AUTHOR: trancer michkidd@earthlink.net
RATING: R for language, violence, and sexual situations between two women.
PAIRING: Scully/Abbie Carmichael
SUMMARY: Someone from Scully's past asks for the agents assistance putting Scully onto a case that may or may not be an X-File. Not only reopening old wounds, but old feelings that further complicate the agent's life.
SPOILERS: Takes place immediately after season 7 ep "Millenium".
ARCHIVING: I have no website of my own. While this story is currently unfinished, and unbeta'ed, if you'd like to archive it please let me know.
DISCLAIMERS: Characters of Scully and Mulder are the property of 1013 Productions. Characters of Law & Order are the property of Dick Wolf Productions.


Residual Effect

Chapter One

"We got us an X-File!" Mulder whooped breaking the silence of the room. Dana would have screamed 'Hallelujah' if not for the fact that her mouth was full of coffee and doing otherwise would have betrayed her cool demeanor. Let alone, spilled a mouthful of hot coffee on her brand new silk blouse.

The weeks since New Year's had been boring to the point of painful, the two having fulfilled their share of paperwork and meetings to the nth degree. But, all was not bliss, an X-File for Mulder could mean anything. It was never that long desired trip to Hawaii and more than likely meant Scully would spend another long weekend mucking around in God-knows-where US of A.

"What is it?" Dana asked, the file landing with a spin on her desk. She took the file as Mulder moved behind his desk, grabbing a few things from his drawer. Dana flipped open the manila file. She should have been pleased that he gave her this much info to peruse. He usually dragged her along, telling her what the case was long after she had the opportunity to refuse.

"Mulder?" she moaned, almost wishing that he had skipped briefing her this time around.

"C'mon Scully," he looked at her using his patented puppy dog eyes, "You're always talking about how we never do anything fun."

"Fun? Somehow my definition of fun doesn't include the words medium, Kentucky and pig farm." She resigned, closing the file folder and standing from her desk. Mulder's face broadened into a smile as his partner gathered her things.

"I'll go, on one condition." Dana called out to him. "Next time, I pick the X-File."

He handed her coat to her, both exiting the office heading towards the elevators. The halls were empty being the hallowed chambers of "the FBI's most unwanted". Dana had become accustomed to the loneliness. Perhaps, too accustomed, a small part of her being resenting the isolation that had caused the two of them to become so independent of the FBI, and too reliant upon each other for everything else.

"We just have to make one tiny stop to Skinner before we leave." Mulder added as the doors to the elevator closed.

"What's the kicker?" Dana asked.

"What kicker?" Mulder ignorantly replied.

"You know, so we can get the pleasantries out of the way. You state your theory, in which, I being of an incredulous sort, proceed to counter."

"Scully," he turned his head towards her, grinning, "Are you flirting with me?"

"You wish." She slapped him on the arm with the back of her hand. Dana returned his gaze, both their eyes locking. After all these years, Dana had partially acquired the ability to read her partner's thoughts. Her mind reeled as she realized that both of them were thinking about a certain New Year's kiss. And one of them was inferring more into the lip lock than the other.

Dana returned her gaze to the door, breaking the tension that had suddenly arisen between them. A pregnant pause hanging in the air that neither seemed quite sure how to fill.

Mulder began to say something else when Scully's cell rang. Puzzled, Dana fished the phone out of her pocket. Very few individuals knew her personal cell number. The main caller standing right next to her.

"Agent Scully?" A voice asked, weaving its way through the static on the line.

A pause.

The doors to the elevator shushed open. Dana stepped out first, Mulder a step behind. The hissing on her phone clearing as she entered the hallway.

"Hello?" Dana asked into the receiver.

"Dana?" A tickling sensation crawled up the back of Dana's neck. Something familiar in that voice, something that reminded her of whiskey and smoke. Mulder turned to look at her, Dana hadn't realized that she'd stopped walking. Something flashed in Dana's mind.

"Abbie?"

"Dana," the voice on the other end paused, "I need your help."


June 12, 1994

FBI Headquarters

Scully craned the back of her neck working the kinks out as she headed back to her office. It had been a month since the X-Files had been shut down and she'd spent the majority of her time working a menial position in the medical department.

Grateful that she hadn't been fired, Scully graciously accepted the demotion. Took her licks, as her father would say, and went back to work. Maybe, in a few years, her time spent on the X-Files wouldn't be the gashing scar that appeared on her record.

She accepted the looks, the snickers behind her back, the childish names that people called her. Maybe it was her background, all those years living in the shadow of a military commander. Maybe it was her desire to do something with her life. Or maybe, she was just too scared to admit to everyone that they were right.

Yet now, it seemed as if she'd been given that so desired second chance. Someone from the Special Prosecutors Office desired the FBI's assistance on a case. For some godly reason, that assignment had fallen onto Scully's shoulders. It took every ounce of strength Scully had not to smile when Blevins handed her the assignment. She practically skipped to the elevator.

Ready and set to regain her career.

Scully turned a corner heading into the break room, grabbing the needed cup of coffee before she began heading back to her office. The room was empty, except for the scant accruements that the FBI threw like bones to the underlings of the FBI. She grabbed a cup of mud-like coffee two rock hard croissants and headed out the door, almost running into two agents as they entered the break room, almost knocking the redhead over. Both parties gave their less than heartfelt apologies as they walked around each other. Although Dana recognized both men, their names escaped her as she headed down the hallway.

"Damn." Scully patted her hips, realizing she'd left her ID badge back in the break room. She skidded on her heels, pulling a u-turn in the hallway.

Dana approached the doorway, pausing as she heard the voices talking a little too loud in the room.

"What happened to your assignment?"

"Assignment," she heard the second man huff, "Please, I couldn't dump that tight-assed bitch fast enough."

"Not interested in inter-departmental assistance?"

"That kinda assistance I can do with out. I pleaded with Blevins to dump her into someone else's lap. Thank god he listened to me."

"I thought you liked her?"

"Don't get me wrong. That's one piece I'd love to bend over and loosen up any day but someone locked those knees shut and threw away the key. I actually feel sorry for the poor bastard who has to deal with that."

Dana feigned ignorance as the two men exited the break room, barely paying attention to the redhead standing next to the doorway. She grabbed her keys and, shoulders sagging, headed into the elevator.

**

Dana Scully's office was nothing more than a counter in one of the many teaching labs spread out throughout Quantico. She had been told that eventually, she'd be moved to a room where she'd have her own desk. Scully wasn't holding her breath. She didn't have a desk at the X-Files, so why should she expect one now?

The room was half lit. The rest of the light spilling in from the large windows that made up the opposite wall. At least she could see outside, Scully had mused on first seeing the room.

The room sat empty except for a lone figure sitting at one of the several lab islands that filled the room. She sat legs crossed on a stool. Black slacks, modest jacket lain across the table, short sleeved silk blouse, all business. Her black locks pulled behind her ears casually flipping through what Scully perceived to be her assignment.

"Hello," Dana called to the woman as she approached the desk. "I'm Special Agent Scully."

The woman never looked up from her folder.

"So you're the reject they sent to finally deal with me."

"And you must be the tight-assed bitch that no one wants to talk to."

The woman let out a laugh, deep, hearty, finally looking up from her folder. Her eyes seemed to sparkle. Black from afar, but a deep, rich brown Scully supposed on further inspection. The woman hopped down from the stool, extending a hand to Scully.

"Abbie Carmichael Special Prosecutor's Office, a.k.a., the tight-assed bitch. Which ever rings your bell." Her r's were slightly slurred, the 'your ' coming out an extended 'yer'. A Southerner, although it would take a few more minutes for Dana to narrow down the location.

"Special Agent Dana Scully," Dana accepted the hand, taking it into her own, "lesser known half of the FBI's most unwanted."

Abbie flashed Dana the widest smile that she'd seen in a very long time. She returned it with her own, both wiping away any preconceived notions they had of the other. Leaving Dana with the idea that maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.


"Can we meet?" Abbie asked in Dana's ear.

"Where are you?"

Mulder looked at Dana quizzically, wondering what was going on. She held up a hand to him, not ready to explain.

"I'm at the reflecting pool. It's rather melodramatic I know, but I didn't wanna chance going into the building."

Something serious.

"Dana, please, I need you."

"Scully, what is it?" Mulder asked in the background. Scully waved him away with a hand gesture.

"I'll be right there." Scully answered tucking the device back into her pocket. She turned towards her partner.

"Mulder, I have to go."

"What is it?"

Dana placed a hand on his arm, giving a reassuring squeeze.

"It's nothing I can't take care of Mulder."

"But what about the X-File?" He asked sounding almost like a wounded puppy.

Scully returned her partner's question with a knowing smile to her partner.

"You go ahead, I'll meet you there when I can."

Before he could answer, Dana was already inside the elevator. Mulder stood in the hallway staring at her like a child sent to school for the first time.

"It's okay." She reassured him as the doors closed. "Now go."

"Scully?" He called out to the doors. It was too late. Scully was gone.

End Chapter One


Chapter Two

A mild winter storm slowly buried Washington DC in a blanket of crystallized water. Dana tucked her gloved hands in the pockets of her coat. As she walked, she listened intently as her shoes made loud scrunching noises in the freshly fallen snow.

Abbie Carmichael sat on a park bench near the edge of the reflecting pool. Dressed in an outfit that probably would cost Dana a month's salary. A light dusting of snow beginning to cover the woman's body, reflecting the type of stillness usually reserved for the dead. Dana approached the woman, watched as Abbie's eyes found hers, a slight smile creasing her face.

"I'm not even going to ask if you're cold." Dana stated dryly.

Abbie stood from the bench, casually extending her arm for a cursory greeting.

"Nice to see you too Dana." Abbie responded. She pointed at the bench with her head. "Walk or sit?"

"I think you've been sitting long enough," Dana placed her hand in the crook of Abbie's elbow, pulling her towards the sidewalk, "Walk with me, talk with me."

The two walked in stilted silence for a while. Dana allowing Abbie the space to get whatever it was off her chest.

"We keep walking and we're gonna be in the Potomac."

"Yeah." Abbie exhaled, not really sure how to broach the subject.

"I can't help you if you won't tell me."

Abbie stopped walking, Dana turning to face the taller of the two.

"Okay, hypothetically speaking, what if an agent of the court had an indiscretion that could ruin their career?"

<Ah, the hypothetical AND the pronoun game>, Scully thought to herself.

"Hypothetically speaking?" Dana answered, "I'd say this person needs a lawyer, not an FBI agent."

"And what if I were to say that the indiscretion involved a person accused of a quadruple homicide?"

"Jesus Abbie," Dana gasped, "Hypothetically speaking, I'd say that I need a drink."

Dana grabbed Abbie's arm, pulling her in the direction of the parking lot.

"And so do you."


What was thought a simple task turned into an arduous journey that Scully wasn't sure would end. Abbie had brought a thick file containing an autopsy report, several photos and paperwork associated with her case. The attorney was merely searching for a second opinion. But what she got was..

"This is wrong." Dana stated for the umpteenth time.

"Are you sure, Dana?" Abbie asked, again. Dana wasn't used to being called by her first name. Yet, for some reason she never corrected the attorney on the lack of formalities between them.

"Like I said, judging from the evidence I'd almost be willing to bet my career on it.."

"Yeah, but you said almost." Abbie interjected.

"Yes, without another analysis to support my claim I couldn't possibly stand behind my argument."

"Shit," Abbie stood up from the table, her hands placed on her hips. "I'm so screwed."

"Now come on." Dana tried to reassure her, "The world's not about it end. Like I said, just reorder the tests and if I'm correct."

"My secondary witness went from a drug overdose to a murder. Which changes a whole helluva lot, don't you think?"

It was a rhetorical question, which Scully knew she wasn't going to answer.

The woman before her had received the official run around by a group of people whose self-interests were more important than justice. A situation, Dana mused, that struck a little too close to home. Still, there truly wasn' t much more the agent could do for Abbie. The tests would either support Dana's theory or they would not. Either way, Dana's work was done.

This saddened Dana in a small sort of way. In the short span of time that Dana had spent with Abbie Carmichael, she had discovered two things. One, Abbie was from Texas, which explained the accent. Two, she was an ambitious, idealistic woman with a single-mindedness that was reserved for the very brave or the very stupid. And Dana knew that Abbie Carmichael was far from stupid.

It became apparent that her single-mindedness had stepped on quite a few toes. Several who also happened to be walking the very hallowed halls of the FBI. Dana also surmised that this same character trait had also impressed a few more. She could see how this woman could become a member of the Special Prosecutors Office.

Dana could see in Abbie that they were very similar, aside from the obvious. With Dana, there was an air of disillusionment. The knowledge that seeking justice and attaining it were, most definitely, two separate entities unto themselves. With Abbie, there was something else. There was a darkness in Abbie. Not quite cynicism, she certainly believed in the system of justice and her duties to carry out the "arm of the law", but a level of anger, whose source Dana couldn't quite put her finger on. For some reason, this brought out a maternal feeling with Dana. The need to protect Abbie from the 'very bad things' that Dana knew was out there. The men in shadows who took lives with neither restraint nor fear of justice; did inexplicable things to the innocent. Yet, walked with placid faces in the sun, knowing they were free to walk amongst us.

Abbie Carmichael lifted her arms above her head, interlocking her hands, and stretched, her lanky frame working out the kinks. Dana watched through her bangs. The smooth runner's thighs draped in dark coal slacks that led to a smooth, taut stomach. Dana's eyes were about to reach the woman's upper torso when Abbie turned towards her.

"What exactly did you do to piss the higher ups so bad that they'd stick a person like you down here?"

<A person like me?> Dana puzzled before exhaling, a slight smile creasing her face. "It's a long story."

"Doesn't matter," Abbie replied, "I definitely have time."

Abbie walked around the smaller of the two giving a slight pat on Dana's shoulder before grabbing her coat and sliding it on.

"Let's go get a drink."

"Abbie, it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon." She studiously pointed out.

"And you're telling me, honestly, that they'd miss you."

Abbie scooped up her file, stuffing the papers in her briefcase. She turned to Dana giving a coy jerk of her head. Dana moaned defiantly, a childish pout creasing the edges of her cheeks as she took the coat handed to her. Dana Scully followed Abbie out of the Federal Building. Part of her wanting to rebel against the forces so eager to crush her. The other, glad to finally participate in some real detective work. And deep down in a part of her that she'd never admit to anyone, Dana found that accent really darn cute.


"Irish cream for her, Glen-livet on the rocks for me." Dana stated to the waiter. The two were tucked away in a cozy little bar that was as relatively far from the Federal Building and a place she knew no self-respecting agent would be caught dead in.

"Did someone forget my favorite drink?" Abbie teased.

"No," Dana exhaled, "When I find someone half frozen, as a doctor, I tend to try to find the thing that will warm them up."

"Yeah, I know, that used to be me."

"Abbie," Dana paused, trying to read the face of the woman across from her, "Is that why you're here?"

"How's Mulder?" she barely spat, a long contained anger bubbling to the surface in the younger woman.

"Oh Jesus, is that what this is about? Abbie, that was six years ago."

"Yeah, six years. I didn't understand it then, I don't understand it now. I don't think an explanation is far outside the boundaries of expectations."

<So much for a peaceful reunion>, Dana thought. "Listen, you called me. YOU asked for my help. I'm not the one fucking a murderer." Shit. Dana knew the words were a mistake the moment they left her mouth.

Abbie glared at her. In an instant, she was grabbing her coat and heading towards the door.

"You're right, the mistake was all mine."

"Shit," Dana groaned to herself, she called out to the woman sliding out the booth, "Abbie."

