Title: Montana? 3
Author: eeyore
E-mail: thudonkey@yahoo.com
Category: X-file(ish), slash
Spoilers: none that I'm aware of
Rating: NC-17
Keywords: Scully/other, slash
Summary: This follows "Rub," and if you consider "Rub" to be "Montana? 2" the numbering will make sense.
Feedback: is the stuff dreams are made of.
Disclaimer: Scully and Mulder belong to Chris Carter, 1013, and the actors who portray them. They wanted to go to Montana for some wings, so I borrowed them. They don't belong to me at all.

Montana? 3
by eeyore.

This begins immediately after "Rub" ends.

Not more than a minute after Jane left to forage for food, Scully's cell phone rang. Once she located it among the clothing on the floor, she answered: "Scully."

"Scully, it's me," came through the line.

"Bored already?" she replied.

"I thought you'd be here by now, Scully. They've got a great chicken wing special, and the beer's cold."

"Ooh, Mulder," Scully replied, stretching across Jane's bed, "you know how to turn a girl on."

She pulled the phone away from her ear as a tapping sound came through. "Hello? Scully? Is there a Dana Scully, professional prude, there?"

"Very funny Mulder. Just 'cause I didn't want to listen to you masturbating."

As Mulder scrambled for an appropriate response, Jane came back into the room with Scully's drink from earlier. She grinned at the sight of a naked Scully on her bed, and set the drink down between Scully's parted legs.

Scully swore out loud as the cold glass registered against her so-recently-stimulated clitoris.

"What?" asked Mulder, concern sounding through his teasing tone. "Scully? You O.K.?"

"Yes Mulder, I'm fine. My drink is just a little colder than I expected." She flicked a bit of it at Jane who smiled as innocently as she could -- which is not very when you're naked and looking at Dana Scully, she mused.

Mulder's voice sounded hurt as he said, "you're drinking without me? Did you have a hot date or something?"

"Yes, Mulder. I had a hot date." She winked at Jane -- who was debating whether biting a federal agent's nipple while the agent was on the phone was prosecutable. "Stop pouting."

Scully forestalled Jane's move by covering the phone mic with her hand and asking whether Jane wanted to go for wings. Jane nodded in response, saying, "somehow the salad got a little limp."

Scully snorted, then said to Mulder "O.K. Order some wings for us; we'll be right there."

"Us?" said Mulder, sounding startled, as Jane -- not showing her surprise -- said, "flame for me."

"Us," Scully replied to Mulder. "I told you I had a hot date. "Oh, and Mulder -- 15 flame and 15 hot, O.K?" Without waiting for a reply, she hung up.

Jane looked at Scully, lounging and amused, with a fair bit of surprise. "Are you planning to tell him what you've been up to? Are you sure that's wise?"

"I don't know," Scully said. "I probably won't say anything. We don't actually talk about our sex lives -- or our usual lack of them --but innuendo like that is normal for us."

Jane nodded, seeing her point. "Still, you've planted the idea, and we're both going to walk in there looking like poster children for 'Afterglow.' He's gonna wonder."

"Let him wonder." Scully shrugged. "He's never seen afterglow on either one of us, so he won't be sure. Besides, at the moment I couldn't care less if he knows what I do for fun in Montague on a Saturday evening."

"Point taken, Dr. Scully, but soon enough you'll start to get a bit more concerned."

Scully got up off the bed and set her drink down. She walked over to Jane and put her arms around the bigger woman's waist. "I know," she said. "I'm already starting to dread the angst I'm going to put myself through. I just want to delay it a while longer." With that she pulled Jane's head down for a soft kiss.

A small sound escaped Jane at that. She gently untangled herself from Scully and said, "c'mon. We both need a fast shower. Let's see if we can get through it without me doing anything illegal to you." She headed to the bathroom, a smiling Scully in tow.

"I'm an officer of the law," Scully replied. "I don't do illegal."

"Is it just me, or is that a challenge?" Jane inquired as she kept moving.

"We'll see," teased Scully as they stepped into the bathroom.

---

Mel's Diner -- about a half-hour later

Having made it through the shower with no serious felonies, Scully and Jane got to Mulder's table a few minutes before the wings did. Mulder watched them come through the door admiringly. Jane wasn't at all his type, but looked comfortable and nice in a loose t-shirt dress. He enjoyed checking her out before his eyes moved to Scully. When they did, he nearly gasped.

She was stunning. He'd never seen her like this and struggled to file his impressions and get it together before the women reached the table. She had no make-up on and her hair was slicked into a wet pony tail. He'd only seen her looking that informal a few times. She was wearing a white t-shirt that was way too big tucked into her suit pants. He couldn't quite grasp why all that added up to breathtaking, but it surely did. She glowed.

Still processing, Mulder said hello, and gestured for Scully and Jane to sit while he poured them beer. As he did, he asked "so what have you been up to -- and don't give me that hot date stuff, either. I know what you think of the men of Montague."

"I went over to Jane's to avoid the happy-hour crowd," Scully replied.

Mulder nodded. That fit. He then said to Jane, "what do you do for fun when the FBI's most unwanted aren't around? The choices in here are few and far between." He gestured at the men in the diner, while watching Scully and Jane exchange a smile. *So that's it,* he thought. *They've been talking about men. Hope I fared O.K.* Not quite masochistic enough to ask, he changed the topic.

"So, Scully, did Jane tell you what we dug up today?" She shook her head. "We found an area with a bunch of tire tracks and a pit that's clearly been used to burn and bury the remains of some of the mutilated cattle."

"Are you sure it wasn't just a barbecue pit from some bush party, Mulder?" Scully responded with a raised eyebrow.

That sent both Mulder and Jane into an explanation of the nature of the site, and what they had found there. Scully easily listened to them with a part of her attention, and focused the rest on what was going on inside her. She hadn't yet started to panic about what she'd done, but she knew to expect it. Considering that she usually felt guilty even about masturbating, and always about casual sex, she expected this guilt trip to be fairly prodigious.

*Why?* she asked herself. *Why do you have to do this every time you do something that feels good?* Catholic guilt and a belief in the sublimation of physical desires explained that one. *I wish I could just shut it all off. I can rationally work out that I did nothing wrong, but no matter how rational I try to be, I still end up feeling a need to confess. And that doesn't even touch the fact that there was a woman involved. I have _no_ idea what to do about that.*

Scully's thoughts were rudely interrupted by a nudge on the shin from Jane. Scully rejoined the rest of the world hearing Jane say, ". . . and I still can't believe you think the bone site could have anything to do with aliens. For pity's sake, Mulder, there were tire tracks. Aliens do not drive pick-ups." Having provided a conversational thread to orient Scully, she added "back me up on this one, Scully."

"Mulder, are you yanking the deputy's chain again?" Looking at Jane, Scully continued "he feels morally obligated to trot out the extra-terrestrial possibility at least once a case, but he probably isn't attached to the theory. He just lives in fear that if he fails to raise the hypothesis it _will_ turn out to be aliens, and he won't get credit for it."

Jane broke into outright laughter, while Mulder looked indignant. Scully was about to continue to nail him when she saw the chicken wings heading toward the table. She cleared a space in front of her, saying, "oh, good. I'm famished."

Mulder and Jane both looked at her, amused at her vehemence. Jane bit back a comment about how Scully worked up that appetite -- realizing what her earlier mental absence might have been about, but Mulder took the opportunity to retaliate.

"What's the deal, Scully?" he said. "You're never very hungry. You work up an appetite on your hot date or something?"

Scully's internal commentary -- *I will not blush, I will not blush * --failed completely to save her, as did her capacity for quick comebacks. Jane saved her from any more of Mulder's attention by saying, "you're one to talk, g-man. Looks like you put away at least forty of those suckers yourself. Did you not get enough chili at lunch?"

That left Mulder trying to explain to Scully how he got chili at lunch-time while she had had a tuna sandwich. As he back-peddled, the women started to eat their wings.

