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House of Cards - Chapter 11
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Georgetown University Hospital
April 19, 1999
5:00 pm

Dana Scully had slept most of the afternoon away. Walter Skinner, Fox Mulder, Maggie Scully and Blake Maxwell had been in the room to check on her several times but she was dead to the world. Walter and Maggie tired to ignore each other while wandering the hallways while Fox was trying to size Blake up in the visitors lounge.

Fox was arguing with Blake about which color looked best on Scully when he noticed that Bill Scully, Jr. was standing in front of him.

"Were is she Mulder?" Bill asked rudely.

"Room 321, but she's sleeping," Fox Mulder said as he stood up to greet Dana's brother.

"What the hell have you gotten my sister into now?" Bill asked.

"Nothing. She was out jogging and got shot."

"Probably for someone after you. What the hell are you doing here?" He asked Blake.

"Same reason you are here Billy." Blake said to the larger man. Mulder was astonished to see that Bill hated Blake more than he hated him. Blake might just be alright in his book.

"It's Bill, you little weasel. Why the hell are you here. I thought I made it clear that I wanted you out of my sisters life. You've caused enough problems for my family. I'm going to see her now and when I get back I expect for both of you to be gone. Have I made myself clear?" He asked harshly.

"Billy, this is a public place, and as a public place I have as much of a right to be here as you do, if not more. So play your concerned brother act in front of a crowd that cares," Blake seethed back to Bill. Bill left the waiting room quickly.

"What the hell did you do to piss him off Blake?" Mulder asked.

"Oh just the usual. I showed his little sister that there was more to life than the Catholic church and the ten commandments. Didn't make me very popular in the Scully household."

"So you were the one that made Scully a skeptic."

"I might have something to do it. When I met her she was young and naive, but very strong in her convictions at the same time. I didn't make her disbelieve in what she had been taught, I just made her question the reason why she believed. Up until that point she had pretty much believed because it was what the church taught, she never questioned the church and the validity of worship."

"So Bill hates you because of this?"

"No, Bill hates me because Dana moved out of her parents house and in with me."

"Oh, I bet that went over well. How old was she?"

"She must been around 16 or 17 years. It was after she finished her freshman year at Stanford. She was only going to live with me for the summer but then decided to transfer to Maryland and ended up staying with me until she went to Medical school and claimed that I was putting a damper on her studying." Mulder was fascinated with this tale of Scully's past.

"What was she like then?" He asked genuinely interested in the facet of Scully's life that she had never discussed.

"Much the same as she is now, without the hardness. She's the most caring, loving, and generous person that I have ever met. I owe her my life. She has saved me from myself a thousand times over."

"I used to feel the same way about her, but she changed. I know that you know what I'm talking about. You probably don't want to or can't talk about it due to some sense of loyalty to her, but what happened to make her change?" Mulder asked.

"Some stories aren't mine to tell," Blake replied letting Mulder know that this line of questioning was over.

"That's fair. So when am I going to meet Claire? Is she like anything like Scully?" Mulder asked changing the subject, knowing that he wasn't going to get anything else out of Blake Maxwell.

"Claire should be here sometime tonight and she's nothing like Dana. You'll just have to wait and see."

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Georgetown University Hospital
April 19, 1999
5:30 pm

"Dana, I got here as soon as I could," Bill said upon entering his sisters hospital room and seeing that she was awake.

"Thanks for coming Bill, " She replied as he kissed her on the cheek.

"Did you see mom? She's somewhere in the hospital," Dana said not knowing what else to say to her brother. Their relationship had always been strained and she tended to stick with the safe subjects with him; Tara, Matthew, and Mom.

"No, but I ran into Mulder and Blake Maxwell in the visitors lounge. What the hell are they doing here? I told you I didn't want you having anything to do with Blake. He's agnostic, he can't be trusted. Fox Mulder is a whole other matter," Bill said raising his voice.

"Bill, they are here because they care. Just because Blake is an agnostic doesn't mean that he's going to hell and he isn't tainting my mind. I'm quite capable of forming my own opinions. I don't need a man or a church to tell me what I should believe," Dana argued back.

"You know the church is right Dana," Bill said emphatically.

"You may think the church is right Bill, and that's your prerogative."

"But you don't believe the church. You don't believe in God anymore?"

"I do believe in the concept of God, Bill, and I probably always will. But, do I believe in all the teachings of the church? The answer would have to be no."

"Don't let mom hear you say that Dana."

"Mom will just have to deal with it. I'm thirty four years old. If I can't believe what I want at this age something is seriously wrong."

"So you think I'm foolish and stupid for believing what the church and mom and dad taught us?"

"No, I didn't say that Bill. Look, if you believe it and it works for you that's fine. Who am I to say what you believe is wrong or right. I don't want to get into a religious debate with you right now Bill, " Dana said as she tried to change the subject.

"So how is the prognosis?"

"Fine. I will be here for another week and then I can go home."

"You are going to stay at Mom's?" Bill asked but it sounded more like an order.

"No, I'm going home to my house."

"Are you sure that's a wise decision?" Bill asked.

"Bill, I'm a doctor. I know how to take care of myself."

"You don't seem to be doing a very good job of taking care of yourself Dana. Listen, I don't mean to be a nag. I'm just concerned about you."

"I appreciate your concern Bill, I really do. I'm fine. In a couple of days I will be back to normal." Dana tried to reassure him.

"If you say so. Listen I'm going to go and get something to eat. Do you want anything?"

"No, I'm fine." She said as she watched him leave her room.

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Georgetown University Hospital
April 19, 1999
7:00 pm

Fox Mulder stopped in Dana's room for one last time before he left for the night. He wanted to check in on her to see if she needed anything.

"Scully, what the hell are you doing?" Mulder asked as he entered her room and discovered her trying to get out of her bed.

"I'm going to take a shower," She said as she tried to get into a sitting position. The bandages on her chest were making movement difficult.

"Are you sure that's a wise decision?"

"Mulder, I have been in this bed for more than a week. Look at my hair, does it look like wanting to wash it is a bad decision? Dr Sinwain said I could shower if I wanted to," She said as she swung her legs over the side of the bed.

"Okay, but at least let me help you into the bathroom," He said as he helped her into a standing position. Her legs started wobbling and she had trouble keeping her balance.

"Scully this would be a lot easier if you let me carry you," Mulder said to her.

"No way, Mulder. I can walk on my own," Scully said shaking her head.

"It's your choice. It will just take a lot longer." When they made it to the bathroom Mulder looked at her questioningly. "What do you want me to do now."

"I can shower without assistance, if that's what you are asking Mulder."

"Damn, well is there anything else that I can do?"

"Do I have any of my own clothes here?" She asked as she looked around the room for anything familiar.

"No, although Blake said something about him having to get you the perfect hospital wardrobe before he left. That man is strange but I really like him Scully. You shouldn't have kept him hidden from me for the last 6 years."

"Well I'm glad that you like him but I didn't keep him hidden. You never asked to meet him," Scully said as they reached the shower stall. "While I'm showering do you think you can procure a clean hospital gown for me?"

"Sure, but do you think it is wise for me to leave you alone in here."

"Mulder, there's a bench in the shower that I can sit on if I get tired." Mulder nodded at her statement and left the room to find her a clean gown.

Dana stepped into the shower took off her clothes. She was too tired from the walk into the bathroom to care where she threw her gown. She would kill for a pair of underwear about now.

She turned on the shower and started to wash her hair. As the steam filled the shower stall her mind wandered to the events of the last day. She was tired of lying in bed and tired of all the visitors questioning her about mundane things like why Mulder and Blake were there. She wanted to he laying in her own bed, in her own house, not in some hospital room. She started feeling dizzy from the heat and steam and grasped the shower rails for support.

<I'm not going to lose it in the shower. I can do this,> She thought to herself.

Dana quickly sat down on the bench as she felt the stall spinning around her. She put her head between her legs to try to stop the movement of the room but felt herself beginning to dry heave. She wasn't aware that Mulder had returned to the bathroom with a clean gown and had heard her.

"Scully are you alright?" He asked as he heard the sounds of her retching..

"I'm fine, Mulder," She cried out weakly

"You don't sound fine to me. I have your gown here. Do you need me to help you get out of the shower."

"No Mulder, I'll be fine once the room stops spinning. I'm just a little dizzy."

"I'm coming in Scully."

"No Mulder."

"Then you had better put this gown on now and come out. I don't think it is advisable for you to be in there alone if you are dizzy," Mulder said as he draped the gown over the shower door.

Scully tried to stand up to get the gown but felt herself losing consciousness.

"Mulder, help me," She cried out as she lost consciousness and fell to the shower floor. Mulder jerked open the door to see her hit her head on the corner of the shower bench on her way down.

Mulder quickly turned off the hot water and got a towel to place over Dana. He didn't know if he was supposed to move her or not.

<What the hell am I supposed to do?> <Do I put her clothes on and put her back into bed?> <Should I get a nurse in here to help?>

Mulder was too busy checking her head and arms for further trauma that he didn't notice that Blake, Walter and Bill had entered the bathroom.

"What the hell did you do to her?" Bill asked upon seeing his sister laying unconscious on the bottom of the shower stall.

"I didn't do anything Bill. She was taking a shower and she passed out," Mulder explained.

"You let her take a shower?" Walter asked.

"You know Scully, she can't be stopped," Mulder said.

"Listen guys, lets get Dana into some clothes and back into bed. She isn't going to be happy if she wakes up naked on the bathroom floor with us staring at her," Blake said trying to calm everyone down.

"I'll get her dressed," Mulder said.

"The hell you will. She's my sister, I'll do it," Bill said.

"No, she wouldn't want that. I'll do it," Blake said.

All three men then looked over at Walter to see if he would object and say that he should be the one to do it. Walter shook his head and started to walk out of the bathroom when Dana started to stir on the shower floor.

All four men looked down at her as she opened her blue eyes up at them.

"What happened?" She asked.

"You passed out in the shower Dana. We were just voting on who got to dress you and put you back into bed," Blake told her.

"I'm fine. I can dress myself."

"The hell you can Dana. One of us is going to help you so either you make the choice or we will," Bill told his sister. Dana looked around the room at her options. Walter was her ex-lover and she was still pissed over how he had treated her over the years that she didn't want to be naked anywhere near him. He knew her body and how to arouse it too well. She didn't trust herself enough not to become aroused in front of him. Bill was her brother and although she was sure that he had seen her nude dozens of times he was still her brother. Blake was her best friend and she was totally comfortable being nude in front of him. Mulder was another story. She was attracted to him and wanted him badly. But, she knew that she didn't have a chance with him. He was getting married in a couple of weeks to Natasha. Any chance that she might of had with him as long gone. She figured she may as well accept the inevitable. She wanted to be desired and loved like Natasha was. Bill and Blake could and would never love her more than a sister, but Walter Skinner could love and desire her. She decided that she wanted Walter Skinner to be the one.

"Okay, I chose Skinner then," She said as they all looked at her wondering why he was the choice. Walter Skinner was horrified at the thought of having to see her naked again.

"Well okay then" Bill said as he led Blake and Mulder out of the bathroom.

"Walt could you help me up off the floor?" Dana asked as she tried to sit up herself.

"Sure Dana." He grabbed her arms and pulled her to a standing position. It was then that he noticed that her towel had come off and she was standing in front of him buck naked. He quickly averted his eyes until he saw the scar.

"Oh Dana," He said as tears welled up in his eyes. He reached out and traced the scar that ran under her right breast.

"Walt," She moaned. She was becoming aroused by his touch and was embarrassed when she felt her nipples harden. He lightly ran the tip of his thumb over her nipple then quickly jerked his hand away.

"No, this is wrong," He said remembering that this wasn't just his ex-lover, this was his daughter that he was touching..

"What is wrong Walt. You touching me and desiring me?" She asked as she looked up at him with desire in her half hooded eyes..

"Yes. We can't be doing this," He said avoiding her gaze.

"I don't see anything wrong with two consenting adults wanting each other Walt," Dana said as she stoked the length of him through his trousers. Walter Skinner moaned and leaned into her. She quickly lowered his zipper and freed his penis. She kneeled down on the floor and took the length of it into her mouth. Walter was instantly hard and losing control.

She slid her mouth up and down the length of him. He gabbed her head and pushed himself deeper into her mouth. She held onto his thighs as he rocked in and out of her mouth at an increasing speed. He felt his climax building and all rational thoughts about what he was doing flew out of his mind as he exploded into her mouth. She held onto him as he trembled.

"Walt, please fuck me," Dana said to him as she wiped her mouth off with the back of her hand..

"Oh god, Danie," Walter said as he grabbed her by the shoulders and lowered his mouth to her breasts. Danie was a term of endearment that he used to call her.

Dana threw her head back and moaned as she felt moisture pooling between her legs.

"Touch me, Wally," She cried out using the name she used to call him.

He lowered her to the ground and knelt between her legs. He spread her lips with his thumbs and gently lowered his mouth over her core. He started to gently lick her clitoris in circles when he heard a knock on the door. He quickly sat up and threw a towel around Dana.

"What is taking you guys so long? Is everything alright?" Blake asked through the door. It was at that instant Walter Skinner realized what he was about to and what his daughter had just done to him.

"This did not and cannot happen Dana. I'm sorry," Walter whispered to her as he helped her off the floor of the bathroom. He wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

"Blake, can you come in here for a minute," Walter Skinner called out through the bathroom door. Blake quickly entered the bathroom and shut the door behind him. One look at Dana and he knew what had been going on in the bathroom.

"Just like old times. I leave you two alone for a minute and you go at it like dogs in heat," Blake joked, "Walter, you had better wash the evidence off your face or you are going to have to answer some questions from her partner and brother. I'll take care of Dana," Blake said as he steered Dana back into the shower. Walter quickly washed his face and straightened his clothes and left the bathroom.

Blake took off his shirt and leaned into the shower stall to help Dana wash her hair. He had noticed that when she had passed out that not all of the shampoo had been washed out of her hair. He assumed that was why Walter and Dana were taking such a long time in the bathroom. When he didn't hear the shower turn on he knew that they were up to other things and decided to interrupt before Dana got really loud and everyone knew what they were doing.

"Dana," Blake started.

"Don't Blake. I know what you are going to say."

"What the hell do you think you were doing. You've just undone 5 years of therapy."

"I know Blake. I'm sorry," She said as she started to cry, "I just wanted someone to love me."

"I love you Dana."

"I know but you don't desire and want me. I want to be wanted Blake. I want to make love to someone every night and know that they will be there in the morning. I want to feel as the whole world does revolve around me. I want tulips and daisies and roses. I want candlelight dinners and walks in the park. I want all of it Blake. I want companionship, desire, lust and mind blowing sex."

"You can have that Dana, you just need to open yourself up to the possibility that there's someone out there for you."

"And that person is getting married in three weeks."

"You have two choices. You can either tell him how you feel now and hope that he feels the same way and at least you would know, or you can continue on this path of not admitting your feelings and watch Mulder marry someone else."

"I have to learn to let him go Blake. He doesn't feel the same way about me and telling him my feelings is only going to strain our relationship. We've finally gotten back to where we once were and I can't risk ruining it again. I can't."

"Okay, so you don't tell him. Are you ready to accept him as only a friend?"

"I already have Blake," Dana said as Blake turned off the shower and helped her off the bench. He decided that she didn't need a lecture as he helped her into the clothing that he brought for her. She was surprised to see that he had brought some of her clothes from her house. He helped her dress in the Adidas track pants and sweatshirt and walked her back to her bed.

He saw that Walter was no longer in the room but Maggie Scully now was. She didn't look happy that she wasn't the one to help her daughter in the shower.

"You should have waited until I got here, Blake. I would have helped my daughter in the shower. It is improper for an unmarried woman her age to be nude in the shower with a man that's not her husband."

"Please mom. I'm 34 years old, I think I'm old enough to decide who I want to take a shower with. There was nothing sexual about it,." Dana said to her mother trying to reassure her.

"I find that highly doubtful. Anytime that a man and a woman are together and one of them doesn't have their clothes on, a sexual situation is going to arise."

"Your right mom, you figured it out. I was having wild passionate sex with a gay man in the shower. And before that AD Skinner and I were going at it," Scully said as she noticed that her mothers face paled.

"Dana that's nothing to joke about. It would be highly unprofessional for you to be in the bathroom with your supervisor."

"You say that like I had a choice in the matter. I fainted in the bathroom. When I woke up they were all standing around me. I had no control over who saw what?"

"He isn't a family member. Bill or I should have been the one to help you."

"It wasn't a big deal. It over and done with, no sense in dwelling on it," Blake said trying to change the subject.

"Stay out of this Maxwell. You've fucked with my sisters head one time too many and I'm not going to stand by this time. You and your lesbian friend Claire are probably turning her into one of you. You guys are probably into threesomes," Bill yelled at Blake.

"Leave him alone. It is a little too late to play the concerned brother Bill. You have not been a part of my life for the last 18 years, it is a little too late to start playing the concerned brother routine. Blake is more of a brother to me than you ever will be." Dana could not believe that her family was having this argument again. Every time Bill, her mother and Blake were in the same room the conversation somehow turned to accusations that her friends were turning her into a heathen lesbian. She was getting sick and tired of the constant bickering in her life. She was beginning to wonder if her dense mother and brother would ever understand the reason that she kept them out of her life was they were not accepting of anyone that wasn't exactly like them. She swore many times over growing up that she had been born into the wrong family. Maggie and Bill Scully could not have been here parents or she could have grown up narrow minded like them and their three other children.

"The hell if I'm going to stand by and bury another sister. He'll probably give you AIDS or something like that."

"Bill, your ignorance continues to astonish me. You can go back to San Diego and play your concerned brother routine with Tara or someone else who will buy it."

"When the hell did you become a psychotic egotistical bitch Dana?" Bill asked as Mulder continued to make himself as small as possible hoping that he wouldn't be dragged into this conversation.

"Bill Scully, we don't use that kind of language," Maggie said as she scolded her older son.

"I'm sorry mother, I apologize for using that language."

"Apology accepted. Now Dana, when you get out of the hospital I want you to come home and stay with me,"Maggie said changing the subject.

"The hell I will Mom. I'm planning on recuperating in my own house. You don't have to play the concerned mother. I know that the only reason why you want me to stay at your house is out of your catholic guilt and what the other ladies in the parish would say if they found out that the great Maggie Scully's daughter was not recuperating at her house. Don't worry mom, I won't tell them." She had finally had it with her mother. It had taken 34 years for Dana to stand up to her mother. She wasn't going to take any more shit from her mother or brothers. Dana Scully had had enough.

"Dana, I'm your mother, you had better treat me with respect. I don't appreciate your attitude or tone of voice."

"Deal with it," Dana said as she sat back in her bed.

"Scully, Blake and I are going to get something to eat in the cafeteria. We'll be back in a little while," Mulder said as he and Blake left the room. The conversation had heated up too much for their tastes. Bill, Maggie and Dana never even noticed that they had left the room.

"How dare you treat mom like that Dana. She has always wanted nothing but the best for you and you treat her like this."

"I'm sorry, am I being a disappointment to you?" Dana asked sarcastically.

"Grow up, Dana," Bill yelled at her, "No wonder you can't get a man. Who the hell in their right mind would want you. It is probably a good thing that you aren't able to breed because heaven knows the world doesn't need more people like you," Bill Scully said with contempt in his voice. He didn't understand why his sister made the choices that she did.

"I'm sorry that I was never able to be perfect like you. Heaven knows I tried hard enough. You would think being valedictorian would have been enough for my parents," Dana said to no one in particular.

"You were enough Dana. I just wished that you had gotten married. You are such a pretty girl, you could have had your choice in men. But now that you are older you don't have as many options."

"Mom, have you ever thought to consider the fact that maybe I didn't want to get married. I'm happy with my life and career and I don't need a man to make me happy."

"Every girl wants to get married Dana." Maggie said truly believing with she had said to her daughter.

"Maybe in the era that you grew up in mom." Dana was growing tired of her family. She just wanted them to go away. Couldn't they see that they were never going to agree of her lifestyle choices. She wished that Melissa were alive so that there would be someone else that they could express their disappointment in.

"I'm glad that your father isn't here to see what you've become Dana. He would have been so disappointed. We tried to give you everything."

"You gave me nothing. All I wanted my whole life was to please you but nothing I ever did was good enough. You've always treated me differently." Dana Scully was annoyed, but now she was fuming mad. How dare they bring her father into this and say that she was a disappointment.

"That's not true Dana."

"It is true mom. I studied as hard as I could thinking that if I got all A's you and dad would be proud of me. All you were concerned about was my appearance and who I was dating. Melissa failed 8th grade and you lavished attention on her because she was a cheerleader and had lots of boyfriends. When Bill made captain of the football team it was all you could talk about for weeks. Did it matter that Bill had a C average? No, you rewarded him. You ended his curfew and raised his allowance. Precious Bill the football player needed to concentrate all his time on football so that he could go to a good college. Did Bill have to work a part time job? I don't seem to recall that he ever did. Then there was Charlie. He was the baby so we shouldn't expect much out of him, right? He never had to do chores or work. I don't recall him doing much of anything besides hanging out behind the school smoking. Why was it that I never got the love and attention mom?" Dana asked.

"We gave you plenty of attention Dana. You know it wasn't easy rasing four kids."

"You never gave me the attention I so desperately craved. I must have been five or six when I realized that you and Daddy were never going to love me for who I was. I thought that if I excelled in academics that you would care. When that didn't do it I decided that if Bill got attention by being the big football star I would do it by being the track and cross country star. I was the state cross country champion for four years in a row and you never noticed or attended one meet."

"Dana, I'm sure that we must have gone to one of them. You know with four kids we pretty much had our hands full."

"I would have remembered. I know that you were much too busy attending every single one of Bill's football games to take time out for a little track meet. Why was I the only one that had to have a job in high school?"

"Your father and I felt that having a job would be good for your social skills."

"I didn't have a problem with my social skills. But none of this really matters anyone to me. I have come to terms with the way that I was treated growing up and no longer blame you. I don't think I will ever understand why I was never good enough for you and dad. It doesn't matter anymore. I no longer need nor want your acceptance or recognition. You had the last 34 years to be my mother, please don't insult my intelligence and act like you want to start being my mother now." Maggie Scully was stunned by Dana's version of her childhood. She thought that she had done a wonderful job raising Dana. She was bright and articulate and had a good job. Wasn't that a sign of parental success?

"Mom, it is clear that Blake has been messing with Dana's head. She's acting jealous and spiteful once again. Lets come back when she's acing like her old self again," Bill Scully said as he led his mother out of the hospital room.

Dana Scully laid back in her bed and looked out the window as the tears began to flow.

End of Chapter 11

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House of Cards - Chapter 12
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Georgetown University Hospital Cafeteria
April 19, 1999
8:30 pm

"What the hell was that?" Mulder asked as he and Blake entered the cafeteria.

"Mulder, how well do you know Dana?" Blake asked.

"Pretty well, why?"

"What has she told you about her childhood?"

"She really hasn't talked much about it. I always assumed that she grew up with the cookie baking girl scout mother. Are you saying this isn't the case?"

"No, what is your impression of Maggie Scully?"

"She always seemed like the perfect mother to me. She has always been wonderful. If I could chose who I wanted my mother to be I would have chose Maggie Scully in a heartbeat."

"I think most people would."

"Except for Scully?" Mulder asked.

"I don't really know how much I can tell you without betraying her confidence. I guess I can tell you this much. There's a reason why Dana is the way she is."

"I credit her parents for instilling in her the desire to excel in academics. She's one of the smartest and strongest people I know. If she didn't have wonderful parents that cared about her that much she might have been a different person," Mulder said making the assumption that most people mistakenly made.

"Look Mulder. I really think you should talk with her about what it was like to grow up Maggie Scully's daughter. Maggie and Bill Scully might have appeared to have been wonderful parents but that's far from the truth."

"Are you implying that they abused her and her siblings? What did they spank her one times to many?" Mulder said joking.

"The abuse wasn't physical Mulder."

"That leaves sexual, which I highly doubt was the case, and mental. Are you implying that the Scully's mentally abused Dana and her siblings?"

"I'm not implying anything. I'm just stating the facts. However, to my knowledge and from what Dana has told me she was the only one affected."

"Why would they single out a child?" Mulder asked thinking back to what he knew about emotional abuse.

"It is something Dana and I have never been able to figure out," Blake said while checking his watch. "Why don't we head back. I am sure that Bill and Maggie will be gone by now," Blake said to Mulder as he stood up.

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Georgetown University Hospital
April 19, 1999
9:00 pm.

Blake quietly knocked on Dana's door and entered her room. He noticed that she was quietly staring out the window. He quietly approached her bed as Mulder stood near the door.

"Are you alright?" Blake asked her.

"No," She said as she started to cry again. Blake sat down in bed beside her and put his arms around her while she cried.

"I'm sorry that Mulder and I left. I just didn't want to be in the room for another Scully family blowout."

"Oh god, Mulder saw it all. I never wanted him to see that side of me. He'll hate me. He loves my mother. He wasn't supposed to be there. He wasn't supposed to know. Where is he?" Scully asked unaware that Mulder was in the hospital room.

"I'm right here Scully," Mulder said as he stepped out from the shadows where she could see him.

"How much did you see earlier?" She asked him.

"Enough to know that family relations in the Scully family are strained."

"That's a nice way to put it. I can explain."

"Scully, it isn't your job to explain the things you said to your mom and Bill and they said to you."

"I do have to explain. You and my mother are friends. I don't want that to be ruined."

"You and I are friends first and foremost Scully. My loyalty is to you, not your mother. I always thought you had a good relationship with your mother Scully. Was that just an act that you both put on?" Mulder asked confused.

"I don't know anymore, Mulder," Dana Scully said as she started to cry. The events of the day were getting to her and she was having a hard time not letting her feelings show.

"Why does Bill hate Blake so much?" Mulder asked trying to change the subject away from her to something she could talk about without getting so upset..

"He thinks that I moved out of my parents house to be with Blake, but that wasn't the case."

