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Genesis VI: Eve of Destruction


Part One

   _She had a need to feel the thunder
   to chase the lightning from the skies
   to watch the storm with all its wonder
   burning in her lover's eyes

   She had to ride the heat of passion
   like a comet burnin' bright
   Rushing headlong in the wind
   out where only dreams had been
   Burnin' both ends of the night_


May 1998
Basement, FBI Building

Scully pushed open the door that after five years still did not have her name on it. Not for the first time she wondered if she had spent those years as nothing more than an interloper in someone else's life. She might not have been as sensitive if she weren't so affected by the current case Mulder had somehow gotten them embroiled in. *He wasn't even supposed to _be_ on this team, and now he's got us interrogating some poor kid he's convinced is -- fuck, what? -- the missing link!? God, I can't take much more of this*

If only it hadn't been a child. Was nothing sacred any longer?

She halted abruptly just inside the crowded windowless basement room that had been her second home for longer than she cared to contemplate. Her lover was perched on the edge of Mulder's desk. That in and of itself was surprising enough, but Mulder had a gleam in his eye -- a gleam that usually meant trouble. Something had excited him. Marsh looked tired, with the faint hint of circles under her deep soulful eyes. Scully's stomach clenched. Something was wrong, and it had to do with Marsh.

"What?" she asked sharply, her blue eyes flashing. The warning glance Marsh shot at Mulder was not lost on her. "Goddamn it, Marsh, don't do this! Don't keep things from me." Her temper was short these days, a reflection of too many demands, from too many directions. Skinner expected her to watch Mulder for any further *breaks* from reality, Marsh still slept fitfully - plagued by vague dreams of danger, and now she had this damn assassination attempt and Mulder's strange ex-partner to deal with. She looked angrily at her lover. *Don't leave me in the dark like he does*

Marsh heard the slight tremor in Dana's voice. *Fuck, Black, you're just making it worse!* She crossed the small space in two strides, taking Scully's hand, stepping close to her. "It's all right. I was telling Mulder about something I remembered -- from the day you and I met."

Scully's fingers tightened around her lover's hand. "From Ruskin Dam?" *Oh god, not that again! I don't want you to be involved in this insanity* She glanced at Mulder. He had that far away look he always got when he was hot on the trail of a new theory or another implausible explanation for the latest unlikely occurrence. "What is it?"

Marsh feigned indifference. "Probably nothing, really. I just remembered this boy. He was in the evacuation tent with you -- he was speaking Russian -- it's his voice I've been hearing in my head, but I couldn't make out the words before."

"What did he say?" Scully asked calmly, while inside she was screaming. *He must be the key -- he's the reason she was kidnapped. This is why she's been having nightmares. Oh god -- please don't let her be in danger!*

Marsh shrugged in frustration. "All I could really understand was something about _black death_ -- I wasn't paying that much attention. I remember he was burned, and had a cluster of lacerations around his eyes and his mouth, but he wasn't in any danger. I was only with him a second -- " She stopped, a shadow crossing her elegantly etched features.

Scully rubbed her hand lightly up and down Marsh's arm, leaning toward her, their bodies not quite touching. "Is there something else, darling?" she asked, her tone low, soothing, unconsciously intimate. *I love you. I'm here*

Marsh smiled into her eyes. *I know. I'm fine. Don't worry*

From across the room where he sat watching, Mulder blushed. There was something more sensual, more erotic, about seeing these two women completely clothed, standing in the bright glare of the overhead fluorescents, talking, than there was in any video or film intended to titillate he had ever seen. They were connected by more than the light touch of his partner's hand -- the air around them practically shimmered with heat. He expected to hear it crackle. He stared at his desk-top. *Scully adores her*

"He kept repeating a name -- several names -- he was terrified-" Marsh ran a hand through her thick black hair, clearly frustrated. "I can almost hear him -" She stared at Scully. "Kazahkstan."

Across the room, Mulder gasped, jumped to his feet. "That's it, Scully! A witness to both scenes -- someone who can tie it all together!" He was next to them now, his eager gaze fastened on the tall, slender woman in the black gabardine trousers and white silk shirt. He didn't stop to notice that she looked thinner than she had the last time he'd seen her, or how tormented was her gaze. He also failed to notice his partner's shoulders stiffen the way they did when she was about to throw a body block. "What else, Black -- what else did he say?"

"Mulder-" From Scully -- the tone dark, a low warning.

Marsh closed her eyes, struggling with the kaleidoscopic images -- there were voices -- men  -- asking her the same thing -- *who was he, what did he say, you must remember* over and over. There was pain --- in her arms. Sweat broke out on her forehead.

"Come on, Marsh -- what did he say?" Mulder - intent, demanding.

Marsh drew a ragged breath, fighting the nausea -- the bright light seared her eyes-- faces, swimming out of focus -- floating above her. God, her head hurt. She moaned softly.

"Try to remember--" In his eagerness, Mulder reached for her arm, grasped her wrist still tender with scars. Marsh gasped, swayed unsteadily.

"That's  _ enough_!" Scully raged, forcing him back with her own body, stepping in front of her lover, circling the slender waist protectively. In a tone as soft as it had just been harsh, she murmured, "It's all right, darling. Marsh -- it's all right. You don't have to remember now."

Marsh shuddered, leaned her head down to rest against Scully's. "I'm sorry."

"Don't," Scully whispered, unmindful of Mulder's presence, not caring. "I love you. It's going to be all right."

At length, Marsh straightened, drew a shaky breath, grinned ruefully. "God, a little bad dream and I'm wasted. Good thing I'm not a spy." She saw the worry written plainly on Dana's face, even though she was trying hard to hide it. *Jesus, I want this to be over. She doesn't need this*

Scully brushed the errant dark lock off Marsh's forehead. She wanted to hold her. She wanted to take every last ounce of her pain and destroy it. She wanted to hit something. "You're a surgeon. All talk -- no one expects you to be tough like us real feebees." She smiled, hoping it didn't look as false as it felt.

"Marsh," Mulder began tentatively.

