Genesis VII: Resurrection
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/


Part One

Day One

She knew she had done it before -- countless times -- but it had never been like this. She was fully clothed and might as well have been naked. She felt Marsh against every centimeter of her body, tight and hot. Exquisite. Her nipples were painfully erect, the thin cotton of her black silk tee shirt offering little barrier to the piercing sensations produced by Marsh's linen shirt brushing against her chest. It felt like the wet rough surface of Marsh's tongue licking the tip of each one. Her breasts seemed to swell in anticipation of Marsh's long sensitive fingers caressing them. She inhaled unevenly as Marsh fitted one lean thigh a little tighter between her legs. *Oh godd* The seam of her black jeans rippled dangerously over the ridge of her clitoris, telegraphing shock waves that made her stomach tighten. Unbidden, her pelvis arched forward, seeking the elusive contact as Marsh moved insistently against her. Her thighs tightened around Marsh's leg as the teasing pressure drew a flood of warmth from her. *Underwear - I should have worn underwear. Oh fuck -- this is bad* Her head was pounding. She rested her cheek against Marsh's shoulder. *She smells so good*

"I love you," Marsh whispered in her ear.

She felt Marsh tremble almost imperceptibly in the circle of her arms. *Oh lord, I love you too* She groaned faintly, licked the side of Marsh's neck. Salty, soft, sweeter than anything she had ever known. She bit lightly, tugging at the skin. Marsh gasped. The hand on her back slid lower, to the junction of her spine and buttocks. Massaging firmly in tantalizing circles. Her hips followed suit, slowly rotating on Marsh's leg. She tried not to whimper.

"Behave," Marsh rasped.

"You never said it would be like this," she accused weakly, struggling for her voice.

Marsh's body shook with silent laughter.

The reverberations seemed to center directly in her clitoris. In fact, every nerve in her body seemed attached to it. This was making it too hard to breathe, too hard to move on trembling legs, too hard to remember there were others nearby.

With the last ounce of her control she moved away a fraction of an inch. The loss of contact felt like dying. "We have to go," she gasped.

Marsh leaned back, not loosening her hold on her lover. She looked at the beautiful face, the sharp angles and sculpted planes muted by desire. Those clear, piercing blue eyes were hooded with need. Even in the dim light she could see the pupils flicker and dance with arousal. She was the most alluring woman Marsh had ever known.

"I thought you wanted me to take you dancing?" Marsh teased.

Scully placed both hands flat against her lover's chest and pushed away another inch. "_This_ is not dancing! This is torture. Take me home."

Marsh laughed out loud, caught her hand, and led her through the crowd of women lost in the music, and each other. As soon as they slid into the car, she leaned over to Dana, kissing her thoroughly until she had her gasping.

"You are the sexiest woman I've ever seen," Marsh murmured, moving her lips over the edge of jaw, the ridge of cheekbone, the delicate eyelids. She tugged the teeshirt from Scully's jeans, laid the flat of her hand against her lover's abdomen. The muscles tensed beneath her fingers. She stroked around the dip of navel up to the undersurface of Dana's breasts, using her nails lightly to elicit little flickers of involuntary response. Dana moaned and pulled at Marsh's lips with her teeth, alternately licking and sucking her.

"You're making me crazy," Scully warned breathlessly, her mind hazy with a multitude of sensations. She grabbed Mash's hand, drew it higher to rest on her breast. "God I need you to touch me."

"Mmm--" Marsh murmured, finding a nipple, twisting repeatedly until Dana's hips jerked with each pinch. She lowered her head, caught the opposite one between her lips, sucking it in, teeshirt and all. Dana clutched Marsh's head, pressing Marsh's face hard to her breast.

"Marsh--" Scully whispered urgently, no longer able to form coherent sentences. Her mind was suffused with heat and color, swirling with pulsating urgency.

Marsh heard her distantly, her own desire thundering in her ears. She was precariously straddling the stick shift, one leg over Dana's. She had lost all awareness of anything except the woman in her arms. She groaned, reached for the zipper on Scully's jeans, her lips still trying to devour Dana's breast through the encumbrance of clothing.

Scully lifted her hips, pushing her jeans down -- desperate to help her. *Oh god -- touchme hurryhurry -- touch me -*

Marsh's fingers dipped down, parting the moist hair, sliding between the slick swollen lips, entering her effortlessly, fully, in one familiar movement. "Oh yess-" Marsh moaned.

Scully jerked back against the seat, her head slamming against the head rest. "Ohyeah--ohyeah, fuckmeMarsh--" She grabbed Marsh's forearm, pressing it harder between her legs. "Comeonbaby --- do it, do it now--"

Marsh was lost in Dana's passion, trying hard to time her thrusts with the wild bucking of her lover's hips. Every stroke wrenched a groan from her lips. "Oh you are so hot -- so good, oh godI loveyou-" She closed her eyes, pressed her forehead to Dana's shoulder -- half on top of her --pumping into her as Dana rode her hand.

Scully buried her fingers in Marsh's hair, clutching her like a lifeline to sanity. Her body was no longer her own, relentlessly seeking that ultimate explosion, and her mind seemed to be following into the abyss. Dimly she heard herself crying out, erratically, wildly, and she knew she was about to come. A squadron of police could have pounded on the windows of the car and she couldn't have stopped. She pushed down on Marsh's incredibly gifted fingers and let the storm take her.

Marsh felt the first contractions as Dana emitted a strangled shout. She pushed higher, curling her fingers slightly, and stroked the distended clit with her thumb, milking out every last tremulous spasm. She didn't stop even when Dana collapsed back into the seat.

At last Scully grasped Mash's wrist weakly. "Please stop," she gasped, her eyes still closed. "You're going to kill me."

Slowly Marsh eased her long length back into the driver's seat, reaching for Scully's hand with a sigh. "Well, the dancing went well."

Scully turned sluggishly in the seat to face her lover, thinking that she really should close her jeans. The effort seemed beyond her. "Yes, I thought so." She stroked Marsh's cheek tenderly. "Maybe next time, I should lead."

Marsh gazed at her, one dark eyebrow raising suggestively. "I don't think so. We wouldn't even make it to the car."

Scully smiled. "Then we'd better make love _before_ we go dancing."

*****

Scully watched her lover undress. She never got tired of seeing her form slowly revealed, transforming the imperturbable surgeon into the warm, vulnerable woman who held her close each night as they slept. Marsh caught her staring and smiled.

"I'm getting spoiled having you here every night," Marsh remarked, sliding naked into bed. She reached for Dana, gathering her into her arms.

"Mmm--" Scully murmured, threading an arm around Marsh's waist. "Now it's _your_ schedule that keeps us apart."

Marsh kissed the top of the golden-highlighted red head. These last few weeks had been so peaceful. She wondered how long it could last. "When do you think Skinner's going to decide on some permanent place for you?"

Scully sighed. "I don't know. I don't mind filling in at Quantico with the forensic work, or the teaching. I don't even mind being called for the occasional field assignment when Skinner needs us. It's just hard being a floater like this."

"How's Mulder taking it?"

Scully snorted. "About the way you would expect. He can't work for anyone, and he won't work _with_ anyone except me. He goes through the motions, but it's just a matter of time before Skinner loses patience with him. At least for now we're still being assigned cases together -- even if they are routine investigations."

"That's something, I guess," Marsh said, knowing it wasn't enough.

"I think he's secretly trying to piece the files back together -- from notes and information he had personally recorded. It's his life. He can't give it up." She sighed again. *And it's been my life too -- my whole life, really -- before you*

Marsh pushed herself up on the pillows, settling Scully's head against her shoulder. "How about you? Do you miss working the x-files?"

Scully was quiet a long moment. "I never thought I'd say this, but, yeah -- I do. I felt like the work I was doing was important. Oh -- not all of it -- the crank UFO sightings and blood sucking mutants --" She laughed faintly at the memory of some of their more bizarre cases. "But we were on the track of something -- whether it was of this world or not didn't really matter. It was a threat, and now, suddenly, we're expected to forget it. It's hard."

Marsh could hear the discontent and frustration in Dana's voice. She wasn't going to tell her how much better she felt with the x-files closed. At least now she didn't feel like Dana was in danger every time she left for work. There were plenty of positions in the bureau for a woman like Dana that didn't involve conspiracies and kidnapping and ungodly experimentations. In her opinion Dana had more than paid her dues. But it wasn't her opinion that mattered. It was how Dana felt, and Marsh knew she was unhappy.

"I'm sorry. Maybe you both just need a little time to adjust."

Scully nodded, unconvinced. She wasn't sure she _or_ Mulder would ever be satisfied with routine cases again. She sighed, and held Marsh tighter. The only good thing to come of the dissolution of the x-files was that with her more available, Marsh seemed calmer and less stressed. The nightmares seemed to be abating, too. That alone was almost worth the boredom bordering on emptiness she was experiencing in her professional life.

"Well one thing I'm having no trouble adjusting to is having more time with you," Scully murmured, rolling over onto her lover. She fit her leg between Marsh's and lowered herself onto Marsh's body.

Marsh raised her head to meet Dana's lips as she reached one arm out to turn off the light. Her lover's kiss promised it would be a short night.

*****

"The phone is ringing," Scully mumbled, pressing against Marsh, who lay with her front to Scully's back.

"Mmmph," Marsh acknowledged, casting a bleary glance toward the bedside clock. Two-thirty am. She woke fully as the ringing sounded again. "It's yours." It had been weeks since Dana had gotten one of these middle of the night summons. Marsh had forgotten how much she disliked having Dana dragged from her arms. Not that it didn't happen because of her own work, but at least she was only going across town. And no one was likely to shoot at her.

Scully fumbled on the nightstand for her cellphone. "Scully," she announced in a perfectly alert tone.

Marsh felt the woman next to her tense, and she knew their peaceful night was over. She tried not to be disappointed.

"Yes, sir. I'll be right there," Scully said as she swung her legs out from under the covers. She tossed the phone toward her clothes piled on a nearby chair and started toward the bathroom. "I have to go to Dallas."

Marsh sat up, switching on the light. "Now?"

"Yes," Scully called, turning on the shower.

Marsh padded in after her. "What's up?"

Scully looked at her, aware of the anxiety in her lover's voice. Marsh tried to hide her concern, but Dana sensed it. *Fuck. I hate to do this to her* She pushed the shower door open. "There's been a bomb threat called in to the Federal Building in Dallas. Skinner wants me and Mulder to join the search team."

Marsh stared at her, her stomach knotting. "Oh."

There wasn't time for anything else. Ten minutes later, Scully was on her way to the airport, and Marsh was lying awake in bed, alone.


Part Two

Day 2
Fifteen hours later
In the air over Georgia

"This is Dana Scully. Is Dr. Black in?" Scully scrunched down in the seat of the bureau plane, trying to eke out a private moment. This was the first opportunity she had found to call Marsh after the whole damn building nearly blew up in her face in Dallas. With Mulder in it. As it was, the SAC had been killed. They were all still reeling from that. *God I hope they weren't televising all of this* She could only imagine what Marsh would have thought if she had seen the bomb level nearly one square city block.

"No, I'm sorry. She's in surgery. May I take a message?"

*Yes, you may take a message! Tell her that her lover called and that I'm fine!* Scully took a deep breath. "Just tell her Dana called. Thanks."

Mulder opened an eye and peered at her. "D'you get her?"

"No," Scully snapped.

"Whoa. Sorry."

Scully sighed. "No, _I'm_ sorry. I just know she's worrying."

Mulder turned his head to look at her more fully. "She still having trouble with the flashbacks, and the nightmares?"

Scully's initial reaction was to deny it. She hated to reveal Marsh's private struggles, but Mulder knew already. "They're much better the last few weeks."

He heard the hesitation in her voice. "Since our office burned and we've been side-lined." It wasn't a question.

"Yeah," she admitted. "It seems like we've been catching some rough assignments lately. It's hard on her."

Mulder chose his words carefully. Scully rarely talked about her relationship with Marshall Black. "Scully -- all our assignments are potentially dangerous ones -- we're field agents."

"What are you saying, Mulder?" Scully asked. *As if you didn't already know this, Dana*

"As long as you work cases, there's some potential for danger. Marsh has to accept that."

*What if she can't? What if her fear that I'll get killed, like Karen, is what's tearing her apart?* Scully pushed her seat back and closed her eyes. "She just needs a little time."

Mulder watched her in silence, never having known her to lie to herself before.

*****

It was nearly midnight when Marsh let herself into her apartment. She'd been on trauma back-up and that had turned into a full night of surgery. She should have been tired, but she was too anxious to see Dana to think about sleep. She sighed out loud when she saw the familiar trenchcoat and briefcase on the table just inside the door. Dana was here. Safe.

She climbed to the loft and undressed quietly in the dark, sliding under the sheets and fitting herself against the smooth back outlined in moonlight. She slipped her hand around her lover's waist, clasping the soft swell of breast as she pressed her lips to Dana's shoulder.

"I love you," she whispered after a moment.

Scully reached up to cover Marsh's hand with her own, needing the pressure of Marsh's fingers against her body. "I love you, too."

"Are you all right?" Another kiss, softly, against the base of her neck.

Scully brought those exquisitely trained fingers to her nipple, gasping faintly as Marsh squeezed. "Yes." Darius Michaud's face flashed through her mind. The deadly calm in his eyes as they left him there -- with the bomb. What it must have felt like alone in that room.

"I heard what happened," Marsh said softly, edging one thigh between Dana's legs, bringing her weight a little more firmly against Scully's back. She tried to shield her now as if another explosion were imminent. *I was so goddamned scared*

"I'm all right," Scully repeated, remembering the horrific noise and the shock waves and the shower of breaking glass and debris. She arched her hips back against Marsh's narrow pelvis, spreading her legs so that Marsh's skin touched the dampness high between her thighs. She gasped faintly as the under surface of her clitoris pressed into Marsh.

Marsh groaned as the wet heat spread on her leg. She moved her lips down to the point of Dana's shoulderblade, running her tongue along the sharp edge. Her free hand dropped to the base of Dana's spine, massaging the muscles coiled tightly there. Dana's hips began to rock under her. "I'm sorry," she whispered. *I'm so fucking glad it wasn't you. Or Mulder*

Scully concentrated on the tingling ache starting deep in her belly. "I know." She braced her hands on the bed and pushed up onto her knees, forcing Marsh to rise up behind her. "Put your hand in me." She forgot the fear.

Marsh's clit spasmed at the words. "Oh fuck," she moaned. She looked down over the long expanse of Scully's back, at the rounded prominence of her ass, and the tight line of her thighs. She wanted her right then, hard. She wanted to plunge into her, and claim her, and keep her there, always. Part of _her_, far from harm, safe. Her head pounded with the urge to protect her, fill her, own her. She ran her left hand over the strong firm buttocks, squeezing each one, working them in small circles. With the other she stroked the smooth skin on the inside of Dana's thighs until Dana's hips surged back against her.

"Marsh," Scully urged, rotating her pelvis unconsciously, opening her legs wider. "Don't torture me," she pleaded. The pain receded in the rush of arousal.

Marsh rested the tip of her thumb against the tight muscle between Dana's buttocks, running the fingertips of her other hand over the moist soft delicate folds of skin below. She fondled the slick swollen tissues, spreading them, lightly caressing the firm bulge of Dana's clitoris, nestled in the thick wet sheath. She tugged on the cum soaked lips, rolling them between her fingers, pressing them together, massaging the surrounding muscles -- softening them to receive her.

"Ahh -- god!" Scully cried, tilting her hips higher, trying to urge Marsh into her. "now -- please --"

Taking a deep breath, trying to control her surging desire, Marsh entered her in both places simultaneously. *Oh jesus -- so tight, so warm* She began a slow steady rhythm, pulling her fingers almost all the way out, then moving deeply inside once more.

"Oh yeah --" Scully panted, feeling the pressure coalesce in the nerve endings around her clitoris. She closed her eyes tightly, her forehead resting on the mattress, her hips thrusting up to meet Marsh's downward strokes. "fuckmefuckmefuckme" she chanted almost silently.

Marsh steadied herself by leaning against the back of Dana's legs, her arms trembling with the effort to be careful -- she didn't want to hurt her, but God, she wanted her. "I love you," she gasped, beginning to rock her pelvis against the back of her own arms. The friction caused her clitoris to swell further, and she began to lose her rhythm. "Oh Dana--" she murmured, "you make me so crazy."

Scully only groaned in response, aware only of the spiraling tension building inside. "Harder--" she cried. "I'm -- almost -- oh -- there--"

Marsh caught her lip between her teeth, holding onto her orgasm by sheer will power. "I'm gonna -- come -- with -- you --" she managed. Her arms were a blur of motion.

"Noww -- do it -- nooww --" Scully moaned, pumping hard on Marsh's hands, contracting on the long fingers inside her. Her head snapped up as the first spasms rolled through her. "ohh godd"

Marsh lurched forward, her hips moving erratically. "I'm --coming--"

For a timeless moment, their bodies joined, their senses fused, and their minds knew only each other. When at last their orgasms subsided, leaving a momentary peace, they collapsed still entwined, and slept.

*****

"Professional review?" Marsh asked incredulously. "But why?"

Scully shrugged, straightening her skirt, checking her make-up one last time. Her eyes were hard chips of flint. "There doesn't have to be a why. Simply an order. They asked for Mulder and I to be there this morning."

Marsh pulled on her grey flannel trousers, tucked in the silk shirt, stepped into her loafers. She clipped the beeper to her belt.

Scully smiled fondly, her face softening for a brief instant. "That's mine, darling."

Marsh stared at her uncomprehendingly for a moment, then pulled off the pager as if it were on fire. "You should stick this up someone's ass," she grumbled. "How can they possibly be calling you up over this? Didn't you and Mulder find the goddamned bomb?"

"Mulder actually found it. Sheer luck. And we were in the wrong building."

"Which probably saved dozens of lives," Marsh commented sourly while rummaging on the nightstand for her own beeper.

Scully took a deep breath. "I have a bad feeling about this, Marsh."

Marsh stopped what she was doing and gave her lover her full attention. "What do you mean?"

"Mulder and I have been skating on the edge of disaster for years. With the x-files gone, and now this, they may push to reassign us."

Marsh sat on the bed. She regarded the composed, regal-appearing woman across the room from her intently. "And?"

"They could send me anywhere."

Marsh didn't hesitate. "I'll go anywhere you go."

Scully walked to her, smiling softly. "Darling mine -- you are Chief of Trauma at Memorial, or have you forgotten that?" She ran a hand through Marsh's thick hair, already unruly despite Marsh's careful attempts to tame the persistent waves with the dryer. "You can't just leave."

Marsh leaned forward, resting her face gently against Dana's belly, her arms lightly encircling her waist. She sighed, thinking she never felt better than when she was close to her. "I can find another job. I need to be with you."

Scully pressed a little closer, her hand stroking the back of Marsh's neck. *I can find another job, too*


Part Three

Day 4

Forty-eight hours later, after a near disastrous unauthorized autopsy and a delightful romp through the Texas countryside with Mulder, Scully walked down the hall toward AD Skinner. He looked impatient. She didn't blame him -- she was twenty minutes late. She had on the same clothes she'd been wearing for two days now. She was tired, sore and frustrated. Whatever they had found out there in Texas, it was not going to help her with the review hearing. The second in as many days. She needed tangible evidence to support the strange findings from her cursory examination of the corpse sequestered at Bethesda Naval Hospital. The body of a fireman supposedly killed in the bomb blast in Texas -- a body that showed signs of overwhelming infection, but certainly not of an explosion. She needed more than the few fossilized bone fragments she had been able to salvage in Dallas that suggested viral infestation. It wasn't enough, but it was all she had.

"I'm sorry I'm late, sir," she offered as she approached.

Skinner nodded curtly and pushed open the door for her.

Thirty minutes later she walked briskly back down the hall, her face composed, but her eyes strangely empty.

*****

"Are you sure?" Marsh said quietly. They were seated side by side on the sofa in her office.

"Yes."

Marsh moved closer, reaching for Dana's hand. Dana looked drawn and tired. She'd been gone for almost two days, and looked like she hadn't slept in three. It was hardly the best time for life-altering decisions. "I meant it when I said I'd move."

Scully sighed, and leaned her head against Marsh's shoulder. "I believe you, and I appreciate it. More than you know. But there is no way that I am going to Salt Lake City, even if I would let you quit your job. There's nothing for me there -- and maybe there never has been _anywhere_ in the bureau. Maybe I've been deluding myself all these years that the work I've been doing could have any significance."

Marsh stroked her lover's cheek. "Dana -- you have probably impacted countless lives, in ways you'll never fully know, through the work you've been doing. I don't want to see you give up on it unless you're absolutely sure."

Scully knew how hard it was for Marsh when her bureau work put her in danger, and she appreciated Marsh encouraging her to stay. But she wasn't about to let Marsh sacrifice her own career to follow Scully to some dead end post that _she_ didn't even want. She pressed closer to her lover's lean form. "You know, I really missed you the last few days."

Marsjh kissed the soft hair at Dana's temple. "Mmm -- me too. Whenever you leave one of those cryptic _I'm going out of town with Mulder_ messages, I've learned not to expect you home right away." She kissed the corner of Scully's mouth. *And every time you go I worry until you return*

Scully turned her head, catching Marsh's lower lip between her teeth. She bite it gently, then pulled it into her mouth, sucking the sensitive inner surface. Marsh groaned and slid her hand inside Scully's jacket, moving up to cup the undersurface of her breast. Her thumb rode over the prominence of nipple under the sheer blouse and bra.

Scully drew away with a groan, her breasts already full with anticipation. A familiar heaviness suffused her belly and thighs. "Sweetheart -- I want you to make love to me -- immediately, right here, on this couch -- on the floor -- I don't care where."

Marsh grinned that rakish grin and lowered her head to nudge open Dana's jacket with her nose. Her goal was to capture a hard nipple in her teeth.

Scully tangled her hand in Marsh's hair, pulling her face away. "But I can't let you. I need to talk to Mulder before he hears about this from someone else. I need a looooong shower, and then I need you to come home and do things to me with your wonderful hands and your incredible mouth all night long."

"I'm off at six," Marsh said hoarsely, her hand still stroking Dana's breast. "Will you be ready for me by then?"

Scully leaned close to kiss her, her fingers slipping between Marsh's legs, pressing into the damp fabric at her crotch. She massaged the hard ridge of Marsh's clitoris, smiling against Marsh's lips as she felt her tremble. "I'm ready for you now,darling," she whispered.

"Oh fuck, Dana," Marsh gasped. "Don't do that now."

Scully smiled, pulling at the engorged shaft through the loose material. She forgot about her urgency to see Mulder as the thrill she always felt when making love to Marsh coursed through her. In her mind, she saw what her fingers fondled -- the swollen bright red tissues, the clear sheen of slick sweet cum, the pulsations visible in the sensitive tip. Knowing what she was doing to her lover excited her as much, maybe even more, than being touched herself. She felt powerful -- godlike. "You want me to stop?" she teased lightly, working the prominent thickened base in circles between her fingers.

Marsh tried to focus on Scully's face, but her vision was hazy, her breath coming in erratic gasps. "Do you -- want -- to make me come?" she murmured brokenly. Her inner thigh muscles began to spasm violently, and she involuntarily pressed her hips up into Scully's hand.

Scully's blood surged. She increased the pressure of her strokes. "Am I?" The cotton beneath her fingers was soaked.

"Oh yeah -- " Marsh grunted, her eyes closing. She pushed back against the upholstery, bracing herself for the contractions she knew were coming.

"Look at me," Scully whispered. "I want to watch you come."

"Hard," Marsh gasped, her lids flickering open.

"Do it any way," Scully ordered gently. Her breath catching in her throat, she watched Marsh's eyes darken from grey to almost black. The fine muscles along Marsh's jaw bunched and tightened. Marsh's entire body lifted a fraction off the couch as Scully brought her closer to the edge. "Oh god, you're so beautiful."

"Going -- to -- come," Marsh whimpered. Her face dissolved into waves of pleasure bordering on pain as her orgasm began.

Scully stopped breathing. It was a sight she would never tire of, more moving than anything she had ever experienced. She watched her love and passion flow through the woman she adored, a gift she meant to give but received instead, each time Marsh came for her. Her chest tightened and her eyes filled with tears. "I love you," she cried softly. "Oh god, I love you."

Marsh collapsed back into the cushions, twitching slightly under Scully's hands. "Fuck," she gasped weakly. "I'm hopeless. You touch me and I lose it."

Scully laughed, forgetting for a moment bombs, and viruses, and cornfields -- and bees. She loved, and was loved, and the world made perfect sense. "Oh my darling -- you are so easy!"

Marsh tried to look offended but all she coud manage was another grin. "Yeah, so? You complaining?"

Scully kissed her once more. "Oh no. Not at all," she whispered, her lips lingering on Marsh's. Her pulse quickened. "Not at all."

Marsh reached for her, but Scully pulled back reluctantly. "Later, my love. I _have_ to talk to Mulder."

Marsh relented graciously. "I know. Go. I'll see you at home soon."

Scully left reluctantly, knowing she was about to do the hardest thing she had ever done. They had finally won, whoever _they_ really were. Maybe_they_ were nothing more than the combined forces of evil, dividing them at last, wearing down their resistance. Or maybe just hers. Mulder would never give in, but she had. She couldn't ask Marsh to follow her from one hell hole assignment to another, and she couldn't go without her. Wouldn't want to go without her. There was no choice in the end.

*****

God, she hated to hurt him.

Mulder stared at her. "You can't quit, Scully."

She closed her eyes, knowing the words by heart. Seeing the torment in his face was only making it worse. He would never understand. That she was tired, that she wanted a normal life, that she was finally being selfish -- in the way that _he_ had been selfish all these years. She was choosing what _she _ needed, and not what someone else needed her to do, or to be. She was no longer Dana Scully the dutiful daughter, the dedicated doctor, the determined federal agent, the dependable partner. She was Dana Scully, the woman, and she chose happiness, and love, and the only person who had ever given her both.

"I have. I did. It's done."

He shook his head, stunned. There had to be a way to get through to her. God damn it! He needed her. Anger warred with caution. She couldn't leave him now! They were close -- so close! They were finally about to get the answers he had been seeking his entire life, and he needed her now more than ever. She kept him steady, she kept him on track -- Christ, she kept him sane!

"Scully--" he pleaded, the panic rising. *Don't do this to me -- please, not now--*

Determinedly she persisted, trying to make him see reason. She had been assigned as a deterrent in the first place; her skepticism held him back; they were splitting them up anyway. His anguish flooded his dark eyes, overflowing into the expressive planes of his face. Her heart ached, but she held fast. *Let me go, Mulder. I need for you to let me go*

She steeled herself to his pain. "I'm contacting the state medical board tomorrow so I can practice again --" She had more to lose than she was wiling to risk. This time there was more than herself to consider. *I have a lover now, Mulder. I have a chance for a _life_. I _have_ to choose*

He placed his hands lightly on her shoulders, wanting to keep her from slipping away, wanting the strength of his passion, his conviction, to infuse her. He wanted her to _see_.

"I don't want to do this without you. I don't know if I _can_. And if I quit now, they win..."

*Oh, Mulder -- my sweet dreamer -- don't you see they've already won?* She leaned forward, wanting so much to comfort him. If it hadn't been for Marsh, she might have given in one more time, followed him on his quest one more time, but not now. Not this time. She stood on tiptoe and pressed her lips to his forehead. *I am so, so sorry*

He felt her leaving him -- he felt her goodbye. It was as horrible as watching Samantha float beyond his grasp, helplessly reaching for her as she faded from sight. He pulled her closer, his fear overriding conscious thought. He stared into her eyes, willing her to stay. His heart pounding, he lowered his head.

Scully was awash with his anguish. She stood motionless in the face of it. Suddenly she was aware of his movement. *Mulder?* His lips brushed hers and she jumped. *Oh God, Mulder -- no!* She started to step back, then slapped at the back of her neck. "Ouch!"

"What is it?" Mulder asked urgently. *Jesus Christ, what was I thinking?*

Scully fought for air. "...something stung .. me." Her legs were rapidly growing numb. *This can't be. Oh God -- I can't breathe --" She stared at Mulder, then at the bee lying crushed in her hand. "Pain -- in my chest --" She began to fall. She was losing consciousness. *Oh god -- Marsh! Someone call Marsh --*

She could see his face, peering down at her. Frantic, panicked. She sensed movement, heard voices dimly, as if underwater. She was breathing, but she couldn't feel her chest move. Oh god -- what was happening. Neurotoxin of some kind -- motor paralysis, but selective. Autonomic system still functioning. What the hell was it? The bee sting? The virus??

Her eyes flickered in a limited arc. This isn't the hospital -- plane. Men in tactical gear. Not again. Oh god -- please not again.

Oh Marsh -- I am so sorry! Do you know how much I love you? Will you remember?


Part Four

Evening
Day Five

As quickly as possible Mulder hurried through the halls away from the Intensive Care Unit. The exit sign pointed left and he breathed a sigh of relief. Almost there. An arm snaked out and dragged him into a small alcove by a deserted nurses station. Strong hands pinned his back to the counter. For an instant he thought he was looking in a mirror. Wild smoky eyes, ringed with dark circles, burned in the pale stone-like features. He sensed the taut nerves about to snap.

"Let me go, Marsh," he said urgently, but he made no move to take her hands away. He sensed her anguish, knew her fear.

"What happened, Mulder?" she rasped, shaking him frantically. "Where the hell is she!"

"I don't know."

Her eyes rolled for a second and he thought she was going to collapse. A terrible moan started somewhere deep in her chest, an animal sound, a howl of vast emptiness. The hands on his arms clenched, twisting painfully in the fabric of Byer's shirt. He thought he could see her body begin to crumble, breaking apart like a jigsaw puzzle stood on end.

"I'll find her!" he vowed, his voice certain, strong. "I'll bring her back, Marsh, I promise."

She stumbled on the edge of darkness, barely able to hear his voice. She couldn't stand the pain, so much worse than before, so deep inside her, ripping at the fabric of her sanity. She had to let go -- of her feelings, of her mind -- she had to go far away from the memory of Dana's touch, her smell, her voice in the night -- She began to drift -- her thoughts receded into nothingness. Peace was so close --

Mulder watched her giving up -- sliding into catatonia. "Dana loves you, Marsh. Dana needs you, Marsh." He grabbed her face hard, felt her flinch. Good, she was still with him. "Dana needs you to be here when she gets back. Marsh -- Marsh!"

She shivered, shook her head. Her eyes began to focus. They were pools of endless pain. "Find her, Mulder. Please."

He nodded. She dropped her hands, and in the next instant, he was gone.

*****

Day Six

They stared at one another silently for hours. He got up and paced. He wished she would say something -- curse at him, at the faceless men and nameless enemies, at the fates -- someone, anything. He drank coffee; she shook her head _no_. He picked at a cardboard replica of a ham sandwich from the vending machine; she waved a second one away. He snatched up the phone at the first hint of a ring; her body coiled and tensed each time. Each time he replaced it gently, his eyes apologizing, hers grew dimmer.

Twenty-two hours. Nothing.

How could that be? How could the greatest investigative operation in the world, with contacts in every country on every continent, not be able to find one man and one woman?

His starched white shirt wilted, grew circles of sweat under the arms. Her body slowly turned to stone as the hope bled from her like a mortal wound.

He searched desperately for some words, a phrase, to keep her alive. The platitudes died on his lips. It was so much worse than before, this disintegration. At least then he had not had to bear witness in helpless impotence.

The phone rang. She didn't even look up.

He listened, then covered the receiver and spoke. "We've located Mulder. He's in Antarctica."

Marsh stirred, met his flat hard gaze with feverish eyes. "We'll need thermal resuscitation units -- two of them. Portable immersion tanks. Full emergency operating facilities on the transport--"

Skinner interrupted her, holding out the phone. "Tell them yourself -- then let's go get them."

*****

Day Eight

She was on fire. Her face, her hands, her skin -- raw burning flames licked at them. She moaned, tried to draw away. Something cool, soft, soothing, tempered the inferno. A quiet murmuring and a gentle touch calmed her. She sighed and slept again.

Special Agent Dana Scully opened her eyes slowly, giving herself time to adjust to the dim room light that seemed so bright after hours of unconsciousness. She tried to surreptitiously survey her surroundings. Hospital bed, hospital smells -- no restraints. That much was good. An IV -- not so good. Were they drugging her? No -- thoughts too clear. She flexed each hand, tensed each leg -- motor function intact. Another plus.

She closed her eyes -- trying to reconstruct the events leading up to this strange awakening. Images floated in her mind's eye like fragments of a long ago dream. Floating and falling and climbing. An endless stretch of blinding whiteness -- a shadow coursing overhead. Mulder beside her, telling her to look --_look_. She was so very cold -- so very tired. She couldn't look anymore. So tired -- Another face -- bending over her, holding her, calling her name -- a face she knew. Fierce and strong. Beautiful in its terrible anger -- calling her back, again and again--like the first time. Out of the chaos -- into the light.

Scully opened her eyes, knowing where she was, knowing who was there. "Marsh?"

"Here, love," Marsh answered, sitting forward in the chair next to the bed. She took the small pale hand, brought it to her lips. "I'm right here."

Scully smiled, wincing slightly as the movement stretched the frostbitten skin on her cheek. "Haven't we done this scene before?"

"Mmm -- only this time I get to take you home with me." Marsh edged nearer the bed. "Soon."

Scully surveyed her lover anxiously. She was drawn and thin. "When's the last time you ate? Or slept?"

"I'm fine," Marsh said firmly. *Now that you're better*

"This won't happen again, Marsh, I promise." Scully squeezed Marsh's fingers to emphasize her words. *I'll never do this to you again*

Marsh shook her head. "We don't have to talk about this now."

"I mean it. I'm done. That's what I was trying to tell Mulder -- oh god! Mulder! is he--"

"He's fine," Marsh assured her quickly. "In fact he was released yesterday."

Scully relaxed visibly. "Thank god -- How did you find me?"

Marsh laughed faintly. "If I can't find you, I just need to follow Mulder."

"I'm sorry--" Scully began.

"You're not going to let this go, are you?" Marsh sighed. "Even with the fastest supersonic transport known to our great military, it's still a long way to the South Pole. Skinner and I had a long time to talk."

Scully waited.

"He told me everything he knew, and some he was guessing at. About you, and Mulder, and the X-files. About Samantha, and a strange group of shadow men whose power appears to extend everywhere. And some things about events that have no earthly explanation."

"Now you know why I want to leave. It's not fair to you," Scully whispered. "And I love you so much."

Marsh leaned forward, and kissed her tenderly, with barely restrained passion. " I love _you_, Dana. And that's why I want you to stay."

An eyebrow arched. A good sign. "Come again?"

"You're in this, Dana. Wherever it goes. However deep it penetrates. And you're safer working to uncover it, expose them, stop them -- than you would be if you walked away. Because I don't think they'd _let_ you walk away."

"It won't be easy -- " Scully warned. *And I can't watch it tear you apart*

"I know that. But I'd rather deal with the enemy we know -- and --" she smiled grimly. "I trust you with Mulder."

Scully's mind flickered to the strange moment in the hallway outside Mulder's apartment. The fleeting touch of his lips to hers. She felt his need, and his love. She felt their connection, deeper than shared experiences or ideals. She had no need to think of what might have been, in another lifetime. She looked at the woman she loved with all her being. "You _can_ trust me with him," she said quietly.

"I'll be fine," Marsh said quietly, drawing Dana's fingers to her lips once again. She kissed each finger tip, brushing her lips gently over the still healing areas of frostbite. "I know you're not Karen. And I know you won't leave me."

"Oh god, no. Never."

*****

Day Eleven

Marsh sat at the bar in the nearly deserted room, nursing a scotch and waiting for her lover. It was early by lesbian nightlife standards, only eight pm, but it had been a long day for Dana. She had another session with the Office of Professional Review that afternoon. And then Marsh knew she was meeting Mulder. To tell him she was staying. To tell him she was going to fight. To tell him she wanted to beat whatever forces were engineering the virus that had infected her.

Marsh sighed and sipped the rough-edged liquid fire. She was resigned to it. Loving Dana meant accepting her past, and her future, and the dark forces that shadowed her. Ultimately she trusted to Dana's skill and determination, and to Mulder's presence by her side. Loving Dana meant accepting him, too.

She signaled for a refill and listened to the old love song someone had played on the jukebox.

_I'll always remember that magic moment
When I held you close to me
Cause when we move together I know forever
You're all I'll ever need

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together it feels so right
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?_

Marsh turned slowly on the seat and glanced across the room to the jukebox. A stunning redhead leaned against it, her arms crossed, one hip tilted seductively, a soft smile lifting the corners of her full red lips. When Marsh's gaze met hers, she lifted an elegantly arched eyebrow in silent question.

In response Marsh eased off the seat and began to cross the small dance floor. Scully moved too, her blue eyes fixed on Marsh's. When they met in the middle, Scully raised her arms and wrapped them around her taller lover's neck, pressing her face into the soft warmth below Marsh's jaw. She breathed in her scent, opened her mouth to her skin.

Marsh slid her hands down Dana's sides to her hips, and then around to the dip just above her buttocks. She pulled her close, fitting the angles and planes of her frame to Dana's curves. She closed her eyes and rested her cheek against the silken hair.

When they moved to the music, two bodies -- two hearts --in perfect harmony, it was impossible to tell who led.

End

 


 

Genesis VIII: Do Not Go Gentle
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
SUMMARY: A post-Tithonus episode, where Scully's life hangs in the balance, and those who love her face the reality of life without her.


