Title: First Names

Category: Angst/Romance

Copyright: The X-Files and its affiliated characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the Fox Network.

Author's Note: First of I'd like to start by thanking Meghan who helped me come up with the not-so-fairy-tail-ending. This was one of my early attempts at a shipper story, so it came out a little.different from what I'm used to. Hope you enjoy!

The presence of the man standing next to her sent chills down here spine. She tried to look at him. She tried to catch a glimpse of his face, anything to help her identify him but there was nothing. Could he be a man she had dealt with earlier or a complete stranger? The basement was dark, pitch black. She could smell his scent though she could not see him. He stunk like garbage mixed with blood. She tried to move her hands around but they were bound together by wire. She winced as she felt the wire dig into her skin. Her ankles, bound by the same material, were cut and bloody. She felt alone. No one was there to help her. No one could save her from her inevitable future. He had taken her for one reason - Mulder.

He was her partner, her best friend. She trusted him with her life but now she was going to give her life for him. She seemed to have been thinking about him a lot since she had been there. She thought about all the things she wouldn't be able to tell him before she died. She thought about what he would think. Would he be able to forgive her for what she was doing? Would he blame himself for her demise? She may have trusted him with her life but she had never trusted him with her heart.

She wondered if he would ever know exactly how much she cared about him. As a child, and even now, she had dreamed of having a normal life. She dreamed of having a husband, children, and a house with a white picket fence. She tried blaming Mulder for the absence of all these things but then decided that in reality he gave her more joy than any of those things ever could. But now she had no way of letting him know. She wanted to speak to him more than anything. To just say those final words to him and then she would be content to die. But even if she had the chance, would she really have the courage to tell him?

"I'll ask you again, are you going to call him and tell him to come here?" The man asked. He stood only inches from Scully but she still couldn't see him.

"No." She answered quickly. Her throat was course, her voice off key. She hadn't had anything to drink in two days and hadn't had something to eat in almost a week and a half. She tried to ignore her hungry stomach but the harder she tried, the more it hurt. Even in the short time span she could tell she had lost weight. Her clothes felt bigger, her Jeans almost falling down every time she tried to move around.

"You know that I have the power to kill you." The man said. His voice was solid and yet unlike his character. He sounded like a gentleman, someone kind and yet there he was, killing her slowly. Scully felt something cool press against her forehead. "I could kill you in an instant." A slight clicking sound filled the silent, echoing room. She realized that the cool feeling on her head was the barrel of a gun. "Or I could wait until you starve to death." She swallowed. She could he could see her fear. "Tell me where he is." He sighed and lowered the gun. "I know you better than you think. I watched you and Mulder. You can see it in the way that you look at him. The way you talk to him."

"You don't know me!" She shouted. He reached over and slapped her hard across the face with the back of his hand. She winced but quickly regained her composure.

"But now you must be asking yourself if he loves you back. And you'll never know if you don't ask him, now will you?"

A silent tear rolled down her cheek. It burned her face but it didn't stop her from crying more. She wanted to wipe it from her face but with hands died it made it impossible. She had never cried much in her life but realizing she would never see him again gave her a feeling she had never known before.

Meanwhile, Mulder looked at the file for the hundredth time. Each time he hoped he would see something he had missed before but he never found it. It was always the same file with the same information. She was gone and someone unknown to him had taken her. It had been three weeks and she couldn't be found. He had tried every avenue of investigations. He had contacted all of his contacts but no one knew anything. All the leads he thought might lead to her had really led to dead ends. He felt lost without her. His mind was occupied by her 24/7. He never slept. He hardly ate. He needed to find her, to hold her in his embrace. Everyone had told him to forget about her. They said it would be easier for him if he took her for dead. But he couldn't believe that. She was stronger than anyone he had ever known and she could survive. Mulder's thoughts were shattered when he heard the sound of someone knocking.

"Come in." He said looking up.

