Title: Comme Si' Bella
Author: marianne the insomniac
Author's page: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/4486/
Category: X-Files
Genre: Horror/Adventure
Written: 05/09/2007
Words: 24518
Rating: R/NC-17
Disclaimer:
usual they don't belong to me but to CC, FOX and 1013. But the story is mine as well as the unknown characters.
Classification: T, R, A
Rating: PG to NC17 properly labeled
Keywords : MSR and Skinner (just can't leave him out.)

Summary: A snow storm holds them in Casper after a case in another very small town. Strange things happen and not only a jealous Mulder gets caught up. Are there vampires? MSR


Chapter One: Comme Si' Bella

Wyoming, Casper
Saturday, January 17th

07:10 pm

Agent Dana Scully threw her napkin down on the table. "Mulder, if you don't stop this I'm going to shoot you again. And it will hurt."

She was really pissed off at her partner and she'd had just about enough of his snide comments.

Startled, Mulder just looked at her open mouthed for a moment. She looked lovely, attired in the light green velvet skirt and its matching jacket. Just right for the strong winter they had encountered on their new case in the area near Casper. God, he knew it was supposed to be the beginning of her vacation on some cruise with some med colleague of hers. Although the case had been resolved, exposing another hoax by some students, they were still in Wyoming.

They just reached Casper the day before yesterday. At least it was more comforting than the little town up the hill, but nevertheless her ship would have left by now on the cruise she was taking ... without him. Okay, he had been a smartass to her since he heard of the cruise but was it his fault they'd gotten the case two weeks ago and that it took longer than it should have and then they wound up being snowed-in in Casper?

No. Okay, so it was his fault he didn't figure it out by the trace of evidence the students had left. She had figured it out, and she'd been right since the beginning.

Perhaps it was time to make some apologies, before she got too pissed off with him. "I'm sorry, Scully. ..," he said when he was interrupted by a strongly-accented tenor voice.

"Dana? It's really you, mia cara!" Surrounded by a laughing group, a tall dark haired man pushed the others away. This just got more laughter out of them than indignation with him. "Come sei bella, mia cara. You changed nothing in all these years. I would recognize you even in a thousand years."

"Oh, my God! Tony! What are you doing here, rather than at the most luxurious mansion in Beverly Hills?" Scully exclaimed with a broad grin forming on her face, taking all the anger away in an instant.

Mulder's eyes seemed to boggle out of their orbits when he watched the overly profuse bear hug the giant was giving to his Scully.

"Oh, Dana. You hurt me. I'm proud to tell you, that I'm il direttore of this town's General Ospedale." He stood straight up, but as she was still crushed in his arms her feet left the ground. She didn't seem to mind, as Mulder could see from where he still sat dumbfounded. "Come and conosci my staff."

Scully was still in the air when she turned to Mulder. "Tony, let me introduce you to my partner Fox Mulder first. And, please, would you let me down now?"

Tony gave a startled look at her and then to the handsome man sitting with a strange look at the table behind him.

"Partner?! Mia cara, did you marry? Oh, I've a broken cuore. My beloved Dana in the hands of another." This was uttered with a suffering look in the soulful dark eyes.

"Don't be silly. He's just my work partner. Let me introduce you to 'Agent' Fox Mulder. Mulder, this is my good friend Dr. Antonio Garibaldi Medici di Ventura." She couldn't help but say all the name, since she always had to laugh at it. And, promptly, she did laugh.

"Tanto piacere di fare la Sua conoscenza, Agente Moldo. ... Agente?!" he asked then while still shaking Mulder's hand. "Oh, sorry." And dropped the hand.

Mulder just hoped nobody noticed that he almost winced from the bear shake. His hand felt all but smashed.

"Yeah. Agent Mulder and I are with the FBI."

"Mia bella Dana, un'agente dell'FBI?! Mamma mia. Come sit with us. And have some catch up. We really have to talk. FBI!" he said again and led them to the table with the hospital staff with his hand placed at the small of Scully's back. Mulder was feeling definitely out of place, like a fifth wheel, and he really wasn't enjoying seeing the giant's hand placed on his Scully. Now he was even holding her shoulders with one arm while introducing the agents to the others. Mulder barely acknowledged the group sitting around the three joined tables. He couldn't follow what they all were talking about when the bar was filled with music.

"Dr. Tony, you promised to sing us an Italian song tonight."

Shouted one from the bar and soon all in the bar cheered.

"Sing... sing... sing." They began to shout.

Scully just smiled up to him and sat back, while he smiled back to her with his dark eyes glistering. Finally he stood up and held his hands up.

"Ma! Molto bene. I've promised last week." He went to the band and climbed to the stage. He didn't take the microphone they wanted to give him, but turned to Scully and said, "Just per te, Dana." He grinned and went to take a guitar instead.

He gave a short introduction solo and than sang soulfully in his strong tenor and stepped down the stage towards Scully while singing. He really didn't need a mike at all.

"Comme Si' Bella . You are so beautiful, ... ."

Mulder couldn't believe his eyes; he even bent down to one knee in front of Scully. He didn't like tenors, conveniently forgetting he had some Mario Lanza CDs in his bookshelf.

When the song ended everyone was clapping and whistling, wanting to hear another one.

"Ma!" Dr. Tony exclaimed. "Just one per night. I said so. Otherwise I will soon run out of songs in my repertoire. But a Tarantella will be fine now, boys," he said, turning slightly to the band on the stage.

The country band bowed towards him and began to play an awkward Tarantella they had learned from the doctor since he had arrived in Casper. Nobody could resist the Italian doctor.

"Dance with me," he said softly to Scully and took her into his arms once more. He made almost everyone join them on the dance floor.

All but Mulder.

After the Tarantella the country band began a romantic country song and the bandleader sang softly to the heartbreaking strings.

Scully was still encircled in the strong arms and laughing while dancing. Tony held her really close now and whispered into her ear. "This partner of yours, mia cara, is watching every step we take. Is he always that ... ."

"Dr. Tony. It's from the Hospital. There's an emergency," said the barman.

"Ah, mia cara. Always an emergency. Would you like to come along?"

"Not a bad idea, Tony. I would like to see your Hospital."

"What about your partner?"

"Mulder? I don't know. He doesn't like hospitals very much," Scully said, still smiling, and turned to Mulder who suddenly was a step behind her.

"I would like to come too."

"Molto bene, Agente Moldo."

General Hospital Casper

09:15 pm

"Dr. Tony. Thank God, you came. It's unbelievable, but we have two corpses and twenty injured from God knows what."

"Ma, what happened?" Dr. Tony asked the disheveled nurse.

"The two corpses have been mutilated, and some in the ICU have as well. It's terrible."

"Madre Mia!" Dr. Tony exclaimed when they entered the ICU.

All beds at the station were occupied. The mutilated patients were all in intensive care.

Mulder entered the ICU walking behind his Scully and the doctor who was still guiding her with his hand on the small of her back.

Couldn't this giant go without touching her? he thought not for the first time, when something took Mulder's attention as they approached the first victim.

"Scully, look at that." He pointed at the two tiny marks on the victim's neck. When Scully approached he was already at the second victim. There were the same tiny marks and some more on their feet and arms.

"Vampires?" asked Dr. Tony unbelievingly.

Scully just turned towards him, arching an eyebrow. One was already a pain, but two?

End of part one

Part Two

Wyoming, Casper
Saturday, January 17th

11:10 pm

"... besides the small marks on the second corpse, both are totally drained of blood." Scully ended her forensic report. She placed the recorder into her pocket, walked past Mulder, and slowly took the latex-gloves off. She began to vigorously wash her hands after throwing the used gloves into the hazardous waste container.

"Don't begin," she only said, glancing back at him while changing from the green hospital jacket to her own light green one.

"Ow, come on Scully I'm not saying there are really vampires here, but someone or something who thinks he is. It wouldn't have been the first time," Mulder said, but muttered. "On the other hand nobody has proved there aren't vampires around."

"So you think, we have a new case?!" she said smiling a bit.

"Yeah. And I already informed Skinner. It's all fine as we are already at the location of the crime, and snowed-in. But, Scully, I think we should buy some winter clothes. It's really getting colder."

"It wasn't me who forgot to bring along a winter-coat, Mulder. But you're right we need some more as it seems we'll remain here awhile." A smile lit her face up. "Tony invited us to stay at his house down the street for as long as we remain here. It will be more comfortable than that motel you found. I can't wait to eat his spaghetti. He is such a wonderful cook." She marveled, "He even makes the spaghetti himself."

Mulder just closed his eyes a bit then asked, "Was he with you at the med school? One of the professors?"

"Professor? God no. He's your age, but he was a senior in his last year. We always had so much fun when he was around. Let's go. There's nothing else we can do here and he's waiting to take us to his place." She gave a last tug at her velvet jacket, before turning around to walk down the hall. Mulder followed a step behind. He opened the director's door for her after knocking and led her in by placing his hand at the small of her back. His hand remained there when Tony looked up from some files.

"Here you are. Mia cara, you must be tired. Adiamo to my house. Marcella is awaiting us with a light supper," he said while standing up. When he was placing his hand on the small of her back, he found another hand there. He arched an eyebrow at Mulder over Scully's head. Interesting, he thought, but remained serious and didn't take his hand away, only placed it a bit higher while leading Scully out to the parking lot. But he had to smother his laughter at the awkward situation. Yes, this was really going to be interesting.

"Marcella is here?" Scully asked with a broad smile. Mulder never saw her smile or laugh that much in all the time they were together. Well, as partners for five years now.

"Sure, or do you think I can live without her or that she would let me alone in this wasteland America? She wouldn't go back to Italy." He smiled when he felt Mulder remove his hand. Yeah, that was really interesting.

"Marcella! Tanto piacere," Scully exclaimed in Italian and went to embrace a shorter woman of about sixty years of age.

"Ma, bambina dai capelli rossi. You didn't change a bit since the last time we saw each other." The woman in her dark dress said with a strong Italian accent. "And still so thin. You have to mangiare more."

Meanwhile Tony was observing Mulder, interested to see his reaction to Marcella. He was rewarded. On the way to his house the brooding agent had been relaxed after they entered the car, but now he seemed all tense again.

"Ah, that is your partner? Tony, you didn't say it was such a bell'uomo. But, so thin too. You American don't eat enough, and when you eat it is hot dog. Sit down here all is repaired," she said while guiding the agents to the dining room where all was prepared for the late meal.

"Mangia che ti fa bene!" exclaimed the older woman with a bright smile when Mulder was sitting at the table, hesitant to eat the spicy cannelloni.

Laramie Mts.
Sunday, January 18

10:50 am

"Here is where we found the corpses and the other victims. All year long about one missing person was reported per month." The young police officer said, pointing to an old cabin. " Recently, that increased to 5 per month."

The agents walked around looking for more evidence than they had been able to glean from the report. It was really cold, freezing cold.

Mulder knelt down to take a closer look at a bush when a little glint in the winter sunlight reflected for an instant. It was a strange amulet half buried by the roots of the bush. He examined it closer after he placed it into the small plastic evidence bag. It had an odd shape but what was more fascinating were the two eye shapes with rubies in the place of the iris. It seemed old, really old. Some signs adorned the outer edge.

"What is it, Mulder?" Scully asked, when she reached him, her feet sinking deep into the soft snow.

"Some kind of amulet, I think. I don't know. It seems old." He handed it to her and stood up. "I never saw anything like that before, but the signs on it seem a lot like runic characters in a way." He rubbed his hands together when they headed for the house.

"I think it will be best to send it to the Lab as soon as possible."

They entered the house.

Scully was saying, "Tony mentioned that the airport was opened this morning." She paused and exclaimed, "What is that smell?" She almost stepped back. It wasn't a pleasant smell at all.

The living room walls were smeared with blood, with the same signs as the ones on the amulet. She got it out of her pocket and identified the same pattern used around the door frame.

Mulder looked over her shoulder. "Yeah, they're the same. The amulet has some relation to what was going on here." He looked up to meet the young deputy's eyes, who was standing in the door frame slightly trembling. "Where's the man who found the victims?"

"Jonathan Branks lives in Casper, sir. He has a small grocery shop. Sometimes he goes out hiking usually with friends. I can bring you to him," the deputy said anxiously. The agents could see that he was disturbed by all the blood.

"Later, Deputy Gordon. Where did he find them?"

"One of the corpses was found right here. Branks was trying to find a phone to call for help for one of his friends, Charlie Smith. When he looked through this window, he saw the body. He ran back to call the police from the restaurant three miles from here. The rest of the bodies have been found in the basement by Sheriff Duncan, Deputy Strauss and myself ," he said while guiding them through the house to the basement.

It was colder down there than above. The cellar walls were of natural stone, part of the mountain rocks. About fifty rings of iron hung from the walls with hand cuffs on them. The heavy door was of forged steel.

"What do you know about this house, Deputy Gordon?" asked Scully after examining one of the hand cuffs. There was still dried blood on it.

"Not much. It was always considered to be spooky around here, in fact nobody knew there was a house here at all. It's not a common hiking place, and nobody comes into this region at night, because of the wolves."

