Summary: Scully in jeopardy, Mulder in mourning, and their connection.
Rated: PG with a dash of NC-17 to taste.
Acknowledgments and comments at the end.

"We do not want our world to perish.
But in our quest for knowledge,
century by century,
we have placed all our trust in a cold, impartial intellect
which only brings us nearer to destruction.
We have heeded no wisdom offering guidance.
Only by learning to love one another can our world be saved.
Only love can conquer all."
-Dora Russell (1894-1986),
final words of final volume of her autobiography.

The Rarity of The Human Connection 
And Several Months Missed (1/9)
By MD1016

The first thing Dana Scully was conscious of was the wet earth beneath
her, and then the overwhelming urge to spit out whatever it was that was
crawling around in her mouth.  Spewing ants and dirt, her weak arms lifted
her torso from the mud.  But the dull protest from her biceps and shoulders
were paled by the rage of fire sweeping over her skin.

With groggy eyes, Dana glanced down to find her entire body crawling
with tiny red insects.  In a wild panic her hands swatted over her body and
face, down her wet navy tee-shirt, through the matted strands of her short,
reddish hair.  Her voice escaped in small squeals of distress. Then, all
at once, her eyes bulged in the horror of realization: fingers flew to the
buttons on her fly and she stripped the heavy denim from her legs.

Dotting the normally pale, smooth surface of her thighs and calves were
hundreds of small, red bumps; many of which had already risen with white,
pussy caps.  Their burning stings told her that even in those
impossible-to-see places, the ants had left their marks.

Without a second thought, she pulled her socks and under things off as
well; and, standing naked on the leaf-covered forest floor, she shook all of
the clothing out - carefully inspecting the pockets - before the idea of
modesty bloomed in her head.  In an instant, the jeans were against her
chest in a fruitless attempt to cover herself against possible on-lookers.
But as she scanned the area, she chided herself.  There was no one there.
No eyes boring in to her back.  No peeping Toms in the trees.  And that
thought furrowed her brow.

She was alone.

Looking over the jeans in her hands, Scully sighed.  They were a mess.
Mud, dirt, small rips and tears.  With a deep intake of breath, and a small
wince at the pain she found in her ribs, she reluctantly put them on again.
Wet, muddy denim.  Ugh.

And then the realization hit her.  It took a moment for the thought to gel in
her still-swimming head.  There was *no one* there.  Just her and the
buzzing air around her.  And the ants.  Scully balled her small fists, refusing
to allow herself the pain/pleasure of itching the bites, and looked around.

The density of the forest was consistent as far as she could see in every
direction.  The one clearing - where she'd been laying on the ground -
looked to be the remains of a colony of small red ants.  Everything else was
lush, wet vegetation that went up and up and up.  The sun barely
reached down past the vapory fog in the air.  But what few beams did
penetrate fell on thick moss and ferns and ivy that blanketed the forest
floor.  There was no clear direction to go in; no real distinction to tell her
which way she'd come from.

"Where the hell am I?"  The startling sound of her voice seemed foreign
and unnatural to her ears.  She coughed a little and the exertion made her
head spin.  Without a thought, Scully reached a hand out to brace herself
against a nearby tree, nearly tripping forward in the process.  Why didn't
she know where she was?

But then, she couldn't remember getting there, either.  Car?  Plane?  The
spruce trees did suggest a northern state - if, in fact - she was still in the
United States.  She looked down at the clothes she was wearing as if
seeing them for the first time.  Her heavy hiking boots, her favorite pair of
dark blue jeans, a navy blue tee-shirt, and a red checked flannel shirt lay
some five feet from the mound . . . that was obviously not hers.  Too
big.  And the buttons were on the wrong side.  A man's shirt.  She sighed
and flicked another ant from her shoulder.

She cupped her hands around her mouth, "Hello-o-o-o-o-o-o?"  The odd
tinny sound she made was swallowed up by the thick air.  Her brow
lowered.  It was like someone had taken all of the bass out of her voice.

A practiced hand went to her throat.  But the absence of any pain there
lead her to the conclusion that it must be her ears that were effected.  That
also might account for the nausea and dizziness, she told herself.  Inner ear
infection?  A virus?  Congestion?  And no doubt the pain of the ant bites
wasn't helping, either.  She allowed the simple explanations to take hold in
her mind and focused more on her immediate need to get back to
civilization again.  She would worry about her head cold later.

Scully picked up the over-sized shirt and tied the arms around her waist
and with absolute determination, she stumbled straight ahead in to the
undergrowth. "This direction is as good as any other," she whispered under
her breath.  "But you better watch out, Dana, you've started talking to

The sounds of the forest surrounded her: things walking just beyond view,
something flapping over head.  A random rattle of wind through the
branches.  Each was a sensation in pain as it entered the dull throb just
behind her ears and veined out to filter through her entire body.  Both
hands mechanically ran across her head looking for bumps and wounds, but
the only thing she found was filthy, unwashed hair, and more ant bites.
And, of course, the rhythmic throb of blood trying to flow.

For a moment, Scully stopped to once again brace herself against the
rough bark of a tree and inhaled deeply, filling her lungs to capacity.
Attributing the fatigue in her muscles to a lack of blood and oxygen, she
tried to force the liquid in her veins to seep through every inch of her body
by sheer will alone.  "Keep moving," she told herself.  "Keep the muscles

She stepped over a large twisted root and began to analyze her situation.
What was the last thing she remembered?  Her brow twisted in
concentration.  The last thing . . . the last thing . . ..  And then Dana
stopped dead in her tracks.  She couldn't remember anything.  Think back,
she tried to calm herself.  You know your name is Dana.  Work off of that.
Right.  Dana.  And then she remembered her family.  Her mother and
brothers.  And Melissa.  "Oh, Melissa."

Her heart sank down and she stopped trying to remember.  She closed her
mind and just let her feet carry her heavy, achy body over the uneven

After walking for some undetermined length of time, Dana felt for her
watch. It was gone, along with her gun and any kind of identification,
money and her cellular.  "Now why would I be in the woods alone without
my gun?"  She slipped a hand to her brow, and itched the collection of
bumps she found there, but couldn't get the memories to come.  At least
she remembered that she *had* a gun, which reminded her that she was in
the FBI, which brought up an image of Mulder sitting with his feet propped
up on his desk with that damned smirk on his face.  Oh, God!  Mulder!  He
would be with her!

And her feet stopped.  Where was Mulder?

She hadn't seen anyone else in the immediate area, but then she hadn't
really looked for him either.  What if he was unconscious under a bush?
Scully turned and ran back in the general direction that she had come from,
uncertain how far she'd traveled.  "The ant bed," she reminded herself,
"Look for the ants."

The foliage was unrelenting, and her run quickly became a jog, which
ultimately returned to a walk.  But even if her path had been cleared she
wouldn't have been able to keep up any kind of pace.  As it was, the
muscles in her thighs were quivering from exhaustion.  But somehow she
kept moving forward - back to where she'd woken up.  There would be no
way she would go in to a forest alone and unarmed without her partner.  It
was against FBI protocol.  He had to be there somewhere.

"Mulder!"  She called out as loud as she possibly could.  "Mulder!  Can
you hear me?"  But the squawk of birds in the blinding white of the canopy
far overhead was the only response she received.  She continued further;
pushing bushes out of the way, and calling out every minute or so:

Soon the energy it took to plow through damp, thick air left her panting,
hair plastered to her face.  She leaned against a tree to catch her breath.
None of it looked familiar.  She had no idea if she was even close to the
path she'd originally taken away from the ants.  The ground was fairly
symmetrical, so she had 360 degrees with every step that could have taken
her in the wrong direction.

With one hand she pulled the soaked cotton tee from her chest.  The bites
stung like hell, and the sweat was aggravating the infections.  But her mind
was filled only with her partner.  Mulder would never have left her, she
reasoned.  Of course, the nagging guilt reminded her that she might
have done just that . . . unknowingly.  No.  If Mulder had been there, she
would have seen him.  If he had woken before her, he would have found
her.  No question.  So the only logical explanation - the only possible
explanation she would allow herself - was that for some inexplicable reason
she and Mulder had been separated.  Undoubtedly, he was looking for her.
He would find her.  He *would* find her.

And then he would chide her for running off without him, and she would
point out that he had done that on more occasions than she wished to
remember, and with worse results.  And he would smile his closed-lipped
smile and blaze his narrow hazel eyes at her and she would have to
look away just to keep from blushing.  And then maybe he would take her
hand in his, and tell her that he'd been worried about her.  Terribly worried.
But nothing more.  Because, as partners, more would be . . . unsightly.

What?  What was she thinking?  Scully closed her eyes in an attempt to
clear her head.  Everything was jumbling up in her mind; emotions and
thoughts and an overwhelming sense of panic.

"Mulder!!  Can anyone hear me!?"  She tried again, the echo dying before it
had a chance to sound.  Her heart was racing a mile a minute, and her
ragged breath gulped down a lung-full of air at a time.  Get control, Dana.
You've been in worse situations.  Mulder will find you.  He's probably on
his way.  Just close your eyes and when you open them, he'll be there.

Her eyes squeezed shut.  Then opened again.  Nothing had changed.
Except the lump rising in her throat and the tears welling in her blue eyes.
Okay, so maybe he wouldn't find her.  With an ache of surprise in her
lungs, Scully found that she hadn't really expected to see him.  Not really.
No one could find her - whereever she was.  It was going to be up to her,
and her alone, to get herself back to civilization.

Scully was exhausted.  Sitting with her back against the strength of a tall
pine, she retraced the memories in her head.  She had remembered Mulder,
and these woods didn't look familiar - not like Virginia woods at all - so,
there was a leap in logic made, and she decided that she  must have
been on some kind of a case that brought her in to the wilderness.

It was possible that she simply tripped and hit her head, knocking herself
unconscious, but she couldn't find any evidence of injury - save the ant
bites. Were they chasing a suspect?  Searching for evidence?  She just
couldn't remember.  And the effort was intensifying the throb behind her
eyes.  Then came the overwhelming wave of nausea.  And the painful dry
heave that convulsed through her body like pounding surf.

Gasping for breath, Scully tried to recover, rolling over on to the
leaf-padded ground next to a fallen trunk.  Must be too much over-exertion
and not enough food and water, she tried to convince herself.  Undoubtedly
her electrolyte imbalance and low blood sugar was playing havoc
on her system.  She needed to find water.  She needed to rest.  And
without really making a conscious decision to, Scully closed her eyes and
sleep won out.


A cool breeze ran across her neck, and she started awake.  Instantly her
round, blue eyes popped open to the blackness of the night.  The moon - if
there was a moon - was completely hidden, as was the entire night sky,
leaving the inkiest dark to surround her.  Scully shivered against the tree.
Everything was wet and cold.  She pulled the shirt from her waist and laced
her arms in to the dampened sleeves.

The sounds were everywhere again: birds flapping overhead, things in the
night moving all around her . . . something walking over to her right.
"Who's there?" she screamed, but whatever it was scampered at the sound
of her voice.  Maybe a deer, she told herself.  Sounded like it had hooves.

She pulled the back of the shirt over her head and wrapped the front
around her curled-up leg, creating a small tent for herself.  There was no
way she'd get anywhere until the sun came out.  So, she decided to rest.
As much as she could, anyway.  Never could Scully remember being so
terrified of the dark.  Or so completely vulnerable.  Or so alone.


Morning came as a diffused light that sifted through the branches to the
huddled Scully.  She lifted her head, moaning that some nightmares never
ended, and she tried to straighten her stiff back and legs.  The effort was
more than should have been necessary.  And this one thought terrified her.

She'd only been in the woods for two days.  And the weather, while not
warm and balmy, was far from life-threatening.  She couldn't possibly be
suffering from exposure.  Her eyes slid with a groggy weariness to the
raised splotches on her arms, and then she forced herself to look away,
trying to keep from acknowledging the bites.  Then, she leaned heavily
against the dead tree and forced herself to stand.

The weakness in her legs startled her.  She had to be able to walk if she
was to have any hope of getting out of the woods alive.  "I'm just stiff,
that's all," she coaxed herself.  But it was becoming increasingly difficult to
believe her own words.  "Walk it off, Dana."  With a quick glance at her
surroundings, Scully picked a direction and began stumbling forward.  Her
legs were shaky, and she had to brace herself against trees as she passed.
Her belly gave off a painful grumble.  But she pushed the thought of food
from her mind and forced herself on.

There came a point after several hours of walking that Scully felt the need
to find a rest room.  She huddled beside a bush, cursing the fact that she
wasn't born a man, with the necessary anatomy to make "relieving au
natural"  a pleasant experience.  Finding balance with her aching legs, and
relaxing enough to accomplish anything, was far from easy.  And by the
time she was done, her chin quivered and her face was drawn tight and
tense.  Though she refused to allow it, Scully wanted to cry.

When night threatened to fall once again, she was not only exhausted and
hungry, but just about at her wit's end.  For the life of her, Scully couldn't
remember anything that might've given her a hint as to where she was and
why she was there.  The forest seemed to go on in every direction
for as far as could be seen; endlessly taunting her original hopes of finding
some kind of civilization.  There hadn't even been any cabins or shacks that
she could seek temporary shelter in. In stories of people lost in the  woods,
weren't there *always* abandoned cabins with several days' worth of
canned food stocked up in the well-equipped kitchens?  Where the hell
were they when she needed them?

And where the hell was Mulder?  Half of her prayed that he was fine, and
not lying unconscious somewhere near where she'd woken up.  Well, more
than half.  But there was a small part that was furious that he wasn't there
with her;  that he hadn't found her yet. He was her partner.  He was
*supposed* to always be there.

The light mist in the air suddenly fell in to large cold drops of rain.  And
then with a crack of thunder, the storm escalated.  Sheets of water beat
down heavily on Scully, and she was forced to finally collapse against the
trunk of a small tree for support.  She couldn't bear the weight of her
body any longer, much less the force of the heavens opening up on top of

The tepid shower washed away much of the collected sweat from off of her
aching face and arms, and the well-itched pin-pricks that the ants had left
behind didn't bother her as much.  But the water that ran over her cheeks
and neck chilled her itchy skin to a point when most of her body
went numb.  True, she felt cleaner, but within minutes her jaw began to
chatter and her weary shoulders were racked with shivers that rippled
down her whole body.

She laid back against the trunk, ignoring the growing pool of freezing mud
that she was seated in, and closed her eyes.  "Just a little rest," she told
herself, "to keep my strength up.  Then I'll look for some berries or
something." Catching a few drops of liquid in her open mouth, she
swallowed away the dry sensation that had been with her for most of the
day.  She knew she couldn't afford to get dehydrated, but she was just too
tired to make any more of an effort.  With the darkening clouds, night crept
in quickly, and  Scully didn't awaken until late the next day.


The sensation of being wet and cold and heavy was very distinct.  But the
desire to move just wasn't in her.  She left her eyes closed against the
soaked flannel on her knees.  After god knows how many hours she'd been
sitting in that position, the pain of moving was something she simply
couldn't endure.  Her arms hung loosely around the bottom of her thighs.
Or perhaps they'd fallen to the mud below her - she couldn't tell.  And she
didn't really care.  Scully felt her stomach rise against the tops of her thighs
and told herself that she was still breathing and therefore still alive.
But the news didn't comfort her as much as she had expected it to.

A chill worked its way up her spine and liquid cold traveled like a spider's
web through her body.  Sweat beaded up on her face and neck, and she
could feel the tiny rivulets as they slowly ran down her pocked skin.
Everything itched and ached and burned.  From the middle of her
shoulders, a constant shiver set up shop, and shook her upper body in
gentle tremors.

In her belly, there was a deep ache that reached all the way up and in to her
throat.  With a doctor's clinical distance she knew she would die from thirst
before starvation and fever, and the morbid fascination that came with that
knowledge consumed her thoughts.  Some day, some hunter or urban
developer was going to come walking along and find her bones in a pile.
Maybe a few would be missing.  Dinner for the woodland creatures.  Or
maybe there wouldn't be enough left of her to make a conclusive
identification.  And her family would never know for sure where her final
resting place would be.  And Mulder.  He'd never know.

The back of her throat constricted around the sob.  "Mulder?  Can you hear
me?"  She heard the sounds come through her trembling lips.  Maybe he
was near, her mind mused.  If he had been looking for her, maybe he was
close to finding her.  "Mulder?  Can you see me?"  But it wasn't her voice. 
It was thin and raspy, and it held no strength at all.  "Please hear me,
Mulder. Find me.  Help me, Mulder."

God, Mulder.  Where are you?  I need you now.  I'm in trouble, Mulder,
and I need you to get me out.  You're so good at that.  Flying in at the last
moment and coming to my rescue.  Well, the last moment is coming,
Mulder.  Hurry.

With the last bit of her strength, Scully forced her head up and opened her
eyes.  The light was much brighter than she had expected and she tried to
blink it away.  The rain had nearly stopped and the sounds of water
dropping from leaves and branches became recognizable to her.
Carefully, one leg was slowly straightened, and then the other.  Both
twitched as the blood began to flow through them again.  And then the
agony of her limbs' small movements hit her.  She released a guttural
scream to help alleviate some of the pain. Startled birds flew from over

"MULDER!"  She called out repeatedly, "MULDER! MULDER! Mulder!
Mulder.  Mulder . . . Mul . . .."

Then she felt it.  The sensation was like nothing she'd ever felt before. Her
body turned off, one section at a time.  First her legs went completely
numb, and then her back went out.  And as she flopped backwards on to
the rough bark of the tree, she could feel herself sliding off to one side -
and then she couldn't. She saw the brown earth, slick with rain water, come
up and meet her face.  And then it was gone.  Everything went black.  Then
silent.  And the last thing Scully thought was: "Oh, Mulder.  So this is

End of 1/9

"Let us go in; the fog is rising."
-Emily Dickinson (1830-86),
Attributed last words.


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (2/9)
By MD1016

The nurse and young nurse's aid scurried around the room checking the
various readings as Dana Scully swam up to consciousness.  She was
aware of them  and their voices, but their actual words didn't register in her
clouded head.  Her body felt heavy and thick; her mouth was like the
inside of a cotton ball.  She tried to turn her head, to get a better look at
wherever it was that she'd ended up, but the stiffness in her neck and
shoulders kept her firmly in place.  And at that particular moment she
didn't really care.  The warm smoothness of the sheets was like a cradle
under her body.

Scully let her eyes slip closed and she relaxed back in to sleep.


When she woke again, the room was dark - save for a dim yellow light that
hung off in some distant corner of the room, and the constant red blinking
of the heart monitor just to her right.  The air around her was still.

Scully inhaled deeply, wanting to rouse herself from the misty sleep that
had settled through her. Something in her throat made her gag.  She tried
to sit up as the vomit reflex rocked through her, but the wires and tubes
connected to her body kept her more or less in place.  She flailed against
her restraints, eyes tearing in reflex.  Then wide hands were on her
shoulders, forcing her back against the pillow.  And the low rumble in her
ear . . . vaguely male.

"Relax," the voice whispered, "Everything is going to be okay now."

She tried to focus on the figure, but everything was hazy and shadowed.
"Mulder . . .."

"Just sleep."  There was no arguing with the voice or the hands.  She was
tired.  Sleep came easily.


The hospital was alive with activity when she regained consciousness, and
the dark man in the white coat smiled down at her as her eyes fell on his
prominent cheek bones and deep brown eyes.  "Well, hello."  He was tall,
and had a thin moustache that hung like a brow above his full, dark
lips.  "You finally decided to come back to join us."

Dana blinked and felt his broad, warm hand scoop up her wrist.  When she
reopened her eyes, the  doctor was staring at his leather watch.  "How are
you feeling?" he asked, but didn't wait for an answer.  "I'm Dr. Swaggen.
Do you know where you are?"

The room was minimalistic: mostly white with a row of beds along one
wall,  several of which were occupied.  Directly opposite her, there was a
TV that sat silently on a swivel arm, and just to her right there was a
window.  She could see trees in the distance.  "Where . . ." Scully's voice
was brittle and thin; like a crumpled saltine.  " . . . Mulder . . .."

Swaggen hesitated for a moment and then leaned closer to her.  "You want
your mother?  Do you know her name?  Can you remember your name?"

Closing her eyes, she carefully lolled her head from one side to the other,
"Mulder.  Mull-Derr.  Mulder."  Her mouth was unbelievably dry.  Her
breath caught in her throat and she released a little cough.

