Genesis V: Hiding in the Light

 

Part One

FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC

AD Walter Skinner stared in amazement at the intercom on his desk. It was making noise. That should not be happening. He expressly told his secretary he was not to be disturbed. He had reports of his own that needed to be done, and so many agents in the field he felt like a puppeteer. If any of his people wanted him, they had his private number. Shit. Sometimes this office felt like Grand Central Station. He stabbed at the button on the goddamned buzzing box.

"What?" he barked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but there's a Marshall Bla-- Hey! You can't --"

Skinner looked up in disbelief, barely able to maintain his expressionless facade, as the door to his office blew open and a very stormy-looking Marshall Black stalked toward his desk. He forced himself not to lean back in his chair. She wasn't heavy, but she was tall -- lithe, saber-sharp and radiating fury. He had forgotten how feral she could be when angered.

"Why am I out of the loop?!" Marsh demanded, leaning down, straight-arming his desk. Her dark eyes burned hotly in a face pale and hard as granite.

"I didn't hear you knock," he said, his tone glacial.

"Because I _didn't_! Goddamn it, Walter, why are you stonewalling me here? I called Herb Myers for a consult this morning and his office said he'd been called away on an emergency. Since he works for me, and _I_ didn't know anything about it, I figured it must have been you." She stared at him, willing him to refute her accusations. She had a very bad feeling about what he was going to say.

"I sent Herb to Chicago three hours ago." Shit. He had been hoping the whole mess would be resolved by now. In fact, if he didn't hear something positive from the SAC out there soon, _he_ was going to have to go himself.

"What is it?" she asked, trying to keep the tremor from her voice. He didn't need to know, would never know, how much it demanded of her every time he called. "Covert or hostage?"

He cursed himself, and not for the first time. He should never have started using her, but she was so damn good, and there had never been one solid reason not to. And she _was_ the fucking chief of trauma, for Christ's sake. But he felt it -- what she hid from every one who didn't know her like he did. He felt her bleed every time he sent her into the field. She was fine with black ops situations, when a man was down who needed attention, and couldn't be handled through ordinary channels for security reasons. *Deny all knowledge* missions. It was the fiascos like this Oak Brook stand-off, where the potential for civilian _and_ bureau casualties was high, that stretched her to the breaking point. This time he'd had a very good reason not to send her.

"Hostage," he admitted reluctantly. "Some office worker thinks he's seeing monsters and came to work with a rifle."

"Why didn't you call _me_?" Marsh asked, her stomach churning as she reached into the pocket of her grey wool trousers for the small piece of paper. Her fingers closed painfully around it.

"Because I called Herb," Skinner snapped. *Let it go, Marsh, just this once.*

"_Herb_ is a plastic surgeon, Walt -- a very good one -- if I ever break my face I want him to fix it. But he works for me -- _I'm_ the trauma surgeon. _I'm_ the head of the medical response team. _I'm_ the one who goes into the field." She leaned closer, nearly over his desk. "Try again."

Skinner rose swiftly, a panther springing from the grass. "Sit the fuck down, Black. And it's AD Skinner, in this office and anywhere else!"

Marsh hesitated for a second, considering his size, knowing his strength. She could still remember having been thrown by him back when he was her instructor, hitting the ground hard enough to drive the air from her lungs. She almost didn't care -- almost. Dana would be so pissed if she did something stupid here. Without knowing for sure. She stepped back, giving ground, but not relenting. She held out her hand, the crumpled note in her palm. "She left this on my desk. She said she had been called away suddenly. She said she'd call me as soon as she could. That was twelve hours ago." Marsh stared at him, daring him to pretend he didn't know. *She's never been gone this long before without calling me*

"She's in Chicago -" he grimaced. "Some little town outside of Chicago -- with Mulder --" He met her gaze squarely. If possible, she looked paler.

"With the hostage team?" Marsh asked quietly, her voice oddly uninflected.

"Yes."

Not a muscle moved. "Goddamn you, _AD Skinner_," she said, each word falling like a hammer blow. "Why did you bypass me?"

A muscle in his jaw twitched. *You know why. I couldn't send you into something like that -- with her there*

"If something happens to her and I'm not there, I'll-- " She took a deep breath, acid in her throat. *Jesus, Black, don't go there*

"We _have_ a medical team on site--"

She laughed harshly. "Yeah, right. Paramedics and a goddamned plastic surgeon. You only have a minute, or have you forgotten? Five liters of blood in sixty seconds -- that's what the heart pumps out through a major gunshot wound. You want _Herb_ to handle that? You want to take that chance?"

He kept silent, but his eyes said he remembered. That he hadn't forgiven himself for bringing Marsh along that day, on the kind of mission that was notorious for going wrong. If she hadn't been there, she never would have seen Karen --

"I could have saved her --" Marsh said bitterly, as if reading his mind. *I _should_ have saved her*

"No," he barked. "Christ -- you were fresh out of med school!" He understood only years later why she really quit the bureau, returning to take a surgery residency, rising meteorically to the top of the specialty. *But you're not green now, are you, Marsh? Now you're a trauma surgeon, and you're going to spend the rest of your life trying to make up for her death*

"She wasn't dead, you know that, Walt. There was a hole the size of a half dollar in her trachea, and her jugular vein was pouring blood into it--" Marsh's eyes had gotten cloudy; she was watching the film roll again, the images still so clear, everything happening in slow motion -- the shot, Karen falling, the shouting, the flood of warmth on her hands as she tried to hold back the tide. Her voice was barely a whisper. "She drowned in her own fucking blood. I could have saved her--"

"You don't know that--" he rasped. *For Christ's sake, let her go* He forced himself to sit. "Agent Scully is not in danger."

