Genesis I: Chance Encounter

 

Part One

March 1998

Mercifully the paralyzing force emanating from within the blinding white presence overhead began to move away. The darkness that followed in it's wake was worse. It was more than the absence of light, it was a pervasive emptiness that left her hollow, devoid of knowledge and will. Without those she was helpless, carried along by the press of bodies in the terrifying confusion. Powerless to affect her own fate, she was aware of only one thing--isolation. She was adrift, and so terribly, terribly alone. It was unbearable, and Dana Scully had no choice but to surrender.

Ruskin Dam, Pa. - 5:16am

The helicopter deposited Marsh Black in the midst of chaos. Ducking low to avoid the swinging blades, Marsh scrambled away from the craft and grabbed the arm of the first person passing by.

"Where is triage?" Marsh shouted above the reverberations of the rotors. The distracted young soldier pointed to one of the large tents set up in the midst of a broad field. The quickly erected emergency lights cast a harsh glare over the entire scene. Ambulances and other evacuation vehicles ringed the perimeter of the hastily constructed compound. Military and civilian medical personnel rushed to accommodate the wounded arriving from the dam. The red and blue strobe lights atop the emergency vehicles cast their faces in eerie shadows.

"Over there," he motioned with an arm, anxious to deliver the frozen blood and plasma he was carrying.

Marsh pushed through the tent flaps, and quickly searched the enclosure for someone who seemed to be in charge. A woman in scrubs was directing soldiers carrying stretchers to various parts of the room.

"I'm Dr. Black," Marsh said by way of greeting. "Tell me what you've got here."

"We're certainly glad to see you," the slight dark haired woman replied. "I can't say for sure how many we're getting, but there's a combination of serious burns, exposure, shock, and I think a couple of gun shot wounds. Kids, adults - the works."

"Terrific. How are we fixed for supplies?" Marsh queried, reaching for a cover gown from a pile on a nearby table.

"Well enough. All we've been doing is starting IVs, covering the major wounds with sterile dressings, and transporting as quickly as we can."

Marsh nodded. "Sounds like you're doing the right thing. Point me in the direction of the most critically injured. Any walking wounded I don't need to see. Have a medic or a nurse tend to them and get them out of the way. Move anyone who clearly won't survive to the bottom of the transport list. If you have a question, ask me. I'm sure you know the drill."

The nurse nodded. She had military experience, and knew very well that in a major disaster, there were three classes of patients. Those who would survive without attention, those who would die regardless of treatment, and those who would die if they weren't treated immediately. It was only the third group who demanded immediate attention. She still had no idea what had happened to the hundred or so people burned in some kind of massive explosion on Ruskin Dam. As she leaned down to feel for a pulse in the neck of a young burn victim, she had no time to wonder why the military was on the scene so quickly, nor who the many men searching among the wounded, speaking frantically into hand-held radios, might be.

Marsh stepped to the first patient in the cluster of injured, quickly assessing the extent of the deep burns covering the man's face, chest and arms. "Vital signs?" Marsh asked of the EMT who was starting an IV in the patient's leg.

"BP 100 over 60, pulse 120 and thready, respirations 30."

Marsh grabbed the stethoscope hanging around the young man's neck and leaned down to listen for breath sounds. She pressed the cold metal bell of the stethoscope against the patient's chest, listened for a few seconds, then straightened with a frown. "His lungs are wet, and with those facial burns he's probably got upper airway edema or smoke inhalation at the very least. He needs to be tubed."

The EMT had no idea who this person was, but as he watched the quick and skillful intubation, he was happy to follow the orders. "You got it, doc," he grunted as he attached the compressible bag to the end of the plastic endotracheal tube so that he could begin breathing for the injured man.

"Thanks," Marsh muttered, moving down the line to the next patient. Time was condensed by the sounds and sights of the dying into a series of fleeting images that would be forever indelibly stamped in her memory.

"Excuse me, doctor," a paramedic called hesitantly, "I think this patient is trying to say she's a doctor."

Marsh turned to look at the woman on the stretcher. Her breath caught in her chest, and for an instant she stood transfixed. She had never expected to see her again, but the years had not dimmed her memory of that face. The rich red hair against her clear flawless skin, made paler now by injury, was a striking image that had been impossible to forget. Now there was pain that hadn't been there before, etched into the fine lines between her brows, but it did not detract from her beauty. Marsh stepped closer, leaning down to take her wrist, searching for the pulse. Surprisingly clear although somewhat unfocused blue eyes gazed back at her, struggling for comprehension. Marsh leaned down to hear her faint words, the chaos around her receding into the background as her entire consciousness focused on the woman's face.

"Mulder?" Scully murmured, trying hard to see who was bending over her. The hair was dark and unruly like his, but the eyes weren't quite right. These eyes were dark gray, and stormy like the sea on an over cast morning, not moody and pensive like Mulder's. The fingers wrapped around her wrist were the only points of warmth on her body. Everywhere there was an agonizing emptiness. Was she dying? "I'm so cold," she whispered, fighting panic. "What's happening?"

"You're in a hospital," Marsh said gently. "You're going to be all right. We're taking care of you, and you'll be warm soon, I promise."

Scully struggled to find something solid to hold onto. She dreaded slipping back into that limbo of mind-numbing disorientation. Her free hand squeezed the warm fingers on her arm. She fixed on the steady gaze of the woman above her. "Please keep me here - don't let me disappear," she said urgently, trying to make herself understood. It was so hard, and she was so very tired!

"Listen to me," Marsh said soothingly, "you are safe. I won't let anything happen to you. I'll be right here. I promise. Trust me, you're safe now."

Marsh lifted the thick red hair back from the patient's forehead, quickly assessing the second-degree burns on her upper face, arms, and backs of her hands. They didn't appear serious, but it was clear she was suffering from severe exposure. Marsh glanced toward the paramedic. "Make sure you keep her well hydrated, cover the burns with silvadene, and find some more blankets. She's hypothermic, and if you don't get her warm quickly we'll have a full-blown case of shock on our hands." She didn't want to leave her like this, helpless and frightened, but she had wounded people who needed her more.

Marsh gave a final whispered assurance before moving off, and the younger woman finally seemed calm, releasing her grip on Marsh's arm as her eyes closed. Sometime later Marsh glanced over and noticed two men anxiously crowding around the injured woman. The tall lanky guy was a stranger, but the broad shouldered slightly older man was very familiar. His presence answered the question of why Marsh had been awakened at 4 a.m. for a helicopter ride to a disaster site in the middle of Pennsylvania.

**********

Memorial Hospital, Washington, DC - Twenty-four hours later

Marsh shouldered through the door, looking at the graphic sheet of vital signs on the patient in room 301. The tall good-looking guy from the evac tent was standing in front of the windows, hands jammed deep in the pockets of his rumpled gray flannel trousers, looking about as tired as Marsh felt.