Dana met the waiter, drinks in hand, halfway between the door. She motioned to him the universal 'one minute' sign as she bounded out the door after Abbie.

Dana knew that with Abbie's longer legs and years as a track athlete she'd have a good start on her, even at a brisk walking pace. Dana Scully didn't have to walk far.

She found Abbie standing in the restaurant parking lot. She looked around the lot incredulously, raising her arms in defeat, letting the limbs fall slack at her sides. Dana walked up to her side.

"I forgot," Abbie whispered, "We took you car."

"Abbie?" Dana pulled the woman towards her. She brought her hand up to the taller woman's face forcing the eye contact, surprised at the wetness on her fingers. Dana pulled the woman into an embrace, Abbie wrapping her arms around the smaller woman's waist. Dana felt the sobs in her neck, the slight convulsions in Abbie's sides, the shivering of her body. Dana pulled her in tighter, kissing an ear as she brushed the hair from her face, cooing soft words of comfort in her ear. One look from those dark eyes and Dana was opening her arms, and her heart, again.

Abbie Carmichael was scared. And Dana, with all the strength that one can put into an embrace, gave her solace in the one place Abbie had always felt safe ­ Dana's arms.

End Chapter Two


Warning: This chapter contains a slight bit of gore/violence of a particularly squeamish nature.

**

Chapter Three

Dana thought that Abbie was the most fearless woman she had ever met. The plate before her was piled at an awe-inspiring height with foods no sane person should attempt to eat. Dana had dubbed the course 'cholesterol surprise'.

"You know, as a doctor, I have to advise you about eating that."

"Yeah," she answered tucking two napkins in her shirt collar, "And as a lawyer, I can always sue them later."

Abbie drug Scully not so kicking and screaming to a hide away. It's main claim to fame being its self-boasting moniker of "Best Damn Bar-B-Que ­ This Side of the Mississippi". The restaurant was partially filled with people, mostly tourists, of all walks of life. Everyone there to dine on the map making cuisine.

"You never answered my question." Abbie stated scooping a fork full of cole slaw.

"Which question was that?"

"Someone like you pissing off a lot of people and getting stuck in no man's land?"

"Someone like me?" That phrase again. Abbie laughed into her napkin wiping some sauce from her lip.

"Someone as in not stupid. I have a little info on you. You're no spring chicken. A medical doctor with a specialty in forensics, you're an asset to the FBI, not a liability. Yet, there you are, tucked off in a little hole working your arbitrary job."

"I wouldn't consider what I do arbitrary."

"But you wouldn't consider it meaningful either, would you? Okay," Abbie held up her hands in resignation, "Poor choice of words on my part. What I'm trying to say is that while it's grunt work it's not the type of job they give you when they're trying to get rid of you. If that were the case I'd suspect you'd be in some little room listening to surveillance tapes."

Dana chuckled at the comment, a puzzled grin on Abbie's face. She'd drawn Dana into the conversation, just not the desired response. Dana leaned into the table.

"It's going to take more than a nice lunch to get that story out of me."

"Don't worry, the beer's on the way."

Dana continued smiling at the woman across from her. She had the strange feeling that Abbie was working her, pumping her for information. Not cynical enough to believe that the lawyer was working for the forces that seemed to be swirling around she and Mulder, but more out of sheer curiosity. Scully had to admit, she was curious herself.

"Okay, change of subject. What did you think I meant by someone like you?"

Dana rolled her eyes slightly, followed by a slight groan. She was used to being subtle in her body language, years mastering her technique of control.

"Why'd you leave Texas?" Dana asked, quickly trying to change the subject. Dana's eyes glinted with a hint of curiosity mixed with playfulness, she never expected the darkness that reflected back at her. Abbie Carmichael darkened. The sly smile turned to a flat line across her face, the dark eyes squinting slightly. Her whole countenance, her being quickly closed itself off.

"Ouch." Dana humored slightly.

"It's a long story," Abbie returned, trying to fill the sudden heavy air between them, "I guess we both have long stories to tell."

Dana stabbed at her baked beans not really interested in eating them, but not ready to return Abbie's gaze.

"I thought," Dana blurted in a soft staccato rhythm, "you were saying I was gay."

"What?"

"You know, someone like me. It's not like I don't get it all the time, amongst all the other names about me floating out there. I just never figured you'd be so positive with the alliterations."

Abbie Carmichael began laughing. Dana stared back towards her, her face twisting into a confused expression, the humor of her confession lost upon her.

"I'm sorry," Abbie raised an apologetic hand towards her, "I'm not unaware of the name game. I've got quite a few myself." She said in between wiping the tears from her eyes.

"I like tight-assed bitch." Dana replied.

"It does have its special charm but I'm setting my sights higher. The new one is Hang'em High Carmichael. I kinda like it, cuts down on the bullshit factor."

"Ugh, I only wish my detractors were so imaginative. Considering my reputation, I'm actually surprised you wanted anything to do with me."

"You have a high opinion of your reputation, Ms. Spooky."

Dana giggled lightly, "You know what really stinks, they don't even have the cajones to come up with something original. I'm stuck with second billing."

"Well, I wouldn't put you second to anything Special Agent Dana Scully."

Dana blinked slightly at the comment, not sure if it was meant as she thought it was.

Abbie's cell phone went off in her pocket. Another distraction, interrupting the ever increasing tension between them. The attorney fished the phone out of her pocket.

"Carmichael." Formal. Business like. Dana watched as the woman's reaction went from mild annoyance to pure shock.

"What!?!" She yelled into the phone, running a hand over her forehead. "Shit, are you sure? You're sure? Goddammit."

Dana listened to the rhythms of Abbie's voice. The tennis match like back and forth of her one sided conversation. She could tell that Carmichael would be leaving, and soon. Slightly disappointed that her time with her new friend had come to such an abrupt end.

"I'll be there in 30," Abbie stated, "And I'm bringing someone with me."

Dana cocked an eyebrow at the last statement. As she stated earlier, her work with the attorney was completed. Yet, Abbie felt compelled to drag her further into this case.

"My star witness was just fished out of the Hudson." Abbie sighed.

"Accident or homicide?"

"Definitely homicide, he wouldn't tell me the details over the phone but it sounds pretty bad," Abbie flagged down a waiter, "Can we get two to-go bags please and the check. There's a charter leaving from Bollins Air Force Base in 45 minutes."

"But what do you need me for?" Dana asked, even as she was gathering her coat. Maybe there wasn't a need for her on this case, but it was nice being wanted. A nice to have the opportunity to dig her teeth in some real investigative work.

"All things considered," Abbie answered as the two headed out the door, "you 're the only one I trust."

"That," she flashed a wide Texas smile as she entered the driver's side of her rental car, "you never told me if you were gay."

**

The charter flight to New York cut the 4-hour drive to a little over an hour flight. They shared the flight with a Senator and his staff. A favor for the Office to get their number one's ass back into the state.

In between fielding calls from her superiors, Abbie spent the time debriefing Dana on her case. Technically, it was a drug case. The case had started out simple enough, a known dealer arrested with a suitcase full of crystal meth in his trunk. The case falling onto Abbie's desk more as 'scraps for her to chew on', than anything substantial. Then, things got complicated. A routine search yielding a drug lab, a hundred million dollars in laundered money, and Abbie Carmichael stood poised to take down one of the largest drug smuggling rings on the Eastern seaboard. Not bad for a rookie only six months on the job. And every one was chomping at the bit to get a piece of this case. Her case, she added. All next to the ones who wanted nothing more than to watch Abbie fail and bounce her ass back to the "minor leagues".

Dana could tell that Abbie thrived on the pressure; the pressure from those wanting her to fail, and those wanting her to succeed. Underneath it all, Abbie's need to prove to herself that what she was doing was right, that she had chosen the path for her.

Even as all these forces were swirling around her, threatening to swallow her whole. Abbie had sunk her teeth in, claimed her territory. Dared anyone to take it from her. All the while, a legal house of cards precariously stacked against her. Now, the house was falling apart. Key evidence was missing and witnesses were turning up dead. The proverbial rock and a hard place.

"I need you to observe the autopsy when we get there. I don't want the same idiot making another mistake."

"Well, if it's clearly murder, I don't see how he could."

"What? You think oath to duty couldn't come between a man and his pension?" Abbie snorted.

"I'm no stranger to office politics and the ways of the world." Dana reminded returning Abbie's gaze. "Probably more so."

"Oh really, and what could you have possibly gleaned down there in the hallowed basement walls of the FBI?"

Dana let the question hang in the air as the 'fasten seat belts' sign dinged on, followed by the rehearsed voice of their in-flight steward. She supposed that she'd piqued the attorney's curiosity because even as Dana looked forward towards the cabin, she could still feel those dark eyes boring into her. Probably another one of those sly grins that she'd become accustomed to smiling right back at her.

Plane landings, or take offs for that matter, scared the bejesus out of Scully. Science aside, she'd learned the statistics, memorized all makes and models and their records for a crash. Probabilities, statistics, ratios, and good old faith flashed through Scully's mind. Even with all her scientific knowledge, and belief in that science. Dana still fell to the irrational fear that "something bad could happen".

Dana gasped a little too loudly as the plane jerked slightly from a gust of turbulence. Her body stiffening in the up right and seated position of her chair. Knuckles whitening as her fingers placed a death lock grip on the armrest.

She felt something warm sliding across her right hand. Dana looked down to see Abbie's fingers laying atop hers, giving a sympathetic squeeze. Dana turned to meet the woman's gaze with an embarrassed half smile.

**

Stepping off the plane, Dana half expected to turn around and get back on the board. The heat nearly bowling her over, it was a typical summer day in heat wave suffering New York. The sun having set several hours ago, the concrete jungle had barely begun the process of shaking off the heat. Now, tucked away in the gloriously air conditioned confines of the New York City morgue, Scully was almost content in her career choice of dealing with the dead.

Even at her current position, standing in a hallway, she could hear Abbie several doors down swearing up a Texas storm at the persons responsible for removing the body from the scene.

A plain clothed detective approached the agent. He was in his late twenties, neatly manicured. A rookie by all definitions, but one who's appearance and upper class background afforded him the rise in departmental duties than should have been necessary.

"Agent Scully?"

"Yes."

"Carmichael asked me to escort you to the autopsy bay."

"Of course." Scully followed the younger man. She could have found the room by her self. Just follow the smell of formaldehyde, antiseptics and death. The agent stopped momentarily in an adjacent room, trading her jacket for a standard issue smock, and protective goggles. She slid her glasses on before donning the specs.

"Who the Hell are you?" The thickest Alabama accent boomed as Scully entered the autopsy room. He was an elderly gentleman, an amalgam of every college professor she ever met. Grayish, slightly balding head, mustache, several decades worth of character lines etched across his face. More than anything, he had the self deprecating manner of someone who believed himself superior in even the flurry of mistakes Scully had uncovered from his previous autopsy.

"She's with me." Abbie stated as she entered the room. "Agent Scully, meet Dr. Claiborne."

"So you're the reason I'm up at this time of night," the doctor snapped as he moved around the autopsy table.

"Let's just say your work left something to be desired. She's here for an observatory purpose only. If you want you can piss on the table to claim your territory."

"Carmichael." One of, Scully assumed, Carmichael's superiors snapped. She finally noticed the crowd that was already in the tiny room. A couple standing behind the door, many more up in the observation room.

"You might wanna join your friends up in the booth," Dr. Claiborne snarked, "this is gonna get messy."

"I'm staying."

Dana took a container of mint salve and applied a generous portion under her nose before handing the container to Abbie. "You're gonna need this if you do." Abbie gave Dana a glance before applying the salve under her nose. The process repeating itself amongst those who stayed in the room.

"Hey red," Claiborne barked towards Scully, "you know how to work that thing?" He pointed his head towards a technician's camera that was sitting on a table. Scully cocked an eyebrow towards the doctor. She was really beginning to not like the man. "Well, get it and get over here."

Dana grabbed the camera and took her place at the autopsy table. Claiborne grabbed the zipper on the body bag. He paused more for a dramatic effect than anything.

"Hope ya'll haven't had dinner yet." He stated before yanking the bag open.

No one ever gets accustomed to the smell of death. Yet, one never forgets it either. As Claiborne yanked open the bag, the smell wafted into the room. Scully and Claiborne the only ones in the room who didn't place a hand to their collective mouths. She heard several moans in the background, one officer even having the courage to leave the room.

The victim, one Carl Franklin, had spent two days in the river before being fished out. His body, now cold, gray and very, very dead, a strap of duct tape still fastened to his mouth, lay prostrate on the table. His hands, bound behind his back, forced the technicians to place him in the bag on his side, where he lay now.

Claiborne clicked on the over head voice recorder, vocally stating his thoughts as Scully swirled around the body snapping various pictures.

The doctor worked over the body with authority. He cautiously cut the rope around the man's wrists careful not to cut the knot, for later examination.

The rigamortis having settled long after death, Claiborne easily rolled the man onto his back. The victim's skin bloated and grey from the days in the water. Claiborne took a pair of scissors and cut the man's shirt open.

"Red, take a look at this." Scully, ignoring the Doctor's pet name, circled around the table to the doctor's vantage point. Carved into the victim's chest was a large symbol, a circle with intricate patterns woven in and out the boundary.

"Have you seen anything like this?" She asked.

"Nothing like this." He answered, surprisingly without sarcasm.

Scully took several angled shots before moving on. The doctor sliced off the remainder of the man's clothes, satisfied with his external examination, the doctor turned to gather more instruments, preparing for the external.

Claiborne began carefully peeling away the tape stuck to the victim's mouth. The tape removed, Claiborne opened the victim's mouth.

"Oh Jesus." The doctor gasped. Scully immediately at his side, peered into the open cavity.

"What is it?" She heard Abbie ask.

"Bugs," Scully replied, "Someone filled his mouth with bugs."

"It'll take a bit to determine the exact kind," Claiborne huffed through his nose, he was having a hard time with this, "They're all kinda mushed up right now. Jesus, I hate bugs."

Scully moved out of the doctor's way, noting his phobia. He hovered over the trunk of the man preparing to make an incision when something moved. Technically speaking, something inside the man's body moved.

"Jesus Christ," one of the detectives cried out, "He's not dead."

"I guarantee you son, this man is most certainly dead." Claiborne snapped back. He gave a parting glance to Scully. She could see that he was indeed scared. Something about this case was going horribly wrong. All hanging in anticipation for the final reveal.

He began the incision to open the victim's chest cavity. Scully handed him the buzz saw to slice open his ribcage. She gave a slight glance over to Carmichael. She was holding up fairly well, not as pale as some of her companions in the room. One man, slowly turning a light shade of green. Abbie nodded slightly to Scully, inferring that she was okay, Scully returning the gesture.

"Jesus Christ almighty!" The doctor cried. Scully turned to see the commotion a gasp escaping her throat.

Cockroches. Hundreds of them began pouring out of the man's chest. Dr. Claiborne quickly stepped back, Scully following. The bugs crawled out of the man's chest. Squirming and writhing, stepping over the carcasses of those that didn't make the trip. A wretching sound came from the back corner. Scully turned to see one of the plain clothes dumping his lunch on the scrubbed floor.

"Get out!" Scully barked to the witnesses, they stared back at her in horror, "You heard me! Get him out of here, he's puking all over the evidence."

One of the officers grabbed the man's arm, more than happy to leave the room. Abbie followed the two her eyes glued to the dead man on the table.

"Abbie." Dana called out to the woman. "Take Dr. Claiborne with you."

Abbie's eyes never left the body, her face white as a sheet. She placed a hand in the crook of the doctor's elbow. The man had gone quite probably into shock. His worst fear scurrying around on the floor about him.