"Are you sure? She's just like Karen -- she'll be the first one through the door--"

He heard her fear, wanted to rip it from her. "_No_ -- they're not the same. Karen is _dead_." He meant to shock her, drag her away from the hold of that long ago day, that long ago love.

Marsh flinched. Her eyes cleared. She swallowed. "I'd like to be there, sir. It's my job." She wouldn't say it, but he knew. *She's my life*

"Get out to the airfield," he said gruffly, reaching for a stack of files, dismissing her. "You can catch a lift with the relief teams."

"Thank you. Sir."

He watched her out the door. Then he pressed the button on the intercom. "Get me someone on the ground in Chicago. I want to know what the fuck's going on out there."

**********

Oak Brook, Ill
Outside VinalRight offices

It was controlled pandemonium. Marsh arrived just as the assault teams were getting into position. A huge steel-plated vehicle with a battering block extension was moving ponderously toward the building. HRT members were crouched beside it, helmeted, vested, shielded. Marsh knew one well-placed shot, or one lucky one, could reduce all that armor to superfluous baggage. She couldn't see Dana, but the emergency medical van was easy to pick out. So was Herb Myers' distinctive bulk.

"Marsh!" the linebacker-sized man called, his relief evident. "Shit, am I glad to see you. We're going to have some business soon. I was just trying to remember how to put in a chest tube."

Marsh knew very well he could do it if pressed, but not as quickly as she could. And out here, quick response time was all they had to offer. "What's the situation?"

"One loony bastard holding a couple dozen civilians, plus one of ours -- shots fired about an hour ago." He looked from the swarm of people converging on the office complex to his chief when he heard her gasp. "Marsh? Hey, you okay?" She looked so unsteady he put his hand on her arm. She was trembling.

"Who--" she croaked. She took a breath, willed herself to focus. Tried to quell the panic. "Who's the agent inside?"

Herb had never seen anything shake her before. She was always the picture of control in a crisis. He searched for the name. "Um -- Miller-- Muller -- something like that. Why?"

Hers eyes closed for the briefest of seconds -- when they opened, they were focused, intense. "We need to go in right behind the first wave. If there's uncontrolled fire, we need to get to the victim's fast. Point me toward the man in charge -- "

SAC Rice never questioned the tall, dark-haired woman who announced she was the head of the medical response unit and wanted to go with the secondary assault team. She seemed to know what she was doing, and he had a dozen other people waiting for his attention. He told her to get a vest and join the others.

Marsh saw Dana conferring with the HRT commander as they stared at a closed-circuit TV monitor, but there was no time to talk with her. If Mulder was a hostage, Dana had more than enough on her mind. Scully didn't notice Marsh join the group poised to enter the building through the hole about to be punched by the armored tank.

And then Marsh was running -- crowding forward through the dust and falling debris, deafened by first the rending of steel and disintegrating stone, then the hoarse shouts of adrenalized men ready for war. Mash jumped at the loud crack of gunfire, paralysed for an instant, before her conscious mind gave way to her training. She moved automatically, following the nightmare figures bristling with guns into the rubble.

She saw Mulder, blood streaking his face, but standing, staring down at the man on the floor. She pushed past the commando stripping the kidnapper of weapons to kneel at the victin's side. His eyes were open; he was trying to speak despite the fist-sized hole in his chest. Most of his blood volume was crowding the space around his lungs or already on the floor. *No chance*

Marsh straightened up as Mulder leaned down, trying to catch the dying man's last words. She looked over his hunched figure into the deep blue eyes of her lover. Dana stared back at her in astonishment.

"You should be wearing a vest, Agent Scully," Marsh commented stonily as she stepped away. *This room is barely secure. Is he so important you would risk yourself?* She felt so cold. There was blood soaking into her shoes.

Scully barely recognized the woman she had slept with nearly every night for months. There was a frightening emptiness in her eyes. *Marsh?* And then she was gone, and Scully's mind focused on her responsibilities. Mulder needed her.

**********

Scully found her waiting to catch a ride to the airport with the technicians whose surveillance expertise was no longer needed. Marsh was leaning against the side of a nondescript tan government issue van, smoking a cigarette. That seemed to make as much sense as suddenly finding her in the middle of that insanity --

"I didn't realize you did this sort of thing," Scully said, stepping to Marsh's side, brushing her hand lightly down her arm. The muscles under her fingers felt like steel bands. *God, she's wound tight. What the hell is going on?*

Marsh dropped the cigarette, stubbed it out with her toe, her gaze averted. "I don't usually -- Skinner only calls me when there's potential for mass casualties, or an agent is in jeopardy." Her voice was flat, almost hollow. *It could have been you in there -- it would kill me --*

"That's a little more active than _medical consultant_," Scully replied, unable to hide the edge in her tone. "Why didn't you tell me?" She was stunned by how frightening the prospect of Marsh being anywhere near danger was to her. She and Mulder were so used to being threatened, injured, and generally in harm's way that she no longer gave it any thought. She looked after him, and he looked after her. The two of them against all comers. Suddenly, there was someone else, someone she very much wanted to ptotect. *Christ, you're practically in the line of fire. Don't you think I should know that?*

"I didn't think of it." Marsh swallowed, trying to dispel the lingering terror that annihilated all feeling. *I can't think about it. If I think about it, I can't work*

That hurt.  She had just spent the better part of a day watching Mulder on his knees with a lunatic's gun to his head, struggling to contain her fear, and now her lover decides to become cryptic and cold.

