Title: Revelations I: I Saw A Pale Horse
Author: Linda Phillips
Rating: PG-13
Classification: S / A
Keyword: MSR
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters are the property of Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. I just like to torture 'em a little more
Completed on: 12/29/98

Archiving: Gossamer - yes. All others please let me know.

Summary: Can love survive the end of the world?

Much to his amusement, I dedicate this to my hubby, who believes in me even when I don't.


He wadded and rolled the blanket for the third time, then stuffed the lumpy mass beneath his head again. Sleep wouldn't come easy tonight, he could tell. He turned on his back and, with a sigh, laced his long fingers together across his abdomen, elbows meeting the hard floor along with the rest of his body. Some nights he dropped like a rock, exhausted to his soul, and slept the sleep of the dead. Other times, like tonight, he lay awake for hours staring at whatever ceiling he happened to be under that evening Occasionally there was no ceiling, just the vast black sky above him. When the stars were out he would watch them, endlessly fascinated by the fact that they were the same stars he had looked out on as a child. The same ones he had wished on and the same ones that had fueled a thousand fantasies of exploring strange new worlds like Captain Kirk.

His eyes remained open as he readied his reel of memories for the night. It began, as it usually did, with her face, pale and soft In his movie she was smiling that real, from-the-heart smile that he rarely saw and loved so much. Her teeth gleamed against red lips, and he could see the little crinkles in the corners of her eyes.

Five months. Five long months.

He reached into his pocket and brought out the tattered wallet, flat and empty except for the pictures and his driver's license. In the beginning he had looked at it every day, but soon realized he was going to be gone longer than he'd hoped. So he began to force himself to wait, taking it out only every other day, then every few days. Now he saved it as one would a fine wine or a piece of Swiss chocolate, delaying his gratification until he could hardly stand it. Then he would slip the clear plastic windows from his wallet as he did now, and savor the image - remembering how the curve of her neck felt beneath his fingers, how her hair would lay across the pillow like a crimson sunset, so soft.

Five months.

He questioned everyone he met whom he thought might have had a chance meeting with her, or had heard of her or been in the same area where he'd known her last to be. Three times he'd been successful in getting some information, fragmented at best, but enough to know that she was still alive. The last time had been several weeks ago when he'd met up with a woman - a medic - who had actually seen her, could put a face with the name.

"Scully?" the woman had repeated, squinting with the labor of remembering. "* Dr. * Scully? Red hair?"

Yes - yes! he had said, his heart accelerating.

The woman told him that she had met Scully in a camp outside of Tuscon. She looked well, she said - thin and tired, but well.

Thin. Tired. The common denominators among all those he knew now.

Her name came from his mouth wrapped in a quiet breath, just loud enough for his own ears. He didn't want to wake anyone who'd been lucky enough to get to sleep. He wiped a bit of dirt from the plastic cover with his thumb and brought the photo up close to his face. The shimmer of a kerosene lamp gave barely enough light to make out the outline of her face, but he didn't really need it anyway. He knew every nuance of color and every curve of it by heart. It brought a hint of a smile to his lips, which was all anyone could ask for these days. Carefully, he returned it to the safety of his wallet and shirt pocket.

Closing his eyes, he called up a favorite memory Surprisingly, it wasn't of the first time they had made love. that night had been a blur of heat and passion and liquor and desperation - the night they had learned that the time was drawing near. No, it was the following night that he so often thought of By then, they were thinking more clearly - both of them had begun to come to grips with the future and what it held. He'd been back in his apartment, alone, wondering if what had happened the night before was right or wrong or if it would even make any difference in the long run. There was a soft knock on the door, followed by a jangle of keys. Already, he was wary, and he grabbed his gun as he quickly strode through the silent darkness

It was her.

He pulled her abruptly inside and closed the door again They stood facing each other, a few feet apart, for a long hushed moment

"Mulder..." she finally said.

Her voice told him what he needed to know She reached out to him and he took her in his arms. He could feel her warm breath through his shirt, the tight coil of her muscles as she wrapped her arms around him.

"I love you," she had said, the words courageous and full of hope.

His hands framed her face and turned it up to him. He kissed her gently, and for a moment she was still. As his lips touched hers again she made a small sound, a moaning sigh into his mouth.

"I've always loved you," he had whispered back into her "Always."

When they made love that night it was slow and deliberate Their bodies draped across each other, committing to memory every curve, every sensation, defying the outside world to intrude. He remembered the sound of her breathing as he had caressed her, how she smelled that night, the feel of her fingers on his skin...

It was so long ago. A lifetime. His entire existence had changed since then, as had hers. As had most everyone's Outwardly, the two of them had spent the next several months continuing their normal routine, all the while planning, working with the others, making midnight trips to clandestine meetings And every night they stayed together, at his apartment or at hers, no longer bothering to make a secret of it. After all, They obviously knew by then what the two of them meant to each other.

How many miles apart were they now? he wondered. That was the hardest part - not knowing. Not knowing where, how - or even if. Was she worried about him? Did she know he was okay? So many things he wanted to tell her - maybe she already knew by now. He wished she'd been here the day he'd set eyes on Alex Krycek. He still didn't quite believe that one himself.

They were in New Mexico then, he recalled. He and Higgins and McLaughlin, and some others who had since moved on. Webster was still alive then, and he couldn't help but smile at the memory of her. She could always make him laugh, always had a story to tell about her crazy family. She had made those first few weeks a lot easier for everyone with her warmth and easy humor She would tease him, call him "Oxford"-"go ask Oxford, he's the brains of the outfit," she'd say with a smirk. One day, as they stopped for a break enroute to a new location, she had asked him, "So, Oxford, why aren't you married? Couldn't find anybody to keep up with your dizzying intellect?" He found himself telling her about Scully, about the X-Files, about their history together. She had touched his hand when his eyes misted over, smiled at him. "You're a lucky man, Oxford. You'll see her again, you have to believe you will."

That was the same day he had seen Krycek, if he remembered right.

They had just arrived at a new safe house, and as he was setting his gear down he thought he heard a familiar, and unwelcome, voice. He followed it to the next room and stood in the doorway, not wanting to believe what his eyes were revealing to him. The man's back was to him, but he knew who it was even before the empty sleeve was exposed.

He'd lunged at Krycek, the years of hatred launching him like a missile. The one-armed man turned just in time to see Mulder's forearm come up against his throat. Mulder slammed him against the crumbling plaster wall, his breath hissing into Krycek's face. A dozen epithets raced through his mind, but only one word would come

"You!"

The short, dark man with Krycek grabbed his gun and trained it on Mulder. Krycek held up his hand to the man, who glanced at them both warily and remained ready to defend Mulder's nemesis. Krycek's expression was cold as icy steel. He stared into Mulder's eyes with the look of a man who had nothing left to lose, and made no move to defend himself. They remained that way for a long moment, the silence roaring in Mulder's ears as those around them looked on. Finally, Krycek spoke

"I'm on your side, Mulder," he said without emotion "Might as well get use to it."

"Bullshit!" Mulder spat, his arm tightening against Krycek's throat until the other man winced and choked. "You're with Them! You always have been!"

"Very convincing, wasn't I?" he managed to whisper

"You helped them take Scully - you killed my father!"

"Yes!" Krycek's face showed the first sign of passion as he pushed back against Mulder's arm. "I've seen thousands die, Mulder - most of them didn't deserve to! But your father was not one of them."

"You lying son of a bitch!"

"Mulder, could anyone have convinced you to sit on the information your father was about to give you? What would you have done with it besides run through the halls, pointing out this one and that one, screaming for a justice that was impossible?" Krycek's voice was low, hard with conviction. "I had to do it, and I would do it again. We weren't ready - nowhere near ready - and your father knew it. But he didn't care. He knew a resistance was forming, and he knew his time was almost up. Before he went he wanted to spill his guts to you - to try and justify himself, his role in everything - even though it would've meant the end of us!"

Mulder felt his stomach heave, and his breath came in hot bursts as he tried not to listen, tried to close his mind to words that couldn't be true. He backed away slowly, eyes on Krycek's, and noticed with dissociated thought the reddened stripe across the other man's neck. Krycek watched him move away, an indefinable look on his face.

"You're lying," Mulder had whispered.

The other man said nothing, just stared at him with vacant eyes.

Krycek had remained at the house for the next several weeks. Mulder stayed silent, watching and waiting. Krycek seemed tireless, rarely sleeping, planning and working day and night. The others seemed to show a cautious respect for him, the kind due a man who had seen it all. But they didn't know the him as Mulder did

So he waited. For a mistake, a slip - anything that would show Krycek for the man he truly was

But none came.

Finally, as the silent tension between them mounted, Krycek found him sitting outside one evening. Mulder heard his approach, sensed who it was, but didn't turn to face him. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply. The scent of heat and dust and everything far from home filled his nostrils.

"You gonna kill me now, Krycek? I'm tired - I won't run Just do it and get it over with."

"I'm not here to kill you, Mulder."

Mulder turned and looked at him. "Then why *are* you here?"

"I'm here for the same reasons you are."

"I doubt that," he said with disgust, and turned away again The sky was clear and black that night with a million stars visible, masking a million more that weren't. Krycek came forward slowly and sat on the old bench next to him. Mulder's skin crawled and he wanted to run, he wanted to kill him right there with his bare hands, he wanted to let him live and take away all that he cared about. If there *was* anything.

"I don't expect to be your friend, Mulder."

"Fuck you, Krycek," Mulder snorted.

Krycek nodded slowly and looked up. "We've got a long fight ahead of us."

Mulder turned and faced him, shaking his head in disbelief. "Why the *hell* do you think I'd ever trust you?"

"I don't. You're not that stupid." Krycek sighed, the most human sound Mulder had ever heard from him. "I can't change the fact that I've been in this fight for a long time. I can't change the fact that I've had to do things I never wanted to - never would have thought possible at one point in my life. But the innocence is over, Mulder - it has been for a long time for me. I did what I had to do." Krycek looked at him, and their eyes met for the first time in weeks "I had a father once, Mulder," he said flatly. "A mother. Because of me, because of this -" he motioned toward the house, "they're dead I watched it happen." Krycek stood up and began to walk away, then hesitated a moment. He turned back, his remaining hand shoved deep in his pocket.

"I'll be gone tomorrow. Good luck, Mulder." Then he walked away, and Mulder had not seen him again.

That was over three months ago. He had no idea how many thousands of miles he had traveled since.

And now, he was here, in another house, another city, trying to keep his focus on the work ahead instead of grieving over a past he may never know again. When he was busy, working, sweaty and hot with fear the most alive thing in him, it was easy to forget. But at night...

He imagined her hands, small and strong, touching his face, stroking his hair, running streaks of fire down his arms. He should stop this, he knew. He was going too far. But he couldn't shake it - her - tonight. Not tonight.

The memory of the last time they had made love sat like a delicately tender spot in his mind - an area that you know will hurt to touch but you're drawn to do it anyway. It steals in quietly, beneath his conscious mind, until he is suddenly aware and it is too late. They didn't know it would be the last time, although they knew it would be soon. Those last few weeks, they had rarely been out of each other's sight for fear that it would all come crashing down while they were apart. Constantly reaching out to touch the other, to make contact with the only thing they knew was immutable. They had barely made it into his apartment that night - their apartment, by that time, as Scully spent little time at hers once they had found the bug - before clothes were being pulled away by frantic hands. He later wished that it would have been different, and it would have, if they had known. He would have told her he loved her at least a million times, would have held her closer, would have watched her as she peaked and cried out against him. But as it happened he'd come with a fierce recklessness, thinking only of that moment, as she whispered his name to the stars.

It was strange, how he knew when he'd heard the knock on the door. Instantly, he knew. There had been other late night visitors, other whispered messages in his dark doorway, but his blood ran cold this night as the familiar tap-tap... tap-tap-tap awoke him. He woke Scully, and together they opened the door. Skinner stood there in the hallway, his face taut, a grim look in his eyes.

"It's time," he had said. "I'll wait downstairs." And he turned on his heel and left.

The door was barely closed when Scully leaned into him, her arms wrapping like a vise around his neck.

"Mulder..." she said before her voice broke. Her body trembled in his embrace, and he held her tightly to him to stop his own tremors. They stayed that way for what seemed a long time, wanting this one moment to hold back the future.

"I'm scared," she finally whispered.

"So am I."

With that he loosened his hold, and hers, and they looked at each other

"I'm coming with you," she said.

"Scully..."

"No! I'm coming with you! They need me there too... I can fight... there'll be wounded, sick..." She stopped and squeezed her eyes tight. He put his hands on her arms with a grip more firm than he had intended.

"You know they need you here, Scully..."

Her eyes flew open. "*You* need me!"

He shook her. "Stop! Don't make this harder than it is!"

She dissolved into tears as his fingers left red imprints in her skin. "How could it be harder?" she moaned. He crushed her to him, buried his nose in her hair.

"Please, baby..." he begged as his own tears threatened "Please." After a moment he felt her take a deep breath and hold it, let it out slowly. She pulled back from him.

"I'm okay... I'm okay..." She pressed her palms against her closed eyelids, squared her shoulders. When she opened her eyes again, he could have cried at the determination in them. She looked at him. "Let's get dressed," was all she said.

They pulled on their clothes in silence, and grabbed the backpacks in the closet that had been packed for weeks. As he shut the door behind him, he allowed himself to look back one more time.

"Goodbye," he whispered.

Scully kept her reddened eyes lowered as they got into Skinner's car. He drove in silence out of the city, through dark countryside, until they came to an old farmhouse. Another car waited there. As they pulled up, Scully tightened her grip on Mulder's hand and finally looked up. The eyes of her former A.D watched her in the rear view mirror.

"It's been an honor to work with you, sir," she said quietly.

"Doubly so for me, Agent Scully."

Mulder got out of the car and walked around to Scully's side, where she sat staring straight ahead. In the quiet night, the door latch clicking open echoed across the yard. He reached his hand in and she took it, climbed out. Together they walked toward the house, ducking into a shadowy corner for a last moment together. She put her hands on his face, stroking, memorizing. He tried to smile, but it only made him feel more miserable

"You better come back to me, Godammit," she said, trying to sound commanding as the words came out in a whimper.

"I'll never leave you, Scully." Never

Suddenly her eyes opened wide as she remembered something. "Oh - wait..." she said, and reached behind her neck Her hands came back holding the gold cross pendant. He closed his eyes to hold back the tide as she fastened it around his neck. He opened his mouth to say her name once more, hoping she would hear the million and one things that he needed her to know. But all that would come was a broken whisper.

"Sshhh," she had said, putting a finger to his lips. "I know."

He kissed her one more time, gently. Then he had turned away and run to the car, afraid to look back.

"Mulder..." A whisper, a nudge against his leg.

"Mulder!" Louder. It was Becker.

"Huh? Uhhh... what?"

"Get up. We gotta move."

Instantly awake, he sat up. He stuffed the rolled up blanket into his pack and jumped to his feet.

"What's going on?" he asked in a hushed voice.

"Got a message," Becker said as he packed up some gear "They know we're here." Mulder looked around him as quiet activity overtook the room. He grabbed some loose supplies, stuffed them in a bag and slung it up on his back.

"Let's go, let's go!" Cooper called out. Mulder climbed into the back of the van with Higgins and Becker as Cooper jumped in front to drive, Wills in the passenger seat. McLaughlin, Compton, and Keeler were the last in, and the van tore off as Keeler shut the door behind her.

They all leaned back and tried to collect themselves as the van bumped and curved over the pocked roads.

"Shit!" Keeler said, letting out a deep breath. "God, I *hate* it when we have to do that in the middle of the night. It feels like one of those bad dreams when you realize you took off out of your house with no clothes on."

Becker let loose a wolf whistle and Keeler punched him in the arm. "You wish, asshole!" she said with a laugh

"Short stay this time," Higgins said.

"Yeah, but at least we blew up that fuckin' nest in the north sector while we were here!" Keeler said with a whoop, and high fived Becker.

"Whoo-eee!" Becker smacked her palm hard. "Fuckin' A!"

Mulder leaned forward and saw Wills unfolding a map across his lap, tiny flashlight beam illuminating their course "Where to now, boss?" he asked.

"South," was all Wills would say

Mulder nodded and leaned back. He should be use to that by now, he thought. Wills operated on a need-to-know only basis, and he could understand that very well. If any of them were taken, the less they could reveal, the better.

They bumped along in silence for a while, and he leaned back and closed his eyes. He almost didn't hear it.

Almost.

The pop of the bullet through the glass was followed by about five seconds of stunned silence as they tried to figure out what had happened. Then Cooper cried out "Jesus!". The van swerved, and as it did Wills's lifeless body leaned to the left, the bloody head coming to rest on Cooper's shoulder.

"Oh, God!"

"Shit! Where'd it come from? Where'd it come from?"

"Gimme a gun!"

Cooper pushed Wills' body off of him and put his foot to the floor. The van shook and rattled as they all readied their weapons.

Pop.

Cooper fell forward against the steering wheel. In what seemed to Mulder like a film slightly out of frame, the van veered off the road and slowly toppled onto it's side into a ditch. All around him there were voices, loud and angry and scared, a melting of sound from which he couldn't make out a discernible thing. He tumbled on top of Compton, and Higgins onto her. It was almost comical, if he wasn't about to shit his pants.

The side door, which was now above them, slid open Becker grabbed Higgins up and shoved him out the door. "Move it, move it!" he cried. Mulder pushed himself off of Compton and yanked her up to her feet. She climbed out with a cry as Higgins pulled up on her obviously dislocated shoulder. Mulder followed, then Becker, Keeler and McLaughlin. Gunshot rang out and they all ducked for cover under the bright full moon.

Mulder dove into some brush and waited. He peered out through the foliage but saw nothing. Shots rang out again, but he couldn't see where they were coming from. Where the hell were They? Suddenly, about ten yards to his right, he saw Compton pull up and run toward a cluster of trees.

