Title: Small Miracles

Written: May 1999 Revision 2

Author: Csue

Email: cshaag@bscn.com or csue460@yahoo.com

Rating: PG-13

Category: S, R

Spoilers: S6 up to and including Milagro

Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance, post Milagro

Summary: Agent Scully is already in love? With whom?

Archive: Anywhere as long as it has my name on it please. When you work on something this hard you don't want to see the credit go to someone else.

Disclaimer: The characters of which I write are not mine. They belong to Chris Carter, FOX Broadcasting, 1013 Productions et al. As for money I am not making any from this and doubt if I could anyway. I borrowed a few lines from the episode so they aren't mine either.?

Acknowledgments: Big thanks to: ADMaggieS, my XF mentor and proponent of weird theories, who was always positive I could write and then encouraged me by writing something of her own even though she was not confident about her own skills. (I never doubted them!!) Her courage was an inspiration to me. "The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." ---William Arthur Ward

Huge thanks and hugs to Kelley Kelly (Kelley2), my bin twin extraordinaire, who stayed in the trenches with me fighting the "war". The one who put up with my whining, pouting, sulking, complaining and groveling, who always bugged me to know what was going to happen next, who beta read my every sentence and kicked me in the bahootie many a night over ICQ. Trust me, people, without her you wouldn't be reading any of this story. This may be my alpha and my omega, my debut and my retirement but I was just too inspired by the ep to let it go. "You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job." ---Laurence J. Peter

Feed back: Yes, I want to improve. This is my first story. Please be gentle.


Small Miracles

"You ask me if I love you And I choke on my reply I'd rather hurt you honestly Than mislead you with a lie And who am I to judge you On what you say or do? I'm only just beginning to see the real you.

And sometimes when we touch The honesty's too much And I have to close my eyes and hide I wanna hold you till I die Till we both break down and cry I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides."

~ Dan Hill

Fox Mulder's apartment building

He thought he had heard gunshots coming from the vicinity of his 4th floor apartment and it startled him because he also thought he heard the screams of a woman. Scully! Surely he had not heard "that" in the basement from the 4th floor but something had spoken to his spirit. Perhaps he had a sixth sense in regard to his partner, but whatever it was it moved him to race up the 5 flights of stairs to his apartment.

As he stood out of breath in the doorway, his gun poised, he was aghast. There seemed to be blood everywhere and yet it was not. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was Scully's blood and it stood out so starkly against her white blouse. It was only a momentary realization as a controlled panic enveloped his heart. Was she dead?

"Oh, God, please no," he murmured under his breath. Her gun lay loosely in her right hand and the spent shells were scattered. She had made a valiant effort against her attacker, whoever he had been. A quick visual scan of the room revealed that "he" was no longer present.

His hesitation was brief; his reactions, quick and measured as he moved to kneel by her side. It was then he realized with relief that she was not dead.

His presence next to her had evidently startled her. She gasped as she regained consciousness and her eyes grew wide in terror until she realized it was Mulder who had leaned over to comfort her. Now there could be release. The ordeal had ended. Every ounce of pent-up anxiety was allowed to spill forth from the chink in her self-imposed armor of self-control. Her body shook with the sobs of fear assuaged and the relief that flooded in. As he began to lift her up she wrapped her arms around him in a death grip, pulling herself close, burying her face in his shoulder. He didn't stiffen but molded himself to her and held her tightly while she cried. Indeed, this had been a terrifying experience.

Slowly, her grip relaxed and the loud sobbing became somewhat softer and less intense. He was able to release her now with his right hand and slide it under her knees in order to lift her from the hardwood floor, which by now was wreaking havoc on his old knee injury. Rising slowly, in deference to her comfort and that blasted knee, he hesitated momentarily to get his balance. He then carried her into his bedroom and laid her carefully on the bed, arranging her so as to stretch out next to her. He maintained this posture to continue to comfort her. It felt good to comfort her. Time stood still for him.

The sobbing had almost totally ended now. Sensing that things were more settled he leaned in to kiss her tenderly on the forehead and then excused himself and retreated to the bathroom to grab a handful of Kleenexes and a wet wash cloth for her face. Returning, he sat again on the side of the bed and handed her the Kleenex. This would only be a preliminary cleanup. He was curious to know what had happened in those few moments when she was left alone in the apartment.

"So," he said softly, "think you're gonna make it?" He smiled in hopes of lightening the mood and relieving any lingering anxiety she might have. She took the wash cloth from his hand and thankfully pressed its coolness to her tear-swollen face.

"I suppose in a matter of time I will be able to discuss this rationally. Maybe after I clean up." She let out a long sigh. "All I want to do is get home to a good hot bath at this point."