"Skinner shouldn't have sent you. You were a hostage yourself just a few weeks ago," Scully seethed. Scully's anger gave way to concern. Marsh was visibly trembling. *Doesn't anyone ever think about the consequences to the _people_ in this job?*

"I forced him to -- it's my job, too." Marsh's words came out harsher than she intended. This time had been the hardest yet - it was the first time in all the years since Karen died that someone she was close to was involved. She couldn't stop the flashbacks, only now Dana's face seemed to alternate with Karen's in her memories. She struggled not to shiver, looking anywhere but at Dana. If she did, she was afraid she might crumble.

Scully felt Marsh withdraw. She was ambushed by the sudden pain. *Oh,fuck it* Scully tried unsuccessfully to hide her anger, but she was too stressed to succeed. Her voice was cold, as hard as her gaze. "Go home, Marsh. I've got to debrief with Mulder, and close this case out. I'll call you."

Marsh nodded, wanting to touch her, unable to move. She hadn't felt this way since -- she looked away, afraid she would cry. *God, Dana, I love you so much* She clenched her jaw until her teeth hurt. When she spoke, her voice was as hollow as her soul. "Sure."

Scully walked back in search of Mulder, wondering what the hell had just happened. First Mulder acted like he'd just seen a ghost, interrogating one of the victim's like _he_ was the perpetrator, and then her lover behaves as if they barely knew one another. Fuck, maybe she didn't know either of them. Scully was starting to feel very alone.

 

Part Two

Scully eased herself into the seat beside Mulder, totally exhausted. *He must be ready to collapse* They had easily spent six hours with the Chicago bureau and local police wrapping up the details of the tragic demise of the delusional VinalRight employee. Mulder had been inordinately quiet the entire time.

"How you doing?" Scully asked as the plane taxied toward take-off.

"Something's not right, Scully. I can feel it."

"Mulder," she said softly, "give yourself a break. You just went through a terrible ordeal. Of course it doesn't feel right."

He shook his head in irritation. "That's not what I mean. Something happened in there. I _saw_ something."

*God, I don't need this now* She took a deep breath. "Mulder, it was dark, everyone was terrified. A man standing beside you, with a gun on you I might add, was shot to death. You could have seen almost anything."

His looked wounded. Why did he always have to convince her? His chin lifted in stubborn certainty. "It's not over, Scully. I _know_ it."

Scully sighed. "Try to stick to the facts with Skinner, okay?" Lately their boss seemed even less tolerant than usual of any breech in protocol, and they were always straddling the line of proper procedure at it was.

"If I knew what the facts were," he grumbled, "I'd be happy to." He leaned his head wearily against the seat back. "Was that Marsh I saw you with back there?" he asked almost idly. He hadn't seen Scully's lover since the day he talked to Marsh in the hospital following her kidnapping. Still, hers was not a face, or a form, easily forgotten.

"Yes," Scully said abruptly, still smarting from their encounter. She did not like finding out her lover was a bit more of an active agent than she had claimed, and she definitely did not appreciate discovering that fact in the middle of a dangerous engagement. Besides that, she was miserable about the way they had parted. She couldn't believe, didn't even want to think about, how forlorn she felt since she'd left Marsh that afternoon. *This is worse than missing her. I feel like part of me has been amputated*

"That must be tough for her," he murmured, watching the night pass by out the window. He tried unsuccessfully to bring into focus the strange form he _thought_ he'd seen. *Maybe he _had_ imagined that -- _thing_*

"What?" Scully asked, not certain she had heard him correctly. *Tough on _her_?*

He turned to her, really looking at her for the first time in hours. She looked terrible. The creases between her sculpted brows were fast becoming furrows, and the unhappiness in her blue eyes had darkened them to nearly black. They were swimming with pain. "What's going on, Scully?"

"Nothing," she answered reflexly. "What were you saying about Marsh?"

He tried to concentrate. "Today -- it must have been hard -- isn't that how Karen Summers died? In a hostage rescue attempt?"

*Oh, fuck* She stared at him, saw Marsh trembling as she leaned against the van. *Dana, you _asshole_!*

He continued, oblivious to the color flooding her cheeks. "I can't imagine that kind of encounter is ever easy for her, and then with you there -- I guess it's a good thing it was me, and not you inside."

*Double-fuck*

"I'm surprised Skinner sent her," Mulder added.

*I bet she didn't give him a choice*

"She seemed perfectly cool inside though," he commented. "Totally in control."

*Yeah, and we both know what that costs, don't we? Nice, Dana -- way to be sensitive to the person who means the most to you* She rubbed her forehead, sighed. "I didn't know she was doing this kind of work."

"She didn't tell you," Mulder said. It was not a question.

"No."

"Not surprising, really. She's got a bit of a hero complex, as well as a hell of a lot of survivor's guilt." He was thinking out loud, the way he did when he was profiling. He forgot he was talking about Scully's lover.

"Excuse me?" Scully snapped, instantly protective.

Mulder didn't appear to notice. "Oh, come on, Scully. Don't tell me that never occurred to you. She's an agent, a surgeon, -- chief -- no less, and she spends her time flying around to disaster sites saving people? What's she trying to prove?"

Scully barely kept her voice to a civil level. "Mulder," she seethed, "did it ever occur to you that she just might be a truly noble person, trying to do something worthwhile, something selfless?" *God, what's happened to the two of us, that all we can see is the worst?*

"No, Scully," he said softly. "What occurred to me is that she is working overtime to forget something that you have probably brought back with a vengence. Now she has another lover who spends way too much time around people with guns. I'm not surprised she doesn't want to talk about it."