"Why did you move out?' Mulder asked.

"Why does any child ever leave home Mulder? It's complicated. It was the right thing for me to do at the time."

"Why was it the right thing to do? Did your parents mentally abuse you Scully?" Mulder asked. Scully looked up Blake.

"You told him. How dare you tell him. You had no right to Blake," Scully angrily said to Blake.

"Dana, give it up. He knew after seeing that lovely family argument that your family wasn't quite the picture of perfection that you so lovingly paint. He figured out that something was wrong. I just filled in the blanks."

"How did they emotionally abuse you?" Mulder asked wanting to get back on topic. He didn't want Scully's anger at Blake be an excuse for not talking about the real issue..

"I don't want to talk about it Mulder. I'm tired and want to go to sleep."

"No Dana, I'm tired of you trying to hide your emotions from me. You can be honest with Blake. Why aren't you honest with me?"

"Blake and I go way back Mulder. Blake has been there for me through everything I have gone through. He understands me in a way that you never will or can understand," She said not meaning to sound spiteful.

"I have been with you through a lot these past six years too. I thought that I knew you well but I'm beginning to see that there has been a lot going on that I never knew about," Mulder said dismayed.

"You do know me."

"No, I know the parts of you that you want me to know."

"Mulder, I live with the thought that Blake knows what kind of person I'm and what I'm capable of doing. It is hard enough having him know that about me. I don't want to burden anyone else."

"Scully, that's what friends are for. I'm not just a part time friend that you show your good side to. I know that you aren't perfect and I don't expect you to be. Being a friend isn't a burdensome task. If I didn't want to be your friend, I wouldn't. I am not asking you to tell me your deep dark secrets. I just want to know what it was like growing up a Scully."

"Okay, fine. You want to know what it was like growing up Margaret and Bill Scully's daughter? It was hell. I realized when I was 5 or 6 that my parents treated me differently from Melissa, Bill and Charlie. At the time I didn't know if it was intentional or not. I just figured that my parents had a lot of kids to spread their love and time with. Bill was always getting into trouble growing up and my dad spent a lot of time disciplining him. Charlie was a baby and constantly wined for attention. Melissa was the drama queen always demanding my parents attention for a fashion show or play that she was putting on. There seemed to be no room for me in the family. I thought that if I was a really good student they would notice that I was doing something good and praise me for it. All during middle school I had a 4.0 GPA, but that never seemed enough. My dad would say things to me like, 4.0 is good Dana but you can do better than that. Bill is on the football team, now that's a great accomplishment'. So I kept on studying because it was expected of me and I joined the cross country and track teams. My freshman year I was state cross country champion. When I brought that trophy back home I thought my parents would finally say great job Dana, we're proud of you', but that never came. I got the that's nice but we don't have any room for the trophy on the mantel because of all Melissa's beauty pageant and Bill's football trophies'. After a while I became maniacal about trying to please them. I joined the chess club, debate team, swim team, national honor society and Latin club. They could have cared less. I may as well have been smoking pot behind the school with Charlie. I woke up one day and discerned that they were never going to care about me or what I did so why bother trying to please them. It was at that point that I started working my ass off for me so that I could get out of the house into a good college. My father once told me that he didn't have enough money to send both his daughters to college, so if I wanted to go I was on my own. They never gave me a dime to help me. Melissa, Bill and Charlie all went to private colleges courtesy of my parents. So there you have it Mulder. Any questions?" Dana said as she sat back against her bed and closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry Dana. I always assumed that you had a wonderful childhood. I had no idea," Mulder said trying to make sense out of her revelation.

"It's okay Mulder. It is in the past, no sense in dwelling on it."

"It is obvious that you still carry around a lot of pain."

"Pain that I have learned to live with. Mulder, I have accepted my mother for who she is. Sure, she could have done a better job but that could be said for most parents. My mother is my mother and she isn't going to change."

"What is Bill's problem?" Mulder asked.

"Bill seems to think that since our father is dead he's the figurehead of the family and should have the say so in all our lives. Charlie just ignores him but I try to tolerate him for my mothers sake."

"Why bother?"

"Sometimes it is much easier to just listen to what he says so he will leave you alone than argue with him."

"That doesn't sound like you to just give up Scully."

"I'm not giving up, I'm just trying to maintain peace in the house."

"Why the hell would you care if they ignore you?"

"Why does a dog go back to the master that beat him? Because they are still my family and always will be Mulder," Dana Scully explained.

"Blake, how do you fit into all of this?" Mulder asked confused..

"I occupy the role of the hated friend who turned Dana against her family."

"Hey, that's my role," Fox Mulder joked.

"But it was originally mine. Basically, I showed Dana what it was like to feel respected, admired, noticed and loved. That was all it took for her to wonder why she wasn't getting that at home."

"It must have been horrible for you Scully."

"It wasn't that bad Mulder. I survived and I'm a better person because of my upbringing. My parents could have been much worse. I could have been physically abused or neglected. They fed, clothed and cared for me. I knew that I was loved."

"Stop trying to rationalize their behavior. Any type of abuse is destructive to a child."

"I know that. I'm just saying that my childhood wasn't as awful as you are probably imagining. I wasn't locked in the closet or kept down in the basement."

"You may as well have been."

"That's what I have been trying to tell her for the last 18 years," Blake interjected.

"Okay, fine. My parents were horrible people and my childhood was awful. There, is that admission that you want?"

"Only if you really mean it Dana. For some reason for the time that I have known you, you've refused to recognize your parents behavior for what it was, abuse. You've told me story after story, when pressured, about how you were treated differently than your siblings. I have seen firsthand how your brother Bill and parents treat you. Yet, for someone so intelligent you refuse to recognize that your family is dysfunctional and your childhood was not a good one."

"But it was good. I was taken care of."

"Being taken care of doesn't make for a good childhood. Even I know that Scully. I had a shitty childhood. My parents blamed me for Sam's disappearance and I paid for it through my adolescence. A good childhood is knowing that you are loved unconditionally for being yourself. Can you honestly say that you had that."

"Yes."

"Be honest for once in your life Scully. Can you honestly say you grew up knowing that your parents loved you unconditionally. Could you have done anything you wanted, made mistakes and had your parents not think any less of you? I don't think so. I think you know deep down that if you didn't succeed and excel at everything you did there would have been repercussions. Why can't you admit that your parents love was lacking and conditional at best?" Mulder asked.

"Because it hurts to much to think that my parents didn't love me. I'm sure that they did, in their own ways," Scully whispered.

Mulder sat down on the bed beside her and held her in his arms comforting her. Blake got up off the bed and looked out the window.

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

After her discharge from the hospital Dana Scully spent a week at home recuperating before returning to her job. Her mother had come by to visit her several times, bringing soup and other foods. Bill had seen her once before returned to his family in San Diego. Fox Mulder came by her apartment daily to visit and give her the latest gossip. His wedding was approaching and he enthusiastically shared all his wedding and honeymoon plans with her.

Diana, Natasha and Wendy were waiting for her to recover before planning the bachelorette party. Blake and Claire made several visits to assure that she was eating and taking care of herself.

Dana continued to see Karen Kosoff and Dr. Susan Lowenstein on a regular basis. She was eating once again and regaining her appetite. She had stayed true to her word to Susan and had not exercised. Susan wanted to make sure that Dana's physical health was better and that she was eating on a normal schedule before she was allowed to exercise. Dana missed running but she knew that she had to do what Susan wanted her to do in order to get better. Karen Kosoff had been alerted to her weight problem and Dana had to pass regular weight checks with her to be kept on active duty. It pissed her off that Karen had been told and that she was now accountable to her. But, she knew that if she wanted to keep her job she would have to follow the rules.

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

Home of Maggie Scully
May 10, 1999

Walter Skinner knocked on her door hoping that Maggie Scully was home. He had not seen or spoken to her since she admitted her deepest darkest secret to him. She wasn't the only one that could keep secrets. He wondered what she would say or do if she found out his little secret?

"Walter," Maggie Scully said as she opened the door.

"Maggie. May I come in?" He asked

"Sure, I'm sorry. You'll have to excuse my bad manners. Please come in," She said as she opened her front door and welcomed him into her house. She took his jacket and led him to the living room where he sat down on the plaid oversized sofa.

"So, what brings you by these parts?" She asked as if he were only a friend stopping by that she had not seen in years.

"I think you know why I'm here. I want to talk about Dana," He said as he looked around the room.

"What about Dana," Maggie asked.

"Maggie, you say that like I have no reason to want to know about her. You can't drop a bomb on me like that and not expect me to do anything about it."

"I don't know what you want or expect from me Walter."

"I don't know either, Maggie. I'm still in shock from finding out I have a daughter that's 34 years old."

"I'm sorry Walter, I never wanted you to find out."

"I had a right to know Maggie. She was my daughter, not Bill's. I would have liked the chance to have known her. I have missed 34 years of her life that I should have been a part of. You had that time with her while I was cheated out of it. Do you even know what that's like Maggie? Of course not, you had four perfect children to raise and love while I had none. My whole life all I wanted was to be a father and you stole that chance from me."

"I wanted to tell you Walter. I really did. When I found out I was pregnant I was elated to realize that the baby was yours and not Bills. I wanted your child more than anything. I knew that if I couldn't have and love you than at least I would have a part of you through your child. When Bill found out that I was pregnant he immediately knew that the baby wasn't his."

"How could be have known Maggie. He came home a week after you and I were last together?"

"Bill and I had been having marital difficulties for some time. We had not slept in the same bed together since before Melissa was born and when I found out that I was pregnant, there was no way he could have been the father and he knew it."

"Why didn't you tell me that you were pregnant? I would have gladly taken you and the kids into my home."

"Bill said that his wife wasn't going to disgrace him by having another man's baby. If I wanted to leave him and have my bastard child, that was fine by him. He said that Bill jr and Melissa were staying with him. I could leave but I couldn't take them. He said that if I divorced him and sued for custody I would lose because I was the whore of a wife that was pregnant with another man's baby."

"Oh Maggie, did he know that I was Dana's father?"

"I don't think so Walter. I cut off all contact with you because I didn't want him to know that it was you. The whole time I was pregnant all I heard was If I ever find out who did this to me I'm going to kill him.' He was serious Walter, I loved you too much to let him hurt you."

"I had no idea Maggie. If I had known I would have taken you and the kids away where he would have never found us," Walter said softly.

"Our love and betrayal ruined my life, I could not let it ruin yours also."

"Why did you change her name from Mary?"

"I had named her Mary but Bill decided out of the blue that he wanted to name her Dana Katherine after an old girlfriend of his."

"Ouch."

"I know. He said he wanted to remind me every time I said her name of my sins."

"Was Bill always this much of an asshole Maggie?"

"No, he was a wonderful charming man when I met and married him. He was a great father to Bill jr and Melissa. Sometime after I had Melissa he began to change. I think that a lot of it had to do with the stress of having two kids and a demanding career. We started having problems about the time that he met you and Sharon. My problems with Bill didn't end until I gave him another son."

"Was he a good father to her, Maggie?" Walter asked not sure if he wanted to know the answer.

"I think he was as good of a father as he knew how to be to her. Dana was a difficult child and raising her wasn't easy. She was always wanting our attention, always trying to prove that she was smarter or better than her siblings. You know, the usual childhood antics."

"Do you have any pictures of her?" Walter asked.

"I'm sure that I have a couple in the family photo album," Maggie proceeded to get a box of photo albums down from the shelf. She handed several to him.

"Does Dana have a baby album?"

"No, Bill didn't want her to have one. He said it would only serve to remind him that she wasn't his child."

"She shouldn't have had to grown up with that man, Maggie."

"He was a good father to her Walter."

Maggie proceeded to guide Walter Skinner through the family photo albums. Walter noticed that the only pictures of Dana in the album was when she was part of a group. There were no studio pictures or candid shots of her alone as there were of the other kids. He was saddened to see that Dana didn't have as good of a childhood as she could have. After an hour of viewing the complete Scully family pictorial history Walter was ready to bring up a very touchy subject.

"Maggie, do you think that we should tell Dana?"

"Heavens no, Walter," Maggie gasped as she paled.

"Doesn't she have the right to know?"

"What purpose would it serve. It would only make her upset and more cynical than she already is. She would be heartbroken to find out that the man she loved so dearly wasn't her father."

"What about my rights Maggie. I'm her father. Don't I have the right to have a relationship with her."

"I suppose you do Walter. I'm not sure how to even go about it or how she would react. Some things like this are better kept secret. I can't tell her Walter. I can't. This would destroy everything," Maggie said as she pleaded with him.

The decision had been made. Dana Scully wouldn't find out that Walter Skinner was her biological father. Walter Skinner wasn't entirely sure that he could have a fatherly relationship with the woman who was once his lover.

They never noticed that out on the street, a man in an inconspicuous van was taping their whole conversation.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington DC
May 14, 1999
10 am

Dana Scully opened a plain brown envelope located in her in box. She thought it was strange that the envelope bore no return address or postage. She carefully pulled out a thin sheet of paper upon which was written.

You aren't who you think you are.

<What the hell does that mean?> Scully thought as she got up from her chair and took the note to Mulder's office down the hall. She quickly knocked on the door and entered without waiting for a response.

"Mulder, I got this in the mail. Can you look at it for me?" She said as she entered the room. She then noticed that Mulder was not alone. Natasha was sitting on his lap. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you. I'll just come back later," She said as she started to leave.

"Wait Scully. It's alright. Natasha is going to be my wife in a couple of weeks. You may as well get used to seeing her in my office. What did you want me to take a look at?" He said as he put on his glasses.

"I'll see you later honey," Natasha said as she got up off his lap and made her way to the door. "Scully, are you going to come over for dinner tonight?" Natasha asked her as she opened the door.

"Sure."

"Great," Natasha said with a smile as she closed the door. Scully found it hard to hate Natasha. She was the nicest, kindest person Scully had ever known. She had spent many evenings getting to know her. It wasn't her fault that she had fallen in love and was going to marry the one man that Scully loved.

"Isn't she great Scully?" Mulder asked.

"She truly is Mulder. You are one lucky man."

"So is this what you wanted me to look at?" He said as he grabbed the paper out of her hand.

"Uh, yes. I received it in the mail today. No address or postage. What do you suppose it means?" She asked as she sat down in the chair across from his desk. Since she had been reassigned from the X-Files Mulder had not been given a partner. Mulder read the note.

You aren't who you think you are '

"I have no idea Scully. Looks like someone is trying to tell you something. Have you received anything else like this?"

"Not that I know of."

"I don't think it means anything right now. Someone could be playing a joke and trying to mess with your head. Be on the look out for anything suspicious."

"Great Mulder, you've just reassured me," Scully said sarcastically as she grabbed the note from his hand and exited the office.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington DC
May 20, 1999
11:30 am

Scully came back from her department meeting to find a white business envelope on her desk. She carefully picked it up and noticed the only writing on it was the name Mary.

<Mary? Who the hell is Mary,> she thought as she picked up the envelope and opened it. She figured that someone must have delivered it to the wrong office. She was hoping that the content of the letter would provide clues as to who the owner of the envelope was.

Written on the piece of legal sized paper was:

           Mary, Who are you?'

Scully picked up her phone and dialed Mulder's extension.

"Mulder," He said as he answered his phone.

"Mulder, it's me. Can you come to my office," She said.

"Sure, I'll be there in a minute."

Three minutes later he entered her office out of breath.

"What's up Scully?" He asked.

"I just got this Mulder," She said as she showed him the envelope and letter.

"This is addressed to a Mary. Who is Mary?"

"I don't know, but it came the same way the letter came yesterday. This is annoying me Mulder. If someone has something to tell me why don't they just come out and say it rather than send me these messages?"

"You know that nothing in life ever comes that easy, Scully. I do think this is from the same person but maybe the intended target is someone named Mary. Yesterday's message was You aren't who you think you are' combined with today's Who are you?'makes me think that the sender is questioning Mary's true identity. Maybe it is some type of secret admirer thing. I wouldn't worry about it. It seems pretty harmless. Do you want to grab some lunch with Natasha and I?"

"I have some work to catch up on. The work load didn't stop when I was out sick and I still have a lot to do. Perhaps another day?" She asked. She supposed that she could have gone out to lunch with them but she was growing tired of constantly being in their presence. She was sure that they were sick of her. For the last couple of weeks she ate lunch and dinner with them 4 out of 5 days. She often wondered if she were truly that entertaining as a lunch and dinner companion or they just felt sorry for her being alone all the time. She decided that they needed a break from each other.

"Sure, Scully. If you get anymore weird mail let me know," He said as he approached the door.

"Don't worry, I will," Scully replied as she turned back towards her work.

End of Chapter 12

******************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 13
******************************************

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
June 2, 1999
3 am

Dana Scully awoke to a knocking sound on her door. She looked at the time on the clock and wondered who the hell could be at her front door at this time of the morning.

Mulder.

He was the only one who had the nerve to show up unannounced at all times of the day and night and the only one who would think it was completely normal to be up at this time of the night.

She fastened the tie on her robe and she opened her front door.

It was Mulder.

"Mulder, what do you want. It's 3 am."

"I couldn't sleep."

"And this is something you just realized. You always have problems sleeping but you usually don't make them mine. What is up this time?" She asked as she let him in her apartment.

He sat down on her couch and stared at her for a moment before speaking. "Have you ever wondered if you are making the right decisions in life?"

"Sure, Mulder. I think everyone wonders that at some time in their life. Why?" She said as she sat down beside him on the couch.

"So what do you do about it?"

"Do about what? Do about if you've made what you perceive to be the wrong decision? Or do about the fact that you don't know if you are making the right choice. You need to give me more to work with." She was tired and really didn't want to be having this discussion at 3 am with Mulder of all people.

"All of it, Scully. How do you know that you were meant to be a doctor and not a bus driver."

"Mulder, we can never know many things and I think that's the way God or whatever higher power there's meant for things to be. It is why I don't believe in predestination. I believe in free will and the choice of man to chose his own lot in life."

"How do you know that there isn't free will?"

"You can't ever know that Mulder. What is really wrong? Why are you asking me these things. Are you unsure about what you think you were meant to be in life?"

"Yes and no, I don't know. I'm sorry to have bothered you Scully," He said as he got up from the couch and made his way to the door.

Scully looked at him confused, "That's it. You wake me up at 3 am to find out my view on predestination? You've some nerve Mulder. Next time, don't stop by, call me," She said irritated that he didn't want to tell her the real reason why he stopped by.

He shrugged his shoulders and walked out the door. She quickly shut and locked the door and made her way to bed.

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

Ike's E Street Bar
June 10, 1999
11:30 pm

Dana Scully, Diana Fowley, Wendy Simon and Natasha Brown sat at a square oak table in the corner of the bar with a few of Natasha's college friends. They were celebrating what was to be Natasha's last night as a single woman. Dana didn't feel like celebrating but as a bridesmaid her attendance was required. She was bored with Natasha telling everyone once again with how she and Fox Mulder had met. She was certain if she had to hear a description of her dress, or of the cake or the vows she was going to vomit. She prayed that she had the strength to go through with the ceremony tomorrow. What she really needed was a large glass of long island iced tea to get her through the evening.

She glanced at her watch and noticed that in exactly thirty seven hours Mulder and Natasha would say their vows and she could kiss any chance of a future with him goodbye.

<I can't stop a wedding 37 hours before it is supposed to take place,> Dana thought to herself as she nursed her Becks and tried to act interested in a story that one of Natasha's roommates was telling about the time she vacationed in Maui. Natasha and Mulder were going to Hawaii for a two week honeymoon. Being the ever supportive friend Scully had helped pick out the tour package for Mulder. Mulder wanted to surprise his bride with the gift but had wimped out and ended up telling her the honeymoon plans a month ago.

<They can't get married>
<But I can't stop them>
<Can I????>
<No, that would be rude>
<But it would be so fun!>

She was saved from her evil thoughts of breaking up the wedding by the shrill ringing of her cell phone.

"Scully," She yelled into the mouth piece.

"It's me, Mulder. Where are you," Mulder said into his end of the phone.

"Speak up, I can barely hear you," She said as she got up from the table and made her way to the patio of the bar.

"Sorry, I was asking where you were."

"I can't tell you that. We're in the midst of the bachelorette party. Aren't you supposed to be attending your own bachelors party."

"Yes, but it is boring as hell. Skinner and the gunmen are fighting over whether there was one or two shooters on the grassy knoll."

"So change the subject."

"They have been arguing for over two hours about it. I have tried to change the topic. I even tried to start a conversation about professional wrestling but they wouldn't even bite." Frohicke and Langley's favorite sport was professional wrestling and they had been known to argue for hours whether the sport was legitimate and who the best wrestler was.

"Oh. Must have a great discussion, or are they trying to pick Skinners brain for what they feel is the truth that Skinner as a government agent is trying to cover up?"

"I think it's a little of both."

"Mulder, where are you?" Scully asked.

"I can't tell you, you'll laugh."

"Come on Mulder, you know you can tell me anything."

"Promise me that you aren't going to laugh."

"I promise you I will not laugh."

"The boys decided to take me to that new laser tag place over in Arlington."

"You are playing laser tag?" Scully said as she started laughing.

"You promised me that you wouldn't laugh."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She said as she wiped the tears out of her eyes and tried to regain her composure. "I take it that this was probably Byers or Frohickes idea and not AD Skinners?" She asked.

"You are assuming correctly. Walter and I chase bad guys enough at work that we don't need to simulate the hunt in our private time, the gunmen are another thing. Save me Scully."

"Are there any cute men there."

"Besides me?" He asked.

"Besides you, besides you are taken Mulder. Are there any single good looking unattached men there?"

"It's not final until I take my vows."

"What are you planning on doing? Cheating on her before you get married?" She asked not sure where this conversation was going.

"I've thought about it before."

"Mulder, if you are having doubts about marrying her you had better deal with them now and not after the marriage."

"I'm not having doubts Scully. I know that Natasha loves me and that we will have a good marriage."

"Then why this talk about a last fling?" She asked him.

"Oh you know me, I get a little alcohol in my system and turn sentimental," He said not wanting to tell her the real reason.

"Mulder, have fun with the boys. I need to get back and corrupt your fiancee."

"Be kind to her Scully, she's all I have," He said as he hung up the phone.

Scully walked back to the table of women as she formulated a plan in her head.

"What took you so long?" Diana asked her as she returned to the table.

"Ladies, I have a plan. Are any of you game for a little fun this evening?" She asked as she sat down. She then proceeded to tell them of her plan to crash the Bachelors party. They all agreed that it would be a lot more fun than sitting in Ike's and getting drunk.

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

Dana Scully's Apartment Building
June 11, 1999
12:30 am

Wendy pulled her Saab into the parking lot as Dana and Diana stumbled out of the back seat. What should have been a 20 minute trip took over an hour due to the numerous stops they had her make. Diana and Dana insisted that if they were going to play laser tag then they needed to change into black clothes. Wendy dropped them off in front of Dana's apartment building telling them that she would be back in 20 minutes. Wendy knew that this was going to be a long evening as the designated driver. She wished that she was driving the car with Natasha and her college friends. She had agreed to meet Natasha and company at the local liquor store and then drive them back to Dana's place.

"Diana, what size do you wear?" Dana asked the taller woman as she exited the car.

"It depends on the look I want to go for."

"Oh, a woman after my own heart," Dana said as she grabbed the bottle of Stolichnaya from her cabinet and proceeded the drink straight from the bottle.

Diana grabbed the bottle from Dana and took a couple of drinks. "How can you drink that straight?" She asked as the liquid burned her throat.

"Years of practice," Dana replied as she took the bottle back from Diana and continued to drink.

"Dana, you had better slow down or you are going to be wasted and useless in about an hour," Diana said as she noticed that Dana had started to take off her clothes in the living room. Diana was having a hard time hiding her desire for the smaller red head.

"That was the plan, but I didn't know you cared. Lets get changed before party pooper Wendy spoils our fun," Dana said as she grabbed Diana's hand and pulled her into the bedroom. She stood in front of her closet in only her bra and underwear. She pulled down a pair of skin tight black jeans and a black tank top and put them on.

"How do I look?" She asked as Diana stared at her.

"You look great Dana," Diana replied as she tried hard not to stare. She decided that focusing on a picture of the Scully family was a better option and one not likely to get her into trouble.

"Here, these should fit you," She said as she handed Diana another pair of black jeans and I similar black tank top. "They were my sisters. She was about your height and build. I couldn't throw them out even though I don't wear them."

Diana quickly changed out of her clothing and put on the outfit. She looked at her and Dana's reflection in the mirror. They were dressed exactly alike.

"Should I keep the bra on or lose it?" Dana asked.

Diana stared at her. She could not believe that Dana I'm always in control' Scully would actually go out in public without a bra on. Dana saw the look out uncertainty in Diana's eyes.

"Come on, Diana, loosen up. You only live once." She drank another mouthful of vodka and pulled the tank top over her head. She quickly removed the black lace bra and stood before Diana. Diana was trying to look away but finding it hard not to stare at Dana's breasts. "Do you think my breasts are too small?" She asked.

"What," Diana stammered trying hard not to stare at her breasts.

"My breasts, do you think they are too small?" She asked once again.

"No, why." She was having a hard time controlling her breathing.

"I was just wondering. A man will never be honest with you about your body. I only trust a woman's opinion in that department. Blake and Claire tell me they are fine all the time, but I have known them so long sometimes I think they tell me what I want to hear. Sometimes it is good to get a second opinion. You really don't think they are too small?" She said as she lifted them trying to make them appear larger.

Diana wanted to do nothing more than to take them into her hands and rub her thumbs over Dana's pert pink nipples. Instead, she looked the younger agent in the eyes, put her hands on her shoulders and told her, "They are the perfect size, Dana."

"Thank you Diana, that means a lot to me. I guess sometimes I am overly sensitive about my body."

"Dana, you have a beautiful body." <That I would love to run my hands all over,> Diana said and thought to herself.

"Shut up," Dana said pushing Diana's arms off her shoulders.