"Do not go gentle into that good night...
Rage, rage against the dying of the light"*

Memorial Hospital
Washington, DC

"Clamp the chest tube and watch it for an hour to make sure there's no air leak. Then get an upright chest x-ray in six hours. If there's no evidence of pneumothorax, and the lung is fully inflated, go ahead and pull it."

Marsh moved to the next bed in the intensive care unit, followed by residents, trauma fellows, and nurses. She picked up the patient's chart and began to peruse the vital signs. Suddenly, her shoulders stiffened and she carefully replaced the chart on top of the bedside table. She turned slowly and looked across the room. Mulder was standing just inside the double swinging doors. Wordlessly, she threaded her way through the surrounding staff members and went to face him. "Is she alive?"

Mulder didn't even stop to wonder how she knew. Somehow, he understood. "Yes, but it's bad."

Her pupils flickered and a faint shudder rippled through her body. A cold hand squeezed her heart. "Let's go up to the heliport. We'll use that to get to my plane."

When they arrived in the downtown Manhattan hospital, Scully was already in the operating room. Marsh simply displayed her FBI credentials and asked where the surgeon's locker room was. Ten minutes later she was standing beside the operating table looking down into Scully's open chest. The operating surgeon didn't even bother to look up.

"You the FBI doc?"

"Yes," Marsh replied calmly. *and her lover*

"You want to scrub in? It's a great case. The bullet went between the sixth and seventh ribs, through the lower lobe of the left lung, glanced off the descending aorta, and lodged in the posterior paraspinus muscles. It's amazing she didn't bleed to death - but then again, she almost did."

A bright geyser of arterial blood spurted up onto the surgeon's mask. "Shit -- she still might."

Marsh watched the surgeon's hands moving inside Dana's chest. Gently lifting the lung out of the way, applying fine clamps to bleeding vessels, cutting away the blast-damaged tissues. "You seem to have things under control." She paused for a moment. "It looks like you might have of bleeder up there behind the hilum," she said politely. Very calmly. The calm that comes from holding back terror with both hands.

The surgeon grunted softly and advanced the suction cannula deeper into the chest cavity, removing old clots and fresh blood from around the root of the lung. "Oh yeah, I see it now. I've been wondering where that damn oozing was coming from. Thanks."

Marsh studied the wound. The aorta was already controlled with clamps above and below the area of the puncture site. The surgeon was now placing a non-crushing clamp around the edges of the bullet wound in the lung. Fortunately, the projectile had missed the left ventricle and the heart was beating steadily. Dana's heart.

Dana's heart.

For the first time in hours, Marsh was aware of her own body. Her legs were trembling faintly, and her hands were shaking despite her clenched fists. For an instant, her vision blurred. That had never happened in the operating room. This was her arena. This was where she did battle, and had never been defeated. In this place, nothing was permitted to penetrate her consciousness, other than the body before her and the instruments in her hands. The world outside the four walls of the operating room receded into nothingness. Time stopped. Personal worries - personal pain - personal fears, disappeared. In this theater, at this table, she was invincible.

But not now. She was lost.

"I'll be in the lounge," she murmured. "If something changes, if you start to lose her --" She couldn't continue, she couldn't even put words to the deepest fear in her life.

How exactly would she continue? What would be the point? Was there something that she hadn't already accomplished that she would possibly care to live for? She had achieved every goal she had ever desired -- she had honed her skills to the highest level, she had practiced her profession with integrity and honor, and she had paid her dues to her country. She had even finally forgiven herself for Karen and made her own personal peace. For what other reason could she possibly get up in the morning other than to love this woman? How would she find a reason? Where would she find the desire? To envision a future without Dana was as impossible for Marsh as to envision not loving her. She supposed she could continue, perhaps even would continue, but the emptiness within would never abate. And if the pain that accompanied that desolation did not lessen, she would not survive.

She looked once more into the open thorax of her lover, and willed the fragile tissues to heal. Then she slowly turned and softly left the room.

****

Mulder found her leaning against the window, staring out into the night. It had been three hours since Dana was taken into the operating room. He had spent most of that time pacing in front of the double doors with the large red sign warning him not to enter. Beyond those doors was a world he could not experience. He was not allowed to see, he was not allowed to touch, he was not allowed to act; there was nothing he could do. He experienced a helplessness he had not known since those frozen moments when he watched Samantha drift away. It was hard enough accepting his own impotence. It was almost more than he could bear to watch Marsh's agony.

He couldn't tell her it would be all right, because he didn't know that was true. He couldn't tell her that she would survive the loss, because he couldn't imagine how. To him, the thought of losing Scully was a pain that struck so deep, he was choking on it. What must it be like for Marsh, to lose someone she had touched and loved and admitted into her body. He didn't know. He wasn't sure he wanted to know. Perhaps that was why there was no one for him like Marsh.

They had exchanged few words when Marsh piloted them from Memorial's rooftop to the air strip where her plane awaited them. When they lifted off, Mulder tried to say he was sorry.

"I was too late. I tried to warn her --"

Marsh stared straight ahead into the night sky. It was perfectly clear, and the horizon was littered with twinkling stars. "I believe you."

"She was working with a guy she didn't know. They split us up--"

"I know."

Mulder shifted in the seat, wanting so much to comfort her, and not knowing the first thing to say. "She's strong, Marsh."

"She's flesh and blood, Mulder. You have no idea how fragile the body is. It betrays our spirits. We can struggle to overcome our weaknesses, but in the end we are mortal. She's strong; she's the strongest person I've ever known. But her strength is in her heart, and in her will. Her body is as vulnerable as a petal in a rain storm. It can be broken; it can be destroyed."

"I've seen her win before," Mulder persisted, needing her to believe as much as he needed to. "I've seen her dying, and I've seen her fight it. I've seen her come back when no one should have."

"How many times, Mulder? How many times can she do it?"

Mulder took a deep breath, and spoke from his heart. "She'll do it for you, Marsh. She'll do it because she loves you, and because she needs you, and because she wants to be with you more than anything in the world. She's never had quite that reason before, and no matter what has happened to her, I believe that she'll live for you."

Marsh's hands tightened on the rudder, and she willed her arms not tremble. *Please God, let that be true. Let that be true, and I swear, I will love her with every breath, every moment - for the rest of my life*

*****

They gave them as much privacy as possible. At one end of the long rectangle which comprised the intensive care unit, there was a single isolation room. Granted, it had a large window which allowed the nurses and other personnel passing by to see the patient from almost anywhere in the room, but at least they were separated from the never-ending noise, bright lights, and sounds of the barely living. The overhead fluorescents had been turned off, and most of the illumination came from the glow of the many monitors. The endotracheal tube which had exited from between Dana's lips, connected by a long flexible tube to the portable ventilator, had been removed shortly after surgery. Intravenous bags ran nutrient fluid into her veins, and chest tubes and catheters removed the ravages of trauma and injury. If anyone found it odd that the tall trauma surgeon from Washington D.C. sat silently by the bedside, both hands clasped around the patient's motionless fingers, no one had time to comment on it.

Touch and go, they had said. She should have been dead at the scene, but for some reason she hung on. Morning was a lifetime away.

Marsh was unaware of conscious thought. Her mind registered the flickering of dials in the background, the steady rhythmic bleeping of the electrocardiogram machine, and the comforting rise and fall of the compression devices on Dana's extremities. She watched Dana's eyelids flicker slightly as her body struggled. If she just looked at her face she could almost forget what was happening.

*She's so beautiful when she's sleeping. But she's not sleeping, is she? She might be though - her face is flawless, without that little crease that forms between her eyebrows when she's thinking, or angry. She's not making those soft little murmurs that she usually makes when she sleeps, but she seems very peaceful. I wonder if that's good? Is she so peaceful because she can see a better place than here? Is she so still, so quiet, because she doesn't need to fight anymore? Is this what my patients are like just before they die?*

Marsh saw death every day. She had lived with it; she had held it in her hands; she had watched life slipping through her fingers. She had watched in agony as a lover died in her arms, but she had never seen death come so gently, so quietly, so respectfully. She wanted to shout, to make her stay. She wanted to grasp her fragile shoulders and shake her until the breath raged through her lungs, and blood pounded through her body. She wanted to scream, "Don't leave me. I can't live without you." But she did not. Because if this is how death came, it did not seem to be the enemy. And if Dana chose to go this way, to go quietly in the night, she would not deny her that choice.

She hadn't realized she had slipped to her knees by the bedside, her forehead pressed against Dana's abdomen. With one arm, she reached around Dana's still form to hold her close. She hadn't meant to beg, she meant to say goodbye, but in the end, she was no hero. *I love you with all my heart. I cannot imagine spending one day without you. I need you more than I need breath in my body. Please, Dana please --if you can hear me, please stay. I need you so much*

It might have been minutes, it could have been hours. Marsh felt a soft hand brush her cheek. She turned her face, her eyes bruised, her skin salty with long ago tears. Dana watched her with clear blue eyes.

"Are you really here?" Marsh whispered.

The faintest of smiles twitched at Scully's lips. "Yes, darling. And I intend to stay."

"That would be good," Marsh managed as she struggled to contain fresh tears. "That would be so very good."

Scully squeezed her hand, then closed her eyes, and returned to the battlefield yet again.

End

*Verse by Dylan Thomas

 


 

Genesis IX: Of Saints and Sinners
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
SUMMARY: Scully, Mulder and Marsh wrestle with their personal demons in the aftermath of Donnie Pfaster's attack.


Washington, DC
5:15am

"Alarm," Scully muttered.

"Mmppph," Marsh replied, and rolled over toward her, wrapping one arm around her waist, pressing close along the curve of her back.

The insistent buzz continued, and Scully slapped the button down on the bedside clock. "Marsh," she murmured, automatically drawing Marsh's hand up to her breast. "You have to get up."

"That's not the way to get me out of bed," Marsh whispered against Scully's ear, brushing her fingers down Scully's belly. She pushed her hips a little tighter against Scully's firm butt and growled softly.

"You have Grand Rounds this morning," Scully reminded her, her body suddenly much more awake. She shifted onto her back, letting her legs part under Marsh's hand. How many times had they awakened this way, and each time still so new? She turned her face to kiss the soft spot under Marsh's collarbone.

"I know," Marsh answered softly, leaning up on one elbow. Her explorations continued southward. "But surgeons shower fast." She bent her head, caught Scully's lower lip gently between her teeth, sucked lightly. She sighed as Scully's tongue teased along her own. "And I want you," she managed between lazy morning kisses.

"Mmm," Scully responded, lifting her hips encouragingly. Her mind was just reaching awareness, but her body was already humming. "What else can you do quickly?"

Marsh laughed quietly. "Some things should never be rushed."

Scully moved Marsh's fingers directly onto the spot where she needed them most. "Some things won't wait." She caught her breath as her nerve endings twitched. *God, I'm always so ready in the morning*

"Ah, but this will have to last all day," Marsh teased, her lips caressing the underside of Scully's jaw as she brushed feather-light fingertips over her throbbing hard clit.

"Uhnnn," Scully answered, pressing her hand down over Marsh's, urging her with quick firm movements. "So make it, ohh, good."

Their fingers intertwined, and together, they slipped over slick smooth ridges and between warm, swollen folds. Then Scully led Marsh inward, moaning as Marsh filled her.

"God, that's nice," Marsh breathed hoarsely against Scully's neck.

"God -- has -- oh --nothingtodo -- uh --withit."

"Mmmm, maybe," Marsh murmured, eyes closed, stroking gently, almost reverently. *But I feel so -- blessed*

"Thumb," Scully gasped. "Touch me."

Laughing, Marsh complied, starting a rhythm that matched the throbbing around her fingers. Back and forth she pressed, lost in the surging undulations of Scully's body. Soft moans and small startled cries mingled in an indescribable litany of love as Marsh carried Scully closer. Their hearts quickened together, racing with the flow of blood and rush of breath.

At the end, Marsh stilled, every sense exquisitely alive, attuned to every tremor that surged through Scully's body, memorizing every sound torn from her throat. *A miracle. Each and every time*

"Give me a minute," Scully finally gasped, turning to face Marsh. "I don't want you suffering all day."

Marsh raised her head, squinted at the clock. 5:34.

"Gotta go."

Scully tightened her grip. "I love you." Awake now, and very serious. *I hate it when you go*

Marsh kissed her, the teasing touch replaced by a sudden possessiveness. Hard, demanding for an instant. "I love you, too. More than I can say."

"You just did," Scully said, knowing it with more certainty than anything in her life. She kissed her again, then pushed her away gently. "Go. Or I won't let you."

"Go back to sleep," Marsh said as she slipped from the bed. "I'll shower at work."

And then she was gone, and Scully went back to sleep.

Until she was awakened at 6:06am.

*****

38 hours later

Through the open door, Mulder saw the Porsche careening up to the curb. He shouldered through the crowd of investigators, technicians, and crime scene personnel to intercept Marsh on the front steps. She was still in scrubs, without a coat, despite the frigid temperatures. She looked frantic.

"Where is she, Mulder?" Marsh demanded, her voice brittle and tight. "Is she hurt?"

Mulder extended one arm tentatively to restrain her, but Marsh brushed it off impatiently. Her eyes were blazing, a dangerous wildness swirling in their depths. "Just tell me."

"In the bedroom. She's fine," he said calmly. More calmly than he felt. He had been scared down to his shoes. First that he wouldn't get to Scully in time, and then when he did - terrified by what he found. And by what he had witnessed.

"She's not fine, Mulder. How could she be? Let me get by."

She stared at him, anger and something infinitely more frightening flickering across her face. Something menacing. He remembered the stories about Marsh's breakdown when Karen Summers had died. He wondered fleetingly if she still carried a gun. "Marsh --," he tried again. "She's -- she took a beating -- it was ugly."

"And where were you, Mulder?" she grated through clenched teeth, her hands fisted at her sides, white with strain. "Where the fuck were you?" She wanted to hurt something, someone. She swallowed hard, burying her fury, because this was not what Dana needed.

Before he could reply, Marsh pushed her way past the strangers milling about, stepping over the scattered pieces of overturned furniture without really taking in the ruin. She paused only long enough to close what was left of the shattered bedroom door. Then she was across the room, and gathering Scully into her arms.

"How are you?" Marsh whispered softly, holding the smaller woman gently but completely within the circle of her arms. Dana trembled against her, and Marsh's heart lurched. "Where are you hurt?" Her voice was soothing, while inside, she was raging.

For a long moment, Scully did not speak. She rested her head against Marsh's chest and listened to the steady, comforting, solid sound of her heartbeat. She pressed as close as she could, trying desperately to dispel the cold creeping through her body. At length she spoke. "I'm banged up a little bit. Nothing too serious."

Marsh leaned back enough to look down into Scully's face. "Your upper lip is split. It's going to take a couple of stitches."

There was a strange emptiness in Dana's normally vibrant gaze. Marsh might have thought it was pain, if she weren't so familiar with the color of pain in Dana's eyes. She had seen it often enough. This was something totally different, and terrifying. *Oh jesus, what did he do to you?*

"Can you tell me what happened?" Marsh tried again. *Let me help you. God, let me do something*

Scully shook her head. "Not now. I can't -- "

Marsh nodded, drawing her near, pressing her lips to the pale skin of Scully's forehead. "I understand. Can you at least come with me to the hospital so I can repair these lacerations?"

Scully stepped back and surveyed the remains of her bedroom. There was blood on the floor, streaks of it congealing to black clumps amidst shards of glass. Her blood, and - his. Bits of mirror reflected the scene in a thousand fractured angles. She struggled with a disorienting sense of unreality, knowing that all too soon it would dissolve into horrible truth. She watched herself pulling the trigger, saw the blood spray, and the body recoiling from the power of the impact. Her power -- her pain and loathing and mind-numbing fury. Had she been a disciple of good or the instrument of evil? Or had she merely sinned. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt --

"Dana?" Marsh asked quietly.

Scully looked at her blankly. There would be questions, many of them, from both the bureau and the local police. And then what would she do? She wasn't sure how she was going to answer them; she wasn't sure what she thought herself. "Let's go now," Scully said hollowly. "I need to get away from here."

There was a soft knock at the door, and Mulder's tentative voice, "Can I come in?"

Scully cleared her throat. "Come in Mulder, the door's open." She laughed without humor. "Well actually, the door's about to fall off."

Mulder entered cautiously, then looked from one to the other. Scully seemed shell-shocked, and Marsh looked ready to hit someone. Most likely him. Maybe he deserved it. He hadn't really listened when Scully tried to tell him what was happening. He didn't believe, at least not in the forces that she was talking about. Evil? Oh yes, he believed in that. And that its name was not Satan, but man. And there was something else he believed in. He believed in her.

He took a breath. He couldn't change what had happened, but it wasn't over yet. There was no way he was going to let this destroy her. "They want us this afternoon, Scully, first at the station, then at the bureau."

Marsh stiffened. "She's injured, and I'm taking her to the hospital. I'll let you know when she's ready to be questioned." She couldn't believe it. Hadn't they done enough to her -- all of them? The bureau, expecting her to face these monsters again and again. The perpetrators --the insane and the profane -- and even the victims; all had claimed a piece of Dana's soul. When would it stop?

Scully put her hand on Marsh's arm, and squeezed lightly. "I'll be there, Mulder."

"Scully," he said intently. "It was right."

She didn't answer.

He watched them walk away, his partner encircled by Marsh's protective embrace. He knew what he was going to say when asked, without the slightest bit of uncertainty or remorse. He only hoped that Scully would find a way to do the same.

*****

"It wasn't Mulder's fault."

"Uh huh," Marsh responded automatically. She picked up the syringe of lidocaine, and said, "Hold still. This is going to sting."

Marsh slid the fine steel needle into the tender tissues of Scully's upper lip, injecting the local anesthesia. This she could do -- she could mend the tears, if not the deeper wounds. She didn't know how to begin to tend to her heart.

As soon as she could talk, Scully continued, "I knew something was wrong. I could feel it. From the very beginning, I felt like someone was trying to tell me something. But then I stopped listening." She blinked away tears. *Or maybe I just stopped believing*

Marsh poised with the suture in her hand. *Let her talk. It's what she needs* She set the instruments aside. "Who was trying to tell you something?"

"I thought at first it was God," Scully said very quietly. And then she told her the rest, about the music, and the strange minister who knew things about her he should not know, and the man who seemed too monstrous to be human. About hunting him, and being hunted by him. Of what he did to her, and finally, of what she had done to him.

Marsh had pulled up a stool, and sat beside the narrow metal table upon which Scully lay. She placed her hand gently in Scully's hair, her thumb stroking the soft wisps of red and gold along Scully's temple. "And now what you do think?"

"I don't have to think anything. I know," Scully said flatly. "I killed him. Mulder had his gun on him, had him subdued, and I executed him."

Scully looked at Marsh with eyes so wounded, so filled with torment, that Marsh wanted to lash out at everyone or anything that ever had, or ever would, harm her. Marsh loved her to the point of helplessness, and knew in that instant her utter powerlessness to protect her. Her impotence was choking her. She struggled to keep her voice even.

"Is there going to be a problem this afternoon?"

Scully shook her head. "Formality only. Everyone suspects something, but Mulder will back me."

Marsh drew closer. "And that's it?"

"Technically, yes," Scully murmured. "But I'll always know."

Marsh heard the anguish in her voice. "Maybe there are forces at work here you aren't meant to understand."

Scully turned her head, meeting Marsh's intense gaze. *You're always here for me, aren't you?* For an instant she was comforted, and then she was standing in the living room again, cold steel in her hand. "Divine Providence?" she said bitterly. "I have killed, when I was forced to, but this - this was something different. I had a choice."

"Oh love," Marsh whispered. "Try to forgive yourself. You did what any one of us would have done. He was evil, in the worst ways that a human being can be. He destroyed the lives of other human beings. Not just once, but many times, and he never would have stopped. Never. He threatened you in unimaginable ways, and what you did was justified. I can't believe that anyone, human or divine, would find you guilty."

Scully smiled faintly, because she knew that Marsh loved her. Just as Mulder did. Both of them were trying to convince her that she had not sinned. There were rationalizations, and explanations, and perhaps even justifications, but one phrase kept running through her mind.

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord

They leaned close together, bodies touching, each with their separate pain. Marshall Black, wanting so desperately to provide Dana peace, fearing she could not. Special Agent Dana Scully, wishing she could pray, knowing she would not.

"I love you, Dana," Marsh whispered, having only that to offer.

Scully absorbed the words, knew the truth of it, and felt the beginnings of absolution.

*****

End

 


 

Genesis X: Ghosts
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
SUMMARY: Scully struggles with a painful reminder of her past. A post-ep (All Things) vignette


Tuesday, Washington D.C.

Mulder fumbled the phone to his ear. "Mulder--" he mumbled groggily.

"It's Marsh, Mulder. Is she there?" Her voice was even and calm, betraying none of her anxiety. She glanced again at the digital clock on the dresser. 5:25 AM

Mulder rolled off the bed and padded to the doorway, glancing across the living room to the sofa where she had fallen asleep. The handmade wool blanket with which he had covered her was neatly folded on the arm of the couch. He looked the other way across his bedroom to the bathroom. The door was pulled nearly closed, and no light shown beyond it. He returned to the bed, sitting heavily on the side. Wearily he brushed one hand through his hair as he picked up the receiver. He continued to rub his face, trying to wake up, wondering if he should make some excuse. But it was not his place to offer explanations.

"No," was all he finally said.

Marsh knew from the prolonged silence that he had been searching the apartment. Her voice was flat, no trace of recrimination. "You know what time she left?"

Mulder sighed. "No idea. She was here around midnight, and I left her asleep on the sofa." He didn't see any reason to tell her that sometime in the night, Scully had lain down beside him in the dark. He had been awake, but had said nothing. When she reached for his hand, he had slipped his fingers between hers. He hadn't heard her leave.

It was Marsh's turn for silence. She respected Dana's friendship with Mulder, even though she admitted, if only to herself, that occasionally she was jealous of it. There were things that he shared with her lover that she could not. The two of them faced danger, and far too often - death, together. That produced a kind of bond that approached the intimacy of lovers, and a kind of interdependence that often out-lasted love. She also respected her lover's privacy. She trusted Dana to tell her what she could, when she was ready.

Nevertheless, she was worried, and couldn't help but ask, "Is she all right, Mulder? It's not like her not to leave a message."

Mulder knew what that question cost her. He thought for a second, weighing his loyalty to Scully, not wanting to betray her confidences, but sympathizing with Marsh's concern. "I think she's okay," he said at length. "I think she was just lonely."

It hurt Marsh to think that Dana had needed someone, and she was not there. She took a deep breath, and said, "Thanks, Mulder. And thanks for being there for her."

Mulder carefully hung up the receiver, and whispered "That's okay. I love her, too."

*****

6:15 AM

When Scully came into the apartment, she headed straight to the bedroom. By the time she reached the doorway, she had shed both shoes, had pulled off her rumpled sweater, and was about to push her skirt down and kick it into a corner when she stopped, one hand balanced on the doorway, and stared in surprise at the figure stretched out on top of the bed. "What are you doing here? I didn't expect you until tomorrow."

Marsh smiled faintly, a slight flickering at the corner of her mouth. She had shed her travel clothes and showered quickly after her call to Mulder. She was wearing the blue silk robe that Scully had gotten her. She tried to keep her tone light, but she could see the shadows under Dana's eyes from across the room, and she had to struggle not to question her.

"I had all I could take of the meeting by last night. If I had to listen to one more person talk about the economic aspects of trauma care I was going to scream. I caught the red eye home."

Unable to wait any longer, Marsh crossed the room and slipped her arms around Scully's waist. "Plus, I missed you and I didn't want to stay away another night." To her surprise, in a rare show of vulnerability, Dana pressed herself tightly against her, her arms encircling her in a near desperate embrace.

"Hey," Marsh whispered, resting her cheek against the soft reddish gold hair. "What's going on?"

Scully closed her eyes tightly, contenting herself just to listen to the slow steady beat of Marsh's heart. It always took Marsh coming home for her to realize how very deeply she missed her when she was gone. She usually buried herself in work, and tried not to think about how impossible it was to sleep without her, how difficult to start the day without hearing her voice. This time, it had been even worse. For three days she had been catapulted into the past, forced to confront choices she had made, some of which she regretted deeply, and the consequences that had followed. Some things she hadn't been proud of, and some feelings she thought she had laid to rest, had returned to haunt her. She leaned back, tilting her head to study her lover. Marsh's gray eyes were tender, the expression on her face accepting, and the strength of her embrace comforting. She felt safe, and loved. She took Marsh's hand and said, "Come lie down with me."

They lay face to face, arms encircling one another, hands softly stroking.

"I was doing an autopsy for Mulder on Saturday, when I accidentally came across the chart of a man I once knew," Scully began. Seeing his name had brought back a flood of emotion, memories of a time in her life when she had been uncertain and confused. She was following the prescribed path, trying to please her parents, fulfilling their desires and what she had thought were her own dreams. But she had found herself halfway through medical school feeling unfulfilled and desperate. And then Daniel had come to answer her questions. He had been her teacher, her mentor, and briefly, her lover. But unlike what she had found with Marsh, his love had not brought peace. She didn't know how to describe what she felt when she saw him again. Regret, a lingering tenderness, a reflection of her long ago pain.

Marsh felt her uncertainty, and brushed her long surgeon's fingers through the wisps of hair lying across Dana's face. She moved closer still until their bodies touched along their entirety. Whatever Dana needed to say, Marsh wanted her to know that she could hear it. "Tell me," she urged gently.

"We were lovers for a time," Scully said flatly. "He was married, and finally I left because I couldn't be with him knowing how much pain it was going to cause everyone. That was 12 years ago, and I didn't see him again until three days ago."

Scully studied the woman whose love had changed her life, tracing a fingertip along the dark arching eyebrows, down over the sharp elegant cheek bone, along the strong certain jaw. Marsh did not need to know these things, and Scully would die before she hurt her. Finally, she rested her fingers in the thick mane of black hair, faintly laced with gray at the temples. Tenderly, she said, "Do you know how much I love you?"

Marsh pressed her lips to Dana's forehead. "I know. It's all right to talk about him."

Scully shrugged slightly, shaking her head impatiently. "It was hard. He seemed to think that nothing had changed, despite all the years that had gone by. He looked at me and saw the infatuated, needy person I had been. I looked at him and imagined what my life would have been like if I had stayed."

She parted Marsh's robe and pulled it around the both of them, so that they lay naked together under the soft cover. She slipped her leg between Marsh's, and pressed her breasts against Marsh's chest. She kissed the soft skin below Marsh's ear, then moved her lips slowly along the curve of Marsh's jaw to her lips. She kissed her, slowly at first, savoring the wonder of warmth and softness, the excitement of heat and strength. Pausing, her throat tight, she whispered, "I can't imagine my life without you."

Marsh brought both hands to Dana's face, brushing her fingertips over the furrows in her brow, smoothing the lines around her eyes with her thumbs. She held her head gently in her palms as she kissed her forehead, her eyelids, and finally her mouth. She stroked the inner surface of Dana's lips with her tongue, indolent languorous strokes that banked the fires that were building within. One hand drifted down, tracing the curve of full breast, lingering to brush softly over the swiftly hardening nipple.

"You'll never be without me," she murmured, "because I will never stop loving you."

Suddenly, urgently, Scully wanted her. She wanted _this_ life, _this_ woman. Marsh was her present, and her future, and she wanted the past to be buried. She brought her hands to Marsh's shoulders, pushing her onto her back and rolling on top of her in one motion. She pressed her thigh between Marsh's, insistently, pinning Marsh to the bed, fanning the flames of their shared desire. This time her kisses were harder, more demanding, bruising in their intensity. Marsh held her tightly, offering herself, welcoming her, giving her shelter. Scully's hips rocked into Marsh's, her hands roamed desperately over Marsh's lean taut body, claiming her. There would be marks where her fingers clutched her.

"Oh god," Scully gasped, "I love you."

Marsh grasped Scully's hand, drawing it between her legs, urging her inward. "Take me," she gasped, "make me come for you." Even as she spoke, Marsh's hips were thrusting upward, her fingers tight on Scully's buttocks, her neck arched, her breath an erratic rasp. "Please, please, please--"

Scully straddled Marsh's thigh, clenching her legs tightly, moving hard, pressing her clitoris urgently against the smooth skin. She heard nothing but Marsh's broken sobs, felt nothing but the soft strength of Marsh's body, wanted nothing but to be inside of her, to lose herself in the warmth, and the wetness, and the glory of her. Closing her eyes, pressing her face tightly to Marsh's neck, her fingers deep inside, her palm brushing over the slick hot folds, she surrendered all her pain and all her uncertainty on the indestructible alter of their passion.

When they came, it was with wonder, and gratitude, and joy. When they held each other, silently, their tears mingling as their cheeks touched, it was with peace, and certainty. When they slept, it was dreamless - and free.

*****

End

 


 

Genesis XI: Renascence
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
SUMMARY: Scully and Marsh defy fate and the forces of darkness to celebrate their love. Spoilers for Requiem


Part One

Day One
Georgetown
5:50 am, EST

"Are you sure you should be doing that?"

"Marsh, honey," Scully said with soft amusement, "It's only been a month. We don't even know for sure yet." She continued to stroke Marsh's abdomen, pushing the sheet lower with each downward motion of her hand. Marsh was propped up next to her in bed, both of them naked, warm and lazy in the early morning light.

"I know that, but I just have a feeling," Marsh remarked, worry warring with desire. She shifted slightly so that they faced each other on their sides, raising one knee to allow Scully's hand to drift lower toward the ache between her legs. She dipped her head and kissed along the edge of Scully's left shoulder and collarbone, ending at the soft fragile triangle at the base of her throat. "I just feel it."

Scully brushed the dark strands of hair from Marsh's cheek, smiling at her lover's handsome profile. Her rational mind told her that was nonsense. Even if they had been lucky enough to be successful with their first attempt, there was no way she should be having any physical signs this early. Nothing that Marsh would pick up on. Silly. Superstitious.

"I feel it, too," Scully whispered.

In the next instant, Scully pushed Marsh over onto her back and slid on top of her, insinuating one leg between Marsh's, nestling her breasts against Marsh's chest, both hands cradling Marsh's face. She gazed deep into those fathomless gray eyes, finding what she always sought - love, acceptance, and safety. And this morning, the smoky haze of want as well. "And even if you're right, it still doesn't mean you have to treat me like an invalid. For god's sakes, Marshall, you're a doctor! We're both doctors. You know damn well that being pregnant is not a disease. I'll be fine."

Marsh looked back at her, not saying what she could barely stand to think about. What would this pregnancy do to Dana's health? What about that strange cancer Dana had told her about, and the even stranger reason that it had gone into remission? What if it wasn't completely gone? Or what if it was merely dormant, waiting for some disruption in the delicate balance of Dana's internal equilibrium to assert itself once again? Would this demand on her system, for which the female body was normally so uniquely constructed, somehow incite rebellion within the altered state of Dana's immune system? Had they been hasty, perhaps even unwise, in pursuing this pregnancy, ignoring the fact that it could actually be dangerous?

She couldn't say these things, because it was done. She could not share these fears, because it would not help her lover. She would not add to what must certainly be the natural uncertainty of pregnancy with questions neither of them could answer. But still fear curled like a living beast within her belly, and sometimes when she looked at Dana, she had to fight for breath, because the thought of losing her was worse than death. She was scared, terrified, and she had no one to tell.

"Believe me, Dr. Scully, no one would ever mistake you for infirm," she said with a faint grin. She wrapped her arms around Scully's back and pulled her close. Their bodies fit perfectly, as if a visceral memory of the hundreds of times they had lain together, and loved together, brought them into effortless union. Now when they made love, passion still blazed brightly, rising from the solid bank of embers long tended and inextinguishable. But the heat never completely disappeared, glowing warm at the center of their lives, forged by the strength of their commitment. Marsh closed her eyes and let that fire purge her fears.

"You don't actually think we're going to stop making love, do you? For nine months??" Scully murmured, her lips close to Marsh's ear. As she spoke, her fingers traveled through the warm, damp curls at the base of Marsh's belly, finding her aroused and throbbing. She grasped her clit delicately with two fingers, squeezing just hard enough to make Marsh groan. "Marsh?"

"Unnh," Marsh croaked, her mind collapsing into pure sensation somewhere far south of her reasoning centers. "What?"

Scully grinned and licked Marsh's neck. Slowly, she slid her fingertips up and down the length of her, and was rewarded immediately with a quickening in Marsh's heartbeat and a catch in her already rapid breathing. "You may be able to wait," she whispered, trapping Marsh's leg between her own, pressing herself hard against the taut muscle of Marsh's thigh. Her own breath caught in her throat. "But I can't."

Marsh managed to turn without dislodging Scully's exquisite hold on her, and slid her fingers between Scully's legs. She mirrored Scully's motion, returning pleasure for pleasure. "Okay, you first."

Scully's eyes clouded at the instant surge of exquisitely pleasurable pressure, then she shook her head. "Uh huh. You." Her words were nearly groans.

Their faces were very close, eyes locked, blue bleeding into gray, their lips barely touching. Marsh trailed her tongue slowly over Scully's lower lip. Scully sucked the tip of it into her mouth. Their fingers never stopped stroking. They watched each other, teasing, pushing, pulling each other closer.

"You."

"No, you."

One finger inside, two, thumbs pressing, circling -- firmer, faster.

"Ready?"

"Soon."

Legs twitching, hips pumping, bellies knotting. Sweat mingling on skin shining with the flush of love.

"Now?" A hint of desperation.

"Oh, fuck -- yeah." Voice breaking on a moan.

They pressed closer, clutching desperately, every surface touching, palms cupped over hot wet pulsating folds and firm slick ridges. Breathless, blind -- soaring on pure sensation. Beyond words, beyond sound -- to a place where every question was answered and every dream fulfilled. Finally - floating, resting - content. With the return of consciousness came soft murmurs, quiet kisses, easy languid caresses. A shifting of thigh, a faint sigh.

Marsh ended up on her back, Scully in her arms, a familiar position. The position they fell asleep in. She ran the fingers of her right hand through the silky hair at the base of Scully's neck. Without meaning to, she felt the tiny ridge of scar tissue over the small oblong fragment of metal, almost close enough to the surface for her to grasp. The image of the Xray was crystal clear in her mind. That crisp, clean foreign object embedded over the skull of the woman she loved. That _thing_ that someone -- something -- had put there. To do what? To cure her? Or to destroy her?

"Are you going to worry the entire time?" Scully asked quietly.

Marsh jumped, her fingers flying from the scar guiltily. "No."

Scully turned her face to kiss the ridge of Marsh's collarbone. "Liar."

Marsh smiled. "I have to do something. I'm a surgeon, remember?"

Scully ran her hand over the small incision at the base of Marsh's smooth belly, envisioning the pink line in her mind. She thought of the medications to induce superovulation Marsh had endured. Her stubborn lover who wouldn't even take an aspirin after having been kidnapped and tortured. She remembered standing beside Marsh's still, sedated body while the fertility specialist introduced the laparoscope to harvest the ripened follicles and capture the eggs they would need to fertilize with the donor sperm. "You did plenty."

"Uh uh," Marsh said with true conviction. "You're getting the worst part of this deal!"

Scully smiled. She was well aware that her tough, highly capable lover found the idea of being pregnant only slightly less horrifying than the thought of alien abduction. She didn't bother trying to explain how incredibly fulfilling the experience would be for her. But she also couldn't help seeing the masked and gowned figures standing under the harsh glare of the OR lights as they invaded Marsh's body with instruments and probes, taking those unique bits of humanity from her, stealing her genetic legacy. No matter that she and Marsh had done it willingly. For a brief instant she had wanted to scream, "No! Stop! Leave her alone!"

She might have done just that if she hadn't had a sudden clear vision of Marsh's grin just before the anesthetist pushed the drug into her arm, and heard her whisper so only Scully could hear, "Here we go, love. Time for us to make a baby."

Scully's eyes filled with tears, and they escaped before she could catch them. Marsh stiffened instantly as the warm droplets fell onto her chest. Her arm tightened around Scully's shoulders, pulling her closer into the curve of her body.

"Dana," she said softly. "I love you with all my heart. Your carrying this baby, nurturing it with your blood and your spirit, that is a gift you give to me. I have just as much to be grateful for as you."

Scully edged up on top of her until she was lying along her length, looking down into her eyes. Tears still shimmered on her lashes, but she was smiling. "I'll remind you of that when you need to make a midnight run for some exotic food I can't live without."

Marsh smiled back, her fears for the moment eclipsed by the glow in Scully's face. "Deal. Now -- I suggest you move if you'd like to be on time for work."

Scully nudged her leg between Marsh's as she glanced at the clock. She knew her lover. They had time.

*****

Day One
9:22 AM, EST
FBI headquarters

"Little twerp," Scully seethed as she stalked about the office. She couldn't believe she'd actually told him about her abduction, and what they had done to her. She definitely wasn't herself these days.

Mulder watched, a wry grin on his face. When he spoke, however, there was no humor in his voice. "I see you enjoyed the little man with the calculator, too."

"I can't believe I had to sit there and justify my work, and explain my life, to some -- some pencil pusher -- who has no concept of what we do." She stood staring at the UFO poster on the office wall, thinking back over the last seven years. She was still sometimes stunned by the directions her life had taken. Professionally, she was light years away from the forensic pathology lab she had expected to inhabit. She had a partner who irritated and amazed her by turns. He was much more than an associate, and closer to her than her own family. She, who had always been the star, excelling in medical school, finishing near the top of her class at Quantico, suddenly found herself fighting for the right to continue her work. If that weren't enough, in the midst of alien conspiracies and more than one threat to her life, she had fallen in love - with a woman no less. A woman who now occupied the center of her existence, without whose love she could not imagine continuing. Along the way someone had invaded her body and stolen a fundamental part of her, denying her the ability to bear children. She and Marsh were taking that back.