*Triple-fuck*

She undid her seat belt. "I need to walk around." She didn't look at him as she made her way down the aisle. *I hate it when he's so right, and I never even saw it coming*

**********

It was 4 am when Scully let herself into Marsh's darkened apartment with the key she had carried for two months. She kicked off her heels, hoping to creep quietly across the expanse of hardwood floor to the loft stairs and the sleeping quarters above. She placed her briefcase down carefully, and took one step into the wide living room.

"I'm up."

Scully turned at the familiar sound of Marsh's deep alto voice, and could just make out her shadowy form on the sofa at the far side of the room. Scully made her way to her, navigating the space by memory. For some reason, she knew not to turn on the light.

"Have you slept?" Scully asked as she stopped in front of her lover. She was aching to hold her. *God, I've missed you*

"No. Did you just get in?" Marsh asked, changing the subject. She sounded weary beyond fatigue. *I was so afraid you wouldn't come*

"Yes. The debriefing was interminable." Scully leaned down, ran a hand through Marsh's thick hair, lingered to caress her cheek. "Is there some reason you smell like a barroom?"

Marsh had still not raised her head, but sat staring at Dana's chest, slowly rising and falling beneath the silk blouse. Comforting in its steady rhythm. "The plane trip back turned into a little impromptu celebration for the team. Happy ending and all that. Dead perp, no casualties. They broke out the booze."

Scully was worried. Marsh rarely drank, and she sounded drained, almost defeated.*This has got to stop* She reached for Marsh's hands, pulling her to her feet. "Come on -- I'm not sleeping next to you until we both shower off this day."

Marsh stopped her, holding her arms tightly. "Dana, I'm sorry about showing up the way I did. I don't know why I never mentioned it --"

Scully pressed her fingers to Marsh's lips. "Not now. Come with me."

She pulled Marsh to the stairs and up the spiral staircase into the bathroom adjoing the bedroom. She turned the night light on, suffusing the room in a dim glow. She pulled her blouse off, quickly unzipped her skirt and let it fall to the floor. Undergarments were next, then she stepped naked across the room to Marsh and began to unbutton her shirt.

"Dana," Marsh murmured, feeling as if she were awakening from a dream. Since she had left Chicago in the small bureau transport plane nine hours ago, her mind had been strangely blank. She drove herself home from the airfield, but she didn't recall parking the car or coming upstairs. She had been waiting, simply waiting, for the sound of footsteps on the stairs, a key in the lock, some disturbance in the air to tell her Dana had come home. She couldn't sleep without her there. "I thought you might go to your place tonight."

Scully hesitated for a second, then unzipped Marsh's chinos. *This is not just about me* For the first time she resented the other woman Marsh had loved, and the torment her death still caused. *Get a grip, Scully. Marsh is the one who's hurting. You can be jealous later* She grasped the pants, pushed them down, taking Marsh's briefs with them. "Step--"  She reached behind them and turned on the water. "Why would I go there? You're here."

"I know you were angry--"

"Umm -- in." She followed Marsh into the spray, found the soap, began lathering Marsh's chest and belly. *Lord, you are beautiful* She gently guided her lover with a hand on her hip, working the foam up and down her sides, over her thighs. "I was angry -- you're right. I'll still always come home. Turn." Her voice was thick. Marsh's body under her hands was supple, strong -- slick from the soap, sensuously smooth. Scully stood behind Marsh, circling her well-muscled back down to her ass.

"I don't talk about it much --"

*You should--you will. If not to me, then _someone_* Scully slipped her fingers in the cleft between Marsh's tight asscheeks, gently stroked lower to the warmth between her legs, stopping before she touched her soft inner lips. "We can talk tomorrow. Spread your legs."

Marsh sighed softly, bracing her arms on the far wall as Scully traveled down the inside of her thighs to her knees, then back up, moving further forward over the sensitive folds, nearly touching Marsh's hooded clitoris, drawing away at the last second.

"Dana," Marsh whispered, a throbbing ache settling in her pelvis. She wasn't thinking about death and loss any longer. Her world was suddenly in focus, she felt very much alive, and Dana Scully was the reason. "Oh god, I need you so much."

Scully's legs were shaking. Her hands were trembling. She wanted her so much. She twisted the knobs, slid the door open. "Out." She grabbed a large bath sheet as Marsh grabbed her, throwing it around their shoulders as they pressed into each other's arms. Scully wrapped her fingers in the wet hair at the base of Marsh's neck, holding Marsh's head back as she brought her teeth down on the exposed flesh of Marsh's neck, biting softly as she moved up to her jaw, along the sharp edge, to her soft lips. She nibbled, harder than she meant, barely able to control herself. She had an overwhelming desire to drive every thought of any other time, any other person, from Marsh's consciousness. It was a possessiveness that frightened her, but she had gone too far to stop.

"Dana," Marsh gasped, clinging to the smaller woman for support. "I want you inside of me -- I need you deep-- oh, god--"

Scully growled, lowering her head to Marsh's breast, taking her nipple hard in her teeth. *Jesus, Dana, be careful. Don't hurt her!* Dimly she heard Marsh whimpering as she pushed her hand between Marsh's legs, immediately surrounded by her wetness, her heat. Two fingers, then three -- Marsh was open, yielding -- beginning to sag as Scully reached beyond her body, into her soul. Scully wrapped an arm around her waist, holding her up as she thrust -- faster, harder than she intended -- her mind empty of any thought other than her desire to own this woman. She backed Marsh up against the counter, never stopping her motion. She was groaning, blind with lust, her own clit pulsating --threatening to go off just from feeling Marsh clench around her fingers.

