DISCLAIMER: The X-files and its characters belongs to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox Entertainment. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you're a fan of Mulder you may want to pass. My eternal thanks to Celievamp for the great beta. This work is better because of your help. All mistakes are my own. Constructive is feedback welcome. A special thank you to Bara_brith and Yellowsmurf6 you both know why!
SPOILERS: Set somewhere in the first half of season six.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Weak in the Knees
By Dhamphir

 

Chapter 10

After finishing up the autopsy Scully and Morgan went to lunch. They had to decide what their next move was going to be. They agreed that the best thing to do was head back to DC, so after lunch they packed up and drove out to the Philadelphia airport.

Back in Washington they returned to the Hoover building. At the end of the day they went their separate ways, Scully to her apartment and Morgan to her hotel room. But there was a surprise waiting for Morgan.

Morgan opened the door to her room and knew instantly that something was wrong. She didn't need to look to know someone had been in her room while she'd been out of town, she could smell it – the blood. She dropped her bag and pulled her weapon. Not bothering to turn the light on she inched into the room, all her senses on high alert. Only after satisfying herself there was no one present did Morgan put her weapon away. She stood and stared at the words on the wall, words written in blood.

Roses are red, violets are blue.

You don't see me, but I see you!

Morgan pulled out her phone and called AD Ben Taylor. "Yes, it's Morgan. I need a forensics team to come to my hotel room... Yeah, someone's been here; left a message on the wall in blood... Alright. See you soon." She hung up. She then called down to the front desk. She requested the on-duty manager come up right away. Morgan then left the room and waited in the hallway.

When the manager arrived Morgan explained that someone had been in her room. She wanted a list of all the employees who had access and who had been responsible for cleaning rooms on her floor that day. They were still talking when Ben Taylor arrived with some agents and technicians in tow.

An agent was sent down with the manager to get employee names, and talk to on-duty personnel. Morgan let the others into her room. The technicians got to work, taking pictures, dusting for prints, taking samples of the blood. Taylor asked Morgan if anything else in the room was disturbed or missing.

She went in and looked around. It didn't look like anything was missing, but her things had definitely been gone through. Morgan and Taylor went back into the hallway.

"I don't like that this guy knows you're working the case and now obviously knows where you're staying. He's making this personal."

Morgan's eyes flashed. "You think I do?! It's my things he went through!" she snapped uncharacteristically. She lowered her head and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Sorry." She took a deep breath and let it out. Morgan looked at Taylor again. "But the on the up side, this could be a blessing in disguise."

"How the hell do you figure that?"

"If he's fixated on me, maybe he won't go after another woman. Or maybe he'll get sloppy." She gestured towards the room door. "This goes beyond leaving misleading clues and sending us on wild goose chases. Leaving a message written in blood on my wall is a blatant 'fuck you.' It's not at all subtle or nuanced. He could finally be so damn arrogant and full of himself he'll be making some mistakes."

"Or he could come after you."

"Possibly," she conceded.

At that moment Scully arrived. She was still in her car when Taylor had called her as soon as he'd gotten off the phone with Morgan. Heavy traffic had delayed her arrival at the hotel. "Are you alright, Jess?"

Morgan turned and saw her partner. She nodded. "Yeah. Just had a nice little present waiting for me when I got here." Morgan nodded at the open door to the room. "Go on and take a look."

Scully went into the hotel room and stopped when she saw the writing on the wall. She shook her head and stepped back out, out of the way of the people processing the room.


It had taken some convincing, but finally Scully, with the help of Taylor, convinced Morgan to go home with her for the night. Even though Morgan had been quiet on the way to her apartment, it was obvious to Scully that the woman was wound up tighter than a spring. She understood all too well the feeling of invasion and violation that came from someone breaking in and going through her things.

Once they arrived at Scully's they went inside. Scully told Morgan to make herself at home as she went into her bedroom to change clothes. She checked her messages on the answering machine when she came back out. Morgan came out of the bathroom after having changed clothes as well.

"I don't feel like cooking tonight but we can have something delivered. So what do you feel like having for dinner?"

"It doesn't matter. Whatever you want is fine by me."

Scully grabbed the menu from a Chinese place and joined Morgan on the couch. They made their selections and Scully called it in. 30 minutes later they were eating. After dinner they cleaned up and Scully opened a bottle of wine.

"Okay, Jess, what are you thinking? What's going on with this guy?"

Morgan sighed. "As I told Taylor, he's gone beyond leaving misleading clues. That message was a 'fuck you.'"

"Not very subtle."

"Nope. Hopefully it means he'll be making some mistakes."

"He knows who you are and where you were staying."

"As far as him knowing I'm working the case, there are enough people who know that it could have gotten out without anyone realizing it. Something as simple as my name coming up in a conversation about the case. It's even possible where I was staying got out the same way. Or someone could have hacked into a computer somewhere."

"Possibly." Scully paused. "But what I really want to know is how the hell did he know you would be there tonight? I mean he had to have done it today, after housecleaning had already been through, or else they would have seen it. And there was no point in taking the risk of being seen if you weren't going to be there tonight. Because if you weren't there, then the hotel could have possibly cleaned it up without you ever knowing."

"They would have called the police," Morgan pointed out.

Scully raised an eyebrow. "That would have been the proper thing to do. But you and I both know that's not always what's done. There's a real possibility someone at the hotel could have decided to cover it up, avoid any bad publicity. We didn't decide to come back to DC until we were at lunch today. We could have gone back out west. So I ask you: How did he know you were going to be there?"

Somehow Morgan wasn't surprised Scully caught that little tidbit. She was, after all, an excellent investigator. But no one else had thought to ask that particular question. She looked into those intelligent blue eyes. "I don't know, Dana."


After both women had taken a shower and changed into pajamas, Scully encouraged Morgan to have some wine. She got her talking – about anything but the case. She already knew Morgan well enough that she would not stop thinking about the case and what had happened unless she was distracted from it. Finally Scully saw Morgan's eyes, and then head, begin to droop.

Scully grabbed Morgan's hand and stood up. "Come on. No sleeping on the couch this time."

Morgan's head snapped up and she opened her eyes. "S'ry," she mumbled and then yawned.

Scully urged her partner up from the couch and guided her to the bedroom. She got Morgan settled in one side of the bed then crawled in the other. She, too, was soon asleep.


She'd had a long day and was looking forward to getting home. Actually it had been a long month. And what she wanted more than anything was to go home, take hot shower, and crawl in bed with her other half. She needed to feel Toni's arms around her. She had told Toni she'd be home by 6:00, but then they got a possible lead on the killer they were after. And Jessica was the best interviewer of witnesses and suspects. Even the jerks who resented her presence in the division came to her for the really tough interrogations.

Anyway, after the interview of the reluctant witness she was finally able to call it a night at 10:30. Jessica had to stop and get gas on the way home. When she went inside to pay for it, she bought a small stuffed bear on impulse. She smiled at the little five-inch bear as she started the car and pulled away. Toni had a secret collection of the cute stuffed animals that she'd kill to keep a secret from her fellow FBI agents. It didn't fit with her tough as nails, no nonsense image. Jessica's smile widened. Settling down with one person for the last four and half years didn't fit with Toni's reputation either. It was the last thing anyone thought Toni would ever do. But that's how long Jessica and Toni had been together.

Jessica parked the car and picked up the little bear with a smile. "Come on, buddy, let's go make Toni smile."

She rode the elevator up to their floor, and had her keys out before she got the door. With a heartfelt smile she unlocked the door and stepped inside, turning on the light in the hallway... and stopped. There was blood on the wall and floor. Her heart dropped like a stone. "Toni... Toni!" she called. She rushed into the living room. "TONI!!"

Jessica dropped to her knees and pulled the lifeless, bloody body of her lover into her arms. The stuffed bear forgotten in a pool of blood. "NOOO!!!"

"NOOO!!!" Morgan cried out and sat up in the bed. Tears rolled down her face and her whole body trembled.

Scully sat up next to her and put her arm around the trembling woman's shoulders. "Shhh, it was just a dream. It's okay, Jess."

Morgan slumped, leaning into Scully, and broke down crying. Scully wrapped her other arm around Jess and held her close as she cried, her own heart hurting for her friend.

After a few minutes Morgan quieted. She wiped her face as she pulled out of Scully's embrace. "Excuse me." She got out of bed, left the bedroom and went into the bathroom.

Morgan washed her face. She stared in the mirror and saw the shadows in her eyes. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Morgan stood there a few moments before turning off the light and returning to the bedroom. She silently slipped back into bed, lying on her back. After several seconds she finally spoke. "Sorry."

Scully shifted to lie on her side, facing Morgan. She put her hand on the woman's shoulder. "You don't have anything to apologize for, Jess." She paused. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not really."

"I'm here if you ever do."


Morgan woke up sometime later. She was on her right side... and Scully was spooning her from behind. Scully's left arm was around her waist and her other arm under her neck. It felt so good to be held. She could feel Dana's soft breath on her neck. Suddenly, parts of her body were wide awake and begging for attention – attention they weren't going to get. She tensed, trying to get some control over her body and its reaction to the press of Dana's breasts against her back.

In her sleep Scully felt Morgan tense up. She tightened her arm around Jess and murmured in her sleep. "It's okay... just a dream..."


Scully woke up before the alarm was scheduled to go off. She was very surprised to find herself curled around the sleeping form of her partner – she was anything but a cuddler. However, she definitely like the way Morgan felt in her arms. She really wouldn't mind waking up like that on a regular basis. That thought brought her up short. What was she thinking?

Scully carefully eased her arm from around Morgan's waist and then carefully withdrew her arm from under her neck. She laid on her back staring at the ceiling. She thought back over the last couple weeks and how she'd felt drawn to the enigmatic agent. She thought about how much she liked spending time with Jess – both on duty and off.

She enjoyed their working relationship. They worked well together and so easily. There was no constant bickering and fighting; there was mutual respect and consideration. She felt treated as a true equal – it was so different from what she was used to. Of course, the only partner she'd had up until then was Mulder, and God knew what an insensitive, selfish bastard he was.

And she thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent together off duty. In fact, Dana had actually gone out of her way to spend time with Jess off duty. She found her funny, charming, smart, compassionate and beautiful. It was no wonder she was so attracted to Jess...

"Oh shit," she whispered.

 

Chapter 11

When Scully and Morgan arrived at work there was a message waiting for Morgan. She picked up the note from her desk.

"The Director wants to see me. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"There's something I need to take care of this morning. If I'm not here when you get back I should be back soon."

"Alright." Jess left to go meet with the Director.

Meanwhile, Scully opened her laptop and typed up a short letter. She printed it out and left to go see a certain Assistant Director.


"Good morning, Jessica. Have a seat."

"Good morning, sir."

"Have a seat."

Morgan sat in one of the chairs in front of the Director's desk.

"So, why did I have to find out about what happened in your hotel room last night by reading about it in a report?" he asked frowning. "Don't you think it's important for me to know that some killer is stalking you?"

