Title: Chosen
Author: Angela CJ W.
Website: http://www.angelfire.com/ms/starbuck79
Rating: NC-17
Category: S/R/A Spoilers: Up to Emily
Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance, Rape

Started: 97-12-13 Finished: 99-11-11 (I know, I'm a slow writer. I did finish this thing a long time ago, but I wasn't happy with it, so I started doing re-writings this summer. And now it's finished. :o))

Archive: Yes, if you want to. Drop me a line first so I know where it goes? I like to visit. :o)

Disclaimer: Dana Scully, Fox Mulder, Margaret Scully and Walter Skinner do not belong to me. They belong to Chris Carter, FOX Network, 1013 Productions, and to the wonderful actors who portray them. However, all of the other characters do belong to me.

Summary: He was 'the chosen'. He chose her. But her partner had something else in mind. Sometimes love is stronger than destiny.

Warning: This story contains a rape-scene, and while not very explicit, it can be disturbing.

Dedications and thanks: To Linda, for being such a great friend. Your weird postcards and envelopes always brighten my day. *mwah*! Also thank you for beta-reading this story for me the first time around. To Dark Angel and Maureen, my two beta-readers the second time around. I really needed someone to help me through the process, and there you both were. ::hugs:: Also to everyone who's sent me feedback as this story went along. Without you I wouldn't have felt half as eager to finish the story.

Feedback: Yes, *please*. There's not much that brightens my day more than getting feedback. Come on, it will only take you a couple of seconds. ;o)

Author's notes: At the end of the story.

He had secret powers, and he knew about them. Once he had walked right into a gang fight by mistake, and had been hit by a bullet. When the paramedics got there, they had asked him if it was all a joke. There had been nothing for them to do there. There was no trace of him being shot, except for the hole in his shirt and the small spot of blood. It was then he had known. He had the capability to heal himself. He was chosen.

Since then he had feared nothing, so he had been testing his limits to maximum, always putting himself in dangerous situations. He had now survived 21 gunshot wounds, 15 knife wounds, and once he had even thrown himself in front of a speeding car. He had later heard that the driver had been taken into hospital for severe shock, and was now in a psychiatric ward for unknown time. Apparently no one had believed him when he said that he had hit someone with his car in 90 miles per hour, and the man he had hit had just got up and walked away from the accident like nothing had happened at all.

He believed the driver. Of course he believed him. He had been the one who was hit, so of course he believed. He remembered the incident like it had been yesterday it happened, and not two years ago. The car had hit him with such force he had been thrown over 10 yards through the air, but it hadn't even hurt him one bit.

The driver of the car got so frustrated when no one believed his story, and he eventually lost his mind.

He couldn't care less. If your mind was that weak, you didn't deserve any better. He would never let himself sink that low. Never. Because he was chosen.

He was completely focusing all his attention on the woman standing at the podium, speaking. He wasn't listening to her, and he didn't care what she was talking about either. All he was interested in was how her lips moved as she spoke, how her deep blue eyes sparkled in the light, how her auburn hair moved over her shoulders as she turned around to write something on the board behind her.

He sat up in the back of the big lecture room, but he didn't have to sit any closer to be able to see the woman's every face expression. He had excellent eyesight. Another one of his gifts.

She was very intelligent, the woman, he knew. He had known from the very first second he saw her that she was as intelligent as she was beautiful.

Finally the woman said, "OK, guys! Class is over. I'll see you all tomorrow."

The others gave her a round of applause, but he just sat still, never leaving her slender form with his eyes. They all loved her. Sometimes he talked to some of the others, and they always talked about the woman; about how great they thought she was. How understanding and intelligent she was. Almost every guy in the class had a major crush on her. He already knew all these things, so he had soon grown tired of talking to them, and now mostly kept to himself.

"Great lecture, wasn't it?" It was the girl who sat next to him on his right side.

He didn't look away from the red haired woman with the blue eyes, and said, "Yeah, great."

He knew that the girl to his right had a thing for him, some kind of crush if you wanted to call it that, which he didn't. He didn't believe in crushes. He only believed in what was supposed to be.

He didn't like the girl. He didn't like her at all. She was tall with long brown hair. She wore far too much make-up for his taste, and provocative clothing. No, he didn't like her at all. She was so obvious with her intentions it was ridiculous.

He liked *her*. The woman with the red hair and blue eyes. The woman who was short, who didn't wear too much make-up or provocative clothing, like the other girl who probably thought she looked sexy as hell, but only looked like a whore in his eyes.

Today was the day the red haired woman was going to become his. Today was the day for the chosen to choose his woman.

And he had.

Dana Scully was putting all her notes together. The lecture today had been good, and she felt as if her students really appreciated her, and listened to what she had to say. They had even given her applause, which wasn't something that happened very often in a place like this.

She was filling in for Professor Henderson, who was on sick-leave for three months, and Scully had now been back at Quantico for over two months already. First she had been doing it as a favor to the professor, because she was one of his old students and he had come to her for help. She had complained about it to Mulder, said that she didn't want to go back to Quantico again, but right now she was actually enjoying herself. She had been lucky and had a good group of young men and women to teach. They were all so eager to listen to her when she told them about some of the cases she and Mulder had dealt with on the X-files, and they only thought it was cool that she was "Mrs. Spooky".

Mulder had come by a couple of times to pick her up after work, when he wanted her opinion on something or just simply missed her company, and the students had made them both stay for more than two extra hours both times. They had refused to let Scully and Mulder go before they had all the answers to their questions about the X-files. Mulder had seemed happy that someone actually cared, and he had answered all of the questions with great enthusiasm. When he told them about his crazy theories on some of their cases, Scully only smiled and said to the students, "See? This is what I have to listen to everyday." Mulder and all the students had laughed together.

Yeah, even though it was pretty fun to be working here again for a little while, she couldn't wait to get back to work with Mulder. He was out of town on a case, and she missed him terribly. He had called her the night before and told her how nice it was to not have someone around all the time who was always laughing at his theories. Scully smiled to herself. She knew that Mulder missed having her around as well.

Suddenly someone knocked at the door to the office. She looked at her watch. It was already 9.30 p.m. Who could it be at this hour?

"Come in!" she said loudly so the person on the other side would hear her, and the door opened.

It was one of her students. She could recognize him, but couldn't remember his name.

"Hello," she said to him, still gathering her notes from the desk. "Is there something I can do for you?"

She didn't know what it was, but something about the young man made her feel uncomfortable in the small office. When he didn't say anything, she asked him again, "Is there something I can do for you?"

Still he said nothing. He turned around to the door again, and for a second Scully thought he might leave. Instead he locked the door, and put away the key in his pocket.

"What are you doing?" Scully asked, trying to reassure herself that this was only one of her students coming into her office to ask her something about the day's class. But she had the strangest feeling, and was beginning to feel a little frightened. At least she had her gun if it would come to that.

Finally he spoke, but the second she heard his voice, Scully wished he hadn't.

"Come here," he said to her.

His voice sounded like nothing she had ever heard before. It was low and high at the same time. Dark and light. Young and old. It was frightening.

Scully didn't move, and the man said again, "Come here," this time more forcefully.

"What do you want?" Scully asked, surprised that her voice was still working. She couldn't explain it, she couldn't explain what she was feeling, but she knew that this man would hurt her of she didn't stop him first.

She quickly pulled her gun out and aimed it at him. "Stop right there and tell me what you want," she said with a steady voice.

But the man didn't seem to be too bothered by the fact that she was pointing a gun at him. He just grinned at her and kept on moving towards her, slowly.

That grin was the most frightening thing Dana Scully had ever seen. She could literally feel the evil radiate from him as he was still moving towards her.

"Stop right there, or I'll shoot!" This time she yelled at him.

The man just laughed at her and didn't stop. Scully aimed at his right leg and fired. The bullet ripped through the flesh, and she could hear a bone being crushed, but he didn't even wince. One tiny little drop of blood became visible on his trousers, but that was it. He still hadn't stopped. Scully fired her gun again, this time in his chest. Still, it didn't seem to affect him one bit. He was still coming towards her, slowly, still having that awful grin on his face.

Scully gasped loudly. Who the hell was this?! *What* the hell was this?! She once again fired her gun, this time aiming at his heart. She knew she had hit her target, but nothing happened to him. Her gun was to no use to her. She fired the rest of the bullets. At least he wouldn't be able to use her own gun against her. Then she threw it away and pulled up her cellular phone instead, intending to dial 911. But before she could even react, the man had thrown himself over her and knocked her to the floor. She dropped her phone and he kicked it out of her reach.

She tried to get up on her feet again, but he just pushed her back to the floor and told her to be still. Scully tried to kick him between his legs, but he caught her foot before she did and straddled her legs, pinning them down with his bodyweight. She tried to hit him with her fists, but he caught them as well and tied her up with a small rope he pulled out from his jacket.

Scully knew what he was about to do to her, and she said, "Please don't do this. We can work this out. Please let me go."

He only laughed at her again. "Dear Dana," he said, "you know I can't let you go. I have chosen you."


"Please? Please what, Dana? You should be feeling honored, Dana. I am the chosen, and *I* have chosen *you*."

What the hell was he talking about?!

"Please... Just let me go. You don't want to do this."

"I like it when you're begging me, Dana," he said. "But yes, I want to do this. As I said, I have chosen you, and today is the day you will finally become mine."

He grabbed her blouse and slowly opened it button by button.

"You are so beautiful, Dana." He was touching her everywhere, and if Scully hadn't been so afraid, she probably would have vomited.

"Don't. Touch. Me." she hissed through her clenched teeth.

"But Dana, how could I possibly *not* touch you?"

Scully closed her eyes tight. She couldn't bear the sight of him and his grin. He looked completely psychotic, which he probably was as well. Then she felt his hand running down her face, and she took her chance to catch him off guard, and bit him hard in the hand.

She should have known. He didn't even seem to register pain. How could she have thought that biting him in the hand would do something, when he hadn't even reacted to being hit by three bullets? Scully felt the tears building up under her eyelids, but she refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Instead she decided to fight him till the end.

"Help!!" she screamed as loud as she could, in hope that someone would walk by and hear her. But there was really no point in screaming. The security guards almost never came by this way, and right before the man had come into the office, she had been talking to the guard who was on duty tonight. Bill. That had been his name. A really nice man. God she wished he was here right now.

The man who was sitting on top of her apparently knew this as well, because he didn't even try to stop her from screaming.

He was moving his hands to her skirt, and he drew it up, stroking her legs. Scully tried to kick him again, even though she knew it would do no good. The man stayed calm, and just watched her fighting him. She had such a strong will. That was good.

Then he ripped of her panties, becoming more forceful than before. Scully screamed again, but no one could hear her except for the man. He was leaning down towards her face, but Scully spat him in the face and the man drew back again.

"You shouldn't be doing that, Dana," he said to her. "Didn't I tell you that you should feel honored?"

"You're fucking insane!" Scully screamed at him. What the hell did he mean, she should feel honored?! He was about to fucking rape her!

He then pulled down his trousers. Scully closed her eyes again. She didn't want to see. The next thing she knew, he was forcing himself into her small body, and she screamed. She screamed like she had never screamed before. She screamed as if she would never be able to stop screaming again.

Bill Gough was walking through the long halls of the building. Then he suddenly remembered that he had forgotten his communications radio in Agent Scully's office. he thought. He sighed and turned around, walking down to the other side of the hallway. His steps were heavy and slow. He was so sick of this job. Endless evenings and nights of walking up and down the same hallways, over and over again. The only high-light of this night, had been when he was talking to that nice Agent Scully. She was such a nice lady. Too bad she probably still wouldn't be in her office when he got back there. When he had left the first time, she had been putting all her things together, and that had been an hour ago. She had probably gone home ages ago by now.

He wished he could be at home too. At home with his wife and family, who were so patient with his work here. At least they had something to live on, even though they didn't get much time together. Someday he would change that. His dream was to become an FBI agent. Just like that nice Agent Scully.

Bill was still walking slowly through the hallways, as he suddenly heard something. It was someone screaming.

He quickened his pace, and started running. He grabbed his gun from its holster on his right hip, and moved towards where the sound was coming from. Then he realized that it was coming from Agent Scully's office. He rounded the last corner, and saw that the door to the office stood open. He could hear someone screaming, and it was like nothing he had ever heard before. The scream had such fear and pain in it, that it almost made his blood freeze.

He stopped right outside the office, in case someone with a weapon was still in there. He carefully looked into the room, but could see no one. He then stepped into the office, and rounded the desk. What he saw there would forever haunt him in his dreams.

Agent Scully was lying on the floor, with her shirt opened wide, her skirt rolled up around her waist and her panties were ripped off.

He looked around the office once more to make sure no one else was there, and then sat down next to the woman lying on the floor. She had her face turned towards him, but her eyes were closed tightly together, as if she was trying to shut the world out.

In that second, he knew what he would have to live with for the rest of his life. For the rest of his life, he would wake up, and the first thing he would see in front of his eyes, would be her face. That expression she had on her face. Like she had experienced something so horrible, she would rather die than ever feel anything again. He would have to live with that.

And her scream. That scream would forever be ringing in his ears. He would hear it while he was awake, and he would hear it in his nightmares. It bored itself down to the core of his soul, and it would stay there until the day he died.

"Agent Scully?" He tried to talk to her, to make her listen, but she didn't. Her scream never faded, never got less stronger or less terrifying. He tried again.

"Agent Scully? It's Bill. I'm not gonna hurt you. Agent Scully?" He kept his voice soft and low, unsure if she could even hear him through her screams, but not wanting to raise it, in case she might think he was someone else. In case she might mistake him for the person who had hurt her like this.

He realized that he probably shouldn't touch her right now, so he stood up from her side and went to pick up the phone, on which he dialed 911.

"Get an ambulance to Quantico right now," he said to the operator, and then hung up to once again crouch next to the woman on the floor. His soul cried out for her, and he knew, that if it had been a matter of his own life, or to let this woman go trough all this pain, he would even kill himself if it came to that.

Margaret Scully was sitting next to her daughter's bedside at the hospital. Her eyes were filled with tears, but she refused to let them spill over. She had to be strong for her daughter, even if she was now in deep sleep. She had to be strong.

She looked at Dana's face again. It was still full of such angst. Such pain. Not even sleep seemed to let her escape it. She turned her gaze away again. She couldn't stand seeing her daughter in such agony, but she had to be in the room with her. To lend her strength to her baby girl.

The paramedics had been forced to give her something to calm her down, that was why she was still sleeping. They hadn't been able to make her stop screaming. She thought back to the conversation she had had with the guard who had found Dana.

he had told her. At first she hadn't believed him. Well, she had believed him, why would he lie, but she couldn't understand it. Dana hadn't been able to stop screaming? That wasn't like her daughter. She would have expected her to get up herself, and get to the hospital without anyone's help. Dana was so strong. She had such willpower. Always been able to take care of herself, and had made that perfectly clear to the people around her as well. That she had just been lying on the floor in her office, screaming, was something Margaret Scully couldn't even imagine.

And when Bill Gough had continued to explain, she was glad she couldn't imagine it.

he had asked her. Margaret had simply nodded.

And so was she. When she thought of her daughter, she didn't want to hear that scream mixed with the memories of her. What was she thinking?! Memories of her?! It was as if she thought her daughter had left this life, and would never come back! She was still here. Her Dana was still here.

She once again looked over at her daughter, and this time she didn't turn her gaze away from her. Dana was trying to say something.

Margaret leaned in closer to be able to hear what her daughter was mumbling in her sleep.

"Mulder..." It was lower than a whisper, but Margaret had heard her. "Mulder..." Dana mumbled again.

Margaret got up from her chair and walked out the room. Two guards were standing outside for protection. In case the bastard who did this returned.

"Where can I find Assistant Director Skinner?" she asked one of them. He simply pointed to the other end of the corridor. Margaret turned around, and there he was.

He was talking to the guard who had found Dana, Bill Gough. She quickly walked over to them, and she turned directly to Skinner.

"Where is Fox?" she asked him. "Why isn't he here?" When she saw the expression on Skinner's face she said, "What? Just tell me, where is he?"

Skinner looked as if he wanted to fall through the floor.

"What?" she asked him again.

"Mrs. Scully... "

"Just tell me! Is there something wrong? Has something happened to Fox?"

Skinner shook his head. "No Mrs. Scully. I'm sure Agent Mulder is just fine. He doesn't know what has happened yet."

Margaret looked up at him as if she couldn't believe what he was telling her.

"What do you mean, 'he doesn't know what has happened yet?' Haven't you been able to reach him?"

Skinner looked very uncomfortable. "I..."

"Dana is asking for him in her sleep," Margaret said. "She needs him right now. Where is he?"

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully," Skinner said. "I've... I've completely forgotten to call him." He couldn't believe himself that he had been so stupid!

"You what?!" Mrs. Scully exclaimed. "You have forgotten to call Fox?! You forgot to call the most important person in Dana's life?!" Then she forced herself to calm down, and said in a lower voice, "Well then, Assistant Director Skinner. Since you don't seem to be able to do anything right, I guess I'll have to get him here myself." Then she left the two men standing there, watching her as she walked back into Dana's room.

Dana was in a dark place, somewhere deep inside herself. She didn't want to return.

She was throwing her head from side to side, trying to escape the face she saw in front of her eyes. But she couldn't. She couldn't escape. The man grinned at her, that awful grin, and it was then Dana decided that she wouldn't remember.

Margaret was able to reach Fox Mulder right away. She had just called him on his cellular phone and told him that Dana was in the hospital, and that she needed him there. He had demanded that she'd tell him what was wrong, but she only told him that he would get to know everything as soon as he got there. She didn't want him to know what had happened yet, because she knew that he wouldn't be able to handle it. She wanted to be there with him when he found out. In that way she was glad that the Assistant Director had forgotten to call him. She knew what this would do to Fox. She had seen him when Dana had been abducted. She had seen him when Dana got the cancer. She knew what happened to Fox Mulder when something happened to her daughter.

Fox didn't deserve all the pain this would bring, both to him and Dana. Margaret didn't know much about his earlier life, only what Dana had told her, which wasn't very much, but it was more than enough. She knew that he had lost his sister at a young age, and that the rest of his childhood hadn't been very easy for him. Dana hadn't been very willing to talk about it, but she knew enough to know that this would hurt him terribly. He would probably blame himself for not being there, and that's why she wanted to tell him in person. To be able to tell him that this was not his fault. That there was nothing he could have done to stop it from happening. That fact didn't make it any less painful to deal with, but maybe he would understand that not everything was his fault. At least that's what she hoped he would understand.

She knew that Dana would need him during this time. She would need him to be strong for her, even if she probably wouldn't admit that to him, nor to herself. That was just how Dana worked. She rarely admitted to needing anyone. But this time, she would need someone, and Margaret knew that it wouldn't be her, nor any of her two brothers. It would be Fox Mulder.

"Dana Scully? Where is she?!"

Margaret heard his voice long before he was even near Dana's room. She rose from her chair next to her daughter's bed, and went out to greet him in the corridor before he went in to see Dana.

"Fox..." Her voice was soft and low as she spoke to him. He stopped in his tracks as he saw Margaret, and then slowly walked up to her.

"Where is she?" he asked her. His voice was filled with such worry, it ached in Margaret's heart. "Is she all right? Is it her cancer?! Has it returned?!"

The questions were just streaming out from him. She should have known. She should have known that he would think it was the cancer again.

She shook her head. "No, Fox. It's not the cancer."

"Then what?" He looked confused.

"Fox... " Margaret didn't know how to tell him, even though she had prepared a speech in her head. He looked so worried. He cared for Dana so much. How would he react to this?

"Just tell me, Mrs. Scully," Mulder begged. "What's wrong?"

"Fox..." She paused again and gently put her hand on his arm. "Fox, something happened to Dana last night while she was still at Quantico."


"She was raped, Fox. She was raped..."

She saw and felt Mulder's whole body tense at her words, and he closed his eyes tight. He was denying it, she knew. But then he opened his eyes again, and looked straight into hers.

"Where is she?"


"Where is she?" he asked again.

"She's right in here." Margaret didn't let go of his arm, as she led him into the room next to them.

The older woman must have been the redhead's mother. He recognized the man from Quantico, though. It was her partner. Fox Mulder. Yeah, that had been his name. All the others had thought he was so cool. In his eyes, Fox Mulder was just a jerk.

Nothing had gone as he had planned. Dana Scully wasn't supposed to be here right now. She was supposed to be with him. She was his now. If only that damn guard hadn't come by again.

That was one of his problems. Almost all of his gifts were fully developed, such as his sight, hearing, and the fact that he could heal himself. But not his strength. He knew that it would come with time, but he didn't know when. It didn't hurt when someone hit him or if he got shot, but if someone were to take a hold of him, someone who was bigger and stronger than him, he would never get loose. Not yet. And that was something he couldn't risk. The guard was much bigger than him, and probably a lot stronger as well.

He had been to up in what he was doing to hear the guard coming until it was already too late. He had had to leave the redhead where she was. He couldn't afford to get caught. But he would get her back one day. Soon.

He was standing just around the corner from where the mother and partner had been. Now he knew where the redhead's room was. He would get her back.

"Is she sleeping?" Mulder's voice was low, almost a whisper. He was standing next to Scully's bed, just looking at her. He couldn't believe that this had happened to her. Hadn't she been through enough already? Had this really had to happen to her? It was all so fucking unfair. She was the last person on earth who deserved anything bad happening to her. And yet, the rest of the world seemed to be after her; against her.

"Yes," he heard Mrs. Scully answer. "They had to give her something to calm her down last night, and she hasn't woken up from it yet. It's probably good for her to get some sleep."

Mulder said nothing, and simply nodded. He knew that Mrs. Scully was worried about him; he had seen it in her eyes, but he just didn't care right now. All he cared about was Scully. She looked so fragile, lying there in the hospital bed. Images of her flashed in front of his eyes. He saw her lying with tubes everywhere when she had been returned from her abduction. He saw her lying there, pale and dying from the cancer. He closed his eyes and then opened them again. This time he saw her in front of him again. But she wasn't pale, and she didn't have any tubes around her. Instead she had this haunted expression on her face, an expression that just screamed out the pain. The fear.

He sat down in the chair that stood next to the bed, the same chair Margaret had been sitting in earlier. She didn't mind. She knew that he needed to be as close to her as possible, and that Dana needed that as well.

"Do you want to be alone with her, Fox?" It wasn't really a question; she already knew what his answer would be.

He looked up at her, with tears in his eyes, and nodded. She just smiled faintly at him, and walked out from the room.

Mulder followed Mrs. Scully with his eyes, but as soon as she closed the door behind her, he looked at Scully again. He sighed heavily as he tried to hold back the tears.

"Scully...." he whispered to her. "I'm so sorry." He didn't quite know what he was sorry for. For what happened to her? Yes. For not being there to protect her? Yes. For something else? Yes, but he didn't know what.

He gently grasped her hand in his, and brought it to his lips. He kissed it softly once, and then simply held on to it.

"Why did this happen to you?" He wasn't really talking to her. He was talking to someone who refused to listen to him. Someone who let bad things happen to her all the time. How could this "someone" be so cruel? He didn't have the answer to that, and he never would.

He slowly put his head down on the bed beside her tense, still body, and silently let the tears fall.

She was cold. And she hurt. Her whole body ached.

She sensed someone in the room with her. Where was she? She slowly opened her eyes, but closed them again as the bright light hit them. The next time, she opened them more carefully to let her eyes adjust to the light. She turned her head to the left, and there he was. Mulder. He had fallen asleep in a chair next to her bed. She then turned her head to the other side. Her mother sat there, slumped over in sleep as well.

She realized she was in the hospital, and everything came back to her. The fear. The pain. But not the face, because in her sleep, she had decided to forget that.

She closed her eyes again. She didn't want to remember. Why hadn't her subconscious let her forget everything? Why had it let her remember the fear? She hated feeling fear. It made her vulnerable. She hated being vulnerable.

Thoughts of Duane Barry ran through her mind. Thoughts of Donnie Pfaster. Thoughts of Gerry Schnauz. Eugene Tooms. Robert Modell. Thoughts of... someone she wouldn't remember.

She hated fear.

She hated being vulnerable.

She wanted to cry. But Dana Scully didn't cry. She almost never cried, because crying showed vulnerability.

Instead she kept her eyes closed tightly together, pushing all the feelings back... far back.

"I'm cold."

Mulder woke with a start. Had Scully said something in her sleep? He looked over at her. No, her eyes were open. She was awake.

"What, Scully?" She was awake, she was awake. The words flew through his mind like a mantra.

"I'm cold," she repeated.

At first, Mulder could only stare at her. Even though her voice was very low, it was still strong and steady. Cold. And completely without even a hint of emotions. It scared him.

Scully had been through a lot of things. Her abduction. The cancer... But she had never before acted like this. She didn't look at him; she just stared right in front of her. Her normally sparkling blue eyes looked as if they were now overhung by a shadow. A shadow that hid all proof of a living soul.

Mulder looked around himself and saw a blanket lying next to Scully's feet on the bed. He rose from the chair, and carefully laid the blanket over her. Scully grabbed it, and pulled it up all the way to her chin. Then she closed her eyes again.

Mulder noticed that Mrs. Scully was still sleeping, and he walked around the bed and touched her gently on the shoulder. She looked up at him with sleepy eyes, and he told her, "She's awake."

