“Always last to the party, huh, Mulder?” Agent Sam Kenilworth,

not one of Mulder’s biggest fans, smirks up at them as he crouches

and disarms the motionless figure. “We were beginning to worry

you’d been abducted by little green men.”

His partner, Ricky Glassman, snickers under his breath as he frisks

the punk. Less than a year out of the academy, Glassman reminds

her of an eager-to-please puppy tagging at Kenilworth’s heels. She

grits her teeth but Mulder, as always, ignores the bait.

“Not a chance, Sam. See, they’re airing the intergalactic World

Series right now and no self-respecting Reticulan would be caught

dead away from his television. Next week–that’s a different story.”

His deadpan delivery is marred only by a subtle wink in her

direction before he ambles over to confer with ASAC Griffin.

Kenilworth’s jaw drops–she can see the wheels turning as he tries

to decide if he’s just been had–and Glassman sneaks a few furtive

glances from over his shoulder. Squelching a grin, she kneels

beside the downed suspect to assess his condition.

“You’re going to need a coroner, not an ambulance,” she tells

Kenilworth. “He’s dead.”

“That’s what the little bastard gets for resisting arrest.” Kenilworth

zips the confiscated weapon into a plastic evidence bag and stands.

Just as all hell breaks loose.

Scuffling feet, a harsh gasp of surprise, a low grunt of pain.

Kenilworth, eyes huge, diving toward his partner. “Ricky! Gun!”

Glassman doubled over, arms clutching his gut. The punk whirling,

face twisted into a snarl and fingers wrapped around a gun.

Glassman’s gun.

Shots fired.

Mulder!

A distant corner of her mind registers the thud of bodies hitting the

ground, Kenilworth’s curses, and the smack of fists hitting flesh.

Griffin charges across the room. “Drop it–NOW!”

Glassman’s babbling a stream of excuses and apologies.

His partner, furious: “Shut the hell up, Ricky, and give me your

cuffs!”

It’s only a drone, white noise. All she can see, feel, touch is Mulder

as he sways, amazingly still on his feet, a bewildered expression on

his chalk-white face and a rapidly growing crimson stain spreading

across his crisp blue shirt. His lips form her name and he sinks to

his knees.

She eases him down, cradling him in her lap. Blood–warm, wet,

sticky–is everywhere, oozing between her fingers, soaking into her

coat… His shirt feels spongy under her palms. Wide hazel eyes

lock onto hers and he again attempts to say her name.

“Scuh…”

Catching in his throat, the syllable transforms into a ragged cough.

Blood now paints his lips and trickles from the corner of his

mouth.

“Shh, shh. Don’t try to talk.”

His head lolls on her arm as she rips open his shirt, buttons flying

to click and roll across the floor. Blinking back stinging tears, she

struggles to breathe.

It’s bad. Very bad.

Someone–Griffin–thrusts a wad of cloth in her face. She presses it

firmly against the bubbling wound with one hand, the other cradled

along his jaw to support his head. His eyes are already turning

glassy and vague and she swears she feels him drawing away from

her. Faintly, in the distance, a siren wails.

“Somebody get those EMTs in here NOW!”

What was meant to sound commanding is shaky and broken.

Mulder’s eyelashes flutter and he fights to focus on her face.

Stubborn to the core, he tries a third time to speak. Lips move

soundlessly, but her heart doesn’t need to hear the words.

Scully. Love you.

He’s saying goodbye.

“Don’t you dare give up on me, Mulder. I will kick your ass–even

if I have to chase you into the afterlife to do it.” Tears blur her

vision but she refuses to let them fall, her thumb brushing back and

forth across his cool cheek.

One corner of his mouth tries to turn up but his eyes slip shut and

his expression goes slack. Suddenly he feels unreasonably heavy in

her arms.

A dead weight.

God, no.

She clutches him closer, pressing her cheek against the softness of

his hair, rocking. Not now. Not like this–stupid, meaningless… She

dimly hears Griffin call out, directing the EMTs to their location;

Kenilworth manhandling a sullen but compliant gunman;

Glassman still moaning regrets.

Stifling a keening sob, she prays. Bargains.

Just one more chance. Please, God, I’ll do anything you ask of me.

Just give him–

“–one more chance.”

The sound of her own voice, husky with tears, jerks her out of

slumber. Scully bolts upright, eyes roaming the darkened living

room, breathing rapid and harsh in the silence. Images clinging like

cobwebs, she swipes the back of one trembling hand over damp

cheeks and struggles to shake off the dream.

The stakeout. The shooting. Mulder bleeding on the ground. Dying

in her arms.

