Welcome To The Harem

All Lies by J. C. Roberts
Summary: Cleaning up after 1013 in the wake of the mess created by the odious "One Son." Or: Is Scully ready for the truth about Diana Fowley?

From: SuperJame@aol.com
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 06:11:54 EDT
Subject: "All Lies" (1/2)
Source: direct

Somewhere, in a parallel universe, Mulder and Scully belong to themselves,
and maybe to each other. In our neighborhood, however, they belong to
Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
Skinner, if he was real, would belong to me. As it stands, he belongs to
Mr. Carter and Mitch Pileggi. Y'all can have Diana Fowley.

This one's for my AOL message board homegirl Noreen, and also for Alicia
K. and Isahunter. Their encouragement made this story happen. Hope they're
not regretting it.

Title: "All Lies"
Author: J.C. Roberts
E-Mail: SuperJame@aol.com
Rated: I am stunned and somewhat appalled that this is not NC-17. It barely
passes for R.
Keywords: UST, Big-Time Scully Angst, X-File, MSR,
Spoilers: Though Field Trip.
Summary: Cleaning up after 1013 in the wake of the mess created by the odious
"One
Son." Or: Is Scully ready for the truth about Diana Fowley?




"All lies lead to the truth -- isn't that
right?"
-- Dana Katharine Scully
Redux




All Lies


Dante's extravagantly detailed masterpiece of a subterranean Hell
was the latest addition to Dana Scully's collection of debunked theories.
Hell was a car in a harshly lit parking tower. That's where Scully sat,
and she was sure she was in Hell.

It shouldn't have been a surprise. Her descent into the devil's
office began more than a year before, as she sat in the same car, reeling
from the image of Agent Diana Fowley's thumb stroking the back of Fox
Mulder's hand. The trip downward had been choppy, interrupted with
hope-filled detours to a Bermuda hospital and a baseball diamond. Still,
here she was.

Since she'd read Diana Fowley's report on the incident at the
nuclear reactor, the case during which Gibson Praise vanished, Scully took
comfort in her confidence that her partner's ex-lover was dirty. That
someday this would be apparent. And at that time, Mulder would realize
once more that Scully was the only one who deserved his trust, his
partnership, his... his....

No. Forget it. Forget it.

After today, she could forget just about everything.



Mulder was hurtling out the door that morning, just as she'd
started to walk into their basement office. "C'mon Scully."

"What -- "

He grabbed her wrist and dragged her up the stairwell. It hurt.

"Mulder!"

"C'mon!" He sounded frustrated, as if even the confusion in her
voice as a physical barricade, barring him from... wherever he was going.

"Where are we going?"

He didn't answer. He took the stairs two, even three at a time,
leaving her scrambling to catch up with him. Would he would ditch her if
she couldn't? Her uncertainty frightened her.

In less time than in should have taken, she was throwing herself
into the passenger seat beside him, sucking hungrily at the air..

"Where. Are. We. Going?"

His response was to a different question entirely.

"I'm sorry I couldn't tell you about this, Scully." His eyes
remained locked on the windshield as the car careened toward the exit
gates of the parking garage. For a moment, Scully thought he might crash
through them. "I wanted to. I couldn't. I didn't have the right."

"Mulder! Will you tell me what is going on?"

In his infuriatingly cryptic way, he said, "The proof, Scully.
Everything I've been saying. It's there. It's ours."

Scully fought the urge to scream, "What the fuck are you talking
about." and became one with the bucket seat. She closed her eyes and
sighed. Wherever the hell they were going, it had to do with:

a) an alien invasion
b) a syndicate of human beings in league with the aliens
c)Mulder's search for his sister

Or maybe he'd just discovered a new kind of monster.

Dana Scully was well prepared for all of the above. She was not
ready to see Mulder swing into the back parking lot of what appeared to be
a medical practitioners' office building, reach back and unlock the rear
door for Diana Fowley.