"There's no evidence that he's actually stalking me, Lou. He just broke into my hotel room."

"And wrote a note on your wall in blood."

"I know. I was there."

He shot her a look. "Alright. Tell me what you're thinking. What's going on with this guy?"


"Agent Scully, have a seat."

"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, sir."

"What can I do for you?"

Scully handed Kersh her letter. "I wanted to give you this."

He took the short letter and quickly read it. He looked up at her. "Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, sir, I am."

"You realize I can't act on this until after your current assignment to the taskforce."

"I know."

"I respect your work, Agent Scully. While I will miss your skills and insights in the field, I have no doubt you will make an outstanding contribution at Quantico. I will forward your request for transfer with my endorsement."

"Thank you, Assistant Director."

"May I ask, Agent Scully, would it make a difference if I were to assign you a new partner?"

"No, sir, it wouldn't."

"Very well."


Morgan was reading a case file when Scully returned. She looked up and quirked a dark eyebrow. "What's got you smiling?"

"You know that feeling you get when you finally do something that you've put off too long? And you wonder why you didn't do it sooner?"

Morgan smiled. "Yeah. Accomplishment mixed with relief with a touch of amazement."

"That's it exactly," Scully replied with a smile. "So, what did the Director want?"

"He wanted to know about last night and my thoughts about it." She picked up a folder and tossed it towards Scully at the other end of the work table. "Forensics report."

The redhead opened the folder and scanned the report. "No prints – not even yours or any employees. He wiped everything down." She paused. "Bovine blood. So he didn't use blood from any of the victims."

"No. I'm not sure what the significance of cow's blood is, other than it's fairly easy to obtain."

"What are you working on?"

"I'm going through the interviews of all the friends and family of each of the victims."

"What are you looking for?"

"Anything." Morgan sighed. "Anything that could be a lead that might have been overlooked or dismissed as not important."

Scully reached toward the pile of case files on the table and grabbed one. She opened it up and started reading.

The women spent all day reading the case files. Each one that Scully read she put into a pile. Morgan did the same. Then they switched piles. It was after dinner time when they got through the files.

Morgan tossed the last file down on the table in disgust and frustration. She closed her eyes and rubbed them with the heels of her hands. "Well that was a damn waste of time."

Scully stood up. "Come on, Jess. Time to get out of here."

"I've got to be missing something!"

"Let's go, get something to eat, have a couple drinks, get a good night's sleep and come at this fresh in the morning."

Morgan looked at the redhead, debating her next move – do as Scully suggested, or stay and try to find something in the files. Her eyes were burning and her head hurt. And she and Scully had already been through all of the case files. "Alright," she sighed.


Morgan followed Scully in her rental car. They made a stop to pick up some barbeque chicken for dinner, and then headed to Scully's apartment.

Morgan was holding the bag of food as Scully unlocked her door. As soon as the door opened a few inches Morgan knew something was wrong. She smelled it – the blood. Before Scully knew what was happening, Morgan grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the door, moving her aside and against the corridor wall. The redhead was about to ask what was going on but then she saw Morgan already had her weapon pulled and a finger to her lips indicating to be quiet. Scully pulled her own weapon and started to tell Morgan to follow her, but the other agent was already inside the dark apartment.

Morgan's eyes shifted to black as she entered the apartment. She didn't see anything until she got into the living room. The blood was still wet. He had been there very recently. She whipped around at a faint sound. She made her way to Scully's bedroom. She went to the window and saw someone running away from the building.

"Call for backup and don't touch anything!" she yelled to Scully as she opened the window and stepped out onto the fire escape. A leap over the railing and she landed on the snow covered ground two stories below. She took off running in the direction she'd seen the person go.

Scully, unable to see in the pitch dark of the apartment, had slowly and carefully made her way to the kitchen where she silently slid a drawer open and retrieved a flashlight. She had no idea where Morgan was or how she could possibly move around her apartment in the dark. She had just turned on the flashlight when she heard Morgan's yell from her bedroom. She rushed to the bedroom doorway. The only evidence of anyone's presence was the open window. She looked out the third story window and saw what she thought was Morgan running away from the building.

"How the hell did she get down there so fast?" she murmured to herself. Scully pulled out her phone and called for backup, reporting her partner was in pursuit on foot. She then quickly checked the rest of the apartment, making sure no one else was present. In the living room Scully turned on a light and saw the blood on her wall.

SORRY I MISSED YOU

Scully opened her cell again and called AD Taylor.


Morgan ran, tracking her quarry by following the slight sounds of his footfalls. Just as she closed in, about to finally get a look at him, he got into a car and drove off. Her run brought her out on the other side of the woods and onto another street. The car was already around the corner and accelerating away. She let out a yell of anger and frustration. She really wanted to hit something, but it wouldn't accomplish anything. She holstered her weapon and headed back.

By the time she got back to Scully's building, backup had arrived. She told the agents at the front door of the building what she'd seen and where she chased the possible suspect to. Unfortunately, without a description of the suspect, or his car, there wasn't a lot that could be done. Before going up to Scully's apartment Morgan made a call.

"Sir, it's me. He was just at Scully's apartment... No, I didn't get a good look at him. I chased him, but he had a car waiting... He left another note in blood. Lou, it said, 'Sorry I missed you'... Yes, I know! You've got to pull her off the case... No... Dammit, you know why!... Then put her somewhere and put a detail on her... I don't care what she thinks... Lou–... Alright. Fine." She hung up and took the stairs up to the third floor.

When Morgan entered Scully's apartment she found Taylor already there. A couple of techs were taking samples and dusting for prints.

"Morgan, you alright?" Taylor asked.

"Yeah. But he got away. He had a car waiting."

"Did you get a look at him?"

"No."

Taylor's phone rang. He answered it and stepped into the kitchen for some privacy.

Morgan turned to her partner where she was staring at the blood on her wall. "I'm sorry, Dana. I couldn't catch him."

"Not your fault." She looked at Morgan. "How the hell did you know?"

"I smelled it – the blood."

"All I could smell was the barbeque." She shook her head. "If I hadn't called in our order on the way, we wouldn't have gotten here when we did. He would have come and gone without us seeing him. And why–"

"Pack a bag, Agent Scully," Taylor said when he reentered, cutting her off.

"Why?"

"Because you're not going to stay here. You and Morgan both are going to a safe house."

"There's no–"

"Orders from the Director," he stressed. "You don't have a choice."

It was clear Scully wasn't happy about it, but she went into her bedroom and started to pack.

Morgan turned to Taylor. "I spoke to the Director – I'm the one that requested Scully be taken somewhere safe. But there's no reason for me–"

"His orders were explicit. You're to go too, Morgan. Agents are already at your hotel getting your things and checking you out."


Taylor had arranged for Morgan's rental car to be returned, so when she and Scully were escorted downstairs they were ushered into a Bureau SUV with darkened windows. As their vehicle pulled away, so did two others that were identical in appearance. The vehicles would head out in three different directions to throw off anyone who might want to follow.

Scully wasn't pleased about the situation, but it was obvious to her that Morgan was even more upset by it. However, she didn't press her to talk about in the car, with the other agents present. She simply observed her partner.

Once they arrived at the safe house, Scully and Morgan were taken inside. Morgan's things from her hotel room were already there. There were agents unobtrusively stationed outside in the area around the house. Scully and Morgan would at least have the inside of the house to themselves without other agents under foot.

Scully dropped her bag in one of the bedrooms. After changing clothes she went to the kitchen. She was looking in the refrigerator for something to drink when Morgan joined her. "There's not much to choose from – there's milk, coke and orange juice. What's your pleasure?"

"Vodka."

Scully turned and looked at her partner. "Not that I wouldn't mind a drink myself, but that's not one of the choices."

Morgan smirked and set a bottle on the table.

An auburn eyebrow arched. "Where–"

"My stuff from the hotel."

"I thought wine was your drink of choice."

"It is if I want to enjoy a drink. Vodka is for getting drunk."

"And you intend to get drunk?"

"I'm seriously considering it."

"Well, they say it's best not to drink alone, so pour one for me," Scully said as she turned and put their delayed meal in the microwave. Once the barbeque chicken was done heating up she set the plate on the table and joined Morgan.


After finishing their meal, and a few shots, Scully pinned her partner with a pointed look. "Alright, Jess, spill."

"What?"

"Something is bothering you – and I know it's more than just the case. So what is it?"

Morgan sighed. "The note on your wall."

"What about it?"

"The timing for one thing. You said it yourself – if you hadn't called in our dinner order, he would have been in and out without a trace. We got to your place before he expected us to."

Scully thought about it a few moments. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"He knew we stopped, but expected us to take longer than we did."

"He followed us," Scully realized.

Morgan simply nodded and poured herself another shot. She offered to pour Dana another, but Scully shook her head. She was trying to think, put some of the pieces together. After a few moments she spoke again.

"Why would he write 'Sorry I missed you,' when he didn't intend to be there?"

"Because the son of a bitch is baiting me."

"What do you mean, Jess?"

Morgan downed the shot she'd poured. "'Sorry I missed you.' It's the exact same thing Devon Conrad wrote on our wall – in Toni's blood."

 

Chapter 12

Scully was stunned by Morgan's revelation. It certainly explained Jess's wanting to get drunk. But it also raised questions. Not the least of which was: What was the connection between Devon Conrad and the current case?

"So what do you want to do?" Scully asked.

"You mean besides getting drunk?" Morgan paused, shaking her head. "It's not a matter of what I want to do, but what needs to be done." She rubbed her face with her hands before continuing. "We need to go see Conrad and find out what he can tell us about our friend." Morgan got up, headed into her bedroom and closed the door.


When Scully got up in the morning she found Morgan already up and sipping some tea. "How do you feel?"

"If you're asking if I have a hangover, I'm fine. If you're asking if I'm looking forward to today... absolutely not." She let out a sigh. "I found some tea in the cupboard so I made a pot. There's some instant coffee if you prefer."

Scully made a face at the mention of 'instant'. "Tea sounds fine." She gave Morgan's shoulder a gentle squeeze as she passed her. Scully poured herself a cup of tea and sat down.

"I already called Red Onion."

"Red Onion?"

"Yeah. The super-max prison that opened last year. We have an appointment to see Conrad. Warden Garrett said he has a file of correspondence Conrad's received since he's been in prison, and recordings of his phone calls."

"When do you want to leave?"

"Whenever you're ready. There's a helicopter waiting at Quantico to fly us out there."

"I only need a couple minutes."

"No rush."


Warden Garrett had sent someone to pick Scully and Morgan up when their helicopter landed. Upon entering the prison they had to surrender their weapons and lock them up in small lockers. A guard took them to the warden's office.

Warden Garrett stood as the two agents entered his office. "Agent Morgan, Agent Scully, welcome to Red Onion. I'm Warden Garrett." They shook hands. "I have a room set up with the items you requested. Copies of all incoming and outgoing correspondence and recordings of phone calls of Devon Conrad."

"Thank you for all your assistance, Warden. It's greatly appreciated," Morgan said.