"You do Dana. Hasn't any man told you that before?" She asked.

"Only when they wanted to get me into bed."

"Don't tell me you fell for that line."

"Of course I did. What woman doesn't want to feel beautiful and desired? The only problem was in the light of day they never felt the same way about me." Dana was surprised that she was being so open with Diana, a woman that she really didn't know. She figured that it must be the alcohol.

"Dana, they were the ones with vision problems. You are a very beautiful, intelligent and desirable woman. Any man or woman who can't see that's a fool."

"Diana, can I ask you something?" Dana asked as the liquor gave her courage to say ask things that she normally wouldn't.

"Sure, ask away," Diana said not sure where this conversation was going but curious nonetheless.

"Are you a lesbian?" Dana boldly asked.

"Am I a lesbian? Why do you ask?"Diana asked surprised and totally unprepared for the question.

"Blake said that he thought you were and that you were attracted to me."

"Blake is a very perceptive man," Diana said calmly, "Does it bother you."

"No, I'm used to Blake using me so that he can ogle men."

"Does it make you uncomfortable that as a woman I find you very attractive?" Diana didn't know where she was getting the courage to talk about something she found so immensely private.

"Maybe. Sort of. I don't know," Dana said she tried to assure herself of what she felt. "I probably shouldn't be standing here in front of you without my shirt on," Dana said as she moved to put her tank top back on.

"I didn't mind the view."

"What is it like desiring another woman?"Dana asked as she put her tank top back on.

"It is probably the same as you desiring a man. The feelings are the same. I lust, want, desire and need and crave the same things that you do. Just because I'm a woman and I'm attracted to other women doesn't change the feelings."

"Blake says the same thing. I guess I didn't really think much about his sexuality because we would go out together and look at men. It didn't bother me. I couldn't go out with you though."

"Why not? Because I would look at women rather than men?"

"Well yes. It would be too weird, Diana. People would think that I was gay if you were staring at other women even if I wasn't."

"People wouldn't think that you were gay if we went out to dinner together. I'm sure that you and Claire or your other female friends have gone out together a lot of times for dinner and no one ever assumed or thought that you were gay."

"What does it feel like to kiss another woman?" Dana asked suddenly.

"It suppose that it probably feels the same as kissing a man, only better. Why do you ask?"

"I was just curious," Dana said as she looked at the floor trying to avoid Diana's gaze. She noticed that they still needed to put on their shoes and socks. A knock on the front door told them that they were late and Wendy wasn't going to be happy.

Diana opened the front door and let Wendy in. She saw what Diana was wearing.

"You are going to wear that?" She asked as she put her hands on her rather large hips.

"What is wrong with it?"

"Don't you think it is a little inappropriate. I thought you were going to dress in black to camouflage yourselves. I didn't think that you were going to dress like that to pick up men," Wendy said looking uncomfortable.

"Who says we're going to pick up men. Maybe I'll pick up a woman tonight," Dana said as she swaggered out of the bedroom carrying the vodka bottle. Wendy immediately noticed by the sway of her breasts that she wasn't wearing a bra. Diana looked at her in shock as did Wendy.

"You can't be serious Dana," Wendy said.

"Why not. Maybe I want to feel another women's lips against mine, feel her tongue in my mouth."

"Stop it. You are making me sick," Wendy pleaded with her.

"Grow up and get over it Wendy," Dana said as she grabbed her purse and opened the front door. "Ready ladies?"

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

Lasertaruim
Arlington, Virginia
June 11, 1999
1:00 am

Wendy Simon was glad to see when she pulled into the parking lot of the Lasetarium, that Natasha had just arrived. She couldn't wait to tell Natasha what her freaks of bridesmaids had been up to. She had barely tolerated Diana and Scully being in the wedding but Natasha had insisted due to the deep friendship Fox had with both of the women, they had to be bridesmaids.

Wendy was tired of her friend having no backbone. Whatever Fox wanted, Fox got. Even when it was at the expense of Natasha's happiness. Dana Scully had even planned their honeymoon, Natasha had told her one night in tears. Wendy was certain that Fox and Dana were sleeping together, she just couldn't prove it. She had tried several times to make Natasha see the light, but Natasha was too lonely and trusting. Wendy and Natasha were happy when Dana went through what they called her psycho bitch period, because Mulder wouldn't have anything to do with her. She was surprised that Natasha had convinced Fox to transfer Dana to another unit. They had both expected that to piss her off enough to stay out of Fox's life forever, but it hadn't seemed to deter her. Natasha then thought that if Dana and Diana were bridesmaids they would see how happy the couple was and leave them alone. They had both strangely embraced their roles and acted nothing less than wonderful and helpful to Natasha. Wendy was now beginning to think that the reason that they were no happy and supportive of Fox and Natasha was that they didn't want him at all, they were a lesbian couple.

As soon as Dana and Diana staggered into the Lasertarium complex Wendy ran over to the car Natasha was riding in.

"I need to talk to you now, alone," She said motioning for the group of college friends to go without her.

"What's up Wendy."

"I have figured it out Tasha. They are lesbians," Wendy said excitedly.

"Who are lesbians?" Natasha asked confused.

"Dana and Diana. You should have seen them together. Left no doubt in my mind, although they don't seem the type. Oh and you aren't going to be happy when you see what they are wearing. They look more like hookers than anything. Dana isn't even wearing a bra."

"That bitch had better not ruin this evening for me or Fox. If they want to play lesbian friends with each other that's fine, but they had better stay away from him. You know how he gets when he drinks. I knew this was going to be a bad idea. We should have never come Wendy," She said as her friend led her into the complex. Natasha had always managed to keep up the facade that she liked the two women when in fact she was growing to detest them. Sure, they had both always been nice to her and Dana frequently ate lunch with her and Mulder, but there was something about the woman that she just didn't trust. She had heard all the rumors in VCS about Dana and Fox having sex in every imaginable place in the Hoover Building. Fox had always assured her that he and Dana were nothing more, and never would be, anything more than good friends. Still, she had doubts.

Mulder, the lone gunmen and Walter Skinner were waiting in the bar/food area of the complex resting when Frohicke was the first one to notice that Dana had arrived. His jaw dropped and he couldn't stop staring.

"If it isn't the lovely Agent Scully," He said to the group as they turned around to see her.

"That's not Scully. It is just someone that's short with red hair," Mulder said.

"No it is her. Look she's with Diana."

Mulder looked once again and saw a woman that looked like Diana across the room. He knew that it was too much of a coincidence for two women who looked like them to be at the Lasertarium together on this night.

"Hot damn, it is her,"Mulder said as he nursed his beer.

"I didn't take wither one of them to be the type to frequent a place like this," Langley said.

"They don't. I called them."

"You called them?" Walter Skinner asked not happy that his daughter was in the same complex dressed to get laid.

"Well I missed Natasha," Mulder told the group.

"That's so disgusting man," Langly said.

"Who cares, it got the lovely agents Fowley and Scully here for me to drool over," Frohicke said as Diana and Dana approached their table.

"Good evening gentleman," Dana said to the group. Mulder noticed immediately that she wasn't wearing a bra. He could see the outline of her nipples through the fabric of the shirt and he immediately felt a tightening in his groin. The fact that she was not wearing a bra wasn't lost on Skinner or the gunmen either.

"So are you all up for a game of laser tag?" Diana asked as the rest of their party caught up with them.

"I'd rather play strip poker with Agent Scully," Frohicke said as he ogled her breasts.

"Sorry, I don't play that in public places," She replied. All the men looked at her in shock. They couldn't believe that she would have the nerve to say that.

"How about we play men against women?" Natasha cheerfully asked. She wanted to be the center of attention, not Dana Scully.

"Like that's going to be fair," Scully heard Diana mutter under her breath, "They have five well trained marksmen and we get the prom queen and her entourage."

Scully started laughing and the group looked at her for an explanation, "We're game to that. But what are the stakes?" Scully asked.

"Let me discuss it with the men," Mulder said as the men huddled around him.

Diana gathered the prom queen and her entourage to discuss what the ladies wanted if they won.

"Why even bet. They are going to win," Natasha's friend Gwen said.

"With that attitude you are going to lose," Diana said. "Natasha it is your night. You chose what you want. And it cannot involve a sexual favor from Fox. It has to involve something all of us can enjoy." If Scully didn't know Natasha better she would have thought that the look she gave Diana was one of hatred.

"How about we make them go skinny dipping in the Potomac," Sheila asked.

"Do we really want to see them naked?" Scully asked disgusted. The thought of seeing Melvin Frohicke naked was almost enough to make her hurl right then. She really wouldn't mind seeing a healthy Mulder naked, though. <Though shall not covet another woman's almost husband,>Dana repeated to herself over and over.

"No, I guess not," Sheila, Gwen and Beth muttered at the same time.

"I know. They have to give us backrubs. That's what I want," Natasha said enthusiastically as Diana and Dana rolled their eyes.

"Lame, but I'm game," Scully muttered. What kind of a prize was a backrub? If it were up to her she would have been much more imaginative, but she wasn't the one getting married. The choice wasn't hers to make.

While they waited for the finish deciding what they wanted, Dana took the opportunity to watch them. She immediately noticed that Walter Skinner seemed to be objecting very loudly to most of the groups ideas. After 10 minutes of heated debate they were ready.

"Okay, ladies if the men win the ladies agree to go skinny dipping in the reflection pool on the mall," Mulder said.

"No way Fox," Natasha replied, "I'm not going skinny dipping in front of a group of strangers."

"They aren't strangers, they are all part of the wedding party. But if you don't want to that's okay. The men agree that your group has to select three people that have to if you lose," Mulder said after discussing it with the men.

Natasha gathered the women around. "Which three of you are going to do it if we lose? I'm not."

"I say Dana, Diana and Gwen do it," Wendy volunteered.

"Absolutely not. No way in hell am I getting naked in front of them," Dana said as she pointed specifically to the lone gun men.

"But Dana, please do it. For me," Natasha pleaded giving Dana her sweetest smile.

"No, pick someone else." Dana was going to stand her ground on this issue. It was one thing being naked in front of her good friends Blake and Claire, but this was different. She was just not comfortable naked around men unless she was in an intimate setting. She doubted that she could ever get drunk enough to get into an intimate setting with any of the lone gun men.

"Diana will you do it then?" Natasha asked her.

"Yeah, Diana will you do it," Fox Mulder said imitating his fiancee while winking at his ex-wife.

"As much as I know that I'm going to regret this, I'll do it." Diana could not believe that she was going to get naked in front of this group of freaks for Fox.

"That's one down. You still need two more women, ladies," Frohicke said as he ogled the group.

Dana looked at the group and knew that there was no way she was going to get out of it. All the men had excellent marksmanship skills, whereas only three of the women did. They were going to lose and she was going to end up naked in the reflection pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. She would probably either catch pneumonia or get arrested for indecent exposure.

"Okay, I do it Natasha, but only if Wendy does it to and these are the rules, so pay attention boys. If in the event the women lose there will be no picture taking, videotaping, audio taping, or taping of any kind. Am I understood," Dana said while looking at the lone gun men. They nodded their heads in agreement.

"No," Wendy said.

"What are you scared that they are going to see you without your clothes on?" Diana asked teasing her.

"No, it's not that."

"Then what is it?"

"Please do it for me Wendy," Natasha pleaded.

"Well okay," Wendy replied. They went to tell the men of the agreement and what they wanted if they won. Dana and Diana stayed behind to plan their strategy.

"I say we lose on purpose Dana just so Wendy has to strip," Diana whispered in Dana's ear.

"That would kill her for a group of men to ogle her while she's naked. I for one could care less who sees me naked. I don't have anything that they haven't seen before."

"Dana, I'm beginning to like you more and more. I never pegged you as an exhibitionist."

"There's a lot about me that you don't know." Dana said. Diana swore it sounded like Dana Scully was coming on to her. "It sounds like a plan to me though, even though I hate to lose. I say we take out all of them and let the girls get taken. Natasha is a good shot so she could be a wild card."

"How about we cover each other's asses and leave Natasha to cover theirs. We take out everyone except for Mulder," Diana whispered back to Dana Scully. She was beginning to like this dark and sinister side of Dana Scully.

End of chapter 13

********************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 14
********************************************

Lasertaruim
Arlington, Virginia
June 11, 1999
2:30 am

Dana Scully had easily taken out Melvin Frohicke and she did it in a way that he would forever remember. She slowly snuck up behind him and placed the gun to the temple of his head.

"I always like my men to take me from behind," She said as she whispered breathlessly in his hear. She ran her tongue slowly down his ear lobe as she pressed her small body into his rear. She thought she heard a small groan from him as she tagged him. Frohicke joined Natasha's college roommates that Skinner and Mulder had tagged within three minutes of the game starting. Frohicke could not remember ever being so turned on in his life. He had the hard on to end all hard ons.

An hour later Scully had tagged Byers and Langly, Skinner had tagged Natasha, and Mulder had tagged Wendy. Diana and Dana planned their attack. Diana agreed to go after Skinner. She was not counting on the fact that when she tagged Skinner Mulder was waiting in the wings for her. She and Walter walked slowly to the bar knowing the fates of their respective teams rested on Mulder and Scully's shoulders.

Mulder covertly made his way through the maze looking for Scully. He knew that she was a much better shot than he was so he had to be careful. He couldn't believe the outfit she was wearing. He could not take his eyes off of her breasts, tiny waist or her ass. That outfit had done incredible things for her body. She looked like she had put on a little weight, which had filled out her endless curves. He was instantly aroused thinking about her.

<Stop it Mulder. She's off limits. You are getting married to the woman you love in a day. Stop thinking about your ex-partner.> He had been giving himself this speech daily for the last two months. Ever since they rebuilt their friendship Mulder found himself thinking about Dana Scully more and more each day. He suddenly spotted Scully crouched low near a wall. What he didn't know what that Scully had planned for him to catch her the whole time. He slowly made his way up behind her and tagged her. It was much more fun to tag her than to steal her teams flag and win that way. He lowered his gun to her head and said, "Got you little woman. It's time for your team to give us a little nuddie show."

"You are such a pig Mulder," Scully replied smirking.

Mulder and Scully made their way back to the bar and discovered that most of the group had consumed vast quantities of alcohol while they were playing. The men, except for Walter Skinner, were elated that they won. Wendy was fuming and even accused Dana of throwing the game.

"I didn't see your fat ass out there trying to help us win," Scully said to her rudely. The wedding would be in a couple of days and it didn't matter if she was polite or not.

Natasha and Mulder looked at Scully in shock. "How dare you say that to me. I know that you and your lover wanted to get naked in the pond and that's why you lost," Wendy accusatorially whined. Diana heard the argument and came over to support Scully. She stood behind Scully and placed her arms around her stomach drawing her closer and she said seductively to Wendy. "How did you guess that we wanted you to join us."

Wendy turned bright red as Diana let Dana go. Both women started laughing as Langly made some comment that he wouldn't mind seeing their threesome. Natasha took Wendy aside and must have told Wendy that she had to keep up her end of the bargain, because when she returned she was her fake cheerful self once again.

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

Lincoln Memorial
Washington, DC
June 11, 1999
3:30 am

Fox Mulder drove Diana, Dana and Frohicke in his car while Wendy drove Langley, Byers and Natasha. Natasha's college roommates elected to go home due to the fact that they both had to go to work that morning. Walter Skinner refused to go saying it wouldn't be appropriate for an Assistant Director with the FBI to be caught with a group of drunk and naked people in a public park. The real reason he didn't go was that he didn't want to see his daughter naked. He was still aroused by the site of her with her clothes on. He knew that he wouldn't be able to control himself if he saw her nude. He was trying to feel fatherly toward her, but he had not yet been successful.

The car that Wendy drove made it to the destination before the rest of the group. Wendy quickly ran down to the reflection pool, took off her clothes and jumped in before the rest of her group could catch up with her. Byers and Langley were upset that they missed the free strip show but were anxiously awaiting Diana and Dana's arrival.

Five minutes later the rest of the group arrived and made it down to the reflection pool. Dana was drunker than she had been in years and wasn't thinking clearly. She wished that Blake was here to make sure that she didn't do something really stupid.

Diana couldn't believe that she was going to strip in front of this group of strangers either, but being naked in the same place and time as Dana Scully had been a long running fantasy of hers for over a year. She too had consumed a lot more alcohol than she normally did.

"Take it off ladies," Frohicke yelled to them.

"These are the rules," Dana started, "Mulder is in charge of my clothes. If I get out and my clothes aren't here I'm going to be really pissed off if I get arrested for indecent exposure. Okay." She finished as she kicked off her shoes and started unbuttoning her pants and lowered them over her hips. Once her pants and socks were off she quickly raised the tank top over her head and looked around.

"Diana, stop staring and start stripping," Dana ordered her new friend. All the men just stared at Dana Scully's form. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine her to look like this nude. Mulder had seen her naked several times but she was unconscious and a very healthy Dana Scully was much different. He noted with surprise that she was a true redhead as she took off her underwear. He could see all of her very clearly in the moonlight as she lowered herself into the water. Diana took off her clothes and joined Dana in the water.

They ran around the fountains, splashing each other and having a fun time. Mulder quickly took off his clothes, against Natasha's protests, and jumped in the water. Langley took off all this clothes except for his underwear and joined the growing group. Byers was uncomfortably aroused by the group and decided to keep watch for police.

Frohicke had disappeared and gotten his camera from the car. He hid behind a tree quite a distance away and took pictures of the group with his state of the art surveillance camera. He thought about giving Mulder a couple of pictures of Scully naked as a wedding present. He was surprised with his skill, as he managed to get a close up of Scully's rear end and tattoo. Mulder never would tell him what it looked like, only that she had foolishly gotten a tattoo.

Mulder figured that he had not had this much fun in a long time as he dunked Scully under water. She came up gasping for air and pulled him under with her. Diana jumped on top of them. He saw Langley trying to hit on Wendy as Wendy tried to hide her nakedness under the water.

Wendy. Mulder never really cared for Wendy. There was something about her that he just didn't trust. Natasha listened to everything Wendy had to say. It was always, Wendy said this...' or Wendy said that....'. Mulder just wanted Wendy to go away and leave them alone. Wendy didn't hide her jealousy of his relationship with her best friend very well. He half expected Natasha to ask if Wendy could move in with them once they got married. He would tolerate Wendy for now, but once he was married she was out of their lives for good.

"There's a policeman coming this way. Get out of the water," Byers said as he ran down the grassy hill to warn the group. Natasha immediately jumped out of the water and started pulling her clothes on. Wendy was frozen in place and couldn't move. Langly hopped out of the water and pulled his pants on quickly. Frohicke madly took pictures of the group from behind the tree careful that the police officer could not see him as he approached. Diana and Fox ran out of the water holding each others hands when they realized that Dana had not come out with them.

Fox looked on in horror when he realized that Dana Scully was floating face down in the pool. Scully had passed out from all the alcohol she had consumed. They both ran back into the pool to get her. The rest of the group realized that something was wrong with Dana as Fox carried her out and placed her on the ground. Wendy used this diversion to get out of the pool. She didn't realize that Frohicke the pervert was taking pictures of her every move.

"Wake up, God dammit," Fox Mulder yelled as he tried to bring some life back into Scully. Scully started choking on the water in her mouth and turned her head to the side to spit it out before she passed out again.

"Two minutes and you three are arrested. Get your clothes on now," Jon Byers yelled at the group, "I'm out of here. I will meet you at your car. If you aren't there in 5 minutes I will assume that you have been arrested and will use the spare key to drive myself home," He told Mulder before he started jogging in the opposite direction on the cop that was fast approaching them.

"Let's go now Natasha," Wendy yelled as she grabbed her friends arm and pulled her away.

"Fox, I'll call you later," Natasha told her fiancee as she left with her friend. Langley went with them. He didn't need to be caught by the cops. His arrest would have been a parole violation.

"Diana, put your clothes on quickly and then we'll take care of Scully," Mulder told his ex-wife as she quickly put her clothes on. Mulder then put his clothes on while Diana watched Dana closely.

"I can't believe we left her in there. I was right next to her. I should have noticed when she went under," Diana said with tremendous guilt.

"I should have seen the signs. This is exactly like what happened the last time she had too much to drink. This was a stupid idea coming out here," Mulder said as he pulled the tank top over Scully's naked form. Diana was working on putting on her underwear. They both looked up to see that the cop was roughly 500 feet from them.

"Diana, grab her stuff. We don't have time to put the rest of it on. I'll carry her while we make a run for it," He said hurriedly as he hoisted Scully over his shoulder in a fireman's carry and took off running. Diana grabbed Scully's jeans, socks and shoes and ran behind him. She heard the cop yell at them to stop but they kept on running as fast as they could. When they reached his car, Mulder placed Scully in the back seat where Frohicke and Diana joined her. Fox Mulder jumped into the passenger seat as Byers drove away quickly hoping that the police officer didn't have time to jot down the plate number.

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

Dana Scully's Apartment
June 11, 1999
4:30 am

Byers stopped in front of Scully's apartment building.

"Someone needs to stay with her tonight," Mulder said while looking at all the occupants of the car.

"I'll gladly take her to bed," Frohicke volunteered.

"No, I'll stay with her, you little pervert," Diana countered.

"Maybe, I should stay with her," Mulder said as his guilt began to set in once again.

"No way man, Natasha would have a fit if she found out you stayed with Scully. You know how she gets when she finds out you spent time with Scully. You don't want to have to deal with this crap right before your wedding, do you," Byers said offering his advice. It was no secret to the gunmen that the lovely Natasha wasn't quite as lovely as Mulder liked to believe. When they found out that their friend was dating her they did a complete check on her. It seems that Natasha had a very bad temper and a hatred for Dana Scully. They had overhead several conversations between fat ass Wendy (as they liked to call her) and Natasha. They wanted to tell Mulder about Natasha but they felt that it was not their place. Besides, he would kill them if he found out that they were following his fiancee.

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

Sheraton Hotel
Washington, DC
June 11, 1999
5:30 pm

Dana entered the hotel nervously with Diana Fowley at her side. She had woken up that afternoon with the worst hangover of her entire life. She wasn't sure what had happened the evening before and was too embarrassed to ask Diana about it. She knew that it had to be bad if Diana had spent the night at her apartment. She could recall the evening up until they left the Lasertarium. After that point she could only recall bits and pieces of her being nude in some fountain. She had no idea how she got there or how she got home and into her bed.

She wished that she wasn't a bridesmaid.

She wished that her attendance at this damn rehearsal dinner wasn't mandatory.

Unknown to her, Diana Fowley was walking besides her thinking the same thoughts. Diana genuinely loved Fox Mulder and wanted the best for him, but she could not help but feel that he was making a huge mistake marrying Natasha. She had this hunch that he was somehow settling by marrying her. She knew that he always a wife and children, but was he rushing into this marriage because he thought that it might be his last chance at happiness? She wished that Dana and Fox could get over their apprehension over telling each other what they truly felt and admit that they were attracted to and in love with each other.

"Well are you ready?" Dana asked Diana breaking the silence.

"No. But do we have a choice?"

"We could always say we got lost," Dana suggested.

"Wouldn't work. Fox escorted me to my cousins reception at this hotel three years ago. He knows that I know where it is."

"Damn, well we may as well go on in and get this over with," Dana said and she placed her hand on the door knob to the room where there reception was being held.

"If I didn't know better I would say that you don't want to be here, Dana," Diana teased the younger agent.

"What gave it away? My slowed gait?"

"No, I think it has more to do with the fake smile you plaster on your face whenever you talk about the happy couple."

"It's not that apparent, is it?" Dana asked worriedly.

"No, I have seen you smile enough to know when your smile is genuine."

"I'm an awful person, Diana. I want to be happy for them, but I can't. All I have heard about for the last 6 months is about weddings. I hate weddings, I'm all for elopement."

"I feel the same thing. At first the thought of a wedding was charming but after playing dutiful bridesmaid to a woman I barely know, I'm sick of it. I will be glad when the wedding is over and done with so that I don't have to hear about it again."

"We would be so lucky. No, I'm afraid that we're in store with a full year of their constant talk of marital bliss. Hopefully, if they are going to have kids they will at least put it off for a couple years before I have to hear all about baby talk for the rest of my natural life"

"Oh God, Dana, I hadn't even thought about that."

"That transfer to Salt Lake City is looking pretty good right now."

"I wonder if they have any supervisory positions available there?" Diana asked.

"Sounds like a plan to me, we can move out there together and share an apartment to cut down expenses."

"Why should we have to move? They are the ones that found happiness, they should move," Diana said. The thought of having Dana Scully as a roommate was appealing to her.

"Maybe we could get Wendy to move with them."

"We could never get so lucky. Maybe we should pool our money and get her liposuction," Diana said as she started giggling.

"You are so cruel, Diana. Why should we do that? She would be better looking but would still have an attitude,"Dana replied. The door was suddenly opened as someone exited the room.

"I was wondering where the two musketeers were," Fox Mulder said upon spying the women.

"We were just out here chatting," Diana explained.

"And this could not be done inside and at a table?" Fox asked questioningly.

"Some things are better said outside of prying ears. Besides, we wouldn't want to bore the guests," Diana told him. Dana nodded her head in agreement.

"I'm sure that anything you ladies said wouldn't bore the people sitting at your table, which happen to be the lone gunmen," Mulder said as he smiled.

"No, Mulder. Absolutely not," Dana blurted out.

"Sorry, I didn't make the seating chart, Wendy did," Mulder said having picked up on Scully's and Diana's hatred of her.

"I'll kill her. I'm going to kill her," Dana muttered under her breath.

"Scully, I don't think it is wise to be making death threats in front of federal agents. Anyway, ladies, are you ready to enter?" Mulder said as he held the door open for them. He followed them into the room as they took there seats at the table with the lone gunmen.

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

Sheraton Hotel
Washington, DC
June 11, 1999
9:00 pm

Dana Scully was bored out of her mind. She had barely touched her rubbery chicken cordon bleu. The lettuce on the salad was slightly wilted, the wine tasted stale to her, and to top it all of Frohicke snagged her stockings and caused a run when he tried to play footsies under the table with her. She still had a slight headache and wanted to do nothing more than to go home and soak in the tub.

