- Deslea's URL is now http://www.deslea.com or http://fiction.deslea.com.  
- Email address is now deslea@deslea.com.
- May be archived by Scully/Skinner specialty archives only.

This information supercedes all other information found in this file.

Eden's Reprise *NC17* 1/1
Deslea R. Judd
drjudd@primus.com.au drjudd@catholic.org
Copyright 1999

This work is based on The X Files, a creation of 
Chris Carter owned by him, Twentieth Century Fox, 
and Ten-Thirteen Productions.  Samantha Waters is 
the property of the owners of the show Profiler.  
Eden is the property of the author.  All other 
characters mentioned remain the intellectual 
property of Chris Carter et all and are used 
without their consent and without commercial gain.  
While this work refers to real dates and places, 
particularly concerning the Persian Gulf War, the 
content is fictional.  The U.S.S. Kennedy is 
completely fictitious. 

Archive: OK to archive/forward, credited and 
without alteration (html formatting permitted).
Spoilers/Timeframe: After 5x20: The End.
Categories:  Story, Crossover (Profiler), Romance 
(Skinner/Scully), Mytharc/X-File, Angst.
Author's notes: No knowledge of Profiler is needed 
to read the story.  I've exercised literary licence 
and had Sharon and Skinner separate in May 1994 
instead of July 1995.  Regarding other dates, 
Mulder said in Emily that Scully was abducted for 
four weeks; earlier canon (eg datestamp in Duane 
Barry, 3, One Breath) had her missing from August 
to November.  Also, Christmas Carol implied Scully 
joined the FBI in 1992, while earlier canon (Pilot; 
also see Brian Lowry) had her join in 1990.  I've 
followed the early canon in both cases.  I've also 
assumed as a point of reference that Skinner served 
in Vietnam in 1969, after changes to the Military 
Service Act allowing for conscription by lottery 
(he stated he wasn't drafted but this implies 
drafting was still occurring) but before Nixon 
began to withdraw troops from Vietnam.
Rating:  NC17 for sex and heavy use of language.  A 
PG13 version with no explicit sexual activity will 
also be made available when the story is complete.
Summary:  An outraged Mulder confronts Scully and 
Skinner on their complicity in the shutting down of 
the X Files.  Why did they betray him?  It's a 
story that goes all the way back to 1991...
More stories at: 
NEW!  To receive my stories automatically, drop a
line to drjuddfiction-subscribe@onelist.com


14 October 1998 (12.01am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	The door slammed shut.
	Two people, breathlessly entwined, fell apart 
from one another in a heap.  Each dove for 
discarded garments in the firelight, going for 
their weapons.  Mulder noted their disheveled 
appearance with some amusement.  "It's only me," he 
said smugly.  "Did I interrupt?"
	Scully came up from behind the couch, 
sweeping back a mass of copper hair from her face.  
She dropped her gun in disgust.  "Mulder, what the 
hell are you doing here?"  Her blouse was loose 
from her skirt, and she smoothed it out, fastening 
an errant button.
	Skinner remained tense.  His shirt was half-
undone, but he made no attempt to remedy his 
appearance.  "What is it, Agent Mulder?" His tone 
was even, but Mulder noticed with a frown that he 
hadn't put down his gun. It was trained on some 
area of the floor between them.  His fears grew, 
and he held his own weapon likewise.  
"What is it, Agent Mulder?" the older man 
repeated firmly.  He edged his way around Scully, 
getting between her and Mulder.  "Any word on our 
perpetrator?" he added.
	Mulder shook his head.  "Nothing on the case, 
but I did find out some interesting information."
	Scully moved back into view.  "What is it, 
	He advanced on her, suddenly angry.  "For one 
thing, I found out about your links to the 
military.  I had to find that one out from Waters – 
a woman who has known you less than a year.  
Telling her was a bad slip on your part, Scully.  I 
think you've been with //them// all along."
	Scully was not so much intimidated as 
annoyed.  "Mulder, I was a Lieutenant Junior Grade.  
I served for less than a year.  That hardly 
constitutes having military links, let alone 
military allegiance," she snapped irritably.  "Six 
years and we're still going through the you're-
with-them stuff?  I thought we'd gotten through 
	"Yes, but you were screwing the Brigadier 
General here, Scully," Mulder pointed out, 
gesturing to Skinner.  She flinched slightly.  "One 
of the Deputy Chiefs Of Staff For Counter-
	She made no attempt to refute his 
information.  She protested, "We knew each other, 
but for God's sake, Mulder, he was in operations, 
not intelligence!"
	He ignored this.  "The same man who was later 
made our boss.  The same man who testified at your 
side at a top-secret Congressional hearing, of 
which I knew nothing, to keep the X Files closed 
six months ago.  The same man who made you his 
right hand once I was safely back in profiling."
	Skinner stepped neatly between them.  "I 
think that's enough, Mulder.  Why don't you give me 
your gun and we'll discuss this reasonably?"
	"So you can kill me like you killed my 
father?  I don't think so."  Mulder trained his gun 
on Skinner's chest, point blank.
	Scully threw herself between the men.  She 
was shouting.  "Mulder, no, you've got it all 
wrong.  We //did// have the X Files shut down, but 
we're not with them.  They have our-"
	Skinner cut her off, pushed her clear of the 
younger man's gun.  "No, Scully, it's too late.  
Better that he knows."  Scully gave him a look of 
bewilderment.  "You're right, Mulder.  Everything.  
It's been us all along.  She was always against 
you, and so was I."
	Scully turned on him.  "What?" she demanded.  
She turned to Mulder.  "No, Mulder, no, it isn't 
true.  I don't know why he's lying.  It's not like 
that at all.  They have-"
	Skinner interrupted her, said gently,  "I 
know you want to protect him, but he won't buy it, 
Dana.  There's no use."
	"Walter, don't do this," she said in 
bewilderment. "It's too late, we have to tell him-"
	The door burst open a second time.  Agent 
	"What is this, Grand Central Station?" Scully 
demanded.  "Go away, Samantha.  You don't want to 
hear this.  Mulder, they have our-"
	Skinner broke in urgently, "Scully, NO!"
	Mulder seemed oblivious to this exchange.  He 
grabbed her arm, yelled, "Shut up, you lying 
	Skinner pushed him.  "Get your hands off her, 
you filthy bastard!"
	"Like you can talk.  You've been fucking her 
for years, and meanwhile I got screwed!"
	The door closed gently as Waters came in, 
Scully's dismissal notwithstanding.  She regarded 
the bickering trio indulgently.  She looked mildly 
	Skinner.  "Mulder, face it.  We were playing 
you for a fool."
	"You traitorous little bastard."  Mulder 
turned on his partner.  "Samantha, go away.  Scully 
and I have business to settle."
	Samantha had had enough.  She said, loudly 
but calmly, "Will you all be quiet and hear what I 
have to say?"
	Scully turned on her with temper, which she 
knew was disproportionate.  "This is my apartment!  
Don't tell my guests to shut up, damn it, that's my 
	Skinner threw a glass into the fireplace.  As 
it shattered, all three of them turned to face him, 
their expressions innocent.  There was a moment of 
dead silence, and then Skinner said in a murderous 
voice, "Two of the people in this apartment are on 
duty, and so those two people are going to explain 
exactly why they have broken in on a quiet night 
between the two that are not."  As Mulder and 
Waters both opened their mouths to speak, he went 
on, "Mulder can go first, because I bet I'm going 
to like his story the least."
	Mulder was livid.  "I saw the Smoking Man.  
He gave me a nice little rundown on the clandestine 
activities of a certain Dana Scully and Walter 
	Scully was annoyed.  "They're hardly 
clandestine, Mulder.  We're dating, not plotting a 
	Skinner rolled his eyes.  "All right, all 
right, don't start.  Waters, what's your excuse?"
	Samantha shot Mulder a baleful glare.  "My 
partner here toddled off to Richmond to mix it up 
with the Morley Man, ditching me in the process-" 
at this, Scully groaned fervently "- so I did some 
investigating into what we're //meant// to be 
investigating, and found out that our stalker was 
in Boston this evening, planting a chrysanthemum in 
the hotel room you booked for tomorrow's case 
conference, Dana."  She shot Mulder a look.  "Which 
means that you're off the hook, Mulder."
	Scully protested angrily, "Mulder was never a 
	Samantha snorted.  "Maybe not for you or I, 
but why do you think loverboy here has spent the 
last five minutes standing between you and Mulder?"  
	She shrugged.  "I went to his apartment to tell 
him, but he was gone.  The Smoking Man was just 
leaving.  I collared him and made him tell me what 
he'd told Mulder.  I just knew he'd be here, acting 
threatening, and that the AD would be frightened 
for you.  It could have gotten explosive.  So I 
figured I'd better come over and tell you that, 
insane as my partner may be, he's not the killer."
	Both Mulder and Scully turned to stare at 
Skinner.  He looked shame-faced, but faced Mulder's 
accusatory glare first. "You fit the profile, 
Mulder.  Of everyone close to her, you're the most 
obsessive.  The murders started in 1994, while she 
was missing.  You can't blame me for wondering."
	"Damn it, Skinner; I knew I fit the profile, 
but I thought you knew me better," Mulder said in 
	The older man was unrepentant.  "Mulder, I 
protect my family first and ask questions later."  
He took Scully's hand protectively.
	The pieces were falling into place for 
Mulder.  "That was why you were talking over the 
top of her.  You thought I busted in because I'd 
found out you were together and I was jealous.  You 
thought if you could disillusion me about her I 
might not kill her."
	Samantha nodded.  "Precisely."
	Scully made a sound of exasperation.  "Fine.  
Mulder is pissed off but he's not the killer.  
Samantha got ditched – welcome to the club.  I have 
a stalker's memento waiting for me tomorrow in 
Boston.  Everything's explained.  Now, would you 
both please go away?  In case you hadn't noticed, 
I'm trying to make out with my date here."
	Samantha and Skinner snickered, but Mulder 
shook his head.  "No, Scully.  Nothing's explained.  
I still don't know why you betrayed me.  Now, it 
seems to me that you're stuck with me for a while, 
so why don't you tell me the truth?" he demanded.  
He stared at those linked hands uncomprehendingly.  
"No more lies.  I want to know it all.  And I want 
to know...why."