"It's not a problem, Agent Morgan. There's not nearly as much as one might think. Since Conrad was transferred here last year, he's been in solitary. And I understand he was in solitary at Keen Mountain. If you're ready to meet with him I'll have him moved to an interview room."

"Actually, I'd prefer to go through the correspondence first. Just in case there's anything that we need to ask him about."

"Certainly. Sgt. Morris will take you to check that out. Just let him know when you're ready to have Conrad moved for visitation. And if there's anything else you need don't hesitate to let me know."

"What about a log of his visitors?"

"He hasn't had any visitors since he's been here."

"Alright. Thank you, Warden."

Sgt. Morris took Scully and Morgan to the room where they would review Conrad's contacts with the outside world.

Both agents slipped their coats and jackets off as they sat down at the work table. Morgan opened the box and took out a tape player, a number of cassettes, and some file folders. Just as the warden had indicated, it was less than she expected. She paused, just looking at everything.

"What do you want to start with?" Scully asked gently.

"Let's start with the letters." She opened a file folder labeled incoming.

They worked their way through all the incoming and outgoing letters. There hadn't been anything unusual in any of the letters. Then Scully put a tape in the player and started it. As soon as Conrad's voice sounded on the tape, Morgan stood up and walked away from the table. She leaned against a wall with her arms crossed and her head down. Scully kept an eye on her. Even though Morgan didn't move while the tape played, Scully could practically feel the tension in her growing. Morgan remained still as a statue as Scully played the rest of the tapes. Finally she finished.

"That's it, Jess. That was the last tape."

Morgan didn't respond.

Scully got up and walked over to her. She placed a hand on Morgan's shoulder. "Are you alright?" When Morgan finally lifted her head, Scully could see the answer in her grey eyes.

"I'm sorry..." Morgan swallowed and took a steadying breath. "I don't think I can..."

"It's alright, Jess. You don't have to. I'll talk to him."

"Sorry."

"It's okay. You wait here, Jess."

Scully walked back to the table, put her jacket on and opened the door. She told Sgt Morris she was ready to see Devon Conrad. When he questioned her about Morgan, she simply told him that it didn't take both of them to interview Conrad, and that Morgan was staying with the correspondence.


Scully watched on a security monitor as guards brought Devon Conrad into the private visitation room. Conrad was 6'2" and had the physique of someone who had nothing to do but exercise while locked up in a cell 23 of 24 hours a day. Blonde stubble, white teeth, neatly trimmed hair and a square jaw combined to give him a rugged if not handsome appearance that would have seemed appropriate for a lumberjack or construction worker. But the overall effect was betrayed by his green eyes. There was no missing the evil behind them.

The guards locked his shackled legs to an eyebolt in the concrete floor and locked the chain of his handcuffs to a bolt in the table, which in turn was also bolted to the floor. One guard stationed himself in the corner of the room and the other came to let her know it was alright to enter.

Scully entered the interview room and took her seat at the opposite end of the table. "Mr. Conrad, I'm Special Agent Scully with the FBI. I have some questions to ask you."


Morgan was sitting at the table glancing over the letters Conrad had received one more time when the door opened. It was Sgt. Morris.

"Agent Morgan?"

"Yes?"

"Conrad is refusing to speak to your partner. He says he'll only discuss the matter with you."

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and let it out. She really didn't want to talk to the man who murdered her lover. But... she couldn't put herself before the victims of the current case. Preventing more deaths was the goal.

Morris, noting the tight expression on Morgan's face broke the silence. "I'll tell them to just put Conrad back in his cell."

Morgan opened her eyes. "No. I'll talk to him."


Scully moved to stand next to Morgan where she was watching Conrad on the security monitor. She placed a warm hand on her partner's back. "You don't have to do this, Jess."

"Yes, I do. We have to find out what he knows."

"We didn't find anything in the letters or phone calls. Chances are he doesn't know anything."

"There's still a chance he does. And that message on your wall is just too much of a coincidence not to be connected in some way." Morgan schooled her features into an impassive mask and went to the door. The guard let her into the room.

Scully watched, worried about her partner.

"Hello, Devon."

"Well, well, well. If it isn't Agent Morgan." He smiled a feral sneer. "Or should I say, Doctor? Heard you quit the Bureau." He grinned with satisfaction. "Couldn't take it... after I took that bitch from you."

"How do you like your new accommodations?"

"You should have heard her, Doc. She squealed like a little girl... and then she begged for more! She died cursing your name."

Morgan simply stared at him, refusing to rise to the bait.

"It's really a shame you weren't there to join us. Sorry I missed you."

"Me too," she replied flatly, thinking of what she'd have done to him if she'd been home that night. "As a matter of fact, that's why I'm here."

"Do tell."

"It seems someone else is sorry he missed me. Even copied your message to me in blood on a wall."

"Hmm, I must have a fan."

"Perhaps. But he doesn't have your... flair. He used cow's blood."

"Then he's a pussy."

"By any chance, Devon, do you happen to know who your fan is?"

"Maybe... maybe not. What if I do? What will it get me?"

"Nothing. You're here because while your lawyer is going through the appeals process you still haven't learned how to play nice with others, Devon. There's no way you're getting out of super-max. And, once your appeals are exhausted, they're going to strap you down, stick a needle in your arm and kill you. Nothing is going to change that, Devon."

"But you'll be there – I'll haunt you even after my death."

"Dream on, lover boy. I won't waste another second of my time or thoughts on you once I walk out that door. If there's anything you have to say to me this is your only shot, so make it good. If you know anything tell me, because a little bit of my time is all it's going to get you."

They sat there, staring at each other for a several seconds in dead silence, neither one flinching.

Morgan stood up. "Alright, I'm out of here."

"Wait!"

She paused and looked at him. "What?"

"I've got something to tell you."

Morgan waited a few seconds. "What is it, Devon?"

"I'll tell you... but not with anyone else listening," he said with a nod at the guard in the corner of the room and another at the camera in the room.

"You know that's not how things go, Conrad. It's not going to happen," the guard responded.

"Why don't we see what Doc has to say about it?" Conrad looked at Morgan, waiting.

Morgan crossed her arms, still keeping her face impassive. Without looking away from Conrad she addressed the guard. "It's alright, you can go."

"I can't do that, ma'am."

She looked up and glared at the guard. "Yes, you can. Now get out." Her tone left no doubt that her order was expected to be followed.

The look in her eyes was enough to get the guard to back down. He silently stepped out of the room. Morgan then looked directly into the camera. "Turn the camera off, Agent Scully."


Scully watched with concern as the guard left the room. But she told herself that Conrad was chained to both the table and the floor. He couldn't hurt Jess. But then Morgan looked directly into the camera, as if she was looking right into her eyes, and told her to turn off the camera. Scully hesitated a moment but then reached for the switch as she watched Morgan close the distance between herself and Conrad. She was only a couple feet from him. "Be careful, Jess," Scully whispered to herself.

"Don't do it, Agent Scully," said Sgt. Morris.

"I trust my partner's judgment." She turned the camera off.

A few minutes later Scully turned as Morgan entered the observation room. "Are you–"

"Let's get out of here, Dana, head back to Quantico."

"Alright."

Morgan was silent as they checked out of the prison, rode back to where the helicopter was waiting, and on the flight back. She didn't say a word until the pilot informed them that they were going to be landing at Reagan National airport instead of Quantico.

"Why?" Morgan asked.

"Don't know, ma'am. Just the orders I received. Your ride will be waiting for you there."

When the helicopter landed AD Ben Taylor was waiting for them. "How did it go?"

Morgan shook her head. "He didn't know anything."


Once Scully and Morgan got into the Bureau SUV and left the airport, Scully broke the silence in the vehicle. "So, Conrad didn't have anything to say?"

Morgan let out a sigh. "He had plenty to say... just nothing about our case."

Scully's response was cut off by her phone ringing.

While Scully talked on the phone, Morgan thought about Conrad.

After the camera was turned off Conrad finally told Morgan what he had to say. It had nothing to do with the case – just his foul mouth and his sick fantasies. She let him have his say, keeping her face expressionless. Conrad sat grinning up at her, so pleased with himself. She finally moved to stand behind him. She put her hands on his shoulders, bent down and whispered in his ear.

"You are so lucky you're locked up in here, Devon."

"Why?"

"Because you're safe."

He turned his head to look at her... He froze, not knowing what to think. What he saw scared him. Morgan's features had completely shifted; eyes fathomless black and cold, canines elongated and sharply pointed. But beyond the actually physical changes it was the aura of power and control that shook him to the core. He tried to stand, but the hands on his shoulders dug into his trapezius muscles and painfully held him in place.

"In here, you're safe... from me." She let go of his shoulders and walked out the door. She heard him yell before the door shut behind her.

"Guard! Get me out of here!!"

"What do you say, Jess?"

Scully's voice suddenly pulled Morgan back to the present. "Hmm?"

"About dinner?"

"Whatever you want."

Scully put her phone back to her ear. "Sure, Mom. See you soon."

 

Chapter 13

"Mom, this is Jess Morgan. Jess, this is my mother, Margaret Scully."

"Maggie, please," Maggie said as they shook hands.

"It's nice to meet you, Maggie."

"Well, come on in and make yourselves comfortable. Dinner will be ready in a little bit."

The three sat down in the living room.

"So, Dana tells me that you're an FBI agent like she is."

"Yes, ma'am."

"What do you do? Or are you not allowed to say?"

Morgan smiled. "I'm a psychologist, a profiler."

"And what does that mean you do?"

Scully arched an eyebrow. Her mother knew what a profiler was and what they did – Mulder had told her.

"My job is to analyze a crime – the victim, the crime itself, the circumstances, the physical evidence, etc. – and based on all of that come up with a psychological profile of the suspect."

"That sounds like difficult work."

"It can be."

"Jess is the best, Mom. She works cases all over the country, and reports directly to the Director."

"So what's brought you here?"

"A case."

"We can't really talk about, Mom."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to pry," Maggie said. A buzzer sounded in the kitchen. "The roast is done. I need to get it out of the oven."

"I'll help you, Mom."

"Could I use your bathroom, Maggie?"

"Sure, Jess. It's down the hall on the left."

"Thank you."

Scully went into the kitchen with her mother. She set the table as Maggie got the roast out of the oven.

"Fox called me last night."

Scully looked at her mother. "Why?"

"He wanted to know if you were staying here, and if not where you might be." Maggie took in the expression on her daughter's face. "Dana, what's going on? Why doesn't Fox know where you're staying?"

"I'm very angry with Mulder right now. He's been way out of line lately. He was suspended for a month for assaulting another agent. He's been downright childish, selfish and hateful."

Maggie was surprised. "Could he have had a good reason for what he did?" she asked tentatively.

"You've met Jess; do you think he could possibly have a good reason for physically assaulting her?"

Margaret's eyes widened.

"The answer, Mom, is no. He was dead wrong. They were going to take his badge, but Jess asked the Director not to. He's damn lucky. He could be sitting in jail for what he did. Jess is a good person and an outstanding agent. I've been assigned as her partner for the case we're working. I like working with her, it's a nice change."

