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She woke slowly and tried to shake the grogginess from her head. That's when she realized she wasn't able to move. This definitely wasn't her bed, hell; it wasn't a bed at all. She was on a table with five point restraints! That realization caused her to begin struggling against her bonds. It didn't last long, it was futile and she probably needed to conserve her energy.

Her head wasn't restrained, so she began looking around the room. It wasn't an operating room, but it had been set up to look like one, except for the surveillance camera
in the corner. Nothing to the left of her but a wall as far as she could see, she turned toward the right and stopped. Another captive? At least another table with someone
strapped down to it - Mulder? It was Mulder and he wasn't moving.

"Mulder, can you hear me?" She didn't want to shout, but he wasn't responding. "Mulder?" Without thinking she began struggling against the straps again. She stopped when she heard the door open.

"Back with us I see, Agent Scully. Good, that's very good."

"Who are you? Where are we? What have you done with us?" She managed not to struggle against her bonds in his presence.

"Now think about it yourself, Agent Scully. Are you in any pain? Do you feel needles poking into you? No, we've been very careful not to harm you in any way."

"What about Mulder?" She didn't look over at him again; she didn't want to move her eyes from this man standing over her.

"Ahh, Agent Mulder. Well, it does appear that he has not faired as well as you. Russian technology you know."

"No, I don't know. What are you talking about?" Probably not the smartest thing to do, antagonizing her captor but what the hell was going on?

The small man in the lab coat smiled gently at her. "Now I know you haven't forgotten your little adventure in the Antarctic last year. When Agent Mulder injected you with the vaccine to combat the alien virus. Well, it appears to be another triumph for American technology that the vaccine you were given was more potent than the one that our dear Agent Mulder received in Russia. He, I'm sorry to say, hasn't done quite so well in our trials."

"Who are you?"

"A scientist like yourself, on a quest for knowledge." At that Scully did look away. Mad scientist maybe. She needed to think, as far as she could tell she was fine. Mulder had still made no movement and she desperately needed to check on him.

"I suppose you'd like to examine Agent Mulder yourself." He surprised her by removing the restraint from her right hand. After she was freed he held his hand out to assist her to her feet. She ignored it, and rose to a sitting position. So far so good; she wasn't dizzy, her coordination seemed fine. Her captor watched with a slightly amused expression on his face. At least he wasn't attempting to stop her from what she was doing.

When she was confident she wouldn't fall, she rose from the table and headed over to Mulder's side. His pulse was weak and his color didn't look good. There was a low-grade fever she was sure, but at least it wasn't raging. He, unlike her, did have an IV in his arm, but it looked like he was only receiving D5W, simple sugar water, for hydration.

"What's going on here?" She turned back to her captor finally.

"Agent Scully, I'm sure you are well aware of the group that compounded the vaccine that you received. You are also no doubt aware that most, if not all of them, are now dead. My problem, and that of human civilization, is that they were most unwilling to share their knowledge with us. For what turned out to be a global enterprise, they kept quite a few things a little too close to the chest. There are those of us who want and need the information they had. Since they are no longer available, we've had to resort to 'other' means to obtain our information."

"You're testing the virus on us," she stated it with a kind of wonder, not quite a question.

"Indeed we are, Agent Scully. We were unaware in the beginning that you and Agent Mulder had received different forms of the vaccine, which accounts for his rather poor condition. It led to further investigation and we now realize our error."

"You've infected him with something you can't cure?" Her incredulity was driving her to confront the pompous little bastard standing in front of her.

"Not at present, Agent Scully. But think of all the test trials of vaccines through the ages, small pox, polio, at least we still have a little time before the plague is upon us. It s possible that Agent Mulder's death will save countless others by teaching us how to strengthen the medication, bring it up to the standards of what he injected into you."

She realized her hands had formed fists, but she might not win a physical confrontation with this man. He was only a few inches taller than her, probably only one hundred twenty pounds or so. Cocky, but not in the best of physical conditions. Classic little man syndrome and he had the upper hand for now. She had no doubt he wasn't really alone with her anyway. The camera in the corner still had the red light on and the door had locked behind him. She wasn't even dressed, a hospital gown with no shoes. Think Dana!