She turned and looked at Mulder, her eyes flashing. She would not let anyone take any more. "They've tried to shut us down before, and it won't work this time either."

Mulder studied her with quiet concentration. It was very unlike his cool, composed partner to lose her temper. Come to think of it, she had been on edge for weeks. He knew her well enough by now to know that she would tell him what she could, when she could, but he was tempted to ask anyway. He was saved from possible bodily harm by the ringing of the phone.


Part Two

Day One
Memorial Hospital
10:05am, EST

She was literally up to her elbows in blood. The helicopter had brought in two boys, neither of them yet 20, who had flipped their motorcycle and become airborne over the median strip, landing in oncoming traffic. One of them had been dead at the scene. The second, the one she was working on now, had been unresponsive en route with the paramedics doing CPR in the chopper. The minute they landed in the trauma bay, she had opened his chest, stuck her hand into the cavity while pushing the partially deflated left lung aside, and grabbed the aorta just as it made its turn to descend along the spine into the abdomen. She squeezed as hard as she could, essentially blocking blood flow to everything below his diaphragm. It wasn't particularly healthy for his intestines and kidneys and lower extremities to be deprived of blood, but it was much less healthy for his brain to be without oxygen. Her maneuver would force every bit of blood his heart could manage to pump up into his head, where hopefully the brain would be perfused well enough to survive while she and her team attempted to resuscitate him. Even as she was slashing a 10 inch hole in his chest, she was directing the other two physicians and four nurses simultaneously. Their movements were as choreographed as any ballet troupe as they moved around and over each other performing the tasks they had enacted together so many times before. If they were to be successful, they had perhaps 10 minutes. Time was on their side because he was young.

"Dr. Black!" A voice called across the harshly lit trauma receiving area. "Can you come to the phone?"

Marsh merely grinned grimly at the absurdity of it all. "Will somebody please find me the vascular clamp so I can get my hand out of here?" she said to no one in particular. Miraculously, the 12 inch curved, finely-serrated clamp emerged between the multitude of arms surrounding the boy's upper body, and she grasped it gratefully. It took her only a second to cinch it down over the huge artery. She called over her shoulder, "Just take a message, Sandy. I'm in the middle of things here."

"It's Dr. Scully," the ward clerk responded pointedly.

For one brief instant Marsh's attention was torn from the scene in front of her. The staff in her unit knew to inform her when her lover called, because Dana almost never called unless it was important. A second's distraction to wonder if there was a problem, to feel the fist of worry knot in her stomach, was all she had time for, because the blood pressure readout on the monitor above the stainless-steel stretcher was nose-diving towards zero. Whatever Dana needed to tell her, it would have to wait. She could only hope it wasn't anything serious, because she didn't even have time to reply.

It didn't take them ten minutes. His pressure came up with the blood they were pumping into the large veins under his clavicles, his heart rate stabilized, and he was transported to the OR where the damage could be identified and hopefully repaired. Maybe he'd survive if his brain cells were still viable and his lungs didn't fill with fluid, and his kidneys kept filtering the poisons from his system. She had done what she could.

She walked to the nearest wallphone and dialed the direct line to Scully's office. No answer. She looked for Sandy and didn't see her. She crossed the litter-strewn trauma bay, avoiding the pools of blood and cast off equipment wrappers, rooted around on the long counter that served as a desk, and found a coffee-stained, crumpled pink slip of paper.

_Dr. Scully called. No message_

Marsh sighed. She thought for a second, then dialed her home number. She punched in the endless series of prompts to get to her messages, glancing at the clock. They would need her upstairs in the OR in a minute. Finally, a familiar voice spoke from her voice mail.

"Honey. Mulder and I got called out unexpectedly and we're flying to Oregon. I'll probably be gone a few days. I'll call you as soon as I can. I love you."

Marsh felt the familiar swell of anxiety she always experienced when Dana was away on a case. It was useless to tell herself that Dana would be fine, because she hadn't been fine too many times for her to count. Mulder was there with her, and she had accepted that she must trust him to really be there if Dana needed him. Jesus, she hated this. And now, with the baby---

She dropped the phone in the cradle as the loud-speaker blared:

Dr. Black, STAT, OR three! Dr. Black STAT

She was already running, pushing her fears to the back of her mind. Until later.

*****

Night One
1:05am, EST

Marsh rolled over in the dark and reached for the bedside phone. "Black," she said through a throat raspy with fatigue.

"Hey."

Marsh lay back on her narrow on-call room bed with a smile, the tight band of tension in her chest easing instantly. She didn't bother with a light. "Hey yourself."

"Did I wake you?" Scully knew how hard it was to get any rest in the hospital. Even when the phone wasn't ringing there was always that underlying edge of nervous anticipation, waiting for the next emergency, that never quite went away.

"No," Marsh replied. *I always have trouble sleeping without you. Especially when I know you're far away.*

"Rough day?" She could hear the weariness in Marsh's voice.

"The usual." Marsh didn't see any point in telling her about the kid that almost made it. "Where are you?"

"Bellefleur, Oregon. Pine cone center of the universe."

"What are you doin' there?" Marsh laughed.

There was silence on the line for an instant, and she knew that Dana was trying to decide how much to tell her. Not a good sign. "Dana?"

"There have been some disappearances. We're looking into them." Her voice was careful and noncommittal. It wasn't a matter of security. Marsh's clearance level was almost as high as her own. It was because she knew damn well if she breathed the word abduction, Marsh would never get any sleep. And probably spend the entire time she was gone distracted and on edge.

Marsh knew that Mulder and Dana did not fly across the country on a simple missing persons case. They were not that kind of FBI. "Should I worry?" she said lightly, trying not to sound too anxious.

Scully heard it any way. She sighed. So much for secrets. Damn, she hated what this did to Marsh. To be fair, if the situation were reversed, she'd probably feel the same way. "I don't think so. It's a bit weird, because we've been here before. It was our first case together, in fact. But I have a feeling that whatever has happened here is mostly over. We'll probably look around a bit tomorrow, and then give it back to the locals. I'll be fine."

"Okay," Marsh said, although for some reason her uneasiness persisted. There was something in Dana's voice that sounded less certain that her words. "Are you sure you're all right?"

Scully leaned back on the pillows, still in the suit she had traveled in, and thought about the disorienting sensations that had floated at the edges of her consciousness all day. Like an elusive memory that nearly formed, then fluttered away. She shook her head impatiently. It was probably just the strangeness of seeing Billy Miles and the other abductees all grown up, and being back in the place where it had all started. She and Mulder, so new to each other then, still wary and more than a bit suspicious. Her own certainty that everything could be explained by science and reason, given enough time and enough information. She almost laughed out loud. God, how naive she had been! She had had plenty of time, and more than enough experiences in the last seven years, and she still couldn't be certain of anything except the fact that she trusted Mulder and that Marsh loved her. Perhaps that was more than most people could say.

She listened to the sound of Marsh's slow steady breathing from three thousand miles away and wished she could hold her. "I miss you," she said unexpectedly. She hadn't meant to say that. It was always true, but she had learned to live with the separations, and tried not to let the loneliness seep into their conversations. It didn't help either of them.

"Me, too," Marsh said softly.

"Oh, yeah?" Scully rejoined, closing her eyes, picturing Marsh in her navy blue scrubs in the small on-call room at the other end of the hallway from the trauma unit. "How much?"

"Pretty much," Marsh answered, her voice dropping lower with the faint stirring of longing. Scully's face shown in her mind, azure eyes sparkling, her full lips parted in welcome.

"Want some company for a while?" Scully offered. They hadn't done it much, but sometimes it was just too hard to say goodnight, because it was really goodbye, and there were times when that was too frightening to contemplate.

"You know what I'd like?" Marsh said softly.

"What, love?"

"I'd like you to lie down with me."

"Is that all?" Scully teased.

"No," Marsh admitted, "but it's always the best part."

Scully caught her breath. Sometimes she loved her so much it hurt. "Move over then," she whispered.

Marsh shifted toward the wall, making room on the outer half of the bed, turning slightly on her side with the phone cradled on the pillow near her ear. "Do you have enough room?"

"Just let me get a little closer," Scully said. "If you move your arm just a bit, I can get my head on your shoulder."

Marsh complied, feeling her there just as she had less than twenty-four hours ago. Her skin flushed with the memory. "Better already," she sighed.

"Umm," Scully agreed, envisioning the tousled dark hair, the commanding features, the long, lean form. Her fingertips tingled in anticipation of the soft, warm skin. "It'd be even better if you'd help me with the damn tie on those scrubs. You know how I am with my left hand."

Marsh laughed softly as she pulled the knot loose at her waist, tugging the shirt bottom free, baring her abdomen for the touch she knew so well. "I've never had any complaint about either hand."

Scully smiled as her hand sought flesh, found it, stroked lightly. Muscles fluttered beneath her teasing touch. She heard the slight catch in Marsh's breathing. "Don't be in a hurry," she warned gently.

"Me?" Marsh rejoined, shifting slightly, one knee bent, making it easier for fingers to drift lower. She swallowed, waiting. "Never."

But they both felt the heat and the urgency. Scully shivered although the room was warm, that heavy heat so common to motel rooms. She sighed, and heard the echo over the line as she discovered pools of hidden moisture, thick and rich -- ready. The long gliding caresses were a momentary panacea for the loneliness and the fatigue.

"That's nice."

"Yes."

They knew each other's touch as their own, and their own as the other's. Through space, across miles, past uncertainty and beyond fear, they soothed the aches and tendered to the wounds with each soft murmur of knowing and every small cry of connection. They were as close as they could be, sharing sensations so familiar that there was no ending of one, nor beginning of the other. Without conscious thought, their movements found the same pace, the same rhythm - their heartbeats synchronized and their breath flowed together on long sighs. Muscles tightened, legs stretched, and hips strained -- as attuned as any two lovers in one another's arms.

"Hold me tight." A plea half-sobbed in the last second of awareness.

"Oh, baby -- always."

Marsh felt Scully's lips softly on her cheek, her hands gently leading her to safety, and the sensation that flooded her was peace. Across a continent, Dana Scully smiled as her body lifted to join her lovers and she knew with absolute certainty where her heart belonged.

"Marsh?" she said quietly after a moment.

"Hmm," came the still breathless reply.

"Put down the phone and go to sleep -- while I'm still there with you."

"I love you, Dana," Marsh said as she turned to hang up the receiver.

"I love you, too, Marsh," Scully whispered back as she did the same.

Marsh fell asleep almost at once. Scully rolled over, glanced at the clock and sighed. She needed to shower and to try to sleep. Mulder would no doubt want to be up and looking for witnesses at dawn's early light. Despite the uneasy feeling she'd had all day, she didn't really expect they'd find anything. They hadn't seven years ago. Still, they had to be sure. She had to be sure. Because it had all started here, somehow, and if there was an answer anywhere, it would be here. Now, more than ever, she needed those answers.

She stubbornly ignored the unfamiliar weakness in her legs as she gathered her things for the shower, and refused to think about the dizziness that was becoming more and more apparent with each step. It was jet lag.

Nothing more.


Part Three

Day Two
8:07pm PST
Bellefleur, Oregon

Mulder sat on top of the covers on his not quite double-sized motel room bed in Bellefleur, Oregon, sorting through photos of Ray Hosey's body. He was the missing deputy in question and these photos had been supplied by his wife, who purported that they showed signs of Ray's previous abductions. She was convinced he had been taken again. Mulder was inclined to agree. He was just beginning to study the scars on the man's neck when there was a knock at his door. He glanced up in surprise.

"Who is it?" he called.

"It's me."

When he opened he door, Scully stood there, pale and shaking. Worse than that, even, she looked scared.

"Jesus, Scully, what's wrong? You look sick," he asked, taking her arm and leading her into the room.

She looked slightly confused, almost dazed. "I don't know what's wrong. I don't feel well. I was getting ready for bed and all of a sudden I got dizzy. Vertigo or something. Then I started to get chills."

She was trembling. Mulder couldn't ever remember her looking quite so vulnerable. He urged her to lie down, holding the covers up for her to scoot under, and then tucked the patterned comforter around her. "Should I call a doctor?"

"No, I just need to get warm." She rolled onto her side and clutched the pillow, hugging it to herself. This didn't feel like anything she had ever experienced before. Her body felt like someone else's, light and heavy by turns. She was afraid parts of her were going to start flying about the room. She shuddered and swallowed a moan.

Mulder stood by the side of the bed, fighting the panic. Something was really wrong. He was starting to feel sick just from seeing her like this. "How about Marsh? Should I get her on the phone?"

That roused her from her drug-like torpor. "God, no! She'd probably insist on flying out here."

*Uh huh. Sounds like a good plan to me* He didn't say that though. He just laid down beside her and draped an arm around her shoulders. He could at least share his body heat. He wondered if any of this was due to the strange forces at work in Bellefleur. Even the air here seemed to tingle with something otherworldly. And it wasn't a nice feeling. "Maybe you should go home in the morning, Scully."

"I'll be fine, Mulder," she said, trying to keep her teeth from chattering. "Soon as I get warm."

He wrapped himself around her, his cheek coming to rest near hers. For the first time in his memory, she seemed fragile. Even standing beside her ICU bed, nearly three years before, watching her struggle with cancer, he hadn't had this sense of her mortality. He had been more arrogant then, more certain of the rightness of his quest. He had believed that there were answers, and that he would find them. He had believed that he could save her. In the end, he hadn't really been the one who provided the mysterious chip that cured her. The chip that he knew was still buried in the tissues of her neck. One man he couldn't trust had led him to it, and another he hated had convinced him to give it to her. He had only been the messenger, and most of the time he had only brought her pain.

"It's not worth it, Scully," he said almost to himself.

"What?" she asked, not understanding.

He thought of all she had lost - her sister Melissa; Emily - the little girl that might have been her child; her ability to have others; and most of all, her youthful certainty that there was order and honor in the universe. He still had such a clear image of her holding the Hosey baby that afternoon. How beautiful the two of them had been. The child so innocent, and Scully's face so peaceful. If this place and what was happening here was going to demand something else of her, he wanted her to go home. Enough was enough.

He told her so. "Maybe the FBI is right, but for all the wrong reasons. The personal costs are too high. There's so much more you have to do in your life. There has to be an end, Scully."

He kissed her cheek, and held her tight, and she smiled through her discomfort. What a time for him to bring this up. Or maybe it was exactly the right time. She had wondered when, and how, she would tell him. Lying here, with his arms around her, seemed perfect.

"Mulder?"

"Hmm?" he murmured against her cheek, almost asleep himself.

"I think I'm pregnant."

His eyes flew open, and he jumped involuntarily. "Could you repeat that please?"

She did.

He had thought that nothing could shock him as much as the moment when she had told him that she and Marshall Black were lovers, but he had been wrong. For a second, he couldn't breathe. "How? Who? When?" he finally croaked.

She laughed weakly, keeping her back to him but welcoming the comforting warmth of his embrace. "The who doesn't matter so much except that it's Marsh's egg, and I've been carrying it for over five weeks. I didn't want to say anything until I was sure, but --"

"Holy god," he breathed, the words a true benediction.

His first reaction after amazement was joy, and then, surprisingly, sadness. They had been together so long, and shared so much. Lives had been saved and destroyed during that time, their own among them. Each time he thought it was over, the two of them had fought their way back, rising stronger and surer because they fought together. He depended on her - for support, for encouragement, for courage itself. He needed her. And he loved her.

And she was well and truly gone.

Somewhere, deep inside, he supposed he had always harbored the fantasy that she would leave Marsh, and maybe there'd be a chance for him. He wasn't particularly proud of that fact, and the only thing he could say in his own defense was that he would have felt the same way if Marsh had been a man. It wasn't Scully's choice of a woman as her lover that he resisted, but that it wasn't him. Oh sure, as the years had passed, even before Marshall Black came along and stole Scully's heart, he had known it wasn't meant to be. Neither he nor Scully had been willing to take the step that would change everything between them. It wasn't cowardice so much as honesty. They loved each other, but their destiny was not to be lovers, but mates none the less. Bonded in some deep way by their quest, and the price it exacted from them.

Still, in a small corner of his heart, he had hoped.

"Mulder?" Scully queried softly, wondering at his stillness, and his silence.

He cleared his throat. "I'm so happy for you, Dana. For you - and Marsh."

She turned her head, but couldn't quite see his face where he lay with his front along her back. There was something in his voice, though. "Are you upset?"

He gave her a squeeze. "No. Just shocked speechless. It's the last thing I expected."

Scully pregnant. Scully a mother. Jesus. He tried to imagine it. He could, so easily, remembering the soft contentment in her eyes when she held Theresa Hosey's baby that morning. So natural, so right. And he couldn't imagine it at all. Was he going to lose her now? Really lose her? Would she quit the Bureau? He had a feeling that Marsh would want her to. He'd want her to if she were his wife. Oh, yeah -- and she'd go along with that, too. Sure. Uh huh. Oh boy.

He laughed softly.

"What," she asked again, finally starting to feel warm.

"How's Marsh taking it?"

Scully chuckled fondly. "Does the term 'controlled panic' bring anything to mind?"

"That's what I figured," he responded. Suddenly serious, he said, "That's all the more reason you're going home in the morning, Scully."

"Forget it, Mulder. I'll be fine." And with that, she cuddled a little closer, closed her eyes, and went to sleep. He lay awake quite a bit longer, thinking about all the things in his life that might have been.

*****

Day Three
Bellefleur, Oregon
7:20am PST

Mulder grabbed the phone while he pulled at the zipper of his fly.

"Mulder," he said, the receiver cradled between shoulder and ear. He scrabbled on the dresser with one hand, looking for his wallet and keys.

"Mulder, where's Dana?"

He stopped his hectic search and sat down on the side of the bed. "She's probably in her cabin--"

"I just called there."

"-- in the shower."

Silence.

"What's wrong?" Marsh said quietly, almost breathless with the quick surge of fear that seized her heart. If Dana hadn't been in her room ten minutes ago, and she was now, then she had spent the night with Mulder. And if she had done that, she was in trouble. "Is she hurt?"

Damn. Why was he always having this conversation with her? Because it kept happening, that's why. No wonder Marsh was always worried. Scully and he had seen more than their share of danger. "She's not hurt. She's okay. Call her again in a minute and she'll fill you in."

He hoped that would satisfy her. Yeah, right.

"What happened last night?"

He hung his head. Stared at his shoes. Cursed under his breath. "She didn't feel well. Just a little touch of something, I don't know. Flu or something. She fell asleep over here and I thought she should sleep so I didn't wake her."

Marsh figured that was true. Mulder had never lied to her. He didn't always tell her everything, but that was Mulder. There was more, she was sure, but she wouldn't find out from him.

"Will you do something for me, Mulder?" she asked softly.

"Yes."

"Will you make her come home if she's in danger?" Marsh swallowed. The words were hard to say because the thought terrified her. "Please."

He nodded, because the thought terrified him, too. "I will."

"Thanks. I'll try to catch her in her room then."

He said goodbye, and grabbed the rest of things. He wondered why Marsh had asked him that. All they were planning on doing was looking around in the woods for the possible UFO crash site. It would be broad daylight. What could possibly happen?


Part Four

Night Four
12:32 am EST
Washington, DC

Scully let herself quietly into Marsh's apartment, depositing luggage, clothes and shoes by the door. It had been a hellish day and a half. The flu, which was how she insisted on referring to it, had not let up, and she had actually fainted out in the forest where Gary, another missing Bellefleur resident, had last been seen. If she hadn't stubbornly refused, Mulder would have dragged her to the hospital immediately, or at the very least, to the airport. Her will had prevailed, however, and they remained another day to finish interviews, all of which had yielded nothing. If there was something out there, they hadn't found more than a few toxic waste spots to show for it. By then, of course, Skinner had gotten wind of their adventures and had informed them in no uncertain terms that they were to be on the next flight back to DC. So, weary, dejected, and no closer to an answer as to the location, or even the existence, of the UFO, they had stumbled home.

She hadn't wanted to think too much about what had really happened to her out there in those woods. She preferred to think it was just a remnant of whatever twenty-four hour bug had affected her the previous night. She remembered quite clearly the sensation of vertigo, although it had been more than simple dizziness. She'd actually felt her entire body spinning. It was as if some powerful force had been tugging at her. And that's what really terrified her. This had something to do with the abductions in Bellefleur seven years ago, and her own disappearance on Skyland Mountain. The thought that the abductees were being taken again was almost more than she could bear. And now it wasn't just her own personal safety at stake. There was Marsh to think about, and their child. Through the confusion and the physical discomfort, one emotion was crystal clear, however. Anger. She would not be a victim of this malevolent force again, and neither would anyone else if she could possibly help it. She would find out what was happening. But just at this moment all she wanted was Marsh.

"I'm so glad to be home," she whispered as she crawled into bed beside Marsh, settling into the curves of her body with a small sigh.

Marsh brushed a kiss across Scully's forehead, nestling her face into the soft reddish strands of hair beneath her cheek. "Not half as much as I am to have you here."

Marsh's arm came around her, one hand softly stroking the length of her arm. Scully knew Marsh had been lying awake waiting for her. For a few moments, they lay in silence in the moonlit room. Scully relaxed into her, welcoming her warmth and familiarity. She rested her cheek in the curve of Marsh's neck and shoulder, laying her right hand on Marsh's abdomen. Aimlessly, she traced her fingers over the smooth skin and taut muscles. She listened to the steady reassuring rhythm of Marsh's heart, closed her eyes, and tried to let go of all the fear and uncertainty of the last few days.

"Do you want to talk?" Marsh asked gently into the darkness.

"Not yet."

Marsh nodded silently, continuing her soft caresses. At length she said quietly, "It was really hard this time. I don't know why, but the entire time you were gone I had this feeling that you were in danger. I could almost feel it." She swept her hand down Scully's back, almost as if reassuring herself that Scully was solid, and real. "Are you all right?"

"I am now," Scully whispered. She threw one leg over Marsh's with a sigh. "I love you so much."

"I love you," Marsh murmured, the hand that had been stroking Scully's side sliding up to cup her breast, the weight of it a comfort in her palm.

Scully watched the patterns of light and shadow dance across the ceiling from the moonlight filtering through the open window blinds. She thought about how much her life had changed since Marsh had come to offer her what she hadn't realized she had been missing all those long, lonely years. Comfort and understanding and passion, and the security that comes from knowing that it will all be there the next day. She had found a home in Marsh's heart, and together they had made a life. And now, there was life within her.

"I want this baby so much," she finally admitted, holding onto Marsh even tighter, as if by saying it she could do some harm. "I want your baby, our baby. I want this child so much."

Marsh's eyes filled with tears, and she struggled to find her voice. "I know you do, and so do I. It will be a beautiful child, and it will be ours. I can't imagine wanting or loving anything more - except you."

Scully envisioned what would happen inside her body over the next few months. Despite the fact that she was a physician, it was still a miracle too huge to really contemplate. To discover that she would be able to experience that miracle, when for so long she thought it would be denied her, was a gift beyond description. She smiled. Marsh always seemed to be able to discern her needs, even when she couldn't verbalize them herself. "Are you very tired?"

She sensed Marsh's answering smile, and felt the quickening of the pulse that beat under her cheek.

"Not anymore," Marsh replied, shifting and gently turning Scully onto her back. "Why don't you let me put you to sleep."

Scully thought to protest for an instant. It was so hard for her to let anyone take care of her, even Marsh, even now. But Marsh's lips were already kissing her eyelids closed, and with a sigh she allowed herself to be attended.

She floated in that half-awake, half-asleep state of utter relaxation, underlain with whispers of arousal. Her mind emptied of every thought, drifting along the edges of consciousness, roused now and then by some burning point of pleasure that demanded her attention. She languidly stroked her fingers through Marsh's thick hair as Marsh softly sucked one nipple, aware of fatigue being eclipsed by desire. She wasn't tired any longer.

"Bite it," Scully murmured, her voice low and husky. She pressed Marsh's face harder against her breast, a soft moan escaping as Marsh teased her with her teeth. She grasped the curls in her fist and drew Marsh to her other nipple, needing to feel her there, too.

Marsh followed Scully's lead, using her lips and tongue on Scully's breasts and belly, one hand smoothing down over the still flat abdomen, along the curve of hip, tracing the muscles in her thigh. As she drew her fingers slowly up the inside of Scully's leg, the fingers in her hair pushed her head lower. Marsh grinned, moving downward, but stopping at Scully's navel. She caught the edge in her teeth, tugging lightly until she heard Scully gasp. Then she soothed the tiny point of pain with her tongue.

"I'm awake now," Scully whispered.

Marsh drew her fingers up into warm, waiting moisture. "I noticed."

"Do it now," Scully said softly, stretching her legs, arching her hips in invitation. "But do it slow."

Some things should be savored. And Marsh did. Scully's body surged beneath her hands, and in her mouth, and under her tongue, but she took her time. She felt the blood pulsing against her lips and around her fingers, beating at her with urgent pleas, but she held back -- licking softly, stroking slowly, deep long strokes that stoked the fire in Scully's belly until she was whimpering.

Scully's fingers dug into Marsh's arms, her thighs tightened against Marsh's shoulders, and she gasped, "Soon. Don't stop."

In answer, Marsh took her clit lightly between her teeth, flicked at the tip with her tongue, and let her hand lie still within, waiting for the contractions to begin. When the first faint spasms flickered around her fingers, she sucked harder, pressed deeper, and pushed Scully with the unerring certainty that comes with intimate knowledge to the edge and beyond.

*****

Day Six
7:59 am EST
Washington, DC

Despite falling asleep almost instantly in Marsh's arms, she hadn't slept well. Her dreams had been restless and filled with shadows. She had no appetite, in fact the very thought of food left her feeling a little ill, and to top it all off, she was going to be late for work. She adjusted the holster on the waist band of her skirt while shrugging into her jacket with practiced efficiency. She scooped up her ID and turned to leave the bedroom. Marsh was standing in the doorway, one shoulder braced against the frame, in a pose that never failed to remind Scully of the way she had looked when they first met. Tall, solemn, darkly attractive. Seeing her like this, even after two years, never failed to set her heart to beating faster. The sight of her somehow reminded her of everything that was important in her life, and all the things that weren't. Judging by the contemplative look on Marsh's face, Scully knew she had something on her mind.

"What?"

"Are you sure you don't want to try a little toast?"

Scully smiled faintly before shaking her head no. "I'll eat later if I get hungry."

Marsh merely nodded, knowing that there was no point in insisting. While lying in bed that morning, Marsh had finally gotten her to admit that she had fainted out in the woods, but she couldn't talk her into going to the hospital, even for a simple blood test. Dana had insisted that it was just a little touch of the flu and that she was feeling better already. Unfortunately, she didn't look like she was feeling any better. She was still pale, with shadows under her eyes. It was way too early in her pregnancy for her to be this ill. Marsh was willing to give it another day, but after that they were going to have to find out what was really going on.

Scully watched the emotion play across her lover's face. She recognized the shadow of the fear in Marsh's dark eyes. She would give anything to ease that worry, except check into the hospital. She had nearly died there, twice. She had been treated to within an inch of her life with poisons they had kindly called medicine and well-intentioned therapies that had weakened her physically and almost taken her will to survive. She wanted to survive now, for herself, and for Marsh, and for their child. She just couldn't let them probe her and study her again.

"It's not as bad as you imagine," she said lightly. "I haven't adjusted to the cross-country travel very well, but I'm really okay."

Marsh didn't say anything, but Scully saw the look of disbelief in her eyes. She walked across the room, all thought of work erased by her need to comfort Marsh. To make it all right, for both of them. She threaded her arms around Marsh's slim waist, and rested her head against Marsh's shoulder. For a moment she let herself draw strength from Marsh's constancy. One thing in the shifting landscape of reality that she could be absolutely sure of was that Marsh would be there.

"I know you're worried," Scully said softly, "and I love you for it. I promise you I won't do anything to put myself or the baby at risk. Trust me. I want this baby almost as much as I want you, and I want you more than anything in my life."

Marsh let her hands play gently up-and-down Scully's arms, then kissed the top of her head. She felt Scully's heart beat against her chest, and sensed the whisper of warm breath against her neck. It was at once the most comforting and the most exciting sensation she had ever known. "I'm sorry. It scares me when you look so ill. I do trust you. I just love you so damn much."

Scully leaned back, stared into Marsh's eyes and read that mixture of need and desire that was always there, simmering below the surface. She grasped the back of Marsh's neck with one hand, and pulled her head down into a fierce kiss. It was not her usual 'I'll see you tonight' kind of kiss. It was the kind of kiss that said 'You are the most important thing in my life, and don't ever forget it'.

When she lifted her lips away, both of them were breathing hard.

"Well," Scully said just a bit unsteadily. "I'm feeling better."

And then she was gone, and Marsh was left standing in the doorway, her body on fire, a wry grin on her face. It was going to be an awfully long nine months.


Part Five

Day Six
FBI Headquarters
8:52 am EST

"Mulder?" Scully asked, her voice a mixture of surprise and concern.

ADA Skinner stood talking to Mulder. Her first instinct was to draw her gun and train it on the man next to Skinner. Alex Krycek had been on the wrong side of too many fights in the past for her to ever trust him. But Mulder waved her off.

"What's going on?" she asked as she joined them. She was careful not to turn her back on either the darkly handsome, but sinister Krycek or his beautiful companion, Marita Covarrubias.

Mulder told her what Krycek had just told him. That the alien ship was out there in the forest in Bellefleur, and that it wouldn't be there long. It was hard to believe, but no longer impossible. She had seen the evidence herself.

"How do we find it?" she asked, never doubting for a second that they would go after it. This was a war they had been fighting too long to stop now.

Mulder grinned, that grin he got when he had seen the enemy, and felt the first stir of battle-lust. "We get some help from our friends."

Hours later they stood crowded around the conference table in Skinner's office while Byers pointed to an aerial surveillance map with satisfaction. "There it is. It's cloaked in some kind of energy field, which is why we've never been able to see them. They've probably been coming and going undetected for years."

"But why is it still there?" Scully asked.

"Because they're not finished yet," Mulder said grimly.

"Finished with what?" she asked, but her stomach clenched even as she spoke the words. She knew.

"They're collecting the rest of the abductees. The proof," Mulder uttered bitterly. "I don't know why, but that's what they're doing."

Scully turned without a word and walked out into the deserted hall. Mulder followed a moment later.

"Scully?" he asked in concern. "What is it?"

"Mulder, if any of this is true, we can't let that ship leave."

His face was more remote than she had ever seen it. "If it is or if it isn't, I want you to forget about it, Scully.

"What are you talking about?" she asked in exasperation.

He shook his head, ignoring the quick flash of resistance in her eyes. "No, Scully, not you. They're taking abductees, Scully, and you're an abductee. I can't let you risk it. I can't risk losing you."

She studied him, absorbing his words, seeing the sorrow in his eyes. She glimpsed shadows of the passionate, driven man he had been seven years ago. He too had lost much during their time together. He had lost the hope that he would find his sister, and lost faith in the very proof they were about to find, and worst of all, he had lost the certainty that his path had been worth the sacrifice. They were so near the end now. So near what they had searched for against all odds.

"I can't let you go alone," she whispered.

*****

Day Six
7:35 pm EST
Memorial Hospital, Washington, DC

Marsh was dictating charts when Scully entered her office unexpectedly, and unannounced, in the middle of the day. The look on Scully's face brought her to her feet, and around the desk before Scully had motioned her to stop.

"What's happened?" Marsh asked quietly, knowing already it was bad. Dana had that hard glint in her eyes that said she was angry, and that she intended to do something about it.

"Mulder and I need to go back to Oregon, tonight. I just stopped on my way to the airport," Scully told her as calmly as possible. She had known it would be hard for Marsh to accept, so she had come to tell her in person.

"Why?" Marsh asked, searching Scully's face. She was still too pale, but there was a harsh determination in her expression that Marsh didn't think she had ever seen before. She drew a painful breath through a throat constricted with fear, and waited.

Scully looked away, wanting to lie. This battle being waged in secret in the Oregon forest, cloaked in broad daylight, was an old struggle. It had begun long before Marsh came into her life. It had actually begun in Bellefleur those many years ago, and she supposed that's where it would end. She had told Marsh some of it, but not all of it. Not about the memories that seemed like dreams, but were not. No, those shrouded forms that had strapped her down under bright lights and systematically raped her body and violated her soul were not dream figures, even though they were the stuff of nightmares. The scars on her body were not fantasy, but a truth more horrible than any fiction. She would be there when it ended, no matter what the cost.

She looked at Marsh, and couldn't lie to her. "We've located a ship - the UFO. We're going to intercept it. We think the abductees are on it."

"No. Please." Marsh steadied herself with one hand on the edge of her desk. She was shaking visibly, her voice empty, devoid of everything, even anger.

Marsh's expression was one Scully had never seen before. She had seen Marsh in physical pain and emotional torment, but she had never seen her look so helplessly vulnerable. She didn't think she could bear to see that wounded look in her eyes, knowing she had caused it. "It will be all right," she said, wishing she were sure.

"No, it won't be," Marsh shouted, her composure finally gone, her dark eyes raging. "It will not be all right. You're already ill, and we don't know why. You won't even let me try to find out what happened to you out there, and now you want to go back! It's crazy! Damn it, Dana. Doing your job is one thing. I can even accept that sometimes you'll be in danger doing your job. But this is different. You know there's something out there that can harm you - maybe has harmed you. The risk is too high this time. Let someone else do it!"

"Who, Marsh? Mulder? Should I send him alone?"

"Yes!" Marsh's jaw bit down on the words, the muscles in her neck tight with strain. "I don't care who! Anyone. Just not you. Not this time!"

Marsh made a visible effort to get control of herself. She had never raised her voice in anger to Dana before. She passed a trembling hand across her eyes, but not before Scully saw the agony there.

"I need to do this, Marsh. Don't ask me not to go."

Marsh drew a breath, met Scully's eyes squarely. Her voice was terribly soft. "I am, Dana. I'm asking you not to go."

Scully saw the words Marsh didn't say plainly written on her face. *Don't go. For me. For the baby. Please don't go.*

She couldn't look into the naked pain in Marsh's eyes any longer. She turned her back and walked to the wide window looking down to the street. She didn't see the cars or hear the muted traffic noises. She forced herself to think about her abduction, and her desire to avenge it. She pictured Mulder, and felt her loyalty to him warring with her love for Marsh. She thought about the balances of rights in a world where there were no absolutes. She weighed her own need for retribution against Marsh's right to have her safe. She had accepted Marsh's love, and promised her own in return. She had taken Marsh's strength, and promised her own. She had built a life on Marsh's body next to hers in the night, and had promised to be there for her as long as she lived. There were some things in life you could not change - the speeding car on the wrong side of the road, the body's frailties that no amount of medicine could heal, the man with a gun in the Seven-11. But today, this day, she had a choice.

She walked slowly back to where Marsh stood silently waiting. She brushed the black hair back off Marsh's forehead, her hand lingering on Marsh's cheek. She stepped closer still and wrapped her arms around Marsh's body. With her face resting on her lover's shoulder, she whispered, "I won't go. But I need to make sure he doesn't go alone."

Marsh closed her eyes, the relief so acute she shuddered. "Thank you."

Scully shook her head slightly. "No, don't say that. You never have to thank me for loving you. Never."

And for the second time that day, Scully kissed her and walked out the door.

*****

Day Seven
12:46pm, EST
Memorial Hospital

When she woke for the second or third time, she had lost count, Marsh was there beside the bed, as she had been each time.

"Hey."

Marsh smiled, but her eyes were dark with worry. "Hey yourself."

"What time is it?"

"A little after noon."

Scully pushed herself up in bed, looked at Marsh, and said, "I want to go home."

"I know," Marsh said gently. "As soon as they have a chance to read your MRI, I'll see about getting you discharged."

There was something she wasn't saying, Scully could see it in her face. She had fainted again while working late with the Lone Gun Men the night before, and this time she hadn't been able to get out of a hospital stay. Marsh had been adamant, as well as frantic with worry, and truth be told, she had been pretty scared herself. Whatever was happening, she was afraid it was more than simple first trimester nausea and light-headedness. That's why the pain in the depths of Marsh's eyes frightened her more than any residual dizziness she was experiencing.

"Is there something wrong? Did Jenny Grannick see something on the ultrasound?" she asked, referring to the obstetrician Marsh had insisted evaluate her.

Marsh shook her head quickly. "No, she said everything looks fine." She couldn't hide a grin as she added, "You are definitely pregnant. The uterus looks normal in size for six weeks, and the blood tests indicate everything is normal."

"Then what is it you're not telling me?"

Marsh inched her chair closer to the bed, and took Scully's left hand in hers. Her dark eyes met Scully's questioning blue ones unflinchingly. "Skinner called about an hour ago. Something happened in Oregon - he isn't certain exactly what. Mulder has disappeared."

Scully stared at her wordlessly for a moment, her heart suddenly beating very quickly. She ignored the fear clawing at her throat, and repeated very quietly, "Mulder has disappeared."

Marsh nodded, then continued, "Walter said he would be by to brief you, but he called me in advance because he didn't want you to hear it from someone else first."

"What did he tell you happened?" But of course she knew. She had known last night when she compared the medical records of the abductees from Bellefleur. All of them had documented episodes of abnormal brain wave patterns, just like Mulder. It hadn't been her they had wanted. It had been him.