The doctor quickly jotted down the name on his chart and re-tucked the
silver pen in his breast pocket.  "Do you know anyone we can get in touch
with?  A next of kin or someone?"

"Mulder," she insisted.  Why wasn't the man paying attention?  "Mulder.

Scully wanted to sit up, but the strong hands of the man standing at her
side forced her back.  "Just relax. Don't worry, you're safe here."

The weight of her head became too much for her and she did, in fact, find
herself relaxing into the warm, dark eyes of the doctor's promise.
"Mulder," she mumbled, and fell asleep again.


Scully was in a pit.  That was all she knew.  Or maybe a cage of some kind.
But everything was black and cold and slick to the touch.  No windows, no
doors.  No possible way out - or in, for that matter.  She searched the floor
for seams, or anything that might give her a clue as to where she was.  But
there was nothing.

Closing her eyes, Scully sat back against the smooth wall, and allowed her
head to fall back.  The ceiling went up and up until it disappeared behind a
white mist.  Funny how she didn't notice that the first time she looked up.
And there was a sound.  A very distant hum worked its way down to
her through the mist.  Like a vacuum, she thought.  Some one is
vacuuming the sky.

Then, all at once, the ground gave way below her.  But instead of falling,
she was lifted up.  The sound got closer and the mist became brighter and
she began to hear a man's voice calling to her asking her to wake up.  No,
he was calling to Mulder.  "Mulder?" she thought aloud.  Was Mulder in
the clouds, too?  Were they both dead?

"Come on, Mulder," the doctor injected another syringe in to her IV.  "It's
time to come back to us."

"Mulder?"  Her speech was slurred and her eyes opened only a slit.

"That's it," the man coaxed.  He turned to the two younger men across the
bed from him, and gave orders for new medications to be administered.
Then he returned back to his patient.  "Can you hear me?"

Scully managed a weak nod, and licked her lips.  "Water."

The tall man poured a plastic cup half full with water from a nearby table;
and, propping her head up, just the slightest bit, he lowered the straw to
her lips and helped her take a swallow. The water was like wet silk over
her tongue; cold and luxurious.

When she was settled back in the bed, the doctor leaned over Scully.  "The
police have been here but there haven't been any missing persons reported
with your name and description.  Do you know anyone we can call?  Do
you have any family?"

Scully just breathed.  Mulder.  Just call Mulder.  Oh, God!  Was he still in
the woods?  Had she left him there, while she'd been sleeping in a hospital
bed?  How long had she been asleep?  She had to get back to him.  She had
to find him.

The monitor at her bedside showed a dramatic jump in heart rate.
"Mulder!"  She tried to sit up.  "He's still out there!"

Swaggen spoke in his calming bass tones, "Hold it.  Lay back and talk to
me.  Who's still out there?"

"Mulder," she gasped, "He's in the forest!"

"Wait, I thought you were Mulder."  The doctor studied her eyes for any
sign of haze.

"I'm Scully." She gulped a lung-full of air as the words tumbled over
themselves, "Dana Scully.  Mulder is my partner.  We're in the FBI.  He
needs help.  I have to get to him."

The doctor stood up to his full height.  "The FBI?"  He pulled the chart off
the edge of her bed and flipped through to the meds page to see just what
medications she'd been pumped full of.

"Yes.  I gave you a number, didn't I?"

"You did.  It was disconnected.  There was no answer."

No answer?  Mulder's cellular?  Disconnected?  Surely he meant out of
range.  "I need to use the phone."  With a grunt of protesting muscles, she
managed to kick down the blankets covering her but was stopped by the
sight of her legs.  They were covered with what looked like healing
chicken pox.  And between them, a thin tube emerged carrying a
warm clear-yellow liquid.  A catheter.  She gasped.  "How long have I been

The doctor tried to cover her. "Just rest for now."

But she wouldn't be deterred.  "I have to use the phone.  I have to get
Mulder some help."  She glanced up at the IV hanging on a rack just above
her head and then the  collection bag clipped to the side of her bed.
"Please hand me the bags, I'll carry them with me."

"I don't want you getting out of bed -"

"Look," Dana was beyond playing the dutiful patient, and her head was
swimming with  haze and panic.  "I'm a doctor; I know what I'm doing!"

The black man looked at her with wide, sad eyes. "I thought you were with
the FBI."

"I am."  She exhaled in frustration and rolled her eyes at his display of pity.
"I'm not insane, okay?  But I'm going to make this phone call."

At a loss, Dr. Swaggen looked over her pale, determined features and
hesitated for only a moment.  "I don't know why I'm doing this," he started
as he helped her unhook the heart monitor.  Then, with a stern glance at
her anxious features, he removed the plastic sacs and attached them to a
rolling stand.  "Just pull this with you," he requested and pushed it in to her
hand.  Scully gingerly slid off the left side of the bed, slightly embarrassed
to find she wasn't wearing any undergarments under the thin cotton
hospital gown.  "Why they couldn't put a phone in this room, is beyond
me," she grumbled under her breath.  She wrapped the back closed around
her naked bottom, and limped aching across the cold tile barefoot,
surprised at how much her muscles quivered under her weight. It felt as
though her entire body had been pummeled with rocks.

The tall man followed behind her.  "The phone is down the hall to the right
in the waiting area.  Here."  He stopped her. "You're going to need this."
In her hand dropped a silver quarter.

Scully pushed the quarter in to the machine before she noticed the return
number on it.  More specifically, the area code.  "9-0-7?"  She turned to
Swaggen leaning against the wall next to her.  "Where the hell am I?"

The dark man cleared his throat and obviously tried to look as if the
question were perfectly normal.  "9-0-7, that's Juneau."

Slowly, she hung up the receiver and rested her head against the handle of
it.  Alaska?  The last place she remembered being was in a small town in . .
. "I was in Maine."  She remembered.  By God, she remembered the case!
There had been . . . something to do with possible UFO abductees.
Children taken during the night.  Unexplained lights in the sky.  Power
outages. Mulder with his "Marvin the Martian" tie.

"You were in Maine?"  The man sighed, and his thick lips tried to form a
smile.  "Why don't you go and lie down, Mulder.  You need to let the
medications -"

"Scully."  She looked back at the phone and picked up the handset again, "I
told you - Dana Scully."  It was unnerving to be addressed by her partners
name.  Any yet, there was something faintly comforting in it, too.


With a firm punch of her finger, Scully dialed "O" and waited through three
rings before the operator picked up.  "AT and T operator,"  the woman
said, expressing every ounce of boredom in her. "How can I assist you?"

Scully hesitated only a moment.  "This is an emergency.  I'm Special Agent
Dana Scully with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  I need you to put
me through to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.  I need to speak with
Assistant Director Walter Skinner."

"That is a long distance call, Ma'am.  You will have to deposit $5.00 for
the first minute -"

"No, you don't understand." Dana's legs began to quiver below her. "I don't
have any money.  This is an emergency."

"I do understand, Ma'am, but I cannot connect you without the initial
deposit of $5.00-"

Scully cut her off again; she didn't have time to argue with the woman.
"Then connect me to the regional office in Anchorage!"  She began to sway
a little and had to steady herself against the wall  to keep upright.  She took
a moment to look around and spied a plastic chair in the corner.  Swaggen
followed her gaze and pulled it up for her a second before her legs gave out
all together.

He loomed over her, his arms crossed.  "You should be in bed, you know."
When she didn't move his face shifted and he tried another approach.
"How about you go back and lie down, and I'll see about getting the
catheter out."

But a second later, her fraying attention snapped back to the crackle in her
ear piece as she was transferred to the automated greeting of the
Anchorage branch office. She followed the instructions selecting from
various menus until she heard a living person on the other end of the
phone.  Thank God.  "This is Special Agent Dana Scully.  My badge
number is JTT9828432.  I need to get word to Assistant Director Skinner
in D.C.  Somehow I ended up in Alaska, but Mulder, my partner, may still
be in the woods . . . " she paused.  There was a flaw in her reasoning. Was
he in the woods in Alaska with her?  Or was he still in Maine?  Or was he
somewhere else entirely?  Why were things so cloudy all of a sudden?

A voice from the other end of the phone line startled her out of her twisted
contemplation.  "Please repeat your badge number."  Scully did, slower and
more deliberately.  She wasn't sure anymore if Mulder was in any kind of
danger or not.  She couldn't remember how she got from Maine to where
she woke up in the woods, or even how she got from the forest to the
hospital.  She looked up at the doctor who seemed to be studying her very
closely.  "When you called Mulder - the number I gave you - did you use
D.C.'s area code?"

"Uh, no."  His face and voice remained a little too neutral for Scully's liking
as he slowly explained: "I thought you were from Maine."

"No," Scully exhaled in frustration, "I'm from D.C..  We were in Maine,
and now I'm here."  She raised a hand to her temple.  A dull ache was
starting to throb behind her eyes.

The phone person came back with: "The badge number you have given me
is no longer in service.  Are you sure you dictated it to me correctly?"

"Of course, I'm sure!"  Scully nearly leapt out of the chair.  She was certain
that she would have if she'd been feeling up to it.  The insanity of her
situation was wearing a little thin.  "I'm Dana Scully.  Assigned to the
X-Files.  In D.C. -"

"Well, that badge number did belong to a Dana Scully, but according to
what I've got here, she died five months ago."

Died? "Died?  No, that can't be right.  Check again."

She heard the tap, tap, tap of a computer keyboard and then a newly
sarcastic voice came back, "Still dead."

"Look."  Scully sat back in the chair, exhausted and sore and closer to tears
than she wanted to be.  "How do I get a message to Assistant Director
Walter Skinner in D.C.?  It's an emergency."

And as if the operator had never spoken to her before she asked in a purely
generic voice: "What is the nature of your emergency?"

Scully wanted to scream.  "I'm in Alaska, in a hospital, with no money, no
form of identification, my partner may be in serious trouble, and I've got a
doctor here, who's breathing down my throat, and he looks like he's going
to commit me to a psychiatric ward any minute.  And, now, apparently I'm
DEAD!  I *have* to talk to A.D. Skinner immediately!"

There was a momentary pause and then the voice said, "Uh-huh . . . let me
put you on hold."  Then Muzak swam through the receiver and Scully's
headache turned itself up a notch.  She slumped back in the chair and

"Any luck?"  The doctor didn't look hopeful.

Scully let the receiver fall in to her lap and looked up at the man.  "So, you
know my name.  What's yours?"

"Oh.  I told you before.  I'm Doctor Swaggen," the man said.  "And you,
Dana Scully, need to get back in to bed."

The towering man seemed adamant and a new fear began to surface.  If he
made her lie down, there would be nothing she could do.  She was
exhausted, and her brain was like pudding in her skull.  No one would help
Mulder . . . if he needed help.  She was having trouble remembering if
that was, in fact, the case.  Oh, Mulder.  Scully's eyes slipped up to the
doctor's sympathetic face.  She gave him the saddest, most pained
expression and quietly asked, "Please."

Swaggen looked down at her in the chair - left hand clinging to the IV pole
to help keep her upright in the chair, right hand holding the black
over-sized ear piece to her head,  her red unkept hair flung every which
way, and her white and red spotted legs falling out from under the cotton
hospital gown - and shook his head.  "Look." His voice was low and
"I have to check my rounds.  I'll be back."  Then he added with some
authority: "I want you in that bed when I return."

"I promise."  The blaring Muzak was interrupted and Scully returned the
receiver to her ear.

"I'm going to connect you to Assistant Director Skinner, now."

Thank God.

There was a click and a soft buzzing sound and then, finally, a ring.
"Skinner."  It was him.  His deep, grumbling voice.  Solid and
authoritative.  She could almost see him sitting at his desk, his
white linen shirt sleeve rolled up to his elbows.  A sight that she *never*
thought would bring her such peace of mind as it did now.  She nearly

"Sir, this is Dana Scully, sir."

There was a pause where neither of them breathed.

"I don't know who you are, but this is not funny!" he growled.

She was sure he was about to throw the phone down in its cradle and she
panicked.  "No, sir, please, I am Scully.  This isn't a joke.  Skinner, sir, 
me.  Scully.  Please."

There was another moment of enormous hesitation on his part.  Scully
didn't know if she was supposed to provide some kind of undeniable proof
at this point or what.  But at least he hadn't hung up the phone.  She could
hear him breathing.  And then his heavy words sank through the
receiver.  "Scully's dead."

"Yeah." She closed her eyes. "That's what they tried to tell me when I read
off my badge number.  There must be something wrong with the computers
or something."

"There's nothing wrong with the computers.  Agent Scully is dead.  I
attended her funeral, myself, three months ago."  To this, she had no
response.  "You know we can trace these calls.  Impersonating a Federal
Officer is a Federal offense.  I wouldn't try this again, if I were you."

Then she heard him disconnect the line.

Scully looked down at the receiver for some kind of an answer.  Her mouth
hung open - she was at a loss.  Her head was swirling with the movement
of the room and her feet were freezing. She simply couldn't think.  With a
shaking hand she hung up the phone, too.

Does Mulder think I'm dead, too?  Is it possible?

The hallway was immeasurably long, and with quiet resignation Scully
knew she wasn't going to make it all the way back to her room.  Not with
the stand dragging along side of her.  She was too tired.  Too frustrated.
Too angry to do anything but pick up the receiver again.

"AT and T operator.  How can I assist you today?"

She took another deep breath.  "Collect call."  Dana gave the woman all
the information requested and then waited through a series of beeps while
billing verification went through.  "Come on," she whispered under her
breath, "Mulder, answer."  But when a response came it was the woman's
voice again.

"I'm sorry, but your party didn't pick up."

"I need to place another collect call, then."  Dana wasn't about to let the
woman go without a struggle.  Hopefully her mother would be home.  Oh,
God, please let her be home.  After the third beep, Scully was about to give
up hope when she hear her mother's all too familiar voice.



The hesitation was there.  And then an angry hiss.  "Who is this?"

"Mom.  It's Dana."

"No . . .."

And then Scully believed it - *had* to believe it.  They all thought she was
dead.  How could this happen?  This *can't* be happening, she screamed in
her head.  "Mom it IS me.  It is!"  Tears spilled over her lashes.  "Mom, I
woke up in a hospital in Alaska."

"Alaska?  Dana?" For an instant there was hope.  And then: "NO!  Who is
this?"  Then, in the back ground, he heard his voice.  It was low and
grumbling and she couldn't make out the words, but it was him.
Unmistakably him.  Mulder had gone to her mother's place.  She smiled at
the thought.  If she could just get him on the phone . . . he'd hear her voice.
Mulder would be at her side in a second.  There would be nothing to worry
about if she could just get Mulder on the line.

But her mother responded with a gut wrenching sob.

"MOM!  Let me talk to Mulder!  Please, this isn't a joke.  I'm Dana.  I'm
your daughter!  PLEASE!  Give the phone to Mulder!"

Her mother's cries continued and then there was a  scuffle of the receiver
changing hands.  Mulder's tormented voice boomed in her ear.  "Don't you
have any respect for the dead?"


"Don't call here again!"

"MULDER!"  Scully's body lunged for the phone's wall unit.  And when
she heard the click, it was like a rubber band snapped inside of her, and she
crashed to the gray tiled floor.  She barely registered the long, sure hands
lifting her bodily and carrying her back to her bed.

End of 2/9

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
-Robert Frost (1874-1963)


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (3/9)
By MD1016

Mulder woke from the nightmare screaming her name.  Just as he had
every night for the past five months; ever since that night She had
disappeared in the blinding white light.  Not even the medication kept the
visions of Her away.  She haunted him.

Clutching the thin cotton sheet to his chest, he rolled his legs off the side of
the bed and stood up.  The warmth of the Georgian summer settled over
him like a blanket of molasses.  It kept him from thinking clearly, keeping
his body groggy and his mind fuzzy.

But even in the haze he knew that She was there with him.  The same
inexplicable way he always knew.  The visions of Her were so clear - so
unbelievably real.  They said it was hallucinations.  Dementia.  Grief.
That's why he needed the pills: to keep Her away.  To save him from
insanity.  And when the pills didn't work, there were always the restraints.

Please.  No more restraints.

He tried to blink Her away.  Will Her away.  He even begged.  But he
couldn't get the image of Her huddled against the wet bark of a downed
tree to leave the darkened corner of the room.

God, She was so real.  Her hair plastered against the wet sheen on Her
face, his red flannel shirt pulled tight against Her body; Her look of
desperation through him.  Her lips fell open and he heard the agonized
voice of the apparition calling his name, begging for him.  And he ran to
Her, wanting so desperately to dissolve into the shadows of the night with

He was on the street before the morning sun was over the horizon, walking
steadily away from the Delmont Psychiatric Hospital.  They couldn't help
him.  They'd said he was losing his mind.  That it was insanity that made
him see his dead partner and insist that She was alive.  Out there.
Somewhere.  Calling for him and not understanding why he wasn't with
Her.  When the plain truth of the matter was that he'd been too slow.  The
light that had engulfed Her and pulled Her up from the Earth, had
disappeared before he could reach Her.  Three seconds was all that it had
been between holding Her in his arms, and holding air.

And *They*. They who lurked behind the smoke and haze. They had
insisted that They knew nothing of her disappearance.  That They couldn't
help him search for Her because They didn't know where She was.  For
months They played that game of ignorance and double talk; refusing
involvement.  Until that day in March when *They* had claimed Her body
had been recovered, badly mutilated.  The remains of a brutal death.

But Mulder had refused to believe Them without seeing Her body.  Proof
before belief.  He'd learned that from Her.  But, all attempts to see Her
body had been blocked.  At first by official procedure of a homicide case,
then by suggesting that he was, himself, a suspect.  That unconscionable
accusation only supported his belief that They were desperate to keep him
from discounting the body as a fraud.  And then, They used his
single-minded determination to find Her against him: They sent him away
to that horrible hospital for God only knew how long.  Between the drugs
and his screwed-up sleep cycle, it was impossible to tell just how long he'd
been there.  A month?  Possibly two.

An enormous truck thundered past him on the road, and then slowed and
came to a stop.  "You want a lift?"  The large, hairy man in the cab wore a
yellowed tee-shirt ripped up the sides to fit over his rippled body.  From his
wrist to his shoulder he wore black and blue tattoos that proudly
proclaimed that God was dead and anarchy ruled the land.  Mulder
shrugged and climbed aboard, not really caring one way or the other.
He wasn't headed anywhere in particular - just away from wherever it
was that he'd been.

The truck slipped from one golden pool of light to the next on the
interstate, passing the evening traffic with little interest as it sped by.
Mulder shifted against the door and lolled his head up.  Cars.  Trees.
Darkness.  He snuck a side-ways glance at the burly driver next to him.
At least She wasn't there.

"Hey buddy," the man said louder than was intended.  "You think you got
enough sleep there?  You were really out!  Yeah," the man let out a
full-body chuckle, "'round twelve hours.  That's about five rest stops,

Wincing, Mulder ran a hand over the crick in his stiff neck.  "Sorry I'm not
much company."

"Hey, don't sweat it, Buddy.  Just a warm body in the cab is company
enough, you know?  If you're hungry I got you a burrito a few stops back."
He pointed his thick finger down to the paper bag on the carpeted floor
between them.

"I don't have any money to give you."

"I'm not lookin' to get rich off you, buddy.  Just thought you might be
hungry.  You don't look like you've been strappin' on the feed bag these
days."  The man eyed Mulder poking in to the bag with satisfaction.  "So,
buddy, what's your name?  Mine's Marcus."

"You can call me Buddy," Mulder chewed the cold, thick burrito around
his hesitant words.  "But most people call me Mulder."

"I like that.  Little Buddy like from 'Gilligan's Island'."  Marcus let out
another booming chuckle and smacked the steering wheel with his left
hand.  "So, Buddy, where are you headed?"

It took a moment for Mulder to swallow the heavy food down.  "Headed?
Nowhere.  Where are you headed?"

"To Maine.  Gotta drop off this load of corncobs."  The mountain of a
man looked to the haggard soul on his right.  "You ain't got no money, and
ain't headin' nowhere?  What'cha gonna do where you get there?"

Mulder glanced out the passenger window at nothing in particular.  "I
hadn't thought that far in advance."  He ran a hand over his weary face.
Maine.  He couldn't go back there again.  Too much pain was tied up in
that part of the country.  Her haunting would be relentless there.  "Are
you going through DC?"