Two shots, and with a slow twisting movement she turned toward him and fell without a sound.

He bit down on his lip and tried to clear his head. 'Think, Mulder, think!' He craned his neck in every direction, but there was no clue to Their hiding places - the shots seemed to have come from every direction. A minute ticked away in eternity, and then eternity came looking for them.

Gunshots from his right - no, behind him! Left - everywhere! Like a hailstorm on a tin roof they rained down - nowhere to run - stay - think, think!

And then he felt the sting, and the burn, and the warm rain fell from his chest, covering her hair with a red stain of its own The cross swam in tiny streams as he looked up, and her face covered the stars and called him home.


Mike Johnson was pissed, and he got more pissed with every step he took on this stinking, dusty road. His clothes stuck to him like glue in the heat, just like they had since he'd gotten to this hellhole three weeks ago. He wanted to *fight*, Godammit! That's why he came here! But, no - for three weeks he'd been given every stupid, sweaty grunt job in the book. Now they had him doing clean up after a fight that *he* should've been in!

"Johnson - come on, will ya?" Sanders yelled to him from fifty yards up ahead. "I don't wanna be out here all day, all right?"

"Ah, fuck you, ya little brown noser," Johnson replied under his breath. He picked up his pace a bit, a half-assed attempt to catch up with the crew up the road. He wasn't exactly looking forward to picking up body parts and hauling them back to camp The group that had come through here yesterday had gotten blown to bits by an ambush - but he smiled as he thought of what had been in store for Them after They finished fighting like a bunch of pussies, hiding in Their little treehouses and shit like the wusses they were. Yeah, They got what was coming to Them, all right, he thought, the memory of the ride past Their piled up carcasses fresh in his mind.

The group ahead had fanned out and was already searching the tall grass and scrub off the road. As Johnson approached, one of them called for a bag, and he watched as three of them loaded up a body and carried it to the truck.

Shit, he thought, shaking his head.

What he wanted was a cigarette. He had a secret stash in his pocket - five cigarettes, which cost him two days rations, but by God it was worth it! He headed out into the brush and found a tree to duck behind, pulled out a cigarette and lit up with a flourish. He took a long drag and closed his eyes. If he really tried, he could almost pretend it was Before - when he could go to any corner gas station and buy a pack of these, sit and light up wherever he wanted to. He snorted as he blew out the smoke. Now you were doing good to find a gas station, much less a pack of smokes

He inhaled again and leaned his head back against the tree "Oh, fuck," he sighed aloud. He was about to close his eyes again when something caught his attention. He squinted and leaned forward.

"Oh, fuck!"

He stubbed out his cigarette and put the half smoked butt back in his pocket. Slowly he made his way toward the body. It was a man, he saw. Dark hair, dark shirt - dark everything. Except the skin. White, white skin, with dried rivers of red.

"Well," Johnson said to himself, "at least he's in one piece." He turned to call out for a bag when he heard something. He looked back at the guy, waited. Nah, he thought. Just my imagination. He almost pissed himself when the guy moved.

"Oh, shit!" He turned and ran to the group, screaming -"I got a live one! Help me - come on!"


A bed. At least, it felt like a bed. And a pillow. But it couldn't be.

And he slept.

A light - bright, too bright! What is it?

He felt his eyelids move. They were so heavy. He tried, tried to open them. But he couldn't. All he saw were his dreams Her face. Blue eyes. Red hair. A real smile. Tears in her eyes.

"Am I dead?" he thought.

A hand on his forehead, stroking his hair.

"No, Mulder, no... you're not dead..." And his dream cried, and lay her head against his neck, and he felt the warm tears and tasted them on her lips...

...and decided maybe there was a heaven, after all.

End

   

Title: Revelations II: The Morning Star
Author: Linda Phillips
Rating: R
Classification: S / A / R
Keywords: MSR
Completed on: 1/20/99
Archiving: Gossamer - yes. All others please ask.
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement intended.

Summary: A post-invasion tale.

Note: The second in the 'Revelations' series.


The edges of the gaping wound were red and firm, and she could feel the sickly heat emanating from it just by holding her hand near. A milky green exudate oozed continually from it, necessitating several dressing changes a day. She was in the midst of doing the second, even as she wondered why she was wasting precious gauze and tape.

This man was not going to live.

His intravenous line infused fluids to keep him hydrated, along with the third class of antibiotic that they had tried. Third and final, because it was all they had. Despite all their attempts, he was failing. He slipped in and out of consciousness, the fever sending him to places far away, to people he would never see again. She had no idea who this man was, except for a name. Did he have a mother who was wondering what had happened to him? A wife? Children who cried for their daddy? Her eyes glanced up at the hand lettered note tacked to the wall above the man's bed. Big black letters declared "DNR" - Do Not Resuscitate. She had argued with Joe over the continued antibiotics - he wanted them stopped, saved for a more viable patient. But every time she looked at this man, she thought - 'this was me. They had given up on me, left me to slip away..

...only he wouldn't let me go.'

Was there someone, somewhere, who prayed for this man? Prayed hard enough, wept enough, wanted him back enough to infuse a spark of life into his weakening body? She had seen miracles before - who was she to say that he could not be another?

She wet a cloth and wiped the man's hot face, smoothed his damp hair. He moaned as she did it, opened his eyes for a brief moment. They stared past her, into a world that only he saw. She stroked his forehead, spoke to him in a soothing tone.

"Shhh. It's all right... it's all right. Go to sleep now."

He closed his eyes with a sigh.

She had lived with death for many years, unafraid, accepting. But this... this was the cruelest tragedy of war. To die far from home, without someone who loved you to hold your hand.. she would never get used to it.

Standing up, she stretched her arms above her head to ease the cramp in her back. Most of the day had been spent hunched over patients, checking dressings and wounds, listening to lungs and bellies... and suddenly she realized that her own stomach was rumbling. She checked her watch - almost two p.m. She was hungry, but the thought of what she'd probably find to eat in the kitchen did nothing to whet her appetite.

She pulled the damp T-shirt away from her sticky skin, then her hands went to the small of her back, trying to knead the ache away. She liked to think she was tough, and tried not to bitch about the lack of amenities that they had all once took for granted But air conditioning - that was something she sorely missed in this southwestern heat. Constantly hot and sticky, the stray hairs from her ponytail adhering to her neck like glue - it put the finishing touch on this hellish atmosphere. With a sigh, her attention was drawn to the filmy window, and she walked over to it. There seemed to be a lot of activity over at the camp today, but the anticipation of what that usually meant left her numb. She never thought that she would be able to practice the way that she had to now - detaching herself from the moans and cries that surrounded her, going from one torn body to the next. But it only took the aftermath of a few skirmishes to make her realize the truth of it - she would be good for nothing out here if she couldn't distance herself from the pain of those she tried to help.

In some ways, the months since she left her old life seemed to have flown by. Day after day of twelve hour shifts will do that, she mused. The only time that was slow was the traveling. This was the fourth place that she'd been since the day she had left everything behind, and each move felt like a million miles further from where she had started.

Rubbing her tight back muscles, she reflected with irony on the fact that she was probably in the best shape she'd ever been in Whenever she had some spare time she would run, do push ups, lift weights with whatever she could find handy. She told herself that it was necessary in order to be effective and ready for anything here But in her heart, she knew why she tried to fill every empty minute It kept away those thoughts that she didn't want to have - the wondering, the worrying - about things she had no control over. All she could do was keep fighting Them in the best way she knew how.

The first month after it began, she'd seen two of her colleagues commit suicide, and more since who had become despondent to the point of madness. But not her. Never. Someone once asked her if it was honor or revenge that kept her going. She didn't know. She just knew that those bastards had taken too much from her already, and she would fight Them until her last breath

The dismal reverie was interrupted by the sound of her name being called. Some technicians had been able to rig up a rudimentary intercom system, and the crackly page came again.

"Dana, Julie needs you in the OR right away."

With a last look back, she left the dying man in hopes of saving another one.

It took only a few minutes for her to reach her destination, the first of two small operating rooms on the south side of the hospital. As she scrubbed at the sink, she peered into the OR through a small window. The patient was already draped, a dirt streaked arm with an IV infusing into it the only body part visible.

Cap on, mask tied, she entered the OR and slipped the sterile gown on over her clothes, followed by sterile gloves. Quickly, she moved to the operating table.

"Whadda we got?" she asked.

Julie looked at her over the top of her mask. "Male, caught in a firefight yesterday. Gunshot wound to the left upper chest - must've just missed his heart. He's really bled out. I can't believe he's even alive."

Julie drew her scalpel along the upper edge of the wound and a thin line of fresh blood beaded up. Suddenly, Scully's heart seized in her chest. In the mind wilting heat, her body felt as if it had turned to ice.

"Wait a minute..." she said. Julie looked at her.

"What? Dana... what is it?"

Scully touched her gloved finger against the edge of the wound, which met at a right angle with an old scar. She pushed the green towel back to get a better look at the ridge of healed scar tissue.

"Let me see his face!" she said, her voice shaking. Dan was at the head of the table, holding the anesthesia mask over the patient's mouth and nose. The drape was pulled up around it to protect the sterile field below. Dan looked over at Julie with questioning eyes.

"Godammit, Dan, let me see it!"

Julie nodded in his direction. The drape was pulled back from the man's face, gray with dirt and loss of blood.

"Oh, God!" Scully whispered. "Oh God, oh God...." The air was suddenly too thick to breathe, and her chin dropped to her chest as she gasped for breath and squeezed her eyes tight.

"Dana!" Julie's voice cut through. "Look at me!"

Through cloudy eyes, she did.

"You know the guy - all right. Now he needs your help - *I* need your help, Dana! Come on, concentrate... come on..." Julie looked at the circulating nurse. "Sara, call and see if somebody can come back here - we've gotta get this guy typed for some blood."

"He's O positive," Scully said in a whisper.

"What?" Julie asked, peering at her over her mask.

Louder. "O positive."

Julie's eyes squinted skeptically. "How do you know?"

"I know."

"You're sure?"

"Yes."

Julie stared at her for a moment, eyebrows drawn together "All right, Sara," she finally said. "Try to get somebody to bring us a couple units." To Scully: "Let's get to work."

With trembling hands she held instruments, tied suture, stained white gauze with his blood. Julie spoke only in sharp commands, and Scully didn't say a word. The mask was suffocating her, and she had to remind herself again and again;

breathe,

breathe,

breathe.

A bag of blood was hung and connected to the IV, infusing him with the rich basis of life, nudging him back from the edge. The bullet was removed, the nicked artery repaired. Layers of tissue were sewn back together. Finally, a dressing was placed over the wound, and the drapes were pulled back. She saw the fragile gold chain draped across his neck, the cross hanging down against his shoulder.

That's when she cried.

The tears fell silently as they cleaned him up and took him to the closest thing they had to an ICU - one large room where the most critical patients could use the few cardiac monitors and oxygen tanks that were left. As they moved him onto a bed, Julie and Dan stole quick glances at her but asked no questions. Scully wiped her eyes with her sleeve and clipped on the monitors, secured an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth. Blood pressure 98/44. Pulse 129 Respirations 20. The cardiac monitor showed a rapid but normal rhythm.

A hand on her arm. "Do you want me to stay with him?" Julie asked gently.

Scully shook her head. "No. I'll stay."

And the two left them alone.

The bell of her stethoscope rose and fell with his breaths, and she held her own as she listened. His heartbeat was strong, his breathing regular. She sat on the edge of the bed and took his hand, examining it with unfamiliar eyes. This was not Mulder's hand - the one that had touched and caressed her, brought her to tears and to her knees. It was rougher than she remembered, callused and dry, with dirt embedded under the nails. She reached up and pushed the hair from his eyes. His hair had gotten so long! It curled just a bit around her fingers, with a few gray strands, but as soft as it always was.

"Mulder..." she whispered.

She did not really expect a response, and indeed he made none. His eyes remained closed, the dark lashes and dusky smudges beneath his eyes in stark contrast against pale skin. It was enough that he breathed.

Had it been five minutes? She needed to stay focused, attentive to the matter at hand. Another blood pressure, check pulse, IV nearly dry - hang another. He would need at least two more units of blood, she surmised. She should draw a blood sample and check his hemoglobin and hematocrit. He would need to be bathed, when he was stable. The soft 'beep - beep - beep' of the monitor filled her own thumping chest while she gathered some supplies. As she tied a tourniquet around his arm, her vision blurred again and she wiped the tears away with the back of her hand. The needle punctured the tender skin on the inside of his elbow, and two tubes slowly filled with blood.

"Go..."

Her eyes snapped up to his face, watched it twist in distress as he mumbled in a slurred, nonsensical tone.

"Mulder? Can you hear me? Mulder?"

"Rava... go now... go..." he said, then was quiet once again She withdrew the needle and held a piece of gauze to the spot to stop the bleeding.

"Mulder?"

But his face had gone slack, returned to peaceful sleep. Her fingertips traveled to his brow, over his cheek and down into the hollow of his collarbone.

His heart beat loud in her ears, the only sound she heard.

'Beep - beep - beep...'


"Mama?"

Maggie stood before her, arms outstretched.

"Oh, Mom..." she cried, and fell into the familiar embrace Safe, safe, safe. She was safe. Her tears dampened Maggie's shoulder as a soft hand stroked her hair.

"Shhh," Mama whispered. "Shhh..."

"Uhn... wha..." Her head shot up from the hard pillow of her arms as she looked around. No Maggie. Mulder. The light of a single bare bulb cast strange shadows through the room and bathed the side of Mulder's face with a hazy glow. She let her breath out as his chest rose and fell, saw the heart rhythm gracefully arcing across the monitor screen. Then she realized what had awakened her.

He turned his head, swallowed audibly. His eyes opened lazily, closed again.

"Am I dead?" he murmured.

"No, Mulder, no..." She quickly moved up and sat on the edge of the bed, her hand stroking his forehead and stubbled face "...you're not dead..." He opened his eyes again, and they widened as he caught her in his gaze. She tried to speak again, to reassure him, but no sound would come except a choked sob.

"Mulder..." she cried, and lay her face against his neck, tears falling now like hard Summer rain. His hand came up and touched her hair, gingerly at first, disbelieving, then he pulled her against him with a strength he shouldn't have.

"Scu... Scu..."

She pulled back just enough to kiss his cheek, his nose, his dry, cracked lips. "It's me," she whispered between kisses. "It's me."

She lay her arm across his chest unthinkingly, only wanting to feel him against her. He drew in a sharp breath as he grimaced in pain. Scully backed away quickly and sat up, her hands raised.

"Oh, Mulder, I'm sorry! I'm sorry..."

"Sit me up," he said in a parched voice. She went to the foot of the bed and pulled out the old hand crank, turning it until she saw his face rise above her view of his feet.

"Not too much," she cautioned, returning to her seat on the bed beside him. "You've lost a lot of blood."

He just stared at her.

"Mulder?"

He said nothing, and his eyes remained locked on hers.

"Mulder? You're scaring me... say something..."

"Come closer to me."

She wiped her damp face with the back of her hands and leaned toward him again. He tried to bring both hands up but winced at the burning pain in the left side of his chest. His right hand cupped her face while his eyes traveled over it, as if convincing himself of her realness. She covered his hand with her own as her tears threatened again.

"I was afraid I'd never see you again," he said softly.

She blinked and forced a hint of a smile. "You didn't give up on me, did you?"

He returned a weak but genuine smile of his own "Never." His hand left her for a moment as he touched the gold chain around his neck. "I kept you right here." He cleared his throat and looked at her questioningly. "Water?"

"Oh - sure-" She reached for a small cup on a nearby table and brought it to his mouth. "Here..." He sipped gratefully then leaned back with a sigh. His hand moved up again, touched the red ponytail that grazed her shoulder

"Your hair got long."

She chuckled. "So did yours."

"Couple of hippies..." he said. His hand rested on her lap as his eyes drifted closed. "So tired..."

She smoothed the hair from his face, the intimacy of it flooding back to her in a rush. "It's okay, honey," she murmured "You need to rest. I'll stay right here."

He struggled to open his eyes a little. "But I didn't tell you yet."

"Tell me what?" she asked, her thumb stroking his cheek gently.

"I love you."

"Oh..." Her eyes were wet again. "I know that, Mulder... I know... I love you too." She stroked her fingers lightly across his nearly closed eyelids, lay gentle kisses on them. "Go to sleep. I'm right here."

"I wanna hold you," he mumbled sleepily.

"Shh... go to sleep... there'll be time for that later." She watched him as he dozed off again, his breaths becoming a gentle rhythm. She couldn't take her eyes off of him, couldn't stop touching him - feather light, her fingers grazed his arm, legs, face, overwhelmed by the miracle of his life.

Carefully she crawled up and lay next to him, lifting his head and gently cradling him in her arms.

"Right here, Mulder," she whispered to him. "I'm right here."


Minutes turned to hours, hours became days. Against all odds, Mulder showed steady improvement - as if by will alone he made it so. By the fifth day after he had arrived half dead, he was ready to jump out of his skin from boredom.

Scully had been called away from him hours ago - apparently some wounded had arrived after an attack. He kept eying the IV in his arm, wondering how pissed she'd be. Finally, he thought he would chance it. Grimacing as the tape pulled hair from his skin, he quickly removed the dressing and pulled out the IV, applying pressure with his sheet to staunch the bleeding. Once he was convinced that the oozing from puncture had stopped, he got out of bed, pulling the hospital gown together behind him. He had nothing to wear - he'd come in with only the bloody clothes on his back, and apparently those had been cut away from him and disposed of. He went to the door of his room and peered out into the hallway. There was no one there, but he could hear activity down the hall to his left. Slowly he made his way toward it, checking any empty rooms for something to put on.

No luck.

