- 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.

Someone I Trusted IX:  Susannah *NC17*
Deslea R. Judd
drjudd@primus.com.au drjudd@catholic.org
Copyright 1998


This work is based on The X Files, a creation of Chris Carter
owned by him, Twentieth Century Fox, and Ten-Thirteen
Productions. Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner, Pendrell,
Kimberley and Sharon Skinner remain the intellectual property
of those parties and are used without their consent and without
commercial gain.   Susannah Skinner is my creation and may
not be used elsewhere without my consent.    Some parts
of this work are verbatim extracts from the show and are
also owned by the parties mentioned.

Spoilers: One Breath, Blessing Way, Paper Clip, Nisei, Piper
Maru, Apocrypha, Avatar, Tunguska, Terma, Leonard Betts,
Never Again, Memento Mori.

Category:  Story,  Romance (Skinner/Scully).

Rating:  NC17 for sex.

Summary:  Sequel to Someone I Trusted I-VIII, in which
Susannah Skinner comforts her father and Scully.

Fan mail is always appreciated!!!  My e-mail is
drjudd@primus.com.au and drjudd@catholic.org.  Archivists, feel
free to add this to your collections; but be sure to let me know.
This and my other stories may be found at
http://home.primus.com.au/drjudd (shameless plug).

Someone I Trusted (The Blessing Way), in which Scully pulls a
gun on Skinner...and surprises him
Someone I Trusted II: The SSR File, in which Scully and
Skinner discuss their coupling and try again
Someone I Trusted III: Always, in which Scully and Skinner
resume their affair and discuss children
Someone I Trusted IV: The Apocryphal File, in which Scully
decides to try for a baby, after all
Someone I Trusted V: Sharon's Reprise, in which Skinner is
torn between his past and his future
Someone I Trusted VI: Interlude, in which Skinner and
Scully holiday with his daughter.  Mulder finds out about
their affair.
Someone I Trusted VII: Terma's Shadow, in which Scully
answers Skinner's jealousy with a commitment.
Someone I Trusted VIII:  Memento Mori, in which
Scully and Skinner discover she can't bear children.

Someone I Trusted IX:  Susannah *NC17*
Deslea R. Judd
drjudd@primus.com.au drjudd@catholic.org
Copyright 1998

        Scully and Skinner were eating in silence when the cell
phone rang.
        Each dived for their respective phones, laying on the
table side by side.  The culprit was his.  "Skinner," he said
abruptly as Scully closed the flip on hers and put it down again.
A beautiful hybrid Euro-American voice came down the line,
and he smiled involuntarily.  Aircraft noise was audible in the
        "Daddy?  I'm at the airfield in Bethesda.  My plane had
mechanical problems in Geneva, so I took a charter flight.  Are
you home?"  Susannah Skinner stared down at the unfamiliar
American currency in her hand.  It was so ugly, so plain next to
her unconverted Swiss francs.
        "Susannah," he said, partly to his daughter and partly to
answer Scully's querying look.  "I'm at Scully's.  Do you want
me to get you?" he asked, already glancing around, looking for
his keys.
        Susannah said firmly, "No, Dad.  I have the address.  I'll
buy some breakfast and get a cab.  I'll be there within the hour."
Wind assaulted her, and she cursed these barely-sheltered
American telephone booths.  //Home, sweet home,// she
thought wryly.
        "Are you sure, honey?" Skinner asked.
        She nodded automatically, then remembered he couldn't
see her.  "Yes, Daddy.  I don't want to hang around here any
longer than I have to.  Give me a nice air-conditioned
commercial airport anytime."
        Skiner made a sound of assent, and rang off.  He looked
silently at Scully.  Finally, she spoke.
        "Susannah's coming home."
        Skinner nodded slowly.
        It was now the better part of a week since Scully had been
diagnosed with cancer, twenty fours hours since that bastard
Scanlon had pumped her full of immunosupressant drugs
which she had been told were chemotherapy, and just twelve
hours since Mulder had reluctantly informed them she could
not have children.  As weeks went, it had been a bitch.  And
now, they sat, calmly eating breakfast, silently grieving in their
own separate ways.  The gulf between them was enormous.
She would look at him vaguely, but she didn't really see him,
her eyes in some distant place with the children who would
never be.
        "Do you want to tell her, or me?" she asked cautiously.
        "I'll tell her," he said dully.  "You need to sleep, anyway."
        Scully shrugged indifferently, but said, "Okay."  She rose,
dumped her bowl in the kitchen sink without rinsing it (this
made Skinner's eyes widen slightly, but he didn't comment),
and shuffled back out to the living room.  Touching his
shoulder, she said wearily, "I love you, Walter."  There was no
meaning in her voice, but he knew she meant it.  She was just
        Much like him.
        "I love you, too, Dana," he said weakly, taking her hand.
        Her mouth settled into a terrible grimace.  "Are we going
to be okay?" she asked desperately.
        Miserably, he started to speak, then stopped.  At last, he
said gently,  "We'll find a way.  Because we have to."  Looking
up at her, he stroked her cheek with his fingers.  "Go get some
sleep, Dana."
        Nodding slowly, she complied.