U.S.S. Kennedy
Off Al Ahmadi, Kuwait
April 5, 1991

	They were entrancing.
	A woman, young.  Twenty five, maybe.  Naval 
blues.  Lieutenant Junior Grade.  She'd spent the 
last three months in fatigues and combat gear, 
probably; but tonight, she was dressed for honour, 
and maybe for love.
	The man was older.  Forty, perhaps.  Two ten-
year pips on the marine uniform; the second one 
very shiny and new.  His rank was unclear from a 
distance, but he had an air of command.
	"What will you do now?" the man was saying.
	Copper shimmering as she flung back her head.  
"We leave at 0600 hours.  I'm still on secondment 
to Quantico.  The arrangement was, I would be 
released for combat during active conflict.  With 
the final ceasefire, the conflict is over, so the 
Bureau owns me again.  I'm expecting Willis will 
give me, maybe, a week off before I have to start 
teaching classes again."
	Strong arms encircling her protectively.  
"That's the boyfriend."
	A slight shrug.  Shifting shadows in the 
dark.  "He was, but I don't know if he still will 
be when I get home.  I've changed a lot these last 
few months."
	The man was nodding slowly.  "I know the 
	The woman looked up, disquiet betrayed for 
the first time.  "What about you?"
	"My unit will be around managing peacekeeping 
for another couple of weeks.  Then we go home, and 
then I'm on assignment to the Pentagon again.  I've 
heard rumblings that someone in the State 
Department wants me, but I won't know the outcome 
of those negotiations until the deal is done.  
Unlike you, I don't get consulted.  I just get 
bought and sold.  Slavery plus prestige."
	"God bless America," the woman said drily.  
"You wouldn't just leave?  I mean you've served 
well beyond your minimum.  You don't need to still 
be in the Service."
	A deep sigh.  "No, but I don't really want to 
cut ties, either.  The Service is like a father to 
me.  It's kind of a Marine thing.  That doesn't 
seem to concern you."  His voice was curious, but 
not reproachful.
	The woman leaned against him, arms sliding 
around his waist.  "I wanted med school; but doing 
it at Naval Academy was my father's dream, not 
mine.  When the FBI asked to take me on secondment, 
I felt like there was something just for me out 
there.  No, I won't be sorry to go."  She smiled 
faintly.  "But my father was so disappointed when I 
took the FBI position.  He envisaged a life at sea 
for me, serving God and country.  I'm glad I've had 
this stint on active service – it's something 
that's made him very proud, very happy."  The man 
nodded with some understanding.  "Besides," she 
added shyly, "I found you."
	They stayed that way on the dance floor, 
drifting among all the others for a long time.  
Finally, the man spoke.
	"I love you.  You'll never know how much."
	"And I, you," the woman said earnestly.  "We 
gave each other back our lives.  That's not 
something that just disappears when the war is 
	"No," the man admitted sadly.  "But neither 
does your boyfriend.  Neither does my wife."
	"A wife you admit you do not love."  Her 
voice was gentle.
	"No, I don't.  But you and I and she are all 
Catholic.  Divorce is out of the question.  I could 
never marry you.  And with you it could never be 
anything else.  I don't need to make love to you to 
know that."  Hand cradling her cheek.  "And you're 
still so very young."
	The woman held herself with great dignity, but she 
was close to tears.  "I know you're right – of 
course I do.  And yet here we both are, and I want 
you so damn bad."
	He touched her face with big, oddly tender 
fingers.  He was a big man, and his tenderness was 
that solid, comforting sweetness that can only be 
given by the strong to the strong.  "Do you realise 
that after tonight, we will never see each other 
again?" he said softly, painfully.
	"Yes," the woman said harshly, the sound 
tearing from her throat.  She drew him down roughly 
and kissed him, a first kiss, kissed him hard with 
love and pain and need.  She pulled away with a 
	"And I will love you for as long as I live."
	She broke free, and hurried from him, and 
then she wept.

14 October 1998 (12.14am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Scully spoke first.
	"You knew I did my MD at the Naval Academy 
here in Maryland, Mulder?"
	Mulder nodded.  "You did your internship at 
Quantico – some kind of exchange arrangement 
between us and the Academy at the time – and Jack 
Willis liked you so much he wanted you to teach 
there.  The FBI paid the Navy some kind of monetary 
compensation to get you on a seven year contract, 
after which time you would have to return to the 
Navy to do your compulsory service."
	Scully nodded.  "As you might know, I was 
given a medical discharge from my obligations after 
I got cancer; which meant the FBI had me for good.  
But until then, I could still be called up for 
service in the event of an armed conflict; and that 
was what happened at the beginning of my second 
year at Quantico, when we issued the January 15 
deadline against Saddam Hussein.  My contract did 
allow for the possibility of the FBI paying the 
Navy more compensation to keep me home, but by then 
Jack and I were seeing one another, and we felt it 
would look bad – like I'd taken advantage of our 
relationship.  And I wanted to go – it was 
something that I knew would mend the rift between 
my father and I."
	Mulder was nodding.  "That explains why I 
didn't see it when I read your file – it was 
military leave while you were with the Bureau.  I'd 
no more have looked at that than I'd have looked at 
your annual leave record."  He met her gaze.  "So 
you went to Kuwait."
	"She was in ICU on the Kennedy," Skinner 
supplied.  "She did experimental surgery right 
there in the ward sometimes.  She saved my life, 
and a lot of my men that Triage gave up on."  His 
voice was proud.  Scully looked away, her 
expression reflective.  Samantha, who knew some of 
this, put a hand on her shoulder.
	"Samantha said Scully got a Purple Heart – 
that you both did," Mulder said curiously.
	At this, the two exchanged glances, 

U.S.S. Kennedy
Off Al Ahmadi, Kuwait
January 17, 1991

	The man was beginning to come around.  
	He opened his eyes, managed to fix them on 
the epaulettes of the woman who leaned over him.  
"Lieutenant," he mumbled.
	"What's your name, Soldier?" the woman asked 
gently, two fingers touched firmly to his throat, 
looking at her watch.  Titian hair, he thought 
dimly.  Far too young to be a doctor.  But he knew 
from her manner and confidence that that was what 
she was.  And why the hell couldn't he breathe?
	"Skinner," the man managed.  "Walter Skinner.  
Brigadier General.  Marine corps.  Where am I?"
	She listened to his chest with a frown.  "The 
U.S.S. Kennedy.  You were ambushed from what we can 
tell – along with a couple of dozen of your 
company.  I'm Lieutenant J.G. Scully."  She pulled 
the bloodied remains of his fatigues down to cover 
him.  "Well, I have good news and bad news."  At 
his weakly querying look, she said with a small 
smile, "The good news is that you're up for a 
purple heart."
	"Damn, already got one," he bantered weakly.  
"What's the bad news?"
	She smiled faintly, but her voice was firm.  
"The bad news is you'll only live to get it if 
you'll consent to me operating right here and now 
with a local anaesthetic and a lot of morphia."
	He winced.  "Triage have given up on me?" he 
said softly.
	The woman nodded reluctantly.  "There's no 
way I could get an operating room right now.  And 
we can't wait."
	He nodded at this, unsurprised.  "What's the 
	"You have four broken ribs, at the least, two 
of which have perforated your lungs.  Classic 
pneumothorasis.  You have a good prognosis if we 
can get in there and seal off those lungs."
	"Then why won't triage allocate an O.R.?" he 
	The woman spoke confidently.  He had no 
reason to doubt her.  "Sir, you have lost a lot of 
blood, and we don't have enough to transfuse you.  
My superiors don't believe you can survive, which 
is why they're refusing to give me an O.R.  
However, I believe I can get you through with a 
technique from bloodless surgery – a large infusion 
of saline into your bloodstream.  You have enough 
blood products to keep your body going, but not the 
volume to transport them to where they're needed.  
The saline would solve that problem.  I've operated 
this way on two of your men already, and both men 
are going to live.  My commanding officer has given 
me permission to try it in the ward on any patient 
able to consent, but it's at your own risk."
	"You believe you can do it?" he said 
	"I won't lie to you.  The associated risks 
are enormous.  I have no anesthetist, no surgeon, 
no wardsmen, and exactly one nurse.  But in terms 
of the techniques, yes, I do," she said softly.  
"And you don't have any alternatives other than to 
wait to die."
	"You've got a shithouse bedside manner, 
Lieutenant," the man said with a grin.  "All right, 
let's do it."

	That was how his mother always said it 
whenever she was pregnant.  Woozy.
	He gulped at the oxygen, the morphia in his 
body metabolising rapidly in response.  He felt the 
last of the delirium lift.  His chest ached, but 
the ache was not the desperate, gasping ache it had 
been before.
	Woman's voice, gentle.  Lieutenant Scully.  
"Hi there, Soldier," she said sweetly.  Tender 
touch on his cheek.
	He leaned into her palm for a long, heady 
moment.  "How am I?"
	She drew away, businesslike once more, but 
she was beaming.  "You're doing great.  Your 
bloodwork is lousy, as we expected; but your vital 
signs are gradually improving.  It will be some 
days before your blood supply is replenished, but 
you're going to make it."
	There was wonder in his voice.  "I didn't 
think you'd be able to do it."
	"And yet you let me operate?" she asked, 
	He shrugged slightly.  "Lieutenant, I'd 
rather die from someone trying to help me than from 
someone's neglect.  I know this is war and I know 
there are realities to do with lack of resources, 
but when it came down to it, you were prepared to 
fight for me when the Service would have let me 
die.  That wasn't something I could refuse to 
accept."  He met her gaze with respect.
	The woman had a shamefaced little grin on her 
face.  "Not very strategic in battle, huh?"  She 
shook her head, suddenly reflective.  "I'm not here 
to serve my country.  I'm here serving the good men 
who serve my country.  That doesn't stop just 
because they become inexpedient."
	He shook his head silently with a faint 
smile.  "You're not going to last in the Service 
with an attitude like that, Lieutenant."  His voice 
was kind.
	"I'm aware of that," she agreed evenly.
	"But you showed integrity and commitment and 
resourcefulness and a willingness to put yourself 
on the line.  So don't you ever let anyone tell you 
you aren't a good soldier, because you're one of 
the best."
	"That means a lot to me, Sir," she said 
softly, "thank you."
	"You're welcome," he grinned goodnaturedly.  
"Now, Lieutenant, what would you say if I-"  He was 
interrupted by a sharp tremor, followed immediately 
by a siren.  "What the hell-"
	"Attention all personnel.  Condition red.  No 
drill.  Repeat, no drill.  Contamination alert A-
one-A.  General protection procedures to begin 
immediately."  There was a thudding sound as the 
only visible door, a heavy firedoor, slid shut.
	He turned to Scully.  "Care to translate, 
	She was very pale.  "We've been hit by a 
biowarfare agent.  Each sector is sealed off while 
the air purification and containment program runs 
its course."
	He said slowly, "And I suppose there's some 
reason that you're sitting there instead of getting 
out the pyrido-stigmide bromide?"
	She shot him a resigned look.  "There isn't 
any.  Not for ICU.  Limited resources, all that.  
There's one cannister in this sector, for the 
doctor – me."
	He snapped, "Then for God's sake, Lieutenant, 
go and get it.  You're needed – you proved that 
with what you did today.  Save yourself.  Don't 
just sit here and die because we will and you think 
you should too."
	Relectantly, she rose, and did as he said.  
He watched her go, his heart heavy.

