Feedback: XSandPiper78[at]aol.com

Rating: NC-17

Keywords: MSR

Category: X, S, OB (weak casefile, big-time MSR)

Feedback: Loved to pieces! Write to: PiperSargasso@aol.com

Archive: Gossamer and Ephemeral – Yes. Everyone else would be great, but please just let
me know where you’re taking my baby so I can visit.

Disclaimer: Characters within belong to CC, 1013 and Fox. No infringement intended.

Summary: While investigating a case in Southern Indiana, Mulder and Scully are brought
together under unusual circumstances.

Author’s Notes: This is for the Whispers of X Challenge. Requirements listed at the end.
Special thanks to Mimic and Shelba for the fantastic beta job. What a team!

Dedicated to Carol, a fellow Believer who never fails to brighten my day with her incredible
words of praise and encouragement. And to Circe Invidiosa, who so generously created a page
for me on her website.



“Mulder, wake up!” I nudged my sleeping partner with an elbow before he could do further
damage to my silk blouse. Disoriented, he mumbled a groggy, “Huh?” before nodding back off.
Really articulate, Mulder. But at least he was facing the opposite direction.

I looked down at the yellow-tinged ring of drool with mild irritation. I’d been mildly
irritated all day, as a matter of fact. Upon walking into the office, I was bombarded with a
series of slides with Mulder’s usual commentary to accompany them, then was informed that I
needed to be ready for a flight that left in three hours. This whole case was pointless, in
my opinion. I mean, a haunting? Mulder must have been getting pretty desperate to get out of
the office. I wondered what strings he pulled to get this approved.

I’d been a good sport, so far. Didn’t say a word when he dropped this little bomb on me,
though I knew he’d been planning this for at least a day or two. Seriously, nothing gets
approved with the Bureau that quickly unless it’s vital to a case. But I stifled my
annoyance and we left to pick up some things at my apartment while he waited in my living
room. It wasn’t the first time that he’d done this and it most certainly wouldn’t be the
last. There was little point in complaining.

Not a word was said when he dozed off right after takeoff – while I was talking to him. I
could see by the dark circles under his eyes that he’d probably been gathering information
on this case all night. I was gracious in not shoving him off of my chest when his head
lolled onto it, mid-flight. He was sleeping, after all, and had no idea what he was doing.

But the moment I realized the warmth spreading just above my left breast wasn’t from his hot
breath, but from drool escaping his open mouth, I drew the line. Looking over at him,
sprawled out into the aisle, frowning in his sleep from the interruption, I felt a small but
fleeting tug on my heart. He could be so cute when he was asleep.

The captain’s monotone voice droned over the intercom, announcing our descent into
Indianapolis. Great. From there, it was a puddle-jumper all the way into Evansville. As big
as that town was, they didn’t have an international airport. Indianapolis was the closest we
could get on a commercial airliner. I always have a Buddy Holly moment when flying on those

We hit a pocket of turbulence and the plane dipped, leaving my stomach up where the plane
used to be and jerking Mulder out of his deep slumber. He sucked in a huge breath of
surprise. It was all I could do to keep from laughing at the wide-eyed look on his face.

“Welcome to Indiana, Mulder,” I said sarcastically.


Scully didn’t look so well. Her face was completely drained of color. Tiny blue capillaries
showed beneath the pale skin and she was trying not to wobble as we exited the plane.

I wasn’t feeling so hot myself. The short flight down from Indianapolis was scary as hell,
if you want to know the truth. The mid-afternoon sky was almost enough to make me want to
stay grounded for a while, case or not. Angry black clouds encased us as we flew through
some serious rain. The plane bounced and dipped against the resulting turbulence. I was
amazed we even got the go-ahead for takeoff. Needless to say, both Scully and I were
gripping the armrests like they were the last lifeboat on the Titanic.

After obtaining a rental from a very exuberant Budget agent, we drove toward the quaint town
of Newburgh.

“Looks like a pretty nasty storm is headed this way,” I commented. Scully nodded in
agreement and continued to look out the window. I knew she was less than thrilled with the
idea of investigating this case, but I felt it merited the benefit of our expertise.

The town of Newburgh is filled with restored historical homes and is situated alongside the
Ohio River. The owner of one such home, a Mrs. Avery Maire, contacted our office a week ago
to report strange sounds and wispy puffs of smoke appearing in her two-story Victorian
house. She also claimed that the sounds could be followed out to the riverbank, where they
would cease and the apparition of a man would suddenly appear. Such stories often surround
bodies of water, drownings and boating mishaps being common occurrences there.

Steering the car through the narrow, rolling streets, I strained to see through the downpour
rushing over the windshield. Finally, we found the house.


“Here we are,” he announced. Mulder has a knack for stating the obvious sometimes.

I looked out the window dubiously. The rain was really coming down. The last thing I wanted
was to leave the dryness of the car and run out into weather like that. For about three
seconds, I weighed my options. One, I could sit here and act like a child, refusing to go
anywhere. Two, I could suggest that he go first, while I searched for accommodations for the
evening. Or three, I could stop whining and start behaving like a professional. Honestly, it
was only a little rain.

Heaving a sigh, I pulled out my umbrella, opened the door against the resistant wind and
stepped out into the onslaught of rain. Did I say “a little rain?” Maybe “deluge” would’ve
been more appropriate. The wind kicked up and blew my umbrella inside-out. I heard Mulder’s
car door slam and the steady beat of his footsteps as he ran to join me. We sprinted the
length of the steep steps ascending the lawn, which led to the wrap-around porch. The rain
was so heavy it nearly blinded us as it beat down on our exposed heads. Once sheltered, I
shook out my useless umbrella and bent it back while Mulder knocked on the heavy oak door.

A loud barking preceded the opening of the door. An elderly woman in a long, flowered dress
looked us up and down. “Yes?” she asked in a voice that sounded too strong to belong to such
a fragile-looking body. She tussled with a dog that desperately wanted to push its way past

Flashing my drenched badge, I spoke loudly over the raucous noise of the downpour. “Mrs.
Maire? We’re agents Mulder and Scully, with the FBI.”

Mulder broke in, “You contacted our office about some paranormal activities surrounding your

Understanding dawned on her. “Oh, yes! Oh, it’s been an absolute nightmare. Please, won’t
you come in?” She smiled brightly and leaned down to grab the collar of a very large
Labrador. In doing so, she’d opened the door widely, giving us our first glimpse of the
animal. It bucked and snarled as she spoke firmly to it. “You behave, Princess.” She gave us
an apologetic glance, “Princess isn’t used to strangers. Please, make yourselves

We warily sidestepped them and took a seat on the couch. The home was very tastefully
decorated, true to the era in which it was built. Tiffany lamps illuminated beautiful
antique furniture and knickknacks. A floral rug with a salmon-colored background covered
much of the hardwood floor, allowing only a few feet of the rich, cherry wood to show along
the walls.

The home was truly beautiful. Mrs. Maire had added coziness to the room with several lush,
green plants. Antique portraits and paintings hanging on the walls completed the look.

She let “Princess” go and sat in the Queen Anne chair across from Mulder and I. The dog
stood guard at her side, snarling and growling at Mulder with some very sharp teeth exposed.
Her tongue shot out every few seconds to lick at her lips, which were pulled tightly back.
It was clear she didn’t like Mulder very well.

“Ah, Mrs. Maire?” Mulder began nervously. He started shifting uncomfortably in his seat,
nearly climbing the back of the couch. I stifled the urge to laugh. “Would you like to, ah,
tell us – whoa, nice puppy! – tell us where you first saw the apparition?”

His back was smashed into the cushions, striving to create a smaller, less threatening
target, eyes wide, hands out in a defensive gesture. Princess continued her warning growls,
tensed and leaning forward. She was just looking for an excuse to pounce.

I opened my mouth to ask Mrs. Maire to put the dog in another room until we were finished.
Mulder chose that moment to readjust his position.

Big mistake.

Princess sprang forward like a lion on a wildebeest and clamped her jaws onto Mulder’s inner
thigh, just missing his crotch. He howled in pain and vainly pushed at the dog. Mrs. Maire
stood up, mouth wide open in shock as she took in the scene while I pulled at Princess’
collar. Finally, the dog loosened her hold on her own, satisfied, and sauntered off to
another part of the house.

Poor Mulder never had a chance.


After refusing my partner’s demands to examine the wound, I excused myself and hobbled off
into the bathroom where I could lick my damaged pride. How embarrassing was that? Above me,
the heavens rumbled loudly. Great. We were going to have to bunk down for the night and pick
up here tomorrow. I pulled down my ripped pants and looked at the bite mark on my leg. Shit,
that’s gonna leave one hell of a bruise. I eased my ruined slacks back over my legs and
carefully returned to the sitting room. Princess my ass.

Scully looked over at me from her position next to the large bay window. She was alone in
the room. “Mulder, Mrs. Maire just heard on the radio that a tornado has just touched down
in Evansville. I think we should find a place to stay for the night.”

“Where is she now?” I asked.

“She’s in the other room, listening to the rest of the report.” She grinned. “She’s offered
to let us stay with her for the duration of our investigation.”

“You didn’t say yes, did you?” I didn’t like the way she was still grinning.