        He stared out the window.
        He wanted to see Susannah coming so he could open the
door ahead of her, lest her knock wake Scully.  Mind you, he'd
spent a lot of the last week staring sightlessly out the window
anyway.  And quite a bit more of it crying, or drunk, or both.
Somehow he'd managed to conduct himself normally at work
in between.  Today, thankfully, was Saturday, and he would
decide whether or not to go in on Monday when the time came.
Kimberley knew they were engaged, and she knew of Scully's
cancer.  She would cover for him as far as possible - indeed, it
was Kimberley's efforts which had kept his credibility intact
over the last week.  He'd have to find a way to reward her for
        His thoughts turned to his daughter.  Sharon had
banished the girl to boarding school in Europe eleven years
before in order to pursue her career in Congress.  Sharon's
death had not left Susannah, now eighteen, with any great
grief, although the residual anger and resulting guilt tortured
her, he knew.  But there was a great void for Susannah which
she had hoped Dana would fill.  For her part, Dana loved the
girl, and Skinner feared that the possibility of Dana's death
would devastate his daughter, bringing out the long-buried
grief of the loss of a mother she never really had.
        There was a sound outside the door, and he flew to open
it.  He'd been so lost in thought he hadn't even noticed her
arrival.  "Susie," he exclaimed, pulling her close.  "Thank God
you came."
        Susannah, surprised and a little alarmed by her father's
urgent embrace, clung to him tightly.  "You needed me, Daddy.
Of course I came."  And then, to her amazement - for Susannah
had never seen her father weep - he buried his face in her hair,
his body racked with silent, dry sobs.  She stood there, rocking
him, stroking his back soothingly, making nonsense sounds.
"Shh, Dad, I'm here."
        Finally, Skinner pulled away, his eyes red but dry.  He led
her into Scully's apartment.  "I'm sorry, honey.  You didn't
need that."
        Dumping her luggage on the floor, Susannah dismissed
that.  "Don't be silly," she said crisply.  Then, more gently,
"Daddy, what's happened?"
        Skinner motioned to the lounge.  "Sit down, honey."
        Susannah did as she was bidden and her father sat down
at her side.  "It's Dana," she said quietly, for he had already told
her that much.  "Is she sick?  Was there an accident?"
        He hung his head in his hands, his breathing shallow
and husky.  There was no easy way to tell her, but she was a
Skinner, and she would want to face it head-on.  Holding her
gaze, he said gently, "She has cancer, honey.  It's in her nasal
cavity."  A soundless sigh escaped his lips.
        Susannah was still for a long moment, and he saw the
waves of realisation pass over her - first, that she could die;
second, that the cancer was near her brain;  and third; that she
could die.  He knew the sequence so well because it was the
revolving door through which his own mind had passed, over
and over, since Scully had told him.  "Oh, dear God.  Daddy,
she's only thirty two."  Pale now, she demanded, "Is she going
to die?"  Her eyes were bright with unshed tears.
        Skinner flinched at the question.  Rubbing his temples,
he admitted slowly, "We don't know, Susannah.  If we can't
bring about a remission, she probably won't live out the year."
His voice lowered.  "When she wakes up, you can see her; but
you have to be ready.  She looks awful."
        Susannah thought on this.  "How long have you
        "A few days," he said haggardly, and she instantly
understood those days had been like years.  His little hair had
been dark when last she saw him; now it was gray.
        Instantly on the alert, she said, "Then something else has
happened.  She wouldn't deteriorate that badly that quickly."
        Skinner gave a grudging grin.  "I'm reconsidering my
opinion of your joining the Bureau, Susie.  I still don't want
you to, but you'd make a fine agent."
        "That's nice, but you're avoiding the question," she
countered with gentle firmness.  "I want to know everything.  I
want to know what you're hiding from me - what you think
you're protecting me from.  It's got something to do with your
work, doesn't it?"
        He was silent for a long moment, but then he nodded.
"Susannah, several years ago, Scully was abducted.  She was
missing for three months.  We don't know all the details, but
we do know a government agency was involved.  There were
medical experiments, and she nearly died.  There were a
number of other women taken, as well.  Scully is the only one
left.  The others all died of identical cancers."  He paused as she
digested this information.  "There was a doctor, and I use the
term loosely, who apparently was attempting to cover up the
situation.  He treated several of the women and we have reason
to believe that he hastened their deaths considerably.  Scully
was treated by him, and he gave her substantial amounts of a
drug which suppresses immunity.  It's normally used in organ
transplants to prevent rejection.  That's why she's so ill."
        Susannah passed a hand over her forehead.  "Dear God."
She looked up suddenly.  "Is this the sort of thing you and she
investigate?" she demanded.
        Wordlessly, he nodded.
        She frowned, said slowly, "I'm starting to see why you
want to protect me from all this."  Her gaze was piercing.  "Is
there anything else?"
        Her father's face contorted with sudden pain.  "She's
infertile because of what they did to her.  We can't have
        She made a low sound.  "I've wondered why she wasn't
pregnant by now.  You've been trying for eighteen months.
Poor Daddy," she said gently, and suddenly embraced him.  He
clung to her desperately, and for a long moment she felt as
though she were the parent, and he, the child.
        He buried his face in her coffee-coloured hair, this
woman so like the woman he'd loved so long ago, the woman
who had comforted him just like this upon his return from
Vietnam.  "I just don't know what I'll do if she dies, Susie.  My
father used to say about my mother, 'My wife is my princess'.  I
never understood that before, but now -" he stopped.
        She patted his back maternally.  "She won't die, Daddy.  I
believe that.  Dana was sent to us to heal us, after Mom.  I don't
believe she will be taken away from us now."  She pulled away
and met his gaze.  "You keep the faith, you hear?"
        He nodded like a small child.  "I'll try, honey."
        "Can I see her?"  Skinner started to protest.  "I won't
wake her," she added hastily.
        He hesitated, then nodded.  "Okay.  Susannah?"  She
raised an eyebrow in query.  "How long are you home?"
        She smiled gently.  "I'm having my things shipped from
school, Daddy.  I'm home for good."
        A watery smile spread over his features.  It relieved her,
that he could still smile.  "Really?" he said in surprise.
        Susannah shrugged.  "You've never needed me before,
        At that, he scoffed,  "I //always// need you, honey."
        She smiled, and they left it at that.