Casper

6:00 pm

The days were short in this winter month and when they headed back to Casper it was already beyond three in the afternoon. After their short visit to Jonathan Branks they headed back to the hospital at about six o'clock.

"Mia cara, good to see you. We lost two of the victims this afternoon. The rest are still in intensive care. It is impossible to speak with them since all remain unconscious." He reached for his neck and rubbed on it. He was tired.

"Will they recuperate?" asked Mulder while rubbing his numb hands together, to give them more circulation. They felt like two ice blocks and drew Tony's attention to them.

"You should use some gloves around here, Agente Moldo," he said with a stern look and proceeded, "If all runs bene, yes, but I don't know when they will awake from this coma-like state. There was considerable shock from the blood loss and the cold. On the other hand, the cold was the factor which kept them alive." He took Scully into his large arms. "Bellissima, what about dinner? Marcella is waiting, and eagerly to feed this slim partner of yours." He chuckled holding her a bit too long. "That was the first time she didn't ask me if I was hungry. This bell'uomo made Marcella forget me. I think I should be jealous."

Scully chuckled too, saying, "So I can watch my weight hopefully. I was really terrified yesterday by the cannelloni. Really a light meal. What about tonight? Some lasagna?" she's asked finally in a teasing sarcastic voice.

She glanced at Mulder while smiling. He was terribly quiet since they reached the hospital. Right out broody. Her attention was threw back to Tony before she could think more about it.

"No, spaghetti. I made them two days ago and Marcella froze them. She finally is accepting the use of frozen food. Well at least the spaghetti; from the rest she wants to hear nothing about. Old habits."

End of part two

Part Three

Wyoming, Casper
Sunday, January 19th

09:10 pm

Mulder was still moody. He couldn't stand Dr. Tony. When he was on his way to the dining room he saw them kissing. The dinner went smoothly with Marcella around, but he couldn't sleep well. He never ate so much or, more accurately, was made to eat so much.

After her relaxing hot bath Scully was wringing out her wet hair, and she went to her room to change into some dry warm clothes. Much to her surprise, she saw Mulder sitting on her bed. "Mulder, what are you doing here?" she asked while running her fingers through her still wet hair. Mulder watched her and thought how he would like to run his fingers through the smooth hair. He sighed. "I thought we could go over what we have up to now," holding the file up for her to see.

Scully frowned, "Let me dry my hair first. Marcella gave me a hair dryer. It's too cold to let it dry in the air." She rummaged through her drawer, found her pajamas, then returned to the bathroom, to put them on, since Mulder was in her bedroom.

She really wasn't up to going through the files right now, but she knew how Mulder could get.

He was still on her bed, but this time with his back to the frame and one of the big pillows on his back, with only one socked foot on the floor. He definitely was making himself comfortable on her bed. The other pillow was placed beside him.

She sat down on the only chair in the bedroom and held the hair dryer while combing out her wet hair. Mulder looked up from the files he was studying and studied her. He never thought that something as simple as combing hair could be so sensual. Her eyes were closed and he could watch her without fear she would see him doing so.

"Mulder, why are you watching me?" Scully asked with her eyes still closed.

"Geez, Scully, can you see through closed eyes? I was just thinking if I combed your hair while you held the dryer, it wouldn't take so long." He looked speculatively at her, when she opened surprised her eyes.

She smiled then and held the comb to him. "Go ahead. My Mom used to comb it sometimes at night." She settled back when Mulder took the comb from her.

Mulder could hardly believe she would let him do this. He felt awkward; he never had combed someone else's hair before. His hands were slightly trembling in the beginning. Delicately he combed through the red tresses. After a while she turned the dryer off and held it on her lap with closed eyes. She let her head hang farther back as he continued to use the comb. He could see the pleasure she took from this simple act in her face. Her hair seemed like silk, reflecting in the soft lamp light and by the light of the full moon, which shone through the open window.

He ran his left hand after the comb through her silky hair until it was dry.

Scully opened her eyes and smiled up at him. "Mulder, that's something I could get used to it."

He smiled back at her, "You're welcome." and really meant it.

An hour later Dr. Tony walked through the corridor of the bedrooms and stopped short when he saw there was still light coming from Dana's bedroom. The door wasn't completely closed. He opened it slightly and saw the two agents sleeping head to head with files scattered around them. A cold wind was coming from the open window. He went to it, closed it silently and after a quick look back at the sleeping couple, he closed the door with a smile.

Yes, it was really interesting. They were deeply in love with each other but he doubted they knew it. Perhaps they were in need of a cupid.

"Ah, l'amore," he whispered.

Wyoming, Casper
Monday, January 20th

07:30 am

"I really can't eat anymore, Mrs. Di Ventura." Mulder complained while sitting at the table.

"Nonsense. You run a lot this morning. You need energy. Really. You are all bones." Marcella said and patted his ribs. "And call me, Marcella. Just this slices of bread with some mortadella. I made the bread specially for you, giovanotto, and the mortadella comes from Italy. My brother sent it with a couple of friends." She turned around, when she heard a chuckle from the kitchen door. "Dana, bambina, you have to look out better for this partner of yours, he is all bones. And now eat." She insisted and held the giant sandwich in front of him and placed it into his hand. "Ma! Mangia."

"Mulder, it's better to obey, or she will remain until you eat it. I know her."

Finally he gave in and took a big bite. It was really good, so he began eating in earnest, relishing the taste.

Marcella left the dining room to bring more coffee for them.

They ate alone, as Dr. Tony was already at the hospital.

An hour later they drove to the hospital with one of Tony's spare cars. As a lot of Italians he was fanatic for cars.

Another of the victims had died during the night. All others were still in the coma-like state, they were informed by one of the nurses.

"Agents Mulder and Scully, Sheriff Duncan on line 3." called one of the nurses from the front desk.

Scully went to take the call.

"Mulder, the sheriff just called to inform us of a new disappearance. It's a man from here. Ray Cullagher. Caucasian, 45 years old, married."

"How long has he been missing?" asked Mulder while shrugging into his new winter-coat.

"Since last morning. His wife called about an hour ago." Scully answered. They headed for their car.

Casper Sheriff's Office

An hour later

"Well, Agents, Deputy Strauss and Deputy Gordon will accompany you to the mountains. By the way, can you ride a horse? It's the only way to reach the place where Mr. Cullagher was last seen," asked the Sheriff from his seat. His right leg was in a cast as the result of na accident that happened while trying to rescue a boy. The agents could see that he would rather accompany them, than be trapped in his office.

"Yeah, we have some ... experience." Mulder answered after a quick glance in Scully's direction and seeing her affirmative nod.

"Fine, there will be equipment and horses waiting for you there. Hopefully Mr. Cullagher will be the last one to disappear into that region."

Somewhere in the Laramie Mts.

Monday, January 20

11:30 am

"Mulder, I thought you knew how to ride a horse." whispered Scully to her partner, when they reached a forest.

"I'm getting it, Scully. Don't worry. I'm just out of practice," Mulder whispered back. How his back and other, more southern, places hurt! He still wasn't an outdoors man and never would be.

Scully on the other hand seemed an Amazon on horse back. Yeah, he had lessons on horseback in England during his Oxford years, for a whole hour. It had been enough for him to recognize that it wasn't his hobby at all.

They rode through the forest halfway up the mountain. It was cold, ice cold. Mulder's hands were numb even through the gloves he was wearing.

The silence, and relative peaceful forest brought his mind back to the hour they woke up in the morning. He couldn't quite believe he slept with Scully in her bed. They were curled up like lovers seeking shelter and warmth in the frosty morning shades.

They awoke the same minute and stared into each other's eyes with the same astonishment. Scully was the first to extract herself from him.

One thing he learned this morning as well. That he was deeply in love with her. Okay, so he had loved her for a long time already, but it didn't hit him as deeply as it had this very morning.

He dreamed of how she would react if he said something to her like that. He remembered the day she was out for the weekend and he hardly could stand more than a few hours without calling her. Yeah, he had said to himself it was boredom but he knew better, it was simple longing to at least hear her voice, but she had kept hanging up on him. Dr. Tony ...

"Mulder. Mulder?! Hey, wake up." Scully punched him in the arm, riding close to him.

"Ouch! Scully, I'm awake."

"Yeah. Right. Whatever. But in dreamland nevertheless. What's the matter with you lately? Anyway, we've almost reached the place. I don't know, but I think we should have been more prepared in provisions and all. This is definitely not a friendly surrounding. Did you hear the wolves?" she asked finally.

By his surprised look she guessed not. She rolled her eyes. Her partner was so dense sometimes she hardly could believe it.

Deputy Gordon approached them, "Agents Mulder and Scully, I think it's better to halt and to take shelter. A snow storm is forming. It can be very rough out here."

Both agents threw their attention back to their surroundings and saw the heavy clouded sky. Mulder frowned. Just what they needed. Wolves, snow-storms, and a bunch of vampires. Couldn't it get worse? He was already freezing with the cold and concerned about Scully. It

was just a few month since the day her cancer went into remission. And it was definitely his fault she had missed her cruise.

The snow was already beginning to fall.

End of part three

Great thanks to Gerry Hill.

"Sure. Fine. Whatever, marianne, but hurry up."

Uhoh. Here comes part four.

Part Four

Laramie Mts.
Monday, January 20

12:45 pm

The weather was rapidly deteriorating. They could hardly see each other through the heavily falling snow.

"Please take these ropes, agents, and tie them around your waists. It's getting worse than we expected. We'll stop in a minute and erect the tents," said Deputy Strauss, his blue eyes looking concerned from under the blue knit cap he was wearing.

"What can we do to help?" asked Mulder when they came to a halt at a clearing in the forest.

"Take the horses and tie them together between two trees with this rope," the deputy said. Then he left them and went to help Deputy Gordon with the tents.

Mulder and Scully did as asked, and then re-joined the deputies. After the tents were both erected, the agents chose one and the deputies the other.

"Here, take this petroleum lamp inside. Gordon and I are trying to make a fire. At least the body heat should help to warm the tents for a while. Just keep it tightly closed," admonished the blonde, blue-eyed deputy. Before leaving, he gave them two more blankets in addition to their sleeping bags.

"Thanks, Deputy Strauss. If we can help with anything more, just call."

Two hours later

The two agents were trembling in their sleeping bags. The storm had gotten even worse and the temperature had dropped several degrees more.

"S-Scully."

"Y-yeah, M-Mulder?"

"Don't think I-I'm coming on to you, b-but what about w-we make one sleeping bag out of two? It's still too c-cold. We ... ,"

"O-okay, but take your boots off."

Without a second thought he took his boots off and hurried to zip both of the bags together. Soon they lay side by side with only their faces peeking out and it was already getting warmer inside than if they were each in their own bags.

"But don't make it a habit."

"Huh?"

"You do understand, Mulder."

"It's not my fault we got caught up in the middle of a snow storm."

"When I think that I should be basking in the sun, sailing the blue ocean on a cruise... . But no, I'm in the middle of a snow storm, hunting something or someone who thinks he or she is a vampire in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of wolves and ... it's your fault."

"Scully! I ...,"

"And not a word. I'm trying to sleep here. Good night," she said and turned to the other side.

"Scully, it's still day."

"Humpf."

"Good night then," Mulder whispered.

After a while...

"Are you still mad at me?"

"No, but I will be if you don't shut up."

"I'm not tired. Are you?"

"No, but you're quickly making me tired with your constant talking." Scully sighed and turned back to him again.

A growl made them sit up in one motion and reach for their guns.

"That's too close, Scully," said Mulder as they struggled out of the joined sleeping bags and put their boots back on.

The horses were neighing desperately, terrified of the increasing snarls and howls of the wolves. The two deputies were already out of their tents when the two agents came out of theirs.

One of the horses was being attacked by two of the wolves when Dep. Gordon fired on them. The injured horse bolted, tearing away from the rope which held it to the trees, and it galloped away taking two more horses with it.

Scully ran to the remaining horse while Mulder fired at the wolves. She held the strap with a firm grip and tried to calm it down. After succeeding to some degree, she turned around to witness a wolf attack.

"Be careful! There is a wolf behind you," she shouted to Deputy Strauss. It was too late; the wolf attacked as the young deputy began to turn around. He fell to the ground with a cry of pain. The wild animal bit forcefully into his arm, savaging it, and then another wolf leaped in to viciously bite through his heavy boot.

Scully aimed for one of the wolves' heads and fired, and then turned to the other and shot it as well.

Mulder headed to the wounded man and made sure the wolves were dead.

"Shit," cursed Deputy Gordon, "The horses are gone. What do we do now?"

"First of all, see if you can make a big fire," Scully answered. "The storm has abated somewhat and a fire might hopefully keep the wolves away from us. Here, take the remaining horse." Scully quickly went over to Mulder and the hurt deputy.

"How is it, Scully?" asked Mulder while helping her to take care of Deputy Strauss.