"Jesus Christ Almighty," were the last words Doctor Claiborne spoke as Abbie led him out into the hallway.

Dana looked up into the observation booth, noting the room wasn't as crowded as earlier. She turned back to the table, the remaining insects squirming inside the body. She clicked on the voice recorder.

"This is Special Agent Dana Scully, I'll be performing the remainder of the autopsy."

Scully let out a heavy sigh as she gripped the scalpel in her hand. She had a lot of work to do. And she wasn't even supposed to be on this case.

End Chapter Three


Chapter Four

Their waiter quietly and quickly placed their drinks on the table before retreating to the kitchen. Abbie wrapped her fingers around her coffee, letting the warmth of the liquid seep into her hands. Dana took a sip of her scotch swallowing just a tad more than she intended. A crook of a smile sneaking onto the corner of Abbie's mouth as Dana shuddered.

"Listen Abbie," Dana sighed, "What I said was way out of line. I'm in no position to judge."

"Dana."

"No, listen, I've had my share of bad relations. Sex with a murderer, been there, definitely done that." Dana admitted. She lifted two fingers, emphasizing her point. "Twice."

Abbie's eyebrows rose slightly. Her mouth opening to a silent 'ah'.

"So, after all these years, we still have a few things in common." Dana continued. "And I'd never judge you."

Abbie met her eyes momentarily, checking to see that Dana's words were true and not some way to finagle the truth out of her. She looked back down towards her drink, downing the remainder of her coffee in long swallow.

"Jesus," she finally sighed, "I need something stronger. Waiter!"

The young man tentatively walked towards their table, not wanting to come between another round of fireworks. Abbie flashed her Texas smile easing the boy's concerns.

"Do you have Jack Daniels?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

<Ma'am>, Scully thought, <she's gonna eat him alive for that>.

"I'll have two shots," Abbie continued, "One straight, the other on the rocks. And another scotch for her, she's gonna need it."

"Okay, what was once general concern has now been upgraded to officially worried."

Abbie snickered at the comment, running a shaky hand through her hair. It had been awhile since Dana had seen her do that. Her mind meandered for a moment, recalling those ebony locks cascading over her and the look of ecstasy that usually followed.

"Dana Katherine Scully." Abbie softly called to her.

"What?"

"I come to you in a time of need and you're thinking about sex?"

"Am not."

"Then why are you blushing?"

"Drinking scotch remember, I'm flushed."

The two paused for a moment then burst into a fit of giggles. The waiter returned with their drinks, a sigh of relief passing through his lips. Thankful to catch the two in a moment of levity, he cautiously asked if they 'd need a menu. Scully nodded her reply, remembering that this conversation was probably going to occur over multiple drinks. And she had no desire to continue it over an empty stomach.

"God, I missed you, Dana." Abbie confessed.

Dana looked at her through the top of her menu. "I missed you too."

"Just not enough to call, eh?" Abbie downed her first shot, feeling the liquid burn in her belly. "Sorry, that was a low shot. How about I just start talking?"

"I'm listening."

"Shit," Abbie leaned back in her seat settling in. This was going to be a long one. "I'd just lost a pretty big case. Well, lost wouldn't be the accurate phrase, more like raked over the coals and left with my ass hanging."

"That good huh?"

"Yeah, Jack chewed my ass out. I just wanted out, ya know. To get away."

"Has it been that bad?"

"Not bad really, but Jack's hippie-love attitude and me, well, fire and water. We're not gelling. And him ending the conversation with the phrase 'you need to get laid' didn't help much. So I did, went to the nearest lesbian bar I could find. And.."

"Drank yourself silly." Dana finished.

"Bingo," Abbie raised her glass in compliance, taking a generous sip before continuing, "And like every cliche in every movie I've ever seen, there she was. Sitting at the bar. I was two sheets to the wind by that time. Not that it mattered. There was this connection you know. That moment. Like when I met you."

Dana cocked an eyebrow at the last comment. Not that she could stop Abbie at this point. The liquor had taken effect and if Dana had learned anything it' s never stop a Southerner when they're in the middle of a story.

"We started talking and she actually listened. I mean, I meet a lot of people and when I start talking about 'the Job' they get that glassy eyed look."

Dana nodded her head to the comment. She'd seen it herself many a time. A potential suitor learning that she worked for the FBI, yet never wanting to hear anything that might shatter their romantic notions.

"I'm yapping, flirting up a storm. She looks me dead in the eye and asks me if I want to kiss her. Next thing I know I'm pressed up against my car, her hands down my pants and I'm getting laid in the parking lot." Abbie huffed, shaking her head incredulously.

"How long did this relationship last?" Dana asked, a tinge of jealousy creeping into her belly. It used to be her that made Abbie happy. The one that made her moan and scream crying into the night. Why had she been so quick to end it?

"Three weeks."

"Three weeks? That's it?"

"What do you want me to say, Dana? Six months? A year?"

"And does this siren have a name?"

Abbie paused a moment, shifting her eyes downward. Here it comes, Dana thought dryly.

"Amarice," Abbie whispered, "Full name, Jane Amarice Doe."

Dana's face went from surprise, to shock, to recognition. The pieces falling into place.

"Oh..my..God." She finally stammered. The bits of news reports she'd watched over the past few weeks coming into the forefront of her brain.

"Jesus Abbie."

"I don't pick the easy ones do I?"

New York businessman and social climber, Charles Esterhart, his wife, son, and one Pastor Allan Pate had been found bludgeoned and stabbed to death in Esterhart's home. Amarice with weapon in hand and fingerprints all over the murder weapons. Dana should have known Abbie was referring to this case. The type of high profile case that the District Attorney's office thrived upon. The cases usually reserved for the DA's 'big guns'.

"Abbie, are you sure you should be telling me this?"

"Dana, you're the only one I can trust with this. I truly wish this was an open and shut case. But it's not and it keeps getting stranger by the minute. I can't tell Jack what's happened, he'll pull me off the case."

"And you trust her not to say anything. Once this gets to trial, one peep from her and it's all over with."

"I know Dana, I know. I don't think she'll say anything. I've talked to her.."

"You've talked to her!?! Abbie, have you gone insane?"

"Yeah," Abbie snorted, "I think I have. Just hear me out okay. Okay?" Abbie waited as Dana settled in her seat. "You once told me that you'd always be there for me."

"Abbie."

"No Dana. That when I needed you that you'd be there. I need you now. Please Dana." Abbie reached across the table, clasping Dana's hand, her eyes practically begging the agent. It had been a long time since Dana had seen Abbie truly frightened. This was one of them. Everything was on the line for her, and Dana the only one she could turn to. That she trusted.

"Believe me Dana, if this were an open and shut case, I wouldn't be here now. Something just isn't right here and I need your help to find the truth."

"For starters?" Dana asked. In a nanosecond, Dana resigned herself. Turned her faith, heart, wisdom over to helping the woman sitting across from her.

And God help this Amarice person if she was wrong. Abbie released her hand and leaned back in her seat. Elbows on the table, Abbie gesticulating as she talked.

"For starters, the timeline's all fucked. I'm not talking OJ timeline here either. Sure Jack and I could work around it but not without a fight from her attorney's. Did I tell you who she's got on her team?" Abbie paused for dramatic effect, "Jamie Ross."

"Didn't she used to work for the D.A.?"

"Yep, right in the very same office I'm in. Pitching for the other team now. They've got private donations out the ass, some of which are coming from the church." Abbie could see the gleam in Dana's eye. "Dana, I've got nuns camped out on my doorstep proclaiming her innocence. They've got character witnesses out the ass for her. So we keep digging and find another chink in our proverbial armor, a videotape that corroborates Amarice's timeline. Hell, even Jack's starting to get a little skeptical."

"A little?"

"Well, a little for Jack meaning a millimeter in human terms. Now we're having to rethink our entire strategy. What was once a sure fire conviction just might wind up being thrown out the window."

"Isn't that what you want, Abbie?"

"If only it were that easy." Abbie reached into her briefcase pulling out a file folder and handing it to Dana. "Last night, someone slipped that under my door."

Dana opened the file. It was copies of a military record. Amarice's record.

Scully flipped through the pages. What she could read. Page after page having large portions blacked out, including Amarice's real name.

"Jesus. She's a marine." Dana spoke as she perused Amarice's record. "No, Navy Seal. High marks in weapons training, martial arts, tactics. Two disciplinary marks for assault."

"Yeah, a veritable killing machine."

"Abbie, I don't understand. Have you shown this to Jack?"

"God no. That folder pretty much seals our case. We might have a shitty timeline, and no motive, but we definitely have means. Post traumatic stress disorder. Mental incapacity. She is an amnesiac after all."

"But, you don't think so."

"C'mon Dana, don't you find it a tad suspicious that the moment our case begins to fall apart the answer appears gift wrapped on my front doorstep."

Dana mulled over the thought. She pulled a page with Amarice's picture on it; African-American, from the tint of her skin and bone structure probably of mixed race. Smooth lines, average looking Dana considered. An average-ness that was probably an asset considering her line of work. Someone who could blend in with the background, Dana thought, someone who wouldn't be too obvious. She stared at her eyes, dark, like coal on a moon-less night. Not like Abbie's. Abbie's had a sparkle to them. These eyes were cold. A killer's eyes. A shudder ran down Dana's spine. The thought that someone so cold could bring such warmth to Abbie's heart.

"Do you love her?" Dana never took her eyes off the photo.

"What?"

"C'mon Abbie, it's not a hard question."

"Did you love him? You know, the guy you slept with who was a murderer?" She asked the question with no sarcasm, no bitterness.

"I don't know. I think I could have."

"Yeah, I know the feeling." Abbie sighed deeply, sinking further into the faux leather couch. Her eyes wandered towards the window, staring blankly at the falling snow. "I just want to be sure."

**

After several hours of coaxing, a slight case of bait and switch, and a few more drinks, Dana managed to convince the attorney to stay at her place rather than check into a hotel.

Dana sat at the edge of her bed watching the attorney sleep. It took every ounce of strength Dana had not to crawl into bed and curl up next to the lanky frame. For the time being, Dana contented herself by watching her sleep. She lightly brushed her fingertips across Abbie's forehead, fixing a stray hair.

The attorney had dressed down in an old burnt orange (that's what Dana called the color, Abbie disagreed, preferring the phrase 'sacred orange') UT tee-shirt and matching boxer shorts, both of which were Abbie's. A tinge of embarrassment crept onto Dana's face as she explained that she didn't have the heart to throw them away; leaving out that she occasionally slept in them. The scent of Abbie had long since washed away, but something about it always made Dana feel comfortable.

Abbie moaned slightly at the touch on her forehead before rolling over mumbling something incoherent. Just like old times, Dana mused silently. Slowly, Dana eased off the bed, walking into the den.

Amarice's military file called to Dana like a beacon. She grabbed the manila folder, sitting down at her computer. Like Abbie had said, it was all too convenient. Dana flipped through the blackened pages. Everything they needed to convict Amarice was right there. But, anything that would give a clue as to who the woman was, remained a mystery.

Dana scanned online through the FBI database for anything pertaining to the case. Finding nothing new that Abbie hadn't told her already, or brought with her. If there was one thing about the ADA, she definitely was thorough.

Almost content with her official search, more exhausted than anything, Dana shut off her computer. She knew that if she was going to help Abbie, she'd need to look in places other than 'official channels'.

Dana placed her glasses on the desk before stretching to get the last kinks out. She turned off her desk lamp, passing by the window to close the shades. Dana peered through the blinds sub-consciously, her eyes drawn to the tiny red light burning across the street.

She blinked, wiping some of the exhaustion from her eyes, finally noticing the car parked across from her street. Although Dana couldn't see the occupants, she could see the burning cherry of a lit cigarette in the driver 's seat. Dana closed the blinds ever so slightly, leaving a tiny crevice open. She peered for a couple moments, the hairs on the back of her head standing on edge. There could be several logical reasons why the car was there, least of which being coincidence.

A man approached the car. Opening the passenger's side, he looked towards Dana's apartment complex before getting into the car.

Seven years on the X-Files had taught Dana several things. One was always keep a pair of comfortable shoes nearby. Something Dana put into effect as she slipped on an old pair of Sorel's.

Dana eyed the closed blind as she reached into her desk drawer, her hand wrapping around the handle of her semi-automatic as she pulled the weapon from its harness. With quiet confidence, Dana turned off the safety and edged herself out the front door.

The hallway clear, Dana made her way towards the stairs, her boots clunking on the steps as she hustled down several flights to ground level. The silence of the stairwell was deafening, threatening to smother Dana with its silence. Even as her keys jangled loudly in her pocket, boots clunking on the steps, it wasn't enough to break the eerie silence that permeated within the walls.

As Dana thundered through the front entrance, she could hear the sound of an ignition turning. Boots crunching on the newly fallen snow, Scully stormed her way towards the parked car. Her federal instincts screamed at her as she shucked protocol, caution and common sense to the wind, preferring brazen and open.

The driver stepped on the accelerator. Car tires slinging ice and slush, the back end lurched wildly to the left before the wheels took hold on the concrete.

"Hey!" Dana screamed as the car sped down the street, watching as the vehicle turned sharply around a corner. She scanned the street, eyeing everything with suspicion.

Dana stood in the middle of the street for several moments; ignoring the cold that was blowing across her body, chilling the tiny beads of perspiration that had formed on her skin. Content that her new watchers wouldn't be returning, for now, Dana turned and headed back into her apartment complex.

Dana sat on her couch, thumbing through Amarice's file once more. The words before her, no different than what was printed earlier. Still, she hoped to glean some information. Something innocuous that she might have missed before, that might be the key to everything.

She could feel the anger twitching in her belly, squirming and circling in her gut like a tiny snake waiting for the moment to uncoil. Dana had spent the last seven years with unseen forces swirling about her, tossing she and Mulder about like flotsam and jetsam in a conspiratorial sea. But now, the forces circling weren't for her, they were for Abbie. And that disturbed her more than anything. The tiny pieces that Abbie had become involved in were part of a larger, more ominous puzzle that had yet to reveal itself. All revolving around the puzzle piece known as Amarice Jane Doe.

Dana turned her pistol's safety on, returning the gun to its holster. The men that were staking her home probably wouldn't return tonight, but they would return. Hopefully, Dana would be ready. Working on the X-Files had taught Dana many things. Most importantly ­ there were no such things as coincidences.

End Chapter Four


Chapter Five

Carl Franklin died of a heart attack. In technical terms, he died of fright. Dana tried not to think too hard about it. The unimaginable brutality of the crime shook many a seasoned agent within the walls of this building. Even Scully shuddered with revulsion every now and then. Imagining the fear, horror, what were the final moments of Mr. Franklin's life.

Still, Dana carried on, carried out the arduous task of mapping the workings of death. In some eyes, they considered Dana's work macabre, maybe even morbid. Dana considered herself an artist, a cartographer, mapping the human body, learning its fragile history. Charting her course on bone, blood, sinew.

Mr. Franklin was a 53 year old emigre from Haiti. That Scully knew from his file. What his body told her couldn't be found on any paper. He died approximately 45 hours before his body washed on the shores of the Potomac.

Carl put up a good fight, however futile. Even bound, suffering blows that, Dana assumed, forced his tormentors to continue their brutal torture.

The autopsy took roughly seven hours. Dana finally settled herself behind Dr. Claiborne's desk deciphering her notes.

She took off her glasses, pinching the bridge of her nose. She hadn't intended to become so entrenched in this case. If not for the phobia's of Dr. Claiborne, Dana should have been home by now. Not that being at home was a good thing. She didn't even want to consider the upcoming months and the course of her career, or what was left of it. A soft knock at the door broke Dana away from her thoughts. Abbie stood in the doorway, a little worse for the wear.

