Genesis XI: Renascence
SUMMARY: Scully and Marsh defy fate and the forces of darkness to celebrate their love. Spoilers for Requiem
5:50 am, EST
"Are you sure you should be doing that?"
"Marsh, honey," Scully said with soft amusement, "It's only been a month. We don't even know for sure yet." She continued to stroke Marsh's abdomen, pushing the sheet lower with each downward motion of her hand. Marsh was propped up next to her in bed, both of them naked, warm and lazy in the early morning light.
"I know that, but I just have a feeling," Marsh remarked, worry warring with desire. She shifted slightly so that they faced each other on their sides, raising one knee to allow Scully's hand to drift lower toward the ache between her legs. She dipped her head and kissed along the edge of Scully's left shoulder and collarbone, ending at the soft fragile triangle at the base of her throat. "I just feel it."
Scully brushed the dark strands of hair from Marsh's cheek, smiling at her lover's handsome profile. Her rational mind told her that was nonsense. Even if they had been lucky enough to be successful with their first attempt, there was no way she should be having any physical signs this early. Nothing that Marsh would pick up on. Silly. Superstitious.
"I feel it, too," Scully whispered.
In the next instant, Scully pushed Marsh over onto her back and slid on top of her, insinuating one leg between Marsh's, nestling her breasts against Marsh's chest, both hands cradling Marsh's face. She gazed deep into those fathomless gray eyes, finding what she always sought - love, acceptance, and safety. And this morning, the smoky haze of want as well. "And even if you're right, it still doesn't mean you have to treat me like an invalid. For god's sakes, Marshall, you're a doctor! We're both doctors. You know damn well that being pregnant is not a disease. I'll be fine."
Marsh looked back at her, not saying what she could barely stand to think about. What would this pregnancy do to Dana's health? What about that strange cancer Dana had told her about, and the even stranger reason that it had gone into remission? What if it wasn't completely gone? Or what if it was merely dormant, waiting for some disruption in the delicate balance of Dana's internal equilibrium to assert itself once again? Would this demand on her system, for which the female body was normally so uniquely constructed, somehow incite rebellion within the altered state of Dana's immune system? Had they been hasty, perhaps even unwise, in pursuing this pregnancy, ignoring the fact that it could actually be dangerous?
She couldn't say these things, because it was done. She could not share these fears, because it would not help her lover. She would not add to what must certainly be the natural uncertainty of pregnancy with questions neither of them could answer. But still fear curled like a living beast within her belly, and sometimes when she looked at Dana, she had to fight for breath, because the thought of losing her was worse than death. She was scared, terrified, and she had no one to tell.
"Believe me, Dr. Scully, no one would ever mistake you for infirm," she said with a faint grin. She wrapped her arms around Scully's back and pulled her close. Their bodies fit perfectly, as if a visceral memory of the hundreds of times they had lain together, and loved together, brought them into effortless union. Now when they made love, passion still blazed brightly, rising from the solid bank of embers long tended and inextinguishable. But the heat never completely disappeared, glowing warm at the center of their lives, forged by the strength of their commitment. Marsh closed her eyes and let that fire purge her fears.
"You don't actually think we're going to stop making love, do you? For nine months??" Scully murmured, her lips close to Marsh's ear. As she spoke, her fingers traveled through the warm, damp curls at the base of Marsh's belly, finding her aroused and throbbing. She grasped her clit delicately with two fingers, squeezing just hard enough to make Marsh groan. "Marsh?"
"Unnh," Marsh croaked, her mind collapsing into pure sensation somewhere far south of her reasoning centers. "What?"
Scully grinned and licked Marsh's neck. Slowly, she slid her fingertips up and down the length of her, and was rewarded immediately with a quickening in Marsh's heartbeat and a catch in her already rapid breathing. "You may be able to wait," she whispered, trapping Marsh's leg between her own, pressing herself hard against the taut muscle of Marsh's thigh. Her own breath caught in her throat. "But I can't."
Marsh managed to turn without dislodging Scully's exquisite hold on her, and slid her fingers between Scully's legs. She mirrored Scully's motion, returning pleasure for pleasure. "Okay, you first."
Scully's eyes clouded at the instant surge of exquisitely pleasurable pressure, then she shook her head. "Uh huh. You." Her words were nearly groans.
Their faces were very close, eyes locked, blue bleeding into gray, their lips barely touching. Marsh trailed her tongue slowly over Scully's lower lip. Scully sucked the tip of it into her mouth. Their fingers never stopped stroking. They watched each other, teasing, pushing, pulling each other closer.
One finger inside, two, thumbs pressing, circling -- firmer, faster.
Legs twitching, hips pumping, bellies knotting. Sweat mingling on skin shining with the flush of love.
"Now?" A hint of desperation.
"Oh, fuck -- yeah." Voice breaking on a moan.
They pressed closer, clutching desperately, every surface touching, palms cupped over hot wet pulsating folds and firm slick ridges. Breathless, blind -- soaring on pure sensation. Beyond words, beyond sound -- to a place where every question was answered and every dream fulfilled. Finally - floating, resting - content. With the return of consciousness came soft murmurs, quiet kisses, easy languid caresses. A shifting of thigh, a faint sigh.
Marsh ended up on her back, Scully in her arms, a familiar position. The position they fell asleep in. She ran the fingers of her right hand through the silky hair at the base of Scully's neck. Without meaning to, she felt the tiny ridge of scar tissue over the small oblong fragment of metal, almost close enough to the surface for her to grasp. The image of the Xray was crystal clear in her mind. That crisp, clean foreign object embedded over the skull of the woman she loved. That _thing_ that someone -- something -- had put there. To do what? To cure her? Or to destroy her?
"Are you going to worry the entire time?" Scully asked quietly.
Marsh jumped, her fingers flying from the scar guiltily. "No."
Scully turned her face to kiss the ridge of Marsh's collarbone. "Liar."
Marsh smiled. "I have to do something. I'm a surgeon, remember?"
Scully ran her hand over the small incision at the base of Marsh's smooth belly, envisioning the pink line in her mind. She thought of the medications to induce superovulation Marsh had endured. Her stubborn lover who wouldn't even take an aspirin after having been kidnapped and tortured. She remembered standing beside Marsh's still, sedated body while the fertility specialist introduced the laparoscope to harvest the ripened follicles and capture the eggs they would need to fertilize with the donor sperm. "You did plenty."