Scully looked up from the bed, grateful for the interruption. Her head ached from trying to remember the events of the last 48 hours, and her recent exchange with Mulder wasn't helping. In his own way, he was as confused and uncertain as she was. It wasn't a state of mind either of them was comfortable with. Up until recently, it had been Mulder with the unshakable vision, and although she often disagreed with him, she had trusted in his certainty. Now he was questioning everything he had ever believed. She still trusted him, but she could not help feeling alone.

Scully surveyed her visitor, trying to remember where they had met. The dark blue scrubs and white lab coat were of no help, but she was certain that she had seen the tall, dark haired woman before.

"How are you feeling, Agent Scully?" Marsh asked as the disgruntled man passed by without a word. "I'm Doctor Black."

*I know that voice* It was deep and soothing, and Scully searched her still fuzzy memory trying to remember when she last heard it. *Her face is familiar too, although it would be hard to forget those piercing eyes and elegant features. Why does it feel like I know her?*

Marsh saw the confusion on her face. "I was at the evacuation center yesterday morning. You probably know by now you're at Memorial. I'm chief of trauma here. Your burns aren't serious, although I'll bet they're painful. Do you need anything?"

*Chief of trauma? She must have started medical school at 12* Scully shook her head, careful not to reveal the discomfort in her neck and shoulders. "I'm fine. Are you here to release me?"

"I think that's a little premature. There's still a slight risk of infection, and I think your headache will improve if we keep the IV in another eight hours to hydrate you further."

Scully smiled faintly. "How do you know about the headache?"

Marsh grinned slightly in return. "Educated guess. I know you tough FBI types are supposed to be impervious to pain, but in here it's allowed."

Scully's face became expressionless. Despite the strange lingering sense of connection she felt with this woman, she didn't know her. What's more, she didn't know what she knew. Mulder hadn't been exactly a font of information, and she desperately wanted to know the details of what had happened on Ruskin Dam. *Well I'm the investigator, I guess I should investigate*

"How many survivors were there?" Scully asked quietly. She pulled herself up on the pillows, ignoring the increased throbbing in her head. For some reason, she didn't want to appear so helpless in front of the surgeon who regarded her with intense dark eyes.

"About 50," Marsh answered. She walked to the foot of the bed, grasping the low rail with both hands, leaning forward. Her eyes never left Scully's face. "Most of the dead died at the scene. The burns were massive. You are suffering from hypothermia in addition to your burns."

Up close, Scully could see the lines of fatigue etched around her eyes and down her sculpted cheeks. Rather than detract from her appearance, the air of weariness enhanced her attractiveness. Scully thought she must be one of those women the Gothic romances she secretly read as a child referred to as handsome. *Now where did that come from! I must be more foggy than I realized!*

"Have you been working all night?" Scully queried gently.

Marsh shrugged dismissively. "I'm used to it. Seriously, I'd like you to stay in until tomorrow." She could see the redhead's shoulders stiffen in resistance. There was a flash of fire in her azure blue eyes, and her full almost bruised-appearing lips tightened slightly. That look of unswervable determination reminded Marsh of the first time she had seen her. It was nearly four years ago, but the event was still clear in her mind. She had answered a trauma call, and when she entered the trauma bay, she found two men with gunshot wounds to the chest, both of them dying. That, in and of itself, wasn't all that remarkable. Street violence in Washington D.C. was common. What was remarkable was the fact that her best resident was following the instructions of someone Marsh had never seen before. The woman who was her patient now had been running that code, insisting that they keep shocking the guy on the table despite the fact that the EKG was clearly flatlined. Marsh would have intervened immediately but something in the woman's face had stopped her. *It's the same look she's got right now. Absolute certainty, and remarkable strength* She had left an indelible impression. Marsh had thought about her long after that day.

"If you must leave," Marsh added softly, to take the command from her tone, "at least spend the next few days in bed. You're not fit for duty, and if pressed, I'll say so."

"Don't worry, she's not going anywhere for a while," a deep voice said from the doorway.

Marsh looked slowly over shoulder toward the voice that still made her want to come to attention. "Hello, Walter."

Scully gaped in astonished. *Walter!! She calls him Walter? Who the hell is she?*

AD Skinner nodded, a muscle along his jaw tightening for an instant. "Hello, Black. I need to speak to you."

"I'm nearly done with rounds. You can wait in my office. You still know the way?"

"I'll see you there after I debrief Agent Scully, doctor." Skinner said in dismissal.

"Not too long, please. She's not ready for an interrogation."

Scully braced for the explosion that didn't come. Skinner flushed, and the tendons in his muscular neck tightened against his starched white collar, but he didn't say a word.

Scully waited until the surgeon had left before turning her attention to Skinner. She knew better than to ask him about the mysterious Doctor Black. AD Skinner wasn't in the habit of sharing information with her. Nevertheless, she desperately hoped he could shed some light on what had happened to her in the last two days.

 

Part Two

"What happened?" Scully asked Skinner as soon as they were alone.

"That's what I was hoping you could tell me," Skinner said, standing with his legs spread and his hands clenched behind his back. It seemed like one or the other of his two best agents was constantly in trouble, while he was in the dark. This time he had been certain she was dead. Once he saw her in the evacuation tent, his relief had turned to barely contained anger. If he didn't know what they were doing, he couldn't protect them.

Scully sighed. "Like I told Mulder earlier, I don't know how I got there, or why I went there, and I can't remember what happened."

"What about Cassandra Spender?"

"Oh god," Scully gasped, flashing on an image of the woman's face illuminated by a glaring white light. "She was _there_! Is she all right?"

"Missing," Skinner said with a grimace. "Agent Spender is not too happy. He's convinced that you and Mulder had something to do with her disappearance."

"If only I could remember!" Scully groaned, allowing her frustration to show in a rare moment of disclosure.

"I want you stay here at least another 24 hours. This is the third mass extermination that we know of in less than a week. The Russians aren't giving us any information about Kazahkstan, and we don't have much more about Skyline Mountain. You're a witness, and for the time being, you'll be safe in here."

Scully started to protest, then thought better of it. Perhaps if she got a little sleep, she would have a better memory of the events. Then she could convince AD Skinner that she would be more useful back in the field.

**********

Memorial Hospital 6:15 p.m.

When she awoke, the room was dark, and she was not alone. When her eyes adjusted to the dim glow from the baseboard safety lights, she focused on the figure in the chair next to her bed.

"I thought for a second you were Mulder," Scully said to the woman now dressed in blue jeans and an oversized sweat shirt. *She certainly looks as rumpled as Mulder does sometimes*

"He was by this afternoon, but the nurses told him you were sleeping. I'm sure he'll be here first thing in the morning."