Mrs. Scully looked over at her daughter, who still had her eyes closed, but she could see that Dana was awake. She had her fists clenched hard around the thin hospital blanket, and she was shaking from the cold.

"Dana?" she said, but her daughter didn't react. She tried again. "Dana?" This time she brought her hand up to gently stroke Scully's cheek, and her eyes flew open.

"Mom?" She still had that cold voice without emotions. Mrs. Scully looked up at Mulder and he just met her eyes knowingly without saying anything. Mrs. Scully nodded and returned her gaze to Scully.

They were all quiet for a while, until Scully's voice broke the silence.

"I shot him." Her voice was flat, even. "I shot him, Mulder."

He looked at her, confused. What did she mean? He had talked to the guard who found her, and he hadn't said anything about any blood in the office.

"I shot him three times," she continued. "I even shot him in the heart, but it didn't affect him. It didn't affect him at all."

Even though she had said his name, it was as if she didn't even know Mulder was in the room. She stared right ahead of her, her eyes never blinking, as if she had discovered something incredibly fascinating with the wallpaper's pattern.

Then she suddenly looked him straight in the eyes. "It didn't affect him."

Mulder slowly walked up to her side, and tried to pull her into a hug. It was something he shouldn't have done, and later he cursed himself for not realizing it sooner.

Scully quickly put up both her hands in front of her, shaking, making it perfectly clear that she didn't want him to come close. "No!" she screamed out.

Mulder pulled back, startled by her scream. "Scully, I..." he tried, but Scully interrupted him.

"No," she simply said. With her hands still up, as if they were there for protection, she continued. "Please, Mulder. Just leave me alone."

Mulder helplessly looked over at Mrs. Scully. She returned his look, and just shrugged. She didn't know what to do either.

She turned back to her daughter. "Do you want to be alone for a while, sweetie? Should Fox and I come back later instead?"

Scully nodded, and Mrs. Scully got up from her chair, following Mulder out of the room.

Neither of them saw Scully, as she suddenly rolled over and pulled her knees up to her chest. Her body was shaking violently. She was finally letting out the tears.

Mulder was lost. He didn't know what to do. He just felt so incredibly helpless. When he had reached out for Scully to comfort her, she had rejected him. And even if he could understand why she had reacted that way, it hurt. He realized he shouldn't be feeling that way, but he did.

Mrs. Scully had told him that he needed to give Scully some time. He knew this. And he would give her all the time she needed, but he wanted to help her through this more than anything.

The way she had looked at him... as if he was going to hurt her. As if he was the enemy. He knew that deep inside, she knew he would never do anything like that to her, but still, that was how she had acted. Like she didn't trust him anymore.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that she trusted him, that it was what had happened to her that had made her act this way. He couldn't stand the thought of knowing that it was someone else who had taken that trust away from her. What he needed to know now was how he was going to be able to get it back to her again. And back to him.

She had hurt him. She knew. She had seen it in his eyes, seen the feeling of rejection. She hadn't meant to react that way. It was just that when he had reached out for her, all she had seen was someone else coming towards her. A man without a face. And she had simply panicked.

She had cried ever since Mulder and her mom had left the room. She had cried for herself. She had cried for her mother. And she had cried for Mulder. She hated herself for doing this to him. She knew Mulder. She knew that all he wanted was to be there for her. And she hadn't accepted that. She had pushed him away. How could she? The guilt washed over her, but she refused to start crying again. As if she didn't have enough to think about already. Or rather... things *not* to think about...

He was still standing at the corner, watching the room she was in. The redhead's partner and the older woman had both left over an hour ago, and they hadn't returned yet.

He decided he would get the redhead back later. This was not the right time. He felt it. He turned around and walked away from the hospital. Their time would come again. Not yet, but soon.

"Did you find anything?" Mulder asked the doctor caring for Scully. He and Mrs. Scully had been called into Dr. Ann Devon's office just five minutes earlier. They had been told that she wanted to go through the evidence with them. Since Mulder was Scully's partner and a FBI agent, she wanted him to be there as well.

"Yes," Dr. Devon answered him. "We found some seminal fluid, and we have been able to determine the man's DNA. Now it's up to you to come up with a suspect. If you do, we'll be able to decide if he's the right man."

Ann Devon had been in contact with a lot of rape victims through her long years as a doctor, and she knew how horrible it was. Mostly for the victim, of course, but also for the family and friends around the victim. She could see that in this case, Dana Scully's partner seemed to take it very hard. Even harder than the mother. She wondered if there wasn't more between Dana Scully and Fox Mulder than just being partners. He hadn't really done anything that would indicate it. He had simply introduced himself as her partner in the FBI. But she sensed something more. Something that went far beyond just a partnership.

"Why is she so...?" Mulder had a hard time getting the words out.

"Reserved?" Dr. Devon filled in.

"I was going to use the word 'cold', but yeah... Reserved. Why is she?"

Dr. Devon felt for him. Mrs. Scully had told her about Dana's reaction to him, and how it had hurt Mulder.

"It's normal, Agent Mulder. Most rape victims react this way afterwards. They distance themselves from the incident, but also from the people around her. Hopefully she will regain her trust in people. You and Mrs. Scully will have to help her through this."

Mulder almost laughed bitterly at the word. Trust. They would have to help Scully regain her trust. In who? The only two people she had trusted before was him and her mother. Scully wasn't someone who's trusted someone easily. That was his fault as well. When she had first started working with him on the X-Files she had been... naive, in a way. But after just a little while with him, she soon became almost as paranoid as him, and rightfully so. No, it wouldn't be easy to get her trust back.

"We will," he heard Mrs. Scully say to the doctor, and he nodded at her words. No matter what it took, he would get Scully's trust back again. He couldn't live without her trust. And he knew that Scully wouldn't be able to live like this either.

She stood outside his apartment door, afraid to knock on it. She was afraid to face him again. Afraid of what he thought of her. She knew she shouldn't be afraid. This was Mulder she was thinking about. Her partner. Her best friend. The one she trusted more than anyone in the whole world. Even more than her own mother.

She had been released from the hospital little over a week earlier, and since then she had been staying with her mother. Mulder had called her several times during that week, but she had refused to talk to him. Her mother had tried to convince her to at least speak to him for a couple of minutes, but she had made up her mind. She didn't want to talk to him. Not now.

Did she blame him for not being there to "save" her when it all had happened? The thought had crossed her mind more times than she wanted it to. But she knew that wasn't it. She had never, and *would* never, blame him for this. She had never blamed him for anything, why would she start now? No, she wasn't quite sure why she hadn't wanted to see him. Or talk to him.

Was she afraid that he would bring up the 'issue' she tried so hard to forget about? Yes. Was she afraid that he would try to make her remember? Yes. To remember the face?

She closed her eyes for a few seconds, and took a deep breath, trying to clear her thoughts and gather enough courage to take that final step and knock on the door. She knew that she couldn't turn away from here now. She had to see him. She had to talk to him.

Mulder was lying on his sofa, watching a ball game on TV. It wasn't interesting enough, though, to capture his thoughts. His thoughts weren't on the game; they were all on a certain Dana Scully.

He had called her at her mother's house more times than he could remember during the past week. She hadn't wanted to talk to him even once. Mrs. Scully had told him that Scully wasn't back to her old self yet. He hadn't expected that either. That's why he wanted to talk to her. To help her come back to being her old self. Or at least close to it. He understood that she would probably never be the same Scully she once had been, but he knew that the old Scully had to still be in there somewhere. It would be hard to get her back, but he would make sure that no one could accuse him of not at least trying.

It had been more than a week since he had last seen her now. He realized he hadn't seen her since before she had been released from the hospital. Not that things had been much more different then. She hadn't spoken more than two or three words to him after that first day. He just didn't know how to get through to her. He had tried. God knows, he had tried. He had tried talking to her like a psychologist would. He had tried talking to her like a friend would. He had tried every different approach he could think of, but nothing would let him get through to her; make her listen to him. He missed her so much. Missed their arguments over their different cases, missed her rare smiles. He missed her company.

He was brought out of his reverie by a sudden knock at the door. He quickly jumped off the couch. He recognized that knock. It belonged to Scully.

He rushed over to the door and looked out the peep- hole. And there she was. She stood with her small hands tucked in the big pockets on her coat. She looked nervous. Was she not sure about coming here?

He slowly opened the door. Scully looked up at him. She looked as if she would have preferred him not being home.


She tried to give him a smile, but failed miserably. "Hi," she simply said. "Can I come in?"

"Of course." He moved to the side and motioned for her to step into the apartment, which she did after a few seconds of hesitation. Mulder followed her with his eyes, and then closed the door behind her. The small apartment looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in ages. Not that that was unusual for Mulder's apartment, but anyway.

She looked over at the TV, which was still showing the ball game, and Mulder hurried over to it, and turned it off. Now the apartment was completely quiet. The only thing she could hear was his breathing and her own heartbeats, beating fast in her chest.

She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn't return his gaze. She knew that she would fall apart if she looked into those hazel eyes right now. She knew that they would be full of worry. Of sympathy. Concern. She couldn't handle that right now. So she didn't look at him.

Instead she walked over to his window. The window next to his computer. The window where he had used to place the 'X'. Where *she* had once placed the 'X', trying to save his life. Save his life... How many times had she done that now? More times than she could count. So had he. He had saved her from Donnie Pfaster. Gerry Schnauz. It was because of him she had returned from the coma after her abduction. He had been there. But this time he hadn't. He hadn't come in time. Did she blame him? No, she refused to let her thoughts wander down that road again. She had already decided that she didn't blame him for this; that she couldn't. How was he supposed to have known? He hadn't even been in town when it happened... She couldn't lay this on him.

She heard him move over to sit down on the couch. Then he spoke.

"Scully, will you please just look at me?"

She could hear the despair in his voice. But she didn't turn around. She couldn't handle seeing the look on his face yet.

Why had she come here? Why hadn't she just stayed with her mother until she was expected back at work? Because she felt guilty. Because he was her best friend. Because she owed him at least this much. He had helped her through so many things in life before. But this time she needed to tell him that she wanted to handle this alone. She needed to do this by herself. Would he understand that? Probably not. She didn't even understand it herself...

She didn't turn around. She didn't look at him, even though he had asked her to. So he simply waited for her to say something. Finally, she did.

"I'm sorry I didn't answer your calls."

Was he supposed to say something to that? Did she expect him to? He didn't think so, so once again, he waited for her to continue.

He heard her take a deep breath. "I... I don't know," she tried to explain. "I just didn't feel like talking to anyone. Not even you, Mulder."

She didn't have the same voice as the one she had had in the hospital anymore. It wasn't cold or emotionless. This time it was filled with feelings. Feelings he couldn't quite place.

"Mulder, I'm coming back to work tomorrow."

He hadn't been ready for that one. She was coming back? Already? She needed more time; she couldn't be ready to come back yet. *He* needed more time... He needed more time alone with her until they could go back to working together. She had shut him out so completely during the past weeks. They had to talk. And not while working. They had to *really* talk.

"Scully..." he started, but she interrupted him.

"No, Mulder, I'm coming back. I know you're gonna try to convince me otherwise, but I have already decided. I don't want to just be at home with my mother anymore; I need to work. I hope you can understand that."

Yes, he *did* understand that. Whatever Scully had gone through in her life, she had always went straight back to work. He hadn't really expected her to act any different this time. But he had to make her realize that they had to talk first. Maybe that was why she had come over tonight? Somehow, he didn't think that was the reason.

"Scully, we need to talk."

And there it was. Five words she had just expected to come any minute. 'Scully, we need to talk.' Why did he have to say those words? Couldn't he just let it all be? Of course not, this was Mulder.

Her head throbbed incessantly. The pain was becoming almost unbearable. She shut her eyes hard, trying to shut out the light from the streetlights below his window. She would not turn around.

"No, Mulder," she said. "Not now. Mulder, I need to handle this on my own." Without giving him a chance to object, she continued. "I know you don't think I should do that. I know. But this is something I have to do. I have to get my confidence back, and I can't do that if I have to rely on someone else. Can you understand that, Mulder?"

He didn't answer her. Had he heard her? Maybe she had just said all of that in her head, and not out loud. Just as she was about to repeat herself, he spoke.

"I think you're making a mistake, Scully." He paused for a minute. When he started speaking again, his voice was higher, and he almost sounded angry. "Don't you understand, Scully?! I just want to help you!"

This time she did turn around. Mulder had gotten up from the couch, and he was standing three feet away from her. She could see the rage in his eyes, but also the feeling of rejection.

"I know, Mulder, but I don't want your help! I don't *need* your help! I have to do this alone!"

He quickly closed the space between them, and grabbed her arms, trying to pull her to him. But she flinched away from him, just as she had in the hospital. She wouldn't let him touch her.

"You don't! You're wrong, Scully! You just think you have to go through this by yourself! You're so damn stubborn, do you know that?!"

*Why* did she have to be so stubborn?! She always was, of course. He didn't know why he had thought this time would be any different. She looked at him in silence, as if contemplating his words. "Look, Mulder," she started slowly. "I didn't come here to fight. I don't want to fight with you." "Why did you come here, Scully?" "I..." She fell silent.

Suddenly he remembered what she had said to him in the hospital. Why hadn't he thought about that before now?

In a much calmer voice, trying not to sound too angry, he said, "Scully, what did you mean when you told me that you had shot him, but that he..."

She cut him off. "Mulder, I told you I don't want to talk about it!"


"That's just it, Scully! You never want to talk! How am I supposed to understand what's going on inside that head of yours if you never tell me!?" He knew this wasn't the right approach to get her to talk to him either, but he didn't know what to do anymore.

Why didn't he just stop it? Why couldn't he respect her wishes? She didn't want to talk about it, and that was final. And why didn't that damn headache disappear?!

"I didn't come here to talk about this! You don't have to know!"

"Then why did you come here?" he asked her for the second time in just a few minutes. He sounded so angry with her. She didn't know what to say or what to do. What she didn't know was that he was feeling the exact same things. He didn't know what to say to her to make *her* understand. To make her listen to him. To let him help her.

"I don't know!"

Scully had now moved to the other side of the couch, slowly making her way towards the door.

"I don't need this, Mulder!" she yelled, her voice almost pleading.

He gave up. He wouldn't get anywhere with her tonight. He knew that she had already decided not to listen to a word he said. Everything just went into one ear and out through the other.

"Fine, Scully," he said and flopped down on the couch again, defeated. "I know this routine by heart. You don't need me, Scully. You don't need anyone, right? Fine."

His voice was still angry, but now low. Why couldn't he just understand how she felt? Why couldn't he accept her decision?

"Fine then," she said to him. "See you at work in the morning."

Then she opened the door, and stumbled out from his apartment.

He jerked at the noise of the door slamming shut, but he didn't get up to follow her.

Just as she had told him, she showed up for work the next morning.

When she had woken up that morning, she had wanted nothing more than to stay in bed for the rest of her life. She was still staying with her mother, who refused to let her live at home all by herself. And even though she could say 'no' to Mulder, she couldn't to her mother. Scully knew that Margaret was worried about her; that something would happen to the only daughter she had left. She couldn't put her through that, so she had agreed to stay with her. For now.

She was standing outside the door to their office in the basement. 'Their office'... She didn't even have her name on the door. It still only said 'Fox Mulder'. It was as if she didn't even exist when it came to the X-Files. In her heart, she knew that wasn't how Mulder looked at it. Even though he technically was her supervisory agent, and even though he ditched her more often than she would like to think about, she knew that he looked at her as his equal. They were partners.

But right now she really didn't want to be here. After that fight the night before, she didn't know what she should say to him. Should she just stay quiet and wait for him to speak first? He could probably stay quiet the whole day. Sometimes he could be so stubborn. Wasn't that what her mother had called her when she had come home from Mulder's apartment? Stubborn?

Her mother had been so angry with her. She had screamed at her; which had made her feel as if she was a little child again. A child that had done something really wrong. Her mother had never been one for screaming at her children, and neither had her father. So when she had come home, and Margaret reacted this way, she had been shocked. She hadn't been able to say anything to her defense. She had just sat on her bed in the room she had had there since she was a little girl, and listened to her mother. Scully had never seen her so... so furious.

Margaret had yelled at her. Another thing Margaret Scully didn't do often. Swear. Love? In a way she was. Dying inside. She could feel that darkness already, but she chose to ignore it.

She took one final deep breath, and then opened the door to the office. As she had thought, Mulder was already there. Of course. He was sitting by his desk, reading through a file. She noticed right away, though, that he wasn't reading it at all. Neither his head nor his eyes moved. Instead he sat completely still, as if simply staring at the paper in front of him.

"Morning, Mulder," she said to him.

"Morning," he replied, not even looking up from the damn file.

Fine, Scully thought to herself. If that's the way he wanted it, fine with her. She stood silent for a few more seconds, watching him, waiting for him to change his mind, and look up at her, letting her know that things were okay. But he didn't. And things were definitely not okay.

Turning away from him, she took her coat off and hung it up by the door, next to where his already was. Then she walked over to her desk. If it could even be called a desk. It was more like a table, with her stuff on it. She remembered when they had argued about that. Argued over a simple desk. She had asked him why she didn't have one, and he had simply replied that he had always thought of this area as hers. The argument hadn't really been about the desk, though. They both knew it, but neither of them had brought up the real reason for their argument. Not then, and not since then either.

She sat down behind her 'desk', setting up her laptop to go through some reports that had been due weeks ago, but had been put off since she had been away from work.

She was determined not to speak to Mulder first.

He hadn't looked up when she had walked into the office. He had heard in her voice that she was trying to make him speak to her; to make him understand. But he couldn't. He couldn't understand why she didn't want him to go through this with her. They had helped each other through so much. That she would turn away from him now, was simply beyond his mind.

He wouldn't talk to her until she decided they would *really* talk. About what she felt, what she was going through inside herself. He knew that if he tried to talk to her before she was ready, before she really wanted it, they would only end up fighting again. And even though he should probably try, despite the fights just waiting to happen, he couldn't do it. Watching Scully hurt was among the worst things he knew in life. But fighting with Scully was another. Right now he wanted neither, but he would have to live through watching her in pain until *she* was ready.

He realized it would take a lot of time, if it even ever happened, but he would wait. He knew she would have to talk about it sometime, whether she wanted to or not. Finally, she would have to. Otherwise she would go under.

He was watching himself in the mirror; imagining how the reflection would look with the redhead standing beside him. He could see her next to him; her beauty and strength radiating into him, making him even stronger and even more powerful. She would no longer be Dana Scully. She would no longer be the redhead. She would be his. She would be his Goddess. His lips turned into a grotesque smile as he thought of how she would become his for eternity. It wasn't time yet, he knew. He had been overly eager when he had tried earlier, which was why he failed. But the next time, there would be no mistakes, no tries and no rash decisions. Next time, he would not fail. No one would ever again be able to mistake her for not being his. No one.

Scully's eyes were shining with unshed tears as she stared into the fire. Her legs were curled up under her, digging into the soft couch cushions. The soft light from the fire was playing over her face; sometimes softening her features, making her look like she was twenty, and sometimes hardening them, making her look twice her age. Margaret watched her baby girl as she tried to compose herself; tried to hide the tears from her own mother. She had walked into the living room, expecting Dana to be asleep in her room by now, but instead finding her sitting on the couch, her body shaking. When Margaret had put a comforting hand on her shoulder, she had looked up at her with a haunted look on her face, her gaze completely disoriented. The sight had made her want to cry.

She sat down next to her on the couch, and then she pulled her into a gentle embrace. There was only a slight hesitation before Dana let herself relax completely into the arms of her mother, and she buried her face in her lap, just like she had done when she was little and had been hurting.

The silent tears soon turned into sobs, and Margaret held onto her tight, letting her cry. "Cry, sweetie," she whispered, pushing her daughter's hair away from her face, gently wiping away the tears as they fell. She leaned down, placing a soft kiss on her forehead. "Cry."

A couple of months passed by, and things were getting back to normal between them. As normal as they could be, anyway. Mulder didn't know who had started talking to the other one, but they were at least speaking again. They still weren't talking about what had happened to Scully, and Mulder had decided maybe it was better not to mention it at all until Scully wanted to bring it up herself. He was just glad she seemed to be feeling a little better. But still, he would sometimes look up at her from his desk, and he would find her in deep thoughts. Those times she had that painful look back on her face, and it hurt Mulder to see it. To know that she didn't feel she could talk to him about it instead of thinking about it to herself. He had tried to bring the subject up once since that dreadful evening that seemed to be so far away, but then Scully had backed away from him again. Since then, he hadn't mentioned it again, and neither had she.

Scully was still staying with her mother. They were still worried that the man who had attacked her would come back, even though nothing suspicious had happened since that night. But Mrs. Scully and Mulder both felt more comfortable with Scully staying there. And even if Scully hadn't said it herself, they knew that she felt better there as well. Safer.

They had just returned back to Washington D.C. after a case, which had turned out to be far from an X-File. They were discussing the final notes for the report to Skinner, when Scully suddenly stood up. Her hand flew up to cover her mouth, and then she ran out from the office.

Mulder quickly got up to follow her, and saw her running in to the ladies room. He stopped outside the door and knocked on it.

"Scully? Are you OK?"

At first she didn't answer, so he asked her again.

"I'm fine, Mulder," he heard voice say from the other side. "I'll be out soon. Go back to the office." Then he heard her flush the toilet, and he went back to the office as she had told him.

She was looking at herself in the mirror. She hardly recognized the woman she saw there. Her face was flushed, with tears in her eyes. Her breathing was heavy, and sweat had broken out on her forehead.

She had thrown up.

She had been sitting with Mulder in the office like any other day, and suddenly she had felt the nausea wash over her. She had literally flown up from her seat, and rushed to the toilet. She didn't want Mulder to know that she had been sick, so when he called out to her through the door, she had told him to just go back to the office again. She had been feeling like this for almost a week now, but this was the first time it had happened when Mulder had been with her. When they had been out on the case, she had gotten sick in her motel room, but Mulder hadn't noticed anything. She at least hoped he hadn't.

This time he was bound to ask her what was going on when she got back to the office again. She didn't know herself what was wrong yet. At first she had thought it was just the flu, but she didn't have a fever or anything else to indicate that that was the case. So she had went to the hospital. Deep inside she was afraid that the cancer might had returned. She had went to Dr. Devon, who had promised to call her as soon as she got the results back from the lab.

With her hands on the edge of the washbowl, keeping her steady, she willed her breathing to become calmer. She felt like she needed to throw up again, but nothing happened.

Ten minutes later, the nausea had passed, and she was ready to go back to the office and to Mulder again. She splashed a handful of cold water in her face one last time, and dried it off with some paper. With one last deep, calm breath, she walked out into the hallway.

When she stepped into the office again, Mulder looked up at her. He looked worried. Had she really expected anything else?

"Are you okay?" His words sounded slightly panicked.

She replied as she always did. "I'm fine, Mulder." At his skeptical look she continued, "It's just a little touch of the flu, I'm all right." He seemed to accept that answer. If only she could feel the same way about it.

"Dr. Devon called while you were in the bathroom," he told her.

"Oh..." She stopped in her tracks. "Did she say what she wanted?"

"I don't know. She just said she wanted you to come down to the hospital when you have the time."

Just as she had sat down in her chair, she got up on her feet again. She had to go to the hospital right now.



"Want me to come with you?" He got up from his chair and walked over to her. He was very careful not to touch her though. He hadn't touched her since the night they had argued, not even touched his hand to the small of her back.

She looked at him. Did she want him to come with her? Yes. God, she wanted him to come with her. But she wouldn't bring him. She had to find out what was wrong first.

"No, that's okay, Mulder," she answered him. He hadn't expected her to accept his offer, but he felt he had to ask. "I'll go there now, and I'll call you later, okay?"

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Thanks Mulder." Then she put her coat on and grabbed her car keys. "Talk to you later then," she said to him as she went out from the office.

"Sure," was all Mulder got out before the door closed behind her. Something was wrong. There was something Scully wasn't telling him. Actually, where were a *lot* of things Scully wasn't telling him lately. He was hoping that she would start trusting him again soon, because it all made him feel very uncomfortable.

"Hello Dana," Dr. Devon greeted Scully. "I'm glad you could come down here right away."

"Of course," Scully said as she followed Dr. Devon into her office at the hospital. She was so nervous. Afraid of what was wrong with her body. The doctor wouldn't have called her down here if it wasn't something serious. Something she couldn't tell her over the phone. "I have to know what's wrong," she told her sincerely.

"Please," Dr. Devon said and motioned for Scully to sit down in the chair right in front of the desk, "sit down." Instead of sitting behind the desk in her own chair, Dr. Devon sat down in the chair next to Scully's.

"It's the cancer, isn't it?" Scully asked right away, the words rushing out of her mouth. "It's returned, hasn't it?" She was so afraid it was the cancer again. She had been through all that once already, and had barely survived. She didn't know if she could survive it once more. But what Dr. Devon told her was much worse. Worse than the cancer ever could have been.

"Dana..." She paused for a few seconds before continuing. She didn't know how to tell her. She decided the only way was to tell her straight out. "Dana, you're pregnant."

Both of the women could feel the air change in the room, and Scully felt as if someone had just struck her in the face. Pregnant? That was impossible. She couldn't get pregnant. Not since the abduction. She was barren! Something must be wrong.