Part dream, part memory. Two weeks have passed since that

terrible night. Mulder was discharged from the hospital this

morning. A wraith of his former self–too pale, too thin–he’s weak

as a kitten and utterly dependent upon her for even his most basic

needs. But alive.

Alive.

Psyche still edgy and raw from her dream, Scully rises on shaky

legs and pads back to her bedroom on bare, catlike feet. Pale slices

of moonlight slip between the blinds, illuminating her bed and

Mulder’s still form. Propped on a mound of fluffy pillows, one arm

curled protectively across his chest, the chuff of his soft, rhythmic

breathing soothes her troubled spirit.

She closes her eyes, tension draining out of her body, leaving her

limp and languid with relief. The doctors assert that Mulder’s

stubborn tenacity was responsible for his survival. Mulder insists

her unwavering love and belief in him was the tether binding him

to life, to her. And she… She remembers a bargain born from

desperation.

No matter. The gift of this man in her bed, in her life, is worth any

price God might exact. They’ve both been given another chance,

and she doesn’t intend to waste it.

She’s still hovering in the doorway, absorbed in her own thoughts,

when his respiration quickens and becomes uneven. Lips tighten

and brow furrows, while limbs shift restlessly beneath the covers.

The signs of a nightmare, heartbreakingly familiar now that they

share a bed, spur her to action. Mulder’s knitting flesh can ill afford

the sudden, sometimes violent movements his dreams can provoke.

Easing onto the mattress, careful to jostle him as little as possible,

she strokes the backs of her fingers over his sandpapery cheek. Her

voice, low and honey-smooth, is pitched to soothe him out of the

darkness.

“Mulder, you’re dreaming. You need to wake up.”

His hair-trigger reflexes dulled by pain medication, Mulder drifts

back to her slowly, eyes fluttering open to stare blankly at her face.

After a moment, clarity seeps back into his gaze and his lips curve

into a slightly loopy smile.

“Hi.”

“Hi yourself.” She touches her lips to his in a chaste but emotion-

filled kiss.

He blinks; sighs. “Want more of that.”

She brushes her thumb across the lip she just kissed, smiling. “Me

too. Hold that thought.”

Lines around his eyes and mouth, and the stiff careful way he

shifts position speak volumes about a level of pain he tries to deny.

She gets him a glass of water and the little pink pill, and though his

eyes communicate frustration, he accepts both without comment.

When she stands, intending to return to the couch, he catches hold

of her wrist.

“Stay.”

He has no idea how deeply she longs to do just that. For two

endless weeks she’s slept in a cold, empty bed, missing his

comforting warmth at her back, the reassuring whisper of his

breath on her neck. The thought of curling up beside him is

seductive, but pragmatism and a three-inch scar hold her back.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”

The line between his brows deepens and he thrusts out his lip.

“Since when?”

She lets him draw her down, placing one hand on his bandage-

swathed chest. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t.”

When exactly did she lose the ability to resist him? Or is it simply

that she needs this as badly as he does? “Here. Sit up a minute.”

She rearranges bedding and Mulder until she’s the one propped

against the headboard, his head pillowed on her chest. He relaxes

against her with a quivering sigh of contentment, cuddling her like

a weary toddler embracing his favorite teddy bear. His fingers slip

under the edge of her pajama top, stroking the tender skin just

above her waist.

“Needed this.”

She presses a kiss to the crown of his head, fingers threading

through his hair. “Me too.” Sleep beckons until memories,

sharpened by her dream, remind her of unfinished business.

“Mulder?”

“Hmm?” He’s already fading, lulled by the pain pill and her

soothing touch.

“You never told me who wears a wig.”

It takes his foggy brain a moment to make the connection, soft

chuckle cut short by a wince of pain. “Shelby Thompson.”

Her fingers falter. “In HR? The chesty blonde with the lacquered

on make-up?”

He chuffs again; moans. “Scully, stop. You’re killing me.”

“You were right. Never in a million years…” She cranes her head

to see his face. “Dare I ask?”

“She and Janine Christiansen had a falling out.” Mulder’s words

slur, his eyelids drifting to half-mast. “Never piss off a woman,

Scully. “‘S always gonna come back and bite ya on the ass.”

She thinks of Glassman’s OPR hearing, mouth forming a hard

smile as her fingers resume stroking. “Words to live by, Mulder.

You know the old saying about a woman scorned?

Underestimating us can land you in a whole world of trouble.”

