Title - " Barren Souls "
Author - A. K. Naten
E-Mail address - a_k_naten@yahoo.com
Rating - R + NC-17 later
Category - F/F Slash
Spoilers - None
Keywords - Scully/Other Romance; Lots O' Angst
Summary - An attempt at a 'realistic' story about Scully having a relationship with a woman.
DISCLAIMER: The X-Files and the characters of Mulder and Scully and others belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, Fox Broadcasting, blahblahblah, and are used without permission ...I'm merely *borrowing* them. No copyright infringement is intended, and I seriously doubt any profit will be gained.
THIS IS A F/F SLASH PIECE ... you shouldn't be reading this if you're under 18 ... that's your warning. This litany was begun in early 1999; however, it's not really necessary to place it in any particular season. This is my maiden voyage at writing F/F Slash fanfic, so please be kind with your criticisms. I'm sure there are lots of misspellings and grammatical errors, as well as general writing faux pas, so don't be too harsh, lest ye damage my fragile ego ;-] . I decided to write this saga because I wanted to try for a 'realistic' story about how Scully might feel/act when intrigued by a 'realistic'/'normal' female character. I wanted to 'get inside her head' a little and delve into the more personal feelings and aspects of her life. My opinion that Scully is not decidedly gay is reflected here, so beware. I wrote this story for Me, and it contains MY opinions, so please refrain from writing to me and telling me how off-base I am ;-] I like personal interaction between characters, and the more intense, the better. I also like details, so if specific descriptions about people, feelings, emotions, or things of that nature bore you, then this is not for you. This story is not about an X-File, or The X-Files, or Mulder, or anything like that - it's just about Scully. I'm not sophisticated enough to intermingle a cryptic X-File into my stories like some authors; I just handle the emotional stuff. Oh yeah... the character of Anne Lehman is my creation and is owned by me; please don't borrow her without getting my written consent or paying a hefty fee ;-) I'm not sure where I'm going to submit this, so, if it is being passed on, I request that you give me proper credit and keep my name and all pertinent information intact. Okay, enough babbling ...hope you enjoy the story.
Feedback is appreciated and can be sent to: a_k_naten@yahoo.com. Feel free to visit my homepage for other XF-related stories: http://www.geocities.com/a_k_naten/ScullySlash.html


Barren Souls
By A. K. Naten
Part 1 of 7

"Good morning Mr. Anderson," the young doctor sang out to the old homeless man seated on the gurney. The old man merely groaned in response, squinting and looking up into the deep blue eyes of the fresh-faced woman.

"What seems to be the problem *this* time, Mr. Anderson?" she queried light-heartedly.

"Uhhhhhhnnnnn...I'm...havin'...heart attack... Doc!" the man groaned, clutching his chest. The doctor sighed and smiled at him.

"Now, Mr. Anderson... this is the third time this week --this very COLD, Winter week, I might add -- that you've been in here complaining that you're having a heart attack," she looked him directly in the eye with her eyebrows raised, mildly scolding the man. He regarded her sheepishly but shook his head.

"Mmmmm......no no no! Izz worse dis time Doc!"

"Mr. Anderson??" the doctor peered at his twisted face.

"Don't you think that maybe you should just *stop* eating spicy foods, hmm?" He only grumbled and groaned at her.

"A steady diet of pizza, beans, hotdogs, beer, and other assorted alcoholic beverages is a sure bet for repeated heartburn and severe acid indigestion, sir." She chided further. The old man only moaned some more, trying his best to look like he was in pain. The young doctor shook her head and laughed slightly, despite herself.

"Alright Mr. Anderson, we'll run our usual battery of tests on you, JUST to be sure, okay?" The old man smiled faintly and turned his head, belching loudly as he closed his eyes. The young doctor watched him and sighed, proceeding to fill out his chart. Just then a nurse came into the room.

"Uh, Dr. Lehman..."

"Oh good, Joyce - Looks like Mr. Anderson here will be spending the night with us *again*," the doctor said, interrupting the nurse. The nurse in turn interrupted her,

"But Dr. Lehman, there are two, uhm, *FBI agents* here to see you.....?" The doctor frowned and cocked an eyebrow at the nurse as mild concern washed over her face.

"What do they want?" she asked indifferently, returning her gaze to her writing. The nurse shrugged,

"Don't know - they just asked to see you." The doctor continued writing.

"I really don't have *time* to see them right now, Joyce, could you tell them--" she was suddenly interrupted by a male voice.

"It's really very important that we speak to you, Dr. Lehman." The young doctor looked up to see Fox Mulder staring blankly at her, and a petite red-headed woman with cold, pale eyes standing next to him. Mulder showed his badge as the doctor eyed them suspiciously with narrow eyes.

"I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder and this is my partner, Agent Scully. We'd really appreciate it if you could spare us a few minutes of your time." Dr. Lehman flashed her icy blue eyes at the agents with cool regard, a look of impatience on her tight face.

"Very well," she said curtly, handing Mr. Anderson's chart to the nurse as she cut in front of Mulder, leading the agents out of the ER. Mulder gave Scully a quick glance and Scully raised her brows at the young doctor's brusqueness, then pointed her finger at his chest, indicating that Mulder could do the questioning. He in turn shook his head and silently mouthed, 'no way' as they walked down a long corridor.

The doctor showed them into a small, cluttered lounge room, seating them at a round table. Mulder immediately noticed her defensive, arms-crossed posture, and her continued look of annoyance on her face. Scully began to gently question her, asking about a young boy she had treated about a week ago. She probed about the boy's injuries and the doctor's diagnosis and subsequent treatment in detail, reading from notes she had. Dr. Lehman answered all the questions fully, but succinctly, her agitation seeming to grow with each question. Finally, when Scully began to go into detail again about the boy's injuries, Dr. Lehman had had enough.

"Look, why don't you two just cut to the chase... I know why you're here," the Doctor snapped impatiently. Mulder walked over to her,

"Why are we here, Dr. Lehman?" The doctor stared back at him, refusing to be intimidated.

"I'm the one who called Family Services and reported the parents for suspected child abuse... I take full credit for it," she said defiantly, her blue eyes blazing fire. She continued,

"Eduardo has been to the ER more than once. I've personally treated him four times... we know each other quite well," she said sharply, looking right at Mulder.

"The mother and father vehemently denied abusing him, and Eduardo even insisted that they don't, but... based on the type of injuries that child has had, the behavior of the child and the parents, and the child's medical history, I was *certain* that the parents were responsible for the injuries, so... I reported them." She sat back and crossed her arms again while Mulder and Scully said nothing.

"You obviously have the report there in front of you," the doctor continued, pointing to Scully's lap.

"You obviously know the background on this child and his family, and you're *obviously* here to ask me questions other than what his injuries were... So, why don't you just cut the bullshit and tell me what's really going on, because I don't have time to sit here and screw around answering your repetitive questions," she spat angrily to Scully, who made a small face and raised her eyebrows, looking sideways at Mulder for a moment.

"We have read your very *brief* report, yes, but that's only part of the reason we're here, Dr. Lehman," Scully said evenly. The doctor continued to stare at her with hard eyes.

"The child's father, Roberto Rodriquez, was found dead yesterday, obviously murdered," Scully explained.

"...And?" said the doctor rudely with an uncaring shrug.

"And... it *appears* that either Eduardo or the Mother may have killed him, however..." Scully hesitated, and the doctor questioned her with her eyes.

"It seems *highly unlikely*, because of the ... *manner* in which he was killed." Scully finished, letting the obvious question hang before the doctor. She took the bait and asked,

"...Which is...?" she queried, her eyes drilling into Scully. Mulder interrupted,

"Let's just say that it's *highly unlikely* that a 5-year-old boy could overcome his 6-foot, 200-lb father, break all arms and legs and all his fingers, gouge his eyes out, cut his tongue out, crush his skull, and finally, hang him by the neck from a ceiling fan." Mulder stared the doctor down, waiting for her reaction. She barely flinched, though, as she sat back in her chair slowly and looked up at the ceiling.

"No... I don't suppose that's very likely at all," she said calmly, running her fingers over her lips, becoming pensive.

"What about Eduardo and the Mother?" she asked, turning back to look at them.

"They're both missing." Mulder said matter-of-factly. The doctor looked away, pondering further, then said quietly,

"Who would have killed the father in such a manner?" She looked at Mulder with more relaxed eyes.

"We don't know who - or what - may have done it... that's why we need more information from you," Mulder said flatly. The doctor frowned and looked at him quizzically, then looked at Scully. Scully pursed her lips, slight agitation crossing over her face briefly.

"What is it that you need from me?" the doctor queried Scully, her stare hardened once again, this time in confusion.

"We need more details about Eduardo's history, and about your past confrontations with his Mother and Father. We need to know what your observations were, and everything that was said and done," Scully said, not taking her eyes from the doctor's. The Doctor shook her head slowly and sighed.

"Well, it all started several months ago, but I'll try my best to remember," she said honestly, looking from Scully to Mulder, knowing full well that she was in for a long day with the two agents.

"Let me just go and inform everyone that I'll be *tied-up* for awhile," she said in a semi-sarcastic tone, rising from her chair and leaving the two agents in the room. Mulder turned to Scully.

"Boy, *she* sure is impatient and argumentative..." He said suggestively.

"Yeah," Scully responded with arched brows.

"Kind-of reminds me of *another* female doctor I know," he said with a smarmy smile. Scully pursed her lips disgustedly and glared at him. Mulder chuckled to himself.

"Look, Scully, why don't you stay and interview 'Dr. Defiant' while I go and see if I can get some info from other family members, okay?" Mulder offered.

"Yeah, sure, you chicken." Scully said, sighing impatiently as Mulder gave her a cheesy smile and exited out the lounge door. Scully glanced around the lounge room, taking in all the coffee machines, books, magazines, snack-foods, plates, and cups scattered haphazardly about. She idly wondered what it would have been like for her if she had stayed in medicine. Would she be anything like the busy and impatient Dr. Lehman? Would she have done what Dr. Lehman did? Report a suspicion of child abuse in order to protect an innocent young child, then defend her actions so devoutly? She knew the answer to that easily. She respected the young doctor for the stance she took. Helping and protecting that child obviously meant a lot to her, and Scully knew that deep inside, this aloof, young doctor must have a soft heart. Something about the strong-willed woman struck Scully, and she wanted to gain some insight into her. She did, on the surface, seem to be a bit like Scully, which only fascinated her more. Perhaps the doctor would relax and be more comfortable now that Mulder was gone.

Several minutes had gone by, and Scully began to wonder if the doctor intended to come back. Just then, she reappeared, looking a bit sheepish.

"I'm sorry to keep you two waiting -" she looked around and realized Mulder was gone.

"Agent Mulder had to leave - I'll be doing the interview myself, if that's alright with you, Doctor," Scully offered.

"Sure," the doctor said indifferently, approaching Scully and placing two paper cups on the table in front of her.

"I guess he's not needed now that I don't need to be intimidated anymore, huh?" Scully raised her brows at the blunt statement as the doctor bore her steely-blue eyes into Scully's.

"Is that what you think he was doing?" Scully asked, trying not to look surprised and watching the doctor's eyes carefully.

"That's his job, isn't it? Intimidate the suspect until you get what you want from them...?" the doctor said cynically, sitting in the chair opposite Scully. Scully grinned slightly back at her.

"Sometimes, yes," she said with an acknowledging smirk. The doctor laughed a bit as she pushed a cup in front of Scully.

"I thought perhaps you'd like a drink," she began as she got up and went to the refrigerator, peering inside.

"We have... soda... some sort of red juice... iced tea... water... more soda... and some sort of yellowish stuff that could be juice, or someone's urine sample..." she called out to Scully as she turned with a grin. Scully laughed slightly.

"Iced tea is fine, thanks." The doctor fumbled with cans and jugs until she pulled a container of tea out and brought it over to the table. Scully observed her carefully as she poured the brown liquid into the cups. Dr. Lehman was fairly tall, about 5'8" or 9" by Scully's estimate, and she looked to be somewhat lanky underneath her standard-blue ER scrubs and white overcoat. Though she was intimidating with her deep-set, intense eyes and commanding glare, Scully thought that the rest of her face and her mannerisms belied all that.

She looked deceptively young, yet very self-possessed. She initially seemed to be an agitated and abrupt sort of person, but as Scully watched her more closely, she seemed to move fluidly, with easy grace and calm. She had full, perfect lips, a small rounded nose, and a little beauty-mark mole on her left cheek. She wore very little makeup, if any, but it seemed to Scully that she didn't need it anyway - her skin looked flawless. She was almost androgynous-looking... not extremely feminine, and not model-perfect beautiful, but she possessed a kind of earthy, natural beauty. Her hair was an ash-blonde color, a mixture of dark and light blonde. It looked like it was curly all over and probably reached her shoulders, but she kept it pulled back in a ponytail. A few stray tendrils rested along her temples and cheeks in gentle spirals, and she unconsciously pushed them back behind her ears every once in awhile with her long, slender fingers. She wore an unusual but simple gold watch on her left wrist, and no other jewelry. Scully summed her up simply: "no-frills".

"Sorry - but paper cups are as elegant as we get around here," Dr. Lehman quipped, pulling Scully out of her reverie.

"Thanks - and paper is fine," Scully said as she picked up the cup with a smile. They each took a swallow of tea, glancing at each other with equal suspicion. Scully had to laugh inwardly at the doctor's obvious distrust of her. It was, again, something she would do herself.

"So," the doctor started,

"Where do we start, *Special Agent Scully*," she said emphatically. Scully smiled a bit, wanting to make the doctor at ease.

"Please, you can call me Dana," she offered.

"Okay," said the doctor, crossing her arms.

"You can call me *Dr. Lehman*," she said sardonically. Scully pursed her lips and stared at the doctor, her anger flaring slightly.

"Look... *Dr. Lehman,* I am on *your* side," Scully said with some annoyance.

"I am not here to judge you or criticize you," she continued as the doctor's glare changed again to cool and hard.

"All I want is to find out what happened to Eduardo *and* his father, okay?" She continued to stare pointedly at the doctor, waiting for her to make her next move. The doctor's intense eyes pierced Scully's, and she thought she actually felt a shiver from the icy daggers that were being thrown at her. Dr. Lehman drew a long breath and let out a heavy sigh, uncrossing her arms and looking away from Scully for a moment.

"You don't know how difficult it can be sometimes," she sighed, her shoulders sagging ever so slightly as she forced her anger to subside.

"Attorneys, Policemen, even the Social Workers - always coming in here, doubting us, questioning our motives, and defending the *parents* - the ones who have *obviously* been abusing the innocent child..." Her eyebrows furrowed in anger and she shook her head slightly.

"...it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach." She turned to look at Scully with sadness and frustration in her eyes. Scully looked back at her kindly, trying to relay her comprehension.

"I understand." Scully said quietly with a nod as she calmly placed her hand on Dr. Lehman's forearm, giving it a gentle squeeze. Dr. Lehman glanced down to look at the petite hand on her arm. Who was this woman, and why was she making such a point to gain her trust? she wondered briefly. Something about Special Agent Dana Scully unnerved the young doctor, but not in a bad way. Something about the Agent was... familiar... reassuring... almost comfortable. The doctor could sense that this woman was not your typical blunt, rude cop with an attitude. She had compassion, and she probably meant no harm. Despite her determination to dislike Dana Scully, Dr. Lehman found herself liking her. The woman's simple gesture of understanding made her immediately more at ease. She turned to look at Scully, not wanting to pull her arm away.

"I hope you can forgive me for being so defensive, Dana. And please, call me Anne," she said apologetically, extending her hand to Scully. Scully quirked her mouth slightly and shook Anne's hand.

"It's alright Anne, I know all about being defensive, believe me," she said with a knowing grin. The two women smiled at each other.

As they began the interview, a few people came into the lounge room, interrupting them and/or asking Dr. Lehman questions. Anne apologized continually, and they would resume; but, someone else would inevitably enter soon after that. Finally, after the fourth interruption, Scully could see that they were getting nowhere, and Anne was getting irritated.

"Look, Anne, perhaps we should do this another time?" she offered.

"I'm sorry," Anne apologized, shaking her head and sighing exasperatedly.

"Listen... uhmmm...," she pondered for a moment,

"How about we go across the street to the local diner. I'm starving, and I'm off-duty in an hour anyway. I'll see if I can get someone to cover for me?" Anne suggested. Scully wasn't sure that a busy diner would be much better, but at least they might feel more comfortable there, and Anne wouldn't be interrupted.

"Okay, we can do that." Scully said.

"Good - I'll meet you out front in 10 minutes. Just let me clean up some things." The doctor left the room hurriedly, and Scully gathered her things up to go outside and wait for her.

It was bitter cold and raining outside, causing Scully to huddle underneath the narrow overhang above her head. She watched through the glass windows, looking for Anne. She watched all the hustle and bustle of the ER, all the nurses and doctors hurrying around, saving lives. She idly wondered what Anne Lehman's life was like... she wondered if it was similar to her own... if she loved her job... if she was happy with her career choice... if she was married... single... lonely... The sight of the doctor walking out to the central desk area stopped her thoughts. She watched as Anne pulled on a coat, spoke to some of the other doctors, gave some orders to a nurse, signed a few papers, stuffed some things into a backpack, then head toward the door. She wore her scrubs, sneakers, and a beat-up blue jacket. Scully thought she looked incredibly young to be an ER doctor. She came out the doors, making a disgusted face as she looked up at the rain.

"Oh great! Ready to make a run for it?" she asked Scully as she pointed across the street to the diner.

"Guess so." Scully shrugged.

"Alright, let's go!" Both women dashed across the street, darting in-between cars and hopping up onto the sidewalk and in through the doors of the old diner. They both made faces at the wet mess and laughed lightly at each other.

"Pretty impressive running in those non-sensible shoes there, Agent Scully," Anne said jokingly.

"I've had lots of practice," Scully cracked back. After wiping themselves off a bit, they found an empty booth and sat opposite each other. Scully ordered a cup of coffee, and Anne ordered a sandwich and some soup. While she was ordering, Scully watched Anne's face, taking note of the dark circles under her eyes that she hadn't seen before. Maybe it was the poor lighting of the diner, but Anne suddenly seemed older than Scully originally thought. Her eyes had relaxed and lightened to a sky-blue color, nearly matching her jacket. They made polite small talk while waiting for their food, when Scully soon got up the nerve to ask.

"If you don't mind me asking Anne - how old are you? You seem young to be a trauma doctor." Anne smiled over her coffee cup and sat it down.

"Never ask a woman her age!" she mock-scolded with a shake of her finger.

"Sorry," Scully replied, holding her hands up and smiling apologetically.

"No, i'm kidding, it's alright," Anne said with a laugh.

"I'll just say that I'm officially a 'thirty-something', okay? But don't worry, you're not the first person to tell me that I look 'too young', so don't feel bad," she said matter-of-factly.

"Well, consider yourself lucky that you look a *lot* younger than that, and pray that you stay that way," Scully said with a smile, lifting her cup up in a 'cheers' motion. Anne shrugged.

"Yah, I guess I'm fortunate, but I really don't care about it that much... I don't have anyone to impress anyway," she said, looking down at her cup and shrugging. Scully watched her for a minute.

"Are you married, Anne?" she asked tentatively. Anne looked at her and gave her a half-smile, pausing briefly and tilting her head.

"I was once," she said, glancing out the window of the diner. "But I'm divorced now." She finished, looking back.

"Oh... I'm sorry, I - I didn't mean to pry -" Scully stammered.

"No, it's alright... no big deal." Anne interrupted with a wave of her hand. Scully blushed, a little embarrassed at her own nosiness.

"What about you?" Anne asked. Scully laughed and smiled.

"Nope, never married. My *job* has become my 'significant other', I'm afraid," she said with a shrug.

"Hmmm... sounds familiar." Anne said with an acknowledging nod.

The food was delivered, and they began to discuss the case of Eduardo Rodriquez once again. Scully explained some of the strange happenings surrounding the boy and his family as Anne ate her sandwich and soup, listening intently to everything Scully said. Scully asked her more questions about her encounters with the boy and his family, and Anne answered them fully, suddenly not minding Scully's prying. After Scully had finished with her questions, she jotted down some notes. Anne watched her carefully, recalling everything they had talked about. She knew something odd was going on with this case, and she had a pretty good idea what it was by now.

"Your partner said you wanted to find out 'who or *what*' killed the father. You guys think that some kind of... 'animal' or some 'thing' abused the boy and killed his father?" Anne looked at Scully incredulously. Scully looked skyward for a moment... Anne was observant. Scully obviously hadn't done a very good job of omitting all the oddball pieces of this puzzle, and Anne had picked up on all of it. Scully tried to explain reasonably, not wanting to sound like a lunatic.

"We're not saying that's what happened for sure, but we do have to investigate every allegation, and the entire Rodriquez family, as well as friends and neighbors, insist that there were some very strange things going on in that house." Anne sat back and looked at Scully with furrowed brows for a moment. Scully knew that the doctor must think the whole thing was perfectly crazy. Anne shook her head slightly.

"Well Dana... it would make for a very interesting movie, but I'm not much of a believer in ghosts and goblins. My bet is that the father abused the boy, and the mother, in a fit of rage, killed him and took off with the boy." She shrugged her shoulders and pointed a finger at Scully.

"I'll bet you a steak dinner that's what went down," Anne said. Scully shrugged in return.

"Hopefully we'll find out for certain. Right now I just want to find Eduardo and his Mother so that we can talk to them."

Scully thanked Anne for her help as they gathered their things to leave. They walked outside into the chilly, damp air, shaking hands politely with each other. As Scully turned to leave, Anne stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"Listen, Dana," Anne began, "I'd really like to know what happens with Eduardo, when you find him and clear this whole thing up," Anne said seriously.

"I'm concerned about the little guy." Her eyes softened as they flashed a glimpse of compassion, which, by now, Scully knew was a rare thing.

"Sure, I understand. I'll be sure to give you a call and let you know what happens, okay?" Scully said, gently patting Anne's arm in return.

"Okay, thanks." Anne said gratefully.

"And if you need anything else, just give me a call," Anne said sincerely.

"Alright, I will," Scully said with a smile as she turned and walked across the street to find her car.

**************************

Anne watched Scully reach her car and drive away, then she turned and began walking toward home, recollecting the conversation she just had with the FBI Agent. Her thoughts soon drifted from the boy and the strange case to Dana Scully herself. She seemed like a nice enough person, Anne thought. Not what you'd expect of an FBI agent. She was very professional, but she also seemed caring... gentle... something... Anne was a bit embarrassed that she had been so aloof and curt with her. The scarlet-haired woman had been nothing but polite to her. Anne recalled how genuine it had seemed when Scully placed her hand on her arm, and how gentle she was. She was a very pretty woman, Anne admitted as she recalled her oval porcelain face, the perfect rosebud mouth, the intelligent blue eyes, and the noble-looking nose. None of it fit with an "FBI" personality, Anne thought. She thought about her stark navy blue suit and her gloomy black trenchcoat. It was such a severe way of dressing.

<Typical FBI 'Men In Black' stuff>, Anne thought to herself with a laugh. It seemed very unnatural on Dana Scully, however. She wondered if Dana had any idea that Anne could see right through her. She seemed like an intriguing person... the kind of person that Anne would have liked to get to know a little better.

<Probably too late now, idiot,> Anne chided herself.

<Always gotta be a bitch, don't you Anne? ...be a bitch first, then regret it later.> She sighed disgustedly at herself and tried to forget about Dana Scully as she reached home and settled in for some much-needed sleep.

********************************************************

Three days later Anne got a phone message saying that Special Agent Dana Scully of the FBI wanted to see her. It seemed that Scully needed some more medical information on Eduardo Rodriquez and she wanted to stop by to look through his complete medical file. Normally Anne would have been highly annoyed by such an intrusion, but for reasons she didn't wish to acknowledge, she found herself looking forward to another visit by the petite federal agent. She enjoyed talking to her, unlike most cops, and Anne didn't mind helping out someone who was kind and grateful. Besides, she wanted to show Dana Scully that she wasn't *always* such a bitch... she still felt bad about her behavior at their last meeting.

Scully showed up at the hospital the following day, and Anne, though busy and harried, managed to find an empty office where they could sit and go over Eduardo's file. Anne couldn't help but smile when she first caught glimpse of Scully in her 'M.I.B.' trenchcoat, recalling once again how out-of-character it looked on her. Scully smiled back at her, oblivious to Anne's inside joke. They said their polite hellos to each other but didn't chit-chat - it seemed to Scully that Anne was being a bit abrupt again, and she thought that perhaps she didn't feel like wasting too much time, so Scully made a mental note not to dawdle. They reached the meeting room and Anne quickly laid out Eduardo's file, explaining that she *really* wasn't supposed to be divulging its contents without going through all the normal red-tape and legal channels first. Scully grinned appreciatively and told Anne that she was extremely grateful for cutting corners and helping her out, and that she wouldn't tell a soul about her breach of ethics.

Scully explained what she was looking for while both women started perusing the file in search of information. Scully let Anne do most of the digging - primarily because she didn't feel comfortable taking the file from Anne's hands and digging through it - but also because she couldn't pin-point the Doctor's current mood or state-of-mind; she could only sense that she was tense. Anne kept looking back at the door while she was searching, obviously afraid that someone was going to walk in on them. After several minutes of searching, Scully offered to do the searching herself; she figured Anne probably needed to get back to work. Anne simply said "oh that's okay," and didn't make any motion to leave, so Scully was content to work with her.

They continued their search, with Scully trying to explain what she was looking for. As they talked, Scully could sense Anne becoming more at ease with her, and she could feel the tension between them relax a little bit, but not completely. Scully watched as Anne flipped through the boy's file, reading over reports and medical sheets and voicing her thoughts out loud, explaining notes and things to Scully. Scully observed her agile fingers as they flipped through papers and scanned them for details. Anne wore her glasses, and she had her hair pulled back again, although this time she had it twisted and pinned up. She looked like a college student, Scully thought. Whenever Anne came upon something of interest, she would lean over toward Scully and show her eagerly, as though she was showing her some great secret. Scully had to stifle the smirk that played on her lips when that happened - she almost felt like they were teenage girls, flipping through someone else's secret diary.

Every time Anne leaned close to her, she caught a whiff of some indescribable perfume mixed with the pleasant smell of shampoo or conditioner. Scully thought perhaps she was imagining things, but it seemed to her that she felt a little tingle of uneasiness whenever Anne got close to her... she couldn't explain it. She wasn't intimidated by Anne, but something about the doctor unnerved her... but not in a bad way. It was strange, and it made Scully feel strange. She dismissed it, however, telling herself that it was just Anne's tension that she was feeling.

During their perusal of Eduardo's files, Scully finally managed to tell Anne that she too was a doctor, which impressed Anne immensely. Judging from the way that Scully had been looking over the boy's file and the comments she made, Anne figured that she had *some* kind of medical background, but she didn't expect a full-fledged medical doctor and pathologist. Her admiration for Scully doubled, and she found herself seeing the agent in a different light. She was no longer just a government henchwoman - she was a doctor too, and, Anne felt ashamed to admit it, but that bumped her up several notches on Anne's scale. Scully noticed the change in Anne's demeanor too. She supposed it should have bothered her, but she had to consider the fact that Anne had had so many run-ins and dealings with cops and attorneys, she most likely had a bad taste in her mouth from all of it... not too surprising since most cops and attorneys tended to be assholes, Scully thought. So, Scully's being a doctor, like herself, must have been a great relief to her. Scully didn't understand why, but she was glad that Anne liked her.

After a long hour, Scully decided that she had all the information she needed, and she thanked Anne again for her cooperation and help. Anne wished she could spend more time with Scully - she had lots of questions to ask her about her medical background. But, time would not permit that today, and Anne knew that she had to get back to her shift. Scully could see that Anne needed to leave, but was hesitating, so she extended her hand to thank her again. Anne clasped Scully's hand and shook it firmly but gently. Her skin was smooth but her fingers felt rather cold, sending slight shivers up Scully's back. ...Again the uneasiness crept into Scully, causing her to pause and hold onto Anne's hand a little longer than usual. Anne looked at her a bit confused just as Scully realized what she was doing and dropped Anne's hand quickly, clearing her throat nervously. Anne quirked her mouth, wondering what that was about.