	There was a sound a few moments later.  It 
was the Lieutenant, and she was carrying a canister 
with a mask attached by a tube.  She took a gulp 
from the mask and thrust it at him.  "Sir.  Have 
	He pushed the mask away.  "Damn it, 
Lieutenant, these things only have enough for one 
person.  Get it away from me."
	She took another gulp and said through the 
mask, "Sir, have the damn gas, will you?"  She held 
her breath, dangling the mask out once more.
	"No!  You're younger than me, and more well," 
he insisted.  "If you want to give it to someone, 
give it to one of my men.  Mallard over there – he 
has a young child.  Now take it away."
	Another gulp.  "Mallard and everyone else 
here is terminal.  You aren't.  Now have some of 
the fucking gas."  Her voice was muffled through 
the thin plastic.
	"You're swearing at a superior officer, 
	Threads of copper flying as she leaned down 
towards him in fury.  "I'm swearing at a //dead// 
officer if you don't have the gas.  You told me 
someone being prepared to fight for you was not 
something you could refuse to accept.  There is 
anthrax and God knows what else coming through the 
air vents even as we speak.  Now prove you weren't 
lying and have the gas."  She held it out once 
more, and this time, she didn't take it back when 
she needed to breathe.
	He stared at her for a long moment, but 
finally, he took it, if only to make her start 
using it again herself.  He took a deep gulp of the 
gas and handed the mask back to her.
	She took it, breathing deeply, then passed it 
to him, holding her breath.  She sat down on the 
bed at his side.
	They took it in turns that way for some time, 
the air purifiers working furiously.  They tried 
hard not to listen to the sounds of the dying – the 
ill-fated Mallard, and others gasping for breath.  
"Pulmonary anthrax," she said softly through the 
mask at one point.  Her voice was a little 
strained, but it betrayed nothing – certainly not 
to Skinner, who didn't know her.  "Highly virulent.  
The Iraqis did their job well."
	He nodded slowly.  During his turn, he said 
gravely, "They're trying to kill people.  Why fuck 
around?  Besides, it's not like our lot aren't 
doing the same."
	"We signed the Geneva Convention," she said 
	"I know we did.  But I know what I know.  And 
I've said too much."
	They fell silent again, and at some point the 
disembodied speaker informed them that the 
condition had been downgraded.  A little after 
that, the fire doors slid open once more.  Just 
then, though, the gas stopped flowing, and Scully 
threw the empty cannister down in disgust.
	"What do we do now?" he asked softly.
	"We wait.  If we've each gotten enough of the 
gas to neutralise whatever pathogens we breathed in 
during the initial explosion, then we live.  If 
not-" she stopped.
	He nodded.  "I know."  He touched her hand.  
"There's nothing more you can do here, Lieutenant.  
The others are dead.  I feel fine.  Go to pathology 
and have whatever tests they'll give you."
	She was still for a long moment, but then she 
nodded.  "All right.  I'll be back."
	But she wasn't.

Operation Desert Storm - #47
Al Ahmadi, Kuwait
23 January 1991

	Her chest hurt.
	"Hi there, Soldier," a man said, his voice 
kind.  "How are you feeling?"
	Skinner.  Walter Skinner.
Scully blinked.  "Sir?  Where am I?"
	"You're at my base, Lieutenant.  Forty-Seven, 
over the other side of Al Ahmadi."
"I'm not on the Kennedy?  How-" she stopped.
	"I was tested, then discharged on the day of 
the explosion," he said quietly.  "I called up your 
file when I got back to my base – I wanted to write 
a commendation for you.  When I realised you hadn't 
been innoculated for anthrax – God, woman, what 
were you thinking, sharing your gas with me?"
	"Anthrax?" she managed.  "I was right, then?"
	The older man nodded.  "That's not public 
knowledge, but yes.  An extremely virulent strain."
	She considered.  "Am I going to die?"
	Skinner shook his head.  "No.  I pulled some 
strings; brought you here for treatment.  I had you 
vaccinated and dosed you up on antiserum," he 
revealed.  "A little after the fact, but the 
antibodies seem to be doing their job.  It was 
close, though.  Apparently you went into cardiac 
arrest in Pathology.  By the time I realised you 
must be ill and made it back to the Kennedy, you 
were in ICU.  You only came off life support 
	"You got me anthrax shots?" she said, 
bewildered.  "But there's none to be had in all 
	He gave a wry little grin.  "You don't know 
who I am, do you?"
	She shook her head sluggishly.  "Should I?"
	"I'm in Counter-Biowarfare.  I'm the Deputy 
Chief Of Staff for Operations."  He waited, 
wondering if she would become girlish and shy at 
the revelation of his position.  Somehow he didn't 
think so, though.  This one was on the ball, and he 
knew she was on military leave from the FBI.  No, 
she'd ask him the right questions, he was sure of 
	She didn't disappoint, and his respect for 
her grew.  "Did you know this was coming?"
	He spoke frankly, without concealment.  "No.  
I'm not on the intelligence side of things.  I knew 
what to expect in the case of a bioattack, though."  
He grinned suddenly.  "I guess we're both up for 
purple hearts now."
	"I guess so."  She sounded tired.  "Thank you 
for bringing me here, Sir."
	He nodded in acknowledgement, and touched her 
hand fleetingly.  "Just returning the favour, 
Lieutenant."  He gave her an indulgent smile.  "Get 
some sleep."

14 October 1998 (12.23am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Skinner spoke.  
	"I pulled some strings and I kept her at my 
base until the ceasefire.  I wanted her to teach my 
doctors her bloodless surgery techniques.  They 
weren't unheard of, but they weren't something 
doctors in mainstream medicine were using efficiently 
– still aren't.  Silly, because it's a wonderful 
thing to have under your belt when blood supplies 
are scarce – and //everything// was scarce in Al 
Ahmadi in 1991."  He frowned.  "Among the 
scarcities were condoms and the Pill.  By the end 
of the conflict we had a few women who were 
pregnant to fellow soldiers – we called it Friendly 
Fire.  There was a lot of pressure on the women to 
abort.  I was heavily involved in advocating for 
these women to receive appropriate medical care and 
be sent home on medical leave without 
recrimination.  Dana was the only one backing me 
up.  We were perceived to be bringing our religion 
into State affairs, although I think in Dana's case 
it was probably more to do with women's rights at 
that time.  We were successful – at least in my 
unit and those below me in the chain of command – 
but we made a lot of enemies doing it.  It drew us 
	Scully was laughing.  "I forgot about that.  
They called us the Catholic Club."
	"Did they?"  Skinner was surprised.
	"You didn't know?"  He shook his head.
	Mulder smiled faintly.  "Was that when you-"
	They both shook their heads vehemently.  At 
his look of surprise, Skinner said with unusual 
candour, "We fell in love out there.  But there was 
Sharon – we just couldn't."
	"But you never forgot – either of you," 
Samantha said gently.
	Skinner nodded.  "And then I was 
seconded to the FBI."


30 December, 1993
Office Of The Assistant Director
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
Washington, D.C.

	Three months.
	Three months, he'd been here; and he had 
valiantly struggled against the urge to identify 
the whereabouts of a Dr Dana Scully.  He had 
blocked her studiously from his mind.  He even had 
Kimberley make his calls for him so that he would 
never need to see an internal telephone listing.  
She must think he was an arrogant prick.
	And now, his least favourite subordinate 
Blevins was in here, bitching about some crazy case 
in which his star agent, Jack Willis, had gone 
crazy and kidnapped his ex-girlfriend who just 
happened to be another of his agents, nearly 
killing her before killing himself.  Some crazy 
report about body switching...a decidedly unstable 
agent that no-one could get rid of because he had 
friends in Congress, but trust me, the guy's a 
psycho (at this point in the tale, Mulder said 
delightedly, "Blevins thought I was psycho?"), the 
woman they'd brought in to discredit him and all 
she'd managed to do so far was damn near get 
herself killed-
	Nearly killed?  Dana?  Could it be?
At this, Skinner held up a hand.  "Blevins, 
look, if they're that much trouble, I'll take them 
off your hands.  I can live with you owing me a 
favour or two."
	Insane!  Stupid, stupid thing to do.  Blevins 
seemed to confirm it with his look.  "With all due 
respect, Sir, you're still pretty new to the 
Bureau.  You've never been a field agent and you've 
never supervised field agents here, marine commander 
or not.  You don't know what you're 
letting yourself in for.  These two aren't part of 
Violent Crimes.  Mulder and Scully are their own 
crazy little section, and sitting on them is a 
full-time job."
	Scully!  It was her.  Titian hair sapphire 
eyes and damn-it-but-when-had-he-become-a-romance-
writer?  Whatever had he done?
	But the offer was made, so he said evenly, 
"I'll take my chances.  But if they're as bad as 
you say, Blevins, you're gonna be crawling up my 
ass for the rest of your life."
	Blevin laughed.  "You better believe it."
	And as it happened, that was just how it 
turned out.

