Disclaimer: I don't own them. Dana Scully, Mulder, CSM, (anyone else who shows up/is referred to) and the XF belong to Chris Carter, 1013, and Fox. Natalie, Janette, (anyone else who shows up/is referred to) and FK belong to J.Parriott and Sony/TriStar.
Archiving: on the ScullySlash website only
Crossposting: none
Rating: PGish
Summary: fourth installment of the story that began with "Perchance to Remember?"
Notes/Spoilers: You'll be lost if you haven't read "Perchance" and its sequels, "Memory Made Manifest" and "Realities." This is a Xover with Forever Knight, and takes place after its third season, with heavy spoilers, especially for the last three episodes. This story is fairly concurrent with this season's XF, but no recent events are alluded to. {...} denotes thoughts. This has not been beta read!!! You must see 'end part one' to have a complete copy.
Feedback: hell, yes! onlist, offlist, just send some! Josette@aol.com


Point of No Return
by Nymue

Part One: A Day in the Sun

{This probably wasn't the best of ideas. Oh, don't get me wrong; the plan itself is a good one. It's my timing and execution of said plan that sucks. You'd think I'd know better. Guess I fooled me. Mom's been great, though; when I called her last week and asked her if she'd like to come down for a 'girl's day out' she was so pleased. I think she was hoping I had some big news to break. Preferably news that involved me, a dress, a church and Mulder. She's hidden her disappointment well; of course, being that her favorite artist had an exhibition of work open to the public helped her bury those feelings, I'm sure.

Truthfully, I just don't know what to say. I can't tell her the truth, for obvious reasons. I hate the idea of hiding so much from her, but I've put her in enough danger for one lifetime. Besides, what would I tell her? 'Mom, remember Natalie, my roommate from med school? Well, she and I are lovers; oh, and before I forget, she's a vampire. And I'm gonna go live with her and her 'sister' Janette. Mulder might come along, though, so don't worry.' *That* would go over real well. The men in white coats would be hauling me away before I'd caught my breath. <shudders> No, thank you.}

"Dana? Dana? Are you alright?"

Scully refocused her eyes from the painting on the wall to her mother, all the while trying to regain control of her thoughts. Although she had tried to keep her mind from wandering, she found herself drifting off with increasing frequency. {Not a good habit to cultivate.}

"I'm fine, Mom. Just a little engrossed in the painting, I guess."

"Well, I was going to ask if you wanted to go find a place to eat. We've spent so much time here, and at the stores, that we missed lunch. It's after three, now. Do you have any ideas?"

Scully's brow wrinkled in thought before answering. "Actually, I know this great little deli that has delicious sandwiches, gyros, and salads. I thought we might get take out, and have a picnic. You know, enjoy the day; it's too pretty to stay inside."

Maggie Scully beamed at her daughter. "What a wonderful idea! Is it a terribly long walk?"

"It's not far," Scully told her. "And since it is after three, we should be able to get in and get lunch without too much of a hassle."

"Good," Maggie said, while rummaging in her bag. Stopping, she glanced up and asked, "Do I need to stop by the bank before we go?"

"Nah," came the response. "It's fairly inexpensive; that's why Mulder goes there all the time." {Damn it! I wasn't going to mention him today. Damn! Damn! Damn!}

Maggie frowned at Dana's mention of her partner's eating habits. {Poor Fox. He really should learn how to cook something, even if it's only eggs. The boy looks like he subsists on boxed pasta and canned soup -- if that.} "Should we call him and --"

"No!" Scully almost shouted. "I mean, he's busy today. He let his paperwork dragon get too big, and now he has to slay it. Serves him right for procrastinating the way he does."

"Oh," was Maggie's only response. "Shall we go?"

