Perchance to Dream, part 2

by Jp

Part II

Ch. 12

Monica eased back under the covers that were still warm. Dana stirred and awoke with a start-frantic for some unknown reason. She looked around the dark room, lit only by the light provided by the orange glow of the streetlamps. Monica could see the tension in her face. She leaned close to Dana and spoke near her ear. "Hey, bad dream?"

The warm voice calmed her. "Oh, no, no. The baby."

Monica smiled against Dana's ear and kissed the lobe. "He's been fed and he's out again."

Dana sat up, resting her weight on her elbows. She squinted taking in Monica's soft features and dark hair. "He woke up?"

Monica rested her head on the pillow. "Wailed like a banshee-like some one else I know." She added with a chuckle. Two fingers pinched the skin on her stomach. "Ow! No fair." With a giggle she pulled the red head to her and spooned the pouting woman. "He's fine."

Dana ginned and settled back against Monica. "I can't believe I didn't wake up."

"You were pretty out of it." She said through her yawn. "So, no dreams?"

"Dreams?" she answered with a snort of laughter. She ran a hand through her hair and continued to reach back, until she ran her fingers through Monica's hair. "I don't think my brain has started functioning again." Monica kissed her neck, causing Dana to shiver. She slapped at the wandering hand on her waist. "No way -or I'll never walk again and besides," she shifted so that she faced Monica. "I feel like I've done absolutely nothing and you've done all the work." She pressed a kiss to eager lips.

Monica hummed into kiss and squeezed the woman to her. "Oh no, you've got the hardest job. You just have to lay there and be all pouty and cute."

Dana chuckled. "Shut up." She placed a hand on Monica's breast-exploring the texture of a dark aureole and testing the weight.

"What are you doing?" She smirked.

"Just looking."

"Dana, that's not looking." She grinned and covered Dana's hand. "Dana, I know you're sleepy, you can barely keep your eyes open."

"That's...not true." She said with a timely yawn.

Both women laughed. "Get some sleep-I'm not going anywhere." Her words were soft and tired.

Dana reluctantly rolled over and long arms immediately wound around her waist, securing her in place. In her head the action made sense, they were both beyond sleep and Dana was serious when she said couldn't form a coherent thought. In the hours before she had give up a part of herself to Monica that she'd forgotten she even had. She was vulnerable and open-but mostly safe. That was the one feeling she did understand: safe. As if sensing the woman in her arms had battled her demons and won-for the moment- Monica hugged the red head gently and pressed a kiss to the back of Dana's neck and then drifted off to sleep.

A pale arm moved across the bed expecting to come in contact with another body. When Dana felt only space and rumpled sheets she opened her eyes to the unforgiving bright morning light. She sat up quickly in a state of mild confusion. She was still in her room and nothing had changed, but she was naked, so she took that as a good sign. She frowned for a second, thinking that this was some cruel twist of a nightmare. Her heartbeat picked up with worry only to calm at the aroma of coffee and Monica. With a smile all ready on her lips she turned to the door way to find a very naked Monica holding two steaming cups of coffee. Dana tousled all ready unruly hair and blushed for the both of them.

"You weren't supposed to wake up yet." She wasn't really disappointed.

Dana looked up as Monica placed the mugs on the nightstand and attempted to get back in bed. A pale hand against Monica's hip stopped the woman. Blue eyes were fixed on the black ink of a tattoo drawn between the junction of Monica's hip and thigh. Dana smiled slyly up at Monica and then allowed the woman to slip back into the bed. "What's your tattoo mean?" She ran a slender finger over the thick black design and bit her lip as she felt the woman beside her tremble.

"It's a tribal representation of a Mayan goddess."

"What's it mean?" She asked in a soft tone while still trailing her fingers over the design.

Monica closed her eyes to the touch, forgetting for a second what she was supposed to be answering. She looked down at Dana with hooded eyes and could only smile at the pleasure she found in Dana's blue eyes. "She's uh, the goddess of the earth. Also she encourages conscious awareness and thought."

Dana opened and closed her eyes slowly taking in the warm sound of Monica's voice. "I think she suits you."

Monica smiled and covered the fingers caressing her tattoo. "I think she suits you too."

Dana only smiled and nestled into the woman's warmth for a moment. They were quiet for a moment each soaking up the reality of the morning. Both women were a little worried, but neither woman was eager to admit it. Monica oozed confidence, too fearful of the alternative and all Dana could do was smile.

"What time is it?" Dana stretched her arms and then sat up with her back against the headboard.

"Late." She said casually.

Dana looked over at the clock and her eyes opened wide with surprise. "Monica, it's 9:00."

The brunette just smiled as she sat up and sipped her coffee. "I know."

Dana shook her head as she glanced at the calm woman. "Correct me if I'm wrong. You were supposed to be at F.B.I. headquarters an hour ago?" Monica just rolled her eyes in response. Dana smiled and said nothing for a moment. She put her mug down and leaned over, kissing the grinning woman soundly on the lips. She pulled away from the pleasantly surprised woman. "Thank you." She rested her forehead against Monica's letting them both catch their breath.

"For what?"

"For staying."

Monica smiled. "I'd be crazy not to." She lightly kissed the woman once and then twice on the lips. By the time she kissed her for the fourth time, the kisses had grown longer and were aided by roving hands. Dana's heartbeat was just picking up when William's cry ripped through the building passion. They both laughed.

"Does he have the best timing or what?" Dana grinned and stole one more kiss before grabbing her robe and leaving the room.

When the red head was gone from the room, Monica collapsed onto the pillows, licked her lips and then smiled like she had just won the lottery. She felt like laughing only because she knew she was going to be smiling like this for the rest of the day-hell, the rest of her life. She hadn't been nearly this high ever in her life. Even the first time she had smoked pot- when she thought the clouds were talking to her-it was nothing like this. She hated to leave this place, but she was out of time. She groaned, realizing she had a flight to catch in a little less than three hours. Monica cursed under her breath and sprang out of bed, headed for the bathroom. She borrowed a towel and new toothbrush from Dana and proceeded to make herself slightly presentable for the ride home.

Dana settled William into his bassinet and gave the boy a kiss on the forehead as she heard the water running in the bathroom. She sat the baby down on the couch as she bent down to pick up the strewn clothing on the floor. She smiled at the memory as she grabbed Monica's shoes and belt buckle. Dana stood up straight as she heard a key hit the lock to her front door. She looked at the kitchen clock that read 9:30 and then slapped her palm against her forehead as a memory came to her. "My mother. Fuck!" The red head was a flurry of motion as she bent down and swept up the clothes and tossed them through her bedroom door. She shut the door and scanned the rest of the living room. She was tucking a sock under the couch with her foot when the door finally opened.

"Mom!" she said a bit too loud.

Margaret Scully was taken aback by her daughter's chipper mood. "Dana?"

"You're early."

Margaret raised an eyebrow. "Dana, it's 9:30." She eyed her daughter and then added, "you forgot about today." Dana's look said it all. "I thought we were going to the mall, but if you don't want to go." She said with a sigh.

"Oh, no, no, no. We can go, I, uh, just got a late start." She shook her head and smiled. A loud thud came from inside her room.

"What was that?"

"What was what?" She kept a straight face and played dumb. "Keep an eye on William, I'll be right back." Margaret just picked up her grandson and watched Dana scamper off.

Dana entered her bedroom to find Monica standing by the dresser holding her foot in her hand.

"I stubbed it." She said in a half-whisper.

"I heard." She looked sorry. Dana looked the woman up and down and saw that she was half dressed, with only the buttons on her shirt needing to be buttoned. She openly looked at the sheer of Monica's bra and reflexively licked her lips.

Monica smirked. "Your mother's in the living room Dana."

She blushed and went pale all in the same moment. "Shit. Um, uh.."

Monica closed the distance between them and kissed the fumbling woman. "Go distract her."

Dana blinked. "Okay, I can do that." Monica gently guided her to the door. She stepped into the hallway and shook her head until she had come out of her momentary daze. "Mom, you want some coffee?"

Margaret was all ready in the kitchen. "As soon as I find a mug." William was resting on her shoulder as she looked through the cabinets. Dana looked confused and then realized that the last two clean mugs were in her room. "I thought I left two clean ones last night." Margaret mumbled to herself.

"It doesn't matter, have some juice, it's better anyway." She spoke quickly. She grabbed a hard plastic tumbler and opened the fridge.

"So did Monica stop by last night?"

The mere mention of Monica's name made the woman lose sense of herself. The plastic cup clattered to the floor and Dana nearly lost her grip on the orange juice. She recovered and placed everything on the table.

"Her mother looked at her with real worry. "You okay honey? You seem edgy."

Dana took a deep breath and put on a dry expression. "I'm fine, just overslept."

"Bad dreams again?"

Dana chuckled recalling the last conversation she had about dreams. "No, no dreams." She smiled a bit wider than she had intended to but the happy action seem to placate her mother.

"Whose keys?" Margaret looked towards the keys on the end of the couch.

Dana wanted to crawl into a hole, but she kept a straight face. "Monica's." She shrugged it off.

"Well where is she?" She smiled in anticipation.

"Gone." She replied too quickly. "She's gone." She looked anywhere but her mother's eyes.

"Well, does she know she left her keys?" She asked with a laugh.

"She just left, because she stopped by before work, so she probably hasn't realized it yet."

"Oh okay." Margaret seemed satisfied.

"And you know what, I should go and call her, right now." Dana turned and walked to her bedroom. She opened the door to an empty room. Dana searched the room, but Monica was gone. She was staring into her closet when her mother entered.

"Dana?" The red head nearly jumped out of her skin. "Are you sure you're okay?"

She chuckled and pulled herself together. "I'm good Mom. Fine, really. Absolutely wonderful." She smiled. A knock at the door preempted any response from her mother. Dana practically ran from the room, snatching Monica's keys off the couch along the way and opened the front door. She stepped out into the hallway, leaving her hand on the nearly closed door. "Your keys." She dangled the keys in front of the grinning woman. "I'm so sorry-I completely forgot my mother was coming." She shook her head in embarrassment. "Oh God, did you do what I think you did?"

Monica grabbed her keys and just smirked. "It's okay. And hey, it was kind of nice to sneak out of a bedroom using the fire escape, brought back good memories." She laughed and Dana blushed.

"I feel awful."

She caressed Dana's cheek. "It's okay. You can make it up to me when I get back."

"Back?" She furrowed her brow and then her shoulders sagged as she remembered. "New Orleans, I completely forgot."

"Your brain's still off line, huh?" Her voice was soft.

Dana sighed and looked at Monica with a gleam in her eye. "I can't imagine why."

"Dana? Is that Monica?" Margaret called from behind the door.

Dana paled at the sound of her mother's voice and Monica just tried not to laugh out loud. "I'll call you when we get there." Monica whispered.

Dana just nodded, all the while wishing the building would just collapse on her head all ready. The brunette cupped her cheeks and leaned down to kiss the flustered red head. The kiss settled Dana's frayed nerves, but did well to stir up images and tastes and sounds that she had experienced hours before. Dana breathed in the scent of sex on Monica's rumpled clothes. She smiled dreamily.

"Bye Dana." Monica said softly with a warm smile. She kissed her once more quickly and then disappeared down the hall.

A smiling Dana entered her home and closed the door with a soft click. "Dana, everything okay?" Her mother asked from the kitchen.

Dana toned down her large grin and joined her mother in the kitchen. "Yes, Monica just picked up her keys.

"Oh, she did." Margaret sounded a little disappointed.

"She did say hi. She had to leave to catch a flight." Dana looked down at the ground and sighed to herself. "Um, I'm going to grab a shower and then we can go." She glanced at her mother for a second and then headed for the room

Margaret Scully just watched her daughter with a questioning eye. "Hmm." She kissed William's head and looked at the wide eyed boy. "I think your mom needs a date William." She grinned and took his spit bubbles as agreement.

Ch. 13

Doggett shouldered his own duffel bag and grabbed the handle on Monica's suitcase. He watched his partner as she met him at baggage claim. The woman was curiously amused, even though nothing eventful had happened on the flight. The barely even talked, which was a little unusual for the normally ready-to-chat Agent Reyes. He grinned at her. "Are you going to tell me what's got you in such a chipper mood?"

Reyes turned to her partner and grabbed her bag. She tried to tone down her obvious grin. "It was a nice flight." She shrugged her shoulders. "It's a nice day-I don't know. And besides, I've got a feeling this case might be over in 48 hours."

Doggett nodded. "Okay, Agent Reyes, I'll hold you to that." He chuckled and they headed for the rental car.

Reyes was all ready swatting mosquitoes and dodging Palmetto bugs by the time they rode up the gravel dive to the Parish Church. A handsome middle-aged priest with a well-trimmed goatee and bright eyes waved to them from the steps of the church. He waved them towards the door once they were out of the car.

"Why don't you folks come on in out of this heat." His accent was obviously southern, but it was clearly rounded out by some time spent on the east coast.

The Agents followed him into the church and Reyes immediately let out a grateful sigh at the temperature change. The church was rather small, but the one level building was probably more than enough for the community. The two air conditioning units on opposite sides of the church, kept is as cool as an icebox.

"This weather is crazy I know." The priest spoke through a smile and then gestured towards a pew. "Can I offer y'all some water or tea or something?"

Reyes and Doggett both sat down. Reyes looked the priest in the eye as she spoke. "Water would be great Father Turnley."

Father Turnley began speaking as he moved near the vestibule and retrieved a pitcher of water and some glasses. "So, I really appreciate y'all coming all the way down here." He pronounced his t's like d's. "It's just a bad time for me to leave and all."

"It's okay Father, it gave us an excuse to escape D.C."

Father Turnley smiled at the dark haired woman as he handed the Agents their water and sat down in a pew in front of them and turned to face them. "So, I 'spose y'all are hoping that I can help."

Doggett furrowed his brow on the verge of erupting into a fit full of frustration. Reyes could easily read her partner's expression. She sat forward placing one hand on the wood of the pew in front of her. "Is there some reason why you can't help us Father." She shared Doggett's frustration, but she had a little more patience.

Father Turnley looked surprised. "Oh," he looked down at the floor and then back up. "Look, things tend to be a little different down here. Now, I don't mean that to say we're ass backwards hillbilly's or something, but we do have a way of doing things."

"Father Turnley, I assure you we're aware of the way things work down here. Besides I spent 2 years working here-so I know this way." She smiled. "We want to understand which is why we came to you."

He sat up straighter at her words. He brushed a lock of unruly black hair out of his eyes and adjusted his position in the pew. He scratched at his goatee in thought and looked at the two Agents very carefully-sizing them up. "Now Agents, I want you to know that Sister Arneux was an amazing woman who did her job well."

Doggett did not curb his sigh. "No disrespect Father, but I've heard all about how good Sister Arneux was-we don't doubt that." He grinned tying to take the bit out of his words. "But it's obvious that everything was not all right. And let's be honest, she wasn't always a nun?"

He nodded and leaned against the pew. "To be truthful, I always knew Valerie, was in some kind of trouble. I remember when she first got here it was like she had been running for miles on end and then just stopped. I can't tell you what was chasing her, only cause I don't know." He shrugged a shoulder, " 'spose I could speculate."

"I wish you would." Doggett was eager.

He grinned. "I always thought she was caught up in the drug trade and she just needed a hiding place. Some of the clergy thought she'd been a prostitute and was looking for salvation. But, I don't know if ever bought those-she was just always too scared." He stopped to sip his water. "Now, we did out share of talking over the year and if you ask me, I think she was just trying to get right with her soul and get right with God." He put down his glass and spoke his next words soft severity. "Whatever had her on the run had no earthly bounds And being in this here place, I can understand that."

"Are you competing with Voodoo practitioners?"

"I don't really think we're competing, more like co-existing. Go to a church services on Sunday then head to a ritual on Monday. I guess its which ever way works better. I'd like to tell you faith is enough, but sometimes folks crave magic."

Doggett eyed the priest. "Do you believe in Voodoo Father?"

The man grinned. "Agent Doggett, I believe in God. I believe in the Father Almighty, creator of the universe." He paused and met their eyes. He added in a voice just above a hush, "And I've seen some crazy shit. In fifty years, I've seen stuff that would make your hair turn white and shake you to the core. Don't let anybody try convince you that there is no Devil-it's a lie."

Both Agents were a little shocked, not by his candor, but his revelation that he was fifty. Father Turnley ran a hand across his smooth cheeks. "Agents, magic is a part of these people's lives-and you may not believe in it, but you have to respect it."

"Did Sister Arneux respect it?"

"I think she did. All though I think fear always had a hold of her. But she did love her job." He smiled at some unvoiced memory.

"Father, what about the time she was attacked?" Reyes looked the priest in the eye.

He avoided her gaze and nodded as he rubbed his hands on his pants. He pursed his lips and stood abruptly. "You all mind walking. Take the water with you if you want."

Reyes and Doggett looked at one another with question, but they quickly followed the priest who was all ready walking out of the front doors. Once outside, Reyes immediately eased out of her jacket, thankful that she had wore a sleeves dark blue v-neck shirt. She draped her black jacket over her arm as she followed after the priest up the gravel walkway to a large garden area. The sun peaked in and out of the large Magnolia's and Cypress trees that provided a little shade. They all sat down on a pair of stone benches, Reyes and Doggett facing Father Turnley.

"She was up at the Manor house when it happened." He pointed to a one-story house on a hill 500 yards away. "It's a little meditation room we built a few years back. She left two days later. All though in hindsight, I'm surprised she didn't leave before." Reyes leaned forward listening intently. "The two before, I think she knew them." He took a breath.

"You think Father or you know?" Doggett didn't mind pressing the priest for information.

"It's possible they grew up together." He looked up at the trees as if he was expecting something.

Reyes followed his line of sight. "Father, are you looking for someone?"

He shook his head and smiled weakly. "Nothing, just get the willies sometimes." He smiled with more confidence. "That's really all I know. I'm not sure if it meant anything, but you know." He shrugged. His tone was off the cuff, but his eyes were serious.

Reyes fixed brown eyes on the priest. His sudden change in demeanor worried her. "Father, I sense you're uncomfortable."

"Oh, I am." He said with honestly. "These stone seats are pretty to look at, but woo! If they don't cause piles."

The comment made them all laugh. "Maybe we should walk then." Reyes offered. She nodded to Doggett who took her hint.

"Reyes, I'm going to drop my coat off in the car, I'll catch up."

Reyes and the priest watched Doggett walk off in the opposite direction. "Did I upset your partner?"

"Nah, he just likes to get to the point."

Father Turnley chuckled and clasped his hands behind his back as they began a leisurely stroll to nowhere in particular. "I want to get to the point, but it's not that easy, you know." He glanced at the brunette, looking for understanding. Reyes nodded. "We're a small parish," he continued. "Everybody knows everybody, Agent Reyes. There are at least three sets of eyes on us right now." He said the words so calmly that Reyes wasn't sure if he meant it. She eased her hand towards her holster all the same. "No need for that, nobody means any harm. I'm just saying it's hard to keep secrets here."

She moved her hand. "Except from outsiders." She grinned knowingly at the priest.

He grinned. They stopped near a large Magnolia. It's blooms filled the area with its flowery aroma. "I think sometimes you live a happier life like that."

She looked at the priest with concern. "But Father, doesn't she deserve justice?"

He ran a fair hand through his hair. "Depending on who you talk to-perhaps she got it." The statement was quiet.

Reyes creased her brow. "Do you believe that? Is that God's justice?"

He shook his head in anger, directed mostly at himself. "Course not-but like I said, everything goes together here. It all weaves in and out." He laced his fingers together in demonstration.

"I don't think you believe that Father."

He grew quiet for a moment as they walked a few more feet. "I don't know what to believe Agent, but I know three good women are dead. And more will die."

Reyes stopped walking and touched the priest, causing him to stop. "What do you mean more?"

With a sigh he began, "before she left, Valerie talked about the " rest of us". That's what she told me."

"What did she say?"

"That there would be nothing left."

"Do you know who she was talking about?"

He shook his head. "She never said. Only 'us.' I never knew and I never asked. When Marjorie Salvo [JpM12]died she almost left. Actually, she disappeared for a couple of days and then came back. She seemed okay and then a month later Samantha Terry was killed."

"I know Valerie went to St. Francis Day School. Is that where they all met?" He shrugged. Reyes looked at him and could tell he was being truthful. "Father, is there anything else you're not saying. Any reason why her death was justified? I keep hearing that and no one will tell me why."

"I hear rumors." He said after a deliberate pause. "Rumors she conjured up something she shouldn't have."

"Do you know what it was?" Reyes was almost frantic. The priest shrugged. "Father please." She said calmly.

He took a breath as if he was in the process of speaking and then a rush of sound surrounded them as a flock of birds took that moment to leave from the tree they were standing under. Father Turnley stepped back and looked around nervously. Reyes look at the man and knew she had lost him. The priest rubbed the back of his neck. "Um, Agent Reyes, I uh, need to head back. I'm s-sorry I can't be of help." He was walking away. "Make sure you two get out to see the quarter." He added as if she were a tourist. Reyes just waved and met Doggett on the gravel path heading back to the car.