Scully quickly thanked Anne again and walked through the doorway, promising to give her a call if she got any more information about Eduardo. Anne bade her farewell and watched her walk briskly down the hospital corridor. She cocked her head and frowned as Scully disappeared through a doorway. She wondered why Scully had suddenly gotten so nervous around her... had she done or said something? she wondered... She shrugged her shoulders and headed back to her floor, figuring that she most likely would never see nor hear from the intelligent agent-doctor again. <...What a shame that is,...> she mumbled to herself as she walked away.

************************************************************

It was two days later when the call came into the ER that two ambulances were bringing in some downed police officers and Government agents. The ER doctors and nurses made preparations to receive them, including Dr. Lehman. The first ambulance arrived with one police officer and one FBI agent, and Anne Lehman took charge of the police officer. She and her team were working on reviving the officer when the other ambulance delivered another police officer and another FBI agent. Anne's team was successful in resuscitating the officer, and she quickly went to offer assistance to the doctors working on the other patients. She came upon the team working on one of the FBI agents, and as soon as she entered the room, she recognized the face of Fox Mulder.

He was conscious, and she quickly confirmed his identity and learned that Scully was injured as well. She dashed off quickly to find Scully as she thought back to her meeting with the kindly female agent only a few days ago. Anne found her and rushed in to see what had happened. Scully was unconscious with several bruises and lacerations on her face, arms, and hands - most were on the palms of her hands and forearms. Judging from her wounds, it looked like she had put her hands and arms up in front of her in self-defense. Her dark green suit was dirty and ripped, and she had some bleeding cuts on her face and her lower lip.

Despite feeling chills race up and down her spine, Anne managed to stay calm and collected as she stood in the doorway of the trauma room looking in at the agent. She didn't want to appear overly anxious about Scully's condition, and she didn't want to step on the toes of the team taking care of her, but she offered her assistance anyway. The trauma team welcomed her overture, so she entered and stood at Scully's side, checking her vitals and watching the monitors for some sign of recovery. As she stood watching Scully, she felt a very strange sensation wash over her. An overwhelming sense of worry, confusion, and anger began to take hold inside her. She hardly knew the woman, yet she was upset and gravely concerned about her well-being.

<Why am I feeling so strongly about someone I hardly even know?> she wondered inwardly. She had become so adept at shutting off her emotions when working on patients that it took her off-guard when the sensations arose from time to time. She couldn't imagine what had happened to Scully, but she intended to stick around and make sure that she was properly taken care of.

It was sometime later when Scully finally regained consciousness. She blinked her blurry eyes several times, trying to realize where she was, and trying to place the face of the calm, smiling woman sitting on her bedside. Scully tried to turn her head to look around, but excruciating pain shot through her head, making her wince and close her eyes.

"Hey, take it easy... it's alright." A smooth, soothing voice spoke to her, and a firm hand rested on her shoulder.

"Where am I?" Scully managed with a grumble, her eyes still squeezed shut.

"You're in your favorite Emergency Room, with your favorite ER trauma doctor at your service." Anne said kiddingly. After hesitating for a moment, Scully recognized the voice.

"Anne?" Scully asked as she opened her eyes with a squint. Anne smiled at her.

"Yes, it's Anne Lehman, Dana. How are you feeling?" Anne asked, leaning in closer to look at Scully's eyes with her penlight.

"Uhhhh... like I've been hit by a truck," Scully mumbled as she tried not to blink.

"Mmmm, I see. Well, do you think you can tell me what the hell happened to you guys, hmm?" Anne asked calmly as she continued to check Scully over.

"God... I'm... I'm not really sure. One minute we were standing there, talking... the next minute, there was an...explosion, or something...glass shattered everywhere... I guess I blacked-out... next thing I know, I'm here." Scully said slowly, her eyebrows knitted in confusion.

"Whose house were you in Dana?" Anne asked.

"Eduardo Rodriquez' house. We were looking around with the local police. ...I don't understand... no one was there... we looked everywhere... it was locked up... *no one* was around... I don't *understand*...," Scully said, shaking her head. Her voice was lifting with agitation and turmoil.

"Alright... it's alright, Dana... just relax, okay?" Anne cupped the side of her face and stilled her.

"I don't want you to worry about it right now, okay? I want you to relax," Anne said, her tone commanding, but kind. Scully nodded slowly in agreement, looking at Anne through hazy eyes.

"You have a concussion, so you're going to have stay right here... understand, *Doctor* Scully??" Anne said, looking at Scully with wide eyes. Scully grinned slightly and wrinkled her nose. Anne smiled back,

"I *know* what kind of patients Doctors make... so, no funny stuff, alright?" Anne scolded Scully teasingly with a little finger shake.

"*Yes*, Dr. Lehman." Scully slurred back with a smile, as her eyes threatened to slide shut again. Anne smiled kindly back at her.

"Let's have a look at these lacerations," Anne said as she unwrapped the gauze bandages that covered Scully's hands and arms. Scully winced and kept her eyes closed until she felt Anne gently touching her, inspecting the wounds carefully. Scully said nothing, she just watched Anne through half-lidded eyes. Anne's eyes were a deeper shade of blue this time, and she had her thin, oval-shaped glasses on, making her look like the classic stereotype of a female doctor. Her brows were knitted together in fierce concentration, making her eyes look dark and more deep-set than before. She wore a thin gold chain around her neck, and her long curly hair was pulled back again, revealing simple gold hoop earrings.

Anne's fingers grazed and touched Scully's arms and hands very delicately as she quickly changed the dressings and dabbed some antiseptic medicines on the wounds. She re-wrapped the wounds and moved up to look at the cuts on Scully's face, leaning in very closely. There was something about this woman that Scully immediately liked, and she felt completely at ease under her skilled hands. She couldn't explain it, and she didn't understand it; but something told her that Anne felt it too. Scully thought that Anne had seemed stand-offish and totally clinical before, determined to keep Scully at arm's length, but right now, she exuded warmth and genuine concern. There was some kind of regal, elegant air about Anne, and yet Scully sensed that she was quite grounded and down to earth.

<...A genuine conundrum,> Scully thought groggily. Anne was so close to Scully that she could smell her clean hair, as well as her perfume.

<...She smells good... familiar... something...,> Scully thought, as she blinked drowsily and tried to concentrate on Anne's familiarity. Anne continued her ministrations for a few more moments while Scully laid perfectly still. Finally, she made eye contact with Scully as she dabbed some ointment on her lip. It was a strange look... a brief flash of brilliant blue that was intense, but... shy? She gave Scully a brief, nervous smile that looked more like a twitch. She quickly averted her gaze, and Scully could swear that she saw a slight blush on her face. Had Anne just given her a *coy* look...??

<What was *that*?> Scully thought as she followed Anne's darting eyes. Anne turned her face away from Scully for a moment, seemingly embarrassed and edgy.

<...What's going on...?> Scully asked herself as she frowned and closed her eyes for a moment.

<I must be severely drugged,> she thought inwardly, <I think my doctor is *flirting* with me??...good god.> Scully opened her eyes only to find Anne staring directly at her.

<...Oops - shit, I hope she can't read minds,> Scully thought as she tried her best to look back at Anne blankly.

"Well, that should hold you for awhile," Anne said, touching the bandage on Scully's forehead.

"Thanks." Scully said with a small, nervous smile. Anne smiled sympathetically, her eyes radiating compassion.

"Don't worry, they're not that bad... should be healed in no time." She said with a smile, lightly touching the bandage on Scully's chin. Scully and Anne looked right at each other. Anne's eyes morphed from a dark steely blue to a lighter sky blue, nearly matching Scully's own blue eyes. It sent chills up Scully's spine and made her even more uncomfortable.

<God, what is *wrong* with me?!> she screamed at herself. <Get a grip, Dana...>The awkward silence was broken by Anne casually patting Scully's hand.

"Well...," she began, "I should get going... I have other patients to tend to." Anne said it quietly and apologetically, as though she wanted to stay there with Scully. Scully licked her lips nervously and tried to act cool.

"Oh, sure... I understand," she lied. Anne nodded and rose from the side of the bed.

"You be sure to get some rest now, alright?" Anne said as she pulled the blanket up over Scully's stomach in a thoughtful, almost maternal way.

"I will," Scully said.

"I'll be back later to check in on you." Anne said with raised brows, almost as if asking permission.

"Okay." Scully said with a small, skittish smile.

" 'K." Anne said warmly. Then she turned and was gone.

*******************************************

Outside Scully's door, Anne drew a deep breath and blew it out loudly.

"*Fuck*... what are you *DOING*, Anne Elizabeth Lehman?!" she muttered lowly to herself. She rested her head back against the door and closed her eyes, trying to clear her head of the confusing confrontation with Dana Scully. Images of the petite redhead filled her mind... her soft, ivory skin and the way her face felt on her fingers... her perfect lips... the burnished bronze hair... the way those seductive sea-blue eyes watched her...

<Oh *stop* it! Goddd!> Anne shook her head, casting the thoughts aside. <you know better... you know better!> she repeated to herself. After a few seconds of self-scolding, she gathered herself together and stepped away from Scully's door.

"This is gonna be a *wonderful* fucking day." she grumbled out loud as she headed down the hallway.

****************************************

Inside her room, Scully closed her eyes and tried desperately to make sense of the sudden foreign sensations sweeping through her. Was she losing her mind? Was she SO drugged that she was hallucinating, or did she actually feel a twinge of *attraction* toward this doctor?? This *FEMALE* doctor - hello?!

<What the hell is going on?> she said repeatedly under her breath. <I must be out of my mind...> she thought inwardly as she closed her eyes and gently massaged her eyebrows.

She knew she longed for some 'action' - a *date*, dinner or a movie, or *something* romantic, but good LORD! Was she *so* desperate that she was now reduced to checking out *WOMEN*??!! She frowned as she contemplated it for several minutes, then she began thinking back to all her past attachments. It had been a long while since she'd had any kind of meaningful relationship with anyone, *and*, it had been a VERY long while since she'd had a somewhat satisfying *physical* relationship with anyone - she hated to admit that, even to herself. Her last attempt at something physical ended up being a one-night stand where the guy turned out to be a psycho who tried to toss her into a furnace... she cringed at the recollection. She felt so pathetic... the only 'sex' she was 'getting' these days was coming from Mary Palm and her 5 sisters, she thought sarcastically as she rolled her eyes at herself.

She admitted, she had thought about being with a woman once or twice before. There were a few female college and med school friends that she had gotten pretty close with, and the thoughts had crossed her mind sometimes... but that's all it ever amounted to... thoughts. Her sex fantasies were primarily about men - usually the few men she'd had mediocre sex with, or strangers she met someplace and found attractive.

A few times she had fantasized about Mulder, but that was early in their pairing, when she found him attractive and was horny enough to think she might still have a good chance of getting laid. Several difficult, trying years in the X-Files had changed her mind about all that, however, and she realized that Mulder had become more like a brother to her. She had the emotional and intellectual connection with Mulder, but no romance. She had given up on finding all three attributes in someone. Hell, she couldn't recall even having *two* out of the three attributes in a relationship, as a matter of fact. She thought back... she'd had intellectual stimulation, and she'd had what *she* thought was pretty good sex... but she'd never had the emotional connection or romance.

<Maybe I'm just not destined to find happiness with a guy?> she thought for a moment.

She remembered her past relationships, when she thought that she'd discovered what everyone was talking about when they talked about "love" and "fabulous sex". According to all her girlfriends, sex was supposed to be this ncredible, earth-moving thing... you're supposed to like it... guys are supposed to be good at it... it's supposed to be magical, and you're supposed to fall madly in love with the guy... right?? So why had that never happened for Scully? She remembered asking herself that question over and over... when will it happen for me? It never did happen though, and so she did the inevitable - she began to wonder if there was something wrong with her... if *she* was doing something wrong. She had always blamed herself, but now she began to think... ...maybe she just hadn't found the right person...??

<WHY AM I EVEN THINKING ABOUT THIS?!> she nearly screamed aloud as she clutched her head.

<God... you are one pathetic individual, Dana Scully...> she thought. Maybe that was the problem. Her personal life had become so empty and barren, maybe she was just pathetic and desperate for attention? Yes, but... her other half spoke out... so pathetic that you'd look for affection from a *woman*???!!! She sighed out loud.

<I shouldn't think that way... I shouldn't condemn and be judgmental...I'm being totally paranoid, just like Mulder.> she thought to herself. She didn't condemn homosexuality; she really had no issue with it at all. She just never really pictured *herself* in that situation. So why does that make it different? she asked herself... why does that make it wrong?

<WHY am I even ASKING myself this?! This is INSANE!!> she thought angrily. It's not like Anne Lehman would even be *interested*, for heaven's sake... she was married! Well... she had *been* married... she was divorced now, Scully recalled curiously. And what about that *look* that Anne had given her???

"Oh for godssake, *STOP IT*!" Scully whispered aloud to herself.

<She reminds me of myself in some ways, so I instantly liked her - so what?! So maybe I'm just a narcissist!?> she thought. Or, maybe Anne was just one of those people she 'clicked' with, and maybe they might become great friends?...You never know...

<Yes...maybe that's just it...nothing wrong with that...nothing at all...,> Scully repeated the mantra to herself as she closed her eyes, forcing herself to forget it and go to sleep. She could not, however, forget the image of Anne Lehman's mesmerizing cerulean eyes... they had burned themselves into Scully's memory for good.

****************************************

Anne had no problem keeping herself occupied all day. From gunshot wounds to kids with fevers, she was having a typical day in the busy ER. The injured FBI woman in the room upstairs, however, stayed on her mind. It had been several hours since she'd seen her, and she *did* offer to take over as her doctor and include her in her rounds. She was avoiding Dana Scully... she knew that. She also knew that it was ridiculous, still, she couldn't bring herself to go check on her. She was letting her emotions interfere with her work, and Anne knew that was a big no-no. She could not deny that there was just *something* about Dana Scully that 'clicked' with her. It was very confusing... and very unnerving. She hadn't been affected by someone like that for... well... for a very *long* time. She *had* to go check on her... she couldn't make it obvious that she was avoiding her. Anne checked her watch, sighed, and loudly blew out the breath.

<Okay... get a grip, Lehman,> Anne chided herself.

<Maybe I'll be lucky and she'll be asleep,> she thought with a wry grin as she gathered her clipboard and headed off to see Dana Scully. Anne reached Scully's door and knocked lightly, holding her breath.

<Please be asleep... please be asleep...,> she thought, biting her lower lip.

"Come in..." a voice clearly answered.

<Shit!> Anne thought, as she slowly pushed the handle and entered the room. Dana Scully was sitting up, reclined in her bed, looking much more alert. The women smiled at each other as Anne entered the room, but stood back from the bed.

"Well, you look better." Anne said with raised brows and a smile.

"Thanks," Scully said with a slight laugh, "I feel better," she said, smoothing her hospital gown.

"How's the head," Anne asked, pointing to Scully's head with her pen.

"Mmm, a little better... still throbs a bit." Scully answered truthfully.

"Mmm-hmm... well, you shouldn't be getting in and out of bed too much, okay?" Anne said, daring to approach the bedside a little more.

"Oh, I'm not," said Scully, "but I *really* need to get a shower somehow." Anne laughed at her faked exasperation.

"Well, I'll send a nurse in to see what they can do for you, okay?"

"Yes, yes, please do that." Scully said with a smile.

"Uhm, I see that your partner is gone... I assume he wasn't hurt too badly?" Anne asked, tapping her pen on her lips.

"No, just a few cuts and bruises. He's fine." Scully said.

"Mmm... good." Anne answered, nodding her head and flipping through the papers on Scully's chart. Scully watched Anne's mannerisms carefully. She observed the way she stood... watched her write things on the papers... watched her eyes read and glance over the papers... On the surface, she seemed to be very calm and in control, but Scully could sense that she was a bit nervous... She was obviously very good at covering her emotions.

"Well, uhmm...," Anne laid her papers down and approached Scully's bedside hesitantly.

"Shall we take a look at these?" she said, pointing to Scully's bandaged arms. Scully sighed deeply.

"Might as well. I've got to see them sooner or later." Scully said as she laid her arms out in front of her. Anne pulled up a chair and sat down beside the bed as she carefully began unwrapping the gauze from each arm. Her hands were so cold that Scully jumped at her first touch. Anne laughed and apologized, then continued her ministrations while Scully bit her lower lip and closed her eyes. Anne stole little glances at Scully, watching her reactions and carefully gauging her movements. After Anne had stopped unwrapping, Scully opened her eyes to look at the wounds, some with stitches, some without. She frowned, and her mouth dropped open a bit as her eyes roamed across herself, but she said nothing.

"It looks worse than it is," Anne offered, trying to quell the shock that she could see building behind Scully's expression. Scully licked her lips and swallowed, fighting to maintain her calm, her nostrils flaring slightly as she drew a deep breath. Anne carefully slid her hands under Scully's palms and looked at her.

"The sutures make it look a lot worse, Dana," Anne said gently. Scully looked at Anne and blinked several times, but still said nothing. Anne hated moments like this.

"I really don't think you'll have much scarring... most of the cuts weren't too deep... only a few needed suturing." Anne said, trying her best to sound positive. Scully finally managed to nod her head and clear her throat a bit.

"I guess it could have been worse, huh?" she said, her voice cracking slightly.

"Yes, much worse. If you hadn't put your arms up, all these gashes might have been on your face." Anne said, lightly touching the bandage on Scully's chin. Scully smiled nervously at Anne's touch, and Anne quickly pulled her hands back.

"Uhm, why don't I put some clean gauze on these, hmm?" Anne stammered as she got up from her chair.

"Sure." Scully replied succinctly. Anne rummaged around looking for some gauze but couldn't find any. She muttered under her breath, then turned to Scully.

"Uh, I'll have to go get some gauze, but I'll be right back, okay?" Anne said as she started toward the door. The look on Scully's face stopped her, however.

"Okay." Scully said quietly, her eyes suddenly rimmed with watery pinkness. Anne looked worriedly at her as she slowly approached Scully's bed again and sat down gently. Scully did not look at her.

"Dana?" Anne questioned timidly as she touched Scully's upper arm. Scully turned her head and looked right at Anne, her azure eyes glistening with the moistness of unshed tears. She could feel the chill from Anne's fingers beneath the cloth of her gown.

"Are you going to be alright?" Anne asked quietly as she tilted her head a little and peered into Scully's eyes. Scully huffed a small laugh, looking down then back up again.

"I *have* to be alright." She said, blinking long and putting on a brave face. Anne pursed her lips and gently squeezed Scully's upper arm, leaning in closer to her.

"No you don't... not here... and not with me." Anne said, staring directly into Scully's eyes. Scully knew what she meant, and if she knew Anne Lehman better, she might have broken down in front of her. But she didn't, and she didn't want to look like a complete idiot, so, the brave face stayed intact.

"I appreciate that Anne, but I'll be fine, really." Scully said, smiling half-heartedly at Anne. Anne smiled and made an 'if you insist'-type face at Scully, then got up off the bed.

"I'll be right back with the gauze." She said, exiting the room. Scully smiled as she watched her leave, grateful to have a moment alone.

Scully closed her eyes and fought to get ahold of her emotions. She shouldn't be upset about the wounds - lord knows it wasn't the first time that she'd been wounded in the line of duty. It just looked awful, and it hurt, and... *and*...? She let out a deep sigh. The truth was, she was sick of being in hospitals, wounded because of some stupid case she and Mulder were working on. As usual, Mulder was fine and outta there, and she remained behind like a helpless, fragile woman. She *HATED* feeling helpless. THEN, to add insult to injury, she was developing a crush on her doctor...

"Goddd... I am *such* an idiot..." she grumbled quietly to herself as she flopped back on her bed. Just then, Anne reappeared with a jittery smile and gauze-in-hand.

"Well... here we go," she said breathlessly, pushing her errant hair behind her ears. Scully smiled slightly and offered her arms as Anne sat down on the side of the bed. Anne quickly re-wrapped Scully's arms and hands, making a point to touch her lightly and carefully. Once again, Scully felt a warm rush flow through her as Anne sat close to her and touched her so delicately. She was certain that she was glowing like a red beet when Anne finished and looked up at her for approval.

"There... all done." Anne said with a small smile. Scully could only lick her lips quickly and nod her head.

"Thanks," she quipped. Anne cocked her head and looked at Scully.

"You sure you're going to be okay?" Anne asked softly. Scully laughed softly and looked downward.

"Yes... I'll be fine, don't worry," she said, looking back up at Anne.

"I just *really* hate being in the hospital, that's all." She said, hoping to cut-off any further questions. She dropped her head down and sighed heavily. Anne leaned in closer to her and placed a finger under her chin, gently pushing up so that they faced each other again.

"I meant what I said before... you can talk to me about anything, okay?" Anne said softly as she peered deeply into Scully's eyes. Anne watched Scully's face as her guard began to slowly slip away. Her expression softened as she looked back into Anne's eyes, and Anne could nearly see past the stone walls that she hid her true self behind. Scully suddenly looked different to Anne...she looked exposed...vulnerable.

Anne smiled slightly at Scully as she slowly moved her finger under Scully's chin, touching her delicately. As Anne's finger fleetingly grazed along her chin, Scully saw a wistful expression flash across Anne's cerulean eyes. Scully's mouth opened a tiny bit as she suddenly blushed and her eyes blinked several times involuntarily, causing Anne to immediately back away and withdraw her hand as though she'd been bitten. Scully cursed herself for flinching as Anne averted her gaze and swallowed hard, looking very embarrassed. Anne cleared her throat and got up off the bed quickly, fumbling in her pockets and looking around for her clipboard and pen nervously.

<...dammit, dammit, dammit...> Scully swore to herself as she squeezed her eyes shut and opened them again quickly. She wanted to tell Anne to wait... she wanted to apologize... she wanted to tell her to come back and sit down again... Anne began walking toward the door.

"Uhmm...," Anne started,

"I'll, uh... I'll send a nurse in to help you get a shower." Anne said quietly over her shoulder without even looking at Scully.

"Anne... wait...," Scully blurted out. Anne stopped in front of the door and turned slowly, looking first at the floor, then at Scully. Scully's mouth hesitated to speak for a moment, then she managed to nod her head slightly.

"...thank you..." Scully said, trying her best to convey 'I'm grateful'... 'I'm sorry'... 'I like you'... or *something* through her facial expression. Anne simply nodded and forced a small smile at Scully, then turned and walked out the door.

*******************************

As soon as Anne was out the door, Scully dropped her head back and let out the deep breath she had been holding. She had never been reduced to such a boneless pile of mush before. She felt like a complete idiot. Not only did she nearly let her guard down in front of Anne, but she blushed and flinched too!

<Goddd...,> she thought to herself, <I am *such* a complete loser... what must she think of me?!> Scully wondered. She couldn't remember ever being so embarrassed in her whole life.

<Well,> she thought inwardly, <at least I know that I wasn't imagining things - that was *definitely not* just a friendly touch.> Scully leaned back in her bed, staring up at the ceiling and thinking deeply for a moment.

It wasn't the first time a woman had flirted, or touched her, or made a pass at her. She could recall a few times when women had flirted with her. But, they were just friends... and they were carefree and reckless... just 'fooling around'. It didn't mean anything... she wasn't interested, and she didn't really feel anything for any of them. She was flattered by their attentions, but that was all. Scully had just chalked up those brief 'encounters' to being young and 'experimental'. This was different, though. Those other women never made butterflies stir in her stomach...they didn't make her face blush red and her pulse quicken... they didn't make her feel strange inside like she did when she was in Anne Lehman's presence.

Scully laid in bed for a very long time, asking herself many questions, and contemplating the new and strange territory that she was entering. For every positive thought she could wrangle from her mind, a negative argument would emerge, and vice-versa. She knew she could easily convince herself that it was simply wrong, and do nothing about it. Just bid the nice, kind Doctor farewell, and go on with her life. ...her solitary, lonely, loveless life... She closed her eyes as she felt tears well up in her eyes again. She felt like she was going insane. She was confused and uncertain, ...and scared. She knew that her biggest problem was being scared of her feelings. Everything is fine and she can maintain control so long as her emotions didn't get involved. But now... now she wasn't in control... unfamiliar emotions were surfacing... she was feeling very off-balance, and she absolutely hated that.

<So... what do I do?> Scully thought to herself. <*What* am I going to do about all this?> She had no answer. She lowered her bed and laid down, trying to get comfortable and covering herself with blankets. For the time being, she decided she would just try to forget about it.

<Maybe I'll feel differently in the morning... maybe I'll be able to think more clearly... maybe this isn't *real*,> she thought. She sighed aloud, knowing full well that she was just putting off what she knew was inevitable... she was going to have to *see* Anne Lehman again.

************************************

Anne slipped into the break room for something to drink. She was tired and thirsty, and after her little 'encounter' with Dana Scully, she was in a shitty mood. She carelessly flung her clipboard down on the table, close to where some people were sitting and brusquely yanked open the refrigerator door in search of a drink. The other staff members at the table stopped their conversation and looked at her and each other with wide eyes... her temper was somewhat famous in the ER, but it still shocked people when it flared. Anne grabbed a soda and slammed the refrigerator shut, snapping open the soda can and taking a big gulp of the sweet, fizzy liquid. She wordlessly turned around and picked up her clipboard, ignoring the surprised looks from the other staff members as she walked by them to sit down on a solitary lounge chair. Staring absently at her charts, she flipped through them, thinking not about her patients, but Dana Scully instead. She didn't even notice the other doctor approach.

"Hey, Anne... you okay?" the young male doctor asked quietly. Anne snapped out of her reverie and looked up at him blankly.

"Yeah... I'm fine Rob, thanks." She lied with a straight face. Rob was a nice guy with whom she was pretty friendly, but she never talked to him on a personal level. She never talked to *anyone* about anything personal, for that matter.

"You seem kind-of... upset, or angry... you sure everything is okay?" he continued to pry politely. Anne made a small face at him and smiled weakly,

"*Yes* Rob, I'm *fine*... just another typically shitty day around here... y'know?" She finished with a shrug.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I'll see you later." He smiled and patted her gently on the shoulder, then returned to his table again. Anne rolled her eyes to herself,

<Yeah, *sure* you do, Robby-boy... I've got a serious crush on a patient of mine...I'm sure you know alllllllll about that,> she mocked internally.

<Christ... I must be out of my fucking mind,> she thought to herself. She kept playing back the look of surprise on Dana Scully's face when she touched her chin.

<Surprise? - try total *shock*, you idiot,> she scolded herself. *Why* did she have to go and touch her? ...why, why, why?... Anne sat and wracked her brain, replaying the scene over and over again. If only she had played it cool...if only she had kept her distance... if only she hadn't looked at her... if only she hadn't *touched* her... Well, it was too late now. She *did* touch her, and now Dana knew for *sure* that she had the fucking *hots* for her.

<...fucking idiot...,> she further chided herself. <Now I won't even be able to be in the same room as her, let alone *look* at her.> She wanted to scream. She wanted to go tell Dana that she was sorry... that she didn't mean to come on to her... that she didn't mean to be so forward. She wished she could take it all back and restore her own dignity, as well as Dana Scully's.

<God, she must think I am the scum of the earth,> she thought as she closed her eyes and agonized.

<Well, she'll be released tomorrow, and she can get the hell away from me,> Anne thought, <and I can just file this little incident in my "fucking moron" file and go on with my life as a loser,> she said to herself sardonically. Anne sighed out loud as she rose from her chair and left the break room, mulling over in her mind how long she could avoid seeing Dana Scully.