        Susannah sat silently at Scully's side.
        She wondered idly whether she would ever have sat this
way at her mother's side, had she been given the chance.
Probably not.  When she was eleven, she had become
desperately ill with pneumonia in both lungs.  Her father had
come to Zurich within a day of her admission to hospital.
Sharon had not.  Sharon had never given her reason to care as
she cared for Dana.
        But Dana...Dana was different.
        Susannah had first had contact with Dana after her father
had been shot.  She had phoned her for information about her
father's condition, unaware at the time that this woman was
his lover.  Her parents had still been married, albeit separated,
at the time.  Dana had been very gentle with her, nurturing in a
way that Sharon's terse, "Your father's been shot.  He's going to
live," could not hold a candle to.  Perhaps nurturing fostered
nurturing, because before Dana, Susannah could not have
imagined cradling her father as he wept, or sitting in silent vigil
at anyone's side.
        Susannah idolised Dana.  She had come across her at a
very lonely time in her life, and Dana's gentle warmth had
awakened a ravenous hunger for nurturing, long suppressed by
her own mother's remoteness.  Between then and when first
they met in person, Susannah had unwillingly built up an
image in her mind of a strong, sensitive woman of great
substance and principle, a woman who would be committed
not only to her father, but to she. In truth, she had built up an
image of a mother.  And while Dana had not slipped neatly
into a mother's role, somehow she had not disappointed,
either.  Dana telephoned her, wrote to her, showed interest in
her schooling and her troubled love life and her hobbies.  She
took her lesbianism with calm acceptance and she cautiously
encouraged her interest in criminology.  Dana would never be a
mother to her, not in the way she had always so desperately
needed - that damage was irrepairable.  And yet in another way,
she was a mother to her, already.
        The idea that Dana might die filled her with horror.  She
supposed she should be able to accept it; after all, her own
mother had already died, murdered by people she was slowly
realising were also responsible for Dana's condition.  But
Sharon had been as remote as Dana was intimate.  And then
there was her father.  So far as she was aware, her father had
never wept for Sharon, at least not so uncontrollably as to do so
in front of another.  His massive grief for what had been done
to Dana spoke volumes for his love for her, and the
devastation that would rack him if she died.  Susannah was
deathly afraid that if Dana died, her father would withdraw into
his own little world of grief and despair, leaving her alone.
        Then there was Dana's infertility.  Susannah had not
been so unconcerned as she had once pretended over her
father's desire for another child.  Intuitively, she understood
that part of his desire was a desire to have the chance to raise a
child, as her mother had not allowed him to raise her, and that
was a frightening, threatening thing for her.  However, she had
slowly reconciled the idea in her mind, coming to see that a
child might heal all of them, bringing the three of them
together, binding them as a family.  In a way that neither
Skinner nor Scully would ever comprehend or even perceive,
Susannah grieved as they did for the child that never was.
        Now, Susannah watched Dana through silent tears.
With eyes sunk deep in their sockets, Dana's lips were cracked
and dry, her small frame deathly thin.  Her skin was pulled
tight over her cheekbones, their hollows alarmingly dark.  Her
arms were too thin, the fit, athletic muscles Susannah
remembered showing signs of wasting.
        There was a small sound behind her.  Susannah turned.
"Shh, Dad," she whispered.
        Skinner touched her shoulder.  "You okay, honey?" he
asked softly.
        Susannah gave a twisted little smile.  "So-so," she
shrugged.  "What's that?" she asked, pointing to the
hypodermic needle in his hand.
        "She needs immunogloblin injections.  She normally
does them herself, but I don't want to wake her if I can help it."
        "You know how to do that stuff?" she asked,
        "Your grandfather was diabetic," he revealed.  "I nursed
him towards the end.  I also did some work in the medical
corps during my tour of duty in Nam."
        "There's so much about you I don't know," Susannah
said in wonder.
        Skinner shrugged.  "Susie, there are things about me no-
one knows.  It's not that I wanted to keep them secret.  It's just
that before Scully I didn't think anyone really cared.  I loved
your mother, truly.  But I wasn't important to her - not really,
not in the mutinae of life.  I believe she loved me, but the
things which were important to me were peripheral to her.
Scully's different.  She cares about the things that make up who
I am.  I caught her reading up on the Vietnam war once.  She
just sort of shrugged and said she was interested.  Your mother
would never have done that."
        Susannah shook her head.  "No, she wouldn't."  She met
his gaze.  "And you would never have talked to me like this
before Dana.  She's changed you, Daddy - for the better."
        He smiled faintly.  "Perhaps that's true.  I'm only forty
two, Susannah; not old at all, though perhaps it seems so to
you.  But I'm very old to be learning what love is."  He took
Scully's hand and gently clenched and unclenched it, watching
inside her elbow for a vein.  "Your mother was a good person,
Susie - misplaced in her priorities, but she did some very good
things in Congress, and she never succumbed to the corruption
of politics."  Easing the needle into her arm, he pushed the
plunger home, keeping it steady lest he wake her.  Scully sighed
in her sleep, nothing more.  Susannah looked on in awe, not
only at his gentleness with her, but that she allowed him to do
it, not waking intuitively as she doubtless would have with
anyone else.  "But as much as I loved her, I never knew what it
was to feel part of someone else, and have them be a part of
you.  She and I were so good at keeping our lives separate.  And
I never knew what it was to truly make love."  At his
daughter's uncomfortable look, he grinned.  "Sorry.  You're so
busy trying to be an adult that sometimes I forget you're still
very young."
        Susannah shrugged.  "I'll cope."  She watched her father.
        Wordlessly, he raised an eyebrow in query.
        "How are you holding up?"
        "I'm frightened out of my mind, Susie.  I'm not sure
which I fear more - seeing her die, or - after."  His voice
lowered.  "She's been so distant since she got the news,
Susannah.  God knows, I don't begrudge her it - but I can't seem
to reach her.  And I guess that's what frightens me the most."
        Susannah rose and rubbed her father's shoulders gently.
"Go and do some weights, Daddy.  Push yourself to the limit.
You'll feel better."
        He looked up at her with sudden tenderness.  "You know
me too well, Susie."  He kissed her.  "I'll be back soon."