"What happened?"

Reyes sighed. "He got spooked." She got into the car. "I'll explain on the way. We need to head to the Day School."

The Agents retreated to the air conditioned car after a useless trip to the Day School. The instructors were extremely tightlipped and suspicious. It was only their natural southern charm that kept them balancing on the line between politeness and arrogance. Doggett pulled into a gas station and Reyes' eyes lit up at the 7-11 sign.

"Ooh, a Slurpee."

Doggett laughed at the woman who sprang out of the car. "Get me one too."

Reyes was on the verge of a brain freeze from sucking the slushy thick cherry red liquid through a too thin straw when her phone ring. She juggled the two cups and picked up on the second ring. "Monica Reyes."

"You sound happy."

Dana Scully's voiced warmed the agent in a good way. "Hi." Reyes smiled hard and handed over her money to the cashier. "Did you get my message?"

"I did." Scully smiled into the phone. "Thank God my mother was gone."

Reyes chuckled. "Sorry."

Scully grinned as a light blush touched her ears. "It's okay." Her voice cracked at the memory of the suggestive message. "It's fine." She cleared her throat. "Anyway, how are things?"

"Going okay." Reyes sat Doggett's drink on the hood of the car and walked off away from the gas pumps. "Did you just call to check up on me?"

"No-not really. Actually, this is official F.B.I. business."

"Oh I'm sorry, let me put on my professional hat. How may I be of service to you Agent Scully?" She was all business.

The red head blushed in the safety of her office hearing the double meaning in the other woman's words. "I've got a few ideas."

"Oh really."

Scully blew out a breath realizing she was completely off track. "But, I do have news for you, so let me finish."

"Go ahead."

"Agent Jones ran Valerie Arneux's prints. She was a ward of the court from 85' to 88' She also did a stint in Juvenile hall in 89'."

"Shit." She said with wonder.

"I'm not done. Valerie is also 22 years old or at least she would be if she hadn't died when she was 10 in 1989."

"What!" She nearly choked on the Slurpee. "I thought our Valerie was 27."

"She is. Also, and maybe this is something you can fix on your end. The other two women were conveniently missing prints. We ran their names and popped up in juvenile hall as well."

"They met in juvey, not school. Damn."


"Long story. So who the hell is our Valerie."

"Our best bet is Josephine Arneux, Valerie's older sister by five years. Last record of her is a year before Valerie's death when she popped up in family court for a misdemeanor."

Reyes looked over at Doggett who was on his phone and waving her over to him at the same time. "Um, I need to go, I think Doggett's got something."

"Well, okay."

"Can I call you back in a few minutes." She sounded rushed.

"You don't have to, I'll just talk to you if something changes."

"Hey, Dana?"


"Thanks. Thanks for calling back and everything."

She wasn't sure what to say. "Okay."

Reyes hung and met Doggett at the car. The engine was all ready running when she got in. "Where's the fire?"

"Another dead body."

"Where we headed?"

"St. Charles." He peeled out of the station.

"Another woman?" she asked as she put on her seat belt.

"Yep. Who was on the phone?"

"Da--," she started. "Scully. She called to say that they had the prints back. Also, they left the other prints out."

"On purpose?" Reyes shrugged in answer. "Maybe we should get Scully down here, you think?"

On the inside Monica Reyes was giving Doggett a high give, grateful that she didn't have to conjure up some lame excuse to the red headed doctor down to New Orleans. She kept a straight face and nodded. "I guess we could."

"We'll check it out. What else did she say?"

"Our Valerie isn't Valerie, she's Josephine?"

"Jose-what!?" He made a quick turn.

"Go left at the next street, it's quicker." Doggett made the turn and Reyes used the remainder of the drive to fill Doggett in on what Scully had told her.

The Agents had no time to admire the scenery as they pulled up to a Tudor all ready surrounded by police and onlookers. They pushed through the gathering of people and made their way to the front walkway of the Law Offices of Danner and Beecham. A thin white man wearing a New Orleans police uniform held up his hands in front of the Agents. "Sorry, going to have to ask you folks to step back." He smacked on his chewing gum.

Doggett tried not to roll his eyes as both he and Reyes flipped open their badges. "F.B.I.", he read the man's name tag. "Officer Pul-let." He mangled the man's name on purpose.

The man furrowed his brow. "It's Poulet." He said through gnashed teeth.

Doggett played coy. "My mistake. Will you let us pass please?" The man grumbled and then let them go by.

Reyes tapped Doggett on the shoulder. "Pul-let?" She grinned. They encountered another officer on the steps and Doggett sighed. Reyes stepped in front of him. "Officer Rowly, how are you doing? It's Monica Reyes, is Lieutenant Caffery around?'"

The man eyed her for a moment, then looked at Doggett and back to the smiling brunette. "Sure, y'all come on in. Be careful where you step."

"Thanks a lot." Reyes said as she pulled out a pair of latex gloves. Reyes spotted a middle-aged man wearing a bad suit and a loose tie. "Caffery!" she called out.

The weary looking man looked up at the sound of his name and saw the brunette. He smiled and it lifted the lines in his face making him look almost 10 years younger. "Well I'll be a pig rooting in shit. As I live and breathe, it's Monica Reyes." He shook the woman's hand vigorously. "What are you doing back?"

"Caught a case?"

"This one." He noticed Doggett looking over his shoulder. "Who's your friend?"

"Caffery, this is John Doggett."

The men shook hands. Doggett liked the man's grip. "Don't mean to step on your toes Lieutenant, but we think this woman is a part of our case."

"Did they bag her yet?"

"Nah, she's still out back. Come on." He walked though the bedroom to the balcony and pointed.

Both Agents kept straight faces as they saw the form of a woman impaled on the white slates of a picket fence. She laid face up, arms outstretched, head dangling at an awkward angle and the white point of a fence protruding out of her sternum.

"That's Simone Danner. Her partner found her about an hour ago."

"How long has she been dead?" Doggett asked as he stepped away from the balcony.

"M.E. said this morning. Let's walk." They followed the man out of the room and outside, via the backdoor.

Reyes looked the body over, taking note of the bite marks around her shoulders and neck "Caff, does she have all her organs?"

He looked at Reyes oddly. "Uh-we won't know 'till we get her in the cooler." They followed him back inside the house.

"So how'd you get this case?" His eyes moved quickly between the two Agents.

Reyes looked at Doggett. If she didn't know better she was sure that Caffery was nervous. "A woman was attacked in D.C. and it led us here."

"D.C. huh? So, that's where you ran off to." He winked at her as if they shared some in-joke.

Reyes just shrugged. "A change you know. Anyway, " she continued before the man had a chance to reminisce. "This is the same it seems."

"Do you mind if we look around the house?" Doggett asked.

"Nah, go ahead."

Doggett nodded at Reyes and walked off. Reyes turned big brown eyes on Caffery and smiled. "Okay, Caff what aren't you saying?"

The man groaned and started walking out of the house. When he reached the back porch he lit up a cigarette. He offered one to Reyes who hesitated for only a split second before accepting it. "So what do you know?" she asked.

He took a long drag. "I should probably ask you that." He exhaled. "Somebody just handed me this case. Deveraux's not around, so I got stuck."

"Who's that?"

"Hot shot from Baton Rouge. The other two women were his too."

"So you know about the other women?"

"Hard not to around here."

"I take it there are no leads?" She was trying not to sound disappointed.

"Fraid not." He answered a little too quickly.

She let it go and took a drag off her cigarette. "You mind if I bring somebody down her to look at the body?"

Caffery sighed and scratched his scalp. "I can't stop you anyway." His tone was forlorn.

"Would you try?"

He smirked. "You know I love you Mon and it's good to see you, but maybe you should just let us wrap this up."

Reyes tossed out her half-smoked cigarette. "It's my job Caffery. But hey, maybe it'll lead to a dead end and I'll be on my way home."

He shrugged. "Maybe." He squeezed the woman's shoulder. "You know where she'll be." Reyes nodded. Caffery shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at Reyes with sad eyes. "Good to see ya kiddo."

"You too Caff." She folded her arms across her chest and watched the man walk off. When Doggett found her she was watching the coroner cut Simone Danner away from the fence.

"How'd it go?"

Reyes was so deep in thought she jumped when Doggett spoke to her. "Shit." She chuckled. "Considering I learned absolutely nothing, I actually learned a lot."

"What's that mean?"

"Let's go."

Back inside the car, Reyes took a sip of her watery Slurpee. "I think we need our own M.E."

Reyes had read his mind. "Think so?"

"Caff said he was given this case. It belongs to some hot shot named Devaraux. Then he not so subtly said we should back off."

Doggett turned to her with surprise. "Let's head to the field office. You tell Caffery that the body better be in the morgue no later than tomorrow morning."


"It's Monica Ryes." She held in her laughter.

"Monica Reyes is it." She teased. "Hold on for a sec."

Reyes covered her mouth with her hand, trying to hide her smile. She sat on the edge of an empty desk with her back to Doggett. She could hear Scully speaking to someone. "We'll talk tomorrow." Scully closed the door to her office. "Sorry. I didn't expect to hear from you."

"Yeah, well I wish it was for pleasure." She said quietly.

Scully blushed. "And here I was all excited. What do you need?"

"Believe it or not a medical examiner."

Scully smiled, but tried to keep the happiness out of her voice. Secretly she had been hoping the Agents needed her to come down. "Well I could give a few names."

"Well Doggett thinks it should be you."

"He does. What do you think?"

Reyes ran a hand through her hair, wondering why the hell she had to be having this conversation amidst her colleagues. "You don't want to know." She chuckled. "But seriously I need a pair of unbiased eyes.

Scully sobered. "Is there a problem?"

"I'm not sure how big it is at this moment but we're at the field office right now."

"Okay. Why don't I catch the next flight out and meet you guys at the field office."

Ryes couldn't hold back her smile. "Thank you."

Scully shrugged it off. "Don't you know this what I live for." She said it dryly causing Reyes to laugh. "Did I tell you about the Vampire that delivered pizza?"

"No, what?" She said with a snicker.

"Later then. I'll see you in a few hours."

"Bye Dana." She said the words quietly and then hung up. Reyes looked up to find Doggett looking at her with the silliest of grins that she realized matched her own.

"What's so funny?"

"Uh, a vampire that delivered pizza." Doggett looked confused. She shook her head and hopped off the desk. "Never mind. What do you have?"

"Louis Deveraux, a sergeant at 15th precinct. Got a couple of citations for excessive force. No charges were ever filed. Looks like he caught some high profile cases. Nothing exciting about him until two weeks ago when he went missing. Nobody's seen him for two weeks."

"When was Sister Arneux killed?"

"It's been a little more than a week." Doggett nodded in agreement, sensing the path they were both on. "We should be able to get access to Deveraux's notes right?"

Doggett nodded. "I got a feeling they'll give us a hard time, but I'll ask I.A. too."

She chewed on her bottom lip in thought. "See what you can find at I.A. and the 15th. I'm going to make a phone call and see if I can get the juvenile hall records." She paused and then finished her thought. "You think Simone Danner was in Juvey too?"

"There's a list somewhere that someone is working off of."

"But who's got access to that list? Juvenile records aren't released until death."

"In theory, only law enforcement officers would have access."

She nodded. "I bet our missing detective might have had a list."

Doggett nodded and tapped her bare shoulder. "Tell you what, just so you don't ruffle any feathers, I'll head to the 15th and see what I can grab. You beat up I.A. and make your calls. I'll call you when I find something or you call me."

Reyes grinned but not too widely as to seem inappropriate. She watched Doggett leave and then picked up a pencil to gnaw on as she made her way to an empty desk and a phone.

Ch. 14

Three hours later Dana Scully had all ready peeled off the black three-quarter length jacket she was wearing and she was just about ready to jump out of her slacks by the time she reached the N.O. field office. She laid her jacket over her carry-on and shouldered her bag as she walked into the air-conditioned building in a huff of air. She easily found Monica Reyes sitting at a back desk, one leg braced against the desk while she reclined in the padded chair. Once again white teeth dug into the wood of a pencil as she held a phone to her ear.

Dana Scully watched as Reyes rolled brown eyes, obviously annoyed at the person on the other end. Reyes hung the phone up and growled. Scully stood rooted to the spot, watching bare arms stretch above the woman's head. Scully licked her lips and then realized she was staring directly at the woman's breasts and then her hands as they rubbed the back of her neck and next her fingers as she ran them across her lips. Scully squeezed her eyes shut tight, willing herself to snap out of her sexual fantasy. She had been eager to do this, but now it seemed like an ill-timed notion.

It was too soon and Scully still didn't know where this was all headed. All she was sure of was the fact that she now had to change her underwear and it had nothing to do with the humidity. The red head opened her eyes and found dark pools of brown staring directly at her, mirroring the same lust she was trying to let go of. Scully rubbed her face removing the grin that was tugging at the corners of her mouth. She approached Reyes and sat her bag down with a thud.

"Agent Reyes." Her voice was tense.

"Agent Scully." She answered flatly. Reyes did her best to be as stoic as Scully, but it still unnerved her that the woman could turn her emotions off and on at the drop of a hat. "Was that fast or have I been on the phone that long?"

"Just good timing." She pulled up a chair. "Got something you might want."

Reyes bit her tongue and just grinned. "I'm sure it's not a pack of cigarettes right?"

Scully conveniently looked down in her bag, careful to avoid Reyes' eyes or she would burst into a fit of giggles. She handed Reyes a folder. "That's the original Valerie Arneux. She died as ward of the state of Louisiana in 1989." Reyes read while Dana talked. "Says here she was separated from her sister when she was six and then later."

"Josephine did a month at a girl's boot camp. She got out on good behavior, but Valerie had all ready been killed."

"It was ruled an accident." Reyes looked up at Scully.

"That's what it says. She fell out of a three story building to the concrete, all though it looks like she got a running start." Scully leaned forward onto the desk, stretching the fabric of her white shirt against her breasts as she flipped through the pages of the file.

Reyes was trying to look at the pictures, but the smooth skin that peeked out from in between the buttons of Scully's shirt were much more interesting. Scully followed her eyes. She smirked and tapped the photos. "Picture's down here Monica."

Too embarrassed to meet Scully's eyes she looked down at the photo and quickly focused. "She's a little far away from that window."

"About 10 feet too far. Also there were a few defensive wounds on her arm."

Reyes shook her head. "Who the hell found her?"

"Um, some patrol man-

Reyes read the information. "Son of a bitch. Louis Deveraux." She flipped through the pages until she found what she was looking for. She dropped the folder with a sigh. "Douglas Caffery was the investigating officer."

A red eyebrow arched. "I take it you know these guys?"

Yeah, I saw Caffery today." She paused. "Shit." She tapped the desk and then stood. "I'm hot are you? I need another Slurpee."

"Slurpee?" Scully dropped her usual mask to grin.

"Doggett should be back in a few. We should all go eat. I'm starved how about you?" She was talking fast. Scully actually smiled. "But it's so cool in here."

"We've go a.c. in the car. C'mon, I'll call Doggett and tell him to meet us in the Quarter." Reyes took a deep breath as she gathered herself and then picked up Scully's bag, despite to the shorter woman's protests. She put Scully's bag in the trunk and silently prayed that she would be able to sit next to the red head in such close quarters without trying to jump her.

Between the fans in the top of the open-air caf, the shade from the large umbrellas around the table and the large ice-t, the three Agents were all a lot cooler. Doggett bit into an ice cube as he spoke. "The judge should be calling me back with the warrant in a few."

"So there was nothing at the station?" Reyes adjusted her sunglasses.

"If there was, I have a feeling they were watching his back. Everything you got there," he pointed towards the accordion folder on the table. "Is all a matter of public record."

"Does anyone know where Derveraux is now?" Scully asked as she sipped her drink.

"No one knows. Apparently he up and left. His captain swears he's own some kind of sabbatical, but he didn't file for anything. He just disappeared." He looked at Reyes. "What about I.A.?"

The brunette rolled her eyes. "They've been investigating him for about three years, but haven't done a damn thing about it." She rubbed her forehead in obvious frustration. Scully cut concerned blue eyes at her. "The Caffery thing bothering you?"

Reyes huffed in response.

"It could be nothing you know."

She turned to Scully. "I want to believe that, but you didn't hear him today. He's up to his ass in this."

Doggett opened his mouth to say something, but stopped when his phone rang. The two women were silent as they watched Doggett. He said yes a couple of times and his brow remained creased until he hung up. "You ladies ready." Reyes smiled with relief and threw a couple of bills down on the table.

The three Agents stepped onto the long and wide porch of Thomas Deveraux's three-story home, located in the historic St. Charles neighborhood. "Nice house." Scully mumbled and glanced at Reyes who nodded in agreement. Reyes turned and peered through the bay window. Doggett lifted the brass knocker on the door and dropped it two times. They waited silently for a moment and then Doggett tried the lock. He cracked a smile when it didn't budge and pulled out a set of lock picks from his coat pocket. Moments later the three Agents moved into the foyer of the house, their hands on their weapons, fingers at the ready.

"Sergeant Thomas Deveraux, you here!" Doggett called out into the quiet house. "F.B.I. Sergeant. We've got a warrant to search the premises!" They all moved about the first floor as Doggett spoke, moving through the living room, parlor, and dining room to find nothing. Reyes moved into the kitchen. "I think it's empty guys." She looked into the sink to see that it was bone dry. She took her hand away from her gun and met Doggett and Scully at a staircase.

The upstairs bedroom had the same neat look as the first floor and even the bathroom appeared spotless. Scully's lips were pursed in thought as she moved through the guest bedroom. "Does this look too clean to you?" She asked as she stepped out into the hallway meeting Doggett. He nodded in response.

"I think I found your mess." Reyes nodded towards the doorway she was standing in. Scully and Doggett both looked towards the woman and then stepped into what was left of the detective's office.

"I didn't realize tornados were this accurate." Doggett made the comment as he stepped over a broken chair.

Reyes sighed, all though it wasn't out of frustration but more at the mess on her hands.

"Okay." She clapped her hands together. "How about I take the pile off to the right, Doggett you can handle the left, and Scully you get the desk area in the middle there."

Scully arched an eyebrow and looked at the brunette with the slight pout that she always wore. "Since half of the desk is on Doggett's half does that still count."

Reyes rolled her eyes. "Funny." Her shoes crunched against the strewn pages as she cleared a spot on the floor and sat down.

The Agents worked quietly for a good ten minutes, until Doggett grunted and stood up. "God, I think my eyes are going to fall out of my head. Tell me something Reyes, you think this just happened or did Deveraux do this himself?"

Reyes looked up from the neat piles she had formed and shrugged. "Well nothing was missing from the bathroom and his room was neat."

"If you're leaving in a hurry who needs deodorant and toothpaste, you just buy it on the road."

Scully leaned back and supported herself on her arms. She looked over at Reyes. "Maybe the maid came through and cleaned up."

Brown eyes passed between Scully and Doggett. "You think Caffery sent somebody through here don't you?" She didn't want to believe what she was saying.

Scully felt for the woman as she locked eyes with Reyes for longer than appropriate. "You know it's possible. He told you to back off and he knew you were on the way." Reyes took a deep breath and ran a hand through her hair, breaking her stare with Scully. The red head could see the turmoil on the brunette's face and she wanted to do all she could to comfort her. Scully looked up at Doggett. "Maybe check downstairs, see if somebody did get in here before us." Doggett nodded and walked out of the room. Scully got up and walked over to Reyes were she kneeled down beside the woman. She placed a small hand on her shoulder and squeezed.

"Monica, people get backed into the corner all the time."

Brown eyes looked up meeting Scully's concerned blue eyes. She grinned. "I know, but Caff's a good guy."

"I'm sure he thinks he's doing the right thing. He probably thinks he's protecting you."

Without hesitation she ran her fingers though dark brown hair and let her fingers trail along the woman's cheek. "And you know I can't fault him for that."

Reyes kissed the red head's palm and smiled. "I understand that, but seriously, there are four women dead and there will be more. I don't care what hell he's found himself in, those women didn't deserve that."

"We'll figure it out. We'll go down to District Court and see who we can muscle for some records, we'll get a subpoena, whatever needs to happen." The shared a small hug.

"You think I'm overreacting don't you?" She asked as they moved apart.

"No way." Scully stood and looked down at the brunette with a warm smile. "I just think you feel everything-take it all in." She chuckled. "There's nothing wrong with that. I kind of miss it to be honest."

Reyes knew exactly whom Scully was referring to. "I'm sorry I never met her."

Scully wanted to be surprised that the woman knew where her thoughts had been, but she was beginning to expect nothing less from the Agent. "You two would have been trouble." She grinned. She shook her head, using the physical action to change the subject. "You want to head downstairs?"

Reyes stood. "Indulge me for two more minutes and then we're gone." Scully nodded. She walked out of the office and headed towards the bedroom. "When you were younger where did you hide all your personal stuff?"

Scully looked up in thought. "I hid my diary and my candy stash in between my mattresses." Reyes smirked. "That's where I hid my weed."

Scully lightly slapped her shoulder as if she was horribly shocked. "I knew you were a pot head." She laughed as she walked to the end of the bed.