"Yep."  Marcus pulled the last burrito out from the bag.  "Should hit the
capital at about lunch time tomorrow."

Sighing, Mulder nodded.  "You can drop me anywhere in D.C.  I live

"Sure, Buddy.  Whatever you want."

The endless summer stretched all the way up the eastern sea board,  and
was stifling DC with the same oppressive heat Georgia had had.  Mulder
stood in the dark hallway outside his apartment, the key in his hand
poised to enter the lock.  But the strength to push it in, turn it, and open
the door wasn't in him. Nothing waited for him on the other side of the
door but the destruction that his fury had left months ago.

The fish tank that usually sat empty on the shelf had been smashed beyond
repair.  The computer had been thrown through the squat coffee table after
all of the magazines and books in the house were hurled like ticker tape at
a parade.  Or ashes at a funeral.  That night had been a flooded tirade of
anger and hurt and despair that ended with the arrival of the police, an
overnight stay in the drunk tank, and an official placement on medical leave
with admittance to the psychiatric hospital in Georgia.

He didn't want to go in and face the mess.

And, of course, Her file was in there, too.

With the pictures.  The unconvincing pictures of Her supposed
"murder".  A twisted body with chucks of flesh and muscle ripped away.
Disfiguring teeth marks on the neck and breast.  The horrific black and
white images were burned into his brain.

Leaning against the dark door, fearing what lay just beyond, a chain
reaction of cold sweats and nausea tore through his body.  Even though he
*knew* those photos were elaborate fakes, the idea of Her raped and
dismembered body washing up on the bank of the Potomac shook him to
his very core.

A drop of sweat worked its way down his scalp and along the back of his
neck.  A shiver shot up his spine.  Without even thinking about it, Mulder
shoved the key back into the pocket of his jeans and stormed out of the
building.  He couldn't stay there.  He couldn't stay anywhere She had
once been.  When Samantha had disappeared, he saved everything that
reminded him of the little sister he hoped to see again one day.  But with
*Her* - anything that She might have touched ripped him apart.

He had to get away.  He had to escape Her.  His car was still in its space in
the back lot.  Mulder ran the whole way.

The bank was closed by the time he pulled into the parking lot - but
Mulder expected nothing less.  At the ATM, he pulled out as much cash as
the machine would allow before sinking back into the cool air conditioning
of his car.

There wasn't really a question of what to do next.  It was more a matter of
where to start first.  He'd already made two trips to Maine - to the clearing
where he'd last seen Her - and neither trip provided any evidence or clues
to where She might be.  He couldn't do that again.

Mulder started the car and drove aimlessly through the busy city streets
opting for a left, then a right turn for no reason in particular.  He found
himself on the expressway.  And then not.  Around him a neighborhood
appeared, and then a familiar white house with bold green shutters.

Mulder stopped the car and watched.  A figure appeared in the front door
after awhile and peered quizzically out at him.  The woman was small and
hesitant as she approached his car.  Nothing like She would be.

"Fox?"  Margaret's blue eyes met his through the glass.  She seemed so
tired to him.  Older.  Sad.   His door opened and he knew her hand was
his arm, gently tugging at him.  But he couldn't feel it.  His entire body was
numb.  With a maternal care, she helped him out of the car.  "Fox, come in
to the house . . . let me make you something to eat."

"I'm sorry," he stammered.  His feet found the cement and somehow  he
was standing under his own power.  "I didn't want to come here.  I don't
want to burden you."

"*You* are never a burden, Fox.  And you're always welcome in my home,
you know that."  Her nurturing hands slipped protectively around his
slumped shoulders and she led him into the house.  She sat him at her
kitchen table and placed a hot mug of tea in front of him, along with a small
jar of honey.  "When did you get back, Fox?"

"I left two days ago."  His tone was tight and anxious.  Immediately,
Margaret knew what he meant.  No elaboration was necessary.  He had
said 'left', not 'checked-out' or 'released'.  Which also meant he wasn't
planning on returning to the Bureau, since leaving the hospital would most
certainly mean a dismissal.  He'd given up on the X-Files.

Mulder looked up at her sorrowful blue eyes and said with absolute
resolution, "I'm going to find her."

Margaret nodded.  What else could she do?  She didn't have to look at the
haggard man beside her to see the devastating effect her youngest
daughter's murder had had on him.  She didn't need the evidence of his
blood-shot eyes, the waxy tinge of his skin, the frail way his skin hung off
his cheekbones to know that Mulder was dangerously close to complete
devastation, himself.  She had always known their bond had run deep;
knotting their souls together.  And she feared that that rare connection
would pull him under.  That she would lose him, too.  Her heart went out
to him and she found her voice.  "But stay here and rest for a while.  Even
if it's just for the night."  His violently shaking head pressed her into a more
persuasive tone.  "When you're fresh and rested, Fox, you'll think clearer.
Do it for Dana."

The sound of Her name exploded inside his head.  Instantly images of Her
all-too-brief smiles and questioning looks flooded his field of vision.  The
way Her hair flipped back around her ear.  The curve of Her neck.  The
gentle slope of Her lower back.  Her smooth voice.

Overwhelmed, he squeezed his eyes shut and sat back in the
high-backed chair.  Why had he driven to Her mother's house?  It only
reminded him of Her.  Everything he could see . . . smell.  It was all a part
of Her.  But a calm came over him.  The serenity that Her understanding
eyes could always fill him with.  "Just tonight," he breathed through the
tension in his stomach.  "For her."

Margaret didn't bother to offer him an early dinner.  It was clear that he
was exhausted.  Obsession and guilt had stripped him of all his allotted
energy.  With a mothering hand, she helped him into the guest bed and
pulled the thick woollen quilt over his shoulder.

But sleep didn't overtake him and grant him peace from Her haunting.
And the satiny voice in his mind pulled him from the darkened room and
forced him to seek solace in the light.

He wandered downstairs, treading heavily on the floor boards.  Her
mother was in the living room at the bottom of the stairs.  Sitting curled up
in a chair.  Just like *She* had so many times.  He rounded the banister
and collapsed on to the couch.

"Couldn't sleep?"

"I've given up sleeping."  His mouth barely moved as the bitter words
leaked out.  He pulled his gaze from Margaret's face, finding too many
ghosts in the blue of her eyes.  "You don't believe me, do you?"  Nothing
moved in the house as he sucked in a lung full of breath.  "You believe
she's dead, don't you?"

The question hit like an accusation.  But one that Margaret was
prepared to deal with.  Her mouth tightened a fraction around her
admission.  "I believe she's dead, Fox."

Mulder shook his head with the fury of a mad man before he buried his face
in his hands.  But Margaret calmly continued, never once wavering in her
subtle certainty.  "I buried a husband and two daughters.  None of them
will ever come back to me.  The grief from that is tremendous, Fox, but it's
one that we must accept."

"Why?!" he demanded, his eyes flying to hers in defiance of the memories
reflected there.

"Because, until we do, there can be no peace for them."

His eyes widened.  Was that why She was haunting him?  Because he
refused to allow Her to rest?  Was he torturing Her spirit by denying Her
death?  They had said at the hospital that it would be better for *him* to
accept the facts that the police had shown him.  But he didn't care about
himself.  She was all that mattered.

"You believe she's dead."  He tried to get his mind around the words his
mouth didn't want to say.  But his very being was repelled by the concept.
"You believe she's dead," he tried again.  "That Dana is dead."  Margaret's
muffled whimper from across the room barely registered in the tempest that
raged inside his head.  "Dana is dead," he chanted again, the images from
the photos cutting through the billowing, black clouds that consumed his
world.  "Dana is dead."

And then, he believed it.

His heart stopped in his chest and his lungs refused to work, and he sat
stone still on the couch willing himself to join Her in oblivion.  The tears
that slipped from his eyes went unnoticed.  The twisting agony that burned
in his stomach and chest became his whole world.  Until he heard Margaret
in the kitchen screaming.

At first the sound was foreign.  But gradually he heard her speaking and
the words made sense.  ". . . Dana?  Who is this!"  The woman slid down
the wall to the ground just as he made it to her side.  Mulder ripped the
phone from her hand.  Over and over Margaret woefully whimpered,
"Dana's dead.  My baby's dead . . .."

The unfocused fury raged through his body and soul.  His fist trembled
with it as he lifted the receiver to his face.  "Don't you have any respect for
the dead?"  His hoarse whisper was little more than a hiss.  "Don't call here
again!"  Then, he slammed the phone in its wall cradle and wrapped
Margaret in his arms.  He pulled her to him, and the two of them huddled
there on the linoleum for hours, weeping and mourning the passing of Dana
Katherine Scully.

When dawn arrived, Margaret woke on the couch, an afghan tucked
protectively over her body.

Fox Mulder was gone.

She didn't expect to ever see him again.

End of 3/9

"I give the fight up: let there be an end,
A privacy, an obscure nook for me.
I want to be forgotten even by God."
-Robert Browning (1812-89). Paracelsus, pt.  5.


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (4/9)
By MD1016

She felt rough fingers slide over the inside of her wrist, and her eyes
flickered back to consciousness.  Above her, the ceiling was a brilliant
white, spotlighted by the early morning sunlight that blazed across it from
the nearby window.  A little to the right, Dr. Swaggen stood in
concentration, counting off her heartbeats to the ticking of his watch.

"How am I feeling, Doc?"  Scully managed a small smile, her voice
stronger and more solid than it had been.  "You think I'll make it?"

His mouth returned her grin, but his eyes remained dubious.  "Why don't
you tell me."

With her brow scrunched in scrutiny, she went through her internal
checklist.  Something she'd become very apt in doing over her years with
Mulder.  Head: no real pain; but heavy, like she'd slept too long.  Arms:
mobile and responding; no pain.  Torso:  much better; the nausea was
gone.  Legs:  well . . . at least they didn't itch.  "I'll survive."

Then, the audible rumble from her mid section forced her to amend her first
diagnosis.  "If I get some food.  I'm starving."

"Well," Swaggen chuckled, "that's a good sign.  I'll check on that for
you."  He flipped through her chart and made a few notations.  "Do you
have any food allergies?"

"No . . ." her eyes fixed on the file in his hands.  It was several times
thicker than the usual patient's chart -  if there was such a thing.  Papers
peeked unevenly from the sides catching her concentration.  "May I . . . ?"

With a shrug Swaggen gave her the folder and began explaining what she
was seeing.  "When they brought you in, you were comatose.  Responses
were nil, blood pressure was low and threatening to crash, pulse faint, body
temp 94 degrees.  Originally, we thought you must've been submerged in
freezing water -"

"Five pints of blood!  That's impossible!"  Her eyes bulged out as she read
the type on the sheet.  "You gave me five pints?  How can that be?"
Swaggen's eyes met hers and she recognize a faint veil of surprise
registering in them.  With annoyance, Scully insisted, "I told you I'm a
doctor.  I know what I'm looking at."

Still doubtful, the doctor nodded and recollected his thoughts.  "We were
shocked when we pricked you for a toxicology and nothing came out.  No
one was thinking substantial blood loss because there was no evidence of a
wound or puncture marks.  No internal damage, no stomach bleeding,
nothing.  The marks on the epidermis -"


"Yes, well, they didn't account for the abnormalities that we found in your
glycosides, either.  Your T-Cells were next to nothing and the adrenalin in
your system was three times the norm.  We couldn't figure out why you
were still alive."  He flipped a few pages for her and pointed to the second
table from the top.  "Both the toxicology and virus scans came up negative.
CT-Scans showed nothing conclusive.  X-Rays - nothing."

Scully shook her head.  "I don't understand.  If these oxygen levels are all
correct, then why *am* I still alive?  How did I walk around for two days
in the woods?"  It was just two days, right?  Her memories, while
stationary now, still held the fuzzy blur around their edges.  She had
trouble distinguishing a possible memory from something she might have
dreamt. Or was she dreaming now?

Again, Swaggen just shrugged.  "No idea.  But we're thinking it might have
something to do with this."  He pulled a black and white photo from the file
and laid it on top of the stack for her to see.  "Do you have any idea what
this is?"

"Uh . . ." her brow arched, "it looks like a DNA marker."

"Right," his rounded finger pointed to one of the long striped ribbons,
"These strands that are broken away - here - they're not part of your
original genetic make up.  At least, we hope they're not.  We found
something that is quite startling in them.  This here, that you're looking at is
not a normal  DNA nucleotide.  In fact, the lab guys suggest that they
might have identified a new genetic pair.  A fifth and sixth nucleotide."

"WHAT?!?" Scully bolted up in the bed.  "That can't . . . no . . . in my
body?  In my genes?  That's not possi- I would be dead!"

"That's what we thought.  We had our lab guys doing flips for a couple of
days trying to find out what was wrong with the equipment.  Then I made a
call to a friend of mine at John Hopkins.  He's a genetic researcher.  He
says that this might be a result of branch DNA incorporating a synthetic
genetic pair."

In shock, Scully's jaw dropped open, but she was able to nod her
understanding.  "But, how . . .?"

With his dark hand sweeping the side of his face, Swaggen peered down at
his patient.  "Actually, we were hoping that you might fill us in on what
happened to you when you woke up -"

There was a flash in her eyes and she demanded: "How did I get here?"

"Uh . . ."  Pulling the chart from her hands, Swaggen flipped to the last
page.  "Two men found you while they were out hiking.  One swore he
heard you screaming 'murder'.  The police took their statements and filed a
Found Persons Report, but nothing turned up."

"Nothing at all?"  She winced.  It was quickly becoming obvious to her
what must have happened.  They'd taken her again.  They had done
experiments.  They had dumped her body where They thought no one
would find her.  If nothing came up with police reports, she must've been
erased from the system completely.  And since everyone in DC
thought she was dead . . . no one would have noticed.  Mulder wouldn't
have noticed.  God, that hurt.  "How long ago was that?  How long have I
been here?"

The grimace on Swaggen's face preceded his voice of clinical detachment.
"You've been here for forty-two days."

"WHAT?"  The walls of the room came rushing in to meet her, and the
ceiling crumbled down on her head.  Over a month?  How was that . . .?
"This can't be happening."  Her mind tried to insist that it wasn't anything
more than a really bad dream.  At any moment the alarm would go off, and
she'd be safe and sound in her own bed, where she would be considered
very much alive.

And Mulder would be there at work, and he would make a jab at her being
late.  And then they'd settle into a new case and everything would be fine
again.  Maybe she'd tell him about the dream this time.  Tell him how
terrifying the nightmare had been.  Possibly even let him hold her . . . just
enough for her to be reassured that it *was* all a dream.  God, let it be a

Tears were forming, blurring her vision.  But she blinked them back into
submission.  Get a grip, she told herself.  Control, Dana.  But then her
mind flew in to an outrage.  When had she lost command of her life?  Why
had They taken that from her?  Five months gone?  Dead?  How could
Mulder possibly think . . .?  Wouldn't he need proof?  How could They
convince him . . .?  And a month in the hospital!  Alone!  No one
looking for her.  No one even knowing her name!

Her head fell back into the firmness of the pillow and she stared at the
ceiling tiles.  So much was gone.  Not just from her memory this time, but
also from her life.  She didn't have her usual allies to help her though - no
job, no family, no Mulder.

Damn it!  He'd heard her voice!  On the phone.  She'd said his name . . .
hadn't she?  Why hadn't he recognized her?  How could he doubt her?
Scully slammed her head on the pillow in frustration.  How could she fight
Them alone?  And she *was* alone, for the first time in her life; not just
wanting to be strong and stand on her own, but really, truly without a
partner.  A friend.  Without Mulder.  How could she possibly get her life
back if he wasn't there by her side?

And then, two fists grabbed her upper arms and a low timbre
resonated down to her.  "I know this is hard, but you have to concentrate
on getting better.  Your body has been through a minor war.  Allowing
yourself to become upset and depressed is only going to hamper your
healing process."

Scully knew that the doctor was telling her the truth, and that certainty
helped to reassure her .  At least she had that.  She may have been
out of control of her life for a while, but she wasn't out of the picture
entirely.  And damn it, she would take back everything that she'd lost.  By
force, if necessary!

Dr. Swaggen collected the file and replaced the pictures.  "There's still a lot
we're not sure about with your condition.  But you seem to be responding
well enough to some of the stronger drug therapy."

Scully inhaled sharply and nodded her head, hearing Dr. Swaggen's
footfalls  heading for the door.  "I'll check on some breakfast for you," he
said almost as an afterthought.  "Just relax for a while and try not to think
too much."


Thinking was, of course, all that she could do.  From that first moment of
realization on, Scully plotted and schemed; trying to force an answer to the
question of how to get back to Washington.  Getting Skinner to listen to
her, seeing her mother - they were second in priority.  First, she had to get
home.  Once Mulder saw her, she was sure he'd help her.  He'd take care of
everything.  All she had to do was make her way back to him.

Obviously, she didn't have any money to fly or rent a car.  She didn't have
any ID to get the local law enforcement to assist her.  She didn't have
anyone that she could contact for help - well, no one who would believe
she was alive.  She spent hours debating whether to try to call Mulder
or her mother again, but in the end she reasoned that they would simply
refuse the collect calls.  And she didn't want to have to put them through
the obvious pain they were in again.  That would just be cruel.

Hitchhiking was a possibility; but physically, she wasn't at her best,
and DC was a long way away.  There would be no point if she didn't arrive
home safely.  Because if she *did* run in to trouble on the road, there
wasn't anyone who would come and find her.

She briefly played with the idea of getting a grunt job and earning the
money to rent a car, but with no ID, and more specifically, no working
social security number, that wasn't a sure fire plan.  And anyway, it could
take months for her to earn enough money to travel the entire width of the

Around and around her mind ran through every possible scenario.  And
each one was repeatedly shot down by the pragmatist in her.  How did one
survive without an identity?  Without family and friends to lean on in times
of crisis?  How could she live, even for a short time, without Mulder?

That last thought had scared her.  She'd known he had become an
irreplaceable part of her life.  Always there for her when she needed him
and sometime even when she didn't.  But she'd never really understood just
how much she'd grown to depend on her partner.  Ever since Scully could
remember, she'd always prided herself on being able to stand tall on her
own.  To overcome any obstacle with her strength alone.  And now, when
that strength was really put to the test . . ..

A familiar ache swelled up in her stomach.  Scully pressed her right fist into
the pain and forced in a deep breath.  She was making herself upset again,
and her body wasn't up to the torment.  As much as she was feeling better,
Scully knew - even without Dr. Swaggen telling her - that not all was right.
And it seemed that her obsessing about Mulder just aggravated the

"How can I *not* think about him?" she whimpered to herself.  It was
torture knowing that he was suffering.  Thinking she was dead, when in
reality she needed him desperately.  "No," she forced her eyes closed, "this
is just temporary.  I'll get back, and everything will be fine."

But her mind kept on going.

What would she do if they were ever really separated?  If, say, she were to
be transferred away from the X-Files . . . permanently.  Well . . . she and
Mulder would protest, of course.  But part of the understanding that went
hand in hand when one joined the Bureau was that one had to relocate
where the Bureau dictated.  Like the army.  There wasn't a lot of choice.
And if she was pulled from him . . ..

She ached to see him again.  To prove to him that she was all right. 
Visions of his tormented eyes followed her in and out of sleep.  Her
inability to touch him and comfort him colored her days as she became
more and more obsessive about getting home soon.  Before he had a
chance to act on the self-destructive tendencies that had always plagued his
life.  God, Mulder, please hang on.  Be okay for me.

What about stealing a car?  If she drove straight through she might make it
in a week.  How far was Juneau from  DC, anyway?  But there was a
question of gas, and that took money.  Which ultimately brought her back
to square one and then the whole dizzying process repeated itself.

Days of this passed, broken only by sleep and meal times.

The answer came after a week and a half of these days.

She had just finished her last dose of oral medication for the day, and
settled back in to the pillows with the intent of writing Mulder a letter.  She
wouldn't put a return address on the outside, she'd decided, and she'd have
one of the nurses address it so he wouldn't be afraid of her handwriting.
Once he opened it, it would then be up to him to accept or reject.  But at
least she would know she'd done everything in her power to get a message
to him.