"What will happen with Fox? Will you work with him when he comes back?"

Scully let out a sigh. "No." She paused. "When this case is over... I've put in a request for transfer, Mom."

"Oh? Where to?"

"Back to Quantico... at least until I figure some things out."

"But you've always seemed so dedicated to the work you and Fox do. Are you sure a transfer is what you really want?" Maggie asked, even though she was secretly pleased to think of her daughter in a safer posting at Quantico.

Dana nodded. "Yes. I need a change, Mom."

Morgan came into the kitchen. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Oh, no. Everything's ready. Let's have a seat."

Dinner was good and all three women seemed to relax and enjoy the meal and conversation. Maggie had drawn Jess out, asking probing questions. Morgan wasn't used to the way a parent could keep asking questions and not stop until told to do so, and Morgan wasn't about to be rude and tell her partner's mother to stop. She answered every question Maggie put to her, being too polite to do otherwise.


"Maggie, I want to thank you for the delicious meal and good conversation. It's been a very nice evening. I'm glad I got the chance to meet you."

Maggie smiled. "It's been my pleasure, Jess. You should make my daughter bring you again."

"Take care, Mom. I'll be in touch," Dana said as they hugged.

"Be safe. Both of you." Maggie then surprised Morgan by pulling her into a firm hug.

Scully saw her partner's shocked expression and stifled a small snicker. As she and Morgan walked to the car she smiled. "That meant she likes you."

"I got that," Morgan replied, still sounding a little surprised. They got into the car.

"Sorry about the inquisition during dinner. Mom could teach a class or two on how to interrogate someone."

Morgan chuckled. "It's alright. I like her. And she's obviously proud of you." She smiled. "I also see where you get your strength and determination from."

Scully smiled. "My mother would call it stubbornness, and say I got it from my father." She glanced at Morgan. "Where do you get yours from?"

"What? Strength and determination... or stubbornness?" Morgan asked with a smirk.

"Either... both?"

"I would say my grandfather." She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "He was the only relative that ever really gave a damn; he made a difference in my life. He was an infinitely patient, but demanding, teacher."

"What did he teach?"

"Oh he wasn't a teacher by profession. I just mean he taught me – a lot. 'With power and privilege comes responsibility.' He taught me what each of those things – power, privilege, responsibility – are, and how they directly related to me. His were the most important lessons, the most valuable. There's no telling how I would have ended up if not for his understanding and support."

Scully didn't miss the reverent tone in Morgan's voice. "He was very special to you."

Morgan nodded. "Yeah, he was. I miss him."


Scully and Morgan talked all the way back to DC. They talked about anything but the case. Back at the safe house they both changed into more comfortable clothes and sat on the couch watching some TV.

Actually Scully watched Morgan more than she did the TV. She could tell that Jess was much more relaxed than she had been after their visit with Conrad. She smiled as she thought about how her mother had gotten her partner to open up. And Morgan had completely charmed her mother. It was ironic that a person without experience dealing with her own parents could so easily, and without guile, thoroughly charm and entertain someone else's mother. Somehow it pleased Dana that her mother had taken such a strong liking to the other woman.

Morgan was surprised to find herself feeling peaceful and at ease. Usually, at this point in a case she was tense and antsy. And even though it had been difficult to see and deal with Conrad she wasn't as upset as she had been earlier.

"Jess?"

Morgan looked at the redhead. "What?"

"Are you alright? I mean, I know today was difficult for you."

She nodded. "Surprisingly, I'm fine. Actually, I was just thinking about today, about Conrad."

"He definitely tried to get to you."

"Yeah. You know, I've put him out of my mind, for the most part, for some time now. At least until this case. It was hard to listen to his voice today, and then to actually meet with him face to face; but something's different since I talked to him." She paused before she continued, trying to express what she was thinking and feeling. "I know I told him I wouldn't waste another second thinking about him – which was not exactly accurate. But at some point while I was talking with him, he lost some of his power over me." She let out a rueful huff. "Or rather, I took some of that power back from him, since people only have that kind of power when we allow it." She took a slow breath. Her eyes focused back on Scully. "It's surprising." She smiled. "And then having dinner with your mother and spending some with her was great. It was just what I needed. What I want to know, Dana, is how do you seem to know what I need?" she finished up with an arched eyebrow.

Scully smiled. "Great minds think alike?" she offered humorously. She then turned serious. "I don't know. It's not like I know with certainty. It's not until afterwards, when you tell me, that I know for sure I've said or done the right thing. Maybe it's instinct."

Morgan chuckled. "Then I say you should definitely trust your instincts."

"Actually I think you're right. I've been ignoring my own instincts about some things for a while now. I've just recently started listening to them again."

"Good. I've watched you work – you have good instincts."

The unexpected compliment almost embarrassed Scully. She smiled demurely. "Thanks. I appreciate that."

Morgan shrugged, "I just call them as I see them."

Scully decided it was time to come clean. "Jess, there's something I need to tell you." She received only a curious quirk of an eyebrow. She pressed on. "After the way Mulder acted and the completely different version of things he had from what you told me, I... I did a little checking." She was afraid Morgan would be angry about her going behind her back. She was surprised when Jess gave her a small smile.

"That was the wise thing to do."

Scully was clearly surprised by Morgan's reaction.

"After all, Mulder's your partner and has been for several years. And you don't know me from Adam. Better to find out for yourself than to take anything for granted. Especially since we're working together."

"I don't want you to think it was because I thought you misled me or anything, because I didn't. It was more a matter of confirming my own suspicions about Mulder's actions."

"It's alright, Dana, really. I'm certainly not upset with you, and there's nothing wrong with you checking the facts on your own. That... trait is part of what makes you such a good investigator and pathologist."

"I called some friends who have known Mulder longer than I have and spoke to them." She paused. "In fact, they said they knew you as well."

"Oh? Who?"

"The Lone Gunmen." Scully watched as Morgan drifted in memory for a moment before she smiled.

"How are they? I haven't seen them in a very a long time."

"They're good. They expressly wanted me to tell you hello, and tell you that they'd really like to see you again."

Morgan thoughtfully nodded slowly. "I suppose I really should touch base with them sometime. They were always good guys." She let out a sigh. "I really haven't been in touch with people from that part of my life for a long time."

"You've been constantly on the move for three years, Jess. Aren't you getting a little tired of it? Don't you want to slow down?"

"You sound like the Director. He keeps pushing for me to take a position at Quantico."

"You certainly have a lot to offer as an instructor."

"Thank you." She paused. "I promised the Director I'd give it some serious thought after this case. It might be nice to stay in one place for a while, actually have a place of my own again."


Finally it was time for Scully and Morgan to go to bed. They walked down the hallway together, stopping at Dana's room.

"Thanks again, Dana... for everything."

"You're welcome."

They gave each other a hug. On impulse, Scully turned her head and kissed Morgan's cheek. When they pulled back their eyes met and held. Before she could stop herself, Scully brought her hand up and tenderly cupped Morgan's cheek, caressing the spot she'd kissed with her thumb. Then she leaned in and pressed her lips to Morgan's. Her heart trip hammered when the lips against hers responded. It was a gentle melding of lips and breath as they stood there, loosely embraced. It was so much better than she'd imagined or dreamt. All too soon it ended. Their eyes once again met.

"Good night," Morgan said softly.

"Good night," Scully breathed. And then she was standing in her doorway alone. She closed the bedroom door and leaned her head against it, her eyes closed. "Oh, God..." she whispered. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Her pulse was still racing as she turned and moved to sit on the side of her bed. She lowered her head and took a couple deep breaths as she replayed the scene in the doorway in her mind. Soon her body started to feel phantom caresses of a lover. Her eyes snapped open and she laid back on the bed. She grabbed one of the pillows and curled up around it.


When their lips parted and their eyes met, Morgan knew she was in trouble. They both said good night and then she retreated. She walked away from Scully's bedroom resolutely. Once in her bedroom she rested against the closed door and sighed. "Bloody hell." No one had stirred her like Scully did in years.

That the woman with red hair and blue jeweled eyes was beautiful had never been a question. But Morgan had long ago set such considerations aside. She was, in fact, quite pleased with their working relationship. She hadn't worked so well with a partner since Casper. Or course, she had pretty much refused to work with a partner since she had rejoined the Bureau at the Director's request. In fact, she'd made working on her own a prerequisite of her return. Morgan would usually come in to work a case, cooperating with the agents assigned to it. But she never actually partnered up with any of them... until this time.

Scully had turned out to be one the best agents Morgan had ever worked with. And she was without doubt the best pathologist she'd ever seen. And somehow, Scully had also gotten Morgan to drop some of her shields and get closer than she was used to. And now, one kiss, one exquisitely soft kiss, and her heart raced as if she'd run a marathon.

Morgan took a deep breath, let it out and went to bed.

 

Chapter 14

Scully lay in bed, unable to sleep. Part of her was berating herself for doing something so stupid! How could she have kissed Jess?! Here she had been enjoying working with the other agent, and laying the foundation of a friendship... and she had to go and ruin it by kissing her.

But then the other part of her... The other part replayed the kiss over and over in her mind. Jess's lips were so soft and warm. And it was hands down the best first kiss she'd ever had! The way Jess had so gently kissed her back... perhaps she hadn't ruined anything.

And though the obsidian eyes in her dreams didn't match Jess's grey ones, she now knew those dream eyes belonged to the woman she'd kissed. Her dreams... perhaps she would dream of her again tonight... She held the other pillow tight against her body, imaging it was Jess she was curled around, as she had been two nights ago.


Morgan tossed and turned. She couldn't get comfortable... or rather, she couldn't quiet her mind, her imagination. Every time she closed her eyes she saw beautiful sapphire blue eyes. Morgan had hardly even looked at another woman since Toni. Oh, she'd bedded a couple, but they'd never 'touched' her. She never gave them a second thought afterwards. However, Dana... well, Dana was different. For reasons she couldn't fathom, Morgan had let Dana get close. She had spent time with the redhead away from work. She cared about Dana.

She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Her heart did a little flip as their kiss replayed in her mind. It had been exquisite. So soft and gentle... yet no less arousing for its tenderness. Morgan could have stood there and kissed Dana for hours. Even though Dana had initiated the kiss, Morgan was fearful of how it would change things. They'd had such a good working relationship. Scully was one of the best agents she'd ever worked with. And they had connected personally, becoming friends. Was all of that going to be ruined? Morgan sighed and turned over onto her other side again, in a vain attempt to get comfortable.


In the dark, a hand snaked out and grabbed offending noisemaker. "Yeah," she answered laconically. Listening to voice on the other end, Morgan was suddenly wide awake. She sat up and turned on the light on the nightstand. "Where?" She found a pen and something to write on. "Left on Melvin Ave... left on Wardour Dr. Got it... Right. See you soon." Morgan hung up her phone. "Damn." She rubbed her face with her hands and then stood up.

Morgan walked down the hall to Scully's door. She knocked. "Dana?"