"No good. Somehow we have to get him back to Casper or somewhere else. The wolf almost cut his arm away. I can't do much to stem the blood flow, and if I keep the cord too tight too long he can loose his arm," said Scully, while attending the unconscious man. "Help me take him to his tent. It's already getting dark."

For the time being they all gathered in the same tent. The young deputy needed all the warmth he could gather for the long freezing night to come. The fire was finally high enough so they felt at least a bit more secure. The horse was tied near them and not far from the protective fire.

They couldn't take a chance on losing their last horse. It was bad enough that the first-aid packages were on the other horses. They took turns at guarding the area.

In the morning

"There's no chance for him here. One of us has to take the horse and bring him back," stated Scully with a firm voice. And there was also no question who would have to go. Even as Scully would have been more qualified to take care of Deputy Strauss during the journey, only Deputy Gordon knew the way back.

"Okay, I'm going, but, please be careful around here. I'll be back as soon as possible with more men."

They made a travois like Indians do and placed the wounded man in it embedded in blankets, the two sleeping bags and the remaining pieces from the deputies' tent.

Soon the agents were alone in the white waste-land.

They weren't left with much ammunition. In all they had two guns and a Winchester, their tent, two sleeping bags, some tools like a shovel and a pickaxe and some food.

05:30 pm

The days were short and soon it was dark again. They had investigated their surroundings a bit while it was daylight. Their best chance to survive, according to Deputy Gordon, was to make a hole like a cavern into the snowy ground and light a fire there. It should also be secure enough to hold off another wolf attack.

Far away they could hear a wolf howl when they finished their new housing. It was beginning to snow more heavily again, and the temperature had dropped even further.

They used the tent as a floor for their cave, so at least the joined sleeping bags weren't lying directly on the icy ground. It became rather warm in the confined space with the small fire.

"Sleep a bit, Mulder. I'll be the first to take the watch." She smiled at him.

"Sure. Fine. Whatever, but wake me in three hours." With that he laid back at her side, but remained awake and watchful for her sake.

End of part four

Part Five

Laramie Mts.
Tuesday, January 21

10:45 pm

Mulder decided that it was a pleasant feeling to have her curled around him that night. During his watch, while she slept, Scully had suddenly snuggled up into his arms. It wasn't as cold now as it had been before when they had cuddled together in the snow cave. Not at all. It was even turning a bit too hot.

He could hear the wolves trying to get into their shelter, but when the animals saw they couldn't because of the fire, they remained outside snarling and growling.

He had always thought that she loved him, but seeing her with this Tony made him realize that maybe it wasn't quite so. She seemed so much happier with her friend around. She never laughed with him like he saw her laugh with Tony.

Absently he began to stroke her cheek and the hair behind her neck and felt the tiny scar there. All of a sudden he remembered his despair when she had been abducted. Lost for three months and then brought back barely alive. She had survived it, only to discover the cancer they had given her. He could hardly believe that it was now in remission. Was he ever going to be able to forget the twists of fate? Twice she had been returned to him.

Why did this Dr. Tony with his silly name have to come and disturb them? It was his Scully. He saw her slipping away from him. Then he quietly berated himself that she never really had belonged to him any way. It seemed more the other way around. He sighed. Didn't she see he loved her? The hours passed and it was already midnight with him still brooding over his life and his partner. What a joke. Life partner would have been more accurate to define their relationship he thought until the day he learned of Dr. Tony.

Tony. Touching his Scully. Kissing her right before his eyes and the victorious smile on his face when he saw Mulder had seen it.

He grew angry now. If the man thought he was giving her up that easily, he was on the wrong track.

Couldn't the vampire attack have taken place somewhere else? Did it have to be right in this spider's surroundings?

Thinking of vampires he realized that he was hardly thinking on the case itself. Perhaps it was time to focus on it for the time being. He thought about the strange medallion. And felt uneasy.

Washington DC

Edgar Hoover Building

Skinner's Office

Midnight

Skinner sat silently in his chair going through some files. He hadn't slept well for the past few days. Nightmares were the least of his concerns. He felt lonely.

With his troublesome agent-duo out of town, he wasn't sure if he should feel easy or, more justifiably, uneasy. With Blevins dead nobody came to him to claim Cancerman's place. He could hardly believe the Cigarette Smoking Man was dead. Was he? He sighed. He had his doubts. Nevertheless, here he was again struggling with sleepless nights and his empty apartment.

Suddenly he had enough of the files and threw his pencil on the table.

The Hoover Building was silent at night with everybody gone. As silent as was his life.

From far away he could hear the night-guard approaching.

"AD Skinner?! Still here, sir?" asked the old guard.

"Yeah, Mr. Pendleton. But I'm on my way home. How's your wife? I hope she's well now."

"Yes, sir. She got back home last night. And thank you, sir, for your help."

"You're welcome, Mr. Pendleton. I think I'll go home now."

"Good night, sir."

Skinner went to his car and drove through the nearly empty streets.

The snow kept falling and he had to be careful with his driving. It took him more time to reach his apartment then usual.

The AD walked silently to the elevator after reaching the basement parking lot. As he was approaching his apartment door he took his key out, unlocked the door and went in. His next move was to turn the light on, hanging his coat up while placing his black brief-case on the small table beside the door. Soon his shoes followed, to be set beside the door in their usual place.

Finally he sat on his large couch and looked around. All was neatly in place. Suddenly he threw a cushion to the far end of the living-room.

"What a hell of a routine," he cursed under his breath and observed with disgust that the cushion had hit the wall and had knocked a picture to the floor. He sighed.

Picking the picture up from the floor, he held it in front of his eyes. Three young marines looked smiling up at him; he, George and Jorge.

"Get a grip, kid. Live a little. With your moron behavior all the girls will take a long path around us." he could hear the voices from his past and almost feel the hard tap on his back by the shorter George. Jorge laughed leaning on the frame of the cabin bed.

"Don't worry, Walt. We'll take care of you," said Jorge while patting on the youngest marines arm.

Skinner sighed again when the visions from the past disappeared. He was still looking at the photo of the three of them, however. George and Jorge, two people, but nevertheless the same names. This picture had been taken a week before they died.

"Live a little." He could hear again the voices echoing through his mind. Carefully he hung the picture back to the wall and turned around.

"Perhaps it's time to take a vacation," he murmured. And the thought did make his mood lift. Guadalajara, perhaps, where Jorge was born before he left for the USA. He still could remember his friend's description of his home town or Thailand. Skinner loved Asia and all its different cultures.

No, there wasn't any pressing case in the moment which needed his special attention. Not a bad idea to take a vacation.

Laramie Mts.
Wednesday, January 22

06:45 am

A growl drew Mulder's attention to the opening.

"Scully. Wake up," he whispered, while shaking her where she still lay in his arms.

Scully looked up at Mulder, only registering some instants later that she was lying partially over him. She hurried to extract herself from this compromising position and then heard the low growl herself. She reached for her gun.

"What is it?" she asked while grabbing her boots and putting them on in tandem with Mulder.

"I don't know," he whispered back. The fire was lower and the wood they had cut before was nearly gone. By the increasing volume of the wolves' growling, something was becoming a real threat to them outside. Then the walls of packed snow were being torn away by big pale hands with pointed nails. Through the opening gaps, several dark figures were revealed.

Scully fired when one of them grabbed for Mulder from behind. The claw-like hands left a swiftly-reddening spot on Mulder's forearm from the wound it had ripped open through the heavy coat. Mulder winced at the sudden pain and fired at the dark figures.

"Scully, come over here," he shouted from an opening on the other side.

She hurried to him while she threw the petroleum lamp into the fire. It burst and the waning fire roared into life with an intense, cleansing heat.

They escaped through the hole and ran for their lives higher up the mountain.

Soon they heard the dark figures following them. It wasn't easy to move forward since their feet had to struggle for each step that sank deep into the soft snow. They were almost on their knees with their hands helping to keep them upright in their struggle up the steep slope.

Their hands were numb from the freezing cold snow but they held their guns firmly nevertheless.

The partners heard the hunters closing the distance and finally came to a halt.

With glowing eyes and heavy growls the hunters surrounded the two agents. One was approaching them and they fired their guns.

End of part five

Creepy enough? No cuddle in the moment. Sorry.

Be careful to read on. I warned you. Brrrrr. Blood.

Part Six

Laramie Mts.
Wednesday, January 22

07:00 am

Their bullets hit the hideous figure right in the chest as it rushed at them, and it fell heavily to the ground. Growls from behind made them turn. A heavy hand swept Mulder off his feet and right into the arms of several of these beings. Scully tried to fire again but was grabbed by one from behind.

They struggled and kicked trying to escape but the monsters seemingly had super-human strength.

Scully saw with terror that Mulder was now unconscious and hanging in the arms of one of the beings. Its face was half hidden under the hood of a cloak but not enough that she couldn't see the two pointed teeth moving towards Mulder's neck.

"No!" she shouted and began to kick again. At the shout, one of the dark figures who were attired in a reddish cloak turned to Mulder and his captor. He hissed a command in a strange language Scully had never heard before. The half-hidden face turned to the being in the reddish cloak, eyes gleaming in the dark. Reluctantly he let go of the unconscious man to give him to one of the others, who threw him over his large shoulder like a bag of potatoes.

Scully was turned in the arms of her captor and for the first time she saw the demon's face with golden eyes which glowed like fire, just inches from her face. The evil grin on the pale figure's face drew her attention to the pair of gleaming, pointed teeth. It was like a nightmare coming true.

Vampires do not exist, she thought, desperate to find another explanation. Almost gently the monster placed her over his shoulder.

With incredible speed the beings moved on, climbing the mountain without visible effort, or so it seemed to Scully. The one who captured her radiated no heat she dimly realized. Far on the horizon she could see the first of the sun's rays touching the edges of the snow-capped mountain as dawn approached.

Wizard-like the monsters moved on and Scully realized that the one they had shot was on her right, moving as if nothing had happened. She could see the bullet holes in the cloak and spilled blood but no visible distress or pain.

With an abrupt increase in speed they almost flew over the snowy ground, even the ones who were burdened with weight of the agents. Suddenly Scully was swallowed by the darkness of cavern as the first sunbeams hit through the forest trees. Smoke was pouring off the last monster, whose back had received the brunt of the sun's rays.

A big stone was rolled in front of the cavern entrance, hiding the sun from its occupants and sheltering them in its cold stone walls.

Mulder was beginning to wake up as the two agents were placed in the middle of the cave and the monstrous figures surrounded them. All but one was clad in black cloaks hiding their faces from the two agents. They made no attempt at hiding the abnormally sharp teeth or the glow like burning coals where their eyes should be.

The snow was on the clothes of the trembling agents from their struggle before they were caught, leaving their bodies with a numb feeling. It was ice-cold in the cavern.

Mulder reached for Scully and held her tight as if he could protect her from what was surely to come. With a hiss one of the dark figures approached them and grabbed for Scully's head. But then a roar of terrible fierceness and a commanding voice held the monster in place. The hisses went back and forth in the strange language and finally Scully was released and the rest turned away as well; all but the one in the reddish cloak. But he didn't approach them in any way.

A pain-struck cry, sounding more like a howl, drew the attention of the two agents. To their horror they saw a man being bitten by the monsters. His screams increased in volume, and then he fell silently to the stony floor. There was no life remaining in his eyes when they began to tear his flesh in pieces and feed on it.

The two agents looked away from the horrendous sight to embrace each other, both realizing who the man had been. He would never be going back to his wife in Casper.

Two of the monsters walked over to another entrance which was also covered with a large stone. They removed it without effort and waited beside the opening.

The rest of the monsters walked to another chamber lit by some torches and the agents could see some niches in the stone walls.

Both of the agents got to their feet and backed up to a wall when they saw the two who had waited at the other entrance approaching them. The monsters kept glancing towards the one in red as they approached the terrified humans. Mulder placed himself in front of Scully trying to protect her even knowing it was impossible. But she stood her own ground and moved so she stood beside him, fully aware that it would probably be one of the last things she ever did.

The monsters grabbed them and brought them back to the middle of the cavern in front of the one in red. Their hands were like steel holding them in place.

The tall figure in red stood silently for a moment, seeming to gaze into their very souls. He held both hands up to remove the hood of the cloak from his head.

His face was chiseled like stone. No emotion and no humanity was evident on that pale face. The agents could not take their eyes off of him. The glowing eyes drew their first glance away from the pronounced sharp teeth to lose themselves in the blood-shot eyes where every nerve could be seen. Dark straight hair, long and sparkled with silver, surrounded the almost aristocratic face.

Scully could see Mulder struggle to get free when the one in red turned to her.

"Scully!!" Mulder screamed with anguish.

The monster held her face with his claw-like pale hand, paler than her own.

So much for the romances of Vampires, Scully thought. The bite hurt like hell. She felt herself growing weaker but the monster stopped before she could lose consciousness. With blurred vision she saw him approach Mulder and could see the pained filled face of her partner as the being fed at his neck.