"He couldn't say much on the phone, but he implied that it was the same as with the others."

"Then he's been abducted too," Scully said softly.

Marsh didn't answer. What could she say. She couldn't imagine anything worse, except if it had been Dana. And now she could only imagine how Dana was feeling. Mulder was part of Dana's life, of their life, too. Sometimes it was an uneasy triangle, with both she and Mulder loving Dana, and being forced to acknowledge the other's place in her heart. Sure, she resented it when Dana spent the night in his room, when she was worn out, or worn down, and Marsh was hundreds of miles away. She resented that she had to depend on Mulder, on anyone, to look after her lover. But she accepted that Mulder was special, as a man, and as her lover's friend. She wanted him safe for many reasons, not the least of which was that she knew Dana loved him.

"I'm sorry, Dana," she said softly.

Scully looked past Marsh's shoulder toward the window, and into the blue sun drenched sky beyond. She tried to imagine another world above the clouds, and couldn't. She had never been able to, and despite all that had happened, it was still almost more than her mind could grasp. How could she believe that entire civilizations thrived in the cold, black vacuum of space? How could she believe that a race of aliens existed that was capable of traveling light years to earth, not once, but many times over the centuries, intent on destruction? No matter that she had lost months of her life in a nearly impenetrable mist of shadowy memory that might have been real, but could just as easily have been a dream. No matter that her body bore scars of some indescribable invasion, and that she carried still a fragment of metal in her neck whose secrets influenced her very life. No matter that she had seen things that no rational mind or scientific theory could explain. She still could not believe that some beings from beyond the stars had penetrated earth's sanctity and carried unwilling inhabitants to some world beyond.

She returned her gaze back to Marsh's face, and when she spoke, her voice was flat and strangely empty. "I should have been with him."

Marsh gazed down at their joined hands where they lay, fingers entwined, on the unadorned hospital covers. Her voice was immeasurably sad as she said, "I know you would have wanted to be, but you can't know it would have made a difference. You both might have been taken." She looked up, tears clinging to her long, dark lashes. "It would have killed me to lose you."

"I let him down, Marsh," she said, a hollow bitterness in her tone that was more frightening than anger would have been. "After all these years, and all we've been through, when he needed me most, I wasn't there."

"I was there," a deep voice said from the door, "and if anyone let him down, it was me."

Marsh looked over to see Skinner standing just inside the door. She did not bother to drop Scully's hand. Skinner knew very well what their relationship was, and certainly in the future it was likely that many more people would know as well. She squeezed Scully's hand lightly for a second, and then stepped away to lean against the window sill, making room for Skinner at the bedside.

Scully watched him approach, trying to read the truth in his eyes. His face was lined with fatigue and something else, something that she realized with a sinking feeling was sorrow.

He was about to speak when she said, "I already heard." Her voice was oddly tender. She knew how he must be feeling, and it was not his guilt to bear. She was Mulder's partner; she was his friend. It had been her job to watch his back, and she had failed. She was not angry at Skinner, any more than she was angry at Marsh. She had made the decision not to go with him, and she had been wrong.

"I lost him," he said, his voice breaking. "I don't know what else to say. I lost him."

Hearing the words, she struggled against the weight of grief and guilt. Tears escaped before she drew a deep breath and said, "We will find him. I have to."

Amazingly, he took strength from her words, because beneath the pain was a conviction that lent him courage. He turned and was about to leave when she called him back.

Scully reached for Marsh's hand and drew her near, smiling through her tears at Skinner with a shy radiance that penetrated even her deep sorrow. "I need to tell you something," she confided softly. She looked to Marsh for a second, and her smile widened at the answering joy in her lover's face. "I'm pregnant."

For an instant he stood totally still, expressionless, then he glanced at Marsh. She offered him a faint shrug and a grin. His eyes were shining when he looked back at Scully.

Scully was holding Marsh's hand tightly. "So you see, sir, wherever he is, we have to get him back. Because he's family."

End

 


 

Genesis XII: Where Truth Begins
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
Summary and author's note: This story was begun in response to a "write a story with this first line" challenge on the ScullySlash list, and became quite a bit more. The time frame puts it just after the end of season seven. Scully has been hospitalized after collapsing and could not return with Mulder to Bellefleur, Oregon, where he is ultimately abducted. This event strains the fabric of Scully's relationship with Marsh.


Part One

Day One
7:54 AM

"I forgot to tell you that I love you."

Marshall Black leaned a hip against the corner of the scrub sink and peered through the glass observation window into the operating room. The anesthesiologists had just moved her patient onto the operating table and were placing plastic intravenous catheters into the large veins on the backs of her arms. Five, ten minutes minimum before they were ready for her.

"I don't think so," she said into the phone, trying to hide her surprise. It had been a long time since she had gotten one of these calls.

A faint laugh, one of the rare few she had heard lately, snaked through the line, hitting her in the pit of the stomach the way only Dana's laughter could. Marsh caught her breath and held the receiver a little tighter. "You said it this morning."

"_That_ doesn't count," Scully said, her voice teasing.

It was Marsh's turn to laugh, low and secretive. "I think it does."

In fact, it counted for a great deal, especially after the last hectic week. First Dana had been hospitalized with exhaustion, both physical and emotional, and then she had insisted on returning to work immediately, despite Marsh's concerns. Dana was running on will and anger alone, and Marsh knew it. Her lover was losing weight at a time when she needed to be in the best physical shape of her life; she slept poorly, often awakening with nightmares; and her entire focus had become finding Mulder. It consumed her. It wasn't just that Mulder had disappeared -- he had done that more than once over the course of his investigations into realms that friend and foe alike cautioned him to leave alone. It was _how_ he had disappeared. Marsh could only imagine what demons his abduction had awakened in Dana.

There had been precious few moments for them to be close at a time when they should have been celebrating the miracle they were soon to share. Marsh tried hard not to resent the FBI and Dana's dedication to her job. She struggled not to blame Mulder, who was after all the victim, but it demanded all of her patience to remain supportive. She would have been content just to hold Dana in her arms, pretending that she was safe and that they were just an ordinary couple planning a family. When she had been awakened that morning by a familiar weight pressing down upon her, she had protested sleepily, "Hey, you're supposed to be resting."

What she had meant was _recovering_ . Healing from the harrowing events in Bellefleur, Oregon and the catastrophic loss of the man who was an important part of both their lives.

"It's not rest I need," Scully had whispered into her ear as her hand smoothed the warm length of Marsh's belly to the softer places below. "What I need is you."

Marsh would have objected further, but the truth was that she needed Dana every bit as much as her lover needed her. Even before the recent unbelievable occurrences, Marsh had spent countless nights worrying about Dana's pregnancy and whether they would actually be able to realize their dream of having a child together. When that dream became a reality, she had to face her fears about Dana's work and the risks involved. She knew that Dana had her own uncertainties and misgivings, and everything conspired to keep them both on edge. It had been too long, and too hard, and all she really wanted to do in the very early hours of that day had been to let Dana bring her peace.

"Be careful," Marsh had whispered even as she welcomed Scully's body between her legs, their limbs entwining effortlessly in the habit of long familiarity.

"Not likely," Scully hissed, lowering her head and tugging Marsh's nipple none too gently between her teeth. She worked on it until Marsh gasped and arched her hips against Scully's belly. Only when Marsh whimpered faintly in surrender did Scully add, "And stop worrying. I'm pregnant, not infirm."

"Uh huh," Marsh agreed, grasping Scully's hips in both hands and squeezing her firm butt. "Not ... worrying." And she wasn't, at least not at that particular moment. She shifted to capture Scully's leg between her own, twisting onto her side and pulling her lover up into kissing range as they faced one another. "Just hungry. Very, very hungry."

Scully laughed as Marsh captured her mouth, their kisses hot and searching. Then Marsh was forcing her lips apart with her tongue --demanding entry -- strong and certain. It was so good to be free of everything, to feel nothing except Marsh's lean form and knowing hands and talented mouth. To experience utter belonging with the one person capable of claiming all her attention, and easing all her pain. No matter how fleeting the surcease, it returned undiminished each time they touched. This was where she sought solace when it seemed she could not go on.

Scully tangled her fingers in Marsh's thick hair, pulling her head back, staring into her eyes with vision dimmed with need. She settled onto her back, pushing with the other hand against Marsh's shoulder, urging her down. "Then feast," Scully offered throatily, suddenly wanting that more than she had known.

Scully closed her eyes as soft lips engulfed her, floating for an instant on a current stoked by exquisite sensation and nearly unbearable intensity, only to find in the next moment that she craved the taste and heat of her lover's body more than her own release. She took Marsh by surprise, rolling away and just as quickly claiming her with her mouth.

"Oh, Jesus," Marsh muttered, collapsing under the weight of the unexpected pleasure. Her muscles contracted with the swift escalation of raw nerve endings tingling under the sweet assault and the expanding pressure in her belly. "Slow down," she gasped, ready much too soon. She fought to deny her lover's demands, wanting desperately to ride the crest just a little longer.

In the end, neither had been able to wait. With their hands fervently seeking the sensitive spots that inflamed, with their tongues teasing and stroking, they exchanged their promises and accepted their devotions, one to the other. They finally slept wrapped around one another through the last hours of the night before the alarm and the demands of the day came between them again.

"Marsh?"

Marsh jumped, flushing involuntarily with the last vestiges of memory and the inopportune threat of rekindled desire. She glanced into the OR. They were about to intubate her patient. "Uh, I have to work here."

Another knowing laugh. "Oh yeah? Am I interrupting?"

"Not exactly, but it's probably best that I have some blood flowing into my brain before I start this surgery."

Another exaggerated sigh. "Alright then, Dr. Black. I'll see you later."

"Dr. Scully?" Marsh asked.

"Yes?"

"I think I forgot to tell you that I love you."

Scully thought about the last few days. She thought about awakening in the hospital and seeing the panic in Marsh's face as Marsh stood beside her bed, holding desperately to her hand. She thought about the tight line of Marsh's jaw when she had informed Marsh that she needed to get back to work - that Skinner would need help looking for Mulder - that there was no one else. No one else who knew what the two of them knew. At least, no one they could trust. She thought about the nights that Marsh had tossed and turned next to her in silence, trying hard not to wake her, keeping her fears to herself in the dark.

"No, you didn't," Scully said softly across the distance. "You never forget that."

*****

"You shouldn't be here, Agent Scully."

Her eyes flashed, but she kept her voice even. "On the contrary, sir. This is exactly where I belong."

He looked at her strained features and tried not to think about how small and fragile she had seemed just days before when he had to face her across a hospital room and confess that he had lost Mulder. He wanted to accord her the respect she deserved as one of his best agents, but it was hard to forget what he knew. His own gaze narrowed, and he answered tightly, "You should be taking care of yourself. You shouldn't let anything interfere with this pregnancy."

She never would have tolerated the personal intrusion from anyone else, but she and Skinner had shared too much over the years. And now they shared something even more binding. They shared the knowledge of what truly had happened to Mulder. Her back straightened with anger, but still she held her temper in check. "You need me on this, sir. Mulder needs me."

"Agent Scully," he began, his voice almost pleading. He reached for her shoulders, a rare gesture of intimacy for him, and leaned down to look into her face. His expression was wounded.

Before he could speak, Scully continued, her voice suddenly breaking, her eyes luminous with tears she refused to shed, "I can't not look for him. I can't."

Skinner's eyes dropped unbidden to her abdomen, still flat and taut. "Mulder?" he whispered without thinking. Why hadn't he thought of that before? Probably because he had known Marshall Black a lot longer than he had known Mulder or Scully, and he couldn't see Marsh sharing the woman she loved. He shook his head, confused, and shaken. He had seen too much in too short a time. He didn't know anything any more.

Scully did not reply. She stepped away from his grasp, in control of herself again. "We have to go, sir. They're waiting in Interview for our statements." She hesitated for just a second. "If you tell them what you saw out there, sir, they'll never believe you."

He stared at her, trying to read the rest of her message in her deep blue eyes. If they suspected him of agreeing with Mulder's assertions of alien beings and abductions, it was likely the people in charge of the search for Mulder would cut him out of the loop. And by extension, Scully. He knew what she was asking, and they both knew how much they risked in withholding the truth.

His eyes cleared, the expression in them hard and angry. "Let's go find Mulder, Agent Scully."


Part Two

Day One
4:14PM

"Are you free?"

Marsh glanced at the clock, cradling the phone between her shoulder and ear while she signed charts in the trauma intensive care unit. A call from Dana in the middle of the day usually meant trouble, but their lives had been so tumultuous lately, she wasn't quite sure what to expect any longer. "I will be in about 20 minutes. Then I have a management conference a little bit later on. Is something wrong?"

Scully hesitated, struggling with the old habit of editing the truth for the sake of avoiding conflict. Marsh deserved more than that. "I'm not sure. Skinner and I spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon being interrogated by members of a task force that Kersh has set up to look for Mulder. There's a new agent in charge."

She didn't add that she had disliked John Doggett on sight or how much being without Mulder had unsettled her. Anything she might say would sound irrational, because that was exactly how she felt. Since the moment she had learned of Mulder's disappearance, she had been plagued with an overwhelming sense of dread. She couldn't shake it and she couldn't control it. She vacillated between panic and a cold empty foreboding that left her nearly numb. The only time she felt anywhere near sane had been those few brief moments in Marsh's arms, and even that was just a fragile memory now.

Marsh could hear the uneasiness in her voice. "What's going on, Dana? Why isn't Skinner in charge of the task force? Or you?"

Scully glanced around the basement office, everything in view reminding her of Mulder. The posters, the battered file cabinets, his nameplate on the desk - even the absence of a desk of her own. Everything underscored her partnership with Mulder, right down to the fact that he had usually been the lead in all of their cases. She knew without a doubt that she had been a valuable resource, providing the balance and objectivity that he had lacked. Nevertheless, it had been his initiative and his fervor that had carried them so far for so long. Without him she felt adrift, and she struggled with an almost insurmountable need to find him. No matter the cost, no matter the consequences. He was an anchor for her nearly as important as Marsh. She didn't know how to tell Marsh that, not without hurting her. "I don't know. I have a feeling that no one wants to know the truth. It's easier for everyone to believe that Mulder has gone rogue, or gone crazy, or simply conveniently vanished. There's no one who wants to believe what really happened. Skinner and I are in this alone."

Marsh's heart ached at the words. "Not alone," she whispered softly, too softly for Scully to hear. She cleared her throat, closing her eyes against the pain, and asked quietly, "What are you going to do?"

Scully tried not to hear the tremor in Marsh's voice. It was almost too much. This had been what she had avoided for hours. She knew how Marsh would respond, but she couldn't see any other way. She couldn't do anything else. "Let me come and talk to you. I'll explain."

"All right," Marsh said, her tone defeated. They had had this conversation, or one very much like it, many times before. She knew the arguments, she even understood them. Understanding did not necessarily bring acceptance. Now more than ever, she wanted to object. She wanted to make demands and issue ultimatums and give full cry to her fears. Instead she said, "I'll be waiting."

It took Scully less than 30 minutes to drive across town in the late afternoon traffic. She found Marsh in the surgeon's lounge, in her customary position, stretched out on the battered leather couch with her eyes closed. Scully stopped abruptly just inside the door and looked at her. Marsh didn't look much different than she had two years previously when Scully had first opened her eyes and found Marsh bending over her in the field hospital tent, looking strong and reassuring and so surprisingly comforting. Marsh was still slender, her coal black hair a little more obviously shot with silver, her gray eyes still smoky and deep, her smile breathtaking. Scully thought for the thousandth time that Marshall Black had to be the most compelling woman she had ever seen. "Hey."

Marsh opened her eyes and sat up. She caught Scully's glance across the room, and when their eyes met, she forgot her anger and her uncertainty and her fear. Piercing blue eyes welcomed her with a heat that never failed to penetrate to the darkest reaches of her soul. Under Dana's tender gaze she discovered a sense of rightness that vanquished all doubts. She took a deep breath, centering herself in those eyes. "Hey."

Scully crossed the room and sat beside her, gently taking Marsh's left hand in her own. With their fingers entwined, she began to speak. "Skinner and I spent the afternoon with the Lone Gunmen. They've been able to use special satellite tracings to follow what appear to be anomalous energy trails that may mark the path of an extraterrestrial vessel. It looks like it's headed for the Southwest. I think I know where it's going."

Marsh swallowed painfully around the lump in her throat. She stared at the space between them where their hands lay joined. "And you think Mulder is with them - on that vessel?"

"It's the most likely possibility," Scully admitted. The silence in the room was oppressive. She knew Marsh was waiting for the rest. For a moment, she considered changing her mind. It was so hard to hurt her, and she knew she was about to. She steeled herself, because she also knew that she had no other choice. "I think I know where they're going, and I think I know why. There's a boy out there, a very special boy. I think that he is the target, and that whoever has abducted Mulder wants him, too. Skinner and I are going to intercept them."

"Tonight? Alone?" Marsh asked unbelievingly, her body tensing with dread.

"There isn't much time. We may not be the only ones looking for him."

Abruptly, Marsh stood, pacing a few feet away, her back to Scully. When she spoke, the strain in body was evident in her voice. "And what do you expect to do then? Do you really think the two of you or even a _hundred_ of you, can rescue Mulder?" She turned quickly, her face tormented. "For God's sake, Dana. You've already been through so much. Now you're pregnant. We've finally got a chance to have a family. How can you do this?"

Scully didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to explain that she couldn't give up. She didn't have the words to describe the chasm that had opened inside her when she had learned that Mulder was gone. It was worse than death, because death at least was natural and fitting. In the dim, distorted fragments of her own memory, she knew that what Mulder was experiencing was anything but natural and worse than any nightmare. She couldn't take the chance that something she might do could alter his fate. She couldn't continue with her own life if he were lost somewhere and needing her. She had to trust that eventually Marsh would understand.

"I love you, Marsh. I love you more than I ever imagined possible. I want this baby. I want this life we have. But I must do this. I have to."

Less than a week before, Marsh had tried to prevent her lover from placing herself in danger. She had not been able to stop Dana then, and she knew that she could not stop her now. Her anger dissipated as quickly as it had come, leaving her feeling helpless and strangely hollow. She realized that for the first time in longer than she could remember, she felt alone. "I love you," she whispered, her voice breaking.

Before Scully could reply, Marsh was gone.

*****

Day One
7:30PM

Scully glanced at the clock on the end table. She had to hurry if she was going to meet Skinner for their flight to Arizona. With any luck, they would be the first to find the school where Gibson Praise had been sequestered since the last attempt to abduct him had failed. In her bedroom, she closed her suitcase, switched off the light, and walked toward the front door. The apartment was eerily quiet, the way a deserted house feels when no one has inhabited it for a long time. She rarely came here except to pick up clothes or to water her plants or to spend a few hours catching up on reports. Most evenings she spent with Marsh. Those evenings were fewer than she would have liked because of her own work-related travel and Marsh's on-call schedule. Tonight her heart felt as empty as her abandoned apartment. On the rare occasions when she felt this way, she would call Marsh, or sometimes even Mulder. Mulder was always good for a movie or a quick bite at one of the local hangouts. But Mulder was missing and Marsh seemed even further away. She could not call Marsh and ask for comfort when her loneliness was of her own doing. Without conscious thought, she reached for the phone and dialed a number from memory.

"Mom? It's Dana, can you pick up?" She realized with horror that her voice was trembling. She continued with a shaky laugh that verged on tears. "I don't even know if you're in town, or when you'll get this message. I need to talk to you. There's something I need to tell you. Mom? Are you there?"

When the silence echoed back to her like a recrimination, she gently replaced the receiver and switched off the last light. She made her way in darkness to the door.

*****

Day One
Evening

Marsh tossed her scrub suit into the hamper that stood at the end of the short row of lockers and pulled up her black jeans. She tucked in the white T-shirt, slipped her wallet, contoured to her form from many years of use, into her back pocket, and slipped into her leather jacket. It was just after 10 PM and she knew that Dana must be in the air by now, heading to Arizona and whatever fate held in store for her. She always missed her when Dana was out of town, but tonight the loneliness was so acute Marsh felt it as a pain in her chest. She could not go home, knowing that this time the phone might not ring with the familiar message that Dana had arrived and was safe. This time, Dana might not call. Perhaps this was the time Dana didn't come back.

She slammed her locker vehemently, trying to shut out the images and voices in her mind that only served to terrify her. She set her shoulders resolutely and strode purposely down the hallway to the double exit doors and out into the parking lot. In less than a minute she was gunning her Porsche out of the doctors' lot and into the night.

A short time later she parked on a narrow street across from be an establishment she hadn't been in since her academy days. If she thought about it, which she had no intention of doing, the last time she'd been there had probably been with Karen. That was more than another lifetime ago. Nothing had changed. The air was still tinged with the odor of smoke and stale beer, the lighting was still bad, and the voices still too loud. It was a hangout for FBI trainees and agents alike. She moved through the crowded front bar area to a room in the back where several pool tables stood empty. She ordered a beer from a waitress and chose a cue from the rack on the wall. Methodically, she racked and broke the balls and began working her way around the table. She enjoyed the precision of the game and it kept her mind occupied. Tonight she did not want to think about anything.

A woman sat at the end of the bar watching Marsh play for the better part of an hour. Finally she picked up her beer and walked over to her. "You could use a refill on that beer," she began as she stepped up to Marsh's side.

Marsh leaned her cue stick against the rail and turned to face the newcomer. She was almost Marsh's height with honey blond hair and green eyes shining with intelligence and something that might have been laughter. In her tailored chinos and white Oxford shirt, she could have looked like every other agent, but she didn't. She had an air of confidence that kept her from being just another cookie-cutter copy of all the other bright young government agents.

"No thanks. I'm fine," Marsh replied. She glanced at her watch. Midnight. She wondered where Dana was, and the ache that accompanied the thought must have shown on her face, because the woman beside her touched her arm lightly.

"You sure?"

Marsh stepped away, breaking their contact. "I was just about to call it a night."

The blond smiled, a smile that said _I don't think so_. She leaned against the side of the table, studying Marsh unabashedly. There was something about the way that Marsh met her gaze that made her drop all pretense. "I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound like a cliche," she finally said. "Or a come on. You look like you could use some company. I don't see a ring, but I'm guessing it's a romance gone bad. Am I close?"

"Not even a little," Marsh replied softly. "I am definitely not looking for company, and I am very much not single."

"Ah, well," the blond acquiesced with a small shrug. "How about a game then. Just pool, no strings. Promise. My name's Lara, by the way."

Marsh met to say no, but there was something in the other woman's voice that made her believe her. She was too stressed to sleep, and the night promised to be very long. She reached for her cue. "Agent?"

Lara began to rack the balls. "Behavioral science. Psychologist. You?"

Marsh paused, absorbing the words. A profiler, like Mulder. Before his quest. Before the X Files, and Dana. She shook her head. She didn't want to think about any of that tonight. "No. Not an agent. Trauma surgeon."

"Really," the other woman remarked in surprise. "I felt sure you were FBI." She didn't add that her perceptions were almost always right, which was one reason she did the work she did. She _sensed_ things. That was her skill.

"No," Marsh said firmly. Not anymore.

As Marsh leaned over the table, the blond watched her with a speculative look on her face. Three thousand miles away, Scully's plane touched down in the Arizona desert. Somewhere in that broad expanse of darkness, the air shimmered with an invisible presence. Somewhere in this night, all their lives would change.


Part Three

Somewhere in the Night

Warm breath on the back of her neck roused her. Soft lips, brushing lightly, moved over her skin. A low sultry voice murmured against her ear, "I've missed you."

She stirred in her sleep, a faint smile curving the edges of her generous mouth. When she tried to turn onto her back, reaching to capture the familiar form in her arms, a hand at the base of her spine stopped her. "No," came the whispered command. "Don't move."

Slowly the covers were drawn down from her body to expose her nakedness, only to have the faint weight of the covers replaced by a firmer, heavier presence as a body stretched out along her own. She was flushed from the heat of sleep, and goose bumps rose where their skin did not touch. Automatically she raised her hips against the belly pressing down, parting her legs to admit a soft thigh. Stretching her arms out to either side, her fingers curled, she sought to grasp the hands that lightly stroked her forearms. Eyes still closed, she answered, "I've missed you, too. God, I've missed you so much."

She didn't question how or why or even try to speak. Instead, she gave herself to the slowly escalating rhythm of their two bodies surging and joining in perfect point and counterpoint. As she rocked upward harder with each thrust, hungry for more contact, she welcomed the answering pressure between her legs and the knowing fingers that slipped around her body, down her belly, to settle instinctively between her legs, grasping her with a gentle firmness that made her groan. Each time she pressed against the hips riding on her own, those fingers tugged the length of her, causing a steady rush of blood into her already engorged and pulsating tissues. It was a motion that never failed to break her control much sooner than she desired.

"Don't fight it, let it come," she heard dimly through the roar of blood in her ears. Eyes tightly closed, hands fisted, she clenched her jaw and struggled to prolong the exquisite torture.

Mercilessly, the hand between her legs dipped lower, capturing the liquid heat pooling there, slipping tantalizingly inside for a brief instant then withdrawing to circle maddeningly over and around her quivering clit. She pressed her face to the pillow, her body arching from the bed.

She was helpless to stop the gathering explosion as nerve endings tingled and flared, her limbs growing taut and trembling with the effort to sustain the massive contraction. Then her stomach muscles twitched and her breathe burst out with a sharp cry as the blood in her pelvis boiled.

As the orgasm pounded through her, consuming sanity and reason, Marsh opened her eyes with a gasp, choking out a name into the darkness.

*****

Somewhere in the Arizona desert

Scully jerked awake, momentarily confused by the darkness and the unnatural heat that lay heavy around them even with dawn still hours away. Skinner looked over at her, concerned. "Are you okay, Agent Scully?"

She sat up quickly, running her hands through her hair, trying to dispel the effects of the dream. Mulder had been there, somewhere just beyond her reach, in a room with bright lights and shadowy figures, helpless and calling to her. Fragments of the images still floated behind her eyes, making it difficult to focus on the road or the man beside her. But it hadn't been the vision of Mulder that had pulled her from sleep. The sound of Marsh calling her name still echoed in her mind. Just recalling the timbre of Marsh's voice, raw and urgent, sent a shiver of longing through her bones.

It always felt like a piece of her was missing when they were apart, but this time she felt it much more acutely. She hadn't had a chance to say goodbye, or to tell her that she loved her. And she knew that she had hurt her. She glanced at her watch. She glanced at her phone, then dismissed the idea of calling. What could she say that she hadn't already said? If she was going to get through this, if she was going to be able to function at all, she needed to have only one thing on her mind. Finding Gibson Praise and confronting whoever or whatever had taken Mulder. She glanced at Skinner, sensing his uneasiness in the way he watched her. She took a long steadying breath and answered calmly, "I'm fine. Just tired."

She reached up and snapped on the overhead light as she picked up the map that lay between them on the seat. Spreading it out over her knees she leaned forward to peer at the unfamiliar route numbers and town names. "Nothing seems like a possibility," she remarked, her voice strained. Time, there was so little time.

Skinner grimaced, his eyes fixed on the center line as night gave way to a gray sky, slashes of pink outlining the distant mountains in an eerie halo of fire. "There has to be something out here somewhere. Something to indicate where the school is. We'll find it."

She didn't answer. She watched the heat shimmer over the desert sands and imagined once again that she heard Mulder call.

*****

Day Two
Memorial Hospital
Washington, DC
8:58pm

"Can you try them again, please?" Marsh demanded.

The answering service operator used her best conciliatory voice but she still sounded harried. "I'm sorry, Dr. Black. Neither AD Skinner nor Agent Scully is responding to cellular or digital pages. I'll be sure to relay your message if either of them checks in."

"Thanks," Marsh muttered curtly as she set the receiver down. She stared at the phone, her uneasiness growing with every passing moment. More than twenty-four hours. Why hadn't Dana called? Rationally she knew there were a dozen reasons that Dana might not have called, not the least of which was that she was out in the field and very possibly out of cellular range. Knowing that didn't assuage her escalating anxiety at all. The last place Dana needed to be was working a case in the middle of the desert. Jesus, god, didn't being pregnant mean anything at all to her?

Marsh cursed under her breath and ran a hand over her face, rubbing the headache at her temple. _Of course_ it mattered to her. They'd talked and worried and planned for months to make this pregnancy happen. Of course it mattered. She leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the window and stared down into the street, watching the city pulse with life all around her. She thought of the fragile cells forming and shaping within Dana's body, knowing how easily that process could come to an end. "Please," she whispered, willing someone to hear, "please let them be safe."

"The nurses told me I'd find you here," a quiet voice said from across the room.

Marsh turned slowly, her eyes dull with pain. "What are you doing here?" Her tone wasn't accusatory, merely surprised.

Lara smiled. "I thought I'd take you to dinner."

"I wouldn't be very good company." She straightened up with effort and moved slowly across the room. She was bone-tired and felt vaguely disconnected, as if watching herself from a distance.

"You said something like that last night, and it definitely wasn't true," Lara reminded her. "I have to be in the city another couple of days, and you need to eat. We could both use a friendly conversation. It's not that complicated."

Marsh smiled ruefully at that. "Why doesn't it seem that way to me?' "Because you're hopelessly stubborn?" Lara said with a laugh. She carried a light blazer over her arm and wore a green silk blouse that reflected the highlights in her eyes. "I seem to be cursed with running into people named Black who analyze things to death. I worked with a guy who questioned everything and never really trusted anyone." Her expression grew somber for a moment thinking of Frank, then she shrugged off the memory and concentrated on Marsh. "Is there somewhere else you need to be? Something you need to do?"

Marsh was silent and Lara watched her carefully. Lara had been drawn to Marsh from the first moment she had seen her walk into the bar. Watching the tall dark form move through the crowd as if the room were empty, she was captivated by the aura of intensity and deep emotion that surrounded her. She couldn't help but study Marsh as she had leaned over the pool table, graceful and proficient. There was a single-minded focus in her eyes that made Lara wonder how it would feel to be the object of that unwavering attention. And there had been something else, a shadow of some deep pain indelibly etched into her elegant features. It was a wound nearly palpable, and Lara had found that she could not look away.

Lara didn't ask 'Is there someone waiting for you?' She didn't need to. She knew that there wasn't. She wasn't sure she had ever seen anyone so critically lonely, and she had no idea why it seemed to matter so much. But it did, and she had come. She didn't wait for an answer, merely took a step closer and looked into Marsh's eyes. "Dinner. That's all."

Marsh stared into the clear eyes that surprisingly held no guile and discovered only an oddly gentle compassion. Lara's expression warmed her in a place that she hadn't realized was painfully cold until that moment. "Dinner sounds good," she relented wearily, "and you're right - I don't have anywhere to be."

*****

MacLaren Regional Medical Center, Arizona
12 hours later

"This is a restricted area. No one is allowed back here."

Marsh's immediate impulse was to punch him in the face. Instead, she reached into the inside pocket of her leather jacket and removed her identification. Gritting her teeth impatiently and trying to see around him to the room at the end of the hall, she handed him the slim folder.

The officious, rugged-looking guy in the rumpled white shirt and dark trousers stared at the ID card wordlessly for a few seconds. Then he raised curious eyes to her, and said sharply, "What the hell is a medical liaison? I didn't request you."

Before Marsh could reply, a gravelly voice heavy with fatigue sounded from behind them. "I called her," Skinner said.

Doggett looked at him in surprise. "You're supposed to be at bed rest, getting checked out for any serious injuries," he snapped. He was beginning to think that he had totally lost control of the situation. He had been the task force commander for less than three days and the first mission had gone straight to hell. There were injured agents piling up like firewood, and no one seemed to pay the slightest bit of attention to his orders. If he didn't know better, he would think that Skinner and Scully had gone rogue. But that just couldn't be, could it?

At the sound of Skinner's voice, Marsh turned abruptly. He looked like hell, but at that particular moment, she didn't care. She probably didn't look much better. They had finally found her by paging her through the hospital. She was still in the jeans and white shirt she had worn when she left the hospital with Lara the previous evening. She had gone straight to the airport. The trip had been an interminable agony of worry and fear. She didn't trust herself to speak for a moment. She had had too many meetings like this, standing in hospital hallways outside closed rooms, wondering how badly Dana had been hurt this time. Only previously it had been Mulder who had met her, and, despite her terror, each time she had seen him some part of her had been calmed. She had truly believed that he would not let any harm come to Dana. She wasn't sure Skinner could keep the same promise. Finally she found her voice, and asked in a harsh tone through a throat tight with emotion, "How is she?"

Skinner tried to keep the concern from his face, but he was scared. This had been worse than almost anything that he could remember. He looked at Doggett and said in a tone that allowed for no discussion, "I'm taking Dr. Black back to see Agent Scully."

Doggett turned to look after them, beginning to think that nothing was ever going to surprise him again. As they walked, Skinner said, "The preliminary report I have is that she's okay."

Marsh couldn't bring herself to ask, and he didn't mention the baby. Whatever the news about the pregnancy, she wanted to hear that from Dana.

Skinner stopped her just outside the closed door. He put his hand on her arm in a rare gesture of intimacy and looked steadily into her face. He had known her a long time, and he had seen her through the worst moments of her life. The anguish that she couldn't erase from her drawn and weary features told him how near she was to the edge. "I can make a few calls, get her assigned to a desk. At least for the next few months. Just say the word."

God, how she wanted to say yes. It would make everything so much simpler. Scully would be protected from her own determination to find Mulder, despite the dangers. The fetus forming in her body would be safeguarded. Marsh would be relieved of the terrifying uncertainty of wondering whether Dana would survive this, and of fearing that all their hopes and dreams would never be realized. And perhaps she would be delivered from the terrible emptiness that seemed to have devoured her soul these last horrible days.

Marsh swallowed painfully and ran a trembling hand through her disheveled hair. "No. Not unless she requests it. If you do it, it could ruin her career."

He looked like he wanted to protest, but he saw the determination in her face. It wasn't his call. "It's up to you."

"No," Marsh said quietly. "It's up to her."


Part Four

Three Days Later
Washington, DC
8:17 am

"You should go back to work."

Marsh turned from the stove, tossing a dishtowel over one shoulder and resting the fork on the side of the frying pan. Scully stood in the doorway to the kitchen, wearing only an oversized, button-up men's flannel pajama top and a wan smile. Her face was an unnatural pale, not the usual clear luminescent perfection Marsh was used to seeing. The abrasion that extended from her right cheekbone to just under her jaw was healing, but the greenish-purple discoloration was still apparent. The knuckles on her right hand still held traces of scabs from where she had scraped them breaking her fall. Marsh knew every contusion and bruise on her lover's body, having examined her several times a day and applied ointments to the injured areas. Probably the only things that had saved Dana from miscarrying had been her superb physical conditioning and the fact that she had taken most of the force of the trauma on her neck and upper back. Nevertheless, being thrown across the room by an alien bounty hunter with superhuman strength was probably not the best experience for anyone. Marsh forced a grin.

"I'm taking advantage of an excuse to stay home. They can get along without me."

Scully knew very well that the phone had already rung twice that morning with people calling from the hospital with questions for Marsh. It wasn't just that Marsh's skills were needed in the trauma unit and the operating room, but as chief of trauma she had constant administrative issues to deal with. Nevertheless, Marsh had not left her side since she had been released from the hospital in Arizona.

"I'm perfectly okay. Why don't you just go in for a few hours and take care of the paperwork." Scully tried to sound casual and unconcerned. She actually felt like hell, but it was mostly stiffness and the lingering remnants of fear. When she had discovered that her adversary was dead and she was still alive, her first terrifying thought had been that something might have happened to her pregnancy. She lay on the cold, blood-spattered tiles, stunned and in pain, and prayed. When she stopped praying, she wished for Marsh, wanting her more in that moment than she had ever wanted anyone. But it had been Doggett who had held her. She couldn't stop the tears and had turned her face to his shoulder so that the others wouldn't see.

When Marsh had walked into her hospital room six hours later, Scully had tried once again not to cry, but she had failed. "I'm sorry," she managed, meaning so many things. She was sorry that Marsh had been forced once again to stand by her hospital bed; she was sorry that she had hurt Marsh with her need to search for Mulder; she was sorry that she couldn't seem to gather her strength and go on without him.

Marsh had simply crossed the room, leaned down, and kissed her on the forehead, one of the only parts of her face unbloodied. "I love you."

Then Marsh had carefully climbed onto the bed, gathered Scully gently into her arms, and held her. As soon as the ultrasound had shown no damage to the fetus, they had flown home and Marsh had put Scully to bed. Scully had spent the better part of the first two days sleeping while her body healed. Marsh helped her shower, tended to her many cuts and bruises, and coaxed her to eat. When Scully awoke in the night, shaking with the memory of nightmarish dreams, Marsh had been there to stroke her hair and whisper that everything was all right, rocking her and assuring her that she was safe.

It had been so good to allow herself be taken care of, to let go of the terrible urgency to _do_ something that had been driving her since Mulder disappeared. She had needed it, this time to heal. She looked gratefully at Marsh and noticed for the first time that Marsh looked like hell, too. She was wearing the matching bottoms of the pajamas with a thin sleeveless tee shirt that hugged her wiry frame. Her dark eyes were cloudy with fatigue, and the fine lines at the corners were etched a little deeper than they ever had been before. She looked worried, and weary, and slightly haunted.

Scully suddenly realized that Marsh hadn't answered her question. She also realized that Marsh hadn't uttered one word about the Arizona affair and its near disastrous consequences since the moment she walked into the hospital. Marsh had been tender and caring and terribly gentle with her, but the silence stretched like a chasm between them. Scully crossed her arms over her chest, suddenly cold. "Are you angry with me?'