The trouble was, she wasn't sure how to begin the letter.  And as the
medication started taking effect, to became harder and harder to find the
words.  Dear Mulder?  Hey, Shmucky-Who-Now-Believes-Everything
-He's-Told?  Please believe me?  Please.

Scully yawned.

Damn that sleeping pill.  Damn Mulder.  If he hadn't given in to the popular
belief for the first time in his life, she wouldn't have been obsessing over
how to get back to him.  He would've found her already.  Therefore, she
would have been able to sleep on her own, without the help of the sleeping
pills.  She hated sleeping pills.  It took away just a little more of her 
over her own body.  Damn Mulder.

Oh, Mulder.

She allowed her mind to drift to an image of him in his soft tee-shirt and
jeans, hair rumpled, face exhausted.  He would be walking in the door as he
sorted through his mail, stopping at her unmarked letter.  Maybe he would
think it was from a new informant.  Another man with power and no name.

He would open the letter carefully, ripping the top flap from the side.  His
jaw would tighten in that look of concentration he always wore when he
expected trouble.  The paper inside would slip out easily and he would
slowly unfold it.  "Mulder, it's me . . ."

In a rush, the hospital room came back to her.  Dr. Swaggen was at her
side, gently patting her hand, trying to pull her attention to his face.  "Dana,
listen to me.  This is very important.  Dana?"

"Hmmmm?" she blinked him into focus.

"Do you remember that friend I told you about?  The one at Johns
Hopkins? Remember I told you he was a genetic researcher?  Well, he's got
the whole medical community over there interested in your case.  He wants
to fly out there.  Dana, do you understand what I'm telling you?"

Her eyes rolled around in her head as she tried to focus her concentration
on the doctor.  "Johns Hopkins?  Baltimore?"

"Right.  And I thought this was a great idea since you seem so intent on
getting over there, anyway.  Tonight.  We're going to get you on a flight

Scully closed her eyes.  Thank God.  She was going home.  Home.  To DC
and home and Mulder.  Mulder.  Mulder.

The medication took a firm hold on her and dragged her towards sleep.
But not before she felt her hand raised and paper placed under it.  Then a
disembodied voice floated past her.  "Dana, I need you to sign this paper.
Just write your name.  Write Dana Scully."

Yeah, she thought as her hand smoothed out the cursive, like Dana Scully
means anything anymore.  Her name was nothing more than a series of
sounds that represented who she used to be.  According to the world, Dana
Scully was dead.  Lost somewhere in the shadows of power.  Just beyond
the Truth.  Never quite reaching Justice.

Surrounded by the silence of a drug induced sleep.


And then she was awake.  Just like that.  Like a light switch flipped on
and she was aware of being in a narrow room.  All white.  Light
everywhere, pointing at her.

Dana was laying on a cold surface, a single, heavy sheet draped over her
form.  There was a door at the other end of the room; she could see it over
her feet.  All around her there were instruments and machines and trays of
surgical tools.  She was inside some kind of make-shift operating

Panic surged through her every molecule as the realization of just where
she'd ended up hit her.  She was back on one of those railroad cars.
Where They'd done the tests on her before.  She yanked on her arms and
legs as a reflex to the terror that coursed through her, but the restraints
held.  She couldn't see them because of the sheet covering her, but they felt
like leather cuffs.  Probably similar to the ones used in mental hospitals to
secure patients.

"Finally."  An unfamiliar man's voice was followed by a small clicking of a
metal door shutting and the scuffing of leather on the floor.  As he came
around to her right side, she could see that he wore blue surgical scrubs.  A
white mask hung loosely around his thin neck.  The dark hair that peeked
out from under his cap was matted to his forehead where a light sheen of
sweat glistened over his olive complexion.  His dark eyes searched hers,
intently.  "I thought you'd never come around."

With a flip of his hand, he whipped the sheet off from her, and Scully gave
a startled cry, whipping her face away from him.  Was he going to hurt her,
with her conscious?  Was she going to *know* what the butcher was doing
to her?  She was completely vulnerable; utterly at this stranger's mercy,
strapped naked to a steel table.  She couldn't fight him.  She couldn't
protect herself.  Would he rape her?  The horror of her naked body being
forced to yield to the man sent tremors through her.  And when his hot
hand clasped her forearm, she squeezed her eyes shut, mentally preparing
for the absolute worst.  "Our Father, who art in Heaven . . ."

A cool rush of air ran over her right wrist and she gasped.  The restraint
had been released.  Then, he was down at the bottom of the table working
on her feet.  "We don't have much time left.  The team should be here in
less than ten minutes.  Damn it!"  He swore and yanked her left ankle free
with a firm tug. "I *told* them not to cut it too close!"

Scully watched the man with wide, confused eyes as he began to unfasten
the cuff on her left hand.  A myriad of questions and emotions was running
through her head, not the least of which was: What the hell is going on?!

"And you, Agent Scully," his tenor voice clipped out her name, "are
starting to piss me off.  This better be the last rescue attempt I have to
make on you."


"There isn't time for explanations now."  He threw the recently discarded
sheet back at her and she quickly covered herself.     He continued talking,
taking no notice of her condition, covered or not.  "You're going to go out
that door," he pointed with a hooked thumb over his shoulder, " and take a
left.  About five cars down, you'll see a parking lot on the other side of the
train yard.  Look for the blue pick up with a round orange sticker on the
windshield.  Get in the cab and lock the doors and lay down out of sight.
I'll be there in half an hour or so, just as soon as the excitement of your
disappearance dies down a little."

Stone-still and eyes wide, Scully sat on the table, not believing what was
going on.  "Who are you?  What are you going to do with me?"  How did
he know she wasn't going to make a run for it?  The scalpel was on the
floor . . . if she made a lunge for it . . ..

With frustration in his eyes, the man glanced at his watch.  "Nothing.
Jesus!  There isn't time for this.  Just go to the truck, Agent Scully."  Then
the man's gloved hand steadied her chin and his oval eyes searched her
face.  "You can walk, can't you?"

"I . . . I think so."

He pulled away from her and crossed his arms.  "Look, you don't have to
trust me if you don't want to.  I don't care.  But as I see it you have two
choices.  Them or me.  And right now, I can safely say that if They find
you still here, I won't *have* to make any more rescues on your behalf.
There'll be nothing left to rescue."

"Is that a threat?"

"Just a statement of fact.  It's your choice."  He turned from her casually
and purposely  knocked over a surgical tray, sending the sterilized
instruments crashing to the floor.  He smiled when she jumped.  "We have
to make it look good, don't we?"

The lesser of two possible evils.  This man or Them.  The unknown had
always terrified her more than anything else, and at that moment, she was
willing to take her chances with someone who seemed to be attempting to
help her.  The alternative wasn't a choice.

Slipping down from the table, she pulled the sheet closer around her body
and  scurried barefoot to the door.

"Oh, Agent Scully.  I wouldn't try to make a break for it, if I were you.
You're in a top secret government weight station.  Completely surrounded
by men with big guns and even bigger dogs."  He turned his back to her
and began sawing at the right table restraint with a scalpel, his teeth
gritting his words under the force.  "If you're not in the truck when I get
there, I'm leaving without you."  He glanced at her over his shoulder.  "Do
you understand?"

"I'll be in the truck."

She slipped out the door and the even brighter morning light struck her
unprepared.  She'd been out of the sun for nearly two months, and it took a
second to adjust to the brilliance streaming down on her.  Too much light.
And too much heat.  Why did it have to be so hot?  She stepped down the
three iron rungs and landed hard on the rail bed.  The soft pads of her feet
would surely be bruised and ripped apart  by the loose stones in no time.

Five cars, he'd said.  Fine.

The heat from the coarse gravel under her feet was painful as she made her
way down the side of the train.  No one in sight.  Everything still and
almost foreboding.  Scully wasted little time studying her immediate area,
though, five car lengths was a lot farther than it sounded.  And the man had
said time was running out.

When she reached her destination she found the lot.  It was on the other
side of the train, about a hundred yards off.  Only a few dozen cars were
there, all just as deserted.

The thick connecting arms of the train cars would have been difficult to
climb over, and with the clock ticking, Scully opted for the easiest way
across the train track.  Underneath the train.  A moment's hesitation was all
it took to override her natural  reluctance.  Her survival instincts were
strong and screaming at her to hurry.

On her hands and knees, dragging the sheet with her, she crawled under the
heavy body of the car, over one thick metal track, across the wooden
brace, and then the other rail.  The whole time holding her breath, praying
that the wheels wouldn't move.  After all, she was a pathologist.  She'd
seen first hand what a six-ton train wheel and track could do to a body.

Once clear and on the other side, she scrambled to her feet, and ran the rest
of the distance to the smoother pavement of the parking lot.  Two rows
back she found the blue pick-up with a round, orange sticker.  On it, black
letters spelled out: STAL.  Stal?  The hot asphalt began  to burn her poor
feet.  She quickly opened the passenger side of the cab and pulled herself
into the oven-like heat.

It smelled like a new car.  The upholstery and carpeting were clean and
dark.  Remembering the man's instructions, Scully closed the door and
locked it.  Then she reached over and locked the driver's side as well.
Should she crack the windows?  Should she risk it?     As she laid down on
the floor in front of the seat and pulled the sheet over to cover her head
and body, she ignored the nagging claustrophobic tension in her chest.

This wasn't forever.  He had said twenty minutes.  She could handle twenty
minutes.  He had said stay hidden.  Fine.  She was hidden.

I'm lying on the floor, she thought, of a truck, completely naked.  Because
a man I don't know told me to.  This is insane.  This is something not even
Mulder would do.  I think.

A droplet of sweat slipped down from her neck and ran between her
breasts.  Silently, she waited there and stewed.

End of 4/9

"I have accepted fear as a part of life -
specifically the fear of change . . .
I have gone ahead despite the pounding
in the heart that says: turn back . . ."
-Erica Jong (b.1942).


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (5/9)
By MD1016

The steaming summer sun had set hours before without Mulder's noticing.
His small, hazel eyes had gradually grown accustomed to the fading light
until it blinked out of existence and he was left in abject darkness.  Pulling
up all of his energy reserves, he lifted his weary body from the deep-set
couch and crossed the dusty floorboards of his father's old summer house.
The switch on the paneled wall flicked a few small table lamps on.

The previous hours were nothing but a blur.  Not knowing where to go or
what to do, Mulder had fled Mrs. Scully's house in a panic; needing to
escape the brutal pain of loss and grief. It was like She was taken just
yesterday, not five months earlier.  And in a very real sense that was what
had happened.  Actual acknowledgment had killed more than just his hope.

It killed Her spirit.  The part that had haunted him . . . the only part of Her
that he had had left.  He felt like a murderer.

Before, when he had seen her ghost, it terrified him.  In his head, it meant
either she wanted to punish him, or he really was insane.  Neither option
left him with a zest for life.  But now that he'd exorcised her from him -
literally banishing her with his words - the small, infinitesimal pleasure he
had derived from her image was gone.  He'd banished her.

Blind, he'd driven for hours - no destination in mind - until he'd found
himself at the cottage.  It was just as empty and dead as he felt.  And, of
course,  She'd never been there.  It would be easier to shut himself
down.  Maybe he'd be able to substitute one ghost with another.

Mulder peered out the small kitchen window that overlooked the lake with
indifference.  The water would be warm this time of year, he thought idly.
An absent hand scratched at the flat plain of his stomach, and he looked up
into the adjacent room.  Without having to open any, he knew the kitchen
cabinets were bare.  It didn't really matter.  He had no intention of ever
eating again.  How could he possibly nourish his body when Hers had been
so . . . defiled?  It would be like Sally Struthers begging on behalf of all the
starving children of the world.  Too bad Mulder didn't have a TV remote
for his life.

A stabbing jolt through his chest sent one arm up against the wall for
support, and the other clutching at his heart.  Good, he thought, maybe a
heart attack will finish me off.

Stumbling back to the couch, he dropped himself down in to the soft,
textured cushions and waited for his last breath with a morbid eagerness.
Like a child waiting in line for the House of Horrors.  Terrified.  And yet,
willingly taking on that terror.  Wanting desperately to be scared to death.

The end, however, didn't greet him.  Instead, he laid on his back for most
of the night, staring up at the shadows that spread themselves over the flat,
white ceiling.  God dammit.  Cheated again.

Why do I have to live when She can't?  Is it about suffering?  Do I have to
suffer as much as She did in Her last hours?  Is that my penance for not
rescuing Her?  For not being there?  His eyes closed and he swallowed
thickly.  God.  How can She be gone?  How can what They said possibly
be true?

The graphic photos flashed through his head again, and he cowered from
the images.  So much horror.  Someone had touched Her.  Violated Her in
the most gruesome ways possible.  Taken not only Her life, but Her dignity
and humanity, as well.  Stripped Her of everything that She had held
sacred.  "Oh, God," his voice wailed in the still air.  "Oh, GOD!  I'm sorry!
I'm so sorry!"

The chaos of true fury spiraled through him, and he whipped the pillows
from the couch. They flew across the room, destroying trinkets and baubles
with haphazard precision.  Mulder flailed his arms and legs over the edges
of the sofa, unable to pick himself up and destroy the room properly.
Flailing pathetically, like a fish on a dock.  Deep wails forced their way out
as he laid there, until the dawn peeked through the blinds and exhaustion
won out.

His sleep was peppered with visions of Her shadowed form, both
remembered and imagined.  But never Her face.  Her eyes.  Her soul.
Those were gone from him.  He'd traded them for a chance to bring Her
some peace.  Something he'd never thought to give Her while she was with

He didn't wake up until the blazing sun was ready to set again.


Mulder emerged from the bathroom haggard and swaying against the brutal
force of gravity.  Hours of tortured sleep had left him drained.  The only
solace allowed him was the gradual emergence into the unmerciful reality
of  consciousness.  The physical ache of hunger was nothing compared to
the regurgitated pain and desolation of losing her over and over.

Stumbling down the darkened hall, he leaned heavily against the paneled
walls for support.  His steps were slow and uneven; much like his ragged
breaths.  The pulse in his neck throbbed against his windpipe.  He felt like
shit and was sure he looked worse.  A masochistic smile transformed his
face, creating disfiguring planes with the shadows.

And then, as if in a dream, Mulder looked down and he could see himself.
Slowly making a path towards a brilliant golden light.  Seeing his hands flat
against the walls, but not feeling them any longer.  He watched as the hall
opened wider, giving him more space to move through; becoming
hopelessly long.

The light burned like radiant fire, hovering just beyond the end of the hall.
Like a beacon, it called to him; led the way.  Mulder blinked as his body
followed, making its way at a snail's pace down towards the golden source.

But with a flash of impatience, the yellow glow sped at him like a swarm of
luminous hornets.  And Mulder saw his arms and chest become engulfed in
the gentle warmth of it.

Then, once again he was in his body looking out.  He no longer ached.
The grief and pain were gone.  And he breathed with a smile of relief.  The
glow lightly kissed his features before sinking in to him; becoming a part of
him.  The sensuousness of the contact  briefly dropped his eyes closed. He
relished the playful dancing of the colored orbs behind his eye lids.

But when his eyes opened, Mulder froze in place.  The light was gone.  The
dark had returned. And, on the ground before him lay a huddled figure.  A
heavy white sheet covered all.

"No."  Mulder whimpered as his hand, of its own volition, snaked down
through the air and reached out for the cloth.  "Please, no."  His own
fingers refuse to yield to his pleas.  They curled around the hem of the
sheet. Mulder wanted to run.  He tried to turn his head away.  He strained
to force his eyes closed again.  Anything to save himself from the already
returning heartache and sorrow.

His arm yanked on the cloth.


Lying huddled like a new, wet fetus lay a woman.  Her red hair was
limp and dark against Her damp head and shoulder.  Naked hips and legs
curled up  protectively against Her red-splotched torso.  The line of Her
form curved smoothly against the blackness that surrounded Her.  She was
still and glistening and all that existed.

Blood raged through Mulder's body, swelling in the flesh between his legs.
He could smell the sweat on Her skin.  He could feel the heat from Her
body radiating up to him; searing him.  The roundness of Her perfect rear
sloped gradually into a slender waist he recognized.  It was the
unmistakable lower back that he had touched so many times before.
Flawless.  Bare to him.  Beaded with a sheen of perspiration.

His body had forsaken him.  The stiffness in his crotch pressed painfully
against the firm denim encasing it.  It was wrong, Mulder knew, but it was
out of his control.  He couldn't stop his hands from smoothing over his
erection any more than he could force his eyes to look away from the arch
of Her neck.   Tears of disgust and anguish rolled unheeded down his
unshaven cheeks.  His hips bucked forward into the air without finding the
satisfaction of friction.

And, when She lifted her head the slightest amount and Her pure blue eyes
looked up and locked with his, Mulder couldn't help the explosive release
that soaked through the tight front of his jeans.  His eyes rolled back as he
gasped from the shameful pleasure of it.  His knees buckled.  Then, as his
head sank, his boneless body fell forward over Her.  Or, what his mind
screamed should have been on top of Her.  But as he collapsed, he could
feel nothing except the unforgiving wood of the floor rushing up to meet


The stagnant air weighted him down.  The desire to move was not in
him.  Self-loathing kept the tears pooling where his cheek pressed against
the floor, and exhaustion kept him from caring.

It wasn't enough that he had  seen Her again; that somehow She had
managed to find Her way back to haunt him.  No, he had to succumb to the
primal lusts of his body.  To step in line with all the other men who had
defiled her and reduced her to less than nothing.  While She watched.


Mulder leapt up and bolted out the back door.  His bare feet carried him
over the dark grass towards the lake shore, his arms lifted the tee-shirt up
and off of his torso.  Stumbling a few steps in the dark, he freed his feet
from the confines of the jeans and underwear before he hit the cool,
blackness of the water head first.

His slender fingers ran over his face, scrubbing fiercely at the guilt he held
as if it were a thick mask of dirt.  Every part of him felt filthy; sinfully
so.  His hands ran over his penis and thighs, washing away the previously
dried cum.  All the while, making his way farther out into the lake.

The warmth of the air combined with the gentle current had a calming
effect that gradually brought Mulder out of his frenzied baptism.

Breathing hard, he sank back into the water, allowing his natural buoyancy
to keep him afloat.  The half moon cast its spotlight over the bloody
blackness of the world around him.  It would be so easy, his mind
pondered, to simply sink in to the water and disappear.  No mess for
someone else to clean up.  No pain.  No more haunting.

Like anything in his life could be that easy.

Why did She continue to haunt him?  Why wouldn't Her spirit let him go?
Did She hate him for his failure to reach Her in time?  And what would She
say to him if She knew what he was doing?  If She could see him treading
water in the lake in the dark?  If She knew he had looked over Her naked
body and climaxed?

It was sick.  That he would fantasize about Her that way: shielding Herself
from his view, trying to retain even the smallest amount of dignity.  And
still he was able to . . . do what he had done.  Disgusting.  Sick.

But then, they'd said at the hospital that he was mentally ill.  Over and
over.  That what he called 'Her hauntings' were, in fact, elaborate fantasies
of a troubled mind.  That, in reality, She was gone forever.  She wasn't
trying to communicate with him.  And all he had left was fantasy.  Well,
that, and the comforting weight of his body suspended in water.

Sinking.  Slowly.  Deeper and deeper.

"Oh, Mulder."

He could hear Her voice resonating in his head, as the water rose above his
ears.  "Mulder."  The coolness of the sandy lake bed gave way gently under
his feet.  He let his legs bend as he sank further down into the blackness.
With an almost euphoric calm, he ignored the pangs of self preservation
that burned in his lungs.  It would all be over soon.  All of it: the pain, the
emptiness, the guilt . . ..

"Please.  Mulder."

Why was he hearing Her voice now?  Why couldn't She just let him do
what needed to be done?  What he wanted to do.  Why was She there
when he wanted so much to deny Her?


But then, he never could deny Her.  Not really.

His feet planted themselves firmly in the mud, and pushed his body up
towards the surface.  He didn't want to respond to the lunacy inside his
head.  But once again, it was beyond his control.  His body was forced to
obey Her; fantasy or no.  Gasping for air as his head broke the water, a
series of painful sobs shook through him.

The air was warm in his chest.  And moist.  Mulder choked through the
guttural cries releasing the anger and frustration that boiled within him.  "I
don't want to live without you!  I don't want to live!"  His words echoed
over the glassy lake top.