The door opened and Skinner walked in. Mulder pulled off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Skinner took a seat in front of Mulder's desk. He took in Mulder's messed up hair, his wrinkled suit, and the dark circles under his eyes.

"You can't do this to yourself, Agent Mulder." Skinner said.

"No. I can't do this to Scully." Mulder responded.

"Do what? What is it that you think you're doing to her?"

"I won't give up on her. She's out there and I know it. I can feel it."

"And what if she's not out there? What if this feeling of yours is wrong? What if you search and search and never find her? What if she turns up dead.like your sister?"

Mulder looked at him sharply. He blinked, trying to keep his tears from falling. "She knows I couldn't go through that kind of pain again. She wouldn't leave me. She can't."

"I know you don't want to believe it but you can't go on like this. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror recently, Mulder? You're a mess. She wouldn't want you to live like this. What if."

"Stop! Stop it!" Mulder shouted. "I'm not giving up no matter what you say. I'll keep searching even if it takes a lifetime."

Skinner stood and put a hand on Mulder's shoulder. "Off the record, Agent Mulder, I believe in what you're doing. I wouldn't give up, either but there is a limit on how far you can go. However, against my personal beliefs, as your superior director I have to order you to stop your investigation.

"What?!" Mulder stood up sharply brushing the older man's hand off his shoulder.

"You know the deal, Agent Mulder. It's been three weeks of no leads and little evidence. Officially, this case is closed." Skinner walked to the door and stood in the open doorway. "However, I assume you'll want to take a few weeks of personal leave to unofficially continue this case."

"Thank you, sir."

"And Agent Mulder. This may not be a bureau matter anymore but if you need anything, let me know."

Mulder nodded as Skinner walked out of the office. Mulder waited until he heard the elevator doors open and then close before allowing his tears to flow.

Scully heard the footsteps grow quieter until the noise finally disappeared. She relieved the breath she had been holding. Her entire body hurt. He had told her that each week she refused to call him that he would hurt her. The first week he had begun to verbally and physically abuse her. He had cut her with a knife - carving her body like a Jack-o- lantern. During the second week he had chose to starve her. Each day he slowly took away more food until there was none left. The third week he had turned to rape. She wanted to die - to kill herself but she couldn't. She couldn't do it until she knew Mulder was going to be safe, to be able to live without her. She lay her head down in exhaustion and closed her eyes.

"Scully! Scully!" He called through the darkness. Her heart called his name though her lips couldn't form the words. She felt his warn hand on her cheek. "Oh Scully, what did he do?" She felt the beam of his flashlight as it traced the outline of her thin body. She felt naked from the light of the beam but at the same time she felt safer than she ever had. Mulder held her close, squeezing her tighter though sure not to hurt her. He stroked her scraggly hair while whispering soothing words to comfort her. She never wanted to let him go.

She awoke in a pool of her own blood. She looked around searching for Mulder be he wasn't there. It was all a dream. She was still sitting in the cool basement. She screamed his name out of longing for him. She was so sick of being in the lonely basement without her in his embrace. She would rather have walked through hell as long as he was with her than sit alone in the darkness.

"You called out his name while you were sleeping." The man said. Scully looked around but he remained encased in the shadows. "His names sounds so perfect coming from your lips. You must really want to see him. You said his name and his address. Guess you'll get to have that final wish of yours." He began to walk away.

"Bastard!" She screamed as she cried.

"You'll pay for that, bitch." He retorted as he retreated back up the stairs.

Mulder started blankly at the television. An old black and white movie played on the screen. He was lying down on his couch, his head propped up on his arm. He tried to get his mind off of her but he couldn't. Ever waking moment he saw her face, heard her words, smelt her feminine scent. He was trying to return to a normal life - at least as normal as he had ever lived - but he found it to be impossible. He had taken Skinner's advice and had taken a two-week absence, something he had never done before. He continued to search for her but he had run out of places to look. The sharp ring of the telephone shattered the silence of the room. He leaned over and picked up the phone.