As he neared the voices he thought he heard Scully - it sounded as if she were counting, and out of breath. He peeked around the corner into a large room where two men lay on gurneys, One was turning his head back and forth, moaning something unintelligible. Dried blood stained his face and arms, and his limbs were tied to the siderails. The other lay still, and Mulder wasn't sure if the man was alive or dead. Towels and gauze littered the floor like bloody wrapping paper, ripped off of the package and tossed away. He craned his neck a little further past the doorway, and found Scully. She was on a gurney, straddled across a still figure The heels of her hands went down and up, down and up on its chest as she called out in a hoarse voice, "One - two - three- four - five - breathe, one - two - three - four - five - breathe -" The man at the head of the gurney was holding a mask on the victim's face and squeezing the attached bag in time with her counts. Mulder was sickly mesmerized, and watched as the veins on Scully's arms bulged with her efforts. There was blood on the gloves she wore, streaked up her arms, in dark blotches on her clothes.

"- one - two - three - four - five - breathe, one -"

"Dana..." the man at the head of the bed said.

"- three - four - five -"

"Dana!" He was shouting this time.

She stopped, looked up at him, her chest heaving.

"Dana..." Quietly now. "Enough."

She stayed where she was, her warm thighs across the rapidly cooling body. Finally, hesitantly, the living hands left the dead chest and gripped the siderails of the gurney. Her head dropped forward to her chest, her loud breaths echoing across the room. Suddenly, the man who still held the ambu-bag looked over at him.

"Hey!" he called. "You shouldn't be here!"

Scully lifted her head and turned toward him. Her blue eyes were bright and feverish, sick with the sight of death. She held his gaze, pleading for something that he had no ability to give After a moment, her eyes closed and her head dropped forward again.

"It's all right, Dan," she murmured. "It's all right."

Mulder backed away without a word.


Three hours later, she opened the door to her room. He was there, sitting cross legged on the bed, reading a book in the dim light. He looked up silently as she walked in.

"Ahh, my runaway patient," she said, attempting a smile.

"In the flesh."

She eyed the shirt he wore that was two sizes too big, the jeans that barely came to his ankles. "I see you found the Dead Clothes Room."

He looked down at himself for a moment. "Who's the lucky dog that gets the job of stripping corpses and washing the clothes?"

She shrugged. "Whoever's around to do it."

He unfolded a towel he had sitting next to him on the bed and pulled out a sandwich and an apple. "Look at what else I found." He held the sandwich out to her, pulled back the top slice of bread. "Some kind of cheese-like substance, I think." He smiled like a little kid about to give her a fistful of dandelions. "Just for you. I bet you're starving."

Just for a moment, her face lost the harsh edge that now seemed a part of her, and he thought she was going to cry.

"Thank you, Mulder," she finally said. "Let me take a shower first. I'll be right back."

She grabbed some clean clothes and ducked into her bathroom. After a day like this, she prayed that there would be some hot water as she turned the handle in the shower stall. Waiting a moment, she stepped in. The water ran in feeble streams over her, lukewarm at best, but to her mind it was pure heaven.

He sat on the bed listening to the water run and imagined her red hair dark and wet, lying against her shoulders.

She closed her eyes and washed her arms with his hands, slowly, tenderly.

He thought of the tiny wet rivulets trailing between her breasts and down across her abdomen, her body weeping away the burden of the day past.

Her hands moved through her hair, working the soft lather through the strands as he had done so many times before.

His mind's eye followed her hands as she soaped one leg, then the other, her fingers slowing as she passed over the reddish brown curls between her thighs. Her breath caught as she imagined him there.

It had been so long... and nothing about their world was the same as when they had last been together. Could *this* be, they both wondered? After everything?

When she returned, her wet hair was brushed back from her face and she wore clean shorts and a T-shirt. He couldn't help but grin. Despite everything, she still looked like a college student.

"What are you smiling at?" One corner of her mouth began to turn up, his mirth infectious.

"You."

She sat down on the edge of the bed and reached for the sandwich. "So, does this mean you're moving in with me?" she asked teasingly.

"I don't know... you think our parents will find out?"

She chuckled wryly. "I don't think that'll be a problem."

"I don't want to be away from you again, Scully."

Her smile faded as she looked back at him. Her hand slipped over his and squeezed it. "Oh, Mulder..."

"Finish your sandwich."

She took another bite. "Yes, sir." They sat in silence as she polished off the sandwich in record time, followed by gulps of water from a jug she kept near her bed. He just watched her silently. She rolled her shoulders and tilted her head first to the right, then left He leaned forward and, with his good hand, started to massage the knotted muscles in her neck.

"Oh, God, Mulder.... oh, that feels so good." Her head tipped forward as he worked her tight shoulders.

"Just relax," he whispered. "Relax. You've had a long day."

"Oh... oh... right there.. yeah..."

After a few minutes, her sighs were replaced by soft rhythmic breaths. He stopped massaging and pulled the curtain of hair back from her face.

She was falling asleep.

He pulled the sheet back and guided her into the bed, then pulled off his pants and shirt and followed. There wasn't much room, but she didn't seem to mind. He pulled her to him with his right arm and she snuggled against him.

"I'm sorry, Mulder."

"Shhh... go to sleep... "

"G'night, Mulder," she yawned.

He lay a kiss on top of her head. "Goodnight, babe."

He clicked off the light, and settled back into the pillow with a sigh. For the first time in many years, he spoke to the heavens.

"Thank you," he whispered


She recognized the girl. She was just a kid, couldn't have been more than twenty. A few months ago she had cut the end of her finger off on some equipment over at the camp. Scully looked down. Sure enough, there it was. Or, wasn't.

Scully's own fingers quickly went to the girl's neck, feeling for a carotid pulse. Nothing.

"Help me!" she yelled. "Help!"

She felt for the landmarks on the sternum, began the death defying rhythm with her hands.

"One..."

The girl's chest was covered with purplish blue areas - just the size of a fist.

"...and two..."

Her eyes were closed, one of the lids grotesquely swollen.

"...and three..."

Trails of dried blood came from her nose and wound its way down either side of her face.

"...and four... and five... breathe!"

A hand suddenly grabbed her arm. She didn't look up.

"Let me go! Help me!"

"Dana, stop..."

"No!"

"Dana, it's too late!"

"No it's not! She just a baby..." She was crying, her eyes muddied with tears and sweat. Couldn't see....

"Scully!"

"No! No!"

She was shaking... someone was shaking her... "Wake up!" they said. "Baby, please!"

Her eyes opened. She couldn't catch her breath... couldn't catch her breath...

"Scully... it's okay... it was just a nightmare... you're okay.. just a nightmare..."

But it wasn't. Oh, God, it wasn't.

She climbed over him on the bed, desperate to get air Sitting ramrod straight on the edge of the mattress, she breathed in great gulps as he stroked her back.

"Slow down..." he kept saying. "It's all right now. Slow down..."

Finally her heart rate began to return to normal, and she could breathe again, and Mulder's hands were warm against her back, and she leaned her head on her knees and cried. He waited next to her, silent, just touching her. He understood that all he could do at that moment was make sure that she felt him nearby.

At length she lifted her head and wiped her eyes, her face pale in the moonlight that filtered through the window.

"Wanna tell me?" he asked softly. She shook her head. "It might help..." he offered.

"No. Not here, Mulder. Not here." She turned her body toward him and wrapped her arms around his neck, resting a damp cheek against his shoulder. "I don't want to talk about any of it here, okay? In this room we talk about Before, or we dream about After, but the rest of it stays outside."

He held her tightly to him. "Okay, babe. Okay."

She pulled back and looked into his eyes. "I've missed you so much, Mulder."

"Oh, Scully... probably half as much as I've missed you. I thought about you every day... every night... you kept me going..."

She pulled him to her and kissed him softly. He moaned, and at the sound a flame ignited in her and quickly spread.

"I love you, Mulder..." She kissed his cheek, then his nose, and that soft spot right below his ear. He smelled so good, so much like she remembered - not like cologne or fancy soap, just him.

"You keep this up and I'm gonna have to ravish you."

She put her mouth to his ear, her voice half-whisper, half- plea.

"Promise?"

He backed away, held her face in his strong hands and just looked at her.

"You're so beautiful..." he finally said.

"Make me remember, Mulder," she asked him, moving her mouth close to his again. "Make me forget..."

He pulled her shirt up and over her head, tossing it to the floor. He was slow, maddeningly slow... his fingers trailed down her arms, from her shoulders to her fingertips, and back again. She was silent, her eyes closed, focusing on the heat he left in his wake. His hands went to her breasts, gently covering them, his thumbs brushing across the nipples. She lay back and whimpered as his mouth followed his hands, and she held him to her and blinked back her tears.

It wasn't long before she needed to feel him everywhere, and she wiggled out of her shorts and pulled him back to her.

"Scully..."

"Mmmm?"

"I don't think I can... I mean, my shoulder is still..."

She smiled as she gently pushed him up off of her, and then back onto the pillows. Her hands pulled the boxers down.. off... she straddled his thighs and delicately touched his throbbing erection as he gasped. He grabbed her wrists tightly and pulled her up over him until his mouth could capture one nipple, then the other, and she slid her hot wetness over his belly slowly... slowly.. At last his mouth came back to hers, but she pulled away to watch his face as she brought her tender center to poise over him. As she lowered herself, languidly, gently, he closed his eyes and threw his head back, guttural moans coming from deep within him. Lower, lower... until she was filled with him, and his strength became hers as she moved, for a moment the emptiness in her was ended.. overflowing... and she called his name again and again... until he shuddered and cried out and his tears fell on her pillow where she lay against their sweet dampness with a sigh.


And so it remained for a short, sweet time. As he was able, he would help out around the hospital, fix things, clean, whatever kept him busy. After her shift, they met back in her room - their room - where the outside melted away and there was only the two of them. She felt her life refreshed, her energy renewed through him.

But as he grew stronger, he also grew was restless. She saw him sometimes as he paused in his work and gazed through a window, his brow furrowing. She knew what he was thinking, but neither of them would speak the words.

The day she glanced out a patient's window and saw him walking toward the camp, her heart squeezed painfully in her chest and she let out a hushed moan.

"Doctor? Are you all right?" the patient asked.

"Yes," she finally said as she turned toward the woman in the bed.

"Yes. I'm fine."

   

Title: Revelations III: The Moon Beneath Her Feet
Author: Linda Phillips
Rating: mild NC - 17
Classification: S / R / A
Keywords: MSR
Spoilers: Oh, just the whole MythArc thing
Completed on: 1/30/99
Archiving: Gossamer - yes. All others please ask. (I'll say yes, I promise!)
Disclaimer: The X-Files and it's characters are the property of Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement intended.

Summary: A post-invasion tale.

Note: The third in the 'Revelations' series Thanks to Linda Howell, who has helped these stories flow a little more smoothly.


She found him at dusk, sitting outside on the front steps She waited a few moments inside, watching - clinging, really, to the image of him there. He still hadn't cut his hair, and it lay in soft dark waves against the back of his neck. He'd regained some weight since he first arrived, recapturing much of what she'd always loved about his body - long and lean, his back and arms strong. There was a long piece of grass between his fingers, and he chewed on the end of it thoughtfully.

'No,' was all she could think. 'No, no, no!'

But she already knew it was no use

Finally, she pushed the door open. He turned toward the distraction and his face lit up as he saw her. His hand reached out, and she gripped it tightly as she joined him on the steps.

"Are you done for the day?" he asked.

She nodded without looking at him.

"Hungry?"

Still silent, she shook her head. And he knew that she knew, and waited for her to speak. When at last she did, her voice was firm, with no trace of the trembling that she felt inside.

"When do you leave?" she asked.

His first urge was to deny her the pain, and he gave in to it without thinking. "What are you talking about?"

She looked at him, eyes piercing. "I saw you go over to the camp today. When do you leave?"

He looked down, hesitated, stroking her hand with his thumb. "I don't know that I will be."

She looked away again. "You will be," she said softly.

"Scully..." He took a deep breath, held it, let it go. "I can't stay here sweeping and cleaning and hiding... I can't just do nothing when they need me to..."

She pulled her hand away suddenly and turned to face him, the anger and hurt plain on her face. "Why you, Mulder? Why does it have to be you? They don't know... how many years you've already been fighting... what you've already lost... oh, God!" She stood and walked a few feet away, determined to get a grip on herself. This would not be like the last time they had parted, she vowed - she wouldn't allow that. Her fingertips came together against her lips and she pressed them hard, so hard that her nails dug into the tender flesh there. By the time she felt him come up behind her, she had recovered her outward calm. His arms went around her and pulled her to him, and he settled his chin against the top of her head with a sigh. She closed her eyes and leaned back, holding his arms against her, feeling the beat of his heart 'This moment,' she thought. This moment was all they could count on.

"Mulder?"

"Yeah, babe." His voice was soft, the rumble in his chest soothing on her back.

She turned to face him, then thought better of it and buried her face against his chest.

"I love you."

He held her tightly, kissing the top of her head then laying his cheek against the place his lips had touched.

"I wouldn't be alive if you didn't," he said.


'Why you, Mulder?'

He sighed quietly and leaned his chin against his fists on the window, her question pulsing in his head like a heartbeat 'Why' was not a question he could easily answer. It seemed obvious, of course. But, was it? He gazed up at the clear, black night, the stars and moon mocking him with their peaceful beauty

What was happening out there would happen with or without him, he knew. He was only one man. Could he make as much difference out there as he could here? Was it worth it? He glanced over at his sleeping partner, her soft breathing still music to him. Her face was relaxed and serene.

She needed him too.

She worked like a dog, gave everything she had. Didn't she deserve the small amount of comfort and security he could give her after everything she'd been through? And she was right - the people out there now... most of them were toddlers in this compared to him. He'd been fighting so long...

But could he quit now?

He'd learned things today. The camp was well organized, its leaders part of the strong military rebellion. He had been assured that he could be of use to them...

"Key Lime pie." Her sleepy voice came from the shadows, and her hand reached out to him

He smiled and took it, joining in the little game they had devised when the outside threatened them here

"Angel hair pasta with clam sauce," he replied as he slid back into bed next to her.

"A huge tub of popcorn from Cinema 10 - you know, the place that uses the real butter?" She moved her body up snug against his. "And a giant Coke. I'm gonna go from one theater to the next, watch all the movies, and eat popcorn with extra butter 'til I puke."

He laughed quietly. "Mmmm, now that's a tasty image.. oh, let's see... I want to go skiing, then come in by the fire and drink hot toddies."

She made a face in the darkness. "Blecchh! Those things are disgusting! I'm gonna go to the beach, slather myself with coconut oil - maybe I'll even go topless..."

"Oh, really?" he asked, turning to face her.

"Maybe..." she teased.

"I'm going to follow you, and after dark I'll make mad passionate love to you on the beach." His voice took on a dreamy quality. "The moon will be shining, we'll hear the waves lapping at the shore..."

"I'll get sand in my butt..."

"Then I'll carry you into the water and wash you off, like this..." His hand glided slowly over her belly and down one thigh A sigh escaped her lips as she closed her eyes.

"And like this..." Back up the other thigh, lightly grazing the curls between her legs.

"And like this..." His fingers disappeared into the warmth there, and she reached her hand up and pulled his mouth to hers.

"Just like that?" she whispered

"Just like that," he answered. And - for now - she let herself believe him.


Daybreak could be so cruel. The shelter of darkness was like a cocoon, removed from reality, able to be shaped and molded into whatever they needed to keep going. Sunrise, so deceptively majestic bathed in red and gold, was not a welcome sight. But, when it came down to it, he always wanted one more with her.

He tried not to think of the look on her face, but the image lingered long after he had ordered it out. They had said goodbye in their room - no, not goodbye. Scully refused to say goodbye. She would only say "I'll see you soon." She hadn't cried, and he hadn't either - until he was far from her sight, on his way to the camp. Just a tear or two, blown away in the hot wind, leaving his throat to burn with the ones unshed.


She ignored the knock on the door at first, unconsciously holding her breath lest the sound reveal her. She was hiding in her own little world of misery at the moment, and she had every intention of wallowing in it for a while. But the knock came again, this time followed by someone opening her door just a crack.

"Dana?"

She reluctantly sat up and switched on her light. "Yeah Julie, I'm awake, come in."

The door opened further, and Julie walked in holding a plate in her hand. She looked at Scully and smiled sheepishly "I thought maybe you could use this tonight."

Scully looked curiously at her. Suddenly her nose was tickled with an aroma that she hadn't smelled in months, and her eyes opened wide. "Oh my God, Julie! Where did you get that?"

"We got a shipment today and there was a can of cocoa in it, can you believe it? January found enough stuff in the kitchen to make this." She held a fork out along with it. "Enjoy, darlin'!"

Scully took the plate as Julie sat down on the end of her bed. She cut a small piece with the fork and put it in her mouth, eyes closing as she moaned with pleasure. It was a little bitter, not very tender, but it tasted like heaven.

Chocolate cake, food of the gods.

"Just what a broken-hearted girl needs," Julie said with a smile.

"Thank you, Julie. That was really sweet of you. Hard to believe we've come this far, eh?" Scully mused, remembering their first meeting when she had arrived here months ago. It hadn't exactly been love at first sight. Julie was a tall, blonde, outspoken woman, and didn't have any qualms about saying what was on her mind. She let Scully know in no uncertain terms that she thought a forensic pathologist would be about as much use out here as having ten thumbs. Scully had been a bit intimidated by her at first, and she didn't like that feeling. They had coldly avoided each other in the first few weeks.

Then came the first wave of wounded, and by the time the bodies were patched up the two of them had found a new respect for each other. In the time since then, Julie had become the closest thing to a real friend that Scully had in this crazy place.

"Well - us girls gotta stick together," she said. Then her smile faded, and she looked at Scully compassionately. "He'll be all right, Dana." Scully looked away as her throat stung and tears threatened again. "I think you're lucky," Julie continued. "At least you had some time together..." Suddenly Julie's hand flew to her mouth and stifled a sob. "I'm sorry - I came here to cheer you up and look at me." A sound halfway between a laugh and a whimper slipped from her, and Scully reached out to grab her hand.

