Kevin found Katy, off to herself, in one of the upper 
bedrooms of the large house they used as the clinic.  He'd 
been worried about her since the incident with Ian.  She had 
given the warning, saved Scully from, from further violence, 
but she had been quiet, withdrawn since then.  

Kevin had no complaints about the parenting skills of either 
Mulder or Scully, but both had been traumatized by the 
assault.  Maybe they couldn't see her need. Besides, he and 
Katy had a bond.

"Sweetie?  You okay?"

She shrugged, but went to him when he held out his arms to 
her.  "Talk to me, Katy.  What's going on?  Is everyone at 
your house okay?"

She shook her head and finally met his eyes.  "Daddy's red 
all the time."

"He's not angry with you."  Kevin could speak with assurance 
there.  Katy was the most intelligent child he had ever 
known, but she was still a kid and needed comfort.

"I know.  He's mad at himself.  He think he should have 
known, should have protected Mom better."

Kevin gave her a sad smile, '"Your Dad always feels that 

After a moment she nodded, "It's worse now."

"What about your Mom?  How's she?"

"Gray.  Only gray right now."  Katy sighed.

"What about Walt?  Can he - "

"Only Daddy can heal Mom, but he won't.  He doesn't see it."  
She cuddled into Kevin's arms.

"We're going to take care of this Sweetie.  Don't keep stuff 
like this to yourself.  When you're upset, or worried, you 
come to me or your granddad or Charlie.  Okay?  Maybe we 
don't see the colors, but we love your parents and we'll 

She nodded against his chest.

"Is there anything else you want to talk about?"


"What about him, Honey?"  He immediately tensed.

"He's scared of us, of Esther."

"He won't hurt you.  People watch him."

"He hit Julie."

Kevin closed his eyes for an instant.  "I'm sorry you know 
that Sweetie.  It was a bad thing and it won't happen again.  
Your Dad won't allow it."

"We should have stopped him.  I should have stopped him, 
and Ian."

"No.  Katy, look at me.  That's not your job."

"If I'd told someone - "

"Katy, no."  He cuddled her close.  This child had never 
known this kind of violence in her young life and Kevin 
wished helplessly that she still didn't.  "If you ever want to 
come to me and talk about something you feel or you're 
worried about, don't hesitate.  The only condition, look at me 
Katy, the only condition to this is you cannot feel guilty about 
anything.  You can tell me any secret.  If something needs to 
be done, I'll take care of it.  Okay, Katy?  Do you 

She nodded solemnly.  "Can you get Daddy to fix Mom?"

"I'll talk to him."

That seemed to relieve the little girl and she placed a big 
kiss on Kevin's cheek.

"Let's go get some lunch, Sweetie."  He put her on her feet 
and she took his hand, her whole demeanor brighter now.  
He wished he felt the same.


After lunch, Kevin headed back to the office.  Mulder wasn't 
there, he didn't spend a lot of time in the office lately.  He'd 
begun asking for the physical assignments.  Firewood was 
now in abundance at each of the dwellings.  

Walter stuck his head in on the way to the greenhouse.  
"Need anything?"  He asked Kevin.

"Yeah.  I do." 

The look on Kevin's face made Walter step inside and close 
the door.  "You okay?"

"I talked with Katy."

Walter lowered himself into the nearest chair.  "And?"

"She's worried about her parents."

Walter brushed his hand over his brow.  "She's not alone."

"She says Mulder's red all the time and Scully's gray."

"Jesus."  Walter shook his head.  "Mulder's the best in the 
world at guilt, but he couldn't have seen this coming.  None 
of us did.  Hell, Katy couldn't have seen this."  He looked out 
the window at the gray sky, this was the color of Scully?  "Let 
me think about it.  I thought, with Ian gone, things would go 
back to normal.  I should have known better."  

Walter hauled himself out of the chair, feeling the cold 
deeper now.  He'd have to let Maggie know about this.  That 
was going to be tough.  


Walter met Maggie at the clinic for dinner, but before they 
could speak, he spotted her.  Scully was there, feeding the 
children, but Mulder wasn't in evidence.  It was already 
getting dark outside, and it didn't look like Mulder would be 
joining them.

Scully was going through the motions, making sure the kids 
were fed, but Walter didn't see a single bite go into her 
mouth, though she moved the tiny amount she'd taken for 
herself around on her plate.