Scully thought it fitting the woman was hiding behind a garbage
receptacle. They hadn't seen Fowley since they'd found the charred bodies
at El Rico. At least Scully hadn't. She felt the bitterness rising in her
throat, gagging her, and was only peripherally aware that Mulder had
pulled out of the parking lot.

Or that Fowley was glaring at Mulder.

"I had to," he said to the rear view mirror.

"I thought you didn't want to endanger her any more, Fox."

Scully felt thick heat in her face. "That's not for him to
decide."

Mulder stared straight at the road before him. He looked
miserable. Scully was glad.

After a moment, his eyes flicked into the rearview and he asked,
quietly, "That's it?"

Fowley nodded. Scully hadn't noticed the large metal canister the
other woman clutched in her lap. It was a little larger than a home
barbecue propane tank and it looked to be vacuum-sealed.

"What is it?" asked Scully wearily.

"Later," said Fowley, and looked sightlessly at the back of
Mulder's head.

They drove. Mulder worked the muscles in his jaw. Scully fumed at
Fowley's dismissal. Fowley looked alternately nervous and impatient.

Housing developments eventually gave way to estates, and then to
farms. Where in Virginia they were, Scully had no idea. Mulder and Fowley
seemed to know and that just made her angrier.

Angry enough to smother the hurt and the fear that resurrected
itself every time she found herself in the same universe with Diana
Fowley.

Finally, Mulder swung into some campgrounds, skidded to a stop,
jumped out of the car without speaking and went into the cabin that served
as an office. Moments later, he emerged, returned to the car, then drove
several hundred feet to the farthest of the cabins. This time, when he
left the driver's seat, he pulled the keys from the ignition, Scully's
only indication that she should get out of the car. She watched her
partner open Fowley's door and lift the canister from her lap. He waited
politely while Fowley emerged from the back seat and slammed the door.
Then Mulder wordlessly led them into the cabin.

Mulder helped Fowley set the container on the kitchenette table.

Scully watched them. "Well?"

"Is it OK to open it?" Mulder asked Fowley.

"For a second." And in a puff of dry ice that eerily and
inexplicably reminded Scully of a squashed mushroom cloud, rose the tiny
alien fetus Scully found in a restricted military facility five years
earlier.

"Purity control," she said.

Mulder looked at her. "That's the one? The one you gave to Deep
Throat?"

To save you. She didn't say it.

"It looks like it. I can't be sure."

Fowley eyes rounded in disbelief. "You had this? And you gave it
away?"
"To save my life," said Mulder. Fowley didn't answer him. She
started to replace the fetus, but Mulder's hand circled her wrist,
stopping her. He consumed the tiny figure with his eyes. Finally, he
released Fowley and she lowered the fetus back into the preservation unit.

He stepped hesitantly toward Scully and met her eyes.

"Diana contracted me after El Rico," he said, and Scully noticed a
slight blush traverse his features. "We decided it was better if everyone
thought she was dead, or had run away. She --"

Diana cut him off. "Stop." He did. But Scully saw an apology in
his eyes for something still unspoken and she felt nauseous.
Instinctively, she pushed away scenarios involving the past or future deed
tied to Mulder's guilt-ridden gaze.

Without turning to look at Fowley, Mulder said, "We'll be back."

Despite her protestations, once, that loneliness was a choice,
Scully knew she would never choose the estrangement she felt for her
partner as they drove back to Washington together. Mulder, sorting out his
own tangled thoughts, said nothing for a long time.

Then finally, softly: "You described it to me, Scully, and it
killed me, not to have seen it along with you."

She wasn't in the mood for heartfelt sharing that didn't include
her feelings of abandonment. "Where did she get it?"

He shook his head. "I don't know."

"But she brought it to you? Why?"

He let out a small, nearly inaudible laugh. "Isn't it obvious? You
can't still think she's betrayed me?"

She didn't answer him and more time passed, though not as much as
it seemed to both of them. It was hard to control her voice when she said,
"This isn't much of a partnership anymore, is it?"