        Scully opened her eyes.
        The room was brighter than she remembered.  She
glanced at the clock on her bedside table...it was early afternoon.
She grimaced.  She had been warned that she would probably
only have the energy to get up for meals for days to come as her
immune system recovered, but it was still a strange feeling,
rather like the uneasiness she always felt for the first few days
of vacation as her body clock protested vehemently, //Dana!
You're late for work!//
        She turned her head, and her gaze fell on Susannah.  The
eighteen year old had her head buried in a book which Scully
recognised as her Bureau investigation techniques manual,
which she had been issued with at Quantico so many years
before.  She gave an indulgent smile, regarding the girl with
        Hardnosed exterior or not, Scully had always had a
prevailing nurturing streak, one which did not discriminate.
Victims, criminals, adversaries - she saw the human in them
all.  And when she had crossed paths with Susannah, she had
fallen in love with her the way one falls in love with a frail,
battered animal.
Wistfully, she wished she had met the girl as a child, rather
than on the brink of womanhood.  Then, maybe, she could
have repaired some of the damage Sharon had done to her.
        Susannah glanced up from the manual and caught her
gaze.  Her face brightened.  "Dana," she said gently, putting the
book aside.  "You're awake."
        "Welcome home," Scully smiled, taking the girl's hand.
Susannah beamed.  "How long are you home for?"
        "For good.  I'm having my things shipped to Daddy's.
I've arranged for a private supervisor for my exams.  I'll miss a
few months' tuition, but I doubt it will matter.  I'm going to try
to get into criminology at Maryland next year, but if they won't
recognise my certificate, I'll take a year off, then go back to
Switzerland and do it at Lausanne."  She didn't say - didn't
have to say - that her sudden decision to attempt to get into
university in the States was because she wanted to stay for what
might be Dana's last months.
        "How's your father taking that?" Scully grinned.
        "He's delighted I'm home.  He sort of went pale when I
said I was doing criminology, but he didn't say anything."  They
laughed softly, conspiratorially, as women in a family do when
discussing their men.
        "He'll be okay.  It's not that he doesn't want you to do it,
Susannah.  He just doesn't want you to be a target."  Scully's
voice was gentle.
        "I am already," she pointed out.  "Aren't I?"
        "I suppose you are," Scully admitted reluctantly.
        "Where should I live?" Susannah asked after a moment.
        "It doesn't matter," Scully said, thinking momentarily.
"Here or your father's - we split the time evenly, so it makes no
difference which."
        Susannah shook her head, said piercingly, "No - I mean,
where would I be safest?"  Her gaze was suddenly solemn, and
Scully realised that sometime since her arrival, her
stepdaughter had been rudely dragged into adulthood.  //Fuck
of a way for it to happen, honey,// she thought regretfully.
        Scully thought on this.  "Here's fine when I'm here.
When I'm away on fieldwork you'd be better off at your
father's."  She hesitated.  "Susannah, can you use a gun?"
Susannah nodded.  "Do you have one?"
        "No.  I was going to ask Daddy to get me one."
        "If he says no, tell me.  I'll work on him.  But I think he
understands the need."  Scully's expression was very gentle.
        Susannah nodded her agreement.  "I think he does, too."
She frowned, and took her hand.  "Dana, Daddy told me about
what they did to you.  He told me you can't have children."
        Scully nodded dully.  "We agreed before you came that
he would tell you everything.  You're an adult now, and you're
part of this family.  You didn't deserve to be kept in the dark."
        Susannah gave a wry grin.  Dana and her father were a
funny pair...they even evaded the same way.  "Very noble,
Dana, but you're changing the subject."
        Scully's face contorted with sudden agony.  "What the
hell do you //want// me to say, Susannah? I can't have
//children!//  I'll never be a mother!"  There was barely
suppressed fury in that voice.
        Susannah flinched.  She said in a hurt whisper, "You're
//my// mother, Dana."  There were sudden tears in her eyes.
        Scully stared up at the girl with sudden remorse.  With
effort, she pulled herself up and pulled her close.  "Susannah,"
she said softly, cradling the teenager, "you know that's not what
I mean.  Think about it.  You long for a mother, and God knows
I try to give you that.  But for all the closeness between us,
there's something you need that I can't give you - that no-one
can give you.  That damage has already been done.  Isn't that
right?"  Still wounded, the girl nodded reluctantly.  Scully
smoothed back a coffee-coloured tendril from her face, her
touch gentle with compassion and love.  "It's like that,
Susannah.  I love you with all my heart - you know that.  But
there's a whole host of experiences I never had with you, that
I'll never have now, at all.  Telling your father we're having a
child.  Being pregnant, giving birth.  Nursing.  Watching a baby
blossom into a child and then an adult.  You can't give me that,
not because I don't love you, not because you aren't good
enough, not because you aren't my daughter in all the ways
that count, but just because that's the way it is."  She kissed the
girl's ivory forehead with great tenderness.
        Slowly, Susannah nodded.  "All right," she said softly.
She took Dana's hand, and their fingers locked tightly.
	They sat in silence for a time, but finally, the younger
woman spoke.  "You know, Dana, I believe that when man
does evil things, God sometimes turns it around.  He
creates...he transforms.  And I wonder whether this has
happened to cancel out your cancer."
        Scully looked at her quizically.  "I don't understand."
        Susannah hesitated.  "Look, Dana, this might not say
anything to you.  Maybe it will even sound a bit trite - the Lord
works in mysterious ways and all that.  But it's really just me
trying to find a way to make sense of what has happened to you.
But think about it.  If you'd gotten pregnant, it's not that likely
you'd have beaten your cancer, is it?  Your treatment would
necessarily have been very conservative, and your resources
would have gone towards sustaining the pregnancy first, and
your safety, second - right?"  Scully nodded slowly.  "But
because this has happened, you can put everything into fighting
your illness.  And if you succeed, your infertility will have
cancelled out your cancer.  And because you will then be able to
plan a child, say through IVF, with the knowledge that you will
have the chance to raise it, your infertility will be cancelled out,
too.  Do you see what I mean?"
        Slowly, Scully nodded, a dubious look on her face.  "God
didn't do this, Susannah," she said softly.
        "No," the younger girl said, "but like I said...sometimes
God takes the evil that man does and transforms it into a tool
for good...for healing."
        Scully frowned.  "I left God behind a long time ago," she
admitted regretfully.
        Susannah smiled faintly.  "You left the Church behind, I
know that; but that's not the same thing.  Did you really leave
God behind?"
        "Yes, there is a difference," Dana said quietly, "and
leaving the Church is where it started.  But I think somewhere
along the line...yes, I did leave God...at least a bit."
        "But God never left you," she smiled, kissing Dana's
forehead.  "Never."  She sat down, her sweet smile fading.  She
regarded her stepmother for a long moment.  Scully waited.
"Dana," she went on at last, "I know you've been shutting my
father out.  He doesn't blame you, truly.  But I wonder whether
you're trying to leave him behind like you left God behind
when you joined the X Files.  I wonder whether you're going
into a wilderness on your own, not because you need to be
alone, but because you don't know how to do anything else."
        Scully's brow creased.  "I can't answer that," she said at
        "Then don't.  But will you think about it?" she begged.
        Scully's voice caught in her throat.  "All right," she
        Susannah stroked her forehead.  "Get some sleep, Dana."
        Scully snuggled down into the blankets exhaustedly, but
sleep was a long time coming.