Reyes chuckled with her as they lifted the top of king sized mattress. It hit the floor with a thud. Both women peered down at the gauzy material over the boxspring. For a moment Reyes was ready to groan in frustration when something caught her eye in the left corner. "Mierda." She said quietly under her breath and then pulled out a pocket knife. When Doggett made it into the bedroom he saw Reyes slicing into the material with one long stroke.

"What the hell?"

Scully looked at Doggett. "A hunch."

Reyes pulled out a bulky envelope and moved off the bed. She spilled the contents onto the box spring. There amidst a wad of cash, a plastic baggie full of jewelry, receipts, was a photograph. Reyes reached down and turned the photo over, revealing a black and white photo. At first glance it looked like a class picture. 14 girls lined up on bleachers, all wearing the same outfit and staring straight ahead into the camera. At first glance it could have been anybody's school photo. All three Agents peered down at the photo, taking in the sight of the young girls all dressed in the same gray pantsuits with nametags across their right breast. Scully pointed a slender finger at the stamp on the bottom that read property of the State of Louisiana, ward 9, Department of Corrections.

"There's our girl." Doggett pointed at the face of 'Valerie' Arneux.

Reyes read a few of the name tags, looking for the names of Simone, Marjorie., and Samantha. "The others are here too. How many of these women are dead and we don't know it?"

"Let's go." Doggett's words came right before the sound of thud on the roof. All three Agents drew their guns. "The roof. Meet me downstairs."

Scully and Reyes headed down the steps and Doggett headed back to the office hoping climb out of the window and head up to the roof. Scully burst out of the front door first, into the dusky sky of late afternoon, her gun drawn, eyes scanning the area. Reyes was at her back. They moved out onto the lawn and looked up at the roof, hoping to see something. Doggett stuck his head out of the window and withdrew it quickly as a bat swung down at his head. He fired twice up at the roof and heard footsteps move away. Doggett climbed out of the window and pulled himself onto the roof. Down on the ground Scully and Reyes moved as they heard the shots. Both women watched as Doggett pulled himself on to the roof. Scully aimed her gun towards the roof, providing the man with cover.

"John, you okay?" Reyes called out.

"Yeah. Other side."

Scully took off around the side of the house and immediately saw a dark figure crouched beside the chimney. "F.B.I. Don't move!" The figure turned towards Scully and stood up. Scully put her finger on the trigger and looked down the sight getting a clear shot of the figure's shoulder. "Put your hands on your head!" Scully almost couldn't believe her eyes as she saw the figure start to jog towards the end of the roof. "I said don't move!" She practically swallowed her words as the figure leaped from the roof, arms out wide as if there was a large pool of water waiting below. The body met the earth with a crack and a sick sounding slap as the body crashed through the wood of the deck to the hard earth below.

"Reyes! We need an ambulance!" Scully glanced to her side and saw Reyes standing there slack jawed.

"What the hell happened?"

"He jumped." With her gun drawn Scully walked towards the body. As she walked closer she could see it was a man, with close-cropped sandy brown hair. He lay face down on the ground, with his right arm at an odd angle. Scully felt for a pulse and pulled back with a bit of wonder. "He's alive."

"You okay?" Doggett called down from the roof.

"He's alive." Reyes answered as Scully began to examine the man as best she could without turning him over. Doggett nodded and made his way down from the roof.

The three Agents stood around the man as they waited on the ambulance. They didn't say a word to one another as the ambulance and police cruiser showed up. The moved the necessary formalities with slight annoyance and then headed to the car.

"Did you see his eyes?" Doggett asked as he started the car. Scully nibbled at her lip and nodded her head, but didn't answer. "It was like they had been painted over, just like the guy from the garage." Reyes answered, referring to the white cowl that covered his eyes. "I wanna fax this photo back to D.C. and then," she paused, "I need the largest beer I can find." Doggett and Scully grunted in agreement and then the sedan pulled out into early evening traffic.

Ch. 15

The Agents returned to the field office, where Doggett found himself watching the two women as they attended to faxes and phone calls. Doggett just killed time examining the brown tile on the floor and trying to wrap his mind around the fact that this case was getting weirder and weirder by the moment. Reyes joined Doggett as she leaned against the desk.

"Everything's faxed. I told Terry to give me a call when he gets a hit." Doggett just nodded. Reyes folded her arms across her chest and looked at her partner with concern. "You okay John?"

He met her eyes and grinned. "Yeah, I am." He rubbed his neck in a sign of weariness. "Just not real sure where this is all going, especially with people jumping off rooftops."

Reyes nodded in agreement. She looked up and saw Scully moving towards them as she hung her phone up. "That the hospital?" Scully nodded.

"Right now our jumper's got no i.d and he's unconscious."

"Is he going to wake up?" Doggett asked as he stood up straight.

Scully half shrugged. "They ran a tox-screen on him. He's got at least two different toxins running through his systems along with a cache of herbs."

"What kind of toxins?" Reyes asked the question like she knew the answer. Scully looked at her with curiosity. "Pufferfish and porcupine to start." Reyes nodded and Doggett furrowed his brow.


"It puts the person into a form a respiratory distress and induces a coma-like state."

Both Scully and Doggett looked at Reyes who had given the answer. "You don't seem surprised?" A hint of a grin tugged at the corners of Scully's mouth.

"Poudre Zombi." The words rolled off her tongue with practice ease. "Sometimes called ti bon ange. And I bet it's the same thing they found in the guy from the garage." Scully was impressed and it showed in her eyes. Reyes looked down at the ground avoiding the red head's appreciative gaze.

"Somebody gonna' translate for me?"

Both women looked at Doggett, suddenly remembering he was in the room. Scully answered first. "It's a mix of toxins Bokur's make to create zombies. The victim appears to be dead, but they can still feel and hear everything. More often or not they are usually forced to endure some ludicrous horror to teach them a lesson. The most common lesson is to be buried alive." Reyes did not curtail her smile as she looked at Scully. Scully winked at the smiling woman. "You're not the only one who does their homework Agent Reyes." Reyes nodded.

"So, without all the mumbo jumbo, you're telling me this guy was hopped up on some kind of PCP or something."

Reyes turned to Doggett. "Sure."

"So tell me this, is this something we can trace back to a dealer?"

Reyes was quiet in thought. "Maybe." She sounded hopeful.

"You think you can pinpoint it?" Scully asked.

"I don't think it will be as hard you think. Whoever's doing this is powerful-their will is awesome. This goes beyond a simple mix of toxins." She looked at both Scully and her partner. "I think we'll have a very short list."

"But are they going to give that list up?"

Reyes grinned at Doggett and moved away from the desk. "That's going to be the hard part."

"Well all those in favor of doing that in the morning after a little beer and a little sleep, raise their hands." Two hands quickly joined Doggett's in the air.

They had made it all the way to the car when Reyes' phone rang. She groaned and answered it as she opened the car door for Scully and then stood in front of the back door. She put her hand on the back door handle as she spoke.

"Monica Reyes." Scully sat in the passenger seat and looked up at the brunette as she spoke into the phone. "Slow down Father Turnley....Who?....Well, wait, where...where does she know her from?" Brown eyes grew wide. "Don't let her leave Father we're on our way."

"What's going on?" Doggett asked as she hung up.

"Head towards Xavier, Turnley's there with Clara Williams."

Doggett pulled out of the parking lot headed towards Canal street. "Who the hell's Clara Williams?"

"She was in juvey with Sister Arneux and Simone. A girl named Alice was supposed to meet Turnley at a coffee shop up by the school. She doesn't show, he goes to check on her, finds Clara standing in a pool of Alice's blood white as a sheet. He ran her out of there and now there sitting tight in a Motel 4 or whatever."

"I told you Father Turnley knew more than he was saying." Doggett made a sharp turn and found the first parking spot he could locate.

Reyes filled Scully in on her conversation with Father Turnley by the time they found the Motel. Whether Doggett's abrupt stop on the asphalt alerted the priest or he was watching out of the window, Father Turnley stuck his head out of a door and waved them over. The worry lines etched in his forehead seemed to make the priest look closer to his age. His eyes moved over Scully with question.

"This is Agent Scully Father, may we come in?" Reyes gave the man a weak smile.

The man nodded and shook his head removing the dazed look. "Sorry, come in."

The Agents filed in and found Clara Williams standing in the farthest corner of the room, arms wrapped around herself, head hanging low. The young woman had smears of blood all over her clothing and she shook so hard they could all see it. Scully moved towards the woman, slowly. She stopped when Clara looked at her with watery eyes that were filled with fear.

Dana Scully gave the woman a smile. "Clara," her voice was soft. "Clara, my name's Dana and I'm a doctor." She tried to make eye contact with the woman but she only hung her head. Scully turned to the priest. "Do you know if she was hurt at all?"

Father Turnley stood between Doggett and Reyes and shrugged. "I don't think she was."

Scully nodded and turned back to Clara. "Clara, I just want to take a look at you and make sure you're not hurt. Is that okay with you?" Scully stood a little less than an arms length away from the woman. The woman was taller than the agent, but the way she slouched against the wall put them on equal footing. "Clara can I see your hands for a second?" Scully held out her hands. "I promise I won't hurt you." Clara looked at the small redhead through the curtain of stringy brown hair. Scully smiled.

Clara seemed to move in slow motion as she pried her hands away from her body and held them out to the Agent. Scully looked down at the dried blood on the woman's hands. "Monica, can you get me a wet towel." She kept her eyes on Clara as she heard Reyes move past her towards the sink. "Clara, I'm going to clean your hands off, okay?" The woman gave a little nod.

"Here you go." Reyes handed the towel over to Scully and looked the woman over.

Scully gently cleaned off the blood and found no lacerations. "Clara can you tell me if you were hurt anywhere?" After a moment the woman shook her head no. "No, you weren't hurt or you can't tell me?"

"I'm fine." The words came out in a whisper.

Scully nodded. "How about we sit down and let me just make sure." She grabbed a hold of one of Clara's hands and slowly guided the woman towards the bed in the center of the small room. Scully refolded the towel and used the clean side to wipe away some of the sweat and dried blood from the woman's forehead. "Clara can I get you some water or something?" Reyes was moving towards the sink before Clara even answered.

Clara ran through four glasses of water before she seemed satiated. Scully stood up and gestured for Doggett to come to her. The trio of Agents stood off to the side. "We need to get someone over to Alice's and sit on that body." Doggett nodded. "But no cops." Scully looked at Reyes. "Somebody you trust from the field office, I don't want the police department involved."

Reyes creased her brow in thought for a moment. "I can call Cremens."

"Good." She looked back up at Doggett. "Don't let him leave."

Doggett nodded. "Is she okay?"

Scully glanced at the woman who was still sipping her water. "Physically she seems fine, I think she's just shocked and scared out of her mind. Anything specific I need to ask her?"

"Besides who killed Alice?" Reyes glanced at the woman and then back at Scully. "Ask her why?"

Scully nodded and went back to the bed. "Hey Clara, you feeling any better?" She grinned at the woman hoping to convey an attitude of compassion.

Dull gray eyes met Scully's eyes. "She's dead." Her voice was flat and quiet.

"Alice? Yes, she is." Clara shivered and looked down at her hands in her lap. "Clara do you know what happened to Alice?" Clara's head went up with a snap. Scully could see the fear in the woman's eyes. "It's okay Clara, this is just us talking, you're safe here."

Clara shook her head and looked down at her lap again, despondent. "I'm never safe."

"Tell me why you're not safe. I need to know so I can help you?"

Clara gritted her teeth and grabbed a handful of hair, doing her best to fight off her tears. "You don't understand." Her voice was strained. "He can find me, he found her, and he'll find us all." Her words brought the other Agents closer.

"Clara is Devaraux the one who's after you?" Reyes voice was calm.

Clara looked up at the brunette and laughed. It was an odd chuckle that was on the verge of twisting itself into a sob.

"He's a bootlick, nothing, he doesn't matter."

Reyes moved closer to the bed. "Then who Clara?"

The woman sighed and stood up abruptly moving back to the corner she was once standing in. Hot tears streamed down her face. "Don't you get it?" Her voice strained against her throat. "We fucked up!" She spat the words out with venom. "We fucked up! We fucked up and now we're dead!" She let out a growl of anguish and slammed her elbow into the wall behind her before sliding down to a seated position.

Reyes walked over to the woman and knelt down beside her. "Clara, I need you to look at me." The woman held her head in her hands. "Clara." Her voice was just a tad more forceful. "Clara, look at me. We want to help you, but you have got to be smarter than the rest of them and let us help you."

Clara looked up with angry eyes. "How can you possibly help me?"

"You can tell us why?"

Clara sighed and rested her head against the wall. She chuckled and wiped at her tears. "Why. You want to know why? I want to know why. We did the right thing, but it doesn't matter." She shook her head. "I'm going to die just like all the rest-and so be it."

"Clara are you the only one left?"

She shrugged. "That's here, yeah."

"Who else is there?"

"Well I thought Jo made it, but I guess not."

Reyes fished the picture out of her coat pocket. "Is this all of you?"

After a moment Clara looked down at the black and white photo and smiled weakly. "God the fantastic fourteen." Her voice was sad. "Jo, Simone, Marjorie, Samantha., Alice, Sarah, Selma, Chris, Maggie, and Nadine."

"Who are the other three?"

She pointed to the girls as she spoke. "Candace, Sheila, and Cynthia."

"Do you know there last names?"

Clara looked confused for a moment and then nodded. "Uh, Cyn, um, Daniels. Sheila was something with a K. Um, shit. Krawley. And um, Candace was Williams. You won't find them."

"We'll find them and you're coming back to D.C. with us."

Watery hazel eyes opened wide in horror. "I can't leave, no way no how."

"Clara," Scully walked towards the women. "someone's trying to kill you, you have to leave." She didn't understand why they were even having this conversation.

She looked at Scully. "I have to protect the box, I can't leave. I'm the only one here now." Reyes looked back at Doggett immediately remembering the key. "Who has the key?"

"I don't know."

"Are you sure?"

"We passed it around so no one person ever had it, I have no idea."

"What about the one we found?" Scully asked.

Reyes nodded. "Clara why don't you take us to the box and then we'll take it and you out of here."

Clara shook her head. "I don't think that's such a good idea."

"Well Clara what do you suggest?" Father Turnley joined the small semi-circle that was beginning to form. "These people might be able to save your life?"

She rolled her eyes at the priest. "Father if it was that easy, then the others would have been safe."

"Is it the box he's after?" Monica asked steering the conversation back to her topic.

Clara nodded. "Among other things."

"Fine then. You don't want to leave, then don't, just tell us where the box is and at least we can keep it safe."

Clara looked straight into the Agents' brown eyes. "You really think you can stop this?"

"Clara I won't run. We'll make a deal if we have to. The box for your life and the others." Clara shook her head as if to say no. Reyes reached out and shook the woman by the shoulders gathering her attention. "You listen to me Clara, ten of your friends are dead and you can't get them back, but you can save yourself and the others. Take us to the box. We'll take it and you out of here and if this man or whatever wants it, he can come find us."

Clara looked down at the floor contemplating.

"Clara, let us help you." Scully looked down at the woman and made eye contact.

Clara let her eyes pass over the people surrounding her and after a long pause she shook her head. "Okay." Monica grinned and stood. She held her hand down and helped the woman up. "We need to go to Cemetery No. 3."

"Father Turnley, I want you to head back to the Parish. As far as you're concerned none of this happened. If we need you will find you." Monica smiled at the man.

Father Turnley nodded. "Y'all be safe." He drew the sign of the cross with his hand.

"Thank you Father." Scully and Doggett said the words nearly at the same time and then Doggett walked the priest out.

"You ready Clara?" Reyes put her hand on Clara's elbow.

"I want to go on record as saying this is stupid and probably won't work." She rolled her eyes as they moved towards the door.

Reyes looked over at Scully and shrugged. "Give us a chance Clara, we can make this work." The woman just grunted and they left the room headed towards the car.

Ch. 16

Cemetery No. 3 was like every other cemetery in New Orleans...dank, dark, damp, eerily beautiful and awaiting a Hollywood film unit. A nervous Clara stood between the two women as Agent Doggett reached his hand through the iron gate and unlatched the lock. Scully took out a crudely drawn map that Clara had been carrying around with her, and turned on her flashlight.

"We need to head towards the angel statue and hang a right."

"Scully," Doggett looked at the shorter woman with a slight grin tugging at his thin lips. "There are about a zillion angel statues."

The red head looked up and realized how daunting their task had become. A top many of the above ground plots busts, angels, and large crosses stood watch over the dead. Scully looked at Clara. "A little help Clara."

The woman grumbled under her breath and then pointed off to the right. "It's a black angel-down in the C's."

Doggett took point, since Clara was reluctant to lead, much happier sandwiched between the two women. Their footfalls crunched quietly against a mix of sand, earth, and gravel that made up the paths. As the path narrowed the four people formed a single file line, with Clara behind Doggett followed by Scully and Reyes taking up the rear. While the random candles that burned about the cemetery and the street lights provided illumination Scully reached for her flashlight and pulled out her gun with her other hand. Reyes watched Scully with question as the red head stepped out of line to move behind Reyes.

Reyes slowed her steps until she was walking beside Scully. "What is it?" she asked the question quietly enough, but everyone was so on edge that they all stopped moving.

Instead of answering Reyes right away Scully just peered down the path behind them and shone her light on the tops of some of the mausoleums. She pursed her lips in thought and then looked up at Reyes. "I don't know what it is but let's make this quick." Blue eyes fell on Clara trembling form as she practically clung to Doggett.

As Doggett moved towards Scully, Clara moved with him. "You see something?" He watched Reyes as she drew her weapon and took off the safety. "What's up?" He creased his brow.

Reyes grew tense feeling a shift in the air. "She's right we need to make this fast. There's somebody out here."

Clara let go of Doggett's arm and backed up against a statute. "Fuckfuckfuckfuck. I told you. Just fucking forget it let's go." She moved her hands frantically.

Doggett turned to the woman and placed his hand gently on her shoulder. "Clara, don't fall apart yet. Let's just get where we need to go." His voice was calm. Clara shook her head and avoided his eyes. "Clara look at me." She bit her lip and finally met Doggett's eyes. "Just hang on for a few minutes. Just show us where the building is and we'll walk out of here. Can you do that?" Clara's eyes moved over the faces of the Agents and she finally nodded at Doggett. Doggett smiled at her and they all began moving down the path as it sloped to the left.

The three Agents heard an extra pair of footsteps and they all stopped, guns drawn, searching the dark for their shadow. "Keep moving." Doggett said gruffly and they began again, with quick footsteps that lead towards a small hill. Perhaps

Clara's whimpering kept them from hearing the extra footfalls or they were all over compensating. Whatever the case their shadow swooped down from the top of a crypt tackling Clara and the Agents to the ground in a heap of dust and limbs.

Doggett was up first and immediately grabbed the man bearing down on a screaming Clara. Doggett grabbed the man's tattered shirt and lifted, tossing him back behind them. Reyes helped Clara to her feet and pushed her away from the man lumbering towards them.

"Down on the ground!" Doggett and Scully screamed the phrase simultaneously. Doggett opened his mouth to yell the command again, but stopped short when he got a good glimpse of the attacker. "What the fuck!" he breathed out in disbelief as he laid eyes on what could only be described as a rotting corpse. Pasty skin that was almost green in color, eyes that were white, and flesh that was ripped in jagged in odd places.

The man moved towards them and Doggett fired his gun twice into the man's chest but he continued forward barely fazed. Scully took note of the man's lumbering form and his decayed features and recognized him for what he was. She took aim and pulled the trigger. The bullet drilled a hole through the man's forehead and he dropped to the ground without fanfare. Doggett looked over at Scully with confusion.

"Aim for the head." She said quickly and took off after Reyes and Clara.

Too freaked out to question Scully, Doggett simply nodded and followed. As if she wasn't all ready running fast enough, the sound of gunfire pressed her to go faster. She skirted through two crypts with Doggett at her back and caught sight of Reyes firing at two relentless decayed attackers. Clara let loose a high pitched scream at the feel of a clammy hand digging into her shoulder. Reyes threw a hard elbow into the ashen face of the animated corpse, but he kept pulling at the screaming Clara.

Scully stood a few yards away and stopped in her tracks, raised her gun and fired twice. Two bullets shredded the corpses head and dropped it to the ground. A wide-eyed Reyes turned around to face Scully as she moved quickly towards them.

"Aim for the head."

Reyes just nodded as she knelt down beside a whimpering Clara who had curled into the fetal position. Reyes looked up at Scully with concern. "We have to get her out of here."

Scully reached down and felt the woman's pulse. She cursed under her breath. "What about the box?"

"It's there." Reyes pointed towards a large crypt to the right of a black angel statue. "Why don't you take her back and I'll get it."

A slim eyebrow arched towards the night sky. "I'm not leaving you." She called out to Doggett before Reyes could protest.

Doggett changed clips as he met the women. "We've got lots of company and I'm running low."

Scully felt her hip, feeling for extra clips and counted two. "Okay, Doggett get Clara out. We're grabbing the box and we'll be right behind you."