"Looks like Karoake is up next," Diana whispered in her ear.

"You lie, no one does Karoake at a rehearsal dinner."

"They do now, it says so in the program." Diana pointed it out to her on the program.

"Speaking of programs, why do they have a program? There are only 30 people here?" Dana asked.

"Wendy was in charge of the rehearsal dinner, ask her," Diana suggested.

"I hate her. I swear to god I hate her."

"I love it when you get all mad Agent Scully," Frohicke said as he leered at her.

"Shut up Frohicke. I'm not in the mood for your teasing tonight. Look, I'm sorry I just yelled at you. I'm just a little tired and my head hurts," Scully tried to explain as she apologized to him. She knew that he meant no harm with his comments.

"Apology accepted," Frohicke replied in return.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for Karoake. Anyone who wants to sing needs to come up here and sign up along with your choice of song. Fox and Natasha are going to be the judges and there will be prizes given for best performance, worst performance and best reinterpretation of a song. Hurry on up, we will be starting in 20 minutes," Wendy told the group.

Diana and Dana looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"I thought that this was a rehearsal dinner, not a birthday party. Karoake with prizes?" Diana said to Dana as the gunmen hung onto her every word.

"Gentleman, care to Karoake?"Byers asked his friends.

"Sure, shall we sing to Mulder what we call his anthem?" Langley suggested.

"What would that be? Remember this is a wedding rehearsal dinner, not a topless bar, keep it clean," Diana said.

"I wonder if Mulder will stop going to those fine establishments with us once he gets married," Frohicke said softly.

"Naw, the man will never change. Last time he got married he didn't stop," Langley offered up. Diana gave him an evil look telling him that he had better shut his mouth and say no more. It was too late, Dana caught the slip.

"Mulder was married before?" She asked.

"No." All three gunmen said in unison.

"That's not what Langly just said."

"I didn't say that," Langley told her.

"Yes, you did. You said, and I repeat, last time he got married he didn't stop'."

No one said anything to her in return. The gunmen looked at each other for help in which one of them was going to get themselves out of this jam that they were in. Diana tried her best to looked as shocked as Dana was about the accusation, but unbeknownst to her Dana had caught the look she gave Langley when he first opened this can of worms.

"Mulder was married before?" Dana asked Diana. "Please don't lie to me, Diana," Dana pleaded with her friend.

Diana weighed her options before speaking. She thought about lying to her but knew she would lose her as a friend if the truth ever did come out. On the other hand she knew that Fox was going to be livid when he found out that she was the one to tell Dana the truth, not him. For some reason, that he was keeping to himself, he was adamant about Dana Scully not knowing that he had been married. She decided that she was going to come clean with Scully for once.

"Yes, Mulder was married, but it was a long time ago," Diana said softly to her new friend.

"Why wouldn't he tell me. I asked him early on in our partnership if he had ever been married and he said no. Why would he lie to me?" She asked not knowing that Fox Mulder had just approached her table.

"Why would who lie to you?" He asked Dana. She looked up in horror to see Fox Mulder standing beside her.

"Why did you lie to me about being married?" She asked him directly, the hurt evident in her eyes. The gunmen and Diana used Fox's presence to leave the table.

"Can we got outside and talk, Scully?" He asked her as he helped her up from her chair. He didn't want to ever have to have this talk with her, lest on the eve of his pending nuptials. He escorted her in silence to a secluded alcove near the pool where he knew that they would be able to have some privacy. He guided her onto the couch and sat down beside her before he began to speak.

"Scully, I'm sorry that I lied to you. I should have told you the truth about being married."

"But why? Why did you lie to me?"

"I don't know."

"How can you not. Do you regularly go around telling lies for the sake of it?" She said as she started to raise her voice.

"No, it isn't like that," He tried to explain.

"Then tell me how it is. Tell me why you could never tell me in six years we were partners that you had been married?"

"I wanted to tell you, but I didn't trust you."

"That's your answer. You didn't trust me?"

"At the time when you asked the question, no, I didn't trust you."

"Why didn't you tell me the truth once you did trust me."

"I couldn't Scully."

"Why couldn't you."

"Because you would think that I was being deceitful."

"You were, you are."

"You don't understand."

"Then explain it to me. So far you have not given me one good reason why you never told me that you were married."

Mulder and Scully sat in silence for several minutes before Mulder spoke up.

"Because then I would have to tell you how I feel about you," He said as he got up from the couch and left her sitting there. Dana was dumfounded. She thought about going after him and making him explain what he meant by that last comment, but decided to let it go. He was getting married tomorrow, nothing was going to change that.

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

National Cathedral
Washington DC
June 12, 1999
12:30 pm

"As you know, you are about to enter into a union which is most sacred and most serious because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are expected in your own. And so, not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health until death." The minister looked at both Fox and Natasha before continuing on.

"Truly then, these words are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that, recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless so willing and ready to pronounce them. Because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self sacrifice. So, you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you are to have in common. Henceforth you belong entirely to each other. You will be one in mind, one in heart and one in affections. Whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy; and perfect love can make it joy."

"Do you Fox William Mulder take Natasha Camille Brown as your lawfully wedded wife?"

"I do," Fox said as he looked over at Natasha and smiled.

"Do you Natasha Camille Brown take Fox William Mulder as your lawfully wedded husband?"

"I do."

"Fox repeat after me: I Fox William Mulder take you Natasha Camille Brown as my lawful wife, to have an to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

Fox repeated the vows after the minister while staring into Natasha's tear filled eyes.

"Natasha repeat after me: I Natasha Camille Brown take you Fox William Mulder as my lawful husband, to have an to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

Natasha repeated the vows after the minister. Wendy and Walter then stepped forward as the best man and matron of honor to hand them the rings.

"Fox, place the ring on her finger and repeat after me: Take and wear this ring as a sign of our marriage vows and of fidelity."

Fox repeated the vows as sis Natasha when she slide the slim gold band on Fox Mulder's hand.

"Now by the authority vested in me by the church I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Fox lifted the veil off of Natasha's face and leaned in to kiss her as the congregation cheered. He never noticed that Dana Scully's face remained expressionless during the whole ceremony.

End of chapter 14

******************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 15
******************************************

Sheraton Hotel
Washington, DC
June 12, 1999
4:30 pm

Dana Scully sat at the head table during the reception dinner hoping that this day would soon come to an end. Watching Fox Mulder declare his love for and marry another woman was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life. Up until that point in time she had thought that breaking up with Walter and having an abortion was the worst thing she had gone through, but now she realized what true emotional pain she was capable of feeling. She felt as though part of her soul died upon the alter that afternoon and the rest of her body was grieving for it.

She was glad that Blake had come as her escort. Having him there made the day bearable. She couldn't believe that Mulder had actually married another woman. Didn't he know that wasn't how the story was supposed to end. He was supposed to realize that it was her that he loved, and not Natasha. He wasn't supposed to actually go through with the ceremony. Didn't he know that?

She was glad once the dinner was over and the dance floor was open. She found much needed comfort in Blake's arms.

"Darling, what is wrong?" Blake asked her as he spun her around the dance floor.

"Everything Blake. I feel like I'm part of a bad dream and that I am going to wake up and everything is going to be back to normal."

"I thought you were happy that they were getting married."

"I lied."

"If you didn't want them to get married why did you act like a supportive friend all these months."

"I don't know."

"How can you not know."

"I just don't. I thought that I was doing the right thing at the time."

"And now you realize that it wasn't. Well I'm sorry to say that it is a little to late for regrets, Natasha is now Mrs. Fox Mulder and there's nothing that can be done about it."

"He wasn't supposed to marry her, Blake."

"Why wasn't he."

"Because they weren't meant for each other."

"And you were meant for him?"

"Yes. No. I don't know."

"Dana, you need to decide what you feel for once and for all. This isn't healthy and it is damn confusing for me. Do you think he loves Natasha?"

"Yes."

"Do you think she loves him?"

"Yes."

"Do you love him?"

"I don't know."

"Okay, do you want to be with him?"

"I don't know."

"Okay, that's fair. Do you want him to be happy?"

"Yes."

"Do you think he's happy with Natasha?"

"Yes."

"Then what is the problem. Fox Mulder and Natasha have seemed to have figured out what they want and they are happy. You are the one that needs to figure out your feelings. You've admitted to me that you know that they love each other and are happy. Why can't you accept that and be happy for them?"

"Because it was supposed to be me," Dana said softly as Blake gathered her even closer in his arms as they moved around the dance floor.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
June 21, 1999
8:00 am

Dana Scully opened her morning mail to find another mysterious letter addressed to Mary. Inside the plain white envelope was written:

Ask Mr. Skinner. He knows the truth. He has been lying to you.

She started to pick up the phone to call Mulder but remembered that he was on his honeymoon with Natasha. She decided to go see Walter Skinner about the note even though the thought of seeing him again was discomforting.

Once is his office she discovered that he wasn't busy and had time to see her.

"What can I do for you, Agent Scully?" Walter Skinner asked as he escorted her into his office and shut the door behind her.

"Sir, I'm sorry to bother you, but there was no one else I could turn to right now," she said as she sat down in the chair across from his desk.

"Are you in some sort of trouble?" He asked concerned.

"No, it's not that. I keep getting these notes. I got the first one about a month ago. It said "you aren't who you think you are." A couple of days later I got one addressed to Mary and it said, "Mary, Who are you?". Today I got another one that said, "Ask Mr. Skinner. He knows the truth. He has been lying to you." I'm confused as to what these notes mean and if I'm the intended target."

Walter's face paled when she had said one of the notes was addressed to Mary. Someone knew about her parentage and intended for her to find out. There was no way that he and Maggie could keep this from her. She was going to have to find out soon, before she found out in an anonymous letter.

"I have no idea what the note means, Agent Scully. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. Right now they seem harmless, but it is good to be aware of a potential situation. Please keep me informed if you receive anymore," He said as he dismissed her from the office. As soon as she was out the door he picked up the phone and dialed Maggie Scully's number.

"We need to talk now," He said into the speaker.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
June 22, 1999
2:30 pm

Dana Scully sat across from Walter Skinner and Maggie Scully. Maggie had called the meeting between the three of them so that Maggie could break the news to her about being Walter's daughter. Walter had not wanted to tell her, but was being forced to before whoever was sending her the notes told her first. He figured that her anger would be abated somewhat with the news coming from a family member and not a stranger. He was mystified as to who knew and how they found out. The whole mess reeked of the Cigarette Smoking Man.

Maggie had wanted to tell her daughter the news by herself, but Walter didn't trust her enough to go through with it. He thought that she might lie and say that she told Dan, and then CSM or one of his cronies would get to her and tell her the truth. He had dreaded this moment for the past 2 months. He had thought up every scenario in his mind that would make the whole situation okay, but had failed to come up with one. Who was he kidding? They weren't going to be a happy family. She wasn't going to rush into his arms and start calling him daddy. He was going to be fortunate if she even acknowledged his presence after today.

So, Walter insisted that he be there. He wanted his interests represented, after all she did have one-half of his DNA. In a sick way he wanted Dana to be a part of his life again. He knew her, he knew that she would go into her denial mode and act like nothing had happened. But something had happened. He was her father and like it or not she was going to have to accept that.

"Dana honey," Maggie Scully began, "I called you here today because there are a few things I wanted to speak to you about." Maggie looked nervously at Dana for any signs of resistance as to what she was about to say.

"That's fine, but why here in the office. What couldn't wait that could had to tell me here and not at home? Is it Bill or Charlie," Dana asked hurriedly while looking at her mother for an answer. He mind conjured up all kinds of images of the horror that must have befallen Bill, Tara, Matthew or Charlie. Why else would her mother be here? She had never dropped by her office before.

"They are fine Dana," Maggie said trying to reassure her daughter. She hadn't thought that meeting at the FBI building would alarm Dana like this.

"Well then why are you here? Why is AD Skinner here? Is this about my job? Am is be reassigned again?"

"No, Dana. This doesn't involve work, at least not directly. Your mother and I want to discuss something of a more personal nature with you."

Dana looked at him astounded, "I'm sorry, you may be my superior, but that doesn't give you any right to discuss my personal life with me or my mother."

"Dana, I have asked Walter to be here. He has every right to be here."

"What are you talking about." Dana asked. "You both are talking in riddles. Why am I here?"

"I'm sorry Dana. There's no easy way to do this," Maggie said.

"To do what?" She interrupted.

"Dana, " Walter began.

"No Walter I should be the one to tell her?"

"Tell me what," Dana yelled.

"Walter is your father," Maggie said as her voice shook. She didn't dare look at her daughter, afraid to meet her eyes. She instead looked to Walter for support, but he was too busy staring at Dana and her reaction.

Dana thought she didn't hear her mother correctly. Did her mother just say that Walter Skinner was her father. Surely not. She must have been mistaken.

"My what?" She asked incredulously

"Your father, Dana," Walter said quietly.

"You're NOT my father. My father was Bill Scully. Why would you tell me this?"

"Because I could no longer keep the truth from you," Maggie answered quietly. "I was tired of living a lie, pretending that you were someone else's daughter when you weren't."

"Very funny, that's a cute joke, Mom. You almost had me believing it. Seriously, why am I here?" She asked.

"This is no joke Dana, Walter Skinner is your biological father."

"You are LYING. William Scully is my father. He cannot be my father," Dana said as tears started to form in her eyes, "He isn't my father. He isn't. He can't be."

"Dana, it is true. I'm sorry to hurt you honey, but he's your father. I never meant for you to know. When you were dying in the hospital I felt that Walter had a right to know he had a daughter."

"So you never knew, sir?" She said while looking at Walter for the first time.

"I had no idea Dana, believe me if I had known I would have always been a part of your life."

"Oh God. Oh God. Oh God," Scully muttered while placing her head in her hands and leaning towards the floor rocking back and forth. Neither Walter nor Maggie knew what to say to her. Maggie got up out of her chair and went over to Dana. She placed a hand on her shoulder. Dana recoiled sharply and said harshly "DO NOT TOUCH ME. You have no right to after what you have done. How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me."

"I love you more than anything Dana. I did this to protect you. Your father and I decided that it was best for you to never know."

"My father," Dana laughed, "Who gave you the right to decide what was best for me or Skinner. What the hell am I supposed to call you now?" She asked Walter Skinner.

"You can call me what ever you feel comfortable with. I'm not expecting you to call me dad. I don't expect for you to see me as a father to you."

"You're damn right. This cannot be happening. This is a bad dream and I'm going to wake up and things will be back to normal. Oh God, why me?" She looked up at her mother and screamed at her, "How could you do this to me. How could you?"

Maggie couldn't stand to see the pain in her daughters eyes, "I'm sorry," She whispered.

"You're sorry? That's it, you're sorry?" Dana Scully asked her mother incredulously.

"What do you want me to say Dana? "

"Something better than that. How could you do this to me?"

"Dana, I don't know what you want from me. I apologized! I can't undue the past as much as I would like to be able to."

"I don't know what I want. This is a lot to spring on a person. You had an obligation to tell me the truth a long time ago."

Walter Skinner sat in his chair silently watching the brewing argument between mother and daughter. He knew the temper that both of the women were capable of exhibiting. There would be no concessions over this issue. There would be no happy ending.

"Enough, this isn't solving anything."

At that moment Dana chose to look over at Walter Skinner. She felt nothing but hatred toward him. She hated him for being her father. She hated him for sleeping with a married woman, a woman that happened to be her mother. She was disgusted and repulsed with him and herself, but most of all she wanted to die.

Instead she did the only thing she knew how, she got angrier.

"Mr. Skinner, why did you sleep with my mother knowing that she was a married woman?" She wanted to make his name sound as impersonal as possible. She wanted to hurt him.

"Dana, that's rude to ask someone that," Maggie said shocked at her daughters question.

"You are one to talk. Don't you think you are about 34 years too late to decide what is proper etiquette?" Dana said turning on her mother once again.

"You were not raised this way Dana. Stop acting like an errant 12 year old."

"How dare you tell me how to act. You were the one that was married. You made a commitment to God and your husband to remain faithful, and did you? You preached to me, forced your religion down my throat my whole life, all the while you didn't even believe it yourself. I can't believe you, I thought I knew you, but I guess I was wrong. Don't you lecture me on how to act. How many times did you cheat on Dad mom? 1 time, 3 times, 10 times?"

"Dana, you will not disrespect me like this," Maggie yelled out while crying.

Dana looked at her coldly, "You disrespected yourself the first time you laid down in bed with another man that wasn't your husband. Are any of my siblings Dad's?"

Maggie Scully reached out and slapped Dana hard across the face, tears streaming from her eyes she said sobbing, "You may not agree with the choices I have made, Dana Katherine, and that's fine. I realize that you are upset that I never told you. I thought that it would have been too upsetting for a child to know. I didn't want to ruin Walter's career or his marriage. I did the only thing that could have been done back in the 1960's, I had you and passed you off as Bill's. If there was any other way out of the mess I would have taken the option."

"You would have aborted me given the chance, wouldn't you."

"Yes, No," Maggie answered quietly. "It would have made things a lot easier on all of us. But I did want you Dana, I did. You complicated my life too much. It would have been easier on me and my marriage if you didn't exist. Bill knew that you were not his and never let me forget it."

"Would you both shut up, " Walter interrupted. "How is this helping anything? I loved Dana the moment I saw her when she was a baby. Had I known what you really thought about your baby daughter I would have gladly taken her and raised her. To think that you had something I so desperately wanted disgusts me. Dana is here now She isn't a child. Telling her that you wanted to abort her isn't going to solve anything Maggie."

"Goddamn you Walter. Stay out of this, Walter, this doesn't concern you."

"Stop talking about me like I'm not here. I'm not a child anymore. You two may have controlled my lot in life when I was younger, but no more. You both disgust me. What you have done is unforgivable. You know what? You both can stay the hell out of my life. I don't need a mother and father and never have. To me neither one of you exists." Dana got up and walked out of the room leaving Walter and Maggie staring after her.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
June 22, 1999
3:00 pm

Dana ran down the hall not sure of where to go. She first ran to Fox Mulder's office and then realized once there that he was still on his honeymoon.

<Damn him for getting married when I need him.>

<No, I don't need him.>

She slowly made her way to her own office and sat down at her computer. She was upset and wanted to talk to someone.

<No, this is something that I can't discuss with anyone.>

<No one would understand.>

<No one could understand.>

<I'll deal with this like I have dealt with everything thing else in my life.>

<Get real Dana, you don't deal with things, you just deny them and hope that they will go away and not rear their ugly heads again.>

<So what. I can make this go away too.>

<No you can't.>

<Leave me alone.>

She stood up from her chair suddenly. She had to get out of the office. She couldn't stay in the Hoover Building. Someone might come looking for her. That someone might be Walter Skinner or Maggie Scully.

She really needed to talk to someone, but who could she call? She couldn't talk to Blake, Claire or Susan Lowenstein about this. What she had done in the past was one thing, and it was bad enough that they knew. But this was really bad. There was no way she could ever tell anyone about this. They would then know the truth about her and what she was capable of. She had willingly slept with her father. Only someone who is truly evil and sick in the head would do that. They wouldn't understand, she wouldn't be able to make them understand. They would finally realize what an ugly horrible person she really was and they would go away.

<But it's not my fault. I didn't know that he was my father.>

<It doesn't matter, you still slept with him like the whore that you are.>

<I'm not a whore. I'm a good person.>

<You sure as hell don't act like it. Mulder was right in marrying Natasha. You would have brought him nothing but misery.>

<That's not true.>

<You know it is so stop denying it. You are nothing but trouble to everyone you come in contact with.>

<That's not true.>

<Look what you did to Walter Skinner. You knew that he was married, but like the harlot that you are, you went after him anyway. This is all your fault.>

"Stop it," Dana Scully screamed as she grabbed her ears to make the voices stop. She sunk to her office floor sobbing. No one came to see what was wrong.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
June 22, 1999
4:00 pm

<I need to get out of here,>Dana thought to herself as she ran out of her office in no specific direction. She just wanted to be anywhere but in that office. They would look for her there. She was sure of that. She would go away where no one could find her. She needed time to decide what the hell she was going to do to clear this mess up.

If she was going to take time off then she was going to have to ask her supervisor. Who the hell was her supervisor right now. The FBI reorganized departments and personnel so frequently that she often lost track of who she was supposed to be reporting to. She remembered seeing a memo regarding new direct supervision a couple months ago but for her life she could not recall who it was. She decided to take the safe route and go to Diana. She would know.

She knocked quietly on Diana's door.

"Come in," Diana said through the door.

"Sorry to interrupt you. I was wondering if it would be okay to take a couple of days off."

"Why aren't you asking your direct supervisor?"

"I forgot who it was."

"How could you forget. Surely you must be reporting to someone regularly."

"No, not really. I'm pretty much left on my own. I leave all autopsies reports and the like in the VCS bin out front."

"Dana, I'm surprised. I pegged you as a detail oriented woman and here you aren't even knowing who you report to,"Diana said trying to lighten the mood. From the minute Dana Scully entered her office she realized that something was very wrong.

"I'm detail oriented, Diana. I just have a lot of my mind right now. Besides, for a while I was being bounced around on a semiweekly basis. I just stopped keeping track after a while."

"Well this happens to be your lucky day. Even though you aren't under my supervision right now, I'm filling in for your supervisor, who happens to be Agent Horton, for the time being. If you want the time off, assuming that you have it, you can. What's up?" Diana asked.

"I just have some personal things to take care of," Dana replied.

"We all need days like those. Heaven should know that I do. Are you going to be in town this weekend in case we need to get a hold of you?"

"I really don't know at this time Diana," Dana said.

"What is wrong Dana. You seem disturbed. Is it anything you'd like to talk about?" Diana asked.

"I'm fine, Diana. I do appreciate your concern though. I just have some issues I need to work through myself."

"Don't hold in whatever is bothering you Dana. It isn't healthy."

"What are you afraid, Diana? That I'll start losing weight?" After all this time Dana still could not admit to herself that she suffered from anorexia.

"No, that's not why I'm concerned Dana. I know what a lonely place it can be when you don't let other people in, when you don't share your feelings. It's a cold place that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I'm here if you need someone just to listen, if nothing else."

"Thanks Diana. I'm sure I can handle this myself."

"Do you have plans for tonight?" Diana asked trying to lighten the mood.

"No, I was planning on doing laundry. Why?" The last thing she expected was for Diana to ask her about her plans. She hadn't really planned on doing laundry. But, she didn't want to tell Diana the cold hard truth -- that she was going to drink herself into oblivion. Drink all her memories away.

"Well I was wondering if you wanted to get a bite to eat, a girls night out."

Dana thought to herself for a minute before responding. "That sounds like it would be fun." As much as she wanted to tel her no, the small part of her that needed to please everyone was saying yes. If she said no Diana might get suspicious and use her sources to find out what a terrible person she was. Drinking would just have to wait.

"Well, let me make a few phone calls and then we can go. You chose the place to eat." Diana was stunned that Dana had accepted her invitation.

End of chapter 15

****************************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 16
****************************************************

The Beltway
Washington, D.C.
June 22, 1999
5:30 pm

Dana rode in silence in Diana's cherry red mustang. She really didn't picture Diana driving this kind of car. Not that she had given a lot of thought to it. She just assumed that Diana would be apt to drive a four-door sedan than a racy convertible.

"Why the silence Dana?" Diana asked, "Anything you would care to share with me?"

"Give me a few beers and I might" Dana replied wryly.

"That almost sounds like a challenge Dana, one that I think I'm up to."

They reached the Four Provinces Pub in a short amount of time. Diana pulled up to the curb and let Dana out so that she could get a table while she parked the car. Minutes later Diana joined Dana at a table near the bar. Approaching Dana, Diana noticed how tired the younger agent looked. She sat down and noticed that Dana had already ordered a beer for each of them.

"I see you have already ordered for us, Dana." Diana said matter of factly.

"Actually those two men over there, " Dana said while pointing, "ordered it for us."

"In the bar for less than 5 minutes and someone tries to pick you up. I'm impressed."

"It isn't that impressive, look at them. But I do admit it is flattering though. All the opportunities I have to meet men I have Mulder by my side. His presence makes it hard for men to approach me. They automatically assume that he's my boyfriend."

"Well I can see why anyone would make that assumption."

"Why, because we're two people of the opposite sex eating together?"

"It is more than that, Dana. I think it has more to do with the way you interact with each other, even in public."

"What do you mean, the way we interact?" Dana asked as she took a large swig of her beer.

"You know what I mean, the looks, the touches."

"Hold on there, Diana. What looks? What touches?"

"I have seen the way that you look at each other when you talk. You have a way of shutting the rest of the world out. By looks, I don't mean to imply that you are constantly winking at and ogling each other. It is more than that. Your faces light up when you talk to each other. Fox gets a look on his face that I have never seen before. It is a look of partial amazement, wonder, inspiration, devotion, interest, and love."

"Give it up, Diana. You sound like a greeting card. Mulder does not look at me that way."

"He does, and you do the same to him."

"I think if I was looking at him like that I would remember it." Dana quickly took another drink of her beer.

"I don't think it is something either of you do consciously."

"Anyway, why are we talking about Mulder? He's married now."

"You were the one that brought it up."

"Yeah, but all I said was that he was a deterrent for me getting a man of my own," Dana tried to explain. She really didn't want another man. Only Mulder.

"Okay, fine. New topic. What got you so upset today that you are taking leave?"

Ouch. Diana sure got straight to the point. "I just needed a little break."

"Is that all?"

"What other reason would there be?"

"You tell me."

"Diana, you have been working around Mulder too long. He's the one with hidden agendas and motives, not me."

"That's true, but you don't lie very well. I can see it on your face."

"You can't."

"I can. I can tell that you are hiding something from me. Something that you don't want me to know."

"Look, Diana. I don't mean to be rude to you, I like you and all that, but butt out of my business. This doesn't concern you." Dana didn't mean for the words to come out as harsh as they had.