"Not _now_, Mulder," Scully ordered, not taking her eyes off Marsh's face. The threat in her voice was chilling. *Thank god her color's coming back. I thought she was going to drop*

He cleared his throat. Softly, "I just wanted to say it's probably best not to think about any of it for a while. It'll come to you in time."

Scully looked at him then. He was leaning against the desk, dejected, penitent. Her eyes gentled. *Thank you*

He shrugged. Threw her that lop-sided smile. *I'm an asshole*

She smiled back, a genuine smile. *Yeah*

Marsh stepped back, out of Scully's embrace. "I should go." She was acutely embarrassed that Mulder had seen that. She hated to appear weak, especially in front of him. *Nice show, Black. He probably thinks you're a lousy bargain for her*

Scully nodded, still concerned. "Go home. You're off-call. I'll be home as soon as I can."

Marsh leaned down, kissed her swiftly. "All right, love," she said very quietly. *Thank you for being here*

Mulder watched Scully watch her lover out the door, wondering exactly how it felt to be loved like that.


Two hours later Scully crept up the spiral staircase to the loft. She stopped at the foot of the large platform bed. Marsh was stretched out on her back, asleep. She had showered -- her hair looked still damp, and she wore only faded blue scrub pants. One hand rested in the vee between her thighs, her legs loosely parted. Her breasts, rounded and pink-tipped, were bare. Her face in repose was restored to its classic perfection, all signs of weariness gone. She looked so defenseless, so innocent.

Scully stared at her, her throat tight. Tears flickered on her lashes. She wanted so many things for her --  she wanted to color each of her days golden with sunlight; she wanted to crown her nights with wonder and passion; she wanted to fill her world with joy and laughter -- she wanted a lifetime and beyond to show her how much she adored her. She felt so powerless to even begin.

Marsh opened her eyes, drawn to the deep blue ones searing her skin with their intensity. She smiled softly in welcome.

Scully's eyes never left Marsh's as she shrugged out of her jacket, dropping it beside her. "Take off your pants," she said hoarsely, kicking off her shoes.

Marsh reached for the ties at her waist, captured by the heat in her lover's gaze. "You'll ruin your suit," she whispered as Scully climbed onto the bed.

"Fuck my suit," Scully muttered, pulling Marsh's bottoms the rest of the way off and tossing them behind her. "I want to taste you."

"Oh god--" Marsh gasped, watching in wonder as Dana parted her thighs and stretched out between them. Dana looked up, her eyes hazy, hungry. Marsh stopped breathing for a second as her stomach clenched, then sighed shakily as warm cum flooded from her. *Anything -- you can have anything*

Scully smiled triumphantly, catching her scent, seeing the arousal flush her neck and face. "Watch me," she whispered. "Tell me when you're going to come."

Marsh leaned half-sitting against the pillows, one long-fingered hand stroking Scully's face. "I'll try," she managed. Her head was spinning. *God, how did I live before you came*

Scully brought both hands between Marsh's legs, spreading the moist pink lips with her thumbs, opening her. She took her time, smiling again as the fine muscles there flickered at her touch. "You're beautiful," she murmured, watching the colors deepen to dark roses and violets. The colors of the heavens at sunset. Above her, Marsh whimpered, fingers trembling against Scully's cheek.

Scully pressed her thumbs against the sides of the deep red clitoris, blew softly across it, amazed as it twitched and stiffened. She ran her thumb up and down the shaft. *I want to touch you like no one ever has*

Marsh's hips jerked violently at the exquisite pressure. "Ohhh-- oh yes! --  there-- " Her thighs trembled against Scully's arms. "oh yeah -- pull on it-- "

"Mmm-- not yet," Scully crooned, holding Marsh's hips still. "Be patient, darling." She lowered her head, caught a pearl of clear fluid that clung to the tender inner lips on her tongue, then softly pulled each one into her mouth, licking the last remaining drops. She groaned at the first sweet taste, pushing her tongue deeper. An answering surge of her own soaked her pantyhose.

Marsh shivered, clutching the sheets in her free hand. "Dana--," she moaned, "ah, jesus -- don't stop -- it's so good, baby."

"Never," Scully pledged, shifting her fingers to pull back the thickening hood over Marsh's clit, at the same time slipping down to massage the tight circular sphincter of Marsh's ass with a finger tip.

"uh -- no -- I can't -- take that --" Marsh warned breathlessly, "you'll -- make me come." Her belly was tight, and a quivering tension was building in her pelvis.

"Don't -- you can wait -- try, honey--" Scully breathed as she licked along both sides of Marsh's clit, pushing it from side to side. She wanted her, in every fiber of her body and her soul. Her fingertip slid past the muscle, into the tight tunnel. *Oh lord, she's so warm*

"I'm -- almost there --" Marsh groaned, looking down, trying to focus as Dana's crimson lips placed soft kisses on her hard clit. "ooohhhh -- please -- do it -- suck me--"

"Soon," Scully promised, beginning a slow in and out rhythm with her finger, matching it with the strokes of her tongue over the erect distended tip. Scully's clit jerked in response. Marsh's sobbing gasps echoed her own.

Marsh's arms were rigid, twisting the sheets in her fists, her legs locked out, her hips thrusting upward. She barely remembered Dana's request as the inferno began to consume her --"Dana -- oh god Dana -- I'm gonna-- come--"

Everything happened at once. Scully enclosed Marsh's clit with her lips, sucking it hard into her mouth, as she pushed one finger all the way into the rear opening, and slid two into the one above. She filled her, claimed her as her own, moaning as Marsh heaved upward, contracting around her hands, spasming between her lips. Scully shut her eyes tightly, trying to ignore the pounding between her legs as Marsh thrashed against her, Marsh's choked cries sounding a benediction in her ears. *Oh yes -- my darling, my love -- come for me--*

"Oh god -- oh god -- ohgodDanaI'm yours--"

Scully stayed with her long after Marsh's body stilled, easing gently out as the internal muscles tightened, stroking the still quivering clit softly with her tongue. She didn't stop until she became aware of a gentle tugging at her hair. She raised her head, found Marsh's gaze tender on her face.