Marsh clutched the edges of the vanity, her body spinning out of control -- she fought for breath, wave upon wave of pleasure pounding through her with each driving stroke. "Oh Dana!" she cried as Scully brought her thumb down hard on Marsh's exposed clit, triggering an instant explosion. "Oh my god -- I'm coming!--"

"Oh yess-" Scully moaned, raising her head to watch Marsh come. "I love you," she gasped, her arm a blur - taking her hard and deep. "I love you-" Before the powerful contractions stopped, Scully dropped to her knees, replacing her hand with her mouth. She captured Marsh's clitoris with her lips, biting the base -- gently now, pulling her into her mouth.

Marsh drove her hands into Scully's hair, pulling Scully's face tightly to her. "Oh, yes, baby -" she cried, head thrown back, eyes closed in ecstasy. "Suck me, lick me - oh, god - yess"

Scully grasped Marsh's firm asscheek with one hand, the other flying between her own thighs, spreading her drenched, swollen lips, rubbing herself wildly. She worked Marsh's jerking clit with her lips and tongue as she slid two fingers into herself, bringing her palm down roughly on her own clit. She tried to contain her imminent orgasm, waiting for Marsh to blossom again, but she was too far gone. The first touch triggered her climax, and she could do nothing but groan and try to stay on her lover's convulsing body. Marsh was coming again, her wails joining with Scully's, as they surrendered to the force of their passion.

"I'm going to fall," Marsh murmured when she could draw a breath.

"I've got you," Scully panted, her face pressed to Marsh's thigh, her arms wrapped tightly around her hips. She rose unsteadily, pressing close to her lover along every plane of her body. "I love you so much, Marsh," she whispered.

"I'm yours," Marsh whispered, leaning her forehead against Scully's. "Completely."

"Mmm- then come to bed. I don't think I'm done with you."

 

Part Thre

14 hours later

Marsh entered the dark bar, standing at the top of three steps that led down into the long narrow room, waiting for her eyes to adjust in the dim, smokey haze. She'd never been there before, but it wasn't far from the hospital, and she wasn't there for the ambience. She was still unsettled from the trip to Chicago, the memories that the rescue had triggered, and her lingering fear for Dana's safety. Their frenzied lovemaking had gone a long way toward dispelling her unease, but she wouldn't feel truly settled until she saw Dana again. Unfortunately, they had fallen into bed only to have Marsh's wake up call come an hour later, and now Dana was working late. Marsh stepped down, then stopped. The hunched figure at the end of the bar looked very familiar. She threaded her way through the haphazardly scattered tables and chairs to stand beside him.

"What are you doing in this dive, Mulder?" she asked. He looked up, his gaze slightly unfocused. He was more dishevled than she'd ever seen him -- he needed a shave and a fresh suit.

"Waiting for my partner to finish an autopsy," he replied, only slightly startled to find Scully's lover beside him. She looked tired, and there was something deeply unsettled in her dark eyes. He looked away, wishing sometimes he saw less of what was inside people -- especially these last few days.

"Funny -- so am I. Buy you a drink?" Marsh asked as she slid onto the cracked red vinal stool beside him.

"Tequila." Mulder replied.

Marsh signaled for two and they sat in silence, heads bowed, contemplating the wet rings slowly drying on the scarred surface of the bar.

"I was surprised to see you in Oak Brook yesterday," Mulder commented at length.

'So was Dana," Marsh muttered, nodding her assent as Mulder signaled for another round.

"Hhm -- she mad?" He didn't envy her. Scully angry was not a thing to take lightly. He tried to remember exactly what he and Scully had discussed on the plane back, but he kept being distracted by visions of -- something.

Marsh laughed without humor. "You could say that."

"Why didn't you tell her about those little assignments?" he asked, licking the salt off the shot glass before tossing back the firery liquid. "She'd want to know you were running around playing with people who carry guns."

Marsh shrugged, downed her shot. She considered not answering -- after all, she didn't know this guy -- except to know her lover would risk her life for him. She glanced at him. He looked back at her, his eyes warm, welcoming. "I don't like to talk about it," she said truthfully. She lifted her glass to the bartender, who refilled their drinks.

"How come?"

"Bad memories."

"Umm." He knew a little about that. He laughed harshly, realizing that bad memories motivated almost everything he did, everything he felt.  He had spent his life making up for that paralysing moment when he let his sister slip away -- no, be _taken_ away. His career choices, the direction his professional life had taken, the abysmal state of his non-existent personal life -- all hinged on that one pivotal moment when he could have, _should_ have, rushed forward -- pulled her back, let them take him. Maybe he and Scully's lover had more in common than he thought. Besides Scully of course. They did have her in common.

"You can't change it," he muttered, almost to himself.

"No," Marsh agreed grimly, "I can't." She was beginning to feel the tequila, a slight not so unpleasant light-headedness. She hadn't slept the night before, and she rarely drank. She wasn't energizing her usual control, talking about things she never acknowledged to herself. "I can't even stop seeing it. And every time I go out on one of these calls, I see her again."

"Karen Summers?"

Marsh gave him a hard look as the Bartender silently replenished their drinks. "Been doing a little digging, Mulder?" she asked harshly.

"It's a matter of record."