"Okay fine. Go and your vacation, run away from what ever you feel you need to keep to yourself."

"Diana, I didn't mean for it to come out like that. I'm sorry. It has been a long day and I'm just really tired and on edge. I'm not taking a couple of days off to deal with some deep dark issues or whatever the hell you think I'm doing. I just need a couple of days off from work to catch up on housework, reading, etc. It is nothing more than that. I do appreciate your concern though."

"I'm concerned. I do care about you, Dana. Who knows why I do. You are really a royal pain in the ass sometimes."

"Thank you, I'll take that as a compliment."

"I have one more thing to say and then I'll never bring up this topic of conversation again," Diana said as she looked to Dana Scully for agreement. "Just so you know, if you ever need to talk to someone about anything I'm available. It doesn't matter what time of day or night it is, or what the subject matter is."

"I appreciate that," Dana Scully replied. As well meaning as Diana Fowley was, Dana knew that there were some issues that you just didn't discuss with anyone.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 1, 1999
8:00 am

Dana Scully slowly made her way to her office after a leave of absence. For the first three days she had laid in bed and didn't get out of it except to use the bathroom. On the fourth day she resolved that she wasn't going to act like a victim, they would have expected that of her. Who they were she didn't know, she only knew that was what they wanted for her to do. The rest of her time off she spent catching up reading her medical journals.

Today she had to face the music.

Opening her office door she was surprised to see Fox Mulder sitting in her chair behind her desk. He quickly took his shoes off of her desk once he saw her.

"I hope you have a good reason for sitting in my chair, Mulder?" She asked.

"Don't I always?"

"Come to think of it, No."

"Aw Scully, you wound me. Anything good happen while I was gone?"

"That's right," She said remembering suddenly that he must just have gotten back from his honeymoon, "How was the vacation. You don't look like you got a tan."

"Well, we never really left the hotel room."

Dana Scully started to blush as the realization set in as to what he meant, "Too much information, Mulder. Way to much. You could have just stuck with the old it rained the whole time excuse."

"Naw, then I wouldn't have gotten to have seen you blush."

"So what brings you to my office. Did you need something?"

"No, I just wanted to stop by and see how you are."

Dana Scully started to panic. Had he found out about Walter Skinner being her father? Fox Mulder saw the panic in her eyes and asked, "What's wrong Scully?"

"Nothing is wrong. Everything is fine."

"Bullshit Scully. I can see it in your eyes."

"You can't see anything in my eyes except for my retinas, irises and pupil's. By the way do you think you could call me Dana every once in a while. It is my name."

"After seven years of being called Scully, why the sudden change of heart, Dana."

"It's nothing. I just prefer to be called Dana."

"Fine, then Dana it is. Don't think that you can start calling me Fox though."

"I wouldn't dare," She said with a smile.

"I heard from the gossip mill that you got into trouble while I was gone and that they even called in your mother. What did you do? It must have been bad. I have done some questionable things and they have never called my mommy," Fox said jokingly and Dana tried to maintain her composure. She thought quickly how she was going to get out of this one.

"I wasn't in trouble. They just had some things that they wanted to talk to me about. It wasn't big."

"Yeah, well then why is there this rather large memo on your desk informing you that you have a meeting with Skinner as soon as you get into the office?" He asked nonchalantly.

"This is Bullshit. Bullshit, if he thinks that he can now start ordering me around and use his office and position for personal means he has got another thing coming to him," Scully yelled, losing her temper, as she grabbed the memo and tore out of the office with Mulder trailing behind her.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 1, 1999
8:22 am

"Agent Scully, Assistant Director Skinner is waiting for you. You may go right in," Holly said as she motioned to the open door to his office.

Dana Scully walked briskly by her, entering the office and slamming the door behind her. Mulder was left standing in Holly's office in shock. He had never seen Dana Scully this mad.

"How dare you," She seethed at him, "How dare you use your office and position to summon me up here. You have some nerve."

"Dana, calm down and please take a seat."

"Don't you tell me what to do."

"I'm not telling you what to do, I'm merely making a suggestion. Lets sit down and talk like rational adults," He suggested.

"There's nothing I have to say to you," She said coldly, still refusing to take a seat.

"I believe that there's a lot that needs to be said. I have tried to contact you for weeks Dana, and you won't answer your phone, your door or your E-mail. How long are you going to try to ignore me."

"I'm not ignoring you."

"I believe that you are. You can't hide forever Dana. Sooner or later we're going to have to discuss all that has happened."

"You'll have to excuse me then. This is something that I'm not going to deal with right now or discuss with you, "She said as she started to make her way towards the door.

"Dana, when are you going to stop running away from me and admit that I'm your father?" Walter Skinner asked her passionately as he grabbed her arm.

"Let go of my arm." Dana said through clenched teeth as the pulled her arm out of her grasp.

"Dana, this isn't healthy. If you don't want to talk to me about this whole situation please talk to someone. I can't stand to see what this is doing to you."

"Perhaps you should have thought of that 34 years ago when you slept with my mother."

"I regret that our actions have caused you pain. However, I will never regret loving your mother."

"I really don't want to hear about you and my mothers love. She betrayed my father and you betrayed your best friend. You and your precious love will not destroy my life."

"What do you want me to say to you? What will make it better for you?"

"Nothing."

"There's absolutely nothing that I can do or say?"

"You can leave me the hell alone and stay out of my life. If you ever call me into your office like this or use your position to make me talk to you I will not hesitate to go to the OPR. Am I understood?"She couldn't believe that she was actually having the nerve to threaten him.

"I don't think you would ever do that Dana. Think about your own career. Several people in the past knew that we dated. Do you honestly want all that brought out into the open?" He hated blackmailing her like this but he didn't see any other options.

"No."

"I don't want to hurt you Dana, that's the last thing that I want. I know that this whole mess has caused me more grief than I have ever experienced. I didn't want for this to happen. But now that it has, we can't change what we used to mean to each other."

Dana stood in front of him silently looking at the floor.

"Say something," Walter said after a couple of minutes of silence.

"There's nothing that can be said. This is something that you are going to have to deal with on your own. Don't try to use me to appease your own guilt. I have enough issues to deal with on my own. I'm sorry but I can't help you on this one. I can't be a daughter to you. I can't. I can't be anything to you. Please don't make this harder than it has to be. Please don't do this to me. Please, as a favor to me and for whatever you once felt for me, leave me alone," Dana asked tearfully as she opened the door to his office and exited leave Walter Skinner alone once again.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 1, 1999

Fox Mulder followed a very shaken Dana Scully through the halls of the Hoover Building.

"Stop following me," She turned around to say to him, hoping that he would go away.

"I'm not following you. I'm just going in the same direction that you are."

"Semantics Mulder!"

"Hey, it's not the same thing. Anyway, what the hell happened in there?"

"Nothing."

"Come on, this is me you are taking to Scully. Me, your good friend and confidant, Mulder. I know something went on in there because Holly and I could hear you yelling at him."

"Oh God," she said as her face paled, "How much did you hear?"

"Enough to know that something is going on between the two of you."

"Could you be anymore specific than that Mulder?"

"I probably could, but I'd rather hear you say it," He said bluffing. He had only heard her raise her voice. He could not hear the specifics of what was being said in the room. He was hoping that she would think that he had heard it all and confess what was going on between her and Skinner.

"What do you want me to say Mulder?" Did he hear her say anything about Walter Skinner being her father? Did he want her to confess the truth, that she was devasted? She could have taken her mom telling her that any man was her father, any man but Skinner.

"How about the truth," He suggested.

"Mulder, this isn't a conversation I really want to be having. Not with Skinner, not with Diana, not with my mom, and certainly not with you."

"What is going on Scully?"

"You aren't going to stop bugging me about this, are you?"

"Nope, you know me."

"Mulder, this is something that I really don't want to talk about right now."

"This is something that you need to talk about Scully. You can't keep this inside,"Mulder said as they reached her office. He closed the door behind her and motioned for her to sit in her chair.

"No, I don't want to talk about it. That's all anyone ever wants to do. Talk. Talk. Talk. I'm sick of it."

"If you think that by not talking about it, it is going to go away, I can tell you from personal experience that it won't."

"I'm not that naive, Mulder. I know that it isn't going to go away, I just don't feel like discussing this with anyone. Period."

"Scully, it's not that bad," He said bluffing once again.

"Sure, it seems that way to you, but this isn't happening to you. How the hell can you sit there and tell me that it isn't that bad? Your mother didn't just tell you that Bill Mulder wasn't your father." Her mouth said the words before her brain realized what had happened. She had only meant to think the words, not say them.

"Bill Scully isn't your father?" Mulder asked incredulously.

"Apparently not."

"Holy shit, Scully. That wasn't what I was expecting. How long have you known?"

"A couple of weeks. For some reason my mother decided that after 34 years of me thinking that Bill Scully was my father, I needed to know the truth now. Wasn't that kind of her?"

"If Bill Scully isn't your father, who is?"

"No, we aren't discussing this. It is bad enough that you know that he wasn't my father, we aren't discussing my parentage. We aren't."

"It is Walter Skinner, isn't it?" He asked. He suspected that Walter Skinner was somehow involved the way he had seen her tear into his office.

"Yes. Yes, Walter Skinner is my biological father. Could we please just leave it at that and not discuss it anymore. I'm getting a headache," She said as she started rubbing her temples.

"Sure Scully. Are you alright with this, with him being your father?" Mulder asked tenderly.

"I'll be fine," She said as the emotional barrier she had let down was reconstructed. "Shouldn't you be getting back to work?"

Fox Mulder got her not to subtle hint that she didn't want to talk, and that this subject was closed for good. He left her alone to her thoughts as he went off to find his wife.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 6, 1999
3:03 pm

Fox Mulder had tried repeatedly to get Dana Scully to open up to him. He had thought that once she had disclosed to him what was troubling her, she would be more apt to discuss it. He was wrong. He decided that no more phone calls or e-mails, he was going to do this in person. He found her in her office.

"Scully, you need to talk about this. It is eating you up."

"Leave me alone, Mulder. I'm fine. I'm dealing with this."

"Right you are. You are a mess. You have dark circles under your eyes that no amount of make up could even begin to cover. In addition, you are unusually pale today and grouchy as hell."

"Have you ever thought that I may be grouchy because I'm sick and tired of people like you trying to make an issue out of something that's not an issue."

"Not an issue. What have you made up with your mother and father?"

"Don't you EVER call him that. He isn't my father," Scully replied vehemently.

"Okay, your biological father or sperm donor. Whatever term you are comfortable using is fine with me. But no amount of denial is going to get you past the fact that 50% of your genetic makeup comes from Walter Skinner and not William Scully."

"That's it Mulder. I can't believe that I didn't think of this before?"

"Think of what before?" He asked confused.

"What if this were another trick of cancer man's's. No DNA test has been done to confirm that he's my father. They could be wrong. You are a genius," She said as she got up from her desk leaned over to kiss him on the cheek and left the office in a hurry.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 12, 1999
5:01 am

The young lab technician held the vials of blood in his gloved hands.

Margaret Scully
Dana Scully
Walter Skinner

Someone had ordered a PCR workup on the DNA. Upon looking at the names again, the technician thought that they were a strange combination.

As instructed, he picked up the phone on the wall and dialed a familiar number.

"I just got the samples," The young man said nervously into the phone.

"Proceed with your instructions," The man on the other end of the phone replied as he quickly hung up.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 19, 1999
8:00 am

Dana Scully sat nervously at her desk fingering the large envelope from the lab, the envelope with contained the truth about her paternity.

<Just open it and get it over with. Stop torturing yourself.>

She quickly tore open the envelope and pulled the contents out. She skimmed the document to find what she was looking for.

"There's a 99.99% probability that Walter S. Skinner is the father of Dana K. Scully."

"No. No. No. This has to be wrong. This can't be right. I don't want him to be my father."

She grabbed the report and quickly walked the short distance to Fox Mulder's office. She didn't want to tell him the news, but thought it would be much easier if she just came out and told him the truth herself rather than have him pester her about it.

"Sorry to interrupt," She said as she saw Natasha and Fox Mulder in a tight embrace. They always seemed to be making out at the office. Scully found it tacky and unprofessional.

"No problem, what's up?"

"I need to speak to you now. Alone."

Natasha took the hint and left the room but not before kissing her husband long and hard on the lips.

"Did you want to show me something?" He said motioning to the envelope she held in her hand.

"Yes. I got the DNA report back today."

"And?"

"And, Walter Skinner is my father."

"Well we knew that might be the case."

"But, this report has to be wrong. It can't be right. What if somehow Cancer man or one of his cronies managed to change the report? What if Walter Skinner isn't my father?" She said still not quite believing the report.

"You really have been hanging around me a little too long. If you think there was a mistake have the test run again. For your own piece of mind."

Dana Scully left his office and made arrangements to run the test again.

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

The test came back with the results the same: she was Walter Skinners daughter. She supposed that she had some type of obligation to tell Skinner and her mother the results, after all they did give her samples of their blood. At wasn't as if she had done the test in secret. She had thought about lying to them, but knew that they could easily get access to the report.

DNA proved that Walter Skinner was her biological father. The test was accurate. They couldn't have fixed the tests, she had run them through twice.

As much as she didn't want to, this was something she was going to have to tell Walter Skinner about in person.

End of chapter 16

*******************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 17
*******************************************

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 26, 1999
11:30 am

"Sir, may I please speak to you privately?" Dana Scully asked as she saw Walter Skinner standing outside his office talking to a group of new recruits.

"Sure, excuse me agents but duty calls," He said to the group as he motioned Dana Scully to follow him into his office. Once they were safely behind closed doors he asked, "What can I do for you Agent Scully?"

"I got the results of the DNA test back."

"And?" He was as anxious as she was to find out the results. Although he trusted Maggie Scully, people lied, DNA didn't.

"You are my father," She said as she handed him the report.

"Are you sure?" He couldn't believe that he was hearing her correctly. He somehow hoped that Maggie Scully was mistaken and that he wasn't her father.

"That's what the report say. Look, see it here for yourself," She said as she handed him the report. It took him a couple of minutes to read through the report before he responded, "How do you feel about this?"

"How do you think I feel about this? You think I'm happy? What do you want me to say?"

"How about the truth," He suggested.

"How do you feel about it?" She asked.

"It isn't the news that I was hoping to hear."

"No kidding," She said as she looked around the room trying to avoid eye contact with him.

"I wish that this had never happened."

"What? Us or my mother?" She was confused as to what he meant by his last statement.

"As hard as this is for you to hear Dana, I don't regret loving either one of you. I loved your mother more than anything in the world. I don't regret that our love resulted in you."

"So what, you regret our relationship?" She asked not wanting to know the answer.

"Yes, I was married, I should have never cheated on my wife."

"What about my mother? She was married and you had no problem helping her violate her marriage vows." She could not believe that she was hearing this double standard from him.

"It isn't the same thing."

"It is too. Marriage vows are marriage vows, no matter who the married party is. You still committed adultery either way."

"It isn't the same thing at all."

"Yes it is. You were married to Sharon when you cheated with my mother. Tell me how it is different with our affair." The thought of their affair made her sick to her stomach. She felt herself growing queasy.

"But I loved your mother," He started.

"And what? You didn't love me?" She asked angrily. Not only was she sick to her stomach she was getting mad.

"I wish that it didn't have to turn out this way, Dana. There can be no winners in this situation. There's no sense in dwelling on the past and what could have been or should have been. We have all made mistakes and are now being punished for them."

"No, you and my mother made a mistake and I'm being punished for it."

"You aren't the innocent party here Dana, as much as you would like to believe. You have a long history of getting involved with married men if my memory serves me correctly."

"You bastard," She said as she slapped him hard across the face in anger. "How dare you. You are one to talk, you have quite the history of cheating on your wife."

"I never claimed that I'm blameless Dana. I'm well aware of my extra-marital affairs and it is something that I'm not proud of. Look, maybe the test is wrong. Maybe we aren't really related." He couldn't bring himself to call her his daughter.

"DNA does *not* lie Walter," Dana said as she started to pace. "You know what? I'm sick of this shit. I'm sick of you. I'm sick of my mother. But most of all I'm fed up and disgusted with being a pawn in God's sick game. What kind of a god does this to a person?" She asked to no one in particular.

"This is my life, yet it feels like a fucking soap opera, only I don't get a commercial break every four minutes. My mother always told me that God never gives you more than you can handle, well you know what? SHE LIED. She FUCKING lied to me once again. Another lie to add to the growing list of lies that have been told to me, and about me, since the day I was born."

"Hello up there God, "She continued while looking up at the ceiling, "Have I passed your test, whatever it may be? Or do you still have some more shit that you want to throw my way to test my strength? Too bad, you can't because I give up. I'm not playing anymore." Dana walked out of the room and slammed the door behind her. She was tired. This was too much to handle. Let Walter Skinner be the one to tell her mother the truth.

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

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC
July 27, 1999
9:30 am

It was 9:30 in the morning and Fox Mulder still didn't know where Dana Scully was. Walter Skinner had called him frantically the evening before asking him if he knew where she was. No one had seen or heard from her since she had left Walter Skinner's office yesterday afternoon.

"Diana, I don't know what to do. Who knows where the hell Scully is? I'm trying to be helpful, I'm trying to be her friend, yet she goes off the deep end once again and pulls a disappearing act. Even her mother has no idea where she could have gone. The woman is driving me crazy. She's in some serious denial here. I excepted some type of emotion from her. I wouldn't care if she got mad and hauled off and took her aggression out on me or if she broke down and started crying. She just needs to show some type of emotion. All I get out of her is "I'm fine Mulder " or "this discussion isn't going to take place". She told me last week in passing that if I ever mentioned to her that Walter Skinner was her father our friendship would be over."

"Ouch. That's harsh."

"You're not kidding. Six years together and she's going to throw it all down the drain over her stupid stubborn pride? Can't you talk to her?"

"Fox, she's just now warming up to me. I'm not going to be the one to go and piss her off."

"But you're a woman. Women are supposed to do touchy feely things like bond with each other. I'm not good at it. One threatening look from her and I run the other direction. Someone needs to force her to face the facts and I don't want to be the one."

"What do you expect me to do. Hold her down and say "Skinner is your father" over and over again until she repeats it in her sleep?"

"I wouldn't mind the holding her down part."

"Neither would I, but would you get your mind out of the gutter for once. I thought you wanted to help her. Right now you are the only stable thing, the only stable relationship she has in her life. You are the only one that she trusts. Don't do anything to jeopardize that. If that means letting her live in her little world of denial a little longer, then let her. Just be there for her when everything falls apart, because it will sooner or later."

"I'm trying, I'm really am, but she makes everything so damn difficult. If I found out that Bill Scully wasn't my father, I would probably be celebrating right now. Why is she so upset about this?"

"There's a big difference between you and Dana, Fox. She loved and adored her father, you could barely stand yours. Hang in there, Fox. She'll come around."

****************************************************
"Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few
dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that
when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of
a burned house-the charred clock, the singed photograph, the
scorched furniture-must be resurected from the ruins and
examined. Preserved. Accounted for."
          Arundhati Roy "The God Of Small Things"
****************************************************

Crystal City Mall
August 5, 1999
7:05 pm

Dana strolled through the mall looking at the window displays. She really hated malls and shopping, but she knew this would be the one place where no one would know her. All her friends and family knew that she hated shopping, preferring to order online instead.

She was tired of the looks she received daily from Mulder and Diana. She was still livid with him for disclosing her paternity problems to Diana. He denied telling her, but she knew from the looks of concern Diana gave her, that she was in on the secret.

She knew that they meant well, but nonetheless was getting tired with the constant questions about her well being. She was doing fine and would be so much better off if everyone would leave her alone. What she didn't realize that she wasn't alone. Walter Skinner was closely following behind. Ever since he learned that she was his daughter he felt this overwhelming need to follow her, to be close to her. He knew that if Karen Kosoff or anyone else for that matter knew that he occasionally followed Dana Scully they would think he was mentally ill. Fathers are not supposed to follow their grown daughters. But then their relationship wasn't what would be considered normal.

Being his daughter didn't seem to do wonders for her mental state either. She seemed more withdrawn, more aloof than she usually was. He didn't know whether to attribute her change in behavior to all she and Mulder had gone through over the past year, or to her finding out that he was her father. He was concerned about her, and rightly so. She didn't seem to be handling the issue very well. It was out of this concern, he rationalized, that he followed her.

He saw her go into Victoria's Secret.

<I'm not following her into a lingerie store>.

<I don't need to know what she's going to buy.>

<It's a lingerie store, Walter. What do you think she's going to get?>

<I don't want to know.>

And yet he couldn't stop himself from following her into the store. He noticed her looking a rack of bras in the back of the store. He was pretty sure that with his disguise on that he could stand right next to her and she wouldn't know that it was him.

Dana Scully was so mesmerized by all the different colors and styles of bras that she didn't notice Walter Skinner standing 5 feet away from her trying to look interested in the selection of camisoles.

<I have got to be one sick fuck covertly watching my daughter buying bras.>

He noticed that she selected several bras and took them into the changing room with her. He knew that he had to get out of the store before he made some mistake and she knew that it was him. He really wanted to know what bra she was getting. That thought disturbed him, but he didn't know why. Was he still sexually attracted to her? He didn't know. He didn't think so. He hoped not, for his sake and for hers. He supposed on some level he was still attracted to her. You can't be madly in love with someone like Dana Scully, and expect to feel nothing years later. It just couldn't be done. But that was sick, she was his daughter, he wasn't supposed to know what her nipples looked like under her bra. He left the store in a hurry and quickly ran to the men's restroom where he threw up his lunch.

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

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
August 5, 1999
9:00 pm

Dana Scully quickly unlocked the door to her apartment, throwing her shopping bags to the ground beside her door, in order to get to the ringing phone.

"Hello," she said breathlessly into the receiver.

"Well she's still alive," Blake replied.

"Hi, Blake."

"If I didn't know better, I'd say that you were ignoring me and Claire."

Oh shit. She knew there was a reason why she never answered her phone. Yet, shopping at the mall had given her a sense of normalcy. Normal people shopped, normal people who had normal lives and did normal things. Wandering from store to store, purchasing things that she didn't need and probably would never wear, made her feel as through she were one of them, normal. She was so caught up in the feeling of being normal that she let down her facade and answered the phone. Big mistake.

"I'm not ignoring you Blake, I have just been busy."

"So I gather. Claire has been trying to reach you for weeks. She says that you never return her calls. What is up?"

"Nothing is up."

"Dana, this is me, Blake. Your oldest and dearest friend in the universe. I can tell when something is wrong with you and I'm getting those vibes."

"You aren't getting any vibes, Blake. I was just out shopping."

"Then surely something is wrong because you hate to shop."

"I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"Well, I like it now."

"Which is why I know that something is wrong."

"Blake nothing is wrong. I'm fine."

"Susan called me last week and asked me why you haven't been to an appointment with her in well over a month. Would you mind telling me why?" Oh shit, she had forgotten that Susan always called Blake when she missed appointments and could not get a hold of her.

"I didn't need to go, Blake," She said calmly, trying to convince him that everything was okay.

"I thought you had been ordered to go."

"I have to see Karen Kosoff at the Bureau if I want to keep my job, but not Susan. I'm better, Blake. I really am. I don't need to see her anymore."

"Who are you trying to convince, Dana. Me or yourself?"

"Look Blake, was there a point to this call? It's getting late and I need to catch up on some reading before I go to bed."

"Why won't you talk to me, Dana? What's wrong?"

"Nothing is wrong. Why won't you people leave me alone. I'm fine." She was beginning to get upset. She had tried her hardest to be civilized to everyone, but they were pushing her and she didn't like it one bit.

"I'm sorry Dana, but don't know what you are talking about. This is the first time I have actually talked to you and not your machine since I saw you in the hospital. I'm concerned."

"Fine, be concerned Blake. Listen, I have to go," She said as she hung up the phone abruptly. She wasn't going to say anything else. She was tired and she knew that he was on a fishing expedition trying to get information out of her, information that she didn't want him to know. If he knew he would hate her.

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

Fox Mulder's Apartment
Alexandria, VA
Saturday, August 21, 1999
3:00 am

"Mulder," Fox Mulder said into the phone as he rubbed his eyes and looked over at the clock on his night stand. Three am.

"Yeah, I know Dana Scully," He said into his receiver as he sat up in bed at the mention of her name.

"She's where?"

"Yeah, I know where that's. I'll be there in 10 minutes," He said as he hung up the phone.

"Honey, what is it this time?" Natasha asked as she rolled over to look at her husband of two months.

"She's at some bar. The bartender asked for me to come and get her."

"Why couldn't they just call a cab to take her home?"

"I don't know, I didn't ask him." He didn't think it would matter if he told his wife a little white lie. She would never know.

"Why are you always the one that has to go and get her. This is the fifth time you have had to since we've been married. She's not your responsibility."

"She's my friend, Natasha. I have to go to her," Fox Mulder said as he got up from the bed and put his jeans on.

"Why? Why, Fox? This isn't fair to me. How would you feel if an ex-boyfriend of mine constantly called crying over some issue or that I had to go and pick him up at the bar night after night."

"That's a completely different issue. Scully isn't an ex-girlfriend of mine, Natasha. You know that."

"That's what you claim."

"Oh, and you don't believe me?'

"I've tried, Fox. I want to believe you. I really do."

"But what? You think I slept with her and lied to you about it? You do. I can see it on your face, Natasha."

"I'm sorry Fox, I really am. I want to believe you. I do. It's just that there's so much evidence that points to you being involved with her sexually."

"My word doesn't account for anything?"

"Men lie."

"So you are judging all men on an ex-boyfriend of yours who screwed you and half of the city at the same time. That's real fair, look we'll talk about this later." He finished dressing and quickly left the house.

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

The Four Provinces Bar
Washington, DC
Saturday, September 11, 1999
2 am

Walter Skinner quickly walked into the bar to find a very drunk Dana Scully seated at a table in the corner. He had been called by the bartender who identified himself only as John to pick her up. What he didn't know was that this wasn't the first time that John had to call someone to pick her up. John had no idea who the players in Dana Scully's life were. All he knew was that if he called someone to come and pick her up they would come.