"Uh uh," Marsh said with true conviction. "You're getting the worst part of this deal!"
Scully smiled. She was well aware that her tough, highly capable lover found the idea of being pregnant only slightly less horrifying than the thought of alien abduction. She didn't bother trying to explain how incredibly fulfilling the experience would be for her. But she also couldn't help seeing the masked and gowned figures standing under the harsh glare of the OR lights as they invaded Marsh's body with instruments and probes, taking those unique bits of humanity from her, stealing her genetic legacy. No matter that she and Marsh had done it willingly. For a brief instant she had wanted to scream, "No! Stop! Leave her alone!"
She might have done just that if she hadn't had a sudden clear vision of Marsh's grin just before the anesthetist pushed the drug into her arm, and heard her whisper so only Scully could hear, "Here we go, love. Time for us to make a baby."
Scully's eyes filled with tears, and they escaped before she could catch them. Marsh stiffened instantly as the warm droplets fell onto her chest. Her arm tightened around Scully's shoulders, pulling her closer into the curve of her body.
"Dana," she said softly. "I love you with all my heart. Your carrying this baby, nurturing it with your blood and your spirit, that is a gift you give to me. I have just as much to be grateful for as you."
Scully edged up on top of her until she was lying along her length, looking down into her eyes. Tears still shimmered on her lashes, but she was smiling. "I'll remind you of that when you need to make a midnight run for some exotic food I can't live without."
Marsh smiled back, her fears for the moment eclipsed by the glow in Scully's face. "Deal. Now -- I suggest you move if you'd like to be on time for work."
Scully nudged her leg between Marsh's as she glanced at the clock. She knew her lover. They had time.
9:22 AM, EST
"Little twerp," Scully seethed as she stalked about the office. She couldn't believe she'd actually told him about her abduction, and what they had done to her. She definitely wasn't herself these days.
Mulder watched, a wry grin on his face. When he spoke, however, there was no humor in his voice. "I see you enjoyed the little man with the calculator, too."
"I can't believe I had to sit there and justify my work, and explain my life, to some -- some pencil pusher -- who has no concept of what we do." She stood staring at the UFO poster on the office wall, thinking back over the last seven years. She was still sometimes stunned by the directions her life had taken. Professionally, she was light years away from the forensic pathology lab she had expected to inhabit. She had a partner who irritated and amazed her by turns. He was much more than an associate, and closer to her than her own family. She, who had always been the star, excelling in medical school, finishing near the top of her class at Quantico, suddenly found herself fighting for the right to continue her work. If that weren't enough, in the midst of alien conspiracies and more than one threat to her life, she had fallen in love - with a woman no less. A woman who now occupied the center of her existence, without whose love she could not imagine continuing. Along the way someone had invaded her body and stolen a fundamental part of her, denying her the ability to bear children. She and Marsh were taking that back.
She turned and looked at Mulder, her eyes flashing. She would not let anyone take any more. "They've tried to shut us down before, and it won't work this time either."
Mulder studied her with quiet concentration. It was very unlike his cool, composed partner to lose her temper. Come to think of it, she had been on edge for weeks. He knew her well enough by now to know that she would tell him what she could, when she could, but he was tempted to ask anyway. He was saved from possible bodily harm by the ringing of the phone.
She was literally up to her elbows in blood. The helicopter had brought in two boys, neither of them yet 20, who had flipped their motorcycle and become airborne over the median strip, landing in oncoming traffic. One of them had been dead at the scene. The second, the one she was working on now, had been unresponsive en route with the paramedics doing CPR in the chopper. The minute they landed in the trauma bay, she had opened his chest, stuck her hand into the cavity while pushing the partially deflated left lung aside, and grabbed the aorta just as it made its turn to descend along the spine into the abdomen. She squeezed as hard as she could, essentially blocking blood flow to everything below his diaphragm. It wasn't particularly healthy for his intestines and kidneys and lower extremities to be deprived of blood, but it was much less healthy for his brain to be without oxygen. Her maneuver would force every bit of blood his heart could manage to pump up into his head, where hopefully the brain would be perfused well enough to survive while she and her team attempted to resuscitate him. Even as she was slashing a 10 inch hole in his chest, she was directing the other two physicians and four nurses simultaneously. Their movements were as choreographed as any ballet troupe as they moved around and over each other performing the tasks they had enacted together so many times before. If they were to be successful, they had perhaps 10 minutes. Time was on their side because he was young.
"Dr. Black!" A voice called across the harshly lit trauma receiving area. "Can you come to the phone?"
Marsh merely grinned grimly at the absurdity of it all. "Will somebody please find me the vascular clamp so I can get my hand out of here?" she said to no one in particular. Miraculously, the 12 inch curved, finely-serrated clamp emerged between the multitude of arms surrounding the boy's upper body, and she grasped it gratefully. It took her only a second to cinch it down over the huge artery. She called over her shoulder, "Just take a message, Sandy. I'm in the middle of things here."
"It's Dr. Scully," the ward clerk responded pointedly.
For one brief instant Marsh's attention was torn from the scene in front of her. The staff in her unit knew to inform her when her lover called, because Dana almost never called unless it was important. A second's distraction to wonder if there was a problem, to feel the fist of worry knot in her stomach, was all she had time for, because the blood pressure readout on the monitor above the stainless-steel stretcher was nose-diving towards zero. Whatever Dana needed to tell her, it would have to wait. She could only hope it wasn't anything serious, because she didn't even have time to reply.
It didn't take them ten minutes. His pressure came up with the blood they were pumping into the large veins under his clavicles, his heart rate stabilized, and he was transported to the OR where the damage could be identified and hopefully repaired. Maybe he'd survive if his brain cells were still viable and his lungs didn't fill with fluid, and his kidneys kept filtering the poisons from his system. She had done what she could.
She walked to the nearest wallphone and dialed the direct line to Scully's office. No answer. She looked for Sandy and didn't see her. She crossed the litter-strewn trauma bay, avoiding the pools of blood and cast off equipment wrappers, rooted around on the long counter that served as a desk, and found a coffee-stained, crumpled pink slip of paper.
_Dr. Scully called. No message_
Marsh sighed. She thought for a second, then dialed her home number. She punched in the endless series of prompts to get to her messages, glancing at the clock. They would need her upstairs in the OR in a minute. Finally, a familiar voice spoke from her voice mail.