***************************

The next morning, Scully was dressed and gathering her things in preparation for her release. A nurse had informed her early in the morning that she was permitted to leave as soon as the doctor saw her one last time and signed her release form. Scully was well aware that Anne had not been back to see her, and that she was obviously waiting until it was time for her to leave. She was certain that Anne would do a quick, polite "see you later - take care" farewell, and that would be the end of it. She was saddened to think that she would not be seeing Anne again.

<Maybe I will see her again... maybe it will be up to me?> she thought to herself.

<I could be holding something really wonderful in my hands, here,> she told herself, <maybe it's different... maybe its strange and new... but am I willing to throw it all away, just because I'm afraid to take a chance?> ...These were the questions she had tortured herself with all night long... What if this was worth investigating? How do I know if I *should* take a chance on it? What if it turned out to be something incredible? The love of a lifetime... a soulmate... are you going to turn your back on it, just because it's 'different'? just because you're scared of what other people might think? ...just because its been pounded into your head by old-fashioned parents who would say it's "wrong wrong wrong!"? just because you're unfamiliar with it? just because *other* people say its 'unnatural' and 'sinful' ? ...Scully had asked herself these things at least a thousand times.

So she was attracted to a woman - so what? Why was it such a shock to her? All night she had reflected on her past relationships with men and how they never worked out. She thought very hard about any women she'd ever felt close to. She tried hard to remember how she felt and what she thought... if she ever *really* thought that she had walked the line between 'friend' and 'crush'. Again she concluded that she never really felt anything substantial for any woman before... she always remained on the 'just friends' side of the playing field. She knew she couldn't deny her feelings now, though...she was attracted to Anne... she knew she felt *something*... she just wasn't sure what. The question was... was she brave enough to find out?

*********************************

Anne checked her watch for the fifth time in the last 15 minutes. She *had* to go and tell Scully that she could be released. She knew she must be waiting for her, and she absolutely dreaded it. As she approached Scully's room, she took a deep breath, vowing to shove her pride aside and just act as though nothing had happened. She knocked lightly, biting her lower lip absentmindedly.

"Come in," a clear voice answered. Anne let out a breath again, then turned the handle and opened the door. Scully was standing at her window dressed in jeans and a very soft-looking gray v-neck cardigan. She looked weary, but soft and delicately pretty. Her lips had an orange-red lipstick on them, and her hair was tucked behind one ear. Her clear oceanic eyes blazed across the room at Anne. Scully managed a smile at Anne as she entered the room.

"Hi," she said carefully.

"Hi," Anne replied, forcing a proper smile. They stared uncomfortably at one another for a second or two, until Anne mustered up the strength to speak.

"Uhmm...so, are you ready to go home?" Anne asked, her eyes blinking nervously as she fought desperately to make her face look neutral.

"Yes, I think so - I feel pretty good," Scully answered as she shrugged and gingerly tried to shove her hands into her jean pockets.

"Good, good," Anne said, as she nodded her head way too vigorously. Inside her head, she yelled at herself for over-acting.

"I'll just sign off on your forms here... and then you can be on your way," said Anne as she looked down at her papers. As Anne scribbled away on the forms, Scully silently walked up to stand beside her, watching her carefully as she wrote. Time seemed to slow down for a few moments as Scully studied her face, taking in every feature and every blink of her eyes. Scully knew that Anne must feel the same as she did - nervous, embarrassed, fidgety, high-strung - to her credit, though, her face remained unexpressive and calm, but her body was rigid. There were dark circles under her eyes again, and her face looked pale and extremely weary. Again the strange sensations began to wash over Scully... again her face grew warm, and again she felt her stomach twist into knots.

<...oh yeah... this is definitely *real*,> Scully thought to herself as she felt her palms become sweaty. Anne finished signing all the forms and gathered them up, looking at Scully with a tight-lipped, forced smile.

"All done... you are free to go, Dr. Scully," she tried to say in a jovial tone, again forcing a polite smile. Scully looked at her and smiled, then looked down, saying nothing. Nothing would come out of her mouth. She couldn't think of one thing to say. Anne looked at Scully's bowed head. She felt like she would nearly burst from wanting to touch the beautiful, petite woman standing in front of her.

<Damn these feelings...,> she thought,

<Damn, damn, DAMN!> she thought angrily as her brows frowned and her eyes looked upon Scully sadly. Scully suddenly looked up at Anne, catching the look of sorrow on her face and the sadness plainly evident in the pools of her deep blue eyes. The two women stood there for a few moments, staring at each other dumbfoundedly, neither knowing what to say or do. Finally, Anne swallowed hard and extended her hand, taking hold of Scully's and bringing it up to clasp it in her other hand. Scully nearly jumped from the sensation of Anne's cold hands on hers.

"Take care of yourself, Dana." Anne said quietly in a choked voice. She forced a weak smile and gave Scully's hand a subtle squeeze as she turned and walked out the door, leaving Scully standing alone in the room. Scully looked at her shaking hand, then looked up at the empty doorway as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

*****************************************

The days following Scully's release passed by very slowly at first. She thought about Anne every day, each time playing "what if" scenarios in her head. She constantly wondered what Anne was doing... what she was feeling... if she was thinking about her too. Sometimes she still could feel the cold chill of Anne's hands from when she had said goodbye to her. Scully thought seriously about calling her, but just when she thought she had worked up enough nerve to pick up the phone, she would falter, not knowing what to say.

Should she just be casual? - "Hi, how are you?"... or funny? - "Sorry I acted like a love-struck school-girl,"... remorseful? - "Sorry I didn't say goodbye or anything,"... or honest? - "Sorry I wasn't brave enough to dip a toe in the water,"... she had no idea. As the days turned into weeks, Scully began the process of convincing herself that it was nothing. That it was just some sort of hormonal surge, or a PMS flare-up or something. Hell, maybe she had just imagined the whole thing? Pushing it all aside only made her moody and depressed, but she kept telling herself that it was *necessary*, that she *had* to forget about the calm, alluring doctor with the hypnotic eyes. She *had* to pour herself into her work and just close the door on the whole incident.

A few more weeks passed...

********************************************

She didn't really want to go on a date. She *hated* blind-dates, and she didn't trust the 'he's a nice guy' instincts of her brother, Bill, and his wife. The only reason she was even going out with this guy is because Bill insisted. He was friends with the guy, and, unbeknownst to Scully until last week, he had planned this little 'fix-up' some time ago. Bill said he 'thought she needed to go out and have a good time' - Yeah, right... Scully knew he just wanted to get her away from Mulder.

She had argued strenuously at the time, telling Bill "my idea of 'having a good time' does not include going on blind dates with some loser-friend of yours!" She did NOT care to *date* at all, but Bill just wouldn't let up. She soon gave-in to his pressuring; afterall, she couldn't very well tell him that she wasn't *sure* that she was even interested in men. So, she decided to play along and even tried to convince herself that it *was* a good idea for her to go out with someone. Who knows, he could be a great guy, and she could have a wonderful time...? yeah, *right*... She knew the real reason she had agreed to this date. She knew damn well that she was doing this to find out if she was attracted to men anymore - to prove to herself that she was *not* gay, and that her fading memories of Anne Lehman were just that - memories. Everything was fine until she realized that the hospital where Anne worked was a mere 2 blocks from the restaurant. She nearly turned around and went home - she really didn't want to be here now. Even as the maitre d' was seating her, she felt like bolting. Still... here she was... sitting alone in a restaurant waiting for some jerk she didn't even know.

<Well, at least I'll get a nice meal out of it,> Scully thought to herself as she sipped her glass of wine. Nearly an hour had passed, and the loser hadn't shown up yet. Scully was nearly fuming with humiliation.

<What a dick... he could have at least phoned the restaurant to say he'd be late... loser... wait 'till I get my hands on Bill...,> she thought to herself as she polished-off her third glass of wine. She watched people come in and out the doors of the restaurant all evening as she sat and waited. At the moment, a group of four people were entering, laughing and talking loudly. She watched as the two men and two women stood and talked while waiting for a table. She had just recognized the face of one man from the hospital emergency room when one of the women turned around, showing her profile to Scully - it was Anne.

Scully nearly gasped out loud as a rush of exhilaration swept through her body... she was certain her face was as red as a fire siren. Anne looked exactly the same... still tall and lanky, still pushing the stray curls of hair behind her ears, still bestowing that gentle smile on everyone. She was dressed in a baggy turtleneck sweater and black pants with a long leather coat over top. Scully watched as she took her coat off, smiling and laughing lightly at something one of the men said. She looked very relaxed and at ease. Was she here on a date with one of the guys? Scully wondered...It looked like they all were from the hospital... Scully suddenly realized she was in full view of them, so she turned her body sideways a bit and sat with her hand propped up to her face, hoping to hide her face. She wanted to leave. She wanted to jump up and run straight out the door... but she couldn't ... they were standing there... Anne would surely see her.

<Shit!> Scully thought as the maitre d' motioned for them to come toward Scully. They stopped and sat down at a table between Scully and the doorway.

<Damn!> Scully thought, <NOW how am I going to get out of here?!> she clenched her teeth and lowered her eyes, pretending to find the linen tablecloth extremely interesting.

Anne sat back in her chair as the waiter made off with their orders. It felt good to sit and relax with some friends. She hadn't been out like this in a long time... it was so unusual for her to socialize with people from work... but these were her friends - her *real* friends, and she could relax and have fun with them. She was just taking a long sip of her chilled wine when she spotted the red-haired woman at a nearby table. She looked familiar... Anne squinted a little, trying to make out her identity, but the woman kept rubbing the bridge of her nose and putting her fingers over her eyes. When she finally dropped her hand away, Anne immediately recognized her.

<...It's her... oh my god...> Anne said to herself as her mouth dropped open slightly.

<...It's Dana...> she thought, as she fought to keep her shock under control. She looked different... her hair is pulled up... she was dressed-up... but it's definitely her. <I wonder if she's seen me? ...surely she must have... she looks like she's trying to hide... not a good sign...> Anne thought as she narrowed her gaze.

<...God, she looks good...>

"... Hello? ...Earth to Anne...?!" one of the male doctors said as he waved his hand in front of Anne's eyes, interrupting her voyeurism. Anne's head snapped around to look at her friends.

"What, what?" she stammered. The others chuckled at her.

"Are we boring you, Anne?" her friend teased. Anne smiled sheepishly.

"No, no... I just, uhm... I thought I saw someone I knew," she said, trying to act casual. The others continued their conversation as Anne listened only partially... she sipped from her glass again while facing her friends, but her eyes glanced across the room again to Dana Scully. For a split second, Scully and Anne locked eyes, but Scully quickly averted her gaze to the other side of the room. Anne knew Scully had seen her - the red flush that scalded Scully's cheeks was a dead giveaway.

<Now that's a better sign,> Anne mused to herself with an inward smile. She sat for a moment, completely tuning-out her friends while she thought about what to do. Should she try to make eye contact with her and simply wave 'hello'? Should she approach her? Should she pretend not to see her and ignore her? As she watched, Scully spoke quickly to the waiter then started to gather her belongings, as though she were getting ready to leave. Anne knew in a flash that she had to go say hello to her.

"Would you all excuse me for a minute?" Anne said to her friends as she got up and started walking toward Scully's table. Scully was gathering her purse and did not see Anne coming to stand at her table. She turned around and gasped out loud, shocked to see Anne standing right beside her. They both let out nervous laughs.

"Hello Dana," Anne said with a smile. Scully smiled hesitantly back at her.

"Anne, hello! ...you surprised me a little!" she said with another nervous, breathy chuckle.

"You didn't know I was here?" Anne asked with a smirk.

"Uhh... well, y-yes... I did see you come in... but you were talking with your, uhm... 'date', and... I didn't want to be rude and interrupt." Scully said, trying to sound casual and not stammer too much. Anne just smiled at her.

"I'm not here on a date, and you could have interrupted." Anne replied. Scully didn't know what to say, so she just raised her brows and tried hard to subdue the smile that was threatening to overtake her face. Anne grinned back at her.

"Are you here alone?" she asked. Scully shifted her jaw and pressed her tongue to her cheek, knowing she couldn't lie about her embarrassing situation.

"Uhm... actually... I was supposed to meet someone here, but... it appears that I've been *stood-up*," she said with indignance.

"Ohhhh... bummer." Anne said with a small grin.

"Mmm, well, actually this might be a *good* thing. I don't want anything to do with a guy who stiffs you on the first date." Anne's brows shot up...

<Did she say *guy*? Did she say *date*??... shit ...> she thought to herself... Scully continued babbling, knowing that she was talking way too much, but unable to control it,

"...I really don't know why I'm here - I *knew* this was a bad idea, and I wasn't even interested anyway...," Scully rambled on nervously, not noticing Anne's rapid blinking. <Not interested?? Not interested in *what*, Dana??,> Anne thought frantically.

"...So... I guess I'll just go home and drown my sorrows in a nice bowl of ice cream." Scully said with a grin and an eyelash flutter, added for effect. Anne forced a grin and nodded in empathy.

"Well, that would be a total waste of a perfectly nice outfit and hairdo," Anne said, motioning to Scully's hair, which she had neatly pulled back and piled on top of her head. Scully laughed very nervously, her cheeks reddening once again. Anne smiled at her.

"How's the, uhm...," Anne said, pointing and motioning to her own hands and forearms, wanting to know how Scully's wounds were healing.

"Oh, they're fine, fine... they've healed really well, thank you," Scully said with a bit too much nodding.

"Good, good," Anne said, nodding back. Scully forced another smile and took a gulp of her wine, her nervousness increasing steadily.

"So, uhm...," Anne started, clearing her throat and steeling her nerve,

"Have you, uh, eaten dinner, or...," she said, making a slight motion to Scully's empty table. Scully looked at her barren plate then back at Anne.

"Uhm... no...," she replied with a jittery blink of her eyes.

"Well... we could have dinner together," Anne blurted out, obviously taking Scully by surprise. Sensing her apprehension, Anne added,

"That is, if you'd like to." She looked hopefully at Scully. Scully stammered in return,

"Ohh, no... no - you're here with your friends... I wouldn't want you to do that...," she said, trying to look like she meant it.

"No, its no big deal - I eat with them every week. I'd rather dine with someone more interesting," Anne half-lied as she smiled and made a wave-off motion in the direction of her friends. Scully couldn't contain the smile that spread across her face.

"Well then... that'd be great." She said with a nod. Anne smiled back, telling herself not to get her hopes up - it was just a casual dinner... nothing more.

"Great... let me just go tell them that I'm *ditching them*." Anne said, widening her eyes exaggeratedly. Scully laughed lightly at the expression as Anne turned to go to her friends. As Scully watched Anne talk to her friends, she began to feel the fears and questions about herself come surging back to the surface.

<NO! ...No, dammit!...,> she yelled internally, <I will *NOT* do this to myself again,> she thought angrily. <I am going to have dinner with her, and have a good time, and just *enjoy* myself, dammit! I will *NOT* feel guilty about this!> she thought as she cursed her conscience for playing games with her emotions. Anne returned to the table.

"Ahh... it's always such a pleasure to ditch a group of boring friends," she said mischievously. Scully raised her brows at her, making Anne laugh as she sat down.

"I'm just kidding, they don't mind." She said with a hand-wave. Scully laughed a little and took a big swig of her wine. Anne sipped from her glass as well, watching Scully carefully - she seemed really nervous. As Anne put her glass down, she said quietly,

"You don't go out much, do you Dana?" Scully swallowed her drink hard, nearly choking on it. Anne couldn't help but grin at her.

"Uhm... well, no, actually I don't get much opportunity." Scully said a little sheepishly as she absent-mindedly fingered the tendrils of hair that hung down at her temples.

"Uh-huh," Anne smirked,

"You've got 'I DO NOT DATE' written alllll over you!" Anne teased. Scully laughed, slightly embarrassed by her transparency.

"Soooo... who set up this *blind date* for you?" Anne asked playfully. Scully smiled self-consciously.

"Uhmm... my brother did," she answered with a grin and a brow-raise.

"Ohhhhhhhh," Anne said with wide eyes, making Scully laugh lightly as her face reddened.

"Suckerrrrr!" Anne said lowly with a chuckle. Scully smiled and rolled her eyes,

"I know, I know," she said with a head shake.

"I can't believe you got sucked into a date orchestrated by a *brother * - shame on you Dr. Scully!" Anne said with a wag of her finger. Scully laughed again, making Anne smile broadly.

"Let's just say that I *obviously* had a momentary lapse of judgement when I agreed to it, alright?" Scully said.

"Oh *yeahhh*, okay." Anne said with a smile as she raised her glass in a 'cheers' motion, making Scully laugh harder. Anne liked Dana's toothy smile and hearty laugh; it was quite unlike her demeanor of the last time they had met. She knew that the somber FBI persona didn't fit... she knew there was more to Dana Scully than meets the eye. Anne watched as Scully calmed down and took a drink from her glass. Her eyes zeroed in on the rosebud lips as they touched the rim of the glass. She imagined the cool liquid slipping down her throat as she watched Scully swallow it. Anne knew she was staring at Scully way too much, but she couldn't help it. She was once again finding herself totally captivated by this beautiful woman. Anne looked at Scully thoughtfully,

"You don't laugh much either... do you?" Anne asked seriously. Scully's smile faded as she absorbed Anne's question. She licked her lips and looked at her glass of wine, tapping it a little nervously. She quirked her mouth in a half-smile and regarded Anne suspiciously.

"How is it that you seem to know so much about me?" she asked Anne with furrowed brows.

"I dunno... maybe I'm just intuitive," Anne said, shrugging nonchalantly. Scully quirked her brows,

"*Intuitive*, huh?" Scully asked incredulously. Anne merely smiled and shrugged again. Scully was not at all comfortable with Anne's obvious study of her, plus, she couldn't figure out exactly how she reached these conclusions about her. Was she really that transparent? Or did Anne know these things because she could *relate* to Scully?

"Hey, let's order something to eat, I'm *starving*," Anne interrupted, wanting to break the awkwardness. She didn't want to ruin the evening by being overly nosey, so she told herself to cool it. As the waiter came over to the table, Scully watched Anne as she gave her order. She watched the flicker of her intense blue eyes ...the gentle movement of her slender finger as they touched her chin... the way her lips moved as she spoke and smiled... every move she made seemed to enthrall Scully. Anne turned and looked right at her, momentarily hypnotizing Scully with the deep liquid beauty of her eyes. Scully quickly snapped her head to the waiter's attention and ordered her meal, although after he left, she didn't have the slightest idea what she had ordered.

The two women sat and chatted politely, acting as though they were business associates or neighbors, or something. They discussed their families, their childhoods, their medical schooling, their jobs, the case that brought them together ... all the normal things that you discuss with someone you're catching-up with or getting to know. They both tried to be comfortable, which was difficult at first, but became easier as the evening wore on.

Anne was surprisingly easy-going and funny, not at all like the cool, reserved persona that Scully knew before. Scully could feel herself letting go of her precious guard more and more as they laughed and joked. Anne prodded gently about personal things, but for some reason, Scully didn't mind. She was inquiring and asked a lot of questions... Scully thought she'd make a wonderful newspaper reporter. Anne also returned the favor by answering Scully's questions as well, so it was an even give-and-take... it made both of them feel increasingly trusting of one another. It was nice to be able to talk to someone -another woman - about things, and they said so. It was nice to know that she understood your point of view much moreso than a man - or, much moreso than *Mulder*, in particular, Scully thought.

They continued to talk as they ate their meals. Anne dined very politely, and Scully had to grin at the way she dissected everything - just like a true doctor. Scully decided that she either had good breeding or good upbringing, judging from her mannerisms -- the way she 'properly' sat, drank, cut her food, and even chewed. Although she seemed to be quite down-to-earth and relaxed, everything about her was poised and composed - she wasn't slovenly about anything. <Even her joking is even-tempered and restrained... still a conundrum...> Scully mused. She wondered if there was anything that ruffled the feathers of the dignified young doctor.

"So, Dana... what's the deal with this partner of yours?" Anne asked. Scully looked at her confused.

"What about him?" she asked.

"Well, y'know - is it hard working side-by-side with a guy all the time?" Anne asked, trying to sound casual.

"Well... sometimes... but only because Mulder is the biggest pain in the ass to ever walk the planet." Scully deadpanned, making Anne laugh out loud.

"He's an attractive guy," Anne said with a slight eyebrow raise. Scully looked at her a bit confused, <where is this going?> she wondered.

"Want me to set up a *blind date* for you with him??" Scully said sarcastically. Anne just smiled and shook her head.

"No, thanks. I guess I'm just wondering if... if its been *difficult* working so *closely* with an intelligent, attractive guy like that." Anne said. Scully thought she knew what Anne was asking, and why.

"If you're inferring that we must want to get in each other's pants all the time - just because we're male and female -then you are mistaken, Anne," Scully shot back, a little annoyed at the question. Anne instantly regretted asking it. She reached over and touched Scully's wrist gently.

"No, no, Dana... that's not what I meant, forgive me." She said apologetically. Scully put her fork down and stared hard at Anne, a little hurt by her question. Anne's hand was soft and warm against her skin, and Anne was certain that she could feel Scully's pulse throbbing under her fingers. Anne withdrew her hand and looked up at the ceiling, then down at Scully again.

"What I'm trying to say, in a *horrendous* way, is... I just wondered if, like me, you've run into *problems* with *male* co-workers hitting on you, or, if you've had to put up with ridiculous rumors and stuff... y'know?" she asked, hoping that Dana would understand and not be angry with her. Scully drew a deep breath and blinked long.

"Oh...," Scully said, a little embarrassed by her outburst.

"I'm sorry, I thought you were assuming...," she motioned with her hand as Anne just shook her head and smiled.

"Uhm... well, yes, actually, I've had to put up with my share of male-chauvinist pigs - and just plain old *pigs* too; however, I'm glad to say that Mulder has never been one of them." Scully said. Anne made a surprised face.

"He and I have a very good working relationship, but... I dunno... we are partners, and nothing more. He respects that as much as I do... besides, he's totally devoted to his job and his own personal 'pursuits'...," Scully laughed a little and continued,

"You think *I* don't have a personal life?? I'm telling you, this guy's idea of a 'blind date' is picking up the latest X-rated video and taking it home to watch for the evening." Scully finished sarcastically, making Anne laugh hard.

"Ohhh nooo!" Anne said as she laughed. Scully nodded and laughed with her.

Anne thanked her lucky stars that she avoided disaster with her prying. She wanted desperately to know if Scully was interested romantically in her partner, but she cursed herself for going about it so recklessly. Anne just couldn't shake the feeling that Scully was only interested in men.

<After all, she was here on a blind date...> Anne thought to herself. Still... Anne remembered the hospital, and the last time she saw Scully... there *was* something between them then... she hadn't imagined that whole thing.

<maybe she changed her mind?> Anne thought. <Well... whatever... I just have to take it *slow* - I can't rush this.> she reminded herself.

"So, Anne... mind if I pry now?" Scully asked with one eyebrow arched. Anne just smirked, knowing what was coming. She opened her hands in front of her and smirked at Scully again, inviting the challenge. Scully smirked back. She could tell Anne enjoyed having the upper hand in questioning her... now she wanted to turn the tables a bit... Anne's eyes seemed to glint at her in challenge.

"How long have you been divorced?" Scully asked bluntly. Anne pursed her lips and looked skyward for a moment.

"Mmm... It's been almost 3 years now." Anne answered.

"How long had you been married before that?" Scully asked again.

"Uhm, about 3 years, I guess." Anne said casually.

"Was he a jerk, or a good guy?" Scully asked, cocking her head slightly. Anne shrugged slightly, pausing to think.

"He was a pretty good guy... it wasn't really his fault." Anne said, anticipating Scully's thought process. Scully smiled slightly.

"Then what happened?" asked Scully. Anne smiled wistfully and raised her brows.

"Well... lots of things...," she said, looking down at the table. She looked back up, only to see Scully looking at her expectantly. Anne laughed lightly.

"You want details, eh?" she asked with a smile. Scully grinned and nodded her head. Anne rolled her eyes.

"Alright... it's difficult to explain, really," Anne began.

"That's alright," Scully said, propping her chin on her hand.

"I don't know why we got married, to be honest... we should have seen that it would be a rough road ahead." Anne said.

"Why rough?" Scully asked.

"Well... I had a hectic schedule... he worked long hours too... we hardly ever saw each other... but, we got married anyway." continued Anne.

Scully listened carefully, observing Anne's every move. She felt herself becoming entranced... she watched Anne's lips move as she spoke, her fingers as she gestured, her eyelashes as she blinked... everything seemed to fascinate her. She felt very strange; as if she wasn't Dana Scully sitting here, but someone else... someone she didn't even know, for she had never felt the strange thoughts and feelings that coursed through her mind and body now. It was almost as if she were floating above herself, watching as this 'person' named Dana Scully sat and talked with Anne. She couldn't describe it... she had never experienced such a feeling before in her life... she felt totally and utterly *connected* to Anne, like there was some kind of gravitational pull between them. She wasn't even paying attention to what Anne was saying, she was too busy just *watching* her. She reluctantly pulled herself out of her reverie and listened to Anne.

"It didn't take me long to realize that we shouldn't have gotten married. I wasn't 100% certain in the first place, but I just figured, 'well, it's the *proper* thing to do,' you know? You date seriously for awhile, and then you're *supposed* to get married, right? How stupid is *that*?!" Anne said with a grin as she looked at Scully with wide eyes. Scully merely smiled back at her as Anne took a swig of her wine.

"So, did it not work because you were apart too much, or because you didn't really *want* to be married?" Scully asked, pretending as though she had heard every word. One corner of Anne's mouth lifted.

"Both, I guess." She said with a shrug.

"Truth is, I didn't really mind being alone - that never bothered me." Anne said.

"But... the more we were apart, the more I drifted away from him emotionally. When we *were* together... I just felt like he was... just my roommate or something." Anne said, crinkling her brows together.

"So... no hot sex, huh?" Scully asked bluntly. Anne laughed and shook her head as a flush crept up her face. Scully laughed, shocked at her own rudeness.

"Uhh, nooo - I'm afraid not!" Anne said with a laugh. Scully laughed too.

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be so rude! It's the wine, I swear!" Scully said, putting her hands up.

"No, no! It's alright, I don't mind..." Anne said, trying to control her giggling and taking another drink from her glass.

"Actually, the sex was okay - I mean, that was never the problem," said Anne.

"But... the less we were together, the more disinterested I became. It got to the point where I couldn't give two shits if we slept together or not... absence definitely did *not* make *my* heart grow fonder." Anne said jokingly. Scully laughed quietly.

"Everything just sort-of... died... y'know? I totally lost interest... I became engrossed in my job, and... I just... kind-of... 'resigned' myself to being alone... y'know?" Anne said, looking at Scully with a small, sad smile. Scully smiled knowingly.

"I dunno... I don't want to say, 'oh it was a big mistake,' because I don't think it really was. I did love the guy... it just...," Anne looked skyward for a moment,

"It just was never a really *passionate* or *intense* type of romance, y'know? I mean... I was just... *comfortable*... that's all," Anne said with a shrug as she looked at Scully. Scully looked back at her thoughtfully,

"Did you *ever* have a passionate or intense relationship with anyone?" Scully asked. Anne pursed her lips and chewed the side of her cheek, pausing for a few seconds.

"Once," she replied succinctly, quickly taking a sip from her glass. Scully raised her brows,

"...and?" she said expectantly. Anne shrugged.

"*And*... it didn't work out, obviously." Anne said, trying to brush it off. Scully pushed her lips out and nodded, catching the drift that Anne didn't wish to discuss it.

"Ooookay," Scully said with a grin. Anne smiled in return.

"I'm sorry... it's rather... *complicated*... that's all," Anne said apologetically. Scully waved her hand.