Scully only nodded, a relieved look on her face.

~~~~~~

Leaning against the door, Scully surveyed her apartment. Her curtains were closed, and pillows, CDs, books and papers were strewn everywhere. The remains of last night's Chinese dinner sat in the microwave, waiting to be thrown out. It looked like a tornado had touched down, leaving disaster in its wake. It was utterly unlike Dana Scully. {When did I stop cleaning? Oh yeah, Sunday night. After I got back from the club. It's a good thing Mom didn't see this place; she would have been thoroughly distressed. Thoroughly distressed? She'd be worried out of her skull!}

Sighing, she pushed away from the door, kicking her shoes off as she did so, careless of where they landed. {I suppose I should clean up. It's not like I've got much else to do right now.} As she walked toward the kitchen, she picked up a CD at random, slid the disc into the machine and pushed play. Soon, the soft, slow strains of Mozart filled the room, and Scully tugged off her jacket, tossing it on the couch. In the kitchen, she tossed out the leftovers, and started a pot of coffee; a short rummage through the cabinets turned up her bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme. Tapping her foot impatiently, she glared at the perkulator, silently willing it to hurry up; as if it were sentient, and could sense her mood, the coffee finished brewing. Scully poured coffee into a nearby mug she had commandeered from someone years ago and added a liberal amount of whiskey, topping the creation off with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. {Mmmmm ... this *is* wonderful ... } Sitting down at the table, she thought about her afternoon. It could have been worse, she reflected.

~~~flashback~~~

They sat atop a grassy knoll overlooking a fountain. Maggie was chatting away about the boys, but Scully wasn't paying attention. She rolled the last bite of her sandwich around in her mouth, tasting all the different flavors. The salami, ham, the spicy honey-mustard, the tomatoes and lettuce -- they all had a unique taste, each one complimenting the other. {Funny, we never pay attention to our food on most days. I suppose when you're about to give it up, you finally realize how good it really is.} As she finished her sandwich, Scully leaned back against the tree and watched the sunlight. Beams of light trailed idly through the leaves, making beautiful patterns on the surrounding grass, and the perfume of nearby flowers trickled up her nose, causing her to inhale deeply to capture more of their essence. Eventually, she closed her eyes.

Maggie was starting to worry. Dana had said little all day; usually they chatted about family, occasionally about her work at the Bureau, and sometimes about the past. Today had been full of conversations on trivial matters, yet she had the feeling Dana wanted, no, needed, to see her. It was as if she needed the closeness, like someone who was dying needed --

Her own thoughts alarming her, Maggie looked over at her daughter. {She looks so peaceful. I hate to do this, but ...} "Dana? Honey, are you awake?"

Scully opened her eyes. The worried look on her mother's face said more to Scully than Maggie ever could. "I'm awake, Mom. You need something?"

"Dana, I'm worried. You've been acting strange all day, and even when you called Sunday night asking me to come down. Is something wrong? You're still in remis --"

Scully cut her off. "I'm okay, Mom." Seeing her mother's doubting look, she reached out and grabbed her hand, all the while looking her mother in the eye. "I'm fine, really. I feel better than I have in a *long* time. I just wanted to see you, that's all. Besides," she teased, "aren't I worth the drive?"

Maggie's face softened. "Of course you are," she said. "I guess I'm not used to this new laid back attitude of yours."

Scully grinned, "It's something I've been cultivating for awhile now. Works wonders on stress."

"I'm sure," Maggie told her. "Oh look, there's a man selling funnel cakes. You used to love those when you were little."