"How's it going?" She asked.

"Almost done with the preliminary, it'll take another day for me to type everything up. Of course, that's not including the lab results."

"What do you have so far?" Abbie stepped into the room. She took a chair in front of the desk. Dana could see dark circles forming under the woman's eyes.

"For starters, your suspect is a white male. I suspect between the ages of 50 and 60. Judging by the color of his hair. He's also left handed." Abbie's eyes widened slightly at the comment. "I could tell by the way the knot was tied. Carl died about 45 hours ago. Heart attack, although I'd say he's one of the healthiest fifty year olds I've seen."

Dana's cell phone began to ring. Quizzically, she picked the phone up.

"Scully."

"Scully, it's me." Mulder answered in her ear. Dana's face widening into a soft smile.

"Mulder, it's two-thirty at night, what are you doing up?"

"What and miss a second of 'surveillance tonight'? Besides, I heard you had a little excitement up in New York."

"How'd you hear I was in New York?"

"Do you think anyone around here would skip the opportunity to rub in my face that you'd been given an actual assignment?" He commented a tinge of jealousy in his voice.

"It's not that exciting," She tried to reassure him, "I don't even know why I'm here." On that comment, Dana looked up at Abbie, the woman returning her glance. Abbie had taken some of Dana's notes casually thumbing through them. Dana took one of the pictures, staring at the strange symbol drawn on Franklin's chest.

"Mulder, what do you know about symbols?" She asked.

"Are you flirting with me, Scully?" He laughed on the other end. Mulder paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "Aside, from the cursory, like, religious, national and mathematical, I'd need a little more information."

Dana stared at the photo, trying to comprehend the various swirls and loops. "Well, it's nothing I've never seen before. Plus it ties into my victimology. How about I fax you a copy."

"Scully, what would the principal say?" He joked again. "You sure you want to risk getting me involved?"

"Why should only one of us have all the fun?" She could hear him chuckling softly. "I'll fax it over in the morning. Goodnight Mulder."

"Goodnight Scully." She hung up her cell, laying it back onto the desk. Abbie laid the notes on top of the picture.

"Was that your better half?"

Dana nodded. "He's been taking the closing down of the X-Files a little hard. Not mention that shit job they have him working now." Dana looked at her watch, noting the time, again. "Do you want to go over my preliminary notes?"

"Hell no," the attorney replied, "I've had enough gruesome for one evening."

"Then why are you still here?"

"And miss chewing every piece of ass in the tri-state area?" Dana snorted at the comment. "Have you decided where you're going to sleep tonight?"

"No, actually, I haven't. Too busy concentrating on this autopsy."

"Good," Abbie slapped her hands on her knees, rising from her chair, "You're staying at my place."

Dana was about to argue with her, then thought otherwise. Looking for a place to stay would take more time than she really wanted to spare. Plus, something in Abbie's eyes told her that 'no' was not an option.

**

Dana tossed and turned in Abbie's bed relentlessly; fluffing and punching the pillow before rolling over, continuously repeating the process throughout the night. It's not that the attorney's bed was uncomfortable, far from it. She remembered commenting on the furniture as Abbie showed her about the apartment. The only piece that Dana considered 'extravagant' in a dwelling that reeked of restraint.

Abbie's apartment was cluttered with box upon unopened box.

When Dana asked if Abbie just moved in, the attorney replied dryly "Yeah, about 6 months ago". With the exception of the bed, Dana didn't think the apartment a home. There weren't the normal sundries that one expects. Aside from the few diplomas and pictures about, Dana knew that Abbie considered this more a place that she 'slept' rather than called 'home'.

Now, as Dana tossed and turned she found her thoughts drawing more and more to the raven-haired attorney, the tenacity and attitude in which the woman worked. The word that most came to mind was intense. Dana had compared herself to the attorney. In some ways, she realized how wrong she'd been. If Dana were to describe herself passive-aggressive would be the word that most came to mind. It's not that she didn't consider herself a strong person, it' s that she'd always been one to follow the 'order' of things.

Abbie was the polar opposite. Aggressive-aggressive, Dana mused to herself.

Abbie knew what she wanted, went for it, and to hell with anyone who thought otherwise or dared get in her way.

Dana heard the soft sounds of Abbie moving about in the living room. She rolled over onto her back as she heard the soft shush of the fridge opening, followed by ice clinking into a glass. The thought of a nightcap sounded better than spending another moment tossing and turning, so Dana rolled out of the bed and entered the living room.

"Hey." Dana called softly to the attorney. Abbie sat on the sofa feet propped up on the coffee table, a bottle of Jack Daniel's next to her feet.

She was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a Dallas Cowboys jersey with the name 'Staubach' stenciled on the back.

"Hey." Abbie called back to her. "Couldn't sleep?"

"It's not for lack of trying. Your bed takes some getting used to."

"Yeah," Abbie snorted, "Lord knows why I bought it. I never sleep on the damn thing. Usually wind up falling asleep on the couch."

Dana smiled at the comment, tucking a tuft of hair behind her ear. "Mind if I join you?" She asked pointing towards the bottle on the table.

"The more the merrier."

Dana grabbed a glass from the cupboard, filling it with ice before joining Abbie on the couch.

"I never took you for a football fan."

"Dana," Abbie snorted, "I'm from Texas, you either love football or you're forcibly removed from the state."

They both chuckled at the comment as Abbie pointed towards her bookstand. Dana followed her finger, noticing the football laying in a glass display case.

"Autographed by the '77 champions." Abbie beamed. She poured some whiskey into Dana's glass before filling herself another round. Dana could tell that the attorney had consumed a few. The tops of her ears were turning a deep shade of red. Plus, that oh-so-subtle Texas twang was taking on a more pronounced drawl.

"Football was like a life-force in my house." Abbie leaned back into the couch, swirling her drink in her hand. "My mom died when I was 11. Cancer. Afterwards, it was like my Dad had no idea what to do, as a father, ya know. Even before she died, football was big in our family. He'd take me and my brother to games, more my brother than anything."

"But, after she died, something changed. Football became a sort of touchstone for us. Brought us together. Dad could be mad at us or vice versa, but as long as we were sitting together come Sunday, it was all okay."

Dana watched Abbie's face as she told her story, her expression the sort of melancholy people get when recalling their memories of childhood.

"Then my brother had to go and ruin it all by falling in love with baseball," Abbie snickered, "That was a dark day in the Carmichael house. But that was okay, as long as it was sports related."

"Is that how you became involved in track?" Dana asked, referring to the small number of awards and trophies Abbie displayed on her bookcase.

"Yeah, it's not like I'd be a linebacker for the Cowboys anytime soon. And I damn sure wasn't going to be a cheerleader. That's how I got into UT, on a track scholarship, distance running. At the rate I was going, I was a contender for the Olympics."

"What happened?"

"You should have seen him," Abbie ignored the question, "My Dad was so proud. Both he and my mother were UT alumni so it wasn't like I had a choice as to which college I was going to. 'College will be the best years of your life' he always told me. How could he be so wrong?"

Dana watched as Abbie's face darkened even more, her rhetorical question hanging in the air.

"Abbie?" Dana placed a hand on Abbie's shoulder. For just a nanosecond, she felt the attorney flinch, shrinking from her contact. Then, Abbie stiffened.

"How long until your final report is completed?"

"Um," Dana stammered for a second as Abbie switched gears on her, "Should be finished by tomorrow. I still have some samples I want to examine, but other than that, the lab should take care of everything else." She slid forward, placing elbows on her knees holding her glass in front of her. Abbie's change in demeanor had thrown Scully. She watched as Abbie downed her glass, refilling it immediately.

"Every time I try to fall asleep, I keep thinking about it."

"Yeah, you try not to think about all the evils out there. But then, something like this comes along." Dana trailed off on the thought, realizing that maybe too much whiskey really wasn't such a bad idea. She took her glass and drained it placing it on the coffee table. "I can't imagine what he went through."

"I can."

Dana blinked at the comment, turning her head towards Abbie.

"Held down like an animal, trying to get away. But he's too strong and no matter how you fight, or kick, he's stronger. And then he says that if you scream he'll kill you. And you don't 'cuz there's this look in his eye and you realize he means it, he *will* kill you."

"Abbie?" Dana watched as the tears filled her eyes. She could hear the ice in Abbie's glass tinkling slightly, looking down quickly to notice her hands shaking.

"But, it just keeps getting worse. 'Cuz you realize what he's about to do, and you know that death would be a..relief. You pray to God, praying for rescue, for death, to just be a little stronger.."

"Oh, Abbie." Dana stroked Abbie's cheek. The attorney finally turned her head towards Dana, her eyes filled with tears and secrets, both flowing freely.

"Why couldn't I have been stronger, Dana? Why couldn't.." Her words trailed off as Dana wrapped her arms around Abbie's shoulders. Abbie brought her head down into Dana's lap, her body crumbling as the anguish and pain that had bottled deep inside poured out of her.

Dana stroked her hair, cooing soft words of comfort. She could feel Abbie's body trembling as she continued to sob uncontrollably. In the back of her mind, Dana calculated the years that Abbie had bottled her secret deep within her. The years of carrying it around inside, a silent albatross hanging around her neck. Dana wondered what well of strength the attorney drew from. And how deep the effects her secret had upon her. An answer that maybe even Abbie didn't know.

**

Abbie awoke with a splitting headache threatening to rip open her cranium. She slowly stirred realizing that she wasn't quite alone in her slumber. Her head resting on Dana's belly, Abbie felt the slightly damp spot pressing against her face.

Jesus, Abbie thought to herself, I must have cried myself to sleep.

"Fucking pathetic." Abbie mumbled softly as she rose onto an elbow. The two were lying on the couch, a blanket half-strewn across their legs. She felt a hand on her head, fingers running across her scalp, tucking the hair back. Abbie glanced up, Dana staring back at her through sleepy eyes.

"Hey." Dana mumbled.

"Hey," Abbie replied an embarrassed tone in her voice. "Did you get any sleep."

"A little, every now and then you'd squeeze me a little too tight and I couldn't breath." Dana giggled trying to reassure the woman, "But, I must say, it's a lot more comfortable than your bed."

"I told you." Abbie clambered over Dana's legs, standing on shaky feet. Dana swung her feet over the edge, sitting as she stretched, working the kinks out.

"Listen Dana, I really have to apologize for last night. I usually don't drink so much.."

"Hey," Dana reached up, clasping one of Abbie's hands into her own. "You don 't have to apologize for anything. Secrets are dangerous things. And there's nothing wrong with a shoulder to cry on, or a stranger that'll loan you one."

"I'd hardly consider you a stranger."

"You know what I mean," Dana released the hold on Abbie's hand, then patted the couch, "Now sit, I think I know just what you need for that hangover."

"Does it show?" Abbie laughed as she gratefully sat back down on the couch.

"Well," Dana stood from the couch heading towards the kitchen, "To paraphrase from 'the Southerners Guide to Cliches', you look like ten miles of bad road."

Abbie laughed a little louder, laying her head back on the couch. Damn, it even hurts to laugh, she thought.

Dana returned to the living room, handing Abbie something that Abbie could only describe as rancid. She wrinkled her nose as Dana handed her the drink.

"It smells bad, tastes even worse, but trust me, the people most likely to have a hangover recipe that actually works are medical students."

"Oh my God!" Abbie gagged slightly as she sipped the concoction.

"C'mon Texas," Dana teased her, "Slam it like one of those whiskey's you're so damn fond of."

"Through the lips, over the gums, look out stomach 'cuz here it comes." Abbie toasted before slamming the drink. She gagged, convulsing slightly before exhaling deeply. "Jesus Christ on a crutch, what the Hell was that?"

"Pray now that you never get that drunk again and I have to tell you."

"Yes ma'am."

"Now go take a shower." Dana slapped her knee. "I swear you'll feel ten times better by the time you've dried off."

**

The doctor was right. As Abbie cooked breakfast, she really did feel better. In fact, the thought of food no longer repulsed her. As she made the final touches on Dana's omelet (Texas omelet, no less) Abbie could feel hunger pangs cramping her stomach.

"Do all Southerners have this kind of death wish regarding their cholesterol levels?" Dana asked, tucking her shirt into her pants as she stepped into the kitchen. She stood next to Abbie at the stove, her hair partially damp from her shower.

"Yes, that's why we all die with a smile on our face."

Abbie smacked the back of Dana's hand with the spatula as she reached for a croissant. Dana feigned looking hurt, leaning her back against the counter as she bit into the pastry. She watched as Abbie cooked, both lost in their thoughts.

"Mind if I ask you a question?"

"Only one?" Abbie smirked.

"I'm serious Abbie."

"I know. I come from a long line of smart-asses."

Dana paused watching as Abbie slid her omelet onto a plate. "You never pressed charges against him, did you?"

"You don't charge an MVP of the UT football team with rape." Abbie finally admitted. "I just refocused my energies. I didn't think I was strong enough."

Dana turned towards the taller woman. As if on instinct, Dana brushed the back of her hand across Abbie's cheek. "You're a lot stronger than you realize."

"Dana," Abbie sighed, her voice barely above a whisper, "Please don't pity me."

"Believe me, this isn't pity." Dana stated. She could feel the two of them moving closer, a magnet between them drawing them together. Dana's hand moved across Abbie's chin, cupping it, her thumb tracing her bottom lip. "I think you're the strongest person I've ever met."

Their lips brushed lightly against each other, the tiniest of contact, as hearts raced, and breathing rushed. Dana could feel Abbie place her hands on her hips, drawing her in. She closed her eyes as they moved closer, boldening herself for the inevitable. Abbie's lips felt so incredibly soft as her flesh pressed against Dana's. Dana opened her mouth slightly, brushing her tongue against Abbie's lips, an invitation. She could feel Abbie moan slightly as her mouth opened and their tongues began a tentative dance.

Time seemed to turn on its side, as they kissed. It was forever. It was minuscule. It just didn't seem to be long enough. Dana could feel the distance between them as they pulled apart breaking their kiss.

"Um, breakfast is getting cold." Abbie breathed as she released her hands from Dana's hips. Just as quickly as it had happened, it was over. Now, the two felt incredibly uncomfortable. The uncertainty of what occurred spreading over them.

"Yeah," Dana stammered, passion replaced with embarrassment.

"I'll set the table."

End Chapter Five


Chapter Six

"Do you trust me?" Dana asked.

"No." Abbie stated flatly yet in a joking manner. The two were standing in an alleyway located in the industrialized section of Washington D.C. Abbie looked around, taking in her surroundings. The previous night's flurries were slowly turning into a winter storm. Abbie clasped her gloved hands together, rubbing them furiously together.

"Just believe me when I say that what you are about to see is, well, a little strange. But these guys are good."

Abbie cocked a quizzical eyebrow at the last statement. Dana smiled then turned to knock on the metal door. Abbie glanced up reading the name stenciled on a sign - "The Lone Gunmen: Publishers of 'The Magic Bullet' Magazine".

"Who is it?" A voice called from behind the door.

"It's me." Dana responded. Silence. "Dana Scully."

A metal peephole slid open, two bespectacled eyes peeping through. Langly gave the agent a physical once over.

"Did you bring pizza?" Langly asked.

"Nope, but I have something better." Dana held up the file for him to see. "Military files."

"Cool!" The man exclaimed before fiddling with the locks. He opened the door, allowing Scully entrance, finally noticing the tall brunette standing off to the side.

"Langly, this is Abbie Carmichael."

"The lawyer?"

"The one and only." Abbie held out her hand to the man. He shifted uncomfortably in his shoes for a moment before taking her palm in his.