“Of course not, Mulder,” she said in a syrupy sweet voice, “I explained to her that you’re
allergic to dog hair.”

I laughed in spite of myself. Mrs. Maire stepped into the room. “You two had better get
moving. The storm here’s getting much worse. Mr. Mulder, I’d like to apologize for
Princess’s behavior. She’s just a little defensive when it comes to me, I suppose.”

“There’s no need to apologize, Ma’am. Could you please direct us to the nearest motel?”

“Well, the closest thing would be Charlotte’s B&B. Just follow the river. It’s about a mile
down the road. You can’t miss it.”

“I was actually thinking more along the lines of a motel.”

She shook her head. “Nothing like that for miles, Mr. Mulder. The closest would be in
Evansville, and I doubt you’ll make it in time.” She pointed at the threatening, black sky
outside. Sighing in defeat, I thanked her and motioned to Scully for us to get going.


Charlotte’s Bed and Breakfast was just as exquisite as Mrs. Maire’s beautiful Victorian.
Decorated in a similar style, it was like stepping back in time. No doubt, the city’s
history played a large part in the decorating process. Like Mrs. Maire’s, the B&B had been
proclaimed a historical landmark. Each bore the same green, rectangular plaque to signify

Our accommodations were located at the bottom of a hill, facing the Ohio River. As we walked
up to the high counter to check in, the woman behind the counter was talking with a guest
about the dangerous water levels. Apparently, he was concerned about being on low ground, so
close to the river, and was asking if it flooded quickly there.

“Yes?” the woman behind the counter asked as we approached. She was an older woman, about
sixty-five with mellow blue eyes and a kind smile.

I leaned over the counter-top and said, “Yes, we’d like two rooms for the night.”

The woman shook her head slightly. “Sorry, dear, but I have only one room available. I
wouldn’t have that, but we had a cancellation this morning. Out-of-towners, worried about
the weather.” She dropped her voice, whispering confidentially. “Tourists. You know how they

I looked warily at Mulder, who appeared to be a little uncomfortable about the situation.
There was really no choice in the matter; the nasty storm brewing outside was picking up
velocity and we’d never make it into the next town in time. Surely we could deal with the
arrangements for one night.

“That will be fine,” I told her. After filling out the requisite documents, we trudged our
dripping bodies and luggage up the woman’s pristine staircase. The red floral runner turned
nearly black in places where we trickled water. She showed us to our room, to the left of
the stairs and opened the door.

“If you need anything at all, please, feel free to let me know. I’m Charlotte. Dinner is
served at six-thirty and breakfast is come as you like. I stop serving at ten, however, to
prepare for lunch. The kitchen is always open, so if you need a snack or drink at any time,
you can help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge. Bathroom’s down the hall, to the left. We
have only one, so please remember to be considerate of the other guests.” A loud rumble of
thunder sounded above the house, followed by flash of lightning. She wrung her hands and
looked heavenward. “You two settle in and make yourselves comfortable.” Offering us a tight
smile, Charlotte bustled off downstairs.

We stepped into our room, which matched the rest of the house-turned-bed-and-breakfast. A
high, queen-sized canopy bed sat on the far left side of the room, a gauzy scarf draped
above it. The headboard was intricately carved with flowers and fairies, as was the canopy
frame. The bed was like a little island in itself, enticing in its intimacy. Matching
nightstands were on each side of the bed. A massive armoire stood on the opposite wall.
Mulder, being the curious soul that he is, seemed compelled to open it. Much to his delight,
the doors revealed a television and VCR, along with a nice stereo system. The bright grin on
his face let me know that it was doubtful I’d get much sleep that night. Men and their

The room was lit by two torchieres with wrought-iron, dragonfly shades pointing toward the
ceiling while several sconces on the walls held soft-white light bulbs, diffusing the light
into a warm glow. The warmth of the room as a whole was a huge contrast to the violent storm
raging just beyond the heavy, jacquard drapes that framed the two windows overlooking the
river. A rug nearly identical to them was situated in the middle of the floor.

Mulder shut the door, then flopped his suitcase on top of an upholstered Queen Anne chair
that was just wide enough to accommodate the luggage. “Mulder,” I warned, “you’re going to
ruin the upholstery with all that water.”

He looked at me blankly for a beat, then slid the suitcase to the floor. I sighed as he dug
through it to find dry clothes. Here I was, in an absolutely stunning and romantic room –
with Mulder. It seemed like such a waste to me.

I really didn’t feel like mothering him, but the physician in me nagged at the back of my

“Mulder,” I began, as I pulled off my blazer, “I be examining your injury.” He looked
at me like a child being forced to eat his broccoli. That was just too bad. I could not, in
good conscience, allow him to go untreated. Mrs. Maire had assured me that the dog’s
immunizations were up to date, but infection could easily set in, regardless. He’d been
trying so hard not to limp on his way up the stairs and into the room, but his cowboy-walk
told me what he wouldn’t. The man was in pain.

“You know, I still have some Vicodin left over from your last fiasco. But, I’d have to
examine you first, of course.” I smiled. He shot me a look of irritation. She with the
prescription painkillers wins.

“Fine,” he answered tightly. Scooping up a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, he walked out the


Well, this was a situation fit for prime time. A dog attack – apparently, a very
dog attack, judging by Scully’s barely contained look of glee – followed by a storm rivaling
that of Noah’s little cloudburst. Now I have to drop my pants in front of Scully, whom I
will be sleeping next to for the night. It wasn’t looking good.

Well, I decided, I’ll just refuse. The pain wasn’t that bad. Who needed to walk straight? As
long as my thighs didn’t rub together, I’d be fine. Resolved, I walked down the hall to
change in the bathroom.

The large bathroom was just as frou-frou as the rest of the place. An old-fashioned claw tub
jutted from the middle of the back wall, copper plumbing exposed and large showerhead bowing
down like a wilted sunflower. Fluffy rugs lay on either side of it. The sink was one of
those pedestal-types with a burgundy and lace skirt hanging off it. Large bulbs lined the
top of the mirror above. I imagined Scully would feel right at home here.

Damn woman, bribing me with drugs. I decided to resist at all costs. Quickly dressing, I
walked back down the hall and entered our room. Scully stood next to the window, staring at
the rippling water below.

“Listen, Mulder,” she said.

I crossed the room to stand beside her and strained my ears. The continuous wail of a siren
drifted faintly through the thick panes of the window. It was a primal, frightening sound. I
recognized it as a tornado warning system.

“It must be coming from the West,” she said. I looked at the trembling hand holding the
draperies back. She looked pale, licking her lips nervously.

“You okay, Scully?”

Nodding, she responded, “Yeah. A long time ago, I had a frightening experience with severe
weather. I guess it kind of stuck with me.”

“What happened?” I pressed.

She sighed. “I was in school. I think it was the fourth grade. Anyway, we were in class.
There had been a storm earlier, but it looked like the worst had passed. The wind had been
thrashing the trees outside the classroom window, but suddenly, it became very still. The
sky turned a strange shade of green. I swear, Mulder, it was like the world stopped, it was
so quiet. Then there was a loud siren, different than a fire alarm, and we all had to file
outside the classroom and line the walls. Each of us faced the wall on our knees and covered
our heads with our arms while the teachers looked on. We stayed in that crouched position
for at least twenty minutes when, suddenly, there was a sound like a train plowing through
the school. After it was all over, I found out it was the roof of the gym being ripped off
by a tornado. It was the scariest experience of my life.”

I looked at her for a moment, a bit taken aback by her admission. It took all my willpower
not to scoop her up into my arms and hold her to me. She looked so fragile. But, I knew she
wouldn’t appreciate the gesture, so I held my eager arms safely by my sides.

She turned away from the window and walked over to the armoire. Tuning in a local station on
the radio, she listened to the weather report. A funnel cloud had been spotted over the East
side of Evansville and two more tornadoes had touched down in nearby Henderson, Kentucky.

“Well, I suppose leaving this house is completely out of the question,” I mumbled. I
considered it to be a miracle that the power hadn’t been knocked out yet. As if on Satan’s
cue, the lights flickered and all went dark. The silence that followed boomed in my ears. In
the absence of the familiar hum of electricity, I could hear the sound of my own breathing

“Aww, damnit all to Hell!” I exclaimed. Scully tensed beside me in the darkened room.
“Sorry, Scully. You okay?”

“Yeah, Mulder. I’m fine.” She began rooting through her suitcase, finally producing a small
Maglite. “I’m going to go downstairs and see if Charlotte has any candles.” She left the
room, letting the door click softly closed behind her.

I pulled the drapes back as far as possible and hooked them behind some decorative holders
with little cherubs on the wall next to the windows. In the dim light, I closed my suitcase
up and tucked it beneath the bed, out of the way. Otherwise, with my luck, I’d trip over
the damn thing.

A few moments later, Scully returned with a small box of various candles, a lighter and a
kerosene lantern. She set the candles up around the room as I followed behind her, lighting
them. The lantern was placed on the tiny, roll-top desk on the far right side of the room.
It gave off the most light.

Satisfied with the placement of the candles, Scully turned to face me with both hands on her

“Drop ‘em, Mulder.”


“What?” he croaked. I bit back a smile.