"Honey. Mulder and I got called out unexpectedly and we're flying to Oregon. I'll probably be gone a few days. I'll call you as soon as I can. I love you."
Marsh felt the familiar swell of anxiety she always experienced when Dana was away on a case. It was useless to tell herself that Dana would be fine, because she hadn't been fine too many times for her to count. Mulder was there with her, and she had accepted that she must trust him to really be there if Dana needed him. Jesus, she hated this. And now, with the baby---
She dropped the phone in the cradle as the loud-speaker blared:
Dr. Black, STAT, OR three! Dr. Black STAT
She was already running, pushing her fears to the back of her mind. Until later.
Marsh rolled over in the dark and reached for the bedside phone. "Black," she said through a throat raspy with fatigue.
Marsh lay back on her narrow on-call room bed with a smile, the tight band of tension in her chest easing instantly. She didn't bother with a light. "Hey yourself."
"Did I wake you?" Scully knew how hard it was to get any rest in the hospital. Even when the phone wasn't ringing there was always that underlying edge of nervous anticipation, waiting for the next emergency, that never quite went away.
"No," Marsh replied. *I always have trouble sleeping without you. Especially when I know you're far away.*
"Rough day?" She could hear the weariness in Marsh's voice.
"The usual." Marsh didn't see any point in telling her about the kid that almost made it. "Where are you?"
"Bellefleur, Oregon. Pine cone center of the universe."
"What are you doin' there?" Marsh laughed.
There was silence on the line for an instant, and she knew that Dana was trying to decide how much to tell her. Not a good sign. "Dana?"
"There have been some disappearances. We're looking into them." Her voice was careful and noncommittal. It wasn't a matter of security. Marsh's clearance level was almost as high as her own. It was because she knew damn well if she breathed the word abduction, Marsh would never get any sleep. And probably spend the entire time she was gone distracted and on edge.
Marsh knew that Mulder and Dana did not fly across the country on a simple missing persons case. They were not that kind of FBI. "Should I worry?" she said lightly, trying not to sound too anxious.
Scully heard it any way. She sighed. So much for secrets. Damn, she hated what this did to Marsh. To be fair, if the situation were reversed, she'd probably feel the same way. "I don't think so. It's a bit weird, because we've been here before. It was our first case together, in fact. But I have a feeling that whatever has happened here is mostly over. We'll probably look around a bit tomorrow, and then give it back to the locals. I'll be fine."
"Okay," Marsh said, although for some reason her uneasiness persisted. There was something in Dana's voice that sounded less certain that her words. "Are you sure you're all right?"
Scully leaned back on the pillows, still in the suit she had traveled in, and thought about the disorienting sensations that had floated at the edges of her consciousness all day. Like an elusive memory that nearly formed, then fluttered away. She shook her head impatiently. It was probably just the strangeness of seeing Billy Miles and the other abductees all grown up, and being back in the place where it had all started. She and Mulder, so new to each other then, still wary and more than a bit suspicious. Her own certainty that everything could be explained by science and reason, given enough time and enough information. She almost laughed out loud. God, how naive she had been! She had had plenty of time, and more than enough experiences in the last seven years, and she still couldn't be certain of anything except the fact that she trusted Mulder and that Marsh loved her. Perhaps that was more than most people could say.
She listened to the sound of Marsh's slow steady breathing from three thousand miles away and wished she could hold her. "I miss you," she said unexpectedly. She hadn't meant to say that. It was always true, but she had learned to live with the separations, and tried not to let the loneliness seep into their conversations. It didn't help either of them.
"Me, too," Marsh said softly.
"Oh, yeah?" Scully rejoined, closing her eyes, picturing Marsh in her navy blue scrubs in the small on-call room at the other end of the hallway from the trauma unit. "How much?"
"Pretty much," Marsh answered, her voice dropping lower with the faint stirring of longing. Scully's face shown in her mind, azure eyes sparkling, her full lips parted in welcome.
"Want some company for a while?" Scully offered. They hadn't done it much, but sometimes it was just too hard to say goodnight, because it was really goodbye, and there were times when that was too frightening to contemplate.
"You know what I'd like?" Marsh said softly.
"I'd like you to lie down with me."
"Is that all?" Scully teased.
"No," Marsh admitted, "but it's always the best part."
Scully caught her breath. Sometimes she loved her so much it hurt. "Move over then," she whispered.
Marsh shifted toward the wall, making room on the outer half of the bed, turning slightly on her side with the phone cradled on the pillow near her ear. "Do you have enough room?"
"Just let me get a little closer," Scully said. "If you move your arm just a bit, I can get my head on your shoulder."
Marsh complied, feeling her there just as she had less than twenty-four hours ago. Her skin flushed with the memory. "Better already," she sighed.
"Umm," Scully agreed, envisioning the tousled dark hair, the commanding features, the long, lean form. Her fingertips tingled in anticipation of the soft, warm skin. "It'd be even better if you'd help me with the damn tie on those scrubs. You know how I am with my left hand."
Marsh laughed softly as she pulled the knot loose at her waist, tugging the shirt bottom free, baring her abdomen for the touch she knew so well. "I've never had any complaint about either hand."
Scully smiled as her hand sought flesh, found it, stroked lightly. Muscles fluttered beneath her teasing touch. She heard the slight catch in Marsh's breathing. "Don't be in a hurry," she warned gently.
"Me?" Marsh rejoined, shifting slightly, one knee bent, making it easier for fingers to drift lower. She swallowed, waiting. "Never."
But they both felt the heat and the urgency. Scully shivered although the room was warm, that heavy heat so common to motel rooms. She sighed, and heard the echo over the line as she discovered pools of hidden moisture, thick and rich -- ready. The long gliding caresses were a momentary panacea for the loneliness and the fatigue.
They knew each other's touch as their own, and their own as the other's. Through space, across miles, past uncertainty and beyond fear, they soothed the aches and tendered to the wounds with each soft murmur of knowing and every small cry of connection. They were as close as they could be, sharing sensations so familiar that there was no ending of one, nor beginning of the other. Without conscious thought, their movements found the same pace, the same rhythm - their heartbeats synchronized and their breath flowed together on long sighs. Muscles tightened, legs stretched, and hips strained -- as attuned as any two lovers in one another's arms.
"Hold me tight." A plea half-sobbed in the last second of awareness.