"I don't think you're in any condition to drive home right now. I think you're probably still in shock. And besides you shouldn't leave here looking like this. I mean, after all, in your state of bloodied disarray you probably would attract attention to yourself." She thought she detected a growing concern in his eye as she looked up at him and it was then that she saw splotches of her own vital fluid on his charcoal gray T-shirt.

Likewise, he was staring at her once white blouse, that was now covered in dried blood. Not a pretty sight, but as long as what was under it was alive and well and breathing, it didn't much matter what the outside looked like to him. Blouses and jackets could be replaced but Dana Scully couldn't.

"As if I HAVEN'T already attracted enough attention to myself, Mulder?"

There was an edge in her voice that he hadn't expected. He deliberately ignored it. Padgett had trespassed and violated her personal space and had penetrated deep into her psyche in a very brief amount of time. He could be convicted of a sort of mental and emotional rape if there were such charges. Mulder knew that it had taken HIM the better part of six years to KNOW Scully, and he still didn't know all the ins and outs of this complex person who was his partner. He had her trust, and that was like having the key to her safety deposit box, but he knew well enough that it was never to be misused.

"You know I have a mighty fine tub you could soak in, and afterward you could slip into one of my T-shirts until I can round up some different clothes for you." He paused here for a second and glanced quickly in her direction for a response. She had stopped wiping her face and eyed him curiously and cautiously. "Don't you keep an overnight bag in your car?"

He didn't wait for her answer but continued on.

"Tell you what." He got up from the bed and began rummaging through his drawers for an appropriately large and discreet T- shirt. Finding one, he tossed it in her direction. "Here, you go fill the tub and don't spare the hot water," he smiled, "you'll feel much better afterwards. I need to make a couple of phone calls, and if you'll tell me where your car keys are, I'll run down and get that bag of yours. Then once you're clean and relaxed I want you to give me all the details."

Details? Did she really want to rehearse the gory details in his ear? She just didn't have the energy to argue. The kind of stress she had endured, emotional and mental stress, had taken its toll on her physically as well. She felt totally drained, unable to offer any objections to his line of reasoning. The bath sounded good, almost heavenly, and perhaps afterwards she would feel ready to share with him her horrifying experience under the hand of the "Brazilian psychic surgeon."

When she managed a weak "and just when was the last time you cleaned your bathtub, Mulder?", he could tell the old Scully spirit was returning! He was desperately trying to turn her thoughts from psychic heart surgery to more pleasant things. It would appear that he was succeeding.

"Scully, you wound me! Why, the maid was just in yesterday to clean my apartment!" He smiled mischievously in her direction. "I even have bubble bath!" He left the room returning shortly bearing a bottle of dish detergent.

"Dish detergent?" She eyed him warily with eyebrow raised, as he handed her the bottle.

"Surely if it's good for your hands, it's good for your skin, and since your body is covered in skin then it's bound to be good for the whole body. Besides, it's the best I can do on short notice." He appeared satisfied and smug.

"Your logic, Mulder, leaves me speechless." She raised herself from the bed and sat up, waiting for him to leave so that she could retreat to the bathroom. "Well?"

"Oh, yeah," he said absently and as he turned to leave, "I'll need to call VCU and Skinner. I imagine he'll want some kind of preliminary report on all this. I'll be right out here if you need me."

"By the way, what happened to Padgett?" He hadn't been anticipating that question from her and as it was the furthest thing from his mind at the moment, he was caught off guard for a second. He paused to remember just what exactly it was that he was doing before he had found Scully on the floor in a pool of blood. The sight of her there had blotted out all remembrance of previous activities.

"I left him in the basement, systematically tossing portions of his manuscript into the incinerator." He said after a long pause. "Perhaps I should make a quick trip back down there to check on him since he hasn't seemed to reappear next door."

Her reaction to his suggestion was purely knee jerk at this point. "I would prefer if you didn't leave me up here by myself, Mulder, especially if I am lying vulnerable and naked in your bathtub."

Her mind was clearing ever so slightly from her trauma and deep down for some reason she believed that she no longer had anything to fear from the killer. After all SHE was alive. His other victims were dead. Although it was possible that Mulder had chased her attacker off with his reappearance in the apartment, she seriously doubted this, because she distinctly remembered now that the man in the hooded sweatshirt had disappeared as she lost consciousness. This particular scenario was almost a foreign thought to her highly logical scientific mind.

"Well, I can't say as I blame you there. So what do you say I run down there now quickly to assess the situation? When I left him, he didn't look to be what I would consider dangerous." He considered asking her if she would like to accompany him, knowing that she had regained some of her confidence, but he didn't want to press her beyond what she was capable of withstanding at this point.