"No problem, I understand." Scully said. The two women sat in silence for a few moments, Scully feeling like she'd crossed some imaginary line that she didn't know existed. She wanted to apologize, but she didn't know what for. Anne wanted to explain her hesitancy, but she didn't how or where to begin. Surely this was not the time nor place to be dropping bombs. Scully pondered for a moment... maybe Anne wasn't gay? Maybe all the 'stuff' that happened between them was just that - 'stuff'. She had been married, albeit not too happily, but she *was* married. Perhaps it *was* the wine, but Scully felt confused all over again. Anne looked at her watch nervously,

"God - look how late it is! Have we really been sitting here yapping for 3 hours?!" Anne exclaimed. Scully checked her watch as well,

"Wow, it is late. I guess we should go before we get booted out of here," she said with some dejection.

"Yeah, I guess so. I have to go compete with all the bar-flies for a cab too," Anne said, wrinkling her nose. Scully gave her a surprised look.

"You're taking a cab home??" she asked. Anne shrugged,

"Well, yeah - I walked here from work, and I don't really feel like walking the whole way home in the pouring rain," she said, pointing outside.

"God... didn't it rain the last time we went 'out'?" Scully said with a smile.

"Yes, I believe it did," Anne said, remembering back to their first meeting.

"Well, you're not taking a cab home - I can drive you home, no problem." Scully said assuredly.

"Oh no, no, thank you, but you don't have to do that - it'd be really out of your way," Anne said frowning, trying to discourage Scully, but Scully interrupted,

"It is *NOT* out of my way, and I'm taking you - no arguments!" Scully asserted with a glare, tapping her finger gently into Anne's chest. Anne's eyes widened - at least now she knew that when Dana Scully meant business, she would *not* be trifled with... she may be petite, but she certainly was commanding. Anne made a face and saluted Scully.

"Yes Ma'am, Agent Scully Ma'am! Thank you very much, Ma'am!" Anne said in a mock soldier-like stance. Scully smirked and made a face at her,

"Very funny, but you're saluting with the wrong hand, smart-ass," Scully said with superiority as she walked away, leaving Anne laughing behind her. They gathered their coats and walked out the doors into the wet, frigid night. The chilly air hit them right in the face and they both grimaced and grumbled, pulling their coats tightly around their necks and bodies. Scully pointed to her car, and they quickly dashed to it, shivering and laughing as they jumped inside. Anne explained where she lived to Scully, and they soon headed off.

Scully was quite surprised when they pulled up to a large, old warehouse. She peered through the windshield and said incredulously,

"*This* is where you *live*?" Anne smiled and laughed at her.

"Looks can be deceiving," Anne said with a grin.

"...Yeeaahh, rrrright," Scully said, still staring at the imposing old building. Anne chewed on the inside of her cheek for a second, pondering whether or not she should invite Scully to come in. She wanted to... but she wasn't sure if it was a good idea. She didn't want to jeopardize things by having it seem like she was trying to rush into anything. Besides, Scully may not want to come in anyway. After she'd finished the little battle inside her head, Anne let out a deep breath and looked up to find Scully looking at her, a polite but expectant smile on her face.

"Uhmm...," Anne said nervously as she darted her eyes around.

"Would you, uhmm... like to come in and... see the inside?" she asked, sounding like such a nervous teenager that Scully nearly giggled. ...Finally, Scully knew what ruffled Anne Lehman's calm plumage... She knew she shouldn't go inside and hang out... it really was late, and she didn't want to seem over-anxious or worse, easy and sleazy... but... she didn't want it to look like she was totally turning down the offer either... what to do... what to do... Scully looked at Anne biting the edge of her lip and gave her a small smile as she tried to answer casually,

"Yeah, sure, but just for a little while - then I really *must* be going." Anne answered her with a wide grin and hopped out of the car while Scully blew out a huge breath and muttered under her breath,

"I must be crazy," as she too hopped out of the car and followed Anne.

*********************************************************

<She's coming into my apartment, she's coming into my apartment, she's coming into my apartment...> Anne repeated inside her head as they walked up to the front door.

<I can't believe I'm doing this, I can't believe I'm doing this, I can't believe I'm doing this...> Scully said to herself as Anne swung open the huge wooden door and walked into the apartment. Scully followed, stepping into a large, open room with wide wood-plank floorboards that were polished and glossy-looking. The ceilings were high and open, showing the exposed wood beams and ceiling joists, and exposed pipes ran in every direction. Huge wooden pillars were spread-out through the center of a great room-type area, and the exterior walls were exposed brick. Anne flipped on several lights, revealing a spacious kitchen off to the side, and a few other rooms toward the back. It was beautiful - old and rustic, but renovated and completely modernized. There were assorted track-lights and spotlights, which nicely accentuated the warm, earthy wood tones of the place.

"...Wow..." Scully managed to say as her wide eyes swallowed the scenery. Anne smirked,

"Told you it was deceiving." she said with a satisfied grin. Scully laughed a little as she walked further into the room. A huge brick fireplace was situated in one corner of the great room, with a sectional sofa and TV opposite it. The kitchen had a small bar, as well as a little bistro-type table and chairs. Scully guessed that the remainder of the place was bedrooms and a bathroom, but she wasn't going to be bold enough to go and look. The whole place was a very interesting mix of old and new... decrepit, yet modern. Anne had mostly modern furniture and fixtures, but she also had some very antique-looking cabinets, chairs, crates and shelves scattered here and there. She had unusual wall-hangings and pieces of sculpture sitting around... most of it was Egyptian or Greek/Roman in nature. It was very eclectic, to say the least, but it all tied together beautifully.

"You have very... *unusual* tastes," Scully finally said with a smile. Anne laughed as she reappeared, offering a drink.

"I know - suffice it to say that my 'interests' are rather wide and varied." Anne said with a smirk. Scully sipped her glass and nodded her head a little.

"Yes, it is varied, but it's great - I mean, it all comes together really well." Scully said, trying not to sound too amazed.

"My place is so boring compared to this!" Scully said with a laugh. Anne continued to smile.

"I bet you have a story about all these things, don't you? I mean, this place just exudes *history*," Scully said emphatically, motioning to the things sitting about. Anne just laughed and shrugged.

"I guess some of the things have a story or two tied to them. Most of this stuff is just junk that I've had for years, and I just keep dragging it with me from one place to the next." Anne said with a grin.

"Have you moved around a lot?" Scully queried.

"Mmmmmm... well... I guess I have. Bruce and I - that's my ex-husband - we moved around quite a bit before and after we got married. He was always taking a new job someplace...," Anne said, waving it off with her hand. Scully just nodded her head and took another sip from her glass. The two women looked at each other for a moment as they drank in silence. It only lasted a few seconds, but again Scully felt the burn of Anne's gaze as she stared deeply into her eyes.

<How can you pierce me so quickly with that look of yours?> Scully wondered to herself as she tried hard to see past Anne's barrier. Anne's eyes were a smoky blue fog, hiding her inner thoughts well while she seemingly stripped Scully of hers. Scully felt herself growing uneasy under Anne's quick, but deadly invasion of her soul. She knew she looked nervous, and she was vaguely aware that she was fidgeting with her glass too, but she could not help herself.

<Talk about cutting the tension with a knife... I have to get out of here before it's too late...> Scully thought to herself as she fought the urge to take a deep breath.

Anne watched Dana's nervous, darting eyes, and she wondered how it was that she was so taken with her.

<...I don't even like redheads...> she thought to herself, but she knew that she could not be that superficial with Dana Scully. Something about Dana truly enthralled Anne. It was more than just the fascination that someone so petite could have such a strong presence... she was intelligent, kind, and beautiful to boot. No... it was more than that, Anne thought... she was *drawn* to this woman, as she never had been with anyone before... and *that*, Anne thought, probably frightened *both* of them.

"So, uhm ...," Anne said abruptly, breaking the trance between the two,

"Did you want to, uhm... sit down... take off those wet shoes and let them dry a little...??" Anne said with raised brows, motioning to Dana's shoes. Scully looked at Anne, then down to her feet, then up at Anne again. Her mind raced in ten different directions and shouted ten different instructions to her. She was so unnerved and so overwhelmed by all the emotions coursing through her that she feared she would faint. So, out of necessity, she sat down on the sofa with a soft 'plop'. Anne gave her a small concerned look - the poor girl looked frightened out of her wits... <Maybe this was a bad idea afterall...>, Anne thought to herself as she went to fetch some munchies.

"I'll try to get this place warmed-up a little bit." Anne said as she flipped on the stereo and walked over to light the gas fireplace. Scully nervously sat on the sofa, kicking off her shoes and trying her best to be 'cool and collected'.

< ...*relax*, dammit...> she scolded herself inwardly. Anne soon returned with some munchies and a bottle of wine.

"I suppose we really *shouldn't* be drinking any more of this, but... oh well...," Anne said jokingly. She sat down beside Dana, crossing her feet and tucking them under her legs like a little kid. Scully could feel her eyes boring into the side of her face as she drank her wine. It made her even more uneasy... and all the glasses of wine she'd already consumed were making her feel confused.

"So, Anne... how long have you lived here?" Scully asked as she tried to strike up more 'polite' conversation, attempting to keep the topic 'safe' and hopefully settle her nerves. Anne answered her, and they continued to chat about small, simple things for awhile... where they had grown up, moved to, who they had lived with... typical conversational things, but it helped both of them calm down a bit. Scully was really beginning to feel the wine now, and she wished she hadn't drunk so much. She sat her glass on the table and found Anne once again looking at her, this time with a smirk on her face.

"What?" Scully asked, returning the smirk. Anne grinned wider,

"I think we're *drunk*, Dana." Anne said with a laugh.

"God, I hope so, 'cos if I'm *not* drunk, then something is *really* wrong with me!" Scully said with a small giggle and a lazy smile as she undid her hair, raking her fingers through it as it tumbled down. Anne laughed and put her glass down on the table, stretching her arms and legs out.

"Ahhh, it feels good to get a little *smashed* once in awhile, doesn't it?" she said, rubbing her hands over her face.

"Mmmm, yeah, so long as you don't completely lose your inhibitions and do something really *stupid*," Scully said, making her eyes wide. Anne leaned in toward her,

"Why Agent Scully, are you saying that *you* have done some *stupid* things while under the influence of *alcohol*?!" Anne asked, feigning disbelief. Scully smiled at her,

"No, not really, I usually just laugh and talk too much... say things I shouldn't say, y'know." She said with a shrug. Anne made a face at her,

"Ohhhhh, a chatterbox drunk... greeeaaaatt!" she said in a funny voice as she made her eyes wide. Scully just looked at her and laughed hard, making Anne laugh as well. After they settled down, Scully looked at Anne,

"You know, you are *so much* different than I expected," she said as she looked at Anne thoughtfully. Anne raised her brows.

"And how did you *think* I would be? Anne asked with some surprise.

"...I dunno... but not funny, and eclectic, and... charming..." Scully said quietly, looking up at Anne almost coyly. Anne's brows raised even higher, and her eyelids fluttered rapidly for a moment. She was nearly too shocked to say anything back.

"Uhh... well... uhm... thank you, ... I guess," she said with a nervous laugh, picking up her glass and drinking quickly to hide her embarrassment. Scully half-smiled, looking down at her hands shyly.

<Oh goddd... can't *believe* I just said CHARMING!... @#$&% !> she thought to herself in a panic.

"But, you know...," Anne began in an attempt to regain control,

"You aren't at all like your 'professional' persona either," she said. Scully laughed a little,

"Well I certainly *hope* not," she blurted out, making both of them laugh again.

"So, we're both just a couple of fakers, huh?" Scully said when they had calmed down. Anne shook her head slowly and looked past Scully,

"No, it's not that... we're just... *very* protective of our inner selves," she said as she looked back at Scully,

"...right, Dana?" she asked quietly as she peered directly into Scully's soul. Scully swallowed the lump that arose in her throat and licked her suddenly dry lips as she nodded slowly.

"Yes... I suppose we are." She said in a barely audible whisper. Anne smiled gently at Dana, silently telling her that she understood.

Scully suddenly knew why she felt so connected to Anne -- she understood her. She may be quite different on many other levels, but she understood what Scully felt inside... Scully was certain of that. If someone would have asked her if there was *anyone* who could possibly penetrate her walls and get into her heart and soul... Scully would have said no... absolutely not... until today. Not even Mulder had gotten to her. She was always careful to keep him at arm's length... they were professional partners, after all. Some had tried to get in, but she never let them in. The funny thing was... she didn't think that Anne was even *trying*... she just seemed to... bypass all the doors and locks with a natural ease. She just waltzed right in to Scully's inner sanctum... and Scully was powerless to stop her. Scully knew she should be terrified, but she wasn't. Something told her that Anne would not hurt her... and, something told her that Anne was just as nervous as she was. Scully could sense Anne's eyes on her as she turned away to look around the room. She was watching her... questioning what she was feeling, wondering what she was thinking... Scully could feel it.

Anne suddenly got up to change the music, giving Scully a breather, which she was grateful for. She gulped down some more wine as she took a turn watching Anne. Her lithe figure was hunched over awkwardly as she loaded a bunch of disks into the cd player, her graceful fingers pushing the buttons delicately. She wore no socks, only a smidgen of makeup, and a thin gold chain glimmered occasionally through the long, reckless curls that covered her neck. The whole apartment smelled like her, Scully thought, as she closed her eyes and took in the scent. She could smell a hint of cinnamon, like a candle or something... and there was also something 'fresh', like laundry detergent or cleaner... and she could smell Anne's perfume... a light, musk scent that was warm and comforting. When Scully opened her eyes, Anne was standing in front of her, looking right at her. Scully jumped a little, surprised at Anne's presence. Anne quirked one corner of her mouth in a jittery smile. Scully smiled tightly as she shifted nervously in her seat and looked at Anne expectantly. Anne sat down beside her, folding her hands on her lap.

"Dana," Anne began, looking down to the floor and swallowing hard,

"...remember when I said that I only ever had one passionate, intense relationship?" Anne asked calmly as she looked at Dana again.

"Yes...?" Scully said almost fearfully. <...here it comes, here it comes...> she thought to herself in a panic.

"well...," Anne started, taking a deep breath,

"...it was with a woman..." Anne finished quietly as she stared at Dana and held her breath. Scully's brows shot skyward and her mouth opened slightly. She didn't know why she felt surprised - she had suspected it. She closed her mouth and didn't say anything for a moment, trying to act as cool as possible. Finally, she said,

"I see," nodding her head slightly as she darted her eyes around the room quickly. Anne chewed on her lip a little, dropping her gaze to the floor again.

"So, uhm...," Scully started, wanting to know more and daring to ask,

"Are you... gay?" she asked quietly. Anne smiled and laughed nervously.

"That's a good question," she said as she reclined back on the sofa.

"I wouldn't say that I'm *extremely* attracted to women... but, ...I'm not attracted to men either," Anne said. Scully tried to act calm, but she was only faking - the conversation topic and Anne's close presence beside her was unnerving her completely. Alarms were going off inside her head like mad, and she actually felt sick to her stomach. Yet... she wanted to know... she wanted to continue the intense, revealing conversation... she wanted to find out how Anne felt... she wanted to find out how *she* felt herself... she HAD to know...

"So... what *are* you attracted to then?" Scully asked, licking her parched lips and looking Anne straight in the eye. Anne fixed her with a deep blue, smoldering stare... she gave Scully her answer immediately with the intense, piercing look.

"Actually..." Anne said, looking down at her hands, then up directly at Scully,

"I think I'm attracted to you," she said quietly as she bore her cerulean eyes right into Scully's, then dropped them back down shyly. Scully's mouth opened slightly, and she tried hard to swallow the huge lump that had formed in her throat, rendering her unable to speak. She blinked her eyes rapidly a few times and her heart thudded wildly in her chest. Her face was beet-red as heat rushed up her neck and spread across her cheeks. She had no idea what to say. Anne continued to look down, cursing herself for blurting the declaration out.

<Dammit dammit dammit... shouldn't have *done* that, you idiot...> she yelled to herself. Anne ventured a glance up at Scully, who looked back at her with her mouth still agape, and her eyes a wide blue-green. Anne squeezed her eyes shut tightly for a moment,

"I'm sorry, Dana... I - I shouldn't have said that, I... -" Anne started, shaking her head, but Scully interrupted her,

"No - no, don't... don't apologize. I - I'm... that's... uhm...," Scully tried desperately to form a coherent thought, but all she could do was stutter and stammer. She sighed disgustedly and rolled her eyes.

"I'm sorry... I... I just don't know what to say," she said, shaking her head and quirking one side of her mouth with embarrassment. Anne put her hands up and waved them slightly,

"Don't say anything - I understand... it's alright. I shouldn't have said that... I apologize," she said, placing on hand on her chest and looking sorrowfully at Scully.

"N-No, uhm... actually, I don't think you *do* understand... *I* don't understand it myself...," Scully said, blinking her eyes rapidly and shaking her head a little. Anne frowned and cocked her head, looking at Dana with confused eyes. Scully smiled and rubbed her forehead with her fingers,

"Uhmm... listen... can we just drop this? Okay? I - I don't think I'm quite... *ready*... to have this conversation yet... I'm sorry." she said with a tight, forced smile. Her face was tinged red with humility as she looked away from Anne. Anne's eyebrows arched skyward, but she tried to hide her surprise.

"Okay... no problem." Anne said quietly, wanting not to make a big deal out of it. Anne figured that Dana wasn't sure how she felt about Anne, that's why she was confused and didn't know what to say. Either that or Anne was totally wrong about everything, and Dana wasn't attracted to her in the slightest.

<Oh God, please, don't let that be the case... I would shrivel up and die from humiliation...> Anne thought to herself. She chastised herself again for letting the whole thing tumble out of her mouth so carelessly. It was obviously too much for Dana to handle. Anne hoped that she hadn't blown things completely.

"Uhm... I really should be going," Scully said quietly as she rose from the sofa.

<Oh shit shit shit... this is bad... she's bolting,> Anne thought. Scully put her shoes back on and looked at Anne as she stood up too.

"Thank you, Anne, for filling-in for my *blind date*... I'm quite sure that I had a *much* better time with you." Scully said, trying to grin genuinely at Anne. Anne smiled slightly at Scully. She wasn't ready for her to go... she felt like she'd ruined something between them... she wanted to 'fix' it...

"Oh, well... you're quite welcome. I'm sure that I had a much better time too." Anne said quickly, stuffing her hands in her pockets and smiling briefly. The two women looked at each other awkwardly, neither knowing quite what to say. Anne's eyes were sad and full of remorse as she looked at Scully, and Scully's were jittery and closed-off. Scully didn't want the evening to end like this, but it was almost like she had no control over her emotions. She could feel herself becoming frightened and pulling away, but she was powerless to stop it. She knew that she just had to go home and be alone to get a handle on things. Finally Scully made a small face and shrugged,

"Well...," she said expectantly. Anne snapped out of her daze and moved toward the door, fetching Scully's coat for her.

"Thanks for showing me your place too... it's very nice," Scully said as she put her coat on.

"Oh, you're welcome... any time," Anne said with a shrug as she dropped her eyes away from Scully's again. Scully looked at Anne and truly felt terrible for dashing off like this... but she *had* to... she just had to... As she was walking out the door, she turned around,

"Uhm... maybe I'll... see you again?... sometime?" she said hopefully, but earnestly. Anne answered her with a small forced grin,

"Sure... that'd be great." Scully smiled, and Anne smiled back cautiously. Then Scully turned and began to walk away. Anne's heart began to pound hard, wracking her chest as she watched Dana walk slowly away and out of her life. The whole evening had been wonderful, until now... now it all seemed to be in jeopardy. She felt as though this was the last she'd see of the beautiful, petite redhead. All their meetings flashed through her head... all the pent-up feelings she had began to boil up inside her... in her mind, she saw Scully's radiant smile and her beautiful sea-blue eyes... she heard her sultry voice and her quiet laughter. She began to truly panic at the thought of never seeing Dana Scully again. Suddenly, without thought, she cried out,

"Dana! Wait!" making Scully stop and turn around quickly. Anne jogged out to meet her as the misty rain softly pelted them. Scully looked at Anne with concern, her brows knit in multiple confusions. Anne could only stare at her with her mouth slightly agape,

"I... I just wanted to...," Anne stammered and shook her head, unable to say anything intelligent. It seemed as though Scully's eyes were searching Anne's very soul for answers. Before she could stop herself, Anne slid her hand behind Scully's neck and leaned in to press her lips against Scully's in an anxious, hesitant kiss. Scully stiffened at the sudden action, but then relaxed as she began, surprisingly, to kiss Anne back. They broke off the brief, but electrical kiss and stared at each other momentarily with wide eyes, neither one able to comprehend what had just happened. Anne removed her hand and stayed close to Scully's face as she whispered,

"...Bye...," very quietly. Scully stared at Anne for a second, then reached up and quickly kissed her lips again. Anne almost smiled into Scully's mouth, but she refrained as Scully broke the kiss and whispered back to Anne,

"...Bye..."

Scully then turned quickly and headed off to her car, not looking back. Anne stood in the rain and watched her as she steered her car away and sped off into the blackness of the night.

**********************

As Scully drove in her car, she recounted the events of the evening in her head, particularly what had just taken place a few minutes ago. Her mind was a jumble of thoughts, emotions, fears, anxieties, and worries. All her thoughts ran together, cramming her head full of questions as well as answers...

<What am I *doing*?!... I'm not gay... why am I doing this?!> she asked herself frantically. <We hardly even know each other... this is wrong, wrong, wrong... what am I *doing*?...> Scully thought, feeling the panic rise in her chest. She wondered if Anne felt like she did.

<No, she admitted that she's gay, or at least that she had had an affair with a woman... but, she could be bisexual too... she didn't really *specify*, after all...> she thought for a moment,

<Then she said that she's *attracted* to me...and then... oh god... THEN she *kissed* me!!... god... this is all too much...> Scully thought helplessly as she rubbed her temple. She nearly had to pull her car over to get control of herself as her brain continued to teeter on the brink of overload...

<*Am* I attracted to her?! What is this *feeling* that I have for her?? ...no no no no... I like *men*... I like *MEN*... don't I ?!?!> she yelled to herself. She ran her hand through her hair and sighed deeply, brushing her fingers against her lips. They still felt like they were on fire from Anne's burning, sensual kiss.

<...She kissed me and *I* kissed her *back*... *I* kissed *HER*...> Scully screamed to herself internally. How could she possibly *deny* that she was attracted to this woman? She had nearly melted into a puddle when they kissed... who was she kidding!?

<Oh, Dana... you're falling for her... just admit it...don't be such a coward... dammit...> she wearily cursed herself as she drove on, eager to get home and put her exhausted body and mind to rest.

Anne closed her apartment door and leaned against it, looking up at the ceiling as she blew out a big breath of air. She had kissed Dana... and, more importantly, Dana had kissed her back. Anne felt relieved more than anything. At least now she knew that there was a possibility that Dana was interested. She licked her lips, wanting to re-taste Dana Scully's warm, virginal kiss.

<Ohhh... you're in deep Annie ...uhhhh, shit...> she thought to herself as she closed her eyes and slumped down to the floor. Anne immediately began to wonder when she would once again get to see the little redhead with whom she was so infatuated. She didn't want to seem over-anxious and call her right away. In fact, she thought it best to let Dana make the next move.

<If she's okay with all of this, she'll call me,> Anne thought to herself, <If she's too wigged-out by all of it, then she won't call.> she concluded.

<Wait a minute... I didn't even give her my phone number... shit!> Anne scowled to herself, <oh well... she *is* an FBI agent... I suppose she'll be able to track me down if she wants to.> she thought jokingly to herself as she got up and headed back the hallway. She undressed and crawled into bed, stretching under the warm blankets. She yawned and blinked slowly as images of Dana Scully's face flashed through her mind in slow motion.

<Mmmm...what a glorious way to fall asleep,> she wearily thought to herself as her eyes finally closed, succumbing to her body's overpowering need for sweet sleep.

***************************************************************

The next day proved to be a difficult one for Scully. She was not focused at all and couldn't concentrate for shit. Mulder had asked her if she was okay twice now, and it wasn't even time for lunch. Of course, Scully knew what her problem was... and she wasn't about to tell Mulder.

<God... can you imagine?> she pondered to herself. <Mulder would completely flip out if he knew. No... he would probably get off on it somehow... pervert> she thought as she glanced sideways at her partner, who was sitting at his desk pouring over a case file. Scully sighed for about the tenth time and pretended to return to her paperwork as she idly wondered what Anne was doing at that precise moment. She daydreamed that Anne was wondering around the hospital in a daze, similar to Scully.

<No... she's much too calm for that,> Scully thought to herself. <I'm sure she has *total* control over her emotions - unlike yours truly,> she thought with an eye-roll. All morning, Scully had been trying to decide if and when she should call Anne. Would she look too eager if she called her right away? Should she wait a little bit? How long? Would Anne call her first? What would she say? Scully had no clue what to do. She was scared as hell to go forward with anything, and she was also scared to sit back on her laurels and wait... what if Anne thought she wasn't interested? *WAS* she interested? And if so, *WHAT* is it that I'm interested *IN*????? ...the endless questions that her mind kept inventing was beginning to drive her mad.

Nearly all night she had lain awake admitting and acknowledging that she was indeed attracted to Anne... now she was thinking about what it was that she wanted, and what she wanted to do with her feelings. This was so different from anything she'd ever felt before. With guys, she let them do the calling... let them do the pursuing and the asking... let them make all the moves. The guy made bold advances, and she either turned them down flat or acquiesced. She wasn't a temptress or a seductress... she didn't know *how* to make advances on someone because she never *did*. She thought back to all the relationships she'd had... she never dominated any of them -the guys always 'took charge', and she usually just went along with it and did what they wanted. It wasn't that she *needed* to dominate - she just never realized that men, when in a relationship-type setting, made her feel so submissive. It seemed so out-of-character for her... she always thought of herself as being very 'strong and proud'. And when it came to sex, she never made the overtures - the guys always did. Even the few times that she just gave a guy a blowjob, *they* directed her - she never initiated. She thought back with some disgust to those times...how most of the guys she dated only seemed to want a one-night stand or some instant oral gratification in the front seat of their car, and then it was "sayonara baby". They were usually rude, and almost always insensitive. She never had a truly meaningful relationship with anyone, and she had come to believe that it was *her* problem.

Scully closed her eyes and sighed deeply, cringing at the recollection of her naïve teenage and collegiate days. She had learned quickly, as always, but often times it was too late to stop the hurt that inevitably came from such experiences. The men she had been with were all basically insensitive pigs, and their primary interest was in fucking her - period. But...it was different with Anne... she wasn't aggressive like a guy... she was gentle and calm... shy and sensitive. She mesmerized Scully with one look, yet she didn't seem to even be aware of it. And, she didn't come on like a freight train... she seemed content to take her time and move slowly... it threw Scully completely off-balance.

<Well, duh - it's because she's a *woman*,> Scully surmised to herself. She wondered if Anne knew what she wanted... if she knew where she was headed... if she had any 'plan of action'... and she *still* wondered whether or not she should call her.

After a few more agonizing days, Scully decided that she would call Anne. She wasn't too surprised that Anne hadn't called her - the way she had left that rainy night didn't exactly make her feelings *clear*. Finally, she decided that she had to be the one to make the next move. She got the number of the hospital, but she hesitated to call. She knew that if Anne was there, she certainly wouldn't be able to take time out for a stupid phone call; they probably wouldn't even be able to track her down. So, that left her apartment. Finding that phone number was no problem; now all Scully had to do was work up the nerve to dial... and speak.

She waited until she went home - she certainly didn't need Mulder overhearing anything. She sat on her sofa, reciting in her head what she would say, then she picked up the phone and dialed. The phone rang once... twice... three times... no answer...

<Great, she's not home,> Scully thought. Just then a faint beep sounded and Anne's voice spoke,

"I'm either not here, or I'm too lazy to answer the phone... leave a message." Scully smiled as her heart began to throb and a blush crept up her cheeks.

"Uhm, Anne... hi, it's, uh, Dana... Dana Scully?" she stammered nervously.