"Oh, baby -- always."
Marsh felt Scully's lips softly on her cheek, her hands gently leading her to safety, and the sensation that flooded her was peace. Across a continent, Dana Scully smiled as her body lifted to join her lovers and she knew with absolute certainty where her heart belonged.
"Marsh?" she said quietly after a moment.
"Hmm," came the still breathless reply.
"Put down the phone and go to sleep -- while I'm still there with you."
"I love you, Dana," Marsh said as she turned to hang up the receiver.
"I love you, too, Marsh," Scully whispered back as she did the same.
Marsh fell asleep almost at once. Scully rolled over, glanced at the clock and sighed. She needed to shower and to try to sleep. Mulder would no doubt want to be up and looking for witnesses at dawn's early light. Despite the uneasy feeling she'd had all day, she didn't really expect they'd find anything. They hadn't seven years ago. Still, they had to be sure. She had to be sure. Because it had all started here, somehow, and if there was an answer anywhere, it would be here. Now, more than ever, she needed those answers.
She stubbornly ignored the unfamiliar weakness in her legs as she gathered her things for the shower, and refused to think about the dizziness that was becoming more and more apparent with each step. It was jet lag.
Mulder sat on top of the covers on his not quite double-sized motel room bed in Bellefleur, Oregon, sorting through photos of Ray Hosey's body. He was the missing deputy in question and these photos had been supplied by his wife, who purported that they showed signs of Ray's previous abductions. She was convinced he had been taken again. Mulder was inclined to agree. He was just beginning to study the scars on the man's neck when there was a knock at his door. He glanced up in surprise.
"Who is it?" he called.
When he opened he door, Scully stood there, pale and shaking. Worse than that, even, she looked scared.
"Jesus, Scully, what's wrong? You look sick," he asked, taking her arm and leading her into the room.
She looked slightly confused, almost dazed. "I don't know what's wrong. I don't feel well. I was getting ready for bed and all of a sudden I got dizzy. Vertigo or something. Then I started to get chills."
She was trembling. Mulder couldn't ever remember her looking quite so vulnerable. He urged her to lie down, holding the covers up for her to scoot under, and then tucked the patterned comforter around her. "Should I call a doctor?"
"No, I just need to get warm." She rolled onto her side and clutched the pillow, hugging it to herself. This didn't feel like anything she had ever experienced before. Her body felt like someone else's, light and heavy by turns. She was afraid parts of her were going to start flying about the room. She shuddered and swallowed a moan.
Mulder stood by the side of the bed, fighting the panic. Something was really wrong. He was starting to feel sick just from seeing her like this. "How about Marsh? Should I get her on the phone?"
That roused her from her drug-like torpor. "God, no! She'd probably insist on flying out here."
*Uh huh. Sounds like a good plan to me* He didn't say that though. He just laid down beside her and draped an arm around her shoulders. He could at least share his body heat. He wondered if any of this was due to the strange forces at work in Bellefleur. Even the air here seemed to tingle with something otherworldly. And it wasn't a nice feeling. "Maybe you should go home in the morning, Scully."
"I'll be fine, Mulder," she said, trying to keep her teeth from chattering. "Soon as I get warm."
He wrapped himself around her, his cheek coming to rest near hers. For the first time in his memory, she seemed fragile. Even standing beside her ICU bed, nearly three years before, watching her struggle with cancer, he hadn't had this sense of her mortality. He had been more arrogant then, more certain of the rightness of his quest. He had believed that there were answers, and that he would find them. He had believed that he could save her. In the end, he hadn't really been the one who provided the mysterious chip that cured her. The chip that he knew was still buried in the tissues of her neck. One man he couldn't trust had led him to it, and another he hated had convinced him to give it to her. He had only been the messenger, and most of the time he had only brought her pain.
"It's not worth it, Scully," he said almost to himself.
"What?" she asked, not understanding.
He thought of all she had lost - her sister Melissa; Emily - the little girl that might have been her child; her ability to have others; and most of all, her youthful certainty that there was order and honor in the universe. He still had such a clear image of her holding the Hosey baby that afternoon. How beautiful the two of them had been. The child so innocent, and Scully's face so peaceful. If this place and what was happening here was going to demand something else of her, he wanted her to go home. Enough was enough.
He told her so. "Maybe the FBI is right, but for all the wrong reasons. The personal costs are too high. There's so much more you have to do in your life. There has to be an end, Scully."
He kissed her cheek, and held her tight, and she smiled through her discomfort. What a time for him to bring this up. Or maybe it was exactly the right time. She had wondered when, and how, she would tell him. Lying here, with his arms around her, seemed perfect.
"Hmm?" he murmured against her cheek, almost asleep himself.
"I think I'm pregnant."
His eyes flew open, and he jumped involuntarily. "Could you repeat that please?"
He had thought that nothing could shock him as much as the moment when she had told him that she and Marshall Black were lovers, but he had been wrong. For a second, he couldn't breathe. "How? Who? When?" he finally croaked.
She laughed weakly, keeping her back to him but welcoming the comforting warmth of his embrace. "The who doesn't matter so much except that it's Marsh's egg, and I've been carrying it for over five weeks. I didn't want to say anything until I was sure, but --"
"Holy god," he breathed, the words a true benediction.
His first reaction after amazement was joy, and then, surprisingly, sadness. They had been together so long, and shared so much. Lives had been saved and destroyed during that time, their own among them. Each time he thought it was over, the two of them had fought their way back, rising stronger and surer because they fought together. He depended on her - for support, for encouragement, for courage itself. He needed her. And he loved her.
And she was well and truly gone.
Somewhere, deep inside, he supposed he had always harbored the fantasy that she would leave Marsh, and maybe there'd be a chance for him. He wasn't particularly proud of that fact, and the only thing he could say in his own defense was that he would have felt the same way if Marsh had been a man. It wasn't Scully's choice of a woman as her lover that he resisted, but that it wasn't him. Oh sure, as the years had passed, even before Marshall Black came along and stole Scully's heart, he had known it wasn't meant to be. Neither he nor Scully had been willing to take the step that would change everything between them. It wasn't cowardice so much as honesty. They loved each other, but their destiny was not to be lovers, but mates none the less. Bonded in some deep way by their quest, and the price it exacted from them.
Still, in a small corner of his heart, he had hoped.
"Mulder?" Scully queried softly, wondering at his stillness, and his silence.