"Yeah?"

"Get dressed – we've got another one."

"Okay."

Both women quickly dressed.

"Where to?" Scully asked as she started the car.

"Annapolis. Taylor said to take the Rowe Ave exit off 50. Then left onto Melvin Ave, following it until it ends, then left on Wardour."

"I know it. That's almost at the Naval Academy." She glanced at Morgan. "Both my brothers went to the Academy."


They made good time and arrived at the house in question in a little over 30 minutes. The sky was just beginning to lighten, though sunrise was still a bit off.

"Nice neighborhood," Morgan observed.

"Very. These houses are all seven figures."

They got out of the car and approached the front door of the house. A couple police officers were standing outside the door. Morgan and Scully flashed their badges. One of the officers opened the door for them. Once inside they were directed to a room on the second floor. They removed their overcoats, slipped on gloves and stepped into the bedroom.


Scully left the house with the body, taking it to Quantico. Morgan stayed behind and spoke with the distraught parents of the Reaper's newest victim, Andrea Nicks.

"Can you tell me if Andrea was seeing anyone?"

"Andrea was too busy with her studies to date," Mr. Nicks replied.

"Actually, she did tell me she'd met someone," Mrs. Nicks said.

"When?" her husband asked, sounding upset.

Mrs. Nicks wiped her cheeks. "She said they met about a month ago. I think she said his name was Joe, or John... I'm not sure."

"What did she tell you about him, Mrs. Nicks?"

"Not much. Just that they'd met and she liked him."

"Did she meet him in school? Is he a student?"

"Oh, no. She did say he had his own business... on the internet or something like that. She really didn't say much about him."

"Why didn't I know about this guy?!" Mr. Nicks exclaimed.

"Jeff... I don't think it was serious. And besides, Andrea is– was 22 years old, a grown woman." Mrs. Nicks broke down and couldn't continue.

Mr. Nicks took his wife and went to a friend's house.


After going through the house and the victim's personal effects, Morgan left the house and drove to the home of the victim's sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Gary Everson. Mr. Everson was out of town for work, but Linda was the one Morgan wanted to talk to anyway.

"I'm very sorry for your loss, Mrs. Everson. I appreciate you meeting with me."

"Linda. I just can't believe Andrea's dead."

"Your mother said Andrea mentioned someone she'd met, someone named Joe or John. Did she say anything to you about this guy?"

"Do you think he's the one who killed her?"

"I don't know, but we have to talk to all Andrea's acquaintances, friends and family. The more we know about her, the better chance we have of finding who killed her."

"His name was Joel; I don't know his last name."

"What did she tell you about him?"

"Not much. She said he had some online business. And that she really liked him."

"Did she say what the name of the business was?"

"No. I'm sorry I don't know more."

"It's alright, Linda. I checked your sister's things but I didn't find her cell phone. Do you know where it might be?"

"Oh. Yeah. She left it here by accident yesterday. She was watching my daughter for an hour or so while I ran some errands. I'll get it for you."

"Please."

Linda got up and left the room. She returned moments later with the phone. "Here you go."

"Thank you."


Scully looked up when Morgan entered the autopsy bay. "Hey. I'm just finishing up."

"Anything new?"

"Unfortunately no. What about you? How did it go with the parents?"

"Neither of them have any idea who would want to hurt Andrea. The mother did say that Andrea mentioned a new guy; someone she'd met about a month ago."

Scully finished the last stitch, pulled her gloves off with a snap and stepped away from the table. "Did you get his name?"

"Mrs. Nicks thought it might be Joe or John. But I spoke to Andrea's sister and she said his name was Joel. She didn't know his last name though. Still, I'm going to have someone check the name against the purchase list for Joy perfume. It's a long shot, but..." She shrugged her shoulders. "I also got Andrea's phone. When we get back to headquarters I'll have the techs dump everything on it and we can start talking to all her contacts. Maybe she confided in a friend about this new guy. Supposedly he has some kind of internet business." She sighed. "It's not a lot to go on."

"It's somewhere to start," Scully pointed out. "And it's more than we've had with some of the other victims."


When Scully and Morgan got back to the Hoover building, a folder was waiting on Morgan's desk. She picked it up and opened it.

"We've got the LUDs for the Nicks' home phone and the line in Andrea's room. Let me run her cell phone down to the techs and have them dump it. It should only take a couple minutes."

"Alright. Meet me in the cafeteria."

Morgan, already halfway out the door, stopped and looked back at Scully.

"Don't even try it, Jess," Scully warned, but with a touch of amusement in her eyes. "Just be there."

Morgan didn't say anything. She simply continued on her way. Once she was in the elevator, she shook her head and chuckled.


After lunch in the cafeteria, Scully and Morgan started sifting through the information from Andrea's cell phone. She had kept just about everything in her phone – text and voice message, contacts, schedules. They determined the most promising leads to follow. Everything else would be checked out by other agents on the taskforce.

They spent the rest of the day interviewing Andrea's closest friends. None of whom knew any more about Joel than what the agents already knew. The more they investigated, the more interested they became in this mysterious new man in Andrea's life. No one had met him. No one had seen him. No one knew the name of his alleged internet business. No one knew his last name. No one knew where he lived. No one knew how old he was. No one knew anything.

It was well after dinner time when they decided to call it a day.

Morgan sighed as she settled behind the steering wheel of the car. "It's been a long day. What do you say we go out for dinner? No takeout, no pizza. A real nice dinner – my treat."

Scully smiled. "Alright. What did you have in mind?"

"How do you feel about steak?"

"Sounds good."


Scully and Morgan were seated at a table by one of the windows. After the waiter took their orders Scully kept staring out the window.

"Something interesting out there?" Morgan asked.

Scully frowned. Concern colored her voice when she replied. "I'm not sure, but I think someone's been following us."

"If you're referring to the dark green Taurus, you're right."

Scully snapped her eyes back to her partner. "What–"

"Security detail. The Director assigned a team to you."

Scully's eyes flashed in anger. "What the hell for?" she ground out slowly.

Morgan took a slow breath as she nervously fingered her fork. "Because I asked him to, Dana." Scully started to say something, but Morgan continued, cutting her off. "You have to understand – the last time a serial killer made things personal... Toni was killed because of me." She looked up, finally meeting Scully's gaze. "Your apartment was broken into and the same message written on your wall that was written on mine in Toni's blood. This guy knows who you are, Dana, where you live. I can't take the risk that he'll go after you. I'm not going to let someone else get killed because of me." She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. "I couldn't bear it," she finished in a shaky whisper.

Scully's ire had been set off by the knowledge that Morgan had gone behind her back and had a security detail put on her. But as she watched and listened to Jess, Scully found her anger dissipating and understanding taking its place. When Morgan finished, she reached across the table and placed her hand over Jess's. "It's okay, Jess. I understand. If our places were reversed I'd do the same thing." She was glad to see the shadows behind Morgan's eyes fade.

The waiter arrived with their salads.

 

Chapter 15

Dinner was pleasant and very filling. Both Scully and Morgan felt quite relaxed and satiated as they drove back to the safe house. It was rather late when they arrived. They took turns showering and getting ready for bed.

Morgan was in the kitchen getting some ice water when Scully came out of the bathroom and entered the kitchen still drying her hair with a towel.

"Would you like some ice water?"

"Please."

Morgan dropped some ice cubes into a second glass and filled it with water. She turned and handed the glass to her partner. Scully draped the towel around her neck and took the glass from Morgan. Morgan watched as Scully closed her eyes and took a long drink.

Before she could stop herself, Jess reached out and gently brushed aside a few strands of hair that had caught on Dana's eyelashes. Scully opened her eyes. Bright blue gazed into sparkling grey. Suddenly the air seemed a bit thin, both women feeling a little lightheaded. Neither one consciously moved... yet they were inexorably drawn together. Lips softly met, breath shared.

Morgan slid her hand into damp hair and cupped the back of Scully head. The brunette sucked in a silent gasp as a tongue slid along her lower lip.

Scully softly sighed as she was granted entrance. Their tongues met and danced. Their kiss deepened, yet remained gentle. Dana thoroughly explored Morgan's mouth, and also welcomed Jess's exploration. She felt Morgan's arm tighten slightly around her waist as her knees started to give, her own arms tightening around the brunette as well.

After several minutes their kisses transformed to soft brushes of lips and quiet sighs. Their lips finally parted. Foreheads rested against each other, hearts pounded as lungs tried to replenish oxygen levels.

"Dana..." Morgan breathed.

Scully pulled back as she opened her eyes. She couldn't believe how this woman moved her. She'd actually gone weak in the knees – something that had never happened to her before. "Come to bed with me, Jess."

Morgan's eyes flew open and her heart stopped. She was literally speechless... but Scully saw the flash of trepidation in her grey eyes.

"To sleep. I simply want to be near you tonight." Scully received a mute nod in response. She stepped out of Morgan's arms, took her hand, and turning off lights on the way, led the way to her bedroom.

In bed, Dana laid on her side, snuggled up to Jess after she settled on her back. They shared a pillow and held each other as they drifted to sleep.


When Morgan woke in the morning, she was on her left side, spooning Dana from behind. One arm was under her neck and her right was wrapped around the redhead. Her right hand was clasped in Scully's and held to her chest. She could feel her bedmate's steady heartbeat and slow breaths. She closed her eyes and inhaled, noting the slight aroma of almonds in the red hair. And beneath that, the scent of the woman herself.

Scully woke. She reveled in the feeling of being held; the curves of the body pressed against her back. She tightened her hand around the one she was holding to her chest.

"Good morning," Jess said softly.

Dana smiled. "Mm, good morning." She pressed back into Morgan and felt her embrace tighten.

They both started a little bit when the alarm clock went off. Without speaking both women got out of bed. Morgan wordlessly left Scully's bedroom and retreated to her own.


Scully looked at the small duffle Morgan brought out to the living room. "You planning on going somewhere?"

"Thought I'd use the gym at work. I haven't been for a run in weeks and haven't had a workout in over ten days. I feel off if I go too long without working out."

Scully thought it sounded like a good idea. It had been even longer since she'd had a workout or a run. She quirked a brow. "Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all."

Scully went to her bedroom and retrieved some clothes for a workout.


After getting to work early and getting in a decent workout, Scully and Morgan headed to the locker room and showers. Both women made a conscious decision to avoid undressing and dressing in the same area. There was a tension between them, but it wasn't necessarily a bad tension. However they had yet to talk about the previous night... or the kisses.

Scully wasn't sure how to start the conversation she knew they'd eventually have to have. What she did know was that Jess was the best kisser she'd ever known; that it felt so good, so right, to hold Jess and to be held by her; that she wanted to see where things could go; that she wanted... Jess.

Morgan wasn't the first woman she'd been attracted to, or even kissed, but it had been many years since that night of alcohol and experimentation with her college roommate. And though she'd met some women she'd been attracted to over the years, the attraction wasn't enough to prompt her into acting on it. But Jess... Jess was different.