"This sucks, Dana." Julie wiped her eyes with her free hand. "This really fucking sucks! Can't we just click our heels together and go back to Kansas?"

Scully looked away again, closed her eyes.

"I wish we could, Julie," she sighed. "But I think Kansas is gone for good."


He needed a shower. Badly. They had been traveling for three days now, and the thought came to Mulder that pretty soon the enemy wouldn't need to *see* them coming - They'd be able to *smell* them. Col. Greer had promised that they would be at their destination by nightfall. Whether that destination included a shower remained to be seen.

In the three days that they'd been riding in the old jeep, Greer and the two others had filled him in. The information had given voice to his worst nightmares, but also filled him with a spark of hope.

The worst was this: They were winning.

Every day new towns fell under Their command, and the Resistance attempts to stop Them had only slowed Them down. The vaccination plan on which the best minds of the past fifty years had placed their bets proved to be horribly difficult to carry out when the invasion began sooner than expected. But - what they spoke of only as 'the operation' was close to being finished, and hopes were high Preliminary testing had shown that one of the smallest things on planet Earth - the same virus that had been used against it's own inhabitants - could be the thing that destroyed the invaders once and for all. Gene replacement, DNA, RNA, antigens and antibodies.. words he knew, but science that was out of his league. Scully would understand it all. He wished she were here with him, and he knew she wished it too. But they both were painfully aware that she was needed where she was - where a heartbeat balanced on the fulcrum between life and death, her hands and her knowledge made a difference.

His contemplation was interrupted by the voice of one of his traveling companions.

"Holy shit," Evans said quietly.

The jeep slowed and then stopped as it approached what remained of a small camp. Several large, dark squares on the ground marked the sites where tents had been burned to the ground Scattered within the blackened boundaries lay small pieces of scorched objects, mostly unidentifiable. This was a familiar scene to Mulder, but what his eyes took in next was not.

Between the squares where tents had stood were four large stakes driven into the ground. On those stakes were what was left of four of the human inhabitants of this camp. Their bodies were burned to such a degree that it seemed a mere touch would surely turn them to ash. For a split second Mulder wondered if they had been burned alive, then decided he was glad that he would never know.

In front of them a smaller stake had been driven into the earth after the fact, its wood unsinged by fire. On it hung a sign with a crudely lettered message:

'Death to resistance'

Without another word, the driver put the jeep back into gear and they drove away in silence


The days passed into weeks and she tried not to think of him. Again she plunged herself into working with a vengeance, going and going until she felt ready to drop, hoping that no more than a few minutes would pass between laying her head down and the sweet release of sleep. But it seldom worked out that way.

He had been in her room - their room - long enough for his scent to cling there, so that even in the dark she was reminded of him. She took to sleeping with his pillow pulled against her, often waking to find her head resting on it instead of her own.

He would come back. He had done it more than once, and he would do it again. She had to believe it.

Some nights she dreamed of him - of waking to find him lying next to her as if he'd never left, or sometimes of Before. She loved those dreams. Half memory, half fantasy, blending places and things familiar to her with the hope of things yet to be. Some nights she could swear she felt him touching her, his warm breath against her cheek. It would seem so real that she would awaken reaching for him, then dissolve into tears when her hand found the reality of her empty bed.

Such was the case on this night. She had awakened once already, sure that he was there. But her eyes convinced her of what she already knew in her heart, and it was a long time getting back to sleep. Then again, from the darkness he appeared in front of her, and in her dream she turned away. "No," she mumbled.

Not again.

Let me rest.

"Scully..."

She felt his touch on her face, and his warm breath on her cheek. She opened her eyes.

This time she touched him back.

Her arms went around his neck and he pulled her to him She tried to say his name, but could get no further than "M..." before her voice broke and she wept against him. He didn't say anything more, just rocked her back and forth, back and forth - until finally they were past words and only the feel of him against her, alive and real, would do.


His stay was only temporary, as it seemed all things were in this new world. Soon he would be leaving again, he hoped for the last time.

A plan had been made. A plan of a virus, and the men and women who would spread it, and the intruders it would kill. *If* it worked as they thought it would, it would at last pave the way to peace. He didn't kid himself - it would be the toughest battle of his life. The end of the invaders was only the first, albeit most crucial, step. The rest may be just as difficult. The humans who had aligned themselves with the invaders would fight back, they knew. There would be nothing left for them once their new leaders were gone, and someone with nothing left to lose was a formidable enemy.

He had one week. One week to permanently etch in his memory every inch of her body, every look on her face, every sound that she made. He had no idea how long he would be gone this time In the two days that he'd been back he had rarely let her out of his sight. A few of her kind colleagues had taken some of her hours on duty while he was here, thank God, or they would have had to contend with him following her around all day. Like now.

She was finishing up her abbreviated shift, her final patient being a man who had lost his leg. Mulder watched from the doorway as she removed the dressing and cleaned the wound gently Her hands moved in graceful, strong motions born of years of experience, caring and touching and healing. The hands that had once cared so attentively for the dead now were even more gentle and painstaking with the living. He found himself fascinated. Her voice spoke in soothing tones as her hands did things, necessary though they were, that caused pain, even anger. She never raised her voice back. She never scolded. Calm, soothing, gentle throughout. He realized that he'd never really appreciated her in this way before. Her hands were an extension of all that she was.

When she was finally finished, she went to a sink and washed her hands, scrubbing hard. He came up behind her and took her hands in his, his arms running along the length of hers, and gently rinsed them clean. She didn't say a word as he dried them carefully with a towel. When he was done he brought them to his lips and closed his eyes, and kissed the hands that meant the world to him, vowing to never forget the feel of them against his face


Scully tilted back in the chair and looked around warily No Mulder. He had gone to the camp a while ago, after she'd told him to give her a few hours to finish up some work She took the opportunity to try and rub the fatigue from her eyes.

It wasn't working.

What she wanted more then anything at that moment was to go to her room and sleep for about two days. When a wave of nausea overtook her, she gave in and leaned her head down on crossed arms on the table in front of her.

It was becoming more and more difficult to fight back the unease that had been following her for a few weeks now. She was so bone-numbing tired lately - it was nearly impossible for her to get through a shift anymore without a catnap here and there. Her appetite had been practically nonexistent for the past several weeks - sometimes just the thought of food made her rush to the bathroom to empty her stomach of what little she was able to eat. At first she had shrugged it off - too much work, too little sleep; missing Mulder; something she'd eaten; maybe a flu bug someone had brought through... But as the days and weeks went on she couldn't help but be haunted by memories of something that she'd thought was far in the past.

Was it back was it back was it back...?

She'd done her best to hide it from everyone, especially from Mulder since his return. What was the point of putting a voice to her concern? There was no treatment for her if indeed the mutated cells had once again invaded her body. This time, there would be no magic chip, no chemotherapy... nothing.

"Dana?"

She looked up. "Hmm? Oh... hi, Julie."

"Are you all right?"

"Oh, yeah... I'm fi- 'scuse me..." she mumbled, putting a hand over her mouth as she ran to the bathroom.

Julie followed her and waited until the retching behind the stall door stopped. When Scully reappeared, her face was pasty, her eyes reddened

"Are you okay?" Julie asked, her eyes narrowed with concern

Scully leaned over the sink and splashed her face with water. There were no towels to be had, so she dried her face with her shirt as she straightened up

"Yeah... I'm okay. I don't know... I must've eaten something that went bad."

"Dana... this isn't the first time I've been in here lately while you were puking."

Scully looked away, cleared her throat. "I'm all right Julie, really."

Julie walked around and wedged herself between Scully and the sink

"Tell me that you've got a stash of birth control that you're using," she said

Scully chuckled ruefully. "It's not that Julie, trust me."

"Okay. So tell me you're using birth control."

"I can't have children."

"Famous last words."

"No, Julie, really." God, she really didn't want to get into this right now. Nobody here knew much about her past, and she had hoped to keep it that way

"Come with me, Dana."

"Julie..."

Julie turned to her with a stern expression. "Humor me, okay?"

With a sigh, Scully followed her out of the bathroom to a supply room a few doors down the hall. Julie grabbed something off the shelf and handed it to her

"Be a good girl and go pee in the cup."

"Will this get you off my back?"

Julie made an X over her heart. "Cross my heart and hope to die."

Scully returned a few minutes later to find Julie on a step- stool rummaging through a high shelf

"I know we had a couple of these things laying around..." she grunted as she reached further back. "A-ha!" She climbed down with the test in her hand

"You're wasting your time," Scully said, shaking her head

"Well, it's not like I've got a hot date or anything. Gimme the pee."

Julie lay the test kit out on the counter as Scully leaned back against the wall and crossed her arms

"There are a lot of things you don't know about me, Julie."

"Uh-huh," she replied, not turning around

"Several years ago, I was abducted - I don't remember any of it, but we found out later that They had something to do with it."

Julie was silent as she worked

"Experiments were done on me... reproductive experiments, among other things... I don't know what all was done." Scully felt like she was rambling, but obviously she was going to have to tell Julie at least a little about what had happened to her.

Julie kept her back to Scully, just made an occasional "Mm-hmm," to show that she was listening.

"Whatever it was they did gave me cancer," Scully went on, "and I won't even go into how we got it into remission... just suffice it to say that they worked me over. Later, I discovered that all my ova are gone. I can't get pregnant, Julie. They took all of them."

Julie turned to her then, her face impassive

"What?" Scully asked, dropping her hands

Julie motioned her head in the direction of the counter

"Looks like they missed one," she said

Scully just looked at her. "What are you saying?" she finally managed to choke out.

"You're pregnant, Dana."

Julie was talking to her, but she couldn't hear a word. She saw the other woman's face go bright with sparks, then slowly, slowly fade to black.


"Dana? Dana? C'mon back, honey... that's a good girl..."

She blinked as Julie's face came into focus. There was a wet cloth on her forehead, and gradually she realized what had happened.

"Did I faint?" she asked as she sat up.

Julie nodded. "Yeah - but, I'm sorry to tell you, it wasn't a dream. You're still pregnant." She offered her hand. "Can you stand up?" Scully took it and rose unsteadily to her feet.

Still stunned, Scully found herself naked from the waist down on an exam table before she could say another word. Julie donned a glove and did a pelvic exam

"Hmmm..." she said, pressing down on Scully's abdomen with her free hand. Julie squinted at the wall as she tried to assess the situation. "Your uterus is definitely enlarged. It's been a long time since I've done any OB, but I'd guess maybe eight or ten weeks... Dana? You with me?"

Scully lay there shaking her head. "This can't be..." she kept repeating. "It just can't be..."

Julie stood back and stripped off the glove, watching her patient with concern. She pulled Scully up to a sitting position, leaned down a bit and looked her in the eyes

"I know you must be in shock... breathe, Dana."

Scully took in a long breath, let it out slowly. She felt Julie's warm hands take her own cold ones. She kept shaking her head, blinking

"Trust me on this one, Dana."

"Oh, I do... it's just..."

"I know," Julie said soothingly. "You need time to process all this. But not too much time, huh?" Her voice took on a cautionary tone. "The longer we wait, the harder it is."

It took Scully a minute to figure out what Julie was talking about. She stood up and dressed quickly

"I... I have to go, Julie..." She stopped at the door, turned back. "Don't say anything to Mulder, okay?"

Julie nodded grimly. "I understand."


She lay her chin against her drawn up knees and hugged them tight. She wanted her mother here. Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply and tried to remember the scent of Maggie's cologne, tried to see her face, to imagine her mother putting her arms around her and holding her tight.

But truth was not compassionate. The last time she'd seen her mother was when she and Mulder had taken her to the airport, sending her on a last minute trip to Bill's in California. She remembered her mother's eyes - so frightened. Maggie had hugged Scully tightly, then Mulder, and she heard her mother whisper into Mulder's ear.

"Take care of her," she had said

It hadn't been wise or timely to tell Maggie very much. In her mind were burned the exact words she had said to her mother that day - the day she and Mulder had driven out there for the last time.

"If you've ever believed in me, I need you to believe me now, and don't ask any questions..."

Scully couldn't even be sure where Maggie was at this point, except in her prayers every night.

"There you are."

His voice startled her from her reverie, and she turned to see Mulder coming out of the front doors into the warm evening.

"Hey," was all she could manage.

"Hey, yourself." She could tell that he instantly sensed her mood, and his hand smoothed over her hair and down her back as he sat next to her. "What is it?" he asked, his eyes searching her face.

She turned back to the endless dark sky, resting her chin on folded arms.

"What's going to happen, Mulder?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what do you *really* think is going to happen to us?" She turned her eyes to meet his again. "Tell me the truth."

He took a deep breath as he gathered his thoughts, then moved around to kneel in front of her. She watched his hands as they took her own, and she kept her eyes on them as he spoke.

"I truly believe that we have a very good chance, Scully," he said quietly. "I'm no martyr. If I thought the cause was lost I'd stay here with you until the end, and we could drink purple Kool- Aid together."

She smiled a little at his sick joke and looked up at him.

"I mean it, Scully," he went on, his expression as serious as she had ever seen. "There's no way I'd leave you if I thought there was no coming back." She leaned forward over their clasped hands and kissed him.

"I believe you," she said. Silently she stood up, her hand still holding his, and led him back to their room.

The realization that they had three days left together - for now - followed them, cast a shadow over their bodies as they lay together. For a long while they did just that - lay there on the bed, limbs entwined, no words able to fill the void that poised in front of them. It was she who moved first, rising up on her elbow to find the outline of his face in the darkness.

"Mulder..."

"Mmm?"

"I want you to marry me before you go."

She watched as his lips curved up in a smile, and he touched her cheek gently.

"Can we do it right now?" he asked.

She smiled back, relieved. "I suppose we could wait until morning."

"Could we practice for the wedding night now?"

She chuckled. "Why, whatever do you mean?"

"I mean," he said, pulling up to meet her face to face, "that I can't imagine anything more wonderful than making love to my wife."

"Oh, Mulder..." Her eyes were wet again, a condition she seemed to have little control over lately. She felt his lips graze her neck, gentle and soft, possessing power to send exquisite shudders through her body.

"We're gonna make it, Scully." His voice wrapped around her like a velvet shield, and she fell into it without doubt.

"I know."

She lay back and reached for him, her body humming now, waiting for his to add verse to the melody. He stayed propped up on his elbow, looking at her, his fingers tracing her cheekbone and jawline. She could feel him tearing apart inside.

"I know you don't want to leave me, Mulder. I know if things were different... but they're not. They're what they are, and we have to do what we must."

"Scully..." He sounded as if his heart were breaking.

"You'll never be far from me," she whispered, pulling his lips to hers. "I feel you with me all the time."

He met her mouth, and a million words passed between them. Then he moved down, and lay his stubbled cheek against her breast, and she felt the wetness of eyes and the catch in his breath After a moment he turned his head and slowly circled the nipple with his tongue, and she gasped, swearing she felt a butterfly flutter where his hand lay. But he didn't seem to notice that her belly wasn't quite as concave as it had always been, and continued to suckle against her, filling her with a warm sweetness.

His hand moved away from the butterfly, and into the nest of wet curls below. Slowly, he stroked and teased until she had her hands clenched in his hair and her breaths were short and hungry His mouth left her breast as he moved above her, and as her legs opened of their own accord he pressed against her, so hard and so real. Slowly, slowly, he filled her, his head thrown back as their bodies made the final connection. He took a deep breath and came back to her, watching her now, as he moved.

"I love you..." he said, and she felt it with all her being. He rocked against her again, and again.

"...love you..." And again.

"...love you, Scully..." Again.

"...so much..." He watched as her mouth opened without sound, and she came closer and closer... as she went over the edge, she dug tight fingers into his back to break the fall. He held her against him, keeping her safe as the tremors washed over and taking her cries into his heart.

After a few moments she quieted, and felt him inside of her still solid and full. Suddenly, she wanted the feel of his warm seed inside, couldn't wait another minute to feel him give in to her. She moved her hips, swaying forward and back, forward and back, and he responded in kind. Instinctively she framed his face in her hands, holding his eyes with hers as he climbed to the peak.

"Give it to me," she whispered. "Give it to me, Mulder.. let me feel it..."

With broken sighs he flowed into her, collapsed against her, and she gathered him up close.

"I've got you..." she said, her voice quiet and sure. "I've got you..."


Despite the circumstances, despite what was going on all around them, Mulder was not unaware of the significance of this day.

He was getting married. To Scully.

It still didn't seem quite real, even though they were standing here, in front of a Baptist minister at the camp, saying words like "forever". He looked down at her and he couldn't help but grin like an idiot, just as he'd been doing since he woke up this morning, much to Scully's amusement. Her eyes drifted up to him, her face awash in cream and roses, her lips full and turned up at the corners.

"I will," she said.

She said 'I will', he thought. Amazing.

He barely heard the words coming from the minister's mouth, but he saw the elder man's lips moving, then stop as he looked at expectantly at Mulder.

What? he thought.

Scully elbowed him, and a soft shuffle of chuckling broke out behind him. He looked around, surprised at the small group that had gathered to watch the goings-on.

"Mulder - say 'I will'," Scully told him.

He grinned stupidly. "I will." Scully laughed gently, and it warmed him to the core.

The minister cleared his throat and closed his Bible. Then he spoke again, his voice ringing strong and clear to Mulder now.

"Before we finish, I think those of us here should take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this small ceremony," he said "It is a call for hope; a leap of faith in the face of the despair all around us. These two people believe in a future together. Let us all pray for the same strength." He smiled as he looked from Scully to Mulder, then back again.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife."

Mulder took her in his arms and kissed her as cheers went up around them. Then Scully was pulled away into Julie's hug, and Mulder turned to receive hearty handshakes from people he didn't even know. Finally allowed to turn his attention back to Scully, he held his arm out in a gentlemanly fashion.