The lulling, nearly non-existent current eventually brought him back to
the narrow shore.  Without the strength to haul himself out from the water
completely, Mulder crawled up the gentle slope until his waist was clear of
the rolling movement and fell asleep.


Morning came slowly.  But even slower still was Mulder's drift back to
consciousness.  It had been days since he'd eaten, and even then it had only
been an frozen burrito.  Hunger was starting to win its battle with his body,
and Mulder was feeling the consequences: ranging from the throb in his
head to the ache in every other part of his body; and then, the added
pleasure of nausea and vertigo when he tried to stand on the uneven sand.
It was no wonder when he fell over and nearly passed out.  Thank god
Scully wasn't there.  She would be furious.

Yet, something in him pulled his body up from the lake shore and got him
in the house again.

The hot shower was meaningless against his numbed skin.  As were the
clothes he found in one of the oak dressers.  His fathers.  The jeans were
too big, and the shoes were too tight.  But Mulder didn't even notice.
Sensation was lost on him.

He found the key on the hook by the door and headed out to the car.
Nothing tangible was in his mind.  He was running on auto-pilot, only
vaguely aware that he needed food and something to drink.

The guilt was gone.  The ache and grief were forgotten.  Only an empty
hunger plagued him.  And so, he left the house in search for something to
feed it.

End of 5/9

"I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind,
In balance with this life, this death."
-W. B. Yeats (1865 1939), An Irish Airman Fooresees His Death.

The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (6/9)
By MD1016

"Would you shut up?!" barked the man driving the truck.  His dark
complexion was flushed from heat and frustration.

Scully clamped her lips shut and fumed.  It had been two hours since
they'd left the train yard and she still didn't know who the mysterious man
was or why he was 'helping' her.  Most of that time they'd been speeding
past open fields, and down back roads.  She had no idea where they were,
or where they were headed.  And Mr. Congenial didn't seem keen on
volunteering any information.

And she was still naked.  True, she had the sheet; but her ingrained
modesty screamed for more.  Especially since she was basically
powerless and feeling less than her usual 'fine'.  The oven temperatures in
the truck had nearly rendered her unconscious by the time the small driver
had finally shown up.  In his defense, he had turned the air conditioning up
full blast as soon as the air from the vents was cool enough to breathe.
But, by that time, the sheet was nearly transparent from her sweat, and the
combination gave her chills.  It took her twenty minutes to drag herself up
from the floorboard.  And another ten or so for the dancing lights behind
her eyes to fade away.

Scully couldn't help the inevitable comparison.  Mulder would have helped
her up into the seat.  He would have seen to it that she had water and was
safely buckled in before he tore out on to the open road.  And he certainly
would have offered her his shirt if he had nothing else to give her!

"I need water," Scully insisted, unable to ignore the demands her body was
making any longer, "and clothes.  And an aspirin or something-"

"You'll get everything that you need when we get to the rendezvous
point."  The man clipped off  the words with his teeth.  As his shoulders
rounded towards the steering wheel, he barked out: "We're almost there."
His voice was higher than Mulder's, and the harsh tenor grated on Scully's
last aching nerve.

"Why won't you give me any clothes?  Are you afraid I'll run away?"

She heard a faint rumble set deep in the man's long throat as he slowly
peeled his black eyes from the road.  They met with hers before he slowly
grazed her entire length with their touch.  Her heart doubled its cadence.
With a grimace, she pressed herself against the passenger door.  Her hands
pulled up defensively against her chest.

His leer continued as he spoke.  "Nothing I ain't seen before, sweetheart."
Then his focus snapped back to the road an he continued at his normal,
crisp rate, "I wasn't impressed then, and I'm certainly not now."

His ability to leave her feeling cheap and violated without so much
as laying a hand on her infuriated Scully.  How dare he dismiss her like
some piece of garbage he picked up from the side of the road!

Her mind was whirling in and out of rage.  Okay, so he wasn't going to
rape her.  Or fondle her.  Or probably touch her unnecessarily.  Asshole.  It
was all so horrendously demoralizing.  The relief she thought she *should*
feel was muscled away by the humiliation of his insult.  Why?  She had no

So, with all of the indignity that pulsed within her, Scully sat up straight
again.  The man treated her with a certain amount of familiarity.  And a
large dose of contempt.  Did he know her?  Had they met?  She didn't
remember him.  Did she?  She closed her eyes and tried to call up memories
that didn't seem to be in her head.

Well, she silently crooned, even if he did know her from somewhere,
insulting her physically, while she sat unclothed - and feeling horrible - was
a low.  The guy hadn't even snuck a peek.  Not in the train car, not when
he got into the truck.  At first she was relieved, but now!  Even Mulder
would have snuck a peek.  And then given into the urge to tease her a little
to lighten the mood.  After he'd given her his shirt, of course.  And some
water.  And after he'd reassured himself that she was all right.

God, Mulder.  Please.  Please be all right.

And once again it all came back to Mulder.  She needed to see him, to have
him with her when she was feeling so bad.  To hear his voice and his
reassuring presence.  To know that no matter what, he would protect her .
. . from people like the hateful man beside her.

Another flash of heat slipped through her, followed by a moment of
disorientation.  When she got her bearings again, the truck pulled off the
paved road on to a small, pitted private drive.  They bumped along for a
few minutes - just long enough for Scully to become nauseous - and then
came to a stop before a small, two-story farm house, tucked neatly behind
a row of evergreens.

The new sickness only weakened her further, and as soon as she felt the
motor die, Scully opened the door and fell to the grass.  She landed on all
fours, and emptied a yellowish bile from her stomach, coughing and
sputtering.  Her arms and legs ached.  And when they finally threatened to
give out, she crawled a little to the side and laid down in the shade.

"Oh, Mulder.  Why aren't you here?  No," she closed her eyes, "I'm glad
you're not here to see me like this."

By the time Scully realized the man had gone into the house without giving
her a second look, she was beyond caring.  She spread out on her stomach
- the sheet covering most of her torso and llegs - and gloried in the cool,
pillowing blades of grass.  There was a slight breeze that toyed with the
hair at her neck.  It felt so . . . good, like it brushed away the waves of
unbearable heat that her own body was generating.  To be shaded, and
cooler was a welcome sensation.  And she was so tired . . ..

At some point later, someone lifted her from the yard and carried her into
the house and she was placed upright . . . in a chair, maybe?  A soft, velvet
rested below her fingertips.  A recliner?  Her feet didn't seem to touch the
ground.  Or did they?

Her eye lids were too heavy to open . . .

Until she felt the sharp pain of a needle digging into her thigh. After that,
Scully couldn't open them wide enough.  Or scream loudly enough.  "What
the hell are you doing!?"  Mr. Congenial held the syringe, filled to the brim
with a translucent, green liquid.  "STOP!"  He was pressing hard on the
end of it, forcing the solution under her skin.

Scully's hands grabbed for the syringe on impulse, but two hands came
from behind the chair and held her in place.  It wasn't much of a
struggle.  Most of her energy was gone.  The headache was worse.  The
chills were back.

"Just relax, Agent Scully.  We're here to take care of you."  The voice was
decidedly female.  And soft.  Honest.  "Close your eyes.  Relax in to the
anti-toxin.  Allow it to warm through you.  It will correct much of what
they tried to do to you."  The hands began a gentle caress of her wrists and
arms.  Light and soothing.

There was no option except to follow the voice.  What else could she do?
Gradually, as her breathing deepened, her shivering dissipated, starting
from the inside of her body out.  Without being able to stop it, Scully felt
her only tangible protection - the sheet - lifted from her; a small tug
releasing the part she sat on.  Then, caring hands lifted her from the back of
the chair, and slipped something over her head.  A shirt.  Soft.  Cotton.
Her arms were laced through it.

Scully's hips were lifted in the same fashion and shorts were slipped on.  At
least, she thought they were shorts.  Her legs still felt exposed.  And while
the pounding in her head shrank back a notch or two, she still couldn't
bring herself to open her eyes.  Knowing she wasn't asleep, but not quite
awake, either, Scully faded in and out around hushed voices, both male and
female.  Their conversation buzzed around her.  The sensation was
unnerving.  Catching "we've got to hurry" here and "all arrangements are
made" there.

"We work our asses off to keep these people safe, pull them out of danger
time and again, and how do they thank us?  By allowing themselves to be
caught up in the net, again!"

"I'm sure, given the choice, she wouldn't have decided on the tests They
put her through."

"She insisted on asking the wrong questions.  It's the same thing."

"They were the right questions -"

"Yeah.  Ask her kids that when they're born with no arms."

A thin whimper eked from Scully.  Her semi-conscious mind was flooding
twisted images past her.  Infants with stubs for arms.  Babies with
enormous heads and black, alien eyes.  Her babies.  Her tortured little
babies.  "No . . ."

Then the woman's hushed voice was in Scully's ears again.  "Listen
carefully.  You're safe.  The anti-toxin should clean out your system in less
than 72 hours.  Normally we'd have you in bed, unconscious during that
period.  The side-effects are unpleasant.  But there isn't time."

"Right.  And you shouldn't get the brunt of them until sometime
tomorrow."  The man cut in.  His tone was less than pacifying.  "Agent
Scully.  Your partner is in danger."


Scully lulled her head from side to side in an effort to shake off
the lethargy that had enveloped her.  "Muuul-er,"  she attempted; her
tongue got hung up around her teeth.  Danger?  What kind of danger?

"Don't talk, Agent Scully.  Just listen to what we have to say."  There was
a momentary pause before the woman started again.  Something cool and
moist was placed on Scully's face.  "You've been missing from your family
and friends for over five months, now.  Closer to six. The group that took
you originally intended not to return you at all. While we regretted losing
you, we owed your captors a certain . . . debt.  You were considered a
regrettable, but necessary loss."  She took a calculated breath, "We didn't
count on the extreme of Agent Mulder's reaction to your second

"Which is how we came to meet again," the man's grumble filled the room.
"Mulder  is a wild card that many of my . . . bosses . . ." he tripped over the
word, "need playing in their field.  They needed his success."

"Your success," the woman added with approval.

With a furrowed brow Scully tried to take in what she was hearing.
Bosses?  How many Theys were there?  And Mulder.  Why was he in

"Agent Mulder, " continued the woman, "was allowed, this time, to believe
that you were dead.  We figured in a drop in his success rate for a year or
so, but the outcome has been far worse than we first imagined.  Instead of
simply mourning, he has given up completely, and our group feels that he
may, in the perceivable future, decide to end his life."

Scully's face screwed up around the rush of panic and grief.  "No . . ."  Her
eyes flashed open to the swimming outlines of the room around her.  NO!
Mulder!  Don't even think it!  Hang on, Mulder!  I'm here!  PLEASE!

The man leaned close to her face, violence in his voice.  "You must stop
him, Agent Scully.  The X-Files must be reopened.  The world cannot
afford for our group to fail."

FUCK YOUR GROUP!  FUCK YOU ALL!  Mulder!  She had to get to
Mulder.  Her arms attempted to awkwardly push her weight up from the
chair.  The result was pathetic.  How could it come to this?  Mulder's life
being thrust in to the hands of an invalid.  "Help Mulder . . ." her voice
wasn't any stronger than the rest of her.

"You really should sleep now, Agent Scully, but as we said, time is of the
essence.  It's going to take about an hour before you're able to walk.
Another hour before you'll be clear enough to drive.  There is a map on the
table that tells you were Agent Mulder was last sighted."

"There's also some food and water."

Scully forced her eyes open and the woman's face came in to view.  She
was beautiful.  And somehow familiar.  Her intelligent brown eyes peered
down at the agent.  "At some point in the future, I will be in touch with you
again.  There's too much information for you to process for now.  Just
know that They will be trying to get to you again, and this must not be
allowed to happen." She tucked a loose bit of brownish hair behind her
ear and smiled faintly back at Scully.  "There's a car with a full tank of gas
outside for you.  We're working on getting the red tape thinned
out so that it won't be too difficult to reinstate you amongst the living."

Scully shook her head, "Why?"  Her mouth was dry again. "Why are . . .
you doing . . . this?  For . . . Mulder?"

"There are those of us who want him safe.  Who believe in his work, and
want to help him.  And you."

"But why?"

"Because there is enough horror in the world.  We're not all monsters,
Agent Scully.  There are some who believe that there can be truth if we
fight for it.  It is possible to right the wrongs.  If we're not too late."


The nameless man and woman had left a little less than an hour before,
according to the clock above the small shale mantle.  And in the interim, as
she waited impatiently for her body to begin to respond to her
commands again, Scully hadn't heard any evidence of anyone else in the
house.  It was odd that they would just leave her there.  But then, she
expected nothing less.  Nothing about the last several months of her life
made much sense.

Mulder.  I have to get to Mulder.  Mulder. . . don't be stupid.  You've made
it this long.  Oh, GOD!

Gradually, the heavy, groggy fatigue in Scully's body melted away, leaving
a residue of aches and stiffness.  Still, there was no doubt in her mind that
she could easily sleep for three days straight.  If that were a luxury that she
could afford.  "Mulder," she reminded herself, "he needs me."

End his life?  How could he even think . . .?  But then, if one wasn't
concerned about heaven . . ..  Damn him!  Making her suffer mercilessly. 
Knowing that she had to reach him, and reach him immediately.  Before he
took his gun . . . or a rope . . . or found a lake . . ..

The second she trusted her legs not to give out underneath her, Scully
pushed herself up from the comfortable, overstuffed chair.  Sure enough,
on a large wooden table behind her was a bag of food and water and a
large map pinned down with tacks.  There was also a pair of tennis shoes
and a set of keys nearby.  "Gee, it's almost like Christmas."    And a large
manilla envelope.

With shaking hands Scully reached into the envelope and pulled out a
nightmare.  Five 8X10" photographs.  Back and white.  All of Mulder.  His
long, naked body was a sharp contrast against the dark shore line.  Water
blanketed his calves.  His arms twisted unprotected out to his sides.  His
face was blank and empty.  His eyes closed.  "So," her heart wrenched, " it
was a lake after all, Mulder."

With everything that boiled within her, Scully ripped the pictures in half
and grabbed the shoes and keys.  The woman had said to wait at least
another hour - God forbid she lose control of the car and get herself killed
on the way to stop Mulder from attempting the same thing!  But if she
didn't arrive in time . . . if she made it to his side only to find she'd been 
late . . ..

NO!  The thought of him not being there when she was finally so close
filled her with  a stabbing dread.  Scully had trouble beating back
the panic that threatened to reduce her to frenzy.  It would have been so
easy for her to simply give into the emotions that through her.  To
succumb to the hysteria that swirled through her and around her.

Pausing at the door, Scully braced herself against the jam and allowed
herself a deep breath.  "Control," she told herself.  "Mulder needs you in
control."  And if that's how Mulder needed her -- that's how she would be.

All she knew was she had to see him and to touch him.  She needed to feel
him in her arms; to know that he was alive and all right.  The craving to
feel his hair against her cheek and smell his sweet tang took a firm hold of
her insides with a jerk.  It was a need that she'd never known before.  At
least, not for Mulder.  Well, not that she allowed herself to acknowledge.

The compact car was parked in the front yard next to an old pecan tree.
The door was unlocked.  Scully threw herself behind the wheel and
pulled the map flat in front of herself, bracing it against the steering wheel.
A large black circle marked a small back road as Frimyer, and a large red X
was firmly situated over a small town labeled Quonochontaug.  RHODE
ISLAND!?!  First Maine, then Alaska, and now . . .

"My god," Scully sighed, "He's gone to his father's lake house."


The drive itself took all of twenty minutes.  The longest twenty minutes of
her life.  Most of which she spent chanting to herself that everything would
be okay, and that Mulder wasn't really as impulsive as she usually gave
him credit for.  "He won't do anything stupid.  He won't do anything

As her body woke up more, the aches and pains drained away, and the heat
oscillated between sweats and chills.  Once she stopped by the roadside to
vomit, the symptoms dissipated somewhat and she was able to concentrate
one the task at hand.  Finding Mulder.  Getting to the town, and finding

Once there, however, Scully was at a loss as to what to do.  She
had no address or directions.  Her best bet was to stop in town, and see if
anyone knew where the Mulder house might be.  It was a small town, after
all.  Someone must know something.  Christ!  There wasn't time for this!

Beside the local post office, Scully parked the car.  It had taken an
enormous amount of energy just to keep the car between the lines on the
road.  Though the pain was nearly gone from her heavy muscles, it would
only be a matter of time before she passed out completely.  And once again
she would be surrounded by strangers who didn't even know her name.
Even the clothes she wore didn't represent who she really was.  A white
and pink knit top that rode high on her waist, and a stiff pair of thick cotton
shorts.  Also a disgustingly Pepto color.

And the heat was sinking back inside of her again.  She had to hurry.

Taking a deep breath, Scully stepped from the driver's side and tested her
legs.  Not bad.  Achy, but functional.  She looked up just as a tall man
brushed past her off of the curb. Brown hair.  Straight nose.  Pouty lower


He walked right past her without even seeing her.  His eyes were glazed
and miles away. His stride was slow and deliberate; set more by habit than
destination.  The hair on the back of his head was longer than she
remembered it, and it fluttered with the summer breeze.  But it was him.
No question.

Her vision tunneled to encompass only him, effectively silhouetting his
form against the blackness of everything else.  There was a swelling of her
chest that burst into a massive swirl of butterflies in her stomach.  Her
straining heart pounded.  A new energy ignited within her and she tingled
inside and out from the sight of him.  Knowing he was alive.  That he was
mere feet from her.

Walking away.

Without knowing she was doing it, Scully called out to him.  There was a
momentary waver in his stride; a nearly imperceptible catch in the
mechanical swing of his arms.  Scully knew he had heard her voice, or at
least the sound of his name.  But he didn't turn.  He didn't waver from the
path that was already chosen.

"Mulder!" she yelled.  "MULDER!"  Her voice broke with the force of her
desperation to reach him.  Her legs tried to run to him, but the quivering
weakness in her thighs was returning and all she could manage was a limp.


He stopped in mid-stride with his back to her; his body frozen.  Then,
without warning,  he reacted, but in a way she never could have expected.
His head shook.  His trembling arms raised and both hands muffled his ears
as if from some horrid offense.  As she took another step she could hear his
tormented pleas; his pained, "No . . . no . . . leave me alone . . .."

"Mulder?"  His cheeks were gaunt and hollowed by starvation.  His
intelligent eyes were dark and dull.  Beside herself, Scully reached out and
slowly brought her right palm to his heavily stubbled face.  His eyes
snapped to hers.

And the look there terrified Scully.

There was no recognition.

Just hatred and death staring back at her.

She gasped.  His eyes held something else, too, and she was completely
unprepared for it.  Something that she couldn't put a name to.  Beyond
horror.  Beyond agony.  In the next second, she saw a transformation.  He
was no longer looking at her, but into her.

The connection.

And then his knees buckled and he slipped to the ground; a priest kneeling
down before his God.  The dull grey of his eyes never leaving her face,
refusing to blink.  Scully dropped down with him. Her shaky arms wrapped
themselves tightly around him.  He was warm against her, smelling just as
she had remembered.  Oh, thank you, God.  Thank you.

With all of the weariness her body held, she rested her head on the crook of
his neck and pressed her chest firmly against his.  She needed the contact.
She wanted him to know she was there.  With him.  For him.

Slowly, as his heart raced below her ear, his arms snaked around her
middle and pulled her closer, squeezing her hard to his chest.  So hard,
that she had trouble taking a breath. The pain in her lower back renewed.
"Mulder -"

Suddenly, a string of sobs erupted from Mulder's chest like cannons,
shaking them both.  But Scully simply smoothed the back of his head and
neck with her left hand and held him with her right.  She rocked him
gently.  In her world, there was only Mulder and her.  Wrapped tightly
together.  Never to be separated again. She would see to it.

Scully realized with a quiet shock that their embrace was like that of two
found lovers, not partners.  Not friends.  And that her need to touch him
didn't end with their fierce embrace.  But the newfound intimacy didn't
scare her as much as the realization that came with it: He needed her to
live, and she needed him . . . even more.

Infinitely more.