Once Mulder finished explaining the chili event to a skeptical Scully -- eyebrow raised through the whole thing -- Mulder veered off to talk about a rash of UFO sightings he had heard about in Montana. When he started waxing poetic about the possibility of hauling Scully and the bureau car along to see them, she tuned out again -- right back to her angst.

*O.K. I have to get over this. I am a sexual being. That's a fact about human beings. As a sexual being, it is reasonable to desire sex. When no-one is interesting and available, it follows logically that I would have sex by myself. It's just rational. What wouldn't be rational would be sleeping with people like the sheriff because of a lack of better possibilities. Right, that's one incident taken care of.*

She started in on another wing before she went on to tackle the more recent event. *O.K. You can deal with this. Just think it through rationally again. You were in a position where you felt safe, and not judged. You were with a person who might in principle be attracted to you, and wondered whether or not you were attracted to that person. Recognizing that your body was telling you 'yes,' you pursued that attraction. You had sex with that person. O.K. Be honest, you had fucking _incredible_ sex with that person. It's all still rational. What wouldn't be rational would be if you experienced desire to that degree and didn't ever act on it -- if, in fact, you pushed it down, sublimated it to the point where you started to view yourself like the world does, as a sexless person. Gee, Dana, sound like anyone you know?*

As Scully was going through her self-flagellation she tried to keep a bit of her attention on Mulder's monologue, just in case he expected a response from her. So far, he hadn't.

*Next step. Repeat the first two conclusions. One -- it is more or less a part of being human to feel desire and act on it, either by one's self or with others. Two -- when one experiences desire toward someone, and one feels safe enough to act, it is reasonable to act on that desire. O.K., this is working better. Keep it abstract, and you won't get distracted with particulars.*

At that point, Scully actually paused in her dinner and smiled at her companions. She was doing fine. Everything was going to be fine. Then she caught Jane licking hot sauce absently off of a saturated finger and felt a stab of desire for the deputy. That derailed the 'fine.'

*O.K., Dana. You're going to think about the other part now whether you want to or not. Get it over with. Say it.* She took another deep breath. *You had sex with a woman. Not only did you have sex with her, you had it repeatedly, in different ways, and in different rooms. Plus. . .* Here Scully stopped and waited for the ringing in her ears to pass. . . *plus, it was so incredible that you want to do it again. Right now. Never mind who's watching.*

That admission made her very nearly choke on a wing. She took a gulp of her beer to compensate, and almost ended up spitting it back out at Mulder as she felt Jane's hand on her thigh. Scully couldn't believe how much concentration it took her not to open her legs wider at the touch.

"Are you O.K.?" Jane asked with unmistakable concern.

Scully nodded. "Yes. I'm just going over some details in my head."

Jane left it at that, having a pretty good idea of what Scully was going over, and engaged Mulder on another topic. Scully was both relieved and dismayed to have the conversation proceed around her.

*Right, then,* she said to herself. *No more bullshit. Cut to the chase. You had great sex with a woman. Your body is begging for more. What are you?* She paused at this point in her internal monologue, and could hear something inside her moaning *no, no, no, no, no.* Determined that if she was going to drown in angst she would at least control the direction of the angst, Scully went back to worry the wound some more.

*Well, clearly you're not as heterosexual as you've always thought. Of course, you've never really _thought_ you were heterosexual, you took it for granted as the only game in town, without taking into account either the experiences of friends or looking at other possibilities inside yourself. Well, Dana, you can consider them looked at, and 'fess up to the fact that you want to look at them again. So, what does that make you?* She heard a timid voice inside her head respond, *human,* but because she wanted so badly for that to be the right answer, she ignored it.

*Maybe you're a dyke, then, Dana. A dyke in serious denial, I might add.* The analytical part of her angst interrupted here. *Look at the facts Dana. You like having sex with men, too. Well, as much as you let yourself like any purely physical experience. Dyke doesn't match all the data any more than heterosexual does. Let's look behind door number three. That's right folks, here we have Dr. Dana Scully's deep dark secret, hidden even from herself. Perhaps she's not just a sexual being, but bisexual too. What do you think about that?*

The part of Dana Scully which had not slipped fully into panic over her recent behavior staged an assault. *Well, what _do_ you think about that. So what. Statistically speaking, that's probable for about 80% of the population -- if Kinsey got it right. What hangs on this? Do you really think that an omniscient, omnibenevolent god would dismiss you over who you sleep with?* Of course, part of her did, but that was the 'faith' part, and faith always lost out to science with Scully.

*O.K., so you like to have sex with women. It feels good. Feeling good is O.K. Brains work better when bodies feel good. This doesn't have to change your world completely. Just look at it as an expansion of possibilities. After all, you do _that_ nearly every day at work with Mulder.* Just as she was about to shift the topic of her panic to what Mulder would say if he knew, she was interrupted. Jane's hand was on her thigh again.

It took Scully a second to clear away the residue of her musings and realize that Mulder was no longer at the table. She looked at Jane, puzzled, and was told "bathroom break."

Scully nodded, and Jane said, "How's it going?"

"I'm fine," Scully replied automatically.

Jane snorted. "Bullshit. I've been watching you try to stave off panic since before we left the house. Your mind is running in terror from the homosexual monster."

"I'm not homophobic. That's not it at all."

"You might not think you're homophobic," said Jane, trying to keep her voice gentle, "but you clearly never really thought about anything but heterosexual possibilities for yourself."

"I'll grant you that one," Scully agreed, after a moment of thought, "but it's not that I'm horrified of it or trying to deny what I chose to do, or anything like that, though. I just don't know how to fit that in with my idea of who I am."

*Well, that could be worse,* thought Jane. *She could be accusing me of taking advantage of her. _That'd_ make for a nice Saturday night.* She said "I wish it were as easy as saying 'O.K., I slept with a woman. Hmm, that was fun. Well, let's move along,' but it isn't. There are too many prejudices inside any of us for that to be enough."

Scully had been nodding vehemently with each of Jane's points. "Yes. I did exactly what I want to do. I don't intend to deny that. It was more than fun, it was fantastic. That's sitting well inside me too. Where I get hung up is partly just the fact that I acted on any sexual desire -- I almost never do that, and I always feel guilty afterward. The other part is that I have to re-define myself in the face of my actions and desires. That's hard, particularly when so much of my upbringing and so many of my beliefs tell me it's wrong to have sex with a woman. Nice blush, by the way."

Jane shrugged diffidently. "Not often I hear the word fantastic in that context, you know? Thank you, I think."

"Oh, no." Scully shook her head definitively. "Thank you. It really was an incredible experience."

Jane's blush grew worse, but she talked around it: "you could always consider the last few hours as some sort of. . . I don't know. . . mental aberration, or out of body experience or something. You do have the option of not changing the way you define yourself."

"I realize that," Scully said, and turned slightly so that she was facing directly at Jane. She smiled tentatively, and said, "the problem there is that everything inside me is telling me that it's something I want to do again."

Jane could have sworn that every drop of blood in her body just made a U-turn and headed for her groin. She looked at Scully in shock, unbelieving of the turn-around time between panic and an expression of continued desire. "What?" was the best reply she could manage.

Scully's smile turned more seductive as she realized the effect of her words. "Relax. I'm not coming on to you. . . yet. I need to think the last few hours through, and make sure I know what I'm doing. What I want to know, I guess, is what happens if I'd like to spend some more time practicing my seduction technique on you?" Scully almost froze upon finishing her sentence. She couldn't quite believe that she'd had the fortitude to admit what she had to Jane, but the admission had made her feel like the whole thing was a little more real. Now her most immediate fear was one of rejection.

She needn't have worried. Jane tried three times to start a sentence, with no luck. Finally she got out, "yes, right. Just call me a pool of jell-o in the chair. Um, right, um, well, if you want me, you know how to find me. It's a small town."

To make absolutely sure, Scully said, "you're positive?"

"Yes," replied Jane, recovering her composure. "I hope you're not proposing, or planning to move in, or anything, but I'd very much like to come out and play."