14 October 1998 (12.37am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Mulder spoke.
	"So when did you find out what you'd let 
yourself in for?"
	Skinner made a face.  "Almost immediately.  
Senator Richard Matheson contacted me.  He said he 
wanted you looked out for.  He also told me that 
there were certain people who would want to make 
sure I reported back to them about your work.  
Matheson warned me for my own safety to do as I was 
told, but to only give them the barest minimum of 
information that I could.  He also advised me to 
take your overall work seriously, even if I 
couldn't manage it for individual cases."  He 
frowned.  "There was another call immediately after 
from your man in the State Department – the one you 
called Deep Throat.  Much of what he had to say 
echoed Matheson, and he also advised me to treat 
any approaches from the Department of Defense with 
great caution.  By this point I was beginning to 
get an idea of how big this thing was, even though 
I had no idea //what// it was.  Then, of course, I 
was contacted by the Smoking Man himself.  I 
approached Blevins, then the Director, both of whom 
told me that I should do as he told me.  The 
Director was a little concerned - he told me to 
watch my back."
	"You must have been shitting nickels," 
Samantha laughed.
	Skinner laughed softly.  "I was, but more 
than anything I wanted to know what the hell I was 
up against.  It was the only way I knew to watch 
Dana's back."
	Scully spoke, very quietly.  "I'll never 
forget the day Blevins told us we would be 
reporting to you.  We were called to your office, 
Walter; but the name Skinner suggested nothing to 
me – it's a common name.  Then when Blevins met us 
at the door and showed us in, and I saw you, I 
thought I'd suddenly, very quietly lost my mind."
	Mulder gave a sudden grin.  "Hey, I remember 
that, Scully.  You and I stood next to one another, 
and we were facing Skinner and Blevins.  Blevins 
and I got to arguing, and neither of you said a 
word; just stood there sizing one another up.  I 
just figured you were embarrassed by me."
	"You were fighting?" Scully said blankly.  
	Mulder gave a pointed laugh, and she flushed.
	Skinner groaned.  "That was awful.  I knew we 
weren't going to have some sentimental 
reconciliation, not in that setting; but it was 
like we were both made of stone."
	Mulder turned to Scully.  "I remember you 
left your scarf, and you had to go back and get it.  
Was that on purpose?"
	She shook her head.  "It was an accident – 
shock probably had a lot to do with it.  But I 
realised as soon as we left.  I decided to wait a 
few minutes before I went back, though, so that 
Blevins would be gone."
	Mulder laughed.  "Oh, to be a fly on //that// 

18 January, 1994
Office Of The Assistant Director
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
Washington, D.C.

	"Send her in."
	Skinner hung up the phone.  Morosely, he held 
Dana's scarf to his cheek, turned his face into it.  
How much could a man hurt and still live?
She came in, but he didn't look up.  She sat 
down unbidden, and they sat in silence for some 
	At last, he spoke.  "I heard about your 
father, Dana.  I'm sorry."
	She nodded slowly.  "Thank you, Walter.  I'm 
okay – we patched things up after the war."
	"It was recent, Blevins said?"
	"A couple of weeks ago.”  She met his gaze.  
	"You heard about Jack, too, I suppose?"  He nodded.  
"We broke up when I came back from the Gulf.  I'd 
changed so much, and he couldn't understand.  His 
death wasn't something that hit me hard.  But him 
trying to hurt me –"  She stopped suddenly.  He 
leaned across the desk and took her hands in his, 
and she held him tightly.
	They sat there a long moment, their hands 
still locked, sharing the silence.  At last, 
though, she asked softly, "How are things with 
	He shrugged.  "I want to leave, she wants to 
leave, and we both stay.  Situation normal – all 
fucked up."  He gave a wry little grin.
	They stayed that way a long moment; and then 
they broke into laughter.  It wasn't an amused 
laughter or a happy laughter; it was the dismayed 
laughter of those who look at the world and, faced 
with the choice to laugh or weep, choose to laugh.  
But it was laughter just the same, and when it 
ended, both began to heal.
	"I've missed you," Scully said softly.  "So 
	He nodded slowly.  "I've thought of you a lot 
the last three years.  There were times when I 
thought it would send me insane," he revealed 
starkly.  She said nothing, but her look spoke 
	"Are we going to be able to work together?" 
she asked finally.
	Skinner, who had no idea whether or not they 
could, said carefully, "I can if you can."  At 
this, she favoured him with a sweet smile.
	"You've got yourself a deal."

24 April, 1994
Home of Walter and Sharon Skinner
Georgetown, Washington DC

	"I want to know who she is."
	Walter rubbed his temples wearily.  "I've 
told you a dozen times, Sharon, there is no other 
woman.  You're the only woman I've ever been with."
	She spoke quietly, sadly.  "I know that, 
Walter.  But there's another woman, just the same, 
isn't there?"  At his silence, she asked 
tentatively, "Is it the woman you fell in love with 
in Kuwait?"
	He nodded slowly.  "Our paths have crossed 
again.  She works with me – has done for a few 
months now."  He bowed his head.  "I've never said 
or done anything with her that you couldn't have 
heard, Sharon."
	Sharon lifted her overnight bag, shifting its 
weight onto her shoulder.  "No.  But somewhere 
along the line you gave her your love.  And Walter, 
far more than your body or your intimacy or your 
children or your secrets, that was the one thing 
you were supposed to keep for me."
	He nodded solemnly, acknowledged his guilt, 
and listened as she left.


14 October 1998 (12.43am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Skinner took up the story.  "In May of that 
year, Deep Throat died.  I was told to shut the X 
Files down, and that was what I did – with some 
relief, I might add.  I sent Dana back to Quantico 
to teach.  Stupidly, I believed that would be the 
end of it – that she would be safe.  I didn't 
really realise that we were all in it beyond the 
point of no return."
	Scully gave a resigned sigh.  "I was furious 
with you, and you knew it," she said softly.
	Skinner nodded.  "I went to see her at home," 
he told Mulder.  "I wanted her to know that it 
hadn't been my doing."
	Mulder looked at him, openly disbelieving.  
"That's the only reason?" he challenged quietly.  
He had deduced this part of the story.
	"Well, no," Skinner admitted.  "There was 
something else I needed to tell her, too."

Home of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland
21 May, 1994

	The fire flickered.
	Damn him for coming over as she stretched out 
in the quiet, the fire blazing, her music playing 
softly.  Damn him for coming over and seeing her, 
not as his agent, but as the woman who loved him; 
and for staring at her in the golden light, his 
face telling a thousand secrets, loving her back as 
deeply as ever.  Damn him for making her ache for 
him to hold her, to love her, just this once!
	"I still don't understand why you're here, 
Sir," she said coolly, pouring herself some more 
wine.  She poured him one, too, and set it down 
before him before she stopped to give the idea any 
thought.  Bad move, that – it blurred the 
boundaries, made him her houseguest, rather than 
her boss.
	"Dana, don't call me that.  We're off duty."  
He leaned back on the couch, taking up his glass 
and drinking from it.  "As for why I'm here, it's 
not really that hard to understand.  I'm telling 
you to watch your back.  It wasn't my idea to close 
down the X Files.  That order came from a lot 
higher than me."
	She drained her glass off and set it down 
sharply, shaking her head a little to clear it.  
"Yeah, I got that part; I just don't know why you 
bothered warning me."  She sounded bitter, morose.
	His tone was annoyed.  "Dana, when are you 
going to get it through your skull that I am not on 
their side?  I'm just a working stiff between a 
rock and a hard place.  I cannot help you.  What I 
can do is help you to help yourself.  That's what 
I'm trying to do here."
	Scully looked away, ashamed.  "All right.  
Sorry," she added endearingly.  She brought her 
legs up and crossed them beneath her, facing him on 
the couch.  She said tentatively, "So how are you, 
	He met her glance with a wry little smile.  
"I'm okay, Dana.  Kind of wishing I'd never taken 
this particular position, but I'll get there."
	"Because of me, you mean?" she asked softly.
	He shook his head sharply.  "No.  No!  
Because I know now that I'm in a much deeper mess 
than I was bargaining for.  I'd have quit by now, 
except that I want to be there to watch your back."  
	She nodded slowly in the fading light.  At 
last, she said quietly, "Level with me.  What did 
you really come here to tell me, Walter?"
He made no effort to mislead her.  He said 
starkly, "Sharon and I have separated.  We'll be 
divorced soon.  We're also trying for a Church 
annulment.  Impaired consent – I was pretty heavily 
affected by Vietnam when we married.  The diocesan 
tribunal advocate seems to think we'll get it."
	Dana bowed her head.  "I'm sorry."
	Walter's face was wistful, but not sad.  "I'm 
	"Really?" she said shyly, looking up.
	His voice was reflective.  "I stayed a lot 
longer than I should have – for everyone's sake."
	Something in his tone made her frown.  
	"Only for what I should have had – for what 
//we// should have had."  He met her gaze, 
concealing nothing.
	Tentatively, she said carefully, "What are 
you telling me, Walter?"
	"That I never stopped."
	She didn't ask what he meant.  She watched 
him steadily, waiting.
	The silence was unbearable.  "Dana, please 
say something.  I know it's been a long time, and I 
know you've probably moved on.  There's Mulder-"
	She cut him off.  "No, not Mulder.  There's 
only ever been you."  She bowed her head.  
	He touched her shoulder.  "Dana, look at me, 
please."  Reluctantly, she complied.  "Is it too 
late for us?"
	Slowly, she shook her head.  "I hope not."
	"I still want to marry you, even now," he 
told her with certainty. She smiled.
	"And I still want to be your wife."
	He reached for her then, and she met him, 
drew him to her, kissed him.  It was a raw kiss, 
the kiss of those who have loved deeply and long 
and never touched, a furious kiss of desire and 
pent-up need.  He cradled her face between his 
hands, breathed her scent.  She flung her head back 
with a low moan, pulling her to him by his shirt, 
and met his lips once more.
	This time, he kissed her tenderly, sweetly, 
softly; his mouth caressing her, cherishing her.  
She returned the kisses adoringly; small, feverish 
sounds of need escaping her.  His bulk was on top 
of her, not trapping her, but possessing her, his 
closeness making her ache.  She could feel her 
breasts swell, her sex becoming dank and moist, her 
whole body screaming for him, seeking to be joined 
one with another.  His hands touched her for the 
first time, smoothing idly over the fabric between 
them, his palms capturing her and releasing her by 
the merest subtleties of touch.
	They kissed once more, mouths searching, 
fingers busy, finding buttons and freeing them from 
their bounds.  A chest seen but once before, the 
scar she had put there with her own hands.  Skin 
bronze in the firelight, a thin smattering of 
golden hair.  And his hands, hands which had saved 
her life, hands which had protected her.  How she 
loved his hands.
	She was bathed in light.
	Copper hair, golden skin, sapphire eyes.  A 
feast of that which was precious.  Long, slender 
fingers, fingers which had been within him, holding 
his heart, seeking to save.  And somehow she'd 
never really let go.  Her torso, golden swell of 
her breasts, the slight curve of her belly, the dip 
of her hips.  And those eyes.  He leaned forward 
and kissed her forehead.
	"I could kiss you forever," he breathed.
	"And I, you," she said sweetly.  "But make 
love to me, Walter.  Now."
	There were no more words after that.  They 
were neither two spirits as one, nor two bodies 
rising and falling against one another in the dim 
golden light; but rather, some mixture of both; man 
and woman, joining in the sight of God as it had 
been since the dawn of time.  She gave herself over 
to him, but did not surrender; he entered, but did 
not invade.  And as his gift found its way within 
her, that blessing of creation, a new life was 

14 October 1998 (12.47am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Mulder looked uncomfortable.  "I don't mean 
to be any more intimate than I need to be, but-"
	Skinner cut him off.  "We decided later that 
we would wait until we married, but we were 
together that night, yes."  He didn't seem 
surprised by the unspoken question.  Scully 
	Samantha said gently, "When did you first 
suspect, Scully?"
	"Not until the beginning of August," she said 
softly.  "My cycle had never been what you'd call 
regular, and I wasn't ill.  But when I missed a 
third cycle, it seemed pretty certain."
	Skinner took up the thread.  "I knew of her 
suspicions, of course.  We talked about it the 
morning she was abducted.  We weren't really that 
perturbed by it.  We were...pleased."
	Scully looked suddenly very forlorn.  "We 
didn't count on Duane Barry."