Dana Scully had started going to this particular bar fairly regularly back in June. The weekend bartender knew that she was trouble the first night she came into the bar and ordered a sex on the beach. Every single man, and many married ones, were gravitated towards her. Who wouldn't be? She was funny, smart, very attractive and a great conversationalist. Every weekend she came into his bar, sat on the same stool and ordered the same drink. John caught bits and pieces of her conversations and sensed that she drank to try to forget her troubles. He couldn't understand how someone like her was so troubled. She just didn't seem the type to be a heavy drinker either. Yet at the end of the night John always called one of her friends to come and pick her up and take her home.

He was always amused that she never called the same person twice in a row to come and pick her up. He thought that was very considerate of her, not knowing the real reason was that she didn't want anyone to know exactly how often she went out.

He laughed when he recalled the first time she came into his bar. At closing time she asked for him to call her a cab, but couldn't tell the dispatcher where she needed to go. It seems that she was so intoxicated that she forgot her own address and phone number. She emptied her purse on the counter and he was surprised to see a gun and a FBI badge. She didn't seem the type. She couldn't find her drivers license in her wallet and without a location the cab wouldn't come. Dana hung up the phone in despair when John asked her if she had any friends who could come and get her. She mentioned a man named Mulder (what kind of a first name was Mulder?) in haste. With her permission, John looked through her wallet and found a business card with the name Fox Mulder on it. He hoped and assumed it was the same man when he called the home phone number on the card. Twenty minutes later the man named Mulder came into the bar to collect his friend. Fox Mulder gave him a twenty for his troubles and told him that if she ever came in the bar again and needed a ride home he was to either call him or Diana Fowley. Fox gave him both of their home numbers.

On this particular evening he couldn't reach Fox Mulder or Diana Fowley. Mulder's phone was busy and Diana's answering machine kept picking up. He was at a loss for who to call when he remembered her talking about a Walter Skinner. He asked her for his number and she produced a business card. Without her knowledge he called Walter Skinner to come and get her. Fifteen minutes later, a bald man whom he assumed to be Walter Skinner, came into the bar asking where she was. He pointed out to where she was sitting in the corner.

Walter found Dana in an inebriated condition.

"Dana, what the hell do you think you are doing? Getting drunk in a bar! This isn't healthy," He said as he sat down across from her.

"And this is none of your damn business. And what isn't healthy."

"Drinking in excess."

"I didn't know you cared. Why are you here?'

"The bartender called me saying that you were in no condition to drive."

"I don't know why he would call you. You don't care." She was getting sleepy so she put her forehead down on the table to rest for a minute.

"I care when one of my agents drinking is affecting their job performance."

"Is not."

"Dana, there have been reports of you showing up to work on several Monday mornings with an obvious hangover."

"I didn't have a hangover. I was tired and had a headache."

"Call it what you want, but I see it as a sign of someone with a serious drinking problem." He didn't know why he was having this conversation with her right now. She was drunk and probably wouldn't remember much of it in the morning.

"I don't have a drinking problem," She seethed as she took a quick drink of her beer.

"You do. Whether you want to admit it or not is your business. If I get another report of you showing up at work with so much as a glimpse of alcohol in your system there will be a reprimand. Am I understood?"

"Yes, sir," She said as she saluted him and then started giggling. She liked it when he tried to be forceful, tried to act like he was in charge. It excited her. "Walter, do you find me desirable?" She asked changing the subject. She didn't want to talk about her drinking. That was all anyone wanted to talk about anymore. Dana, how much did you have to drink? Dana, why are you drinking? Dana, why do you need to drink? Dana, why can't you talk to us about it? Dana, what is wrong? Why must something be wrong in order to drink? Why can't I just drink because I want to? Why is this an issue in the first place?

"Dana, look you have had a little too much to drink." Drink. Drink. Drink. She was beginning to hate the word.

"Do you find me desirable Walter?" She said as she got up from her side of the table and sat next to him.

"I find you attractive Dana. But you are my daughter, so no, you aren't desirable to me. I'm sure that you are desirable to a lot of other men though."

"I don't care about other men Walter, only you. Don't you want to sleep with me?" Dana Scully said as she ran her hands up and down his chest and started to unbutton his shirt. There would be no talk about drinks tonight.

"Dana, stop doing that. You don't know what you are doing and saying. You have had a little too much to drink tonight" Drink. Drink. Drink.

"But I want to have sex with you. Why don't you want to sleep with me. Am I not attractive?"

"You are very attractive Dana. I cannot and do not want to sleep with you for the simple reason that you are my daughter and we have laws against incest in this country."

"Father, daughter, brother. Who the hell cares. I won't tell anyone if you don't. Besides it's not like we know each other really or anything like that."

"No Dana. Sleep with Bill or Charlie if you want to but leave me out of your little mess. I hope to god you don't remember any of this conversation tomorrow because you are going to be really embarrassed."

"I don't care. I'm horny and want to get laid. You wouldn't have to kiss me or anything, you could just fuck me."

"Dana, I'm not going to kiss you or fuck you or do anything to you. You are my daughter and it's inappropriate. I'm going to drive you home though and make sure that you don't pick up some stranger and regret it tomorrow."

"Why the hell do you care anyway. You have made it perfectly clear that you don't like me anymore. You never loved me. Besides, I can drive myself home, thank-you. I'm a big girl." She had been rejected once again. He hated her, this she knew. She was bad, and he knew it. She had nothing left to hide from him. He had seen the depravity of her soul, all she had left to do was confirm what he probably suspected.

"I'm not letting you drive home. Who knows how much alcohol you have in your system."

"Not to mention the pot?" Did he know about that already? She was having a hard time thinking and keeping a mental checklist of who knew what about her. There were too many players and too many secrets.

"Pot. Marijuana? Dana are you nuts? You know the bureau does random drug testing."

"I didn't get caught last time."

"Last time? This is a regular occurrence?"

"Mulder said he wouldn't turn me in." Time to bring someone else down with her. If Walter Skinner didn't love her, she was going to make sure that he didn't love Mulder either.

"Mulder? Mulder knows about this? I'm going to kill both of you," Walter Skinner said in anger as he took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He thought for a minute before he spoke again. "Okay. You are going to come home with me and clean your system out and pray to that you are not called for a random drug test anytime in the next month."

"Oh goody. Does this mean that we're going to fuck?" She had always love the word Fuck. There was something so primaeval about it. Fuck.

"No Dana, we aren't and never will fuck."

"But I find you attractive and want to."

"Shut up Dana before I lose even more respect for you."

End of chapter 17

*******************************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 18

"Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few
dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that
when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of
a burned house-the charred clock, the singed photograph, the
scorched furniture-must be resurected from the ruins and
examined. Preserved. Accounted for."
          Arundhati Roy "The God Of Small Things"

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

En Route to Walter Skinner's Residence
Washington, DC
Saturday, September 11, 1999
3:00 am

"Mulder, it's Skinner," Walter Skinner said into the phone.

"Sir, it's 3 am. Can't this wait?" Fox Mulder said as he slowly sat up in bed.

"No, I have Dana with me right now and we are headed over to my house to spend the night. I need you to grab a bag with your own clothes and a bag of her stuff and bring it over here. I need you here now. "

"May I ask why we're having a slumber party at your house, Sir?" Fox Mulder said trying to lighten the mood on the phone.

"Because Dana is drunk and high?"

"High?"

"Don't act ignorant of her little habit, Agent Mulder. She informed me that you are well aware of it." He was livid at this disclosure. This could cost both of them their jobs. As a director at the FBI he was obligated to report problems that agents were having if it could and did affect their work. He could get into a lot of trouble if anyone found out that he was called to pick Dana Scully up at a bar to take her home. How could she have been so careless?

"Shit" Oops, he was in big trouble. He wondered what the hell he had done to make Scully disclose this little habit of hers to their boss.

"Shit is right."

"Sounds like you have everything under control. Why do you need me to stay there. Can't I just bring by her bag of things?" The last place that he wanted to go at that moment was over to the AD's house to babysit Scully. Who the hell called Skinner to come and get her? He thought that he had made it perfectly clear to the bartender John, that he was to call Diana or himself. They both were in deep shit.

"No. Dana is very intoxicated and quite horny right now."

"I'm sorry Sir, this connection must be bad. It sounded like you just said that Scully was horny."

"I did."

"Oops. What was she doing, dancing on the tabletops?" As his mind replayed an image of her doing the very same thing a month ago.

"No, worse. She's trying to talk me into engaging in sexual intercourse with her."

"She what?" This had to be really bad for Skinner to call him in the middle of the night saying that Scully wanted to have sex with him. That was so out of character for her, not that he knew what was in character or what could be expected of her right now. "I'll be there in a half hour sir." Fox Mulder got out of his bed and began to dress.

"Where are you going, Fox?" Natasha asked.

"I have to go over to Walter Skinners house."

"What does he want? Why do you have to go in the middle of the night?"

"It is just agency business," he said trying to reassure his wife. He wondered if he had even mentioned Scully's name on the phone.

"Bullshit. This is once again about Dana Scully. God, I'm beginning to hate that woman. She can take care of herself Fox. You can't always be there for her. Let someone else watch over and take care of her. You have been more than a good friend to her, Fox. But, we need you here now."

"I know, Natasha. You know that I love you and our unborn baby more than anything in the world, but I need, no I have, to do this. Please, don't make this harder than it has to be. Scully needs me right now. Skinner wouldn't have called me if things weren't really bad." Fox had not disclosed to his wife Dana Scully's problems. The extent of what she knew what that Dana was going through a really rough time finding out that the man who raised her wasn't her biological father. Mulder thought that the fewer people who knew her true paternity, the better. He was unaware that Natasha already knew all about Dana Scully's paternity all the way down to the DNA tests.

"Don't do this to us, Fox," She pleaded with him as he left the bedroom and closed the door behind him.

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

Thirty minutes later Walter Skinner heard a knock on his door. He assumed and was hoping that it would be Fox Mulder and was not disappointed when it was.

"Thank you for coming over on such short notice Agent Mulder. I really didn't know who else to call." He wasn't comfortable in having to call Fox Mulder, but he didn't know what else to do. If it ever got out that he took a subordinate to his home, no matter what the circumstances are, he would be in big trouble.

"How about her mother?" Mulder suggested.

"You know that Maggie Scully is the last person that I want to talk to right now and I could probably say the same for Dana."

"I suppose that's true. Sir, if you don't mind my asking, what the hell happened tonight? You said something about her wanting to have sex with you?"

"God," Skinner said as he rubbed his temples slowly, "Please do not remind me of that. I got a call around 1 am from some man who identified himself as the bartender, to come and pick up one Dana Scully. The bartender said that she was quite inebriated and in no condition to drive. Other than that, I don't know anything. How he knew to call me, I have no idea. He knew who she was and where she worked and somehow knew that I was her supervisor. Maybe she's a regular there? Maybe one of the smoking man's friends was following her? I don't know! All I know is that I got the call and went to get her."

"That doesn't sound like Scully at all, sir."

"Agent Mulder,"Walter Skinner began before he was interrupted.

"Please just call me Mulder, sir."

"Alright, Mulder, can you honestly say that anything she has done since you got back from Antarctica has surprised you?"

"Yes, this isn't like her."

He couldn't believe that Fox Mulder was stating that this behavior was out of character for Dana Scully.

"Mulder, think back over the past year. When you two got back even I began to notice subtle changes in her. Her attitude was somehow different. Sure, she gave off the same professional aura as usual, but you could tell that she wasn't the same person."

"Sir, after what we went through how could we have not changed. I think that she has grown stronger because of the experience. Maybe she's a hell of a lot more trusting than before, but that's not a character deficit. I think I admire her more now, I think that she's a stronger person now, for rising above all the shit that she has been dealt with."

"Mulder, for someone so intelligent, you are sometimes the most dense person that I have ever known. Sure Dana closed herself off more when you came back! What I'm talking about is the eating disorder that she developed. Her addiction to exercise. Her mood swings. Her denial. She's different, and not a good different either. Why the hell am I even telling you this in the first place?" He knew that he had no business discussing confidential information in Dana Scully's file and that he would be reprimanded if Dana ever found out and told OPR or if anyone else found out. He was tired though, it was four am, he just wanted to go to bed. He didn't want to have to deal with this.

"Scully doesn't have an eating disorder. Okay so she's a little thin, but after the cancer scare, and who knows what else they have done to her body and metabolism, it is natural that she should be thinner now."

"Mulder, I saw her medical charts. I have read the psychological evaluations done on her. Whether or not you want to believe it, your partner suffers from some eating disorder. Perhaps anorexia."

"Bullshit. If she was I would know. She would have told me."

"Listen to yourself Mulder. You are a trained psychologist, in your studies I'm sure that you have come across many cases of eating disorders. In any of them did the victim ever come out and openly admit of their disorder?"

"Well no, but Scully would have told me something like that."

"No, she wouldn't have. You and I both know it. Mulder, Dana is really sick. There's a lot of stuff she isn't dealing with now for whatever reasons. You seem to be the only one that she will talk to. You have got to take her off the pedestal that you have her on and make her face her problems."

"I don't have her on a pedestal,"Mulder said adamantly.

"You do to. You refuse to see her faults. To you she's perfect. She's far from perfect Mulder. She sees a psychiatrist three times a week, sees Karen Kosoff once a week, and is obviously still suffering from some type of eating disorder. Not to mention the fact that she's in denial over my being her father and her excessive drinking and recreational drug use." Oops now he was going to be in even more trouble if Fox Mulder ever disclosed to Dana Scully that her supervisor told him about the psychiatric help she was receiving.

"Okay, I get the picture. I'll talk to her. Where is she?"

"She's sleeping in my bed."

"In your bed? Do you really think that's a good idea?" He couldn't believe that Walter Skinner would have been so stupid to have let Scully get into his bed. Did this man want to be fired?

"Where else was I going to put her? On the couch? In the bathtub?"

"Don't you have a spare room?"

"I converted it into an office."

"The couch would have worked, Skinner. Well I guess I had better go find her. You weren't planning on sleeping in the same bed with her tonight, were you?"

"Of course not. I'm not that perverted."

"Just checking." Fox Mulder got up off the couch and walked into Skinners bedroom where he found Dana Scully passed out and barely dressed.

"Skinner. Did you take off her clothes?" Mulder yelled to him in the other room not even thinking about the fact that he might wake her up.

"Yeah. I started to undress her to put her into something more comfortable but she started moaning and grabbing me so I quickly stopped and left her there," Skinner replied as he entered the bedroom. He felt that he needed to explain his actions or Mulder might get the wrong idea. He wanted to make it perfectly clear that Dana Scully was the sick demented one, not him. She was the one that initiated the whole mess, not him. Fox Mulder needed to understand that.

"God, this is a mess and you aren't helping her at all Skinner."

"What do you mean?"

"Grown men don't undress their grown daughters and put them to bed. That borders on incest."

"I'm sorry. I'm still having trouble seeing her as my daughter. To me she's just another woman who I would have probably taken home and made love to if not for the family connection."

"That's really sick. You didn't just need to tell me that. I'm going to try my hardest to forget those words just came out of your mouth. She's your daughter for god sakes. That means off limits. No more lewd thoughts about her. She doesn't need to be encouraged."

"I know Mulder. I don't need to be reminded of the family connection. As much as I would like to forget about this whole mess, I can't. But it isn't easy when she has her hand on my cock rubbing up and down." Walter Skinner could not believe that he just told Fox Mulder that. He wanted Mulder to know how depraved his precious Scully had become. When did Scully become the innocent little girl in this mess? Why was Fox Mulder assuming that he was the big bad father who lusted after his daughter?

"She did what? Exactly what have you and Dana done?"

"Nothing. Nothing!. I swear I haven't touched her tonight. She tried to kiss me and fondle me, but that's the extent of it. I swear that I didn't lay a hand on her." He was going to make it perfectly clear to Mulder that Scully was the instigator.

"Why the hell is she acting like this? She has done some strange things over the past year but even this isn't normal behavior for her. Let me clean her up and keep her safe in here tonight. I'll talk to you about this tomorrow."

"Thanks for coming over Mulder. I didn't know who else to call."

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

Walter Skinner's Residence
Sunday, September 12, 1999
4:30 am

Walter awoke to the sounds of someone wretching in his bathroom. He assumed the person to be Scully as he tried to block out the sounds. Sometime later he heard Mulder go in there and bring her back to the bedroom. He wondered if she had put a little more clothing on then when he had last seen her.

He hated this whole mess that they were in. He thought that he and Dana had a good relationship before it was ruined by Maggie Scully and her lies of omission. He knew why Dana was acting this way but he was incapable of helping her right now. He supposed he ought to be as messed up as she was right now, but he needed to be the strong one this time.

Above all he had his reputation to protect.

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

Walter Skinner's residence
Sunday, September 12, 1999
7:00 am

Dana Scully woke with a start. Someone was laying partially on her. She wondered who it was. She vaguely remembered that she was in a bar and that someone took her home.

<Great. I probably had sex with a stranger.>

<Who did I go home with. Do I dare open my eyes and look around the room?>

Slowly she opened her eyes and looked around the room.

<This is Walter's bedroom. Shit. Did I sleep with him last night?>

She felt someone stirring behind her.

<He's waking up. What the hell am I going to say to him?>

The persons arms went around her waist to pull her closer to them. She could feel the early morning erection pressing against her thigh. She started pressing her ass back against them. She had the over whelming urge to fuck this morning. The person responded eagerly against her. She felt her bra being lowered and her breasts freed from her bra. The early morning air was chilly and she felt her nipples hardening instantly. She arched into his hands and moaned his name, "Walter, oh God, fuck me please. I knew that you couldn't stay away. Three years has been to long. Ooh, you feel so good."

She then felt the person behind her push her away, "What the fuck is wrong with you Scully. It's me Mulder."

<Mulder. Oh shit. Mulder. Shit. Shit. Shit. How the hell am I going to get out of this one>

"Scully look at me." Mulder said while pulling her body over to face him. He could not help but notice the arousal in her eyes and the flush of her cheeks. <She really thought that I was Skinner and that she was going to get laid.>

"What," She said while calmly looking at him through hooded eyes, "Don't you want to fuck me."

"Oh course, but not when you think I'm Skinner. He's your father in case you forgot. You know, you are some really sick fuck if you think that wanting to fuck daddy dearest is normal."

"Mulder. I do NOT need this shit. I'm going home." She got up off the bed not even caring that all she was wearing was her underwear. She walked into the living room where Walter Skinner was sitting on his couch watching the morning news. He stared at her, his mouth open, as Mulder ran behind her trying to put a sheet over her nakedness.

"Stop staring Walter. It's nothing you haven't seen before. Where is my coat? I want to go home now," She said as she frantically looked around the room.

"No," Fox Mulder said to Dana Scully as he grabbed her arm "You aren't leaving here until we settle some things. Sit over there in that chair and for god sakes cover yourself up," Mulder said to her angrily. When he had started fondling Scully that morning he had thought that he had been doing it only in his dream. The dream came to an abrupt end when she rudely called out Walter's name and woke him up. He was confused over what she had said and why she had said it. He wanted to straighten things out, he wanted to know what she had meant.

"Mulder. If she wants to go, let her," Walter Skinner said while staring at the walls, not wanting to look at her.

"No, Skinner, you need to know what happened in the bedroom."

"Listen, if the two of you had sex, that's fine with me. I just do not want to hear about it." He said hoping that was what Fox Mulder was alluding to, but knowing that it probably wasn't.

"She wanted to make love, but.."

"Shut up, JUST SHUT UP," Dana Scully screamed and interrupted him. "Stop treating me like I'm not sitting here or that I'm a child. I make my own decisions and I'm going home. If you two want to talk about me like I'm not here, fine. Do it when I'm gone."

"Some decisions you make, Scully," He seethed, "You thought that Skinner was trying to fuck you back in the bedroom."

"Shut up Mulder," Scully warned him.

"No. We are going to have this out right here, right now."

"Goddamn you Mulder. Don't do this." He was her friend, wasn't he? Why was he doing this to her? She still had some alcohol in her system, but she wasn't drunk enough to not know what was going on. Mulder was going to double cross her.

"Don't do what? Make you wake up and realize whatever sexual fantasies you have about Skinner are wrong. He's your fucking father." He was mad at her. It was supposed to be him that she wanted, him that she had sexual fantasies about, not Skinner. At that moment he hated them both. This wasn't supposed to be happening. Scully was supposed to pine after him for the rest of her life and Skinner was supposed to go on with his. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that Dana Scully was sexually attracted to their former boss. Why the hell hadn't he picked up on that before?

"Mulder please, don't do this." Scully sat down on the floor in front of the door and started crying. She was worn down, she couldn't do this anymore. She knew that she did stupid things when she was drunk and she was terrified as to what she might have said or done last night to make both of them so mad at her. They hated her, she could see it in their eyes..

"Mulder, she's right. Leave this alone," Skinner making an attempt to bring order into this chaos that was spinning violently out of control.

"Are you both out of your mind. This isn't fucking normal. I find myself waking up making love to a beautiful woman and she calls out her father's name." His fantasy would have come true if not for Skinner.

"Please," Scully whispered while crying.

Walter Skinner looked over at Dana Scully. She seemed so small and fragile wrapped in the king size sheet sobbing. "Don't do this to her Mulder."

"To her sir? What about to you? You let her touch you. I bet you probably didn't eagerly push her way. You brought her back to your apartment. You probably only called me when you actually contemplated fucking her. Am I right sir?"

"Mulder, that was so out of line. You have no right to talk to me this way."

"What are you going to do Skinner? Reprimand me? I don't think so. I wonder how OPR would take the news that I found a half naked, very drunk subordinate of yours, who coincidentally happens to be your daughter, in your bed wanting to fuck." Mulder threatened Skinner.

"Shut up Mulder. Stop it," Scully said while standing up suddenly.

"What are you going to do Scully? Huh? What are you going to do? I don't think the OPR would be too happy to hear about the formerly perfect Agent Dana Scully's behavior either."

"Are you threatening me Mulder?"

"Call it whatever you want, but do know that I will turn both of you in if need be. I want to know what the hell is going on. I'm tired of the secret looks you give each other, the meetings behind closed doors, the discussions that no one else is privy to. That stops here and now. I will go to the OPR if one of you doesn't tell me what the hell is going on?" It came out nastier than Mulder intended, but if it got one of them to talk, what the hell.

He didn't get an answer from either of them. They looked at each other and then at him. So they were going to give him the silent treatment. He would just have to try a different tactic to get them to talk. "Don't you realize that sleeping together is morally and ethically wrong?"

"Of course, Mulder," Walter Skinner replied.

"You may realize that, but Dana, for whatever sick reason, doesn't seem to care."

Scully looked up at him with hatred in his eyes.

"He isn't my father."

"Quit floating down the river denial Scully. DNA tests proved without a doubt that Walter Skinner and not William Scully is your father."

"No shit, Sherlock. But, he isn't my father in my heart."

"And so, what, if you don't feel like he is your father than he's not?"

"No. It's not like that."

"Then please try to tell me how it is. I'm really trying to understand you, to understand this Scully. But I'm having a hard time." He truly wanted to know why she was acting like this. The phrase was true, things could change in a day, and they had. His image of Dana Scully had been destroyed and in her place was a very fallible broken woman.

"You can't understand this Mulder. We aren't lovers. You can't know."

"You lost me there. What can't I understand? I don't have to be your lover to know that this is wrong. The two of you can't ever have a sexual relationship." He noticed that Walter Skinner hadn't said much. "You are awfully quiet over there Skinner. Cat got your tongue?"

"This doesn't concern me."

"The hell it doesn't! How can you not be concerned that your daughter wants to hop into bed with you. Doesn't that concern you at all?" He didn't know why, but at that moment but he could not get over the fact that Scully wanted to make love to Skinner and not him.

"Oh course I'm concerned. But there's nothing I can do about this. About the past, about these feelings." He supposed on some level he wanted Mulder to know everything. He didn't want to carry this secret alone. He wanted it out in the open, so it could be dealt with and they could move on with their lives.

"Feelings? Please tell me that besides some sick curiosity or fantasy you might have about her, you aren't really aren't contemplating a relationship with her."

"No, of course not."

"Well, Scully sure seems to be. Legally if I knew that if the two of you ever touched each other in a sexual manner I would have report it. There are laws in place against this kind of thing for a reason."

"Well, then you had better arrest me now," Walter joked. He was tired of Fox Mulder running the show.

"Walter, shut up," Dana screamed at him "You are making things worse. Just let him say what he wants and then he'll leave."

"Why should I arrest you Walter? You didn't touch her last night, did you?"

"Well, no."

"Have you ever touched her?"

"Stop it Mulder. Please, I'm begging you to stop. Leave this alone. This doesn't concern you. Go home to your little wife. You have played the concerned ex-partner long enough."

"What the hell are you two hiding?" They probably kissed each other and didn't want him to know, he reasoned.

"Mulder, if you care at all about me then you will leave this alone and go home."

"No, I'm onto something. I know it. There's something wrong here. Something is going on that both of you are hiding and scared to death that I will find out about. What did you kiss her and like it, Walter," He joked.

"Mulder. Stop it," Scully said pulling on his arm trying to usher him to the front door.

"No. Not until I get to the bottom on this," He said as he shook his arm out of her deathlike grip.

"What the hell do you want, Mulder? Do you want the truth? Do you want to see me broken and humiliated Mulder. Is this some kind of sick sexual fantasy of yours? Are you getting off on this Mulder. Is this making you all hard."

"What the hell is wrong with you Scully?" He seethed at her. Her behavior was troubling him. She wasn't the strong Scully that he was in love with, she was a pathetic whiny woman.

"What is wrong with me is that in the course of 10 minutes you have managed to ruin our relationship. You think that you can handle the truth? You want to know what's going on? Fine, I'll tell you."