Marsh snorted. "Sure -- in the archives of Rumor and Innuendo, maybe. What you're getting at isn't written down anywhere."

"I'm good at deductions," he added, wondering not for the first time why he never anticipated someone like Marsh in Scully's life. He knew she rarely dated, and never seemed particularly anxious to impress any of the men who were constantly sniffing around her. But he had never thought about a woman. *Maybe because you always secretly hoped she was thinking about you?* He flipped back the shot. *Jeez, Mulder, you're earning your Y-chromosomes tonight. Next you'll be challenging Black to arm wrestle*

"Skinner knows, though, doesn't he?" Mulder said quietly.

"He'd never say," Marsh said flatly.

"He was your training instructor -- he probably should have -- and he is a by-the-books guy."

"Karen was his ex-partner, his wife's best friend, and -- I always thought he was a little in love with Karen himself," Marsh admitted. "She had that effect on people."

*Must be common* Mulder stared at his reflection in the spotty mirror behind the bar. "Do you still love her?"

Marsh flinched, met his eyes in the glass. "Yes."

"What about Scully?" he bristled.

"Have you loved more than one woman in your life, Mulder?"

*Three* He hesitated.  "Yes"

"The same way?"

He shook his head, thinking about Phoebe, Diana -- thinking about -- *Fuck*

"No." He didn't want to go down that road. "Still -- it's got to be hard, being in the kind of situations where she was killed. Like yesterday."

Marsh shrugged. "It's hell."

"Why don't you quit?" Mulder asked, beckoning for refills. "I know how tough it is to be constantly reminded of something like that."

"Why don't you?" Marsh bristled.

He contemplated the amber liquid in the small neat glass. "Wouldn't know what to do with myself."

"Get a life?" Marsh suggested not unkindly.

"You have a life -- you have Scully now," he said, just a trace of heat in his voice.

Marsh heard it. "You're not happy about us, are you? Still think I'm some kind of spy?"

Mulder jerked in surprise. *Scully _told_ her that? Jesus*

Marsh continued unperturbed. "I just got that feeling from your questions after I was missing. Dana never says anything about you that isn't glowing."

He heard the heat in _her_ voice. "Jealous?" *Oh, fuck, Mulder -- that was juvenile. What are you trying to prove?"

Marsh flinched, studied her hands loosely holding the shot glass. "Yes, I think so. She loves you, she puts her life in danger for you -- there are times when you are the only one keeping her alive." She downed the shot. "I don't like having to depend on you for that."

"You don't trust me either," he commented. She surprised him with her honesty. Then again, he shouldn't be surprised. Scully loved her; she must be extraordinary.

"From what I can gather, your track record is a little spotty," she said matter-of-factedly. She was thinking about the scar on Dana's neck, the puncture wounds on her abdomen from the extraction probes -- the cancer.

"Touche," he grunted. He wondered how much she _really_ knew of what Scully had suffered. *You're going to have to tell her soon, Scully. She deserves to know*

She looked him in the eye, after a few seconds of attempting to focus. "I love her, Mulder. If I could find words to tell you how much, you'd understand why the thought of losing her terrifies me."

He didn't need to hear the words; it was written plainly in the agony in her dark eyes. "I love her, too," he whispered, "and I'd give my life to see that nothing harms her."

"Thank you," she managed.

He grinned, a lopsided, boyish, altogether charming grin. "I'm glad you're going home with her, and not me."

"Huh?" Marsh questioned somewhat sluggishly. She really wasn't thinking too quickly.

"Cause she's coming this way, and the air around her seems to be crackling."

Scully had seen them from the door, amazed for a moment how alike they were physically. Both tall, thin, androgenously handsome, with unruly dark hair and wounded eyes so deep you could drown in them. They could have been siblings. They were leaning shoulder to shoulder, their heads bent close together, deep in conversation. That wasn't what bothered her, even though for a second she was a little jealous. She _wanted_ them to get along, but for the first time she realized that until now, she had had both of them entirely to herself. That thought had quickly fled in the face of the observation that both of them looked like they were sliding off their stools, and there were at least ten empty shot glasses lined up in front of them. *Fuck. They're _drunk_!* At any other time it might not have bothered her, but she had been worried about Marsh all day, afraid that she was about to develop full-blown post-traumatic stress syndrome. And to top it all off, Skinner had called her in to question her about _Mulder's_ erratic behavior. She couldn't handle both of them falling apart at once.

They both turned at her approach, matching shit-eating grins on their equally fuzzy-eyed faces.

"Scully!"

"Hi love--"

Scully stared from one to the other. "Goddamn it, Mulder! Did you get her drunk?"

"Yep, and I almost had her talked into going home with me. Bad timing, Scully." He was a little too drunk to notice she wasn't smiling.

"Hey!" Marsh protested, only slurring slightly. "_I_ got him drunk, and I wouldn't go home with him if he was the last human on the planet." She grinned and punched him lightly on the arm. "Sorry, Mulder -- you're just not my type."

*Wonderful. They're bonding. My lover has now joined my partner on the functional level of college frat boys* Scully turned on her heel. "Stay there," she barked. "I'm calling a cab. Mulder, you're coming home with us. I'm not squiring you all over town. I'm too damn tired from doing the unnecessary autopsy you wanted, by the way."

Mulder and Marsh stared at one another.

"Oh oh," they said simultaneously, then threw their arms around each other's shoulders in comradely solidarity, determined to face their fates together.