Marsh stared at her, trying not to see the lingering effects of the beating. It was impossible, just as it was impossible not to imagine what might have happened if Dana had been a little slower with her gun or if he had hit her a little harder. Her stomach churned at the image. "No," she said roughly, turning to set plates on the counter.

"Why don't I believe you?" Scully asked softly.

With her back still turned, Marsh replied, "Go get in bed. I'll bring you some breakfast."

"I don't need you to do that, Marsh," she said in frustration. She needed Marsh to look at her, to talk to her.

"_I_ need to do it!" Marsh snapped, her hands gripping the edge of the counter to steady herself. "I need to do something!"

Scully looked at her stiff back, heard the raw edge in her voice. God, didn't she know how essential she was? "You do..."

Marsh laughed harshly, spinning to finally face her. Her fists were clenched tightly at her sides. She wanted to hurl things. "Do I? And what exactly would that be? I show up to assess the damage, but I can't do anything to stop it. I just watch you go and wait and hope to god that the next time someone doesn't kill you!"

Scully saw the torment in her face and heard the frustration in her voice. She knew how hard it must be for a woman like Marsh, who was used to taking control in life and death situations, to feel helpless. *I'll change* is what she wanted to say, but she couldn't lie to her. "I'm sorry," she began.

"Goddamn it, Dana!" Marsh exploded, "don't be sorry! I don't _want_ you to be sorry. I want you to ..." Her voice trailed off as she ran a hand roughly through her hair. What? Resign? She wished she could ask her to do that, and thought that if she did, Dana might even do it. But it wouldn't be fair, and it wouldn't be right. "Oh, fuck," she muttered, slumping slightly against the counter edge. "I don't know what I want."

There was something in Marsh's voice that chilled Scully to the core. She had never heard Marsh sound so desolate, nor look so defeated. She had never felt such distance between them. She had to work to keep her tone even, because she was suddenly frightened, and it took all her strength to ask, "Are you unsure about us, too?"

Marsh looked momentarily confused, as if the words had been spoken in a foreign language. When she understood what Scully was asking, she crossed the room in two quick strides. She caught Scully in her arms, holding her close, as she said urgently, "God, no. Never." She kissed her swiftly, mindful of the bruises but still reassuringly possessive. "I couldn't survive without you."

Scully leaned into her, her arms reaching around Marsh's waist to press against the firm muscles of her back. She closed her eyes, her cheek pressed to Marsh's chest, and breathed a sigh of relief. "I know how hard it is on you, Marsh. I _know_. Really I do. I'll..."

"Don't make promises you can't keep, Dana," Marsh implored, her lips against Scully's hair.

Scully tilted her head back to look up into Marsh's face. It struck her, not for the first time, how beautiful she was, and how desirable. It was unbelievable that they had found each other. It amazed her how much she counted on Marsh, how vital to every aspect of her life Marsh had become. She also realized that love required nurturing, as much as any other living thing. "I'm not going to lose you over this, am I, Marsh?"

A smile tugged at the corner of Marsh's lips, and her gaze deepened. Her voice was husky as she said, "You couldn't get rid of me if you tried."

"There are plenty of other women who would probably kill to have you. And I'm sure that they wouldn't be as much trouble," Scully said, only half teasing.

"Don't," Marsh replied seriously, raising one finger to Scully's mouth to silence her.

There was something about the way that Marsh said it that made Scully's heart lurch. "Marsh?" she asked, totally serious now. "Has something happened?"

Marsh answered immediately, unhesitantly. "No, Dana. You have my heart. You _are_ my heart."

Scully believed her. She felt it in her soul. She didn't know how that was so, or why she trusted it, but she did. And just as she sensed that Marsh was telling her the truth, she sensed that there was something more. "But there _is_ someone, isn't there?"

"No, not that way," Marsh repeated, her gaze unwavering. "I met a woman while you were gone. We talked. I had dinner with her."

Scully's first instinct was to pull away. She was suddenly more frightened than when she had learned that Mulder was gone. _Really_ gone. The thought of losing Marsh was even more terrifying than that. She forced herself to swallow her fear and kept her eyes on Marsh's. She _knew_ this woman. She had held her and been held by her. She had made promises to her, and had accepted promises from her. There was life beginning inside her, a life they had made together. If she could not believe in her, then in whom? If this was not truth, then what was?

Scully drew a steadying breath and asked, "Am I going to have to kill her?"

Marsh laughed, and a light that had been missing for too long danced in her eyes. "Not necessary. It wouldn't even be a worthy contest."

*****

Two Days Later
Memorial Hospital
8:17 PM

"Make sure you call plastics for those facial lacerations after you get the head CT," Marsh called to the resident who was pushing a stretcher bearing a seventeen year old patient out of the trauma bay. Her pager sounded as she reached for the chart. She checked the readout on her beeper, punched in the numbers, and said distractedly, "Black."

"I thought you weren't on call tonight," Scully said.

Marsh leaned back in the swivel chair, propped her feet up on the counter, and looked at her watch. She was surprised to see how late it had gotten. "I'm not. I was just giving Martin a hand."

"Uh huh," Scully remarked dryly. She knew very well that Marsh would end up staying the entire night if it was busy, even though she wasn't scheduled to. There was always someone who wanted her opinion or needed assistance. It wasn't good for Marsh, and at the moment, it wasn't good for them either. In another day she would be ready to go back to work, and then their hectic schedules would keep them apart more often than not. That was difficult under the best of circumstances, and with all they had been through recently, they needed time together. _ She _ needed time with Marsh. "Could be someone at home needs a hand, too."

Marsh felt an immediate stirring in the pit of her stomach. She sat up straight, pressed the phone a little closer to her mouth, and murmured, "I'll be there right away."

"Good."

Marsh was surprised to see the windows dark when she pulled into her parking slot. She had left the hospital as soon as she could, but Dana had probably gotten tired and gone to sleep. She sighed with disappointment even as she reminded herself that rest was what Dana really needed. Still, she had thought about Dana's implied invitation all the way home, and she was swollen and edgy with anticipation. "Shower," she muttered to herself as she fit her key into the lock. "Ice cold shower."

She climbed to the sleeping loft in the dark, consciously trying not to awaken her lover. She moved across the bedroom, aware of Dana asleep nearby, and turned on the bathroom light. She closed the door part way so that only a thin shaft of illumination shone into the room. She pulled off her scrub shirt and tossed it toward the clothes basket. She was reaching for the ties on her pants when Dana's voice halted her in mid-motion.

"Leave them on."

"I thought you were asleep," Marsh said, turning towards the bed.

"I'm not." Scully rolled onto her side, her head propped in the palm of her hand, and continued, "come stand next to me."

Scully watched as Marsh crossed to her, naked from the waist up, a study in lithe grace. When Marsh stopped just inches from her, Scully ran her fingers lightly over Marsh's belly. She was rewarded with a sharp intake of breath and a faint twitch of the muscles under her fingers. She pushed herself a little higher on the pillows so that she could cup the underside of Marsh's small firm breasts in her hands. She squeezed gently, then circled the pads of her thumbs over the taut nipples. Marsh arched her back and groaned softly. Scully smiled in satisfaction. She was aware of an answering pressure between her own legs, but it was merely a distant pleasure. Her focus was on Marsh. She wanted, no she _needed_, to know that Marsh was still hers. Only hers.

Scully pushed the covers back and swung her legs over the side of the bed so that she was sitting up. She replaced her fingers with her mouth, pulling Marsh's nipple between her lips, biting softly. Marsh's hips pressed forward against Scully's breasts, and Scully wrapped her arms around her, kneading the muscles in Marsh's butt rhythmically as she worked first one nipple, then the other.

Marsh groaned again and spread her fingers in Scully's hair. "God, you feel so good," she whispered. Her hips were beginning to pulse in time with Scully's movements. She was starting to feel a little lightheaded.

"So do you," Scully murmured, moving her mouth to Marsh's belly, tugging softly at the skin around Marsh's navel with her teeth. At the same time, she brought her hands to the inside of Marsh's legs, and began to run her fingers slowly up and down her thighs. Marsh sagged slightly against her, her breath coming in irregular gasps.

"Touch me," Marsh pleaded.

Scully didn't answer her, but brought both thumbs into the cleft between Marsh's legs, pressing down on the firm swelling she could easily feel through the thin cotton of Marsh's scrubs. She trailed her tongue lightly over the skin just above the top of the pants as she massaged Marsh's clit in circular motions.

Marsh's body was rigid, her head thrown back, her eyes closed. Her fingers were motionless against Scully's head, her arms taut with the effort to absorb the teasing torment. A low, strangled whimper escaped her throat. Scully's own breathing escalated with the sounds and scent of Marsh's excitement. Her fingers trembled as she pulled at the narrow ties, loosening the last barrier between her mouth and Marsh. As she pushed the material down Marsh's thighs, Scully edged forward until her legs straddled one of Marsh's. She rocked her wetness against Marsh's skin to relieve the persistent throbbing as she pressed her cheek against the heat at the base of Marsh's belly.

Marsh shuddered, and her legs began to shake. "I'm not gonna last," she warned.

"Try." Scully turned her face and blew gently on the moist fragrant hair, then lightly flicked her tongue over the tip of Marsh's clit. Her own jumped in response and she rubbed herself a little harder against Marsh's leg. *Neither am I* she noted as if from a distance. She felt her orgasm building, but it was Marsh who filled her senses. Scully took her fully into her mouth and slid her fingers into her.

"Oh! that's ... got ... it," Marsh choked, her hips jumping. Had she not been supported against Scully's face and hand, she would have fallen. As it was, she bent double as her belly contracted and her muscles convulsed around Scully's hand. Then she stiffened and cried out as fire flashed along her nerve endings.

Scully laughed triumphantly, then gasped as an answering wave of sensation thundered through her. "Ohh," she cried against Marsh's still flickering flesh, pulling Marsh back with her onto the bed as their bodies pounded with the last echoes of their passion.

Marsh tried to lift her weight away from Scully's body, aware enough to worry about the recent injuries. Scully held her fast and pressed against her, nuzzling her face into the hollow of Marsh's throat, supremely content.

"God, I love you, Dana," Marsh sighed, kissing the warm, moist skin below Scully's ear.

Scully licked the faint sheen of sweat from Marsh's neck. "I love you, too, Marsh."

This was their truth.

End

 


 

Genesis XIII: Stealing Time
by Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
SERIES RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
SPOILERS: All eps since The Red and the Black
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
SUMMARY: Marsh and Scully 'disappear' after the assault on Scully in Roadrunner.


Doggett and Marsh nearly collided in the hallway outside Scully's hospital room. Doggett took a step back and straightened his shoulders in an unconsciously pugilistic pose, giving Marsh a piercing appraisal. She stared back, more than willing for a fight with someone after another anxious week of sitting by Dana's bedside waiting for test results.

Doggett blinked first. "I'm Special Agent John Doggett, Agent Scully's partner."

It sounded almost surreal to hear this man say those words, because the words were wrong in so many ways. _Mulder_ was Dana's partner, and Marsh knew that no one would ever replace him in Dana's life. And in the critical ways that only a few people understood, _she_ was Dana's partner. But of course, John Doggett didn't know any of that. He was clearly waiting for her to introduce herself, to define herself in some way that would explain her presence. She extended her hand, "Marshall Black."

He shook her hand firmly, assessing her as he felt the subtle strength in her long fingers and watched dark shadows swirling in the depth of her charcoal eyes. "We've met before," he said, releasing his grip but keeping his flinty blue eyes on her face. "In Arizona."

"Yes," Marsh replied. Too recently. She and Dana had barely recovered from the last near-tragic injury, only to be faced with another. The memories collided and pain flashed briefly across her face before she wrestled the images into submission.

Doggett caught a glimpse of something dangerous shimmering below her stark features, and he recalled how wild she had looked that morning at MacLaren Medical Center, like a weapon locked and loaded and ready to blow. She seemed a bit calmer now, steadier in some fundamental way, despite the brief flash of emotion and the circles of fatigue under her eyes. He'd seen her in and out of Scully's room the last week, but this was the first opportunity they'd had to speak. She made him uneasy, like there was something he should understand that he was missing. The feeling irritated him. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his trousers and continued to regard her warily.

Marsh smiled at him faintly and looked past him to the closed door of the hospital room. The only thing that she wanted was to get Dana out of that room, out of this place that contained far more misery than joy. The specter of dread had hung over their lives for too long, and it was time to leave it behind.

"From what I understand, you probably saved her life with your impromptu surgery," she said, obviously surprising him. Before he could respond, she stepped around him, adding, "Thank you. I owe you for that."

He turned, staring after her as she disappeared into Scully's room. "Son of a bitch," he whispered to himself in astonishment. "What was _that_ all about?"

*****

Scully was just closing her suitcase as the door swung open. She looked up, smiling quickly when she saw Marsh. "Hi," she said quietly. She knew Marsh was worried about her, but she was truthfully more tired than anything else. So very tired of trying to find herself in Mulder's absence. She had tried finding him, and when that had failed, she had tried _being_ him. That almost got her killed. She was going to have to discover who she was now without him. "I'm glad you're here."

Marsh crossed to her and kissed her lightly, answering, "How are you doing?"

"I'm ready to get out of here."

"Good," Marsh said, reaching for the luggage. "I just ran into Agent Doggett."

"Oh?" Scully responded. She nodded to the envelope lying on the bed. "He brought me a get well card. Strange, huh?"

"Nice of him, really," Marsh allowed neutrally.

Scully sighed. "You're right. He's been pretty decent to work with. He's thorough and a good investigator. It could have been worse, I suppose."

Marsh waited for the rest. It was the first time Dana had said anything about her new working arrangement, and Marsh had the feeling that this was about more than John Doggett's work ethics.

"But he's not Mulder," Scully said wistfully. "God, I miss him so much."

Marsh dropped the suitcase and stepped near, putting her arms around Scully's shoulders and drawing her close. She rested her chin on the top of Scully's head, murmuring, "You know that you can never count Mulder out. He'll be back. Somehow."

Scully closed her eyes, pressing her cheek to Marsh's neck, inhaling her fragrance, absorbing her warmth. She tightened her hold around Marsh's waist, welcoming her slender strength. "What would happen if we didn't go back?"

"Oh," Marsh said quietly, carefully, "I imagine everyone would manage without us."

"Let's disappear then," Scully suggested softly.

Marsh kissed her hair, then her temple. "I know just the place."

*****

"Hey," Marsh said softly, lightly shaking Scully's shoulder. "We're here."

Scully blinked and stretched, amazed to discover that she had slept. She watched the small speck of darkness on the blue expanse of empty ocean grow larger, then begin to show traces of color as the rich greens of vegetation and the pristine white of sandy beaches came into focus. Even the water breaking on the undulating shore changed from a dense uniform indigo to nuances of azure, sapphire, and turquoise the nearer they flew to land. It had been almost a year since they had been to the island, and now she couldn't imagine why it had taken them so long to return. She sighed with soft regret, because she knew why. They had gotten used to being together when they could between the demands of Marsh's schedule and her own out-of-town trips. They rarely left their respective obligations and responsibilities to others and simply made time for themselves.

"We should do this more often," Scully remarked as Marsh brought them down into a gentle landing.

Marsh taxied the plane a short distance and stopped the engines. She turned in her seat and regarded Scully seriously. "We'll have to, after the baby."

Scully reached for her hand and entwined her fingers in Marsh's. "Yes. But every once in a while, I'm going to want you to myself, even then."

Marsh grinned, and as she always did on the island, she looked years younger and raffishly handsome. "That's why God made grandmothers. And we'll have two of them."

"Well, there's still just us for now," Scully whispered. She leaned across the narrow space between them and slid her hand behind Marsh's neck, pulling her close. She kissed her, quite thoroughly, taking her time and exploring all the soft warm places that were comfortingly familiar and still amazingly exciting. She sucked gently on Marsh's lower lip, running her tongue over the inside, then probing slowly forward, teasing Marsh's tongue with her own. Marsh groaned and Scully laughed lightly, still holding Marsh captive while she slid her other hand up the inside of Marsh's leg. Marsh twitched and edged over on the seat, spreading her jeans-clad thighs and pressing up against Scully's palm. Scully started a steady rhythmic pressure as they continued to kiss.

"God, it's been too long," Marsh murmured when their lips parted a fraction. "And that is so good."

Scully removed her hand. "You are _sooo_ easy!" she chided playfully.

Marsh's lips were faintly swollen and her grin had melted into a lazy smile that matched the promise in her hazy eyes. "Guilty as charged," she said, her voice even deeper than usual. She ran one finger down Scully's neck, then slipped her hand under the edge of Scully's blouse, caressing the full curve of her breast. "So why torture me? A couple of strokes and I'll be gone."

"Unh uh," Scully said, shaking her head and sitting back in her seat. Marsh's eyes opened wide in surprise at her sudden withdrawal. "Open the door on this thing. I want to go swimming."

"Swimming!" Marsh choked, looking wounded. "Now?"

"We are on vacation, right?" Scully asked innocently. "We've got all the time in the world." She could feel her own damp excitement, and knew from experience just how tense and swollen Marsh must be at this moment. It took all her concentration not to pull open the buttons on Marsh's jeans and slip her fingers between her legs. She loved taking her like that, hard and fast and hot. She loved how quickly Marsh was ready, and how willing she was to abandon her control and give herself to Scully. Knowing she could make Marsh arch and cry out at the light touch of her fingers was a heady power she adored. Pleasuring Marsh, even anticipating it, was enough to bring her close to exploding herself. She held firm, ignoring the steady pulse beating insistently between her legs. "Now, Marshall," she ordered just a bit breathlessly.

Marsh groaned, this time in frustration, but she obligingly unlocked the hatches and engaged the hydraulic stairway. "I'm not sure I can walk," she muttered as she stood to follow her lover out of the plane.

Scully laughed, stopping long enough to pull two towels from their gear. "You'll live."

They cut through the dense palms that bordered the landing strip and emerged on the far side onto the beach. Scully tossed down the towels and pulled off her blouse and underwear in one motion. Marsh noticed that she moved a little carefully, lacking her usual fluid grace, and frowned, momentarily forgetting her arousal. She craned her neck to get a look at the incision on Scully's back, and Scully caught her.

Scully turned as she unzipped her shorts so that Marsh couldn't see the newest wound. "Let it go, Marsh. Please," she asked softly. "I promise I'll tell you if there's something wrong. Just be with me. That's what I need."

Marsh swallowed and nodded her assent. Then she lowered her gaze to Scully's bare breasts, subtly swollen with the first signs of her pregnancy, nipples full and a slightly deeper rose than usual. This time when she swallowed it was with desire tightening her throat. "God, you are so beautiful."

Scully heard the want in her voice, and her heart lifted as she stepped out of the rest of her clothes. "Better get undressed if you're coming in," she called as she raced for the water.

Marsh lingered for a second, just watching her. She refused to think about the scars scattered over Scully's body, pale reminders of past nightmares, but marveled instead at her strength and vitality and resiliency. She noticed too the slight rounding of Scully's usually taut belly and felt her heart hammer with awe and wonder. This woman, this incredible woman, loved her and wanted her and, miraculously, was bearing them a child. "Thank you," Marsh whispered, and then she pulled off her clothes.

Scully stood navel deep in warm, crystal-clear water and looked back at the shore. Marsh was running toward her, a mixture of desire and pure abandon on her face. Marsh had always reminded Scully of a jungle predator, a little wild, a little hungry. She loved to tease her, because it brought a dangerous glint to her dark eyes, like a big cat stalking its prey. It was a lethal kind of beauty, and seeing it never failed to stir Scully's own passion. She felt blood pulsate in her belly, turned, and dove into the water. Marsh followed instantly.

They surfaced together, flinging water from their faces, laughing. The salt water made them buoyant, and it was easy to draw close and reignite their earlier kisses. Naked, their limbs entwined smoothly, and belly to belly, breast to breast, they rolled over and over, stroking each other. The clear, pure ocean surrounded them, lifting them and finally cleansing them of the last clinging vestiges of fear and insecurity. When kisses were not enough, they swam hand in hand for shore.

Now it was Scully who hurried. She spread the towels on the sand side by side, stretched out, and pulled Marsh down beside her. She felt wonderful. The recent incision on her back didn't hurt, her muscles were loose and relaxed, and, for the first time in a long time, the excitement in her belly was just simple joy. She was alive, and in love, and she was happy.

She rolled onto Marsh, searching for her mouth hungrily as one hand smoothed over Marsh's abdomen and dipped between her legs. She trapped Marsh's thigh with her own and raised up enough to watch Marsh's face while she stroked her. Marsh reached up with both hands and covered Scully's breasts with her palms, squeezing gently. For a second, Scully's eyes fluttered closed.

"Dana," Marsh gasped, closing around the hand softly filling her, "Lift your hips. Let me touch you."

Through eyes dimmed with need, Scully watched the beginning of orgasm play over Marsh's face, and settled onto Marsh's waiting fingers, taking her inside. The combination of watching Marsh come and feeling her within pushed Scully quickly to climax, but she struggled to hold onto awareness. She wanted to absorb every second of Marsh's passion.

"So beautiful," Scully cried as their twin pleasures fused, and finally she surrendered, collapsing onto Marsh as the last ripples of release fluttered through her limbs.

Eventually Scully sighed and rolled onto her side, keeping one arm firmly around Marsh, pressing close. "How long can we stay?"

"As long as we need to," Marsh murmured, running her fingers through Scully's hair. "Forever, if you want."

Scully traced a fingertip from Marsh's throat over her chest and down her belly, watching the muscles flutter under her touch. "I want this forever."

"Done."

"You know," Scully mused quietly, feeling the rightness of the moment, and knowing it meant more than anything else, "I think I'll let Doggett take care of the rough stuff from now on."

Marsh continued to stroke her hair, thinking about the future, knowing that they would find their way. She pressed her lips to Scully's forehead. She didn't have to say thank you.

Scully knew.

End

 


 

TITLE: Genesis XIV: Paradise Lost
AUTHOR: Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
ARCHIVE: anywhere, just let me know
RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
CATEGORY: PostEp/Angst/Romance
SPOILERS: Per Manum
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female);Scully/Slash
SUMMARY: Shadowy forces threaten Marsh and Scully's health and happiness
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website:
http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/


Marsh stood naked in the bathroom doorway, toweling off her hair. She shook the water from her dark unruly mane and glanced across the room to her lover. Dana stood partially clothed in front of the large double-drawered dresser that they shared. She was wearing black briefs and nothing else. Marsh grinned and leaned against the wall to watch. She thought that there was nothing quite as beautiful as watching Dana dress, except perhaps watching her undress.

Her breasts were fuller, almost swollen, and her pink nipples darker, nearly a deep rose. She was no heavier, but her figure suggested a lushness that had been absent previously. Marsh knew Dana's body better than her own. Her discerning eye rested on the slight swelling below Scully's naval, and she smiled. Fourteen weeks. Fourteen weeks and just a little bit of show. Exquisite. And hers.

At that moment, Scully turned to catch the self-satisfied grin on her lover's elegant face. She stopped her frantic search for a matching black brassiere, lifting one eyebrow in question. "What has you so pleased? You look disgustingly proud of yourself."

Marsh shrugged, not even bothering to deny it. "You look beautiful pregnant."

Scully blushed, surprised that a compliment from her lover could still do that. She was acutely conscious of the changes in her body, and every day it was more of a surprise. She had expected the physical changes, but what she had not expected was the way being pregnant made her feel about herself. There was something about knowing she was producing a life that made her feel incredibly sensuous. She was aware of an undercurrent of arousal that was always with her, making her want to stretch and purr with a mixture of supreme contentment and languorous desire. She had never needed any prompting where sex was concerned; she only need look at Marsh to want her. Now she didn't even need that. She was simply ready all the time. She assumed it was a result of all the hormone surges accompanying her pregnancy, and it would probably dissipate as the early pleasure of her state gave way to the inevitable discomfort of growing bigger and heavier. Nevertheless, she was enjoying the sensation.

She found herself grinning at Marsh, who continued to lounge indolently, arms crossed loosely over her chest, as always totally unaware of her own attractiveness. Scully's eyes moved from that captivating grin down the length of Marsh's lean form. She lingered for a moment on the small tattoo just above the dark triangle of hair at the base of Marsh's belly. She remembered the night they got it, and how aroused she had become while watching Marsh stand half naked, a stranger's hands using her body as a canvas. That tattoo was like her passion for Marsh, hidden and secret and somehow forbidden. Not because Marsh was a woman, but because Scully wanted her with a primal passion that verged on ravenous. An appetite she revealed to no one else. When she brought her eyes back to Marsh's, she drew a sharp breath. The grin was gone and in its place was a raw hunger that she hadn't seen for quite some time.

"Oh no," Scully warned. "I'll be late."

Marsh came slowly toward her, not listening. All her attention was focused on Scully's breasts, on the exact spot where she intended to put her mouth. For some reason, Scully was backing up, but Marsh simply moved inexorably forward. Then Scully's knees hit the bed and she was falling backwards with a soft laugh. Marsh leaned down with an arm outstretched on either side of her now recumbent lover and said in a low, dangerous tone, "You won't be that late."

When Marsh was very very hungry, she was very very slow. It made Scully feel as if the slightest movement from her would break the thin thread of Marsh's control and she would suddenly be devoured, as if by a wild animal abruptly loosed from its cage. When it was happening, as Marsh consumed her, inch by slow torturous inch, claiming her with mouth and hands and tongue, Scully could barely breathe. It was not the tender gentle loving that had followed in the aftermath of her near disastrous encounter with the alien bounty hunter. It was not even the wild, wanton lovemaking of their early days together. It was the kind of fearsome passion that came from knowing that this one single person held all of your hopes and all of your dreams in the fragile beat of their heart.

"Marsh," Scully whispered, their faces very close now, their desire misting the air around them. Marsh lowered her head and Scully lifted her own breasts in both hands, offering them to Marsh's lips. Her neck arched back as the first sharp contact of teeth and tongue seared a trail down her spine, into her legs, spreading upward into her pelvis. She moaned, eyes closed, lips parted, skin flushed hot with the quick rush of arousal.

Marsh's hands covered Scully's, pressing the ripe sweet flesh to her lips, marveling at the heat that filled her mouth. She groaned, eyes closed, barely aware enough to keep most of her weight off Scully's body. God, she felt like she was starving. She ached inside. Her blood ran hot, her pulse pounded, and she couldn't have stopped had someone held a gun to her head. Dimly, she felt Scully's hands on her back, her hips, digging in, pulling her down, until there was no space between them. The sudden push of Scully's thigh between her legs caught her by surprise, the pressure on her distended clitoris making her whole body spasm. She ground herself down against the warm soft skin, groaning at the contact, her inflamed tissues swelling to the bursting point.

"Ah, God," Marsh gasped. She lifted her head, and, barely able to see, found Scully's blue eyes, deepened with desire to indigo, fixed on her face. She kept her gaze locked on those dark pools as she ran her hand possessively up the inside of Scully's thigh. She watched Scully's features soften with need as she traced her fingers through the warm wetness between Scully's legs. She struggled to ignore the ever rising pressure in her depths, filling her senses with the sight and sound and scent of her lover, but each second forced her closer to the edge.

Scully reached between them, grasped Marsh's wrist tightly, and directed her hand upward to her clitoris. "Squeeze," she implored, too ready too soon. Her hips lifted of their own accord, and she tightened her arms around Marsh's back. She cried out, a short piercing wail, as Marsh's knowing fingers found her, stroking and tugging and pulling her toward orgasm.

Marsh pressed her face to Scully's shoulder, feeling Scully shudder beneath her, sensing the contractions inside her. She bit down on the soft flesh beneath her lips, desperately holding back her own relentlessly approaching release. Her sensitive fingers felt each delicate pulsation, and even in the still quiet after the last surge had dissipated, the raging pulse still pounded beneath her fingertips.

When she came to herself, Marsh gently rolled off, coming to lie beside Scully, half on and half off the bed. She stared up at the ceiling, catching her breath, one hand softly stroking Scully's abdomen. "Have I ever mentioned that I think pregnant women are very sexy?" Marsh said, her voice still thick with desire.

Scully blinked, trying to reassemble her body parts. She found she couldn't move. She swallowed, wondering if she would be able to make words. Miraculously, something still worked. "I'm not sure you ever said, but I noticed," she answered faintly.

They turned their heads to face one another, linking hands.

"You okay?" Scully asked, her voice stronger and certain parts of her anatomy beginning to reawaken.

"Uh huh," Marsh muttered.

"I didn't feel you come," Scully said, suddenly feeling very hungry herself.

Marsh grinned. "I was practicing restraint."

Scully managed a faint lift of her brow. "Oh yeah? Did it work?"

"Unh uh," she confessed, remembering the sweet moment of surrender with a satisfied sigh. "I need more practice."

Scully rolled up on an elbow, smiled at her, then leaned down and kissed her quite thoroughly. "We'll give you another chance later."

"I'm not a very fast study," Marsh warned, her eyes dancing.

Scully forced herself up and headed toward the bathroom for her second shower of the morning. "We'll just do it till you get it right."

Marsh settled back on the bed to wait for Scully to get ready for work. She loved to watch her get dressed.

*****

"Hey," Marsh said softly, coming up behind Scully and wrapping her arms gently around her lover's waist. Her eyes met Scully's in the mirror. There were traces of tears lingering on Dana's long lashes. "What is it?"

Scully shook her head, not knowing what to say. It just seemed to happen, these moments of overwhelming uncertainty and sadness. Sometimes she thought it was just all the changes, inside her body, and outside, in her world. God, Mulder had been gone more than two months. It seemed like two lifetimes. She glanced at the ultrasound she had laid on the dresser. She still wasn't sure how it had happened.

Marsh followed her glance, saw the light and shadows forming the shape of a nascent being. Felt Dana tremble in her arms. She rested her cheek against Scully's hair, rocking her slighty in the comfort of her embrace. She slid her palm down Scully's belly, resting it softly on the faint swelling. "Worried?"

Scully shook her head no. She clasped both hands over Marsh's and leaned into her. "I was thinking about Mulder."

Marsh kissed her temple, waited. They had talked about it a long time before approaching him the first time. He was perfect, except for the things none of them could know for sure. How would he feel fathering a child he would not raise? How would *they* feel explaining it all some day. So many possible ways it might go wrong, but so many reasons it was right. In the end, it hadn't mattered, because Dana's ova had been irreparably damaged.

"I'm sorry he won't be here for this," Scully whispered. He would have loved it, she knew.

"Maybe he will be," Marsh murmured.

Scully smiled tremulously, drew a steadying breath. "Maybe he will."

She looked at herself in the mirror one last time, running her hand over her abdomen half in wonder, half in bewilderment. If only she knew for sure.

*****

Scully walked into the office she shared with John Doggett half a day late. Hopefully her reasons for being so didn't show on her face. The fact that she was still thinking about sex probably explained why she didn't realize he was with someone until she was half way into the room.

"I'm sorry, Agent Doggett," she said. "I didn't realize that you had an appointment."

She was about to leave when Doggett hurriedly spoke. "Uh, actually Agent Scully, this is Duffy Haskill. He says he knows you."

She shook her head and the stranger began to tell his story. As he spoke, she tried to hide the sense of dread that grew with every word. This could not be possible, this wild tale of alien babies and doctors who murdered the mothers to keep the secrets of their experiments. Experiments on abductees. Women who mysteriously became pregnant. Women like her.

"I have proof," Haskill said, holding out an ultrasound.

Scully reached for it, hoping that her terror did not show. She looked at it. It looked very much like the one she had held in her hands just a few hours before. The one of her baby. For a moment, she thought she would scream. This could not be happening. They could not take another part of her. No.

She dismissed it as fantasy, but the image of the ultrasound was burned into her consciousness. One thought kept running through her mind. Doggett was right. Duffy Haskill's story. The story of those women.

It was her story.

*****

Part 2

Day Two
Zeus Genetics Laboratory
Germantown, Maryland

"You can't be back here," the angry man in the white lab coat ordered. "You'll have to wait out front."

Scully nodded and managed to look calm as she hurried past him. She leaned against the wall outside the room of horrors and closed her eyes. It didn't help to erase the images of row after row of pathetic creatures preserved in formalin, abject reminders of man's failed attempts to manipulate and subvert the laws of nature. Unconsciously her hand strayed over her abdomen. Her scientific, rational mind told her that this place was nothing more than a genetic engineering laboratory, one of several around the country engaged in fetal research. Perfectly legitimate. It had nothing to do with her. Nothing at all.

But she couldn't help think about Cathy Haskill, the purported abductee, the supposedly dead mother with the missing baby. And that frightened woman -Hendershot - who she had just seen screaming in that bright sterile room down the hall. The part of her that had seen too much to deny the undeniable feared that Duffy Haskill's story could be true. That somehow there *were* women who had been abducted and defiled and impregnated with some inhuman form of life. Women who were destined to bring forth from their bodies the products of experimentations too depraved to contemplate. If it had happened to them, it could happen to her. And if it happened to her, she did not think she could bear it. Not another violation. Not again.

The minute she walked into the apartment, she called the hospital. She couldn't face this alone.

"I'm sorry, Dr. Scully," a sympathetic voice informed her. "Dr.Black just took a stab wound to the abdomen up to the OR. She'll be scrubbed for a couple of hours. It was a mess."

Scully hesitated, trying to think, wanting to talk to her so badly.

"Dr. Scully?" Concern in the tone now. There wasn't a person in the trauma unit who didn't know that something serious was going on in the Chief of Trauma's personal life. Half the time Marshall Black looked like a trauma victim herself, sleepless, stressed, and ready to snap. The other half she was euphoric, happier than anyone could ever recall. They all knew that Dana Scully was the reason. "Dr. Scully? Is something wrong? Should I call into the OR for her?"

"No," Scully said quickly, angry at herself for letting her imagination drive her crazy. She wasn't going to make Marsh crazy, too. "No, there's no problem. Don't bother her."

She hung up the phone slowly, struggling for calm. Facts, she needed facts, not wild supposition and irrational fears. And she needed someone she could trust, someone who could give her an objective opinion.

She brought up the address file on her laptop, checked the number she knew by heart, and dialed. "Dr. Parenti, please."

*****

Marsh pulled off the surgeon's cap covered with red chili peppers and embroidered with the caption _Hot Stuff_, a gift from a patient, and tossed it into her locker. She rubbed her face with both hands, stretched her stiff shoulders, and searched her lab coat for quarters for the soda machine. God, it was hot under those lights. Her scrubs were soaked and she was parched.

Her beeper went off as she opened the can. She drank down half the soda and punched in her office extension. "Black."

"Dr. Black, Dr. Scully called several times."

Marsh's heart started to pound. "Yes?" she said sharply.

"She asked that you call her at home."

Marsh glanced at the wall clock. A little after five pm. Dana was never home that early. Marsh swallowed, her throat tight. "At home?"

"Yes, Doctor."

"Call Carter and ask her to cover for me." Marsh hung up without waiting for a reply, walked to her locker, and grabbed her jacket. She didn't bother to change.

"Dana?" Marsh called as she pushed through the door to the apartment. There was a faint light coming from the bedroom and she hurried through the living room and up the loft stairs. "Dana?" she asked worriedly, crossing to where her lover lay on the bed, back to the door, curled up tightly with her arms crossed protectively over her abdomen. Marsh sat beside her on the edge of the bed, brushed the hair from Scully's cheek, then gently rested her hand on her shoulder. "Hey," she said softly. "What's wrong?"

Scully rolled toward her and wrapped her arms around Marsh's waist, laying her head in Marsh's lap, drawing her body close to Marsh's. "In a minute," Scully whispered, so happy Marsh had come. Marsh was the only person she had never had to ask. She always knew.

Marsh shifted fully onto the bed, propped herself up against the pillows, and gathered Scully close, cradling her in her arms. She held her, slowly running her hands up and down her back, soothing her with her touch. "Are you hurt?" she asked finally, unable to bear the anxiety any longer. "The baby-has something happened?"

"No," Scully said quickly. "I'm all right." She sat up a little straighter, keeping one arm across Marsh's body, just wanting to feel her, and added, "At least I *think* I am."

Marsh's eyes darkened, part fury, part fear. Hadn't they been through enough? Hadn't Dana suffered enough? What more could possibly happen? How much more could they take? She asked quietly, her jaws so tight her head ached, "What's going on?"

Scully told her all the details of Haskill's visit, and his wild story, and her journey to Zeus Genetics. "I took my ultrasound to Dr. Parenti this morning along with the one from Haskill's wife."

"And?" Marsh asked, her stomach in knots. This was a nightmare.

"He said they both looked fine."

Marsh let out her breath. "Thank God."

"Doggett's been doing some digging. He said that the Haskill's had used Parenti at one time. During one of her attempts to conceive, I imagine," Scully added, trying to contain her panic. She didn't believe in coincidences. No investigator did. But she wanted to. She needed to now.

"That's not so unusual, is it?" Marsh asked, desperately trying to make sense of this sudden, horrifying development. "He *is* one of the top infertility specialists in the DC area. Probably a lot of the really tough cases end up with him."

"That's what I keep telling myself," Scully agreed. "But there are so many similarities in our stories. Her abduction - her infertility - then her pregnancy when it should have been impossible."

Marsh slipped her hand under Scully's chin and lifted her face so that their eyes met. "It doesn't necessarily mean anything. As far as we know, your in vitro was done with *my* eggs, and there's no reason to think that they were tampered with."

Scully's expression was clouded with a mixture of hope and uncertainty. "I know," she whispered. "I'm just - scared."