"They didn't screw up our order again, did they?" Frohike barked from somewhere inside the building.

"It's not the delivery guy," Langly called out, closing the door behind the two women as they stomped the snow off their boots. "It's Scully."

Frohike bounded from behind a corner. He was wearing a faux fur vest with matching boots.

"Agent Scully." Frohike stopped in his tracks, taking notice of the tall dark-haired women in their foyer. "Hubba hubba."

"Frohike." Dana stated to Abbie, an apologetic tone in her voice. She half-pointed to the woman behind her. "Abbie Carmichael."

"The lawyer." Langly stated as he walked past them. "And they come bearing gifts."

Abbie followed the three into a larger cavernous room. It was filled with rows of shelves, each over burdened with mechanical devices of all shapes and form; computers, radios, phones. All of which were in some form of assembly.

A third man greeted the group, Byers, slightly overdressed in a three-piece suit seemingly ignorant of the fact that it was a weekend. He shook Abbie's hand non-plussed to Abbie's status as someone with two x chromosome's, which ran counter to his two colleagues.

"Where's Mulder?"

"Doing a re-enactment of 'Deliverance' somewhere in Kentucky." She handed the file over to him. He thumbed through the pages as Frohike and Langly looked over his shoulders.

"This is for the Esterhart murder isn't it?" Langly asked.

"Yeah," Abbie replied, handing her coat to Dana as she found a stool to sit on, "Someone slid that under my door a couple days ago."

"Can you help us with?" Dana chimed in. She stood next to Abbie as she spoke. "I tried the FBI database but.."

"This file's like Swiss cheese," Byers finished her sentence, "A copy of a copy.."

"Ad infinitum." Frohike added.

"Yeah," Langly continued, "Unless there's some information they forgot to black out."

"Black out? Black out," Scully perked up, "Can you get into the military database?"

All three of them stared blankly back at her, as if the question was too stupid to comprehend. Dana pointed at the file.

"She has two arrests."

Byers perked up. "Of course." He turned towards his computer, typing furiously on his keyboard. Abbie tapped Dana on the shoulder.

"What's going on?"

"He's searching through the MP database, cross referencing between Amarice's description and the actual crimes."

"Do they have clearance to do that?" Dana squirmed slightly at the question.

"Not exactly?"

"Not exactly!?!"

"Listen lady," Frohike piped in, "We ain't exactly the Boy Scouts."

"Dana," Abbie hopped off her stool beginning to pace the floor, "How the Hell is this supposed to help my case? Hacking into the Pentagon with the three Stooges doesn't exactly gel with my definition of procedure."

"Hey!" Three men gasped in unison.

Dana grabbed Abbie by the crook of her arm, pulling her around a corner. She lowered her voice down to a whisper, knowing full well that all three men would be listening in on their conversation.

"Remember when you said that I was the only person you could trust?"

Abbie defiantly crossed her arms across her chest.

"Well, I need you to trust me now," Dana continued, "They might not look the part of model citizens but they can help us in ways you couldn't fathom." She could see Abbie gathering her thoughts, her retort forming on the tip of her tongue. Dana placed a hand on Abbie's forearm, gently squeezing in her point.

"Yes, this is about gathering evidence. But we need to find out who this woman is. Something *they* don't want us to know. If that means we have to break a few laws to get some answers, so be it. I guarantee you there's more going on here than *any* of us realize. Finding out who Amarice is, is the tip of the iceberg. So please Abbie, trust me. Let me help you."

"Okay, but on one condition," Abbie inhaled deeply. "No more surprises."

"Deal." Dana nodded in compliance. She hadn't meant to be so obtuse in what they were about to do. "I guess I went a little Mulder on you."

Abbie snickered at the comment, following Dana back into the main room. The three men turned their heads back to the computer screen. As the two women approached, Frohike removed his glasses wiping a false tear from his eye.

"Gee Scully, I never knew you cared."

"Don't let it go to you head." Dana joked as she jabbed Frohike in the ribs with her elbow.

**

As the men worked, Abbie busied herself by reading some of the literature lying about. Dana sat down next to the attorney, thumbing through Amarice's case file.

"Busy?" She asked.

"No," Abbie sighed, closing the magazine.

"Good. Tell me about the pastor. How did he get involved with Amarice?"

"Hmm," Abbie stretched a little in the chair, thankful to contribute, "That' s pretty straightforward. He was doing missionary work in South America."

"That's where he found her?"

"Yes. Why?" The wheels seemed to click in Abbie's mind. "Cross reference known people with their last location."

"Exactly."

"You're missing a bigger picture." The tall blonde-headed man piped in.

"And that is?" Abbie asked.

"You're assuming that they want her to be found." Langly added, pushing his glasses onto his nose. "Those pages weren't blacked out for no reason."

"Yes," It was Dana's turn to chime in. "But there's going to be a paper trail at some point. Airline records, assuming she was on vacation, fingerprints.."

"Except she doesn't have any fingerprints."

"What?" Dana reached for the case file, once more. The copy of Amarice's fingerprints clipped under her picture. Dana had given the page only cursory glances before, now she studied the page closely. She looked for the normal whirls and sworls that are part of every human's anatomy. But, Abbie was right, Amarice had none. Where there should have been the typical smudged ridges of fingerprints was nothing more than that of fingertip shaped black smudges. Dana looked up from the file quizzically.

It's quite normal for a criminal to sand or burn their fingertips off. Yet, these prints had none of the tell-tale signs that Amarice had mutilated her hands in such a fashion.

"If it makes ya feel any better," Abbie added, "It's the same on her feet."

"We got something!" Langly exclaimed. Everyone gathered around the screen as Byers continued typing.

"What do you have?" Dana asked.

"I did like you said. 1,328 hits."

"That's an awful lot of women beating the crap out of men."

"Yeah well, this is the military we're talking about. Breeding a better soldier and all."

"So, I refined my search. Finding anyone with commendations, promotions, etc. Got 27 matches." Byers pulled a page off the printer handing the page to Abbie.

Abbie read the names off the page, as if trying to glean some information from the text. She shook her head. "This does nothing for me."

"Hold you horses," Frohike added, "We're just getting started."

"Now the real fun begins."

"Police records are easy. Things get a bit dicey when we're talking personnel records."

"Not that it won't be a piece of cake."

"Of course."

The three men bounced their conversation back and forth, completing each other's sentences like a well-oiled machine, other times, coming across like teenaged boys trying to impress the girl next door.

Byers set a course towards hacking into each of the women's personnel files, Langly watching eagerly over his shoulder.

"Mind if I ask you a question?" Frohike asked Abbie. The attorney barely glanced his way before firing off a dry 'sure'. "Would it bother you if I asked you out to dinner?"

Dana turned towards the man, a look of shock on her face. She groaned inwardly knowing that Abbie didn't take too kindly to being hit on.

"Would it bother you if I told you I was a lesbian?"

"What's to be bothered about?" The man didn't skip a beat, even as every other jaw in the room hit the floor. "I like women. You like women. I like eating.."

"Frohike!" Dana yelled.

"I was gonna say seafood." He fired back.

"I bet you were." Dana grabbed their coats tossing Abbie's to her. "Look, it 's getting pretty bad outside and I don't think any of us want to get snowed in here. We should all go home and come back tomorrow."

The men stared blankly back at the Federal agent. Dana sighed deeply, "Okay, Abbie and I will go home. You guys stay here. If you find anything.."

"We'll call you." Langly finished. "We know the routine."

**

Dana turned the ignition as Abbie entered the car. The two had walked in stilted silence as they left the Lone Gunmen to their work. Dana watched as the wiper blades cleared the fresh layer of snow from the front windshield.

"Well," Abbie broke the silence between them, "You did say they were strange."

"It could have been worse," Dana smiled as she placed the car into gear.

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, I could have brought Mulder."

**

Cumberland, Kentucky

The winter storm that was currently burying Washington D.C. in a fury of snow was doing the same with the fine old state of Kentucky. Except, Mother Nature saw fit to replace snow with rain. The effects of which Mulder stamped off his boots, mud dropping off into clumps of wet sticky earth on the Cumberland P.D. welcome mat.

He waved to the cute secretary sitting behind her desk. She flirtatiously smiled back, her face immediately contorting to a grimace as Deputy Sheriff Marty Gaines made his entrance. Mulder made a mental note as he approached the desk.

"Any messages, Lucy?" He asked, tapping his palms on the fake wood paneling.

"Expecting something?" The Deputy queried. He stood a couple inches taller than Mulder. So squeaky clean and wet behind the ears Mulder was surprised that he didn't squeak when he walked.

"Yeah, a call from my partner." Both Marty and the Lucy raised an eyebrow at the comment. "Special Agent Dana Scully." He sighed. In the past day, Mulder had called the woman numerous times. Receiving neither an answer from her cell phone, nor picked up on the prodigious number of messages he'd left on her machine.

"Nope," Lucy went through the stacks of messages on her desk, "Nothing from Washington."

He heard the familiar ring of his cell phone in his pocket. Happy for the diversion, Mulder walked a couple paces before answering.

"Mulder."

"Go back to Washington." A voice stated in his ear. Tinny and mechanical as if filtered through a computer.

"What?" He growled. He'd barely started on his work and already Mulder was receiving threats. He began marching back towards Lucy's desk.

"Your partner is immersing herself in something that does not involve her." Mulder stopped dead in his tracks. The voice continued. "Stop her before we do."

"Listen you son of a.." The line disconnected before Mulder could finish his sentence. He could see the worry crossing the Deputy and secretary's faces as he finally approached the desk.

"Agent Mulder?" Deputy Marty's voice took a deeper tone, professional with just a tinge of rookie nervousness.

"What's the matter?"

"I need to go home."

End Chapter Six


Chapter Seven

The temperature on the New York City streets was quickly approaching the century mark. That didn't matter to Dana, she would gladly take the oppressive heat outside to the icy coldness that had quickly come between her and Abbie. After a breakfast eaten in stilted silence, Abbie dropped the agent off at the Coroner's office.

Dana drolly flipped through her report. She'd finished an hour ago, yet she couldn't bring herself to call the lawyer with her findings. Dana couldn't decide which emotions plagued her more.

The sound of her cell ringing snapped Dana from her thoughts. She picked up her phone, glad for the distraction.

"Scully."

"Hey Scully, it's me."

Dana could feel the corners of her mouth widening. She sighed slightly before speaking into the phone.

"Hey Mulder."

"Voodoo."

"Excuse me." Dana stammered.

"Or voudoun, to be more correct."

"Mulder, either you're speaking in tongues or I'm still missing the big picture."

"The symbol you sent me. It's from the Voudoun religion. Technically speaking the symbol on your victim's chest is for protection. Although, it seems to have been pretty ineffective."

"Damn," Dana leaned back in her chair, removing her glasses. "This doesn't tie into my victimology what so ever does it?"

"That's not entirely true, Scully. Consider this, the cross is considered a universal symbol that repels vampires." Mulder paused as he heard Scully snicker on the other end. "But, in that particular folk lore or what have you, other religious symbols do not. Like anhks, Star of David, etc. Now, maybe your victim did use his protection spell as a universal."

"But, the spell is more effective against those who believe."

"Correct-o-mundo." Mulder replied.

"So, in some form or fashion, our victim knew that they were aware of Voudoun and the consequences of breaking said spell." Dana tapped her fingers on the desk, her thoughts mulling over this new information. "It's not much. I think I've grasped at heavier straws. Is that it?"

"Well Scully, that is all you sent me? Unless there's more?"

<Nope, just kissing women I've just met> Dana thought to herself. "How are things going with you?"

"You have three guesses, and the first two don't count."

"That good huh?" She could hear the tinge of sadness in his voice. Ever since the closing down of the X-Files Mulder had become more withdrawn. Involving him in her current assignment seemed to bring a spark back into the agent. But even as they spoke, Dana could feel that spark slowly dying out.

"I've definitely seen better days." He sighed.

>From the corner of her eye, Dana could see Abbie standing in the doorway. The icy exterior had melted somewhat. Dana could tell by the way that the attorney shifted in her shoes. The uncertainty in her eyes on whether or not to interrupt Dana's conversation. Yet, she maintained her cool demeanor.

"I'll tell you what, Mulder, when I get back we'll go out to dinner."

"Do I get to pick?"

"Hell no. I know a great Bar-B-Que restaurant. We'll eat food that would give the Surgeon General a coronary with our fingers, and consume more liquor than a frat boy at kegger."

There was a long pause on the line.

"Mulder?"

"Who are you and what have you done with Scully?" Dana could feel herself smirking at the comment.

"I'll take that as a yes, then. I'll talk to you later, Mulder."

Abbie walked into the room as Dana put the phone down. She stood several paces from the desk, so as not to get into Dana's personal space.

"What's up?" Dana asked, maintaining the casual tone of her previous conversation.

"Just wondering when you'd be finished with your autopsy."

"Ah," Dana tapped her finger on the file, "It's mostly done."

"Mostly."

"Yeah, the lead I thought I had turned out to be nothing. The symbol on Franklin's chest, he did it himself. To ward off evil."

"Well that worked." Abbie snarked.

"So, what you have on your hands is pretty straight forward." Dana paused for a moment. "So, I assume I'll be heading back to Washington."

"What?"

"There's no reason for me to stay here." Dana stood up from behind the desk. She walked around towards Abbie.

"For starters, I need you." Abbie insisted.

"No you don't."

"Yes, I do," Abbie was beginning to pace, "Listen, if this is about this morning, I'm really sorry. I had no intention.."

"You're sorry," Dana gasped, "Abbie, I kissed you!"

"I didn't stop you. And I'm not very good with the whole intimacy thing. I know I can be a little pushy sometimes and you're unlike any woman I've ever met before. Plus, the liquor didn't help. Yes, I'm attracted to you. I mean, who wouldn't be.."

Dana stood there as Abbie babbled endlessly. Her words coming out like a freight train on a downhill slope.

"..but I had no right to take advantage. Not that that's something I do everyday. It's not. I don't know what I was thinking."

Dana stood in front of the taller woman. She placed a finger on Abbie's lips, watching as the words ceased pouring out of her mouth.

"Shh," Dana softly whispered, "I don't know what's going on between us. But, I do know, that A - it's not pity that I feel. B - you didn't take advantage of me. And C ­ I really enjoyed this morning."

"And D?" Abbie could feel her confidence building as she slid her arms around Dana's waist. Dana answered by sliding her hands up Abbie's arms.

"D? D is I would be horribly offended if you didn't kiss me right now."

"Oh really?" Abbie carefully ran her nose across Dana's cheek, finding that perfect position. "Someone could walk in on us."

"Yeah," Dana brushed her lips lightly across Abbie's, "That would be terrible. Maybe we should close the door."

"Uh-huh." Abbie mumbled as their lips touched. A slight hush between them as they both inhaled, their bodies closing the gap between them. Dana's hand cupping the back of Abbie's head, as Abbie's hands wrapped tighter around the smaller woman's waist.

Abbie could feel Dana moan as her lips parted. Taking the invitation, she opened Dana's lips with her tongue, a shiver running down her spine as she felt Dana's tongue on her own. They tasted each other, memorizing every taste, touch smell.

Dana could feel her heart hammering in her chest. She wanted to believe that this was nothing new. She'd kissed other people before, the majority being ex-boyfriends. Calculated her response in her head as clinically as she knew how. The adrenaline pumping in her veins. The heightened sensations, capillaries contracting, breathing getting shallow, all her senses shifting into overdrive.