"Well, I'll leave you with your partner for now. Dinner will be brought to you shortly. Agent Mulder will have to make do with the cuisine he's enjoying now. The facilities are through that door. If you need anything else . . . well, you probably won't." He turned then and let himself out the door.

Scully turned back toward Mulder, and sagged against the examining table. She knew she had to be careful, the camera would record any movement and she didn't want them to know how devastated she was.

The information she gotten was of little or no help to her. How long had they been held? Probably not long, she wasn't weak from lying in bed, not even terribly hungry. Was anyone aware of their disappearance? Well, that depended on how long they'd been gone. Would Skinner be searching for them or just beginning to be annoyed because they hadn't checked in? Damn!

She touched Mulder's face again. Was his fever a little higher or was it her imagination? She took a deep steadying breath. Okay, check out what was available, damn the camera. They couldn't expect her not to look around.

The counter running along the side of the room, at right angles from the door was full of drawers and cabinets. She carefully examined each one. They weren't locked, but they held little of use to her. Nothing that could be used to open the door, no medication for Mulder. Swabs, cotton, tissue, blood gathering supplies - minus the needles, no thermometer, no -

Her attention was jerked back to him as he began convulsing on the table. No! She was at his side, trying to hold him, sooth him. The fever wasn't causing this, it wasn't that high. "Mulder! Mulder, I'm right here! Try to relax." Oh yeah, she was going to talk someone out of a convulsion. She was glad she hadn't removed his restraints. At least he wasn't going to end up on the floor. It passed shortly and she was surprised that no one had come to assist him. Well, why would they? They were waiting for him to die so that they could see how the vaccine had failed.

He'd received a different vaccine from her. She hadn't been aware of that. He'd been completely closed off about what had happened in Russia. Obviously she should have pressed more for the story. He'd been infected there, like she had? Not by a bee sting, he would have been much more freaked by the appearance of bees in the cornfield if that were the way he had been infected. No, some other way, so maybe he'd had a milder dose.

"Mulder, I'm not going to let anything happen to you. I know you know I'm here and I believe you can hear me. Just don't give up, Mulder. Don't let them win. I'll figure out a way, I promise." She was close to his ear, why make it easy for them to listen.

He was still again so she resumed her investigation of the room. She discovered blankets, towels, and fresh hospital gowns. All kinds of nice fluffy, soft things. She wanted an axe or an ice pick to use on the mad scientist when he returned, not likely.

She turned startled at the sound of the door opening. An orderly with a tray for her. He placed it on the small desk at the far side of the room and left, not speaking. She approached it cautiously, it smelled good, and now that she smelled it hunger was growing.

While she ate she checked out the desk. Paper, a calendar, but no writing instruments. Too sharp no doubt. So far the sharpest thing she had found in the room were the small pipettes used to test blood and those things broke if you looked at them funny. The food was good and she wasn't aware of any aftertaste. Well, they'd want to keep her healthy if she was the only one injected with the stronger vaccine.

Still no movement from Mulder, nothing since the convulsion. She was beside him again, murmuring to him, stroking his face. He had to will himself to get better until she could come up with a better plan. There was no one they could count on for help, only themselves.

There were dark circles under his eyes and his face seemed sunken. She lifted his eyelid to check for dilation and startled back as the black shapes swam through his eyes. Oh god! She had to do something for him. What!

She moved a chair over to his side and sat where she could touch him, sooth him if possible. She didn't know what time it was, both his and her watches had been removed and there was no clock in the room. It seemed that the meal she had been served was dinner, which meant it was probably evening, but what day?

She didn't plan to fall asleep, but his convulsion woke her, jerking her head from his arm where it had rested. This siege wasn't nearly as strong. Because his body was weakening? No damnit! No one had come back in the room. Her tray was still resting on the desk, but the lights had been lowered. She held him until the spasms passed. Tears that she didn't dare let fall formed in her eyes. His fever was higher now, she could tell and they hadn't even bothered to come in and check on him.