Morgan was confused. She was more than just attracted to Dana – she was quite taken with the woman. However, she lived a very nomadic life; working all over the country, never staying in one place more than a few days or weeks. It was just the kind of life that suited her – no ties, no complications, no personal 'risks.'

But Dana was different. She was smart, beautiful, talented, bossy... and an even better kisser than Toni had been. The night before, spent in Dana's arms and holding Dana in hers, was the single best night's sleep she'd had in six years.


As Morgan and Scully left the gym to head up to Morgan's office, her phone rang. "Morgan... Good, good. I'll be there in a minute." She hung up. "The techs have finished with the footage from the security cameras of the houses on Andrea's street," she told her partner.

They stopped by and picked up the CD-ROM. In her office, Morgan booted up the computer and slid the disc in. Scully pulled her chair up next to Morgan's so they both could watch the footage.

"I was hoping that someone's security camera caught an unaccounted for vehicle."

"You mean Joel's."

Morgan nodded. "Or the Reaper – if they're not one in the same."

"That's if either ever drove to Andrea's house," Scully pointed out.

"Well, he had to get in and out of the house with her body, so he had to transport it there somehow."

"Don't forget those houses all had private piers as well. He could have just as easily used a boat instead of a car."

Morgan sighed. "I know, Dana. A couple of the houses had cameras on the piers as well. I know we won't be able to see everything, but we still have to try."

"Of course we do, Jess," Scully gently replied.

They spent several hours carefully watching the security footage, taking note of all vehicles they spotted and comparing them to the vehicles of the residents of the area. No car was unaccounted for, and no boats were taped coming or going from the piers they could see. So much for catching the Joel and/or the Reaper coming or leaving the area.

Before they left for the day, AD Ben Taylor called a meeting in the bullpen.

"Listen up, everyone; I'm calling in everyone on the taskforce to a meeting tomorrow. I know it's Sunday, but I want everyone here, regardless of what shift you're assigned. So everyone be here at 1:00 tomorrow." Taylor went back into his office.

Scully looked at her partner. "I wonder what that's all about."

"He probably just wants everyone to check in and report on where they are in the investigation. Maybe pool some ideas."


At the safe house, after taking a shower and changing into jeans and a t-shirt, Morgan settled down on the couch with her laptop. She unplugged the house phone and connected the line to her computer. She was checking her email when Scully came out of her bedroom in similar dress.

"There aren't a lot of choices, but there is enough stuff here that I can make some dinner," Scully said as she entered the living room. "I can make us some spaghetti if you like, Jess."

"Hmm? Oh. Whatever you want is fine with me."

"Or we can do takeout."

"That's fine..." Morgan replied absently.

Scully reached out and put her hand on Morgan's shoulder. "Jess."

Morgan looked up at the redhead. "What?"

"Tell me, if I didn't fix something or order some takeout, would you even notice missing dinner?" she asked.

"Probably not."

Scully shook her head and gave her partner a small, affectionate smile. "You really should take better care of yourself."

Morgan shrugged. "I just don't think about eating sometimes when I'm working."

"And you're always working. You don't even take a day off unless the Director orders you to."

"It's not like I can afford to just take time off when I'm a working a case," the brunette said a little curtly. "Too much rides on my work, too many lives!"

It was with sudden insight that Scully realized the motivation behind Jess's relentless drive. She sat down in the corner of the couch next to Jess, facing her with one leg tucked under. "Jess... please."

The tone of her voice made Morgan look at the redhead. The understanding and compassionate look in her blue eyes pierced her armor effortlessly. With a silent sigh Morgan closed her laptop and set it on the coffee table. She sat quietly, waiting, knowing Scully had more to say.

"Jess, you can't take personal responsibility for every crime. It's not your fault that people are victimized every day. You didn't create the killers, rapists and molesters. They are not your fault – and neither is Toni's death. It's not your fault Conrad killed Toni."

The lump in Morgan's throat was so large it hurt. Her eyes burned with unshed tears. "There were threats... I should have quit the case..."

Scully took the chance of asking a question to which she wasn't absolutely certain about the answer. But given her observations of her partner she was confident it was worth the risk. "Did Toni know about the threats?"

Morgan took a slow breath before responding. "Yes," she said softly.

"Who were the threats against, you or her?"

"Me."

"And what did she have to say about them?" Scully asked gently.

"She said... to not let the bastard win, to catch him and put him behind bars."

Scully let Morgan think about that for several seconds. Finally she broke the silence, speaking softly but clearly. "Jess, no matter how many perpetrators you put away or how many lives you save, it can't change what happened."

"Don't you think I know that?" A couple tears finally escaped and rolled down her cheeks.

"Intellectually, yes. Yet you keep assuming a burden that's not yours to bear in an effort to find absolution for something that's not your fault." She paused. "Somehow I don't think that's what Toni would have wanted."

Scully watched as Morgan closed her eyes and a few more tears rolled down her cheeks. She reached out and put her arms around Morgan. Morgan turned her face into Scully's shoulder and finally let the tears go.

Scully leaned back into the corner of the couch, pulling Morgan with her, holding her close. "Let it go... it's not your fault..." She dropped a kiss on the top of Morgan's head as she continued to hold the quietly crying woman.

Morgan drifted to sleep after a few minutes. Scully gently ran her fingers through silky, dark hair. After about five minutes she felt the woman in her arms begin to stir. She let go of Morgan as the brunette sat up.

"Sorry about that."

"Don't be. You were there for me when I needed a shoulder. It's what friends are for."

Morgan took a deep breath and let it out. Having regained her equilibrium she came to a decision. "Friends, Dana? Is that what we are?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do you kiss all your friends the way you kissed me last night?" She paused for half a beat. "Because I don't."

 

Chapter 16

Caught off guard by the turn of the conversation, Scully took a steadying breath of her own before replying. "Yes, we're friends." She paused. "But I also think... there's something else between us," she finished softly.

Morgan closed her eyes a couple moments. The she suddenly stood up and walked across the room before turning around to face Scully. "I don't... I don't know if that's a good thing."

"Wh–"

"I'm not... a good bet. And you deserve better, Dana."

A fine auburn eyebrow arched. "Better than what, Jess? An intelligent, compassionate, beautiful woman?"

Morgan dropped her gaze, looked away. "There are... things you don't know about me... and baggage."

Not entirely sure of the source of her current boldness, Scully got and up and walked over to stand in front of Morgan. "Of course there are things I don't know about you – there are things you don't know about me. And everyone has their own set of baggage. But the process of discovery is part of the allure." She reached up, gently lifting Morgan's chin until their eyes met. "I'm not one to act rashly, without thought. If anything, I tend to over think things. But something has drawn me to you from the beginning." Scully caressed the brunette's cheek. "You said to trust my instincts... my instincts are telling me to take a chance." Dana closed the distance between them and kissed Jess.

Morgan's eyes drifted shut and a soft moan escaped her throat. She parted her lips to allow Dana's gentle exploration. Of their own accord her arms wrapped around the petite woman and held her close. Her pulse raced.

Scully melted into Morgan's embrace as Jess's arms tightened around her. She felt wonderfully dizzy. When Jess deepened the kiss Dana felt the world spin. She moaned into the sensuously passionate kiss. A lack of oxygen finally ended the kiss. They gazed into each other's eyes as they caught their breath.

Morgan swallowed before speaking. "Dana–"

Scully lightly placed a finger over Jess's lips, cutting her off. "What do your instincts tell you?"

Morgan looked into sapphire blue eyes, feeling her heart clutch in her chest. At first blush, the feelings Dana brought out in Morgan scared her, made her want to run. But at the same time, a part of her felt like a drowning woman being thrown a life preserver, a second chance at life. It was confusing. What should she do?

Dana waited patiently, but nervously, for Jess to come to a decision. She could see the inner struggle in Morgan's grey eyes. And she could actually feel it in the tensing of the woman's body. She honestly had no idea what Jess would do – take a chance... or retreat.

Finally, Morgan's internal debate came to an end.

Scully's pulse raced as Morgan claimed her lips with her own. It was a breath-stealing and mind-numbing kiss.

The sudden ringing of a cell phone startled both women, causing them to jump and break the kiss.

With a steadying breath Morgan let go of Scully and walked over to retrieve her phone from the coffee table. "Morgan... Alright, thanks... Tomorrow... Bye." She hung up and glanced over at the redhead. They shared a small, embarrassed smile. "That was Agent Beckley – they came up dry with the Joy purchase list." She shrugged. "I didn't expect them to find anything. It's not enough to go on and we have no idea where or how long ago he bought it."

Scully nodded in agreement. "I'm, uh... I'm going to go ahead and make some dinner."

"Alright." Morgan sat down on the couch and grabbed her laptop from the coffee table. Once she was sure Scully was no longer in the living room, she laid her head back on the back of the sofa and let out a long breath. She could feel her pulse still racing. It was amazing at how much Dana affected her.

When Scully went into the kitchen she placed her hands on the edge of the counter and dropped her head. Her heart was still pounding. After a few seconds she got busy making dinner.


After dinner, Morgan convinced Scully to let her do the dishes. She needed the mundane task, and the time it gave her alone, to once again think about what was happening between her and Dana. She was second guessing herself, her decision to give in to her feelings. She had purposefully and deliberately distanced herself from people for a long time; not getting close and not allowing others close to her. It was practically instinctive now.

But Morgan didn't used to be that way. She had withdrawn somewhat after she and Casper had taken Neil Croskey down; after she almost died. Only her partner ever really knew what she was feeling.

But then Toni took an interest in her. She had looked up to Toni Jeffers 'the agent.' Jeffers was a no nonsense, take no prisoners kind of agent. She faced life completely on her own terms. Toni didn't give a damn what anyone thought about her, or her choices. And she left a trail of broken hearts a mile wide in her wake. Toni never misled anyone about her intentions, but everyone just seemed to fall for the 5'9", athletic, 30 year-old brunette. Her dark brown eyes, easy smile and confident attitude won her many admirers.

Which was precisely why it had taken Toni some real effort to woo Morgan. Jess knew Toni's reputation, and found it hard to believe the woman was seriously interested in her. Once she finally broke down and accepted a date with the older woman, Morgan started hearing the whispers and speculation about how long it would be before she joined the ranks of the brokenhearted. But Toni had surprised everyone; once she and Jess started dating, she never looked at another man or woman. Because of Toni, Jess knew what happiness was.

Morgan hadn't been happy since Toni was killed... And in truth, she didn't try to be.

But then, out of the blue, there was Dana Scully. The petite, blue-eyed redhead was very different from Toni. But she also had that same no nonsense attitude about work.

Morgan smiled as she started drying the dishes. Dana did something that no one else had done in years – she made Morgan smile, and laugh... and she reminded Jess she still had the capacity to be happy. And that, that is what finally made up Jess's mind. She decided, regardless of how temporary it might be, she was going to try to be happy again.


When Scully left Morgan in the kitchen washing dishes, she retreated to the living room. She felt unsettled and little antsy. She felt a little like a coward because of the way she had escaped to the kitchen after their kiss had been interrupted by Morgan's cell phone. She shook her head at herself. One minute she was uncharacteristically coming on to the woman, urging her to take a chance; the next she was hiding out in the kitchen.