"Madame?"

She looked at him with gentle surprise, then slipped her arm through his, eyes shining.

"Shall we go for a honeymoon walk?" he asked.

She nodded, and they walked in silence until they were well away from the camp.

"This seems so incredibly... normal," he said finally.

"Maybe someday it will be."

He stopped walking, turned to her. "It will be, Scully." He brushed the hair back from her eyes, lingering a moment as it slipped between his fingers. "You've given me so much..." She started to speak, but he lay his fingers on her lips for an instant and she waited.

"Life," he went on. "A real life. A heart that beats without pain. Strength. Insight. Love... I can't imagine what my life would have been without you in it. You've made me very, very happy, Scully, do you know that?"

She nodded, her eyes glistening.

"I *will* come back, baby. I will."

She leaned against him, turning her cheek against his chest. He felt her listening to his heartbeat, and he hoped she could hear all that it was saying, because he knew that words would never be enough.


She watched him go this time, standing on the front steps of the hospital as he walked away from her. He didn't turn around, and she knew that he didn't dare. His long figure became smaller and smaller until he seemed like a part of the distant scenery. Only then did he look back. She held up her hand, stretching it high so that he could see it. Slowly, he did the same. Then he turned away and walked on.

Later, when she felt ready to face the bed they had shared, she went inside. Her head was buzzing, the sounds around her a jumble, but she didn't try to focus on anything besides putting one foot in front of the other.

"Dana..."

She looked up as Julie approached her.

"Are you all right?" she asked. "I mean, under the circumstances?"

"Yeah. I'm okay."

"Dana, I know this isn't the best time, but we need to take care of your little problem *soon*. It'll be best to get it over with, honey. In the morning we can -"

"No."

Julie cocked her head. "Tell me you're not saying what I think you're saying."

Scully was silent as she looked away.

"Dana!" Julie's hand closed tightly over Scully's forearm "You can't be serious! What are you going to do?"

Scully looked at her again.

"Nothing," she said, smiling softly. "I'm not going to do anything but wait." Then she gently shook off Julie's hand and walked down the dusky hall to her room

End... for now

   

Title: Revelations IV: Fire and Hail
Author: Linda Phillips
Rating: R for violence
Classification: S / R / A
Keywords: MSR
Spoilers: Oh, just the whole MythArc thing
Completed on: 2/22/99
Archiving: Gossamer - yes. All others please ask. (I'll say yes, I promise!)
Disclaimer: The X-Files and it's characters are the property of Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement intended.

Summary: A post-invasion tale. The fourth story in the 'Revelations' series.


She swam in the warmth with the tentative motions that come of newness and exploring. And yet, even her most unsteady movements were nearly graceful with the resistance of the water. Her eyes remained serenely closed to the world; she didn't trouble herself with the unrest going on around her. Why should she? All that she needed was here - food, water, and the beating of a heart for comfort.

It was here that her life began, just like all that had come before her. It was here that she first made her presence undeniably, palpably known.

It was here that her mother covered with her hands, already protective as she first felt the life within, no butterfly now.

It was here that the tears fell, like soft rain on fertile ground, as her mother wished that someone far away could feel the earth move too.


"Mulder?"

"Hmm?"

"If you could know how it was going to turn out, would you want to?"

Mulder turned to the woman sitting next to him, looking into a face that was so young and earnest. He thought for a moment before saying anything.

"Well, I can't really answer that, Grace, because I don't think our future is pre-determined. I prefer to believe that we control our own fates, you know? It wouldn't help to know what the future would bring, because at any moment the smallet decision could change everything."

"Like the chaos theory," she said, looking away and squinting thoughtfully.

Mulder shrugged and smiled.

She looked at him again. "But - if you *could* know, somehow... "

He sighed as he considered her question, wanting to answer her as honestly as he could. There *was* a time, of course, when he would have given anything to know what was in store - because knowing the future would finally answer his questions of the past.

But that was Before - a lot of things.

Scully, for one.

Since she had come into his life so many years ago, he'd slowly and unknowingly developed something that he thought was long lost to him - a sense of hope. Now, he clung to it desperately. It was his ticket home.

"No," he said finally. "I don't think I would want to know."

Grace nodded and tugged at a wisp of hair escaping from the elastic band that held it up off her neck. He smiled at her and ruffled the top her head with his palm. When their group had first set out on this journey a few weeks ago, she had hesitantly asked him if he was *the* Fox Mulder. When he had replied sarcastically - that depends, what do you want him for? - Grace's face had fallen and she lowered her head as she turned away. He'd felt like such a shmuck. He had sought her out after that, engaging in small talk, trying to make up for being an asshole. He discovered that she had followed his work for several years and - wonder of wonders - said she looked up to him. She often trailed after him, asking questions, posing theoretical dilemmas, and seemed to hang on his every word as he answered. How could he not like her? She reminded him of a little sister.

"Why not?" she asked.

He chuckled. "You ask a lot of questions, you know that?"

She covered her face with her hands for a moment, then peeked through the fingers. "Sorry."

"Go to bed, Grace. It's late and we've got a lot of work to do tomorrow."

She stood and stretched. "Yeah, you're right. 'Night, Mulder."

He smiled again at the simple pleasanry. "Goodnight." Then he watched her for a moment as she walked away

He should get some sleep himself, he knew, but his mind was humming like a live wire tonight. In two days they would make their first drop - along with about twenty other teams spread out across the country. Everything was going as planned and the trial runs had been seamless. But - the real thing would be an entirely different matter. Nerves became frayed, fear kicked in, people made mistakes. There couldn't be any mistakes, not on this.

The wind picked up and he pulled his coat closer around him. From where he sat he could see the outline of the distant mountains in the moonlight, and couldn't help but be awed at their beauty.

Mine, he thought, as a force of anger surged through him.

This is *my* home!

And despite his promises, despite her silent pleas, he knew he would fight until his last breath to get it back.


Most of the time she knew that she had made the right decision. Almost always. Then there were moments like this. Her hand stroked lightly over her belly, it's slightly rounded shape still a secret to the outside world. She was never less than astonished at the feel of it - even slept with her hands shielding the life within.

This *is* a miracle... isn't it? Scully asked herself for the millionth time. Or am I absolutely out of my mind? In the face of this truth, her scientific mind lost all objectivity. It wasn't simply an accident - an errant egg that had somehow escaped the assault on her body. It couldn't be. She had to believe in miracles now, or there was no way she could live with herself for what she was doing.

She turned to her side on the lumpy mattress that now seemed much too wide. It was late and she had the early shift in the morning, but her eyes remained wide open and bright in the darkness. She still didn't dare to reflect on the thoughts that any woman would have in a normal situation; boy or girl, hair color, will it look like me? There wer too many things that could yet go wrong.

But, she uncertainly reminded herself, it could go right. It could all go remarkably right. She pressed her palms to her eyelids, shutting out the unwelcome visions that lately seemed to be always in the periphery.

It could, dammit!

It could.


It had happened. It had actually fucking happened.

He was still in shock.

The drop three days ago had gone like clockwork. Then the *truly* difficult part began - waiting. Finally, after days that seemed like weeks, they'd gotten word.

They were dying. The bastards were dying off. Their little human soldiers had scattered. And if it was happening here, it was happening in other parts of the country too. It would be a while, if ever, before they would know how many of their groups had successfully taken out a colony, but some of them *had* to have made it. It was the beginning of the end - for Them.

The mood at the camp was not jubilant, however. They were all grimly aware of how much work lay ahead, and that their lives were in more danger than ever before. But hope burned in them now, he could feel it.

They had stepped up the number of guards around the camp, and Mulder was walking his share of the perimeter for the second night in a row. It was almost numbingly peaceful out here, only the sounds of hushed voices and owl calls to keep his mind from wandering where it wanted to. He was feeling drained and weary, and was having a tough time staying alert. He stretched and yawned, and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Gun quickly drawn, he pointed it at the form crouched in the grass.

"Who's there?"

A pale face looked up at him and he recognized those wide eyes, which were not looking so innocent tonight.

"Grace?"

She made no response, just turned her head away. His weapon dropped to his side as he moved toward her.

"Grace, what's wrong?" She was sitting on the ground, huddled against the outside of the suply tent with her head in her hands.

"Go away, Mulder."

He crouched down when he neared her. "Grace?" He reached a hand out and touched her on the shoulder. She startled and slapped his hand away.

"I said go away!" She looked at him, and in the shadows from the moon Mulder saw her face streaked with dirty tears. Half hidden in front of her was a small brown bottle.

"You're drunk!" Mulder said in wonder. "Where the hell did you *get* that?"

"I was saving it, if it's any of your business," she said with a defiant tilt of her head. "For a big day. I guess this qualifies."

He stood up, shaking his head. "We had good news today, Grace. I don't understand....?"

"Mulder, just leave me alone."

He reached a hand out, just short of touching her. She looked at it, then up to his face, and he watched as her bravado crumbled at her feet. She tentatively took the hand he offered, then he felt her grip tighten as she stood and flung herself against him. Her arms went around him and he gingerly patted her back as she sobbed. After a few minutes her crying quieted to scattered hiccups, and he pushed her away just enough to look at her.

"What is it?" he asked gently.

She pulled away from him and wiped at her face. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes, exhaled. When her eyes opened she took the top off of the bottle and swallowed down what was left, as if she had to bolster her courage before looking at him again.

"I'm okay. Sorry." She took a step away, stumbled, caught herself.

"Yeah..." Mulder said. "I can see that." He moved toward her again and slipped an arm across her shoulders for support. "Well, if you don't want to talk about it, why don't you get some sleep, hmm? I'll take you to your tent..."

"No! I want..." She turned to face him, and he felt pierced by the sadness in her eyes. Her hand went to his chest and she spread the fingers open wide across his heart, watching him. Suddenly he understood, and he grabbed her wrist tightly.

"Hold on, Grace..."

"M'lder..." her voice slurred, this could be our last day on earth, don't you understand that?"

He pulled her hand away. "I'm married, Grace."

"She's *there*, Mulder." Her voice lowered to a seductive whisper and she leaned toward him. "You're here. You might never see her again."

"That's enough! Jesus, Grace, I never thought..." He shook his head in bewilderment. "I'll chalk this up to stress and booze - now go to bed." He stepped back but she followed him, closing in on him again.

"You can pretend I'm her... I don't care..." Her voice trembled as her eyes filled again. "I don't want to be alone!"

Mulder put his hands squarely on her shoulders and shook her gently. "Stop this! There is no way-"

"I'm not good enough - is that it?"

He took a deep breath and steadied himself, then peered into her eyes. "Listen to me. You are plenty good enough, Grace. But it wouldn't matter if you were a Pulitzer Prize winning Miss America, okay? I love my wife, and I *am* going to get home to her! Do you understand?"

Grace stepped back, shook off his grip. Her eyelids closed a moment, and she straightened her back. When she looked at him again, it was with a with a sorrowful gaze.

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I really am."

He sighed. "Let's just forget this happened, okay?"

"Yeah," she said, turning away. "Yeah, sure." And she walked away unsteadily into the darkness.

He swiped his hand across his brow in frustration. What had he missed here? She seemed like a nice kid, and he'd been pleasant to her. It was nothing more than that. He honestly couldn't think of a single incident where anything he'd said or done could have been misconstrued. They didn't need bullshit like this getting in the way of things out here.

A dubious chuckle escaped him at the mere thought of it. Sleeping with another woman. He couldn't imagine it. He knew that Grace was aware he was married - he'd mentioned Scully to her several times. But in this surreal existence, away from everything they knew and cared for, he realized that things took on a different level of mportance. He couldn't really be angry at her. After all, she was right - they didn't know from one day to the next what would happen, it was only natural to look for comfort from the madness of it. She just didn't know about what he and Scully had - how could she?

Actually, he felt pretty sorry for Grace tonight.


"Pastor Kendall?"

The balding man looked up from his meal and squinted at Scully, then he smiled with delight.

" Dr. Scully! How nice to see you! Please - sit down." He moved to his left, scooting the plate along with him, and Scully joined him at the makeshift picnic table.

"Please call me Dana."

His eyes were soft and kind, and they squeezed nearly shut when he smiled. "All right, if you'll call me William."

She nodded, then sat for a moment looking at her hands on the table. She sighed quietly with relief when the pastor took the initiative.

"How have you been, Dana?"

"Oh - fine, I'm fine. Um, as you may have noticed, I'm going to have a baby."

"Ahhh. Well, you look wonderful, and even if I had noticed I never comment on that sort of thing until the mother-to-be tells me herself." He chuckled. "I've gotten myself in trouble a few times when I've mistaken too many good meals for a little blessing on the way!"

Scully smiled, suddenly completely relaxed. She'd barely known this man when she had asked him to marry her and Mulder. He was the only clergyman in the camp, so it wasn't as if she'd had a lot of choices. He had been so kind to them, and seemed happy to perform the ceremony. He spent a lot of time at the hospital, praying with the patients and ministering to them, and she would smile at him as they passed in the hallway. But she made no effort to get to the church services that he conducted on Sundays. As a matter of fact, she hadn't been to any services at all since she had left home so many months ago. Oh, she prayed. Frequently. But somehow it had seemed absurd to try to infuse this life with something so... *reveret* as a church service. It would validate this existence, making it more real than she was willing to allow.

But... she missed it. She missed the feeling of being surrounded by people who were reaching out to a higher power. She missed being able to open herself to someone who had no personal claim on her other than the good of her soul. She missed a calm voice when her head was swimming in a sea of doubt. Like now.

The pastor watched her for a moment, then pushed his nearly empty plate away. "Dana - it's such a beautiful day - would you care to go for a walk with me?"

Gratefully, she nodded.

They walked in silence for a while before either of them spoke again.

"Pastor - um, William, - I've been... well, I'm not sure how to say this..."

"I'll bet you wonder sometimes how I keep my faith out here, in the middle of all this," he said.

She stopped and looked at him. "Well, yes, I guess I do wonder that."

He held out his arm and she took it as they started to walk again.

"Dana, I have moments when I get angry. I get angry at God, and I blame him for what's happening. And then I see another sunset, and a newly blooming flower," he gestured to her abdomen with a grin, "and occasionally a newly blooming baby, and I'm reminded that we are not the first to suffer this way. And we will not be the last. No matter how hard we humans try to screw it up, life will go on. I truly believe that." He turned to her. "God has a plan for us, Dana. We may not like the way He carries it out, but He will not forsake us. He's always there, in the good times and the bad. Especially the bad."

She looked down as she felt her eyes filling. "This baby..." she began, but bit down on her lip to stop the tremors in her voice. He waited. After a moment she took a deep breath and started again. "This baby was never supposed to be. I never would have willingly gotten pregnant under the circumstances." She raised her damp eyes to meet his gentle ones. There was no condemnation in them, no judgment. "Am I being selfish?" she aske in a whisper. "What kind of a mother would bring a child into this world?"

His voice was benevolent as he stopped and touched her cheek. "How do you know that this child was not meant to be, Dana? How do you know that this child won't someday change history? There are no guarantees in this life, my dear. There is only hope. And without hope we *will* perish." He brushed a tear from her cheek as she nodded silently. "We mortals don't know what will happen, Dana. But courage means going on despite not knowing, don't you think?"

She looked off into the distance, her gaze settling on nothing any other eyes could see. "Sometimes I don't feel very courageous, Pastor William," she said quietly.

He tilted his head until he caught her eye, then glanced upward. "Maybe *He* can help you with that."

Scully smiled a little. "Maybe."

The pastor offered his arm once more. "Shall we finish our walk, my dear?"

She slipped her arm through his. "Yes," she said softly. They faced forward again and stepped through the warm grass, slowly, one foot after the other. She nodded to herself as she spoke again, her voice a little stronger this time.

"Yes."


He dreamed of their wedding that night, and the look on her face as she gazed up at him. A smile passed over his sleeping face, and he murmured something. Then he felt the explosion, and the pain seared through his head like a hot knife. He moaned as he rolled to his side, and the hard toe of the boot came again, meeting his ribs with a crack. He felt his arms being tugged at, and he was lifted by them on either side and dragged out of the tent.

He blinked repeatedly in the darkness, trying to clear the colored sparks from his vision and regain control over his bruised body. He began to struggle, but the more he did the tighter the grip on his arms became. He could make out the faces beside him, but he recognized no one. Not far in the distance he heard cries, and as they became louder he started to fight anew. Anothe blow to the ribs, and he became silent and docile and as he fought for breath.

They came to a lit clearing, the cries in front of him now. Under the watchful eyes of about a dozen armed soldiers, his partners from the camp were being stuffed into the back of an old delivery truck. He was quickly shoved forward and told with the business end of a gun to get in. Painfully, he climbed up and wedged himself in one of the few remaining empty spaces.

"Mulder," someone whispered. He turned to see Wayne daubing blood from his eyebrow. His eyes were wide and terrified. Mulder motioned for him to stay quiet, then turned his attention back to the group outside. There were more of his comrades being led to the truck, but there obviously was not going to be enough room for them all. His breath caught as he saw Grace walking toward them, her head down, a tall burly man behind her. She came to within twenty feet of the truck, stopped, looked up. The tall man approached her from the rear, and his hand rose...

... coming to rest on Grace's shoulder. He was smiling at her. She glanced at him, then back at the truck. Mulder watched the man's mouth move, trying to make out his words.

Something about a 'good job'.

Her eyes met Mulder's, her gaze hard and unapologetic. Then the door came down over the back of the truck, plunging them into blackness. There were at least six or seven of his people left behind, with not one more inch of space left inside the truck. Those inside were smashed together, barely able to breathe. He heard the engine start, felt the truck shift into gear. As they pulled away there were screams outside, then gunshots, then silence.


"Riders on the storm bum-buh-buh-buh-bum riders on the storm bum-buh-buh-buh-bum into this house we're born into this world we're thrown like a dog without a bone an actor out alone..."