"Hey," Scully whispered. *You take my breath away*

"Hey," Marsh smiled back. She tugged the lock of red hair again. "If you come up here I might find the strength to lift a finger and help you with the state I'll bet you're in."

Scully grinned ruefully, shifting to pull her hose off. "One finger is about all it would take." She pulled her rumpled skirt up and straddled Marsh's waist. "Ahh," she sighed as her inflamed clitoris rubbed over Marsh's tight belly. "So good--" She began rocking, both arms extended beside her lover's shoulders, as she slowly lowered her head toward Marsh's waiting lips.

Marsh's arms came around her, held her as they kissed. Marsh slid her hands to Scully's ass, guiding Scully's hips back and forth as she lifted her own, increasing the pressure against Dana's pelvis.

Scully's lips moved urgently on Marsh's -- her tongue searching for contact as her hips thrust harder, erratically. Her vision dimmed, her breath grew short, all her senses strained for release. She flung her head back, biting her lips, holding on to her screams. Her breasts heaved as she clutched Marsh's arms, riding her furiously. Suddenly her eyes flew open and she sought Marsh's gaze frantically. "I'm --uh, oh-- " Her fingers dug into Marsh's flesh, the tendons in her neck taut. "uh, uh -- com --ing --"" She shuddered, her eyes flickering closed, as a series of shock waves traveled through her, streaming from her spine down her arms and legs. She fell forward into Marsh's waiting embrace, still coming.

"Don't let go," she managed to gasp, pressing her face to Marsh's neck.

Marsh's grip tightened, her lips against Scully's temple. "Never, my love. Never."


Part Two

Scully opened her eyes to the sound of rain against the skylight. The room was suffused with grey, the dawn come and gone, leaving only the shadows behind. She listened to the steady comforting rhythm of Marsh's heart beat under her cheek, and wondered how she had managed to sleep without her all those years. These were the calmest, sanest moments of her day -- here in Marsh's arms -- these few precious minutes stolen from everyone and everything that laid claim to her time, her energy, her spirit. It was so simple here -- Marsh loved her, needed her -- and she loved her. And needed her? Scully shifted slightly, afraid of the word. She wasn't sure she had ever let herself need anyone before-- except that one time -- for those few brief tormented days. And it had very nearly broken her heart -- what would it do to her if she lost Marsh? Her mind rebelled at the thought, racing frantically from the glimpse of an emptiness too painful to endure.

"Whatever you're worrying about, stop," Marsh said quietly, running her hand over Scully's shoulder, down her back.

Scully pressed her face against Marsh's breast, kissed her nipple softly. "What makes you think I'm worrying about anything, Dr. Black?"

Marsh slipped her hand through the thick hair at Dana's neck, rubbed the knots bunched under the skin. "Because every muscle in your body just got tight. And don't think you can distract me either." She tried not to lift her hips as her nipple telegraphed the rest of her to sit up and take notice.

Scully smiled, sucked the stiffening nipple harder. "Can't I?"

Marsh shifted onto her side, easing away from those tantalizing lips until she faced her lover. "Yes. Always. Every time you touch me." She took a breath, tried to ignore the tingling Dana had started. "What's wrong?"

Scully touched her finger to Marsh's lips. "You first. Are you all right -- about yesterday?"

Marsh's dark eyes grew pensive. "About the goddamned dream? Yes, I think so. I didn't dream last night -- "

"It's more than a dream, Marsh," Scully persisted gently. "You're having flashbacks -- that's serious." She felt her lover stiffen. *And I know it's not just about your kidnapping. It's about Karen -- and me*

Marsh's gaze flickered away. "They're better. It'll pass."

*God, she's a terrible liar. She could never go under cover* Scully cupped Marsh's cheek, forced her to look at her. "If they don't, will you go talk to someone?"

A muscle in Marsh's jaw bunched. "Dana--"

"Will you?"

"If I need to, yes," she growled. *When hell freezes over and they carry me away*

Scully considered that a partial victory and decided to fight the next round another day. She burrowed a little closer, fitting one leg between Marsh's. "Thank you."

Marsh kissed the top of her head. "I love you."

"Mmm," Scully sighed contentedly.

"Your turn," Marsh stated, stroking small circles down Dana's back.

"Mmmm -- I had my turn last night," Dana reminded her. She lifted her head from Marsh's chest, stared at her seriously. "What happened to my clothes?"

"I undressed you."

Scully flushed. *Great lover, Dana. Come once and pass out* Her color deepened, remembering the mind-shattering intensity of her orgasm, her stomach clenching anew with a sympathetic surge. "And what exactly did _I_ do while you were doing that?"

Marsh grinned. "You muttered _argh, mmph, and urp_ as I recall."

Scully pressed her forehead to Marsh's chest. "Lovely."

"You were," Marsh agreed, sitting up against the pillows, pulling Scully up into her embrace. She rested her chin on the top of Scully's head, watching the rain stream in rivulets down the windows. "You didn't tell me what you were thinking about this morning."

Scully sighed, trailed a finger down Marsh's abdomen, watching the tight muscles flicker at her touch. "I was thinking how much I love you -- that I wouldn't know what to do without you." She circled Marsh's navel with an exploratory fingertip.

Marsh stroked her cheek, waited.

"This case we're on -- I don't like it." Scully brushed her fingers through the soft dark hair at the base of Marsh's belly. "There's a child -- a boy--"

Marsh stilled the hand that was getting dangerously close to making her forget that she wanted Dana to talk.

"Mulder seems to think he has extrasensory abilities," Scully continued softly. She wanted to make love, forget about the pain. *I don't think I can talk about this*

"Such things exist, right?" Marsh asked quietly. *Talk to me, Dana. I'll always be here*

Scully sighed. "There are things that exist that I wish I didn't know about sometimes. It's just so much harder when it's a child. I hate questioning him. He may not even be involved." Her arms tightened almost painfully around Marsh's waist. *He _shouldn't_ be involved. Children should be protected, spared these things*

There was something else -- Marsh could sense Dana struggling to find words. "I love you, Dana."