When the kids ran to get their coats to head out, Walter 
approached her.  "Why don't I walk you and the kids home."

"That's not necessary, Walter.  I'm sure Mulder is home 
waiting for us."

"It's dark.  I'll take Lexie.  It's cold."

"Walter - "

"Come on."  He held her coat, and squeezed her shoulders 
once she had it on.

Tears came to her eyes at the unexpected gesture and she 
turned her face from him.


She shook her head and stepped away.  He took a step after 
her, but the kids came running up then.  Walter took Lexie 
into his arms.  "Let's get you guys home, it's getting cold out 

He watched Katy and Walt each take one of their mother's 
hands.  He realized it was done on purpose, the children 
could have run on ahead, but they were trying to help her.  
He saw no change, and his concern rose.  Why had he let 
things go on like this for so long?  He'd seen what was going 
on, but it was so personal and he knew how much those two 
loved each other.  

The five of them walked to the house in silence, and the kids 
removed and hung up their own coats.  Walter didn't see 
Mulder, but after a moment he heard him in the bedroom.

"Scully?"  Walter touched her shoulder, turning him toward 
her.  "Can I do anything?"

"Walter, please."  She shook her head and removed her own 

"If you need - "

"We're fine.  Thank you for walking us home."  It was a clear 
dismissal and after a moment he nodded and let himself out.


Scully came out of Katy's bedroom after tucking her in and 
saw Mulder stoking the fire for the night.  He was aware of 
her, but didn't stop.  She stood behind him at a distance, 
watching.  She didn't approach him.

When he was through, he turned.  "Scully?"

"Do I disgust you?" She asked quietly.

He blinked, "What?"  He stepped toward her, but she 
retreated a step.  "Scully, what are you talking about?"

"You.  You haven't touched me in weeks.  I told you that Ian 
didn't rape me.  Do you believe me?"

"I, of course I do."  Mulder looked appalled.

"Then what, do you think I seduced him?  Do you think what 
happened, what almost happened, was my fault?"

"No.  No Scully; that never crossed my mind.  You know that.  
You were in law enforcement.  You know that rape is about 
power, not sex.  We both know he came after you because 
of your position here, and mine."

Scully just looked at him for a long moment.  "So you just 
aren't interested in me anymore."

"Scully."  He moved toward her again and reached for her 
hand.  "I want you, I always want you."

She stared into his eyes then, but remained silent.

"Scully, I wanted to give you time.  I didn't want to rush you.  
That . . . that bastard hurt you, even if he didn't . . . he hurt 
you.  What would you think if I'd demanded sex from you 
right after something like that?"

"Demanded sex?  Is that what you would have done?"

"No, no I'm not saying it right.  Damn it Scully," he looked 
over at Katy's door.  They were speaking quietly, in 
deference to the kids, but . . .

She moved back away from him again and retreated to their 
bedroom, closing the door.  He was paralyzed for an instant.  
What was she thinking?  He was at the door in two steps, 
but didn't slam his way in.  He opened it carefully, and saw 
Scully gathering some things together, as though packing.

"Scully?"  He looked at her then, really looked at her for the 
first time in ages.  There were dark smudges under her eyes 
from where she hadn't been sleeping.  And her cheeks were 
sunken, she'd lost weight.  How could he be so fucking self-
absorbed?  Okay, he hadn't wanted to hurt her accidentally 
in his anger, so instead he destroyed her with his distance?

"I'm going to sleep in my office."

"No.  Please, no.  Stay here.  Let me fix this.  Scully, give me 
a chance, let me love you."

She shook her head.  "I'm not going to beg you for sex."  His 
mouth opened, but she continued, "and I don't want you 
because you feel guilty."

"Scully, please.  I handled this wrong, but I thought I was 
giving you time to recover, time to, to heal."

"To heal, without you."

He paled at that.  "No not without me.  I just . . . " He shook 
his head and sank onto their bed.  He looked up at her, 
"Scully, you can't think . . . you know that I want you, that I 
love you.  You, you're my wife, my partner . . . you're my 

"What does that mean?"

"It means you're the last thing I think about before I fall 
asleep and the first thing when I wake up.  Scully, you still 
give me wet dreams."  He wanted to pull her into his lap, but 
fear kept him still.   "Can you ever forgive me?"