He cleared his throat. "I'm so happy for you, Dana. For you - and Marsh."
She turned her head, but couldn't quite see his face where he lay with his front along her back. There was something in his voice, though. "Are you upset?"
He gave her a squeeze. "No. Just shocked speechless. It's the last thing I expected."
Scully pregnant. Scully a mother. Jesus. He tried to imagine it. He could, so easily, remembering the soft contentment in her eyes when she held Theresa Hosey's baby that morning. So natural, so right. And he couldn't imagine it at all. Was he going to lose her now? Really lose her? Would she quit the Bureau? He had a feeling that Marsh would want her to. He'd want her to if she were his wife. Oh, yeah -- and she'd go along with that, too. Sure. Uh huh. Oh boy.
He laughed softly.
"What," she asked again, finally starting to feel warm.
"How's Marsh taking it?"
Scully chuckled fondly. "Does the term 'controlled panic' bring anything to mind?"
"That's what I figured," he responded. Suddenly serious, he said, "That's all the more reason you're going home in the morning, Scully."
"Forget it, Mulder. I'll be fine." And with that, she cuddled a little closer, closed her eyes, and went to sleep. He lay awake quite a bit longer, thinking about all the things in his life that might have been.
Mulder grabbed the phone while he pulled at the zipper of his fly.
"Mulder," he said, the receiver cradled between shoulder and ear. He scrabbled on the dresser with one hand, looking for his wallet and keys.
"Mulder, where's Dana?"
He stopped his hectic search and sat down on the side of the bed. "She's probably in her cabin--"
"I just called there."
"-- in the shower."
"What's wrong?" Marsh said quietly, almost breathless with the quick surge of fear that seized her heart. If Dana hadn't been in her room ten minutes ago, and she was now, then she had spent the night with Mulder. And if she had done that, she was in trouble. "Is she hurt?"
Damn. Why was he always having this conversation with her? Because it kept happening, that's why. No wonder Marsh was always worried. Scully and he had seen more than their share of danger. "She's not hurt. She's okay. Call her again in a minute and she'll fill you in."
He hoped that would satisfy her. Yeah, right.
"What happened last night?"
He hung his head. Stared at his shoes. Cursed under his breath. "She didn't feel well. Just a little touch of something, I don't know. Flu or something. She fell asleep over here and I thought she should sleep so I didn't wake her."
Marsh figured that was true. Mulder had never lied to her. He didn't always tell her everything, but that was Mulder. There was more, she was sure, but she wouldn't find out from him.
"Will you do something for me, Mulder?" she asked softly.
"Will you make her come home if she's in danger?" Marsh swallowed. The words were hard to say because the thought terrified her. "Please."
He nodded, because the thought terrified him, too. "I will."
"Thanks. I'll try to catch her in her room then."
He said goodbye, and grabbed the rest of things. He wondered why Marsh had asked him that. All they were planning on doing was looking around in the woods for the possible UFO crash site. It would be broad daylight. What could possibly happen?
12:32 am EST
Scully let herself quietly into Marsh's apartment, depositing luggage, clothes and shoes by the door. It had been a hellish day and a half. The flu, which was how she insisted on referring to it, had not let up, and she had actually fainted out in the forest where Gary, another missing Bellefleur resident, had last been seen. If she hadn't stubbornly refused, Mulder would have dragged her to the hospital immediately, or at the very least, to the airport. Her will had prevailed, however, and they remained another day to finish interviews, all of which had yielded nothing. If there was something out there, they hadn't found more than a few toxic waste spots to show for it. By then, of course, Skinner had gotten wind of their adventures and had informed them in no uncertain terms that they were to be on the next flight back to DC. So, weary, dejected, and no closer to an answer as to the location, or even the existence, of the UFO, they had stumbled home.
She hadn't wanted to think too much about what had really happened to her out there in those woods. She preferred to think it was just a remnant of whatever twenty-four hour bug had affected her the previous night. She remembered quite clearly the sensation of vertigo, although it had been more than simple dizziness. She'd actually felt her entire body spinning. It was as if some powerful force had been tugging at her. And that's what really terrified her. This had something to do with the abductions in Bellefleur seven years ago, and her own disappearance on Skyland Mountain. The thought that the abductees were being taken again was almost more than she could bear. And now it wasn't just her own personal safety at stake. There was Marsh to think about, and their child. Through the confusion and the physical discomfort, one emotion was crystal clear, however. Anger. She would not be a victim of this malevolent force again, and neither would anyone else if she could possibly help it. She would find out what was happening. But just at this moment all she wanted was Marsh.
"I'm so glad to be home," she whispered as she crawled into bed beside Marsh, settling into the curves of her body with a small sigh.
Marsh brushed a kiss across Scully's forehead, nestling her face into the soft reddish strands of hair beneath her cheek. "Not half as much as I am to have you here."
Marsh's arm came around her, one hand softly stroking the length of her arm. Scully knew Marsh had been lying awake waiting for her. For a few moments, they lay in silence in the moonlit room. Scully relaxed into her, welcoming her warmth and familiarity. She rested her cheek in the curve of Marsh's neck and shoulder, laying her right hand on Marsh's abdomen. Aimlessly, she traced her fingers over the smooth skin and taut muscles. She listened to the steady reassuring rhythm of Marsh's heart, closed her eyes, and tried to let go of all the fear and uncertainty of the last few days.
"Do you want to talk?" Marsh asked gently into the darkness.
Marsh nodded silently, continuing her soft caresses. At length she said quietly, "It was really hard this time. I don't know why, but the entire time you were gone I had this feeling that you were in danger. I could almost feel it." She swept her hand down Scully's back, almost as if reassuring herself that Scully was solid, and real. "Are you all right?"
"I am now," Scully whispered. She threw one leg over Marsh's with a sigh. "I love you so much."
"I love you," Marsh murmured, the hand that had been stroking Scully's side sliding up to cup her breast, the weight of it a comfort in her palm.
Scully watched the patterns of light and shadow dance across the ceiling from the moonlight filtering through the open window blinds. She thought about how much her life had changed since Marsh had come to offer her what she hadn't realized she had been missing all those long, lonely years. Comfort and understanding and passion, and the security that comes from knowing that it will all be there the next day. She had found a home in Marsh's heart, and together they had made a life. And now, there was life within her.