What an impertinent question he was posing, she thought, that he should return to the basement without her. She hesitated momentarily, considering the possibility of going with him, but the more she thought about it the more it seemed as though either choice would be painful. On one hand she would be left alone to concern herself with the possibility of another attack, and on the other hand, she would have to face the man who knew her better than she knew herself. She opted for what she felt was the lesser of two evils.

"Okay, but I would prefer that you make it a quick trip! I assume his actions have something to do with the fact that I am not lying dead on your floor right now and I'm sure VCU will want a some semblance of a status report on him and his activities anyway."

She was making her way towards the bathroom with the T-shirt and dish detergent in hand. She thought she might survey the 'tub' situation while he was gone. She stopped short with a sudden thought and turned to ask, "Mulder, where are your towels?"

"Okay, uh, yeah, wait...I only have two sets and if you're in luck I think I might have one of 'those' clean." He crossed back over to where she was standing in the bedroom doorway and sidled past her towards the closet. Opening the door she watched as he rummaged through a basket of what appeared to be clean clothes. At least she hoped they were! As he dug through them she could see assorted socks and underwear spilling to the floor.

His actions brought a small smile to her face, the first since her ordeal. "Men!" she thought shaking her head.

"Tada!" he announced triumphantly, holding up a towel and a washcloth and handing them to her.

"Thank you, now go on and check on our friend, Padgett." She turned to make her way to his bathroom.

"Are you sure you're okay with this?"

She stopped and turned to look at him. He was concerned and she appreciated that. She had recovered sufficiently that she felt she could tolerate his absence from her for the five minutes it would take him to check the situation in the basement. "I'll be fine, Mulder. Really."

Having her approval, he proceeded out the apartment door and down the hallway towards the elevator.

Scully continued on to the bathroom doorway and, glancing around the small room, surveyed the bathtub with the eye of an expert. "Not bad" she thought with measured amusement. Amazingly, it did look usable without her having to clean it first, and just as well since she didn't have the energy. Her body ached to relax in the hot water. She did a quick inventory of her bathing essentials and deemed them suitably adequate. No, it wasn't her tub, or bubble bath, or towel, but it would do the trick. Yes, the hot water would run as soon as he was back in the apartment.


Why did it always seem as though the elevator was at its worst as far as speed was concerned when one was in a hurry? Mulder punched the "Down" button and waited as patiently as one could wait in this particular situation. He didn't want Scully to have to spend too much time in his apartment alone. Yes, she had recovered some since he had pulled her off the floor, but he wasn't about to push her recovering composure at this point. Impatience got the best of him and he turned and strode in the direction of the stairway. At least running down the stairs wasn't quite as strenuous as running up them.

He arrived in the basement and entered the room where the incinerator continued to burn brightly with its door still open. He was stopped short at the sight of Philip Padgett's body lying sprawled on the floor in front of it. "Well, Mr. Padgett, it would appear that you have written your last novel." As he stooped beside the body he could see that Padgett's chest and shirt were covered in blood, and cradled in his right hand was what appeared to be his own heart. Mulder remained there momentarily trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. His eyes traveled from the body, with its left hand still clutching the empty plastic manuscript bag, to the open mouth of the furnace. He understood now that the "Brazilian psychic surgeon" had been a creation born in the mind of this lonely man, and along with the incineration of Philip Padgett's novel, his villain had died too. Now it became apparent why Scully had been spared an untimely death. This pathetic representation of alternative medicine had gone up in smoke. He was certain now that she would be safe in his apartment, but he didn't want to linger in a situation where nothing else could be done except call the police and VCU.

He rose and turned his back on the tragic sight. He pulled the door to the boiler room closed, wedging a broomstick across the door. He glanced around for some sort of KEEP OUT sign, but found nothing. It would have to do. Returning to the elevator he poked "up" somewhat less exuberantly than normal. There was nothing more to be done here. He needed to get back upstairs.


What in heaven's name was taking him so damn long? She *knew* she should have gone home but he had caught her at a weak moment. Yes, a very weak moment! A certain amount of agitation was manifesting itself although she didn't know whether she was upset with herself or Mulder.

Without any persuasion on her part her mind began ruminating on the lines from Padgett's novel as she waited.

<'His words had presented her a pretty picture of herself quite unlike the practiced mask of uprightness that mirrored back to her from the medical examiners and the investigators and all the lawmen who dared no such utterances. The stranger had looked her in the eye and knew her more completely than she knew herself. Had the stranger unleashed in her what was already there or only helped her discover a landscape she, by necessity, blinded herself to? What would her partner think of her?'>>

What would he think indeed? She shivered at the thought.


Her reverie was broken by Mulder's reappearance at the apartment door. "Would you be interested in renting the apartment next door, Scully? I think it will be available soon." He half- smiled with the thought of Scully living next door. "Of course, it needs some work and could use a woman's hand." He was rather proud of himself for his quick wit but Scully ignored the humor.