But before she got the chance to say anything out loud, Dr. Devon had noticed her reaction and said, "I know you thought you couldn't get pregnant. We didn't either, to be honest. But obviously we must have missed something. You *are* pregnant, Dana."

"I can't be." It was the denial thing all over again. She *couldn't* be pregnant. There must have been some mix- up or something. Someone else was pregnant, not her.

It was as if Dr. Devon was reading her mind. "No, Dana, it's not a mistake. We ran the test three times just to be completely sure. There are no doubts about it. You have a child growing inside you."

She couldn't believe it. That... That... That *creature* had gotten her pregnant. This couldn't be happening. It all had to bee some sick joke. A really bad, sick joke. But as she looked at Dr. Devon, she knew that this was no joke.

"Dana, didn't you suspect anything?" the doctor asked carefully. "You must have suspected something when your period disappeared. And haven't you gained any weight at all?"

Scully felt so confused. Yes, her period had disappeared, but it wasn't like it was the first time that had ever happened to her. "I thought it had to do with the stress," she told her. "It's happened before. My job is very stressful at times, and I sure have been under a lot of pressure lately. And to be honest, doctor, I haven't been eating very well lately..."

Suddenly she started crying. The tears streamed down her face, uncontrollably.

Dr. Devon moved slowly and took Scully's hand in her own, trying to give her some kind of comfort. This was always the worst. It happened more often than she or any other doctor would like to think about. Not only did she get raped, but now she had to carry the rapist's child in her body.

Scully accepted the doctor's attempt to comfort her, and did not pull her hand away. When would it all stop? When would she get to live a normal life? Why did everything have to happen?! After a while she let herself be drawn into Dr. Devon's warm embrace, and realized that it was really Mulder she wanted to be holding her right now. Mulder. The only one she knew she could always count on. The man who was always there for her, whenever she needed him. Whether she wanted him to or not.

Dr. Ann Devon closed her eyes, and silently stroked her patient's hair. She felt like crying herself. Dana had thought that she couldn't get pregnant for a long time now, and this was certainly not the way anyone would ever want to finally get pregnant. To get what they really wanted more than anything else, but in a completely wrong way.

When the tears finally started to subside, Dr. Devon decided to ask Scully the question she had been thinking about all along. A question she didn't know if she really should ask or not; it really wasn't any of her business. But she did.

"Dana, do you love him?"

It came out just like that, after minutes of silence, and it shocked Scully.

"Excuse me?"

"Dana, do you love your partner?"

Scully looked at her as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing. To Dr. Devon it sounded like it would be the easiest thing in the world to answer. But not to Scully. To her, it was everything but simple. Did she love him? Yes, she had admitted that to herself a long time ago. But it wasn't that easy.

"Love him..." she said, as if the words touched her lips for the very first time. "I did. I do." She sighed. "I'm not sure I *can* love him anymore."

"What do you mean by that?" Dr. Devon carefully willed her to continue.

Scully slowly rose her head and looked up at her. "I won't even let him touch me anymore," she told her. "I just... I just draw myself away from him. I can't help myself."

"I see..."

"I mean, he's my partner and my best friend. Of course I love him."

Dr. Devon nodded, and Scully kept going.

"Right now... When you held me in your arms... I wished that it was Mulder holding me. I've always borrowed his strength, just as he has borrowed mine. We depend on each other. In a way, I don't think I could survive without him by my side."

"And what about him?" Dr. Devon asked. "Does he know how you feel about him?"

"I don't know. He must..." Her head fell forward again.

"He must what, Dana?" Dr. Devon insisted.

"He must know... How could he not?"

"Have you ever told him you love him?"

Her voice was barely louder than a whisper. "No."

"Okay..." She nodded, even though she knew Scully couldn't see her at the moment. "And how does he feel about you? Does he love you?"

Scully was quiet for a few moments, as if she thought it over. Finally she said, "Yes... I think he does."

"Your mother told me that you don't want to talk to him about what's happened."


"Yes. She was concerned for both you and Agent Mulder. Is it true?"

"I guess so," she admitted.


"I don't know." She paused slightly. "I don't want him to think that I am weak. I want him to trust me to back him up, and not be worried that I'll have a breakdown while out in the field. It's important that he knows he can trust me to be there."

"Don't you think he's even more worried when you don't talk to him?" she asked.

Scully thought about it for a minute. He was worried now. She knew that he was just waiting for her to talk to him about what had happened almost three months ago. But she couldn't.

"Maybe you're right," she told the doctor. "I don't want to talk to him about it. I think I'm afraid I'll fall apart if I do." She looked up at her again. "Why are you asking me all these questions about Mulder?"

Dr. Devon didn't answer her question. Instead she asked, "Will you tell him about the baby?"

Scully felt the tears rise again as she thought about the child now growing inside her. "I don't know," she told her honestly.

"I think you should. You need someone to help you through this. And from what you've told me, I think Mulder is that someone."

Twisting her hands in her lap, she finally said, "I know." And she did.

He woke with a start. He had fallen asleep. That was one of the few downsides of being the 'chosen'. He needed a lot of energy; energy he could only get from sleep. Maybe one day that would change. He didn't know. For now it actually didn't bother him that much. When he slept, he could escape into his dreams. And it was in his dreams he could sometimes see what was going to happen.

He had been dreaming about the redhead. He had watched her everyday since she had been released from the hospital. He'd been watching her when she looked out the window in her mother's house. When she drove to work. When she had taken her car to her partner's apartment. That time he had wanted to take her away right there and then. But it wasn't the right time yet. He knew that. He had to do this the way it was supposed to be done.

She was pregnant. She was carrying his child. He knew this with a certainty, because he had dreamed about it. He had felt it. He had just woken up and known it. Finally. A child to one day take over his place as the 'chosen' one. It would be a son. A son he could be proud of. A son who would obey his father, and worship his mother, just like he did.

In his dream he had seen the redhead with his child in her arms, holding him close to her chest. Letting him feed from her breasts. If he closed his eyes, he could picture them both on his bed now, waiting for him to join them.

He was going to have a son.

"And where is Agent Scully today?"

Mulder looked up at Skinner. He had been called up there ten minutes earlier to give him their report on the latest case.

"She's at the hospital, sir," he told him. At Skinner's obvious worried expression to this, he continued. "Dr. Devon called her down there. I think she has the flu or something. It's probably nothing serious."

Skinner relaxed again. Mulder knew that Skinner didn't really want him to know, but the fact was that Skinner cared a lot for Scully. He had seen it a lot of times. But it had especially been proved when Scully had the cancer, and now, after the... rape. Mulder appreciated the caring, although in the past, it had sometimes made him a little jealous. He hadn't been quite sure what kind of feelings Skinner had had for her; if they were fatherly feelings, or something more. He had soon stopped worrying, though, because first of all, he knew that Skinner would probably never do anything to indicate his feelings, if he had them. And second, Scully did not have any personal feelings for their boss, other than maybe friendship and respect. He knew this.

"Well, tell her I hope she'll feel better soon," Skinner said, and Mulder nodded. "Now, about this case..."

"Yeah," Mulder said. "There was nothing paranormal about it at all. Just a bunch of kids fooling around."

"I see. And Agent Scully feels the same way about it?"

"Yes, she does."

"Well, you are excused then, Agent Mulder."

Mulder rose to get out from the office, when Skinner's voice stopped him. "Mulder. Off the record, how *is* she, really?"

Mulder turned to face him. After a few seconds he said, "To be honest, sir... I'm not really sure. She doesn't tell me anything. She never talks about what happened to her. Right now I'm just hoping she'll let me in."

Skinner nodded, and went back to reading through the report. Mulder took that as his dismissal, and went down to the basement office again.

Mulder looked at the clock on the VCR. It showed 11:21 p.m.

The TV was off, as were all the lights. He simply lay on his couch in the dark, waiting. Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for Scully's call. He had thought about calling her up himself, but she had promised. She would call him. And he would wait. If Scully had said that she would call, she wouldn't want him to make the call for her. She would take that as him checking up on her, and he knew that she hated that. No, he would just lie here, and wait. That was the way it had to be.

Almost twelve hours had passed since she had left the office to go to the hospital. Why hadn't she called yet? Had something serious happened? Was it something else than simply the flu? He then prayed to a God he didn't believe in. "Please don't let her go through anything more like this. She is the strongest person I have ever known, but enough is enough. Please." In that moment the phone rang. Mulder picked up after only one signal.

"Scully?" he asked, already knowing it was her.

"Hey, I thought that was my name." She sounded tired.

"Are... Are you okay, Scully?"

"I'm..." He could hear the hesitation in her voice. "I'm fine, Mulder." How many times had he heard those three words?

"I'm not coming in to work tomorrow." He panicked. What was she trying to tell him? Oh, please... "Dr. Devon wanted to take some more tests."

"Is it..." He was going to say 'Is it something serious?', but she interrupted him before he even got the chance.

"Look, Mulder," she said, "I don't really want to talk about this over the phone. Could you come over to my apartment tomorrow night?"

"Aren't you still staying with your mom?"

"Yeah, but I want to see you in private. Without mom. Could you come by at around eight? I need to talk to you."

"Talk?" He didn't want to fight with her again. Last time had been horrible enough.

As if she was able to read his mind, she said, "Yes, to talk, Mulder. I don't want to fight again, either. Say you'll come."

How could he say no? How would he ever be able to deny her anything? "Of course I'll come. I'll see you at eight then."

"Good." She sounded both relieved and scared. Mulder wondered why. Hopefully she would tell him when they met.

"Skinner asked about you today," he told her after a while.


"Yeah... He's worried about you, Scully. Just like me." He wasn't sure he should have said that, but he had to. He had to let her know that he *was* worried, even if she didn't want him to be.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Mulder. Good night."

"Good ni..." Then she had hung up, and after a few seconds, Mulder did the same.

He hoped she meant what she was saying. That she really wanted to talk tomorrow. Maybe she would finally let him in. God, he hoped so.

The following day Mulder kept looking at his watch every five minutes. Why did the time have to pass by so damn slowly? Finally he decided that there wasn't really much for him to do at the office, so he called Skinner and told him he was going home early. After all, it was Friday, and Mulder rarely went home early from work.

What he really wanted to do was to go down to the hospital and find Scully. But she would probably shoot him again if he did that. Instead he just drove around for more than two hours, thinking. Thinking about Scully. It seemed as if he was always thinking about Scully. It didn't matter what it was about. He just couldn't get her out of his mind. And he didn't really want to either.

When had she become such an important person in his life? He didn't know. He supposed it had been almost right from the start. She had probably thought he was the craziest person she had ever met when they first started working together. But she listened to him. She listened to all his crazy theories, and even if she believed otherwise, she never made fun of him over it. Well, except for sometimes. But he had to admit that even he thought his own theories was a little bit too 'out there' sometimes.

She put up with his behavior. Of course she got pissed off at him when he ditched her to pursue an investigation on his own. He didn't blame her for that. But she didn't know that he only did it to protect her. And that was not because he thought of her as a weaker person because she was a woman, or because he thought she couldn't handle it. It was because he couldn't bear to lose her. He had been close to that more times than he would like to remember. He didn't even want to imagine what it would be like if one day it really happened. That he would lose her. He would go under with her, he was sure of that. So even if he knew that he made her angry, he was only trying to protect her. When had she become the most important thing in his life, the one person he cared more about than anything else? That question he still couldn't answer.

He looked at his watch again. It was 6:13 p.m. Less than two hours until he was supposed to be at Scully's apartment. Maybe he could go there early. Scully probably wouldn't be there yet. He knew that Mrs. Scully wouldn't want to let her be there on her own. He could let himself in with the key he had to her apartment. But how would Scully react if he was already there when she came? Well, he decided he would take the risk. He didn't feel like going home to his own apartment for just an hour, and riding around in his car didn't seem like a good option either.

He quickly turned the car around, and started his journey to Scully's place.

It was already dark outside. She was curled up on the couch in her living room. No lights were on in the whole apartment, even though she had been there for more than half an hour already. The clock on the VCR told her it was 6.37 p.m. More than an hour left till Mulder would get there. She didn't know if that knowledge made her feel grateful or not. Grateful because that meant she wouldn't have to worry about telling him for another hour. Uncomfortable because right now she felt very alone and didn't really want to be here on her own. And she missed him.

If her mother would find out that she had been here alone all this time, she would bite her head off. She would be worried and angry. Margaret had hardly let Scully out of her sight since she had come home from the hospital, except for when Scully went to work or had to go away on a case. But at least she had Mulder with her then. Now it was evening and dark, just like it had been when... She tried to stop her thoughts from going there. But it was impossible. She had hardly been able to think about anything else since that dreadful night. Although, she did try very hard to convince her mother and Mulder otherwise; that it wasn't really bothering her anymore. Yeah right. As if they bought into that act. This was Mulder and her mother she was thinking about. The two people who knew her better than anyone else in the world. She couldn't fool them. Especially not Mulder. He could see right through her, even if he hadn't said anything about it for a long time now.

Mulder... If he only knew how many times she had been close to just throw herself in his arms, and cry until there were no tears left. But she hadn't. Not Dana Scully. The last thing she wanted was for him to think that she was weak. She had always taken pride in the fact that she was a strong person. A very strong person. She didn't want Mulder to think that she wasn't.

So when she was going to tell him everything later, she would have to stay that strong person. Try do distance herself from her feelings. Because otherwise there was no chance in hell she was going to pull this off without showing him her weaker side.

Why was she going to tell him anyway? Why had she suddenly felt that she had to tell him? That he deserved to know? Because he did deserve to know. He was the most important part of her life. She had to tell him.

What was that? She looked over to the door, and heard the same sound again.

Someone was doing something to the lock. She quickly moved up from the couch and grabbed her gun that lay on the table. Then she placed herself in front of the door and aimed.

The door opened, and Scully yelled, "Move and I'll blow your fucking brain out!!"

"Hey! It's me!" Mulder raised his arms above his head to show her he was no threat, and then said in a lower voice, "It's only me, Scully."

Scully stood completely still. She had almost shot Mulder. What the hell was she doing? She saw Mulder slowly lower his arms, and before she knew it, he had taken the gun away from her hands.

"It's only me," he said again.

"I'm so sorry, Mulder," she said. She could hear her own voice shaking, and tried to make it more steady. "I thought it was him." She almost succeeded.

Then she thought about it. What if it *had* been 'him'. What good would the gun have done her then? Absolutely nothing. If it had been 'him' she didn't know what would have happened to her. Oh God. What had she been doing here all by herself? How could she have been so stupid? Her mother was right. She shouldn't be alone, especially not if this was the way she reacted when someone put a key in the door's lock. Only she, Mulder and her mom had a key to her apartment. So it couldn't even have been 'him'.

Mulder stepped into the dark apartment, and closed the door behind him, locking it again. Then he took off his jacket and hung it up by the door. He walked over to the couch, trying not to bump into anything on the way, and then sat down.

Scully followed him with her eyes the whole time. Her eyes were already used to the dark, so she could see him quite clearly.

"What are you doing here so early anyway?" she asked him, her voice back to normal.

He looked up, trying to see her in the dark. "I could ask you the same thing." There was no accusation in his voice.

"I just needed some time by myself. Mom has been watching me like a mother hen."

Mulder nodded, although he wasn't sure she could see him or not.

"I'm sorry I was about to shoot you," she said to him.

Mulder smiled a little at this. "Hey, it's not like you haven't done it before." When Scully didn't respond, he continued, "Hey, Scully. It's okay. You didn't shoot me. I'm still here."

"No thanks to me."

"Come here, Scully," Mulder said, and Scully could hear him patting his hand next to him on the couch, even if she couldn't see it.

She moved over to the couch, but she didn't sit down next to him. Instead she sat down as far away as she possibly could on the small couch.

Mulder noticed this as well, but didn't say anything about it. He just assumed that she needed her own space. Still, he couldn't help but to wish that she had sat down closer to him. He wanted to feel her close. He hadn't touched her for so long. Not even been able to put his hand at the small of her back, afraid that she would take it the wrong way.

"Is it okay if I turn a light on?" he asked her. If he couldn't touch her, he at least wanted to be able to see her.

After a few seconds, Scully said hesitantly, "Yeah."

Mulder reached over and turned on the light he knew stood right next to the couch. It wasn't a big lamp, and it didn't give away much light. But he could see her. She wasn't looking at him; it was as if she was afraid to meet his eyes.


Now she turned her head to face him. She had a look in her eyes that he couldn't place. He had never seen it before.

"What was it you wanted to tell me?" he asked her. She had wanted him to come over, and he wouldn't leave until she had said what she was going to say.

"Everything," she simply answered. This was so hard for her. She hadn't talked about the rape with anyone, not even with Dr. Devon, and she didn't know how to begin.

She looked away from him again. If she was going to tell him everything, she couldn't bear seeing the look on his face. She knew that this would hurt him almost as much as it hurt her. It was almost as if they lived their lives through each other. What one of them felt, the other one felt as well. If one felt joy, the other felt joy. And if one felt pain... the other one felt pain.

Mulder just stayed quiet. He knew that she would start speaking again when she felt ready. He would not push her into telling him anything she didn't feel comfortable with. If she wanted to tell him, he would listen. If not... well, he would wait until she did.

"I was raped, Mulder," she started. As if he didn't already know this. But this was the first time she had actually said it out loud. It was something she had had to say. To admit to herself that it had really happened. "He... I don't remember his face, Mulder..."

Mulder nodded, even though Scully wasn't looking at him. He didn't say anything, just nodded at her words.

"I don't *want* to remember his face... I think I decided not to remember, and now I can't." She paused for a minute or two. "I shot him. I grabbed my gun, and I shot him. But he kept moving towards me. I couldn't escape him. The bullets ripped through him, but they didn't hurt him. I don't know what he was."

Her voice started sounding panicked, and Mulder wanted to hold her in his arms. But instead he stayed where he was and let her go on.

"He was... I don't know! Not human! I don't know how to explain it. But how could someone human not be affected by a bullet in the heart? I... And he kept calling himself the 'chosen one', and said that he had chosen me. What the hell did he mean by that, Mulder?"

Mulder didn't know. He didn't understand what kind of person this man was. If Scully remembered it right, he had no idea. At first he thought that she might have imagined all of it. Not the rape, of course, but that she had shot him and actually hit him. The forensics report on the gun had told him that she had fired it, but maybe she had missed her target? But that had not been the case. Only three bullets had been found in the wall in the office, which made sense, since Scully had told him that she had hit the man three times. Who was this man? 'The chosen one'...

"He was evil, Mulder. I could feel it when he came into the room. It was as if... as if he was made of pure evil. I couldn't stop screaming..."

Mulder knew this, and it had frightened him. Mrs. Scully had told him about the guard finding her screaming on the floor, unable to make her stop. That was not how he wanted to picture Scully.

More than 20 minutes passed by before Scully spoke again. And nothing could have prepared him for what she told him.

"I'm pregnant, Mulder."

Mulder looked over at her in shock. Had she just said what he thought she had? Yes. She had. She was pregnant? But that wasn't possible. Scully couldn't conceive a child. Not since her abduction. Either Scully or Dr. Devon had made a mistake.

"I *am* pregnant, Mulder. I don't know how or why it happened, but it did."

He should have known she would be able to know what he was thinking. That was the way they were. Most of the time, anyway...

"But how?" Mulder spoke for the first time since Scully had started speaking.

He looked over at her, and realized that Scully had started crying. Her head was bent forward over her legs, and big tears fell down on her trousers. They were silent tears. She didn't move a bone in her body; she didn't blink with her eyes. She just let her eyes well up with tears, and didn't stop them from falling.

She looked so small and fragile. He wanted to protect her from all the evil in the world, if she would only let him. That was not how he usually looked at her. Small and fragile. Scully would kill him if he did. No, Scully was a strong and independent woman. But not even she could handle a thing like this. Some things could break even the strongest person.

Scully didn't answer his question. She wasn't even sure if he expected an answer from her, or if he had just asked it because of the shock. She didn't know how it could have happened. She knew she could not have a child of her own. It was one of her biggest grieves. That she would get to carry a child because of this... How anyone could handle living in a world this unfair, she didn't understand.

Scully thought back to when she had spent her Christmas with her mother, Bill, and his very pregnant wife. She had been really happy for Bill and Tara. She had. But deep inside another feeling had been gnawing at her. A feeling of jealousy. Jealousy because Tara was having a baby, and she would never be able to. Then she had met Emily.

Emily... A miracle that was never meant to be, as Mulder had called her. But she had been her daughter. She had given her some meaning to her life. When Emily had died, Scully had felt a feeling of loss that she had never felt before. Not even when her father or Melissa died. Something about Emily had been so special. Maybe because she *was* a miracle. She had learned she would never be able to conceive a child, and there she was. *Her* child, even if she hadn't given birth to her.

"Will you keep it?"

Mulder's voice drew her away from her deep thoughts. This time he did expect an answer.

For the first time that evening, Scully looked at Mulder. Really looked at him. His eyes met with hers. They locked for a second or two, before Scully turned away again. She took a long and deep breath and then rose from the couch. Without looking at him again, she walked out to the kitchen. "Do you want some coffee?" she called out to him.

Coffee? Coffee?! He didn't want any damn coffee! She was trying to avoid talking to him, but he wouldn't let her get away that easy this time. She had brought it up, and she would finish it this time.

Mulder quickly got up from the couch, and followed her out into the kitchen.

Scully could feel him come up close behind her. He was so close. She could sense his hands just above her shoulders. But he had stopped himself before he let them touch her. He had noticed her stiffen as he came close, and had stopped. Why had she tensed up like that? She missed his touch. It had been so long since she had felt his hands, and she had never thought she would miss them as much as she did. But she couldn't help herself. The second any man, even Mulder, came too close, she simply panicked. She couldn't help it...

"Scully?" She imagined she could feel his hot breath on her neck, and closed her eyes. "Please, Scully. Let me in." His voice was so low, almost a whisper. And so soft. He wasn't mad at her.

She still held one of the coffee cups in her hand, and Mulder slowly took it away from her, still careful not to let his hand touch hers. "I don't want any coffee, Scully," he said. "I just want you to open up to me."

Scully's head slumped forward. Why did he care so much about her? Why couldn't he do what everybody else did? Just leave her alone. Then she realized she didn't want him not to care. She was grateful that he cared. What would she do without him? If he one day just stopped caring? She didn't know.

"I'm sorry, Mulder," she said. "I'm so sorry..."

"Scully, you don't have to be sorry. I just want you to trust me."

She turned around and faced him. "I do," she said. "You know I do..." She couldn't handle looking into his eyes, and instead looked down at her feet.

Mulder raised his hand to her face. He wanted to touch her so badly, but let his hand drop again.

Scully had seen his hand coming up towards her face, and she had closed her eyes, waiting for his hand to reach her cheek, to touch her. But it hadn't.

"You want to know... if I'm gonna keep the baby..." she said slowly, trying to let it all sink in. "I don't know, Mulder. I really don't know."

"Come on, Scully. Let's go back to the living room."

Scully followed him back to the couch, where they sat down exactly where they had been sitting just a few minutes earlier.

"Talk to me, Scully. Let me in."

Keep the baby... How would she be able to? How would she be able *not* to? For the second time that evening, her thoughts wandered back to Emily. When she had thought that Emily was Melissa's daughter, she had wanted to adopt her so badly. When she found out that she was her own daughter, she had wanted it even more. It was like she had told her mother. She hadn't realized how much she wanted a child, until she found out she couldn't have any. But what if...

"I think maybe you should keep it, Scully," Mulder's voice interrupted her thoughts.

She looked up at him. "What?"

"I think you should keep the baby," he said again. "Maybe this is God's way of giving you another chance to have your own child."

"You don't believe in God, Mulder," she said, and returned her gaze to her folded hands again.

"I know," he answered. "But you do, Scully."

Yes. She did. Her right hand went up to the cross that hung around her neck. The same cross she had given to Emily not so long ago. The cross that had been returned to her when Emily died. Now when she wore it, her heart was always with Emily. She hoped that her little daughter was happy now. That she didn't have to suffer anymore.

"Mulder..." she said, hesitantly. "What if..." She paused.

"What?" Mulder asked her carefully.

She once again looked at him. "What if this child will be evil?" she said. "Like him?"

Mulder could see the fear in her eyes.

"And what if it will be a constant reminder of what happened to me? Will I be able to love this child? Or will I hate it?" Her voice sounded almost desperate.

"Scully..." Mulder said, but then stopped. How would he be able to make her realize? "Scully," he started again. "You are the most loving person I have ever known." His voice was soft and reassuring. "If anyone could love this child, it would be you. And you *will* love it, Scully. Because even if it was conceived the way it was, it is still *your* child. Just like Emily." He watched her reaction as he mentioned Emily's name, and realized that Scully had already been thinking of her. He continued. "You didn't give birth to Emily. She wasn't even completely human. She was the result of your abduction. But you still loved her. Probably more than you have ever loved anyone in your entire life. Don't you think you could be able to love this child too?"

Scully sat silent for a long time, letting Mulder's words sink in to her mind. What he said was true. She had loved Emily, like she hadn't thought she was able to love anyone. But...

"I don't know, Mulder," she said, honestly. "I don't understand how God could've wanted me to conceive a child like this."