8 August 1994
Home of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Mulder turned.  "Sir – what are you doing 
	"Same as you, Agent.  Do you have some gloves 
on you?"  Skinner held out a hand.
	Mutely, Mulder handed him a latex pair.  "The 
crime scene boys are gonna love another person 
traipsing through.  They almost bit my head off."
	"Well, Mulder, I have a slightly better way 
with people than you, not that that says much.  I 
also have a higher rank, which says a lot."  Mulder 
managed a weak smile.  "Are you all right?" he said 
more kindly.
	Mulder's voice was bitter.  He lashed out, 
"My partner has been abducted by a guy whose moral 
center of his brain has been blown apart, who wants 
to go back to where he claims to have been 
routinely abducted by aliens – in which I believe, 
even if you don’t - to swap a hostage for his 
freedom.  What do you think?"
	Skinner said harshly, "We're all feeling it, 
Mulder.  Agent Scully is one of the best people I 
have ever known.  There's no need to be rude."
	Mulder flushed.  "I'm sorry, Sir."
Skinner nodded his acceptance of this.  "I'll 
be out in a few minutes – wait for me."
	He went in.  He bypassed the living room, a 
cold shudder working its way into his stomach.  He 
didn't need to look at the shards of glass or the 
blood – the crime scene people would send him 8x4 
glossies in due course.  They knew what they were 
doing.  Instead, he stopped in the kitchen and 
quickly inspected the grocery bags there.  There 
was no sign of what he was looking for, but there 
was a register receipt.  

	//bread bakery white sliced//
	//toilet tissue kleenex 4//
//ice cream generic rocky road 4lb//
//pickles by weight// 
(he wondered momentarily if this was part of 
some breaking-the-news routine she had cooked up) 
	//pregnancy test (kit)//

	All right; it was here somewhere, then.  
	Right now, he wasn't sure which result he wanted.  
The thought of losing a child, too-
	He shook himself.  Dana wasn't dead.  He'd 
	He went to the bedroom.  He took up a 
Polaroid of her from the dresser – one that he had 
taken.  She wore a men's shirt – his – and a sweet 
smile, her hair wispy and unkempt.  He felt his 
body begin to tremble.  The idea of her being 
dragged out by that lunatic Duane Barry, being 
stuffed into the back of a car (more likely, the 
boot, he realised miserably), and being taken God 
knew where to God knew what fate – it was enough to 
eat away at his self-control and his strength like 
battery acid.  It left him weak and unfocused.  
	And if he didn't focus, he would break.
	He set down the picture once more, and went 
to the ensuite.  He glanced at all the obvious 
places – on top of the cistern, the shelf, the 
window sill-
	The basin.
	"Still on the basin," he said in wonder.  
"She must have been waiting for the result when-"
	He sat down on the closed lavatory with a 
thud.  "Oh, God," he gasped as the full force of 
what had happened hit him.  He picked up the little 
white canister, looked at the small result window.  
He breathed out heavily. 
	"Oh, God, Dana, please hang on."

14 October 1998 (12.52am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Mulder's tone was reflective.  "I remember 
that.  You arrived at the scene not long after I 
did.  You didn't even stop to talk to the crime 
scene guys – you went straight to the bathroom.  I 
never knew what that was about."  He turned to 
Scully.  "Did you ever know?" he asked curiously.
	Scully gave a little shrug.  "I never saw the 
test result, if that's what you mean.  But I didn't 
need to.  Walter told me, much later, when I was 
	Samantha said compassionately, "That must 
have been awful – for both of you."
	Skinner's voice was very strained.  "It's not 
a time of my life that I like to think about.  Dana 
and the baby were gone, and I was still dealing 
with the annulment process.  And you, Mulder – you 
were slowly losing your mind."
	Mulder nodded.  "We all were."

12 November 1994
Georgetown Medical Center (ICU)
Washington, D.C.

	"Doctor, I need to speak with you."
	The older man looked up from his papers.  
"Who are you?"
	"I'm Walter Skinner.  Dana Scully's partner."
	The man looked puzzled.  "I thought that was 
that Mulder."
	Skinner shook his head urgently.  "No – he's 
her work partner, her law enforcement partner.  I'm 
her – we're in a relationship, that's what I mean."
	The doctor shifted, visibly attempting to 
mentally accommodate this new twist in the 
Scully/Mulder/FBI menage. "I see.  Well, take a 
seat."  Skinner complied with a nod of thanks.  
"What is that you need to speak with me about?"
	Skinner leaned forward.  "Dr Daly, Dana was 
pregnant when she went missing.  Her family didn't 
know.  She was almost three months gone.  That 
would make her six months now, give or take."  He 
looked at the older man with fading hope.  He'd 
seen her – she wasn't big enough to be pregnant – 
but, oh, God, please-
	The doctor met his gaze with some sympathy.  
"I'm sorry, Mr Skinner, but she's not pregnant now, 
certainly not in the second trimester."  Skinner 
bowed his head, sighing deeply.  The doctor 
frowned, "I did wonder whether Dana might have been 
pregnant recently.  She seems to be suffering from 
mastitis – an infection of the mammary glands.  It 
happens when there's a buildup of milk in the 
breast which is not relieved by nursing.  That's 
not uncommon after miscarriage.  It's true she's 
bleeding now, but there are no abnormal blood 
clots.  It seems to be a normal menstrual period."  
He went on gently, "My guess is she miscarried when 
she first went missing.  Mr Mulder indicated to me 
that she is known to have suffered some violence at 
that time." 
	"Yes – yes, she did.  There's no way of being 
	The doctor made a helpless gesture.  "Well, I 
am sure that she isn't pregnant.  If you're asking 
if there's any way of being sure whether she 
miscarried, we could do a D&C; but I would need the 
family's consent for that.  I will run a sonogram 
to make sure one isn't medically indicated, of 
course.  But frankly, Mr Skinner, if you're sure 
she was pregnant then, and I'm sure she isn't now, 
there's your answer."
	Skinner nodded slowly.  "I see.  You haven't 
voiced your suspicions to the family, then?"
	Dr Daly made a negating gesture.  "I didn't 
see much point.  It was after the fact.  Is there 
any reason to conceal Dana's pregnancy from them?"
	Skinner shrugged.  "It's no great secret, if 
that's what you mean.  But the family is Catholic, 
and I'm still going through a divorce.  They 
wouldn't have been happy.  It's something I'd 
rather Dana told them herself, if she's ever ready 
and capable of doing so – just as a matter of 
respect to her."
	The doctor nodded.  "There's no real reason 
for them to know.  If she were still pregnant now, 
of course-" he stopped.  "Well, it's a moot point."  
Skinner nodded, rising from his chair.  He 
put out a hand.  "All right.  Thank you, Dr Daly.  
I appreciate your time."
	The older man took it with a small smile.  
"You're welcome.  I'm sorry about your child, Mr 
	He nodded somberly, and then he left.

14 October 1998 (12.58am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	"It's funny, you know," Scully said 
reflectively.  "All that time I was in the coma, I 
could hear you, Mulder, and Missy, and my mom.  But 
I never heard you, Walter.  I knew you were there 
and I could feel your hands holding mine and all 
that, and that was enough - but I couldn't hear 
	Skinner's voice was painfully quiet.  "You 
couldn't hear me because I couldn't speak.  I would 
sit there and look at you and hold you, and there 
was not a damn thing I could say."
	Samantha said gently, "You came out of the 
coma, Scully, and Skinner told you what had 
	She nodded.  "Yes.  For a long time we were 
in shock."
	Skinner concurred, "My annulment came 
through, but I was too screwed up to pursue the 
civil divorce.  Then your father was killed, 
Mulder, and Dana-" he stopped.
	"I didn't know who to trust," she said 
softly.  "I suspected him, as you know, Mulder.  It 
came between us.  We didn't really start to move on 
from that until Walter was shot."  The two shared a 
small smile at that.
	Mulder nodded.  "Meanwhile, Sharon got angry 
and pushed the divorce through?" he surmised.
	"Got it in one."  Skinner admitted, "And on 
the day that the divorce came through, I slept with 
Corrina Sayles."  He glanced shamefacedly at 
Samantha, who wasn't familiar with this part of the 
tale, but the agent remained wisely silent.  "I was 
set up, and I was hurt and angry, but for all that, 
I don't have any excuses.  I was weak," he 
	Scully took his hand in hers.  "Things just 
got out of hand for us for a while.  We worked 
together closely on the Jeremiah Smith case after 
//you// ditched me, though-" at that, she nudged 
Mulder irritably "- and that was a turning point.  
Things started to settle down again.  We didn't set 
a wedding date, though – we still had to work 
things out."
	Mulder nodded slowly.  "And then you got 
	She shifted uncomfortably.  Addressing 
Skinner, she said quietly, "And I suspected you all 
over again.  I rejected you when you wanted to 
support me.  I shut you out."  She met his gaze 
sadly.  "I didn't trust enough."
	He kissed her forehead tenderly.  "It doesn't 
matter.  Those days are gone."
	Mulder smiled faintly, but he was not 
deterred.  "And then there was Emily," he said 
	Scully nodded.
	"Then there was Emily."