Those words were harder for Marsh to hear than almost any other. She kept her voice even and sure. "We'll get an amnio as soon as it's safe. We'll check the fetus's DNA. Mine's already been analyzed. We'll make sure, okay?"

"Okay." Scully stretched out against the length of Marsh's body, wanting every bit of contact she could get. She rested her head on Marsh's shoulder, one leg over Marsh's. "How long can you stay?"

"I can call Carter and tell her that I won't be back."

"No," Scully said after a moment. "Just stay here with me for a while. I only need a few minutes to start thinking straight again. Then I'll be fine."

A few minutes turned into nearly an hour, as Scully dozed fretfully and Marsh held her, struggling with her own demons. When Scully opened her eyes again, she lay still, her head on Marsh's chest, listening to the slow steady beat of Marsh's heart. "You awake?" she asked, softly running her hand over Marsh's abdomen.

"Mmm," Marsh answered, nuzzling in Scully's hair, breathing in her scent.

"What have you been doing?" Scully asked, continuing her slow exploration over the curve of Marsh's hip, down her thigh. Just needing to feel her, needing the solid secure presence of her.

"Thinking about you," Marsh murmured, kissing the tip of her ear. "Thinking how lucky I am."

"Oh, Marsh," Scully laughed quietly, loving her for her words, but her heart aching at the same time. "With all I've put you through the last few months, lucky is hardly the word I would choose."

Marsh tightened her hold, lifting the hair at the base of Scully's neck with one hand and kissing her softly there. "I have you, and you're all I ever wanted. Now, with the baby, it seems like an embarrassment of riches."

Scully was suddenly very still. "If there's anything wrong on the amnio -" She fell silent, unable to say the words. They both knew what would have to be done.

"Dana," Marsh said gently, "No matter what, we'll get through it."

Scully sat up unexpectedly and turned to face Marsh, sliding her leg all the way over Marsh's waist and settling into her lap. She framed Marsh's jaw with both hands, looking at her intently. "You mean that." A statement, not a question.

Marsh held Scully's gaze steadily, every ounce of her strength apparent in her expression. "With all my heart."

Scully leaned forward, her palms still cupping Marsh's face, and kissed her. A long, slow searching kiss that began as thanks and ended as wonder. "You," she breathed after a long moment, her lips hovering above Marsh's mouth, "you are the miracle of my life."

Marsh reached for her, but Scully pressed gently down against her chest with one hand, stilling her motion.

"No," Scully ordered softly, "lie still. Listen."

Marsh closed her eyes and dropped her head back against the pillows, knowing that there were times when Dana needed her this way. Marsh had never allowed herself to be so vulnerable with anyone, but she loved her, and she trusted her.

Scully loosed the drawstring at Marsh's waist. Slowly, she pulled the cotton shirt free of the scrub pants and raised the lower edge. As skin was bared, inch by inch, she ran her fingers lightly over the surface, watching Marsh's muscles tighten and quiver. Marsh shifted her hips under Scully's legs, but Scully ignored the silent plea for attention.

"Lift up," Scully commanded softly, pulling off the top as Marsh complied. She threw the shirt into the corner, then brought her hands down over Marsh's breasts, eliciting a sharp gasp and a reflex jerk from her lover. She caught the small tight nipples between her fingers, twisting lightly as her palms cupped the firm flesh. She massaged and squeezed, tugging and teasing, until Marsh couldn't help but groan. Then Scully swiftly pushed herself a little lower on Marsh's body until she could take the tender nipples between her teeth.

She didn't relent, alternately sucking and biting, until another faint groan escaped Marsh's throat, a groan almost a cry. Only then did Scully move from on top of Marsh to beside her, drawing her nails hard enough along Marsh's belly to leave faint lines. Moaning, Marsh raised off the bed as Scully's fingers raked the length of her abdomen, wild for more contact, desperate to be touched. Scully glanced at the thin, taut fabric between Marsh's thighs. It was soaked.

Scully smiled, face intent, eyes ravenous.

"Dana," Marsh breathed.

"Shh," Scully crooned, intent on lowering the pants over Marsh's hips, her own hunger beginning to blur her vision. "Patience."

At the light touch of Scully's hand on the inside of her leg, Marsh's breath rushed out on a sigh. She parted her thighs, open and defenseless and totally willing to be possessed. Her oh of pleasure when Scully slipped inside in one long slow thrust was accompanied by the swift contraction of every muscle in her body. Scully, tender and intense, spoke to her of need and devotion and surrender with caresses more poignant than words.

Body bow-string taut, hands twisting in the sheets, Marsh's eyes flickered open. They were all pupil, black as night. Deep deep caverns of pure desire. Marsh's lips parted, her breath swift and ragged. She watched Scully's face through a haze as Scully methodically reduced her, stroke by relentless stroke, to nothing more than sweat and blood and bone.

Dimly, over the roar in her ears of her own pulse pounding, she heard Scully intone, "Wait. Wait. Wait."

Somewhere in the core of her the dam broke. She cried out once, a choked, broken cry, as a fury of fire consumed her from the inside, burning along muscle and nerve until it reduced her to ashes.

*****

"Thanks for covering for me, Carter," Marsh said as she tossed her jacket over the chair in the trauma bay. "I owe you."

Susan Carter, the trauma fellow, eyed her boss thoughtfully. Marsh looked odd. There were circles of fatigue under her eyes, but she had an air of still calmness about her as if nothing in the world could disturb her.

"Everything okay?" Carter ventured carefully.

Marsh glanced at her, but her thoughts were on Dana as she had last seen her, sleeping peacefully, a very satisfied smile on her face.

"Everything is fine," she said with relief. It was close to midnight. Nothing would happen tonight.

Dana was safe until morning.

*****

Part 3

An All-Night Diner
Downtown Washington DC
2:58AM

Skinner ground his teeth and struggled with the decision to be her supervisor or her friend. He looked across the small formica table in the deserted diner at Dana Scully and was astonished by her defeated expression. There was a bleak emptiness in her blue eyes that he could not remember ever having seen before, even in the early days of Mulder's disappearance or the darkest days of her cancer. In all the years he had known her, through all the anguish and torment and near fatal encounters, he had never seen her look so beaten. He cleared his throat and looked past her through the rain-streaked glass of the wide front window into the dark night. The vacant street was suffused with an eerie red haze from the reflections of neon signs and dirty streetlights, and the otherworldliness of it added to his disquiet.

"You need to call Marsh now," was what he eventually said. In the last analysis, anything that he could be to her, confidant or protector, was not enough. She needed comfort, and that was one thing he had never been able to give her. She had never let him close enough for him to do that, and in truth, he wasn't sure he wanted to be that near to her pain.

She shook her head, wordlessly. "I can't," she said finally, her voice ominously flat. She could not think about Marsh's pain, or she would not be able to do what she needed to do. "I don't know what's happening, but if it's anything close to what it might be, there's too much risk to her."

"You can't just disappear," Skinner protested. He needed no reminding of what happened to Marsh when Karen had died. He had been there to witness her devastation. Marsh had been young and newly in love then. Now, even he could see that what bound her to Dana Scully ran far deeper than that first relationship. For all her strengths, he of all people knew that love was Marsh's weakness. "You know as well as I do that she'll go out of her mind. She might never forgive you."

For a moment, Scully's face lost all expression. If there was any possibility that Mary Hendershot's story was true, every woman who had been abducted was at terrible risk, including herself. She wouldn't put Marsh in the path of that danger. Until she knew for certain what was happening, she couldn't involve anyone else. If she hadn't known that Skinner would immediately began a search for her, she wouldn't have called him at all. She counted on the fact that Marsh would go to him for answers, and she prayed that he would be able to keep her from doing something dangerous. It was the best that she could do with so little time and so much at stake. "I can't tell Marsh what I don't know myself. She would insist on going with me. I can't let her do that."

Skinner frowned. "Agent Scully, you need to tell me exactly what's going on or I can't help you. No one can."

"I *can't* tell you what's going on," she said in painful frustration. "I don't *know* what's going on. All I know for certain is that there's a woman sitting outside in my car who came to me, hysterical and in fear of her life. If any part of her story is true, it means that she's in terrible danger."

"Then let me help you," he said again desperately.

"The fewer people who know where we are or what's happening, the better it is for everyone," she insisted stubbornly.

At that moment, the door opened and a familiar deep voice asked the lone waitress behind the counter for coffee. John Doggett pulled out a chair at the small table and looked from one to the other expectantly.

"Thanks for coming down here," Skinner said, still looking at Scully.

"You going somewhere?" Doggett said as he stared at Scully, clearly perplexed and angry.

"Yes," Scully said tersely, her mind still on Marsh and the woman waiting for her in the car outside. She hadn't been able to prevent Skinner from calling Doggett, but she wasn't going to be forced into telling him anything. He was no more likely than Marsh to let her do what needed to be done without interference. She knew that Skinner was waiting for her to explain, but she would not.

"You gotta tell him, Scully," Skinner said after an angry and suspicious Doggett had abruptly left them.

She followed Doggett out into the rain, Skinner close behind. She stood looking at him across the hood of his truck, telling him nothing, her expression asking for his understanding. Finally, she had to leave. She had at least one woman and her unborn child's life to safeguard, and it was possible that there were others. As she hurried toward her car, she knew that she must find the answers for them and for herself. There was no more time.

*****

FBI headquarters
8:35 AM

Skinner wearily reached for the telephone. "Yes, what is it?"

"AD Skinner, there's a Dr. Black here who insists..."

"Send her in," he said, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes to clear the fatigue.

He tried to gauge her mood from the expression on her face as she stalked towards his desk. Fury was a light way of putting it. Her eyes were blazing and her jaw rigidly set . Despite the anger, he saw something else flickering in her eyes. She was terrified.

"Walter..." she began, her voice so dangerously low it was merely a growl.

He would have tried to bluff her and pretend ignorance if it hadn't been for that brief glimpse of her fear. He didn't have it in him to add to it. His voice was softer than it might otherwise have been as he said, "Marsh, there isn't very much I can tell you."

She was taken aback by his words. She wanted answers, she wanted them immediately, and she knew he was the only person who would have them. She hadn't expected him to admit any knowledge of what Dana was doing. In a way that was even more frightening than she had imagined. It meant that he wasn't in charge.

She stood nearly at attention before him, so taut that her body hummed with tension. Each word fell with the force of a hammer blow. "I called home at 7 o'clock this morning. Dana wasn't there. The night operator had a message that Dana had called at 2 AM to say that she would be out of town indefinitely. The operator said that Dana had specifically instructed her not to give me the message until this morning."

"Marsh," Skinner said again. "I don't know anything except that she's safe."

"Where is she, Walter?" Marsh said with lethal intensity.

She was leaning forward, her hands braced against the front edge of his desk. He had a feeling that she might spring over it and put her hands around his throat. He sat very still, his eyes meeting hers. It wasn't the first time he been forced to choose between loyalties. It probably wouldn't be the last. He couldn't see that putting Marsh at risk would help Scully.

"I don't know."

"I don't believe you."

Skinner remained impassive.

Marsh stared at him and knew that she would not sway him. Maybe he knew, and maybe he really didn't. She was suddenly very tired.

"Tell her to call me," she said quietly.

He watched her go and wondered how long it would take for her to break.

*****

Marsh walked. It was raining and gray. She hurt.

Every breath, every step, was agonizing. She could not absorb the fact that Dana had left her. She could not imagine that anything, *anything*, could have made her do that. She tried to think. She tried to force herself past the pain. Only a jumble of broken thoughts, fragmented images, rewarded her efforts.

Dana, lying in a field hospital, pale and shocky, looking vulnerable but never, ever, weak. Dana, sitting by her bedside when she had awakened after the kidnapping, steady and strong and comforting. Dana, in all her various moments of passion and beauty, a presence so integral to Marsh's being that her absence was like dying.

"Dr. Black," a voice called. "Marsh."

Marsh looked in confusion at the car that had pulled alongside of her, at the familiar face peering at her across the front seat through the rolled down passenger window.

"Lara?" Marsh asked dazedly.

Lara Means pushed the front door open. "Get in, Marsh. You're soaking wet."

Marsh shook her head. "I'm fine."

As Marsh turned to walk away, Lara called, "I might know where she is."

Marsh spun around, her heart racing. She pulled open the door, leaned in. "Where is she?"

Lara shook her head. "Not here. We'll talk at my place. You need to get warm and dry."

"Tell me what you know, damn it," Marsh insisted, her voice rising threateningly. She needed to know, felt as if she might shatter if she didn't make sense of what was happening.

"I will," Lara said soothingly. "Just as soon as we get out of here." She could see that Marsh wasn't thinking clearly, even if Marsh's emotions hadn't been bombarding her with wave after wave of unbearable anguish. God, how was Marsh still walking around with everything inside of her tearing loose? Lara continued calmly, "Think, Marsh. Would Dana do this if she didn't believe there was great danger? Now get in the car. Please."

Marsh finally relented and slid in, barely getting the door closed before Lara took off down the street. She realized that she was very cold as she began to shiver. "How do you know about Dana?" she asked, struggling to stop her teeth from chattering.

Lara directed the vents toward her and turned up the heat, maneuvering the midday traffic expertly. "I know that the two of you are together because you told me the first night we met that you were involved. It didn't take much asking around to pick up the rumors. The Bureau is a great place for rumors."

"What do you know about where she is?" Marsh persisted, unable to think about anything else.

Lara pulled into an underground parking garage beneath a highrise apartment building. She stopped the car and swiveled on the seat to face Marsh. "I don't know anything for sure, but people are asking questions. Strange questions. Come upstairs."

Before Marsh could protest further, Lara was out of the vehicle and heading toward an elevator. Marsh followed, aware that she was beginning to shake. She'd been up all night, and the events of the morning had taken an enormous toll emotionally as well as physically. She leaned against the elevator wall for support and stared at Lara.

"Is she all right?" Marsh asked desperately.

Lara shuddered under a second barrage of psychic images following closely in the wake of Marsh's question. The projected torment hit her physically, as tangible as a blow. It occurred to Lara that every ounce of Marsh's suffering was going to be absorbed by an empath like herself, and if she weren't careful, Marsh's agony would drown her. She needed to erect some kind of empathic shield immediately before she was incapacitated.

Lara gasped, wincing at the lancing pain in her head. She fought the dark angry images of death and devastation that poured from the tortured woman beside her. "Marsh, wait. Just come inside. Give me a chance to tell you what I know."

Lara took Marsh's arm and led her down the hallway and into her apartment. Reluctantly, Marsh followed, helpless to do anything else.

At almost exactly the same moment, Dana Scully looked up into the calm eyes of the doctor who held the amniocentesis needle poised above her abdomen. Knowing that her future hung in the balance, she nodded her consent, helpless to do anything else.

*****

Part 4

When she opened her eyes, the first thing she did was slip her hand under the blanket and palpate her abdomen. The faint swelling that she had grown accustomed to was still present, and there was no pain. No pain, other than the small puncture site where the amniocentesis needle had passed through her skin and muscles into her uterus. She wondered what it had *really* shown.

The second thing she did was whisper one word. "Marsh."

But of course, Marsh would not be there. Not this time. Marsh would not be waiting by her bedside, her fingers softly stroking her skin. Marsh would not be there, a deep warmth in her eyes, telling her that she was safe, telling her that everything was still all right. Marsh would not be there. She had made certain of that.

She had decided that this was something she needed to do alone. If what she carried in her body was not the miracle that she and Marsh had hoped for, but the nightmare Mary Hendershot feared, then she would not risk all that remained to her while searching for the truth. Mulder was gone. The baby --the baby might be also. She could survive losing them, although it was tearing her heart out. But she could bear it. She could bear losing anything, everything, except Marsh.

All the events of the last day and a half came flooding back to her. The early morning flight to the hospital, the doctors who had befriended, then betrayed her, the ultrasound of someone else's baby substituted for hers, the strangers who rescued her and Mary Hendershot. Friends? Or enemies? She remembered jumbled details of Mary's precipitous delivery in the back of a truck, uncertain what she had really witnessed.

She closed her eyes and listened to the steady rhythmic beep of her own heart magnified and dehumanized by the impersonal machinery that surrounded her. After a moment even those sounds receded. That was when she heard the low quiet breathing of someone trying hard to be inconspicuous. She sat up in alarm, barely able to contain her panic.

"Agent Doggett!" she exclaimed when she saw him sitting in the shadows. His presence was of some comfort, but her pulse still raced with panic. Where was she? Was she really safe, or had he been taken in by impostors, too?

"Agent Scully!" he said, his relief overshadowing his discomfort. He moved closer, peering at her intently. "It's okay. You're fine."

She looked at him, wondering how he could possibly know that. Nothing was all right, and it might never be again. Doggett was basically a good man. She thought she could probably trust him, under other circumstances. But he had not seen what she had seen, and he could not imagine what he had never experienced. His world was concrete, based on his training and his past. Her world, her terrors, were not his. She said nothing, searching his face for the truth.

He looked down uncomfortably, then forced himself to meet her gaze. "And your baby's fine, too," he added softly.

She looked away, her eyes filling. If only she believed that. She didn't know what to believe, whom to trust. And now she wasn't even sure where to go next. If she went home, without answers, she had accomplished nothing. She would still not know if there were nameless forces controlling her destiny, using her for their own demented purposes. She would still not know what she nurtured in her body. And she would still not know if she - and Marsh - were safe.

*****

Marsh opened her eyes, confused by the unfamiliar surroundings. She was lying on a sofa, a light cover draped over her. She was naked underneath it. She turned her head and studied the woman curled up in the large leather chair opposite her. It had been years since she had awakened with, or even near, anyone except Dana. The experience was disorienting. But then the last two days had been impossible to comprehend.

Lara appeared to be asleep, her head leaning on one hand, her elbow propped up on the broad arm of the chair. Her shoulder length blond hair partially covered her face, and her penetrating green eyes were closed. Marsh remembered that they had been talking. Lara had been explaining how she had come to find Marsh and what she knew about Dana's absence.

"I have a friend in the behavioral division," Lara had explained as she handed Marsh a steaming mug of soup. "She's been hearing things concerning Dana Scully."

"What things?" Marsh had asked, ignoring the soup. She shivered in her damp scrubs as she leaned forward on the sofa in Lara's living room.

Lara indicated a robe she had placed next to Marsh. "You should get out of those clothes. You'll be a lot more comfortable. And we're in for a wait, I think."

Marsh grimaced, but she took the offered garment.

Lara inclined her head toward a hallway. "Bathroom's down that way."

Marsh was back in an instant, wrapped in a dark blue robe, her dark hair disheveled from a quick toweling. She didn't notice Lara's appraising glance as she repeated, "What things?"

"I was told that someone, possibly a deep cover operative, has been digging around in Dana's files. Her abduction files," Lara disclosed, sitting in the chair opposite the couch, curling her legs beneath her. "There is all kind of speculation that some 'unofficial' group, maybe a CIA offshoot, is involved in secret research projects. John Doggett's been trying to find out who this person is and if he has anything to do with Dana going underground."

Marsh's stomach churned. She remembered Dana's story about this Haskill guy and his wild tales of pregnant women and alien babies. Stories that couldn't possibly be true. But then so many things that hadn't been conceivable to her before meeting Dana had proved to be possible. "How do you know this?" she asked, struggling to control her rising panic.

Lara steeled herself against the onslaught of Marsh's emotions. The fact that Marsh was an unusually powerful personality made it more difficult to maintain a psychic barrier between them. "A friend of a friend kind of thing. Someone who worked with Doggett a few years ago on a different case altogether." Lara looked away for a second, remembering those harrowing few weeks, then returned her attention to Marsh. "Someone I was close to. Someone I trust completely."

"But why would Dana suddenly disappear?" Marsh asked wearily. She and Dana had not always agreed, but Dana had never done anything like this before. When Marsh had objected to Dana returning to Oregon with Mulder to search for the UFO, Dana had gone anyway. But Dana had told her she was going. Dana had always allowed Marsh to be a part of her decisions. Marsh had never expected Dana to shut her out this completely, even though Dana *had* been emotionally withdrawn ever since Mulder's disappearance.

Lara looked uncomfortable. There were things that she knew that she couldn't explain to Marsh *how" she knew. Not without revealing too much about herself and compromising others. "She's pregnant, isn't she?"

"Yes." Marsh swallowed around the lump in her throat. "God, where is she?" Marsh felt as if she had been asking that question forever and didn't really expect an answer any longer.

"I don't know, Marsh," Lara said, her voice sympathetic. "But I imagine that she's trying to figure out how much of these rumors about experiments and conspiracies are true."

"She would have told me!" Marsh exclaimed in frustration.

"Not if she thought that you might be in danger."

Marsh just stared at her, absorbing the words, wanting to believe that Dana knew her better than that. "No," she said definitively. "She wouldn't do that. She wouldn't."

Lara said nothing. Marsh's confusion and pain were impossible to filter completely, and it took effort to withstand the crippling intensity of her bewilderment and betrayal. Lara took a deep breath, trying to clear her mind.

"I'm hoping that my friend calls with something more specific soon," Lara continued. "She said that she and Doggett were reaching out to everyone they knew for a line on where Dana might have gone."

They waited, and when the silence became unbearable, Marsh reached for the phone on the table beside the sofa. First she tried Skinner's office. He was out, and not expected back, so his secretary said. Then she tried her home, and heard only her own voice instructing callers to leave a message. There were no messages from Dana.

Lara's contact did not call. Marsh realized now, hours later, that despite her best efforts to stay awake, she had finally fallen asleep sometime late in the night. Quietly she dialed her home number. No messages. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, trying desperately to resist the depression threatening to overpower her defenses. She needed to do something. She couldn't just wait. She couldn't let Dana face whatever dangers there might be alone.

Skinner. He had to know. Grimly, she decided it was time to pay him another visit. This time she would not leave until she knew whatever *he* knew. She sat up abruptly, looking about for her clothes. As she dropped the blanket and reached for the robe lying over the arm of the sofa, she realized that Lara was awake and watching her.

"They're in the dryer," Lara said, averting her gaze after a moment. "I have some clothes that will fit you. I'll go get them."

Just as Lara rose, the phone rang. She answered quickly, listened for a moment, and then murmured a brief thanks. She hung up, looking seriously at Marsh. "Walden-Freedman Army Hospital."

*****

Scully walked slowly across the parking lot, allowing Doggett to keep a steadying hand on her elbow. She was still feeling the effects of the tranquilizers the Special Forces Agent had used to sedate her. The doctors had wanted to keep her for observation, but she had insisted on leaving. She wasn't going to stay in that place one second longer than necessary. Despite Doggett's rational explanation for everything that had happened to her and Mary Hendershot, she did not believe it. Too many things didn't make sense. As she had told him, it was all planned. She just wasn't sure yet why, or by whom.

As they approached his pickup truck, a car approached, tires squealing, and slammed to a halt nearby. Doggett reached for his weapon.

"Wait," Scully said tersely as the passenger door opened and Marsh stepped out. She didn't recognize the blond behind the wheel and wondered briefly what Marsh was doing with her. But her attention shifted immediately to Marsh, who was standing motionless staring back at her. Scully's heart twisted at the sight of Marsh's gaunt appearance and uncertain expression. *She's afraid to come near me* Scully thought, realizing that she would much rather weather Marsh's temper than see her so unsure. Scully walked slowly toward her, wondering what she could possibly say that would erase that haunted look in Marsh's dark eyes.

Doggett watched her go, one hand resting lightly on the handle of his gun, warily eyeing the car and the woman beside it. He recognized the tall, black-haired woman. She seemed to turn up whenever Scully was in trouble. He couldn't see the driver clearly and that made him nervous. At this point, he didn't trust anyone.

Scully stopped two feet in front of her. They didn't touch. She looked up into those charcoal eyes, eyes that she had seen flash with anger and deepen with desire and dissolve in surrender. Never had she seen them so wounded. " Marsh," she said sadly.

"Dana." Marsh's voice was hoarse with fatigue. Now that she had seen Dana and knew that she was safe, the sudden realization that Dana had intentionally attempted to disappear overwhelmed her. Perhaps she had been mistaken in her belief that what they shared was inviolate. She straightened, her expression becoming unreadable. "Are you all right?"

Scully nodded. She hated to hear the distance in her tone, but she couldn't blame her. She wanted to explain, but what could she say? She still had no answers. "Just tired."

"Where are you going?" Marsh asked, just a hint of desperation in her question. She was trembling. This could not be happening.

"I'm taking some time off," Scully said wearily. She had no explanation that Marsh would accept, and she could not fight her now.

"Are you coming home?" Marsh asked quietly, no inflection in her voice.

Scully's face was etched with sorrow. "I told you once that I would always come home. Will you believe that?"

Marsh looked past Scully to where Doggett stood watching them suspiciously. There was something oddly comforting in his presence. If Dana wouldn't let her help her, perhaps she'd let him. "Dana," she said, touching her hand briefly, then letting her hand fall away. "I love you, Dana."

"Oh, Marsh," Scully whispered so softly Marsh could barely hear her. "I know." She was so tired. It had been so hard, for so long, and she had paid so dearly. She simply could not pay any more. "As soon as I can. I promise."

Marsh watched her walk away. Everything inside of her was cold. Frozen. She watched while Scully and Doggett climbed into his truck, and she watched while the truck moved away through the long deserted lot and finally disappeared. At last she slid back into the front seat of Lara's car.

"Is there somewhere I can take you?" Lara asked gently.

Marsh stared straight ahead. "It really doesn't matter."

*****

Part 5

Memorial Hospital
Trauma Admitting Area
8:43PM

"Dr. Black?"

Marsh glanced up vacantly. "Yes?"

Dr. Susan Carter studied Marsh anxiously. Marsh was sitting at the long counter that ran along one wall of the trauma bay, a cup of cold coffee gripped in one hand, a pile of unopened charts in front of her, gazing blankly into space. The trauma chief looked haggard, and Susan knew for a fact that Marsh Black had been sleeping in the on call room for the last four nights. "Uh, you're not on call tonight. Why don't you get out of here before something happens. It's a full moon. You know we always get hit hard this time of month."

Marsh stared at her wordlessly. "Do you believe in that sort of thing?" Marsh asked at last. "Extraterrestrial forces and supernatural events?"

There was something very eerie about the way Marsh asked the question, almost as if she were talking to herself. Susan forced a laugh that sounded hollow. "Sure. Don't you?"

"Yes," Marsh said, opening the first folder and turning away. "I do."

*****

"Dana?"

Dana Scully glanced up vacantly. "Yes?"

"Are you going to tell me what's bothering you?" Margaret Scully said, pulling out a chair and joining her daughter at the small table in the kitchen of her home. Dana had been sitting there for hours, gazing blankly into space. It wasn't Maggie's usual custom to pry into Dana's business. Sometimes she regretted the habit of silence that had grown around them over the years, but habits were hard to break. Almost a week of this behavior, however, was too much to ignore. "You know that I love to see you," she said, "but I can't remember the last time that you stayed overnight here when there wasn't a family holiday you couldn't escape."

Maggie's tone was gentle, but her eyes were dark with worry. Her greatest fear was that Dana's cancer had returned, and that Dana simply did not know how to tell her. She gathered herself and took a deep breath. "Are you ill?"

Scully's first thought was of the fetus. She hadn't told her mother yet. She had wanted to wait until she was certain that everything was going well. She wanted to spare her mother the pain and disappointment if something went wrong early in her pregnancy. It was possible, especially with in vitro fertilization, that she might not be able to sustain the pregnancy to term. Now she *couldn't* tell her. Because it might be something much worse than a simple complication. It might be a nightmare. "No, Mom. I'm not sick."

Maggie searched Scully's eyes but she had never been able to penetrate their cool surface. She couldn't read the truth there, but she could see the pain. Something was very wrong. She loved her daughter, and it was from that place of caring that she queried gently, "Has something happened between you and Marsh?"

Scully was astonished at the question. Her mother rarely brought up her relationship with Marsh, although Maggie was always genuinely welcoming whenever she and Marsh visited. It just wasn't something her mother was comfortable with, and Scully had learned to accept that. She might have wished for it to be different, but it wasn't as if she and her mother had ever had that kind of communication before.

Scully hesitated, trying to dispel the image of Marsh as she had last seen her, pale and gaunt and so wounded. Just thinking about her started the ache again, and for an instant, Scully could not speak. Her silence betrayed her. By the time she answered, "No. Everything is fine," Maggie knew the truth.

Margaret Scully struggled with the next question. If it were one of her sons she was speaking to, or Missy, she would have known how to talk about such things. But this was different. It was difficult to think about the exact nature of Dana's relationship with Marshall Black, but if she didn't, she would never comprehend her daughter's life, or her pain. And that was something she very much wanted to do. "You'll have to tell me what's wrong, Dana. I don't know the right things to ask."

"Mom," Scully began, hoping to change the subject, "it's noth-"

"Has she left you?" Maggie asked suddenly. It was the only thing she could imagine that might hurt Dana so.

"God, I hope not," Scully answered without thinking. The mere idea sent a jolt of pain through her chest.

"Then *you've* left her," Maggie said quietly, wondering why she wasn't pleased. She should be, she supposed, since perhaps it meant that Dana had changed her mind about being a lesbian. But she couldn't help remembering the radiance of Dana's smile whenever Marsh walked into the room or the light lilt of Dana's laughter that had been missing for years before Marsh. For the first time Maggie considered that perhaps those things were more important than the fact that Dana loved a woman.

"No!" Scully cried. "No! I just needed time away. I - things have happened --" To her horror, she began to cry. She turned her face away, biting her lower lip, struggling with the feelings of helplessness and fear. "I haven't left her," she whispered. *God, Marsh knows that, doesn't she? She couldn't think that I've _left_ her!*

Maggie waited, something she had gotten very good at where her daughter was concerned. She knew better than to try to comfort Dana until Dana had control of herself again. Finally she asked softly, "Then why are you here by yourself?"

Scully wanted to tell her. She wanted someone to unburden her fears with. Most of all, she wanted someone to tell her that everything would be all right. But she couldn't ask that of her mother, because in the telling there was danger. The less her mother knew about the abductions, and the experiments, and the - baby, the better. Scully settled on partial truths, because that was all she dared share. "I'm just having trouble getting over Mulder's disappearance," she said quietly. "I needed to get away from the Bureau, away from the memories of him."

"I'm so sorry, Dana," Maggie said quickly, covering Scully's hand with hers. "I can only imagine how awful it must be for you. I know how much I miss him. Is there any word?"

Scully shook her head.

"I'm sorry," Maggie repeated. There was more, more than just Mulder, but she knew that Dana wouldn't tell her. "Does Marsh know where you are?"

Scully shook her head again. She hadn't been sure where she would go when Doggett drove her back to her apartment. It had been strange being there. She rarely was these days. All she knew was that she needed to get away, at least temporarily. She needed time to sort through the facts of Mary Hendershot's pregnancy and to look into the backgrounds of people associated with Zeus Genetics. She needed to find out if people were looking for her. And she needed to protect Marsh, who had as much a part in creating the being inside of her as she had. The only way she knew to do that was to stay away from her. Had she been thinking clearly, she probably wouldn't have come to her mother's house either, but she had come home because she was frightened and hurt and her mother was the only person, other than Marsh, who had always welcomed her without question.

"No," Scully said, her voice faint with anguish, "she doesn't know where I am. I didn't tell her."

"Whatever it is, Dana," Maggie said gently, "you have to tell her. She must be very worried."

Scully got up suddenly and walked to the counter, looking out through the window over the sink into the night. "I don't want to hurt her." She couldn't say that she wanted to protect Marsh, because that would only frighten her mother. Scully sighed, finding once again that she could not unburden herself without endangering someone she loved.

"Dana," Maggie ventured cautiously, "when you allow someone to love you, you owe them the right to be part of your pain as well as your joy."

Scully turned and met her mother's eyes. "What if she could be harmed?"

Maggie's heart lurched at the words. She knew that this was as close as Dana would ever come to telling her there was danger. But tonight, this was not about her own fear, it was about Dana's torment. "If she loves you, Dana, nothing could ever hurt her as much as not facing this with you."

"Mom-" Scully began, her words trailing off into tears.

Maggie went to her and wrapped her arms around her, rocking her slightly. "Go home, Dana," she whispered tenderly. "The two of you should be together."

*****

Memorial Hospital
11:22PM

"Who is it?" Marsh rasped at the sound of the soft knock, turning in the dark on the narrow bed to face the door. She hadn't been asleep, merely lying without thinking, waiting. She could work, the responses so automatic that nothing could disrupt that part of her brain. When she wasn't working, she was waiting. That was when everything seemed to stop. She forgot to eat and couldn't sleep. The rhythm and order of her life was gone. Dana was gone.

"It's Dana, Marsh," came the soft reply.

It took her a second to realize that she wasn't dreaming. Then she sat up on the side of the bed and replied, "Come in." She felt oddly detached, even though her heart was pounding.

A sliver of light fell across the room as the door opened and a shadow slipped inside. Then the door closed and the brief flash of illumination was gone.

Scully stood just inside the entrance to the small room, able to make out Marsh's form but not her face. The space between them was only a few feet, but it seemed interminably far. She had never been so distant from her, and it left her feeling hollow and terribly alone. Into the silence, she said, "Can I turn on the light?"

Marsh switched on the small bedside lamp. The narrow cone of light that fell across her stark features etched every line in harsh relief. Scully could not see her eyes, and she knew that was where the truth lay. There she would read the extent of the hurt and the depth of Marsh's forgiveness. She had not meant to cause this anguish, and had she been able to think clearly, she might have chosen a different path. But she hadn't been able to see beyond the newest terror and the soul-wearying assault of yet another horror invading her life.

"I'm sorry, Marsh," Scully said quietly, taking one careful step forward. "I didn't mean to hurt you."

"What *did* you mean?"Marsh asked just as quietly. Her tone was oddly devoid of emotion.

Scully stopped, not quite in touching range. "It all happened so unexpectedly. One minute I was pregnant with our baby, and the next minute I was back in the middle of some horrible conspiracy carrying god knows what inside of me." She ran a hand through her hair, remembering the panic of discovering that Dr. Miryum had substituted another woman's ultrasound for hers. "I couldn't trust the doctors, I couldn't trust the Special Forces Agents, I wasn't even sure I could trust my own eyes. I thought *they* might be coming for me again. I was scared."

Marsh flinched at the last words. "I'm sorry, too, Dana. Sorry that you were frightened and I -- I -- couldn't help."

"It wasn't that I didn't want your help, Marsh," Scully said desperately. "I was afraid they might hurt you, too. I couldn't let that happen."

"I'd rather die than lose you," Marsh said softly.

"And I'd rather leave you than see you hurt," Scully replied just as softly.

Marsh shook her head almost imperceptibly. "As if it would matter what anyone did to me if something happened to you." Marsh finally looked at her, her dark eyes swirling with anger and confusion. "Don't you know me at all?"

Scully's heart was breaking. She just couldn't stand any more pain. Her pain. Marsh's pain. Mulder's long ago pain that lived in her still. She crossed the final distance and pulled Marsh to her, cradling Marsh's face against her belly. "I know that I love you, Marsh. I love you so much."

Scully stroked Marsh's hair and her face, reveling in the sweet comfort of her nearness. She had craved her touch every second they had been apart. Marsh's arms came around her waist, tentative and uncertain. Scully sensed her hesitation but said nothing. Words were not the answer. She raised Marsh's face with one gentle hand and kissed her lips, tenderly, almost reverently.

Marsh closed her eyes, tightening her hold on Scully's body, her anger just a distant echo now. Nothing was solved and everything that mattered was right there in her arms. She loved Dana, needed her, and whatever stood against them must not stand between them.

When their lips finally parted, Marsh pushed back on the bed and turned out the light. She pulled Scully down beside her, lifted the light sheet, and slid under, covering them both when Scully stretched out next to her. Marsh settled Scully's head onto her shoulder, stroking Scully's back and arm with long, soothing caresses.

Scully sighed and fit herself to Marsh's familiar angles and curves. She pulled the shirt out of Marsh's scrub pants and slipped her hand underneath, resting her palm lightly on Marsh's abdomen. It wasn't sexual, she just wanted to feel her warmth.

Marsh lifted the edge of Scully's sweater and smoothed her hand over Scully's bare back. Their legs entwined, and they moved closer into one another. Neither of them spoke, both aware of the fragile connection as their loneliness and grief surrendered to love. Forgiveness whispered between them on silent caresses as they began to let go of the pain.

*****

End

COMMENTS: radclyffe@radfic.com

 


 

TITLE: Genesis XV: Reclamation
AUTHOR: Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
ARCHIVE: anywhere, just let me know
RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between
same-sex consenting adults.
CATEGORY: PostEp/Angst/Romance
SPOILERS: This Is Not Happening
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other(female); Scully/Slash
SUMMARY: Mulder's fate, along with Scully and Marsh's future, remain uncertain.
DISCLAIMERS:The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.
Comments welcome.
Author's note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website: http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/


FBI Headquarters
Washington DC
6:10AM

Doggett looked up in surprise as the office door opened. "I thought you were taking time off. It's only been a week and a half."

Scully studied him, sitting behind his desk, sleeves rolled up, a stack of folders in front of him. *Still researching the files* He was diligent, she had to give him that. She put her briefcase down by her desk and sat in front of the computer, replying casually, "I needed to check a couple of things."

He watched her back for a moment, then returned to what he had been doing. Another minute passed and he pushed the reports away from him. He couldn't concentrate. "Something I can help you with?" he asked.