Doggett wasn't sure if he liked the idea. "Is that really a good idea?"

"What do you suggest?" Scully looked up at the man, honestly hoping he had a better idea. She peeked around the crypt and saw the growing number of walking dead that were surrounding them. She looked back at Doggett with a hint of expectancy in her eyes. He could only half-shrug.

"Well I don't suggest we barricade ourselves in an old farm house." Reyes chuckled dryly at her own joke. "None the less, take her and go. We'll be there."

Doggett nodded. "If you're not right behind me, I'm coming back in her with the shotgun and the car."

"That might not be such a bad idea anyway." Scully stepped from behind the crypt and fired into the small gathering six times thinning the crowd somewhat. She moved back and faced the Agents. "They seem to be in a holding pattern of sorts, so we need to go."

Doggett nodded and hauled a nearly catatonic Clara to her feet. "You ready to run?" He didn't wait for an answer as he grabbed her hand and they started running back towards the gate.

Reyes immediately moved to the door and pulled on the bronze handle. She let out a grunt as they nearly rusted hinges of the heavy door strained against the pressure. Scully took one last look after Doggett and joined Reyes at the door. Together they tugged at the door, eventually causing the door to let out a huge sigh as the hinges gave way and the door opened wide enough for them both to fit through. Reyes let go and walked into the musty building, her flashlight illuminating the insides. Scully stood outside the door, gun raised. The sound of rapid gunfire and Clara's shrill scream made her pale.

"Monica! Now!"

Inside Reyes fumbled with the bookbag at the sound of gunfire, but managed to place the metal box in the bag. "I'm right behind you." She said as she exited the tomb just in time to see Scully running up the path after Doggett.

Agent Scully found Doggett alone with his back up against a crypt firing into a group of corpses. Scully took aim and cut a path through the group large enough for the two to pass, before she discarded her clip and reloaded. They moved up the hill, the gates in sight. "Where's Clara?" She took a good look at the man-seeing the tattered material of his shirt across his chest. "You're hurt."

Doggett caught his breath and shook his head. "Can't feel it anyway." Wild eyes darted about and he took a deep breath trying to calm himself. "Where'sReyes?"

Scully showed no emotion as she answered, "behind me." On the inside her heart was beating erratically and the knot in her stomach grew to the size of a boulder.

"Clara ran off." He shook his head with disgust at himself. "They were all over her. I managed to drop a few and then she just started running. I-

He was cut short by the sound of his partner's voice. "Scully!"

The sound of Reyes' voice cut through the red head with such force that she thought she had been punched. She took off without hesitation, not even worried if Doggett would cover her. Doggett followed the red head with his eyes and sniped off anything that moved in her vicinity.

Reyes dropped the bag to the ground as she stood over the bloody and lifeless form of Clara. On instinct, she wanted to take the woman's pulse, but the complete removal of her throat cavity ensured that she would take no such reading. Reyes got down on one knee and closed the woman's eyes that had remained open, no doubt taking in the attack that had seemed so inevitable. Angry that they couldn't protect the woman, Reyes said a silent prayer and a quiet I'm sorry to the dead woman. She pushed up from the ground, barely on her feet when she heard a rush of sound. Reyes just managed to put a hand on her gun as a heavy body slammed into hers and knocked her to the ground.

The stench of decay invaded her nostrils and made her gag as she struggled to keep the thing away from her face. She pushed at the corpses' throat with one hand and gripped her gun with the other. The weight of the body above her threatened to suffocate her if she didn't get out from under it soon. She lost her grip on the corpses' neck and paid for it, as it bit into the flesh of her shoulder. Reyes let out a loud groan and fired her gun four times into the big body on top of her. With her legs and free arm she pushed and struggled with her attacker.

Scully nearly ran past the struggling woman, she was moving so fast, but she managed to stop on a dime and fire three times. The unexpected splatter of blood and tissue that sprinkled her face surprised Reyes as the once animated corpse, dropped lifeless on top of her. With a burst of adrenaline she kicked out from under the corpse. The determined blue eyes of Dana Scully were the first things she saw. Reyes was so happy she wanted to cry, but she willed herself to save her relief and celebration for later. She eagerly took Scully's outstretched hand and got to her feet.

Scully could see the relief in brown eyes, but she didn't let herself travel that road, as she remained stoic and focused. She lifted the ripped material of her jacket and managed to remain calm on the outside as she looked at the bloody imprint of teeth in her shoulder. "We need to get you to a hospital." She carefully avoided the taller woman's eyes, convinced she would break down. "Where's Clara?" Her voice was tight and clipped straining against the deluge of emotions she was holding at bay.

Reyes shook her head. "Dead."

Scully nodded and reached down to pick up the bag. She looked down at Clara's lifeless form and made no comment. "We need to go." Reyes just nodded and they both took off up the hill, making note of their shadows. None of them advanced on the women, instead opting to stare blankly out at the moving women with white eyes. "They're not moving."

Reyes changed clips. "I think they got what they came for." Scully just nodded as they moved along the path.

"Agents we need to move." Two sets of eyes looked up towards the sound of Doggett's voice. They found the man standing atop a crypt with a shotgun at the ready. "Those things seem to be waiting on something and I don't really care to find out what." The man jumped down and joined the women on the path. Together they all ran towards the gate and the car. They all gave one glance back at the cemetery as they safely entered the car. There remained no sign of their attackers.

"Hospital," was the only word spoken. The Agents were all too tense and beleaguered to say much of anything else as Doggett peeled out, leaving black marks on the asphalt.

Reyes rubbed at her newly banged deltoid with a grimace-remembering the long needle that injected the rabies shot. The three haggard Agents pulled into the parking lot of their mutual hotel and all let out relieved sighs. Doggett cut the engine and pulled at his tattered shirt where his bandage was peeking through. "I don't know about you all but I'm going to head down the street here, "he nodded towards Bourbon. "And fall into the first bar I find."

"I might beat you there." Reyes said as she exited the car. "But first I have to change this shirt."

"You two do look a little rough." Scully added dryly.

"I bet you didn't even break a sweat, Scully."

She smirked at Doggett's gentle teasing. "Meet in the lobby?" They all nodded in agreement and headed towards the stairs and elevator.

The women rode up to the fourth floor in silence, neither one quite ready to approach the other. In the hospital, Scully had managed to touch Reyes with the clinical manner needed to examine her wounds, but here in the close quarters of the elevator she was desperate to cling to the woman. Good sense deterred her, and the fact that if she made contact with the brunette, she might not let go.

For her part, Reyes made no attempt to approach Scully or even look in her direction. She too was waging her own war with the magnitude of her emotions and the adrenaline coursing through her system. All she felt fit to do at the moment was stand inside her room in the pitch black and tremble. The elevator opened and they walked down the short hallway in the same direction, on opposite sides of the hall, eyes straight ahead and focused. Reyes stopped first as she reached her door. "I'll meet you down stairs." Her words were tight as she disappeared into her room. Scully's only response was a nod of her head as she entered her own room.

With fingers that trembled with too much nervous energy Scully discarded her button down shirt and exchanged it for a soft white cotton t-shirt that fit her snugly without straining the fabric. She put her blazer back on only so she could keep her gun on. She was still decidedly too worried to leave it behind. She left her room and glanced at the door to Reyes room, noticing that the door was ajar. She made a split decision and pushed at the door, entering the darkened room. Blue eyes adjusted to the light before she spoke.

"Monica?" She was surprised at how nervous her voice sounded.


The brunette's quiet voice came to her right and close by. With a startled movement, Scully turned and practically bumped into the woman who stood so close. False light poured into the room from the boisterous street below, making it easy for the women to focus on each other. Scully seemed to look up at Reyes with a bit of disbelief in her eyes, but mostly with relief. The brunette grinned. Scully desperately wanted to say something, but she just didn't have the words-and they weren't what was important at the moment anyway.

The red head rose up on her toes, too impatient for the taller woman to lean down. She cupped all ready warm cheeks and pressed her lips against an eager and pliant mouth. The first kiss was one of reconnection and reality, but the second went on well past the point of what their lungs could handle. They separated with the sloppiness attributed to teenagers, causing both women to laugh as they caught their breaths. Reyes touched her forehead to Scully's and tugged on her shirt. "Cute t-shirt."

The red head looked up and caught the lustful gleam in her eyes. "I thought we were meeting Doggett for beer." Reyes took a sobering breath. "Oh yeah, beer." Her voice was still shaky. She kissed Scully's small nose and then backed away taking the time to straighten out her own shirt and tousle her hair. "Ok, let's go before I lock the door and strap you to my bed."

Scully raised an eyebrow. "Maybe we should just order room service." Reyes grinned as a delicious shiver traveled down her spine and settled in her groan. "Let's go now." She grabbed the door and opened it, grateful for the cool air in the hallway. Scully just smirked and walked out into the hallway, secretly wondering how fast she could drink two beers and then leave.

If Doggett noticed that the two women seemed preoccupied he made no mention of the fact. While Scully was content to stare out at the dance floor and tap her foot to the music, Reyes was a ball of energy-bouncing from the dance floor and back taking turns between guzzling water and beer. The three Agents hadn't said much of anything to each other after agreeing to a shot of vodka when the first entered the bar.

A slight glaze touched Scully's eyes as she watched the brunette mesmerize some complete stranger on the dancefloor. Oddly enough she wasn't jealous, just extremely turned on and growing more and more anxious by the moment. She was unaware of the grin that crept to her lips as she followed the sway of Reyes' hips.

"What's got you all in smiles?" Doggett's amused voice came from her right.

Scully looked at Doggett and blinked twice, registering his words a half a beat after he said them. She took a deep sip of her beer and sat the empty bottle on the counter. "Nothing really, just watching Ms. I can't stop my legs out there on the floor."

Doggett looked out at Reyes and chuckled. "I suppose that's one way to cope."

"Yeah that's one." Scully managed to make the comment with a straight face as her mind wandered through a few lascivious ways to cope. She could feel the blush tinting her cheeks and thanked God for the low light and haze of smoke that was protecting her. "Well," she tapped Doggett's knee and got up from her seat. "I'm heading back to my room. I think I'm done."

"Lightweight." He teased.

She rolled her eyes and grinned. "Giving birth will do that to you. Two's my max."

Doggett smiled and nodded. "Want me to walk you up."

"Nah, I think I can make it 50 yards. Besides," she patted her side. "I wouldn't want to meet me in a dark alley right now."

Doggett nodded in understanding. "See you in the morning I guess."

Scully nodded and waved before walking out of the bar. She put her hands in her pockets as she strolled the 50 yards back to the hotel. She gave a quick glance behind her, hoping that Reyes had sense enough not to bolt out of the bar after her.

Dana never doubted the brunette would follow. Even as she tried the lock on the door that separated their two rooms, she instinctively knew it would be unlocked. She walked through the doorway into Reyes' darkened room and dropped her coat on the chair next to the table. She walked towards the French doors and opened them to let in the welcome breeze and the ever present nocturnal and bustling energy of the street below. Dana didn't go out onto the balcony, but stood between the doors holding onto the knobs, eyes closed, and soaking up the feel of the Big Easy. From here she could smell the Mississippi as it mixed with the shellfish from Desire and the coffee from Caf Du Monde. It made for a powerful aroma that seemed to affect her much like the breath of the agent at her back.

If Dana had sensed the woman earlier she played coy. Her ears more open to the magic chaos below, than to Monica's soft footsteps. The warm lips pressing against the back of her neck made Dana shiver with anticipation. She sank back into the taller woman and reached behind her to run her short fingernails along Monica's thighs and buttocks. The brunette smiled against Dana's neck and bit gently into the soft flesh, not to bruise, but only to taste. Dana moaned and rolled her hips, pressing her backside into Monica's crotch.

Monica reached around with hands eager to be filled with the fullness of Dana's breasts. Dana let out a long deep moan as slender fingers trapped her nipples and applied just enough pressure so that only the pleasure was recognized. She gripped Monica's ass tightly, holding the woman tight against her as she pushed back. Monica reluctantly drew a hand away from Dana's breasts only to draw deep grooves through red hair before gripping it tightly and pulling back, exposing a silky pale neck. Monica followed Dana's pulse with her tongue and bent the red head's neck at such an angle that she was able to cover the woman's mouth with her own.

Dana rolled her hips at a faster pace as Monica sucked on her tongue. She fought to control the kiss, but lost it willingly when she felt Monica's hand between her legs. Dana let out a gasp, as Monica cupped her. Dana's body hummed with a sexual electricity that Monica just couldn't get enough of. Her hands were everywhere at once; pushing and pulling at clothes, and caressing the newly exposed flesh left in her wake.

Dana interlaced her fingers with Monica's long fingers as the brunette began to stroke her center once more. The added fingers made Monica's knees buckle, but she stood tall, if only to guide the smaller woman to the bed. She turned Dana around and their lips met for a wet and frantic kiss as they each tugged at belt buckles, zippers, and buttons. Buttons that were too small to fiddle with in the near dark were sacrificed. Dana could only gasp as the cool air hit her flesh. Soon shirts and shoes and underwear were flying before they finally tumbled onto the large bed in a delighted tangle of arms and legs.

Dana felt like she was on fire. Her body melted into Monica's kisses and touches as she worshiped her body with warm wet lips and questing fingertips. The places her fingers and hands did not caress, Monica found them with her mouth. Sucking and tugging and biting where necessary and even when it wasn't. The sensations were turning Dana into a writhing mass of flesh that she realized would peak too soon if she didn't slow down. She reached up and grabbed a handful of dark hair and tugged gently, causing Monica to stop her southward journey.

There was a moment of disappointment in brown eyes, but the desire she saw in blue eyes made her forget. She crawled up Dana's body and they shared a rough kiss. Very quickly it was Monica who was on her back, hands pined down and stretched high above her head, lifting, and presenting her breasts. With an impish smirk Dana turned her attention to the woman's breasts- engulfing a dark aureole with her mouth and making the woman beneath her moan in pleasure. Dana's cool tongue on her nipples started the pulling sensation in her groin and the throbbing of her clit, that only became more intense as Dana began her descent down Monica's long body.

Dana stopped to dip her tongue into Monica's naval, pulling a throaty chuckle from the woman. From this point she kept her eyes on Monica's lips as she let her nose lead her. The sweet spice that was Monica was now mixed with the thick aroma of arousal. Dana licked her lips in anticipation. At the feel of Dana's tongue dragging slowly through her slick and fleshy folds, Monica released a flood of wetness and opened her eyes wide with a pleasant gasp. She met curious blue eyes and she knew if she kept watching the red head, this was all going to be over in a matter of seconds. Monica let her head fall back to the pillow and anchored her hand in Dana's hair.

Urged on by the loud moans and random snippets of Spanish, Dana suckled where Monica needed her most. Monica let out a loud cry and pulled tighter on Dana's hair as she began to buck her hips. Dana wrapped an arm around Monica's waist to keep some control. As she eased two fingers deep inside of Monica, Dana was sure she was going to lose that control. She held onto the woman tighter as Monica thrusted into her face. She could feel the trembling begin in the brunette's body just as the walls around her fingers tightened. The sound of her name burst from Monica's lips in a release of air and a long moan. Dana quickened her pace and curved her fingers up into Monica-deep. Brown eyes met blue once more and Monica came undone.

Monica's strong thighs became a vice of flesh, holding Dana's head firmly in place as she drank of everything Monica had to offer. She lingered there between her thighs long after the tremors had subsided. Dana removed her fingers and cleaned them off with her mouth, one by one, much to the satisfaction of Monica, who was quickly aroused again by the sight and sound. Monica let out a raspy laugh as Dana kissed her way up torso; her warm breath tickling her flesh. Dana settled her thigh between Monica's legs, causing the brunette to close her eyes to the pleasant sensation. "You trying to kill me Agent Scully?" Her words came out in a low rumble.

Dana smirked and kissed Monica's damp brow. "What would ever give you that idea Agent Reyes?" She raised her eyebrows and flexed her thigh. Monica sucked in air at the sensation and laughed. "Oops." Dana was far from sorry.

"Feeling playful?" Dana only rolled her eyes. Monica chuckled and lifted Dana's arms, causing her to lose her balance so she easily flip the woman onto her back. A surprised breath escaped Dana's lungs as her back met the bed. Just as quickly Monica straddled the red head and pinned her arms high above her head. Dark brown eyes were glazed over with mischief. Monica licked her lips and Dana's heartbeat picked up in anticipation.

"I suppose I've gotten myself into a little trouble, huh?" Dana struggled a bit under Monica's weight and was rewarded with a roll of Monica's lips. The pressure against the bundle of nerves between her lips caused her to suck in a breath and bite her lip.

Monica just grinned. "There's nothing wrong with a little bit of trouble every now and then." Both women shared a chuckle as Monica released Dana's arms and reached for a piece of material on the dresser. Dana stopped chuckling and eyed the brunette with curiosity and a delicious hint of fear as Monica twisted the thin material in her fists. Monica noted Dana's silence and just grinned. "So let's see, what can't you live without, seeing or touching?"

A slim red eyebrow arched. "Do I get a say in all this?" Monica rolled her hips once more, distracting Dana. Before she could even get out the words, "I guess not", she found her wrists bound by the material and quickly being anchored to the bed post. Dana smirked, knowing this was probably the only moment she had to catch her breath. It was if the energy from the street below had seeped into their pores, fueling them. They welcomed the challenge The Big Easy offered up to them -- it was going to be a long night indeed.

Ch. 17

"Massive trauma to the carotid artery and thoracic cavity." Agent Scully looked up from Clara's corpse and rolled her shoulder. She moved away from the table and snapped off her bloodied gloves into the sanitized receptacle. "Probable cause of death is loss of blood, due to the extraction of the heart." She spoke the words into the mike that hung from the ceiling. "The heart muscles was severed by what appears to be teeth and was likely inflicted post-mortem." Scully groaned and shut off the tape just as her phone rang.

"Scully." She spoke her name without enthusiasm.

"Hey, it's me." Reyes' voice was soft.

The red head immediately blushed at the sound of Monica's voice in her ear. She easily conjured up images of the brunette from the night before. "Hi." There was a breathlessness to her voice that surprised even Scully. She leaned back against a counter, just in case her legs so fit to give out on her. "How's it going?"

"It's going." She answered dryly. After a breath she added, "what about you?"

Scully grinned. "I keep asking myself how I got stuck here. I seem to remember my morning starting off in a much more pleasant manner.

Reyes chuckled a bit surprised at Scully's candor, but far from displeased. "So, dead bodies don't do it for you huh?" She spoke the words almost at a whisper, as if she was trying to avoid being heard.

Scully sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "Play nice." There was a purr to her voice that was unintentional, but she enjoyed Reyes' reaction just the same.

The brunette let out a small whimper. She wanted to say something more, but her surrounding made it nearly impossible. "I'll just let that slide." She cleared her throat. "So, the cops are not being helpful, but we're going to the Quarter and a few places out in the sticks. I thought you'd like to come along."

"You mean real live people?"

"Oh yeah, they talk back and everything."

Scully laughed. "Then yes please. I'm just finishing up here, so I'll be waiting."

"Okay." Reyes paused. "Well....yeah. We'll see you later."

Scully could tell Reyes was in an uncomfortable spot, but she couldn't resist a little teasing. "Don't make me wait too long Agent." The lust was evident in her voice and she could practically hear Reyes tremble through the phone. Reyes could only cough into the phone-too afraid to speak; knowing nothing would come out except for a squeak. Scully took mercy on the other woman and uttered a quiet goodbye, knowing full well that the dark haired woman was probably standing somewhere in a room full of men, trying desperately to fight off a blush.

"Christ!" Reyes nearly jumped out of her skin when Doggett put his hand on her shoulder. She moved away from her partner and hoped that she just appeared to be spooked and not in a desperate state of arousal. She managed a crooked grin. "You scared me."

Doggett furrowed his brow. "Last night still got you in a state?"

Reyes just nodded and then covered her face with her hand, covering the large grin that was spreading across her face. "Yeah, yeah you know I'm just a little jumpy." She tensed the muscles in her jaw so that she looked serious. "We ready?"

"Yeah. We cleared out Deveraux's stuff and his house is locked up tight."

"Good let's grab Scully and finish up here." She gave one last look to the assembled cops that were staring daggers at the Agents. "I think we've worn out our welcome." Doggett just nodded in agreement and followed her out of the precinct.

For Scully and Reyes the morning after had been pleasant and void of the common awkwardness that seemed to be the post-coital ritual. Both women had prior engagements and places to be so there was no time for ill-timed pauses and involuntary blushes. But now, in the heat of a New Orleans afternoon, Agents Scully and Reyes found themselves fumbling for words, losing trains of thoughts and unable to make eye contact. The actions were not made so much out of embarrassment, but the shared knowledge that it would be painfully obvious to any passerby that these women had spent the night together.

Grateful for the car ride, Scully slouched down in the backseat and closed her eyes, waiting patiently for the air conditioner to kick in. "So are where we headed to?" Doggett asked as he got in on the passenger side.

"I figured we'd head out and work our way back into the city. There's this little old lady who lives with her daughter out in the sticks."