As Scully was opening her mouth, she heard "play what? Basketball? Golf? Cow-chip toss?" over her shoulder. *Shit.* What had he heard? Apparently she was lucky yet again, as Mulder just seemed vaguely curious about the possibility of a sports conversation with the women.

She shook her head, and took her turn at leading Mulder out of harm's way. "Nothing exciting, Mulder. I was just speculating on how long it was going to take the lab down in Billings to analyze my data and play with the results."

The tactic worked, and soon the three were back into another discussion of the case that had brought the FBI to Montague. This time the conversation centered on the work Scully was doing in the morgue, and moved into a discussion between Scully and Jane on forensic procedure.

Finding himself not at the center of the conversation, Mulder took a step into himself, wanting to figure out what was going on with Scully. She was acting very oddly. *I know she's having an 'I hate men' day, but that's not it. She's not even pissed at me about my cracks in the sheriff's department. . .*

*I don't think it's the case, either. I know the way she works. She'd come to me if there were any concerns there.* He was running out of obvious options, and let his mind wander over her behavior since entering the diner. He remembered how she'd looked as she had entered the room. *What could that be about?*

She had looked completely relaxed, satiated. *Wait a minute. Satiated? Dr. Non-sexual Scully? Nah.* He shook his head, then listened to the animated way that Scully was engaging Jane. *Scully? She did say something about a date. . . but she was with Jane. . . who is nearly certainly a. . . no. There was just no way. Scully's face wrinkled up like a prune at the very thought of sex. She cannot have had sex with someone she's barely met. . . a _woman_ she's barely met. Besides, she's been staring off into space looking miserable half the night. That doesn't go with the sex idea. . . unless. . . the misery was about the sex being with a woman.*

Realizing that his thoughts were about to deteriorate into a porno flick starring his partner, and finding that _highly_ implausible, Mulder switched trains of thought. *Whatever is bothering her, she'll sort it out. I'll offer to listen if she needs to talk. After all, she's my best friend. I'll just make a point of saying that if she needs me, she knows where to find me.* With that, Mulder abandoned any further speculation and joined the conversation.

The three continued to discuss the case and joke around through another pitcher. Then Scully indicated that she wanted to leave, and since Mulder was up for more beer, Jane said she'd walk back to the motel with Scully and then head home. Mulder said good night to the women and, picking up his beer glass, headed toward the sheriff's table in the back.

---

Once they were outside the two women moved toward the motel in silence, Scully trying to decide what she wanted and could cope with, and Jane trying not to make Scully's torment any worse. Just before they reached 'Romeo's Hideaway' Jane spoke for the first time. "Scully, I feel like I should apologize to you. I've made you extremely uncomfortable, and I'm wondering whether I've completely destroyed our working relationship as well."

Scully stopped on the sidewalk and shook her head at Jane. "You have _nothing_ to apologize for. _I_ was the one who chose to shift our relationship, and it's _my_ problem that I have to sort out some of my beliefs and feelings. You've been fantastic." Again, Jane blushed at the word. "No, I'm serious," Scully continued. "You were extremely careful to make sure I was thinking about what I was doing, you didn't push me in any way, and you're being incredibly supportive about the homophobic garbage that I'm panicking about. That's above and beyond the call for an acquaintance from work. Thank you."

Jane nodded acknowledgment of the thanks, and the two resumed walking. Scully continued to talk. "I don't think our working relationship will suffer in the wake of my internal fears. I'm certain that you respect what I do, and I certainly respect your work, and I neither think more nor less of your skills as a police officer based on your skills in bed." A small Scully smirk escaped with this comment.

"Any internal worries I have are directed completely at me, and I intend to make them go away. I'm 34 years old. It's well and truly time to stop feeling guilty about sex."

"I hope it's that easy for you, Scully. It took a hell of a lot more than that for me to come to any kind of tolerance for my own attraction to women, never mind acceptance." Jane's concern was evident as she stopped in front of Scully's motel room. "I am completely willing to talk about the topic whenever you need to, and to talk to you about what my internal experiences have been, too. O.K.?"

Scully smiled a thank you for the offer. "I'm determined not to get caught up in my angst. I'm an expert at repressing things. This time I want to try to repress the guilt instead of the desire." With that she stepped a bit closer to Jane. "I need to be alone tonight, but do you think I could have a good night kiss?" She ended the sentence well within Jane's personal space, their bodies ever so slightly pressing against one another.

Jane didn't bother to reply at all, instead leaning down so that Scully could easily reach her lips. Again, Scully initiated the contact, sliding her lips softly against Jane's. Her tongue came out to glide along Jane's lower lip, and as Jane relaxed her mouth, Scully's teeth came up against Jane's lower lip biting gently. Jane couldn't completely repress a groan, but the sound seemed to just make Scully more certain. Her hand snaked out, reaching into Jane's hair to pull her mouth closer, and her hips rocked up against Jane. When Scully pulled away a few minutes later, both women were flushed and breathing hard.

"Oh, yes," Scully murmured. "You taste so delicious." She licked her lips introspectively, seemingly trying to catch every bit of the taste of the other woman. The sight caught Jane off-guard, and she felt her hips jerk against Scully before she could control the impulse. That made Scully smile again. She looked up at Jane again, this time a little tentatively. "I'm not the only one reacting to this, am I?"

Jane was quick to dispel her worries. Taking an uneven breath, she replied, "no, not at all. You have my complete and undivided attention."

"Good. I needed to know that." Scully paused. "Would it make me an insufferable tease if I ended it there for tonight?"

Jane shook her head. "Of course not. You made your needs on the subject clear, and that's just fine with me. I'm going to wander off home, and you try to get some sleep, and I'll see you at the morgue tomorrow morning. . ." Forestalling Scully's next question, she continued, "and I'll be happy to see you, and I'll be professional, and I still won't fetch you coffee. O.K.?"

"O.K. I don't know how much sleep I'm going to get, though. I expect to alternate between angst, panic, and how wet you just made me."

"Well. At least there's a solution to that last one." Jane paused for effect. "You can picture me at home, lying in a room that smells of sex and Dana Scully, sliding my fingers through the wetness _you_ just caused until I come. Think that'll help?"

"Oh, sure." Scully's sense of humor was definitely returning. "That thought will put me right to sleep. I'll alternate between feeling guilty for leaving you hanging and touching myself. Just remember, when you're getting ready to come, that I'll be masturbating staring at myself in a ceiling mirror." Her voice at that point was a mixture of amusement and arousal.

Jane's left no doubt about her state. "That's it. I need to get home _right_ now." She leaned down for one final quick kiss, then strode across the parking lot, listening to Scully's chuckles as she unlocked the door to her room.

Once inside, Scully pushed away her angst long enough to get her pyjamas on and get into bed. Once she was there, she could no longer ignore the throbbing feeling between her legs. Sliding a hand inside her bottoms, and watching the stealthy movement in the mirror, Scully couldn't believe how wet she was, and whatever else might haunt her, she couldn't ignore this desire she felt. It took an amazingly short time for her to bring herself off, and in the mental haze she felt afterward, she drifted off into sleep.

---

She jolted awake at 5:23 a.m. to discover that her hand was still in her pyjama pants, and that she was still -- or again -- wet. Hard on the heels of that realization followed the memory of what had caused it. She jerked her hand out of the bed covers and sat up. Guilt hit her full force again as she did, and she repeated her resolve to push down her guilt over sex, and learn to deal with the fact that she was unmistakably attracted to women. Those were all thoughts with serious consequences and, knowing she wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, Scully reluctantly got out of bed.

Less than an hour later, she felt presentable enough to walk over to the sheriff's office. None of the day-shift -- Jane included -- had yet arrived, so she said hello to the deputy yawning at the desk, poured herself a cup of coffee, and let herself into the morgue.