She expected him to be stunned or scared or guilty. Instead, his
face hardened.

"Don't start this now, Scully."

His response shocked her into numbed silence. It was that or
tears, an unacceptable option in front of Mulder under any circumstances,
but especially this one.

His harshness was not lost on him, though and after wetting his
lips, he tried again, his tone softer.

"This has nothing to do with out partnership."

She couldn't think of a professional, unemotional response, so she
said nothing.
As they pulled onto the beltway, Mulder asked her if she
remembered where they'd left Diana. She nodded. With more politeness than
she'd remembered in the six- plus years she'd known him, he asked if she
would please bring the gunmen there.

"Make sure they bring the right equipment."

She took a deep breath. "Where are you going?"

And for the first time that day, she received a direct answer.

"To get Skinner."


When Scully slid back the door of the powder-blue VW van almost
two hours later, it was clear something had changed. It wasn't the
intensity of the sunlight, glaring hard at the peak of the afternoon, or
the shambling footsteps of campers dragging in fishing poles, tackle and
their daily catch. It was the perception, then the sight, of a sour-
looking Skinner. He stood outside Fowley's cabin, his shoes still clean
but losing ground as an afternoon breeze blew the dust around.

"What's wrong?" she called, slipping out of the van, oblivious to
the three curious heads poking out behind her.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead with a white-cuffed wrist and
yanked his head toward the open door of the cabin. Mulder stood inside.
Alone. Fowley was gone.
So was the fetus.



A camper they interviewed said he saw a dark-haired woman carrying
a propane tank get into a dark gray sedan. The windows were frosted, so he
couldn't see the driver. No, no one had forced her or even escorted her
to the car. Someone sitting in the back seat pushed the door open from
inside, but the woman with the canister closed it herself.

Scully found herself afraid to say it, but surely Mulder could see
the obvious: There were no signs of a forced entry. No struggle left its
signature within the walls of the cabin. Diana Fowley had not been forced
to leave it. She had merely changed trains, so to speak, in an attempt to
reach her true destination.

Pawns again.

And, yet, as angry as she was at being used, at watching Mulder
allow himself to be lead around by his hope or his dick or whatever it was
Fowley had a firm grasp upon, she felt a reluctant burst of relief. He had
to see Fowley's duplicity now. He had to.



Mulder had instantly switched into his needy mode, which was the
automatic trigger for Scully to change gears from colleague to comforter.
It was an ingrained, habitual pattern and she sensed it overcoming her
even as she felt resentment for his refusal to acknowledge her own need
for comfort. Unsurprisingly, they ended up in his apartment and he supine
on his battered leather couch. She, of course, was left standing.

A door she'd barely noticed before was ajar. Without thinking, she
nudged it open.

"You have a bedroom."

"Mm."

She tried to keep her tone light. "So why, all of a sudden?"

"I don't know." He meant it literally, but she interpreted it as
evasion.

"Where do you think they took her, Scully?"

She was floored.

"I don't think they took her Mulder. I think she went to them. And
I think we helped her." The hostility she saw in response to her statement
generated a reciprocal emotion in Scully. "I'll help you find her, Mulder,
but not with the intention of rescuing her. She doesn't need rescuing.
Like the rest of them, she needs arresting."

. His lips trembled, as though he could barely trust himself to
speak.

"Why can't you have faith in me on this?"

She couldn't believe it. "You've been lying to me...."

"Never!"

Scully exhaled slowly through her nose. "You let me think she was
gone, Mulder. You never said a word about speaking to or seeing her."
Again, that awful flash of shame filled his eyes. "The silence you kept
was no less than a lie."

He hung his head like a repentant little boy, but it had the
opposite of its usual effect. Scully calmly picked up her things and left.



It was a misleading calm, gone the moment she stepped into
Mulder's elevator. She fought panic and the urge to go back. In the first
five years of her affiliation with Mulder, it had been implied, by Mulder
and by others, that she was the only partner who he'd ever been able to
work with and she'd believed it. She believed she was the only one he'd
trusted, that she was his "one in five billion." All that seemed a lie
now, a blatant manipulation.