        Skinner sat on the bench, staring straight ahead.  His feet
rested on a platform, his legs bent at the knee, the padded
weight on his thighs supporting sixty eight kilograms in
barbells.  Fifty four was his normal limit for a seated calf lift.
But this morning, he had spent the better part of two hours
steadily increasing the weight, until he felt sure that his
overstrained muscles would give out.
        //How much pain can the human body hold?// he
wondered, not for the first time, as he once again flexed his
foot, raising the weight with his thighs.  The first lift was easy,
he thought, easing it down, his body shaking with the effort.
And the second.  And the third.  Then his calves began to ache,
protesting first mildly, then insistently, then excruciatingly.
Then they burned, and Skinner felt an odd sort of relief, the
vice-like clamp on his stomach and his chest easing, if only for
a moment.  It was like screaming.
        Then his claves went ice-cold, the adrenaline pumping
through his veins, making him giddy.  Still he kept going, the
relentless ache in his legs becoming muted, the adrenaline
levelling off.  And he sat there, his brain pounding with
sudden clarity.  Sometimes, he reflected, pain became so
commonplace that the body forgot that it was present - until it
gave way spectacularly with an aneurism or a stroke.
(Parenthetically he wondered if this morning's catharthic
workout would leave him in a wheelchair for a week.  Just as
parenthetically he wondered how far away from a stroke //he//
was, then decided he'd rather not know).
        Finally, he put back the supporting bar, lifting the weight
from his legs.  He sat back, perspiration dotted over his body.
His gruelling assault on his body had left him
exhausted...perhaps even cleansed.
        For now.