"And are you my bodyguard until then?" Scully asked only half facetiously, remembering Skinner's comments. Strangely, she wasn't uneasy in the company of a virtual stranger. It had been oddly comforting to awaken and see her there.

Marsh grinned somewhat sheepishly. She ran her hand through her collar-length hair, leaving it to fall unheeded across her forehead. She appeared to be searching for words.

Scully found the surgeon's unselfconscious mannerisms in stark contrast to her earlier professional demeanor. She relaxed against the pillows, glad for the company.

"Actually Skinner asked me to check in on you. I was just on my way home, and when I looked in..." Marsh uncharacteristically averted her gaze. *How do I tell her that she was so lovely asleep that I just wanted to look at her?*

"What?" Scully probed.

"You looked too peaceful to disturb," Marsh said softly.

Scully felt herself blush, moved by the gentleness and something else she couldn't define in the other woman's tone. She cleared her throat, which was suddenly dry, asking, "Who _are_ you, besides the chief of trauma?"

Marsh leaned back in the thinly padded hospital chair, stretching her long legs in front of her. She steepled her hands under her chin, and thought for a moment. Scully straightened in the bed, holding the sheet just below her breasts over the thin hospital gown, studying Marsh's face. If anything, the doctor appeared vulnerable in her fatigue, and certainly not threatening. Nevertheless, Scully had learned through years of danger and disappointment to trust no one.

"I entered the FBI academy right after medical school. I finished basic training at Quantico. Walter Skinner was my training instructor. I was never actually an active agent. I decided that I had the most to offer as a full-time practicing surgeon and returned to my residency. I have security clearance, but technically I'm considered a _medical consultant_. Most of the time I'm just your ordinary surgeon."

Scully doubted anything about the self possessed, clearly accomplished woman was ordinary. The fact that she called AD Skinner by his first name, and he tolerated it, spoke to the fact that she was not just a casual bureau consultant. Scully wondered just how much Marsh Black knew about her.

"I don't suppose you know anymore about what happened?" Scully asked. *And you probably wouldn't tell me if you did*

"I'm afraid I don't. The autopsies are still underway on the victims, and most of the survivors don't remember much more than you do. I take it your amnesia has not improved?"

Scully shook her head in disgust. "I remember waking up, and being agitated, as if there were somewhere I needed to be. Then nothing but fragments that might have been a dream. The next thing I can recall for certain was looking up and seeing your face."

Marsh heard the tremor in her voice and leaned forward to take her hand. "I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. There's a very good chance you'll remember more. I know it's hard, but try to be patient with yourself."

Unconsciously Scully tightened her grip on the fingers that circled her own. She remembered the warmth they had given her in the cold early dawn. They were warm now too, and reassuringly steady. In fact everything about Marsh Black seemed solid and safe. She was so used to taking care of herself, and keeping her fears and her pain a secret. Her mother and Mulder were the only people who ever touched her, and that was a rare occurrence. She didn't welcome comfort, she knew, but it had become a habit for her to protect herself physically and emotionally, even from those she loved. For some reason right now, she didn't want to let go of the hand in hers.

"Mulder thinks I should try regression hypnosis," Scully said quietly.

"That might work," Marsh said carefully. She edged her chair nearer the bed, and rested the fingertips of her other hand lightly on Scully's forearm. There was a slight quiver in the firm muscles beneath her fingers. "Mulder--he's your--partner?"

"My partner, my best friend, and probably the one person best equipped to figure out what the hell is going on."

*And lover? Did you leave out lover? As if it would make any difference for you one way or the other, Black*

Marsh struggled to hold onto her objectivity. She hadn't been able to get the injured FBI agent out of her mind all day. She had been captivated by her four years ago, drawn to her unique combination of steely determination, unshakable certainty, and undeniable competence. Those qualities remained, but there was something else now, something more elusive. There was a hint of sadness, a flicker of loneliness, in her beautiful blue eyes when she thought no one could see. Dana Scully was unbelievably strong, unbelievably beautiful, and unbelievably desirable. Marsh couldn't remember ever having been so affected by anyone. And thinking that way could only mean trouble for her.

Marsh hoped her voice did not betray the tightness in her chest. "I have a feeling you're not going to be satisfied until you do something to get to the bottom of this. Medically there's no contraindication to the hypnosis. Just be sure you use someone who is qualified. You've been through a lot."

Scully leaned back against the pillows with a sigh. "I don't suppose you have any experience with it, do you?"

Marsh laughed, a full rich sound that Scully found soothing. "I'm a surgeon, remember? If I can't see it, I can't treat it."

"Now why don't I believe that?" Scully asked drowsily. Despite her anxiety, she felt calm and unusually peaceful. The last thing she heard before she finely surrendered to sleep was Marsh's gentle laughter.

Marsh sat motionless until she was certain the exhausted woman was soundly asleep. She gently disengaged her fingers from the pale hand that gripped hers with surprising strength. She resisted the urge to brush the errant strand of hair from her cheek. It was an innocent desire, but she feared it might be a touch she would never forget.

**********

The next morning 7 a.m.

Marsh knocked on the door to room 301. A clear voice called for her to enter. She stopped just inside and gazed at the woman who stood before the window. Someone must have brought her clothes, for she looked impeccable in a gray silk suit, a white scooped neck blouse, and low black heels. "The nurses said you wanted to see me."

Scully turned with a smile at the sound of the now familiar voice. She was inordinately pleased to see the tall, lean woman whose smile seemed to echo her own. She looked tired, as Scully knew she did herself, but there was a welcome in her eyes that was unmistakable. Scully tried to ignore the slight flush she felt rise to her cheeks. *Probably a slight fever from the burns*

"I'm leaving," Scully said, suddenly feeling shy. "I--I just wanted to say goodbye before I left, and to thank you."

Marsh shrugged slightly. "No thanks are necessary, Dr. Scully. I'm only happy that your injuries weren't more serious."

"Please, call me Dana. Or Scully if you prefer." Scully laughed selfconsciously. "Actually it seems that the only person in my life who calls me Dana anymore is my mother."

"That seems like excellent company--Dana," Marsh said lightly. "Then you must call me Marsh."

They looked at one another as the silence between them grew heavy.

"Are you--"

"I should--"

They both laughed, breaking the tension. Each took a step forward until they stood in arm's reach. Their eyes held, crystalline blue to smokey gray.

Marsh spoke first. "Are you going through with the hypnosis?"

"Yes, later today."

"Be careful." Marsh reached for her hand, meaning only to offer support. She was ambushed by the unexpected combination of Dana's warm skin and captivating smile. She stifled a gasp as her legs trembled.