He stopped singing. 'An actor out alone'? That didn't sound right. He wondered if he'd been singing the wrong words all these years. He pulled his knees up close against his chest and tapped the rhythm on them with his fingers, cuffs jangling. Where was he? Oh yeah...

"...riders on the storm... There's a killer on the road his brain is squirmin' like a toad..."

Wonder what old Jim was on when he wrote that one? he thought. Whatever it was, he wished he had some right now. They'd be coming soon, he knew.

"... his brain is squirmin' like a toad take a long holiday let your children play if you give this man a ride something family will die killer on the road..."

Okay, he knew it wasn't '*something* family', but the right word wouldn't come to him at this moment.

"... killer on the road yeah..."

This was his favorite part...

"girl, ya gotta love your man girl, ya gotta love your man take him by the hand make him understand the world on you depends our life will never end ya gotta love your man..."

Oh, yeah. Loved The Doors. Loved 'em. The epitome of 60's genius gone down the drain. What was that other song of theirs that he really liked?

"Ya know the day destroys the night..."

Yeah, that was it.

"... night divides the day try to run, try to hide break on through to the other side..."

The door opened. Shit.

The gun was trained on his face.

"C'mon, Mulder."


The hard contours of the chair were becoming familiar to him.

"Once again, Agent Mulder... We need to know where the virus is being stored." The man paced in front of him, and Mulder kept his eyes on the large mole on the side of the man's neck as he walked.

"And, once again, I will tell you that I don't know," Mulder rplied evenly. "It was not information that was shared with me." Turn - mole. Walk, walk, walk, walk. Turn - no mole. Walk, walk, walk, walk.

Mole Man nodded his head slightly, clasped his hands behind his back. "You're being very difficult, Agent Mulder. Very difficult. We don't have time for that." He looked up and nodded at the large man standing behind Mulder. Mulder clenched his teeth as the electric prod touched his naked back. He grimaced and flinched as the current zinged through his nerves. He knew it would get worse.

"Agent Mulder, we know all about you. You want us to believe that you - *you* - were not privy to inside information about the operation." Mole Man stopped walking and stared down at him. "Please. Make it easy on yourself."

Mulder closed his eyes, took a deep breath. "I told you, I was a grunt. Nothing more. We've been through this how many times?" He opened his eyes. "I don't have the information you want."

"Really." Mole Man nodded at the big lug again. Right shoulder this time, held there, like a thousand knife points being stuck in him. He cried out without realizing it.

Mulder's questioner crouched in front of him, feigning concern. "Do you want to die?"

Mulder stared at him, breathing hard. "You're gonna kill me anyway."

"You don't know that. There will be a place for you in this new world, Agent Mulder - a place of honor and respect. But you need to accept the inevitable."

Mulder remained silent, but his glare spoke volumes. With a sigh, Mole Man stood up and waved his hand at Big Lug. The knives came again, in the center of his spine, and Mulder bit his lip until he tasted the coppery tang of his own blood.

"UhhhAAHHHH!" he roared, and the knives were pulled away again, leaving him weak and disgusted with himself. "Son of a bitch! I don't know! I don't know!"

Again. His mouth opened in a wordless howl, muscles failing him, mind reduced to a single neuron screaming with pain. He fell from the chair and curled up on the cold floor, unable to stop the sobs that shok him. From a distant place he heard Mole Man speak again.

"Get him out of here."


Sleep was proving difficult today. It had been a long night shift, and as she walked toward her room after the sun came up she could hardly wait to feel that lumpy old mattress beneath her. But she tossed and turned for at least an hour before her body began to relax. She was just beginning to doze off when she heard the knock on her door. She rose slowly, her growing belly beginning to make it a bit more challenging to move around. When she opened the door, she smiled.

"Pastor William! What-" Her words trailed off as she saw the look on his face, and her body turned to ice.

"Dana," he said gently, "may I speak to you for a moment?" He reached for her hand.

"Dana..."

"No!" She jerked her hand away as if she'd touched fire. "No! No!" Turning away from him, she clutched at the material over her heart, twisting it. Her chest was tight - it hurt to breathe. Pastor William stepped in and closed the door behind him. She vaguely felt his hands on her shoulders, guiding her to the bed, sitting her down. He sat next to her, took her hand. She stared straight ahead and would not look at him.

"Dana..."

Still, so still, she said nothing.

"It's not what you think, Dana."

"What is it?" she whispered.

"He's been captured."

She looked at him. "Then it's worse."

"Most of their group was taken, they think. They're out looking for them already."

The baby kicked. She breathed.

"Do you want me to stay with you?" he asked.

She shook her head slowly. "No." She wanted him out, right now. "I want to be alone."

He nodded and smiled grimly. "I'll check on you later, Dana. And I'll let you know right away if I hear anything." She heard the door close as he left.

So.

It had happened.

Her nightmare come true.

One of them, anyway.

She lay back on the bed, arm across her eyes. The light was suddenly so very bright. Her other hand slowly stroked over her abdomen, rying to slow the movements inside.

"Shhh," she whispered as the tears started. "Shhh. It'll be okay. Oh, God..." She muted the sobs with a hand over her mouth, but try as she might, she could not stop.


He wasn't sure how long he'd been here. He figured that it must be somewhere around three weeks, but without any windows there was no telling how many sunsets had come and gone since his arrival. He'd started to make marks on the wall each time food was brought to him, but then the interrogation began. Sometimes he wouldn't awaken until there were two or three trays already left for him.

He sat up, a moan escaping as he did. His ribs hurt, his head ached, and he was pretty sure his collarbone was broken. He would meet his end here, he was becoming convinced of that. When They tired of questioning him, and finally came to realize that he had no information for Them, he'd be dead. It might be today, or tomorrow, or weeks from now. But he wouldn't give up. It was the least he could do for her.

He pulled the tray on the floor toward him and picked up the bowl on it. It was some kind of watery soup with a little meat in it. He tried not to smell it as he swallowed it down quickly, chewing the tough meat as much as he could then forcing himself to swallow that too. A slice of bread, more than a few days old but edible. And he still had half a jug of water left. Okay. Life was good.

As he chewed the hard bread he closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, letting his thoughts wander. His mother used to make bread when he was a kid. Oh, man, he use to love the smell of bread baking, and his mouth watered a little as he thought of it now. He use to eat a whole loaf by himself when he could get away with it, butter dripping off each piece.

Where was she now?

He had tried to find her, to warn her. But she was gone by the time he arrived, and she had left no note - nothing. He'd searched for days with no clues as to where she'd gone. She had packed ery little - the contents of the house were left standing as if she had just stepped out to get a newspaper. Samantha's eyes followed him from pictures on the walls, tables, mantle - mocking him for once again being too late. Too late.

"Mom," he whispered in a broken voice.

Maybe she had found Sam and they were together now.

Maybe.

He wondered if they were thinking about him.


At the sound of the door opening he held his breath, but didn't move. He closed his eyes for a moment, opened them. He would not let them see his fear.

It was Big Lug Number Three. But instead of yanking Mulder to his feet, this time he walked up and stopped a few feet in front of him. Mulder looked up.

"I can't go out with you tonight, guy, my hair's a mess."

Number Three stared at him. Finally he said, "I was sent with a message."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah." Big Lug pulled a black stick out from behind him, and before Mulder knew what was happening it came down at an angle against his right temple. With a groan Mulder fell to his side on the floor. Big Lug leaned down and spat on Mulder's hair.

"You're a dead man, Mulder."

Mulder heard the door lock shut as he left.


How long had it been? A couple of hours? Not that it really mattered. It was all over now. The door opened and shut quickly, but he didn't turn his head to see who it was - didn't even open his eyes. It hurt too much. Just let it be done quickly, he thought. I'm so sorry, Scully.

"Mulder..." A hushed whisper, a familiar voice. He didn't move.

"Mulder!" A prod on the shoulder. He opened his eyes, blinking in the darkness. Thin slices of murky light leaked in around the door, and he squinted to make out the figure that crouched above him.

"It's Grace," she whispered. "Get up!"

His vision was blurry. Wait - he closed his right eye, turned his head just a little. His left eye was clear, and there she was.

"What the hell do you want?" he murmured.

Get up, Godammit! I'm gonna get you out of here." She was fumbling with his handcuffs, and he felt them spring free.

He closed his eyes again and laughed. He couldn't help it. "Yeah, okay. Just kill me now and get it over with, will you? At least leave me a little dignity."

Her hand took his chin in a strong grip and turned his face to her.

"Listen to me, Mulder. You want a chance to live? This is it. You get out now or you die!"

A chance to live. The words bore through the dull haze in his mind, sparking some awareness.

What were his other options? Lie here like a pig waiting to be led to slaughter? He struggled to sit up, holding a hand over the tender swelling on his right temple. Every heartbeat pounded at his head painfully. He looked her in the eyes.

"If you're taking me to Them, you can forget it," he said. "I'll make sure we both die before we get there."

She reached out her hand. "Just get the hell up, Mulder. C'mon! And be quiet!"

He stood up on his own as the room tilted and pitched. He wobbled a little, then righted himself. Grace put her hands on his arms and squeezed tight.

"C'mon, Mulder, get a grip!" she whispered. "Can you see?"

"Yeah..." He shook her hands off. "I can make it."

Grace dug a key from her pocket and opened the door a bit, peering out through the crack. Apparently satisfied, she took his hand and pulled him out into the hallway. In the dim artificial light he saw rows of doorways like the one he'd just walked through. What was this place? A lab? A lockup of some kind? Maybe both...

"Hurry up!" she hissed.

He followed close behind her until they reached the exit at the end of the hall. She quietly pulled the door open and stepped over the bloody body that lay in their path. He did the same. She motioned him to another door, and they walked through it into complete darkness. Grace flicked on a flashlight and they weaved through a maze of anonymous boxes and barrels. Another door, but when she opened this one he felt the rush of fresh air. Flashlight off, thy scurried in the darkness, over a driveway and into a patch of trees. Grace crouched down and motioned for Mulder to do the same.

"Keep down," she whispered, "and follow me."

They pushed through the brush, tangled roots tripping him and spiny branches slapping him in the face as he followed her. They emerged in a small clearing, where a beat up sedan waited. Without a word, Grace pushed him into the back seat and closed the door. She got in the front beside a dark haired man who started the car. She turned to Mulder.

"Lay down."

He did, and felt the car pull forward slowly, dipping through ruts in the ground. Branches and leaves struck the windows, then cleared as they turned left. The ride became smooth, and through the windows he could see the sky now. The moon was bright and full, stars everywhere. He closed his eyes and let himself be lulled by the hum of the motor. He didn't know where he was or where he was going, and right now it didn't seem to matter.


When he opened his eyes again he was sweating from the heat of the sun. He lifted his head just enough to see Grace still in the front seat, the dark haired man still driving. Grace turned and looked at him for a moment, silent, her eyes betraying nothing. Mulder sank back into the seat and curled up on his side, arm bent beneath his head.

They traveled for most of the day in silence. He slept off and on, and when he was awake she made him eat and drink despite his feeble protests. From outside of himself, he knew he was slipping away. His head felt bloated, heavy. The vision in his right eye was like looking through a thick block of glass. He wanted no food, no water, just the sweet comfort that sleep gave him. It would be so easy to give up, so simple - just sleep...

He knew it, and he tried to think of Scully, of the possibility of seeing her again, of feeling her warmth against him one more time. He felt her eyes watching him. Hang on, he told himself. Just hang on.

When darkness cae again they stopped for a few hours of rest, and he settled without question onto a blanket on the ground. Grace spread out a blanket a few feet from him and lay down, while their driver stretched out in the back seat.

After a time, Mulder turned his head to see Grace watching him.

"Why?" he asked.

She just rolled onto her back and stared up at the sky, hands behind her head.

"Grace..."

"Go to sleep, Mulder."

"Tell me why."

She closed her eyes. After a few moments, he thought that she'd gone to sleep herself.

"I had a husband," she said finally. "A little boy..."

He waited silently.

"Sometimes you just don't have any choices, Mulder." She sighed and turned her back to him. "Now go to sleep."


Before dawn they were back on the road. At turns he felt a little stronger, then without warning he would sink into himself and close his eyes, too weak to care what was happening. Around noon they stopped at a house where a pickup truck waited. Grace got out of the car and opened Mulder's door.

"C'mon, Mulder. Time to change cars." He climbed out. His head was pounding again, and he shielded his eyes against the sunlight. He felt Grace's hand on his back as she directed him toward the truck, she called through the open window, "Mulder, this is Sam. Sam, Mulder." Mulder squinted as he peered in. A slight black man was inside."Hey," the man said, holding up his hand in greeting. Mulder nodded wordlessly as he slid into the cab. The door slammed behind him, and Mulder turned back in confusion.

"Aren't you coming?"

Grace leaned against the door and shook her head. Instantly, he knew.

"You're going back, aren't you."

"I've got things to settle, Mulder."

"They'll kill you, Grace."

She shrugged. "It doesn't matter now."

Without thinking he slipped his hand through the window and grabbed hers.

"Grace - let it go. Come with me."

She shook her head again and pulled her hand away. "No, Mulder - no. Get back to Dr. Scully. Sam knows howto get you there." She stepped back and slapped her palm against the door of the truck. With that, Sam started the engine and put it into gear.

"Grace - wait..." he called out.

"Goodbye, Mulder." She raised her hand as they pulled away. He turned and watched her through the back window until she disappeared in the dust.


"There - turn there."

His heart picked up speed as the outline of the hospital rose into view. Was she still here? Please, God...

They pulled up near the front steps and stopped. Mulder stepped out of the truck and turned back to Sam.

"Thank you."

Sam smiled. "Good luck, man." Then he revved the engine and drove away.

Mulder slowly made his way up the steps and pulled the door open, but he saw no one. He moved past empty rooms, peering into each one, listening for voices. As he turned the corner into another hallway, a familiar one reached his ears.

"Julie?" he called.

She stuck her head out of a room and stared at him for a moment. Her eyes widened as she came out into the hallway.

"Oh, my God - Mulder?"

He edged toward her, one hand on the wall for balance. "Yeah... yeah... where's Scully?"

"She's - I don't know -" His face must have registered panic at her words, for she quickly took both his hands in hers. "No - no, Mulder, she's here. It's okay - she's here. I just don't know where she is right this minute. Here -" She led him to a chair and nudged him into it. "Sit down, Mulder. I'll find her."

She kept one eye on him as she went to a desk and pushed a button. He saw her lips move.

"Dana, come to wing three right away," he heard over his head. "Dana to wing three."

Julie came back and leaned down over him, her concerned eyes scanning his face. "Jesus, Mulder, what'd they do to you?"

He just looked at her. He wanted Scully. He wanted to feel her arms around him, lay his head against her breast and let her breathe life into him. He was tired. So, so tired. Where was she?

"Here, drink this." Julie touced a cup to his lips, but he turned his head. He didn't want it. He wanted Scully. If he could just feel her hands on him, listen to her heartbeat, it would be okay. Everything would be okay.

He heard a crash and Julie moved aside.

There she was, standing in the hallway with her fingertips trembling against the mouth that would revive him. He reached for her, but she was too far away.

"Scully-" he tried to call out, but his voice was less than a whisper.

She made a small sound and came to him, and as she did his eyes left her face and looked with wonder at the newness of her. His hands went to it, touching, disbelieving, and he lay his head against her swollen belly. He felt his face crumple and his breath catch painfully as his arms went around her. It couldn't be... yet, he felt the life there beneath his cheek, as if it were reaching for him. Her hands pulled him tightly to her, her voice floating above him, and he sensed the soothing words she made. He wanted to tell her it was all right, he was home now, he would never leave again. He wanted to tell her he loved her. He wanted to tell her a million things. But all he could do was cry.


Julie helped her take him to their room, brought what they needed. Scully stood in the shower with Mulder as she washed him gently, dried him, then lay him back against the smooth sheets. She changed into dry clothes, started an I.V. in his arm, and for three days never left his side. She gave him medication, fed him, helped him to the bathroom. When she was tired she lay down next to him and held him against her, and he would sigh and curl into her embrace. He said very little. Mostly, he slept.

It was during one of these times as she napped next to him that she felt his hand on hers, lightly stroking her fingers. She opened her eyes to find him watching her, really seeing her for the first time since he'd come back days before. She smiled.

"Scully..." he whispered.

"I'm here, Mulder."

"You're gonna hav a baby."

She chuckled softly. "It looks that way."

His forehead creased in concern. "Why didn't you tell me?"

She closed her eyes for a moment, opened them. "Too many reasons, Mulder. Stupid ones and good ones."

He shook his head slightly, his hair rustling against the pillow. "I would've stayed. I *should* have stayed."

She touched his cheek, moved forward to kiss him. "It doesn't matter now," she whispered as her lips touched his forehead. "You're here."

"I won't leave you again."

"I know," she said. She pulled him to her, and he came willingly, nuzzling warm against her. Suddenly her tender breasts ached for him, and she opened her shirt. His beard scuffed against the delicate skin there as he sought what she needed to provide. He suckled gently, carefully, as she stroked her fingers through his hair over and over and her eyes stung with tears. In time he slept again, as did she, connected by the invisible bond of his breath against her skin.

End... for now

   

Title: Revelations V: Water of Life
Author: Linda Phillips
Rating: NC-17
Classification: S / A / R
Keywords: MSR
Completed on: 3/19/99
Archiving: Gossamer - yes. All others please let me know
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement intended {Although I daresay the fanfic writers could vastly improve what I've seen so far of season 6.}

Summary: A post-invasion tale.

Note: The final story in the 'Revelations' series.


Her scent filled him, tangy and sweet, and as he drifted toward wakefulness he wondered if he would know it anywhere. He felt sure that he would. Then consciousness lifted him, and he opened his eyes.