"I want this baby so much," she finally admitted, holding onto Marsh even tighter, as if by saying it she could do some harm. "I want your baby, our baby. I want this child so much."
Marsh's eyes filled with tears, and she struggled to find her voice. "I know you do, and so do I. It will be a beautiful child, and it will be ours. I can't imagine wanting or loving anything more - except you."
Scully envisioned what would happen inside her body over the next few months. Despite the fact that she was a physician, it was still a miracle too huge to really contemplate. To discover that she would be able to experience that miracle, when for so long she thought it would be denied her, was a gift beyond description. She smiled. Marsh always seemed to be able to discern her needs, even when she couldn't verbalize them herself. "Are you very tired?"
She sensed Marsh's answering smile, and felt the quickening of the pulse that beat under her cheek.
"Not anymore," Marsh replied, shifting and gently turning Scully onto her back. "Why don't you let me put you to sleep."
Scully thought to protest for an instant. It was so hard for her to let anyone take care of her, even Marsh, even now. But Marsh's lips were already kissing her eyelids closed, and with a sigh she allowed herself to be attended.
She floated in that half-awake, half-asleep state of utter relaxation, underlain with whispers of arousal. Her mind emptied of every thought, drifting along the edges of consciousness, roused now and then by some burning point of pleasure that demanded her attention. She languidly stroked her fingers through Marsh's thick hair as Marsh softly sucked one nipple, aware of fatigue being eclipsed by desire. She wasn't tired any longer.
"Bite it," Scully murmured, her voice low and husky. She pressed Marsh's face harder against her breast, a soft moan escaping as Marsh teased her with her teeth. She grasped the curls in her fist and drew Marsh to her other nipple, needing to feel her there, too.
Marsh followed Scully's lead, using her lips and tongue on Scully's breasts and belly, one hand smoothing down over the still flat abdomen, along the curve of hip, tracing the muscles in her thigh. As she drew her fingers slowly up the inside of Scully's leg, the fingers in her hair pushed her head lower. Marsh grinned, moving downward, but stopping at Scully's navel. She caught the edge in her teeth, tugging lightly until she heard Scully gasp. Then she soothed the tiny point of pain with her tongue.
"I'm awake now," Scully whispered.
Marsh drew her fingers up into warm, waiting moisture. "I noticed."
"Do it now," Scully said softly, stretching her legs, arching her hips in invitation. "But do it slow."
Some things should be savored. And Marsh did. Scully's body surged beneath her hands, and in her mouth, and under her tongue, but she took her time. She felt the blood pulsing against her lips and around her fingers, beating at her with urgent pleas, but she held back -- licking softly, stroking slowly, deep long strokes that stoked the fire in Scully's belly until she was whimpering.
Scully's fingers dug into Marsh's arms, her thighs tightened against Marsh's shoulders, and she gasped, "Soon. Don't stop."
In answer, Marsh took her clit lightly between her teeth, flicked at the tip with her tongue, and let her hand lie still within, waiting for the contractions to begin. When the first faint spasms flickered around her fingers, she sucked harder, pressed deeper, and pushed Scully with the unerring certainty that comes with intimate knowledge to the edge and beyond.
7:59 am EST
Despite falling asleep almost instantly in Marsh's arms, she hadn't slept well. Her dreams had been restless and filled with shadows. She had no appetite, in fact the very thought of food left her feeling a little ill, and to top it all off, she was going to be late for work. She adjusted the holster on the waist band of her skirt while shrugging into her jacket with practiced efficiency. She scooped up her ID and turned to leave the bedroom. Marsh was standing in the doorway, one shoulder braced against the frame, in a pose that never failed to remind Scully of the way she had looked when they first met. Tall, solemn, darkly attractive. Seeing her like this, even after two years, never failed to set her heart to beating faster. The sight of her somehow reminded her of everything that was important in her life, and all the things that weren't. Judging by the contemplative look on Marsh's face, Scully knew she had something on her mind.
"Are you sure you don't want to try a little toast?"
Scully smiled faintly before shaking her head no. "I'll eat later if I get hungry."
Marsh merely nodded, knowing that there was no point in insisting. While lying in bed that morning, Marsh had finally gotten her to admit that she had fainted out in the woods, but she couldn't talk her into going to the hospital, even for a simple blood test. Dana had insisted that it was just a little touch of the flu and that she was feeling better already. Unfortunately, she didn't look like she was feeling any better. She was still pale, with shadows under her eyes. It was way too early in her pregnancy for her to be this ill. Marsh was willing to give it another day, but after that they were going to have to find out what was really going on.
Scully watched the emotion play across her lover's face. She recognized the shadow of the fear in Marsh's dark eyes. She would give anything to ease that worry, except check into the hospital. She had nearly died there, twice. She had been treated to within an inch of her life with poisons they had kindly called medicine and well-intentioned therapies that had weakened her physically and almost taken her will to survive. She wanted to survive now, for herself, and for Marsh, and for their child. She just couldn't let them probe her and study her again.
"It's not as bad as you imagine," she said lightly. "I haven't adjusted to the cross-country travel very well, but I'm really okay."
Marsh didn't say anything, but Scully saw the look of disbelief in her eyes. She walked across the room, all thought of work erased by her need to comfort Marsh. To make it all right, for both of them. She threaded her arms around Marsh's slim waist, and rested her head against Marsh's shoulder. For a moment she let herself draw strength from Marsh's constancy. One thing in the shifting landscape of reality that she could be absolutely sure of was that Marsh would be there.
"I know you're worried," Scully said softly, "and I love you for it. I promise you I won't do anything to put myself or the baby at risk. Trust me. I want this baby almost as much as I want you, and I want you more than anything in my life."
Marsh let her hands play gently up-and-down Scully's arms, then kissed the top of her head. She felt Scully's heart beat against her chest, and sensed the whisper of warm breath against her neck. It was at once the most comforting and the most exciting sensation she had ever known. "I'm sorry. It scares me when you look so ill. I do trust you. I just love you so damn much."
Scully leaned back, stared into Marsh's eyes and read that mixture of need and desire that was always there, simmering below the surface. She grasped the back of Marsh's neck with one hand, and pulled her head down into a fierce kiss. It was not her usual 'I'll see you tonight' kind of kiss. It was the kind of kiss that said 'You are the most important thing in my life, and don't ever forget it'.
When she lifted her lips away, both of them were breathing hard.