"Uhm, I just... wanted to call and... say 'hello', and uhm, see if... maybe... you'd like to, uhm, get together? I mean, uh, maybe have dinner or something?," she tried her best to sound casual, but it wasn't working very well,

"So, uh... give me a call, if you want - my number is 555-7023... bye..." Scully hung up, leaning back on the sofa and expelling a deep breath.

"Well... now we wait," Scully said to herself, relieved to have the uncomfortable hurdle overwith.

******************************

It was fairly late when Anne finally got home. Even though she rarely got home at an 'acceptable' hour, she was always grateful that she at least got the opportunity to *go* home. She often wondered if her superiors would allow her to keep more 'normal' hours if she weren't single or if she had a family. Then again, if she weren't single, she probably wouldn't be working in a position that demanded 150% of her time. She didn't mind it for now - she had nothing better to devote herself to, so it wasn't a big deal. Someday though, she hoped that would change. She looked at the cups and dishes and stacks of papers sitting in her kitchen... the unfolded laundry sitting in the basket on the floor... the stack of 3-month-old magazines lying on the coffee table... it seemed that she never got time to herself anymore. All she did was work, work, work... her personal life was non-existent... sometimes she felt empty and unfulfilled, but she did her best to push those feelings aside.

She rubbed her tired eyes, knowing that this would be another night that she would feel compelled to stay up late, paying bills and trying to catch up on things around the apartment. She was flipping through her enormous pile of mail when she saw her message light blinking on her answering machine.

<Unusual,> she thought, <I rarely get calls from anyone...> She pressed the play button,

' Uhm, Anne... hi, it's, uh, Dana... Dana Scully?...' a grin began tentatively on Anne's lips as the message continued,

' Uhm, I just... wanted to call and... say 'hello', and uhm, see if... maybe... you'd like to, uh, get together sometime? I mean, uhm, maybe have dinner or something?...' the grin widened and spread across her tired face as she listened,

' So, uh... give me a call, if you want - my number is 555-7023... bye...' Anne closed her eyes and breathed a huge sigh of relief. She quickly scribbled down the number on a piece of paper and tucked it inside her coat pocket. She stood and thought to herself for a few minutes, then picked up the phone and made a call... to her favorite 'advisor' and friend.

"Hello?" a sleepy female voice said into the phone.

"Hi Kate... sorry if I woke you," Anne said apologetically.

"Ohh, hi Annie... long time no hear from... how are you?" the voice asked groggily.

"I'm good... how are you guys?" Anne asked.

"Everyone's fine. You know, just the usual crap going on... school... sports, et cetera." Kate said with a yawn.

"Hey, how is Erin's sprained ankle coming along?" Anne asked.

"Oh its much better. She can walk a lot better, and she's already bugging me to go back to soccer," Kate said with a laugh. Anne laughed too,

"Well that's a good sign then," Anne replied.

"So... what's on your mind, Annie? Hmm? You never call, unless you need something, and you *never* call late at night unless its important. What's going on?" Kate said, knowing her sister quite well. Anne smiled and closed her eyes. She never could pull a fast one over on Kate. The woman was psychic.

"Nothing's going on, Kate... I'm fine," Anne said calmly, trying to deter Kate's impending questions.

"Come onnnn Annie! Don't bullshit me baby sister! I can sense your tension through the phone! What gives?" Kate said insistently.

"Kate! Gimme a break!" Anne said with a laugh.

"It must beeee... something about work, or... somethingggg...," Kate said, trying to guess. Then she gave a sharp gasp,

"Ohhhh... I bet I know..." Kate said in a hushed voice. Anne didn't say anything, she just rolled her eyes at the phone.

"You've gotten involved with someone... ??" Kate said excitedly. Anne squeezed her eyes shut, cursing silently... she just did NOT understand how Kate could possibly know her so well.

"Is that it Annie?!" Kate asked excitedly. Anne just sighed heavily into the phone.

"That's it!!! I knew it!!" Kate laughed.

"Who is it? Huh? C'mon Anne, please tell me... PLEEEEAAAASSE?!" Kate begged and whined. Anne began laughing, unable to be quiet.

"C'monnnn... you must have called me to ask my opinion about *something*, Anne... it's the only reason you ever call me!" Kate said teasingly.

"It is not!!" Anne replied indignantly. Kate only laughed in return.

"...shithead..." Anne said with a chuckle.

"Okay, okay... so tell me, Anne... who is she?" Kate asked seriously. Her older sister Kathryn was the only person who knew the truth about Anne and her 'experiences'. She had never told a soul, save Kate. And she told Kate because she knew she was the only person who would understand and support her, as she always had. Anne relied heavily on her big sister for that.

"She's a... a police officer..." Anne replied shakily.

"Oooooo! A big tough dyke who packs heat?? Hmm...not what I expected, dear sister," Kate cracked sarcastically.

"No!! She's not really a *cop*... she's a... she's an FBI agent, actually..." Anne said in a stammer.

"Ohhhhh, okayyy - a *Federal Agent*... hmmm.... Annie, honey... that's really not much better," Kate joked again.

"Kate!!" Anne warned.

"Oh lighten up! Jesus! Alright, so tell me about her... how'd you meet her? What's she like? Have you slept with her? Tell, tell!" Kate said, firing off the questions like a machine gun.

"Christ Kate!! Would you gimme a break?!" Anne said with some annoyance. Kate merely giggled into the phone.

"We met because she was investigating one of my patients, and... we've gotten to know each other a little bit, and... we kissed... once..." Anne said, truncating the gory details.

"Ah-HA!" Kate spat out with a small giggle. Anne sighed into the phone,

"No! No 'Ah-ha'! Nothing else has happened!" Anne said exasperatedly, making Kate laugh again.

"Fuck off, Kate, okay?" Anne said disgustedly. Kate snickered again,

"Oh Anne! God, you're so touchy!" Kate scolded. Anne just sighed.

"...Fuck off..." she reiterated with a shake of her head.

"Anne! Stop being such a moody little shit! You crank!" Kate scolded again.

"Now tell me, *seriously*, what is your worry with this chicky-babe, hmm?" Kate asked as she got serious.

"Oh, I don't know... the usual, I suppose," Anne said, shrugging her shoulders.

"Afraid of getting your precious feelings stomped on again? Is that it?" Kate asked.

"I dunno," Anne said quietly.

"Annie...," Kate began,

"You can't go 'round hiding inside your little shell all the time. You gotta take a *chance* little sister! You won't find the right person if you just sit around waiting... you gotta stick your neck out and have a look around!" Kate said earnestly.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Anne grumbled.

"No, no - don't gimme the 'yeah yeah' shit, Anne... you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself... if Martha were meant to be the love of your life, then she'd still be here, and you'd still be together, right?" Kate said. Anne rolled her eyes. She hated it when Kate was right.

"Right, Anne?" Kate said insistently.

"*Yes*, Kate," Anne said exasperatedly.

"Okay... I won't preach to you about Martha again... you know how I felt about her," Kate said.

"Yes, Kate... I *know* Kate," Anne said with a groan. Martha was the woman she had had the 'intense' relationship with... she was the woman that she didn't wish to tell Scully about... she was the woman who had turned Anne's world upside-down. Kate didn't like Martha, and she didn't hide that fact from Anne... they had numerous arguments about the whole affair. Kate knew her sister's terrible temper, but she just couldn't stand by and watch Anne make a mistake, in her opinion. Kate didn't like the way Martha had interfered in Anne's life, and she didn't like the way she made Anne feel guilty and responsible for her. In Kate's eyes, Martha knew that Anne was 'unavailable', but she seduced her and pursued her anyway, and in her opinion, ruined Anne's life. Although it seemed to upset Anne greatly, Kate was pleased when Martha gave Anne an ultimatum in the end, eventuating in their breakup.

"So...," Kate started,

"What is this girl like?" she asked. Anne smiled,

"She's very *nice*, Kate, and she's not a big 'butch' either," Anne said, expecting a rebuttal.

"I was *kidding* about the butch thing, geez! I'm sure she's *very* nice... she must be if you've gone so far as to *kiss* her," Kate said sarcastically.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Anne asked.

"Well... have you even *kissed* anyone else since Martha left, Anne?" Kate asked, her voice laced with smart-ass.

"No, Kate... I don't believe I have," Anne deadpanned back to her.

"Well, seeeee...?" Kate said. Anne sighed heavily.

"So... what's her star sign?" Kate asked.

"What's her what?" Anne said, confused.

"Her *star sign* - y'know, when's her birthday?" Kate explained.

"Oh... christ... I don't know Kate!" Anne said. Kate was into horoscopes and star signs and celestial bodies, and all that bullshit. It totally bored Anne, but Kate swore by it.

"You've kissed her, but you don't know her birthday?! Come ON!" Kate said incredulously.

"I think it's February something... late February, I think?" Anne said, wracking her brain trying to remember the dates from Scully's hospital charts.

"Ohhhhh, no WAYYYY!" Kate said excitedly.

"What?!" Anne asked nervously.

"That makes her a *Pisces*, Annie! A *PISCES*!!" Kate nearly shouted. Anne was confused,

"So...? so what??" she asked.

"So WHAT?! Anne - Pisces is a Cancer's *perfect match*, honey! *Perfection*!!" Kate explained emphatically.

"Oh... well... that's terrific... assuming things *do* pan out," Anne said, trying to reign-in Kate's excitement.

"Anne - a Cancer/Pisces union is the most *perfect* sexual union under the *stars*! Don't you *know* that!?" Kate exclaimed again, bursting into giggles. Anne sighed exasperatedly yet again,

"Oh good... sex advice from Dr. Kate... *just* what I need," she deadpanned. Kate laughed more, and Anne just shook her head.

"Well listen, Kate, I'd love to stay on the phone and entertain you all night, but I've gotta go, okay?" Anne said sarcastically.

"Alright, alright," Kate said, ending her lightheartedness.

"Listen, Annie, seriously... if you really like this girl... take a chance on her... I mean, be careful... remember the lessons you've learned... but, take a chance... it just might be well worth it... okay?" Kate said sweetly. Anne smiled,

"Okay Kate... I will. Goodnight," Anne said.

"Goodnight little sis," Kate said. Anne hung up the phone and sat for a moment, considering what her sister had said. She glanced around her apartment again, looking at all the things that she had been previously worrying about... suddenly, they didn't seem so important anymore.

*********************************

Scully arrived home the following night after turning down Mulder's offer to get take-out and go over some files. She gave him some lame excuse about having a headache, but she knew the real reason was that she was hoping to find a message on her machine at home. When she once again didn't find a message, she felt a little let-down, as she had the last few nights. But, she was still glad that she hadn't taken Mulder up on his offer - she'd had enough of him for one day, and besides, it was Friday, and she wanted to relax. She shrugged out of her work clothes and foraged around for something to eat, managing only to find some soup and crackers.

<...Gotta go to the store tomorrow...> she thought, making a mental note. She had just plopped down on the sofa when the phone rang. <What does Mulder want *now*?> she thought to herself.

"Hello?" she said in her usual annoyed 'what do you want, Mulder' tone.

"Hi...Dana?" a feminine voice on the other end asked, making Scully sit up and take notice.

"Yes...?" Scully replied, unsure of the caller's id at first,

"Hi... it's Anne," the voice said. Scully immediately relaxed into broad smile.

"Oh, hi!" Scully said, trying not to sound too anxious.

"How are you?" Scully asked.

"Good, I'm... good... busy with work, of course..." Anne stammered slightly. Scully thought she sounded exhausted.

"Uhm, listen... I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but I've been getting home pretty late, and... well, you know how it goes," Anne explained.

"Oh yeah, I know - no problem, don't worry about it. I just wanted to, uhm... call and see how you were doing... y'know...," Scully said, trailing off and trying her best to sound casual. She squeezed her eyes shut, wishing that she didn't sound like such a teenager with a crush. There was a moment of awkward silence between the two women as each one pondered what to say to the other. Finally Anne spoke,

"Uhm, listen... I was thinking about your offer... going out for something to eat sometime, or something...?" she said.

"Oh, yeah... that was just an idea," Scully said, suddenly back-peddling with the thought that perhaps Anne didn't *want* to get together again.

"Well, the thing is... my shifts have been ending pretty late - maybe too late to go out for a decent dinner someplace...?" Anne said, interrupting Scully's panic.

"Oh, well... that's alright, uhm...," Scully stammered, trying to think of something positive or a quick-fix,

"...you could just, uh, come over here... to my place... if you want...," Scully spat out quickly, surprising herself as well as Anne. Anne said nothing in response, and Scully suddenly wished that she could take it back. Instead, she blurted out more,

"...I mean, uhm... we could just... have some coffee or something... or I could just make us something to eat here...?" Scully added, shocking herself further. Scully couldn't see it, but Anne's eyes were wide and her mouth fell open a little. Scully squeezed her eyes shut and cringed, waiting for Anne to say the dreaded 'thanks, but no-thanks'.

"...that would be great," Anne said instead, a wide grin playing on her lips. Scully smiled and let out an audible sigh of relief.

"Great... so, uhm... when can I expect you?" Scully asked, sounding slightly coy.

"Uhmm,... my shift is over in about an hour." Anne said.

"Sounds good - let me give you directions..." Scully gave Anne the directions to her apartment and they hung up, anxious for the next hour to pass rapidly. Anne leaned back against the wall for a moment, feeling relieved and excited.

<...I'm going over to her place... *shiiiiiiittt*> she thought to herself, placing a hand over her eyes in an attempt to stifle the sudden panic that washed over her.

<Okay... okay... I can do this... I am not going to panic...> she said to herself repeatedly as she gathered herself and slowly walked out the door. She vowed to get ahold of herself and concentrate on her remaining hour of work, but instead, she found her thoughts constantly drifting to a certain crimson-haired woman...

********************************************************

<Oh my god... we have a *date*...> Scully thought to herself in a panic. She ripped her kitchen apart fumbling for something to make, then she dashed here and there putting things away and cleaning up in a hurry. Luckily her apartment was already tidy, so she didn't have much to do.

<...I guess this is when being anal pays off...> she thought sarcastically to herself. She went to her room to put something on besides sweats and a ratty t-shirt. She unconsciously grabbed a suit first,

<No! - I'm not going to *work* for chrissake...> she thought as she flipped past some dresses... <we're not going out to a cocktail party either, idiot...> finally she huffed impatiently and slammed her closet doors shut, deciding to just wear the old standard - blue jeans and a sweater. Later, as she stood looking in the mirror fussing with her hair and makeup, it occurred to her that she was primping -primping for a hot date with a *woman*. Scully stood for a moment and stared at herself in the mirror...

<So this is it, huh? ... I've made my decision...?> she asked herself. <...I'm going to be a lesbian... a dyke... a butch...> all the crude slang words that she'd ever heard went whizzing through her head, and she had to smile and laugh a little, despite herself. <god... who would have ever thought that those terms would one day describe *you*, Dana Katherine?> she said to herself as she turned her face sideways to the right and then left. She studied her profile, shifting her eyebrows up and down and looking at her lips...

<...I don't feel like a dyke... I don't think I *look* like a dyke...> she thought to herself as she pushed her hair back away from her face, staring and studying herself.

<Why does there have to be a 'label' put on it anyway?> she asked herself. <why can't you just *care* about another person without it mattering if they're male or female? why does it have to be such a big damn deal?> she pondered. She wished it wasn't such a huge issue... she wished that people could just be happy for you because you found someone you care about... someone who is good *for* you as well as good *to* you... why does the *sexual* aspect have to be such a big issue? ...why couldn't people just mind their own damn business?

<...Listen to me... I'm already becoming a gay-rights activist... > Scully thought as she rolled her eyes at herself. She wondered what her family would think. If her father were alive... god... Scully rolled her eyes at that thought. To say that he would have been 'disappointed' was putting it *mildly*. He would have *freaked out* - no question. Her mother... she would be upset... confused... she'd blame herself for "doing something wrong"... Scully could hear it all. Would she eventually come around? ...Scully couldn't answer that. Her mother was old-fashioned and god-fearing, so, perhaps not. And Bill and Charlie... no... they probably wouldn't understand either... they were too much like their father. Melissa... she would have understood... she would have supported her... she would have been happy for her...

<Yet another reason to miss her,> Scully thought sadly. And Mulder... what would he think? What would he say? Would he treat her differently? Actually, he probably would be fine with it. Mulder may be off-the-wall, but he was Mr. "I'm Open to All Possibilities" afterall, so perhaps he wouldn't care in the slightest. <...and I *still* think he'd be turned-on by it,> Scully thought as she rolled her eyes again.

A light knocking on her door jerked her out of her reverie. Her eyes bulged with the realization that Anne was here, and she quickly fluffed her hair one last time, then dashed out to answer the door. The knocking sounded again, and Scully stopped just short of grasping the doorknob to expel one last deep breath. Gathering her wits and her control, she opened the door. Scully couldn't help but smile broadly at the sight of Anne's curly hair and lanky figure. Anne smiled shyly and said a quick "hi" as Scully opened the door wider and bid her to come in.

Scully's apartment was pretty much as she expected - small, orderly, clean, conservative.

"This is really nice," Anne said as she looked around and removed her jacket.

"Oh, thanks... sometimes I think it's, uhm, a bit... plain..." Scully mumbled as she disposed of Anne's coat. Anne continued to say things about the apartment, but Scully was only half-listening... she couldn't stop shooting sideways glances at Anne. The sight of her in the doorway sent chills up and down Scully's spine, and now that she was standing beside her, looking around her apartment, Scully actually felt dizzy. Her hands were trembling, and her stomach was doing back-flips.

"... it's really very homey and comfortable-looking." Anne finished, noticing the look on Scully's flushed face. Scully flashed a quick nervous smile and shoved her hands in her back pockets.

"Uhm... well, come and sit down... I, uh, made us some things to eat," Scully said as she led Anne to the sofa and then scampered off into the kitchen. Anne turned to see her disappear hurriedly.

<She seems a bit uptight,> Anne thought with a frown. <No -*nervous* - she's probably nervous as hell, like *I* am... guess I just do a better job of hiding it...> Anne told herself as she looked around the living room. Anne got up and looked at the photographs that were sitting around, and the books and decorations... she wanted to learn what she could about Dana.

In the meantime, Scully was trying desperately to get ahold of herself in the kitchen. <Get a GRIP, Dana!> she scolded to herself. <...I'm acting like a complete nervous wreck... idiot! ...relax...> she mumbled to herself as she grabbed all the munchies and headed back out to her guest.

"Good god, you didn't have to go to all this trouble!" Anne said with shock as Scully appeared with her arms full of little sandwiches and assorted plates of goodies. Scully blushed and lied,

"Oh it's no problem, besides, I didn't really eat anything either." Scully said.

<Yeah... I was too busy *primping*> she groaned internally.

They sat down on the sofa and nibbled on the food while making small-talk and chatting idly about their work week. It took a little while, but they eventually began to relax and get comfortable with each other. It was obvious that Anne was exhausted, making her more sedate than usual. She had dark circles under her eyes and they looked terribly sunken-in. Scully actually felt bad for asking her to come over; she probably would rather be in bed. Looking at Anne's pale, weary face, Scully still thought that she was uniquely attractive.

Anne sat with her long legs crossed in a perfectly lady-like fashion, twisting her ankle around and making her shoe slip on and off the sole of her sockless foot. Her hair wasn't pulled back, for a change, and she unconsciously ran her fingers through it, making the long curls tumble carelessly around her face. She had no makeup on tonight, and her skin looked ivory-white. Scully observed her carefully and surmised that she didn't look like a dyke or a butch either... the stupidity of her own silly thoughts and observations about each of them nearly made Scully laugh out loud as she forced herself to look away from Anne for a moment.

When she looked back up again, Anne was smiling knowingly at her, like she knew what she was thinking. Anne's soft features were tired, but her eyes still sparkled like a deep cerulean sea under the heavy lids, entrancing Scully every time she looked at her. Scully nearly felt compelled to reach out and feel her hair... her skin... her face... she wondered if all of it was as soft as it looked. And... she wanted to feel her lips... she wanted to kiss her again, like the soft, chaste kiss they shared before. It was all Scully could think about as she watched Anne talk and eat. Much as she feared it, Scully knew that she would have to be the one to initiate something -Anne would be too cautious to make any kind of move.

Scully internally scolded herself to do something about her feelings for a change, rather than just sit there like a bump on a log. She could feel her palms growing sweaty as she tried desperately to muster up some courage.

Anne could tell that Dana was watching her. She supposed that she was studying her, still trying to make up her mind about what she wanted. That was okay... Anne certainly understood where she was coming from. She remembered back to when she found herself attracted to a woman for the first time... she was so confused... so unsure... so afraid. She knew exactly what Dana was going through, and she wished somehow that she could ease her turmoil. One thing was for certain though; she knew that she would not be the one to make any moves - it had to be Dana's decision, and she would let her lead the way. That was proving to be difficult, however, because ever since they had kissed, Anne could think of nothing but kissing her again. She wanted so badly to touch her skin and hold her close to her... the thoughts consumed her.

She didn't know how or why, but Anne was certain that their union, if it would happen, would be a beautiful one. She had thought a lot about it, and she was sure they would be a perfect match. Something about Dana was just 'right'... something just 'fit' with her... Anne felt it every time they had been together, and it was like nothing she'd ever felt before. She hoped to God that Dana felt it too.

Anne put her glass of wine on the table and stretched her arms and legs.

"Ohh man... getting only 3 or 4 hours of sleep each night for a week is murder," She said, rubbing her neck and squeezing her eyes shut.

"Mmm, I don't see how you do it," Scully said with admiration.

"Oh, you get used to it... but my body doesn't appreciate it very much," Anne said with a wry grin as she rubbed her neck some more. Scully suddenly saw her opportunity, and in a split second, decided to act upon it.

"Want me to massage your shoulders? ...I'm pretty good," Scully said, trying not to act too coy. Anne's eyes widened a little bit as a small look of surprise crossed her face. She looked back at Scully, quirking one corner of her mouth,

"Uhm... okay," she said shyly as she sat forward on the sofa. Scully swallowed the lump that had arisen in her throat, then directed Anne to turn her back to her. Anne could feel the hair rising on the back of her neck as she turned around.

<thank god she can't see my face,> she thought to herself, feeling a hot blush creep up her cheeks. Scully sat nearly an arm's length away as she reached out and let her fingers descend on Anne's shoulders. Anne fought back the shudder that ran through her body as her skin tingled with anticipation. At first, Scully only touched the top of Anne's shoulders - massaging them lightly. She knew she was doing a shitty job, but she couldn't bring herself to broaden her range just yet. Anne closed her eyes, trying to relax and just relish in the feel of Dana's caress. Her fingers were nimble and delicate, but they felt skittish.

"Mmmm... that feels nice," Anne mumbled, wanting to put Scully at ease. Scully smiled, but instead felt the knots in her stomach and the tightness in her chest increase.

"Is this okay, or can I do it a bit harder?" Scully asked timidly.

"Mmm, oh yeah, do it harder!" Anne said jokingly, making Scully laugh a little.

"Okayyy, you asked for it!" Scully teased as she gripped Anne's skin harder and pressed her thumbs into her shoulders.

"OWWww!!" Anne groaned, making Scully stop abruptly.

"Ooo, I'm sorry - too hard?" Scully apologized quickly and looked around at Anne with concern.

"I'm just kidding, it's fine!" Anne teased, turning her head to look back at Scully with a grin on her face.

"You shit!" Scully said with a smile as she gripped Anne's shoulders again and resumed. Anne smiled and let her head hang down as Scully squeezed her a bit harder.

"You really have some knots up here," Scully said as she pushed her thumbs on the tightened muscles in-between Anne's shoulders.

"Owww..." Anne said quietly.

"Hurt?" Scully asked.

"Yeah... but it feels good too," Anne said.

"Oooo, masochistic?" Scully teased.

"Absolutely," Anne quipped, making Scully laugh again. She decided that she was more comfortable now, so she scooted up closer to Anne, making her bent knee touch Anne's bottom. Anne's eyebrows raised a bit as she felt Scully come closer to her.

<uh-oh... she's getting brave,> she thought to herself.

Scully could smell Anne's familiar fragrance as she ran her hands down her back, making small circular motions. Anne's frame was lean, and Scully could feel the hard bumps of her backbone beneath her fingers as they roamed. She worked her way back up to Anne's shoulders, then let her palms move out and down to grip her upper arms. She could feel that Anne was softly muscular - not hard and sculpted, but not thin and wiry either. She just felt soft ... feminine.

Anne could feel her heart beginning to pound as Scully's fingers made their way along her shoulders to her neck. They gently massaged the back of Anne's neck, making her head drop down further as she closed her eyes. Scully pushed her fingers up Anne's neck, letting them invade the dangling mass of curls that laid against it. She slid her fingertips gently along Anne's scalp, marveling at the feel of her hair... it was thick and so very soft. She pulled her hands out slowly, observing how the curls tangled between her fingers, then she slid them back into it again.

"If you play with my hair, I'll fall asleep," Anne mumbled as she lifted her head up and turned to look at Scully. Scully let out an embarrassed laugh,

"I'm sorry... I couldn't resist..." Scully said with a grin.

"You should - it's messy," Anne said.

"No... it's pretty," Scully said softly,

"...So soft and curly," Scully said as she let her fingers glide through the tresses again. Anne watched her as she did so, focusing on the look in her eyes. Anne thought Scully's eyes were the most beautiful blue-green she'd ever seen. They were intense and bright as she looked dreamily at Anne's hair, and Anne wished that she could kiss her at that very moment. Scully shifted her gaze to Anne's observing eyes as they pierced straight through her. She quirked a little shy smile at her,

"What are you thinking?" Scully asked Anne quietly.

"Nothing," Anne said, smiling gently at Scully. Scully gave a small, disappointed smile and withdrew her hands from Anne's locks. Why wouldn't Anne tell her what was on her mind? Was it something bad? Scully wondered to herself as Anne smiled softly back at her and lifted her eyebrows,

"My turn," Anne whispered as she turned to face Scully fully. Scully swallowed hard and quirked another nervous smile, then turned around obediently. Anne placed her hands on Scully's shoulders and began stroking her softly through her thin sweater. Butterflies danced in Scully's stomach as she felt Anne touch her.

<Oh Jesus... this is *so* not a good idea...> Scully thought to herself in a sudden panic. Anne was sitting so close that Scully could nearly feel the heat emanating from her body. Anne's massage was careful but deliberate. She let her palms glide all over Scully's shoulders and back, pushing here, brushing there. It felt more like an exploration than a massage, but Scully wasn't complaining. Anne's touch completely took control of her, and she felt herself melting helplessly. She felt fingers slide up her back, over her shoulders, and down her biceps as Anne seemingly caressed every square inch of her upper body. The probing was light and delicate, making chills flow up and down Scully's spine. She felt Anne glide her fingers up her neck and into her hair, gently pulling on it as she drew them back out. She repeated the motion again, and again, each time making Scully's head spin deliriously. Anne's fingers were magical, and Scully was becoming highly aroused by her subtle touching and exploring.

After a few moments, Anne brushed Scully's hair aside for a moment and leaned down to place a soft kiss at the base of her neck. Scully's mouth opened and she sighed softly as she felt something hot spread from the pit of her stomach down to her groin. Anne let her lips linger for a moment while she closed her eyes and inhaled Scully's girlish scent. Her hair smelled like some kind of flowery herbal shampoo, and her skin felt impossibly soft and supple. Anne slowly let her lips graze lightly down Scully's neck until she reached the top of her sweater. She pressed her lips against Scully's skin again, sealing her erotic massage with a kiss.

As Anne sat back and removed her hands, Scully turned around to face her. Her face was flushed and she had a dark look in her eye that nearly made Anne's heart stop. Scully's chest was rising and falling noticeably as she looked at Anne and fluttered her eyelids slightly, looking as though she wanted to say something, but couldn't. Anne quirked one corner of her mouth shyly as she looked back at Scully and tried to swallow the painful lump that constricted her throat.