"Mulder." He answered dully.

"Is it bad if you can't find a pulse?" The man on the other end teased.

"What? Who is this?" Mulder asked. He was afraid to know the answer to the question.

"Don't worry, Agent Mulder. She's still alive."

Mulder sat upright. "Where is she?"


"What have you done to her you bastard?"

"Funny, that's what she just called me. You two really do work well together."

"If you touched her..I swear to God."

"She's a beautiful woman, Mulder. How could I resist her?"

"You sick son of a."

"I didn't call you just to be called names, Mulder. You have what I want and I have what you want."

"Then what do you want?"

"I want you."

Mulder paused. "I don't even know who you are."

"Yes you do. Three years ago you killed my father. Now you'll pay."

"Fine, take me. Let her go."

"It'll take more than just you, Mulder. You come here tonight. Leave now. No backup. Don't tell anyone. You do and she dies."

"Fine. Tell me where you are."

"The abandoned home in the Richmond Woods. You'll find it. I'm warning you now, Agent Mulder. You come alone or you're both dead."

Mulder heard the phone on the other end hang up. He brought the phone away from his ear and looked at it. His anger all rushed through his head in one moment. He turned off the phone and threw it across the room. He heard it shatter against the wall. He buried his head in his hands and whimpered. He knew Scully was alive but how hurt was she? How badly did he injure her? He tried not to think about it as he ran out of the room, leaving the door ajar.

Scully tried to move into a smaller ball but her legs wouldn't allow her to move. She was so weak and hungry. She could tell she had lost a lot of blood by the amount that pooled around her. Her whole body shook slightly sometimes lapsing into small seizures. She would have given up long before if she hadn't kept thinking of Mulder and then just recently she just heard the strange man talking to Mulder. Now he was coming and she had to protect him. She tried to stay awake but her body wouldn't let her. She rested her head on the cold, bloody ground and fell asleep.

She awoke to the sound of his voice calling out her name. She raised her head slightly and peered into the darkness. She could sense his nearness and then felt his hand on her own.



"Oh God, Scully. You're bleeding." He said as he placed pressure on one of her deeper wounds with his hand. "Scully, I thought you were dead. Everyone told me to give up but."

"You have to get out of here." She protested shakily. He started trying to undo her bruised wrists. "Mulder he brought you here to kill you. Get out!"

"That's where you're wrong." The man said as he walked towards them. He reached above him and turned on a light. Scully closed here eyes, unaccustomed to the bright light. Mulder started at her. It took all off his effort to keep from crying. She was pale, bloody, bruised, skinny, and dirty. She looked like death itself. He whispered her name under his breath. She noticed is strange look and turned away, embarrassed by her appearance.

"Let her go." Mulder said as coolly as he could, considering the circumstances.

"It's not that easy, Mulder." The man said. "See, I not only want to kill you but I want to make you suffer like I suffered. So I took the only thing that meant the most to you - I took her and now she dies.

"No!" Mulder wailed.

"You can see the hurt in your eyes just because she looks like this. What if I tortured her in front of you? How would that make you feel?"

"Please don't do this to him. Kill me but don't make him watch.please." Scully pleaded.

"I'll tell you what I what. You get five minutes to say goodbye before she goes in front of you."

"But." Mulder began to protest.

"But nothing. You have five minutes." The man walked upstairs. Mulder looked down at her, trying to smile. Tears began rolling down his cheeks.

"Please don't cry, Mulder. These weeks.just knowing you were still out there kept me going. After he had taken everything from me.my dignity, my personality, my body.you were still there."

"But now he's doing this because of me, Scully. I can't let him do this."

"The only thing I asked from him before he killed me was to be able to say goodbye to you. And now I have that chance. Goodbye, Mulder."