Scully sensed her genuine concern, and at the touch of Marsh's hand, something stirred deep within. The connection she felt defied reason, and should have been frightening. But it wasn't, in fact she couldn't remember the last time she felt anything so intensely. She didn't want to let go, but there were things she must do.

"I have to go," Scully whispered softly.

"Yes, I know," Marsh said reluctantly, releasing her fingers and stepping aside. She watched wordlessly as Scully gathered her things and moved toward the door. She hadn't meant to, but it happened before she could prevent it. "Dana!" she called.

Scully turned, her hand on the door. There was a yearning on the surgeon's face that called to something in her. "What is it?" she gently inquired.

"Will you call me--when you can? Just to let me know you're okay."

Scully nodded. "Yes, I will." Then she turned resolutely away, pushing through the door and moving quickly down the hall. Mulder was waiting, she had work to do, and questions to answer. As her mind turned to the challenges that faced her, she brushed her thumb lightly across her palm. It still tingled where Marsh Black's fingers had rested.

********

Mulder looked over as Scully slid into the front seat of the bureau car. "So, Scully," he said lightly. "Are you ready for your mind probe? Dr. Werber said he could see us later this morning."

"Mulder," Scully said wearily, "Right about now I'm ready for snake charmers, palm readers, or stargazers. Anything is better than not knowing."

Mulder took his eyes off the early morning traffic to glance at his partner. She looked tired and worn. He had seen her in almost every situation, including near death, and he knew she was suffering now. "Maybe this isn't such a good idea, Scully. We can always do this some other time."

"No," Scully said with finality. "If there's a chance this might work, I want to try it. There's more than just my peace of mind at stake. Remember, Cassandra Spender is still missing."

"There's no guarantee if you remember what happened to you it will help us find Cassandra," Mulder pointed out.

"I know that, but I've got to try. Too many things have happened to me without explanation. I can't just let this go," Scully said in a low, tight voice. "Besides," she said in a lighter tone, "I have a doctor's note that says it's okay for me do this."

"Ah, yes," said Mulder provocatively. "The remarkable Dr. Black."

Scully looked at him suspiciously. After all this time she knew when he had some choice bit of information he was savoring. "What do you mean? Mulder, what have you been up to?"

"Who me?" Mulder asked innocently. A quick look at Scully's face convinced him she was not in the mood for banter. "I noticed her in a head-to-head with Skinner yesterday, and I was curious. Let's just say I'm none too trusting of strangers these days. A little background check was simple. Marshall Ellen Black, grand daughter of Marshall Allen Black, one of the scions of the Boston banking scene. She was one of those seven-day wonders, kind of like you Scully. You know, graduating early from high school, accelerated medical school curriculum, beating out all the other kids for a place at the head of the class. Word has it the bureau recruited her hard, and then just when it looked like she would be the new golden girl, she ups and leaves the program. A great disappointment apparently."

"Sounds more like you, Mulder," Scully said sarcastically. She wasn't in the mood to hear bureau gossip about Marsh Black. *Marshall - I like it*

Mulder laughed, accepting the jibe good-naturedly. "Well, we do have one thing in common. We both like girls."

Scully fixed him with a look that made most suspects shiver. "For God's sake Mulder, repeating things like that can be dangerous."

Mulder looked chagrinned. Scully was more sensitive then he'd ever seen her. "You know I would never say anything like that to anyone but you. I couldn't care less who she dates. Well, I might if I had to compete with her--I'm afraid she might win."

Scully sighed. "Never mind, Mulder. You have your own unique charms." She fell silent and mercifully Mulder left her to her own thoughts. There was no way she could have explained to him how his news affected her. She wasn't sure how to explain the sudden pounding of her heart to herself.

 

Part Three

One week later

"This is Dr. Black. I was paged to this number?"

"It's Dana Scully, Dr. Black."

Marsh caught her breath. She had never expected to hear from the red- haired FBI agent again. Even though she checked her answering machine the minute she walked in the door of her apartment, and looked for excuses to drop by the pathology department hoping the forensics expert might be there reviewing evidence, she never really thought that Dana Scully would contact her again. She couldn't imagine why the self-sufficient, independent, not to mention beautiful, woman would have the slightest interest in her. She forced herself to answer calmly.

"How are you, Dana? And it's Marsh, remember?"

Light laughter washed over her like the sun breaking through the clouds. Marsh could envision those full red lips turned up in a smile, and the sparkle in her amazingly blue eyes. The image was enough to throw her body into turmoil. *This is very definitely not good*

"Of course I remember. I was here looking for some of the autopsy reports from Ruskin Dam, and I thought I might take you to lunch." Scully knew very well the excuse was thin. She could have had the reports faxed to her office, but she had been thinking about the intense young trauma surgeon all week, and she finally gave in to the urge to call her. As the silence lengthened, she thought perhaps she had made a mistake. Maybe Marsh Black hadn't really meant it when she asked her to call. "Did I catch you at a bad time?"

"No! No!" Marsh nearly shouted. "I mean, this is a perfect time. I was just going off call, and I would love to have lunch with you. Should I meet you somewhere?"

"I'm just downstairs in the lobby. Why don't I wait for you, and we can walk somewhere."

"I'll be right there," Marsh assured her. She hurried to change, stuffing her gear haphazardly into her small duffel bag. She feared she might have imagined the entire phone call, and that when she got to the lobby it would be empty. She knew she was foolish to hope, but she was having a hard time exercising her usual control. Just the sound of Dana's voice on the phone had made her wet.

**********

That same day 12:15 p.m.

Marsh saw her immediately. She was standing just inside the revolving doors of the lobby, wearing a tailored maroon jacket over black slacks. Her hair fell gently forward on either side of her face, and a string of small pearls accentuated the long sweep of her neck. She looked composed and entirely breathtaking. Marsh crossed the tiled expanse of the room slowly, taking the opportunity to appreciate her. She knew Dana Scully was watching her _watch her_. She got the distinct feeling that the self composed FBI agent knew exactly what she was thinking. *That's crazy, Black. If she knew what you were thinking, she'd be out the door*

Scully felt herself grow warm under the appraising eyes of the woman who approached. There was nothing inappropriate, or even particularly obvious, in the way she looked at her, but Marsh Black somehow made her feel like the only person in the room. She wasn't used to that kind of attention, but it wasn't at all unpleasant.

Marsh stopped within touching distance, but she did not reach out to her. "Hi," Marsh said softly, her eyes never leaving Scully's face.

"Hi," Scully responded, amazed at the tightness in her throat. She took a breath, reminding herself this was a simple luncheon between two professional acquaintances. *Then why does it matter so much that she's glad to see me?*

"You look wonderful. How do you feel?" Marsh asked.

Scully shrugged, surprised to find that she was without her headache for the first time all week. "I'm fine. I'm pretty hungry though."