*Trust her* Scully took a shaky breath, closed her eyes. "I had a child."

By some miracle Marsh managed not to move or utter a sound. She tightened her hold on the smaller woman, curling instinctively a little closer around her. "Tell me."

"Her name was Emily," Scully began, and then between the tears and the choked silences she told her what she knew of the little girl who shared her genes, but never her body. Of the short time they had known one another, of the bond she felt so acutely, and the devastation she had suffered when she let her die. And later the knowledge that she would never have another, and the horrifying reason why.

Marsh continued to cradle her throughout the heartwrenching tale, Dana's head tucked under her chin, their arms and legs entwined so that nothing could come between them. Marsh murmured meaningless phrases meant only to assure Dana that she was not alone. She didn't even attempt to assimilate all the unbelievable circumstances that were somehow made credible by the x-rays she had seen of the implants in Dana's neck, and the scars on Dana's abdomen, and the strange events of her own disappearance. The why of it was unimportant -- all that mattered to her was the enormous pain her lover had endured. Scully's hair was damp with Marsh's tears by the time she was finished.

"Oh, Dana," Marsh whispered, "I am so, so sorry."

Scully nodded wordlessly. *You make it easier just by being here*

There were no words to lessen the pain, only each other's presence to make it bearable. They held each other, offering silent caresses of comfort while outside the rain continued to fall.

Eventually Scully wiped the tears from her cheeks, drew a shaky breath. When she spoke again her voice was steady. "I don't even want to _think_ that something like that could be going on with this boy."

"Any way to tell?" Marsh asked carefully. *I wish you didn't have to work this case. Let Mulder do it. You've been hurt so much already!*

"Maybe. I'm meeting the other agent, Diana Fowley, this morning. She's supervising a battery of psych tests, and then I'm taking him for a PET scan and some other diagnostics. I'm sure he'll turn out to be exactly what he's billed as -- a chess prodigy." She kissed Marsh firmly, then swung her legs out from under the covers. "I need to get ready for work." *And I need to stop thinking about things I can't change. I can protect this boy - that's something I can do*

Marsh followed her into the bathroom, asking, "Who's this Diana, any how?" as she turned on the shower.

"I'm not exactly sure -- she and Mulder worked together about eight years ago. She's a psychologist like him." Scully stepped into the shower and reached for Marsh's hand. "Come on in -- but don't start anything," she warned. "We're already late."

"_Me_!" Marsh protested, pulling the glass door closed as she reached for her lover. "I'd never --"

Scully let herself be kissed. They were both late for work.


7pm Memorial Hospital

Marshall Black pushed open the door from the OR suites into the surgeon's lounge, nodded to the one other person sitting there, and continued her conversation with her senior fellow.

"If you wait until you lose the pulse in a crushed extremity, there will be irreversible tissue damage. You have to do the fasciotomy and reduce the internal pressure compressing the nerves and vessels _before_ that." She tossed her mask and cap into the overflowing trash bucket. "By the way, nice job in there."

Susan Feldman, petite, blonde and blue-eyed, smiled brightly. "Thanks." She halted Marsh's motion with a tentative touch on her arm.  "Hey -- you want to catch some dinner before the cafeteria closes?"

"No, thanks," Marsh responded. "You go ahead."

Susan tried not to look disappointed. "Sure. Okay then. I'll see you for sign outs."

Marsh nodded as the younger woman disappeared into the locker room.

"She's got a thing for you," the woman on the couch observed dryly.

Marsh laughed. "There has been an offer of a backrub once or twice."

"Hhhmph. Should I worry or simply shoot her?"

Marsh leaned over and kissed her fiery red-headed lover on the mouth. "Neither. She's a good resident; I need her. And I'm crazy in love with you."

Scully kissed her back, letting her tongue trail over the inside of Marsh's lower lip, sucking lightly until Marsh groaned. "Mmm -- good answer," she sighed.

Marsh sank onto the lumpy coach beside Scully, propping her long legs up on the scratched coffee table, threading the fingers of her right hand through Dana's left. "So, wanna tell me why you're hanging around this place?"

Scully sighed. "I have bad news, and worse news. Which do you want first?"

Marsh looked at her quickly in concern. She was paler than usual, her eyes a deep violet, the color they became when she was troubled. There was something else -- an air of sadness Marsh had rarely seen her display. "Is it the boy?"

Scully smiled faintly. "Do I have no secrets from you?" She tilted her head against the outside of Marsh's shoulder, glad for her undemanding comfort. "I had the Lone Gunmen take a look at the PET scan I ran on him -- they've got access to some imaging equipment that's probably twenty-first century technology. He's definitely displaying enhanced activity in parts of the brain we don't understand very well. That lends some credibility to Mulder's theory that he has extrasensory abilities."

"As in extraterrestrial abilities?' Marsh ventured cautiously. She wasn't sure she accepted all of Mulder's theories, or even all of what Dana had told her, but she trusted that her lover would not make judgements without facts. And she didn't doubt that something unexplainable in known scientific terms had been done to the woman she loved.

Scully shrugged wearily. "I don't know yet. We won't have the DNA analysis back for a week." *Lord, I can't believe I'm even considering the possibility*

"And the other bad news?"

"We're doing around the clock surveillance on him."

Marsh stiffened, her breath catching in her throat. "So now you think the assassination attempt _was_ aimed at him?"

"Maybe," Scully answered. "Mulder thinks so. So does -- Diana." She felt the fine tremor in Marsh's fingers. She remembered only too well Marsh's response when Scully was in the middle of the hostage situation. She wasn't sure Marsh was yet recovered.  "Marsh, he's in a safe house. No one will even know we're there. There is no danger."

*Yeah. And that's why you had to move him --because there's no danger* Marsh nodded, trying to ignore the cold hand that squeezed her heart. She didn't want Dana to know how hard it was to watch her walk out the door every morning into potential harm. She hadn't wanted another lover who did this kind of work, ever. But she loved Dana, and this was part of her - a big part of her. "I know. You will be careful though?"