"Well, I guess you should wait for a while, and see how you feel about it then," he suggested. "I just want you to really consider this, Scully."

She nodded.

Mulder looked at his watch. It was already past midnight.

"Maybe I should be heading home. Do you want me to give you a ride back to your mom's?" he offered.

"Actually, no," she answered him, and Mulder watched her with his eyebrows raised. Scully smiled weakly, and explained. "As I said, she's constantly watching over me. I know she only means well, but I can't stand it right now. I think I want to stay here."

"Do you think that's wise?" She shouldn't be on her own.

"No," she simply said. Then, "That's why I want to ask you if you could stay here with me tonight. I don't want to be alone, Mulder."

"Of course I'll stay with you if you want me to," Mulder said to her and gave her a small smile, which she to his surprise returned. It was a smile that lit up her face. It didn't quite reach her eyes, but it was still the best thing he had seen for a long time.

"Thank you," she said, and then rose from the couch, and started making her way to the bedroom. When Mulder didn't move to follow her, she turned around.

"Are you coming?" At the look on his face, she continued, "Look, Mulder. I *really* don't want to be alone, and that means I don't want you to sleep out here on the couch. Now, come on."

With that she went into the bedroom, and then to the bathroom, where she changed into her nightshirt. When she came back into the room again, she found Mulder sitting in the chair next to her bed, with a blanket over him. She crawled under the covers, and then softly said Mulder's name.

He turned his eyes to her.

"Come here," she said and patted on the bed next to her. "That doesn't look too comfortable, and I don't want to be the reason you're not going to be able to walk tomorrow. We can share my bed."

Mulder at first wasn't sure what he was going to do, but when he saw Scully's pleading eyes, he threw away the blanket and crawled into the bed next to Scully. But he was lying as far away from her as possible.

Scully slowly turned around to face him in the big bed. He was looking at her, straight into her dark, deep blue eyes. She closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them again. Her eyes locked with his immediately.

"Mulder..." she whispered. "Will you hold me tonight?"

The words had been spoken so softly, that Mulder wasn't sure he had heard her right. But her eyes said it all. She needed to feel safe, and for some reason, he made her feel that way.

"Are you sure?" he asked her. He hadn't touched her in such a long time, and by holding her, he would definitely have to touch her.

She nodded. "Yes."

They moved closer to the other simultaneously, and when they were only inches away from each other, Mulder slowly raised his arm. Once again, he asked her if she was sure this was what she wanted, and she gave him the same answer as before. With that, he lowered his arm, and he touched her for the first time in an eternity. It felt so incredibly good, and he never wanted to let her go again.

Then he felt her tense under his arm, and he took it away. But Scully stopped him. "No," she said. "Hold me." And he did. He put his left arm around her back, and then put the other one under her, making her head rest on it. She cuddled up closer to him, and he could feel her hot breath on his neck. The closer she pushed herself against him, the tighter he held on to her. Her soft hair tickled his cheek.

Suddenly she started shaking. He pulled her even closer, if that was possible, and stroked her back gently. He felt her wet tears dripping down on his T-shirt, and he closed his eyes tightly together.

Scully sobbed into his chest, unable to hold it all back. The feeling of Mulder holding her had just made her let it all come out. All the hurt, all the fear. She knew she could do it. She knew Mulder would still respect her, even if she cried in his arms. So the sobs became even harder, as Mulder tenderly kissed her forehead, just like he had done when she had had the cancer. That small gesture had meant so much to her then. Like it did now.

Mulder couldn't handle seeing and feeling Scully this way. He wished there was something he could do to make all the pain just go away. But there wasn't. This was something that had to take its time to heal. He just hoped she *would* heal.

Feeling the wetness of her tears sip through his T-shirt to his skin, made tears rise in his own eyes. He couldn't stop them. And in a way he didn't want to stop them. He hurt too. Maybe he needed to cry as well.

Scully felt a tear land in her hair, and she hugged him harder, finding herself trying to comfort him. In return he whispered soft words into her hair, and finally they simply held on to each other as if their lives depended on it.

"I love you, Scully." He was surprised the words had come out so easily, like he had said them a hundred times before.

"I know," she answered. Because she did know. Somehow, she just knew. And she believed him.

They lay silent for a long time, and then Scully whispered back, "Me too."

Mulder wasn't sure he had heard her say those words, or if they had just been a part of his imagination. He moved his head to look down at her, and as he opened his mouth to ask her, he saw that she was already asleep. He moved her face back to his neck again, and continued stroking her hair, over and over in fluid movements. Soon, he was asleep as well.

Mulder slowly opened his eyes. It was still dark outside, but he had been woken up by Scully's absent body next to him. Where was she? At first he panicked, but then he heard the low sounds of the water running in the bathroom. Was she taking a shower? At... 3:40 in the morning?! Not even Scully got up that early.

He tried to blink the sleep out of his eyes, and then got out of the bed. He walked over to the bathroom door, and then stopped in front of it.

"Scully?" he asked softly, laying his forehead against the door.

She didn't answer. She probably hadn't even heard him.

So he once again said her name, this time a little louder, so she would hear him over the running water. She still didn't answer him. Then he heard it.

He slowly opened the door, only to find a crying Scully sitting in the bathtub, with the water running over her petite body. Her body was shaking violently from the sobs. Her head was bent down, obscuring her face from his view. But he didn't have to see her face to know what it would look like.

Scully hardly ever let him see her cry. He could count the times on one hand. But the image came back to him in a heartbeat. The Donnie Pfaster case. That was the first time she had truly let him *see* her. She had tried to tell him that she was fine, as she always did. But when he had put his hand under her cheek, and forced her to look up at him, she had surrendered to her feelings, and leaned into him.

Tonight he had seen her cry more times than all the others together. That was something he had never wanted. She had finally succumbed to the pain, and once again cried while in his arms.

"Scully," he whispered, trying to get her attention. But she didn't hear him. "Scully?" he said a little louder this time.

She looked up at him in shock. The water ran down her sweet face, mingling with the salty tears running from her eyes. She quickly tried to cover herself, but then realized there was no point in doing so. Instead she returned her eyes to his, only to find them staring into hers. She could see so much in those eyes. Friendship. Caring. Love. But not what she had expected from him. Pity. No pity. Instead she saw the pain, reflecting her own soul. It was as if she was seeing herself through his eyes.

She watched him in a daze as he moved to turn the water off above her. Then he held out a hand for her to take. She looked down at it, as if she was wondering what it was. His strong hand, reaching out for her, trying to pull her back to the world. Then she grabbed it, and he helped her up on her feet. On eye-to-eye level, he put her arms around his neck, and lifted her out of the bathtub; her naked body pressing up against him. Before setting her down on the floor again, he held her close to him; letting his T-shirt get soaked, but not minding it one bit. He needed to feel her close. And feeling Scully clinging to him, made him realize that she needed the exact same thing as well.

"I feel so dirty, Mulder," she said in his ear, still shaking from crying. "So dirty... I can't get the feeling of him off of me."

He let her slide down to the cold floor. He held her head in both his hands, and gently kissed the top of it. Her arms were still wrapped around his body, as she raised her eyes to his. Her lower lip was quivering. If it was from the newfound coldness or the crying, he didn't know. Then she suddenly stood up on her toes, and touched her lips to his. It was just a quick brush, but to Mulder it was the most wonderful thing he had ever felt. He looked at her with questions in his eyes, and she kissed him again, this time harder, trying to slip her tongue into his hot mouth. But he wouldn't let her. This was the last thing she needed right now.

He held her face in his hands, and she looked up at him; her eyes full of trust. "Mulder... I need you." She placed her hands on his chest, letting them travel up to his neck. "I need you," she said again, her voice barely louder than a soft whisper.

He could hear the longing in her voice; the desire he had been wishing to hear for as long as he could remember. But no matter how much he wanted this; no matter how much he wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her, love her, it wasn't the right thing to do. She was still struggling with the feelings from being raped. Having sex was something she should not do. Even if it was with someone she loved. Someone who loved her.

And he told her this. But she objected.

Searching his eyes with hers, she let her fingers trail over his cheek. "Make love to me, Mulder."

"Scully..." She continued stroking his cheek, and he grabbed her hand, holding on to it. "Scully, I don't think we should do this right now."

She closed her eyes, her head slumping forward. Placing his fingers under her chin, he forced her to look up at him again.

"Scully, listen to me." She nodded slightly, and he continued. "I don't think we should do this right now. No matter how much I want to."

She looked from his eyes to their clasped hands, and then back to his eyes again. She could see the desire in his eyes, but the fear was still there. The fear of hurting her; of causing her more pain. She gave his hand a quick squeeze, and then she kissed him again; this time even harder than the last time, and she didn't give up until Mulder's mouth finally opened underneath her own. Mulder quickly took over command of the kiss, almost devouring her. His hands traveled down her wet body, then up to her hair again, tilting her head so that he could deepen the kiss even more. A low moan escaped from Scully's throat, and Mulder realized with a start what he was doing. He broke the kiss.

His fingers were still tangled in her hair as she opened her eyes and looked up at him again. Her eyes were shiny; both from unshed tears and from the desire she was feeling. Desire she hadn't thought she would be able to feel again.

"Mulder... I know you don't think this is what I need..." He nodded. "But you're wrong. I need to feel loved Mulder." She once again raised her hand to his face, letting her index finger trace his bottom lip. Her next words came out with no hesitation at all. "Love me."

And he did.

Someone else was holding her in his arms.

Someone else was touching her.

Someone else was making love to her.

Someone was doing this to *his* woman.

It was time to act.

He got up from his bed, and prepared himself, so that he would be ready for what might come. He looked at his own reflection in the mirror, but all he could see was the redhead... with another man.

Rage was building up inside him; taking over his mind completely. This was something he could not accept. This was something he *would* not accept. She had to be punished.

He carefully laid her down on the bed, putting one of the soft pillows under her head. Her wet hair spread out on it, and he put one of his hands to her face, softly stroking away a stray strand that lay over her forehead. His touch was so gentle, it almost made her cry. She grabbed his hand in hers, and put it against her cheek. She let her fingers trail over his hand as she searched his eyes with hers. They locked immediately, and in her eyes, her every feeling was displayed. She was still afraid, but she wasn't afraid of him. He could see the love and desire she held inside her. But most of all, he could see her trust. Her trust in him.

Lacing his fingers with hers, he slowly lowered his head to capture her full lips in a gentle kiss. It started out almost chaste, his lips simply moving over hers, as she stayed still underneath him. Then she caught his bottom lip between her own, and started sucking on it lightly, gently biting down on it, then soothing it with her tongue.

He moaned into her mouth, and she let her tongue slip into his mouth; probing, tasting. Their tongues got caught up in a fierce battle, as Mulder deepened the kiss. He grabbed her head in both of his hands, stroking her cheeks, her hair, her neck, as he kissed her with all the love he felt for her. Their tongues stroke against each other, pushed into each other's mouths. Finally, they had to break away, their lips just barely loosing contact, both gasping for air.

Their hot breaths mingled, as Mulder raised his head slightly to look at her. Their mouths were only mere millimeters away from each other, and he imagined he could still feel her soft lips against his own. Her eyes were open, watching him. They were the deepest, darkest blue color he had ever seen. The color of pure desire. "I love you," he whispered, and she closed her eyes at his words. He caressed her face with his hands and said, "Scully... look at me." She opened her eyes again. "I would never do anything to hurt you, Scully. Never." She ran her fingers through his tousled hair. "I know," she replied softly, and he knew she was telling him the truth. "I love you, too."

His hands stilled on her face. "Are you sure you want this?" He had to know for sure. If she wasn't completely ready, if she even for a second felt that he was forcing her into doing something she didn't want, he would never be able to forgive himself.

But she simply raised her head and kissed him again before giving him her answer. "I'm sure, Mulder." Her eyes filled with tears, but she was smiling. And the smile reached her eyes. "Love me."

Mulder smiled back at her, more happy than he could ever express to see that look in her eyes. He leaned down to once again give her a passionate kiss, showing her exactly how much he loved her. When he released her lips from his own, her breathing was heavy, and he could see and feel the arousal building in her.

She watched him with heavy lidded eyes as one of his hands traveled down to fondle her right breast. His mouth slowly made its way to her ear; nibbling her earlobe. She gasped and pushed up against him. Her sounds of encouragement made his desire rise even more, and he could feel himself harden against her thigh. He realized immediately that Scully had felt the same thing, as she reached down. But he stopped her. This was about her, and only her.

He let himself slide down her still wet body, kissing his way down her throat, while his hands roamed over her body. Her head helplessly fell to the side as she sighed, giving him better access. His mouth was doing wonders to her body and mind; setting her entire being on fire.

His hot tongue continued down her chest, and he let it flick out over her already hardened nipple, while at the same time mimicking his actions with his fingers on her other. Her soft whimpers made him continue down her body. His tongue swirled around and into her navel, and she arched up against him. It amazed him that she was able to put so much trust in him. He moved even further, but made sure he avoided her center. It wasn't time yet.

He took one of her small feet in his hand and kissed it softly before giving the same attention to the other. They looked so small and delicate in his hands, and he marveled at the fact that she managed run with him every week; always keeping up.

He kissed his way up her slim legs, her stomach, her chest, until his mouth finally reached her lips again. She did everything but devour him with her hard and fevered kiss. Sweat had broken out on her forehead, mingling with the few drops of water that were still left.

She could hardly believe he was making her feel this way. His touches, kisses, were so incredibly soft, gentle, careful... They only made her love for him even stronger; even more powerful. Each time she felt his lips touch to her sensitive, flushed skin, she wanted to cry out; she wanted to grab him, hold him close, kiss him, and tell him to never let go of her again.

He looked up at her and searched her eyes, waiting for her to find her focus again. Her eyes were shadowy, as if she was looking at him through a veil, but they hid nothing. She grazed him with a beautiful smile, and he started down her body again. She moaned softly as his tongue snaked out to lave at the sensitive skin on her neck. Her hand reached out to grab his, and he looked up at her again. Her eyes had closed, but the smile was still playing on her lips.

He sat up next to her, releasing her hand. He brought her knees up, and then placed one of his hands on them. "Scully...?" A soft whisper. Her eyes opened, and blue eyes locked with hazel once again. Silently, he asked her for permission. Her eyelids were heavy, and she closed her eyes. But there was no hesitation in her nod.

He put his hands between her knees and gently eased them apart. Positioning himself between her legs, he raised one of them with his hand, placing a feather light kiss in her knee cavity. A mixture between a sigh and a giggle escaped from Scully, and he repeated his actions, eliciting yet another wonderful sigh. His lips moved further up, and he nuzzled her inner thighs. He loved the way her skin felt there; so incredibly soft. Softer than he'd ever been able to imagine.

Then he reached his final goal. One of his hands continued its gentle journey over her body, as he used the other one to part her swollen folds. At first he simply let his fingers tangle in the soft hair they encountered; teasing her, letting her get used to the feeling. Then he slipped one single finger inside of her, and she moaned above him, bucking up against his hand. Her hands gripped the sheets under her, as she tried to control her body's reactions.

Thoughts were swirling through her mind, faster and faster until she couldn't connect one thought to the other.

But then he slowly rubbed her taut bundle of nerves, and every single thought disappeared from her mind. He was taking her places she had never been before; places she had never even dreamt of in her wildest fantasies. He had paid attention to every single part of her body with kisses, touches. That someone could make her feel this way... so alive. So desired. So loved. It was something she had never felt, experienced. Something she had never thought she would feel.

He replaced his fingers with his mouth, suckling her, and she gasped loudly, calling his name, grabbing his head with her hands, pushing herself closer to his mouth. Placing his hands under her buttocks, he lifted her hips up; licking her, tasting her. His tongue swirled around her, inside her, over her, until her body was shaking uncontrollably. Right before she was about to be pushed over the edge, he released her, making her come down again.

He reached up and met her in a slow kiss. She could taste herself on his lips; a smoky, tangy taste. She encircled his neck with her arms, drawing him even closer to herself. Breaking their kiss, he propped himself up on one elbow, looking down at her. His hand found its way to her face, his fingers playing over her soft features, then finding themselves in her hair.

She watched him with amazement in her eyes at his gentle caresses. "I love you," she whispered softly.

"I love you," he whispered back, his voice dark and husky with desire. Desire for her. The words were filled with such complete adoration, and she had to bite down on her lip to keep the tears from welling up in her eyes. She put one of her hands on the back of his head, pulling him down for another kiss. She couldn't feel his lips against hers enough. She would never tire of his kisses, his touches... his whispered words of love in her ear.

"Scully..." he said against her lips, and she let her head fall back on the pillow again. "Are you sure you're completely ready for this?"

She started to say something, but he put his fingers to her lips, silencing her. "I want you to be completely sure, Scully. There can be no doubts. If I do something you don't want me to do, I want you to tell me. Don't hold anything back. Okay?"

He removed his fingers from her mouth, and she nodded. "Okay." She was barely able to get the two syllables out. She couldn't believe the love she felt for this man. The trust she felt for him. "I need you," she said then. There was no shame in her voice as she uttered the words. "I want you."

He quickly swooped down, claiming her mouth with his, before rolling them over until she was straddling him.

She looked down at him, confusion in her eyes. "You're in charge now," he explained, holding her face in his hands, stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. "You make the decisions."

This time she was unable to stop the tears. They spilled over, running down her cheeks, and he caught them with his thumbs, wiping them away as they fell. He understood her better than she understood herself. He knew what she needed better than she knew herself. And if it had been humanly possible, she would have loved him even more than she already did. She didn't know what to tell him; she didn't know how to express what she was feeling. So she didn't. Instead she let her eyes speak for her, and when she saw the same feelings, the same thought, being reflected in his, she knew with a certainty that almost frightened her that this was right. Nothing could ever be more right.

She guided him inside her, squeezing her inner muscles around him, making him moan her name underneath her. She was so incredibly tight, and her wet juices made her able to take him even deeper inside herself. Both of them staying completely still for a few moments, she let herself get used to him, relaxing her muscles, pushing herself even further down on him.

Mulder's hands were at her sides, but they were simply resting there in his need to touch her. Every decision was made by her.

She raised her body, and he almost slipped out of her, before letting herself come down on him again. She repeated the motion over and over again, falling into a comfortable rhythm, and Mulder moved with her, his hips raising in time to meet her thrusts.

He moved his hands from her sides, letting them travel up to her breast, caressing them, rolling her sensitive, hardened nipples between his skilled fingers. She drew slow circles over his chest with her fingers, and then she leaned down to gently bite down on his nipple, letting her tongue swirl around it, soothingly.

Their lower bodies started moving more frantically, losing their synchronized rhythm, until it was the only thing either of them could focus on. Mulder's last coherent thought was making himself lower his hand to stroke her, and the next thing he knew, she contracted around him, screaming his name. Her inner muscles squeezed him, pulled him into her, and with one last thrust, he emptied himself inside her, his warm seed filling her shaking body.

She fell down on his chest, exhausted, with him still inside of her. She rested her head in the crook of his neck, breathing in the musky scent that could only come from love making. His arms closed around her back, and they relaxed into each other.

Finally he rolled them over slightly, and he slipped out of her. He hugged her tightly to him as she did the same, letting their bodies' closeness be a substitute for the closeness they had just shared.

Her head rested on his chest, her hair spreading out on it. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head, and she smiled against him.

The darkness in her soul had disappeared. The pain that had devoured her body had been replaced by the memory of ecstasy and passion.

She couldn't stop the tears that filled her eyes, and her body trembled slightly, causing Mulder to put his hand under her chin, tilting her head up to meet his gaze.

As he saw the wetness in her eyes, the worry raised in him immediately. Had it been the wrong thing to do after all? But her reassuring hand on his cheek stopped all those thoughts.

She smiled at him, a single tear making a wet pattern down her cheek. And as he heard her words, he crushed her to him again. "Thank you."

Someone was in her mind; looking into her deepest thoughts, invading her memories. She tried to escape, but the invader pushed through even harder, even deeper.

Then she saw it. A blurry image of his face. The evil grin. And she started to remember.

Scully woke from her sleep with a start, a loud gasp escaping her lips. Mulder stirred next to her and she put her hand on his shoulder, trying to wake him up.

"Mulder... Mulder?" When he didn't seem to respond, she shook his shoulder harder until he finally opened his tired eyes, looking up at her.

Using his arms, he pushed himself up until he was sitting next to her. What was wrong? He glanced at the alarm clock standing next to her bed. It was only 5:46 AM. Then he noticed the absolutely panicked look in her eyes.

"Scully? What's wrong?" He placed what he hoped was a comforting hand on her arm, and was pleased when she accepted it there.

"It was him, Mulder," she said with a strained voice, looking away from him. "I... I could feel him in my mind."

She wasn't making any sense to him at all. "What do you mean, Scully?"

She turned around slightly, only to face him with a painful expression on her face. "He was in my mind," she told him slowly. "I could feel him. I could almost hear his thoughts inside my head." She took a deep, shaky breath, trying to pull herself together. "It was as if... I don't know. As if he was reading my thoughts; experiencing my feelings." She felt the lump grow in her throat, and her eyes filled with tears. She angrily wiped them away. Tears wouldn't help her now.

Mulder tried to pull her into his arms, but this time she didn't let him. "Mulder?" she said, looking up at him.


"I think I know who it was. I think I know who..." She could hardly get the words out, but forced herself. "I think I know who raped me, Mulder."

Mulder was immediately up on his feet. He walked around the bed, and crouched on the floor next to Scully. He took her small hands in his, and said the one word that would have been so simple normally, but that now meant so much. "Who?"

She tried hard to remember his face, but she still couldn't see him clearly. All she could see was his grin... and the look he'd had in his eyes. She put her hands in front of her eyes, trying to get rid of the image in her head and willing it forward at the same time.

"Scully, who-"

"I don't know!" she screamed out, more angry with herself for not remembering than anything else. "I don't know..." she repeated, her voice lower.

He placed his hands on her knees, and when she didn't move, he encircled her with his arms, pulling her to him. She went willingly, placing her head on his shoulder with her arms going around his back.

She closed her eyes tightly. She didn't want to cry. Not now. Not ever again. But feeling Mulder's hands gently stroke her bare back, she couldn't fight them anymore, and she surrendered. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, silent tears wetting his skin. Her sobs were silent, sending tiny ripples through her body.

He continued stroking her back, her hair, but didn't say anything. He simply held her, comforted her. He felt her every sob like an electric shock through his body, but he did not cry. She didn't need him to cry. She needed him to be there for her. To be strong for her. And he would be.

The sobs slowly subsided, and she pulled away from him. Instead of holding her, he took her hands in his, stroking his thumbs over her knuckles.

Looking at him with shiny eyes, she said, "He was one of my students at Quantico." Before Mulder got the chance to ask her his next question, which she knew would come any second, she continued, "No, I don't remember his name or his face, Mulder." She sighed, once again angry with herself for not remembering more. "I just know that he was in my class."

"Scully, do you think you would recognize him if you saw him again?"

She closed her eyes, once again trying to will forward the image of someone she wished she would never have to see again. But she saw it. The grin. The eyes. And she knew. "Yes," she answered, opening her eyes again. "Yes, I would recognize him."

Mulder smiled at her and squeezed her hands lovingly. "We'll catch him, Scully. We'll put him away for life. You'll be safe."

She offered him a weak smile in return, but it wasn't in her eyes. This was still so extremely hard for her. He knew that it always would be. But he would be there to help her through the pain, the anguish, now that she would finally let him.

She looked down at their entwined hands, watching as his thumbs moved in slow circles over her hands, down over her fingers. She looked up at him again, straight into his eyes.

"Mulder, do you love me?" The question came out just like that, with such sincerity and warmth.

He saw the worried look on her face, and he answered her seriously, making sure she would understand that he really meant what he said. "With all that I am."

Then Scully freed herself from the grip he had on her hands, and she put her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. "I love you," she simply said, her voice once again strong, making her sound as if she were invincible. Mulder hugged her back, and for a few seconds, they shared one of those moments when they were in their own world, and nothing could ever come between them or harm them.

But they were quickly pulled back into reality again.

Mulder once again stood up. "Get dressed, Scully," he said. "I'll go out and buy us some breakfast, and when we're finished eating, you and I are going to catch this man." Scully looked unsure, and he continued, "I promise you, Scully. We'll make it through this - together."

She nodded and got out of the bed as well. They dressed in silence, but looked at each other the whole time, each reassuring the other that they were going to make it. They were.

When Mulder was finished, he leaned over and planted a quick kiss on her lips. "I'll be back in five," he whispered, and then went out the door.

Scully smiled sadly to herself as she watched him go. Why had it taken them such a long time to realize this - to realize that they needed each other more than anything? They had wasted so much time with their insecurities, their games. Why had something as bad as this had to happen before they could finally admit their true feelings toward each other? She would never know, and she realized there was no use thinking about it. What was done was done. And nothing she or he did now would ever change that. The saying 'better late than never' came to mind, and she found herself wishing that Mulder hadn't left to buy breakfast. They had already lost so much time together. She didn't want to lose any more.

She went out to the kitchen, and started making some coffee to go with their breakfast when he returned. She couldn't remember how many times she and Mulder had had to rely on coffee to keep them awake through endless nights in a car during their years together. She carefully took down two cups from the cupboard, and placed them on the table next to each other. She turned around to the refrigerator and took out some cream for her coffee...

Everything went black.