“I need to examine your wound, Mulder. Or would you rather continue to walk like you’ve just
popped out of a spaghetti western for the remainder of our trip?”

“No, Scully. I’m okay. The mutt just nicked me.”

Yeah, pull the other leg for a while, Mulder. “Well, regardless, it’s my duty as your
personal physician and, might I add, ass-saver to render medical treatment on an as-needed
basis. Don’t argue with me, Mulder. Just drop your pants and get up on that bed.”

Well, that worked. He grudgingly pulled his jeans off and climbed gingerly onto the edge of
the bed, awaiting my examination. He looked every bit like a willful child who’d been
ordered to sit still for a shot. I retrieved the lantern from the desk, placing it on the
nightstand and knelt before Mulder’s bare legs.


I wanted to say, “Well, if you wanted me in your bed that badly, all you had to do was ask,
Scully,” or something equally smart-assed, but the look on her face advised me otherwise.
Damn. She was never any fun when she went into “doctor-mode.”

I hopped up on the bed as nimbly as I could manage. The pain from that rabid beast’s bite
was slightly more than I would ever admit to Dr. Scully there. Drugs or not, a man had to
have his pride.

She dropped down to her knees in front of me, unknowingly providing a visual of every
inappropriate fantasy I’d ever had about her. Sneaking a cheap peek down her button-down
blouse – which was still wet, by the way – I briefly feasted my eyes on pure, beautifully
rounded cleavage. Better get out of those wet clothes, Scully. Wouldn’t want to catch cold,
would you?

I gave myself a mental slap and tried not to focus on her hot breath on my leg, or the
tender touch of her silky hand on my inner thigh. Tried to redirect my attention, away from
the gentle whisper of that same hand as it slid an inch or two closer to the promised land.
Unintentional, sure. She would never feel me up. Don’t think about the
almost imperceptible way her skilled hands jittered against the sensitive flesh of my leg or
the lightning-quick glance to my crotch, so fast, I almost missed it. Ignore the way her
little pink tongue flicked out to lick that sweet bottom lip before she returned her gaze to
the task at hand.

Yeah, forget all that. That’s gonna happen. Oh, and Mulder? Stop breathing, while you’re at

I tracked each slight movement of her hands, every rise of her chest as she breathed. My own
breath quickened and my pulse raced in my veins. She was just too close. I wondered if she
could hear the loud beating of my heart.

“See, Scully?” I rasped out. “Just a little nick.”

Her hands stilled on my legs and she turned big, luminous blue eyes up to look at me. Mouth
slightly parted, she blinked and nodded her agreement. She stood and brushed her hands on
her slacks, avoiding my eyes. Her small body was silhouetted against the wall by the warm
glow of the candlelight. The image trembled in the flickering light.

“It needs to be dressed, Mulder,” she replied quietly.


He stared down at me, his gaze burning into me with lowered, green eyes. My heart did an
embarrassing little flip-flop and it was then that I realized I was shaking. Barely, but
shaking, nonetheless. I had to get control of the situation. It was the candlelight and the
storm, that’s all. Nothing to get so bent out of shape about.

A loud crack of thunder made me jump as I walked over to retrieve my medical bag. I hated
feeling afraid, especially of something as natural as a storm. Gathering gauze, first-aid
tape and triple-antibiotic ointment, I crossed the room to administer to his injury.

“You’re lucky you had a Tetanus booster recently. Now, I need you to go into the bathroom
and wash that for me.”

“Scullee! You could’ve said something when I went to change before.”

“Mulder, don’t whine. It’s unattractive. I had to look at the bite first. Now go – you don’t
want me to pull out the antiseptic.”

He slid off the bed and bent to pull his pants back up. “And get yourself a glass of water
downstairs while you’re at it. You’ll need something to take these pills with.”

He flashed me a sour look and walked out of the room. I took advantage of his absence and
quickly changed into dry clothes. I’d been too preoccupied with Mulder’s injury to even
think about it before. He returned a few moments later with a small plastic cup in hand.

“Look, Scully!” he grinned and held out the cup for me to see. “Marvin the Martian.
Charlotte said one of her grandkids left it behind after a visit. Took a lot of convincing,
but she let me buy it from her.”

He was so excited, it was hard to burst his bubble. “Mulder, you do realize that you can buy
those at any discount department store in America, right? You didn’t have to con it away
from that woman’s grandchild.”

He frowned. “Scully, I’m disappointed in you. To think I would actually swindle a woman out
of her horde of cartoon-themed cups – I only bought one, you know. To commemorate the

“And what occasion would that be, Mulder?” I asked.

“Why, the first time we get to sleep together, Agent Scully,” he replied sweetly.

I felt my mouth drop open in pure shock and actually stumbled backward. Mulder granted me an
amused smile. Damn that man! Just when I think I’ve lost the ability to be surprised by his
comments, he bowls me over with another one out of left field.

“Lower your pants and get back on the bed, please,” I said firmly. The heat of my flushed
face burned, equal to the heat I felt gathering in my lower stomach. Calling on all my
strengths as a doctor and professional, I ignored it and brought the first-aid supplies to
the bed, resuming my position at his feet. I sat the supplies down on the nightstand and
looked up at him. All the mirth was gone from his eyes, replaced by a darkened gaze. He held
a pillow in his lap.

“Mulder,” Jesus! Was that my voice? “You’ll need to move that pillow. I can’t get to the
wound properly.”

He looked away. “Can’t, Scully.”

Oh. Oh!

Well, I didn’t want to embarrass either of us, so instead I moved the pillow up a couple of
inches, where he held it in place, out of my way for the most part. I gently pried his legs
apart, lingering perhaps a little longer than necessary. His skin was warm and the hairs
tickled my palms and fingertips. Clearing my throat, I reached over to the nightstand and
grabbed the triple-antibiotic ointment. Very carefully, I applied the ointment to the bite,
barely smoothing it onto the injury. His leg jumped at the cold contact, so I held a firmer
grip on his thigh with my left hand. It really was just a small bite. I think his pants had
taken the worst of the attack. We were fortunate that there was minimal bleeding and
swelling, and, therefore, no need to elevate the leg. The last thing I needed was to have to
baby Mulder on bed rest, no matter how short the time might be.

I dressed it with a gauze pad and secured it with first-aid tape. Allowing my willful gaze
to travel up his thigh, over the pillow and into his eyes, it became obvious to me that he
wasn’t the only one having trouble. All I could think about was the fact that in a few short
hours, I’d be climbing into bed with this man. God help me.

My lips suddenly felt very dry. Mulder’s eyes dropped a little lower, watching my tongue
moisten them. The mugginess from the late August precipitation seemed to be seeping into the
room. I opened my mouth to tell him I was finished, but no words came forth. He inhaled
sharply and I looked down at my hand. Somehow, it had managed to creep up the inside of his
thigh, mere inches away from what he was trying to cover with that ridiculous pillow. I
snatched my hand away quickly and scrambled to my feet.

“Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes, Mulder.” My voice shook slightly and I couldn’t
meet his eyes. Without another word, I hastily walked out the door before I could further
make an idiot of myself.


Dinner was uneventful. Nice, even. There was quiet and polite conversation about the
weather. The handful of guests were all friendly as we sat around the candlelit table and
exchanged pleasantries. We found that two of them were permanent residents and two other
couples were on vacation there. One was on their honeymoon.

Every time I tried to catch Scully’s attention from across the table, she’d drop her eyes to
her plate. She was edgy, and understandably so. I wished I could take the last thirty
minutes back and start over – beginning with the moment I made a supreme ass of myself by
sporting wood. A pillow, Mulder? Yeah, she’ll never guess what was under . I waited
for the earth to open up and swallow me whole, but I knew the Universe wouldn’t be that

Finally, dinner was over. Scully insisted on helping Charlotte with the dinner mess while
the rest of us went back to our rooms. I plopped down on the bed, wincing when the shock
vibrated through my sore leg. Rolling lazily to my feet, I went to pick through Scully’s
bag. After all that mess earlier, she’d forgotten to give me the pills. Really, the pain was
manageable, but I read the dosage and took them anyway. I figured Scully was probably a
kicker and I wanted to be as numb as possible for later.

The lights were still out, so I had nothing to do but wait for her to return. Plopping back
on the bed, I tried not to think about the reason she wanted to put distance between us. It
was all my fault. You’d think I was a hormonal teenager, the way I reacted the moment I
thought of her hands on my bare skin again. She hadn’t even touched me yet. Humiliating.

I got up and looked out the window. The storm had calmed considerably. With any luck, the
power would be back on soon. I hoped so – with nothing else but Dana Scully beside me for
entertainment, there was definitely more humiliation on the horizon.

About twenty minutes later, she returned. I was lying on my back again, feeling no pain.


“Hey, Scully. I was afraid I’d have to send out a search party for you,” he said from the
bed. His head rested atop his hands and his eyes never left the ceiling as he spoke.

“Mulder, we forgot your – “

“Took ‘em,” he interrupted.

I paused. “How many did you take?”

He sat up, partially, and propped his head on his arm. “I read the bottle, Mom. Two, just
like the directions say.”

I shook my head at him. “Mulder, the dosage is one.” He just stared at me. Whatever. It
wasn’t going to hurt him. At least his mind seemed to be off – other things. I looked down
at my watch. Only seven-thirty.