"No," she answered absently, scanning the list of principle investigators filed by Zeus Genetics with the National Institute of Health. Neither Dr. Miryum nor Dr. Parenti were cited there or with any other official agency. She hadn't been able to find any evidence that either of the physicians involved in her care had potentially nefarious connections, not that it meant anything. But she had to check the obvious sources as her first line of inquiry. "Thanks," she added as an afterthought.

"Sure," he said, continuing to watch her. Eventually he said, "I haven't been able to find any connection between a single one of the previous female multiple-abductees and any doctor or group of doctors. I haven't finished the hospitals yet."

She swung around in her chair and stared at him. "You checked?"

He nodded. "You thought there was something off about the army hospital and the Hendershot woman's delivery. That's enough for me."

Scully's hands tightened on the narrow arms of the chair. That was more credence than she had allowed Mulder at this stage of her partnership with him. Maybe if she had given him a little more support from the beginning things might have turned out differently. She shook her head angrily. Second guessing her actions over the past eight years was not going to help anyone now. "Nothing to connect Parenti?" she couldn't help but ask, her stomach churning. He was the most likely possibility if someone had tampered with her in vitro fertilization.

"Nope," Doggett replied. "The Haskills saw him once or twice, but there's no record that he was involved in her actual pregnancy." He remembered Scully saying that Parenti was her doctor. "How'd you get to him?" he asked as off-handedly as he could.

She debated answering him. Every instinct told her to keep the details of her personal life to herself. Some of it was just her natural sense of privacy, and some of it was healthy paranoia. She didn't know that much about him, and she had no idea who her friends, or enemies, in the Bureau might be. But he already knew that Parenti was her doctor. She'd told him so herself. "I was referred to him by my personal gynecologist."

"Do you trust _him_?" he asked pointedly.

"Her," Scully corrected. "And yes, I do." Jenny Grannick was a classmate of Marsh's and an old friend. She couldn't be involved in a conspiracy to tamper with embryos.

Doggett was silent, taking a paper from a stack beside his right hand. He read from it. "Marshall Ellen Black. MD Harvard - 1981, two years with the Bureau - 81 to 83, then a surgery residency at Maryland Shock Trauma. Chief of trauma at Memorial since 1993."

He looked up into the coldest blue eyes he had ever seen. "She's your lover, right?"

Scully's voice was totally uninflected as she said slowly, "We had a discussion about my personal file just a few weeks ago, Agent Doggett. I thought I was very clear as to what was off limits."

"Fair enough, Agent Scully," he said just as quietly, his eyes holding hers. "But this isn't _in_ your personal file. This is just plain old-fashioned police work. Deductive reasoning." He took a breath and something in his face softened. "My sister is a prosecutor in Manhattan, and her lover teaches art history at NYU. They have two kids. They each gave birth to one of them."

She said nothing. She didn't care if he knew about Marsh or not, but she wasn't about to reveal herself to him. He might be her partner now, but he would never be Mulder. She might trust John Doggett with her life, but she doubted she would ever trust him with something as precious as her feelings for Marsh. "Is this conversation going somewhere, Agent Doggett?"

He sighed. "If your relationship with Dr. Black were known, and someone wanted to stear you in a certain direction -- toward a certain _doctor_, they might use connections of hers to do it." A look of alarm flashed across Scully's face before she could control it, and he added quickly, "I'm not saying that _did_ happen, but if you're looking for links, you might look there."

She glanced at her watch and got just the slightest bit unsteadily to her feet. "You're a good investigator, Agent Doggett, but I think you're on the wrong track here. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a plane to catch."

As she headed for the door, he called after her, "I know how to do my job, Agent Scully. Let me help you!"

She didn't answer. Marsh was waiting at the airfield, and all she wanted at that moment was to see her. They would know soon if there was something to fear.

*****

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, Mass
10:13AM

Marsh took her hand, squeezed her fingers lightly. "You ready?"

Scully nodded, her eyes on Marsh's face. It was so much easier this time, with Marsh there. She was still frightened, but the lonely terror was gone. She turned her face to see the ultrasound imaging screen and then glanced down at the slight rise in her lower abdomen. There was a small red incision from the last amniocentesis puncture and faint white scars from where the extraction probes had entered to remove her ova. The fertility specialist Marsh had contacted in Boston hadn't wanted to do another amnio so soon after the one done at Walden-Freedman Army Hospital, but Scully had insisted. She needed the truth and she needed it quickly. She was almost fifteen weeks pregnant. They had to make a decision soon. She answered, her voice steady. "I'm ready."

Marsh leaned close, the faint familiar scent of her an unexpected comfort. Her lips just brushed Scully's ear. "I love you, Dana."

Scully watched the long, thin steel needle descend toward her skin and closed her eyes.

*****

"She'll sleep for a few more minutes," the white-coated woman assured Marsh, who hadn't wanted to leave the room in case Dana awoke sooner than expected.

"How soon before you know?" Marsh asked, her voice husky with concern.

"The scanned images looked fine. Nothing particularly alarming in the anatomic development," the doctor said. "It would help if you could tell me what I'm looking for."

Marsh frowned in frustration. She glanced through the observation window. Dana was sleeping, her face smooth and peaceful. Marsh knew that as soon as Dana awakened, her eyes would cloud with worry and the undercurrent of fear that never left her. Nothing would remove that anxiety except proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the fetus Dana carried was human, and nothing else. "There's a possibility that the in vitro process was contaminated with foreign DNA."

The fertility specialist's eyebrows rose in astonishment. "What _kind_ of DNA, exactly?"

"Something non-human."

Into the heavy silence, the doctor finally said, "Well." She cleared her throat. "You're asking for a lot more than the genetic karyotyping and DNA fingerprinting that we usually do. You're talking DNA sequencing, which is going to be difficult on the small quantities that we can isolate from the amnio specimen, even with amplification techniques."

"How accurate can you be?" Marsh persisted.

"Hard to say. If there is anything less than ten percent - uh -nonhuman DNA, we might miss it in the sampling process." She shrugged. "Hell, Marsh, I'm just guessing. If it's something small, we'll never see it."

Marsh nodded, her expression grim. "Do what you can in the time that we have. Three weeks, four at the outside." It hurt just to think about it. "I need to go back inside. Dana will be awake soon."

The doctor stopped Marsh with a hand on her arm. "If it's bad news, do you want me to call you first with the results?"

Marsh looked at her lover again and thought about all Dana had suffered, of all she had lost, and of all she might lose. Marsh wanted to protect her with every fiber of her being. She ached to erase every hurt ever done to her. Her voice was low, choked, when she answered, "No. Call her first."

*****

Boston
7:58PM

Scully looked up as the bedroom door opened and smiled as Marsh approached the bed with a tray. She started to swing her legs out from under the covers when Marsh stopped her with a shake of her head.

"Stay put. You're supposed to be resting."

"I can get up," Scully protested gently. "I want to see your mother and grandfather. It's been so long since we've been here."

Marsh deposited the tray on the nightstand and settled carefully onto the bed beside her lover, leaning back against the pillows and slipping one arm around Scully's shoulders. "One full day of bedrest. You can see them at breakfast tomorrow."

Scully moved away so that she could see Marsh's face. "Did you tell them?"

Marsh's eyes flickered away for a second, then she met Scully's questioning gaze. "No. I thought I'd wait a bit."

"Oh, Marsh," Scully breathed softly. She knew why Marsh hadn't told her family about the pregnancy. Everything was too uncertain, and it would be several more weeks before they had any concrete assurances that the fetus was normal. "I'm sorry. This should be such a happy time for you, for _us_, and it's been nothing but fear and worry."

"Hey!" Marsh exclaimed, unable to hide her frustration. "This isn't your fault! You're not responsible --" She suddenly clamped down on her anger and took a steadying breath. Dana did not need to deal with _her_ feelings now. Dana needed to get through the next torturous weeks of waiting as calmly as possible. "We don't know that anything is wrong. In fact, we have every reason to think things are okay. The ultrasound today was fine."

Scully remained silent. She knew how worried Marsh was, despite her positive words. She had awakened several times in the past week to find Marsh missing from the bed. Once she had gone to look for her and found her on the sofa, just sitting alone in the dark. Worst of all, despite Marsh's attentiveness, Scully sensed an uncertainty between them that had never been there before. Leaving Marsh to go to her mother's had been a mistake, even though at the time it seemed like a good idea. Now she wasn't sure how to undo the hurt. Even though Marsh didn't mention it, and seemed to have let it go, Scully sensed the barriers. Being estranged from Marsh was worse than all the other fears put together.

"Marsh," she said quietly at last.

"Hmm?" Marsh replied, absently stroking her fingers through Scully's hair.

"I miss you."

Marsh stiffened, her hand stilling on Scully's hair. She wanted to protest, to make excuses, to say there was nothing wrong. But she couldn't. She knew what Dana was feeling, because she felt it too. She was lonely in a way that she had not been lonely since the day they had met. Her skin ached for Dana's touch, but it was in some deeper place that she needed to be soothed. She closed her eyes for the briefest instant, struggling to separate the past from the present. Old terrors plagued her, but Dana was here, now, and she needed her.

Marsh turned so that the length of her body rested lightly against Scully's. She stroked her cheek tenderly and brushed her lips over Scully's. Then she drew back, her expression serious, her charcoal eyes darkening to black. "It's my fault -"

"No," Scully admonished softly, tracing her fingers down the edge of Marsh's jaw. "No, it's not. I never meant to hurt you."

"I know," Marsh said quickly. "I do. It's just -" She rested her forehead lightly against Scully's, her voice low and heavy with memory. "I was scared. I thought - you might not come back. I can still feel it. The fear. It makes it hard for me to breathe. I want to touch you and I can't move my hand."

Scully took Marsh's hand and placed it on her breast. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Marsh whispered, gently palming the soft gift. "I'm sorry - I'm trying."

"You have fourteen hours to work on it."

Marsh's pulled back in surprise. "What?"

Scully met her gaze. "We have to refrain from sex for twentyfour hours after the amnio. Ten down - fourteen to go."

A faint smile began to pull at one end of Marsh's mouth. "Is that your prescription for what ails me?"

"No," Scully replied, suddenly as serious as Marsh had been a moment before. "It's my prescription for what ails _me_. I need you back. I can't do this without you. All of you."

A pulse began to pound in Marsh's neck and her breath caught, pleasantly this time. A familiar heat started, unbidden, in her thighs and rose quickly to the base of her spine.

"Now I'll never sleep," Marsh complained laughingly, that husky note that Scully knew foreshadowed passion creeping into her voice.

Scully's hand drifted down the length of Marsh's leg and back up, fingertips digging lightly into the denim. "We could fix that, I'll bet."

Marsh caught her hand and brought it to her lips, kissing the palm slowly. "Let's wait until the morning."

Scully nodded, aware for the first time how very tired she was. She rested her cheek against Marsh's shoulder and closed her eyes. "Okay. Don't go anywhere for a while, though."

"I won't," Marsh whispered, her lips gentle on Scully's forehead. "Not ever."

*****

8:12AM

She was lying facedown, arms curled around the pillow, drifting in that state between sleep and awakening, when she heard the soft fall of footsteps on the carpet drawing near. An instant later a whisper of warmth touched her neck. Eyes still closed, she murmured, "What time is it?"

"Not time yet," Marsh answered, her voice low. The mattress dipped gently as she climbed onto the bed and settled next to Scully, lifting the blankets enough to slide underneath. She smoothed one hand down the length of Scully's back, ending at the small dip just above the rounded rise of her buttocks. "We have two hours to go."

Scully smiled. "Then take your hands off me."

"Oh," Marsh responded quietly, moving her palm lower over the firm muscles that tightened automatically at her touch, "I don't think so." She leaned down, kissing the tender skin at the corner of Scully's eye, then moved her lips slowly back until her breath circled over the delicate edge of her lover's ear.

Scully shifted her legs, pressing her hips indolently against the bed as heat kindled in her very center. She tried to concentrate on the single spot where Marsh's tongue now flickered, ignoring the other places lower on her body where the sensations seemed to be settling. She was aware of Marsh's skin along the length of her, cool from her shower, and the faint weight of Marsh's body resting ever so carefully upon her. She didn't want to think about those things, because feeling that much of Marsh all at once always pushed her too high too fast. And this morning she knew that they weren't hurrying.

"Oh," Scully gasped as Marsh pulled her earlobe delicately between her teeth and bit gently.

"Mmm," Marsh agreed. She extended her arms along the length of Scully's, linking her fingers with those of her lover. Her breasts brushed lightly along Scully's back, and her nipples tightened from the contact. The swift spasm of arousal that followed distracted her for an instant and she sucked the fleshy lobule harder. Scully's surprised groan was accompanied by an upward thrust of her hips that brought Marsh's clitoris to stiff attention.

"Cut it out," Marsh admonished softly, her voice catching. She moved her hips away from Scully's body. The pressure was too enticing, and she wasn't nearly finished with what she had in mind.

"Your fault," Scully breathed, opening her eyes finally and turning enough to catch Marsh's gaze. Marsh's charcoal eyes were smoky, swirling with something darker than desire. "You cheated."

Marsh smiled and moved her mouth to the back of Scully's neck, licking slowly down the ridge of her spine. "How so?" she questioned absently. She was thinking how fine the tiny hairs were just between Scully's shoulder blades, and how they tingled against her tongue. She pressed her lips closer and nibbled on them, grazing skin. Scully jerked under her again.

"The bites," Scully managed after a moment. "You know it goes straight through me."

"Not exactly _through_ you," Marsh laughed. "Straight between your legs, maybe." She punctuated her remark with another dainty pull of flesh against teeth, this time at the lower edge of Scully's rib cage. She had eased her way down Scully's body as she explored with teeth and tongue, and now she lay with one leg between Scully's, her own wetness caressing the warmth of Scully's thigh. The slow movement of her distended clitoris against skin had brought the blood pounding through her chest. The muscles in her legs were trembling. She sighed and slipped her hands from Scully's arms, insinuating them under and around Scully's body until she was cradling her breasts.

Scully couldn't separate one sensation from the other now. There was the soft caress of lips in the hollow at the base of her spine, and the press of tongue into the top of the cleft between her buttocks, and the sudden swift pinpoint of pleasure in her nipples as Marsh's fingers found her.

"Oh," she cried again, a fist of need twisting in her belly.

Marsh heard the faint note of pain in her voice and raised her head. "Are you all right?"

"God, yes," Scully groaned. "Hot. I need you soon."

Marsh smiled to herself. She brought her hands down to Scully's hips and moved away, turning Scully onto her back. "Another hour. Doctor's orders."

Scully's blue eyes widened. She raised up enough to catch a handful of Marsh's thick hair in her fingers and pulled Marsh's face down to her breast. "I'll kill you."

Marsh didn't answer. The pressure of Scully's hand against her neck and the urgent tone in Scully's voice triggered another series of spasms between her own legs. It would have been so much easier if she weren't so ready herself. She ran her tongue over tense nipples, teasing the already erect flesh into harder knots. She rhythmically squeezed the swollen breasts, dimly aware of their pregnant weight in her palms. Her hips were thrusting slowly against Scully's leg of their own volition.

Scully bore it as long as she could, but each second that Marsh lingered over her breasts brought another heartbeat of blood pounding into her pelvis. She was going to explode. She brought her other hand into Marsh's hair and pulled Marsh's face up and away from her body. Their eyes met and she whispered fiercely, "I can't wait."

Marsh grinned that infuriatingly handsome grin and pushed herself up on her arms, her body hovering just above Scully's. She lowered her head for an instant to kiss her, then pushed down far enough to settle her chest between Scully's parted thighs. She rested her cheek against the swell of Scully's abdomen and allowed herself a brief moment of rejoicing. It would be all right. It would.

Marsh turned her head and kissed the tender spot at the base of Scully's belly where the bend of her thigh began. She loved that spot -- sensitive, sensuous -- always hidden, except to her. Suddenly, she caught the intoxicating scent of her, the essence of her, and it fanned the smoldering heat into flames that flashed deep inside her, through her legs, up her spine.

Marsh groaned. Her hands came to Scully's thighs, her fingers gripping hard enough to leave faint marks. She pressed her face to the sweet warm triangle of slick skin and welcoming wetness and surrendered. She loved to be this close to her, nearly surrounded by her -- she was completely and totally unaware of anything else. For seconds, moments, a lifetime - she was safe.

Scully arched against Marsh's face, her hands falling helplessly to her sides. She closed her eyes and waited, poised for the first piercing touch of lips. She could sense Marsh against her, but she needed much more than that. "Your mouth," she gasped. "I need to be in your mouth."

There was not even a breath between them then. Marsh took her gently between her lips, but she did not give her everything, not yet. She licked slowly between swollen folds of tender flesh, running her tongue ever so carefully over the sensitive spots that wrenched a cry from Scully's throat, and sucked at the blood-stiffened bundle of nerves until Scully's entire body shivered with tension.

"Please--" Scully whispered faintly, poised so tenuously on the precipice that she needed only the slightest caress to send her over. Lights danced behind her closed lids and somewhere far away she heard herself keening.

After reaching this point together so many times, their bodies joined effortlessly, hearts beating and breath flowing as one. Marsh sometimes led, sometimes followed, but this day she simply gave. She promised her forever with each stroke of her tongue and whispered assurances with each caress of her hands. It would be all right. It would.

Scully bit back a scream and shuddered. It went on for a long time, so long she had to gasp for air when she could finally breathe again. By then she was in Marsh's arms, her face cradled against Marsh's chest. She loved coming back to herself this way, pressed against her, listening to Marsh's heart thud erratically, wildly, under her ear.

"I love you," Marsh murmured, rocking her without meaning to. She would not let anyone hurt her, ever again. She would not.

"Marsh," Scully said softly when she was able. "Sometimes I don't know the best way to love you. But I always do. Always."

Marsh rested her chin against the top of Scully's head, her eyes closed, just feeling her. "I know," Marsh answered. "I know."

Scully stretched as the blood returned to her legs. She lazily turned her head and checked the bedside clock. "Hmm. We still have a little while til curfew's up."

Marsh laughed. "I think we blew that already."

"Unh unh," Scully said more firmly now. "I'm still in bed. That was the important part."

"Hungry?" Marsh asked, starting to move away.

Scully's arms tightened around her. "Not just yet." She ran the fingers of her left hand down Marsh's abdomen and smiled at Marsh's swift intake of breath. "Just hold me for a while longer."

Marsh tucked Scully's head against her shoulder, but her mind was on the descent of Scully's hand. She lifted one knee slightly, easing the pressure on the still swollen places between her legs. "Uh," she mumbled as Scully slid her fingers lower still.

"Just be still. I want to do this nice and slow," Scully murmured, eyes closed, still basking, supremely content. There were moments, precious few and all the more precious because of that, when she had no thought of anything except Marsh. This was one of those times. She found her wet and very close to ready.

She circled and stroked and gently pressed her, backing away just enough each time Marsh's limbs grew taut to keep her from coming. But each time when she began the movements again, Marsh was one step nearer to orgasm.

Eventually Marsh's entire body trembled with tension, and her hands on Scully's body convulsed lightly. "Dana," she murmured hoarsely into Scully's hair. "Let me, please."

Scully felt Marsh's body lift a little off the bed as each muscle flickered with random, disjointed motion - teetering on the verge of one explosive contraction. When she heard the breath in Marsh's chest stop she knew there could be no turning back. She rolled her fingers, steady and sure, over the exquisitely sensitive tip and caressed along the rigid length of her. And that was enough -- too much -- too good.

Marsh's breath burst forth on a long guttural groan. Scully kept her hand on her even after she began to relax, amazed once again by the small forceful pulsations that beat in perfect time with Marsh's pounding heartbeat. She realized that she had been holding her breath too and took a deep swallow of air redolent with the sensuous scent of them.

"I told you that I'd missed you," Scully murmured as they lay with their arms still around each other.

"Mmm," Marsh answered, barely able to move. "It's almost worth your going away."

Scully raised her head, a playful challenge in her eyes. "Oh yeah?"

Marsh brought her dark eyes to her lover's. "Almost," she whispered, "but not quite."

"I'll remember," Scully said softly. "I promise."

*****

Boston
2:20 PM

Marsh leaned against the French doors in the living room and watched her lover walk arm and arm with her grandfather on the rear patio. It was the kind of clear cold day when the sunlight seemed impossibly bright, and from a distance, Dana glowed. Marsh turned her head as her mother stepped up beside her.

"What do you suppose they're talking about?" Marsh said absently, thinking she was glad that Dana was taking time off. Dana needed it. They both needed it. Dana needed to rest and regain her strength, emotionally and physically, for whatever was to come, and, Marsh admitted to herself, _she_ needed just a few weeks when she wasn't constantly wondering what was happening to her lover. What new danger Dana was in or what additional emotional burden she was being forced to bear.

"I imagine he's still trying to solicit her aid in convincing you to come work in the business," Claire Black answered, although she didn't think Marsh really heard. She studied her daughter, noting that Marsh looked thinner. There was more than that, though. There was a tense wariness about her that was worrisome. Claire's gaze followed Marsh's to the woman outside. She was beautiful, Claire thought, not for the first time. Elegant, strong, determined - and she loved Marsh.

"She's pregnant, isn't she?" Claire remarked quietly.

Marsh's eyes never left Scully's face. "Yes."

"Problems?" her mother asked gently, resting her hand on Marsh's arm.

"I don't know," Marsh said, her voice flat, almost empty. "Possibly."

Claire's heart twisted as she felt the muscles under her fingers tremble. She couldn't help thinking of the terrible consequences the last time tragedy had struck someone Marsh loved. "You'll tell me, won't you," she asked, "if there's something wrong?"

Marsh looked at her then, but her eyes were unreadable. "If I can."

Before Claire could continue, the doors opened and Scully came in, her phone in her hand, followed by Marsh's grandfather. She looked at Marsh, an apology in her eyes. "I'm sorry. John Doggett just called. He says Skinner wants me to come in. He says it's an emergency."

Marsh just nodded, then turned away as she said, "I'll call the airport and have them get the plane ready."

Scully looked after her, then said to Claire, "I'm sorry that we have to leave so soon."

"I understand," Claire said graciously. As Scully began to move away, Claire added, "You will be careful, won't you?"

Scully turned, studying the woman who looked so much like her lover. There was kindness in those lovely charcoal eyes, but something else as well. *She's worried about Marsh. What did she see that I didn't?*

"Yes, I will," Scully said firmly. She was making a lot of promises these days. She wondered if she would be able to keep them.

*****

*****

Day One
FBI Headquarters
Washington DC

She took a deep breath and dialed the familiar number. She tried to think of what she would say, and she came up blank. One part of her mind, a large part, was numb. Numb from too much emotion. She was still trying to absorb what Skinner and Doggett had just told her. What she had wanted for months, prayed for for months, might be about to happen. They had a lead, a real lead - that could help them find him. Finally they were doing something, not just waiting. She had to go. What choice did she have. She didn't _want_ a choice. She _wanted_ to go. Had to go.

"Marsh?" she said when they were finally connected. She could see her, leaning against the doorway, phone in hand, probably still in the jeans and black tee-shirt that she had worn while flying them home. *Oh god, please let her understand this. Please let her be all right with this*

"Hey," Marsh said, carefully, cautiously. She had dropped Dana off at the Bureau not even an hour before, and every minute since watching her walk away, she had spent worrying. Whatever the reason that Skinner had summoned Dana back, it had to be serious. "How are you?"

Scully cleared her throat, held the receiver tighter. "Marsh, I have to go out of town."

Marsh closed her eyes. This could not be happening. "When?"

"Now." The silence was worse than a condemnation. "Doggett and Skinner are waiting."

"Where are you going?" Marsh asked, a dull ache starting inside. It almost didn't matter, because it was already done. Dana was already on her way. The phone call was a formality.

"Montana," Scully admitted, unable to keep the excitement from her voice. She didn't want to say it out loud, almost afraid that giving voice to the possibility would be tempting fate, but she couldn't help but hope. Hope had been the only thing that had kept her from screaming every time she thought about Mulder.

"Dana," Marsh said, struggling for composure, "the last few weeks have been hard. You had a second amniocentesis thirty-six hours ago. You should not be doing field work. At least for a few days. Can't this wait?"

"It's Mulder, Marsh. At least," she said quietly, "it might be." Still, afraid to hope _too_ much. She wasn't sure how much more disappointment she could take. All she had been able to think about for so long had been the nightmare possibility that something was wrong with the baby. She was nearly paralyzed with the fear and anger of having been victimized again. Now at least, she could _do_ something. _She_ could take control. _She_ could fight back. "I need to find out, Marsh."

Mulder. Always there, in Dana's thoughts. Always with them. Marsh walked to the window, looked down across the avenue to the park. The streetlights atop solitary iron posts were coming on, illuminating the deserted paths between the still barren shrubbery. A cold and empty night. She carefully kept her voice neutral, listening to the information in the remote way she might a report from one of her residents. Trying hard not to allow the feelings of helplessness to surface. "What's happened?"

Scully spoke quickly, forcing aside her own doubts. "One of the abductees has been found - Theresa Hosey. She was the woman in Bellefleur who disappeared just before Mulder was -- taken."

Marsh heard the hesitation in her voice, and knew instantly that she was frightened. Marsh rubbed her eyes, struggling to understand what this news must mean for Dana. The only thing that ever eclipsed her own anger was the sound of Dana suffering. "Has she said anything? Explained where's she's been?"

"No," Scully replied, unable to prevent the slight quiver in her words. "She's unconscious, and the only medical report I have says she's in critical condition." The way Skinner had said it left her with the feeling that there was more he knew and wasn't telling her. Her stomach fluttered with anxiety. "We need to get there in a hurry."

It was bad, Marsh could tell. Goddamn it! Another tragedy, another horror Dana would have to face. She forcibly unclenched her jaw as it began to ache. "I want to come with you."

Scully took a deep breath. She glanced at the clock. She had already taken more time than she could spare. "Thank you - for wanting to. I'll be all right. Don't worry."

Marsh laughed harshly. "For God's sake, Dana. What do you expect me to do? Just wait?"

"Marsh," Scully answered softly, shrugging into her coat, juggling the phone as she reached for her briefcase. There was no point in saying what they both knew was true. She had to go, and she needed Marsh to be there when she returned. "I love you. I'll call you as soon as I can."

"Be careful," Marsh said fervently as the receiver clicked and silence surrounded her. "I love you, too," she finished softly.

*****

Day Two
Twelve Hours Later

"Are you busy?" Scully asked, fighting to keep the weariness from her voice.

"Just finishing rounds," Marsh answered, turning her back to the people milling about at the central desk in the Trauma Unit. "Where are you?"

"In a motel outside of Helena, Montana," Scully said, glancing around the small, dreary box of a room. Another bleak, featureless room, another long lonely night ahead. She had lost count of all the nights she had spent in places like this. Being with Mulder had always made it a little easier to take, even if it meant she had to endure his taste in videos.

Marsh didn't need to see her face to feel her discouragement. "No news?"

"None of it good," Scully reported, giving in to fatigue. She sat down on the edge of the narrow bed and stared at her own refection in the mirror above the dresser. Her eyes were hollow with disappointment and despair. "Theresa Hosey is alive, but no one is quite sure why. She shouldn't be. She was -- tortured."

That was a mild, almost civilized term for what had been done to her. Insane incisions, organs removed, tissues damaged. Scully closed her eyes, but the memory of Theresa's face and body, of the violations, remained.

Marsh's heart twisted at the words, and at the knowledge of what this must be doing to Dana. "Dana," she said softly, "you can't know that this has anything to do with Mulder."

Scully didn't answer. It was far too late for rationalizations, no matter how reasonable. She had seen what was done to Theresa. It was inhuman. Theresa was dying. If they had done that to Mulder - her mind skittered away from the image. She just could not allow the thought to form in her mind or she would be paralyzed by the horror of it. "We have some leads - maybe a witness. I'm going to interrogate him tomorrow and drive out to look at the site where Theresa was discovered."

She just needed to concentrate on what must be done. She was an investigator. She would search, and she would find the answers. She had to.

"Dana," Marsh said quietly, "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Scully asked.

"For how hard this is for you. For how hard it's been." She pushed a hand through her hair, wanting to kick something out of sheer frustration. "Because I can't do anything to make this better."

Scully laughed, a short hollow laugh totally without mirth. "Oh, Marsh. You can't make this better - no one can. But you are the only thing in my life I count on. You make _me_ better."

Marsh closed her eyes for an instant, a wave of longing so intense it hurt. "I love you so much."

"I love you, too."

Scully put down the phone and curled up on top of the bed, hoping that she could sleep. She didn't want to think any more. She didn't want to see Theresa Hosey's body and imagine Mulder's face. She prayed she wouldn't dream.

Prayers frequently go unanswered.

*****

Day Three
3:30PM MST

"Skinner."

"It's Black," she said impatiently. "I haven't been able to reach Dana all day. Is she all right?"

He hesitated because he was still unsettled about the events of the previous evening. In the eight years that he'd been associated with Dana Scully, he could count on one hand the times she had reached out to anyone for comfort or support. He assumed there were moments when Mulder had been there for her, but when and where that might have been, he didn't know. They were always very careful to keep their personal relationship private. What she shared with Marsh was even more guarded. When he'd opened his door in the middle of the night to find her standing on the threshold in the dark, trembling, he hadn't known what to do. Very few things in his life had ever taken him so by surprise, nor made him feel so inadequate.

She had looked at him, and said tremulously, "What if he's dead?"

He'd looked back at her, unable to think of the words that might offer her solace. In the next instant she had been embarrassed, telling him that she was sorry and that she had just had a bad dream. But she had made no move to leave, her eyes pleading with him for help. The pain in her blue eyes had been so much like the agony in Marsh's that day in the midst of chaos when she had knelt on the ground holding Karen in her arms, beseeching him to change fate. He had stood nearly frozen then, and he felt very much the same way now. He had not been able to offer Marsh anything then, and the next day she had nearly died. Looking at Scully, all he could think was that he could not let her face this alone.

"Let me get some clothes on," he had said, and a few moments later they were standing together searching the night sky for hope. He knew what she was saying when she gazed at the stars and wished that somewhere a person's soul would live forever. He had held her then, and offered her every false hope that he could muster.

"Walter?" Marsh asked, struggling with her rising panic. "Is she all right?"

Skinner cleared his throat and said more brusquely then he intended, "She's fine, Black. Doggett's with her right now reviewing the case."

"Is there any progress?" she asked, relief warring with an uneasy feeling that no one was telling her the entire truth.

"Not much," he said, discouragement heavy in his voice. "Doggett brought in another behavioral expert, but I'm not sure how much help she's going to be."

"It would be good if it took a little pressure off Dana," Marsh said, knowing that Dana would not want her to interfere, but unable to quell her own concerns.

Skinner thought about the meeting they had had that morning with Doggett's contact from the New Orleans field office. "Well, Doggett seems to know this agent from previous cases and thinks she can help. He trusts her, and I guess that's something. I'm not sure that Scully is going to be so open to her opinions."

"What's your take on her?" Marsh asked, thinking that too many times in the past friends had suddenly become foes. It wasn't wise to trust too easily.

Skinner shrugged. "Let's just say I'm reserving judgment until I know a little more."

"I might be able to help you out in that department," Marsh commented, reminded of the conversation she had had with Lara Means. Lara had mentioned that Doggett was been getting information from another agent with far-reaching contacts within the Bureau, someone he had worked with on a previous case. It would be too much of a coincidence if this weren't the same person.

Skinner imagined that being left behind, especially at a time when Scully was so vulnerable, must be tearing Marsh apart. One thing he knew about Marshall Black was that she did not accept passivity well. She did what she did because she needed to make a difference with her own hands. Waiting must be torture for her. The other thing he knew was that he trusted her more than he trusted any other person except Scully, and at this point he needed all the information he could get.

"If you get anything, contact me." Then he added softly, "I'll tell her you called."

"Thank you, Walter," Marsh said, already searching her memory for the number Lara had given her if she ever needed to reach her.

Five minutes later she had a date for dinner with Lara Means.

*****

Day Four
St Jean Hospital
Helena, Montana

"You don't have to do this," Skinner hissed, his hand on her arm, stopping her one step away from the door that declared: "Restricted Entry - Morgue".

Her eyes met his, blazing. "I _do_ need to do this. I need to _know_. If this is what was done to him, I need to _know_."

"At least let the pathologist here do the autopsy. You can review his findings," he insisted, a note of desperation in his voice. Agent Reyes had found another abductee. Only this time it was a body. The boy was dead when she found him out in the hills. And they needed to know what had been done to him. He didn't want to watch this even from a distance, let alone with the detail that Scully would need to examine each mark and bruise, chronicling every indignity and cruelty. There were some things that went above and beyond the call of duty.

"There's work that needs to be done here," she said, her voice low and strained. She steeled herself and pushed through the large double doors into the harshly lit room arrayed with gleaming steel tables and trays of orderly precision instruments. For a moment she thought of Marsh, and the operating room where she reigned. But Marsh wielded her weapons to defeat death, whereas she, she brought her skills and talents to the edge of the grave in an attempt to understand it.

She took a breath and brought her full attention to bear on the body before her. If Mulder was somewhere enduring these same torments at this very moment, the least she could do was look. Really look. As she began her external examination, measuring, recording, and documenting the nature and extent of the injuries in a detached clinical fashion, her concentration began to waver. She saw flashes of her own nightmares, of strangers and white lights and wisps of pain spearing her flesh. She looked up from the incision on the abdomen and for a second she saw Mulder's face on the corpse. She blinked, struggling to clear her vision, fighting to keep her voice steady.

Doggett watched her warily as she worked. He hadn't wanted to believe any of the mumbo-jumbo about aliens and abductions and people who could be in two places at one time, but he couldn't fight Skinner and Scully and Reyes, too. He couldn't hold on to a single thread that led to anything substantial. He was floundering, and watching Scully bleed was making him miserable. When she nearly broke while describing the horrors visited upon the boy lying on the table, he had to walk out.

*****

Washington, DC
5:15pm

Marsh had been struggling to stop the bleeding for the better part of an hour. The bullet, at least one of them, had torn through the transverse colon on its way to penetrating the vena cava and shattering the right kidney. She had packed off the bowel with large gauze sponges so she could suction the clots and search for the hole in the large vein that ran along the back wall of the abdominal cavity.

"His pressure is falling," the anesthesiologist announced as if Marsh could do a damn thing about it.

"Well, give him more blood," she grunted as she tried to free up the lacerated segment of vessel to get a clamp around it. "Will somebody please get another suction in here? I can't see a thing."

She maneuvered the long curved vascular clamp under the damaged vein, praying it wouldn't tear. "And call urology and see if they want to try to save what's left of this kidney."

The phone rang and the circulating nurse picked it up. She listened for a second, then snapped, "She's scrubbed."

Marsh glanced up at the monitors over the anesthesia machine, checking to see if the blood pressure had stabilized. Better.

"Dr. Black," the nurse called.

"What?" Marsh asked, holding out her right hand. "Five-0 prolene on a vascular needle, please." Her eyes were fixed on the jagged hole in the vena cava.

"Your office says there's an emergency call for you."

"Tell them I'm busy," she said irritably.

"Someone named Skinner -" the circulator continued.

Marsh's stomach tightened as if she had been struck. She straightened abruptly and looked to see that the pressure was holding. "Tell them I'll take it in five minutes. STAT page Susan Carter and get her up here."

Then she turned back to the open abdomen, set her jaw, and started to suture.

*****

Day Four
Helena, Montana
Evening

Skinner surveyed the team surrounding him in the small crowded makeshift conference room. It had taken only five hours to get the HRT together. The SWAT commander stood bristling with high tech armament, barely able to contain his enthusiasm. Doggett looked grim and Scully looked like she wouldn't wait another minute. She had been urging him to move since the moment Special Agent Reyes had pinpointed a deserted farm where the abductees or cult members or whoever they might be were hiding. Scully had wanted to go immediately, and he had asked Doggett to watch her. He was afraid she might try to go alone. He looked toward the door as the last unit coordinator walked in. Marshall Black stared back, her eyes dark and devoid of expression.

"Let's get started, then," he said. "In addition to a known fugitive by the name of Absalom, there are civilians at this compound, probably a large number of them. We don't know who, if anyone, is armed." He looked at Scully, then continued grimly, "There may be one or more severely injured individuals as well. Possibly one of our own."

He pointed to a rough diagram of the site based on old survey maps they had obtained from the county. "HRT will go in first to secure the area. The medical team will follow them to evaluate and evacuate any injured. Detain everyone who is ambulatory for questioning."

He finished reviewing the plan for the assault and finally instructed the commanders to assemble their teams. As everyone began to file out, Marsh moved forward through the group until she reached Dana's side.

Scully gazed at Marsh with a mixture of irritation and concern. Marsh looked exhausted and had probably been up for twenty-four hours straight, knowing her. Plus, this was no easy mission, and the last thing she wanted was to have to worry about Mulder _and_ Marsh. She needed every bit of her willpower just to keep herself together as it was. Her anxiety made her tone harder than she had intended. "What are you doing here? Skinner should never have called you here on this."

"There is a major hostage situation developing. There is the possibility for multiple casualties, both among the civilians and the agents. This has mass trauma potential, and that's my job. That's why I'm here," Marsh said, careful to keep her tone neutral. It was clear to her that Dana hadn't been sleeping, and probably hadn't been eating, and that she was teetering on the verge of collapse.

"I need to go," Scully said, starting to step past her. She stopped when Marsh put a hand on her arm, and she resisted the urge to pull away. Instead she looked up into Marsh's eyes with a plea in her own. "Try to understand," she whispered. "I _know_ he's out there."

"Then let Doggett and Skinner find him," Marsh responded, a hard edge to her voice. "Just this once, Dana, put something before the job."