Scully looked down the hill, then glanced at her mother. "Let's go get one," she said, smiling.

~~~end-flashback~~~

The sound of the CD player clicking off broke her reverie. As she crossed to the kitchen to rinse out her now empty cup, she realized the day had gone well after that. They had strolled through the park, and taken in a couple of touristy sights before Maggie had to leave. Her mother had seemed fine, so Scully had dropped by a couple of stores on her way home to pick up a few things.

Stretching and yawning, she realized that she really wasn't all that tired. Walking back towards the stereo, she scanned the room until she found what she was looking for. {There's Ella ... I need a little pick me up right now.} Slipping the disc into the player, she was about to hit play when the doorbell chimed. Sighing, she pressed the five minute delay button, hoping she could rid of whoever was at her door this close to midnight.

As she looked through the peephole, she realized she would get no quarter anytime soon. There, on the other side of her door, was the person she least wanted to see. She could already see the angry eyes, and she knew the rage bottled up inside was close to overflowing. With a heavy sigh, and a silent prayer, she opened the door.

"Hello, Mulder."

---end part one---


Part Two: Something's Gotta Give

Mulder's face was a study in mixed emotions. Anger and shock were the most obvious; the jealousy was masked under a veneer of outrage. As he passed through her door, Scully swore she could *feel* the emotions he was broadcasting, as if they were a form of radiation.

He spoke before she could say anything. "What the *HELL* do you think you're doing," he asked through clinched teeth. "Have you lost your mind?"

{Bad question, Mulder} "I don't know. What do you think?" she retorted.

"What do *I* think?" he asked incrdeulously. "I think you've gone mad, Scully. You're letting your emotions overrule your capacity to think logically!"

"Oh, like *that* is something *you* have never done," she said sarcastically.

"Well, I may have done it, but at least I was did it for the right reasons," he told her.

Scully drew back, as if stung. {What?!? Does he think ... } "The *right* reasons? RIGHT reasons?! And what reasons would those be, hmm? Completely self-serving, perhaps?" she threw back at him.

"And *yours* aren't?" he exploded. "Do you realize what this will do? Everything we've worked for will be ruined! We'll never find --"

"Find what, Mulder? Or should that be, *find who?*" Scully asked, her voice icy.

Mulder rounded on her. "Does it matter? You're ruining everything! Has it ever occured to you that this is just an elaborate plan that THEY cooked up in order to try and split us up again? That they're just using you? That they're playing games with your mind? That your *good* *friend* *Natalie* might be working for them!!" he practically screamed.

Scully turned bright red. "If I didn't have *proof positive* that she was *helping* us, I might say YES! But *that* is not the case, Mulder!"

He snarled, "So just where is this evidence, Scully?"

"You know I can't tell you that."

"Really?" he asked, his tone patronizing.

"Really," she deadpanned, as if that was the end of it.

"Well, Scully. I would never have thought you'd be one to conspire to hide evidence. The sex must be good, hmm? No, make that extraordinary. Did you climax from her bite alone?"

Silence reigned. Scully could hear the tocking of the clock in her bedroom; her heartbeat pounded in her ears, drowning out rational thought. At that point, the delay button on the CD player clicked off, and the jarring brass of a big band poured from the speakers. The sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, a chanteuse with the voice of a goddess, filled the room, her words a foreshadowing of the future.

//// When an irresistable force such as you -- ////

Scully straightened her back, and leveled her eyes at Mulder.

//// Meets an old immovable object like me -- ////

Mulder tensed.

//// You can bet as sure as you live -- ////

Her eyes blazed white hot fury, and at the same time managed to stay focused.

/// Something's got to give --

Something's got to give --

Something's got to give -- ////

The refrain bounced of the walls, searing Scully's will. And then it snapped.

"You smug, condescending *SON OF A BITCH!* How DARE *YOU* judge *me*!! What makes YOU think I'd change my morals and ethics JUST BECAUSE I HAD SEX, REALLY FABULOUS, EROTIC SEX, WITH THE WOMAN I LOVE?????"

Mulder flinched. He'd been expecting a tirade, but this ... She was radiating a tremendous amount of rage, all of it directed at him. He was seized by the sudden desire to 'be somewhere else.' Only his firm beliefs kept him rooted to the floor.

"Scully," he began, "be reasonible. I wouldn't have said that if I wasn't --"

Scully cut him off. "If you weren't WHAT, Mulder? JEALOUS? Is that it? But are you pissed because *I'm* 'leaving' you, or because you're afraid *Janette* won't have sex with you anymore? Or maybe it's both, hmm?"

Mulder at least had the decency to blush. "That's where you're wrong, Scully," he told her. "I just think that you need to think this over before --"

"Before I take the 'plunge'?" Scully retorted, sracastically. "Why do you say that, Mulder? What makes you believe I haven't AGONIZED over this decision? WHAT??!!??"

"It hasn't even been a week, Dana," he said softly. "How can you be sure?"

{He's trying to circumnavigate my brain. Got to be careful. Dangerous territory ahead.}

"It's been longer than that, Mulder."

"What?" he looked confused, and Scully could almost see him counting the days in his head.

"Get out," she told him, her voice level and her civility forced.

"Dana --"

"I said *get out.*"

"But, I really think --"

During this exchange, while her conscious mind was trying to think of a way to outsmart him, Scully's subconscious had been edging her toward the couch, where her coat was laying. As thoughts flew through her head, so did the memories. {All those times ... What about last week? Will he ever stop this? Will he ever agree to ...?} During her short reverie, the memories continued to pound against her mind, breaking out of the tidy places to which they had been relegated. Then, somewhere deep inside, Dana Scully felt something snap with an intensity that was almost audible. With her hands twisting in the soft wool, she looked up.

"I don't care what you think. Leave. Now."

"You aren't thinking --"

Scully raised her hands from the confines of the coat, pointing her gun at Mulder's head. "I said, leave."

Mulder blanched.

Scully released the safety.

Mulder paled.

Scully took aim.

"I have six bullets, Mulder. If you aren't on the other side of my door by the count of three, I'll fire. And you DO NOT want me to do that. Believe me."

Mulder edged forward, trying to soothe even as he realized he must have lost all of his self-preservation instincts. "Scully, if --"

"ONE."

" -- you'll just listen --"

"TWO"

" -- to me, we can --"

"THREE."

Mulder was unable to finish his sentence. A bullet whizzed past his head and lodged itself in the doorjamb. Belatedly, he realized she had a silencer on the gun.

"I have five more where that one came from. Since I was *aiming* for the doorjamb, not your head, I don't think you want me to continue. Now ... I SAID GET OUT!!"

Mulder turned, and fled back out into the night.