Instead, she stared at him quizzically and asked, "Why is that, Mulder?" Mulder continued.

"I found Padgett right where I left him in front of the furnace, only he's dead," he said, matter-of-factly. "It appears that he ripped out his own heart. his so-called novel is beyond recognition and burned to a crisp. I don't anticipate any more problems from him." It came across as a flippant remark. Could he have discerned what Philip Padgett already knew about his beautiful partner? Had something within the pages of that novel triggered thoughts and questions he longed to have her answer?

The blood visibly drained from Scully's face as she sank down onto the couch. It was not the description that bothered her so much. After all they had witnessed worse scenes than the one that Mulder had just painted. It was that she had almost ended up the same way as Padgett at the hand of this psychotic killer doctor. As a consequence, she never detected his subtle sarcasm.

Mulder was quick to notice the change in her demeanor. He didn't take time to analyze his thoughts and feelings but moved to come around the opposite end of the coffee table and sat down next to her. "You okay, Scully?" he said placing an arm around her shoulders and a hand on her knee.

"I want to say, I'm fine, Mulder but the fact that I could have been the next victim continues to leave me somewhat breathless." She turned to look him in the eye hoping to prove her words to him.

He could still see apprehensiveness and uncertainty there in her blue eyes that were normally resolute and confident. "We don't need to talk about this right now. In fact, right now you need to get cleaned up and then we'll talk." With that he stood up, took her hand, and pulled her to her feet. Placing his hands upon her shoulders, he pointed her toward the bathroom. "Go!"

She watched him for a minute, at once grateful and irritated by his solicitude, before retreating into the sanctuary of his bathroom.


He waited until he heard the water running and then stepped to the desk phone to make his calls. First on his list were the local police, then he would call the FBI's Violent Crime Unit. After dealing with them he would call Skinner and report to him the results of the apartment stake out and the events that had transpired.


Scully entered the bathroom and closed the door carefully behind her. She pressed in the button to engage the door lock. It wasn't that she didn't trust Mulder; it was simply a habit she had cultivated. Stepping to the bathtub she leaned over to place the plug in the drain. As she turned on the hot water full force, she squirted the dish detergent into the powerful stream of steamy water, then adjusted the cold water flow to balance the scalding water. She glanced down at the label of the bottle she held in her hands. She had to laugh quietly to herself. "Ivory" It said. Perhaps his mom had gotten him a few practical kitchen items for Christmas. Men were always so hard to buy for. She was fairly certain that it wasn't what he would have picked up at the store. Keeping food in his refrigerator would be more of a top priority with him she figured, although she had to admit to herself there wasn't usually much in either his refrigerator or cupboards.

She began by removing her boots. The fact that she hadn't had them on previously was all that had kept her from following Mulder out of the apartment when he left in search of Padgett. She could kick herself for not being prepared but it was too late now. Alot of good it was doing to rehash that thought... She thought to herself.

She removed the bloodied jacket, examining it as to the extent of damage. Laying it to the side she unbuttoned what was left of her blouse, exposing her bloodied chest and bra. She turned to see herself in the full-length mirror on the back of Mulder's bathroom door and gasped at her appearance. There was blood splashed from her neck across her breasts, to her waist and down to her hands. Turning her eyes away from the mirror she looked down at the blouse in her hand and concluded it was a complete loss. There was no way that the long dried blood would ever be removed entirely from its fibers. The jacket she would take to the cleaners and let them make the final decision concerning its salvation.

She unclasped her belt and proceeded to unbutton her slacks. She let them slide to the floor over her smooth hips, trim thighs and yes, muscular calves. Undoubtedly, she thought, they were the legs of someone who ran to be fit just as Mr. Padgett had surmised. Of course, in this line of work there was almost a fitness requirement. Leaning over, she slipped her knee-highs down to her ankles and pulled them off. The bathtub was almost filled now and she turned off both spigots. She removed the bloodied bra and her panties. Catching one more glimpse of herself in the mirror she stepped into the bubbly water and slid down into its comforting warmth. The only thing lacking to make it perfect was her favorite classical music and perhaps a few candles burning.

Relaxed and quiet now, she could hear Mulder on the phone in the other room. From hearing this end of the conversation she figured he must have been talking with Skinner now. She felt safe for the time being.

"Yes, sir" he was saying, "we had the camera on him the whole time until he disappeared out through his apartment door. Agent Scully was left behind in my apartment as I followed Mr. Padgett downstairs. When I caught up with him he was in the basement incinerating his novel."