Since Diana Fowley sauntered back into his life last year, Scully
had been consumed by a wide array of doubts: Fowley was a believer and an
expert in the paranormal. Maybe her partnership might have been better for
Mulder. Maybe Scully's skepticism, which she had believed to be a tool for
solidifying Mulder's theories, not derailing them, had been holding him
back. She couldn't bear to think she hadn't been the ideal partner for
him, that someone else could do better and that maybe Mulder now thought
of her as roadblock rather than redeemer. So many of Mulder's beliefs were
truly ludicrous to her, but she believed in him with all of her heart. She
wanted to prove with her science that he was right about the greys. She
wanted to help him find his sister. She wanted to tell him what he wanted
to hear -- but only when she could do so honestly.

She knew there were other, more personal feelings playing into her
distress. They haunted her. During a stakeout during their first year
together, Mulder defined the distance between them by asking her not to
call him Fox. As he handed him a cup of root beer, she filed away all
hopes of an intimate relationship with her desirable partner. Despite the
occasional moments of desperation, when it seemed like Mulder wanted more
from her than her quick mind and deftness with an autopsy knife, she never
let herself believe. She could not base her interpretation of his feelings
on a circumstantial attraction, stirred by the intensity of the moment and
gone the moment order was restored.

As the years went by, as their partnership deepened, she became an
expert at suppressing feelings for him that now embarrassed her. It was
for her own survival. If he learned that the burgeoning desire she'd felt
during the Tooms case had snowballed into a painful, intractable,
frightening love, his pity would drive her away from the X-Files. And the
X-Files were all Scully had left. Her abduction, her sister's death, her
sterilization, her cancer, her Emily trauma, had left her a prisoner of
the files, quite separate from her devotion to Mulder.

She'd felt she'd lost their special, one-of-a-kind partnership, in
the wake of the events that led to El Rico. That night in the baseball
field had filled her with hope that Mulder's companionship was not a lost
cause. Now the memory of it made her fight tears. She had only the files,
the promise of an explanation for all the horrible things that had
happened to her. Without them, she feared herself incapable of leading a
functional life

For months now, Scully had managed stave off the cruel vision of
her partner hovering nude above a writhing Diana Fowley. The image had
tormented her for weeks following the El Rico massacre, through
assignments they had in San Diego and Florida during which she was barely
civil to Mulder. She thought she'd knocked it out of her life with the
swing of a baseball bat.

But there are baseballs and there are boomerangs. Sometimes it's
hard to see what's going to swing around and hit you. From:
SuperJame@aol.com Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 06:13:49 EDT Subject: "All Lies"
(2/2)

Scully's patterns of evasion, of losing herself in her work, were too
ingrained for her to change routines and battle her blues in a bar. Nor
was she the type to curl up in bed and sleep her depression away. The
belief that Fowley was dirty still ate at her and she was determined not
to play the good little dupe again. Somehow, she found herself parallel
parking in the only space within a block of the Lone Gunmen's
office/laboratory/abode.

She never made it the door. As she passed a small alley a few
doors from her destination, a strong bicep pressed into her throat and she
was dragged into the darkness.


Even as she lost air, and with it an increasing amount of clarity,
Scully started running down the evidence: He was choking her with a
left-handed arm-bar, so it couldn't be Krycek. His chin dug into the crown
of her head, placing him at about 5'11", the smell of him was familiar...

"I'll let you go." She spun around, ready to strike, and froze.
"Surprise."

Jeffrey Spender, prodigal FBI ladder-climber and presumed fatal
gunshot victim stood there, brandishing a grim, self-deprecating smile.
Scully eyes widened almost comically. Astonishment stole her speech.

"This isn't the place for explanations," he said. And for the
second time in ten hours, Dana Scully found herself in a car barreling out
of Washington, D.C. without any idea where she was going.

"I hoped Mulder would be with you," Spender said. "Where is he?"