"Dana, don't," Walter said trying to stop her.

"No, he wants to know, lets just get it out in the open. He thinks that with his superior intellect and charming ways that he can fucking fix the world. Well try to fix this Fox Mulder. I have fucked my father hundreds of time. He knows my body like no other. He managed to bring me to orgasm with his mouth more times than I can count. Are you satisfied now?" She was out for blood. She was going to hurt him, he was going to feel her rage.

"Stop it Dana," Walter said to her as he lowered his head in shame.

For once in his life Fox Mulder was speechless. He just looked back and forth between the two of them. This wasn't what he expected.

"Shit, this wasn't what I expected," Fox Mulder said as he sat down on the couch speechless. He felt guilty for his behavior. It really was none of his business that they had had a past sexual relationship that they didn't want anyone to find out about it.

"What did you expect Mulder? That Walter and I were only playing kissing games? Well you asked for the truth and you got it. I can see that you aren't man enough to handle the truth." Fox Mulder could tell that Dana Scully was mad. He wanted to diffuse some of that anger. He was genuinely sorry that he had forced these two people to reveal something of this magnitude to him, something that was obviously none of his business.

"How long ago were you two involved?" He asked really wanting to know..

"Does that even matter anymore? Do you want to know so that you can write it down in your little book and take it before the OPR? So you can check and recheck to make sure that we didn't break any protocol?"

"No, I'm just curious." He really did want to know to see if she had been dating Skinner while they were partnered. He was beginning to think that he really didn't know Dana Scully that well at all.

"Don't worry, I didn't date my superior Mulder. And beyond that, it's none of your damn business. You wanted to know what we were hiding, now you know. Go make your little report to the OPR about us. Go ruin our careers. Do what ever the hell you want with the information. JUST STAY THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY AND OUT OF MY LIFE," She screamed at him. He could see her mind working, see her walls starting to form again. She had let them down long enough for him to see her private turmoil and rage, but like most of the emotions she felt, they were never meant to be seen. As her self protection mechanisms went into over drive, slowly the walls were reconstructed. The old strong invincible Scully was back.

He slowly approached her and placed his hand gently on her arm.

"Do NOT touch me," She seethed through clenched teeth as she jerked her hand away.

"Scully, I'm sorry. I had no idea."

"It's a little too late for that Agent Mulder."

"Please don't hate me, Scully. I'm sorry." He couldn't lose her as a friend, he couldn't.

"I warned you Mulder. I gave you fair notice what would happen if you continued on your little inquiry. Yet, in your search to know the truth about all things you systematically destroyed our friendship."

"Scully, I didn't know. I didn't think it would be this."

"That's your problem, you never think."

"I want to help you Scully, I really do."

"That's very touching, but I neither want nor need your help. Haven't you done enough damage for one day? I told you it's over and I mean it," She said coldly as she looked him in the eye. She then looked around the room for Walter Skinner.

"Skinner where are my things? Where is my car?"

"Your coat should be in the hall closet and the rest of your clothing should be on top of the dresser. I don't know where your car is. Probably in the same place that you parked it last night."

"Shit, my purse is in the trunk. Skinner can I borrow $30 for a cab?"

"I'll drive you back to your place, Scully. You don't have to take a cab," Mulder said.

"Yes I do," She said coldly as she went into the back bedroom and shut the door. Walter and Fox were left to stare at each other in a moment of uncomfortable silence.

Five minutes later Dana emerged dressed and headed for the door, "I called a cab from the bedroom. I'm going to wait for it downstairs." She quickly left his apartment before either one of them could stop her.

Mulder and Skinner were left staring at each other.

<I hate moments like this. What the hell am I supposed to say to the guy? I'm sorry that you have fallen in love with your daughter and can no longer sleep with and lust after her?'> Mulder thought to himself.

"Um Sir, I really don't know what to say to you right now. I'm in shock, I think."

"There really isn't anything you can say regarding this situation."

"When did you date her?"

"We dated for a little over a year when she first got out of the academy. She had just broken up with Jack Willis."

"So the last time you slept together was 4 or 5 years ago."

"Something like that."

"Sir, how could you sleep with her in the first place?" Mulder asked angrily.

"I didn't know that she was my daughter at the time. How sick do you think I'm?"

"You may not have known that she was your daughter at the time, but you knew that she was a subordinate."

"I started seeing her right before she was assigned to the X-Files with you. She wasn't under my command at the time."

"But if you dated her for a year, surely during some of that time you were her superior."

"Only for a few months. It was part of the reason why the relationship was ended."

"Who ended the relationship?"

"Is that really important Mulder?"

"Yes, it is."

"I ended the relationship. I really don't want to talk about this anymore. I don't mean to be rude, but all this talk coupled with almost no sleep has given me a headache."

"Sure no problem. I'm sorry about this, sir. I didn't mean to threaten you or your job."

"A word of advice, Agent Mulder. Before you go on making threats you had better be damn sure you know what you are getting yourself into. I could have your ass in front of the OPR Monday morning over this little stunt that you pulled."

"I'm sure that you could, sir."

"I'm not though, because this is something I don't want out in the open. I don't think I need to remind you of the extreme need for utter discretion in this matter. The repercussions to both our careers if this ever got out are astronomical."

"I know sir. I won't mention it to anyone."

"Thank you Mulder, for coming to get her."

"Lot of good that did. Who knows where the hell she is now."

"Just find her and be there for her. She really needs a friend right now."

Things were the way that former Marine Walter S. Skinner wanted them, nice, neat and orderly, though he was the only one who could see it at the time..

End of Chapter 18

********************************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 19
****************NC-17 Alert*************************

The cab dropped Dana Scully off at her car. She was happy to find it in one piece. She got behind the wheel and headed in the direction of her apartment when she realized that she didn't want to go home. Home held to many memories. Home was personal. She didn't want personal. She wanted anonymity.

Where could she go. Her mother's house was out of the question. She once found emotional shelter at Maggie Scully's house, but no more. Although she and her mother had always had a somewhat strained relationship, she had always known that if she had ever needed her mother she would be there for her. Not anymore. Things could never be the way they were before.

She was still angry at her mother for what she had done. She didn't know if she had it in herself to ever forgive her. She doubted it. Although she tried her hardest to hate her, she couldn't. Deep down she still cared what her mother thought about her.

For the first time in her life Dana Scully felt out of control. She was no longer the one controlling her destiny. Other people were. She had tried so hard, for so long, to be what everyone expected her to be. She couldn't do it anymore, she just couldn't. She was tired of fighting them, tired of fighting herself.

Looking back over her actions over the past few months she was appalled by what she saw. Scully's were not raised to behave the way she had. Her mother would be appalled if she had known what she had been up to. She hoped to God her mother never found out. When had she lost that strong sense of self and become a weak woman.

<I am not weak.>

<Yes, you are.>

<I'm strong.>

<Strong? You think you are strong? What the hell did you think you were doing when you tried to seduce Walter Skinner? Only a weak pitiful woman would do that.>

<I don't know what I was doing.>

<That is the problem, Dana, you never do. You should be ashamed at what you have become. Look at yourself. You are a skinny drunk loser who uses drugs. Are you proud of yourself? Is this what you wanted to become? Is this what you worked your ass off in school to become? Do you want to lose your job? Is this the reason why you closed yourself off to so many people and relationships? Are you proud of yourself?>

<No, but it's not my fault.>

<When are you ever going to take responsibility for your actions? No one forced you to act like a drunk whore. You are a better person than this Dana. Grow up and take responsibility for your life and your actions.>

<I can't. I'm not strong enough.>

<You are.>

<Scully is, but I'm not.>

She willed the internal battle in her mind to cease as she mindlessly drove her car in no particular direction, with no specific destination in mind.

Her mind replayed the events of the last 8 years. She noticed that somewhere along the way she started defining her life in terms of events. Before the X-Files, before cancer, before Emily, before and after her abduction, and before and after she found out that her supervisor and former lover was her father. This last life event was the hardest to stomach. She wished that if anyone in the world had to be her father, it wouldn't be him. Why did her mom have to do that to her?

She found herself automatically driving towards Mulder's apartment.

Mulder, no she couldn't go to his house. He was probably still at Walter Skinner's. Besides, she couldn't face him just yet. The emotional wound he picked the scab from today still hurt like hell. She didn't know if she would ever be able to face him. He knew too much about her. He knew how to hurt her. She didn't trust him enough not to hurt her even more. She hated him.

She needed to go somewhere where she couldn't be hurt even more than she already was. She didn't have many friends left, they all seemed to be frightened away by her job or her lack of time for them. She was never good with making and keeping friends anyway. She supposed it went with being a Navy brat and moving every couple of years. After so many moves she no longer had the desire to make any new friends. What difference did it make when you were going to move and have to make new ones? She emersed herself in her studies instead. Academics was the one constant she had in her life. Academics gave way to her job. She was thankful that she had her job, though she wasn't sure how much longer that would last once it got out that she was Skinners daughter and that they had an improper relationship. She and Walter were extremely discreet throughout their relationship, but there had been times when they had gone out to dinner together. She was sure that someone had to have seen them together sometime. In this age of high information technology almost every minute of life is recorded in someway. She could never be certain that there weren't photographs or records of their phone conversations. ATM and credit card records could be accessed. She hoped to god no one else knew.

Where could she go? Should she just leave town and disappear to forge a new life? No, she was strong. She could handle this, she would handle this. Just not right now.

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

Diana Fowler's Apartment
Watergate Complex
Sunday, September 12, 1999
8:30 pm

"Dana, this is a surprise." Diana Fowley said as she opened the door to her apartment.

"I didn't know where else to go. I'm sorry, I'll leave," Dana said as she turned to leave. She knew that it had been a mistake to go to Diana's apartment. But Diana's was the only place where she could have gone. Diana didn't know about her, yet. She was sure that it would only be a matter of time before Mulder told her the awful truth. Until then she could still be normal.

"No, no, come on in. You really look like you could use a friend right now," Diana said as she gestured for Dana to enter her apartment.

"This is really nice. Not what I expected though," Dana said as she looked around.

"What did you expect. Floral and pastels?"

"Yeah I guess," Dana Scully said blushing.

"It's okay. Nothing to be embarrassed about. You are not the first person to have that opinion. I seem to recall Fox saying the same thing when he saw my apartment for the first time."

"That's right, I forgot that you have known each other for a long time."

"It hasn't been that long, Dana." She gestured for Dana to take a seat.

"How long have you known him?"

"Since the late 80's."

"Did you know his wife?"

"Yes, I did." She was uncomfortable with the turn the conversation had taken.

"What was she like?" Why was she even asking about Mulder. She was supposed to hate him.

"Dana, I really don't feel comfortable talking about Fox Mulder and his ex-wife with you. If you want to know those details about his life, you're going to have to ask him."

"I'm sorry for being nosy, it's just that I find it kind of odd that he never told me he was married."

"That's just like Mulder to forget to tell someone something like that."

"I don't think he forgot, Diana. He said he didn't trust me enough to tell me that he was married. Anyway, enough about him." She didn't know why she was here. At the time it sounded like a good place to come, but now in the cold light of day she thought that she had made a mistake.

"I'm sorry for coming here and interrupting your evening, Diana. I'll leave," She said as she got up off the couch.

Diana went over to her and grabbed her arm, "Stay, Dana. I don't have any plans. You weren't interrupting anything."

"Are you sure?"

"I am positive. Forgive me for being so forward, but would you like to do something?"

"Sure, that sounds nice." It would give her more time to put off the real issues that she was going to have to deal with.

"What would you like to do?"

"It doesn't matter, really. I just want to do something normal." Normal, that was an odd choice of words, Diana thought to herself.

"How about we get something to eat and then go to a movie?"

"Sounds good to me."

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

Diana Fowler's Apartment
Watergate Complex
Monday, September 13, 1999
6:30 am

Dana Scully woke up to find arms around her, a woman's arms specifically.

<Oh my god, what have I done,> Scully thought.

She felt the arms tighten around her and slowly caress her breasts. She realized that she did not have any clothes on and the memories of last night came flooding through her mind.

<I had sex with Diana.>
<Shit!>
<Shit!!>
<Shit!!!>

She remembered going out to dinner with Diana at Red Lobster and then to the local cinema to see an art feature. She was glad to see that she and Diana had the same taste in restaurants and movies. She was having a nice time with Diana, and was surprised to find herself feeling drawn to the older agent, almost attracted.

During the movie there was a brief sex scene. Dana imagined what it would be like to kiss Diana on the lips, to hold her in her arms. She started blushing at her thoughts and she was certain that Diana could pick up on it.

After the movie, Dana drove Diana back to her apartment and was invited up for a night cap. She should have refused, but she didn't want to go home yet. She didn't want to be alone. She didn't want to face her demons. Not yet.

One drink led to another, as she found herself opening up to Diana, telling her things that she never really cared to talk about. Diana seemed interested in her as a person. Diana seemed like she cared about Dana Scully as a whole, not just Dana or Scully as other people did. For the first time in years she felt as if she were a whole person. She felt normal. Almost.

She talked to Diana for hours, about mostly mundane things, things in retrospect which were probably completely normal things for normal people to talk about. Movies. Cars. Men. Food. Music. Diana seemed like she was genuinely interested in what Scully had to say.

At one point in the conversation, Diana reached over to push the hair out of Dana's eyes. It seemed so natural for her to be doing that. She noticed that Diana's fingers lingered on her forehead a little longer than necessary. She felt a pounding in her chest, time seemed to stop and all that mattered was that Diana was touching her. Another woman was touching her and it felt good. It felt right.

She looked up into Diana's brown eyes to tell her that it was okay that she was touching her. It was allowed. Diana let her fingers move lower as she traced Dana's jaw line, her nose and then her lips with her fingers. She couldn't believe that she was touching Dana Scully's magnificent face, and that Dana was letting her. Dana slid the tip of her tongue through her parted lips and gently tasted Diana's fingers. She tasted remnants of the large buttered popcorn they shared at the movies.

"No, this is not okay," Diana said as she quickly withdrew her fingers and moved away from Dana on the couch.

"What's wrong Diana? Why did you stop?"

"Because it's not right. You're straight, Dana. You have made it perfectly clear to me on numerous occasions that you like men. Not women."

"I used to think that, but now I don't know. This feels right," Dana said to her honestly as she took Diana's hand her hers.

"You are just confused right now, Dana. It is perfectly normal. Why don't you take some time to think about what you really feel, what you really want. You have been through a lot in these past few weeks, it is understandable that you are seeking out comfort wherever you can get it."

"No, I want this."

"You just think that you do. I care for you too much as a friend to let you do this."

"It's my life, Diana. I make my own decisions and this is what I want," She said as she moved closer to Diana on the couch and lightly traced her face with her fingers.

Diana moaned into Dana's touch. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure," Dana said smiling as she moved closer to kiss Diana.

Diana opened her mouth to let Dana's probing tongue in. She tasted of a mixture of brandy, coca cola and popcorn. It was a taste that she had never experienced before and wouldn't soon forget. Boldly she reached up and embraced Dana's face in both of her hands as she returned the kiss.

Five minutes into the kiss, a very flushed Diana paused for air.

"What's wrong? Why did you stop?" Dana asked.

"Do you always talk this much?" Diana asked as she pulled Dana closer to her and invaded her mouth once again. She slowly caressed Dana's back through the thin sweater she was wearing. Bra fastens in front, where her only thoughts.

Dana, following Diana's lead, went one step further. She slowly undid the top three buttons on Diana's button-down oxford shirt. Diana, stunned, pulled out of the kiss.

"Are you sure?"

"As sure as I have ever been about anything," Dana replied as she suddenly got the courage to finish unbuttoning the rest of the shirt. Diana helped her take the shirt off. Dana leaned back and brought her sweater over her head, tossing in onto the rug.

Diana looked at Dana through hooded eyes as she reached to unfasten her bra. She had seen Dana's naked breasts before, but this was not the same. This was a very aroused, sexually excited Dana Scully, and she was the one that put her in this condition.

Dana tried to unfasten the clasp on Diana's bra but was having a hard time. Diana reached behind and quickly undid the clasp herself, leaving the cups still covering her breasts. She allowed Dana the pleasure of removing them. Dana nervously lowered the bra straps on Diana's arms slowly revealing what was hidden from the world on a daily basis.

"Oh," Dana muttered. She had not expected Diana to be so large. She suddenly felt very inadequate. Diana sensed her hesitation.

"What's wrong, Dana? I am sure that you have seen other women's breasts before."

"Yes, but this is different. Yours are much larger than I expected," She said frankly.

"I tend to have that effect on people. It's the minimizer bra, hides what's underneath."

"Why would you want to hide them?" To her, Diana had the perfect set of breasts. Nice and large like men wanted, with beautiful, proportional nipples and areola's.

"So people don't stare at them all day. It is hard enough working daily in a man's environment. I want to be known by my intelligence and capabilities, not my bra size."

"If I had these, " Dana said as she lightly traced Diana's nipples with her fingers, "I would want everyone to see them."

"Shut up Dana," Diana said as she gently took one of Dana's nipples into her mouth and gently sucked on it.

"Oh my god," Dana muttered as she clutched Diana's shoulders.

"Do you want me to stop," Diana teased as she let the nipple out of her mouth.

"Oh god, no," Dana said as she pushed Diana's mouth back onto her nipple. She could not believe that she was making out with another woman and that it felt so good.

Diana placed one hand on Dana's knee and continued suckling on her breasts. Slowly the hand made its way up her thighs to the crotch of Dana's jeans. She felt a dampness as she slowly began to rub back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Dana began to push her body weight down on Diana's hands, rocking back and forth.

Back and forth she rocked, faster and faster.

"Harder," Dana moaned, "Harder."

The harder Diana pressed on her center, the faster Dana rocked.

"Oh God. Oh God. I'm going to cum. Jesusmarymotherofgodiamgoingtocome," Dana said as she started to cum. Diana felt Dana's thighs clench around her hand and wrist and heard her scream. She had never made anyone scream before. Not like that.

"Thank you. Of god, thank you." Dana said as she came back down to earth. Diana gathered her in her arms and hugged her. Dana returned the hug, still trembling from her intense orgasm.

"Would you like to take a shower?" Diana asked not knowing what else to say. What do you say to someone you have just gotten off with your hand and you know that it was a mistake? I'm horny as hell and need some, how about reciprocating? No, that was a little to forward. It was probably best to act like nothing happened.

What the hell had she just done?

"Yes, a shower sounds like a good idea," Dana said as she laid back against the cushions of the couch trying to catch her breath. She made no effort to cover her nakedness.

Diana quickly got up off the couch and grabbed a towel and some clean clothes for Dana to change into and then led her into the bathroom. Diana had planned on letting Dana Scully shower alone, but Dana apparently had other plans. Diana was pleasantly surprised. She didn't think that Dana would go this far.

Dana quickly removed her jeans and underwear and reached for the snap and zipper on Diana's.

Both women looked each other's bodies up and down.

"So do I pass inspection?" Dana asked.

"You more than pass, Dana. Do you realize how beautiful and desirable you are?"

"So I have been told," She joked.

"And just how many people have told you this?" Diana questioned. There was no doubt about it, she was jealous

"Oh just a couple. It didn't mean anything," She said as she stepped into the bathtub and Diana stepped in behind her. Diana reached around her to turn on the shower nozzle. Both women stood in the shower in complete silence for several minutes.

"Dana, why did you come to my apartment tonight?" Diana asked.

"Can we please not talk about that," Dana said as she turned around and gently placed her hands on Diana's face, lightly tracing her cheekbones. Diana closed her eyes and relaxed as the water ran down her face and body. Diana was completely still as Dana began her exploration of her. She felt fingers tracing her neck, a slight sucking on her neck. Very gentle, but oh so erotic.

Fingers slowly moved down to touch her collarbone. Diana didn't know whether she considered this exploration the best full body massage she had ever received, or the most intense foreplay of her life.

She kept her eyes closed and enjoyed the experience. She was not disappointed.

Slowly the fingers traced around her breasts, slowly circling them. Around and round. Round and round. Diana wanted her nipples to be touched so badly that she tried to move and force Dana's fingers to come into contact with her aching nipples. The combination of the water running down her chest, tactile stimulation and the heat of the shower was making her horny as hell. She couldn't take this much longer. She opened her eyes to find Dana staring at her in intense concentration. Dana was slightly embarrassed to see that Diana was watching her.

Diana leaned forward and gently kissed Dana on the mouth. Dana opened her mouth and allowed her tongue access, while she continued her exploration. What began as a gentle kiss escalated into a passionate and at times violent struggle for control. Both women were desperate for control of each other, for control of the situation.

Diana pushed Dana up against the wall of the shower as she assaulted her breasts with her mouth and tongue. She slowly tugged one nipple into her mouth while kneading the other breast with her hand. She gently bit down on the bud causing Dana to moan loudly, "I want you. Now."

Diana began to slowly kiss her way down Dana's body. She knelt on the floor of the shower in front of Dana and slowly ran her fingers up and down Dana's thighs. Up and down. Up and down.

She looked up to Dana for any signs of resistance. Dana's head was thrown back and her eyes closed. She was gently tugging on one of her own nipples. Diana was so turned on by the sign of her self-stimulation that she was overcome by the need to touch herself. She spread her center gently with one hand and slowly touched herself with her other hand. She wanted, no she needed, to get off and to get off soon. This was sexual torture.

Dana looked down to see why Diana was no longer touching her and discovered that she was masturbating on the floor of the bathtub. Dana knelt down in front of her and tentatively touched her thigh.

"Oh God," Diana muttered over and over as she worked her fingers faster and faster over her core. Dana had never seen another female masturbate and was fascinated by it. She wanted to be the one to bring Diana to orgasm, though. She boldly reached out and touched Diana's sex very gently. Diana withdrew her own hands and watched in amazement as Dana Scully parted her with one hand and gently ran a finger up and down her slickened pussy with her other hand.

"Faster."

"Faster."

"Faster," Diana muttered as she laid back down on the floor of the bathtub. She turned her head to the side and noticed that she could see a ring around the tub. Oh well, she didn't predict that she would ever be fucking in the tub. She'd clean it later.

Dana worked her fingers faster and faster over Diana's core. She worked Diana's clitoris at the same pace she liked when she touched herself. Diana didn't seem to be complaining.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Diana suddenly moaned and went still. She reached to Scully and pulled her into an embrace, slowly kissing her. Dana returned the kiss, feeding the passionate fire. Diana motioned for Dana to take her spot on the floor. Dana did as instructed with curious eyes.

Diana kissed her passionately once again, while she parted the folds of skin in Dana's sweet apex and proceeded to touch her. Dana moaned into the kiss and placed her hand on top of Diana's showing her how she liked to be touched.

Diana suddenly broke the kiss, knelt down in front of Dana and ran her tongue over her swollen clitoris before Scully knew what was happening. The synapses controlling Dana's Scully's thought processes ceased to function as she gave herself over to Diana, entirely. For the first time in her life, she went with what she was feeling, and not what she was thinking. She gave herself entirely over to Diana and she trusted that she would not hurt her.

Dana Scully had the most powerful orgasm of her life, and another woman was the one that brought her that pleasure.

In the cold light of the morning sun, knowing that she had so willingly given herself over to someone else was unsettling. She wasn't gay. She didn't like women! Did she? She felt Diana stirring beside her in the bed and touching her.

<I have to get out of here.>

She quickly got out of the bed, found her clothes and dressed. She wrote Diana a quick note and left it on the kitchen counter where she was be sure to find it.

Diana,

I'm sorry. This was a mistake. Please forgive me.

D.

She closed the door behind her knowing that she had made the biggest mistake in her life.

End of chapter 19

***************************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 20
***************************************************

Monday, September 13, 1999
7:20 am

Dana Scully entered her apartment and threw her keys on the counter. She noticed that her answering machine light was blinking furiously. She hit play as she kicked off her shoes.

Beep. "Dana, this is Blake. I need to talk to you. Call me when you get in," Blake said on the tape.

"Well that's too damn bad because I don't want to talk to you," Dana said out loud.

Beep. "Dana, this is Blake again. Please call me." Two messages in one night? How many more times was he going to call?

"No," Dana said as she sat down on her couch and removed her socks.

Beep. "Scully, this is Mulder. Where are you?" Mulder said to her machine.

"Where is my fucking apology you asshole," Dana said as she unbuttoned her jeans.

Beep. "Dana, I was just calling to see how you were doing. Please call me. Let's get together soon. I am going to be in town next week. Call me back. Please," Claire said to the machine.

"You concern is so evident Claire, Blake must have put you up to calling me. Well too bad, lets not get together anytime soon." She lowered her jeans over her hips and took them off before sitting back down on the couch in her underwear.

Beep. "Scully, please pick up. I know you're there. I called your mother and she said that you weren't there and were probably at home. Please pick up."

"Fuck you again, Mulder," She seethed at her machine. She slowly pulled her sweater over her head and laid it next to her on the couch.

Beep. "Scully, I am coming over to your place. Stay there, I need to talk to you."

"Well too bad I wasn't home for your little visit, Mulder. Your concern is touching. It almost makes me want to cry. * Not!*, you mother fucker." She got up off the couch, dressed in only her bra and underwear and went into the kitchen as the messages continued to play.

Beep. "Dana, this is Walter. Um, um, I was just calling to make sure that you were okay."

"This just gets better and better. You concern is touching, *Walter*. Can't you see that I am doing fucking fine?" She yelled at the machine as she grabbed a bottle of beer out of the fridge and opened it.

Beep. "Scully. I am outside your door right now, please let me in. I just want to talk. Please, I'm sorry."

"Thanks for the fucking apology Mulder, but it's a little too late. You probably used your key to get into my apartment. Remind me to get that key back," She said as she took a large swig of the beer.

Beep. "Scully, it's me again. Well obviously you aren't at home. Where are you? I'm going to go check a few places where I think that might have gone. If you don't call me by noon tomorrow I'm going to put in a missing person's report and have the gunmen try to find you. Please call me."

"Have your goons search for me, I don't give a damn. You can fucking die and fall off the face of the earth before I talk to you again." She was considering changing her phone number now.