Scully turned further on the couch, slipped an arm across Marsh's waist, hugged her hard. "Of course. I'll miss sleeping with you every night, though."

"Well, I'm on call in the hospital tonight anyway," Marsh replied, hoping her anxiety didn't show. Something didn't feel right about this situation, but it was Dana's job. She had to get used to it.

Scully was silent.

"What?" Marsh asked suspiciously.

"It's going to be at least a week."

"Fuck." Marsh sighed, stroking Dana's arm where it circled her waist. "I'll survive -- I'll just miss you. You'll get home though?"

Scully nodded. "I just can't predict when." She glanced at the clock on the opposite wall. "Marsh?"

"Hhmm?" Marsh asked absently, thinking about Dana somewhere she couldn't reach her, couldn't see her. That thought made her very uneasy.

"How long before you have to make sign out rounds?"

Marsh looked at her quickly, a small grin forming on her full lips. Dana's eyes sparkled a deep blue. "About three hours."

Scully stood, tugging her up by a hand. "On call room?"

Marsh tried to look serious, her heart already hammering. "No noise, okay?"

Scully nodded just as seriously. "Absolutely not."


Part Three

"Couldn't you get a bigger bed?" Scully whispered none too quietly.

Marsh turned on her side, making room for her lover on the hospital issue smaller-than-a-single bed. "It wasn't meant for couples," she said dryly.

Scully pulled Marsh on top of her, settling Marsh's hips into the hollow of hers, their legs intertwining. "Good -- I don't want to worry about you sharing it with anyone."

"Not a problem," Marsh murmured as she leaned down to kiss her. It was a nice kiss -- Dana's lips were soft, yielding, warm. Dana's tongue met hers gently, the tips touching, sliding over and past one another, moving to explore the inner edge of lips and mouth. It was a very nice kiss -- but it wasn't the way Dana kissed her when she wanted to make love. Marsh pushed herself up on her arms, gazing down in the dim light of the reading light at her lover. "Want to tell me where you are?" she asked gently.

Scully sighed, ran her hand over Marsh's cheek. "Could you manage to be a little less sensitive on occasion, Dr. Black?"

Marsh turned her head, kissed Scully's palm. "Shall I simply grunt and fuck you?"

Scully laughed. "That's one solution." She regarded her seriously. "I was thinking about Mulder and Diana Fowley."


"Frohike says they were an item."

Something about the way she said it made Marsh's stomach clench. "What do _you_ think?"

Scully was silent a long moment. "It makes sense. They're remarkably similar. They were together back at the beginning, when no one took Mulder seriously. She believes in the paranormal --he doesn't have to convince her of anything." *Not like he does with me* She remembered the way Mulder and Diana's eyes had connected across the briefing room the day before. Like they were speaking without words. *And they've been apart for years. Must have been some partnership*

"Is it a problem working with the two of them?" Marsh questioned, beginning to fear the direction of the conversation.

"I don't like navigating in the dark, and I don't think Mulder is telling me everything." She snorted. "Like he ever does."

"What makes you think he's telling her?"

Scully stared at a point somewhere past Marsh's left shoulder. "I saw them talking together today -- well, they were holding hands actually -- it looked pretty cozy to me."

She sounded -- confused, a little hurt. Marsh felt something starting to break, somewhere deep inside. *Oh god, this can't be happening* But she knew it could. Had feared it would. She tried to keep her voice even, not to scream. "Were you jealous?"

Scully looked at her, surprised. "Yes." As if it had just now occurred to her.

Marsh shuddered, her eyes closing for a second. Her head was pounding. *I can't hear this, I can't. Oh jesus, what am I going to do* She started to move away -- it hurt to be next to her. She forced her eyes open, wondering if she was bleeding somewhere. She felt like she was dying. "Dana--" she whispered. *Tell me you're not leaving me* She had never been so afraid.

Scully's eyes cleared and she stared at Marsh in amazement. "Now I know how Mulder feels about us."

"What?" It was Marsh's turn to be confused. What was she saying?

" _I'm_ used to being the one he bounces his theories off. The one he commiserates with when things aren't going well. Hell, the one he calls for almost everything." Scully gave that some thought. "It's hard sharing his attention."

Marsh held her breath, trying to prepare for Scully's inevitable realization that she and Mulder were lovers in every way except the obvious already, and that could easily be changed. She was suddenly very cold.

"For almost five years we've been alone together -- god, that's true in more ways than one. Neither of us has had a lover --." She didn't think Phoebe Green or Ed Jerse actually counted on that scale. She preferred not to think of Ed on any level at all. "There's no one we can trust -- well, maybe Skinner. Yes, Skinner. But we've pretty much been it for each other. We've been intimate on every level except sexually."

She smiled softly up at the dark-haired wonder leaning over her, raised her head to kiss the tiny hollow below Marsh's collar bone. "And then I found you. No wonder he's been a little cranky. It's an adjustment."

Marsh was trembling.

"Marsh?" Scully questioned. The silence was her answer. She pushed herself up on the thin pillow until she was sitting, her back against the cold tile wall. "What did you think?" She took Marsh's face in both her hands. "Look at me."

Marsh's eyes were bruised, anguished. "I thought-- I thought you were going to say you wanted him."

Scully wasn't angry. She was furious. Furious at whatever forces had conspired to make Marsh doubt she deserved to be loved, and cherished, and desired. Very quietly, in the tone that made men twice her size jump to attention, she spoke. "There are two reasons I'm in this bed with you instead of Mulder. First, in all the years and all the ways we've been close, he has never touched the places inside of me that you have. His obsessions, my fears -- many reasons. You make it impossible for me to bar you from my soul, and I trust you with it."

She paused, taking Marsh's hands -- pulling her closer until Marsh knelt with her legs on either side of Scully's thighs. "The second reason is this." She grasped Marsh's neck, brought their faces close together. "He can't give me this."