After three hours hunched over a microscope, she stretched and moved away to discover that her coffee was stone-cold. Needing some more, she walked back into the sheriff's office. The first person she saw was Mulder, lounging behind a desk on his cell phone. She nodded hello, and got a wave in reply. Knowing Jane was there, she prepared a poker face and looked in her direction. Jane smiled her usual morning smile -- which always looked more like a grimace to Scully -- and said, "you were in early today."

Scully nodded as she made a bee-line to the coffee machine. "I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. I figured it made more sense to work than to lie in bed doing nothing."

She wasn't certain whether to be grateful or disappointed when Jane ignored the opportunity for innuendo and asked whether she had slept well before that. Scully replied, "well, I took your advice, and that put me right to sleep." She met Jane's eyes as she said it, and was gratified to watch the deputy's color rise as she squirmed in her seat. "Have a nice morning," she finished as she detoured in her route to the morgue so that she'd cross Jane's line of sight an extra time. She consciously put a bit of extra sway in her step as she did so, hoping that Jane reacted to that as well.

Jane did, and after Scully's departure she realized that Mulder had just watched her react. She looked over at him, and found that he was off the phone and looking at her slightly reproachfully. She shrugged one shoulder at him and said, "what? She's worth looking at."

"I agree completely," Mulder drawled, "but she never puts on a show like that for me."

Jane made an effort to look innocent and puzzled. "Show?"

Mulder smiled. "Jane, I've watched Scully exit a room hundreds of times, and never seen it look that provocative." Jane had nothing to say to that, and was mentally scrambling for a way to get Scully off the hook when Mulder continued, "don't feel obliged to hedge. Scully's behavior didn't completely pass me by last night, and then I ended up heading back to the motel while you two were still outside."

Shit. Busted. "O.K., then, Mulder. Why are we having this conversation? More to the point, why aren't you having it with Scully?"

Mulder nodded his approval at her line of questioning. "Unless I'm completely losing my touch, what we saw at the diner last night was Scully panicking at the way she feels." Seeing confirmation of this guess on Jane's face, he continued. "It would only make her more anxious if she had to deal with my knowing what's going on, and worrying about my reactions."

"That's decent, Mulder, but you don't seem at all uncomfortable with what you've guessed. Why would it make things worse for Scully to know that you know?"

"I'm not exactly sure, Jane; call it a hunch. I don't care what Scully does as long as she's safe and happy, but she'll feel the need to convince me that she's fine when she's not quite as fine as she wants to be."

"I can accept that," Jane replied. "I'll refrain from telling her what you might or might not have seen."

"Might not have?" Mulder's face lit up in curiosity. "You mean there's something I might have missed?"

Not taking the bait, Jane countered with "what do you think you saw?"

"I saw her kiss you, more than once. Plus, now that I've thought about it, I saw the both of you walk into that diner last night with really big grins on." Mulder now thought he had all the pieces of the puzzle, and displayed them with all the glee of a 10 year old.

Jane smiled at his demeanor. "What's wrong with grinning, Mulder. Scully had just told me about the extent of your porn habit. It seemed to both of us that oiling your baseball glove not 10 feet away from your partner lacks a little something. Don't you think?"

Mulder almost reeled at how fast he'd been put on the defensive. Not only was he not sure about whether the women had or hadn't, he was being taken to task for his own limited sex life. It just wasn't fair. He had just begun to try to explain why his actions were perfectly reasonable, when the police scanner crackled to life.

Jane took the call, then looked at Mulder. "You're in luck stud-muffin. We get to go visit us some more cows. Lupine's place this time. You want to tell Scully, or should I?"

Mulder waved Jane toward the morgue door. "I'd hate to stand in the way," he said.

Jane got up and stepped into the morgue. "Scully," she called.

"Uh huh" came from behind a stainless steel table full of cow entrails.

"We got another call. You want to join us, or should we leave you to your liver and onions?" Jane was deliberately flip.

"I'm fine here, but be careful with Mulder," Scully said, rising from behind the table with some more specimens. "I know how hard it is for you to control yourself around him." Scully blew the other woman a facetious kiss.

"I heard that," Mulder shouted from the other room.

"You were supposed to," she shouted back.

On that note, Jane said good-bye, and the two left for the Lupine place.

---

Morgue -- 4 hours later

When Mulder and Jane got back from their excursion they were laden with beef. Mulder deposited a cooler of samples in front of Scully, and Jane brought one through and set it in the freezer area.

"Jane," Scully called. "Can you leave that out, please. Some of the stuff I need to check for dies in the cold."

"Oh," Jane replied. "This isn't yours. Reggie butchered last night, and he sent along some steak and roasts for me."

"Must be nice," was Scully's reply to Jane as she turned to Mulder. "Mulder, I want you to have a look at something weird. I've never seen anything quite like this, and I can't identify it."

Mulder came to look over her shoulder as Scully loaded up a slide under the microscope. She moved out of the way, and allowed him to adjust the focus himself. Turning to Jane she asked, "do you by chance know any microbiology?"

Jane shook her head ruefully. "Sorry, must have been sick that day. How're you doing?"

"I'm fine, just puzzled by these slides. There should at least be some identifiably organic or inorganic structure present. No matter what magnification I use, I draw completely blank results." Scully unconsciously kneaded her neck as she spoke.

"Here," Jane said as she stepped closer. "Let me."

She slid hands up Scully's back to her neck, and started to massage the kinks out of it. Scully relaxed against her, not even trying to block out the desire that Jane's touch elicited. She hurt enough that it was just nice to feel good. She moaned slightly as Jane hit a particularly bad spot. Jane's reaction was to look at Mulder, but he was completely engrossed in the microscope. Seeing that, she bent her head so that her lips were behind Scully's ear, and ran her tongue over the soft skin behind it.

Not wanting to draw Mulder's attention, Scully fought to remain silent, but turned far enough to give Jane a scorching look. Jane shrugged as if to say, "who? me?" Scully rolled her eyes, but made no attempt at all to move further away from Jane. Jane, of course, took this as a hint to repeat the move.

Mulder looked up before things got any more out of hand between Scully and Jane. To Scully's surprise he didn't even comment on Jane's hands on Scully's neck. "What the heck is this?" he asked, gesturing toward the tray of slides. "I'm not sure what I should be looking for, but I certainly can't see anything even vaguely identifiable. Is it from the victims?"

Scully nodded and moved closer to him. "There are subcutaneous samples from each of the cows that were slaughtered, as well as from each of the cows that survived. Every single one of them does that when exposed to a standard test series, and I have no idea what it means. I'm hoping that when I hear from the lab in Billings, they'll be able to tell us something."

Jane asked, "did you send these to Billings?"

"Yes. Everything I've done here I've asked them to duplicate in the lab. It's a fairly standard M.O."

Mulder's question was vintage Mulder. "Scully, is there any chance that the reactant might be something unknown, something beyond our frontiers?"

"Something extra-terrestrial, Mulder?" Scully didn't sound quite as disbelieving as usual. "I can't say for certain that it is something of terrestrial origin, but it does seem the more likely possibility. Just because it is beyond my experience doesn't mean it doesn't exist."

All three of them heard the double entendre in that statement, but none commented on it.

"So what do we do, then?" This was Jane again.

"Well," Scully said. "I'm going to run the same series on these new samples, and check a few more variables. By then it'll be evening and I'm taking some time off. I need a break."

Mulder announced his approval of that plan, and suggested again that Scully take a tour of some UFO sites with him. After both she and Jane emphatically refused, Mulder told them he'd go alone. His parting line was, "don't wait up, then. Oh, and don't do anything I wouldn't do."

After he left, Jane kissed Scully's neck once more, then released her. As they moved apart, Jane said, "if you want company to do that relaxing, I was planning to barbecue one of those steaks this evening. Fancy any?"

Scully smiled and nodded in reply. "I'm certainly indulging my carnivorous streak this week. Are you sure I'll actually get fed this time?" She raised an eyebrow at Jane.

Rather than defending herself by reminding Scully of who started what, Jane replied, "well, I'll be cooking in the back yard, and about half the town can see into it, so unless you have a seriously exhibitionist streak I'd say dinner was pretty likely. Dessert, however, is negotiable."