**********

7am

Scully lay awake, listening to Marsh move around in the bathroom, trying to tell if Mulder was up. They had left him sprawled out on the couch downstairs. She wondered if he found it strange to see Scully climb the stairs to Marsh's bedroom with her arm around her unsteady lover's waist. He'd never seen her with a lover before. She looked over to see Marsh leaning against the bathroom door, looking considerably better than she had the night before.

"What are you thinking about?" Marsh asked, crossing to sit on the side of the bed.

"You, me, and Mulder," Scully replied, taking Marsh's hand.

"Hhmm --" Marsh nodded, trailing her fingers lightly over Dana's abdomen. "Problems?"

"No. I just realized how much I wanted you two to like each other. I couldn't tell last night if you were becoming friends or not." Her nipples tightened as Marsh brushed lightly over her breasts.

Marsh circled Scully's navel with a finger tip, watching the muscles flicker and withdraw slightly from her touch. "Rivals I think."

Scully stilled the hand that was starting to distract her with thoughts that were decidedly not about Mulder. "Are you jealous of him?"

Marsh sighed. "He's your best friend, your partner, and he loves you." She looked away, then met Scully's gaze. "And it'd be a lot easier for you all the way around if he were your lover."

Scully sat up in bed, unmindful of her nakedness. "I am going to pretend I didn't hear that -- because if I _did_ hear that I would think that you doubted how much I love you. And if I thought _that_, at _this_ point, I would have to shoot you."

Marsh stared at her, saw the mixture of fire and tenderness in her gaze, and laughed. "I'm sorry. I think it's the hangover. The three aspirin did not seem to help."

Scully returned her lover's hand to her belly, pushing it down to the red curls at the junction of her thighs. "We're going to have to talk about that, but I think I liked the conversation you were starting a minute ago better."

"Jesus, Dana -- Mulder's downstairs!" Marsh protested feebly. Her fingers moved lower of their own volition, discovering Scully's clit moist and hard, ready for her. Her heart raced at Dana's swift intake of breath, and the way she jerked slightly at the first light touch over the distended tip.

"If he's awake, the TV will be on," Scully gasped, her eyes turning a deep violet as she raised her hips into Marsh's hand. "I'll be quiet."

Marsh bent to capture one pink nipple in her teeth, circling Dana's clit with the pads of two fingers. "You're never quiet," she murmured, closing her lips around the erect nub, sliding her fingers further into Dana's wetness.

Scully grasped Marsh's head, tangling her fingers in the thick black hair, tugging Marsh's face toward her own. "Then kiss me and keep me quiet," she managed, barely able to focus now.

Marsh eased up on the bed, stretching along the smaller woman's length, parting Dana's lips above with her tongue as she entered her below. Scully groaned and arched against the lean, firm frame, fumbling with the ties on Marsh's scrub pants.

"Un uh," Marsh managed to whisper, pulling her hips away from Scully's enticing hands. "I _can't_ be quiet. Just let me touch you -- let me make you come."

"Oh, yes, please," Scully breathed, finding Marsh's lips again, stroking them softly with her tongue, probing the warm inner sanctuary. Marsh was already bringing her close with the steady rhythm of her deep, slow thrusts. She didn't want to come, not yet -- and she forced herself to focus on the texture of Marsh's skin, the liquid heat of her mouth, the soft murmur of her sighs.

Marsh curled all four fingers together, slowly pressing them inside her love, bringing her thumb under the quivering clit, working it in circles, first fast, then tantalizingly moving away. Dana groaned, a deep gasping plea, and shuddered in Marsh's arms. It took all of Marsh's will power to maintain the controlled pace, when every instinct urged her to take her fast, and hard. The crotch of Marsh's cotton scrubs was dark with her own cum, and she knew if she brushed her aching clit against Dana's thigh, she would come instantly. Fiercely, she held herself back, determined to pleasure Dana first. She moved her thumb higher, pushing back the slick sheath, exposing all of the engorged clitoris to her caresses.

Dana pulled her mouth away from Marsh's kiss, struggling to breathe. "I'm -- so close -- now," she whispered in Marsh's ear. There was a storm raging in her pelvis, centered in the muscles clamped around Marsh's hand, lightening flickering from the nerves coiled to explode in her clit. She dug her fingers into Marsh's back, raised her hips as the pressure approached the unbearable. "Make me come," she choked against her lover's sweat-slick skin. "Oh -- god -- make me co--" Fire flashed through her, stealing her breath.

Marsh closed her eyes as Dana's teeth sank into her shoulder, thrusting into her in time to the rapid internal contractions, drawing out each spasm with a flick of her thumb over the still swelling clit. *I love you, I lo -- oh! oh jesus--*

Scully reached for Marsh without conscious thought, driving her fingers between Marsh's legs, squeezing her clitoris through the damp cloth. As Scully peaked yet again she thrilled to Marsh's strangled cry. For an eternity they pressed close together, limbs entwined, contracting muscles fused, hearts pounding in unison.

When she could manage to speak, Scully kissed the bruise on Marsh's shoulder where her teeth had left marks. "Told you I could be quiet."

 

Part 4

1 pm The same day
Memorial Hospital, Washington DC

Marsh flicked off her beeper and reached for the wall phone, punching in the numbers on the digital display. "Black," she announced as the call was answered.

"Marsh, it's me."

Marsh straightened, hearing the strain in her lover's voice from just those few words. "What is it?" She heard Dana take a breath. "Dana?"

"It's Mulder," Scully said when she had control of herself. She rattled off the details of the disastrous encounter between Mulder and several VinalRight employees in Skinner's office impassively enough. But the next part came hard. "He pulled his gun in Skinner's office, making wild accusations. He's been committed, Marsh. Skinner's orders."