“Do you think you’ll be okay if I go take a shower?” I asked him.

“Gee, I don’t know, Scully. Maybe you should take me with you so you can make sure I keep
myself out of trouble.” He waggled his eyebrows. I rolled my eyes. Yeah, he was back to his
usual self. I gathered up my clothing and toiletries, then headed for the bathroom.

I showered quickly in the weak light of two kerosene lanterns left in there for everyone’s
use. The last thing I wanted was to be caught under the water when the storm picked up
again. Stepping out, a vase of dead flowers caught my eye. I thought it was strange that
such an immaculately run place contained such an oversight. It stuck out like a sore thumb
with its withered buds and wilted, dry petals. It was kind of sad, really. Sort of a fitting
metaphor for my life, as it were.

The thought was too depressing. Pushing it away, I dried off and dressed, cursing the
impulse that made me choose a silk slip with spaghetti straps to sleep in for this trip.
Then again, I hadn’t expected to be sharing with anyone. I dried and brushed my hair,
wrapped my robe around me and gathered my things up. The cooler air hit me in the face the
moment I opened the door, making me dizzy for a moment from the temperature change.

Pausing outside the door, I took a deep, cleansing breath. It was going to be a long night.
I steeled my reserve and walked into our room.


She breezed through the room in her big terrycloth robe and dropped her stuff into the open
suitcase. I shifted under the covers, propping my head on my hand, and watched her.

“Mulder, I’d like to turn in early, if you don’t mind,” she said, hands on hips and
expectant look on face.

I couldn’t resist. “Sure, Scully. Climb on in. I know how anxious you must be to join me.” I
grinned at her consternation and patted the empty space beside me. She rolled her eyes and
went about blowing out all the candles. Bringing the lantern to the nightstand, she stood
next to the bed and extinguished our last source of light. I listened, without comment, I
might add, in the darkness to the sound of her robe sliding to the floor. She slipped
between the sheets and shifted until her back was to me.

“’Night, Mulder,” she mumbled.

“’Night, Scully.”

I lay there for a good forty-five minutes, wondering how I could possibly be expected to
fall asleep when my partner was half-naked not a foot away from me. I doubted she could
sleep either, judging by the cadence of her breathing. The sweet smell of honeyed peaches
lingered between us, growing stronger each time she moved.

She smelled like heaven.

My hand wandered on its own volition to graze the fabric of her pajamas. Silk. Jesus. I
tensed, waiting for her to react to my touch. I guessed that she hadn’t felt it and raised
my finger to feel the texture of the silk again. I imagined her skin would be much smoother.

She shifted, this time onto her back. Almonds. The scent of almonds lay beneath the stronger
fragrances, subtle and unassuming. Just like her. I breathed the scent in slowly, not
wanting to attract attention to myself. Her foot wandered over to my side, brushing softly
against me. I exhaled loudly.

“You okay, Mulder? How’s your leg?”

“It’s fine. Pain’s gone completely.”

She hummed in response, then rolled onto her side, back facing me once again.

Eventually, she fell asleep. I was right about Scully being a kicker. She’s also a blanket
hog. She wasn’t used to sharing, and it showed.

As I lay flat on my back, my thoughts drifted to a case we were on about two weeks ago.
Scully was wearing those stilts she calls shoes, standing next to me as I slouched against
the wall. We were looking over a file together when she decided to go on a coffee run for
the both of us. On her way out the door, she must’ve gotten a little too close to me,
because her hair brushed against my lips, wispy as an angel’s kiss.

She never knew it, but thinking about it ever since then had been driving me crazy. It was
like setting a buffet in front of a starving man and snatching it away as soon as he reaches
for the first roll.

I thought about her perfume that day. Honeysuckle with rose undertones. A lot of women had
abandoned those scents for less old-fashioned ones. Not Scully. Her perfume is as classic as
she is.

I leaned over slightly and indulged in another good pull of her light fragrance into my
lungs. It was fainter now that her hair had dried completely. I rolled over and pressed my
nose into the mass of wavy hair that fell gracefully over the white pillowcase, praying that
she wouldn’t catch me in the act. I could only imagine trying to explain that one.

My hand snaked down to grasp a small piece of her pajamas again. I trailed down to the small
of her back, to my little safe zone, and pinched the fabric between my fingers. Silk is very
sensual, when you think about it. The slight whisper of the fine threads as they rub against
each other; watching it flutter against a woman as she walks – or the feel of it as she
wears it to bed, sliding it along the length of your body. You can feel the heat radiate
through the thin, almost gossamer fabric – heat like I was feeling from Scully at that

Emboldened in my search, I reached around slightly – just to sample the texture, of course –
and opened my eyes wide when the garment ended just below her hip. Not modest pajamas, but –
a slip?

Christ, was this going to be a long night.


I awoke the next morning as if in a cozy bubble. Warmth and security surged through my body,
enveloping me. I hummed, smiling against the crisp sheets of my bed, languidly stretching
out my muscles. I never wanted to leave that place.

Then, I heard Mulder’s answering hum in my ear. Eyes snapping open, I attempted to turn my
head to assess the situation, but couldn’t move. I was on my side, just as I had been when I
finally fell asleep the night before. His arm was thrown around my waist, just above my hip.
He had me pulled flush against his body.

My right leg was pinned between his two legs, tickled by his hair, just as my hands had been
when I was tending to him the previous night. The feel of his breath puffing on my exposed
neck was comforting, yet dangerous at the same time. Each hot burst on my skin sent a warm
pool into the pit of my stomach.

Well, I supposed it couldn’t hurt to stay here a little while longer. The thought of moving,
or waking him to move was akin to stepping into an ice cold shower. I didn’t want the warm
feeling to go away.

I snuggled closer, if that was possible, inadvertently pushing my rear up against his groin.
Mulder groaned softly and thrust slightly forward, pressing his morning erection into my
lower back like the rude poke of a stick. A very big stick.

Half awake and still delighting in my fuzzy awakening, I shifted as far up the bed as his
strong arms would allow and cuddled into the arch of his body once again. He responded with
another small moan and pushed back against me, more insistently.

Oh, my.

I’d somehow managed to position myself in such a way that his poking was aimed right where I
wanted it the most, right between my upper thighs, grazing my clitoris through the thin
panties I wore.

I couldn’t resist doing it again. I pushed back, he thrust forward. Closing my eyes, I
rolled myself into his groin hard, gasping softly as the contact produced waves of pleasure,
rocketing through my deprived body like icy little fingers. His push forward was equally
heated, driving me closer to resolution.

“Mmm, Mulder,” I whispered. Suddenly, he stiffened.

“No, Scully. I won’t do it this way.”

I disentangled myself from his limbs and sat up, looking at him. “What?”

Mulder sat up, too. He looked miserable, avoiding my eyes. “It can’t be like this.”

“But Mulder, I-“

“No, Scully.” He grabbed my hand and looked down at me for the first time that morning. His
eyes watered slightly as he pressed my hand against his heart. “I won’t do this to you,
Scully. You deserve so much more. deserve so much more.”

I was a little stunned – he was putting the possibility of a relationship ahead of
satisfying a baser need. How could I ever have expected anything else from him? Nodding
weakly, I pulled my hand away to get down from the lofty bed. The storm had subsided
altogether during the night, leaving a bright, sunny sky to dry up the puddles that lingered
in its wake.

I gathered some clothes and a toothbrush to take with me to the bathroom. Turning back to
him before I left the room, I smiled softly. “Thank you, Mulder.”

He smiled in return. I closed the door and went to prepare for the investigation ahead.


The smell of bacon and pancakes wafted up from the kitchen. I pulled on some clothes and
waited with a grumbling stomach for Scully to return from the bathroom.

I knew I’d done the right thing. She was never meant to be taken advantage of. Dana Scully
was not a woman built for meaningless quickies. She was a woman made to be cherished and
loved, to be stroked and brought to passion by the hands of a man who worshipped her. I
couldn’t bring myself to allow our hormone-driven dry humping to reduce or undermine what we
could have together.

The door opened, revealing a freshened Scully. She clasped her little makeup bag in one

“That couple on their honeymoon wanted to use the bathroom. Together.” She blew out a
breath. “I’m going to have to finish getting ready in here and then we can go.”

I smiled. “You never had roommates in college, Scully?”

She whipped around to answer, “College was a long time ago, Mulder.” She turned back around
and sat at a little vanity in the corner to apply her makeup.

For my own safety, I decided not to make any cute comments. When she was finally finished, I
persuaded her to come downstairs for breakfast before heading back out to Mrs. Maire’s home.

Placing my hand at the small of her back, I ushered her out the door of our room.


As we walked down the stairs, the delicious smells of various breakfast foods hit me for the
first time. I think I was too preoccupied before to notice them. My short time in the
bathroom gathering my thoughts had done me a world of good. Thankfully, Mulder didn’t want
to sit down and have a long, involved discussion about any of what had happened earlier. I
didn’t think I could handle it at that point.

Breakfast was as good as it smelled. We met another guest, Mr. Mason. He was a friendly man,
down from Gary for an antique car show they held in Evansville, called The Frog Follies.