It was real. He was here in bed with Scully. He was home.

And she was going to have a baby. *They* were going to have a baby.

Jesus.

He sat up slowly on the edge of the bed, taking care not to wake her. He was aware that he'd been here for several days, but exactly how long, he wasn't sure. He only knew that every time he had opened his eyes, she'd been there. He looked back at her as she slept, her hand tucked beneath her cheek. For Scully to be asleep in the daylight, she must be exhausted.

He stood up cautiously, leaning on a table, and was pleasantly surprised to find that his head was not spinning quite so nauseatingly now. The vision in his right eye was still fuzzy, but he focused with his left and started toward the bathroom. It was a short distance - maybe ten feet across the room - but he was suddenly reminded of how much people take independent mobility for granted. Scully had been helping him up and down for days now - but his head was clearing, and he was determined not to wake her this time. His feet shuffled slowly, each step pulling on bruised muscles that he didn't even know he had. After what seemed like endless minutes, he felt like a two-year-old who was all proud of himself because he'd held it 'til he got the seat up.

He really hated that feeling.

He went to the sink to wash, and absently looked up. He realized that he hadn't seen himself in a mirror in weeks, and what stared back at him now made him catch his breath.

His fingers went up and touched his cheek gingerly, surprised to feel the sensation against a face that could not be his The right side of his forehead, his eye - most of the right side of his face, really - was swollen and colored in various shades of yellow, green and purple.

"Bastards must have been left handed," he murmured.

His gaze traveled down further to the patches of bruising on his ribs and arms, and he turned a bit to view the ones he knew would be on his back.

"Shit..."

He felt a hand on his shoulder, and Scully came into view in the mirror.

"How'd you recognize me?" he asked, staring at the stranger before him

"I didn't at first," she replied quietly.

He turned to face her. "My right eye is screwed up," he said. "My vision is all blurry, and there's a little dark spot in the periphery."

Her gaze dropped a moment and she sighed, then looked back at him again in the mirror.

"I was afraid of that."

He turned back to the mirror. "What's wrong with me?"

"I think you have a tear in your retina, Mulder. Probably from the blow you took up there." She gently touched his right temple.

He vaguely remembered points of bright light in his eyes over the past few days as she was examining him. "Will it get better?" he asked.

Her eyes met his, a calming force. "I don't think so," she said. "Not without surgery, and there's no place left within hundreds of miles that could do the type of surgery you would need. The only thing we can do right now is keep you as still as possible for a while so that it doesn't get worse."

He leaned forward toward the mirror and squinted. "And what happens if it gets worse?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

She took a deep breath. "The retina could completely detach, and you would lose the sight in that eye." Her voice was matter-of-fact, his familiar Scully - no bullshit. He stood back again, eyes on her image in the mirror for a few silent moments.

"You like the beard?" he asked finally. She closed her eyes and shook her head just a bit.

A sigh. "Oh, Mulder..."

He turned to her. "Is that a no?"

She opened her eyes again, and there was a smile in them that spread to her lips, then to his. "Yes," she said. "No. I mean, yes, that's a no. I don't." She ran her fingertips along his scruffy jawline. "Do you?"

His smile faded. "I think I want to be me again."

She brought him a razor and some soap, and he shooed her out of the bathroom while he shaved. He watched the mirror as, with each stroke of the blade, he recognized a little more of himself He looked like hell, there was no other way to put it. And felt like it too. The few minutes it had taken him to shave had been enough to wear him out, and he ambled back to the bed like an old man.

Scully had fallen asleep again, and he stood at the side of the bed for a moment, watching her, so serene and still. It was like a picture out of a long ago dream, but one that he dared not wake up from. So much, he thought. She deserved so much more.

He lay down next to her again, and she opened her eyes She smiled at him, touched his face.

"Ahh, there's my husband."

"Not exactly what you bargained for, is it Scully?"

A shadow fell across her face.

"Stop it, Mulder."

He said nothing, just turned onto his back and closed his eyes. He felt her take one of his long hands in hers, slowly running her fingers over the back of it. A long silent moment later, she whispered to him. "Don't ever say that to me again."

He opened his eyes and looked at her. She met his gaze with shimmering eyes . He felt her reassuring hand on his, caressing, giving him what she could.

He closed his eyes again, for he had nothing to offer in return.


She watched him from her perch on the edge of the bed, watched as his mouth made silent words and his fingers clenched and unclenched. His eyes remained closed but she could see rapid, fluttering movement beneath the lids. It had been like this since he'd come back last week. He would be sleeping soundly, then suddenly his limbs would jerk, and it would start. Instinctively, her hand went up to touch him, soothe him, but she stopped short of contact with his flushed skin. She had tried rousing him the first few times it happened, but he would awaken disoriented and upset and turn away any comfort she offered. So now, she just watched over him until it played itself out.

Tears needled the back of her eyelids as he moaned quietly She wanted to hold him, wash the fear away with her kisses, still the trembling limbs with her hands. But he was so far away now, even when he was awake. He barely looked her in the eyes. He'd gone away her husband, and come back a stranger. And all the reassuring words and soft caresses she gave couldn't make it right.

She'd never felt so powerless.


He spent hours in dreamless dozing, a careful attempt at balancing between the sharp recall of wakefulness and the panic of sleep. Even so, he was aware that she spent a great deal of time at his side, watching. Even when she was silent, he could feel her there. And he knew she was afraid.

So was he She wanted him to talk, open up, let her carry some of his suffering. She didn't say it in words, but he knew. She would lie with him quietly, her fingers stroking his hair or making soft patterns on his arm. It felt so good, and he could forget - for a while. The sound of her breathing would lull him, and he would feel so warm and sheltered that the grip he held so tightly would loosen He would wake up shaking or crying out, feeling every bit of it again.

So he began to turn away. Detaching himself seemed the only way to maintain control.

He was awake when she entered the room this time, his back to the door. His eyes were closed, but she must have seen him stir because she came and sat heavily on the edge of the bed.

"I brought you something to eat, Mulder."

He turned his head and glanced at her, but kept his body facing away. "Thanks." He felt himself attempt a smile that he was sure must have looked more like a grimace.

"How are you feeling?" He closed his eyes again as she put her palm against his forehead, then moved her fingers to inspect the spot on his collarbone that had been cracked.

"Still tender?" she asked.

"Just a little."

"It's a gorgeous day outside, Mulder. Do you feel like taking a little walk with me?"

"No - I don't think so, Scully."

"You're sure?"

"Yes!" he said, his tone sharper than he'd meant it to be She was silent for a moment. When she spoke again, he could tell that she'd turned on her clinical voice in defense.

"Well, then... I want to take a look at your eye again." He felt her touch his cheek as she clicked on the ophthalmascope.

"Not right now, Scully."

"Mulder, come on. Let me look..."

He sucked air in between his teeth as he turned to her and grabbed her arm.

"Scully, please!" he hissed. The look on her face burned him to the core. He dropped her hand as she stared at him, and he turned back to face the wall.

"Please..." he said again.

...leave me alone...

The words hung in the air between them, unspoken and drawing blood. In a moment he felt her weight leave the bed and the door close quietly. He opened his eyes.

Bare feet on cool tile. Blinking a few times, he made his way forward, closing the bathroom door behind him. He went to the mirror and stood there, as if expecting something to change. His hand moved up and covered his left eye.

Nothing.

But he didn't want her to know.

When he'd discovered the darkness this morning, his own lack of response surprised him. Objectively, he knew he should have been cursing, yelling, crying - something. But all he'd felt was numb.

Half his vision.

Half his courage.

Half his mind.

So this is what half a man looks like, he thought.


Her back was aching something fierce today. She stood up straight and pushed both fists into the small of her back, trying to rub away the spasm. She could have asked someone else to put away the supplies they'd received this morning, but pride wouldn't let her concede much to this pregnancy. She didn't want anyone carrying more of the burden just because she had a backache. Besides, there wasn't much left - the shipments they received these days were scanty and infrequent. Luckily, so was the patient load lately - the manufactured virus had cleared out the surrounding area pretty well. For the last few weeks the only new cases they'd been getting were local residents and victims of an occasional isolated skirmish A few months ago she would have welcomed the break. Now - she wasn't so sure.

For many months, her days (and nights, for that matter) had been hectic and exhausting. She would go from one patient to the next, her main concern being how best to help them with meager supplies and makeshift equipment. It left little time to do more than eat and sleep. But now - now, there was time to think.

It could be over soon. Then what?

Or, it could start all over again.

A baby.

And Mulder. A sigh accompanied his name on her lips.

"What's wrong?"

Scully smiled at the welcome voice and turned her head.

"Hey, Julie."

Julie walked around to face her. "I heard that sigh, Dana."

"Oh, I'm tired, my back aches, you know - the usual stuff."

Julie folded her arms in front of her and stood firm. "That was not an 'I'm tired' sigh, girlfriend."

"I'm fine, really."

Julie's mouth twisted to one side and she rolled her eyes "Yeah - okay." Then she gave Scully a conspiratorial smile. "I know what'll cheer you up - let's go listen to the heartbeat. I should be giving you a little check up this week, anyway."

Scully didn't require much convincing.

Julie retrieved the doppler and they found a quiet room Scully lay back on the bed as Julie measured her growing abdomen, then squirted a dab of ultrasound gel on her belly. She turned on the doppler and ran it smoothly across the taut skin, listening for the heartbeat. They both smiled when the "swish-swish- swish" sounded, strong and regular.

"Looking good, Dane," Julie said. "Has Mulder heard the heartbeat yet?"

Scully looked down at the floor as she sat up. "No," came the curt reply. Julie sighed and sat next to her on the bed.

"What is it? Is it Mulder?"

Scully shook her head. She felt Julie's hand on her back and she looked away.

"I haven't seen much of him since he came back," Julie said softly. "Is he all right?"

Scully shook her head again. "No. No, he's not."

Julie waited silently, giving Scully a comforting squeeze on the shoulder.

"He eats what I tell him to, drinks what I tell him to, takes his medication - all in all, a very obedient patient," Scully said. "He stays in bed most of the day with his eyes closed, but I know he's not sleeping." She looked at her friend. "He's hardly asked a thing about the baby, Julie."

Julie nodded. "He needs time, Dana - it's only been a couple of weeks. I mean, I can only imagine what happened to him while he was gone..."

Scully looked at the floor again. "I can only imagine too, since he won't talk about it. As a matter of fact, he hardly talks at all."

"He loves you Dana. Don't doubt that."

"I know. I just feel so - impotent, you know? I want to help him, but I don't know what to do."

Julie squeezed her shoulder again. "You're doing it, honey You're there - he just needs you *there* right now, don't you think? It'll just take some time."

Scully forced a weak smile. "You're probably right."

"Aren't I always?"

Scully chuckled, the first bit of laughter that had come from her in weeks. She looked at Julie with a watery smile, blinking back her well-guarded tears.


He was always listening for the sound of footsteps.

Usually he could not hear them, and his heart would drop like a rock when the door opened unexpectedly. He lay there so quietly tonight, listening, listening...

But he heard nothing. He tried to stay awake - he didn't want to be surprised this time. His body would start to float away, and he would catch himself with that twitch of exhausted muscles just as he was drifting off.

No! Stay awake. Stay awake. Stay...

And then They came, and he was suddenly, horrifyingly awake, and his mind started to run....

Would this be the time? This is it this is it this is it....

No! Nooo!!! He struggled, and abruptly his arms were freed. He swung wildly at Them, his fist connecting, and he heard screams...

... but they weren't his...

... someone was calling him, calling his name - where was this place? He fell to the ground, but it wasn't the dirty, greasy concrete that his face lay against. It was... smooth, cool, clean... he opened his eyes, and suddenly he knew...

Sweet Jesus.

He sat up, his heart racing, head pounding. It was dark, but he could make out shadows, and he scanned the room in a panic.

"Scully?" he called, his throat tight with anguish. "God, Scully... where are you?"

"I'm here," came the quiet reply.

On his hands and knees, he followed the voice to where Scully crouched against the wall. He crawled to within a foot of her and stopped as she instinctively put up a defensive hand.

"Scully? Oh, God... Scully..."

She stared at him with eyes round and glistening in the darkness, her voice little more than a whisper. "What the hell happened to you out there, Mulder?"

If he'd had a knife he would have gladly gutted himself.

Instead he backed away and leaned against a cabinet, pulled his knees up and buried his face in his arms. She made no move to come to him. Finally he spoke, his words muffled against himself.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

"I know you are, Mulder."

He lifted his head. "Are you all right?"

"Yes."

Silence.

"I'll leave if you want me to, Scully." If she said yes, he would die. It wasn't self-pity; simply fact.

"I don't want you to!" she said, her voice breaking. He closed his eyes and breathed again. "I want to * help* you, but I don't know how!"

He covered his face with his hands. "I can't... you don't understand, Scully..."

She came closer. "Help me understand, Mulder!"

He grit his teeth, the words being pulled out like splinters "I don't want to... I just... I want to forget, can't you see that?"

He felt her hands close on his wrists, sure and firm, and slowly she pulled his hands down.

"You can't forget, Mulder," she whispered. "You won't."

His eyes closed and he leaned his head back against the cabinet with a thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.

"I never should have left, Scully," he said, the words heavy with defeat. "I never should have left you."

"You didn't know! You did what you had to do..."

He looked at her, his eyes suddenly wild. "Oh yes - I did what I *had* to do! Typical, reckless bullshit! Rushing out to right the wrongs, all the while failing the people that matter. And what did it get me *this* time, Scully? Beaten, half blind, a useless coward..."

She shook his wrists and squeezed them hard. "Stop it! You're not a coward, Mulder!"

"You don't know, Scully..." He shook off her grasp and crawled away from her, refusing to show his burning face. "You don't know! What they did... thank God I didn't know anything! I would've given up my grandmother, for chrissake! I would've given *you* up!" He turned back to her, traitorous breath burning in his lungs. "What the does that make me, Scully? What the hell does that make me?"

Crying now, and she stretched her hand out to him. "It makes you a *man*, godammit! A human being! You're not a robot, not a machine..."

His fingers touched hers and she came, her arms clinging tightly around his neck.

"You're a man..." she sobbed against him. "You're a good man..." He held her to him, his unworthy tears finally falling where he'd wanted them to for weeks. They came in a silent downpour, his gasps for air the only sound. She stroked his hair and whispered to him between her own choked tears.

"*I* need you, Mulder... I need you... you're here now.. it's all right now..."


Later, he lay awake long after she had dozed off in his arms. He tried to close his eyes, but each time he did the sensation of her soft skin against his fist came rushing back. The fact that he hadn't been aware of his actions did nothing to lessen the sickened twist of his stomach at the memory. He looked down at her face and his fingers hovered just above the reddened area on her cheek, then pulled away.

She still loved him, despite... everything.

How could that be?

His gaze traveled down and settled on the roundness of her abdomen. After all this time, after everything that she'd lost... why now? Gently, so very gently, he rested his hand on her belly. A sadness burned through him as he realized it was the first time he'd touched her there since he'd come back. Then he felt it, and he stifled a gasp. Again, moving... real... he pictured tiny limbs stretching, and he wanted to weep again when he knew that she'd been feeling this for weeks without him.

"Amazing, isn't it?" she whispered.

He looked at her and nodded, afraid to speak.

"She... or he... will even respond to me sometimes, like this..." She took his hand in hers and moved it to the other side of her abdomen, where she tapped and prodded against the taut skin After a few moments he felt movement beneath his hand there, as if the baby had followed the stimuli.

"Oh God, Scully..." He smiled in wonder as he met her eyes again, and her face lit up in response.

"Mulder..." she began, then shook her head a little and looked down at their hands again. He brought his hand up and turned her face back to him.

"Tell me," he said.

"I've been waiting..." She closed her eyes. "I was afraid I'd have to do this by myself."

"I'm sorry."

She looked at him again. "No - Mulder, it's not your fault. I was... just afraid..."

Scully, afraid. It tore at his heart.

"Don't be afraid anymore." His lips met her forehead softly "Not of me."

"No..."

She looked at him with such longing and he felt himself come alive for the first time since he'd left. She leaned up and kissed him, and he couldn't help the tiny whimper that escaped at the sweetness of it.

"I've been waiting for you..." she murmured. "...I've missed you so much..."

"Oh, baby..." He buried himself in her kiss, wanting nothing more at that moment than to be surrounded by her skin and her scent and her warmth. His hand caressed the length of her - smooth thigh; tight, round bottom; strong back - familiarity tempered with the soft changes he found. His hand kneaded her breast gently, and he was amazed at its fullness.

"Can we...?" he asked hesitantly. "I mean, is it okay?"

She touched her lips to his ear, and the feel of her breath against his skin melted him as much as the words she spoke.

"Make love to me, Mulder."


He had barely touched her since his return. Now, his rough hands stoked a neglected fire on the skin beneath them.

Her own hands had been busy in healing, worrying, soothing ways - wanting to reach for more, but rebuffed by the far off look in his eyes, the turning away. Her fingers explored well-known places, but with the awareness that he was not the same man who had last walked out the door. This man was tattered and raw, and she wanted to be so, so careful.

He gripped her thigh and pulled it toward him, his hardness pushing against her.

"Are you for real?" he whispered, his disbelieving sigh in her ear. "I dreamed about you so many times, Scully... I'd wake up, sure that you were right next to me... but you weren't... and I'd tell myself 'one more day- just make it through one more day'..."

She blinked back tears and held his face in her hands.

"Did you feel me thinking about you?" he went on. "I pretended I was holding you, sometimes I could feel you, smell you..."

She leaned her head back as his mouth went to her neck "Yes... yes..." she said. His lips moved in feathery kisses across her throat, stopping at the place where the throbbing pulse gave away her desire. He held his lips there gently for a moment, feeling the beat of her heart.

No words had ever moved her more. A tear escaped and slipped to the pillow beneath her.

"I love you, Scully... I live because of you..."