"Well," Scully said just a bit unsteadily. "I'm feeling better."
And then she was gone, and Marsh was left standing in the doorway, her body on fire, a wry grin on her face. It was going to be an awfully long nine months.
8:52 am EST
"Mulder?" Scully asked, her voice a mixture of surprise and concern.
ADA Skinner stood talking to Mulder. Her first instinct was to draw her gun and train it on the man next to Skinner. Alex Krycek had been on the wrong side of too many fights in the past for her to ever trust him. But Mulder waved her off.
"What's going on?" she asked as she joined them. She was careful not to turn her back on either the darkly handsome, but sinister Krycek or his beautiful companion, Marita Covarrubias.
Mulder told her what Krycek had just told him. That the alien ship was out there in the forest in Bellefleur, and that it wouldn't be there long. It was hard to believe, but no longer impossible. She had seen the evidence herself.
"How do we find it?" she asked, never doubting for a second that they would go after it. This was a war they had been fighting too long to stop now.
Mulder grinned, that grin he got when he had seen the enemy, and felt the first stir of battle-lust. "We get some help from our friends."
Hours later they stood crowded around the conference table in Skinner's office while Byers pointed to an aerial surveillance map with satisfaction. "There it is. It's cloaked in some kind of energy field, which is why we've never been able to see them. They've probably been coming and going undetected for years."
"But why is it still there?" Scully asked.
"Because they're not finished yet," Mulder said grimly.
"Finished with what?" she asked, but her stomach clenched even as she spoke the words. She knew.
"They're collecting the rest of the abductees. The proof," Mulder uttered bitterly. "I don't know why, but that's what they're doing."
Scully turned without a word and walked out into the deserted hall. Mulder followed a moment later.
"Scully?" he asked in concern. "What is it?"
"Mulder, if any of this is true, we can't let that ship leave."
His face was more remote than she had ever seen it. "If it is or if it isn't, I want you to forget about it, Scully.
"What are you talking about?" she asked in exasperation.
He shook his head, ignoring the quick flash of resistance in her eyes. "No, Scully, not you. They're taking abductees, Scully, and you're an abductee. I can't let you risk it. I can't risk losing you."
She studied him, absorbing his words, seeing the sorrow in his eyes. She glimpsed shadows of the passionate, driven man he had been seven years ago. He too had lost much during their time together. He had lost the hope that he would find his sister, and lost faith in the very proof they were about to find, and worst of all, he had lost the certainty that his path had been worth the sacrifice. They were so near the end now. So near what they had searched for against all odds.
"I can't let you go alone," she whispered.
7:35 pm EST
Memorial Hospital, Washington, DC
Marsh was dictating charts when Scully entered her office unexpectedly, and unannounced, in the middle of the day. The look on Scully's face brought her to her feet, and around the desk before Scully had motioned her to stop.
"What's happened?" Marsh asked quietly, knowing already it was bad. Dana had that hard glint in her eyes that said she was angry, and that she intended to do something about it.
"Mulder and I need to go back to Oregon, tonight. I just stopped on my way to the airport," Scully told her as calmly as possible. She had known it would be hard for Marsh to accept, so she had come to tell her in person.
"Why?" Marsh asked, searching Scully's face. She was still too pale, but there was a harsh determination in her expression that Marsh didn't think she had ever seen before. She drew a painful breath through a throat constricted with fear, and waited.
Scully looked away, wanting to lie. This battle being waged in secret in the Oregon forest, cloaked in broad daylight, was an old struggle. It had begun long before Marsh came into her life. It had actually begun in Bellefleur those many years ago, and she supposed that's where it would end. She had told Marsh some of it, but not all of it. Not about the memories that seemed like dreams, but were not. No, those shrouded forms that had strapped her down under bright lights and systematically raped her body and violated her soul were not dream figures, even though they were the stuff of nightmares. The scars on her body were not fantasy, but a truth more horrible than any fiction. She would be there when it ended, no matter what the cost.
She looked at Marsh, and couldn't lie to her. "We've located a ship - the UFO. We're going to intercept it. We think the abductees are on it."
"No. Please." Marsh steadied herself with one hand on the edge of her desk. She was shaking visibly, her voice empty, devoid of everything, even anger.
Marsh's expression was one Scully had never seen before. She had seen Marsh in physical pain and emotional torment, but she had never seen her look so helplessly vulnerable. She didn't think she could bear to see that wounded look in her eyes, knowing she had caused it. "It will be all right," she said, wishing she were sure.
"No, it won't be," Marsh shouted, her composure finally gone, her dark eyes raging. "It will not be all right. You're already ill, and we don't know why. You won't even let me try to find out what happened to you out there, and now you want to go back! It's crazy! Damn it, Dana. Doing your job is one thing. I can even accept that sometimes you'll be in danger doing your job. But this is different. You know there's something out there that can harm you - maybe has harmed you. The risk is too high this time. Let someone else do it!"
"Who, Marsh? Mulder? Should I send him alone?"
"Yes!" Marsh's jaw bit down on the words, the muscles in her neck tight with strain. "I don't care who! Anyone. Just not you. Not this time!"
Marsh made a visible effort to get control of herself. She had never raised her voice in anger to Dana before. She passed a trembling hand across her eyes, but not before Scully saw the agony there.
"I need to do this, Marsh. Don't ask me not to go."
Marsh drew a breath, met Scully's eyes squarely. Her voice was terribly soft. "I am, Dana. I'm asking you not to go."
Scully saw the words Marsh didn't say plainly written on her face. *Don't go. For me. For the baby. Please don't go.*
She couldn't look into the naked pain in Marsh's eyes any longer. She turned her back and walked to the wide window looking down to the street. She didn't see the cars or hear the muted traffic noises. She forced herself to think about her abduction, and her desire to avenge it. She pictured Mulder, and felt her loyalty to him warring with her love for Marsh. She thought about the balances of rights in a world where there were no absolutes. She weighed her own need for retribution against Marsh's right to have her safe. She had accepted Marsh's love, and promised her own in return. She had taken Marsh's strength, and promised her own. She had built a life on Marsh's body next to hers in the night, and had promised to be there for her as long as she lived. There were some things in life you could not change - the speeding car on the wrong side of the road, the body's frailties that no amount of medicine could heal, the man with a gun in the Seven-11. But today, this day, she had a choice.