Mulder knocked softly on the door to Scully's apartment before opening it with his key. He wanted to make sure she knew in advance that he was coming in, so that they wouldn't once again end up with her pointing a gun at his head. That had happened too many times already.

His thoughts involuntarily wandered back to the time when Scully had thought he was with 'Them'. She had thought that he was on the other side and that he had deceived her. She had thought that he had never trusted her. She had been so wrong... She, of course, realized that later when she was back to her old self again. But at that moment, all common sense had been gone from her mind, and she had been pointing her gun at him and screaming. The only thing that had stopped her from shooting him that time was the fact that her mother had stepped in-between them. The words 'Scully, you are the *only* one I trust' replayed in his head. He had meant those words with everything that he was.

After breaking down in her mother's arms, they had taken her to the hospital. She had been so ashamed of herself, even though he had insisted that there had been nothing she could have done to stop it. 'They' had wanted it to happen. Maybe not to her directly, but it had been 'Their' doing completely.

And she had pointed her gun at him again earlier the night before, believing he was someone else - someone who was out to hurt her. He would never do that. Not on purpose. He knew more than well that he had hurt her deeply on several occasions, but never physically, and never meaning to. Right then, he swore that he would never hurt her again.

The past night had been the most wonderful night of this entire life. Something he had hardly dared dream about had happened. Dana Scully had given herself to him, body and soul. He had found out that Scully was the most loving and passionate woman he had ever known, letting herself go completely. She had trusted him with everything that she had - with everything that she was.

He opened the door with his free hand and entered her clean apartment. He sighed as he closed the door behind him. Scully's place was always so tidy, so different from his own place.

He carried the brown paper bag with the fresh bread and orange juice out into the kitchen. Two coffee cups were placed on the table next to each other. He noticed that the coffee was already ready for them, and he filled the two cups on the table.

"Scully?" he called out as he put the paper bag down next to the steaming coffee. When he didn't get an answer from her, he walked out of the kitchen and into her bedroom - nothing. Maybe she was in the bathroom.

"Scully? Are you in there?" he asked softly while knoccking on the bathroom door. He opened it when he didn't get an answer, but she wasn't in there.

Where was she? A panicked feeling started to rise within him, but he told himself nothing was wrong. She had probably become frightened of being alone after her dream, and went after him. They had probably simply missed each other, and she would be back soon as she realized this too.

He walked back out to the kitchen, and that's when he saw it. Below the refrigerator, the cream was spilled out all over the floor. Something had happened. Scully would never leave her kitchen like that.

He couldn't breathe; he couldn't think. He ran out of the apartment, not even bothering to close the door behind him as he went. He stumbled down the stairs, not willing to wait for the elevator. He ran so fast he nearly fell over. A lot of good that would do him - and Scully - if he fell and broke every bone in his body. No, he had to find her, and he would.

He finally reached the last step, and continued out onto the street. Scully's car was still there, as was his own. Whoever had taken her had brought his own car. Well, that made sense... Mulder was sure that she had been taken from him, and had not left by her own free will. At first it had occurred to him that she might have regretted what had happened between them during the night and gone back to her mother's. But then he had reconsidered. Scully would never do something like that. Not after all they had been through. Not after telling and showing just how much they meant to each other, how much they loved each other. And she wouldn't have left without telling him why. Scully was no coward who didn't dare stand up for her opinions. And when he had seen the spilled cream on the kitchen floor, he had been certain. The man - monster - who had... He still had a hard time even forming the thought in his head. The monster who had raped Scully had come back for her. He felt it. He knew it.

Why the hell had he left her alone? Why hadn't he realized what was about to happen when she had told him about her dream, that she had felt the man invade her mind? Because he hadn't thought anything would happen during the mere ten minutes he had been away from her. But that had been ten minutes too long.

Why hadn't he just brought her with him? Just taken her out for breakfast instead of insisting that he would go out and buy it for them. He wished it were physically possible to kick himself in the head. He looked around himself frantically, searching for a possible witness to what had happened. Finally, he noticed a woman getting out of her car who was about to go into the same building Scully lived in.

He ran up to her from behind, grabbing her shoulder, and she screamed out in surprise. He quickly apologized to her, and explained who he was. He was somehow able to find his FBI identification in one of his pockets, but he doubted he had given her enough time to actually see what it was he waved in front of her face. He had probably been close to scaring the poor woman to death, but that was far from his mind right now. He had to focus on Scully.

Without being aware of the fact that he had a tight grip on the woman's arm, he started asking her questions. "Did you see a man come out from here with a woman - a petite, red-haired woman?"

"Agent Scully?" she said, her eyebrows raising in a way that reminded him of Scully. "Has something happened to her?"

She knew who Scully was. "Yes," he answered her, his grip becoming even tighter on her arm. "Yes. I believe that she has been kidnapped. Did you seen anything? Anything at all?" His excitement grew as he began to imagine what the woman might be able to tell him.

But she shook her head, looking up him with tired eyes. "I'm sorry," she said, "but I just pulled up here with my car. You're the only one I've seen outside this building."

Mulder let go of her arm, cursing as he started running to his own car. He had no idea where to start looking, in which direction to go, but he had to do something.

"Wait!" the woman called after him. Mulder stopped dead in his tracks, spinning around as he stopped. "I did meet a speeding car a couple of blocks away from here. It almost forced me off the road."

"Where? What did it look like?!"

"Two blocks south of here." She pointed down the road they were standing in.

Mulder eyes followed her gesture, and then returned to her face again. "What did the car look like?" he repeated.

The woman looked as if she was in deep thought as she took several seconds to answer. He wanted to scream at her to speed up her brain, but he held it back as just a thought.

Finally she answered, after what to him had seemed like hours. "I'm sorry... I don't really remember. I wasn't looking too hard." Mulder sighed in despair, and that made the woman try even harder to remember. "It was a dark car," she continued, trying to come up with anything that could possibly help this man in his search. "Either black or a very dark shade of blue."

Oh, that narrows it down, Mulder thought to himself, but held back this comment to himself as well.

The woman, however, saw Mulder's expression, and felt sad that she couldn't help him with more information.

"I'm sorry," she said once again, "but I really can't remember."

Mulder only shook his head. "Thank you anyway," he said to her, taking out one of his cards from his pocket. He pushed it into her hand, and then looked straight into her eyes with a look he usually saved for murder suspects. "If you think of anything else, anything at all, contact me immediately."

The woman nodded, and as Mulder ran off to his car, she looked down at the card in her right hand - Special Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI. "I will, Agent Mulder!" she called after him, as he slid in behind the wheel in the car. "I will," she repeated lower to herself, and then walked into the building.

Assistant Director Walter Skinner had been spending almost an hour trying to calm down one of his favorite agents. It was virtually impossible, so he didn't even understand why he kept on trying. But he had to. Fox Mulder was almost in hysterics; he was yelling at everyone who stepped into the office, and he had almost scared the living daylight out of his secretary when he had simply barged into his office without even letting her announce him first.

Skinner was sitting at his desk, watching as Mulder ordered the other agents to do this and do that. He had never seen him like this before - not when Scully had been abducted and not even when she'd had the cancer. But this was different. Scully had now allegedly been kidnapped by the same man who had raped her only a few months earlier. There could be no other explanation. It was the only logical conclusion based on the recent circumstances, and that knowledge made every agent in the room uncomfortable, not only Mulder.

Skinner suspected that Mulder knew he thought of Dana Scully as more than just another agent with the FBI. He had found he respected both Mulder and Scully more than he thought that he could ever respect any other human beings. Scully had gone through hell and back, and had managed to still maintain her sanity. She had been working with Mulder for more than six years now, and never once had he heard her complain about it. It didn't matter how many times her life was in danger, or how many times she had to lie for Mulder to save his ass, risking her own career in doing so. She did it every single time, and still had more integrity than anyone he knew.

She had been through too much, as had Fox Mulder. He didn't deserve this either. Yes, he had screwed up more times than Skinner would like to remember, but that was who he was. He was a man who seemed to draw trouble to himself like a magnet.

When Mulder had barged into his office just little over an hour earlier, he had looked so completely lost. Apparently he had been driving around for more than two hours, trying to find the other car which had his partner in it. But it had all been in vain - nothing. He hadn't even found anyone who had noticed anything even remotely suspicious, except for the woman outside of Scully's apartment building. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack - impossible. That would never stop Fox Mulder, though, definitely not. For the past forty-five minutes he had been giving out orders to every available agent in the Bureau, telling them to search through the records of Scully's students at the Academy; to question all of them and to let nothing pass them by. This was Agent Scully's life they were talking about, and if anyone screwed up, they would have to answer to him.

Skinner closed his eyes tightly, rubbing his temples with his fingers. No matter how much he cared for Scully, or for Mulder for that matter, the agent was giving him a headache. Judging by the looks on the faces of the other agents, that was probably the case with them as well. He knew that Mulder cared about Scully more than anything else in this world, but this had to come to an end.

"Agent Mulder," he said loudly, using the voice that simply said 'be quiet'.

Mulder spun around, stopping in mid-sentence at the Assistant Director's stern voice. "What?!"

Skinner stayed silent for a few seconds, taking in the expression on Mulder's face. He looked annoyed, probably because he had been interrupted. But he also had another look; a look that told Skinner that Mulder was afraid - lost. And that he felt like he had absolutely no control over anything at the moment.

"Why don't you try to calm down for a minute," Skinner suggested, using a calmer voice.

All the other agents' eyes were on Mulder, waiting for his reaction. But before Mulder got the chance to say anything else, Skinner turned to one of the agents.

"Agent Durban, would you please see to it that all of the agents know what their assignments are? Good. Now, if you would all please get out of here and do what you're supposed to, so I can have a talk with Agent Mulder."

The agents looked at each other, and then walked out of the office, one by one, until Skinner and Mulder were the only two left in the room.

When the door closed behind the last person, Skinner motioned for Mulder to take a seat in one of the chairs that were in front of his desk. Mulder looked reluctant at first, but then sat down and waited for the lecture that he was sure was about to come from the older man.

But Skinner wasn't out to give him a lecture - far from.

"Mulder... I understand how you feel."

Mulder's head shot up at this. "You have no id-"

"Let me finish," Skinner interrupted him. "I do understand how you feel. I may not feel as strongly as you do, but I care about Scully, too. You know that."

Mulder didn't even nod, but Skinner took his silence as a 'yes'.

"I'm worried too," he continued. He looked at Mulder, trying to make eye-contact with him, but he just looked down at his folded hands, that were lying in his lap. Skinner stood up from his chair, and started pacing the room.

"Ever since Scully was..." He stopped himself as he felt Mulder's eyes upon him, and rephrased what he was about to say. "Ever since the incident with Scully, I have been worrying about her every day. I know she would probably shoot me if she found out, but I also know that you have been feeling the same way."

Mulder couldn't help but smile weakly at Skinner's words. He was right. Scully probably would have shot both of them, had she known that they went around worrying about her all day long. But he would rather have her shoot him than have her missing like this. He would gladly let her do anything to him if he could only find out where she was right now.

They were both silent for a couple of minutes; Skinner still pacing the room, somehow finding it impossible to sit down again, and Mulder still sitting in the chair, his gaze seemingly focused on the floor in front of him.

Skinner was startled when Mulder finally spoke.

"I should've been there," he said. He sounded so sad, so remorseful. "I should've been there to stop this. Why did I have to go out and buy that damn breakfast?!" He hit his fist hard on the desk, and Skinner jumped slightly as he stood by the wall, surprised by this sudden outburst. Mulder slumped forward in the chair, resting his head in his hands.

Skinner's heart ached for both Mulder and Scully. He had gathered that Mulder had been with Scully just minutes before she had been kidnapped and that Mulder had come back just a few minutes later. Of course he blamed himself. That was how Fox Mulder worked.

Skinner crossed the floor, and stopped next to the chair, putting a gentle hand on Mulder's shoulder, giving him all the support he could. Mulder seemed to accept it, doing nothing to make him take his hand away.

"You can't blame yourself for this, Mulder," he tried. "Not everything that happens to Scully is your fault. You can't be with her every second."

Under his hand, he could feel Mulder's body start shaking. He realized that the agent was beginning to lose control. Skinner squeezed his shoulder, and Mulder turned around in the chair, looking up at him.

Skinner had rarely seen Mulder so close to the edge. Mulder's eyes mirrored his soul, telling Skinner all about the pain and hurt he felt inside which was something Skinner was more than well aware of anyway.

"We will find her, Mulder", Skinner assured him, surprised that he was sounding more confident than he really was. "We will find her," he repeated and then walked out from the office, leaving Mulder behind to follow when ready.

Mulder watched as his superior left the office, trying to focus on the words he had spoken. 'We will find her, Mulder. We will find her.' Skinner was right. They would find her. They had to find her.

He was out of the office in a second.

She was surrounded by complete darkness. She tried to move, but found that it was impossible. She was trapped in a small space, unable to move more than just a couple of millimeters. Her legs were tied together, as were her hands behind her back. Every part of her body was in pain, and if she could have, she would have screamed. But she couldn't. Someone had put something in her mouth and tied it around her head, making it impossible for her to utter any sound louder than a grunt. When she opened her eyes, she realized that she was also blindfolded, as she saw nothing but black.

She closed her eyes again, feeling that everything hurt less if she kept them shut tight. Somehow she also felt safer; shutting out the world in a way, even if she couldn't see anything when she did have her eyes open. It felt like when you were a small child, and you put your hands in front of your eyes. You couldn't see anything or anyone. And by that, you believed that no one could see you. That was how Scully felt at this moment; like a child - very lonely and frightened child.

The last thing she could remember was Mulder going out to buy them some breakfast, and standing in front of the refrigerator, taking out some cream for her coffee. At that moment, everything went black. The painful pounding in the back of her head suggested that someone had hit her. She tried to raise her hand to her head, but was immediately reminded of the fact that her hands were tied together, and even if they hadn't been, she still wouldn't have been able to move because of the lack of space.

She fought the urge to throw up as she felt a wave of nausea wash over her - this damn morning sickness. She could suffocate if she threw up right now, and that was not how she wanted to leave this life.

Suddenly she felt the small space she was in move. She then realized where she was. She had been trapped like this before. When Duane Barry had kidnapped her. She was in the trunk of a car. His car.

Its car. **

His eyes were spying everything around him on the streets; watching the other cars carefully, making sure he wasn't driving too fast anymore. He had made that mistake when driving away from the redhead's apartment building, and he had met another car on the way. But he had had to get away from there as quickly as possible, in case that partner of hers would return. Hopefully the person in the other car hadn't suspected anything strange about his speeding car. Lots of people were in a rush around these parts, and even though it had been very early in the morning, it still wasn't something that happened rarely.

It had been even easier than he had thought it would be. He had been sitting in his car outside the woman's apartment building, simply waiting for the right moment. And then the right moment had come. He had seen the tall, lanky man come out of the building, apparently going out to buy something, since he was checking his wallet for money.

It was then that he had acted. He had silently slipped out of the car, walked into the building, and gone to Dana Scully's apartment. As he stood outside the door with the number 35 on it, he felt a rush of excitement reach his brain throughout his body. It *was* exciting. He was coming for his woman, to make her his again. And this time, he wouldn't let her be taken away from him like the previous time.

He had grabbed the door handle, finding it to be locked, of course. It had only taken him a couple of seconds to get the door opened. When he had seen the redhead with that other man in his mind, he had felt such rage. The rage once again started to build in him when the thoughts entered his mind again, but he pushed them away with more pleasant images - images of *himself* and the redhead. Yes.

He had stepped into her apartment, hearing sounds coming from the kitchen. Slowly, soundlessly, he had made his way toward her, coming up right behind her without her even sensing him in the room. At first he had simply stood there, watching her beautiful small frame. She truly was beautiful. No matter how much he hated the fact that she had given her body to another man after him, he still found her to be the most perfect woman in the world. That was why he had chosen her. No matter what she did, she would always be perfect. But that didn't change the fact that she had to be punished. She would get what she deserved. She had to learn that she belonged to him and no other.

Then he had hit her hard over the back of her head, and she had fallen back into his arms.

If he had thought he had the time for it, he would have cleaned up the cream from the floor, so that her partner might believe that she had left willingly, but he decided against it. The other man would probably be back soon, and he felt no need to face him. Not yet.

He had picked up the petite woman in his arms, and carried her out to the waiting car; putting her into the trunk after first binding her legs and hands together; gagging her mouth and blindfolding her eyes. Precautions were everything. It had taken him no more than ten seconds. And then he had been on his way. Toward his new life with the woman of his choice.

He smiled to himself. She was his.

He was behaving like a complete asshole, and he knew it. Screaming out orders to anyone that came close, yelling at anyone who didn't get their orders right from the beginning. He was living his own personal hell, and right now he didn't care what everybody else thought, just as long as they helped him find Scully.

What he didn't know, what he didn't realize, was that no one blamed him for it. They all knew what had happened to Dana Scully. Things like that didn't stay secret for very long in a place like the FBI. And everyone also knew how Fox Mulder felt about his partner, even if they had no idea that the two agents had taken their relationship to a new level.

No one blamed him. How could they?

Mulder had gone to Quantico with Skinner and the rest of the agents to investigate this new lead. They had barged into the lecture room with Scully's former students in it. Their excitement to see Mulder again quickly subsided as they realized why he was there. None of them had known what had happened to Scully, but they had all wondered why she had disappeared so suddenly without saying good-bye to them all. Now that they found out, they were mortified, and they promised Mulder they would tell him and the other agents anything that might help them find Dr. Scully.

Nine students were missing from the day's lecture. Three were women, which left six suspects - or so they assumed. The possibility, that whoever had taken Scully had left her somewhere else, only to come into class to draw attention away from himself, had crossed all of their minds. But they would start with the six men who were missing from the class. It was at least a start, and better than having nothing at all to go on.

Mulder and Skinner were sitting together with two other agents in one of the offices at Quantico. Spread out before them were the files on the six men who had been missing from the lecture, and they were going through them all, looking for anything that might help them come closer to solving the mystery - finding the person who did this. They had been at it for almost four hours, and agents Salvador and Bass were about ready to give up, thinking that it was a waste of time. But Mulder knew that there had to be something in those files - something, anything.

"Have you found anything yet?" he heard Skinner ask the other agents. Mulder looked up at his boss, trying to read the man's facial expression. It was hard, tense, down-to-business, but Mulder also saw the caring, the worrying, and the need he had to find Scully, too. Sometimes Skinner amazed him. He surprised him every time he showed this side of himself; every time he stood by him and simply let him do what he had to do. He didn't know if he would ever be able to express the gratitude he felt toward his boss, but he would try.

He returned his attention to the papers he had in front of him, still desperately searching for... something. He didn't know what yet, but he had that feeling. He *knew* that something was in there somewhere, just waiting to be found. And he was going to find it, no matter how long it took him. He also knew he didn't have all the time in the world. Scully never left his mind, and he could feel her out there somewhere.

Every single second, he could hear her voice in his head. Her words were constantly replayed in his mind. 'He was evil, Mulder.' Evil... 'It was as if... as if he was made of pure evil.' He closed his eyes. 'I couldn't stop screaming...' She was screaming... He hadn't heard her scream. He hadn't been there to protect her. Time was running out. If he didn't get to her soon... he would never get her back again.

Six pairs of agents had been sent out to go to each address of the suspects, and an hour later, three of them had reported back, only to say that they had found the men at home; all three having the flu that was going around. That left three suspects: Steve Johnston, black male, 24 years old; Tristan Morane, white male, 28 years old; and Edward Hobart, white male, 27 years old. All three with clean records, but Mulder knew it was one of these three men who had Scully. One of these men was the monster he wanted nothing more than to kill. Now he just had to find the missing piece of the puzzle.

She didn't move. Her breathing was becoming quicker and quicker by the second, and she mentally tried to calm herself down. It was better if he thought she was still unconscious from the hard blow to the back of her head.

He was carrying her over his left shoulder, and she could feel the muscles in her body protest at the uncomfortable position. Her hands and legs were still tied up, and she still had the blindfold on as well as the bad-tasting cloth in her mouth. There was no point in even trying to scream or fight him off. She wouldn't get anywhere. She didn't even know where she was. When she had regained consciousness in the trunk of the car, she hadn't had the faintest idea about how long she had been lying in there. It could have been five minutes. It could have been five hours.

She could hear nothing around them, except for his breathing, and her heart thumping in her chest. Could he hear her heart as well? It was racing at what felt like 200 miles an hour, and the pulse pounded in her ears. He couldn't hear it, could he? God, she hoped not. She did not want him to know that she was awake. She did not want him to start talking to her again. She still remembered that voice, and she never wanted to hear it again, not if she could avoid it.

She desperately wished she hadn't had the blindfold on. If she hadn't, she would have opened her eyes quickly, since she was being carried over his shoulder, to look around and maybe get a clue as to where she was. Just in case she would somehow be able to access a phone. Not that that was very likely to happen, but you could never know. Anything could happen at any time. And Scully would take any chance she got to get away from this... creature. She didn't want to think of him as a man. Mulder was a man. This... was a 'creature' in her mind. Several times, she had referred to him as 'the devil' in her mind. She knew he was evil. There was nothing good about him or in him. She felt it now, like she had felt it on the night he had violated her.

Suddenly she felt herself being dropped on something Soft - a bed, or so she guessed. At least she wouldn't have to lie on the floor, or be locked up in some closet. She didn't understand his intentions. What did he want with her? Except for... the obvious. The thought made her nauseous again, and she pushed it all back, once again trying to stay calm and focused. She had to, or she would lose her mind. He had called himself 'the chosen', and he had told her that he had chosen her. What the hell had he meant by that?

Did he know that she was pregnant? Was that why he had decided to take her now? But how could he have known about the child growing inside of her? But then again, why wouldn't he have known? She didn't know what powers he possessed, or what he could do. All she knew was that he was different from the rest of them - and not in a good way.

The thoughts of her pregnancy watered her eyes, and for the first time, she was glad the blindfold covered them from his sight. When she had been with Mulder, she had been ready to keep it. She realized that this may be her only chance, and she had wanted to take it. And Mulder would be there for her when the baby came. He would never leave her side. They could learn to love the child as their own. She had almost been positive of that. But now as she felt this 'creature's' hands on her body again, all the fears came back to haunt her. What if she would never be able to love the child? What if the child turned out to be like him? What if it turned out to be evil?

What if she would never get out of this alive to find out?

He was getting stronger in both mind and body. When he had carried the redhead over his shoulder, she felt as though she weighed no more than a feather. She was a petite woman, but even small women weighed something.

She was conscious and awake. She hadn't wanted to let him know, but he knew. She had tried so very hard not to, but her body had tensed, her breathing had become quicker, and he had felt her heart beat faster and faster in her chest. But he let her keep up her game - for now. It would soon be time for her punishment.

He didn't want to hurt her. It felt somehow wrong to hurt the Perfect One, but he knew what he had to do. She had to learn, to be shown that she could not be with someone else without having to pay a price. He would make sure he didn't hurt the child growing inside of her - his child, his son - but she would have to suffer. She would heal and once again become flawless. She would come out even more perfect than she already was. And everyone would, for all eternity, know that she belonged to him and only him.

He watched her as she lay on the bed with her beautiful, fiery red hair falling over her face. There were no windows in the small room, and the only light came from the light bulb that hung from the ceiling. Her hair shone in the light, and he so much wanted to touch it, smell it. But not yet. He could not let himself be weakened by her appearance. He had work to do first.

He let his hand float over her features; close enough to feel the heat radiating from her skin, but not so close that he was actually touching her. He wanted to touch her. He wanted to feel her.

He snatched his hand back as if he had been burned by her. Her beauty was poisoning him. He needed to stay focused. He would get to appreciate her beauty and magnificence later.

With determination in his steps, he went out from the room and closed the door behind him, turning the key in the lock as he did.

He had locked the door behind him. Not that it would have helped her any even if he hadn't. Apparently he didn't trust her enough to untie her, so she was helpless to stop whatever might happen right now.

Her wrists and ankles ached like hell. She tried to feel how tight her hands were bound together now that she had space to move. The only thing she found was that he had done his job, and he had done it well, making it impossible for her to even come close to getting loose.

Burning tears threatened to fall from her blindfolded eyes, but she choked them back. She would not cry. She wouldn't. She had felt his hand like a shadow over her face, and she had done everything not to hold her breath, as she simply waited for him to touch her. But the touch had never come. Instead, he had left.

She didn't know if she would be able to handle this. What if she would never get away from there? What if she would never get to see her mother and brothers again? What if she would never get to see Mulder? She loved him so... missed him. He had stood by her side, even when she had tried her hardest to push him away. He hadn't accepted it. He held her when she needed to cry; he made her laugh when she needed to laugh. He made her feel wanted when she felt the least desirable, he loved her when she didn't feel like she deserved to be loved. He didn't deny her anything, even if he could, and she loved him for it.

What was he feeling and thinking right now? Was he in as much pain as she was? She could almost feel his presence with her, in her, and that was the only thing that kept her from going insane at this point. She could hear his voice in her head, telling her how much he loved her, that he would always be there for her. Then why wasn't he here right now? She knew that it was unfair of her to think like that, and she hated herself for it, but she couldn't help it. Why hadn't he stayed with her instead of going out to buy that damn breakfast? She hadn't even been hungry... All she had wanted was for him to stay and hold her in his arms forever. But she hadn't told him... and he had left. It wasn't his fault. She couldn't blame him. He was most likely blaming himself enough for both of them at that very second, and she didn't want to add to it.