27 December, 1997 (12.04am)
Skinner Residence/Mercy Hospital
Crystal City, VA/San Diego, CA

	The phone rang.
	"Skinner," he bleated sleepily.
	A woman's voice.  Desperate, raw.  
Incredibly, it took him seconds to recognise it as 
Dana's.  "Walter?"  He sat up, instantly awake.
	"Dana," he said soothingly, instinctively.  
"What is it?"
	He had underestimated her distress, he 
realised.  The pitch of her voice wavered all over 
the spectrum.  "Walter, the baby, our baby – she 
didn't die.  She didn't die!"
	He felt very cold.  "Tell me."
	She spoke very fast.  "I found a little girl 
here in San Diego.  She looks just like my sister – 
I thought she was Melissa's.  Then, on Christmas, 
the RFLPs came through, and I found out she was 
mine."  Her voice was climbing, hysterical.  "I 
didn't understand how that could be, and I called 
Mulder.  He said he found ova – mine – last year.  
He said they had been taken while I was abducted.  
We thought – we thought that was how she came to 
be.  It all happened so fast.  And – and then, 
there was this custody hearing about her yesterday, 
and I tried to get her back, and we tried to 
explain it all to the judge, and Mulder said that 
if I were examined it would be discovered that I 
had never given birth – and then I realised, I 
//had// given birth, when I lost the baby, and so – 
so I got your samples from the Corrina Sayles case, 
and I put through another set of RFLPs, and – 
Walter, she's ours.  She's our daughter.  Please 
come, Walter; we need you so much."
	He sat there for a long moment.  At last, he 
said, "All right, Dana.  I'm coming.  Can you – can 
you answer some questions for me?"
	She gulped audibly.  "Yes – yes, I can."
	"You said there was a custody hearing.  What 
do I need to know about that?"
	"The adopted parents were murdered just 
recently.  The recorded natural mother is a false 
name.  Children born of donated ova are legally not 
the children of the biological mothers, and there 
are no precedents for stolen ova, as we believed 
the case to be at the time.  Judge Maibaum wasn't 
exactly impressed by the sci-fi aspects of the 
case, and he reserved his decision.  In the 
meantime, I've had to make some decisions about her 
medical care, and that has made it look pretty bad 
for me – they haven't been easy decisions, and they 
have had consequences for Emily."
	"Medical care?" he said with foreboding.  
"You mean she's ill?"
	Scully's voice was a whisper.  "She's dying, 
	"I'll be there on the first flight."

14 October 1998 (12.58am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	"After I hung up from Walter, I called my 
lawyer, then Susan Chambliss – the social worker 
who was advocating on Emily's behalf," Scully said 
painfully.  "All this was after I'd sent you away, 
Mulder, when Emily was in the coma."  She bowed her 
head.  "I know I should have called you and told 
you, Mulder.  But you see, I knew she was dying.  
It didn't seem to matter anymore.  It seemed like 
this time with her was something special for Walter 
and I – not for explanations or investigations."
	Mulder said softly, "It was probably just as 
well.  I had a treatment – or I thought I did.  I 
stole it from the nursing home where the surrogate 
mothers were.  But that was for the children made 
by these people.  If Emily was your child – if 
they'd simply experimented on her – that means she 
was in a different category.  It probably would 
have killed her sooner."
	Skinner bowed his head.  "Susan Chambliss 
knew the urgency better than either of us did.  She 
knew if we didn't get custody of Emily straight 
away, we wouldn't be entitled to make decisions 
about her life support...or her burial.  She 
arranged a special hearing in the early hours of 
that morning, right there in the hospital.  I got 
there just in time – I didn't even get to see her 
before the hearing.  Dana was a mess, and so was 
	Samantha's voice was kind.  "What happened?"
"My lawyer and Susan Chambliss did most of 
the talking.  Neither of us could say very much at 
that point.  Walter was in shock, and I hadn't 
slept in days," she explained.  "My lawyer argued 
that there now existed a reasonable level of proof 
that Emily was the child I was carrying at the time 
of my abduction, and that I apparently gave birth 
during my coma, assisted by a person or persons 
unknown, who had apparently then surrendered the 
child for adoption under a false name before 
returning me to Georgetown for medical treatment.  
This made it a straightforward case of kidnapping.  
Judge Maibaum liked that theory a lot more than 
yours," she added, flashing Mulder a weak smile, 
"and he restored our parental rights.  Her name was 
changed to Emily Scully at the same time."
	Nodding, Mulder said, "I always wondered how 
you managed to bury her under your name, but I 
didn't like to ask."  
	Skinner explained, "They asked us on the spot 
what name we wanted.  We hadn't talked about it, so 
we debated it a few moments.  Originally we said 
Skinner – because that would be our family name 
when we married – but then I said that Dana had 
been the one at her side through all this, so we 
should name her Scully."
	Mulder looked at her curiously.  "Did your 
family ever know?"
	"We told them the next day.  We were going to 
turn off Emily's life support, and we wanted to 
give them a chance to visit her first.  Bill was 
furious when I first said we'd found out I'd given 
birth to her," Scully added with a laugh.  "He 
thought she was yours, Mulder.  When he found out 
the father was another military man, he simmered 
down, though."
	Skinner snorted.  "Only because I outranked 
	Her tone became reflective.  "They hadn't 
seen her at this point.  You see, up until then 
they saw Emily as something that had been done to 
me.  They didn't blame her, of course; but they 
were furious that she existed.  They backed me at 
the original adoption hearing because I insisted, 
but they wouldn't see her.  But when they found out 
she was mine – in every sense – they came.  Tara 
talked them around."  She frowned.  "I've never 
really forgiven them for that.  For me, she was 
mine from the beginning – even when I thought she 
was Melissa's.  I thought that should have been 
enough for them to accept her, but they wouldn’t.  
It was like she had to pass //their// test of what 
made her mine.  They were wrong to do that to her."
	Samantha nodded slowly.  "Yes, they were."

27 December, 1997
Mercy Hospital
San Diego, California

	Surely, her heart would break.
	She watched them from the doorway, a 
bittersweet smile flitting across her features.  
The father sitting at the child's side, holding her 
tiny hands in his, brushing her forehead with his 
lips.  It looked so very right.
	Except the child was so white and still.
	He saw her standing there.  "She's so 
beautiful," he whispered wretchedly.
	Scully's voice was quietly indulgent.  
"You're biased."
	Skinner smiled sadly.  "I wish I'd seen 
her...you know, awake."
	She went to him, rested a hand on his 
shoulder.  He took it, kissed it.  "I'm sorry I 
didn't tell you sooner, Walter.  It all happened so 
fast.  Before last night, I thought it was 
something happening to me – not to us.  And I don't 
share things easily – not even with you.  I keep 
them inside."  Her voice was thick with unshed 
tears.  "I've really got to stop doing that."
	He shook his head.  "It doesn't matter.  
She's our daughter.  She doesn't have to do 
anything to earn that – she just is."  His face was 
wet with silent tears, and he made no effort to 
hide them from her.
	She wiped them away, her voice gentle.  
"Walter, I know it isn't the same, but Susan 
Chambliss took photos of her...and some videotapes, 
earlier on, while she was conscious.  She said it 
was so the court had to see her as a human being, 
not a case.  She told me this morning it was really 
so we'd have something of her...you know, after."
	"After she dies."
	They went into one another's arms then, and 
they stayed that way for a long time.

14 October 1998 (1:09am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Mulder looked at Skinner curiously.  "You 
were at the funeral.  It surprised me at the time – 
but I didn't ask.  It would have been intrusive.  I 
just assumed Scully told you."
	Scully took up the tale.  "We looked over my 
X File afterwards.  We wanted to see what we could 
find out about my abduction.  We wanted answers 
about Emily – when she had been born, and where.  
We found-"
	Skinner cut her off.  "We found out very 
little – nothing that shed any light on things, at 
any rate."  Scully shot him a look.  "It was about 
this time that we were contacted by the Smoking 
Man.  He told us that the implant in her neck 
didn't suppress her cancer, as such; but that it 
was the means by which he had suppressed it.  He 
told us that you were playing your Congress cards 
to get the X Files opened again, and he intended to 
stop it.  He convened the Congressional panel – of 
which, as you say, you knew nothing – with a view 
to keeping them closed.  He blackmailed us into 
testifying by threatening to activate her cancer 
again.  Dana refused, but I agreed – he expected 
that.  Then he got her testimony by threatening to 
get me on perjury.  You weren't supposed to know – 
that was a condition of our testimony."  Skinner 
shrugged.  "I'm sorry, Mulder."
	Samantha spoke.  "That was when you recruited 
me," she said in realisation.
	Scully nodded.  "That's right, Samantha. We 
knew you'd put Jack away not too long ago."  Jack 
had been Samantha's own stalker for the better part 
of a decade.  "We thought you would be a nice match 
for Mulder.  You're both brilliant profilers, and 
you're very intuitive, like him.  I thought you'd 
work well with him.  And I couldn't work with him 
any longer.  Not after what I'd had to do.  I 
couldn't face him day after day."  She frowned.  "I 
wanted Mulder to have someone he could trust...now 
that he couldn't trust me.  We were still in 
contact, of course; but there was no real reason 
that we should have crossed paths day-to-day."
	Mulder made a sound of irony.
	"Until the Chrysanthemum Killer came along."