Marsh whistled faintly. "You mean as in _psych ward_ committed?"

"Yes."

"Shit."

"Can you check on him? Find out what's going on? I'll be there as soon as I can. Mulder also dumped another corpse on me, and I think I better look at it. It's one of the victim's from the Oak Brook shooting."

"Sure. Anything -- but I don't know how much help I'll be. I'm a surgeon, not a shrink."

Scully laughed despite her concern. "Believe me, my love, no one would ever mistake you for anything else. I'll call you."

"I love you," Marsh replied. *Fuck. I hate going to the psych ward. It gives me the creeps* Resolutely, she left the comfortable terrain of  traumatized bodies for the shadowy environs of the mind.

***********

*Aw, fuck* They had him tied down, and it was not pleasant to see. He looked like he'd been struggling with the soft cotton restraints - his wrists were red, but didn't look abraded yet. She slipped a finger under the wide bands, checking to be sure they weren't too tight. He opened his eyes, regarded her seriously.

"Hey, Mulder," she said softly.

"Where's Scully?" he croaked.

Marsh pulled a chair close to the bed. "She'll be here soon. How are you?"

"Crazy."

"Are you?"

He closed his eyes, sighed helplessly. "I don't know -- I don't think so. No more than usual." He jerked the restraints on his wrists and ankles ineffectively. "This kind of tends to make me wonder."

Marsh winced, the memory still vivid. "I woke up in a place like this the morning after Karen died -- I know the feeling." She grinned humorously. "Don't lose sight of the truth because of the circumstances."

"That seems to be my life's mission."

"Wanna tell me?"

He turned his head, studied her face. She had beautiful eyes -- intense, radiating strength. He was tempted. He shook his head. "I'm not even sure Scully's gonna believe this one." He tried to smile. "I don't suppose you can get me out of here?"

Marsh grimaced. "Jesus, Mulder -- I don't think so. I'm not exactly on friendly terms with the folks over here. But I'll find out who's in charge, see what I can do, okay?"

A look of near defeat passed over his face. "Yeah.'

Marsh edged closer to the bed, laid her hand on his arm above the restraints. "Listen, Mulder -- Dana will get to the bottom of this. Whatever's going on, she'll figure it out. Just hold on."

He felt her words penetrate the curtain of fear that surrounded him. Scully. Scully was on her way. "Don't let anything happen to her," he said quietly.

Marsh smiled. "I won't. You neither."

He grinned, a fair facsimile of his usual disarming smile. "Deal."

**********

Scully collapsed into the molded orange plastic seat bolted to the one next to it, which happened to be occupied by her lover. She rubbed her temples, and tried to dispel the heartbreaking image of Mulder strapped down in that cold, stark room. God, she had never felt so helpless. She jumped slightly when Marsh took her hand.

"I'm sorry, darling," Scully murmured. "I didn't mean to ignore you."

"What did her say?"

Scully deliberated for a second. She was used to protecting him. "He's not making any sense. Maybe it's the stress of being held hostage." *He's babbling about monsters for god's sake*

Marsh was very aware that Dana had avoided answering her question. She knew Mulder and she had a special relationship, one as powerful in many ways as hers and Dana's. She pushed that thought away. If Mulder were in any way correct in his fears, Dana could be in danger. "He didn't seem delusional when I talked to him," she pointed out reasonably.

"He didn't tell you about zombies, either, did he?" Scully snapped. Christ, he was _her_ partner wasn't he? She ought to know what was really going on.

"He's talked about monsters before, hasn't he?"

Scully laughed hollowly. "Enough that no one has any trouble believing he's finally gone round the bend."

"Has he ever been right?" Marsh asked quietly.

Pause. "More than a few times."

"Well, then -- maybe--?"

Scully pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes, searching for inner clarity. "It's so preposterous. But I told him I'd look at the body again." Maybe Marsh was right. It wouldn't hurt to check a little more. It wasn't as if she could do anything here. She _hated_ being so powerless.

"Want company?"

Scully laughed; leaned over and kissed her quickly. "This body's long dead, Dr. Black. Not as appealing as the one's you're used to. I'll call you if I find anything." She stood, stretched wearily. "Would you stay here for a bit? Just in case he needs anything?"

"Sure."

**********

Marsh awoke to the sound of gunfire. For an instant she thought it was just the old familiar dream, but then she heard shouts and people running.

*Oh god! That's Mulder's room!*

By the time she got there it was over. Or, the crisis was under control, she should have said. The nightmare was not over for any of them.

Lying in bed later that night, Dana in her arms, Marsh asked, "Will you tell me what happened?" *Will you trust me?* Her heart sank as the silence stretched around them. *Will you ever let me be part of your life with him?*

"I saw something," Scully began hesitantly. *How can you possibly understand? You don't know the things I've seen -- the things that have been done to me. How can I bring those things into our life?* She took a deep breath. "Do you believe in monsters?"

Unconsciously, Marsh's fingers strayed to the scar on the back of her lover's neck. Like a slide show, images flickered through her mind -- the metallic implant next to Dana's spine, Karen -- bleeding to death in her arms, countless patients dying of gunshot wounds, stab wounds, drug overdoses -- evil manifest in innumerable forms. "Yes, I believe in monsters."

"Tonight I saw one," Scully confessed quietly.

Marsh pulled her closer, kissed her hair, then her lids, then her mouth. "There are no monster here," she whispered.

"No," Scully murmured, daring to feel safe. "There are no monsters here."

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.