“You see,” he told us, “everyone soups up these old classics and displays them at the 4-H
Fairgrounds. It’s a really big event – thousands come out every day of the weekend it runs.
Hell, we even race ‘em sometimes!”

We ate and listened as he explained all the different styles of cars. Nearly all of them
were from the earlier decades. “I’ve got a 1955 Willys Ms. Charlotte was kind enough to let
me store in her garage while I’m here. Named her “The Groundhog.” If you folks want to see
her after I get back, just let me know. I’m happy to show ‘er off!”

“Thank you, Mr. Mason. I’d like that,” I answered. I always did enjoy admiring the older
models. Must be a product of my childhood, growing up around Naval bases that sometimes
hosted the same type of events.

Mr. Mason excused himself and set out for the fairgrounds. I glanced over at Charlotte, who
was busy washing the dishes, and lowered my voice. “I think we should start today by looking
for another place to stay.”

“You’re not going to find anything, dear.” Charlotte tossed over her shoulder. “Between the
‘Follies and the storm, everything’ll be booked solid.”

I looked at Mulder. We couldn’t stay in the same room for the duration of the trip, that was
for sure. “Are you certain? Surely there must be vacancies somewhere.”

“Nope,” she responded. “I already did some calling around for a young couple who stopped by
earlier. Everyone’s booked. The tornado did enough damage to force folks in some parts of
town out of their homes and that car show always fills up the motels.”

Great. “Well, Mulder, we could always stay with Mrs. Maire. She did offer.”

“And sleep next to Cujo? I don’t think so!”

I couldn’t help the small bark of laughter that escaped my mouth. Mulder frowned. “I’m glad
you’re amused, Scully. That dog should be put down.”

“Right. You’d never be able to live with the guilt.”

“May I make a suggestion?” Charlotte cut in, “Stay here tonight. If you check out, I’ll have
to turn your room over and I’d really hate to see you without a place to stay.”

I liked Charlotte. She was a kind woman and her concern for us touched me. Looking back at
Mulder, I asked him what he thought. He nibbled on his last piece of bacon and answered,
“Anything’s better than staying with that rabid mutt.”

I took that as a “yes.”


We pulled up to the front of Mrs. Maire’s two-story home around 10:00 that morning. It
looked a lot nicer in the daylight. Less foreboding. The river, to the far right of the
house, calmly flowed by as the birds chirped in the thick trees above. If it weren’t for the
leaves littering the yard or the smaller, fallen branches, you’d never tell a severe storm
had taken hold of this small community.

As in many older, preserved towns, the stairs leading up the high lawn were steep and
narrow. The house itself was beautiful. I didn’t notice the day before all the stained glass
crowning the clear paned windows.

I remembered that I once told Scully I wanted to settle down in a place like Home,
Pennsylvania. But I thought this place was just about as close to perfect as it could be.
Small town – with cable – and large town convenience mere miles away. I pictured coming home
to a place like this, walking into the house I shared with Scully, being knocked down by an
excited puppy. Scully’s stomach bulging in a little pooch as she rested her hand upon it.
The way the light would glint off the gold band and refract from the diamond…

I shook myself from my daydream. Whenever whimsical notions popped up in my head, I swatted
them away like annoying flies. It did no good to think of impossible things. Raising my hand
to knock, I sent a silent prayer to whoever was listening to make sure Princess was locked
away. Damn dog.

“Oh, hello there!” Mrs. Maire said with a smile. “Please, come in.” She moved to the side to
allow us entry. As I walked past her, she placed a hand on my arm and added, “And don’t you
worry, Mr. Mulder. Princess is safe and sound in my bedroom. What with your allergies and
all, I thought it would be best.” She winked and gave me a smile. I looked over at Scully,
who was grinning from ear to ear.

We took our seats. “Mrs. Maire,” I began, “Please tell us the first time you experienced any
unusual activity.”

She sat back in her chair and thought for a moment. “Well, I’d say the very first time was
about five months ago. I was sitting at my kitchen table, writing a letter to my daughter.
All of a sudden, I saw this big cloud-like thing, floating through the room. Then it just –

“May we see the kitchen, Mrs. Maire?” Scully said. The older woman nodded and led us into
her large kitchen. “Here,” she said, “it stopped right in front of the island. That’s where
I was.” She pointed to the dinette across the room.

I walked over to the window. The kitchen was parallel to the river, which was right over the
lawn and down the knoll the house rested on. “Mrs. Maire, you said that there were noises
you couldn’t explain.”

“The loudest thumping you’ll ever want to hear. And a voice, like someone whispering, only
you can’t understand a blessed word. I’ve even tried talking to it before, but it never

I nodded. “You also said that there was an apparition of a man who appeared just out there?”
I pointed out the window.

“Yes. I followed the sound of his voice outside and saw the figure of a man, hovering by
that drop over there. When I peeked over the edge, I saw him just standing on the riverbank,
so I decided to climb down and take a look. By then, he was gone.”

“And this has happened on more than one occasion?”

“Oh, yeah. Happens all the time! Only this last time, he seemed to be trying to tell me
something about the river. I’ve been trying to get help about this for a long time, Mr.
Mulder. I’m surprised that the police thought this was important enough to contact the FBI.”

Scully raised her eyebrow and looked pointedly at me, arms crossed and lips pursed. It was
no secret she thought this was a waste of time. Maybe it was. But as long as we got out of
that office, I didn’t care.

“Mrs. Maire, I’d like to take a look outside.” I told her.

She nodded, “Of course. Please, take your time.”


Mulder headed out the door, leaving me to stand in the kitchen with Mrs. Maire. In his
absence, I listened to anecdotes about her grandchildren, her personal religious beliefs
about the “ghost” and some very personal questions about my relationship with Mulder. I also
found out that she hadn’t had regular visitors since her husband died two years ago. Much of
her family had either passed on or lived far away.

Excusing myself, I stepped out to the side lawn to speak to Mulder. He stood next to the
drop-off, staring at the swirling river below.


He turned around slowly. “Did you find out anything new about our amazing, disappearing man,
Scully?” A shaft of light shone through the leaves of the tree above us, striking Mulder’s
eyes as they danced mirthfully.

I looked at him for a moment, all embarrassment of my actions earlier, vanishing,. He was
really a beautiful creature, stunning in his silent strength and unassuming good looks. He
wasn’t the sort of man that would turn your head at a quick, first glance. His beauty hit
you full force only after speaking to him, even if only for a moment. The way all his
attention instantly focused on you like he had tunnel vision was overwhelming in its
intensity. It’s what every woman dreams of in a man, and I was fortunate enough to have him
as a partner and friend.

“You could say that,” I answered. He turned his back to me, staring out at the muddy water
once more.

“I want to drag the river,” he stated plainly.

I stood there, dumbfounded. Why the hell would he want to do that? Walking around him, I
stepped to his side and looked up at him. “Mulder, I see no reason to go to that extreme.”

“There’s a reason that the spirit of that man stops here. His appearance began only a short
while ago – aren’t you the least bit curious?”

“Curious enough to spend valuable time and tax dollars dragging the river? No. Mulder, this
is a ghost story, derived from loneliness. A poor soul trying to get a reprieve from her
forlorn existence. Nothing more.”

“Loneliness? That’s your explanation? I don’t buy it, Scully.”

Well, that was a surprise. “It has been proven that some people who have isolated themselves
or have experienced acute loneliness are prone to fantasy. The very fact that Mrs. Maire has
willingly withdrawn from society speaks of her present state of well being. All she has is
that dog, with all of her family living so far away.”

“I don’t think these phenomena can be reduced to something so trite.”

“Well, it’s possible that she’s been experiencing what is known as a waking dream, where
visual and auditory hallucinations occur while awake.”

He looked doubtful. “I’m familiar with the term, Scully. Somehow, I doubt that’s the case

I blew out an impatient breath. “It’s also possible that the clouds of smoke gathering in
the kitchen could be attributed to a bit of material drifting in the eye’s vitreous humour,
known as a ‘floater.’ Such things can cause the illusion that something is moving in the
peripheral vision. I’d like to examine the Mrs. Maire and see what I can find.”

“Well, you do that. I’ll be at the library seeing what I can dig up on the history of this
house. I’ve already arranged for a sketch artist to come by later today and do a composite
of this man.” He started to walk away, but stopped and turned to face me. “And Scully? If
you happen to experience any ‘hallucinations’ while I’m gone, make sure to give me a call.”
He grinned broadly and made his way toward the front of the house.

I stared at his retreating back, shouting at him, “Fine. You make the call. And I expect you
to write this one up, Mulder. I don’t want to be responsible for explaining why we required
all that manpower based on a story and a hunch.” He raised a hand in answer and continued
walking. I could just imagine the victory grin on his face and it irritated me beyond
reason. The man was relentless, but there really had to be a line. Unfortunately, I’d lost
this battle. Walking back into the house, I informed Mrs. Maire of our intentions and went
about searching the house for more plausible and down-to-earth explanations for the

Everything seemed to be in excellent order, especially considering the age of the structure
itself. The plumbing and electrical wiring were current and had recently been inspected.
There was no gas leakage of any kind to be found. Since the owner was a non-smoker,
cigarette smoke couldn’t be the culprit. After a very thorough search of both the house and
the surrounding grounds, I was at a loss.