Okay it was up to her. The vaccine she had received was stronger; there was more of it in her bloodstream. But their blood wasn't compatible for transfusion purposes. She'd obviously been thinking about this even in her sleep. A small amount of her blood shouldn't hurt him. But how could she do it, with no instruments and them watching constantly?

The pipettes? Yes, they only held a few drops of blood. She could add that to his IV without anyone noticing if she was careful.

She stood and walked over to the cabinets. She opened several drawers as though looking for something. She grabbed a handful of the pipettes and a towel, which she dampened at the sink and brought back to him to cool his face. With her back to the camera she stabbed her finger to draw blood, breaking the first pipette and quickly filled a few of them with her blood. She allowed them to drip the precious drops into the valve for medication on his IV and quickly cleaned up the evidence of her work. She made her way to the bathroom, flushed the used pipettes down the toilet and washed the one or two drops of blood from the towel she had used, dampened it again and returned to him.

It wasn't enough, but if she could do it every half-hour or so until she had drawn a sufficient amount to make a difference . . . it was the only thing she could think of at present. It had to work, at least to buy them some time.

She settled back in beside him and lowered her head to his arm.

She woke again; stiff, but at least he hadn't gotten worse . . . as far as she could tell. His fever wasn't down so she used that as her excuse to take the towel into the bathroom. In there she took more blood from her fingertip and slipped it into his IV while bathing his face. She wanted to believe his fever was beginning to lower but she didn't dare deceive herself. However, she did think his breathing was easier.

The lights coming on woke her. Morning? It didn't really matter; she had slept in small naps continually adding her blood to his. She rotated her neck trying to work some of the soreness out. Well, he hadn't had another seizure, which was a positive.

"Agent Scully." Her scientist was back and he'd brought a nurse with him. At his insistence she moved away, though grudgingly. "I hope you slept well my dear."

She looked away from the nurse but didn't respond for a moment, then turned back. "How is he?"

The nurse glanced over at the man but didn't speak. "It's all right, Deborah. Let Agent Scully know his condition."

She nodded. "His temperature is down two degrees, his blood pressure is stable and his respiration is up."

The man looked up away from Scully startled. She kept her expression bland. "Well, Agent Scully, I must have underestimated your healing touch." She stiffened slightly then forced herself to relax. If they had seen what she'd done they would have said something, stopped her.

"Well, we allowed you to be free to ease his dying. I suppose you can continue to do that. We shouldn't rush the process. We'll have our information later rather than sooner. I suppose you're ready for your breakfast too." Scully didn't look at him, watching to see if the nurse spotted any blood. Apparently not, she changed the IV and then his catheter bag. When she started his sponge bath Scully spoke up.

"I'll do that."

The man smiled knowingly and motioned for the nurse to move aside. Scully had a nearly overwhelming desire to belt the man. "Of course, Agent Scully. But first, we do need to check your vital signs as well. Please." He escorted her to the table on which she had been restrained earlier. There was no way out of it, so she allowed it. Surely someone was looking for them by now. Stalling for time and allowing small drops of her blood into his system were her only options.

This man was no medical doctor, a research scientist possibly but he had no clue as to the human body. He was relying on the nurse to check them, and while she might be a competent nurse, she obviously was used to more specific instructions. Scully began to realize the more she watched her that her degree might be considered 'DD' rather than Ph.D. because that was no doubt her bra size. Since that was to Scully's advantage she made no comment.

When they were alone again she immediately returned to his side. His fever was down, she could feel it now. It was beginning to work, or the combination of his vaccine and her blood together was working. Who cared if she saved his life?

She retreated to the bathroom and filled a small handful of the pipettes. She quickly added the blood to his IV and bathed his face. His breathing was easier. She took a deep breath and forced herself to look at his eyes again. The 'nurse' hadn't bothered with that little detail. There were less of those black 'things', she could readily see that, but they weren't completely gone.

Come on, Mulder. I need your help. We've got to get out of here and I can't exactly carry you out over my shoulder. She willed her thoughts to him. These weren't words she could risk being overheard. Her hand caressed his face again and thought for a moment that he pressed against her hand.