For Dana, this wasn't old hat. She had kissed, lusted, copulated. But this seemed to be something different. Desire. That was it. Until now, Dana had never really desired something outside of her academia or work oriented goals. And Dana desired Abbie. She felt in every touch, every millimeter of flesh that came into contact with her. Felt it, as every ounce of conscious thought seemed to fade from Dana's cognitive mind. And all that seemed to matter were the lips pressed against hers and the arms wrapped around her waist.

The kiss broke after a brief eternity. They touched their foreheads to each other caught in a minor afterglow. Dana watched as Abbie opened her eyes, a look that could only be described as amorous befuddlement etching itself across her face.

"Wow." Dana mumbled aloud as the two stumbled apart like embarrassed teenagers on a first date.

"Wow," Abbie repeated, "Um, I, um."

"Yeah, me too." Dana stammered.

"I'll see you at six?" Abbie asked as she walked backwards towards the door.

"Yes, six." Dana repeated as she attempted to sit, stand, do something.

She watched as Abbie exited the room, finally leaning against the desk. Her legs somehow forgetting all those years of basic operation as she groped gingerly for her chair, an enormous smile etching across her face.

**

Abbie Carmichael floated back to her office. Heart still stammering in her chest, she couldn't shake the feeling of elation within her.

She sat behind her desk, leaning back casually in the chair. A hand, unconsciously drawn to her face, she traced the outline of her lips with her thumb. With just the slightest of contact, she could feel Dana on her. A residual effect permeating through her system, as if a piece of Dana still pressed against her lips. Her touch, her smell, taste, invaded Abbie's system, coursing its way through her body.

Abbie exhaled slightly, chuckling as she did. Her mind reaching back to find the proper cliche for her emotions.

"God Carmichael, you're giddier than a virgin on Prom night." The lawyer chuckled under her breath. Abbie didn't know why she had opened up to the agent the night before. Throwing out 'the liquor' as the obvious answer, there was something about the agent that drew the attorney to her. And the harder Abbie tried to push those feelings away, the faster they bubbled to the surface.

She sighed again, as her phone rang, glad for the reprieve.

"Carmichael."

The line on the other end crackled in her ear. The caller let the silence hang uncomfortably.

"Hello?" Abbie stated.

"Get off this case bitch," the caller hissed in her ear. "Leave it alone, or I'll kill you like I did Franklin."

The line went dead.

Abbie inhaled deeply as she slammed her phone down. Just as quickly, she picked the receiver back up, dialing the station so they could begin a trace. She gritted her teeth. Since receiving the case, Abbie had this deep down feeling that there was something *more*. That they'd only uncovered the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Just when she thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. Even more, Abbie knew that as bad as things were, the worst was yet to come. And that scared Abbie Carmichael more than anything, not the fear of the unknown, per se, but that the unknown was coming for her.

End Chapter Seven


Chapter Eight

A small fire burned brightly in Dana's fireplace. Abbie stabbed the fire expertly with the poker, running the coals for premium efficiency. Her status as a Texan and their affinity for burning things proved an asset as she worked Dana's fireplace.

The two had returned to Dana's apartment seconds before the winter storm took a turn for the worse. They'd eaten dinner, take-out of course, in relative silence. Both looking over various files regarding Abbie's case. The silence reminded Abbie of old times. How the two could be in each other' s presence without the incessant need for perfunctory small talk. That the being together, in each other's company, took precedence rather than what it was they were doing together.

The familiarity of this old routine washed over Abbie, bringing forth old memories, old feelings. She continually mental checked herself reminding that the past was over. They had both moved on. More to the point, Dana had moved on. Abbie had spent too much time getting over the agent, only to realize that maybe she wasn't over her at all.

"Hey Texas." Dana called out to Abbie as she entered the living room. She carried in each hand a large mug filled to the brim with something frosty and cold.

"Hey red." Abbie called back, not taking her eyes off the fire.

"What is it with Texans and fire? Every time you turn around they're burning something, barbeque's, bonfires, books, each other. And don't give me any crap about social bonding and the primal nature of fire."

"Nope," Abbie turned towards the woman, "We just like to burn stuff."

Dana snickered as she set the mugs down, taking a seat on the couch. "Quit messing with that before you burn the entire complex down."

Abbie rose from the fire grinning ear to ear. <Just like old times> She mused. "Whatcha got there? Wine? Beer? Irish coffee?"

"Nope," Dana began filling their mugs, "I thought I'd lay off the liquor for once. We seem to have an odd record when we touch the stuff."

"Yea," Abbie joined her on the couch, "Bad things seem to happen when we touch the stuff."

"Not all bad." Dana added coyly. She dipped a spoon into one of the mugs, pointing it towards Abbie's mouth. The attorney took the spoon into her mouth.

"Mmm, root beer float, I haven't had one of these I years." She'd died and gone to heaven. "My second favorite non-alcoholic guilty pleasure."

"Second?" Dana handed Abbie's mug to her. "What's your first?"

Abbie cocked an eyebrow towards her. "It's a little late in the game to play coy."

Dana's mouth creased into a smile. She turned towards the brunette staring at her through crimson bangs. "God, why does it feel like you never left?"

It was a rhetorical question, more for Dana than Abbie. The past day had felt like slipping on an old pair of shoes. Comfortable. During the evening, as the two ate dinner, Dana had felt herself looking towards Abbie in the moments the attorney was caught in her own thoughts. It amazed her, the familiarity, the comfort between them even after six years apart, had instantly reclaimed itself. A level of comfort Dana still hadn't found with Mulder without the subtle feelings of awkwardness or discomfort.

"I don't know," Abbie shrugged, "It's probably because I never left. That part of me that just couldn't let you go. Keeping myself open for the day that you'd come back to me."

Abbie's straightforwardness took Dana aback. Dana had always knew that the life she'd chosen would lead to solitude. A sacrifice both she and Mulder naïvely made, unaware of the consequences. It had never occurred to her that Abbie had made similar choices, and suffered the same fate.

"Is that why you were drawn to her?" Dana instantly held up her hands apologetically. "Sorry, unfair question, I don't wanna drag work into this."

"No, it's all right," Abbie leaned back into the couch, chortling under her breath, "You have no idea do you?"

"What?"

"You're not an easy person to get over Dana Scully."

"I'm no saint, Abbie." She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks. She knew that she shouldn't have started this particular line of questioning. Abbie wasn't the sort to dance around the subject, any subject. Once open, she was as much a straight shooter in her personal life as she was in her professional.

"No, you're not a saint, but I've been in love with you since the moment I laid eyes on you. Still am for that matter."

"Wow." Dana paused, the air around them filling with electricity. "And I didn't even have to pump you full of liquor."

Dana watched as a huge smile spread across Abbie's face, the woman leaning forward as she gave a hearty laugh. "C'mon Dana, that couldn't come as a complete shock to you. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pining away for you like some heartbroken schoolgirl."

"Well why not?" This time it was Abbie's turn to be flabbergasted. "I'm a hot commodity. See that door? If it wasn't for the storm, there'd be tons of suitors just killing themselves to get to me. I'm soo hot, the only person who knows me better than my gynecologist is my hand. And these little digits have definitely been to warmer climes."

Abbie gasped as she shot a small spray of root beer float across Dana's living room. Dana giggled heartily handing the woman a napkin.

"Dammit Dana, not while I'm drinking."

"Aw, poor baby." She cupped Abbie's chin, her thumb wiping away a line of root beer. Abbie watched as Dana took her thumb and placed it in her mouth.

"I'd be careful if I were you," Abbie snarked, "I know where that thumb's been."

"Do you?" Dana took her index finger and dipped it in Abbie's drink. Abbie felt her heart stammer as Dana brought her finger to Abbie's mouth. She felt Dana's eyes on her as she sucked the digit into her mouth, rolling her tongue over Dana's finger. Dana pulled her finger out coyly sucking it into her own mouth.

"Dana," Abbie purred, "Just what exactly are you doing?"

"Please don't tell me you've gotten stupid over the past six years," she paused, "I think it's called seducing."

Abbie leaned in for a kiss. "Okay, I just wanted to be sure you weren't taking advantage of me."

"Nope," Dana leaned in to meet Abbie, "If I were I'd have gotten the handcuffs."

Their lips met tenderly, awakening passions long dormant. Dana cupped Abbie' s chin as her tongue licked across Abbie's lips. She could feel herself purr as Abbie's mouth accepted the invitation. Their tongues dancing as they tasted each other.

Dana used her body pressing Abbie into the couch, the smaller woman straddling the attorney's hips. Abbie could feel her heart stammering in her chest as Dana crawled onto her. Her hands gliding up and down Dana's back, tugging her shirt from her pants, feeling the smoothness of her skin.

Their lips parted both panting heavily. Dana moved down Abbie's jaw-line planting tiny kisses finding that spot under her Adam's apple. The one that made Abbie moan and blur her vision.

"Don't you think," Abbie panted, "we should take it slow?"

Dana stopped her sensual assault on Abbie's neck, finally looking up to make eye contact. "Abbie, after three years, I go any slower and I'll be a corpse."

Abbie feigned shock. "Wow, three years. You sure you remember what to do?"

"Do you?" Dana dared her.

"Oh yeah," Abbie stated as she rolled Dana onto her back, sliding herself on top of the smaller woman. "I remember everything."

The two inhaled deeply as Abbie went in for another kiss. Their bodies pressed against each other, trying to cover every inch of flesh with flesh. Dana guided Abbie's hand to her shirt, their fingers tangling clumsily as they unbuttoned Dana's shirt. Abbie's lips moved their way down Dana's neck, sucking and kissing, alternating between pulse point and muscle.

Dana ran her hands through Abbie's hair, avoiding the primal desire to hang on for dear life. It felt as if her body had taken over, subconscious replacing conscious, sinking Dana deeper.

Abbie's hand made its way to Dana's breast. Cupping the soft mound, she dragged a finger lightly over Dana's nipple, the tiny nub erect and poking through the material. She could feel Dana gasp as she lightly pinched it, squeezing and rolling it delicately through the lacey material.

"Abbie." Dana sighed. She could feel her body arching into the woman, as a hand slipped under her bra pushing it off her breasts. Her eyes closed as she felt soft lips surrounding the course flesh of nipple. A hand on the other one, delicately pinching and caressing her to sensual effect. The motions sent a ripple effect through Dana's body, focusing every sense, every nerve ending onto the divine torture executed upon her breasts.

Abbie stopped her ministrations, coming up for air then moving in for another kiss. Dana returned her gaze through half-lidded eyes filled with desire. Grabbing the back of Abbie's head and pulling her in, she hungrily kissed her mildly annoyed at the reprieve on her breasts.

Abbie shifted her position, sliding herself between Dana's legs. She could feel Dana arching into her, her body shivering with anticipation. Abbie gave one last kiss before she began a slow journey down Dana's body. Her fingers glided over the agent's stomach, noting the softness of her skin, the firmness of the muscles underneath that seemed to tingle under her touch. She found the button on Dana's slacks mentally reprimanding her self for not making the woman take them off beforehand.

Dana, sensing Abbie's movements, lifted her hips up as Abbie rose onto her knees. In a fluid motion, that amazingly didn't scratch Dana's legs, Abbie pulled off her slacks taking Dana's panties with them. Their eyes locked as Abbie moved down between her legs, lips meeting flesh as she kissed the soft skin of Dana's inner thigh.

Dana moaned, deep and guttural, as Abbie made a slow ascent up her thigh. The heat between her legs reaching a fevered pitch, her body begging for release. Abbie sensed Dana's need answering with a slow lick across Dana's center. Her hips bucked lightly at the contact, Abbie licking the delicate folds as she squirmed under her. She teased the red head, licking around the tiny swollen nub, even as Dana thrust her hips forward offering herself to Abbie.

Dana rocked her body rhythmically, her hips swaying faster, building momentum as the invisible string inside her pulled taut with tension, aching for release. Abbie countered with her tongue, applying pressure in time with the rhythm of Dana's hips. Alternating between sucking, licking and tiny nips that made Dana moan aloud, Abbie took her as far as Dana could go.

Dana's body wracked with convulsions as the back of her eyelids exploded with stars. She moaned instinctively, exclaiming her passion and releasing all the years of sexual tension. Wave after wave washing over her as Abbie continued, taking Dana over the edge and finding every ounce of ecstasy that awaited in the abyss.

Abbie milked every ounce of pleasure from Dana until her body lay exhausted and motionless. She kissed her way back to Dana's breasts, picking up where she left off. Dana's hands limply made their way to Abbie's hair, combing through her locks, clasping Abbie's head and guiding her up for another kiss.

Dana inhaled the other woman. A shiver ran down her spine, as she tasted herself on Abbie's tongue. Consciousness returning, her hands felt the silky material of Abbie's blouse. As she caressed the woman's back, Dana opened her eyes enough to see that the woman was still fully dressed. Dana was still in her own blouse and brassiere, the passion overcoming them to the point of not even bothering to get fully naked.

"We'll just have to correct that." Dana mumbled aloud as they broke their kiss.

"Mmm," Abbie moaned into Dana's neck. She could feel Dana rolling her onto her back. The agent straddled her legs once more, sitting up as she removed her blouse. Abbie slid her hands up Dana's stomach, reaching to cup her breasts. Dana took Abbie's hands by the wrists and laid them next to the agent's head, leaving her with no recourse except to watch.

Dana pulled her blouse off, dropping onto the floor. Abbie's eyes fixed on her. She brought her hands to her breasts, kneading the soft mounds. A visual effect that worked to perfection as Dana felt Abbie squirming under her. She reached behind her and unclasped the undergarment, swinging it casually on a finger before letting it gently fall to the ground.

She brought her hands back to her breasts, feeling the heat in her body bubbling to the surface as she saw the desired effect this was having on Abbie. Dana leaned forward, clasping her hands in Abbie's. She moaned deeply as Abbie flicked her tongue across the nipple offered her.

Dana kept Abbie pressed to the couch as she teased her. Pulling her breast away, Dana slowly moved her way down Abbie's body. Her mouth kissed Abbie's neck, moving in towards her favorite spot. Her hand roamed the attorney's chest, groping her breast, caressing and teasing it through Abbie's blouse. She could feel Abbie respond, trying to bridge the distance between their bodies. But Dana kept her at bay, lifting up just enough to feel the heat, but not the flesh it emanated from.

Abbie could do nothing but moan. She could feel her body aching for release. But, she also knew Dana. Dana liked to take it slow, to extend her passion, reaching for the highest apex. Hanging precariously, endlessly, waiting for the moment until there was no where left to go except down. She felt her stomach flutter as Dana's hand made a gentle ascent downward, teasing each inch of flesh her hand came in contact with. She gasped slightly as she felt Dana's hand sliding between her legs, torturing her once more as she pressed against her through her slacks. Abbie gritted her teeth as her hips responded instinctively to the contact, immediately finding a rhythm.

Then, Dana stopped.

She grinned from ear to ear as she watched the reaction of the woman below her.

"What?" Abbie asked.

"I want to make love to you Abbie Carmichael."

"I thought you were?" She looked up at her with confused eyes.

"Oh no," Dana stated as she slowly got off the couch. "In the bedroom."

Abbie breathlessly watched as Dana backed into the bedroom, curling a finger towards her flirtatiously, motioning her to come. Abbie rolled onto her side, propping herself up on an elbow. A part of her needing to watch the woman before her, needing to see that she was wanted. Even after all that had preceeded, Abbie needed a visual confirmation of the reawakened desires between them. As much for ego as for lust.

"I don't know," Abbie flirted, "I kinda like the couch."

"Don't make me get the handcuffs." Dana scolded. Abbie stood up from the couch reaching to unbutton her blouse as she did.