"Brooding," replied Scully. It was an unthinkable response in
better times, but at that point she didn't care. She was struck by a
sudden parallel: The dead were rising all over the place.

"Does he know you're alive?" She asked.

Spender shifted his eyes briefly from the road. He looked puzzled.
"Who?"

"Mulder."

"No." The question seemed to surprise him. Spender probably
figured Mulder shared that sort of news with her. She'd would have thought
that herself -- yesterday.

"We found blood under your desk..." she said, feeling suddenly
uncomfortable. Why hadn't they looked into Spenders' death? Why had they
taken it on faith that he'd been killed?

"Yeah, a lot of it, I bet," he said, rubbing a stubbily chin. It
looked good on him, Scully thought, also taking in the faded Levis and
dark blue polo shirt. "Sorry for the mess."
He explained that he'd been left alive enough after his father
shot him to call for help, but it occurred to him news of his survival
might cut into his already precarious lifespan.. Besides, he'd had an
epiphany surrounding his purpose in life, and he doubted the FBI would
appreciate his plans for redirecting his career.

"So you're with -- MUFON?" Scully asked.

Spender laughed. "More like MUFON on steroids."

She couldn't help asking. "What do you know about your former
partner?"

He snorted, eyes flicking at the rearview as he changed lanes.
"Diana? Ask my "father." He's the one who knows her. And I do mean knows
her."

Eew. That was more information than she wanted. Scully's face
screwed up like she'd sucked on a particularly potent Warhead sourball and
Spender laughed.

"Hey, "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.' "

"Thank you, Henry Kissinger."

He added, "Ask her yourself. If we're lucky, we'll see her
tonight." He added, almost absently, "Got your gun?"



Scully had never smelled an uglier place. Not long after 8:00
p.m., as the sunlight started its slow surrender to darkness, Spender
pulled into a squalid seaside city and glided his car into an alley
stained with oil and antifreeze. He was out of the car, opening the trunk,
before Scully had removed her seatbelt.

"They meet here?" she asked, as he collected a Glock and several
extra magazines.

He jerked his head eastward. "At the pier. They'll hand off the
fetus there."
"To whom?"

Spender grinned bitterly and brought his shoulders to his ears in
an exaggerated shrug. "Not one of the good guys, Scully."

Five months had made so much difference in him, Scully mused, as
Spender led her through the alley. She wouldn't have followed his
starch-suited former persona to the third-floor snack lounge.

"What do you plan to do with it?" she whispered.

He turned back to look at her. "Give it to you, Scully. Think you
can make use of it?" Then he pressed an index finger to his lips and they
proceeded silently forward.

The pier smelled of sewage and sulfur and the lighting was barely
existent. Scully and Spender slipped behind a broken wall on a hill road
just above a pair of empty boat slips. She squinted for long seconds
before she made out two silent silhouettes leaning against a smoky sedan.

Once she saw them, the thick fog and the bad lighting could not
disguise the forms of the two people who had harmed Scully more than
anyone else in her life: CBG Spender, the cigarette smoking man. And Diana
Fowley. They stood very close, elbows touching, and even from 200 yards
away, Scully could see Spender was right about them.

In a sense, it would be a successful mission if she just pulled
out her gun and put an end to both of them.. But Scully was neither a
selfish nor a murderous person. She wanted the fetus, for Mulder and for
herself. And she knew if she killed Diana Fowley, even in self-defense,
she'd be to firing a fatal bullet into whatever was left of her
relationship with Mulder.

Scully had no problem with arresting them, though.

Spender's fingers grazed her wrist and he nodded towards the pier.
A small motorboat, its engine somehow muted, glided to a stop and docked.
A male figure pulled himself up the rotten wooden ladder, using mostly his
right hand.

"Krycek?" whispered Scully.

"He's a very important man," replied Spender. From his tone,
Scully assumed she was missing out on a private joke.

The smoking man moved toward the trunk of the sedan.