"No, sir, I'm not entirely sure what happened then. I heard shots being fired upstairs and opted to leave Padgett where he was in order to investigate the shooting. Although his activities were suspicious they seemed harmless enough. I arrived in my apartment to find that Agent Scully had been attacked after I left. She's getting cleaned up right now and I hope she will be able to fill me in on the details of her attacker. Right now she is pretty shaken up."

"Yes, sir, I went back to check on Padgett and he is dead. Rather suspiciously I might add but hopefully we will be able to reason it all out."

There was a pause.

"Thank you, sir, I'll tell her. Yes, I would appreciate it if you did that for us. It would be extremely helpful and we'll have a full report for you once we have the entire incident sorted out and the facts straight. Thanks again for your offer. Goodbye."


The apartment grew quiet now that Mulder had finished up the obligatory phone calls.

Scully sank deeper into the water and closed her eyes, her thoughts drifting idly. Philip Padgett's voice echoed through her mind <...Agent Scully falls in love but that's obviously impossible. Agent Scully is already in love...that's obviously impossible...Agent Scully is already in love...Agent Scully is already in love...already in love...in love.> She sighed deeply at the thought. How could he have read her thoughts so completely and accurately? It was a scary thought but she felt complimented by it too. She barely understood herself what her feelings for Mulder were, but that audacious little writer had summed it up in those six little words... A neat little package wrapped with pretty paper and a bow...the complexity of her thoughts made simple in his statement. In the moment those words were uttered outside the holding cell, she was sure that she could feel Mulder's eyes piercing the back of her head...staring, wondering, questioning. She hadn't dared to turn and look at him for fear of giving herself away. "Yes, Mr. Padgett," she said thinking out loud, "you called it correctly. Agent Scully *is* in love." She reveled in the thought and was happy. Admitting it to herself was as comforting to her spirit as this bath was to her body. Time stood still.


"Scully?" A sharp rap at the bathroom door startled her and brought her back to the reality of her situation. She sat straight up in the bubbly water. "Are you okay in there? And where did you say your car keys were?"

Damn! She thought. They were in her slacks lying there folded neatly across the commode. "I'm fine, Mulder, but in regard to the keys I think they're in here with me." She said at last. "In my pants pocket." She had long since given up the idea of carrying a purse on the job. Instead she kept the bare essentials in her briefcase and carried a purse only when they needed to travel out of town, but she never kept her keys in either of the two places. Instead she was forever dropping them into her pants or jacket pockets.

"I notice the door is locked. Don't you trust me?" Even behind a closed door she could imagine the look on his face. More than likely it was impudence that played with his features. "Perhaps I should get out my handy dandy pocketknife and come in and get them from you." Was there the sound of puerile teasing in his words? A hint of playfulness. He rattled the handle for emphasis.

"Listen, Mulder," She was attempting to sound stern. " I'm NOT letting you leave me alone in your bathtub in this apartment and NO, you will not open the door and get my keys. I'll be out there in a minute and give them to you. What's the hurry anyway?

"Oh, no hurry, really, just trying to make good use of my time out here." She could tell he was smiling! "Are you hungry? I could order us a pizza. What do you say?"

Her stomach growled its answer to his question. "Sounds good to me. I think I'm developing a real appetite in here. I suppose that's a good sign!"

"Coming right up!"

She heard him turn and leave the door, padding back into the living room toward the telephone. He poked at the buttons and she could hear him place the order.


Turning from the telephone he noticed all the various listening equipment that was spread in organized disarray on his coffee table. It would need to be packed up to be taken back to the office. They would need the coffee table for their dinner anyway. He busied himself collecting, organizing and putting away each piece of delicate listening equipment, thinking as he worked of the strange little man that had been his neighbor for such a short time.

Mulder also had been haunted by the man's final words to Agent Scully as he was released from the prison cell. <> Perhaps he would not have dwelt on them so much if he had not read what Padgett had written in his novel about his stunningly beautiful partner, and had not known according to her own confirmation, that the facts therein had been very accurate. They were so precise in their nature that even this usually tenacious woman was shaken to the core.

The larger question for him at this point was who was Agent Scully in love with. As for his own feelings he had a tendency to deny that there was anything on his part but admiration and trust. It was true. He had blurted out that he loved her from his hospital bed after the Queen Anne incident but she hadn't believed him, or if she had, she surely hadn't shown it. He was aware that his bond with her went far beyond the usual bond of FBI partnerships. He knew how lost he felt without her. That she did, in fact, make him a whole person. Weren't those the words he'd used that day in the hallway just outside his apartment? It was as though they were inextricably woven together on another level entirely different from their jobs. He had surmised whom Scully loved, but he would wait and hear it from her own lips and by her own admission. To presume would be opening himself up to emotional disaster. It would be a psychological crisis he would not wish to deal with.