Tears began to fall down her own cheeks, quieter than his, but tears just
the same.  His arms continued to pin her fiercely to his waist and she could
feel every breath that he took through the swelling of his belly against her
own.  His lips gently grazed her shoulder between sobs.  His scratchy
cheek scraped against her neck.  He rubbed it softly up to the side of her
face; his wet tears cooling the heat of her skin.  Then his teeth scraped at
the gentle incline of her neck and his tongue kissed its way up to the lobe
of her ear.  There, something unintelligible was whispered against her flesh.

What was left of her rational mind fought to stay afloat in the rapidly
thickening fog.  He's kissing me, she told herself, somehow trying to make
it more real.  He's saying something . . . and kissing me . . .

But she couldn't concentrate on the sounds he was making.  Her whole
being at that point was focused on the way he felt.  The way he was
making her feel.  The sensations were new and powerful.  Consuming.
And she was powerless against them.

One of his hands traveled down and cupped her bottom tightly against his
lower body.  Scully's whole being jerked to him,  blossoming a ravenous
need.  They'd been apart for so long.  She'd been so afraid for him.  And
now that he was safe in her arms, he wasn't close enough.  She craved to
comfort his tormented cries.  To assure him and reassure him until they
were both convinced that she was back and he was alive.  Nothing else
existed except for that need.  Nothing else mattered except easing his pain.
Stopping his suffering.  Soothing his wounds.  Satisfy the hunger.

His mouth briefly suckled at her ear before moving on to the damp
saltiness of her cheek.  Kissing a line down to her full, dry lips.  She knew
his urgency.  It was a part of her, too.  Her mouth opened wide against his
and her tongue slid over the smooth teeth she found there.  She could taste
him.  And even though she'd never kissed him before, the taste of him was

The kiss intensified, and beyond all reason - lost in a world that consisted
only of sensation and passion - Scully moaned into his mouth.

Then, all at once, she was pushed backwards and she hit the pavement,
landing hard on her back.  The sudden rush of adrenaline left her gasping
for air.  But Mulder's mouth refused to relinquish her lips and she inhaled
the already moist air from his body.  The sensation was electric.     It
consumed her.

His hands were everywhere, grasping at her hips and breasts and face.  His
groin  rutted firmly against hers.  It was all she could do to keep another
moan of pleasure from escaping.  Her body was impossibly heavy
and unwielding.  Hot.  Numb.  She couldn't have sat up at that point, even
if she tried.  Not that she wanted to be anywhere than where she was.

Under Mulder.

"Oh, Mulder."

The sound of her own voice registered a spark of realization in her mind.
Just a glimmer, that at first she tried to ignore.  But it quickly expanded,
knocking the incredible physical desires down a notch, and she couldn't
ignore the fact that Mulder was lying on top of her.  In public.  Mulder, her
partner.  Mulder, her best friend.  Mulder, the man she had been kissing so
passionately just a second before.

"Mulder . . . wait . . ."

His weight pressed her into the rough cement, and she felt her tee
shirt beginning to ride up.  A tidal wave of panic flushed through her.  It
would be so easy just to let go, she thought.  The fatigue in her arms and
legs was compounded by a sexual lethargy that she'd never experienced
before.  It felt so good.  And after feeling so bad for so long . . ..  "No," 
tried to get out, even though her heart wasn't in it.  "Not here, Mulder."
His lips continued to grind into hers.

Her palms pushed against his chest, and she tried in vain to push herself out
from under him.  She had to stop them before they went too far with an
audience.  He was just responding to the shock, she knew.  Just as she had
initially.  And to the wonderful feeling of his mouth on hers.  His hands on
her.  Reaching lower.  Oh, yes, lower.


Two of his fingers found their way to her elastic waistband and one yank
had the shorts down to her mid thigh.  Before her mind caught up to
register what was happening, she felt him forcing his way inside of her.

"Oh, GOD!"

The ripping pain was swallowed up by a flood of heat and need that
saturated the lower part of her body.  His full stiffness stretched her;
feeding the ache that already throbbed there.  His thrusts were powerful
and rough.  And his tongue continued to battle in her mouth, pulling
moans of pleasure from her throat.

With all the desperation and need that had controlled her, Scully climaxed
around him in a hard, almost painful orgasm.  She couldn't have stopped
him, she couldn't stop herself.  Her eyes rolled to the back of her head as
she cried out.

His frenzied rhythm slammed his groin into hers, even as she convulsed
around him.  She clutched his back and held on, unable to do anything else.
She was beyond herself.  Until a second later.  He went rigid above her,
and she felt a hot explosion deep inside her body.  His eyes, though slitted,
looked down into hers, refusing to close against the pleasure, and her name
slipped out like a prayer on his lips.  "Scully."

Lifting her head, she whispered his in return.

They were together.  Literally, yes, but emotionally as well.  The innermost
parts of their souls sighed in relief.  The pain was abated.  Their
separation was over.  They were all that mattered.  They were their own
world set apart.

Until, like a jolt of thunder, the real world barged in and refuse to be
ignored.  Gasps and crude comments and the realization that a crowd of
people had gathered around them filtered through the mush of Scully's
brain.  Somewhere in the distance she heard sirens.  Mulder seemed to pick
up on the flash of panic in her eyes, because without a word he lifted
himself from her, and slipped out.

Scully tried not to cry out as he left her, only managing in stifling a small
grunt at the abrupt separation.  Her tingling pain grew in his absence.  Her
numbed hands slipped the shorts back in place over her sticky thighs and
she was vaguely aware of being mortified with herself for losing so much of
her control.  Losing?  Or surrendering?

Mulder's hands were on her again, pulling her up to him, his eyes never
lifting from her face.  "Scully," he said again, as if the mention of her name
would act like an anchor and keep him in the fantasy of having her back.

"I'm here, Mulder.  But we have to get out of here . . ."   It was at that
point that Scully's legs gave out all together, and she clung to Mulder's
arms to stay upright.  The euphoric tingling pain that Mulder had left in her
body drained away in the span of a breath.

Once again the stabbing pain ignited, but this time it flared through every
cell in her body.  She screamed.  And somewhere, through cotton ears, she
heard him calling her name over and over.  But the ability to respond had
left her.  At least this time someone knew her name.  This time, she
thought, I won't be alone.

Then everything became silent.  And dark.  And calm.

End of 6/9

"When I died last, and, Dear, I die
As often as from thee I go
Though it be but an hour ago,
And lovers' hours be full eternity."
-John Donne (1572-1631).  The Legacy.


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (7/9)
By MD1016

Mulder stared down at the limp body in his arms.  The sound of his own
horrified voice screaming Her name still rang in his ears, even after the
sound of sirens squealed to a stop on the street in front of him.  Someone
touched his shoulder.  They tried to turn him around.  But Mulder
continued to stare at the unkept cascade of red and gold that lifted gently
in the breeze.  Her hair.  She had beautiful hair.

She was real.  She, the fantasy, was real.  This time, She'd stayed with him,
in his arms.  Where before, She had vanished into the darkness.

Two foreign hands were on Her, pulling.  Trying to rip Her from his
grasp.  They wanted to take Her away.  From him.  Again.

With all of his strength, he pulled Her against him; crushing Her body
against his own.  He wouldn't let Them have Her.  They would never have
Her again.  Never.

A slight vibration rumbled against his stomach; and then he caught a
weak, muffled sound.  Her head flopped against his chest.  She didn't have
the strength to lift it.

Cutting through the crowd, a male voice yelled out: "My God, man!
Stop!  You're hurting her!"

Mulder's head quickly shot up to search out the accuser, but then dropped
down to the small woman he held upright.  Her feet, in their white canvas
shoes, barely scrapped the ground; Her arms hung awkwardly out to Her
sides like a rag doll.  Her eye lids were red and sunken against the almost
chalky complexion of Her cheeks.  Her pale lips cracked themselves open
just enough to whisper, "Mulder..."

He was holding Her too tightly.  She couldn't breathe.  In his panic to
release Her from the stronghold of his arms, She slipped through his
embrace and crumbled to the ground.

A set of arms instantly snatched Her up, and a second later he was down
on the cement -- face first -- with his wrists securely handcuffed behind his

"Scully!"  He couldn't see Her.  They'd taken Her from his line of sight.

"Scully!"  He tried to roll to see where they'd taken Her.

"Scully!"  A sharp weight pressed into his back.

"Scully!"  A disembodied voice told him he had the right to remain silent.

"Scully!" he screamed.

And screamed.  And screamed.

They had taken him to the county jail, strip-searched him, put him in a
cell, and locked the door.  At one point in the night, an officer held a
phone through the bars, saying he could make a call to make arrangements
for council.  Mulder had stared blankly at the man, choking out, "Scully?"
as if the answer to that simple question would save his world.  Or possibly
destroy it.

But the guard hadn't understood his plea, and had simply shrugged his
shoulders and said, "Yeah. Whatever, pal.  Suit yourself."

That night She hadn't come to him.  She didn't haunt his nightmares.  Not
even when he had begged Her to.

Morning came with a hot cup of tasteless coffee and a visit from his boss.

Assistant Director Skinner sat across from Mulder wearing a flawless
white dress shirt and a navy and green speckled tie.  His round wire
glasses bobbed lightly as the bald man clenched and released his jaw.
Apparently he hadn't liked the answers his favorite agent had given him.

"What do you mean you don't remember?" he growled, his tense body
hunched over the table in an effort to remain calm.

"She was there, and I grabbed her . . . I don't really . . ."  Mulder's face
remained steady against the flashing images that flipped before his eyes
and the sensations that accompanied them.  The memories were so real -
so vivid -  that he could actually feel Her pulse racing beneath his lips as if
he was, at that second, tasting the sweet flesh on Her neck.  He closed
his eyes against the feel of Her mouth on his.  Her tears mixing with his.
And the intoxicating sensation of Her convulsing around him . . . so tight
and hot.  Nestled between Her thighs.  "Jesus."

"Then tell me where you found her -- why you didn't bother to inform the
rest of the world."

Mulder ran a hand over his face.  It came away wet with sweat.  "I want
to know how she is."

"My answers first."

"NO!"  Mulder slammed the flat of his hand against the table.  "She's my
partner, damn it!  I have a right -"

"You fucked your partner, Mulder!  In front of fifteen witnesses!  In front
of a goddamn post office, for crying out loud!  You've given up any rights
you previously had."  Skinner took a moment to allow the full effect of his
prior sentence to sink in before he dropped his next: "The doctors are
even saying rape."

The look of anger and frustration shifted to horror as all of the blood
drained form Mulder's head.  A soft ringing buzzed in his ears.  "Ra . . .."
He couldn't complete the word.

Skinner shifted uncomfortably.  "There are bruises.  And some bleeding .
.." he cleared his throat.  "I don't really know the details."

Mulder ignored the blatant lie.  He didn't care if the AD was uncomfortable
with the topic at hand.  His only concern was with Scully.  "Is she all right?
Tell me what you know.  How badly -"

"Badly."  Skinner didn't wait for the rest of the question.  He didn't need
to.  "She hasn't regained consciousness."

"What?!"  Mulder shot up from his chair.  The guard next to the door
took a threatening step closer, his hand strategically placed over the hilt of
his weapon.  Mulder raised his hands in submission and retook his seat.
He shook his head to refocus.  Unconscious?  No . . . what had he done?

"Apparently there are other . . . complications."  The way Skinner
smoothed down his tie told Mulder that 'complications' was a mild word
to describe the situation.  "Agent Scully has, for lack of a better
description, swelled up like, well, like nothing I've every seen.  Her arms,
her feet.  Even her face.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Agent
Scully was pregnant.  At least eight months to term."  Skinner lifted his
eyes to meet the haggard ones opposite him, almost daring Mulder to tell
him that he was wrong.

The image that Skinner described couldn't solidify in Mulder's mind.  It
didn't make any sense.  And the look his boss was giving him . . . "What are
you saying?"

"When she 'disappeared' six months ago, she wouldn't have been showing-"

"YOU BASTARD!"  Mulder lunged forward and managed to grab a
shocked Skinner by the collar just as the guard hit him squarely with a
night stick from behind.  Mulder hit the table hard and winced at the
burning sensation imprinted between his shoulders.  "That's gonna leave a

Skinner, with all of the clam and dignity that he could muster, sat back in
his chair and straightened his tie.  "Agent Mulder, I suggest you behave or
this is going to be a very short conversation."  With an authoritative nod
of his head, he dismissed the guard and looked back at the wincing man
across from him.  "And under the circumstances, I think it's wise to
examine every possibility from every angle."

"I didn't hurt her!"

"The doctors are baffled.  They say they've never seen anything like it."

"They say she's pregnant?"  Mulder tried again to picture a rounded
belly on the petite woman he knew, and couldn't reconcile it to what he
remembered of Her from the store front.  Could She really have been . . .
surely he would have noticed.  It was impossible.  Impossible.

"They say they don't know what to think."

"But they've done tests -"

"They don't know!  But, the EMTs insist that she wasn't as big when they
recovered her from the scene.  By that time she was comatose.  No one
seems to have answers."  Raising a wide palm to his forehead, Skinner
dabbed at a bead of sweat that lined its way down to his brow.  "And
frankly, Agent Mulder, I'm at a loss."  Then he sat back in his chair and
crossed his arms.  "Why did you attack Agent Scully?"

Mulder shook his head and sighed.  "I didn't attack her.  I couldn't have.  I
never would."  The day was becoming endlessly long for him, and it was
becoming increasingly obvious that he wasn't going to be getting out jail
anytime soon.  To see Her any time soon.  Not even in his nightmares.  "I
thought she was a ghost."  His words whispered through the still air in
the room.  "I thought she was haunting me.  Like before."

A nod of understanding from Skinner told Mulder that the hospital in
Georgia, and the reasons for his admittance, hadn't been forgotten.  Licking
his lips, he inhaled and spoke again.  "When she touched me . . . when I
could feel her . . . smell her . . . "  Mulder dropped his elbows to the table
and cradled his head in his hands.  And hear her, his mind continued,
moaning into my mouth.  "Jesus."

Skinner's eyes narrowed as he studied the haggard man.  He looked only
vaguely like the once pristine agent who would saunter into his office
demanding the truth on a silver platter.  The new Mulder was thinner;
more frayed.  Scared.  That was the real difference: the Mulder before him
knew fear.

"We never," Mulder had to breathe for a second before the words would
come out audibly, "I never touched her before today.  Yesterday."
Mulder shook his head at the correction.  It didn't really matter anymore.
Time would be measured differently, he knew.  Before Her, and after.
Before he'd discovered Her mouth and body, and after he'd tasted Her.
Loved Her.  "Did they really say . . . rape?"

"Some suggested it."  Skinner's face twitched.  "Was it?"

"No . . . no . . . I hope to God, no."

There was a moment of painful silence where Skinner seemed to almost say
something, but opted not to at the last second.  He pushed himself from the
table and stretched to his full height, taking in a cleansing breath in an
to stall for lack of something to say.  "Try to relax, Agent Mulder.  We'll
get this matter sorted out either way."

"I have to see her."  The tears that pooled in his eyes threatened to slip
over his lashes as he looked up to his superior.  "She needs me.  She came
back to me because she needs me.  If she's hurt, she shouldn't be alone -"

"Her mother is with her."


"Agent Mulder," Skinner grumbled, not at all enjoying what he was going
to have to say, "what do you want me to do?  Even if I could get you
released from jail on bond, you'd never be allowed into her room as long as
allegations of assault are made."

The calm desperation in Mulder softened Skinner's steel eyes as he
continued his plea.  "I have never asked you for any favors.  Never asked
for special treatment.  But I'm asking you now . . . I'm begging you.
Please.  I have to see her."  Mulder didn't blink, even as his elder looked
away from the pain in his eyes.  "Please.  If she's really as bad as you say
she is,  then I'm throwing myself at your mercy.  Don't let her die alone.
Not without me.  Not again."

Skinner's lips pursed in consternation.  The perturbed wrinkle just below
his right eye spasmed as he bit out, "I'll see what I can do."


The plastic hospital chair was pushed as close to her bed as was possible
without his knees touching the thin metal railing that separated them.
Mulder's hands were still cuffed together, as per the judge's standing
conditions, but Skinner had come through for Mulder, and gotten him to
Her bedside.  He watched the slow rise and fall of Her chest as She slept,
Her inhalations keeping perfect time with the blips on the heart monitor to
Her right.  Wires spilled out of the neck of the thin hospital gown, first
resting in the valley of Her firm, swollen breasts; before flowing across Her
barely perceptible collar bone, and then on to the pillow beside Her
smooth, fleshy neck and disappearing under a splay of auburn hair.

Even rounded she was beautiful.  The light sweep of lashes lying so
peacefully against the curve of her cheek.  Her small hands plumping beside
Her slightly inflated belly.  The doctors had explained that even though
they had no idea what caused Her to swell, the height of the crisis seemed
to be over.  Even before Mulder had reached Her side, Her mother had
commented that She didn't seem as large.  And since then, over twelve
hours had passed, shrinking Her down to . . . well . . . bigger than Mulder'd
ever seen Her.

Doctors had been by to check the status of their patient, all nervous and
wary of having a man in shackles watching so intently over their
ministrations.  Especially a man, who, as far as they were concerned, may
very well have raped the woman intrusted in their care.  More than one
complaint had erupted in arguments between Skinner and the medical staff
over Mulder's presence in the room.

The only one who didn't seem to notice the hubbub was Mrs. Scully with
her sad smiles.  "At least her mother is in there with her," one nurse
commented to another, whispering loud enough to be audible to the entire
floor.  "Although, I I'll never understand why she let's him stay.  The
doctors are all saying she's okay with him in there with her.  The bastard."

But Margaret's smiles shielded him from the attacks, and he was able to
focus back on his beautiful partner.

Touching her, though, was forbidden.  If Mulder made so much as a move
to take her hand, the guard was under strict orders to beat him senseless
and ask questions later.  A command the over zealous man seemed intent
on carrying out, given the chance.

So, Mulder sat quietly in the chair.  Waiting.

Still dressed flawlessly, Skinner appeared near dawn the next morning.
The cracking of the door woke Margaret, and she rose from the chair in the
corner as two police officers accompanied him into the room.  "He doesn't
have to leave, does he?"  Her worry was evident, even without the waver in
her voice.  Mulder winced.  Her absolute trust in him pierced deeper than
the countless accusing looks.  "She hasn't woken yet."

The single shake of Skinner's head pulled a sigh of relief from her.  "These
gentlemen are here to inform Agent Mulder and the officer guarding him
that all charges have been dropped concerning the alleged attack on Agent
Scully."  The look of complete shock that registered on Mulder's face
prompted Skinner to continue.  "It seems that after talking to eye
witnesses, Agent Scully's participation was . . . more than willing."

Mulder just hung his head and nodded weakly.  Not so much from
humiliation that his boss and Her *mother* knew the naked truth; but
from the understanding that She was now going to have to shoulder the
blame with him.  When She was blameless.  When She had saved his life.
When She was lying in the bed in front of him, waiting for him to return the
favor, and all he could do was stand there and stare.  A baboon in the
monkey cage.

The officers exchanged paperwork, released Mulder from his handcuffs,
and then left, Skinner trailing after.  All was quiet for a few moments
before Margaret cleared her throat.  "Fox."  He looked up into her
intelligent eyes.  Eyes that mirrored Scully's in so many ways.  "You can
touch her now, you know."

His gaze swept back down to the woman laying before him, like Sleeping
Beauty in her tower.  The index finger of his left hand slowly slid over the
soft, smooth skin of the back of Her hand.  "She's really here."  A sound of
affirmation came from the woman standing behind him.  "She's alive."  His
fingers curled protectively around to Her palm, and he lifted Her clasped
hand to his lips.  "Scully."

If he'd looked up to Her face one second later he would have missed it.
The nearly imperceptible lift of Her right brow at the sound of Her name.
He leaned in closer to Her.  "Scully," he repeated, bending to leave Her
brow with the lightest of feather kisses.  "Scully, I'm here.  For you."


The morning had stretched into afternoon, and when the sun hung low on
the horizon, Mrs. Scully sent Mulder out for coffee.  He understood that
she was worried about him.  That he was still thin and pale.  That he didn't
look like he had six months before.  Before the case in Maine.  But he'd
eaten so little over the past few weeks, that his stomach had shrunk.  His
body was getting used to functioning with less food in it.  He didn't need
nourishment as much as he needed Her to wake up.  He didn't want to
leave Her side to eat.  Not even for a second.  What if Her perfect eyes
opened and he wasn't there?