Marshall laughed, that same deep easy laugh that Scully remembered so clearly. "I hope you don't mind something casual. I'm not exactly dressed for anything else."

Scully thought Marsh Black looked just fine in her charcoal flannel trousers and loose white silk open-collared shirt. In fact, so far she hadn't seem her in anything she hadn't liked. She had the kind of lean athletic body that looked equally good in tattered jeans or power suits. "I think you look more than presentable, and I would be delighted to take you anywhere. What's your pleasure?"

Marsh was momentarily at a loss for words, and mortified to find herself blushing. *Oh god, I hope she can't read my mind* "There's a really good Indian restaurant up the street. Does that sound okay?"

"Perfect."

********

Marsh leaned back in her chair, thoroughly satisfied following an excellent meal and an hour of pleasant conversation during which she and Dana had shared stories about medical school and Marsh had described her current work at Memorial. As if by unspoken agreement, they avoided any discussion of the recent events that brought them together, nor did they touch on Marsh's past with the bureau.

"It's been a long time since I've done anything like this," Scully remarked.

"Why is that?" Marsh questioned gently.

Scully shrugged. "Too much work, too much travel--too many things no one except Mulder could understand."

There it was again, the partner thing. *It will hurt a lot less if you find out now* She waited until the waiter brought their espresso, then asked, "This Mulder--is he your lover?"

Scully raised the small cup to her lips, surprised that she didn't find the question more surprising. She had been searching for a delicate way to find out more about Marsh's personal life. She had enjoyed their discussions about medicine, but she felt they were only skimming the surface of waters so deep they might never touch bottom. If she needed to be the one to go first, she would. Something told her it would be worth it.

"I suppose more people than I realize think we're lovers. After all, when a man and a woman work so closely together, it's almost expected. And then of course, neither of us has much of a personal life. It would make sense for us to sleep together. At least it would be convenient."

"I take it that's a no?"

Scully laughed at her own evasiveness. *God, Mulder really is rubbing off on me* "That is most definitely a _no_. Don't misunderstand me, I think the world of Mulder. I'm closer to him then to my own brothers, and closer than I've ever been with any lover. It just never happened between us, and now I can't imagine that it could without somehow completely changing our relationship. He's the only person who really knows what my life is like any more, and sometimes the only person who understands."

"He sounds very special. I'm glad you have him."

Scully laughed. "I think I forgot to mention that he is also the most obstinate, infuriating, inflexible man I have ever met."

"Sounds like every surgeon I've ever met," Marsh commented with a smile.

"What about you? Anyone special?" Scully asked softly.

*Well, there it is* Marsh searched Scully's face for some clue as to how to respond. All she found was the same welcoming warmth she had seen in her expressive face all afternoon. There really was no point in pretense. "There hasn't been anyone serious for a very long time. I made the mistake of getting involved with a field agent when I was a trainee. It didn't work out."

Scully nodded, lost in memory. "I know what you mean," she said at length. "I got involved with my training instructor. We would have made better friends then we did lovers, and of course once we were no longer lovers, we couldn't be friends. There have been a few not altogether satisfactory encounters since then, but there really hasn't been room for anyone in my life since I started work with Mulder."

Marsh cleared her throat and forced herself to hold Scully's gaze. "The story I told you the other night about leaving the bureau is the official version, but it isn't quite the whole story. I did get involved with a field agent when I was a trainee. She was killed during a hostage rescue attempt. Skinner knew about our relationship, and I'm not sure who else. I wanted out after that, and they let me go. I'm not sorry I left."

Scully had a feeling her next words might be the most important ones she ever spoke to this woman. There were so many things she wanted to say, and to ask. "I am so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose someone you love."

Marsh had been holding her breath, and as she slowly released it, the tension in her body began to ebb. "Thank you." She wasn't sure what kind of response she had been expecting, but the empathy and acceptance in Dana Scully's voice were undeniable. Marsh was relieved to be sure, but more than anything else, she felt comforted. Suddenly the day seemed brighter. Taking a chance, she asked, "I think we're both due a little relaxation. There is an Annie Liebowitz retrospective across town I've been meaning to see for weeks. Do you have to get back to the office, or could you sneak away for a few hours and see it with me?"

Scully couldn't remember the last time she had done something spontaneously for herself. There was a pile of paperwork that needed to be done for their quarterly report, but she could finish that on Monday. It was Friday afternoon, and she had done nothing but work since her release from the hospital. The thought of doing something totally unrelated to an x-file, or a dead body, was practically exhilarating. "I'd love to go. Can we walk?"

Marsh laughed. "It's three miles."

"Well, I suddenly have the afternoon free. Let's go."

Marsh rose to follow her to the door, ignoring the warning bells ringing in her head. Of course she knew that Dana only wanted company and an excuse to escape for a little while. She should be safe enough as long as she kept that fact clear in her mind, right?

**********

5: 15 p.m.

"How did it get so late?" Scully exclaimed as they neared the end of the exhibit.

"I think we lost an hour arguing over which was her best Rolling Stone cover."

"That wasn't an argument. That was a _discussion_!" Scully corrected with a smile. "And besides, there's absolutely no question. It's the Lennon/0no photograph."

Marsh shook her head in mock disagreement. "I do believe I've heard that comment once or twice before this afternoon. You obviously are a woman of strong opinions, but fortunately I can always argue that art is in the eye of the beholder."

"That is begging the issue!" Scully replied archly, enjoying their easy banter.

"That is diplomacy," Marsh said with a laugh. "Besides, I happen to agree with you, even though it was fun debating the point. There's hardly any of her work that I don't think is great. If I ever take one photograph half as remarkable as the negatives she probably throws away, I'll be happy."

Scully looked at her in surprise. "Are you a photographer, too? In addition to being chief of service at a disgustingly young age, and a special consultant to the FBI, that is." To her amazement, Marsh looked away shyly. *She doesn't seem to have any idea how remarkable she is*

"I don't call myself that. My mother gave me a hand-me-down Brownie camera when I was ten. I've been taking pictures ever since. It forces me to stop thinking about myself, and reminds me that there is more to life than trauma and the operating room. When I've seen too many kids killed by drugs or guns, I take my camera into the park." She laughed selfconsciously. "I've got a lot of pictures of squirrels."

"I haven't walked in the park in years, but it's a great place to escape to," Scully agreed. "Will you show me your photos someday?"

Marsh nodded. "Sure," she answered quickly, not believing for a moment that they would ever share another afternoon like this. She reached for the gallery door, pushing it opened as Scully preceded her.

"Oh damn! It's pouring!" Scully exclaimed, peering out from under the short awning that was protecting them from the downpour. "And of course, my car is in the hospital garage all the way across the city!"

"My place is practically around the corner," Marsh said, turning up the collar of her light blazer against the chill March air. "We can pick up my car and I can drive you back to the hospital."