She tried to make herself as comfortable as possible on the bed, turning until she lay on her side, her legs pulled up toward her chest, making herself as small as she could.

She was afraid to sleep, in case he would come back, but she had to. Her body was exhausted, everything ached, her head pounded so hard she felt like someone was hitting her with a hammer... She needed to sleep. And maybe she would find comfort in her dreams.

She had to get away... She wouldn't give up. She couldn't give up.

"Okay... Yes... Thank you." Mulder hung up his cell phone, and then put a line through one of the names on the list with his pen. He returned his attention to the two remaining files in front of him. Only two suspects left, he thought to himself.

He turned to Skinner. "Agents Carlson and Durban finally made it to Steve Johnston's. He was home as well, with the flu. Nothing strange about him at all."

"So we're down to two men now?" Skinner asked, looking up at him.

"Yeah," Mulder confirmed. "Edward Hobart and Tristan Morane." He fell silent and closed his eyes, resting his head in his hands.

"Mulder?" He felt Skinner's eyes on him.

"I hate this," he said, his words coming out as a whispered sigh. He looked up at his superior again. "I really hate this." Skinner nodded in understanding. "I can't stand just sitting here in this office any longer, knowing that some fucking maniac out there has Scully."

"It's killing you from the inside." Mulder stared at him. "I know," he explained and Mulder nodded.

There was no point in denying it. Skinner was right. It was killing him. He felt completely useless sitting in an office instead of being out there looking for Scully.

As if Skinner had read his mind, he said, "Mulder, there's no point in you running around out there. Until we have something to go on, we won't find Scully. The best thing you can do for her right now is to stay focused. Let the other agents take care of the rest."

Mulder knew that Skinner was right. Before he got the chance to say something, his cell phone rang again.

"Yeah, this is Mulder," he answered into the phone. "Oh... Okay, anything else? No? Okay. Yeah, I know, thank you." He once again hung up, turning back to Skinner and the two other agents. "Neither Hobart or Morane could be found at their houses," he informed them. "The agents questioned all of the neighbors, but no one has seen either of them since last night."

"So in other words, there is no way of knowing which one has Agent Scully?" one of the other agents asked. "Assuming, of course, that it is one of these men to begin with," he added quietly, only half wanting Mulder to hear it.

Mulder looked at him. 'No way of knowing'? "No, Agent Louis, not so far," he answered after a few seconds. He refrained from commenting on what else the agent had said. Returning to the files, he continued, "But I know that there is something in these files, just waiting for us to find it. Something we just haven't figured out yet. There has to be."

The other agents looked at each other, exchanging glances. They wanted to find Agent Scully as well, but they both thought that Mulder was looking for something that just wasn't there. They had been going through these files for hours now, each file over and over again, and they still hadn't found anything that could lead them to Scully. It just wasn't going to happ-


Mulder's sudden scream made everyone in the room jump. Skinner was already out of his chair, standing next to Mulder, hunched over him, so that he could see what he had found.

"What?!" he asked, the excitement obvious in his voice.

"I think I've found something," Mulder explained, showing Skinner the paper he was holding in his hand.

Skinner skimmed through the text, but he couldn't see what it was that had made Mulder react this way. "What do you mean?"

Mulder became frustrated, and asked Skinner to read it out loud.

"'On March 24th, 1995, Mr. John Martin's convenience store was robbed at gunpoint'", he read. "Yeah, so?"

"Just read on!" Mulder pushed him.

Skinner adjusted his glasses and continued reading out loud. "'Also in the store was Mr. Tristan Morane, who put himself between the two robbers and Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin later reported that since Mr. Morane refused to move out of the way, one of the robbers pulled the trigger on his gun. Mr. Martin says that he is certain Mr. Morane was hit, and that he called the paramedics. However, when the paramedics got there, there was no sign of Mr. Morane being shot. Morane insisted that he had not been hit, because the robber had never even shot, but according to Mr. Martin, Mr. Morane was hit at least two times. Since the police have not been able to find the men who committed the crime, this has not been substantiated.'" He stopped reading as the rest of the report had nothing to do with Morane. "I still don't see it, Mulder. All this is to me is a badly written report."

"You don't see it? Scully said that she shot the man who-" He stopped in mid-sentence. "She said she shot him," he started again, "but that it didn't affect him one bit. This is our man. This is him! Tristan Morane."

He grabbed the piece of paper from Skinner and showed it to the other agents as well, even though they had already heard it being read. "See?!"

How could he have missed it before? He couldn't even remember reading the report before now, and yet he had been sure he had read through every single sheet of paper at least five times already. But it didn't matter. He knew who had Scully. Now he had to find her in time...

"But he wasn't at home, wasn't that what Agent Hall told you on the phone?" Agent Louis said, and Mulder nodded.

"I know," he said. "Now we have to figure out just where the hell he took her." He turned to Skinner. "Sir, would you please get us a search warrant right away? We're going to his house - now."

Skinner didn't say a word. Instead he picked up his own cell phone, calling in a few favors.

Only a few seconds later, Mulder was back on the phone himself. "Danny? It's me. Get me everything you can on one Tristan Morane. Yes, everything. His mother's maiden name, where his siblings live, everything. Yes, even what his pet rabbit was called when he was a child. Great. Send it to me at this address when you're finished." He gave Danny Tristan Morane's home address. "And please, hurry. This is Scully's life we're dealing with. Yeah, I'll be sure to tell her that when I find her. Thanks, Danny."

He hung up and grabbed his coat as they all went out to their cars. Danny had to come up with something useful. Maybe Morane's family had a summerhouse somewhere, or some other place they used to go to on holidays. There had to be something.

Nothing. It was a dead end. Nothing... They hadn't been able to find anything of use, not a fucking single thing - not in the house, not in the papers Danny had sent over. Nothing. Nowhere - a dead end. It was as simple as that.

He was sitting on the couch in his apartment. Files were scattered all over the table and the floor, but he didn't care. It always looked like that. The only difference was that Scully wasn't there to help him this time.

Mulder felt the feeling of defeat build in his chest. He pushed it away immediately. If he was ever to find Scully, he couldn't allow himself to give up. Giving up meant letting her down, and that was something he would never consciously do. It had only been less than a week. They had to find something eventually, even if he had to search through every building in the whole country himself. He would do it until he found her. He wouldn't let go yet - not ever. But he had to keep himself sane, or it would never work.

There had to be something he had missed; something in the house or in the files. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but he would do it, not only for Scully, but for himself as well. If he ever gave up, even if only for a minute, he would never be able to live with himself.

God, he missed her... She had been missing for five days now, and not having her there with him was killing him. He had not know what missing someone really felt like until Scully was taken. He didn't know what falling in love was until Scully. None of his feelings for her were ever easy to understand. She brought out both the best and the worst in him, never even realizing that she did so. She didn't realize the effect she had on him, and that was what made her different. She never used him against himself.

He had only made love to her once, and what he wouldn't do to be able to make love to her again. To simply hold her tight in his arms, to whisper in her ear that things were going to be all right. To be able to tell her how much he loved her and how much she meant to him. Tell her that she meant more than life itself. She had to know this already... But there was something he also knew about Dana Scully. On the surface, she was the most confident person on earth. But beneath it all, she was just as unsure of herself as he was, needing assurance just as much as he did. He wanted to give her that assurance every day. He wanted to tell her that she was wonderful, beautiful, and that she deserved to be loved more than anyone.

He had to find her.

The only reason he was at home right now was because Skinner had threatened to suspend him if he didn't go home to get some sleep. Had he not needed FBI resources to help him find Scully, he would still be out looking.

He had not slept since the morning Scully had been taken. He could only think of her, which made it impossible to sleep. How could Skinner expect him to sleep, when he knew that Scully was out there somewhere, waiting for him to find her? Sleep... Sleep was something that would have to wait. He was aware of the fact that he probably should get some sleep to keep his mind alert, but it was impossible. Even if he did try to sleep, he wouldn't be able to. He wasn't tired. And he wouldn't be tired until he found what he was looking for - Scully.

Scully's mother had come over earlier and cooked him dinner - a dinner that he had hardly taken a bite of. Normally, he thought Mrs. Scully would have been offended that he didn't eat, but this time she had hardly eaten herself. She had tried to talk to him on the couch after dinner. When she had started to cry, he had carefully taken her into his arms, and tried to give her the comfort he didn't feel himself. Mulder loved Mrs. Scully dearly, but right now he needed to be by himself. So he had pretended to fall asleep on the couch, and Mrs. Scully had silently left the apartment after gently planting a kiss on his forehead. She put such faith in him. He couldn't let her down either.

He picked up one of the papers in front of him and began reading it through for the hundredth time that night.

The bright light from the bulb that hung from the ceiling still hurt her eyes, even after all this time. Her eyes simply refused to get used to it, giving her a constant headache. If she had dared, she would have asked her kidnapper to put a shield around it, to shut out some of the light. But she would never ask him anything; she would never force him to speak to her. His voice was just as terrifying as she had remembered and she did everything in her power to avoid making him speak. She hadn't spoken a word since he had removed the ropes around her wrists, the blindfold, and the disgusting cloth in her mouth. She did as she was told - that way he didn't have to use many words.

She had hardly eaten any of the food that he had brought her over the days, but had eventually forced herself to eat something, not wanting to endanger the child she was carrying - even if the only reason she had it was because of him. She could never hurt the child consciously - it was an innocent participant in all of this.

She didn't know how long she had been here - wherever here was. There were no windows, and therefore no way of telling whether it was day or night. She estimated that it had been close to a week, but she couldn't know for sure. She couldn't be sure of anything. This... this 'creature' had not yet told her what he wanted with her.

Several times, he had hinted that he knew about the baby, but she convinced herself that she had read something into his words that just wasn't there. But just like with everything else, there was no was she could be absolutely sure.

There was one thing he had said to her that had stayed in her mind, and haunted her every hour, every minute, every second - punishment. He had told her that she had to be punished for what she had done, but that she didn't need to worry, because when it was all over, she would once again be perfect - more perfect. This frightened her more than anything else. She didn't think that the actual punishment had taken place yet - if you didn't count the fact that she had to listen to his voice every day, something that was more than enough for her. She sensed that something much worse, something she couldn't imagine, was going to happen to her. And it was going to happen soon - very soon.

A chilly wind ran through the room as the door was suddenly opened, and she instinctively curled her arms around herself for protection. She slowly opened her eyes, even though she wanted nothing less than to see his figure standing there. One of the most frightening things about him was that he looked just like any other person. He looked... normal. But she knew what lay behind that facade. She knew it better than anyone. She knew because she had experienced it.

She watched him watching her as she pushed herself up on the bed until she was sitting. When his eyes met hers, she quickly looked away to the other corner of the room, staying silent, praying that he wouldn't speak. That had been asking too much.

"It's time," he hissed at her.

Her whole body involuntarily started to shake. She didn't want to show him that she was frightened, but she was, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. She froze. She couldn't move. Had it not been for the shaking of her body, she wouldn't have moved at all.

"I said, 'it's time'," he said again. Scully gave him no reaction as she stared at him and his voice seeped into her mind, deeper and deeper.

Then he started walking toward her, and her mind set her body free. She panicked and leaped off of the bed. Somehow, somewhere in her mind, she thought that she might be able to escape him through the open door. She failed. Even though she was quite quick for her small stature, he was still a lot faster than she was. He caught her before she was even halfway to the door, and spun her around to face him. She hadn't even stood a chance against him.

"Are you trying to escape me, Dana?" Her name coming from his lips was something she would never forget. Why was his voice sounding like that?! "Haven't you accepted it yet that you are mine forever?"

"Never!" she screamed at him and tried to pull herself loose, all in vain. His grip on her arm was so hard that the thought that he might be breaking her arm ran through her head. But she didn't show that she felt any pain. She would not give him the satisfaction. It had been enough that she had frozen and shown him her fear. That would not happen again.

"Never," she repeated again, this time with more determination in her voice and sounding less frightened, even though she had never been more afraid in her life. What the hell was going on in his mind? What was he planning on doing to her?

He didn't say anything else to her, but simply pulled her out of the room toward another door. He pushed her in front of him, still holding onto her arm in a steady grip, and made her stand right in front of the door.

She wondered what lay behind it; thinking it was hell if this was where he was planning on punishing her. She slowly closed her eyes, and the last thing she felt before waking up again was another hard blow to the back of her head...

Tristan Morane watched Dana Scully with big eyes. She was his, for now and for all eternity. Nothing would separate them - nothing. Not even that damn partner of hers. She would forget about him, and if she didn't, he would make sure that she did anyway.

She was so incredibly beautiful. And the scars would only make her even more beautiful. They would be the sign that she was his. At first, he had only thought of it as necessary - her punishment for doing wrong. But, now it took on a different purpose as well. She would forever be marked as his chosen one. It would hurt her badly, but that was what it was supposed to do - hurt her, punish her. Make her realize that there was nothing she could do to fight this. Make her accept that this was her fate. She would understand it one day. She would understand that she was chosen, and that it was something that should make her feel special. She didn't feel that way yet. She fought him too much; she thought too much about this Mulder character.

If he closed his eyes, he could still see his woman in bed with the other man. It was a sight that made him feel sick to his stomach, and made the rage build within him. The thought of his woman with another man was enough, let alone the sight of them in his mind. Fox Mulder would pay one day, too. That was something he would make sure of. No one touched his chosen one and got away with it. No one.

He turned his head around in the dark room. Candles were lit everywhere, giving away the only light in the room. They were standing on the floor, on small tables in the corners, and hanging from the walls in candlesticks. Fire represented strength and power to him. He respected it. He had never been afraid of it. He was not afraid of anything. He had stopped feeling fear a long time ago. The 'Chosen' didn't feel fear; that had been made clear to him right from the beginning.

His gaze focused on one of the corners, and there he met a sight that made bile rise in his throat. A woman hung there, her arms tied up on the walls. Her long, blonde hair hung almost down to her waist. Her short, black skirt had inched its way up even further, showing off more leg than he wanted to see. Her white top clung to her breasts in a way which made her look like a hooker. Her once well done make-up had now run down her face from sweat mixed with tears.

She was dead.

He had met her in a bar when she had tried to pick him up. He had been disgusted by her, but had also seen the possibilities. He had let her take him with her back to her place. She had probably expected sex. Stupid woman. He would never sink so low as to have sex with anyone else than the woman of his choice.

She had told him that her name was Savannah. He hadn't wanted to know her name. She had been one of those women who always went to bars, and had different men every week. He wondered if she had anyone who even cared about her. Not that *he* cared either way, but the phone in her house hadn't rung even once, and no one seemed to miss her. It had been over two months now, and still no phone call, no knock on the door.

They probably all knew what kind of woman she was. Surely he couldn't be the only one who had seen that right from the beginning, could he? No one was worried about her because they probably thought she had gone off with another man again. If they only knew.

It wasn't really the sight of her that disgusted him. It was the way she had come on to him. He had been sitting at the bar, enjoying his drink, when suddenly this woman had come up to him and whispered in his ear what she wanted him to do to her. He bet this wasn't what she had expected. She had run her hand up and down his thigh, squeezing it, and he had turned to look at her. She was the kind of woman that many men would dream of spending a night with - tall, leggy, blonde, with a big chest. This woman who would talk dirty to them in bed. Many men's biggest dream. But she was the kind of woman he despised more than anything else. The kind of woman who was only out for one thing - sex.

His woman was not like that at all. But she had made a big mistake making love to Fox Mulder, something he would certainly not accept from her. He would have expected it from anyone else, but when it came from Dana Scully, it disappointed him. In a way, he supposed he shouldn't be surprised that it had happened. After all, Dana Scully was a woman, and being a woman, she was like that by nature. He had expected too much of her when he had thought that she would be that different from the rest of them.

She *was* different. But apparently not different enough. He would change her though. He would make her realize that she could only give herself to one man. Him.

Mulder looked up from the paper he was reading when he heard the knock at the door. Whoever it was, he would make them go away. Mrs. Scully had left four hours earlier and he did not want to be disturbed again.

He rose from the couch with a loud sigh, and made his way through the apartment to the door. When he reached it, he looked out the peephole to see who it was.

Mrs. Scully? Again?

Without a second thought, he opened the door to her. "Mrs. Scully? I thought you left," he said, trying to come up with something that would make her go away quickly. But he stopped as he saw her tear-streaked face. "Mrs. Scully, has something happened?" Had she heard something about Scully that he hadn't?

Margaret let herself be guided into the apartment she had left only a few hours earlier. She didn't even bother taking her coat off before she sat down on the couch, and waited for Mulder to join her.

Mulder watched her in silence as she made her way through the room. Something had happened; something that had scared her. He didn't know what, but it was something serious. The look she had on her face made him feel frightened as well. He wasn't sure he wanted to hear what she had to tell him.

"Fox..." she started, as Mulder sat down beside her. Mrs. Scully was the only one he let get away with calling him by his first name. In some strange way, hearing the name he despised so much come from her lips comforted him. "I had a dream, Fox." She looked him straight in the eyes, looking for any signs that he was listening to her and giving her his full attention.

He was. He remembered the last time Mrs. Scully had told him about her dreams - when Scully had been abducted. She had told him that she had had dreams about something bad happening to Scully, but that she hadn't wanted to worry her daughter. Her dreams had been right before.

"What happened?" he asked, afraid of the answer, but needing to know. He tried to keep himself calm - for her sake.

Mrs. Scully looked at him with her big eyes. They reminded him of Scully. They both showed so much emotion in their eyes; emotions that they were sometimes trying hard to keep to themselves. "I went to Dana's apartment." Mulder nodded to encourage her to keep going. "I didn't feel like going home to that big empty house all by myself, and I thought that I would feel closer to Dana if I stayed at her place."

Mulder understood completely. He had done the exact same thing himself more times than he could count. He had been to Scully's apartment in the hope that he would feel her presence; hear her speak to him and tell him where to find her.

He grabbed her hand, gently squeezing it, letting her know that he understood; that he was having the same feelings himself. When he saw the silent tears run down her cheeks, he forced himself to look away. He did not want to cry, and he wasn't going to. Not now. He cried when he was alone.

"He is doing something bad to her," she suddenly said. They had both been silent for several minutes; each caught up in their own thoughts and he was startled by the sudden sound of her voice. She was still clutching his hand so hard it almost hurt. He didn't mind; he had hardly even noticed. He was holding onto her hand just as hard himself; knowing that at that moment, it was the only thing that kept him from falling apart.

He turned his head slightly to look at her again. "Bad?" he asked his voice barely louder than a whisper.

Her nod was almost invisible. "Yes... bad..." She paused for a few seconds, a soft sob ripping through her body. "I could see it so clearly. He had a... He... And he..." She stopped, unable to continue.

Mulder closed his eyes as he put his free arm around her shoulders and carefully drew her to him, trying to give her the comfort he so desperately sought himself.

"It's okay," he heard himself tell her. "I'll find her... I promise." He was saying words to her that he had to believe in no matter how hopeless things started to look. This was something he held on to like nothing else - the belief that he would find her. He had to find her. How would he be able to go on without her? She was his everything. His partner. His best friend. His love.

His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the phone. For a brief second, he considered not answering it. But then he realized that the phone call might have something to do with Scully. Why else would someone call him in the middle of the night?

Before he picked up, he pressed Mrs. Scully's hand, sharing a silent prayer with her that this wasn't bad news.

"Mulder," he answered to the person on the other end of the line, his voice strained.

"Agent Mulder?" a light, female voice asked.

"Yes, this is he."

"Oh... This is Heather Stewart. I'm the one who lives in the same building as Agent Scully. The one who saw the car." She almost said the words as questions, as if she was wondering if he remembered her.

"Yes, I remember you, Miss Stewart," Mulder said, not even having to search his photographic memory to remember the woman he had half scared to death that morning. Did she remember something new? He prayed that she did.

"I remember something about the car," she said, hesitantly.

"Yes?" His voice sounded annoyed. What was it with this woman? Why did she take such a long time to get it out? "What do you remember?"

"I think I remember what the license plate said. It was different, so that's why. I'm sorry I haven't thought of it before now, but it just hasn't crossed my mind until I saw another car with a strange license plate while driving home from work tonight. And I am also sorry for calling so late, but you did say I should call you immediately."

"Yes!" he almost screamed at her. He didn't care if she was working late or if she was calling him late. "What was different about the license plate?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. Of course." The woman seemed to realize that she had been rambling on about things that were not important or interesting to him. "It said 'BARFLY'. Rather-"

He cut her off. "Thank you, Miss Stewart. You've been a lot of help." He hung up and immediately picked the phone up again, dialing Skinner's number.

"Fox, what's happening?" Mrs. Scully asked from the couch.

He turned around and she could see the excitement on his face. "We have a lead, Mrs. Scully. We're going to find Dana."

Darkness and a dull, pounding ache in the back of her head - that was all Dana Scully could see and feel as she regained consciousness. Then she realized that her eyes weren't open and that was why the world suddenly seemed to be pitch black. She couldn't remember how she had gotten here in the first place - wherever 'here' was. That creature had tried to take her somewhere... She had tried to escape him, but it had been impossible. He had been too fast, too strong. She had been too slow.

Scully had always prided herself on her ability to take care of herself as a woman and as an FBI agent, but this - this was more than even she could handle. She wanted Mulder to help her. She needed him to help her. This creature wasn't *human*. He couldn't be.

Slowly, she opened her eyes. Her eyelids felt so heavy it was as if someone had put weights on them to keep her from opening them at all. She blinked rapidly a few times, trying to make her sensitive eyes adjust to the light even if it was very weak. The pain in her head got stronger the longer she kept her eyes open, yet she didn't close them again.

She let her eyes make their way across the dark room, but she did not see anything or anyone. There was nothing except lit candles that were seemingly placed everywhere. Never again would she look at candles the same way.

As the seconds slowly passed by, she started to regain the feeling in the rest of her body parts as well. She tried to move her hands to her head, to somehow try to make the pain go away, only to find that it was impossible.

She rolled her head back and looked up. Her hands were cuffed together, fastened to something in the ceiling. Then she suddenly realized it. She rolled her head and looked down instead. She was hanging several inches up from the floor with her feet bound together just like her hands.

She was naked.

His eyes were following hers intently as they wandered over the room. The moment when she had realized that she was hanging from the ceiling, naked, had exhilarated him. Fear had shown through her eyes; tremors had ripped through her body.

At that moment he had wanted to step out of the shadows and let his hands wander over her slim frame; feel the tremors of her body as they passed from her through him. But he restrained himself. He would not let her appearance make his mind waver from what he had to do. She would be punished first. Then... there would be time for other things.

"What did you say the address was?" Mulder tried to write down the address as he drove, which was not an easy task. "809 Connor Street? Where the hell is that?!" The voice on the other end of the line explained it to him, and Mulder calmed down a little. But then he realized that he was still far away from the location and that it would take him at least another hour to get there even with the speed he was driving in.

The car had belonged to one Savannah Hope. Mulder had never heard the name before, and he had no idea what her connection to Tristan Morane was. There was no time to find out either. The house on 809 Connor Street was hers as well. Skinner had questioned him when he had called. How could he be so certain that this was where he would find Scully? But, somehow he knew and he couldn't afford to be wrong. That was not an option.

Skinner had sent backup as soon as Mulder had called, but he was way ahead of them. He was going to have to handle this alone. He knew, that if he reached the address long before the other agents, he would not be able to wait for them. Morane was hurting her. He knew this. Not only because Mrs. Scully had told him about her dream - which he believed in without a doubt, a mother's instincts were always right - but because he felt it himself. He felt the fear Scully was experiencing. The pain.

What if he didn't get there in time? Would she still be alive? Somewhere in his mind he doubted that Tristan Morane would kill her. If that had been his intentions he would have done it a long time ago. But Mulder wasn't so sure that being alive in Morane's company was any better than being dead.

Her eyes slowly got used to the darkness, and enabled her to make out contours and shadows in the corners. She feared what those contours and shadows might be.

Her body still shook uncontrollably. She had never been so afraid; never been so sure that someone was going to hurt her in ways unimaginable. She was a strong person, she knew this, but it was too much. Her mind was tired, barely able to think straight. Her body was weakened from not having eaten properly in a long time. She was sure that had she not been tied up, her legs would not have been strong enough to carry her.

She had no idea how much time had passed since she had been knocked unconscious. She wasn't sure she wanted to know. She didn't want to know what he might have done to her during that time.

Suddenly something in the left corner caught her eye; something more than just a shadow. She tried to focus her gaze as well as her eyes and brain would let her, but she could never have prepared herself for the horrible sight that met her eyes. A young woman was hanging from the wall. Her arms were tied above her head, making her back arch in a way that looked so extremely painful. The faint light made it hard for her to distinguish her features, but it was more than enough light for Scully to realize that she was dead.

She didn't get the time to process the images that invaded her vision. They were forced into her subconscious with the frightening promise to stay there forever. Suddenly her kidnapper showed himself before her, by stepping out of the big, dark shadows. The flickering light from the candles splashed over his face. A quick thought flew into her mind as she felt a draft coming from somewhere. Where was the door?