She lets her eyes drift shut, lulled by Mulder’s warm weight and

soft, rhythmic breathing as he sinks into dreams troubled by

blazing headlights, paralyzing fear, and heartbreaking betrayal.

Ovan Akta Revisited

Title: Ovan Akta Revisited

By: Girlie_girl7

Spoilers: Ovan Akta by FoxfireX_00 and Girlie_girl7

Date: 12-22-02

EM: Girlie_girl74@yahoo.com

Rating: G

Category: M&S

Disclaimer: They belong to Fox

Archive: VS 10 for two weeks then anywhere

~ Ovan Akta Revisited ~

It’s nearly noon on a lazy Saturday in October. A

click is heard at Dana Scully’s front door, in walks

Fox Mulder; he pockets his keys while he flips through

the mail he has just picked up at the bureau.

“Hey Scully, it’s me,” Mulder yells over his shoulder

shrugging out of his leather jacket. He walks into

the living room, absent-mindedly tossing his jacket

onto the back of Scully’s armchair. He plops down on

the couch and begins to tear open his mail.

“Morning Mulder,” Scully smiles as she breezes in from

the bedroom, clad in a soft gray sweater, faded blue

jeans and ratty house slippers.

Mulder’s face is covered with a guilty looking smile.

“Sorry Scully, I didn’t mean to ditch you this morning

but I went for a run, picked up the mail and got a

hair cut.”

Scully sits down beside Mulder with her feet drawn up

under her; she runs her fingers through his hair. “I

like it, but you still owe me breakfast.”

“Deal,” Mulder replies leaning in to kiss her. He

frowns and runs his tongue over his lips, “I taste

maple, you did have breakfast.”

She grabs his arm between her hands and leans into

him, “Well maybe just a little but you still owe me.”

Mulder pulls out two pieces of mail and hands them to

her. “Here, these are for you.”

Scully wrinkles her nose at the first one. It’s a

pitch for a new low interest credit card. The second

one peaks’ her interest; it’s from Leah Beechy back in

Indiana. Scully’s thoughts drift back to the week she

and Mulder spent undercover as an Amish couple,

investigating flying cows. She smiles at the thought

of Mulder in those taut dark cotton trousers and light

blue work shirts coming in all sweaty from the fields.

And that beard! Oh my, that luscious furry face of

his.

Scully is suddenly snapped out of her reverie by the

sound of her name being called. “Scully, Scully, you

in there?” Mulder smiles at her and taps the end of

her nose with an envelope.

“Huh, what? Clearing her throat, Scully tries to

recover, “This is a letter from Leah Beechy.”

“The Amish woman you delivered the baby for?”

“Yes,” Scully says as she runs her finger under the

flap of the envelope. She pulls out the letter as

Mulder leans in to read it over her shoulder. A few

years ago this would have bugged the heck out of her

but now she just snuggles into his chest and they read

it together.

Mulder finally speaks up, “Sounds like Leah really

wants to get her son into school.”

“Well, I did tell her to write to my friend Dana

Scully and she would help.” Scully shifts the pages

in her hands, “She says ‘Obadiah is anxious to try

school again.'” Scully sighs, “I just hope he isn’t

still levitating cattle.”

Mulder looks over the mail he is holding, “Leah said

it would only last one growing season.”

“Let’s hope so.” Scully sighs.

Mulder nudges her with his arm, “You really took a

shine to that little kid didn’t you,” he softly says.

Scully drops her eyes back down to the letter in her

lap. “Yeah I guess I did. He has so much potential

Mulder but Leah and Beechy don’t know how to tap into

it.”

I know it’s a bad situation Scully but do you think

you can help them?”

Scully looks up at him, “I can try.”

Mulder kisses her forehead. “You never were one to

back down from a challenge.”

Scully gets up and pulls Mulder off the couch, “If I

were I would have left you years ago.”

“Don’t I know it.” Mulder chuckles.

Scully spends her afternoon at home working on her

computer, checking out the web sites of specialty

schools in Northeastern Indiana. She knows Obadiah

has to be near his family that’s imperative. To take

him out of their care would be too much of a culture

shock for the eight-year-old Amish boy and Scully is

certain that Leah would never let the youngster out of

her sight. That greatly limits the possibilities for

her finding the proper education for Obadiah.

Mulder walks up behind her and gently rubs her back.

“You need a break. You stare at that thing all week;

let’s get some air.”

Scully sighs and removes her glasses. “This is going

to be harder than I thought.”

Mulder stoops down beside her. “Look Scully you don’t

need to find the answers to all of Obadiah’s problems

in one day.”

Scully shuts down her PC, “I know but I promised

them.”