"That's way too much trouble for you," Scully protested.

*Nice move, Black. She probably thinks it's a pick up line*

*Oh good, Scully. Now she probably thinks you can't wait to leave* And nothing could be further from the truth. For the last five hours, Scully hadn't thought about work, the sudden devastating turns her life had taken, or the forces that seemed to threaten her from every side. Marsh's company had given her the respite she needed, and she wasn't quite ready to return to her empty apartment and face the many questions that echoed throughout the lonely rooms. Besides, she was quite enjoying this particular company.

"We can call you a cab-" Marsh offered.

"No," Scully said quickly. "Let's go to your place."

Marsh pulled off her blazer and spread it out over their heads like a small tent. "Get under here, and let's make a run for it."

Scully reached her arm around Marsh's narrow waist, leaning close to her to get as much shelter from the rain as she could. "Ready when you are."

Marsh was acutely aware of Scully's body pressed against hers, and the warm hand resting just above her hip. That was all it took to make her tremble. *Jesus, just forget it! It doesn't mean anything to her!* She decided there would be time enough to worry about her runaway emotions when they were dry. "Hang on!" she said as she led them out into the deluge.

 

Part Four

6:10 p.m. A few blocks away

Scully followed Marsh through the side entrance of a three story brownstone, up an enclosed staircase, and through the arched second floor doorway. She stopped just inside, aware that she was dripping on the highly polished hardwood floors. She craned her neck to see up into the clerestory ceiling. Portions of the floor above had been removed, opening much of the lower space all the way to the exposed rafters two stories up. The rear of the area was all windows which overlooked the park on the opposite block. The remaining portions of the third floor formed a loft reached by a carved wooden spiral staircase. The soaring height and open space of the room was exhilarating. Scully continued to look about in appreciation as Marsh touched a match to several logs in the fire place.

"This place is amazing!" Scully exclaimed as Marsh crossed the room to take her coat.

Marsh smiled shyly. "Thanks. Can I get you a drink, or do you need to go right away?"

Scully glanced down at her dripping slacks and wet stockings. "I'd love a drink, but I'm going to have to borrow something dry," she said.

"Why don't you stand in front of the fire where it's warm, and I'll go upstairs and find you a change of clothes."

Scully watched her cross the room and climb the staircase, admiring her easy graceful movement. *A panther* She stared into the fire, aware that her emotions had taken an unexpected, but not unpleasant turn. She had sensed Marsh's attraction all afternoon, even though Marsh was the epitome of propriety. She would turn her head, and find Marsh looking at her with an intensity that practically seared her flesh. It was exciting to be the focus of such desire, and she couldn't ignore the slow rise of arousal that pulsed between her legs. She shook her head, trying to dispel the slight haze of lust. She liked Marsh too much to treat this lightly.

Marsh returned a few moments later with a pair of navy blue sweatpants and a teeshirt adorned with the FBI logo. She had changed into faded jeans and a polo shirt. She offered the clothes to Scully. "I thought this would be familiar. The bathroom is through that door to your left. Is wine okay?"

Scully reached for the stack of clothing gratefully. "Sounds perfect." When she emerged dry and comfortable, she found Marsh seated on the floor in front of the fire place with her back against the leather sofa. She had placed an assortment of fruit, cheese, and crackers along with a chilled bottle of white wine on a low coffee table. Scully took note of the special touches as she stretched out next to her facing the fire. "This is wonderful," she said with a sigh. She sipped the wine and studied Marsh's profile. *I wonder if she knows how attractive she is. She could be a model with those high sculpted cheek bones and magnificent deepset eyes* She didn't bother to ask herself why she was sharing what could only be called a romantic interlude with a woman she barely knew. The why of it was infinitely less important than how she felt being with Marsh Black. She was suddenly reminded of how good it was to laugh, and share ideas, and enjoy the world with another person. *Not just _any_ person -- Marsh. Face it, Dana, you _want_ her to keep looking at you that way*

Marsh turned her head and caught Scully's appraising glance. Dana's face was half in shadows, both alluring and remote. Her eyes were heavy lidded, hazy, and lush with promise. Marsh had to look away. She swirled the wine glass around and around between her long slender fingers. When she spoke, her voice was husky. "I don't know what to do with my hands, I want to touch you so badly."

"What's stopping you?" Scully murmured, acknowledging her own rush of desire. It was immediate, and undeniable. Blood pounded through her head as it beat simultaneously into her clit. The intensity was almost painful. She wanted-- no _needed_-- Marsh to kiss her. She leaned toward the woman who had captivated her with a gentle touch on the hand, but who hesitated to touch her now. "Marsh?" she whispered softly, holding Marsh's eyes with her own feverish gaze, aching for her.

The undisguised want in her beautiful face was more than Marsh could resist. Groaning, Marsh leaned forward to meet her lips.

Scully gasped at the sensation. *Oh my god, how can anyone's lips be so soft?* She parted her own full lips, swollen even further with desire, to admit the warm tongue that tentatively sought entrance. First a gentle probing, then bold strokes against her tongue, along the inside of her lips, reaching further, deeper, demanding a reply. Scully answered with a thrusting search of her own, sliding one hand into the hair at the back of Marsh's neck, holding her head close, keeping her there so she could explore her. She felt the murmurs of pleasure through Marsh's mouth, swallowing the moans, rejoicing in the power and heady thrill of exciting Marsh with her kisses. When Marsh moved her mouth away to place a torrent of kisses along the edge of Scully's jaw and down the side of her neck, Scully felt bereft. She wanted Marsh's lips again, she wanted to be inside her hungry mouth again. She grasped Marsh's head with both hands, raising her face until they were a breath apart. "Don't leave me yet," Scully pleaded, her voice thick with need. "Kiss me - kiss me hard."

"I'm not leaving," Marsh whispered, easing her body closer so that Scully was nestled along her length. She brushed her lips across the fragile lids, trailing her fingertips down Scully's throat, resting her fingers in the hollow above her collarbone. She bent her head, finding Scully's sensitive nipples through her teeshirt. She bit lightly, pulling the taut buds with her teeth, inflaming them with her hot breath. "I want to taste you everywhere."

Scully moaned as Marsh's teeth grazed across her swollen nipples, sending flashes of pleasure to her deepest reaches. Scully pressed into her, aching for the contact, her insides twisting with need. She reached for Marsh's slender hips, pulling her over, guiding the denim clad leg between her thighs. She whimpered at the weight,and the pressure, and the heat that was everywhere at once and nowhere close enough. "I feel like I'm dying," Scully groaned against Marsh's neck, gasping for breath. "I think I might if you don't touch me soon."