She looked around - as well as she could - feeling the panic rise within her. Where the hell was the door?! She desperately tried to get loose; to escape the madman standing in front of her. He was watching her with a calmness that somehow made it all seem like a very bad nightmare. But it wasn't. This was reality. And she soon found that getting free was an impossible. It wasn't a rope that held her hands together; it was handcuffs. And she knew from experience that they were impossible to escape from. There was no point in even trying. It would only bring him more pleasure to see her fight in vain.

Scully forced herself to look back at the creature - the monster. He looked so damn... normal. If she had just seen him in a photograph or something like that, he would not stand out. His light, blonde hair was cut in a common style for young men. He had green eyes, with straight eyebrows above them. His mouth was perfectly normal; maybe a little bit too thin, but it was nothing that you would notice when you looked at him. There was nothing special about his looks, nothing that would give away his true nature.

But now... She could see the insanity in his eyes, flashing out like lightning on a dark sky. His eyes weren't green anymore - they were almost as black as the darkest night. Underneath his 'normal' facade lay a man - a monster - full of darkness and evil. There was nothing good about him. She couldn't explain it, but she knew this. He had always been evil. She didn't even want to imagine what he had done to the other woman before she had died.

Would she walk down the same path? Would he kill her? But something that he had said stuck in her mind. He wouldn't kill her. In some sick, twisted way, he worshipped her; thought of her as the perfect woman. But she had done something wrong; something that he did not like. Something he did not accept. She suspected that it was the fact that she had made love with Mulder, and by that, given herself to another man. It was when she was with Mulder that she had felt him invade her mind, stealing her most personal thoughts.

When he had come to her with food and water, he had kept repeating the same words and sentences over and over again. She closed her eyes as the words echoed in her mind. Words like, 'I have chosen you.' Words like, 'You were mine. Someone took you away from me. Now I will have to make you mine again. And this time, you will stay mine forever. No one will ever take you away from me ever again.' It wasn't as much the words he had said, but the *way* he had said them. He had sounded so certain of his words. Like... like even if she did escape him one day - got free from him - a part of her would always be lost to him.

When she opened her eyes again, he was still standing in the same spot, simply watching her battle her feelings. He looked so damn pleased! He liked seeing her scared, and she had figured that out quickly. It brought him pleasure. She would do everything in her power to deny him that pleasure.

Gathering strength, she took a long, deep breath. "Let me go," she said, her voice not betraying any of the fear that raged inside her.

He didn't say anything; just continued to watch her, smiling.

She would not turn her eyes away from him; she could not let herself succumb to the fear.

"Let me go," she repeated. This time her voice was lower, but even stronger than the last time, surprising even herself.

But the only reaction she got from him was a low chuckle, coming deep from his throat. It was a chuckle that sent chills down her spine.

The silence that followed was almost deafening. Her ears started ringing, bringing back the throbbing ache in her head. It was strange. Almost... almost supernatural. There was silence, but she still felt as if someone- or something - was screaming inside her head.

The silence seemed to go on for an eternity; neither of them speaking, neither of them averting their eyes. Not until Scully saw something glitter from the corner of her eye. She slowly lowered her gaze, just a little, and once again the object shimmered in the soft light of the candles.

In his hand, he was holding a knife.

Getting closer by the second, having broken every speed record in the universe, was Mulder.

She gasped as she saw the knife.

He was clutching it tightly in his right hand, holding it close to the side of his body. It was not a big knife, but the blade was long, and she didn't even want to think about what he was going to use it for. But suddenly, as if she could read his mind, the images flashed through her mind. She knew what he was going to do with it.

Once again, she desperately tried to free herself from the handcuffs around her wrists - only to once again fail. She felt the tears stinging in her eyes, but angrily blinked them away. She would not cry. She wouldn't.

Suddenly, he spoke. Slowly.

"You are so beautiful," he said, and she could feel - rather than see - his eyes wander over her exposed body. "So beautiful."

He started moving toward her, and by pure reflex, she tried to kick him away. The cuffs around her ankles held her back.

As he got closer and closer, walking so slowly it sometimes seemed like he wasn't moving at all, he kept repeating the words, more to himself than to her. "So beautiful. So beautiful..."

Finally, he stopped right in front of her. He was so close she could feel his breath on her naked skin. She thought she was going to throw up.

Just as she thought the nausea couldn't possibly get any worse than it already was, he raised his left hand and laid it on her stomach. She felt the bile rise in her throat, and was barely able to force it back again; leaving an acid taste on the back of her tongue.

The panic rose in her, and she said through clenched teeth, "Get your hands off of me, you fucking *maniac*!"

He, of course, didn't do what she had told him. It didn't even seem as if her voice registered at all.

Instead he let his hand wander over her stomach, stroking it in slow, even circles. She wriggled her body to try to get away from his disgusting touch. But she could hardly move any part of her body except for her head, and this desperate try only resulted in him pressing his hand even harder against her body. So she willed her body to stay still. She already knew that every movement she made - every sound she made - would only bring him pleasure. Pleasure she had already sworn to herself she would not give him.

She could not escape and she would not give him any more pleasure so Dana Scully did the only thing she could do. She retreated into herself. She went deep enough so that she did not feel his touch or hear his voice. She detached her mind from her body. Her eyes remained open - only blinking involuntarily - staring at a spot on the wall, but focusing on something far beyond it. The throbbing pain in her head left as she drifted further and further into herself.

In this place, she was safe. Safe from everything that surrounded her; safe from everyone who tried to hurt her.


His free hand followed his eyes as he let them wander over her slim waist. Her skin was so smooth, so soft. It really was a shame that he had to ruin it. But it was necessary; it was something that he had to do. And it would make it clear to everyone that she was his and nobody else's. Just that simple thought made the adrenaline flow through his body.

He stopped right behind her and looked at the snake that was swallowing itself on her back. He traced it with the tip of his finger, slowly following its contours. He crouched down and placed his lips over it and kissed it.

She wasn't reacting. Something was wrong.

He quickly went around her until he stood in front of her again. She was staring at the wall, but her gaze looked distant as if she wasn't there. Was she playing with him?

In a flash the knife in his hand was up against her throat, pressed against the artery; just barely light enough to not actually break through the skin.

Still, she did not react.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" he asked her. He knew she was a strong woman and that was what was so special about her. That was one of the reasons he had chosen her. But even the strongest person would react if someone put a knife to their throat; especially the way he had done it. Even she would react. But she hadn't even blinked. Her gaze hadn't wavered.

He started to get angry. This wasn't part of his plan. She had to be aware of what he was doing to her if it would serve any good at all. She had to feel the pain if she were to remember and learn. He needed to see and hear her reactions. She had to suffer.

He was a tall man, and when he stood right before her, he could look right into her eyes. Her eyes were on him but were focused on something far beyond this room. She wasn't with him.

"Where are you...? See, there is no point in me doing this to you if you're not here to appreciate it." He chuckled at his own words. 'Appreciate it.' Somehow he didn't think that would be the way she would look at it - not now at least. One day she would understand why he had to do this; why she had to be punished. And one day she *would* appreciate it. She would thank him for it.

He leaned forward, closing his eyes as he felt her closeness, her hair against his skin. "I think I know of a way to bring you back to me," he whispered in her ear. "You can't stay where you are forever."

He raised his hands and put one of them behind her head, holding it steady. The other one he placed over her nose and mouth. Without air, she would have to react. She would soon start to struggle. It was the survival instinct. She would react.

For a long time, nothing happened. She didn't struggle; she didn't move; she didn't gasp for air. For a second he thought she might die without even fighting against it. But he soon got the response he had been waiting for.

Suddenly her eyes went wide, showing the panic she must have felt. He grinned. She was back.

Tires were screeching all around him as he ignored yet another red light at an intersection. He was distinctly aware of the sound of metal smashing against metal behind him, but he was too busy trying to keep his car on the road to even bother looking back.

As she felt the hand disappear from her nose and mouth, she greedily inhaled as if it was the first time she had ever felt air fill her lungs. It all went so fast. As she gulped the air, she started coughing, almost choking herself in the process. Her eyes felt dry, and despite the risk of starting to cry, she blinked rapidly to bring back the wetness in them.

Why hadn't her body let her stay in the 'other place'? Why had it brought her back? Why hadn't it just let her die from suffocation?

She had felt safe in the 'other place'. She had seen Mulder there. She had felt his friendship. His trust. His love. And she had felt safe. Mulder...

Then she heard his laugh. That sickening laugh... He was laughing at her.

"Nice of you to join me, Red." His voice sounded like it had that first time. That voice sent ice flowing through her veins. It was that evil.

"Fuck you," she hissed at him, surprised at how sure she was sounding. Inside, she was feeling anything but sure. She was truly afraid.

He simply continued laughing. "Maybe later," he said, his lips turning up in a smile that looked more like some twisted grimace, "but then you will join me in the fun."

Scully closed her still hurting eyes and mentally assured herself that she could handle this. She could. She would - for herself, for her mother, and for Mulder.

When she opened her eyes again she tipped her head toward the corner - the corner where the blonde woman hung.

"Who is she?" she asked him, the disgust audible in her voice.

Without looking back at the other woman, without ever averting his eyes from Scully, he replied, "Not you."

She returned her eyes to him again. "Why did you kill her?"

He simply looked at her for a few seconds as if he was thinking about how to answer her. "Because she's not you," he finally answered her.

She let her throbbing head fall forward. It felt so heavy... Why had he decided she was so special? Why had he chosen her...?

"You are fighting me, Dana," he suddenly said, but she didn't look up. "That's good," he continued. "You are strong and that will make it even more satisfying to see you break down and succumb to me. Because you will break down, Dana. You know that, don't you? It doesn't matter how strong you are, you can't keep up that cool facade forever."

"Fuck you," she said, but this time her voice was lower, less confident.

He laughed. "Haven't we been through this already, Dana?"

Why did he keep calling her Dana? She wanted to scream at him and make him stop speaking to her. "Why didn't you just let me stay where I was? What kind of psycho are you?!" There was more desperation in her voice, and deep inside she realized that for her own good she should stay calm. But she no longer could. "I hate you."

He did nothing but chuckle at her words. "You just think you hate me, Dana. But you can't fight your destiny. You will love me one day. You'll see."

"I will never love you."

"Oh, you will. Trust me, Dana."

At this, her head shot up, and against her better judgement, the words started flowing out of her mouth. "I don't trust you! There is only one person I trust and he is the man I love! He's not you, do you hear that, you fucking bastard?!"

She didn't even get the chance to react before his eyes clouded and his fist connected with her jaw. Her head spun around to the other side and she could feel the taste of blood in her mouth. Her head pounded so loudly that she could hardly make out his next words.

"Don't you ever mention him again!" he hissed at her through clenched teeth. "Do you hear me? If you ever mention him again you will live to regret it."

Scully almost laughed at the absurdity of his words. "I will never love you," she continued despite of what he had told her, her voice strong and confident. She actually felt more confident. He wanted her to break down, to let him see her fear for him again. The fear was still there, but why should she let him see it? "You are some sick monster to think that!" she screamed. "No woman could ever love you, let alone me! I love Mulder!"

Once again his fist hit her jaw, this time sending her head flying in the other direction. But she didn't mind the pain anymore. She knew what set him off now, what made him lose control. And somehow, that didn't scare her. Instead it made her feel like she was the one in control, even if she was the one hanging naked from the ceiling with cuffs around her wrists and ankles.

She didn't know what made her do it. Why was she deliberately making him angry with her? Why was she pushing him to do the inevitable? Maybe she felt that there wasn't any use in caring anymore. Being frightened hadn't done her any good. For a moment, she wondered if she truly hadn't lost her mind. But, she realized that she hadn't - she had begun to think like the strong, in-control woman that she was instead of the victim hanging from the ceiling. She would provoke him. If this illusion of control only lasted a few minutes so be it. It was better than letting him see her fright.

She slowly turned her head back to him, ignoring the pain it caused in her neck. "You don't like that, do you?" Her voice was as provocative as her words. "But I love only him. Only Mulder. And that will never change."

This time it wasn't just his fist that hit her. She felt the knife that he held cut just below her jaw at the same time as her head spun around to the other side again. When she opened her eyes she looked down and saw the blood dripping down on her bare chest. Then she looked up at him again. He looked more surprised than she felt. He was looking at her in shock as if he couldn't believe what he had just done. But then his expression changed and he looked right into her eyes.

"Well," he said, "at least I cut you below that beautiful face of yours." He raised his hand and touched his fingers to the blood on her chest. He let them trail a path in blood down to her stomach, where he started to draw small circles.

He didn't say a word, but the way he was looking at her stomach confirmed her suspicions that he knew about the child growing inside of her. That simple thought made her feel like vomiting again, but she held it back.

"Get your hands off of me." Her voice held no emotion, nothing that would suggest she knew that he knew.

But he didn't listen to her. Once again, it was as if he didn't even hear her. "You are so beautiful," he said, sounding mesmerized. "Even your blood is beautiful." He put one of his fingers to his mouth and sucked on it, letting himself taste her blood. "I should have known."

Putting his hand back on her stomach, he started walking around her. As his hand trailed over her stomach once again, she thought she heard the words 'my son' come from his mouth, just little above a whisper. He stopped behind her with his hand on her back. He let his hand trail over the tattoo until it was completely covered in her own blood.

She couldn't see him anymore, but she could feel him behind her; she could feel everything he did. He raised his hand with the knife in it and touched it to her bare back. He only touched her with the side of the knife and not the actual edge of the blade, letting it run up and down her back, as if he was trying to figure out where the best place to start was.

Then he decided. He stopped his hand right below the back of her neck and then just let the knife hover there for a few moments. He slowly turned the edge and pressed it against her skin, making a few small drops of blood appear. This was all the motivation he needed to continue his task. He drew the knife down her back to the left, leaving a deep gash in is wake.

Scully clenched her teeth and closed her eyes hard to force back the scream that leaped to her throat. She tried to be strong, but nothing could have prepared her for the pain that ripped through her aching body.

He lifted the knife from her body, and for a second, she thought he might be finished with her already. How she ever could have thought that, she didn't know.

The next time the blade touched her, it cut even deeper than the last time, and this time she wasn't able to stifle the scream.

Outside, Mulder pulled up on the driveway. When he exited the car, he quickly, but carefully, ran up to the door, taking the gun in his hand. As he felt the handle to see if the door was unlocked, he heard Scully. Screaming.

His eyes gleamed as he saw the patterns beginning to take form on her back. Her dark, red blood ran down her smooth, white flesh, to finally drip down and make a small pool on the floor below.

Her screams got louder with every single second that passed, and the sound of them was like music to his ears. They proved that he had won over her. He had been able to make her fall apart. And that was the beginning of making her his.

"You are mine now," he said as he once again let the knife cut deeply through her skin, drawing even more blood. "Only mine. Only mine." He repeated the words until they became almost like a mantra that was inaudible to anyone but himself.

Suddenly, another sound made him stop. He fell silent as his hand stopped. "Quiet," he said to her, his voice low as he tried to hear where the other sound had come from. But she was still screaming, lost in the pain he had caused. "Be quiet!" He quickly stepped around her, grabbing her face with his hand. He shook her head back and forth until she realized he was talking to her and stopped screaming. He let go of her; straining to hear the unfamiliar sound again.

There it was again - a cracking sound. He looked up at the ceiling right above him, and realized that someone else was in the house with them.

"Damn..." The interruption angered him.

He quickly put his arms around Scully's body and lifted her up slightly so that her cuffed wrists fell off of the hook attached to the ceiling. Her body fell forward, and she was now hanging over his shoulder, almost unconscious from the horrendous pain.

With the knife in his hand, he ran toward a door on the other side of the room; a door that Scully had not seen in the darkness.

Suddenly a loud shot rang out, and in the next moment, Mulder crashed in through another door at the top of the stairs.

"Let her go!" he screamed, and Tristan Morane swung around to find Mulder pointing the gun at him.

"Mulder!" Scully impulsively tried to get away from Morane, but his grip around her was too strong, and her body far too weak to even fully carry out her tries.

Mulder carefully started to walk down the stairs so that he wouldn't accidentally fall in the dark.

Morane started to turn around toward the other door again and Mulder cried out, "Freeze!" Morane stopped and looked at him. "Let her go. Now. Or..."

"Or what?" Morane smiled at him as if nothing Mulder could say would frighten him.

"Or you'll get a taste of what this gun can do to a body."

Morane threw his head back in a heartless laugh. "Don't you understand it yet?" he asked. "Didn't my dear Dana tell you? Your gun won't do you any good. Your bullets won't affect me. I am the Chosen, please don't insult me like that."

Mulder stared at him for a few seconds, knowing that what he had said was true, but still pointing the gun directly at him. Then his eyes wandered to Scully's back. The sight made him gasp. "Scully, are you okay?" The panic in his voice was obvious.

Scully started to answer him, but Morane's voice stopped her.

"Shut up! No one talks until I say so!"

Mulder stayed silent, afraid that Morane would do something else to hurt Scully if he didn't. He couldn't look away from the gashes on her back. What the hell would Morane have done to her if he hadn't come here when he did? And what had he done to her before he got there...? He could hardly make out where the actual cuts were because her whole back was covered in dark blood. God, it had to hurt. Scully he thought to himself, I am going to get you out of this. Even if it kills me, you are going to get out of this. He so desperately wished that he could see her face, her eyes. But maybe it was better that he didn't. If he had to look into her eyes, he would see the pain, the fear, and her trust in him. And at this moment, he wasn't completely sure he deserved her trust. How could he have been so stupid to only bring a gun he knew would not threaten Morane in the least? He could have tried teargas - anything to distract him for a few minutes so he could get to Scully. But he hadn't. All he had been able to think about was getting to her as quickly as possible.

"Please, let her go," he finally said, even though he seriously doubted that Morane would even listen to him. But he didn't know what else to do at this point.

"And just why would I do that?" Morane questioned, grinning.

Mulder didn't hesitate for a second. Morane wouldn't like his answer, but at least Scully would hear him say the words again. "Because I love her."

Hanging over Morane's shoulder, it was impossible for Scully to see Mulder. But she heard his words, and as he said he loved her, she felt the tears well up in her sore eyes, and this time she was unable to hold them back. Would they ever get out of this together? Or would Mulder have to go on without her? She knew he wouldn't be able to. She knew this because she would feel the same way if Mulder was in her place.

"You love her, you say?" she heard Morane shout. She wanted to wring his neck, although she knew it would be impossible even if she got the opportunity.

Mulder nodded at Morane's words. "I do. And I want you to let go of her. Now."

Morane laughed at him once again. "She belongs to me now, Agent Mulder." The 'Agent' came out with despise. "She is mine." And with those words, he quickly turned around, and before Mulder could even blink, both Morane and Scully had disappeared through the door that had been right behind Morane.

"Fuck!" he screamed, more to himself than to anyone else. He practically threw himself down the stairs, and ran out the same door Morane and Scully had passed through just seconds earlier. He got out right in time to see a car drive away quickly down the street.

Where the hell was that car?!

Mulder had run around the house and jumped into his car that stood where he had left it. He had quickly pulled out onto the street, but Morane's car was nowhere to be seen. He had followed in the direction it was heading just a minute earlier, but it seemed to have vanished into thin air.

It was still dark outside, considering it was at 6:30 in the morning, and several cars were out on the streets; their drivers probably on their way to work. The streetlights lit the road for him as he drove faster and faster.

Morane and Scully couldn't just have disappeared like that... They couldn't have.

Just as he considered stopping one of the other cars on the street and asking if they had seen anything, there it was - Morane's car, just a few hundred yards in front of him. Apparently Morane spotted Mulder as well, because he increased his speed immediately.

Mulder cursed loudly as he sped up, trying to follow the car in front of him. Morane was a damn good driver, but Mulder had been involved in enough high-speed chases to know what to do, and he soon caught up with them.

Mulder thought that the car would flip over at every curve, but that did not make him slow down. He couldn't afford to lose sight of them again.

The chase went on for several blocks until they reached an intersection. What happened next would forever be etched into Mulder's mind.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw another car come toward Morane's. It wasn't going too fast, but Morane was, and Mulder knew that the crash would be serious even before it happened.

He stepped on the brakes, and as if in slow-motion, he watched the scene play out before his eyes.

The car came from the right and collided with Morane's car as he started to turn, apparently not having seen the other car coming. The sound of the collision was so loud it sounded like an explosion to Mulder's ears. Less than a second later, the windshield shattered, as he saw Scully's naked body crash through it, splinters of glass flying all around her.

He was convinced he could hear every bone in her body break as she hit the hard asphalt, but he was later told that there was no chance he could have heard it from where he was. Within seconds, he had his seatbelt off, the door opened, and he was running toward Scully, screaming to another driver that had stopped to call for an ambulance.

To Mulder, the seconds it took him to get to Scully felt like hours. When he finally reached her, he crouched down next to her, and tried to get her to respond to him. But she didn't. He quickly checked her pulse and breathing. Her pulse was weak but steady; her breath was shallow. But she was alive.

"Scully, please don't leave me." He so much wanted to cradle her petite body in his arms, but he knew he shouldn't move her until the paramedics got there. He quickly took off his jacket and laid it over her exposed body, protecting her both from the cold air that surrounded them, as well as the curious looks they received from the people that started to gather around them.

He looked over to the car in which Morane was still trapped. He could see him struggling to get out from behind the steering wheel, but it seemed hopeless.

The sudden explosion made Mulder throw himself down on the ground next to Scully, trying to cover her the best he could from the objects flying toward them. He felt something hit him in the back of his leg, but he didn't care as long as nothing hit the woman under him.

When he looked up again, there was practically nothing left of the car. It was just a burning mass of metal and rubber; the flames raging up toward the dark sky.

In the distance, he could hear sirens coming closer, and he looked down at Scully again. People were screaming around him, but he didn't hear them. A small splinter of glass was stuck in her delicate skin just below her left eye, and he carefully removed it, wiping away the blood with the sleeve of his shirt.

"Scully?" he softly whispered into her ear. "If you can hear me, please don't leave me. Please stay. Fight." He paused for a second. "I love you, Scully. I won't be able to live without you." He tenderly kissed her forehead. "Please..."

"Sir?" Mulder looked up at the young man that had come up next to them. He had a paramedic suit on, and Mulder realized that the ambulance had arrived. "Sir, we need to check her out and then take her to the hospital."

Mulder nodded as he stood up. "I'm going with her," he told him, and the paramedic simply looked at him, sympathy in his eyes, and then nodded back.

More paramedics came up to them, and they worked quickly, putting Scully on a stretcher and then into the ambulance. Before hopping into it with her, he glanced toward the burning car, thanking whoever or whatever was up there that it was finally over.

The men were efficient.

Soon all trace of the once burning car was gone as if it vanished into thin air. They didn't care about the people around them, watching them with curiosity as if they were the hottest show on Broadway. They would never be recognized anyway. The men knew what they were doing. They had done it before. And they would do it again.

"Dana Scully?! Where is she?!"

Mulder could hear Mrs. Scully's frantic voice long before she reached him. He could hear his own fear mirrored in her voice, and he closed his eyes tightly together to keep the tears from welling up again.


He raised his head and looked right into Mrs. Scully's eyes.

"Where is she?"

He grabbed both of her hands in his and then hugged her to him. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully." His voice wasn't even a whisper. "I'm so sorry..."

She broke free from his hold and looked at him with questioning eyes. "Fox?"

"I'm so sorry... I didn't get to her in time."

A lonely tear ran down her cheek. "Dana... Is she dead?"

Mulder's eyes widened. Oh God, he had made Scully's mother believe that her daughter was already dead. "She's still alive, Mrs. Scully, she's in the ICU. They say she's in a coma."

"Oh my God..." She buried her face in her hands, a deep sob escaping from her throat.

Mulder felt the guilt wash over him once again, and he lowered his gaze to the floor. "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..."

Mrs. Scully sighed loudly, tilting her head slightly. "Fox... You have got to stop this. You have got to stop blaming yourself for *everything*. The truth is, it's getting on my nerves." His head shot up. "Yes, Fox, you heard me. Don't you think I blame myself, too? She is my daughter. It should be my responsibility to keep her safe from harm." Her voice became softer as she said, "I've already lost one daughter, Fox."

He grabbed her hand again and squeezed it gently. "I know."

She nodded and then took the seat next to him. "When can we go in and see her?" she asked after a few minutes of silence.

"The doctor wanted to talk to us first."


The silence felt so wrong. It was as if Scully was already gone, and all they were waiting for was for someone to tell them so. But right then, Scully's doctor walked up to them, and they both jumped from their seats.

"How is she doing?" Mulder asked the question before even giving the doctor a chance to speak.

The doctor didn't answer him, but instead turned to Mrs. Scully. "Are you her mother?" She nodded, and next he spoke to both of them. "Would you join me in my office? I feel we shouldn't discuss this out here in the waiting room."

Mulder and Mrs. Scully followed him down endless hallways which seemed like one big labyrinth with no end. Finally they reached a door that had the name 'Dr. James Medford' on it, and they stepped into a big office.

"Please, sit down." Dr. Medford motioned for them to take a seat in the two chairs in front of his desk.

Mrs. Scully sat down, but Mulder said that he would rather remain standing. The doctor simply nodded and then sat down behind his desk, clasping his hands in front of him. He looked exactly the way doctors always look when they have bad news to tell, Mulder thought. Like he was really sorry, but at the same time he couldn't possibly understand what the family of the patient was experiencing at the moment.