Just get the damn coffee and drink it and get back there, he told himself.
You promised her you'd drink a lousy cup of coffee, so do it.

Mulder grabbed the pot from the end of the cafeteria line and poured
himself a Styrofoam cup full.  The line for the register was three people
long -- too long, as far as he was concerned -- and somehow he managed
to gulp down the scalding liquid before plunking down a dollar in quarters,
and heading straight for the cafeteria door.

Of course, Mrs. Scully was there in the exit, waiting for him.  Her arms
crossed authoritatively.  "Fox, have a seat."

"Did she wake up?  You left her alone -"

"Her doctors scheduled her for another MRI.  They've taken her down to
prep her."

His shoulders sagged, and he turned slowly, knowing she'd follow him to
the nearest table.  It was time for the talk.  He knew it was going to come.
Sooner or later it had to.  It was only natural that Mrs. Scully would want
to know what really happened.  The charges had been dropped, but that
didn't mean she'd been given answers.

"Fox," she began, and he shrank back in the chair, preparing himself for the
inevitable, "she's going to be okay, you know.  You don't have to be with
her every second, now.  If you make yourself sick, then she'll just end up
taking care of you before she's recovered, herself."  He watched with quiet
wonder as the older woman sat back in her chair, not pressing the issue
farther.  And not starting the other.  Christ, what a saint.

But all along, when everyone else had been demanding answers, she was
content in trusting that Scully would be okay.  She had stood behind the
mayhem and kept vigil.  Never once did she waver.  And not once had she
blamed him.  "Why did you believe me?"

"Because the last thing you said to me was that you were going to find her.
Because she was dead, and you found her anyway."  Her face was open
and sincere, so different from the callous way the hospital staff had treated
him.  "Fox, Dana believes in you.  So do I."

His chortle left a curious look on Margaret's face.  "It's just that I always
accused her of not being willing to believe.  To hear you say that she
believed in me -"

"Says a lot."

They stood in the open doorway to Scully's private room, side by side,
staring in at the empty bed.  And the woman just beyond it.  Her wavy
brown hair fell in clumps against the soiled grey oversized sweatshirt.  Her
arms crossed tightly against her chest as she took a step forward, not
waiting for the bombardment of questions that Mulder was ready to fire.

"They got her again."  It was as if the floor below Mulder's feet opened up
and swallowed him whole.  He heard a gasp from Margaret beside him, as
the brunette continued.  "The MRI was a hoax.  There's no time to lose."

"Where is she?!"

"I'll take you there."

Before the woman reached the door, Mulder grabbed her arm and yanked
her around to face him.  "Who are you?" he demanded, the vein in his
forehead already bulging.

"There's no time for this.  We have to leave now."

She tried to pull away and head for the door again, but he stopped her and
slammed her body against the wall. "NO!  I want some answers!  You
she's gone and just like that I follow?  How do I know They took her?
How do I know it wasn't you?  How do I know she's gone at all?"

"Fox, there isn't time for this.  I warned her that they would try to take her
again."  Her slender hand ran from his left shoulder to his forearm and
tugged him towards the door.  "This time they won't be so kind."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"They're going to make an example out of her.  They're going to try and
show us that we shouldn't try to take what They believe is rightfully theirs.
No more rescue attempts with their merchandise."


"Bought and paid for."

Mulder pulled back from the woman.  She gave no hint of fear or nerves at
his earlier physical threat, and the new look she gave him bordered on a
smile.  "Who the hell are you?"

"Your only chance at seeing your partner alive again."

End of 7/9

"And finally I twist my heart round again,
so that the bad is on the outside
and the good is on the inside,
and keep on trying to find a way of
becoming what I would so like to be,
and could be,
if . . .
there weren't any other people living in the world."
-Anne Frank (1929-1945). The Diary of a Younng Girl (1947),
last words of last entry, 1 Aug. 1944.


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (8/9)
By MD1016

"Always in history, there have been king-makers.  Powers behind the
throne pulling the strings on the puppet governments.  After 1947, these
powers coalesced into the six major Cabals that run just about everything,
from yogurt flavors to college entrance exams to bugging and debugging
the Oval Office."

"'47.  You're talking about Roswell."  Mulder sat in the passenger seat of
an old Jeep, watching the scenery fly by as the brunette continued.

"Each Cabal has Their own agenda.  The one that is interested in your
partner isn't one of the strongest, but They are the most vindictive.  Certain
members of this elite organization call themselves the Helmsmen.  They
believe, as do we all, that by conducting the experiments on unwilling
patients, They are leading humanity into the twenty-first century."  The
woman drove around a series of hair-pin turns with a familiarity that
gnawed at Mulder's gut.

"And your Cabal?  Where do you fit into all of this?"

She glanced up to the rear view window, and then darted her eyes back to
the road.  "That's harder to explain.  We try to work towards the greater

Mulder's face soured.  "The greater good for all mankind?  Don't feed me
that crap-"

"I'm not saying we're the good guys and They're the bad.  All of us believe
very firmly in what we're doing."

"Well, it's good to know They believe firmly in killing my partner."  His
flippant remark was touched with violence.

"Their power has been threatened.  They believe that her death will
discourage further attempts against them."

Was she defending Them?  Why did he feel like he had just walked in, in
the middle of a David Lynch TV series?  "Wait.  Scully is that important to
Them?  To all of you?  That her death would scare you into submission?"
For a long moment the woman was silent beside him.  He could see the
small beads of sweat breaking at her hairline.  The way her long fingers
gripped and then re-gripped the steering wheel like she was trying to knead
it into another shape all together.  He had her anxious.  Good.  "Would it?"
he repeated, more firmly than the last time.

She inhaled deeply.  She bit her lower lips as she debated his question.  "It
might.  There is a shift in power, and everyone is scrambling to be on top.
You and Dana are considered Untouchables by the Helmsmen."

"What, they know us personally?"

"Of course.  You're father's involvement, however, kept you and you
partner fairly safe until his 'untimely' death."

My father, Mulder's mind reeled.  So, Dad, I have you to thank.  "But,
Scully was taken before my father was murdered."

"Yes, and she was returned."

"So, who has her now?"

"The Helmsmen."

""Wait, I thought they were on our side.  The sacred cow thing-"

"No, Fox.  You were considered Untouchable to Them out of respect for
your father.  But They've never been on your side.  By the very nature of
your search for answers to the truths They've tried to hide, you are
working against everything They represent."

"But if we're Untouchable -"

"Were.  Your father is dead.  His protection is gone.  By taking Scully and
making a example out of her, They're saying to the rest of us that They are
willing to kill one of Their own.  That no one is safe from Them."

"No.  It's doesn't work.  Scully's not one of Them."

"You father was.  You were under his protection.  There is no question to
any of us as to what Their intentions are.  That's why I'm here.  Scully must
survive for our project to succeed."

"Now, I'm getting some answers.  What is this project, and why do you
need Scully?"

"From 1951 the Helmsmen have made it their primary mission to create
and cultivate an alien/human hybrid race."

She was saying it.  Admitting it.  Alien contact.  Hell, alien *involvement*!
"What?!"  Mulder could barely contain himself.

"To what end, or to what extent they have been successful, we don't know,
but we have reason to believe that the Helmsmen are not only using human
test subjects against their will, but they're breeding their own.  Our project
is to end these unwilling tests.  There is no need to involve the masses."

Breeding?  He'd heard the stories.  Women who had sworn that they were
pregnant and then suddenly were not.  Miscarriages where the fetus was
never recovered.  Women who claimed to have been shown children that
weren't quite human, and instantly known that they had mothered them.
Mulder closed his eyes.  He tried to stop the images of Scully's tearing
eyes as she looked down the face of a baby she'd never be allowed to
remember.  A face that was foreign and still familiar.  "You said they were
going to make an example out of her.  What are they going to do?"

Shrugging, she checked the rear view mirror again.  "Torture her, for
starters.  Torment and terror are their specialties.  She's of no use to them
now, because we destroyed the toxin in her body.  Before, they were trying
to glean what another throng was working on, from experiment residue and
the like.  We effectively foiled that plan.  So, the only reason for them to
take her again is to assert their power.  They'll use her fears against her."

Fears?  Scully wasn't afraid of anything.  "But why her?"

"Why any of us?"  Her focus drew Mulder's out the passenger side
window.  A large two story structure stood at the end of an overgrown
drive.  It looked as if it might at one time have been a mansion.  Or maybe
a private hospital of some kind.  "There it is.  You'll have to get out here."

Every alarm in Mulder's head went off.  "What?  Why?"

"I've risked too much in bringing you this far.  I have people I want to
protect, too."  She leaned forward over him, and pulled a cell phone from
the glove compartment.  "You're going to need back up, I know.  But I'm
going to need some time to get away from here.  As soon as I'm back on
the main road, I'll call 911."

"I don't trust you."

"You don't have to.  But right now, are you willing to risk Dana?"

Damn it!  He shouldn't have had to!  Who the hell were these people
playing games with their lives?  Twisting them and manipulating them like
pieces on a board.  Hand fed only what They wanted them to know.
Seeing only what They would allow.  But the suffering, the repeated
exploitation, *that* never ended.

Mulder slammed the Jeep door and set off on a sprint towards the building.

Just hold on, Scully.  I'm coming.  Don't let Them hurt you.  Don't let
Them scare you.  We'll survive this, Scully, you and me.  And tomorrow,
we'll pick up the pieces and move on.

He could heard Her screams even before he was close enough to see the
door.  She was terrified.  Had to be.  Scully simply didn't scream.  Not
shrill, shrieking screams that chilled him to the marrow.  Not his Scully.

The door, like the ten or twelve windows on the front of the three story
building, was boarded up.  But the plywood that blocked his entrance was
old and greyed, and the nails had long since rusted even the wood around
them.  The bricks that held the structure up were corroding underneath
themselves from weather and neglect.  And from the hint of dawn that
glowed like a ghosting light behind him, Mulder sized up the decayed

And then put his foot through it.

"Scully!"  Her wails never stopped, and he could hear pain in Her
ragged voice as well.  He followed the sound down a long hallway and
past a stairwell.  Something was knocking against wood somewhere just
ahead of him.

Mulder's feet quickened the pace.  Rounding a corner, he knew She had to
be close.  From the sounds of Her cries, he figured he must have been on
top of Her . . . or below Her.  Mulder's gaze shifted up to a gaping hole
in the ceiling and floor boards above.  Through the hole he could see a
box.  "Scully!"

Mulder dashed back down the hall and bounded up the rickety stairs, two
at a time.  Pieces of railing dropped to the floor below as he passed, but
he didn't notice.  His whole being was focused on reaching Scully.  On
retracing a path on the second floor that would bring him back to the
same location as the first.

The halls were different - more forks and dead ends - but Mulder reached
the source of the screaming:  A large wooden coffin connected to the
ceiling by four glass tubes inserted into its side.  The box shook with the
force of Her struggles.

"I'm here, Scully!"  Mulder was on the lid of the coffin in a flash.  The
steel nails kept the top firmly in place.  Quickly glancing around for
a hammer or crowbar -- anything that he could pry the lid open with -- his
eyes fell on a metal brace that kept the box attached to the floor.  It was
thick and sturdy.  And it was lazily held in place with just one short screw.
"I'm coming, Scully!"

With brute force, Mulder yanked the brace from the molded floorboard,
and slid it into the groove under the lid.  That's when he noticed the
struggling had stopped, and the screaming had died down to whimpers.
"Scully!  Hold on!  I'm here!!"  He jammed the make-shift pry deeper into
the crease and was satisfied when the lid lifted a fraction of an inch.
Mulder yanked the brace out and repositioned it further down the side of
coffin; when, from the corner of his eye, he saw something shoot down
the tube to his right.  And then again.

Swinging the metal in his hand hard against the tube, the glass
shattered into large shards.  A second later a long and soft form
thudded down onto the floor near his feet.  He jumped back.

Mulder was like a man possessed.  It took less than a minute for him to
pry the lid up high enough to yank it completely free of the coffin.  Inside,
Scully laid huddled on Her side, still in the hospital gown, Her face hidden
by the fall of Her hair.  Around Her slithered at least twenty snakes of
various colors and sizes; all knotting themselves possessively against the
warmth of Her body.

"Scully!"  Mulder jerked Her up and out of the wooden cage, and was
relieved when She clung to him a fierce strength.  Her arms locked around
his neck and Her legs around his hips; four vises squeezing to him with all
of the strength she held.  She trembled and whimpered and wept all
at the same time.  In the hazy reflection of what was left of the shattered
tube, he could see Her eyes were wide with pure terror.  "I've got you,
Scully.  I've got you."

He made it back to the stairwell and managed to navigate the eroded stairs
with little problem.  The entrance to the building was a little more tricky,
however.  Mulder had kicked in a hole just big enough for himself.
Holding Scully, they were twice as big.  Maybe even a little more.
Even though much of the unexplained swelling had gone down, her hips
and breasts were still much fuller than her normally slender figure.  They
pressed heavily against his chest with each of her ragged breaths.  She
continued to shake in his arms, and her head crushed almost painfully
into the side of his neck.  "It's okay, Scully.  I've got you."

From outside the door, a man's voice called in, startling Mulder.  Scully's
vise-grip renewed, as a small cry echoed in the empty hall.

"You the one who called about a fire?"  The man, in full fireman's garb,
poked his head through the splintered door.

Mulder stumbled forward, trying to get a better grip around her thighs as
the man kicked a larger hole in the door.  "No.  No fire.  She's hurt,
though.  Snake may have bitten her."

The man looked out from under his heavy helmet and nodded at Scully's
semi-exposed back, "That's what it looks like from here."  Mulder's eyes
closed at the confirmation.  Her worst fear.  Snakes.  He remembered a
time, when She had been gone, and Her mother had told him a story about
when She was a child.  About a gun and a snake, and that despite the fact
that Scully was deathly afraid of snakes, She held it in Her hand and tried
to heal it by will alone.  That was the beauty in Her nature.  Her willingness
to face a fear head-on to help others.  And that was her tragic flaw.

A paramedic came from the side of the ambulance, and led Mulder
towards the rolling cot as the fireman relayed all of the information he
knew.  The bewildered look on the bulky man's face was evident, even
though the thick black moustache.  "What the hell were you two doing in
there, anyway?  With snakes?"

Ignoring the questioning man, Mulder tried to lay Her down on the
bed.  Her breathing was labored, but She wasn't about to let go.  With a
fierce grip and digging nails, she screamed as he tried to pry her off.
"Scully, come on.  Lay down.  These people need to look you over."  She
shook even harder, lost in her panic.

My God, She's terrified, Mulder told himself. "Dana, listen to me," he
smoothed a hand over her bare back, for the first time conscious that she
was still in her hospital gown, "everything's okay now.  I'm here.  I won't
let anyone hurt you."

Another well-muscled man came from behind Mulder and steadied the cot.
"Lay down with her.  We need to get her to the hospital ASAP.  Luis
already called ahead for the anti-venom serum, but it'll take us fifteen
minutes to get there.  Do you know what kind of snake it was?"

"Uh . . ." Mulder managed to lay back on the narrow bed without tipping
it over.  "There were all kinds."  Scully's arms created a natural cradle for
his head, Her own fitting snugly in the crook of his neck.  Her legs still
wrapped around his hips and the back of his thighs, which kept his knees
bent and his back flat.  But it wasn't at all an uncomfortable position, if not
for the worried anxiety over her well-being.  He'd never seen her even
remotely like this.  Never.  It scared him shitless.

The paramedics folded the bed down low to the ground and then lifted
both Scully and Mulder into the ambulance.  "All kinds, huh?  Are you
sure?  Snakes don't usually behave like that.  They aren't community

"Neither are the people who put them there."

Inside the small ambulance, the two men did what they could to tend to
Scully's wounds.  "I'm counting three on her left leg," said the moustached

"Okay, I've got two on the right and two on her back and hip.  That's

"Oh, here's one on her left arm.  How many snakes did you say there

Mulder didn't hear their conversation; and he sincerely hoped Scully
hadn't, either.  Slowly he whispered deep-held secrets into Her ear, as his
hand gently caressed the back of Her head and neck.

"You know what I missed most about you, Scully?  Me.  I'm at my best
when I'm with you.  I'm smarter, funnier.  A whole lot better looking.
Seriously.  I thought, if you were gone - for real, for good - then there
was no point anymore.  Not for me, anyway, because there was no more
me.  Not the best of me.  Not the real me.  Not the me I want to be.

"In all the years that I've known you, I've never told you . . . showed you ...
  but then, I don't think I really knew - or at least understood - what we .
. . how you complete me.  I didn't even really know it after you were gone
this time, either.  Talk about a thick skull, huh?  I mean there were times
when I could see you, hear you even.  They had me committed.  I let them
commit me, really.  Because I didn't want to have to face the world alone.
It seemed so much easier inside a padded cell.  But even then I didn't
really understand.

"I thought that you were trying to reach me.  To make some kind of
connection that transcended normal human connections.  That you were
sending me messages through some kind of bond.  Never once did it occur
to me that maybe it was me trying to reach you.  That I was so desperate
to find some kind of reason to keep going, to keep trying to find the truth
. . . Samantha . . . and you were the only thing that could . . ..

"But then, when I saw you on the street, and you touched me, and you
were solid and . . . and real . . . I realized - no, I should say 'I felt' 
there really wasn't any thinking going on at that point - but I *felt* that
simply touching you wasn't enough.  That I needed you inside of me,
under my skin . . . in my heart.  That's where you've always belonged,
Scully.  No matter how hard I tried to deny it.  And believe me I did.  Self-
denial is a specialty of mine, you know.

"I know you know."

Mulder nuzzled Her head lightly, and it lulled easily against the slight
pressure.  "Scully?"  There was no response.  He stilled his body as much
as was possible in the bouncing vehicle for any slight movement that might
tell him -

"She's not breathing!"  The panic in his voice snapped the paramedics
from their tending of the wounds, and on to the lack of movement in
Scully's back.

One of the men was already on the phone with the hospital giving the stats
of his patient, dictating them to the doctor on the line just as quickly as his
partner finished the procedures.  "Breathing: nil.  Blood pressure: nil. Heart
beat: can't find a pulse.  Should we ventilate?  No, on her stomach, we had
some trouble getting her to lie down on the gurney.  Time was an issue.
Right.  About two minutes from the hospital."

"One minute!" called the driver from the front.

"One minute.  Right.  Okay.  Be ready for us, I think we counted nineteen
total, but we haven't see her front yet."  The man hung up the phone and
recited to his partner: "We're not to resuscitate.  We don't want to get her
heart going and circulate the poison anymore than it already has.  There
should be a six to twelve minute window, right?  Before brain death."

Mulder stared at the ceiling.  He couldn't think of anything else to do.
Brain death.  Scully was lying on top of him.  Dead.  Her body, even
without its life, still held his head.  She still felt warm.  Soft.  He
focused up, past the roof of the ambulance, and wondered if She was up
there, looking down at him.  Many people who claimed to have near death
experiences describe hovering over the heads of the people around them;
looking down on their own bodies, before seeing the light.  It could very
well have been that Scully was up there, somewhere, and that would be
the last time he would ever be able to make a connection with Her.  After
all, where She was going, he most certainly wouldn't be allowed to follow.

"I love you, Dana Scully."

The doors slammed open and Her weight was lifted from him.  Stripped
from him.  He was cold; bereft.  He heard the people screaming orders for
injections and IV drips.  There was a hum that steadily rose in pitch as the
shocking paddles powered up.  Then the slamming boom of a startling jolt
that shook Mulder to his very core.  And then another.  And another.

One of the paramedics sat down next to Mulder on the bed, and placed a
hand on his arm.  "Are you hurt, too?"


His voice was low and understanding.  "You want to get up yet?"

Mulder didn't move.  He listened to the doctors working on Her.  Trying
desperately to restart Her heart.  "No.  Not until she does."

End of 8/9

"For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast.
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest."
-Lord Byron (1788-1824). So We'll Go No Moree A-Roving.


The Rarity of The Human Connection
And Several Months Missed (9/9)
By MD1016

Scully woke up screaming.  She could hear her screams apart from herself,
echoing in the confines of the coffin.  Coffin!  They'd buried her alive.
No!  She's wasn't dead yet!  Help!

"Help me!  Mulder!  Muuuulder!"