"That brings up a few possibilities."

"Well, then, Agent Scully, I'll leave the dessert menu to you. Now I'll let you get your tests done, and take my specimens home to marinate. C'mon over whenever you're finished. Just walk around the back, O.K.?"

When Scully had agreed, Jane grabbed the meat out of the freezer, and said "I'll see you in a while." With that, she left Scully to the rest of her day's work.

Sunday evening -- downtown Montague

Early in the evening, Scully finally made her way from the motel toward Jane's house. She had showered off the smell of decaying cow, and put on clothing more suitable for the warm evening -- a t-shirt and a simple skirt, with a pair of open sandals. She had spent more time deciding what to wear than she wanted to think about, and couldn't shake the 'going on a date' nervousness that had grasped her. It was mixing uneasily in her stomach with the panic that was still periodically gripping her -- what was she doing thinking things like that about a woman?

*At least I'm getting better at coping with the fears and angst* she thought hopefully, *and I'm certainly having no trouble with the idea of being attracted to her.* In point of fact, Scully was having trouble not thinking about it. She had spent so much of her life shutting off such possibilities that when she allowed any lust to surface it seemed almost overwhelming. She considered -- not for the first time that day -- the possibility of jumping Jane the moment she saw her. Even though the idea made her puritanical side blush, she didn't want to dismiss the possibility out of hand.

The sight she faced as she rounded the side of Jane's house didn't help any. Jane was tending the barbecue wearing nothing but a very tight tank top and a short pair of cut-off jeans. Scully had no trouble remembering exactly how good all of that skin had felt pressed against her and inside of her the night before. She couldn't resist walking quietly up behind Jane and putting her arms around the taller woman's waist by way of greeting. Evidently Scully hadn't been as quiet as she thought, because Jane didn't even flinch. She just turned around so that she could embrace Scully in return. This time it was Jane who initiated a kiss, gently flicking at Scully's lips with the tip of her tongue.

"Hello," she murmured against Scully's mouth. "You smell delicious."

Without moving, Scully replied, "didn't figure I'd be too popular smelling of decomposing flesh."

Jane broke away slightly, and made a rude face. "Well, _you_ certainly know how to kill a moment."

Scully laughed. "It was part of one of my forensic anthropology courses. I can gross anybody out. Even Mulder."

She moved back toward Jane, hoping that the moment could be resuscitated. Rather than tilting up to resume the kiss, though, she leaned down slightly and wrapped her lips around one of Jane's nipples. To Scully's delight, it turned out that Jane hadn't bothered with a bra for the barbecue.

Scully didn't get long to enjoy the nipple before Jane lifted her head back up. She gave Scully a mock-disapproving look and said, "I've been recently criticized for not feeding my guests. Don't go making it more difficult for me. Come to think of it, the last time you were this forward you were over-hungry too. Maybe this is some sort of chemically unbalanced response to hunger."

Scully snorted at that one. "Not likely. It'd make more sense to say that the forwardness comes from wanting to make my interest clear before the prudish part of my brain convinces me not to. Well, that and the fact that looking at you is making me wet enough that I can feel a trickle down my leg."

Scully cocked an eyebrow at Jane as she finished her sentence. Jane reacted well, dragging in a ragged breath and saying, "O.K., I'm going to get those steaks on. I think I'd like to get through dinner as quickly as I can."

Scully shook her head and gave Jane what she hoped was a very sultry look. "Sorry to wreck your plans, but right now I want you _way_ more than I want a steak. Could we re-arrange the plans slightly?"

"I like the way you think, Dr. Scully." Jane was already turning the propane switch to off. "Care to come inside?" Jane made a passable attempt at a leer.

Scully shook her head. "I've already done that. Why don't you come back to my place. I want to watch you."

"Ah, yes. The mirror." Jane was nodding. "Just give me a second to grab something, O.K.?"

"Sure."

Jane was gone and back inside a minute with a knapsack slung over one shoulder. She gestured Scully toward the path toward the motel, and they set off back to Scully's room. They didn't touch on the way, but walked close enough to one another that each could feel herself responding to the other's presence.

As soon as they reached the motel lot, Scully found herself checking for their rental car. Having sex with Mulder next door did not bear much thinking about. Fortunately there was no sign of him or the car. Scully let them into her room with no fanfare, and turned to lock the door behind her.

As soon as she was finished, she turned and started to push Jane toward the bed. Resistance being the furthest thing from the deputy's mind, Jane let herself be pushed, dropping her knapsack beside the bed as Scully pushed her onto her back. Jane didn't have more than an instant to register her image in the mirror before Scully began to crawl onto her, straddling her legs. Jane was torn between the image of the sultry look on Scully's face as she crawled closer, and the mirror image of Scully sliding over her. Both were intensely erotic.

When Scully's head reached Jane's, she immediately leaned down to kiss her, and lowered her body so that it was resting full on Jane's. "Too heavy?" she asked. When Jane shook her head, Scully repositioned herself slightly, grinding against Jane's stomach. Jane was torn between just watching the dance of Scully's hips on top of her, or sliding a hand down her own belly to give the agent something to grind up against.

"Fast or slow?" she asked, hoping that Scully would make the choice for her.

"Slow," Scully murmured against her mouth. "It feels very good to shift this ache against you. I want to see just how desperate you make me before I can't stand it anymore."

"Slow is good," Jane agreed. "While you're there, can we have a little talk about safety that we never really had yesterday?"

Not changing her rhythm at all, Scully nodded.

"We did some things that I don't think of as safe sex. Delicious as they were, I need there to be barriers when we are inside one another and barriers for any oral sex." Jane unconsciously licked her lips at the thought of that.

"I have gloves," came Scully's reply. She stopped grinding as she spoke, but stayed where she was on Jane. She continued: "but nothing like a dental dam. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen one."

"That's what the knapsack is for." Jane was more than pleased with her foresight.

"Little thick, don't you think?" Scully's amusement at her own line only lasted an instant, and was replaced by an increased ache as Jane's fingers found a nipple through her t-shirt. "Yes," she murmured. "Yes."

Her distraction allowed Jane to move Scully off balance far enough that she could flip the smaller woman on her back. Jane ended up with one leg between Scully's but the bulk of her weight beside Scully on the bed. Jane made a quick grab for her knapsack before Scully could retaliate, but Scully didn't even try. She was too busy staring at the image of Jane's ass and leg draped over herself that she could see in the mirror.

Scully reached up to grab that ass, feeling the softness and the muscle. She could see what Jane was bringing out of the knapsack, but was completely unconcerned. In a moment, she heard the unmistakable sound of stretching latex, and felt herself shiver in anticipation of where she'd feel it first.

Where turned out to be along the front of her skirt. She watched Jane's hand start at the knee, and work up to the place where Jane's thigh lay between Scully's. She ran the hand palm up between them over the skirt, and quickly realized what Scully wasn't wearing.

"You tart. No underwear?"

Scully just raised an eyebrow, not at all embarrassed. "Didn't think I needed them. Did you want me to put some on?"

Jane shook her head, then shifted so that her weight was pinning Scully. "Not necessary. I'll just fuck you through the skirt." Suiting action to word, she slid a gloved finger and the light material of the skirt between Scully's labia and rested her finger just at the edge of where Scully most wanted her to be.

Scully couldn't take her eyes off the mirror on the ceiling. From that vantage point it looked like Jane had just slid the whole fist inside her, and the idea sent Scully's hips rocketing off the bed. The motion forced Jane's finger inside Scully, and the roughness of the skirt's fabric was an incredible friction for her. She moaned, then tried to regain some control over her body's reactions.

Jane eased the finger back out, and Scully said, "no" before she could even think. Jane chuckled, and reached both the gloved and ungloved hand up to loosen the waist of Scully's skirt.