        He arrived back at Scully's in the early afternoon.  The
apartment was silent.  Susannah was asleep on the lounge,
apparently having given way to jetlag.  Dana was asleep in bed,
and he was thankful to see that the shadows beneath her eyes
seemed less deep.  He showered, his crippled muscles
contracting under the fluid heat, and slipped into bed next to
        He stared at her still form for a long time, his aching body
slumping deeply into the mattress.  He had an odd feeling of
being physically asleep while his mind continued to work.  And
yet there was a haze over his mind, too; for he could maintain
no linear train of thought; reduced to vague, yet insistent
impressions of awe at the incredible love and incredible pain
she aroused in him.  //Scully//, his mind intoned mournfully,
//if only it could always be like this...lying in bed together,
sleeping, floating...nothing to intrude...beyond
hurt...beyond...// coherent thought trailed off, leaving only
wistful shadows.
        Shuddering, he wept; and then he slept.
        And Scully sighed drowsily, her mind echoing with
Susannah's youthful, wise voice.
        //You're going into a wilderness on your own, not
because you need to be alone, but because you don't know how
to do anything else.//
        Was that true?
        And, more importantly, did that mean she was leaving
//him// alone?  If he had to weep in desolation as he believed
she slept, then surely she was.  Her mouth seemed suddenly
filled with some bitter taste, and she apologised silently.
//Walter, I never realised being alone made you alone, too.//
        She wept just as he had before her, and just like him, she
slept.  But her tears were not for herself.
        They were for him.

        Scully was first aware of his still warmth behind her,
cradling her; then of his slow, even breaths on the back of her
neck.  She didn't open her eyes, allowing herself to drift
seamlessly between wakefulness and slumber.  Against the back
of her eyelids she saw lazily swimming splashes of faint colour,
swirling hypnotically, dragging her in and out of a delicious
        Without conscious thought she snuggled deeper into his
body, her legs entwining with his, her buttocks cradling his
cock.  She thought dreamily that maybe this was what death
was like, and that maybe she might welcome it.  She barely
registered his drowsy whisper of her name, feeling only the
warmth of his arms sliding around her waist.  Lazily, she rolled
a little so she was almost on her stomach, and he, almost on top
of her.  Enveloped with his body heat and her own, her
delirium grew.
        He felt her body beneath him, just warmth and scent and
softness, and he cradled her, his head swirling, his body fluid
and limp, his cock hard against the silk of her pyjamas, and he
pushed her trousers down to her knees; felt her squirm to kick
them away.  He caressed the soles of her feet with his toes,
drowsily felt her close her hands over his, stroking them
tenderly, kissing his palm sweetly.  He whispered her name
into her sweet-smelling curls, his warm breath making her
draw in her air suddenly, her neck arched to meet him.  He
tugged down her shirt, baring part of her back.
        "Walter," she murmured, "oh, Walter."  She lifted her
head a little, feeling the papery warmth of his lips on her neck,
the warmth of his cheek as he drifted over her, nuzzling her
like a deeply protective kitten.  His body was comforting in its
solid warmth, giving substance to hold onto as she floated.  She
felt his hands stroke her arms through her shirt and her sides
beneath it, his kiss on her shoulders and the top of her spine,
and she felt her hips start to rotate with languid, lazily building
need.  With the miraculous ease of dreams, he was inside her,
stroking in and out slowly, as though in water, and he was
reaching in front of her, cupping her sex, grazing her slick hard
nub with the pad of his fingertip.  With slow, feathery
movements, she rocked against him, meeting him as he slid
inside her, his fullness making her whole.
        He moved with her, drowsily, as though sinking into her
warmth had made him sink back into sleep.  He stayed against
her, moving only by moving his hips, grounding into her, her
flesh engulfing him, holding him, and he felt like he would
explode.  His crippled muscles came to life, stubbornly holding
her, craving her, denying him his inevitable release, for it was
her he wanted, not to come; he would have stayed inside her
forever if her could.
        She let out a low moan.  Giddy, she said vaguely, "Walt-
oh! -love you-" she trailed off, sinking back into her delirium.
His palm was on her half-turned face, stroking her, loving her,
and his eyes were closed, more asleep than awake, just like her.
Never had she felt so cherished, so adored, so revered and
worshipped as now, as they moved rhythmically, no longer two
but one.  She felt, idly, her limbs burn, then go ice-cold, her
whole heat at her core.  Her body rocked harder with him as he
delved into her, possessed her, this relentless union a
wholehearted surrender of him to her and her to him, and
God! he made her feel everything, love, pain, fury, agony,
yearning, adoration, compassion; when she was with him she
was her true self, and how she loved and hated and loved him
for that, because inside she was laughing and weeping and her
body opened for him, receiving him, wanting him to fill her
because he was the only one who could, wanting him to heal
her because he was the only one he could, and then she was
coming with a low, primal moan, as he filled her, gave her the
love which now could only ever be for her, the love that would
never bring life; and as his thrusts grew slower and fainter, as
his head fell on the back of her neck with her name on his lips,
she shuddered still, her mind in chaos, her equilibrium shot,
and she was sure of only one thing:
        He made her whole.
        So why did she keep trying to leave him behind?