Light streamed in like thick lasers at her sides, illuminating a strange cross
section of her body, highlighting the curves and rounded edges in such a
way that she had to run her hand over her breast to prove to herself that it
wasn't that big.  Of course, it was.

Then, she heard it.  The WHOOP sound, followed by a soft thud.  Then
quiet.  Scully held her breath.  Something cool moved against her leg, and
there was the faintest whisper of a hisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

"Mulder!"  Scully screamed, her fists and feet slamming as hard as she
could without leverage.  "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

And then the walls of the coffin gave way; softening while still remaining

And then the sides came in and wrapped tightly around her thick body,
pulling her up, pinning her arms in an X across her chest, rocking her back
and forth, smoothing her hair against her neck and shoulders.

And then his voice melted through the hissing and her screaming, and the
words reached her and pulled her out of the darkness of the coffin, and into
the brilliance of the hospital room.

It was like all of the other countless hospitals that she'd been in.  White,
sterile, bright.  A complete contrast to everything she could remember
remembering.  Mulder's chest was pressed against her face, with the smell
of him filling her nose, mouth, and soul.

"I've got you, Scully.  I'm here."

His voice was tight, almost a forced whisper against her hair.  His fingers
worked slow circles against her shoulders and neck.  Comforting and
reassuring.  The snakes were gone.  The ants were gone.  The nightmare
was over.  Mulder was holding her.  Now everything would be all right.

"You awake, Scully?"

From the top of Mulder's left shoulder, her mother poked her head around,
and smiled broadly.  "She's awake."

Under her cheek, Scully felt Mulder's body shift; pulling away from her
gently.  His arms loosened their grip on her.  He was letting go.

"No!"  In a moment of panic, Scully's nails drove into this back and jerked
him back to her.  "Don't leave me!"

Without hesitation, his arms squeezed back around her, securing her
against him firmly.  "I'm not going anywhere, Scully.  I'll never leave you
again.  I swear, Scully.  Never again."

When the doctor came in, Scully was still sitting up against Mulder, though
her arms were nearly limp as he coaxed her back to sleep.  "You need your
rest, Scully.  Don't fight it.  I'll be here when you wake up, don't worry."

"Mulder?"  She could feel the calmness settling within her.  His heart
bounded steadily in her ear.  "I want my clothes.  My own clothes."

"I'll get them."

"No," she stirred a little, her fingers locking again behind his shoulders.
"Don't leave me."  If he left, then They'd be back.  And she'd be lost again.

"I'll get you some clothes, Dana," her mother's hand smoothed across her

"I want my own clothes."

She'd been naked for so long.  Both physically and emotionally.  It was
time to start pulling herself back together.


The house was quiet around Scully, and the once familiar sounds of the air
conditioning kicking on did nothing to help her sleep.  Her mind twisted
and turned over the darkness that surrounded her.  It seemed to constrict
like a snake around her throat.  Squeezing its cold, smooth body tighter
and tighter, cutting off blood and air, making her eyes bulge and her mouth
fly open.

She yelped.

And the sound of her own voice startled her out of semi-consciousness and
back awake.  Bolting up and flipping on the light convinced her that she
was safe.  For the moment, anyway.

"You're losing it, Dana," she said to herself.  "Get off the emotional roller
coaster before you crash."

A small knock at the door turned her head.  "Dana?" her mother asked in a
whisper, before opening the door.  "Are you okay?"

"Fine."  She sighed, running a hand through the limp strands of hair that
had fallen in her face.  "Just scaring myself."

Margaret looked over her daughter, and stepped inside the room.  "Do you
want to talk?  You know, I'm really good at listening."

"I know, Mom.  Just not now.  Not yet.  I have to sort things out some
before I'll be able to voice them."

Sitting, Margaret sighed, "You always were a thinker, first."  The older
woman ran a protective hand over her daughter's shoulder and down her

"Mom." Scully pulled away a little, not enough to be insulting, but enough
for Margaret to take the hint.  Her daughter wasn't in the mood to be
babied.  "Pancakes in the morning, okay?"  Scully tried to cover with a wan
smile, but the effort was empty.

"Is this about Fox?"

"No.  This is not about Mulder.  This is about the loss of control of my life.
Of my body."  She looked down at the still heavy breasts that hung from
her chest like tumors.  They weren't hers.  Her own breasts fit into a B cup
and didn't get caught up in the car seat belt.  These things, they weren't
hers.  "I don't feel safe, Mom.  Not here.  Not anywhere."  She sighed and
shook her head.  "I shouldn't stay here.  If  they decide to come to get me,
you might be hurt.  I'm putting you in unnecessary danger."

More than a minute passed between them, neither knowing just what to
say.  "Mom," Dana whispered, "I love you."

"Oh, baby." Margaret hugged her daughter to her.  "I love you, too.  No
one is coming to get you in my house."

Scully smiled.  She knew that in truth, if They wanted her, They could take
her anywhere.  But just hearing her mother say it with such certainty made
her feel infinitely better.  It lifted a small cloud from her heart.

"Thanks, Mom."

Kissing Scully's head, Margaret headed for the door.  "Try to sleep,
Dana.  The meeting is early tomorrow, and you're going to need your
strength for it."  Scully nodded.

Margaret left the door slightly ajar, and Scully could hear her footsteps
retreat back behind her own shut door.  Mom.  Ugh!  Scully rolled her eyes
at the memory over dinner, when her mother had announced that she'd
made up the full bed in Dana's brother's old room.  "I think the two of you
will be more comfortable in there."  A sweet gesture, really.  But
mortifying just the same.

Scully had looked up to judge Mulder's reaction, but he'd just pushed a few
peas around on his plate and muttered, "Uh, I think I'll take the couch, if
you don't mind. I . . . haven't been sleeping much . . . " The look her
mother had given her was one Scully would never forget.  Somewhere
between confusion and sadness.  " . . . and Scully needs her sleep."

"Actually, I'd rather sleep in my own bed, Mom.  Mulder can go ahead and
sleep in Andy's room."  That suggestion had ended the conversation dead.
The tension in the room had been almost painful.

Scully shook her head.  It was cloudy from exhaustion.  Out of the hospital
didn't mean recovered, Scully knew.  Her body was going to take some
time regaining its strength.

Scully stood and headed for the door.  She cursed herself for not being
stronger.  For knowing that he was in the other room, and needing to be
with him.  As if he hadn't been with her every second in the hospital.  As if
it hadn't been enough that he agreed to stay at her mother's house with
them.  He, himself, had said he wasn't comfortable sharing a bed with her.
So why was she standing outside the door that used to bear a Crayola sign
proudly proclaiming Andy's Room?

One thin door.  And the width of the room.

She listened for any sound that might tell her if Mulder was awake, but
nothing made a sound.  Slowly, Scully turned the knob, and peered into the
darkness.  Sill nothing.  She took a shy step and whispered his name.
"Mulder?  Are you awake?"

His response was quiet and low.  "Come in and shut the door."

He didn't seem surprised that she'd come to him.  In the night's shadows,
she couldn't even make out his form, but she knew from the sound of his
voice that he was in the bed.  So close.  She heard the click of the door
closing and then the soft tread of her bare feet over the thick carpet.
The bed was just three or four steps into the room, against the far wall.
After two, she felt his warm hand reaching for her, and then clasping her
arm.  He steered her to him,  leading her onto the bed.  There was no
awkwardness between them.

"I think we should talk, Mulder."


She didn't want to say it, and yet, still she said the words.  "Please.  We
should talk about what happened between us.  On the sidewalk."

"There's no need.  I know.  We both know, Scully."

"Do we?"


"Then why are we sleeping in separate rooms?"

"We're not."

No shy words.  Nothing clumsy that could be misconstrued.  Just the
minimum.  That was always their way.  Instinctively they knew what the
other was feeling; needing.  Because it mirrored their own individual
longings.  So, they wouldn't talk about it. They would simply move
forward.  Following the understood demands of their link.

Scully climbed into the bed and found herself kneeling beside Mulder; his
hands running up her sides and then behind her back, drawing her down to
him.  There was no force in his manner, and no hesitancy in hers.  She laid
down beside him, curled against his warm body. Her hand roamed over the
plane of his chest, finding its own resting place just above his strong
beating heart.  She felt one of his hands draw low on her hip, and then a
blanket pulled up over both of them.

Her body relaxed comfortably against his.  He was warm and solid and just
what she needed.  And what she wanted, she realized with an easy smile.
Her left leg lazily drifted across his as she sighed.

Then once again, the house was quiet, and Scully drifted off to sleep.


As they sat in the coffee shop on Pennsylvania Avenue, Scully watched the
man in front of her sip down a swallow of the steaming brew with a look of
disdain.  "Not good?"

"I think I miss the hospital coffee."

Scully smiled and inspected her own mug.  In the pervious two weeks that
she spent in the hospital, Mulder had faithfully stayed by her bed side,
leaving only for the occasional visit to the men's room and a trip to the
cafeteria to gulp down a cup of the infamous hospital coffee.  And she'd
needed him there.  More than she wanted.  The once independent and
strong woman that she'd been had suddenly been reduced to a frightened,
clinging blob.  But Mulder was there, allowing her weakness, and
embracing the more swollen version of her body without complaint.
Scully's mother had even told her that she'd caught him downing an entire
cup while he was still in line to pay so that he wouldn't miss her when she
finally woke up.

Finally being the operative word.  It had taken her longer than it
should have to recover from her injuries.  Whatever it was that they'd been
doing to her during the abductions was taking its toll on her body.  From
what she read of her charts, the ER doctors had to give her three times the
normal dosage of the anti-venom serum before her body began to respond.
And then, it nearly killed her.  But in the end, she'd survived.  There wasn't
much choice, really.  Not when she knew what Mulder would do if she
didn't survive.

That thought terrified her; chilled her to the bone.

Scully tried to suppress the shiver that worked its way up her spine, but the
tremor won out, and Mulder's concerned eyes were on her in a heartbeat.

"You okay, Scully?"

"I'm fine, Mulder."

He gave her an ironic chuckle and nodded.  "Yeah.  You always are."  He
took another distracted sip from his mug.

Scully sighed.

"Mulder," Scully started slowly, "what are we going to tell Skinner at the


Scully glanced down at her watch.  "We've only got an hour."

"We're not meeting with Skinner.  Blevins."

Sitting back in her chair, Scully took in the harrowing look on Mulder's
face.  The Director of the FBI, himself.  Not the AD.  "You think the news
is bad?"

"I think it's bad."

"But after we explain, Mulder-"

"What?!"  He laughed then, and the sound was almost painful to Scully's
ears.  There was a definite bite in it.  "That . . . that I ravished you on the
street, but I'm real sorry.  It won't happen again."  His patronizing stung a

"That we weren't well," Scully corrected, trying to save some dignity.
"Neither of us.  That we weren't in our right minds -"

"Well, that's just it."  Mulder's face darkened and she could see a struggle
playing out behind his eyes.  "I wasn't."  He put down his coffee mug and
slowly ran a finger around the lip of it.  Then he pushed himself away from
the table, sat back in the chair, crossing his arms.  "I don't think they'll
dismiss us for what happened in Quonochontaug.  That wasn't anything
more than a drastic response to reconnect."

"Nothing more than shock and need."

"And release."


He took a breath and his eyes dropped down to the black liquid swirling
under his fingertip.  "But I'm pretty sure they'll have my badge anyway."

Her stomach was tightening as she watched him fiddle with his coffee.  He
didn't want her to know something.  Something that she guessed she was
going to find out in less than an hour, anyway.  "What?  Why?"

"When you were gone . . . I lost it.  Big time.  They put me in a mental
hospital.  In Georgia -"


"FBI psychologists.  In-house doctors."  Mulder took a deep breath,
signaling that the *bad* news was still left to come.  "After a while, I left."

"You left?"  That didn't sound so bad.

"I hitched a ride back to DC.  I ran away from the hospital."

Oh.  "AWOL is bad."

"An offense that screams dismissal."

"Not always."  Actually, she couldn't think of an instance where it didn't,
but she had to have something to hope for.  Something to hold on to.  So
much had happened in the last half-year of her life, so much had changed,
that she needed the stability of knowing that she still had Mulder as a
partner.  That the X-Files were still there in the basement.  That she still
had her science and the protection that it offered.  That she -

"Scully."  The look on his face told her that she was denying the answer
she already knew was forthcoming.  "It's Blevins."  He sighed heavily and
then sat forward again, resting his crossed arms on the table.  "Besides.  It
doesn't really matter anymore.  They'd never let us work together again.
Not on the X-Files.  As partners."

Slumping forward, Scully closed her eyes.  It was true.  She knew it.  A
part of their lives had already changed; twisted beyond repair.  The things
she took for granted before -- his midnight calls for no reason, answering
the door and knowing it would be him there on the other side -- they were
a luxury from the past.  "This is a nightmare."

"Yours, too?"

She saw the hint of a smile that crawled across his lips, but the sincerity in
the statement screamed out loud and clear.  It was in his hands, as they
worried over the paper napkin; in his jaw that clenched against the tension
and pain.  "Mulder, what you said before . . .."  She watched as he forgot
the shreds of paper in his hand, and refocused on the mug next to it.  "I'm
sorry to have to ask you this, Mulder, especially now . . . but I have to
know . . . before we face Blevins.  I need to know, Mulder . . . if you regret

His eyes closed against her question and she was relieved that he didn't play
stupid and ask 'regret what?'.  Mulder could avoid a topic when he wanted
to -- forever if need be.  But he didn't try to squirm out of his answer.  He
simply took a moment and then looked her in the eye.  "I did when I found
out that I'd hurt you."  Apology was written all over his face.  "I never
wanted to hurt you Scully."

"You didn't, Mulder.  Not really."  She could tell from the way his eyes
darted back down to the strips of napkin that he didn't completely believe
what she was telling him.  And she needed him to believe.  "You're just . . .
you have to admit: I didn't have a lot of time to prepare myself."  He
looked up to her face again and a smile broke over his features that
mirrored her own awkward grin.

"Mental note.  Scully likes foreplay."

A voice cut through their conversation.  "Nice to see you both alive and
well."  Standing not two feet from their table was the woman with wavy
brown hair.  Her dark eyes matched the playful tone in her voice.  "Is
anyone sitting here?"

Scully looked to her partner to see the look of surprise on his face.  "You
know her?"

By the time she glanced back at the woman, she had seated herself at the
table and called to the waitress still at the counter, "Coffee.  Black, please."
Then she turned back to Scully.  "I told you I'd be in touch with you again,
Dana.  Don't you remember?"

This time it was Mulder's turn, "*You* know her?"

The woman interrupted Scully's attempt at an explanation. "Just a passing
acquaintance.  The same as you and me, Fox.  But there's some more
information that I have for the both of you.  And since I heard about your
meeting with Director Blevins today," as she said his name, the disdain in
her tone was clear, "I decided this would be an opportune time.  "You see,
I also have a proposition."


They walked out from the J. Edgar building side by side.  Down the steps,
along the path, and to the parking garage elevator.  Neither of them spoke
a word.  There wasn't a whole lot to say.

Scully stepped into the elevator first and pressed 3.

The meeting had been a study in humiliation and degradation.  She had
watched as Mulder sat glassy-eyed, seemingly unperturbed by the
accusations and disgusting remarks of the Director and the other officials
present.  His face hadn't flinched when they ripped his badge out of its
protective leather casing and threw it on the floor.  Scully thought she even
caught a glimpse of a smile when Blevins had some lackey read off the list
of offenses that Mulder had been charged with.  All of which, as Mulder
had expected, called for his immediate, and irreversible dismissal.

Horror had ripped across his face, however, when Scully finally stood up
and interrupted his symbolic flogging.  The Director, with his puffy red
cheeks and chubby hands, demanded that she take her seat; that he would
deal with her shortly.  But she continued to spout her own disgust at her
superiors, people she no longer trusted or believed in.  She threw her own
badge on the floor, handed over her own gun before Blevins could form a
response, and marched from the room with fire in her heart.  Before
Mulder joined her in the hall outside, she heard one of the male voices
growl in a fierce accusation, "She was once a good Agent, Mr. Mulder.
You did this to her."

"She's still a good agent, sir.  She's just not willing to work for immoral
men under a corrupt government any longer.  And I WISH I could take
credit for that.  Nothing would make me happier.  But it's your own fault.
You're the ones who played along with the Shadow men.  You're the ones
who lied and covered up the truth."  Mulder's biting tone had turned bitter,
and from the hall it was difficult to make out all of his grumbles.  "But you
forgot to take care of your own, gentlemen.  And you forgot that nothing
stays buried forever."

When they reached the car, Mulder took a moment in buckling his seat
belt.  From the corner of her eye, Scully caught him looking at her, and she
turned.  "What?"  His gaze was stong and unwavering, and it seemed to
pull her in.

"Back there.  You gave up your career."

It was hard to place the tone of his voice.  Worry?  Regret?  Admiration?
"There wasn't much left of it anyway."  With a shrug, she turned away from
him.  "Besides, I wouldn't be able to go back without you."

"You're thinking about taking the woman up on her offer."

"We'd be working together.  Doing similar work to what we've done

"We'd be working for Them, Scully."

"We're already working for them."  She knew in her heart that he was right.
That she was selfish to even consider forcing him into anything that the
mysterious woman had suggested.  It went against his makeup.  It went
against her morals.  Even if They weren't the They that they'd been
fighting.  Even if it was a different group.  The idea and principle was the
same.  They were people with power who shouldn't have it.  They weren't
elected.  They weren't controlled.

"It would mean giving up any chance for a normal life.  Of seeing your
family regularly -"

"I'll never have a normal life, Mulder.  Not now.  Not when I know they
can get to me anywhere.  Anytime."

He sat silent for a minute.  His hands went from resting lightly against the
steering wheel to the tie knotted at his throat.  He pulled it away, and then
off completely, tossing the strip of material into the back seat.  The top
button of his dress shirt was next.

"Now we don't even have the Bureau's protection.  Not that it really helped
before."  She hated herself for bringing up these points, knowing that he'd
agree to anything that helped to keep her safe.  "The woman, she said that
They weren't done with me."

"I know."

He looked beaten.  Tired and warm and beaten.  She knew he hadn't slept
at all the previous night, and before that, he'd been at the hospital for
weeks without a bed, and before that . . ..  He needed rest.  He needed
quiet.  He desperately needed the normal life he'd been talking about.
"Mulder," Scully's head shook in disgust, "I don't know why I'm trying to
convince you.  I don't want to work for Them.  I don't want us to become
one of Them."

"You're scared."

She was.  And it infuriated her.  They'd stripped her down to this.
Changed her.  "I never used to be."

"I always was."

"Not like this."

"No, not like this."


In the darkened room, only the mahogany table and the plush leather chairs
that surrounded it were visible.  But the two occupants cared little for
decoration.  The short man with the olive complexion sat still and calm
across from his brunette partner.

"So, you brought them in?"

"Yes, the Group needs their expertise."

"How did you do it?"

The hint of a smile skimmed her thick lower lip.  "I can be very

"What did you promise them?"

"Something they thought they needed."

"You lied?"

She nodded once.  "It had to be done.  Their knowledge and experience
would have been lost to us if I hadn't."  Her brown eyes lifted from his face
and traveled to a nowhere point behind him.

"Christ, woman!  They would have been alright if you'd left them alone.
They would no longer be of any interest outside of the Bureau.  They
would have faded into society.  And might I mention that they wouldn't
have caused any more risks to us, as well!"

"I can keep them safe.  There won't be a problem."

The certainty in her voice didn't play for her partner.  "Safe?  They're still 
the game, for crying out loud!"  The woman's shrug seemed to infuriate
him more.  "Christ!  He's your brother!"

Pushing herself from the table, the woman stood and walked into the
darkness.  "My friend, there are some things that are bigger than personal

The End.

"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."
-John Milton (1608-74). Satan, Paradise Lostt.


Thank you first, to Karen Rasch who edited and critiqued far and beyond
the call of duty.  The hours that you spent on this story mean so much to
me that simply saying thank you seems entirely inadequate.

Also a hearty thanks to Nic, Dia, and Kathy who helped me settle the
"sidewalk" scene.  And also to Dia again for proofing.  Believe it or not, I
think my spelling is getting better.  :)  And also, also: a sincere thank you
to Kathy again for helping with plot -- the evil four letter word.  

And to Lacy, for everything.

                              "Only love can conquer all."