"Can I undress you?" Jane's voice had dropped even lower than its usual pitch. The undertone of urgency in it did nothing to dispel Scully's arousal. She nodded, and lifted her hips to help. The t-shirt and bra followed, and both women looked up at the mirror to admire Scully's nakedness.

"You are so beautiful," Jane said with awe.

"I just look pale and skinny," was Scully's reply.

"Well," laughed Jane, "I'm having absolutely no luck feeding you, but I'm sure I could manage to darken your skin here and there if that'll help."

To illustrate her point, she bent to nip at the underside of Scully's left breast. When Scully's response was nothing but a quick intake of breath, Jane sucked in a bit more flesh, and went about leaving a small mark. She moved back to admire it, and Scully laughed. "Good thing Mulder won't see that."

"Never mind Mulder." Scully grabbed the back of Jane's head and pushed her back down to the breast. "Get back there."

Jane went gladly, and for a few moments, Scully lay on her back watching Jane move over her, loving the feel of the soft lips and tongue stroking her nipple. Quickly, though, the desire to feel more of Jane became pressing, and Scully reached up her arms to tug the tank-top over Jane's head.

Jane helped her remove it, then shifted slightly as Scully moved up on one hip to lap at a nipple. She felt so good against Jane's flesh that Jane just rolled her head back and enjoyed the feeling. She opened her eyes a moment later and was treated to the sight of her own body with Scully's insinuated right next to it, tongue out, teasing. It was exquisite.

She resumed what she was doing before her top came off, getting Scully to shift one leg enough that she could move her gloved hand easily. She smiled at Scully's wetness, and again at the sounds the smaller woman was making. Scully wasn't to be sidetracked, though, and kept licking and nuzzling Jane's breast as Jane stroked her.

Eventually, though, the slowness became too much for Scully. She lifted her head enough to see Jane's eyes and said "can I touch you?" She let a hand fall to the front of Jane's shorts to make her meaning clear.

Jane nodded and rolled on her back to get rid of the shorts. That left Scully with access to Jane's backpack, and she quickly slid into a pair of gloves. At Jane's raised eyebrow, she remarked "seems odd to just put on one." As an afterthought, she had another look in the bag to hunt down one of the dental dams. She pulled out a package marked Lixx, and pulled a nearly transparent sheet of latex out of it.

Scully moved up the bed slightly, to where Jane's newly naked pubic mound rested. She gently parted Jane's legs, and sank between them with hands and latex near her face. She stretched out the square, and used one side of it to run between Jane's labia and over her clit. Jane gasped. "That O.K.?" asked Scully.

"Um, why don't you do it about 50 more times, and I'll get back to you with an answer." As a reply, Scully used her gloved fingers to anchor the latex over her target area, leaving enough slack in the material that she could manipulate it over Jane's clit. She sank her mouth down over the slick pinkness, and despite her awareness of the barrier she was surprised by the taste of latex instead of the sweetness she'd been imagining. Still, both the view and the sensation were spectacular.

Jane apparently thought so too. Her eyes were focused on the ceiling, where she could see Scully's head framed by her own pubic hair, and see Scully's back and legs in all their glory. Then Scully flicked her tongue against Jane's clit, and her attention refocused on Scully. "You have no idea in the world how good that feels," Jane said roughly, struggling for enough breath to talk.

"You'll have to show me later, then," Scully replied, and then sent her lips back down against Jane. Wanting to do more, she figured out a way to anchor the latex square with four fingers, and used her freed thumbs to massage Jane's labia just outside her opening. Jane moaned approval.

Scully, clearly having fun, kept doing exactly what she wanted to Jane's body. It was starting to affect her too, though, and she found herself absently clenching her thighs and driving herself against the bed looking for some friction to ease the throbbing in her clit. To Jane, who wasn't in a position to actually touch Scully's body, the sight was intoxicating. She could see Scully's thrusts perfectly, and only the feeling of the redhead's tongue stopped Jane from moving so that she could take care of the other woman.

Scully made a subtle shift to the pattern she had created with her tongue, and slid both thumbs into Jane's vagina. She began to twist and pump them rhythmically, and Jane found herself spinning higher and higher. The pressure of Scully's thumbs was so insistent, and her tongue so gentle and soft that Jane found herself sliding effortlessly over the edge into a slow rolling orgasm. When she found the energy to pay attention to the world again, she discovered that Scully's thumbs were still inside her, and one of her fingers was lightly caressing the distended swell of her clit. Before she could agree or protest, her body was rocked again in orgasm.

This time she had to stop Scully from continuing. She gently grabbed the back of Scully's neck, and said "come up here." Scully did, and curled up against Jane. When they both looked up, Scully's head was on Jane's shoulder, and one of her legs rested over Jane's thigh. From that position, Jane was extremely aware of how wet Scully had become.

Quietly, right into Scully's ear, she said "did that make you wet? Did you like watching me come? Did you like making me come?" The combination of the words and Jane's soft breath in her ear made Scully groan. She ground herself into Jane to show her the extent of the wetness, and leaned up to kiss her.

The kiss was slow and tender and hot. It left Jane breathless, and Scully panting with desire. Catching her breath she answered Jane's questions. "Yes. You made me wet. Watching you come made me want to take you over and over again. Making you come was infinitely better than making myself come here last night."

"Good answer. Did you still want me to go slow?"

Scully snorted. "Fuck, no. I want you to take me now, hard and fast, until I scream. I want you so badly after that that I couldn't stand any more slow."

"Well, in that case. . ." Jane extricated her gloved hand from under Scully's head, and rolled to the side to get something from the bag. When she turned back toward Scully, she found the agent on her stomach facing away from her. Once Scully saw that she had Jane's attention, she pushed herself off the bed with her arms until she was on her elbows and knees. While she peeled off her gloves, she looked back at Jane, not saying anything, but conveying complete lust with her eyes.

Jane couldn't stop her mouth from hanging open. When she'd gotten a grip on that, she said "you are so incredibly sexy. Can I fuck you now?"

Scully nodded, then rested her head back down on her arms. Jane used the lubricant she had taken from the knapsack to make her gloved hand slippery, then without warning Scully or shifting on the bed she reached up and slid two fingers into Scully's glistening sex. Scully pushed back against the fingers, and the combination of her own wetness and the lube made it easy for Jane to add another one and twist them into Scully. Scully gasped out, "again, more," and Jane did what she asked.

With four of Jane's fingers twisting into her, Scully pushed her torso up on her arms, and forced her ass down so that she was nearly sitting up. Using gravity to help her, she tried to force Jane's hand further into her. Knowing what she was looking for, Jane tucked her thumb into the palm of her hand and twisted to make sure that her glove wasn't going to catch or tear Scully's skin. She applied a little more pressure, and suddenly slid all the way into Scully. "Oh, jesus, yes" was Scully's response. She rocked her body so that Jane's fist was thrusting forcefully inside her, not quite pulling out, but massaging the inside of her vagina.

Scully continued to curse quietly, reverently. She was moving her whole body against Jane's fist, and those movements were getting faster. Jane could feel her internal muscles starting to contract, and realized belatedly that she didn't have a hand to wrap safely around Scully and against her clit. "Touch yourself," she urged, both wanting to see it and wanting Scully to come as forcefully as possible.

Scully did, and nearly instantly went off. She let out a hoarse shout and her legs went rigid as she came, and she fell back onto her stomach on the bed, taking Jane's hand with her. Jane could feel her muscles contracting repeatedly as both women lay there breathing heavily. Finally, after a couple of minutes to calm her breathing, Scully shifted enough that Jane could see her face. Catching sight of the two of them in the ceiling, Scully moaned again. "We look so good," she said. Following her gaze, Jane had to agree.

Slightly worried about the potential for pain, she said to Scully "I have to take this hand back. You need to relax if you can, or it'll hurt."

Scully just laughed. "It doesn't get much more relaxed than this." She eased her legs a bit further apart, and that allowed Jane to slide her hand out. She peeled off her glove, and moved to wrap her arms around Scully. Scully curled up against her with a smile of contentment, and both women nodded off to sleep.