Finally the one in red turned away, some of their blood still running down beside his mouth. Their two captors half-carried them to the recently opened cavern chamber entrance. The one with Scully had lowered his head to bite her neck, but her golden cross fell out of her blouse. He jerked his head away as if he had been burned and threw her into the smaller cavern, followed by Mulder. The cavern chamber was sealed again by the heavy stone that no human would ever have been able to remove.

Their eyes got used to the darkness and they could make out some figures who seemed to be attached to the walls and others who were lying on the ground.

"Welcome to the horror show," said one from behind without any trace of humor in his trembling voice.

"Who are you?" asked the agents as one.

"I used to be number one in my team. Sorry, I'm Tom Berrings. And this is Sam Forley. The others are barely alive. Those devils take care that not all of us die at once. You are the fresh ones. Who are you?"

"Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully with the FBI," introduced Scully weakly, while sitting up and leaning closer to Mulder.

"FBI?! Oh man, are you in trouble. Did you come alone?"

"One of our guides got hurt by wolves and the other took him back to Casper," murmured Mulder while rubbing his neck and holding Scully tighter to him. It was cold in the chamber but at least they had their coats on to keep themselves warm.

"Are you talking about that guy over there? He came in today with another but only he survived. Hey, Jerry, wake up," said the young man.

"Tom?" asked a sleep-filled, muffled voice.

"Gordon?!"

"Agents Mulder and Scully?" A shadow slowly moved closer to them.

"I see they caught you too. I'm sorry about Strauss," said Scully in a low voice, still feeling pain from the wound in her neck.

"So am I. At least he wasn't awake when they caught us," said the young Deputy in a trembling voice and soon he was crying in despair. "They tore him to pieces, and I could do nothing."

"I know, Gordon. It's not your fault. They have incredible strength," Scully said, trying to ease his feelings of guilt. "And we have to get out of here," she added, with intensity.

"No way, there is no way out. I checked it myself. The small hole in the back of the cavern leads nowhere other than to a dark abyss. Deep, but not deep enough to throw ourselves in it to escape this nightmare."

"There is always a way, we have just to find it. We may die trying to find it, but I'm not going to sit around, waiting to be the next course for those butchers."

"Okay, Mulder, but first let me take a look at the men here," said Scully as she approached one of the figures lying on the floor. Checking pulses, body heat and responses with her hands, she could feel that most of them were barely alive, while some were in a comatose state like the ones in Tony's hospital. The only ones who were capable of making an escape attempt were the two men besides Gordon, herself and Mulder.

"Is it day or night?" asked Tom, while they made their way to the small opening in the back of the cavern.

"The sun was beginning to rise when we reached the cavern."

"So we have until darkness to try to get away, before one of them returns and takes some of us for their daily feeding."

End of part six

Part Six

Laramie Mts.
Wednesday, January 22

Still in the morning

The agents would rather not leave the others behind but if they didn't get away there was no chance at all for any of them. They had to find a way out so they could bring some help back.

Scully passed through the small hole easier than the four men. Tom was leading, followed by Scully, then Mulder, Gordon and at last Sam. No one in the group escaped feeling claustrophobic to some degree, crawling through the small, dark tunnel. Tom had almost gotten stuck at one point but finally forced his way through the tight spot.

In some places they could dimly see their surroundings because there were small holes in the ground and sides that let in a tiny bit of light, but they weren't big enough to accommodate any of their bodies. Through some of the openings, they could see a distant glimmer of a lava stream. Through others, water dripped onto their clothes, which quickly froze, making them feel all the more numb from the cold.

Finally they got to a wider area of the tunnel, but it was totally dark again.

"Here is the chamber I told you about," said the young Deputy. "I investigated all along the wall and found no way out. There is no other exit at all, other than the one that brought us here."

"So let's check it again. Where's the abyss you told us about?" asked Mulder while searching with his hand for Scully. When he found it, Mulder held her hand firmly in his, vowing to himself that nothing would make him let go of her. He felt reassured when she squeezed his hand and didn't try to extract it afterwards.

"It's in front of from where we came in, ten steps at least," answered Gordon.

Suddenly there was a flare from a cigarette-lighter. The resulting light was dim but clear enough to make out the immediate surroundings. "I thought it would help us a little," said Tom with a wicked smile.

Thankful for the light, they looked around, but found no other entrance than the one they had used earlier. Disappointed, they headed for the abyss.

"Look, Mulder, that shadow at this side could be another exit," said Scully excitedly, pointing to the right.

About six feet below the edge of the abyss Mulder saw the shadow that his partner had spotted. Taking Tom's lighter, he leaned over the edge to take a better look.

"Yeah, it's really another exit, or so it seems from here. Help me get to it."

He stood up again, handed the lighter back to Tom, and then began to climb down. Holding on to the edge by one arm, he reached the entrance with the tip of his feet.

"Can you get me lower? I want be able to enter it."

"Perhaps," said Scully," we could make a rope with some undershirts."

"Yeah, take me up again."

Not needing the lighter for this operation, it was dark as everyone, including Scully, removed their undershirts. Once the garments had all been gathered together, it was Tom who knew how to securely fasten them into a sturdy enough rope.

Mulder went down again and soon was followed by Scully. The others found a rock which could hold the rope and the rest of the party followed the two agents. This new tunnel was a bit larger than the last and Mulder was leading now. It took them all the rest of the morning to reach the end of it. They found themselves in another chamber, slightly bigger than the last. A dim light was reflecting from glistening stones which hung from the ceiling and grew from the floor of stone chamber.

They looked around at the marvelous stalactite and stalagmite formations. Some stalagmites were over eight feet tall. But this area was ice-cold, making them forget about the wonders around them. Each breath turned into frozen vapor, which hung in the air in front of their faces. They trembled from the freezing temperature.

"There's an exit over here. Let's go for it." said Scully and began climbing. The path wasn't very stable, with loose rock everywhere, but they managed to climb it without incident. The next tunnel was even bigger and they could walk in it without any problem, but it led again into a smaller chamber with another exit. What really got their attention at this point was that they could finally see daylight filtering through this area. This last tunnel was again small but at least they hadn't to sneak through it but crawl on their hands and knees which were getting sore and even bloodied with all the crawling around they're doing on rough stone.

They felt their hearts lift with relief at least they were going to reach the outside of the caverns. This time Sam was leading the way, with Tom behind him, followed by Gordon and then Scully, with Mulder bringing up the rear.

A distant shaking began and suddenly some loose debris fell onto their heads. The shaking soon stopped, but the reprieve lasted only for an instant. With a roar, the shaking had become an earthquake. Huge blocks of stone fell from the walls and ceiling of the tunnel. The two agents had fallen a little behind the rest of the group. Mulder grabbed Scully by her feet and pulled her back toward him, and then launched himself over her when he saw a big block of stone breaking away from the wall. They heard some shouts and screams from the others as all hell broke loose.

"Are you OK?" they heard Tom's muffled voice. Mulder could barely move with his back hurting like hell, but he managed to sit up.

"Are you OK, Scully?" was his first question.

"Yeah. What about you?"

"Fine," than he said louder, "we're fine. How is it on your side?"

"Most of us got safely outside just in time, but a stone block hit Sam. He's dead."

There was a pause, then Mulder asked, "Is there a way for you to remove the blocks from your side?"

"No."

Mulder sighed, resigned to the situation.

"Don't worry about us," said Scully while reaching for Mulder's hand and squeezing it, "we're all right. Get the hell out of here and find some help, before it turns night again. We're secure here."

After a lot of talking back and forth the two men left to find some help.

The two agents crawled back to the chamber and saw that the other exit was also blocked. There was no way they could escape even though they could feel a light breeze of fresh air coming from a very small hole.

Mulder crawled back to the tunnel and tried to push some stone out of the way.

But the blocks were too heavy even for three or four people. When he returned, he searched for his Scully.

"Scully? Where are you?"

"Right beside you," answered Scully and found his arm by focusing on his voice. The agents felt very weak by the loss of blood and the neck wound still hurt like hell.

In this part of the cavern it was totally dark. Scully felt awkward at first when she felt Mulder embrace her tightly and place a kiss on her forehead. In the past few days Mulder had been touching her a lot more, ever since they had arrived in Casper. She was becoming used to it even to the occasional kisses he had given her back in the hospital before her cancer went into remission. And it felt nice to be embraced by him but she had given up her hope a long time ago that he could possibly feel more for her than for a sister. So it knocked her off-balance when she heard him whispering to her.

"I really meant it."

"What are you talking about?" she asked and snuggled more into his arms, seeking the warmth from his body.

"The other day when I asked you to marry me over the phone."

She was so surprised that she didn't answer at all.

"I felt so lonely and you hung up five times on me."

"So you wanted to marry me because you felt lonely?! That's hardly very appealing," she kidded half-heartedly to hide her sadness at it all.

"How can you say something like that? You know that I love you and can hardly survive without you anymore. You go away for a few hours and all I want is to at least hear your voice. Weekends are worse. And now comes this Tony who wants to snatch you away from me, but guess what? I'm not willing to let it happen." And with a final desperation he turned her towards him and bowed his head to kiss her hungrily, but he missed his target in the dark and kissed her nose instead.

"Mulder, what ...," she began to say but was silenced by his kiss of fierce determination.

End of part seven

Part Eight

Laramie Mts.
Wednesday, January 22

After midday

With fierce determination he kissed her again, taking her breath away. Soon he was lying over her, straddling her body eagerly with his own. He held her head up with both hands at first so she could not escape his ravaging mouth. Finally he let her go, regretting there was no light at all to see her reaction to the kiss. He heard her fighting to regain her breath while his own rasped in his throat.

"Scully?" he finally asked, feeling slightly ashamed. He must have lost his mind to attack her like he did but he just couldn't hold himself back at the thought of Tony having Scully's affection. Mulder's hopes, fears, and dreams were fiercely and irrevocably tied to his love for her. The cave-in had brought all these feelings out, leaving him almost mad for a moment. He had failed her again.

It's just like Mulder to declare his love now, when we're trapped in this chamber. But what the hell, she swore, pulling her partner down to give him a breathtaking kiss and managing to turn him onto his back. For the first time she got to nibble at his luscious bottom lip and than she invaded his mouth with her tongue. She felt his surprise as he was thrown off-balance and she smiled, but regretted that she couldn't see him or the situation they were in.

"I think this answers your question," she said, slightly out of breath.

Forgotten for the moment was the cave-in and everything else for as he held her tightly in an embrace. He continued to kiss her with all his soul. Feeling her trembling from the cold, he held her tighter to him. Her hands were ice-cold as were his own. Mulder sighed and placed her on his lap so at least she wasn't sitting directly on the cold ground. He was thankful to have been wearing a long, large coat. Opening the buttons, he placed her numb hands against his bare skin under his sweater and shirt, kissing her initial protest away. But she soon extracted her hands, quickly removed her coat, and placed it over both of them. He understood when she brought her hands back to the warmth of his body.

"Well, it's your turn to warm up your hands," she said with a smile, but almost went into shock when his cold hands met the skin of her back. Before long, however, it began to feel nice and not as cold.

It didn't matter that these two people were imprisoned in the darkness of the chamber; they felt lightness in their souls.

He caressed her thigh, slid a hand up her silky back again, and placed a kiss on her forehead. She kissed his lips before snuggling closer to him.

"Do you love me?" Mulder asked with a low voice, having to know but terrified of the answer. He could have misunderstood her; what could she see in him anyway? Was it just a reaction to the dangerous, possibly fatal, position in which they found themselves? He sighed when he didn't hear her answer right away.

"Do you have to ask?! Even I don't know why I should love such a ... you know what I mean. I do love you and why the hell didn't you say something before?"

If it wasn't so cold he would do a lot of things and not just kiss her fiercely.

"Fear, perhaps, to hear you say to me that you don't. If that had happened, I don't know if I could have gone on. You are the only one I have truly loved in my whole life. You are so very different from all women I have known. You are so very beautiful and perfect, but what makes me love you more is the beauty inside yourself. Your wittiness, your clear mind and intelligence, even when it goes against my own conclusions and beliefs at times. And the list could go on and on. How can I explain how much you mean to me? And ... you fit so nicely in my arms," he finally said in an amused voice.

"I'm not beautiful and perfect. My nose is too roman-like," Scully finally said, still marveling at his declaration.

"But I do love it," and kissed her nose with a smile. "You are lucky, mine is too long," he said. Embracing her more tightly again, he sat back against the wall of the chamber with his chin on her head. They were exhausted and sore from their struggling through the tunnels and from the loss of blood, so they soon drifted into sleep.

Laramie Mts.
Wednesday, January 22

In the afternoon

Trembling all over they awoke to the cold in the chamber. They were tired and hungry, not remembering exactly when their last meal had been. They were still snuggled together with Mulder's back to the wall. Suddenly the thought smashed into their minds that this could be their tomb for eternity. They clutched each other even tighter.

A scream of pure rage reverberated through the caverns.

FBI Headquarters, Hoover Building

Skinner's Office
Thursday, January 23

11:50 am

Skinner was sitting at his desk, which was almost cleared of paperwork in anticipation of his vacation the following day. He sighed with relief, sat back in his chair, brushed his long fingers over his face, and removed his glasses. He sat up when his phone suddenly rang and drew his glasses back on.