She hadn't walked away from him at least.  "You still love 

His eyes widened and his mouth fell open, "You . . . you 
have to ask me that?"  He rose then and stood in front of 
her.  She could feel him breathe, but he didn't touch her.  
She met his eyes.  "Scully, I love you.  I will always love you.  
I can't take a breath without loving you.  I've screwed up, I 
think this is the worst I've ever screwed up and you've seen 
me through more shit than anyone.  Don't stop loving me 
Scully.  I can't live without it, without you.  You're not the one 
begging here."

She saw the pain he was in and the fear.  Had he honestly 
been trying to give her time?  In her own state of mind, that 
hadn't occurred to her.  They had never had to face 
something like this before.

"Scully."  She put down the small bag she had started to 
pack.  "He hurt you.  I know I'm going to say this wrong, but 
even though he didn't hurt you as, as badly as he wanted to, 
he hurt you.  I didn't kill him, because you asked me not to, 
but he deserved to die.  I wanted to kill him.  I still want to kill 
him.  I feel that in every cell of my body." He looked away for 
an instant, "I'm angry.  I'm always angry now."

"At me?"

"God no!  At me!  I let that man in, I let him stay even though 
I knew how he felt.  I saw him look at you."

"Maybe I should have let you kill him.  He, he hurt us both."

Mulder nodded.  "I, at first, I was honestly afraid I would 
harm you, I mean physically.  I didn't ask to chop wood to 
keep my mind occupied."

"It took three of them to get you off of him."  She spoke 
quietly, remembering the scene.


She nodded.

"I don't remember that."  He realized he still hadn't touched 
her, and the need overwhelmed him.  "Scully, may I . . . ?"  
He carefully touched her hand.  She didn't pull away and he 
could have wept with relief.

She didn't pull away, but she didn't reciprocate either.  He 
led her to the bed and she didn't fight him.  He seated her, 
then knelt in front of her.  "Scully, let me love you, please."

When she didn't speak he let his hand caress her cheek, 
and then down her neck.  She was stiff, unresponsive.  
Scully had never been unresponsive to him and it scared the 
hell out of him.

"Let me love you."  

She just looked at him, but allowed him to help her recline.  
Watching her, he slowly began undressing her.  She'd lost 
more weight than he'd realized.  Where the hell had he 
been?  She looked like she had when she'd been so ill.  He 
wanted to cry.   There was no response, but she didn't push 
him away.

His lips tasted her neck, nibbling at her ear.  He knew this 
woman, he knew what she enjoyed.  He would do everything 
in his power to please her tonight.


She'd come three or four times before he slid into her.  He'd 
gotten his response finally.  Sex had never been a problem 
between them, their bodies in synch as always though it had 
taken a while tonight.  The problem had been him, 
withdrawing from her emotionally.  He hadn't realized how 
stupid he still was. 

Scully gasped again at the attentions he was paying her.  
She had thought, after all these years as partners, then 
friends, and finally lovers, she knew Mulder.  Still he had 
managed to surprise her.  His need to love her, to give her 
love, was beyond anything she had even imagined.


He woke slowly, it was light outside.  That was unusual.  He 
looked over at Scully.  They'd made love most of the night.  
It wasn't strange that they had overslept, but the kids weren't 
usually this quiet.  Were they still asleep too?

Before he could rise, Scully stirred and opened her eyes.  
His attention was on her immediately and she saw that he 
was still concerned over her reaction to last night.

The man was amazing.  He remembered everything she 
enjoyed from the very first time they were together, and he'd 
used all of them last night.  Her hand came up and caressed 
his face, she didn't smile, but she was reaching out to him.  
The relief nearly toppled him, but he was able to gather her 
up against him and held her.

After several minutes, she pulled back slightly.  "Mulder, 
what time is it?"

"I'm not sure.  I know we've overslept."  His eyes smiled at 
her, "We earned it."

"Where are the kids?"

"I was wondering the same thing.  Why don't you wait here 
and I'll check it out."

The thought of lounging for a few more minutes was 
appealing, so she nodded.  He kissed the tip of her nose and 
found his robe.  It was chilly when he wasn't pressed up 
against her hot little body.  He tucked the covers back in 
around her and let himself out of their bedroom.

The kids were nowhere in evidence.  Katy's door was open.  
That wasn't good.  He moved toward the door and spotted 
the scrap of paper on the table.  There in Katy's careful 
handwriting was a note.  He picked it up and smiled.