When Scully next woke up, the edges of dawn were creeping around the curtains, and Jane's face was between her legs. Groggy and already very aroused, Scully couldn't stop herself from groaning. Taking that groan as a sign that Scully had awakened, Jane switched from a slow gentle stroking with her tongue to a hard rhythmic flicking. Not quite able to believe that it could feel so good with latex between them, Scully reached down with her hand to confirm it.

When Scully's fingers reached Jane's face, Jane stopped what she was doing to suck a finger into her mouth. Scully looked up, and could see the back of Jane's head bobbing up and down over her crotch along with the feeling of Jane's tongue and teeth on her finger. Caught in the moment, Scully growled, "yes, c'mon, suck me."

That spurred Jane on, and she continued to go down on Scully's hand as she pushed one of her own inside Scully. Scully's hips raised off the bed and she had to bite back a scream of lust. Jane started to pump her fingers into Scully more forcefully, and before much more time had passed, Jane could feel Scully's muscles starting to tense. She abandoned the finger she'd been sucking and clamped her lips around Scully's clit one more time. Scully came hard shouting a few incoherent syllables before she got a grip on herself.

She was still winding down from the intensity of the orgasm when her cell phone began to ring. It took her a few seconds to locate the phone on the bedside table, and then a few more seconds to catch her breath and prepare to speak as Jane slid her fingers out.

She cleared her throat and answered: "Scully."

"Hey, Scully," came Mulder's slow drawl.

Scully's eyes immediately jerked up to the wall between her room and Mulder's. This could be really bad.

"Having fun?" Yes, it was really bad. What could she possibly say?

"What do you want, Mulder?" There was nothing she could say to save the conversation. Either he'd heard and was out for payback, or he hadn't and she didn't want to draw his attention to the subject.

"Oh, I just wanted to make sure you're O.K." said Mulder. Scully distinctly recognized his 'I'm innocent' voice.

"Of course, I'm O.K.," Scully replied, rolling her eyes at both Jane and the phone. The former had her hand across her mouth trying not to laugh.

The latter responded, "well, it's just that I thought I heard you moaning, and I wanted to make sure you weren't having a nightmare or anything."

"That's decent of you Mulder, but I'm fine." By this point, Scully just wanted to get off the phone so she could die of humiliation at the thought that Mulder had just heard her come.

"O.K., then," he continued. "I just wanted to make sure."

Scully repeated that she was fine, and opened her mouth to end the call. Mulder cut her off.

"Hey, Scully. Since I'm up anyway, I'm going to go grab some coffee. Do you want some?"

When Scully looked at the clock, she realized that she and Jane needed to get moving to get ready for work anyway. Figuring that Jane would be gone before Mulder could return with coffee, she replied, "sure. That would be nice."

"No problem, Scully. Do you want one or two?"

On the verge of asking "one or two what?" Scully's thought process stopped dead at the realization of what he was implying. *Oh, fuck. How does he know that I'm not alone? Can I bluff this?*

"What are you talking about, Mulder?" Both Scully and Jane noticed that her voice was nearly an octave higher than it had just been. Mulder couldn't have missed it either.

He chuckled. "Look, Scully. I'll admit that the phone call was to jerk your chain, but this isn't. I'm happy to grab you both coffee, and leave you alone. Does Jane want any?"

Scully's brain completely separated from her body and began to spin around the ceiling. *How could he know? How could he know _who_ it is?* After nearly a minute of panic, Scully registered Mulder's voice again. "Scully, one or two?"

Scully gave up, and just handed the phone to Jane. Surprised, but not in the same state as Scully, she said, "morning, Mulder. Had your fun for the day?"

"Sorry. I just couldn't resist after being woken up like that. I owed her one. I was just trying to get her to tell me whether you wanted coffee." Mulder's voice sounded perfectly normal for him. He didn't seem to be trying to cause trouble anymore. He had apparently reverted to decency.

Jane said, "sure. You know how I take it, right?"

The reply, "I've got a better idea today than I did yesterday," just resulted in Jane disconnecting the phone.

She looked over at Scully, who had drawn covers up over herself as if Mulder was in the room with them. Jane smiled and said, "Mulder's bringing coffee. Are you going to be able to cope?"

"How did he know. It could have just been me, couldn't it?"

Not quite sure what Scully needed to hear, Jane went for the truth. "Scully, Dana, he saw us outside the door the night before last. He doesn't care, except to make sure you're O.K. He's a twit, but he does care about you."

Scully was shaking her head. "I'm never going to be able to look him in the eye again. God, I'm so embarrassed." She looked at Jane as if she expected criticism from her, but Jane just put her arms out for a hug. Scully moved closer to her, and let Jane hold her. After a few minutes just resting there, Scully found her voice again. "I _really_ wish he could have found that out from me directly."

Jane nodded. "I know, but you can't change the past. He saw us, he's not freaking out, and he's even willing to spring for coffee when we've woken him up. It doesn't get much better than this."

Scully sighed. "You're right, and you're being rational, I know. I just don't think I can deal with him quite yet."

"Fine," Jane said. "Why don't you grab a shower, and I'll let him in with the coffee. You won't have to see him until later. O.K.?"

"O.K." Scully gave Jane a quick kiss, and got up to head for the shower. Jane grabbed her clothes, not wanting Mulder to catch her naked.

---

Morgue -- later that day

Scully had managed to avoid Mulder all morning, and was busy enough in the morgue that she hadn't obsessed _all_ day about the phone call. It was, in fact, far enough out of her mind that when the FedEx package came from Billings, she immediately opened the morgue door to tell him. It wasn't until he was standing in the morgue looking at her that she remembered.

Mulder watched her start to turn red, and decided to let her off the hook. Reaching out both hands in the universal gesture for 'please, don't shoot' he said, "Scully, I'm sorry. It was meant to be funny, I wasn't quite awake. I should have left you alone to tell me or not tell me on your own."

The apology didn't help her embarrassment much, but it made it easier to respond in true Scully fashion -- if you ignore it, it isn't there. She pushed directly into her reason for calling for him: "Mulder, I got results from the lab."

"So soon? I thought you just sent them in on Saturday."

Scully nodded. "I did, but I had already sent in a series of samples on Wednesday, asking for any guidance they could give me. It seems that they spotted the anomaly I showed you yesterday before I did. They've got enough answers to point us in the right direction."

"All right, Dr. Scully. What do they say?"

"We should find Jane, first. We'll need her help matching up the data with some local sources."

"What sources? Scully, don't hold out on me. . . bad things happen when you hold out on me. . ."

Scully turned on him at that. "Mulder, you are talking about my life. I know that most of the time neither of us has one, but you could at least have the decency to let me live mine in peace." She glared at him, daring him to deny her this.

"Scully, I have no intention of standing in your way, whoever or whatever it involves, as long as you're safe and happy. I just want you to let me in too. I'm your friend. I want to know when something that big happens. Is that so unreasonable?"

Scully's anger evaporated at his appeal. "No. It's not unreasonable. I need a little space on this one though. I'm learning some rather surprising things about myself, you know?"

"Yeah, I know." More scared about losing Scully's friendship than getting rebuffed, Mulder offered his arms to her. She walked into them, and just stood for a minute, resting her head against his chest as he held her. Then he heard her take a deep breath, and let her go. Looking up at him, she said, "I'm fine."

"Scully, I'm always there if you need to talk, or even just sit. . ."

". . . I know. Thank you. . ."

". . . or go cruising for chicks. . ."

Mulder wasn't quite out of reach when he dropped that line, and Scully's palm connected hard with his ass just as Jane walked through the door. Jane's eyebrows skyrocketed. "Agent Scully," she said coyly. "If only I'd known."

Caught between irritation and amusement, Scully pointed a finger at Jane. "Just you wait," Scully replied. "You'll get yours."

"Promises, promises," Mulder and Jane said at exactly the same time.