"Skinner," he said.

"Sir, there is a call from Casper, Wyoming, on line three," his secretary told him.

"I'll take it," he replied, bowing his head slightly. Casper. It could only mean trouble, knowing which of his agents were currently in that city.

"AD Skinner? This is Sheriff Jeff Duncan from Casper speaking," said a deep voice over the phone.

"Yes, what can I do for you?" Skinner was ready for the worst.

"Agent Mulder and Agent Scully gave me your phone number in case something should happen," Skinner sat upright. "Well, I'm worried about them right now. They were supposed to have returned last night and what's more worrying, two horses came back without them. Both horses had been injured by wolves it seems. With my broken leg I was unable to lead the search team, but sent some men out, and they found the horses on their way. Two of my Deputies were the agents' guides and they are also missing," the sheriff said in a rush.

"I'm coming down there on the next flight," Skinner told him, and gave more instructions before closing the connection. He had just known that his troublesome agents would somehow manage to spoil his vacation. "Vampires indeed," he muttered under his breath and made some connections before ringing Kim, his secretary. "Book a flight to Casper, please. Call me with the flight information. I'm going home to pack," and out he went. OK, so it wasn't his duty to search for his agents personally, but what the hell, it was his vacation time and he could go wherever he wanted. Instead of sun there would be snow.

Wyoming, Casper
Sheriff's Office

02:20 pm

"Dr. Tony, please calm yourself. We are doing our best to find them," said the sheriff to the tall man he called a friend who was pacing back and forth in front of him.

"Calming down? Madre mia, dammi pazienza. My friends are lost and you're saying to calm myself down?!" and began once more to pace back and forth. None of his patients had yet awakened, he angrily thought, but at least no one had died after the first several. He stopped his pacing when the door opened to reveal a tall man with a balding head and glasses, who was accompanied by two men. He guessed this would be AD Skinner who Dana had talked about.

"Sheriff Duncan? I'm AD Skinner and these are Agents Burton and Stonewater," he introduced himself and the two agents. Agent Stonewater seemed almost an Indian.

"Nice to meet you, sir," said the sheriff, addressing the important man with respect.

"There will be more agents later on, to help with the search. Could you please fill me in?" Skinner said after glancing at the big man, who was even taller than himself.

"Sure. But let me introduce you to Dr. Tony di Ventura first."

"Nice to meet you. Moldo and Dana are lodged in my house. I'm really worried about them." He shook Skinner's and his two agents' hands, and then stepped back again to listen.

The sheriff filled the FBI agents in as to what had been happening. They were about to leave when Tony spoke again, "I'm coming along with you."

"Tony, you can't be serious," said the sheriff, exasperated with his friend.

"If it didn't cross your mind, you need a doctor on the search and who is better qualified than me?" demanded Tony towering over them.

The sheriff paused for a moment, and then he said, almost smiling, "Sure. You're right." And right he was, since the doctor was an excellent skier, mountain climber, and even a former Olympic champion.

Skinner only lifted an eyebrow during the exchange, and they walked out to their cars. He was, however, momentarily surprised when he saw that the doctor was all ready for a search through the snow-capped mountains.

Part Nine

Laramie Mts.
Wednesday, January 22

At dawn

The scream of pure rage reverberated through the caverns. The two agents froze in their dark chamber. Another scream followed but this time it was agonized and was repeated almost immediately.

Hearing nothing else for awhile, they tried not to think of what might have caused those screams and busied themselves in an attempt to keep as warm as possible. Their throats were sore from the lack of water and from the cough which had made itself known some time ago, and was getting steadily worse.

The ground began to shake. Another earthquake. Mulder rolled Scully on the ground and covered her with his body. He felt some small rocks and debris falling on them before he lost consciousness when a rock hit his head.

Laramie Mts.
Thursday, Jan. 23

04:30 pm

A small group of men were headed through the woods on their horses, accompanied by a few pack-horses. Two of the men stand out from the other eight by their height.

One man was in front searching the ground and surroundings with keen eyes. Stonewater stopped short when he heard a faint sound and gave a sign to halt to the rest of the roup. There it was again; a short faint scream from their right, and growls of wolves not far away. They approached the area with their weapons ready and found two men half-hidden in the snow, surrounded by a pack of wolves. Galloping with their weapons ready they shot into the air to separate the wolves who were on the point of attacking.

It took another volley of shots before the wolves finally ran. The men dismounted to see about the two hurt men.

"Jerry," said one of the rescuers, as he and knelt down next to the trembling young man, and embraced him.

"Pa," said the young deputy with tears running down his face. He held on tightly to the older man but finally composed himself enough to try and get to his feet. The minute he did so, however, he felt dizzy, so he settled for just sitting up for a while.

"We have to go back to the others," Gordon suddenly said, and turning to Tom. "Is he alright?"

"Yeah, I am. Thank God you came around," said Tom, haggard and pale.

"Where are Agents Scully and Mulder?" asked Skinner while Dr. Tony attended the two young men.

"They're trapped in the mountains in a cavern of hell. We have to go back; I promised to bring help. And we have to exterminate the monsters as well. There are a lot of victims still in their hands and I don't know what will happen to the agents. We have to go back." said the young deputy frantically, his face as white as his shirt.

"Calm down, ragazzo, let me see to your wounds," said Tony with his tenor voice full of concern.

"There is no time to waste, and I am fine, just tired as hell," and jerked his head away when the doctor examined his sore throat. "I'm fine and it doesn't hurt as much anymore. The monsters bit me only once." The good doctor's eyes widened at that last statement. Vampires.

"Drink this, ragazzo, it will help with the blood loss." He turned to Tom, adding, "And you, too must drink it." Then Dr. Tony gave them each an injection and returned to his horse.

"Where is Donald?" asked another man.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Strauss, but Don is dead."

The man only bowed his head and then turned away to lean on his horse.

Determined to show his strength, the young deputy stood up. Just for a moment he wavered but was steadied by his father and was finally ready to go on.

Two of the pack-horses were prepared for Gordon and Tom, while Skinner listened to their report.

"They are ready to go with us," said Dr. Tony. The group mounted the horses and rode on toward the caverns. It was getting rapidly darker, but they didn't stop, choosing to keep going into the night.

In the Caverns

Same day in the afternoon

Scully awoke, feeling a heavy weight on her. It was Mulder. She shook him and he moaned.

The small rocks and debris were still around and on them. She tried to focus on a weak glow which was coming from somewhere to the right of where they lay." She could see that the tunnel to the cavern was partly open again, at least wide enough for them to get through she hoped.

"Mulder, wake up. We can get out," she shook him again and coughed.

Mulder shook his head to wake up, and to free himself of the gossamer webs in his mind. His head hurt as badly as his tortured back. He finally managed to get up and they headed for the tunnel, which they recognized as the one which would bring them back to the big stalactite and stalagmite chamber.

They moved with caution through the tunnel and over the rocks. Everything was still so unstable and with deep holes. They didn't know what time or day it was.

They noted that some of the superb formations had been smashed on the ground during the earthquakes. A soft splashing sound drew their attention to the floor of the chamber. The water they found there was warm and they eagerly they drank some from their cupped hands. It felt wonderful on their sore throats and it also warmed their cold hands.

A low noise made them turn around. Four beings cloaked and hooded surrounded them and a fifth came to stand before them. The red cloak hid the face partially but the evil grin showed them the pointed teeth from under the hood.

The black-coated figures were approaching when the red one hissed orders to them and they stopped.

"You thought you could escape from me," the deep voice growled at them with an accent evolved from everywhere and nowhere. He motioned for two of the beings to take care of the

two agents and they left the chamber behind. The hands were like steel on the agents' arms, leaving them no chance of escape.

They eventually arrived back in the first cavern and the agents were tied by their wrists to a pole which ran horizontally across the back of the cavern below the ceiling. Their arms were extended high above their heads, with their feet barely touching the ground. The cavern walls were all covered in writing with the strange reddish signs like the ones in the old house where the first victims were found.

Two monsters brought a man from the prison chamber whose hands were tied behind his back. Like an animal he was left in the middle of the cavern. The man was barely alive but enough to feel pain when they attacked him. Blood was drawn from him into a clay pot, ancient in its shape. The red-cloaked monster took it from the hands of his subordinate and made the two agents drink from the up. They choked and retched from the bloody taste, feeling sick to their souls. The monster only laughed and drank the rest with his eyes glistering red. The agents drifted into a half awake state no longer aware of the butchering going on around them.

A sudden explosion scattered the startled monsters. Hissing savagely the beings turned to the now open cavern entrance. Twelve men entered with their weapons ready to attack the monsters. In the sudden confusion the red cloaked monster took the agents away with him. He entered the chamber with the niches, certain that his subordinates would take care of the intruders. He hurried through the large tunnels with his burden on each shoulder without any effort.

End of part nine

Part Ten

Laramie Mts.
In the Cavern
Thursday, Jan. 23

08:00 pm

Skinner and Dr. Tony saw the red-cloaked being escape with the two agents and headed after him. One of the monsters got in their way so they fired a couple of rounds at him, but it seemed to have no effect. His claw-like hands lunged for Skinner's head and left a deep dripping gash on the AD's left cheek before he could duck away. With a grunt Dr. Tony attacked the monster and rammed a stake through his heart.

The monster just stared unbelievingly at the stick in his heart and than at the tall man in front of him. Screaming horrendously, the monster collapsed to the ground.

"I thought being prepared is better than to lose our heads to vampires," said Tony with a smile and showed Skinner his stake-laden coat. He threw some to the men with a sign to Deputy Gordon and then followed Skinner to catch the red-cloaked figure who had their friends in his claws.

There were too many tunnels leading in all directions but Skinner bent down and found a spot of blood on the ground, with more drops leading into one of the tunnels. Without a pause they made the decision to follow the trail of blood.

The two agents were placed almost gently on the ground in a chamber full of natural light. They slowly awoke from their dizzy half awake state, feeling the creeping cold without their coats on.

"Scully, are you alright?" Mulder whispered.

"Yeah, I'm fine. What about you?" she asked. At his nod she continued, "We have to take this chance to escape. The monster is not watching us at the moment." They rose to their knees and then with a leap they ran toward the tunnel. Scully was in the tunnel when she heard Mulder's scream of pain. The monster had lashed out with incredible speed and had thrown her partner near the edge of a deep drop-off. Without thought she returned to Mulder.

The monster hissed his terrible rage and moved closer to them with his fangs dripping. He held Mulder down with his left claw-like hand, laughing at the human's helpless struggle to get loose. He grabbed Scully's head with his other hand and sunk his fangs into her throat.

"Scully! No," cried Mulder and kicked the monster desperately. Mulder got hold of a tress of the monster's long hair and pulled at it with all his strength. The monster grunted, displeased. Letting go of Scully he turned to Mulder, looming over him like a devil, the eyes like red burning coals, the fangs dripping with Scully's blood. He was about to attack the struggling man when the ground began to shake in a earthquake heavier than before.

The monster stood up and ran to the other side of the chamber where there was an altar, trying to take a medallion from it. Before he could grasp it the ground under his feet broke apart, and with a howl he fell into the open rift. The rift continued to widen toward the two agents. Mulder leaped to Scully's side. At the last minute Mulder grabbed her hand as her body fell into the rift. The after-shocks were still going on and Mulder fought with all his soul to hang onto Scully and not follow her more into the chasm. The hand that desperately grasped the edge was weakening and flayed raw, but he still had a tight grip on Scully's hand.

Finally the earthquake came to an end and all was quiet except for the trickle of pebbles and dirt as the last of the debris settled.

Mulder held on to Scully as if to dear life, his face ravaged by pain. One of his feet found a tenuous foot-hold on a ledge and slowly he tried to pull Scully up. Inch by inch his trembling arm was raising her up his body when he suddenly felt her hand beginning to slip from his.

He stopped moving fearing she would slip away. His arms were both shaking the effort.

Looking down at her in anguish he saw her wake up. Her beautiful face with the shining blue eyes gazed up at him.

Scully's face was smeared with dirt and with her own blood. She was too weak to try to help him.

"Mulder, let go," she whispered in pain when she saw that he was losing his hold on the edge.

"Never," he cried out, "and when you fall I swear I'll throw myself behind you."

"Mulder, I'm here," the agents heard a whispered voice as if not to startle them. Then a hand was grasping his own and soon another grabbed under his armpit. Slowly but surely he was hauled upward.

"No!" Mulder cried desperately when Scully's small hand slipped away from his grasp.

He tried to struggle out of the hands which, with a final pull, brought him over the edge and onto firm ground. "Scully!" he cried and kept kicking around to get free.

Strong arms embraced him in a hug of comfort, "Mulder, she's fine. Tony got her. She's fine. Don't worry, she's fine," said Skinner in a soothing tone as if to a child after its worst nightmare.

A growl made them look toward the edge of the chasm and they saw the red-cloaked monster emerge from the rift. "They are mine," hissed the monster, his eyes pure burning coals. He moved closer to claim what was his.