I said goodbye to Mrs. Maire and walked outside, squinting against the mid-afternoon
sunlight that seeped through the canvas of leaves above. Mulder had left the car for my use.
He must have decided to walk to the library. Everything in town was very close, so he had
only a short walk. We’d learned all of this from Charlotte earlier that morning at

It was truly a beautiful day. There was little evidence of the disastrous storm the day
before, as store and homeowners alike had cleared away much of the debris that littered
sidewalks and lawns. I drove with the windows down, delighting in the feel of the warm air
lifting and blowing through my hair. In a few moments, I was pulling into the parking lot of
the library.


Poring over my heap of books and papers, I was intrigued by the history of the small town of
Newburgh. Settled in 1803, it was one of the oldest communities in Southwestern Indiana. In
1916, it entered the Union when Indiana became the 19th state. In 1862, it had the
distinguished honor of being the first town north of the Mason-Dixon line to be captured by
Confederate forces.

All that history, and yet, very few stories of hauntings and legends that usually accompany
it. In fact, the worst this town had endured was the indignity of being bested by the
Confederates when they crossed the Ohio and confiscated supplies without ever having fired a
shot. That’s one thing they wouldn’t boast in a welcome brochure, I mused.

“Having any luck?” a female voice interrupted his thoughts.

I looked up and peered at the speaker through my glasses. Scully stood there, mouth open
slightly. “You okay?” I asked.

She flushed, “Uh, fine, Mulder.”

I frowned. “Okay,” I said. Whatever was wrong with her, she looked all right now. “I
couldn’t find anything of much use here. The house was used as a political meeting place in
the Civil War, but nothing extraordinary has ever happened there or on the grounds it rests

She sat in the mauve chair across from me. “I couldn’t find anything either. The house seems
to be in excellent working order.” She sighed.

“Well, I’d like to go back there later, around the time that she said she first encountered
the ‘hallucination.’” I used air quotes and grinned, just to irritate her.

Looking at her watch, she diplomatically ignored my attempt. “That would be in another three
hours. I’m starved, Mulder. Let’s go see what’s on Main Street.”

We left the car in the parking lot and strolled down the hill that was Main Street, which
consisted of small shops, tightly packed and lining the narrow street. It was quaint and
reminded me of an English countryside village. We found a sandwich shop and grabbed a late

As we were finishing, Scully surprised me. “Do you want to take a walk? It’s such a nice day
and we have a couple of hours to kill.” She looked at me with big, blue eyes. Honestly, she
had no idea that I could deny her nothing under normal circumstances, but she could wrap me
around her finger with a look like that.

I smiled. “Only if we can check out this Dam Park I keep hearing about”

She wiped her mouth and dropped the napkin into the empty sandwich basket. “Deal. Let’s go.”


The sun gently spread its warmth over us as we walked down the cute little historical
district that housed much of the town’s limited business. I removed my blazer and draped it
across my arm to allow the sunshine to beat gently on my exposed skin, relishing the feel of
the slight breeze that stirred the heated air around us. We walked down the hilly street to
the river that lay below.

“Looks better from far away,” Mulder commented. It was the perfect compliment to the scene
from the top of the hill, framed by the old buildings. Close up, it was a dirty,
debris-filled body of water. It was disappointing, really. As if we’d expected something
different from the river that ran beside Mrs. Maire’s home.

We wandered along the bank and came across a small ice cream shop. “C’mon, Scully, have some
with me,” Mulder insisted. I agreed and got a Black Forest cone, laughing when the cherries
and hot fudge started to dribble down the still-warm waffle cone onto my hand. Mulder looked
at me in wonder.

“What?” I asked.

He just stared, shaking his head slightly with a serious expression on his face. I sobered
instantly. Things were changing between us, especially since that embarrassing little
incident earlier. It was almost palpable. I also knew that neither of us had the guts to
give it that final push forward. All the old arguments notwithstanding, we were both just
too damn scared. But the way he was looking at me… It may have been a while, but I could
still remember the way a man looks just before he’s about to kiss you.

Not able to stop staring at his lips, I mumbled, “We should get going.”


Her voice snapped me back into reality. Jesus. What the hell was I thinking?

“Yeah,” I rasped out.

We walked back, following the river until we reached the end of the street. Neither of us
spoke. I wondered, what was she thinking? What if she didn’t want any of this? I was worried
that I’d screw this up before it even had a chance to begin. Trudging up the hill to the
car, her hand brushed mine. She gave me a small smile and relief washed through me. I was
making too much of her silence.

Twenty minutes later, we were pulling up to the front of Mrs. Maire’s home. She seemed
relieved to see us.

“Oh, it’ll be so nice to have someone here when it happens,” she exclaimed as soon as we
entered. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my story to my kids, only to have them
treat me like I was losing my marbles.” She laughed and shook her head.

I smiled politely. It was a shame that this friendly woman was closeted away from the world,
having only the grocery delivery man and weekly phone calls from her kids to keep her

“I’d like to be clear – you said that the image appears to you at around this time in the

“Yes,” she answered and looked at the massive grandfather clock, which showed the time to be
quarter ‘til six. “Then it makes all that racket. We’d better get in there soon, or else
you’ll miss most of it.” She walked into the kitchen with us following closely behind.


If I thought we were wasting our time before, I was absolutely certain of it now. Four hours
past the time we expected the “ghost” and not a single rattle that couldn’t be accounted

“I’m afraid it isn’t going to show tonight,” Mrs. Maire said sadly. I felt bad for the poor
woman. She had so wanted someone to believe her. “It’s never this late, you know.” Looking
into her coffee cup, she sighed and spoke softly, “My oldest son wants to put me into a
home. He thinks that I’ve finally lost my mind.” She lifted her watery gaze to meet mine.
“I’m not crazy. I know what I saw.”

All I could do was nod. It was the first time in my life that I actually wanted to believe
in the existence of such a thing. My heart went out to the elderly woman. Steeling herself,
she rose with her head held high with dignity and walked over to the counter.

A sudden loud crash startled us. Mulder and I jumped to our feet instantly and my eyes
darted quickly to the source. Mrs. Maire stood at the counter, staring out the window with
her jaw dropped open. At her feet lay the shattered remains of the coffee pot, black liquid
and glass mingling on the ceramic tile.

“Mrs. Maire?” I asked urgently. No response. I grasped her elbow and repeated myself. “Mrs.
Maire? Are you alright?”

Her mouth opened and closed like a floundering fish. She was focused on something outside
the window. “Mulder, we need to get her into a chair.” He quickly came to her side to assist
me. As we attempted to pull her toward the table, she resisted. Pointing one shaky finger at
the window, she licked her lips and said, “There it is.”

Mulder let her arm go and looked outside. “What is it?” I asked. He didn’t answer right
away, so I stepped over to his side and looked out the window with one hand on my weapon,
tensed and ready for anything.

“Nothing,” he said. “There’s nothing there.”


Scully walked through the room, wearily depositing her blazer on the chair. I watched as she
dropped onto the bed and rubbed her eyes in exhaustion, then scooped up her toiletries and
headed for the shower.

On the way back to the B&B, she’d tried to convince me to cancel the dredging scheduled for
the following afternoon, but I’d been adamant about moving forward with it. I just had a
feeling, something I could never make her understand. Scully dealt in facts, not feelings.

I patiently waited for Scully’s return, studying the composite sketch of the man drawn
earlier, then took my turn in the shower. As the warm water lapped over my tense muscles, my
mind wandered into familiar, dangerous territory. I’ve often fantasized about my luscious
partner, but this was different. This time, I had very real, very recent memories to tease
me, my very own arsenal of erotic imagery. The sight of her kneeling before me, the feel of
her hot breath, puffing from her parted, full-berried lips. The intensity of her gaze as she
pretended to play the ideal professional, trying so hard not to let me see the interest she
held in other parts of my healthier anatomy. The feel of her body as it pressed so perfectly
into mine, like the other half of me I’d never known was missing. Grinding and pushing into
me, moaning softly in a sort of abandon I never thought I’d be blessed to hear.

All of these things ran through my mind at the speed of light, making my wandering hand that
much harder to stop. Before I knew it, my hand had made its way down my slick, soapy body
and grasped my cock, stroking it harder and faster as the urgency overwhelmed me. I couldn’t
think about anything but the sight of her in those moments, with her eyes dropped almost
coquettishly and her tongue darting out like she was starved. When I came, it was with her
name on the tip of my tongue. It was all I could do to keep from calling it out loud.

A little drained, a little ashamed, I got out of the shower and toweled off. I’d done the
right thing. It would’ve been a very idea to crawl into bed with Scully with a raging
hard-on. Still, I felt like an asshole for using her to get off.

Just what the hell was going on with us, anyway? Just as soon as I feel like I have a firm
grasp of “the rules,” she goes and changes them on me. I thought about how completely
wonderful and right it felt to wake up with her tiny body cradled and entangled in mine,
yet, what was I supposed to think about it? The worst thing I could imagine would be to
spill my guts to her and have to see the look on her face that said she didn’t feel the
same. I could handle anything but that.

I dressed and walked down the hall for another night of sheer torture.