She pulled his mouth to hers and drank him in, unable to bring him deep enough.


The taste of her was overwhelming, and suddenly, he needed to taste her everywhere.

Sliding down, he nibbled her chin, made his way down the slope of her throat into the valley between her breasts. He thought back to the first time he had touched her there, amazed at the smooth softness of the delicate skin. Down, down... over the tip of her sternum, a small flat plain, then up over the taut bank that hid secrets within. Hesitating a moment, he circled her belly button with his tongue. He felt her draw in a sharp breath as he came to the edge of her soft curls, and the visions of madness were edged aside by the memories of her heady scent. As he dipped his tongue into the well of honey and musk, a small spasm shook him and he came a bit against the sheet.

Her hands reached for him and twined in his hair as he licked and suckled, wordless moans coming from her lips. She began to writhe as she quickly came close to the edge, and he grabbed her hands in his to hold her against him. Oh, he remembered this, he remembered this... she pulled against his hands, so close, biting into his palms with her nails. Suddenly she exploded, convulsing, and she cried out his name as he let her go He looked up at her just as she threw an arm across her eyes and burst into tears.

Quickly he moved next to her and gathered her trembling body against him.

"I'm sorry," she said, her teary voice muffled against his chest.

"Shhh... it's okay... it's okay..."

And it was. Oh, it was.

She circled him tightly with her arms, and he could feel what she was telling him. They lay like that for a long time. For this moment, he could forget. He could lock it all away while she was in his arms, feeling only her tender touch instead of that of madmen. He was still wet and hard against her belly, but he could wait. For this, he could wait.

When he felt her touch him, her slender hand sliding up his thigh and onto his throbbing cock, he nearly came undone. Her lips slowly brushed across his chest, stopping here, stopping there, leaving behind burning imprints in his flesh. When her tongue circled his nipple once, twice... he couldn't stop.

"Let me in, Scully... please..."

She pulled herself up, bringing one leg over as she straddled his thighs. Leaning down, she kissed him again, her belly warm and full between them. He took her hands and pushed her up, holding her there, captivated by what he saw. His hands left hers and cupped her breasts, softly molding them, and she tilted her head back and covered his hands with her own. So full, nipples darkened and firm - he sat up and took one in his mouth as she moaned. It was different, sweet - making ready for a baby. At the thought, his hand went to her abdomen, softly stroking, feeling the tiny thing move against him, and he was filled with the wonder of this woman. More than sensual, more than erotic... he'd never be able to describe the feeling flowing through him right now.

He lay back and she moved above him, centering herself, and he held his breath as her wetness touched him. Slowly, she lowered herself onto him, watching him. He closed his eyes - concentrate, concentrate, not yet, not yet... The sensation of her warm silk sliding over him was almost more than he could endure Knowing this, she waited there snug against him, until he began to move slowly. She followed his rhythm, gripping his hands as he held her there, rocking.

"Mulder..." she whispered.

He opened his eyes, questioning.

"I want you to look at me."

He watched her as she moved against him slowly, holding his hands in hers. Her eyes never left him.

"I love you." Her voice was a healing stream, and it covered him, gently washing his wounds.

"I love you, Mulder..." Soft, so soft - like the feel of her body against him.

"You're safe here - safe with me..." Strong, so strong - protecting him like no other could.

She leaned down over him, her cheek against his, arms around him. His hands clutched at her back, wanting her closer as she moved with an increasing rhythm.

Oh God... oh God... oh God...

Her hushed voice in his ear. "Let it go, Mulder... let it go.. I'm here..."

'she's here' - two words that could reclaim him, they spun over and over through his mind.

she's here

she's here

she's here

He gave himself to her, his mouth in a silent 'O', sweet sweet sweet surrender.


And so he began to emerge, slowly, often reaching for her as he did. The nights that he awakened sweat drenched and gasping for breath became fewer as he allowed her in. Weeks turned to months as he again became aware of a cool breeze against his cheek and the colors in a sunset.

Their life became almost... settled, for a short time. The number of patients that were seen at the hospital dropped slowly Two of the doctors and all but two nurses left to go where their services were more urgently needed. Scully found herself tiring quickly as her pregnancy progressed, and took advantage of the well deserved rest.

Then the day that they all knew would come, did.

At Joe's request, the few of them that were left gathered in a small conference room. Joe wasted no time getting to the point.

"The camp is moving on," he said, looking at the table "They feel that this area is 'fairly'" - his fingers made quotations marks in the air- "secure now." He looked up at the small group around the table. "You know what that means."

No one said a word. They all knew of the hospitals and Red Cross stations that had been attacked in the absence of armed protection. The aliens may have been defeated, but the men and women who had hoped to gain power with them fought on, and they had no respect for rules of war.

"I think we should close down." Joe looked at Scully. "I'm sorry, Dana. I know this isn't exactly good timing, but it's not going to be safe for you here either." Scully nodded slightly and pursed her lips, unwilling to show her true concern. As close as she and Julie could determine, the baby was due within the month. She didn't relish the idea of picking up and moving God knew where at this point. She glanced over at Julie, who was watching her with a worried look.

Joe continued. "We only have sixteen patients right now, and I think the majority of them could go home in the next few days. Major Hill has agreed to transport any that need continuing care before they leave."

Julie spoke up. "Joe, the closest hospital is over two hundred miles from here - I don't think McCarty or Levine would make it that far."

Joe sighed and pressed his fingers together, resting his chin on the tip of the pyramid for a moment. "I know," he said finally. "But we aren't going to be able to help them if we're all dead," he said, looking at Julie. "Are we?"


She found Mulder outside, pen and paper in hand. He'd taken to writing periodically, stuffing the loose papers into a box under the bed. It seemed to be helping him work through the things that he could not give voice to. He was so intent on the words before him that he didn't hear her approach, and she smiled a little as she watched him. He didn't seem so different than he had that first day she'd walked into his office, so many years ago. And yet he was, both of them were, in so many ways. In her wildest dreams she could never have imagined the tale that they would live together, could never have hoped for what they would mean to each other Bill had once asked her if it was worth it, if *he* was worth it.

Even after everything, she would have to say yes.

"Penny for your thoughts," she said.

When he looked up and smiled at her, that curious little feeling twisted up in her chest - the same one that came in the morning when she was waking up and felt his warmth beside her Of its own accord, her hand went to her heart and she smiled back at him.

"Oh, they've gotta be worth at least a dime," he teased.

He folded his papers inside a book and lay them aside as she sat next to him and took his hand.

"I'm sorry for interrupting you," she said.

"Don't be silly. I love being interrupted by you."

They sat in silence for a few minutes. Her eyes were drawn to the horizon where the sun was just beginning to cast it's orange and pink hues of goodnight. She was going to miss this place, these people. At least while she was here, there was a certainty to each day, a purpose. Now...

"What's wrong?" he asked gently.

She took a deep breath, exhaled. "They're shutting down the hospital, Mulder. We'll all be leaving."

"What? Now?"

"Yeah. The camp is pulling out, and it's not safe for us here without them."

"Where are we going?"

"I have no idea," she said, her face betraying an unaccustomed insecurity. "I guess we could go wherever we want It's different now that things have settled down a bit... I know we're not out of the woods yet, but with the government back in control in Washington..." She looked at him. "I guess what I'm saying is, I'm ready to let someone else finish the job, Mulder. I'm ready to rest."

He nodded and stroked her hair. "I know you are, babe." His gaze traveled down the long road that led away from the hospital. "Wow. No jobs, no money, and we can go wherever we want. This must be what it felt like to be a hippie."

She chuckled despite her apprehension. "Yeah. Not exactly a style of living that I'm used to. I won't know what to do with myself."

"Just think, Scully. It's like a new world out there. A different world, anyway."

"I know," she sighed, leaning into him. "That's what scares me."


The next week was busy. Patients were discharged or transferred one by one, until there was no one left but the staff and Mulder. They packed up what was salvageable so that it could be used somewhere else, and the night before they were slated to leave they stood on the front steps and watched as a truck drove away with the remnants of their little hospital. None of them expected to be sad to see it go, but the moment became strangely emotional for them all. They had waged their own small battles within these walls - many won, but too many lost - all at a cost that would never be calculable. They had been bound together by tears and blood and struggles for the smallest triumphs. And they all knew that they would never be the same.

Mulder slept fitfully that night. In his dreams he was walking, walking, walking... he kept thinking that he was almost to his destination, although he had no idea what that was. Finally he opened his eyes and realized he was alone in the bed.

He threw on some clothes and walked out into the empty hall. Hearing only his own bare feet padding softly on the tile, he looked into each room he whispered, "Scully?" Finally, he found her in another hallway, pacing in the shadows. As he approached he saw her stop and lean against the wall with one hand, heard her breathing change for a moment.

"Scully?"

She turned to him, her eyes wide and tense.

"What is it?" he asked, taking her hand in his. She just shook her head. But as they stood there it came again, and she bowed her head and leaned into him, concentrating. When it finished, she looked at him and tried to smile.

"Oh my God," he gasped, finally understanding. "You're in labor, aren't you?"

"It's okay, Mulder. I'll be fine."

"But... Scully... what about..."

She pressed her lips together and stroked a hand down his chest, as much for her own reassurance as for his, he realized.

"It's not bad yet, Mulder. I didn't want to wake you for a while."

"Oh, shit," he sighed as he pulled her against him. He rubbed her back and held her as an anxious frown creased his brow. "You should lie down," he said. She backed away a little and looked at him.

"No... it feels better if I walk around." Her mouth turned down in a self deprecating grimace. "Some timing I have, eh?"

"I should get Julie," he offered.

"No, no... not yet. I don't want everybody worrying about me." She squeezed his hand a little as another contraction moved through her.

"Oh, geez... what should I do, Scully? I don't know what to do!"

"Just walk with me for a little while, okay?" Her voice was reassuring, even now. "And calm down. I don't want you hyperventilating and passing out."

"Okay, okay..." He took a deep breath. "Walk. I can do that. I think."

They moved slowly, stopping every few minutes as Scully concentrated on the work at hand. Between contractions their voices melded softly as they spoke of past and future, until she was unable to focus on much else but the increasing ache in her center.

Back in their room, she wrapped her arms around his neck and they waltzed the slow dance of a ritual unchanged for ages. She was now silent for the most part, her heavy breaths the only sound he heard above his own pounding heart. Occasionally a few words escaped quickly from her lips:

"Rub my back..."

"Right here..."

"Hold me, Mulder..."

"Too tight..."

He did all that she asked, and when she asked for nothing he just stayed with her quietly. Somehow he sensed that she needed him not to interrupt her in this; it seemed to be instinctively in her to know what to do. He was amazed, awed, knowing that he would never see her in quite the same way again.

Finally, as the sun peeked its first streaks through the blinds on the window, she began to lose her control. Just a bit, but it frightened her, he could tell.

"Get Julie, Mulder," she said between clenched teeth.

When he returned a few minutes later, Julie was at his side, wild haired and clad in pajamas.

"Jesus, Dana! What're you doing?"

Scully kept her eyes closed, taking in even breaths and letting them go slowly. Julie brushed her hands over her hair and took a deep breath. "Okay, okay..." she said to herself. She turned to Mulder. "I'm gonna go get some stuff, I'll be right back."

Scully sat on the edge of the bed, hands in a fierce grip on the mattress. Mulder kneeled before her and smoothed the hair out of her eyes.

"It's okay, babe... it'll be over soon..."

"How do you know?!" she moaned at him tearfully "Ohhhh, here it comes again, Mulderrrr....."

Her hands went to his shoulders and he winced as she dug her fingertips into him. She leaned her head against his and rocked back and forth, back and forth, guttural moans coming from deep within her now.

Julie returned after what seemed an eternity, her hands full of equipment which she promptly dropped on the floor.

"Shit!" she cried. "Mulder, bring that table over here!"

He did as ordered, and Julie opened packages and lay out some instruments and gauze, all the while muttering under her breath.

"I *knew* you'd do this, Dana... I *knew* it! Lucky I kept this stuff just for that reason..." She pointed a finger at Scully "You damn well better not pull any shit, because we can't do a C-section now, you know!"

"Sorry..." Scully managed to say. Julie dropped down next to her and gathered her in strong arms.

"Oh! *I'm* sorry! Everything'll be fine, Dana, don't worry... now lie back and let me examine you."

Mulder stood back, hands clenched together, stepping anxiously from one foot to the other. He watched as Julie put on a glove and reached beneath Scully's nightgown

"Holy... Dana! You're almost ready to push!"

"No shit," Scully moaned.

There was a knock on the door behind Mulder. He opened it a crack to see Sarah and Dan standing there holding towels.

"Here," Sarah said, shoving them at him. "Tell Julie we'll be right out here if she needs us!"

He nodded mutely and closed the door, then turned and held the towels out to Julie.

"Here."

She smiled at him. "Mulder, take a deep breath... that's good... now put the towels down on the table, okay? Good boy." She pointed up toward the head of the bed. "Now get up there and do what I tell you."

He knelt at the edge of the bed and took Scully's hand. Her eyes were shining as she looked into his, and he couldn't help the tears that formed and overflowed.

"I love you!" he said, burying his face in her neck. She patted his head with her free hand before another contraction washed over her.

"Ohhh! I have to push, Julie!"

"Go ahead, honey, go ahead."

"No - wait - oh, wait a minute!" Scully struggled to sit up, and she grabbed Mulder by the collar as she did. "Mulder! Wait...!"

He locked his hands around her wrists and brought his nose within a few inches of hers.

"Look at me, Scully." Suddenly he felt remarkably calm He looked into her frantic blue eyes and whispered.

"Shhh... shhh... shhh... it's okay... shhh..."

Her grip on him relaxed as he breathed with her, slowing her rhythm, holding her eyes. Julie spoke up in a reassuring tone.

"Dana, why don't you let Mulder sit behind you and help you push, okay?"

Scully nodded mutely, so Mulder eased onto the bed behind her. She leaned back into him and looked at Julie.

"Another one's coming," she whispered.

"Okay, now get ready..." Julie told her. "When you feel it, start pushing a little."

Scully pulled her knees up and held them with her hands Mulder wrapped his hands over hers from behind. He felt her body start to tremble, then he felt the forcefulness, the power that she held, as she began to bear down. He held his breath with her.

"Good," Julie was saying. "Now do it again."

She did. Again, and again, and again, until he lost track and thought that something must certainly be wrong. He watched Julie's face as Scully pushed, looking for any sign of distress. But there was only joy and tearful encouragement.

"C'mon, Dana! Oooh, I can see the hair!"

It had hair!

"C'mon, Dana! You're so close! Almost done, almost done..."

Julie put on gloves and lay a few instruments on the sterile towel in front of her. "Almost, Dana... almost..."

He willed his strength to her, whispering in her ear "Almost..." he echoed. "Almost... almost... almost..."

She cried out only once, at the end, as the head passed into the open air. Mulder could barely catch his breath as he looked down.

"Oh, God!" he heard himself say over and over. "Oh, God, oh God..."

With a final burst of strength, the shoulders were delivered, and the body slithered out, wet and slippery.

"It's a girl!" Julie shouted.

He broke down as the baby took a deep breath and wailed, tiny arms and legs flailing. Scully reached back and held his head to her as she laughed delightedly, and cheers went up outside the door.

He watched silently through a cloud of tears as Julie wiped the baby off, clamped the cord, and released her into the world. All the while the baby cried ferociously, becoming more pink and real as each second passed. With deft hands, she was swaddled and lain on Scully's chest where the diminutive cries quickly stopped.

Scully didn't say anything for several minutes as mother and child gazed at each other, both enraptured by the meeting. He reached out and touched the pudgy cheek, and a little rosebud mouth turned to seek his finger. He laughed and kissed Scully's cheek.

"Oh God, Scully... she's so perfect! How did we do this? She looks like you -"

"Mulder-" She turned her face to him, and he saw her tears for the first time today. "I know where I want to go."

He arched an eyebrow at her, puzzled. "What? Go? You mean when we leave?"

Her lips trembled as she whispered to him. "I want to find my mother. Please, Mulder."

He wrapped his arms around both of them, holding them tight as he kissed her wet eyelids. "Of course we will. We'll find her, babe. We'll find her."

"Okay..." she hiccuped. "Okay..."

From a few inches away, a pair of bright shining eyes watched them in wonder.


Many hours later, as the sunlight began to wane, he sat on a chair by the side of the bed. Only after all had been introduced to their new daughter, and mother and baby had been fed, bathed, and checked several dozen times, were Mulder and Scully left alone to acquaint themselves with this new person.

He still could hardly believe it.

He watched the two of them now, Scully asleep with the baby contentedly suckling at her breast. They were already bonded together, a circle of two, and he prayed that the small one grew to be just like her momma. He found a sheet of paper, and began to write.

'You are here, and I am a father and I am amazed. You were an unexpected miracle, and yet I almost feel as if you were meant to be here all along. I know you already. I've seen your face in the moon, heard your cries in my dreams. I've looked into your eyes before. I think I've been waiting for you, and didn't even know it.'

He paused a moment before folding the paper and tucking it into a nearby box, one that held things which had seemed so important before today. Then carefully, quietly, he slid into bed beside the two of them. He should try to rest too. They were beginning a long journey tomorrow

End


Comments delightedly received at (rn500@usa.net )

Author's notes: I began the first of the 'Revelations' stories as a simple stand-alone tale, but as I wrote I realized that the potential was there for more. So I named the story 'Revelations I', just in case I had the inkling to eventually continue. Well, of course, the first story was barely posted when the next one began to flesh itself out in my mind. I apologize if anyone mistook this series for a WIP (I have learned my lesson on posting those!), it certainly wasn't meant to be.

I appreciate all the feedback I have received on this series. I want you all to know that you have made a little wanna-be writer's heart very happy! Linda Hopelessly Romantic X-Files http://www.reocities.com/Area51/Station/2978

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