Scully slid under the water again but concluded that it wouldn't be for much longer. As wonderful as the water felt she needed to get out before it cooled too much and before the skin on her fingers turned to prunes. She hunted for the washcloth and then, locating the soap, she began by lathering her face and neck. She didn't like using regular soap on her face. It was much too drying but this one time it would have to be okay. She ran the washcloth over each arm, and then took time to be sure the blood was washed from her breasts and abdomen. Lastly, she raised each leg for the same tender attention she had given to every other body part. She finished by rinsing thoroughly. Then leaning forward, she pulled the plug on the drain and stood up.

Gingerly she stepped out of the tub onto the carpet. Reaching for Mulder's extra large towel, she began to dry herself with the same careful attention that she had given to washing. Wrapping herself up she searched his cabinets for a comb to straighten the tangles of wet auburn hair that hung limp around her face. Then she looked down to see her new wardrobe awaiting her. She half smiled to herself and sighed. She dropped the towel to the floor and picked up the heavy gray T-shirt, and slipped it over her head. It smelled so much like Mulder. She pulled the neckline up to her nose and inhaled deeply. Intoxicating, even if it was only fabric softener and possibly some lingering after-shave. She turned to study her reflection in the mirror. The arms of the shirt reached her elbows and the length came almost to her knees.

"Guess I'm not making any fashion statement here, am I?" she said quietly to the image in the mirror as if asking for agreement.

Even though they were slightly soiled with blood, she did not hesitate to put on the panties that she had removed earlier. It was modesty that prompted her actions. There was an utter feeling of nakedness without underwear. Certainly in her overnight bag she had packed clean ones anyway. This thought reminded her to locate her car keys in the pocket of her slacks. Once located, she hung her towel on the side of the bathtub and turned to open the door into Mulder's bedroom.


She emerged to find him slipping on a clean shirt and sweats having discarded his other clothes due to the blood staining. She watched as his shirt slid over his head covering his muscular chest and arms and stifled the arousal it invoked. <> Quiet! She told her conscience!

Having heard the bathroom door open he turned to see her watching him. "Feeling better now?" he asked.

She looked demure and defenseless with her damp hair hanging down in neatly combed strands around her pale face. The oversized T- shirt and the bare feet completed the picture. Her appearance at this moment belied the independent spitfire nature that he had come to know so well. She stood before him, waif-like, looking vulnerable and distinctly more desirable than he could have imagined. As far as he was concerned she radiated a natural beauty, outwardly and inwardly, that did not need all the trappings that today's women deemed essential in order to be seen as lovely.

As he gazed upon her in this defenseless condition, he was humbled by her implicit trust in him, and proud of the strength of character that made her the excellent partner that she was. Not surprisingly, there was an obvious physical stimulation he was feeling as he stood there. He turned back towards the dresser. Afraid his burgeoning anatomy would most assuredly reveal what his true feelings for her were, and what he would truly like to do, he discreetly checked to be sure that his shirt was covering the evidence. Hoo boy! He thought.

"Here are my car keys". She offered holding them out to him. "What did Skinner have to say?"

Managing to keep his back to her he said, "Well, I explained the situation to him, said you were pretty shaken up by the whole affair and he offered to come over and supervise VCU and the local police so I could stay up here." He took her keys and headed out the bedroom door and over to the front window. "It looks as though they are all here now. In fact, I think I see Skinner heading into the lot now. I think if you don't mind that I'll head on down to get your things and maybe I can catch him before he gets too involved."

"No, I don't mind, you go on ahead. I'll be okay until you get back."

Fox Mulder turned and left his apartment. As he did, Dana Scully moved to the window to watch the whole scenario unfold in the parking lot. Yes, there was Assistant Director Skinner who appeared to be talking to some other agents and there were several police officers who had converged on the scene. You could tell that they were attempting to keep a low profile in order that they not attract attention to themselves or the crime scene. This was always a fairly difficult thing to do, as the public seemed to gravitate to any gathering of police cars and other emergency vehicles. It wasn't long before she saw Mulder approach the group and speak at length with Skinner. They both glanced in the direction of his apartment window. Talking about her she supposed. Giving Skinner a final nod, he moved to her car and opened the trunk, lifting out the overnight bag that she always kept packed in there. A brief word to Skinner again and he was on his way back into the building.

She shifted away from the window, moved to his couch and sat down. She curled up at one end and pulled his afghan down to cover her feet that were getting cold.

For the first time all evening, she asked herself what she was doing here in Mulder's apartment, sitting on his couch in this veritable state of undress. What could she have been thinking of...letting him talk her into staying instead of going home! It was so unlike her to be so open to this kind of suggestion from him. She felt angry and disappointed at herself. She wondered if subconsciously she really wanted to get his attention. At this point, looking down at her current ensemble, she didn't know how he could ignore her. In fact, she thought she had noticed his reaction to her appearance in the bedroom, but he had moved quickly to turn his back to her. She felt an urgent need to grab the overnight bag from his hand when he returned with it, change into some decent clothes, and go home where she would feel shielded from his piercing gaze. He sure seemed to be taking his time returning with her clean clothes.