Doggett snickered. "Does she have one eye and gnarled hands?" His tone was playful.

Reyes rolled her eyes. "Ha. Ha. Nah, but she might turn you into a toad." Brown eyes glanced up at the rearview mirror, allowing Reyes to steal a steal a look at a very relaxed Agent Scully. As if, sensing the other woman's eyes on her, Scully opened her eyes and easily found Reyes' eyes in the mirror. She couldn't fight the grin that came to her lips. Reyes simply nodded and pulled out into traffic.

The three Agents were greeted by a cream colored woman with gray eyes. She smiled at the Agents with impossibly white teeth and waved them inside the quaint one-level cottage with long fingers. "Agent Reyes." Her voice was soft and rich and touched by an accent that none of the Agents could place. Reyes smiled at the woman. "You can call me Monica." The woman nodded. "This way please." She led the Agents into a sunny parlor room, where they sat down in wicker chairs that surrounded a matching table. "Can I bring you all something cool to drink?" The Agents all smiled in response, each one grateful. "Mman will be right out." With those words, the woman seemed to glide away with the soft linen of her outfit billowing out behind her.

Doggett leaned close to Reyes as he looked around the room. "If something freaky happens, you know I'll never forgive you."

Reyes just grinned and jabbed him with an elbow. "Its just information Doggett, not a palm reading."

"Not that he would believe anything I told him anyway."

The three visibly surprised Agents all turned in the direction of a small, unnoticed hallway off to the right, where a small cedar colored woman now stood. Sun-kissed brown dreadlocks were arranged in a ponytail of sorts on top of the woman's head. She moved into the room exuding elegance and took a seat in a larger chair that faced the Agents. She smoothed out her wine colored robe as she sat down and rested her arms on the arms of her chair. Grey eyes stared out at the Agents with equal parts amusement and curiosity. Mman said nothing until her daughter dropped off a tray of drinks and once again left the room.

"Monica Reyes." Her deep voice resonated through all of them. "I'd ask you how you are, but I can see you are quite well." She grinned at the brunette in a conspiratorial way and was amused when the deep red of a blush crawled up her neck. Scully cut her eyes at Reyes and fought off the growing lump in her throat as she felt the older woman's eyes on her. "Cecily didn't lie Agent Scully, your hair is very beautiful." Blue eyes met gray. Scully's face was stone with no hint of surprise. The older woman just nodded. "And you of course are Agent Doggett." Doggett just nodded as he sipped his tea and watched the woman with a skeptical eye.

"So," she entwined long fingers. "What do you need Monica?"

Reyes looked up at the woman. "We're looking for a Bokur?"

The older woman pursed her lips and looked up to the ceiling, not really thinking, just passing the time. "Why waste your time looking. You know he will find you."

Reyes drew her brows together in thought. "He wants the box." The dark woman nodded. Inwardly, Reyes smiled.

"Does it belong to him?" She chose her questions carefully trying to elicit the most information.

Mman laughed. "He wants what's in the box-but it does not belong to him and it doesn't belong in that box."

The old woman was being cryptic on purpose and it unnerved both Scully and Doggett. Doggett cleared his throat. "I'm sorry," he began. "I mean no disrespect, but why don't we just open up the box and be done with it. We can find him with the box, right?"

Grey eyes met Doggett's eyes with amusement. "So impatient, but it's saved you more than once so it doesn't matter."

She held his gaze for a moment and then continued. "Agent Doggett, what's in the box, to simply put it is, power. It was borrowed, then stolen, and finally trapped." She tapped a long finger on the table as she spoke. "You open that box at the wrong moment and no telling what the consequences might be."

Doggett rolled his eyes out of habit. "Well when can we open the box."

She smiled, showing her white teeth. "In time, just not now." She winked at the easily annoyed man. "He'll find you without your help. Only then do you open the box."

Scully spoke before Doggett could come up with something else to say. "So you're suggesting that we sit on the box and wait until he kills another one of those women. If it's okay with you I'd rather not wait on him."

The old woman turned her eyes on Scully and stared hard at the woman. She lost her cocky grin before speaking. "I know you don't want to wait on him, but it's best that you do." She paused for a moment, not breaking her gaze. "Knowing the future won't change what you fear Agent Scully. Only you can decide that."

Scully tried to hold onto the woman's gaze a bit longer, daring herself to see through this woman and the nonsense she was spewing, but it became too much for her. She tensed her jaw and pushed away from the table, suddenly wrack with emotions and on the verge of showing them in front of this strange woman who seemed to look at her with the same force that Reyes did. Scully didn't utter a word as she turned around and left the parlor.

Doggett hopped up from the table prepared to go after Scully, but penetrating gray eyes and a stern voice stopped him.

"Sit down, Agent Doggett." He turned towards the woman, scowl set in place, but as if he had been properly scolded, he sat down. "Let her go, she needs air and we're going to let her have it." She looked at Reyes as she spoke. "You've certainly got your hands full." She grinned. "So what do you want to know about your Bokur. Where he's from, his name and all that?"

It took everything Reyes had to focus on the old woman and not bolt up from the table after Scully. But she trusted this woman's words and remained in her seat. "That would be nice."

Mman shrugged. "I don't know it and it's in my best interests that I don't know." She continued speaking even as Doggett groaned out his displeasure. "He's strong, but it's all borrowed power, just like those girls borrowed. Only, your Bokur found himself a way to bottle up lightning if you will. I suppose if you wait long enough it will just swallow him up." Reyes looked up ready to protest the woman's words. "But," she continued. "You want to save those girls, I know."

"We do." Reyes almost sounded desperate.

The old woman sighed. "Part of me wants to tell you that you should let this run it's course." "Mman I can't allow that." The strain was obvious in her voice. She nodded in understanding with a grim smile on her face. "I know. Those girls were hurt badly and they just wanted to do what was right. Only sometimes what's right don't have nothing to do with Man's law."

"But your law has consequences?"

She smiled at Doggett. "That it does. Those girls should have finished the job. They didn't and now here we are."

"How do we stop him?" Doggett pressed.

"Probably just a bullet." The words came out with a chuckle.

"Then he is just a man after all." Reyes said the words with a hint of wonder.

Mman grinned. "You've got to catch him first. He wants that box and he needs those girls." Mman looked up at the doorway as if she heard something. She smiled to herself, knowing that the conversation going on in the other room was about to come to a head. "Well Agents, I think our conversation is at an end."

"But Mman?" Reyes was upset, but she knew better than to argue.

She touched Reyes shoulder as she stood. "I think your Agent Scully has had enough excitement for one day."

At that moment the Agents heard the front door slam shut. Doggett was out of his seat first. "I'll meet you at the car."

Reyes just nodded as her partner left the room. She stood up and met the older woman's soft gaze.

Mman smiled at the woman. "Why don't you ask your question before something explodes inside your head, child."

She looked the brunette over once more. "And don't ask me something you all ready know the answer to." Reyes furrowed her brow, at a loss for words. She touched Reyes' cheek with hands that were still surprisingly soft. "How about I tell you something then." She just nodded. "Where she is weak, you must be strong. And when she falters, you just need to be there. And you have to promise to remember to not hang on to your anger-it'll just slow the process."

Reyes followed the woman's vague words, but still felt confused. "But what if I'm not what she wants, what if it doesn't matter?"

The older woman smiled and pressed a kiss to Reyes' forehead. "Child, jealousy and envy will do you in and it will certainly serve you no purpose in the months to come. If you want to hold onto her than you need to put that green eyed monster in its place." She let go of Reyes cheek and stepped back. "You should go now."

Reyes nodded, wanting to ask more questions as she lingered in the doorway. She managed a smile for the older. "Merci, Mman."

Mman just smiled genuinely at Reyes. "Your welcome Monica. Make sure you treat yourself to something nice before you leave-cause the next few days might not be so nice." She nodded and then disappeared down the hallway.

Reyes had half a mind to chase the woman down and ask her what she meant, but the dull pain in her chest reminded her of a fuming red head somewhere off in the distance. When she met Doggett and Scully at the car, the two Agents were quiet and tense. Doggett just shrugged and got in the car. Reyes did her best to grab Scully's attention, but the smaller woman refused to even look in Reyes direction. Reyes chewed her bottom lip with worry, but decided she let the woman cool off for a while.

Four hours later, Doggett was the last one out of the office as he locked up and followed the still silent Scully and the confused Reyes to the elevator. Reyes leaned against the back wall and massaged her shoulders. She cut her eyes at Scully, who stood in the far corner next to the control panel. The red head refused to acknowledge the Agents if it wasn't necessary. Reyes just sighed and turned to Doggett.

"I gave the photos and names to missing persons, hopefully in the morning we might know where the rest of the woman are."

"Good. I called the hospital and it turns out our John Doe is Deveraux. On the bad side he's still out cold and took a turn for the worse, he might not make it through the night."

Reyes tapped her head against the wall. "Shit. I want the names of every security guard, janitor, nurse, and groundskeeper that worked at the correctional facility. Somebody knows what happened to those girls and if he can't tell us then we'll find someone who will." Doggett just nodded as the elevator stopped at the garage and opened.

Scully practically pushed out of the doors before they were halfway open. Doggett just looked after the woman oddly. "What the hell is going on?"

Reyes creased her brow, beginning to grow angry. "I'm going to find out. I'll call you in the morning."

Doggett just nodded and watched the woman jog off towards Scully.

"Scully wait, Scully." The red head ignored Reyes' voice and kept her eyes focused on her nearing car. "Dana! Wait." Reyes reached out and grabbed the woman by the shoulder. Dana flinched and Reyes pulled her hand a way with speed. "What's going on?" She tried to keep the tremble out her voice.

Dana looked everywhere but Monica's eyes as she fumbled with her keys. "I have to go, I need to." She managed to glance up at Monica and was immediately sorry she did, as those warm brown eyes were staring down at her with such confusion and hurt.

"But Dana," Monica let out a nervous chuckle. "I mean wait, what happened, what's going? I-I'm a little worried." Her words came out in a jumble.

Dana turned her back to the woman and opened her car door. Monica tensed her jaw in disbelief. She reached her hand out, but brought it back, suddenly unsure and worried of being rebuffed. "Dana, please."

The words were so soft and Dana wanted to just turn around and curl up in Monica's arms, but she had made a decision and she wasn't going to back out now. She took a deep breath and turned around to face the brunette. With courage that she didn't have she met deep brown eyes and kept her face void of all emotion. Her voice was flat. "I need to go. My mother's at the house with William and I need to get back."

Monica almost wanted to laugh out loud at Dana's behavior. "Da-" she started but the next words out of Dana's mouth froze her from the inside out.

"Agent Reyes, I have to leave." Dana tuned away immediately, but not without seeing all the color drain from the taller woman's face. The gathering tears considerably blurred her vision, but she stuck the key in the ignition and pulled out as fast as she could.

Mouth agape, brown eyes wide and sad, clutching at the new found pain in her chest was how Monica stood in the garage. She watched Dana's taillights disappear out of the garage through a haze of hurt and confusion that slowly formed a dense fog of anger and disbelief by the time she made it to her apartment. For the moment she didn't remember Maman's words to her as she moved through her nightly routine on automatic pilot. Eventually she gave up and just collapsed on her bed still in her work clothes and cried and until it hurt too much to cry anymore.

Ch. 18

In his time as an officer and as a F.B.I. agent, John Doggett has seen things that had repulsed him, made him angry, made him question God, and sometimes chilled him to the bone. When Reyes walked through the doors of the Hoover building the next morning, Doggett added another thing to the list of things that chilled him to the bone. A cloud of black seemed to follow the woman who was draped in black from head to toe. If possible, it seemed like even her hair was black as well. He could see the tension in her jaw as he waited for her behind the metal detectors. She took her hands out of pants pockets to remove her gun as she passed through the detectors and had her badge inspected and retina scanned. Even Joseph, the security guard, that she normally had a bright smile for and kind word, steered clear of the woman and made no attempt to speak to her or even make more eye contact than necessary.

Reyes adjusted her holster and pulled her hair out of jacket as she adjusted the lapels. Brown eyes bored straight ahead towards the bank of elevators. Reyes barely nodded at Doggett, but he followed nonetheless and they rode the elevator to the basement in complete silence. Even her footsteps seemed tense as they walked to the office and Doggett opened the door, just so he could get out of her way. Reyes strode over to her desk and removed her jacket revealing the soft cotton of a form fitting v-neck long sleeved shirt. She pushed up the sleeves of her shirt to her forearms and Doggett swore he could see every vein and artery the woman had. He wouldn't have been surprised if she bled black if he cut her. She finally acknowledged Doggett with dark brown eyes that cut through him with a lifelessness that worried him.

"Uh," he started and stopped as she looked him in the eye. "Something you want to tell me?"

She arched her brow and folded her arms across her chest. "No." Her tone left no room for question. "Did missing persons come back?"

"I just got here myself, I"

She cut him off with a shake of her head. She grabbed her jacket and put it on. "Then I'll go." She walked to the door.

"I'll give Scully a call."

Reyes stopped in her tracks. She ground her teeth to fight the bile that threatened to rise up in her throat. "She's done with this case."

"What, since when."

"Since now." Reyes turned around and almost dared Doggett to say something else. "She has nothing we need."

Doggett held his tongue and just nodded. "I guess I'll go find those employees." The brunette just nodded and left the room. A moment later, there was a light knock on the door.

"Good lord man." A young agent with sandy blonde hair walked through the door. "Your partner damn near mowed me down. Is that PMS?"

Doggett just threw his hands in the air and shrugged. "Landers if I knew I'd tell you." He ran a hand across his jaw. "What's up?"

"Oh yeah, I got a call from N.O. They said Deveraux's dead."

"Damn it." Doggett rapped his knuckles against his desk. "We knew that was coming. Thanks Landers, anything else."

"Yeah, those employee records you needed got sent over to Quantico."

"Who the hell sent them there?"

"You put Dr. Scully down as a contact and I guess the message got relayed wrong."

"No big deal. Hey, do you know how Deveraux died?"

Landers tossed Doggett an envelope. "Sealed it up for you. I also copied one to Scully, if that was okay."

Doggett let out a small sigh. The young man meant well, but his timing was crap. "It's okay, thanks for your help."

Landers smiled and left the office. Doggett sat down at his desk and pulled out the contents of the envelope. He rubbed his temples suddenly feeling the stress of the palpable tension that still lingered in the room. With a grumbled he picked up the phone to dial Scully, silently praying he could head off the woman and avoid the coming maelstrom.

Doggett's phone call had been five minutes too late, but he hoped to make up for the lost time by rushing the red head out of the office. "Agent Scully." His smile was large. "You didn't have to bring these over, I would have come and pick them up." He looked the woman over carefully. Dark circles rimmed her eyes and she seemed more somber than usual, if possible.

"It's okay I was on my way back into town anyway."

"Short day, huh?" He grabbed the folders she held out.

"Something like that." She leaned against the file cabinet and folded her arms across her chest. The expression on her face was as severe as the cut of her suit.

"Well you know, if I'm keeping you from something, I don't want to. I'll give you a call if something comes up."

She arched her brow at Doggett. "Um, o-kay." She looked at with skepticism. "Don't you want to know about Devearaux though?" Her lips formed a small pout as she watched him.

"You didn't put it in there?"

"No time."

"To be honest, Deveraux's the last thing on my mind, I need to find out about these workers." He shook the folder.

She eyed him with curiosity. She knew that she should take the opening he was offering her and just leave. By the grace of God she had managed to avoid Monica and it was probably best if she just severed herself completely from this case. After all, that was the only way she was going to keep the woman safe. However, she wanted to offer some assistance, even if it was indirect. "Well, Doggett there are over 100 names in that folder, I mean I could make a few calls if you want."

Doggett opened his mouth to answer, but he sensed someone in the doorway. He looked up to find Reyes looming in the doorway like a black storm cloud. "We don't need you to baby sit us Agent Scully."

Scully too had sensed the woman, and she knew she was stuck. The anger in Reyes' voice stabbed at her with each syllable. The way she spit out her name, with the same venom that the woman no doubt only saved for criminals tore, through Scully like a lance. Scully squared her shoulders and quickly erected the emotional walls that had become a second skin to her. "It was just a suggestion, Agent Reyes. You could use another set of eyes." She turned around and met the woman's eyes. Blue bored into dark brown.

Reyes scoffed, quietly amused at Scully's ability to appear emotionally barren. "Then we'll find someone else. Besides, I'm sure your students are anxiously awaiting another tale about the intricacies of the human body."

Scully blew out a breath and clenched her teeth. It took everything she had to hold Reyes' angry gaze. Her eyes were so dark it was painful. The deep brown eyes that she had melted into two nights before were glazed over with anger and hurt that she had caused. Scully was suddenly sick to her stomach. She broke her stare with Reyes and turned to face Doggett, who looked just as confused as she felt. "Tell Landers he can stop faxing files to my office."

Doggett furrowed his brow. "Wait a minute." He looked from Reyes to Scully. "Which one of you is going to explain to me what's going on?"

Scully spoke before Reyes could start. "Your partner's right. You don't need my help on this. You're both quite capable and I'm sure I'll only get in the way." Scully turned to leave. She avoided Reyes and stepped around the woman towards the door.

"Get in the way?" Doggett huffed in frustration. "Scully?"

"Let her walk Doggett." She kept her back to the door as she spoke. "We don't need her."

Scully had just made it out into the hallway when Reyes' words made it to her ears. There was nothing she could do to stop the tears. Her brain processed the words for what they were, but her heart only heard the disappointment and disgust in Reyes' voice. They may not have needed her for the case, but Reyes was making it clear that she didn't want her. By the time the elevator closed Scully was sobbing and made no plans to stop as she made her way to her car and finally home.

Doggett walked out from behind his desk and confronted the still smoldering Reyes. "Just what the hell is going on?"

Reyes grinned and took off her jacket and headed for her desk. "Absolutely nothing."

"Bullshit." He leaned down on her desk. "We can use her help."

"Doggett, this is our case, she was just giving us a hand that's all." She rolled her eyes. "There's no need to keep her away from her classes and her family, so just drop it." She failed to keep the sarcasm out of her voice.

"I don't like this one bit and I especially don't like being played for a fool."

"John what are you talking about. She just gave us some advice, that's all. She can't be here for every case."

"I'm not suggesting that she should, but for Pete's sake we're right in the middle of this one."

"And what? She doesn't believe in half of this shit anyway. This was never her crusade and I'm not about to try to make it hers all over again."

Doggett looked at Reyes as if he had never seen you. "This isn't making sense."

She sighed and sat back in her chair. "Look, can we argue about this after the case is over. Right now we've got more things to worry about than whether or not I've bruised her ego, okay."

Doggett nodded and moved away from the desk. "This isn't done Monica." The brunette just nodded and picked up the phone.

Two hours later, Doggett let out a yawn and looked over at his partner. "Anything?"

"My 16 possible turned into 6, which is good, but I can't locate 4 of them. I don't have any hits on VICAP or Interpol. These people have just vanished. What about you?"

Doggett went to answer, but the phone rang. "Doggett....really. Where?...Are you sure?....How long?...I want her on a plane....That's unacceptable, I need her in the states.....Figure it out!....Ask for Dell Macer he owes me a favor.....The second you know, call me back....whenever." Doggett hung up and stretched his arms. "I think we found one of the girls from the photo."



Brown eyes grew wide. "Is she on her way back?"

"There might be some problems with that?"

"Did you explain?"

"I did." He spoke calmly trying to calm Reyes down. "Macer owes me a favor at the State Department, he'll get her here."

"How long?"

"He said a week?"

"No way!"

"I know, I know. It won't take that long, but we need to do this fast and keep this quiet."

Reyes nodded and smiled with relief. "You know I still think we should open that damn box."

Reyes looked over in the corner towards the cage where the box was locked away. "It's not necessary she said and I believe her."

Doggett sucked his tooth. "You've got a lot of blind faith."

"It's not blind. Mman knows what she's talking about." Reyes nibbled on a blunt nail for a moment as the old woman's words played in her head and not just the ones about the case. She let out a deep sigh when she realized that her anger was consuming her. Reyes sat upright and looked about the room as if she had just regained consciousness.

Doggett noticed the normal gleam in Reyes' eyes. "You okay?"

"Huh?" She looked up at him, slightly startled. "Yeah, yeah. Just thinking about something she said." Reyes got up from her desk and started to pace. "She said something about the power being borrowed and then stolen."

Doggett watched the woman, pace the floor like a panther stalking its prey. "Where are you going with this?"

"Bear with me."

He recognized that tone. She was about to come up with some fanciful explanation that he supposed to accept on faith. "O-kay."

Reyes stopped pacing and leaned back against her desk. "The vevers they used for tattoos is Ezrulie Dantor's vever. I think our Bokur had something to do with Valerie's death. Deveraux helped him cover it up and I'm willing to bet our mystery man terrorized those girls for years. If I follow this right, then they would have summoned Ezrulie to protect them."

Doggett was actually following Reyes' train of thought. "She said they couldn't finish the job. I take that to mean they couldn't kill him."