He took her in his embrace and let his tears roll down his cheeks. He knew this was really the end. This was their final goodbye and he couldn't do anything about it. He couldn't change her inevitable fate, or could he? He tried to think of an escape but his thoughts always led back to one thing - his love for her.

"I can't to this without you, Scully. I can't."

"But you can, you've just never tried before." She began to cry. "I need you to be strong. To promise me you'll come out of this and continue on. Find the truth. Find what you've always been looking for."

"But don't you see, Scully? I've found what I've been looking for all along. I've always had it."

"And what's that?"

"You." He answered. He planted small kisses on the palms of and backs of her hands. "I love you, Scully."

She was about to speak when they both heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He approached Mulder and Scully sitting next to each other on the ground. Scully's blood was all over Mulder's body, especially his hands. The man couldn't help but admire their love for each other but now that bond had to be broken.

"Am I to assume all goodbyes are said and you're both ready?" The man asked.

Mulder stood up in protest. "Don't do this. I'm begging you.please."

"Good. I want you to hurt like I did. I know what it feels like to lose a loved one." The man said. "You killed my father!"

"I know what it feels like, too. My father was murdered, my sister was taken from me and my mother took her own life. Scully and I have lost so much throughout our lives. I can't lose someone else I love. Please don't do this."

"But this is the only way to get to you. Look at your pain - this is your only fear. You love her. Say it. Say you love her."

"I'm not hiding that. I am in love with her." Mulder said wiping the tears from his eyes. He eyed Scully lying on the ground. She looked so beaten, so alone. She seemed as if she couldn't be in a darker place, almost as if she had given up. She wouldn't meet Mulder's eyes but he could tell she had been crying.

"You don't have much to say." The man said as he kicked Scully sharply in the ribs. Mulder held his breath and winced as Scully grasped for breath. She sounded like she was wheezing - like she would never again return to a normal breathing pattern but she did a few minutes later. It was still staggered and heavy but it was better than before.

"Scully." Mulder whispered feeling her pain.

"I'm okay, Mulder." She managed to say back. She hated doing this to him. She knew he felt so much pain when he saw her like that. She wanted to just shoot herself in hopes that he would hurt no more but it didn't work like that. He would always hurt for her. Always have a tear come to his eye when he thought of her. She wanted to assure Mulder that everything was going to be okay, that she was going to be okay, but that wasn't the truth and the truth was the one thing she couldn't lie about. Mulder quickly brushed his hand across his hip, searching for his gun. A feeling of despair fell over him as he realized how much he needed it now.

"So, he finally confessed his love for you, Dana. What do you have to say?" The man asked.

Even the sound of Scully's first name coming from the man's lips pierced Mulder's heart. He had only used her first name on several occasions throughout the last eight ears and when he did it was only during a special time, a time when he wouldn't have it any other way. The usage of their first names was sacred to each other - and not to be used by this man.

"What do you want to hear?" Scully asked, testing the man. She knew exactly what he wanted to her to say just to torture Mulder. To torture herself.

"Tell him how you feel." The man prompted.

"I love him. I've always loved him." She finally made eye contact with Mulder as she spoke. He looked into her beautiful blue eyes as she stared back at him. They both smiled at each other. That one smile took away both their pain, emotional and physical.

The man looked at Mulder and then turned his gaze to Scully. He felt something inside his stomach - a weird feeling. As he looked at each of them again just staring at each other he knew what it was. He was feeling jealousy and admiration at the same time. He was jealous of their unbreakable bond yet at the same time he admired them. The evil inside his heart seemed to vanish as he looked at the two agents. He thought about what to do next. Could he really take the life of this woman in front of the man who loved her? He squinted, keeping a tear from falling. He wouldn't let his new feelings get in the way of his plans. She was destined to die but now he could die right along with her.

"Well, you two obviously have some kind of bond. You can die together then." He turned, switched off the light, and walked away, slamming the door behind him.