The man could be so infuriating at times. I couldn’t believe he still wanted to follow
through on that request to drag the river, even after his proof-positive failed him earlier.
He himself admitted to seeing nothing. Why, then, did he insist on going forward with this?

I sat on the bed, smearing lotion on my legs and massaging it into the skin while I
continued my internal rant. Waste of funds and time. Can’t believe he always has to go out
on a limb, after all the hoaxes and inaccurate accounts we’d seen.

Mulder poked his head inside the door mid- tirade like a child would when he knows he’s
about to be chewed out by a principal. I ignored him. If he wanted to pout, then let him.
I’m far too old to be moved by such a childish act. He slunk inside the room, shutting the
door and locking it behind him, then climbed up into the high bed effortlessly.

I pumped more lotion into my hand and massaged it into the other leg, slowly, to get all the
kinks out. Mulder turned on the TV with the ever-present remote at his bedside and began
channel surfing.

“Scully, what is that?” he asked, never looking away from the screen.

I sighed tiredly. “What’s what, Mulder?”

He turned to face me. “That lotion. What’s it called?”

His question threw me for a loop. It was a rare day that Fox Mulder was interested in my
fragrance of choice. “Am I to hope that my answer will determine this year’s Christmas

He cocked his head and smiled slyly. “Maybe.”

“Well, in that case, I hope you aren’t shy about shopping in women’s lingerie stores.” I
quickly finished before the customary comment from him could be delivered. “It’s called
Secret Crush.”

He scrunched up his nose. “You’re kidding.”

I shook my head.

“Scully, it sounds like something in some high school girl’s locker.”

I shot him a withering look. Actually, I’d thought the same thing until I tried it, but I’ll
be damned if I’d tell him that.

He cleared his throat. “Anyway, it’s nice.” He turned back to the TV, leaving me a bit
stunned. In his own, Mulder-esque way, he’d just given me quite the compliment. I smiled in
spite of myself and went back to finish my legs.

I was exhausted. The day had been strange and basically unproductive, as a whole. There had
been no sightings or strange noises, no evidence of any kind that would support Mulder’s
belief that we were dealing with a haunting. And I didn’t even want to contemplate our
actions earlier in the morning. Thank God Mulder was gentleman enough to let it go. I didn’t
think I could handle a lengthy and uncomfortable conversation about it.

I placed the lotion on the nightstand, shutting off the lamp that rested there, and slid
between the sheets, snuggling against the silkiness of the cotton. Quality was certainly not
sacrificed here, that was for sure. Settling onto my side, I tossed a “G’night, Mulder,”
over my shoulder and closed my eyes against the flashing of the television in the darkened


Two hours. Two long, difficult hours, propped against pillows, listening to the cadence of
Scully’s breathing as I flipped through the channels. My program of choice was the worst
idea I’d ever had, but after an hour and a half of fighting the urge to settle on one of my
usual late-night premium channels, I finally gave in.

And damn, but I was sorry I had.

On the screen was a couple engaging in a test of wills in an office setting. I’d gathered
that the petite brunette was the man’s assistant. These movies aren’t exactly of the
cerebral variety, so I was able to catch on to the flimsy plot easily. The woman sat on the
edge of her boss’s desk, garter purposely exposed as she thrust her breasts forward. I
glanced over at Scully. Still asleep, thank God.

I turned my attention back to the screen. The woman was issuing some sort of challenge… Holy
shit! That’s my kind of woman! Made me want an assistant of my own. The man smiled in
response to the challenge and took her hand as she led him to the elevator. They cut to the
outside of the building, businessmen and women milling around in power suits. A large, stone
fountain was situated in the front and the man sat down on it. The woman smiled and lowered
herself, lifting her skirt before settling down on his lap, facing the crowd. He reached
between them to unzip his fly and she raised up slightly, then sat back again. The man
moaned loudly as she slid down on him and gasped.

I couldn’t help but think of me and Scully in that situation, in the middle of a crowded
place with her sweet ass on my lap, gliding up and down on my cock. Would she moan like the
woman on TV, or would she play it cool, doing all she could not to attract attention? I
pictured what she would look like to the outside world, the world that had no clue how crazy
she was driving me as I was buried deep inside of her. Her eyes – would they be open, or
closed? Open, I decided. She wouldn’t want to give our secret away. The tell-tale signs
would be obvious only to me, by the sounds of her breath puffing erratically and the fierce
beating of her heart against my hand as it held her to me for balance, beneath her breasts.

“Mulder, what are you watching?” Scully’s voice made me jump a mile high.

“Jesus, Scully! You scared the hell out of me.”

She didn’t respond, just sat up and stared intently at the television. Oh, shit, I thought.
Here’s where I get an ass chewing for watching Skinemax while she was so innocently sleeping
beside me.

After several long, uncomfortable moments of silence, she finally spoke up. “Humph! Yeah,
like that could happen.”

Shocked, I whipped my head around to face her. “Huh?”

“I mean, look at that,” she continued. “Tell me that this isn’t one of the most ridiculous
scenarios you’ve ever seen.”

Way to crush a dream, Scully. “What’s so ridiculous about it?” I ventured.

“Well, first of all, they’d never get by with that. Look at that place! It’s packed to the
gills with people, yet there they are, in the middle of the crowd and no one notices?” she
snorted. “Yeah, right. Secondly, look at that angle. It is physically impossible to make
love at that angle. That is, unless his penis is attached to his thighs. Honestly, you’d
think they’d at least attempt to make it look real.” She shook her head, wide eyes still
glued to the screen. Just as the onscreen couple was finishing up, the woman made a comment
about finishing up some Xeroxing for him. “Oh, please! She’s his ?”

I smiled and faced her again. “I believe the PC term is ‘assistant’.”

She waved a dismissive hand. “Whatever. Mulder, how do you find this even remotely

“Well, it was appealing, up until about ten minutes ago,” I chuckled lightly.

“Well, it’s not at all realistic.” She quietly listened to more of the dialogue. Something
the woman in the movie said made her eyes go wide in disbelief. “That was their first time?”

I wasn’t sure what had gotten into her, exactly, but the conversation was actually making me
a bit uneasy. Maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere of the town or the hour, but she wasn’t
talking like the Scully I knew. Still, I was intrigued.

“Apparently so,” I answered.

She snorted. “What a romantic. I wonder why he didn’t just prop her up on the desk and have
his way with her.”

I shifted slightly. Careful, Scully. That little scenario was a common occurrence in my
fantasy world. Clearing my throat, I posed the question I never thought I’d have the balls
to ask. “Wh-where would you prefer?”

She looked at me and I swear I could see her breathing quicken beneath that thin layer of
silk. “Um,” her eyes darted away for a millisecond, then returned to stare courageously into
mine. I realized how close our faces were – maybe about a foot apart. “Truthfully, Mulder? I
couldn’t think of a better place than here.”

Holy shit.

“Yeah, it’s really – nice here,” I stammered nervously. Real smooth, dumbass. She smiled
tightly in response.

“Turn off the TV, would you? I’d like to get some sleep tonight.” With that, she turned to
face the other wall and lay down. A golden opportunity and I missed it. Jesus, life wasn’t


What the hell was I thinking?

I laid there, as still as possible, and willed my heart and breathing to return to normal.
That was the most incredibly stupid thing I’d ever done – and subtlety? God. Would the
humiliation never cease?

Behind me, Mulder turned the television off and settled in next to me. He was so close, I
could feel the heat of his body against my back. What had I expected in that brief and
ill-advised exchange? That he would proclaim his undying love and devotion to me? I prayed
that the whole thing would just – die. The very last thing I wanted was for it to be an

All I could think about was the look on his face when I answered his question. He was
scared. I couldn’t say I blamed him. Life is measured in leaps – sane, logical leaps. This
was the wrong leap at the worst possible time. But, when would it be time? Had we missed the
boat? Would I wake up, twenty years from now, filled with the regret of having let this
pass? It was simply too hard to contemplate. It hurt too much.

I listened to his breathing, noting that he was as wide awake as I. There was nothing
standing between the two of us now. We were raw, exposed. This morning was the ultimate
crumbling of our stubborn wills. And now this… Someone, something was about to break.

I never imagined it would be me.

I rolled around to face him, surprised that he was turned toward me, and smiled.

“Hi,” I said.

He smiled back, a broad grin that lit up his whole, beautiful face and replied, “Hi.”

I raised a hand to rest gently on his smooth cheek. He searched my eyes, brow furrowed in
confusion. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I whispered.

He laid a light hand on top of mine. “I don’t either.”

“I’m tired, Mulder. So tired of pretending that this isn’t what I want.”

His eyes bored into mine. “Then don’t.”

Drawn together by a force stronger, wiser, more powerful than us, we tasted each other’s
lips for the very first time. It was sweet, innocent. Lips caressing with loving tenderness
as he tangled a hand into my hair.

“You know I love you, Scully,” he said earnestly, in a way that made my bottom lip tremble.
Oh, Mulder. Of course I know. I smiled warmly, nodding as butterflies did a little square
dance in my belly.

He caressed my cheek with one warm hand, mirroring me as the other hand continued to sift
through my hair. Eyes darkening in the splash of light from the window, he looked at my
mouth hungrily and licked his lips. “And I can’t, won’t pretend any longer. I know what I
want, Scully, and what I want is you.”