Marsh laughed gently, her tongue teasing small circles along Scully's neck toward her ear. She felt Scully shiver against her. "I will -- I want to so much it hurts. You're so beauti--" Marsh jumped, swallowing her words, as Scully slid a hand between them, pressing against the heat between Marsh's thighs. As if she had done it a thousand times, Scully's finger tips found her clit unerringly, massaging her skillfully. Marsh's mind was melting, every nerve ending twitching. "Don't," she managed to force through clenched teeth, "you'll make me come. Please--"

"You're so swollen I can feel you through your jeans," Scully moaned against Marsh's lips, her tongue finally returning to the pulsating sanctuary of Marsh's mouth. She stilled her hand, but kept it cupped between Marsh's legs while she continued her kisses with bruising intensity. Once again she was lost in the heat of their dueling tongues, when Marsh wrenched her face away. "What?" Scully exclaimed.

"I need you naked," Marsh managed, her vision hazy, her senses eclipsed by the fire consuming her. She fumbled with Scully's shirt, raising her hips automatically when she felt Scully's hands on the buttons of her fly. Suddenly they were a tangle of arms and legs, kicking out of jeans and sweatpants, stripping off teeshirts, tossing articles of clothing mindlessly into the room. Marsh reached blindly behind her with one hand, pulling down an old quilt, spreading it on the floor and easing Scully onto it. She straddled Scully's thighs, supporting her own weight on her extended arms, staring down at Scully's face, a mesmerizing chiaroscuro of shadows drawn by the flickering light of the fire. Her throat was dry, and she was literally speechless with wonder. Scully's eyes were open, watching her, her lips parted in anticipation. Slowly, Marsh lowered herself until there was no space between them, reveling in the soft cry the contact wrought from Dana. She trembled with the effort of restraining her raging passion. As much as she wanted to take her, to make her cry out with pleasure, she wanted to make it last. She wanted to imprint every sensation, every sound, every sigh--so that if this were the only time, it would be burned into her memory and every cell of her being.

*She's exquisite-and she has no idea* Scully trailed her fingertips down the firm muscles in Marsh's arms, finally clasping her sensitive surgeon's hands where they lay against her skin. "I'm so ready for you. Don't make me wait any longer."

"No," Marsh murmured, easing her fingers into the welcoming wetness between Scully's legs. She groaned deep in her chest as Scully cried out, hips surging upward. "Tell me what you like," she whispered, slowly stroking the length of her, parting the hot, smooth flesh, brushing lightly over the distended apex. She increased the pressure slightly, circling her quivering clit, pressing, then withdrawing.

"Anything," Scully gasped, "you can do anything. Ohhhhh, yesss---oooh, god, you're good!"

Scully's thighs grew tight under her, straining with the mounting tension in her pelvis. Marsh felt it, knew it for what it was, and forced herself, with tremendous effort, to ease her fingers away.

Scully cried out in protest at her withdrawal, her body twitching, her back arched--dangling at the precipice of release. Her voice was ragged, breaking with the strain. "Please, I need to come--please let me come."

Marsh nearly lost it. She tightened her legs around Scully's thigh, pressing herself against the firm flesh. She was fully aroused and distended; the slightest movement sent currents of pleasure coursing through her. The need in Scully's voice was almost enough to send her over the edge. Her hips began thrusting of their own accord. She pressed her lips to Scully ear. "Soon, soon I promise. I want to taste you. I want you to come in my mouth."

Scully twisted her hands in Marsh's hair, forcing her head up. "Do it now," Scully demanded urgently, her eyes pleading. "Please--put your lips on me."

Marsh couldn't have resisted longer even had she wanted to. She was threatening to explode herself, and she wanted to be as close to Dana as possible when it happened. She pushed herself downward, lying between Scully's legs, searching for her with her lips. She had meant only to kiss her lightly, but at the first taste of her, her control collapsed. She couldn't take her deep enough, couldn't absorb her fast enough, couldn't satisfy a need so long unfulfilled soon enough. Dimly she heard Dana call her name, but all she knew was the essence of her as she consumed her--drawing her in with her lips, driving her with her tongue, filling her with insistent strokes. As Dana strained upward against her mouth, desperately seeking satisfaction, Marsh began coming. She whimpered with the contractions, sucking harder at Dana's bursting flesh, pushing her higher, until they were crying out as one, convulsing together.

Marsh had no idea how much time passed as they lay gasping, the distant crackling from the fire and the faint rasping of their breath the only sounds in the room. Finally she pushed herself upward until she could rest her forehead between Dana's breasts, her hands curled loosely around Dana's arms. "Lord, you're fantastic," she managed.

Scully's limbs felt too heavy to lift, but with effort she managed to drag her arm upward and drop her fingers into Marsh's damp hair. Her eyes were half opened, and she stared upward into the dark recesses of the high vaulted ceiling, stunned. *When has anyone ever made me feel so good?* She trailed her fingertips down over the prominent cheek bones, finding the corner of Marsh's mouth. She pressed a finger to her lips and was rewarded with a soft kiss. "You're pretty amazing yourself."

"Do I need to tell you that I've never done anything quite like this before?" Marsh questioned softly, slowly rolling onto her side, one hand gently resting on Dana's stomach. The muscles under her hand contracted at her touch.

"You can tell me anything you want to, but it's not necessary. What I felt, what you made me feel, is all that matters."

Marsh leaned up on an elbow so that she could look at her. The sharp, pristine angles of Dana's face were softened by the fire light and the lingering lassitude from their lovemaking. To her amazement, she felt herself swell again and begin to throb. Her throat suddenly dry, she whispered, "Will you stay with me tonight?"

Scully clasped her neck, pulling her down, claiming her lips. After kissing her thoroughly, she replied forcefully, "Only if you promise to make love to me again."

Marsh closed her eyes, closed her mind to the warning bells, and gave herself over to Dana Scully's irresistible request.

**********

5:15 a.m.

Sometime in the night they had finished the wine and the cheese and crackers. They had managed to separate long enough to make their way up the spiral staircase to the king-sized bed on the loft level. Naked, wrapped in each other, they had finally slept.

Scully opened her eyes, stretched out her arm, and felt the depression in the adjoining pillow where Marsh's head had been. It wasn't yet light, but the first graying of the dawn was visible through the skylight above her head. She was surprised that she hadn't felt Marsh leaving the bed. It had been so long since she had slept beside anyone, this should have felt strange. What was strange was how natural it had been to slide her arm around Marsh's waist, lay her cheek against Marsh's breast, and simply close her eyes. For a few brief moments she had been aware of Marsh's strong, gentle fingers stroking her face, her neck, her breasts before she slipped into sleep. The only sensation she was aware of now was missing her.