He returned with the note to the bedroom.  "Mulder?  Where 
are the kids?"

He handed her the note.  "Katy took the little ones over to 
the clinic for breakfast.  I guess she wanted to give us a little 
more time."

Scully actually blushed at that and he felt a surge of joy.  
"Mulder, they're too - "

"Young?  Scully, our kids?  Tell you what, if you'll stay put, I'll 
get dressed, run to the clinic and pick us up some breakfast.  
I'll make sure they're okay."

"A vacation day?"  Her lips twitched.  He nodded rapidly, 
causing her to give a light laugh - her first in so long his heart 

"I'll hurry."  He was already pulling on his clothes.


When he entered the clinic, he noted that everyone glanced 
at him.  The adults looked away, but the kids smiled and MJ 
actually laughed.  Geez, he must be trailing purple behind 
him to get this reaction.  Well, it was how he felt.

He had been so wrong to put distance between himself and 
Scully.  She was the only thing that made life make sense, 
the only thing that could get past his anger.

Everything good in his life was because of Scully.  This 
place, his family, his children.  He had hurt her while he tried 
to protect her from his anger.  He would never physically hurt 
Scully, he couldn't.  But he had been letting his anger 
destroy him, and he had allowed himself to damage her in 
the process.

Ian was gone.  He couldn't hurt them.  He couldn't hurt 
anyone, ever again.  Mulder hadn't asked Todd or Greg to 
do anything, and nothing had been said, but he was aware 
that something had happened.  He hadn't asked for details 
yet, and maybe it was better that he hadn't been the one to 
handle it.

Right now he wanted to get home to Scully.  The kids were 
fine.  They'd eaten their breakfast and given him good 
morning kisses for himself and to take back to Scully.  He 
didn't even feel guilty about taking a day, he had put in a lot 
of work lately.  Now he needed to spend time with his wife.  
Last night wasn't enough to make up for what he had put her 
through with his distance.  He'd spend the rest of his life 
making up for this.

He returned home quickly with breakfast for Scully.  She had 
done as he asked and was dozing in their bed.

"Morning, Beautiful."

She gave him a sleepy smile as she stretched.  "Are the kids 

"Yes, they're good.  Fed and ready for their day."

"Did they . . . know?"

He understood the question, and nodded.  "I think I had 
purple exploding around my head."

She looked down, blushing.  He sat beside her on the bed, 
putting her tea on the bedside table.  "Scully, are we okay?"

She looked up at him, "I need you Mulder, physically and 
emotionally.  I need you.  Can you understand that?"

He nodded, his throat tight.  "How did I manage to survive 
over 30 years without you?"

She smiled then, "You had your diversions."

"Moi?"  He tried to match her light tone, but she saw the 
tears, unshed, in his eyes.

"Yes, I watched women throw themselves at you.  And you 
loved it."

"Throw themselves . . . was I there?  I'm not remembering - "

"Detective White?  On top of you in your motel room?"  Her 
eyebrow was rising.

"That was cosmic, Scully.  It had nothing to do with my 

"You have 'charm', Mulder?"  Her lips quirked and he 
couldn't hold himself back from kissing them.

"Jealous?"  His hand caressed her hip, drawing her a little 

"I was of Phoebe, watching you dance with her, kissing her, 
wearing that tuxedo."

"You saw that?"  He drew back slightly and his brow 

"Don't go guilty on me now, Mulder.  That was years ago, 
before you realized how much you adore me."

"I do you know.  Adore you.  Can you forgive me?"

"You saved me, Mulder.  You got there in time and you 
saved me."  She pressed a kiss to his lips to silence the 
comment he started to make.  "No guilt.  Just be with me.  
I'm not okay without you."

He nodded, pulling her close again.  "Forever, Scully, 
always."  She relaxed against him then.  "You need to eat 
your breakfast.  I want you strong and healthy and, and 


In such a small place, there were few secrets.  Everyone 
knew that things were better between Mulder and Scully.  
They were together again.  Even the kids seemed less 

A sense of relief was felt by the whole community.  People 
were quicker to laugh and meals became a time to gather 

Only George kept his distance.  He did his work, but if the 
children or Scully were around, he found some place else to 


Jerry surprised Mulder when he approached him at the 
greenhouse.  Jerry made sure they were alone, then turned 
to Mulder.  "You're the law here, right?"