Scully licked her lips as she and Anne silently leaned toward each other, letting their lips touch carefully in a tender kiss. Scully didn't move and Anne broke the kiss, looking intently at her, unsure if Dana wanted this wonderful step forward to continue. Scully opened her eyes and swallowed nervously as she saw Anne's eyes riveted to hers, smoldering darkly and exposing a glimpse of the hidden passion behind them. They seemed to widen and swallow her whole, and she could feel herself drowning helplessly in them. Scully felt another gush of arousal dampening her panties as she reached up and quickly pulled Anne's face toward hers for another kiss. Their lips met more hotly this time, intensifying their desire. Scully felt like her mouth was on fire as Anne's tongue darted out and sought entrance ever so subtly. Her lips yielded under Anne's and she opened them further, surprising herself as she groaned quietly and deepened the kiss even more.

Anne fought to control the little moan that danced in the back of her throat as she dragged her tongue along Scully's teeth and swirled it around her velvety tongue, dueling gently with her. Anne suddenly reached down and grabbed Dana's hips, making her gasp slightly as she pulled her in closer - so close that Scully had to slide her legs up over Anne's thighs so she could scoot fully into her lap. Anne slid her hands around to grasp Dana's bottom and her lower back, pushing her hips and body flush against Anne's and holding her tight as she quietly groaned an "mmmm" noise into Anne's mouth.

They snaked their arms around each other, twining fingers into hair and latching onto each other's lips hungrily as their excitement escalated. Scully's stomach churned as she felt her groin begin to contract and throb impatiently within the zippered confines of her jeans... a few more grinding movements against Anne and she was going to completely lose it. Anne seemed to sense Scully's lust, and she leaned back against the couch a little, pulling Dana back with her and holding her firmly around the waist so that she could move herself against Anne's body more easily. Scully's conscious mind vaguely realized what was happening, but only a small part of her brain could rationally say "no, no - I can't do this"; the majority was too busy screaming for sexual release.

Anne began to mercilessly devour Scully now, seemingly intent on driving her over the edge, and Scully was helpless to stop herself from falling. Anne grasped Scully's hips and tugged them gently, encouraging her to grind against her thigh as she moved it up to press against Scully's crotch. All the while, Anne kissed and suckled Dana's lower lip docilely, causing her breathing to become more labored as her climax neared. Scully finally broke when Anne dropped one hand down to press against Dana's zipper, letting her fingertips palpate her burning hot center through the crotch of her jeans. Anne thought her eyes would pop out of their sockets as she felt Scully's mouth open against her mouth and gasp for breath. Scully's eyes squeezed shut and she dug her nails into Anne's upper arms as she let out a barely audible 'oh god' groan, her face pressing against Anne's as her body pulsed with the waves of a totally unexpected orgasm. Anne nearly came just from the sound and feel of Scully's climax, and she held Dana's panting body close to her, wanting to feel every shock and ripple as it coursed through her.

Scully's face came to rest in the crook of Anne's neck as she desperately tried to regain her senses. Anne brought her arms up and wrapped them securely around Scully, hugging her tightly as she felt the matching thumps of their racing heartbeats. Anne turned her face and pushed her nose in to find Dana's cheek so that she could press her lips against it, holding them there in a secure kiss. It felt wonderful to hold her small body like this, and Anne didn't want to let her go.

Scully's mind screamed to her, incredulous of what just happened. All Scully could think to herself was <oh my god oh my god oh my god>. Had she really just gotten off while grinding like an animal atop Anne...??!!

<...ohhhh my goddddd...> she groaned to herself. <...please, someone tell me that this is all just an embarrassing dream...> she prayed inwardly, but the feel of Anne's lips on her cheek confirmed her fears - it was all very real. Scully suddenly pushed herself up with her arms, sitting astride Anne and staring disbelievingly at her with a crimson face. Anne smiled coyly at her. Scully's mouth opened, but nothing came out. Anne's brows crinkled a little worriedly, wondering what she wanted to say.

"I, I...," Scully stammered, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. Anne raised her brows, silently questioning.

"I'm, I'm... sorry, I...," Scully tried to continue, blinking nervously.

"...I, I didn't mean to... to...," Scully babbled again and motioned uselessly with her hand. Anne reached out to thread her fingers through Scully's, bringing the flailing limb back to her chest.

"Didn't mean to what?" she asked with a soft half-smile, her eyes radiating coy warmth back at Scully. Scully's face immediately turned brighter red with embarrassment and she covered her face with her hand.

"Oh my god... " she whispered, and she quickly jumped off Anne's lap. Anne sat up quickly, surprised at Scully's profound embarrassment and abrupt departure.

"Dana... wait!" she said, calling after Scully as she walked out of the living room. Anne ran after her, cutting her off just as she was about to enter the bathroom.

"Dana...?" Anne asked, bending down trying to look Scully in the eyes. Scully let out a small laugh and just shook her head, refusing to look at Anne. Anne gently reached out and tilted Dana's face up so that she had to look at her. Smiling affectionately but worriedly at her, Anne whispered,

"What's wrong?" Scully closed her eyes, feeling a lump forming in her throat,

"I'm so *embarrassed*... jesus...," she said, rolling her eyes skyward and shaking her head. Anne cocked her head,

"Why? ...I'm not," she said simply. Scully looked back at her in amazement.

"There's no one here but us," Anne said with a shrug.

"Well I *know*, but I...," Scully started, motioning with her hand again,

"...I... y'know, and you didn't... y'know... did you?" she asked with furrowed her brows, suddenly unsure whether Anne came or not. Anne grinned broadly at her, amazed at how totally unglued Scully had become.

"No, I didn't, but that doesn't matter," Anne said casually. Scully frowned at her.

"Yes, it does - it matters to me," she said seriously. Anne smiled reassuringly at her,

"Well it's no big deal to me - honestly. I'm just happy to please you... *that* matters to me." Anne said as she reached up to touch Scully's cheek with her fingertips. Scully's eyes widened as she saw the look of total sincerity and affection on Anne's face and in her suddenly naked eyes. Her mouth opened, but no words would come out as tears began to sting her eyes. Anne looked at her with concern,

"What?" she asked softly. Scully closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head.

"Nothing... it's just that... no one has ever...," she started quietly, looking at Anne's chest blankly.

"No one has ever... cared enough... about me... to put me first... to put my wants and needs first,... y'know?" she finished with a shy, sad smile, looking back up into Anne's eyes as the tears teetered dangerously on her lower lids.

"Well... I care enough about you, Dana," Anne whispered as she gently traced Scully's lips with her fingertips. Scully blinked rapidly, trying to halt the tears, but they spilled over anyway as she lifted her head up to kiss Anne tenderly.

Scully found herself wondering if this was all a dream as she relaxed into Anne's soothing kiss and warm embrace. How could someone she hardly knew be so loving and pull at her heart-strings so profoundly? How could she be so mesmerized and enamored of Anne? How could her attraction continue to deepen so much? And how could she be so turned-on?? She wasn't sure what frightened her more... the fact that she just had sex with a woman, or the fact that it happened so easily and seemed so natural. She had been certain that she would *never* feel this way about *anyone*... and yet, here she was - completely and utterly lost in the arms of a sensual, passionate person she's only known for about a month... here she was - falling for a woman... a woman who cared about her. Scully's head began to hurt from all the thoughts racing through it.

Anne lightly trailed her hands up Scully's shoulders and neck as she flicked her tongue across Scully's upper lip. She slid her hands around the back of Scully's neck and began to kiss her again, tantalizing her by delicately brushing and probing the tip of her tongue all around Dana's lips. Scully began to slide her arms underneath Anne's and wrap her hands around her as she felt herself being helplessly pulled in again by Anne's seduction. She knew she couldn't take another orgasm like the last one though, so she broke the kiss slowly. They kept their faces close together as they peered into each other's eyes, trying to speak without words.

Anne reached up with her hand and touched Scully's cheek reverently, slowly tracing her fingers across her jawbone and her chin, then bringing her index finger up to touch her lips. Scully tried in vain to keep her bottom lip from quivering... her body was still quaking with aftershocks and emotion.

Anne watched Scully's eyes as they opened and closed, looking for answers to the dozens of questions that spun around inside her head. The sea-blue orbs were hazy and watery as they blinked lethargically, their delicate lashes fluttering lazily. Anne trailed her index finger down the bridge of Scully's aquiline nose, brushing over the tiny, faint freckles that dotted the surface of the skin there. Scully smiled softly and glanced up to look into Anne's eyes; their deep, liquid blue depths reflected serenity, affection, and something unrecognizable... Passion? Desire? Maybe... love?

<No, no, god... don't go there Dana...> Scully closed her eyes and scolded herself for jumping ahead.

Anne silently took Scully's hand and tugged it, leading them back to sit on the sofa again. Anne reclined back this time, gently pulling Scully down to lie beside her. Scully hesitated at first, thinking that it was a bad idea and that she'd get too turned-on again. Soon though, she forced herself to calm down, allowing her body to relax and take in Anne's tenderness and stability.

They laid like that in silence for several moments, getting used to the intimate warmth, feel, and smell of each other. Anne gently caressed Scully's back and shoulders while Scully pressed her nose and lips into Anne's neck, smelling her fresh, clean scent and musky perfume. She felt comfortable...secure...safe...it just felt 'right'. Anne kept her face pressed into Scully's hair, telling herself over and over that this was real, that she was quite possibly holding the soul mate she thought she'd never find. She told herself not to be so foolishly hopeful, but something told her that this was not going to be just your ordinary run-of-the-mill love affair. After a few minutes, Scully spoke quietly,

"Anne...?" she asked.

"Hmm...?," Anne replied, her throat vibrating against Scully's lips.

"What happened between you and the woman you said you had the intense relationship with?" Scully asked tentatively. Anne paused for a moment, wanting to be careful with her answer.

"Wellll...," Anne started, thinking back quickly and drawing a deep breath,

"I was still married to Bruce at the time," she said as she continued to caress Scully's shoulders.

"She was... y'know, my 'first'... I had never been with a woman before, but... I dunno... I had always thought that I was attracted to her... somehow...," she said.

"Where did you meet?" Scully interjected.

"Oh, we worked at the hospital together - we met while we were residents," she explained.

"...Mmmm...," Scully murmured.

"Anyway... we got to be pretty good friends, but then... I dunno really... somewhere, somehow, things took a turn... she was dropping me off at home one evenng, and... she kissed me... in her car," Anne said with a little laugh. Scully smiled against her neck.

"And then, after that, we just... I dunno... became 'lovers' I guess," Anne said with a shrug.

"What about Bruce?" Scully asked. Anne sighed,

"Well... things were pretty rocky between us, at that point. We were both unhappy, and things just weren't working between us, but... I dunno... I didn't want to give up, y'know? It sounds stupid, but... I still cared about him... and I really wanted to be *normal*, y'know?" she said with a little laugh. She drew little circles at the back of Scully's neck, sending chills up her spine.

"I didn't *want* to be gay, but... I couldn't deny that I felt something for Martha. She was... uhm," Anne hesitated for a moment,

"Well... I think I was *infatuated* with her... she was... *different*... interesting... intelligent," she said as she reminisced,

"I think she really cared for me, but... I just wasn't *sure* about it... any of it," she said, feeling herself tense-up at the painful recollections,

"She was a lot of fun though... she made me see just how much I was missing," Anne said with a small smile, trying to laugh a little. Anne couldn't see, but Scully's eyes were wide, and her brows arched upward.

"Were you in love with her?" Scully asked quietly. Anne drew a deep breath.

"Mmm... I don't know," she said, trying to sound detached.

"Maybe I was... I'm not sure. There were times that I was certain I loved her... but then there were times when I told myself that it was just infatuation, and nothing more. You see...," she hesitated, shifting her body a little bit, making Scully sense that she was perhaps prying too much.

"The problem was that I didn't want to let go of Bruce -It didn't matter that there was no romance - I was *comfortable* with him... my life with him was 'normal', and everything was *familiar*... and she wasn't." Anne said, pausing for a moment. Scully said nothing, but waited.

"Quite honestly, I was just too scared to give that up... I was a coward," she said quietly, shaking her head a little. Scully waited a moment, then spoke.

"So what happened between the two of you?" she asked.

"Well... she wanted a commitment... she wanted 'exclusive rights'. She didn't want to sit on the sidelines, waiting for me to get UNcomfortable and make up my mind. I couldn't blame her for that... so... we had to say goodbye. She left town not long after." Anne said sadly. Scully propped herself up and looked at Anne, seeing the wistful look on her face.

"And then you ended up leaving Bruce anyway," Scully said, thinking out loud.

"Yeah, well... we sort-of left each other, really... it was pretty mutual. And, even though I knew it was for the best... it still terrified me." Anne admitted.

"Why?" Scully asked.

"I didn't want to be alone. I mean, I don't *mind* being alone... but... not permanently. ...Does that make any sense?" she asked, looking at Scully with a slight smile.

"Oh yes...," Scully said, nodding her head. Anne laughed gently,

"Yes, I guess you do know about that," she said as she pulled Scully back to her and pressed her lips against her head, hugging her.

"So...," Scully started, propping up again,

"Martha was your only one? Lover, I mean...?" she asked sheepishly. Anne smiled,

"Yes, she was the only one... there's been no one since," she said, looking at Scully with a grin. Scully tried to act nonchalant, but Anne saw straight through her,

"I'm not some lesbian vamp or a big dyke slut with ten other women on the side, don't worry," Anne said with a laugh. Scully erupted in an embarrassed laugh as well, hanging her head and squeezing her eyes shut,

"I'm sorry! I just wanted to know...," Scully said, trying to be sincere through her grin. Anne laughed at her more and pulled her down to kiss her smiling face.

The kiss lingered for a bit, until Anne pulled Scully against her chest, sighing and hugging her tightly as she inhaled the flowery smell of her hair while she pressed her face into it.

Scully smiled against Anne's chest and wrapped her arms around her warmth, wanting never to let go of the blissful feeling.

***************************************************************

Scully awakened with a jerk, uncertain of where she was for a moment. She sat up quickly, looking at the person lying on her sofa who was now stirring. ...Anne... her foggy mind quickly put everything back into place as Anne sat up, rubbing her eyes.

"What? What is it?" she asked groggily.

"Nothing... I guess we fell asleep," Scully mumbled as she looked around the room and tried to get her bearings.

"What time is it?" Anne queried. Scully strained to find the wall clock and read it,

"Uhm, looks like 4:30 or so," she said.

"Uhhh shiiiittt... I gotta go to work soonnnn," Anne grumbled, rubbing her hands over her face.

"Ohh, I didn't know you had to *work* today!" Scully said worriedly as she looked at Anne's sleepy face and rumpled clothes.

"I have to work *every* day," Anne said somewhat disgustedly as she stood up shakily. Scully felt distressed at the thought of Anne leaving. She had wanted her to stay, and she had hoped that they would spend the next day together. Scully stood up as well, looking sorrowfully at Anne.

"I feel badly... you should have gotten some sleep... I'm sorry," Scully said apologetically. Anne smiled slightly.

"No, don't be, I didn't want to sleep - I wanted to be here with you." Anne said with a sleepy smile. Scully smiled, but she still felt bad. Anne looked softly at Scully and reached up to brush a stray lock of bronze hair away from her eye. The gesture gave Scully goosebumps as the recollection of what had transpired a few hours ago flashed through her mind. She closed her eyes as Anne stroked her cheek softly and stepped toward her so that their bodies were only inches apart. Scully opened her eyes and looked up at Anne's soulful blue depths. Her face was calm and serene, but Scully sensed something lurking behind those eyes. Anne peered into Scully's oceanic pools, wishing that she could let herself dive into them and swim away from reality for a little while.

"What is it?" Scully asked Anne quietly.

"Nothing," Anne said with a head-shake and a slight smile. Scully pursed her lips slightly... again the avoidance... Scully suddenly closed the gap between them, bringing her arms around Anne's waist and hugging her tightly as she pressed her face into Anne's chest. Anne was a little surprised by the gesture, but she returned the hug warmly, holding Scully's small body tight against her. She suddenly remembered how good it felt to hold her close, and she considered begging-off work for a split second. She knew she couldn't do that though - instead, she vowed to find some way to get some time off so that she could spend it with Dana. Just the two of them... together... for a long period of time.

<How wonderful that would be> she thought to herself. Scully released her grip and stepped back, looking woefully at Anne one last time before she turned and went to fetch Anne's jacket. Anne made her way toward the door slowly, reluctant to leave Dana and her warm embraces. Scully appeared with Anne's jacket and helped her put it on, both women remaining silent. Anne walked the rest of the distance to the door and turned to look at Scully again.

"I'll call you... okay?" she asked. Scully nodded and forced a little smile. She had hoped for more of a 'date' than just a telephone call. Anne hesitated for a moment, then figured it best if she just left instead of dragging out the agony. She turned and reached for the doorknob, but Scully interrupted.

"Uhm, wait...," she said anxiously,

"When can we, uhm... get together... again...?" Scully asked with a shrug, trying to appear casual but failing miserably. Anne pursed her lips and drew a deep breath. She had been dreading this question from Scully, because she knew that she didn't have a good answer.

"I'm not sure," she said quietly, looking down at the floor for a moment.

"I work pretty long shifts during the week, and..." she tried to explain delicately. Scully nodded her head and looked down, understanding what Anne was saying but not liking it one bit. She knew what it was like to work long hours at a hospital, and she knew better than to get her hopes up. Still... she felt like Anne was being non-committal, and that hurt.

"Listen," Anne began, placing her index finger under Scully's chin and lifting her head up to look at her,

"I'll see if maybe I can change my schedule for the weekend, so we can spend some *real* time together... okay?" she offered gently. Scully smiled at her, grateful for the rejuvenation of her hope.

"I'd like that." Scully said. Anne grinned wide at her and leaned down, kissing her fully on the lips. Scully reached up and wove her hands into Anne's hair one last time, returning the kiss passionately. They hugged each other tightly again until Anne whispered,

"I have to go." Scully stepped back, nodding her head and opening the door for her.

"...Bye..." Anne whispered as she clasped Scully's hand and squeezed it, then stepped out the door, closing it behind her.

*********************************

Scully pressed her face against the door and closed her eyes, begging her tears to give her a break for a change. She felt very strange... happy and good on the surface, but unsettled and somewhat confused on the inside. The confusion was a no-brainer - she'd just had sex with a woman for the first time - but the unsettled part disturbed her slightly. She didn't want Anne to leave, even though she knew she had to, so she felt unhappy about that; but there was something more... something that gave her ever-present knots of anxiety in her stomach. She found herself wondering, once again, how Anne felt.

It occurred to her that Anne never really displayed nor talked about her emotions very much... she always seemed to have a tranquil face and a dark curtain pulled over her eyes, blocking-off any chance of seeing into her soul. Why was she always so cautious? Scully wondered about so many things. Anne's personality was perplexing... sometimes she was jovial and animated... sometimes she was aloof and standoffish... it confused the hell out of Scully. She left quite simply, without much drama... and she didn't make any definite promises about seeing Scully again. Scully wrinkled her brows as she thought about that for a moment. It wasn't that she *wanted* Anne to be dramatic, but she almost seemed to be indifferent to the whole thing. And, she didn't get off with Scully either - again, not that she *had* to, but it would have been nice. She was just so... *controlled* about everything. Something about that bothered Scully a little, which, she deduced, was why she felt anxious.

<Maybe that's the just the way she is,> Scully thought, <...always in control. Or, maybe she was just tired...?,> Scully wondered. Hell, maybe she didn't want attachment or commitment of any kind - she'd done that already, afterall. Scully raked her fingers through her hair and sighed, telling herself that she was overreacting. It was out-of-character for *her* to be thinking 'attachment' and acting like the clingy girlfriend. Usually she was the one who kept her distance and played it ultra-cool. What was coming over her anyway? She headed back to bed, telling herself not to analyze the whole situation so much and stop being a spazz. She would just have to be patient and let Anne call her. As Scully got undressed, she watched herself in the mirror, looking at all the places Anne had touched her body earlier. She could still feel Anne's subtle fingers tracing lightly over her skin... her soft lips on her neck and face... her warm breath as it puffed into her hair... Scully realized she was giving herself goosebumps thinking such things, so she quickly got dressed and climbed into bed, scolding herself not to go any further with those thoughts. She began to drift off quickly while memories of Anne's caresses lingered in the back of her mind. Her final thoughts were of Anne's penetrating cerulean eyes and her passionate kisses... she could feel Anne's lips on hers as they lulled her into a quiet, peaceful slumber.

***************************************

Anne could think of nothing else on the drive home but the smell and feel of Dana's body writhing against hers... she thought she would explode from withholding her arousal. It had been a long time since she found herself so taken with someone, and the realization that she was falling for Scully made her very nervous. She thought she could avoid it... she thought she could stave-off her own intense feelings for a little while longer by shutting-off her emotions... but she was failing to do that. She already thought about Dana Scully all the time; tonight's episode would only make that worse. She reached her apartment and went in, tossing her coat aside and looking around her empty house.

<It would be *so nice* to come home to someone...> she sadly thought to herself. She missed being close with someone, both emotionally and physically. Granted, she made it very hard for people to *get* close to her, but still... if she were really honest with herself, she truly missed it. She had been alone for a long time now, and she thought she was getting pretty used to it. She figured she would never find anyone, so she had resigned herself to being alone... but now that was changing... she was beginning to have hopeful thoughts about Dana, and that terrified her. She had gotten good at not being hopeful and downplaying things. It was easier that way, she reasoned to herself... if you didn't build up your hopes, then you wouldn't be too let-down when they didn't come true. This had become her philosophy about life... 'don't expect so much, and you won't be as disappointed.' She shook her head at herself, ashamed at what she had let herself become. She had a failed marriage and a failed relationship, and now she didn't dare to hope about anything anymore...? Is this how she wanted to live her life? <why am I such an idiot?> she asked herself as she began to get ready for work. She got her things together, grabbed something to eat, and headed out the door, all the while thinking that she needed a new outlook on life... and that Dana Scully might just be the person to give her one.

***************************************************************

The rest of the weekend passed quickly for Scully, and she was grateful. All she could think about was Anne and the evening they spent together. She was actually glad for Monday so that she could get her mind off of it for awhile. She was not, however, prepared for Mulder to embarrass her. She had come into the office and they exchanged their "good mornings" as usual... then Mulder tripped her up,

"What did you do this weekend?" he asked curiously. Scully's face immediately went red, making Mulder frown and then raise his brows at her.

"Oh... nothing special," she managed to say as she lowered her head, cursing herself and trying to hide her suddenly crimson cheeks from him.

"Really?" he persisted,

"That face doesn't look like 'nothing special' to me," he teased. Scully looked up at him sternly, flashing him her trademark warning look. He continued to grin,

"C'mon Scully - did you have a hot date, or what?" he queried. She rolled her eyes at him disgustedly,

"Mulder," she said as she stood up,

"...you really need to get a life," she finished as she tossed a crumpled piece of paper at him, hitting him squarely in the face. He laughed as he watched her walk indignantly out the door.

Yessir... his outwardly stern and aloof partner was definitely spanking somebody's monkey... he'd bet money on it. <Lucky bastard,> he thought to himself with another chuckle.

**************************************

Later in the morning, as Scully was sitting pouring over case files, the phone rang. Mulder wasn't there, so she picked it up.

"Scully," she said in her clipped, professional demeanor.

"Hey Dana... it's Anne," said a friendly voice. Scully immediately broke into a smile.

"Hi," she said happily, "How are you?"

"Good... I'm good...," Anne paused,

"I've been thinking about you, so I thought I'd call," Anne said softly. Scully smiled more.

"I've been thinking about you too," she said, her voice lowering unconsciously. Anne squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, Scully's seductive voice purring to her on the phone was making her stomach twist into knots. They chatted idly for a few moments until Mulder opened the door and re-entered the office. Scully's eyes widened like a deer caught in the headlights, and she stammered to Anne,

"Uhm, okay, well... I have to go..." she tried to say quietly.

"Oh... okay," Anne said, confused for a moment.

"Uhm... I'll call you later, ok?" Scully asked.

"Yeah, sure - did you just get caught?" Anne asked with a small laugh.

"Mmm... yes, that's right," Scully said, trying to cover her smile with her hand. Anne laughed in the other end of the phone.

"Okay, I'll let you go... bye, Dana," Anne said.

"...Bye..." Scully said. She hung up and returned to her files, not looking at Mulder, whom she knew was watching her.

"Who was *thaaat*?" he asked her curiously, lilting his voice intentionally.

"My mother," Scully lied coolly, still refusing to look at him. Mulder just smiled at her, amazed at her ability to cover-up and act non-committal. Scully felt her cheeks redden slightly, and she suddenly wished that Mulder would go on vacation for about 6 months.

Later in the week, Scully phoned and left a message on Anne's machine. She didn't ask about the weekend, but she hoped that Anne would call her back. Sure enough, Anne called. They decided to do dinner and a movie, and Scully insisted on cooking for Anne at her place. Anne agreed somewhat reluctantly, and they set a date: Friday night.

******************************************************************

It seemed to take forever for Friday evening to arrive, and Scully was anxious about being with Anne again. She was excited but also highly nervous. The prospect of spending another romantic evening with the person who made her heart flutter was arousing Scully beyond belief, and she kept telling herself not to expect too much as she fussed about, making dinner and arranging the table just so. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the tapping sounded on the door. She scurried over quickly, opening the door to see Anne standing there with a silly smile on her face, a bottle of wine under her arm and a bunch of flowers in one hand.

"Hi," Anne said, grinning broadly.

"Hi yourself," Scully said, grinning back at her. Anne stepped inside, pushing the beautiful bouquet toward Scully.

"I brought these... they reminded me of you," she said shyly. Scully took them, giving Anne a broad, toothy smile.

"And I thought I should re-stock your wine supply too," Anne said, offering the wine to Scully.

"Thanks," Scully laughed as she sat the things down and took Anne's coat. She deposited the coat and turned back to Anne. She was wearing faded jeans and a black v-neck sweater that accentuated her slender neck. It made her look sexy and seductive, and Scully had to fight hard to suppress the excited smile that threatened to take over her entire face. She let a small smirk leak out as Anne smiled bashfully at her, seemingly reading her thoughts. They both hesitated awkwardly for a moment, then Anne walked toward Scully slowly, reaching out with her arms to snake them around Scully's shoulders and pull her into a tender embrace. Scully pressed her face into Anne's neck, taking a deep breath and inhaling the mixture of skin and perfume while she returned the embrace warmly.

"I missed you," Anne whispered softly. Scully smiled into Anne's neck and pulled back to look at her,

"I missed you too," she said. Anne smiled gently at her and leaned down, kissing her fully on her smiling lips.

"Something smells wonderful," Anne remarked, looking off into the kitchen.

"Ahh yes, I've been slaving over a hot stove alllll day, just for you," Scully said jokingly. Anne laughed,

"Mmmmm, you shouldn't have!" Anne joked back as Scully walked over to check the oven.

"Y'know, I don't think I've had a real home-cooked meal since last Christmas," Anne said.

"Well then, come, sit down and let me indulge you," Scully said, smiling mischievously.

The two women talked and laughed over a splendid dinner. Scully had done her best to impress Anne, and Anne definitely noticed. They cleaned up afterwards and headed out to the living room to relax. Scully channel-surfed until she found a classic bad B-movie, and Anne got comfortable on the plush sofa. They sat side-by-side but didn't snuggle up to each other right away.

Anne sensed that Scully seemed reluctant to get too close, and thought that perhaps she didn't want to get 'hot-and-heavy' tonight. She didn't mind really; she would do whatever Dana wanted. Scully sensed that Anne was being overly cautious, and she couldn't shake the feeling that she was still holding back. She had tried to touch on some topics about feelings and emotions during dinner, but Anne didn't take the bait. She remained hidden behind her walls of steel, as usual. Scully didn't want it to bother her, but she couldn't help it. She really needed to know how Anne felt before things went any further, but she also didn't want to scare her off or make her angry by pushing the issue prematurely. <...what to do... what to do...> she thought to herself.