"And Abbie," Dana turned coyly back towards the attorney. Abbie peered towards her with curious eyes. "*I* take off your clothes."

"Yes Ma'am." Abbie acknowledged gleefully as she bounded towards the bedroom.

End Chapter Eight


Chapter 9

Mulder banged on the door repeatedly. He'd spent more hours than he cared waiting in the Louisville International Airport. Only once he finally landed in Washington D.C., Mulder found that the entire city had come to a complete stand still. It took five hundred dollars cash, a promised pair of Mets tickets, and several flashes of his badge until Mulder managed to finagle a way out of the airport.

After all his efforts, the wind blowing hard, Mulder found himself standing thigh high in a snow drift.

"Who is it?" A voice boomed from behind the metal door.

"Mulder." He shouted back annoyed.

"Who?"

"Quit stalling and open the goddamn door!"

He heard the familiar clicks of the Lone Gunmen's over done lock system. The door swung open, a beaming Frohike standing behind the door.

"Oh, Mulder? I thought you said Moldy," The man teased as Mulder stomped into the doorway and walked by. "Hey, don't you know there's a blizzard going on?"

Frohike followed the agent into the heart of the Lone Gunmen's lair. Byers and Langley were both seated at computers, one furiously typing, the other reading through printouts.

"Mulder, what are you doing here?" Byers peered over his papers.

"Looking for Scully."

"She was here yesterday." Langley answered.

"Scully was here? For what?" Scully rarely called upon the guys for their assistance without the situation being either precarious or, more importantly, without Mulder's consult. For her to come here without Mulder's knowledge just seemed odd.

"Yeah," Frohike chimed in, "She came in with her lawyer friend. You know, yea tall, brunette, legs you could climb all day and still not get to the top."

"Abbie Carmichael? What's she doing here?"

"Exploring the Sapphic side of Sears." Frohike snarked.

"She needed some assistance on her current case," Byers stood up from his chair, giving a sideways glance to Frohike as he did. "Some one slid a military file to her. We did a search and narrowed down the field."

Mulder flipped through Amarice's military record. "There's not a lot to go on here. How far did you narrow it down?"

"Three probable matches from a little over a thousand." Langley beamed. Mulder whistled as Langley handed him the matches.

"Does Scully know about this?"

"No, she said she'd call. Didn't expect anyone to be coming over in the blizzard."

"Yeah, well, desperate times call for desperate measures." Mulder added, not wanting to look silly driving around in a blizzard.

"No guts, no glory."

"When at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

"If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that suggests you tried."

"If all else fails, manipulate the data."

Mulder, tired of the duel of cliches, grabbed the rest of the files and headed towards the door. "Okay guys, I'll talk to ya later."

"Hey Mulder." Frohike called out to the man.

"Yeah." He stopped momentarily to make eye contact with the man.

"You tell Carmichael that if she ever tires of the love that dare not speak it's name, I'm here to bring her back to the other side."

"I'll remember that." He mumbled as he trudged back towards his car.

**

Dana stood in front of her bathroom mirror drying her hair with a blow dryer. Clothed in only a robe, she still dripped water onto her rug. She noted her reflection in the mirror, her face reflecting none of the tell tale signs of an inadequate night's sleep. She and Abbie spent a large portion of the night continuing their lovemaking, a session that ended with a slight romp in the shower. Dana could see a slight flush in her cheeks, a welcome sight compared to the white pallor her skin had taken over the past couple of years.

<Sex did wonderful things>, she mused silently to herself.

Abbie sat on the edge of the bathtub, wrapped in a towel, rubbing lotion on her legs.

"I hate you, you know that don't you." Dana teased the woman.

"What are you talking about?"

"You." She pointed at her with the hairdryer. "You and your perfect legs, and perfect breasts. You're like an affront to all women."

"An affront huh?" Abbie peered up at Dana. "You didn't seem too offended just a second ago. Besides, are you kidding, I'd kill to have breasts like yours."

"Believe me, you wouldn't." Dana returned her attentions to the mirror. Setting down her hairdryer, she opened her robe, exposing her chest. Taking a breast in each hand, she modeled them, more for herself than for Abbie. "The left one's just a little bigger than the right one. I still have a scar from fifth grade."

"Dana, you can barely see that scar."

"Key word, barely."

"I think it's adorable." Abbie stated as she rose to her feet. She placed herself behind Dana, sliding her arms around Dana's waist. Dana could feel Abbie's hands as they slid up her stomach, cupping her breasts. "I think they're adorable."

"Adorable," Dana whined, "Puppies are adorable. Rainbows are adorable. Breasts are not."

"That's your definition." She stated as she planted tiny kisses on the side of Dana's neck. "Full, supple, with that perfect tear drop shape that I love."

Dana stared into the mirror watching Abbie's hands as they softly kneaded her breasts. Fingers expertly squeezing and pinching her nipples to full effect. She could see the effect this was having on the rest of her body. The rising and falling of her chest. The sound of her breathing - ragged, forced. The pale red tint sneaking under her skin. Dana reached back with both hands, running them through Abbie's hair.

Abbie watched Dana through the mirror. Watched as the red head slowly moved under her touch. Dana's eyes entranced at the motions of Abbie's fingers. She watched Dana's reaction as Abbie slid her hand down. Her fingers sliding gracefully over the smooth muscles of Dana's stomach, forcing Dana's robe to fall open past her thighs. Dana, acknowledging Abbie's motions, leaned back into the taller woman resting herself slightly on Abbie's thigh.

Abbie's fingers teased playfully in Dana's curls. Combing and parting Dana's hairs. She could see Dana biting her bottom lip, waiting patiently for the release Abbie offered her. Abbie pulled Dana into her, spreading her legs wider with the leg she planted between Dana's legs. Dana leaned into her, placing a foot on the wall.

The heat in the bathroom seemed to increase tenfold, a new sheen of steam fogging up the mirror making their recent shower all for naught as a new layer of sweat began to coat Dana's body. And Abbie hadn't even touched her *there* yet. Maybe that's why she'd been so quick to seduce the attorney last night. Abbie's uncanny ability to know what Dana wanted and when. A reminder Dana moaned seductively as she felt Abbie's hand dip lower between her legs, parting her, finding the center of her desire.

Abbie nipped on an earlobe as Dana moaned louder. She'd taken her fill of Dana and found her need insatiable. Abbie never tired of Dana. Never tired the moment she met her, and regretted every second since the day she walked away. Now, after all these years, Abbie seemingly picked up where she left off. Making up for lost time, ignoring the fact that it had been Dana to rekindle the flame between them. Then again, in Abbie's eyes, her flame had never died. Merely burned as a small aching ember, waiting until the moment her source of fuel returned.

"Abbie." Dana moaned as her body continued to tense. Abbie countered by quickening her pace, rocking her body rhythmically with Dana's.

"Dana." She nibbled intensely on Dana's neck.

"Scully."

"Oh Abbie." Dana could feel herself getting closer.

"Scully!"

"Dana?"

Dana's eyes snapped open as realization washed over her.

"Shit." She stammered, fastening her robe. As she exited the bathroom, Dana thought she saw Abbie roll her eyes deciding to ignore the gesture.

Mulder continued pounding on the door, yelling Dana's name louder with each rap of his fist.

"Hang on Mulder." Dana fumbled with the locks, cursing her partner under her breath as she opened the door.

"Where the Hell have you been?" Mulder asked as he walked through the door, ignoring his partner's obvious state of undress. "I've left about fifty messages on your machine."

Dana eyed the machine realizing that she'd turned the ringer off. "I've been busy."

"Yeah, I figured that much. What the Hell's going on?" he finally noticed the leggy brunette walking out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her torso. He recognized her immediately.

"Mulder," Dana pointed to the woman walking into the living room, "Abbie Carmichael."

"I've heard a lot about you." Abbie quipped as she crossed her arms across her chest.

"Same goes for you." Mulder thought he heard Dana gasp slightly as he extended his hand towards the attorney. A half smile crossed the woman's face as she took Mulder's hand into her own, returning the gesture.

"Mulder, what are you doing here?" Dana closed the door behind her.

"I was just over at the Lone Gunmen." Mulder turned to Dana lifting the file in his hand. "Are you going to tell me what this is all about?"

Mulder gave a sideways glance as Abbie groaned aloud. It never occurred to him to ask the women if they wanted to change first. He'd had a bad feeling the moment Scully received Abbie's phone call, a feeling that resonated within him for the past two days. Something that stayed with him as he stood in Dana's living room. He'd sensed something between the two women. Even if the current feeling emanating between the two women was, Fox Mulder was unwelcome.

**

Marshall Fields hated waiting. Hated the down time that filled the empty space between assignments. He was a man of action, a doer. Not someone meant to wait endlessly behind the steering wheel of a car.

He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, his eyes scanning the horizon. To the average passerby, although there would be none, his superior had seen to that, Marshall appeared average. Dirty blonde hair, cut into a short brush cut revealed the genetic curse currently taking over his hairline. Deep hazel eyes peered over the steering wheel, scanning the horizon, seeing everything, seeing nothing. In some circles, Marshall might be considered handsome. The type of circles *she* hung around in. With hair as dark as night and eyes like soft mink. He believed their words then, words like love, compassion and hope. Believed enough to buy her a ring and promise her forever. That is until a bullet pierced her skull and shattered everything.

That was twenty years ago. Twenty years when words like love and compassion were replaced with duty, honor and sacrifice.

"Fuck man, where is he?" Whiskey moaned next to him. Ten years his junior, the man sat impatiently in his seat, twirling a knife. It was a standard issue Army knife found at any military surplus store, smooth on one side, serrated on the other. Whiskey subconsciously twirled and flipped the knife as delicately as a lover. Unable to differentiate between sex and violence, as evidenced by the engraving on the handle. Kiss on one side, Kill on the other.

Truth of the matter was, Marshall hated Whiskey. Hated his stupid name, his cocky demeanor, his shitty attitude. He represented everything that Marshall hated about the "New Military". How they continued to lower themselves by recruiting disenfranchised thugs who saw the military not as an opportunity to grow, but an opportunity to kill. Characteristics that made Whiskey so perfect for their line of work.

"He'll be here." Marshall grimaced.

"Yeah man, what fuckin' ever."

On cue, a car approached them from behind. Black tinted windows, black exterior, both knew their company had arrived. Both exited the car, Whiskey slowly sheathed his knife, displaying his bravado for an audience of one ­ himself.

The car parked along side theirs. A man exited the driver's seat. Dressed as nonchalantly as any government worker could; black suit, tie and sunglasses (at night even). The man motioned for Marshall and Whiskey to enter the car.

"He's waiting." He stated unemotionally.

"Bout fuckin' time." Whiskey growled as he entered the front passenger seat. Marshall barely rolled his eyes as he circled the front and entered from the driver's side. He could barely contain his disgust as the smell of cigarette smoke assaulted his nostrils. All this time in the service, he'd been surrounded by hundreds of smokers. But none ever disgusted him the way that this did. Maybe it wasn't the actual smoke. Maybe it was the smoker.

He sat comfortably in the backseat, the only acknowledgement of his presence, the small cherry of his lit cigarette. Not that Marshall needed a visual cue to know the man was there. He always knew. Knew the scent of power, strength, and maybe if he would possibly admit it to himself, corruption.

"She's still alive." He stated in the way that was half question, half indignation.

"Hey, it's not our fault.."

"Shut up, Whiskey." Marshall hissed. The boy had a tendency to deliberately push his buttons. But when push came to shove, Whiskey knew Marshall was the top dog in this pen.

"Don't worry, we'll get her."

"That's not the problem. Things have become complicated. Abbie Carmichael has found help." Marshall felt the smoke getting into his clothes as the man blew out the last sentence. "And I can't afford to have Dana Scully get involved in this case. If she gets involved, then Mulder will get involved.

No one must never find out who she is."

"What do you want us to do?"

"I want you to kill her."

"We already tried that." Whiskey braved a response.

"I want those two as far from this case as possible." He ignored the boy. "They've complicated enough of my plans."

He paused on the last statement. Marshall couldn't tell if it was for effect, or if the man hadn't finished his speech.

"Don't worry," Marshall tried to reassure the man, "We can get to her. Dead or alive, we'll get her."

"There's been a slight change of plans. Until Mulder and Scully are out of the picture, I don't want either of you to make a move on her."

"So what do you want us to do?"

"I want you to kill her."

"Wait," Whiskey interjected, "I thought you just said to stay away. Now you want us to kill her, again."

"Your impatience will be your downfall," The man sighed. He passed a small folder to Marshall. Marshall opened the folder, cocking an eyebrow at the photo. "The proverbial two birds with one stone. Now go."

**

Marshall sat in the driver's seat thumbing through the file he'd just received. Whiskey sat in his seat bouncing around like a kid in a candy store.

"All right, some real action. I've never taken out a Fed before. Have you?"

"It's not the Fed we're going after." Marshall handed the folder over to Whiskey as he gunned the engine. "It's her."

"Hot damn!" Whiskey pulled his knife out, teasing the edge of the picture with the blade tip. Within 24 hours he was going to get to kill ­ again. It wasn't the fact that Whiskey was a killer that bothered Marshall so much, truth be told, so was Marshall, it was the fact that Whiskey *enjoyed* killing that bothered him. How he'd get juiced at the possibility of taking another's life.

Marshall felt something twisting deep down in his stomach. Something that other people might call guilt or conscience. If he were a drinking man, or boy, like Whiskey, he'd wash it away with a pint. If he were a religious man, he might pray. Instead, he did as he always did he ignored it, pushed down deeper than the bottomless pits of his soul. He didn't know why this last assignment 'troubled' him. Then again, maybe it was because the woman, the one with the raven hair, and eyes as soft as mink reminded him of those words from so long ago, love, compassion and hope. And in 24 hours, Marshall Fields would kill those words ­ again.

End Chapter Nine


Chapter Ten

As the elevator doors shushed open, Dana felt as if she had walked into a storm. People rushed back and forth with hurried frenzy. Voices, loud and brash, came from every corner of the hallway. She was brusquely pushed aside by two DEA agents carrying some sort of device. It took only a nanosecond to realize who all this chaos was for.

Abbie exited her office, followed by two men. All looking like someone had just pissed in their beer.

"Abbie, what's going on?"

"Someone just popped Carmichael's cherry." The younger of the two men snarked. He looked to be in his early thirties. Dirty blonde hair cut in the standard brush cut. A football player's build which probably explained the frat-boy mentality.

"Shut up, Hanson." Abbie barked. "Don't you have somewhere to be right now?" She glared at the young man. He held up his hands apologetically before padding off into the background.

"Abbie just received a death threat." The older man explained to Dana. She recognized him as one of the men who watched her perform the autopsy. Donaldson, she remembered. More than likely, he was Abbie's direct superior. A grizzled man, in his late forties, who's face was etched with the pain and suffering that seemed such a by-product of "The Job".

"It's nothing," Abbie scoffed, "Nothing I can't handle."

"Bullshit, Carmichael," He pulled the younger woman by the corner of her elbow. "I know you got your teeth into a big case, but this is snowballing into a shitstorm. And the least you could do was recognize that you need an umbrella."

Abbie folded her arms across her chest, leaning against the wall. Dana could see the stubborn fire rising in her eyes. She could also see the concern in Donaldson's. The concern that Donaldson didn't feel the need to hide behind policy or decorum. Abbie was 'one of them'. And if Donaldson had to tear the city apart to protect one of his own, Dana didn't doubt for a moment that Manhattan would wake up to a new skyline by daybreak.

"I'm not some helpless waif who needs her hand held."

"Goddammit Carmichael, don't give me any of that sexist bullshit." The skin around his collar began turning a slight shade of red. "Someone just threatened to kill you. This ain't a joke and it ain't something to be taken lightly. The least you could do is let me do part of my job to keep you in one piece."