        When they rose, the gulf between them was tangible.
        Scully dressed with her back turned, wondering how they
could make love like that and be so distant moments later.
        "Scully, talk to me," he said softly.
        "I can't," she said dully.
        He persisted.  "Please?"
        "Walter, just drop it, okay?" She was getting angry now,
and he wondered how far away she was from blowing up.  He
dreaded it...and yet he knew it had to come.  If he just kept
hammering away...
        Skinner's tone sharpened.  "Scully, we have to talk!"
        She turned on him then.  "Why?" she demanded
furiously.  "So you can take care of me?"  Her tone made it
sound like a disease.  "So you can feel better?  So you can be in
        "Scully, for the love of God-"
        She snapped.
        She cut him off, her voice cruel with terrible rage,
suddenly loud and out of control.  "I feel like something has
been ripped out of me, do you understand?  The child we
wanted?  It may as well have been a baby they ripped out, not
just the ova!  Those were our //babies// and they //took//
//them// //away!//  And, God damn it, you let them!  Mulder
let them!  //I// let them!"  She was hyperventilating, gasping
out in semi-hysteria, "They took them, and we let them, and
everything I ever wanted to be - a mother, someone who
caught the bad guys, someone who did something that made a
difference - it's //all// //gone//!  It's all gone, and I don't know
why, and I don't know why they took me and why they didn't
just kill me, and-"
        She started to repeat herself hysterically, filled with self-
recrimination and guilt and fury and agony.  Alarmed, he tried
to catch her, to hold her, but she beat him off viciously, leaving
ugly red marks and blood in places.  He let her, hoping to
exhaust her rage; but it seemed to spiral further and further out
of control.  He stood there, devastated with grief and frustration
and fear, most of all fear that she would never come back to
him, that she would stay this way forever.
        He stalked up to her and pushed her against the wall,
pinning her arms beside her.
        She stared at him venomously, shaking with frustrated
fury, her eyes full of rage, and for a long moment, he thought
she would break free through mere strength of will, and hit
him again.  It was a battle of wills, waged eye to eye.
        Then, harshly, she kissed him.  Hard.
        Unbelieving, he opened beneath her lips, allowed her
plundering tongue passage, some part of him protesting he
shouldn't do this, he should make her find some other way to
need him, to accept him.  Ruthlessly, he pushed the thought
aside, frightened to the core by his belief that he had come
within shouting distance of losing her completely.  Desperately,
he pressed his body to hers, sucking breathlessly on her tongue,
lifting her against the wall to meet him face to face.  She gasped,
her whole body shaking with urgent need, holding his face
between her hands.  "Oh - oh, God -"
        His hips were pressed hard against hers.  She ground
against him with frenzied need, breathless cries leaping from
her, totally out of control.  Skinner was rock hard, and there
was sweat trickling off his brow.  "Scully," he said thickly
beneath her mouth, sliding her down the wall, landing in a
heap with her at the floor.  Her kisses brutal in their intensity,
she pulled at his shirt, and his buttons ripped off one by one,
flying unheeded.  Pulling back for just an instant, he dragged
her shirt over her head, devouring her swollen mouth again
before it even hit the floor.
        She dragged herself away, gasping for air.  "Fuck me," she
demanded brusquely.  "Now.  Hard."
        Unable to speak, he pressed his lips to hers once more,
pushing her back on the cold, hard floor, dragging off his jeans.
Scully, already naked, kissed him impatiently, her legs wide,
her hips bucking against him, searching for him.  He thrust
into her to the hilt in one smooth movement, her thick sob of
need inflaming him.  He rammed home again and again,
knowing this was how she wanted him, hot and hard and deep,
to expunge her demons, to heal, to love.  And, God! he needed
her that way too, to lay claim to her once more, to make her his
again when she had left him for the darkness within.
        She wound her legs around his waist, clamping him
against her, ramming her body against him stroke for stroke,
moaning into his mouth; then, summoning her strength,
rolled over, taking him with her.  She leaned over him, kissed
his neck hungrily, her body shuddering as she came with a
single cry.  He rolled her back, his thrusts deeper and faster,
until he filled her with a long, low moan.  She made a primal
sound as they fell against one another, and were still.
        He stared down at her, saw her suddenly in all her frailty,
and closed his eyes with sudden guilt.  //She should be resting,
not being pounded against floorboards, for God's sake!//  And
then he heard a sound.  He opened his eyes.
        She was weeping.
        And this time, at last, she was weeping for herself.
        "Scully," he whispered, but she cut him off with an
anguished cry.
        "Oh, Walter, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry I pushed you
away, I'm sorry I hit you, I'm sorry I yelled and I'm-" her voice
was rising again, and he put a finger to her lips.
        He cradled her as she gave way to great, racking sobs of
anguish, her breaths deep and laboured; and when she was
reduced to silent, endless tears, he kissed each cheek over and
over again, taking her tears into himself, as if by this act he
could expunge her grief and take it upon himself.  He kissed
her lips tenderly, kissed her closed eyelids as more and more
tears fell from them, murmured nonsense soothings into her
hair.  For nearly an hour, she sat there, weeping inconsolably in
his arms.  And he held her, consoling her anyway, not because
he could but because he could not let her go through it alone.
        Finally, her tears tapered off, and she said, trembling,
"I'm sorry I was so ugly, and that I made what we just did so
ugly."  Her face contorted with pain.  "I hate what I've become,"
she whispered.
        He shook his head.  "Dana, don't.  Don't."  He drew her
into the crook of his arm.  "I've understood."  He kissed her
forehead tenderly as she shook with yet more unshed tears.
        Slowly, she got ahold of herself.  Still shaken, she spoke
in a low voice.  "Susannah and I had a talk.  She said I was
shutting you out because I didn't know how to need you.  She
was right."
        They were still slumped in the corner, where they had
crumpled after their urgent, furious lovemaking.  Skinner
thought on this.  "I may be guilty of the same thing, Scully," he
said slowly.  "When I asked you to talk to me, the idea of telling
you what I was feeling never even entered my head.  It was all
about wanting you to talk to me."
        "You can tell me now," she said softly.
        He thought on this.  "All right," he said slowly.  His brow
furrowed.  "I feel like I'm going to die, Dana.  It's like there's
only so much blood you can lose, and still live - it's like that.  I
feel like there's only so much pain you can feel and still be
alive, and I feel so close to that limit now.  I feel it closing in on
my heart and my brain and my gut, strangling me."  His voice
wavered.  "And when I feel you slipping away from me it feels
like you've given up - like you've decided to die, instead of
fighting for yourself - for us.  I want to take care of you, Dana,
because that's what people who love each other do."
        "I'm not leaving you, Walter.  Not now, not ever."
Scully drew him close, and kissed his head, loving him as they
mourned all they had lost.