Anne could see that Scully was thinking about something... she could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. She scooted back into the corner of the couch and reached for Scully's hand, tugging on it gently.

"Hey... c'mere," she beckoned to Scully. Scully looked at her, hesitating for a moment. Anne frowned a little,

"What's the matter?" she asked quietly with a frown as Scully looked away for a moment and then looked back. Anne stared at her expectantly with raised brows, silently demanding an explanation. Scully cocked her head a little, thinking for a moment before she asked,

"Why don't you ever reveal how you feel?" Scully asked as she turned to fully face Anne. Anne's eyebrows arched high and she blinked quickly, surprised by Scully's question. Scully smiled a little bit at her reaction,

"I mean... you always seem to be so... controlled, with your emotions... do you ever let loose?" Anne now frowned at Scully, a little taken-back and insulted by her questions.

"I don't understand... what do you mean?" Anne said, genuinely confused. Scully looked skyward for a moment,

"Well... you've never really said much about how you feel... y'know...," Scully tried to explain.

"Well, neither have you," Anne replied a little indignantly. Scully smiled,

"Yes, but I think I've been pretty *obvious* about how I feel... don't you? I mean, having a huge orgasm while sitting on your lap should give you a pretty *good* idea about how *I* feel... don't you think?" she asked, her voice raising slightly as she looked directly at Anne.

"I've asked you what you're thinking about several times, and you always reply the same thing... 'nothing'...," Scully said, making a small face.

"I know you must be thinking *something*... what are you hiding?" Scully asked, looking Anne straight in the eye as she tried to convey her frustration. Anne frowned and her eyes glared, flashing angry blue lightning for a moment, but then the sea of tranquility washed over them quickly, concealing her feelings yet again. Scully pointed to them,

"See... right there... you just hid yourself again...," she said,

"What are you holding back? And *why*??" Scully asked insistently. Anne glared again at Scully for a split second, her eyes deepening darkly and threatening to erupt. The hair on the back of Scully's neck stood up for a second as she suddenly regretted starting the whole conversation.

"I'm not 'holding back' anything! And I don't *always* have to be thinking *something* - do I?!" Anne snapped impatiently.

<...shit...> Scully thought inwardly as she gritted her teeth and replied,

"No! No... please, don't get angry... I just want to know what you're thinking and how you *feel*... that's all...," Scully tried to explain gently.

"You want to know how I 'feel' about *what*? Nuclear war??! What?!!" Anne spat out angrily as she quickly bolted up off the couch and walked out to the kitchen briskly. Scully could hear her slam her fists or slam something against the kitchen counter or the cupboards, and she closed her eyes, trying to summon the nerve to go after her. She didn't understand why Anne was suddenly so upset, and her sudden temper was a little unexpected. Now she wished that she hadn't said anything... she should have let well enough alone. She headed out to the kitchen anyway, approaching Anne cautiously,

"Anne... I'm sorry... please don't be angry," Scully apologized. Anne turned around to face her, eyes still blazing.

"What do you want from me?" she hissed at Scully, her flaming eyes buried beneath deeply furrowed brows,

"Why do you need to crawl inside my head?" she asked suspiciously. Now it was Scully's turn to get angry. She glared back at Anne a little, "I'm not asking to get inside your head and pick your brain, I just --"

"You just what? You just want to invade my private thoughts? So soon??!" Anne snapped, interrupting Scully. Scully was shocked by Anne's biting remarks, and she felt her anger kick in and begin to flare. But she stopped herself abruptly, not wanting to get into a huge argument, and she held up her hands in a sign of truce.

"Look... ...I just care about you, alright? I'm not afraid to say that. And I want to know what you feel... what you think... I want to talk about what goes on inside of you, because I *care* about you... that's all," Scully said gently as she tried to relax her expression, looking hopefully at Anne,

"I just want to get to *know* you better... I want to be *closer* to you." Scully said quietly. The angry scowl in Anne's eyes started to dissipate as she looked back at Scully, feeling sorrowful that things took a wrong turn. She didn't want to be angry, but she didn't want to get into this discussion either. Still, she felt she owed it to Scully to try to explain... she didn't want to upset her by being evasive and touchy.

"Listen...," Anne began with a sigh, looking skyward for a moment.

"I'm not very good at being... 'close' to people, Dana," Anne said, looking down at the floor. Scully looked at her and said nothing, wanting to give her plenty of time.

"I don't *like* to talk about feelings, and I'm not good at expressing feelings... it's just the way I am, I'm afraid," Anne said apologetically, shrugging slightly.

"I'm a Cancerian, y'know? - we're moody and we hide within our shells," she said with a slight smile,

"I'm sometimes aware that I do it, but... I really don't know *why* I do it, and I don't know how to *not* do it," she said, looking confused.

"But why do you hide?" Scully asked gently,

"What are you hiding from?" she said, stepping a little closer to Anne. Anne drew a deep breath and shook her head a little,

"I don't know...," she said, shaking her head and pausing,

"... feelings, I guess... I guess I don't want them to get crushed," Anne said, her voice tinged with slight embarrassment.

"You think *I'm* going to 'crush' them?" Scully asked, a little surprised. Anne paused again, then leaned back against the counter, her eyes looking down,

"Dana...," Anne said tentatively,

"I knew I was attracted to you a long time ago... right after we first met... but I denied it, as usual. "Each time I saw you, I felt the draw... but, you seemed reluctant... so I figured I should just forget about it, and about you...," she continued hesitantly,

"I told myself to forget about you *every* day... and that was hard...," she said, looking at Scully and nodding slightly,

"But, we kept running into each other, at the hospital, at the restaurant... it almost seemed like fate," she said with a little grin,

"Then... that night... I clumsily blurted out that I was attracted to you," Anne said, smiling a little at the recollection,

"I thought I blew it for sure after that... I thought I had scared you off for certain," she said with a grin, making Scully grin too.

"I wanted to call you *so* badly... but I was afraid... I didn't want to push it...y'know? I was afraid to get my hopes up... I didn't know what to do," Anne explained, looking at Scully, who was watching her expression carefully.

"This whole time, I have been holding back... that is true," she admitted.

"But why?" Scully finally asked.

"Because... I'm still afraid... afraid that this is just going to be too much for you... afraid that you'll change your mind and take off," she said with a frown.

"... and that... *that* would crush my feelings." Anne finished. Scully pursed her lips and stepped closer to Anne, taking her hands in hers.

"Anne... I'm not going to hurt you," she said quietly, staring Anne straight in the eye.

"This isn't just a game, or some casual little 'fling' or 'experiment' for me," she continued, piercing Anne with her bright, intense stare.

"But you don't know that for sure," Anne interrupted, shaking her head uneasily. Scully interrupted back,

"Yes I do... I *do* know," Scully said, nodding assuredly. Anne stared at her hard and spoke softly,

"But you're *straight*, Dana... I mean, what happens when you wake up one morning and suddenly realize that we are two *women*," Anne said emphatically. Scully shook her head, frowning at her in confusion.

"I'm afraid that one day you'll change your mind about all of this... when what you're doing *really* sinks in, I fear that you'll run off, screaming in horror," Anne said, looking mournfully into Scully's eyes. Scully sighed deeply, trying not to cry,

"I understand your... *doubt* - believe me - I'm usually very distrustful and doubtful...," Scully said, looking down and shaking her head a bit,

"I was very uncertain at first - that's true... I was scared and confused about it. But... I've done *so* much thinking, and I've looked deep within myself and asked myself *so* many questions...," Scully said, pausing for a moment,

"I can't make you any promises about the future, Anne... and I won't pretend that I know what roads lie ahead of us," Scully continued, looking back at Anne,

"All I can tell you is that... based on how I feel right now, and how much *thinking* I have done about all this... I *know* that I have no intention of changing my mind," she said confidently, peering hard into Anne's uncertain eyes.

"I want you to trust me, Anne... I want us to trust each other," she said. As she spoke, she watched the dark cloudy veil begin to lift from Anne's eyes, and she caught a glimpse of the true deep blue intensity of the orbs, full of affection and warmth.

"I know... I want that too... I just...," Anne stopped for a moment, looking back at Scully.

"It's just very... *very* hard for me... okay?" Anne said, her voice sounding shaky.

"Okay," Scully said as she lifted one corner of her mouth in a half-smile. Anne smiled softly back at her.

"I'll do my best to work on it... but you'll have to be patient and understanding with me... alright?" Anne said with a small grin. Scully nodded her head,

"I will... I can promise you that," she said, squeezing Anne's hands and stepping forward to reach her arms around Anne's waist and hug her tightly. Anne closed her eyes and hugged her back, kissing the side of her head as the smell of her flowery shampoo filled her senses. Scully released her grip and turned, pulling on Anne's hand as she lead them back to the living room sofa. They sat down together and reclined back on the big sofa, huddling close together as Scully laid her head on Anne's shoulder and wrapped her arms around her. Anne rested her arm around Scully's back and leaned her face against Scully's forehead, kissing it softly. Scully soon scooted over Anne's leg and into her lap completely, resting her hip in the crotch of Anne's jeans and tangling their legs together. It was a blissful position and they stayed coupled like that for awhile, not saying anything... just relishing the closeness and the comfort.

Scully loved feeling the gentle thump-thumping of Anne's heartbeat and the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed slowly and evenly. Her warm, calm body exuded comfort and protection, and Scully drank it right up. Anne kept her lips pressed against Dana's head, inhaling her clean smell and feeling the silky sheen of her hair against her face. She moved her hand against Scully's side, lightly grazing her fingers up and down and letting them slide up to her arm, giving Scully goosebumps. This cuddling position was exquisite, but Scully's occasional movements were putting dangerous pressure on Anne's already-aroused groin. If Scully didn't stop squirming, Anne was sure she'd explode. Anne idly wondered if perhaps the positioning and the squirming was intentional. She became quite certain of this after she felt Scully's lips on her neck, placing tiny wet kisses that sent electrical shocks through Anne's system, making her heart beat faster and her breathing accelerate. Scully could sense Anne's stirring, which turned her on severely. She sat up to face Anne, straddling her hips. Anne grinned mischievously at her,

"If you're trying to turn me on... you're doing a pretty good job," she said lowly. Scully grinned back at her,

"Glad to hear it," she purred as she leaned down, letting her lips descend slowly onto Anne's. Anne's eyes fluttered shut as she returned the kiss deeply, wanting to taste and absorb every last ounce of Scully. Something ignited within Scully's chest as she felt Anne take control and pull her in, and a warm familiar gush spread from the pit of her stomach down to the crotch of her panties. Anne let her hands glide up Scully's back and over her shoulders, allowing her fingers to smoothly slide up the back of her neck to invade her hair. Scully placed her hands on Anne's shoulders and gripped them tightly. She had trouble focusing on what she was doing because Anne was distracting her with her wandering hands. Anne soon let her hands fall down to the bottom of Scully's sweater, where she timidly snuck her fingers inside, letting them slide up Scully's bare skin oh-so-delicately. Scully breathed heavily into Anne's mouth as she felt Anne gently push her palms up her bare back, then drag them back down her sides. She began to squirm atop Anne, making Anne lift her hips slightly against Scully's bottom.

Anne let her fingers wander underneath Dana's arms, brushing them gently over Scully's silk-clad breasts. She fingered the lacy undergarment delicately, then swept down to graze over Scully's naked stomach and waist. Scully gasped softly when Anne brushed over her breasts, feeling her nipples harden immediately. Scully pushed herself back for a moment, sitting up to look intently into Anne's eyes. They were set deeply underneath her brows, and they blazed brightly in a royal blue hue, glowing with burning intensity and passion. Anne looked at Dana's flushed face... her hair hung over one eye, but she could see the electric blue cutting through the red curtain, seething with desire and eroticism. Scully slowly removed her hands from Anne's shoulders and reached down, grasping the bottom of her sweater. She pulled the garment up over her head and tossed it aside, revealing her creamy ivory torso to Anne's widened eyes. She replaced her hands on Anne's shoulders and leaned down very slowly, giving Anne's parted lips a soft kiss, topped-off with a gentle lick.

Anne thought her head would explode... Scully was totally and utterly seducing her, making her precious control slowly slip away from her. She fought to maintain her cool as she let her hands investigate Scully's newly-naked body. She caressed her all over... her back... her shoulders... her sides... arms... collar bones... stomach... she traced all around her bra, driving Scully absolutely crazy. Anne pushed Scully back for a moment and sat up, leaning her head forward to touch her lips against Scully's collarbone. Scully sighed quietly at the feel of Anne's soft, warm lips against her sensitized skin. Hot liquid passion rushed through her veins, and she clutched Anne's shoulders while she delicately placed feathery kisses all over her flesh.

Anne worked her way over to Scully's neck, pushing her lips into the hollow at the base of her throat. She kissed down her chest, grazing her lips lightly across her sweet, supple skin to the valley between her breasts. The feel of Anne's warm breath on her was driving Scully mad, and chills raced up and down her body, making her nipples impossibly hard... she actually thought she might pass out. She brought her hands up to Anne's head, raking her fingers through her hair and pulling her face against her chest. Anne brought her face up to Scully's and kissed her hard, darting her tongue in and out of her mouth. Scully gasped lightly as she felt Anne's hands underneath her, sliding across her bottom and letting her fingers dance across the crotch of her jeans. Anne suddenly removed her hands and placed them on Scully's shoulders,

"Turn around," she commanded in a low whisper. Scully looked at her with wide eyes, obeying silently and wondering what she was going to do. Anne guided and positioned Scully so that she was sitting in-between her legs, leaning back against her chest and shoulder. She gently brushed the hair away from Scully's neck and placed delicate kisses there while she let her hands carefully roam over Scully's shoulders, arms, upper chest, and breasts. Scully moved her bottom mildly against Anne's crotch, unable to sit still while Anne turned the tables and seduced her. Anne pushed her hands down to Scully's stomach, touching her lightly and dragging her fingers back and forth across its silky smooth surface, making Scully breathe harder and tilt her head back. Then Anne snuck her fingers down to the button of Scully's jeans, deftly opening it and sliding the zipper down.

She gently pushed one hand down, sliding across the satiny surface of Scully's panties, making Scully moan softly as waves of arousal jolted her like lightning. Anne pushed her fingers further down over Dana's soft mound, letting her long middle finger slide along the fleshy valley that hid beneath the now-saturated panties. As she did this, Anne brought her other hand up and slid it up Scully's throat, grasping her gently underneath her jaw, but not applying any pressure. Scully's eyes widened as she felt a mixture of panic and arousal. Anne was stimulating her into a gushing frenzy, but she had her hand wrapped around her throat... Scully's delirious mind didn't know what to make of it. All Scully could manage to do was lift her hips upward, pressing her swollen clit against Anne's hand.

Anne held Dana's head still with the gentle choke-hold while she pelted her jaw and face with kisses. Meanwhile, she slipped her hand underneath Scully's dainty panties, snaking her long fingers through the softy kinky hair of Dana's mound, and letting them slide slowly down into the hot, wet crevice below. Scully let out a groan and jerked her hips up against Anne's hand, her mind reeling with more panic and arousal. Anne breathed heavily against Scully as she felt the throbbing of her own groin while Dana gently pumped against her. She continued to slide her fingers in and out of Scully's slick, slippery valley, letting them delve down deeply so that they plunged into her tight opening, then sliding them back out and up over her engorged clit. Anne could feel the pounding of Scully's pulse underneath her other hand as her hips jerked harder against the onslaught. Scully's hands sought out Anne's, and she clutched them hard as her back arched and she opened her mouth, gasping desperately as her body exploded with the force of an immense orgasm.

Anne could feel Dana's body go limp on top of her as the convulsions subsided. She withdrew her hand from Scully's pants and released the hold on her neck, gathering the petite body in her arms and holding her close. She buried her nose in Scully's sweat-dampened hair, waiting patiently for her to come back down to earth and regain control of herself. About 5 minutes passed before Scully could speak again,

"... Jesus... Christ...," she managed to whisper breathlessly, her eyes remaining closed. Anne chuckled softly,

"Is that 'Jesus Christ' *good*, or 'Jesus Christ' *bad*? she teased,

"Jesus Christ *good*... definitely," Scully whispered with a smile. Anne snickered quietly again, kissing Scully's temple and hugging her tightly. Scully hadn't exactly planned for Anne to get her off again... in fact, she had hoped it would be the other way around. But here she was, sated and panting in Anne's arms again while Anne sat fully clothed and perfectly calm.

<Dammit... how does she do that?> Scully exasperatedly asked her fogged mind. If it had been anyone else, Scully would feel totally embarrassed and ashamed... if it had been a guy, she would have felt like his little sex toy... but she didn't feel that way now. Somehow, she knew that Anne did this *for* her, because she wanted to. She was, apparently, very selfless when it came to sex, and Scully found that very difficult to comprehend.

Scully felt Anne moving her arms again as she gave another squeeze and placed another kiss on Dana's head. She couldn't believe how incredibly turned-on she was by Anne, and she marveled, again, how she had never experienced feelings like this with anyone - ever. One look at Anne and she melted... one touch of her hand, and she was on fire... was this love? lust? infatuation? or just pent-up sexual frustration?? Scully didn't know what to think... her mind began to torture her again with confusing thoughts. She was most definitely attracted to Anne, and she definitely cared very much about her... but... did she love her? Is this what 'love' was? The word began to swirl around inside her head... love, love, love, love.

<No, no!... I can't start thinking about this now,> she told herself. <I don't want to be a fool and go jumping to conclusions right away> she scolded inwardly.

<Dammit... I'm doing what every fucking overreactive female does... I'm using the "L" word already... christ> Scully thought disgustedly to herself. She closed her eyes and forced herself to stop thinking and just focus on the here-and-now. She concentrated on the gentle pounding of Anne's heart and the expansion of her chest as she breathed slowly and steadily. She was so calm... so comforting... so tranquil... Scully wanted to lie in her protective arms forever. But... she also wanted to give something back to her... she wanted to return the favor and feel the things that Anne felt. A slight panic crept up her spine as she briefly considered *how* she was going to do that. She didn't want to embarrass herself with her obvious inexperience by fumbling about nervously, yet she was eager and hungry to touch Anne as she had touched her. She would just have to do whatever came naturally to her, she decided... somehow she didn't think Anne would mind.

Anne sat with her lips resting on Scully's silky hair, its familiar herbal-flowery scent wafting up into her nostrils. She marveled how Dana's small, warm body fit perfectly into her lap, as she looked down over them. Scully's bottom rested between Anne's hips, and her zipper was still undone, providing Anne with a glimpse of her disheveled satin panties. Anne smiled to herself, recalling how eagerly Dana reacted to her touch, how her body strained against her hand, and how she could feel the tremors race through her as she came. That was the most satisfying part for Anne... feeling her... knowing that she was climaxing, and *feeling* it... it was an indescribable sensation, and it was the best part of sex, to Anne. She wondered if Dana understood that at all. And... she wondered if she would be able to give herself to Scully the same way, assuming she wanted her, of course. That had always been a big hurdle for Anne... trusting someone enough to open herself up to them, literally. But she felt like she could trust Dana... like she *should* trust her. Afterall, Dana was honest about her feelings, telling her that she cared about her... that was good enough... wasn't it?

<What the fuck do I need? Her down on her knees pledging undying love to me and promising never to leave? ...christ... why can't I just let go...> Anne asked herself disgustedly. She wished that she could let go of her ever-present control... just enjoy someone's touch and let them make love to her. But no... she always had to hold back and keep the control, of her body and her emotions. Why? Dana Scully wouldn't hurt her... she had to let her have control... she could do that... just for a little while...

Scully, having regained her strength and her nerves, sat up and looked at Anne shyly, a little smile playing on her rosy lips. Anne smiled coyly back at her, knowing what she must be thinking.

"You're not embarrassed again, are you?" Anne asked quietly.

"No," Scully replied with a small grin as she leaned down close to Anne's face,

"That was... *amazing*...," she whispered lowly, her lips nearly touching Anne's.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it," Anne whispered back with a smile as she pushed her mouth forward to capture Scully's waiting lips. Scully drank in Anne's warm, inviting kiss, letting her tongue slip out to dance with Anne's. They wrapped their arms around each other, deepening the kiss and letting their passions flare again. Anne pushed her hands into Scully's hair and clutched her tight, her mouth sliding back along Scully's cheek as she squeezed her eyes shut hard.

"... Goddammit...," she whispered quietly.

"What? What's wrong?" Scully asked, a little concerned. Anne moved back and kissed her then spoke, keeping her lips nearly touching Scully's as she looked at her soulfully,

"I didn't want to fall in love with you...," she whispered breathlessly against Scully's mouth. Scully's mouth opened, but she couldn't speak; she was too shocked at what she was hearing.

"I didn't... I swear I *didn't*!," Anne said in an anguished whisper as her shaking head fell down to Scully's shoulder. Scully didn't know what to say... Anne was admitting that she was falling in love with her... she was shocked... exhilarated... and scared. She hesitated for only a moment, then she wrapped her arms tightly around Anne's shoulders and brought her mouth down to Anne's ear.

"...I'm falling in love with you too...," she whispered to Anne. Anne hugged Scully tightly, nearly bursting into tears from the overload of emotions coursing through her body. She brought her face back up again, overwhelming Scully with a fiercely passionate kiss that burned into her lips and seared her soul with its intensity.

<Shit... no wonder she keeps this stuff under wraps!> Scully quickly thought to herself.

They let their tongues tangle wildly as they tasted each other, suckling here, nipping there. Scully finally broke the kiss, pulling away from Anne as she slid off her lap slowly and stood up. She looked at Anne's heaving chest, wild hair, and dark eyes, and knew what she wanted. Anne looked at Scully hotly, her eyes raking over Scully's topless torso, undressing her mentally and wanting the opportunity to undress her for real. As Scully extended her hand to Anne, she realized that her wish just might come true...

**********************************************************************

Anne took Scully's hand in hers as Scully gently tugged her off the couch and lead her back to her bedroom. Anne's heart was pounding in her chest, and she could feel heat scalding her cheeks. Scully's room was darkened except for a little bit of light shining in through the window, and a small candle burning on a table beside the bed. Anne glanced nervously around the room as Scully walked over to the bed and sat down, pulling Anne to stand in-between her legs. Scully looked up at Anne and smiled softly,

"Take this off," she said huskily as she tugged on the bottom of Anne's sweater. Anne smiled coyly and moved very slowly, pulling the garment up and over her head, then dropping it on the floor. She stood in front of Scully with her torso identically bared. Scully let her eyes absorb the sight... ivory skin and a soft, flat stomach... smallish breasts in a black satiny bra... a skinny gold chain resting on prominent collarbones... soft, dangling curls falling against a long, slender neck... Scully looked up at Anne while reaching out to trail her fingers down Anne's sides, making goosebumps arise quickly on Anne's skin. Anne's eyes were dark in the room, but Scully could still see the passion burning within them. Scully let her fingers wander down to the edge of Anne's jeans, where she unbuttoned and unzipped them, revealing some black panties. One corner of Anne's mouth curled upward as Scully looked up at her again and quirked a little smile as she gently pushed the jeans off her hips. Anne helped push them off the rest of the way, and soon she was standing before Scully in just her undergarments.

She was svelte-looking... athletically slim, with small breasts and a short waist that flared out into angular hips, then tapered into long, shapely legs. She was built better than Scully had imagined - after all, it was hard to tell with her always being fully clothed. Scully put her hands on Anne's waist and pulled her close, pressing her lips against Anne's flat stomach and reaching up to place her palms against her back. Anne hugged Scully against her stomach for a moment, but then lifted her to her feet. Leaning down and kissing Dana tenderly, she let her fingers fall down to Scully's already undone jeans to give them a push downward. Scully helped to kick them off, leaving them both standing in their underwear, smiling and kissing. The feeling of skin against skin set off explosions in both of them, and Anne let her leg slide in-between Scully's legs in an effort to get even closer. Scully finally broke the kissing and looked up at Anne, brushing her thumb across her lips before she sat on the bed and scooted back toward the center of it. Anne climbed onto the bed and crawled up beside Scully, pulling her gently toward her so that they could lie on the bed facing each other.

They laid still for a moment, staring intently into one another's eyes, perhaps contemplating what they were about to experience. Anne wanted to take things slowly... she wanted to savor every moment and every inch of Dana. She slid her leg in-between Scully's and tangled them together, then tugged on Scully's waist, pulling their bodies flush against each other. Scully smiled and willingly wrapped her arms around Anne, uniting their bodies as Scully leaned in to kiss Anne fully on the mouth. They tasted each other slowly and carefully, kissing upper and lower lips, letting each one grow slowly in intensity. Scully saw Anne's eyes dilate and darken as she seemingly stared into the depths of her soul... she felt a twinge of fright at the overpowering intensity of the moment, and yet she was incredibly turned-on at the same time. Scully watched nervously as Anne propped herself up and began to trail her fingers down her body.

It had been so long since Anne experienced these sensations... the exquisite feeling of soft, supple skin underneath her fingertips... the gentle curves of a feminine body against her exploring palms... and the alluring scent of perfume combined with female arousal. She let her fingers travel all over Scully's body... down her arm... down her side... over her buttocks... across her thigh. She wanted to feel it all... every centimeter, and more. She sat up and gently pushed Dana onto her back, straddling her with one knee in-between Scully's legs. Gently leaning her face down, she pressed her lips to Scully's, bestowing a most tender kiss on her as she began her delicate assault. She kissed daintily along Dana's jaw, then brushed her hair aside and kissed all along her neck and throat, trailing feather-light kisses across her chest. She let her lips graze down in-between Dana's breasts, barely touching her skin as she continued downward toward Scully's jittery stomach. She was grazing all over her... feasting on her flesh... eating her alive.

Scully thought she would go mad from the incredible sensuality of Anne's slow-burn... the sensations that swept through her body were overwhelming her.

Anne pressed her lips into Dana's stomach, planting a kiss there before continuing her journey around her body. She shifted over to Scully's left arm and let her lips travel up that arm, sweeping over her shoulders and upper chest to the right arm, where she trailed them back down to where Scully's right arm rested on her stomach. From there, Anne let her lips sneak down to the waist of Dana's panties, and she softly traveled them across the waistband, making Scully's heartbeat increase three-fold. Scully put her hands on Anne's head, letting her fingers weave into her hair as she felt a slight panic arise in her throat...

<oh my god... she wasn't going to do *that*, was she!?> she thought anxiously. She relaxed, however, when she felt Anne's lips meandering back up her stomach, chest, and throat to kiss her sensuously on the lips. Anne knelt above Scully, pulling the straps of her bra down off her shoulders and whispering,

"Take this off." As Scully's foggy mind fumbled with the clasp of her bra, Anne slid herself back down to Scully's panties and began to pull them off. Scully's heart raced wildly... she was scared for a moment and she felt the urge to cover herself up... but seeing Anne's approving grin as she flicked the panties aside reassured her for the time being. Anne knelt again, discarding her own bra and reaching for her panties until Scully sat up and reached out, stopping her hands. "Let me do it," Scully whispered, leaning in for a kiss. Anne turned and laid down on the bed now as Scully knelt and stripped the black panties off, revealing a surprise.

There on Anne's stomach, near her hip bone, was a tattoo. It was a picture of a crescent moon, surrounded by a fiery ring of sun. Scully's mouth dropped open, and she looked up at Anne in shock. Anne simply smiled enigmatically at her, making Scully grin in amazement.