The thought had no more than come to her when he entered the door bearing not only her things but also a pizza box.

"Guess who I ran into on the way back up?" The answer was rather obvious.

Observing her cuddled up invitingly on his couch, he said, "You look comfortable. Here's your things."

He set her bag down but she felt glued to her place on the couch, unable to rise. He carried the box over to the coffee table and set it in the center. "Let me see if I can round up some plates, napkins and something for us to drink." He disappeared into the kitchen momentarily and returned carrying paper plates, a roll of paper towels, two glasses and. . .a bottle of wine? Surely not!

A smile broke her face and she said in mocking jest, "Gee, Mulder, you really know how to entertain!"

Picking up on her playful banter he announced in feigned disappointment, "Well, this will have to do. All my good china is packed away and I just ran out of napkins. I didn't know I was going to have company for dinner tonight." He glanced in her direction to smile and came and sat beside her.

"Are you warm enough?"


He began by tearing off a section of paper towel and placing it on her lap. Then he flipped open the box and proceeded to serve her a piece of pizza. He opened the Chianti and poured her a measured amount into one of the glasses he had brought in. Pouring himself a glass and picking up a piece of pizza he turned to her and held his glass up.

"What shall we drink to, Dr. Scully?

"How about life? It seems so much more significant right now."

"Sounds good!" Their glasses clinked and they each drank.

"And now to the heart of the matter," Mulder began. "Starting when you saw me leave the apartment, what happened?" He took a bite from his slice of pizza as he waited for her reply.

"It was my intention to follow you but I had to stop to put on my shoes. I got up to leave and when I opened the door to the hallway there was a man in a hooded sweatshirt jacket standing in your doorway. Before I knew what was happening he had me pinned to the floor and was forcing his hand through my blouse and into my chest."

Mulder continued to listen intently while he ate. "And then?" he said with a mouth full of food and washing it down with a drink.

"I pulled out my weapon and shot him point blank which, by the way, was totally ineffective. In fact, as odd as it may sound, no wait, Mulder, this WILL NOT sound odd to you, he disappeared and I passed out. The next thing I remember is you kneeling over me."

"The final conclusion on this, I think, Scully, is that the killer doctor was a figment of Mr. Padgett's fertile imagination and that once the novel was destroyed the villain was history too."

"Sounds simple enough, Mulder, but he sure had me freaked out. So, let me see if I understand you here, when Padgett burned his novel the killer doctor disappeared." She continued eating and drinking. "Very interesting!"

"I think he really loved you, Scully." He intoned the words as only Mulder could. " I think he knew what was going to happen. He knew his monster would kill you and he couldn't let it end that way." He looked up to see a bewildered look on her face, a definite look of disbelief. She unfolded herself from the corner of the couch and sat up squarely next to him and placed her plate on the table in front of her.

She was looking him squarely in the face. "Well," she said firmly and with finality, "you could have fooled me. I mean, let's face it, Mulder, the man was a stalker, pure and simple." She began gesturing with her hands for emphasis. "He knew everything about me, where I live, what kind of car I drive, when my parking sticker expires, where I go, that I am in love and how I exercise because he gawked at my muscular calves, for pete's sake." Her voice raised as she recounted each transgression of Philip Padgett. " I have never felt more uncomfortable in my whole life than when I was in that man's presence. My entire existence was an open book to him. No pun intended. It was just plain frightening to have someone know so much about you. Put yourself in my place!"

It slowly dawned on her that she had admitted something that she had not intended to admit. The wine had warmed and relaxed her to the point where she had let it slip out. The deep dark secret of Dana Scully being in love had been brought to the light of day. The silence between them at this moment was long and deafening.

Mulder didn't bat an eye at her admission, evincing neither gleeful victory nor somber defeat. He denied his small success in pursuit of the larger victory, the truth. Always the truth!

Indeed, he thought, striving to remain objective, whom does the lovely Agent Scully love? He kept his tone purposefully light...

"So Agent Scully *is* already in love." Scully studied the interior of her wine glass with great interest. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she knew where this would lead. Mulder took the wineglass from her, refilling it as he formulated his next question carefully.

"And who would be the object of your love, Agent Scully? Did Padgett ever let on who that might be in any of the times he confronted you?"

Anger crossed her face. "I don't think that's any of your damn business," she said defiantly, her eyes sparkling vehemently.