“I know you, you’ll keep that promise.” Mulder softly

says.

They walk through the streets of Georgetown. The

leaves are beginning to fall and the air is crisp.

They stop in at the little cafi just down from

Scully’s apartment.

Mulder orders two cups of coffee and a cinnamon roll

to split between them, knowing full well that he’ll

eat most of it.

Scully stares out the window but isn’t looking at

anything in particular. Mulder reaches across the

table and takes her hand. “Scully, you’re thinking

again.”

Scully looks over at her partner as a smile crosses

her face. “Okay I get the message.”

Mulder rubs her hand. “You’ll find a way to help him

but the weekends are for us.” Then he grins, “Now

let’s talk about me and my needs.”

Scully has to laugh, after all these years he can

still surprise her.

Their coffee arrives and as usual Mulder eats most of

the cinnamon roll.

They slowly walk back to the apartment, hand in hand.

Mulder unlocks the apartment door and lets Scully

enter first. He takes her jacket and his own to the

closet and hangs them up. He finds her sitting on the

edge of their bed, the letter from Leah in her hand.

He sighs and rubs his forehead. “Okay Scully you want

me to get the Gunman involved in this. They can find

anything.”

“Even a special education class for a child whose only

mode of transportation is the horse and buggy.”

Mulder sits down next to her on the bed. “They can

try.”

“Mulder I love you but this is my problem and I’ll

find the solution to it.”

“So.” Mulder sighs and fingers the pattern on the bed

spread, “I guess that means making love this weekend

is out.”

Scully looks up at him with a smirk on her face; “I

can multi-task you know.” Mulder grabs her shoulders

and they tumble back onto the bed all hands and

giggles.

Early Monday morning finds Dana Scully at the Hoover

Building but she isn’t working on a bureau matter, she

is still trying to find a way to help Obadiah and

feels she’s getting close.

Mulder breezes in to their office, coat over his

shoulder and basketball in hand, “Morning sunshine,

and who ditched who this morning?” he says with a

grin.

Scully lifts her eyes from her computer, “Sorry

Mulder, I just couldn’t sleep.”

Mulder sits down on the edge of her desk. “Still

thinking about that kid?”

“‘Fraid so,” Scully sighs shutting down her computer.

She gathers up a pile of papers, taps them into order,

and places them into a file folder.

“Oh Scully don’t forget I’ve got a game tonight,”

Mulder says while spinning the basketball on one

finger.

“Sure, whatever,” Scully absent-mindedly responds.

“I’ll see you later, I have some stops to make.”

Scully walks from the office. Mulder watches her

leave and mutters, “I’ll bet before this day is over

she places that kid somewhere.”

The day runs into the afternoon and that runs into the

evening. Mulder finally makes it to Scully’s front

door. He’s gotten his ass kicked in basketball, taken

a nasty hit to the ribs and split his bottom lip but

the pain to his ego is far worse than the physical

pain he feels.

He opens the front door and unceremoniously drops the

basketball at his feet. He can hear Scully’s animated

voice on the phone. He toes off his sneakers and

peels off his trench coat with a hushed groan and

softly walks toward the bathroom holding his right

side. He knows Scully is going to shit when she sees

the beating he has taken but all he can think about is

a hot tub of water, a hot meal and hopefully later

tonight a hot Scully.

Mulder turns on the water and eases his shirt over his

head tossing it in the general direction of the

hamper; next to come off are his trunks and

compression shorts. It takes some doing but he

finally manages to reach his feet and remove his

socks.

The tub is half full and steaming when he eases his

tired and sore body into it. He rests his head

against the cool granite and wishes he had thought to

take a couple of Tylenol before climbing in.

Suddenly the door bursts open and an excited Scully

enters. “Mulder, I have some wonderful news. . .,”

she gets a good look at her partner, “what the hell

happened to you? Did you run off and get yourself

hurt again?”

Mulder has to smile at Scully’s concern. “No Scully,”

Mulder winces, “I was playing basketball. I told you I

would be late.”

“Yeah, well it must have been kick boxing basketball,”

Scully frowns, “Mulder let me see your chest.”

“Scully must you always think of sex?”

“I believe that’s one of your lines Mulder, now get

over here and let me see your chest.”

Mulder sits up and turns slightly, lifting his arm.

Scully sits on her knees to examine the large purple

bruise on his ribs. She presses gently on his side,

“Does it hurt?”

Mulder winces, “Only when you poke at it!”

“Well I don t think they’re broken but I will keep an

eye on them. Now let me see that lip,” Scully says as

she grabs his chin.