Skinner reached for his gun and emptied it into the monster, but it only took a few steps back as the bullets impacted, and then kept coming. The AD stood up while easing Mulder to the ground. He glimpsed a shadow at his side and knew it was Dr. Tony who was attempting to place himself in front of the wounded agents, too. The horrendous figure tried to pass them by pushing them aside but didn't count on the force and determination of the two tall men.

They fought him so furiously that the being was forced to turn and defend himself. Skinner slammed his fist into the middle of the hideous face, followed by another blow and another without pause. It seemed to Skinner that the monster staggered back at the onslaught. And then Tony rammed a stake into the monster's heart, and pushed him over the edge. A howl followed and looking down they saw the monster decompose before their eyes and then there was silence.

When they turned back to the agents it was to see them sitting open-mouthed in shock, and then they smiled. But the smiles faded after an instant as the cavern began to tremble again.

Skinner grabbed Mulder from the ground and seeing that he hadn't any strength left in him, tossed the agent over his shoulder. Meanwhile Tony picked up Scully and then they ran through the tunnels and chambers of hell.

Half away back they saw Agent Stonewalker coming to their rescue and motioned him to lead the way out.

The cavern shook and rocks broke loose, but they managed to reach the main cavern before everything behind them collapsed.

"Sir, put me down," Skinner heard Mulder's muffled voice from behind, "please."

The AD grinned and walked to the waiting stretchers, carefully placing the agent onto one of them. After checking on Scully, he put a blanket over the trembling man.

Now that he was assured that his agents were being taken care of, he inspected the area. The helicopter he had asked for was already on the ground and waiting for the first victims to be taken to the nearest hospital. He saw more helicopters coming from the horizon. Some of the victims were being enclosed in black bags, but most of the injured were alive, thank God, although weak. Dr. Tony had taken over the care of the victims after he had done all he could for the two agents.

The AD turned to Agent Stonewater. "What about the bodies of the ...," he hardly knew what to call them but finally said the word he thought he would never pronounce in a case, "vampires?"

"Nothing to hold, sir. After we stacked them they fell into dust. Only the cloaks remained and the rest of the clothes."

Skinner heard Mulder sigh, but then he saw him grin weakly. "Perhaps it's better this way. Don't know how it would have sounded in the reports, sir." Skinner rolled his eyes. He could feel a headache forming.


Laramie Mts.
In the Cavern
Thursday, Jan. 23

09:50 pm

Making its last round-trip between the cavern and the General Hospital in Casper, a helicopter landed on the mountain to pick up the remaining victims. Mulder and Scully lay on stretchers, bundled up against the cold, and looked ready to get away from the place. Skinner and Dr. Tony accompanied them, leaving the authorities and other FBI agents behind to complete their work.

Skinner observed his two troublesome agents closely. Although they looked like they had gone through hell, he saw there was something behind those languid glances at each other that they tried to hide.

He smiled inwardly. It seemed to him they had finally found each other, but damn he hoped that their resolve rate would stay high. However, even though relationships between partners were frowned upon, there was no law against such a thing. He would see to it that they remained together if the closer relationship really became official. More after Mulder's display to go after Scully at the dep drop-off. He still felt chilly about it. He hoped they would settle down a bit. Aliens, shape shifters and now Vampires. What would be next?

General Hospital in Casper

Friday, Jan. 24

01:30 am

"But, Dr. Tony, they can't stay in the same room together. That's against hospital rules," said an elderly chief nurse.

"Rules, rules, rules. I'm il direttore of this Ospedale. I can change the rules. Rule number one: Family members can stay in the same room," said the tall doctor, shoving the good nurse out of the room.

"But, Dr. Tony, they are not family members." She stressed the not.

"Dammi pazienza. They are partners, that's the same," and with that he closed the door behind the nurse. "What are you looking at?" he asked Skinner and then the two agents. "You are il Assistente Direttore of the FBI but I'm il direttore here. I came to tell you that all the men and women who were in a coma woke up at the same hour the red cloaked vampire died. It must have been a spell. That will teach me not to have believed what my Nonno told me when I was a little bambino. And from where did they come after all?" he asked looking around.

Skinner cleared his throat. Half his face was bandaged from the nasty slash he had received from one of the monsters. "I think we'll never know for sure, but we've just received the report on the medallion you sent to the FBI-Labs. It is at least four thousand years old, and the signs on it are derived from runes. Origin unknown so far."

"But we all saw them," said Mulder with a tired smile.

"Yeah," answered Scully, "but we have no proof except for what we saw."

"It doesn't matter," replied Mulder, causing everyone to stare at him with

bafflement. The only thing which mattered to him was that Scully was safe

and alive.

Was it possible? Mulder fumed when he saw Dr. Tony had the courage to kiss his Scully again in front of him.

"Come sei bela, mia cara," said the doctor while caressing Scully's cheek. And she smiled back.

"Did someone call my mother?" asked Scully after clearing her throat. It didn't ache all that badly anymore.

"I did," answered Skinner, "and told her you were fine so she wouldn't have to worry and come here. Well, she's coming in on the next flight." When he said the last sentence the door opened and Maggie Scully came in.

"Dana, Fox!" she exclaimed and rushed over to their beds. Giving first Scully a kiss and hug she gave the same to Fox and held their hands. "Are you alright? No broken bones? Why are your throats bandaged? When I got here I saw a lot of patients with bandaged throats. They were changing the dressing on one, and I saw that he had tiny holes like a vampire's bite in the side of his neck. I think it was a deputy and he told me where to find your room," she said, and looked from one to the other. No one answered. She sighed. A movement behind her made her glance around. "Mr. Skinner, how nice to see you. Thank you for calling me," she said to the tall man and approached him with her hand extended.

"You're welcome, Mrs. Scully," he said, smiling at her, and again tried to guess her age. Formidable little lady, he thought to himself. Just like her daughter and it was easy to see where Scully got her determination and intelligence. She had changed her hair style.

"What happened to your face?" Maggie asked worriedly. He didn't answer.

"He saved our lives, Mrs. Scully. The vampire slashed his face," answered Mulder for him with a wicked grin.

"Mulder, be quiet," scolded Scully. If she were an inch closer to him she would have slapped his side, the only part that wasn't aching.

"But it's true."

"Shut up."

"Vampires? For heaven's sake could someone explain what's going on?" Maggie asked with a threatening look around.

"Dana's mother?! Tanto piacere di fare la Sua conoscenza. I will explain to you all you want to know. You know, those agente dell'FBI say nothing. I know," said Tony broadly smiling. He had seen the appreciative glance Skinner had given Dana's mother. After all, Moldo and Dana didn't need him anymore to play cupid at least for the moment, he was very pleased with the stage their relationship had grown. But these two ...he grinned to himself ... surely needed one. He didn't think the AD was for the older type, perhaps he needed to settle down a bit.

Dana had told him Skinner was a widow and so was Dana's mother. What better chance to get them together and make all of them one happy family? He had seen how much the AD cared for his agents and that was just not normal.

A man can't live alone, thought Dr. Tony, conveniently forgetting that he himself was still single to Marcella's despair. And this brooding Assistant Director guy just needed someone to lighten him up. First he had thought to invite one of his unmarried friends, a really stunning brunette named Sue-Ann with dark eyes to meet him, but then this dark-haired short woman with the big blue eyes full of soul had arrived in time to make him decide differently. And so, under Skinner's frown, he related all the details he knew to Mrs. Scully, not forgetting to mention Skinner's heroic role in the event.

"Tony, that's confidential classified FBI material," Scully said, trying to quiet him down.

"And am I for instance un agente dell'FBI?" he asked, and then continued to fill Maggie in. "...and then he got hold of Mulder's arm before they could fall farther down, never thinking he could fall down with them too. He had to pull Dana and Moldo out of it, and in the end I could at least take Dana's hand and lighten his burden. They were surely going to end up in the large rift if it hadn't been for him. And when they were finally in sicurezza, the vampire monster came from the chasm. It was terrible and he wanted to take those two again," he gestured towards the open mouthed agents, "but AD Skinner gave him a fist in its ugly face and again, and again, giving me a chance to stake it. And that was it almost," he ended his narration.

Maggie's head whirled with all the information she'd received and felt a little shiver run up her spine. "Mr. Skinner, you don't know how thankful I am that you were around to save my daughter and son. And you too say, there are really vampire's around?!" Skinner felt his cheeks growing hot when Maggie looked at him unwaveringly with her intense blue eyes. In fact he never had seen such shining blue eyes.

FBI Hoover Bulding

Skinner's Office

Monday, February 09

09:45 am

Skinner sat thoughtfully in his chair for a moment then finally stood up. He had remained two more days in Casper before he had headed back to Washington. He never did take his vacation, preferring instead to go back to work. His mood was spoiled for a vacation.

He had been feeling restless for the past few days. And chided himself to be thinking too much of blue eyes. And after all she was an older woman, not his usual kind.

He sighed.

There was a ring from his intercom.

"Skinner."

"Sir, Agents Mulder and Scully to see you for their weekly debriefing."

"Show them in," he said curtly and sat down, picking up a pencil as he studied the file in front of him again.

"Sit down," he said without looking up for a moment, then leaned back in the chair. "Fine to see you back."

"Thank you, sir," answered both as one. Skinner thought it was amazing how they acted in such harmony and held his smile back when he remembered how on the second day in the hospital he had caught them kissing. But what he thought more amazing was that Mulder had

kept glaring at Dr. Tony every time the doctor visited, hugging Scully and so on.

"Dr. Tony has informed me that neither one of you should be given field work for the next two weeks, and there are no pressing cases at the moment. I trust that you can work in your office for two weeks. And no trouble please. That's all. Dismissed," he said, and he was again studying his file before they got a chance to say anything.

He heard the door close behind them.

Finally he reached into his desk drawer and retrieved an evidence bag. It held the medallion, useless for now, since no one remained who could make use of it. But staring at it he felt uneasy. He called for an agent and handed him the sealed bag to be left at the archives or at the labs.

They could deal with it.

An hour later Skinner decided to go to lunch and headed for his favorite restaurant. He felt like having Italian food today and smiled when he remembered Dr.Tony's aunt.

Maggie and he had been invited to remain in Dr. Tony's house as long as they stayed in Casper. And the good doctor hadn't taken no for an answer.

He stopped in his tracks as he was pulled back to the present when he saw Maggie in a booth with a younger man. He relaxed when he saw that he was a red head. And chided himself by the reason he had relaxed after all.

Maggie happened to look up at that moment and a big smile crossed her face.

"Walter, what a coincidence to meet you here. If you are not accompanied come sit down with us." She invited him.

When he sat down she said, "Let me introduce you to my son Charles."

End of part eleven

Don't worry Mulder and Scully come back in 12. You really

wouldn't believe I could let the romance MSR be unresolved,

would you??? It's NC 17 after all. And darn what has the medallion

have to do with all? My beta reader doesn't like Sk/Maggie, she

barely likes Skinner at all, but I do, how many of you don't like

it either? Would you prefer a stunning beauty instead? Mamma

mia, Tony won't be pleased.

Part Twelve NC17

Scully's Apartment

Monday, February 09

07:30 pm

"Mulder, what's the matter with you? Come in," said Scully to her lanky partner. He had been acting oddly all day in the basement, but she had had spent a most of her day at the archives and so they hadn't had much time to talk. In fact they hadn't had the time to talk at the hospital or during their flight back, either. They were never alone. Her mother stayed with them almost all the time and when she was at Tony's house resting, there were a lot of nurses around or visitors to see the other victims of the vampires.

She sighed, thinking that vampires existed, after all.

She wondered if Mulder was still sure he loved her or if he was trying to forget it all. At least he came to her apartment. She studied him while he was drinking some orange juice. Perhaps it was her turn to make a pass.

Decisively she sat down close to Mulder on her couch.

"Mulder, do you still love me?" she asked bluntly, leaving him no other choice than to give her a straight answer.

Mulder glanced at her in bafflement, his hazel eyes rather green at the moment. He reached for her and pulled her onto his lap.

"How can you ask me something like that? I told you I love you more than my life," and he hugged her fiercely, almost taking her breath away. He didn't know how, but suddenly he found himself on his back with her lying on top of him. He could feel the soft touches of her lips on his own, and then they were nibbling their way down to his throat. He felt so aroused by her sudden ministrations that it was difficult to restrain himself.

"Scully, if you don't stop I can't be held responsible for my actions," he whispered, and pulled her tighter to him. He heard her quiet laughter and felt her hand tugging at his tie. She was whispering, "Who said I would?" and then she teased, "and frankly, haven't you ever heard what's good to prevent hyperthermia?" and warmed her hands with the heat she found under his shirt. She laughed at his shudder.

"Geez, Scully, it's not cold enough to catch ... I mean ... oh," he lost the train of thought when she caressed his chest and belly, "that's ... great," and closed his eyes and fumbled with her blouse. He found his way to her skin, marveling at the softness and laughing at her own shudder. Two could play the oldest game.