Scully slid her legs out from under the quilt and searched the room for something to wear. Her own damp clothes were in the downstairs bathroom, along with her holster and Sig Sauer. The clothes she had borrowed from Marsh what seemed like a lifetime ago were probably still strewn around the living room. She pulled a robe from the back of a nearby chair and went in search of her errant companion. She found her seated on a small love seat in front of the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the park.

"Was I snoring?" Scully asked lightly, curling up in the corner of the couch opposite Marsh. She rested one hand lightly on Marsh's shoulder, wanting the connection.

Marsh turned, threading her fingers through Scully's. "No," she said gently. "I couldn't sleep. Too many questions."

"About me?" Scully probed gently. *She's worried. How come I'm not?*

Marsh sighed, lifting the back of Scully's hand to her cheek, rubbing it lightly against her skin. "You feel so good," she murmured. "It hurts how much I want you."

Scully tugged her hand away reluctantly. "I seem to be at the stage where all I have to do is look at you to want you, and touching you makes me crazy. So talk to me while I still have some sense left."

Marsh regarded her seriously. "We've met before, you know. You came into the trauma admitting area with two guys who had been shot in a bank hold up. That's when I first saw you. You were so certain, so focused--I couldn't look away from you. I've seen dozens of other doctors do exactly what you did, but your face stayed with me for weeks. You were all I thought about."

"I don't remember you," Scully said, even now aching at the memory. "That was Jack Willis--the training instructor I told you about. I wasn't in love with him, but I cared about him, and I couldn't let him die."

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize who he was," Marsh said quickly, slipping one arm around Dana's shoulders. "I heard that you ended up in a hostage situation, and he was killed.

"Yes," Scully said, once more in control. *She doesn't need to know how close he came to killing me*

Marsh caressed the faint mark left on Scully's cheek from the burn. "That day at Ruskin Dam, I saw dozens of patients, but yours was the only face I saw clearly. It was as if I was there just for you."

Scully curled against Marsh's side, threading her arms around her waist. "I'm so glad you were there."

Marsh drew her close, needing the comfort of her presence. "Do you think things happen for a reason? Or is life just a series of random events, chance encounters that have no greater meaning?" Marsh queried as she stared out into quiet park.

"I don't know if there is some master plan that we have no knowledge of," Scully said softly. "What we do with the events in our lives--that's what matters. I never expected to meet you, and I certainly never expected to make love with you. Last night for perhaps the first time in my life, I followed my heart, instead of a voice in my head telling me what I should do. In the evac tent I wasn't sure where I was, or what had happened to me. I was more than just physically cold, I was isolated, so alone. Your touch, your voice--called me back from some terrible place. Was that a random event--a chance encounter? Maybe. Or maybe it was meant to happen this way. Whatever connection occurred in those few minutes was still there when I woke up. To find you there beside me, to hold your hand, made sense in a way words can't explain. I missed you as soon as I walked out the door, and all week I wanted to see you again. I asked myself why, and I had no good answer. Finally I called you because I had to--because it felt right."

Marsh closed her eyes as Scully spoke. She didn't want her to see the fear in them. *God, I want this to be true*

Scully watched the emotions play across Marsh's face--uncertainty, disbelief, resistance. *Please let her believe me* She took Marsh's face in both hands, forcing her to look at her. "Tell me what you're afraid of."

Marsh looked deep into Scully's eyes, admitting, "For fifteen years I've had two absolute rules I've never broken. All I had to do was look at you and they went right out the window. That scares the hell out of me."

Scully couldn't help but smile. *I think I might have broken a few for you too* She waited.

Marsh leaned forward to press her lips to Scully's forehead. "After Karen died I promised myself never to get involved with another FBI agent again." Her voice was low, but Scully detected the tremor in it.

"Oh Marsh, I'm sorry. There are no guarantees about the future, but I'll do my best not to let that be what comes between us." She tilted her head to brush her lips across Marsh's. Just that quick contact brought a flood of arousal. She kept her voice steady with effort. "And what's the second rule?"

"Never to sleep with a straight girl."

*Now there's a question I don't have such an easy answer for* Scully tried her best to ignore the pulsating heaviness growing in her pelvis. She stroked one finger lightly along the curve of Marsh's breast, visible through her thin teeshirt. Her voice was husky as she murmured, "Define straight girl."

Marsh laughed softly, shifting so that her sensitive nipple brushed along Scully's palm. Her breath caught at the twitch of excitement between her legs. "Someone who sleeps with men," she managed.

Scully pressed closer, nibbling at the warm soft skin below Marsh's ear, slipping her hand under the thin cotton shirt to enclose the taut nipple between her thumb and forefinger. She smiled with satisfaction as Marsh moaned softly. Her own body pulsed in response. "Define lesbian," she gasped as Marsh opened the robe to reach between her legs.

Marsh slid one finger into the wet heat, finding her firm and full, circling the aroused tissues lightly. She was so intent on the incredible sensuousness of Scully's body, she was completely taken by surprise as Dana slipped one hand down the front of her sweatpants. "Oh god," Marsh cried as her hips bucked up into Dana's hand. Just as suddenly as the exquisite sensation began it was gone. She opened her eyes in confusion. "What--," she gasped.

Scully quickly knelt in front of Marsh, tugging at the loose draw string pants as she said urgently, "Define lesbian, Dr. Black."

Marsh could barely think as she's lifted her hips, wanting only for Dana to take her into her mouth. She clenched the soft fabric of the couch in both hands, begging, "Please--" Her voice was nearly a wail.

Scully leaned forward to run her tongue around Marsh's navel, trailing down to be soft hair between her thighs, only a breath away. "Tell me," she demanded, blowing softly across the tip of Marsh's clit.

"A woman who makes love to women," Marsh groaned, opening her legs,  offering herself to her lover.

"Thank you," Scully whispered as she lowered her head. Dimly she heard Marsh sob, but she was beyond knowing anything except the blood pounding under her lips, and the exquisite fragrance of Marsh's arousal. She didn't stop when she felt Marsh's first orgasm, or the second, because each time Marsh came her own excitement grew. She groaned in protest when Marsh lifted her head away, pulling her upward, then groaned with pleasure as Marsh cradled her against her chest, holding her securely as she stroked her toward release. She clutched Marsh's shoulders, burying her face against Marsh's neck, barely able to breath.

*oh yes,oh yes,oh yes...* Scully arched her back, tightening her legs around Marsh's hand. "Oh Goddddd...yesssss..." she cried.

Marsh pulled her closer, finding her mouth, drinking in her sobs of fulfillment. When their hearts stopped pounding and the tension in their limbs subsided, they curled around each other on the couch, touching everywhere they could.

"Marsh--" Scully whispered as she nestled her face against Marsh's neck.

"Hmmmm?" Marsh answered, her lips against Dana's forehead.

"That was no chance encounter." Scully said firmly.

"I know," Marsh murmured, daring to hope.

End

*****
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.