She walked slowly back to where Marsh stood silently waiting. She brushed the black hair back off Marsh's forehead, her hand lingering on Marsh's cheek. She stepped closer still and wrapped her arms around Marsh's body. With her face resting on her lover's shoulder, she whispered, "I won't go. But I need to make sure he doesn't go alone."
Marsh closed her eyes, the relief so acute she shuddered. "Thank you."
Scully shook her head slightly. "No, don't say that. You never have to thank me for loving you. Never."
And for the second time that day, Scully kissed her and walked out the door.
When she woke for the second or third time, she had lost count, Marsh was there beside the bed, as she had been each time.
Marsh smiled, but her eyes were dark with worry. "Hey yourself."
"What time is it?"
"A little after noon."
Scully pushed herself up in bed, looked at Marsh, and said, "I want to go home."
"I know," Marsh said gently. "As soon as they have a chance to read your MRI, I'll see about getting you discharged."
There was something she wasn't saying, Scully could see it in her face. She had fainted again while working late with the Lone Gun Men the night before, and this time she hadn't been able to get out of a hospital stay. Marsh had been adamant, as well as frantic with worry, and truth be told, she had been pretty scared herself. Whatever was happening, she was afraid it was more than simple first trimester nausea and light-headedness. That's why the pain in the depths of Marsh's eyes frightened her more than any residual dizziness she was experiencing.
"Is there something wrong? Did Jenny Grannick see something on the ultrasound?" she asked, referring to the obstetrician Marsh had insisted evaluate her.
Marsh shook her head quickly. "No, she said everything looks fine." She couldn't hide a grin as she added, "You are definitely pregnant. The uterus looks normal in size for six weeks, and the blood tests indicate everything is normal."
"Then what is it you're not telling me?"
Marsh inched her chair closer to the bed, and took Scully's left hand in hers. Her dark eyes met Scully's questioning blue ones unflinchingly. "Skinner called about an hour ago. Something happened in Oregon - he isn't certain exactly what. Mulder has disappeared."
Scully stared at her wordlessly for a moment, her heart suddenly beating very quickly. She ignored the fear clawing at her throat, and repeated very quietly, "Mulder has disappeared."
Marsh nodded, then continued, "Walter said he would be by to brief you, but he called me in advance because he didn't want you to hear it from someone else first."
"What did he tell you happened?" But of course she knew. She had known last night when she compared the medical records of the abductees from Bellefleur. All of them had documented episodes of abnormal brain wave patterns, just like Mulder. It hadn't been her they had wanted. It had been him.
"He couldn't say much on the phone, but he implied that it was the same as with the others."
"Then he's been abducted too," Scully said softly.
Marsh didn't answer. What could she say. She couldn't imagine anything worse, except if it had been Dana. And now she could only imagine how Dana was feeling. Mulder was part of Dana's life, of their life, too. Sometimes it was an uneasy triangle, with both she and Mulder loving Dana, and being forced to acknowledge the other's place in her heart. Sure, she resented it when Dana spent the night in his room, when she was worn out, or worn down, and Marsh was hundreds of miles away. She resented that she had to depend on Mulder, on anyone, to look after her lover. But she accepted that Mulder was special, as a man, and as her lover's friend. She wanted him safe for many reasons, not the least of which was that she knew Dana loved him.
"I'm sorry, Dana," she said softly.
Scully looked past Marsh's shoulder toward the window, and into the blue sun drenched sky beyond. She tried to imagine another world above the clouds, and couldn't. She had never been able to, and despite all that had happened, it was still almost more than her mind could grasp. How could she believe that entire civilizations thrived in the cold, black vacuum of space? How could she believe that a race of aliens existed that was capable of traveling light years to earth, not once, but many times over the centuries, intent on destruction? No matter that she had lost months of her life in a nearly impenetrable mist of shadowy memory that might have been real, but could just as easily have been a dream. No matter that her body bore scars of some indescribable invasion, and that she carried still a fragment of metal in her neck whose secrets influenced her very life. No matter that she had seen things that no rational mind or scientific theory could explain. She still could not believe that some beings from beyond the stars had penetrated earth's sanctity and carried unwilling inhabitants to some world beyond.
She returned her gaze back to Marsh's face, and when she spoke, her voice was flat and strangely empty. "I should have been with him."
Marsh gazed down at their joined hands where they lay, fingers entwined, on the unadorned hospital covers. Her voice was immeasurably sad as she said, "I know you would have wanted to be, but you can't know it would have made a difference. You both might have been taken." She looked up, tears clinging to her long, dark lashes. "It would have killed me to lose you."
"I let him down, Marsh," she said, a hollow bitterness in her tone that was more frightening than anger would have been. "After all these years, and all we've been through, when he needed me most, I wasn't there."
"I was there," a deep voice said from the door, "and if anyone let him down, it was me."
Marsh looked over to see Skinner standing just inside the door. She did not bother to drop Scully's hand. Skinner knew very well what their relationship was, and certainly in the future it was likely that many more people would know as well. She squeezed Scully's hand lightly for a second, and then stepped away to lean against the window sill, making room for Skinner at the bedside.
Scully watched him approach, trying to read the truth in his eyes. His face was lined with fatigue and something else, something that she realized with a sinking feeling was sorrow.
He was about to speak when she said, "I already heard." Her voice was oddly tender. She knew how he must be feeling, and it was not his guilt to bear. She was Mulder's partner; she was his friend. It had been her job to watch his back, and she had failed. She was not angry at Skinner, any more than she was angry at Marsh. She had made the decision not to go with him, and she had been wrong.
"I lost him," he said, his voice breaking. "I don't know what else to say. I lost him."
Hearing the words, she struggled against the weight of grief and guilt. Tears escaped before she drew a deep breath and said, "We will find him. I have to."
Amazingly, he took strength from her words, because beneath the pain was a conviction that lent him courage. He turned and was about to leave when she called him back.
Scully reached for Marsh's hand and drew her near, smiling through her tears at Skinner with a shy radiance that penetrated even her deep sorrow. "I need to tell you something," she confided softly. She looked to Marsh for a second, and her smile widened at the answering joy in her lover's face. "I'm pregnant."
For an instant he stood totally still, expressionless, then he glanced at Marsh. She offered him a faint shrug and a grin. His eyes were shining when he looked back at Scully.
Scully was holding Marsh's hand tightly. "So you see, sir, wherever he is, we have to get him back. Because he's family."
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.