If kissing Jess, and waking in her arms felt so damn right, why did she then retreat and hide from the woman? What was making her so nervous? It had nothing to do with the fact that Morgan was a woman – she'd been down that road before, albeit 15 years ago. There was no denying she found Jess attractive and had been drawn to her from the beginning. Scully was impressed with Morgan as an agent. She was an excellent investigator and easy to work with. And she really liked Jess as a person. She was smart, funny, and compassionate; she had a beautiful smile and sparkling eyes; and she made Scully smile and laugh. They had spent a lot of time together on and off duty. And Scully recognized, and felt, the gift of the normally reserved woman opening up to her.

That brought Scully's thoughts to a pause. She was usually reserved, but had found herself opening up to Morgan in an uncharacteristic way. Scully had been experiencing a few things lately that were uncharacteristic – she was enjoying work again; she had finally told Mulder off; she had requested a transfer; she had been bold and forward with Morgan; she preferred time spent with Jess over time spent alone; she was feeling peaceful and happy; she was feeling... like herself again.

She was feeling like 'Dana' again. The Dana before 'Scully'; the person before the troubles and worries of the job, the deaths, the monsters all chased her into hiding and locking herself away where no one could see or touch or hear her.

Before Mulder. Mulder and his spirit-leeching paranoia and obsession. It was only with the distance of time and space, and the perspective of hindsight, that Dana saw how soul-sickening and destructive her partnership with Mulder had been. Like the cancer that almost killed her, it had metastasized and pervaded every aspect of her life, choking her, smothering her, hurting her, draining her, maiming her... almost killing her.

Scully closed her eyes and smiled. She was starting a new and fresh chapter in her life. And regardless of what may or may not develop between her and Jess, she was going to be... happy again.


Still smiling, Morgan finished the dishes, retrieved a cold soda from the refrigerator and went into the living room. Scully was standing at a window, looking out the small gap in the drapes. She walked up and stood directly behind the redhead.

"Here," she said softly, reaching around Scully and holding the cold bottle of soda in front of her.

"Thank you." Scully opened it and took a drink. She leaned back against the warm body behind her. She felt Jess's hand come to rest on her waist.

Morgan loved the way Dana's body felt leaning back against her own. She closed her eyes and inhaled the woman's scent. After several seconds of silence, she spoke. "Just so you know, Dana, there's no pressure, no expectations, and certainly no judgments."

Scully smiled at Jess's thoughtfulness. She put the lid back on the bottle and set it down on the window sill. She then turned and faced the brunette. Still smiling, Scully gently took Morgan's face in her hands and guided her mouth to her own for a sensuous kiss. With her lips millimeters from Morgan's, she spoke. "I may be nervous, but I know what I want."

Morgan smiled. "Unless you tell me 'no,' I'm going to take you to bed and make love to you."

Scully felt her heart skip a couple beats at Morgan's softly spoken words. "Yes..." she breathed before their lips met again.

 

Chapter 17

Taking Dana's hand in hers and turning off lights on the way, Jess silently led the redhead to Dana's bedroom. In the bedroom she turned on only the light on the nightstand. She then pulled Dana into her arms and kissed her.

While they kissed, Dana slipped her hands under the hem of Jess's t-shirt. She slid her hands up the smooth skin of her back. Soon she trailed her hands back down; she grabbed the hem of the shirt and pulled it up and off of her, breaking their kiss only as long as it took to get the material out of the way. Before she could wrap her arms around Jess again, she felt hands raising and removing her own t-shirt. Bras were quickly shed as well. They came together, each relishing the feel of skin against skin.

Jess trailed kisses down her throat to her pulse point. Dana let out a quiet moan as she felt lips and tongue lightly tease. Jess felt the redhead's pulse quicken against her tongue causing her to softly moan as well. Dana, once again, went weak in the knees. When Dana's knees started to give out Jess tightened her arms around the redhead and moved them to the bed.

Dana laid back on the bed, welcoming the brunette into her arms... and heart. Jess's lips and touch filled her veins with molten heat, and gave her the chills. She gasped when Jess took her nipple into the moist warmth of her mouth. She sank her fingers in silky hair and arched up into Jess as she suckled.

Jess kissed her way back up to Dana's mouth. She shifted so they were on their sides. She ran her right hand down Dana's side, over her hip and grasped her butt. She then slid her hand down the back of the redhead's thigh, pulling it up over her own. She moved her thigh between Dana's, against her center. Dana moaned in response to the pressure.

Dana surged up and pushed Jess onto her back. She took the brunette's hands in her own and pinned them to the mattress on either side of Jess's head. She nibbled on an earlobe before trailing kisses down her neck and throat. She let go of the brunette's hands and palmed her breasts, teasing her erect nipples. Dana kissed her way down and took a hard nipple in her mouth. She reveled in the moans and whimpers coming from Jess.

Jess buried her hands in red tresses, pulling Dana up from her breast and reclaiming her mouth. As they kissed passionately she slipped a hand between them and unsnapped and unzipped Dana's jeans. She then ran both hands down Dana's back, slipping them under the waist of her jeans. Jess pushed the redhead's jeans and panties down over her butt. She then rolled so that she was lying on top of Dana again. Four hands worked to remove Dana's jeans and underwear. Jess's quickly followed.

Their bodies fit together like puzzle pieces. Hands and lips and tongues explored. Dana held tight onto Jess – almost as if she was afraid the brunette would disappear if she let go... Of course she always did whenever Dana would awaken from her dreams. A part of her was afraid she was dreaming even now, and would soon waken to find she was alone in bed, having only dreamt this.

"Does this feel like a dream?" Jess whispered in her ear as she gently pressed a couple fingers inside her.

"Oh, God..." Dana moaned in pleasure. She realized from Jess's words she must have actually given voice to some of her inner thoughts.

Jess placed a soft kiss on her cheek before moving down to her throat. She felt Dana's inner muscles tightened around her fingers. "Oh, Dana..." she sighed before gently nipping her pulse.

Their breathing grew heavier and the heat between them intensified, melting the two into one. "Jess..." Dana cried out again, then murmured something incoherent. She came with another cry, tightening her arms around the brunette.

Jess laid on her side holding Dana as she lay on her back and struggled to slow both her breathing and heart rate. She brushed a light kiss on her jaw near her ear. "Thank you," whispered Jess.

"For what?" Dana asked a bit confused. "You–"

Jess tenderly touched her fingertip to the redhead's lips. Dana rolled her head to the side to look at her. Jess spoke softly but clearly, "Thank you for being so open and vulnerable with me. That's a gift."

Dana was deeply moved by her words, and especially by the sincerity she clearly heard in her voice and saw in her eyes. She reached up and caressed Jess's cheek, then kissed her. She shifted onto her side, once again entwining her body with Jess's. She wanted to make Jess feel as good as the brunette had made her feel. She took control of their kiss, once again gently exploring Jess's lips and mouth.

As Dana kissed Jess her hand trailed down. Her fingers slid easily between wet folds. Jess reacted immediately – she gasped and arched into her touch. It didn't seem more than a few seconds before she cried out from her orgasm. Dana could actually feel Jess's clit twitching under her fingertips. She was blown away by the sight, sound and feel of Jess coming – because of her. It was the most erotic thing she had ever experienced.

Once Jess caught her breath she pulled Dana into a searing kiss. She surprised her by swiftly rolling her over onto her back. She could feel Dana's wetness against her thigh. They both moaned into the kiss as they rocked against the thigh they each had trapped between their own.

Low groans, quick gasps, loud moans, passionate kisses, questing tongues, grasping hands, arching backs, thrusting hips, and straining muscles brought them to the edge until they both cried out in powerful orgasms within moments of each other.

Jess rested her forehead on Dana's shoulder as she fought to slow her breathing. Dana rested a hand on the back of her head as she, too, panted heavily. Neither one could speak yet. After a few moments Jess rolled off of Dana and collapsed bonelessly next to her on her back. Dana grabbed the covers, pulling them up and covering both of them as she snuggled against her side. She laid her head on the brunette's shoulder and sighed contentedly as Jess held her in her arms.


Jess took a deep breath as she woke up. A small smile graced her lips as she enjoyed the warmth and curves of the body she was snugged up against. She was on her left side, spooning Dana. Her right hand was cupping the redhead's breast. She began to lightly knead and caress the breast in her hand, teasing the nipple. She felt the nipple harden and a quiet sigh escape Dana even before she woke.

Dana woke up feeling wonderful... and aroused. Jess was spooning her from behind and her skilled fingers were playing her hardening nipple. There seemed to be a direct link between her stimulated nipple and her clit. She was already wet. "Mmmm... that feels good," she breathed.

Jess kissed her shoulder. "I can't seem to keep my hands off of you," she replied softly.

"Good." Dana turned her head, seeking Jess's lips. She let out a moan as they kissed. She brought her right hand up and covered the one on her breast, intertwining her fingers with Jess's. She then pushed the brunette's hand down, slowly, and through the patch of auburn curls between her thighs.

Jess shifted, gently pulling the redhead onto her back. Her fingers, laced with Dana's slid down through auburn curls and discovered her arousal. "Mmmm, you're wet..."

The two hands, fingers still intertwined, caressed Dana's slick folds, teasing her opening, stroking her clit. She was close to coming. Her left hand was buried in silky hair, holding the dark head to her breast where Jess suckled. Her breath was ragged. She was going to... Dana's moan turned to whimper when Jess pulled their coupled hands away. She was so close! "Oh, God... please... don't stop..."

Jess raised her head and looked down at the flushed woman. "Shhh... I'm not done." She then brought their interlaced fingers to her mouth, took each one into her mouth in turn, and slowly licked and sucked it clean.

When the brunette took Dana's finger, wet with her own arousal, into her mouth, her blue eyes flew open. She felt Jess's tongue deftly slide over each finger in turn. Dana thought she could come from the sight and sensation alone.

Fingers clean, Jess shifted to lie on top of Dana. She claimed her mouth in a passionate kiss, sharing with Dana the hint of taste still on her tongue. She took her time, kissing and caressing Dana; slowly but methodically lavishing loving attention on every part of her body.

Dana had never felt so completely and thoroughly aroused; every nerve in her body was alight with delicious fire. Her knees drew up and parted of their own accord as Jess's mouth and tongue neared her center. Her hips were already rocking as she felt Jess kiss and lick and tease the insides of her thighs. She almost came the moment she felt a velvety tongue slip between her lips. It felt so good. She was going to come, but she didn't want to... not yet; she wanted it to last. But then Jess circled her clit with her tongue, then closed her lips around it and sucked. She came explosively. She didn't recognize the inarticulate cry as her own.

As Dana laid there gasping for air, Jess remained where she was, placing light kisses around her center and along the insides of her thighs. She loved the way Dana tasted, and she wanted more. With gentle caresses and light kisses she soothed the redhead, calmed her body. A hand came down and fingers loosely entangled in her hair. She raised her eyes and looked up into bright, sparkling blue. She held Dana's gaze as she once again took her into her mouth.