Mulder hesitated at that, "Kind of, I guess.  What's up?"

"I mean, you're the guy that marries people and, and stuff 
like that."

"Well, it's more of a 'blessing' thing, but yeah, I guess I 
handle that."  In Mulder's mind he was running through the 
eligible women and coming up blank.

"So you could also grant a divorce."

Mulder straightened up, caught completely off guard by the 
direction the conversation had taken.  "Jerry, what are you 
talking about?"

Jerry looked down at his shoes, then back up at him.  His 
ears were red, a sure sign he was uncomfortable.  "Julie and 
I are . . . we're getting close.  Nothing's happened between 
us." He hastily assured Mulder, "but I want to look after her, 
be a father to those kids.  George . . . George isn't good to 

"Has he gotten physical with her?"  Mulder asked quickly.  
Katy hadn't said anything and now he knew she would, but 
the question came to him immediately.

"No.  He wouldn't dare.  He knows I'd take him apart."

"He knows the two of you . . . "

"No.  But he knows he's being watched.  He knows the kids 
can pick up on  his feelings."

Mulder nodded.  "Does Julie want this?"

"I wanted to talk to you first, Mulder, before I . . . "

"Yeah.  Jerry, I need to think about this.  My first reaction is, 
'great idea'.  But there are a lot of implications.  I need to talk 
to Scully."  He was startled at the smile that came over 
Jerry's face.  "What?"

"It's just good to hear you say that.  We were all worried 
about you.  Maybe I shouldn't say that, but . . . there wasn't a 
man here who didn't want to have a turn at Ian."

Mulder nodded.  "I know, and I, I appreciate that."

Jerry nodded, then shuffled his feet.  "I've got to get back to 
the laundry.  You'll talk to Scully?"

"Yes, tonight.  I know you'd be good to Julie.  Just give me a 
little time."  Mulder watched him leave, then shook it off.  He 
had work to do.


They ate at the clinic, then Mulder and Scully bundled the 
kids up and headed home.  They got the kids ready for bed, 
read their bedtime story, and tucked them in.  Bricks 
wrapped in flannel warmed the sheets and the kids, already 
drowsy dropped off to sleep warm and comfortable.

Mulder tugged Scully into their bedroom and got her into 
their bed quickly.  He brought a brick for her as well, then 
climbed in beside her and took her in his arms.  "Are you 

"No.  You think the kids will be okay?"

"Yes.  The little ones are together and your mother's idea 
about warming the sheets works really well."  He massaged 
her back a little, "you feeling okay?"

She looked up at him, surprised.  "Yes, I'm fine."

"You didn't eat much tonight."

She shrugged, "Just not hungry.  There's more variety this 
year, but nothing appealed to me tonight.  Don't worry; I'm 
not coming down with anything.  Walt would have told me."  
She smiled at him, his love and concern for her always 
evident now.

He nodded, he remembered the struggle to eat what was 
offered last year.  "Well, I have some news."
She looked up at him, "Yes?"  She urged him on, her eyes 

Mulder grinned, "I like eager women."

She rolled her eyes, but cuddled in next to him.  He 
continued to show his love for her every day.  She 
understood what had happened, understood his guilt and his 
anger.  She should be used to it after all these years.

He brought her up to date on what Jerry had asked, 
watching her reaction.

"You're not surprised."  He said after a few minutes.

"No, I'm not.  George doesn't fit in here.  I mean, Mom was 
uncomfortable around the kids for awhile, but she adjusted 
and she loves them.  George hasn't.  And being friends with 
Ian. . . "  She watched Mulder's eyes darken at the name.  
"People only tolerate him.  I don't think he has any friends.  
No one knows about him offering his wife to another man or 
the actual physical abuse unless Julie has said something, 
but they can feel it."

Mulder cuddled her close.  "I don't think she said anything, 
but you're right.  Maybe living with the kids has rubbed off on 
us.  We're more sensitive to that kind of vibration."

She nodded against his chest.  "Jerry would be good for her, 
and she'd be good for him.  They both deserve that.  Why 
don't I talk to her, privately, and see."

"I was hoping you'd offer.  Speaking of sensitive, Scully, the 
part of me rubbing against you seems super sensitive right 
now . . . "

"Idiot."  She murmured as her hand moved down to explore 
that super sensitive area.