"How is she doing?" Mulder asked for the second time. He was standing in the corner of the office and Dr. Medford looked over at him and then back at Mrs. Scully again. Mulder just wished he would say something. The silence was killing him.

"I won't kid you," he said in a grave tone. "Dana is in critical condition."

Mrs. Scully's gasp felt like a stab to Mulder's heart.

"She has a serious concussion and a lot of internal bleeding. We tried our best to stop it, but at this time we just can't tell. A broken rib punctured her left lung which caused respiratory problems for a while, but we think that is going to be all right."

"Will she live?"

The doctor looked up at Mulder again. "As I said, she had internal bleeding, and she's lost a lot of blood. And the pressure on her brain..."

"I said, 'will she live?'" Mulder repeated, and this time his voice was high, almost angry.

"To be honest with you, Mr. Mulder... we don't know.

Mulder's head fell forward. He took a deep breath, trying to collect his thoughts. Then he walked up to stand behind Mrs. Scully, putting his hands on her shoulders. "What about the baby?" he asked.

Mrs. Scully's head shot around to look up at him. He could see the absolute shock in her eyes and suddenly realized that he hadn't told her about the child growing inside of Scully.

"It's still alive," they heard Dr. Medford say. "How it still can be is a miracle, though. With all that her body has been through, she should have lost the baby a long time ago.

"A miracle..." Mulder mumbled under his breath. A miracle... He didn't know if he should be happy or not.

"Fox, why didn't Dana tell me? Why didn't *you* tell me?"

The questions had started right after they had stepped out of Dr. Medford's office. He didn't blame her.

"Mrs. Scully, I..."

"Why didn't I know that my daughter is carrying a child?" Her voice was low, but he could still hear the hurt in it.

She sat down in one of the chairs out in the waiting room and then hugged herself, rocking back and forth, trying to make sense of what she had just learned. Dana was pregnant - by the man who had raped her. And she had kept it.

She felt stinging tears well up in her eyes as she thought about her daughter. Dana had wanted a child so much and she understood the depth of her want after Emily. And she didn't know of anyone who deserved a to have a child more than Dana. She didn't know anyone who wanted it more. And Dana had thought that she would never be able to have a child of her own. Now she had one growing inside of her. But it was all wrong. This was not the way it was supposed to happen.

Mulder slowly seated himself next to her, not knowing what to tell her. He didn't feel that it was his place to talk about this. But he had to.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully," he started. "Dana didn't find out until the day before he... before he took her again. She didn't know. And I..." He couldn't finish. "No, I'm sorry, Fox," she said to him. "It's not your fault. It's just a shock. I didn't think that Dana could have children."

"She can't." He looked up into her confused eyes. "We don't know how she got pregnant," he explained. "She's not supposed to be able to bear children. I don't know if it has something to do with Morane's nature, but..."

Mrs. Scully cut him off by raising her hand, and Mulder realized that this was not something she wanted or needed to hear about right now.

"Did she really want to keep it?" she asked softly. Her voice sounded so fragile, yet so strong at the same time. He knew where Scully had gotten her strength of character from, and he was amazed by the admiration he felt for both of the women.

"I'm not sure," he told her sincerely. He and Scully had discussed it, but she had never decided anything, and he told Mrs. Scully this.

"How do you feel about it, Fox?"

The question shocked him. He hadn't expected it, and now she had him cornered. He had to face his own feelings. Mrs. Scully didn't know what had happened between him and Dana, and Mulder didn't know if he wanted her to know about it yet either. But he suspected she had already figured it out by herself, and that was why she was asking him about the child.

She confirmed his suspicions. "Fox, I know... I know about you and Dana. I realized it when we talked. The way you looked when you spoke about her... It was as if you were talking to her and not to me." She gently put her hand over his. "It's a good thing, Fox," she told him. "You are good for her, no matter what you think. I know you love her more than anything and that you would do anything for her." He nodded. "I don't know how I feel, Mrs. Scully," he confessed. "I tried to convince her to keep the child. I told her this could be her only chance." Mrs. Scully squeezed his hand to encourage him, and he continued. "But I don't know. She told me she was afraid to keep the baby. That she was afraid she wouldn't be able to love it. That it would turn out like..." He stopped, looking at her and there was understanding in her eyes. "But I do love her, Mrs. Scully. And I will support her, whatever her decision will be. If she will just come back to us..."

Mrs. Scully simply nodded again, and then excused herself, telling him she needed to use the bathroom. He knew she was going away to cry, trying spare him her emotions - to be strong for him. He followed her with his eyes until she disappeared around the corner, and then he was once again left alone with nothing but his own thoughts to keep him company. Company he would rather do without.

Mulder was constantly sitting by her side; holding her hand in his, waiting for her to squeeze it back. He kissed her forehead, he talked to her. But she never squeezed back, and she never answered him.

He was acutely aware of the fact that the longer patients stayed in a coma, the greater the possibility that they would stay that way. She had been in a coma for over three weeks now, and he knew that the doctors were starting to give up all hope of her ever waking up again. The internal bleeding had stopped and she was stabilized. Other than her heart beating and her chest gently rising and falling, there was response. But he refused to believe that she would not come back to him. She had to live. She had to survive. She had to come back to him. Or else he would die with her.

Morane was gone. The car was gone. All evidence had simply disappeared. Skinner and the rest of the agents had arrived at the scene of the accident not long after the ambulance had left for the hospital, and they had nearly driven right by it. The only reason they had even stopped at the right place was because an elderly lady had stepped out right in front of them, demanding to know what was going on; who were the strange men that had come and taken the burning car away? Shouldn't there be someone there to collect evidence of what happened first? Where was this society going?

It was all gone, and Mulder had no idea what to do. He felt like he had failed her.

Both Mrs. Scully and Skinner had repeatedly asked him to go home and get some real sleep, but it was no use. He was not going to leave her except for the few minutes he needed to shower and change clothes.

She was so pale. Her hair had lost its shine and laid spread out on the pillow under her head. The tube running down her throat looked as if it was going to choke her, when in fact it may have been the only thing keeping her alive.

He gently squeezed her hand, hopefully waiting for a response but one never came. He slowly brought her hand to his lips and carefully kissed each knuckle before opening it, pressing her palm against his cheek. His tears silently fell over her small hand, dripping down on the white sheet that covered her body.

Suddenly the steady beeping in the room stopped and was replaced by one long, sharp tone. His head shot up and his eyes focused on the monitor next to the bed.

She had flat lined.

He was distantly aware of the doctors and nurses running into the room, asking him to please step aside, but he was paralyzed, his body refusing to obey him. Finally one of the nurses pushed him to the side, and he backed up against the wall, watching the people before him try to revive the woman he loved.

His eyes darted quickly from one doctor to another as they gave out their orders, but too soon he heard one of them declare the time of death. A nurse came up to him, telling him how sorry she was, but that there had been nothing they could have done to save her. It was all over.

Ever so slowly, the realization of what had happened sank into his mind. She still looked the same as she had just a few minutes earlier. But he knew that her heart was no longer beating in her chest. Her lungs were no longer filling with air.

His body collapsed to the floor as he screamed out his pain and anguish in the quiet room.

Margaret Scully stood silent in the doorway, leaning her tired body against the door frame. She felt drained. Drained of life. Drained of hope. Drained of everything...

When she had first found out that Dana had been raped, she had thought that things couldn't possibly get any worse. She had been wrong. She had been so incredibly wrong. Dana had been shutting the rest of the world out, but they had at least known that she would be all right eventually. Now they couldn't even comfort themselves with that thought.

She let her heavy eyes close for a short moment, before opening them again, resting them on Mulder's seemingly sleeping form in the middle of the room.

He was sitting in the chair that stood next to Dana's bed, with his head lying on his folded arms on the bed in front of him. She knew he was experiencing the same feelings she was. But he had so much hope. He never left Dana's side for more than a few minutes; wouldn't risk not being there if there was any change.

She had spent endless hours standing in the doorway, just like now, watching him sit with her. Listening to him talking to her. Saying silent prayers as he did everything in his power to bring her back to them again.

To him.

Margaret knew that he loved her daughter more than anything else in this universe. He hadn't even had to tell her so. She had already known. She could tell it from the way he acted around Dana, from the way he looked at her and stole little touches whenever he could. Always a gentle hand at the small of her back as they walked into a room together. The little smiles and glances that lasted just a bit too long to be considered just friendly.

One of the times she had asked him to please go home and get some sleep, he had said something to her that had hurt at the time, but that she later realized was the truth. He had told her that she would never be able to understand his and Dana's relationship. That what they had was different; something not many people were ever lucky enough to have.

Margaret had had a happy marriage with William Scully. They had loved each other deeply, but it wasn't the same as with Dana and this man. They were partners and the very best of friends. They didn't trust anyone but each other. They had a special bond no one could explain or even understand. And in a way, they only had each other.

She crossed her arms over her chest, absentmindedly rubbing her cold arms as she slowly walked into the room toward Mulder. When she reached him, she noticed the shaking of his body, and she put a hand on his shoulder and gently tried to wake him.


Her voice was soft and quiet, but to Mulder it seemed as if someone had just screamed inside his head. He slowly turned his head and looked up at her, his eyes wary and filled with sadness. Tears started welling up in his hazel eyes, but they never broke contact with Margaret's.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully," he blurted out, almost choking on his own words. "I did everything I could to save her. I'm so sorry. I want... I want her back. I thought she would come back..."


"I don't know how I'll be able to live without her, Mrs. Scully. She was everything in my life... Now there is nothing left."

Margaret didn't understand what he was saying. "Fox, what are you talking about? You can't give up hope. Not now."

She looked away from his eyes and instead looked down at her daughter.

Mulder followed her eyes, and gasped when he saw Scully still lying in the hospital bed next to him. He then realized he was still holding her hand tightly in his own. The beeping of the heart monitor was still steady. Her chest was still rising as it filled with air. It had all been a dream.

She was still alive.

She had to choose.

To step into the light, or fight against the darkness that was behind her.

The darkness was frightening; threatening her with pain and fear. The light was comforting, promising her happiness and a new life without nightmares.

In the light, she could see her father... She could see Melissa... And she could see Emily.

She slowly started walking toward them, toward the almost blinding light.

But then something stopped her. She stood completely still. Behind her, she could here Mulder's voice calling out for her, begging her to come back to him. She slowly turned her head around, carefully. At the dark end of the tunnel, she could see Mulder. He was surrounded by a soft light, reaching out his arms toward her.

She had had to make the same choice once before. That time she had not seen Mulder at the end of the tunnel, but she had felt the strength of his beliefs. Now she saw him, and she could feel his love reaching out to her.

She once again turned to look at the people waiting for her in the light. They looked so happy.

She had to choose.

Mulder sat next to her, day and night. He held her hand in one hand and a copy of 'Moby Dick' in the other as he read it out loud to her. The doctors had told him to speak to her as much as he could since the voice of a loved one was often helpful in bringing patients out of a coma.

So he read her 'Moby Dick', knowing it was her favorite novel, while hoping and praying that it would bring back good memories for her; that it would bring her back to him. After he had finished each page, he would look up at her face and look for any sign that a change had occurred while he had been reading. So far, there had been no signs.

In between reading, he told her stories about them, about everything that they had been through together. He reminded her about their conversation on the rock when she had first told him about her love of and connection to 'Moby Dick'. He talked to her about their night in the forest when she had sung to him. He smiled softly at the memory of hearing her voice singing 'Joy To the World', sounding as unenthusiastic as someone could possible sound. He would give anything to hear her sing again.

He returned his eyes to the book in his hand and once again started to read yet another page.

Suddenly, he thought he felt a slight movement in his other hand. He quickly laid down the book on the bed next to Scully and covered her hand with both of his own.

"Scully?" He held his hands completely still, watching hers intently. There it was. He had even seen it this time. Her hand moved.

"Mrs. Scully?!" His excited voice woke the sleeping woman sitting in the chair on the other side. "She moved her hand!"

Margaret was at his side in a second, watching her daughter's hand in Mulder's. And then she saw it as well.

"I'll get the doctors," she told him, and then she was out the door.

No more than thirty seconds later, she came back in again with two doctors and a nurse behind her.

Dr. Medford stood next to Mulder and then said in a loud voice, "Dana? Are you awake? Dana?"

"Scully..." Mulder spoke softly to her. "Scully, it's me. You're safe now. Open your eyes, please... It's over; you're safe - come back to me."

Every person in the room held their breath as they waited for a reaction. Then her eyes fluttered open.

"Scully!" Mulder squeezed her hand, and the joy he felt when she carefully squeezed it back was indescribable. Behind him, he could hear Margaret break into tears of relief and happiness.

Scully tried to say something, but started coughing as soon as she realized there was a tube running down her throat.

"Dana, don't try to talk just yet, we're gonna take the tube away, okay?"

Mulder moved out of the way, reluctantly releasing her hand, as Dr. Medford reached out to take it away.

"Okay, Dana," he said, "when you feel me starting to pull it up, I want you to cough for me."

She did as she was told and a couple of seconds later she was breathing on her own with ease. Mulder quickly returned to her side again and took her hand in his. She carefully turned her head to him and the most beautiful smile he had ever seen lit up her face.

She didn't have to say anything. Her eyes and smile told him everything. There would be time for them to talk later. He simply smiled back at her and then leaned down to gently touch his lips to hers in a quick brush. She once again squeezed his hand and then looked behind him.

"Mom..." she said, her voice raspy from not having spoken for a very long time, at the same time as she reached out toward her with her free hand.

Margaret stepped up to her daughter and then grabbed her outstretched hand in her own. "Dana..." She couldn't find the right words. She sat down next to her on the bed and then brought Scully's hand up to her lips, kissing it. "Dana..."

Scully gently stroked her mother's cheek, wiping away the tears. "I know, Mom," she whispered. "I love you, too."

Then she looked up at Mulder again who was still standing next to them, watching them. "Thank you, Mulder," she whispered, her eyes glimmering as they met his. "Thank you."

And in that second, Mulder knew that he had brought her back. Finally, he had been able to save Scully.


Scully watched herself in the mirror. Her eyes looked haunted as if they had seen something that had frightened her more than anything else ever had. And in a way, something had.

She quickly turned around with her back to the mirror. She reached her arm around and carefully touched her fingers to the scars on her back. They had paled with the years and were hardly visible anymore. They had never been able to figure out what Tristan Morane had been trying to do to her. The two long scars were connected at the left side of her back near the top and each continued down the sides of her back, one of them longer than the other.

But in her dream - in her nightmare - Scully had seen something else. The scars had still been red and bloody as if they had just been made. And there had been more than just the two lines. They had formed a word. The word 'CHOSEN'. She closed her eyes, remembering the sight of it, and her body trembled.

She reassured herself that it had only been a nightmare. It had been... She splashed a handful of cold water on her face and then left the bathroom to return to bed.

She slipped in between the sheets and her naked body welcomed the warmth radiating from the sleeping form next to her.

She scooted up next to him, resting her head on her arm. She raised her arm and carefully ran her fingers through his hair. She felt so lucky to have him. He had stood by her through everything, never leaving her side or betraying her trust in any way. She had come to love him even more over the years, more than she had ever thought possible.

He had helped her try to forget not only the scars on her back, but the trauma of her ordeal. He made her feel like she was the most beautiful and most desirable woman in the world.

A lonely tear slowly found its way from her eye, and made a wet pattern down her cheek.

She eased up on her arm and leaned down to kiss him softly on the lips. She smiled as she felt him wake up under her.

"Hey, Beautiful," he murmured against her lips, and then kissed her more deeply, making her head feel light.

"Hey, Handsome," she whispered back as he kissed his way down her neck.

He had heard the sadness in her voice, and he looked up at her again, for the first time noticing the salty tear on her cheek.

He raised his hand and gently wiped it away. "What's wrong, Scully?"

She gave him her usual reply. "I'm fine, Mulder." At his skeptical look she continued, "Really, Mulder, it's nothing. I just thought about how happy I am with you." She once again ran her fingers through his ruffled hair and then pulled his head up closer to hers. "I love you so much, Mulder. Do you know that?"

"Yes," he smiled. "But it feels good to be reminded sometimes."

"Mulder, I'm serious," she sighed.

"I know." He ran a hand through her soft hair just like she had done only a few seconds earlier, and then placed a kiss on her lips. "I know", he repeated. "I love you, too, Scully. Always. I hope you know that."

"I do."

He slipped his hand under the covers and caressed her side as shivers of anticipation ran through her body. "What did I ever do to deserve you, Scully?"

She rolled them over until she was lying on top of him. "You loved me," she whispered against his mouth, and then kissed him passionately. "You loved me..."

And he still did - more than ever. In one quick motion, he had rolled them over again, and Scully was pinned under him.

"May I make love to my wonderful wife, whom I love so very, very much?" he smiled at her.

A soft laugh escaped her. "Has she ever been able to refuse you anything?" she smiled back.

The answer was no.

He grabbed her head in his hands and leaned down, gently touching his lips to hers. He sucked lightly on her full bottom lip, letting his tongue run over it until she finally let him in. Their tongues dueled fiercely for control of the kiss for a long moment until they had to break away from each other for air.

Their eyes met, dark and heavy as they gazed lovingly at each other. Scully reached down between them, stroking him, finding that he was already hard against her. He gasped at her touch, and she caught his lip between her teeth, carefully nibbling on it, pulling it into her mouth. He quickly took control of the kiss, and it made her feel like she was floating on air. His kiss was hard and demanding at the same time as it was warm and gentle. No one had ever kissed her like he kissed her. No one's kisses had ever made her feel like his did each time she felt his lips move against her own.

He broke the kiss, and she missed the feeling of his lips. She didn't have to wait long to feel them again, though.

He started covering her face with kisses that felt light as a feather. He enjoyed the way she moved beneath him, arching up against him. He moved to her ear, whispering sweet nothings to her as he gently bit down on her earlobe, and she moaned under him with her hands gripping his shoulders. He returned his focus to her face, kissing her forehead, her eyelids, her nose, and then finally her mouth. Her lips didn't want to release his, but his will was stronger, and he once again broke free.

He continued down her neck, kissing her right above the collarbone. He knew she loved it when he kissed her there, and he was delighted to hear her uncontrolled moan followed by a gasp as he lightly nipped at the sensitive skin.

He took her breast in his hand, squeezing it gently as he rolled her nipple between his fingers until it hardened under his touch. He gave the other one the same attention, squeezing and kneading with hard and gentle touches at the same time. She laced her fingers through his hair as he let his mouth and tongue follow where his hands and fingers had been, making her writhe with pleasure.

"God, Mulder!" she gasped, her hands gripping his hair even harder.

She decided she couldn't take it anymore; she had to touch him back. With a force that should be impossible for such a petite woman, she pushed him off of her onto his back and straddled him.

She ran her hands over his chest, up and down, and then bent down to kiss him. "I love the feeling of you under my hands, Mulder." Each word was punctuated by yet another kiss.

He grabbed the back of her head to deepen the kiss, but she pulled away from him, putting a finger against his lips. He quickly sucked it into his mouth, and Scully laughed at him. "You're incorrigible, Mulder," she told him, and he just smiled.

She gave his body the same attention he had given hers and let her tongue swirl over his nipples just the way she knew he liked it, and the way he moaned into her hair as he placed a kiss there made her whole body tingle.

She scooted down to straddle his thighs instead of his stomach, letting her tongue dip into his navel. Then she paused for a moment and looked up at him. Her eyes searched his as she came back up to face him again, kissing him with a passion that could only come out of love.

"God, I love you so much," he breathed against her. He barely got the words out between his quick breaths before he kissed her again, gently this time, and once again rolled them over.

He draped himself over her and his straining erection pressed against her thigh. He lowered his hand between them, caressing her soft skin as he moved it down until he reached the core of her pleasure. He gently parted her folds with his fingers and skillfully stroked her clitoris in slow, tantalizing circles. She cried out under him, her head falling back on the pillow.

Small drops of sweat broke out on her forehead and she arched up against his hand, her body begging him for more.

He kissed the hollow of her throat, his tongue snaking out to taste her sensitive skin, his fingers never stopping their work. Her head tilted to the side, giving him better access to her throat, her breaths coming out faster and heavier.

"Mulder..." she sighed into his hair. "I want you inside me. Now."

He pushed himself onto his hands, almost hovering above her, his breath hot on her face. She drew her legs up and parted them, allowing herself to cradle him between her thighs. She took him in her hand and in one swift moment, he sank into her.

She cried out at the feeling of him, pushing deep inside her, and he silenced her with his mouth.

She was so incredibly hot and tight. Her inner muscles clenched around him, and this time it was she who silenced his gasp as they kissed.

He began moving slowly, easing himself in and out of her. She met him, thrust for thrust, her nails raking over his arms and back, urging him on.

Soon, their movements became more frantic, and they found themselves lost in their passion. She rotated her hips against him, and his whole body started to tremble from the feeling of her around him, against him.

He pushed deeper and deeper inside her, and she tried to get even closer to him, as if they could merge into just one person.

Suddenly, she felt the intensity of her orgasm wash over her, and she screamed into his mouth. She contracted around him, and he followed her over the bridge to ecstasy in just a matter of seconds, finally collapsing on her chest.

He gently rolled them over on their sides so that he wouldn't crush her small body and then carefully slipped out of her. They both sighed as each immediately missed the feeling of the other.

He raised his hand and pushed her hair out of her face, sweetly kissing her forehead, and then met her lips in a lazy kiss.

"I love you so much," he told her for the third time that morning, and then tucked her head in under his chin, kissing the top of her head.

"Me too," she answered him, her voice sleepy.

It was only a matter of minutes until they were both asleep in each other's arms again.

Two hours later, they were woken up by a little redhead jumping up and down on them both.

"Mommy, Daddy, wake up!!" Her little fists were punching Mulder's arms that were wound tightly around his wife's smaller body.

He slowly turned over onto his back and opened his eyes to look up at their daughter who was now bouncing up and down on his stomach.

He quickly grabbed her on each side of her tiny, little waist and lifted her up in the air like an airplane.

"Now Caelyn, you know you shouldn't be jumping on Daddy's stomach," he told her with a voice that almost sounded serious. "It hurts."

Then he leaned his arms to each side, over and over, and the three and a half year old Caelyn squealed happily as she flew in her daddy's arms.

"More, daddy, more!" she laughed, and Mulder obeyed her wishes.

Then Scully's voice interrupted them as she said, "Mulder, put her down. One of these days you're accidentally gonna knock her into the wall."

Mulder put Caelyn down onto his chest, and then whispered to her loud enough so that Scully would hear it too, "I wonder who woke up on the wrong side today," and Caelyn's giggles filled the room.

"Mommy did!" she exclaimed as she threw herself into Scully's arms. "Good morning, Mommy," she said and placed a big wet kiss, that was supposed to end up on the lips, on Scully's cheek.

"Good morning, sweetie," Scully replied as she kissed her daughter back and gave her a big hug. Then she looked over at Mulder and said, "I'll go and get us some coffee, okay?"

Mulder nodded and pulled Caelyn over to him again as Scully put on her bathrobe and went out to the kitchen.

While she was in the kitchen making the coffee, she could hear Mulder tell Caelyn stories about the X-Files. She just knew the child would start getting nightmares one of these days, and she had told Mulder a million times that he would be the one that would go up into her room to tell her it was all right when it happened. He just answered that it wasn't doing her any harm; that he was probably saving her from being afraid of things when she got older.

Finally the coffee was ready, and she poured it into two cups, one of which had cream in it. She picked them up, careful not to spill any of the hot liquid on herself, and walked back to their bedroom.

She stopped in the doorway, watching the scene play out before her. Caelyn was once again up in Mulder's arms, with her arms out like the wings on an airplane.

She was so grateful to Mulder. She didn't know of any other man that would have been able to accept the child into his life like he had done with Caelyn. He considered them both her real parents, and there was never any talk about it. She didn't think - actually she *knew* - that she would never have been able to go through it without him. And without him she wouldn't have her wonderful daughter. Now, she couldn't imagine her life without Caelyn in it.

Caelyn looked exactly like her. She had the exact same features. Her deep blue eyes, her auburn hair. Her nose, and her pouty rose lips. She thanked God for that every day. And Morane had been wrong. Instead of giving birth to a son, like he had told her she would, she now had this wonderful little girl in her life. And no matter how much she had been hurt in the past, she loved her daughter more than anything.

Scully set down Mulder's coffee cup on the little table next to her, waiting for Mulder to finish playing with Caelyn, and sipped on her own. Suddenly the thoughts of her earlier dream rushed back, and her free hand flew to her back. She still only felt the two scars and nothing more. Mulder looked up at her with a big smile, and she quickly hid the panicked look on her face, and smiled back. He didn't notice anything, and returned his attention to the screaming girl in his arms, raising her higher and higher, much to her delight.

But Scully felt uneasy. Somewhere out there, she felt the evil. And it was just waiting for her...


Well, I guess that's it.

When it comes to the name Caelyn, I read that in another fanfic story once, and I just loved it. Sorry, but I can't remember which story it was.

Also a special note. Maureen, one of my wonderful betas, wanted me to add some things to this last chapter, but I didn't want to do so. This is where the sequel comes in. So... I might just have to write that sequel all for her... Happy, M? ;o)


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