"Get ready," said Spender. "When he opens the trunk, we hit'em.
You cover me; I'll get the thing."

"Wait a minute," said Scully. "Where's your back up?"

Spender gripped his Glock. "What do you think you are?"

"Spender," whispered Scully furiously. But he was already heading
furtively down the hill. As she started after him, Scully heard the
helicopter.

Without looking at it, Scully knew it was black, like the
apocalyptic choppers that had chased Mulder and herself through a Texas
cornfield more than a year ago. The sound tripped in her an inexplicable
terror that she knew, instinctively, was tied to her abduction and the
unspeakable things that were done to her during the three months she was
gone.

But years of practice suppressing her emotions had its positive
side and Scully was able to creep after Spender, then fan out, stretching
against the wall of a carport so that all three of their opponents were
covered.

"Move and die!" shouted Spender, stepping out, his weapon trained
on his father and Fowley. A moment of amused satisfaction coursed through
Scully: CBG looked like he'd seen a ghost.

Scully moved into the arena, her eyes locked on Krycek. His weapon
fell into the dirt.

And then, as Mulder would have put it, all bets were off.

Who fired the shot, Scully would never know. She barely heard it
over the roar of the encroaching helicopter, but she did see Spender fall,
clutching desperately at his shoulder.

"Shit!" She raged, more frustrated than frightened by the
unexpected change in the program. She could feel the cold shadow of the
helicopter as it started to land. The men and Fowley turned now to her,
and she could see several other figures stepping onto the pier.

Scully was not the only one unsettled by the smoker's
reinforcements. Shrill curses flowed from Alex Krycek and he began
backing toward his boat.

Suddenly, Fowley snatched the freezer box from the truck of the
sedan and started running.

"Diana!" shouted the older Spender. "Stay here!"

But Fowley had slipped into the darkness behind him. Scully, in an
automatic pilot mode that clearly excluded rational thinking, darted
straight through a formidable line of fire to follow her.

Scully's mind registered two things as she skittered across the
broken, moldy path: People were firing at her and missing.

And someone was covering her. A crossfire had started behind her.

She nearly crashed into Fowley who stood heaving against the stone
wall of a decaying dock, overcome from running with the heavy receptacle.
Before Scully could recover enough to draw her gun or at least seize the
canister, she was eyeballing the barrel of Fowley's Sig Sauer.

Fowley stared at her in disbelief, let out a disgusted sigh and
shook her head slightly. She shifted so the receptacle was under her arm.

"Pretty heavy, isn't it?" said Scully. "How far do you think
you'll get?"

"Well, I would have gotten farther without your interference,
Agent Scully. Remember that when it all goes to hell."

:She straightened her shooting arm and Scully braced herself, too
unprepared to offer even a quick prayer in her last seconds of life.

"Diana! No!"

It was Mulder. He stood above them, behind the wall where Scully
and Spender had first sighted the couple by the dark sedan. He had been
covering Scully. Now his Sig was pointed at Fowley's head.

Fowley fired and Scully jumped, surprised when she felt nothing
but a blast of adrenaline .Behind her, she heard a thump. Something heavy
nudged her heel and she jerked away from the object.

It was the body of Alex Krycek. His gun clattered to the pavement.
"What the fuck is going on?" Scully screamed.

"Fowley holstered her gun.

"I'm Air Force," she answered, as Mulder reached them, panting.

"What?"

"Operation Blue Book was never closed, Agent Scully. It just
changed its focus."

In the seconds it took for Scully to absorb this, she also
realized something else: The black helicopter was headed back out to sea.



Former Special Agent Jeffrey Spender was hospitalized with a
bullet wound that had shredded the uppermost portion of his right
pectoralis muscle. Former Special Agent Alex Krycek was admitted to the
same hospital, under guard, in extremely critical condition. If he
survived, life would be hard: Fowley had shot him in the left side, but
upon exiting, her bullet shattered his right elbow.

The Cigarette Smoking Man, of course, had disappeared.