“You wanna kiss it and make it all better?” Mulder

leers at her.

“Maybe later but first I want to get some disinfectant

on it.”

“Scully it’s only a scrape,” Mulder whines.

Scully gets up to retrieve a small tube of ointment

from the medicine chest. “Yes but it’s on one of my

favorite parts of your anatomy.”

“One of them?” Mulder questions.

Scully dabs a small amount of ointment on Mulder’s

swollen bottom lip. Mulder jerks back, “Ouch! That

hurts.” She grabs his forehead to steady him. “Hold

still Mulder, honestly you’re worse than a kid.”

“Speaking of kids,” Mulder interrupts, “what did you

find out about Obadiah.”

Scully recaps the tube and replaces it in the medicine

chest. “That’s why I came in here. I’ve found a school in

Lagrange County that will take him on an interim basis, at

least until he is ready to join the Amish school and the

bus goes past Beechy’s place.”

“Sounds good.”

Scully stoops back down. “It’s a start. They can do

the proper testing and see just what Obadiah’s

limitations are. Since Amish children only attend

school until they’re sixteen and are taught in

one-room schoolhouses I persuaded the school to put

all their effort behind Obadiah to try and get him up

to speed so he can join Mary and Rebecca before they

finish their education’s. I think he needs that sense

of family at least until he gets settled in to the

routine of attending school.”

Mulder runs his finger over Scully’s clasp hands, “You

do good work Dana Scully.”

Scully’s eyes grow moist, as it hits her that she did

in deed do a good job and she will make an impact on

this little boy’s life.

Mulder senses the need to pull Scully back. “Care to

join me,” he leers.

“Well. . .”

“I’m too sore to try anything,” he says putting his

hands up.

Scully gets up and walks to the door. “In that case

you’re on your own,” she says over her shoulder as she

shuts the door.

Mulder rolls his head back and laughs, “Scully! Help

me get out!”

~ Several months later ~

Scully walks into the basement office of the X Files

to find an envelope lying on her desk. The return

address on it is from Leah Beechy back in Indiana.

Mulder walks in from the lab area, “Morning Scully.”

He has obviously been there for some time, his jacket

is off and his shirtsleeves are already rolled up.

“Morning Mulder,” Scully routinely says as she sits

down and begins to read the letter.

Mulder is watching her; the expression on her face

goes from concern to contentment to joy. Finally

Mulder can’t stand it any longer, “Okay Scully, what

gives? Did you win the lottery or something?”

“I feel like it,” Scully smiles. “This is from Leah

Beechy.”

“The Amish woman?”

“Yes. She says Obadiah is doing well in public school

and will soon be allowed to return to his own Amish

school.” She shuffles the pages, “They had him tested

and it turns out his has an attention deficit problem

and he is near sighted. She’s included a school

picture of him.”

Scully smiles at the picture while Mulder gets up to

look over her shoulder. “How cute!” Scully remarks,

“Look at the tiny wire rimmed glasses.”

“And the big grin.” Mulder says. “Scully I thought

Amish didn’t like to be photographed?”

“The adults don’t, but they allow their children’s

picture to be taken as long as the child doesn’t

object.”

“You know your Amish,” Mulder smiles at her as she

stares at Obadiah’s picture. “Does she say anything

else?”

“Very little,” Scully says with a touch of sadness in

her voice. “Remember it was Hannah Mulder who spent

the week with her and not Dana Scully.”

Mulder picks up the envelope to return the letter to

it, “Hey Scully did you know this was in there?” He

holds up a small piece of paper, “It’s addressed to

Hannah Mulder.”

Scully takes the note from Mulder’s hand, “No I

didn’t.” She sits back down to read it. Her eyes

grow red and watery.

Mulder is getting concerned, “It’s not bad news is

it?”

Scully’s blue eyes spill over with tears. “No Mulder,

its great news. Leah says Dana is her second guardian

angel, Hannah is her first. Obadiah is doing well and

he misses me, I mean Hannah.” Scully’s face grows

wide with a grin, “Obadiah has not been levitating

cows, and Hannah, the baby is growing like a weed.”

“Don’t mention weeds,” Mulder teases.

“Oh and Leah says Hannah is crawling and has two

teeth!”

“That’s nice Scully.” Mulder stoops down in front of

her.

Scully sniffles as a giggle bubbles up from her

throat. “Obadiah misses me.”

Scully wraps her arms around Mulder and laughs softly.

“Oh Mulder.”

He gently squeezes her and softly says, “See Scully,

all this from a flying cow.”

~ The End ~