Beep. "Dana, this is your mother. Fox called me very concerned. He said that he doesn't know where you are. I don't know what trouble you have gotten yourself into this time, but you had better straighten it out."

"You concern is also touching, *mother*," She yelled to the machine as she quickly downed the rest of her beer.

Beep. "Scully, it's me. Please call me. I'm worried about you."

"Fine, be worried you asshole."

Beep. "Dana, I got your note. We need to talk. Please call me," Diana Fowler said into the phone.

"No, all you people ever want to do is talk. I don't want to talk to you. I just wish you would all just leave me alone," She screamed at the machine as she got up and violently pulled the cord out of the wall.

She grabbed another bottle of beer out of the fridge, stripped off her under garments and climbed into bed.

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

Monday, September 13, 1999
8:00 pm

Dana awoke from a drunken haze to hear knocking on her door. She ignored the sound and burrowed deeper under her covers. The knocking seemed to get louder and louder and she couldn't tell if she was imagining it or if someone actually had the nerve to knock that loud. There ought to be some kind of law that governed how loud people could knock. And when.

She looked at her clock and saw that it was 8 pm. She knew that Mulder was probably at her door. He had the key, if he wanted to talk to her badly enough he could open the door himself. She couldn't remember whether or not she activated the dead bolt. Oh well.

The knocking continued. She was starting to get really annoyed. The neighbors already hated her. This would give them one more reason to kick her out when her lease was up.

She slowly got out of bed and moved toward the bathroom. She quickly glanced in the mirror and noticed that this was not one of her better days beauty wise. She sat down on the toilet to relieve her full bladder while she brushed her teeth. The knocking continued.

Grabbing a tank top and a pair of sweatpants, she quickly donned them before opening the door.

"We need to talk," Diana said as she pushed open Dana's door and entered the apartment. She then noticed Dana's disheveled condition. "What the hell happened to you? Why didn't you show up at work today?"

"Good afternoon to you too," Dana said as she went into the kitchen and grabbed a beer out of the fridge. "Want something to drink?" She asked Diana.

"Do you really think you ought to be drinking?" Diana asked.

"What are you my mother?"

"No, I used to think that I was your friend."

"You are." Dana said as she sat down on the couch and opened her beer.

"Well it sure doesn't feel like it. Would you care to explain why you left me this note," She said as she laid Dana's crumpled note on the coffee table.

"I think you know why I left it Diana."

"I want to hear the words from your mouth."

"What difference does it matter where they come from? I meant them."

"It means a hell of a lot. I don't like being played a fool. I don't like being used." Diana Fowler was mad.

"You weren't used," Dana tried to explain as she casually drank from her bottle. She didn't want to be having this conversation right now. Or ever.

"I think I was. I don't do one night stands, Dana. You may, but I don't. I gave you every opportunity to back out and you insisted that it was what you wanted. I trusted you, I gave a piece of myself to you, and you decide that you made a mistake."

"I thought it was wanted, at the time it was."

"For the sake of all your future partners, make sure that you know what you really want before you take advantage of someone elses feelings and interest in you. No one likes being used," Diana said as she got up off the couch and made her way towards the door.

"Diana, I didn't use you." She didn't, did she?

"Yes, you did. You abused our friendship. You used my feelings for you, which you had known about for some time and never acted on, for your own damn self interest. Why the sudden interest in me? Because their was no man around for you to fuck? Because Fox wasn't convenient?"

"You are so wrong Diana."

"Am I? I don't think so. At first when I read the note I thought that maybe you were confused about what had happened, maybe you weren't ready to face the feelings and emotions you felt when you were with me. I was ready to accept that. But then I got a call from Fox telling me all about your little blowup with him and Skinner and I realized that you weren't with me because you were attracted to me, you were using me, using sex to avoid your own damn problems."

"You're wrong Diana."

"I don't think so. For the first time in a long time I am seeing things crystal clear. I have stood by you, defended your reputation on an almost daily basis, dragged your pathetic ass out of countless bars. But no more. I am not going to do it," Diana said as she opened the door and walked out of Scully's life for good.

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

FBI Headquarters
September 14, 1999
8:00 am

Dana Scully slowly walked down the corridors of the J. Edgar Hoover building as she made her way to Walter Skinner's office. The security guard told her upon entering the building that she was to report to his office first thing. She wasn't really surprised that she was being called into his office. She figured that he was finally going to get some balls and punish her for no longer being the prim and proper perfect special agent doctor Dana Katherine Scully. She was just surprised that he hadn't done it sooner.

She was ready to face her demons.

Kimberly motioned for her to enter Walter Skinner's office.

"He's expecting you." Kimberly really didn't know what was going on. She had been hearing rumors about Dana Scully for over a year. She had heard everything from Dana being an alcoholic to a drug addict. She had also heard rumors of Dana having a serious mental illness for which she received professional help. At first she didn't believe the rumors, but after witnessing some of Dana Scully's bizarre behavior firsthand, she wasn't so sure anymore. She just didn't see how it was possible that one person could have so many problems.

"Agent Scully, please have a seat," Walter Skinner said as he closed the door behind her. He had not seen her since Sunday morning and was surprised what difference two days could make. He thought that he had seen her at her absolute worst when she left his apartment. He was wrong.

"On advice from Karen Kosoff, you are hereby relieved of duty in the FBI until you complete a drug and alcohol treatment program," He said as soon as she sat down. "Karen will work as a liaison between the agency and the treatment center. Once it is deemed that you have this problem under control we will discuss the possibility of your returning to the FBI. You are relieved from duty as of now. I'll need your badge and gun."

Relieving her of duty was one of the hardest things that he ever had to do. Her job meant everything to her, but it was obvious that she needed help. Her problems were affecting her performance on the job. There were rumors of botched autopsies and informant's covers being blown. He could no longer look the other direction and ignore what was going on.

"Yes sir," Dana said as she calmly laid her badge and gun on the desk before her. She had been expecting this, she knew that sooner or later she would have to face the consequences of her behavior. She calmly left his office and shut the door behind her.

For the first time in a long time Walter Skinner finally felt that he was doing something to help Dana Scully and not hurt her.

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

FBI Headquarters
September 14, 1999
8:30 am

Dana walked into her office to find Fox Mulder sitting at her desk. She didn't expect to see him here. She was hoping that she would be able to avoid him. She was wrong.

"Well look what the cat dragged in," He said upon noticing Scully.

"Is there a point to you being in my office?" She asked him coldly.

"Come on Scully, lighten up," He said trying to cheer her up. He was genuinely sorry for the pain he caused her and wanted to make amends.

"Agent Mulder, unless you are here for a reason I suggest that you leave. I thought that I made it perfectly clear that I never wanted to see you again."

"Come on Scully, you can't be serious."

"Oh, I'm quite serious. I meant what I said." Why was he here? Did he want to torture her more, revel in her pain.

"You can't still be mad. I said that I was sorry. What else do you want me to do?"

"Don't you *ever* dictate to me what I can and can't be mad about. And as far as your apology goes, tell someone who cares." She took the box that she had been carrying with her and set it on her desk. She proceeded to place her scant personal belongings in it as Fox Mulder watched.

"You're packing your things? Are you being transferred?" He had heard rumors from Natasha about her performance in the VCS. He had dismissed them as only rumors but now he was beginning to wonder.

"No, I'm not being transferred, I quit."

"You can't quit Scully. You love this job."

"Past tense Mulder, I used to love this job."

"Why are you quitting?"

"Frankly, it's none of your damn business. Would you please leave?"

"What are you going to do now?" He didn't want to leave until he knew what was going on.

"I asked you nicely to leave. I meant it. Get the hell out of my office." She no longer had a reason to be nice and civil to Mulder. He was clearly there to aggravate her and push all her buttons. He was probably secretly enjoying the fact that she quit. Skinner probably told him all about his plans to send her to a treatment center before he even told her. Well, he could rot in hell before he got any type of reaction out of her over her reprimand.

Fox Mulder was mad. He tried to be nice to her, he stood beside her over the years and defended her reputation. He said he was sorry, what more did she want from him. People were right in what they said about her.

"I tried to be your friend, Scully. I defended you. I covered your ass so many times. I lied for you. I would have even taken a bullet for you. I tried to help you when you wouldn't let me. I said I was sorry, what more do you want from me. The rumors are correct, you really *are* a cold hearted bitch. Have a fucking nice life," He said as he walked out of her office and her life.

Dana hastily threw the contents of her desk into the box, pausing only once to wipe the lone tear out of her eye that threatened to fall.

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

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
September 14, 1999
12:00 pm

After driving around for hours, unsure of where to go, Dana Scully returned to her apartment alone. Reality was starting to set in. She had just lost her job. Sure, Walter had been kind in telling her that if she completed the treatment program there was a chance she could get her job back. She knew better. The FBI didn't keep people on staff with alcohol or drug problems. They liked their agents nice and clean, free from any social deviancies.

She didn't understand why Karen Kosoff, that traitor bitch, recommended that she enter a drug and alcohol treatment program. She didn't have a problem. Sure, she enjoyed drinking and occasionally smoked marijuana, but they weren't habits.

She poured a glass of scotch and sat down on her couch contemplating what her career options were at this point.

<I could work for the coroners office.>

<But I am so tired of looking at dead people.>

<I could get a job teaching at a university>

She finished her drink and poured another one.

<Perhaps I'll get a job in a hospital. I could always be a doctor>

<Maybe, I'll just live on my savings for a while>

She finished her drink and poured another one.

<Maybe I'll quit medicine altogether and open a bar.>

<Yeah, that would be a good profession. I could sleep all day and work at night.>

She finished her drink, threw the glass on the floor and started drinking out of the bottle.

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

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
September 14, 1999
5:00 pm

Dana had lost track of time. She had woken up laying on the bathroom floor shivering. She grabbed a towel off the rack and wrapped it around her. She saw a half empty bottle of vodka lying next to her.

She picked it up and took a drink leaning back against the bathtub. Suddenly she didn't feel too well. It took several attempts before she was able to stand up. She wobbled over to the sink and looked in the medicine cabinet. She picked up the first bottle she saw and took a couple of pills out of it not even bothering to read the label.

She placed three pills on her tongue and downed them with a gulp of vodka. The room started spinning and she felt herself growing faint. She slowly made her way to the phone in her bedroom hitting speed dial #1.

"Hello," Natasha said as she answered the phone.

"Can I speak to Mulder," Dana Scully said while slurring her words.

"Who is this?" Natasha asked.

"Scull, Scully," Dana said weakly into the phone.

"Look Dana, Fox doesn't want to talk to you. He has tried to be a friend to you but you wouldn't let him. Now you have the audacity to call him as if nothing were wrong. Sorry honey but it doesn't work that way."

"I need to talk to him." She was having a hard time even forming a coherent sentence.

"Well you can't, he doesn't want to talk to you. I have put up with you calling my house dragging my husband out of bed at all times of the night, but no more. Find yourself a new friend, my husband is off limits," Natasha said into the phone and then abruptly hung up.

Dana slid to the floor of her bedroom as she hit speed dial #2 on her phone. Maggie Scully's answering machine picked up.

She was having a hard time seeing straight as she hit speed dial #6 thinking it was #3. She had meant to reach Blake Maxwell and instead got Diana Fowler.

"Hello," Diana said cheerfully into the phone.

"Who's this?" Dana asked as she closed her eyes. She no longer had the energy to keep them open.

"Diana Fowler. Is this Dana?" She asked.

"Yes," Dana slurred into the phone.

"Was there something you wanted Dana?" Diana knew that she had been harsh when she had last seen Dana but she couldn't help it. She had been hurt deeply by Dana.

"Sorry," She said.

"Sorry?" Diana asked.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to," Dana said.

"Sorry about what, Dana. Could you speak up. I can barely hear you."

"Forgive me," Dana said as she laid her head on the floor.

"Dana you sound odd, what's wrong?"

She got no response.

"Dana, dammit answer me. What's wrong?"

No response.

"Dana, is something wrong? Why won't you answer me?" She yelled into the phone. Dana heard Diana yelling and tried her hardest to respond.

"Help," was all she could say before she lost consciousness.

End of chapter 20

************************************************
House of Cards - Chapter 21

"And what the hell is this Who made this bloody mess
And someone always answers like a martyr
Is it something you should know, did you ever do your best
Would you be saved if you were brave and just tried harder"
          Shawn Colvin "If I were Brave"
************************************************

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
September 14, 1999
6:00 pm

Upon hearing Scully mutter "help" on the phone and nothing else, Diana Fowley quickly dialed EMS on her cell phone as she ran towards her car. After giving them instructions on where Dana lived, she then called Fox Mulder.

"May I please speak with Fox?" Diana hurriedly said into the phone upon hearing Natasha's sickening sweet greeting.

"May I tell him who's calling?" Natasha asked even though she recognized the voice as belonging to Diana.

"Diana," She said while driving as fast as she could towards Dana's. This was an emergency. She didn't have time to waste talking to Fox Mulder's dim bulb of a wife.

Diana heard some mumbling in the background before Fox got on the phone.

"Hi Diana, what's up?"

"Do you still have the key to Dana's?" She asked him.

"Yes, why?" She sounded panicked and he wondered what was up.

"Great. I need you to meet me there in 10 minutes."

"What's going on Diana?" He was starting to get concerned. It wasn't every day that she called him, much less asking for the key to Dana's. Something had to be wrong.

"Something's wrong with Dana. I've called an ambulance and I'm on my way there now."

"I'm on my way," He said to her as he hung up the phone. He grabbed his jacket and was putting it on when Natasha stopped him.

"Where are you going Fox? Dinner is almost ready. I fixed pork chops."

"I'm sorry Natasha, but this is an emergency." He really didn't like pork chops anyway.

"What is going on? Is it something with Diana?"

"No," He said trying while trying to avoid eye contact with his wife. He really didn't want to get into an argument with her right now over Scully. She was all they ever fought about these days. She was convinced that they either had or were having an affair and no amount of denial on his part made a difference to her.

"It's about Dana Scully isn't it? What's wrong with her this time? Had a few too many beers to drink? Or let me guess, she was arrested for public indecency and intoxication and you have to go bail her out?" She hated Dana Scully. Wendy had been right about her from the beginning, she was after her man and would stop at nothing to get him.

"Look, can we talk about this later. I need to go now," He said impatiently.

"Where are you going?"

"To her apartment to meet Diana."

"Why do you have to go? Why can't Diana take care of her this time"

"Because I have the key to her place and I need to unlock it for the paramedics. Are you satisfied, do I have permission to leave?" He finished putting on his jacket and had his hand on the door knob.

"You have a key to her apartment. You have a key to another woman's apartment?" She asked in disbelief. How many more little secrets did her husband neglect to tell her about?

"I'll talk to you about this later." He opened the door and shut it behind him.

Natasha picked up the closest thing in her reach, which happened to be a Lalique crystal vase which Dana Scully had given them as a wedding present, and threw it against the door as hard as she could, shattering it into thousands of tiny pieces.

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

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
September 14, 1999
6:20 pm

Fox Mulder found Diana pacing in front of Dana's door. The EMS crew had arrived ten minutes before and were about to break down the door when he arrived. He quickly unlocked the door and the paramedics rushed in.

Diana immediately raced back to Dana's bedroom while Fox Mulder looked in the bathroom and kitchen. The two EMS paramedics looked throughout the rest of the apartment for her, figuring that it would be quicker if they let the woman's friends find her.

Diana found her lying face down on the bedroom floor.

"She's in here," Diana yelled as loud as she could. The two paramedics came running into the bedroom followed by Fox Mulder.

"We need you to move out of the way," A tall blond paramedic whose name tag identified him as Brulacheck told her.

Fox Mulder stood transfixed in the doorway. He could not believe that this was happening. Why did this kind of crap always have to happen to him? How the hell was he going to explain why he missed diner yet again? He had hoped that when Diana called him needing immediate access to Dana's apartment, it would've turned out to be a hoax that they could laugh about later. He didn't expect this. Anything but this.

"Her vital signs are weak. Do either of you know what happened?" Brulacheck asked them as he continued to work on her. He was hoping that her friends would be able to provide some type of clue as to what had happened.

"She called me a little while ago saying that she needed help. She sounded like something was really wrong,"Diana said regretting that she was not able to tell them more than that. She didn't know what the hell was wrong with Dana and had been surprised by her call.

"Until we get her to the hospital and run some tests, we won't know for sure what we're dealing with, but the evidence does suggest a drug overdose," Brulacheck said as he picked up the bottle of medication laying next to Dana and handed it to his partner, Danny Clark. Clark looked at the label and counted the number of pills left in the bottle.

"Is she going to die?" Fox Mulder asked. He couldn't lose her. Not like this. He had things to tell her, things that had always known that he would, sooner or later. He was terrified at the thought of Scully not being in his life.

"Probably not, but you never know with this type of thing." Clark picked up the bottle of Vodka next to her and placed it in the bag with the pills. He hoped that this lady had not consumed a large quantity of the pills with the alcohol or she might never wake up. Of course he would never tell the two worried onlookers that.

Clark and Brulacheck placed Dana gently on the stretcher and readied her for transport.

"Can I go with you?" Diana asked them.

"No Diana, I want to go," Mulder said, interrupting her.

"Fox, I'll go with her. You call her mother and Skinner and let them know what's happening." She followed the paramedics out of the apartment before he had time to answer her.

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

Georgetown University Hospital
September 15, 1999
3:30 pm

"Looks like this is getting to be a habit," Fox Mulder said to Dana Scully upon entering her hospital room. He had been by to see her three times earlier in the day but she hadn't been awake. Her doctor had told him that she was lucky that she hadn't gone into a coma.

Dana Scully didn't say anything to him in return, she just stared at him. She looked like absolute hell. Her hair clung limp and lifeless to the side of her head. He wasn't sure which was whiter, the sheets she was laying on or her face. In stark contrast to her pale skin, she had the darkest circles under her eyes that he had ever seen. She looked like she had not slept or eaten in weeks.

"How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine." Shades of the old Dana Scully were showing through. She was fine.

"How long are you going to be in?" Fox Mulder asked. He found it ironic after everything they'd been through, separately and together, they would have at least have more to talk about than her health.

"I'm being discharged tomorrow," She said matter of factly, not making eye contact with him. It wasn't intentional.

"You had me worried Scully," Mulder said as he lackadaisically approached her bed.

"You need not be worried, I'm fine."

"You don't look it." He tried to pick up her hand but she jerked it away from him. He noticed that she still had not looked at him.

"I'm fine," She said through clenched teeth.

"I can't help but be worried about you, Scully."

"It's not your job Mulder," She said as she finally made eye contact with him. "You have a wife, go home to her." Ouch, that was a mean thing to say. She couldn't help her reaction to Mulder. She was still mad at him for what he had done, but a part of her wanted to forgive him. She wanted her old friend back. She thought about him constantly, what he was doing, what he was thinking, if he was happy. But the shiny band on his ring finger always brought her back to reality.

"I'm your friend Scully, at least I used to be your friend, "Mulder said as he tried to pick up her hand again. "I would like to be your friend again if you will let me." That was as close as he was ever going to come to asking for forgiveness again.

"I can't Mulder. I can't," Scully said. They needed to go on with their lives. The tie needed to be severed. She knew that Mulder wasn't strong enough and that she would have to be the one to push him away.

"I'm sorry that you feel that way. I'm here for you Scully. When you are ready to accept me as your friend once again you know where to find me." He left the room quickly leaving alone with her thoughts.

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

Georgetown University Hospital
September 15, 1999
4:15 pm

"Dana, how are you feeling?" Maggie Scully asked upon approaching her daughter's bed.

"I'm fine," Dana replied.

"You had me scared to death. I thought I'd lost you again."

"It wasn't that dramatic, mom."

"They said you tried to kill yourself. Why would you do that Dana? Why? How could you even think that your life wasn't worth living?"

"I didn't try to kill myself, mom."

"Then would you mind explaining to me what happened. It's not every day my daughter winds up in the emergency room having her stomach pumped."

"You have been watching ER too much. It wasn't that dramatic."

"What happened Dana? How did you end up in the hospital then? Why did they have to pump your stomach?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know? How can you not know. Did you do it for fun?"

"Of course not."

"Then how did you wind up in the hospital. The hospital psychiatrist told me that he wants to admit you to a special hospital that can help you."

"No, I'm not going. I don't need help. I'm fine."

"He told me that you would probably say that."

"Will you listen to me? I did *not* try to kill myself."

"You need help, Dana."

"No, I don't."

"I know that this was your cry for help. Did you do this because of me? Was this my fault?"

"You think that this is your fault? I can't believe you."

"Why else would you try to kill yourself?"

"I didn't try to kill myself."

"I want you to get help Dana. I want you to go to that hospital."

"No, absolutely not."

"The doctor said that if you won't go willingly that we can go to court and get guardianship over you and make you go."

"You wouldn't mom, you wouldn't."

"I don't want to Dana, but I don't know what else to do. You almost died of alcohol poisoning. You are alarmingly thin once again and you tried to kill yourself. They found not only large doses of prescription medicine in your blood, but traces of cocaine and marijuana. When did you start using drugs? When?"

"They're wrong. They lied to you. Do I look like I use drugs?"

"Tests don't lie Dana. Please enter the program voluntarily. I don't want to have to be the one that forces you to get help."

"I don't need help. I have everything under control."

"And that's why you're in the hospital. You're giving me no choice. Either you enter the program on your own or I will get medical guardianship of you and place you in the program myself. It's your decision Dana." Maggie thought that telling her daughter that Walter Skinner was her father was one of the hardest things that she ever had to do, she was wrong. This was far worse.

"You wouldn't dare."

"This is not a game, Dana. This is your life. This is serious. You have a problem and you need help. I am doing this for your own good."

"Your right mom, this is my life, not yours. I didn't ask for your help and I sure as hell don't need it. I'm sure that you thought by telling me that Walter Skinner was my father, you were helping me too."

"That was uncalled for Dana."

"I don't think it was."

"Lash out at whoever you want, that's fine with me. You are entering that treatment program whether it is on your own or by a court order," Maggie said as she quietly left the room. Dana thought that it was odd that her mother never sat down.

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

Georgetown University Hospital
September 15, 1999
5:20 pm

"You're looking a little better," Blake Maxwell said to Dana upon entering her hospital room. Like Fox Mulder, he had also been by to see her several times since she was admitted to the hospital.

"Well, I feel a little better." She was embarrassed that he had to see her in this condition. He stepped closer to the bed.

"Don't you *ever* scare me like that again Dana. You don't know how worried I was when I found out that you tried to kill yourself again. My poor heart can't take it," He said as he clutched his hands to his chest.

"I didn't try to kill myself, Blake."

"That's to be expected. The hospital counselor said that you would try to deny it. I've been told that some shrink is going to come by later to talk you." Before he was allowed to see her he had to meet with the counselor. He was lectured on what he could and couldn't say to her in fear of upsetting her so called delicate mental balance.

"What counselor?" she asked.

"The hospital counselor, has something to do with suicide prevention. I don't know, I wasn't paying that close of attention to her job title. Didn't they tell you about her? Hasn't she been in to see you? I assumed that it was normal with suicide attempts."

"Blond, five foot six, really bad breath. And for the record, I didn't try to kill myself," She said once again.

"That would be the one," He confirmed.

"She was in earlier today trying to talk me into entering some type of physiatric hospital. She said that I was deeply troubled and that there were several good places in the local area that could help me," Dana said mimicking with the counselor had told her.

"Have you thought about going to one of them?" He asked knowing that the question was not going to be well received.

"Of course not. Why would I go?"

"I can think of several reasons. Sex, drugs, alcohol, suicide attempt. Do you want me to keep listing more reasons, Dana?" He was always brutally honest with her, almost to a fault.

"I told you, I didn't try to kill myself," She said once again, rasing her voice.

"Okay, you didn't try to kill yourself. Would you mind explaining to me how you ended up here?"

"I guess I had a little too much to drink and not enough to eat."

"And how do you explain the drugs they found in your system? They had to pump your stomach Dana! The counselor told me that with the combination of drugs and alcohol you took, you're lucky to be alive."

"What drugs?"

"I don't know what they were called. Some kind of antidepressant."

"I don't remember taking any drugs, Blake."

"Which is why you need help. Please Dana. I have never asked you to do anything before, but I am asking you, no I'm pleading with you now, to get help."

"I know that I have really messed things up, Blake. But I don't want to be locked up in a hospital.

Blake sat down on her bed and took her hand in his. "You know, I blame myself for this mess."

"You blame yourself, why?"

"I should have seen the signs. I knew that something was wrong with you and I should have made you tell me. I had no idea that you would try to kill yourself." His eyes started watering and he made no effort to wipe them.

Dana reached up and wiped the tears out of his eyes with her fingers. "Blake, I know that I have problems, but I swear to you that I wasn't trying to kill myself. I didn't. I didn't."

"Do you know what that would do to me if you ever tried? It would devastate me. You are the person I am closest to in my life, you are my family. You mean everything to me. I couldn't bear to live another day if you weren't there beside me." He continued to silently cry while looking at her. His tears were infectious as she started crying at his kind words.

"I'm so sorry Blake. I'm sorry for shutting you out. I'm sorry for everything." She sat up and hugged him tightly letting him cry on her shoulder.

"Don't ever scare me like that again."

"I won't. I promise. I'm sorry," She said through her sobs. Blake hugged her harder.

"I want you to get help. I want my best friend back," He said as he hugged her.

"I'm scared Blake. I'm scared." She pulled out of his embrace and looked at him.

"What are you afraid of?"

"What if I fail? What if I can't overcome this addiction," She said as she reached out and grabbed his hand.

"You only fail if you do nothing, Dana, can't you see that. I'm here for you, and will always be here for you. I want to help you, you just have to let me."

"I want to get better, Blake, I do. I don't want to live my life like this anymore."

"If I find a good treatment center for you, will you go?"

"Yes," Dana said, tears streaming down her face, as she smiled for the first time in months.

End of chapter 21.