His mouth moved to her neck, hungrily tasting and lapping at her exposed velvet skin. He caressed her back, pulling her closer against him so that she could feel his arousal. She gasped at his fierce touch. He trailed his kisses back to her mouth, tentatively parting her lips. His breathing quickened when she trailed her hands down to the front of his grey pants.

His pulse was racing and he could hear a satisfied moan escaping from her lips when his hands found their way to her breasts. The delicate fabric of her bra couldn't withstand his tugging but it stubbornly remained strapped to her body. He felt he was going to go mad if he

couldn't get rid of the bra, and was slightly confused when he didn't find the fastener. Scully smiled slipped the half-destroyed bra over her head. His breath caught at seeing her beauty and he reached for her exposed breasts. She leaned down and all thought left his mind when she touched him under his boxers. She touched him so lightly, almost shyly, but her kisses on his throat were causing him to shift upward to feel her warm body and her maddening hand. He moaned and suddenly couldn't stand that she was still half clothed and tried to unfasten her pants.

He hesitated when he felt her shudder. At his unspoken question she tugged at his shirt. With a moan he withdrew his hold on her pants to help her remove his shirt. Then he took his undershirt off as well. He shuddered from the cold air that touched his exposed skin.

Her hands caressed his bare chest and soon kisses trailed down from his throat to his sensitive nipples. He helped her to remove his pants while she continued to trail kisses over him.

She covered his lips with hers as she leaned against Mulder, causing him to lay back on the couch. She touched the outline of his erection with her hands over the bulk in his boxers before tugging them down and out of her way.

She continued with her caresses, gripping him lightly. He shuddered at her touch, gasping as she tightened her grip, on the verge of losing his control if she continued. So he gathered her into his arms and moved her up to kiss her mouth with passion.

Brushing his hands over her breasts he moved them down to her waistband with stronger, tighter strokes. He placed kisses on her throat while trying to get rid of her pants in order to caress her thighs.

Scully's eyes shut tight when she felt his fingers on her most secret place. One hand was massaging her tender breast while the other worked her wet center. She felt her ecstasy building and the first shudders of passion swept over her. She panted when she felt a second finger introduced inside her. Moaning, she reached for him and felt this strong man trembling when she touched the erection that was so ready for her. Suddenly she was lying on the couch and moaned in pain when he entered her. But the moment of pain passed and gave way to an unimaginable wave of pleasure.

Mulder couldn't hold back when he felt her legs tighten around his waist to meet his thrusts. She matched his pumping rhythm with a steady upward movement of her hips and he moaned her name into her mouth in pleasure.

A sheen of sweat covered his body as he thrust into her with a driving force, but he remained aware enough to be careful not to put his full weight on her. His arms began to tremble from trying to hold himself up and finally the waves of pure pleasure met hers in a final thrust.

He collapsed onto her, with his heart racing, gasping for each breath. If he could he would stay there feeling her surrounding him forever. It felt so good but he became concerned that he might be crushing her tiny body which was so perfectly molded to his. He sighed and rolled onto his back, pulling her with him so that she could lie on his chest. They almost fell from the couch.

Embracing each other, their hearts were still pounding fast. He caressed her thigh, ran his hand up to her back, and then placed a kiss on her forehead. His mind kept marveling, but he

felt concerned as well. He held her tighter as he tried to voice his unease.

"I ... Did ... did I hurt you?" he finally managed, feeling like a teenager on his first date. For heaven's sake he was a thirty-seven years old man, but except for Phoebe not that experienced at all. His Scully, he marveled again, and his now in more ways than one. She snuggled up to him as their bodies cooled off and he felt her hands brush over his belly and chest.

"No," she finally said and placed a kiss on his lips before snuggling closer to him, but smiled when she drifted into sleep.

Mulder continued caressing her back and thigh. It was getting cold on the couch. He sighed. He had messed up again. The most precious moment in their lives and they were on a couch. No candle-lit romantic dinner, this was what she deserved. He slowly stood while cradling his love in his arms and carried her to the bedroom, laying her delicately onto the bed.

Scully opened her beautiful blue eyes and smiled up at him. She traced her index finger over his stubble jaw line and across his lips. She put her arm around his neck and pulled him down to kiss his luscious mouth. In an odd way she could almost hear his thoughts in her mind and felt he was worried. When he was lying on her she looked deep into his eyes.

"I would never have it any other way, Mulder. I love you," and kissed him again while caressing his strong thigh. She could feel him hardening again and he closed his eyes and moaned when she touched his erection.

"Scully," he whispered, shutting his eyes firmly.

"Yes, Mulder?" she asked teasing, and gripped him harder. Suddenly she wanted to caress all his lean body and drive him wild.

"Jeez, Scully, you want to ...," he never managed to end his phrase by the pleasure of her touch and her mouth and tongue over him. Somehow he found himself on his back again. He thought he would go crazy from her sudden attack, her soft kisses, the biting and licking. He would have let her freely read his body this way, but it was driving him to distraction. He finally let out a frustrated growl and pulled her up to kiss her deeply, penetrating her lips with his searching tongue, swirling it around her mouth and her teeth. Oh God, he wanted to be inside her more than anything in the world when she straddled his hips and sat on him.

Suddenly he couldn't hold on any longer. He eased her onto her back and penetrated her slowly and carefully. He drove into her with a slow rhythm while massaging her clitoris with his fingers. He could feel her writhe beneath him and her ankles closed around the back of his thighs to give him better access. They moaned and trembled with increasingly ragged breaths. In his passion, he sucked at her throat and gave her unconsciously a hickie and finally came inside her as he felt her spasms surrounding and gripping him. He was completely spent in the aftermath but when he tried to turn onto his back, Scully continued to hold on to him.

"No, stay," she said still trying to catch her breath while caressing his sweating back. He kissed her and then slowly turned onto his back with her still joined to him.

They stayed a while longer in a tight embrace when suddenly his stomach made itself known by rumbling loudly.

She laughed and mumbled, "I think it's time to order a pizza."

He grinned back but was so tired that he just kissed her again and soon they drifted into sleep.

End of part twelve

Part Thirteen

FBI Lab

Tuesday, February 10

06:30am

Dr. Livengoo sat at his desk and studied the ancient medallion in his hands. Ever since they had brought the object to him yesterday, he had been extremely uneasy about it.

"Shit," he swore when he cut his right finger on a sharp object. The cut wasn't deep and drew only a drop of blood. Before he could take care of it, the drop fell on the medallion.

He rolled his wheel chair down the corridor to the bathroom.

The eye shapes set with the ruby stones began to glow, the blood drop seethed and suddenly was absorbed into the medallion. A soft sound was coming out of the object, but soon it reached a level no human could hear without damaging their eardrums.

When Dr. Livengoo came back there was no trace left what had

gone on within his laboratory some minutes ago. He sighed and went back to search in the archives for a of hint what the medallion symbolized.

Scully's Apartment

Tuesday, February 10

06:30 am

Scully went to her bathroom leaving Mulder still sleeping in bed. She grinned to herself and stepped into the shower. The water was warm to the touch and she enjoyed it pouring over her body. Suddenly the shower door opened and before she could turn around, Mulder's

hands were running down her sides and then pulled her tightly against him. She leaned back for a few seconds, and then turned in his arms to face him.

His hair was tousled and stuck up in all directions, with the still stubborn lock lying on his forehead. She smiled up at him and she saw his uncertain look as if afraid she would regret what had happened the night before. She pulled him under the shower.

Reaching for the soap she began to pass it over his chest in slow circling motions with her eyes locked to his then she concentrated to what she was doing. She had seen him naked before, but for the first time she saw him with eyes other than a doctor's. The warm water poured over his gorgeous body and the soap washed away. She was looking at his chest and licked her lips in anticipation while slowly leaning against him and saw his nipples hardening. She licked her lips again and leaned slowly forward, scratching his left nipple with her teeth and flicking with her tongue over the sensitive skin.

When Mulder had awakened his first thought was of Scully, but he didn't see her beside him. He was suddenly afraid and then heard the water from the shower. He went to the bathroom and saw her behind the shower stall door. She was so beautiful he thought and opened the door and slipped in.

After she had leaned against him for a moment, she had turned around and her delicate hands had caressed his chest. When she looked up at him, her smile washed his worries away. He felt his heart begin to thunder at the delicate touch of her slow motions with the soap. He realized once again how tiny she was compared to him, and yet so strong and so beautiful. He felt hypnotized as he watched her lick her lips, distracted by this seductive movement as he had been so many times over the years. He groaned and fell back to lean against the door when she bit his left nipple and flicked her tongue over it.

She could feel him shift under her touch and suddenly he lifted her up and kissed her full on her mouth, plundering it with his tongue. They were kissing each other desperately, in a frenzy. His mouth wandered from her mouth over to her throat. She held her head back to give him better access when she felt his teeth sinking into her throat. She groaned with pleasure-pain and bit him, too. The blood was flowing down their bodies leaving the white tiles red before it poured into the sink of the shower. Finally they looked at each other with glowing eyes.

With a start she sat up and felt a movement beside her. Mulder was covered in sweat like herself and he also had just sat up. He was breathing heavily in synchrony with her rapid breathing.

"Scully! For a moment I thought it was true."

"True?"

"I had a dream, it began so nicely, but then suddenly I was sinking my teeth into your throat. We were ...,"

"... in the shower, and I bit you back." Scully ended for him.

He looked at her with a double take, "How did you know that?"

"Somehow we managed to have the same dream. Don't ask me why," she said, foreseeing his next question. She observed him with more care.

He shifted her onto his lap, "What's going on?"

"I don't know, Mulder. They are dead, aren't they? We saw them disintegrate."

Unknown place

Same day, same hour

A dark figure held his hands up to the lightening sky above him. The old abandoned church he was in shook to its basement with the growling scream of pure rage. It was still dark outside. The horizon was gleaming like blood intermingled with the dark sky, announcing the new day to come.

FBI-Headquarters

Skinner's Office

Tuesday, February 10

08:30am

Since no one could see him, Skinner was smiling to himself while thinking about yesterday. Maggie had been good company and her son Charles had left them shortly after Skinner had arrived. Charles was quite different from her son William, who he didn't like very much. But Charles was an open minded man always ready with a smile.

Maggie and he had talked about everything and the time had passed without his realizing how late it had suddenly become. He didn't get back to his office until after 2:30 pm. And her conversation was lively and interesting, unlike that of so many other women he knew. At Sharon's parties and the ones given by the neighbors, there were always the same conversations. The women talked about their children and gossiped, and the men talked about sports and gossiped, too. And naturally there were Sharon's parties for the directors and assistant directors and their wives, but they were as boring as all the other parties, but he knew he had to go through them in his position.

He was surprised when he found out that Maggie wasn't just a housewife, but also ran a little antique shop after her husband had passed away. She was fascinated by history and archeology and did have a doctor's degree in them, but she never practiced these professions. Even so, she continued to study after her marriage in order to keep her mind active and fight boredom. He could imagine that it hadn't been easy for her.

They had marked a date on Saturday for lunch. He was a bit nervous about it. After all, she was the mother of one of his agents. But it was just a lunch, he reminded himself.

"Yeah, lie to yourself," he murmured and went back to work on the files.

FBI-Headquarters

X-Files's Office

Basement

Tuesday, February 10

09:30am

I don't know why I should order her a desk. It's so much cosier to see her in front of me all the time. Perhaps I should order a bigger desk for us, so she will fit perfectly. There would be room for two computers too, Mulder thought wickedly, while watching his partner going through some files.

They agreed to keep their new relationship to themselves for awhile. It shouldn't be so hard he thought.

"What did you say?" asked Scully. "And why are you referring to me in the third person?"

"I ... I said nothing," answered Mulder.

"Nothing?! Mulder, you just said you aren't going to order a second desk, but a bigger one for both of us. I really don't know why I put up with someone like you," she said with her hands on her hips in a threatening position.

I never saw anyone as beautiful as you are, Scully.

"Don't think that some compliments will take my mind somewhere else. ... How did you speak without moving your mouth?"

"Scully, you're psychic. You just read my mind," Mulder said with a huge smile on his beaming face.

There it is. He's gone nuts.

"I'll be damned, I heard your thought too, and I'm not nuts. That's fantastic. Let's take some tests," said Mulder eagerly.

Scully sat heavily on her stool, "The vampires."

End of part thirteen

Part Fourteen

FBI-Headquarters

X-Files's Office

Basement

Tuesday, February 10

10:30am

"At least there are no signs we are turning into vampires," said Scully while examining Mulder's teeth.

They had almost freaked out for a moment thinking about the possibility. Although Scully had explored every possibility in order to explain the vampires' existence, she found no other answer than that there could be indeed vampires.

They had spent the last hour in tests of all kinds. They couldn't get the nightmare they'd both had that morning out of their minds. At least they had found out that the mind-reading didn't work all the time. Scully was relieved, she didn't think she would enjoy having people's thoughts in her mind all the time.

Unknown Place

Tuesday, February 10

6:15 pm

The dark figure in the wide coat with the hood stood in front of the old stone altar. His eyes were glowing in the candle light. There was no sound escaping from the entering figures. Soon he was surrounded by a handful of men.