He took her by the shoulders and squared her with himself. He could feel her stiffen beneath his touch, but he continued to move his hands lightly over her shoulders until they laced into her still damp copper hair and cradled her face softly between them. He looked into her eyes momentarily, eyes that reflected a sudden panic as she realized what was happening. He leaned in to kiss her, ever so gently at first, then deepening it as he felt her respond to him. She tasted like a heady mix of passion and mulled wine. Teetering on the brink of losing his self-control, he broke away first and, looking down at her once again, saw the softness there on her face and the hunger for him. Her lips were full and her eyes were at once questioning and glazed with desire.

How did I ever get myself into this, she thought, but it was merely a transient thought. His tenderness and sincerity impressed her to the point where it was all she could do to keep from spilling out every emotion her heart had ever considered in regard to their relationship.

"Tell me again, Scully, that it's 'none of my damn business'." This time his words were spoken softly and earnestly. He scanned her face for a sign of surrender in this power struggle. Was it there? Could he read it on her face? His eyes were filled with the anticipation of touching every portion of her skin that lay concealed beneath that large T-shirt.

And in response she said nothing but looked up at him with an engaging half smile. Casting her gaze downward, she began to slowly trace upward the lines of his chest under his shirt with her hands, discovering every prominence and ripple of his flesh, until she felt confident to grasp the fabric, pull it over his head and drop it to the floor. Her fingers busied themselves touching his face and entwining in his hair until she could stand it no longer. Tucking a leg under herself she rose up to meet him face to face and returned the kiss he had given with one of her own. It was at once determined and passionate, causing him to wrap his arms around her until his hands found themselves stroking the satiny skin of her back beneath her shirt. Lazily they made their way up and around to her ribs until they found her breasts. He caressed each one lovingly and tenderly while meeting each of her kisses with one of his own. Bodies, minds and spirits melded together in an intensely intimate way. She reclined, pulling him down to rest on top of her.

"Does this answer your question, Agent Mulder?" she purred provocatively, as he rained tiny butterfly kisses down her neck, along her shoulder and upper chest. She thought she heard him give her a muffled "yes".

He found that he was quickly losing his ability to think rationally. It was as if he was on autopilot and unable to turn back from his goal of consuming Dana Scully.


Unwillingly, he stopped and looked into her face, flushed now as surely as his was from the heat of passion. She took his face between her hands forbidding him his continued pleasures.

"We have to stop...now," she said. She had difficulty forming the words. She could tell he was ever so ready and she knew she was more than willing.

"Why?" He didn't look convinced and attempted to continue devouring every square inch of her flesh with his mouth and hands. "I was just starting to get into this. No pun intended." He smiled playfully remembering her words about her life being an 'open book' to Padgett. Without any effort at all he knew he could easily overpower her but he refrained. Taking her by the wrists he removed her hands from his face holding them as he gently kissed her once more on the lips.

"Why?" he repeated with more control and interest in what she had to say.

"Our jobs, for one, and the ever so obvious factor that our boss, Assistant Director Walter Skinner, is even now in this very building carrying out our final investigation of this case. He could appear at your apartment door at any moment to fill you in on the findings downstairs. Are you ready to explain this to him?" She hated doing this to him. There would be another time, another place, perhaps, but not now. There was too much at stake.

"Since when is my job such a big deal anymore?" he said in feigned insouciance.

"Mulder! Not everything is about you, and I have a job too, you know!" Her voice reflected mock aggravation at him. Right now she wasn't sure she could be truly angry with him. She knew that he was not really concerned about his job, but she did think he cared about hers. She heard him sigh as he turned his head and rested it on her chest.

He inhaled her fragrance and listened to her body. Her breathing was more even now and her heart beat with a steady, strong rhythm. His own body was still quivering with the adrenaline of arousal. He let the feelings wash across his mind like the rippling waves of the lakeshore: love, lust, anger, agony, and devotion. She stroked his head tenderly, calming him. They lay arms and legs entwined on the couch in silence for a long time.


"Yes?" Reluctantly, he raised up pulling her with him. She wrapped her arms around his neck again as his encircled her waist.

Looking deep into his hazel eyes she said, "I love you. Don't ever forget that!"

A large smile lit up his face. She had uttered the three words that were music to his ears. Her words were his private small miracle! He had what Philip Padgett would never have... the undisputed love of Special Agent Dana Scully. He leaned in to claim her lips one more time with his own.

"Now" he said, "go get into your clean clothes before I cast my fate to the wind, change my mind. and take you without a second thought in regard to your job, my job or Skinner." He stood and helped her to her feet. She turned away from him and went over to her bag. Picking it up, she turned to look at him again. This time the smile crossed her face as she made her way to his bedroom to change. He knew now that she would be all right. He knew now that he would be all right too.

The End.