*****

He jerked slightly and opened his eyes. "Scu - "

No! He couldn't speak. He couldn't show signs of improvement but she couldn't very well clasp her hand over his mouth with the camera an ever-present eye. What?

She lowered her lips to his, kissing him to shut him up. He seemed to know who it was, or he enjoyed kissing anyone when he first woke up. Yeah, Dana, grow up!

"Mulder," she whispered into his mouth as she continued the contact. "Don't move, don't struggle and keep your eyes closed. Don't let anyone know you're conscious or we're both dead. You have to stay quiet."

He made no comment, squeezing her hand slightly, allowing her to lead him for the present. She relaxed slightly. She continued to kiss him - it was a valid excuse to be this close, murmuring information into his ear. He again squeezed her hand when she was finished - he might not understand exactly what was going on but he trusted her. She kissed him one more time and left his side to dampen the cloth; with that covering part of his face maybe they could talk.

When she returned she continued to kiss and caress his cheek. He didn't seem to mind and it was a good way to be this close to him. He was watching her through eyes he kept nearly shut. "Mulder, you're in restraints. So far the people holding us have been in here three times a day. They examine you in the mornings, and then an orderly brings me two other meals. When the doctor comes back tomorrow morning we need to break free. There's a surveillance camera over my left shoulder. I need to release your arms and waist. I'm not sure how to do your legs yet without them catching on, but I'm working on it. Oh, and you're catheterized."

He closed his eyes then. "Mulder, I'll try not to hurt you."

He had grimaced at the thought of her removing the catheter but remaining silent and immobile didn't allow him to do much more to express his feelings. He was aware now that the only thing covering him was the sheet she was pressed against as she bathed his face.

With his hands free maybe he'd be able to help her more with the other restraints. She was thinking frantically, he had to follow her lead. Now the catheter . . . fumbling around under the sheets could be painful as well as embarrassing. Well she could act as though . . . sheeze. She realized he was reading her face through those eyes again. But at least they were his eyes again, not infected with those . . .things.

The fact that he couldn't keep the amusement from his expression wasn't helping any. Of course that would change once she actually began. She took a deep breath and allowed her hand to caress his chest.

Don't think about this, don't dwell on it. And for goodness sake don't think about it being Mulder. She didn't dare look at him, she needed to pretend it was someone else, that it was some other man. But no one else was coming to mind. Damn it!

"Scully." He spoke so low she almost missed it, his lips not moving. "It might look more realistic if you were up here on the table with me."

After a second she conceded that he was right. The people holding them didn't know that they had never . . . If only his eyes were all the way closed, so as not to see the blush she knew was burning her face. She was a doctor damnit! Be professional - yeah, right.

She eased herself up on the table and under the sheet with him. Oh god, this felt too good in spite of the fact there was a camera trained on them. She snaked her arm across his chest. She felt his heart rate increase to match her own and his breathing grew shallow.

She was able to release the strap across his chest with a minimum of fumbling and then his arms. She left the straps where they were; it would look as though he was still restrained.

"Mulder, I want you to lock your knees, tense them." His knees? He obviously looked puzzled to her. "They're under the sheet. You have to look unconscious."

Her hand there and he was supposed to be unaware? Non-responsive? He was confident that he would react to Dana Scully touching him like this when he was in a skeletal state. "Come on, get it over with." This talking without moving his lips was getting old.

"It's done." She breathed into his mouth. He couldn't help it, his eyes flew open. He remembered immediately and closed them. Where had she learned to do that? She kissed him again and rose from the table. It took everything in him not to hold her to him. She retreated to the other room and after a few minutes returned with a cool cloth and more of her blood.

His brow furrowed, she had mentioned this, but her body had been against his and . . . damn it he needed to know what was going on. Her blood? Was she giving him her blood? Why? He couldn't even turn and watch her closely. She was standing between the camera and his IV; they weren't able to see what she was doing either.

She jerked away from him as the door opened. He managed to remain still as the orderly entered with her dinner. The smell caused his mouth to water. When had he last eaten?