"Where is the medallion?" asked the figure in front of the altar.

"Washington DC, my Lord," answered one of the newcomers.

"My Lord, I found the second in the destroyed cave site," said another, and handed the medallion over.

FBI-Headquarters

Skinner's Office

Wednesday, February 11

10:10 pm

It was again a long day for the AD. Some murder victims had turned up in the Washington DC area since Tuesday night. Most of them were found to have slashed throats and were drained of blood. He felt a cold shiver running up his spine; it reminded him too much of the Vampire case for his liking. The cut throats could have been made to hide the bite marks.

Skinner stretched his aching back. The building seemed almost deserted at this hour, as he prepared himself to leave.

Strangely there was no sign of the guard when he left his office and entered the elevator. The light in the elevator flickered an instant and then it stopped and all went silent.

"Damn," he swore and tried the alarm button, but as he feared it didn't work either. He tried his cell phone then but it seemed to be dead. He was about to shout for the guard when he heard wailing cries of pure agony reverberating throughout the building, along with some gunshots before all went silent.

After a few minutes the AD could hear more cries and pondered what to do. He decided to try to go through the ceiling panel door. He left his overcoat and brief-case on the elevator floor, and then reached up for the small opening in the dark. As he remembered, it was at the left side of the ceiling. With some effort he was able to reach it by stepping on the hand rail which ran along the inside walls of the elevator. From there, he was able to pull himself up through the panel, onto the roof. Once out of the elevator it wasn't quite as dark and he could make out the side ladder. When he reached the next floor he opened the elevator door a couple of inches. He could see an agent lying on the floor in the middle of a large pool of blood.

Skinner's mouth was pressed tightly together forming a grim line, his eyes clouded by rage. They had been attacked, right here in the headquarters of the FBI.

Summoning his strength he managed to open the door wider and was able to slip through it. But just as he feared, the agent was dead with his throat sliced from one end to the other. He heard some moaning sounds coming from behind a closed door in the corridor. He drew his gun and cautiously opened the door, where he found another agent on the floor moving slightly and trying to stand up.

"What happened?" asked the AD while helping the man to his feet.

"Sir?! I don't know for sure, sir. Some men in dark clothes came in and attacked my partner and me. I came to myself only this moment," answered the young agent who was still a bit confused from the blow he had received to his head.

Skinner went to a phone on a nearby desk. "Damn, it's dead too. They shut us off from the outside. Come with me. I heard some gunshots on another floor."

They headed to the emergency stairs and walked up one flight. Skinner opened the door just wide enough to be able to look through. It was the lab area. There were more agents on the floor lying in their blood but not as much blood as there should have been judging from the severity of the wounds. But again there was no sound from the intruders at all.

As they stepped out of the stairwell, they glanced around the dimly-lit area. In another room they found two more agents waking up. They were helping the agents get to their feet when the sound of voices could suddenly be heard from the last lab door.

"I don't know what you are talking about. It was brought to me on Monday, to determine its origins. That's all I know," said someone from the open door.

Skinner held his gun up and looked through the window in the door. He could see five men in black suits surrounding Agent Livengoo. With a nod to the agents behind him he kicked the door open, aiming at the strangers.

"Freeze," he shouted. "I don't think that's wise, mister," he said to one of the men who was trying to take something out of his suit pocket. They could see that the eyes of one of the figures were gleaming in the dim light that shone through the window from the street lights. Suddenly the strangers attacked the FBI men with guns and odd-shaped knives that had appeared to have come from out of nowhere.

The bullets were useless on the three dark men. They kept coming towards the FBI agents and a fight began. With dismay Skinner saw that the three had fangs and were very strong. The AD knocked one to the ground with a powerful uppercut. The strangers were hissing furiously, their hands like claws trying to rip the agents in two.

A blow hit the AD in his stomach so that he flew back onto a stool, collapsing it. Gasping for air, Skinner lunged for a broken stool leg and then stood up again. Glancing quickly around he saw one of the vampires hovering over the doctor in the wheelchair.

With one stride of his long legs the AD reached them and rammed the stick into the vampire. With a cry the creature turned around looking with bloody eyes at the AD.

"You'll die!" he said before he was engulfed in flames. The other two dark figures hissed and left like smoke into the dark corridors, leaving the two dead men behind who seemed not to be vampires as they fell at the gunshots to the ground.

"What were they?" asked one of the agents while looking unbelievingly at the remains of the one Skinner had struck down. The AD bent over to retrieve something from the middle of the cooling ashes. It was the medallion.

"It seems like some bloody vampires," answered Skinner while examining the medallion closer.

Later on

Everything was almost back to normal at the Hoover after more agents arrived and took over the job of taking care of the bodies and gathering evidence. The lights were back on.

It was a black night for FBI Headquarters. They had sixteen corpses to recover; twelve were agents and two were guards beside the two strangers. In addition, eleven had been wounded.

"I only know that they were after the medallion and they wanted to know who was at a cave site, sir," said Dr. Livengoo still shaking slightly from his night visitors.

"Okay Agent Livengoo, that's all for tonight. You can go home, that's an order," said Skinner and dismissed the agent in the wheel chair. He seemed dead-tired.

Skinner stretched his aching back and looked for a moment through his window.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in," said the AD while turning around to face the newcomer. "Agent Mulder ... and Agent Scully, what are you doing here? As I remember you are not on duty for nightshifts for two weeks at least.

The AD almost smiled at their exasperated looks.

"Sir, we think we have a lot to do with what was going on tonight," said Scully, raising her chin in a demanding manner.

Skinner nodded slightly and waved them to sit down while he himself sat on the desk corner. "Right. They were after the medallion you found at the mountain house and ... after the ones who were at the cave site.

End of part fourteen

Part Fifteen

FBI-Headquarters

Skinner's Office
Thursday, February 12

12:15 am

Skinner held the strange medallion in his hand for a while, examining it more closely. He was dead tired. At least he could send his troublesome agent duo home. Tomorrow was another day. He decided to lock the medallion into his security safebox in his office and headed home too.

Unknown Place near Washington DC
Thursday, February 12

02:40 am

"Some of the mortals came and interrupted us, my lord. The Assistant Director of the FBI destroyed one of the elders, he's the same man who was at the cave site. I recognized him as the one who destroyed Lord Lucard," said one of the two figures who had escaped from the FBI HQ. His eyes were gleaming in the nearly dark house, which was only lit by the soft fire in the fireplace.

"You know what you have to do," said a dark figure at the fire place in an expressionless voice.

Even though he didn't need the warmth of the fire he kept it glowing all night. He didn't turn around when he heard his two underlings retreat. Holding his crystal wine glass in front of him, he watched its light-play from the fire. The content of the crystal glass was red, blood-red. He eased it to his white lips and drank some of the still warm contents. Holding it again to the fire he crushed it with his long white fingers. The remaining blood-red liquid ran through his fingers onto the carpet.

Scully's Apartment Building
Thursday, February 12

03:45 am

Mulder still couldn't believe it. When they had reached home - well, he reminded himself, Scully's apartment building - they were surprised by the tall dark figure of Dr.Tony waiting on the doorstep of Scully's apartment with three suitcases. Three. Did he mean to stay forever at Scully's place? The Italian doctor was sleeping now in Scully's spare bedroom, while Mulder himself had been shifted to the couch. No way he was going to leave Scully alone with that man, and no way she was going to let him, Mulder sleep with her while he was there. And

after all, Tony gave them a lecture, because they were coming home so late when they were supposed to take it easy for some time.

Mulder gnawed at his fourth cookie, which Dr. Tony had brought for him along with some mortadella sandwiches from his aunt Marcella. He was thankful she hadn't come along too, otherwise she would fill him with food, he thought at his sixth cookie. He was longing for the seventh when he felt warm fingers on his hand taking it away from him. Scully sat on the floor beside Mulder and nibbled at the cookie herself.

"Trying to eat all alone?" she whispered.

"Why is he here?"

"I invited him to come some day. Tony is just like that, he comes and goes and it's the first vacation he's taken in years. And why aren't you sleeping? We have to go back to the bureau soon."

Mulder sat up and eased himself off the couch and onto the floor to join Scully. He was just in his boxers. The heater was on and unlike his own was functioning perfectly.

Nevertheless he pulled her onto his lap while draping the cover around them.

"Can't sleep. There is too much going through my mind. The medallion seems to be the key to something. And I don't like that they asked for the ones who where at the cave site," he whispered back while cuddling her tighter to him.

"There seem to be more around than we supposed, Mulder. I just can't believe there are so many vampires out there, real vampires."

She rested her head on his shoulder. Sleep overcame her. After a while Mulder stood up and carried her to the bedroom. Watching her sleeping he sat on the bed beside her. Not long afterwards he was lying down and soon was sound asleep himself.

In the basement

Friday, February 13

15:15 pm

Thursday had brought nothing new to the Hoover Building. No tracks could be found, nothing at all to find the supposed vampires. Most of the agents were assigned to the case. It wasn't easy to forget all the friends and partners who had fallen victim to the intruders.

Dr. Tony accompanied his favorite agents to their office, since he was also a witness to the case. He couldn't believe that the vampires were back.

He walked around the basement office deep in thought.

The tag on the door had only Mulder's name on it and not Dana's as well. Come to think of it, he realized that both shared the same desk as well. And frankly, he thought to himself, the place was a mess. Every last available space was filled up with stuff. He remembered the night he found them sound asleep among all those files.

Where ever he looked he saw files and more files. Old ones and new ones and some posters attached to the walls. His glance lingered on one with a flying saucer and the phrase, "I want to believe". He sighed; he didn't want to believe, but the vampires were there somewhere and not just in someone's imagination.

His two favorite agents ...he smiled at that; they were the only agents he knew... were oblivious, going through one file after another, checking ancient books and surfing the net for information.

Dana's area was more organized than Mulder's side.

He smiled to himself, watching them working in an odd harmony, each attentive to the other in some way even when they hardly looked at each another. Finally he sat down on the fragile chair they had given him from some hidden place in the next room. The seat complained about his weight but seemed secure enough to hold him.

Finally he took one of the files and paged through it. Looking up he encountered Mulder's stern glance. Tony only raised one of his eyebrows, waiting. Mulder said nothing, however, and continued to look through his file and soon took another one from the pile.

After a while Dr. Tony looked up and asked, "What are we looking for?"

"Hm?" asked Scully distracted for a moment. "Oh, some information on the medallion or seemingly related former cases on vampires and so on. Anything that could be related to this case." She saw the files in his large hands and raised an eyebrow, "You are not supposed to see these files, Tony."

"Top-Secret, huh?!" He gave her a big toothy smile. "I swear I never will babble out what I read here. Honor from one doctor to another. They're interesting," he saw that she would be arguing nevertheless, "Dana, I saw a lot more ... Dana, look at that," he said and handed her the last file he was going through.

"Mulder, come over here. Tony found a connection," she said excitedly, turning to her brooding partner.

FBI Headquarters
Skinner's Office

16:50 pm

"And you say, this Mr. Redcliff O'Connor is still alive?" asked the AD of the two anxious agents, who almost weren't able to sit still. He watched them with his stern glare, one unwavering eyebrow raised with his jaw set firmly like a lion before a growling attack. It was typical that the two of them would come up with a connection to those monsters before any of the other agents. He just didn't understand why they had brought the doctor along.

"Yes, sir. He lives in Belhaven, North Carolina," answered Scully eagerly.

"And you want me to assign you both to the interrogation of this man? That's out of the question. As Dr. Di Ventura has already said, you aren't in shape yet for field work," said Skinner, glancing over at the huge doctor in question. He found it annoying to see someone walking around his office and watching everything while touching nothing at all, instead of standing or sitting at attention.

At hearing the AD's last sentence the doctor turned around with a slight smile on his face, raising his eyebrow. But he kept silent for a moment to see what would come next.

"Oh, sir. It's only a short flight there, and what could happen?! We are only going to interrogate an old victim, at least we can do something useful and save the other agents from having to spend their time on it," said Mulder, frustrated and finally standing up. Seeing the AD's grim glance, however, he sat down again.

"Agent Mulder, where you are concerned, anything could happen, even in a simple interrogation. Therefore I will assign other agents for this task, and ...," the AD said.

"Excuse me, Mr. Skinner, but I think going to Belhaven would be less stressing for Moldo and Dana than to remain here in this dark basement office," interrupted Tony with a stern glance around. "And after all, from what I know about it, the vampires are here in Washington. I think they are fit for the short flight."

The two agents held their breath. To their utmost surprise they saw an exchange of looks, like in a silent conversation.

"All right then," said the AD without any trace of defeat in his baritone voice. "Your request is granted, but I will make it clear that after the interrogation you are expected to return to Washington and report to me immediately. No chases and hunts at all. Dismissed."

With that the AD returned to his files without looking up again and after some seconds he could hear them retreat. A moment later he threw his pencil on the files and sat back.

Perhaps it would be better to have those two out of town. He only hoped it really was a wise decision.

End


 

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