In the mid-1960s, the U.S. Government commissioned a special task
force -- "Project Blue Book" -- to investigate thousands of reported UFO
sightings by perfectly respectable Americans. A few years later, the
commission was declared adjourned, with the government claiming there was
no substance to even one of the supposed sightings.

So they said.

In reality, the task force was transformed from a panel of
scientists and investigators to a covert group of highly educated
specialists trained in both science and espionage. The program was two
decades old when Diana Fowley joined them. She didn't present the whole
picture to the small group assembled in Skinner's office, but they were
able to get the idea.

It was almost midnight. Skinner's eyes were bloodshot and he kept
sliding a knuckle under his glasses to rub at them. A ebullient Mulder sat
across from him, in the same chair he had more than a year ago, when he
suggested amnesty for the would-be killer of Gibson Praise. As she had
then, Dana Scully sat beside him.

Mulder had pulled up a chair for Diana on his other side.

"Unbelievable," said Skinner. "The fetus is in a safe place?"

"Safe as it's gonna be," said Fowley. "And if it isn't, well, now
we have tissue samples." She nodded across Mulder at Scully. Mulder smiled
at his partner.

"In several secure places," he added.

"Amazing, what this is gonna do," said Skinner. He exhaled, than
peered at Fowley. "Air Force?" The ex-Marine in him seemed disappointed.

"A civilian working for them." Eight years ago, she explained,
when she applied to work on the X-Files with Fox Mulder, she was issued an
alternative offer. The quest was the same; the resources better. But if
she accepted, she would go deep undercover, sleeping with the enemy in
every sense of the word.

From all appearances, she would join the worldwide syndicate
collaborating with a hostile group of creatures that could not accurately
be classified as either "little," "green" or "men." She would monitor
tests. She would watch other women suffer at the hands of human monsters..
She would mortgage her morals in deference to the big picture: saving
humanity from alien conquest. As obvious as the reality of the scenario
was for the group assembled in Skinner's office, Diana still snorted in
self-derision when she said it.

Scully tried to look over at her, but could only make it as far as
Fowley's knees. As much as Scully had unvoluntarily sacrificed, this
woman had surrendered more, and willingly. She had given up Fox Mulder.
She had slept with that hideous old man. Scully shuddered. She knew she
could never have had the strength to do either of these things.

"I was wrong about you," she said, in a low voice, looking at her
own knees now. "I can't begin to apologize."

Fowley said, "No apologies needed. Your investigative skills are
incredible. You and the gunmen really did a job on me. Those manifests
were supposed to be untraceable."

Mulder added, "You even had me, going, Scully, and I knew Diana
was legit."

"Something he was not allowed to tell you," Diana said pointedly.

"I could have lived without you putting a pistol to her head,"
Mulder said to Fowley.

. "Well," said Fowley softly. "The fetus was pivotal. The only thing that
mattered." She tilted her head toward Mulder and added mildly, "I
wouldn't have exchanged it for your life, either."

Mulder nodded in understanding. Scully could take no more.

"Excuse me," she said. She hoped, as she stepped toward the door,
that she wasn't telegraphing the anguish she felt was chewing away at her
soul.



It was half past midnight, now and Scully was slowly working up
the stability to start the car. She had little doubt that in leaving the
parking lot, she would learn that Hell was a traveling show. Before she
had the chance to find out for sure, she heard a tap on the passenger side
of her door. She looked at Mulder through the windshield and released the
power lock. He slid in beside her.

"Hey, Scully," he said softly.

She nodded.

"Everybody's meeting at Casey's for a little celebration drink,"
he said. The statement seemed so absurd in the face of her obvious
distress that Scully couldn't answer. Mulder sucked on his lips for a few
moments, then said, ""Diana needed an ally, Scully. One person. She told
me to share the truth with anyone, even you, would put her and almost a
decade's worth of work in danger. It would have put you in danger, too,"
He examined her face, seeking even a trace of understanding. "Anyway, it
was her secret, not mine. I didn't feel I had the right to make that
decision for her."