Mulder immediately kneeled down next to Scully. "Oh Scully." He moaned as they both sat there just holding each other. He quickly took off the wire that bound her wrists and ankles, being careful not to hurt her more in the process. Underneath, she was cut and bruised. Mulder had seen mutants and monsters before but none of them scared her more than seeing her like this. Mulder scanned his eyes over his entire body, taking in her many injuries. Instead of making a big fuss about it he just sat next to her and pulled her head to his shoulder. Neither of them spoke as they just sat together.

Hour later, they were still sitting in the same position. Scully had her eyes closed - her breathing came out in short gasps. Mulder couldn't tell if she was still awake. He figured it would be less painful for her if she was asleep so he dared not speak to her.

"Mulder, what are you thinking about?" She finally asked, quietly. She lifted her head from his shoulder and looked at him.

"I'm thinking about how different how much better things are going to be between us when we get out of here." Mulder answered.

Scully sighed. "Mulder." She protested.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Just life in general. About all the various choices I could have made but didn't."

"Scully, if I could redo the last eight years I would."

"How would you change it?"

"The day you walked into my office I would have turned you right around."


"If I knew what they were going to do to you. Your abduction, your cancer, your inability to have children. I would re-do it all. It's not fair, Scully."

"Life is never fair, Mulder. I would give up and endure all of those things again for this friendship.this love. Wouldn't you?"

"God yes, Scully. You are the most important thing in my life. I love you so much." He kissed her forehead and then rested his chin on her head. They fell asleep - dreaming of each other.

Five weeks later, Mulder sat in the hospital hallway. He rested his elbows on his thighs and his head on his hands. He clapped his fingers together nervously. It had only been two weeks since they had been rescued. They were both immediately brought to the hospital. Mulder was forced to stay in the hospital for four days. He was suffering from fatigue and dehydration. He had protested his being bed ridden when he watched Scully being rolled down the hall unconscious on a gurney. She had lost consciousness a week before they were taken from the dark place. The light bulb had burned out soon after the last time the man left them. When Mulder finally saw Scully in the light he realized how bad her injuries really were. She looked like death. She had hidden certain injuries from him that she couldn't hide anymore. It was time to face the truth however difficult that may be.

He looked up as he heard a door open. A nurse walked out of the room backwards, her hands clutching the handles of a wheelchair. She rolled the wheelchair out of the room and down the hall. Mulder stood and stared at Scully's tiny body. She barely took up half the wheelchair. She looked so small and so weak yet he knew she had never been stronger. The nurse pushed Scully up to Mulder and then excused herself.

"How are you feeling, Scully?" Mulder asked. It was sort of a general question. One she answered the same way every time. She was always "fine". Nothing was ever wrong. Mulder hadn't left the hospital since they had both been admitted. He wanted to be with her during every moment. She had woken up only a week ago but she had made a good recovery. She was still tired and weaker than she ever had been but she was going to be okay, at least physically. She still wouldn't talk to Mulder about what the man had done to her and how it was affecting her mind. Mulder knew she took pride in how well she conducted herself when in a position like that and he wouldn't take that from her.

"I feel like I want to go home." She responded.

Mulder smiled. "Your wish is my command." He walked behind her chair and began pushing her down the hallway.

Mulder searched through his jacket pocket for his keys. He fumbled through an empty gum wrapper and some sunflower seeds before he grasped his keys. He pulled them out and began searching for the right one. He found it right away. It was the one Scully had given him early on in their working career. They had trusted each other with the keys to their apartments. After a few months they just assumed they would find each other in the other's apartment. It was never a surprise when they would just walk in and find the other waiting for them. Mulder reached out and opened the door. He walked in, pushing Scully inside and then closed the door behind them.

"Want me to make you some dinner or make some tea or something?" Mulder asked.

"I think I'm just going to go to bed, Mulder. I feel tired." Scully answered.