Scully kissed her, hard, drawing Marsh's hand between her legs, into her wetness. She shuddered as Marsh's sensitive fingers tentatively moved over her tensely swollen flesh. She let go of Marsh's head, reached down for her, finding her open and ready. At another time she might have teased her, might have taken her time. But not now.

"I want you inside me," Scully gasped, lifting her hips, pressing against Marsh's hand as she slid her fingers into Marsh's depths.

Marsh groaned as the sweet pressure filled her. She sought Scully's lips, hungry for her kiss as she thrust into Dana at the same time.

"Oh yes --" Scully whispered, feeling Marsh immediately clench down on her. "This --," she moved her fingers up against that sensitive spot, making Marsh moan and shiver, "is what I want." She groaned as Marsh reciprocated inside of her.  "This--," she slowly thrust in and out, "is what I need." Marsh matched her, stroke for stroke. "This--," she gasped as she brought her thumb over the top of Marsh's clit, feeling Marsh follow her on her own aching flesh, "is -- what -- you-- give --me."

Their faces were inches apart, dark eyes on blue, spellbound, hazy with desire. They watched their own passion reflected in the others gaze. They were both shaking, limbs twitching uncontrollably, struggling to stay upright. Their foreheads touched as they watched their hands disappearing into one another.

"Dana--" Marsh warned helplessly. She was getting so close.

"Shh--" Scully soothed, finding Marsh's lips, distracting her from the incredible pressure building inside. "Kiss me," she murmured.

Marsh whimpered, unable to keep her eyes open, as her tongue sought her lover's in the warm haven of her mouth. Even as their hands pumped faster, more erratically, they kissed slowly, reverently, calming the fears as their bodies spiraled beyond their control. Scully broke the kiss first.

"Make me come, darling," she implored, shivering, her breath starting to desert her. "Please--"

Marsh pushed deeper, brought her thumb down harder on the thick, distended clitoris. With each wild thrust she rubbed the tender tip. Dana jerked in her arms, her head thrown back, the tendons in her neck and legs taut.

"Oh yes -- that's-- gonna -- do it," Scully wailed, rocking her hips hard on her lover's hand. Her stomach clenched as Marsh flicked her clit from side to side. "Yess--" Scully growled. "Do it-- oh FUCK--"

Scully' head snapped forward as the first burst detonated in her pelvis, ripping the last breath from her. She clutched Marsh's shoulder, her other hand moving automatically in Marsh with the same frantic rhythm as the explosions rushing through her. Dimly she heard Marsh's shout of release, felt the exquisitely soft muscles close on her fingers. *I love you* she cried from her soul.


"There's a rock under my left butt," Scully muttered irritably, shifting so she was lying a little more on top of Marsh.

"That's my beeper," Marsh mumbled, pulling Dana closer.

"Unh -- we're going to have to get up," Scully sighed. *God I don't want to*

Marsh nuzzled Scully's ear. "You think?"

"If we don't want that little blond bombshell resident of yours to come searching you out," Scully groused. "And there is Diana. I need to relieve her."

Marsh sat up, wrapping her arms around Scully. "You okay with her?"

Scully nodded. "Yes. Now that I know what's been bothering me so much about her." She nestled her cheek against Marsh's shoulder. "I think _she_ thinks I'm after Mulder, though."

Marsh nodded calmly. "Makes sense." She kissed the top of Scully's head. "Of course, _I_ know better."

Scully laughed softly. "Finally."

"You'll be careful, huh?" Marsh asked one more time. She couldn't shake the feeling that there was something not quite right about this assignment.

Scully kissed her reassuringly. "The only thing threatening about it is the cartoons the little genius watches."

Marsh didn't like it, but she would never stand between Dana and her mission. She just pushed the uneasiness to the back of her mind, where there seemed to be plenty of company for it these days.


Part Four

7:45 am Memorial Hospital

Marsh opened her locker with a sigh. She'd been up most of the night patching holes in a thirteen year old who had gotten into an argument with another teenager over a pair of sneakers. They decided to settle the issue with guns. She was due to go home, but the prospect did little to lift her spirits. Dana wasn't there and there was no telling when she would be. *Oh for god's sake, Black. It's only for a few days. She's been gone longer than that before*

"Yeah, but at least then I could call her," she muttered as she slammed the metal door with a bang. The clatter was diminished as the hall door thudded open and the head trauma nurse barreled into the room.

"Thank god you're still here. There's a red liner coming in any minute! Must be a VIP -- they're calling ahead for you."

A _red liner_ referred to an injured law enforcement agent or government official. Marsh's heart rate jumped as she followed the nurse at a run toward the trauma admitting unit, but she said calmly, "What do you know about it?"

"Not much," the woman responded, pushing open the double doors to the trauma suite. "Gunshot -- a fed -- Harry took the call."

Marsh pulled an impermeable gown over her scrubs, reached for a pair of gloves. "Harry!", she called to the unit clerk seated in front of a bank of monitors and a field radio. "Fill me in!" Behind her two nurses readied the operating table in the middle of the room for the incoming patient, pulling instrument packs and hanging plastic bags of IV fluid. She could here the page operators calling a _trauma alert_ to assemble the rest of her team. Xray techs and anesthesia personnel should arrive any second.

The clerk looked down at the transmittal form. "ETA 2 minutes. Female, mid-thirties, GSW left chest -- they're bagging her in the van. No blood pressure --- I called for eight units of O-neg."

*Female -- Federal agent -- god, it couldn't be!* Marsh felt something shift in her chest. "Name -- do you have a name?" she demanded urgently. She was having trouble drawing a deep breath.

Harry Flynn looked at her in astonishment. A name? What the hell did that matter? When did they ever get a name, or care? The look on her face sent him scrambling through the telex. He'd never seen her anything but cool as ice, and at that moment there was something close to panic in her eyes. "Um -- no ID -- a priority call came through on a scrambled line -- somebody Skinner requesting you --"

*Dana!* Marsh felt like a hammer hit her. *Oh no, no, no -- jesus god not again* She swayed, suddenly light-headed. *Dana! Please not Dana too!* Her vision dimmed and she couldn't hear what Harry was saying. Her legs seemed to be buckling. She reached out, managed to grasp the side of an emergency cart to steady herself.