~~~~~~

Scully sank to the floor, her hands shaking. {Why did I do that? What purpose did that little ...demonstration... serve?} As the minutes ticked by, Scully answered her own questions. {He had to know I was serious. That this isn't some kind of fling I'll get over in a few weeks. He has to know how *I* feel.}

Two hours later, she finished cleaning up her apartment. Dropping onto a chair, she stared at the phone. Reluctantly, she picked it up and dialed.

The call was answered on the first ring. "Oui?"

"Janette? It's Dana Scully. Is Natalie there?"

"Non. She had to go out; we are expecting a delivery tonight. Is there a problem, cherie?" she asked, her voice tinged with concern. "You sound ... 'wiped out.'"

Scully laughed bitterly. "You could say that. I just had a very BAD fight with Mulder, and now I'm not quite sure how to approach him about ... "

The tapping of Janette's manicured nail could be heard clearly through over the line. "I see. Oui, that could be a problem. But, I think I know how to handle our little Fox," she told Scully.

"How?"

Scully thought she could almost see the smirk that had spread across Janette's face. "Let us say, cherie, that I know quite a bit about 'riding to hounds'... "

---end part two---

*riding to hounds = fox hunting


Part 3 - Last Chance Before the Cliff

The water was hot. Steam rose from the surface in little tendrils, mixing with the smoke from the eucalyptus scented candles that were scattered across the countertop, giving light to an otherwise dark room. Sighing, Scully lifted one her legs from the bathtub, watching as water droplets rolled down its side, coming to rest in the pool from which they originated. Slowly, she flexed the elevated leg, bending it at the knee, tightening then relaxing each of the muscles while admiring their even tone before finally wiggling her toes. After lowering her leg back into the heated bath, she repeated the process on the other leg. Once she was completely relaxed, she allowed her head to rest on the attached bath pillow and let her mind wander over the events of recent days.

Mulder had been an ass. At first titillated at the realization that he'd had sex with an exquisite vampire, he had become thoroughly put out that she intended to try and pursue a long-term relationship with one. His anger had less to do with the fact that her intended was a woman, or a vampire, and more to do with how *he* would cope with 'losing' her. And whether or not they could be trusted. And if this was her way of telling she didn't care anymore. About any of it. How to explain to him? How to tell him the truth? Especially when he really didn't want to hear her answers.