"Okay." Mulder said. Using her arms, Scully lifted herself out of the chair. She stood, clutching one of the arm rests for support. She took a step, let go of the chair, and then wobbled slightly. Mulder ran to his rescue, holding her up. "Let me help you."

Normally she would have denied his help telling him she could do it by herself but she felt so tired and as much as she denied her need for it, she really needed him more than ever. Mulder slipped her arm around his shoulder and helped her walk into her bedroom. She sat down on the bed and crawled up to the pillows. Mulder removed her shoes for her and then tucked her in. He reached over towards the bedside lamp to turn it off when she spoke.

"You don't have to stay, Mulder." She said.

"I know. But I want to." He responded.

"Thank you." She said quietly.

He picked up her hand and kissed her knuckles. "I'll be right outside." He said. He let go of her hand, turned off the lamp, and then left the room. He kept the door slightly open just in case he wanted to check up on her later. He walked into her living room and sat down on the couch. He propped his feet up on the coffee table and just stared into the darkness.

He wanted to talk with Scully about what they had said to each other, what they had confessed to each other but he couldn't. He didn't want to push her to do anything that she didn't want to do, to say something she would later regret. He wanted to just sit in her room and watch her sleep, something he had indulged himself in often, but he wouldn't. She needed her privacy more than ever.

The man walked towards her. His face was shadowed in darkness. All she could see was his outline. She knew it had come down to the end. This started the third week. She was so tired and wanting to give up. She saw Mulder's face as the man spoke to her. His voice was smooth and almost loving but she could never love this man. He wasn't him, he wasn't Mulder then why was she imagining him to be? Mulder would never do this. Mulder would never hurt her like this man had and yet here she was imagining Mulder's head on this man's body. What was her mind doing to her? She was seeing things that weren't really there. She was making herself hate the man she loved.

The sound of his voice pulled her from her nightmare. She opened her eyes and saw him sitting next to her. One of his hands was on her cheek while the other rested on her hand. He repeated her name over and over again. He smiled as she looked up at him. A look of fear spread across her face.

"Hey, you okay?" Mulder asked her quietly.

"Get away from me!" She yelled. Mulder reached out to hold her arm down when she sprang up from the bed. She ran through the house. "You tried to kill me!"

Surprised, Mulder stood and followed her. He found her lying on the bathroom floor. She had started running the bath water. She sat, huddled in a corner rocking back and forth.

"Scully." Mulder said. He tried to reach out and touch her but she pulled away. She curled herself into a smaller ball.

"You think I'm him, don't you? You think I'm the man. Oh Scully. I would never hurt you. You know that."

She looked up at him and then realized what she had done. "Oh Mulder. I.I.I just had a bad dream." She admitted. She didn't want to tell him what it was about. How could she make him understand that she thought he was the man who had taken her? He would never understand.

"You were dreaming about it again. About him. You really thought I was him, didn't you?" Scully nodded. Mulder stood against the wall in desperation. She had been having horrible nightmares like that since she had regained her consciousness. Sometimes they were worse. He had once found her on the floor she had banged her head causing it to split open and she still hadn't woken up. The dreams had to stop or she would end up killing herself.

"Is that what you always dream about? Me being him?"

She shook her head. "I'm fine, Mulder."

"No, Scully. I won't take that answer anymore. You're always fine when I know that's not the truth. Please, talk to me. I can't help you unless you talk to me."

"I never asked for your help."

"But you need it. Look at yourself. Look at what he's doing to you. You have to tell someone. Please. Please talk to me."

Scully sat up. "I don't know what you want me to say, Mulder. Do you think it's easy for me to admit that I thought you were going to hurt me, that you were going to kill me? I never thought I'd think that in my life and here I am running from you. I can't put you through this."

"I need to go through this. I need to understand you, Scully."

After much hesitation and more pleading she told him. She told him everything. Everything he had done to her both physically and emotionally. Throughout the entire story she remained cuddled on the bathroom floor. He wanted to sit next to her - to hold her but he knew she couldn't stand his touch right now. She needed to tell him everything, everything she had been through without his interference. When she had finished Mulder didn't know what to say. There was nothing he could to do comfort her. They both cried together though they kept their distance.