Through a haze she heard a phrase she had heard thousands of times, a phrase that instantly cleared her mind. "Patient on deck!" Marsh straightened, a hard certainty her only thought. *Not this time, goddamn it. I won't lose her this time* She turned toward the double doors as the EMTs crashed through with the stretcher.

"On the table -- move, move --" she called, grabbing one end of the transfer board. Her eyes were riveted on the patient's blood-soaked chest as they slid her onto the steel surface. She never raised her eyes to the face covered by the ventilation mask. Marsh stepped close to the left side of the table as the nurses cut open and discarded clothing on the floor, her stethoscope searching each side of the thorax for breath sounds. An anesthetist expertly slipped an endotracheal tube down the patient's trachea and began ventilating her lungs mechanically. At the same time other members of the team were hanging blood, inserting catheters into her bladder and stomach, drawing serum specimens for the lab to analyze her blood volume and oxygenation.

"I've got no breath sounds on the left," Marsh called. "Get me a 36 chest tube." The left lung was collapsed. A nurse opened a thoracotomy tray which held all the instruments Marsh would need to insert a thick plastic tube between the patient's ribs into the chest cavity to evacuate any blood and allow the lungs to expand. Marsh held out her right hand as someone swabbed betadiene disinfectant over the patient's chest. A large irregular hole had been torn through the upper part of her breast at the bullet entrance site. Marsh pushed the breast up and out of her way with her left hand as the scalpel was slapped into her palm. She made a two inch cut between the fifth and sixth ribs just below the arm pit, dropped the blade on the tray, and reached for a large curved hemostat. She probed the tips of the instrument into the wound, felt the rib, and pushed up over the top of it, through the thin covering of the pleural cavity, and into the chest. Dark blood gushed from the wound, soaking her legs and shoes. "Fuck." She threaded the chest tube into the space and the blood flowed bright red through it onto the floor. "Major bleeder here! Let's crack her!"

She extended the incision from just under the mid-point of the breast toward the back, curving along the rib. She cut deeply through skin and fat and muscle directly into the chest cavity on the first pass, not worried about minor bleeders. Time was of the essence. The patient was bleeding to death. "Pass me the spreaders," she ordered, not looking up from the wound. She held the tissues apart with her fingers as she fit the large square jaws of the rib-spreaders between the fragile struts of the chest. Rapidly she cranked it open -  a faint pop signaled one rib fracturing from the strain. She peered into the left chest at the bruised lung, the heart pumping sluggishly just beneath it. She couldn't see a thing through the blood. "Where's the fucking suction? Somebody get me some suction --"

A tech aimed the overhead light into the wound while Marsh aspirated out the old clots and new blood. It continued to well up dangerously fast. "Okay --" she said calmly. "There it is -- there's a hole in the left atrial appendage." She reached into the chest with her left hand and pinched closed the small hole in the upper chamber of the heart. The bleeding slowed considerably. "I need a two-oh silk on a long needle holder -- quickly now." She held out a rock steady right hand.

Marsh maneuvered the instrument into the cavity toward the injured heart and inserted a figure-of-eight suture through the rent, tying it down deftly. The torrential hemorrhage stopped. "Somebody alert the OR -- get the pump team ready. She's going to need to go on bypass for the rest of the repair." She straightened, noting that the chest tube was finally clearing of blood. "What's her status?"

"She's stable, Marsh," one of the nurses called. "The heart team's ready -- we can transport."

*A save* Marsh thought. She looked at the patient's face for the first time. *oh god thank you -it's not Dana - it's not Dana* The surge of adrenaline was starting to wear off and she felt suddenly weary. "What's her name?" she asked quietly.

Somebody picked the bloody leather folder up off the floor, flipped it open. "Diana Fowley."

Marsh watched them roll the stretcher out of her trauma unit toward the elevators and the OR, her face pale, her eyes strangely vacant.


Mulder, Skinner and Scully waited wordlessly just outside the closed doors of the trauma unit for what felt like an eternity. Mulder paced, Skinner stood glowering with his hands pushed deep in the pockets of his perfectly creased trousers, and Scully leaned against the wall, arms crossed over her chest. She knew what was happening behind those red doors. She'd seen the location of the entry wound, had heard the EMTs struggling to stabilize Diana's vital signs, and she knew that only the skill in Marsh's hands would make any difference at this point.

"Can't you go see what's going on, Scully?" Mulder pleaded in a low voice. "They've been in there forever."

"It's been ten minutes, Mulder. Let them work. Marsh is with her." As if that said it all. Scully touched his arm sympathetically, all thoughts of the strange rivalry with Diana Fowley gone. A fellow agent was down. Nothing else mattered.

Just as it appeared that Mulder was about to storm the gates, the doors banged open and three people rushed a stretcher up the hall toward the open waiting elevators. Mulder trotted along side, stopping helplessly as the doors slide closed, excluding him once again.

"Find Black," Skinner said in a low flat tone, his eyes glinting dangerously. "Find out if Fowley said anything. I want whoever did this."

"Yes, sir," Scully replied.

The trauma bay looked like a war zone. The floor was littered with empty IV bags, xray film, and pools of blood. The techs and nurses milled about, still high from the incredible intensity of those few short moments when they were the only ones who stood between the patient and death.

"Oh man -- did you see her? -- calm as could be, sticking her hand in there and grabbing the heart-- man, what a rush--"

"Jesus -- look at this floor -- hey, somebody call housekeeping--"

"Fuck I hope we don't get another one right away -- it's too fucking early in the day --"

"Full moon, you know -- we're in for it--"

"Oh shit -- and Black isn't here tonight--"

"Don't worry -- they'll call her if the shit hits --"

The head nurse looked up from where she was gathering bloodied linens into a red biohazard bag at the intense, impeccably dressed woman standing inside the doors. "I'm sorry. You shouldn't be in here. Are you a family member?"