She looked Doggett in the eye and nodded. "Exactly. Say they leave him for dead or for the cops. Deveraux helps him out of a bind, and then our Bokur lays low for years. He figures out a way to trap Ezrulie, use her power against the girls."

"But I thought you could protect yourself from spells."

"Not always and not if you invite it in." She grinned.

Doggett nodded. "The tattoo."

"It's like a damn beacon in the night."

"Okay, I'm following you, but what's in that box."

Reyes looked over at the cage, but didn't go near it. "Ezrulie's in that box."

Doggett tried to look serious. "Like a genie in a bottle."

"Sort of, only she's not granting wishes. She's being sapped and it can only end one way."

"What way is that?"

"What's in that box will come out, but it's not for us to touch, it's for him."

"Okay, so fine let's leave the damn box in the middle of the parking lot and wait for all hell to break loose."

"He needs the women to all be dead. He wants to make sure their power source is cut off. No loose ends and then he thinks he can make a worthy sacrifice. He's not just trying to be a powerful Bokur, he wants to be a god."

Doggett shook his head in agreement. "We need to locate the rest of the women."

"Ugh." She let out a groan of frustration. "They could be anywhere and if they hold true to form, they are just about everywhere."

"Have we checked the morgues for Jane Does?"

"Where on the east coast?" She pounded the table. "Fuck."

"You may not want to hear it, but maybe she can help."

Reyes rolled her eyes. "Unless she can move heaven and earth, there's nothing she can do."

"At least another set of eyes and ears." Reyes shook her head. "C'mon Monica think about it."

She looked up at Doggett and just sighed. "Just give us a day to do some work. It's Tuesday. If we're no closer to finding anybody, then I'll go to her myself and ask her to enlist her students, anything. So can we drop it?"

Doggett nodded. "I'm going to grab some coffee, you want?"

The mention of coffee caused Reyes to frown as she remembered the canister of coffee she had delivered to Scully before she left for New Orleans. Celia's coffee would probably show up at Scully's in the next day if it wasn't all ready there. She got a knot in her stomach. "Just water please." He just nodded and left the office.

Ch. 19

Dana Scully was certain she was standing in the fifth circle of hell. Either that or this was some horrendous waking nightmare. William seemed to be screaming bloody murder due to his first tooth beginning to cut his small gums, she hadn't slept a full night in two days due to the increasing and reoccurring dreams about Monica, her washing machine was on the fritz, and to top it all off she was standing in the middle of the kitchen in a growing pool of water thanks to the burst pipe. Dana Scully wanted to lie down on the floor and hope the water would overtake her and put her out of misery before the floor caved in. She stared at the package on her kitchen table for the fifth time in three minutes and she felt like crying all over again. The moment the package had arrived she could smell the strong aroma of the coffee beans and she knew exactly who sent it.

On a whim of self-loathing she opened the package the night before to find a mug and a small sack of coffee with a note attached to it. Scrawled in the sweeping strokes was Monica's message: 'So, you don't run out of coffee mugs. Or coffee for that matter.' She signed her full name. And the red head just laughed until she cried. She was on the verge of tears when the doorbell rang. She sloshed out of the kitchen and opened the door to find her mother there. Margaret took one look at her daughter and didn't know whether she should laugh or cry. When she heard William's wail tear through the house, she just enfolded her daughter into a hug.

"I'll get William you get the plumber."

Dana just nodded and grabbed her cell phone. She moved out into the hallway away from William's whimpers so she could get into a yelling match with the plumber and her landlord for ten minutes. Inside, Margaret managed to settle William and laid him back down in his crib. She just shook her head in sympathy as she heard Dana raise her voice. Margaret walked into the kitchen and did her best to rearrange some newspaper in the hope of keeping the water at bay. She spied the note from Monica on the table and Margaret suddenly had and idea. She picked up the phone and searched Dana's caller i.d. to find the woman's number.

"Monica Reyes." Her tone was a little gruffer than normal, thanks to the two hours of sleep she had.

"Um, hi, Monica, it's Margaret Scully."

Monica's body tensed. "Mrs. Scully? Is everything okay?"

"Oh everything's just fine, well that's not completely true. It's just that Dana well, she's."

"What's wrong is everything okay. Is the baby okay?"

Monica talked so fast, it made Margaret laugh. "Oh no I didn't mean to frighten you. It's just that the poor girl can't seem to get a break for a second you know."

Monica felt her heart rate starting to slow. "Okay."

Margaret chuckled. "It's one thing after the other. First the pipe and then the washing machine and poor William's getting a tooth." On cue William bawled.

The sound through the phone even made Monica cringe. "Is he okay?"

"He will be. Uh, hold on."

Monica just held onto the phone as she could hear Margaret cooing to the boy. She heard Dana's voice in the background. "I can take him." In the past day or so, Monica had done her best to let go of the anger she was feeling and she desperately searched for that strength that Mman talked about. She had been having a hard time finding it, but as she heard the exhaustion in Dana's voice, she wanted nothing more than to make things right.

"Mrs. Scully?"

"Oh, sorry dear."

"It's okay. Look, why don't I run on over and pick up Dana and William, let her get out of the house."

"Monica you read my mind. In fact, I can take William with me and you girls can go lay in the sun or something. I swear that child is afraid of the sun." She chuckled. "Thanks a lot Monica."

"Sure thing Mrs. Scully."

"You know you can call me Margaret. Okay, see ya soon."

Monica just looked at the phone as the dial tone sang out. "What the hell did I just do?" She sighed and looked over at the clock. If she left in the next minute she might make it back before her Thai food was delivered. With a groan she rolled out of bed and threw on a pair of jeans, not bothering with underwear. She shoved her shoes into her sandals and grabbed a random t-shirt off the chair. It was just her luck that she grabbed the smallest shirt she had. The baby blue t-shirt showed off her navel and probably prompted a few questions about her age as cartoon superheroes were emblazoned across the front.

Monica intercepted the pizza man at Scully's door and paid the man. She knocked on the door and was relieved when Margaret opened the door. "Mrs., I mean Margaret."

"Perfect timing."

"Mom, have you seen my wallet, the pizza guy's on his way." Dana called from the back.

Monica stepped inside and immediately saw the growing pool of water. "Yeesh. Where's the plumber?"

"Oh his way." She closed the door. "I've got the pizza Dana."

The doorbell rang and William cried out. "Mom."

Monica would have laughed at the chaotic environment if she didn't feel so sorry for the woman. "Why don't you help her out, I'll get the door." Margaret just smiled and left Monica at the door. The brunette affixed a scowl to her face and swung the door open wide. Two men stood there looking like there was no crisis and they were out for a stroll. She took in the burly man's jumpsuit and equipment. "You are needed in the kitchen so go." Monica barked the words at the man and he moved with speed. "The landlord?" She pointed her finger at a gray haired man with a thick mustache. The man just nodded, not sure what to make of the tall woman in a shirt two sizes too small for her, but he wasn't necessarily complaining at the way it hugged her form.

"Uh, yeah."

"You and me need to have a talk." The man gulped and Monica proceeded to rip him a new one.

Dana's shoes squished against the bathroom floor and she looked over her shoulder to find her mother fixing William into his romper. "Mom? I thought I heard the door?"

"You did?"

"Pizza, the plumber, what?"

"It's taken care of." Margaret was practically humming.

"Mom, what are you doing?"

"We're about to leave and so are you?"

She looked at her mother and just shook her head. "I can't leave, my house is falling apart. What are you talking about?"

"Honey, just go on?"

Dana was about to argue, when she heard voices out front. "What the hell?" Her sneakers made squishing noises as she left the nursery and walked out into her living room.

"And you're not going to leave here until it's done, you got it!" Dana's mouth hit the ground as she watched Monica reduce her landlord to a quivering mass.

Relief flooded the man's eyes as he saw the red head. He gave the brunette a shaky smile and moved out of her line of sight. "Ms. Scully." Monica froze. "Um, I'm so sorry for taking so long, you know, the day's been crazy and I uh, well you know. But look, the plumber's here and we're taking care of everything and I'm not leaving until it's done." He cut nervous eyes back at the brunette and was happy to see that she seemed pleased. He scurried away and moved to the kitchen.

A sculpted eyebrow arched high. "What are you doing here?"

Monica swallowed a nervous breath and turned around to face Dana. She wasn't sure what she was going to see, but she hadn't expected to be amused. Monica choked back a laugh and avoided blue eyes as she strained hard not to smile. She looked up at Dana and just nodded. The red head stood with her arms folded across her chest wearing an oxford that probably belonged to her brother, a pair of khakis rolled up to her shins and wet sneakers that squeaked when she moved. Her tousled hair was pulled into a ponytail and she adjusted her thin wire framed glasses as she waited for Monica to answer. She looked like a tiny wet computer geek and Monica just wanted to fall to the floor in a fit of giggles. "Um, I'm picking you up." She was impressed at her ability to speak without laughing.

Dana arched her eyebrow and looked at the taller woman with disbelief. An awkward moment of silence went by and finally Dana called out, "Mother!"

Margaret Scully emerged from the nursery with a sleepy William in her arms. "Oh good." She smiled at Monica. "Monica can you hold him while I get the car seat."

The brunette just nodded and gladly scooped up the boy. "Hola chiquito. Is that tooth hurting you, pobrecita." She nuzzled his small nose and the boy giggled.

Dana was fighting so hard to be pissed off that she surprised herself with the flood of emotions that ran through her as she watched Monica with William. The soft brown eyes that she had been missing were focused on her son. The anger and hurt were no longer in her voice and Dana felt the urge to cry at the sight of Monica's smile.

Oblivious to Dana's scrutiny Monica continued to play with the boy until Margaret was ready. She eased the boy into the seat and strapped him in. She placed a warm kiss on his forehead. "I guess I'll give you a call in a few hours."

Margaret just nodded and walked towards her daughter. "Give your son a kiss."

Dana looked William over and kissed the boy. "Is someone going to tell me what's going on?"

"Nothing to tell sweetie. I'm taking William and you girls can go sit on the roof if you want, but I told Monica she needs to get you out of this house."

"But I don't want to leave." She couldn't come up with a better excuse.

Margaret just sighed. "Honey, it's done and there's nothing you can do. I'll see you after a while." She kissed a stupefied Dana on the cheek. "Thanks again Monica." She smiled at the brunette and left with William.

Monica lost her smile as she met Dana's eyes. "Look, I promised your mother I'd get you out of the house, so let's go, my food's on it way." For a moment it looked like Dana was going to stand there and pout. Monica rolled her eyes and opened the door. "Then stay, I uh,

Dana cut her off with a wave of her hand. "Let's just go." She moved past the woman and out into the hallway. Monica closed the door and followed, dreading her decision with every step.

They stepped off the elevator in Monica's apartment building and ran into a delivery man. "Marcel, it's me. I'm so sorry."

The man with the bag looked up at Monica and smiled. "I was worried for a second."

"I had an emergency." She reached in her pocket and pulled out a twenty. "Keep the change."

He grinned. "Sure thing Mon, thanks."

She handed the bag off to Dana so she could unlock the door. "Hold that." She relieved Dana of the bag as they walked inside. She quickly disappeared into the kitchen and left Dana to close the door.

Dana just sighed as she looked around the apartment. Her senses were assaulted on every level by Monica's presence. Now she really was in hell. She leaned back against the heavy door and removed her glasses. "You know thanks for whatever you promised my mom, but I know this is awkward-I'll just go catch a movie or something."

Monica exited the kitchen with a tray of three steaming bowls and two plates. She said nothing as she sat the bowls and plates out on the dining room table. She moved back and forth between the kitchen a few more times, each time depositing something different. Her silence unnerved Dana. "Look, Monica, really. You don't have to do this."

The brunette stopped. "Do what, eat? I'm hungry and I figure you're hungry. At least sit down and eat. After that, you can leave or whatever."

Dana slumped her shoulders and hung her head a bit, once again hearing a hint of anger in Monica's words. "I just think this is a bad idea." Monica still continued to move. Finally, Dana reached out and grabbed the woman by the arm. "Would you just stop, you're making me nervous."

Monica looked down at the hand on her arm, until Dana removed her hand. "And here I thought I didn't affect you at all." So much for making things right.

Dana's heart sank. For a moment she just wanted to run away like a teary eyed little girl, but Monica's tone had hit a nerve. She snapped her head up and met Monica's eyes. She was surprised that her eyes were not as cold as she expected them to be, but she gave nothing away. "You know what, enough." Her voice was firm. "You've got all the right in the world to be angry, but let's not act like you're the only person that's hurting."

Monica snickered. "Do you even believe what you're saying? I find it hard to imagine that you're hurting Dana." She used her name as an exclamation point.

Normally reserved in matters of confrontation, Dana seemed incensed. "Why Monica? You think I'm some fucking block of ice, who doesn't give a shit about you?"

"Yes, yes I do!" She tossed the napkins on the table and folded her arms across her chest.

"You know for a woman with all these vibes and insights, you should understand where I'm coming from, you should know."

"I should know what? That you can turn your affection off and on like a damn light switch! That I was nothing but some necessary experiment for you or whatever. Or better yet just a way to relieve some tension. How the hell am I supposed to know where you're coming from - you barely let me in!"

Dana growled and turned away from the woman seriously thinking of walking out of the door. She stopped at the door and turned around. "You are in Monica. There's not a place within me that you're not." She looked away from brown eyes almost too embarrassed to speak, but knowing that she couldn't stop now. "You're in my dreams, in my reality. Hell, I think I convinced myself that I can still smell you on my sheets...and on me." She looked up and met Monica's eyes. The brunette was too stunned to speak, so Dana just kept going. "I need you to understand that I made a decision. I made a decision to protect you and to keep you safe. And if keeping you safe and alive means that I have to cut you off then so be it."

Monica just watched the red head with equal parts wonder and confusion. Half of her wanted to smile. This woman befuddled her in so many ways that it was almost torturous, but she was definitely a willing slave. "Dana, I don't understand. What are you protecting me from?"

This time she did look away in embarrassment. "From the things I my dreams."

Monica nodded and moved towards the woman. "You're still frightened they'll come true?"

Dana turned her back to Monica and just sighed. "You don't know what I see Monica."

With great hesitancy she touched a hand to Dana's shoulder. Dana gently shrugged away. "Don't." Her words were soft and meant to be harmless.

"Dana, look at me." When the woman didn't move, she reached out and took Dana by the shoulders, guiding her to turn around. Dana tried to shrug out of Monica's grasp, but she wouldn't let go. "Dana tell me what happened. Please."

She blinked a few times and finally looked up into Monica's eyes. She shivered at the intensity there. "She told me I was going to get you killed."

"What?" Monica still held fast to Dana's shoulders. "Who told you?"

"The woman in New Orleans." Dana did not fight the errant tears that trickled down her face.

"Mman?" Dana shook her head. "Oh." Monica paused. "What did she tell you Dana?"

She sniffled and then took a deep breath. "She told me that my indecision would make my dreams a reality. She said I was going to cause you to make the wrong choice. So,

Monica finished her statement. "So you made the choice for me." Dana just nodded and hung her head. She desperately wanted Monica's arms around her, but she just couldn't ask. A wry smile came to Monica's lips as she looked down at the red head. With a finger under her chin, she tilted Dana's head up. She wiped at the tears on her pale face until she coaxed open blue eyes. Dana wanted to look away, but Monica held her there. "Dana don't look away." She looked the smaller woman over. "I thought you were supposed to be the skeptic."

Dana couldn't help but smile. "Oh didn't you know. I believe in little green men, and fairy tales, and even in impossibly beautiful women that risk their lives for me."

Monica blushed at the compliment. "She did tell you the truth." Blue eyes grew wide. "But," she continued. "She told you what you wanted to hear, but also what you needed to hear."

"I didn't ask her to tell me that."

"Maybe not out loud." Monica grinned. "Think about how less complicated things would be if you could just walk away. How much easier it would be to just be numb and have nothing to care about. Tell me something, have you stopped worrying about me?" Dana shook her head no. "Do think you're ever going to stop worrying?"

Dana smiled. "With the knack you've got for trouble?" They shared a smile.

She cupped the woman's cheeks and made her gaze more focused than ever, until she seemed to be touching Dana on the inside. "Dana I need you. And more than that, I want you." Dana looked down at her shoes with chagrin. Monica smiled and made Dana look up. "If you look at me right now and tell me you don't want this, then fine-but don't shut me out. I'd like to think we've become friends."

"And we have." She said eagerly.

Monica just grinned. "Let me finish." Dana just nodded. "You have no idea how it makes me feel to know that you want to protect me. Believe me, I want to stay safe and alive. But trust me when I say that pushing me away like this isn't the way to do it. You want to protect me and keep me safe-then don't walk away from me. Let me be your friend, let me take care of you and shoulder some of the weight."

Dana looked into warm brown eyes and saw the devotion and admiration that she had sorely missed the last few days. She took a deep breath and willed herself not to cry as she took Monica's hands in her own and held them at her side. She searched hard for her next words, not really sure where she wanted to go with this woman. So much of her life had been spent jumping through hoops and playing mind games that she honestly didn't know if she could handle Monica's unwavering devotion. "I don't know what to do with you." She chuckled dryly. "I don't even know what to say to you."

Monica squeezed Dana's smaller hands. "Dana, this isn't the men's room and I'm not A.D. anybody. You don't have to be some hard ass to impress me. I know your tough, but that's not what keeps me intrigued."

Brown eyes bored into Dana with such strength that she had to look away for a moment. "You have been present for some of my more, um, awkward moments."

Monica laughed. "Awkward? I've seen Dana Scully at her best. I've seen you go places you've never been before."

Dana shrugged and looked down at the floor. "At my weakest." A self-deprecating snicker accompanied her words.

Monica released their hands and tipped Dana's chin up so she could meet her eyes. She focused serious brown eyes on the red head. "Never weak, querda. Never weak." She caressed Dana's cheek with the back of her hand. Monica sighed deeply and took a step back, losing all contact with the smaller woman. She could see the sudden disappointment in blue eyes. "I tell you what, if it's best for you, Agent Scully, then be that tough broad that all the boys want you to be and you make your decision." She shoved her hands in the back pockets of her jeans and ran her tongue across her bottom teeth. "Or you prove me right Dana, and show me the strength we both know you're capable of."

A sculpted eyebrow rose just a bit as pink lips formed their customary pout in thought. Dana eyed the brunette with curiosity. "Is that an ultimatum, Monica?"

Monica held Dana's gaze and gave the woman a cocky grin. "Ooh, ultimatum. That's an ugly word with way too many syllables for my mind to digest right now." She captured her bottom lip in her teeth for a moment as she let her gaze wander over Dana's compact form without shame. "I just want you to do what's best."

Dana countered with her own cock-sure grin and didn't falter under Monica's open gaze. "What's best, huh? You think you know what's best?" She took a step forward, encroaching on Monica's personal space.

Monica half shrugged. "Maybe." She stood her ground, allowing the woman to come to her, even though it was taking every bit of self-discipline she had not to take Dana in her arms.

Dana searched Monica's eyes, looking for some sign of weakness, but only found strength there. She took another step towards the woman, until she was so close that she had to angle her neck up to keep eye contact. "I do need you Monica." She deliberately paused to lick her lips. "And I do want you." She let her words hang in the air as if she was going to say something else.

Monica's heart was beating so fast she was sure it was going to explode, but she managed to keep her cool. "But what?" Her tone was casual.

Dana just shrugged. "But nothing. There's nothing else to say. And to be honest I don't want to say anything else. I don't want to fight about this or analyze it anymore. I just..."

"Just what?" Monica leaned her head down until their lips were almost touching.

Instead of answering right away, Dana snaked a pink tongue out and ran it across Monica's upper lip. The brunette trembled. "I just don't want to lose you."

"Then I guess you'll just have to keep me."

Dana recognized the words and crushed her lips against Monica's, starting a feverish kiss that went on long after their lungs had been emptied. They pulled away from each other, panting, and clawing at one another's clothing in an effort to catch their breaths. Monica cupped Dana's face and let a wide smile come to her face. "Are you in a hurry?"

Dana blushed and buried her face in Monica's shoulder as she hugged the taller woman to her body. Monica just squeezed back with the same amount of force. Brown eyes glanced down at Dana's shirt and she couldn't hold in the giggle. Dana looked up with an arched eyebrow. "What's so funny?"

Monica stepped back and looked the smaller woman over. "That's just a fine outfit you got there?" She snickered as she took in Dana's tousled hair, too large shirt, khakis that had unfurled, and wet sneakers. Dana's lip formed a severe pout as she watched Monica let loose an honest laugh. Dana looked down at her wet sneakers and the hem of her shirt and groaned. "Oh come on, it's funny." Monica played with the collar of Dana's shirt. "Dana this shirt is huge and the glasses."

Her hand flew to her face. She snatched the glasses off, having completely forgotten she was still wearing them. She nibbled on her lip, trying to keep the scowl on her face. "I was having a bad day."

Monica kissed her forehead, her nose, and then her lips. "Still having a bad day?"

Dana rolled her eyes. "I don't want your pity." She let out a melodramatic sigh.