When the orderly left Scully moved the food back over to the gurney and proceeded to eat there, as though she could not bear to be that far from him. With a little luck they would assume he was dying quickly and give them their chance.

Using her body to hide the activity, she let him drink the juice and eat the softer of the food. He tried to protest at first, she needed the nourishment too, but she was in the dominant position at present.

When the food was gone she moved the tray back to the desk and returned to him. She located the fresh hospital gowns and proceeded to dress him, which was hard work when he couldn't move to help her. She was tired and she knew she had to be at her best in the morning. She sat in the chair next to his gurney and rested her head against his arm again.

"You okay?" Only she would be able to hear him speak.

"I'm tired. I didn't sleep all that well last night."

"How much blood have you given me?"

"Not that much, don't worry about it."

"I am worried about it and you." He moved his hand slightly and touched her hand. She lifted her head slightly and smiled at him. "You can't sleep like that. Come back up here on the table."

"You think I'll sleep better like that?" She managed to grin at him. This time it was he that blushed and she was grateful that the lights had been lowered. It wouldn't show.

"We can try it anyway." She shook her head slightly and moved over to her own gurney. She was able to unlock the wheels and move her table next to his. With him back among the living, she really might be able to get a little sleep tonight. He was back, she felt her chest lighten being able to share this . . . this situation with him. They were more than a team when they worked together. She cuddled in closer to him, enjoying the warmth of his presence, of his body.

He woke her when the lights came up. They needed to be ready.

"You need to make them believe I'm dead. Get him over here. Can you take her?" She nodded and rose, caressing his face and then pulling the sheet over it and turning away.

She was facing the door when it opened. The doctor preceded the nurse this time. He stopped when he saw Scully's face. "Dr. Scully, I do appreciate your grief. I hope that someday you realize how much your sacrifice has helped humanity."

"Humanity? I will see you punished for this. I will see you suffer. Don't doubt me on this." Mulder lay there immobile, it really sounded as though she were crying.

The doctor didn't bother to respond, moving closer to the gurney. Mulder couldn't tell where the nurse was, but she wasn't his responsibility anyway. Scully could handle her; hell there wasn't anything Scully couldn't handle. And according to her description, even in his weakened state he shouldn't have much trouble with this 'scientist'.

The short man moved next to the table and lifted the sheet. He moved even closer and reached out his hand to check for a pulse. That was the move Mulder had been waiting for, and he took full advantage.

He had the little man in a chokehold before he had time to make a sound. Scully was in perfect synch and had the bimbo's arm behind her, ready to break it if she made a move.

"We'd like to get out of here, and we want you to take us. Any questions?" He didn't really expect an answer and wasn't willing to release the man's throat enough to allow it anyway.

He pushed their captor toward the door and forced him to open it. Mulder knew that Scully would follow with the nurse. He checked outside the door and shoved the man out in front of him. No one seemed to be around. They had no idea where the camera feed was or even how large a building they were in.

They approached the elevator and summoned a car, but a quick glance at each other and they set it to return to the first floor and headed down the stairs. They emerged quietly to see a young man in a lab coat holding a shaking gun on the elevator door. He looked more like a research assistant than a guard. He didn't seem to notice them; his concentration was so focused on the elevator. When the door opened and the car was empty, his body language showed his total bewilderment.

Then he finally seemed to become aware of the movement behind him and he spun, his gun going off more by accident than design. Mulder jerked back as the bullet impacted the man he held in front of him.

The younger man, no more than a kid really, went white with shock and dropped the gun, turning and running from them. Mulder let the wounded man slide to the floor and snatched up the gun.

He turned to Scully then, "Not exactly a military operation." She nodded. The woman that she held captive didn't seem overly upset that her employer was bleeding on the floor and when Scully released her now that Mulder was armed, didn't attempt to assist him.

At Mulder's nod Scully herself bent down and checked his pulse. She looked up at Mulder and shook her head. He took a deep breath, then looked at the nurse, "Where's a phone?"

"In the office," she spoke grudgingly, still rubbing her arm. "I didn't hurt either one of you. I want you to remember that."