"Don't you mean put _you_ before the job?" Scully asked, too fragmented with fear for Mulder and the kaleidoscoping images of tortured bodies and mutilated fetuses to think what she was saying.

Marsh's dark eyes became opaque as she stiffened. "Yes, maybe I am talking about me. And you. And the baby. Let someone else do it this time."

"Don't ask me this," Scully said harshly, her voice breaking on the crest of fear and anger. "Not now." It wasn't about the job. In many ways it wasn't even about Mulder. Not _just_ Mulder. It was about making certain that what had been done to her would not be done to others. It was about standing up to the evil that could reach into people's lives and twist the beauty into something monstrous and abhorrent.

Marsh nodded curtly, her expression remote. "Wear a vest, Agent Scully," she said as she turned away. "At least do that."

As they parted, moving in opposite directions to join their respective teams, each of them struggled to hide the pain.

*****

Then they both did their jobs. Marsh didn't see Scully after the first flurry of activity. In the darkness, dozens of armed commandos stormed the complex outside of Helena. Agents shouted warnings and civilians screamed. Everywhere people were running. Watching the front line move across the deserted ground toward the main buildings, Marsh could make out Skinner and Doggett and Dana, flashlights and weapons in hand. She expected gunfire at any second. In some part of her, she expected bloodshed and death. She waited, her life on hold as she watched the figures streaming through the shattered doorways, ghostly and surreal. Karen had died in bright sunlight, her blood a brilliant red on Marsh's hands, staining the ground around them a rich maroon. Blood in the moonlight would look black.

When the 'all clear' came, Marsh moved forward with the medical personnel and was quickly immersed in evaluating the dozens of people inside the building. Many appeared to be recovering from some illness in small cubicles, and she moved quickly from one to another ascertaining which victims needed attention. At one point she glanced up from examing a young woman to find Scully staring at her. Their eyes met, but neither spoke. Then Scully was gone and Marsh went back to work.

"Are you Dr. Black?" a voice interrupted her.

Marsh looked away from the paramedic with whom she had been discussing evacuation strategy to see a tall dark-haired woman wearing an FBI identification badge clipped to her jacket lapel. "Yes."

The woman extended her hand and said simultaneously, "I'm Special Agent Monica Reyes. AD Skinner wants you to come with me, please."

Marsh's heart lurched. She barely had time to register that this was the woman Lara had told her about only the night before. "Why? Is there some problem? I need to finish up here."

Reyes took Marsh's arm and said to her quietly, "It's about Agent Mulder. We found him."

Marsh knew the rest of it without asking. "Oh my God. I have to find Dana."

"AD Skinner just went to get her."

"Where is Mulder?" Marsh said frantically. "I need to be there with her."

"Come with me," Reyes said, and they both started off into the night.

They were twenty yards away when Marsh heard Dana scream. The agony in her voice pierced Marsh's heart. She was nearly at the small clearing when she saw Dana kneeling over Mulder's body, trembling violently. Before Marsh could reach her, Dana ran stumbling back towards the compound and all Marsh could do was follow.

"Dana!" Marsh shouted. "Dana, wait!"

The next thing she knew, she was looking up at the most amazing thing she had ever seen. Some kind of enormous craft shimmered in the night directly over the building which housed the abductees. A brilliant light suffused the area, and she felt rather than heard the rumble of some powerful force emanating from the apparition. It seemed that the entire structure on the ground beneath it was vibrating. What she saw next frightened her more than anything she had ever experienced. Dana ran directly into the building and disappeared behind the pulsating screen of light. "Dana, no!" Marsh moaned as she raced after her.

Marsh found her at the very heart of the building, kneeling on the floor, her body wracked with sobs. Carefully, she knelt beside her. "Dana," she said softly. "I'm so very sorry."

Through her tears, Scully turned to look at her. Her face was a landscape of devastation and loss. "How much more," she asked, her voice hollow, "how much more can they take from me?"

Marsh knew she had no answer that might not be a lie. She said nothing, but remained beside her, offering her the only thing she could - the simple comfort of her presence.

*****

End Genesis XV: Reclamation

 


 

TITLE: Genesis XVI: Beyond Loss 01/01
AUTHOR: Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
ARCHIVE: anywhere, just let me know
CROSS-POSTING: As you wish
RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
CATEGORY: Post-Ep; Serious Angst; Romance
SPOILERS: Deadalive
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other (female); Scully/Slash
SUMMARY: As Scully struggles to adjust to Mulder's death, she and Marsh search for reconnection.
DISCLAIMERS:The characters and events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc and are used here without permission for entertainment only.
Author's Note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website: http://www.radfic.com/ or http://www.angelfire.com/nf/radclyffe/
Comments welcome.


Raleigh, North Carolina

The ceremony was over. Two lone figures remained, saying their final farewells.

"Is she all right?" Margaret Scully asked the tall, dark-haired woman who stood next to her in the cold wind, waiting. She pulled her coat closer around herself and shivered. She wasn't sure if the cold came from the weather or the empty feeling in her heart. When she looked at her daughter's lover, what she saw only intensified her concern. Marshall Black stared across the cemetery, her expression remote, her charcoal eyes bleak.

"I hope so," she whispered almost to herself. Dana stood at the edge of the open grave, leaning against Skinner. Marsh could tell she was crying. She wanted desperately to go to her, but she knew that Dana needed these last moments alone with the only other person who had known Mulder as Dana had known him. Mulder's family was gone. Mulder and Skinner and Dana had been more to one another than colleagues, closer than partners and associates. Each of them had suffered and sacrificed for one another. In a way that defied convention, they had loved one another. Under any circumstances it would be a terrible loss, but now, with the fate of Dana's unborn child still uncertain, and the everpresent fear that former abductees, including Dana, might be retaken, it seemed too much for any one person to bear. Marsh was frightened for her. For the first time, she was frightened for them.

Maggie slipped her hand into Marsh's, clasping the cold fingers tightly. "She's going to need you, Marsh."

Marsh turned to Maggie, the strain of the last few weeks apparent in the hollows beneath her eyes. "What if I'm not enough?" she said quietly. "Everything they went through together - they were part of each other. She's lost so damn much."

Maggie looked at her daughter and thought of her other daughter, and of her husband. "I know."

Marsh heard the sadness. "I'm sorry, Maggie," she said quickly.

"No," Maggie said, shaking her head. "It's all right. Let her grieve, and then let her come to you. She will."

Marsh watched them approach, Dana with Skinner's arm protectively wrapped around her. Marsh could never remember her looking so fragile. It broke her heart.

"I hope so," she whispered again.

*****

Washington, DC

She lay awake in the still, dark room. She was alone. Time had lost all meaning. It might have been a day, it might have been a week. She lay awake, waiting to feel something.

For so long she had hoped, against all reason and logic and training, she had hoped. Up until the very last moment, and beyond, she had hoped. Even when she had seen him there, lying motionless on the cold dark earth, even when she had touched him, and felt death, she had hoped. Now she didn't even have that.

She searched for her faith, but she had lost that, too. She had seen too many horrors, witnessed too many senseless deaths, to go on believing.

She rested her hand on her abdomen, imaging the life to come. Where there should have been joy, there was only fear. She didn't dare dream, because what if she were wrong? She shuddered with the agony of that thought, unable to even contemplate it.

Even pain would be a welcome sensation. Or anger. Something, anything to break this exile. She turned on her side, curled around herself, closed her eyes.

Eventually sleep would come, but it would not heal.

*****

She awoke, her arms wrapped around a pillow for comfort. The room was very quiet. She would get up, as she had been doing each day, and shower, and get dressed, and go to the office. She would talk to people, and do her job, because she had no other choice. She closed her eyes, wanting just a few more moments to prepare. A few more moments to find what remained of her strength so that she could do what she needed to do.

She turned her face from the light coming through the windows, pressing her cheek into the pillow. And she smelled her. That faint scent that was part softness and part heat, part tenderness and part sex, part comfort and part desire. She drew in the memory of her and felt her heart beat again. She ran her hand over the cotton, imagined her skin, and felt the blood course through her again. She remembered the press of her body and the sound of her passion, and felt her body pulse with life again.

Finally, she found the one thing she had not lost.

*****

Marsh stretched, pulled off her gown and gloves, and looked at the clock. Dana should be getting up just about now. She thought about calling her, but she didn't want it to seem as if she were keeping tabs on her. Her stomach clenched all the same, and she struggled with the familiar sense of helplessness. God, she wanted to make her better. She wanted to take away her pain, and erase her bad memories, and destroy every last nightmare. And all she was able to do was hold her at night and hope that was enough.

She watched the residents and nurses wheel one lucky motorcycle rider out of the OR. A broken arm and a ruptured spleen. In a few weeks, he would be back to terrorizing the roadways again. But she was pleased. A save was a save.

Her beeper vibrated on her hip and she pulled it off to check the readout with a sigh. She was off in an hour, unless this was another level one coming in. Then she'd be back in the OR until it was done. She stopped abruptly when she saw the number, then turned hurriedly to grab a nearby wall phone.

"Dana?" she asked as soon as the line was answered, unsuccessfully trying to hide her anxiety.

"I'm fine," Scully said. It was a lie, but it was a lot less of one than it had been. She took a breath. "Can you come home?"

Marsh swallowed her fear. "You bet," she said as calmly as she could muster. "Be right there."

Marsh found her upstairs, freshly showered, her hair still damp. She was wearing only a robe and had curled up in a large chair by the window in the corner of the bedroom. She glanced over at Marsh when she walked in, giving her a gentle smile that halted Marsh in her tracks. She looked different. Still drawn, and a little pale, but there was a light in her eyes that hadn't been there for a very long time. That light warmed Marsh all the way through, in places she hadn't even realized were cold.

"Hey," Marsh said softly, her hands tucked loosely in the pockets of her jeans. She rocked slightly back and forth, uncertain. She had never hesitated to touch her before.

Scully shifted to one side on the big over-stuffed leather chair, patting the space next to her. "Hey."

Marsh eased her length next to Scully's, turning so that Scully could rest against her chest. She slipped her arm around Scully's shoulders, pulled her close, brushed a kiss across the top of her head. It felt so good.

"We're not going to fit together in here much longer," Scully said, pulling Marsh's teeshirt out of her jeans so she could rest her hand on her bare stomach. It was a familiar, always comforting gesture. It felt so good to feel the faint heat of her skin.

"We've got a while," Marsh murmured, her heart thudding. They hadn't mentioned the baby, or the fact that they should have the results of the genetic karyotyping in a few days, or anything about the future since Mulder's body had been found.

"Marsh," Scully said softly, unconsciously running her fingertips up and down Marsh's belly, "I'm sorry."

Marsh studiously avoided thinking about the effect that Scully's fingers were having on her. Always had on her. Still, it'd been a long time, and she couldn't stop her blood from racing. "For what?"

"For everything I've put you through."

Marsh reached down and stopped the movement of Scully's hand, serious now. "You did what you had to do. I know that."

"But I did it in spite of how hard it was for you," Scully said softly, remembering the hurt in Marsh's eyes when she had walked away from her before the engagement in Helena. "I knew there were things you didn't want me to do, and I did them anyway."

"Dana," Marsh said quietly, running her free hand gently up and down Scully's back and arm, "I don't expect you to be anyone other than yourself. I don't expect you to do anything other than what you have to."

Scully smiled faintly and lifted her head enough to kiss Marsh's neck. "But sometimes you'd like me to."

Marsh thought about those few moments before the hostage rescue in Helena. She thought of how very much she wanted Dana to stay behind, to stay out of harm's way. She had asked her not to go, and with every fiber of her being she wanted her not to go. But in her heart, she knew that Dana would go. Because that was who she was, and even love didn't change that. Marsh sighed and kissed Scully's forehead. "Yes, there are times, now and then, I wish you didn't have to do what you do."

"But you still love me," Scully said, and it wasn't a question.

"Yes," Marsh said without a second's hesitation, "I still love you."

"Marsh," Scully said softly, "I think that's exactly what I need right now."

*****

They lay naked, facing each other, the sheets pulled up to just above their hips. They looked into each other's eyes as days and weeks of distance dissolved on the first tentative touch of their hands. They explored one another with slow caresses and long kisses, but they did not yet yield to passion. Their skin touched lightly all along the length of their bodies, but they lingered just on the edge of arousal, coming together almost chastely at first. For these few moments, they were content just to heal.

Scully sighed as the comforting familiarity flowed through her. There was sadness still, and unshed tears, that might one day be shared. But for now, what she wanted, what she needed, was what she could only find with Marsh. She watched Marsh's eyes grow wide and dark as she moved her hand from Marsh's shoulder to her breast, lifting her and gently squeezing. Marsh's eyes flickered closed, and Scully leaned closer to grasp Marsh's full lower lip between her teeth, sucking on it gently. Marsh sighed, almost a groan, and Scully quickened.

"I love you," Scully murmured. She watched the pulse beat in Marsh's neck and saw the first blush of arousal rise in the pale skin over her chest. Desire fluttered deep inside, and she welcomed it. She was alive.

"Dana," Marsh breathed, her voice husky. "I love you."

When every secret place had been anointed with lips and mouth and fingers, when muscles and nerves ran white-hot, when flesh and blood and bone threatened to explode, Scully slipped her fingers into Marsh, and Marsh followed into her. Only a breath apart now, they watched each other's passion build, matching stroke for stroke, long and slow and deep. When Scully's lips quivered on the brink of a moan, her blue eyes a liquid haze, Marsh moved her thumb softly back and forth across Scully's hard, swollen clitoris, felt it pulsate under her touch, and watched her lover slide over the edge.

Scully arched her neck and shuddered violently, unconsciously thrusting her hand harder between Marsh's legs. The unexpected pressure fired every nerve ending in Marsh's body at one time and the orgasm ripped through her like lightning.

"Ah, god," Marsh choked, and was gone.

They had made many vows, many times, with a caress. They had whispered many promises with a kiss. Never before had their joining been as precious as coming home this time from a place beyond loss.

*****

End Genesis XVI: Beyond Loss 01/01

 


 

TITLE: Genesis XVII: Room Service 01/01
AUTHOR: Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
ARCHIVE: anywhere, just let me know
CROSS-POSTING: As you wish
RATING: NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
CATEGORY: Romance
SPOILERS: mild season seven and eight
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other (female); Scully/Slash
SUMMARY: In the aftermath of Mulder's death, Scully and Marsh resume their lives.
DISCLAIMERS:The characters and events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc and are used here without permission for entertainment only.
Author's Note: The entire Genesis series can be found at my website: http://www.radfic.com/. Comments welcome.


Washington, DC 6:25 PM

"Dana?" Marsh called as she let herself into the apartment. She heard only silence and shrugged out of her jacket, mildly disappointed. Dana must still be at work. She was pleased that Dana seemed to be getting back to normal, or as normal as one could be after losing a partner in the horrifying fashion in which Mulder had died. As normal as one could be halfway through a pregnancy that had been anything but simple. Still, she had hoped that Dana would be home. Sometimes, she just missed her.

She reached for the table lamp on a small credenza just inside the foyer and saw a small white envelope leaning against the base of the lamp. MEB in large bold letters was written on the front. She grinned as she picked it up. She slid out a stiff white card on which was printed in Dana's careful hand, "The car will arrive at 7:30 PM. Your clothes are ready"

Marsh headed for the stairs to the loft bedroom, searching her mind for some occasion that she might have forgotten. It wasn't any holiday that she was aware of, and it wasn't their anniversary. She stopped at the foot of the bed and studied the clothing arranged carefully on the covers. This time when she grinned, it was accompanied by a very definite stirring in her belly. Lying on the bed were a pair of her faded button-fly jeans, a starched white tuxedo shirt, and the midnight blue silk boxers that Dana had given her for Valentine's Day just over a year ago.

At precisely 7:30 PM, a black limo pulled to a stop and a driver stepped out. "Dr. Black?"

"Yes," Marsh affirmed as she moved toward the door which he held open for her. If he thought it the least unusual to be chauffeuring a woman in bluejeans and a black leather blazer, he gave no sign of it. "Where are we going?" she asked him as she slid into the expansive rear seating area.

"The Hay-Adams Hotel, Doctor," he said smoothly as he closed door.

Marsh settled back into the plush leather seat and closed her eyes. The last time she and Dana had stayed in that hotel, they had made love all night. It seemed so much longer than just one year ago. So much had happened, so much fear and loss and pain. She shook her head, and thought not of the past, but of the night to come.

*****

Imperial suite
Hay-Adams Hotel 8:05 PM

Marsh knocked on the hotel room door, her heart pounding in anticipation. Even after three years, the excitement of seeing Dana after a few hours apart had not abated. When the door opened her pulse rate doubled.

Scully smiled up at Marsh, a mischievous light in her eyes. She wore a black silk dressing gown that opened down the front and was closed at the waist with a belted sash. "How nice of you to come," she said softly.

Marsh held out the rose she had purchased from a vendor outside the hotel. "I am yours to command."

Scully took the rose in one hand, and hooked the fingers of the other under the waistband of Marsh's jeans and pulled her into the room. "Good." She closed and latched the door and said, "You can start by opening the champagne."

Marsh looked around the luxurious suite and saw a room service table covered with a white linen tablecloth and settings of crystal and china for two. Next to the table in a silver standing bucket was a bottle of champagne. She noted another bottle of imported mineral water beside the champagne. "Of course," she said smoothly. Dana looked beautiful, and incredibly desirable, and Marsh had a feeling that she was going to be wanting her very badly before she was allowed to touch her. She knew without asking that the night was Dana's to control, and just knowing that excited her. She very carefully began to uncork the champagne, intent on fulfilling Dana's wishes.

Scully leaned back against the door and watched Marsh open the bottles. As she observed her lover's sure deft movements, her skin tingled with the memory of countless caresses. "Take your jacket off and roll up your sleeves," she said quietly. She loved to look at Marsh's hands. Her fingers were long and supple and so talented. There were times Marsh's touch was so light it was but a whisper calling her blood to the surface. And there were moments that those same hands claimed her so forcefully she had bruises the next morning. Imaging them on her now, inside her, her body began to sing with arousal.

Marsh turned with a glass of champagne in one hand and a glass of mineral water in the other. She almost lost her composed demeanor when she saw Scully's face. There was an indolent hunger in Scully's expression that ignited a flood of desire in the pit of Marsh's stomach. She was wet in an instant. She hesitated a moment to make sure her trembling legs would carry her forward without stumbling and then she approached her lover. She was aware that Scully's eyes were slowly moving over her body and that appraising glance was hot enough to scorch.

With each step, Marsh watched Scully watching her. Scully's eyes were clouded with a faint hint of lust. Her lips were moist and swollen with the first blush of desire. In her neck a pulse beat rapidly and the front of her gown parted just enough to reveal the quick rise and fall of her full breasts. Marsh's throat was dry as she extended the mineral water. "May I ask what we're celebrating?"

"Later." Scully took the ornate flute filled with sparkling water and sipped delicately while she watched Marsh's eyes darken and a fine tremor start in her hands. "Try your champagne," she suggested softly. She hid her smile as she saw Marsh twitch in surprise, having clearly forgotten about the flute that she held in her right hand. Scully set her own glass down on the nearby end table and pushed away from the door, stopping just short of touching Marsh's body. "Good?" she inquired, her eyebrow lifting in question.

"Wonderful," Marsh replied, her throat so thick with desire she could barely get the words out. She wanted to touch her so much. Just to run her fingers over the smooth skin of her neck, just to press her lips ever so lightly to the soft hollow of her throat. She swallowed the rest of the champagne, which she had barely tasted, and looked for some place to put her glass.

"Done?" Scully asked teasingly, reaching for the flute.

"Not yet," Marsh answered, the fingers of her free hand just brushing Scully's arm. "But I'll wait for the rest."

Scully took the glass and put it down next to her own. "Oh, yes," she murmured softly, "you will."

She turned so quickly that Marsh caught her breath sharply in surprise. And then Marsh gasped in shock as Scully jerked her shirt from her jeans and slipped her hands underneath, sliding her palms over Marsh's sides and up her back, pulling her close as her lips came down hard on Marsh's. Marsh's groan was lost in Scully's mouth.

As Scully kissed her, nipping at her lower lip, then soothing the small bites with her tongue, stroking softly along the inside of her lips and into her mouth, she worked the buttons free on the starched white shirt, delicately, precisely. Marsh was swaying just a bit and Scully leaned into her, letting her nipples, taut under the fine silk of her gown, brush over the stiff fabric of Marsh's shirt. The teasing pressure made her own legs tremble. When she had the shirt unbuttoned, her lips now on Marsh's neck, she stripped it off Marsh's shoulders and halfway down her arms. Then she fisted the material and pulled it tight, effectively trapping Marsh's hands at her sides.

They were both groaning softly now, and when Scully lowered her head and took Marsh's nipple into her mouth, Marsh cried out sharply. With her arms trapped in her shirt, she had no recourse but to stand passively as Scully tormented her with her lips and her tongue and her teeth. The exquisite sensation of Scully's mouth working back and forth over her nipples was sending torrents of excitement into her already tense clitoris. It was too much too fast for her to contain. Her breath tore from her on a sob and a quicksilver sliver of release coursed through her before she could control it. She shuddered and moaned.

"What was that?" Scully growled, raising her head from Marsh's breast. "What just happened?"

Marsh drew a shaky breath. "Just a little moment of weakness. Just a small one. I - couldn't help it."

Scully yanked the fabric that tethered Marsh tighter and spun her around until her back was to the door, then she pulled the shirt off. Just as quickly her hands were on Marsh's breasts, hard and demanding. Marsh's knees did buckle then and she threatened to slide down the wall to the floor.

"Stay up," Scully panted as she worked the buttons on Marsh's fly with one hand, her other cupping Marsh's breast so that she could get as much as possible between her lips. Her robe had fallen open now and her nipples pressed against Marsh's bare skin. The heat of Marsh's body rushed into her sensitive, swollen breasts and her mind roared with need. Her hands shook so badly she wasn't sure she could get Marsh's jeans open.

Marsh leaned her head against the door, one hand desperately clasped around the handle for support, her eyes closed, her lower lip caught between her teeth as she fought not to climax again. Dana's hands on her, Dana's lips tugging at her nipple, the soft weight of Dana's breasts moving over her skin were tearing her control to shreds. "Dana," she warned in the broken tone of voice Scully knew so well.

"Don't," Scully gasped, finally able to push the denim down over Marsh's hips and thighs. "Just don't." And then she slipped her fingers inside the silky blue boxers, soaked though with anticipation, and over the hot full folds of her and Marsh jerked once and came hard against her hand. Scully had to wrap one arm around Marsh's waist to keep her upright as she stroked her up and over and into another long series of spasms. Finally the quivering muscles in Marsh's thighs gave out and Scully gently let her go, bracing her arms on either side of Marsh's body as she struggled to see through a haze of lust.

Marsh's eyes were glazed when she finally opened them to discover herself sitting against the door amidst a tangle of clothes on the floor. Dana still leaned above her, breathing hard, the robe completely open, the noticeable swell of her belly almost pressed to Marsh's cheek. Marsh raised shaky hands to glide over the soft skin of Scully's inner thighs, and Scully cried out at the first touch, arching her neck and swallowing a moan. Gently Marsh ran her fingers over the wet warm flesh, amazed at the beauty of her desire, and whispered, "You look like you could use a little help here."

Scully took one hand from the door and thrust her fingers into Marsh's thick hair, pressing Marsh's head forward. "God, yes."

Marsh supported her trembling lover with her hands on her hips, taking more and more of Scully's weight as she sucked her. Each second brought more blood pounding into Scully's clitoris, causing it to swell and hard between Marsh's lips. Scully leaned her forehead against the door, whimpering faintly with each stroke of Marsh's tongue until she had no breath to sob out Marsh's name. She let herself go, shuddering into oblivion, certain that Marsh would not let her fall.

When Scully opened her eyes she was cradled in Marsh's lap, and they were both on the floor. Her head was on Marsh's shoulder, and Marsh had managed to pull the robe around them. Marsh kissed her lightly. "Cold?"

Scully shook her head. "Can't tell yet. Don't think so." She pushed away a little and dug around in the pile on the floor for Marsh's shirt, shifting onto the floor next to her as she handed it to her. "You dropped this."

Marsh grinned and pulled it on, then reached down and tugged up her jeans. "That champagne went right to my head."

"I noticed," Scully said as she slowly levered herself upright with one hand on the edge of the end table. "You have terrible self- control." She rearranged her robe and tied it as she watched Marsh stand and stretch and then begin to tuck in her shirt and rebutton her jeans. God, she was so sexy. "I wouldn't go to too much trouble if I were you," she said, her pulse starting to pound again.

Marsh stopped with her fingers poised to fasten the last snap. The look Scully gave her made parts of her twitch that should have been beyond satisfaction at this point. "Oh?" she asked, her eyes dancing. "Already?"

Scully took Marsh's hand and pulled her across the room to the table, lifting one of the silver service covers to sniff the array of food she had ordered earlier. "Let's have the appetizers first."

"What do you call what we just did?" Marsh laughed, snagging a bit of something that looked sinful and smelled even better.

"Practice," Scully mumbled around a mouthful.

Marsh retrieved her champagne glass, refilled it and sat on the edge of the bed, watching her lover doing something to a strawberry that ought to be illegal. Marsh's body was still quivering from the onslaught of sensation those lovely lips had just perpetrated, and she couldn't believe it when she felt herself grow heavy and wet yet again. "Dana," she called softly, "I love you."

Scully paused with a fork half raised to her mouth and looked over at Marsh. She knew that tone. Marsh's hair was tousled, her shirt only half buttoned and her jeans half un-buttoned. Her eyes had that dark heaviness that said she was already hot. Scully grinned, and took one last bite. The food would keep.

*****

Marsh groaned when she could find enough air to make sound. "That's it. I'm done. No more."

"Uh huh. Me, too, " Scully sighed. "For a while."

Marsh pushed herself up on one elbow and gently brushed a strand of Scully's hair off Scully's cheek. "You want to tell me now?"

Scully turned her head on the pillow, meeting Marsh's eyes. "You're so sure there's something to tell?"

"You could have ravaged me at home," Marsh said gently.

"True," Scully agreed, smiling at the thought. "And I have. But the food's better here."

"And -- " Marsh persisted.

Scully took a long breath, not wanting to fear the words, needing to feel only happiness. At that moment, Marsh was all she felt, all she knew, and the time was right. "Doctor Phillips called from Boston today. The genetic testing is complete. They can't find anything wrong with the baby."

Marsh's eyes shimmered with a quick rush of tears as she absorbed the news. She blinked them back and pressed her lips to Scully's forehead, whispering, "Oh god, Dana. I am so, so glad."

Scully laughed, simply happy. "Yes."

Marsh gathered her close and just held on. "That's the best news I've ever had."

"There is one more thing," Scully whispered into her ear.

"What," Marsh asked, unable to imagine anything better.

"I ordered three more courses for dinner."

End


TITLE: Genesis XVIII: Ouroboros 01/01
AUTHOR: Radclyffe
EMAIL ADDRESS: radclyffe@radfic.com
ARCHIVE: anywhere, just let me know
CROSS-POSTING: As you wish
RATING:NC-17; This story depicts graphic sexual encounters between same-sex consenting adults.
CATEGORY: Romance
SPOILERS: Season Eight
KEYWORDS: Scully/Other (female); Scully/Slash
SUMMARY: As it began, so it ends.
DISCLAIMERS:The characters and events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc and are used here without permission for entertainment only.
Comments welcome.
Author's Note: Ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent devouring its own tail, expresses the unity of all things ... which never disappear but perpetually change form in an eternal cycle of destruction and re-creation.
In Genesis, I had the opportunity to imagine Scully with a female lover, and to imagine the world of the X-Files within that context. Writing the love affair of Marshall Black and Dana Scully, and the friendship that Fox Mulder shared with them, provided me with innumerable hours of pleasure. The support and friendship that I received from list members and web fans was more gratifying than I can ever explain. All I can really say is Thank You.


Democrat Hot Springs, Georgia

Through the red haze of pain, she could hear the choppers coming.

Tears streaked her cheeks, and she fought the terror choking her. She listened to the drone of engines growing closer and some part of her fear eased. She had known that she would come, just as she had come that first time, just as she had always come, just as she always would. When she needed her, Marsh would come.

Dana Scully clung to that belief as another wave of rending, ripping pain gathered, as she stared into Reyes' worried eyes, as she tried to bite back the scream.

**

"Set it down! Set it down at that compound," Mulder shouted above the roar of the rotors. There were lights punctuating the darkness; there were vehicles parked haphazardly in front of the ramshackle buildings. No one should be there; no one should have known she was there. He held on as Marsh angled the chopper steeply and gunned the engines. She felt it, too.

Something was wrong.

**

Marsh could hear her as she raced across the uneven, hard-packed earth. The rotors were still churning the air behind her, but they did not drown out the screams. The sound of Dana's pain speared her heart, knifed through her guts, and she almost fell. The thought of Dana hurt, frightened, ripped holes in the fabric of her soul. She shouldered through the door on trembling legs, past the shadow figures gathered in the half light, not even certain they were real. All she could see was Dana. She was propped up on a narrow cot, drenched in sweat, eyes wide and wild with the stress of months of uncertainty and fear, and she was beautiful. She was everything that made Marsh's life possible.

Scully sensed her before she saw her, and she turned her head, searching for her. In Marsh's sure, steady gaze she found the strength and safety she had built her dreams upon. The fear and the pain receded further as she reached out her hand. "Marsh," she whispered, her voice a prayer of thanks.

Marsh spared a quick glance down at Reyes and saw the crowning head before she fell on her knees by Scully's side. One hand grasped Scully's as the other moved over Scully's abdomen. Strong firm contractions rippled under her fingers. A pulse beat, rich and steady, in Dana's neck, echoing the pulse of the life emerging from her. Satisfied that nature was well in control, she pressed her lips fleetingly to Scully's. "How are you, sweetheart?" she asked softly. "Almost there?"

"Close," Scully gasped. Dimly she heard Reyes telling her to push, but it was beyond her volition now. She clung to Marsh and let the inevitable force carry her beyond pain to the journey's end.

For an interminable moment, they looked wordlessly into one another's eyes -sharing their strength, making their promises, exchanging their vows. *It will be all right. I'll be here. Always.*

And then he broke the moment with a startled, indignant howl. Marsh grinned as Dana sobbed out a laugh. Marsh took him from a very frazzled Reyes and passed him to Dana, searching his body swiftly with her intense surgeon's gaze. All parts accounted for. "Nice job, Dr. Scully."

The moment she took him, Scully knew he was fine. She could feel it. She looked past Marsh, who was running her fingers lightly over the baby, checking him again, to the tall figure standing just behind Marsh's shoulder. "Hey, Mulder."

"Hey, Scully."

*****

Washington, DC

Marsh walked down the hall, juggling groceries and a bag of baby essentials in both arms. She stopped when she saw the three men approaching. "Hello, fellas."

"Hey, Marsh," Frohicke chirped. The other two men echoed his greeting. "We just came to pay homage to the miracle child."

Marsh grinned good-naturedly. "I have another name for him at two in the morning and he lets us know he wants to be fed. Immediately."

She turned sideways as they shuffled past, offering their shy congratulations and well wishes. She set the bags down outside the door and unlocked it. When she pushed it open and started for the kitchen, she realized that Dana still had a visitor.

Mulder and Dana stood in the bedroom doorway in an embrace, the baby cradled between them. Marsh was fairly certain she had glimpsed the tailend of a kiss. Mulder looked over at her, an odd expression on his face. There was sadness in his deep brown eyes, but that wasn't new. There was something stiller, something deeper in them this time - something midway between desire and goodbye.

The three of them stood looking at one another for a moment, and then Scully broke the silence. "Hello, love. Can you take him a minute while I get a change of clothes for him? He feels a little damp."

"How you doing, Mulder?" Marsh asked as she propped the baby against her shoulder, his head against the curve of her neck. Babies and puppies. They smelled like innocence. Felt like it, too. She patted his back absently as she watched Mulder, wondering if he'd say what was on his mind. They'd always had this uneasy truce, the two of them -- an unspoken agreement to share the task of keeping Dana safe. There'd been other things they hadn't talked about, at least not when they'd been sober. About the feelings they had in common for her. Now he was leaving.

He shrugged, thinking how naturally she held the baby. He didn't think it had anything to do with her being female. It had to do with her knowing that he was hers. She held him just like Scully did. "I'm okay. Getting used to not being dead," he said with a wry smile.

"Bit of a challenge," she agreed, listening to Dana rustle about in the baby's room. "You know, Mulder, in a lot of ways, having the baby changes everything. The whole future looks different."

"I imagine," he said warily, never completely certain with her. She had a fierceness about her that always gave him pause.

"And in a lot of ways, it doesn't change anything at all." She wasn't aware of Dana standing behind her as she kept her eyes on Mulder. "It doesn't change what Dana feels for you. You might not be her partner any longer, but you were always more than that. You always will be."

Mulder blew out a breath. He'd always wondered how he'd feel if he was in Marsh's place. But he never had been; he'd never been that certain of anyone's love. Looking into Marsh's calm eyes, he knew that whatever part of Scully loved him, it didn't touch what the two of them shared. It never would.

"I figure I'll be sticking around long enough to play a little one on one with him," Mulder said, something of the old sparkle returning to his eyes.

"That's good," Marsh answered, smiling faintly. "Because baseball is more my game."

Scully moved forward and reached for the baby. "While you two determine his athletic future, let me change him."

As she left them, Mulder said softly, "She looks happy."

"She is."

*****

Dana Scully put her son in the bassinet and stretched out on the bed next to her lover. Marsh had been propped on one arm, watching while she did the things mothers did with babies to get them ready for sleep. "He'll be down for a while, I think," Scully said with a sigh, curling against Marsh's body and slipping an arm around her waist.

Marsh kissed the top of her head. "Tired?"

"Mmm, some," Scully murmured, sliding her hand under the bottom of Marsh's tee shirt. "God, it feels good to lie down with you."

"Uh huh," Marsh said softly. She pulled her a little closer, running her hands up and down her back. It had been so hectic the first few days after the baby came home, with both of them getting used to the newness of having another being to consider in their plans and their schedule, that they hadn't had much time alone. "I missed you."

"I know. Me, too," Scully replied. She smoothed her palm over Marsh's abdomen, surprised as she always was at the strength in her slender form. "Marsh?"

"Hmm?"

"About that kiss," she began quietly.

"Yes?" She continued to stroke the soft, smooth skin left bare at the tops of Dana's shoulders by the oversized shirt she wore. Dana's hair smelled like the baby's shampoo, or maybe it was her face where she had held him against her cheek. She marveled at the delicate beauty of her scent.

"You know it wasn't about ... sex," Scully continued hesitantly, amazed that she couldn't quite find the right words. She only knew that she needed Marsh to know it wasn't about _them_. "It didn't mean ... oh, hell ... I don't know how to explain ..."

Marsh tipped Scully's face up to hers with a finger under her chin. "Dana, it was a kiss. It was what it was."

Scully searched her eyes and found what she always sought. What she needed to make everything else in her world right. Understanding. She cupped Marsh's face in her palm, leaned close to her. "You know I don't feel that way about him. You know that, don't you?"

"I know," Marsh murmured, their lips so close she could feel Dana's breath, light and cool in her mouth. More than her blood flowing or her heart beating, Dana was life to her. "I've always known."

Scully slid on top of her, settled her body comfortably along her length as she had done a hundred times. She felt every inch of their bodies touch and just like the first time, she gasped. Coming together was always like that. Joining as naturally as two parts of a whole, as miraculously as two lost souls meeting.

"I love you," Scully said softly, slipping both hands into Marsh's hair, holding her head as she bent to take her mouth.

Marsh worked her hands beneath Dana's loose sweats, cupped her hips, pulled her hard into the space between her legs as she took her tongue, hot and seeking, into her mouth. She rocked her hips and heard one of them groan.

It had been so long.

Suddenly Scully sat up, straddling her, pulling off her own shirt as she whispered urgently, "Get undressed. I want you -- right now. Right this minute."

Marsh cast one uncertain glance at the small form a few feet away as she tugged at her fly. "What about ..."

"He's _fine_, Marshall," Scully said hoarsely, working on the buttons on Marsh's jeans with a vengeance. "Damn it," she muttered, pulling at the waistband.

Marsh grabbed her hands. "I can't get them off when you're sitting on my legs, Dana. Besides, my feet are numb."

Scully stared at her, then began to giggle.

"Shhhh--," Marsh said desperately, pushing her pants down. "Don't wake him up now. I'll explode if we have to stop."

"Believe me, we're not stopping," Scully promised, her expression intense again as she slid her hand up the inside of Marsh's thigh. Watching the muscles in Marsh's belly twitch, she stroked higher. "But you are definitely going to explode."

Marsh's breath caught in her throat as she saw Dana's blue eyes deepen to purple. Dark hungry eyes. She caught Dana's wrist in her fingers, stilled her hand a whisper from being inside her. "Wait," she gasped.

"No." But - heart racing, aching for the feel of her lifting beneath her, enfolding her - Scully forced herself not to move. She trembled, poised above her, poised to take her. "What?"

"Together, this time." Marsh raised up and grasped Scully's shoulders, pulling her down beside her. She shifted her hips until they faced one another, bringing her thigh over Scully's. She touched her forehead lightly to Scully's and whispered. "Now."

They joined with a kiss as they entered one another - each welcoming, each claiming - the other. They came together out of passion -- beyond need, past desire. They came together in celebration and in promise.

Beside them, the baby slept, another cycle begun.

*****

End Genesis.