Monica cleared her throat and tried to be serious. "Can I make it up to you?" Dana just shrugged and turned her back to the woman as if she was going to walk away. Monica licked her lips and quickly wrapped her arms around the small woman from behind. Long fingers immediately began to unbutton Dana's shirt. "I'm sure I could come up with something."

Dana leaned back into Monica's embrace. "I don't know," she paused as she slipped out of the shirt. "I've had a crap-tacular day." Her bra fluttered to the floor and warm kisses peppered her bare shoulders and the nape of her neck.

Monica just smiled when Dana let go of a deep moan as she sucked on a pulse point on her neck. "Yeah, how bad was it?"

Dana lost her train of thought as Monica's hand slipped inside her pants and cupped her. "What are.... we talking..... about?" She managed to get the words out through two deep breaths.

"How bad your day was?" Monica purred the words into Dana's ear right before she raked her teeth along her earlobe.

Dana sucked in a breath of air. She felt a long finger slip beneath her underwear and inside her. She shuddered and quickly sensed she wasn't going to last too much longer in this position. She grabbed a hold of Monica's wrist stilling the brunette's actions. Her eyes were dilated and blue with arousal, as she turned around and faced a grinning Monica. "If I'm not in that bed in 5 seconds, you're going to have a bad day."

Dana barely finished the sentence, before Monica grabbed her by the waist and practically carried her to the bedroom. They tumbled onto the bed amid playful laughter that quickly melted into deep moans while they divested one another of clothing. Dana rolled onto her stomach as Monica stood up to step out of her pants and shoes. Monica took a selfish moment as she just stood over the petite woman and admired the curve of her back and the swell of her hips. She closed her eyes and inhaled Dana's scent.

"What are you doing back there?"

She almost answered, 'praying' but stopped herself. She opted for a much more playful answer. "Just admiring the art."

Dana's blush could be seen all over her body. Monica spread Dana's legs and kneeled between them as she licked and kissed her way up the red head's spine. Dana could only moan in response as she felt Monica's hands massaging her flesh as she worked her way up her body. Dana couldn't help but grind her hips into the bed as Monica continued to tease her with kisses. The sight of Dana's undulating hips produced of new wave of wetness in Monica. She sucked on a small ear as she covered Dana's body with her own and matched Dana's rhythm.

The feel of Monica's wetness on her backside aroused Dana to no end. "I need you - inside." She let out a soft whimper as the feel of Monica's clit pressed against her with force. "Please, Monica. Oh fuck." Monica rose up on her knees and brought Dana with her, until she was supporting herself on trembling hands and knees. Monica reached around and cupped Dana's breast as they continued to grind against one another. She tugged at Dana's hardened nipples with her left hand while the fingers of her right hand found a home in Dana's slick folds. With ease she slipped two fingers inside and then added a third. The addition made Dana move her hips faster against Monica. She was soon aware of Monica's labored breathing and realized they would both be falling headlong into a blissful oblivion very soon.

Monica met the quickened pace of Dana's hips and drove her fingers deep inside of Dana. Soon both women were crashing into one another as a simultaneous release ripped through them both. They collapsed onto the bed in an exhausted, but far from satiated heap of wet arms and legs. The lay wrapped up in each for long moments as they each caught their breath. Dana untangled herself first as she rolled off the bed and went to Monica's dresser. Monica opened her eyes when she registered Dana's absence. She rose up on one elbow. "Whatcha' doing?" She spoke the words to Dana's back.

Nothing but mischief sparkled in pale blue eyes. When she turned around a pair of handcuffs dangled from the index finger of her right hand and she held a black scarf in her left hand. "So what's it going to be?" She twirled the cuffs. "Hands or eyes?"

Monica finally closed her mouth that had been agape and bit her lip. She blinked a few times and let out a shaky breath. There was nothing about the moment that should have frightened her, except the fact that she absolutely knew how deep in love she was with the woman who was standing beside her bed. She collapsed to the bed and ran and hand through her hair knowing she couldn't look at the woman for too long without giving away everything.

"So do I get an answer or not?" Dana put one knee on the bed and looked down at Monica. For a flicker of second she got the sense that something was wrong, but when Monica sat up again, the moment passed.

Monica met Dana's eyes and grinned. "Surprise me." Dana bared white teeth in a delicious smile and practically purred. Monica could only smile as she accepted the fact that she was going to be sore tomorrow.

Ch. 20

Dana could do nothing about the shit-eating grin that was affixed to her face like it had been painted on. The fact that her mother was oblivious to the fact that she just had hours of mind-numbing sex with the woman sitting next to her, gave her the most perverse thrill. She watched as Monica chatted with her mother in an animated fashion about some random subject. She was sure it was something about pottery, but Dana's mind was still abuzz, and quite frankly she was still aroused. William provided her with a long distance slap to the side of the head, by kicking against his bassinet, thus jarring Dana out of her daydream. She scooped the fussy baby up and used her lips to make vibrating noises against his stomach, which pleased him.

The oven timer went off and Margaret hopped up from the table, leaving the women alone. With William in her arms, Dana walked to where Monica was sitting and leaned down to soundly kiss the grinning woman. Monica was slightly dazed when they came up for air. "Behave." She whispered. Dana just winked and went back to her seat on the other side of the table as if nothing had happened.

"So how is everything?" Margaret asked as she walked back to the table.

Monica smiled around a mouthful of food. "This is all really good. Thank you." She finally replied.

Margaret was all smiles. "I'm glad you like it."

Monica opened her mouth to speak, but the vibration of her phone against her hip preempted her comment. At the same moment Dana's cell phone begin to chime loudly. The women looked at one another and then answered their phones.

"Monica Reyes."

"I've been looking for you all over." Doggett was almost out of breath.

Monica pushed away from the table and stood. "What's up?"

"Your friend was right-he came for the box."

"What! When?"

"Strolled right through the damn door if you believe it?"

"What the hell?"

"Don't ask. He made it to the storage room before we caught up to him. He took the decoy though."

She scratched her head. "Am I to assume he's in custody?" She was hopeful.

Doggett chuckled. "We lost him." He sounded shocked at his own words.

"How?" Monica looked up and followed Dana with her eyes, as the red head moved towards the t.v.

"No clue. He just disappeared on us. This is getting really weird."

"Do you still have the box?" She looked towards the t.v.

Doggett began to say that he still had the box but Monica didn't hear a word. "Monica, you still there?"

She kept her eyes affixed to the breaking news report on the t.v. "I just found the other women." Brown eyes were wide as she watched the scene unfold on the screen.

"What did you just say?"

"You need to meet me down at E and 4th."

"What's going on?"

"It seems our missing women have taken a hostage." She didn't wait for Doggett to respond. "Just meet me there. And yes, we still have the box." She hung the phone up and moved towards the t.v. She watched the scene play out once more. The helicopter got a clear view of Sheila Krawley dragging Solomon into a construction site with a large machete at his throat. Monica cringed at the sight of her friend. She sighed and then looked in Margaret's direction apologetically. "I'm sorry-I uh have to go."

Margaret nodded in understanding. "Just be careful."

Monica just nodded and then turned to Dana who stood near her. She almost reached out to embrace her, but quickly realized they had an audience. She shoved her hands into her pockets. "I uh gotta go."

"Just let me get my coat."

Monica shook her head. "It's okay, Doggett's going to meet me." An amber eyebrow arched in protest. Monica grinned

"Don't worry I won't do anything stupid. Just stay here with Will, it's okay." She looked down at the baby on the couch in his chair and rubbed his belly. "I don't know who they've got down there negotiating, but I can guarantee you they don't know what they're dealing with." Dana bit her lip hard, very aware that her mother was nearby. She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. Monica could see that Dana was two seconds from exploding. She looked over at Margaret in a desperate plea for relief that she knew the woman couldn't give. "Thanks for dinner Mrs. Scully." She glanced down at Dana. "Walk me to the door."

Once they were alone in the foyer, Dana cornered the taller woman and stuck her finger in Monica's chest. "Did we not just have this conversation?" Her voice was just above a whisper but her tone was still intense.

Monica knew there was no proper answer, so instead she threw caution to the wind, leaned down and kissed Dana. Dana could only lick her lips and blink herself back into reality after Monica pulled away. "Will you please trust me?" Brown eyes bored into blue eyes until they softened.

Dana sighed in a resigned manner. "I can't just sit and wait."

"Then find Cecily."

Dana nodded with enthusiasm. "Okay."

"Find her and find out what happened. See if she can tell us who our Bokur is?" Dana just nodded. "I'll call."

"I know." Dana watched the woman go down the steps and to her car before closing the door. She met her mother in the kitchen where she was loading the dishwasher.

"Everything okay?"

Dana ran her fingers through her hair. "This case is just getting stranger by the moment that's all."

Margaret looked up at her daughter for a moment. "You worried about her?"

Dana grinned. "Just a little-but I trust her." She chewed on her lips in thought. "Can I leave William here for a little while. I need to head back to Georgetown." Margaret nodded. She hugged her mother.

"Call if you need anything."

Dana just nodded and left the house quietly.

As expected Cecily wasn't home. Dana hung up the cordless phone as she walked quietly out of the kitchen deep in thought. Blue eyes opened wide as an idea formed and she headed to her laptop. She quickly found Father Turnley's number and dialed. "Father Turnley?" There was silence, but she could hear him breathing. "Father is that you-it's Agent Scully."

"C-can I call you back?"

"Father it's an emergency."

He spoke just above a whisper. "I know." He hung up the phone.

She just looked at the phone with worry for a moment. She nearly dropped it when it rang. "Father Turnley?"

"It's me." A thick Spanish accent flooded the phone.



Dana let out a sigh of relief. "Wait, where are you?"

"Safe for now."

"Good, but I need to see you. I need to know what happened."

"I know."

"Is there some place you're willing to go? I can make my place safe for you or we can find somewhere else."

"I'm sure you can." She sounded unimpressed. "All though, I'm more worried about those three women than myself."

"Well then tell me how to help them."

Cecily was quiet for a moment. "Fine. I will find you okay."

"Well, okay, but-

Her sentence was cut off by the sound of the dial tone. Dana ran a nervous hand through her hair. Now she had to sit and wait. She nibbled on her lip in frustration as her eyes darted between the phone and the t.v. She wanted to turn on the t.v, but she was too anxious about what she was going to see on the screen. She knew a phone call was out of the question, but her idleness was eating away at her. Dana grumbled to herself and moved all her nervous energy into the kitchen where she started making coffee. The pot was nearly finished brewing when a soft knock on the door startled her. She jogged to her front door with her hand on her gun and looked through the peephole. The face of Father Turnley and a small caramel colored woman was what she saw. She swung the door open quickly and ushered the two inside. She nodded at the priest and then looked at the small woman who was no taller than she was.

"Cecily, at last."

The small woman smiled. "Agent Scully." She followed the red head and the priest into the kitchen where they all sat down at the table.

"You're aware of the situation?" Cecily nodded. "Good, now how do we fix this?"

The small woman gave the agent a sardonic smile. "I'm not sure we can fix this. It's not ours to fix."

Scully rolled her eyes in frustration. "Cecily, you're not worried that your husband's out there? And what about Agent Reyes and those women?" You could hear the frustration in her voice.

Father Turnley held up his hand. "Agent Scully your anger won't help."

Pale blue eyes cut sharply at the priest making him swallow hard. "Father, I don't think you're aware of how serious this is. There are lives at stake and you want me to be calm."

Cecily cleared her throat. "Enough Agent Scully, please." She didn't raise her voice, but her tone demanded respect.

Scully took a deep breath and ran a hand through her hair. "I'm sorry really, but I need some answers. I've been sitting on my hands for almost an hour, I just want some answers. And please don't tell me that it's best to just let this play out."

"Agent he will come for the box and he'll come for them."

"I know that, but we can't protect them if they have hostages."

"You realize you may not be able to protect them?" Father Turnley asked.

"That doesn't mean I'm not going to try." Scully looked at the woman across from her. "Cecily, I need a way in." She held the woman's gaze and pleaded with her eyes.

Cecily looked deeply into the agent's eyes. "You have to let go of your fear Agent Scully or it will swallow you both. Do you think you can do that?"

Scully took a breath. "I don't have a choice." Dana Scully's voice did not waver.

Cecily smiled at the woman and patted her hand. "I can give you what you need and I can give you a way in. I won't promise that everyone will make it out alive, but this will give you a chance."

Scully smiled back. "That's all I ask."

Downtown construction made the drive longer than necessary and put Agent Scully on edge, by the time she reached the site. She flashed her badge and hit the speed dial on her cell phone as she entered the barricaded area.

"Monica Reyes."

"It's me, where are you?"

Reyes immediately began looking around, moving away from the first line of black sedans and cop cars. "I see you. Head towards the command center on your left."

Scully barely closed the car door before she was weaving her way through television vans and yellow police tape. Light blue eyes fell on the frame of the brunette and she let out a silent breath of relief. Scully hung up her phone and jogged towards Reyes. She didn't try to fight the smile that seemed to come to her lips instinctively when she met Reyes.

"What's going on?"

"I think I have a way in." She held up a book bag. "Where's Doggett?"

Doggett answered. "I'm right here. Whatcha' got there?" He nodded towards the bag.

Scully smirked. "You're going to have to go with me on this one. I know it sounds implausible, but just bear with me."

Reyes arched her eyebrow. "What's in the bag Scully?"

"The box for one and some stuff Cecily gave me." She handed off the bag to Reyes.

Reyes sat the bag on the ground and squatted down to peer inside. She looked up at Scully with amused brown eyes. She stood up and turned to Doggett. "Get Gorman to pull the troops back. We're going inside." Reyes shouldered the bag and began to walk towards the front with Scully beside her.

Doggett watched the two women. "Somebody going to tell me what's going on?"

Scully halted her steps and turned to Doggett. "I know it's not fair of me to ask you to just go along, but..."

He finished the sentence for her. "You just want me to go on good faith?"

Scully nodded her head and gave the man a smirk. "Just be on guard and ignore the smoke and mirrors."

Doggett eyed the red head with concern for a moment. Seriously considering walking away, but he looked over at Reyes who stood at the entrance to the office building under construction waiting for them, and decided to trust the woman. "You just tell me where to shoot."

Scully rewarded Doggett with a toothy grin. "Thank you." She turned and they both jogged to catch up with Reyes who was briefing Gorman on what they were doing.

The SWAT commander adjusted his cap and rolled his eyes. "I don't like this Agent and I'm sure as hell not signing off on it."

"You got a better idea Gorman?" Doggett asked with irritation.

"Yeah, you let my team go in there and wrap this up."

Monica growled under her breath at the man's insolence. Scully spoke up before Reyes let her temper flare up. "Gorman, give us a ten minute delay. We'll give you our positions and then you can enter."

He looked down at the red head in thought. "Two minutes."

"Five." she countered.

He adjusted his M-16. "Fine. Five minutes Agents. I want positions and status. If you don't answer we're rushing the building."

Scully nodded. "Not a minute sooner." She tapped Reyes on the shoulder and the Agents prepared to enter the building.

The office building under construction was nearly finished except for the inner workings. Unfinished light fixtures hung from the unpainted ceilings and wiring traversed the floors in all directions, awaiting the arrival of carpeting. Other than the ambient light seeping in through the dusty windows, a few lamps placed in the corners provided the only light. Scully touched two fingers to her earpiece as she heard Gorman's voice.

"We've got confirmation their on the fourth floor. There's a stairwell on your left once you enter the building. It'll give you access to the floor from the side. Five minutes Agents." The radio went quiet and the Agents entered the building.

Scully drew her gun first and held it at her side, Doggett and Reyes followed suit as they made their way up the stairwell. Doggett separated from the two women on the third floor and proceeded to meet them on the fourth floor using the stairwell on the left side of the building. Scully and Reyes waited outside the door to the fourth floor until Doggett contacted them.

"On three." Doggett said quietly into his mic. "One, two," he paused for a breath. "Three."

The two doors swung open gently so as not to alarm the women. Monica entered first with her left hand held out palm up and her gun in her right hand. Scully was just to her left and only a step behind her with both hands on the grip of her gun, finger inside the trigger guard. Doggett entered with both hands on his gun. Monica called out to the woman she recognized as Sheila. [J16]Sheila, stood near the center of the room with a machete poised at Solomon's throat, who remained on his knees as the Agents entered.

"I said back off!" The blade touched Solomon's throat.

Monica immediately put her gun in the holster and held up both her hands to indicate that she was not a threat. "Sheila, listen to me please." She spoke to the woman with dulcet tones, focusing all her attention on Sheila; well aware that Doggett and Scully had a clear view of the two remaining women huddled together on the left side of the room. "Sheila, my name is Agent Reyes, we're here to help."

"No, No!! Out! You have to leave." With a trembling hand, she grabbed Solomon's collar and held him steady.

Reyes looked down at her friend and tried to reassure him with her eyes. To her silent relief, he looked relatively unharmed. Slowly she advanced on the woman. "Sheila, we can help you."

She let out a yell of frustration. "Out!"

"Just wait, just wait." Reyes held her hands out wide at her side. With her right hand she touched the strap of the bookbag. "Sheila we can get you out of here." She began to ease the bag of her shoulder.

Sheila's eyes followed Reyes' hand and she began shaking her head violently and backing away, still dragging Solomon with her. Doggett was almost on the woman, but a look from Reyes made him hang back. Scully kept her gun raised and both eyes on Sheila. "What's in the bag? What's in the bag?" She was practically frantic.

"It's the box, Sheila, let us...

Reyes didn't get to finish her sentence as Sheila screamed at the top of her lungs. "You stupid bitch! Why?" She raised her hand with the machete in a fit of frustration. The bullet tore through the skin of her shoulder and knocked her down more out of surprise than force. Scully cut a quick glance at the two women on the side and then holstered her gun as she moved past Reyes towards Sheila.

"Sheila just stay down." Reyes said with a sigh in her voice.

Sheila let out a groan as she tried to sit up. Scully was there to kick the machete out of the way and help the woman sit up. She looked closely at the graze on her shoulder and then stood up. "She'll be fine." She looked at Reyes and then moved to Solomon.

Solomon smiled a toothy grin as the Agent neared him. "Night shot Agent."

She shrugged. "We don't have time to negotiate. You need to get out of here." Solomon nodded.

"You okay?" Reyes asked as she helped her friend to his feet.

"I've had easier days."

She grinned. "Head downstairs. When you see the guy with the M-16, just tell him to hold on." Solomon just nodded and quickly made for the stairwell.

"You people are so stupid." Sheila spat out the words as she held a hand to her shoulder. "He was going to fix this."

Doggett and the other two women joined the small semi-circle that had formed around Sheila. "And you were going to do that by killing him?" Doggett asked.

Sheila rolled her eyes and stood up. "I just wanted you fools to back off." She glared at Agent Scully and moved to the other two women. "And now you've brought the box and he'll be here."

"Sheila what do we do?" One of the women, the shortest of the bunch, with dark hair held back by rubber band, spoke.

"I'm sorry, Candace I thought I had a way out, but now--" Sheila trailed off and hung her head.

"You still have a way out of here if you let us help." Reyes made eye contact with the woman and could only hope she was reaching her.

"You're going to use us as a bait?" The woman standing next to Candace finally spoke.

"No, the box is bait." Scully answered.

"Maybe you don't realize what you've done, but we have to be dead Agents, in order for him to come for that." Sheila rolled her eyes and walked away. Doggett stayed close to her.

"That's sort of the idea." Scully said the words with a straight face.

A room full of "whats!" filled the concrete room. Before Scully could explain her words a volley of gunfire ripped through the stairwells beneath them.

"What the fuck was that?" Sheila asked with alarm as Doggett corralled her before she moved to close to the window.

Scully placed one hand on her gun and the other on her earpiece. "Gorman! What's going on? We've got a whole minute, you son of a bitch! Gorman!" She yelled into her mic but there was no response - only the sound of rapid gunfire as it moved up the stairwells.

"Christ, Shiela what do we do?" Candace grabbed a hold of the woman next to her.

"Why don't you ask the three stooges that got us into this?" Her words were just fuel to the fire.

Scully reached out to the woman and snatched her by the collar. "Enough! You want to get out of her alive? Do you?" Shiela nodded as much as she could. "Then shut your trap and do what we say." Scully released her and walked back to Reyes and Doggett.

"All right Agent Scully, I'm using all the faith I have right now, so do your magic."

Scully nodded at Doggett's genuine support. "Let's see if we can get up to another floor."

"All right ladies," Reyes spoke. "Single file."

Doggett took point as they moved towards the stairwell door, with the three women between himself and Scully and Reyes. He touched his earpiece. "Gorman, can you read me? We are moving do you hear me. We are coming out!" Doggett eased open the door with his gun drawn. For a moment he thought his words had gotten through to Gorman as the sounds of gunfire seemed to go silent. He motioned for the women to follow. Ever observant, Doggett picked up on the shuffling of footsteps only moments before gunfire ripped through the stairwell. He shoved back against the women just as a spray of bullets illuminated the stairwell. They tumbled back into the room and Doggett quickly got to his feet and closed the door.

With his back pressed hard against the door he eyed the two Agents. Scully moved towards the other door. "Ladies move to the far right wall away from the windows, stay together in a tight circle. Reyes use the small bag Cecily gave us to make a circle." Reyes nodded as she dropped the bag to the ground and quickly fished out the small velvet bag inside.