<...the conundrum continues to surprise...> Scully thought as she tossed the panties aside. Scully touched the tattoo lightly as she let her eyes rake over Anne's long, lean body. She was tentative, unsure where to begin and what to do. Anne seemed to sense her hesitation, and she pulled Dana down to kiss her, bringing her hands around Scully's back and pulling her body down to lie atop hers. The feeling was pure electricity... flesh against flesh... soft heat against soft heat. Scully breathed heavily into Anne's mouth as their bodies fused together. Anne slid her hands up and down Scully's back and butt, pushing a thigh in-between Dana's legs again and letting it slide up to touch her heat. Scully let out a small groan when she felt the contact. She almost wanted to grind herself against Anne's thigh, but she managed to keep it together and pull herself free from Anne's grip. She now took a turn hovering above Anne and examining her body.

Scully started by pushing Anne's hair aside and kissing her throat, then wandering down across her collarbones and upper chest. She peppered her chest with small, soft kisses, smelling Anne's perfume each time her nose touched her skin. Anne brought her hands up and pushed them into Scully's hair, holding it lightly as the sensual exploration continued. Scully hesitantly let her instincts lead her as she took her time and allowed herself to adjust to the taste and feel of Anne's flesh. She indulged her lips and tip of her tongue and let them peruse every area of Anne's upper body... she wasn't quite brave enough to go any farther south. Anne's skin was warm, velvety smooth, and incredibly soft. Touching and kissing her was like nothing Scully had experienced or *hoped* to experience... it was so different from a man... it was absolutely divine. She had never seen a woman up close and personal like this, let alone touch one so intimately... she couldn't think of anyone she'd rather be experiencing it with than Anne.

As Scully let her lips float down between Anne's breasts, she somehow found the nerve to stray sideways and brushed her lips over a nipple. Anne murmured a quiet "mmmm," and clenched her hands in Scully's hair. Encouraged by Anne's reaction, Scully opened her lips to take the nipple inside her mouth and suck it lightly. She flicked her tongue over its hardness and licked it delicately as Anne continued to make quiet humming noises. Scully released the bud and shifted over to the other one, not wanting to play favorites. She suckled and licked that one as well, relishing in the wonder and amazement of tasting a woman like this for the first time. Her hesitation and lack of expertise was unimportant to Anne, who hummed quietly with every touch of her nimble fingers and every kiss of her soft lips. She reached down and twined her fingers in Dana's hair, silently encouraging her while she alternated kissing her breasts.

Scully couldn't believe it was happening... she couldn't believe that she was doing it... it was almost like a dream... a strange, sensual, erotic dream. And yet... it felt natural... perfectly normal. It felt as though suddenly, somehow, everything fell into place... and she understood. She now knew that *this* is what people meant when they spoke of love... when they spoke of making intense, passionate love with someone... *this* was it... *this* was the feeling... a perfect and beautiful union of two souls, truly meant for each other. Scully brought her face up to Anne's and seared her lips with a deeply intense kiss... she wanted to convey her feelings through it... she wanted to tell Anne how much she wanted her... how much she needed her... and... how much she loved her. It hit her like a freight train, and pounded in her head like a maddening mantra... <I love her... I love her... I love her.>

Anne seemed to read her mind again, and she kissed Dana back fiercely, hugging her close and wrapping her arms around her as they laid side-by-side once again. Scully let her hand slide down Anne's back to her butt, where she squeezed and kneaded it gently. Anne shifted her knee up and let it slide over Scully's thigh as she tugged on her waist and pulled her body in closer. Scully in turn pushed her knee up between Anne's thighs and let it glide upwards until it touched Anne's heat, making her shudder and gasp softly in Scully's mouth.

Inflamed by Anne's arousal, Scully pushed Anne's hips back, making her lie on her back while Scully propped up on her elbow and leaned over her body. Anne smiled coyly, apparently pleased with Scully taking charge. Scully pressed her own smiling lips to Anne's as she began to dance her fingers along Anne's body. She let them drift about, from her side, to her breasts, to her stomach, to her protruding hip bones, then her thighs, her knees... she turned to watch them explore freely while Anne in turn watched her through half-lidded eyes. She watched as Scully let her hand slide slowly down her stomach to touch the little tuft of hair at the juncture of her thighs. She pushed her fingertips into the soft, kinky thatch, carefully feeling its texture.

Scully leaned down to kiss the tattoo on Anne's stomach while she watched her fingers touch and feel all around. She stroked her fingers along Anne's groin and trailed them down along her inner thighs, all the while thinking about how Anne had pleasured her, and how she pleasured herself - what she liked, what turned her on... it was all she had to go on, and she hoped that it was good enough to please Anne. She felt her stomach clench with nervousness as she contemplated her next step. Anne squirmed slightly and twisted her fingers in Scully's hair as she inched closer to her heat. She told herself to just lie still and enjoy the feeling of being touched... of letting someone please her... letting someone love her. It was still difficult and hard to relax, but she could feel her arousal growing with each tickle of Scully's fingertips.

Scully looked up at Anne for a moment, trying to read the dark look on her face, and telling herself to go for it. She leaned up and kissed her tenderly on the lips, carefully watching her eyes, and Anne slid her hands down to grasp Scully's neck and jaw as she returned the kiss fervently. Scully quickly pushed her fingers down over Anne's soft mound, letting her middle finger slip between the soft flesh and into her wetness. Anne's mouth fell open against Scully's as she let out a breathy gasp. It remained open while Scully slowly stroked her hand back and forth, carefully delving in then sliding back out, saturating her fingers in Anne's warm juices. Anne's thighs fell open and she pushed her hips upward as Scully swirled her fingertip around her swollen clit, making Anne's head fall back as she quietly sucked air between clenched teeth and squeezed her eyes shut. Scully watched with wide eyes as Anne's face contorted, indicating her climax was nearing. She was getting incredibly turned-on observing Anne's arousal... she wanted to make her lose control... she wanted to see, hear, and feel her come. She plunged her fingers down again, carefully letting them enter Anne and piston in and out while her thumb brushed across her clit. Anne grasped Dana's head, digging her nails into her scalp slightly while she thrust her hips against Scully's hand. Scully heeded the warning signal and quickly brought her face back to Anne's, wanting to kiss her deeply while she came. Anne kissed her profoundly for a moment, but soon could only gasp and groan as her orgasm erupted like a volcano, destroying her control. She squeezed Scully's head and pulled her against her chest as her whole body tightened and convulsed uncontrollably, releasing its powerful tension. Scully withdrew her hand and held onto Anne tightly, surprised by the force and intensity of her orgasm.

She pressed her face into the dampened skin of Anne's chest, kissing it softly while she calmed down. She could feel Anne's heart racing wildly, thumping against her lips, and she felt her hair being ruffled by panting breath. Scully soon felt arms closing around her, hugging her tightly as lips descended on her head.

"...Christ...," Anne finally whispered breathlessly. Scully smiled and giggled a little, lifting her head to look up at Anne... she had her head tilted back with her eyes still closed, but she had a grin on her face. Scully just watched her silently for a moment, admiring the relaxed, sated look that she wore on her face. She reached up and lightly touched her fingers to Anne's flushed cheek, brushing her thumb across her soft, pouty lips.

Anne opened her eyes to look at Scully... the deep blue sea locking with the crystal clear river... they said nothing, just stared at one another... breaking down walls and crashing through barriers... silently telling each other everything they were too frightened to say aloud. Scully's eyes grew misty as the "L" word began popping up in her head again. She wanted to say it aloud... but she was still afraid. Anne must have seen the tears starting to well, because she pulled Scully up toward her as she leaned down to place a loving kiss on her tremulous lips. Scully kissed her back harder, sliding her arms around her neck and letting her emotions pour out of her. She held nothing back as they kissed ardently, wanting to empty her very soul into Anne for protection and safekeeping.

After a few minutes of intense lip-locking, Anne rolled them over so that Scully was on her back. She then lifted herself off of Scully and grasped her wrists, pulling her arms up over her head while pinning her with a smoldering look and a wicked grin,

"Your turn," Anne whispered huskily against Scully's lips, making gooseflesh erupt all over Scully's body. Scully could say nor do anything... she was too transfixed by Anne as she quickly began to devour her nude form, touching every inch with her fingers, grazing over every hair with her lips.

Anne knew Dana was watching her every move, and it somehow heightened the excitement. She really didn't care what Dana did; she only wanted to feel her body beneath her palms and taste it beneath her lips. Every breath she took... every quiver of her skin... every tense of her muscles... Anne wanted to absorb everything, and more. After finally kissing and caressing all the way down to Scully's ankles, Anne slid herself back up her body and smiled slightly at her. Scully felt waves of shyness wash over her as she returned the smile tentatively, ever unsure of what Anne was thinking. Anne leaned in to barely touch their open mouths together, peering into Scully's eyes with pure affection,

"You're so beautiful," Anne whispered lowly as she placed a tender kiss on Dana's lips. Scully broke into a toothy smile and wrapped her arms around Anne's neck, pulling her in for a deeper kiss. Scully's hands nervously ran up and down Anne's naked back, twining in her hair as their kisses alternated between tender and impassioned. Anne soon broke away, too eager to let her lips explore the rest of Dana's delicious body. She slid herself down again, kissing Scully's chest and the valley between her perfect, creamy breasts. She wanted to canvass her entire body, carefully inspecting every last part so that she could report the findings back to Dana's waiting lips.

Anne slid her fingers around Scully's supple breasts, cupping them and feeling their fullness. Scully gasped slightly and arched her back as Anne let her lips surround the now-hardened nipples. She sucked and nipped gingerly at each silky bud until Scully was moaning softly and digging her fingers into Anne's hair and shoulders. She felt her groin surge with wetness as Anne moved her velvety lips further down her taut body, stopping to spread kisses all over her stomach and hips. She moved herself further down the bed and quickly slipped in-between Scully's legs, making Scully's head spin as she felt Anne's lips softly kissing a path down each upper thigh. Gently pushing Dana's knees apart, Anne leaned in to plant a kiss on each inner thigh. The sweet aroma of female essence filled her senses as Scully's quivering thighs yielded open to her.

Scully had been feeling anxious about this moment, worried how she would 'handle' it. She had only ever let one person - a man - touch his mouth to her down there, and it was *not* pleasant, to say the least. The harsh stubble of his face scratched her tender parts, he didn't touch her in all the right places, and he was too rough, ultimately turning her off to one of the biggest sexual pleasures a woman could enjoy - again, according to her friends. She had a feeling things would be different with Anne, however... she hoped it would be tender, loving, and passionate, just like everything else Anne did. The anticipation was nearly killing Scully as Anne slowly meandered down to her nest of curls, gently kissing her all over and pushing her nose into the soft, kinky hair. Scully shuddered as Anne's warm breath gusted over her, and she gasped aloud when her tongue slipped down, daintily delving into her honey-drenched folds. She let out a groan and clutched Anne's head with her hands as she lapped delicately at her, savoring each little morsel with her lips and tongue. Scully began to writhe and mewl quietly, clenching and unclenching her fists in Anne's hair.

<... Oh god, oh god, oh god...> was all she could think. Her head was buzzing and she couldn't see straight, it was such an astounding, unbelievable feeling... Anne's soft lips touching her most sensitive parts, and her warm, wet tongue exploring and tasting her. Anne could feel her own body becoming heated with arousal as she quietly hummed her delight... Dana was warm, creamy, and so sweet, and the feel of her building excitement fueled Anne's hunger even higher. Anne's breathing quickened and she became more eager, slipping her hands under Scully's thighs and ass, angling her pelvis toward her. She carefully swirled her tongue around Scully's clit, then pressed her lips fully around the sensitive button of nerve endings, sucking lightly. Scully arched her back and thrust her hips into Anne's face, groaning with pleasure.

Turned on even more by Dana's whimpering, Anne grabbed her ass tighter and laved her entire valley with her tongue as more nectar trickled out, dampening her nose as she stabbed with her tongue and then pressed it against the slippery nub. Anne yanked one hand free and dipped her fingertips in Dana's juices, carefully slipping a finger into Scully's burning-hot cunt. Scully's head fell back and she moaned again as Anne carefully penetrated her with first one, then two fingers. She began to thrust her hips against Anne's face as she felt her control slipping away. The sensation of Anne's long fingers gliding in and out of her and warm lips suckling her swollen, vulnerable clit made Scully's head spin and her body shudder uncontrollably. She was being devoured mercilessly, and she gripped Anne tighter as waves of excruciating ecstasy began crashing over her body. She couldn't hold out anymore... her back arched up off the bed and she groaned loudly as the orgasm ripped through her body, rendering her speechless and making her cunt convulse and grip Anne's still-probing fingers. Anne could feel the rush that spread throughout Dana's body as she came hard and fast, clutching Anne's head desperately. Warm juices trickled out of her as Anne slowed her suckling, feeling the orgasm subsiding.

Kissing her labia and her groin delicately, Anne withdrew her fingers and pressed her lips to Scully's trembling thighs, letting her nose slide through the curly thatch of hair and up to her stomach where she planted another soft kiss. It was then that she felt Scully's stomach quivering and heard the soft sobbing. Anne looked up quickly, bringing her face up to Dana's and peering worriedly into her eyes.

"What's wrong?" Anne whispered, brushing the curtain of copper hair away from Scully's eyes. Scully closed her eyes and shook her head slightly as tears dribbled down the sides of her face. She quirked a nervous little smile,

"Nothing... nothing, it's just...," she whispered, trying to verbalize her feelings. She reached up and pushed a hand into Anne's hair, "It's just... so *good*...," she said with a small nervous smile. Anne frowned at her a bit, concerned that the tearful reaction was due to something else. Scully pulled Anne's head a little closer to her,

"I guess I'm just a little overwhelmed...?" she whispered with a quivering smile, trying to ease Anne's mind. Anne still gave her a confused look, but she leaned down to place a gentle, loving kiss on Scully's lips, wanting to abolish all worry from Scully's mind. Scully wrapped her arms around Anne's neck and pulled her in for a deeper kiss, realizing after-the-fact that she was tasting herself on Anne's lips. It was incredibly intimate and erotic, and she hugged Anne tighter, kissing her lasciviously.

****************************

They soon relaxed and laid in each other's arms, gently kissing and caressing, relishing in the exquisite feel of each other. After awhile, Anne propped up on one arm, looking down on Scully as she ran her fingers over her cheeks, jaw, lips, and nose. Scully opened her eyes and looked up at her with a grin, making Anne smile back at her.

"What are you thinking about?" Scully asked quietly. Anne grinned at her, recalling their 'disagreement',

"Uhmmm... I was just wondering if you've told your partner anything about this," she said as she continued to let her fingers dance along Scully's skin.

"No... I haven't told him anything... why would I?" Scully said with a shrug. Anne shrugged back at her,

"I dunno... you said you two were close, and I know you got snagged on the phone with me the other day... so, I wondered if you had said anything," she said. Scully giggled a little,

"Yeah sure, when he asked me who it was, I told him 'oh that was the woman with whom I'm having a *torrid* love affair'," Scully said with a grin. Anne looked at her seriously, brushing a stray lock of bronze hair behind her ear,

"Is that what this is? ... an 'affair'?" she asked quietly. Scully made a small confused face and smiled gently,

"No... not to me," she said, shaking her head slightly and blinking slowly.

"Then what is it?" Anne asked, raising her brows as she brushed her knuckles over Scully's lips. Scully smiled back at her,

"I don't know... what do *you* think?" she replied with a smirk, craftily throwing the question back to Anne, who smirked at her, lifting one eyebrow.

"I think... that this is the beginning," Anne said, trailing her finger down the side of Scully's face.

"The beginning of *what*?" Scully asked as she raised her brows suspiciously. Anne touched her index finger to Scully's lips and regarded her seriously,

"Of whatever we want it to be," she said quietly. Scully looked back at her seriously,

"And what do *you* want it to be, Anne?" she asked with a whisper.

"I want it to be *everything*," she whispered back as she leaned down to kiss Scully's supple lips. Scully wrapped her arms around Anne's neck, pulling her close and kissing her languidly as Anne pressed the length of her body against Scully's. They kissed for a few moments until Anne broke away, looking at Scully again,

"So, you're never going to tell Mulder, or anyone?" she asked. Scully laughed and frowned at Anne,

"Why are you so concerned about it? No - I don't intend to tell Mulder anything, nor anyone else... I don't think it's anyone else's business." Scully said seriously. Anne grinned at her as she leaned down to peck Scully on the lips.

"Who have *you* told?" Scully asked, perking her brows.

"I've never told anyone *anything*... well, my sister, Kate, is the only one I talk to about anything... she's the only one I trust," she said with a wry grin.

"Why haven't you ever told anyone else?" Scully queried, a puzzled look on her face. Anne smiled softly at her,

"Because, like you, I don't think my love life is anyone's business... besides... I doubt anyone would understand," she said sadly as she laid back down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. Scully propped up and looked at her, plainly seeing the sadness and frustration in her dark cerulean eyes. Anne looked back at her,

"Telling your family that you're *gay*, right after you've gotten divorced, would be a bit *much*, y'know?" she said, quirking the corner of her mouth.

"Yeah... I guess it would," Scully said quietly as she reached out to touch her fingertips to Anne's mouth.

"So... I guess it's just you and me against the world, huh?" Anne said with a grin.

"Yep," Scully quipped back, still stroking her fingers along Anne's face.

"Well, that's ok... you're all I need," Anne said in a hushed voice as she reached up and pulled Scully down for a deep, lingering kiss. Scully's eyes welled with tears again and she let her lips unleash a fury of passionate kisses upon Anne's mouth.

"...God I love you," Scully whispered against Anne's lips as she squeezed her eyes shut tightly, trying to hold back the barrage of tears that began to seep out against her will.

"I love you," Anne whispered in return as she held Scully's face against hers and kissed it all over again and again.

They held each other for a long time, not saying anything more... just caressing each other gently until they soon began to succumb to the dark welcome of sweet sleep.

*******************************

Sometime during the night, Anne bolted upright in bed, suddenly aware that she was not in her own bed. She looked around in a panic, trying desperately to get her bearings. The room looked unfamiliar... it smelled unfamiliar... she was stark naked, and... someone or some*thing* was moving beside her. Anne's jolt had awakened Scully, and she slowly sat up. She blinked and looked around for a moment, quickly remembering that Anne was here, and they were sleeping together in her bed. But Anne sat beside her now, breathing heavily, pulling the sheets up over her body, and staring at her as though she had two heads.

"What's the matter?" Scully whispered to Anne in sleep-slurred speech. Anne stared at her as realization of where she was and who she was with slowly dawned on her.

"Are you alright?" Scully asked again, reaching out to touch Anne's exposed arm. Anne closed her eyes for a moment, now fully aware of her surroundings, and a little embarrassed at her panic.

"Yes... I'm fine," she said as she relaxed the sheets and rubbed her eyes. She had forgotten about her habit of panicking in her sleep when slumbering in a foreign place. Apparently, her body had a way of 'knowing' when it was in unfamiliar surroundings, and it would wake up in a jumble of confusion. Anne slid her legs over the side of the bed and got out, slowly shuffling toward the bathroom. Scully worriedly watched her nude form walk out the door, then decided to go after her, just to make sure she was okay. When she reached the closed door of the bathroom, she carefully pushed it open, observing Anne leaning over the sink, splashing water on her face. Anne's upright body looked thinner and more pale in the soft light of the bathroom... she had numerous freckles on her shoulders, and Scully could see tan-lines from a bathing suit. Anne sensed that Scully was there, and she looked up into the mirror, seeing Dana standing in back of her.

"Everything okay?" Scully asked timidly as she touched Anne's back lightly. Anne nodded at her, blinking and smiling weakly.

"I'm fine," she whispered,

"...Must have been dreaming or something," Anne said with a shrug, too embarrassed to tell Dana that she didn't know where she was. Scully gave a slight nod and darted her eyes around nervously as Anne turned around to look at her, patting her face dry with a towel. Scully watched her for a moment, suddenly worried that Anne was going to say that she had to leave or something.

"Are you going home now?" Scully asked quietly. Anne frowned at her a little, surprised by the question,

"No... did you *want* me to go home?" she asked in return, her brows arched expectantly.

"No, no...," Scully spat out quickly, shaking her head,

"...I want you to stay," she said earnestly. Anne looked at her and stepped closer to her,

"Good... I want to stay," she said with a gentle smile. Scully smiled back at her and closed the gap between them, pressing her naked body against Anne's as she reached up to kiss her tenderly. Anne brought her arms around Scully's small, warm body, pulling her close and feeling familiar sensations sweep through her as she returned the kiss deeply. Scully let herself drown in Anne's passion as their mouths met hotly, tongues dueling and lips suckling as their hands roamed each other's bodies... they couldn't get enough of each other... it was like a drug... they craved the touch and feel of one another.

Scully pulled away for a moment and took Anne's hand in hers, silently leading her back to the bed. When they reached the side of the bed, Scully sat down, pulling Anne between her legs. She kissed Anne's stomach, running her hands up and down her thighs and sides as Anne pushed her fingers into her coppery hair and smiled. Scully looked up and saw Anne's gentle smile, making her smile back... they looked at each other for a moment, silently acknowledging their love and happiness. Anne let go of Scully and climbed onto the bed behind her, crouching on her knees and straddling Scully from behind. An excited smile crossed Scully's lips as she wondered what Anne was up to.

Scully felt herself melt helplessly when Anne leaned down and kissed her shoulders while letting her hands roam down her arms, stomach, and thighs. Anne leaned down further and kissed Scully's neck and jaw while dragging her fingers up her thighs and into her soft mound of hair. Scully let out a deep breath and spread her thighs apart eagerly as Anne pushed her fingers down into Scully's cunt, sliding them into the warm, wet folds. As Dana's mouth fell open, Anne captured it with her own while she plunged her fingers down further, letting them enter Scully's hot, tight opening. She brushed her thumb back and forth across Scully's swollen clit while she slid her other arm around Scully's neck, pulling her close and kissing her harder, wanting to taste and feel Dana's ecstasy again.

Anne began a maddening pace, pumping her fingers and swirling her thumb around Scully's vulnerable clit, driving her to the brink of orgasm. But, before Scully came, Anne abruptly removed herself from behind her, letting her lie back on the bed while she quickly inverted herself so that she could attack Scully's throbbing clit with her mouth. She pulled Dana's thighs apart farther, pressing her lips to the juicy folds, and snaking her tongue out to dip into her. She pressed her mouth around the engorged button and alternated flicking her tongue back and forth and sucking it mercilessly, while she plunged her thumb into Scully's cunt and brushed her middle finger across her anus. The combination of being fucked and eaten alive was too much for Scully... her body convulsed and jerked upward as Anne plundered her, and she reached out blindly, grabbing ahold of Anne's waist and ass as she began to slip over the edge. Scully groaned aloud, her thighs stiffening and her hips thrusting upward as the orgasm ripped through her body. Anne continued to hold her position steadfastly, hungrily devouring and suckling Scully, pushing her over the threshold again into another blinding orgasm. Anne pressed her body against Scully's and held onto her tightly as the final climax crescendoed and everything relaxed. She removed her hand and kissed Dana's thighs tenderly before she turned around and crawled back up beside Scully, pressing their bodies together and holding her tightly again. After a few breathless minutes, Scully turned to Anne with a grin, kissing her softly on the lips.

"I'm going to be sore tomorrow, you realize that don't you?" she whispered to Anne.

"No problem, I'm a doctor." Anne replied with a smile, making Scully giggle as they kissed again.

After a few minutes of resting, Scully sat up and climbed on top of Anne, straddling her and leaning down to kiss her teasingly. Anne grinned widely, pleased by her mischievousness, and wondering what she would do to her next. Scully traced her tongue around Anne's parted lips, then slowly drug it down her chin and throat to her chest, where she began kissing Anne's soft breasts. Dana moved quickly, suckling Anne's nipples briefly, then moving down to her stomach and her protruding hip bones, all the while letting her hands caress and touch Anne's skin all over. Scully moved slowly down to Anne's curly thatch of hair, letting her nose and lips part the soft, kinky stuff, feeling and smelling and touching curiously. She rose up for a moment, pushing Anne's legs apart slightly and looking up at her as Anne propped herself up on her elbows. The understanding look in Anne's eyes told her that she didn't have to do this, but Dana smiled back at her, silently telling her that she wanted to do it... she wanted to experience it... she wanted to please Anne as she had pleased her.

She leaned up to place a tender kiss on Anne's mouth, then slid herself back down, pressing her lips against Anne's inner thigh as she smelled and felt the heat emanating from her. The scent was sweet and musky... a smell like no other... something about it turned Scully on immensely, and she delicately began to kiss Anne's groin and labia, brushing her nose in the soft hair and darting her tongue out shyly. Anne watched with wide eyes until she could take no more... her head fell back as she laid back down on the bed, bringing her hands down to sink her fingers into Scully's hair. She tried desperately to hold still while Scully's tongue flickered out to taste her hesitantly. Scully was being so gentle and careful, Anne was sure she had no idea that she was driving her crazy with her solicitous invasion.

Over and over again, Scully would slowly delve her tongue in to taste daintily, then push it up over Anne's throbbing clit... her actions began to grow bolder as she felt Anne clutching her hair in her fists, silently telling her that she was doing all the right things. Feeling more brave, she brought one hand up to let her fingertips dip into Anne's juices, sliding them around and in-between the slick folds. She then slid her other arm underneath Anne's ass, grabbing hold firmly while she gingerly pressed her warm lips around Anne's clit and plunged a finger deeply into her. Anne couldn't hold still any longer... her hips thrust upward and she let out a long groan, fighting hard not to grab Dana's head and squeeze it. Scully was oblivious to Anne's clutching hands - she was too turned-on by Anne's reactions to notice. She latched on to Anne's clit hungrily, hammering it with her tongue as she let her fingers fuck her gently but deeply. Anne could feel the pulsations building inside her as she moved her hips urgently against Scully's mouth. Her back arched up off the bed involuntarily as her mouth fell open and gasped for air, the onslaught of Scully's tongue finally causing a thunderous eruption that catapulted her over the edge. Scully could feel the orgasm as it rocked Anne's body... Anne's muscles contracted around Dana's fingers, her stomach tensed, and she clenched her fists in her hair, mildly squeezing her thighs around Scully's head and pinning it until the climax slowly abated. Anne's thighs released Scully's head as they collapsed down on the bed, allowing Scully to carefully extricate herself from between Anne's legs and climb back up to lay on top of her.

They both laid very still for a moment, trying to catch their breath... their bodies and minds were too spent to do anything else. Scully pressed her lips to Anne's heaving chest, feeling her heart thudding beneath her sweat-dampened skin. Anne slid her arms up over Dana's back, pushing her hands into her hair and caressing her lovingly.

They rested in silence for a long time, the only movement being the expansion of their chests as they breathed. A million thoughts spun round and round inside Scully's head, but the immediate one was... she felt fulfilled. She felt peaceful, she felt loved, and she felt *happy*. She knew now that she had never been happy before - not really. Sure, she had thought she was lots of times, but it was nothing compared to the way she felt right now. She never had anyone love her the way Anne did... never, never, never... it was beautiful and passionate, like nothing she'd ever experienced before. No man could ever come close to giving her what Anne did... it was so *completely* different... so totally emotional and unbelievably tender. Anne was a quiet, but immensely sensual and intense lover, wanting to please Dana first and foremost; seemingly able to give to her what she craved without either of them ever speaking a word.

Scully felt like her heart would burst from the enormity of the feelings coursing through her, and she felt her eyes sting with tears as she quickly shifted herself so that they laid side-by-side. They held each other close and Anne kissed Scully tenderly through the damp tracks left by her tears.

Anne never felt so deeply and so completely 'right' about anyone like she did with Dana. Dana was passionate, sensitive, and open... more than Anne dreamed she would be. Anne marveled at the way they were able to read each other's minds, agreeing perfectly on what they wanted and needed from each other, and giving eagerly. Anne truly believed that Dana Scully was her soul mate.

They filled the voids in each other's barren souls... their hollow lives were full once more... their once-empty hearts were filling with love again, and each of them silently thanked the unknown Gods for allowing their lonely paths to cross. As they began to drift off to sleep once again, they cuddled and held each other tighter, wanting never to leave the safe haven of their secure, loving enfold.

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END