        "Ta-dah!  Fettucine Mulder, with Sauce Susannah - her
secret recipe."  Mulder was carrying a steaming bowl of pasta.
        "Also available in industrial sizes for caterers, chefs, and
explosives manufacturers," Susannah laughed.
        "No jumbo packs for terrorist organisations?" Scully
        "Coming soon to a supermarket near you," Susannah
        "Discounts for the US Govenment?" Skinner joined in.
        Mulder gave a scornful laugh.  "Only if copies of all
orders are given to the X Files division.  You don't know what
a potent weapon we're talking here."
        "So //that's// why your fish always die," Scully laughed.
"Let's eat, I'm starved."
        Mulder raised an eyebrow.  With puffy red eyes and
mouth, Scully looked God-awful; but she sounded better than
he'd seen her since her cancer had been diagnosed.  Susannah
coming home had certainly done her good.  Scully and Skinner
seemed on easier, more affectionate terms than they had in
recent weeks, too; although Skinner looked tired and bore a few
red marks on his arms and face.  Mulder wondered idly
whether Scully had had a convulsion of some kind and needed
to be restrained.
        Before dinner, Scully had expressed her intention to
return to work a week from Monday amid groans and
grumblings.  The words "typical" and "stubborn" had been
uttered by multiple parties.
        The dinner had been Susannah's idea.  She had been
woken by her father and Dana's confrontation; had heard it,
and, to her embarrassment, their lovemaking.  She was
relieved that they had taken what she considered to be a major
step in bridging the gap between them, but she also judged
correctly that they needed a tension-breaker.  So after they had
gone back to bed, she had telephoned Mulder (whom she had
never met) and suggested he come for dinner.  This idea had
been met with enthusiasm by all parties, and her father and
Dana had managed, wonder of wonders, to tear their eyes from
one another enough to hold up their end of conversation.  Just.
        The dinner was pleasant, the wine exquisite (Skinner
allowed his daughter to drink when she and Scully argued she
was of age in most parts of the world), and the company
enjoyable, although Mulder got a bit huffy when Scully
recounted the circumstances in which he had lost a number of
items of Bureau property.  After dinner, the four of them sat
before the gas fire playing Scrabble (Scully won with the word
"exsanguine" on a triple word, with fifty bonus points for using
all seven letters; Mulder claimed the word was vampiric slang
and didn't count amid groans.  Susannah herself was, she
claimed, disadvantaged by using French as her chosen language
for eleven years, but her play disproved it). Scully and Skinner
snuggled together, sharing adoring glances now and then.
Susannah thought she saw Mulder give a bittersweet smile at
one stage, and raised an eyebrow; but said nothing.
        Finally, the evening came to a close, and Mulder said an
affectionate goodbye.  Skinner and Scully retired soon after,
advising Susannah not to stay up too late.  Goodnaturedly,
Susannah advised them likewise, and was gratified by her
father's blush.  And just as they closed the door, she noted the
sparkle in her father's eyes, the sparkle that had been absent
that morning, and she smiled self-congratulatorily.
        //All in all, a good day's work.//
        Chuckling softly, Susannah went to bed.

Someone I Trusted X: Monkey Babies, in which Scully turns to
"Mulder" for solace
Someone I Trusted XI: Ground Zero, in which Skinner deals for
Scully's life - and fertility
Someone I Trusted XII: Redux, in which Scully turns on
Someone I Trusted XIII: Tergiversate, in which Scully
seeks Skinner's forgiveness
Someone I Trusted XIV: Pendrell's Legacy, in which Mulder
offers a solution

Offspring (Scully/Skinner, XF, mytharc novel, Piper Maru backstory) 
On The Outside (mini-novel, Offspring prequel, mytharc, Sam/other, Colony  
One Endless Night (Skinner/Scully, some mytharc Colony to Emily)
The Field Where My Love Died (TFWID vignette, implied MSR)     
The Field Where My Love Prevailed (TFWID vignette, implied MSR)
Someone I Trusted (Series) (Scully/Skinner, follows mytharc) 
A Soul, Unbound (Emily vignette, missing scene, Scullyangst)    
A Teletubby X File (Humour, story, XF/Teletubbies crossover) 
Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?  An XF Primer (Humour)
Borderline (unfinished mini-novel, MSR, some Sc/Sk)     
Lyrics of the Heart (unfinished mini-novel, MSR, characters die, lotsa karaoke)     
Smokin' Maggie (unfinished mini-novel, mytharc, MSR, not yet available)     
Evolutions (unfinished novel, not yet available, Offspring sequel, mytharc, Sk/Sc,  
Samantha, Redux backstory)