Doggett tried in vain to reach Gorman. He ripped the earpiece from his ear and faced the door. He eased it open, letting what little light was filling the stairwell to work for him. He opened the door wider and fired to gunshots up in the air on purpose. "Gorman! That you!" With no answer, he took a deep breath and stepped out into the stairwell, quickly firing down the steps. To his relief there was nothing there. He relaxed his gun just as he caught movement on his left. He turned quickly with intent to fire his gun, but the heavy body crashed into him, sending him back through the doorway. Both Scully and Reyes watched the men struggle, waiting for a clear shot.

Doggett freed his right hand began punching the man in the kidneys. A double jab to the man's throat and temple gave Doggett some breathing room. He freed his left hand and grabbed the man around the collar and savagely punched him in the face, causing his SWAT issue helmet to fly off. Doggett brought his knees up and pushed, effectively catapulting the man away from him. The SWAT officer was knocked back, but he remained on his feet. When he raised his gun and aimed at the women along the wall, the Agents noticed that his eyes were missing from the sockets. "What the fuck!" Doggett growled out as he took aim. Two bullets ripped through the skull of the officer as both Scully and Doggett fired. "You want to tell me how those things are back?" Doggett got to his feet.

There was no time for an answer as gunfire showered the room. The three Agents fired back, knocking back two of the men in the doorway. The dark of the stairwell made it hard to aim and two of the SWAT officers made it through the doorway. Candace's scream filled the air, as a bullet ripped through her upper chest. Scully and Reyes moved closer to the women and laid down fire that knocked the SWAT officers back. Doggett came face to face with the bleached out eyes of a SWAT officer as he tried to push his way into the room. Dogget grabbed the man's M-16 and kicked him in the gut several times. As the man stumbled back, he reached out and grabbed the small flash grenade the officer wore on his belt. He released the pin and shoved it down his pants before a well placed kicked sent the officer careening back into the bodies of three other officers. Doggett slammed the door and fell to the ground. "Fire in the hole ladies!"

A large explosion ripped through the stairwell. "Reyes, you watch that other door." Doggett was talking even before he stood up. He moved towards Scully, who was examining Candace's wound. "How bad?"

She didn't even look up. "Clean through, she'll make it." She looked to the woman cradling Candace's head and spoke warmly. I need to borrow you sweater." The woman quickly eased out of her sweater and hand it to the Agent. Scully worked quickly to help staunch the woman's bleeding while a nervous Shelia paced the floor.

"Sheila, come back over here." Reyes asked nicely.

"Fuck off agent! You saw those things and you know damn well he's here. So stupid!" She flailed her arms in frustration. "I can't believe this shit! How many of those SWAT guys does he have? You know they won't stop until we're dead!"

"Sheila, just let us work this out."

"Work it out! I'll have a better shot if I jump out of the damn window!"

Scully looked up at Doggett. "We need her calm." Doggett just nodded. She looked back at the woman. "What's your name?"

"It's Cynthia." She said with trembling lips.

"Cynthia, just press hard on her shoulder and don't let go no matter what." Cynthia nodded. "Candace can you hear me?'

Her eyes fluttered then opened. "My ears are the only things that don't hurt."

"Good. You keep talking, just stay awake a little longer."

Another round of gunfire ripped up the stairwell and the Agents all turned towards the door. Sheila took advantage of the distraction and ran for the other door.

"Sheila no!" Reyes yelled after her and took off-following the woman into the dark.

Scully wanted to scream, but it felt like her heart had lodged itself in her throat as she watched the brunette chase after Sheila. She cared less if Doggett saw more than concern for a fellow agent in her eyes as she turned. "I gotta."

"Go. I'll stay with them."

"First, get in the circle with them."

He raised an eyebrow but did as he was told as he watched Scully spread a small circle of white powder around him and the two women. She mumbled something under her breath and then kicked the metal box to the far side of the room. Scully tossed him the SWAT officers' M-16 and helped herself to his 9mm and then headed into the stairwell.

Ch. 21

Scully advanced with her back against the stairwell wall and both guns raised pointing up towards the fifth floor landing. There was nothing but pitch black and silence to fill her eyes and her vision. Her heart would have been beating frantically if it hadn't been shocked into practically stopping when she saw Reyes disappear into the dark. The fear that she thought she had let go of was pressing her body in a vice and she was on the verge of bursting. 'This is not happening. This in not happening.' She mouthed the words to herself as she pointed the guns down the stairwell and waited a beat. The sound of gunfire beneath her brought her back to reality. She jumped the three steps to the landing and then slid down the railing to the 3rd floor landing. The SWAT officer came into view just as she got to the bottom. Scully fired both guns, hitting him square in the skull and sending him to the floor.

The 3rd floor was void of sound as she moved down a short hallway and headed for the doorway. Once again, she put her back to the wall as she moved with deliberate steps. She moved with her left hand extended - the gun in her hand was ready to be fired. The SWAT officer on the other side of the wall waited until her whole left hand came into view before he slammed down on her hand with the butt of his gun. Scully's gun clanked to the floor as her wrist was turned and jerked upwards. She allowed herself to be pulled towards the officer, giving her a point blank shot. She pressed her gun into the soft flesh under his chin and fired. Nothing registered in his white eyes as the bullet exploded out of the top of his skull. He fell to the floor limply and Scully moved forward, only to stumble over another body.

Grey-blue eyes cut to the floor, and for a moment she thought it was Monica's dark hair she saw, but she quickly registered the outfit as Sheila's. She went down to check for a pulse, when a warm hand brushed against her in the same moment that a voice reached her ears.

"She's dead." Reyes said with sadness.

Scully nearly jumped out of her skin, she was so happy to see the woman. "Jesus! Monica. Are you okay?"

She nodded sullenly. "There were too many." She wiped at the spot of blood above her eyebrow.

"Are you sure you're okay?" She touched her fingers to the small scratch.

Monica removed Scully's fingers with a smile. "We'll take care of it later."

Scully just nodded, too wound up to say much of anything. She put another clip in her gun and the women headed towards the stairwell. They moved in a standard two by two formation as they made it to the landing and then Reyes stopped. Scully checked her zones and bumped into Reyes.

"Why are we stopped?"

"Because I don't know if I have enough bullets."

Scully turned around and saw the clump of SWAT officers standing on the landing to the fourth floor. Scully was hoping the white she saw masking their eyes was only an illusion, but the gathering officers behind her were the same way. "I don't know. But I think I can handle the four behind us." She chuckled dryly.

"They 're not moving Scully."

"I know."

"He's up there."

"Just move slow-we're not the target." Reyes nodded as they made their way up the steps. With each step, Scully spoke quietly. "Let the dead remain unseen. Let the dead remain unseen."

They reached the landing unharmed. Reyes eased the door open and the officers in the stairwell retreated. Reyes went to step inside the room, but Scully stopped her. She pointed towards the nebulous dark shadow in the corner of the room that seemed to be taking the shape of a man. Reyes stopped her movement and stepped back as Scully emptied the remaining powder in a straight line in front of them. Scully looked towards Doggett who was kneeling on one knee with his gun aimed at what was now clearly at man standing in the center of the room. Scully held up her hand to Doggett motioning for him to lower his weapon. He was slow to do it, but he complied. Doggett was on the verge of throwing his faith to the wind, but the man they had been searching for for weeks stood in the center of the room.

The Bokur stood about 6'5" and nearly as wide, the bilious robe he wore added to that illusion. His head was void of hair, making his papyrus hued skin gleam all the more. He kept his facial hair trimmed neatly, as two smooth strips of black hair curved the length of his jaw leading to a long fu-man chu styled beard. The hair of his beard was braided to a point that just touched his sternum. He outstretched his arms as he neared the box and smiled. Eyes that seemed to glow silver glistened with triumph. He could sense nothing in the room only the box that he had searched and waited so many years for.

All eyes were riveted on the bokur as he made the box rise from the floor without touching it. Once the box was eye level, the man closed his eyes and bowed his head in prayer. A smooth stream of what sounded like French fell from his lips and he opened his eyes after a quiet moment and reached for the box. He used his fingers to open the latch and then lowered the box to the ground. He made no move to step back as he stretched out his arms once again and threw his head back as if he were waiting for the roof to rip off.

A stillness came over the room and the inhabitants almost seemed frozen as time slowed in preparation of the new presence in the room. When the moment seemed almost too long the top of the box opened and a small dot of light hovered. It reminded Scully of the astronomy show one might see at a planetarium. The light floated leisurely up just as the bokur lowered his head. The light stopped at his eye level and twinkled. It was a peaceful scene - eerily sublime and reminiscent of Sci-fi films about friendly aliens and spirits. And then the light began to grow.

The light grew and grew and its white light became more intense with each growth until it was the size of basketball. The Bokur brought his hands near the orb of light and prayed once more. The name Ezrulie could be discerned from his words. The orb of light began to spin and the bokur's speech got faster as the orb spun faster. The once still orb dropped quickly to the ground where it hovered and spun. The Bokur picked up his speed to what seemed like an impossible rate and the orb spun faster still, but now it began to wind itself around his body starting at his ankles. Round and round it orbiting his body too many times for any of them to count until it finally stopped in front of his face. The Bokur opened his eyes once more. "Come Ezrulie!" His voice boomed through out the room with such base that the walls seemed to shake.

In response the light of the orb waned till it was almost non-existent and then in the same instant an intense light filled the room moments before the spinning orb disappeared into the bokur's face. The Bokur laughed in victory as his whole body was illuminated from the inside. At that moment Scully began to doubt her decision as she began to slowly raise her gun. Reyes noticed the action out of the corner of her eye and placed a hand over Scully's. Warm brown eyes turned to Scully and she just shook her head. Scully's fear died on her lips as the trembling began. It was as if they could hear his bones rattles. The bokur began to shake violently and the white light illuminating his body turned red.

The Bokur crossed his arms across his chest as if he was trying to hold the light inside, but that only made the convulsions worse. When his body could take no more, some unknown force snapped his head back and his arms swung open wide. Scully and Reyes both covered their ears as the man's guttural scream tore through the room. His mouth was opened wide as he yelled and out from it and all his orifices burst a deep red light. The light became so intense that the Agents had to shield their eyes. The bokur levitated more than three feet off the ground, as his screams grew distorted until they were no longer the screams of a man, but the high-pitched howling of a woman.

He hovered in the air for more than a minute with his arms outstretched and his mouth wide, howling until his voice gave out and the light died. And just like that, it grew dark again and he fell out of the sky like a leaflet dropped to earth. The room remained still as a tomb for long heartbeats-everyone too afraid to move. Doggett broke the silence first with a raspy whisper. "You two still there?"

"Yeah." Reyes answered back as she finally released Scully's hand with surprise.

Scully just smirked at the action. She too had been completely unaware that Reyes still held her hand. She regripped her gun and entered the room first with Reyes close behind her. Doggett stood up and grabbed his gun.

The Agents all took cautioned steps towards the bokur's still form. They were all too far away and the light was too dim for any of them to tell if he was still breathing. A small groan rose from the ground and the Agents all stopped in their tracks. "Sir! Stay Down! You're under arrest!" Doggett's voice rang out with authority.

There were the soft sounds of his clothes rustling as he continued to move and then came a low chuckle. The sound bounced off the concrete, but then became fuller as he rolled onto his back and laughed fully. The three Agents looked at one another and began to advance on the man.

"I'd temper your steps if I were you." A thick Louisiana accent filled the room. "Leave me be and I'll let you live."

" 'Fraid we can't do that guy." Doggett put his finger on the trigger guard.

The Bokur began to chuckle harder until his voice echoed through the concrete room. "You seal your fate then." In the blink of an eye the bokur was on his feet. He stood tall over all the Agents and gazed down upon them with silver eyes. He opened his arms wide and a strong wind passed through the room, causing all the Agents to step back. A red aura gathered around the man and began to grow in intensity.

Doggett cut his eyes towards Scully. "You gonna tell me this is part of your plan?"

Scully wasn't sure she had the answer. Reyes saved her the trouble. "Just wait for it."

The smart-ass comment died on his lips as a gust of wind passed through the room throwing the Bokur against the wall. The Bokur shook his head in disbelief and quickly got to his feet. 'You seal your fate then.' His words echoed through the room, only no one spoke them. The Bokur grew pale as his eyes darted about the room, desperately looking for that which he could not see. "It's mine!" he screamed out just before he slammed against the wall once more. An intense light moved through him and then vanished. He collapsed again but his breathing was discernable. Again he gathered himself and got to his feet. With unfocused eyes he gazed passed the Agents to the two remaining women and reality set in. "Foolish Bitches!", he shouted. With fury as a guide he advanced towards the women and barely made it back to the center of the room before a barrage of shots pelted his torso and legs.

None of the Agents missed, but he kept going, until two bullets to his kneecaps made him tumble to the ground. He gurgled with every breath he took and would have kept moving if his legs didn't prevent him.

Reyes lowered her weapon as Gorman's voiced pierced her earpiece. "Agents!!"

"Gorman, is that you?"

"Christ almighty what the fuck is going on up there, it looks like a god damn Las Vegas concert!"

"Gorman! We need a bus!" Scully spoke into her mic.

"Take a number. You want to tell me how and why the fuck I lost half a unit?"

"I think we just shot the cause."

"I want that son of a bitches head on a fucking pike!"

Reyes took her earpiece out as Gorman's voice hurt her eardrums. "Will do sir." Doggett answered. "We're on our way out." He followed Scully as she went to check on Candace. "What do you want to do about him?" He nodded his head towards the body.

"Let's just get her out of here." Scully touched Candace's face. "You still with us?" The pale woman nodded. Scully smiled. "Reyes, make sure we've got a clear path down that stairwell."

Reyes nodded as she holstered her gun and walked towards the left stairwell. Scully turned to Doggett. "We can try to move her, if you don't want to wait."

"If you don't mind, I'd like to take the risk of moving her and get the hell out of here." She grinned in agreement. "That guy gives me the creeps." The shared grin quickly vanished as both Agents caught sight of Cynthia's wide eyed stare.

Scully wasted no time by turning around, since she all ready knew what she was going to see. If she had wasted the time to look, she would have seen that the bokur was no longer face down on the ground. In fact he was on his feet, gun in hand, advancing on the first thing that came into his sight: Reyes. As Scully pushed up from the ground she knew she wouldn't be fast enough to push Reyes out of the way, but she knew she could step into the path. Two bullets hit her hard in the chest and she could feel the air leave her body and hear Reyes's voice in her ears. Rapid gunfire was the last thing she registered before her body hit the ground.

"Monica! Ease up." Doggett gently touched the woman's wrist. A shudder passed through Reyes' body as she realized she was still squeezing the trigger on her now empty gun. Lying at her feet, with most of his head missing, was the bokur. "It's okay, now. He's dead." He kicked the gun far away from the body just to be sure, but as he looked down at what remained of the man, he was sure there would be no comebacks.

Brown eyes met Doggett's and suddenly she realized what had happened. Doggett had yelled and she turned around only to see Scully stepping in front of her. When she saw Scully's body hit the floor she unloaded her weapon into the face and chest of the bokur. Reyes dropped her gun and quickly ran to where Scully lay. The lack of blood gave her a sense of hope and she immediately ripped at Scully's shirt.

"Come on Dana." She tore the shirt and let her head flop down onto the bulletproof vest the she was wearing. She fought off the tears gathering in her eyes and leaned close to Dana's face. "Dana, come on. Breathe." She caressed a pale cheek and touched trembling fingers to Dana's lips, fully prepared to give CPR, if necessary. "Come on Dana." She could feel Doggett at her back. "John we need EMS now!"

The man was torn. He wanted to stay, but knew it made more sense to find the EMT's. "I'm on it."

"Dana, this isn't funny." She smoothed away red hair from the woman's forehead. "Dana!"

Whether it was the strength of Monica's voice or just the woman willing her to breath, Dana Scully opened her mouth and sucked in a lung full of air. Monica released the breath she had been holding. She sat back on her heels and gave the woman some room to breathe.

"Oh God." Dana's words came out in a half whimper.

"Dana, you're okay, just take it easy." Monica said the words mostly to keep herself calm.

Dana blinked her eyes until she could focus on the strained features of Monica. "I forgot what this feels like."

Monica nearly laughed as a stray tear escaped and ran down her cheek. "I'm not going to comment on that."

Dana closed her eyes. "Are you okay?"

"Except for the heart attack, I'm perfect."

Dana managed a smirk. "Great. I'm gonna pass out now."

"Just keep breathing." Monica chuckled and pressed her lips to Dana's forehead and cheek. She opened her mouth to say more, but Dana's soft breathing told her that the woman had indeed passed out. She just sat back and ran a hand through her hair as she heard the rush of footsteps up the stairwell.

56 hours later.....

"Well look who made it in." John Doggett closed the office door as he laid eyes on Monica.

The brunette just laughed as she pushed away from her desk and stood. She pressed a finger to her lips. "Shh, don't tell anyone." She placed a manila folder on his desk. "I just wanted you to have this. I know Kirsch has been asking for it. It's all you've ever wanted to know about Raymond Santori-- Bokur extraordinaire and rapist."

He sat down at his desk and looked up at the woman wearing loose fitting gray sweatpants, sneakers, and a tattered hooded sweatshirt from Brown University. A curious eyebrow arched in her direction. "I take it you were working out." It took everything Monica had not to blush at his statement. She shrugged. "Nah, let me guess, you were snuggled deep in your covers, nice and warm."

This time Monica couldn't fight the laugh that bubbled in her throat. "You got me there. I was all warm and toasty." She tousled her hair, anything to distract from the blush she knew was rising up her neck. "I'm gonna' head back home if you don't mind, but I'll see you Monday." She didn't want to be rude, but the thought of who was waiting underneath warm covers was starting to get the best of her.

He watched his partner with a suspicious eye. He knew something was happening with the woman, but he figured he'd let it slide. After all, the past few days had been hectic. "You heard from Scully?" Monica just shook her head, not trusting herself to actually voice the lie she was telling. "She left me a message just saying she was checking in. I never got to see her after she left the hospital, but she seemed good."

"Yeah, just a little sore-I think." She moved towards the door. "I'm outta here. You," she pointed a finger at the man. "You should go home. Take a rest you know."

He folded his arms across his chest and just nodded. "I was hoping to do something a bit more strenuous, but it's a thought." Doggett could only smile as Monica's ears turned red. "On that note, I'm gonna' let you leave." Grateful for the distraction, Monica smiled at her partner and left the office.


A path of clothes littered the carpet and hardwood floors of Dana Scully's apartment. The last item of clothing, a hooded sweatshirt from Brown lay on the floor in a pool of material before a closed bedroom door. Monica eased back into her spot in the bed and gathered Dana in her arms-welcoming the warmth of the smaller woman's body.

"I almost missed you." Sleep was evident in Dana's voice.

"John wanted to chat about strenuous activity."

A laugh rumbled through Dana's chest as she turned in Monica's arms and rested her head on the soft expanse of flesh Monica's breasts provided. "I'm just going to leave that one alone."

"Well, I did promise him a list of activities."

Dana pressed a small kiss to Monica's breast. "Liar, liar pants on fire."

"But, I'm not wearing pants."

A small hand moved down Monica's side and down her thighs "Oh my, your right. What's that mean?"

"Well Dr. Scully, I think that means you have a naked woman in your bed. Whatever are you to do?"

Dana lifted her head and nipped Monica's neck before she pressed a soft kiss to waiting lips. The soft kiss became more intense as she eased as leg in between Monica's and rolled so that she was on top of the woman. They continued kissing as Dana grabbed hold of Monica's arms and stretched them above her head. Monica just smiled to high heaven as she lay with her arms outstretched as Dana explored the familiar parts of her flesh as if it were the first time. If asked she would admit that this was her favorite position. Dana slowed her assault for a moment as she ran her fingers through Monica's hair. She met Monica's deep brown eyes and smiled.

Monica could see the question in Dana's eyes. "What?"

"I just wanted to say thank you."

"I don't think I've done anything as of late."

"Being here for one, and trusting me."

Monica cupped Dana's face and kissed her. There were things she couldn't say to Dana only because Dana wasn't ready to hear them and at some moments she wasn't sure if she could find the words. For the moment however, a look would have to be enough. Brown eyes held blue and Dana didn't flinch or turn away. "I don't ever want to be anywhere else."

Dana smiled and nodded. All though she could match the devotion she saw in Monica's eyes, she just didn't have the words - at least not now. She kissed the woman deeply and then smiled. "Well, I guess you know what means." Monica smiled back. She arched an eyebrow to match the playfulness she heard in Dana's voice. "Tell me."

Dana held Monica's gaze and waited a moment before she spoke. She used the moment to gather herself and get a grip on her emotions. For the first time she looked into Monica's eyes and there was no fear. There were no questions. Gone were the dark corners she had cowered in for so long - there was only light there. She wasn't ready to believe that this was some kind of happy ending, but she did finally have the strength to believe in a beginning. She finally spoke. "I guess I'll just have to keep you."

.....Fade out


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