*You could say that* Scully opened her ID. "Special Agent Dana Scully. I'd like to see Dr. Black."

The nurse hesitated for a second, eyeing Scully carefully. She looked familiar for some reason. "She went back to her on-call room." She pointed to a door opposite the ones Scully had just entered. "Down that hall. Last door on the left."

*I know exactly where it is. I just left there ten hours ago* Scully stepped carefully around the congealing mess on the floor. "Thanks."

As soon as she entered the small room where she had lain making love the night before, she heard her. She crossed to the adjoining bathroom and pushed the half-open door back. Marsh was leaning over the toilet, vomiting.

"Marsh!" Scully cried, stepping quickly to her side, slipping an arm around her waist. "God, honey -- what's wrong?"

Marsh struggled for air. "I'm okay," she gasped. Lord, she didn't want her to see this. "Wait - other room --" She wretched again, her sides aching with the futile effort. Her stomach was already empty. Sweat beaded her face, ran down her neck. "Fuck--" she croaked. "Go away--"

Scully reached beside her and turned on the cold water tap, soaking a hand towel in the spray. She kept a hand on her lover's heaving back and wiped her face with the towel. She didn't stop until Marsh finally straightened with a shaky sigh. She waited while Marsh rinsed her mouth, brushed her teeth.

"Christ, I'm sorry," Marsh muttered, feeling humiliated.

Scully led her unprotesting into the other room and sat her down on the edge of the bed. She tilted Marsh's face up with a hand under her chin and studied her face. She looked terrible. Her cheeks were dawn and pale, and the circles under her eyes were darker. "What the hell just happened?"

Mash's eyes skittered away. "Must have been breakfast."

Scully's teeth clamped down hard. "Bullshit. You tell me now and you tell me all of it. I've had it with this crap Marsh. Was it another flashback?"

Marsh shook her head miserably. "No. Nothing like this has ever happened before, I swear."

Scully moved her hand to the back of Marsh's neck, stroking her fingers through the soft hair there. "Then what was it?"

*Oh, hell* Marsh took a deep breath. "When they called it in, I was afraid it was you."

Scully's heart twisted. "Oh jesus, I'm sorry. I never even thought--"

"It's okay -- you were working, for god's sake -- another agent was shot. You're not supposed to be thinking about me!" Marsh closed her eyes in disgust. "It's my goddamned problem."

Scully pulled the beautiful face protectively against her breast, holding her gently, kissed the top of her head. "No, my darling, it's _our_ problem." She sighed. *But not now. Skinner's waiting. God, when will there ever be time?*

"How's Diana?" Scully asked.

"Critical. Blew a hole through her heart. She's lost a lot of blood, was hypotensive for too long. She's going to have pulmonary and probably renal problems at the very least. Fuck. If they'd gotten her here sooner. If I'd been closer --"

"You got her to the OR -- that's your job," Scully reminded her. "Did she say anything?"

Marsh laughed without humor. "Nothing."

"Go home, darling. I'm going to take Mulder back to his place. I'll be there for a while."

Marsh stood, her nausea passed. "I'm going to wait for them to bring Diana down from the OR. Make sure she's stable."

Scully started to protest, then caught herself. *She's just doing what you would do, Scully. She'll be fine* She hoped that was true, because she couldn't do anything about it now. "All right. Try to get some sleep before then?"

Marsh kissed her fervently, so glad she was safe. "I will. I promise. I love you."

Scully returned the kiss, still worried. "I love you, Dr. Black."

5:30 pm

Mulder lay on the couch in a worn sweatshirt and jeans, one arm thrown over his face. Scully sat across the small dim room at his cramped desk, talking first with Marsh, then with Skinner. She hung up the phone and observed him in silence. She was afraid they were facing some difficult decisions. Maybe more so for her than for him. No matter what changes the bureau tried to foist on them, she knew nothing would deter him from his quest. She wasn't so sure any more about herself. For a time his journey had become hers, and his mission hers by association. She wasn't sure what to believe any longer, or even if the enemies they faced were capable of being uncovered. All she knew was that whoever or whatever conspired against them was considerably stronger than they were. She wasn't afraid so much for herself. Fear wasn't something she gave much thought to. She was afraid for Marsh -- both for what she might know that endangered her, and for what the whole situation seemed to be doing to her.

"How's Diana?" Mulder asked dispiritedly from across the room.

Scully sighed, resolving to deal with those issues later. "Not good. Marsh said she's stable, but still on life support. The next few days are going to be rocky."

"Well, at least Marsh is there," he muttered.

"Mulder," Scully said seriously, "there's another problem."

He turned his head toward her in silent question. He looked beaten.

She hated to say it, but they had to face it. "Skinner said Justice is talking about shutting us down."

He managed to resurrect a sneer. "They've tried before Scully. We always bounce back."

"This time it sounds serious. They're talking reassignment, Mulder. For both of us."

There was something in her voice that brought him upright. He looked at her carefully. The creases between her eyes had deepened, and the corners of her full lips curled down. She was struggling with something.

"What?" he asked, not at all sure he was ready to hear the answer.

"Maybe it's time, Mulder. Maybe there's nothing to find, or what is there is just too big for us to change."

He stood, started to pace. "I don't believe that Scully --- every time we get close -- like with this boy -- someone stops us. There's something there all right. And someone's afraid we'll find it." He looked at her, saw her uncertainty, and he felt warning bells. "Don't give up, Scully. I need you."

*Marsh needs me, too. And I need her* Before she could reply, the phone rang again. She snatched it up, listened impassively. "Thank you, sir. We're on our way."

Mulder's heart dropped. "Diana?"

Scully grabbed her coat, looked at him blankly. "Our office is on fire."

9pm FBI Headquarters

They stood in the rubble, clinging to one another, dazed. Mulder turned slowly, surveying the destruction. It was more than his mind could comprehend.

"Oh god, Scully, it's over."

She held him tighter. "It will never be over, Mulder."


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.



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