Scully tried to throw up her arms in disgust, and realized that she still held the lab results. That sight brought all three of them back to where they were and what they were doing. Scully gestured toward the autopsy table, and spread the lab data over them. She briefed both the others on the contents.

"The samples we couldn't identify here were identified in Billings, but apparently it was pretty much by chance. There happened to be a tech there that had done odd jobs in a tannery as a kid, and some results of that tied into work he had recently done for the FBI. The upshot is that he recognized something in the slides, and was able to identify where they came from. There is a process routinely done in tanning cow-hide that results in exactly the kind of neither visibly organic or inorganic structure that we saw. The reason that it isn't easily identifiable is that a later part of the tanning process completely alters that structure. It's only if the hide goes through the first and not the second part that you get a result like that. It's a feature of the interaction of the fat under the skin with three chemicals in the process. I've got the list here."

She pointed out the chemical formulae to Mulder and Jane, both of whom shook their heads, not recognizing the names. Scully nodded and continued, "I've got both standard names and trade names for the chemicals, and I don't recognize them either. The lab rats up in Billings say that with a little more time they can isolate batch numbers for the chemicals, and trace the exact tanneries that purchased them, but I figured Jane would probably be able to do that simply by geography."

Focusing on Jane, she said, "how many tanneries are there within, say, an hour from here?"

Jane nodded, clearly agreeing with Scully's thought process. "There's only the one, and it's about a half-hour from here. Are we going for a visit?"

Mulder and Scully looked at each other. Mulder said, "it's 50-50. Half the time we rush in, and it turns out a little background in advance would have helped. The other half, we do the research, and someone gets away with murder."

Scully nodded, but added, "it should be easy enough to get an employee list faxed over here. Then you could have a look for names you recognize. It might help us to know that going in."

Jane nodded, and started back toward the sheriff's office. "I'll get on that. I should have something in a few minutes." As a parting shot, she added, "you two behave, now."

The two agents stood in silence, for a few moments after Jane left, then Mulder turned to Scully and said in a completely flat voice, "so, Scully, how's your sex life."

When she moved, he flinched -- waiting for the punch. It didn't come. Instead, Scully said, "pretty damn good, Mulder. Got a problem with that?"

Mulder thought about it, and said, "just jealous, I guess. Mine sucks."

Scully smirked. "You should try a live one sometime, Mulder."

A snort of agreement came from Mulder before he spoke. When he did, it was seriously. "Scully, are you O.K. about Jane. It's a new thing for you, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Scully sighed. "I'm stressing a bit because so much of what I believe in," she fingered her cross, "says that it's wrong. It just doesn't feel wrong, though, and that's kind of the bottom line."

She looked up at him, and he nodded. "I'd go with that, if I were you." When she nodded in return, he continued, "I meant what I said. If you want to talk to someone, I'll always be here for you."

"Thanks, Mulder. All wisecracks aside, that means a lot to me."

"C'mon then, partner. Let's go rustle up some coffee."

---

Coffee consumed, and fax received, the agents set off with Jane for Roelkie's Tannery. On the way, Jane gave them a run-down on all the employees whose names she recognized -- which turned out to be nearly all of them. After Mulder finished the list, she said, "you know, it's interesting. Five of those names are kids who were in trouble in high school together, and all five have ranchers as either fathers or uncles. I know it's probably a coincidence, but I think it'd be smart to talk to them first."

"Is there any point to trying to scare them?" Mulder wanted to know.

"Maybe," said Jane. "The fact that I'll be there will probably be enough to scare them. They're not tough guys, just twits."

Mulder nodded, and the three went about setting a plan for their interviews.

---

Morgue -- 11:27 p.m.

The interviews went exactly as planned, and all five of the young men ended up looking nervous as heck in his turn. Mulder, playing incompetent uncannily well, managed to drop a different clue to each of them. Their hope was to worry at least one of them into breaking into the morgue to abscond with the evidence.

With that in mind, the late evening found Mulder, Scully, and Jane sitting quietly in the dark morgue, waiting. Mulder was making the most of his two companions, keeping up a constant stream of suggestive comments on what he imagined they were doing in the dark. He was chuckling at how exasperated he could hear Scully getting, when he heard a quiet 'snick.' "Shh," he said. "I think I hear something." He strained to hear more, and suddenly did, as Jane snapped a hand-cuff around his wrist.

Just as he was realizing that the other one was wrapped around a leg of the autopsy table, Jane said to Scully, "let's blow this pop stand. The noise is starting to get to me." Over Mulder's protests, they both left.

Not more than a minute after they did, Mulder heard the distinct sound of glass breaking from the outside door. He cursed to himself, knowing that he couldn't call out, and since he was cuffed to the table he couldn't do a damn thing. "Women," he muttered. "No sense of humor."

He could see enough in the dark room to know that all five of the boys had come in, and was cursing the impossibility of his position when he heard Scully from behind him say, "federal agents. Freeze." At the same moment, Jane flicked on the lights by the back door, and stood, gun out, blocking the exit. The boys were trapped.

"Fuck," one of them said, just as Jane began their Miranda warning. Mulder heard Scully come up behind him, and when he looked up at her, she handed him a key without a word. A minute later, he was helping the women escort the boys into a cell.

---

Sheriff's office -- Tuesday, 9:15 a.m.

The three looked blearily at one another. They'd managed to get three of the boys to confess to enough different things that the case was clearly over. They were all tired and hungry, and Scully looked distinctly sad about the realization that they were nearly finished in Montague. Mulder's cell phone was ringing, and Scully took that opportunity to get Jane's attention and gesture toward the morgue.

When the morgue door shut behind them, Scully looked tiredly at Jane and said, "they're going to pull us out of here sometime today. That may even be the call doing it. I know you can look after all the finishing details and all, but I'm not sure how to walk away from you."

Jane nodded, and held out a hand for Scully to take. "I know. I've been thinking about it off and on. I'd like to have had at least a few more days with you. It's not too likely that I'll ever see you again, is it?"

Scully shook her head. "No. Too far apart, and going different directions. I knew that in the first place, though. I think the part that I don't know how to deal with is that I'd like to say a decent good-bye, and we may not get time to do anything more intimate than shake hands. Well, I also don't want to deal with not getting any more of you naked and crawling over me." Scully smiled in a distinctly predatory way before going back to her resigned look. "I wasn't quite finished with you yet."

"Nor was I." Jane gave Scully a scorching look that pulled the agent a little closer to where Jane was standing. Just as they were about to commit a serious breach of professional conduct, Mulder opened the door.

"Scully?" he said. "I'm sorry, I know I'm interrupting, but that was Kersh. He wants us on a flight out of Billings this afternoon. We're going to have to move fast to make it."

Scully nodded at Mulder. "Why don't you start packing. I'll be over there in a minute."

Mulder agreed, then stuck a hand out to Jane. "I've enjoyed working with you Jane." His voice dropped as he continued, "thank you for being good to my friend. She means a lot to me." He gave Jane a quick hug, then was gone. Scully watched him leave with a surprised look on her face.

When she looked up at Jane, Jane's eyebrow was cocked as if to say, "what." Scully said, "that's quite possibly the sweetest thing he's ever said to me."

"He cares about you. That's a good thing." Jane took a breath. "Scully, I have to stay here. I can't even follow you back to the motel for a quick good-bye."

"I know. This is it." Scully pulled Jane over to the least visible corner of the morgue. "Thank you for everything. You've made a great week out of a living hell. And. . . you'll be something wonderful to remember."

Not giving Jane a chance to reply, Scully pulled Jane close and kissed her softly. Her tongue slipped out to run along Jane's mouth, and Jane's slid out to meet it. It was a heavily charged few seconds, and when the kiss ended, both women sighed.

Leaving her arms around Scully for a moment longer, Jane said, "goodbye Scully. Thank you. I'll remember you in delicious detail, too."

With that suggestive comment turning Scully's face pink, Jane ushered Scully back through the sheriff's office, and watched her walk out with only a backward glance and a wave.

END (of part, story, and series)