Abbie held up her hand to protest. Donaldson didn't wait for her to speak.

"Abbie, I'm old. Who needs to fight the dealers on the street when you kids can bring my blood pressure to boil at the drop of a pin." He could see Abbie trying to fight the smile forming at the corner of her mouth. "So will you do this old man just one small favor?"

"You know I hate it when you do that whole Grandpa puppy dog eyes bit." She ran a shaky hand through her hair. "Okay, okay, what is it?"

Donaldson pressed his hands together, pressing the fingertips against his chin. He'd actually won one. "I don't want you to stay at your place."

"What!?! No way, I am NOT staying in protective custody."

"It's nothing like that Carmichael. Just, you know, find a hotel and lay low for a couple days."

"A couple days, no, no way. Me lay low, while one of those asshole's upstairs gives my case to someone else. And where am I going to stay, huh? Is the DA gonna foot the bill for that?"

"Carmichael.."

"I know a place?" Dana didn't realize the words had poured out of her mouth until she saw the shocked looks on their faces. She shrugged before finishing her thought. "I know someone who owes me a favor. And you guys won 't have to pay for it."

"I'm liking this girl more and more." Donaldson smiled. "So Carmichael, what 'd you say?"

"Okay, fine," Abbie resigned. "But, just for tonight. And I'm back here tomorrow."

*****

William Scully Jr.'s home was a small two-story colonial nestled right off the beach in South Hampton. Dana explained that her brother had taken his wife to Hawaii for the week, hence the empty house. Abbie made a mental note to ask Dana just what exactly it was her brother did for a living.

She noted the familiar tidings of the home, the family pictures, some with Dana, the parents, William and his wife, and what, she suspected were Dana's other siblings. She wondered what such a family would feel like. How safe it all must have felt. Even with a death threat against her, in this house, surrounded by the accruements of someone else's family, Abbie felt as if she were some place she could be loved. Someplace she could belong.

"It's like something out of a Rockwellian nightmare isn't it?" Dana joked as she joined Abbie on the couch. They'd both slipped into something more comfortable. Dana, shorts and University of Maryland tee. Abbie, UT boxer shorts with matching sports bra. Abbie noted how relaxed Dana looked. Relaxed, except her Smith & Wesson which the agent kept at the ready and now rested on the coffee table.

"I don't know. I think it's kinda sweet."

"Yeah right," Dana snorted, "You must not have the parental death watch going for your biological clock."

"Naw, they're just happy I haven't killed anyone." Abbie snorted leaning back into the couch. She turned towards Dana. "So, when were you going to tell me that we were followed?"

Dana's eyes lit up for a second, filling with shock and a slight tinge of embarrassment. "I was trying to keep that from you. How could you tell?"

"Dana, you took more side streets than a Congressman looking for a hooker." She watched the agent as she chuckled lightly, her eyes practically glowing in the soft light of the room.

"I'm sorry Abbie. I was going to tell you. I just wanted to wait until the moment was right."

"God, you sound like a virgin on prom night." Abbie laughed. She shuddered for a second realizing the callousness of her words. Her fears quickly subsiding as she heard the familiar chuckling filling her ears.

"You certainly have a way with words." Dana leaned on her side, resting her head on her hand. Abbie turned to look at her once more, noting the apprehension in the redhead. Dana poked at the edge of her mouth with her tongue, carefully forming her words. "And I'd be lying if I said if I didn't have an ulterior motive for bringing you here."

"Well, I checked the fridge and there's no alcohol, so if you're trying to get me drunk."

"Are you always such a smart-ass?" Dana joked right back, nudging the attorney with her hand.

"I thought it was part of my Southern charm. It only gets worse when I get nervous or angry."

"We're in the middle of the South Hampton's. There's nothing here for you to get pissed about. And I couldn't imagine what could possibly make you nervous."

"You make me nervous, Dana Scully." The words fell out of Abbie's mouth. She could feel the heat of embarrassment rising into her cheeks, internally chastising herself for making such a statement. Yet, as embarrassed as she was, Abbie couldn't pull her eyes away from Dana's. Their eyes locked, even as the tension in the room increased tenfold.

"Abbie." Dana's mouth felt dry as she spoke, her heart suddenly taking the cadence of a racehorse. "I think I want you to kiss me."

"I don't think I should." A battle suddenly began to rage within Abbie. As the words left her mouth, she could hear her subconscious screaming at the cognitive side of her brain that had spoken.

"Why not?"

"If I kiss you I'm gonna want to touch you. And if I touch you, I'll wanna make love to you. And I don't think either of us are ready for that."

"How will we know if we don't try?"

Abbie's brain suddenly froze. How could she argue with sound logic like that? And yet, she couldn't move. Her entire body had frozen except for her heart, which felt like it would burst from her chest any moment. She'd even forgotten to breathe. She felt as if she were clinging to the edge of a precipice, desire asking to let go and fall into the abyss of the unknown. Logic begging her to climb back up to reality.

Dana answered the question that hung in the air between them. She leaned over to Abbie, her fingers reaching out to brush Abbie's lips. She smiled lightly as Abbie inhaled tentatively. Her fingers edged down resting on Abbie's collarbone just as their lips met. Tentative at first, both felt their bodies boldening as the kiss deepened.

Dana opened her mouth slightly, her tongue flicking across Abbie's lips feeling the woman shudder as she accepted the invitation. They kissed this way for what felt like an eternity. Their lips the only contact between them and the fingers that lightly rested on Abbie's shoulders, until their lungs ached for oxygen and the kiss was broken.

Abbie only prayed that she didn't look as dumb as she felt, staring at the redhead's lips waiting for the moment she'd feel them against her again. She could feel Dana's eyes on her, watching for her, waiting for some reaction from the attorney. Truth be told, Abbie was scared shitless. Scared that she 'd look up into those blue eyes and see regret, embarrassment, all the negative reinforcement she could imagine telling Dana to let her go. To drop the damaged attorney like the bad news she was and send her off in a taxicab back to New York City.

She could feel Dana's fingers cupping her chin, pulling her face up forcing the eye contact.

"I think you're right."

Abbie could feel the lump forming in her throat. At least she'd gotten this far. The kisses she'd shared with Dana Scully, at this moment, could probably last her lifetime.

"What?" Abbie mustered.

"I think I do want you to touch me."

Abbie thought she heard a loud crash inside her brain, the sound of her subconscious giving her self-doubting cognitive brain a giant id-laden boot in the ass. There was probably a 'yee-haw' in there somewhere, but Abbie couldn't tell. She'd lost all control over her body. Skin, hands, arms supplanted compulsory control, all with the desire to touch Dana Scully. Rising onto her knees, her hands cupped Dana's face pulling the woman close for another kiss. She felt Dana's hands on her hips, caressing her stomach, the swell of her hips.

Dana purred as Abbie nibbled on her bottom lip. It hadn't been that long since the agent had been with another person, but she could never remember feeling such desire, lust, for another person. Abbie seemed to reach into Dana and pull forth feelings Dana never knew she had. Now, on her brother's couch, she was making out like a giddy teenager. Waiting for the next moment when Abbie touched her, wondering *where* she would touch her.

Dana felt a moan emanating from her throat as Abbie broke their kiss. Part exultation, part frustration from the reprieve on her lips, she could feel Abbie's eyes staring at her even before she opened her own. She stared back at the brunette, eyes half closed.

"I want to see you." The attorney purred. Abbie's hands slid to the hem of Dana's tee, pulling the shirt off in one fluid motion. Dana could feel her skin tingling as the flush of excitement crept across her skin. There was no hiding now, no holding back. She felt herself enveloped in the heat of Abbie 's gaze. Pushing back the feelings of embarrassment that reddened her ears, Dana laid back on the couch offering herself to Abbie.

"God, you're beautiful." Abbie breathed, bracing an arm on one side, she touched Dana's lips with her fingers. She could feel the slight trepidation suddenly rising from the redhead. Abbie stopped her motions, a sense of doubt creeping onto her face. She'd wanted this so much, ever since the moment she saw the agent. But she knew there were always points of no return. Dana had seemed so sure before, even more solid in her feelings than Abbie. Yet there it was, the sense of doubt on Dana's face looking back at Abbie.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." Dana quickly replied, then nervously poked at the corner of her mouth with her tongue, doing it in that way that drove Abbie abso-fucking-lutely crazy. "I..I just never. You know."

The biggest grin formed on Abbie Carmichael's face, something akin to what the cat who ate the canary wore. Only wider, and goofier. "You don't mind if I gloat for a second. I don't think there's a lesbian alive who doesn't want to hear those words."

"Okay," Dana chuckled, "But I swear, if I hear one 'yee-haw' you're outta here."

The thing about fantasies is no matter how elaborate, or fantastical, or how they can leave skin tingling and a very real moistness between the legs, they can never compare to the real thing. That's how Abbie felt as Dana lowered herself onto the couch. She'd imagined the feel, taste, smell of Dana's skin, and now, here she was before her and it blew away anything and everything that were her wildest dreams.

Her fingers lightly grazed the agent's skin, starting at the base of her neck, gradually going down. Dana gasped as Abbie's fingers lightly danced across her breast, circling her areola. An image flashed into Abbie's mind.

A thought more exactly, a thought that she should take a picture and send it to the American Medical Association, one for the records books with the caption "this is what a perfect pair of breasts looks like". Smooth, round, delicate, with a perfect teardrop form that felt softer than silk and tasted like perfection.

She kissed the delicate flesh on Dana's collar bone tasting the sweet salt of her sweat, mixed in with the soap, perfume and other sundries that Abbie could only describe as the essence of Dana. Her fingers began a slow kneading motion on Dana's breast. The tiny nub becoming erect to her touch.

Dana moaned aloud. Her entire being focused on Abbie, her hands, her lips, her body. All at once Dana felt alive, electricity coursing through her body, rippling under her skin leaving a wake of goose pimples across her flesh. It all felt so wondrous and yet alien. The sensations flowing through her body, Dana knew were nothing more than autonomic responses. Instinctual and synaptic signals sent to increase desire for sexual copulation. But it was so much more than that, more than something she'd read in a textbook and something she swore was never taught in ANY sex-ed class.

Abbie slowly pushed her fingers under the waistband of Dana's panties. The agent jerked slightly, her body freezing at the contact. Abbie stilled her motions, her cognitive brain making a comeback with new feelings of doubt and anxiety.

"Dana, we can stop if you want." The agent answered Abbie's question by placing her hand on Abbie's wrist, guiding her lower. Abbie watched as Dana bit her bottom lip. She could feel her body under her, Dana's legs spreading slightly, another invitation.

Dana thought she would orgasm right there as Abbie's fingers slid between her legs. Her hips bucked lightly as Abbie found the tiny nub that seemed to be the impetus of Dana's desire. Another moan escaped Dana's throat as her arms wrapped around the attorney's shoulders, drawing the woman closer.

A shudder ran down Abbie's spine as Dana moaned in her ear, exhaling her name in a way that made Abbie's body shudder. It'd been so long since someone had given themself to Abbie, heart, body and soul. As if she'd forgotten that sex could be wonderful and didn't have to be associated with words like pain, sorrow or violence. Dana had been open with Abbie in ways that the attorney felt that she'd forgotten. She'd locked her heart in the same dark place that she kept the awful memories from long ago. When Abbie opened up that dark place deep within her, she not only gave Dana those painful memories, but her heart as well. Making love to Dana didn't seem as much an expression of love, more an expression of gratitude.

An expression that Dana returned tenfold as her body wracked with convulsions, her orgasm coming to fruition. She held Abbie close as the attorney brought her down. Stroked her tenderly, milking Dana for every ounce.

"Yee haw." Dana exhaled, a slight giggle escaping her throat. She pulled Abbie's bangs from her face, noting the tears falling from the attorney's eyes. Cupping Abbie's chin, she tilted Abbie's brown eyes towards hers. "Hey, Abbie what's wrong?"

"Nothing," Abbie tried breaking the eye contact. Dana wouldn't let her, kept Abbie's face close to hers. Abbie chuckled lightly, remembering the phrase tears of joy as tiny drops fell onto Dana's neck. "I'd just forgotten how wonderful it could be."

"Yea," The agent muttered, "Me too. Abbie, I.." Dana paused on the words, the air filling with tension as she tried to form her sentence.

"Listen Dana, I know this is weird for both of us. I'm not asking you for forever, or next month, Hell, even next week. All I want, for tonight, is now."

"Are you always this serious when having sex?" A small smile pulled across Dana's lips as she let out a soft sigh. "I was about to say if that's all there is to it, I was going to be severely disappointed."

"Oh no Dana Scully." Abbie lowered herself into Dana's arms, nuzzling her neck once more, "There's much, much more."

*****

The old man was dead. Actually, he'd been dead the moment Ghost's boot came into contact with his skull. That didn't matter, Ghost continued to take his rage out on the homeless man's corpse. Kicking the body with all his might, feeling bones break and flesh collapse.

"Fucking bitch!" Ghost screamed as he went in for another kick. He knew she' d gotten his message. Watched as the agents ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. All he had to do was wait and finish the job. He'd been looking forward to that moment. The moment when they were alone and he could watch her scream, watch her bleed. Watch her beg and plead for her life as he stuck everything he had into her.

He had to get a grip. Ghost took his skull cap off, running a shaky hand through pale white hair. Boucher had told Ghost that he was too violent, that he liked the killing too much. Ghost couldn't hold back his laughter as he spat those words back into Boucher's face. Ghost didn't get where he was by wearing Versace suits and sipping Chardonnay. Power for Ghost meant respect, and you didn't get respect until you saw fear in their eyes. The old man respected Ghost. Respected him until his eyes rolled back into his head and his lungs released his soul.

"Shit."

Ghost reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag. Five thousand dollars worth of crystal meth filled his palm. The junk wasn't for him. Just another delivery for all the squids on the street. But he needed a hit. Needed the clarity the drug gave him. To feel that white hot dragon riding through his veins.

He pulled out two tabs and dry swallowed. The worst thing a dealer can do is get hooked on his own junk. Ghost rarely took his own shit. He knew he wasn' t hooked. Not like those glassy-eyed zombies in the park. Ghost knew his limits and how far to take them. And the two tabs dissolving in his belly would be just what he needed.

Ghost inhaled deeply as he felt the drug taking hold. Felt the power surging through his veins. The power that Abbie Carmichael would feel. Her and that bitch redhead. If she hadn't shaken his tail they'd be together now. All of them. Ghost thought about the redhead. She'd be his dessert. An after dinner mint he could pleasure himself with after he'd had his fill of the attorney.

Abbie Carmichael. His mind had been filled with thoughts of the raven haired attorney since the day she fucked up his life. Thoughts of her filled his head as he unbuttoned his pants, wrapping a hand around his manhood. It was always like this, before a kill, after a kill, thinking about a kill. But Abbie was destiny. A dark contrast to his pale demeanor. She'd feel the connection soon enough.

Ghost grunted aloud as he shot his seed onto the ground. He tucked himself back into his pants, knowing full well that a solo endeavor wouldn't be enough to sate his need. Not until he and Abbie had fulfilled their roles and done the dance. Ghost needed to teach that bitch Carmichael a lesson. Needed to show her who had the power.

Ghost reached into his back pocket, pulling out his switchblade. As he hovered over the body of the old man, a sadistic grin pulled across his face. It was time to send Abbie another gift. He'd show her. Ghost was the one in control. Ghost held all the power. And Ghost wouldn't stop until he saw his power reflected in Abbie Carmichael's eyes.

End Chapter Ten