21 August 1998
Office Of The Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, D.C.

	Kim Cooke looked up from her computer with a 
start.  "Agent Scully, I'm sorry," she said 
hastily.  "He's free - go on through."
	Scully smiled her thanks and passed through 
with a stifled grin.  After so many years as the 
Bureau's outcast, the respect that came with being 
the AD's Special Aide was still a bit heady.  When 
Dana Scully comes knocking, she reflected, you know 
the AD is sick of the buck passing and wants the 
situation taken in hand by his personal 
troubleshooter, preferably before sundown.  And it 
always was.
	Skinner didn't look up when she entered.  
"Dana," he said absently. "How was Maine?"
	Scully fell into the chair opposite.  
"Strangely reminiscent of a Stephen King novel – 
which one was it? – oh, yeah, all of them."  He 
laughed at that and put his files aside, meeting 
her gaze with mirth.  "The Portland hacks are back 
in line," she added.  "There's a report on your e-
	He dismissed this.  "I'm sure you did fine.  
Are you up to dinner at Crystal City?  I need to 
run some things by you."
	Her voice was lightly mocking, but good-
natured.  "Do you mean by that 'dinner' or 'Walter 
dumps a packet of noodles on the stove'?"
	Skinner said expansively, "I think we can go 
a bit better than noodles."
	His demeanour was without effect on her 
humour.  "In other words, Mulder and Waters are 
coming, and they're bringing pizza?"
	He gave up.  "Very smart work there, Chief 
Inspector Scully.  You'll make Detective yet."  
Even in his mirth, Skinner was frowning.  "Yes, 
Mulder and Waters are coming.  I need to bounce 
some ideas off Mulder in particular."
	She sensed the change in him, and queried 
seriously, "Another distraction job?"
	Skinner rose from his chair and took a 
position by the window, his hands in his pockets.  
He looked oddly defeated.  "Dana, do you have any 
idea how difficult it is to keep Mulder happy and 
occupied without giving him any X Files?  The 
Congressional panel are sitting so far up my ass I 
could dump and blow my nose at the same time."  She 
made a sound of wry humour at this particularly 
revolting image; but her look was sympathetic.  She 
went to his side.  "I mean pairing him with 
Samantha Waters has worked out well – they're like 
soul mates or something, and he's happy on almost 
anything with her – but that won't keep for long."
	"No.  Sooner or later he's going to want to 
introduce his ladylove to the holy grail."  Scully 
was shaking her head.  "I don't know how we got 
into this mess.  Maybe we should just tell him."
	He turned to meet her gaze.  "And risk having 
him turn this into his new crusade?  No, thank you.  
We can't take the chance.  Not with what's at 
	They held one another with their eyes for a 
long moment, her slight nod a concession.  She 
touched his arm fleetingly and moved away.  She 
said in a casual tone which belied her fears, 
"Well, as it happens, I might have a distraction 
for Mulder, but it isn't good news."
	He wasn't misled.  "What is it?" he demanded.
	"I appear to have my very own personal 
stalker.  Leaves tokens – chrysanthemums mostly – 
at my door, on my car.  It's been going on for 
months.  I wasn't worried.  There's a teenaged boy 
in my building who has a bit of a crush on me – I 
thought it was him.  I thought it was sweet, 
actually.  But there was one in my hotel room in 
Portland.  Following you interstate and getting 
into your room before you've even checked in isn't 
a lovesick kid."
	"You're sure?"
	Scully nodded silently.  Skinner's features 
smoothed, leaving a carefully bland expression of 
neutrality on his face.  It was an expression which 
had fooled many down the years.
	It was not fooling the woman before him now.  
"How long has it been, Walter?  Eight years?"  She 
let the question hang a moment, then went on, "What 
aren't you telling me?"
	He let out a long, low sigh.  "Dana-"
	She held up a hand.  "Just tell me."
	He relented.  "You're not the first woman in 
the Maryland-Washington-Virginia triangle to be 
stalked by a man leaving chrysanthemums as 
mementos.  You're the twelfth since 1994.  All 
Federal agents – three of ours, four CIA, and four 
military police - three army and one marine.  And 
now you.  All with red, auburn, or strawberry 
blonde hair; all blue eyed."
	"All of them dead?" she said softly.  At his 
look of alarm, she added, "You'd have told me 
	He nodded.  "Stabbed in all but two cases.  
Those two were hasty, clumsy.  He was probably 
	Scully considered.  "Is it a regular police 
	He nodded, spreading his hands expansively.  
"It was, but it's been taken over by a small Marine 
task force.  The second-to-last woman was the 
marine.  I'm involved as a matter of personal 
	Scully asked very quietly, "What sort of 
personal interest, Walter?"
	At that, he gave a mirthless smile.  "You fit 
the profile of the victims, Dana.  When the case 
first emerged, back in 1994, I thought of you.  
I've been watching it closely all along."  He 
suddenly looked very unhappy, very old.  "Now that 
you're involved I will be making it a formal FBI 
	"I don't expect that."
	"I don't care."
	There was nothing she could say to that, so 
she rose.  "Thank you, Walter.  I'm sure we'll 
speak soon over this."
	He rose, too.  "What are you doing, Dana?"  
He sounded alarmed.
	She threw him a look.  "Going home – what do 
you think?  I need to shower and dump my overnight 
bag and everything before I come over."
	Skinner rose and grabbed his briefcase.  "I'm 
coming too."
	His voice left no room for argument, and 
Scully didn't try.  Rolling her eyes, she made a 
sound of assent; and they left.

21 August 1998 (7.45pm)
Home Of Walter Skinner
Crystal City, Virginia

	Scully sat to the rear of the room, and let 
Skinner say his piece.  It was depressing.
	Mulder gave a low groan, his tone dismayed.  
He turned to his partner, Samantha Waters.  "So 
what do you think, Sam?"
	Samantha rose, paced restlessly. "I think our 
perpetrator is in his mid thirties, working in a 
government job of some description, probably some 
area of law enforcement.  He'd be mid-range 
professionally speaking – more than a hack, but 
he's never going to be head of his division, say.  
Probably started as a bit of a go-getter and then 
somewhere along the line his career stalled.  He's 
good at greasing the wheels – in other words he is 
popular in a superficial sense, but not liked.  
Single, lives alone.  Probably fixated specifically 
on a woman who we'll call woman zero, but we might 
never know who woman zero was.  She might not have 
been the first murder victim, or even any of them.  
Woman zero was probably totally ignorant of this 
guy's fixation.  He may have killed her; but it's 
my sense that she's alive, and this stalking is a 
result of him being unable for some reason to 
openly fixate on her.  She may well be too close to 
him for him to risk killing her; or perhaps he just 
can't bring himself to harm her.  Either way, he 
has used a succession of substitutes for her down 
the years since 1994, which is when the first known 
case emerges.  It's pretty clear that woman zero 
was a redhead, blue-eyed law enforcement agent.  
Seven of the dead were feds. The rest are military 
police, probably reflecting a shortage of women 
fitting the profile."
	Mulder frowned.  "Do you think we should try 
and flush him out?  You've got more experience-" he 
stopped short.  "Sorry," he added ruefully.
	Scully and Skinner exchanged looks.  They 
knew Samantha had come to Washington from the 
Violent Crimes Unit Task Force in Atlanta after 
catching her own stalker of seven years, a vicious 
demented man who had killed her husband.  It was a 
subject not usually discussed among the four of 
them.  She had spent the better part of a decade 
behind steel in her own home, trying desperately to 
protect her daughter, Chloe. For that very reason, 
Sam and Mulder were not usually assigned stalking 
cases; but on this one, Skinner needed his top 
profilers – both of them.  And watching her now, 
stalking like a cat ready to pounce, he was 
starting to think he should have had her on cases 
such as these all along.
	Sam shook her head absently.  "It's fine, 
Fox.  Yes, I think we should.  If we don't flush 
him out, Dana is going to spend the rest of her 
life – however long that may be – being controlled 
by this perp.  I say we do it and we do it now.  
I've been there – trust me on this."
	Mulder nodded slowly.  "Scully?" he asked.
	Scully spoke for the first time.  "Yes.  How 
do we do it?"
	Skinner was frowning.  "Jealousy," he said 
softly.  "A pretend lover.  Cosy dinners in quiet 
restaurants.  Dances that get raunchy and then 
suddenly they go home.  Walks in the park.  
Snowfights.  Everything he wants with woman zero 
that he can never have."
	Mulder was nodding.  "Exactly."

22 August 1998 (1:14am)
Home of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	The fire was burning low.
	Scully was laying on the rug on her side, 
basking in its warmth.  Skinner sat beside her, his 
knees drawn up to his chest.  They swapped 
affectionate glances now and then.  He was idly 
stroking her new kitten, Ebony, who purred loudly.  
She found this oddly endearing.
	"So why did you volunteer, Walter?  Surely 
we've got cover agents whose time costs a lot less 
than yours," she asked with a twinkle. 
	He hesitated.  "Dana, you know what I said 
about jealousy?  About everything he wants that he 
can never have?"
	Slowly, she nodded, drawing herself up like 
	He met her gaze, concealing nothing.  "Well, 
there but for the grace of God go I."  She nodded 
slowly with a sweet smile; touched his hand 
	"Do we need to talk about it?" she asked 
	He gave a rueful smile and shook his head.  
"There isn't a lot to say, Dana.  Nothing we 
haven't already said."
	"I know."  She was nodding with a touch of 
sadness.  She moved forward and poured a little 
sand on the fire, smothering the flames.  It went 
out at once.  She took his hand in the dim light.  
"You coming to bed?"
	Skinner looked at her.  "I thought-" he broke 
off, looking at the couch.
	Scully was smiling slightly.  "There's no 
earthly reason you should have to suffer sleeping 
on that thing.  We're married in the sight of God, 
if not man.  Sharing a bed isn't going to hurt us 
or anyone else. Why be coy?"
	He considered this a moment, then rose.  
"Because if I touch you, I can't promise I'll ever 
let go, Dana."  He met her gaze.
	That smile was still there.  "I'll take my 
chances," she said softly.  "Come to bed."
	So he did.

14 October 1998 (1:17am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Scully shrugged.  "There's not a lot you 
don't know about that, Mulder.  I was being 
stalked, and we didn't trust anyone else on the 
case.  We called in you and Samantha."
	Skinner explained, "I didn't suspect you, 
Mulder, until Samantha told us her profile.  But it 
reminded me a lot of you, and the more I thought 
about it, the more it made sense.  I was never 
certain, but I wondered enough to want to keep a 
close eye on things.  That was why I moved in here 
– why I took the cover operation to the extremes I 
did.  I knew Dana would never suspect you, would 
never be on her guard with you."
	Scully laughed softly.  "To think I thought 
you couldn't resist my body," she said wryly.  He 
shot her a look, unreadable to the others.
	Mulder looked piercingly at Samantha.  "Did 
you suspect me, too, Sam?"
	She shook her head.  "No.  I knew the AD did 
– I could sense it.  And I understood why – I would 
have suspected you myself if I'd been outside the 
situation.  But I never did.  It wasn't so much 
faith in you as pure instinct."
	Scully bowed her head.  "Samantha," she said, 
apropos of nothing at all, "do you remember the 
talk we had this morning?"
	Samantha nodded, her smile sweet.  "Yes, 
Dana, I do."
	Scully was smiling.  "Well, I took your 
advice."  Samantha looked at her expectantly.
	"We're getting married."


13 October 1998 (10:13am)
Office Of The Special Aide To The Assistant 
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
Washington, D.C.

	"Dana?  How are you holding up?"
	Scully shrugged. "I'm fine," she said 
distantly, and heard Samantha say it in unison.  At 
her look, she suddenly laughed, a weak, rueful 
laugh, but a laugh just the same.
	Sam's voice was gentle.  "I'm glad you can 
still do that, Dana."
	Scully looked a little startled.  "Me too."  
She relented, motioned for the younger woman to 
sit.  "I don't know, Sam.  Sometimes I think I'm 
doing well.  Other times I feel like I'm losing my 
mind.  It's been seven weeks now.  Lots of 
chrysanthemums on the doorstep, but no dice.  It's 
so easy to get lulled into a false sense of 
security; but then I think of the eleven women he 
killed...the pictures...and then I get afraid all 
over again."  Her voice was level, but that didn't 
necessarily indicate, Samantha knew.  The continual 
stress of being this asshole's target had to be 
taking its toll.
	"I suppose the AD has been a big help?" she 
asked finally.  She was pretty sure of the lay of 
the land on that score, at least.
	Scully nodded. "Yes, he has.  As you know, 
he's staying with me, playing loverboy-come-backup.  
It's been..." she stopped suddenly. "It's been 
nice, but-"
	Samantha supplied softly, "But it's all 
	Scully suddenly looked very tired.  She gave 
a slight nod.  "He's living with me, and we eat 
together, and we go out together and we jog 
together and all that.  We're doing all the things 
that lovers do – well, you know, except //that// - 
and it's like a slap in the face.  Everything I've 
ever wanted – partnership, family - is right there, 
and //I can't have it//."
	"You could do something about it," Sam 
suggested with a sweetly mischievous smile.  "I've 
seen him look at you.  He wouldn't say no."
	"I know that. The problem isn't Walter, 
Samantha, or even love generally.  There's so much 
more to it than that.  So much that I've lost."
	She hung her head wretchedly in her hands 
then, and Samantha didn't press her.  She touched 
her shoulder, and then she left.