Scully whispered, "How long have you known?"

He continued to worry his bottom lip. "Since the night we lost
Gibson Praise."

She nodded. "You wondered if I was asking you to make a choice."

He cringed. "I was an asshole. And at the gunmen's, too, right
before El Rico. Guilt at keeping it from you, I guess. Maintaining the
lie. Afraid I couldn't keep it up much longer. I lashed out."

She nodded numbly, staring out the windshield, seeing nothing.

"I'm sorry," said Mulder, with feeling.

"You worked well together at the waterfront," Scully said.

Surprised, he said, "I wasn't working with her, Scully. I'd been
following you since you left my apartment. I couldn't leave things the way
they were. The plan was to intercept you on the way to the gunmen's. Then
Spender went and grabbed you."

And so she was granted this last comfort: He still cared. As did
she. Enough to let him go while there was still this warmth between them.

"It will be better for you to work with her," said Scully, failing
in her attempt to keep her voice even. She turned looked out her window.

Mulder said gently, "She's going home, Scully." His squinted at
her in the pale synthetic light. "Wait a minute..." And then it was his
face that filled with understanding.

"You could talk her into staying...."

"Why? There's no place for her here.... Scully... Do you,
think...."

As tears forced past her struggling lids, Scully lunged for the
door handle, desperate to escape. Mulder's quick hands -- and her seatbelt
-- stopped her.

He turned her toward him, and when she refused to look at him,
drew her forehead to his and waited. He used his first two fingers to
lightly caress her hair.

"I thought... at least if she was... one of them... you would want
to keep me as your partner." She sounded like a heartbroken kindergartner.
"But she deserves... she gave up everything...."

He tilted his nose against hers.

"Scully," he whispered, and he felt his breath on her lips. "Diana
being good, or bad, has nothing to do with who I want as my partner. It's
not like you're some consolation prize because I can't have who I want.
I'm proud of her and all, but you are the only one...." He stopped,
realizing he was repeating something he said long ago, and he was now
unsure it had held weight, even then. He inhaled, then exhaled slowly.

She must have known it was coming, because she closed her eyes
just as his mouth touched hers. The brevity of the kiss, and the
lightness, did not detract from its power. She looked up at him through
disheveled bangs and suddenly found herself pressed against the drivers'
door. And her lips were opening under Mulder's and his hand was warm on
the back of her neck and their tongues tangled and slid together. He
moaned without breaking the kiss and desire spiraled though Scully. Her
nails sank through his silky hair. She felt the pads of his fingers as
they began to stroke softly at the flesh above her breasts..

Overload. She was overwhelmed by the intensity of physical
sensation and emotional catharsis. Her world had just tumbled on its head
and Scully needed to get her bearings. She drew away, just slightly, and
their foreheads again rested together.

"Guess we better get to Casey's," she said.

"Be good to have the chance to say good-bye," he mumbled back..
They straightened in their seats. Scully started the car.

They traveled the short distance to Casey's bar in surreal
silence. When they released their seatbelts, Mulder leaned his chin on her
shoulder for a moment and looked into her eyes. They both smiled shyly.
Then they headed toward the sidewalk. Scully already felt herself missing
the taste of him. Just before they walked inside, Mulder backed her
against the front of the building and pushed his tongue back into her
mouth.
"Mmmm." Scully fit her body to his and pressed hard.

When Mulder withdrew, it was with obvious reluctance. His lips
dipped to her ear. "We don't have to stay long," he murmured, and headed
toward the heavy wooden entrance door. Scully smiled to herself. As usual,
he was moving way ahead of her.

But she didn't have to run after him this time.

He had stopped to hold the door.


-30-

This one's not going to make it into the Anti-Diana Fowley Archive. If
you'd rather hate Diana, check out my other story, "Sledgehammer."

It would be prudent to add here that Jeffrey Spender is also a fictional
character owned by 1013 productions. So are Alex Krycek and the alien
fetus.

Thanks for reading.