"Shut up and open the door." Mulder waved her over with the gun. She looked him over again and opened up the door to the office. Here was the monitor of their room, but apparently the nervous young man had been the only person on duty.

Surely it wasn't going to be this easy. Scully moved over to the phone and dialed Skinner's private line. When the recording came on, she looked over at Mulder, "We're not in DC." He nodded, keeping his attention on the door and the nurse.

She tried again, using the area code. "Skinner."

Her eyes closed with relief. "Sir, It's Agent Scully - "

"Scully? Where the hell are you? Is Mulder with you?"

"Yes sir. We're together, but we don't know where that is. Can you trace the call?"

"Hold on." He was away from the line for only seconds, "Okay, they're tracing it now. What's going on?"

"We don't know. We've been held captive. Sir, what day is it? How long - "

"Four days." He understood immediately. "Your cars were found abandoned at different sites. We didn't know if you were together or not. Do you know who's been holding you?"

"No sir. Just that experiments were being carried out on us. Mulder needs to be in a hospital." Mulder looked up at her then and gave her a slight smile. He was okay, thanks to her again.

"Hold it, yes. Scully they've got you. Police and an ambulance are on their way. Can you hold out a couple more minutes? Don't hang up!" She almost laughed, hang up? No way!

"Yes. We have it under control for now. Where are we?"

"Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. I don't know what kind of facility you're in."

"It doesn't matter now. Just get us out of here, we can investigate this later." She turned as she heard the faint sound of a siren. Skinner must have pulled his 600-pound gorilla act to get this kind of response. "I can hear the police, sir."

*****

He looked for her as he emerged from the cubicle in the ER. She had already seen him and was approaching. "You okay?" They asked simultaneously and smiled.

"Let's get out of here." He took her arm.

"Are you sure it's okay for you to leave?" She looked up at him worried.

"You kept me okay. Come on, I've answered enough questions for one day." He was moving her toward the door now and she allowed it. He was right about one thing; they had definitely answered enough questions. The 'nurse' was in custody as was the young research assistant. They'd been right about him. No one else had been on site, but the place was under surveillance in case anyone showed up. The two they had in custody were nearly useless. Skinner was handling the investigation for now, refusing to turn it over to anyone except them. He would know who had leased the building by the time they returned to DC.

Mulder opened the door for her to the car that had been provided. Her eyebrow went up but she decided not to call him on it yet. He got in as well, but didn't switch on the car. "What did they really say about you?"

"About me?" She looked over at him startled. "I'm fine."

He rolled his eyes at that. "You were infected with the same thing I was."

"The vaccine you gave me worked. I'd rather know about the one you were treated with."

He looked over at her sheepishly, "We never talked about that?"

"You know damn well we've never talked about that." He looked away, it was true. He turned the key and pulled out of the parking lot. They were quiet on the way to the airport. She let him handle the arrangements and they got on a flight to DC within 30 minutes of reaching the airport.

She thought they might talk on the airplane, but he wasn't ready and she finally drifted off, her head on his shoulder.

He watched her sleep peacefully against him. She'd risked her life to save him, again. She'd been experimented on just as he had, yet she'd taken her blood and given it to him with no thought to her own safety. That was what had saved his life. He didn't doubt it for an instant.

He woke her when they had landed, grateful that she had slept so long. Her hatred of flying was another thing they never talked about. "Scully. We're home, wake up." He lightly touched her cheek and she stirred.

"Mulder? I didn't mean to sleep so long." She rubbed her eyes.

"You needed it. Come on, I'll take you home."

"I can get a cab."

"No, Scully." He said it gently but she could tell argument wouldn't help. She nodded. After what they'd just been through, why was it so hard to communicate suddenly?

He seated her in the taxi and climbed in himself. They were barely away from the gate when he realized she had fallen asleep again. He made his decision and changed the instructions to the cab driver.

She didn't wake when the cab pulled up to the apartment and stopped. He paid and got out, rounding the car to her side. "Scully, wake up. We're home."

She stirred and let him help her from the cab. She had taken several steps before she realized where she was. "Mulder, what are we . . . I thought you were taking me home."