The call from Frohicke two nights ago had left her unsettled. When she met the Lone Gunmen later, they told her that Mulder had asked them to check out Natalie and Janette. She wasn't really suprised. She would have been more suprised if he had done nothing. What upset her was that Mulder, when told that everything was ikosher' (well, as kosher as it could be, considering), stormed out vowing to find a way of stopping her. So he tried to be persuasive, tried to talk to her about this new relationship, but she was so wrapped up in the details of what was to come that she told him they would have to talk later. And all he saw was that Scully -- his partner, best friend, his lifeline and anchor, his confederate in the search and ally in the fight ö was embarking on a new quest without him. Or so it seemed. And when he realized she would not be dissuaded, he asked the Gunmen to forge a connection between Natalie and the Consortium. Obviously, they refused. When they told Scully, she was incensed. If her mother hadn't been due to come down the next day, she probably would have sought Mulder out herself and simply given him a firm dressing down.

But I didn't, she realized. I yelled at him. Hell, I shot at him. And I never told him about it --any of it-- because I was having trouble handling it myself. I never even thought about how he was handling this, or how he *wasn't* handling it. All I thought about was ime, me, me.' //And this is a bad thing?// part of her questioned. //How long has it been since you only thought of yourself?//

Stepping out of the now lukewarm water, she continued her internal dialogue aloud. "Maybe I don't pay enough attention to myself. But since when is that a reason to be so damn selfish? Not that Mulder wasn't being selfish ö he was. But he was concerned about you. Yes, you Dana Katherine," she told her reflection which stared back at her from the other side of the mirror. "And all you were thinking about was yourself."

She was still thinking about herself, about Mulder, about their relationship //whatever the hell it is// as she got dressed. "I need this," she said as she fastened her bra. "But," she said as she pulled on her hose, "I need to tell Mulder that this is what I need." As she pulled on her skirt she continued, "I also need to tell him everything about everything. We need to talk about our relationship." She buttoned her blouse and tucked it in the waistband of the skirt before adding a thin belt and her jacket. "I need to ask him what he wants, if he's willing to go through with this himself." Carefully, she brushed out her hair and critically resurveyed her fingernails; both looked pristine. "But not tonight," she told her reflection as she unhooked the tiny crucifix pendant and deliberately dropped it into a small box before exiting the room.

As she opened the door to leave, she came face to face with someone who had his hand up to knock. Someone she hadn't thought she would see until later.

//Skinner.//

//Damn.//

"Can I come in, Agent Scully?" he asked, his voice strained.

"Actually, sir, I was just leaving. Could this wait?"

"In all truth? No. I came to speak to you personally, about something Mulder told me earlier."

//Figures.//

"Sir, I *really* need to go. If this is about what Mulder said --"

"Agent Scully, if you really must be going, at least let me walk you to your car."

//Could be worse.//

"All right."

Skinner watched as Scully locked the door and waited until they had entered the stairwell before speaking.

"Mulder came to see me early this morning. He was shaken, but had calmed down from whatever upset him. He told me you were getting ready to do something that was probably very · ill-informed."

"What exactly did he tell you?" she asked, her apprehension levels rising.

"Not much, really."

Scully visibly relaxed.

"He made the allusion of you perched on a precipice, like you were about to jump. He was upset, and asked me to talk to you. I guess what I'm saying is I'm here to offer you a last chance, Agent Scully. Mulder called tonight the point of no return. Whatever it is you're getting ready to do, right now you can still turn back."

Scully smiled wryly before answering. "I fell off that cliff over ten years ago, sir. Now, I'm finally going to find out what is waiting for me at the bottom."

Skinner was silent.

"Would you do me favor?" she asked.

"If you'll do one for me," he told her.

"Tell Mulder I'll see him tomorrow or the day after. And not to worry ö I know what I'm doing."

He acknowledged her with a slight nod. "Agent Scully ö"

She looked up.

He brushed his lips across hers.

" ö be careful."

Slightly shocked, Scully could only watched as he walked back towards his car. As he left, she felt her shaken equilibrium return to normal. With a sigh, she climbed in her car and started it. She backed out and turned towards the bright lights of the city, all the while thinking of what was to come.

//Natalie.//

Scully felt a tingling start between her thighs. She could hardly wait.

---end part 3---