13 October 1998 (10:31pm)
Georgie Girl Bistro
Georgetown, Washington D.C.

	The dark engulfed them.
	A sea of bodies, scents of sweat and sex 
permeating.  The two were on the edge of the 
dancing throng, moving as one in the shadows.  They 
exuded sex and need and desire and lust, reflecting 
the atmosphere; but more than anything, they filled 
the air around them with barely restrained power so 
strong that it was almost tangible.
	The woman flung back her head and gave a low 
moan, exposing her exquisite white neck.  She 
swayed delicately in the dark, her movements 
drunken yet smooth.  The man before her slid large 
palms sweetly over her buttocks, and down her legs.  
The thin fabric between palm and flesh moved 
firmly, confidently; but his hands, should anyone 
notice, were trembling.  His movements were those 
of a man who knew the woman before him in every 
way; but his touch was that of a man who had only 
begun his journey.
	The woman slid her hands up and around his 
neck, inviting him to kiss her.  He bent to caress 
her throat, his hands coming up and threading 
themselves through copper-coloured hair.  Thrusting 
her face upwards, he descended on her, his mouth 
closing fiercely over hers.  He felt her moan into 
him, felt her rock against him with agonised 
desire, sensed the dark scent of her need.
	"Oh – oh, God –" she gasped desperately 
against his mouth.  
	He could feel the swell of her breasts thrust 
against him; could feel her press against his 
hardness. He wanted her, had always wanted her; but 
it was her voice - silk and music and thick with 
need - her voice was what drove him.  He moaned 
raggedly.  "I need you," he rasped.  "It's been so 
long-" he broke off, his mouth meeting hers once 
	"Oh – this – why did we –" she blurted 
pointlessly as he blazed a trail of fire down her 
throat.  "We were stupid.  Stupid to – oh!"
	"Stupid to let go," he supplied breathlessly.  
	Longingly, she took his face between her 
slender palms, those who could hear her forgotten, 
unspoken agreement ignored.  She regarded him with 
sudden, agonising need.  "Walter- oh, God, Walter, 
love me."
	He felt wretchedly weak against her, barely 
able to stand, it seemed. Wildly, he gasped, "I do 
love you.  I never stopped-"
	Sapphire blue eyes blazed at him, wide with 
disbelief.  Copper hair set aflame.  Her body 
pressed him, just as before; but suddenly her lips 
were tender.  "Nor I," she breathed, shocked, 
	She came to rest against him, all lust 
overshadowed, leaving only love in its wake.  
Desire flowed between them, but it was a tender, 
giving desire, a longing for completeness in one 
another.  And in the dark and the sex, it was the 
two who stood, suddenly chaste, fingers entwined 
adoringly, who with their own illusion betrayed the 
illusion of love around them for the cheap copy 
that it was.

13 October 1998 (10.36pm)
Georgie Girl Bistro
Georgetown, Washington D.C.

	In the deejay's cubicle, Mulder was ecstatic.
	"It's primal," he said reflectively from his 
vantage point behind one-way glass.  "Erotic.  
Passionate.  I never thought they'd do it so well."
	The woman at his side snorted.  "Erotic it 
may well be, but that's not why it's working.  It's 
far deeper than that.  And that's what will lure 
this perp out."  Samantha motioned to the two.
	"What do you mean, it's deeper, Sam?" Mulder 
	Samantha gave a small knowing smile, but 
settled for a shrug.  Mulder was a good criminal 
profiler, but when it came to people they knew, Sam 
left him for dead.  Mulder had never had a true 
partner, someone who journeyed life at his side in 
every possible way – not even the woman they 
watched, who was the closest to such a thing he had 
ever had.  Sam had, and she knew it when she saw 
it.  "Look at that.  That has nothing to do with 
sex, Mulder."
	Mulder was puzzled.  "You mean the love 
stuff?  Stalkers aren't turned on by that sort of 
	Samantha cut him off.  "Exactly.  Sex will 
keep this guy stringing along, but we might never 
flush him out.  He could watch this sort of display 
over and over again and just jerk off and come back 
another day.  But love – the idea that she might 
really love someone other than him – man, this guy 
is going to be walking around in a white-hot rage 
right now."
	Mulder shrugged.  "Yeah, you've got a point 
there.  Good work for Scully and the AD to come up 
with it on the spot."
	"Mulder-" Sam opened her mouth to comment, 
then changed her mind, shaking her head with a 
secretive little grin.
	They were interrupted by a sudden crackle.  
It was Skinner.  Mulder looked over onto the dance 
floor and saw that he and Scully had straightened 
themselves slightly.  Scully was smoothing a hand 
over her hair.  They stood together, holding hands 
awkwardly.  Skinner was leaning in to her as though 
speaking tenderly to her, but he was addressing the 
team.  "Look," he said irritably, "short of Agent 
Scully and myself having sex on the dance floor, 
there's not a hell of a lot more we can do to flush 
this guy out.  The more we stall, the more 
suspicious it looks.  There have been no flowers 
all week anyway - I'm convinced he must be out of 
town or sick or something.  I am calling this 
operation off until we get another definite contact 
to prove he's around."
	"So how do you plan to end it?" Mulder said 
doubtfully.  "You and Scully are going to be seen 
going your separate ways after //that//?  If he 
//is// here, he's never going to buy it.  We could 
blow this for good."
	Scully retorted, "Of course not.  We'll climb 
over each other for a few moments more, exchange a 
little smile, and rush out, presumably to go home 
and screw each other senseless."  Skinner choked at 
that.  "But, seriously, he isn't here.  Your own 
profile says that after that this guy should be 
jumping tall buildings with outrage.  Let's just 
all go home and call it a night, okay?"
	"You want us to cover you?" Samantha asked 
evenly.  They were probably right, but she had a 
feeling their desire to get home didn't have a 
whole lot to do with cover strategy.  She 
sympathised, but her sense of caution prevailed. 
Scully started to answer in the negative, but Sam 
pre-empted, "I know you're both trained and capable 
and everything else, but this guy has killed eleven 
women.  I don't think your professional pride is 
worth the risk.  He probably isn't around, but 
Mulder and I both suspect that if the perp //is// 
around he will be slowly going out of his mind even 
as we speak.  The risk is too great."
	Skinner frowned noticeably; then concurred, 
"Yes, you're probably right.  Okay, we'll play it 
as if it's for real.  Tag along on backup.  Just 
you two.  Colton and Caleca can head on home."
	Another crackle joined the conversation.  It 
was Tom Colton.  "Will do, Sir.  Glad of the night 
off, to tell the truth.  Linda and I will head off 
now."  He gave a muted goodbye and audibly 
	"Let's do it," Sam rejoined.
	So they did.

13 October 1998 (11.47pm)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	Walter took his steaming cup from her with a 
small nod of thanks.  Scully acknowledged with a 
nod of her own and sat down at his side without 
comment.  They stayed that way, both hunched 
forward, elbows on their respective knees.
	At last, she spoke.  "What happened back 
there, Walter?"
	Skinner was silent for a long, long moment.  
"I think we touched infinity," he said in an 
expressionless voice.
	The wooden sound of it made her frown.  "More 
poetic turn of phrase than I'd have expected from 
you, Walter."
	He turned to her, his temper suddenly 
flaring.  "Didn't you feel it?" he demanded in a 
low voice.
	She shook her head slightly, not in denial, 
but in mild irritation.  "Of course I did."
	He relented, saying quietly, "I need you, 
Dana.  Always.  I've never forgotten-"
	She cut him off painfully.  "We made love 
once, Walter.  One single time."
	He set down his cup with a clatter.  "We made 
love once because we decided to wait for my 
annulment," he insisted.  "You don't really think 
it was a one night stand."
	She bowed her head.  "Of course not."  She 
looked away in sudden pain.  "Walter, you will 
always be with me.  You're Emily's father.  But-"
	"This is not about Emily.  It was never about 
	"Then what is it about, Walter?" she flared.  
"Us being torn apart as soon as we were joined?  
Our children being stolen from my body?  What room 
is there for us in all that?"  She rose and strode 
across the room, half-sitting on the window sill, 
to stare out unseeingly.
	He rose too, and met her there.  "Dana, they 
took you, and I never thought I'd see you again.  
They took our children.  They took the X Files.  
Don't let them take what we have."
	"Walter, every time I look at you I make love 
to you in my heart.  But I also see the life that 
should have been – the life that was taken from us.  
I just don't know if I can reconcile that with what 
	"So you'd rather we had nothing at all?"
	Scully got to her feet.  "Walter, it's not 
that I'd rather we had nothing.  It's that I have 
nothing to give."
	He went to her then, and pulled her close to 
him by the arms.  "Dana, I don't want you to give.  
You spend your whole life giving.  I want you to be 
who you are, pain and all.  That's enough.  It's 
all I've ever wanted of you."
	"So what if we do this?  What do we do, 
Walter?  Get married, settle down, and raise 
Pomeranians?  I don't think so."
	He shook his head; said cryptically, "We find 

14 October 1998 (1:49am)
Home Of Dana Scully
Annapolis, Maryland

	She lay in his arms.
	She could feel the soft cotton of his shirt 
against her neck, the warmth of his hands through 
her skirt.  She felt safe.
	 "Thank God that's over," he observed 
quietly, watching through the picture window as 
Mulder and Samantha parted company.
	She nodded, but said nothing.
	"I know you're angry with me, Dana," he said 
softly after a time.  "But I thought it was best 
they didn't know."
	She gave a low sigh.  "I'm not angry, Walter.  
But I wish it could be different.  I'm sick of 
carrying this alone."  She frowned.  "Two people 
left us a little while ago thinking we told them 
the truth, when all they got was another lie.  I 
hate it."
	He cradled her, not unkindly.  "You wouldn't 
be my Soldier if you didn't."
	She turned to face him.  "Do you really think 
we'll ever find our way out of this?"
	"I have to believe that we can."