"I don't think you should be alone. Come on, I promise not to take advantage."

She rolled her eyes but allowed his hand on her back, leading her inside. Once inside she turned to him, "Mulder, I'm fine. You were the one in danger."

"You haven't been able to keep your eyes open since we left the place. I think they should have had you stay overnight at the hospital."

She didn't need to respond to that, her expression said it all.

"Why don't you go take a shower, get relaxed? I'll order something in." After a moment she nodded and moved into his bedroom.

When she emerged she was wearing his gray t-shirt and it came almost to her knees. He stopped in mid-step and nearly dropped the pizza box. "Do you mind?"

"Well, it is my favorite t-shirt, but I guess I could share it for a little while." Damn, was it ever his favorite! He couldn't help but notice how softly the material draped from her curves. It was never going to feel the same against his own skin. "Uh, dinner's here." He dragged his eyes away and concentrated on placing the box on the coffee table.

She settled into the corner and took a slice while he brought the iced tea in from the kitchen.

As he reached for his third piece of pizza he looked over at her again. "Feeling better?"

"I wasn't feeling bad, but I do need something."

He straightened up immediately, "What?"

"Information. I want to know about Russia."

He looked away, but he felt her hand insinuate itself into his. "Scully . . . "

"Please. I need to know."

*****

" . . . and I walked into the Congressional hearing to find them badgering you about my whereabouts." His voice trailed off.

"God Mulder, why didn't you tell me? You should have told me all of this." She wiped away a late tear.

"It's history Scully. I survived with both arms intact, unlike Krycek." She nodded; it explained his comment to her when he had hugged her there in the hearing. "It's late and I know you're tired. Go on to bed Scully. I'll clean up."

After a short hesitation she nodded and rose from the couch. "Thanks for letting me stay here."

"It's not a problem. Go on." He straightened up the living room and put the leftover pizza in the refrigerator. He took his own shower and slipped into sweats, then stretched out on the couch and turned on the TV, the volume turned very low.

He didn't know when he drifted off but her cry brought him upright on the couch. "No!" The sound of her voice, the terror grabbed at him and he found himself at the door to his bedroom.

"Scully?" He slipped into the room to find her sitting up, brushing the hair from her face. "You okay?" She nodded and he sat on the edge of the bed beside her. "What was it?"

"Russia," she answered simply, then scooted over in the bed to give him room. He sat beside her then and rested her head against his shoulder.

"I wish you still didn't know." She shook her head but didn't speak. "Think you can sleep now?"

"Would you stay in here?" He blinked at that, unsure what to say. "You already told me you wouldn't take advantage."

"Yeah, but I thought there'd be several walls between us then." She smiled slightly at that, then stretched out in the bed, turning her back to him.

He joined her, curling his frame around hers, letting one arm rest over her. It took a minute to realize she was crying. "Scully? What is it, what's wrong?"

"You . . . I nearly lost you. You don't realize how close I came to losing you. And I had nothing to save you." She pulled the arm that was over her tighter and brought his hand to her face.

"You did save me. You and you alone. You gave me your own blood and it was exactly what I needed. Don't you know that you save me every day, just by being in my life?" He wanted to see her face. "I hope you know that this means we're part of each other, even more than we already were."

"Blood brothers?" She asked in what she hoped was a light voice.

"Never. Never a 'brother' with you. There is one other thing I'd like for you to share."

"What?" That surprised her and she turned slightly in his arms.

"Your expertise with catheters? I hope that came from your medical training."

"Mulder." Was he ever going to let her forget that? He turned her then the rest of the way to face him, enjoying the way the blush softened her features. He saw her eyes widened as he moved closer to her lips, but she didn't pull back, she made no move to stop him. And then their lips were together, drinking from each other. He knew she was saving his life again, whether she knew it or not.

When they broke apart he was breathing as though he'd run several miles. "I better move back out to the couch. You should be okay now."

"Don't . . . Mulder don't go. Maybe there is one more thing we should share." He stared at her, noting that her hand had moved south of his chest now.

He managed to nod. "Yeah, maybe one more thing."

-Fin-

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.