Before I could respond in kind, he claimed my lips, crushing them against his in a stormy
clash of tongues and teeth. It was unreal, dizzying in its all-encompassing intensity.
Dangerous and right, all at once. He tasted beautiful.


She tasted beautiful. Like mint and vanilla and just pure Scully. Just like I imagined she
would – more delectable than the sweetest truffles, softer than the finest silk. And I love
her; oh, God do I love her.

Impatiently, she pulled at my hips, urging me to climb onto her. Far be it from me to deny a
lady. She hastily broke the near-brutal kiss, licking her plumped lips before gasping out a
shaky, “Need you, Mulder. Want you.” I bent to nibble one perfect, taut nipple through the
silk of that damned slip that had driven me to insanity the night before. The gasp and
answering arch of her back were like heaven.

My arms shook with the weight of my nervous desire, straddling the woman that I’ve loved for
years and trying not to gape as she irritably yanked at the thin straps of her slip until
none of its breezy softness concealed the marvel that was her breasts. Absolutely flawless.
High on her chest, pert and the perfect size. I had to taste her, had to see if they were as
good in my mouth as they looked to my hazed eyes.

They tasted faintly of roses, of that essence I’d only previously gotten a hint of. That
slight whisper of her true scent – sitting next to her in the car for endless hours or
standing close to her, in the confines of our office. It was stronger here, and I followed
it down to where it was stronger still, placing feather-light, open kisses on her ribs,
around the clothing gathered below her breasts, on her tight belly, around her navel. I
pulled the panties down her smooth legs and flicked a tongue out to sample the satin of her
skin, blazing a trail to the delicious dampness between her legs, wantonly displayed to me.
She was feral, humming in the back of her throat as I drank her in, and bucking unabashedly
while she grasped hands full of my hair.

I breathed her in. This, this was Scully. The true woman, pure and undiluted.

The throbbing of my own need was of little importance. I had stumbled upon my deity, my
salvation. There was nothing but the veneration I wanted to lavish upon her. Her pleasure
was my own, and the feeling was as foreign as it was intoxicating. When she climaxed, she
was a thousand times more beautiful than any depiction of angels and a part of me touched
Heaven with her.

Wordlessly, she urged me upward. I sat up on my knees and slowly pulled the slip down her
body, watching as she shivered from the feathery contact in her highly sensitized state.
Realizing that I was still somewhat dressed, I pulled my t-shirt off, tossing it to over the
side of our bed, our canopied nest, and shifted to yank my boxers off. I settled between her
thighs and jumped at the electric sensation of her hands around my cock as she guided me
inside her. Deeper, deeper I plunged until I was fully submerged and surrounded by her.

Her arching back and meeting thrusts were divinity, tenfold. My body thrummed with a
pleasure I’d never known, fueled by the need I’d felt for this woman for more years than I
cared to admit. It was like being suspended in that glorious place between build-up and
release indefinitely. Pleasure and frustration, battling for dominance. Spiritual and

All at once, I could sense the rush of orgasm come toward me in a flood of warmth. Reaching
a hand down between us, I rubbed at the hardened pebble of Scully’s clit in time with our
grinding thrusts. In a sudden sunburst, I came, feeling an exquisite tightening and
answering rush of heat wash over my buried cock seconds after. Sweaty and weak, I rolled off
of her fevered body and pulled her against me in an embrace.

“Love you, Mulder,” she breathed out. “So much.”

We held each other for a long time, listening to each other’s hearts and breathing slow to
normal. Nothing in the world could ever compare to it, a defining moment in my life. In that
one moment, I knew the purpose of my existence.

Elated but weary, I coaxed up the forgotten blanket at the foot of our bed with the leg not
pinned between Scully’s and covered us against the chilliness of the room. She sighed and
snuggled into my arms, mumbling nonsense into my neck as she drifted to sleep.

My Scully.


When I wake up in the mornings, I do so in stages. I’m not a grump, nor am I disagreeable in
the early hours. I’m simply just not what one would call a “morning person.” First, I become
vaguely aware of my surroundings, but cannot be bothered to open my eyes, no matter how the
alarm clock protests. Second, I stretch out my limbs, relishing the feline luxury of the
feeling it brings. At this point, I will slap at the snooze button, sometimes for the second
time. Finally, I open my eyes and adjust to the diffused sunlight through my blinds. On
average, it takes me about twenty minutes to “wake up.”

That morning, however, it took all of twenty seconds.

It was lovely, before awareness hit. Like being cradled in the puffiest cumulous cloud, only
warm. In those pre-dawn moments of nearly-awake, I idly wondered if it was what a mother’s
womb felt like to her baby. So soft and cozy and utterly delicious. Then, the cloud moved.

“Morning,” it said. That’s when I remembered. Nibbling, licking, lapping. Grinding,
thrusting and pure, unadulterated bliss.

And there I was, wrapped snugly in his embrace with the covers up to my chin in the middle
of the most exquisitely intimate bed. The canopy, with its trailing gauze around the
bedposts, created a little nest of sorts, sanctuary from the rest of the world.

My feelings toward Mulder hadn’t changed. Not in the least. It was just that things are
often so very different in the light of day. I was excruciatingly shy now and embarrassed by
my behavior. What must he think of me?

I hazarded a wary, sideways glance, trying to gauge his reaction. Out of the corner of my
eye, I could see the flash of teeth. I turned to face him, still unsure of what to expect.
I’d be so humiliated if I saw regret in his eyes.

Mulder stared at me, not six inches from my face, with the goofiest grin I’d ever seen him
wear. He looked like a lovesick teenager.

“’Bout time you woke up, sleepyhead,” he said jovially, giving me a good squeeze with his
arms. Relief washed over me like an absolution. Could it really be? Had we finally evolved
to the people I’d feared we’d never become? Had we taken that final leap, the insane,
illogical leap I so craved – and everything was okay?

It was so surreal. And life-affirming. For so long, I’d lost my bearings in a sea of
cynicism. That day, I learned that not everything had to hurt. Love didn’t have to be
painful. It could be wonderful and simple when two people loved with the depth Mulder and I
felt for each other.

We made love in our little haven twice more, before the team was due out at Mrs. Maire’s
home to begin the river search. Afterward, we walked down to Main Street, indulging in a
cappuccino and some of the best donuts I’d ever tasted from a tiny, family owned bakery on
the strip. Laughing out loud with Mulder felt wonderful.

Finally, duty reared its ugly head. We walked back to get the car and drove over to meet the

“You know, Mulder, I’ve been thinking,” I began as we exited the car and started our trek up
the stairs to the house, “it’s very likely that Mrs. Maire’s hallucinations are a symptom of

Mulder said nothing. I stopped at the top of the stairs, crossing my arms and looking up at
him. “Please call off the search. You and I both know there’s nothing in the water.” Please,
Mulder, I’d wanted to say. No more ammunition for them to use against you at the Bureau. I
knew he understood the silent plea, as he always did. Just as I understood the silent answer
– Scully, you know I have to do this. It was our usual, unspoken argument, and it always
ended the same.


An hour after our arrival, there was a commotion on the riverbank below Mrs. Maire’s yard.
We’d been sipping on iced tea on the back patio and nibbling homemade petites fours she’d
spent the morning baking and glazing for her “guests.” Up until that point, I’d almost been
convinced that Scully was right – that I’d jumped the gun and called for an all out search –
all for nothing more than an elderly woman’s overactive imagination.

Following the cacophony of shouts and orders, I slid down the drop-off in a manly show of
agility and ran down the few yards to where part of the team stood on land.

“What is it?” I asked the Sheriff’s Deputy.

He shook his head in disbelief; the hand holding the walkie-talkie dropped to his side like
it had suddenly turned to lead. “They just pulled a body out of the river,” he said, never
taking his eyes off the boat. I squinted against the glare of the sun off the water. Sure
enough, a body was being hauled aboard. “I – This was the last thing I expected to find,
Agent Mulder. I thought we were wasting our time here.” I was beginning to think so myself,
buddy, I thought.

Several minutes later, an ambulance attracted nosy neighbors as the paramedics joined the
crew by the river. Mrs. Maire had a small dock she shared with the family behind her house.
The body was transferred to a stretcher and the pockets emptied for clues as to the identity
of the hapless man. He was bloated and unrecognizable from the prolonged exposure to water,
so it was very fortunate that the man’s wallet was still in his pocket. It would’ve taken a
long time to make a positive ID.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” I said in sheer amazement. The driver’s license named the victim to
be one Jason Halifax of 404 Chelsea Street, Madison, Indiana. D.O.B. 3/16/71. But what was
really extraordinary was the picture.

Scully leaned over and grasped the other half of the license, eyes wide. The man looked
exactly like the description Mrs. Maire had given to us and to the sketch artist. I pulled
the drawing from my pocket and held it next to the ID.

They were the same man.

~ The End ~

~ Challenge Elements ~

1) A Tornado
2) Sex in a crowded place
3) A Marvin the Martian cartoon
4) A broken coffeepot, not related to the tornado
5) A groundhog
6) A cold shower
7) A vase with dead flowers in it