Dana's head slammed back into her pillow and her whole body undulated under Jess's skillful ministration. She was quickly building to another orgasm, this one even more intense. She fisted both her hands in the dark hair of the head between her thighs. Jess slipped a couple fingers inside her and sucked on her clit. She came hard and loud. Fireworks went off behind her eyelids as she catapulted into pure ecstasy.

Jess was gently cradling Dana when she came back to earth. She slid her hand to the back of the brunette's head and pulled her in for kiss. She hummed at the taste of herself on Jess's lips and tongue; but what she really wanted was to taste Jess. She pushed Jess onto her back, kissing and licking her way down her body, stopping for a while at her full breasts.

Jess was already more than aroused from making love to Dana. Her body was aflame with desire. God, she felt so alive. In awakening her passion she was finding herself again – the woman behind the determined agent.

Dana reveled in every moan, whimper and gasp of pleasure she elicited from Jess as she caressed, kissed, kneaded, licked, squeezed and suckled. She settled herself between Jess's thighs. She tenderly caressed her, opening her. As a doctor, a pathologist, she was quite familiar with human anatomy. She had also examined a number of female bodies and done sexual assault kits. But a dead body was nothing like a live woman at the height of arousal. "So beautiful," she breathed before lowering her head taking Jess in her mouth. She hummed in delight at the taste.

Jess was not going to last long, especially with the way Dana was licking and sucking her. She felt her heart racing, she gasped raggedly for air. When she felt Dana push two fingers inside her she cried out as she came, her body on overload.

Feeling her warm channel squeeze and spasm around her fingers as Jess came was almost enough to make Dana come again. When Jess's muscles started to relax Dana moved up and took the brunette into her arms. She rolled them onto their sides, holding Jess to her, kissing her forehead. Despite the risen sun, they both drifted to sleep.

 

Chapter 18

When Dana opened her eyes she found herself still holding Jess, her head on her shoulder. She smiled. Making love with Jess had been absolutely wonderful. Fantastic, in fact. But it was a new day, and there was still work to be done. With that thought, her head snapped up and she looked over at the clock radio. Damn! It was after 10:00! They were late to work, very late.

"Calm down, Dana," came Jess's soft voice. "We don't actually have to be in until 1:00."

Dana dropped her head back onto her pillow.

The brunette removed her head from Dana's shoulder and laid it on the pillow a few inches from hers. She brought her hand up from Dana's waist and gently caressed her cheek. She gazed into sapphire blue eyes and smiled. "Good morning," she whispered just before leaning in and brushing a light kiss on Dana's lips.

The redhead smiled at the tender kiss. "Good morning," she replied even before opening her eyes again. She shifted onto her side so they were facing each other. She tightened her arm around Jess's shoulders and slid her left arm around her waist. It felt so good to hold Jess's naked body to her own. "This is nice."

Jess smiled. "Yeah, it is."

The two lay in each other's arms for a while, simply enjoying the comfort and peacefulness. But then it was time to get up.

After parting and preparing for their day, the women put on their clothes, badges and guns, transforming themselves into FBI agents. But despite the armor of their professional personas, there remained a shared warmth in their eyes.


The 1:00 meeting AD Taylor had called was indeed meant to bring everyone up to date with the investigation. There was some round tabling and exchanges of ideas.

During a discussion of the possible earlier crimes Morgan had 'traced' by regressing the Reaper's M.O., her cell phone rang. She answered it. "Morgan."

Scully saw Morgan's face become cold and hard as she discreetly left the bullpen and went into her office, closing the door. When she was able to slip away from the discussion, Scully went to the closed door. With a tap announcing her presence she opened the door and joined her partner. Morgan was on the desk phone ordering a trace.

Morgan hung up and looked at her partner. "I just received a phone call."

"From the Reaper?" Morgan's expression was answer enough. "How did he get your cell phone number?"

"I don't know. I'm having them trace the call. I doubt it will trace back to him directly, but it may at least give us an idea of where he's calling from."

"What did he say?"

Morgan sighed. "Basically he said I didn't have what it took to catch him; that I should just give up and go away." She paused. "Especially if I didn't want anything to happen to my partner," she added with a clouded look.

"You're not going to back off, are you?" Scully asked somewhat confrontationally.

Morgan took a slow breath before responding. "I don't want to. I want to get this bastard." She paused half a beat before continuing. "But it might not be a bad idea if you did, Dana. He–"

"No." Scully's eyes flashed with anger. "I'm not about to tuck tail and run because of this son of a bitch. I've been through too much in that last few years to be scared off by some vague threat," she bristled. Looking at the shadows in Morgan's grey eyes, Scully consciously relaxed her body and softened her tone. "I understand your concern, Jess, but I'm not easily intimidated. I would never have been able to last over five years in the X-Files if I was. Stopping people like this are part and parcel of why I'm an agent."

Morgan took a deep breath and slowly let it out. She wanted nothing more than to order the beautiful redhead off the case. She had tried to get her reassigned when the bastard broke into Scully's apartment, but the Director had overridden her. Whether anything more than the night they'd shared developed between them, Morgan cared about Scully – a lot. She couldn't stand the idea of her getting hurt. "I can't make you quit, but I need you to promise me you'll be careful, Dana, and not take any unnecessary risks."

Scully could see what the situation was costing Morgan. She wasn't about to walk away from the case, or Jess, but she didn't have to make things harder for her partner. "Alright."

Scully's prompt and easy agreement to be careful eased some of the tension in Morgan. The phone on her desk rang. "Morgan... Alright... Thanks anyway." She hung up as she wrote something on a notepad. "The phone he used to call me was a prepaid cell phone. There's no way to trace it to him. But we have the name of the service provider. We may be able to get them to triangulate a general location; find out where he is."

"Sounds good."

"Let me tell Taylor and then we can go get a warrant."


After getting the warrant, Morgan and Scully went to the cell phone service provider. They were assisted by a technician named Alan Stillwell. Alan was able to tell them that the cell phone in question had only recently been activated, and the call Morgan received was initiated from somewhere in downtown Washington.

Morgan shook her head. "He could have been standing on the corner right outside headquarters," she said with some disgust.

"Well, we knew he was in the area since he was in my apartment four days ago and Andrea was killed two days ago."

"Yeah. And if he holds true to his M.O., it means he'll soon be anywhere but here." She turned back to Alan. "Can you tell where he is now?"

"No, ma'am. He doesn't have the phone turned on so there's no way to locate it."

Morgan pulled out one of her cards. "Listen, if he makes another phone call I want you to call me on my cell."

"Actually, it would probably be best if he called me, Jess, since you may be the one he's on the phone with."

Morgan nodded. "Good point."

Scully gave her card to Alan.

"I'll make sure someone keeps an eye on this account when I'm not here."

"Thank you."


Scully and Morgan returned to headquarters. Several hours later they eventually called it a day. They picked up some dinner on the way back to the house.

After changing into more comfortable clothes, and cleaning up dinner dishes, both women settled down in the living room. Morgan was working on her laptop, reviewing and reworking her profile of the UNSUB from scratch.

Scully, after updating her own case notes, settled into a chair adjacent the couch with a book. She didn't get much reading done, because she spent most of the time unobtrusively watching her partner. She could just about hear the gears turning inside the brunette's mind as she struggled to reconcile her instincts with the facts of their case.

Morgan was disturbed about the recent behavior of the UNSUB. Everything in her said her original profile was spot on; she felt it in her bones. But the killer she profiled just didn't jive with the recent sophomoric taunting. Breaking into her hotel room, breaking into Scully's apartment, calling her... it just didn't make sense. The behavior was... contrived, and nothing like the earlier elegant misdirection he'd accomplished.

Morgan reviewed the dates and places of each of the murders – finding no pattern. The murders were spread out geographically and varied in time between the crimes. Sometimes he'd go over a month before killing again, yet he'd also killed on consecutive days as well. The last interval between killing was four days; the interval before that, 13 days. In light of recent events Morgan wasn't as confident in her 'regression' of his M.O. The killings on the west coast and in the Midwest could have nothing to do with the Reaper, although her instinct said they were. Other agents were following those possible leads now.

As Scully watched, she knew that her partner's current focus wasn't the result of an inability to let things go, but from an honest and healthy reevaluation of the facts. And God knew these kinds of cases were usually only solved as a result of hard, disciplined work... or dumb luck. And relying on dumb luck was not something any good agent would do. Of course, no one would turn down a little luck if it happened to cross their path.


Morgan rubbed her face and let out a slow breath. She looked over at the chair Scully had settled into with a book, and smiled. The redhead's paperback book was on the floor, having dropped there when she fell asleep. Morgan took the opportunity to openly observe the woman who'd surprised her so. Dana was a beautiful woman, inside as well as outside.

"Dana?"

Scully didn't react at all to Morgan's voice.

Jess looked at her watch and saw how late it was. "No wonder you fell asleep." She smiled, "You're going to regret falling asleep in that chair if you stay there all night," she said softly.

She stood up and moved to stand next to the chair. She started to wake Dana, but stopped herself. Instead she gently slipped her arms under the sleeping woman and lifted. Dana's only reaction was to roll her head onto Jess's shoulder. She carried her precious cargo into Dana's bedroom and carefully laid her on the bed. She pulled the covers over her and bent to drop a tender kiss on her temple. "Good night, beautiful."


When Scully woke up in the morning, she was surprised to find herself in bed – she didn't remember moving from the chair in the living room. She was also surprised to find she was still in her jeans and t-shirt. She must have really been tired to not remember going to bed, and not changing into her pajamas when she did. She grabbed her stuff and headed to the bathroom for a shower.

Clean, fully awake, and dressed, she went into the living room. Somehow, Scully wasn't surprised to find Morgan still on the couch – apparently having worked through the night. She almost started to chide her partner, but stopped. Morgan was an excellent agent, an outstanding profiler – the Director wouldn't turn to her on the really bad cases if that wasn't true – and she was a grown woman. Morgan didn't need Scully to tell her what she should and shouldn't do to accomplish what she needed to accomplish.

The redhead went into the kitchen and made some hot tea. After pouring two cups, she returned to the living room. She set one of the cups down on the coffee table and took a seat in the chair she'd occupied the evening before. "How is it going?" she asked gently.

The brunette looked up, not having noticed Scully's movements or presence until then. "It's frustrating, but it's going." She picked up the cup the tea and took a sip. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"Did you sleep well?" she asked with a small smile.

"Mm hmm. I must have really been out of it last night. I don't even remember going to bed, and I slept in my clothes."

Morgan hid her amused smile by taking another sip of tea. She put the cup down. "Well, I'll get ready. I won't be long."


Scully and Morgan hadn't even gotten out of the driveway when the brunette's phone rang.

"Morgan... What?..." She closed her eyes and sighed. "Yeah, thanks." She hung up. "We need to go back in and pack a bag."

"Not another one?"

"Yeah. Miami."

Part 19

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