The next morning, Scully woke up to find herself in an unknown place. She looked around and realized she was in her bedroom. But what as she doing there? How did she get there? He pushed the blankets off of her body and put her feet on the floor. The smell of food wafted into the bedroom. She stood, securing herself, and then walked towards the kitchen. Mulder's back was towards her as he bent over the stove, stirring something. He looked back at her and smiled.

"How you doing?" He asked.

"What are you doing here?" She retorted, ignoring her question. She was in no mood to be sweet and forgiving. She had finally decided to tell Mulder what she had been through and now he seemed like he wanted to forget it. She couldn't live like that.

"I thought I'd make us some breakfast." Mulder answered.

"Go home, Mulder." Scully said as she sat down at her kitchen table. Mulder turned off the stove and brought over two cups of coffee from the counter. He placed both the cups on the table as he sat down. Scully just stared at the black liquid inside though she didn't care to drink it. She wasn't in the mood.

"I'm not going home, Scully. Not until I know you're okay."

"I told you what you wanted to hear! I told you exactly what he did to me! What else do you want? Do you want to see my scars? Do you want me to show you every place he hurt me?"

"No, Scully. I want to forget what happened."

She stood. "Well, I can't! I can't just forget what he did to me. What he took from me.from you. I can't.I won't. You can pretend all you want, Mulder, that nothing is wrong but I know that's not true. I know that you're hurting. That you want to blame someone for this. Blame me, Mulder. Blame me!"

"But it wasn't your fault! Scully, no matter what he did to you, it wasn't your fault. You didn't do this and you couldn't stop it."

"That's just it, Mulder. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't stop this man from ruining my life. From invading my privacy. From hurting me. Do you know how that makes me feel? All my life I've prized myself for being strong - for being able to keep a front and I can't do that now. I can't."

"Then don't." Mulder said. Scully looked at him and then sat back down. Neither of them spoke. They didn't know what to say. "Scully, when we were there you told me that you loved me. That we would be together when this was all over. I want that to be true, Scully. I want to be with you. To never let go."

"Maybe I need to let go, we need to let go. Can't we forget what we said?"

"Do you honestly want to forget it? I can't go back to the way things were, Scully. When I found out you were gone, I didn't know what to do. As the days passed everyone told me to give up but I couldn't because I knew you were out there. I had a feeling that I had never felt before, Scully. I finally knew what love felt like and I knew I couldn't hide my emotions from you anymore. I promised myself that I would tell you despite what you felt. And now I can't live without you. I need you, Scully. You told me last night what he did to you. How he hurt you, how he raped you. You told me that at some points you saw me in him. That now you're afraid. I don't want to push you into anything that you don't want to do, Scully. We can take it slow. Work with each other but I can't go back to the way things were, I can't."

"I don't think I can, either. I can't promise you anything, Mulder. I can't tell you I'm going to be able to do this right away. To be able to trust you with my heart right away but I will try. I need you."

"Then I'll be there for you." He stood and walked next to her. He wrapped his arms around her. She leaned her head into his chest. He stroked her hair as she cried. He wanted to kiss her - to move past this but he knew that wasn't what she wanted so he just sat there and held her.

Three months had passed since Scully had been released from the hospital. Mulder had moved into her apartment though he slept on the couch. He worked, sometimes going into the office and sometimes working at home, though he never actually took on a case. Scully had insisted that he should but he kept saying he would rather be at home with her. She continued to have nightmares but each time they became shorter and easier to handle than the first. Mulder had been patient with her. She never forgot about how she had originally thought that the man was Mulder and she never forgave herself for it. He would never hurt her and he never did. And despite all the pain that he cause, Scully couldn't help but thank the man who brought her and Mulder together.